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Thread: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

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    The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Tips and other stuff.

    The central air conditioner:

    1. The drain pump on our AC failed the other day. When you notice water on the floor by the unit, its usually a good sign the pump is dead. Since we have a walk out basement, the building codes in 1984 did not require a sump pump, or a floor drain. The condensation from the a/c has to go somewhere, hence we need a pump.

    Bought a new pump from Amazon and installed it today. When I turned off the power a Niagara flowed out of the furnace a/c unit. Messy floor; wet electronics. Many towels to dry floor and fan to dry electronics.

    Hooked up the new pump - piece of cake. But it has two wires from the pump overflow sensor that cut off power to the outside condenser if the pump reservoir gets too full. Both wires are black/dark blue. Connected the wires & turned on the a/c. Outside unit did not turn on. Reversed the wires. Outside unit works. Sigh of relief.

    A/C unit is generating cold air but not COLD air. Need refrigerant? Guy can't get out for a month? May need to call him back.

    2. Refrigerator died. Called home warranty company. Repair man came out 2 weeks ago and diagnosed a bad board. Finally got the board and put it in today. Inside of fridge still reads 80° F. Guess that wasn't the problem. Called him later and left a message. Maybe another board???

    3. Changed a/c filter. In removing old filter, part of paper got dislodged and got ducked into the blower fan. Blower made god awful sound. Turned off a/c. Felt around blower and found the paper. Turned unit back on and no noise. Big sigh.

    Did I mention it was 93 outside today??

    My late father fixed a lot of stuff around the house. I am eternally greatful that he let me watch and learn how to do basic home repair. Just remember that electricity can kill you and be very very careful working in the power panel.

    If anyone has stories on how you fixed / maintained things around house, put them here. Others will benefit.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Subscribed because you should have used a 3M filter.

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    Wind up workin' in a gas station walrus's Avatar
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    I'd be shocked if anyone on here would try to do what you did. Might be a couple of others? Btw, throw the fridge away and buy a new one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    I'd be shocked if anyone on here would try to do what you did. Might be a couple of others? Btw, throw the fridge away and buy a new one.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Fridge was pronounced dead on Monday. New one arrived Wednesday. AC and Fridge are cold.

    Wife is happy.

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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    The number one thing I have learned in the last couple of years is the home repair market has decided to use the electronics model for everything. If you think your faucet, microwave, stove, washer, dryer, garbage disposal, etc. is going to last as long as you remember as a kid growing up in the '80's and '90's I've got news for you. It isn't. Microwave installer said you'll be lucky to get 7 years out of it. The original one we replaced last year was installed in 1986.

    I had to replace both outside water faucets and shutoff valves last year. $700. My parents home built in 1912 still has the original outside faucet.

    Sigh.
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    Wind up workin' in a gas station walrus's Avatar
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    You paid a plumber 700 bucks to replace two sillcocks and shut off valves.? Might be 70 bucks in parts, 2 hrs labor .

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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    I'm a home repair incompetent. It's always bothered me, because my dad was a self-taught semi-pro carpenter, plumber, electrician, builder who could do anything. He was that guy.

    So 3 years ago the board on our electric water heater burned out. I ordered a new one which eventually came. Dr. Mrs. was by this time on the warpath for hot shower water and the soonest I could entice a repairman out to the steppes of central MD was a week.

    So I tried to do the install myself.

    Someday I'll post the photo I took of the new burned out board that resulted. My EE friends at work told me it was about a 50/50 risk of killing myself that I took -- the water heater evidently has an enormous draw (who knew)? They, they said, would never have been stupid enough to attempt it.

    I don't do any more home repair.
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    Wind up workin' in a gas station walrus's Avatar
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    I'm a home repair incompetent. It's always bothered me, because my dad was a self-taught semi-pro carpenter, plumber, electrician, builder who could do anything. He was that guy.

    So 3 years ago the board on our electric water heater burned out. I ordered a new one which eventually came. Dr. Mrs. was by this time on the warpath for hot shower water and the soonest I could entice a repairman out to the steppes of central MD was a week.

    So I tried to do the install myself.

    Someday I'll post the photo I took of the new burned out board that resulted. My EE friends at work told me it was about a 50/50 risk of killing myself that I took -- the water heater evidently has an enormous draw (who knew)? They, they said, would never have been stupid enough to attempt it.

    I don't do any more home repair.
    Any electrical appliance could kill you if you do the wrongs things, doesn't have to draw a lot of current to do it.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Learned this weekend that replacing a toilet is both easier and way less disgusting than expected. If you have an old toilet that clogs frequently, replacing it is the way to go.

