All posts by joe

Failed Toilet Tank Seal

By | Fixing things, Plumbing | No Comments

Toilets with separate tanks have a seal that is usually not an issue. In this situation I was called to replace the wax ring because they found water on the floor near the toilet. Naturally I told them to stop using it until I could get there. I bought a new wax ring kit and responded on the weekend to replace it. As is often the case, I dove right in to replace the wax ring, then paused to evaluate the situation when it did not make sense. I shut off the water and flushed noticing that the tank was…

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Adding a Remote For a Hunter Ceiling Fan

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

We completed a remodeling project that included 3 OFCI ceiling fans with remotes. Sadly, in all the confusion remotes were tossed and naturally so were the controllers. This was unacceptable, so I ordered up the devices and controllers. The Hunter Fan company was cooperative and sent the devices I needed along with some instructions that were lacking. So in the event something occurs I can refer to my own cheat sheet. Here is their video To Make the Remotes Work For fan control: model 99123 Turn power on, Hit the center fan off button and the fan 3 (High) button…

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How We Go About Figuring Things Out

By | Appliances, Problem Solving | 2 Comments

I feel so good when people call me to help fix things. My brother called last night from a clients home where the gas stove was only able to muster one burner, when the next burner was lit the flame was weak and the third one would not light. They had been working on the gas lines in another part of the home which should not have affected this line. I immediately said “look for an obstruction, follow the line back to the source (meter) and you will find the problem”. 10 minutes later he called. All is well, fixed!…

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Electrical Cord Safety

By | Electrical, Safe Practices | No Comments

I am a stickler for good extension cords. OSHA is too, urban legend says they will cut up a cord if they find one on your job sit that is frayed or dangerous in their opinion. I am constantly pointing out problems on job site with our sub-contractors but is it worthwhile? What is the worst that could happen? I suppose electrocution, or a fire. We joke that smoke is what makes electricity work, so our primary objective is to keep the smoke in the wires. Truth is that if you pick up an extension cord and it is warm…

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Electric Water Heaters

By | Electrical, Plumbing | No Comments

Electric water heaters come in many sizes and shapes. (I recently found one in a basement of a 1938 home that looks like a washing machine). Most are cylindrical. They all provide years of service and have gotten much better insulated. This alone is a good reason to replace an old one. If you get over 10 years of service you have gotten your moneys worth. The sure sign of failure is a leak, usually trouble free, they can have some tricky to diagnose issues. Gas water heaters recover quicker as a rule, be sure your heater is ample for…

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Delta Shower Valve Not Getting Hot Enough

By | Plumbing, Problem Solving | No Comments

I had 2 new Delta Shower Valves installed by my plumber and the darn things would to get hot enough. Yes there was plenty of hot water available in nearby faucets. The plumber told my client that there must be something wrong with the valve. On his return they told the client they had to put a part in backwards and that it was as good as it was going to get. Well my friends, that is not good enough for me. The plumber was fired for being an idiot. I attacked the problem knowing that there was a solution…

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Sewage Ejector Pump Problem

By | Plumbing | No Comments

I installed a sewage ejector pump in a home I remodeled for myself 15 years ago. I needed it to evacuate the basement water from the laundry and a 3/4 bath. It worked fine for all that time, then it started acting up. It was staying on and not shutting off like it should. It was getting stuck on. By the time I took the cover off everything was OK. I discovered a failed float. Changing the pump would have been far more expensive. ($375.00 ish) wholesale. I ended up lifting the pump our to make sure it was free…

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Gas Furnace Flame Sensor Fix

By | HVAC | No Comments

The flame sensor was an ingenious solution to a serious safety problem. On a gas furnace, they provide an incredible safety feature when they are working right. When they aren’t they become a menace and cause silly service calls. For some reason there seems to be a correlation between furnaces near the laundry. One fellow suggested that a particular dryer sheets seem to be the culprit. I have not made that connection but who knows. When the Furnace Just Wont Fire Up Gas furnaces got through a series of safety checks before they come on. Some more than others. The…

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Failing Exhaust Duct work

By | Fixing things, HVAC, Indoor Air Quality | No Comments

A client called to report a hot exhaust wall in their bathroom. Naturally fire and Carbon monoxide poison come to mind. The gas water heater exhaust and the 80% furnace exhausts commingle and go up and out of the home in a double walled oval exhaust flu. The home was built in the ’70s and has already had the furnace replaced once. Was it a bad install or just warn out? The thin 2 x 4 wall was hot in one spot. A thermal image was showing over 100 degrees in one spot. How were we going to see what…

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Is My House Toxic?

By | Indoor Air Quality, Problem Solving, Understanding your home | No Comments

I have always enjoyed understanding building science and have dabbled in the realm of an amateur of sorts trying to discover what is causing a home to make a resident feel ill when they are inside of it. Being a former Paramedic, I blend my knowledge into a pretty good problem solver. Yes, your home could make you sick, and even kill you if have faulty systems. The risk goes up the tighter the home is. Have You Ever Considered That Your House Could Be Making You Ill? Do you have any of these symptoms only when you are at…

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