Stuff’s Breaking all Over

I was chatting with the fellas while volunteering at the Church this Sunday about doing house maintenance chores. What started the conversation is this:


What’s that you say?

That is a torsion spring. It balances the weight of a garage door. Without them, the door weighs like three tons. I hit the button Saturday to open the garage, it went up a foot and stopped. I did that twice and realized what happened.

The parts were nowhere that I could find. I had to order them.

But back the discussion. That task, my friends agreed, was one they’d pay to have fixed. Of course, they are ‘older’ gentlemen. Springs can be pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. But I have the tools and have done it before. Replacing them is pretty straightforward. Just keep your gob and your arms away from the tensioning rods. Things go pear shaped and you’ll be out some teeth, and probably your jaw.

The thing is, that’ll be a $200+ repair. The springs cost me $90.

I get it though. There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t do any longer, and never would like Roofs and foundations. But I’ll replace springs, even on my car, all day long.

When I got back, I was fixing something for lunch and I saw a huge stream of water coming from my roof. That would be the AC overflow pump.

I installed it years ago because the drain for the AC got clogged. I realized this when I opened the kitchen closet and there was 1/2″ of water on the floor. (My AC unit is on the ground floor, in a closet. This drain usually is connected to a plumbing drain).

So what I did was install a sump pump like we had back in Virginia, as an overflow.


Redneck Engineering at it’s finest.

When the drain backs up, the water goes into the pump and gets sent outside. That’s how I know the draing is clogged. Far better than finding all the crap in the bottom of your kitchen closet waterlogged and your hardwood floors buckling.

So I got my power snake and got busy.

“What are you doing? Drilling something?” says Herself.

Nope, I’m clearing the drain. I showed her my fancy tool.

Get’r Done

It’s at Horrid Fright for $109. I caught a sale back when the bathroom sink was clogged and only paid $89. A plumber would’ve been over $140, easy, to come snake the drain. I know, because that was what was added to my tab when they cleared the main drain, then I had them look at the bathroom sink. Next time the sink had issues, I did it myself.

So it’s already paid for itself.

While I was at it, I replaced the AC filter. Usually that’s done with maintenance that costs $140/year. I keep spares.

The next morning, I got up, let the dogs out, and hit the shower.

No hot water. Dammit. So I had a cold shower, fed the dogs, and went into the garage, which is heating up, to size up the hot water heater. Couldn’t get the thing lit. That is classic; a bad thermocouple. I’ve had to change them before as well.

I had a meeting in the morning, so I swung by Lowes after and picked one up. A whopping $12.

The Thermocouple is the black tube with the rounded top.

Took awhile figuring out how to get the burner assembly out. But I did. And futzed with removing the coupler all the while sweating like a champion. Couldn’t open the garage door, you see.

It was a headache getting it back into the heater. But I got it eventually, even though the bushing for the gas tube/Thermocouple/Igniter popped out.

It lit up, good as new:

A plumber to come out and fix that would’ve been at least $150.

Keep in mind, they all mark up parts 2X.

At the low end, I figure if I were like my pals, I’d be out over $700 just for the weekend. Probably more. $1K wouldn’t surprise me.

I’m out $112.

Get some tools. You can get a set at Sam’s or Harbor Freight cheep – like $100. Fixing stuff isn’t hard. It’s easy to learn.