Monthly Archives: December 2015

  • Tips for Maintaining Your Household Plumbing

    Keeping your household drains in top shape can save you hundreds of dollars in plumbing bills. Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, having a good understanding of how your plumbing works is helpful in maintaining an efficient system. By changing a few habits, you can prevent the frequency of plumbing problems. The following tips can help weekend warriors prioritize plumbing tasks. It may also be a good idea to review these tips with everyone in the household:

    • Easy DIY plumbing maintenance differs for bathroom and kitchen drains. For cleaning drains in the bathroom, pour in at least one tablespoon of table salt followed by ¼ cup of vinegar. Let this mixture sit for about one hour. Run hot water to clear out all residual substances. Repeat for even better results.
    • In the kitchen, grease build-up can be addressed with liquid dish detergent and plenty of boiling water. Squirt a generous amount of dish liquid directly into your kitchen drain. Slowly pour a pot of boiling water into the drain. This method works because the boiling water melts grease deposits while the detergent dissolves the grease and oil. If buildup in your kitchen sink is bad, repeat this process 2-3 plumbing
    • It helps to pour boiling hot water down kitchen and bathroom sinks on a weekly basis. If this is too inconvenient, try for twice a month.
    • Cover drain openings with a grate to prevent hair, food pieces, and grease from clogging the pipes. Replace old or torn grates.
    • Make a habit of checking faucets and pipes for rust or damage. If it’s time for an upgrade, consider lead-free pipe options, as they are corrosion resistant.
    • Check your hot water tank at least once every six months. The average lifespan of a tank is 12 years, though they usually begin to have leaks or other problems well before.
    • Handle small problems with a few basic tools that can be purchased from A plunger, a pipe wrench, and a sewer snake will allow you to tackle dripping faucets, clogged drains, and blocked toilets with relative ease.
    • In the winter, insulate exposed pipes in the garage or other crawl spaces to prevent freezing.
    • Switch to biodegradable products to shield your pipes from harsh chemicals.
  • Creative Ways to Use Holiday Decorations After the New Year

    Decorations and holiday supplies can sometimes cost a small fortune. Once the holidays have passed and all the decorations come down, don’t toss everything in the trash. Use your scraps or untouched items for creative arts and craft projects that can be completed throughout the year. Lights, wrapping paper, bows, and wreaths are just a few of the items that can be repurposed. Below are some fun ways to use your holiday decorations after the New Year.

    Don’t get rid of your dead bulbs. Use the base of an old wreath to create a colorful, bulb-inspired piece to hang on your front door for Valentine’s Day, Easter, or even 4th of July. Another option for bulbs is to dip them in glue, cover them with glitter, and use these sparkly creations as the centerpiece in a clear vase dinner ornaments

    Use holiday cards to create gift tags in the appropriate letter, or in a shape that has special meaning. For example, use an old card to outline the shape of an airplane when giving friends or loved ones a going away present. Holiday cards can also be turned into bookmarks for personal use, to give away as gifts, or donations to charity. Allow your little ones to create their own bookmarks, which they can feel proud of using in their books.

    The holiday season usually means bauble galore. Use these ornaments to create a stunning chandelier to hang over your dining room table or a child’s room. Using leftover ribbon, allow the ornaments to hang dramatically over your chosen location. This is sure to be a conversation starter all year long. Task your kids with choosing colors and stringing baubles for the chandelier.

    Hang white lights behind the curtains in your bedroom to give the room an ethereal vibe. Another easy DIY project is to drill holes into a canvas board and insert holiday lights for a beautiful display. Purchase your drill at Another idea is to insert strings of light into empty wine bottles to create wine bottle lamps. Use them for social events, or give them away as personalized gifts.

    Do not automatically throw away wrapping paper rolls. Use them for storing miscellaneous bows, ribbons, tissue paper, etc. Carefully place your holiday lights inside the tube until next year. Or to make sure the bulbs do not become tangled, wrap the strand around the roll and secure carefully with tape.

    Another classic craft project involves using wrapping paper (either leftover, or received on gifts) to try out different origami techniques. Kids can make cranes, snowflakes, flowers, and other folded decorations.

  • New Year, New Habits: 10 Ways to Reduce Electric Bills

    Maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home each season can be done affordably. If you are tired of seeing your bill increase year after year, spend a weekend working on a few home projects that can help reduce energy costs. While your family may have to make a few lifestyle changes, they are minor habits that will become the norm over time. Here are 10 ways to help reduce electric bills in the New Year:

    1. Turn off heating and cooling systems when the house is empty during the daytime, or on evenings when the whole family is out together.
    2. Wash clothes in cold water to save on the energy required to heat the water.
    3. Call your power company and ask if they offer non-peak discounts when it comes to switching power usage. If so, do the laundry and dishes during this timeframe.
    4. Seal up your home. This is just as important in the summer, as it is in the winter. Get the caulk you need from and seal holes or cracks near windows and doors. This will prevent cold air from competing with your heat in the winter, and allow your cooling system to run efficiently in the summer.hand adjusting the thermostat
    5. If you are looking for the smallest ways to cut down on your energy, incorporate a slow cooker into your household. Ovens use a lot of energy due to preheating, long baking times, and high temperatures.
    6. Ceiling fans or room fans are a great alternative to central heating and cooling in spring and fall. During warm seasons, remember to run them counter-clockwise to cool the room.
    7. Keep lights in various rooms turned off when not in use. Doing so can save approximately $200 per year.
    8. Replace AC filters on a monthly basis. Dirty filters can hinder airflow and cause the system to work harder to cool the room.
    9. Paint your roof white during the summer. A study found that in sunny climates, white roofs required up to 40% less energy for cooling than those with dark roofs. That equates to saving about $100 per year in cooling costs.
    10. Swap standard incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent bulbs. Even though the latter is more expensive initially, it is worth the investment. Fluorescent bulbs last about 10 times longer, and a standard incandescent light bulb can cost the same to operate as up to 10 fluorescent bulbs.
  • 2016 Home Décor Trends

    Whether you live in a compact city apartment or a sprawling suburban mansion, giving your home a fresh look is easy with a new coat (and color) of paint and trending home décor tricks. Colors, patterns, and styles that have been “in” for years, may be on their way out. To give your home a truly modern update, here are some new, inspirational, and fashionable ways to decorate your space.

    • Experiment with bringing aspects of nature into your home as greenery will be a big trend, inside and out. Mini potted plants, wooden serving platters, and side tables made from tree trunks are just some examples of how you can apply this theme to your home.potted plants on the windowsill
    • Locally made décor can be incorporated into your home in the form of tassels, hand-made rugs, and colorful baskets. Mix your unique neighborhood finds with mass produced furniture to blend traditional design with cutting edge style.
    • Incorporate shades of pink, red, and peach into your décor. Throw pillows, bold vases, or table runners are items that may be used to add this pop of color without overwhelming an entire room.
    • Function meets design in the coming year, as useless items will be “out” in favor of pieces that look good, but also serve a specific purpose – or multiple purposes. For example, concrete blocks that act as bedside cubbies, a colorful screen that divides rooms, or stained coffee crates that work as a center table are all example of working décor.
    • Pendant light fixtures will edge out chandeliers. Infuse character into your home with pendant lighting that can take the mood from festive to intimate in a matter of minutes. With so many styles, colors, and shapes to choose from, you may even decide to create a clustered look.
    • Warm metals such as brass and gold are in, but copper, bronze, and rose tones will rein supreme in terms of popularity. Examples of applying this trend include your kitchen backsplash, statement lamps, dining room chairs, candleholders, artwork, or even drapes.
    • Colorful, tropical motifs are on the rise. Envision trays, vases, or wallpaper in a jungle-inspired print.
    • One room getting plenty of attention is the bathroom. Incorporating relaxing spa elements will become an “in” thing. The simple act of adding a bench, plants, or dim lights is enough to make you feel more relaxed.

