Springtime for Scammers

Spring in Madison is finally here! Time to get the bikes out

Spring has finally sprung here in Wisconsin! With 60 degree days and more hours of sunshine, the outside repair projects and yard cleanup around my house are in full swing.

The other project that seems to be in full swing are the door-to-door sales calls. Now, I’m not talking about the Girl Scout cookie sales calls. Those are legit and fantastic! Who doesn’t like to eat an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting?

I’m talking about those people who come around with high pressure sales, offering to do your yard work, gutter cleaning, roof/siding/driveway/fence repairs, tree trimming, install alarm systems, etc. You name it, dishonest people still use the old fashioned door-to-door techniques to steal from you.

In a door-to-door scam, the con artist knocks on your door and offers a repair service by convincing you to pay CASH UP FRONT for a service. This method is used frequently on seniors because this generation of good people were raised to be courteous and trusting, and are unfortunately easy targets. Many seniors fall prey to scammers with this because they do not want to be perceived as rude.
So, how can we all protect ourselves and our loved ones from door-to-door scams? Follow these helpful tips offered by the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin:

1. Never respond to unsolicited offers of service. If someone is pressuring you at your door, ask the person to leave their information and you will get back with them. This will give you time to verify their credentials.

2. If someone knocks on your door with a great deal, let them know you are going to shop around and check their company information.

3. Obtain several bids IN WRITING for repairs and service work on your home. This allows you time to make a thoughtful decision and gives you a paper trail in case problems arise with the work.

4. If you need services or repairs to your property, schedule appointments with contractors; never let anyone into your home unless you have an appointment.

5. When you are verifying credentials, look up the company’s contact information in the phone book or online. Do not use the number on the individual’s business card, as it may be fake.

6. If you live alone, NEVER share this information with an unsolicited visitor.

7. Never give cash to door-to-door people who are offering a service or demanding payment and report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.

At 4 Lakes Handyman, we always offer FREE WRITTEN estimates for our repair services, and we always schedule an appointment that fits with your schedule. For added financial safeguards, we accept credit card payments. 4 Lakes Handyman is certified by the Association for Certified Handyman Professionals.

For more information on how we can help you with your spring to-do list, call or email us today!

21 Steps for Age-Proofing Your Home

If you read last month’s blog (and I know you did), you learned my motivation for becoming a handyman. As a caregiver to a disabled adult and aging parents, my desire is to help people live safely and independently in their homes.

According to the AARP, 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes as they grow older. My mother-in-law was one of these seniors; however, she found as she aged that her home in Madison, built in 1934, was not really designed for her declining mobility issues.  Tight corners, uneven thresholds, steep stairs and a narrow bathroom made keeping her safe in her home more difficult with each passing year. When she underwent emergency gall bladder surgery, a team of occupational therapists came into the home and made a list of modification suggestions for her release.

But no one was available to help make these modifications quickly. So, after hopping on a flight from Denver, and rallying the support of my in-laws, adjustments were made to mom’s home so that she could recover in the place she was comfortable.

So, this month’s blog is about age-proofing your home. Reduced eyesight, reduced flexibility, and balance issues hit us all around the age of 45 to 50, right? Well, age-proofing your home can and should start around this time. Don’t wait until a fall happens to make modifications, instead, do these changes now. And remember, age-proofing is not about an expensive remodel to your house. It’s about simple changes we all can make. Some of these may require a small investment of money, but it’s worth it for your safety.

Below are 21 suggestions for age proofing your home, which will help reduce the risks of injuries, improve your quality of life and give you many more years in your home.

Installing Carpet over hardwood floors Living Room:

1. Replace bulbs with brighter, longer lasting LED’s to illuminate stairs and bathrooms

2. Raise electrical outlets further from the ground and lower switches

3. Install low-pile commercial carpet instead of tile or concrete floors


4. Reduce the risk of fires by installing smart devices/motion detectors to turn off appliances

5. Have your smoke detectors checked once per year and change batteries

6. Install an induction cooktop, which stays cooler than traditional heating elements

7. Install bottom kitchen shelves that slide out

Stairs and Halls:

8Carpeting on Stairs. For steps without carpeting, add non-skid adhesive or grippers to reduce risk of slipping

9. If stairs are carpeted, make sure carpeting is secure

10. Mount handrails on both sides of stairs and hallway

11. Install a motorized stair lift


12. If your bed is too high, remove the bedframe or install lower profile mattress/box spring

13. If your bed is too low, insert bed risers

14. Place lamps within easy reach of bed

15. Consider purchasing an adjustable bed



16. Grab bar in a showerInstall grab bars in your tub and shower

17. Use bathmats and rugs with non-slip backing

18. Purchase a walk in tub or shower to reduce the risk of slips and falls


Garage and Basement

19.Paint the bottom step to the basement or garage a different color to distinguish it from the floor

20. Install bright lighting everywhere, especially walkways and staircases

21. Install sturdy railings (ideally two) for the steps



I hope you found these tips helpful, and as always, if you need help with any making any of these modifications, give us a call!

5 Ways to Prevent a Tip-Over

Let’s Get on It, Before They Do!


Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season with family and friends.

Just recently, I stumbled upon a video (see below) on ABC News that featured a two-year old boy rescuing his twin brother from underneath a fallen dresser.  I was shocked to watch the video, and relieved that this had a happy ending for the family.




As has been reported in the last few months, many children have been killed and seriously injured by falling furniture. The most highly publicized of these stories is the $50 million dollar IKEA settlement that was agreed to in December 2016, following a slew of children’s deaths and injuries from tipping IKEA dressers.  

This got me to thinking how critical such a small modification can be in saving a life. In a heartbeat, these families’ lives were changed forever.  I understand it can be difficult to make these modifications. You spend the day shopping, spending money, and excited by the arrival of your brand new furniture. Then comes the fun part; having to spend hours trying to figure out how to read the instructions (translating Swedish stick figures), finding your tools, and putting it together correctly.  Once that is done, now you need figure out how to mount it safely into the wall??  

Like most people, you probably find yourself saying “I’ll do that later.”  And then, just like that, your furniture or television is up against the wall, looking beautiful.  The reminder to mount it to the wall is quickly forgotten…   I know… I’ve been there…   

Unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of childhood death and injury in the United States. Proper security and safety measures, including childproofing your home, can eliminate almost all of these injuries.

To create a safe and secure environment for your children, grandchildren and guests, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the five following modifications to prevent a tip-over in your home:


Televisions should only be placed on furniture designed to hold a television, such as television stands or media centers.


Televisions that are not wall mounted should be anchored using anti-tip devices.


Properly mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over.


Existing furniture can be anchored with inexpensive anti-tip brackets. New furniture, such as dressers, are sold with anti-tip devices. Install them right away.


Remove items that might tempt kids to climb, such as toys and remote controls, from the top of the TV and furniture.


We know these projects can be time-consuming and challenging. However, taking the time to properly secure furniture can save a life.  Let 4 Lakes Handyman help you eliminate the hidden hazards that lurk in every room of your home.