June 2009

Living Green Indoors

June 29, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Look For Leaks
Fixing leaking fixtures and appliances will save you water and money. After ruling out drips from faucets and shower heads, do a thorough search. Record the usage on your water meter; if it has a leak detector, note whether it is moving. Then, refrain from using any water for about eight hours (overnight or while everyone is gone during the day), and check the meter again. If the reading is moving, you have a leak.
A toilet is the most common source of an unknown leak. To check it, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. The food coloring will be evident in the toilet bowl after 30 minutes if there’s a leak. Replacing the flapper will usually fix the problem.
Other possibilities. Check the pipes under each sink, your washing machine hose, and the floor around the hot water heater; disconnect hoses from outside faucets. If you’re unable to identify the leak’s source, call us. We are the premier St. Louis plumber!

The Hidden Cost of a One Day Bathroom

June 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve all heard the commercials for the new one day bathroom make over. You know the one, where they put a tub sleeve over your old tub and surround walls. Sounds wonderful to get a “like new” bathroom make over in one day, right? Well you know the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it always is!” (too good to be true)
Let me ask you this….. What do you get when you combine darkness with dampness? If you guessed mold you would be correct!
Over time, the tub underneath the sleeve will begin to grow mold, as well as the surrounding shower wall. Soon you will hear a squishy squishy noise when you get in or out of the tub. That is typically when we get the call. Now the only way to fix the problem is to tear everything out and replace it the right way. If the homeowner had called us to begin with, we could have saved them thousands of dollars. Hopefully the underlying mold has not affected their health! Unfortunately they got suckered into a one day bath make over. I suspect the companies that do this unscrupulous workmanship will soon be out of business.
If you want your bathroom remodeled the correct way, call us at Andy’s Home and Business Repair. We are your connection for St. Louis plumbing. We make YOUR space a better place!

Recent Deck Repair by “Andy’s”

June 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

A Recent Deck Repair By The St. Louis Handyman, (Andy)

Best Darned Handyman in St. Louis!

How Long Will it Last? (St. Louis Handyman Tips)

June 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

50-100 years…
Concrete and masonry (chimneys, fireplaces, brick veneers)
Wood floors (with periodic refinishing)
Exterior fiberglass, steel and wood doors
Fiberglass and foam insulation
Vinyl flooring
25-30 years…
Wood shakes (roof)
Fiber cement shingles (roof)
Linoleum flooring
15-20 years…
Exterior wood shutters
Decking (under ideal conditions)
Aluminum gutters
Asphalt shingles (roof)
Gas boilers
Gas and electric furnaces
Aluminum windows
Gas range
10-15 years…
Air-conditioning units
Electric ranges
Electric boilers
Gas and electric washers and dryers
Hot water heaters (with tanks)

New Home Nightmares (And How to Avoid Them) Part 2

June 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Nightmare #5 Plumbing Problems
Long ago, Homes were built with galvanized steel water pipes and cast iron waste pipes, and both are known to deteriorate over time.Yuck! Unfortunately, leaky pipes can cause all types of problems, including drywall damage, wood rot, and mold buildup. If you’re in house shopping mode, always be sure to check under all sinks before buying to see if you can spot copper and PVC pipes and stop valves, a sign that the plumbing has been upgraded, since newer plumbing systems will have copper water pipes and PVC waste pipes. Cost to repair/replace $500.00 to $600.00 for a few minor repairs; several thousand dollars for major replacements.
Nightmare #6 Creepy Crawlers
Pests can be a pain when they’re the kind that can chew through wood and cause structural damage. Some common wood destroying insects are termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants and certain beetles. Hard to spot (and trap) on your own, you’ll need to hire an inspector to check the home thoroughly before you buy and after if you suspect any problems. Cost to repair/replace; a few hundred if caught very early, to potentially tens of thousands if unsuspected.
Nightmare #7 Roofing Blues
Waking up to find shingles littering the yard or a waterfall inside your house is a total freak show. While roofs can last 20 years or more depending on what they are made of, a lack of maintenance by the prior owners means you’ll have to repair or replace things much sooner. If you haven’t purchased the home yet, take note when you look: loose or missing shingles, small leaks, dark spots or gutters filled with gravel are giveaways of roofing gone wrong. Cost to repair/replace; $18000.00 for a new roof, less for spot repairs.
Nightmare #8 Damp Dangers
Hate to tell ya, but the roof isn’t the only place where water can get in. H2O can also seep into basements or come in around windows and cause mold and rot. While mold can be treated with specially formulated products, if left unchecked it can really rot wood structures. Treat mold and fix leaks pronto to prevent more severe problems. Cost to repair/replace: $200.00 to $300.00 for do-it-yourself mold removal kits found at home stores; tens of thousands of bucks for a severe problem with rotted structures.
How to avoid these nightmares……coming soon from the St. Louis Handyman!

