Q&A / 

September 19, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

Fall is coming in like a lion. Last night was rainy and very windy. The shed's all weather tight, so that's not an issue. The week started out with Jason, from Overhead Door Options here in Meredith, NH, doing a professional install of the 6-foot-wide overhead door on the shed.

I had a Liftmaster opener put in that has the latest MyQ technology. I'm able to control the door from anywhere in the world using my phone. I'll do a video this week to show you this fantastic technology that's being integrated into many products like thermostats, alarm systems, lighting, basically anything that has an on/off switch.

LiftMaster MyQ Technology

Pay attention when you buy anything electronic from now on. Look to see if the product sports this technology that allows you to control things from your smartphone. You'll be amazed at what you can do.


Why Your Roof Doesn't Collapse

Have you ever wondered why your roof doesn't come crashing down on top of you? Think about all the weight up there with shingles and snow if you live where it's cold.

Watch this video I taped as I was building the shed. Leave a comment once you watch it. Tell me in a comment if you discovered anything new!


Handyman and Other Online Classes

Next week, here in the newsletter, you'll be able to sign up for the Starting and Running Your Handyman Business class - it's actually going to be three classes because there's so much to cover. Watch for that announcement, as there is LIMITED classroom space.

I'm going to start offering many other classes this fall and winter, but I need your input. Can you take this three-question survey and tell me:

  • What online classes would you like to see me do?
  • What day would be best for you?
  • What is the best time for you to attend the class?

I'm going to try to do the live classes at a time that's most convenient for you if at all possible. I know you might work, we're in different time zones, and you could have other commitments, but I'm going to do my best to do the class live for you.

Here's the best part. I'll be recording all the classes. If you sign up and can't make it for some reason, NO PROBLEM. You can watch the recording at a later date. The only advantage to watching the class as it happens is you can ask me questions as the class happens. You can't do that if you're watching a recording.


Near Dryer Disaster

Last Saturday, I was working one of the last public service ham radio events of the season. It was a 10K run in gorgeous Jackson, NH. During the race, I got an email from Julie. I met Julie and her rambunctious and cheerful daughter Eliza back this past summer when I was working another ham radio event - the New England Forest Rally. Julie was a crowd marshal in charge of making sure spectators stayed in the safe zones so speeding rally cars would not hit them.

Julie just moved into a home and was having a nightmare getting her washer and dryer into a very tight closet. She asked if there was anyway I could come to the rescue. She sent a photo of the dryer vent pipe she started to take apart and it was CLOGGED solid with lint.

The previous homeowner had used the correct smooth pipe, the run from the dryer to the exterior wall was only 13 feet, and there was only one 90-degree bend. But even still, the pipe was totally clogged. Julie told me that she had used the old dryer when she moved in and it took forever to dry some thin sheets.

Slow or extended drying times are your first clue that the dryer vent pipe could be clogged or partially clogged. This is a real fire danger.

NOTE To Architects: Don't ever design something that you haven't installed yourself in the field. I would pay any architect to come to Julie's house and install the washer and dryer by her/himself. In fact, I'd love to tape a video of you doing it. The only way we got everything connected was because of Eliza the Wonder Woman! She was tiny enough to squeeze behind the dryer as it was lifted up on top of the washing machine.

Eliza the Wonder Woman

You can see her smiling just before I got her to crawl up on top of the dryer so I could extract her from the tiny closet. She did a fantastic job connecting the electric cord and the dryer vent pipe. Julie may rent her out if you need her!


Milwaukee Router Video Review

I tested a fantastic router about a week ago. I think you'll like the video review. It's a heavy duty Milwaukee router and I sure did like it! After you watch the video, I have a convenient link there to buy the router at the best possible price! Go watch the video now.

Milwaukee Router


Poor Quality Search Results

Lately I've been getting many emails about why my past columns are not showing up in Google searches. Have you noticed that really good quality content is getting harder to find on Google?

I've tried to be coy about this for the past eighteen months, but Google punished AsktheBuilder.com and thousands of other websites back in February of 2011. It's a very long story, but I've lost about 80% of my traffic. You can imagine the impact on my revenue.

I discovered a website that's got quite a bit of information on it about how Google is manipulating search results. I attended a quick one-day mini conference in Washington, DC, last Thursday, and was shocked at the data, numbers and stories I heard. You can watch three videos at this website, including one I taped for the mini conference.

I urge you to go to the FairSearch.org website and watch the three videos. You'll see them on the home page. I guarantee you that you'll have a very different opinion of Google and what's really going on after you listen to the experts in the two videos.

Wait until you hear Patrick Lynch, the former Attorney General from Rhode Island tell his story! Susan Athey, who teaches Economics at the Stanford Business School, will rivet you to your monitor. All of the experts had amazing facts and stories to share.


Fall Checklist

Several subscribers, you may be one, have asked me to do a Fall Checklist. Well here's one I cobbled together quickly. This checklist applies to all, but especially people who live where it gets cold.

  1. Remove hoses from hose bibs. Failure to do this could result in burst water pipes in the spring. You'll NOT know about the leak until next spring. To make matters worse, you'll be outside washing your car when hundreds of gallons of water are flooding the inside of your house.
  2. If you heat your home or water with oil, be sure the nozzle in the burner is clean.
  3. Get your wood-burning fireplace and chimney ready for burning wood. Get them inspected!
  4. Paint any bare wood outside that's exposed to the weather.
  5. Clean your gutters after the last leaves have fallen.
  6. Don't cover your AC unit. It's not necessary.
  7. Stockpile all supplies to keep you alive in case of extended power outages.
  8. Replace the air filter on your furnace - seriously, do I need to remind you of that? You must do that regularly!
  9. Start your snowblower BEFORE you need it. Make sure it's running well now. Buy extra shear pins.
  10. Caulk any obvious air leaks. Air leakage is a major energy suck on your pocketbook.
  11. Get warm clothes together, hooded sweatshirts, fleeces, wool socks, etc. Wear these around the house so you can LOWER your thermostat temperature to save money on fuel.

I'm sure there are many other things, but that should get you pretty prepared.


Power Tools are DANGEROUS

A young woman was very lucky she didn't get killed in shop class. Read what happened to her and her hair.

When you work around any power tools, you have to make sure clothes and hair CAN'T come in contact with moving parts. You could get seriously hurt like this poor woman.


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