Show Notes: Update, Repair, and Remodel – On the House

Show Notes: Update, Repair, and Remodel

By on July 20, 2019

Updating your home? Have something to repair? Preparing for a remodel?

Well WAIT!

Read up on some of these tips, tricks, and facts about what to expect, how to do some DIY, and much more!

Or better yet take a listen to our podcast of the show if you missed the live one! The link is at the bottom of this page!

Planning to Remodel? Be Prepared to Wait!  

The San Jose and San Francisco metro areas were tops in the nation last year for the amount spent on renovations, with San Jose and San Francisco spending a median of $25,000, according to a survey of 140,000 Houzz users released this month by the home remodel website. In its report, Palo Alto-based Houzz includes the full range of home renovations, from small DIY-projects to full house remodels, as long as they don’t add any square footage. 

Last year’s median in San Jose and San Francisco is slightly less than the $30,000 median spent in San Jose in 2017, but it’s still higher than the national median of $15,000. The two metro areas have come in first and second in the nation since 2015, the first year Houzz tracked the data. 

At the higher end of the spectrum, the top 10 percent of spenders nationally forked over a median of $80,000 in 2018, according to the Houzz report. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry estimates the median cost of remodeling at $25,000 for a bathroom to $200,000 for a whole house renovation, according to a 2018 survey that includes additions to houses. 

“Pent up demand continues to be the biggest trigger for renovations today,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist.

“Homeowners in the Bay Area wait a long time to find the right house. When they finally have it, they want to make it their dream home. They want a certain quality of life. Silicon Valley is the engine of the U.S. economy. That’s why the spend here is significantly higher than in the rest of the country.” 

Another factor pushing up the price of renovations?

The rising cost of construction. The Bay Area is now the most expensive place in the world to build, according to a recent report from UK-based consultant Turner & Townsend. 

Many homeowners are making long-awaited nips and tucks to older houses that are showing their age, experts say. That has helped push the remodeling market to $424 billion in 2017, a 6.5 percent increase from 2016, according to the most recent report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Nationally, 13.5 percent of houses were built before 1940, but it’s 48 percent in San Francisco and 42 percent in San Jose, the Houzz survey reports. 

“The Bay Area has a lot of older homes and many homeowners planning to do the renovations and stay put. That is especially true of Baby Boomers who are planning to age in place.”


Learn How to Do Home Repair and Why DIY Work Pays Off  

If you’re a first-time homeowner or not, DIY work is a lot easier than you think. Try these projects and find out why it pays off to do your own home repairs. 

Dishwasher Won’t Get Dishes Cleans: Do a Dishwasher Deep Clean 

If your dishwasher isn’t getting your dishes clean, there’s a good chance you need to clean the filter. If it’s clogged, water can’t make it to the spray arms to clean the dishes in the top rack. Simply pull out the lower rack and remove the filter cover inside the dishwasher. (Check your owner’s manual if you can’t spot the filter.) Then use a wet vacuum to clean off the screen. 

A/C Won’t Work: Check the fuses 

If your AC won’t come on, the thermostat may be saying no. 

If you turn your central air conditioner on, off and then on again in rapid order, chances are you’ll blow a fuse or shut off a circuit breaker or the air conditioner simply won’t respond. That’s because the compressor (in the outdoor condensing unit) may have stopped in a high compression mode, making it difficult to start until the compression releases. Older condensing units may switch the compressor on anyway, which causes the circuit to overload and blow a fuse. Newer, “smarter” condensing units will prevent this blunder by delaying the AC’s “on” function for a few minutes. It’s easy to mistake this delay with a faulty air conditioner. Be patient and give the air conditioner about five minutes to come back on.  

Another simple reason your AC might not come on: You’ve signed up for a cost discount with your electric company in exchange for limited air conditioning during high-demand periods, and you’re in an “off” period. If you can’t remember, call your electric company to find out. You don’t want to pay the repair technician to drive out and explain this program to you! 

Garbage Disposer Repair: Turn the Blades to Loosen a Jam 

Don’t put tea bags or too many potato peels all at once into your disposer. That’s a sure way to clog it. 

All disposers have an overload feature that automatically shuts off the power when the motor becomes overloaded and gets too hot. Once the motor cools, simply push the reset button on the side of or under the unit. 

On the other hand, if it hums but doesn’t spin, it may have something stuck in it. Switch the disposer off, then try working through it by turning the blades with a special disposer wrench (sold at home centers) or by turning a bottom bolt. Many disposers have an Allen wrench for that purpose, inset on the bottom of the machine. 

Refrigerator Repair: Check the Temperature Dial and Cooling Coils 

It could be as simple as turning the dial to a cooler setting. Check the controls. Our pro plumber says it’s not uncommon to find that the refrigerator controls are set wrong. Someone may have bumped the dial while putting away the milk or an inquisitive toddler may have twisted the knob. Cooling coils completely caked with pet hair and dust are also incredibly common. Remove the front grille and vacuum the coils. 

