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Paying it forward: What you need to know about your water heater

By Chris Daigle, Contributing Editor

I’m in this amazing new world, being a single guy living on my own in a fancy condo now. What comes with that, though, is I’ve got to think about everything and do everything right, or it doesn’t get done. I have to think of things like: Does the car have oil and gas? Did I leave the oven on while I’m at work? What do I bring to the meeting tonight?

With all that to keep up with in my life, the one thing I left out was, “I wonder how the water heater is doing?”

It was enabling me to have a warm bath every day. It was helping me cook and clean. It was my friend, a silent partner doing it’s job behind closed doors. It never complained, and it never called me at work when it was sick or bored.

Unfortunately, I found out the hard way that it was sick. Water was running down the side and overflowing the pan underneath the water heater. There’s only one thing you can do when that happens: Turn it off and drain it. There’s this twist knob on top to turn off the water. Just turn it, and the water stops, right? In a perfect world, yes. But with a shutoff valve attached to a plastic water pipe, with too much twist, the plastic pipe will break, as I discovered.

Do you remember the old movies where a submarine is under attack in the war, spewing water everywhere? That was me as a torrent sprayed the room. Now the disaster has to be stopped at ground level. At 9 PM in the darkness, it’s a guessing game as to which valve controls which condo. The valve wouldn’t turn. What do I do now? Call 911? No time for that. Call the maintenance man? I don’t have three days for that. Slap myself to see if this is a bad dream? That became clear as I rushed upstairs for a wrench to close the valve. Back down, and the valve is shut. That did the trick, right?

I had just shut off my neighbor’s water.

After one more panicked trip down the stairs to shut the correct valve, I got it closed, but the damage was done. What should have taken 30 seconds to a minute took about six minutes in all the panic and confusion. And a lot of water had already spewed from the high pressure pipe. And now it’s all going down to the neighbor below me for a nice visit to say, “LUUUUUCY! I’M HOOOOOME!”

Rod Serling could not have written a more bizarre scenario than I’m now in, but that’s exactly where I am right now. Several miracles did happen, though. The electric water heater somehow did not electrocute me while I was standing in all that water, and it was confined to a small room. As to my downstairs neighbor, I’m not so sure yet. 

This disaster turned my head around as to what should and should not be correct in a home water system. I never paid any thought to the condition of the pipes, the drains, or how to cut the water in an emergency. It never occurred to me that a drain pan must have a drain line going out of the house to give leaking water a place to go. It never occurred to me to test the shutoffs in the system to see if they work properly.

Now I am Paul Revere, telling anyone who will listen how not to be like me:

  • Know where your main water shutoff is, and how to use it properly. There is a big handle at the bottom that shuts off the water supply, then a smaller handle has to be opened to release pressure from the lines. The water is really shut off only when these two steps happen together;
  • Look at the condition of the pan under the water heater. It must have a pipe draining water to the outside. This is as essential as an exhaust pipe on a car. Apparently mine never had one since 1973, or it would’ve been there. If the pan is wet, the heater is leaking somewhere. Unfortunately, you have to replace it;
  • If your water pipes have the old style turn handles that have to be cranked 25 times to shut off, insist on replacing them with ball valves. You simply turn the lever 90 degrees to open or close it. It takes two seconds to operate. Saving time is critical in an emergency;
  • If you have to close the valve on the water heater, put one hand on the pipe to brace it before turning the valve with the other hand. This reduces the chance the pipe will snap from all the twisting. Turn the valve slowly. If it will not turn, don’t force it. Turn off the main water supply before you force any valve.

I speak from experience here. I didn’t know any safety practices, and no one told me. A water heater is out of sight, out of mind. We’d rather be cheering on a baseball team to the World Series, or attending the fern society annual conference downtown than figuring out why our water heater is leaking and what to do about it.

Don’t just cross your fingers and hope the problem will go away. Care about your appliances and they will care about you!

***

Chris Daigle is a Houston historian and regular contributor to The Grapevine Source. To email him, click HERE.

  

Early voting 4/23 – 5/1/18

Grapevine residents may cast their EARLY VOTING ballot to elect a Mayor and members to City Council Place 1 and 2 from Monday, 4/23 until Tuesday, 5/1/18. 

All registered voters may vote at The REC (1175 Municipal Way) during early voting and on Election Day (5/5/18).

For more information, visit http://grapevinetexas.gov/1558/May-5-2018-General-Election.

