Guest Bath Redo

When I first bought the house in 2005, the guest bathroom was used by the owner’s two children, one of which was a typical little girl that loved bright colors.  The bathroom was painted a bright lime green.  I lived with it for quite a while like that, but then changed it to a shade of orange to match some marble bath accessories.

Well, it’s time to change it up again.  When I changed the hardware on the cabinets, I went with an antique bronze color, which was a better look against the plum-colored cabinets than nickel.  I have matching Adorne plates for the switches and outlets as well.  But the wall color is going to be brighter, the popcorn ceiling is going to get removed, and I’ll probably convert the florescent light fixture to LED.

I have a pretty tight schedule for completion and after the first day, I’m already behind.  Day 1 was supposed to end with the popcorn off the ceiling and letting the ceiling dry.  It actually ended up with all the hardware removed off the wall and prepped for patching.  This is an example of poor planning.

*Weeks go by*

And now I have the ceiling done and painted, and the walls painted, which involved removing the toilet to paint behind it.  I still have to swap out the power outlet and switches with bronze Adone pieces, install a new curved shower rod, and I also now want to change out the faucet and shower hardware to matching bronze.

For the lighting, I did leave the soffit in place, unlike the master bath where I pulled it out.  This meant I could replace the florescent light fixture with a simple LED shop light fixture.  That may be solution in other places where florescent lights are used, like maybe the kitchen.

I’m going to learn a new skill with this project, mixing and applying grout.  The toilet was secured with a grout base, which was all broken out when I pulled it off.  Without that base, the toilet wobbles just a little bit.  It should be easy, but doing anything the first time always leaves the opportunity for mistakes.

With the grout applied, the toilet is solid.  However, the color of the paint isn’t as good as expected, so the room needs repainted.  On the plus side, when I replaced the toilet, I used a new rubber seal instead of a wax ring.  They claim it can be repositioned, and I’m guessing it can be reused, which is great since the toilet needs to come back off for repainting.

After another night of painting, which included removing and replacing the toilet, I’m now ready to replace the outlet and switches.  The outlet is GFCI protected, so it was convenient that I could change out all the switches with the breaker off while having a work light powered by the outlet.  Then I turned the breaker back on and cut the GFCI circuit to change the outlet.  I flew through the changes so fast, I didn’t realize the outlet plate was made for 3 modules, while means there was a gap.  So the next day, I pulled it apart and swapped the GFCI outlet with a standard outlet and put a USB module in the bottom so it all fit.  That saved me about $30 instead of buying a new metal wall plate.

So, aside from wall hardware like towel and paper holders, this project is complete.

Relocating Network

As mentioned on another post, I originally designed one of the bedroom closets to be my “wiring closet” and my attempt at setting it all up was pretty lame.  One of the worst parts is that technically, by code, you can’t have a power outlet in a closet.  Probably something about flammable clothing and enclosed spaces and electricity and on and on.  So that meant, I had to run an extension cord into the closet to the UPS, which fed my networking equipment.

At the time, I wanted it to be a centralized place for cable, network, and phone connections.  As time has gone on, the cable and phone connections have become much less valuable, since they have more or less become obsolete.  Further, these are not connections that change often, if ever.  There’s no reason for needing them to be in an easily accessible place.  Lastly, the networking equipment has been reduced since my original plan.  Where before I had a cable modem, router, and switch, now I only have one device that does all of that. 

So the new plan is to place the router and UPS on a shelf in the laundry room, next to the security system.  There is a power outlet high on the wall to feed to security system, so that is a perfect place to also power the router.  It’s a good central location for WiFi, too.

The first thing I did was purchase an 8-way passive coax splitter for the cable.  In my original design, I had purchased an active splitter, but was quickly disappointed that it didn’t support the extended bandwidth required for digital cable.  So I was out that money, and eventually just had a tiny 4-way splitter hanging from the ceiling.  When the splitter came in, I went right up in the attic, pulled the coax cables back up into the attic and connected them all on the new splitter.  Everything worked and that was phase one complete for the relocation.

The next step will be pulling the phone wires back up into the attic.  The wires are all joined together on a joined patch panel, and I’m undecided if I want to keep that or not.  In any case, the wires will remain in the attic.

The biggest part will be done last, relocating the network and router.  Currently, I have the network wires dropped down from the ceiling, terminated at a patch panel, then patched between the panel and the router.  My initial thought was to just terminate the drops and plug them right into the router from a hole in the ceiling.  I’m so glad I didn’t act on that right away because I thought up a much cleaner solution.  I will install a work box in the ceiling and terminate the runs at keystone jacks, then patch those from the ceiling jack to the router.  So instead of having a patch panel, I just have jacks in the ceiling.  No ugly holes.

