Cheap Remodel Home Auction

Back a few months ago, one of Karrie's friend was talking about how she got tons of great things for her home at a nearby auction.  She and her husband actually drove out of state with a truck and bid on several things for their house they are remodeling.  The company that ran that auction is called Peak Auctions.  Karrie said that that same company was having an auction here in Michigan at the Gibraltar trade center.  We had been planning on redoing the upstairs bathroom tile in our house.  Although we hadn't planned yet how we were going to do it, or if we could do it ourselves, but we decided to go and see what kind of deals we could get.
gibralter trade center, auctions

After checking things out on the website we went into the Gibraltar trade center and found the actual merchandise to be pretty good.  Although we weren't exactly experts since neither of us had actually been to an auction, let alone bid on anything before.  So we weren't sure how cheaply we could get it for.  It was interesting to walk around before the auction began, taking notes on a sheet of paper for what we wanted to purchase. The first thing that we focused on was the tile.  Karrie's friend told us about the weird way in which you had to buy things, although there was still some confusion.  As you can see from this picture all of the tile came inside of wood pallets.
peak auctions, gibralter trade center, tile, floor

On the side of each pallet was basic dimensions and total square footage. It turned out that when you bid, you are bidding on the entire palette.  Also you are bidding not on the total price but on the square foot price.   So for example the bidding started at around $.60 per square foot. I would say on average the tile work between $1.00 and all the way up to $10 per square foot for the fancy glass shower tile.  So if you won the bid on a specific palette for $2.00 sq.ft. and there was 500 sq.ft. on the palate, that meant that you owed the company $1000.  It was a little bit daunting seeing the big crowds and the auctioneer.
bidding at auctions, how to bid

It also moved quite fast at first, especially when you didn't know what exactly was going on.  When the bidding began on the palate of tile we were interested in, the bidding ended before Karrie or I placed a bid.  We were a little bummed out, thinking we missed out.  But on the fly we didn't know if buying 450 sq.ft. of tile for $500 was a good deal.

There were a few different pallets of the same tile we were interested in though.  And for one of the pallets Karrie noticed that one of the winning bidders kept checking his sheet of paper.  Karrie said it looked like he might have bought more than he wanted to.  She said I should go talk to him and see if he would sell us some of the tile he bought.   So i did and after talking with him it turned out Karrie was right. 

He bought close to 500 sq.ft. of tile at around $.70 per square foot and it turned out that he only needed half of that.  He agreed to sell us 22 boxes which totaled around 225 sq.ft. of tile. That was enough title to cover the tile and Karrie's bathroom in my shower.  We bought it from him for $200.  Which turned out to be a great deal considering that if we bought 225 sq.ft. of that same tile at Home Depot it would cost over $1000.
travertine tile, auction, cheap

We were quite happy with how that turned out, and the auction continued to roll on.  They got to the area of glass tile and lots of people in the crowd were interested in buying that.  Some of that tile was going for $10 per square foot and lots of people were bidding.  So we figured we didn't have a shot at getting any deals.  After what looked like they had sold the last box of glass tile, the crowd started to disperse.  But at the very end there was one stack of boxes left.  There was a little bit of confusion as the auctioneer started to shout out the prices, most people couldn't see what was being sold.  Karrie happened to be standing right next to the auctioneer and bid $0.70 per linear foot on some glass tile.  The guy yelled "Sold" and somehow she ended up winning the bid and we got the perfect amount of tile for our bathrooms at a fraction of the price.  Again, these tiles sell for $5.50 at Home Depot, we got them for $0.70.
best deal on glass tile

Now we were feeling really good with what we had done.  We got the tile we needed to redo our bathrooms at less than a quarter the price than we normally would've spent.  And we got exactly the amount we wanted. 

The auction turned out to be a really great place if you are interested in remodeling your house.  There were large pallets of hardwood floor which were going for as little as a dollar a square foot, which is a really great price.  But again, the only downside was that you did not get to pick your quantity, it was whatever was on the pallet.  So for example, if it was 800 sq.ft. of hardwood floor, that you got for $1.00 sq.ft., you owed them $800.  But I would have to say that most winning bids were at least half of what you would pay in the store.
auction deal, how to remodel cheap

We watched the bidding continue as it went to cabinets and actual whole kitchens. I think that was probably the best deal in the whole auction.  You could buy complete set of kitchen cabinets which were super nice, for less than $3,000.  Considering that most kitchen remodel cost between $15,000 and $20,000, it was a great deal.

