Chimney Sweep

I’ve just had Golden’s Good Air at my house and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Absolutely spot on bloke and definitely saved my bacon. Turned up at very short notice. They definitely are one of the nicest and most courteous you can deal with. Dealt with my problem very conscientiously. Very well priced for the job they did. An absolute pleasure to deal with and have no hesitation in recommending Arizona chimney sweep.  Golden’s Good Air is one of Arizona’s top rated chimney sweep services and has an excellent AZ BBB rating.

chimney sweep

Or you can do it yourself. Some friends used a “bomb” that they bought from a local hardware store. You put it in the fireplace, make sure that the opening into the room is ready to be closed off, then light the thing and shut the door. Block the opening. All the soot is broken off by this thing and dumped in the fireplace. Don’t do as they did, and open the fireplace too soon after application, as all the muck had not settled! An industrial vacuum is needed to get rid of the stuff, but these are easily hired.

I suggest that you close all door and windows to the room, leaving them open may cause soot to be drawn into the room.

Dust sheets to the floor area, the ones with the spill protection would be best.Tape dust sheets to the walls, floors(use masking tape) leaving just a small opening for the rods to be added, also insert a vacuum cleaner hose to suck up most the dust, gradually clean the flue by adding more rods and pulling/pushing the brush, keep going till it goes stack and if possible get someone else to go outside and look to see if the brush has popped out of the chimney stack, when the complete length of flue is brushed, slowly withdraw the rods wiping them as they are drawn out of the dust sheet seal, once all the rods are out and your left with just the brush in the fire place, do nothing for ten or so mins and have a cuppa, make sure vacuum isn’t over heating.


If you leave the room make sure you’ve no soot on your clothes that may fall off as you leave the room, to clean up tap the dust sheet so most the dust falls off it, then un tape the bottom of the sheet and slowly empty the fire place of soot, it’s very light and dusty so will blow about if you’re not gentle with it, onec you’ve removed the majority of the soot, peal the tape from the walls and fold the sheet in over it’s self so the dusty side is wrapped inside, roll up and place in a bin bag and set aside on the floor sheet. Make sure all the vents are closed otherwise your smug thoughts at how easy it is to clean compared to an open fire are quickly dispelled when you go back into the house and see soot everywhere.


Vacuum the remaining soot from fireplace including fire back and sides, beware of the direction that the cooling fan on the vacuum is blowing.

Vacuum any soot from your overalls and remove all dust sheets from room, wrapping rods and brush in the floor sheet.

Shake out all dusty things with the wind in the right direction, with your neighbors property in mind.

Wear overalls and dust mask and when adding/removing rods keep a good seal on the sheet.

I’m not a sweep but have used this technique many times without the need to clean the whole room afterwards.

chimney sweep

I have a friend who shared a story about a Spanish guy who delivers my logs from the village asked him last autumn if he wanted the chimney swept. As it had not been done for years he said ok. He said he would bring a friend to help and some special thistle. That roused his curiosity. A few days later Paco arrived with Manolo and out of the back of his pick-up truck he pulled a large bunch of gorse. Manolo climbed up on to the roof and lowered a rope down the chimney. Paco tied the gorse to the rope and this was duly pulled up and down til soot was piled up in the hearth. So simple and effective but am not sure if gorse could handle 2 right angled bends.

With all these stories, please keep in mind that chimney sweeping is not just about running a brush and rod up a chimney. There is a lot more to it than that. Knowledge regarding the different constructions of chimney flues and fire appliances is required. It is better to have the job done by experts like Golden’s Good Air.

Chimney Sweep

Posted in Health, Home and Family, Services by admin on July 5th, 2015 No Comments » Tags:

Air Conditioner Repair Phoenix

Air Conditioner RepairIs it just me or do newer AC units break down more? At work we have buildings with really old units and they just keep chugging along but the ones with new units need to be serviced all the time. We had both new units dump their glycol load all over one of our data centres, like a week apart! AC fail followed by high temp then followed by fire alarm is something that will sure wake you the hell up when working night shift. The glycol created a haze in the air which then triggered the fire alarm.  And about 2 seasons ago, cold air stopped coming from our home AC unit, but the fan was still working. Had someone come out and take a look at it, and they said the capacitor went bad, so we had it replaced and cool air started flowing again until. We enjoyed cool AC for about a year, then the AC again stopped working. Had the same guy come out and look at the AC unit and he said this time the problem was a bad compressor. He said it is still under warranty but that labor to replace the compressor would be well over $1000.

