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Toilet Tips

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After a ground-up rebuild of the master bath john (did the other two years ago), I thought I'd give myself a few notes in the event I have to tackle a rebuild again (in this house.)

There are only 3 screws holding the flange down to the floor. There should be 4, but by the time I got there, I didn't have a screw, so there are still 3.

Because the flange was above the floor by about 3/4", I did not need the funnel thing in the wax ring I had purchased. (Found this out via YouTube.) That is only needed if the flange is flush (so to speak) with the floor. So I bought another simple wax ring, and that seemed to work better.

The flange bolts were cut so that the cosmetic caps could fit over them. One of the cuts was rough, making it very hard to back the nut off. I had to also cut the new ones, but at least I cut them a bit higher to allow for a file-down if the problem persists with the new bolts. Tip: Buy taller caps?

Don't use blue cleaner bricks in the tank. They are a mess and seeped into everything. Cleaning up blue gunk from many places.

Stuff some tissue down sewer pipe while working on flange / base to keep gases from coming up into the bathroom and knocking you out.

A while ago our dishwasher door quit going down smoothly when the spring on the right seemed to have broken. Then it got worse last week when the left spring seemed to have gone.

I backed out four screws and was able to slide / roll (back wheels) the dishwasher out half way. The electric cable prevented it from coming out any further, but that gave me enough access to see and get to the door springs.

The heavy-duty metal springs were fine. Instead, the "hinge cable" broke on the right and the "tension wheel" slipped on the left. The cable is no cable at all. It's a small, thin braided rope clamped with plastic hook/loop things on the ends. I can't believe they even last 10 pulls under tension.

In the attached photo, the rope slipped out of the hinge hook on the right. The tension wheel has a plastic peg (on back in this photo) that sits in a hole in the frame. The peg bent under pressure and will not stay in place.


I feel ridiculous ordering the replacement parts because they seem so poorly engineered. If I was a *real* engineer, I'd rebuild using galvanized cables and pulleys. But I'm not. $25.71 with shipping from

Helpful video by Steve at PartSelect.

Our model is KitchenAid KUDL02FRSS0. Whirpool has the same model number.

Don't Buy WaterSentinel WSF-4

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Bought this knock off water filter for our refrigerator. Two-pack for half the price. Kathy says it didn't work like the original filter.

So don't buy WaterSentinel. Instead get WF1CB PureSource Refrigerator Water Filter.

Pond Pump #3

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When we bought the house, there was a stagnant pod with a little stream of water streaming up in the middle. One of my early projects was to clean out the pond and clean the pump. It worked fine for several years until I had to replace it with Pump #2... which went out this winter after about three years. I'm amazed that these little pumps can run continuously under water for years.

Photo of pump #3 that is now installed and circulating the water. Just in time for spring. Note the little slica gell pack. Keeps moisture down. Wouldn't want a pond pump getting moist.

Our garage door opener started making a thumping noise that got worse, and then it did not want to open our door. It sounded like the sound was coming from within the motor housing, so I figured something was busted bad. Started researching new openers.

I had previously fixed our opener when a chain guide sprocket had broken. Had to order over the internet. I thought I would take the housing apart to see what was wrong before going off to buy a new one. Piece of rubber fell out of the housing. About 5 inches of the inside of the drive belt had torn away. The thumping noise was the stripped part of the belt slipping on the drive wheel.

Ace Hardware. Lots of belts, but not the 3L 290 size. Lowe's. Lawnmower belts only. Guy there said try Pep Boys, Autozone, or Napa. Pep Boys guy looked at it and brought out something that looked like a close match. Had to adjust the motor a tad for tension and the belt seems a bit too wide, but the garage door is going up and down fine. $12.70 beats $200.

Reference: Original belt is optibelt 3L 290 (H). Made in Germany (like my Passat.) Opener is an Allister II. Replacement belt Dayco Top Cog 15295 (11A0750). Has ribs on the outside where the 3L 290 was smooth. Doesn't seem to matter. Looks like a much tougher auto belt. Aaargh.

Five Forks in Wikipedia

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Not sure why I ended up on the Georgia entry in Wikipedia, but I thought I would edit the page and add Five Forks as one of the towns in Georgia. To my surprise, I found it was already there. However, it had no link and no article of its own. So I created an account and added an article. There isn't much there, but I think I'll try to build it up. It is amazing how much trouble someone has gone to on the Snellville article. Forks, Georgia

Wikipedia is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened on the internet. As Ted has asked, "Why would anyone ever buy an encyclopedia?" One answer is: "To look at all the colorful flags." That's one of the things I remember doing. But Wikipedia has flags, too.

