Getting a Stuck Window Open
The first step in being able to open any stuck window is to determine what is causing it to be stuck.
Take a look at the window frame. Is there any space between the window sill and the window?
If there is not then chances are the window has been painted shut.
To open this all that you need to do is get a utility/carpet knife, painters' spatula or even a sturdy razor blade.
Be careful not to damage the window frame or the window, but force the knife in between and break the seal that has been formed.
After you have removed all of the paint between the window and the sill, then you should try to move the window up and down.
It may take a little work but it should be able to freely move now.
In some cases though, this still won't open the window—simply saying that it may have been stuck for so long that it needs a little more "help" in getting it to move.
If that is the case, then try placing a small block of wood against the window, and gently but firmly tapping it with a hammer to loosen it up a bit more.
Be careful when doing this though that you do not actually break the glass, as you are then going to be faced with the task of replacing an entire window, and not only loosening it up.
If, when you were looking at the frame, you did not see paint, then the window simply could be stuck due to the wood of either the frame or the window being warped.
Such situations are typically caused due to a recent increase of moisture from rain or snow storms.
After about two or three days, it should return to normal, if not though, you should look at replacing the window entirely.
When replacing the window, or after the window has dried out, you might want to consider installing storm windows as opposed to the traditional wood framed windows.
Finally, there is the most obvious of reasons why the window does not move.
That reason is that sometime in the past someone nailed or screwed the window shut.
This is probably the easiest fix of them all.
All that you need to do is remove the nails or screws and you should be able to freely move the window.
If not, then try the block of wood method to see if that helps once you have removed the nails.
Need a video?
Knowing How to Read a
If you are looking to save some money on your water bills, then one of the very first things that you will need to do is learn how to read your water meter.
I Want to Paint...It's Going to Cost Money
It can be extremely easy to either over estimate, or underestimate how much money it will cost to purchase paint for a renovation project. How to estimate painting costs is more than simply saying that you will spend "X" amount of money on paint and supplies.
How to estimate painting costs is actually a rather simple process. All you really need to do is remember a few simple math tricks, and you will very easily be able to figure out how much paint you will need to purchase.
Once you know how much paint you need to purchase, it is really easy to figure out the amount of money that you should set aside for your painting project.
Here are some ideas for you when it comes to estimating your costs.
It is always a good idea to start with the largest area first, and when painting a room this will usually be the ceiling.
Another trick to remember when figuring out how much paint to buy is to round all your figures up to the largest whole number.
Measure the length of the room, and then the width.
Multiply these two numbers together so that you will get the entire area you need to cover.
Multiply these two numbers together so that you will get the entire area you need to cover.
For example, you have an 11-foot wide room by 14 foot long.
Multiply these two figures together, and you will get a total of 154 square feet.
Multiply these two figures together, and you will get a total of 154 square feet.
Divide this number by 350 (which is the estimated number of feet that a single gallon of paint can cover) to figure out how many gallons you need to purchase for this part of the job.
This would be 154 divided by 350, which gives you a total of 0.44.
For the ceiling of this room, you only need to get one gallon of paint, which given its size, should allow you to do two coats out of the same can.
Figuring out the walls is much the same as figuring out the ceiling.
Measure the height and length of the largest and smallest walls, and then double the results.
For example, your room is going to have two walls that are 11 feet long by 8 feet tall, while you have another two walls that will be 14 feet long by 8 feet tall.
The math would look something like this: 11 x 8 = 88, 14 x 8 = 112, 112 + 88 = 200, 200 x 2 = 400.
This means that you will need to get enough paint to cover 400 square feet.
Divide this total by 350, and you get 1.14, which means that you should get about 1-1/4 gallons to provide a single coat to each wall.
You will have a bit of paint left over from not painting things like windows, doors, and trim.
If you have any molding in the room, you will want to paint that as well, though it will usually be a different color.
Determine the length of all the molding, and then add it together.
For example, In the room that we have been working with, you could have a simple chair rail around the room that will give you dimensions like this 11 + 14 + 11 + 14 = 50 feet.
Multiply this amount by .5 so that you can get an estimated width of the molding, which will look like this: 50 x 0.5 = 25 square feet that you will need to paint.
Once again, divide this amount by 350 to get the amount of paint you will need for the trim.
In this case that will be .07, so you should only need one quart to paint all the trim in this particular room.
Doors and Windows
To figure out the amount of paint needed to paint your doors, multiply the number of doors by 20.
In the room we have been working with you have one door to get in, one door to the bathroom, and one door to the closet.
