Product Recall: Milwaukee Power Plus, Chicago Pneumatic, and Extractor battery packs

Recalled Battery Pack from Milwaukee Electrical Tool

1 million portable battery packs for cordless tools made by Milwaukee Electrical Tool Co. have been recalled as they may explode, posing a laceration hazard. Reported injuries have included cuts, bruises and hearing loss.

Here’s the scoop from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission news release:

Hazard: If a vent on the battery cell is damaged or compromised during use, the battery can explode and pose a laceration hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. has received 35 reports of incidents, including 11 injuries from battery packs exploding while in use. Injuries include minor cuts, bruises and some hearing loss.

Description: The recalled batteries are used to power drills, saws, radios, flashlights, wrenches and Extractor windshield glass removers. The recall includes 14.4 and 18 volt 2.4 Ah NiCd Milwaukee Power Plus, Chicago Pneumatic, and Extractor battery packs manufactured between July 1999 and February 2004. The brand name can be found on a label on most battery packs. However, some 14.4 Volt 2.4Ah packs did not have “Power Plus” on the label. The battery packs were sold both with tool kits and as individual battery packs. Battery packs manufactured after February 2004 are not included in this recall.

Consumers are advised to stop using the affected battery packs immediately and contact Milwaukee Electrical Tool to arrange a free replacement.

You can phone Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. at 1 (800) 729-3878 between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

You can also download the the Battery Pack Recall Safety Notice (PDF) from the manufacturer website.

How to quit procrastinating on that kitchen remodel

Do you want a more attractive kitchen? Do you go to the trouble of window shopping for a new kitchen, collecting numerous samples & brochures, but never seem to quite “get there”? Here is some insight into your potential “procrastination”:

“I don’t think you are describing procrastination so much as a form of paralysis caused by fear of making the wrong decisions,” says David Gray, owner of Kitchen Cabinet Expo in Rancho Cordova.

“A kitchen remodel is a major undertaking. When you consider all the choices, time, effort and money involved, it is not hard to understand why many people feel overwhelmed. I think the solution is to find the right professionals you can trust to listen to your needs and help you make the right choices, provide a good experience and do a good job,” he says.

Find more insights and answers to your remodeling jitters at the Sacramento Bee.

Product Recall: BonJour Professional Culinary Torches by Meyer

Bonjour butane culinary torches recalled

4,400 Bonjour Professional Culinary Torches are bing voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer, Meyer corporation. The cooking torches are a fire hazard, as there is a fuel leak problem in the torch assembly near the nozzle.

From the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission press release:

Description: This recall involves the BonJour® Professional Culinary Torch sold alone and as part of the BonJour® Bain Marie Set. The torch is 7.5 inches high and has a visible fuel gauge. The base is black, and the handle is either black or brown. The torch assembly is silver-colored with the word “BonJour” printed on the side.

Four consumer complaints have been filed but no injuries or property damage has resulted so far. Consumers are advised to stop using these torches immediately and contact Meyer for a full refund.

How to contact Meyer: Call 1 (800) 226-6568 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday. I wasn’t able to find recall information on the Meyer website.

The ugliest front door in America

Therma-Tru Ugly Door Contest Winner

Who wants to admit their front door is an eyesore and the “ugliest door in America”? Quite a few people actually, which shouldn’t be surprising as the warts ‘n’ all reality makeover is now a staple of the home improvement industry. Therma-Tru Doors has just announced the winners of their Third Annual Ugliest Door in America Contest.

The grand prize winner is shown left, selected from over 200 entrants. To enter homeowners had to submit 2 photos and an essay explaining why their front door deserves to be named as the Ugliest Door in America; “worst in show” wins.

Judging was done by a team of 6 home improvement industry professionals including consultants from HGTV, Qualified Remodeler, the “On The House” radio show, and Home magazine.

The 2 winners will each receive a $3000 – $5000 front door makeover.

To see the winners and later the makeover results, visit www.myuglydoor.com.

The toughest material for kitchen countertops?

Limestone? Concrete? Granite? Corian? Tile? Laminate? Marble?