So I have four network runs and I’ll need one coax jack for the router.  That should be a piece of cake.

And then I tried to execute my plan.  I cut a hole in the ceiling and installed the work box.  Then I climbed in the attic and tried to locate the box.  I couldn’t find it.  Back downstairs and stuffed a long zip tie up there.  Back up.  Still don’t see anything anywhere.  Back down.  Pull the box out and see there’s a sheet of wood right over the hole I cut.  Sigh.  Drill a hole through the wood and stuff the zip tie in it.  Back up in the attic.  Still don’t see a zip tie or hole anywhere.

This is getting pretty frustrating.  I take measurements of my outlet hole relative to things like the AC vent and the lighting fixture.  I go back up and by the same measurements, my outlet hole is just on the other side of a large wood structure, capped with drywall.  I go out to the shed and get an old, old drill bit I had used many years ago.  It’s like 18 inches long for drilling through ceilings and stuff.  I drill a bigger hole in my outlet, then use the bit to see if I can get to the drywall above it.  Just barely.  I try as hard as possible and then head back into the attic to see if I pierced it.  I didn’t.  By this time, I am completely worn out from squeezing through rafters and joists and balancing on 2x4s.  But I kept trying.

Next, I grab my drill, put a hole saw on it and came in from above.  Once I cut the hole, I peeked down to see if I could find the holes I made coming up from the outlet.  I didn’t see them.  I tried to make out what I was looking at and noticed the the surface below the hole seemed yellow.  Then a sick realization dawned on me.  I went back down and walked around to my front entryway.  I had just drilled a hole in my ceiling above the plant shelf.  The plant shelf was inset on the wall and was above the point I installed my wire outlet.  So that means I’ve also drilled a hole in the floor of the plant shelf as well.  I could see beside the large hole I drilled in the ceiling a heavily damaged part of ceiling where my 18” drill bit but barely managed to touch.  This is a total disaster.

Back up in the ceiling, I get more aggressive trying to locate the outlet hole.  There was a AC conduit hanging in the way and some sheet insulation and a bunch of blown insulation in the way, but I did eventually see light from below.  There was about a 1/4” of space between two wooden beams that I could slide wiring between.  And so I did.  Until I realized that two runs from the back bedroom wouldn’t reach.

So now, I had to hack up an extension for those two runs to reach their destination.  Back down and up a few more times and I ended up creating one extension and breaking another.  All I want is Internet back on my desktop.  Please.  I give up in the attic for the night and terminate the two runs from the office.  I struggle the UPS and router up on the shelf and connect the network runs.  Miraculously, it worked.

At this point, I have to extend the network lines from the bedroom, re-terminate the bedroom jacks with Adorne jacks, terminate the bedroom lines at the other end and install the face plate.  Then I can worry about fixing the holes in the ceiling in the other room.

The Future Office Progress

This room.  Originally it was an office, then it got cleared out and was pretty much empty, except for some random bins.  Then I finally got my ass in gear and had the ceiling fixed, which was a disaster in itself.  So then the room sat again.

In a tiny bit of motivation, which I thought would spur further work, I disconnected all the electrical outlets so the room could be painted.  The room sat again.  Sometimes we would need to run the window AC unit and would not have to run an extension cord from the bathroom across the floor.

In another small moment of inspiration, we primed the walls in preparation of painting.  That made a nice improvement, brightening the room, which was sort of a brownish shade.  And then the room sat again.  All this time, the conduit for the power is sitting outside, getting rained on and rusting slightly.

I brought the conduit inside finally and started at least making mental preparations to repaint it.  At around the same time, I purchased the paint for the room, so there would be one less excuse for not working on it.  The day came for painting and the color made the room more inviting.  However, not having electric in the room made it uninviting.  We still had the power cord running across the room.

The next idea for the room was painting the trim… black.  It was a bold choice.  While the trim was being done, I set to work finalizing the electric.  I painted the conduit and drilled a hole through the cinder block so I could mount a power outlet outside.  Then I reinstalled the conduit and outlet boxes, running the extra power line outside to the outlet outside.  After it was all connected, I turned the power back on and it all worked without any fires.  That’s a good sign.

Meanwhile, the black trim was turning into a wonderful design choice.  Where the borders of the windows stood out in white paint against the dark brown aluminum frames, painting the borders black made the windows blend in.

