Gas Water Heater
Summer or Winter...It's an Energy Saver
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 !
Want a Closet That's Just for You?
Design It Yourself
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:
It's Important to Clean
Compact Fluorescent Lighting
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.
Got a Loose Tile?
Here's How to Fix It
We have a few videos:
Finding Your Shut Off Values
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.
1. Find 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.
2. Keep 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
4. Turn 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.
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.
1. Locate 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.
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.
2. Keep 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.
3. Prepare 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.
4. Practice, 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.
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.
Make a Wall Look Special...
Glaze it !
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.
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.
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 ?
Guidelines for the Perfect Bathroom
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.
More ideas? Watch them !
Changing the Capacitor on your Air Conditioning
Unit(s) is Inexpensive Maintenance
the Can Keep You Cool this Summer
Many of our 10 to 20 year old HVAC Units are failing because of the capacitor(s). They can die suddenly without warning.
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.
The Right Way to Paint in Tight Corners
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.
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.
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.
Getting Rid of Rust on Concrete
Muriatic Acid (3 part videos
The "Art" of Painting
Here are some helpful videos:
Does Your Wood Floor Squeak ?
Let's Fix it !
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.
1. Fix 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.
3. Reattach 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.
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.
You don’t replace the car, you 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.
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:
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…...it’s free!!!
(818) 207-1868 Text
(818) 207-1868 Text
Which High Efficiency Light Bulbs Are Best
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.
1. Check 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.
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:
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.
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 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.
Knowing How Deep
Drill a Hole
House Too Noisy?
Part of reducing interior noise levels lies in understanding where these noise levels come from.
Necessary Garage Upgrades