About a week ago Pan Ptaček brought a guy up to see about fixing my hot water situation. It was kind of out of the blue—after all, I’ve been living here more than two months. There was a polite knock on the door and I opened it to find my landlord and his handyman. The guy looked and sure enough the hot and cold hoses seemed to be reversed. he swapped them and while things worked better over all, there was still no hot water. He told Mr. Ptaček that a new water heater was required.
I wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me like the valve between the sink and the heater wasn’t right. I tried to explain my opinion with no success whatsoever. My landlord grimaced at the expense of a new heater, and understood not at all when I told him I thought he was wasting his money.
At the same time, I knew the valve assembly was probably designed for exactly that purpose. Still, the way it worked just made no sense.
Tonight I came home to find in the cabinet over the sink a new heater unit. Bigger, badder, and with an energy efficiency label that showed a rating of very bad, but not the worst. I looked at it hanging there, then turned and walked away. Sooner or later I would have to turn the hot water tap and find out where I stood. I puttered about, stalling, but before long I was back at the sink. I took a breath and twisted the hot water tap.
The water came out clear and cold, and never warmed up. I closed the valve. The hot water valve. You know, the one on the left, the one colored red. The friggin knob that everyone in the civilized world would assume is the hot water. You know where this story is heading. The right-left cold-hot thing is not a strong tendency here, but the blue-red thing is usually reliable. Not in my house. But the difference between now and yesterday is huge. Before I had two ways to get cold water in the kitchen sink. Now I have variety, and no excuse to put off doing the dishes.
All of this sounds suspiciously like the Y-valve in the typical marine head — not the simplified version that was on the boat we had last summer, but an utterly indecipherable connection between hoses leading to or from the ocean outside the boat, the holding tank inside the boat, and the macerating pump that (provided the boat is outside of an environmentally sensitive area) purees waste and sends it into the ocean. Actually, there are even more directions both intaken seawater and outbound wastewater can go, but it’s probably beyond most rocket scientists.