Anne heard it first. We then all heard it the second time, while sitting in the main cabin. We hadn’t a clue what caused the sound or what it was. Anne heard it again in the middle of the night. When she came back to bed, she thought that I was awake already and woke me up. I could tell that she was anxious about the sound and neither of us got back to sleep for a while. At 6 AM we both heard the sound and we both barged into the bathroom startling Dan. Fortunately, it was Dan and not Britt. The sound was emanating from the water heater.
We peeled apart the moldy water heater instructions, which said that lime scale can build up on the heating elements and eventually cause a “rumbling” sound. This problem is especially evident in water heaters using well water. Turning to YouTube, I watched several videos on how to replace the heating elements in an electric water heater. After a while, it seemed easy enough that I felt that I could do it myself. I went into the thriving metropolis of Brimley and visited its new Ace Hardware store. There they had a wall of different elements, none of which matched our heater’s brand, but I bought two anyway. Why?
Returning to the cabin, I noted that the neighbors had arrived. Mr. Bill alerted to my predicament by my request for an inch-and-a-half socket wrench socket, which all the YouTube videos called for, was over in a flash. Turning off the power, by throwing the breaker was all of the permission needed. The access panel to the heater was opened and the bolts holding the element in place loosened, before I called a halt this process, because we were on the verge of releasing all of the water in the tank onto the bathroom floor. It was apparent that the two heating elements that I had bought were not the right kind. In fact, none of the elements at the store looked anything like the ones in the heater. Buttoning things up, I decided that our thirty-something year old water heater was so old that any new elements would only be available on eBay, where Anne did not want to go. It looked like a new water heater would be in the cards, which is definitely a plumber’s job for me.
Fortunately, the heater has ceased making strange noises and has not made any for several days now. It still heats the water fine and if it doesn’t make any more sounds, it might be good enough for the rest of the summer. This would be a good thing, because everyone I have spoken with around here agrees that finding a plumber in this year of supply chain issues, would be a tall order. We promise to give the heater an especially good flushing this year, when we close things up again, at the end of the summer, so that it will still work next summer too.
UPDATE: I found two elements at Parker Hardware that look like the right kind.
So, the story continues…