The answer none of the above. The toughest, most resilient and stain resistant counter top material is Quartz.

… the fastest-growing countertop surface. Also known as engineered stone, quartz outperformed even granite in our tests, especially in stain resistance. The latest examples also mimic granite, marble, and other natural stone better than before … While you’ll pay about the same for quartz as you will for granite (about $45 to $90 per square foot, installed), you’ll never have to reseal this engineered stone like the real stuff.

More countertop insights at the Consumer Reports Home & Yard blog.

Movable electrical power outlets: Eubiq is unique

Eubiq in the Kitchen

Eubiq (“electricity ubiquitous”) brings you something unique for your home: the movable electrical power outlet. Meet the Eubiq Power Track System, a sleek, elegantly designed electrical power outlet alternative that lets you “add, remove and reposition power outlets anytime anywhere – by just a simple twist”.

The Eubiq Power System gives you more convenience, flexibility, and choice. It eliminates the need for snaking electrical extension cords and having to move furniture to get to electrical power outlets. The system is available as 110V or 230V and in 2 prong, 3 prong or high capacity electrical outlets versions.

Eubiq Power Track System Power Point Steps

The electrical outlets (“power points”) are mounted on a track as shown above and right. Power points can be positioned anywhere on the track. You simply twist and pull to remove and push / twist to insert elsewhere. Power points are independent of each other. You can also add extra power points to an existing track. Special adapters are needed to actually plug in; adapters are available for Britain, Germany, India, Australia and Japan. The product will be available in North America once it gets UL (Underwriters Laboratories) approval later this year.

The Eubiq Power System is child safe. The track is designed to prevent the electrical parts from being touched. Stick your finger in, nothing happens. The power points have a “patented Grounded Sentry Shutter system that prevents users from touching the live wire parts”. The system has received ASTA BEAB Safety and Quality Product Certification in the UK as well as KTL Safety and Quality Product Certification; more safety certifications are sure to follow.

The Eubiq Power Track System will be available in various lengths and should retail for about $30 / ft. Each track system comes with 3 power points or electrical outlets.

Props: Sci Fi Tech Blog via Cool Gadgets.

Check out the Eubiq demo & website for more information. All photos are from Eubiq’s website.

Deconstructing the big green hallucination

Want good, insightful reading on the challenges of the green revolution? Then look no further than Is it all a ‘green hallucination’?, a news report covering noted NY Times & Pulitzer prize winning journalist Thomas Friedman’s presentation at the Aspen Ideas Festival last night.

There have been a lot of global warning naysayers in the news lately but Friedman is not one of them; he believes the threat is real. In fact, there’s another problem at hand.

He isn’t buying the hype that humans are doing anything meaningful to promote global cooling …

There is a saying in the Pentagon that a vision without resources to act on it is a hallucination, Friedman said … “Right now I think we’re in the middle of a big green hallucination.”

Friedman goes on to label the global warming crisis as the greatest threat facing humankind – “We’re talking about changing the weather” and advocates that the word “green” be reinvented; ownership of the word needs to pass from “environmental extremists and granola eaters” into the mainstream.

Fascinating ideas from one of the controversial journalists of our time. Read more …

More professional advice for the DIY General Contractor

This article features advice from DIY General Contractor expert Pay Fay, author of The Pat Fay Method: How to Manage Your Home Remodel or New Construction Without a General Contractor to Save Serious Money.

Mr. Fay offers some interesting insight into the growing trend of do-it-yourself General Contracting:

The actual cost of home improvements is not aligned well with the prices being charged, the quality of work has been declining and the working general contractor is slowly disappearing. Many now simply arrange subcontractors and provide minimal supervision. Quite frequently, general contractors will take the cost of the materials, add labor, then triple it. People are being charged $200-$250 per square foot for projects that can be accomplished for half that price.

Read How to do it yourself – as a general contractor on the Seattle Times.

Read reviews for The Pat Fay Method on Amazon.com.

See my previous post, The Top 5 Unexpected Pitfalls of being your own General Contractor.

