I have been without hot water for a week. Actually not completely without it….let me explain. About a week ago I couldn’t turn the spigot on the master bathroom shower off…the valve seemed frozen. I had had this problem since last September but gave up trying to get the landlord to fix it and resorted to using a pair of pliers (instead of the cheap plastic handle which simply turned round ad infinitum without affecting the temperature in any way). Clearly the valve stem was stripped and a new handle wasn’t going to do the job. In addition there had been the constant sound of running water for 3 days. I had originally assumed it was due to the pool guy leaving the backyard hose running a little to keep the pool filled. But the sound wasn’t just a trickle any more…it sounded like a torrent.
So I started to take a look at it with the help of a friend who has many years of experience with such things and we figured out that there were actually two separate problems. First the shower’s valve stem was stripped and the O ring was toast. The second thing was that when the hot water heater’s main valve was closed the torrent of water ceased. And since there was only cold water in the spigots, the hot water was going somewhere.
I explained all this to my landlord and he said he would send his maintenance man out (this is a house, not an apartment). That took about three days. I took cold showers but I could handle it….my baby was with his father so he didn’t have to suffer it. My daughter was likewise with her father. So the maintenance guy comes by and says…it’s leaking into the slab of the house but he wasn’t sure where. I waited another day and a half for plumber to identify where the leak was, supposedly under the spare tub.
By this time we had figured out that I could get hot water if I left water heater’s valve off until immediately before I needed to take a shower. Then I would turn on the valve in the garage, sprint through the house to the spare bathroom shower, turn it on and wash and shave as much of myself as was possible in 5 to 10 minutes before the hot water would run out. Afterward I would have to tuen the valve in the garage off again and let it sit for several hours before anyone else could bathe. I have been washing dishes in cold water by hand, which is not fun…grease just doesn’t want to go away in such conditions. My son has been showering with me, so I often have 2 minutes to clean him and 3 minutes for myself. This also means cold water shaving for my legs–fun!
Finally today was supposed to be the big day…I was supposed to come home and find my master shower with a new ring, valve and handle and the spare bath tore up so they could access the leak and install a new pipe from the heater to the tub. I found neither. Instead I found a large pile of mud in my driveway, the spare toilet completely removed (thats where the leak was, not the toilet itself but the hot water pipe running under the toilet, four feet down, hence the mud) and the wall of the master shower opened up. I was out of the house from 6 am until 5 pm and thought surely they could fix the master shower and begin the spare bathroom project during that time. Hell I once built a screened in porch in that amount of time! But no….
So I am sitting on the couch with my feverish son, trying to comfort him without have free movement around the house and no TV (they had to turn off that breaker). Thank goodness I still have access to the Internet so I can bitch and complain to you all. Lucky you!