Happy humpday! The week is half over, and we’re still recovering from our work-filled weekend.
We’re on a spending freeze from hardware stores for the rest of the year. We’re taking the time to do odds and ends projects that we’ve been putting off. On Saturday, we installed a hot water heater. And by “we,” I mean Bradley. Because I was off playing with my new favorite toy:
I have a label maker. You know what this means, right?
I’m one step closer to becoming a crazy cat lady. I can officially conquer the world. I’ll show you what I did with Labels McGee in our next post. It was exhilarating. I blew my nerd gasket at least twice.
Bradley started out by removing the staircase that leads up to our dining room. We’re sealing up this entrance anyway, so the staircase was a goner anyway. Besides, this guy hasn’t demolished anything in weeks:
He was itching to get his sledgehammer on.
Once the staircase was out of there, Bradley swept up all of the dirt and grime covering the cement floor:
He uncovered a secret message:
March 12, 1949. Which means our basement floor was poured nearly 63 years ago. Yipes. Definitely time for an update, but we won’t get to that until next year.
Next up, Bradley stacked a few cinder blocks in the spot where we wanted the hot water heater to go:
We wanted to elevate the hot water heater just in case we ever get water in our basement again. The cinder blocks are about 8 inches tall, so it gives us a little piece of mind knowing our new water-heating robot won’t drown.
Look at those googly eyes. Cutest robot this basement’s ever seen!
We got our GE GeoSpring back in September and it’s been hanging out in our basement ever since. We got it because it’s one of the most energy-efficient water heaters on the market. And, thanks to a tax credit and a rebate from our electricity company, this puppy cost us only $400.
With the water heater elevated, Bradley got to work on the plumbing.
We’re going to give a brief description of what we did, because a) a long-winded description would put everyone to sleep, and b) the details of what worked for us may not work for every house.
Bradley started by turning off the water main while I turned on all the faucets in the house. This relieved the pressure from the pipes. Next, he shut off our old boiler and started disconnecting the pipes to splice in the hot water heater. He measured out all of his pipes, cut them and then soldered them together:
I asked Bradley what he was doing in the pictures above and this is what he said:
You can say that I was soldering a ball valve. Not a gate valve. Because gate valves suck.
Straight from the horse’s mouth.
He also said that he “tied in the lines” and “spliced in the unit” and “installed a 30-amp breaker for the power feed.” And that, friends, is why I write the blog. Because nobody knows what a power feed splicing unit breaker is. Also, he’s more photogenic. And I have an irrational fear of getting swallowed up by big machines.
In about 3 hours, he had the water heater up and running:
We set it to hybrid mode. This means that it’s going to suck up the warm air from the room and use that to heat the water. It’s also going to use electric coils during peak times.
An added bonus is that it dehumidifies the air in the room. This means our always-muggy basement might finally dry out. And hopefully be less stanky in a few weeks. We’ll keep you posted.
Bradley insulated all of the water pipes in the basement. Here he is putting pipe insulation on the hot water line:
And the cold water line:
This improves efficiency because it keeps the warmth in the hot line and reduces condensation on the cold line.
Bradley also put gaskets around the basement door to help stop drafts:
That’s the only way in and out of the basement now. It needs a little….aesthetic help:
We’ll get to that eventually. Right now, we’re telling ourselves that it looks rustic and quaintly old-fashioned. We like to mix our Kool-Aid with equal parts denial and ignorance. That’s the juice that keeps us going!
We’ll be back soon with more updates on our weekend projects. Stay tuned, peeps.
What we learned from this project:
- This is Bradley’s fourth hot water installation, so he didn’t learn anything. Good thing I asked a lot of questions because I learned a lot.
- There might be a little air in the lines, but it’ll pass. Basically this means you might be in the middle of a nice, hot shower and suddenly get blasted with icy cold water. I speak from personal experience when I say this suuuuuucks.
- Before soldering, sand the pipe and the fitting. Shiny pipes are clean pipes. And that helps the solder stick.
- Make sure your pipes are totally drained before you solder. Otherwise it’ll produce steam that will keep the solder from absorbing into the joint.
- Apply flux to both pipe and fitting.
- Use MAPP gas, not propane, when soldering. MAPP gas burns hotter. (It’s the stuff that comes in a yellow tank.)