EquipSupply Blog

  • Handyman Help: Considerations when Choosing Energy-Efficient Windows

    Energy-conscious homeowners looking to upgrade their space and lower costs in the long run are choosing to install energy-efficient windows. While these windows minimize the costs of heating and cooling homes, they can be a big upfront investment. Handymen who are considering energy-efficient windows for clients or their own homes can look at the following four factors when choosing an option that will be most effective for the bottom line, based on the budget: frame, glass, design, and installation.

    Frames

    Vinyl – Though less expensive, properly installed vinyl windows are a practical choice. However, this option typically has limited color choices and many people do not like the look of it.

    Wood – Offers the best value but requires more upkeep than other frames. High-quality cuts and species of wood can last for years without problems. However, this many not be the best option for extremely humid or rainy climates due to the potential for rot.

    Aluminum – A practical option in rainy and humid climates, though not a top-performing frame in terms of heat transfer and loss.Energy Efficient Windows

    Wood-clad – Offers a low-maintenance exterior but a temperature-transfer-resistant wood interior. Installation involves an additional level of detail to combat water intrusion.

    Glass*

    U-value – measures a window unit’s resistance to heat loss

    SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) – measures how much heat enters a home through the glass.

    *For both factors above, the lower the number, the better the performance of the energy efficiency

    Design

    Double-hung windows – The bottom slides up to open the unit. Can be a good choice, but homeowners in extreme climates may consider another option due to intrusion between the sliders.

    Casement windows – Have a crank that swings the window outward to open, and seals themselves tighter in high wind conditions.

    Picture windows – Usually don’t open but come in many different shapes and sizes.

    Installation

    Ensure the installation is done thoroughly. The most efficient window will not be effective if it is not installed properly. Do not rely on expanding foams or sealants to get the window to fit well as these materials are not waterproof and can still cause problems later on.

  • Arts & Crafts: Creative Ways to Display Jewelry & Accessories

    Shopping for jewelry and accessories is fun, and the more you pile them up in a single jewelry box or drawer, the more you think you don’t have enough! Displaying jewelry in an artistic way can add an appealing touch to your room, while allowing you to actually see all the beautiful pieces you already have. Here are some creative ways to display jewelry and accessories in the bedroom or closet:

    Simple bulletin board display – All you need is an old bulletin board, a yard of linen, spray adhesive, a staple gun, and individual nail heads. This is an easy, yet bold solution for displaying earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, belts, etc. in one space. Once all the jewelry has been placed on the board, you’ll have a colorful focal point!Necklaces Hanging on a Display

    Vase display – For women who don’t have many pieces, try draping accessories over a few colorful vases, which can be purchased at a thrift shop. Bracelets can be stacked in matching bowls, while a ceramic egg plate can hold earrings and rings. The combined look of the vases, bowls, and egg carton will look like an art display once you’re done.

    For the Grater Good – If earrings are your weakness, grab your old metal cheese grater from the kitchen and spray paint it to add a pop of color. Now you’ve got a retro piece to hang all your earrings.

    Rustic Driftwood Hanger – Driftwood projects add a rustic charm to any space, and depending on the season and your location, you may be able to pick it up for free. For the jewelry hanger, you’ll need the driftwood (or a branch), masking tape, paints and brushes, screw-in hooks, a hammer, pliers, and picture hangers. The bigger the piece of driftwood, the more dramatic the final look, and the more jewelry you will be able to hang.

    Tiered Tray – Using pretty old saucers (either from your garage or a thrift shop), shot glasses, and heavy-duty glue, create a tiered tray. Place your accessories on the saucer levels. Because of the fragile nature of this piece, you may opt to use this piece for your best accessories. Or, if space permits, create multiple trays of different styles and colors.

  • Safety and Sanitation: Keep the Kitchen Safe for Kids

    The kitchen is often considered the heart of a home. It provides a place for all members to interact together - whether preparing dishes, sharing meals, or just chatting around the table. While it may be one of the most family-fun rooms in the house, your kitchen also presents many hazards for young children. Here are safety and sanitary tips for the kitchen to be aware of:

