Your light switch that is!
Wall switches come in a variety of styles like toggle, paddle, pushbutton or touch, and different switch types such as single pole, double pole, three-way and four-way.
Single pole switches control things from a single location, three-way switches control lights or outlets from two locations and for larger homes or complicated situations, a four way switch may be used to control lighting or outlets from three or more locations.
Knowing how to troubleshoot and repair the different types of switches you may find in your home is explained in the tutorial Introduction to Switch Troubleshooting and Repair.
In the tutorial I'll explain how to diagnose and fix problems such as:
- Flickering Light Fixture
- Switch Does Not Work
- Circuit Breaker Trips or Fuse Blows When Switch Turns On, or
- Switch Feels Warm or Hot or Buzzes When In Use.
So please take a read and turn-on with knowledge on how to fix your switch!
Given all the hype around cleaning air ducts in your home you probably expect the air ducts in your home to be pretty dirty, right?
Can you imagine what air ducts from a 77 year old house looks like?
Well that's what I wanted to know, and since my house was built in 1937, I decided to take a look. The home has never had its ducts cleaned so I thought if any home would need its air ducts cleaned, it would be one built in 1937. I thought you'd be interested in the results too.
Unlike HVAC air ducts, your dryer vent duct needs regular cleaning maintenance. I'm going to show you a simple, cheap maintenance task that could save you from a house fire.
Do you know that the home clothes dryer is responsible for around 15,000 fires, 20 deaths, over 300 injuries annually and for causing more than $80 million in property damage?! And if you have an electric clothes dryer, did you know the chance of fire is 250% greater than if you have a gas dryer?
I found those stats from a 1999 report developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shocking. Well the good news is that the fires were not due to anything inherently dangerous about the dryer as an appliance, but more so the lack of proper maintenance by the user. As it turns out the fire originated most frequently from two places: the dryer venting and the lint trap.
It bothers me when I find out after the fact that I was supposed to do maintenance on something that I did not know I was supposed to do. Don't think you are alone in being surprised in what I'm going to tell you. There is probably an unbelievable amount of dangerous lint lining the walls of your dryer ducting and inside your dryer right now that you need to clean out. It does not matter that you regularly clean out the lint filter in your dryer, "lint happens." Loads of clothes taking longer and longer to dry is a classic sign of lint build-up.
In this detailed and photo intensive tutorial called Dryer Vent Cleaning, I will show you what is probably lurking in your dryer venting and how to get rid of the lint which causes the fire risk in your home. You're my reader and I want you safe, so please read this tutorial and spend a few hours and $15 to make your home safe.
This crazy low winter and cold weather has reduced humidity levels in your homes to low levels you have probably not seen before.
Static may be going crazy in your house. Well, to fight that problem you need a humidifier.
Humidifiers are essential in the winter when humidity is low. By keeping the proper amount of moisture in the air, a humidifier can help alleviate skin dryness, nose bleeds and other problems, not to mention helping to protect your wood furniture and flooring.
However, if not properly maintained, some styles of humidifiers such as the "drum style" humidifier may actually create health problems.
In the tutorial Humidifier Maintenance I will describe how to maintain both a drum style and a flow-through humidifier for proper operation and a healthy home!
You've received those coupons in the mail. You know, the ones with the filthy looking air duct photo next to the sparkling clean duct along with a contractor's promise to clean your ducts for $49.95 (or something like that).
No one wants filthy dust filled air ducts in their homes. So a call gets made and the bait and switch has begun.
In the tutorial HVAC Air Duct Cleaning: Necessary or Not? I'll explain if and when duct cleaning is necessary. Here's a preview: It is not required very often.
I also wanted to see for myself how dirty air ducts would actually be in an older home that had nothing more done to the HVAC system other than basic maintenance. So I took photos from our home's ductwork. With the home built in 1937, those are 77 year old air ducts. By all the hype they should be virtually filled with dirt and dust, right? Well, you can see the results for yourself in the tutorial.
Again, there are some limited situations where duct cleaning can make sense. But today, these services are ripe for fraud and unnecessary application.
Lots of folks don't have to worry about pilot lights in their furnaces. Why? Because they have electric heaters, the most efficient type of heating available. With electric heat most all the energy used in the appliance is converted to heat. Although these heaters are most efficient, they are not the cheapest to operate. Electric heaters are least expensive in first cost but tend to be a bit more expensive to operate due to the cost of electricity.
Electric heaters come in several types which I'll cover in the tutorial Types of Home Electric Heaters. There are radiant heaters which heat objects and people, not air, and there are baseboard heaters, in-wall heaters, even heaters that fit in the 4" toe-kick space under a kitchen or bathroom cabinet.
Many of these heaters draw a bit of power and require a 240 volt circuit, so knowing how to install one of those is helpful if you wanted to add a heater yourself. And of course you should also know how to size a room for an electric heater.
Want an easy and inexpensive upgrade to your bathroom? Try adding a curved shower rod to your bathroom. It's a simple and inexpensive upgrade you can make, providing elegance and comfort and it's all explained in the tutorial Installing a Curved Shower Rod.
Commonly found in nicer hotels, a curved shower rod provides you more room in a shower and adds a little detail and elegance to your bathroom. The rods come in either fixed or adjustable lengths and installation is easy if you follow my tips.
And while you're at it, why not upgrade your shower head? Replacing an old shower head is easy and gives you many opportunities to upgrade that morning shower experience! You can replace it with a new massaging head, a personal hand-held shower, a low flow (to save water) or a high volume (to waste water) shower head. What ever you choose, this tutorial How to Install a Wall Mounted Shower Head will guide you through this useful repair.
Often, when a furnace goes out, a person may be looking to re-light a non-existent pilot light. (See How to Light a Gas Furnace Pilot). They come to find out what they have is an electronic ignition as used in more efficient and modern furnaces.
If you have a newer furnace with an AFUE rating of above 80, you'll be dealing with a furnace electronic ignition system having either an intermittent pilot or hot surface ignition and of course a thermostat that may need troubleshooting.
Modern electronic ignition systems are more reliable than the standing pilot systems of old, but just as your new car has an electronic brain, so do some of these furnaces. And that means you're somewhat limited as to what can be done "under the hood" when they don't work
But take a read of the tutorial Overview and Repair of the Electronic Ignition Furnace and you'll learn how they work, and what you can do when they don't.
When you get heavy snow like we've been having you will soon be facing icicles from the roof. Along with icicles comes a more serious condition known as an ice dam.
Ice dams are the result of melting snow from the roof that turns to ice at the roof edge and are caused by poor roof ventilation and a warm attic space. They can 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.
Grouting wall tile is easy if you get the proper instructions.
In the tutorial How to Grout Ceramic Wall Tile I'll lay out all the steps in detailed photos along with the tips you need for the preparation and execution of a great looking job. I show you how using 2"x4" subway tiles in a kitchen backsplash application.
I explain how to install the ceramic wall tiles in the tutorial Installing Ceramic Subway Wall Tiles as a Kitchen Backsplash, so you may want to review that tutorial too!