The Great Coat Closet Remodel Project! – Update

I haven’t posted in a while. We have been very busy with end-of-the-school-year activities – final soccer games, school programs, etc. The annual mad rush to summer has left me pretty exhausted.

However, this week, I am on VACATION! And I am using that vacation time to finally finish {booming voice} The Great Coat Closet Remodel Project! My carefully designed plan for this project was pretty much blown away weeks ago. I haven’t had the time, or the energy, to tackle any of the jobs in the front portion of the closet. So I decided to just wait, complete the rear portion first, then finish of the front portion at my leisure.

The biggest issue with this project is that no matter how quickly we work, we are going to be without hot water for five days. There is just no way around it. The floor in the rear portion of the closet needs to be refinished. I plan to sand it down and apply a couple of coats of polyurethane. However, it takes the polyurethane 72 hours to fully cure, which means that from the time that I apply the second coat to the time we can reinstall the water heater, we have to wait 72 hours.

On Tuesday, we are heading to Atlanta to see Rush in concert (Rush is one of my favorite band and the concert is sold out, but I got my tickets months ago – whoohoo!). Therefore, we decided that we would apply the polyurethane sometime Monday afternoon. We will be gone Tuesday, and worn out Wednesday from the late night drive back. So we plan to reinstall the water heater Thursday, which will have allowed the necessary time for the floor to cure.

So, once we reconciled ourselves to having no hot water for most of the week, we had a plan. After my daughter’s end-of-season soccer party yesterday, we came home, everyone took a hot shower, and then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

First, we had to drain the water heater. I shut off the breaker to the water heater, and Steve shut off the water to the house. Then, Steve hooked up the garden hose to the water heater drain valve and ran the other end out the living room window to the street. He opened the drain valve and I turned on the hot and cold faucets in the kitchen sink, so that the water heater could drain. It took a couple of hours for it to completely drain. We have a Rheem Performance 50-gallon electric water heater, and the drain valve is very close to the bottom of the tank. This makes it possible to drain almost all the water from the tank, which in turn makes the water heater much easier to move.

We purchased a lightweight Milwaukee furniture dolly to help move the water heater. One of the problems that we had with the initial installation is that the pipes are installed in front of the water heater. This means completely disconnecting the plumbing to move the water heater out of the closet. Additionally, we have to lift the water heater over the incoming water pipes, which are inexplicably run through the floor (rather than through the wall, mere inches away – why?!). See?

water heater installed

While the water heater was draining, I disconnected the electrical connections, and taped the incoming connection wires out of the way.

water heater wires

Steve then disconnected the water pipes. When we installed the water heater, we used Shark Bites for all the connections. The connectors can be released with the SharkBite Disconnect Clip, which can be a little tricky to use if you can’t get a good position on the connector. However, Steve got it all disconnected successfully.

We moved the dolly as close to the front of the water heater as we could and tilted the water heater forward. Then, while I held the dolly in place to make sure that it didn’t move, Steve just grabbed it and hefted it up on to the dolly (in a very manly display of strength, I must say). Then, we just rolled the water heater out of the closet. It will sit on the dolly until we are ready to reinstall it later this week.

water heater on cart

With the water heater removed, I was able to start the demo of the rear portion of the closet. Here is a BEFORE picture:

water heater uninstalled

The demo was a big PITA due to the enormous number of nails used to secure the beaverboard. Steve had to pull out a couple of the baseboards that I just couldn’t budge. We still have some cleanup to do this morning before we start work, and then I will be able to get some good “demo complete” pictures before we start installing the new insulation and drywall.

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