Prep Walls for Paint, so what are you waiting for

Preparing the walls and surfaces in a room before you paint can save you headaches down the road, and it’s easy enough to do, so what are you waiting for?

1. Wash the walls. Use a cleanser that doesn’t require rinsing and you’ll save yourself some time. Instead of climbing up on a ladder to clean the upper part of the wall, use a nice clean sponge mop to reach those high areas.

2. Once the walls are washed and dry, check them for stains. You may be able to remove small grease stains with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. For larger stains, seal them up with a stain sealing primer. You can clean crayon marks off of the walls with some baking soda on a damp cloth.

3. Remove switch plates and outlet covers. To make the job easier, have some tape and a pen on hand. As you take one down, tape the screws to the back, and on another piece of tape, mark the location that you took the cover from.

4. Smear a coat of petroleum jelly over door handles and hinges to help protect them from splatters.

Peeling Paint I’ll show you what to do.

It could be a poor paint job, the weather or a host of other things. But small areas of peeling paint shouldn’t be ignored; I’ll show you what to do.

STEP 1: The first step in fixing this paint problem is to scrape away as much of the paint as you can to reveal the bare wood underneath. This step will ensure that your new paint has something to grip and you won’t end up with the same problem next year.

STEP 2: Once you’re done scraping, wipe down the area with a damp cloth and let it dry.

STEP 3: The secret to patching is in the priming, just like a room you will need to cut in and fill. Load your brush with some paint and cut in along the edges of each board.

STEP 4: Work the paint into the crevice where the boards meet each other along the top and bottom of each board, feathering into the paint that is not peeling.

STEP 5: Once that’s done, use a small roller and long, even strokes to cover the length of each board. Work with the grain of the wood.

STEP 6: Allow the primer to dry for several hours, and repeat the process with your house paint.

Patching Drywall You just need the right steps!

Patching drywall is not as hard as it might seem. You just need the right steps!

1. Use a drywall knife to cut out the damaged section of the wall. Cut a nice even square and pull it away from the wall.

2. Make backers for your patch by cutting some one-by-two (1×2) boards so that they are a couple inches longer than the hole.

3. Insert one of the backers through the hole and hold it flush against the inside of the wall, on the top of the hole. Use a drywall screw at each end to secure the board to the wall. Then repeat the process for the bottom of the hole.

4. Cut your patch from a scrap of drywall using your damaged section as a template if possible.

5. Carefully tip the patch into place so it fits securely in the hole, and use some more drywall screws to secure it to the backers.

6. Use some self sticking fiberglass tape to seal the seams of the patch. Then cover the tape with spackle. Allow it to dry and then sand the surface. Apply two more coats of spackle, sanding it after each has dried for a flawless finish.

Patch Plaster easy to fix with just a couple of things

Cracked plaster is a sign that your house might be settling. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix with just a couple of things:

1. Use a utility knife to clean away loose plaster. After that is done, vacuum all of the dust out of the crack.

2. Wet a small cloth or paintbrush with some water and run it along the length of the crack.

3. Use your putty knife to push enough spackle into the crack to fill it up.

4. Smooth the repair out by running the putty knife at a slight angle along the length of the crack.

5. Let the repair dry for a couple of hours. When dry, check the crack to make sure that the putty didn’t shrink while it was drying. If it did, just repeat the process.

Outlet Receptacle Defective

Problem: Outlet won’t work, sparks, does not receive prongs on plug, or does not grip plugs.

Background: Most homeowners should not have any problem replacing a common-wall electrical receptacle (sometimes called a “duplex” receptacle) if safety precautions are taken and the new receptacle is the same as the one replaced. The receptacle may also be the 3-hole type in stalled where heavy appliances and tools are used, a protected outlet with a spring-loaded cover that springs back over the openings, or it may be a receptacle-switch combination. Older receptacles with 2 slots can be updated to 3-prong types if grounding can be provided; if not, call an electrician for advice.

What to do: The procedure of re placing a receptacle is similar to that of replacing a light switch. Make certain the power is off, then remove the cover plate. Pull the old receptacle out and note the position of the wires. Unscrew the terminals so the wires can be removed, then install in the same way on the new receptacle. Hook the wire loops so they are clockwise under the terminals on the new receptacle. Reinstall the receptacle in the electrical box, turn on the power and test to see if it is working.

