Friday, June 9, 2006

House Project: Fun With Appliances

There aren't many house project entries left, since we have moved in, and there is only one significant task left for the builder--epoxy painting the concrete to solve the problem of inconsistent coloration. But there are a few surprises, some of them amusing, some just irritating, that have come up since we moved in Monday night.

Washing Machine & Dryer

We have run a few very small loads through the washing machine, and it has worked just fine. Then, we put in something close to a real load--and during the final spin cycle, it started walking its way out from under the counter, headed north. ("You don't normally see that kind of behavior from a major appliance.") Then, after my wife turned it off (before it decided that it wanted to be Canadian), she noticed that the dryer wasn't drying clothes.

At this point, my wife, who has developed a certain level of anger at our builder for a certain lack of follow-through on details, was screaming his name. I opened up the installation manual for the washer--and it was still in an sealed bag, so much for following instructions--and saw that the walking problem was sometimes caused by the washer not being level.

I can't give an explanation for this behavior that would get much of a grade on a physics exam, but I have an intuitive feeling that vibration causes one leg to lift off the ground and then fall again. Because the leg is on a slope, it ends up in a slightly different location than last night. Repeat!

Sure enough, the washing machine was on a slight slope--and the downslope was north, its direction of migration. By this point, I was about to join my wife in cursing Scott's name. I leveled the washing machine--and it didn't much care. The washing machine kept saying, "I'm not American, eh?" and heading for the border.

The next step was to call GE Customer Care--and even without putting the phone up to the washing machine, the gal at the other end could tell that it was time for a service call. "Even if it weren't walking, that is not right!" It turns out that the earliest we can get someone out from Boise to look at this is next Tuesday--we are on the wilderness service route, I guess. Perhaps our service rep will arrive by dogsled, wearing bucksins. Maybe our builder should have leveled the washing machine, but that would not appear to be the core problem.

The dryer was a simpler solution--and the joys of good luck. As all of this appliance excitement was going on, a Suburban Propane truck arrived behind the house, on the back driveway. The driver was there to get the serial number off the undergound propane tank, so I asked him to check the dryer. (It runs on gas.)

Two problems: the gas valve behind the dryer was closed--making it rather difficult to dry clothes. The second problem was that the hose that connects the back of the dryer to the external vent was not hooked up, spewing lint on to the floor.

Now, my builder's excuse for the gas valve being closed was that this is a safety issue--you never turn that on until someone has moved in. Well, perhaps, but he knew we were moving in, and should have had that on his checklist.

I was prepared to believe that the hose pulled loose from the back of the dryer when the Suburban Propane guy pulled it out from under the counter--but when I climbed back there to hook it up, I noticed that the airplane clamp that holds the hose to the back of the dryer was so loose that it could not ever been connected. Groan.

Jetted Tub

I soaked my poor aching back in the jetted tub, and in spite of my initial concern some weeks ago that the jets weren't powerful enough for what we paid, I have changed my mind. They are powerful enough to provide some massage to sore muscles. But then I noticed that only three of the six vents were operating--and at least two of the round knobs above the water line that control the jets were just spinning freely, turning nothing.

So I called up WhirlJet, the maker of this tub. We have been in their factory showroom near Boise. The warranty service head at first claimed not to recognize this type of control as being a WhirlJet tub. I explained that we bought it at their factory showroom. Then I found the web page where our particular model appears. When last we talked on Thursday, she was insisting that the jets are controlled by a round flange around each jet. If so, I'm confused, because none of the flanges turn as she indicated that they should.

Aggravating matters is the water now has a faint greenish tinge--which from what one web site that I found (and have since lost) indicates, sounds like copper in solution, aggravated slightly acidic water sitting in pipes in warm weather.

Backup Generator Does Work

We had a lovely electrical storm last night--and we lost electricity briefly--and within a second, the backup generator had started up, and replaced the missing current. While not a problem for appliances to lose power for a second, desktop computers don't like that. It is probably time for uninterruptible power supplies for the desktops.

Last house project entry.

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