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Nothing like a home repair to liven up a gray winter day

| Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 12:12 p.m.

Sometimes it's nice to have everything in the home functioning as it should.

It's satisfying to know that your preventive maintenance and forethought have payed off. But during the incredibly dull weeks that just passed I found myself in a bit of a funk. Not interested in starting any large projects and disgusted by the drab winter weather — I was bored. Just when I was about to start organizing my work bench again, my refrigerator broke. Hallelujah!

Mrs. Pfeifer delivered the news to me. “Hey, my fridge isn't making ice anymore, how about fixing it.” she implored.

I was thrilled to have a project, but I know nothing about refrigerators. Luckily, a call to the refrigerator guy revealed a problem in the plumbing. He suggested I fix the issue rather than just pay him. Yippee, a plumbing repair.

As it turned out, I, upon original installation of the ice maker supply line, used a needle valve to tap into the main water line. Apparently the instruction book for my refrigerator included a chapter entitled — Never Use a Needle Valve When Installing the Ice Maker Line — a bit of minutia I obviously overlooked. So off to the task I went.

After the job was done I did a little research and discovered that most new refrigerators, like mine, require a valve larger than the old fashioned needle valve and nearly all refrigerators will accept one. Needle valves allow only a tiny volume of water to pass through and may become clogged easily. Lager inlet/outlet valves cure that problem allowing the proper water volume to flow to the ice maker.

Changing the valve was a simple project and, thanks to modern solderless fittings, I was able to keep the torch out of the basement. My new valve in place, the refrigerator was once again making ice. Mrs. Pfeifer was pleased to have a working appliance and I was proud of my success.

As for my late winter funk, I dedicated a good portion of the remaining time to the study of several owners' manuals and instruction books I had tucked away in various drawers and other nondescript hiding places. Ironically, virtually all of the major appliances in my home came with one of those non-fictional gems and it's equally interesting to note that they seem highly informative.

Based on what I learned in my reading, I think I better do a new batch of preventive maintenance. After all, the next time something breaks I may not be so fortunate as to have it happen in the middle of a boring and drab winter.

Ed Pfeifer is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media and the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have questions about hardware, call the store at 724-625-9090.

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