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Voiding Warranties - Using things in a way they weren't designed for

 
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Our goal is zero-waste and to accomplish that we have set things up differently in our house to make re-use convenient.  We void the warranty on a lot of things because we use them for things the manufacturer would never imagine it would be used for.  Here are some of the ways we use things, and I am hoping others have similar suggestions.

Muck bucket – we heat & cook with wood and use a muck bucket to tote wood from the woodpile to our cook stove.  The 2-wheel arrangement easily makes sharp turns and makes light work of carrying in wood.  As it nothing ever drops from it, it does not leave a trail to clean up on its way to the wood stove.

Office chairs, the kind with wheels – we have about 5 of these in our house.   We have a few dedicated to toting things around the house.   We use chairs to tote everything from 5-gallon buckets, laundry, you name it.   Just place whatever is heavy or awkward in the seat, belt it to the chair back, and roll it to where you need it.   My mother-in-law prefers the chairs to her walker and uses the chairs exclusively in the house.

Plant rolling stands – we have created a washing station and put a grey water bucket next to it.   Now hand washing is both convenient and the grey water from it is automatically saved.  We roll the bucket next to the toilet for emptying.

5-gallon Kitchen bucket with a spigot at the bottom – We have a 5-gallon bucket on a plant stand near the sink.   Any water with fat or anything we don’t want going into the toilet tank goes in this.   We set it outside when it is full.   When cold we just pick off the fat that hardens at the top and put that in our Bokashi bucket, in the summer we drain the water and pour the fat into our Bokashi bucket.  The water we use to water trees.

55-gallon drum siphon – our guest bath toilet and my mother-in-law’s bathroom uses grey water from hand washing and from the kitchen.   The bucket is rolled into place and water is transferred to the toilet via the siphon.   The outlet of the siphon is inserted in one of the air inlet holes in the back of the toilet.   To fill the tank – we just pump the siphon.   So much better than my family hefting 5-gallon buckets to flush.

Gold sifting trays – we have these in the kitchen sink and over 5-gallon buckets that collect grey water.   This stops everything from coffee grounds on up from either going down the drain in the kitchen or from going into the grey water that we will use to flush toilets.   Particles in the grey water mess with the toilet flapper – now our grey water is pre-sifted to prevent any problems.   We empty the gold sifting trays into our Bokashi bucket.   The tiny sink strainers allowed too much to get past them but the gold sifting trays prevent 100% of particles from getting past them.

Instant Pot Sous Vide – We fill a 5-gallon bucket with clean water for baths and heat it with the Iinstant Pot Sous Vide set on 105°F (it is American) which is good bath temperature.   It takes about 1 hour to heat the water as our water is barely above freezing, but the water is heated perfectly despite being unsupervised while we eat supper so we can let our children bathe without burn worries.  5-gallons of water gives them plenty of water to wet, lather, then rinse.   The sous vide does not overwhelm our electric like other electric heaters do and it is much safer/easier than toting hot water from our wood stove.

Cat doors – We have small cat/dog doors inserted at various locations in the house.   We put these in strategic locations so that the room can receive heat from the wood stove – or not.   We just reinsert the cat door if the room no longer needs heat.   This way our bedrooms, bathroom, etc. can receive heat when needed even if the human door is closed.  We have found 2 cat doors, 1 near the ceiling and 1 near the floor is the best arrangement to ventilate a room with warm air.'

I was uncertain as to what forum to put this in, so please feel free to move it to a more appropriate forum.
 
pollinator
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Nice job!

The first thing I voided the warrantee on was my Wallenstein Log Trailer. I could see it was already pretty versatile, but I knew I could make it better! The first thing I did was fabricate a grader blade for it. The long length, and walking beam suspension was ideal for getting a nice grade on a roadway. Since then I have built other things for it, but within a month, the warrantee was voided...and it was an $18,000 implement!

DSCN5125.JPG
Modified Wallenstein Log Trailer
Modified Wallenstein Log Trailer
 
steward & bricolagier
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Wesley Kohn: I added it to a couple other forums, and made "upcycling" it's primary.

I put wheels on all kinds of odd things, my last house I had all of  the furniture in the guest room on wheels so it could be reconfigured easily. Was at Harbor Freight one time, looking at wheels, a guy asked if I needed advice, I told him I was putting a cabinet on wheels, that the guest room was all on wheels, his wife's eyes lit up, he sighed, "Crap. Now I'm going to have to put all of ours on wheels too!" His wife was inspired :)
 
master steward
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We put all our furniture on the felt pads.  Not as easy to move as wheels but they're pretty stable when not being slid around.  Plus then if we have to move them (hardwood floors) they don't risk scratching anything.

