Category: Home Repair

Oct 24

Learn How To Make Pendant Lights From Thrifty Vintage Finds

How To Make Pendant Lights out of Thrifty Vintage Finds (courtesy of RetroRenation.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Kueber from RetroRenovation.com.

Hi! I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

…and we’re here today to talk to you about how to take thrifty finds from, maybe Grandma’s attic or your local re-store – even take just unique household items – and transform them into pendant lighting that you can enjoy every day! The name of the show is, “Put A Bulb In It”.

So, what do we mean by Put A Bulb In It? Well, Pam sent me an email with these amazing pendants from all over the country, different artists and different vessels and all different things, and I said, wow, this should be something fun to do! So, I went out to our local thrift store and our local junk store to see what was around that I could put a bulb in. And this is what I came back with. Here is a before and after of a Put A Bulb In It.

This is a pair of lamps that I found. Not the favorites, but they were ok, but they were glass, they had a beautiful shape, they were fluted, they had a wonderful scallop on it. But, the best thing is, they had a hole in it. Everything is already pre-made, easy for you to take everything apart, turn it upside down and Put A Bulb In It.

Hey, Precautionary Pam here, warning you, as I often do on the site, about making sure whenever you undertake a project, that you’re using proper environmental and safety procedures. Now, with the project, we’re not really giving you the advice – the DIY advice – about how to do wiring or hanging, or even about the exact wattage that should go into these puppies. That’s because every project’s gonna be different. So, make sure, when you’re going through the actual steps of rewiring, hanging and putting in the bulbs,that you’re consulting with proper, expert, professional advice. A local electrician can be a great resource. Another place to get started with good information about lots of safety stuff in the house is Underwriter’sLaboratories.com. Again, always be sure to renovate safe!

Oh! Am I live? OK. Hey Pam! I went shopping after that wonderful email that you sent me about those pendant lamps. And look at what I found here, on the table! Oh! It’s just amazing! But, let’s start with how this all started with putting a bulb in it. It started with a Ball jar. Mason jar, canning jar, they were putting bulbs in it and hanging pendants. A company that advertises with you, Barnlight Electric, they have them right on their site. So, if you don’t want to do any of this and be creative on your own, they’re made up, ready to go from them. But, here we are today, looking at all these different things that we can put a bulb in it, and we’re gonna do it ourselves.

What we need is a vessel – a glass vessel is what we have here. And we need 2 things to be with this – we need a cap and we need a hole. This one has a cap. All we need to do is to make a hole through this. We need to trash the inside here, to break the porcelain,then put a hole in it. Then, we can electrify this, hang it as a pendant. So, that’s one that’s around all over. I went and I said, let’s do something a little bit different. Here’s some old-fashioned sugar shakers. They have a wonderful column, with all the ridges going up and down. An architectural feel. And when the light comes through this, it’s a bit of a prism. This one here has a hole as well as a cap. Very easily to be electrified. Hang the pendant in the kitchen, over a dining suite, would be perfect – Put A Bulb In It! And then, we have colored glass. Colored glass – we can have green, there’s blue, there’s amber, pink, just all different jars. All that you can find in your thrift store and your bottle shops locally. And, most of them all come with caps in it. And, you can find a box of old jar caps and match your caps to it. Here we are with green ones – all we have to do it drill, put the electrical in, and there we have green pendants to hang in the kitchen.

Then I though, oh! I found these. These were peanut butter jars. They were so adorable! They were shaped a little bit different. They were rectangle, they had embossed peanuts all around them. So I thought, wow, wouldn’t these look great! Instead of the round, normal ones, have a little bit different of a shape. They have a cap in it. You unscrew these, make a hole in it, electrify it, hang up, and there you have a pendant all to your own!

These are kind of utilitarian, kitchen vessels that are all around the house. Let’s go a little bit fancier. I found these little, tiny lamps which were ok. But the nicest part about it is they were all crystal. Crystal, and they were all pressed glass. And, the best part is, they all have holes in it – that’s what you need! Unless you want to go down the route of drilling your own glass, but, that’s up to you. These have holes in it. I took them apart, cleaned them up, hang them up all electrified together, at different heights or 3 over a dining room table, 3 over a counter in a kitchen. There, you have your pendants, unique to yourself, to Put A Bulb In It!

OK, down to the next one. These were mid-century, probably outdoor fixtures that hung outside. Now, we’re gonna reclaim them, we’re gonna re-purpose them to indoor lighting. We’re gonna make a pendant out of them. What we want for this is, we need something to hold it up. So, we need a cap to go on top. The cap will hold all your electrical on the inside, and they have little tiny screws here that screw right into this lip, to hold it in. So therefore, you can hang them on their own, together, in clusters of 3, 4 and 5. Be creative, enjoy, and see what’s out there!

