Sun City Anthem

Mr. Fix-It's World of Home Improvement

Forrest Fetherolf

A Hot Tub Needs
Avoid Big Maintenance Bucks !

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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.

2Get 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.

3Purchase 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.

4Apply 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.

5Check 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.

6Clean 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.

Mr. Fix-It

Installing a New Floor?
How to Remove the Old One

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While most people may like to think that floor removal is one of the easiest parts of any major renovation project, the truth is that it is also one of the more important ones.

If the removal isn't done properly, you can end up making more work for yourself, and wasting a whole bunch of money.
That is why you should always keep in mind the basic guidelines.

With these guidelines in hand, you should have no problem at all getting the job done the right way the first time you do the work.
Just follow these steps.

1What's your budget

Simply removing some flooring will cost you some money. Often this money is spent through hiring others to do the work for you, or getting the proper tools, or by purchasing the new materials to replace those that you have removed, to name just a few reasons.

This means that you should ensure that you have enough funds to complete the project before you start.

2Who will do the work

Another thing that you need to consider is who will be doing the actual work of floor removal.

It may be a bit more expensive to have someone else do the work for you, but there are a couple of benefits that you get.
If you hire a professional, then you are more likely to be pleased with the results.

If you are going to do the work yourself, you need to make sure that you are up to all that it will entail.

3Identify the flooring type.

Not all flooring materials can be removed in the same manner.

Each flooring type will require that you use different tools.

An example of this can be found when looking at marble flooring, tile flooring, and wood flooring. Each of them have their own specific methods for removal, and if you use the same methods for removing the wood that you would the tile, you can end up causing some serious damage.

4Set aside some time

If you will be doing the work yourself, you need to be aware that it isn't necessarily a quick job. It is one that will take time, and that you will need to be dedicated to completing once you start.

5Decide on how far you will go

Before you begin ripping out the flooring, you need to also decide on how far down you will be going.

Are you just going to be removing the top layer, or are you going to be removing the sub-flooring as well?

The further down you go, the more work you need to accomplish to not only remove it, but replace it as well.


Your Driveway Look Like This?

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Have you ever noticed how much a driveway can say about a home?
Even for the best maintained home, if your driveway isn't up to snuff then the rest of the home will tend to look dirty and old as well.

Maintaining driveways is usually a task that will take a weekend to do, but it is something that every home owner should do.

Here are the steps to make your driveway look like new !

1Assess what needs to be done

Part of maintaining driveways is assessing what needs to be done. This means that you will need to take a serious and straight forward look at your driveway and ascertain what type of shape it is in.

If it is simply dirty, then all you need to do is a little cleaning; however, if it is more than that, you will need to do some repair work.

2Clean any spills

When maintaining your driveway the biggest thing that you will need to do is clean any spills that may have happened on it.

Some of the most typical types of spills you can find on a driveway are going to be things like oil, fuel, or other petroleum based stains.

While somewhat messy, they are pretty simple to clean.

Grind some kitty litter into each of the spills, and then sweep up the used kitty litter.

Repeat the process as necessary until the spill has been removed.

3Sweep and wash the driveway

Part of maintaining your driveway is also periodically cleaning it. This means that you should at least on a monthly basis sweep the entire driveway.

Doing this will allow you to get the vast majority of the large dirt and grime that can make a driveway look dirty.

After you have swept the driveway, you should also wash it and rinse it.

The easiest way to do this is with a power washer. 

The extra pressure that such a tool can provide will help get rid of any ground in dirt, algae, or other grime that can discolor your driveway.

4Regular maintenance

Over time all driveways will get cracks, divots, and other problems that will need to be repaired.

While you can do this yourself, it is usually better to get a professional to do it for you. The reason for this is that to repair such things like a crack or a pothole in your driveway, you will need to work with hot materials that can seriously hurt you.

While it may be more expensive, hiring a professional will save you from possibly hurting yourself, and ensuring that you get the job done right the first time.

Videos?  Of course !

Mr. Fix-It

Did You Know there is a Right Way
Opening a Paint Can ?

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Opening a paint can safely is an important skill to have, if not for yourself, then for the world around you. For example, if you happen to be careless when opening a paint can you can very easily damage yourself (or someone near you) rather seriously.

