Q&A / 

August 13, 2010 AsktheBuilder Tips And News

What's in This Issue?

Latest News
Garage Sale Results
Delta & Brizo Faucet Conference
Electrical Shock Hazard
Latest Columns

I do product reviews frequently. Please read my Disclosure Policy to understand the relationship between me and the companies that make the products or offer the services I review.


Friendly Question Reminder!

If you have a question for me, don't hit the Reply button just yet. Go immediately to my web site and type in the keywords about your problem into my Search engine. The search box is at the top of every page of my web site. You could have your answer in seconds if you do this! Please pay attention to all links you see at my web site. The exact products and services you often need are right in front of you, and you might be ignoring them.

This is really an abbreviated newsletter. I know I said that last time, and the darn thing was as long as a summer day!

Two days ago, Kathy and I signed the deed over to the first house I ever built from the ground up for ourselves. At the conclusion of the closing, I shook the hand of the husband and asked the wife for a hug. As I was embracing the wife, I was overcome with emotion and it took everything I had not to cry. The closest emotion I can compare it to is giving your daughter away at the altar steps on her wedding day. I can't begin to describe the amount of effort I put into the house which is now under the care of a new young family. I know they'll love the house as did Kathy and I.

Garage Sale Results

I had my first-ever garage sale last Saturday. I want to thank you for your kind wishes hoping for its success. It was a huge hit. There was a good crowd in the first 90 minutes, and perhaps you came! Many bargains were to be had. I encourage you to have a garage sale of your own to purge things you no longer need. It's fun, especially if you price things right.

I still have three bargains for you if you, a friend or a relative lives in or very close to Cincinnati, OH. Kathy and I would love for you to enjoy our gorgeous wicker furniture set from our Sun Room, our antique mahogany dining room set including buffet and china cabinet and the mint-condition John Deere lawn tractor (now sold) with snow plow and leaf-grass clippings bagging system. I have these priced to sell NOW.

Much of the success of the garage sale was due to CraigsList. They have a special category for garage and yard sales. My advice to you is to take your time and list as many things as you can in the description area. You're allowed to load up to four photos. Upload pictures of some of the best things you have for sale to get people to come to your sale. It's a great way to create cash out of things you're not using any longer. It's also very green. Selling your possessions to someone else is one of the oldest forms of recycling!

Delta and Brizo Faucet Editors Conference

Believe it or not I was walking out of the Delta Faucet headquarters two days ago at Noon in Indianapolis, IN. I was due to be at the house closing 100 miles away in a matter of hours. I went to the quick one-day editors conference to get up to speed on the latest in kitchen and bath faucets. The event allowed me to meet the gracious hosts at Delta Faucets and some very interesting home-improvement bloggers. I plan on keeping in touch with many of them.

You should absolutely give Delta and Brizo a look if you have an upcoming job involving faucets of any type. There's been an explosion of new products in the Delta and Brizo lines in the past two to three years.

It's fascinating to get to see the science behind the faucets. The last thing I got to see before blasting off to drive back to Cincinnati in my Ford Super Duty pickup truck was exactly how the no-touch and touch faucets work. You see these at many public places where you just get your hands near a faucet and it turns on.

The aura of electrical energy surrounding your body can be used for this purpose. It's the same thing that any touchscreen computer or device (think iPhone screen) uses to help you click things. As I drove away from the event I wondered about how many times you have to touch one of these things to run down the *batteries* in your body. Just kidding.

Delta is adding the touch on and off feature to more and more of its line all the time. My neighbor in New Hampshire just installed the Delta Pilar Touch faucet in his kitchen and loves it. I'm thinking about trying it in my kitchen as well. Kathy wants to remodel that space and a new faucet is on the materials list!

Electrical Shock Hazard

I had lunch yesterday with two of my closest friends here in Cincinnati - Richard Anderson and Roger Henthorn. Tristan, my son, also joined us. Tristan loves to be around Richard. Many a summer's day was spent in Mr. Anserhan's pool. When Tristan was a little guy, he used to call Mr. Anderson - Mr. Anserhan. Richard happens to be one of the best HVAC technicians in Cincinnati, OH.

Richard shared a story about he almost got electrocuted working on an outdoor air conditioning unit. In a nutshell, the code requires a disconnect switch adjacent to the outdoor compressor. There are different types, but this particular one had a spade setup.

This disconnect is very similar to the old-fashioned Frankenstein switches you see in the movies where a metal blade touches a metal receptor prong to complete the electrical circuit. You pull out the spade connectors and in theory there should be no electricity going to the appliance.

Well, that's what happens when both spades come out when you pull the handle. In this case, the one spade stayed inside the switch box buried inside the prongs. Since the unit runs on 240 volts, it STOPPED running because one 120 volt leg was disconnected, but the other one was still energized inside the outdoor unit.

One would never think that there was still electricity inside the unit since it stopped and the plastic housing with the spade connectors was in your hand. But you'd have to look very closely to see that the one spade never made it out of the disconnect box.

The bottom line is you need to use a voltmeter or other testing device to ensure the electricity is OFF when you go to work on something. I discovered this about 30 years ago when I thought that the white wires in a circuit - the neutral wires - were never *hot*. I touched a few that were braided together and was quickly knocked off a ladder! If a circuit is still energized the white wires in a 120 circuit are completing the alternating current circuit! DUH!!!

If you don't understand any of this, that means you need to hire a professional to work with your electric. Be careful out there!

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