Linda recently posted about her washing machine dilemma and it reminded me of the many stages of appliance decay that can be found in our home. I am not as restricted as I used to be with chemical sensitivity and so my solution set for appliances include some options that severe or universal reactors cannot handle. But I think it is important for non-MCSers to understand that even moderate reactors like me, who can now be in some public places and handle outgassed material more quickly, still have to plan, negotiate, and trade off in every aspect of their lives.
So here is a survey of the dying appliances in our home that need a more permanent, as yet to be determined, solution. My husband D. has an electrical engineering degree and stars in this story, as he does in my life.
We can’t remember how old our vacuum cleaner is, or how we got it safe in the first place, but it has been through a lot. The first time it broke down from premature overheating, we got a replacement new vacuum cleaner and offered it to my mother-in-law in exchange for her old, outgassed one. Unfortunately, hers was not aired out enough for me to use so we traded back. Instead we put the newly purchased one in the carport and tried to use it to vacuum outside things in an attempt to force the outgassing. It stayed there for years, not outgassing. In the meantime D removed the fuse that turned the old broken vacuum cleaner off when it overheated and this allowed us to keep using it until we got a replacement part ordered and installed. The next break involved the power plug itself. After some debate, D just stripped the new useless vacuum cleaner’s part and spliced it on the old one. Now it looks like this and the new, never could outgass, vacuum cleaner has been trashed.
The repairman said we needed a whole new motor for the washing machine but D took it apart and tightened the screws on the spinning basket part. He has now repeated this trick multiple times. The washer continues to loose spinning power though and our loads perforce continue to get smaller. D has also had to remove a blown circuit that acts as the safety function ensuring the machine shuts off if the lid is open. Safety is relative. An open lidded spinning washer is still safer for me than a new washer so, yes, we’ll make it work. Don’t worry, the brown stuff is rust and sand (life at the beach) not mold.
D has replaced the belt and thermal fuses multiple times on the dryer.
The toaster oven is our one and only new replacement success story. The new toaster oven is mostly metal and small enough to do its outgassing outside in our carport. I plugged it in and kept turning it on. There were some typical small circuitry and plastic smells during the bake out but it quickly stabilized and was ready to come inside for regular use.
Both Dave and I would like to add that we are in no way suggesting everyone should fix their own appliances. We wouldn’t touch the more complicated ones and even these low tech ones required some basic circuitry knowledge and an ohmmeter. But I truly have no idea what we will do when they are broken beyond our repair. I greatly admire the effort Linda has had to put into hand washing and with respect, have no interest in attempting the same! For now I am grateful that my appliances and I continue to function, albeit with a little TILT.