Since that price seemed quite high, we had air conditioner repair Phoenix come out to examine the AC unit and give us a repair estimate as well as an estimate for replacing the entire AC unit. He said if we could get the compressor replaced under warranty, he could fix the AC for about $750. When asked how much a new unit would cost (we have a Trane – for a 1350 sq ft house), he said he could get an equivalent model new and installed for around $1400-$1600. To save money, I just had the AC repaired by Morehart Air Conditioning and Heating and it still runs like a brand new unit up to now.  It’s a big job as they need to bleed the system out and collect the refrigerant, desolder (debrase?) the compressor to change it then braise new one in and refill. But 1k still seems a little steep for that. We have stopped working with some other companies because their prices went through the roof and we felt our customers were taken for a ride. Morehart Air Conditioning and Heating been doing it a long time and are very honest. My office building where we were quoted $10k to replace most of the outside unit, had Morehart Air Conditioning and Heating give a second opinion, turned out it was a $300 clogged pipe issue. At home just a few weeks ago Action Air came out and charged me almost $600 to do five minutes of leak detection and 55 minutes of trying to convince me why I’d be better off replacing my entire R22 system for $6500. I had forgotten to call Morehart Air Conditioning and Heating since I hadn’t needed him for a few years. They ultimately quoted $2000 plus labor to just replace the evaporater coil, would need several hundred more in R22, he was able to do the whole job for $1400. Would have saved a few hundred more if I had remembered to call him first.

Air Conditioner Repair

I run the AC all summer long. Temps get to be in high 90s to say under 105 or so. House is 2 stories, so it gets especially hot upstairs. About this time of year, I’m not feeling the need to run the AC… it’s only around 85-89 degrees or so, and I can open the window and be okay. But maybe starting sometime in May through late Aug/early Sept, I’m using the AC daily starting in the mid-afternoon and overnight, mainly because I have a retired family member at home during the daytime.

At work (it’s like a mix of office and retail, not manufacturing or anything) we have 4 Trane package unit heat pumps, all 5 ton R-410a units and less then 5 years old. One blew a compressor, a second sprung a refrigerant leak at a joint that was caked with flux, and a third both had a bad bearing on the blower and had the tube going to the TXV attached in such a way the loop in it was rubbing against one of the main lines and actually wore a hole clean through the copper. The compressor might just be ‘stuff happens,’ but both leaks were bad workmanship.


Posted in apartment, bedroom, Electronics, General, heating and cooling, living room, Services by admin on June 12th, 2015 No Comments » Tags:

Group Bus Tours

Group Bus ToursI live in the US and sometimes take trips with our ski club or with our adult school. Many of them are day trips (to see an art exhibit or something of the sort), but others are longer trips, up to a week. I can tell you a few things about bus rental from my experience.

There are no national bus companies in the US, so which company you use would depend on where you’re starting from. Almost all of group bus tours our groups have made are from companies that also run local transit. For instance, there is a bus company in our area that provides public transport in several towns, and also links various towns. This company has provided buses and drivers for most of our trips.

america tour

Almost all of the trips I’ve taken have been handled by a travel agent, especially the longer trips. Since both of the groups I travel with are non-profit organizations, and since they definitely try to make sure they get 100 cents’ worth out of every dollar, I doubt that using a travel agent adds much to the cost. A travel agent also would be invaluable for arranging hotels for a large group.

How large is your group? What are the main stops you want to make? Train travel is very cheap in the US, and it may well be cheaper than renting a bus. Not only do you have to pay the driver, you have to feed him and put him up in the hotel. If you drive more than a certain number of hours within a certain number of days, you need two drivers.

america tour

I don’t think any bus company would mind if you asked for an estimate before making a commitment. I don’t think anyone except a bus company can give you even a remote idea of the cost. I don’t know of any company that puts their costs online, because there are too many variables.

Some charter buses can hold 55 people each. If there are not enough people who sign up for your charter route, your deposit may be refunded to you, otherwise, your deposit is non-refundable. I encourage each of you to encourage others to sign up for the charter on your route! Most charter bus drivers cannot drive for more than ten hours per day. Hotel, not campground, lodging is required for charter bus service overnight. In DC, hotel lodging will be required, and it is the group’s responsibility to pay for the driver(s)’s rooms. Most hotels will “comp” the driver rooms for bus tours. Hotel group rates are being negotiated right now nationwide, along every convoy route. Once a charter bus is fully reserved by deposit, that charter group would be automatically blocked into medium level room blocks along the route.

america tour

We did the 7hr Yukon rail & bus tour in September and loved it. We had a couple with us who had been to Alaska four times before, but doesn’t get on cruise critic. The man argued with me that we could do a tour like I was explaining to him, but I showed him all the reviews and so they booked to go with us. He just raved about the tour and our guide, Amity. He said it was one of the absolute best excursions he’d ever done (not just in Alaska) and now has joked about me booking their excursions for their QM2 cruise in September. I told him to give me his credit card, and I’d fix him right up.

The bad news is that we only had 2 rainy days – when we were in Sitka and Icy Strait Point.
The good news is that the other days were dry but mostly cloudy – we did have beautiful sunshine when we did the White Pass Rail/Bus trip in Skagway – the sunshine was on the return bus trip.
The other day with beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures was the day we were sailing through the inside passage.

alaska tour

The only time we actually felt chilled was in the rain with a very cold windand both times it was when we were waiting to catch a tender to return to the ship, otherwise we were fine. My advice is to dress in several layers and they you can take off and put on as appropriate for the conditions!

We had a wonderful trip and I hope that you do too.

Posted in General, Services, Vacation by admin on June 9th, 2015 No Comments » Tags:

Save Serious Money on Auto Repair

Save Serious Money on Auto RepairLiving in Wilmington, Delaware area way back when in the 40’s to 50’s, many minorities were “locked out” of purchasing homes in nice neighborhoods, though all sorts of racist laws and a crooked real estate industry that segregated blacks and other minorities away from the middle class suburbs. So, unable to purchase a nice home for themselves, these people turned to automobiles for their status symbols. This legacy has kept up (not the racist real estate practices, but the believe that owning a nice car and taking care of it means “you’ve made it”) among the older generation. As such, auto repair shops are always packed, and people tend to take care of their rides, much more than in other places I’ve lived, like NJ or Philly. So yes, while I agree that no business start out of the gate pulling in mad cash, I have no concerns about the strength of the local auto mechanic needs.

As for doing it myself, I’m not interested in going back to school to learn to be an auto mechanic. I’d be interested in learning a little bit on the job, but I would be hiring mechanics to do the work, and I would run the business, make appointments, order inventory, all that jazz. Also, as new car sales dry up, people are going to be keeping their cars longer, and those cars are going to need work to keep running. And since there are many commuters living here, having a working car is often the factor between having a job or not having a job. Personally I think the vast majority of mechanics and auto repair places are horrible.I got into a fender bender in 1999, got the car repaired at an autobody place, but I had a little mechanical damage and had to take it to a dealership to get repaired. Within a few weeks my car developed a stutter, usually in second gear. I took my car to auto repair surprise az and they figured out right away that I had a bare spot on an ignition wire, and it was arcing into my engine block on occasion. The ASE certified technicians of Champs Family Automotive provides the best and complete diagnostics.  $100 later my car drove like new. Why did it take so long? That seems almost too easy.  My point is that if you can create a business with a good stable of of workers you will do quite well.  Does Arizona require annual inspections like PA does? I don’t work on cars, but I do computers, and I think a lot of the same general ideas apply.

Keep the customer informed.
Try to discuss the problems in a way that they understand.
Do a little extra like vacuuming the inside or washing the windows. When I work on home computers I always vacuum the inside, wipe down the case, and clean out the CPU fan, case fan, etc. Customers don’t even notice most of the time but those that do really appreciate it. A cleaned interior will be really noticeable to most people.

Make sure all of the cars are test driven before being returned. I swear to god that sometimes I receive a car back that hasn’t even been turned on after my repair was done. This makes me want to rant against mechanics that I’ve used, so before that happens I am out.  Also, think of courting local car clubs. Corvette, Camaro, import, BMW, muscle cars, anything you are qualified to work on. If you can attract business they pass it on, I promise. A friend personally pimp a local performance shop not just because they charge a fair price, but her girlfriend has taken her corvette there several times and she sees none of the condescending attitude and poor work that she gets at a lot in other places. But, she takes it to a Save Serious Money on Auto Repairplace that specializes in late model GM performance, and she’s treated wonderfully and she now goes nowhere else, even though it’s a fair bit out of the way. The place is immaculately clean, professional, and fast service. They’re always PACKED.

Oh, that reminds me. Be fair and nice to women! The GF has gotten lines such as “I dont expect you to understand…”, “Don’t worry your pretty head..” and the always lovely “Listen, Lady, I’m the expert…”


Posted in General, repair, Services by admin on June 9th, 2015 No Comments » Tags: ,

Air Duct Cleaning

air duct cleaning Air duct cleaning can prevent health problems. Studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts or go down after cleaning. This is because of the dirt that accumulates inside air ducts adheres to duct surfaces will eventually loosen and then will enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes. Pollutants that enter the home both from outdoors and indoor activities such as cooking, cleaning, smoking, or just moving around can also cause exposure to contaminants. Moreover, there is no evidence that a light amount of household dust or other particulate matter in air ducts poses any risk to health.

It is recommended that air ducts be cleaned as-needed basis because of the certainty about the benefits of duct cleaning. EPA does, however, recommend that if you have a fuel burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, they be inspected for proper functioning and serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Research also suggests that  Air Duct Cleaning Peoria AZ will improve the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. Cleaning dirty cooling coils, fans and heat exchangers can also improve or  increase your system’s efficiency.

There are methods for cleaning flexible ducts but they do take additional efforts to perform properly so do not expect it is always performed properly. Many times they are destroyed by people not knowing how to clean them.

The frequency of duct cleaning is dependent upon many different factors. The only effective way is to inspect them which you can easily do at the return register and supply points. The grill covers come off easily, usually screwed into the ceiling joists or sheetrock. These points are a good indicator of the rest of the ducts condition. Another point is at the evaporative cooler coil in the heater/air handler unit. If there has been a lot of dust and dirt in the system, filters not changed regularly, etc., then a lot of dust and dirt will collect on the coils. This could potentially indicate further duct inspection and cleaning. Your HVAC Tech should be checking the condition of the evaporative coil and will also see some of the duct work from that point. He/She can tell you if cleaning is warranted.

Cleaning the coils is pretty expensive because in most systems it requires taking the unit apart to get to the “inner workings”

We had one HVAC guy who came in an emergency situation when the overflow line became clogged and caused the pan to break and cause a big leak tell us that our system (because it was older) needed to have the coils cleaned for better efficiency and to prolong the line of the unit in addition to repairing the overflow pan and other stuff.

We had someone else come in to do the actual repair work and I was all prepared to have her (it was a female certified HVAC person with her own firm) do just that – clean the coils.

She told me that it was not necessary because the coils were not that dirty. That there was a part of the HVAC system in the attic that indicated if the coils were that dirty without having to open up the housing and remove the coils. That checking the dust in that area showed there was minimum accumulation so she did not think that tearing the unit apart which would take over an hour and cost quite a bit just to SEE the coils was warranted.

She also told me that the types of air ducts in our attic were the type that basically were declared faulty 20 yrs ago. They are more rigid than flexible and that trying to clean with would mean that they would likely shatter and have to be replaced. That as long as the material insulating them was holding together unless we wanted to replace the entire system, we should just leave well enough alone. The vents on that system are original, more than 25 yrs old. So when the HVAC needs to be replaced this time we are going to have to get new vent system as well as the compressor.

