The OTHER debate featuring hot air, smoke & slime

Well, last night’s debate was quite the spectacle. But it was not the only current debate featuring hot air, smoke, slime, and the possibility of coughing.

The other debate is about the hood duct above your cooktop. Is it OK to have one that just recirculates filtered exhaust back into the kitchen, or do you need one that sends that exhaust into a duct and out of the house?

For a lot of folks, it doesn’t matter where exhaust goes. Between microwaving and trips to McDonald’s, preparing the typical American meal doesn’t require loud sizzles, billows of smoke, and ear-splitting smoke detector alarms, unless the food preparer has really, really screwed-up big time.

On the other hand, there are folks who really love to fry because of taste or ethnic preferences, like traditional Chinese and Indian dishes. For some of this cooking, sending all that smoke outside is an absolute must, not an option.

We have good news for those who cook that way. Whatever appliance or cabinet is mounted above your cooktop now, we have a reasonably-priced option to fit in a duct, and run the exhaust out through the roof or the side of the house.

Sometimes we run the duct straight up, passing through the inside of that over-the-range cabinet. Or, behind the wall. Sometimes we continue its run sideways along the top of the cabinet, while other times we’ll run it through a new or existing soffit. We even know how to install a hood over an island, and then run the duct through the ceiling.

The point is, we can run that exhaust to the outside in just about any situation, and your head will not sizzle, burst into flames, and generate billows of smoke from sticker shock when you hear the price.

Just because our politicians spend all their time (and our money) in smoke-filled rooms, doesn’t mean you have to. Give us a call, and let us help you fry with the eagles!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

We’re Your Ally in the Government’s War on Toilets

It’s been sad to watch the decline of American civilization during my lifetime. I’m referring, of course, to the diminishing quality of the American toilet. And it’s all the government’s fault.

You see, back in 1979 reacting to limited fresh water supplies on the West Coast (only), our all-wise federal government surveyed the planet for solutions. Overlooking the, oh, 97% or so of the world’s water now sitting in our oceans ripe for desalinization, they broke into our bathrooms, pointed one finger at us and another at our toilet tanks and scolded, “Aha! You greedy Americans, how can you be using up to 7 gallons of water in your toilets while 3rd world countries are still digging holes in the ground?”

Since then, the feds have forced toilet manufacturers to reduce their tank capacities by more than 3/4 to a piddly 1.6 gallons today. And since water is to a toilet what electricity is to a light bulb, you can understand why we get so many calls from you guys to fix your toilets – toilets whose effectiveness have never been better than marginal at best. And why divas from Barbra Streisand to Beyoncé now specify 7 gallon tanks in their dressing room contracts (just kidding, I think).

Well, WE at Fix St Louis, at least, are NOT in the tank for the federal government. So, bring us your running toilets, your limp handles, your washed out washers, your leaky fittings, your flappy flappers, and your half-full or half-empty tanks (depending on your disposition).

We’ll be right there with you until we have defeated the DC toilet tyrants. Until you can fire-off a flush heard ’round the world, and unleash a 7 gallon gusher worthy of a free people!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

We’re the Fredbird for Ceiling Fan Fans

St Louisans understand better than anyone that you can still be a big fan even when performance is disappointing and problems seem insurmountable. A helpful trait when your baseball team is 14 games behind the Cubs with only 5 weeks to go, to pick an implausible hypothetical.

Like most of you, we at Fix St Louis are big fans of ceiling fans. They can make you feel comfortable in a room in ways no other heating or cooling devices can, and with a negligible energy cost.

But sometimes, like baseball fans, ceiling fan fans encounter situations where they lose hope that there is any way out. They need someone beside them, like Fredbird, who is constantly smiling, wearing a costume (or uniform), sometimes making fun at their expense, but ensuring them everything is going to be all right. Other than that making fun part, that’s what we at Fix St Louis do.

Here’s a partial list of things Fix St Louis can do with ceiling fans you might not have thought possible.

  • Install a new ceiling fan on ANY ceiling, even in rooms without ceiling lights
  • Stop wobbling blades and replace damaged blades
  • Get the light bulbs on the bottom of your fan to start working again
  • Hang a ceiling fan on an angled ceiling
  • Change the bulbs in a fan that’s two stories off the ground
  • Add a remote control feature to your fan, or restore a broken one
  • Replace or repair a ceiling fan wall switch
  • Install a ceiling fan where there’s a light fixture now
  • Replace your fan when its time for it to retire

What Yogi once said about baseball applies equally to ceiling fans – ‘it ain’t over till it’s over.’ Give Fix St Louis a call and give your ceiling fan hopes a chance.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis

7 Life Lessons from a Subdivision Warrior


Some people dream of the free and open road. But yours truly spends his life meandering through one-lane, unstriped streets and circling cul-de-sacs, ’round and ’round. All of which have the same names, just in different combinations – pine, oak, maple, forest, river, place, terrace, etc. And occasionally, caught-up in a suburban reverie, thoughts come to mind. Not deep thoughts. Maybe not even interesting thoughts. But, here is what passes as wisdom from this subdivision warrior:

