Restore Your Plastic Laminate Countertop

Gel Gloss Photo

After twenty years of soft drinks, coffee and wear and tear, a plastic laminate kitchen countertop can become discolored and worn. Small scratches dull the finish. It’s impossible to fully restore the color and eliminate scratches from plastic laminate (better … Continue reading

Candles, Yes…Soot, No

candle trim wax picture

If you’ve noticed ghostly smudges and stains on your walls and ceilings, the culprit may be something you’d never suspect: candles you burn indoors. Most candles produce soot, which can create stains on walls and ceilings. Just a few candles … Continue reading

Clothes Washer Filling Slowly

clothes washer

Your washer has always worked well. In fact, it still does, but the cycle time seems to drag on longer and longer. Hard to tell what’s wrong, but you notice the water doesn’t seem to spray into the laundry tub … Continue reading

Foundation Problems? Check Your Gutters

gutter leaks wets basement

In homes with basements and crawl spaces, we always need to be concerned with water flow from the roof. An overflowing gutter will dump water next to the foundation and create a water leak into the crawl space or basement. … Continue reading

Remove Oil Stains from Your Driveway

Mex Stain Remover Picture

So you’ve got an unsightly oil stain on the driveway. Maybe it came from an old clunker parked there by family or friends. It could be a drip from your latest barbecue or a remnant from the windy day when … Continue reading

Squeaking Floor? Try This Fix Down Under

Joist Subfloor Squeaks Fixes Picture

There it is again – a loud squeak every time someone walks down the hall. This may be a good sound for parents hearing their kids coming home before curfew, but it’s really annoying at 3 a.m. when someone’s just … Continue reading

That Leaky Garden Hose

garden hose leaks picture

Time to green up outside. Whether it’s cleaning the patio or watering the grass and flowers, we all have plenty of uses for our garden hoses. But what about those leaky connectors, the splits or damaged fittings? You don’t want … Continue reading

Knock Knock…It’s Your Plumbing

modern water hammer arrester picture

Every time the clothes washer fills, you hear knocking and thumping in the wall or basement. Then it knocks again during the rinse cycle. What’s knocking? Often it’s the water pipes knocking against the framing of your home. You may … Continue reading

An Easy Fix for Rust Stains on Clothing

whink rust stain remover picture

Every once in a while, the washer creates a rust stain on clothes. Maybe rust was in the water, or there’s a little rust in the washer drum, or perhaps you left a rusty part in a pants pocket. Now … Continue reading

How to Paint Over Dark Paneling

Bin Zinsser Photo

It may be time to “green up” your gloomy family room with a fresh coat of light-colored paint. The lighter color will help limit the need for artificial light and improve the distribution of natural light. But what if your … Continue reading

Flood from the Washer Hose!

Flood Proof Washer Hoses Picture

What is the number one source of water damage inside a home? It’s not tornadoes, rainstorms or hurricanes. It’s a broken washing machine hoses. Left undetected, a broken washer supply hose can quickly flood a home. Check your washer’s hoses … Continue reading

Your Nose Knows It’s Time to Clean the Disposal

clean the disposal picture

Eeuuww – what’s that smell in the kitchen? Yuck, it’s from the sink. It smells like sewage or rotten food. The sink looks clean, and you try flushing lots of water down the drain. You run the garbage disposal, and … Continue reading

Polarity? What’s That?

Electrical Polarity at Light Picture

You just had your new home inspected, and the inspector found “reversed polarity” at several electrical outlets some amateur had added. You know you need to fix this, but what is that reversed polarity stuff? Electricity flows through wires like … Continue reading

Soot on the Walls

Ghost Stains on Walls Ceiling picture

What’s with those ghostly gray stains on the outside corners of the ceiling and walls? The stains outline the stud framing, and they even seem darker where there are nails in the drywall. Most ghostly outlines like this are caused … Continue reading

What’s Your Outlet IQ?

outlet IQ

Remember that home inspection you arranged before purchasing your home? The inspector tested electrical outlets and talked about correcting problems. You purchased the home but not have gotten around to correcting the outlet problems. You can perform some basic testing … Continue reading

Can Lights? Make Them Green

Can Lights Proper Bulbs Picture

Can lights or recessed ceiling lights are a standard design feature in modern residential construction. They are also common in older custom-built homes. They provide a unique lighting pattern without the glare of a fixture, but they may also waste … Continue reading

Tune Your Refrigerator for High Performance

Refrigerator Clean Coil Picture

The refrigerator is among the most neglected of household appliances because usually, it runs forever with little repair. However, it often consumes the most electricity in your home’s appliances. You can improve the performance and extend the life of your … Continue reading

A Ton of Cooling

ton of cooling

Ever hear of a two- or three-ton central air conditioner? Does that mean a two-ton air conditioner weighs 4,000 pounds? Is the term related to cooling capacity, or is it a random term that tech folks use to impress us? … Continue reading

Fix That Wobbling Ceiling Fan

ceiling fan picture

Wobbling ceiling fans are not safe to use. If a ceiling fan in your home shows excessive wobble, stop using it until you can get it fixed. Fans are dangerous if not installed and operated correctly. Many fans wobble because … Continue reading

Squeak, Squeak in the Hardwood Floor

squeak squeak in the hardwood floor

Flooring of all types has the potential for squeaks. Floor framing dries and shrinks, and squeaks occur as fasteners become loose, allowing movement in the subfloor and framing. Hardwood floors are known for this quality as they dry during the … Continue reading

Water Heater Drip Needs Attention

water heater t-p picture

One fine day, you walk past the water heater, and your foot gets wet. Hmm, that’s strange. You take a look and notice a very slow drip – drip – drip from the tube on the side of the water … Continue reading

Paint Over That Water Stain

paint vs primer picture

Let’s say there was a leak in the drain for an upstairs bathroom that left a brown stain on the drywall below. No problem – you painted it with latex paint left over from painting the ceiling, and at first, … Continue reading

Clothes Dryer Venting – A Hidden Danger

Clothes-Dryer Venting Poor Conditions Picture

Each year many home fires are caused by improperly maintained clothes dryers. The dryer and vent pipes can overheat and cause a fire. Vents plugged with lint will compound the problem. Don’t let your home become the next casualty. First, … Continue reading

Patch the Hole Behind the Door

Simple Wall Patch Picture

So the kids had a little shoving match, knocking against the bedroom door, and the doorknob smashed a hole in the drywall. They had done this before but never entirely punctured through the drywall. Those previous dents could be ignored, … Continue reading

Stains Around a Toilet = Serious Problem

Toilet Leak at Floor picture

Always be on the lookout for water leaks in your home, including little clues that could indicate bigger problems. For instance, if interior paint is bubbling or loose, you’re likely to find a water leak behind the paint. Around your … Continue reading

Plumbing Vent? What Plumbing Vent?

Drainage Waste and Vent Picture

All modern plumbing systems in residential construction have a plumbing vent. It doesn’t just vent unwanted odors from the drainage system to the outside; it serves an essential purpose by supplying air to the system. The plumbing drainage system in … Continue reading

Paint That Metal Railing

rusty metal primer photo

You love the metal wrought-iron railing at the front of your home. It adds character and appeal to the entrance. What you don’t love is the rust on the rail and the brown rust stains on the concrete. Don’t fret. … Continue reading

Fix That Sticking Bifold Door

bifold door tip picture

Those lousy folding doors on the closet. You can’t get them open, you can’t get them closed. A bifold door is one that is hinged in the middle and folds to open and close. In most cases, a simple adjustment … Continue reading

A Quick “Bucket” Fix to Flush the Toilet

Bucket Flush picture

You’ve turned off the water to the toilet because the tank or a plumbing fitting is leaking. But since this is your only toilet, it needs to be used before the plumber arrives tomorrow to fix the leak. How can … Continue reading

Power Out? How To Free Your Car from the Garage

Garage Door Operator Manual Release

An automatic garage door operator is great. But when the power goes out, and the overhead door is down, your car is trapped inside. How do you get it out? Take a look at the garage door operator on the … Continue reading

