While inspecting homes, Jess and I find very frequently that the service entrance conductor (that is what the cable is called) is frayed and bare wires are exposed. Water, in turn, gets into the fuse or circuit breaker box. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure water and electricity don’t mix?

The utility companies are responsible for the service drop, which is the cable from the pole up to the house. Once the cable touches the house, it’s called the service entrance conductor.

Shocking as it may seem, it is your responsibility to repair or replace that frayed electrical service.

As I said, DTE maintains the meter and the service drop from the pole to the service head. Your frayed service entrance must be replaced by a licensed electrician.

You’re dealing with 220-volts. If you’re talking about doing it yourself, you’re talking electrocution, not just a permanent ‘perm” to your hair. Hire an electrician.

Central air conditioning (A.C.) is a luxury we all love. But like with anything we love it needs care and nurturing. Here are a few tips:

First on the list is to keep your HVAC filter clean. HVAC means “Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.” You probably refer to your filter as the “furnace filter”. But it needs to be washed, cleaned or replaced regardless of the season. Some filters require replacing and/or cleaning monthly, even three months, six months or annually. Check with the manufacturer.

Your AC doesn’t need your furnace but it needs the ductwork, blower and filter that are part of the furnace.

Usually, the ductwork above your furnace the is called a plenum, in which is an AC coil (usually referred to as an “A-coil.” When the thermostat calls for AC, the condenser outside converts a refrigerant from a liquid to a gas, which in turn, turns the coil cold.

When your furnace fan comes on, it pulls air from throughout the house through the ducts where it is cooled by crossing the coil. That’s maybe a little simplified, but it works.

The condenser outside needs minor maintenance as well. Keep shrubs and vegetation away from it for at least one foot. The condenser must be kept clean to allow air to flow evenly.

In Michigan, at certain times of the year, we get all kinds of stuff falling from the trees (read that as cottonwoods). If not removed they will clog the condenser and damage it. It is easy to clean. Turn off the power to the A.C. and using a garden hose wash downward on the fins until clean.

One final thing: don’t wrap and cover your AC unit in the fall to keep it clean. It doesn’t need it. The unit is designed to be outside in the elements. If you wrap it, we’ve seen small animals such as mice and chipmunks find that enclosure to be a nice home in the winter. When those rodents get hungry enough, they look at the red and black wires like licorice and chew on them.

If you feel a need to protect the condenser, just put a piece of plywood on top of it with a brick to keep the board from blowing off.

And speaking of off, I’m outta here!

Hiring a contractor? Do your homework, before he does your home work!


You should be prepared. Make a list of what you want done. Each contractor should be bidding on the same list. Always get three bids. All bids should be free. All bids should be in writing.


Check out references. I had some driveway work done on my house. The contractor never followed through with my complaint six months later. He has my name on his list of references. When someone calls, I tell them “No, I’m not satisfied and do not recommend him:” Be sure to ask: how was the workmanship? Cleanliness? Were they satisfied? If possible, see the jobs. Check Yelp, Google and any other social means.


As for the contract itself, the contract should include job specifications i.e.:

  • Detailed description of work to be done.

  • Materials to be used.

  • Cost of the job upon completion.

  • Payment schedule.

  • Permits needed and who is responsible for them.

  • Change order clause (any changes must be in writing).

  • Statement of insurance.

  • License number of the contractor.

  • Guaranty or warranty.

  • Method of debris removal and who will be responsible.

  • Start and completion dates.

Any contract signed at your house can be canceled within three days. Also get a release of liens at the time of paying the final payment. If you pay your contractor and he fails to pay any of or all of his “subs”, they in turn can sue you and put a lien on your house, forcing you to pay twice. Get the release of liens.

Finally, trust your instincts!! Your instinct has probably never failed you.

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