Gary Brown: Why water heater repair is today's hottest topic
I remember sitting in on a meeting recently and discussing whether newspaper readers had a journalistic need to know about emptying a little water every month from your water heater to keep gunk from settling to the bottom of it, rotting away civilization one tank at a time.
I’m pretty sure I was on the side of nobody really caring to hear about emptying water from a heater — that nobody ever empties water from a heater — because when my water heater burst and started spraying water all over a non-reading area of the basement it turned out to have gunk in it that rotted the bottom of it.
This just shows how vigilant journalists have to be about the readers’ need to know. One story slips through the cracks and readers could be taking cold showers for a couple of days.
I’m writing about this because I’ve found that it’s almost impossible to write about anything else when a major appliance breaks. No columnist really cares about the readers’ right to know about news or the readers’ need to know about lifestyle topics in the aftermath of a major appliance failure.
Trust me, water heater repair is what we need to dwell on right now.
In fact, as I write this, I’m at home, sitting upstairs, with reminders of water heater repair almost guiding my writing. Disconcerting plumber sounds drift up to me from the basement. Banging sounds. Pipe-cutting sounds. Water-pouring sounds. Random hand-tool sounds.
I’m sure everything is going on all right down there. The plumber is knowledgeable and even personable, which is important because nobody wants a plumber who comes in, shakes his head at you when he sees you, and says “if you want this done get out of my way because parts and tools and gunk are going to be flying all over the place.”
Still, we do get out of a plumber’s way because watching a plumber is worse than wondering what a plumber is doing when he’s out of our sight. Stand right beside a plumber as he works and you run the risk of hearing him say “Oops” or “Ouch” or “I’m going to need the big wrench ...”
Stay upstairs and you just hear the random sounds. You write about them. And when plumber’s done the sounds are gone, the new heater is there, and your column is pretty much completed.
I should add on at the end here that the plumber showed me how to empty two buckets of water from my sparkling new water heater every month to keep the gunk away. It turns out that readers really need to know that.
Contact Gary Brown at email@example.com