The Great Fix-It yourself Contest Winner!

A couple weeks ago I shared some of my DIY stories and asked about yours:

What have you done to save the family budget and keep stuff from the landfill? What's the one thing you're glad you fixed rather than throwing away? What fix it job are you most proud of?

Crucial Vacuum sponsored the contest for a $100 gift certificate.

Here are some of the great responses:


"I'm not a mechanic or all. And I'm uncomfortable with electricity so any fan or light fixture replacements are done by my dad or friends, so I can't take credit (except for skillfully selecting excellent amigos), but I have replaced my tub's faucet and I took off the drain to remove a hair-based clog in the tub. I figure I would have had a plumber come out for that, so probably saved me $100. And learning to do that was empowering enough that I put on some Spice Girls music to celebrate."


"I bought my first Arizona tract home during the frenzy of 2005, so naturally I was broke the following year when the AC quit working. I spent some quality time in the attic replacing the fan motor and controller board and probably sweat off a few pounds in the process. The real feat in this whole experience was finding a place that would sell me the parts. Thankfully I found a small shop in Mesa that saved me from having to wait for parts to be shipped"


"I replaced the lid switch in the washer of our rental. It worked and the washer is still going strong several years later!"


"I recently replaced the drain pump on our front loading washer. These things aren't really designed with ease of maintenance in mind. Got more scratches on my arms than if I got in a fight with a rabid bobcat."   (Check out John's blog: Our Home from Scratch)


"I am always trying to save a dime. One day my grinder stopped working and I thought it was the power switch. I never fix a grinder before, and I could have bought another for 10 bucks at Harbor Freight. However, I thought that I would open it up and see if I could fix it myself to save some money. Worse case scenario if it was thrashed I would at least know I tried before I junked it. I opened up the case and one of the brushes a brass plate was off one of the brushes.
I could have stopped and bought a new set of brushes but these had a lot of life left in them so I figured I would find a way to fix it. All I had to do is solder the brass plate to the wire that is embedded in the brush head. Now in order to do this, I had to find a way to hold everything and compress the spring that goes over the wire, in between the brass plate and the brush head. Enclosed is some pictures of my solution."

Check out Brian on his site too! Summers Woodworking He has an infectious joy for woodworking and tools.


"I fixed a broken soap holder in our tiled bathtub wall. We realized there was a problem when there was a leaking ceiling in the utility room that the tub sits over. The previous owners were the type that knew just enough about everything to screw it all up. Turns out there wasn't enough of a stud to screw the soap holder into, so they shoved a few pounds of drywall mud and shoved it in. Well, needless to say it started sagging from my two year old doing chin-ups on it (I exaggerate). I had to rig a 2x4 extension to the stud that was half visible and add a few tiny sheets of plywood to fill the gap of missing drywall, then I lathered it with liquid nails and taped it up for a few days and voila! No need for a plumber and saved countless dollars."

Thank you everyone for the stories. It is an impossible thing to pick the best. My friends a Crucial Vacuum picked the top two. I was frozen with indecision, so I had to flip a coin to make the final call. 

Congratulations to John V who wins the $100 gift certificate!

Thank you to Crucial Vacuum for being the prize sponsor for this fun contest. Please check them out when you need some parts, supplies, and information for your DIY vacuum repairs.  Back to regularly scheduled programming soon friends!

The Great Fix-It Yourself Contest - $100 prize!

On this blog, I like share tales of "Fixing Stuff". Now, we want to hear yours.

One comment / story is going to earn a $100 bounty, a glorious gift card from our friends at Crucial Vacuum!  (update: Contest over)

Over the years, I've taken advantage of the internet's easy accessibility to repair parts and educational resources to fix stuff that I would have either thrown away and replaced or paid someone the big bucks to repair for me. It's become my first reflex to tear stuff apart and fix it. I've saved tons of money in the process. 

Repairing a Shopsmith Dust Collector

Replacing the cord on the dust collector.

Of course there's risk involved. I've attacked a repair, casually ignoring the "no user serviceable parts" label only to find that not only was I unable to fix the item, I couldn't even hope to put it back together. I am embarrassed to admit I did the walk of shame to the trash bin with an armful of plastic, electronics, tubes and dangling wires that had once been a beautiful Keurig Platinum coffee brewer. 

We lost a $130 coffee brewer in that debacle, but it was busted and out of warranty anyway. I'm not going to do a brake repair job on my wife's car in the driveway, because I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not going to risk my family to save any amount of money. I leave that one to the pros. 

I've had my successes as well. Here's a rundown of some of the highlights...

  • Remember the dealership challenge? It saved almost $100 and it took only a few minutes of my time to replace the auxiliary audio jack in my truck. No mechanic!

Plug and play!