And also I found these, which are great. Beehive design with an iridescent feel to them. And the same thing as the ones with the gold on top of it, you need the cap that screws onto the little lip that holds it up. Then you put the electrical inside of it, and there we have a pendant, all to its own.

Here’s the absolute best thing that I found – this wonderful crystal lamp. Look at this – I thought this was great! It had a fabulous shape to it, wonderful design. It wasn’t my favorite as a lamp. Some people might like it, but I didn’t. And I thought, wow, let’s take this apart. Because this is not one piece of crystal…this is 3. So, I took this apart, cleaned it all up, and look at this. Classical, beautiful shapes that you will electrify to make a 3-pendant ceiling fixture. There you go, Pam. Stuff I found on my trip, to Put A Bulb In It!

Pam! What did you bring me?

Ok Susan! I got so excited! I went through all of my junking areas – the attic, the basement, my office – everyone knows – looking for things that we can put a bulb in, so I want to make sure that I have the right idea now. Vintage cheese grater – can we put a bulb in it?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Put 7 of them across your counter!

You know, I knew the answer was yes, because that’s exactly what in that 70s house…That 70s Show…the kitchen, if you look carefully, it has 7 pendant lights basically made out of cheese graters. And these are great!

What about a vintage coffee cup? It’s kind of translucent. This is my Blue Heaven pattern. Can we turn this into a little light?

Yes, we can. I love the pattern, will be great. Doesn’t have a hole in it, so, what I would suggest is, take this to your local tile guy, your glass guy. They’re the ones who are gonna be able to drill through glass and tile.

Tile guy. I wouldn’t have ever thought about that – that’s a great idea.

Tile guys. The important thing about drilling glass is you need water. You need the fusion of water, because that’s what’s gonna make it…you might lose some…it might happen. It’s always the weakest link that’s gonna blow. But, you can Put A Bulb In It. Good idea, too, ’cause that’s not enough coffee for me!

Alright, so how about a pendant made out of an old cake topper?

I love it! I love the shape, because it’s wonderfully smooth…we’re gonna lose this, but you know what? If you’re gonna hang it up, you’re not gonna see this. I mean, take it off and repurpose it for something else.

You wanna put 2 lights on this one?

2 lights. I like them. You’ll get a lot more light, instead of driving down. Remember, you’re gonna have to hang it up high enough so you’re not gonna have a bulb sticking in your eyes. So, the cluster lights is gonna be an easier way to go with that one.

The other idea I had – I didn’t have one at home – but when I saw this I thought, you know, there are a lot of chipping, painted cake plate toppers that would be beautiful as pendant lights.

That’s great! There’s ones with plaid all around it, just fabulous. And those are all around.

I’m super proud of this one – this is the coffee holder for one of those big Westbend guys, and I thought, oh, that would be cute! Can we Put A Bulb In It?

Yes, we can! It would take a little bit more than just, you know, throwing some wires on this, because if you want to keep the shaft and use it to hold your pendant, then we need a welder. Epoxy is not gonna hold this together. You need this to be solidly fixed, welded. You need holes drilled into your metals, so you could put a cluster body inside there.

Ok, so a little bit more professionalism if you’re gonna keep this piece, but if you’re just gonna use this as a shade, it looks to me like you could put a bulb in this one really easily.

Absolutely. This piece can come off, this one would be a lot easier. If you want to keep this, which I think we both agree is the nicer of the 2 because of its wonderful shape here, then you need to go to your professional to help you out. Yea, get some help.

Um, ok, Susan, you’re a gluten food girl…

I know, and I don’t use one anymore!

So, can we turn this into a pendant light?

Yes, we can. We can turn it into a pendant light, and what about doing it as a ceiling light? You know…doing it the other way around, so that light seeps down this way. It’s been done, but who says it can’t be done again? Perfect to put a bulb in.

OK, I’m kinda pushing limits here, he ain’t heavy, he’s my blender. It’s pretty heavy, this one. It’s like an old Oster blender top. Can we put a bulb in it?

Yes, we can put a bulb in it. It has all of the parameters. It has a top here, it has a hole, so all we have to do is take out the spinning mechanism. You can put your electrical through here, and you can hang it up. But, this needs to go into a support stud. Because, you know, you don’t want to be drinking your morning coffee and having this hit your head.

So, you need a stud for this one?

Yes, you need a stud for this one. Love the birdcage!

The birdcage. Now, this isn’t real dear. This I just got at my – I think TJMax about 5 years ago.

But, you know what? Even thought it’s not dear, it might be the perfect thing for the room that you need. So, regardless of…what about a hallway?

