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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Trying to do too much with too little

I'm a frugal guy -cheap, if you want to be unkind. However, sometimes even I have to back away from a job when I'm trying to be too thrifty.

Today I pulled out the old washing machine. The new one is coming in Tuesday. Somehow I got the bright idea I should really fix the water supply to the washing machine. A few years ago a lot my plumbing froze. It was a mad scramble to get the house up and running again. All the plumbing to the laundry room froze and broke. My temporary fix was to run a single cold water PEX pipe with a garden hose shut off on the end. The best thing that could be said for that kludge was that it worked and didn't leak.

Of course, now we have a new washing machine and a proper shut off valve would be nice. Same goes for a hot water supply. I did have to buy the shut off valve, but tried to do the rest of the job with salvaged and stored parts. Probably got about 80% of the job done, but finally gave it up as a bad deal. The straw that broke the camel's back was having a salvaged fitting leak, after laboriously trying to reuse it.

Finally it occurred to me that it would not be the end of the world to buy a half handful of brand new parts. The job could be finished tomorrow. Continuing on would only make me crazy. I could fabricate parts, steal bits from other projects, and eventually make it work in a day or so. On the other hand, I could drive to town, get the right parts, and be done in under an hour.

That's the plan. With the time saved, I'm going to take the sailboat around the lake a few times.



  1. maybe a bit of future insight find what parts will fail first in your new washer and start purchasing them over the months of operation... there be a lot less of finding if someday "parts unavailable at any price" become the frustration when it is time to fix the new clunky tinkertoy...

    just an idea to think about...


  2. There's very little on the new machines that I can fix. I've resigned myself to that. If it can't be serviced, it'll be one more piece of expensive junk -like everything else most people have. Best keep a few buckets and plungers handy for the long run.

  3. In a similar vein, I like to salvage components from broken electronics devices for my own experimentation. I have observed that there is very little that is worth salvaging, or can be reasonably salvaged, from most modern (made within the past 10 years) consumer electronics.