DIY Repairing an LG Front Loading Washing Machine

This one took three hands

DIY Repairing a drip irrigation system
  • Recently, I rewired a lamp rather than chuck it. It's a cheap lamp, probably worth about $20 but we like it and didn't want to add it to a landfill. No landfill / No replacement!
DIY Rewiring a lamp
  • The pool vacuum spends it's life underwater in a chemically charged environment. Of course stuff breaks and wears out. I rebuilt this $300+ piece of plastic wizardry with parts and instructions from the internet. No repair shop!
DIY Repairing a pool vacuum
  • Speaking of the pool, I again reached out to the internet for parts and instructions to repair our aging DE filter in "You will go to the Dagobah System"No Service Technician!  I did later hire a company to replace and upgrade the whole system.
DIY Repairing a Hayward DE Pool Filter

I've had plenty of other fix-it successes like an XBox controller, a vacuum cleaner, a clock, countless toys, some light car repairs, and general household plumbing and electrical repairs. Other stuff, I've had to chuck in the trash when it's simply outside its useful life or just not worth the major surgery to attempt a repair, like televisions, a pool motor, a toaster, and etc. 

The Contest!

How about you?

What have you done to save the family budget and keep stuff from the landfill? What's the one thing you're most glad you fixed rather than throwing away? What fix-it job are you most proud of? What do you wish people would stop throwing out and start fixing?

Share your story in the comments below, email it to me (, or even send it to me through a Facebook message. A few sentences is fine! Send photos if you like. I'll feature the winner in a future post.

The winner gets a $100 Amazon gift card from Crucial Vacuum I'd be honored if you'd follow me on Facebook ! I slip plenty more good DIY content and humor in over there. (Don't forget TwitterGoogle+Hometalk, and Pinterest too!) Have fun!

This contest is complete. We have a Winner

Thank you everyone!

From Crucial Vacuum:

"Crucial Vacuum supply vacuum cleaner parts and supplies, so we're always interested in ways we can encourage more people to fix appliances rather than throw them away. It's great to find bloggers like John, who get more people repairing, recycling, and taking care of things, so we thought it might be fun to see what his readers have been fixing!"

I've looked over their website and loved the how-to videos for installing replacement vacuum parts. I really like the fact that they plant a tree for every 1,000 filters they sell. I also like the price match guarantee, free shipping, and free returns. 

Crucial Vacuum is currently running a special coupon code for 20% off a $40 order though March 2014 (Coupon code: POLARVORTEX)

Read the ole' fine print below before entry:

  1. Relationship: AZ DIY Guy's Projects (Host) has no financial relationship with Crucial Vacuum (Sponsor) and has received no compensation for hosting. They originated the idea for this contest, thinking my readers would enjoy it and would appreciate their products and services. I'm hosting this contest as a way to engage and reward my awesome readers as well as meet new ones. Amazon, Facebook, and other third party social media outlets are not affiliated with the contest.
  2. Duration: The contest runs through March 26, 2014 at 11:59 pm, Phoenix, AZ time.
  3. Location: The contest is open to the US and Canada only. Participation is void if any a participant's local authority having jurisdiction deems this contest to be illegal in any way. Participants are responsible for verifying their legal eligibility.
  4. Eligibility:  Only individuals over 18 are eligible, no company or organization. Bloggers are welcome. Employees and family members of AZ DIY Guy's Projects and Crucial Vacuum are ineligible. Entries or comments that are deemed profane, hateful, discriminatory, or otherwise distasteful will be removed and are not eligible.
  5. Entry: Participants enter the contest via a written commentary / story. Entries are accepted via: 1.)  comments on this original blog post 2.) Facebook message to the AZ DIY Guy page  3.) Email to
  6. Winner: The winner will be chosen editorially and subjectively at the discretion of the host and sponsor. Following or subscribing to the host or sponsor of the contest on social media is not required for entry (although it is greatly appreciated!). Photographs are not required, but would be great to post on the winning announcement.
  7. Notification: A good-faith attempt to contact the winner will be made via the contact information provided at time of entry. The winner has 48 hours to respond, before forfeiting and an alternate winner is chosen.
  8. Prize: The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize, a $100 gift certificate to the winner. This certificate may be digital or physical at the discretion of Crucial Vacuum.
  9. Release: Participants allow their story, comments, and identity (as supplied) to be shared.
  10. Errors: The host and sponsor are not responsible for any potential, technical errors into the contest. An best effort will be made to resolve any errors fairly. If a legal error is discovered, adjustment to the contest will me made to ensure compliance or the contest can be cancelled. 
  11. Acceptance:  By entering the contest, participants accept the terms and agrees to hold the the host, sponsor and any social media used harmless in the event of an error or omission.
  12. Spam: Spam will be deleted. Seriously. Shame on you.

Want to win that $100 certificate?!! Let's hear your story!

 This contest is complete. We have a Winner

Thank you everyone!