Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is Your Circulation Valve Open?

Valve : 3d render of pipeline on white background  Stock Photo
The warm water ran over my aching hands with soothing bliss.  Ahhhhh - so comforting.  How I had missed this small pleasure.

Of course, we do have running water, and always have had.  We are a bit rustic up here in the Northern California foothills, but we are not prehistoric.

However, for this entire winter we have had a challenge with obtaining running hot water.  First we checked the hot water heater.  Was it functioning?  Yes, it was. Nothing seemed to be plugged anywhere.  Water would run, and eventually hot water would come through - but it took for-ev-er.

We have a home warranty policy and many months ago, after a brief call to the assigned contractor, here came the licensed plumber; who assured us that our hot water heater was working just fine. 

Okay.  Thank you?  I guess.  But what about the fact that we cannot get any hot water from the bathroom faucets in less than two or three minutes, and it takes a full four to five minutes for the hot water to begin running from the kitchen faucet?  (Which, oddly enough, is the faucet nearest the hot water heater.) Answer us that, please, mister plumber-man.

Sorry, no clue.  Pay the house-call fee.  And off he drives, all full of his own confidence, based - apparently - upon very little actual knowledge.

Months go by, two more calls, even a helpful neighbor weighs in and dismantles a faucet, is pretty sure he has it solved.  Nope, still takes for-ev-er to get the hot water to come through the house.  He opines that it may be a design flaw.  We may just have to live with it.

Okay.  The *LOC and I both have a few of those, so we can deal if we must.  But icy water over my arthritic hands two dozen times a day is pretty darned uncomfortable.

Then one day the water pressure in the kitchen faucet suddenly does go kaputt.  Now that surely can be solved, can't it?

And sure enough, a different plumber-guy shows up, dismantles the same faucet, replaces a small stem-float-ball-thingy - and voile!  Pressure problem solved.

Given his magic touch, we make so bold as to tell him about the mystery that is our hot water circulation.  Yes, we have a good hot water heater.  And yes, when we can actually get said hot water to come out of various faucets it is just fine.  But it takes for-ev-er.

That can't be right, can it?

He first declines to investigate, saying that this mystery isn't listed upon his call-out sheet; he was called about a pressure problem.  True enough, but we are soooo impressed with his expertise, couldn't he just take a tiny little peek around the old scatter and see if he can identify our plumbing gremlin?

Even plumbers have egos, and when he learns that three others have failed to solve the mystery, why he hitches up his tool belt and wades right in.
In less than five minutes he identifies the problem.  Out in the garage, near the hot water heater, but not part of it, is a red valve that has been turned off. (By an earlier plumber, called about a small leak completely unrelated to hot water, who was clearly a dolt.)

When Magic Plumber-Guy turns the valve to the "on" position - hot water is instantly available - from every faucet in the house. Oh, my stars and stripes forever!
That little valve is part of the designed plumbing schematic, unique to this house, but it does work just fine when it is open.
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I don't know about you, but I have a few unique design features in my own life, one might even call them flaws.  And it has, upon occasion, happened that I could not seem to force, coax, or otherwise produce any "warm and fuzzy" interactions, hopeful signs, or hot enthusiasms.  Life was tepid at best.

I consulted various self-help books, contemplated my navel, and indulged in other attempts to solve the mystery of why my life seemed cold and unsatisfying.

Finally, after all else had failed, I would consult the Master Designer.  Why does my life seem cold, or at best tepid?  I am stuffy, huffy and stiff.  I don't like it, but I don't seem to be able to fix it.

It has happened, from time to time, that the Designer reminded me of a small, almost hidden valve that was the key to my circulation problem.  Hope could not flow, laughter did not warm me, joy did not permeate my faith until the valve of service was turned on - until the giving gauge was set to "wide open".

As has often been stated, the Dead Sea is dead precisely because it is all intake, and has no outlet.  That which does not give, dies.  Period.

If you are feeling stale and stuck, may I be so bold as to suggest you might want to consult the Master Designer of your life and check to see if your life's "circulation valve" is open.  Trust me, it makes a world of difference.
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Hope your life-circulation system is humming along nicely.  And that your hot water is flowing freely.  And forget that "cold hands-warm heart" nonsense.  I'm all for warm heart AND warm hands. Until next time ...Marsha
(*Lovable Old Coot)
God loves a cheerful giver.


  1. I. Love. This. Because it is so true. Thank you. <3

  2. Thank you, God, for Magic Plumber Guy.


  3. Thank you for reminding me......excuse me while I go turn some valves!

  4. There you go again finding snippets of wisdom from an ordinary experience. I must admit there is more spice in my life since I have been volunteering as a tutor for U3A . I wonder if that is the same plumbing problem my daughter has. She lives in LA and the hot water in their taps/faucets takes forever to come through.

  5. I love this post. I am glad that you finally have the mystery solved and the hot water is flowing faster.

  6. You have an amazing gift of telling a story. I was intrigued by your hot water problem and relieved that it finally got fixed. Thank the Lord for plumbers who actually know what they're doing. I had to chuckle at the way you got him to check this problem out though. :)

    I love how you take a situation and apply a spiritual lesson to it. It caused me to examine my own circulation so thank you for that Marsha.

    Blessings and love,

  7. I love spiritual analogies from everyday life experiences and you are the master in telling the stories.....I too got all wrapped up in your plumbing issue wondering if you had come to a solution but obviously God brought just the man you needed to fix the problem and I am so thankful.

    We had a similar problem and found the contractor had adjusted the controls for energy purposes...I have to say in this incidence I don't care about energy control I want hot water in the kitchen sink when I turn it on....We got ours fixed as well....