Top remodelers & renovators honored at Chrysalis Awards

Looking for a showcase of real remodeling jobs with real budgets & real results (as opposed to those unlimited budget jobs we see on home and garden TV)? Reflecting current trends? With beautiful workmanship? In your area? Look no further than the Chrysalis Awards, a website dedicating to celebrating “the finest remodeling projects in the United States”. The awards for 2006 were just presented at the Southern Building Show.

The judges are editors and publishers from the Home & Garden industry: Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day’s Home Remodeling & Makeovers, Southern Living Magazine and Sunset Magazine.

The judging criteria?

The projects are judged on design, use of materials, use of space and integration into the existing space. What makes these projects so relevant to you is that these judges apply their training to select project they want the public to see…just as they would do in their publications.

This makes it a little different from other industry awards which are typically awarded by trade associations. It’s very consumer oriented and attuned to what homeowners want to see.

Browse the Chrysalis Awards award winners index to find top renovators & remodelers (and design ideas) in your area.

Or check out our hire a home improvement contractor blog to see photos from award winners in the northeastern states.

Source: Qualified Remodeler via Kitchen & Bath Business.

Innovative leveller sytem stabilizes wobbly and unsafe ladders

Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer

The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer is a “revolutionary” solution to unstable and unsafe ladders for both do-it-yourselfers and home improvement professionals.

The Basemate Ladder Leveller … is an ingenious arc of hardened steel that cuts the risk of falls by allowing ladders to remain stable on uneven ground.

Opposing locks on each side of the arc replace the feet of a standard ladder. As the locks are released, the arc slides over until its rubber treads are firmly on the ground while the ladder stays plumb.
- Vancouver Sun

It looks easier to use than traditional ladder levellers. To see just how easy, watch the video available at the Base Mate website. You lean your ladder, tap-release the lock with your foot, and start climbing. Pretty cool!

The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer has been tested, used and now endorsed by Mike Holmes who calls it “the smartest foot system of any ladder leveler on the market”.

Some Specs & Features:

  • wider base which gives added support / stability to extension ladders
  • strong enough for the heaviest construction ladders
  • exceeds Grade 1 CDN and type 1A USA ladder requirements by 20%
  • made of hardened steel
  • insured by Lloyds of London
  • patented triple action locking system with one foot operation
  • installation to most fiberglass, aluminum and wood extension ladders (12” to 20” rung width)
  • weight tested to 1,200 pounds

Check it out at the Base Mate website. The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer is available in Canada and the UK. Hopefully US distribution will be coming soon; the distributor plans to launch in the US after finding success in other markets.

Note: The system was originally developed in 2001 by home improvement contractor Martin Dennis (Surrey’s Precision Gutters). It received the “most innovative product” award at the Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show the same year but hasn’t been professionally marketed until recently. Just goes to show you that brilliant ideas do not go out of style.

  1. About

    RenoWire is the "Renovation Newswire": bringing you the best from the web in Home Improvement news, ideas, and advice.

  2. Search Blog

  3. Subscribe

    • Google Reader or Homepage
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Add to My MSN
    • Add to My AOL
    • Add to del.icio.us
    • Subscribe to RSS 2.0
    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • Furl It
    • Subscribe in Rojo

  4. Add to Technorati Favorites
  5. Popular Posts

  6. Recent Posts

    1. New LED Under Cabinet Lights from DEKOR
    2. Worth reading: Ebuild’s 2009 Most Valuable Products
    3. Green Appliances: Energy efficiency makes a difference
    4. Does this energy efficient lightbulb make me look fat? Women shun CFLs in droves.
    5. Product Recall: Sauder Woodworking TV Stands Can Collapse
    6. Video: Good and Bad Home Remodeling Investments
    7. Concrete vs. asphalt driveways – which is better?
    8. Product Recall: Black & Decker GH1000 Grasshog XP String Trimmer / Edgers
    9. Do you need extra insurance during your renovation?
    10. ZZZerious emerging home trend: the snoring room
  7. Categories

  8. Archives