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Home Repair and Maintenance


My deck collapsed a month or two ago. Just a foot or so in the middle next to the house. I pulled some of the planks closest to the house to diagnose the problem. Apparently the ledger board had not been adequately attached, and became detached from the foundation.
I don’t want to rip apart the entire deck. So I have been trying to figure out the best way to raise the deck up so I can reattach it to the foundation.
I bought a couple small bottle jacks, but then realized there wasn’t enough room under the deck to fit them.
Then I came up with the idea of lifting the deck. I looped a rope around one of the beams, and using a couple 2x4s as a lever and fulcrum, I could lift the deck up a little at time, and shove spacers under the ledger board to hold it up. I used small pieces of 3/4 inch pine, and 2x4s as spacers.
But then I came up with a better idea! I bought a 2 ton hand winch (come along). I took a piece of 2×4 and mounted a big eye-bolt at one end. I attached the winch to the eye bolt. Then I would set the other end of the 2×4 on the ground next to one of the deck beams. I looped a piece of rope under the beam. It had a loop at both ends which I attached to the hook on the winch. I would then use the winch to lift the deck. This worked great! I have lifted the deck most of the way back up. I need to get a level, and lift it up a little more in different spots. I will probably need to make some shims to get it nice and level.
I will probably need to pull of some more planks so that I have room to use a hammer drill. And I have to get a hammer drill. I know a guy who has one. I might be able to borrow his, or I might go buy one at Harbor Frieght, or maybe go rent one.

We have had our ADT security system for almost as long as we have owned our house. There was an alarm system in the house when we moved in, but it was older, and probably hadn’t been used in a while. The tech guy came in, and found many of the components didn’t work. They installed a new master system, and used a few of the old sensors and brought in new ones to replace the old ones that didn’t work properly.
One of the smoke detectors caused us nothing but grief from the beginning. It would false alarm at least twice a year. We called them to have them look at it. They came and said it would need to be replaced, and cost I think well over $100. I told them that it had been doing that since they installed it. We ended up signing up for the monthly maintenance program, and it covered the cost of replacing the smoke detector. They even put in a new model.
Today my wife calls me and tells me the fire alarm is going off, and that it’s the smoke detector in the utilty room that is false alarming. She was resetting the alarm, but it kept re-tripping. The alarm system, hung up on us mid-phone call as it tried to call ADT.
I called ADT to schedule someone to comeout and clean the smoke detector. The woman at ADT told me that cleaning the smoke detectors wasn’t covered by the maintenance contract. Say what? I was told that cleaning the detectors was covered when I signed up for it. What do you mean cleaning isn’t maintenance? I asked to speak to someone else. She referred me to the local service manager.
So I called the local ADT office and spoke to a service coordinator. She was very nioce. Much nicer than the woman at the main ADT office that I spoke to. She told me that of course cleaning was covered by the contract. I couldn’t just call them and have them come clean the detectors willy nilly. But if the alarm was false detecting because it was dirty, of course it is covered. The service techs were pretty well booked, but she scrambled to squeeze us into the schedule for today.

A while back I screwed up and replaced the drip bowls on our Kenmore stove with new drip bowls. They were generic drip bowls that I bought at the grocery store. I threw the old drity ones away. The new drip bowls didn’t fit right. The mis fit was subtle. The bowls didn’t sit totally flat until you put a little weight on them. Then the three fins didn’t seat into the bowl rim perfectly. The area in the bowl where they would sit was slightly larger than the original bowls. They seemed to work okay, but after time, the subtle misfit became more and more annoying. The large burners sometimes wouldn’t work unless you wiggled them around.
So I have been looking for new drip bowls. I saw an auction on eBay for a set of 4 new drip bowls made for Kenmore/GE stoves. I bought the set. They cost about $25 with shipping. The new drip bowls came yesterday. I installed them, and they fit perfectly! I wish I had just returned those crappy grocery store drip bowls when I saw they fit differently.

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