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Mr. Fix-It's World of Home Improvement

Forrest Fetherolf
Mr. Fix-It

Gas Water Heater
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Gas water heaters have one thermostat and one heat source.

The thermostat is found near the bottom of the tank, usually having a dial control setting. Simply rotate the dial to the number you want.

Some gas water heaters have thermostats housed underneath a metal plate. Simply swing the plate aside to expose the dial and rotate it to the number you want.

Always raise the thermostat of your hot water heater incrementally and allow at least four hours for the desired temperature to be reached.

When a water heater leaves the factory, it is set between 140 and 150 degrees. It takes two seconds to receive a third-degree burn from water heated to 150 degrees.

Dishwasher water needs to reach at least 180 degrees in order to kill bacteria, but your home hot water heater cannot reach that temperature without ruining the relief valve. Therefore, home dishwasher manufacturers equip their products with booster heaters to heat the water inside of the dishwasher to reach 180 degrees.

Need a couple of videos?

Mr. Fix-It

Weather Stripping
Summer or Winter...It's an Energy Saver

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If you struggle to maintain a desired temperature in your home you may have damaged weather stripping on your doors or windows.

The inability to maintain a desired temperature in your home can result in astronomical utility bills and be incredibly frustrating.

Next time it is windy or rainy trace your hands along the outline of your door or window to determine if the weather stripping is really damaged or if it another problem.

If you are positive that weather stripping is damaged you can begin the process of replacing the weather stripping.


You should start your project with a quick trip to your local hardware store where you should pick up nails, a nail set, and weather stripping materials.

Remove your old weather stripping and do a thorough job of washing down the area. Use liquid detergent and hot soapy water and wash away dirt and dust.

Measure your new weather stripping against the sides of the door or window. Add an additional two inches to each edge so they can fold around corners and protect you if you happen to measure incorrectly.
It is now time to replace the weather stripping.

Replacing the Weather Stripping

Place your weather stripping into place and nail it down securely so that when you open and close your window or door it stays properly secure.

Don't use the hammer to completely pound in the nails; this can damage the weather stripping. You'll instead want to use the nail set to finish placing the nails and avoid damaging the weather stripping.

Words of Advice

Checking your weather stripping regularly can help you to avoid having to do a complete redo job.

When you annually check your weather stripping you should check for frayed edges, loose nails and decay.

If you notice frayed edges you can trim the edges and use a nail polish to seal the edges so that it does not continue fraying.

Using hot soapy water can help you wash away materials that encourage decay.

Loose nails can lead to damage, so replacing those nails or reinstalling them will help you avoid the costly replacement effort.

Summarizing It All

By learning how to simply replace your weather stripping you can ease any financial burden associated with hiring a professional.

Remember to check your weather stripping annually and you will save even more on the materials you may need to replace your own weather stripping. 

Some videos?  Of course !

Mr. Fix-It

Want a Closet That's Just for You?
Design It Yourself

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Have you ever had a dream of having your own custom closet?

Instead of watching those home improvement television shows where they are always unveiling new and interesting custom closets, why not design your own?

Believe it or not, you may already know the basics of designing custom closets by having watched those shows.

Here are a few simple guidelines that you can use when designing custom closets for your home.

It's quick, simple, and easy enough that anyone can do it.
Here's how it's done.


There are all kinds of possible designs available for a custom closet system. When you are looking at making your own custom closet system, you need to ask your self basically what you want?

Do you want something that you can walk into?

Or something that makes a smaller closet more organized?

Either way, you should sit down and actually sketch out a rough floor plan for your new closet system. It doesn't necessarily need to be exactly to scale. You should make notations as to how big each item will be so you can later on know what you need to purchase.


While drawing your plan, keep in mind that the primary purpose of a closet is storage.

In your design you need to keep in mind that there are a few necessary basics that should be included.

You will need an area for shoes and boots, perhaps a space for large hanging items such as dresses and coats, and another area for smaller hanging items such as shirts and pants.

How much space will you dedicate to each?

Finally, keep in mind that you may want to dedicate a part of your closet for general storage space as well.


What materials do you envision your closet being made from?

What many people may not realize is that often the final cost of your closet will rise in direct proportion to the materials you use.

 For example a wood laminate closet may easily cost you a few thousand dollars and wood will cost you dramatically more.

Who to do it 

When designing your custom closet keep in mind who is going to actually be building it.

While it may be nice to think that you can do your own carpentry, often this kind of work is harder than you might think. It is usually best to hire someone to do the work for you.

However, if you will be doing your own construction try to keep the design rather simple so that it is easier to install.


As you are designing your custom closet, keep a running tally of what the final cost is going to be. It is easiest to do this by having a copy of the measurements that you made, and finding the cost of the different materials at your local home improvement store.

Remember that it is entirely possible to add BIG BUCKS to your final cost if you have hired someone else to do the work for you.

Here's a helpful video:

Mr. Fix-It

It's Important to Clean
Compact Fluorescent Lighting

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Did you know that compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, to provide the same amount of light, and last up to ten times longer than standard bulbs?

If you replace one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, you will save at least thirty dollars in energy costs over the life of the bulb.


Did you also know that fluorescent light illuminates brighter than incandescent light?

With that said, a fluorescent bulb will only be as good as it is cleanMeaning, if the light is dirty, it won't illuminate as well.

Follow these simple cleaning tips when cleaning your fluorescent lights to make sure that they are lighting your way the best they can.

Since lighting attracts bugs, dirt, and dust, they need to be cleaned often. 

Most people never think to clean their light bulbs when they clean house, but it is a good idea to schedule regular light bulb cleaning into your housecleaning schedule.

Here are some tips:

1Always disconnect the light from the electrical source before you clean.