    Find the tools and materials you need to make these ideas a reality at

  • Safety Precautions When Using Emergency Generators

    Depending on where you live, you may be prone to power outages during certain months of the year. An emergency generator makes a home blackout-proof, which is particularly helpful if you have small children or senior citizens living in your home. Essential appliances such as heaters, refrigerators, and lights will continue to work with the help of an emergency generator. While there are many advantages to setting up an emergency generator, they must be installed and operated properly to prevent health and safety risks. Here are precautions to consider when installing and operating a backup generator to your home.

    First, follow all instructions in the manufacturer’s written documentation, especially when it comes to the placement of the unit and safe electrical connections. Exhaust from portable and stationary backup generators contain a high level of carbon monoxide gas, which can be dangerous and even deadly if inhaled. To avoid these dangers, place the generator outside your home and a safe distance away from windows, doors, and vents. Never operate a generator from inside your home.

    The exhaust must also be directed away from windows, doors, and vents. Avoid operating the generator in partially enclosed spaces and install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. This is an extra precaution to ensure the fumes are not entering the home from the outside as the gas cannot be seen, and does not have a distinguishing odor or taste.

    Generators also pose the threat of shock or A home backup generator for use during power outageselectrocution, especially when handled in wet weather conditions. To prevent these electrical accidents, operate the generator on a dry surface where it will not be affected by water. Dry your hands completely before touching the machine.

    When connecting appliances to the generator with an extension cord, use long, heavy-duty cords that are specifically made for outdoor use. The wattage rating for each cord should exceed the total wattage of all appliances connected to it.

    Whether your generator works with gasoline, kerosene, propane, or any other type of flammable liquid, store it outside of living areas in clearly labeled, non-glass safety containers. Do not store near a fuel-burning appliance. Before refueling your generator, turn it off and let it cool down for several minutes.

    Find the perfect generator for your home at

  • Easy Ways to Expand Your Closet Space

    Has a lack of closet space caused you to start piling clothes, accessories, and miscellaneous items on random chairs or drawers around the house? There are several easy ways to expand your closet space without investing a ton of money or turning your bedroom into a construction zone. Handymen of any level can complete these easy projects within a weekend.

    1. If you have a hanging closet rod, add a second underneath the first to double your hanging space. To do this, your existing closet rod should be at least 66 inches from the floor so that you can add the second rod about 35 inches from the floor. You’ll need two metal closet brackets and a closet rod of the appropriate length. Attach the metal brackets to the studs after finding the studs on the back wall. Use a level to make sure the brackets are aligned and then place the rod on the hangers.
    2. Buy stacking dividers to keep piles of t-shirts, pants, or sweaters arranged neatly. This will free up space on your hanging rod.organized closet space
    3. If your closet is jam packed and fitted with permanent shelving, utilize the back of the door for added storage. This handyman project is great for bedroom closets, pantries, or even utility closets. Many doors do not offer strong support for mounting items. To get around this problem, screw a piece of plywood to the back of the door, adding construction adhesive for hollow-core doors. Finally, add hooks, magnets, and other storage attachments to the back of the door. Find the supplies you need at
    4. Tool aprons may also be used on the back of doors for tools, household items, shoes, accessories, or clothes. You can find them ready-made, or make your own from scratch to accommodate your specific needs.
    5. Create an affordable and space-saving storage solution for belts, necklaces, small handbags, and scarves. Add mini hooks to wooden hangars and clear up your clutter and keeping your accessories organized.
    6. Another alternative for hanging accessories such as scarves and necklaces is to place round shower curtain rings on a hangar.
    7. If your closet consists solely of hanger options, add a few shelves, hooks, and storage containers to diversify the space. Doing so will allow you to store items of various sizes, shapes, and functions.
    8. Invest in a stylish trunk that can double as a bedroom décor piece. Use it to store out-of-season items. This should free up a lot of space for the clothes and shoes you currently need.
  • Tips for Installing Exterior Surveillance Cameras

    Installing exterior surveillance cameras on your property is a smart way to thwart burglars. You want to keep your home, possessions, and family safe and sound all year long and a camera system will help you do that. See who is at the front door before you answer, monitor suspicious characters that may be lurking around your property, and keep video footage on file for future reference. Here are some tips on where and how to install your exterior surveillance cameras.

