A Tale of Two Hot Water Heaters

| 3/19/2007 12:00:00 AM

I had the best of intentions; it was the worst of timing.

In the laundry room, concentrated around the tank of my old water heater, I had water spreading over the linoleum and toward the carpet in the den.

I took one look and diagnosed: water heater meltdown.

I’ve experienced it before, 10 years ago. Once you’ve survived 65 gallons of water gushing from your water heater, you don’t ask questions.

I closed off the heater’s in-valve and scrambled into the crawl space to turn off the water to the whole house. Then I started mopping. Luckily, the water I cleaned up wasn’t replaced by a continual stream; I’d caught the crisis at the slow leak phase!

As I worked, I rejoiced. Just months before I’d assigned and edited an article for Natural Home’s Nuts & Bolts section about tankless, or “on-demand,” water heaters. (see "Get into Hot Water", September/October 2006) Author Dan Chiras had utterly convinced me of the benefits of going tankless, and I’d shown the article to my husband before it was even published.