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Blow in insulation settles and compacts over time, which can affect the structure's ability to retain heat or stay cool.  In preparation for the upcoming summer months, a client wanted to add a few inches of new insulation to the attic.

In general, blow in insulation is easy to deal with, but made more difficult by tight spaces and attempting to do it solo.  The last time I did this by myself, I figured out a trick to control the blower without assistance.  That helped in this case but it was still a chore to reload the hopper every minute.
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In just a couple of hours there was several more inches of new insulation throughout the attic, and thanks to the vendor's easy equipment rental terms it was well priced to boot!

 
 
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I'll be the first to admit that I'm no fan of heights, despite my few years as a Army paratrooper (or maybe because of it?), but recently I found myself facing an elevation challenge that demanded a creative approach in the name of safety.  The home owner desired to remove the steel railing of his cantilevered deck so that it could be refinished.  Taking it down  was not terribly difficult, but replacing it once it was refinished was going to be harder.  I had to come up with an inexpensive solution that could lift the sections into place yet  did not damage the deck surface nor the newly refinished railings.  Adding to this was the lack of suitable anchor points.

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To meet this requirement I constructed a simple crane and hoist mechanism from lumber to raise the railing sections into place so that they could be fastened to the deck edge.  Luck aided me, as I had long ago stored an old locking block and tackle in my garage and you simply can't find such things in hardware stores anymore.  A large cargo strap was used to fasten the hoist to the deck.  This is exactly the type of solution I am talking about when I say ARYX can develop executable on-the-ground solutions.
-Eric

 
 
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This photo shows the result of settling for a sub-standard installation by what was supposed to have been a certified pool electrician.  In 2011 I decided to replace the old pool timers and at the same time converted to a salt water system (which I don't regret!).  Not having the time to do it myself, I hired a contractor through one of the larger pool supply stores here in town.  He came out, worked for about 4-5 hours and left a jumbled arrangement of boxes attached to the exterior of the garage.  At the time, it was no big deal, but time and weather quickly took its toll and the weakness of the installation became apparent when two yeas later the boxes were literally falling off the wall!

The problems: 1) timer boxes for the pumps and salt cell secured to a high-relief stone wall with 1.5" common fasteners (not nearly long or large enough for the load), 2) boxes not lined up neatly and awkwardly positioned too far from the edge of the paved step, 3) main cut off switches not wired to the interior of the pool timer box, and 4) cables left loose and unsecure. 

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I think most will agree, this picture shows a far better installation, even before I tied down all the cables!  To accomplish this, I removed both boxes and build a steel component rack out of shelving stock.  With the rack secured to the wall with masonry anchors, each box was rehung with stainless steel hardware.  All the wiring was re-routed into the boxes using more direct connections and fewer cables.  Also, the cut off switches were relocated into the base of the lower pump timer box (not shown in picture).



 
 
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When a customer recently requested the construction of a cover for an above-ground pump, he asked that it be built to resemble a composting bin.  Aesthetically a composting bin on the edge of the property would make sense.  I got to work immediately and built a custom enclosure with room to spare so that pump maintenance could be performed.  Installation of the enclosure on the steeply sloped yard took some shovel work, but in all it fit well.  This product was designed and built with minimal input on the specs from the customer.  Just a general statement of what was required.
-Eric

 
 
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This December I noticed a local advertisement in which a home owner was seeking assistance to a pair of problems he found bothersome.  The first was an upstairs shower faucet that was not producing hot water and the second was a pair of pool drains that have lost their protective covers.  I immediately recognized the complexity of the second issue and contacted him with a recommendation.

The next day we met and I had the opportunity to inspect the situation.  Hard water had caused a calcium build up in his shower valve.  I recommended an experienced plumber who could come and address the issue with a full complement of tools necessary to replace the rough in.  In my estimation, the calcium build up was beyond a second attempt at repair and the situation needed the extensive specialty work and warranty a licensed plumber could provide.  That second opinion cost him nothing but did help his decision making.

The pool drains were a different matter entirely.  The original installation did not use stainless steel screws to secure the drain covers.  In the intervening years these screws rusted away in place, and the Polaris skimmer eventually was able to knock loose the covers, causing a safety hazard to swimmers.  Knowing that he would not have an easy time finding a pool service company that can fix this problem (especially in 54 degree water), I offered to do the dive myself.  I'm a certified recreational diver so rounding up the tools was not difficult.  The solution called for removing/grinding down the rusted screws, re-drilling some holes and replacing the screws with stainless steel versions...in 6 ft of bone-chilling  water.  How would you have done it?

The point of this story is that I was able to complete the job safely and to the satisfaction of the customer.  He did not have to drain the pool nor wait until spring to fix the problem.  Good planning, some obsolete hand tools and a tolerance for cold water dives made all the difference.
-Eric



 
 
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This is a cable TV amp installation I did in an attic last year.  It serves as a good example of how I bring multiple skill sets to bear on a problem that is often difficult to resolve without contracting with multiple service providers.  Poor and unreliable signal quality was traced back to a cheap and poorly installed signal splitter so I procured a 8-port signal amp to give it a boost.  This is the white box to the left with all the black coaxial cables attached to it.  Of course, this required a power source, so I installed a dedicated outlet (grey box on the right) on the roof beam and wired it to an existing outlet that serviced the room on the other side of the wall.
In addition to this work I installed some new coaxial connections and caps on all the unused connectors.  All this combined to make a pretty good boost in signal strength, and organized the entire installation to ease any future issues that may arise.