Tony Hariri is a general handyman specializing in appliances. According to his website, "Tony Hariri has been in the home appliance repair business for over 30 years servicing clients in the Easy Bay."
A homeowner reports on his experience: "I showed him my other appliances and he said he could fix all of them if they ever broke down. I liked his approach: he opened the dryer and went directly to the source of the problem. In fact, the part which he had originally thought might be broken was in good shape; the problem was elsewhere, with two little parts which he replaced right away. Not a minute wasted. Since the part he had ordered was not needed, he did not charge me for it (it can be returned), and lowered the final bill accordingly. He's also very neat -- cleaned debris along as he worked. I'll definitely call him next time some appliance breaks down." August 2017
The originals are by Delta. March 2011
Carpets - cleaning
Recommendations from owners:
- Bob of Golden Bear Carpet, 834-9520. (2004)
- Excellent Window and Carpet Cleaning, 540-0344. (2009)
- Ron's Carpet Detail, Ron Bouchard, 510-235-SPOT, ext 7768 (2019). NOTE: He does carpet cleaning, repairs, patching, stretching. He took out a huge stain (whole bottle of salad dressing spilled) out of a beige carpet, after another carpet cleaner had unsuccessfully attempted to remove it. Very knowledgeable and reasonable price (if you conside $150 reasonable, which I do give the magnitude and seriousness of the stain).
- A Healthier Clean Carpet Cleaning (Steve Miller from San Francisco), (415) 424-5263. (NOTE: The following testimonials were made during the lifetime of the previous owner.)
- A post on Yelp by a UT homeowner about Steve's cleaning of the Commons Room: "Another homeowner recommended Steve very highly when our condominium association's commons room needed help. The carpet, installed only two or three years ago, was filthy (children's birthday parties, careless buffet dinners, you name it). The usual cleaning company for the complex did a lousy job just over a year ago for an exorbitant price - you couldn't tell the carpet had been cleaned. I tried Steve's services on a carpet of my own before recommending that we use him for the Big Job, and he did a perfect job. Plus he was intelligent and realistic as he gave me an estimate for the commons room. Half the price the other company had charged! And the carpet, despite interim efforts at cleaning with inappropriate supermarket products, came back to its original condition. He's given us advice on how to maintain it, and we'll be using him again on a regular basis. Many thanks, Steve!" (2010)
- Another homeowner wrote: "They got a bunch of 'stains' out of my carpets that Coit had just been mowing over for the past several cleanings! I am amazed." (2011)
- See other Yelp comments about Fresh and Clean Carpet Cleaning.
- Zerorez (866) 937-6739
- According to Alix: I highly recommend Zerorez. I love how eco-friendly their service is--it's the best proof that one doesn't need chemicals to remove stains! My carpets had not been cleaned in a long time (because we sadly lost Steven of a Healthier Clean last year), and the dribbles and spots had really started to accumulate. I was a little nervous about them, in fact. But Ricardo from Zerorez is a genius--he completely removed every stain. And it was quick, too--and the price was right. I got my dining room, living room, and downstairs hallways cleaned and scotch-guarded for a little over $200.
Enzyme carpet cleaners for those spots that drive you crazy: Oxyclean -- yes, the same as the one for the laundry.
Carpets - replacing
Neighbors have had good experiences (service, price, quality) with:
- Floor Dimensions
- Floor Store (with Tito Chavez as installer) February 2011
Problem: My dishwasher is not draining, even when I clean out the overflow gadget on the sink.
- Recommendation #1
"I had this problem with my dishwasher and I discovered that the solution was rather simple. At the bottom of your machine is a filter basket with a Philips screw on the top. If you take out this screw and one other, you can take off the basket. Amid the accumulated grunge of ten years, you will probably find several foreign objects that are distressing your dishwasher. Remove them carefully (there may be broken glass) and do any obvious cleaning. After you replace the basket the dishwasher outlet should flush itself clean in a couple of cycles."
- Recommendation #2
"On the top of your sink there should be a little part that balances the pressure in your dishwasher. Take a tooth pick and clean the entrance."
Need adjusting? Maynard Door Services, located in San Leandro, 357-2695, shortens doors if one has installed carpets or thresholds for hardwood floors. Comment from an owner: "They came and sawed off three doors of mine in 1/2 hour and charged $75. Not bad."
The UT report and recommendations from May 2004 regarding earthquake insurance contain some useful links, including one for homeowners wondering whether they should insure their home's contents against earthquakes.
When people have asked for recommendations, the company below is often mentioned:
Roberts Electric Company, 480 23rd Street, Oakland, 834-6161
Walter Liebe, 1046 56th Street, Oakland, 508-4095. "We just used Walter Liebe and were very happy!" May 2016
Furnace repair and vents
A neighbor reports on a conversation with a furnace repairman:
"He told me that furnace vent cleaning (unlike dryer vent cleaning) is a vastly over-sold service for individual furnaces of the vintage of our buildings (that is, all those apart from Building 9). Furnaces from the time our buildings were constructed are fitted with various safety devices, one feature of which is to cut down air circulation if the filters are getting too dirty and clogged. This situation will affect the working of thermostats in various areas of the units.
"He suggests that before investing in possibly unnecessary vent cleaning, homeowners try changing filters. In many cases this could restore the correct functioning of the furnace. He also suggested that replacement filters not be the cheapest available; those costing $15 to $20 will do a much better job, and also cut down on allergens in the household. Filters should be checked every year or so, and replaced if they look black and cruddy." January 2009
Other furnace experts recommend the Ace Hardware filters (a bargain at $.99) and to change them every three-four months. November 2009
Two recommendations from UT homeowners for "furnace guys" --
- Ceridono Heating, 528-1622 February 2011
- L.J. Kruse, 920 Pardee Street, Berkeley 94710, 644-0260 November 2009
- Danny Beltran, 414-1032 (cell) or 633-1488 (office), http://www.diamondhandyman.com/about-us/. "Danny He built the railing for our loft, installed child safety gates, did minor plumbing and electrical work, fixed faulty closet doors, and other around-the-house sorts of projects. He is extremely pleasant and very reliable!" June 2015
Neal Cassidy "Homo habilis" -- "He's very efficient. Carpentry and household repairs." 527-5913 May 2015
- Ramon De La Fuente, 200-1926, email@example.com. "Ramon housesits and also can do maintenance and small repairs. Reliable!" June 2015
- Roger Hammar, "Carpentry & Such," 282-8790 has also been quite helpful.
- Francisco Perez, 290-9251. "He’s done a little bit of everything around my place (power washing windows, fixing window rollers, water line to fridge, new kitchen faucet, reseating and caulking toilets, installing exhaust fans, etc.). Highly recommend!" And from another homeowner: "Francisco is fantastic. He has done a bunch of odd jobs for us too, always great, and very responsive." June 2015
- Amy Segal. 971-271-7105. Fix/Rebuild/Design/Solve. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Recommended by Beatriz Motta.
Fasthaul, run by David Singer,
653-0445 and 703-1758
"...example of ethical quality."
The hard-to-reach corner areas in many of our kitchens can be adapted. One homeowner's suggestion is Lee Valley & Veritas' blind corner units. November 2008
Lightbulbs for our kitchens
One neighbor's tip for purchasing replacements for our kitchen fluorescent lightbulbs:
"White Electric Company (The Light Bulb Place) 'electrical contractors in Berkeley since 1912', tel: 845-8535, PO Box 11276, Berkeley, CA 94712, sells the U-shaped light bulbs for kitchen lights of the type installed at University Terrace: Sylvania cool white FB40CW-6. Cost is $11.83 each and they ship for free, but you have to buy at least $30 worth of product. They are a mail order firm: they take phone orders only (between 8:30am and 4:30pm M-F) and they do not have a customer counter for pickups." March 2007
Many neighbors recommend Rex Key and Security, 1908 University Avenue, 845-7784.
