Category Archives: Problem Solving

The Handy Man Craze Hits Boise

By | Basements, Plumbing, Problem Solving, The Law | No Comments

I have recently come across 3 guys that have quit employment to go out on their own to become handymen for their sphere of influence. I love entrepreneurship and I encourage everyone to give it a try. I can not thank them enough to take over the small jobs that my company is frankly not able to take care of because our niche is handling far more complicated and larger projects. Let’s face it YouTube and the Big Box stores have given rise to this new industry. Where is the line? When handymen cross the line is when they start…

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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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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 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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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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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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Hey, Is That A Contractor In Your Pocket?

By | Problem Solving | No Comments

Technology is becoming so important. I have seen the future and it dared me to think big. It begs the question, “Is that a contractor in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me?”. My daughter Athena lives in the Bay Area 800 miles away but she is able to get me to fix things with her technology. We fixed her dryer, a stuck oven drawer, and I was able to explain what the freezer sound was in her new apartment in 5 minutes. The other night I was able to turn power back on to a client’s…

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Gas Water Heater Failure

By | Plumbing, Problem Solving | No Comments

No hot water is the symptom but what could be the cause. I responded to the home of a client that we did a major remodeling project work for in 2012 which 5 years after installation. What could be wrong? Its a gas water heater, for cryin’ out loud, such simple technology. My typical triage shenanigans out of the way over the phone, the client confirmed that she had paid her gas bill and the unit was plugged in “Ha Ha”. I decided to respond on a Sunday evening imagining that the pilot had gone out and that it would…

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Sulfur Smell From Hot Water

By | Plumbing, Problem Solving | No Comments

I recently diagnosed a new electric water heater emitting a nasty sulfur smell from it. The darn smell would not go away so I asked my Father-In-law Bob the retired plumber what he thought. “Anode rod must be bad” he said. Whatever the cause, it was a very nasty smell that could not be ignored. After researching the issue, I discovered that sulfur gas that is not harmful was being formed by an aerobic bacteria that was attacking my sacrificial anode. Perhaps we did not flush it enough at the beginning, who knows the point is that the smell was…

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