Special advice: Newer polarized outlets have one wide slot and one narrow slot to accept the wide and narrow slots of polarized plugs. The National Electrical Code requires home wiring to be identifiable by color code. Neutral wires are white; live wires are colored, usually black.
Polarized outlets and plugs continue this identification, assuring that the live wire is connected to the incoming side of the switch in an appliance. The wide slot is connected to the neutral (white) wire in the sys tem. In polarized lamp and appliance leads and extension cords, the neutral (white) wire may be ribbed for identification. Non-polarized, 2- wire plugs can be used with a polarized outlet, though the polarization continuity will not be assured.

Helpful hint: Note that all grounding (3-wire) plugs are polarized since the position of the prongs is determined by the third prong. To double-check a new receptacle, you can buy an inexpensive circuit tester. It will indicate if ground, neutral, or hot wires are properly connected, and whether the hot and ground wires are reversed, or whether the hot and neutral wires are reversed. They are usually avail able where electrical parts are sold.

Organize Kid’s Closets

Between the toys, the blankets, the shoes and the clothes, kid’s closets can get really cluttered. I have a few ideas to help you optimize that space and get rid of the clutter!

1. If you feel like you can never find an outfit for your child during the morning rush, hang a canvas stacking shoe bag in your child’s closet. Match outfits right down to the socks while you’re folding laundry, and then store an outfit in each of the compartments. This way you can simply grab and go each morning!

2. Kids grow so fast! To eliminate piles of outgrown clothes, keep a large plastic bin in your child’s closet. As the child out grows clothes, toss them in the bin. When its full, mark the size clothes, and stash IT in storage. Then replace it with another bin!

3. How about toys? Look for a portable toy bin that will fit in your child’s closet. Then, bring the whole thing out into their room or the family room and let them play. When they’re done, toss the toys back inside and stash the bin back in the closet, a big timesaver, believe me!

4. Keep your favorite pre-treater close-by, but out of reach of the little ones. Pre-treat stains as you undress your children and then toss the clothes in the hamper. This way you won’t forget that the stains are there and you’ll be all set on laundry day!


Organizing Instructions

If your recipes and project instructions are all messy and disorganized, I have some easy ways to organize and protect those directions.

1. Put your recipe or project ideas into a magnetic photo album. It’s easy to organize them because the pages can be taken out and moved as you add more ideas under a certain topic. Plus, if you splatter something, you can wipe it off of the plastic pages.

2. If you don’t have your instructions in a photo album, try putting a piece of plastic wrap over the top. This will protect the pages too.

3. If you’re working from an instruction booklet and can’t seem to keep it open, grab a bag clip. This will hold the pages open to where you need them, and you can clip your plastic wrap in there too. Plus, if you need those directions at eye level, just hang the clip from a hook on the wall.

Oil & grease removal from concrete

To remove grease and oil stains from new or old concrete.

Use T.S.P General Household Cleaner

Directions: (Do not apply in direct sun) Wet surface with hot water. Straight from the bottle sprinkle cleaning formula over stained area and scrub in. Lay a damp terry towel over the entire stained area. Lay a plastic sheet over the towel to ensure the mixture doesn’t evaporate. Tape into place with duct tape. (Leave for at least 5 hours) Remove plastic & towel; scrub and hose down the area. Repeat if necessary.

Caution: Wear rubber gloves and eye protection when doing this job.

Oil spots on asphalt

New Oil Spots

Remove using “T.S.P General Household Cleaner”. Spray on surface and scrub with scrub brush, allow setting for 2 to 3 minutes and flushing with garden hose.

Old Spots (Asphalt shows signs of softness) Wash area using “T.S.P”, heavy-duty mix, and scrub with patio broom, then rinse with garden hose. Allow to dry.

Apply two coats white shellac 1 hour apart and allow overnight curing. Apply asphalt-based sealer to damaged areas and allow drying for 3 hours

Coating the entire driveway area will last for 2-3 years.

Future coatings can be acrylic latex driveway sealer.


