Water Heater Fubar of 2013 (part 2)

So...the water heater did, indeed, get fully installed and just in time. Joel and Janet arrived just as our fabulous plumber, Clint, was packing up to go home. Water heater (woohoo!):

I know, it looks like every other water heater in the world, but we're dang glad to have her.

Steve and I have been rebuilding the damaged wall. I'm the insulation installer and he's the master of correct measurements for the drywall. We team up on the actual installation, then I follow up with the tape and joint compound.

Still looks unimpressive, but we're happy to get the wall sealed up. The joint compound is drying as we speak, and I'm still trying to decide if I want to take the trouble to prime and paint that wall since everything's moved away from it right now.

On the bedroom side, there was previously only one outlet on that wall. As we all know, that's never enough in this here 21st century, so I worked my girl-power magic and turned one into three.

I am now in the process of re-insulating the bedroom side but with our schedules it's likely we won't get that side of the wall sealed up until next weekend.

Meanwhile, this happened.

Happy Thanksweddingmas!

Sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas, on 12/14/2013, Koby and Breanna exchanged vows. There was a short but very lovely ceremony, followed by a buffet and dancing.

During the reception, Koby came up to me with an "Oh crap I don't know what I'm gonna do" look on his face and said, "Mom, can I talk to you?" We went off into a small room and he said, "I didn't want to tell Bre but this morning the sewer system at my house exploded. My back yard is flooded with shit and we can't go home!"

Bre's mom stepped up and got them a hotel room for that night. The next morning they were leaving for a quick honeymoon trip to Cambria, so they'd at least have a good night's rest with functional indoor plumbing prior to their departure.

Since I had been assigned cat feeding duties, I had the key to their house. I got Clint over there on Sunday afternoon to take a look. Then I had to go to Tacoma for a two-day business trip. While I was gone, Steve gave Clint and his crew access to the yard and they started digging.

Koby's house was built by the military in the 1950s. It was typical at that time to dig a trench, lay in Orangeburg pipe (fiber pipe made from layers of wood pulp and pitch pressed together) for the sewer, throw in a little soil, then lay the water lines in the same trench and bury the whole thing. Fast forward to now and you have a mess. The Orangeburg pipe had collapsed and there were big holes in it as well as in the small amount of steel pipe leading to it.

Thanks to Sacramento hard pan, it took the crew two long nights of work and a jackhammer to get the trench re-trenched. By the time I got back from Tacoma they were installing new ABS pipe. Since the two water lines sat directly above the Orangeburg, they had to connect the ABS to the house via a couple of elbows so it could lay next to the old stuff. They worked six hours that night in the freezing cold to get the job done and make sure Koby and Bre had a functional bathroom when they returned from their honeymoon!

Water Heater Fubar of 2013 (part 1)

Sunday morning we got up and discovered the shower water just wouldn't warm up. Suspecting the pilot in the water heater may have gone out, Steve went out to check it and this is what he found.

The ~15 year old beast had burst inside and was spewing water out the top, up into the vent. Of course the water would then trickle back down and all over the damn place. No telling how long this had been going on.

The "man cave" shares a wall with the garage. Steve checked in there and, sure enough, the carpet was sopping wet. I grabbed a pair of pliers for him, he started pulling the carpet back. As he pulled, the baseboard just kind of melted off like it was made of mush. That's when we discovered the mold behind the baseboards.

Steve tried to clean up a bit and set up some fans* while I called the insurance company. As soon as the claim was opened, I tackled Angie's List and began calling plumbers. Remember, this was Sunday.

*It turns out that's a no-no. Air movement blows the nasty microbes around.

Monday I got three quotes, then called my neighbor's husband's brother's neighbor who quoted me half what everyone else had. Same unit, just not gouging me on the labor. He gave me his company's name and I learned the BBB gives them an A rating. No complaints!

Also on Monday, the insurance adjuster contacted us. He was very nice and said he'd have a restoration company call us within an hour. They did, and that afternoon they were out to inspect and measure.

Tuesday, right on schedule, the Rainbow Restoration crew arrived and started demolishing the affected areas. The drywall and insulation had to be removed across the entire wall and up about four feet.

They sanded and hepa-vacuumed all the areas that showed mold. Then they sprayed everything with an anti-microbial solution and set up a machine that allegedly sucks up any stray microbes floating around in the air. They also set up a big dehumidifier. All this is on the bedroom side. The garage side got a big sheet of plastic stapled to it which will stay in place until we can reconstruct the garage wall tomorrow.

The box/stand under the water tank also had to be removed. It was pretty badly rotted.

Tomorrow Steve and I will fetch some drywall and rebuild the area where the new tank will go. (Yes, I investigated replacing it with a tankless system but it would have been three grand - t'would pay for itself in a mere 20 years or so.) We will also, of course, need to put in a new stand.

Since Sunday, we've been "bucket bathing" -- warming water in pans on the stove, then carting them to the shower to wash. It's actually not feeling like too much of a hassle (thank you, Lexapro) and the new tank's scheduled to be installed either Wednesday or Thursday evening. Just in time for house guests!