The math would look like this: 3 x 20 = 60 square feet. Now, multiply the number of windows by 7.5, and in this room you have four windows, so the math will look like 4 x 7.5 = 18 square feet.
Add these two totals together (18 + 60 = 78 square feet) and then divide by 350 (78 divided by 350 equals .22).
In this instance you will need to get 1/2 quart to paint the doors and window trim with only one coat.
Add everything together
Once you have figured out the separate amounts for each part of the room, it is time to add everything together.
For the this particular room, you will need to get a minimum of 2.75 gallons, or if you simply round up the total, three gallons to paint your room.
This should give you enough paint to provide two coats for everything, with just a little bit left over.
Take this figure and multiply it by however much the paint you are looking at purchasing is to figure out how much money you should set aside for purchasing the paint.
Videos? Of course !
So You Want to be Your Own Plumber?
You'll Need the Right Tools
As with any type of job, plumbing requires that you have the proper tools to get the job done.
In order to get those essential tools for the home plumber, you need to know what they are.
Here is a list of those tools, as well as a brief explanation of why you will need them.
Considering that some of these tools can be a tad expensive initially, you may want to slowly build your collection up over time.
The plunger is probably the most indispensable tool that a plumber can have. It will help with toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and floor drains.
Basically this is the first tool that someone will grab in any plumbing emergency, and the most commonly used.
Adjustable wrenches are another tool that the home plumber must have on hand if they are planning on doing any type of repair work.
The reason for this is that an adjustable wrench can help work on things like compression fittings, supply lines, and so forth.
Basically all it needs is a hex shaped nut and you are good to go.
Ideally you should have two different sizes, one six inches, and the other ten inches.
The snake(also known as a hand auger) is a hand cranked tool that is used to clear drains of difficult clogs.
Typically all you will need is one that is about 25 feet long, and you can work on most clogs in the home.
It may be beneficial to also purchase another type of auger, called a closet auger, which is designed to work specifically with toilets; it never hurts to have specialized tools after all.
If you are thinking of removing any faucets, shower heads, or even piping, you should have some Teflon tape on hand.
This tape is extremely easy to apply, and will help create a water and air tight seal to keep any water in. In addition, you can often simply apply a bit of this material to a leaky area to fix most leaks.
Channel Lock Pliers
Channel lock pliers, also known as tongue and groove pliers, can be used on just about any kind of plumbing fixture.
This alone makes them an extremely effective and sought after tool. Furthermore, it is often a good idea to get more than one, since they work best in pairs.
Copper pipe is a fairly common plumbing material, and if you find yourself needing to do any cutting then you will want to have the right tool on hand.
A tubing cutter clamps onto the pipe (where you want it), and allows you to spin around and create a flat cut. Definitely a huge help when you want to have a quickly cut, well fitted joint.
This tool is an absolute must have if you have any copper pipes or fittings in your home. The reason for that is this tool will allow you to easily sweat the pipes and fittings.
You may want to have a self igniting torch, instead of needing to have a striker or matches in your tool box as well.
A hacksaw can be extremely helpful when you find it time to cut through piping (metal or PVC), screws, nuts, hardware, bolts, and so on.
Just make sure that you have the blade nice and tight in the frame, and that you have at least two or three extra blades on hand.
If you end up having to cut some piping, then you should have a file to smooth out the rough edges.
A metal file will (though two is often better) will allow you to remove the burs and gnarls that crop up when cutting, and create difficulties when trying to reseal pipes later on.
And last but not least....
A Good Plumber's Telephone Number
In the event that you can't solve the problem (whatever it is) yourself, you will need to call a plumber.
It is a good idea to have that number ahead of time rather than waiting for an emergency to crop up.
Everyone has come across a stain or burn in their carpet, some time or another.
Considering the price of carpet today, is it really any surprise that when we come across these damages that we tend to panic?
People typically think that they only have two possible fixes to this problem.
The first would be to replace the entire carpet, which is expensive and time consuming.
The second possibility would be to just let the problem area sit there, and be an eyesore.
To the surprise of many, there is actually another possibility for damaged carpet that many people may not have thought about before, and that would be to fix it yourself.
Just use one some of these simple ideas, and you are going to have some perfect carpet once again.
If the damage appears to be of an incidental or minor nature, then fixing repairing the damaged portion could be as simple as giving your carpet a "haircut."
Using some sharp manicuring scissors, or even some fingernail clippers trim off the stained or burned ends of the carpet fibers, and thereby removing the damage.
You are going to need to be careful while doing this, since you could end up making the carpet appear to be uneven, and like a bad haircut, this could lead to more problems.
