Posted by: helpfulherb | April 30, 2013

First of May Means…All the Storms Gone?

So Sump Pump 1we made it!  May is here and the heavy weather is through, right? April showers bring May flowers, right?  We can relax and concentrate on the yard, the outside of the house and the sump pump.

Sump Pump?  What is that all about?

If you made it through the heavy rains without some water in the basement, congratulations. People who never had water problems in our area found that they were not totally safe from that experience.  In some cases, the sump pump failed to keep up or maybe did not work at all.  A power outage during the heavy rains intensified the experience because there was no alternative to getting the water out of the well/basement.   A portable generator becomes very important because the damage now is much more serious than bad food or uncomfortable temperatures.

An alternative provides the emergency availability of a pump.  This is a battery-powered pump that takes over when power is lost.  The system needs attention to be sure the battery is ready to use.  It is a separate pump tied into the discharge line so that water is removed through the same pipes.  It is only used when power is gone but when there is no power, the peace of mind is incredible.

Posted by: helpfulherb | April 16, 2013

The Big 3…Death, Taxes and a Dripping Faucet…

Leaking faucetIt really is the big 3, not just death and taxes.  Seems like that faucet still leaks and we still want to get it fixed.  Just need to find the time. Till then we will just live with it.

Remember that leak is probably costing you money through your water bill or other utilities because the water still keeps coming from somewhere. So like taxes, you are paying and paying, but it is just a little at a time and it is somewhat invisible to the budget.

We are reminded to spend our “Rebate Checks” on all sorts of big-ticket items.  Maybe it is time to spend some of your income on fixing those things around the house that are actually costing you money.  The least cost could be you getting the parts and making the adjustments yourself.  A more expensive approach is to hire a plumber or electrician to fix the problems.  The middle of the road solution is to call or locate your handyman who could probably fix all of the issues or find you a reasonable solution.

Call your handyman now!  Take that leaking faucet off your to do list and your wallet.

Posted by: helpfulherb | August 7, 2012

Are You Ready for Special Guests?

You never can be sure when or if they will appear.  When they do, will you be ready?  And what does “being ready” really mean?

Of course you can’t live ready for that unexpected special person to arrive.  You can minimize safety or cosmetic embarrassments by keeping your property updated.  Start with a “honey do” list and keep it current.  This may be difficult at first because a written list of problems really looks more like an impossible list of projects.  Getting involved makes the list more realistic and doable.

Establish priorities!  Which is the most important and why?  Dangerous? Ugly? Bothersome? Just in the way? Can this be accomplished with just a little labor?  Do you know what materials are needed? What sort of expense is involved? Do you have the talent available or do you need to find someone with the experience for the task? A local handyman could be your answer.

A “To Do” list often has several items that are quickly completed with little or no expense. Getting these done will shrink the list to a less intimidating number.   You are on the way.  Now you can focus on the larger or more complicated tasks.  Do your home work!

Use the internet to research the problems. Can you find several solutions to each task?  What sort of videos show you how to proceed?  How expensive are the materials you need?  Do you need someone with more experience?  How will the project upset the routine of the house?  Completion time within your window of patience and pocketbook?

Share your list with your handyman.  They can help answer your questions, establish your priorities, and furnish ideas on how to proceed.  There is help out there.  Go find it and use it.

Posted by: helpfulherb | July 17, 2012

Top Reason to Use a Handyman

Everyone has things around the house that just are a nuisance.  These problems get resolved by the home owner or a useful friend of the home owner. No one is at risk physically or mentally.   The fixes are created when they get done and not before.  No problem.

But a problem that might be considered a nuisance exist when it ought to be noted as a real hazard. We have lived with the difficulty for so long that it often isn’t there.  It grew over time and we adjusted over time so it really is not a problem today.  Yet it certainly must be identified and resolved if not for the home owner, for the friends and outside family that randomly visit .

An outside observer helps identify these hazards and ways to get them resolved quickly.  Your handyman recognizes hazards to point them out to you.  You can decide how you want to fix these problems or just have your handyman immediately resolve them.  However you decide, it is well worth your time and energies to have someone examine your living space for dangerous situations to eliminate them.

Don’t have a handyman?  You need to find one you can trust.

Posted by: helpfulherb | March 6, 2012

3 Daylight Savings Reminders

                                                            Here we go again!  Changing the clocks so that we can use more of the suns natural light to aid our daily functions.This always takes some adjustment but we do and move on with our lives.

The abrupt change can be used to remind us of things to check around the house.  One item is a battery verification.  Sure, we always check our detector batteries but what about flashlight batteries or emergency radio batteries or even the status of your cell phone batteries.  Don’t forget car batteries, tractor batteries, or the backup battery in your clock radio.  Any other devices have batteries in your life?  Good time to check them out.

Another seldom used device in your house is the water shut off valve.  They are located throughout your life.  Each sink should have two (hot and cold), the toilets all should have one, water heater, water softener, and of course the main shut off valve for the whole house.  Normally these valves are ignored…until they are really needed.  Then you really want them to do their job which is stop water flow. By exercising them (closing each one and then immediately reopening it) on this day, you ensure each one works and will work when you need it to do its job.

Often we ignore burned out or non-functioning lights until they become a REAL problem. Now is a good time to focus on these few lights by replacing them with good bulbs or maybe even a new fixture. 

