Friday, August 08, 2014

When appliances go bad

The freezer door fell off again!  This was quite dramatic as the freezer is above the refrigerator and the door hits the floor with a bang.  When it first happened I was shocked and could not see how to repair it, so I called in an expert.  You don't have to be a refrigeration engineer to fix a refrigerator door, but he did it in a few minutes and charged NIS 350 ($100).  I asked him why he charged so much for such a quick repair, and of course he said it was for his expertise in knowing how to do it.
I watched what he did, he took the short steel rod that connected the two doors together as a hinge and pulled it up, since it had slipped down into the fridge door, allowing the upper freezer door to become unhinged and fall off.  Once he had the rod projecting above the lower fridge door, he fixed it in place with some white glue or caulk, and then put the freezer door back on, although he had to remove the upper hinge at the top of the freezer door first and then replace it afterwards.   So when it happened a second time some months later, I knew what to do and I fixed it.  But it only lasted for a few months.
It is a very poor design, because the small rod simply gradually slips down into the lower fridge door, leaving the upper freezer door disconnected. After it happened again and the glue I used obviously didn't work any better than the expert's glue, I decided what it needs is a tight ring around the rod to prevent it slipping down.  I thought of an "O" ring, but then I found just the right thing, some plastic connectors that came with the metal shelving that I installed years ago.  By cutting them down I was able to force them over both ends of the steel rod and then push them down so that both sides above and below the hinge between the doors were prevented from moving.  I put glue around them and then around the plastic connector on the hinge, then I put the upper door back on et voila.  Whether or not this will be another temporary fix, or a permanent one, remains to be seen.  But we are now careful as we open the freezer door, you never know what may happen, also we don't put heavy bottles in the fridge door.  So far I estimate that I have saved myself NIS 700.
Some clothes were coming out of our 18 year old Maytag washer with rust stains on them.  I contacted Jeff the Maytag man as to what to do.  He advised me that once the enamel bowl starts to rust there is nothing one can do about it.  In Israel he doesn't have replacements for these bowls in old models, so we might as well scrap it and buy a new washer, and he said that a new washer could cost from ca. NIS 2,400-4,500.  This was quite a shock for me.  Nevertheless I persisted, I wrote him an e-mail asking how to open up the washer, so I could judge the extent of the rust, after all it looked fine from the inside.  He wrote back that it was impossible to check the outside of the enamel bowl without special tools, and if I insisted on paying his fee he would come and check it.
So I invited him, and he came and opened up the washer and took out the bowl, and it seemed that there was very little rust.  He cleaned all the parts off, including a patch of what looked like rust-type material stuck in the bottom.  Then he put it back together and advised me to buy chamsat melach (hydrochloric acid) put a whole liter into a full tub of hot water in the washer, let it sit for 3 hours and then do a wash and then another wash to remove the acid.   Then we washed some clothes and there were no stains, so for a small fee I think I saved myself ca. NIS 2,400, at least for the time being.  With all these savings I think I can afford to spend some money on what I actually enjoy.


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