2If the light bulb has been on, allow it to cool before you clean it.

3For wall fixtures and outside lighting, remove the bowl or cover by loosening the screws that hold the cover in place.

4Dispose of dead bugs and large debris from the bowl or cover.

5Wash the cover or bowl in warm water and detergent, and allow it to air dry while you clean the rest of the light fixture.

6Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to vacuum dust and debris from the light fixture.

7Apply Windex with a soft cloth to clean the metal parts of the light fixture.

Make absolutely certain that the lamp is completely removed from the electric source before you complete this step.

8. If your light fixture contains chrome, clean it with chrome cleaner or polish.

9Clean the fluorescent light bulb.

Never immerse the light bulb into water.

If you have a tube light, simply use a dry cloth to clean the length of it.
If you have spiral fluorescent light bulbs, use a feather duster to clean the winding tube.

Replace the bulbs and then replace the bowls or light covers.

If the covers have water spots after you wash them, wipe them to crystal clarity with Windex and a soft cloth.
Make sure you tighten the holding screws sufficiently, but do not over tighten since doing so may crack the glass covers.

Have a "brighter" day!

Mr. Fix-It

Got a Loose Tile?
Here's How to Fix It

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All anyone needs to do to fix a loose tile is a few items, and about an hour of your time.

The items that you need to gather together are a drill and complete set of drill bitsa construction syringesome two part epoxy (or glue)grout that matches the existing style and some golf tees.

If you don't have these items around the home, then you can purchase them all at your local department store, home supply depot, or the local sporting goods store.

Once you have all of these items you are free to start your project.

The first step is to select a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the grout joints in width.

Fit this drill bit into your drill and proceed to drill one small hole into the grout on each side of the tile. Be careful when you do this that you do not crack the tile itself, or you may end up having to replace the tile.

In the event that this happens, you may wish to take the broken tile to your local home supply store and see if you can find a matching one, so that you can replace just that tile instead of having to replace the entire floor.  

Many of our homes have existing tiles buried somewhere in the garage !

Once you have drilled the holes, you need to mix the glue (or epoxy) properly.

Just follow the manufacturers' directions as listed on the package, after which you are just about ready to glue that annoying tile down.

Before doing that though, you want to stick a golf tee all but one of the holes you drilled.

These tees are going to help ensure that all the empty spaces under the tile are filled with the epoxy you are about to inject.

Use your construction syringe, with as small of an applicator nozzle as you can find, to inject the epoxy into the floor.

You want to ensure that you have a tight fit, as close to airtight as you can get so that the glue does not seep out around the nozzle while you are injecting it into the holes.

Keep injecting the stuff under the tile until it starts to ooze out around the golf tees.

 When this happens, simply remove the tees, and remove the excess epoxy.

Allow the epoxy to dry out (or cure as it says on the directions), and while it is doing so mix the grout.

Once the epoxy is dried, apply the grout to the holes you created, and you are finished.

We have a few videos:

Mr. Fix-It

Finding Your Shut Off Values

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Can you, right now, locate and turn off the various utilities in your home?
If not, you really need to take the time to learn how.

Luckily, locating the utility shutoff valve or valves for your home is an extremely important skill to have.

This is particularly true if you live in an area that has a lot of earthquakes, or you have a history of plumbing issues.

Here is how you can locate, and shut off, the two major utility shutoff valves in your home.

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1Find the gas meter

In most cases the gas shutoff valve can usually be found near the gas meter of your home.

This is often located outside the home, and is usually has the appearance of a pipe that comes out of the ground, which then goes into the gas meter.

To turn off the gas, simply turn the handle on the pipe counterclockwise.

2Keep the area clear

When you find the gas meter, take a quick look around.

Is the area around the meter free from any obstructions?

You don't want to have any bushes, plants, or even covers in the way.

These types of items can often delay you in an emergency situation when you aren't thinking very clearly.

3. Place the right tools

Many times these shutoff valves are not firmly attached to the pipes so that they do not accidentally get messed with !

Instead, these types of shutoff valves are attached by a cord or chain to the pipes themselves.

Identify these tools, and then paint them in a bright eye catching color.

Some examples of the colors you may want to choose are bright red or 

4Turn off the pilot lights

Whenever you do shut off your gas lines you will also want to make sure that you turn off all the pilot lights in your home.

This will help ensure that no gas leaks into your home when you do turn the gas back on.

5. Practice

Just knowing where your shutoff valve is located isn't enough. To be truly effective in an emergency situation you should also practice several times to become familiar with the process.

It would also be a good idea to teach all the adults, as well as older responsible children, the process so that they too can shut off the gas when the need arises.

6. Look into automatic options

A great alternative method that you could use are called automatic gas shutoff valves.

These valves are designed to shut off the flow of gas to the home in the event of an emergency, such as an earthquake.

In fact, in some cities and states these are even required for your home to be considered up to code.

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1Locate the main

In order to ensure that the water to your home is truly shut off, you need to actually find the water meter box to your home.

This box is typically in the front of your home near the driveway or sidewalk.

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In the event that you cannot find the box call your local water company to have someone come out and show you where it is.

Open the box and look inside you will find a valve that is similar to those found on the gas meters.

To turn off the water, simply turn the handle counterclockwise until it won't turn any more.

2Keep it clear

One of the drawbacks to water meter boxes is that they are "natural" homes for spiders, snakes, mice, bugs, and other critters.

Periodically you will want to remove the cover to the meter box and check to ensure that it is free from any critter.

Further, you will also want to ensure that the shutoff valve has plenty of room to move the handle.

3Prepare the area

It can often be difficult to see the handle of the shutoff valve in an emergency, one way to help make this an easier task is to paint the handle an eye catching color.

While red is a good color for a handle that is in the open, for a box environment you will want to use a brighter color such as yellow.

4Practice, practice, practice

As with most things, shutting off the water to your house is something that you should practice. This way you can make sure you are able to do it in a high stressed situation, such as an emergency.

Furthermore, it would also be a good idea to teach all the adults, as well as older responsible children, the process so that they too can shut off the water when the need arises.

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While it doesn't use a valve, it is a good idea to also learn how you are supposed to shut off your electricity.

This is a particularly good idea if you have any gas lines in your home.

Usually the best place to shut off electricity in your home is at the electrical panels.

Simply throw the circuit breakers into the off position and you will have the electricity shut off throughout the house.

Keep in mind that some houses have several electrical panels, so you will need to make sure you know where all of these panels are so that you can shut the electricity off when and if you need to.




Mr. Fix-It

Make a Wall Look Special...
Glaze it !

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Are you thinking of redoing your walls, but want something a little different than wall paper or the traditional paint job, you may want to consider glazing.

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While the traditional paint jobs on walls can look nice, or even potentially fantastic, glazing is something truly amazing. When it is done right, glazing a wall can make the room you are working on truly remarkable.

To get that remarkable look, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

Get the Tools

Since glazing is a type of painting job, you will need to get all of the traditional painting tools that you see in other types of paint jobs.

The only real difference is that you will also want to get a squeegee, a ruler, and some neutral glazing medium.

Be sure that you get enough of the glazing medium to complete your work.
Also, when you get your paint you will want to make sure you get semi-gloss paint only.
Prepare Your Room

As you always do with a paint job, make sure that you prepare the room properly. This means that you need to place painters tape along the trim, light switches, and even along windows to help protect them from accidental painting.

If possible, remove anything that can potentially lead to you having an accident when you are painting.

Don't forget to lay down drop cloths over large furniture and on the flooring.

Make Adjustments to Your Tools

Before you can really begin glazing walls, you need to make a slight adjustment to one of your tools.

That tool is the squeegee, and that adjustment is cut a few notches in the rubber of the squeegee at regularly spaced distances using a ruler to get the distances right.
Paint the Room

Paint the room as you normally would, with the lightest colored paint to work as a base coat.

The easiest way to do this is by using a paint roller, though you will want to "cut-in" near the trim and other difficult areas with a hand brush.

Allow the walls to completely dry prior to proceeding to the next step.

In fact, it would even be a good idea to allow the paint to dry over night before going on, you really want the walls to be bone dry.

Make the Glaze

To make your glaze you will need to mix together four parts of your glazing medium to one part of the darker colored paint.

Pour the mixed glaze into a painting tray and begin painting the walls using a foam based paint roller.

As always, use a hand brush to cut into the difficult areas.

Begin Combing

When you have finished painting the glaze onto the wall, you will want to use the squeegee to "comb" the walls.

This is when you run the squeegee along the walls in curved strokes.

Since you really want to do this work while the paint is wet, you may want to have at least one other friend and an additional squeegee to help you do the work.
Allow the Paint to Dry

Once you have finished working the squeegees over the walls, you can allow the paint to dry before you can begin removing the painter's tape.

On the average this will take about four hours to do, though you can easily let the paint dry overnight to really get it completely dry.

Inspect the Work

After the paint has finished drying, and before you begin cleaning up, you really need to inspect the work.

Inspect the work, and make sure that it is completed the way that you want, and that you haven't accidentally gotten any of the paint somewhere you don't want it to be.

In the event that you do find some paint on the trim, you will need to cover the accident with some paint that matches the rest of the trim work.

Just be very careful when you do this, since if you get any paint meant for the trim on the wall, you will need to repaint the entire wall to repair the problem.

Videos to help you ?

Mr. Fix

Guidelines for the Perfect Bathroom
Lighting Fixtures

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Choosing great bathroom light fixtures can be confusing for anyone who is not a professional interior decorator. Luckily, it doesn't have to be that way anymore.

If you ever wanted some ideas on bathroom light fixtures, but don't know where find them, we have some ideas that can get you started in making sure you have the right ones for you.

Here are a few guidelines you should consider.

 Light Level

When looking at the light fixtures that you may want, you need to consider the light level you want for your bathroom.

Do you like your room to be bright or one that is a little darker?

Without even putting in a dimmer switch, the type of light fixture that you choose will greatly affect the amount of light you have in a particular room. 

Compare the styles and choose several styles that you may like.


Where in your bathroom will you be having the light fixtures?

Typically, light fixtures should be placed so that you can illuminate the room, while also being able to illuminate your face so that you can better see what you are doing when you are shaving or putting on makeup.

Either way, where you plan on putting your light fixtures will also have an impact on what kind of light fixtures you can even have.


When choosing your light fixtures, try to focus on how they will interact with the style of your bathroom.

You want something that will be an extension of the room's style, rather than something that will conflict with it.

The goal is to have your light fixtures be so inconspicuous, and blend with the room so naturally, that you don't even notice them unless you are looking right at them.

Can you install it? 

Are you planning on having a professional come and install your new light fixtures? If not, then you need to make sure that ones that you like are all models that you will be able to install yourself.

For the most part, light fixtures are fairly easy to install, as long as you are careful; however, it is highly recommended that you leave more extensive electrical work (beyond simple fixture installation) to the professionals.

Can you maintain it? 

Just like anything else that you purchase, you will need to maintain your new possession.

Is the new light fixture something that you will be able to take care of through casual everyday maintenance?

Does the new light fixture require major work on your part to even change a light bulb?

Keep in mind that even if something looks nice and pretty you are the one that is going to need to change the light bulb eventually.

More ideas?  Watch them !

