Saturday, April 16, 2011

My first home improvement project

Since we didn't really have much experience with hot water heaters we just called a repair guy to come out on Monday.... in the mean time our friend told us fixing a water heater was relatively easy and we could probably do it ourselves... ha ha. So Kenny called and canceled our appointment with Brighams Plumbing (623 210 6444) and the guy told Kenny HOW to fix it! So when we got home late Saturday night we decided to give it a try. The first step was to drain the unit... drip drip drip... nothing was coming out. Great. We pulled out the heating element and warm water gushed out at us. Kenny pulled and pulled at the element and it wouldn't come out. It was so rusted and bent it wouldn't come back through the hole!

Heating elements : the left one is the burned up one, the middle one was probably still good and the right one is new
After dumping 50 gallons of water onto the garage floor the element finally came out and we could see what a mess we had. The bottom of the unit had collected about 10 inches of sediment over the 5 years we have lived there and NEVER drained the unit! We were pretty discouraged at this point and didn't know what to do never. Kenny called the plumbing guy back to let him know we would need him to come out after all... he told Kenny not to throw in the towel yet and gave him some additional advice on what to do. At this point if the project didn't work we would need a new unit (costing about $500) so we thought we mind as well try the project!

The goal was to get as much of the sediment out of the unit as possible. We could replace the element, but the would just burn up without getting that gunk out of there. Kenny got out the power washer for the car wash... we forced water into the unit through the drainage port... and it worked! It released the clog and out came white waterand TONS of sediment! We did this over and over for about 2 hours... We also used this ruler to scoop out the sediment

We cleared out about 90% of the sediment and added a few years of life to our unit! It was actually a really fun project!

We spent lots of time sweeping the water and sediment out of the garage... it ruined part of the paint and drywall around the unit and our drive way has a white 'stain' now, but it was worth it! We only spent $27 on parts rather than $500 on a new unit! Go team K!

I took this picture the next day... see all the sediment that ended up in the gutter at the end of the drive way

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