Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lucky or Clueless? Lessons Learned!

Lately we have been having a string of good luck!  Well, I like to call it luck but really, it just shows how clueless one can be in this consumerist world.  Recently we have had a string of appliances stop working - to the tune of what could have been over $1,000 in replacements.  Fortunately, that was not our fate.  As DIY hobbyists, we are willing to give a fix a try before hiring it out.  Of course, that is not where this story begins.

Almost a year ago, we bought our dream home, our forever house.  We purchased a foreclosure and as you know, you get what you get and you can't get upset.  While our home was in relatively good condition, there were lots of little things that resulted in a series of small repairs and cosmetic fixes.  There were items that have not worked perfectly since we took possession, but we figured we would just use them until we couldn't use them any more.


Notice the high ceilings!  Not an easy
install for this large, heavy fixture.
The previous owner took several of the light fixtures from our home so we needed to replace them.  This was not a problem as we got to select fixtures that were our taste and not the builder standard which is the same in every home in the neighborhood.  We headed over to the Habitat for Humanity store and found several awesome fixtures, two of which were new, in the box!  LUCKY! 

My husband installed them himself.  After installing (and uninstalling) the fixture in the formal dining room - 3 times - I posed the question, could it be the light switch!  Of course, it was.  We had already picked up a contractor box of light switches as many of the switches in our home were damaged (see pic).  After a quick, 2 minute install, we had light!

Notice how the switch has been popped from abuse.
It still works but looks bad.  We had LOTS of these!
Lesson Learned: 
If something doesn't work - check the switch!

Garbage Disposal

Our garbage disposal has been temperamental since we moved in. We would flip the switch and it was hit or miss as to whether it would turn on or not. You could generally flip the switch a few times and it would finally click on. Well, this week, it stopped coming on all together. We knew we would have to replace it eventually and decided to wait until it finally gave out.  So we headed to the hardware store, picked up a $200 new garbage disposal and set out to install it.

Fortunately for us, since we bought the same brand, we decided not to replace the mounting bracket. So my husband pulled out the old one, installed the new one. We flipped the switch and, yep, nothing! So hmmm, could it be the light switch? Or the outlet? Of course! Lucky for us, it was a $.95 switch - not a $200 appliance! Happy dance!

Notice the proximity to sink - Not surprising that it could need replacing!

So of course, we reinstalled our old dirty smelly garbage disposal and saved ourselves $199!  I know, who wouldn't want a nice shiny, stench-free sink and disposal - but honestly, I want the money more than that.  I can clean my sink later!

Lesson Learned: 
If something doesn't work, check the switch! 
(Seeing a pattern here!?!)

Garage Door Opener
So, a couple of weeks ago when our garage door opener finally gave in.  For several days we needed to wait in the driveway to make sure that it closed all of the way.  Then one evening, when we returned home the garage door lifted part-way up before it slammed down - the gear broke and the chain dropped.  My husband was super busy that week so we called on a friend who recently worked for an overhead door company to help us out. 

We went out and bought a new, $200 garage door opener and our friend was going to install it.  He came over, took one look at it and said, return the garage door opener! I can fix it.  (Love him!!!) He went out, picked up a $35 replacement part and within 15 minutes had it fixed - and I might add, it hasn't ran that smooth since we bought the house.
Returned tot he store - saved us $165!!!  Yeah Us!!!

Unfortunately, I came home from dropping the kids off last week and the garage door was half open - it had not closed completely again.  Turns out, this issue is completely unrelated to the fix needed above.  Garage door openers have an eye sensor near the base of the door that when triggered, does not allow the door to close which is important if you have kids, pets, etc.  Well, if the sunlight hits it just right, it too can cause the sensor to be triggered.  Our home faces south and evidently, the sun this time of year here in Arizona is at the perfect angle to trigger the door to stop.  Simple solution, I taped a piece of paper around the sensor to shield the sun.  So far, so good!

Lesson Learned: 
If something doesn't work, check the switch
call a friend who knows what they are doing! 

Washing Machine

New Washer - Awesome Capacity!

As mentioned in my laundry room update post, my washing machine recently stopped working.  I will admit, we did not call a repairman.  Instead we went on impulse and purchased a new washer.  There were several reasons for this.  The biggest being that our old washer had a VERY small capacity.  The washer was purchased pre-children when most of our clothes was sent to the dry cleaners.  Now with growing kids, our laundry has grown 10 fold. 

Lesson Learned: 
When something doesn't work, go with your heart and
replace it with what you really want and need!


So, are we lucky or Clueless?  Probably a bit of both, but I am going with lucky as we saved lots of money and only lost a little time as we fumbled through our own DIY adventures!

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1 comment:

  1. I think you are Lucky and BRILLIANT! And was so excited to see you live in AZ...as do I! So is the pic at the top of your blog your actual 'forever home'? I've been on your blog before...always love the name! Good work on all your projects...and wishing you more LUCK on projects to come!


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