Mr. Fix-It

Changing the Capacitor on your Air Conditioning
Unit(s) is Inexpensive Maintenance
the Can Keep You Cool this Summer

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 Many of our 10 to 20 year old HVAC Units are failing because of the capacitor(s).  They can die suddenly without warning.

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The Capacitor is necessary to start and run the air conditioner compressor motor and cooling fan located outside your home in an HVAC unit.

When the capacitor fails, the compressor and/or cooling fan will attempt to start without success, or will not respond at all.

The change out is rather straight forward and simple; and with a bit of mechanical skill and following the instructions, can take less than 20 minutes.

HVAC companies can charge several hundred dollars to replace a capacitor only costs about $10.00.

Think about some preventive maintenance and change the capacitor now.
It can keep you cool and your wallet full !

We have a few videos to help.

Mr. Fix-It
The Right Way to Paint in Tight Corners

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If your walls are all the same color, then painting into tight corners does not present much of a problem.

But if your walls are different colors...

 painting a tight corner can be challenging ! 

Follow these steps to achieve clean corners when painting:

1. Paint both walls and stop just short of the corner.

2. Choose the lightest colored wall and paint it completely into the corner, and do not worry about getting paint onto the other wall.

3. Using painter's tape, tape the corner of the wall that you've completely painted (the lightest colored wall), ensuring that the tape is as close to the corner as possible. Use hard pressure when taping to ensure against bleeding.

4. Now paint the corner again with the lightest color, allowing it to bleed.
Since it will bleed onto its own color, it doesn't matter that it's bleeding.

Allow that paint coat to dry at least three hours, leaving the tape in place.
5. Now that the bleeding process has cured, you can paint the opposite corner with the darker colored paint.

Use an angled brush to paint the darker color into the corner, taking care not to paint beyond the painter's tape.

6. Allow the paint to dry overnight, and then carefully remove the tape.
Another method for painting into tight corners is to use an artist's brush in the corner, before painting the rest of the wall.
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Use a quality artist's brush with angled bristles and paint a strip about one-inch wide from the ceiling to the floor. Take short strokes, using plenty of paint per swipe.

Since smaller brushes use less paint, you will need at least two coats of paint per wall.

Once you've finished the corner strips, paint the rest of the wall.

One more method of painting into tight corners is the paint-and-wipe method.

Quickly paint as much paint as you can straight into the corner, without worrying about getting it onto the other wall, and then just as quickly use a very damp rag to wipe the paint away from the facing wall.

If you are using any color but dark red, this is a great method for painting tight corners.

I've also found sponge brushes are great for getting paint into places that a regular paintbrush can't reach, like the small bit of wall between two door jambs.

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Sponge brushes are actually bits of sponge, glued to a wooden handle.
Manufactured to be used and then thrown away, sponge brushes are inexpensive and easy to use. Just make sure that you have enough paint in the sponge, since they are highly absorbent.


Mr. Fix-It


Getting Rid of Rust on Concrete

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Removing rust stains from concrete may seem a little difficult to do at first glance; however, when the proper steps are taken just about any rust stain can be removed from any concrete surface.

Keep in mind that if you are not particularly careful, you can actually cause some serious damage to your concrete, which will lead to a need for earlier replacement.

Here are a couple of methods that you can use to ensure that your concrete is free from rust.

1. Use a power washer

You can use a power, or pressure washer in conjunction with either laundry detergent or concrete cleaner to remove rust from concrete.

Make sure that you completely clean the entire concrete surface by sweeping, and then wetting the surface down.

Then apply the cleaner and scrub using a stiff bristled brush.

After scrubbing, simply power wash the area and you should be finished. However, you may need to repeat the process a few times before you get the stain completely removed.

2Commercial cleaners

Most hardware stores carry commercially made and mixed concrete cleaning detergent. Usually these cleaners will come in either powdered or pre-mixed liquid forms.

When using them, make sure that you follow the directions as listed on the cleaner (also, the use of a good, stiff bristled brush wouldn't hurt).

3Muriatic acid

By applying a little bit of muriatic acid to the rust stained concrete, you are certain to remove the stain.

Only one little problem with this method though, it is an acid.

This means that if you are not particularly careful you cannot only remove the stain, but more of the sidewalk than you plan, as well as some of your own skin.

When using this method, be sure that you carefully read and follow the directions on the back of the package as posted by the manufacturer.

In addition, make sure that you are wearing proper safety equipment such as gloves and goggles before handling this material.

Finally, after you have finished removing the rust from your concrete, you will need to reseal it.

This will help protect you concrete surface from getting stained again, as well as protecting it from the elements.

In addition, by resealing the concrete you should also have an easier time cleaning it in the future.


Pressure Washing

Commercial cleaning

Muriatic Acid (3 part videos

Mr. Fix-It

The "Art" of Painting
Near a Window

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If you don't take the proper steps when painting near windows, you can easily find yourself with more work than you wanted. For example, if you would like to be able to open your windows again, there are a few precautions you will need to take.

Same goes if you'd like to actually look through your windows without any paint in the way !

To be able to avoid some of the more common issues, simply make sure that you follow these simple guidelines.

Materials needed

Metal roller tray
Angled, natural bristle paintbrush (for best results)
Three inch trim roller
Stir stick
Utility knife
Paint can opener (or flat tipped screwdriver)
Drop cloth (canvas or plastic is best)
Lots of newspaper
Painter's tape


1Prep and tape the area.

Before you can begin painting near windows, you need to properly prepare the area for your work. 

This means that you need to remove any and all hangings, drapes, or other items that you may have near the windows.

Next lay out your drop cloth on the ground in front of the window, and begin taping off the window. The ideal way to do this is by running painters tape along the outer edge of the windows to protect it from getting any paint.
You may need to apply couple of rows. 