Clean Those Ugly Rust Stains on the Driveway

Whink Rust Iron Stain Remover Photo

Your beautiful new cement driveway – what an investment, and what a welcoming element to the front of your home. Too bad it has rust stains from the clunker car your son is driving…or that old planter or rusty water … Continue reading

Take a Close Look at Your Chimney

Masonry Chimney Defects Above Roof Picture

Brick and stone chimneys are certainly attractive and add value to your home, but they aren’t maintenance-free. You need to visually check your chimney and also have a professional check it from time to time. Water, weather, and freezing conditions … Continue reading

Gather Free Water with a Rain Barrel

Rain Barrel with Auto Diverter

Yes, you can be green, save money on your utility bills, and still water your plants and garden. Consider a rain barrel to catch water from the roof for use around your yard. This also helps solve problems with excessive … Continue reading

Why Should You Seal Exterior Concrete?

Drylok Concrete Protector Picture

In most climates, you don’t ever need to seal exterior concrete drives and walks. But there are advantages to using a good sealer, and in the long run, you can save money and keep the concrete looking like new. In … Continue reading

Tricks for Replacing a Broken Light Bulb

Sticking Light Bulb Picture

Light bulbs in exterior fixtures and damp locations like bathrooms are notorious for sticking in the socket. Turning the dead bulb to replace it, you hear the crunch of breaking glass – yuck! A new and messy fix-it job. To … Continue reading

No Heat? Try This Before Calling for Service

Gas Warm Air Furance Picture

As autumn settles in, there’s no heat in your house, and it’s getting cold. The furnace worked fine in the spring. Why is it stubborn now when you need it? You don’t want to spend money on a service call … Continue reading

What’s Your Home’s Largest Energy-Waster?

Attic Trap Door Picture

We all work hard at tightening up our homes to save energy and money. In fact, most energy improvements are good for the environment and also make our homes more comfortable. One of the biggest energy-wasters is the trap door … Continue reading

When Your Kitchen Faucet Slows Down

water faucet problems picture

Your plumbing system works fine everywhere in the house – except at the kitchen sink, where the volume and force of water are petering out. What’s going on? There may be a quick fix. The spout often contains an aerator … Continue reading

Use the Right Plug…or Else

Grounding concepts - safety picture

Electrical plugs and outlets are designed to keep you safe from electrical shock and to protect the device you’re using. Take advantage of this by making sure you match the plug with the correct electrical outlet. Once upon a time, … Continue reading

Pop-Up Stopper Sticks

Stopper Diagram

Most bathroom sinks have a “pop-up” sink stopper that opens and closes when you operate a small knob or lever built into the faucet. Push it down, and the stopper pops up to drain the sink; lift it , and … Continue reading

Turn That Gas Off

Operating Wrench Type Valve Diagram

If your home has natural gas or propane appliances, you should know where the gas valves are located and how to turn them off. All gas appliances are required to have a special valve located on the pipe near the … Continue reading

Compact Fluorescents

Compact Fluorescents Diagram

OK, for many years compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) were a bit of a pain. They provided an eerie color, took a long time to reach full brightness, never worked outdoors in cold weather, and failed early. Most of those problems … Continue reading

Fixing a Drip at the Bathroom Fan

bathroom exhaust fan problems picture

So you run the bath exhaust fan to remove moisture – but then you get that drip, drip, drip from the fan on your nice clean rug. Bath exhaust fans should not drip. If yours does, there’s something wrong with … Continue reading

The Rain May Drain, But It’s Not a Pain

storm/sanitary sewer in street picture

When a rain gutter and downspout send their discharge below grade to a pipe, it may appear that rainwater is draining into a sanitary sewer, but it really isn’t. In municipal areas with sewer systems, gutter (rainwater) discharge is normally … Continue reading

GFCI? What? Why?

safety of gfci vs breaker picture

You may not know what a GFCI is, but chances are it’s making your home safer. A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) measures the current flowing through a circuit. It looks simple, but it’s a complex electronic device. Electricity flows … Continue reading

Extension Cord Safety

You should view extension cords as a necessary evil. Avoid using them. If you must use an extension cord, use a heavy duty cord with a sturdy plug and outlet. Make sure the cord is in good condition. Some basic … Continue reading

Wash Siding – Work Up

wash siding - work up picture

All types of siding eventually accumulate dirt and grime, maybe even some mildew. It might make you think you need to paint the siding. But that’s not so. Often, it’s easy to wash dirt from the surface of the underlying … Continue reading

A Drip at the Darned Valve – Again

globe valve picture

Let’s say that every time you turn the small globe valve for the outdoor hose bib, you get that drip-drip-drip from the body of the valve. Or maybe your drip occurs at the small needle valve for the icemaker or … Continue reading

Caulking the Wide Open Spaces

caulking

So you filled that wide gap in the exterior trim with the best caulk you could buy, and the next year it had pulled away from one surface, leaving a large gap. Or you tried to fill a wider gap, … Continue reading

Three-Way, Two-Way or One-Way Switch?

switch diagram

Home systems have some strange terminology. Why are the two light switches that control one light fixture called a three-way switch? You know – the kind with a switch at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Sometimes … Continue reading

Garage Door Safety

garage door operator

What is the largest, heaviest moving object in your home? You got it – the garage door. So it makes sense to do frequent safety checks on the door. First, look for a safety label near the control button or … Continue reading

Thump, It’s the Water Heater

water heater thump picture

It’s annoying when your water heater thumps, pops, and whomps whenever you use hot water. What can you do? The water heater’s thumping is caused by sediment that has built up in the bottom of the metal tank or around … Continue reading

An Easy Fix for a Nasty Water Problem

Downsprout Extension Fix Picture

Water, water, and water – the three most damaging elements to a home. Water at or below ground level leaks in moves under, and pushes through to damage your home. It is vital to keep water away from your foundation. … Continue reading

The Crafty Way to Outwit Window Drafts

Wind Over Roof Creates Pressure Suction Picture

On many cold, sunny days it would be great to air out your home without feeling a nasty cold draft from an open window. It may be essential to air out the house when you have just fried some bacon, … Continue reading

My Concrete Has Cracked

Concrete Control Joint Diagram

You know the old saying: two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Well, I can add a third certainty to the mix: all poured concrete will crack. Concrete shrinks about 5/8 inch in 100 feet of length. … Continue reading

Why Use Primer When Painting?

Paint vs Primers Picture

Most of us do-it-yourselfers attempt to paint projects because painting is easy and gives a big bang for the buck. A fresh coat of paint can change the appearance of a surface and make everything look new. Since paint is … Continue reading

Is It Plumb, Level, or Square?

Plumb, Level, Square Diagram

We like to check to see if things are on the level – or should we say “plumb”? Is a wall plumb or level? Is the floor level? Is the door frame plumb or square? Confusing, isn’t it? Here’s a … Continue reading

Get Smart About Exterior Electrical Safety

Exterior Electrical Safety

You have heard about how dangerous high-voltage electrical wires can be: never touch a downed wire…storms can damage wires and so on. But what about the wires feeding your home? They can be dangerous too. For residential electrical feeds, the … Continue reading

Should You Insulate Your Attic?

heating cost, vs r value chart

Homeowners are always looking for ways to save energy while making our homes more comfortable. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to improve insulation in the attic. The attic is relatively easy to access. Often, it’s also … Continue reading

Why Is the Toilet Flushing Itself?

toilet leak to bowl

OK, so you just heard the toilet flush in the middle of the night. No one else is in the house, and you don’t think your home has a ghost. Later that night, you hear it again. Ughhh. How will … Continue reading

A Better Way to Hang a Heavy Mirror

picture of heavy mirrior

I have done this, and I bet you have too: You work hard to hang a heavy picture or mirror on the wall using several heavy-duty picture hooks. The picture is tough to align in just the right position because … Continue reading

How To fix A Squeaky Door Hinge

squeaky door - oil hinge diagram

While a squeeky door may have a few advantages – you can tell when the kids come and go – in general, a squeaky door is an annoyance. And if you ignore a squeaky door too long, friction can wear … Continue reading

Protect Your Family from Scalding Hot Water

Water Scalding Chart

At one time or another, we all have turned on a hot water faucet and been caught unaware by steaming hot water. You may have been lucky to pull your hand out of the flow just in time to prevent … Continue reading

5-in-1 Tool Makes Painting Easier

5-in-1 tool that makes painting easier

While painting is a bit of a chore, the right tools can help you get the job done easier and faster. Lots of small tools exist for paint preparation, but who wants to carry around a bunch of tools? Try … Continue reading

Repair A Whistling Shower Head

How to clean a shower head image

Singing in the shower takes on a new dimension when you’re accompanied by a whistling shower head. No matter how you vary the pitch and stay in tune, the screech from the shower head just won’t play. A poor melody … Continue reading

Back flow Prevention at Your Hose Bib

Health officials believe that thousands of people become ill because of contaminated water every year. Most folks think it is the stomach flu or food poisoning when contaminated water is the real culprit.Around your home, you must always separate drinking … Continue reading

The Patio Screen Door is Stuck

the patio door is stuck

Sticking, rubbing, cheap, nasty, impossible patio screen door! Well, the door takes a beating, and most patio screen doors are not the highest quality. But often there is a fix. Most sliding patio screen doors can be unstuck with a … Continue reading

Is Your Roof Worn Out?

is your roof worn out

Should you care about wear and tear to your roof? You betcha. A worn roof at the end of its life span is prone to leaks. You don’t want to deal with damage caused by roof leaks, and you don’t … Continue reading

Inside Info on an Outdoor Fixture

INSIDE INFO ON AN OUTDOOR FIXTURE

Here’s a bit of fix-it trivia for you: the exterior faucet to which you connect lawn hoses is called a hose bib. You can toss out this technical term to impress friends and neighbors, right? Whatever you call it, keep … Continue reading

Reviving a “Dead” Garbage Disposal

Reviving a “Dead” Garbage Disposal

Dead garbage disposal? Usually, it’s easy to bring this gadget back to life. Take a look at the illustration and follow these simple steps. Does the disposal “hum” when the switch is on? If not, most likely the problem is … Continue reading

No “Ding-Dong” Sound at the Bell

NO “DING-DONG” SOUND AT THE BELL

How annoying…that front doorbell only works from time to time, and you never know whether someone is there. You don’t want to call an electrician for such a small job. Hey, it’s often a quick fix — just replace the … Continue reading

How to Fix a Sinking Sidewalk

mudjacking diagram

A sinking sidewalk is bad news for you and your guests. Where the pavement is uneven, someone’s bound to trip eventually. Pavement sinks because exterior concrete is always on the move. Soil settles. Moisture moves soil up and down. In … Continue reading

Tell Me More About GFCI Outlets in My Home

Ever noticed that some electrical outlets have a red and a black button in the middle? You’re looking at a GFCI — a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This sophisticated device senses any current leaking through and immediately shuts off the … Continue reading

Finding Studs Using Construction Clues

finding studs

If you think “finding studs” is something gals do in a singles bar, you’ve come to the wrong column. We’re talking wall framing studs. Every once in a while, you need to locate studs in a wall, like when you … Continue reading

Save Money with a Filter Change

Save Money with a Filter Change

Maintaining the filter on your air conditioning and heating equipment isn’t fun or glamorous. So why bother? Because a clean filter allows for proper air flow, and that makes the equipment run efficiently, saving you money. Also, a clean filter … Continue reading

Do You Have One Cold Room?

one cold room

Does your home have one room that’s always cold? Is there very little air flow from the heating grill, even when it is fully open? The culprit may be a heating supply duct that’s been closed. In the basement, find … Continue reading

Plugged Drain? Heres a Quick Fix

Yuck…your tub or bathroom sink is draining slowly AGAIN. Every time you remove the trap or use a plumbing snake, you know you’ll be dealing with a major mess. And the hair in the trap is disgusting! But you’re tired … Continue reading

