If you live in the United States, then you know we have been on “safer at home” or some other quarantine-like order (strong suggestion) for the last month or so. Some states longer, some not quite that long. My state falls into the latter.
Tennessee was one of the later states to say, “stay at home.” And now they are one of the first states to say, “let’s try to get back to normal.” When the shit first hit the fan and it looked like we may get quarantined or not be able to leave the house as often as we normally do, the first thing I thought about was my laundry.
For about the last 6 years, I’ve been going to the laundromat to do my laundry. My house has a washer and dryer connection, but they are both in the kitchen and the way that it is set up, the only way it will truly work is to have a stackable washer and dryer. And if I did have a stackable, it would cover the whole window taking a load of light out of said kitchen. When I very first moved in, I brought a washer with me and dried the clothes on the line. When the washer broke, I just went to the laundromat once a week. It was just two of us and the loads weren’t that bad. When Flea Market Guy moved in, he had a washer and dryer at his place that we ended up putting in storage for the same spacial reasons that I had been using.
However, when the pandemic became a reality in the States and not just something we were watching unfold in a foreign country, I thought maybe it would be safer to have the washer and dryer here.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned that I live in what, for the most part, qualifies as a “tiny house” by most American’s standards. It’s 725 square feet. Two bedrooms. One bath. Kitchen. No dining room. But a super big yard (which a huge perk with super big dogs).
So, in order to stay away from the laundromat, that I felt like was probably crawling with germs, we brought the washer and dryer to our house. We put the washer in the kitchen where the hookup is, but then we had to put the dryer in the living room. Right in the way of…. everything. But we are quarantined. No one in. No one out (for the most part, except to work). Definitely no company to wonder why the dryer is next to the front door. And more importantly, clean clothes with no COVID-19 risk.
And that made us happy.
And then we almost burned the house down.
The dryer plug started smoking after about a week or so of bringing the dryer in. I thought it was because of all the dog hair and dust that accumulates so fast in our little house. But for a couple of weeks, whenever I turned the dryer on, I would just keep an eye on the outlet. Sometimes the dryer would be hot and the outlet would be hot. Other times, the dryer would be cold and not heat up at all and the outlet would be cold and not seemingly have any problems.
I’m an optimist. I like to think that everything will work out. I just kept an eye on the dryer when it was on and since we don’t use it that often, it was pretty easy. But today, I had a super slow instacart day– actually, it’s been a super slow instacart week– so I decided I was going to put my “electrical goddess” pants on and fix the dryer outlet.
I decided I could just take the one off the wall, take it to Lowe’s, get one exactly like it, come home and put it back together again. How hard could it be, right?
So I turned on the dryer and went to the breaker box and flipped breakers until the dryer went off. FMG says I should have cut the main breaker off, but I like to half watch TV and half play electrician at the same time, so I had to just leave the dryer breaker off so as to not interrupt my Chicago Blues reruns.
I took the outlet off the wall, disconnected the wires. Separated them so they weren’t touching just in case the ghost turned the breaker back on while I was at Lowe’s. I put the old outlet in a bag and went to the store. When I got to Lowe’s, I had to ask for help. As a side note: very few people were wearing masks or social distancing despite the signs posted literally every six feet. I had my mask on and I had my hand sanitizer hanging from my purse. It’s how I travel these days. Anyway, the very nice man in the forklift or hydraulic platform (whatever it was) pointed me to the right aisle and almost the right bay.
After looking at all of my options, I finally found the one I had come for. I compared it…twice to make sure I wouldn’t have to come back and I headed to the checkout.
When I got home, I compared the old outlet to the new outlet. See below.
Then I carefully put the wires into the holes they were supposed to go in. I tightened up the little screws inside the contraption I had just bought. I screwed everything back into the wall. I put the cover on and screwed it in. I called Flea Market Guy so he could call 911 when I turned the breaker back on and plugged the dryer in just in case it blew up. And then I turned the dryer on.
And it worked.
I didn’t even have to YouTube it. Just a few simple written instructions and common sense and now our dryer is working like a charm.
Needless to say, Flea Market Guy was pretty impressed at my dryer fixing ability and my not burning down the house ability. And I was pretty darn proud of myself too.
And I can continue to skip the laundromat!