Even if you don't damage yourself or someone else, you can easily end up spilling paint all over the floor, walls, or (in cases of really exuberant openings) the ceiling.

It's not all that hard to open a paint can safely, as long as you remember to follow a few simple steps.

1. Prepare the area

Before you begin opening your paint cans, you really need to prepare the area you will be working in, and opening the cans in, properly.

This rather simple step is more so that if you accidentally spill the paint, it won't get on anything important.

The best way to prepare the area is by placing down drop cloths.

2Get the right tool

You can use a wide variety of tools to open a paint can, as given by the perennial favorite (and wrong choice) of the flat tipped screwdriver.

Ideally you will want to use a specialized tool, which can be bought at most home improvement stores, and all paint stores.

That tool is, imaginatively enough, called a paint can opening tool.

In addition, you will also want to have a sharp knife, razor blade, or even old pair of scissors on hand just in case.

3Take a look at the can

When you have prepared the area, and have the proper tools, you need to take a careful look at the paint can.

The typical paint can is going to be either in the quart or one gallon sizes, and as such often have a metallic lid.

If you have a larger paint can (such as five gallon buckets) you will find that the lids are typically going to be made out of plastic.

You need to know which you have so that you will know the proper method for opening.

4Carefully insert the tool

If you have a metallic paint can, you need to carefully insert the paint can opening tool into the space between the lid and the edge of the paint can.

Carefully begin prying the can open.

For a plastic bucket, you will have noticed that there is a plastic strip that runs its way around the bucket that holds it all together.

This will need to be removed. With it removed, you can then begin inserting the paint can opening tool, and again prying the bucket open.

5Work your way around the can

Once you have lifted a part of the can or bucket open, you need to repeat the process all the way around the can.

While some cans will allow you to get simply pop off the lid once you have broken the initial seal, many times the can will be stubborn.

Work your way around the can slowly and carefully to ensure that you get it open properly.

6. Lift off the lid

Once you have broken the seal around the lid of the can properly, you should be able to lift the lid off.

Do this very carefully so that you don't get any paint on your hands, and set it aside paint side up.

Setting the paint side up will ensure that the lid doesn't accidentally spread paint around, create a "puddle" that you can track to other places, and won't stick the lid to the drop cloth.

We have a couple videos for you.

Mr. Fix-It

Replacing a Water Heater

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Since water heaters tend to last about five to seven years here in the Nevada sunshine,  chances are that you will need to replace your water heater at least a few times.

While you could call a professional to install your water heater, you might be surprised to know how simple it is to do the job yourself.

If you have telltale signs that your gas water heater needs to be replaced... hot water in the tap and water leaking from the water heater...

..then follow these steps to replace your gas water heater:

1Turn off both the gas and water supplies at the main valves.

Then, turn on a hot water faucet at a tap to allow air into the water lines, attach a garden hose to the drain valve and completely empty the tank.

2Disconnect the gas and water lines using a wrench, and then detach the gas exhaust from the flue hat.

Have someone help you remove the old water heater and set the new one into place, making sure that it is level, and then connect the flue hat to the exhaust vent.


3Following the instructions that came with your new water heater, install the heat trap fittings.

The fittings are directional, and usually have arrows showing the correct direction for installation.

Blue fittings are for cold water, and red fittings are for hot water.

4. Install the water line connections and then connect the gas supply line.

Turn on the gas and water supply valves, turn on the water tank, and then turn on more hot water faucets to bleed air from the system.

5Light the pilot light and turn the control knob until you hear the burner ignite.

Set the temperature of the water heater.

Don't forget to turn off the hot water faucets that you turned on earlier.

You might need to have Teflon pipe tape and pipe joint compound to help make solid fittings and prevent leaks, so make sure that you have those items and all of your tools on hand before you begin.

It's also wise to cover the floor with a tarp.

We have some helpful videos.

Mr. Fix-It

Using a Vacuum Cleaner
Unclogging a Bathroom Sink

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A bathroom sink can be more difficult to unclog than a kitchen sink.


The layout is a little different from that of your kitchen sink, not to mention the layout of the bathroom itself being different from that of a kitchen.