New Home Nightmares (And How to Avoid Them) From Your St. Louis Handyman

June 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

So you found the perfect casa. Your mortgage lender gave you its stamp of approval, you ponied up the cash and signed a flurry of documents at closing, and the place is finally yours. Congradulations homeowner!
Then the doozies start happening. One day, you arrive home from work only to find it’s colder inside your house than it is outside, and a technician from your HVAC company tells you the furnace is shot and it will cost you a few grand to replace it. Or maybe your roof starts leaking and must be fixed, like yesterday.
Uh, excuse me? Didn’t you just plunk down a bunch of dough for a home in first-class condition? The truth is, you can get your place inspected ahead of time, but that doesn’t mean things can’t go berserk. Read on for common home disasters that you could face-and how to troubleshoot them.
Nightmare#1 Shaky Foundations
Notice that the floor in your living room isn’t flat anymore or your chimney looks a bit crooked? These can be signs of structural issues with your foundation and may have to be repaired depending on how hardcore they are. Other signs of structural issues include cracks in exterior brickwork as well as doors and windows that stick or have large gaps around their frames.
A few hundred dollars to repair a small exterior foundation crack to tens of thousands of dollars for serious structural problems.
Nightmare #2 Flashes and Flickers
Plan on running your air conditioner and microwave at the same time? Make sure any house you’re looking at has at least 100-amp electric service (200 is even better), or you’ll find yourself flipping breaker switches in the basement 24/7. Before you buy, ask if the home has been upgraded electrically and check for potential problems, like exposed wiring, aluminum wiring, or super old fixtures. A few hundred bucks for minor repairs; $1500.00 to $2500.00 to upgrade/replace the electric panel; $4000.00 to $5000.00 to rewire the entire house.
Nightmare #3 Hot Water Worries
Sure you love a steamy soak, but it’s not the end of the world if your water heater goes bust. These units typically last about a decade if they have a tank. The good news? They’re reasonably inexpensive to replace. Usually about $600.00.
Nightmare #4 Heating and Cooling Crisis
Heating and air-conditioning systems can last for years with proper maintenance, but when they finally die, it can be expensive. A home inspector can tell you roughly how long these units will last, but that’s still no guarantee. Boilers or furnaces can break, as can the condenser on central air-conditioning systems. On top of that, a boiler breakdown could potentially cause major flooring and/or wallboard damage if it causes a flood in your home. Replacement can be around $5000.00 for an R22 unit, or up to $10000.00 for one of the new “Puron” systems. (note: in 2010 the federal government is requiring any new A/C units installed to be the new more energy efficient Puron systems, which typically cost twice as much.)
To be continued……

