Q&A / 

December 10, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

If you're not a pro football fan, just skip over this.

On Sunday, I sent out a LAST CALL email alerting you about the expiring Stain Solver sale.

Understand I live in New Hampshire, 126 miles north of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. I'm slowly becoming a Patriots fan - realize I was a Bengals fan for 45 years or so and still follow them. It's not easy to break old habits, right? Who Dey!

I typed the LAST CALL email about ten minutes into the first quarter of the game. The Patriots were hosting the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were THRASHING and THUMPING the Patriots at that point and for the next 54 minutes or so of game time.

I was disgusted with the Patriots and tried to express that via sarcasm. The trouble is, it can be very hard to do that with the written word. A Browns fan reading what I wrote could easily read what I wrote as BOASTING. You may be one who did.

By the middle of the third quarter I got up and went to my man cave to do Morse code because the Patriots were dead to me at that point. Kathy eventually called me screaming into the phone, "You're MISSING IT!!!! They just recovered an onside kick and could win the game!" I rushed to the TV to see the Patriots squeak out a win.

Fast forward to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday and I was FLOODED with good-natured ribbing and jabbing emails. Football is sacred to many and you sent me some funny emails!

I knew my THUMPING comment would push a few buttons and indeed it did. Please forgive me if I upset you.

What about those Bengals? Wowzaaaaa! Andy Dalton is no Tom Brady, though.


Are you terrified of electricity? Many are. It makes sense because it's invisible and it can be deadly.

What if I told you the best way to build confidence is to do one small project? Come on, you can do this and you'll not get shocked or electrocuted if you follow the steps I show.

Let's you and I together just change out a very simple light switch. I'm talking about a single switch you may have that turns on a bedroom light or a light in a store room.

Lights that are controlled by just one switch are what I want you to focus on. Why? It's the simplest of all electrical devices in your home to work with. There are only two wires, not counting the ground wire, and it makes no difference which wire goes to which screw on the switch. You can't make a mistake. Caveman simple!

Watch this video of me demonstrating Light Switch Wiring.


This may be a utilitarian Christmas Stocking Stuffer.


I just tested yesterday a 13.5-watt Cree LED light bulb that replaced a traditional 75-watt incandescent bulb in the garage attic leading to my man cave. The photo below is the 60-watt replacement, but the 75-watt bulb I installed looks identical. It fits in a normal socket you'd put a regular bulb into.

LED light bulb 60watt replacement

The bulb is made by Cree. Cree makes a range of LED indoor bulbs in both soft warm (2700K) and a daylight (5000K) versions.

The entire experience was wonderful. You may say, "Tim, it's a dang light bulb. How could the testing experience be wonderful?"

Hah! When was the last time you tried to open a package that had that tough clear plastic to only cut yourself, ruin the object you bought or lash out with a string of profanity that would stretch from Miami to Manitoba and could be heard all the way across the great Lake Winnipesaukee?

The package Cree designed was a snap to open. I just tore the cardboard at the marked location and TA DA, the bulb popped out of the package. A minute later it was in the socket and it was at full brightness - no delay like those LOSER compact fluorescent bulbs.

Here are the other benefits:

  • Dimmable - seriously
  • Omni-directional light
  • 25X Lifespan
  • No Mercury - means you don't have to get an EPA permit to clean up that CFL bulb you drop
  • Some bulbs cost LESS than $10

If there are bulbs you keep on for hours a day, LED bulbs WILL pay for themselves in short order AND THEN you'll start to save real money.

LED bulbs are here to stay. They're just going to get better and better and cheaper too. The only other thing that could make me happier would be to see a Made in the USA statement on the package.


Are you a new subscriber in the past year? You may have missed last year's Treasure Hunt. It was a ton of fun. I issued a challenge giving you a tiny image clue.

You had to go find a specific page on a certain website where I snipped the tiny image. Then you had to answer two questions.

Last year's Treasure Hunt is over.

treasure map

Those who answered the questions correctly were entered in a drawing to win a giant prize package.

This year the Treasure Hunt is going to be different. Instead of going to just one island (website) to look for treasure, I hope to have you visit MULTIPLE islands over a period of days. You're going on a sailing adventure!

Also, many will win prizes, not just one person. There will be LOTS of prizes.

Here's where I need your help. What would you think about me throwing myself in with all the prizes?

I could come to your house for a day as long as you live in the USA.

I could help you with questions about your home, solve a mystery that's perplexing you, teach you how to cut a roof rafter, solder copper tubing, ????, or just visit.

I could bring my tiny ham radios and we could play radio.

BORING Tim, BORING.......!!!

We could golf, hike, swim, fish, hang out, go shopping, paint a room, you name it. At the end of the day, I take you and a friend or two to dinner. How's that for a prize? Is this a dumb idea? Take this survey and tell me.

If a majority feel it's a good idea, then I'll design part of the Treasure Hunt where you have to write 150 words titled:

Why You MUST Come to MY House, Tim!

I'll have an independent panel of judges pick the winner from all those entries.

Please take this short three-question survey.


The guests will be over soon for Christmas! You slacker, it's time to FIX that bathroom door knob so no one gets trapped.

Read this quick article describing how easy it is to repair or replace a door knob . There's a link to a VIDEO showing you how to do it too!


It's Christmas Season!


Okay, I get it.....

More tips next week.


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