Fixing Stuff Isn’t So Bad

Today it started with a lose bolt that holds down the toilet.  Actually, the bolt was gone – beyond gone.  Rusted away.  I figured the flange thing that the bolts go into was probably busted too, but you can’t tell until you lift up the whole toilet.

When starting a project like this, I always go to youtube first.  What a lucky time to live in that we have a resource like this.  Of course it wasn’t just the broken bolt.  I needed to replace the wax seal too.  As long as I’m working on the toilet, I should also replace that tank fill valve that was slightly leaking.

Oh wait! When I turn off the water to the toilet with the shutoff valve, that is leaking too!  After a trip to the hardware store and multiple rounds of turning off the water to the whole house, I finished the job.  The seat doesn’t rock, the shutoff valve doesn’t leak, and the fill valve stops when fill.  Oh, how about a quick advertisement for those quarter-turn shutoff valves?  My house has these “multi-turn” valves that are like the kind on your outdoor water hose.  I’ve already had two of these leak – so that’s not so good.  Also, when the toilet overflows (it happens), the quarter turn is faster to shut off.



Photo: Rhett Allain

I’m just going to say one other thing about toilets (this is not a toilet post).  It seems like a pretty simple job – but once you get confined in space, everything gets just a little bit more complicated.

OK, but in the end – it’s finished.  In the end, I’m pretty happy.  I feel like I accomplished something.  I fixed something and made it better.  I feel human.

I wasn’t always like this.  I remember in my early adult years I would think:

Why can’t they just make toilets that don’t break?  For that matter, why not make a lawn that doesn’t need mowing.  Oh, how about clothes that don’t need washing?  All of this cleaning an fixing stuff is just taking away time from more important stuff.

That was the old me.  The new me doesn’t mind these chose so much.  Oh, I still get bothered sometimes.  When the lawn needs mowing and it’s super hot (or won’t stop raining) or when something breaks and you JUST KEEP MESSING UP.  Yes, those times are frustrating.

But I’ve come to accept that we live in a world that increases in entropy.  If you leave stuff alone, it will just mess up and eventually break.  What makes humans so awesome is that we can fight this tide of increasing disorder.  We fix things.  We clean things.  We are humans.



Bonus: Fixing a Kenmore 44072 Washer with F03 Error

This is not a “fix-it” blog. However, I think the Internet should be a useful friendly place. Think about the times you have had a problem. The Internet has been there for you – right? I remember not too long ago, I was trying to set up iChat video chat with my brother-in-law and his brand new iMac. I was 3 states away and it was getting frustrated. In the end, my friend the Internet helped me. Problem solved. Everyone one has found a perfect solution for a particular problem on the Internet – right? So, this bud’s for you Mr. Post-obscure-stuff-in-the-hopes-that-at-least-one-person-finds-it-useful guy. Right. So, this isn’t really physics or science like my normal stuff.

Here is my washer. It makes my family happy. They like clean clothes. Kenmore 44072 Front Load Washer.

Well, my wife went to wash clothes and the front display says F03 Error. Me: ER? So, I look it up on the Internet. Here is the site I found from []( Ok, it appears it could be something stuck in the drain hose. There was definitely water in there. I tried a couple of things, but finally decided to take off the back of the machine and look inside (unplug it first). I followed the hose to the pump and there is this squishy rubber bag connected to the pump. I squeezed it and sure enough, something was in there.

It wasn’t trivial to get all the water out of the machine without the pump. At first I lowered the drain hose into a cup a little at a time. Finally, I hooked my wet-dry shop vac up to the hose and sucked the water out. (everyone needs a wet-dry shop vac). Anyway, I took off the “pump bag” – not sure what it is called, but here is what it looks like:

![Screenshot 50](

The pump bag had one of those annoying metal clamps holding it on – you can see the same kind holding the drain hose to the pump. When I removed the bag, more water came out. Here you can see something stuck in the pump.

![Screenshot 51](

I pulled that sucker out. Here is the stuff I found:

![Screenshot 52](

I put everything back together, and it seems to work. Do not ever try this. Don’t ever open your washer. Don’t try to fix things. See, I told you NOT to do that. It’s dangerous, you could break something. (now you can’t get angry if something goes wrong).