Just plain “maintain” drains mainly from the brain

Given the price of service these days, knowing how to fix stuff around the house is an absolute necessity these days:

If I didn’t have the ability to make a lot of basic repairs to my own appliances and devices, I’d have been out thousands of dollars more over the past several years, replacing the lemons that US corporations seem to manufacture so well.

Then again, manufacturers would much rather you not be able to fix things at all:

[T]he hippy washing machine threw a code. Yes, a code, because while our dryer is circa 1996 and uses the same technology as 1970 dryers, our washing machine has the pants of fancyness. It has CODES, people. Codes that tell you nothing. We basically will do anything to avoid another visit from the Hippy Washing Machine Repair Guy, if only because his Mercedes-Benz makes my Murano feel ashamed of itself. Again, to the internet, where the root cause was either a Faboozle or a Schlamozzle, but to get to those things, Ward actually had to build wooden stands so that they could tip the washing machine on its side. I am not making this up. The man built temporary wooden STANDS to fix our washing machine.

Suddenly I have these almost warm feelings toward Sears, Roebuck and Company, from whom I bought all these big bulky appliances just packed full of “obsolete” technology, on which I’ve managed to spend $0.00 on repairs in the last eight years. (Let’s see if the Appliance Jinx kicks in.)


  1. Tatyana »

    28 November 2011 · 8:06 pm

    knocking on all available wood

  2. robohara »

    28 November 2011 · 9:00 pm

    The former owners of our new home left behind a three-year-old GE side-by-side stainless steel refrigerator. Our first night in the house we heard the sound of howling wind and checked every window for a breeze. Turns out, it was the fridge.

    I searched Google and found the problem; my refrigerator had an outdated bios, and needed a new motherboard. The outdated bios was causing the defrost fan to continually spin up and power down, and the only solution was replacing the motherboard (for $125). I wish I were kidding.

    Whenever people ask me about home repairs I always pretend to look around and joke, “so where’s the hard drive?” I wonder how much longer I’ll be able to use that joke.

  3. CGHill »

    28 November 2011 · 9:19 pm

    Almost an argument for going back to the old iceboxes, if anyone were still producing ice in sufficient volume.

  4. Rita »

    28 November 2011 · 9:54 pm

    Ahhh, well here is where having 3, yes count ’em THREE immediate family members service technicians for Sears appliances, which now includes servicing all appliances comes in handy for me.

    Never heard ONE good word on a GE appliance. And the newer the appliance of any maker equals the lesser amount of reliability.

    My husband, who has been a tech for Sears for 40 years now will tell you the more gadgets any appliance has, the more troubles you will have.

    This morning our 20 year old Whirlpool fridge’s top light bulb finally gave up the ghost. It’s a side-by-side we bought from the Sears scratch and dent store and the only thing wrong with it was a small dent on the side that fits perfectly hidden behind the cabinet. I sent hubby a text at work to get a new bulb. He asked for the model number and I (jokingly) told him I couldn’t read it because the bulb was out. No mother boards or any other latest technology to go out. Just a simple light bulb.

    Our Bosch dishwasher stuck on the final one minute last year and although he never worked on them, he googled it, found the issue, taped the timer together and it’s been good ever since, although I never leave it run unless we’re home (just in case).

    Washer and Dryer are also 20 years old. I thought it would be nice to have some new front loaders (even though he normally does the laundry), but apparently there are all kinds of issues with those new models, including mold around the seal.

    If you want to replace an appliance of any type or brand, you best plan on socking some money back to replace within just a few years. New appliances will not last like the old ones did. Wonder why.

  5. CGHill »

    28 November 2011 · 9:59 pm

    The closest I’ve come to actual trouble with the laundry twins stems from two interlocking facts:

    (1) they’re out in the garage;

    (2) it got down to five below earlier this year.

    Now the garage is in fact decently insulated, so it didn’t get much below freezing out there, but bringing the faucets back on line and starting a cycle did cause a few anxious moments until the water actually started moving.

    I figure if they can survive that, they can survive almost anything I throw at them.

  6. fillyjonk »

    29 November 2011 · 7:16 am

    So far, the Kenmore washer and dryer that came with the house (and therefore are more than 10 years old) are doing well. They are very basic models, and I have a suspicion that the most basic model of anything is going to be less likely to crap out unexpectedly than the models with bells and whistles.

    Periodically I look at my stove (A GE model, I think) with concern, but it’s not failed me yet. So far all I’ve had to replace was a 20+ year old water heater (and I figure that thing was on borrowed time for quite a while) and a dishwasher. Oh, and the roof, but that’s not exactly an appliance, and that was more to make the insurance company happy than because it had worn out.

    On the other hand, small stuff – like the “net lights” my parents use as outdoor decorations – seem to be intended to be disposable after one season’s use.

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