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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by jerphisch View Post
    Learned this weekend that replacing a toilet is both easier and way less disgusting than expected. If you have an old toilet that clogs frequently, replacing it is the way to go.
    Yeah, it's pretty simple so long as you don't over-tighten any of the bolts.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    More fun today.

    The latch on the microwave broke. Googled the model and the problem and got a YouTube video on how to fix the problem. Cost $8 for the new latch ($2 part $6 shipping).

    Ok EE's now solve this one
    Son has a problem with the GFI or so we thought. Old GFI was acting up, so replaced it.

    Threw breaker back on - BOOM and breaker trips. Hmm. Here's what he has
    Breaker 9 15A Square D breaker that is labeled GFI
    Breaker 7 15A Square D breaker that is labeled basement lighting

    If breaker 9 is on and breaker 7 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.
    If breaker 7 is on and breaker 9 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.

    If both are on, short and they both trip.

    Replaced breaker 7. No change. what I need to check tomorrow is turn off breaker 9 and pop it out, but leave the black wire connected. I'll then turn on breaker 7 and see if I read voltage on the black wire for breaker 9. If not, then b9 is bad and old b7 will become replacement b9.

    If that doesn't work, it's time to call in the pros.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by joecct View Post
    More fun today.

    The latch on the microwave broke. Googled the model and the problem and got a YouTube video on how to fix the problem. Cost $8 for the new latch ($2 part $6 shipping).

    Ok EE's now solve this one
    Son has a problem with the GFI or so we thought. Old GFI was acting up, so replaced it.

    Threw breaker back on - BOOM and breaker trips. Hmm. Here's what he has
    Breaker 9 15A Square D breaker that is labeled GFI
    Breaker 7 15A Square D breaker that is labeled basement lighting

    If breaker 9 is on and breaker 7 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.
    If breaker 7 is on and breaker 9 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.

    If both are on, short and they both trip.

    Replaced breaker 7. No change. what I need to check tomorrow is turn off breaker 9 and pop it out, but leave the black wire connected. I'll then turn on breaker 7 and see if I read voltage on the black wire for breaker 9. If not, then b9 is bad and old b7 will become replacement b9.

    If that doesn't work, it's time to call in the pros.
    Are you saying if one breaker is off and the other is on, you still have power at both circuits? If that is the case then I think somewhere you have both circuits interconnected, usually at a double switch with a three way... or something like that. Unless that's not what you meant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wisko McBadgerton View Post
    Are you saying if one breaker is off and the other is on, you still have power at both circuits? If that is the case then I think somewhere you have both circuits interconnected, usually at a double switch with a three way... or something like that. Unless that's not what you meant.
    That's what he has. B9 is on, b7 is off, but I'm reading 124 volts on the black lead on b7 (& if b7 is on and b9 is off, I'm reading 124 volts on the black lead of b9). And the wires are different gauges and head in different directions leaving the box.

    Here's another fun part. The Verizon box is powered off a plug connected to B7. If b7 is off and b9 is on, the Verizon box has power. If b7 is on and b9 is off, the Verizon box has power.

    Witchcraft???
    Last edited by joecct; 06-25-2017 at 11:53 PM.

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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by joecct View Post
    That's what he has. B9 is on, b7 is off, but I'm reading 124 volts on the black lead on b7 (& if b7 is on and b9 is off, I'm reading 124 volts on the black lead of b9). And the wires are different gauges and head in different directions leaving the box.

    Here's another fun part. The Verizon box is powered off a plug connected to B7. If b7 is off and b9 is on, the Verizon box has power. If b7 is on and b9 is off, the Verizon box has power.

    Witchcraft???
    I'd feel better if I was looking at it but it sounds to me like you have either both circuits in the same box somewhere or more likely a three way switch wiring is messed up. More likely because if you have two switches in different locations, there's a better chance your hot wire is feeding each location from a different source (one end B7 and the other end B9, for example) and that's where you're getting power back through the other side. In any case it seems you're back feeding power from one to the other. If it's just been this way forever you may have some digging to do, but if you've replaced anything like a light switch or a ceiling fan etc., I'd check there first.
    Last edited by Wisko McBadgerton; 06-26-2017 at 12:21 AM.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    I'm just finishing up a remodel of a small 10x12 bedroom. Full gut back to the studs. All new insulation and electrical. Sheetrock & taping. Ripped up the damaged hardwood floor for replacement with laminate when I'm done with the kitchen (next project in a couple of months). For now it's got a cheap temporary carpet.

