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Surge Protection for The Entire House


We have all heard of surge protectors. Surge protection is usually integrated into those power strips we use to plug all our computer equipment into. In days gone by that may have been enough protection, but not in today’s world of home electronics.

Enter the whole house surge protector. Although studies show that only about 20% to 30% of power surges originate from outside the house, the larger most dangerous surges originate from outside the house. A typical whole house surge protector installation will cost in the $200 to $500 range and will protect you from these surges originating outside our house. Most homes with 120 volt service can be adequately protected with an 80kA surge protection device.

Before you throw that surge protected power strip away remember that 60% to 70% of power surges originate from inside the house. These smaller but equally dangerous surges come from motors, larger appliances, and units cycling on and off.

Houses today have an ever growing amount of electronics that can be damaged by either type of power surge. Even LED light bulbs have a printed circuit board inside them which can be damaged by a onetime power surge or weakened over time by smaller surges.

You cannot protect everything in your home for every possible surge, but it is a good practice to have a whole house surge protection unit installed in your home by a qualified electrician, and keep the surge protected power strips for all your computer, audio and video equipment.
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4 Tips For A Smoother Home Closing


Purchasing a home can be a sometimes overwhelming process, wrought with emotion. Following these 4 tips will help smooth out those emotions and the entire home buying process.

  • Stay Calm

Staying calm in an emotionally charged situation such as home buying is much easier said than done, but it is imperative. Your emotion will spill over to other members of the team and the result will more than likely not be in your favor.

  • Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for your mortgage is a huge signal to your realtor, the buyer’s realtor and the seller that you are serious about purchasing. Home shopping with a pre-approval will save you and your realtor valuable time and energy showing you only those homes within your financial reach.

  • Respond Quickly To Lender Requests

Home loans require a ridiculous amount of documentation. You will be asked for proof of everything you say and often proof of things you didn’t say. There isn’t any sense arguing with the lender, just produce the required document quickly before your loan package gets shuffled off to the side and delayed.

  • Ask Questions If You Do Not Understand

This is all new territory for you and there will be more than a few things you will not understand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I suggest you do some general research before you begin your home search about the process. Understanding how the process flows and how the parts are sometimes dependant on each other will benefit you.


Following the tips above will enable everyone involved in your home buying process to work together smoothly and efficiently.

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Wood Toys From Yester-Year

My wife, Sue, and I were walking through an antique store in some small town in eastern Iowa, a few weeks ago and I came upon this old wood toy truck.


Antique Truck Made From Plywood


Antique Toy Truck Made From Plywood

Every part of it is made from plywood including the frame and wheels. I just though it was pretty cool.

Maybe somebody out there would like to tackle building it as a weekend project?

Let me know your thoughts

Contractor John……..

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What Insurance Should Contractors Have?


All contractors are required to have some kind of insurance to comply with local, state, and national laws. Insurance also protects contractors and their businesses from liability, while also helping employees who suffer through an accident. However, many contractors will feel overwhelmed while trying to navigate the intimidating, complicated world of insurance. Here, we want to provide you with the right resources for the right insurance plan without making you feel like you’re paying a bundle for insurance you may not need.


General Liability Insurance: Cover The Basics


While there are specialized forms of contractor insurance available—some of which may very well pertain to your business—all contractors need to start out with some kind of general liability coverage in order to protect themselves. General Liability Insurance (sometimes called “GL” for short) will protect you from lawsuits and financial liabilities in the case of accidents or mishaps at your work site. Property damage and personal injury will generally be covered by a general liability insurance policy. Sometimes general liability insurance will be combined with a few other kinds of coverage in the form of a Business Owner’s Policy, but you may find you don’t need all aspects of BOP coverage.


Types of Specialized Insurance


If you perform specialized work—common examples include carpentry, plumbing, cleaning, landscaping, or electric work—you might want to consider an insurance policy that is particular to your field. Because different kinds of risks and accidents are more common or more likely in certain trades and types of work, your liability changes the more specialized you are. Think about your particular set of risks and consider a specialized, extensive policy that keeps these risks in mind.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance


Similarly, you’ll need to be prepared for on-site accidents with workers’ compensation insurance. Accidents happen all the time, whether from malfunctioning equipment or exposure to harmful materials while on the job. Workers’ comp protects your business by helping injured or sick employees during their recovery. It traditionally covers medical bills related to the workplace injury, lost wages, and legal fees. Without workers’ compensation insurance, you’re responsible for these expenses.


Vehicle Insurance for Contractors


Chances are your work requires at least one type of commercial vehicle in order to get your jobs done. If you use a trailer, a pickup truck, a commercial van, or any other kind of vehicle to conduct your business, you’ll want sufficient coverage for damage and injury. You are also required by law to have a sufficient level of insurance, so you’ll want to make sure your work vehicles are properly protected in order to cover your legal obligations.