Gas Stove Repair: Check Stove Power Source 

If you don’t hear gas coming out when the burner is turned on, gas isn’t getting to the stove. Check to make sure the gas is turned on. If you hear gas coming out but the burner won’t light, make sure the stove is plugged in. Even gas stoves need power. If the stove is getting gas and has power, clean the igniter near the burner or clean out the pilot light hole. 


The History of the Toilet Plunger  

 Origins of the Tool 

As was previously mentioned, the exact invention date and inventor are not known. According to the New York University, no patent records exist. Cha Cha suggests that in 1932, on the Isle of Jersey, Jeffrey Gunderson may have been the inventor of the modern day plunger. It is more likely the plunger was invented between 1850 and 1900 when the use of wood and synthetic rubber were becoming common practice, says New York University. The invention of the suction cup during the 1850s supports this theory. Furthermore, plungers work due to the shape of the S-trap drainage pipe. Toilets with S-traps existed at least as far back as 1852. 

Plungers in Jazz 

Trumpet players and trombonists continue to use mutes to modify the sounds of their brass instruments. Some musicians made plunger mutes by removing the stick from toilet and sink plungers. The suction cup from a toilet plunger transforms the sound to make the music sound like a human voice. In the 1920s, jazz trumpeter Johnny Dunn and trombonist Tricky Sam Nanton from the Duke Ellington Orchestra used plunger mutes while they played. 

Plungers in First Aid 

In the 1980s, toilet plungers were used to save lives. On three different occasions in California, caregivers performed CPR using toilet plungers to successfully save the victims’ lives. A Minnesota company called Advanced Circulatory Systems worked on a prototype in 2009 shaped in the form of a suction cup that emergency medical responders could use to perform CPR. 


How to Choose An Irrigation Timer   

 Irrigation timersallow you to program a number of variables into your automatic irrigation system, including which zones receive water and when, and which days your lawn is watered.  

 Timers range from simple devices to advanced computers, so there are plenty of options to consider. This guide highlights the different types of irrigation timers, along with program options and features. 

 Tip: Program your irrigation timer to follow local watering restrictions in areas with frequent droughts. 


Irrigation Timer Types 

There are three basic types of irrigation timers: mechanical, electronic and hybrid timers.   

 Basic mechanical timers must be set manually, but are very economical. Be sure to monitor your lawn closely and make adjustments when needed with mechanical timers. 

  • Electronic timers provide more options and features and can be controlled remotely from a computer or smartphone, allowing you to make adjustments in real time when the weather changes. Some electronic timers can control both regular and drip irrigation systems. 
  • Hybrids combine features of both with convenient controls and easy-to-read inputs. Hybrids also feature digital readouts and easy-to-use sliders for setting water duration. 

Zones and Programs 

Irrigation systems run to a set number of zones. Also referred to as circuits, zones are sections that share the same water lines and irrigation valve. Areas are zoned to distribute water more evenly and precisely, according to how much water is needed.  

 For example, you can divide your yard into separate irrigation zones so areas of grass can be watered more often than areas with shrubs and trees. This works as a more efficient and valuable use of water. 

Choose an irrigation system that can control the number of zones in your lawn.   

 To learn more about basic irrigation tips, efficiency options, and smart timers, check out The Home Depots article.


Roof Repair Cost: Minor & Major Repairs 2019

Get Your Roof Ready For Winter Now!   

 Did you know? Most home owners spend between $300 and $1,100 for a roof repair, or an average of $650 to fix a roof related issue. 

Going beyond $3,000 is possible, but at that point a replacement roof could be your best bet. The average cost to install a new roof in 2019 for a moderate sized home is $7,500+. While this is the worst case scenario, in terms of cost, it does allow you to start anew. Still, our goal is to keep costs reasonable, while increasing value. 

 Learn more at the Roofing Calc here.

Recall: Universal Security Instruments Recalls to Inspect Smoke Alarms Due to Risk of Failure to Alert Consumers to a Fire 


This recall involves Universal Security Instruments 10 year battery-operated ionization smoke and fire alarms with model numbers MI3050S and MI3050SB and with date codes between 2015JAN19 through 2016JUL11. The smoke alarms are white in color and 5½  inches in diameter.  “Universal” and “Smoke & Fire Alarm” are printed on the front cover of the alarm. The label on the back of the alarm lists the model number and date code.  


Consumers should immediately inspect their smoke alarms to determine if it will activate appropriately.  Press the test button to determine if it is operating properly.  If the alarm sounds no further action is required.  Additional instructions are located on the firm’s website.  If smoke alarm does not sound during the test, consumers should immediately contact Universal Security for a replacement.    


The company has received 134 reports of failure to properly activate during installation. 

Sold At: 

Online through specialty wholesalers and others from July 2015 to December 2016 about $20 

Mentioned Links

Thank you~ 

A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming! 

Thank you to our Technical Support: 

  • Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer  
  • Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer  
  • Sam Reed – Associate Producer  
  • Rico Figliolini – Digital Master 


Thank you for tuning in learn how to update, repair, or remodel your home! And check in next week for more cool tips! 

“Updates, Repairs, and Remodels” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired July 20, 2019. 

Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here. 


@careybros #homeimprovement #diy #radio #homerepairs #homeupdates #toiletplunger # repair

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