Does it seem that things break down when ......
Does it seem that things break down when you are least prepared for it? At least it seemed to happen to me.
Case 1: 2002, my old car wouldn't start after I drove it to the local library. Dave was out of town so I had to call my coworker to rescue me. When Dave came back days later, we went to the library to tow my car back, somehow it started just fine.
Case 2: 2003, we were still living in an apartment. Dave was in Hong Kong on a business trip when I found the water line to the refrigerator had a small leak. I called the rental office to have it fixed, but they didn't do a good job. A month or so later, when we were on vacation, the same water line leaked big time, partially flooded our apartment, and completely flooded the apartment downstairs, because the poor guy lived downstairs happened to be out of town for three days too.
Case 3: 2004, a month after we moved into our house, I found the water heater started to leak and Dave was in Hong Kong again. Luckily, the water heater lasted till Dave came home, at which time we had it replaced.
None of these incidents even come close to what happened last night.
Dave is in Bangkok this week. I was home alone. While I was taking a shower, I smelled something faint. I remember thinking: "man, I need to clean my bathroom good this weekend so it smells fresh". When I came out of the shower, I heard some kind of beeping. I thought maybe it was the phone or sump pump low on battery. I went downstairs, then to the basement. To my complete shock, it was my CO & gas detector, beeping loudly, and flashing 'GAS' on its display. Close to it is the water heater that we replaced 7 years ago, and it was leaking again!
I was terrified. I had no idea what's going on, and why the detector said there was gas in the air. Last time when the water heater leaked, it went out slowly and peacefully. There was never a gas leak or anything. I didn't know what to do or who to call. And in my panic mode, I couldn't find the booklet for the detector. I was in some kind of denial, thinking maybe the detector was malfunctioning, I just needed to clean the code and retest it.
Thank goodness, Dave has a work cell phone this time so I called him. He said if the water heater started to leak, it could put out the flame, but the gas should be shut off automatically if this happened. He asked me if I smelled gas, I said I thought I smelled something, but not sure if it was gas. The alarm had stopped by now, shortly after the air conditioner and fan started running a moment ago. Dave said I'd better call Don, our neighbor, to come over and take a look.
It was after 10:00 pm when I called, Don came over immediately. As soon as he walked in, he said he smelled gas. He shut off the gas to the water heater, checked pipe joints for gas leaking using a glass of soapy water, and made sure the gas meter outside had stopped. It was clear to him that I need a new water heater. He said the water tank had corroded through, the leaked water put out the flame, and somehow the water heater failed to shut off the gas automatically when this happened.
Imagine my horror, before Don came over, I thought maybe I just need to relit the pilot light, then I could use the water heater till Dave comes home. Now I realized that I could have killed myself if I did that. I probably wouldn't do it because I was too chicken to do anything at the point, but just show you how clueless I was about the whole thing.
The drama pretty much ended there. After a long and sleepless night with all the windows open, one of the plumbing companies I found on Angie's List came over today. They hauled the old water heater away, and installed a new one, all in two hours. I hope this one lasts longer. I had enough water heater problems already.