Boil-water order

So this past Sat­ur­day we’re doing some clean­ing. It’s the last warm day of the fall, prob­a­bly (almost 25C, I’d war­rant — Swan Riv­er, three-ish hours north of here, was the hot spot in Cana­da that day), and so we’re wash­ing win­dows, hang­ing laun­dry on the line, that sort of thing. I went up and down the lad­der a dozen or so times, clean­ing the gutters.

My wife calls to me: “I need you inside, some­thing’s leaking.”

I think, Oh crap.

Our hot-water tank has sprung a leak.


I call around to some folks. First my dad, who’s not home. Then my broth­er-in-law in Win­nipeg, on the off chance he’s got some least expe­ri­ence with this sort of thing. “Blind pan­ic,” he advis­es. “Then maybe call a 24-hour plumber.”

I call the plumber. I have an elec­tric tank all ready to go, to replace the holed gas one. “$300,” he tells me. “Plus $92.50 for week­end pre­mi­um.” Even though I’ve got the new tank in the house already. “Plus you’ll need an elec­tri­cian to wire it to your panel.”

I’ll, uh, get back to you,” I say.


Because, see, here’s the thing — we are in the endgame of installing geot­her­mal heat, and part of the sys­tem is a pre-heat cycle for the hot-water tank. So we were going to have the elec­tric tank installed by the geot­her­mal guys, and use the gas tank as a hold­ing tank for the pre-heat­ed water. The new plan, of course, is to use just one tank, the elec­tric one. Some­time this week, it should all be done. All hooked up, ready to draw heat from the pipes buried in my yard, pipes that go down 100 feet vertically.

Long sto­ry short, if you come to my house in the next few days, don’t expect a hot show­er. The best I can do is boil water for your bath.