Sunday, January 23, 2022


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Home Repair Tips


Greetings everyone and thanks for your continued support.

This week I will cover some tips you may have heard of and forgotten since, and some that are new.

Use a potato to remove a broken light bulb

Using a potato to remove a broken bulb does work. There are a couple of things to remember to do so safely. Make sure power to the light is off. Potatoes contain water so if the power is on you could get injured. Use a potato that is bigger around than the bulb base. Push the potato up in firmly and twist out.

Use nail polish on bolts

Using nail polish as Loctite® glue does work, but remember a little is all you need. You can also use nail polish to mark the location of bolts so you will know if they move over time.

Use cooking spray on squeaky hinges

You can use cooking spray on squeaky hinges on cabinets and doors if you don’t have WD-40. This works well, just remember a little is all you need. Fun fact: The primary ingredient in WD-40 is fish oil. Avoid using WD 40 in exterior locks as it can attract dust and bind the tumblers.

Patch nail holes

Ivory soap works well to fill small nail holes, and so does plain white toothpaste or white paintable caulk.

Make a clean caulk line

If you are caulking something for the first time, or you just want to have things look like a pro, try using painter’s tape on both sides of your caulk line. Once you have the caulk pressed in remove the tape for a clean straight edge.

Allow ample time and money for any project

DIY shows make it look easy and fast, but it’s not quite that fast. Remember they edit out a lot and have a team of workers. If something takes an hour on TV, plan for two. And if you get done faster, great. For any project, large or small, always make budget an extra 10% cost. This will cover many unexpected small challenges.

How to replace a dead bolt

Remove the old lock and measure the hole. It will be either 2 ⅜ inches or 2 ¾ inches in diameter. With this measurement in hand, go get a lock to fit that hole. Install the new strike plate and doorplate.

Then insert the deadbolt with the key-side to the outside. Match the inside latch pin to the screw holes from the lock mechanism you put on the outside. Insert the screws but do not tighten all the way; just far enough to operate the inside latch.

If the bolt goes into the receiving hole without any problems, tighten the screws and test the key-side. If everything moves freely and the bolt enters the wall receiving hole with ease, you are done. If not, make an up or down adjustment to the wall plate so the bolt operates freely. You are finished! Just clean up any debris.

If break-ins or burglary have been an issue in the past, do not go cheap. Cheap deadbolts run $20-$40 but can be opened very easily with what is called a “bump key.” Locks that are $50 and up will offer models labeled ANSI Grade 1. These can’t be bumped but can be picked by a locksmith with the proper tools and experience, but most locksmiths will drill a lock in place of picking in order to preserve their reputation. At that point a new deadbolt will be needed.

Unless you know for sure that your door is solid wood, do not drill a new lock hole as the doors were built with drill holes for locks in one location only. Most doors are not solid wood but have a core of foam.

General tips for projects involving water or electricity

Any time you work on plumbing, turn off the water at the source even if you do not plan to disconnect anything.

Anytime you work with electrical wires of any voltage, make sure they are off. Use a voltage tester to make sure there is no power. Never leave a connection exposed, even if you have soldered two wires. Always use wire nuts. This will prevent a short or worse. Never use a coin or other tool as a bridge in a circuit. If you can’t fix it right on your own, call a professional.

I never recommend working with voltage over 120. Call a professional. It will save you a lot of headaches and ensure your home is safe.

Basic Tool Kit

These basic tools will allow you to do a lot. Many nice tools can be found at huge discounts at pawn shops.

Framing hammer, finish nail hammer, rubber mallet, pry bar, set of Phillips-head screwdrivers, set of flat-head/slotted screwdrivers, set of mini screwdrivers, set of standard and metric Allen keys, ½ inch drive and ¼ inch drive sockets, level, chalk line, basin wrench, set of standard and metric wrenches, two pipe wrenches of equal size, set of medium channel locks, set of small channel locks, vice grips, four clamps, 20 amp drill, hammer drill, handsaw for wood, handsaw for metal, close quarters metal saw, mirror for seeing up and behind, flashlight besides your phone, reciprocating saw, circular saw with table saw attachment, wood chisels (one wide, one narrow), plumber’s tape, measuring tape 30 ft., square, wire cutters and crimp tool, multimeter electrical tester.

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