Where to Learn More about Insurance


Most insurance companies will be able to provide information and advice on the types of commercial insurance that they offer for contractors and make recommendations as to what kind of insurance is right for you and your work. However, the building business is always changing, as are licensing and insurance needs. There are some great references to be found, and working with a contractor license school can help keep business owners in the know when it comes to the various insurance and legal stipulations that are key to maintaining a healthy, growing business. Do yourself and your business a favor by investing in insurance and education so you can rest easy knowing you’re completely covered.
Post submitted by Guest Blogger Albert Krav

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Installing a Moen Posi-Temp Shower Valve

Installing a Moen Shower Valve with copper supply lines is the subject of this DIY Home Repair video by Contractor John.


How To Install A Rheem Water Tank

Changing out a water heater can be a DIY project, although an advanced one, if you have someone to help you along the way and you have the essential tools. The example in the video uses copper pipe water lines. You may have galvanized pipe which will require careful measuring and probably a few trip to the hardware store unless you purchase an assortment of pipe nipples before you start. If you have plastic you will need an assortment of fittings much like the job would require if completed with copper.

If you have any questions please comment in the video comment section

Before You Hire A Contractor, Do These 10 things

These are the top 10 tasks you need to do before you hire any contractor. AKA, Eliminating as much stress as possible.

  1. Prepare the specifications for the job and have the contractors bid from those specifications.
  2. Ask the contractors if they have performed work similar to your project before.
  3. Call all their references, especially previous customers where they performed work similar to yours. Make sure to ask if they would hire them again.
  4. Ask the contractor how long have you been in business under this company name?
  5. Do you pull all the permits that are required?
  6. Do you have insurance, including workers comp coverage, and can I have a copy of your Certificate of Insurance?
  7. Are you licensed in this city/town?
  8. Will you be using any subcontractors? If the answer is yes I will need a copy of their Certificates of Insurance
  9. What associations and organizations do you belong to?
  10. If we have a disagreement we cannot settle what is the process to solve that disagreement?

Preforming these 10 tasks will help to eliminate stress later down the road. Remember there isn’t a shortcut to escaping Contractor John’s 5 P’s…. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

Serious About Home Repair? This New Book Will Give You A Surefire Way To Save Time And Money

The Dimension Bible for Remodelers and DIYers: The questions that every person who has ever remodeled or built anything has had; “Where do I install this, How high do I mount this, Where does this go, How do I calculate the material needed?” These questions and more just like them have puzzled remodelers and DIYers for ages. Author John Knoelk aka “Contractor John”doesn’t believe these questions should stop you from undertaking your project, or completing it in a professional manner. Building or remodeling a home or a room is something worth accomplishing, and he wants to be there for you every step of the way.
In his new reference book, The Dimension Bible for the Remodeler and Do-it-Yourselfer, John presents readers with an all-inclusive building guide that goes from the inside out of building and remodeling. Whether it is creating that stylish, but functional, kitchen, to how to develop the most practical driveway, John answers every question of the reader through charts, measurements and a general insight in an understandable way.
“This book is the result of my forty years of remodeling and building experience. While no book can address every measurement for every situation, I believe within these pages you will find the vast majority of measurements, dimensions and formulas to calculate and arrive at the correct answer you will need to complete your project.”
John approaches discussions of each area of the house in a clear and concise manner, thoroughly explaining each step for the new builder, DIYer, and the seasoned remodeler. As he has seen over his forty years of building, nothing is of greater satisfaction than seeing the project that is drawn on paper actually coming to life right before your eyes.

Panasonic Bathroom Exhaust Fan

One of the most time-consuming parts of any building or remodeling project is specifying the material. There are just so many to choose from in every area, including exhaust fans.

When sizing and selecting an exhaust fan you will need to determine the appropriate CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air that it will move. Since all fans are rated by CFM they should all be the same, right? If you think it could only be that easy, you’re wrong. Consider the noise the fan makes when it is running. Also how much energy does the fan use. Fan/light combination units are also a consideration in some applications.

Panasonic has been manufacturing exhaust fans for over 20 years. They have worked hard on producing products that are energy-efficient and run quiet. They have been selected by Energy Star to receive the Sustained Excellence 2014 Award, the fifth consecutive year they were recognized by Energy Star. Their latest breakthrough product is the Whisper Green Select.

Maybe Panasonic isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think about ventilation fans, but I am suggesting to you that they should be strongly considered.

For more information on How To Properly Size your Bathroom or Kitchen Exhaust Fan, check out “The Dimension Bible for Remodelers and DIYers”

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