Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shower Woes

There is something so disappointing about a cold shower when you are expecting warm water. As I quickly showered in preparation for meeting some friends from work, in my mind I went over the possible causes of no hot water, lamenting the fact that David is in Detroit:

– The pilot light might be out. Gas makes me nervous. The last time we did this as a team effort with him holding the flashlight and me poking the long match in. I always feel relieved to see the little blue flame again.
– The hot water heater could be broken and could even be flooding the basement – not a pleasant thought.

After my very cold shower which was indeed quick and reminiscent of summer camp, I ran down to the basement to find there was no flood. The hot water heater was actually making a happy sound that would seem to indicate it was working. I ran back upstairs to confirm there was hot water in the kitchen sink.

So that would say it was just my bathroom shower that was affected. Since we remodeled the house 7 years ago, that shower has been a problem. Until recently it was difficult to get it hot enough even on the highest setting. Lately on the other hand, it seemed as if there was only hot water coming out, quickly fogging up the mirror despite the exhaust fan. But why today was there only cold water?

We can do many things, but household repairs are not our forte. I posed this repair challenge to the 3 guys I was out with, two of whom are they kind who do their own additions and would never dream of calling anyone in. One started asking me about the manifold for the hot water and other such questions and suggesting we might have to tear out the wall. That’s the point at which I determined I would be calling a plumber tomorrow.

The good news is the pilot light is lit and there is hot water to be had. I just have to find it in another bathroom. Not a problem.

It’s these simple things like a cold shower that remind me how incapable I am in certain arenas and how accustomed I am to amenities like hot and cold running water. I guess I should be thankful I don’t have to heat the water for my bath over an open fire!


Blogger Ulysses said...

You're right to be glad not to have to heat your water over the fire. The coldest "shower" I ever took was when I tried to wash with water out of a spring in Shenandoah in May on the porch of a cabin. The air temp was about 75 and the water was just this side of freezing (oh yeah, that reminds me, 4 states of matter -- this 4 thing's like a disease). After shampooing, I couldn't feel my scalp for a minute.
Good luck with the plumbing.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Cold showers always remind me of summer camp, too. As much as I loved them, I'm glad those days are over.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I hate even the possibility of some major house mishap while my husband's away since I know zero about house maintenance. I'd certainly not live in a house if I were alone.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

If you are getting hot water out of other taps, then your hot water is probably fine - although, maybe you could try raising the water temperature.

It is likely the heat is being lost in the pipes to the shower. Are the pipes insulated? (Likely not.)

As well, do you have central air conditioning and are the pipes running near or against an air conduit?

1:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Ulysses, Kristin -- Yeah, I don't like stepping out of a shower and shivering.

MOI -- My husband is back but he is not inclined to go poking around in my shower, so the repair will await the plumber I have yet to call.

Richard -- I know what the problem is. It's some part in the shower mechanism that mixes the hot and cold water. The difficulty is in getting to it, but at least there is an access door in the adjacent bedroom.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I thought sure you'd mention taking a shower at Cooper's Cove in W.VA. (Our kids' school had a rural campus there for field trips). There was usually hot water, but the air temperature was often freezing. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, the bathrooms were outside and unheated.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

David -- I had so conveniently blocked out my memory of the showers at Coopers Cove -- probably because I don't think I could ever make myself take one there. It was just too cold!

10:47 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Ah, well ... I assumed you had seperate hot and cold water taps.

10:43 AM  

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