Handy Person Tips

• Use your fertilizer spreader to scatter sand on icy walkways.
• To remove dangerous ice off your steps, sprinkle with salt.
• Kitty litter can be used to de-ice your sidewalks and steps.
• Fireplace Starters or Lighters: Save the lint from your dryer and paper egg cartons (not Styrofoam). Cut egg cartons into individual cups and fill cups with lint. Melt wax (from old candle stubs) and pour some over the lint. When lighting the fireplace use these, place them under the kindling in the fireplace. They are slow burning and do a great job in lighting the lire.
• Dried orange and grapefruit peels and rind make good fuel in a fireplace and give off a lovely aroma as they burn.
• Throw salt on fireplace logs once a month to prevent soot in the fireplace.
86. To prevent your fireplace from smoking, raise the fire grate by placing bricks under the legs.
• Save your Nabob coffee bags to burn in the fireplace. Roll up tightly and then watch the varicolored flames when the bags are burned.
• To add a little color to your campfire, soak pinecones in a solution of 1/2 gallon water and ½ pound Borax. When dry, they burn a vivid green.
• To make your Christmas tree last longer, add sugar to the water.
• To preserve your Christmas tree longer, add Pine sol to the water.
• To fireproof the Christmas tree, mix eight oz. boracic acid in one gallon of water. Spray mixture over tree and let dry.
• To clean automobile chrome, rub with dampened aluminum toil.
• Add one cup of kerosene to the wash water when washing the car. Wipe well with a soft cloth — no rinsing is necessary. This will prevent rust and water will actually bead on the car during a rainfall.
• Wash your car with liquid dishwashing detergent. It won’t scratch the surface.
• Use dry baking soda on a damp cloth to clean the bugs off the car windshield.
• Windshield wipers smearing? Clean the windshield and wiper blade with rubbing alcohol.
• Make your own windshield washer fluid by combining one quart rubbing alcohol, one cup water and two Tblsp. liquid detergents.
• Use steel wool pads on your tire white side walls to keep them new looking.
• Keep open cans of motor oil clean by sealing them with the plastic lids from one-pound tins of coffee.
• A sheet of fabric softener under your car seat will keep the car smelling fresh.

Mold and Mildew Inside Home

Problem: High humidity levels re-suit in mildew growth, which causes damage and potential allergic reaction.

Background: Mold growths that develop under favorable conditions are often seen as a discoloration, ranging in color from white to orange, and from green to brown to black. If mold can’t be seen, it may be recognized as a musty odor. Mold growth can cause soiling and deterioration of appliances and other items in a home. The build-up of mold in air cooling and humidifying units, plumbing fixtures, condensation trays, and drains can cause serious and often costly mechanical problems. Mold can discolor paint, weaken fabrics, and degrade food stuffs. It can also lead to odor problems.

What to do: Relative humidity levels above 70% are optimal for indoor mold build-up. Controlling the problem in a home usually involves three steps 1) eliminating moisture from inside and outside sources; 2) re moving mold colonies and spores, and 3) installing a mechanical ventilation system. One method of deter mining whether your home has a potential problem is to measure the relative humidity inside your house.

Optimal levels are 15% if outside temperature is -20°F, 20% if -10°F, 25% if +0°F, 30% if +10°F, and 35% to 40% if +20°F. Also visually inspect for mold colonies, including areas of stagnant water, and room corners.
Regularly clean appliances that have water pans or use moisture. Other steps to reduce humidity include turning humidifiers down or off, using range and bath exhaust fans while cooking or bathing, cooking with covered pans, installing a fresh-air intake duct to bring in drier outside air, venting dryers to the outside, sealing cracks in house or vapor retarders, and not using un vented kerosene or gas heaters.

Special advice: To remove existing mold, clean affected areas with a homemade solution of cup cleanser (such as Ajax or Comet), ½ cup no phosphate detergent, I quart 5% sodium hypocblorite (such as Clorox or Hilex), and 3 quarts warm water. Brush solution onto affected area with a medium-sized soft brush. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with fresh water and, if possible, paint area with a mold- resistant paint.

Helpful hint: If a member of your household is allergic to mold, adding an air cleaner can help remove mold spores present. (Heating ducts need to be cleaned before adding an air cleaner.) If carpet, upholstery, ceiling tiles, or other porous furnishings are contaminated, it is best to discard them rather than attempting disinfection because mold spores are likely to remain.

Microwave Doesn’t Work

Problem: Microwave won’t operate, or takes longer to cook food than times suggested in cook books.

Background: Microwaves are like radio or radar waves. They will pass through glass, plastic, paper and most other containers that are not of metal. Microwaves bounce off of metal and are absorbed by food. When food absorbs microwaves, heat is created because water molecules in the food bounce around, colliding with each other. Heat is created by these collisions, much like the way your hands warm when you rub them together. For minor problems, which you can solve yourself, see the following suggestions. For other problems, check your owner’s manual or call a service technician.