Set up your wet/dry vacuum in the bathroom if you can.

If you cannot, then set it up as close as you possibly can.

Be sure that you have set up the vacuum as directed by the instructions that came with the vacuum or as told by the rental agent.

You want to make sure, whenever you use any type of power tool that you follow all the instructions. This is for your safety, as well as ensuring that you do not damage the tool so that you can get your deposit back.

Also, ensure that you have some old towels or sheets that you can use for cleanup if you need them. 

It may be a good idea to lay some sheets or drop cloths under the vacuum to catch any blowback if it happens.

Before actually trying to unclog the bathroom sink, you'll need to make sure that you remove the drain stopper from the sink.

Different types of sinks have different types of drain stoppers.

Some of them lift right out while others may need to be unscrewed.

Examine your sink and figure out how to remove the stopper.

If you don't, you won't be able to unclog the drain as easily.

You'll also want to see if your bathroom sink has an overflow outlet.

Usually this type of outlet is near the front of the sink and is used as a "spillway" in case you try to overfill the sink.

This overflow goes directly to the drain, so you are going to need to block it in some way.

Try using some duct tape to cover the overflow. You can apply a couple of pieces, as long as the sink to which you are applying the tape is clean and dry.

You are now ready to unclog the sink by following these steps.

1Hook the hose of the vacuum into the "blow" or "exhaust" position and stick the hose into the drain, forming as tight of a seal as you can.

You are going to use the positive air pressure from the vacuum in an attempt to break up the clog in the drain.

You are going to initially hear a high-pitched hum or whine from the vacuum as the air pressure is generated to break up the clog.

When the blockage has been broken up, you are going to hear a distinct change in the sound generated by the vacuum's motor.

2There may be blowback from the air pressure, which can lead to a mess, so be prepared to clean up any dirt and gunk with old towels.

3. If there doesn't seem to be any change in the drain's water flow, then you are going to want to switch the air hose to the suck position.

By switching the position of the hose back and forth several times, you simulate the action of a plunger, but with greater force.

4Another benefit from using the suck position is that all of the mess gets sucked up into the holding canister of the vacuum.

This leads to less mess and a much easier clean up, as long as you do not spill the canister.

5When the drain is unclogged, remove any tape you placed on the overflow and replace your sink stopper.

Your bathroom sink should now drain as good as new.

Watch how its done !

Mr. Fix-It

 Something for the Man Cave
The Home Theater System

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 Ah, the home theater!
For many men, this is the "Holy Grail" of home improvement projects.

We men seem to want it all, and we want it now!

One thing though, does anyone really know what to get to accomplish that "man cave must have"?

There are two things that a person can do when faced with this situation.
The first option you have is that you can go to the local electronics store and say "I've got money to spend," and watch the sales associates get into a big brawl over who get's your commission.

While highly entertaining, this method can lead to you spending more and getting more system than you need (which does not make for a happy spouse when you get home).

The second option is to plan ahead and use these guidelines to help  reach that wonderful state where you will accomplish three objectives:


...what you want.
... what you can afford. 
...a happy spouse !


As with any home improvement project, the first thing that you need to do is decide how much you can afford to spend on this project.

Considering how much many systems, let alone individual components can go for, you really want to determine how much you can afford.

You don't want to end up too far in debt when you are done, since in the long run that is not going to make either you or your spouse happy.


 Before rushing out and getting the system of your dreams, determine which room in your home you are going to be using as a home theater.

Are you going to be using a specific room solely as a dedicated home theater, or are you going to be using one that is more along the lines of a combination family room and TV room, and how big is it?

Discuss what you want with your spouse and get their input.

After all, even if they said "It's up to you," they are still going to have to live with the results and it's usually best to get their input before you unilaterally decide. 


How big of a viewing experience do you want?

Many people may want to go with the largest and most impressive flat screen HDTV that they can find.

While it is true that such systems can provide superior viewing experiences, the larger you get, the more expensive you get.

4. Components / System

There are bonuses and drawbacks to going with either components or a system.

Systems are great for larger rooms and for large-screen TVs; however, by going with the individual components you are going to ensure that you have a truly customizable home theater system.


Since most electronic stores have some type of return policy, keep all the receipts and packaging until you are certain you are pleased with the outcome.

