Friday, December 07, 2012

Little Fixes, Big Difference

I've always been a do-it-yourself-fix-it person.  In my younger days, I chose this route mainly to save money.  Now that I'm retired, I choose this route for two reason:  to save money and to learn about how things work, since I'm pretty good at taking things apart and getting them back together 99% of the time.

This year I completed several small repairs.    I noticed that four of the repairs had a significant impact on functionality or reducing problems.
  1. Grill.  This summer, the side burner on our grill started to burn yellow with an very high (5 inch) flame.  After researching the issue on the Internet, I determined the problem was likely a spider web in the gas piping.  When I disconnected the burner from the inlet pipe, I found a spider web and cleaned it out.  The side burner returned to a hot short blue flame.
  2. Washer.  We have a high efficiency front load washer which works great, but has some mold/odor issues due to retained water that is not completely drained. After brief research on the Internet, I discovered the odor issue was likely caused by a drain filter which was lower than the drain tube outlet.  When I disassembled the filter compartment, it had significant amounts of soap scum buildup.  Cleaning the scum up eliminated the odor issue.
  3. Sprinkler.  The ground near our patio had always been marshy.  At first, I attributed the issue to a slightly detached downspout which was fixed.  When I the issue continued, I adjusted our in-ground sprinklers to not water the area.  When the issue didn't go away, I just assumed we had an underground stream.  This summer, I noticed that even though a sprinkler was turned off, it was draining into the marshy area after the section stopped watering.   I mentioned the issue to the local parts distributor, and he recommend installing a sprinkling head with a check valve that stopped the drainage.   That change, which only cost $4, completely eliminated the marshy area this summer.
  4. Dishwasher.  A couple years ago, we noticed that our dishwasher was leaving food particles on some of the plates and cups.   I assumed the problem was due to a change in the detergent since other people were having the same issues.   I had replaced a bearing ring on a washer arm which made a small improved.   Just last week, I noticed that there were large pieces of food (noodles) lodged in the spray arm.  With a little inspection, I found that the pump filter for the spray arms had been damaged.   Replacing the filter not only eliminated the food particles, but also noticeable improved the cleaning capability of the dishwasher.
I still have a few more projects that I need to get done.  (The list never shortens :-)   Hopefully, the impact of some of the repairs will be as noticeable as the four I described.

For more on Reaping the Rewards, check back every Friday  for a new segment.

This is not financial or home maintenance advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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