Ms. Fix-It

A couple of years ago, I upgraded to a large-capacity washer and dryer. With five kids in the house, we needed it! Laundry is one of those things that becomes out of control very quickly (like paperwork and dishes), and when I don’t keep up with it (or delegate to the older two boys … and they remember to do it) during the week (like this past week), then it makes for a weekend of practically non-stop washing.

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The bolt beneath the agitator that refused to budge. WD-40 and a ratchet wrench finally got it loose.

So, when the kids left to go swimming with Dad for a couple of hours this afternoon, I thought I would tackle the mountains of laundry: heaping baskets of sorted reds, khakis and whites, and an overflowing two baskets’ worth of blues, not to mention the towels and sheets. I started a load of blues, and a few minutes into the cycle, it stopped and beeped with an error message. I thought perhaps I had put too many jeans in, so I took out some of the soggy clothes and tried restarting the cycle, to no avail. I broke down and Googled the make and model to try to troubleshoot an answer. All signs pointed to a clogged drain pump. Joy.

When the boys got home, I was up to my elbows in washing machine parts. I had watched a couple of how-to YouTube video on drain pumps and managed to disassemble both pumps from underneath the washer. Fortunately and unfortunately, they were both clear of debris.

The unfortunate part meant that the debris was between the basket and the plastic housing, not the drain pump. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked at a washing machine basket before, but the outside is like a gigantic cheese grater — it’s not something you can just reach your arm down and pick up what has lodged itself in there. Besides, it’s a very tight fit. I tried bbq tongs and a broomstick, but they were both too big &/or not long enough.

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You could grate a LOT of cheese with that basket!

Ms. Independent Streak wanted to do it all herself — pride and stubbornness kept me from asking for help, but my ex had come inside when he dropped off the boys, and he offered to help. He ended up being quite useful, since the machine was very heavy, and I couldn’t have lifted out the basket by myself (or even with the 13yo’s help, as much as he likes to think he’s practically a grown-up). After finally torquing a cuss-worthy bolt that refused to budge, we were able to get the basket out.

Three socks, two pair of underwear, a pair of swim trunks and a now-shredded t-shirt were hiding between the cheese grater and the washer housing.

With those culprits thrown away, reassembling the machine was a little easier than taking it apart, since I knew where everything went. I was a little frustrated that I removed the drain pumps for no reason, but at least now I know how to do it.

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This is a drain pump. It isn’t terribly complicated to remove/install, but my hands are sore from pinching all those clamps.

The washer is back in tip-top shape now, woohoo!

Take-away lessons from this experience:

  1. Even high-capacity washers have limits; don’t overfill them, or else you may have to dismantle the whole d@mn thing to retrieve the mangled clothing that slips over the edge of the basket.
  2. I am going to ask Santa for outlandish pink tools, so that no one messes with my stuff & I can find a proper wrench when I need it!
  3. I need more tools, especially an electric screwdriver.
  4. Cussing at inanimate objects (out of earshot of the kids) does not loosen stubborn bolts, but it makes me feel a little better.
  5. It’s a little awkward to work together on things around the house, since we don’t both live here anymore, but I’m grateful that we get along and can work together when we need to. I think that gives a positive impression to the boys that we really are trying to be “partner parents.”
  6. Note to self: do more laundry during the week, so it doesn’t pile up on the weekends.

5 thoughts on “Ms. Fix-It

  1. You’re such a can-do girl, Ang – my washer is on the fritz too and you’ve inspired me to get out the flashlight and tools and have a crack at fixing it! Thanks for the nudge.

  2. Awesome — you can do it, girl! You can find just about any owner’s manual online nowadays; however, my manual prompted me to call for service for that particular issue. Pish, posh. Hooray for how-to videos on YouTube!

  3. WOW!!! You have finally solved the age old mystery of what happens to socks that disappear in the wash! The washing machine really did eat them!!! So proud of you for fixing it. I’ll readily admit that you didn’t get your DIY skills from your mama!

  4. Pingback: Car: 0, Ang: 1 | faith, sweat & tears

  5. Pingback: DIY Replacing a Toilet | faith, sweat & tears

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