If you do not like the way that one component interacts with others then simply take it back and use it for in-store credit to find one that you do like.
Here are some helpful videos to design that special place.

Mr. Fix-It

Thinking About Refinishing
Kitchen Cabinets ?

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When it comes to refinishing kitchen cabinets chances are that the single most difficult part is finding the time. To properly refinish your kitchen cabinets you are more than likely going to need to spend an entire weekend...or longer... working on it.

Despite this, refinishing your kitchen cabinets is something anyone can do.

Here are the steps you should follow:


The first thing that you are going to need to do is prepare your work area.

For your work, you are going to want a place that is well ventilated for when you are working with the stripping compounds and stains.

In addition, you are going to want a location that is able to be dust free for when everything is drying.

A garage is the best place for this task.

2. Remove.

Next, you are going to want to remove all your cabinets and the associated hardware. If you have limited space, then take only the ones that you are going to be working on at that time.

After you have taken the cabinetry into your work area, remove any and all hardware and set in one location, preferably in a plastic bag so that the do not get stained or painted by accident.


Completely remove all the dirt and grime from your cabinets. In some cases this just means dusting, but in others you are going to have to use some elbow grease to help remove the caked in dirt and grime.

Thoroughly clean and remove all the dirt and grime, since if you try to apply the stain over this junk, all you are going to do is create a bigger mess.


Once you have completely cleaned the cabinets it is time to remove the old stain.

There are a couple of different ways that you could do this.

The first is that you can try removing the old stain and sealer by sanding it off. This method is a little more time consuming and labor intensive, but it often provides the best results.

The other method is to use stripping compounds. The stripping compound that you should use depends on what type of finish your cabinets had on it.

5Apply Sanding Sealer.

Whether you have sanded or stripped the previous varnish, if you want a truly professional appearance then you should apply something called sanding sealer.

What this material does is similar in nature to a paint primer. This material enables the stain to be absorbed by the wood in an even manner, eliminating the often uneven appearance that goes with novice staining.

Apply the material and let it dry, and then lightly sand with a very fine grit of sand paper (roughly 220 grit or better) to help smooth out any rough streaks that may have been left.

You want to use only enough pressure to be able to hold the paper to the wood.


After you have chosen the proper stain for your cabinets ( there are several different kinds of stains, all of which provide excellent results), you are ready to actually begin.

When you are applying the stains, be sure that you allow each coat to dry completely before you add the next coat.

With each additional coat that you add, the color is going to darken significantly as it dries.


As the name implies, the finish is the final step in this process. 

There are several different types of finish that you can use.

Before you apply any of them, be sure that you are familiar with how the final results are going to look, as well as the manufacturer's instructions.

Simply apply the finish as instructed, and allow to dry.

All that you have left to do now is to reassemble your cabinets, and you are done.

Need some video help?

Mr. Fix-It

Books Sitting Around Looking for a Home?
Why Not Build a Bookcase?

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Everyone knows just how useful a bookcase can be; after all we use them in just about every room of our homes.

They can be used to store books, collections, knick-knacks, and all kinds of things.

Just one thing though, they can be a little expensive.

Instead of paying an arm and a leg for a good quality shelf, or decent price for a piece of garbage, why not make your own?

It's surprisingly easy; all you need to do is follow these simple directions.


Tape measure
Carpenter's level
1/4 inch plywood or peg board cut to dimensions needed
Lumber, 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick (your choice)
Hand saw
Large box of 4d finishing nails
Drill with screw head (Philips and regular) attachment
Minimum of 24 screws #8, 2 inches long
Wood filler
Stain or paint
Paint brush

1Draw a plan

The best way to get a great bookcase is to actually draw up the plans. This is actually fairly easy to do, simply draw out a sketch of what you would like the bookcase to look like on piece of paper.

After you have drawn out the sketch, begin to place the dimensions that you want for your bookcase. For example if you wanted to have a case that was 5 feet tall, by 3 feet wide, by 1 foot deep, then you will need to mark it down appropriately.

By the way, if you will be using these dimensions, this will be roughly a four-shelf unit.

2. Get materials

Go to your local home improvement center or store and purchase the materials needed for this project.

