Coping: Water Heaters and Forced Consumption

When I pulled out the defective water heater to replace it, I discovered that there had been a tiny bit of water leakage under it.

Not enough to require pulling up flooring and such, but we will leave it out of commission for another day. Then when we get close to battening things down, we will put a coat of KILZ on everything in sight. KILZ does a fine job not only of sealing things, but it also has anti mold properties and such. Good stuff.

The trip to Lowes for the replacement heater was something of an eye opener: We use a 38-gallon ‘lowboy’ type heater and when I popped off the cover to install a magnesium (*instead of stock aluminum) sacrificial anode, some to find out the Whirlpuddle tank had foam insulation over the anode. Fun, huh?

Generally, one of the things I picked up drifting about the net is that flat anode cap screws generally mean aluminum while a prominent ‘bump’ on them means they are likely magnesium.

This has been vexing me since I know that excess aluminum is NOT good for a person yet hear we use it in water tanks. Is it any wonder people don’t live to be 100?

The unit we bought has an annual energy cost of $555 – a fair chunk of money. And for $371 plus the Texas tax, there is no locally stocked choice except buy what was available.

Now to the thing stuck in my craw:

It only has a six-year guarantee.

This really ticks me off. Mostly, I know it is because of the economic fact that if water heaters had a 20-year service life, only 25% of current sales volume would be sold.

You and I have been over this before – this whole thing about “designed to fail.” But there are some ways to extend life. Later on this morning I will be shopping for a ‘power anode’ kit so I can extend the life of the water heater.

This may wreck the global economy. If everyone bought only long-lived products, the overall sales volume of this-n-that would collapse and massive layoffs would follow. Yet instead, we live in a world of hugely expensive hot water heaters.

An eye-opening bit of math for you:”

I recently bought a 49” UHD TV for my office. Cost was $264 including delivery and tax. Yeah…got a hell of a deal but Wal-Mart is going after Amazon big-time so when yiou buy things, there are some serious deals to be had. Just hold that number in mind — $264.

Now think about how much we will be sinking into hot water heaters over the next 6-years: We have two water heaters so they cost us about $398 with tax each – which I lazily round off to $800. Then we buy 6-years of power for $6,660 for a (not too) grand total of $7,460.

Now the calculation that matters: Hot water both for the house and the guest quarters is priced presently at 28.35 Ultra High Def TV’s.


Maybe if I’m writing the checks….I expect not so much if you were writing them.

Meantime, our real costs won’t be so high. New storage batteries for the solar power lash-up and the 20 big panels will munch down the cost.

Point is, though, our “values” have slipped their moorings and we are truly awash in a great over-production quandary. And that’s never a good thing.

To be sure, it’s why ‘life is good’ for a lot of people right now. But a society which has so much crap that we have to rent storage lockers for things…well, that’s just nuts.

Rain and Pain

With our observations about how “weather is about to change” we eye the record rains in San Francisco and points east. To be sure, this had been in the forecasts (long range) for a week, or two. But, if you have a small bend of thinking along conspiracy lines, then you will have to admit the freaky weather and HAARP being back on is a dandy “coincidence” to explain away.

Meantime, we’ve gotten 2+ inches in the rain gauge here in the Outback this weekend. In the greenhouse, about 48- small tomato plants are up about 3-inches now. I’ve only got 4-5 squash plants. For some reason they put out so many squash here that Elaine and I will be pseu-vegetarian before summer is out.

Shorter Columns

Shorter and to the pointer!

I told you I’d be drifting this way, one of these days.

Most because I slept late today.

We got tangled up in the series “Shooter” last night and as is the norm here, when a new series is discovered, we roll with about six-hours of catch-up watching.

Bad Holiday Planning

I pave never liked Monday holidays. I figure we’d be much better off taking off Friday’s. Does terrible things for the mindset of the Nation.

It’s hard enough to get up Monday as is…so why Holidays have to subvert all the mental discipline completely escapes me.

But maybe that’s the point.  By subverting the general public’s mental discipline to get up and go to work Monday mornings is one of those skills that needs to be bred out of Americans.

Otherwise, maybe we would still be a kick-ass and take names nation.

It’s a suspicion, just saying.

Looking at Thursday: The Millennial’s Missing Manual chapter will deal with “Making” – the art of creating value. Although maybe the chapter could be hugely abbreviated. Just go into the water heater business and a fortune is yours.

Write when you get rich.

9 thoughts on “Coping: Water Heaters and Forced Consumption”

  1. Re. water heaters.
    In your climate, if you don’t have nat. gas, then a heat pump water heater is the way to go.
    On any water heater the plastic drain valve is a week link. Replace it with a good ball valve-garden hose connector-and garden hose cap.(curious hands )

  2. So that TV you bought uses no power and requires no external service for content? Seems you missed that in calculating your life cycle costs.

  3. I have been told that your water heater will last longer if you can keep it lower than the 180 degrees. I have mine set for 140 and meets my needs

  4. At least you can buy a water heater. Here in Kentucky, you can only buy one if you are a plumber or electrician, AND have to pay someone put it in, AND pay to have it inspected. Talk about .gov getting their pound of flesh and spreading it around to the local unions.

  5. Being a forever fan of “This Old House”, I couldn’t help but wonder if “on demand” water heating might be the way to go. I have lived in apartments with electric water heaters and they are a royal pain. I much prefer the natural gas type which are prevalent here in Oklahoma.

  6. Water heaters and TV’s . . . “Need” versus “Want.” You pay accordingly in a free market. Just saying . . .

  7. My ‘old’ water heater lasted over 20 years. Then, I replaced it, and that one lasted about 8 years. Now, the one we have is touch and go. Same with the old a/c, lasted over 20 years. Same with the old Washer/Dryer and Fridge over 20 years old and still ticking.

    Talked to a plumber friend, he said he replaced the dishwasher/fridge/washer/dryer in their house for his wife. ALL the new fangled appliances broke down and needed repairs in the first six months, one he (and the techs) were unable to repair at all had to replace it.

    Give me the good old reliable appliances back any day.

  8. I’ve always liked gas water heat. $25 to run my pilot lights and water heat/mo here in FL. And that may be the minimum charge from the gas co! I use to have to replace the anodes in electric every 6 months in hard-water Missouri, that got expensive! Aren’t there some effective solar water pre-heaters that feed already heated water to the water heater? Seems like it would help here in the South. And my construction wife is sold on the on-demand at-the-faucet heaters. Don’t have to run the water for a minute to get heated H20.

  9. Hybrid water heaters . Sold this is number 3 as we sold our other homes and bought a new one . It’s worth every penny and the electrical savings are amazing . We run the house that is twice the size literally of our old home at less electrical cost do to this water heater and a variable speed pool pump . The other house didn’t have a pool . Impact windows play a part as well . Around 140/month for everything including pool boat dock with boat .

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