Tuesday, March 11, 2014

HandyCat to the Rescue!

Generally, I'm a big fan of line drying my laundry, but I'm not a purist. When the weather's bad or it's allergy season, or I'm busy and have a lot of laundry to do, a dryer is a very nice luxury to have. And the past year and a half, it would seem that conditions have been rife for a lot of dryer use.


But at some point over the past year or so, some CatLady (who shall remain nameless) apparently slammed the dryer door one too many times in a fit of frustration/despair over one too many loads of cat pee'd upon items, and the subsequent implications for the failing health of her little furry friend.

Well... to make a long story short, the little clasp that holds the dryer door shut broke, and since then I've had to resort to an interesting setup to keep the dryer door closed while running a load.

The jug is there for weight - otherwise the vibrations push the chair out of the way

But today I decided that it was finally time to find a more, ahem, elegant solution to the problem, so I dug out the manual and parts list to see if it was something that was easily fixable.

It's actually not terribly surprising that the latch gave out given the fact that it's made of plastic and the dryer is about 19 years old. But a quick look at the parts list seemed to indicate that it was a very small part and it should be easily replaceable.


But then... I noticed another piece of paper tucked into the manual. It was a set of instructions for changing the door swing. Apparently this model can be configured so that the door can open either left to right or right to left. And, upon closer inspection I saw that each side of the door came equipped with its own separate latch!


So... right there in my dryer door was a spare latch part that had never even been used! Score!!!


My first thought was that I'd just swap the two latches and put the good one in place of the broken one, but as I looked at them closer I started to doubt that I could get the good one out without breaking it. It's one of those plastic things that's designed to snap into place, and while you can sometimes pry that sort of thing out with a screwdriver, I was nervous about trying it.

But then it hit me... why not just follow the instructions for changing the swing of the door? Following instructions... now there's a novel concept!


It would actually work better with the layout of my laundry room to have the door open the opposite way, and I wouldn't have to worry about breaking the good latch trying to get it out.

So... screwdriver and instructions in hand, I set out on the project. And after about half an hour of grunting and maneuvering (I'm a tad bit "challenged" when it comes to spatial tasks) I managed to get the door reattached in the opposite direction.

It took a bit of fiddling to get the latch to seat correctly on the other side... probably because the "new" latch was significantly tighter than the old one had been. But within a few minutes I had it working and voila!


My dryer is now back in working order - and it didn't cost me a dime! Woo Hoo!!!

I love it when a fix-it task comes together easy like that. It's such a sense of accomplishment, and I always get a little "cat lady beats the system" thrill when I can repair something for little or no money.



So tell me... have you fixed anything recently?



32 comments :

  1. I can't top that -- go pour yourself a drink girl!

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    1. Ha! I came sooooo close on the drink front - had the wine ready and was reaching for the glass - then I remembered that I woke up on the edge of a migraine this morning and decided not to push it. A glass of wine would have been really nice, but probably not nice enough to make up for hours of excruciating pain. Wait... that actually sounds like it might be verging on, you know, sensible and not-self-destructive. Who AM I? And what have I done with me?!?

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  2. Yay! I love when things work out well like that :) I'll admit I use the dryer a lot more during the winter than the summer, just because I don't like having things hanging around for days to dry. It's so nice to just throw them in the dryer and take them out an hour later, done!

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    1. Agreed. The weather can just be sooo iffy this time of year that you can put something out on a sunny morning and a few hours later it's snowing! Totally not worth the hassle. And since I have a HUGE washer, it's a real challenge to find a way to hang up an entire load indoors.

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  3. Gotta love it when something gets fixed without costing anything.

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    1. I know, right? It's like "I have the power!!!!"