And, we talked about how you could cut this out and put glass in the bottom and it would shine down – more light down as well as out. And you had another idea…

I had another great idea is to open it up, and then line the insides with rice paper…a color – you know, yellow, blue green – make it bright and fun. There’s so much to do, and you can sit/put birds in it!

So, you could decorate the inside and then Put A Bulb In It. Yes! So, this is one of my favorites. It’s an old Lennox pepper mill with the welcoming wheat. I just love the shape! I mean, once you get this idea in your head, you just start looking at these objects in a different way. So, it’s a pepper mill, and obviously there’s a mechanism running down the middle of it that you can rip out. And then, what about this? Can we save this?

Yes, we can. I mean we won’t be able to save the little top here, but what we will do is we’ll drill a bigger hole than the existing hole already in this. So, that’s an easy step. You’re not going into blank, starting from scratch. So we make this hole wider so we can drop the cord down. And I think like a round little bulb on the bottom…I think it would be so adorable with a bulb. Put A Bulb In It!

OK, last but not least, Susan’s favorite – the Good Seasons dressing bottle, which I found at an estate sale in a basement. It’s still got the packaging inside of it, so they never put…how’d you make it back in the day?

Well, exactly like it says. Add vinegar, water, oil, and then put the seasonings. That’s it – every night for dinner! And shake it up. I loved to…

So can we put a bulb in it?

No!

No?

Let’s not put a bulb in it, let’s put a bulb ON it. I mean, can you imagine, just putting a little bulb on it, a little tiny lampshade, in your kitchen, keeping all of this original right here? I think this is our next project, Pam. Let’s Put A Bulb On This.

Alright, so next time we’ll get together and talk about how to Put A Bulb ON It.

Not in it Pam, on it!

You send us your ideas! If you have any lamp bases that you want us to try to work with, challenge us! See what we can do!

I’m Pam Kueber from Retrorenovation.com,

and I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

and we want to encourage you to Put A Bulb In It!

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Oct 09

How To Repair Cane Furniture – Part II

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II (courtesy of Wickerworks.com/au)

Step 5 is the diagonals. I’ve started by coming up in the left-hand corner – the nearest corner, this one here. Underneath the yellow golf tee, I’ve come up underneath there, and as you can see, it goes over the verticals, the corner of the verticals there…and these ones, here, the horizontals. So, I’ve gone over the horizontals and the verticals, next one over, and you just keep following that. If you do the opposite, in other words, if you go over the horizontal and under the vertical, you’ll find you get a real zig-zag sort of pattern, and it’s not gonna slide nicely.

So, I just run this bit through first. Don’t forget, keep the cane nice and wet and you’ll find it slides easily. See, a couple of the strands have been put in now. And, when I said start from the corner, you can see down in the bottom here – just drop that – that I came up that one there and did a couple over here, and now I’m coming back. The reason that we start off in the corner is so that when you do come back this way, you’ve got a choice by going over that and coming down in there, or you can come over there. But, you see how awful that would look. So, join it back in the corner, there, get a little V shape and bring that cane underneath there and up here, and off you go. Keep going back and forth. You may get to a point in over this corner where you can join the diagonals so they go both into the same hole, and you will see that in a minute. But, really, it’s just aesthetically, you’ve got to make sure that it looks really nice and keep nice, parallel widths – that’s all you need to do. There’s no law, no rules, no one’s gonna come knock on your door saying you done it wrong. Just make sure you keep a nice, parallel look and that’s it! OK, I’m gonna keep going until I finish this step.

OK, now, were progressing with Step 6. That’s the final one of the diagonals. You can see all of the other ones are in place. I’ll put this black bit underneath so you can see it a little bit better…shows it up a little easier. Once again, I’ve started in the right-hand corner this time, underneath the white peg, and I’m gonna pull it up. And this time, you go over the horizontals and under the verticals. So you do the opposite way of weaving, compared to the first diagonal. It makes a little bit more sense once I’ve woven a few more strands.

So now I’ve finished Step 6, so both of the diagonals are in, you can see that it’s nice and neatly done. I’ll leave the golf tees in for the moment. And Stage 7, Step 7 will be the edge strip that gong all the way around where the outside holes are. You’re going to put the binder cane in, and that’s where we remove the golf tees one by one and tie off underneath.

OK, first of all you need to cut up some little pegs, and these are made out of pith core, or little timber plugs. And I’m just cutting them nice and short and putting a little sharp point on the end, if you want to, in every other hole, going around the back here. So, every 2nd hole, just tuck that into the hole. You can always push them in with your finger, but every 2nd hole, just tuck them in…another one here, and follow them all around. Take this golf tee out, and continue that around.

