Two things that have changed significantly since I left Microsoft and started airplane mechanic school: I have more time to do things around the house, because I no longer work punishingly long days; I know how to fix things because I have actually been learning at airplane mechanic school.
The factors came together over my last break as I went on a repair spree around the house. I was spurred partly by long-running annoyance at things that had been wonky for a while – a leaky refrigerator and a broken stove burner and partly by some emergent issues – a dishwasher that wouldn’t spray water and a car that wasn’t running quite right.
Eventually I emerged triumphant over all the problems. I attribute this partly to good internet search skills, partly to my ever-improving troubleshooting skills and partly to newfound confidence that I can figure this kind of thing out. Behold some pictures from my projects:
This was the culprit in my car problems – the connector broke off one of my distributor wires. Thanks to those nifty diagnostic probes they have these days I was able to pinpoint the problem in a hurry, and, about $100 and a couple of hours later, I was back on the road.
Next was the stove. Turns out you can buy replacement igniters, which reminded me a bit of turbine igniters, except, much, much, smaller. I also felt confident working around the gas lines, since I have successfully built hydraulic lines at school. Also, I didn’t measure the dents in my stove lines, but a visual check says they are within limits.
And then there was the dishwasher. See that little black disk? That’s the pump that brings water up into the spinning arms. It’s a constant-displacement vane-type pump, in case you were interested. The plastic thing next to it is what makes it turn. It broke off but for about $75 (!) I was able to get a replacement kit, which included the part in steel. So, should be the last time I have to replace it. The second picture is where the pump mounts. That wing-like thing is what chops up any food that makes it into the dishwasher. Who knew?
And, finally, the leaky fridge. There were two problems here. One was the evaporator tray. This is where the water is collected that is condensed out of the inside of the refrigerator – moisture that gets inside when you open it, or when you put really steamy, hot food in there. It had a crack. The picture is of the original tray, which I tried to patch with Gorilla tape, a few weeks ago. It looked OK, but I didn’t trust it for the long term, so I bit the bullet and paid $45 (!) for a new one (seriously, it’s a thin plastic tray – highway robbery).
The other leak was the casing for the water filter. The hose fittings were leaking and rather than spend a ton of time figuring out if I could replace them, I again bit the bullet and bought a new one. Now I can use the water dispenser without dispensing water all over under the fridge.
One other problem, which I had attributed to my uneven floors until I got back there and had a look, was a wheel that didn’t quite reach the floor (and wasn’t adjustable). It turned out the framing had gotten bent somehow, so I pounded it straight with a hammer and block of wood – my fridge now has four on the floor!