Repeat the process on the inside of the windows, but this time adding some newspaper to the mix.

Basically you want to tape the newspaper to the windows so that you can keep as much of the paint off of the windows as much as possible.

If you have any interior trim, apply the newspaper and painters tape around it, leaving the trim exposed.

2Get the paint ready.

Open your paint can, and stir it all together. This will help prepare the paint for the work you will begin shortly.

Pour a little bit of the paint into the roller tray and then slowly roll the roller into the paint.

3Start at the top.

Begin painting your window at the top. This will help you prevent any drips or running paint from ruining any work.  You will be able to help hide any drips or runs when you do it this way.

Slowly work the roller over as much of the wood as you can, though you will not be able to get everything.

You will need to use the paint brush to cut in and get into the tight corners that the roller can't reach.

4Work the edges.

Repeat the process for the sides of the windows, being sure that you don't miss anything. You may need to use the paintbrush so that you can get everything.

5. Interior trim.

When working the interior trim you shouldn't have all that much difficulty since you can simply paint over the trim and not worry about getting the newspaper dirty.

You may miss a couple of places if you don't use the paint brush to help out.

6. Finish at the bottom.

Repeat the painting process at the bottom of the window. Use the roller as much as possible, and then finish up with the paint brush.

Make sure that you don't paint over the edge of the window and inadvertently seal the window shut. If you do, you may want to run a utility knife along the edge to help break the seal.

7Repeat as necessary.

Repeat steps three through six as often as necessary for multiple coats of paint.
Allow enough time to pass between the coats so that the preceding coat is completely dry prior to you starting the next one.

Here are some helpful videos:

Mr. Fix-It

Does Your Wood Floor Squeak ?
Let's Fix it !

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A squeaky floor can be a truly annoying thing for most people.

Fixing squeaky flooring isn't all that difficult of a task, and one that just about anyone can do. Just make sure that you follow these simple directions.

Keep in mind, that most of these directions will require that you also work from underneath the floor, so you may have to do some additional work to access that point.

1Fix the joist directly

Often times squeaky flooring is caused by the sub-flooring becoming separated from the floor joists, which causes the nails to squeak as they go in an out of the holes in the joists.

If the gap between the flooring and the joist is large enough, you can simply fasten an appropriately sized piece of scrap flooring to the joist.

Make sure that the flat edge of the scrap wood is flush against the flooring, and then attach it to the joist.

You may want to use screws instead of nails as they are less likely to work themselves loose over time.

2. Use a shim

If the gap between the joist and the flooring is small enough, you can simply slide in a shim to help make things nice and tight.

Apply a bit of wood glue or construction adhesive to the shim, and then slide it into the gap. Be careful that you don't force the shim too much or you can end up making the gap wider.

Ideally, you will want to use a shim that is difficult to push in, but one that you don't have to force into the space.

3Reattach the floor and sub-floor

Sometimes the flooring and the sub-flooring can become separated, and this can cause the squeaking.

The easiest way to fix this problem is to use a screw that won't go all the way through both the flooring and the sub-flooring, but is long enough to attach the two.

Simply locate the place that they are separated, and then insert the screw into that location.

If the separation is large enough, you may need to use more than one screw.

Do not place these screws closer than six inches to each other.


Mr. Fix-It

Heating & Air Conditioning Concerns

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HVAC is the most expensive mechanical item in your home to repair or replace.

Now is the time to start planning what you should do when the HVAC unit fails to keep you warm in winter, cool in summer, or is making strange noises.

Now that our homes in SCA are approaching 15 to 22 years old you can expect the HVAC to start to have failure, if they haven’t already. 

The life expectancy of HVAC is 15 or more years for the air conditioner side and up to 30 years for the heating side.

Many times the HVAC with minor issues such as the thermostat, capacitor, fan motor, switch, etc. will cost a few dollars to repair. 

I have always recommended replacing the defective part just like you would if the brakes failed in your car. 

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You don’t replace the caryou replace the brakes.

Many folks have already fallen victim to the HVAC Companies high pressure sales pitch to spend thousands of dollars to replace the entire system and all ducting within the first 15 years. 

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The existing ducting is adequate to handle the new unit without any modifications unless damaged in some way. 

To me, replacing the ducting is a waste of money.

How much should you pay to replace the HVAC?

The cost can be broken down into size and efficiency. 

The minimum requirement to replace you existing HVAC in our Nevada location is a 14 Seer for cooling and 90% efficiency to heating

The higher the seer rating and efficiency the more to unit will cost. 

Any additional cost should only relate to the HVAC equipment efficiency, not the labor to install.

 I see no reason to install a more efficient unit than minimum required.

The size unit you need is based on BTU’s or Tonnage which relates to the area of your house to be conditioned.

A good way to estimate the cost to replace a HVAC unit:

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One ton HVAC will condition about 500 square feet of your home.

One ton HVAC installed will cost about $1700 per ton.

For a 1800 sq ft home…divide 1800 by 500 multiplied by $1700 = $6120.

The material cost for this unit is about $3000, any amount over that is strictly labor, profit and overhead.

The HVAC system replacement should take less than 20 man hours to install.

If you have questions, email or text to discuss your situation and options…’s free!!!
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Mr. Fix-It
Forrest Fetherolf
(818) 207-1868 Text

Which High Efficiency Light Bulbs Are Best

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There are all kinds of reasons that can influence you to be as energy efficient as possible.

Some of the more common reasons include wanting to save money on your monthly utility bills, wanting to save money on shopping, and even wanting to reduce the amount of energy that you use in general.

Whether you are looking to make a green impact on the planet, or saving a little green in your wallet, you need to know the right methods for choosing energy efficient light bulbs.

