Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

There are a lot of things that I can do. But I really don't do anything extremely well. I can sew, cook, garden, play the piano, sing, design, paint. It's enough to get by, but nothing to show off or be proud of. But, in honor of my recent accomplishment, I thought I would share some other repairs that I was able to do without professional help.

Over the summer, the end of June to be exact, my air conditioner broke. I had gone on a week long river trip, and when I came back the house was suffocatingly hot. It was so late and I was so tired that I didn't even think about trying to figure out what was wrong. I just went to bed. The next day I considered some things and experimented a bit and found that if I manually started the fan moving then it would kick on and it would be fine, until the temperature gauge told it to turn off. Then I would have to go out and start it up again. Fortunately, we all worked during the day and could get by in the evenings. But it was still uncomfortably hot.
      I don't know why I was at my uncle's house one day, but I explained the problem and he and my cousin said that it sounded like it was the capacitor. So, I did some research online to know what a capacitor even looked like. After some tinkering, I found the capacitor, and it seemed plenty easy to replace. I called a close heating repair store and asked for a capacitor. They said they had one and I got it. But, it wasn't the right one, and I couldn't return it, and they charged a ton for it! I guess that is part of the educational experience cost. (I have learned from this and the PRV that you really do have to take the old part in so that they know what you are talking about.) Well, with the help of my friend's dad's connection, I got another one for really cheap. I replaced it and it worked like a charm....And then I had to touch it. Take note: Capacitors carry a lot of electricity and really shock you when touched. My uncle warned me about touching it. I had mental lapse and obviously wasn't thinking when I grabbed it. Fortunately, I didn't die, which could have very easily been the case.
      Well, because I touched it, the air conditioner stopped working again. I thought that maybe I ruined the new capacitor. I talked to my friend, and he talked to his dad, and his dad said that it was probably just the fuse. With a little aluminum foil to bypass it, we found that it was just the fuse which could easily be replaced. The next day I went to Home Depot, got the new fuse, and everything was back to normal again. Yay for easy fixes and good friends.

About the same time (I can't remember which came first actually) my bathroom faucet started leaking. I noticed it was wet underneath when I had to get something. It had been leaking for quite a while, I would assume, because the ceiling below was swollen with water. I ought to start paying more attention to things. It was a good faucet. It was the pull out kind. They are quite common in kitchens, but I had never seen a bathroom with one. At first I thought it was just one of the hoses because the cold side didn't leak, but after trying a few things I realized that it was the actual faucet. I tried to unscrew the hoses, but they didn't budge. I felt pretty stupid when I found out later that they were soldered on there. Without being able to get the hoses off, I tried to take the whole faucet off. I couldn't get the bolt undone. It wasn't that I wasn't strong enough; I just couldn't get the wrench around it at a good enough angle to be effective. (Because it was such an unusual bathroom faucet, they crammed all three connections into the center hole.) For that, I was grateful for help. My boyfriend at the time (just friend now, the same one mentioned in the previous account) took it off for me.
      With that taken care of, putting the new one on was a sinch. It was the easiest thing in the world. You just place it in there, tighten the bolts, and screw on the hoses. I'm glad I didn't have to pay anyone to do that. Considering the plumber's rate, it would have been outrageous. Also, it seems to be good a good skill to have. I would imagine that people replace faucets a lot more than they do pressure reducing valves.

Another thing that I have accomplished was fixing a leaking toilet. Now this I made a lot more difficult than it needed to be. All I ended up doing to fix it was replace the flapper. My brother messed me up when he told me that I needed to replace the gasket. Looking back, it was just as well that I replaced that too because it was kind of deteriorated. This fix is not something to brag about considering the simplicity of it. What I am proud of, though, is that I was able to take that whole toilet apart and put it back together and still have it work.
      The drama in this story (because there always has to be something to make it more problematic than it ought to be) is that I went through three different flappers until I found one that actually fit. I can thank Lowe's for that. Actually Lowe's is the store that came through for me in all my repairs. They had the the PRV, a cheaper faucet, and the right toilet flapper. What a good store. I've heard that they cater more to women. I don't know if that is true, but I sure appreciate that they carry what I need.

No comments: