Flood Threatens Home

Problem: Floodwater threatens the family, the home and its contents, and the community.

Background: In flood situations, the safety of your family is the most important consideration. Since flood water can rise very rapidly, you should be prepared to evacuate be fore the water level reaches your property. Before a flood threatens, learn the safest route from your home or office to high, safe ground should you need to evacuate in a hurry. Also keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order.

What to do: Tune a battery-powered radio to a local station, and follow all emergency instructions. If you’re caught in the house by suddenly rising water, move to the second floor and, if necessary, to the roof. Take warm clothing, a flashlight and a portable radio with you. Then wait for help; don’t try to swim to safety. Rescue teams will be looking for you. When outside, remember that floods are deceptive. Try to avoid flooded areas, and don’t attempt to walk through floodwater that is more than knee deep.
If (and only if) time permits, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary. Don’t touch any wet electrical equipment. Move valuable papers and possessions to upper floors or higher elevations. Fill tubs, sinks and buckets with clean water, in case regular supplies are contaminated. (You can sanitize these containers by first rinsing with bleach.) Board up windows, or protect them with storm shutters or tape to pre vent broken glass from flying. Bring in outdoor possessions that might be swept away, or tie them down securely.

If it’s safe to evacuate by car, stock the car with non-perishable foods (like canned goods), a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing and any special medication needed by your family members. Keep the gas tank at least half full since gas pumps won’t be working if electricity gets cut off. Don’t drive where water is over the roads; parts of the road may already be washed out. If your car stalls in a flooded area, abandon it if you can do so safely since flood water can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to move stalled vehicles.

Special advice: If you live in a frequently flooded area, keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber on hand to use to protect your property. Sandbags should not be stacked directly against the outer walls of a building since they can create added pressure on the foundation when they are wet. Also check about eligibility for flood insurance offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. Generally there is a 5-day waiting period before a policy goes into effect, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

Helpful hint: Make an itemized list of personal property (photos are helpful) to assist an adjuster in settling claims and to help prove un insured losses, which are tax deductible. Keep your insurance policies and a list of personal property in a safe place outside your home, such as a safety deposit box. Know the name and location of the agents who issued these policies. (For more information on what to do after a flood.

Finishes & Glazes Asked Questions

Can I faux finish over my wallpaper, paneling or heavily damaged and patched walls?
Wallpaper must be primed using a flat alkyd primer and base-coated twice but the seams will always show. Faux finishing will distract the eye enough to erase most of it visually. Paneling can be sanded lightly and painted with alkyd primer and then with either alkyd or latex paint. Heavily damaged and roughly repaired walls must have the repairs sealed and crack free. The heavier plaster texture will hide everything but not the Italian Plastering which is put on very thin and then polished.
Can any of your “Great Wall Finishes” be used on exterior surfaces?
No. All of faux techniques are meant for interior surfaces only.
Are glazes safe to use in my child’s room?
Most water-based glazes are safe. Oil-based or alkyd-based glazes are not and should be clear coated after drying with a water-based urethane.
Can a faux finish be used on cabinets & furniture?
Yes. Care must be given to preparing the surface with the proper primer and covered with a good quality water-based urethane. Never put a water-based paint or glaze on an alkyd surface. if you are not sure swab the surface with rubbing alcohol, if it rubs off it is a water-based finish. Semi-gloss or gloss surfaces either alkyd or water-based latex paint must have a light sanding before the faux finish begins.
How can I make sure my faux finish is washable?
On walls of bathrooms, kid’s rooms, kitchens and stairwells use one coat of water-based urethane in the lowest sheen as a protective coating. Use two coats of semi-gloss on floors. Wait 24 hours after faux finishing before applying.
What happens when the glaze starts to dry before I am finished?
Some glazes that dry in 15 minutes are not suggested for colourwashing, denim or suede finishes. Read the label for opentime, use glazes that stay open at least 45 minutes. Turn off the air conditioning and work steadily with all your supplies within easy reach. Make sure you have enough mixed to reach the end of the project and do not stop until you reach a corner. Never go back over an area while it is wet. It will remove the glaze and make a hole. Use two people if you are unsure, one to apply a wide strip and one to remove it.
How do I soften the effects if it is too vivid?
Wait until it is dry and go over it again with a very thin lighter coloured version.
How long before a newly painted basecoat can be faux finished?
Overnight. If taping is required we recommend that you wait at least 4 days. Beware! Even low tack tape can tear the base coat surface. Do not leave on for long periods of time.
Can a faux finish be painted over?
Most faux finishes can be painted over with 2 coats of a good quality paint but techniques with texture such as leather, Italian Plaster, heavily textured drywall and even the denim finish which has heavy brush strokes must be skim coated with a drywall compound. It then must be sanded, primed and painted as usual.
How do I achieve a fresco finish?
Texture the wall with a drywall compound, sand and prime with a masonry primer. Or, if the actual texture is not wanted, proceed as below. Use a top quality 4″ soft bristle brush and apply one or more colours by dipping in each colour and using wide overlapping rainbow strokes. Pat off the excess using cheesecloth and blend out the edges in 3′ x 3′ areas at one time. Use a small narrow brush after a full wall length is done to remove the excess from the corners, ceiling and baseboard cracks.
What is the difference between rag rolling and ragging ?
Rag rolling uses a square of cotton dipped in diluted paint or a glaze mixture. Squeezed and then twisted into a cylinder shape and rolled softly down the wall, replenishing the paint when the pattern starts to fade. Ragging-on uses a rag bunched into a carnation shape and patted over the surface.
How do I choose good colour combinations?
Selecting colour for your home is a personal matter. There are no strict rules governing the selection of a colour scheme. The first step in selecting a colour scheme usually is to decide on the main colour to be used in the room. if you don’t know which colours you will be happiest living with, glance through your wardrobe. If you do not see any red, you probably would not like living in a room decorated in a red colour scheme.
Proportion and balance are important. After you decide which colour will be dominant, add other colours in unequal amounts. A guideline is to select the dominant colour for use in about two-thirds of the room and use the other colour in lessening amounts. The floor covering in a room is often the part of the decor that home owners do not want to change. If this is your case, the floor covering colour must be a consideration when selecting a colour scheme.
Start with the paint colour chips. Keep in mind that the colour will be much more intense on a large wall than on a small paint chip. Take the paint chips home and examine them in the room you will be painting, under both natural daylight and artificial night lighting. If you are still unsure about your colour choice, buy the colour that seems best in the smallest quantity. Brush out several 2 ft. x 2ft. samples on the wall. When it is dry look at the sample in the morning and evening. Usually for a more dramatic effect, use a darker coloured glaze over a light colour. For a softer look, use a similar coloured glaze over a basecoat than is slightly darker than the glaze.
Oil paint uses a binder or resin that is derived from a vegetable oil such as linseed or soya bean. This resin is usually dissolved in a solvent such as mineral spirits.
What is alkyd paint?
Alkyd paint is the most common kind of oil paint, and many oil paints are therefore normally referred to as alkyd paints. Alkyd is simply the name of the synthetic resin, usually containing a vegetable oil, that is used as the binder.
What are the benefits of alkyd paint?
Alkyd paint provides resistance to mechanical damage from abuse and abrasion. Alkyd paint is therefore well suited to areas of high wear. It has traditionally been used for such frequently cleaned areas as:
• Doors and trim, both inside and outside
• Kitchens
• Bathrooms
• Cabinets
When would I use alkyd paint?
It depends on a number of factors. See Selecting Interior Paints and Selecting Exterior Paints for more information.
Can I use alkyd paint over latex paint?
Yes, but it is a good idea to do some sanding to provide adhesion.
Note: As a result of ongoing improvements in latex paint technology, latex paints can often be suitable for uses that traditionally required alkyd paints.

Fleas Inside Home

Problem: Fleas in home are infesting pets or biting people.

Background: Fleas are tiny brown wingless insects, about the size of a common pinhead. They can jump more than a foot horizontally and their hard bodies are almost impossible to crush. All adult fleas are parasitic and must feed on the blood of an animal, such as a dog or cat, to live and reproduce. Small populations may not be noticed, but when numbers increase they may leave the animal and bite humans. Annoying flea infestations may also occur 1 to 3 weeks after a pet has been re moved from the home (fleas turn to humans as a food source), after a pet and owner have been away, when an infested pet develops a high temperature (fleas leave the animal), or when fleas from a neighbor’s pet collect on your animal.

What to do: People have differing reactions to flea bites; women and preteen children seem most affected. Flea bites, which are rarely felt, will occur in clusters, particularly where clothing fits tightly on the body. Hard, red, itchy spots may surround the bite and persist for about a week. To locate where adult fleas are, walk through suspected areas wearing white socks. The dark-colored fleas will show up against the socks as they jump from the floor.
Eradication includes sanitation and control using insecticides. Persistent infestations, however, are best handled by a pest-control specialist. Clean pet living areas regularly and thoroughly, removing manure, debris, lint, and hair. Destroy old bedding material and keep pets clean and well groomed. Thoroughly vacuum infested areas and along baseboards, carpet edges, around heat registers, and under and within furniture. Destroy vacuum- bag contents and apply an approved insecticide. Insecticides are available for use indoors, outside, and on pets. (Check with your local extension service for recommendations.) Treat both cats and dogs at the same time, and concentrate applications at the base of the tail between the rear legs. If the infestation is heavy, remove rugs, overstuffed furniture and mattresses from rooms, and air them outdoors in a dry, sunny place. Remove pillow slips or covers and hang affected soft goods from a clothesline for a few hours.

Special advice: Treating pets will not always end a flea problem; a thorough cleanup and treatment of the bed or resting sites is usually required to prevent future outbreaks. Plea larvae feed on animal matter where the host animal normally sleeps. This may be a bed box in the home, a doghouse, or under the front porch. Adult fleas can survive several months without a blood meal from an animal or human.

Helpful hint: Combinations of herbs, brewer’s yeast, vitamin B, garlic, ultrasonic collars, herbal shampoos, and herbal collars have not been proven effective in control ling fleas. Flea collars are slow to kill fleas, and don’t control fleas on all areas of a pet’s body, including near the tail and the back legs where most fleas are found.

Fire Inside Home

Problem: Smoke alarms sound, or five is discovered in home.

Background: In case of a fire emergency, don’t panic; stay calm. Your safe escape may depend on clear thinking. Get out of the house as quickly as possible, following any previously planned escape route. Don’t stop to collect anything or to get dressed. Feel the doors to see if they are hot. If they are not, open them carefully. If they are hot, don’t open them and use an alternate escape route. Stay close to the floor because smoke and hot gases rise. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth (wet if possible) and take short, shallow breaths. Keep doors and windows closed, opening them only if necessary for escape. Call the fire department as soon as possible from outside your house. Never go back inside a burning building.

What to do: If fire does not appear to be present, check entry 2. It’s smart to develop a family escape plan and practice it with your entire family, including small children. Draw a floor plan of your home, and find two ways to exit from every room. There should be one way to get out of each bedroom without opening the door. Explain to children what smoke detector alarms mean, and teach them how to leave the home by themselves if necessary. Show them how to check doors to deter mine whether they are hot before opening them, how to stay close to the floor and crawl if necessary, and how to use an alternate exit if the door is hot and should not be opened.
Decide on a meeting place a safe distance from your home, and make sure your children understand they should wait for you there if a fire occurs. Hold fire drills at least every 6 months and know where to go to call the fire department from outside your home. Keep emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, in the house and teach your family how to use them properly.

Special advice: In addition to in stalling smoke detectors, providing fire extinguishers, and developing an escape plan, follow good fire prevention practices. Use smoking materials properly and never smoke in bed. Keep matches and cigarette lighters from children. Store flammable materials in proper containers and never use them near open flames or sparks. Keep electrical appliances in good condition and don’t overload electrical circuits. Also keep stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and barbecue grills free of grease, and make sure they are used properly, away from combustible materials. Make certain portable heaters and open flames, such as candles, are not used near combustible materials. Do not allow rubbish to accumulate.

Helpful hint: Contact your local fire department for more ideas about how to make your home safer from fires, and how to plan your family’s escape.

Handy Person Tips

1. Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easy.
2. To keep white paint from yellowing, add 10 drops of black paint to each quart of white.
3. When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.
4. An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.
5. When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.
6. Before starting to paint with enamel paint, lightly coat your hands and underneath your fingernails with any name brand hand cleaner. After the painting is finished, your hands will be easy to clean.
7. Line your paint tray with aluminum foil. When its time to clean up, just roll up the foil and throw away.
8. To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.
9. To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.
10. When painting trim around windows, doorways etc. try using stiff paper to cover the area you don’t want painted. (An old phone book cover works well.) Slide paper along as you paint. It’s much faster and more economical than using masking tape. Works well with either a roller or brush.
11. When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact color with you and can match accessories in stores.
12. When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more evenly.
13. Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.
14. When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.
15. When painting old woodwork, fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.
16. When painting stairs, paint every other step first. When these are dry, paint the rest.
17. To avoid cleaning paint brushes and rollers if you intend to use the same color later, or if you do not have time to clean immediately, place the brushes and rollers in a plastic bag, tie shut and place in the freezer. They will keep for several days without drying up.
18. Protect hands from paint solvent by putting the brush and solvent into a strong plastic bag. With hands outside the bag, work the solvent into the brush through the plastic.
19. After cleaning your paint brush, a few drops of oil worked into the bristles will leave the brush soft and ready to use.
20. To clean paint rollers, fill an empty one-quart milk carton with solvent, put the roller inside and crimp the ends shut. Give the carton a few shakes, then let sit for a couple of hours.
21. Simmer hardened paint brushes in full-strength vinegar. Re move the softened paint with a wire comb or brush.
22. To remove oil or enamel paint from your hands, rub on paste floor wax and then wash with plenty of soap and warm water. There is no odor and it’s easier on the skin than paint remover.
23. In time, a partly used can of paint will develop a skin on top. To prevent this, cut wax paper the size of the can and drop it in.
24. To save partial cans of leftover paint, fill the airspace with a lightly inflated balloon before pressing on the lid.
25. A coat of penetrating stain applied to a smooth wood surface may last only three or four years, but a second application after the wood has weathered will last as long as 10.
26. To give bathroom fixtures a new look, paint with an epoxy paint, sold especially for that purpose.
27. Never stir varnish. It has no color pigments which need blending and stirring will create air bubbles which can ruin a smooth finish.
28. To frost a bathroom or garage window, make a solution of one cup of beer to four tbsp. Epsom salts and paint on the window. It washes off when you want a clear pane again.
29. If you have a small hole in your wall (after moving pictures etc.) take a wax crayon as near the color of your wall as possible. Rub the hole with the crayon, polish with a dry cloth and the hole is invisible.
30. Clean out old nail polish bottles and fill with ‘touch-up’ paint for scuffs and scratches that may occur on your walls.
31. When hanging pictures on plaster walls, put a small piece of adhesive tape where the nail is to go in. Drive the nail through the tape. This helps prevent the plaster from cracking.
32. When drilling a hole in any kind of wall, take an envelope, crease the edges to hold it open, then fasten it to the wall just under where you are drilling. It keeps a great deal of mess from hitting the floor and makes clean-up easier.
33. After wallpaper or painting, write the amount under a light-switch plate and you’ll always know how much wallpaper or paint you need for that room.
34. To remove old wallpaper, first pull off as much as you can, then soak the remaining with Fleecy. It will peel off easily.
35. Before wallpapering a wall, apply a coat of clear varnish to any grease spots. This will prevent the grease from soaking through the new paper.
36. Instead of applying wallpaper with a sponge, dip a paint roller in the solution, squeeze slightly to prevent dripping and roll it over 20-30 sq. feet at a time.
37. Buy stair carpeting a little longer than needed. When it shows signs of wear it can be shifted downward to delay replacement.
38. To avoid wearing out spots on heavy traffic areas, use extra pieces of material cut out of the same material as the rug or linoleum.
39. If your kitchen cupboards have worn out or if there are scuff marks around the handles, remove handles and glue on tiles to cover the scuffs. Replace handles over the tiles. This adds an interesting color accent and saves replacing or re finishing the doors.
40. When a drain is clogged with grease, pour a cup of salt and a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by a kettle of boiling water.
41. If your water taps have a tendency to freeze during a cold spell, leave your taps on slightly: Running water will not freeze.
42. Frozen water pipes can safely and easily be thawed out by using an ordinary hair dryer nozzle directed at the frozen pipe.
43. To tighten cane-bottomed chairs, turn them upside down and liberally apply hot water to the underside. Dry the chairs in the sun.
44. When sanding or refinishing, cover your hand with an old nylon stocking. Glide your hand over the surface to be re done. Any rough areas will snag the stocking where more sanding needs to be done.
45. To restore odor to an old cedar chest or closet, sandpaper lightly. This reopens pores in the wood to restore breathing.
46. Spring-type clothespins are useful as clamps to hold light weight glued materials together.
47. To find a wall stud, hold a pocket compass level with the floor and at a right angle to the wall. Slowly move it along the surface of the wall. Movement of the compass will indicate the presence of nails and reveal stud location.
48. You always have a measuring tape in your pocket — a dollar bill is exactly six inches long and just short of three inches wide.
49. Use non-stick vegetable spray to lubricate squeaky hinges and sticky locks.
50. Loosen rusted nuts or bolts with a few drops of ammonia or peroxide.
51. To help remove stubborn nuts and bolts, pour on some cola soft drink.
52. You can retrieve a broken key by putting some strong metal adhesive on the handle and holding it to the part stuck in the lock. Hold it there until the glue has set. When it holds, pull out the key. Don’t use the key again.
53. Four or five mothballs in your toolbox will keep the tools from rusting.
54. A piece of chalk or charcoal in your toolbox will attract moisture and keep your tools from rusting.
55. Save your old nuts, bolts and washers. They make excellent sinkers for your fishing line.
56. Use discarded milk cartons, with the tops cut off, to store items in the workshop. Great for nails, screws etc.
57. If one of your saucepan lids is missing a knob, put a screw through the hole with the point upwards and push a cork down onto it.
58. To store a handsaw safely, cover the teeth with a split length of old garden hose.
59. Stop drawers from sticking by running a candle along the tops.
60. To sharpen scissors, fold a piece of aluminum foil three times, then cut through it several times with your scissors.
61. Electrical cords from kitchen appliances are easy to find when stored in cardboard tubes from disposable towels. Color codes the end of the tube if you have more than one in a drawer.
62. Tuck electric appliance cords and extension cords into toilet tissue tubes, labelling each by length and by which cord fits which appliance.
63. To keep cords of curling irons and blow dryers together in a drawer, use ponytail holders.
64. To remove broken light bulbs with ease, put switch into off position, then push a raw potato into the base and twist the broken bulb out.
65. To get a broken light bulb out of the socket, turn the switch off, then stick a soft bar of soap into the jagged edges of glass and use the soap as a handle to unscrew it easily and safely.
66. If your flashlight batteries are getting weak while on a camping trip and you cannot replace them immediately, set them in the bright sunlight during the day and they will be temporarily rejuvenated.
67. The charcoal in a range hood filter can be recharged by placing it in a 450-degree oven for 30 minutes after cleaning the metal frame.
68. When mailing fragile items, pack the excess space in the box with popped popcorn to insulate the package against damage/breakage.
69. To allow sliding windows or drawers to move easier, use a bar of soap to grease tracks or runners.
70. When a pin or needle won’t penetrate an article, rub pin or needle in your hair and try again.
71. Why climb a ladder? Use binoculars to get a closer look.
72. Your ladder won’t sink into soft earth if you place each leg into an empty coffee can or paint can.
73. A discarded fan belt from the car makes an ideal gutter- cleaning tool. Being flexible, yet firm, this belt is easily formed to shape the bottom of the gutter which enables muck and leaves to be scraped out without scratching the paint inside the gutter.
74. Use old or leftover linoleum to cover seats and tops of picnic tables.
75. Small holes in window screens can be repaired by dabbing the hole with successive layers of clear nail polish.
76. Put an extra house key in a water-tight container or plastic bag and store outside the house in the flower bed, under a rock etc. so you will never be locked out.
77. Use extra-large plastic garbage bags as inexpensive protective covers for folding lawn furniture. This allows furniture to be stored outdoors without damage.
78. Snow will slide off a shovel which has been sprayed with furniture polish or vegetable oil.
79. Rub your snow shovel with parawax or candle wax before using. Even wet snow will slide off without build-up, keeping the shovel light and easy to manoeuvre.
80. Use your fertilizer spreader to scatter sand on icy walkways.
81. To remove dangerous ice off your steps, sprinkle with salt.
82. Kitty litter can be used to de-ice your sidewalks and steps.
83. 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.
84. Dried orange and grapefruit peels and rind make good fuel in a fireplace and give off a lovely aroma as they burn.
85. 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.
87. Save your Nabob coffee bags to burn in the fireplace. Roll up tightly and then watch the varicolored flames when the bags are burned.
88. 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.
89. To make your Christmas tree last longer, add sugar to the water.
90. To preserve your Christmas tree longer, add Pine sol to the water.
91. To fireproof the Christmas tree, mix eight oz. boracic acid in one gallon of water. Spray mixture over tree and let dry.
92. To clean automobile chrome, rub with dampened aluminum toil.
93. 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.
94. Wash your car with liquid dishwashing detergent. It won’t scratch the surface.
95. Use dry baking soda on a damp cloth to clean the bugs off the car windshield.
96. Windshield wipers smearing? Clean the windshield and wiper blade with rubbing alcohol.
97. Make your own windshield washer fluid by combining one quart rubbing alcohol, one cup water and two Tblsp. liquid detergents.
98. Use steel wool pads on your tire white side walls to keep them new looking.
99. Keep open cans of motor oil clean by sealing them with the plastic lids from one-pound tins of coffee.
100. A sheet of fabric softener under your car seat will keep the car smelling fresh.
101. To clean corrosion from battery posts, make a paste of baking soda and water (paste should be thickness of cream). Brush on posts, leave for 10 minutes and brush off with water. Wipe dry with a rag. This leaves the posts and battery clean.
102. Before leaving on holidays or a weekend trip in the summer, spray the front of your car with cooking oil (such as Pam). This will keep the bugs from sticking to the grill. Those that do will wash off with ease.
103. Place moth balls in car trunk and interior if you’re going to park your vehicle for several months. Mice will not take up occupancy.
104. Run your car air-conditioner five minutes weekly during the winter months to keep it in good condition.
105. Prevent car doors from freezing by wiping the rubber gaskets with vegetable oil to seal out water.
106. If your car door locks freeze, use your hairdryer to thaw them out.
107. If door locks are frozen and a hairdryer is not available, heat the key with a lighter or match.
108. To avoid having your car extension cord stolen, buy a somewhat longer cord, plug it in and, with the extra length, loop it and put it inside the door and close it. An alternative is to drive the front wheel over the cord.
109. Your car block heater may be plugged in but the current may not be getting through. To make certain it is, wire in an inexpensive circuit test into the receptacle end of the heater cord. When you see the glow, you know the current is getting through.
110. Be prepared for winter driving by purchasing a strip of expanded metal about eight inches wide and 24 inches long. (This is a diamond-patterned screen that can be purchased at most tin smith shops.) When placed under the wheels of your vehicle, it can get you out of most spots.
111. If your car is stuck in snow, your floor mats or an old carpet, stored in the trunk, can be placed under the rear wheels for traction.
112. Save old milk cartons and fill with sand to carry in your car in case you get stuck in the snow.
113. Fill old milk cartons with old melted candles and/or parawax, insert a wick and keep in the trunk of your car in case of winter emergency.
114. When travelling in the winter is prepared. Carry in your trunk a couple of plastic pails of dry sand, one small shovel, sleeping bags, a well-charged flashlight, outdoor extension cord and a couple of pairs of heavy wool socks (you can always use socks on your hands but it is difficult to put gloves on your feet). Always make certain that your gas tank is above the half-full mark.
115. Preserve your garage floor, particularly in the winter, by placing carpet remnants on the area where the tires come in contact with the floor.
116. To remove grease and oil stains from concrete, first scrape off as much of the stain as possible with a putty knife. Wet down the stains and sprinkle on TSP crystals (Trisodium Phosphate Crystals which can be purchased from most hardware stores). As the crystals dissolve, use a bristle brush and work on the stain for 15-20 minutes. Add a little more TSP and brush the spot vigorously. Mop up stain with clean water.
117. Here are ways to remove oil stains on your driveway. For fresh stains, sprinkle kitty lifter, grind in with your foot, let it absorb the oil, then sweep up. For older stains, use Spray N Wash, let stand approximately five minutes, and then sprinkle on laundry detergent, scrub with stiff broom, then hose down. For really tough stains, use oven spray, let set and rinse with clear water.

Handy Energy Tips

1. Make certain that everyone turns off the lights when leaving the room. For extra incentive, charge 25 cents when a person leaves a room without shutting off the lights.
2. If your children have the bad habit of leaving the basement lights on, unscrew half the light bulbs in the basement. Now, if they leave them on it’s not so wasteful or costly. The light bulbs left should provide plenty of light for playing.
3. A dimmer switch will save on light bills.
4. To save money, reduce the wattage of the bulbs you use.
5. It is more economical to use one large bulb rather than several small ones. A 100-watt bulb gives as much light as six 25-watt bulbs, but uses less than 2/3 the power.
6. When your night light bulb needs replacing, use a Christmas tree light bulb — it’s the same size.
7. Don’t forget the light bulbs when dusting. A dusty bulb will give off up to 50 per cent less light.
8. Use electric tea kettles, electric skillets and electric woks. They use less energy than stove top kettles, skillets and woks.
9. To save energy, do not preheat the oven before cooking casseroles or meat dishes.
10. For foods which require a long cooking time, it is more economical to use the oven than a burner on top of the stove.
11. Conserve energy by cooking the entire meal in the oven.
12. When cooking dinner in the oven, cook your canned vegetables by removing the label, taking off the lid and cooking in the tin can in the oven for about 15 minutes.
13. When baking, oven heat can be lowered 25 degrees if you use glass or ceramic baking dishes, which retain heat better than other materials.
14. Do not fill the kettle to the brim before boiling if only a few cups of water are needed. Boil only what you need.
15. Operating the dishwasher only once a day will consume less water and electricity.
16. To save on power, wash bath towels in cold water.
17. Partially dry bath towels in the dryer, then hang on chair backs or a clotheshorse to finish the job. This will save energy and will add humidity to the house.
18. Throw a dry bath towel into the dryer when drying a load. Laundry will dry a lot quicker, therefore saving power and wear on the dryer.
19. Instead of using the dryer, hang clothes outside to dry. In the winter, set up a clothes line in your basement.
20. Clean the dryer vent after every load to reduce energy use.
21. By purchasing a simple dryer vent control device, you can use the heat from the dryer for your basement or garage.
22. Use a 24-hour timer for your car block heater and interior warmer.
23. Installing a transient voltage surge suppressor at the electrical panel could save money when using household appliances.
24. Use your bathroom fans sparingly in the winter. The fans remove warm air.
25. Run the furnace fan constantly during cold weather to reduce your heating bill.
26. Keep your furnace well tuned. A slipping belt can reduce the efficiency of your furnace by as much as 50 per cent.
27. Be certain your furnace has the proper amount of oxygen for maximum heat from your fuel.
28. Place aluminum foil behind each of your radiators. It will reflect heat back into the room instead of allowing the wall to absorb it.
29. Turn down the thermostat Mien you go out for the day.
30. Spray the furnace filter with furniture polish to increase the amount of dust it picks up.
31. Before retiring for the night turn down your thermostat to 16-17° C (60-65° F).
32. To save fuel costs, install a set-back thermostat so that the temperature is maintained at a lower level while sleeping or when no one is home during the day. The initial investment is paid back in a short time through lower heating bills.
33. Close off heat and doors to unused rooms.
34. Keep your closet doors closed. There is no need to heat or cool them.
35. Cover your basement windows with some inexpensive material for the winter so heat is not lost through the glass and frame.
36. Draw your drapes closed and open only during sunny periods to conserve heat in the winter.
37. In the winter, block off radiators and open drapes on the sunny side of the house. This will keep the rooms on that side of the house warm.
38. On older homes use plastic inside or outside to cover windows and frames to help cut drafts and cold.
39. Seal your windows in the winter to conserve heat.
40. If you have a milk chute which is not in use, pack it with fibreglass insulation to prevent drafts and frost buildup.
41. White foam meat trays can be washed, cut to size and fitted under wall switches etc. to prevent drafts.
42. Remove baseboards and caulk crack between wall and floor to prevent drafts along outside walls.
43. Make certain that your house is properly insulated and all air drafts plugged to prevent heat loss in the winter.
44. To help stop heat loss from the foundation of your house during the winter, shovel three or four feet of snow up against the side of the house to act as insulation.
45. Insulating the outside walls of your basement will pay for itself after three winters.
46. Keep blinds pulled down and drapes closed in the summer to keep the house cool and cut down on air conditioner use.
47. Keep your hot water heater in the mid range.
48. Turning down your hot water heater several degrees can save you a great deal of money over a year and it could also save you from scalds.
49. If you have to run the water forever until it gets hot, wrap your hot water pipes in an easy-to-apply foam blanket, available at hardware or building supply stores. Not only will you save on the water bill, but your hot water heating costs will be reduced too.
50. Adjust the float on your toilet so that you use less water when flushing.
51. Set a liner inside your toilet tank to conserve water.
52. Take a five minute shower (50 liters) instead of a bath (150 liters). Remember that less than 1% of Earth’s water is available for our use.
53. Turn your water valves on and off every six months to keep them in working order. A stuck valve can cause a flood.
54. Have a timer near the telephone in order to limit long-distance phone bills. Set the timer for a predetermined length and stick to it.

Living Room Painting Ideas

The different rooms of your house require great attention as to the paint’s color. One color might suit a particular room in the house but will not be a very good sight in another room. That is why people who want to paint their house should have proper knowledge and experience in painting. If you want a living room makeover, then you will need good painting ideas.

Living room painting ideas are widely available on the net. There are helpful sites that you can always visit for free tips and ideas on how to start painting your living room. But for those who don’t have time to surf the internet, you can always rely on your taste when it comes to choosing the color of the paint to be used in your living room.

Art has a lot to do with the finished touches inside any room. To achieve the best possible result, make art your inspiration; by doing so, it will be easier to think of great color schemes for your living room.

Check out these living room painting ideas:

First and foremost, you need to choose the color scheme to be used in your living room. This means that you have to choose the paint colors for your doors, walls, accessories, trims, and other accents.

Base your color scheme on the living room’s largest furniture, the room’s focal point, height of your ceiling, the lighting, how the room is to be used, the room’s size, and the feeling that you want to create whenever you’re inside the living room.

After that, it’s now time to focus in choosing the paint finish because this can alter the feeling that you want to create. If your walls have minor imperfections, choose a paint finish that’s matte or flat because it doesn’t shine. This kind of finish also offers effective stain resistance.

For your doors, trims, and other architectural details, highlight them with a gloss finish by using semi-gloss or satin finish. It would be easier to clean these areas because of the texture’s smoothness and the wall’s sheen.

If you have small children at home, you can use washable paints because it is easier to clean or wipe.

For the walls of your living room, you can use paints which are water-based or latex, but for your windows and doors, use acrylic paint.

Cost is a consideration when you want to paint your living room, so always calculate how much you’re going to spend for the paints.

Some color and types of paint require more that one coat application, so you should take that into account. One gallon of paint usually covers about 400 sq feet.

Your entrance foyer defines your personality, so you should make a good impression by experimenting with its color. Try to create a great looking and stylish living room.
Maintain visual flow and harmony; and always consider other visible rooms from the living room.

Add height by using alternate colors of dark and light shades of identical colors. You can also use glazed version of these colors without actually breaking the room’s monochromatic look.

With a little creativity and hard work, you can turn your living room in to a masterpiece of your own creation. Your guests will be awed once they visit your house and see your living room.

COLOR Frequently asked questions

How do colors effect room size?
Generally, warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows close in a space. Blues, greens, and violets tend to make a room look larger. Dark colors have a diminishing effect. Whites are always a good choice for making a room look larger.

My room has a chair rail and I am using two colors….?
This depends on the look you want to achieve. If you want an open, airy look, always paint the portion of the wall below the chair rail darker allowing the lighter color to dominate.

Should trim work be painted the same color as the walls…?
Use the same color to hide trim work, use a lighter or darker color to bring out the trim work and add highlights.

Will the paint I choose look lighter or darker on the wall?
Larger surfaces make the paint appear darker. As a general rule, always choose colors that are a shade or two lighter than what you want. Do keep in mind that colors can also appear lighter or darker depending on surrounding colors and lighting.

What is the best way to decide which color is best for my room?
Take color chips home to determine the color of your room. A nice technique is to hold the color chips in the daylight and at night so you will see how lighting will effect your color choices.

What color should I paint my ceiling?
White or off-white colors will create the illusion of having a higher ceiling and more open space. Whereas medium to dark colors will create the illusion of lowering the ceiling. Customarily, white or off-white tend to be used.

Will the paint actually match the color chip?
As a general rule, paint on a color chip will appear slightly lighter than when applied in a room. Always take into account the sheen of the paint, the lighting in the room, and other colors that are in the room.

Decorating Tips

Decorating Tips

Make a room plan

Make a rough sketch of your room, and photocopy the sketch. Use coloured pencils to experiment.

Choose a scheme to suit the room

Pick warm colours for walls with northern light, cool colours for southern and neutrals for all other exposures

Bright Accessories

Use accessories to balance strong colours on walls.

Use strong shades in moderation

Too much strong colour can overwhelm a room, but by emphasizing individual walls you can create an optical illusion and alter a room’s proportions.

Keep a steady hand

Strong colours hide imperfections – a good idea for rough or uneven walls. Apply paint carefully as uneven strokes will show.

Painting tips & tricks

Dip and Smack vs Wiping

As an amateur painter you probably are in the habit of “wiping” the brush on the lip of the can after every dip. This creates two problems: the lip of the can will fill with paint and drip down the sides, and the bristles can be damaged. There is a dip and smack technique that is easy to perform and will help you to get the job done right. Dip the brush into the paint, and as you pull the brush up, smack it on the sides of the paint can from one side to the other instead of wiping. This “wakes up” the bristles, allows more paint to stay in the brush and eliminates paint from accumulating in the lip of the paint can.

Paint – Dry stripping

This entails the use of a scraper, with a very sharp blade, to remove the paint. It is recommended that you wear safety goggles to prevent flakes of paint from shooting into your eyes. If the paint being removed is very old, wear a mask to prevent your inhaling the dust. Angle the blade until it hooks into the surface, and pull it towards you with even pressure.

Drywall Primer

Primer is an important part of any painting job. Picking the right primer can be a particularly confusing task. You can use the following basic requirements to help you choose the right product for your drywall job.

New drywall needs at least one coat of latex primer. Keep in mind that a good primer coat will still show brush and roller marks. You may need two coats over water-resistant (green colored) dry wall, or areas that have a lot of drywall mud. Generally, one coat of primer is sufficient. You are better off to apply a second coat of the finish paint. Remember that the primer color should be a lighter match but close to the finish color. In other words, don´t use a white primer under a dark blue finish coat; a blue tinted primer will work much better.

Easily Touch-Up Woodwork

To easily touch-up woodwork (if using white finish only), here’s what to do:

Clean trimwork of all dirt and grime

Lay a protective barrier over flooring (next to base), such as cardboard or blue masking tape.

Lightly (and gently – no drips or runs) spray paint onto base or other trimwork. You’ll want to “feather” it, so the finish will appear consistent.

Let dry before moving on to painting other surface(s).

It’s important to note here, that you are touching up the base, and other trimwork, before you paint anything else. Then, after the woodwork is fully dried, you can apply finish paint. If you get wall paint on the trim, simply wipe off with a wet rag (keeping one handy at all times).

Also, make sure the trimwork throughout the room has a good, solid base coat of paint on it prior to doing any kind of touch-up work. Touch-up only when the existing coat looks good and fresh, or nearly freshly painted.

Again, this is a great tip to save you a fair amount of time and money, but not at the expense of the room’s appearance, and overall condition. (this is really handy for rental property owners)


Enamel is a varnish with pigments added. Enamel has the same basic durability and toughness of a good varnish. It produces an easy-to-clean surface, and in the proper formulation, can be used for interior and exterior applications. For the highest quality interior work, an undercoat is required.

Here’s a trick well-known to old-time painters

Here´s a trick well-known to old-time painters. The stucco coating on the exterior wall surfaces of nineteenth-century masonry houses was marked out to look like blocks of stone. Narrow horizontal and vertical grooves were impressed into the surface of the stucco coating to give the walls the appearance of the regular blocks of stone known as ashlar. After repainting the outside of your house run a carpenter´s pencil along the grooves. This sharpens up the appearance of the building and reinforces the impression of ´stone´ blocks. The impression works best if the paint chosen is in a stone colour.

Electrical Plug Detective

Problem: Plug sparks when used, does not carry power to lamp or appliance, or causes short circuits.

Background: There are eight or more different kinds of receptacle plug configurations, but they all fall within two major categories: flat wire plugs and round cord plugs. Replacement plugs are readily available for both kinds and may be found in two basic types: replacement plugs, which use screws to connect cord wires to the terminals, and quick-connect plugs, which have spikes inside that make contact with the wires. Plugs should be re placed whenever the casing is cracked or damaged, the prongs have be come loose or badly bent, the insulation faceplate is gone, or the cord near the plug has become damaged.

What to do: Clip off the old plug and take it with you when buying a re placement. When using a quick- connect flat wire replacement plug, read the general directions below, then proceed by following the manufacturer’s instructions, if any are given. For replacing the appliance-end plug, or appliance cord.

Flat wire plugs: With take-apart replacement plugs, the casing has a screw which allows the casing to be taken apart in two halves, freeing each prong which has a screw terminal. Re move about ½-inch of insulation from the wires, twist them and hook each wire around a terminal and tighten. Reassemble the casing and install the insulation cover.
Procedures vary in attaching a quick-connect replacement plug because there are at least three different kinds. One kind has a levered clamp at the back which is pulled up, the wire (slitted ¼ inch between strands) is pushed into a hole at the side, and the clamp is pushed back into the casing. With a second kind, the prongs are squeezed together so that the interior can be pulled out. The prongs are spread the wire inserted, the prongs are closed, and the interior part is pushed back into the casing. A third kind has a wrap-around casing which slips off, then the wire is simply inserted and the casing is slipped back on.
Round cord plugs: These will have screws to attach wires. Cut the damaged part of the cord off, then slip the plug onto the cord. Clip and separate the cord and tie what is called an underwriter’s knot (see illustration) and pull knot back into plug snugly. Remove ½ inch of the insulation from the ends of the wires, and twist the strands of each wire together clockwise. Wrap the end of the black wire around under the brass screw, wrap the end of the white wire around under the silver screw (insulation should not come under the screws), and tighten screws.
If the cord has solid wires, pre bend the ends clockwise with needle-nose pliers to fit under screw terminals. On a 3-prong plug there will be a third green wire which is attached to the ground screw terminal. Placing the insulation cover back on plug, and tightening any cord clamp, completes the replacement.

Special advice: Plug prongs some times don’t fit the receptacle properly. If not, try spreading the prongs of the plug to fit tighter into the receptacle. To pre vent damage to electrical plugs, make it a habit to always remove a plug from a receptacle by grasping the plug, not the cord. Pulling only the cord will cause unnecessary wear and premature failure of the plug.

Helpful hint: A wire stripping tool is a low-cost, pliers-like device which makes stripping insulation from wires more precise. Most have holes to accommodate wires in a range from 20- to 10-gauge. You simply select the proper hole, position the wire where you want the insulation to end, then squeeze the handles and pull. It is a worthwhile investment.

A person with many skill sets can help you with many different tasks

For many people, the perfect household is something they will always strive for. Although this is a common goal, it is not always attainable. Many things can factor into this situation, most of which we can’t control. In case you feel like you need to change your home, a Naperville handyman will be able to alter anything inside your house. If you want a smaller job done such as a small lavatory, large companies like Naperville bathroom remodeling can do the job.

somebody that posses the skills of a carpenter, the coordination of a plumber and the attention to detail as a roofer can save you much time and money. This person can do most any job around your house and could probably do them for a reasonable cost. These types of skills are often hard to find in one person, finding someone who can do the job well can be even more difficult. Somebody with the skill set of a “jack of all trades” can be very valuable to keep around. This person won’t cost as much as hiring a large company to do every little job around your home. There won’t be twenty plus workers going in and out of your house and clogging up your driveway. Somebody like this who has been working in your house for a long time can be much more efficient. Once he or she has enough experience with you, this person will get to know your needs better as well as develop a better idea of what your tastes are. Since you will not have to show people around every time you have a task that needs to be completed, this will save you much time and frustration.

Another advantage to employing somebody with many skill sets is that they aren’t limited to doing only one job. As time goes on and people experience change in their lives, their surroundings will have to change with them. A place that they always go in their home is the lavatory. This is a room that you use every day, no matter what your situation is. Since you use this room frequently, you will want it to change with your tastes. Renovating this room is a great alternative instead of having to deal with your boring surroundings for years to come. Making small improvements to your home can be more time and cost efficient than renovating your whole household or even going so far as to purchasing a new home.

Before you make any large changes or hire a huge company to take care of a job for you, take care of the little things. Using this method will be more time efficient as well as save you money. Because you will not have to pay a large amount of money for one big job that can take months to do, you will be able to save more money and spend more time in your home.