And you need also a binder cane, which is this one here. It’s a little bit wider than the normal rattan you need for here, so that it covers the holes up. Plug that in there, and then you have the same size cane, which is what we use in the weaving – that was the 2 ml cane, and what you need to do is come out from that hole there, go over the top of it, and pull down really tight. So, you see that for a finish. Come up through the 2nd hole and re-weave that down in that same hole again so you get that nice, little edge for it. So I’m just gonna do a few strands of that to show you what it looks like. Also, start from the back. It makes it easier to finish off, and a lot neater. So, I’m just finishing off where we first started. Just going back over the top , with the binder, just go back over the top of the other a little bit and lock it in. Just pull it a bit tight, and that’s it!

Then, all you need to do is tie off all these loose fits underneath here and snip them off and you’re finished! OK, to finish off underneath, turn the chair upside down and bring some of these canes here and just tuck them up under the next area, which is tricky with one hand! Just like that! And if you want to just finish them all off and nip off the excess, and that should hold quite easily. If you’re really worried about it, I normally put a tiny bit of pba glue just to stop them from moving. That dries clear and then it’s a nice, neat job.

OK, I’ve just finished off a bit of shellacs to brighten the color up, and now you can see that the whole seat has been hand-woven. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing these, and
I’m sure you will too. It’s very therapeutic! Just remember to keep the rattan nice and wet when you go to do any weaving, so naturally, stop and start whenever you want to, but maintain this to be wet for weaving. And that’s about it! If this has been helpful for you, leave a comment at the bottom of the video, would be greatly appreciated, and look out for more Need A Good Caning videos. Thanks again, bye for now!

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Oct 08

How to Repair Cane Furniture Part 1

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part 1 (Wickerworks.com/au)

Here we have an antique child’s highchair, and we’re gonna put a new seat in. And, I’ve actually fixed it all up before. It was all cracked around the front area here, as you can see, but, it’s nicely glued up. And, what we’re gonna do is show you how we can hand-weave a new seat – the traditional method of caning, individually laced through all these holes.

What you’re gonna need first of all is a good-sized cane. This one is 2 ½ mil, rattan chair cane, and you can buy it at any supplier. And you also need some golf tees. I’ve got a mixture of wood and plastic golf tees in there, so you can hold the cane in place.

OK, before we get started, what you need to do is soak the cane for about a couple of minutes – 5, 10 minutes at tops – so it becomes a lot more supple, easier to weave, and you can stop and start as often as you like when you’re starting this project, as long as you ensure that the cane is wet. Obviously, if you’ve got cane in the seat partially done, soak that for a little while, and also the new strands that you start weaving, and then that way, you’re gonna find it a lot easier to slide the cane through and make a better job. Because, once it dries out , it tightens up.

Now, there’s a little tip here I want to show you. You won’t be able to see this too well on the camera film, but there’s a little node – little barbs – where the leaves come out from the rattan. It actually grows that way – outwards of course – and the leaves come out this area here. These little barbs catch on your finger, or your fingernail, as you run through there. So, it’s imperative that, when you start weaving – especially the last 2 areas – to run it so that it runs smooth against the rest of the cane. Otherwise, you’re gonna keep catching this on parts of the weave, and it will just cause a bit of a nightmare. In fact, it might even fray or split. So, there’s a little tip for you. Run your finger on the top, and if it’s nice and smooth, that’s the direction you’ve gotta weave, ok? Now, let’s get started!

OK, the very first step you want to do is to ensure that you keep a nice, straight edge from the front to the back – so it’s not sort of going over to the left or the right – by your eyes, make sure you’ve got a nice, straight side there. So you can see that’s pretty straight. You don’t want it over in that hole over there – it would look a bit silly. So, put your first strand here, have a little bit hanging down below here and golf tee in there. Make sure you have the shiny side of the cane up on top, of course, pass it through the hole that you think is dead straight, and bring it up and under next to the right or the left – whichever direction you want to take to. I’m gonna go to the right, because I’m right-handed, so it makes it a little bit easier. Bring it up through the 2nd hole. And, always ensure that you’ve got it nice and fairly tight. Pull it taught. I’m doing this with one hand and holding the camera with the other, but, I can get it fairly tight. And then, when you want to stop, just put a little tee in there, a little golf tee in there and that will hold it in place.

So then, you just keep on going through, down to this hole, run it parallel, into the next hole, crossing, and do that right on to the very end, until you get to the straight, and I’ll show you that in a sec.

So, here’s the first part done, and you can see where I’ve kept it nice and parallel, and there’s no more room for anymore. You don’t need to put any more here. And, so they’re secured by the golf tees. Now, what I’m gonna do is just carry on across the end here. And, once we’ve got all this part in, we’ll go to Stage 2, Step 2.