 In reality, all you really need to do is keep in mind these guidelines, and you should have no problem getting the right light bulbs for your home.

1Check the package

The first thing that you need to understand about choosing energy efficient light bulbs is that they should be clearly marked. This means that you need to look carefully at the packaging.

Good quality energy efficient light bulbs will be clearly marked with Energy Star somewhere on the packaging.

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If the packaging isn't clearly marked, it may not be as energy efficient as the packaging may lead you to believe.


There are several different types of light bulbs that are designed to be energy efficient. Perhaps the single most popular type are fluorescent bulbs (both regular and compact) which also provide the most "natural" light of all the energy efficient light bulbs.

In fact, these are so popular that some cities are making it illegal to sell the old incandescent light bulb anymore in favor of these.

Another of the more popular choice are the light emitting diodes (LEDs) or even halogens which tend to provide the brightest lights.


If there is one benefit that all energy efficient light bulbs will share is that it will save you money.

Energy efficient light bulbs are also engineered to have a minimum of ten times the service life of regular light bulbs.

In addition, these lights will usually give of the same amount of light using a whole lot less energy than traditional light bulbs.

For example, an LED bulb that only uses about three watts of energy can put out as much light as a 45 watt incandescent bulb.

4. Potential drawbacks

 CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) have a couple of large drawbacks.
The first is that as they are now, you cannot really use them effectively with a dimmer switch.

Another potential drawback is that CFLs are extremely hazardous if they get broken.

 In fact, they are so dangerous that the EPA considers them hazardous materials.

Here are some helpful videos:

Mr. Fix-It

Hardwood Flooring Can Often Be Restored
Instead of Replaced 

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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.

Simply follow these instructions and you should have no problem with getting your flooring looking its best again.

How bad is it? 

Look at the damage on the floor, and see how bad it is.

Most minor scratches, which are scratches that are less than six inches in length, and no more than 1/8 inch in depth, are easily fixed.

Anything larger than that, you may want to look into replacing that section of flooring, or taking more in depth restoration measures.

Light scratches need steel wool. 

Light scratches can be described as a scratch or divot that appears to be surface damage only. For example, can you look at the scratch, and it simply looks like some of the surface wood or sealant came off?

If so, you have a light scratch.

Grab some fine steel wool, and rub it lightly over the scratch in the same direction as the grain.

If you rub against the grain, you can easily find yourself needing to make more repairs. Continue to rub the area until it is smooth to the touch.

Deep scratches need sandpaper. 

For deeper scratches (which are up to 1/8 inch deep) you will need to use some lightweight sandpaper. 

Once again, lightly rub the sand paper in the direction of the grain or you will end up with a larger project.

Keep sanding the area until it has become completely smooth and even to the touch. You are simply smoothing out the rough edges of the scratch, so don't get too carried away.

Apply some mineral spirits. 

Begin preparations for filling and sealing by making sure that you pick up all the loose fine dust that is left over from the sanding.

The easiest way to accomplish this is with the help of some mineral spirits and a soft clean rag.

Apply the spirits to the rag, and then rub it over the sanded area.

Fill the scratch. 

Allow the mineral spirits to dry, and then it is time to fill the scratch. This should only take about five minutes worth of work.

Get some premixed wood filler that matches the color of your hardwood floor.

Once you have that, put some onto a plastic putty knife and then fill the scratch.

Be sure that you are holding the plastic putty knife at an angle to get as much filler into the scratch as possible.

Do not use a metal putty knife, or you can easily create new scratches that will need to be repaired.

Sand the scratch. 

Once the filler has dried to the touch (should be no more than an hour) it is time to sand the area smooth.

Use some lightweight (about 180 grit should do the job) and sand away the excess filler.

 Do not press to hard, or sand too much or you can find yourself with a bigger mess to repair.

Seal it.

Seal the now restored area of your floor to help protect it against the elements and daily use.

Use either a varnish, polyurethane sealant, or some other product that will do the job, and match the rest of your floor.

Put everything away, and you are now finished.


Here's a 4 part.. step by step "how to do it" procedure that should be helpful.

Mr. Fix-It

Knowing How Deep
Drill a Hole

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Next time you are asked to drill a hole or need to for a personal project, you may wonder how to drill the hole to a desired depth.

Before beginning your project there are a variety of tools you may need.

Necessary tools for drilling include: drilling bits, a measuring tape or rulera pencil or marking toola center puncha rubber bandgoggles, and a clamp.

All these items can be found at your local hardware store and grocery store.

Before beginning your big project, make sure that you are drilling in the proper place.

Be confident about the placement of frames and the like prior to beginning your project.

If you are hanging an item, check to make sure that you are not near electrical wiring or a cement wall.

Knock on the wall you wish to drill into and listen for a slightly hollow sound.

If you are concerned about hitting electrical wires you may speak to a contractor or a home improvement guru.

Drilling a hole to a desired depth is dependent on the length of your drill bit.
When selecting the drill bit you intend to use for your particular project, keep in mind its length.

The length of your drill bit will be the size, or depth, of your drilled hole.

With a wax writing utensil or a pencil, mark the spot you intend to drill your hole.

Using a center punch or nail, lightly tap an indent in the middle of your mark with a hammer.

Having an indent will help you to secure the drill bit in the right place when you begin drilling.

When drilling a hole into small items use a clamp to properly secure or fasten the item you are drilling or hanging in front of your marked area.

By using a clamp, you reduce your risk of injury.

If you do not use a clamp, you run the risk of the item falling during installation.

You may now begin drilling.

If you are drilling for the first time, or feel nervous about your project, you may want to use a smaller drill bit to make an initial hole.

