Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Halloween Tale

I had a pizza post almost set to go tonight, but there was trick or treating and I saw this while walking the streets for candy:

The setting:  A typical, dime a dozen suburban cul de sac.
The characters: my daughter and two of her friends and a group of 6 or 7 kids ranging in age from 7 to 10.

My daughter and her friends are strolling along talking. The trick or treating is secondary. They are in no rush to get from house to house. They don't care and are enjoying each others company. For the most part, I am usually 20 or so feet away from them letting them do what they but around just in case I'm needed. They are all in 8th grade. I'm not sure how many more costumed Halloweens are in their future.

The pack of younger kids is running from house to house. My daughter, her friends and the pack of kids were all on the same door step, trick or treated, and got some candy. The pack of kids ran across the lawn to the next house. My daughter and her friends chat while they go down the walkway to the street and casually followed the pack.

The pack rang the bell and then took off. A father asked what was going happening. One pack member yelled, "We ding dong ditched!" Most of them scattered. One pack member hid behind a bush. When the door opened, my daughter and her friends had just gotten to the stoop. They said, "trick or treat," got some candy and politely thanked the home owner. The kid hiding in the bush realized how dumb he was being, got in line and got some candy. I'm not sure the rest of the kids realized the error of their ways.

And in other news, we are fostering another dog and she is freaking adorable.  She's on my lap right now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

I learned it from watching you...tube

Awhile ago, I used to sit down with an adult beverage after everyone went to bend and try to stump YouTube.

YouTube couldn’t possible have this obscure video from the 80’s. It did.

What about this song? Yep.

How about music from a band I used to go in Boston in the early 90s. You bet.

What about the rock opera I saw in Paris in 1989? The whole damn rock opera.

And when I needed to tile a back splash, I learned how to set tile from a guy in Australia that put up a few videos.

Sometime last year, the dryer wouldn’t start. I did a few searches and found out that it was most likely the belt. I found a parts supply company with lots of videos. To check the belt, I undid two screws and pooped the top of the dryer. If the belt was broken, it would either be gone having fallen to the floor of the dryer or resting on top in one piece. It was in one piece. I order the belt from them and it showed up two days later. The site has a nice feature where you can type in the dryer model and get confirmation that it’s the right part. The company also had a video where I could watch a someone basically take apart my dryer (it wasn’t the exact model) and put on the belt. It was a little difficult to get the belt on, but I eventually got it and everything worked well. Fixed for under $10. Wohoo!

Last weekend, my older daughter was at a birthday party and my younger daughter was sleeping over at a friend house. My wife and I had 4 hours of alone time…and that’s when we discovered the dryer no longer produced heat. To the internet!

My online diagnosis narrowed it down to three things: a thermal fuse, the thermostat or the heating element. Based on our crummy lint trap on the duct going outside, I thought it was thermal fuse. I have an el cheapo Harbor Freight free voltmeter, but it is worth about as much as I paid for it. It was no help diagnosing the problem. So, I went online, found a local company that had a thermal fuse and picked it up on Monday. After work, I installed it (once you got everything open, it is pretty much undoing 2 wires, taking out two screws, putting the fuse in place, putting back the two screws and then putting the two wires back in the same spot), put the dryer back together and gave it a whirl. No heat.

I went back to my trusty appliance website and ordered a heating element and thermostat. When they came in the mail, I already had the dryer opened and ready to go. You basically have to undo about 10 screws and 6 wires, replace the parts, and put the screws and wires back. All three of the parts I was replacing are on the same larger piece. I put it all back together and much to my surprise, it worked. Worked well.

This fix was a little pricier that the $10 belt but probably less than having a service person walk in the door. The heating element was about $70, and the fuse and thermostat were about $20 each. Had I known what I was doing and had a better meter, I could have saved a little and skipped the thermostat and fuse. But I figure with everything replaced hopefully we can get some trouble-free years out of the dryer.

What’s weird is that I think this all goes back to when we had the steers. I think the experience of building and maintaining the fence gave me the confidence to work with tools more. The wood oven probably helped a little too. The only tools this dryer fix required was a Phillips head screwdriver and a needle nose pliers. And a guy on YouTube showing me step by step how to do it.

If you want to give it a shot yourself, check out AppliancePartsPros.com They seem to have everything plus a little video on how to install the part.