And then all hell broke loose. After I managed to get the water to stay running in general, my hot water went kaput one day. I went around back, only to find that the pressure relief valve had blown and the water heater was draining out onto the pilot light assembly. Oh joy.
|Tough to see as I took these pictures with my phone, but you get the general idea. Hopefully. That's as big as that pic gets.|
|Finally I got the damn thing off.|
So. Old valve in hand, off I went to Lowe's thinking that a new one would be pretty easy to get. A pressure relief valve is on every water heater made, how hard could it be?
Really effing hard.
First of all, Airstream doesn't use the industry standard ANYTHING. I found this out while trying to get a waste pipe fitting so I could empty the tanks, and it was the case here again. A PRV in a 1/2 inch size is practically impossible. And then the BTU and PSI settings were both significantly lower than what you might find on your water heater at home. Why? Because my water heater is 10 gallons, and is heated by a relatively small propane flame.
When you look at it that way, it makes sense. When you're trying to replace a part, you want to kill someone.
It was going to take Airstream over a week to order me one in, and it wouldn't be exactly right.
So I went from store to store until, at my wit's end, I planted myself on a stool at the last plumbing contractor supply store in Burlington hoping that they would hook me up with SOMETHING. They did. The extremely nice guy that works there decided it was absolutely fine to sell me a PRV rated far and above the BTU and PSI I needed, and he got me a coupler to put on it so the 3/4-inch valve would fit my 1/2 inch pipe. Whoa. Concept. (was that really so hard, other guys? hmmm?!?!)
I also have to interject the fact that I'm blond, kinda busty, female, not a contractor myself, have a foul mouth and am not easily intimated. In the south. In a contractor supply store. Covered in mud, thanks to my driveway. I left stunned and speechless guys with their asses hanging out of their pants in my wake. I'm not convinced I didn't thoroughly scare a few of them also. Oh. And I drive a pretty urban car with fantastic redneck mud tires. Only on the front.
|The old, the new, the ugly tool.|
|Shiny! And if you look closely, you can see that the flame is lit and going.|
I got home that next weekend, thought I'd give lighting it a shot - and it stayed lit. I had tried drying out the pilot light assembly, cleaning it, I even got in there with ether, and everything before I left, to no avail. I guess I just couldn't get it all the way dried out and it needed to sit for a week before it was good to go again.
|Almost as if nothing ever happened.... almost....|
Only time will tell, I suppose.
*really I'm being nice to him by not dedicating a whole post to his awesomeness and listing all of the amazing fixit stuff that he does for me, but it's killing me. Really. A testament to how much I want to keep him, this whole NOT writing about him thing.....