No, No, Kill The Bugs! Not The Appliances!

Oh, this is great.

Couple of kids from the termite company came out today to treat my house. They just did the garage and crawl space because of the weather. We got home from work and discovered we had no hot water. I couldn’t get the pilot to re-light, and when I checked out the heater, it looks like they banged against the pipes and shook one of them loose. The ground around the heater was saturated with water. And the little bastids took off like bats out of hell when I pulled up at the house at lunchtime (all the note on the door said was, “finished garage and crawl space”).

I’ll lean on the termite company to pay for it, but either way, it looks like I’ll be needing a new water heater. Anybody have any suggestions for a natural gas model? With apologies to Hank Hill, we don’t have propane service, and I’d rather not rewire for electric. Any experience with these tankless jobs?


26 Responses to “No, No, Kill The Bugs! Not The Appliances!”

  1. elgato Says:

    Those dirty SOB’s. You sound far too calm. I’d be leaning on them with a couple of guys named Guido and a Louisville Slugger in my hand. Good luck to you. *salute*

  2. Will Collier Says:

    Even though “Roadhouse” is a terrible movie, it has two redeeming features: Sam Elliott, and the valuable advice, “Be nice. Until it’s time to not be nice.”

    If they give me grief, it’ll be time to not be nice. In the meantime, they’re closed, and it doesn’t do me any good to go ballistic.


  3. Bostonian Says:

    A tankless water heater is great. Shower as long as you want to, no worries about the water turning cold.

  4. jmaster Says:

    I was ready to give you all kinds of advice based upon my many years of experience on this particular topic.

    But then I re-read your post, and noticed that you said

  5. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: Advice

    [1] Take lots of pictures.
    [2] Make copious notes about the dealings with the two.
    [3] Complain to the Better Business Bureau.

    [4] If the BBB is unable to help, file suit for damages, to include replacement costs of the water heater, if applicable. However, banging up some pipes generally does not ruin a water heater.

    [5] Move to where there are no termites; Colorado.



  6. KurtP Says:

    Two points, if it’s not too late.
    1- Did they maybe shut-off the gas supply while bumping around?

    2- Was the pipe broken AT the water heater, or just a CPVC line? was it still running when you looked at it?

    Maybe you just need a new thermo-coupling(that’s the copper tube with a bulb on the end), depending on how old the heater is?

    Things like that are hard to diagnose over the internet 😀

    On the “tankless” heater, you’ll never get as hot of water as with a storage type, the faster it flows, the (relatively) less hot it is because it’s going through the heating elements faster. Probably good for a sink, but not a full flow shower.

  7. Billy Budd Says:

    Tankless are the rage but, they can be power thirsty, check the annual power usage sticker. Most conventional water heaters are pretty much alike, don’t buy the tin can/sterno model or the one with all the gadgets either. Find a name you recognize and compare prices. If they broke it,they fix it. Try nice first then hammer the mutha’s with the “L” word.

  8. Bird Says:

    Call the gas company, tell them you are thinking about electric because your heater went out, they will give you a free new gas one to keep the biz…

    Roll Tide

  9. Patrick McHargue Says:

    Tankless is a great way to go, but there are a few problems.

    They’re not quite as efficient as the data sheets let on. For those units that can modulate their heat output,they often do not work at ‘full throttle’, and are less efficient.

    For those that do not modulate their heat output, if you run the water slow, you get HOT water. If you fun the water fast, you get hot water.

    As well, too many tankless units have long cold spots in them. Much longer than the normal time it takes the cold water already in the lines to clear.

    Mostof the ones out are (slight) re-designs of units from Japan. I’m expecting that by this time next year, there should be some new models on the market that ARE efficient even while they modulate their heat output, and have been re-designed to suit the way we Americans use hot water. (we don’t just fill buckets & batchs with hot water)

    So, get get youself a cheapie, and look to spend some money in a few years for a unit that will cut your between 30% to 50%..



  10. Pete Says:

    Bosch has a Tankless Inline heater that can do 7 gal/min and have 180 degree temp rise, which is more than enough to scald you. I can’t quote exact numbers, but replacing the tankless unit saved a bit on the utilities bill, and life-cycle on one is a reported 20 years, as opposed to 6 for a standard water heater.

