Common Sense in the Repair Business?

The problem:  A water heater that keeps “tripping” the reset breaker on its upper thermostat.  The breaker at the house panel is fine, but the heater intermittently turns off.

Adding to the problem is the fact that this water heater is behind a panel in the master bedroom walk-in closet.

Calling a plumber with a “name-brand” company resulted in a $150 bill for a report that “everything seems fine, so maybe the whole thing needs to be replaced.”  The estimate for that?  $1,300.  (Yes, you read that right!)

In the meantime, these folks have a water heater that won’t work right, a closet that’s torn apart to get to the reset button, and the worry about a 240 volt major electrical system.

The solution? First, going online to the manufacturer to download the entire manual for this water heater.  A quick check according to the manual shows that both thermostats are suspect, and both heating elements test “bad.” (Outside the plus / minus 6% range from the optimal 12.8 ohms – a multi-tester is a beautiful thing to keep in the tool box!)

Then, ordering from new thermostats and elements and one more trip to replace them.  Done – good as new – and these folks have their closet back.  It ain’t exactly rocket science.

I’m not interested in “up-selling” folks – besides, I’m not licensed as either a plumber or electrician so I won’t advertise anything other than common sense with repairs like this.  Some folks would rather pay for the “name brand,” and that’s fine… if you’d rather pay $1,300 for a new water heater (that actually costs less than $300 from Lowes)…

But if money’s tight and you need your home’s major systems to actually work, give me a call.  If I can’t do it I won’t; but I’ll send you to someone who will without trying to rip you off.

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Making it Work

m-door1The problem:  A storage room off a carport with doors to the back yard.  Sometime in the past a couple of interior luan doors had been cut down to fit the odd size opening.  Not surprising that some years later, those doors are rotten and the whole assembly is, to put it bluntly, a mess.

Ordering custom size, double hung doors from a factory is somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 – $1,000.  (Yes, check it out – you’ll be shocked!)

m-door3The solution:  Fabricating doors that match the exterior siding and then sizing them to fit the existing opening.

The final product:  Something that looks like it was designed this way!

m-door7This isn’t a quick and easy job:  18 hours of labor when it’s all installed and done.  But if you need something “different,”  this is the way to do it without breaking the bank.


(Click any image for photo gallery.)

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What I Mean

can-opener1A friend confesses; she’s not very “handy.”  The new can opener arrived in the mail, she opened the box, read the directions, scratched her head and read the directions again.  Then she gave me a call.

It’s not something to be embarrassed about.  I understand drills, screws, spacers, cabinet clearances and she doesn’t.  The stuff she does with a spread sheet leaves me speechless.  (Not to mentioned the fact that she doesn’t have a downstairs shop to store tools…)

So… in about half an hour, she’s ready to throw the old manual can opener away!  It’s not “too small to call” when you’re looking at something like this.

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How to save over $2,000

mw1mw21The problem:  Windows that aren’t plumb, won’t lock properly, and have substantial air drafts.  Which is a big issue in a house for sale that every potential buyer sees in the breakfast area.

The bid from a contractor?  Over $3,000 for new windows.

The fix:  I milled additional molding in my shop to inset in the window frame, thus creating a “new” upper threshold.  Once fabricated and painted, the actual installation was about 2 & 1/2 hours.

mold1new-moldingThe final costs?  $435.55 instead of $3,200.  Yes I can:  Save you money, that is!

Once installed, these windows look like they have custom made molding designed uniquely for them.  That’s because they do.

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