“The Iron Giant” Comes!

By , November 26, 2018

The last two days have proved exciting here on the homestead, with the arrival of “The Iron Giant.”

Since our Agua Heater hot water heater sprung a leak (see The Homestead Springs a Leak . . . Again) we’ve looked for a new hot water source. Thankfully, generous friends saved us, giving us a water heater they’ve owned but not used for years.

The story of this stainless steel heater, which I’ve dubbed “The Iron Giant” because of its size and weight, deserves a post of its own at a later time. Right now, we’re well occupied with moving it to the homestead.

moving a wood water heater

“The Iron Giant” skids across the cabin floor (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

My friend and I retrieved it from his family property up in the Chilkat River Valley, and moved it in his pick up to the road side at Mud Bay. We aimed for the big full moon tide in November. I haven’t looked, but I believe it was the highest tide of the year. Conveniently, it also fell at midday, just after 1:00 p.m., and the forecast called for calm waters.

I disconnected the old water heater and stripped it of hardware, cleaned up the Iron Giant and removed some of its old fittings. I hauled a couple of detached components home over the ridge.

On Saturday, the day of the big tide, Michelle and I hiked across the bay, carrying a couple of kayaks. We went to town and bought hardware and chimney pieces. On the way back to the bay, we stopped at the spring and filled a couple of 5-gallon water jugs at the spring. We poured those into the heater to double check against leaks, then kayaked back across the rising tide. We hiked home, launched our hauling Scanoe, and paddled around to the bay. There, we sweated and cursed the water heater into the canoe! Unlike the light Agua Heater (which I carried over to the boat deck on my shoulder) “the Iron Giant” is heavy—particularly because of the large, cast iron firebox at its base. I made two sling style handles from thin line and old hose, and tied a line around the girth of the tank near the top. Two people could move it, with a lot of effort, which our donor friend and I proved previously.

We canoed around to the homestead, losing a bit of the high tide, but still managing to land higher on the beach than usual. We slid the whole canoe, cargo and all, up our boat deck ramp, tarped it against the snow that had begun to fall, and went home to nurse our aches with hot drinks.

Sunday, Aly joined our crew. The three of us hauled the heater up onto the boat deck and past the cottage and garden, then used an old plastic toboggan sled and scrap plywood to slide it around the cabin, in through the door, and across the floor. From there, we stood it up to dry next to the fire.

wood hot water heater

Watch your head! “The Iron Giant” upright, with cap (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Our next step will be to position it better, plumb it, and finally, tie it to the main wood stove chimney. That’ll require completely reconfiguring the stack, hopefully on a day when we won’t need the wood stove’s warmth for a few hours.

We’ve still got a long way to go, but did the hardest part over the weekend, and look forward to the eventual install.

2 Responses to ““The Iron Giant” Comes!”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    It appears living off the grid is not all ‘Little House on the Praire’ – no Home Depot to deliver – you pay a price for the life style – enjoy

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    You’re right, Linn! As you can see from the latest post (An Alarming Debut) we devoutly wished that Home Depot or someone like them WOULD deliver!

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