The last major thing to do to the room is to curtain the windows so it doesn’t get so ungodly hot in there and also to provide a little privacy and less sun glare when I move my computer stuff in.  Then, it’s putting some shelves on the wall and decorating.

Over the weekend, we queued up a couple of other projects to try and complete: an art wall in the bedroom, new curtains for the front window, and an exercise bar for the future garage.

AC Day

I’m getting the AC swapped out in the house.  It’s been between 77 and 81 degrees in the house for a couple of weeks now.

Two guys showed up at 9:00 sharp to begin.  By about 1:00, I had cool air moving.  At that time it was 85 in the house, so the new system had its work cut out.

The new condenser outside is much more quiet than the beast that was out there before.  It’s shorter and fatter too, if that makes any sort of efficiency difference.

In the attic, everything is new.  A new drop pan to replace the seriously rusted old one.  Even the mounting of the air handler was improved.  It got raised up a few inches and a new plywood base was installed.  I’m keeping my existing air filter box, which has a non-functioning UV light attachment on it.  Maybe some day I will replace the UV light, I’ve been told they are costly.  To do that, I would have to run a power line to it, since the half-assed previous install powered the UV light from a power socket off the attic light.  If you switch off the attic light at the switch, the UV light is turned off, too.  That’s stupid.

At the same time, I had the guys install a new programmable, WIFI thermostat.  I am really against cloud-based management, but I will admit, being able to see my thermostat in a web browser was cool.  If I can do the same thing locally, staying inside my network, I will be good to go.

After a day of usage, I feel a little underwhelmed.  It took a really long time to cool the house.  8 hours later, the temp had dropped 10 degrees.  Maybe that’s normal, but my old system, when it was running well, would drop the temp 5 degrees an hour.

I’ve read a lot of HVAC and learned that having an oversized AC unit may not be the best thing because it cools the air too quickly and doesn’t reduce enough humidity.  To handle this, advanced systems (like my old one) will run the fan at a slower speed to dehumidify without as much cooling.  That feature was eliminated when I changed the motor to a single-speed, so I have no idea if this system is better or not.  Also, I never had a hygrometer in my old thermostat, so I have no idea what the interior humidity was.

A day later, the system has held my house at 73 degrees all day, so that’s a good thing.  And I know this because I can check the temp remotely.

Cat Door

It was many years ago that I ruined the property value of my house by installing a cat door leading out to the screened-in porch.  At the time, there were two cats, Bubbles and Rump.  Bubbles came with the house when I bought it because the sellers saw she was more friendly with me than she was with them.  Rump was a stray that I befriended on Halloween and she decided I was her new owner and this was her house.

Both cats enjoyed going “outside” on the patio, and as cats are wont to do, they would request to go out, or more accurately, request the door be opened so they could decide if they wanted to go out.  And if no one was there to open the door, well, tough shit.  So, I purchased a cat door so they could help themselves.

As it turned out, Bubbles never understood how to use the door, but Rump figured it out on day one and used it for the rest of her times.  In the middle of the night, you would hear her knocking on the door before she pushed her considerable girth through the opening.  The door had a lock, but it was rarely used.

I can’t even remember how I installed the door.  I know I didn’t have near the collection of tools I have now.  And so it’s not really a surprise the installation is not as good as it could be.  The one big issue is the opening isn’t as even on the outside as it should be.  Also, over the years, the plastic has turned yellow from the sunlight and from having a dirty cat in and out for years, the door and channel was full of hair and cat litter.  With the expectation that a new cat is coming to the house, it was time to replace the door.

Surprisingly or not, it seems the model of door I have was discontinued a while ago.  But there’s still some places that sell what’s left over.  And so I bought one.  About $40.  It’s been so long, I can’t remember what I paid for the original.  And this time, when I install the new door, I can correct the opening and it should look much better.

So the old door, as I said, was old and yellowed and dirty from years of use.

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While I had the old door off, I used a file to open up the door hole where it touched the plastic.  I also superglued the tunnel to the inside frame for stability.  When I got it all assembled in place, this was definitely for the best.  You can see in the gross close-up of the old outside view how the tunnel had separated from the inside frame.

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The new install is nice and white and you can particularly see how the tunnel is in better shape now.  It actually almost protrudes past the outside frame.

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All ready for a new cat.  Coming this week.

A/C Approved

There was a slight breakdown in communication with my A/C replacement quote.  For whatever reason, the office thought I had already been given the quote, but the person giving the quote didn’t write anything down.  I explained that I was told they would call me because I had questions about available rebates from my local electric company.  So whatever, we’re talking now.

I was so nervous about what the quote was going to be, I was hardly listening for anything else.  The quote is… are you ready… the technician wrote down a quote of… this is for a 3 ton system… it’s a 16 seer unit… (I can’t afford that!) this unit has a 10 year warranty…  and the cost is… including installation… $3,975.

Exhale.  So, it’s not a celebration-grade quote, but it is well within budget.  So now, I get to tweak the parameters to see where I can go with this.  The first thing I asked about was this electric company rebate.  The rebate is not available for electric heat systems, which this is.  It’s only for heat pumps.  So what would that run me?  Something like $4,300, and the rebate would be $300.  The only problem is, I would have to have additional wiring done, which is an unknown and would certainly add to the cost.  The last time I did wiring, for the pool, it was over $1,000.  And who knows what that would do to the install timeline.  So, we’re going to stay where we are.

Next, let’s address the SEER rating.  I have read that the higher seer units jump up in cost rapidly.  So, how much can I save by dropping efficiency?  Well, there’s a 14 seer option and that’s about $3,200.  There’s no 15 seer option.  I think the quote was spot on the first time.  Now I need to make a 50% deposit and I’m on the schedule.

Yeah, about that schedule.  This is the middle of June in Florida.  It sure would have been convenient for my AC unit to die in the winter time, but it’s gonna do what it’s gonna do.  And what it did was coordinate with all its brethren and join in a mass suicide.  So, my appointment is tentatively scheduled for two weeks out.  Maybe there will be a cancellation or maybe another job will get wrapped up early and I can get promoted, but I’m probably going to be getting used to 80 degrees in the house.

And you know what?  When it’s 93 degrees outside, 80 feels pretty damn good.  I can’t really say I’m hurting too badly.  I can sleep at night with the ceiling fan and a sheet.  I can jump in the pool to cool off, now that I have a fully-restored and fully-maintained pool.  If I really got desperate, I could make one of those Styrofoam cooler AC units with a desktop fan and some ice.

Now that I go back and look at my service call invoice from last Thursday, yeah, the cost of the new AC unit is on there.  I guess I didn’t need to sweat it.  But, I don’t remember being told that was the estimated cost.  And it lacked the detail of the quote that I got today, so it all worked out as it should.

Air Conditioning

It’s hot in the house.

Today, I should be getting a quote to install a new AC system.  My old AC system is probably 15 years old, judging by some documentation I was able to find on it.  It has finally reached its end-of-life.

The AC unit has always been a little finicky.  For as long as I can remember, there were occasions where the compressor outside would just shut off and the blower inside would keep running.  Soon, it would be blowing nothing but hot air.  The fix for this was to pull the thermostat off the wall and put it back on after a few seconds.  Seriously.  It was like pulling the battery of your non-responsive cell phone, except it is your house.  Oddly, flipping the circuit breaker switches wouldn’t even resolve it.

I’ve had techs come out more and more frequently to fix things.  Over time, it’s been a bad solenoid, a failed blower motor, a bad thermostat, a failed cooling fan, and a clogged air filter (duh, me).  This time I brought them out and the diagnosis was grim.  The compressor outside was not performing up to par.  There’s not really a way to fix that, so it has to be replaced.  The tech said the compressor was only drawing 6 amps of power when it should be drawing around 15.  Conversely, when the compressor starts up, it spikes the power, at about 52 amps.  My suspicion is that it is requiring a large boost of power to break out of its inertia. Regardless of the reason, 52 amps is pretty close to my circuit breaker’s limit of 60 amps.  So, if it fails much further, it’s just going to start tripping the circuit breaker and then it will just never start up again.

I asked the tech what brands they sell and the response was ComfortMaker.  I’d never heard of the brand before and I thought it was a pretty dumb name, very generic sounding.  Internet research shows that ComfortMaker is a known brand and is a sub-brand (more or less) of Carrier, which is a very well-known brand.  One of the other interesting bits of knowledge I picked up is that “they don’t make them like they used to.”  That’s hardly news, but there’s actually a reason for it.  My unit, as old as it is, is built like a tank.  But that build quality comes at a cost.  Just like automobiles, the older cars were built like tanks, but they were inefficient.  They would last forever because of their heavyweight components, but would cost a lot of money doing so.  Newer AC units are highly efficient, but they gain that efficiency by using thinner copper pipes and lighter materials.  These parts wear out quicker, but they save you money while they’re running.  So I guess the take-away is to bank whatever you save from a new system for your next system.  The march of progress.

