Hosed

23 May

I did this Sunday. What’d you do?

Vent hood with "frosting"

Pretty, isn’t it? Like a cupcake for a robot, if a robot dreamed of an aluminum cupcake topped with foam insulation.

But it’s not art. It’s home improvement.

This is my brand-new dryer vent/pipe/hose apparatus. My unintentional Sunday project.

See how it looks from the inside of the house:

The dryer vent hose hooks onto the vent pipe between the hot water heater and the wall. There's about 8 inches of space to work in back there.

See that broken sheetrock? Yep, I did that. That’s the result of installing an exact duplicate (size, style, brand) of the old pipe into the exact space occupied by the original. You’d think that would be simple.

It never is.

When you replace something in a 65-year-old house, simple doesn’t figure into it. New things like the vent pipe don’t fit. Or the sheetrock is too old and dried out to hold up to the pressure of something new.

A really handy person would have cut out the cracked sheetrock and replaced it. I’m not that person.

I don’t do sheetrock. But I do caulk. So I smooshed the sheetrock pieces together and filled any gaps with caulk. I have a really nice caulk gun that I don’t get to use nearly often enough.

***

This gem of a home project took only four hours of sweating, cursing the rain and bemoaning my sad existence, plus 3 trips to Home Depot, approximately $32, and a few broken fingernails.

It started with a water leak. Not a water leak in any of the usual places, but in my dryer vent hose. First, my dryer stopped working. After I pulled the dryer out from the wall to figure out what was going on, I discovered water on the floor behind the dryer. I lifted the vent hose to take a look.

The hose sloshed. Cold, heavy, reptilian. Weird and creepy.

I got towels and a bucket, unhooked the hose from the dryer and drained it into the bucket. Nothing slithered out. But… yuck.

See that black stuff in the bucket? That's linty water from the dryer hose on the floor next to the bucket.

Alrighty. Next, I left the hose off for a couple of days until it dried, then reattached it to the dryer. Dryer problem solved.

Then we had more rain. Heavy rain. When I went into the laundry room Sunday, I stepped into water. Savvy now, I checked the dryer hose. Slosh. Not as full as the first time, but only because it had cracked in several places and leaked water all over the floor.

After a minor meltdown and phone consultation with a friend, I sleuthed about and discovered a crack in the top of the outside vent. Water had run off the roof into that hole, thus into the hose.

I thought about patching the hole, then decided the dryer vent/pipe/hose apparatus was such a uncomplicated thing that I should replace it all. I could do that. I imagined the bragging rights I would have after such a feat.

***

Trip 1 to Home Depot: I bought a new hose and clamps, plus the new vent pipe with hood. I even sprung for a fancy PVC air-flow regulator.

You see how well the vent pipe fit. But the hose wouldn’t slide over the pipe. The regulator wasn’t regular.

***

Trip 2 to Home Depot: I returned the air flow regulator, then bought a connector that was supposed to make hooking the pipe to the hose an easy task.

The connector was fine but the hose …. I pushed, pulled, wiggled, cajoled and cursed, bumped my head twice … . all within the 8-inch space between wall and water heater. The hose finally went over the pipe.

The clamp wouldn’t clamp. Too big.

***

Trip 3 to Home Depot: Folks, during the first two trips, I looked fairly normal despite being sweaty and dusty. This time, I think I scared small children.

My hair was plastered to one side of my head and spiking out on the other. I had sunglasses on top of my head and reading glasses on a chain around my neck. When I looked down to sign the return form, I saw the yellow dust covering my shirt. Fleck of foam insulation dotted my hands.

I returned the clamps. The checker from my first two visits was still there. She said she would pray for a successful completion of my project. I thanked her.

During Trip 3, I bought nifty new clamps with big yellow pegs. The helpful Home Depot guys assured me the clamps would adjust to exactly the size I needed.

Back home, I said a few encouraging colorful words to myself before shakily sliding the hose and clamp over the pipe. There. I was afraid to let go, but I did.

Everything fit.

Behold the finished project.

The dryer hose is securely clamped to the dryer without the aid of caulking or foamy stuff. I am going to allow myself a bit of pride.

There’s nothing like a job that’s, well, done.

Now I’ve got to do something about the water sloshing inside two of my car doors.

Or not.

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One Response to “Hosed”

  1. Cici Davidson May 24, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    “There’s nothing like a job that’s, well, done.”

    You’re very brave … and a freaking genius.

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