Watching Jeopardy recently for the first time in many years and trying to come up with the answers (or is that questions?), I started feeling pretty good about myself. That is, until I realized that bell going off the split second the board was revealed wasn’t synced to the answer’s appearance, but to a contestant signaling they ALREADY KNEW the answer.
So, maybe I will never be accepted as a Jeopardy contestant until hell freezes over or Alex Trebec starts introducing categories like “Handyman” and “Toilet Bowl.” But, I can at least pretend to be Alex for a single episode of “Dr Steve’s Tips.” So, here goes:
The category is “Air Circulation.” And the answer is “This fan, commonly found on the ceiling of hallways, is best known WRONGLY by another fan’s name.”
Five seconds pass. Buzzzzz. “I’m sorry,” I say in a sad voice, “the answer is Whole House Fan.” I then sing a few bars from a song that includes the lyric “whole house fan,” while contestants sigh in recognition they should have known that.
Those few of you out there who actually got this answer (question?) may not know that everybody BUT you mistakenly calls this an “attic fan,” another real and useful thing, but not the same thing at all.
An attic fan is designed to keep your ATTIC cool, and only indirectly makes your house cooler. A whole house fan DIRECTLY makes your house cooler. More specifically:
But, you don’t really need to know any of that. If you’re new to any of this, here’s the biggest improvement you can make:
OK, just one more Jeopardy question/answer. The answer IS: “This company with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau provides one stop shopping for professional home repairs.” Maybe that one was too easy. OK, Alex, back to you. But, we’ll see you next time on Dr Steve’s Tips!
Sometimes in the course of handyman events it becomes necessary for homeowners to dissolve the bands connecting them to those who previously fixed their homes, seeking a more perfect union. Because while all handymen might be CREATED equal, everyone knows by now they sure don’t TURN OUT that way.
So, be it resolved on this 4th of July 2017, Fix St Louis:
So, go forth and pursue happiness this Independence Day, comforted in the knowledge that Fix St Louis will always be there to protect your homeland.
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With today being Father’s Day, and so many dads being the family’s handyman-in-residence, maybe for this one day you’ll want to hold-off on asking him to fix stuff.
But on every OTHER day of the year, the days that are NOT Father’s Day, we suggest there are some repairs you might never ask him to fix. Those repairs that might cause dad to hurt, maim, or kill himself. Or your marriage. Or your ability to enter one of your rooms ever again without thinking about how bad it looks.
So as our Father’s Day gift to you, Fix St Louis has compiled this list of the 5 things you might never want to ask dad to do:
1. Install Crown Molding
How hard could it be to make those 45 degree cuts in the crown molding at the corners of the room, and get the 2 pieces to fit together snugly, right? But, the crown molding itself is installed on the wall at an angle, so you’re actually trying to make TWO angled cuts at the same time. If dad has never done this before, preferably 2-3 times, and you don’t want to buy twice as much crown molding to waste before he figures this out, it’s best to call Fix St Louis.
2. Add Insulation to the Attic
That slick Pink Panther they use in their ads tricks a lot of dads into thinking nothing could be easier than rolling out that insulation across your attic floor. But that false sense of confidence lasts only until the moment your dad actually ENTERS the attic. Then, he’ll realize that unless he lettered in the balance beam in high school it’s difficult to move around by stepping only on the edges of joists, without stepping on, cracking, or falling through the drywall between them. Incidentally, that drywall is otherwise known as the ceiling to the floor below. Not to mention doing this in a space that is usually EXTREMELY hot or cold, with a ceiling full of the sharp business ends of roofing nails pointed right at his head.
3. Join Copper Pipes
Joining 2 copper pipes together using a propane torch might seem like a manly endeavor, but the frustration of doing it over and over again until there isn’t the smallest trickle of water coming out of the joint can turn any dad into a whimpering baby. In the process he’ll learn a couple of things, like the pipes have to be totally dry to make it work, which isn’t easy, and that while water may seem dumb it’s actually a Fulbright Scholar when it comes to finding any area that it can pass through no matter how small. Yes, dad can learn how to do it, but with as infrequently as he will do it, and that it will be so long until he does it again that he won’t remember, wouldn’t his time be better spent with your family?
4. Repair Three-Way Switches
You know how sometimes there’s 2 switches that operate the same light on opposite sides of a room or hallway? And do you notice that ‘2’ is not the same number used in the name of a 3-way switch? If dad’s troubleshooting or installing these switches, he’ll soon understand why trying to figure them out is not worth his time.
5. Anything Involving Getting on the Roof
To be clear, it’s not getting ON the roof that is the problem. It’s falling OFF. Either the roof or the ladder. And for those of you living in those fancy-shmancy houses with vaulted ceilings and roofs some mountain climbers would be afraid to scale – wouldn’t your family rather have dad around than just the proceeds of his insurance policy? (If not, make sure your family doesn’t come within 50′ of the bottom of his ladder).
So, let me wish a happy Father’s Day to all dads out there. And when it comes to home repairs, keep in mind that Fix St Louis is here to help him. Not put him out of a job.
