Category Archives: House and Home

Washing machine has a hose leak? How to repair it.

There are a couple of good sites for information about do-it-yourself washing machine repair. Ours had a leak, which I think I traced to a tiny hole in the low-pressure drain hose that was fixable with a pipe tape that the good folks at Stadium Hardware helped me find. Let's hope the repair holds!

I used the Family Handyman's How To Repair a Leaking Washing Machine as my guide. The pinhole sized leak was in the middle of the low-pressure drain hose, where a rusty piece of bracket had wedged itself against the hose and slowly caused it to get a pinhole sized hole. The repair was made with Duck Brand Wrap-Fix Tape, a self-fusing silicone tape that says it's good to 100 PSI. And Stadium Hardware (Arborwiki link) is a marvelous store, with helpful folks and a seemingly infinite supply of parts for every hardware need.

Now let's just hope the repair holds! The next step, if it doesn't, is to replace that hose entirely. Repair Clinic has about 70 different GE washing machine hose parts available; I haven't yet identified the exact part. 

Please note that the repair for the high-pressure supply hose would be very different, as noted in the comment below. The Family Handyman guide referenced above suggests getting a metallic no-burst supply hose similar to this one from Fluidmaster to replace any worn, corroded, or leaky supply hoses. Supply lines run at much higher pressure than drain lines.

Getting laundry done, notes on the topic

Laundry is a chore. I'm only slowly getting better at it after most of
a year of having increasing responsibilities.

Mama mama make me clean. Every day the same routine. 
(Jean Marzollo)

The most important part of doing laundry once you start it is to figure
out what the cycle time is that you need to keep up to make continuous
progress, and then work with that timing in mind as you plan your
effort. If your washing machine takes 45 minutes to run, then going
downstairs 30 minutes later is a wasted trip, and going down an hour
later slows down system throughput considerably.  No one yet that I know is using any web based time to change the laundry app that monitors your appliance directly, but simple timers or even just knowing that the top of the hour is when you go down to work on it should be enough.

Laundry works best when clothes and wash are sorted before they get
dumped into the washer. This suggests that every time you put in a load
you should immediately sort the next load, so that there's no need to
wait any more time that you need to the next time the cycle runs.
Sorting is made a lot easier by having big clearly labeled baskets. (I
never have figured out the symbols.)

One school of laundry thought says to do a load every day; the other
says to do all the wash you have to do once a week in a continuous
stream. What is best for you depends on how many kids there are getting
clothes dirty, how many days or weeks of little boy clothing you have
in your stockpile so that there's always a dry pair of clean pants
during mud puddle season, and what kind of mindless work you can do
while folding. In any case, there's little to be gained from making
laundry a random process – routines repeated every week make it all
easier.

It's 2:00pm; I promised myself that I'd go to the basement every hour
on the hour and move the process forwards. If I work at this properly
it will take less than 15 minutes to get the next load in and then I'll
be able to have another 45 minutes of writing time.

More reading, should you need to, falls in two rather distinct camps: the domestic diva enthusiasm as seen on #flylady , or the art and science of keeping home exemplified by Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts.  Either way there's method in the madness, and I haven't even touched on the strategies of sending all of your wash out to be done, or taking it all to the laundromat weekly for one big megawash.

How to insulate your windows with bubble wrap

Bubble wrap!  Who knew.

Build It Solar has the super-easy instructions, which involve cutting the wrap to the size of the window, spraying a thin film of water on the window, and letting the bubble wrap stick.  Add a little glycerin perhaps if you have trouble removing it in the spring.

It’s apparently a common practice in the greenhouse industry.

And it’s more transparent and high tech than duct taping some foam insulation to the window.

Building Mississippi cottages, tearing down New Orleans houses

The Christian Science Monitor has a good story with pictures of the current state of the “Mississippi Cottage” design of manufactured housing.

Hurricane Katrina downsized his domain to nothing. Today, his new castle is about one-seventh the size of his old one, measuring 450 square feet. But surveying the familiar view from the dollhouse porch of his “Mississippi cottage,” Mr. Voorhies is one of many storm survivors who have reassessed their coastal existence.

“Small works for me right now,” Voorhies says of his cottage, one of nearly 2,400 the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has given to state residents to replace the FEMA trailer. “There’s less to lose.”

Not everyone is an enthusiast of the Mississippi cottage – a wheeled version of the now famous Katrina Cottage – despite its compact cuteness. Most communities along the now-rebuilding Gulf Coast have demanded that MEMA haul them out by next March, citing concerns about their storm-worthiness, low assessed values, and aesthetics. That is leading some cottage-dwellers to vow to fight for their abodes, promising a showdown ahead.

