Yesterday was Tuesday. But it might as well have been a Monday. The morning was just so chock full of the opposite of win.
When I finally made it home after a long day, I had a nice dinner with the family and finally made it upstairs to my home office to start working on some freelance writing. I got about 30 minutes into it when I suddenly heard the house alarm go off. It sounded a little different though, and I thought it was just Allie going into the garage and forgetting to turn off the alarm.
Nope. Allie was upstairs with the kids.
Okay, now my heart’s pounding. So I raced to the alarm panel in our bedroom to see what had triggered it. And… it said “Water Sensor.”
On the one hand, I was relieved it wasn’t any door or window. No break-in. Whew. But on the other hand, it meant something wasn’t right in the basement.
When we moved in and had our alarm souped up all over the house, we made sure they included a water sensor by the hot water heater. That way, if the water heater every breaks and starts spewing out water, the sensor will trigger the alarm and the monitoring station, so we’d hopefully be able to stop it before our house turned into the Lost City of Atlantis.
I can tell you first-hand that the water sensor works! We raced into the basement, and there in the corner was water pouring out of the water heater and quickly spreading across the basement floor.
At that point, I did what any other man with my talent for home improvement would do… I simply stared at the damn thing, mentally wishing it to stop. Yeah, I’m really pretty pathetic when it comes to emergency situations. Tell me what to do, and I’m on it. But without direction, I’m more lost than the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. (That’s a “Lost” reference for you clueless folks.)
Good thing my wife is awesome. She screamed to shut the water off, then ran and, well, shut the water off. That stopped the fountain immediately. At this point, the kids came downstairs in their PJs, totally excited by the commotion and chaos. I told them to get some towels to stop the water from flowing all the way into the rest of the basement. They actually listened to me and raced upstairs in a flash. They came back and mopped up some of the water. They even started blowing on it to keep it from advancing.
After a quick call to our plumber, we turned the gas off and the water valve on the hot water heater itself. We then turned the house water back on and got ready to drain the hot water heater. Unfortunately, we have a 75 gallon tank. We also don’t have a low-enough window close to the hot water heater.
For starters, we hooked up a hose to the spigot on the water heater and ran it about 2/3 of the way across the basement, towards the main window. We drained the hose into a bucket and just continued tossing the water out the window. If only we had a longer hose, we could’ve just tossed the hose out the window, sat back and relaxed.
At one point, we realized this was taking too long. So we unscrewed the hose and just put the bucket directly under the spigot. The water flowed way faster for sure. And I got my cardio in with all the walking back and forth. Thankfully, it only took us about an hour to finish up.
This morning, the plumber showed up with a new hot water heater, and 90 minutes later, we were back in business.
Curious to see all the carnage? Come walk with me into my basement-that-almost-became-a-swimming-pool. Here you can see the busted water heater in the back with our high-tech hose hook-up. You can see all the water pooling to the left side of the room. At least we now know how the floor slopes.
Hoses always seem to drip. Same with hot water heater spigots. I think half the water was going right on the floor, while the other half went through the hose. So we put a small basin under the spigot to catch any drips.
And here you can see my lovely wife hard at work as her lovable and handsome husband trudges through pools of water to save the family.
All in all, I’d say last night was basically a rite of passage for us as home owners. We survived. And frankly, I’ll be happy if I don’ t have to do that again for at least another 10 years.