Got a Squeaky Door?
Here's How to Fix It
Looking for a Contractor?
Here's a "Must"Check List
Here's a "Must"Check List
The general purpose of hiring a contractor is to make your project go as smoothly and easily as possible; however, if you don't know what to look for when hiring a contractor you can easily end up in the middle of a financial nightmare.
Here are a few guidelines that you can use to ensure you are able to hire someone that knows what they are doing.
Are they licensed?
It may be tempting to ask your best friend's cousin to do the work for you, but if they aren't licensed you need to go with someone else.
Being licensed also means that the contractor is used to working with the government and ensuring that the work they are doing is actually legal and according to code.
So...ask to see their license, and check to make sure that it is still valid.
At this time, you should make sure that the contractor has some kind of insurance to cover accidents.
All good contractors will have a list of past clients (not friends and family) that can attest to their skills on the job.
This list should have no fewer than ten names on it, all with current contact information.
Furthermore, this reference list should have a brief description of the work that they did, and how long it took.
Check them out.
Besides checking into the reference list, you should also look to see what their reputation is with the world at large.
One way that you can do this is to check with the local branch of the Better Business Bureau, as well as the city inspectors to see what they have to say.
A good contractor may have some complaints against them, but they would have been addressed quickly and without too much contention.
Get it in writing.
All reputable contractors should be willing, and even eager to have a contract that details the work that is being done.
It is the responsibility of the contractor to provide that contract, and it should (in detail) the work that is being agreed to, who will be doing it, what types of supplies will be used, any sub-contractors that will be used, and the names of all employees who will be on your property.
Furthermore, the contract should also have a list of what the payment schedule should look like, as well a stipulation that says you will not pay for any additional costs beyond what you were quoted unless you have agreed to it in writing.
Set a few terms.
Prior to signing your contract, you should take the time to think out a few terms and conditions that you want included.
For example, do you want them to show up before 6:00 am, or should they wait till after you have left for work?
What happens if they show up late for work that day, and don't let you know?
Do you want to say that one of the homeowners need to be on hand for any work to be done on the home?
When you find a contractor that is willing to meet with, and abide with, these guidelines you know that you have found a decent contractor.
Each of these guidelines is a method that you can use to ensure that you are holding the contractor responsible for what is happening on the job site.
Furthermore, if they are willing to agree to these conditions you know that they are willing to stand by their work.
What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze
1. Shut off the water immediately.
Don't attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
2. Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe.
You can use a hair dryer, space heater, or hot water.
Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
3. Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.
On vacation during the winter months?
1. Have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to insure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
2. A freeze alarm can be purchased for less than $100 and will call a user-selected phone number if the inside temperature drops below 45 degrees.
Some videos !
What's the Toilet Doing Wrong ?
Protecting Pipes and Hoses During Winter Months
There are several steps you can take to protect the pipes and hoses in your home and landscape from cold weather:
We have some videos.
Repairing Water Damaged Walls
Here are a couple helpful videos.
For that small repair....
For that big repair...
Hardwood Flooring Can Often Be Restored
Instead of Replaced
There are times when you instead of replacing your entire hardwood floors, all you need to do is some minor touch ups.
This kind of simple hardwood floor restoration isn't all that hard, though you do need to make sure that you have the right tools, and a fairly steady hand.
Painting Starts with Making Sure You
Have the Right Equipment to Complete the Job
Which High Efficiency Light Bulbs Are Best
Wood Flooring Installation Made Easy
Taking Care of Your Ceramic Tile
While ceramic tiles look beautiful and shiny when brand-new, over time they can become stained, chipped, cracked, loose, and the grout in between can become discolored.
Utility Sink Clogged?
Using a "Snake"
Just as when you use a snake to unclog kitchen or bathroom sinks, you are going to be utilizing the same methods and tools to snake out a utility sink.
Don't Forget "Vapor Barriers"
One of the more confusing, and fairly important, aspects of home construction, and thus remodeling, is the matter of vapor barriers.
A vast majority of homeowners don't know what these are, and it is also a sad fact that many in the construction field don't either.