Probably my best warrantee voidance was when I built a cat feeder.  The concept was a hopper of cat food with two guillotines under it that moved sideways opposite of one another.  In between them was a length of pipe that, when full, was the right amount of food.  To move the guillotines back and forth, I used a 5/16" threaded rod and a nut.  The nut was attached to the moving part and the threaded rod was chucked into two Harbor Freight drills, one at each end of the rod.  

First misapplication of technology - Threaded rod isn't designed for moving mechanisms, that's what acme threads are for.

Biggest warrantee violation - Each drill was set to turn clockwise so if one was on, it was both moving the slider and turning the other drill backwards.

Third creative bit - To turn them on and off, I had light switches that the guillotine would trip as it moved each way.  

Fourth violation - The light switches fed outlets where lamp timers were plugged into to further control the on and off timing.  I doubt lamp timers are intended for use in homemade appliances...
 
pollinator
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Pool ladders. And I see these on the side of the road (in the trash) all the time. We used them ALL around the farm in the place of a "real" ladder and particularly to harvest fruit from trees.  
 
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Be carefull with the office chairs with rolers because the types that have à hidraulic piston can explode if you put too much weight on them or too fast like jumping or felling something on them.
There were somme kids that died because they jumped on these chairs and the piston exploded.

As for vidong warranty,i disasemble any new tool or item i buy first time i got home with it to see the quality.
Once after i bought a well water pump from a shop i also asked the seller to sell me somme hexagonal keys to open the pump at home and they didnt want to give me the warranty paper wich was allright.
I bought the pump and the keys and opened the pump at home .
Then after a month the pump broked so i burned the plastic insulation to expose the coil and amazingly the coil was made of aluminum instead of copper wich is a lot more expensive .The pump failed because the aluminum coil and the copper wire had oxidated in between the metals and interrupted the circuit.
Such things you can not know until you really go inside the tool.
I wouldnt bother to get  another such pump replaced by the warranty because it was soo bad and dangerous pump to have that i would have changed it even if it was working fine.
 
gardener
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I LOVE the gold sifters idea!!! I now have loads of ideas running through my head - including using them to screen clay...
 
pollinator
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Not sure if it's voided the warranty or not, but here's a few of mine: 1.  I built a wooden box, open at the back at an angle, that my Mantis electric tiller sits up on.  Taped the switch closed, in the on position, so I must plug and unplug it as a switch.  With it running atop the box, I feed handfuls of barley and wheat heads into the open side and let them spin around and out the bottom.  A hacked threshing machine!  It may take two or three passes but then I have separated grains ready for winnowing (and, in the case of the barley, polishing...for which I use a Vita-Mix blender set on medium for just the right amount of time!) 2. I took the metal blade out of the electric lawn mower, and drilled four holes in the edges of the plastic fan wheel behind the blade, and tied strands of heavy weed-eater string into them.  Presto...a string mower that I can use in fire season without the risk of hitting a rock and producing a dangerous spark!
 
Travis Johnson
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Wesley Kohn: I added it to a couple other forums, and made "upcycling" it's primary.

I put wheels on all kinds of odd things, my last house I had all of  the furniture in the guest room on wheels so it could be reconfigured easily. Was at Harbor Freight one time, looking at wheels, a guy asked if I needed advice, I told him I was putting a cabinet on wheels, that the guest room was all on wheels, his wife's eyes lit up, he sighed, "Crap. Now I'm going to have to put all of ours on wheels too!" His wife was inspired :)



I always thought wheels were living proof man is not as smart as we like to admit. I mean consider:

We flew to the Moon in 1969

We put wheels on luggage in 1974

One would have thought the word LUG-age, would have been a huge clue on what to do! Yes...reinvent the wheel!
 
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I regularly cut backward with a circular saw, when I'm cutting stucco. In this way I don't blow the cut material over my chalk line and I don't have to keep pushing the thing. Instead I have to very carefully Hold It Back. I get really accurate cuts this way. This would be an extremely dangerous thing to do with a tooth blade but works great with the smooth diamond blade.

I mounted my handheld cordless hedge cutter on the front of my wheelbarrow, so that I could cut weeds and small trees on the side of my road without bending over.

I have several 4 litre plastic milk jugs that I use to heat bath water when I'm living at houses that I'm moving. They get stacked in the bathtub and then an electric heater gets set in the tub so it can blow heat over them. Over the course of an hour or two, the room gets warm and the water gets warm.

I sometimes use a very large electric frying pan as a hydronic heater. I fill with water and then set it so that it stays just under the boiling point. With the lid on it doesn't make the room too moist and I only lose a little bit to evaporation. It's only good for a very small room. I have used it when I put my bed inside the walk-in closet in a house with no power other than the cord coming from a temporary pole.