So, Stage 1 is done. All the strands from the front to the back of the chair are in place. And, I’ve got a fair bit left over, so I’ve brought up the other over here, and now what we’re gonna do is Stage 2 or Step 2 – come across 90° to the first step. So, as you can see – I’ll move the camera around – you’re gonna come across there and weave through those holes and then come out the other hole next to it, and then go back and forth so you’ve got a nice, square pattern.

So, you can now see how we’re forming a nice, square pattern. The cane just sits straight over the top of the first stage. And make sure it stays nice and parallel. And so you’re following every other hole that goes round – every hole that goes round. And we’ll complete that to the very end, here. There’s also a strand parallel to that one. Now, I can get one more in here. As long as it’s run parallel. So, you’ll miss another couple of holes here…so, come up, say from that hole there and run parallel to this string, and that should finish that there off. There’s a few more golf tees in here now – that’s because there’s some ends here that I haven’t tied off but you need to keep them in here, anyway. And then, be sure that you keep this rattan wet as you’re weaving away.

OK, having done Stage 2, now we’re doing Stage 3, and that’s really the same as Stage 1. I’ve come up through this little hole here, as you can see, I’m gonna run parallel to the first stage. On top, once again, and keeping it to the right of the first stage. And you’re gonna go underneath here and, I’m gonna go from left to right just to finish this little bit here off because I’ve got enough cane, and then I’m gonna start on the other area.

So now we’ve successfully done Step 2, or Stage 3, and all the parallel lines are done. And Stage 4 will be doing the same as Step 2 or Stage 2…I’m getting them mixed up here, but it doesn’t really matter there – you get the gist of it all! So, now, we’re gonna go from left to right and follow the Stage 2 ones that run parallel. But, this one is a little bit different. Just start the ball rolling by putting the cane in, and I’ll show you what I mean.

So, for Stage 4, I’ve come up out of this hole here, and if you can see close enough, I’ve gone under the first strand and over the 2nd one. And you have to do that to the next parallel one running here, too – under the first one and over the 2nd one. So, you see, there’s a nice, little square pattern forming there. I’ll just do a couple of other strands so you can see. See these little square patterns forming here? So, don’t forget, it’s under over, under over, under over – just keep on going. And don’t forget to keep the cane fairly damp. I use a little spray bottle, here, which does the trick. Just spray a little water so it slides easier, too. And don’t forget the little tip I told you before with having that running of the cane smoothly up your fingers, because as you start pulling this through, it might catch on some of the cane and break. So make sure it runs nice and smoothly. You don’t need to go right across in one go – you can do it in stages and just gently pull. See? Watch this, where it slides quite easily, and pull that nice and tight til we get to the end, here. Now, when we get to the end here, make sure you don’t get the cane twisting on anything, make sure it stays nice and straight. Keep a nice, straight square pattern here.

And there you go. So, there’s the beginning of Stage 4. So, just keep on doing that, and I’m gonna do a few more strands so you can see what it looks like. So now you can see it’s starting to form a nice square pattern there. I’m just gonna put this black fabric underneath so you can probably see it a lot easier. There you go! That’s a lot better, isn’t it? So, that’s what you’ve got to achieve – keep the squares nice and close to one another and keeping them all parallel. See? It’s looking quite good now! So, I’m gonna finish this off now and then I’ll show you what it looks like when I’ve done the whole – finished the Stage 4.

So here you can see – now, I’ve finished the 4th stage, so we’ve got a nice, square sort of pattern, and all we need to do now is the next 2 stages – these are the diagonals. (Go to How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II)

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Oct 06

Learn How To Maintain Your Gutters

How To Maintain Your Gutters (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Welcome! I’m Courtney. Where is Joel? Right where you’d expect to find him – in the gutter!

Hilarious! Here, I think you missed something, Courtney. Gutter maintenance is not the most fun of chores, but, it is essential in preserving your home. Here are a few things you’ll need to get at your gutters!

A ladder

A bucket to collect your debris

A trowel of some kind for scooping out the gutter gunk

A garden hose to wash out the gutter

A pair of gloves to protest your hands

Ideally, you want to clean out your gutters a couple times a year. Spring and fall are good times. The great thing about gutters is that they keep water away from your windows and walls, as well as your home’s foundation, by sending the water down and out these spouts.

The downside of gutters is that, if they’re not cleaned properly, water will gather in them, and they will damage your roof.

If it’s been dry, removing gutter stuff may only take a good blast from your blower. However, if the dirt and leaves in your gutter are wet, you’re gonna need to get a tool like this gutter scoop, or a trowel, to get it out. Be careful not to damage or scratch your gutter.

Once you get the big stuff out of the gutter, it’s not a bad idea to flush out the whole gutter channel with your garden hose. It helps clean them out, and will help identify any areas that aren’t completely unclogged.

