11 March 2010

Un nouveau chauffe-eau

We had a new water heater put in yesterday. It's actually not new, but second-hand. It's five years old but was hardly ever used at all because it was installed in a house that was a summer home. Even in summertime, few people ever stayed in the house because the owner was older and in poor health. He and his extended family lived in Paris, and he died at the age of 98 in 2007.

Our old water heater was about 17 years old, as far as we can determine. It served us well for 7 years, but it was really too small for our hot water needs. The new one is 50% bigger.

This old car has been sitting out at the edge of
the vineyard for many years. It's a Renault.

How did we get a second-hand water heater? Well, some relatively new American friends of ours bought an old house in a village 5 or 6 miles up the river (and road) from us. They had to have a new boiler put in, and their new boiler produces hot water both for heating the house (steam radiators) and for the bathrooms and kitchen. So they were just getting rid of a big, fairly new electric water heater that had been installed in 2004 or '05.

I made sauerkraut with smoked chicken and smoked pork
for lunch yesterday. Also boiled potatoes. Really good.
Here's a link to a post about cooking sauerkraut.

I asked them if we could buy the water heater from them. They just gave it to us, and are happy to have it out of their house, they say. They are going to put a washer and dryer where the water heater stood. We paid a plumber 300 € to take out our old heater and dispose of it, and to go get and install the newer, bigger one.

The new water heater had to be rewired because our house
current is different from our friends'. Can you believe that?

Our boiler doesn't heat water for the bathrooms and kitchen. It just does heat. That's a good thing, because when the boiler's fuel pump was on the fritz, we would have had to make do without hot water as well as without heat. The water heater is an electric ballon d'eau chaude.

This morning the water coming out of our faucets is actually too hot. I guess the old water heater really was on its last legs. We'll get this one regulated over the next few days.


  1. The re-wiring is probably one of the delights of three-phase supply at 415 volts. May be it was (or you are) wired at 230v rather than triphasé. Three-phase is good in that one can distribute more current safely on smaller copper cable. Generally the French way is to wire three-phase direct to heavy consuming items like ballons d'eau, cuisinieres etc. But some supply boards do not extend three phase past the first distribution board.

  2. I was JUST going to say the exact same thing, henri proust :))) (I, actually, can't make heads or tails of all of that!)

    I do love a good deal!


  3. Yes, it was exactly that: the other house had triphasé, and we are monophasé.

    I try to imagine an American who has never heard of triphasé and monophasé trying to figure out why the water heater would need modifying to work in a different house.

  4. 415 volts is shocking, shocking!

    But yet again, the French have a reputation to uphold. No cowardly little 110 for them, no sir!

    word verification is "pring"...the sound your brain makes when hit with 415 volts.

  5. Ken,
    The derelict Renault reminds me of a Citroen Traction Avant graveyard I once found and photographed in a seaside town of Lakes Entrance in the 70s.
    Its very rare to see something like that these days as they seemed to be rescued for restoration.

  6. The Renault photo has lovely coppery colors. It is still looking nice to my eyes.

    Lewis' ears perked up when I read henri proust's post this morning. He is my in house electrician, but doesn't have to deal with 415 volts!

    I think I fit into the category of "relatively old friend" now. Hmmm, that would be in more ways than one-)

  7. What are you talking about Evelyn? You're just a spring chicken! What about ME?

    Verification word is cosesedu. Doesn't that sound like the name of an exotic bird?

  8. I had no idea the current was different in various areas of France, but that does seem like they way they do things there.

  9. LOL CHM- I guess you would be a long time friend;-) Thanks for making me feel a little younger.


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