This would be a good time to call your handyman. They could help check all your batteries,  make sure all the valves work, and suggest lighting changes that would be quick, cost-effective and look great in your environment.

Posted by: helpfulherb | December 6, 2011

2012 Goals Utilizing Your Handyman(woman)

Now is the time when people, organizations, companies,and governments create their master plan for 2012.  So why don’t you make a plan utilizing your handyperson, whomever that may be. Your spouse, kids, relatives, employees, or occasional fixer-upper all could benefit from your forethought and reasoning. You give them a chance to make their own schedule for the year that includes your needs.  When you need a break from the holiday routine, planning your tasks for next year provides an escape that gives a sense of accomplishment. 

Is this the year for a new kitchen or bath?  Time to replace the microwave over the range? How about replacing the range? Problems with the washer or dryer?  Tired of fighting with the stuck door or window?  Is that leak finally going to be eliminated? This the year to change the garage? The driveway? The cupboards? The basement?  What about that accent wall you like? Ceiling need recovering? New light fixtures? 3 Season porch? Enlarge the deck? How os the roof?  The siding? Front porch?  Sidewalks?

Make the wish list, then turn it into a plan of action.  This could be the year that long time agitation becomes a useful addition to your life.

Posted by: helpfulherb | October 4, 2011

It Takes 3 Surprises to Be Right

A new customer had me replace the front door hardware just before they moved into their recently acquired house. The job done and working fine, it was time for the move to take place.  Imagine the surprise when the movers (or anyone else) could open the wide front door to move furniture into the house. “What did you do to my door?” she yelled into my phone.  Confused, I went to see this for myself.  Sure enough, the door was secured better than any dead bolt.  Removing the door hardware and examining the workings revealed nothing unusual.  Carefully I reinstalled everything and it worked fine.  The customer opened and closed it several times  and was happy.

Image my suprise when within a week, the call came that informed me tha door was once more securely closed.  That started a lenghty process of removing, rebuilding with other parts, reinstalling, everything works fine, leaving, then coming back because it was locked again.

“Take it out and I will take it back to the store where I purchased it.”  So I did.  The reply was “Nothing wrong with this hardware.  We have never had any complaints or returns.  Must be your installer.”

By now the customer is ready to fire me and demand her money back for the work accomplished.

So I went to the manufacturer of the hardware to ask for help.  Surprised again, the reply I heard was “You got one of those?  Bad design. Engineering is designing a fix and has a temporary fix which we will send you right away!” 

Even better than their word, within a week I received new inner workings.  Once installed, the door opened and closed 3 or 4 dozen times and was declared fixed.  And it has worked well ever since.

Posted by: helpfulherb | March 29, 2011

Beware the Seldom Used Valves

We have only a few consistent reminders for action better than the changes to daylight saving time. For example, this twice a year phenomena reminds us to change batteries in our smoke and carbon dioxide monitors.   Another task you might consider are the shut off valves throughout your house.

We ignore these valves until we need them to stop water flow.  Then we find they are stuck to the point of possible breakage in forcing the mechanism.  Preventing this is easy enough if we use the twice a year reminders.  At these times, turn every valve closed (or open if that is the function of the valve) and then reopen (reclose)  it.  This simple action keeps the valve working so that when you really need them, they will function as required.  Read More…

Posted by: helpfulherb | January 3, 2011

About that ceiling fan!

Noisy or out of balance ceiling fans usually don’t get used and could be dangerous when they are used.  Spring and fall are the most common times to pay attention to these fans because the direction of rotation changes from a cooling  to warming air flow.  Every time a change should take place, the question “Which way should the rotation be for this time of the year?” gets asked again.  The answer is “Counterclockwise to put cooling air directly below the fan and Clockwise to pull the cool air under the fan to the ceiling”.

Some fans have the rotation switch as an up and down motion which matches the air flow direction.  Up on the switch means the air moves upward and down means the air moves downward.

Note that while the fan is running, it reaches an equilibrium state of air flow.  When a downward flow is produced, someone sitting or standing under the fan will feel a flow of air that seems cooler.  This doesn’t mean the air is lower in temperature.  The moving air will produce a cooling effect on a person, but not on an object.

Similarly, the upward air motion during the winter season pulls the air from below, pushing it to the ceiling.  This displaces the warmer air at the ceiling (warm air naturally rises) pushing it down to help warm the room.   The equilibrium situation provides for a constant air flow, making the heating more efficient.

An unbalanced fan can be corrected through the use of a blade balancing kit from your local hardware or big box store.  Instructions are included with the inexpensive package ($5.00).  Be sure to follow them closely and use all speeds of the rotation

Posted by: helpfulherb | October 26, 2010

How to Know if Your Electrical Outlets are Safe!

Since all the outlets in your house are the three prong grounded type, you confidently attach any appliance  knowing you are protected.  Sadly this may not be the case.  But you can verify for yourself with the purchase of an inexpensive tester at any hardware store.

These testers look like a plug without the wires.  Instead there are lights on the end indicating the condition of the outlet.  The label on the tester outline the possible configurations.  When the lights tell you the outlet is wired properly, confidently use it.  Check the rest of them in the house and know all are working correctly.

If any are not wired correctly, have a qualified person help change them.  Getting them correct will make you safer and make it easier to sell your house.

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