Category Archives: Uncategorized
What Is Your Flood Risk?
After all the devastating floods in the Houston area, I got a bit nervous and thought I’d do some research and see what my flood risk might be.
Here’s a good story on why Houston is so prone to flooding.
I found a site – http://www.whatismyelevation.com/ that allows you to enter an address and it will give you it’s elevation.
An even easier elevation map can be found at
Type in an address to start and then you can compare your elevation to surrounding areas.
Here some general elevation figures from my area.
- My house is at an elevation of 636 feet.
- The elevation is 613 feet at one end of the street
- The elevation is 607 feet in the other direction.
- The elevation at Gravois Creek is 492 feet.
- The Meramec river is 391 feet
- The Mississippi River level is 383 feet
While the above won’t give you an absolute risk assessment, it will give you an idea of what your risk might be.
Patio Door Options
Note – one problem I have recently noticed is that the outside door locks have their finish starting to peel off and tarnish badly.
Since we just went through the process of buying a patio/french door, I’d thought I’d document the process and show what the options are.
We originally thought we wanted an outswing French door, but decided later to go with an inswing door. This does save some money. The prices are approximate and include $600 installation plus about 10% sales tax. They all have Low-E glass.
- $1500 – Tree Court Builders Supply. This is a basic steel door, that would be ok if you are on a budget. This does have blinds inside the door, which can be replaced if they go bad. They use a caulk that oozes out over time. Only one small piece of weather stripping. You have to get someone to install these. You will also need to paint these yourself.
- $3400 – Pella at Lowes. This is a price of Double Entry doors. For some reason, the Pella Patio Doors are a thousand dollars more. They don’t have steel doors for Pella at Lowes – just fiberglass and wood covered with vinyl. It only has one small weather stripping.
- $3600 – Anderson at Home Depot. These are not the same doors as the ones below. They use contractors to put in the door. They only have a few colors to choose from.
- $4400 – Pella in home presentation. This looks like the same door which is sold at Lowes. It’s a nice looking door, but only has a small weather strip.
- $5081 – Renewal by Anderson. They have their own installers and guarantee their work. They do have a A+ rating on the BBB. They actually install a Provia line of doors. They bring a cutaway section of the door for you to look at. The weather stripping is amazing – three sections, not just the one on all the other doors.
We went with the Renewal by Anderson. While it is the most expensive, it seems to be the best made and we might get back our money when we sell the house.
Dishwasher – Lessons Learned
We just had a dishwasher repaired and the things we learned may keep you from thousands of dollars of repairs down the road. (It was just a latch problem.)
- Don’t run your dishwasher when you go to bed. The inlet valve can stick and you will wake up to a wet first floor.
- When you go on vacation there is a valve under the sink to turn off the water to the dishwasher – turn off the water valve to the dishwasher.
- The above also applies to the washing machine and any water going to the refrigerator – turn them off when leaving for vacation.
- Good brands he recommends – Bosch, Kitchen Aid, Whirlpool, Maytag.
- The simpler the better – you don’t need all those fancy controls.
- St. Louis Appliance Repair Group did the repair.
Cleaning the Outside Air Conditioner
I decided to take a look at my two outside air conditioner units and see if they need cleaning. As you can see from the picture, they are totally clogged. I’m surprised that I’m getting any cooling at all. The fins are covered on the outside by a panel which makes it very hard to see what is going on inside.
While I initially took a shop vac to the fins, with a little testing I learned that a good stream of water will release the dirt. You could also spray it with a cleaner, but that may not even be necessary.
Taking apart the top of my unit is fairly easy. After turning off the electricity, I unscrewed the top. Unfortunately the unit is still held in by electrical wires. What I did was to use some garden pads to rest the top on and used the hose on the fins. If you don’t take off the sides, you can still clean the outside, but it’s not as easy. It’s hard to put the pieces back together, so just taking the top off is the easy option.
One option that I am going to try is put a screen around the outside of the unit. They have one available on Amazon, but some reviewers said that this is basically just a window screen, so that’s what I’m going to try.
You’re Not Going to Live Forever
I was doing some research on Living Wills, Medical Directives and Power of Attorney for Health Care and here’s a site I found which seems to have forms for all states.
Here is the Missouri PDF form.
It looks like Missouri requires a Notary for the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – so plan ahead.
I also have a form I can email you I got from my doctors office.
Originally uploaded by tomterrific1947
We Are Really Out of Shape
FREE Monarch Butterfly Plants
FREE Monarch Butterfly Plants For my St. Louis friends, I have plenty of Asclepias incarnata – a perennial milkweed plant which Monarchs love. They are small, but will grow into a plant 3 foot tall
Green Screen – Be Anywhere You Want
I’ve got my green screen video setup. It’s fun an easy.
Baptizing Spider Mites
Here’s I’m fighting this pest.
Viruses and Malware – How to Get Them
Where Do You Stand as a Speaker?
Where Do You Stand as a Speaker?