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  4. Love the picture of the chair in front of the dryer with the jug on it. Who out there hasn't succumbed to some sort of crazy technique to get something to work? My washer and dryer are in the basement on the very uneven concrete floor, so I have an ongoing battle with the washer because the slightest little thing jiggles it out of balance. Yes, I've adjusted the legs ... put rubber mats under them ... the washer does fine for awhile and then, bam, no matter how hard I try to balance my load, something gets it out of balance. Very frustrating. However, I have had a win similar to yours with our dishwasher--I periodically have to take out the guts in the bottom, clean it out, and reassemble it to get it to work properly (not to mention chip out the hardened soap around the latch on the soap dispenser or else THAT doesn't open properly and screws up the dishwasher). I think most people would have either hired someone to fix it or would have given up and bought a new one. I'm also spatially challenged, so this is a pretty big deal to me to be able to fix it!!!!!! I'm feeling your pride in a job well done!

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    1. Congrats on the dishwasher! I have a less than stellar track record when it comes to fixing those.

      My laundry room floor is also not very level - have you tried wooden shims under the shorter legs of the washer? That's what I have under my dryer because even fully extended one of the legs was still too short. It works well because you can cram it under there nice and tight and it stays put.

      Of course, having a leveled washing machine hasn't meant that mine doesn't get unbalanced every 3-4 loads. I think it's just that when you have a top loader like I do, you're just bound to end up with loads that have some items that are heavier than others, and it's just kinda inevitable.

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    2. Yup, tried shims, too. Sigh. I didn't think about it being a top-loader. Hmm.

      Well, before you congratulate me TOO much on the dishwasher ... the first time I dismantled it, I couldn't figure out how to put it all back together, so I called the manufacturer and happened to get the most patient man in the world (with a cute little southern accent) who looked up the model number and verbally spent a good 20 minutes guiding me through the process. He was a total gem and I apologized at the end for being a major crank with him. I am now better at remembering how it all goes together and if I need to do something similar on a different piece of equipment in the future, I am going to take step-by-step pictures of the process so I have a visual cue to go by. Lesson learned.

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    3. Ha! Well, the worst is when you get it all put back together and still have a few parts leftover! At least you found a nice man to help you. :-)

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  5. I am feeling very proud and satisfied with your fix and I didn't even do it. It was fun living through your experiences today.

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    1. Ha! Vicarious fix-it pleasures. I love it!

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  6. Awesome! I especially like the part where having the door open the other way actually works better for you!

    Your chair-and-water-bottle fix reminds me of the movie "Dancer, Texas, Population: 51" where one of the characters has a refrigerator that won't stay closed.

    I don't have any recent fix-it stories. They are rare but when they do work it is so exciting.

    In other news, I wanted to let you know that I also have a blog--I've even been writing in it lately. If you're interested, my name in this comment is the link. Warning: there are no cats at all in there (horror music!).

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    1. Oooo, a refrigerator that won't stay closed is a much bigger pain than a dryer. Of course, my dad does have a spare freezer in the basement that he keeps closed with a pole clamp.

      You have a blog?!? Is this new? I'm heading right over to check it out!

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    2. Old blog, just not well advertised!

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    3. Well thanks for letting me know! :-)

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  7. Love it!! I wish our fixes were always that simple.

    Our latest "fix" was trying to get red permanent marker out of carpet. It took two 90% bottles of hydrogen peroxide, and it's mostly out. All brought to you by a bored almost 4 year old who decided the carpet needed a giant snowman...

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    1. Oh NOOOOO! At least my cats can't draw... well, I'd better not say that too loudly or one of them will figure it out! :-)

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  8. I had to fix the washing machine recently...because I had broken it trying to shove too much in! The belt that makes the whole thing spin had pinged off. (It's a front loader, no idea if top loading machines have the same thing!)
    Sadly, whilst I knew how to fix it, I couldn't quite stretch the belt back on and had to wait for the bf to get home and use some brute strength! So that only counts as an *almost* fix...
    We fixed the tumble dryer a couple of times before it finally died entirely and we decided not to replace it. Exciting times at the moment, as the weather is nice enough for drying things outside, woo!