I’ve also been researching a bit about tonnage and SEER and heat pumps.  A Q&D calculation says I should have a 2.5 ton compressor.  I currently have a 4 ton compressor and a 5 ton air handler.  Why’s that?  Well, the old knowledge was: bigger is better.  Plus, the house used to have a converted garage as a game room, so a bigger unit was needed anyway.  Old knowledge was that you could gain efficiency by having a larger air handler than your compressor.  Also, they thought that if your compressor runs less, you’re saving money.  But all that advice is gone now.  The new knowledge is just size the unit correctly.  You shouldn’t have your compressor cycling frequently because of the wear on the unit and the large power draw when it starts up.  It’s better to have it run constantly when it’s hot (which mine is doing now, although that’s not a good thing in my case).

So today, I am waiting on the proposal to do the work.  A co-worker coincidently also was having AC trouble and while he got his system stumbling again, he chose to schedule a replacement.  His quote was $8k.  Ouch.  That’s a bit over my maximum budget.  One difference is that he’s going to have an extra return duct installed with the new system.  Mine should hopefully just be a simple swap-out. 

My budget for this is:  $3k, no-brainer; $5k, soft maximum; $7k, hard maximum.  I was told there is about a 1 week lead time on scheduling an install, so I’m going to have to get used to 80 degree indoor temps for a while.  Unfortunately, this pushes back my plans to install a garage door.  But, this was a known upcoming expense.  That and a new roof.  With the pool already redone, once the AC and roof are redone, the house will be brought back to current specs and should be good for another decade or so.

Pool Refinishing Progress – Electrical Complete (I’m Helping!)

Today the electrical people came and did the work like ninjas.  I left the house open and also closed off part of the house so the cat wouldn’t get out.  I got no phone calls of any kind, and came back to an invoice taped to the electric panel and new stuff on my back wall.

Two things I was disappointed to see were that the timer wasn’t changed and the flex conduit to the pump wasn’t repaired.  Both were just mentioned in passing, so I don’t really fault them for not doing it.  It was something I was willing and able to do myself.  It’d be good for me to have a hand in this remodeling, lest I just end up like any of the worthless dudes on any HGTV house flipper show – the kind whose wives do all the design and they agree.  But I guess they do make some observations, so they kind of earn their keep.

Anyway, I disconnected the power and removed the timer box from the wall.  I went inside and got my replacement timer and prepared to mount it.  It wasn’t the same size as the old one.  And then it struck me.  The replacement wasn’t anything like the original.  The fact that the replacement was an indoor-only timer, with no weatherproofing at all should have been just a little obvious to me.  God, I am an idiot sometimes.

So I checked Lowes to see if they had the real timer I needed in stock, which they did.  Then I disconnected the flex conduit from the pump and took it with me.  At Lowe’s I easily found the conduit and the timer, but was unable to find the type of conduit connectors I needed.  Oh well, I’ll have to use the old ones.

The installation was uneventful and only slightly painful.  In the end, everything worked the first time, with no explosions.

Good bye, old timer.

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Welcome, new timer.

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Welcome to the family.

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Pool Refinishing Progress – Stage… Electrical

The pool is resurfaced now, so that part is finished.  Part of the upgrade includes a new heater, new pool light, and a salt-water chlorinator.  And, especially in the case of the heater, electrical work needs done.

The old heater was gas, which came with many problems of its own.  In my experience, it was a constant expense, because the gas tank vented, or maybe it had a leak, which required regular topping off, whether or not the heater was used.  And the tank wasn’t even my property, it belonged to the gas company, so there was that rental.  And the gas company just showed up whenever and topped it off and sent a bill, even if you said, “stop it.”  So, gas wasn’t what I wanted this time.

However, the electric heater is 220v, obviously.  And it’s going to take a huge power line from the circuit breaker.  And it’s going to need its own transfer switch, which is power cutoff for service.  And ductwork, and boxes, and on and on.  I had the electrician visit today to get a quote.  It wasn’t the same number I had in mind.  In my mind, I had $650, which is only a remnant memory of the pool light cost.  The electrician quote was $1300.  Ouch, my wallet.

So for that amount of money, next Tuesday, they’re going to install a new circuit breaker in my panel, run the heavy-gauge power line to the back of the house through the attic and run it down the back wall through a new conduit.  That will end up in a new breaker box of its own, which will then have circuits for the chlorinator and the heater.  They will also install an extra 110v power outlet just because.  The pool light and pump will remain on the previous circuits as they were.  The pump timer will be replaced with a new one that I have in reserve.