    Started the week after Easter and figured I'd be done by Memorial Day. Wrong! Everything seems to have taken twice as long as I figured (ended up paying to have the taping done due to time constraints). I've helped build a house that didn't take this long! An old, poorly built house will do that I guess. To be fair, other than weekends, time to work on this have been hit or miss. The last 4 weeks I've taken 3-day weekends to get the job finished.

    The kitchen is up next (was supposed to start back in December) but a few priorities changed. Figured this would be good practice though since it's been about 15 years since I did any serious construction. No real gotcha's except for one old electrical circuit that seemed to snake through every room in the house. All in all, I give myself an 8 out of 10 for the work thus far.

    I have managed to pick up a few new toys (tools) along the way that have made the job just a bit easier.
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by joecct View Post
    More fun today.

    The latch on the microwave broke. Googled the model and the problem and got a YouTube video on how to fix the problem. Cost $8 for the new latch ($2 part $6 shipping).

    Ok EE's now solve this one
    Son has a problem with the GFI or so we thought. Old GFI was acting up, so replaced it.

    Threw breaker back on - BOOM and breaker trips. Hmm. Here's what he has
    Breaker 9 15A Square D breaker that is labeled GFI
    Breaker 7 15A Square D breaker that is labeled basement lighting

    If breaker 9 is on and breaker 7 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.
    If breaker 7 is on and breaker 9 is off, I read 124 volts on both lines at the breaker.

    If both are on, short and they both trip.

    Replaced breaker 7. No change. what I need to check tomorrow is turn off breaker 9 and pop it out, but leave the black wire connected. I'll then turn on breaker 7 and see if I read voltage on the black wire for breaker 9. If not, then b9 is bad and old b7 will become replacement b9.

    If that doesn't work, it's time to call in the pros.
    First off, what are you testing circuit with? If you are using a digital meter, chances are good you are see ghost voltages as the meter doesn't load the circuit enough. I'd guess you would see those voltages on any turned off breaker in that panel. I'd believe your voltages if you were using an old analog meter, a wiggy or even a test light. If you are using one of those then it does sound like you are backfeeding. Those 2 breakers should be on different phases so it would be a dead short.

    Did the breaker trip before you changed GFCI?( I assume by GFI you mean a GFCI receptacle?) If it didn't trip I'd look at what you did when changing recept. Shooting the parts cannon at a problem rarely works, you need to look at what you did.
    Last edited by walrus; 06-26-2017 at 05:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    First off, what are you testing circuit with? If you are using a digital meter, chances are good you are see ghost voltages as the meter doesn't load the circuit enough. I'd guess you would see those voltages on any turned off breaker in that panel. I'd believe your voltages if you were using an old analog meter, a wiggy or even a test light. If you are using one of those then it does sound like you are backfeeding. Those 2 breakers should be on different phases so it would be a dead short.

    Did the breaker trip before you changed GFCI?( I assume by GFI you mean a GFCI receptacle?) If it didn't trip I'd look at what you did when changing recept. Shooting the parts cannon at a problem rarely works, you need to look at what you did.
    Replaced GFI if Master bath with a Levatron bought at Home depot. Load went to load and line went to line. Black went to black terminals and white went to white. Same guage on both sides.

    Stumped. Only wiring done was a separate circuit to new microwave done by a licensed electrician in the spring.

    One more test - disconnect gfi and turn on b7. If it still trips, then stumped. If not the new GFI is bad .

    Will let you know tonight.

    Last night wife declared new project - remove/replace popcorn ceiling in family room and add 6 (or more) potlights. Getting a pro.
    Last edited by joecct; 06-26-2017 at 06:34 AM.

  18. #18
    Wind up workin' in a gas station walrus's Avatar
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Wiring from last spring isn't doing it. If breaker wasn't tripping before your recept change it's pretty good chance you did something wrong there? I have several suggestions but not sure how comfortable you feel doing this stuff. It is a live panel you are in. Stuff can horribly wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walrus View Post
    Wiring from last spring isn't doing it. If breaker wasn't tripping before your recept change it's pretty good chance you did something wrong there? I have several suggestions but not sure how comfortable you feel doing this stuff. It is a live panel you are in. Stuff can horribly wrong.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    I'm OK in a live panel. Change breakers in a live panel. Wazzup?

  20. #20
    Wind up workin' in a gas station walrus's Avatar
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    Re: The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

    Quote Originally Posted by joecct View Post
    I'm OK in a live panel. Change breakers in a live panel. Wazzup?
    I'd unhook receipt and see if breaker trips. I take it's a regular breaker not a gfci?

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