Which faucet is best?

I've asked plumbers which faucet is best and they answered Moen.  I've bought Moen. I've bought Delta and I've bought less well known brand name faucets.  After lots of years I've decided Delta is my choice.  They are all expensive to buy.   Delta is cheap and easy to repair as apposed to Moen which is expensive and easy to repair.  Delta repairs consist of a couple of springs and rubber covers and they last a very long time.  Moen is a cartridge and lasts for awhile.  I realize now that plumbers like Moen because it is best for their business.  I can't believe it took me 30 years to figure that out.  I don't know which faucet is best because I haven't tried them all, but I'm satisfied that Delta is the best for me.

Wh t a wei d co ple of d ys

My first call came from a good tenant and he told me that he ran out of gas for the mower. (I probably should tell you that I supply mowers for some of my places. Not great mowers, just mowers). Then he said he mixed it 50% gas and 50% water just like I told him. Now the mower won't run. At this point, what does a person say. I never confront people when they aren't telling the truth. I said that he might be thinking of the previous mower where he had to mix the gas and oil, but it probably wasn't 1 to 1 ratio. I told him to dump out the bad gas containing water and use 100% gas and let me know how it works out. (I'm planning to go over to his place after work and dump the carburetor bowl and start the mower).

My second call came from someone using the Sprint relay service which I believe allows someone that is either hearing or speaking impaired to type their information to a Sprint person who then talks on the phone. My ad says to call after 5:00 PM so I don't answer the phone until after 5:00 so I can't be accused of operating my rental business while I'm at work. Consequently they had to leave a message which said it would be better to communicate with email. This would have been great if they would have given me an email address.

The last caller left me an 11 digit phone number to call back on.

Everything has been a little "off" lately.

Tools of the Trade Part One

As I headed off to work on a rental property today, it occurred to me that I wish I had a "do over" on a couple of tool purchases. I have a super powerful large shop vac that I love and I have a small 5 gallon shop vac that I don't love. I took the small one to the job site today because it is small. I should have bought a very good and powerful small shop vac. I made the same mistake with my air compressor. I bought a powerful pancake compressor. It works great with the only negatives being the weight and the bulk. I hate lugging it to the job site. When I bought it, I sold my little compressor that I used for pumping up tires to a friend. I learned later that he was using it to run air tools. He can't fire off a round of 20 framing nails in a few seconds, but he can run an air nailer with it by exercising just a little patience. Most rental property repairs need just a few nails now and then and the smaller compressor would be the best overall compressor for that task because it is light and easy to carry around.

Flooring materials

I haven't said much for awhile because it's been busy with folks moving out, cleaning, painting, mowing, showings and repairs. I'm too cheap to hire help. I really like the floating laminate floors that we have put in our properties because they lower the money spent on carpet cleaning and they are much more durable than carpet or vinyl. However, I wasn't careful to allow the extra space at the end of the boards so the floor could expand and now I'm having troubles with one floor buckling. I'm not sure if it is the heat or humidity or both. It happened when the renters left the AC off for a couple of weeks while they were gone. It also has been raining and it is in a basement on concrete. I'm thinking about using more tile floors especially when it it in a kitchen, bath or basement. I believe the cost is approximately the same, I can do them as fast and it is something I can do myself. I'm just not sure if tile looks right in all rooms. The wood laminate looks great in living rooms, bedrooms, baths and kitchens. Live and Learn.

Beware of buying properties from DIY sellers

Don't buy a property from a "DIY" (Do It Yourself) seller unless you can tell that they knew what they where doing. If it's obvious the owner was a "DYIer", then they probably weren't that good and you should stay away from the property unless it's so cheap it is still a good deal after fixing everything. I'm working on a basement bathroom with a spongy floor. Rather than cut the concrete and run the waste lines correctly, they ran the lines on the floor and built a false floor for the tub and toilet to sit on. They didn't even do that part right or use the correct materials. I believe the treehouse I built at age 12 would come closer to meeting building codes. Side note: A friend that was helping me build the treehouse fell and got his wind knocked out when hitting the ground. He was motioning and trying to get me to do artificial respiration. I told him he was going to die. He didn't.

Plugged toilet on Saturday night


My tenants called me Saturday night telling me the plastic cap from the shaving foam can fell into the toilet during a flush. These are great guys and I'm sure they would have paid for the plumber. I asked them if they could wait so I could try to unplug it myself. Since they have two bathrooms, they were okay with waiting. Sunday afternoon, I loaded tools and headed into town. For some dumb reason I like a challenge and I like to figure out ways to solve problems. I think I could have solved the gulf coast oil leak by now given the same resources BP has given their engineers. My first thought is to throw some hair from a shower drain down there, that seems to plug anything. Getting back to the plugged toilet, my first idea was to connect a flexible tube to the shop vac thinking the suction would latch on to the plastic cap so I could pull it out. That didn't work. Having the shop vac there was a good idea because I used it to remove the dirty water from the bowl. Another good thing to bring is Vick's vapor rub to put inside your nose if you are a little gaggy like me. The next tool is the toilet snake which you can see in the picture. They cost around $12.00 and are worth every penny. By the way, I would never buy another regular snake. I had one for several years and tried to unplug drains several times and never ever unplugged one. I also never try to unplug kitchen drains anymore. I've tried several times over the years and never unplugged one. I always had to put every thing back, clean up all evidence that I tried and call the plumber. I believe the plumber will charge more if he or she knows I tried and failed. I only will try on toilets. A long while back a plumber shared the rules all plumbers live by which are 1) Water runs down hill and 2) never chew your nails. Even after bragging how good a toilet snake is, it didn't find or fix this clog. Two times I've had tenants run out of toilet paper and use the cardboard role that holds the paper which they try to flush. That will plug the toilet every time. The toilet snake can unplug those. The plunger was the successful tool this time. The key to plunging is to have water in the bowl, breath through your nose, use a good plunger, develop a seal so that the plunger moves the water up and down in the drain and then pull up hard to try to suck the clog back up. This technique almost always dislodges the clog and it worked this time also. You can always call the plumber. One last observation I've made is that drains only clog in the evenings and on weekends when plumbers charge overtime.

Bounced Check

When I have tenants that are roommates, I let each of them send their portion of the rent. For example, if 4 students where renting a 4 bedroom unit for $840, each roommate's portion would be $210 and I would accept a check for $210 from each of them. The best legal approach is to insist on one check which would require the roommates to pay one roommate who would then write a check to me for $840. This would be a requirement if I were managing other people's property. Realistically, If one roommate's check bounces, it is highly likely that the $840 check would bounce. This causes tension among the roommates! I let each one pay individually so only $210 bounces and I still have $630 to help cover my payments. When a check bounced this month, I called the tenant with the news. He acted surprised and said there should have been enough money to cover it. He said he would send me another check. (I'm thinking that another bad check isn't going to help much.) I just told him to straighten out his finances and give me a call in a couple of days with his plan. Over the years, this has always worked out. It has been a couple of days and I haven't heard from him and he has moved out and there is only one month left on the lease so this might be an attempt to cheat me. I'll call him tomorrow and try to determine if it was on purpose or an accident that he intends to correct. If I think it was intentional, I'll discuss some of the implications of writing bad checks, poor credit and a bad tenant report. As a landlord, we have several tools to help in this situation.