Posted in air quality, General, Services by admin on May 18th, 2015 No Comments » Tags:

Roof Replacement Scottsdale

The harm that a faulty roofing can do is not that simple if not repaired immediately. Even the smallest leak could cause replacement of the house’s insulation. Moisture causes molds and mildew to develop. Therefore, knowing how to handle the smallest leaks is very important. Having your roof replaced will also save you from bitterness of weather. The heat of the sun, heavy rains and storms leave their disastrous effects on roofs after some specific time and you’re in need for repair as well as replacement of it

Should you want to avail the services of a roof replacement company or want to replace your shingle roof, slate roof and also you live in Scottsdale AZ, you should pick one name which is Stapleton Roofing. They are a trustworthy, licensed, bonded and insured professional roofing contractor. You can consult with Stapleton Roofing roof replacement scottsdale services in case roof can nevertheless be repaired, or maybe it is replaced. They are a family owned/runned company with big reputation for high quality of workmanship and customer satisfaction.

Cracked tiles are not going to make the roof leak. Everyone has cracked tiles on their roofs. They break from thermal expansion and contraction and from people walking on them (including fixing cracked ones). It is a bread and butter item for inspectors. I wouldn’t be surprised if the inspector is the one who cracked them walking on it (most of them do not go on the roof – just peak over the eaves).

The underlayment (tar paper) and flashing that is under the tiles is what does the work in keeping you dry. So unless the break exposes the underlayment to sunlight that will dry and crack it or is more of a missing piece that lets a good deal of runoff get to the underlayment it is not a big deal. Replacing tiles with minor cracks and missing corners is something that can be put off for some time.

Tile roof replacement

By the way, people are often told that tile roofs will last 50 years or more. Don’t believe them. The underlayment dries out from heat and exposure in as little as 20 years requiring a very, very expensive removal and replacement process. The tile craze started about 30 years ago around here. We had asphalt shingles before that. If water is getting under the tiles, the felt will stop it from coming through. But there are strips of wood laid horizontally along the roof to hold the tile and, given enough time they may rot, the nails loosen and small leaks develop. So it is good to fix things up.

1: Shingle roof

Greater than 80% houses in US contain Shingle roofs. These are measured from the selection of standards like wind and fire resistance, tear strength ability. There is certainly a good amount of Shingle colors, styles and materials.

Appropriate for most any style home, especially those with steep-sloped roofs but not as lasting as slate shingles. Shingle roof is a type of roof that needs replacement after certain period of time. Over the course of time it loses its glory and ability to offer 100 percent roof protection.

shingle roof replacement

2: Slate Roof

Slate roofs have been around for centuries and have proven to be a great roofing medium. It has the capability to resist fire, hail along with other bitterness of weather a lot more than any other material.  In the past, families built homes with the idea that the house would be passed down from generation to generation and were built from materials that would withstand this amount of time

Slate roof repair – this is the sort of roof that requires a 100% professional worker. Repair of slate roof will require the job of a stone mason, so you cannot ask any ordinary roofer to fix the problem as he might to more  damage to the roof instead or successfully repairing it. There are a lot of roof replacement companies claiming of being experienced or experts on repairing and/or replacing  roofer slate roof. Please beware of this companies.


Posted in General, outdoor, renovating, Roof Replacement, Services by admin on March 11th, 2015 No Comments » Tags: ,

Getting Wine Out of Cow Hide Rugs

cowhide rugA cowhide rug can be a great accessory for many homes and buildings. While cowhide rugs are very durable and easy to clean, a wine stain may require some extra work to remove. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to remove win stains from cow skin rugs.

When cleaning a cow hide product, it’s important to understand that some chemicals can damage the hide. It’s important to avoid very acidic or basic cleaning agents. These include bleach, acetone, peroxide, hydrogen peroxide and sodium carboxide. Cleaners with a very high pH level will dissolve the amino acid bonds in the cow hide. If a cleaner with a very low pH is used, it will bleach the cow hide, creating lighter-colored sections.

If wine is spilled on a cow hide rug, it’s important to clean it up as soon as possible. Using a dry paper towel, dab the area where the wine was spilled. Try to avoid pressing the liquid into the cow hide rug: This will make it significantly more challenging to remove any stain.

