Big Problems and Slow Solutions

TILTed Appliances

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.

Vacuum Cleaner
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.

Like Frankenstein's monster.

Like Frankenstein’s monster.

The fullest the carport has ever been with outgassing materials.  The new vacuum cleaner is right there in good company.

A few years ago, when the carport was the fullest it has ever been with outgassing materials. The new vacuum cleaner is right there in good company.

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.

My washing machine - a dangerous open spinning device.  Also a a metaphor for being TILTed.

My washing machine – a dangerous open spinning device. Also a metaphor for being TILTed.

D has replaced the belt and thermal fuses multiple times on the dryer.

Toaster Oven
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.

3 thoughts on “TILTed Appliances

  1. Thanks – the effort I put into it has been more a survival mechanism done with great brain-fog and not without injury to me…

    As my brain fog slowly lifts (as my brain injury slowly heals) I can feel and see that those costs to my body are simply not worth the efforts, actually it’s no longer even a choice, as my body just isn’t up to the task…

    And hand-washing for a family is also way different than for a single person who rarely sees anyone so has few social obligations regarding appearances…

    I also really need a vacuum cleaner… there is dust here I can no longer clean by hand due to the damage hand-washing things in the tub caused my body…

    And a blender, and a … … … The list is growing as my old appliances age too…

    Wouldn’t it be something if manufacturers were required to make appliances that were safe to use indoors straight out of the box?

    If you read the fine print, some manufacturers actually do warn people to use them in a well-ventilated area the first time (try the first month, if lucky)

    I have contacted companies to let them know their products are too toxic to use. We all need to let them know it’s unacceptable.

    They like to say they meet all regulations. Those regs are not written to protect human (and other) health. They protect industry profits, and they have chosen to profit from toxic technology instead of from safe technology.

    We have to find ways to support the companies who do make safer products consistently (and probably need grant making organizations to help us be able to afford that, as all government subsidies currently only go to the polluting industries).

    Living a non-toxic life should not be difficult. It should be the norm!

  2. A tribute to our husbands and friends who have the ability to fix. We live in such a throw away society that people are surprised how simple, inexpensive, and lasting a simple fix can be.

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