Why We Wouldn’t Creep-out Hillary

This week on the news, we all heard some quotes from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book. And like everything else in the world, it got me thinking about Fix St Louis and the handyman business.

Secretary Clinton is claiming that at the Wash U. debate Donald Trump invaded her personal space. “It was incredibly uncomfortable,” she said. “He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.” She wonders whether she should have said “Back-up, you creep, get away from me!”

Now in our line of work, it’s far more likely for customers to ‘literally’ breathe down our necks than the other way around. But still, we recognize that every time we work in your homes we are invading your personal space — a place where you rightfully expect privacy. You want folks like us to do what we need to do as quickly, quietly, and neatly as we can, and clean-up after ourselves as if we were never there.

And that’s why we at Fix St Louis have very deliberately put in place policies to make things a whole lot less creepy. We’d like to believe that even in the unlikely event we received a service request from Chappaqua, whether to swap out a bathroom sink or server, absolutely no one’s skin would crawl.

Some of these policies for our technicians include:

  • Addressing our customers as “Mr” or “Ms” unless asked to use first names.
  • Uniforms and vehicle signage that clearly identify we are a serious, professional company.
  • Ensuring that every employee has passed a criminal background check.
  • Technicians who follow ‘Check-In/Check-Out’ procedures so you always know when we are in your home or not.
  • Work habits that minimize the ‘footprint’ of the work area, and keep it orderly.
  • Employees who are bonded and insured.
  • Leaving your home at least as clean or cleaner than when we arrived.

In fact, at Fix St Louis, you might say we run our operations as if we are always ‘ready for Hillary.’ But more importantly, we are always ready for YOU.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Sun, Moon plan rare daytime test of your outdoor security lights next Monday

We are pleased to announce that Fix St Louis has teamed-up with the Sun and the Moon for an unprecedented daytime test of your outdoor security lights. The test will begin next Monday, August 21st at 1:17 p.m. and end about a minute and a half later.

Test Phase I

To prepare for the test, at about 1:15 p.m. walk around the inside of your house and flip every light switch that might control an outside light to the “on” position.

Test Phase II

At 1:17 p.m., take a position outside your front door. Next, we need to do SOMETHING to keep you from being distracted by the thing everybody will be talking about the next day or two. I’m a humble handyman, not a licensed ophthalmologist, but geez, I’d think you could safely take a good, hard, short 5-10 second look at the Sun at this point without squinting through a red piece of cellophane that looks like it’s straight out of a Happy Meal. But, what do I know? As they say at the end of virtually every TV ad these days, “ask your doctor,” but not Dr Steve.

Test Phase III

Now, turn your attention to your front wall lanterns and lamp post. If their lights had been off in the morning, but are now on, they are functioning properly. This means they are being controlled by dusk-to-dawn sensors, which have earned the Fix St Louis seal of approval as the correct light controls for the front of your house.

Dusk-to-dawn controls are the right ones for your front lights because they make your house look best at night, make would-be burglars think someone might be home, assure your neighbors that you are not a recluse, and avoid mixed messages between a doormat that says “Welcome!” and a lighting scene that says “Scram!” Timers are wrong because they go out of sync with the seasons and power outages, creating an additional maintenance task you don’t need. Manually turning your lights on and off every morning and evening is wrong because this is the 21st century.

There are only 3 known ways to get your front wall lanterns to do dusk-to-dawn. The first is to install outdoor lanterns with built-in dusk-to-dawn sensors, the second is to screw-in an aftermarket sensor between the socket and the bulb (if it doesn’t make the bulb too tall to fit), and the third is to install an outdoor, standalone sensor somewhere in that light’s electrical circuit. Fix St Louis can help you with all of these options.

Test Phase IV

In what’s left of the minute and a half that began with Test Phase II, we’re going to do a lap around your house to see which, if any, outdoor security lights turn on when you walk past them. But be careful — remember, it’s dark. Those that DO turn on pass the test. They’re controlled BOTH by motion detectors and dusk-to-dawn sensors, so they only turn on when it’s dark AND when creepy people and large animals might be lurking about. For those that DON’T turn on when you walk past, Fix St Louis can often fix them, or replace them with fixtures with the appropriate built in sensors, or sometimes just add sensors to them. Oh, and we can ADD outdoor security lights pretty much anywhere.

Plan B

For those who can’t be at home for the test, you’ll be happy to learn that we’ve already booked the Sun and the Moon for an encore test on June 3rd, 2505. But, why put it off? Call Fix St Louis today!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

Do Your Windows Need Obedience Training?

When you give a command to a dog (or spouse), you don’t necessarily expect it to obey without years of careful training. But not so when it comes to your windows. When you try to open and shut them, you have a right to be treated like an alpha dog (or alpha spouse).

There are 5 commands every window should obey without giving you any lip:

  1. Open! – Does you window slide open easily, without fighting with you every inch of the way?
  2. Stay! – When you lift open your window, does it stay in place or does it impersonate an 18th Century French guillotine?
  3. Shut! – When you close it, does it shut all the way, without any sunlight peaking in from above or below?
  4. Tilt! – If you have sliding switches at both ends of the top of the sash, do they slide easily, still have unbroken tips at their ends that poke into the window jamb so they actually DO something, and allow the window to tip toward you without the sash falling out of its track and dropping on your foot?
  5. Lock! – When it’s closed, can you easily flip or rotate that little lock on the sash, or do you have to slam the window sashes up and down until it fits into the slot?

You know, many homeowners call us thinking they need all new windows, until we tell them their existing windows can be repaired. Think of the savings!

So, if any of your windows cannot comply with the simple commands above, call the window whisperers at Fix St Louis. Who says you can’t re-teach your old windows their old tricks?

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

The Final Jeopardy answer IS: This fan is wrongly known by another fan’s name

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:

  • An Attic Fan is NOT mounted on hallway ceilings — it’s installed in a roof or side wall of an attic (a gable). It’s there to suck hot air out of an attic, so that a warm ceiling of your top floor doesn’t keep the inside of your home from cooling off.
  • A Whole House Fan IS the one mounted on hallway ceilings. It sucks cooler air from the outside through open windows and doors, displacing the hotter air inside your home, which is then blown out, into and through the attic, passing through gable or roof vents in your attic.

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:

  • If you don’t already have a whole house fan on your top floor hallway ceiling, have Fix St Louis install one.
  • Whenever your house is too warm, and the outside air is about the temperature you’d want your house to be, especially on summer nights when outside temperatures dip below 72 degrees, open 1 or more windows or doors with screens, turn the whole house fan on, and turn-OFF your air conditioner.
  • Your home will be more comfortable, you will save on electricity, and the outside air will make your home smell fresher (that is, unless you live in Sauget, Illinois).

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!

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

July 4th Proclamation of Handyman Bill of Rights

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:

  1. Shall make no policy prohibiting homeowners from exercising their right to free estimates, and their ability to schedule firm appointments shall not be infringed.
  2. Shall provide a full-time customer service representative to whom they may petition for a redress of grievances.
  3. A well regulated workforce being necessary to perform repairs properly, our technicians shall have at least 10 years of experience.
  4. Checks and balances: Homeowners may pay their invoice balances by cash, personal check, or any major credit card.
  5. The right of homeowners to be secure in their property and personal effects shall not be violated, so our technicians will be bonded and their work insured.

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.


Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100

5 Things You Shouldn’t Ask Dad to do on Fathers Day. Or Ever.

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.

Dr Steve
Fix St Louis
314-434-4100