Waiting for the Appliance Repairman

The term ‘appliance repairman’ is almost quaint. Perhaps ‘appliance repairperson’ would be better if more difficult. But Mr. Spirko has been repairing our appliances since 2003 or so, so I’ll allow for the throwback to 1970.

Laura and I are both unable to recall how we learned about him. There used to be a Northside Yahoo group that overflowed with referrals so that’s the likely source. We had bought a new dishwasher and Sears installation was pretty much as awful as every single human being claims, so we had him do it and then turned our wrath on Sears.

Since then, he’s installed another dishwasher (this year – so a good run), repaired the fridge, the ice maker, the oven, installed a garbage disposal (maybe 2?) and has intimate relationships with our washer and dryer. He fixed a vacuum. He’s saved us thousands and kept all of our appliances running since 2003 except that dishwasher and the garbage disposal. He is a believer in fixing things, not adding them to landfills – but not a big fan of recycling. He’s replaced everything on our dryer from the plug to the drum and in between. Everything but the knobs. He says there’s no reason it should falter even thought it was purchased in 20th century.

Well, now it is faltering. The price of appliances is horrible, so we are in official duct tape and spit mode and hope it keeps going. He has confidence.

It sounds trite, but the key really is maintenance. He comes once a year to clean the parts of the dryer we can’t reach, but lint can. He persuades our crisping door to let go of the ice that insists on forming around it anytime he’s here because we can’t figure out the problem. He checks the dishwasher drain thingy. He checks the garbage disposal. When he pulled out the stove to install the microwave, he cleaned it.

The same is true of the furnace. We use JA Sauer and they come out twice a year to do an inspection and maintenance. Our furnace is only five years old or so, but the air condition is like 1000 years old. The motor is going to give out one day. We’ve been lucky to get along this far, but finally decided to bite the bullet and see what a replacement will cost.

One of our big challenges is pet fur and dander. And the fine dust from the cat litter It is not as bad as when we had two big bushy dogs. But still. And weird things happen. Our furnace has a gadget sort of tank thing hanging on the side and it turned green. It was algae building up that smelled like cat urine, but it was not. The repairperson fixed it and showed us how to clean it if it happens again.

I’m debating cleaning our air ducts. The credible sites say it is unnecessary, but I feel like I would just feel better. They’ve never been cleaned. The house was built with fireplaces and windows to control temperatures so we speculate the heating/cooling system is at least 50 years old.

And then there’s the book. For awhile we didn’t have a vent cover and I accidentally dropped a book down the vent. I thought of big fires and called everyone I knew who was handy. The consensus was the book is just sitting there and is not in danger of catching fire. So cleaning the ducts would potentially retrieve and at least remove the book. I bought another copy. I wonder what else is down there? Cat toys, for sure.

Living without a microwave is ridiculous, if totally possible. I keep putting things in to reheat and walking away, then act shocked when its still cold. Today, I wanted to heat a cup of coffee so I put it in a saucepan. Then forgot about it until the smoke detector went off. Fighting against the tide of fleeing cats, I took care of that. The house smelled like burnt maple syrup. The cats eventually forgave me.

Mr. Spirko is here. All will be well soon.

You can reach him at 412-853-5176.

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