However, by simply forgetting to install some of these when you are doing a major remodel, you are creating an environment that could lead to some potentially dangerous situations later on in life, like mold or structural damage.
What are vapor barriers?
Vapor barriers exist for one reason and one reason only, which is to help retard, resist, or even prevent the spread of moisture through the different enclosures of your home.
Want to Replace a Regular Light Switch with a Dimmer ?
One of the best ways to help set a relaxing atmosphere in any room is to dim the lights by using softer lighting.
Unfortunately, while many homes may have a dimmer switch or knob for the lighting in one room, they are not usually found in all of the rooms, or it may not be in the room that you want it to be in.
So how does the home electrician go about replacing a light switch with a dimmer?
Luckily, this is a fairly easy electrical job, and one that you can do yourself without having to resort to calling in a professional electrician to accomplish.
Reverse Osmosis System Leaking ?
If you have a reverse osmosis system installed and is leaking water from the base of faucet (photo 1)...
...the drain line (photo 2) is plugged with debris not allowing water to drain from the Reverse Osmosis system during regeneration cycle.
The fix is simple...
Remove the plastic drain line from plastic elbow connected to drain adapter and clean out debris.
Teflon plumbers tape should be applied to threaded elbow to prevent leaks.
Lowering Costs on Home Improvement Projects
One of the biggest problems with doing any kind of home improvement project is the amount of money that it usually takes to do the job right.
Here are a few videos to help you with that do-it-yourself project.
Water Conservation...Money Saving Ideas
With the way utility bills keep rising, if you don't take a few simple steps, you can easily find yourself with a huge bill.
One of the simplest ways that you can lower your utility bills in general, and your water bill in particular, is to begin conserving water.
Conserving water in the home isn't that hard. All you need to do is use a few of these suggestions, a little dedication, and you will begin to see results.
Keep in mind though that the best way you can go about conserving water in the home is to follow all of these suggestions, and to do use a little creativity of your own.
Believe it or not, using faucet aerators can help you conserve a huge amount of water in the home. On the average an aerator will allow you to reduce the amount of water that flows through the faucet by about half, with little or no effect on the water pressure.
Over the course of a year this can save you roughly 100 gallons a year per faucet aerator.
Best thing of all is that you can find aerators for your shower and bathtub as well as for your sinks.
Dishwashers help conserve water
Despite what many people may think, washing dishes by hand does not actually help to conserve water.
You will use up to 16 gallons of water to wash your dishes by hand, while a regular dishwasher will only use between 7 and 10 gallons of water.
Some EnergyStar dishwashers can use even less water than that.
Turn the water off
A common mistake at the sink can add up to huge amounts of water wasted and that common mistake is leaving your water running while you do personal grooming such as brushing teeth, shaving, or washing your hands and face.
If you turn the water off when you don't need it, then over the course of a year you can save up to 2,000 gallons of water.
Low flow tech
Low flow technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. In fact you can find low flow water faucets, shower heads, dishwashers, clothes washers, and much more.
Invest in some low flow options around the house, and sit back and watch the savings roll in.
Check for leaks often
Another common cause for wasted water is leaks.
By conducting regular checks of your home for leaks, you can potentially save a huge amount of water. A simple way to check to see if there are any leaks in your water system is to write down the numbers on your water meter when you go out. Check the numbers again when you get home; if they are different (and no one has been home while you were out) then you have a leak. Fix any leaks as soon as you can find them.
Here are a couple video ideas.
If it's not a Picture Window...You Can Fix It Yourself
Fixing the glass in a broken window can be an unnecessarily expensive project for any homeowner. Considering what contractors charge, you may want to seriously consider doing your own glass repair.
Contrary to what many people think, this is something that anyone can do, all that is needed is a few simple tools, new window glass, and some time.
We have some helpful videos to help you do the job right.
What Ceiling Fixture is Best for Your House ?
The right ceiling fixture can have a huge impact on the general feel and look of a room.
This effect makes the ceiling fixture almost as important of a choice as choosing the paint, furniture, or general decorations that you may plan to have in that room.