  11. jmaster Says:


    180 degrees T rise? Are you sure about that? Seems a bit much.

  12. Matt Says:

    FWIW, my ex-landlady got one of the tankless jobs after the old water heaters got destroyed in a utility room fire, and has been far happier with it than she ever was with the old tank-based heater. (I wished she’d gotten one for my apt, but no…) If I had to replace a water heater, that’s definitely the way I’d go. I don’t know if the savings are quite as good as they’re claimed, but she’s said the gas bills went way down.

  13. Stephen Green Says:


    I’ve had really good luck with Sears on water heaters. No, really.

    Not the cheapest, but good quality and superior installation at an affordable price.

  14. Will Collier Says:

    An update, for those who’re interested:

    1. Dang, that shower was cold.

    2. The termite company manager was a dickhead, and refused to do anything about it. Fortunately, his boss (the owner) wasn’t. To summarize a long conversation, we agreed that since neither of us knows exactly what happened, we’ll have a plumber check it out and go on his report. If the plumber says it’s physical damage, the exterminator pays for repairs. If it just died coincidentally, it’s my problem, and that’s fair enough.

    3. The plumber can’t get here until tomorrow morning. I’ll go ahead and pick out a replacement this afternoon, just in case.

    4. Dang, that’s going to be a cold shower tomorrow…

  15. missmanytoes Says:


    Tankless water heaters ROCK. I had one in an apartment I rented some time ago and was never without hot water. One drawback: unless you get a really expensive tankless unit you probably won’t be able to run 2 HOT showers at once. But you could get 2 really warm showers all day long. When the current water heater in my house dies I’m determined to go tankless.

  16. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: Will Collier
    RE: Tankless

    The only down-side of tankless is that if you are in need of a potable water reserve, you’re SOL. With a tank, you’ve got up to 40 gallons available if something ‘bad’ happens and you can’t get water.


    P.S. What was the name of the company you hired?



  18. pete Says:

    If all they had to do was knock up against it– You needed a new heater anyway. Blame them all you want but a hot water heater doesn’t go bad just by brushing up against it. Are you sure it wasn’t the pressure relief valve doing its job.

  19. Puff Says:

    RE: Tankless. My parents had one when I was a teen, I loved it. I’d never wake up in the morning, just stumble into the shower and sleep for another hour and a half.

  20. paul a'barge Says:

    go to Sears. Buy two models below the top of the line. Buy the most expensive warranty you can get. Pay a licensed plumber to install it … the install is trivial. Make sure the plumber has been in business in your area for at least 10 years.

    F’ the tankless.

    Voila, problem solved.

  21. Half Canadian Says:

    This is another plug for Sears. Consumer Reports ranks them pretty high for reliability with household appliances.

  22. Chuck Pelto Says:

    TO: All
    RE: From Another Perspective….

    …the only problem with the tankless solution…

    …you have not ready reseve of 40 gallons of water if the (overall) system fails.

    Just a thought….

    …brought to you by a master logistician.


    [I AM the very model of a modern logistician….courtesy of LEDC class 92-1]

  23. Chuck Pelto Says:

    not = no

  24. no Says:

    No to the Tankless system. Leave that for the space desparate eurostrash. they aint there yet with tankless technology, if ya know hat i mean…

  25. Mahr Says:

    Buy any major brand 40 or 50 gallon, high recovery tank unit such as Rheem, AO Smith, Bradford White (would guess Sears is one of these anyway, and stay away from the cheap end Home Depot crap and plumbers that purchase there).

    Tankless heaters are hawked on AM radio like an expensive matress… wait until they are mainstream and affordable.

  26. Brian682 Says:

    Go Tankless, I have 3 shower taking kids and wife that luvs to fill up the Jacuzzi tub. As far as reserve potable if something bad happens. Have you ever drained a 6 year old water Yuk. The drain is at the bottom with all the crap. Emergency potable should come from the tank mounted on the back of your toilet. I have a staged model that adjust based on water flow. I can scald myself in the shower and bath. BTW the reason we got the tankless was because the wife couldn’t fill the jacuzzi tub with enough hot water and when 5 people need to take shower before school and work most standard water heaters can’t hang.

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