Why we thought we needed a new hot water heater

by Katie on March 24, 2009

Our shower has electrical currents. Seriously. 
We have to warn our guests, and keep a wash rag handy to turn the faucet in case the currents decide to get violent.
We first noticed the the shocking powers of our shower about six months ago. Of course, Brandon let me discover them for myself. 
When I ran out of the shower one morning screaming, “Our shower! It shocked me! I’m pretty sure that’s NOT supposed to happen,” he was all, “Yeah, I know, it’s shocked me before, too.”
Excuse me? You don’t see a problem with that? Last time I checked, water and electricity were two things you were NOT supposed to mix. 
So this went on for a while. It wasn’t every time we showered, but you never knew when it would happen. We could go a couple months with no sign, then out of the blue, I would get zapped adjusting the shower head. But there was always that fear of not knowing when it would strike…
It hasn’t really bothered the two of us so much (I’ll admit, the first time I thought I was getting electrocuted in the shower, I was quite alarmed, but I guess you can adjust to anything). And, the bachelor guests we’ve had so far have been very understanding.  
But, Brandon got shocked the night before my parents were scheduled to arrive. And plans changed.
I told him it wasn’t a big deal, they would handle it fine. 
But he was all, “I am NOT going to have my in-laws getting electrocuted in my shower.” 
“If it were just your dad and brothers, that would be one thing. I wouldn’t feel so bad. But the first time your mom gets shocked in the shower, I will never hear the end of it.”
So, we were prepared to fork over our remaining Home Depot wedding gift cards, along with a wad of our own cash, to purchase a new hot water heater. Brandon thought the root of our electrical currents had something to do with the hot water heater, and a replacement was the way to fix it. 
Now, most people could just drain theirs, replace some things inside, and be all fixed up. But, ours ran for one year without a filter on the well to catch all the rust, salt, and other junk that gets pumped up (which is why we also need a new well).
Most hot water heaters, upon turning the spout, immediately begin gushing stored water. Not ours. It was fully plugged with about a foot of solid orange gunk. 
Luckily, Brandon found the right guy to talk to at Home Depot, and to my very pleasant surprise, returned home with two elements (I think that’s what they’re called), rather than a whole new hot water heater. 
The Home Depot man had told him how to drain a plugged-up heater, and so the day began. We turned off the hot water and got to work. We had to spray a water hose into the heater, collect a bucket of water, rinse and repeat…for hours. In fact, my parents arrived to me carrying out a bucket of brown water. 
My dad walks in after driving 20 hours straight and says, “All I want is a shower.”
Me: “Well, Dad, funny that’s the one thing you want. Because it’s the one thing we can’t give you right now…unless you want a cold one.”
Later that afternoon, Brandon thought he had fixed the hot water heater, and turned the water back on so my dad could get his shower. 
Over dinner, there was a break in the conversation, and my dad says, “Well, Brandon, I hate to tell you, but you still don’t have hot water. I just wanted one so bad I took a cold one. I think I would rather get shocked than take one of those again.”
Brandon and I stayed up until midnight redraining the water heater, and ended up just putting the old elements back in. 
So, we had hot water again, but we still have the electrical currents too. 
And my mom, of all people, experienced them one morning.  
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