Category: How Tos


Cadet wall heater

Cadet wall heater

Our upstairs bathroom has no heat — no ducts run there — so we have a small electric wall-mounted space heater for cold winter months. We already replaced it once, as the Cadet Company in Washington State issued a recall on it. But that was 20 years ago.

In general it was still working fine, but during the most recent winter it started to come on by itself in the middle of the night, first on colder nights, and as the winter went on, even when it was not so cold. I became concerned that this thing would end up on continuously when we were out of town, overheat, and burn the place down.

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[Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos… all I have left of the repair are fading memories, an email for the replacement part in January 2015, and a working dishwasher.]

One day our 20 year old dishwasher ran dry. Literally.  No water was entering, though it pretended to go through the motions.

I figured there must be some inlet valve that broke. Time to take a look. View full article »

2006 Zenn Neighborhood Electric Vehicle

2007 Zenn Neighborhood Electric Vehicle

I used to have a 2007 Zenn NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) by Feel Good Cars / ZENN Motor Company. This small car was one of the very first mass-produced electric vehicles available in the US, that was not truly a suped-up golf cart. However, having shipped in low volumes and eventually going out of business, the car is not without some major flaws. One of the most common to fail, and expensive to repair, is the speedometer / odometer / battery level display, what Zenn calls the Instrument Cluster. When mine started to fail, it at first seemed to be related to moisture. My car has another common flaw, a leaky roof due to a failure of the glue that holds down the roof panel. After using a dehumidifier to dry out the car, I noticed the display started working again. However, this cure did not last for long, and later attempts to fix the display failures did not succeed.

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A happy Nest is a warm nest

A happy Nest is a warm nest

This Christmas I received a Nest thermostat — pretty awesome step up in technology compared to the 1994 era Honeywell thermostat we were still using!

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