KAPS Microwave Service, 4641 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, 655-6287.
Excellent Window and Carpet Cleaning, Inc. They will clean your windows at the same time as they do the blinds.
Paint Exterior Paint Colors, purchased from Behr
The original paint that most of us had was Fuller O'Brien's Whisper White 1@18-1, now sold at Pursel Paint, 875 Potter Street (one block north of Ashby, just west of 7th Street). Mention University Terrace and ask for the "old formula" for Whisper White. The original kitchen and bathrooms are semi-gloss; the rest of the unit, flat.
- Scheme 1: (buildings 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9)
- Body/staircase wall – Kaffir Lime PPU8-8
- Extended window element/pop out/lower unit – Warm Muffin 330D-4
- Window trim/Fascia – Innocence W-D-720
- Railing – Bison Brown 780B-7
- Front Door – Sly Fox S-H-160
- Porch & stairs – Adobe by Rust-oleumM (Apparently this is no longer available. One homeowner used Benjamin Moore, color 1126 – baked pretzel.)
- Scheme 2: (buildings 2, 4, 6)
- Body/staircase wall – Tea Bag PPU8-9
- Extended window element/pop out/lower unit – Carriage Door 770D-5
- Window trim/Fascia – Innocence W-D-720
- Railing – Bison Brown 780B-7
- Front Door – Sly Fox S-H-160
- Porch & stairs – Adobe by Rust-oleum (Apparently this is no longer available. One homeowner used Benjamin Moore, color 1126 – baked pretzel.)
Building 9 Interior Colors (hallway walls and doors) – I'm afraid we did not capture the information about the colors used to paint the walls of building 9's hallways or the door colors. This was done at least 15 years ago.
Bristol Weeden, (415) 576-1225.
"He's a 1-man operation, and he's very careful and meticulous, extremely neat, quiet, trustworthy (we left him on his own when we were out of town), accommodating, and reliable. We literally had no problems with him, and enjoyed having him around. His prices were on the lower side of the range of estimates we received, and we will definitely use him again and recommend him wholeheartedly to friends."
First, if the problem is outside your unit, then our property management company must be involved. Please contact Willis Management Group, Inc. (our property management company) directly. If you can't reach Willis, the Board recommends you call All Service Plumbing, whose quality of work Willis vouches for, and whose prices are very competitive (see below).
Second, if this concerns your unit alone, then you may find the following recommendations helpful:
All Service Plumbing (ask for Shelly) -- 655-5015.
Albert Nahman Plumbing and Heating -- 843-6904. One homeowner said, "They are very professional and I believe their pricing is fair." 2009 But another homeowner said, "I would not recommend Albert Nahman Plumbing, since they are way overpriced. (They wanted $365 to fix a leaky faucet.)" July 2015
The Lunt Marymor Company -- 985-2889. Their quoted rates are:
$75 for the first 1/2 hour; $86.25 for the first 3/4 hour; and $97.50 for the first hour. 2002
- Pacific Drain and Rooting, Inc. -- 452-4606 or 223-3883. 24-hour services. Ask for Nasir N. Jalil. "Five stars on Yelp!" July 2015
- Pat O'Neill -- 526-7721 (office), 333-2157 (cell). One homeowner said, "She replaced the inner workings of our toilet, fixed the shutoff valve, and lowered the fill level to save water.. It was flowing nonstop. We had to put a rock on top of the valve to keep it from opening." And added, "Pat O'Neil is local, reliable, and efficient with reasonable, fair prices. She even sent me a thank-you-note." email@example.com July 2015
- Mr. Rooter Plumbing -- 843-6378. Used to be around the corner on University. Apparently has consolidated offices with Oakland. Has been recommended by many UT homeowners in the past. Other homeowners have found they recommend excessive, unnecessary work and are very expensive. May 2011
- Peter Renoir -- 842-6423. "Reasonable." firstname.lastname@example.org. July 2015
- Tony the Plumber -- 860-2147. "Honest, conscientious, local, independent, and reasonably priced. Highly recommended." Plumberooter510@yahoo.com. May 2015, used him 2018 too and ditto to recommendation
Firex (formerly Maple Chase Company)
A note from the manufacturer, Firex (formerly Maple Chase Company):
"Smoke alarms are sensitive devices that are made to respond to small particles of combustion (smoke). However, since smoke alarms do respond to particles in the air, they are susceptible to going into alarm mode when encountering particles in the air other than smoke. Typically, a build up of dust or debris in a smoke alarm will eventually cause a false alarm if not cleaned regularly. Additionally, if small insects enter the internal detection chamber, the smoke alarm will sound its alarm horn. This is mostly prevalent in the late night hours when it is dark.
