The heat is on

Bill tends the fire to keep us warm at Chateau de Ranton

According to the refrain of singer Chaka Kahn’s 1997 number one dance single, Never Miss the Water, “you never miss the water ‘til it’s gone”. We would add the word “hot” to the song to make it especially relevant to us. We have a tankless water heater, truly not much bigger than that breadbox of days gone by, that gives us an endless supply of hot water to our sinks, shower, and radiators…except when it doesn’t. That was the situation recently when the 9-year-old circulation pump started making funny little noises that gradually grew into louder bangs each time we turned on a faucet or changed the setting on the thermostat. In the 4 years that we’ve lived in France we’ve never needed to call a repair person, thanks to Bill’s handyman savvy, but this was beyond even his skills. Time for an expert.

Thick castle walls but still not easy to heat

Our neighbor, a plumber, gave us the cell phone number for one of his colleagues who specializes in the brand of heater that’s hanging on our kitchen wall. Although we no longer dread those conversations that don’t include face-to-face contact, sending a text to someone is still easier as is reading their reply…unless, of course, they decide to telephone you back instead of texting. Since we had included as many details as possible about our heater in the original message, the call was an easy arrangement for an appointment, a technique we had already learned when preparing to see the doctor, dentist, etc. 

The plumber’s visit was fast and efficient, ending with, “It’s the pump. I’ll order a new one and be back as soon as it arrives.” A day passed, we still had heat, we still had lots of noise, and then suddenly we had even more water than before, only now it was coming out of the front of the heater and dripping onto the counter top below. A peek inside confirmed that the ailing pump, soon to be replaced, was telling us that it was not going to depart without leaving us with a memory. In 2015 I wrote a blog post about how our home in the US, filled with seemingly inanimate objects, often had a reminder that it missed us whenever we returned from vacation in France. Looks like those household machines have a transatlantic connection.

Chateau de Ranton inner courtyard

So, what did all of this cost?

  • Service call: 60€
  • New pump: 328€
  • Installation: 20€
  • Annual service contract: 140€

We agreed to the annual service contract because homeowners are obliged by law to have a yearly inspection of their heating system, by a qualified professional, to ensure that everything is working properly. Given the possibility of asphyxiation, fire, explosion, or even just an irritating noise from a pump, it seems worth it. 

Yes, the heat is on! Another musical note, by the way: that was the title of a song featured in the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop. The photos here are from Chateau de Ranton that we rented with several friends. I’m glad that we don’t have to try to heat that!

One thought on “The heat is on

  1. The homeowner blues. Glad you’ve got hot water again! You Never Miss the Water is a great favorite of mine from Chaka, whom I have worshipped since the first time I heard Rufus’ Sweet Thing in the early 70s. Harry particularly loves YNMTW because of the bass line, by the wonderful M’chelle Ndegecello.

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