    Love the chair/bottle door closing arrangement- we used to have to use a chair to wedge our oven door closed...we did pay someone to fix that!

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    1. I think your washing machine fix definitely counts. I mean at least you didn't have to hire a repair man. And I'm so heartened to learn that I'm not the only person who has resorted to the chair method for keeping an appliance door closed... it makes me feel a lot less crazy!

      Not sure what I would do if the dryer quit on me entirely. I know I could live without one, but there are those times when it's really, REALLY nice to have it.

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    2. It probably helps that our washing machine is small enough for the contents to fit in the house to dry...although duvet cover drying can be interesting.

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    3. My old washer was small so hanging a load was no big deal. But when it finally died a few years ago (it was 45 years old - it had done its time) I replaced it with a HUGE new washer to make it easier to wash the bedding. I succeeded there, but neglected to take into account the fact that it would take a LOT of normal laundry to fill it up. The pluses definitely outweigh the minuses, but hanging up a load takes the entire clothes line (4 lines, about 30 feet long).

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    4. It would be nice to be able to fit the duvet in the washing machine...attempting to wash the duvet is how I pinged the belt of the washing machine (twice- I didn't learn..)

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    5. It is very nice. Last time I took all the bedding to the laundromat it cost nearly $40! So I figured even if I only washed the stuff once a year, it wouldn't take too long to pay for the extra expense of the bigger washer.

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  9. That's awesome! We fixed my mom's dryer over Christmas: the culprit was a snapped belt. Instead of a $100 service call, we only had to buy a $10 part. And we got to seem handy for the moms.

    I love how creative a solution you found, too. I doubt I would have stumbled across that, and would have just broken the extra latch. ;)

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    1. Congratulations on your dryer repair... a snapped belt sounds like a significantly bigger job... or at least one that requires delving much further into the guts of the machine.

      I figured if I couldn't get the door swing thing to work, I could always go back and try plan A, and if worse came to worse I could always buy a new latch, but I am pretty pleased that I got it to work. There wasn't even any cursing--- well, not much anyhow. :-)

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  10. Brilliant! I consider a dryer a necessity. Last year during a spell of bad weather, I handwashed two sweaters and rolled them in towels to get the excess moisture out. I knew it would take a long time for them to dry, so I set up a fan in the room. The humidity was so high that they got mouldy in the 3 days it took them to dry. Gaagh!

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    1. Ha! Well, in these parts, humidity is never a problem - In fact, when I'm up for it, it's nice to dry things indoors because it puts a little moisture into the air so you stop getting static shocks every time you touch anything. I'm still too lazy to do it most of the time though.

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  11. Great job, Cat!
    Our dryer is currently functioning on a make-shift door switch (that little button that gets depressed when the door is shut and then the dryer can tumble). We made a little "extension" of the door switch button with duct tape. Working fine so far.
    When our dryer first quit, we had no idea why. So my husband took out the fuses and brought them to the appliance dealer, who tested them for us. The guy at the appliance store (they also sell parts) was extremely helpful, making suggestions and telling my husband exactly what to try next.

    Even though we hang dry most of our laundry, the dryer is nice to have for finishing off drying of heavy items, or drying the small things like socks and undies, which are so fiddly to hang.

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    1. Oooo... good fix. It's so nice when you find a knowledgeable person who is helpful. I found a guy at some DIY forum online who sent me the double extra secret manual for my thermostat so I could adjust the heat pump settings (which the installer completely flubbed.)

      My washer is a HE model which is great, BUT it leaves a TON of lint on my clothes, so it's really nice to be able to run stuff through even for just a few minutes to get the lint off.

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  12. As I am reading this I'm thinking please don't try to change out the latch and hoping at the same time an injury isn't about to happen. After years of used appliances I always look to see if a door can be changed if it doesn't open the direction I prefer. Good job!!

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    1. Ha! Spoken like a person who has experience in this department. I actually consider it to be a small miracle that I managed this one with no harm to myself, the parts or others!

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