Thursday, December 29, 2005

Steam Bath

Last night, as I went to turn on the faucet in my bathtub, I was greeted with a hiss and then a roar. Instead of the nice hot water I was expecting, there was a billowing stream of steam. I made a mad dash for the hot water heater. After an investigation, I discovered that my hot water heater had super heated all 50 gallons of water and was about to explode. Safety features had failed. I couldn't find the breaker for the hot water heater. It looked like it was all over. Killed by a pressurized hot water heater.

But it was not to be. I found the breaker and turned it off. Seems the thermostat on the heater was stuck, and the heating element was receiving constant power, instead of going on and off as needed. The water was probably about 230 degrees Farenheit. I vented the hot steam, and eventually turned the heater back on for a little while to take a hot bath. I'll test it this evening to find the faulty thermostat. I think it's the lower one. It quit working once before. When that happened, the water got cooler, though, and I wasn't worried. High pressure steam has a quite different effect.