Hot Water System is Restored

At last, we have hot water again in our kitchen and guest suite. For almost two months, we’ve been boiling water in the kettle to do the washing-up (the pots and pans that don’t fit in our counter-top dishwasher). But now the hot tap delivers as it should.

It works!

Different Types of Water Heater

Our new butane-powered water-heater is a calentador atmosférico. Our previous Saunier Duval heater was an acumulador. The latter heated and stored water to the set temperature, ready to supply hot water to the house within seconds. The new model heats water only at the turn of a hot tap. It takes a minute or two to get from ambient-temperature water (pretty cold in February) to hot.

The new Cronos Atmosférico Calentador a Gas (manufactured by Centro Confort) is smaller, neater, and easier to operate than our former water-heater. Maversa*, the Repsol agent we used in Manacor, chose it based on their representative’s visit to us and a discussion of our requirements.

No Go, No Flow

The técnicos did a neat job of the installation but, when it came to the crunch moment, they couldn’t make the thing work. Much head-scratching and instruction booklet-perusing ensued. We were on the cusp of having our problem solved … but not that day.

The two men were apologetic and suspected a manufacturing fault. They’d contact the company and let us know when there was a solution. As we watched them drive off, we wondered how long that would take.

So we were surprised to receive an early phone call the next morning. The técnicos were returning – somehow having solved the problem.

We’d have preferred an acumulador, but the price of a new one shocked us. Besides, when the warmer weather comes we won’t wait so long for hot water to flow from the taps. There comes a time each year – usually when I need to wash salad vegetables on a daily basis – when it’s impossible to get anything but hot water. Even from the cold taps.

Bodily Needs

Our two técnicos were very pleasant and, unlike any other workers who’ve come to our house in the past, they accepted my mid-morning offer of a coffee. One of them later asked if he could use the bathroom, because he needed hacer pis. He was, of course, welcome to use the loo … although I didn’t need to know why!

* Maversa‘s shop is on the Passeig Ferrocarril, in the vicinity of the Auditorium in Manacor (look for the Repsol name and branding). We found them helpful and tidy installers.

©Jan Edwards 2021

The New Water Heater Quest

Out with the old

A few days after my last post on this blog, we took action. Enough was enough. We needed a new water heater and didn’t want to wait any longer for one. No, I didn’t rip out the knackered, old water heater and deftly install a new one while following a YouTube instructional video on a handy iPad. Neither did The Boss.

Is There Anybody There?

We’d been checking WhatsApp almost hourly for days, looking for a response from our new plumber to the various messages I’d sent. Nada. Was the job too small for him? Was he suffering from amnesia? Lost his phone? Or, more likely, isolating because of Covid? Any of those could have been possible. We’d ruled out abducted by aliens.

I tapped out a final message asking whether or not he could do the job. And, if he couldn’t, I asked him please to bill us for the emergency call he made here on the Sunday before Christmas. We were so grateful to him for that visit. Still nada.

Looking Elsewhere

Since the job would start with sourcing a new gas-powered water heater, we found a local company that sells them – thinking they might suggest someone who could install it. As it happened, this company has their own technicians. One of whom was standing in the shop, between jobs, when we visited.

‘Could our technician come now to see what needs doing?’ the shop assistant said. You bet. We drove home with the técnico following in his van. When he left us that Friday lunchtime, we envisaged The Boss’s days of boiling the kettle to do the washing-up soon coming to an end.

The following Monday we had a phone call from the company: someone else needed to look at the job, in order to prepare an estimate, or presupuesto. The man arrived – accompanied by the original technician and a second one. Much head-scratching, measuring, and note-taking ensued.

Tale of the Unexpected

Here’s the thing to bear in mind when buying an old finca: existing installations may not meet current regulations. Noah himself might have installed our old water heater.

The gas-appliance regulations are stricter now and we’d need more than just a new water heater to comply. New copper piping (the existing piping is buried within the wall and couldn’t be checked), a change to the piping through the wall into the kitchen, and a ventilation hole drilled in the space where the new heater would be installed, were all additional items on the estimate that arrived the next day.

Would you believe it? Having approved the presupuesto, the very next day our plumber sent a WhatsApp, asking if we still needed the job done. I think that’s what’s known as Sod’s law. If he’d been a better communicator, of course, he’d have had the job.

©Jan Edwards 2022

In Hot Water? Not at our Mallorcan Finca

The English idiom ‘to be in hot water’ currently applies to several people in trouble for their actions. Think UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Duke of York, and tennis player Novak Djokovic.

I wish we were in hot water – but in a different way. You see, we’ve had no hot water in the kitchen or guest bathroom for a while. Before your nostrils wrinkle and you take one step back, I should add that our shower room has a separate water heater. Personal ablutions have continued in comfort.

The Sunday before Christmas, we had a Big Problem. Water was gushing out of the butane-powered water heater at one end of the house. After a couple of minutes of frozen panic, we switched off the mains water supply and eventually the gush became a dribble, and then drips.

Call the Plumber

Water-related incidents have not been uncommon at our finca. We found a brilliant plumber almost immediately we moved here. He’d been our ‘man who can’ ever since. Until he recently retired. It was unthinkable that friendly Sito wouldn’t be arriving with his bag of plumbing tricks to solve the water-pump problem we had in October. He did, however, suggest another plumber – who did a good job.

As the household’s only user of WhatsApp, it fell to me to contact Señor Fontanero about this latest plumbing nightmare. I tapped out a short message to him, apologising for disturbing him on a Sunday and giving a brief explanation of the problem. My hope was that he’d turn up on Monday morning. Even Tuesday. I didn’t expect him to reply to my message on a Sunday – and he didn’t. But he did turn up at the house within the hour. How impressive was that? What he did enabled us to have cold water at least.

Eating Out is the New Washing Up

We are still, however, waiting for him to supply and install a replacement water-heater. Which means we have had only cold water in the kitchen and guest bathroom for almost a month. Our plans to invite a friend to stay over for a night or two are on hold: he may be Dutch but he’s not Wim Hof!

It’s fortunate we have a dishwasher – albeit a small, counter-top model. But we still had to wash big pots and pans by hand, which meant boiling the kettle to fill the washing-up bowl. I must say The Boss has been remarkably tolerant about fulfilling his washing-up duties without the aid of piping-hot water from the tap. Although, come to think of it, he has suggested eating out more frequently than usual.

It seems that all plumbers are extremely busy and have more work than they can shake a pipe wrench at. If you’re ever thinking about a career change, becoming a plumber could be a lucrative choice.

Anyone have a spare copy of Plumbing for Dummies?

©Jan Edwards 2021