Small drilling bits are easier to use and handle and can help you drill to the right depth.  If you start with a large drill bit you may be frustrated when you find that you do not want your hole that deep.

If you wish to continue drilling the hole deeper, select the next size drill bit until you reach your desired depth.

By applying a light pressure, you reduce your risk of losing control of the drill and drilling too deeply.

Another great method for drilling a hole to the desired depth is to use a rubber band.

Place a rubber band on the drill bit to mark the depth of the hole you wish to make.

Advance the bit slowly as you drill, and stop drilling when the rubber band has reached the surface.

Be sure that you use both hands, one to steady the drill and regulate the speed of advancement, and the other to keep the drill working.

When you are done, admire your final project!

Here's a couple of greats video to help out !

Mr. Fix-It

House Too Noisy?

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Part of reducing interior noise levels lies in understanding where these noise levels come from.

While it may be easy to say that they come from the television or  radio, this isn't entirely correct. 

In large part, the design of the home plays a huge role in how noisy it is.

The shapes, sizes, ceiling heights, and arrangement of the room and their contents can all greatly affect the way that noise acts in a home.

Typically, there is little that can be done in this particular area to help in reducing interior noise other than rebuilding or substantially modifying the house.

It's not just the way that the house is designed though that can be blamed for interior noise levels, the other reason is actually sound.

Simply put, sound can either be absorbed or reflected.

In the cases of a home that is an echo chamber, there is little absorption, which in turn reduces interior noise levels.

With homes that have large amounts of hard floors, or are designed in certain ways, there is generally a lot of reflection.

This means that the sound persists and is echoed and transmitted throughout the home, room to room. Hence, a noise that is generated in one room, can easily be heard in all of the others.

If you have the money, a good engineer or contract or even an interior designer can take a look at such situations, appraise it, and deliver some recommendations. 

These recommendations can help to mitigate the problem, or even eliminate it; however, this option is generally very expensive, and one that should only be relied upon as a last resort.

For those that are faced with a home that has a lot of hard surfaces, and not a whole lot of money, there are a few options that you can use.

The first thing to do is remember that angles and hard surfaces can often act like the cushions on a billiard table, which tends to "reflect" a billiard ball that hits them.

The simplest solution is to therefore break up these hard, reflective surfaces by adding soft, cushiony surfaces that will help absorb the sound and kill the echoes and transmission of the sound

Just by doing this you will be able to greatly reduce the interior noise level of your home.

Carpets, rugs, cushions, velvety cloth wallpapers, corkboard, acoustic ceiling tiles, heavy folded cloth drapes and curtains, and insulated walls can all help an awful lot in reducing interior noise.

Typically small rooms reflect noise less, while the opposite is true for larger rooms.

This means that larger rooms may need to be"broken up."

This can be done in a variety of ways, for instance you could use cloth screens to help create more "rooms" out of the single larger room.

Using tapestries hung on the back of bookcases can also do the same thing. In the end, simply rearranging the furniture and appliances can have a huge impact.

Try rearranging a few of the items in your home and see if that works in reducing interior noise levels.

Here are some helpful videos.

Mr. Fix-It

Necessary Garage Upgrades

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For some reason, the garage is one of the most often remodeled rooms in the home.

Perhaps this is because due to the fact that when people remodel their garage, they forget a few things and then have to do it over again. 

If you are planning to remodel your garage, keep in mind these necessary garage upgrades. That way you only have to do the job once !


It almost seems like you can never have too much space in your garage.
When planning your garage upgrades though, keep in mind that while it may be nice to have unlimited space in your garage, it isn't really practical to have a garage that is as big as your house.

Keep your desires and your needs balanced and realistic. To do this though, you need to have a purpose for your garage in mind.

Will it be storing your cars?

Will it be used as a storage room?

Have a single purpose in mind and work around that.


Regardless of what the primary purpose for your garage is going to be, you need to make sure that you have plenty of storage room.

At the very least, you need to ensure that you are able to properly store the items that you keep in your garage.

For example, if you use your garage as a game room, then you may want to think about creating some storage for the games.


When you upgrade or remodel your garage, make sure that it is properly insulated.

This includes the garage door.

An improperly insulated garage can become horrendously cold during the winter and exceptionally hot during the summer.

Either of these can lead to higher energy bills and an uncomfortable situation for you when you use the garage.


 Some may say that soundproofing your garage may not be necessary, strictly speaking.

However, if you are in the rest of the house do you really want to hear the noise coming from the garage?

Those cars getting fixed, the music or even the games being played can all get pretty loud.

At the very least, soundproofing your garage will provide peace and quiet for the rest of the home.

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Here's a few ideas on how to make your garage more useful...and maximize the space.

As you can see, there's more to a garage than a cart !

Mr. Fix-It

Switching to LED Lights 
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If you're like most baby boomers or from earlier generations, when you think of office or overhead lighting, you envision fluorescent bulbs; and when you think of home lighting, you think of the familiar incandescent light bulbs.

But... the next time you purchase light bulbs for your lamps, take a look at the LED lights that are offered for home use.

The main difference between incandescent and LED lamps is the filament versus the electronic chip used to generate the beam of light.

That is, the incandescent bulb uses a filament, and LED lights use a light-emitting diode (thus, the initials L.E.D.).

LED lighting is part of a type of lighting referred to as solid-state lighting (SSL), which incorporates the use of solid-state electro-luminescence, rather than thermal radiation to emit light.

Because it doesn't use thermal radiation to emit light, SSL generates light while creating very little heat.

Here are some points to consider if you're contemplating using LED lighting in and around your home:

1Hot, but not

Unlike incandescent bulbs, LED bulbs produce very little heat.

If you've ever changed a hot incandescent bulb, then you know how the bulb can burn your fingers.