Simply give the dimensions that you will be using to the people in the lumber yard, and they can cut the wood to size for you. This is easier than measuring everything out yourself, and doing your own cutting.

If you will be doing your own cutting, be sure that you get enough lumber to complete the project.

...and make sure that you also get a 5 foot by 3 foot piece of plywood or peg board for the backing of your bookcase.

3Layout pieces

Once you get home with all your materials, it is time to lay everything out.

The simplest way to do this is to lay out all the pieces according to your blueprint. This will allow you to know exactly where everything is going to be going, and you will have all the materials right at hand.

Keep in mind though that you will want to set aside the paint/stain that you will be using since you don't want to spill anything.
If you did not get your lumber precut, then this is the time to cut everything to size.

Be sure that you double-check all measurements prior to cutting, since you want to avoid making any mistakes.


Begin assembling everything together.

Have someone help hold everything in place as you screw the pieces together.

You want to use screws since they will hold up to longer use and abuse than simply using nails.

As you assemble everything, use a carpenter's level to ensure that you have all the pieces nice and straight.

Take your time as you do this, and avoid rushing. Rushing leads to mistakes.

As you are attaching each "shelf" be sure that you use at least two screws on each side, preferably use three to give added strength and support to the unit.


Once you have assembled everything, you should sand the unit so it is nice and smooth. You don't want to receive any splinters when you use the bookcase.

You will want to keep sanding until everything is nice and smooth to the touch.

The best way to test this is to use a soft piece of cloth, and drag it over the unit and check for any snags.

Fill in any holes or depressions with wood fill and sand again to ensure everything is completely smooth.

6Paint or stain

Apply your paint or stain according to the manufacturers directions.

Be sure that you allow enough time for the unit to dry between each coating. Paint and stain usually darkens as it dries, so you will want to make sure you have reached the color you want and avoid over staining.

Congratulations, you have  a new bookcase !

All that you have left to do is to begin filing it up with your books, knick-knacks, odds and ends, or whatever else you wish.
Once you have finished filling the bookcase up, it is time to show it off to your friends and family.

Need some videos?

Want one, but don't want to build it yourself?

Call the Sun City Anthem Woodchips Club....

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...they do the best quality work imaginable at a price that is more than reasonable !

Their website is:

Their phone number is (702) 614-5818.

Mr. Fix-It

Locating Wall Studs

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Knowing the proper methods for finding wall studs can come in exceptionally handy in a variety of situations.

The first scenario that you may need to find a wall stud is something as simple as hanging a picture.

Secondly, finding wall studs would be helpful if you wanted to do some electrical work.

A third reason that you may want to find some wall studs would be if you were going to be doing some renovations or remodeling.

Finding wall studs

1. Use the proper tools

Perhaps the simplest and easiest method for finding walls studs is to use a tool designed expressly for that purpose.

How ? Simply by turning a stud finder on, and running it over the wall.

On most models when a stud is detected, you will be able to hear a solid tone and a small light bulb will light up.

2. Look for clues

If you look closely on most walls, or in the right light and angle, you can find some slightly raised nail heads.

These nail heads are indicators of a stud since they are what is anchoring the drywall to the studs themselves.

That being said, this method can be fairly difficult if the wall was mudded properly prior to painting.

3Start at a window or corner

Two places that you are guaranteed to find a stud is at a window or corner of a wall.

According to the building codes in most cities in the United States, you will find a stud spaced every 16 or 24 inches from these points.

Simply measure out that far, and you should find the stud that you want.

4. Look for an electrical outlet

Outlets and light switches, again according to code, are supposed to be mounted to the sides of a stud. This means that if you find one of these, then you have found a stud.

Once again, if you measure 16 or 24 inches away from these places you will find another one.

5Knock on wood

Another indicator of where a stud might be is through the use of sound.

Simply knock on the wall, roughly 16 or 24 inches away from a corner, window, or outlet, and see if you can get a solid sound.
If you do, then you have found a stud; however, if it sounds like you are knocking on something hollow then you have only found some unsupported drywall.
Here are some videos.
Here's one using your I-Phone !
Mr. Fix-It

Wet/Dry Vacuums
Unclogging a Utility Sink

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Utility sinks are designed to be used for so many different purposes, is it really surprising that they get clogged so often?

