The Gurus of How To on Summer Heat and Home Repair

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, are here to offer advice on home repair matters, from drooping stoop steps to leaking roofs and sagging wood floors.

Call 646-829-3985 with your questions or leave a comment below.

Today's Quiz:
Q: Name the technical term for a geometric architectural or engineering drawing that defines mathematical three-dimensional objects on a flat surface (on a sheet of paper).

A: Orthographic projection


Al Ubell and Larry Ubell

Comments [33]

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claire speciner from West 24th Street, NYC

I have two Friedrich window units: one is 25 years old and cools beautifully but needs to be reinstalled. The other, 3 years old cools well but is noisy. Neither one cools on low. Maybe they both need to be reinstalled. Do you make house calls? I'm in Chelsea, NYC. Many thanks.

Claire Speciner

Sep. 08 2011 03:19 PM
Ann healy from Port Washington , new york

I have a basement that gets water. Is there a way to dry it out intelligently. Do you make a physical inspection and recommendations?

516 883 0766.
Thank you!

Aug. 28 2011 05:36 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I don't know of any song about building inspectors, but Alberta Hunter's "My Handy Man" comes at least as close as "Mr. Fix-It" (but has more innuendo!).

Aug. 10 2011 08:07 PM
Judy Hirschmann from Great Neck

I tried to call but no answer. If an upholstered fabric has mold (brown looking stains) is upholstering the piece a good idea? Can it be cleaned in any way (clorox?)
Second question: There is an odor in my bathroom which I assume is coming from the plumbing or something I cannot see. It isn't there all the time but mostly during the summer months. What can it possibly be and what can be done?

Thank you.

Aug. 10 2011 02:24 PM
Blah blah from Brooklyn

This trivia question is super lame. Everything these people have suggested falls into the realm of defining a mathematical relationship between a 2D drawing and a 3D object. So does "homeomorphism" or "mapping". "Projection" in general is valid. The first person who said 'perspective' is surely not using a term that engineers use, but perspective drawing is still a valid answer. Underspecified! "Axonometric" and "isometric" projections are just as valid answers as "orthographic projection", they are just different mappings.

Aug. 10 2011 02:05 PM

frustrating. I knew the answer but could not get through, though I redialed several times. Maybe if there were a separate line for the folks trying to answer the question...

Aug. 10 2011 02:05 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

geez, leonard--someone answered that question on your page long before you had a caller with the answer--probably because one can't get through on the phone!

Aug. 10 2011 02:04 PM

for the generator gas problem. I would make sure the car is always filled and park it in the garage when a storm is predicted and use a special gas transfer siphon or a gas pump to fill the the generator.

Aug. 10 2011 02:03 PM
jay from putnam county

do the boys have any good advice for how to deal with carpenter bees? i've got a heavy timber home (which is a fancy term for log cabin) and sure enough, the carpenter bees have found me.

any suggestions?

Aug. 10 2011 02:03 PM
Janine from NYC

I have a set of stairs inside my condo (it's a duplex) that were left unfinished by the developer (painted rough concret - not the smooth looking type you see in places like supermarket floors or homedepot floor).

Any suggestions on what to use to cover the riser and the thread to make the stairs look finished? The lip (edge) is metal.

Aug. 10 2011 02:00 PM
Margaret carne from jersey city, nj

I think the answer to the 'puzzle' is "an exploded isometric" drawing.

Aug. 10 2011 01:56 PM
Tom from Fort Greene, Brooklyn

My backyard in Fort Greene is partially paved w/ irregular slabs of bluestone: gaps of at least 1-inch between the slabs. The feet of chairs sink into the gaps. Can you recommend a filler or grout?

Aug. 10 2011 01:55 PM
Bob Abate from yonkers

orthogonal drawing

Aug. 10 2011 01:55 PM
Jeb Bargmann from Midland Park, NJ

Orthographic projection.

Aug. 10 2011 01:54 PM
rafal from brooklyn

it's called descriptive geometry

Aug. 10 2011 01:51 PM
Ruth from Queens

My house is small wood frame, not insulated, built in 1923. Should electric wiring be tested for safety, and if
This is a general question; there is no specific problem at the moment.

