Friday, June 8, 2012

Hot Water... Or Lack There Of

When we moved in, our hot water was just OK.  The faucet had to be turned to the hottest possible setting before the water would become warm.  We thought this was due to the age of our oil boiler, being around 50 years in age.  After the October snow storm, the water seemed to go from warm to luke warm and would take a while before reaching that point.

Then, as the weather changes to winter, the heating would come on as expected.  Since the boiler heats not only the hot (I mean luke-warm) water, it also heats the baseboard fed home heating system.  When the heat is on, we had no hot water.

I bit the bullet.  Not wanting to make more of an issue by dismantling our, by most standards, antique oil boiler (and not remembering how to put it back together again as my wife can attest to), I called in our oil supplier to give us a cause.  Turns out, it's normal for the boiler to shut off the hot water while heating the home.  What isn't normal is the non-existent hot water when the heating is off.  

Mental thought:  Great... how much is this going to cost us?

James Warner Home of 1760Surprisingly, the plumber said that this is a common issue and the repair is due to a solitary valve on the exterior of the boiler.  It has a spring on the inside that adjusts the amount of hot water being sent to the faucets based on a predetermined setting on the valve.  With time, the spring becomes encased in calcium or various other minerals.  The buildup retards the movement of the spring locking it in a cold setting.  The plumber added that this will occur again in time.

This repair in it's entirety was $90.40 (completed in March of 2012).  Not bad considering.  

On a side note, my wife asked the plumber the life span of our antique heating appliance.  His response was interesting:  

"It will last longer than you want it to."

Should I be scared?