Articles by Tom Gocze


When it comes to old houses, a deal is in the eye of the beholder

By Tom Gocze on Aug. 06, 2010, at 8:59 p.m.
For some sick, twisted reason, I have to look at houses for sale whether I am in the market for one or not. Fortunately, my wife shares this compulsion and we scout properties.

For domestic serenity, keep water in its place

By Tom Gocze on July 30, 2010, at 10:49 p.m.
I shop a lot when doing any home improvement project. Years ago, I would be pleased with myself when I found kitchen and bathroom faucets that cost $10 to $20.

Living among the rubble of ambitious home improvement

By Tom Gocze on July 23, 2010, at 7:34 p.m.
There is a new home improvement “reality” TV program that I caught the other day: “Family Renovation.” It’s about a family that moves into a story-and-a-half house they want to renovate. They have five kids, ages 2 to about 12. They are having a third story added to their home, …

Tankless water heaters have come a long way

By Tom Gocze on July 16, 2010, at 6:43 p.m.
For a number of years I was nervous about electronics in heating appliances, but the latest generation of tankless gas water heaters are full of electronics and are proving to be quite reliable.

Fine and funky painted roof can be cool

By Tom Gocze on July 09, 2010, at 7:10 p.m.
After a week of summer weather, many Mainers are struggling with high temperatures on the second floors of their homes.

Battery, gadget hoarding is in the eye of the beholder

By Tom Gocze on July 02, 2010, at 10:33 p.m.
I spent way too much time last weekend watching TV shows about people who hoard stuff.

Reliable electric cars left in the past

By Tom Gocze on June 25, 2010, at 8:53 p.m.
One hundred years ago there were electric cars that went 30 mph and had a range of 100 miles. They also had swappable battery packs and features that we pine for today. So what happened? Well, we like to drive faster than 30 mph. Our love of speed and hot …

Focus on green energy sadly a little misguided

By Tom Gocze on June 18, 2010, at 10:36 p.m.
On the heels of a renewed interest in alternative energy and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, many people are seriously thinking about what they can do to reduce our use of fossil fuels. The other …

Creative woodworking extends lives of vehicles

By Tom Gocze on June 04, 2010, at 8:40 p.m.
Living in Maine, you see some wonderful things. Where I live, there are bald eagles, all kinds of birds and waterfowl and foxes, and occasionally a moose comes to visit.

Solar heat lesson from 25 years ago

By Tom Gocze on May 28, 2010, at 7:16 p.m.
In 1985 I did a solar heating system for a friend. We wanted to try storing heat in the floor of the building. The house was built on a slab.

Solar pool heating is real deal for Mainers

By Tom Gocze on May 21, 2010, at 8:17 p.m.
The other day I got a phone call from a large solar collector manufacturer who wanted to purchase one of our solar tanks.

Marvel of modern refrigerators comes with new complications

By Tom Gocze on May 14, 2010, at 9:49 p.m.
So let’s file today’s column under “They don’t build ’em like they used to.” A couple of weeks ago, we were discussing the design of current refrigerators. They all have a lot of “gee whiz” features, including an LCD TV screen so you don’t miss the latest episode of “Dancing …

A sweeping tutorial on chimneys

By Tom Gocze on May 07, 2010, at 7:53 p.m.
Chimneys have been around for a long time. Their purpose has changed somewhat over the years, first being used for fireplaces and stoves and later for boilers and furnaces. Many early chimneys …

It’s time for a Top 10 listing of most-essential home tools

By Tom Gocze on April 23, 2010, at 8:11 p.m.
Most people like to have tools. Power tools are even better. Of course, given what I do (whatever that is), I have quite a menagerie of tools. It is hard to think of what is important to own. Years ago, I did a spot on a TV news program on …

Arbitrary definition of ‘green’ building a worry

By Tom Gocze on April 09, 2010, at 8:03 p.m.
A while ago, I lamented the definition of what “green” building practices actually are. At the time, I was concerned that I would be considered more of a curmudgeon than I already am. Well, it seems that many in the building industry are feeling the same way. There is an …

Thinking about foundation fundamentals

By Tom Gocze on April 02, 2010, at 9:40 p.m.
Every spring the building projects start. I am always looking, trying to see what kinds of foundations are going in and how the builders are dealing with frost and heat loss.

Hitting the trade shows in search of innovation

By Tom Gocze on March 26, 2010, at 9:03 p.m.
We are officially into the season for springtime shows — home shows, boat shows, garden shows, even paper shows.

Bargain-bin light switches sizzle out after five years

By Tom Gocze on March 19, 2010, at 6:10 p.m.
Every so often being a homeowner foists upon you the need to perpetrate a repair upon your domicile. This happened to me last week.

Becoming cranky about magic paint

By Tom Gocze on March 05, 2010, at 6:07 p.m.
I wonder whether there is a certain age when one becomes a contrarian. I wonder that because I have a lot of negative feelings about a lot of stuff that is sold these days. One thing is magic …

A lot of time spent thinking about sidewalks

By Tom Gocze on Feb. 12, 2010, at 6:20 p.m.
I spend a lot of time thinking about sidewalks this time of year. That is because my sidewalk goes on a little trip up in the air a bit from frost heaving. When we bought this house, there was a walk that was done with 24-inch-square pavers. They were bedded …