Wednesday December 11, 2013
The winter storms are kicking into full force this year and soon icicles will be everywhere. Although icicles may look attractive hanging from eaves of homes they signal a more ominous condition known as an ice dam.
Ice dams are caused by poor roof ventilation and a warm attic space, and form when melting snow on a roof runs off and refreezes at the edge of a roof. Left untreated, ice dams can cause serious damage to your home.
Heavy snowfalls bring on ice dams quickly because of the snow's insulating properties. The reason why snow is an insulator is explained along with how to prevent and repair ice dams (including the use of roof rakes) in the tutorial Ice Dams: How to Prevent & Remove Them.
Wednesday December 11, 2013
Ever wonder what is hidden behind that electrical panel in your home? How do all those wires end up working anyway?
Why not take a look "under the hood" for yourself by reading the tutorial Anatomy of a Service Panel and see for yourself. It's not as complicated as you might think!
And you'll finally understand what black, white and ground wires do.
Thursday December 5, 2013
Here's a tip that can save you hundreds of dollars in service calls if your furnace fails to light:
Check your thermocouple and know how to replace it.
If the gas burner in your furnace does not turn on or your pilot light in an older furnace is out, you may find that the problem lies in a little device that controls the gas valve. In an older standing pilot furnace the device is called a thermocouple. In newer electronic ignition furnaces it is called a flame sensor. However they both perform the same basic function, and that is to control gas flow.
In the tutorial Replacing a Furnace Thermocouple or Electronic Flame Sensor I describe how to easily replace a furnace thermocouple in an older style standing pilot furnace or an electronic flame sensor in a newer style electronic ignition furnace.
Of course determining if the thermocouple or flame sensor is your problem is something you need to know how to do. I outline how to troubleshoot a standard furnace in Troubleshooting a Gas Furnace and how to troubleshoot an electronic furnace in Troubleshooting an Electronic Furnace.
Sunday December 1, 2013
A really useful website you should check out is called Armchairbuilder.com.
Although the site's main audience are folks looking to do construction on their new home or major renovation project, it has some easy to understand construction videos and useful tips applicable to home repair.
In my recent tutorial How to Install Ceramic Subway Wall Tiles as a Kitchen Backsplash, I show you how to set tile for use in a kitchen, going directly over a drywall substrate. However, if you were installing tile in an area that will get wet such as in a bathroom shower or tub surround, you would need to use a waterproof substrate called cement board such as Durock® as made by USG.
Armchairbuilder.com has a nice video series on Tile Backer Board Installation: Shower Remodel. I like the site because, as the video shows, it provides easy to understand useful take-away information.
You know, like mine! No, seriously!