With a hiss and a bang, my water cylinder gave up the ghost after 28 years.
I experienced the sinking feeling you get when it’s time to call a plumber.
I was about to get a great deal poorer.
Also, I knew next to nothing about water heating options.
Haste and ignorance are the enemies of good decision-making.
Thank heavens for the internet, and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s (EECA) water heating comparison calculator.
It lets you plug in your own numbers (power costs/usage/ installation cost) to come up with ball-park annual and lifetime costs for different water heating systems.
Not everything was great in 48-hour quest to reintroduce hot water into my life.
I was about to experience a refresher in the less admirable aspects modern consumer life. Plan ahead, if you can Resist shonkiness Read the manual
Why do tradesmen insist on quoting without including GST? Its borderline misleading.
I don’t expect a supermarket to charge me ‘‘$1.50 plus GST’’ for a chocolate slab, and hand me a calculator to work out what I need to pay them.
The Consumer Guarantees Act says goods and services must be of acceptable quality.
Manufacturers’ warranties routinely seek to mislead consumers into thinking they don’t have to be.
In researching my options, I came across warranties claiming the makers were only liable if components failed in the first 12 months.
Rubbish. A water cylinder that is of acceptable quality shouldn’t fail in 10 years.
If mine does, I shall head to the Disputes Tribunal, like a man I wrote about two years’ ago who made consumer history when his chest freezer gave up the ghost after seven years.
The maker told him the freezer was outside its warranty period. The man went to the tribunal, which agreed a freezer should last at least 10 years, and ordered the maker to pay him $560.
A 90 kilogramme water cylinder delivered by a solo young woman with no idea how to get it off the flat back truck. A warranty marked ‘‘Australia Only’’. A cylinder I had to ask to be bracketed to the outside wall after I read the installation instructions.
It seems sometimes that businesses have cut back so far, they’re not doing the basics right.
I have a masochistic tendency to ask people selling me appliances how long I should expect them to last.
Ten years for my water cylinder, my plumber said.
He went on to say how things used to last so much longer in the old days before we exported our manufacturing jobs overseas.
Apparently, the $3450 I spent this week will have to be repeated in 10 years time when I’m 55, and then again when I’m 65, and then again when I’m 75, and then again when I’m 85.
I’m not sure either my finances, or the planet can take that kind of built-in obsolescence.
I’d prefer a new water cylinder every 28 years.
Plumbing does not come cheap.