Historic Presevation at Home: The Lochinvar Waterheater

If you know anything about us, you know how much we love historic preservation and old stories. When we had the need to replace our vintage waterheater, original to our home, we reached out to the manufacturer to see if they were interested in having this relic. They were! Company representatives came to our home to pick it up and prepare to ship it to their company headquarters in Tennessee for use in their training facility.

Our Lochinvar water heater was built in Detroit, MI and installed in our home in Battle Creek when Vince’s parents moved in. It was a new home back in 1968, and has stayed in the family all these years.  Enjoy Vince’s retelling of the story of the water heater, told from it’s perspective.

The story of the water heater, in service from 1968 until 2020

I was built by Lochinvar in 1968 in Detroit, Michigan, installed into a new house in Battle Creek, Michigan, and met my owners, Vince and Bileve Sadowski. They got married just a couple years earlier in Detroit, and lived in an apartment until Vince took a job at the Veterans Administration, moved to Battle Creek, and bought the new house. Later that same year, Bileve gave birth to a son, and they named him Vincent. Three years later, they had a daughter, Annamarie, and four years after that, another daughter, EvaMarie.

I worked hard, day in and day out, providing hot water for this new and growing family. They mostly left me alone to do my job. My closest companion was the furnace just a few feet away. He’d warm the air, and I’d warm the water, while the family happily went about their business.

Over the years, the children grew up. Vincent went up north to college for a while and returned. Annamarie got married and moved out, and EvaMarie went to college down south. In 1995, Mr. Sadowski passed away, and Mrs. Sadowski followed in 1998. Only the son, Vincent, remained, now going by Vince, as his father did, and took over the house.

Vince started doing some maintenance on me and my friend the furnace. He added a water softener to our little closet in the basement, and I got a few new shutoff valves on the pipes coming into and out of me. The furnace had been getting quite rumbly and loud, so Vince gave him a new motor, and he was happy again. Vince tried draining me once, but I was so full of sediment that a trickle came out of my drain for only a few minutes, and stopped.

After only a few years, the water softener quit working. Our house has its own private well, and we’d been getting a lot of sediment. Vince then installed a whole-house water filter, and that cold water tasted delicious again!

More years passed, and something started changing inside of me. My inlet and outlet pipes started tiling at an angle. Vince kept a close eye on me, and I kept doing my job faithfully, but he just wasn’t sure what to do about those pipes. Vince and I grew up together, and he knew I was no longer in my prime. He was afraid that if he tried to fix those tilting pipes, that he might hurt something inside of me. So we just continued on.

Vince ended up meeting a nice girl, Stacie, and in 2016 they got married, and she moved in with her two twin teenage daughters. Everyone thinks “oh poor Vince”, but can you imagine what it was like for me? Those girls took epic length showers! But I always rose to the occasion and never let them down.

In 2018, a man came to inspect the furnace, and said it had a crack in the heat exchanger. It was a sad day when he was taken out and replaced with some young whippersnapper. The installers saw me and were amazed. They said “They don’t make them like that anymore.” The next year it was the gas dryer, and then it was only me and the kitchen oven and stove left from the original gang. “Vintage” they call her. But she’s proudly displayed in a prominent room where people gather. I’ve just been in a dark room in the basement, the “furnace room” they always called it. Never even the “water heater” room. But that’s okay. I always liked the quiet.

Two men standing with a waterheater

Simon and Paul from Lochinvar, at our home to pick up the waterheater.

Well, finally Vince and Stacie decided to retire me. Stacie contacted my builders, and they wanted me back. I’m so happy! The installers were pretty gentle getting me out of the basement. The new fellow replacing me looks pretty stout. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job.

My builders, Lochinvar, have moved down to Tennessee, I’m told. They sent Simon and Paul to pick me up and take me back to Headquarters, where I’ll be cleaned up and put on display in a classroom. I always heard it’s nice to retire and move down south.

It’s been a pleasure to serve the Sadowski families all these years, and growing old together. I hope the old vintage stove fares as well!