You are going to need to "borrow" a few strands, or a small part of the carpet, from another area of the room.
Be sure to gather these strands, or patch, from an out of the way, meaning out of sight, location like from the back of the closet or something.
Use a razor, or sharp utility knife, and cut out the damaged section.
All that you need to do is cut the fibers, or strands, that are actually damaged in someway, and from the out of the way area, cut a few strands to fit the area of what you just removed.
Then using some type of a waterproof adhesive (like super glue) and a toothpick, glue the "patch" into place.
For this, you are going to need a larger patch.
What you should do for this is cut out the area of the carpet that has been damaged and set it aside.
Either from the back of the closet, from some left over carpet that you have lying around, or from the store, you are going to make a patch that is going to match in size what you have just cut out.
You can use the damaged section as a template in order to get the correct size, and shape of what you are going to need.
Try to have all your cut pieces of carpet be either a triangle or circle in shape, as it is less noticeable to the eye when you do this.
As you are laying down this replacement piece you need to make sure that the "grain" of the carpet matches.
This is the way that the carpet fibers lay, and you want the patch to have as "natural" of a feel as possible.
After you have matched the grain of the carpet, you can either use a waterproof glue or silicone caulk, to glue the patch into place, and hold it down with some type of heavy weight.
Now let it sit for at least twenty-four hours, and you are going to be all finished.
Here are a few videos to help you get the job done...
...and...saving a lot of money as well.
Water Pressure Not What It Should Be?
As usual, we have some videos to help you out !
Have you ever had a problem with your toilet, called a plumber, only to find out that the problem really wasn't really as bad as you thought it was?
Finding this out you usually will cost you $100 or more for a plumber.
Diagnosing toilet problems yourself can not only save you some money that you can use in a variety of other ways, by either telling the plumber what the problem is or by being able to fix the problem yourself.
Here are a few "check points" you can diagnose yourself before you make the plumbing call:
Inspect the base.
Often times one of the first indications of a problem with the toilet is that you will find some water around the base. This means that the first place that you should check is around the base of the toilet itself.
Completely dry the area around the toilet base, and then lay down a towel of some kind (such as a paper towel) and let it sit for a couple of hours.
Check the towel, and if you find that is wet you probably have a problem with the seal that is under the base.
Inspect the tank and feeder lines.
Another one of the more common places that you can find a problem is where the feeder lines and the tank meet.
If you find any condensation there (which is fairly common) simply dry it as much as possible.
After drying it, flush the toilet several times and keep an eye out for any leaks.
Depending on where the leak shows up (if it does) will indicate what the problem is.
For example, if it is near the tank itself then there may be a problem with the flush valve, and if it is near the wall then there is probably a problem with the water supply hose itself.
Examine the tank.
There are a lot of problems that can be found inside the actual tank itself.
This means that you will need to take off the tank, and then flush it.
Time how long it takes to refill the tank, if it is excessively long (usually when it "won't stop running") there is a problem with the flapper or flush valve.
If the flapper is unable to make a good seal then you will probably want to replace it.
If the flush valve (or the float on it) doesn't go down all the way, then you will need to replace that.
Utility sinks can present their own unique problems considering the range of uses that we put them through.
Got a Squeaky Door?
Here's How to Fix It
Looking for a Contractor?
Here's a "Must"Check List
Here's a "Must"Check List
The general purpose of hiring a contractor is to make your project go as smoothly and easily as possible; however, if you don't know what to look for when hiring a contractor you can easily end up in the middle of a financial nightmare.
Here are a few guidelines that you can use to ensure you are able to hire someone that knows what they are doing.
Are they licensed?
It may be tempting to ask your best friend's cousin to do the work for you, but if they aren't licensed you need to go with someone else.
Being licensed also means that the contractor is used to working with the government and ensuring that the work they are doing is actually legal and according to code.
So...ask to see their license, and check to make sure that it is still valid.
At this time, you should make sure that the contractor has some kind of insurance to cover accidents.
All good contractors will have a list of past clients (not friends and family) that can attest to their skills on the job.
This list should have no fewer than ten names on it, all with current contact information.
Furthermore, this reference list should have a brief description of the work that they did, and how long it took.
Check them out.
Besides checking into the reference list, you should also look to see what their reputation is with the world at large.
One way that you can do this is to check with the local branch of the Better Business Bureau, as well as the city inspectors to see what they have to say.
A good contractor may have some complaints against them, but they would have been addressed quickly and without too much contention.
Get it in writing.
All reputable contractors should be willing, and even eager to have a contract that details the work that is being done.