  1. The probability of a handyman being bitten by a dog is inversely proportional to the size of the dog. (Smaller dogs also make better ‘doorbell extenders,’ if you know what I mean).
  2. Most under-rated home improvement: Whole house fans (almost always mistakenly called ‘attic fans’). Those louvered fans on ceilings cut summer air conditioning bills without sacrificing comfort by sucking in cool outside air when the temperature dips every night.
  3. Most over-rated home feature: Cedar deck. Save yourself some money and get better wear by replacing rotted cedar boards with pressure-treated lumber, then staining it with a solid color so it lasts even longer. Hint: using Sherwin Williams elastomeric deck coatings means you’d only be refinishing your deck as often as you’d paint your house.
  4. The homeowners most likely to apologize for the tidiness of their homes are those with the least reason to, and vice versa. (In case you’re wondering, we don’t notice, we don’t care, we don’t judge, and even if we did we don’t remember. What happens in your house stays in your house).
  5. About 25% of handymen that homeowners let into their homes, where they come into contact with their families and possessions, have been convicted of at least one felony (source: our recruitment interviews and criminal background checks). Strange, but true: When the subject of their felony conviction is brought up, the most popular explanation is an ex-girlfriend who refused to return his TV upon break-up, creating a moral obligation to break into her apartment to retrieve it. (Well, who among us WOULDN’T do that?!)
  6. Wood and water don’t mix. From what we’ve seen, you should keep hardwood floors out of bathrooms and avoid it in kitchens. Sooner or later you’ll have hard-to-repair water damage.
  7. By far, our best source of employees is a unique, under-appreciated, 100+ year old, private, non-profit college that promotes the “dignity of labor,” thinks of the trades as professions, and functions as a ‘boot camp’ to instill good work values. It’s a mystery why more people don’t know about Ranken, and more high school grads don’t consider it as a job-certain alternative to a liberal arts education.

Not that you ever asked me for career advice for your kids.

Would love to stay to chat, but the leafy roads of suburbia are calling. But while I may spend my life on the road, you can always reach us at our office. Hope to hear from you soon!

Dr. Steve
Fix St Louis

Who’s better at stopping outside leaks? Us or the federal government?

Sure, outside leaks can jeopardize the security of our nation. But on an admittedly much, much more trivial level, have you ever thought what outside leaks can do to your home? Didn’t think so.

In fact, we bet you never even think about that faucet on theoutside. The one you can hook-up a hose to, for watering your lawn and garden. Or to give your car a cold bath. Or to spray at your neighbor’s bratty kids to get them off your newly seeded lawn.

Never thinking about that faucet is a known dysfunction, what the Psychiatric Services Department at Fix St Louis refers to as “avoidance.” Because we know that many, if not most, of you now have some kind of problem with that faucet. Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?:

  • It drips from the spout after you turn it off, making that one square foot of grass beneath it the fastest growing grass in your lawn.
  • When you turn the handle, water sprays all over the place from the faucet stem, soaking you with water.
  • Worse yet, maybe when you turn it on water starts dripping into your basement or you get water stains on your basement ceiling and wall.

Fortunately, Fix St Louis is a whole lot better at fixing outsideleaks than the federal government, who these days is about as good at keeping secrets as Yenta the matchmaker (BTW, saw Fiddler at the MUNY Saturday – your handyman gives it 5 stars).


Unlike our betters in Washington, Fix St Louis can immediately discover the source of leaks and shut them down within an hour or two. Then, not only can we restore whatever was damaged, we can make the situation even better than before by installing frost-proof faucets that keep your pipes from freezing & cracking when it’s cold outside. We can even install additional water shut-off valves to keep water away from the outside walls, and access panels so you can reach these shut-offs even if you have a finished ceiling.

It’s no secret to Fix St Louis that many of you have problems with that leaking outside faucet. The first step is admitting you have a problem. And the next is calling us.


Dr Steve

Fix St Louis


Help Us ‘Make America Grout Again’

Ever notice how styles in home decorating, like hem lines, change every once in awhile for no apparent reason? Wallpaper was once in, and now it’s way, way out. And, have you ever watched realtors react when they see shiny brass fixtures in bathrooms? You’d think they’re Superman and your fixtures are made of Kryptonite.

To say that wall and floor tile are now undergoing a renaissance is technically a bit of a misnomer given that mosaics have been around for at least 5,000 years and the Renaissance was a bit of a low point. But, best I can tell, the most recent previous peak in their popularity was in the 1950’s and 60’s, at least based on the large quantities of Pepto Bismol Pink, Avocado Green, and Col. Mustard Gold ceramic tiles I see in all your homes. Geez, can’t imagine why people got tired of them.

But it seems like Big Tile recently made a big, albeit unremarkable discovery. Tiles did not have to be solid-colored shiny objects that only come in 4-1/4″ x 4-1/4″ squares! Who knew? They could be much larger, shaped like rectangles, or even come in brick shapes like on the NYC subway system. (Honestly, having grown-up in NYC, yours truly is incapable of getting this new tile craze, associating the subway with graffiti and bad smells that shall go unspecified).

Well, OK, if you’ve seen tile lately you know they’ve made a few more discoveries than that. They’re now making ceramic and porcelain tiles that look like just about anything, like stone, glass, and wood. If you haven’t wandered the tile aisle lately, you just won’t believe it.

There are some places in your home where tile is really the ONLY answer. Anyone who has ever put carpeting in their bathroom has made that mistake only once. And hardwood floors look great in a bathroom, but only until that inevitable day when water leaks from your toilet or sink drain pipes, and you’re faced with the dilemma of trying to make the floor look good again. And, given that we see just about everything, I have no doubt that someday we will run into someone who has tried to use carpeting or hardwood on their kitchen backsplash, but I’m hoping that’s not soon.

So, unless you’re trying to re-create the dome of the Cathedral Basilica on your vaulted ceiling, we at Fix St Louis are the folks to call. Join us as we help Make America Grout Again!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis