Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do it right the first time.

I understand that there are times when you just have to take shortcuts. I have no issue with this if you go back at some point in the near future to make sure whatever you have rigged is done properly.

I built out a restaurant- my own. With the experience gained from years of working in food I made sure to spend a little extra up front so that I wouldn't have issues years down the road. When I put in the cooler, I put in two cooling units instead of just one. This had a dual effect: the units didn't have to work as hard to keep the cooler at temp, and when one of them went down (as will happen with refrigeration) the other was perfectly capable of holding temp while the other was being repaired. When the AC units were installed, I made sure that the drain lines had cleanouts on them that were easy to access since the slime and muck builds up quickly here in the south. All of the water supplies inside had ball valves instead of the little cheap kind they put on everything now so I wouldn't ever have to worry about replacing a leaky on/off valve. The electric lines were run to the breaker panel and hooked up in specific order so that quadrants of the panels controlled quadrants of the store. (Electricians usually just run all of the wires to the panel, hook them up, and then figure out what each breaker controls.) The bottom 18" of every wall in the store was 1/2" pressure treated plywood instead of sheetrock so that I would never have to worry about water damage. I used expanding foam insulation on the bottom 18", and standard fiberglass in the rest of the wall space to negate the possibility of mold if water did get in. There were many other small things that I did while I was building it out to insure that I wouldn't have to spend money on repairs in the future.

Which brings me to the house I'm currently in.

When I got here, there was a non-working wireless doorbell system decorating the walls. So when I did some repair work on the front of the house I ran wire for a proper doorbell. When I went to install the doorbell, I discovered live wires in a hole in the hallway where a doorbell should go. I asked the wife why her ex hadn't installed a proper doorbell, and she said that he told her that there weren't enough wires to make it work. (There were two wires, all you need is two wires.) So I traced the wires to the source and found the transformer which was fully functional, put in the new doorbell, and everything works as it should. Cost? $12.00 for the doorbell and button, as opposed to the $19-$24 someone spent on a useless wireless system. Do it right the first time.

Last weekend I decided that I should check to see if the dryer vent and element needed cleaning. I asked the wife when they were cleaned last, to which she responded "It was installed 12 years ago, and since it was new I'm pretty sure it was clean then." I was astounded when I opened the unit. There was an 8" layer of lint in the bottom of the dryer, and a 2" heat blackened layer on top of the heating element. A fire waiting to happen. Clean your dryer annually! It's very easy to do and doesn't take that long.

This weekend the wife told me that she was worried that someone would break into the dungeon (computer room) through the window where the AC unit is housed. I tried to tell her that any burglar with a modicum of intelligence would simply tap out a window pane and open any other window rather than move the air conditioner unit but she would not be swayed. So after replacing the rotted support structure with pressure treated wood (which will likely outlast the AC unit) I removed the rotted plywood that was duct taped on each side of the unit and custom cut two pieces of 1/4" steel to fit the spaces. Sanded, primed, painted and drilled the steel. Screwed the panels in place making it a 30 minute job to remove everything when the AC dies and has to be replaced, but the wife is happy since a burglar definitely won't break into this window. I also put in a vapor barrier to keep the steel from rusting due to condensation, and then I insulated and put in custom plexiglass panels on top of the insulation to make it all air tight and aesthetically pleasing on the inside. Do it right the first time.

So many other little things that would alleviate issues as a home ages.... like using proper lags and screws on the thresholds instead of just trying to glue them down. Buying drain pipes that are long enough instead of forcing what you had into place when the garbage disposal was installed (improperly, at that.) Leaving enough line for the dishwasher to be pulled out without having to unhook it first. Label the breaker panel, put drip loops in the cable lines that were run. Do it right the first time.

Oh well, at least I have things to work on, and I like the feeling of satisfaction I get when I make things right. But I'd really rather that everyone would do it right the first time ;)


  1. Two posts in the same month -- be still my heart!

    And yes, I'm happy for the moment. Now if we could just replace all the windows with sheet metal and bar the doors sufficiently I'd feel fully safe :P

  2. The tool shed windows have bars on them dear. Priorities, you know. ;)

  3. That's what makes you the primo mano, you >know< how to fix them right the first time. =)

  4. He's pretty danged awesome, Feather :)

  5. I would love to agree with the two of you, but then I remember that I'm on my third marriage.

    Some things just can't be fixed with a screwdriver and a sawzall :)

  6. Eh, sometimes third time's the charm. Not like it's my first or second go-round either, dear ;)