Water heaters have a reset button and other ways to save on home repairs


Sunday night around 11PM we discovered there was no hot water to be found in our bathroom, kitchen or anywhere in our apartment for that matter! Faced with the prospect of an ice-cold start to our week we debated our options for reviving the failed water heater that late at night. After wasting 15 minutes flipping breakers and cautiously removing a few panels on our water heater, I broke down and called my father-in-law for advice.

Thankfully he lives close by and was able to swing over and quickly point out the bright red reset button which was buried underneath a patch of insulation. After a swift push and a reading from his trusty multi-meter we were enjoying the sound of water heating up! The repair was simple but, in my defense, when I see red around electricity I think danger, I blame Louie the Lightning Bug.

While we wouldn't have been on the hook for repair costs--one of the benefits to apartment living--calling on friends and family before calling a repairman can save you money and frustration. My cell phone's contact list is a veritable Yellow pages of experts. I can call a plumber/HVAC specialist, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, police officer and any number of other specialists all for free advice at almost any hour. Just remember that calling on your family and friends to help you with repairs isn't a one way street. In return for these favors I routinely offer free computer help, in person and over the phone.

There's no shame in "phoning a friend" before calling a professional, in fact, never paying someone to push a reset button or reconnect a loose battery may be the most empowering repair decision you make. In this case the late night fix can't be matched because I had a nice warm shower the next morning and it didn't cost me a dime.