It is the responsibility of the contractor to provide that contract, and it should (in detail) the work that is being agreed to, who will be doing it, what types of supplies will be used, any sub-contractors that will be used, and the names of all employees who will be on your property.
Furthermore, the contract should also have a list of what the payment schedule should look like, as well a stipulation that says you will not pay for any additional costs beyond what you were quoted unless you have agreed to it in writing.
Set a few terms.
Prior to signing your contract, you should take the time to think out a few terms and conditions that you want included.
For example, do you want them to show up before 6:00 am, or should they wait till after you have left for work?
What happens if they show up late for work that day, and don't let you know?
Do you want to say that one of the homeowners need to be on hand for any work to be done on the home?
When you find a contractor that is willing to meet with, and abide with, these guidelines you know that you have found a decent contractor.
Each of these guidelines is a method that you can use to ensure that you are holding the contractor responsible for what is happening on the job site.
Furthermore, if they are willing to agree to these conditions you know that they are willing to stand by their work.
What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze
1. Shut off the water immediately.
Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
2. Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe.
You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water.
Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
3. Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
On vacation during the winter months?
1. Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to insure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
2. A freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
Some videos !
What's the Toilet Doing Wrong ?
Protecting Pipes and Hoses During Winter Months
There are several steps you can take to protect the pipes and hoses in your home and landscape from cold weather:
We have some videos.
Hardwood Flooring Can Often Be Restored
Instead of Replaced
There are times when you instead of replacing your entire hardwood floors, all you need to do is some minor touch ups.
This kind of simple hardwood floor restoration isn't all that hard, though you do need to make sure that you have the right tools, and a fairly steady hand.
Painting Starts with Making Sure You
Have the Right Equipment to Complete the Job
Which High Efficiency Light Bulbs Are Best
Wood Flooring Installation Made Easy
Taking Care of Your Ceramic Tile
While ceramic tiles look beautiful and shiny when brand-new, over time they can become stained, chipped, cracked, loose, and the grout in between can become discolored.
Utility Sink Clogged?
Using a "Snake"
Just as when you use a snake to unclog kitchen or bathroom sinks, you are going to be utilizing the same methods and tools to snake out a utility sink.
Don't Forget "Vapor Barriers"
One of the more confusing, and fairly important, aspects of home construction, and thus remodeling, is the matter of vapor barriers.
A vast majority of homeowners don't know what these are, and it is also a sad fact that many in the construction field don't either.
However, by simply forgetting to install some of these when you are doing a major remodel, you are creating an environment that could lead to some potentially dangerous situations later on in life, like mold or structural damage.
What are vapor barriers?
Vapor barriers exist for one reason and one reason only, which is to help retard, resist, or even prevent the spread of moisture through the different enclosures of your home.
Want to Replace a Regular Light Switch with a Dimmer ?
One of the best ways to help set a relaxing atmosphere in any room is to dim the lights by using softer lighting.
Unfortunately, while many homes may have a dimmer switch or knob for the lighting in one room, they are not usually found in all of the rooms, or it may not be in the room that you want it to be in.
So how does the home electrician go about replacing a light switch with a dimmer?
Luckily, this is a fairly easy electrical job, and one that you can do yourself without having to resort to calling in a professional electrician to accomplish.
Reverse Osmosis System Leaking ?
If you have a reverse osmosis system installed and is leaking water from the base of faucet (photo 1)...
...the drain line (photo 2) is plugged with debris not allowing water to drain from the Reverse Osmosis system during regeneration cycle.
The fix is simple...
Remove the plastic drain line from plastic elbow connected to drain adapter and clean out debris.
Teflon plumbers tape should be applied to threaded elbow to prevent leaks.
Lowering Costs on Home Improvement Projects
One of the biggest problems with doing any kind of home improvement project is the amount of money that it usually takes to do the job right.
Here are a few videos to help you with that do-it-yourself project.
Water Conservation...Money Saving Ideas
With the way utility bills keep rising, if you don't take a few simple steps, you can easily find yourself with a huge bill.
One of the simplest ways that you can lower your utility bills in general, and your water bill in particular, is to begin conserving water.
Conserving water in the home isn't that hard. All you need to do is use a few of these suggestions, a little dedication, and you will begin to see results.
Keep in mind though that the best way you can go about conserving water in the home is to follow all of these suggestions, and to do use a little creativity of your own.
Believe it or not, using faucet aerators can help you conserve a huge amount of water in the home. On the average an aerator will allow you to reduce the amount of water that flows through the faucet by about half, with little or no effect on the water pressure.
Over the course of a year this can save you roughly 100 gallons a year per faucet aerator.
