Monday, February 6, 2012

home ownership weekend

On Thursday night, we had our brand new dishwasher delivered to us. They had called me earlier in the day (around 1:30PM) saying they were ahead of schedule, and they could deliver it then. Well, obviously I'm at work so that wouldn't work. The scheduled delivery time was 5-7pm. Fast-forward to 9:30PM, they finally deliver the dishwasher. Fantastic.

I've been wanting to take pictures of my projects around the house to share the knowledge, but unfortunately it's hard to take on a project and focus on taking pictures, because it will take even longer. Luckily, installing a dishwasher is rather easy. A dishwasher is almost equivalent to a washer with respect to installation. The main difference is that you have to fit it into a sometimes tight space, so you have to adjust the legs and do some shoving, like in our case. Here's a quick summary of what you do:

-You screw on a water line that goes from your hot water valve (under the kitchen faucet) and run it through the dishwasher opening (so it's accessible when you slide dishwasher into place)
-Attach drain line to garbage disposal, and also run that through opening for later installation
-Pull out electrical line (assuming your DW is hard-wired), just like above, so it's accessible once DW is in place
-Adjust DW legs so it can fit through the opening in your counter top and slide it into place (being careful not to snag any of the lines that you pulled out and need to install).
-Wire up electricity (MAKE SURE YOUR BREAKER IS OFF!!)
-Screw in hot water line to DW
-Clamp drain line to DW
-Using a level, adjust the legs so that your DW is level both vertically and horizontally
-The last step is to secure the DW to the countertop. DW are usually secured in place (so they don't move around or topple) with two brackets that screw from the top of the DW to the bottom of the countertop. Attach those and you're done!
-Reapply power and give 'er a whirl. If you're lucky like us, it'll work perfectly.

Later that night (or maybe it was Friday), Taylor was having some weird quirkiness with her garage door. She told me something looks like it snapped. I go out there, and sure enough, the extension spring on one side of the garage door snapped. Most garages I've seen have two extension springs — one on each side — that are attached via a pulley to the garage door. Garage doors are heavy, and the springs help counteract the heavy weight of the doors, whether you're opening them manually or a motor is doing the work. Each spring needs to be matched with the weight of the door. For example, if your door weighs ~100 lbs like ours, you need a 100 lb extension spring on each side.

After some research, inspection, and trial and error, I ended up replacing both springs. If one went, it was probably only a matter of time before the other one broke, too. Also, they lose their springiness over time and they probably would have had uneven tensions.

It looks complicated, but it's pretty easy once you figure it out. The spring attaches to a pulley on one side (the side closer to the door) and a mounted bracket. The pulley is connected to a pulley system that attaches to the bottom of the door. As the door lowers, the line pulls down, which in turn pulls the pulley and the spring. As the spring gets extended, it exerts more tension and helps counteract the weight of the garage door. I know that didn't make any sense, but that's okay. You probably won't be replacing one of these anytime soon. There is one more line that goes from the bracket, through the spring, and attaches anywhere on the other side. This is a safety line, and it doesn't do anything except go through the spring. Imagine for a second the power of a string that can pull 100 lbs of weight. It's pretty damn strong. Now imagine if that spring is fully extended by the garage door and is completely taut. Finally, imagine it snaps. They aren't joking when they say these things can cause serious injury or death. If that thing breaks and flies at you, you're going to have a bad time. The safety line is there to hold the spring in place in case it snaps, like it did in our garage. It's important you have one and that it's installed securely.

This whole process took me a while (figuring out what to do, and a few trips to Lowes to get the right parts), but in the end it's pretty easy. It probably saved me a couple hundred or more in parts and labor to have a pro come do it. The power of DIY.

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