Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Laundry Machine Saga - Part II

When I woke up this morning I went to check on the washing machine to see if I'd somehow gotten lucky and the ice had magically disappeared over night . . . nope, it still wasn't working.

Julianne decided that she would take matters into her own hands--literally--and took the load of clothes out of the washer and began washing them by hand in the sink . . .

And so the devil in me forced me to begin taking pictures while offering 'helpful' comments and the occasional back rub . . . lol.

Julianne's 'I'm very happy face.'

I decided to call the university department secretary to let her know about the problem. Me being the independent spirit that I am I wanted to wait until Monday before calling for 'official assistance' from anybody. I explained what was going on, and then said that I was going to wait and see if the ice melted . . .

Exhibit A -- Cold Water Pipe

Exhibit B -- Bizarre Insulation Wrapping

Exhibit C -- Jason's Plan A: Use a space heater to thaw the ice

I decided to add some pics of the balcony and how the 'walls' of the balcony are ALL glass. This is NOT a good material for insulating a space. It is generally a very cold experience for Julianne or I when we have to open the door leading from the kitchen to the balcony aka laundry room to do our laundry.

Besides glass not being a great insulator there's also a HOLE in one of the windows--it's pretty likely this was done deliberately to allow gases and other exhaust fumes from the utility closet to escape. Ventilation design in apartments is a little lacking over here.

About two minutes after getting off the phone with the secretary she calls me back to tell me that the apartment complex office's maintenance guy is on his way over--all this after me just saying to her not to call anybody about the issue until Monday . . .

I know the intentions were good but I was a little annoyed that my instructions were ignored. So I warned Julianne we were about to have a visitor.

I turned on the washer so that I could show the maintenance guy what the problem was.

When he arrived he began speaking to me in lightning fast Korean . . . yep, I understood every word he was saying--NOT! I called the secretary back and she was very helpful with translating what was going on . . .

The maintenance guy, let's call him "Korea-dundee" (he was wearing a cool bush hat), began looking at the washer and opened up the utility closet.

He did a few tests of different parts . . . one of which involved unscrewing the water hose from this tap that is fed by the bigger pipe that comes out of the wall . . .

He twisted the tap wide open, went into the utility closet and did something, and then water began to gush out onto the floor--something I'm still not used to in Korea even though there's a drain in the floor. When I see water gushing onto the floor in a laundry room I usually think it's a 'bad' thing (it's a Canadian cultural mindset) . . . in this case seeing water coming out was good because it meant that the pipe wasn't full of ice-blockage.

Having established that there wasn't a freezing issue he then unscrewed the water hose feeding the washing machine . . .

. . . and found the source of the problem--small particles of dirt and tiny stones had filled this washer/filter so that it was blocking the flow of water into the washer . . . I think he found it funny when I asked him to hold up the washer so I could take a picture . . . lol.

After flushing out the dirt and putting the filter back into it's place, screwing the hose back onto the washer . . . presto! Water flowage!

I guess the thing I came away from this experience with is that I still need to work on how I assess a situation/crisis in Korea and when I need to ask for help/let people help me without my informed and expressed consent. If I had waited and kept trying to use the space heater to thaw the NOT frozen pipe I would have had to wait until Monday to get the washing machine fixed--none of which was necessary . . .

I wasn't really freaked out by the whole situation because back on Ganghwa Island in my first year in Korea the water pipes actually did freeze for 2-3 days at a time--TWICE--and I had no water for showering, using the toilet, and washing clothes . . . but that's another story I'll blog about some other time.

It's the weekend, and it's snowy outside--woohoo!



Mark Eaton said...

Julianne had a very piercing gaze in that one photograph. Glad to know everything is up and running again.

Stafford said...

Haha! Funny, I had the exact same problem this weekend. Even after defrosting the washing machine with my heater it still woouldn't work.
Sure enough it was Gak clogging up the hose!