Caveat: Appliance Repair (?)

Living here along a dirt road in Alaska, when your washing machine breaks, you don’t just call an appliance repair person.

Arthur is used to being mechanically adept, and solving these problems for himself. He takes things apart and figures out the problem and deals with it. He has always had very high skills in this area, and I would say to the extent I have skills such as this at all, I largely “inherited” them from him.

Well, the door latch on the washing machine malfunctioned this morning.

Arthur seemed flumoxed and overwhelmed by it, however. This is his new cognitive state, to some degree.

Thus I had to “play Arthur.” I’m pretty happy with the result.

I had to look up how to disassemble the door latch online. There are lots of resources for that kind of thing, these days. I took out the door latch, and called the washing machine’s manufacture about replacement parts. The washing machine is 20 years old. That model is obsolete. It was looking problematic to replace.

I took pictures of the assembly – which I could use to shop for an appropriate replacement, searching online. Here it is. Washing machine door latch mechanism:



I decided, meanwhile, to try tinkering with it a bit. The problem seemed to be the actuator (“detector” of whether the door is closed or not), not the solenoid that locks the door. I wiggled the plastic switch connector, a mechanical relay between where the door latches into the slot and the electronic detector switch (lower left in the second picture, above). I thought maybe the mechanical lever was just misaligned. So I decided what the heck, and put it all back together.

It worked.

I am officially a washing machine repair person. For a few hours, anyway.


  1. Bob Gehrenbeck

    Congrats on your impressive repair. Our dryer just broke. I think the belt connecting the motor to the drum may have shattered because of the cold from the polar vortex, which snaked down into the dryer via the exhaust pipe. So we will probably need to call a laundry machine repair person. Too bad it’s a bit too long for you to make the trip.

    Loving your poetry, as always.

  2. David

    Well done!

    My ex and her parents are regularly astonished by my ability to solve many household problems, including defective appliances. But you’re not a kitchen appliance repairman, they say.

    Sure, true repairmen have experience that I do not and can better judge when (and how) to fix and when to replace. But sometimes just turning on your brain and having a close look at the problem is all that needs to be done to find a solution.

    Unfortunately, many people are too lazy and/or too pessimistic about their own abilities to even try, latter case evoking a vicious circle.

    So well done!

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