Sometimes I can be really good at procrastinating. I'll claim the excuse this year that I'm trying to manage two houses, Dad's and my own. But I had plenty of warning on this one.
I'm sure it was a month ago when I noticed a trickle of water from the water heater to the nearby drain. I have emails to various people referencing it on April 16. But checking websites and sending emails is only the start of doing something.
The second big warning was two days ago when the shower kept getting cooler, even as I turned up the hot water. But I was busy and forgot the warning.
Yesterday afternoon I went into the basement to do a load of laundry. I could see the floor at the bottom of the steps was wet. So the laundry basket went back up to the kitchen and I put my rubber boots (still by the back door for winter) over my socks (easier then getting them over shoes too) and went back down.
There was water on the floor around the laundry area drain. The clothes already down there were soaked. The water heater had water spilling out the top (!) and it certainly sounded like the heater was working hard. Once into the water around the heater I could feel through the boots that it was warm.
Back upstairs for tools. It took a wrench to turn the shut-off knob, and then it turned freely without doing anything. Across the basement to the water meter. The shut-off after the meter wouldn't turn and it took some doing to get the shut-off before the meter to work and finally get the meter to stop turning. No water for the kitchen or bathrooms. Back at the heater it also took a wrench to shut off the gas line.
Then I called my favorite handyman. He and his wife came about a half-hour later. He used a plunger on the drain in the laundry area and got the water flowing out. He cut through the water pipes leading to and from the heater (completely cutting out the useless shut-off) and capped them. We could turn the water on again.
As I mopped the floor he went and got his industrial strength dehumidifier and a blower. When he returned he set it up as his wife pushed a squeegee across the floor. The dehumidifier said the humidity was 99%. There was condensation on the cold water pipes dripping onto the floor.
Now for a replacement. One thought was to get a heater from my uncle in Ohio who is a retired electrician and still had a heater in his barn. But that required borrowing a truck and I don't readily know someone with a truck. Even so, I called him and sent an email yesterday. No reply. I suspect he and his wife are on their spring vacation.
The plumber came today at about 1:00. He looked over the situation and took measurements. He was back at 2:30 with a new heater. He had it installed in a couple hours.
In the meantime I got an email from my aunt. She and my uncle are in Massachusetts for a grandson's graduation from college. They'll be home on Tuesday. I sent my regrets that I wouldn't reduce the inventory in their barn.
The dehumidifier is still running. The humidity is now down to 60%. The handyman checked websites that suggest humidity in the basement be below 50%.