The Domain of Thoron October 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm
Guess who has two thumbs and the ability to install major appliances. THIS GUY.
Roughly six months before we moved from our townhouse to this, our purchased domicile (ours and the bank’s. Mostly the bank’s), we acquired a nice, new laundry team (which would be the worst super-hero group ever. THE LAUNDRY TEAM — FIGHTING STAINS AND GROUND IN DIRT AND CRIMINALS) consisting of a high-efficiency front loading washer and a similarly high-efficiency and front-loading matching dryer. Our townhouse had an electric hook-up for the dryer so this was copacetic. The new house, however, has gas and came with a roughly 30-year-old gas dryer which was, not to put too fine a point on it, not highly efficient. It would take a very, very long time to dry stuff, compared to the electric one.
You’ll note the past-tense use there. The old dryer was pretty useless. Amy’s been hanging our laundry on the line all summer (with nary an wind-drive shirt escapee since about May) but as there is frost in the forecast and apparently snow en route, the old dryer had to go and this was today’s entertainment.
I feel fairly certain that the dryer was purchased in 1979. There are several clues leading me to this assumption, viz. the patents under which it was constructed are listed with years beside them and there is none higher than 1978 with the notice ‘further patents pending’ alongside. Also, the warranty registration card was still in the manual and it is a punchcard, apparently for use in ENIAC or some similar unit.
The ‘flexible’ hose connecting it to the gas supply appears to have been installed in 1979 as well, and never, ever moved since. I suspect that someone with a lot of time on his or her hands and a decent mass spectrograph could go through the layers of lint and do a pretty fair reconstruction of the last 30 years of fashion based up on the makeup of the fibers contained within. I am not that person so I went in with broom and later vacuum cleaner to deprive science of this gift. The ‘flexible’ hose had become fairly rigid with age and would no longer turn freely in the sockets at either end. This forced me to just keep twisting it until it broke. Fortunately for me (and the house, and all our worldly goods), the former owner of the house hired somebody with at least a modicum of common sense to install the gas supply as there was a shutoff handy. After wresting the flexible tube from the grip of decades of disuse, I made a very quick and rather panicky trip to Rona to get a 4″ long cast-iron pipe and cap to form the belt to the shutoff’s suspenders. Just to be sure, I turned off the power to the whole house and flipped the furnace off just to make sure there were no sparks and left a note on the counter that said POWER IS OFF FOR A GOOD REASON. BACK A.S.AP. I used Teflon tape to seal the threads and it’s supposedly good to 100psi in gas situations so I am hoping that between the shutoff being shut off and the new cap, gas leaks won’t be a problem.
I’ll just take a moment here to say how great an invention the Stab-lok system of circuit breakers is. I am not particularly nervous about replacing outlets and fixtures and such things, but I have never taken on the installation of a new breaker before. On today’s first, non-panicky trip to Rona, I had picked up the 10-gauge, 3-wire (technically four wires counting ground), outlet box and breaker needed to actually power the newer dryer. I bought a dryer receptacle months ago at Home Depot. The installation was very, very straightforward.
- Mount the outlet box (surface mount because I am not really into cutting holes in the panelling that I intend to remove within the next five years)
- Run wire from box to panel, drilling hole in ugly panelling with 5/8″ spade bit
- Strip wire ends and attach to receptacle
- TURN OFF MAIN BREAKER
- Pull cover plate off breaker panel
- Strip panel end of wires
- Install wires much as previous installer did. Ground to grounding bar, neutral to neutral bar
- Attach ‘hot’ wires (black and ‘red’ which is actually pink) to new circuit breaker
- Snap new breaker into panel
- Turn everything back on
- Dry clothing
In much the same way as doing something on my computer from the command line makes me feel extremely competent and highly manly, taming electricity is really, really good for my ego.