That’s actually a decent amount of work and I shouldn’t really be upset for paying licensed professionals to do the work.  But again.  Ouch.  That is definitely going to delay the installation of the garage door.

Dryer Repair (Not Repaired Yet)

A couple of years ago, I did some maintenance on my washing machine.  It was just kind of cleanup and improvement fixes.  I should be happy for that because these units have been going strong without failure since 2005.  I should also mention, since changing the washing machine gasket from what was a disgusting, mold-stained disaster, I have resolved to never let that happen again.  At the finish of laundry day, I dry the gasket completely and there has not been a single spot of discoloration on the rubber in the 2 years since.  However, last week during my scheduled laundry time, it was the dryer’s turn for attention.  It would not start up for my last load – my bed linens.

So, for a few days now, I’ve been sleeping in my guest bedroom until I can get my sheets rewashed and dried properly.  Or I could just buy new sheets, which is just as much an option at this point.  I had some mildly stressful thoughts of having to replace the dryer.  And if I was going to do that, I might as well replace the washer, right?  And then there goes the budget for the garage door install, which is next up on the improvement list.

But, after some Internet research, I learned that dryer failures are usually either a thermostat/thermistor or the control board.  The former is a cheap ($40) fix and is pretty common.  The latter would be around $350 and might warrant an upgrade.   So, yesterday, I tore the dryer apart and on the guidance of online articles, I started testing thermostats and sensors.

After taking the top and back off the dryer, I was able to identify 3 potential sensors.  Using a multimeter, as instructed, I tested continuity between the two leads.  In two of the three cases, the LCD display displayed some numbers.  In the final case, the LCD didn’t change at all when touching the contacts.  That is the one I will suspect has failed.

I did a search online and the shop that sold me the washer replacement parts did not have this particular sensor in stock.  Boo.  So I went to their competitor.  I paid $2 extra for Standard shipping, an upgrade from Economy.  They said their Standard shipping was fast.  2-5 business days, they say, but realistically, it’s usually 2.  Shortly after I got the order confirmation email, I got a shipping notification.  Later that night, FedEx tells me my shipment is arriving tomorrow.  Well, that is fast, I have to say.

I opened up my new sensor package pretty quickly and immediately tested it with the multimeter.  It didn’t register anything.  Well, shit.  Maybe the old one wasn’t bad after all.  Sigh.  Well, as long as I’ve spent the money, I might as well install it, so I have at least one new part.

Swapping out the sensor was a pretty easy job.  Before I sealed everything up, I wanted to see if maybe by chance I did fix it.  So I reattached the power cord, plugged it in, and switched it on.  Just like last time, the “lint filter” light blinked 5 times, then stopped.  The Start button did not begin the cycle.  Oh well.  That was a nice $40 experiment for nothing.

I took a break to think about what to do next.  I came back and looked deeper into the body of the dryer.  Then I saw two more sensors up front.  I wouldn’t be able to reach them from the back, so I guess I’m going to take the front of the dryer now.  Unlike taking the top and back off, the front of the dryer had a bunch of different size screws, so I began to get nervous I wouldn’t remember which screws went where when it was reassembly time.  I had about 4 different piles of screws sitting to the side.

When I finally managed to get the metal front of the dryer off, I was faced with a large plastic frame that had the sensors mounted on the back.  Part of this plastic frame was the lint trap.  I figured as long as I had access to it, I would open it up and get all the excess lint that had collected in it over the years.  When I did get the lint cover off, holy shit.  It was a few inches of densely packed lint and dust.  I broke out the vacuum clear and cleaned it all up.  Maybe that’s what the problem was, having the lint sensors buried under inches of lint for years on end.  I plugged the dryer back in and turned it on.  Nope.  Still five blinks.

More contortions to remove the plastic frame from the drum and now I had access to the sensors in the back.  The multimeter says one is fine and one gives no response.  Yeah, I’m not getting fooled by that again.  So where does that leave me?  I guess I’m going to have to call a professional. 

I called the first repair shop and went right to voicemail.  Ugh.  I left a message and they called me back in about 15 minutes.  That’s not too bad.  Except they don’t service Siemens brand, so thanks for that.  I called another shop twice and got no answer either time.  I called a third shop and the phone never rang, it just disconnected.  A called a fourth shop and talked to a human right away.  They didn’t have a problem with the brand, but they weren’t able to schedule me for service for a week.  So, I guess I’ll be without a dryer for another week.