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, May 30, 2012

Musty, Smelly Basement?

This spring Mr. Handyman has received many calls relating to water in the basement. Excessive moisture can be the source of a musty, moldy, smelly basement that can lead to health issues for the occupants. Keeping the basement dry is usually as simple as performing a few maintenance tasks.

1. Keep the gutters clean. Clogged gutters and downspouts lead to overflowing rainwater that gets deposited right next to the foundation and will eventually seep into the basement walls and up through the floor. The downspouts should have an extension at the bottom that directs the rainwater at least 4 ft away from the foundation.

2. Ensure the grade of the dirt up against the foundation allows for a minimum of 6 inch slope downward away from the house. The 6 inch reference is regarding dirt, not landscaping rock or mulch. Rock and mulch sometimes are built up to fill holes next to the foundation and the hole will trap water that will eventually get into the basement.

3. Immediately repair any leaky spigots on the outside of your home. Also, ensure the hose is attached firmly with a new rubber gasket to keep from dripping. Dripping water from a running garden hose seeps into the foundation and will get into the basement.

The health problems mold and mildew can cause are well documented and keeping the basement dry and free of these allergens is an important home maintenance task. Too much moisture against the foundation can also cause excessive settling of your home and lead to cracks in the drywall, doors that do not shut properly and may lead to very expensive repairs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seniors, Sell your Home & all the Maintenance & Repairs along with it!

An overwhelming trend in today's society is for a couple to purchase a home and live there well into their retirement years but......... A home is a major expense even if the mortgage had been paid-off many years ago.

If you live on a fixed income, the annual property taxes, maintenance and repairs, utilities, yard and exterior clearing and repairs may put the cost of staying in your home outside of your fixed income. Many choose to purchase the priority items (prescription drugs, health care, and food) and let the home deteriorate. But, the home could become uncomfortable to remain in, needing maintenance, repairs and mobility type modifications.

A 'seasoned' couple (or singles, for that matter) can sell their home and move into a roomy apartment or condo (where maintenance & repairs are tasked to someone else) and live very comfortable, both financially and physically, without any unforeseen major expenditures for home repairs or the annual maintenance costs that keep the house in great shape. On another note, let’s face it, many repairmen, contractors and auto mechanics do not have a great reputation in giving the elderly great value for the services they provide sometimes taking them for a huge sum because of the situation they find themselves in.

Many are choosing to move into senior living centers or into condos in the downtown Omaha area where the shops, nightlife and nostalgia are unparalleled.

Last night, while downtown for the Boys State Soccer Finals, I witnessed many elderly couples walking around downtown catching the nightlife and enjoying life in general.

There are many factors to consider before you make that jump into a senior living center or condo but it makes perfect sense for many. Ask your children or other trusted loved ones to assist you in determining if it makes financial sense for you. It could be the best move you ever made.