The lid of the same frying pan gets set on the roof of my car in the summer when I want to heat already cooked food. It's quite fast. I refer to it as my solar microwave, since it's just for reheating.

The entire kitchen/ living room floor at our place in Cebu Philippines, becomes an evaporative cooler for a few hours each day. The walls are concrete and the floor is concrete with tile over it. Everyone is instructed not to leave stuff on the floor that time of day because I will send 10 gallons of water across it.

I have used an electric kettle to boil water, to cook potatoes and other things that can be cooked in boiling water, to make soup, to heat bath water in my vacant houses, to heat oil for soap making  (I'll bet that's a no no), and on a couple of occasions, I've used 2 electric kettles in a confined space, as hydronic heaters. Again this is done using an extension cord from the temporary power pole and occasionally power from a house where the regular heating system is no longer working. Usually they both can't be heated at once because it would blow a breaker , so I heat one and then the other. They warm up the space, and then I get under my blankets and they slowly cool. Every time I wake up for some reason, the button gets hit.

I use screwdrivers as chisels and chisels as screwdrivers.

I have use a sawzall with a long, stiff demolition blade as a chisel to break up hard clay. The same blade was used to mix up the clay for making cob. Mixed results. If a hole were drilled near the tip and a nut and bolt attached, it would have been a much better mixer.
Solar-microwave.jpg
Solar microwave
Solar microwave
 
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hate to say it but most warranties are not worth the paper they are written on, the same with most insurance policies
just $0.02 from someone who's been round the block a few times, got a whole bunch of those tee shirts and don't need anymore
 
pollinator
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bruce Fine wrote:hate to say it but most warranties are not worth the paper they are written on, the same with most insurance policies
just $0.02 from someone who's been round the block a few times, got a whole bunch of those tee shirts and don't need anymore




Indeed: Of two things one: either the product is good quality, in which case you do not need it, or the tool is NOT of good quality. If it is not of good quality, why would you want another one when this one fails?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here's last night's shower setup. The room and the water were warm enough that I didn't need to use the microwave, which is also set up in the bathroom. There's another one in the kitchen.

It was enough water that it could have done 3 washes. I use about 2 litres to get wet and soap up my hair and body. Then all the rest of it is used as rinse water. So I had a really good rinse last night. The room was so warm that I was able to air dry while using the phone after toweling off.

It's pretty easy to figure out electrical consumption. It was 3 hours and the heater is 1500 watts. So I used 4.5 kilowatt hours. With my kitchen stuff and preheating the bedroom usually for half an hour, I'm going through about 6 kilowatt hours per day. That's using electricity for all of my cooking, bathing, space heating and tool charging.

These photos are illuminated with a 1500 lumen, LED Milwaukee light. I normally set it 1/2 this brightness.
20191208_202107.jpg
frugal bath
frugal bath
20191208_202617.jpg
tub bottles
tub bottles
20191208_202251.jpg
temporary electric hookup
temporary electric hookup
20191208_202626.jpg
don't forget your towel
don't forget your towel
 
gardener
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I bake no knead bread in  closed containers,  for a crackly steamed crust.
The original recipe calls for using a dutch oven, and I did,  with great results.
Most ovens can't hold more than two dutch ovens at a time and mine could only hold one!
Plus,  I wanted to go big,  and bake for my church,  and I couldn't afford all the Dutch ovens that would take.

So instead I used crockpots, or rather I use the crocks out of them.
They can take the heat, and they can be had for cheap at thrift stores.
If they are built into the device,  just pry them out.
You will find a copper wire coil glued to the unfinished outside of the crock.
Just scrape it off,  scrub it clean and bake in it.
Mine have patina of polymerised oil,  much like what you find in a black iron skillet.t
The only caveat is, do you trust the crockpot?
Some people have expressed worries about what might be in glazes on older crockpots.
My research indicates  no real reason for worry but YMMV.

In my tiny home oven,  I could still only fit three crocks at a time.
Since the crocks are round,  a lot of space is wasted.
So I use stainless steel steam table pans.
6" deep,  about the same square, I can fit 6 of them at a time.
I used to use a single sheet pan as the lid,  but I upgraded to individual lids recently.
They also have a low stick surface due to oil that  polymerises when I spray their heated insides.
I have 3 more of these stainless steel pans, roughly 12"x6", for larger loaves.


 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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bruce Fine wrote:hate to say it but most warranties are not worth the paper they are written on, the same with most insurance policies
just $0.02 from someone who's been round the block a few times, got a whole bunch of those tee shirts and don't need anymore



The way I look at it, of two things one: Either the product is good, in which case you do not need a warranty, or the product is NOT good, in which case all the warranties in the world will not fix the problem. If they say they will replace the defective product, why would you want to get another one that is not good? Sometimes, I will want the replacement, just for the principle.
 
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