Lights of America Model 2005A

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I had previously concluded to not buy Lights of America lightbulbs, but one problem with blogs is that they are not readily available as you are standing in Wal-Mart. (I suppose they will be some day.)

I leave a 25 watt bulb burning outside of our basement door to discourage unwanted visitors. Because I don't routinely go to the basement, it often ends up being on continuously. While 25 watts is not a lot, switching to a 5 watt (25 watt 215 lumen equivalent) compact fluorescent makes me feel less guilty about leaving the light on.

We'll see if it is still burning 6,000 hours later. That's on June 16th, 2006.

Hair Color

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Kathy and Danny got their U.S. Passports earlier in the year for their Jamaica trip. While you are supposed to be able to just use your birth certificate and a driver's license, the Jamaica customs agents had told me last year to go ahead and get a passport.

I went ahead and applied for one Saturday to use on our Windjammer cruise. I got to the part of the application that says: "Hair Color." I wanted to put "straw", but I wasn't sure that was legal. I stepped outside where Kathy was working in the yard. "What color hair do I have? The passport application wants to know."

"I guess you should put gray," she said. So I did. That's a first.

(The first and last burned out within a few weeks. See log below.)

Buy Commercial Electric (CE) ultra mini compact fluorescent (CF) lights. They are smaller and cheaper than ever, and seem to be reliable. Don't buy Lights of America (LOA) CFs.

Just bought two six packs (a dozen) of Commercial Electric Ultra Mini Spiral Lamps. The CE bulbs I already have are holding up, including the one they mailed me after a good customer service experience.

Commercial Electric Ultra Mini next to larger Lights of AmericaThese are very small. Smaller than a regular light bulb or the burned out LOA bulb seen in this photo. They seem to put out as much light as the larger bulbs. (In this case 60 watt equivalent.)

The ultra minis are replacing three LOA Model 2425 Bulbs that burned out very quickly. Unlike my good Commercial Electric experience, Lights of America wanted me to mail in forms with receipts etc. I just won't buy from them anymore.

Commercial Electric puts a customer service number right on the bulbs: 800-378-6998. That's a good sign. The sale price at Home Depot was $9.95 per six pack. Too good to pass up.

Light Output (Lumens) 900
Energy Used (Watts) 14
Life (Hours) 10,000
SKU # 292-460
Model: EDXO-14
14W 200A
Customer Service: 1-800-378-6998

Lasts 7 Years Guaranteed*
This Package Saves You $276.00
$46.00 in Energy Costs Per Bulb
Lasts 10 Times Longer Than Standard Bulbs

*based on 4 hours average use per day
*savings based on 10 cents per kilowatt hour

They are replacing larger Lights of America Model 2425.

The Light Log - a 7 Year Experiment
Last updated 11-23-2005

Installation Date / Fixture

  1. 1-3-2005 / Basement Hallway South. Died 1-23-2005
  2. 1-3-2005 / Basement Hallway North
  3. 1-3-2005 / Basement Office South
  4. 1-3-2005 / Basement Office South
  5. 1-3-2005 / Basement Office North
  6. 1-3-2005 / Basement Office North
  7. 1-3-2005 / Basement TV Room East
  8. 1-5-2005 / Piano
  9. 1-15-2005 / Upstairs hall East (Moved to basement hall south 3/6/06)
  10. 1-15-2005 / Master Bedroom Closet 1
  11. 7-10-2005 / Upstairs hall West (Moved to basement main west 3/6/06)
  12. 9-3-2005 / Master Bedroom Closet 2. Died 11-23-2005.
Now playing: You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate


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Ted reports he has used Tax Act for several years. I use TurboTax.

I look forward to using TurboTax every year. I've been getting it for $10 from Intuit because we are their check vendor. They cancelled that benefit last year when our CIO (if your reading this Chris, you cost me money!) e-mailed the order form to our entire I.T. department. It was supposed to be limited to people associated with the plants producing Intuit's checks. The flood of requests had them cancel the deal because in overwhelmed the friendly lady that handles these requests manually.

I bought TurboTax for $39.95 from Costco this year. We started printing checks for Costco about the same time Intuit cancelled there offer. No connection.

I'm not sure if Tax Act supports everything I do in TurboTax. Clark Howard says if you have complex tax transactions you should use TurboTax. But I'm also addicted to how TurboTax carries forward data every year (no retyping) and maintains a 5 year historical view.

(Disclosure: I currently am holding Intuit stock, but I just realized that.)

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