When you think about it, isn’t it amazing that Americans now EXPECT the inside of their homes to always be the SAME TEMPERATURE? Every single day of the year? No matter what’s going on outside? As they might say at the Yakov Smirnoff dinner theater in Branson, “What a country!”
And, just like the final act of every show in Branson we, too, at Fix St Louis salute America’s exceptionalism and progress, so make no apologies for our nation’s unending quest to make our homes more comfortable. We pay no heed to those handwringing, cardigan-wearing naysayers who tell us we must scale-back our lifestyles – those people who THINK of themselves as ‘sophisticated’ yet, would you believe, have never even HEARD of the Baldknobbers or the Dixie Stampede?
Here are just a few of the ways Fix St Louis can help you, with little to no sacrifice, put an end to climate change on the inside of your home:
Let’s show the rest of the world how to live as we seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of comfort, which I’ve got to believe is a necessary subset of “happiness,” am I right? Let them have their Paris. We’ll always have Branson.
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With all that violent weather passing through our area last week, you’d think something calling itself a ‘storm door’ would have its opportunity to shine. So, what’s with that flimsy extra door, anyway? That gender-conflicted door that can’t seem to decide whether to self-identify as a window or a screen? That awkward, spring-loaded door that might possibly be the only product in America that actually OUGHT to have a government-mandated warning label, which would read “don’t let this door hit you on your way out”?
Since they don’t write history textbooks about storm doors, let me tell you what I think happened. At one time, most homes had removable glass storm windows to provide extra insulation to the then-standard single-pane glass windows. And in warmer weather, you could swap them out for window screens. But new technology made these storm window/screens obsolete, and they were replaced by better-insulated double-paned windows with sliding half-screens.
Now, storm windows had a cousin – storm doors – which similarly provided extra insulation for the single-pane glass panels on doors. So, storm doors could have just gone away, too. But some people found it was pretty handy to have a door opening that could be covered by a screen. And, storm door manufacturers came up with some excuses (pretty lame in my opinion) for still keeping a glass storm door. Like keeping snow drifts away from your front door, or providing extra insulation for the not-always-perfect weatherstripping around doors.
Personally, I kind of like storm doors, but just when they act like screen doors. They’re great for air circulation when you turn on a whole house fan at the same time, and can reduce the number of days you run your air conditioner. They’re also great when you want to talk to someone at your front door, but don’t want your pet to bolt outside, or to greet too enthusiastically your friendly handyman or others. But, you don’t really have to make a choice between your storm door being made of glass or screen. We can install a “self-storing” storm door that quickly converts between the two.
Incidentally, Fix St Louis can also FIX your storm door. We’re often asked to replace that door closer that looks like a bicycle tire hand-pump, or reattach it to the door jamb, or restore and paint the door jamb that it cracked. We can also replace that torn screen.
In a more logical world, a “storm door” would be the name for that hatch that Auntie Em, Hunk, Hickory, and Zeke climbed into as the tornado approached, but Dorothy & Toto didn’t reach in time. Nonetheless, while storm doors won’t save your life and can be a nuisance, there’s still reasons you might want Fix St Louis to install or repair them.
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While I’m not much into conspiracy theories, there’s one I’m not ready to let go of yet. I think aliens regularly visit us, grab our land, invade our bodies, destroy our homes, and yet hide in plain sight.
Think about it. Water now accounts for 71% of the earth’s surface, 60% of our body weight, is smart enough to locate every hole as small as a pinprick on our houses, and evil enough to enter and create damage. And every once in awhile, this alien mocks us by turning Fenton, of all places, into an isolated, remote, supra-tropical retreat.
Last week, we St Louisans successfully fought-off this liquid foe, and it eventually moved on. But, what weapons should homeowners be adding to their arsenals right now to prepare for the next aerial assault?
No, silly, not water guns. They just make the problem worse. Instead, we at Fix St Louis suggest the following:
No, I’m NOT talking about what you fear every man prancing around in a raincoat, other than Gene Kelly, might do next. Flashing is about metal strips installed outside, mostly above windows, doors, deck ledger boards, and beneath roof vents, to direct water away from the cracks where two separate building materials meet. If your builders and remodelers installed things properly, this should never be a problem. But sadly, there are no perfect builders or remodelers on this side of heaven.
Caulking kinda works like flashing, but it’s for all the other gaps in your home where water might intrude. You’ll mostly find it around windows and doors, but it’s used in other places, too. Unlike flashing, caulking is not permanent, and it degrades and gets ugly over time. So, Fix St Louis gets regular calls to check and replace caulking – and not just on house exteriors, but also around tubs, showers, and sinks, too.
If you have a perfectly circular hole cut in the floor in a corner of your basement, that was not put there by some desperately hungry, but misguided ice fisherman. That hole collects water from an invisible channel that runs beneath the perimeter of your basement floor, and if there’s a ‘sump pump’ in there, every time the water level gets too high it pumps the water out through those pipes around it. If you have a broken sump pump or a hole without any sump pump at all, we can install one (if you don’t have a hole, we can refer you to either an ice fisherman or a foundation company). We can even install sump pumps that have an alarm and a battery backup, in case your house loses power.
While they say you can fight fire with fire, when it comes to water, not so much. Let Fix St Louis help you fight off this existential threat to humanity.
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