I've been working for a property management company that runs a large apartment building. This kind of building presents a challenge: there are some doors which should be locked to the general public, but easily accessible to the residents.
This nifty lock is a good solution to the problem:
To open the lock, you simply punch in a short numerical code and then twist the silver knob just below the key pad. The lock can also be opened with a key in case the battery dies and the electronic parts stop working. The nice thing about this is that if you don't need to change locks or replace keys in order to keep out trespassers; you can just update the code every so often.
This is an excellent way to keep fitness rooms, laundry rooms, swimming pools and other amenities limited to use by the residents. In fact, it's great for anyone who regularly forgets their keys. You can even have two codes, with an "override" code for yourself and another code which you give out to friends or to the kids.
These locks sell for about $70 at the hardware store, so it's an inexpensive investment for the convenience it brings.
My most recent job reminds me of this old song:
If you go exploring in the mountains around Asheville, you will discover many little churches tucked into the curves of the road or nestled in the little hollows. Many of these churches have been here for many generations, and the old-timers tell of times when the little churches were so crowded that the women and children sat indoors while the men stood outside the windows in order to hear the sermon.
Times have moved on, and most of the congregations have dwindled to a little handful of people, but the churches still stand. I was recently hired to do a little maintenance on one of these churches, Price's Chapel:
The church is just a few feet from the road; it was built before paved roads and fast cars. Back then the traffic past this church was mostly on hoof or foot. If you look at the roof line, you can see that the central part was added first, and then the wings on each side were added as the congregation grew.
One of the first things the congregation wanted me to do was get the door cleaned up. It had been painted at one time and then later stripped to reveal the old wood. The refinish job was probably really beautiful at one time, but this door is on the side that catches the wind and weather (not to mention the road salt). After consulting with the congregation, it was decided that a simple paint job would probably be easier to maintain.
I did a few small repairs indoors as well. The most important one was fixing the ceiling fans. The original fans were cheap and tended to clank and wobble. Apparently the clanking was so bad that some of the church members couldn't hear the Sunday school lesson.
I made a point to match the old fans. The new fans are very similar, but of much better quality, so they won't be as likely to squeak and hum as they age. Aesthetically not much has changed, but now everyone can hear the service.
All in all, this was an enjoyable job, and I'm glad I got the chance to help maintain this historic little building.
One of my clients recently bought a home and had me install a few shelves in the laundry room. When I moved the dryer out of the way, I spotted this:
That bent silver hose is the duct that allows the lint to escape from the dryer. Lint is extremely flammable, and if it built up in the kinks of the duct, it would be a fire hazard waiting to happen. Fortunately there was no lint build-up yet, and it was easy to replace the kinked duct with a shorter, straighter duct.
Washing machines and dryers cause about 1 in 22 home fires, with most of the fires coming from the dryer, so it's worthwhile to pay attention to your appliances. Most of the fires are caused by a failure to keep the dryer and vent clean.
Here are a few things you can do to make your dryer safe:
While you're at it, take a look at how the machine was originally installed and make sure it was done right. Here are a few pointers: