Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm Gonn Fix That Dryer, One Way Or The Other!

It's you and me, clothes dryer. At the conclusion of this exercise, either you're going to work, or you're out. Unless, of course, I blow myself to kingdom come in the process. If that's the case, I'm taking you out with me. Got it? Good.

   Oh. Hi! Ya heard that, huh?
    I am by no means a handyman. We'll call that a strike before I start when it comes to my chances of successfully fixing the dryer. What I am is two things: 1) damn stubborn when I want to be, and 2) durable.
   The results when I try to fix something are pretty good. I have only a dim idea of what I'm doing, but I keep hacking away at a solution until I find one that works.
   Sometimes the results are pretty funny. A couple of years ago I put a new light fixture in my den. I have hard-earned respect for electricity, so I powered down the entire second floor of the house when I did the job. I wired the fixture, went to the basement, turned on the power upstairs, then went back up to check my work.
   The light fixture was off. That meant I did something wrong. So...stubbornly, I got back on the swivel chair... That's right. I was standing on a swivel chair with a pair of pliers, reaching above my head to disconnect a light. By the time I realized the power was on--because I commented on something said on the TV in the room--it was too late. I did forty-three pirouettes and lay on the floor in a puddle of brain goo, saying, "Bzzzzt! TV ON, POWER ON! Moron! huvvuvuvuvvvvvv."
    The problem with the dryer has been going on for a few days now. It runs for a few minutes, then stops. It's like something physical is blocking something else physical.
    I went online and looked at a variety of trouble-shooting sites. The motor isn't burned out in the dryer. I'm pretty sure of that. I think the culprit is lint.
   I washed the lint trap and put it back in. That didn't fix the problem. Then (feel free to laugh soon), I pulled the panel under the door off. There's another lint trap there. It was full. FULL! So I took it up to the bathtub and scraped and scrubbed it.
   If you ever do that, be smarter than I was. Clean the tub before your wife goes to take a shower! She thought I had washed the fur off both of our cats and left it for her to find. After she finished screaming, she went looking for the animals. When she found them, she knew she had me to blame, but wasn't sure she really wanted to know what it was I washed that covered the bath tub with off-white fuzz. No. I did NOT tell her what it was.
   Reassembling the dryer wasn't easy. It would have been easy, but my wife knows me well. She hides her tools for fear I might try to use do things like foul the bath tub with gray fuzz. She's not wrong, in case you haven't figured that out.
   I put the cover back on with a screw driver and a socket (couldn't find the socket wrench, but I found the sockets). I might have cussed a bit.
   That didn't solve the problem.
    I removed the lint thing again and looked behind it. That was when I saw the cone of flame that is the provider of the gas heat that dries the clothes. It glowed blue and hot when I started the dryer with that panel off. I should probably apologize to my neighbors for the girlish screams they endured until the flames went out. I'm pretty glad dryer manufacturers build safeties into those things.
    I put the panel back on. Took me a while with the screwdriver and the socket. I blame that on the fact that I was trying to do that without sticking my face near the cone of fire that lives in the dryer.
  The problem was, and remains, unsolved. I think there's more lint. I think I have to remove the exhaust hose (it's one of those collapsible metal tubes) from the dryer and the outside vent and run a cat through it to clear it of lint. With the amount of lint I washed down the bath tub drain (give yourself twenty points if you think that will be my next repair job), I think it's highly probable my dryer vent is clogged.
   The last time I checked that hose, I found a dead bat. No kidding! He came in from outside in a life-changing quest for warmth, and ended up getting his fabric softened...

So tomorrow, after my wife goes to school, I'm going to remove that exhaust hose. I'll put a bit of catnip in one end and a cat at the other, then go upstairs and pour myself a cup of coffee. If, when I go back to the basement, I see what looks like at least two cats, I'll call the operation a success and put the exhaust hose back on.

...Then I'll ask my wife to finish the laundry.


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