Category Archives: DIY

Grease is the word

Changed the seats and spring in my mother’s Delta kitchen faucet today, thanks to this clear video from YouTube user funbro1 aka How To Bob.

Removing the handles took much longer than actually replacing the seats and springs as they were corroded on and prying them off came too close to mangling them for my liking. Bob put silicone grease on some of the parts during reassembly to help the handles turn more easily, which I had never thought of doing. I didn’t have any silicone grease, but do have a 20-lifetimes supply of food-grade bearing grease purchased a couple of years ago to repair an old hand mixer. I dabbed some on the set screws, nuts and handles to make it all easier to take apart for future repairs.

Snip and Sift

For all the new bakers and gardeners out there, two useful hints I’ve learned over my time dabbling in both pursuits:

  1. If you have planted more than one seed in a pot and only want one plant (think tomatoes and squash, not parsley or basil), snip the ones you don’t want with scissors rather than pulling them out. The roots of the little plants will often be intertwined and you’ll end up dislodging the one you want to keep as you tug out their potmates.
  2. Your recipe probably won’t tell you this, but always sift cocoa that is going into cakes or brownies. Even the freshest cocoa clumps together, and those clumps are hard to break up once you incorporate wet ingredients.
Bonus hint: make your own pots out of paper. There are ten billion online tutorials to help you figure it out. I roll mine around an old Keen’s mustard bottle. These are loofah seedlings because you should always try to grow something impossible to grow!

Knock On Wood

The Prince Edward Island government has developed a COVID-19 door knocker (I would call it a door hanger, but never mind) to announce to the world that you are in self-isolation. Not sure what font they have chosen for their COVID-19 messaging, but the capital letter “i” is very very odd – is this a semi-serif font? Ensure you have lots of ink/toner on hand before printing this polite message.

Give It A Whirl

My mother’s refrigerator is 17 years old, like most of our appliances. It was a floor model purchased at McKenna’s Furniture in Summerside. Nothing fancy, no ice makers or motherboards. Whirlpool Gold GT19DK. 

A few times over this little insulated box’s life, we have found water inside below the crispers and on some of the shelves.

After some internet searching, and remembering the appliance expert on CBC Maritime Noon talking about a similar situation, it seemed the likely culprit would be crumbs in the defrost drain hose from the freezer. I removed a few screws, pulled out some panels, and used a hair dryer and a scraper to remove ice that had built up and caused the flooding. I was soon rewarded with the satisfying sound of water running down the drain into the pan below the refrigerator as I flushed out the hose with a turkey baster and some hot water.

Frozen drain pan.
A turkey baster is an excellent tool for shooting hot water down the drain.

The tell-tale puddle appeared a month ago, so I went through this defrosting process again. Then it happened a couple of weeks later, and I figured I needed a better solution.

So, I watched lots of videos and read lots of articles. Seems this icing up is a problem for many other people, and Whirlpool has released a fix without saying there is something inherently wrong with the design of their products. You can buy this part for about $20 plus $10 shipping. It’s a piece of metal you clip on the the defrost heater.

Or, you can save the $30 and do as this fellow and many others suggest: wrap one end of some copper wire around the defrost heater and stick the other end down the drain hole. This will hopefully direct enough heat to keep this silly setup from freezing and glaciating (I don’t think that’s a word, but spellcheck is letting it go, so now it’s a word!).

The little piece of wire I saved when the electricians were here last year finally came in handy!
Wire on the defrost heater.
Godspeed, little wire. I hope I never see you again.

It’s been two weeks and all is as it should be in the refrigerator. Fingers crossed.

You Have Lint Where?

November 24 – 30 is National Home Fire Safety Week in Canada. It’s a good time to test and clean your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace any that are more than 10 years old. Fire extinguishers should also be inspected and recharged regularly.

Make an emergency plan and go over it a couple of times a year. One good place to start is Get Prepared from Public Safety Canada. I’m glad to see they now have a guide to help create a plan and kit for people with disabilities/special needs and for caregivers. We have had an emergency plan for a number of years, but my mother’s decreased mobility means I should likely make revisions.

One tip I learned years ago that freaked me at the time was cleaning dryer lint from inside the dryer cabinet. It’s easy to clean out the lint trap that all dryers have, but have you ever been told to vacuum inside the dryer? The first time I did, about 12 years after buying the dryer, it was a horror story!

We rarely use our dryer now, but if you even use yours a few times a year, please find out how to safely get inside your dryer after turning it off at the breaker and clean the darn thing out. Clean the dryer vent and hood, too.

And one more thing: plastic/vinyl duct is not for dryers. It gets brittle and leaks, it melts, it burns. Please replace it with a rigid aluminum metal duct.

Tips and more tips.