This Does Not Compute

Technology, gaming, music and things that just don't compute

I’m ready for stuff to just work for a while

I had a bad weekend.

It all started Thursday night. As I try to fall asleep, I started hearing a rhythmic tapping sound. As such things drive me absolutely insane when in an otherwise silent room, I had to figure out what it was. Turned out to be water dripping onto the windowsill, coming from between the window and the top trim. At first I thought it might just be condensation, so I grabbed a towel and wiped it off, but the dripping continued. Great, I figured, the roof must be leaking from an ice dam.

I put the towel on the sill to catch the dripping and eventually fell asleep. The next morning, I managed to bail out of work early so I could try to remedy the leak. I got suited up in an old winter jacket, gloves and respirator and made my way into the attic. Eventually I discovered the source of the leak, two old nail holes in the sheathing where a steady drip was making its way though and seeping in between the top plate of the wall and the drywall (thankfully protected by vapor barrier, so no mold worries).

Covered in sawdust, sweat and blown-in fiberglass insulation, I kludged a solution to the dripping and got out of the attic. I had tracked said sawdust and insulation through the house during my several trips down to the garage for tools and supplies, so I threw my dirty jacket and clothes in the washer and fired up the Dyson to clean up the mess. I started the washer and took a shower. Soon I realized that, while the washer had filled the tub, it wasn’t moving to the next cycle (where it, you know, actually cleans the clothes). The big control knob on the front would buzz, click, and fall silent for 10 seconds before repeating. Furthermore, the smell of the magic smoke was starting to roll out of the unit.

I had known that the washer was going to give it up eventually. It was starting to make a loud scraping sound when going through the spin cycle, which I can only assume was a bearing that was worn. I hadn’t been too thrilled with the dryer either, since it only seemed to have one heat setting (“fires of hell”, despite the multiple positions the temperature control knob could be set at) and never liked to turn itself off when the clothes were dry. I knew that we’d need to replace the units eventually, but I had wanted to get the closet the machines reside in all fixed up first — paint the walls, new flooring, etc.

But it was done. Once the magic smoke comes out, there’s no putting it back in. The washing machine was dead. Dead, with its tub full of water and dirty clothes. Great.

Once my wife got home I related the story. It being a Friday evening, and our laundry usually getting done on the weekend, we headed out to get dinner and go shopping. We found a pair of machines that we liked and asked how soon they could be delivered. The sales guy pushed his delivery manager for a Saturday delivery, but it was just too late — all the Saturday delivery slots were taken. They squeezed us in for a Monday afternoon appointment.

Monday rolls around and I bail out of work early, again, so I can be there for the delivery. I got the old machines disconnected and pulled out of their upstairs closet to make the delivery guys’ lives a little easier, and discovered that there was an inch of water sitting in the panic pan underneath the washer. It’s probably a good thing that the unit died when it did, otherwise, knowing my luck, it would have ruptured midwash and dumped an entire tub of water.

But that got me thinking. Why was there standing water in the pan? It clearly had a drain in the middle of it; I should have been able to take a hose and pour all the water I wanted into the pan and it would have just drained down the sewer. I got a sponge and got all the water out of the pan, then pulled the grate from the drain. After close inspection, I found a plastic plate a couple inches down into the drain with “KNOCK OUT WITH HAMMER” embossed on it. Yep, they had never bothered to remove the drain knockout when they installed the pan back in 1992, when the house was built.

A swift blow with a hammer took care of that, and several gallons down the drain confirmed that, yes, it actually was hooked up to the sewer and should now function as originally intended. The delivery guys showed up soon after, and next thing I knew I had two shiny new clothes laundering machines. After much heaving, sweating, tweaking and cursing I managed to just barely get them connected and positioned in the closet — I had measured the closet and the machines before I bought them, but didn’t realize just how tight of a fit they’d be.

But they were in, and they worked. It was glorious.

Both units are significantly quieter than the ones they replaced — both running at the same time are still quieter than just the old dryer was. And while I’m not planning on pulling the units out again any time soon, I’m sure eventually I’ll get so pissed at looking at the spackle patches in the drywall that I’ll finally tackle the laundry closet remodeling project.

But first I want to just let stuff work for a while.


For those curious, here’s the kludge I came up with to temporarily stop the dripping by the window. It redirects the water out into the soffit, where it can drain outside through the venting. Yes, I’m quite sure it violates several building codes. No, I really don’t care right now.


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