Sunday, June 16, 2019

Leaking money

I'm back from La-la land, where people go to be sick. Over a month, taking care of kids and then nursing myself back to health, I'm finally regaining my senses enough to tackle some challenges, head-on. Like how NOT to spend money, where I don't have to.

In the kitchen, I've had an ongoing problem for over 3 months now. Which I've been trying to find an economical solution to...

Something broke!

How much would you expect to pay, to fix a leaking dishwasher drainage hose? In our case, it was going to cost around $300. Gasp, right? It comes down to one company in the region, who only fixes Smeg dishwashers. They have a business to run and need to be profitable, but I won't spend $300 to fix a hose, without exploring alternatives first

Having already spent $120 for them to investigate, and determine the problem, it was educational watching how to dismantle parts of the machine. However, instead of paying them another $180 to finish the job, I was going to find the part myself, and see if I could install it. After all, how hard could it be to replace a piece of plastic?

A requested, ginger-kisses cake

In the interim though, there were two birthday parties to organise, and a bunch of other important stuff, I won't mention to save time. Needless to say, 3 months can pass very quickly. But in all honesty, I was really dragging my tail (intentionally) when I had gaps of spare time available.

In those 3 months, I may have located the part online, organised shipping, watched countless instructional videos, and nursed us all back to some semblance of cognitive health - but I still wouldn't tackle the dishwasher. I was stalling. Everything was ready. Why did I hesitate?

Some business to attend to

FEAR! The machine may have only been 5 months out of warranty, and just over 2 years old, but I still had a dishwasher valued near $2,000. I'll tell you why we even considered paying that much in a different post. Needless to say, I felt like a rookie in the big leagues now, and understandably anxious to make the first move!

The instructional videos I was able to watch, were only for generic brands. So not exactly confidence boosting. What I gleaned from the technician we paid to determine the problem, only showed me how to separate plastic joints, without breaking them. That gave a little more confidence, but I still had no idea what I was going to be facing, underneath. Especially since the part I was replacing, looked slightly different to the ones in the video.

Unfortunately, I couldn't avoid the stainless steel elephant in the room, any longer. Seriously. Christmas was coming! So I dragged out the tools and parts (above) which the instructional video, recommended, and put my head down to work.

The test run

Ironically, the multi-grip and hose clamps, turned out to be of no use, at all. Just a simple screwdriver was needed. Plus a lot of patience. As what I was planning for taking the machine apart, turned into dismantling, underneath the sink too. Thankfully, not the plumbing. Just everything I stored around it, blocking access to the hose clamp.

I'll spare you the details of my rookie, learning curve - but it was laughably easy to replace, in the end. Every step was less complicated, than the instructional video outlined. So I guess, Smeg still designs its machines for simplicity. It was tempting afterwards, to reprimand myself for letting fear control the schedule, almost every step of the way. But I realised there was some logic to it, as well...

Sweet victory

Those three months, gave time to watch a lot of instructional videos, get the best price for parts online, and accomplish a bunch of other stuff in my life, that really needed doing too. In the end, it forced me to be patient. And by association, I gained more confidence. What looked like "fear" calling the shots, was really building momentum into providing the solution. Rookies, just need more time to practice the moves.

Now my Smeg is back in it's little nook. Leak free. Saving just over $150, in those 3 months. Should the part ever fail again, I can confidently replace it myself. So there's potential to save even more money, in the future. It makes sense to spend $300 to replace a part, if you have mobility issues, or a bunch of kids to wrangle. Being realistic, is part of the problem solving process. But if it's doable, look for ways to empower your skill-set and save yourself some money.

Safety first though. Always unplug an electronic device, if you're going to work on it. Especially if it's in contact with water. And bring lots of towels!! Have you had to push yourself past a discomfort zone, recently (or ongoing) as the case may be? Do you still feel like a bit of a rookie?


  1. Isn't it a great feeling to fix something yourself AND save money at the same time. Win win!

    I know how you feel. I've just come in for lunch and saw your post. What I was doing was putting together a biochar kiln I just bought, to make biochar when burning off, instead of letting all the CO2 go up into the atmosphere. It's a heavy steel thing, in 4 parts with masses of bolts and screws, but I've done it on my own! So happy I didn't have to ask a neighbour to help. I'll be doing a blog post about it as soon as I can. There's a good video to watch of one being used. I think you'll be interested.

    1. It does feel good to be able to save money, and become more capable in the process. Takes a bit of patience to teach yourself something new though. Rookie mistakes, and all. LOL. I love the sound of your biochar kiln. A great way to clear up dead wood, and put it back into the garden as a soil improver. Good on you for tackling the project yourself. It's nice to know help is available if you need it, but experimenting with how far you can go, is a great life skill. Looking forward to your blog post about it. :)

  2. Chris, sorry to hear you have been unwell. I also procrastinate like you did especially when I have bought a new appliance or, as I have done recently, bought a new PC. Videos are great if you can find them so well done on fixing the problem yourself. I am not sure I would be as brave as you though.

    1. I'm with you on the new appliance front. There's taking it out of the box, removing the old appliance, and dealing with all that bulky packaging. My son loves to play with the boxes though. He likes to make boats or cubby houses out of them. Still, I'd rather do without the headache of putting in a new appliance, if I can fix the old one. I empathise with your dilemma!

  3. It sounds like you've had the dreaded Winter lurgy, Chris. Lots of people I know have been sick but, touch wood, we have so far escaped this at our place. (I've probably now jinxed us and we'll all come down with it tomorrow!)

    We have just had our newish oven repaired because the child lock kicked in when the oven door was open meaning we couldn't close the door completely so the oven wouldn't turn on!!

    It's a real money saver when you can repair appliances (no such luck with our oven) yourself because it just costs so much for a call out these days.


    1. Ah, sorry Meg, I meant to reply to this sooner. There were some big things, which cropped up unexpectedly (apart from appliances breaking down) which I had to deal with. More on that later. But I do hope you do escape the dreaded lurgy. It hung around here forever. No fun. But the upside is, you get to build-up new antibodie, lol.

      I've never heard of an oven with a child lock before. But then my oven is over a decade old. Upgrades have been made, since I was shopping around for one. I'm amazed how quickly technology changes. Such a bizarre thing to go wrong in your oven though. Probably the last thing you were expecting, lol. Glad it's fixed now though. Winter is the perfect time for baking. :)


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