In case you haven't been following me regularly: We shut off the natural gas right after moving in when the inspection showed that the furnace was shot and dangerous. That made the water heater unusable as well, and when we finally had them removed last year, we found that they both had been trying to set the house on fire if the scorch marks on the wall behind them were any evidence. We bought an electric hot water heater, and Lisa did the necessary wiring to run a new 220V circuit to the bathroom where she wanted it installed. The first water heater had a big dent in it when it arrived, so our plumber had to send it back and wait for a new one.
Finally, all of the pieces started coming together last week. Lisa started finishing the wiring and built the little platform on which the water heater sits. Steve-the-Plumber spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday working with Lisa to install and connect the water heater and get it connected to both the ground floor bathrooms.
This is the switch box Lisa installed in the bathroom (before she put the cover back on). One line runs back under the house to the main panel, and the other runs to the water heater itself. This is so you can shut off power to the water heater at a switch within sight of the heater, and is a current electrical code requirement for electric water heaters.
Here's how things stood at the end of the day on Tuesday. Lisa built the wooden platform last week and painted it on Monday and Tuesday. The hole in the platform runs to a drain under the house. It's part of the overflow mechanism so that if the water heater leaks, the water will mostly flow into the pan at the bottom, into the hole, and down the drain, rather than flooding the bathroom.
And finally the finished product. The blue tank sticking out the top is an expansion tank, also a relatively new code requirement. It protects against tank implosion (not explosion) in the event of a sudden drop in temperature. The overflow drain is connected, as are the electrical lines to the cut-off box and the actual water pipes to bring in cold and send out hot water.
Kuma Bear helped, or at least tried to do so by holding onto Lisa's safety glasses before she needed them for the work under the house.
People who saw that we had only a 30 gallon hot water heater with only a 3000W heating element kept telling us that we'd certainly run out of hot water right away. That might be so if we had a big family, but there is just the two of us here (travelswithkuma's annual bath hardly counts), and we've been used to living with only the six gallons of hot water in the travel trailer's tank, so we don't anticipate any significant problems.
The hot water is connected to both ground floor bathrooms and to the washing machine, but not to the kitchen yet, and none of the upstairs plumbing works; it's been shot from the beginning and is a long-term project for correction someday. The kitchen (including the dishwasher) is somewhat higher priority, but is waiting for Lisa to pick out the new kitchen sink and fixtures she wants.
On Thursday morning, I finally got to take a shower in my own home instead of having to use the tiny shower in the travel trailer. It's not been a huge hardship (as I was very used to living in the travel trailer with Lisa in Oregon for years), but it's still nice to be able to have the shower and hot water working in the house.