Here is how you can use the perfect power tool to remove that clog and be able to keep the mess to the absolute minimum.

Before starting though, you want to make sure that you have the proper cleanup materials handy, since no matter how much you may try to keep from making a mess, there will be one.

All that you are going to need is some old towels, drop cloths, or sheets.
Spread the drop cloth under the vacuum and around the sink, this is to clean up any potential blowback or spills that come from this process.

Ready for the instructions?

1Set up your wet/dry vacuum in your utility room as close to the sink as you can.

Make sure that you have set up the vacuum as directed by the instructions that came with the vacuum, or as told by the rental agent.

You want to make sure, whenever you use any type of power tool that you follow all the instructions.

This is for your safety, as well as ensuring that you do not damage the tool so that you can get your deposit back.

2Hook the hose of the vacuum into the "blow" or "exhaust" position and stick the hose into the drain, forming as tight of a seal as you can.

You are going to use the positive air pressure from the vacuum in an attempt to break up the clog in the drain.

You are going to initially hear a high pitched hum or whine from the vacuum as the air pressure is generated to break up the clog.

When the blockage has been broken up, you are going to hear a distinct change in the sound of the vacuum's motor.

3There may be a blowback from the air pressure, which can lead to mess.

Be prepared to clean up any dirt and gunk with old towels.

4If there doesn't seem to be any change in the drain's water flow, then you are going to want to switch the air hose to the suck position.

By switching the position of the hose back and forth several times, you are simulating the action of a plunger, but with greater force.

Another benefit from using the suck position is that all of the mess get's sucked up into the holding canister of the vacuum.

This leads to less mess and a much easier clean up, as long as you do not spill the canister.

Need a video on using or buying the right Wet/Dry Vac ?

Mr. Fix-It

Working with Electricity Requires
the right
Electrical Tool Kit

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Have you ever started to work on an electrical project, only to find out that you don't have the proper tools?

Instead of wasting time and money by running around at the last minute, use this list of electrical tool kit necessities to ensure that you are ready.

You can avoid wasting time, while also saving yourself a lot of unnecessary frustration....if you do !

Drywall saw

 A small handheld saw, with a pointed tip, that you can use to cut through drywall. Useful for cutting out areas for new outlets and other electrical boxes, as well as running wiring.


Another small handheld saw, that you can use to either cut large areas of drywall out, or for find tuning your cuts.

Adjustable wrench 

This tool can help you tighten bolts, as well as bend items, that may need it.
Long-nose pliers

 Pliers with long, tapered noses that you can use to help wrap wiring.

Side-cutting pliers 

Also called wire cutters, this tool is used to cut wiring down to its proper size.

Best tool possible for larger wires that you can't cut with other kinds of pliers.
Lineman's pliers

Lineman's pliers are also called combination pliers.

These pliers are typically a hybrid of long-nose and side-cutting pliers.
While not as adept at performing each of those individual tools tasks, it can adequately perform both.

Water-pump pliers

Similar in appearance to channel lock pliers, these are the perfect tool to use to help tighten difficult nuts and bolts.

These pliers are adjustable to be able to fit a variety of nuts and bolts.

Rubber-grip screwdrivers

Preferably, you should have a set of both straight edged, and Philips screwdrivers that have a rubberized grip.

With a rubberized grip, you will have a little more protection against accidental shocks.
Wire-bending screwdriver

A screwdriver that has a small stud or hole that you can use to help bend and attach wires to terminals.

Rotary screwdriver

Screwdriver that has a particularly long shaft, which has two bends in it.
Used to help attach switch plates, light fixtures, and has been designed to operate using only one hand.

Utility knife

Standard heavy duty knife that you can use in a variety of way, from stripping wires to cutting open packages.

Flat pry bar

Particularly useful for large tasks, where you will need to remove trimming or other items that may get in your way.


Used to drive nails that will hold electrical boxes, replace trim, and generally hammer nails into things.
Hand held stapler that is used to attach wiring to walls, as well as in other creative ways for your electrical projects.

Power drill

Power drills can be used in a variety of ways for electrical projects.