Grapevine PD Blotter 4/5 – 4/10-18

Thursday April 5, 2018:

  • EVADING ARREST/POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA/UNAUTHORIZED USE OF VEHICLE/UNLICENSED CARRY OF WEAPON/WARRANT (FOLLOW UP INVESTIGATION LEADS TO TWO ARRESTS): 4100 BLOCK OF SCYENE ROAD
  • ASSAULT CAUSES BODILY INJURY TO A FAMILY MEMBER: 1100 BLOCK OF PINE ST
  • WARRANT-OTHER CITY MISDEMEANOR: 1100 BLOCK OF PINE ST
  • POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA (<2 OZ): 1700 BLOCK OF CROSS ROADS DR
  • POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA TO INJECT, INHALE OR INJEST: 1700 BLOCK OF CROSS ROADS DR
  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED: 1600 BLOCK OF LANCASTER DR

Friday, April 6:

  • BURGLARY OF UNLOCKED VEHICLE: 5300 BLOCK OF ALTACREST CT
  • POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: 1200 BLOCK OF HILLWOOD WAY
  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (BAC >= 0.15): 2900 BLOCK OF MUSTANG DR 

Saturday, April 7:

  • POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA TO INJECT, INHALE OR INJEST/WARRANTS: 1300 BLOCK OF E SH 114
  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (BAC >= 0.15): 100 BLOCK OF FAIRWAY DR
  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED/OPEN ALCOHOL CONTAINER: 400 BLOCK OF E NORTHWEST HWY
  • DUI MINOR: 5400 BLOCK OF S SH 121

Sunday, April 8: 

  • FOUND PROPERTY (FIREARM): 100 BLOCK OF GREAT WOLF DR

Monday, April 9:

  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (BAC >= 0.15): 2000 BLOCK OF WILLIAM D TATE AVE
  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (BAC >= 0.15): 4100 BLOCK OF HERITAGE AVE 
  • THEFT OF PROPERTY (THEFT OF BATTERIES ON MAINTENANCE GOLF CART; >=$750<$2,500): 400 BLOCK OF W GLADE RD 
  • THEFT OF PROPERTY ON CONSTRUCTION SITE (>=$100<$750): 2200 BLOCK OF STONE MYERS PKWY 
  • WARRANT – OTHER CITY MISDEMEANOR: 1500 BLOCK OF N SH 26 
  • THEFT UNDER $100.00: 3000 BLOCK OF GRAPEVINE MILLS PKWY
  • ASSAULT CAUSES BODILY INJURY TO FAMILY MEMBER: 2300 BLOCK OF W GRAPEVINE MILLS CIR 
  • CRIMINAL MISCHIEF (PARKED VEHICLE DAMAGED BY UNKNOWN SUSPECT;  >=$100<$750): 1200 BLOCK OF WILLIAM D TATE AVE 
  • THEFT OF PROPERTY (WALLET STOLEN FROM THE REC CENTER; >=$100<$750): 1100 BLOCK OF MUNICIPAL WAY 
  • ACCIDENT INVOLVING DAMAGE TO VEHICLE (HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT; CLASS B): 3000 BLOCK OF GRAPEVINE MILLS PKWY 

Tuesday, April 10:

  • ASSAULT CAUSES BODILY INJURY TO FAMILY MEMBER: 2300 BLOCK OF W GRAPEVINE MILLS CIR

City of Plano schedules recall election for Tom Harrison, whose anti-Islam Facebook activity prompted petition effort

By 

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Photo: Daniel Houston/Community Impact Newspaper

Plano voters will have an opportunity to decide whether Council Member Tom Harrison will retain his seat after the council scheduled a recall election, a significant step for a group of Plano residents who sought to remove Harrison for sharing a series of anti-Islam content on his personal Facebook page.

The Plano City Council scheduled a Nov. 6 election date to determine Harrison’s future on the council after the city secretary’s office confirmed earlier Monday that a petition the group circulated had obtained enough valid signatures to trigger the recall election process outlined in the city charter.

Harrison’s seven council colleagues had voted unanimously on Feb. 18 to admonish him for statements made on his personal Facebook page, including links Harrison shared in 2016 to articles that made politicized statements about black fatherhood and falsely asserted that all present-day slaveowners are Muslim.

Read more from Community Impact…

Collin County appraisal protest deadline changed to May 15

 

Collin County residents have at least until May 15 to file protests with the Collin Central Appraisal District. Filing a protest initiates a review process to determine whether the property appraisal value was appropriate.

The passage of House Bill 2228 during the 2017 Texas Legislature moved the property tax protest filing deadline up approximately two weeks but kept the minimum protest period of 30 days.

Real property appraisal value notices will be mailed April 13, according to a press release from the Collin Central Appraisal District.

Read more from Community Impact…

Competition, rent rates could be factors in recent restaurant closures in Frisco

By 

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Lindsay McCravy/Community Impact Newspaper

A number of prominent restaurants have closed in recent months in Frisco. Mattito’s Tex-Mex, for instance, closed in January in Frisco Square. It had been in Frisco for nearly 10 years. Tavolo Italia, which was owned by the same restaurateur next door to Mattito’s, also closed in January. Extracts Juice closed in late March just down the street from Mattito’s and Tavolo.

Read more from Community Impact…