third refrigerator failure
Tuesday, July 1 2014
The morning began with such a promise of oppressive heat that Gretchen immediately drove with the dogs to Little Deep to cool off in the Sawkill. As for me, I thought it would be a good test of the limits of firewood salvaging to see if I could retrieve a heavy backpack of wood in 90 degree temperatures. Unfortunately, though, I'd neglected to charge my chainsaw's battery, and to the load I hauled back (from a forested knoll not even a quarter mile away up the Farm Road) was only about forty pounds. Later, though, I took delivery of a pair of fancy hiking sandals from Keens and brought back a load of about 130 pounds from that same forested knoll. I wouldn't say it was "no sweat," but it wasn't impossible either.
This afternoon, I turned my attention to a long-procrastinated job: fixing the rear passenger-side brake line on the Subaru. This was the line that famously disintegrated while Gretchen and I were in the Sacandaga valley of the Adirondacks back in September. Since that time, I've had that line plugged with a small piece of wood at a manifold under the Subaru's hood. Today I jacked up the Subaru, removed the rear passenger-side wheel, and then did what I could to disconnect brake lines from a junction block. But the two were badly rusted together. I used a MAPP-gas torch to heat the nuts on the lines, and then ViceGrips to attempt to back them off. But I only managed to loosen one of the nuts in the four-nut block, and of course the one I loosened went to the rear brake on the driver's side, meaning a bunch of pressurized brake fluid bled out. Still, this gave me the information I needed: the line I needed to worry about involved the other two lines going into the block. I didn't make much progress beyond that, although by the end of my session with it, I'd made the decision to bypass the junction block entirely and to make a new junction under the rear passenger seat.
Late tonight (actually, at about 1:30am), after an evening spent fixing bugs and implementing features on the Lightroom-interfacing web app, I went down to the kitchen to get myself a snack. Gretchen had decided that she is getting fat (and I think I'm getting fat too), so she hadn't made any dinner tonight. I was content to snack on a low-calorie item such as a radish. But when I opened the refrigerator, I realized its temperature was nearly as high as that of the room (the mid 80s). No matter how clean a refrigerator is, it never smells very good at that temperature, and I think the leading indicator of its failure had been its fragrance. Mind you, this wasn't the first time the refrigerator had failed; this was the third time. Last time it had failed, it had done so in warm weather at a similar time of year. The problem always results from icing of the air channel connecting the freezer part to the refrigerated part. The refrigerator's electronic brain opens and closes a damper and operates a fan in this channel to take a small part of the freezer's coldness and apply it to the larger refrigerated part. But if the channel ices up, the air cannot get through. The solution in the past has been to take sheet metal panel off the back of the freezer and use hot water to thaw the ice from the aluminum fins of the refrigeration loop. This time, though, I didn't want to go through all that bother. So after removing all the stuff from the freezer (and dividing it all between a cooler, a styrofoam box, and a place on the kitchen island beneath several blankers), I used a heat gun to melt whatever ice I could through the vents in that sheet metal. Any other procedure would have taken too long, especially given how late it already was and how warm the stuff in the refrigerator had managed to get (the packages from the freezer part were all still frozen, as that part hadn't been affected). When I'd decided I'd done all I could, I put all the stuff back in the refrigerator, temporarily installed a temperature probe (with an LCD display outside the refrigerator) and hoped for the best. By the time I went to sleep down in the greenhouse upstairs, the temperature had dropped into the 50s, which was (at least) better than how it had been running.
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