The Gurus of How-To on Heat, Humidity, and Hail Storms

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, are here to offer advice on home repair matters, from air conditioning to roofing.

Call 212-433-9692 with your questions or leave a comment below!


Al Ubell and Larry Ubell

Comments [17]

shelly from queens

questions on roofs: should a relatively new flat roof have a dip in it? What do you think anout covers on gutters? How do I know if the roofer is doing the correct job? Does you organization come and inspect roofs and gie a written report? Thank you in advance for your responses.

Aug. 19 2012 08:57 PM
Ed Crimmins from Bronx

To Robert from Manhattan, must have been Loctite.

Aug. 07 2012 03:17 PM
Ed Crimmins from Bronx

I should explain this better since I just took another look at the incredible expanding door. A few years back I took the door off, shaved down the hinge side and with a chisel, deepened the indent where the hinge plate goes.

My problem is that now it is too late to do that again. The last time I shaved down the door, I needed to go so far that when I put the the doorknob back the plate that holds the latch sticks out from the door and that is my sticking point in summer.

If I can make that plate flush to the door again my problem will be solved but I'm worried I'll screw up elongating the 2" hole that accepts the doorknob fixture. Since this is a postwar building and the door housing is metal I can't find any answers outside of the door.

So that is why I asked what sort of hand tool I can use to elongate the hole for the doorknob housing and I'd also like to know if elongating that hole will just make more of a mess of things.

Aug. 07 2012 02:25 PM
Robert from Manhattan

Did you recommend a product to keep screws tight? With a name like Screw Tite or something like that?

Aug. 07 2012 02:24 PM
Amy from Manhattan

So that's the specific meaning of "dunnage"!, the online vocabulary game that donates rice through the World Food Program when you get a correct answer, just defines it as "packing material," which sounds like something UPS would use. I hear or read some of their more obscure words in some unexpected places, & this is 1 of them!

Aug. 07 2012 01:58 PM
Ed Crimmins from Bronx

On the swollen door issue, I have a bedroom door that I've shaved down so many times that now the strike sticks out 1/8 of an inch and I can have a door knob during summer. It is one of those doorknobs that fits into 2" in hole in the door.

I've thought of clamping a wood template to the door so the drillbit on one of those drill bits to make a hole within the hole that can offset the doorknob enough for the strike to fit back in the door but did not want to spring for the cash for the bit.

Would it work if I used a hand tool to elongate the hole for the doorknob housing and what sort of tool should I use? Something like a rounded file?

Aug. 07 2012 01:57 PM
Mary from The Jersey Shore

I am considering the purchase of a solar attic fan, I currently have an electric fan which I plan to keep and use with the new solar fan until it decides to stop.
My question is - where to place the second fan in relation to the first ( it is center of the attic) - I would like to place the new fan about 10 feet away in the same line as the electric fan.
Second question is - what spec's should I look for in a fan - the housing - metal or plastic? aircraft or marine grade aluminum or stainless steel ? I live very near the water.

Thanks !!

Aug. 07 2012 01:56 PM
Wally from NYC

I am in a NYC apartment. Inside is a Fan Coil Unit. It heats and Air conditions. It only has a fan and coils inside. How does this work? I think water goes through this. With this is a dehumidifier necessary?

Aug. 07 2012 01:47 PM
Zen from S Salem

Mystery word ????? Pump Jacks

Aug. 07 2012 01:41 PM

I live in an old apt building and doors have been 'shaved' so much that they won't close. is there anything, short of a new door, I can do?

Thank you.

Aug. 07 2012 01:40 PM
Kate from washington heights


My super put in my a/c in my room without a bracket. He says it doesn't need one, but everyone else in the building has one and when I look at the unit from outside, it makes me incredibly nervous. What's the rule about when a bracket is required?

Aug. 07 2012 01:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I bet wooden coffee stirrers would work great for fixing hinges...if you can still find the wooden ones.

Aug. 07 2012 01:35 PM
Tom from Elmhurst, NY

I think the "climbing device used by roofers for steep roofs" is called a roof jack or something similar.

Aug. 07 2012 01:34 PM
john from office

This is the common sense portion of the program

Aug. 07 2012 01:31 PM
Tom from Elmhurst, NY

Question about tub faucets - how do I prevent a barely-there leak from growing, without over-tightening or going through the trouble of getting specialized tools (handle puller, etc.) to replace the stem? Thank-you! (listening live, 08/07/12, 1:31 PM)

Aug. 07 2012 01:31 PM
Harley from Queens, NY

Question for the gurus-
I live in an apartment building that has a 2 wire electrical system. No ground wire. I want to replace a light switch with a dimmer but am not sure how a 3 wire dimmer should be connected to a 2 wire system.

Aug. 07 2012 01:29 PM
Mari from Flemington, NJ

Question for the gurus: How frequently should a blacktop driveway be sealed. I've had mine done a few times over 12 years and the last layer has developed a myriad tiny cracks which only become visible when the surface is wet. Otherwise it seems OK.
A neighbor has sealed and resealed his drive so many times, sometimes twice in one year, that the surface looks really bad, full of cracks and flaws. Is there an optimum frequency for this maintenance?


Aug. 07 2012 01:19 PM

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