If you touch an LED bulb, it will not burn at all since they produce 95% less heat than incandescent bulbs.

2Long lasting

LED lights can last up to one hundred times longer than incandescent bulbs and up to ten times longer than fluorescent bulbs.

Since you'll need to change bulbs less frequently, you'll save money in the long run by purchasing LED lighting.


You can use LED lights in and around your home and rest easy in the knowledge that it is safe to use around children and pets.

 If they touch the lighting, they won't be burntThe lights will not shatter, either.

With traditional lighting, you run the risk of shattering a bulb if you drop it or run into it.

With LEDs, the casings are high density plastic, and will not easily shatter upon impact.

Use LEDs if you're concerned about helping the environment, because they are extremely eco-friendly.

LEDs use a fraction of the energy of traditional lighting, and lend themselves well to a variety of uses, including solar lighting and other renewable energy sources.

LEDs use lower wattage than incandescent bulbs, translating into energy and money savings for the consumer.

Some videos? 

Mr. Fix-It

Getting Your Air Conditioning System
Ready for Summer

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Summer is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to check your A/C system.

It’s important to regularly check the system in order to prevent any breakdowns once things start to heat up.

Below are a few helpful steps for checking your A/C system.

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Power Down

Before beginning any kind of A/C repair or inspection, be sure it’s powered off in order to prevent damages to any of its many parts. It’s also an important step for ensuring your personal safety, as 
air conditioner repair can sometimes be a tricky task. 

Cleaning the Condenser

Inspect the area around the condenser for any debris that could potentially prevent air from flowing into the system.

To help the condenser breathe, make sure there are at least a couple of feet between the condenser and any shrubbery, fencing, or tree branches that are in the area.

Use a regular garden hose to then wash both the inside and outside of the unit. 

If you suspect small leaks in your A/C system, you can usually fix them from the condenser’s end by using a refrigerant leak repair kit.

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It simply clips to the condenser’s suction line and sends sealant throughout the system, sealing any small leaks along the way.

Be sure to also check the fan belt,  which connects the motor and the blower, can weaken or wear down over time and require readjustment, more lubrication of the bearings, or even a total replacement.

Different A/C systems require different fan belts, so make sure you find one that’s specific to your system before purchasing.

After you repair or replace your fan belt, make sure there is at least half to three quarters of an inch of slack in the line.

Fan belts that are too loose or too tight are more likely to break. 

Duct work & Filters

Now it’s time to start following the A/C system indoors.

First, you’ll want to search your house for all registers (vents) and make sure that any rugs, carpeting, or furniture does not block them.

If you have floor registers, make sure to look inside for any foreign objects; it’s not uncommon for small household objects to fall through the vents.

Next you’ll want to inspect the duct work running through your attic or basement. Make sure that they are properly insulated and that there are no gaps in the seams.

Improper insulation can cause irregular condensation on the cold metal coils and lead to leaks that can seep through your ceiling. 

After the duct work has been properly inspected, go ahead and check your filters for any clogs.

It’s recommended that you change filters at least once a month to keep your system running smoothly.

Filters that protect against common allergens will tend to clog quicker, so they require more frequent attention. 


Consider hiring an air conditioning repair professional to regularly check your A/C system. There are many parts that can go unnoticed by the untrained eye, and a professional can help prevent future problems by providing proper, detailed maintenance.



Home Air Filters?

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Have you noticed a sudden upsurge of sneezing, coughing, or other allergy attack symptoms within your home?

If so then you probably need to change the air filter on your HVAC system.

Keep in mind that choosing efficient air filters, which is what you want to do in this situation, requires a bit more effort than simply going to your local home improvement store.

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Know the Size

An important part of choosing efficient air filters is to make sure that you choose one that will work for your particular unit. This means that you need to know the size of air filter you can use for your particular HVAC unit.

Usually all you need to do to find this information is look at the existing air filter and see what size it is.

If the existing air filter does not have a readily seen size, then take a look on the door to the air filter compartment.

On this panel you can usually find some rather important information that will include the filter size for your particular HVAC unit.

Look for Energy Efficiency

Take the size information that you now have, and go to your local home improvement store. There you will find a variety of different air filters, and while many will work, most will not work for what you want.

Take a look at the energy efficient models that are on sale.

These are the ones that you will want to continue looking at since they are designed to be the most energy efficient in how they capture the particulates that are within the air, and purifies it.

Find the ones that have the highest energy ratings before you continue making your choice.

Check the Ratings

Take a look at the filtration ratings that typically come with these types of units.

Make sure that you know what the usable ratings for your particular HVAC model are, and if you don't know, look up the model on line to ensure that you find the correct rating range.

If you are looking for the best filters you will want one that meets the HEPA requirements.

One Time vs. Reusable

You can often find one time usable units,  or ones that are reusable. Either one will work just as well, the question is a matter of cost efficiency.

The single use models are typically lower costing initially, though the cost of purchasing a new one every six months can quickly add up.

The reusable ones are initially more expensive, but over the long run are more cost efficient if you clean them regularly.

The choice of which one to use is up to you.

Change It Regularly

Once you have finished choosing efficient air filters that you can use in your home, you need to then change it out regularly.

This is a rather simple operation in most cases, and is something that most homeowners can accomplish.

Usually all you really need to do is remove the old one, and then place the new one in properly.

Most, if not all, HVAC units have instructions on the door to where the filter is located. If not, then take a look at the packaging for the filter to find the instructions. Simply follow those instructions and you will be able to change the filter without too much (if any) problems.

Need a video?

Mr. Fix-It

1 comment:

  1. The Foundation Assisting Seniors will install the filters for you at no cost.You purchase the filters and they will install. call them at 725-244-4200