Another thing we were mildly interested in was chandeliers.  Although when the bidding started at a couple hundred dollars we decided to pass, we definitely did not need to spend that much.  
light, chandilier, lamps, fans, bulk

But we did end up buying a ceiling fan for just $30.  That part of the auction also was a little confusing but Karrie ended up bidding on and getting 2 ceiling fans.  She sold one to her friend at work for what she paid for it, so we ended up with one ceiling fan which we put in our bedroom.
warehouse price, cheap ceiling fans

Here's a link to the fan we got and me installing it:  Ceiling Fan

Later in the day they started selling miscellaneous pieces of wood trim.  We just got done remodeling our family room and the crown molding and base board we purchased cost between $1 and $2 per foot.  At this auction winning bids for wood, not quite as good, was between $.20 and $.30, basically 1/4 to 1/3 of what it cost in the store.  I was very tempted to bid, knowing what a great deal it was, but since we didn't need it and more trim meant more work for me at home, I decided to pass.  But for future reference it was nice to know of a place that had such a great deal.  This isn't a picture of that trim, this was just a bunch of random pieces that sold as a group.
bulk wook, cheap wood, auction

Near the very end of the day the auction moved to bathroom fixtures.  They had a line of several different toilets and some of them were the real nice eco-dual flush toilets.  We needed a new toilet for our downstairs bathroom and I was interested in seeing what the final bid price was.  So as Karrie was checking out I walked to the back as the bidding was going on.  Some of the toilets had already been sold for between $100 and $130.   So I decided to get one and I ended up winning a bid on a very nice toilet for $110.  The whole process took about two minutes.  It took me longer to walk from one end of the floor to the other, to tell Karrie.  When i told her that i just bought a toilet she just said "Oh"

All in all it turned out to be a great idea going to the auction.  Everything we ended getting was way cheaper than if we had bought it in the store.  I'm not saying that everything in the auction was a great deal, some people were basically paying full price for the items.  But there was definitely some great deals to be had, especially on wood flooring, tile and entire kitchen cabinets and counter tops.

Here's everything we brought home.
what to buy at auctions, home auction

Since the auction I've watched several videos and we are planning to redo the tile and toilet in the three bathrooms. That's our winter project for this year.


Maytag Kenmore Whirlpool Dryer Won't Heat - No Burner

Back a few years ago i had a problem with my clothes dryer, it wouldn't dry the clothes.  I have a Kenmore Elite gas clothes dryer.
Kenmore elite dryer, clothes dryer fix, won't heat
So i took off the lower cover plate and looked in there.  My Kenmore dryer has a lower access plate, which makes it a little hard to get at stuff.  But the good news is that you don't have to get behind to work on it.
how to fix a kenmore maytag gas dryer, no flame, won't heat

I learned that the drum was turning and the flame would come on.  But after just a few seconds the flame went out.  So i went online and read many many different possible causes for this to happen.  Until finally i came across someone who had the exact problem that i had, a flame that would turn start but turn off.  The way to fix that problem was to buy two inexpensive black coil solenoids.
cheap easy dryer fix, solenoid, flame, heat, burner, how to

They somehow transfer the electrical current into burning the flame.  I didn't/don't know if that's true but since they only cost around $3, i ordered them and replaced the two old ones on my dryer.  Amazingly this worked, and the dryer has worked perfectly ever since.  Until this past month.

After drying the third load of laundry of the day, i opened the dryer door and realized that the clothes were still wet.  I thought, "I know how to fix this, buy new $3 solenoids."  But just to make sure i opened the cover plate and turned on the dryer to check.  Unfortunately this time the dryer spun but the flame never turned on.  The "glow plug" never even heated up and turned orange hot.  I realized that i had a different problem then before.  So it was back to the internet to find a solution.

Here's a video i did which shows the entire process of fixing the dryer.  But for more details, explanation and pictures you can keep reading.

Gas Dryer Won't Heat - Easy Repair


This time i found the possible answer to my problem a lot sooner than before.  It was while watching a trouble-shooting video of what to check.  The guy in the video said that within clothes dryers there are different sensors and fuses which check to make sure everything is working correctly.  Dryers are designed to turn off if things get too hot.  It's safer for a dryer fuse to blow than have it burn your house down.

The video showed to take your multimeter, set it to 2,000K for Ohm's resistance and check each sensor and fuse for continuity.  Having continuity means that it is making a complete circuit.  If you take your multimeter and touch the positive and negative sensors together the reading on the multimeter will go from 1 to 0.00.  That means that there is no resistance between the entire "loop" circuit.  If you took the + and - sensors and touched them to either side of a resistor, you would be able to determine the size of the resistor based on how much it is resisting the flow through the loop.

All the fuses and sensors in the clothes dryer are a "closed" circuit, which means that if they are working, when you touch both ends there should be continuity and the reading should go from 1 to 0.00.  So it was simply a matter of reaching in and touching both ends of the multimeter to each sensor and fuse in the dryer.  The first and second sensors i checked seemed fine, the reading went to 0.00.  But the third thing i checked turned out to be a fuse and when i touched either end there was no change, the multimeter stayed at 1.  So i removed the wires and 2 screws holding it in place and removed it.
gas clothes dryer fuse, kenmore, cost to fix

I checked it again with the multimeter and it was the same, no change.  The multimeter did nothing when i checked the positive and negative ends of the fuse.
free maytag dryer repair, how to fix

I thought, "It can't be this easy can it?"  So to do a quick test i taped the two wires which connected to the fuse together and turned on the dryer.  The drum turned and after about 8 seconds the flame turned on .  It seemed to be working perfectly.  That confirmed it, whatever i had just taken out was the bad part.
hotwire gas dryer, splice wire to check fuse

I turned the dryer off, i definitely didn't want to run it all spliced together, possibly burning down the house.  Then i took the part upstairs to find out what it was.  After typing in the part numbers i learned that it was a fuse that would blow if the temperature in the vent tube got too hot.  It must have blown because i was running the dryer for about 3 hours straight.

The bad news was that even though it's just a tiny little plastic part, it cost $12 plus $3 shipping.  I thought that was crazy so i checked online for a local parts store.  There was a place nearby where i could go and buy the part at the store.  But there it would have cost me $17.99.  So i ended up ordering the part from Amazon and it arrived in a few days.
common gas dryer problem, blown fuse, one time fuse, kenmore

In the meantime i realized that there was another dryer in our garage.  We still have Karrie's old washer and dryer and i thought, "Why don't i just take the fuse off of that dryer."  Unfortunately she has a different model dryer, hers is a Whirlpool.
how to fix a whirlpool gas dryer, won't heat

The good news was that her's was way easier to work on.  Instead of a small lower base cover plate, the entire back panel comes off, exposing all the fuses and sensors.
whirlpool maytag gas clothes dryer access pannel, fuses, sensors, flame

Immediately though i saw a problem.  Although she did have a small white fuse, it wasn't the same.  There was no way that i could mount it to the other dryer, it was a different size and the holes wouldn't line up.
whirlpool flame sensor heat fuse, cost

 But before i reinstalled it and put the cover back on i checked it with the multimeter.  (Now that i look at this picture i'm not sure if i did this correctly.  I probably should have disconnected the two wires to make sure that i was only checking the fuse and not the wires going to the dryer.)  But anyway the reading on the multimeter went from 1 to 0.00 meaning that it had continuity, so this fuse was good.
check gas dryer fuse, good, bad buy

After a few days the new fuse arrived.  I screwed it back into place and attached the wires.  The flame kicks on and it's worked perfectly ever since.  Although i try not to run more than 2 loads of laundry back to back anymore.  I give it a couple hours to cool down in between.

But overall it wasn't too complicated to fix, it turns out that the inside of a dryer is pretty empty.  Just a few wires, sensors, and a big gas flame.  So if you open up your dryer door to find a pile of wet clothes don't worry.  Just try to figure out what's going on, then look up how to find the problem.  80% of the time it's that solenoid or entire solenoid assembly, which is a cheap and easy fix.