Typically when choosing ceiling fixtures, you want to make sure that you choose one that you don't notice. This may sound kind of contrary to what was just said, but it is true.
Think of any movie that you may have seen.
In the good movies, you don't really notice the score or soundtrack since its purpose is to enhance the movie itself. Likewise, a ceiling fixture's job is to enhance the surrounding area, without drawing undo attention to itself.
A Hot Tub Needs
Avoid Big Maintenance Bucks !
While a hot tub can be a wonderful thing to have, it can also be a huge drain on your finances hiring someone to clean and maintain it for you.
Rather, all you need to do is learn how to maintain your own hot tub.
Do that by simply following these easy steps, and you will have a perfectly working (and crystal clear) hot tub in no time.
1. Periodically check your chemical levels.
Without periodically checking the chemical levels in your hot tub, you can find yourself in a world of hurt.
For example, if you get into water that has an improper chemical balance, you can seriously hurt yourself.
You can purchase a chemical testing kit from your local pool store. All you really need to do is follow the instructions on the back as given by the manufacturer.
The test results will tell you if there is any need to make any change to your chemical levels, or if you even need to change the chemicals that you use in your hot tub.
2. Get any scum diagnosed.
Periodically, you may find some scum in your hot tub water. When this happens, before you blindly try adding some chemicals to your hot tub you need to see what kind of scum you have.
The reason for this is that the scum may actually be indicative of another problem that you will need to fix.
Once you have tested the chemical levels in your water, take a sample of your water into your local pool store, and have it tested. The will be able to tell you what caused the problem.
3. Purchase proper chemicals or seek further help.
Once you know what the prescription for your hot tub is, simply purchase the proper chemicals necessary to treat it. Or, if there is another problem that is the cause, seek professional help to get it repaired.
If you attempt to do your own repairs, and do them wrong, then you may find yourself with a hot tub that doesn't work at all.
4. Apply the chemicals that you purchased.
Once you get the new chemicals home that you purchased, it is time to apply them. Simply follow the directions that come with the chemicals as printed.
By following the directions as they are printed, then you reduce the risk of causing damage to your hot tub.
After allowing the chemicals to work for the proper amount of time indicated by the manufacturer's directions, test the water again, as described in the first step.
5. Check for a clean filter.
Periodically check to make sure that your filter is clean. The purpose of a filter is to clean your water after all, and an unclean filter is a leading cause for scummy water.
If the filter is not clean, then you need to replace the filter.
6. Clean exterior.
The final step that you should take when maintaining your hot tub is to clean the exterior.
Doing this will ensure that you have a hut tub that looks its, as well as ensuring that your hot tub will last for years to come.
Here are some helpful videos.
Installing a New Floor?
How to Remove the Old One
Your Driveway Look Like This?
Have you ever noticed how much a driveway can say about a home?
Did You Know there is a Right Way
Opening a Paint Can ?
Replacing a Water Heater
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...
...no hot water in the tap and water leaking from the water heater...
..then follow these steps to replace your gas water heater:
1. Turn 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.
2. Disconnect 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.
THIS IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF THE JOB. IF YOU AND A FRIEND ARE NOT UP TO HEAVY LIFTING...CALL A PRO !
3. Following 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.
5. Light the pilot light and turn the control knob until you hear the burner ignite.
Set the temperature of the water heater.
Using a Vacuum Cleaner
Unclogging a Bathroom Sink
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.
Something for the Man Cave
Thinking About Refinishing
Kitchen Cabinets ?
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.
Books Sitting Around Looking for a Home?
Why Not Build a Bookcase?
Need some videos?
Want one, but don't want to build it yourself?
Call the Sun City Anthem Woodchips Club....
...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.
Locating Wall Studs
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.
3. Start 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.
5. Knock 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 !
Unclogging a Utility Sink
Need a video on using or buying the right Wet/Dry Vac ?
Working with Electricity Requires
Electrical Tool Kit
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.
Recently there has been an interesting surge in overhead storage units.
These units are designed to raise everything above the head.
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 !
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.
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.