They can be used for everything from screwing cover plates in place, to attaching electrical boxes, to even cutting out openings in your drywall.
The best kind to use will have a 3/8 inch chuck.

Spade bit

Drill bit used to drill through wood joists.

Magnetic sleeve and bit

Tool which attaches to drill, which will create a magnetic force which will hold screws in place so you can work one handed.

Saber saw

Powered saw which you can use to cut out large sections of drywall, or other materials, that need to be removed.

Spiral cutting saw

Another type of cutting implement that you can use with great precision, and in tight areas.
Hole saw

Attached to a power drill, which will allow you to cut a perfectly round hole for light cans, or round electrical boxes.

Conduit reamer

A tool that can be either by itself, or attached to a screwdriver, which will allow you to create a smooth hole for any conduit.

Nut driver

Tool that you can use to tighten nuts and bolts, generally handheld, and operates in much the same way as a ratchet.

Typically looks like a screwdriver.

Fishing bit

A long flexible drill attachment that makes fishing, and running, electrical wires much easier.

Tool used to make sure that you install your electrical boxes, light switches, and so on square, flush and level to pre-existing construction.

Tape measure

Always useful to help ensure you cut things to their proper length.

Wire stripper/cutter

Tool used to strip and cut wiring.

Combination stripper

Tool used to strip a wide variety of electrical wiring gauges.

Coaxial stripper

Similar to a wire stripper, but designed to work on coaxial cables.

Coaxial crimper

Used to attach the coaxial wiring to connectors.

Armored cable cutter

Tool used to cut through armored, reinforced cables.

GFCI receptacle analyzer

Tool used to test electrical receptacles, and determine whether they work or not.
Voltage detector

Tool utilized to determine whether wiring has any voltage going through it.

Digital multi-tester

Also known as a digital multi-meter, this tool is used to take measurements of electrical currents.

Continuity tester

Tool or item that is used to test whether a electrical path can be established between two points.

Fish tape
Used to help route new wiring through walls or electrical conduits, usually metallic in nature.
Electrical tape

Tape that is used to help prevent any electricity from escaping from a live wire.

Helps prevent burns or fires.

Fiberglass ladder

Ladders are helpful for reaching areas such as a ceiling, and if made of fiberglass it will not conduct any electricity.

As always, we have some videos.

Remember...SAFETY FIRST when it comes to Electricity !

Mr. Fix-It

The Garage
Some Storage Ideas

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OK, be honest...does your garage look like this?

Within the walls of your home, chances are there are two rooms, or areas, that are in an almost constant state of disarray.

One is the laundry room, and the other is without doubt, the garage !

While it usually depends on the day of the week as to which one of these rooms is the single worst in the home, there is no doubt that these are two rooms that are typically in the most need of organizational help.

The stated purpose of a garage is to store and house your car or vehicle.

Unfortunately, this room typically becomes used as an oversized storage unit rather than what it was designed for.

It can often seem to be a losing battle, but there is now some newer "weapons" to use in this ongoing battle.

These new weapons are now known as garage storage systems.

There are 3 basis models or types or storage systems.

Here is a basic rundown of each that you can us.


When someone hears about this kind of unit, they typically think about the kind of cabinets that are found in a bathroom or kitchen.

When it comes to the garage though, there have been some changes in the recent years.

While it is possible to have the traditional cabinets, there is a slight problem with those, since they are not designed to withstand the stresses that come with a garage.

Youn might want to look into some of the new metallic roller cabinets, which are designed to withstand a higher amount of stress, as well as, being able to move around easily when the need arises.

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Recently there has been an interesting surge in overhead storage units.
These units are designed to raise everything above the head.

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Since everything is outside of arms reach, it is a little more difficult to get to...a good thing...

...due to the fact that since everything is a little more difficult to reach, you are not going to be getting into your things as often, and therefore create a more disorganized clutter !

Wall Units

These are not really the typical "built into the wall storage units and cabinets" you might think of !

In fact these units actually make the wall itself into the storage facility.

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Through the use of peg boards, and similar material, you can literally hang your items on the garage walls, allowing you to organize, clean, and decorate all at the same time.

We have some videos to give you a few ideas.

Mr. Fix-It

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