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Before calling the doctor
Old 07-01-2014, 12:35 PM   #1
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Before calling the doctor

Well, not really the doctor, but the contractor, electrician, bug guy, A/C specialist... and that kind of thing.

Would you share some simple things to check, before making that $50 to $500 phone call?

To kick this off:

Gas HWH... We shut this off when we leave for a long period... weeks- months. When we get back, turn on the gas valve and "snap" the red button that lights the burner, the same way the igniter on your gas grille works. Didn't work... multiple tries. Always happens on a Saturday, so the $95/hr plumbers service call is now time and a half... $142.50.
Solution... be persistent... keep clicking... there is often air in the pipe which has to clear before the gas lights.

Phone... this is a good one... We have a voip phone... wireless, with three wireless phone "slaves" in other rooms. The modem is in the den, and connects through the house phone wiring to the kitchen where the main wireless dase phone is located. Last night, we had a huge lightning storm, so I shut down the computers and modems. Some close hits. When the storm was over, I turned on the power and everything came back on... including the VOIP modem... showed connected. Later this AM, neighbor came to the house... "Did you know your phone was not working?"... DUH! no. Simple solution. We have GFI's on all kitchen outlets. The only one that tripped was the one to the phone. Didn't even notice.

Garage Door... Won't go up or down without holding the button down. Garage Door specialists in this areas, are expensive... Simple answer... no cost, or low cost fix... It's probably the infra red beam that goes from one side of the garage to the other, to prevent door from closing if anything gets left in the way. Either a bad wire, it was knocked out of alignment, or... the part is just not working. If not the first two, a replacement set is available for about $20 and easy to pop in place.

The dishwasher "growl"... many possible causes... "Google" of course, but possibly the water pipe that is under the top rack, that fits into the back when the rack is pushed back. Vibration that can be helped by tying it down to the rack with a rubber band.

I look forward to your solutions for any of these kinds of problems as I don't like to pay repairmen for simple fixes.
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Old 07-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #2
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My dishwasher was growling and I found that it was caused by the inlet screen plugging with rust particles. The inadequate fill caused cavitation of the pump.

My hot water started to stink (well water), so I removed the anode in the water heater tank. I was warned that this might decrease the life of the tank and indeed after 22 years I had to replace it.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:07 PM   #3
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Great thread ImOlderNU ... I've already learned alot !
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
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These days whenever I have a problem with an appliance or need to figure out how to do something I go straight to Google or u-tube.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Garage Door... Won't go up or down without holding the button down. Garage Door specialists in this areas, are expensive... Simple answer... no cost, or low cost fix... It's probably the infra red beam that goes from one side of the garage to the other, to prevent door from closing if anything gets left in the way. Either a bad wire, it was knocked out of alignment, or... the part is just not working. If not the first two, a replacement set is available for about $20 and easy to pop in place.
Check for spiders too. When this happens to me it's almost always a spider that has set up shop in the detector.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
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Check for spiders too. When this happens to me it's almost always a spider that has set up shop in the detector.
+1

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Old 07-01-2014, 01:24 PM   #7
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These days whenever I have a problem with an appliance or need to figure out how to do something I go straight to Google or u-tube.
+2
Google has saved me $$$$. Somebody out there wants to show you how they fixed it.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:44 PM   #8
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Check for spiders too. When this happens to me it's almost always a spider that has set up shop in the detector.
With us its the sun. For a few weeks each year, the sun shines right on the sensor at certain times of day. This appears to overwhelm the sensor and prevents the door from closing. DW got very angry when I would come home and it would work for me. The next day it wouldn't work for her again. Worked for me an hour later. Took a little while to figure out.

The ultimate solution is to swap the infrared source and the sensor to opposite sides. Haven't looked into the complexity of this, yet.
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Old 07-01-2014, 01:48 PM   #9
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Tip of the HWH pilot light tube (where the flame comes out) can get dirty/dusty if left off for long periods. Take a damp rag and reach in and clean it off. The tube inner diameter is very small.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:04 PM   #10
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Google is great... but not always a good solution.
Two computer problems recently, with no good answer.
#1... "resolving host" stall/stop Chrome... Google has 18 million hits on the question... no "best" answers that seem to work.
#2... can't find a rational answer as to why computer won't start with ethernet cable connected (going through a powered ethernet switch) computer rear yellow light is lit when connected. Have to unplug cable to start.

