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Monday morning, I get a text, 8:08 a.m..

I feel the phone buzz, but I don’t look at it right away. Lez is the only one that texts me at that hour, so I’m 95% sure it’s from her.

Maybe my beautiful, adoring wife is wishing me a happy Monday… or summarizing how much in love she is with me, or how awesome it is that we are so perfect for each other and how lucky we are to have each other and how wonderful our family is.  How she can’t wait to see me at lunch and how she wishes she could give me a big hug right now.

With a little smirk I look at my phone.  The text is indeed from my wife.

“The dryer has no heat”

Love is great, but not when she only has 20 minutes to get ready for work.

After swearing silently, I reply; “what’s the setting?”

Now, my wife can type 80+ words a minute.  She can text just as fast.  I am a two thumb texter.  Before she can answer, I just call.  I’m not texting directions to fix something I can’t fix.

After turning it off and on several times with no heat, I tell her I’ll look at it at lunch.  And my mind sets into the mode of what if’s.

In between assignments, I scour the internet looking for clues on how to fix this.  The dryer is only a year old… and a few weeks out of warranty.  Even so, a repair appointment could take weeks to arrange… so yeah, we can’t dry our clothes.

There are much worse things in life.  Make no mistake.

At lunch I go home to examine the semi-functioning appliance.  I know NOTHING about appliance repair.  Not a thing.  I turn it off an on.  I unplug it.  I clean the lint out of the trap.  I jiggle the entire machine.  Turn it on… no heat.  I irrationally freak out.  Slam the dryer door… luckily not damaging the machine even more.  Not smart, I know.  Lez calls a repair service three towns over.  Can’t come today…will cost us $85 for them to look at the machine.  Parts and labor will be more… after they figure out the problem.  Theoretically, the repair could be as expensive as a new one.

I tell her to hang up.  I’m going to fix this. ( It wasn’t as dramatic as that, trust me)

I go back to web… clarify the problem and find some answers.  These answers could ALL be wrong, but what do I have to lose?

Eventually I conclude that the heating coil and/or thermostat are bad.  Again, I could be totally wrong… but I order the parts anyway.  $124.00. Now, I’m invested in the solution.

The company said the parts wouldn’t arrive until Friday.  But, they arrived on Wednesday.  That’s a good thing on two levels. One – I don’t have to air dry my jeans waiting for the parts that may not fix the dryer and Two- I don’t have to spend the entire week thinking I’m going to break the busted dryer even more and have to buy a new one.

Monday night I took the dryer completely apart.  I mean TOTALLY apart.  Pieces of the machine lay silent all over our house.  If I saw a screw I loosened it.  If I saw a wire connector, I unconnected it. The online how-to videos say the parts should just slide out… bullshit.  Nothing came out without having to be unscrewed, unconnected or pried.  I put all the screws in a cereal bowl… because that’s smart, right?

Have you ever taken something completely apart?  It’s an odd head space.  Not only do you see how something works, you can also see how it can break.  This makes me even more weird about trying to fix it.

Wednesday afternoon – I replace the heating unit.  Screw everything in, put all the parts back together…lock the lid.  No parts are left over. I cut myself twice on the unfinished aluminum parts.  Cleaned up most of the blood.

There are still A LOT of screws left in the cereal bowl.  Obviously I missed some.  Oh well.  Gone too far to turn back now.

Hook the vent up. Plug it in.  I make sure the fire extinguisher is handy before I hit the power button.  Hey, I’m confident in a lot of what I do… this is not one of those things.

Turn it on.

It starts to run.  No weird squeaks.  Nothing is violently shaking.  Sounds and looks normal.

But is there heat?

Open the door and the air inside the drum is hot.  Cool.

But wait, is it supposed to be THAT hot?  Seriously.  I haven’t a clue.  Maybe this is a bad thing.  Maybe it’s going to catch fire.  Maybe… I’m overreacting.  Maybe it’s fine.

Three loads of towels later… it’s still fine.

So, I’m telling you all that to tell you this – try and figure it out.  Even if you’ve never been in the situation and you’re freaking out irrationally. You may just learn something.

You may also make it worse, but at least you tried.

One Reply to “The Dryer Chronicles and the Art of Figuring it Out”

  1. well done sir! always take photos as you take it apart, it helps putting it back together =]

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