"The size of the openings to the internal detection chamber is regulated by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), and is standard throughout the industry. Therefore, they cannot be made any smaller than they already are. Additionally, the constant green light (indication of AC power on AC/DC models also AC models in Canada) that is emitted through the clear test button is also a requirement of UL and cannot be changed. This light is what seems to attract small insects in the dark hours of the night.
"To keep dust and debris out of your smoke alarm it is necessary to clean it out at least a couple times a year with a powerful vacuum cleaner. The only way to properly prevent insects from affecting smoke alarms is to keep them away from the smoke alarm, and to keep smoke alarms out of areas such as garages. Changing out smoke alarms with new units will not solve this problem."
Got problems? Here's what one homeowner recommends:
"There are two small batteries inside which need to be replaced perhaps once every year or once every two years. They are available at Radio Shack, where they can also check if your current batteries are bad or not. There is an electronic fuse which is placed where the furnace is. These are available at Home Depot."
Tools to borrow, especially garden tools, from our UT toolshed
Contact these helpful owners:
- Phyllis Brooks Shafer
- John Smail
Washing machine repair
Kim's Appliances, 436-5382. A homeowners recommends, "I got our washing machine fixed this morning by Kim's Appliances. The guy took a few minutes to diagnose the problem and about 10 more to fix it. The repair is guaranteed for 90 days." December 2014
Water Heaters Only, 220 4th Street, Oakland, 839-0414 or (800) 835-5946. "We had a great experience with Dan from Water Heaters Only, Inc. Our heater sprang a leak on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend; Dan was able to come the next day, and in the meantime, he provided excellent instructions over the phone as to how to drain the tank so that we wouldn't suffer damage. He arrived promptly on Sunday and replaced the water heater that afternoon,causing amazingly little disruption for our household. Not only were his prices reasonable, but we did not have to pay a supplemental fee for a Sunday/holiday weekend installation. Highly recommended!" May 2016
The Architectural Review Board (ARB) has decided to award resale credit for replacement water heaters, on the principle that any new water heater bought and installed in the 2010's is by definition an improvement upon what was originally installed in our units in the early 1990s. Resale credit will be awarded if the following conditions are met: 1) the owner submits an ARB form and receipt(s) to the ARB; and 2) the cost of the water heater, including installation, is at least $1,000, or if the project is bundled with other improvements to reach this threshold.
The resale value of new water heaters will depreciate on the following schedule: 20 years for tankless, and 11-13 years for the traditional tank-style water heater. A longer depreciation schedule may be awarded if the homeowner presents a warranty for a longer period.
This decision has been made, in part, with the goal of protecting all of our investments in UT: our original water heaters have reached the end of their normal life expectancy, and the ARB encourages every homeowner who has not yet done so to replace these old water heaters as soon as possible.
This new policy is retroactive: feel free to submit forms and receipts for water heaters already replaced.
PGand E may offer rebates.
- Cleaning -- A1 The Clear Choice gets rave reviews from everyone for cleaning windows and blinds!
- Foggy windows
-- A neighbor reports: "Call J & D Glass & Sash (843-9391) and they come out and measure the fogged windows. I had the mobile part of a sliding glass door replaced, as well as the stationary part of the master bedroom window. The labor charge was $150." September 6, 2004