    Entry points to your property are key spots for your cameras, and the most popular location is the front door. When installing your cameras, position them as high as possible and choose a weatherproof option that also features an infrared LED function for nighttime viewing. This will prevent robbers from attempting to crack the camera and keep the system functional in various weather conditions. Back doors, off-street windows, side/backyard gates, and exterior basement stairs are other common locations for mounting exterior surveillance cameras.surveillance camera attached to a wall

    When installing a wireless security camera system, simply drill holes to attach the brackets, attach the cameras, and turn on the system. Wireless systems tend to come at a higher price, so hardwired exterior systems are still most popular. To set up a hardwired system, you will need to mount the cameras, power the system, and connect the two. You can purchase all the tools you need from before getting started.

    Check where the roof joins the walls of your home and consider this the ideal location for mounting. All security cameras have two cables that will need to be connected for the system to work. The first is for power and the second is for video. If you are mounting the camera near a power outlet, then you don’t have to be concerned about this. Even if the distance is up to 100ft, you can still use an RCA cable. If the distance between the outlet and the camera is more than 100ft, use a Coaxial Siamese Cable, which is one cable that will allow you to execute both functions.

    Lastly, connect to where the video will either be viewed or recorded. A standalone DVR is typically used for multiple security cameras because homeowners can remotely log in to the security system from anywhere via an Internet connection.

    Before choosing a surveillance system, speak to experts or customer service to ensure you invest in the right cameras to monitor your property.

  • The Basics of Organizing Your Tool Belt

    Tool belts are meant to make projects around the house much faster. Experienced handymen know exactly where to reach for the right tool without taking their eyes off the job. But beginner DIY handymen may be uncomfortable with the weight of the belt, as well as the inconvenience of searching through many small tools to find exactly what they need. Some DIYers may prefer to make trips back and forth for the right tools, stuff small objects in their pants or shirt pockets, and tuck tools in the waistband of their pants. None of these options are efficient, and they may even be a safety hazard. Here are some tips for organizing your tool belt for maximum comfort and productivity.tool belt

    • Use a tool belt that has many pockets for screws and nails of various sizes. Buy a belt that has the hammer loop on the side of your hammer hand – this is particularly important for left-handed DIYers. Beginner handymen who just need a belt for basic tools should consider an option that offers many small compartments for nails, adhesive, tape, etc. Experienced handyman would likely need a belt with large pockets and straps for bigger tools.
    • Keep the tools you use the most near your dominant hand. For example, a claw hammer, a carpenter’s pencil, a chalk line, slip-joint pliers, a drill, and a utility knife are some of the most common tools for home projects. Organize them on the right side of the belt if you are a right-handed, or on the left if you are left-handed.
    • Store secondary tools, aka “helper hand tools”, on the opposite side. These tools work in combination with the dominant tools. Nail sets, chisels, screwdrivers, fasteners, flashlights, tape measures, and squares are examples of items that would go on the left side of the belt if you are right-handed, or on the right side of the belt if you are left-handed.
    • The ability to be flexible when wearing a tool belt is important. Jobs that require long periods of bending over can be done more comfortably by turning the belt to the rear. Handymen can either rearrange their hand tools and fasteners, or learn the new positions of the belt when rear-facing.
    • When it comes to ladder safety, use belt accessories like a drill carrier to climb

    safely without worry of dropping your tools. When working on ladders, utilize the belt waistband to store more tools within easy reach so you can avoid having to climb up and down the ladder numerous times.

    • Handymen who are concerned about wearing the weight of the belt for long periods may want to invest in suspenders. They distribute the weight of tools and fasteners.

    Find all the tools for your tool belt at

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