I used to live in the California desert in a fantastic old house. This house was a great ranch style house that had been built in the 1940’s and updated in the 50s. And by updated, I mean floor to ceiling pink tiles in the bathroom, polished chrome built in fixtures, and a copper double wall oven in the kitchen. It was obviously someone’s dream home. Miraculously, it had remained pretty much untouched, except for new carpets and paint.
Being that it was in the desert, from May through September, it was hot! It’s a dry heat, they say. Well, sure, but when it’s 110 degrees and feels like a blast furnace, it doesn’t really matter if there’s humidity or not.
Maybe it was because of this blast furnace effect, or maybe because the sun beat down on the side of the house where the bathroom was, I didn’t really notice when my water heater went out. The water was still at least 90 degrees! So maybe I simply didn’t care, I’m not sure which.
But when October rolled around, and the temperature drops from 100 to the 70s seemingly overnight, hoo-boy! I was certainly ready to find out what was wrong!
I looked at it first. I figured the pilot light was out, but it wouldn’t stay lit. Next, a coworker came to check it out. They were a weekend-warrior type and just sort of stood there and looked at it. His diagnosis was “Your pilot light is out.” Um, yes. I know. In Southern California, the gas company will come and do minor water heater repair, so I called them. They couldn’t repair it. So next, I called a plumber out.
The plumber told me I needed to replace my water heater. Sigh. In the back of my head, I knew this was what needed to be done; I was just hoping it wouldn’t come to this. I resigned myself to the water heater replacement.
When the plumber pulled the water heater, he called me out to look at it. He pointed out that it was likely the original water heater that was installed in the house in the 1940s. So, I guess I can’t really complain about the nearly 75 years of service!
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