Sunday, August 31, 2008

Plumbing and Web Searches Are Related

I remember the hype about the web, how it was going to make our lives so very different.  So much more convenient.  I guess it has.  We can do a lot of our shopping on line, and can stay in contact with long-lost colleagues, and do this at 2 a.m. in our jammies and bunny slippers.

The web sites that make my life easier are Good Web Sites.  When companies do it right, it is a glorious thing.  The sites that make my life harder are not.  When companies do it wrong, watch out!  Every second you might have saved doing a little research on your own will be frittered away waiting for results or trying to find the one thing you want to know.  A little bit wrong is worse than very wrong.  Consider the events of the past couple of days.

We have a Noritz tankless water heater, and we love it.  Endless hot water is wonderful, even when you are watching your water consumption.  But on Thursday, something odd began to happen.  The water wasn't hot anymore.  (Cue the very sad violin music now.)  We went to the control panel and saw flashing numbers.  Imagine our dismay - flashing numbers on the display are the fevered brow of tankless heaters.  We dug out the owners manual:  ignition error was the translation.  Clean it out and restart the unit.  Since it was very dark we put off the clean the unit part and hoped that restarting the unit would work.  After several attempts, the heater ignited and hot water was restored.

Not for long, however.  My husband cleaned out the enclosure and the unit the next day, and to nobody's surprise found that the original installation looked somewhat slapdash.  Even after a thorough shop vac-ing, we needed to recycle the unit several times a day.  It was getting worse, not better, and this right before a holiday weekend.

It was definitely time for professional assistance.  We know when we are beat and should step aside in favor of the trained.  We called our favorite local plumbers, hoping against hope that they were tankless-enabled.  No joy.  We called the plumbers they recommended, but they were not Noritz-enabled.  Sigh.  

We hopped on the web, to the Noritz site.  Yeah!  They have a search for certified installers!  The minimum search radius is 30 miles from your zip code.  Hmmmm... this does not bode well; we are in Los Angeles, after all.   We put in our zip, and went "Search".  Ten results show up, and there are ten page links beneath it.  Sigh.  There is no sort button, and the names come up in random order.  Can we increase the number of listings per page, maybe, please?  Nope.  Not a chance.  We would like to use a name we recognize...  We began an exhaustive search.

The hubby was grumbling a great grumble, because the site was slow serving up those pages.  As an alternative attack, I looked up the website of the company that fixed our dishwasher last month.  (It has indeed been a bad few weeks for appliances at our house.)  To be fair, I had inside information, since I found them originally.  This company has a convenient web site where they list all their certifications and capabilities.  Plumbing?  Yes!  Noritz?  Yes!  They allow you to request an appointment on the web - woo hoo!  Done!

Meanwhile, back on the Noritz site, morbid curiosity took hold.  My hubby had abandoned his search after we requested the appointment.  Smart man, that hubby of mine.   I called up the Installer search and started paging through.  The site is indeed slow and this feature is painful to use.  Around doing other things, like typing this blog entry, I have been paging through.  A 30 mile radius returns At Least 31 pages of results, with 10 new results each page.  This is the walking, talking definition of Information Overload.  I'm giving up now, and will wait for after the holiday and the call from Carter Services to actually schedule an appointment.  Meanwhile, one of us stands by the restart button at the start of any shower.

Until next time!

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