Saturday, September 20, 2008


Recently I read that things come in groups of three.

  1. Ceiling fan wobbled and one speed did not work
  2. Storm shelter was full of water
  3. Mower self propel stopped working
I looked at all three items hoping that the solutions would be simple. I have addressed two of them, and need to fix the third.

We opened the storm shelter when the exterminator came to work on our "waterbug" problem. When the storm shelter was opened to fumigate, a 3 foot deep pool of red water occupied the shelter. The water was above the level where the electrical receptacle for the sump pump resides on the shelter wall. A breaker in the garage was tripped and would not reset.

I took a day off work to come home and work on some unfinished projects out in the shop, but was diverted to work on the swamped sump. We went and bought a sump pump. Before we left I took the ceiling fan apart to see if there were a broken wire or some other simple problem. I took down the control and we went a buyin'. We started at Ace. We purchased a sump pump. We looked for the smoked component for the variable speed fan to no avail. We asked about who would have such a part. After 4 or five places we discovered in downtown Waco an electronics shop that had some capacitor modules for variable speed fans.

The capacitor module on the fan control had 4 wires. The electronics shop only had modules with 3 wires. I decided to purchase one of the three wire modules and rewire the controls. The man at the counter, who was somewhat peculiar, made a comment about redneck engineering. He had several rings on each hand that looked like gold and diamonds. He was also about 6 feet in diameter. His name is Bubba.

With our trove of goods we headed home to fix 2 of the 3 items. I worked on the fan first. It was pretty simple to wire up the new capacitors 3 wires instead of 4 when I realized that the two pink wires were connected together inside the hermetically sealed unit. A few wire nuts later and a quick reassembly and the fan was working again.

I set up the pump with a hose connected directly to the discharge orifice and pumped the water out onto the back lawn. It took several hours to empty the water from the shelter. I sent Jeanette back to Ace to exchange a bushing for another size, because I had chosen poorly. To make the final connections to the existing plumbing I needed the other bushing. I gave up for the day.

The next day I came home from work and installed the pump. I realized that the pump did not have a ballcock or a switching mechanism controlled by the water level. I purchased another part and finished putting the pump in the sump.

Maybe some time soon I will start on the mower and finish clearing my mess from the pump installation episode.


  1. I have more than three projects that need my attention. My problem is that I have no energy and no motivation.

    Did the moisture in your storm cellar leave a mildew or mold smell behind? What would you do in a storm situation if the power went out? Do you have a manual system for bilging the water from the cellar?

  2. Debra called me at work about the mower self propel not working. It told her to just push it.

  3. I wish I had the ability to fix things that I could fix at one time. I decided to get a lawn man because I couldn't start the mower. That was my fix-it. Bonnie would come and mow my lawn and Emery has been very good at helping me with things that need to be fixed. Your jobs sound complicated. All that I can help you with is my "good job", "well done" etc.

  4. It's frustrating, isn't it. There are beginning to be more and more things that I have to rely on others for.

    We had a lawn service for part of the summer, and I really enjoyed it. I am back to doing it myself again. It sure looked nicer when the lawn service did it, but I need the exercise and a little extra dough in my pocket.

  5. There is one thing I can say about my Uncle Larry is that he is a hands on kinda guy!!! I appraciated the help I needed from you when you changed my alternator so that I could continue on to the Valley for our family reunion!!! I wish that I had someone around the house that was as handy as you are and willing to fix things. My garbage disposal isn't working and hasn't been for months and I wish it did! Cannot afford the handyman that you call to come fix it! D:

  6. I do not enjoy fixing things as much now as I have in the past. I am not quite as adept at figuring how things work as I was when I could see and hear better.


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