Ask This Old House TV // Season 7 // Episode 13

Ask TOH | Instant Water Heater, Walkway Repair

Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey and host Kevin O'Connor replace an old tank-type water heater with a new, energy-efficient "tankless" unit fueled by propane. Then Richard and Kevin, along with landscaping contractor Roger Cook and general contractor Tom Silva ask, "What is it?" Then, Roger helps a homeowner level his sagging concrete walkway using a method called "mudjacking," and Tom shares a viewer tip for removing hammer dents from a piece of wood.

Installing an Instantaneous Water Heater

Richard and Kevin replaced an old "tank-type" water heater with a new, more efficient "instantaneous" water heater that runs on propane. Instantaneous water heaters, also commonly called "tankless" water heaters, only heat water when there is a demand for it. First, Richard and Kevin disconnected the gas and water connections to the old water heater, drained down the tank, and removed the unit. To install the new water heater, Richard located a good place for the new exhaust pipe on an outside wall. The exhaust pipe will vent flue gases to the outside of the building, and also bring in fresh air for combustion. After cutting a hole in the wall for the exhaust pipe, Richard mounted the new water heater to the wall and connected the exhaust. Next, he rerouted the propane and water pipes to the new water heater and the installation was complete.

Where to Find It?

The instantaneous water heater that Richard and Kevin installed was supplied by:
Rinnai America Corp.
(866) 746-6241
Rinnai America

Additional product and installation support was provided by:
Frederick/Geraghty Inc.
31 Hayward Street, A2
Franklin, MA 02038
(508) 258-6010

Kenneth H. Wood Plumbing & Heating
79 Ruggles St.
Westborough, MA 01581
Email: Kenneth H. Wood Plumbing & Heating

Propane Education & Research Council
1140 Connecticut Ave. NW,
Suite 1075
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 452-8975
Propane Education & Research Council

What Is It?

The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.

Where to Find It?

Kevin showed a camera that makes time-lapse recordings of plants growing in a garden:
Brinno GardenWatchCam
2740 SW Martin Downs Blvd. #384
Palm City, Florida 34990

'Mudjacking' a Sunken Concrete Walkway

Roger helped a homeowner repair his sunken concrete walkway using a technique called "mudjacking." The technique works by drilling several holes through the face of the concrete and pumping cement underneath. Cement is pumped in until the sunken section is flush with the rest of the walkway and the holes are then patched by troweling in concrete.

The mudjacking was performed by:
Helical Drilling
639 Granite Street, Suite 101

Braintree, MA 02184
Helical Drilling

This same technique may also be used to level foundations and even entire buildings.

Viewer Tips

Up in the loft, Tom and Kevin showed a tip sent in by a viewer on how to remove dents in wood, also called "rosebuds," by using an ordinary household clothes iron and a little water.

Where to Find It?

Clothes irons are available just about anywhere!

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