Monday, 21 December 2009

Washing up is not as easy as it looks.

My apartment has heating, and it works pretty well. The heating is not everywhere though. Every apartment in our complex has something like an enclosed porch, and this is the part that is not heated. With no heating in there it gets pretty cold. At least the door between the porch and the main room is quite well insulated, so you rarely notice it. On my porch is my watching machine. This is the same washing machine that has never given me any problems. The time had come though.

Like most people in Korea I wash my clothes, and the time had come to do a bit of washing. I put my stuff in the machine, closed the door, set the cycle I needed and pressed the “Play” button. I went back in to the toasty main room and started my dinner. 8 minutes in to the cycle I heard the annoying sound of the machine telling me something is wrong.

A Google Translate told me the load was “unbalanced”. What? I had only a small load and to top it off everything was still dry. About that, why was everything still dry? It took me a few more tries to notice that the “Woosh, Woosh” of water pouring in to the machine was absent. I touched the pipes, the rock hard pipes and said out loud: “Frozen?”

Winter had really arrived over the last few ways with Two Thousand City going below minus 10 Celsius on more than one occasion. It was never a problem in the previous apartment, strange as it may seem, but here the water on the porch freezes. I asked around and apparently I am not the only one with that problem.

At first I tried pouring hot water on the pipes, but that was obviously not going to work. I then hit on the bright idea of heating up the room. I have a small electric heater that I used in my previous apartment. I turned that on full blast and pointed it at the pipes. Oh, I disconnected the pipes from the taps so that the water could run out when it melted. That worked a charm, except I needed more time to melt the water closer to the inside of the machine, so I waited.

After what I thought would be an acceptable time I re-connected everything, set the machine and pressed “Play”. Wahooo! I heard water rushing. Happy with the world again I went inside, the warm inside, to entertain myself with a book. I had just gotten in to what I was reading when I hear it. The Error Signal. “What now?!”

Of course it is not the first thing you notice, and the error message didn’t tell me what was going one, but eventually I saw that the drum in the machine was completely filled with water. Zenu have mercy! Like any decent machine will do, I had to wait to open the door. Problem was, this door was not opening. Even after unplugging the machine it was still locked.

I sat down and thought about it. After a short time pondering the situation, I realised that there had to be a drainage valve somewhere for just such an occasion. Of course, water in there was frozen as well. Seems my little heater was going to be needed again. I left the valve open, went inside, again, and watched a movie while I waited. After about 30 minutes I turned around to see the water rushing out of the machine. SUCCESS!

Everything went cool running after. I was able to wash my clothes, and not get enough sleep. My next mission is to try and AVOID the whole freezing thing. My first attempt involves this…

After washing I disconnect the pipes from the tap to drain that water. Then I open the drainage valve to drain everything inside the machine.

I have a few more things to wash today, so we will see what happens this evening.

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