The Hidden Cost of a Free Installation

June 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The allure of new flooring, a fancy flat screen TV or state-of-the-art appliances usually prompts research into which is the best brand and how much you can afford, but how often do you consider the actual installation? For most consumers it’s an after thought. But a bad installation can spur a major case of buyer’s remorse.
According to a recent nation wide poll, 39% of consumers surveyed experienced a successful installation, but for nearly 20% it was a “total nightmare.” And in 85% of those cases, installation was arranged by the retailer.
Retailers often offer free or easy installation, but you shouldn’t fall hook, line and sinker for the promotion. Do your own research first. In some instances, you might be better off on your own.
Such was the case for a customer I will call “Sharon.” Sharon purchased a new washer and dryer from a local retailer during a free delivery and installation promotion. One week after the installation, during a rinse cycle, the drain hose came out and flooded her utility room and kitchen. After much back and forth with the store and it’s insurance agency, Sharon was out $3200.00 in repairs and was never reimbursed. “Lesson learned? Absolutely!” she says. “We’ll never have the delivery and installation performed by the retailer again. We’ll hire a professional!”
We get at least 10 call a year from home owners who want us to clean up a retailer-arranged installation. A professional installer or handyman will come in before the fact to give you an unbiased opinion on the best products and set-up for your personal situation. To decide which route is best for you, ask the retailer if they use sub-contractors, and if so, check the internet for reviews to see how other home owners have fared overall. If you do decide to go this route, ask the installer for a personal contact number should any problems arise. If they give it to you, great; if not, be leery.
It is also a good idea for the installer to do a site survey before your installation to check for door widths, electrical connections and anything else that might make for a difficult installation.
With appliances and electronics, make sure you know how to use them before the installer leaves. There’s nothing worse than having a brand new appliance and having no idea how to use it!
For the best installations be sure to call Andy. He is the best Handyman in St. Louis and can repair/replace/restore just about anything in your home.

Be Leery of Unqualified Air Duct Cleaners

June 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s no concrete evidence that justifies the need for homeowners to have their air dusts cleaned regularly, but a contaminated heating, ventilation and air conditioning system could necessitate a professional cleaning. Contaminated systems have either mold growth, pests, or they distribute excessive dust, debris or particles into your home. One highly rated contractor told us he even removed a dead raccoon from a homeowner’s ducts!
But beware: there are some in the industry who are not properly trained. If you do decide to have your HVAC system cleaned, be sure the service company has the proper qualifications. The National Air Duct Cleaners Association requires its members to have at least one certified Air System Cleaning Specialist on staff. To get certified, contractors must receive training and pass an exam.
Tim Rogers of Dublin Ohio hired a company based on a newspaper ad for an $85.00 cleaning, but ended up paying more than $400.00 for 90 minutes of work. “I don’t want to say things were worse when they left, (but) they weren’t better,” Rogers said.
Allowing an unqualified contractor to clean your ducts could cause more harm than good. More dust could be released into your house-or worse-your HVAC system could be damaged.
A good air duct cleaner will clean all components of a HVAC system, including the ducts, coils, drain pans, fans, and humidifiers. If one component of the system isn’t tended to, it could result in recontamination of the entire system and negate any potential benefit from the cleaning. A good contractor should take several hours to do the job, and the cost usually runs between $400.00 and $1000.00. Be leery of a service company that offers a cleaning for much less than that or finishes the job too quickly.
Whether or not you think air duct cleaning is necessary, the most effective way to avert contamination in the first place is to prevent dirt and moisture from entering the system. Use high-efficiency filters and change it regularly. Vacuum your home often with a cleaner that has a good HEPA filter. If your system has any leaks or damage, call us immediately for a repair.
For a handyman in St. Louis, give us a call. We do HVAC repairs and we can steer you to a reputable duct cleaning company.
What other St. Louis handyman would offer such good, free advice?

St. Louis Handyman Tip of the Day

June 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Ask your real estate agent or an interior designer for their expert suggestions that correspond to the style of your home. Tips such as paint colors, furniture arrangement and space saving ideas can update the look and feel of your environment. Remember, you can repair little problems now or big problems later! Call Andy’s for help. The best darned handyman in St. Louis!

Tip of The Day From St. Louis Best Handyman

June 11, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Update your ceilings. Remove the popcorn texture that dates your home and add crown molding or box beams for a custom look. DIY with materials from you local hardware store, or hire us. We are experts with drywall! (The best handyman in St. Louis!)

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