The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Burglaries are up Nationwide.

Is it the economy?  Or are there just a lot of down and out people?  I think in either case I do not want to be one of their victims.  The best defense is a deterrent.  If the thief cannot break in your door he cannot steal from you.  Or if he does not have unfettered access to your garage he will look for another victim.

Here are two devices to reduce the chance of your home being the next victim.

1. StrikeMaster II Pro - doorframe reinforcement

According to the FBI, the easiest way for a criminal to get into your house is just to kick in your door! The FBI says every 12 seconds a home is invaded by going right through the front or back door. This is caused by doorframe failure. Two o'clock in the afternoon is the biggest break-in time.  What makes these thieves so brazen to burglarize during broad daylight?  Because kicking in a door is so easy!

A deadbolt lock alone does not secure your door! The door jam needs to be reinforced to offer any sort of protection. The weakest point is almost always the lock strike plate that holds the latch or lock bolt in place. Home security devices like deadbolts and steel doors are not the problem. The average door strike plate is secured only by the doorjamb material. These thin ¾ pieces of softwood can be torn away with a firm kick or shoulder slam. Chiseling and removing wood to fit the locks will also result in a much-weakened doorframe.

Unless extra reinforcement is taken to strengthen the doorframe, a forced entry or kick-in burglary will split open the wooden doorframe around the lock. FBI statistics show 70% of all break-ins are from doorframe failure.

For far less than the deductible on your insurance you can have one of these StrikeMaster II Pros installed.  The manufacturer's stated warranty includes paying up to $250 towards your deductible if it should fail.  So far after over 15,000 sold throughout the US, none have failed. 

For more information about the StrikeMaster II Pro visit their website  Cost is around $220 installed or $ 110 outright purchase plus tax.

2. Garage Door Minder - automatically closes garage door when left open

Another burglary statistic shows that busy suburban families sometimes forget to ensure their garage door is fully closed when they depart for work or go to bed in the evening. It is an easy invitation for a thief casing the neighborhood.

The garage door minder closes the door after a preset time period and at dusk. It can be bypassed or switched off for activities in the garage and it will not interfere with the safety devices on the door.

Cost is around $160.00 installed or $50.00 outright purchase.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

$25 off Mr. Handyman Service

Monday, December 20, 2010

Check on Your Senior Parents or Relatives

Senior living centers receive more calls after the holidays than any other time of the year. It is when relatives get together with their family that they see how difficult a time their senior parents are having getting along in life.

Today, more seniors are remaining in their homes longer, and usually alone. Many adult children do not recognize how much of a struggle their loved one is having in completing daily tasks until a bad fall or other scare triggers a good evaluation and information quest. Most seniors are either too stubborn or proud to admit they need help or assistance until it’s too late.

Planning to live your senior years in relative comfort is like planning your will, an uneasy task for most but very much a necessity. The old fear that a "nursing home" is the only option has been diminished with in-home care, senior living centers, assisted living and specialized care facilities. Once the determination has been made to remain in the home there are some common home modifications that need to be considered.

Falls are a major problem for senior citizens. Sixty percent of falls happen in the home. Bathrooms are the main concern and in fact, are the most common area to require modifications. Reducing the chance for falls in the bathroom is the most important task to consider. These modifications may be extremely minor, like adding grab bars or putting a riser on the toilet to completely revamping the bathroom for wheel-chair access, a walk-in tub or pedestal sink.

Replacing old knob-style faucets for the newer, lever-style ones is a simple change, and is especially helpful for people with arthritis. Showers are generally safer than tubs for senior citizens because there is a smaller sidewall to step over. A hand-held shower adaptor and a portable stool is an inexpensive modification that can be installed in a few minutes but it will not relieve the risk of stepping over the side of the tub.

Grab bars are essential but they must be properly affixed to the wall. Suction cup grab bars are not recommended regardless what the TV commercials state! Non-slip flooring is a must!

Kitchen modifications are usually most necessary when the occupant has true physical handicaps. If you are remodeling your kitchen anyway, consider installing sliding shelves or drawers in lower cabinets, reducing or eliminating upper cabinets and placing microwave ovens and toaster ovens at a convenient height.

Wheel-chair ramps, stair-lift units and other home entry modifications are most often thought about when thinking of ‘aging-in place’ but the bathroom is the place most falls take place. The most important factor is to plan ahead. Add these “senior-friendly” home modifications BEFORE they become a “must-have” item. If you witness your elder parent struggle a bit this Christmas season, consider having some of the basic items installed by a professional to assist them prior to a major fall awakens you to their condition. Act rather than react! You may just save them and you a whole lot of pain and suffering.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How To Create Your Own Roadside Emergency Kit

When it comes to commuting or traveling any lengthy distance, a roadside emergency kit can mean the difference between surviving to see your family again or perishing in the harsh winter weather. Take on the resolve to prepare your vehicle before you make that journey.

Some of the basic items include:
Vehicle assist items: (keep in a box in the trunk)
· 12-foot jumper cables
· Four roadside flares
· Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
· Multi-tool like a Leatherman or pocketknife
· Rags and hand cleaner

Survival items (keep in passenger compartment)
· Blanket and foil / space blankets
· First aid kit & reading materials / playing cards
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Water-proof matches / lighter & alcohol stove cans
· Roll of duct tape
· Extra Ice scraper
· Pencil and paper
· Granola or energy bars
· Bottled water, coffee can w/ lid & toilet paper
· Extra clothing items, gloves, hats etc.
· and heavy-duty nylon bag or sturdy box to carry it all in.

Prior to departing, imagine being stranded. What would you do for food, drink and how will you replicate a toilet. Do you have extra clothing, gloves, socks, dry shoes? Water freezes, do you have an extra can to melt snow? DO NOT EAT SNOW, it lowers your body temperature. Do you have extra prescription drugs on hand? If you wear contacts, do you have your spare glasses? Proper preparation may save your life!