Quick Turn Off the Water!

quick turn off thr water

Oh, no! Water is running from somewhere beneath the cabinets and ruining your new kitchen floor. HELP! You can prepare for a crisis like this by knowing how to turn off the water to your home. You should locate the … Continue reading

Sticking Closet Door

We have all experienced those sliding closet doors that stick and rub. Did you know there is a simple fix? All sliding closet doors hang from a horizontal metal rail. Rollers fastened to the top of the door fit into a … Continue reading

5 Tips When Buying a Newly Constructed Home

When you buy a newly constructed home instead of an existing home, there are many extra steps that must take place. To ensure a hassle-free process, here are 5 tips to keep in mind if you are considering new construction: … Continue reading

Residential Plumbing System Terms

Plumbing may be defined as the practice, materials and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance and alteration of all piping, fixtures, appliances and appurtenances in connection with sanitary and storm drainage facilities, the venting system, and public and private water supply … Continue reading

Electricity 101: Understanding the Service Panel

Many homeowners who are unfamiliar with construction and wiring are timid when it comes to electrical work. It makes perfect sense to have a healthy respect for electricity—it can be dangerous if you don’t understand it. To give you confidence … Continue reading

Radon Testing in Residential Homes

Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon and Radon Mitigation Systems in Residential Homes The EPA recommends: If you are buying a home or selling your home, have it tested for radon. For a new home, ask if radon-resistant construction features were … Continue reading

Maintenance Checks for Your HVAC System

Have you ever woken up in the middle of a winter night, shivering under the blankets and able to see your breath? Or have you ever watched the thermostat creep into the upper 80s during a record-setting heat wave, realizing … Continue reading

Five Effective Fixes for Faulty Windows

There’s a common misconception that if your home has older windows that are in less-than-perfect condition, you must replace them with new windows. But as long as the window is structurally sound, you can fix most problems and extend the … Continue reading

Central Air-Conditioning System Inspection

A building’s central air-conditioning system must be periodically inspected and maintained in order to function properly. While an annual inspection performed by a trained professional is recommended, homeowners can do a lot of the work themselves by following the tips … Continue reading

Pre-Drywall Home Inspections

One way to ensure that a house is built according to its specifications is by performing a pre-drywall inspection. “Pre-drywall” refers to a phase during the homebuilding process just after the installation of certain elements – such as the doors, … Continue reading

Air Sampling for Mold Inspections

Taking air samples during a mold inspection is important for several reasons.  Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, and the types of mold present can often be determined through laboratory analysis of the air samples.  Having samples … Continue reading

Ten Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

Most people don’t know how easy it is to make their homes run on less energy, and we want to change that. Drastic reductions in heating, cooling and electricity costs can be accomplished through very simple changes, most of which … Continue reading

Fireplace Maintenance and Safety

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Is your fireplace safe? A fireplace is a comfortable place for the family to gather around during a cold winter. Statistics show that fireplaces and chimneys cause over 23,000 serious domestic fires every year in the United States, resulting in over $110 … Continue reading

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What Does The Crack In Your House Mean?

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  What harm could a thin crack possibly do to my home? This is the common attitude of homeowners when they spot cracks running across the walls, roof, or ceiling of their home. What they don’t realize is that a … Continue reading

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Is Your Home Safe with Radon?

This gallery contains 5 photos.

On January 13, 2005 the Surgeon General of the United States issued a Health Advisory warning Americans about the health risk from exposure to radon in indoor air. The Nation’s Chief Physician urged Americans to test their homes to find … Continue reading

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What to Do In The Event Of Fire

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What would you do in the event of fire? How would you react? These are some important questions you need to ask yourself. According to statistics, only 23% of families in the US know the answers to these questions, which … Continue reading

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Five Most Concerning Window Problems

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Window Problems: We all know what a pain a faulty windowcan be. They can be leaky, drafty or squeaky, they’ll close when we need them to stay open, and open when we want to close them. If you are facing these issues with your windows, this list is just for you. Oh, and having your windows fixed before winter is a good way to keep your heating budget in check for this winter. Continue reading

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