Once all liquid has been removed from the rug, apply a 5:1 mixture of water and baking soda directly to the stained area. If possible, try to make sure that the baking soda mixture is warm. This will help to lift the stain out of the rug.

Allow the baking soda mixture to sit for at least five minutes. Once five minutes are over, dab up all liquid using a dry paper towel. It’s still important to avoid grinding any liquid deeper into the carpet. Repeat this process until the baking soda mixture remains clear.

Another effective way to get a wine stain out of a cow hide rug is through the use of a steam cleaner.

A steam cleaner uses regular water to clean. By applying steam directly to the site of a stain, it’s possible to “lift” the stain out of the rug. In many cases, steam cleaners are an excellent way to ensure that there isn’t any residue left behind. In addition, most steam cleaners are less likely to cause discoloration.

By cleaning a cow hide rug immediately after a spill, it’s usually possible to reduce the risk of a permanent stain. If a rug has multiple stains on it, it may be a good idea to hire a professional cleaning company. A professional cleaning company has access to specialized tools and cleaning agents that can thoroughly clean a cow hide rug without the risk of damage.

cowhide rug

Posted in decor, furniture, Home & Family, home show, kids room, living room, Music Room, Oriental home design, Post-Modernism Design by admin on September 23rd, 2014 1 Comment » Tags:

Citizen Eco Drive

I’ve seen a few mentions of the Citizen Endeavor on the internet, but don’t see a full review, so I’ll try to give a decent one here.  My taste in watches runs toward functionality rather than flash, though I appreciate quality workmanship. I’ve been a fan of the Citizen Eco-Drive’s since I got my first one as a gift over 5 years ago (a perpetual calendar model that’s still going strong to this day). As of this writing, I have 2 Eco-Drives, the oldest being my first, and the Endeavor being the newest.

This review is specifically regarding the CA0440-51E. Stainless Steel, black face with blue and red highlights. It uses the Eco-Drive B612 movement. It’s also available with a white face, and in a rose gold model with a rubber bracelet. I’m not a fan of the latter. Just looks cheap to me.

I found it here. It was home page and really caught my eye. It is, to me, massive. The case is 46mm. This is definitely the largest watch I own., the next largest bing a toss up between my Citizen Nighthawk and a Longines Conquest that I inherited.

I had been thinking about a dive watch prior to seeing this one, and at first glance, that’s what it is. I would argue, however, that this is not a dive watch. Even though it has a 200M WR rating, the styling in general, and the fact that the bezel is internal, moves it from dive watch into sailing watch territory. This seems to me to be a incarnation of the old SailHawk line.

Citizen Eco Drivecitizen-eco-drive-sky-hawk


Posted in General by admin on March 5th, 2014 No Comments » Tags:

Music Man SUB Ray4

I was in the market to buy a bass, seeing as am now part of a band as the bass player and I don’t have a bass, I’ve just been playing my friends. I came across the Sterling by Music Man SUB Ray4. The Sterling line is very good, both the guitars and the basses. They are made overseas, and they don’t have some of the extras that come on the Music Man instruments such as the compensated nuts. The music man guitar at Musicians Friend play very well, sound good and look very good, so for the money, we cannot go wrong.

Music Man SUB Ray4

Posted in General, Lifestyle, Music Room, Musical Instruments, Stress Reliever by admin on December 22nd, 2013 1 Comment »

Yamaha 76 Key Keyboard

I am a novice piano player, but for the price, this electric piano is fantastic. It works perfectly with Mac Garage Band (download Yamaha Mac drivers). The grand piano sample sounds like a real piano. The led display helps with reading notes. There are 300+ samples, fun for the my nephews, and fun for me. It has a a nice resistive feeling between a real piano and a synth. The lower octaves have a heavier feel compared to the higher octaves. For the serious novice or the pro that needs a nice inexpensive portable, the yamaha 76 key keyboard with usb connectivity at musicians friend is a super bargain. In no way does this machine feel cheap. Yamaha created a wonderful machine, with the greatest respect for those on a budget.Yamaha YPG-235 76-Key Portable Grand Piano

Posted in Electronics, General, Lifestyle, Music Room, Musical Instruments, Stress Reliever by admin on November 29th, 2013 No Comments » Tags: