There has been a lot of brew-ha-ha over the DIY craze, it inspired the big box store movement. I heard about this through a client that reads READIT. They have a section that is all about stuff people do because they think they can. To that end I will collect DI-Why stuff to keep those amused that know better. Lets face it when you don’t know what the hell you are doing you often end up with my hero Rube Goldbergesk gadgets and fixes.

One of my favorite scenes is from the show Parks and Recreation where Ron Swanson (Another hero of mine) is asked nicely by a roaming helper at a Lowe’s if there is a project he is working on. Ron stops and says “I know more than you “. My kids imagine that is what I do when I have to go there for a part.

Water and Electricity Do Not Mix

I was evaluating a home for a remodeling project the other day and found this existing condition.Beyond the fact that the rest of the bathroom was out of date, I could tell that the previous owner was a DIY’er at the core. I respect and admire what the intent was but I cringe when I see results like this.    

Where Are The Pressure and Volume?


Restricted water line

Lack of water pressure could be caused by a myriad of things but this one is ridiculous. The incoming water line is 3/4″ then it is choked down to 1/2″ then back up to 3/4″. I’m no physics professor but this is just stupid. Eliminating restriction will increase the available volume of water and pressure when it is being used. If you see this, eliminate the restriction. The ball valve is a good thing, it is just the “Rong” size.   

Too Close for Comfort


Too Close

I am an observant guy so when I went to meet my HVAC contractor to pump down and disconnect an AC compressor we got a good laugh. A clean compressor is a good thing but this one was spring-loaded to get full of dryer vent lint. Either the HVAC contractor picked a lousy place to put the unit or the dryer had been moved by a DIYer to discharge right on the compressor spring loading it to be clogged.


The Bounty


There is no end to what we find when we remodel. I will categorize the short stories and images to share what people are doing with best intentions. I have a $20 in house bounty for images of things we find to share with you.


A Flood Waiting for a Time to Blow

DIY faulty sink connections

As part of a remodeling project mandated by a faulty water heater in a laundry room. We tore out the kitchen sink base cabinet. Low and behold we found several DIY connections that were faulty. One for the dishwasher to the hot supply and another for the cold for the refrigerator water line. My hunch is that the home was not originally supplied with these features.

I can only imagine that the work was done with good intentions but the risk was insane. The connections had been leaking and were just done wrong. It dawned on me that there should be a penalty for floods caused by DIY fixes or maybe a disclaimer that insurance won’t cover DIY faulty workmanship.

Naturally our plumber fixed it all. Sure, its job security but the heartache and displacement, disorientation, and waste of resources can not easily be calculated. IMHO just pay a plumber or someone who knows what they are doing.



 I Need a New Outlet

The backside of the wall

This imaginative person decided that an electrical box was not cool so they installed an outlet without one. From the front, it was tilted a little and upside down for a residential application. It was what they did behind the wall that was really frightening.

Upside down and sideways

The Microwave Needs an Outlet

Extension cord to Microwave

In this situation, a home had been flipped. We all know what this means, that you are dealing with a mega DI-Whyer. These people really think they know what they are doing. Electrician, oh hell no, I got this.


What is frightening about this situation is that the Microwave should have a separate circuit. The plug-in was behind the microwave jammed into the wall.



Wana Be Remodeler Calls Me For Help


I just fielded a call from a gal that I helped when she fell off her bicycle one day. She is remodeling her home using subcontractors but doesn’t want to take the risk of playing subcontractor Russian Roulette. She recently fired a tradesman and threatened to report him to the BBB. Who needs that crap. I have no idea why tradesmen would want to work for a Home Owner doing their own remodeling project.


I realized that I have a page devoted to that. Then after talking with her more, I felt sort of dirty. I pay dearly for my relationships that we develop with my tradespeople. Why would I want to subject them to a remodeling Home Owner who does not see any value in what I do for a living. Need something fixed? call me for advice or use my page. Want to remodel your home yourself? Good Luck. Perhaps this page will give you an idea of what not to do.



Primitive Warming / Cooling Drawer

half in half out HVAC register

I am evaluating this project for a kitchen remodel and discovered a half ass vent. Part in and part out of the kitchen cabinets. The dishes are really warm in the winter and chilled in the summer.



Son Of a Flipper Ruins Home

Oh Hell No

A sad situation was brought to my attention to fix after a failed relationship and remodeling project. He learned a lot from his folks, but he failed to get a permit. Therefore none of his work is valid.


He was not the homeowner so the electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC work was done illegality not to mention RONG. Oh, and the tile work was done RONG too. Perhaps it is premature to judge a half-baked cake but this is just stupid.

Glue on Tile

The construction adhesive did not attach to the tiles and the wrong spacers were used. Is that why they are falling off? DUH. Waterproofing, No must have stopped the YouTube video a little prematurely.  There is no better advertisement to never buy a flipped home.


Did she get a great deal?

NO! the price she paid was cheap. The work she got was shabby and needs to be torn out and investigated. He likely did not do the electrical right behind the walls, the flooring is terrible, the plumbing and the HVAC are not done correctly and the tile work is not acceptable. She will have to pay to get it fixed. Bottom line she is paying for it twice.

Not fun when you went deep into your reserves to get the work done in the first place. Sadly I am not Mike Holmes. I do not have a budget and sponsors to help her out of this pickle.

Run Around the Wall

Romex around the wall

Here is another fine example of an electrical good idea gone bad. Why he heck would you run your electrical Romex around the room then up through the wall for an outlet? This is why houses burn down and why people should not play with electricity who do not know what they are doing.


Here is a Flood Looking for a Place to Happen

The polyethylene is bad enough because it is prone to spontaneously erupt but pierce it with a crimping saddle valve for the refrigerator water line is very foolish. Ideally, all of this should be removed and replaced with PEX and a real ball valve should be added to feed the refrigerator. IMHO saddle valves should be outlawed.

Saddle valve in polybutylene


Keeping fire departments in business

I found this one after a brief demo in a basement. The previous owner decided that a piece of cheap extension cord would work for adding an outlet in another room. The joke is they live only a 3 minute drive from a home improvement center. Overloaded wires cause heat, that in contact with combustible materials causes fires. Pretty basic.

Romex? Never heard of it