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A life partner is someone you can count on through thick and thin. Always there for you. Supportive, not demanding. And ideally, they clean without complaint.
For me, that’s Roomba. (As an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions for purchases through affiliate links.)
An anniversary gift from my mom one year — using Swagbucks Amazon gift cards, of course — this erstwhile companion has never asked me to make all of its doctors appointments (and attend them), made me deal with insurance for myriad referrals and pre-authorizations, had depression it refused to deal with, dumped recycling onto the floor rather than take the stuff out (because it was mad I was insisting it do this one of its whopping three household chores despite it being in pain — the exact same amount of pain it had been the countless times that it had previously taken the rolling bin containing almost no glass or other heavy items 30 feet to the container outside) or been angry that I kept going to trivia the several times it decided it wasn’t going anymore due to social anxiety or perceived slights.
(And people wonder why I’m skittish about getting into a relationship.)
Most importantly, Roomba ensures that I don’t have to sweep and Swiffer an entire house of tile floors.
So yeah, unlike the man I initially chose to spend my life with, Roomba has been a quiet, uncomplaining little helper that has made my life easier. And it’s only cost me money twice in its life: one for some replacement brushes and once for a replacement battery. Both of which I got as off-brand parts on Amazon for a steal. (Again, as an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions for purchase made through affiliate links.)
What’s not to love?
Thus I was alarmed a few days ago when I pushed the button to make it go and… nothing happened.
Normally, you push the on button then push it again, and Roomba makes a “Bah-doo-bee DOO” sound and starts on its merry little way. This time, it went “Bah” and stayed put.
I was heartbroken. Aka annoyed I might have to spend hundreds on a replacement.
So I went online and Googled the symptoms. The first suggestion was to try to reboot the machine by holding down the on button. Alas, that did nothing, so I went back to the computer.
The second was that the front roller ball could be jammed. I went over, turned the machine upside down and rolled the ball. Still moving. I checked the sides of the ball for any trapped hair or other debris. Nada.
But I noticed that I was able to turn the circle of plastic the roller ball is mounted on about 180 degrees right or left. In other words, it seemed weirdly loose. If I moved it the full 180 degrees — so that the roller ball was at the top, rather than the bottom, it felt almost “stuck.” It wasn’t moving around, in other words.
I couldn’t imagine that was the issue, but I figured “Eh, what the hell” and left the ball at the top. Then I turned Roomba over, pushed the on button twice and heard a blessed “Bah-doo-bee-DOO.”
Hooray! My life partner lived to clean another day!
This little episode is a good reminder that we should always check online when something stops working — even if we’re not terribly handy. Because there’s a chance the item can be resuscitated.
Years ago, the living room ceiling fan’s pull stopped working. The fan worked, but the pull for the lights didn’t turn them on.
I went online and found that the pull had likely come out of its little holder/track. I was able to find multiple YouTube videos on how to get it back in. Honestly, it was far harder to put the fan’s casing back on while balancing on a step stool than it was to get the pull back in place.
This spring the guest house fridge door started opening not staying completely closed. You’d close it, then moments later, the lining of the door and the fridge itself would be about half an inch apart. Just enough to let cool air out.
The thing is at least 20 years old, so I figured it was time to just replace the thing. But Mom went online and looked up the issue. Turns out, there were a couple of easy potential fixes. Basically, we tightened the screws on the hinges and had the tenant move anything heavy out of the door and into the main fridge.
It’s been closing fine for months.
And on Twitter, I’ve seen people excitedly report saving fridges and dishwashers with repair instructions found online.
Granted, it doesn’t always work. There was a leak under the guest house kitchen sink. Mom went online, watched some videos, got some plumber’s tape from Home Depot and wrapped it around threading of the part of the upper pipe that went into the lower pipe. That seemed to have fixed the issue at first, but in a few months, it was leaking again. So I called in an actual plumber.
And speaking of problem pipes, many years ago, I needed to replace the faucets in the guest house kitchen and our main bathroom. But the wrench wouldn’t move the connectors loose. I went online and found a recommended product to grease things up and get them moving. No dice.
So I begrudgingly called the plumbers. I felt a little better when the they said that even they had to really fight to get the connectors off. Apparently, the things had been partially rusted on.
So no, DIY doesn’t always avoid repair bills/replacement costs. But it’s usually worth a shot.
It’s easy to check
So when appliances, fixtures or electronics start acting up — or not acting at all — go to your search engine of choice and briefly describe the issue.
The results show give you a plethora of blog posts diagnosing the problem. Most will also offer repair instructions. And if you find the written instructions confusing or hard to picture, I can almost guarantee there are multiple YouTube videos showing the repair process.
Who knows? You might just save your own life partner.
Have you been able to save something with online instructions?