The Saga of the Errant Water Heater. By Edouardo Renaldo Jennings.

Yes, here's another "Saga" for you, I hope you're not sick of my moaning yet, but the water problems just get bigger and better!

A few days ago, I captured Hani the plumber, when he was completely unawares, poor beggar. Before I'd even properly explained about the problems I'd been having (at that point, I'd just discovered that the water heater seemed to have sprung an ever so slight leak, to add to my other woes!) he spouted out, "It's the thing inside the tank."

As he seemed to be very confident in his assessment of the situation, I immediately asked him if he could come and fix it. Get in quickly, was my reasoning, before he manages to think up an excuse. He waffled on for a bit, and eventually he promised to ring me, and that he might find someone else to actually do it, as he didn't consider himself to be expert enough. That must have been Friday.

Today, well since it's past midnight; Yesterday, I gave up waiting and decided to do it myself. In for a penny, and all that! After all, how hard can it be? (Plus, it's buggered anyway.)

Actually, apart from making a right mess when draining the 50 litre tank, the job ended up being relatively straightforward. Inlet pipe off, 4 vacuum cleaner rigid pipes shoved over the resulting open connection to take the water away to the drain, disconnect the electrics (noting that the dark coloured wire was the live one) and then undo the nuts holding the heating element etc in the bottom of the tank. Hey Presto, out it comes:

Yes, that was my reaction  too; YUK! You know what it is, don't you? Sand!!! Egyptian sand, it gets everywhere. When I put my fingers into the aperture where the element fixes into the tank, I found a layer of the stuff, an inch thick, lying in the bottom. I scraped out what I could with my fingers, as I was apprehensive about forcing my hand through the hole in case I couldn't get it out again without skinning all of my old knuckles. (I know, I'm a coward!) Here it is:

I then clicked on the idea of fixing the water pipe back on and flushing it out:

What a mess, and to think that this was actually the result of only using the tank/heater for a twelve month before fitting my filter system!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we were meeting another friend who winters here at 10.30, in the Nile Palace for tea and chatter, Sandra (but not the Sandra of Sandra and Mick fame). She's another lovely lady, and a real pleasure to spend time with. As we made our way out, we called to see Mr Hani so that I could show off with my heating element, and find out where to get a new one. He was relieved, I think, that he hadn't had to accomplish this task himself, and pointed us to the electrical repair shop near to Chez Omar's open-air restaurant. I know it well because I buy vacuum cleaner bits and pieces from there, on occasion. "One o'clock" the man barked as he took it from me. Of course, tea and chatter taking almost three hours, and the journey back from the NP,meant that we were about an hour or so late, and with no idea if he would be open of what to find if he was; a new part, or the new part fixed onto our old mounting boss? Who knows?

Here it is, just as the shopkeeper gave it to me:

"Made in Italy" no Egyptian or Chinese rubbish, either!

I have to say that I was delighted to be supplied with the new element and having it and the old housing fitted together for 40LE (about £3.50 at the current exchange rate!).

As I was tightening the five fixing nuts on the bottom of the element, I was pushing upwards. I'd momentarily forgotten that the hot water tanks are only mounted on big nasty hooks in the wall. Disaster struck as I suddenly felt the tank move away from my exertions.

"On me 'ead, mate!" I was like a Premier Division footballer, as the blasted thing bounced off my head, smashed the towel rail off the wall and finally came to rest in my arms after I'd juggled it from one hand to the other on the way down. Sir Brian Rix would have been proud to have played the part in one of his excellent 1960's farces!

Seeing that it was now off the wall, Freda suggested swilling it out in the shower; clever girl that, when she has a mind to be! I'm pleased I did, as a lot of black flaky stuff washed out. I'd be pleased to tell you that all went smoothly after that, but I cannot lie to you, Dear Reader. It didn't!

The element went in OK, and the whole thing went back onto it's hooks again, without further ado. But when I came to reaffix the pipes, one of them leaked!!! The rubber washer had perished and wouldn't seal, so it was off again to Mr Shokri for yet another 8LE stainless steel reinforced pipe. I sometimes think that I keep that whole blinkin' family in employment!

Anyway, it's working again. Please keep your fingers crossed that it continues to do so? If I don't get some respite from these ongoing problems soon, I think I'll burst!

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