Installing guards is easy, and can go a long way towards reducing the amount of stuff that can get in your gutters and clog them.

One you get your gutters clean, you may find some leaky spots. These can be fixed nice and quick, by applying a little spot caulk to the inside of the gutter. If you discover larger holes or corroded sections in your gutters, you’ll need to get some patch made from the same material as your gutters. This can be laid inside, over the damaged area, set in place with epoxy and roofing cement.

You may find that sections of your gutter are sagging. This is usually a case of the nails working themselves loose. Try resetting them with a hammer, and, if they won’t hold, you replace the nails with screws!

And, that’s the 101 on your gutters. Later!

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May 17

Learn How To Do Home Repair

Top 10 Home Repairs (courtesy of Coldwell Banker and ReelProductions.tv)

Hi! We’re here with John Molke, the housing guru, and John is gonna give us the Top 10 home repair tips for homeowners. So, John, we’re gonna start with #10 – tell us what it is.

Well, one of the things that’s critical, I think, for homeowners to always understand is the location of their furnace filter. Often neglected, the furnace filter is easy to forget because it’s usually in a location that’s hard to access. So, it’s a good idea to keep it changed. It will extend the life of the furnace, and will also make the unit operate much more efficiently, making it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

That’s perfect – that’s a good tip! Let’s move right on to #9.

Homeowners need to understand a little of the basics of caulking. Outside the house, caulking begins to break down after a year or so. It’s a good idea to understand how to do a little bit of caulking. Just look for those places to keep down the infiltration of air from the outside, and there again, making your home more comfortable.

Going onto the next one would be caulking again, on the inside of the house. Understanding bathroom caulk. Doing a little sealing so that you don’t have to worry about water penetrating the area around your bathtub, shower and so forth. Anywhere that you have cracks in the grout and so forth, can be sealed with caulk.

So, simple caulking, #8 and #9. Let’s move on to #7, then.

I would say, homeowners need to understand about leaky faucets. It’s easy today for homeowners to go to the big box stores – the home centers, and get the repair items necessary to stop a leaky faucet. The instructions are right there on the package, so many homeowners are choosing to do those themselves. You’ll not waste water and you’ll avoid the irritation of a leaky faucet!

And, we all want that! What’s #6, John?

Understanding how to unstop clogged drains. One of the things I recommend is that people pour a cup of white vinegar down their shower drain, in their bathroom sink, once a week, and that will help keep your drain clean.

What is #5?

Homeowners need to understand the location and operation of their electric panel – where those circuit breakers are located, what they control. Hopefully, they’re marked, but, if they’re not, try to work with someone to get them marked properly so that you understand how to re-set a tripped circuit breaker.

Alright, #4…

I recommend that people know how to fix a squeaky door. You can pop the hinge pin out and put a little vaseline on it. It’s a very easy repair, and you put those hinge pins back in, the squeak will be stopped – normally for a year or two.

Alright, moving on, now – we’re at the Top 3 Tips that every homeowner needs to know.

Homeowners need to know the location of their water cut-off valve. You have a cut-off valve in your water meter box outside. It’s a good idea to look at it and just understand. It requires a special key, but you can buy that key at the big box store, at the home centers. It’s a good idea to know the location of every single cut-off valve in your house, should you have a break in a plumbing pipe.

Tip #2?

You need to understand drainage. A little bit about drainage…I use what I call the basketball theory of drainage. Drop a basketball next to your foundation. If it rolls away, you have good drainage. If it rolls next to the house, you have a problem, and that can cause basement leaks, mold, mildew problems, foundation cracking, settling problems. So, it’s very important to understand all the aspects of drainage.

Alright, John, that brings us to our #1 home repair tip. What is it?

You need to keep your house from exploding. Exploding houses are not a good idea!

That’s a pretty good tip!

Your water heater has a safety valve. Many of you may have heard that, occasionally, homes
do explode because the water heater explodes. It builds up too much pressure. Some of the older houses, the pressure valve may have gone bad, or it may not even have a pressure valve! Make sure that you understand where the pressure valve is located, on top of your water heater. You can actually test it. You can lift the little lever to make sure that it’s working properly. And that drains to a line outside your house, into a visible location, so if you see water coming out of that drain, that means the pop-off valve has failed and needs to be replaced.

John, thank you so much – these are great tips! We want to thank the housing guru, John Molke, for all of the Top 10 home repair tips that every homeowner should know!

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Apr 07

Learn How To Fix A Leaky Faucet

Learn How To Fix A Leaky Faucet (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

If your faucet is dripping, you really want to get that fixed, because it adds up to a high water bill over time. And it’s really very simple. A lot of people are intimidated by it, but it’s not very complicated at all.

