The Gurus of How-To Wrap Up Summer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer living. Summer living. (Guillermo Viciano/flickr)

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, answer questions and give advice on how to repair and maintain your home or apartment--from floor to ceiling.

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


Al Ubell and Larry Ubell

Comments [15]

Michael Abramson from Greenpoint Brooklyn

Hi I reached your screener but the show ended before I could put my question to you.

My question is: I have an 1870 wood frame house in Brooklyn. The foundation is stone. With heavy persistent rain water will leak through the foundation sometimes spurting in specific points.

I would like to waterproof the basement, and have had suggestions from cemented all the walls to using theraseal.

I am afraid of causing a mold problem by sealing the walls. Any thought.

I do have sump pumps in the basement but decided against French drains

Aug. 14 2013 01:59 PM
victoria from manhattan

Re the person whose fan vents into attic rather than out through roof, try a good electrician. we had a great electrician in NJ who installed bathroom ceiling vents through the roof.

Aug. 14 2013 01:57 PM

Is the stone facing tool called a cockscomb? I know this tool can be used to shape limstone.

Aug. 14 2013 01:56 PM
Hal from Brooklyn Heights

Regarding the tool for shaping stone, I'm guessing it's a dressing hammer or trimming hammer.

Aug. 14 2013 01:48 PM
Victoria from manhattan

We live in a walk-up brownstone which has been separated into tiny apartments. One of the neighbors smokes on and off, having given up a longtime habit of very heavy smoking. The tarry residue fills the stairwell at his apartment level and above. Its difficult because there is no back way out and we have to walk through this wall of tarry yuk everytime we go up and down the stairs. The landlord is totally unresponsive, since some of us are in rent-stabilized apartents (including the smoker) so he'd love to get rid of us.
Are there any legal protections? For awhile the smoker would put a mat under his door, which helped, but since he "stopped" smoking, he refuses to do so anymore. HELP!!

Aug. 14 2013 01:47 PM
Joe from Bayside

The problem that the gentlemen from Rego Park is having with his gas meter may be an example of "the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing" , to wit, the original gas utility for his house was either Brooklyn Union or Con Ed. That's where the info probably lies. National grid took over the business but may not have bothered with the archives/records of installation etc. He might have to go to one of the older companies. I think it should be up to National Grid to do the research.

Aug. 14 2013 01:46 PM
Peter from Rockland County

A bathroom in my new home is fan-vented to the attic. I know the vent needs to go through the roof, but don't know what kind of tradesperson to call for the job. Roofer? HVAC person? General handyman? Thanks!

Aug. 14 2013 01:44 PM
Joe from nearby

So when did Gilbert Gottfried decide to become a Guru of How-To??

Aug. 14 2013 01:32 PM
Lydia from Flushing

The filter light of my window a/c did not turn off after washing. Looking inside there seems to be something on the coils(visible when the filter is out). What to do?

Aug. 14 2013 01:30 PM
Bob from Pelham, NY

Speaking of through-the-wall AC units, what is the best way to seal them up after the cooling season is over and insulate for the winter months?

Aug. 14 2013 01:29 PM
Nilton Lima from Brasília-Brazil

Hi, here in Brazil some kinds of these professionals are called "Rent's Husband". Great hug.

Aug. 14 2013 01:29 PM
Steve from Carnegie Hill

I want to know what is the best tool for removing grout from between shower tiles. My shower stall has narrow spaces between the tiles in my 1939 building, and all the tools seem too wide or too coarse. I don't want to damage my tiles.

Aug. 14 2013 01:28 PM
Amy from Prospect Heights

I'm in a weird middle bedroom in a railroad apartment, and the window in my room can't hold an AC. My room is on the third floor and always feels 5 to 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the apartment. Any ideas to cool down a hot room without using the window?

Aug. 14 2013 01:24 PM
The Truth from Becky

Sooo what about home warranties? Are they a rip off?

Aug. 14 2013 01:17 PM
Amelia from Park Slope

I live on the top floor of an old brownstone in Brooklyn, and it the winter it is unbearably hot. I would like to turn off my radiators completely, but the controls for the radiators have been removed. I was thinking of enclosing the radiator in our bedroom with foil backed insulation foam to prevent the heat from entering the room. Is this safe? What else can you recommend? Thanks!

Aug. 14 2013 01:10 PM

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