Tag Archives: boilers

It’s A First-World Problem

You know you’re a molly-coddled wimp when your hot water goes out and you have a temper-tantrum about it.

On Tuesday night, Nate and I were watching TV after the kids were in bed, and we kept hearing this strange noise every three or four minutes.  We thought it was coming from outside, because all the windows were open, but we eventually realized it was coming from the cellar.  We trooped down to investigate, and found our boiler periodically spewing scalding water out of the relief valve onto the cellar floor.  Fantastic.  So I call our Plumbing and Heating Contractor’s Emergency Line.  It’s a pager, so I put in our phone number and wait.  20 minutes go by.  I try again.  20 minutes go by.  I try again.  20 minutes go by.  In the meantime, Nate has been swapping out buckets under the relief valve and shuttling scalding bucketfuls of water to the utility sink.  Good times.

So I decided to page the Plumbing emergency dude rather than the heating emergency dude.  He, of course, answers the page right away, and instructs me on how to shut off the power to the boiler and turn off the water to the tank.  Gradually, the water stops spewing out.  Our contractor opens at 6, so I was up at 6 on Wednesday morning.  As soon as I said my name, the guy on the phone said, “Oh, hi Sarah.  I guess the pager isn’t really loud enough to wake me up.”  Ya think?  Good thing they have you on as the emergency guy.

So we arrange for them to come over and take a look.  They call me at work and leave a message on my cell saying that a part in the water tank has failed, and the manufacturer will replace it, but we will have to cover the labor costs.  They can do it tomorrow (Thursday).  I leave them a message around noon saying, yes, OK, please do it, we need hot water, I’m greasy and my children smell.

I call Thursday morning to confirm the time, and I am informed that since I never called them back yesterday they wouldn’t be out to do the repair today.  I informed them of the message I left, was put on hold, and they then sheepishly told me they had no one to send, and it would have to wait until Friday.  Great.  So I ask him how long he thinks it will take.

“Well, it’s a huge job, so it’s going to take all day.”


“You see, the part is underneath the boiler in the water tank, so we have to take the boiler completely apart, replace the part in the water tank, and then rebuild the entire boiler.”

“How much is that going to cost?”

“Around $1500.”

“Are you effing kidding me?”

He was not kidding.  That was the last straw.  I contacted my neighbor, who I knew had dropped these guys last year because they pissed her off one too many times.  I called her new people who she said had treated her very well, and talked to the owner.  They are on the case.  It may turn out that it really does cost $1500 to fix it, but I’m done with the old guys.  Out with the old, in with the new – hopefully bringing a nice, hot shower with them!


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