Last week I wrote a post on forgeover about the first chapter in my water heater replacement. To summarize, it didn’t go so well. I felt defeated before I even began, and things only went downhill from there.
Today was a completely different story. I woke up with the knowledge that I had to install this beast today, and that I was going to have to squeeze the chore in between long anticipated visits with my sister, brother in law, and nephew. Vick got me started on the right foot: “You’re going to do it, it’s going to be easy, and you’re going to feel GREAT when its done.” That was exactly the pep talk I needed and it probably made the difference between 90% success and utter failure.
The first part of the job was to remove the stove. I was hoping that there was a removable pannel behind the heat shield that would be large enough to squeeze the old water heater out, and get the new one in. I got the stove out and the gas disconnected in a matter of minutes. After removing a few dozen screws from the heat shield I was rewarded with an opening that was 16″ on the nose. This would be just enough room to get the new one in, and more than enough to get the old one out.
Once the leaky old heap of scrap was removed I left Vick to clean out the scummy hole while I made a trip to the ManVan to get parts and gather my gusto.
A half hour later I was back on the boat and running the new hoses. I got things in their general place and then started in on the fittings. Within minutes I was positive that I was in for another trip to Home Depot. Damn, I was sure I had all the right parts this time. I took inventory of every single junction, nipple, elbow, and flange, and headed off. An hour later, when I was back on the boat fitting everything together I realized that I had made a critical incorrect assumption that rendered my entire trip to HD fruitless. The hose I had was 5/8″ not 1/2″. I decided to make do with what I had and got the galley and forward head re-plumbed, leaving the aft head for whenever I could get to it.
I wired up a new outlet to plug the water heater into and asked Michael (my brother-in-law and partner in grime) to flip the water pressure switch. There were two little and easily adjusted leaks and then we were rewarded with the delightful sound of water flowing into the empty water heater. I ran around the boat looking for leaks, and expecting the worst, but everything was remarkably dry.
A few hours later, after we returned from dinner at Picante, there was hot water pouring out of the galley faucet. There are still a few jobs left to do. The aft head has to get hooked up, and the engine heat exchanger has to be plumbed through, but I don’t foresee more than a half dozen trips to the hardware store for both jobs combined.