Sunday, October 23, 2011

My house smells like lighter fluid.

Okay, so sometimes I do some really stupid things. And the really, really stupid things are usually things I try when I think I'm being clever.

Jill being clever = trouble.

Case in point: The day I tried to fix—or "fix"—our dryer. We have a stacked washer/dryer and by "stacked" I mean "temperamental, abused, holy crap how soon can we get rid of this thing, oh wait we have to pay the mortgage, so I guess we keep it since technically it still works". One of the joys of the machine was the hideous squealing noise that came from the dryer. At first it was sporadic and you could only hear it if you were in the vicinity. Then it got louder...and louder...until one day, when DBF came home, he greeted me with, "What in the hell is that noise? You can hear it outside!"

So I decided I needed to eliminate the squeal.

Remember when I said you need to keep WD-40 around? Here's can usually silence squeaks and squeals with it.

These are our dryer innards. My first plan of attack was to lubricate the belt because sometimes they get squeaky. Using the little red straw that's now conveniently attached to the WD-40 can, I applied the lubricant to the belt.

You know, while the dryer was running.

It's important to do this while the dryer is running so that you get the WD-40 on the whole belt. At least that's the general rule of thumb when lubricating belts, I had never tried this on a dryer.

Unfortunately this squeak wasn't coming from the belt. Next plan of attack, lubricate the drum.

As you can see, the drum is much bigger than the belt. Instead of trying to apply the WD-40 to the drum with the little red straw which would take a very long time, I folded down the straw and went full on sprayer.

Better coverage faster.

Again...with the dryer running.

Now, the smart(er) way to do this would have been to have the dryer running on fluff heat. The belt and drum still turn, but there's no flame.

Flame?'s a gas dryer so there's going to be a flame.

And lots of lint and dust.

And Jill sprays a flammable liquid into the innards, with the flame going...and sets them on fire.

Well, just a little.

It wasn't a big fire, it was just a little one fueled mostly by the dust and lint that had accumulated over time. Fortunately I was able to blow out the fire pretty easily, so no harm was done.

Interesting thing about WD-40: When you torch it, it smells like lighter fluid.

Interesting thing about torching WD-40 in the room adjacent to your HVAC system: It makes the whole house smell like lighter fluid.

Fortunately the lighter fluid smell dissipated in a couple of days...and I killed the squeal.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The hole in our house.

We have a very old-fashioned kitchen exhaust fan. It's a hole...and it usually has a fan mounted in the hole, but in this picture, it's just a hole.  The fan's on/off "switch" is controlled by that dangling metal ball chain which also opens and closes a spring-loaded door.

Like I said, old-fashioned.

This picture with the fan removed and the door open begs the questions: Why did we remove the fan? And what's with the pot o' beans?

I'm so glad you asked.

Just a few nights ago, while making dinner, DBF tried to turn on the fan but the spring-loaded door was stuck. Spinning fan + closed door = bad. So I tried to un-stick the door by gently tapping on it with a long-handled no avail.

"I know how to fix this," came DBF's voice from the next room. He came back with the broom.

I should tell you that he had just gotten home from an 11 hour day, so he wasn't at his best. I should also tell you that while part of me knew this wouldn't end well, a much louder part of me was screaming, "I'm hungry!"

You see where this is going, right?

DBF successfully knocked the door loose with the broom handle. But he also popped the ball chain out of the connector, leaving us with a hole in the house we had no way to close.


Sometime after dinner...obviously neither of us was going to get much done on an empty stomach...we figured we should try to at least close the opening since it was 45 degrees outside. Fortunately once we removed the grate and the fan, it was simple enough to reach through the hole and pull the door shut.

Unfortunately, when we took the whole thing apart, we realized that the fan wasn't actually black metal, it was just black because it had 50 years of kitchen ick on it.

All together now... EEEEWWWWWWW.

Time to break out the big guns.

Krud Kutter. It works. Seriously.

Tools we used to fix this ick:

  1. Krud Kutter. It works. Seriously.
  2. Hammer. If you leave something in one place for 50 years, moving it is going to take some convincing.
  3. Flat head screwdriver. Apparently DBF would rather use a real screwdriver than my pocket knife.
  4. Bent-nosed pliers. Sure I bought these for jewelry-making, but pliers are pliers and when working in small spaces trying to pinch that little ball chain connector shut, these will certainly get the job done.
  5. Pocket knife. I'm totally cool with using my pocket knife's screwdriver when the knife is closer than the toolkit.
  6. Tongue and groove Channellocks. While we had it apart, DBF tried to adjust the switch to make it a little less finicky...he gets points for trying.

As for the pot o' beans, DBF made Boston Baked Beans from SCRATCH.

That's right people, not all baked beans come from a can. Who knew?