Most of you probably don’t have a faucet that looks like this one, but that’s ok because it will work the same way, even if you have one that sits on top of the back of the sink.

The first thing you want to do is shut off the water supply to the faucet, primarily through your shut-off valves under the sink…the knobs that feed the hoses that come up and feed the faucet. Now, in my case, I don’t have those, and I had to cut it off at the curb. So, once the water supply is shut off, then I can safely take these valves out and not worry about water spraying everywhere.

The first thing you want to do is remove the handle, which is the first step, always. Sometimes the screw that holds the handle in place is hidden under a little cap that maybe says C and H for the cold and hot water. Those will pop off pretty easily. And then once you’ve exposed the screw, you remove the screw and then you lift the handle. It may not come off this easily; you hay have to wiggle the handle and whatnot, but it will come off. You don’t want to pry it, though…you don’t want to force it off.

The next thing you want to do is remove the stem, which is this interior mechanism here that controls the flow of water, and you’ll need a crescent wrench to turn this and loosen it. Once you do, it should come off pretty easily.

The culprit, 99% of the time, with a drippy faucet, is a worn washer at the very bottom of the stem, which presses against the seat and shuts off the flow of water. It’s almost always the cold water side, too, which is the side that receives the most use.

Once you see that this is the problem, you can take this entire mechanism to your local hardware store and they will actually take this apart for you and put the new washer on. Which saves you a lot of time and effort.

And then once that’s replaced, all you have to do is just reverse the process, screwing this back into place. And then giving it a little turn to tighten it with a crescent wrench – you don’t want to force it too far – and then simply put the handle back on, the screw in place, and you’re fixed!

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Feb 28

Learn How To Prevent Scratches On Your Cell Phone

How To Avoid Cell Phone Scratches (courtesy of Howcast.com)

Keep your cell phone looking new with this next-to-free, protective cover, that will last longer than the original! You will need:

Ruler
Permanent marker
Clear packing tape
Scissors or a craft knife
Bowl of water
Few drops of dish soap
Credit card

Step 1: Measure your screen with a ruler, and use the marker to mark the width on the packing tape before you unroll the tape. Then, add an inch to your height measurement, and mark that on the tape.

Step 2: Cut the marked piece of tape as straight as possible. Peel it from the roll starting from the top, where the excess tape is marked. Hold the tape by the excess inch. This prevents fingerprints, and prevents the tape from getting hung up on anything.

Step 3: Submerge the piece of tape completely in a bowl of water, with a few drops of dish soap, and soak it for several seconds. Avoid making the water too sudsy.

Step 4: Make sure the tape and your hands are free from debris. Then, put a drop of water or 2 on your cellphone screen and apply the tape, sticky side down, starting at the bottom. Center the tape on the screen.

Step 5: Remove excess water and air bubbles with a credit card, using it like a squeegee. Push from the bottom to the top, then blot excess water from the screen with a tissue.

Step 6: Carefully cut off the excess tape at the top, just below the face plate surface.

Step 7: Avoid scratching other parts of your cellphone by always placing it in a separate pocket from your keys and loose change, or, in a separate compartment in your handbag.

Did you know? According to a 2009 poll, 94% of Americans under 45 have cellphones!

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Jan 21

Learn How To Paint A Wall Quickly

How To Paint A Wall Quickly (courtesy of Paint Helpers)

Painting the corners of a room has always been a two-step process. Well, not anymore! This is a brand new product. What we’ve done with this product is, we’ve combined the speed of a roller with the accuracy of a paintbrush. No one’s ever done this before!

So, the way it works is, the brush fits right here, on the shield, behind the roller. You put paint on the roller, like this, okay, load it up nice and good. Saturate the roller – close your shield. You come up to your edge – say this is a door frame or a window frame or ceiling or whatever else you’re gonna paint up to. And really, all you need to do is put the roller on the wall, roll down, roll up, roll down.

The secret to this device is a tiny paintbrush that spreads the paint right to the edge of the wall, where the roller can’t go! That brush paints that little gap right here. So, the roller puts paint on the wall, the brush picks up paint right here, and moves it over to the edge. And, you can see, it gives you a very, very sharp edge. And, the roller falls off, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty by pulling it off.

In today’s Paint Helper’s Product Reviews, we’ll be taking a look at the Accubrush Paint Edging System, which you’re seeing in use right here. Take a look at how quickly we can edge around this window, using this device. There is not a product on the market which can edge as quickly or as accurately as the Accubrush Paint Edging System. It can be used as a roller in small spaces, but, most importantly, it’s got a little brush which will automatically give us professional results against doors, windows, ceilings, all sorts of trim.

