Homewood fix-it expert shares his home maintenance skills with others

  Kirk Powers changes a light bulb in an exterior lamp.
  The Homewood handyman has been fixing things big
  and small for more than a quarter century. He not
  only knows how to make things work but loves sharing
  his knowledge with others.
(Photo by Carrie Steinweg/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
Some people are experts in one area. Others know a little bit about a lot of things.
 
And then there are people who seem to know how to do it all, like Kirk Powers of Homewood, who works independently doing home maintenance and home improvement projects.
 
Powers Building Improvements was established a little over 25 years ago. While working toward his degree in landscape architecture at Iowa State University, Powers worked odd jobs doing carpentry, painting and home repairs.
 
“I’ve always fixed stuff,” he said. After graduation, he found that “the odd jobs got in the way of my day job" and that the pay was about the same.
 
Educating others on basic home maintenance is something that Powers greatly enjoys. For the past decade, he’s been doing occasional programs for churches and civic groups on home repair basics and he’s currently an instructor for two non-credit courses at Prairie State College: “How to Become a Miss or Mr. Fix It” and “Minor Electrical Wiring for Homeowners.”
 
The Miss/Mr. Fix It class involves an introduction to basic tools that should be in every home and how to safely use them. (Powers recommends a beginner tool kit as the best and most practical wedding gift you can give.)
 
The class also includes tips and tricks for home maintenance and warnings of what not to do. A seasonal home maintenance schedule is distributed to encourage homeowners to work on preventative maintenance so that repairs down the road happen less often and are less costly.
 
Class sizes are small with a maximum of 12 and Powers said the class covers the absolute basics. “The people that come are absolute newbies who don’t want to pay to have the basic things done,” he said.
 
Among topics covered are an introduction to tools, drywall repair, basic plumbing and how to replace a faucet. “We also go into painting and staining and different tools you’ll need and different basic techniques.”
 
The winter/spring course is an eight-hour two-day class on consecutive Saturdays with the second day focusing on electrical basics. In the summer, the class will be held on weekday evenings.
 
Minor Electrical Wiring for Homeowners is a one-day class covering replacing outlet switches, installing ceiling fans and installing standard light fixtures. Registration is currently open for the April 6 class. For information, visit prairiestate.edu.
 
Powers’ work projects range from something as simple to changing light bulbs to more complex jobs of installing a sauna or a 400-bottle wine cellar.
 
“I try to save people money,” Powers said. “Make a list and I’ll try to take care of it for you and I try to teach people how to do it because they’ll remember that more than if I come in and fix it.”
 

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