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The Plumber

January 12, 2020

On returning from Christmas in Ottawa with the children, I happened to go into the boiler room, and noticed that we too had plumbing problems. Underneath the electric furnace there was a black mess, and on top of it you could see where the safety valve had blown off and made another mess. The only sensible thing to do was to call a plumber. It was a Saturday, and we still had some heat so I asked for a plumber to come on Monday. The guy who was meant to come on Monday never made it as his previous call took all day. He did however, arrive first thing on Tuesday morning. He was obviously not new to his job. I later established that he had been doing it since 1990.
I was an interested spectator as he set about establishing the problem. Systematic, unhurried and organised to the nth degree. He was not one of those plumbers who has to go back for more tools, he had a backpack full of rolls of tools that he undid and spread on the floor so that he could find the one he needed. He faced a series of problems as could be expected relating to a 30 + year appliance, with screws that were rusted in and joints that were reluctant to be undone, requiring wrenches with additional pipes for leverage. The initial problem solved, he discovered that the system would only work in mild cold mode, as the two elements used for the cold mode were not operating and needed replacement. He said he would be back in a few days with new elements and install them. In the meantime, the heating that we had was operating after a fashion and the weather was not too cold so we survived.
It was Friday when he returned, clutching two new elements in his hands as well all the other stuff. The problem he said would be the removal of the old elements. All went smoothly to start with and first of the elements came out readily when he unscrewed it, and it was replaced with no difficulty. The second element was a different kettle of fish. The elements are about two feet long, and reverse a couple of times inside the boiler . They are inserted through a one inch diameter hole, and they are a tight fit. In this case there was a break in the element and part of it had bent, so it did not want to come out through the 1 inch diameter hole. About 40 minutes of probing and indeed hacksawing the element finally go the element removed , and the new one was inserted. Throughout this process the plumber continued steadily along and I did not hear a single curse escape him in the overall total of five hours that I watched him at work. Occasionally I was asked to fetch something or to adjust one of the thermostats, but mostly I just sat there, admiring the patience and application of craftsman. I actually found the whole process remarkably relaxing and enjoyed it.
I am not sure I will enjoy the bill when it arrives, but at least the house can be warmed up again.

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  1. Wow, great description, Tim. We could visualize the whole experience. We have a similar plumber, worth every penny. I guess you decided that this was more of a prose topic than one for a poem! 😏

  2. Robin Andrew permalink

    If only all tradesman had such professionalism!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. I do like to be versatile!

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