What to do: If the microwave will not operate, make sure the unit is plugged in. If it’s plugged in and still doesn’t work, the cause may be faulty wiring, a blown fuse, or a tripped circuit breaker. Check to see whether the oven door is securely closed and that the controls are set correctly. Also check the air vents to make sure they are not blocked. The oven may overheat and turn off if the air vents are blocked. Let the oven cool for an hour, then restart it. If it still won’t operate, call a service technician.
If it takes the microwave longer than it should to cook food, check with your local utility company to see if the voltage in your area is fluctuating below the normal operating range. Next check to see if the micro wave is operating on the same electrical circuit as another appliance. If so, the cooking times will increase when both of the units are on at the same time. (Note: It’s best if the microwave does not share a circuit with any other appliance.) If the unit has a glass shelf, check to see that it is in place. If it isn’t, cooking times may be affected. Cooking time will also increase if more or larger amounts of food are placed in the oven than a recipe calls for, if the food is frozen or was refrigerated immediately before being put in the oven. (Some recipes reflect the time needed to cook food that is at room temperature.)

Special advice: Microwaves should not be adjusted or repaired by any one except properly qualified ser vice technicians. After a repair is made, the technician should check for microwave leakage. To avoid potentially harmful exposure to micro wave energy, don’t attempt to operate the microwave with the door open. Don’t tamper with safety interlocks. Don’t put any object between the oven front face and the door, or allow soil or cleaner residue to accumulate on sealing surfaces. Also, don’t operate the microwave if the door doesn’t close properly, if it is bent, if its hinges or latches are bro ken or loose, or if its seals or sealing surfaces are damaged.

Helpful hint: Remove metal ties from plastic bags before placing bags in the oven and check carry-out food for metal before reheating. For cooking times longer than 4 minutes, avoid using paper containers which may burn, and be careful when using plastics because some may melt. Don’t attempt to cook eggs in the shell because steam build-up inside may cause them to burst.

Manual Garage Door Won’t Open

Problem: A manually operated garage door will not open when the latch is turned and you attempt to lift it up.

Background: Garage doors, whether operated manually or with electric openers, are the heaviest moving equipment around the home. They depend on 1 of 2 types of springs to operate. Some mechanisms use ex tension springs that stretch like rubber bands to slow the closing of the door, and then contract to help lift the weight of the door when it is opened. Other doors use torsion springs that wind up like the springs in window shades to handle the weight of the door. Caution: If springs break, be careful when closing the door; the door’s weight will cause it to fall quickly and heavily.
A garage door may stick for many reasons, ranging from the key not working properly in the lock or a faulty latch mechanism, to more serious problems such as broken cables, bent or loose tracks, and jammed rollers.

What to do: If the outside handle won’t turn, it may be because the key or the latch are worn out. If the handle turns, but the door won’t lift, enter through the service door if there is one, and check the mechanism on the inside of the door. The problem may be a track bent inward which will not allow the horizontal bar (turned by the outside handle) to clear its slot. The solution, in this case, is to care fully bend the track back with a tool such as a pipe wrench. If that doesn’t work, or if the problem is more serious, it is best to call a garage door technician.
If the door opens, but takes more than a little effort to lift, the springs may need adjustment. However, at tempting to adjust garage door springs can be dangerous and should be done by a professional. Adjustments on torsion springs can be especially dangerous because special tools are required to do the job. The brackets that hold springs to the garage frame are also under tension; attempting to make adjustments to these brackets also can be hazardous.

Special advice: Do not attempt to solve difficult door-lifting problems by simply installing an electric opener. Call a technician to balance the door, even if you plan to install an opener. (Openers required to lift heavy, unbalanced weights may develop mechanical problems.) Regular, light maintenance can extend your garage door’s life. Check the cables for shiny spots, and be sure that strands at connections are not partially broken. Pulley wheels for cables should roll, not skid.
Also check the tracks to see that they are not bent or loose where they attach to the garage, and that the wheels roll freely. See that all bolts and screws are tight, and that all cotter pins are in place. Lubricate pulley bearings, wheel bearings, and door hiriges with lightweight house hold oil or a spray silicone.

Helpful hint: To check the balance of a garage door, start with door closed. (If your door is operated by electronic opener, disconnect its re lease mechanism so you can open it by hand.) Lift the door halfway up. It should lift smoothly, with little resistance, and it should stay open when it is 3 to 4 feet above the floor. If it doesn’t, it is out of balance and should be adjusted by a professional.