Recent Review: The water heater saga. Not all related to Mr. Rooter, but it is germane to the work that was done. Last Wednesday I finally got around to hiring a plumber to reroute the gas line for our natural gas grill. He was an old crusty sole ( not Mr. Rooter), but really seemed to know what he was doing. Not only did he run a new line he cleaned up a couple of lines that the previous owner had put in. He made everything look much neater and probably more efficient. Before he left he made sure the the hot water heater and all the other appliances that use NG had their pilots lit and were running. Then the trouble began. Thursday morning I get up, after missing two days of school with a horrible stomach bug, looking forward to a nice hot shower to get the day started. Never happened, I relit the pilot on the hot water heater, told my wife how lucky she was that SHE was getting a nice hot shower, got ready for school and left. That evening she tells me she had a thrilling COLD shower, so I call the original plumber and explain what happened and he says it has to be something wrong with the the water heater. I thought it a strange coincidence that a perfectly good water heater (only 8 yrs old) would throw a weak flame only after the work he did. But we both concluded that there was not really anything he could do since he really didn't work with water heaters, and I should call the manufacturer to see if there was a part that had gone bad. There was the first mistake. Friday I call a different plumber (who installs our brand) only to discover they will "try" to make it out here by the end of the day to take a look and will get back to me. Needless to say I never heard back from them. Saturday, after residing ourselves to not having a hot shower for at least another couple of days (what plumber works on weekends) I called MrRooter. Fantastic people, had a guy out here by 11:00 am. I explained the entire story, he lit the pilot as I did and watched the heater do exactly what it had been doing, light for about 15 seconds, then shut of. He concluded that it was a worn thermocouple and could run to Home Depot about a mile away, grab one and install. Of course that wasn't the problem (it wouldn't be a saga if the fix was that easy). We discussed options and decided it must be the control panel and since the heater is 8 yrs old, it would be more cost effective if we replaced it. Two hours later a new heater in place we light it, see everything lights, and settle up on the bill. After he leaves I go to the unit and try to look in the window to see the pilot and can't. Like an idiot, I assume that I just can't see it, and wait for the water to heat up. Another two hours go by and still no hot water. I decide to see if I need to relight the pilot, and do. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENS, LIGHTS WITH A WEAK FLAME AND THEN AUTO SHUTS OFF AFTER 15 SECONDS! Call MrRooter and explain. I get the local owner on the phone and he is just as perplexed and sends the first guy back. Now we know there must be something wrong with the line, but what. I hypothesize it may be a damaged valve, the tech thinks there is debris in the line. He connects a pressure gauge to the heater and we see that obviously it is not getting enough pressure (why didn't we think of that right away; kind of like "is it plugged in"). He takes the line off, blows and a little dust comes out, not the problem. He then shuts the gas off to the house and disconnects the valve. As he takes it off, he turns it over and good size pile of dust pours out. He reconnects everything, pressure tests the line and now everything is fine. We had hot water within 30 minutes. So what happened? I believe the original plumber in rerouting everything shook up 50 years of galvanized pipe innards only to fall on a closed valve. Plumbers spend most of their time running water pipe and the dust that gets shook up simply gets washed away when you turn the water back on; NG does not have enough mass to do this. So we have a new water heater that wasn't really needed, but in the long run we noticed a bit of rust forming on the one he took out, so it was going to have to be replaced soon anyway. I wish I would have insisted that it must have been something to first guy did, but even the other two plumbers did not think of the dust and thought something had simply gone wrong coincidently. Lesson learned? Always check to see if it is plugged in first. Mr. Rooter was very professional in what they did. My only disappointment was that he only did the "standard" troubleshooting, bad thermocouple, bad control panel, then replace the heater. No real careful analysis of the problem: not enough gas getting to the heater.