Wendell Harmer is Vice President and Co-owner of The Wills Company, an award-winning, design/build remodeling and handyman firm located in West Nashville. He has been with The Wills Company since 1993 and has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry. Wendell is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Organizational Development. Wendell has been instrumental in formulating policies, procedures, and training that allow the company to hire and keep the best craftspeople in the renovation business. Wendell and his wife, Elizabeth, have two boys. They spend as much time as possible in the outdoors.

Q: What are the essentials for a home repair toolbox?

A: The phone number of your local handyman, like the Wills Company! In all seriousness, it would cost me more to keep my tools in order than it does to have a handyman come to my house. They have all the latest and greatest tools, and are professionals who know how to use them.

But, if I have to name some tools, the Phillips head screwdriver is probably the #1 followed closely by a hammer and a tape measure. The serious Do It Yourselfer would probably also need an 18 volt rechargeable combo pack with a cordless drill, cordless sawzall, and cordless skill saw.

Q: Where are the biggest air leaks in the home?

A: The most common are leaks around old, original windows and doors. Ceilings with a lot of recess fixtures and an attic above generally lose the most conditioned air.

Q: What is one easy thing I can do to lower my energy costs?

A: For the Do It Yourselfer: Caulk the casing around windows and doors, where it meets the wall, and add attic insulation. (Note: Adding attic insulation does not stop the air from leaking around recess fixtures. Installing an airtight hood over those recess fixtures on the attic side is the best way to stop the air flow.)

Keep in mind that evaluating the “house as a system” approach will ensure that you are not making your house too airtight or creating any unintended consequences. This can be a problem with DIY energy improvements, they can alter the balance of the house which, in some cases, can cause more problems than it solves. If you’re unsure, call The Wills Company for a Home Energy Audit from one of our licensed BPI home energy auditing professionals.

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