Aug. 10 2011 01:50 PM
Shelly from Brooklyn

Should window unit ACs be removed at the end of summer or is it fine for them to stay in the window through winter?

Aug. 10 2011 01:48 PM
Ken from Soho

I took a course in High School called Mechanical Drawing,where we did this type of drawing. Is it called Mechanical Drawing?

Aug. 10 2011 01:43 PM
scott hirschberg

I think the answer to the quiz is an "axonometric projection" which I would see as a GC in the "hand-drawn" days of architectural drawings....

Aug. 10 2011 01:43 PM

re 2D rendering... isometric, or axonometric/orthographic?

Aug. 10 2011 01:39 PM
Phoebe from Bushwick

Speaking of hot water, the water seems way too hot in my apartment so I went down to look at the hot water heater in the basement. All the water heaters (there is one for each apartment) are set at their hottest. I believe it say "extra hot" or something like that. Where would you recommend your heater set? (I bet they are set higher because we pay our own gas...if our landlord payed, I would expect it set lower)

Aug. 10 2011 01:39 PM

re 2D rendering... isometric, or axonometric/orthographic?

Aug. 10 2011 01:38 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

For the caller who complained that his A/C stopped cooling after a little while, I found that some units that have a remote control with a built-in thermostat --- if that is true and enabled, it may cause the A/C to be "satisfied" too early.

I had this with an Frigidaire machine and it drove us crazy until we figured it out!

Aug. 10 2011 01:38 PM
Bill from Manhattan

Sorry--not an a.c. question! A few years ago I had my apartment renovated. I installed those nice imitation "wood" floors. Some time after the work was done, I began to notice stainlike dark patches on the wood behind the toilet and at the base of the sink. The floorboards nearest the wall have buckled, and recently a musty smell has appeared. Is the toilet/plumbing leaking? What kind of colossal work would have to be done to fix it? Or could something other than leaking water be causing this problem? Thanks for any thoughts you can offer! Bill

Aug. 10 2011 01:35 PM
Brian Driscoll from Manhattan

How can I find a locksmith ing NYC that i can trust? Thoughts on best deadbolts?

Many thanks,

Aug. 10 2011 01:34 PM
Francine Epstein from Chester, NJ

The air coming from my floor vents smells like my basement. Does this mean that there are tears in the ac ducts?

Aug. 10 2011 01:31 PM
Nicole Hunn from Westchester County, NY

I hate Summer. Mostly because I hate humidity, which bothers me most at night. Rather than keeping the air conditioning running so much, might it make sense to turn on a dehumidifier in my bedroom at night?
Did I mention that I hate Summer?

Aug. 10 2011 01:31 PM

what temperature should sink water be? Should there be a difference from the washing machine hot water temp? i have been measuring 129F. Is there a separate water heater outlet for the washing machine water? bedbug paranoia. here, i have a high quality cal thermometer.
Also what type of filter devices should be inplace between the city water and the pipes. in our 6 story 1960 co-op we have had at least 3 cold water riser pipes get pinholes or worse between floors, causing multiple floors of damage. I come from a utility background and am very well aware of sabotage dishonest craft do to make money. i am thinking of starting a google plus on it,roofers working in cahoots with plumbers jam the roof vent to cause a plumber call, and they just happen to know someone. HVAC people turning rooftop equipment off in winter to guarantee a call in summer to throw a switch. i wont even start with my trade,at least they didn't steal from the homeowner, it was overtime producing, but customers were out of service. So when i see three cold water riser go in a couple of months, and my kitchen sink cold water slowed, i found a 1/4 inch + piece of black rubbery stuff at the faucet cold water inlet screen.

Aug. 10 2011 01:28 PM
Trish from Westchester

An electrician has just installed a transfer switch box in our basement for a portable generator, to be used in case of a power failure. I want to fill the generator with gasoline now so that we will be ready to go, but my husband says it is dangerous to have gasoline in our attached garage (the car always sits outside) and that we should buy it only after a Con Ed crisis happens. What do you think?

Aug. 10 2011 01:25 PM
Mary from Bronx

Could the Ubells give some guidance about a traditional tank water heater vs an on-demand tankless one? This is for a one-family house.

Aug. 10 2011 12:55 PM

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