Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I love living in our small, secure, warm and dry space. Sometimes I feel like we live in a space capsule. We find these incredible places to park. The weather can turn sour, yet we are still warm and happy in our 5th wheel home.
This might sound petty, but it is driving me nuts. My problem is noise pollution. It doesn't bother my husband, but I can't take it any longer.
Because of our small square footage, I can't escape the annoying sound coming from our water heater. It is a high pitch, constant squeal. My husband insists it is normal because the water heater still works fine. But I never heard this before. It only does it when we have electric hook-ups.
Am I being too fussy? Is this something I should try to block from my mind? Is it a sign that something is about to happen? Should I sing in a high pitch to my husband to demonstrate how annoying I find it?
--Sounding Board in Bozeman
Singing to your husband will just complicate a very simple situation. It should never come down to solving annoyance with annoyance. What you have is a failing heat element. It could be solved by flushing the tank and cleaning the element, but if you are going to the trouble of pulling the element, you might just as well replace it for twenty bucks.
It really doesn't make any more noise than when you are heating with gas, but I agree the pitch could drive you nuts.
I would explain to your husband that he will be dealing with the problem sooner or later. There is no time like the present. Your husband is in hot water right now, but the singing telegram you are getting is a sign you will soon be changing your tune to the "Sound of Silence." I can't remember all the lyrics, but it goes something like this, "Hello darkness, my old friend, there's no hot water once again..."
It is a good idea to flush the tank at least once a year. If you have a tank that is not aluminum you might want to consider adding an anode rod to help prevent future buildup on the heating element.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink