All posts by joe

According To The Big Box Store Guy…

By | Customer Service, Problem Solving | No Comments

A friend called to tell me that “according to the Home Depot guy” (If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard this) “This pull on and twist for temperature shower valve faucet is illegal now, and must be completely replaced”. He also said the the parts are no longer made. “Bull shit”, I said and directed my buddy to where to buy the parts for $5 to fix it. Could they have misunderstood The HDG? Perhaps. If you strip a handle usually the stem is still OK and a trip to the local hardware store will net you…

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The Leaky Faucet Gets the New Parts

By | Plumbing, Problem Solving | No Comments

I have been surprised at how often new things don’t work like we expect them to. As a remodeling contractor our plumbers install lots of faucets. In a recent project we had two of them start to leak within a few months of installation at the kitchen sink. Warranty Anyone? As a warranty item this is not big deal in the big picture. That we buy from a reputable wholesale supply house makes it so much easier to resolve. With a phone call we had parts shipped to us no argument or issue. I replaced the parts myself as a…

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Retrofitting Hydronic Heating

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Energy, Floors, HVAC | No Comments

Our client wanted heated floors in their existing home. There was a partial basement and crawl space access. I remembered a system that we have used before that circulates fluid beneath the floor and felt that this would be a good option to offer.  It uses glycol and is separate and detached from the plumbing system. We decided to offer a radiant heated under floor system for a home that had a mixture of hardwood floors and Tile floors. The home already had a forced air system but the idea of warm floors was a big hit. It took 7…

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Joist Hangers Use & Misuse

By | Fixing things, Problem Solving, Understanding your home | No Comments

Joist hangers have been around for around about 59 years, they were developed by Simpson Strongtie for a friend who was looking for a way to secure some boards in a more structurally sound way. Now days there are all kinds for them for all sorts of purposes. There are many things that are intuitive like how to use a saw which reminds me of a joke. The logger and the Salesman A guy was logging on his land using an old crosscut saw to fell trees. A salesman suggested he would love the new chain saw so he left…

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How Energy Efficient is Your Home

By | Energy, Environmental Awareness, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Home Evaluations, HVAC | No Comments

For the past 110 years, we have been in a rush to make sure the hurdle of the new housing stock is built safer, stronger, and more energy efficient than the last code cycle because people dying in tragic collapses and fires is not a good thing, nor is wasting our limited natural resources on poor quality construction techniques. The insurance industry started the trend by suggesting building codes to address huge losses. The codes were adopted by building industry and all of the sub-trades and updated every few years like clockwork over the years. The same cyclic process done…

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Faucets Should Not Leak

By | Plumbing | No Comments

Fixing them may or may not be easy. One important thing to remember is that you need to turn off the water supply to work on them with out the possibility of making a big mess. Every home has a main shut off, (I have not run into one without one) In fact you need to label it and test it before an emergency happens, (Sames goes for electricity and gas). You just need to know where to look. Some have gate valves, other ball valves. I prefer ball valves hands down. Gate valves are prone to failure and cause…

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Braided Steel Water Heater Supply Lines

By | Plumbing | No Comments

As a contractor I get into all sorts of things. It’s like the saying on the shirt. Recently I was called to attend to an emergency, the homeowner had contacted her friend and realtor who happened to have me on speed dial. They were watching water spray our of her braided steel supply line. “The home warranty people can’t get a plumber our here for days”. (Worthless insurance IMHO) I dropped everything and headed out. Damsel in distress Yes, you had a 50-50 chance, it was the hot water side. To no ones surprise both of the gals were spun…

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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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