In the tech world, when you have something in production and something goes bad, sometimes you have to patch it together and get it working again while you work on a final fix. These are often called hot patches.

Well, meet my new hot patch.

Friday night Laurie said she heard something weird in the utility closet. We opened it up, and we found…. water.

That’s usually bad. The water heater had leaked a little, but had also sprayed the side of the furnace and one of the walls. We saw no active leaking going on, so we shut down all the things using hot water, dropped some towels across the closet entrance and hoped nothing even worse would happen.

I couldn’t get ahold of the plumber that installed the heater overnight, but first thing in the morning we got on the horn and they got a plumber out to check things out. Bottom line: the water heater had cracked and was spraying water while in a heat cycle and under pressure. Ugh.

So I got the replacement quote and we were going to replace it that day, but there was a problem. the heater we needed couldn’t be gotten until Monday. Our house has a tight space and uses what they called a tall skinny, 18″ wide instead of 21, and they didn’t have it in inventory.

Ugh. I wasn’t looking forward to a weekend without hot water, and was mentally figuring out which nearby hotel to book a room at, when he noted he had a plan. They offered to temporarily install a regular heater but since it wouldn’t fit, it’d have to sit in the hallway. We agreed immediately.

So by 6PM we had hot water again, and a big tank sitting in the hallway. They’ll be back monday to pull it out and replace it with the new final tank, so by the time you read this, the work will be done and waiting for city inspection. Note the tank is fully ducted and strapped, and would probably be just fine even in a major earthquake. it’s just sitting in the hallway. Really impressed with the work and what they were willing to do here. It turns out they have a couple of tanks for contingencies. Total time back to hot water from the time he arrived was about 5 hours.

We replaced the water heater a few years ago, long enough to be out of warranty, short enough to be annoying it failed, but that happens, and the best news was we caught it just as it started happening, water never left the closet which has a slab floor, and so the damage to the rest of the house was zero. And the new water heater is under an extended warranty, so if it ever leaks a new one will magically appear for free, and this will get annual inspections and maintenance. I’m not normally a fan of extended warranties, but it feels like money well spent this time, if only peace of mind.

So, yeah. fun weekend, but it turned out well. And that’s one of the most interesting hot patches I’ve ever seen applied, no?

If you’re in Silicon Valley, Mike Council plumbing is a good shop. I’ve used them before, and I’ll use them again when I need something, and they always come through at a fair price.