Thursday, December 14, 2017

Homeowner Bliss......

We've been pretty lucky so far. Anything really expensive, say....a new roof....we knew about coming in. Likewise the tree and the fence.

And the new washer and dryer are working fine after leveling both of them (NOTE TO INSTALLERS: Just because it doesn't rock doesn't mean it's level!), removing about 75% of the length of exhaust ducting because the "Installers" used it ALL to save the 10 minutes it would take to trim it, and cleaning several handfuls of wet lint from the "anti-critter screen" a previous owner installed.

So I was a bit distressed that our brand-new, top of the (Home Depot) line GE dishwasher wasn't working very well. The dishes weren't clean, the soap dispenser would sometimes ope, sometimes not, and the soap would never fully dissolve when it did open. It also didn't sound right. Instead of the nice, quiet "swoosh-swoosh" of a normal dishwasher, it made some rather "unusual" sounds. Since it was still under warranty, and we have the receipts, GE was most happy to send a Service Tech out to investigate.

Took him all of five minutes to diagnose, troubleshoot, and correct the fact that the water valve feeding the unit was barely cracked open! He said it looked like it had been opened enough to leak-check it, but they never opened it all the way. Since his service report doesn't have a category for "Botched Installation" he said he'd scratch his head and write something creative on the report.

It still takes two hours to run a full cycle, but the first load of dishes came out spotless!

And the Service Tech from the small, locally owned and operated appliance place was first class all the way.

Or the bathroom fan/light in the basement that I had to get real creative with. But first I had to learn there are several popular electrical "Box Sizes", and I had to get a replacement of the same size to ensure a drop-in replacement, right?

Well......kinda. The replacement fan/light is made by the same company, fits the same 8"x8-1/4" box, and has a model number close to the 1980's model. The problem is that the instructions only cover new installations, where the ceiling isn't there yet, and you can happily pound nails into exposed joists all day long. We have a fully finished basement. With a ceiling. The ceiling was installed after the original fan/light was installed.

IOW......there aint no stinking room up there to pry out the old nails, and drive in new ones.

And I'm NOT ripping up perfectly good, well-painted drywall, overhead, no less, to replace some bathroom fan/light. Nope, aint gonna happen.

I wound up getting the motor mounting plate out of the old fixture, and compared the two motors. Yep....same little shaded-pole motor with a slightly different fan impeller on it.

So, I'm in the process of putting the 2017 motor in the 198x box. When it's done I'll put the old motor plate with the new motor on it back in the old housing, and then finish it off with the new plastic louvers and lamp assembly with a new LED bulb. My wife wanted to know why it was taking several days to swap the fan out, so I had her go up on the ladder to show me how to get the old box out.

She deferred to my experience and left the area.......

And I put up two new solar powered, motion activated, LED security lights. I put one in between the two garage doors to light up the driveway and path to the house, where the front porch light takes over, and the other one over the side door to the garage.

The side door will be replaced Real Soon Now! It's the original from 1977 and is a huge heat loss area even though it's on the South side of the house, and there's an additional outside "Storm Door" to replace the usual, cheesy, falling apart aluminum screen door. There's also an identical storm door for the garage-to-house door where the entrance to the den is. They're both identical to the one I installed on the back door of the Long Beach house, so I know what they cost, and they're top of the (Home Depot) line products.

And I bought and assembled a "temporary" weather station to put in service until spring when the tower goes up, and my Davis weather station will go back into service. For under $120 delivered to my door, I'm astounded by what you get. I'll do a separate post on that later, after I knock a few off the Honeydew list.

So life continues after our escape, and my wife still has some culture shock, but I think she's recovering nicely.......


  1. Count yourself lucky to have found an honest and good appliance shop/repair person. They are both a dying breed in this world of barely adequate stores.

    A good dishwasher is truly a blessing. At least you didn't have to brew some coffee to get it working (see video: )

    And your wife is fortunate that you are good at sparky-sparky stuff. Having tried to retrofit a ceiling fan, and failing miserably, I am in awe of what you are doing. I at least know my limits of experience and patience (for some strange reason, God above decided to give me XXXXL fingers, which are great for working an axe, but totally suck at working in closed spaces smaller than the engine compartment of pickup trucks built before 1970.)

    I have been looking for a weather station, am looking forward to your review of your temporary unit (what, does your permanent one rival a NOAA station? Judging from what I've read at this blog it probably does.)

  2. There's a vast difference between the "handyman" repair people in the Southern California area and the Northern Colorado area. The workers at Home Depot actually know the store layout, and the older guys in the various departments can answer questions and offer suggestions, or answer further questions.

    Same with all the "official" service tech people. All the Techs I've met knew their stuff, didn't try and BS their way through a question, and seemed to appreciate having a customer who pretty much knew what was going on, and we had great conversations.

    Been doing the sparky stuff since I was about 10, and when you learn something that young, you think about it differently. It just comes naturally to me, and has provided me with a very interesting career with enough disposable income to have some fun.

    My "permanent" weather station is made by Davis Instruments, and cost about $600 when I bought it in 2005. It's dead reliable, very accurate, with traceable calibration, and built to a very high standard.

    The little $100 one I bought has probably 95% of the capability at one-sixth the cost, but I question the durability of it.

  3. Yes to everything you said about the bathroom fan/light, and add in the complication that the exact replacement came in either a left hand exhaust or a right hand exhaust.
    I didn't even know that some things left/right handed.
    It was a miserable job.
    This was one of the rare times that being short, and having child sized hands was a benefit.

    Dryer vent.
    If the vent is using either plastic or metal flexible tubing, plan to replace it with smooth metal. The mediocre performance of the new dryer improved greatly, and there is a safety benefit as well.

    Which reminds me to open up the dryer vent and check for lint.

    1. The main run of duct for the dryer is rigid metal. The flex hose is only a couple of feet to connect the dryer to the rigid duct.

      The new fixture would have dropped right in if there wasn't any ceiling. Since the ceiling is already installed, I had to mix-and-match the parts I had to make it work. Good thing I was able to cobble it all together, as that's one of the things that drives my wife nuts; something broken that looks easy to fix.

  4. There are two types of repairment up here: the few who know what they're doing (usually gray-haired), and the ones who show up to tighten a screw with two hammers and a pry bar.

    1. And they probably brought the wrong size hammers with them, meaning they have to reschedule the service call!

    2. In the world of maritime equipment repair we would say, "He is such a good mechanic, he brings three different size crescent wrenches to the job."
      It wasn't a compliment.

  5. Oh yeah, those are a PITA. Did the same thing on mine before I sold the place in Carolina. No way in hell to get the old box out...

    1. Not without tearing up a bunch of sheet rock ceiling!

  6. Glad to hear things are moving along! Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you all!

    1. Thanks, Linda. We've gone from move-in pandemonium to normal homeowner pandemonium!

    2. You could have gained access by cutting a hole on the floor above it. Then covered the floor repair with a throw rug. :)
      No charge for the suggestion.
      I am also looking forward to the review of the temporary weather station.

    3. Just spit coffee all over the place.....

  7. Having the wife inspect it and telling you how to fix it? Genius.


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