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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rusty water



My lovely wife filled the bathtub today and said there there's a bit of rust in the water. That's not good.

I've a whole house water filter so the problem is not down in the well with the pump. The cold water doesn't have any rust in it. That tells me the problem is on the hot water side. The most likely candidate for rust is the hot water heater. That tells me it probably won't be long before it fails.

It's your basic cheap 40 gallon electric hot water heater. It's been used in combination with a woodstove to heat water. It's also done duty to raise the temperature of water partially heated with solar. Right now it's controlled by a relay on a switch so I can turn the hot water off when I'm using it.

This tank was a cheap expedient to replace a propane tank that had a burner fail. The propane tank had also been a quick and cheap expedient to replace a propane tankless water heater. The tankless was great when it worked, but it failed a lot. In fact, the whole ten years it was under warranty the company was constantly replacing parts. When the warranty finally expired they refused to sell me another one. Conditions are harsh out here in the cold North Country.

Eventually the tank is going to fail. When my lovely wife and I both leave the house, we shut the well pump off. That way if the tank begins to leak, it will only leak a maximum of 40 gallons. There's a drain pan under the tank to redirect any leaks.

If the tank does fail, I'm going to hook up the solar water tank again. That tank was salvaged from the old propane fired water heater. My sun location isn't perfect so that water never got quite warm enough to make my lovely wife happy. However, I've figured that out too. It was a propane tank, so there' s a chimney running right up the middle of the tank. I've enough firebrick lying around to turn it into a rocket stove. A quick hot fire should provide all the hot water we'll need.

I should be able to do that without spending any money. There's enough salvaged odds and ends in my junk pile to do the job. That system isn't proof against a hard freeze, but I expect to shut down the house and head south before then. By spring, I'll have something else figured out.

-Sixbears

18 comments:

  1. A wood burning rocket stove hot water heater it may work id add a propane back up to it.If a woman takes a cold shower the husband Has TO take a cold shower for a while.

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    1. If the wife ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

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  2. Replies
    1. I'm always planning. I have to, stuff always breaks.

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  3. There's nothing like a good Rocket Stove...

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  4. Sounds like a big pain. Let me know if you need an extra pair of hands to move something heavy

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  5. Make sure you have a pressure valve on it when you light the fire under it. Safety is utmost for survival.

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    1. Already has one. Keeps it from being a bomb. Thanks Dizzy.

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  6. ok not funny this morning MY hot water heater was off.went down to relight it and i have a leaking and rusty inlet on top.water is drizzling down the back.looks like i have one to replace it.My wife is not the understanding kind when it comes creature comforts.Some how it has to be your fault.The water heater was replaced in 1988.:)

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    Replies
    1. Yep, my fault. The universe bends to my whim. :)

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  7. why wait? if you have time get it ready now.
    nothing like facing discomfort after a long drive back in spring.
    if it goes when you return, it should take only a short time to get the rocket stove in place if it is ready and waiting.
    deb harvey

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  8. Of late it seems all I do is repair or replace. I feel for you.

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    Replies
    1. These things do tend to happen all at once, and when I'm trying to do something else.

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  9. I had nothing but problems with my demand tankless heater too. Piece of junk! Btw, its a cold water heater not a hot water heater... :-)

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    Replies
    1. My kids got to know all the repair guys really well. First name basis. They lost a bundle servicing the warranty.

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