Wash and Dry

I have a stackable, front load washer and dryer (Kenmore Elite).  They have well served our laundry hub meeting our clothes and linen cleaning  needs of an active family and erratic piddling by canine/feline companions.  Two weeks ago, my dryer failed--throwing a basic need into a tailspin of inconvenient alternatives.  I don't have a clothes line (more on that later).  My SIL graciously allowed me to use her dryer.  I did, but only for a couple of loads. Reade schlepped to Hannah's house to dry his clothes.  My SR property has a really nice Whirlpool dryer.  I hauled clothes over there to perform the bulk of my drying duties not wishing to burn Kw's of others.

Regarding my not having a clothes line.  Despite many communities that ban such things, I don't live in a community such as that.  My mother hung clothes all the time.  It is a great energy conservation activity, but it takes (1) lots of time; (2) subjects clothes to debilitating effects of sun; (3) exposes your hands to damp conditions when it is very cold outside.  I will have none of that. Plus...I don't have enough sunlight filtering through our mature trees to dry the clothes.

After doing a little research, I convinced my handy husband that we could fix the dryer ourselves.  I determined that the likely culprit was either the heating element or some thermal fuse (two of the most frequently purchased repair parts).  I purchased both at the Sears outlet.

In addition to acquiring the parts, we went through the disassembling of the vents to ensure that the air was flowing frequently.  The hose, the fixed portion of the duct as well as the internal parts of the dryer (after removing the front cover), all had copious amounts of animal hair and dust. Of course, behind and underneath the stacked units, we found all manner of debris.

 I really do clean my filter after every load--but you would never know that from what we pulled out.  No wonder dryers catch on fire.  There was enough tinder in there to start several fires.  If you have animals and animal hair in your life, cleaning your dryer vents and internal cabinetry would be a useful project this weekend--and ought to be a scheduled maintenance item.

I was very confident that we had the right fix with our cleaning and my acquisition of the parts.   However, the pulling the element out of the housing was difficult--as it seemed to be petrified from the dust etc.  We finally had to pull the entire sleeve out (which required taking apart the supports and disconnecting the wires from the thermal cut off and the high limit switch) and take a block of wood and a hammer to beat it out. 

The new element went in about as easily as it came out (which also required wood and hammer--which I accomplished on my own while husbando and son were looking in garage).  I simply took the wooden end of the knife sharpener and tapped on the end with a pair of Kleins.  I was gentle, and it worked perfectly.  Reassembling the wires (which my husband did not take best notice of when he disconnected them) to the thermal cut off and the HL Thermostat proved problematic  The dryer just beeped unhelpfully after all connections were 'restored.'

I thought I had the correct  wiring diagram, but apparently not.  The wiring harness did not appear to want to reach.  After successive, failed efforts, soon there was a cascade of cursing tumbling out of my husband's mouth--along with admonitions that I should NOT ask him to do these types of repairs.  I want to go on the record stating that I have NEVER had a "honey do" list.  NEVER.  So do not think for a minute that my asking him to undertake this repair was unreasonable.  It is something that WE (not he) could and should be able to do.

Any how....the cursing came from the 'one last attempt' to make the electrical connections work.  Unfortunately, the end result was the sickening 'snap' of the  the terminal end of either the high limit switch or the thermal cut off (I don't know the difference and they are sold as a pair) snapping off--drowning any spark of hope that I would get to dry clothes that evening.

Off to Sears the next day.  Whirlpool part was not in the store but had to be delivered in.  Off to Cashwell's just 1/2 mile from the Sears outlet.  They had the parts in stock.  I also bought a dryer vent brush. Dryer exhaust's are like our arteries....when they get clogged, bad things happen.

In addition to fixing the dryer, we were told by an appliance repair friend to check the leveling of the washer.  My husband did that.  We installed the broken switch, and were delighted that after so many days of not having a dryer, the dryer was now functioning perfectly.

Time to wash clothes!  Mid cycle, the washer started beeping.  I went to the internet (bless the professionals who freely share their knowledge).  Removed the front cover (okay, my husband did this after my failed attempt); opened the pump housing (captured as much of the pouring out water as I could) and found all manner of 'stuff'--bottle cap other debris.  I cleaned the filter with my pride cup over my accomplishment running over.  I reassembled and re-started the load.  Same fault code.  Cursing.  The other 'source' of the fault code is water supply.  The cold water had been turned off.  I turned it on.  Now, all is well in Leisa land on the clothes washing and drying front.

I reported my success and my finding to my husband.  "Oh, yeah.....I forgot that I turned the cold water off when I was moving the the stuff around."  He would have turned the hot water off if that valve were not frozen (as I found out too).

My inner -- McGyver is  well and good.  I figure that we saved about $200 in figuring this stuff out ourselves; and caused my husband about $400 in frustration.  Oh well...the economics of relationships is best not measured that way.


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