Offcuts: Surrounded By Water By: Don Heisz

So, I have mentioned before my woes of basement flooding. I have also mentioned – been mentioning, actually, for about four years or so – that I must reshingle my roof. Well, I have finally purchased the material to reshingle my depressed roof. It’s been sitting cheerfully in my driveway for about a month while I wait for an opportunity to do it.

In the meantime, my roof has reached the state where it does actually leak in at least one (relatively unknown) location. The water that leaks in, oddly enough, ends up in the basement. Anyway, I nailed a tarp on the roof.

It has not leaked since then. You might not believe how tempting it is to just keep the tarp there and put off roofing for another year.

I’m getting pretty used to discovering water in the basement.

But a couple of days ago, I woke up and, upon stepping into the hallway on the main floor of my house, my foot landed in a big puddle of water. I thought,The roof has another leak. But that didn’t make any sense. This was a lot of water. Someone would’ve needed to cut a hole the size of a car in the roof for that much water to rain in.

No such hole existed. Well, I haven’t actually checked, but I assume.

The culprit was my hot water tank, which sits in a utility room on the main floor of my house. It seems that, after 13 years, it has rusted through. Anyway, I spent my day cleaning up after it.

The Culprit

It turns out that I actually rent my hot water heater. That was not exactly a surprise to me, since I knew I rented something – either that or the boiler (hot water heat). In order to find out what I was renting, I had to delve into the bizarrely convoluted website of [Major Ontario Natural Gas Supplier] and try to get it to reveal that secret information. I eventually did find where it had that fact hidden and, sure enough, I’m renting the hot water heater.

So I phoned to get them to fix their broken piece of junk.

First, I was told a service technician would come in five days to assess the situation and then possibly schedule a replacement. I didn’t want to do that, so I suggested I go buy a new tank and hire someone to install it and leave their broken junk out on the side of the road for them to come pick up.

I was then told I could get it replaced next day.

Funny how that works.

If this had been an electric hot water heater, I would have pulled it out and bought a new one and installed it myself. But it’s natural gas. I don’t even want to pretend to want to mess with that.

So, two fine fellows showed up to replace it.

Two Fine Fellows

The guy on the left tackled the gas piping. The guy on the right told him what to do. At one point, the guy on the left went back out to their truck and I said, “He’s new, huh?” because he didn’t really seem to have a clue or have much confidence.

The other guy told me he complained to the union that they were issuing licenses to kill. He said that the other guy wasn’t new, that he’d been fully licensed for five years but still didn’t know how to do anything.


Those guys took their time and everything went well. When it was time to turn the water back on, the old shutoff valve started dripping like a bad case of [something I won’t say]. So, the older guy said he could replace it at a low cost of $100. I said, “$100?” and he threw up his hands. This, of course, was a price dreamed up by Home Office. He advised I replace the cartridge of the valve, which I did.

Old Shutoff Valve, Innards Replaced

Upon telling John about my hot water heater woes, he mentioned that his sits in a pan with a pipeout to his basement drainage. I said mine sits in a pan, also, but the pipe just points at the floor.

Pipe Over Ye Ol’ Linoleum Floor

He, of course, made fun of me for never hooking it up to something to drain somewhere or other. In my defence, I plan on hooking it up to something this time, before the hot water heater leaks. But I don’t expect it to leak anytime soon, so I may do it in ten years or so. Maybe thirteen.