Monday, March 24, 2014

Showering Like It's 1899

On Friday, our water heater up and quit.  QUIT.  I suspect it was seeking revenge for my so handily fixing the problem with our clothes washer.  You see, the washer wasn't spinning all the water out and kept flashing an error code at me, a problem which I managed to ignore until the door locked midcycle and I had to punch all sorts of buttons randomly.to get it to open so that I could throw the dripping clothes into the dryer (which, I know, is an awesome way to break that particular appliance).  As I stood there, staring at the recalcitrant washer, something whispered "washer filter" to me.

Look, all sorts of people start hearing voices in troubled times.  Think Joan of Arc, all right?

The magic door
Washer filter, it said.  Well, I thought, I don't know where the washer filter IS.  Dammit, people, I'm a suburban housewife, not a certified appliance repairman.  But then I noticed a tiny little door on the front of the washer and remembered that my dryer repairman (after his yearly lecture about needing to vacuum the insides of my dryer, and really, see above re suburban housewife) had shown me that my washer also had a filter that needed periodic cleaning.  I'm not quite sure what he meant by periodic, but once every 7 years seemed like a good bet to me.

So I opened the magic door and started turning some knob counterclockwise and water began pouring out.  Luckily, I had the vomit bucket nearby (empty, of course) and shoved that under the gusher and proceeded with removing what turned out to be the filter (ta-da!), which I handed to David (my trusty assistant) to clean all the gunk off of.

In short, I fixed it.  By myself.  DARE TO REPAIR, people.

So, when the water heater went out as payback, I marched into that furnace closet with my new-found handywoman confidence and stared knowingly at the latest miscreant.  Pilot light, maybe?  After reading the foot-long sticker affixed to the tank which warned me of all the ways I could blow the house up by trying to relight the pilot correctly, I gave up and called the plumber.  We all know how handy Larry and I are with pilot lights.

Monday, the plumber said.

Me, in the shower the past 3 mornings
Let's recap - we were coming up on Mulch Weekend, the weekend when showers are completely non-negotiable.  NON-NEGOTIABLE.  And there was no hot water.

Today the plumber came and fixed it.  "Thermocoupler, ma'am," he said.  "It's all fixed. That'll be $180."  Considering that Larry and I had spent 3 days taking freezing cold showers, farming the kids out to neighbor's bathrooms to get clean, and anticipating a $1000 expenditure for a new water heater, I was overjoyed by this news.  Hot water! Less than $200!  Glory hallelujah!

And THAT, my friends, was my weekend.  How was yours?

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16 comments:

  1. So funny! Good thing you had the vomit bucket handy! I think one of the things the American housewife is not appreciated for is our ability to troubleshoot and fix our own appliances. I remember the feeling of empowerment when I figured out that our broken electrolux vacuum just needed a $5 belt.

    Have you ever visited the "thereifixedit" website?

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  2. I really hate when appliances break. Glad you could fix yours for only $180

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  3. I feel I've jinxed myself just reading this, as my husband is leaving the country again in two days and the appliances all like to stop working when he's gone.

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  4. That;s a definite SCORE!

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  5. I had no idea, NO IDEA, that the washer and dryer both have thingies that need maintenance.

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  6. I am in awe that your fixed your washer, and that you knew where the magic door is. Bravo!

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  7. So I was right? My washer, I clean out the filter every month or so. The dryer, I should clean out the vent pipe more often. Once a year or so I get to it.

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    1. Was that you who mentioned washer filter to me in a comment once? Yes, because I remember thinking there was no way I could figure out how to find mine and clean it. Luckily, I was wrong.

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    2. Frontloader washers are so much fun, aren't they?
      I fixed both of my dryers recently, replacing the belt and rollers on both, and the pulley that turns the belt which turns the drum on one of them. Less that $120 for parts, plus a few hours of my time and a lot of cursing on my part. :P

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  8. Yay, for fix-it mojo! And my weekend...um. Estimate to get my car fixed (my husband hit a deer), taxes, and a lot of knitting to recover from the first two!

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  9. You fixed your own washing machine? Brava! I am very impressed by you today!
    And glad you got that water heater repaired before the MULCH MADNESS.

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    1. No, I didn't. It was AFTER. 3 DAYS of freezing cold showers - 3 DAYS

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  10. I recently discovered the filter in my washer after a mere 3 months of use. I was baffled by how to drain it with the tiny retractable hose so I went to my stash of owner's manuals, confident that I had filed it away. I found the manual for every f*cking appliance, including some I no longer own, except for the washer. I've only owned it for 3 months and I've already misplaced the manual for it. "No problem!" I thought. "I'll just download it from the Sears website!" But no. I can download for free the manual for a washer I don't own, but to obtain my missing manual for the machine I've already purchased (which in turn means I've already purchased said manual) I have to BUY IT. No, thanks. My dad figured out how to drain it. I rinsed the already stinky filter and voila. I also cleaned out the filter to the dishwasher and both vacuum cleaners that same day (with guidance from the manuals! Haven't lost those bad boys yet!). I am the filter queen.

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  11. Our last water heater had a bad one of those. It was something faulty with how they made it. Scott replaced it like 3 times before it finally died the big death and i told him DO NOT COME HOME WITH OUT A NEW WATER HEATER. Hot water is definitely not over rated.

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  12. Unlike filters in clothes washers which don't involve electricity, working out on how your water heater works could have been catastrophic. Which is why it is better left to the experts. Anything that involves electricity, such as your heater, has to be handled by tradespeople. At least your plumber took care of it at an affordable price. And hooray for hot water!
    Paddy Wright @ Harris Plumbing

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  13. Yes. I do believe your appliances are taking their slow revenge on you. Haha! Just kidding. Anyway, it’s nice that you were able to fix your washer. Looks like all those repairs left you with a little idea how to fix things here and there. That’s nice to hear that your water heater was fixed at such a reasonable price. I mean, it’s already inconvenient having to take freezing cold showers. I’m sure a large bill is the last thing anybody would want after that. Good going!
    Donald Payne @ Sauer HVAC

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