Q&A / 

November 25, 2008 AsktheBuilder News

What in This Issue?



Another year is nearly over. It's time to look back and survey the results. I want to thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. Over the past six months, it's been a true joy to publish on a regular schedule and hear from you. Within minutes of sending this newsletter, I get emails from subscribers just like you. Your support, advice, stories all make publishing this newsletter worthwhile. I get enormous amounts of pleasure reading your emails, especially when you set me straight or tell a story about how something I wrote jogged a memory hidden in the corner of your mind.

I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones over the holiday. A few days ago, Meghan, Tristan, Brent and I drove back from New Hampshire to Cincinnati to be with Kathy and Kelly. We had to take an indirect route through central Pennsylvania because of lake-effect snow warnings along I-90. I had to drive about 80 miles along I-70/76 (the old Pennsylvania Turnpike) after already driving about eight hours.

It was dark, slushy and the space between the median wall and the never-ending stream of semi-tractor trailers in the right lane was about 13 feet. I was towing a trailer and fortunately I was in the zone. I can't remember ever seeing high-speed lanes that are so narrow. The margin for error either drifting left or right was no more than two feet.

Let me simply say that if you want a thrill and were thinking of playing a video game about fast driving and risk-taking, just go do the real thing. Wait for a rainy night and have yourself a blast on this road. Suffice it to say I will do everything possible to never drive this expressway again. I'm thankful my kids and I are still alive!


Here are some other Christmas gift ideas for you. These are all products I've tested recently.

I'm a sucker for maps with my college degree in geology. Mapping and geology are like butter and bread. National Geographic has, in the opinion of many, some of the best maps in the world, so it stands to reason they would have some neat mapping software.  If a hiker, explorer or anyone who likes maps as I do is on  your Christmas gift list, they will really appreciate Topo! Explorer. Get the deluxe version.

Do you want a germ-free 2009 and beyond and hate the odor of chlorine bleach? Perhaps the Germ Guardian UV-C Light Wand is what you need. This tool allows you to illuminate surfaces with powerful ultraviolet light. This kills tons of bacteria if done for 20 seconds while holding the device two inches away from what you are trying to sanitize. Don't use this wand as a personal tanning device.

Here is a stocking stuffer for that person on your list who has no fear of electricity. Every now and then fatigue or mistakes happen, so fully insulated tools make all the difference. Klein Tools makes a full line of insulated hand tools for serious DIY'rs or professional electricians. The insulated screwdrivers have a thick coating on the shaft of the tool so if the tip is in contact with hot electricity and the shaft touches metal or you that might ground the tool, nothing happens. I also had good luck with the insulated diagonal-cutting pliers.


Cynthia from Forest Lake, MN wrote to me saying,

"I live in a 58 ft long walk-out on a lake that has a septic system. The water heater is in the lower level at the opposite end of the house as the kitchen and laundry on the main level. I have to run the hot water for a long time to get the hot water to the kitchen. I want to spare the septic system of all that wasted water. What's the best way to provide hot water to the kitchen and laundry? I'm thinking a small water heater in the laundry that feeds the kitchen, too."

This is a great example of what I was talking about in the last newsletter about existing columns at my website. The good news is that within seconds, Cynthia could have had her answer. What's more, very soon Cynthia could have scheduled a ten-minute phone call with me or a video chat to walk her through the steps. The phone call and video chat are going to be part of the new website I'm building.

The bottom line is that Cynthia just has to install a recirculating pump near her water heater that will send hot water to the kitchen at key times when she needs it most. These pumps have cool timers that you can set to turn on and off at preset times of the day and night. If you have a pretty regular schedule, you can have hot water waiting for you right as you get to the sink. Read these columns and watch the video. I prefer the Grundfos pump, but have also heard that there are other systems that work just as well.

The pump in this column is fantastic. Cynthia would have to install the diverter under her sink to make it work. You'll see the diverter in the photo. It's black.

Here's the column where I talk about the Grundfos pump.

Watch this video! I show you the exact pump that Cynthia should use. You can see the little cogs that allow you to precisely tell the pump when to send hot water to your sink or shower.


In a couple of weeks, I'm going to do a blowout sale on the 16 and 50-pound sizes of Stain Solver. I'll explain more when this happens, but it will be a true Inventory Reduction Sale. The local government has a tax they levy on inventory in the warehouse at the close of business at the end of the year. My goal is to have little or no product on hand the last week of the year. I'd rather let you benefit.

This is going to be an enormous sale as there are literally TONS of material I need you to buy. I urge you to talk with friends, coworkers, neighbors, relatives, etc. to see who you can share this product with. You may want to think about buying multiple buckets as the deal is going to be unbelievable.

Be sure you pay attention to upcoming newsletters for this announcement.

Index of past newsletters.


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