Q&A / 

July 20, 2009 AsktheBuilder News And Tips

What's in This Issue?

Electric Lawn Mower
Photos of Remodeling or New Construction
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Stain Solver Sale
Hot Attics
Framing a Pocket Door


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.

Never forget that all past issues of my Newsletters can be found at my website.


It's been a crazy month of July so far, heck it's been over two weeks since I've last sent a newsletter. I went away for six much-needed days of rest just after the fourth of July. Kathy and I drove to upper Michigan. It was a great time to get away as the weather up there was spectacular.

As I write this, I'm here in Cincinnati, OH at my old home finishing some minor projects getting it ready to sell. I hope within a month to have a preliminary website up that I'll use to sell the home. I built the Queen Anne Victorian house with my own two hands and a few helpers back in 1986. You can watch a very quirky video I shot of the exterior about a month ago. I'm sorry about the production quality. I didn't have one of those expensive harnesses that takes the bounce out of walking with a camera!

In the past three years, Kathy and I have invested heavily in all new bathrooms, new kitchen, new HVAC, etc. A new roof will go on within a month. You'll be able to see photos along with some cool videos of the entire place very soon. If you want to own the AsktheBuilder house, this will be your only chance! I'll share the URL of the website with all the statistics and photos as soon as it goes live. Please hold back any questions about the house until then. All your answers will be at that website. Thanks in advance for holding off with your questions!

Electric Lawn Mower

Over the past two months, I've been testing a very cool electric lawn mower. This mower has an onboard battery that really has some guts. I was able to cut even wet grass with this bad boy. My yard in New Hampshire is anything but level, as it's very steep in places, but I was able to muscle it mowing sideways across the hills. On level ground, I have a terrace in the back of the house, it was a dream machine. I loved how quiet it was and that it helped keep me in shape. Give this electric lawn mower a look if you want to never have to mess with gasoline or oil again!

Photos of Remodeling or New Construction

I want to remind you to take photos of walls before insulation is installed or drywall is hung. Get the photos made into prints and write on the back where the photo was taken and what the person is seeing. Then place them in a plastic zip lock bag and screw the bag to the board where your electric panel is. Photos of rooms heavy with utilities like kitchens and bathrooms must be photographed. Consider placing those photos in the plastic bag that you can attach to the inside of the sink cabinets. These photos will be greatly appreciated by you at a later date, a future homeowner or his remodeling contractor.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

After I send out this newsletter to you, I love to sit back and read the emails I get. Most put a smile on my face, but one I received the last time had the opposite effect. Joe Brondolo wrote the following:

"About a month ago I also lost my 12-year-old niece Caitlin. She and her best friend died of carbon monoxide poisoning while at a sleep over at her friends house. The CO came from the car that the other girl's mother apparently left running overnight in the garage. I was wondering if you could mention in your newsletter about the dangers of carbon monoxide. I would like as many people as possible informed so they don't have to go through the grief my family is going through. Every home should have a CO monitor. People think just because they don't have a gas burning appliance or a fireplace that they don't need one, not true. I am just trying to make something positive out of this horrible tragedy. Any help would be greatly appreciated."

Please read this horribly tragic news story.

Joe, after losing my mother last month, your loss seems so much greater. My mom got to live for 86 wonderful years. You had to send Catlin back to Heaven after just twelve short years. No doubt the Good Lord did it for a reason, but I'm at a loss to explain it.

Please take a cue from Joe. Get CO detectors and install them. You can have more than one in a home. Put one near your garage. Put another in the hallway near your furnace or other gas appliance.

Huge Stain Solver Sale

I just took delivery of a new mixer at the Stain Solver warehouse. Now we can really mix up Uncle Tim's Magic Crystals as my friend Kevin Savitz calls my Stain Solver. I want to test the limits of this new mixer. The best way is a huge sale. I want to see if you can burn up this new mixer. Go ahead, make my day. Try to wear out the bearings on this bad boy. Watch for the sale announcement next newsletter. You'll not want to miss it. Did you have a chance to see the new Stain Solver website?

Hot Attics

For two years, I've been testing two solar-powered attic fans. The solar panels are detachable and are pointed in such a way that they get maximum exposure to the sun. The fans were rated at 800 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM). The bottom line is that they have done nothing to lower the temperatures in my attic.

Solar Powered Attic Fan

This is a solar panel supplying free electricity to the attic fan under the silver dome on the rear roof. The fan blades spin, but they don't lower the attic temperature at all. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

I want you to be VERY leery of claims made by fan manufacturers who say your attic temperatures will drop drastically. I wrote a column about hot attics and venting them not too long ago.

Framing a Pocket Door

Dave, a buddy of mine in Cincinnati, OH, helped me frame in a pocket door. It's really just a job for one person, but with the two of us it went in so easily I couldn't believe it. The only reason it took any extra time was because it was installed in a wall where there was no door before. This meant we had to create the rough opening and move a few electric cables. I took care of the electric work while Dave did the carpentry. But once the rough opening was created, it took less than 15 minutes to install the pocket-door frame. The door will never rub in the frame because I always use this kit for my pocket doors!

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