New Orleans is grappling with post-hurricane demolitions, including teardowns of houses the owners have been planning to renovate. See the Squandered Heritage blog for details, and note that a team from New Orleans will be at the NetSquared conference coming in May 27-28 2008. Here’s some small measure of the problem they are up against:

My house was a 1945 Gentilly bungalow with double parlor, original floors, the Gentilly tile, and deco molding. It was in no danger of falling down. My contractor drove by, called, and asked why there were bulldozers on the property the morning they tore it down. Before he could reach us, the house was gone.

I cannot return to the city now. I feel such pure fury when I think of my house being torn down. City bulldozers trespassed on my property and tore down my lovely Gentilly bungalow. New Orleans has nothing to do with America anymore. New Orleans is dead to me, and I will not lift a finger to help or give back to it again.

Ann Arbor sign ordinances

If your neighbor erects a giant sign on their lawn, or on the side of their house, what is your recourse?

UPDATE: In Ann Arbor the simple and direct way to deal with this is to call the city’s Community Standards department at 734-994-1613. A neighbor who has been through this before says that they deal with sign problems promptly.

The appropriate part of the city code reads as follows. NOTE: This is not the official city code site! Find it and read it before complaining.

PDF from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors:

5:504. Residence signs.

(1) Single and 2-family houses. Townhouses and detached single-family and duplex

houses are permitted signs having a total area of 3 square feet indicating the address and

names of the occupants.

(2) Multiple family residences. Apartment houses, fraternity houses, sorority houses,

cooperative houses, retirement homes, tourist homes and religious institutions are

permitted signs having a total area of 12 square feet indicating only the address, the

names of the occupants and the name of the building or organization.

(3) Subdivisions. Subdivisions of single and 2-family homes and housing complexes of

more than 1 apartment or town house building are permitted signs identifying the

subdivisions or housing complex. Such signs shall have an area of not more than 50

square feet and a height of not more than 8 feet. A subdivision or housing complex shall

not have a total of more than 2 such signs nor more than 1 per entrance.

(Ord. No. 55-74, 6-9-75; Ord. No. 33-82, 8-2-82)

5:505 Temporary signs.

Unilluminated on-premises temporary exterior signs may be erected in accordance with

the regulations of this section.

(1) Single and Two-Family Real Estate–For Sale Signs.

(a) A single sign with a maximum height of 48 inches and a maximum width of 36

inches, including the support structure and all riders, and with the bottom of the sign a

minimum of 6 inches from the ground, advertising the sale of a single or two-family

house or variant property adjacent to such a house is permitted.

(b) Such a sign shall be set back at least 15 feet from the street and at least 5 feet from

the inside edge of the sidewalk, or in accordance with Table 5:505 when conditions do

not permit such placement. Provided, that if a legally existing obstruction on the property

prevents the sign from being seen from the street when the sign is placed in accordance

with the foregoing placement requirements, then the sign may be affixed to or placed

immediately in front of such obstruction, so long as the display face of the sign is parallel

to the right-of-way line, and so long as the sign is not placed within the public right-of-

way.

(c) A sign advertising the sale of a property must be removed within 48 hours after the

closing on the sale.

(2) Single and Two-Family Real Estate–Rental Signs.

(a) A single sign with a maximum height of 48 inches and a maximum width of 36

inches, including the support structure and all riders, and with the bottom of the sign a

minimum of 6 inches from the ground, advertising the rental of a single or two-family

house or variant property adjacent to such a house is permitted.

(b) Such sign shall be set back at least 15 feet from the street and at least 5 feet from

the inside edge of the sidewalk, or in accordance with Table 5:505 when conditions do

not permit such placement. Provided, that if a legally existing obstruction on the property

prevents the sign from being seen from the street when the sign is placed in accordance

with the foregoing placement requirements, then the sign may be affixed to or placed

immediately in front of such obstruction, so long as the display face of the sign is parallel

to the right-of-way line, and so long as the sign is not placed within the public right-of-

way.

(c) A sign advertising the rental of a property must be removed within 48 hours after

the property is no longer available for rent.

(3) Real Estate. A sign with a total area not in excess of 12 square feet advertising the

sale or rental of real estate other than single or two-family houses is permitted pursuant to

a permit having a maximum duration of 120 days. It shall have a maximum height of 10

feet and shall be set back 25 feet unless attached to a permanent building.

The sign board of appeals home page:

Brenda Acquaviva, Appeal Board Administrative Support Specialist

(734) 994-2696 – Bacquaviva@a2gov.org

there’s lots of broken links on that page.

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Chicken coops in Ann Arbor

from UPI in their “quirks” section:

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 3 (UPI) — Officials in Ann Arbor, Mich., are working on a plan to allow residents of the college town to set up their own chicken coops.

City Councilman Stephen Kunselman told his colleagues during the weekend there is support among residents who like the idea of having access to “farm fresh” eggs, which some foodies consider to be tastier and healthier than the store-bought variety.

To the reader: a challenge to update the chicken coops page on Arborwiki, noting the urban history of residential avian husbandry, and to document in particular the tipping point at which eggs from your back yard went from being a sign of prosperity to something else.

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