I was so frustrated with the Resolving host problem, I did a complete reinstall. Works fine now, but seven hours of trying google "solutions" ... no results. Not being a coder, inputting 60 lines of registry copy wasn't fun.

Front entry way is long and shaded... green stuff that grew on the cement was fixed in a few minutes with broom and a quart of bleach. Same with deck... save $16.95 ... diluted bleach 1/1 instead of deck cleaner.
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:13 PM   #11
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Tip of the HWH pilot light tube (where the flame comes out) can get dirty/dusty if left off for long periods. Take a damp rag and reach in and clean it off. The tube inner diameter is very small.
Yeah, okay on my old HWH... the new one was installed by Joe Stupid, who placed it 1/2" from the wall, with the glassed in flame viewer only visible with a mirror... Getting to the pilot means a complete uninstsll, reinstall... Yeah, Imagine that... @ $95 an hour on weekdays.

BTW... does anyone else have trouble trying to flush the water out, because the drain faucet is too close to the floor to attach a drain hose? Solution?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:34 PM   #12
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...........
BTW... does anyone else have trouble trying to flush the water out, because the drain faucet is too close to the floor to attach a drain hose? Solution?
Can't you unscrew the faucet and install a 45 degree street elbow between the tank and the faucet?
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Old 07-01-2014, 02:54 PM   #13
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Can't you unscrew the faucet and install a 45 degree street elbow between the tank and the faucet?
Duh... yeah... I'll try that.

Knew I come here for a reason...
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:18 PM   #14
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With us its the sun. For a few weeks each year, the sun shines right on the sensor at certain times of day. This appears to overwhelm the sensor and prevents the door from closing.
I had this same problem. My solution was a paper TP tube wrapped with duct tape - it fit perfectly over the sensor, creating a dark tunnel so only the sensor beam gets through.
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:38 PM   #15
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I love you guys. My solution to the garage door that kept getting stuck was to keep hitting the button over ... and over ... and over .... and over .... and over .... after about 20 times it started working again. If there was a spider in there I can assure you he's not there now
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Old 07-01-2014, 03:44 PM   #16
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I love you guys. My solution to the garage door that kept getting stuck was to keep hitting the button over ... and over ... and over .... and over .... and over .... after about 20 times it started working again. If there wasguess one in the switch a spider in there I can assure you he's not there now
My problem came from spiders making webs, almost nests on the sensor lights at the bottom of the door. I guess one in the switch would cause similar problems.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:18 PM   #17
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+2
Google has saved me $$$$. Somebody out there wants to show you how they fixed it.
That and youtube has saved me a bundle too. Last time was a washing machine fix for a bit over $11 and about 15 minutes. The part was $3.30 or something.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:31 PM   #18
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Google is great... but not always a good solution.
Two computer problems recently, with no good answer.
#1... "resolving host" stall/stop Chrome... Google has 18 million hits on the question... no "best" answers that seem to work.
#2... can't find a rational answer as to why computer won't start with ethernet cable connected (going through a powered ethernet switch) computer rear yellow light is lit when connected. Have to unplug cable to start.
Google doesn't have a good solution for world peace either, but that doesn't make it the wrong place to start. It's not going to have an answer when none exist. I'll take my chances with Google over this thread.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:52 PM   #19
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And so I'm not just pissing on this thread, here is my generic advice, not necessarily in order.

1) Keep things cleaned, oiled, lubed, or whatever maintenance is needed.
1a) Other than the above, if it ain't broke, consider not fixing it, to avoid breaking it.

2) Check that things are plugged in.

3) Unplug and replug power, connectors, etc, or otherwise hit the reset switch

4) Look for error codes. Not all are obvious. For example, my gas furnace will blink a light when something is wrong. The number of blinks is the error code, and a service guy told me how to identify if it isn't getting sufficient propane, so that I'll call for a refill rather than service.

5) RTFM (Read the F'ing Manual)

6) Understand how things operate, so you can more easily spot what might be broken when it doesn't work

7) Watch a repairmen do maintenance/repairs so you can get tips, understand how it works, and do it yourself next time

8) Look for a solution at the vendor's website

9) Google for a solution
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Old 07-01-2014, 06:36 PM   #20
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I had this same problem. My solution was a paper TP tube wrapped with duct tape - it fit perfectly over the sensor, creating a dark tunnel so only the sensor beam gets through.
Great idea, thanks! If DW notices she will complain about it, but if I don't tell her she may never notice.
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