Rensselaer has a kiddy problem (Not kitty)

The screen door on my rental house is constantly in need or repair or replacing.  The wood frame is fine, it is solid, thick old wood circa

  1. The problem is the 4 and 5 year old kids are too short or too lazy to turn the latch.  They just push on the screening or even kick it when pushing does not work.  Both metal and plastic screening have failed.

Mac says:  I love the easy ones.  I have my own ideas of how to deal with this, but they are not popular or PC !  Big box or door and window outfits actually sell metal screens ready made for this purpose.  Unfortunately, they are usually available in one size. Measure the size panel that you want to cover.  You may need more than one.  Especially if you wish to cover the whole screen door.  If these do not prove to be adequate for your application,  you can make your own.  First, replace or repair the screening itself.  The child proof screens have too large a mesh to keep out the bugs.  Measure the area to be covered.  Go to the hardware store or big box store and buy some galvanized screening that has 1/4″ mesh.  Buy some wood (or plastic) half round   molding.  Nail or staple the screening over the area to be covered it should be at least and inch and a half larger than the opening.  Use good  sized staples or nails, as the kids will grow and kick harder. Next nail the trim pieces over the screening, making sure they cover the sharp edges of the screening. (This type of screening is sometimes referred to as “hardware cloth”

PS You might want to replace the latch with a screen door spring or door closer, so the door will open when they push on it.

Good luck

Downtown Troy has a steamy problem (No, not THAT kind of STEAMY)

I recently purchased  a building with steam radiators.  One boiler heats the whole building.  I had the boiler inspected and it was pronounced to be in good condition.  It is fairly new.  So, what’s the problem, I asked ?

He answered and after he told me there are 3 tenants, one on each floor.  One elderly couple, one middle aged couple and one really young couple.  I guessed the problem even before he started to describe it.  They all like different temperatures to be comfortable.  Not only that they want different temperatures in different rooms !! Surprise, surprise.

Fortunately with those old steam systems, you can go a long way toward solving the issue.  The system has valves on each radiator.  They can be adjusted to allow more or less steam into the radiator.  The problem is that these valves do not last forever.  I would guess that most if not all, of yours need replacing.  When you do that, show the tenants how to adjust them.  You might ask your service person if he or she thinks the thermostat is in a good place.  Make sure the boiler is shut off when you replace the valves, steam can burn you badly. In the case of the young couple, you can suggest shutting some of the radiators off completely. (The one in the bedroom ?) If that can’t be done, replace the shutoff valves, they wear out also.


Menands has a squeak that he can’t oil.

My first floor tenant (It is a two family house) complains that the floor in the middle of the house seems to sag and make loud noises when people walk over it.  It did not seem to be that much of a problem until he explained his wife works the night shift and sleeps during the day and she is a VERY light sleeper.


Mac says:  You are lucky that it’s the first floor and there is a basement beneath it.  Go down to the basement and ask him to walk on the areas that produce the noise.  When you have located the squeaky spot, check to see if the bridging is loose.  That’s the pieces of wood between the beams, usually in and “X” pattern.  If they are loose, nail or screw them tightly.  If there is no bridging where the noise is, cut a piece of wood the same stock as the beams and install it between the beams.  You may have to do this in more than one place.  If that does not work, determine if the floor appears to be separated from the beam.  If there is a gap, the up and down movement may be causing the noise.  Then you can fasten a length of 2 x 4 up tightly against the floor and fasten it to the beams.  If your tenant is a large man, the whole floor may be moving due to inadequate support.  In that case, buy   few jack posts and tighten them under the floor joists.  You may have to call around to find them.  They are adjustable and must be tightened more than once to get the beam up sufficiently to stop the squeak.