Thursday, February 19, 2015

I'm Joe Butch.

You may have missed it in the newspapers, but last week our icemaker stopped making ice.

A crisis indeed, of large proportions. It's not like it's been so cold and wet that I could put ice trays on the deck and make ice. Although I could. That's not the point. The point is, we need ice and we had no icemaker. Now what?

Well, your man Fred is not the first man you think of when something needs to be fixed. I can fix a sammich; that's about it. But I had a choice: call Sears and have a guy come over and charge me $200 just to walk in the front door, or try to resolve the problem myself. My wife was not going to let me choose curtain #3 (Ignore the Problem and Drink Tepid Beverages).

So I got out the manual for the fridge and hauled the thing out from the wall. Hmm -- little trickle of water on the floor. Could be... uh... well, maybe the tubing is clogged. Okay! Let's check the tubes!

Hmm. One mop-up later, confirmation that tubes leading from wall to filter and filter to bottom of fridge and bottom of fridge to top of fridge all clear. What's on the bottom of the fridge? That's where the pumpy thing is, isn't it?

Yep, pumpy thing. Valve solenoid, says the manual, but it goes on when the icemaker is on and calling for more water. And it looks a little sickly.

There's your problem.
I replaced the icemaker itself maybe four years ago, so I'm going with sickly pumpy valvey thing. Order a new one!

So I did. Patience was employed, ice trays deployed, and now we waited.

When the little box with the new valve solenoid arrived, I got my tools and got to work. I managed to replace the old one with very little trouble, although the new one had an automatic tube connection rather than a screw-on one. Those make me nervous. Just stick the tube in and it attaches and seals automatically! Yeah, until I find out two years later that there's been a slow drip through the floorboards and my subfloor is now essentially composed of 88% toxic mold.

But I got it in and nothing was obviously leaking, so it should all work now, right?

Two days later I had to admit it wasn't just "resting" or "working things out." Still no ice.

I had to remove the icemaker to confirm what I feared, and confirm I did: The water intake had frozen solid. My theory is that Pumpy Valvey, malfunctioning, was not moving the water along as ordered, and ultimately the water that was sitting there just froze. And that's the theory I'm sticking with, since otherwise I replaced the solenoid for nothing.

And, in fact, once I got the ice out of the line -- using hot screwdrivers, a sports bottle filled with boiling water to shoot steam, and a lot of swearing -- everything worked fine once more. So that's why I'm Joe Butch -- I managed to fix something with my own tools and without asking anyone for help.

Now, if any of you know any helpful tips for getting rid of toxic mold, I would appreciate them.
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