It also comes in a pole-mounted version. This is the Accubrush XT which you’re seeing here, and this is our product tester, Kat, who is edging along this ceiling without having to get up and down on a ladder. And, she is edging a perfectly clean line with no paint getting up on the ceiling. We’ll be looking at the Accubrush Paint Edging System in this edition of Paint Helper’s Product Reviews, coming up next.

You’ll be saying that painting is just so easy, from now on! It’s not the big, horrible, strenuous job that you thought it was. This actually makes painting easy. What we’ve developed is a new paint edger that combines the speed of a roller with the accuracy of a paintbrush. This paintbrush has been specially designed to paint right up to the edge, so you don’t have to worry about taping or masking off anything. So, it’s a roller and a brush, and the shield here allows you to open it up, roll paint on the roller, close the shield.

Start away from the wall a little bit…and I’m done! Like I said, it’s a roller, and then the brush fits in behind it. And the brush is actually what does the final cutting, and that is what allows you to get right up to the edge. Without that brush, this doesn’t work. So, the roller basically puts paint on the wall first, and then the brush comes behind it and moves that paint right up to the edge. So, you’re never actually putting paint on the brush itself, so it makes for a very fast operation. The consistency and the results of the painting job when you’re finished are amazing…they are very, very accurate. They are as good as a professional painter.

The Accubrush will save you enormous amounts of time, especially along ceilings. Ceilings are notoriously the most difficult part of edging; especially, since you have to carry your paint with you up on the ladder if you want to brush it in. You often can’t tape a ceiling because the tape won’t stick or there’s texture on your ceiling or whatever else. With the Accubrush, it doesn’t matter if there’s texture on your ceiling. It will allow you to paint right up to that edge, quickly and cleanly. Now, look how close that is! You can’t get anywhere this close with your hand, by using tape, or any other method!

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Oct 13

Learn How To Check The Airflow In Your Dryer

How To Check The Airflow In Your Dryer (courtesy of TheApplianceMan)

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Sep 08

Learn How To Solder

How To Solder (courtesy of ColdRestart)

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Jan 13

How to Save Money on your Energy Bill

Save money on your energy bills with these simple home improvements from Lowes.com

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May 07

How to Save Money – Reducing your Energy Bill

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill (courtesy of MoneyTalksNews)

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill

If you spend about the average to keep your home cooled, heated and powered up throughout the year, then you’re spending about 1500 bucks. Now, obviously in the summer, most of that expense is going to pay your cooling bill, the average somewhere between four and five hundred dollars. If I said you could chill that bill by about 100 bucks this summer (that would be about 20 – 25%), would you be interested? Well, let’s start with the AC unit.

Clear away the debris to keep the air flowing smoothly and check the filter. And keep checking it monthly, throughout the summer. You also want to check and replace your indoor filter.

The next places you’re gonna look to cut costs are your windows and doors. Air loss can blow 15 – 25% of your energy money. So, weather strip those doors and caulk those windows.

A good ceiling fan can also save you serious money. A fan will allow you to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and make it feel like it’s 72. Not bad, considering it only costs about 15 cents to run for every ten hours it’s on.

The thermostat. Now, here’s a place where you can really save some cool cash, because every time you raise this thing just one degree, you can save, on average, about 3% on your energy bill. So, especially while you’re away, raise the temperature 5 degrees, cut your bill by 15%!

Also, do you close the vents in rooms you’re not using? Well, don’t do that! Closing more than 10% of your vents can create an air pressure imbalance that could reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency.

One more tip for staying cool and keeping costs down this summer. Avoid appliances that create heat, especially in the middle part of the day. So, when it gets hot inside and outside, make some lemonade and lay on the sofa!

For MoneyTalks, I’m Stacey Johnson…

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Dec 19

Plumbing How-To – Installing Drain Pipes

Learn how to install a drain system for a kitchen sink and different ways to configure it for your own plumbing situation with this video from YouTooCanDo.

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Sep 29

How to Use a Multimeter

Learn how to use a multimeter with this video from Make Magazine.

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Jun 04

How to Fix a Leaky Gutter

Learn how to fix your gutter and prevent future leaks with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Feb 24

How to Clean Brick

Learn how to clean your brick patio or walkway with this video from AskTheBuilder.com.

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Feb 17

How to Cut a Circle on a Tablesaw

Learn how to quickly and easily cut a circle on a table saw with this video from WoodGuy.com.

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Feb 14

How to Cut Crown Molding

Learn how to cut crown molding for inside and outside corners with this video from AskTheBuilder.com.

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Feb 14

How to Install Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring uses the floating installation method, which means, laminate floors just rest on top of the subfloor. Learn some basics on how to install laminate floors with this video from LumberLiquidators.com.

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Nov 15

How to Drive Finish Nails

How To Drive Finish Nails (courtesy of AskTheBuilder.com)

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