Holmes Inspections: Any Reality?

- I’m not trying to be too critical of the show, but the repairs performed on this house were completely over-the-top and unrealistic.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very cool concept for a show – take a problem with a house that is cost prohibitive to repair and fix it any way you want with time and money being no object.  I think the main messages are good: hire an excellent home inspector and don’t skimp out on your remodel project.  You’ll save money in the long run by spending a little more up front.   It would have been nice to do it this way from the start, sure… but I can’t imagine any sane person spending their own money gutting a kitchen just to make the floor warmer. .  This is a fun show to watch as long as you remember that it’s just TV ..More

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DryerFlex: A Superior Dryer Transition Duct

- POST UPDATE 2/3/16: Dryerflex is now being sold under the GE name at Home Depot for $25.  Unfortunately, nothing on the web site says “Dryerflex”, and the description does a completely inadequate job of selling this product.  The Q&A section on their web site even includes a comically unhelpful answer from The Home Depot explaining why this product is so much more expensive than other dryer transition ducts. .  Check it out here: Model # PM08X10085DS ..More

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Dirty glass at gas fireplaces

- This is probably the most difficult part, and every gas fireplace is different, so I can’t offer much advice here.   You can try looking up instructions online by searching with your model number – just pop open the bottom access panel, clear away some of the dust, and you should be able to locate the model number. . The next step is to remove the glass on your gas fireplace.  You’ll obviously want to turn the gas off to your fireplace first, and allow the glass to cool down before removing it, if necessary ..More

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Plumbing Vents Covered with Frost

-  The problem is that plumbing vents can get completely blocked shut with frost when it’s very cold outside for a long period of time.  I’ve seen this at a lot of home inspections this winter. . When there’s a long period of sub-zero temperatures in Minnesota, plumbing vents often stop working.  I wrote about why houses need plumbing vents last month, which should help to explain why this stuff matters ..More

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Hot Water Faster

- .  Because of this, I left the old 1/2″ water line in place.  The Minnesota State Plumbing Code requires a minimum of 1/2″ pipe to the kitchen sink.   So what’s the downside to this, and why don’t more plumbers do this?  It’s a code violation. You might think that this reduction in size would equate to lower water flow at the kitchen faucet, but it actually made no noticeable difference.  The hot and cold water flow both seem to be identical.  When it comes time for me to sell my house, I’ll probably just re-connect the old 1/2″ water line to the faucet.  It should take about 30 seconds ..More

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