Best thing of all is that you can find aerators for your shower and bathtub as well as for your sinks.
Dishwashers help conserve water
Despite what many people may think, washing dishes by hand does not actually help to conserve water.
You will use up to 16 gallons of water to wash your dishes by hand, while a regular dishwasher will only use between 7 and 10 gallons of water.
Some EnergyStar dishwashers can use even less water than that.
Turn the water off
A common mistake at the sink can add up to huge amounts of water wasted and that common mistake is leaving your water running while you do personal grooming such as brushing teeth, shaving, or washing your hands and face.
If you turn the water off when you don't need it, then over the course of a year you can save up to 2,000 gallons of water.
Low flow tech
Low flow technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. In fact you can find low flow water faucets, shower heads, dishwashers, clothes washers, and much more.
Invest in some low flow options around the house, and sit back and watch the savings roll in.
Check for leaks often
Another common cause for wasted water is leaks.
By conducting regular checks of your home for leaks, you can potentially save a huge amount of water. A simple way to check to see if there are any leaks in your water system is to write down the numbers on your water meter when you go out. Check the numbers again when you get home; if they are different (and no one has been home while you were out) then you have a leak. Fix any leaks as soon as you can find them.
Here are a couple video ideas.
If it's not a Picture Window...You Can Fix It Yourself
Fixing the glass in a broken window can be an unnecessarily expensive project for any homeowner. Considering what contractors charge, you may want to seriously consider doing your own glass repair.
Contrary to what many people think, this is something that anyone can do, all that is needed is a few simple tools, new window glass, and some time.
We have some helpful videos to help you do the job right.
What Ceiling Fixture is Best for Your House ?
The right ceiling fixture can have a huge impact on the general feel and look of a room.
This effect makes the ceiling fixture almost as important of a choice as choosing the paint, furniture, or general decorations that you may plan to have in that room.
Typically when choosing ceiling fixtures, you want to make sure that you choose one that you don't notice. This may sound kind of contrary to what was just said, but it is true.
Think of any movie that you may have seen.
In the good movies, you don't really notice the score or soundtrack since its purpose is to enhance the movie itself. Likewise, a ceiling fixture's job is to enhance the surrounding area, without drawing undo attention to itself.
A Hot Tub Needs
Avoid Big Maintenance Bucks !
While a hot tub can be a wonderful thing to have, it can also be a huge drain on your finances hiring someone to clean and maintain it for you.
Rather, all you need to do is learn how to maintain your own hot tub.
Do that by simply following these easy steps, and you will have a perfectly working (and crystal clear) hot tub in no time.
1. Periodically check your chemical levels.
Without periodically checking the chemical levels in your hot tub, you can find yourself in a world of hurt.
For example, if you get into water that has an improper chemical balance, you can seriously hurt yourself.
You can purchase a chemical testing kit from your local pool store. All you really need to do is follow the instructions on the back as given by the manufacturer.
The test results will tell you if there is any need to make any change to your chemical levels, or if you even need to change the chemicals that you use in your hot tub.
2. Get any scum diagnosed.
Periodically, you may find some scum in your hot tub water. When this happens, before you blindly try adding some chemicals to your hot tub you need to see what kind of scum you have.
The reason for this is that the scum may actually be indicative of another problem that you will need to fix.
Once you have tested the chemical levels in your water, take a sample of your water into your local pool store, and have it tested. The will be able to tell you what caused the problem.
3. Purchase proper chemicals or seek further help.
Once you know what the prescription for your hot tub is, simply purchase the proper chemicals necessary to treat it. Or, if there is another problem that is the cause, seek professional help to get it repaired.
If you attempt to do your own repairs, and do them wrong, then you may find yourself with a hot tub that doesn't work at all.
4. Apply the chemicals that you purchased.
Once you get the new chemicals home that you purchased, it is time to apply them. Simply follow the directions that come with the chemicals as printed.
By following the directions as they are printed, then you reduce the risk of causing damage to your hot tub.
After allowing the chemicals to work for the proper amount of time indicated by the manufacturer's directions, test the water again, as described in the first step.
5. Check for a clean filter.
Periodically check to make sure that your filter is clean. The purpose of a filter is to clean your water after all, and an unclean filter is a leading cause for scummy water.
If the filter is not clean, then you need to replace the filter.
6. Clean exterior.
The final step that you should take when maintaining your hot tub is to clean the exterior.
Doing this will ensure that you have a hut tub that looks its, as well as ensuring that your hot tub will last for years to come.
Here are some helpful videos.
Installing a New Floor?
How to Remove the Old One