You may recall from earlier posts that our water heater had developed the annoying habit of not working from time to time, blinking out the code that indicated "upper sensor failure". It's apparently endemic on this particular model of gas water heater. But if we went downstairs and lighted the pilot light again, the water heater would usually start working again for months at a time. And I figured I'd nurse it along a while longer, because it really wasn't that old, although I was really pretty disgusted with the people who actually made the water heater for Whirlpool for selling something with such a lovely little fault.
When cleaning out one of my file cabinets, I found that I had actually bought an extended warranty from Lowe's when I bought the hot water heater. So the next time that it failed, I resolved to call in and get this thing fixed.
Tuesday morning, we woke up to a blinking hot water heater and a distinct shortage of hot water.
So I called. I explained to them that I had an upper sensor failure, they agreed that the water heater was covered, and that they would send a tech out within two days. They even gave me a number to call to find out what was happening and sent me an email saying I'd be contacted to let me know when he'd be coming.
When I hadn't heard anything by Wed. night, I decided to call and leave a message. This failed, as the voicemail box was full. But the fellow saw the call and ringed me back around 10 PM, shortly after I'd called, which I took as a good sign. He said he'd be there by about noon on Thurs. and that he'd call a half-hour ahead.
He actually got here around 1 PM, which was ok. And went down and promptly reset and restarted the hot water heater as I explained about the blinking light that was blinking out the code for "upper sensor failure" and how there was much documentation about this on the Internet. And he kept saying that he'd never heard of such a thing and had never replaced one of those sensors. And he asked how long it took to fail again after being restarted.
Well, the answer lately had been "less than 12 hours", but I don't exactly stand there in the basement and wait for it to fail, nor do I run downstairs to check it on an hourly basis. So he left and said he'd call back at 3 PM to see if it had failed.
When he hadn't called by 4:30, I called him back and let him know that we were happily blinking out the failure code again. He said he would have to order a part and it would be three business days before the water heater could be fixed at the earliest.
Note that this would take us to next Tuesday before the part arrived, which would mean a minimum of a week of making hot water one tankful at a time. This seemed pretty suboptimal for fixing something which we'd known had failed the preceding Tuesday and which is one of those necessary systems.
So I called the warranty number again and complained, pointing out that I had told them what the problem was on Tuesday and that they could have ordered the stupid part at that point. That I hadn't gotten a call back from the tech and that by now it was too late to order a part from the east coast, wasting yet more time.
And then I spoke to a supervisor who promised to expedite the part order. We'll see what "expedite" ends up meaning. This morning we got a call back from the warranty company saying that the order had been expedited, followed by a call from the tech who told me to call him when the part arrived here and that he'd come install it. (I think he was not entirely happy with the fact that I had ratted him out to the warranty company for not calling back as promised. I was not entirely happy either, so that seemed fair enough.)
In the meantime, I just went back down to the basement and lit the water heater again so that we can have enough hot water to shower in tomorrow morning.