Archive for category Home Ec

Amazon Packaging: PAR30 LED Bulb

The second incandescent bulb over the kitchen sink popped and a replacement LED bulb arrived with the by-now-familiar homeopathic Amazon padding:

Amazon Packaging - Satco LED bulb

Amazon Packaging – Satco LED bulb

Turns out the new bulb is slightly brighter than the old one:

Satco S9415 LED PAR30 bulbs

Satco S9415 LED PAR30 bulbs

Oh, and it’s three bucks cheaper, too.

Eyeballometrically, 5% makes no difference whatsoever, even in a side-by-side comparison.

Life is good.



Eyeglasses: New Nose Pads

A stray nose pad appeared on the kitchen floor and, after some investigation, it corresponded with the stub in Mary’s oldest reading glasses. Some rummaging in the Bag o’ Eyeglass Stuff produced a similar pair of pads:

Glasses - missing nose pad

Glasses – missing nose pad

Although the lenses have become somewhat scuffed over the years, masking the optics with Parafilm is always Good Practice:

Glasses - new nose pads - masked

Glasses – new nose pads – masked

The split boxes clamped around the pad stems required a bit of delicate opening-up with a utility knife blade before the new ones pressed firmly into place.

This was significantly easier than the Silhouette frame repair!


American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Cleaning and O-Rings

The O-rings on the spout of our American Standard kitchen faucet wore out again; having described that repair many times, there’s no need to say much more about it. I didn’t want to get into this repair while thinking about the hot limit problem, but I did check to make sure the box under the sink had some O-ring replacement kits.

A bench vise with soft jaws holds the spout while you remove the escutcheon ring retainer:

Kitchen faucet spout - in vise

Kitchen faucet spout – in vise

Basically, just tap around the ring with a long drift punch and it’ll eventually fall out onto the reasonably clean rag below it.

The interior of the spout before cleaning shows why you should never look into your plumbing:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - before

Kitchen faucet spout interior – before

After a few hours in a white vinegar bath and a few minutes of scrubbing with a ScotchBrite pad:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - after - 1

Kitchen faucet spout interior – after – 1

Another view:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - after - 2

Kitchen faucet spout interior – after – 2

Obviously, you could do better, but it’s hard to get excited about the last few nodules. For whatever it’s worth, the nodules grow despite our water softener; I have no clue what’s going on in there.

A few wipes of silicone grease, reassemble in reverse order, apply a firm shove, and it’s leakless again. For a while, anyhow.



Garden Y Valve Corrosion: Partial Fix

The corroded Y valve, minus another failed hose fitting, recently emerged from a heap o’ stuff on the Basement Laboratory Bench. This old photo gives you an idea of what happens to cheap pot metal in a garden:

Corroded Garden Y Valve

Corroded Garden Y Valve

I dropped it Y-end-down into a container of white vinegar for a week, after which a few minutes of scrubbing produced a workable result:

Garden hose Y valve - after vinegar soak

Garden hose Y valve – after vinegar soak

The threads on the left side are pretty much gone. The hose fitting protected the threads on the right, but was corroded firmly in place; a penetrating oil soak and concerted muttering removed it.

All of the garden hoses and fittings out in Mary’s Vassar Farms plot have survived well beyond their best-used-by date. Given that we salvaged many hoses from the Farm’s end-of-season midden heaps, they don’t owe us much …

The next iteration will have more brass …


Buck Season

This eight-pointer was one of two browsing in the back-yard grove:

Eight point buck deer in velvet

Eight point buck deer in velvet

The other was a mere four-pointer. In a few weeks they’ll get all feisty and browse the grove in shifts.

The notion of a “suburban hunting license”, perhaps with crossbows, may eventually gain traction.

A few days later, Mary awoke to a great clattering caused by a buck fighting free of the slot between the garden’s mesh “deer fence” and the neighbor’s wood fence, flattening the corner post in the process. A similar encounter a few years ago ended poorly.


American Standard Elite Kitchen Faucet: Hot Limit Safety Stop Mystery

For the second time in a few months, the kitchen faucet handle stopped moving all the way to the left and the spout stopped dispensing hot water. The last time I did nothing and, after a few days, it resumed normal operation. Having had a while to think it over, this time I removed the handle and saw exactly what I expected:

American Standard faucet - hot limit ring

American Standard faucet – hot limit ring

The installation manual has a useful diagram:

American Standard Elite 4453 4454 faucet - hot limit stop diagram

American Standard Elite 4453 4454 faucet – hot limit stop diagram

The red ring (the “hot limit safety stop”) fits into one of eight click-stop positions; the photo shows it in position 5, with 0 being just to the right of the bottom screw and 7 just below the horizontal notch across the middle.

The dark gray plastic feature inside the ring connects the metal handle (the out-of-focus silver stud aimed at you) to the valve assembly. The two lugs sticking out to its left and right bump into the inward-pointing red lugs as you rotate the handle leftward = clockwise = more hot. With the ring set to the 0 position, the red lugs overlap similar lugs molded into the light gray valve body that limit the rotation in both directions.


  • You must pry the red ring upward to disengage the splines locking it into position
  • The gray lugs impose a hard stop in the counterclockwise direction = cold
  • There’s no upward force on the ring for any reason that I can imagine
  • We don’t pound on the faucet handle, so there’s no shock loading

I have no idea how the red ring could disengage its splines and move counterclockwise by five clicks all by itself.

I reset it to 0, reassembled the faucet with a dot of penetrating oil in the set screw, and it’s all good.

We’ll see how long that lasts …


Scrap Metal Prices

Earlier this year, I finally hauled a pile o’ scrap metal to the recycler. For future reference, here’s what clattered down on the scale:

Scrap Metal Prices - 2017-04

Scrap Metal Prices – 2017-04

I think the IRONY tag means ferrous bits & pieces in the mix. There’s a powerful motivation to hand them clean copper scrap, although I stop just after cutting off soldered pipe fittings and before stripping insulation.

Memo to Self: Next time, ask about PCBs and gold-plated connectors.