    • Install protective guards or cushioning on sharp edges and corners where children could injure their eyes or bump their heads.
    • Keep the floors skid-proof with non-skid rugs.
    • Install safety latches on cupboards and cabinets that contain items that pose a risk to children.
    • Keep ovens, stoves, and burners clean and ensure they work normally on a regular basis.
    • Use back burners when cooking, if possible. Common kitchen accidents include children reaching up to grab a pot handle and spilling boiling liquids on their skin. If using the front burners, turn all pot handles toward the back.Mother and Baby Eating Vegetables in the Kitchen
    • Use stove guards to prevent children from touching hot surfaces.
    • Parents with young children may want to remove refrigerator magnets, as they can be a choking hazard.
    • Do not leave sharp objects inside the dishwasher.
    • Unplug small appliances such as toasters, blenders, coffee makers, etc. when not in use and store them out of the reach of children.
    • Do not keep a cloth on the kitchen table, as toddlers are likely to pull it down and off the table – as well as everything on top of the table.
    • Teach youngsters to wash their hands thoroughly. Keep a stepstool and soap available at the sink.
    • Wash kitchen towels regularly since they are used to wipe spills, dry dishes, dry hands, etc. You may also consider using a designated towel for drying hands.
    • Sponges should also be disposed of or cleaned regularly. Their warm and moist surface makes them perfect for the growth of bacteria. To clean, run through the dishwasher or place in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Weekend Warrior: Update up Your Home with Crown Molding

    Installing crown molding in any home or apartment is a cost-effective way to add value and character to a space. Prepare for installing the molding by purchasing a few extra yards to use for practice cuts. Also prime and paint, or stain and varnish all sides of the molding before installation – this will keep the pieces from bending and save you time in the long run. As with any weekend warrior project, wear appropriate safety gear.

    Tools and materials needed for crown molding installation include: hammer, tape measure, 4-foot level, miter saw, coping saw, a drill, clamps, stud finder, finishing nailer, caulk gun, nails, molding, caulk, and wood putty.

    To get started, plan the installation. Some joints are more visible so these are the ones you’ll want to look the best. Start on the wall opposite the door and install a piece that’s square at both ends, as this will make a good first impression to anyone entering the rom.Crown Molding on Window

    Next, measure the room and mark the stud locations, as you’ll be nailing the molding into the wall studs. Make light pencil marks high on the wall to guide you as you nail. Put the molding against your framing square and note the distance between the face of the molding and the corner. Cut a scrap to the correct dimension and draw layout lines on the ceiling and wall. Align the molding with the layout lines during installation.

    Starting with the wall opposite the door, cut the molding to the correct wall length. Mark the locations of the studs by holding the molding in place and notating the markings on the molding. Drill pilot holes the diameter of the finishing nails to prevent splitting. Nail in place.

    Lay out the cope joint on another piece of molding. Use a piece that is a few inches longer than the finished length and flex it in place. Draw a line where you’ll cut at roughly a 45-degree angle. Set up the miter saw at a 45-degree angle and proceed.

    Check the joint by fitting it against a cutoff and make the necessary adjustments. Sand and file any high spots to create a perfect fit. Nail the molding into the wall and ceiling. Putty the nail holes. Run a bead of caulk in the seam and wipe it smooth with a wet finger if you plan to paint the newly installed molding.

  • Safety and Sanitation: How to Fence Around the Pool for Child Safety

    Installing a fence around the pool adds a layer of protection to prevent children (and pets) from accidentally falling in. Before starting this safety project, check on local codes and guidelines to ensure you are aware of all regulations related to constructing a fence around the pool.

    When it comes to fencing around the pool, aluminum fencing should be considered as it is low-maintenance, easy to install, and affordable. Step one in the process of installing a fence around the pool is to excavate postholes. This requires clearing the pool area of foliage and running a string line low to the ground. Use a fence panel to mark the postholes and excavate them about 8 inches in diameter and two feet deep with a power auger.Fence Around Pool and Life Buoy

    Next, set a string line for the post tops. Allow a gap of up to 4 inches below and 2 inches above each panel, with the latch post extending about 12 inches above the gate. Position the posts in the holes and cast with concrete. To attach the panels, slide the panel brackets over the top and base rails, and raise them into position on temporary blocks. Use a level to check that they are straight. Secure the brackets to the posts.

    If your pool fence needs an angle other than 90-degrees, change the direction of the fencing by cutting the ends of the panel rails using an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. Use spray paint to touch up the cut ends. To hang the gate, attach the self-closing hinges to the outside of the gate. Space the gate evenly and use a level to make sure it is straight. Finally, secure the latch.

    Installing a fence around the pool will not only add a layer of protection for child safety during the summer, but throughout the year as well. Accidents can happen unexpectedly during any season, and fencing around the pool allows for more peace of mind.

  • Handyman Help: Choose the Right Flooring

    Choosing new flooring can be daunting – even for the most design-conscious individuals. There are various materials to choose from, as well as considerations including the layout of your space, lighting, and durability, to name a few. If your home project requires new flooring, consider these options:Man Installing Flooring

    Hardwood – A classic for handymen, designers, and DIYers, hardwood is durable and gives any space a natural and comfortable feel. Hardwood comes in a variety of shades and usually ties together disjointed rooms within a house. Oak is one of the most popular options, but there are so many options - from plank to exotic Brazilian cherry.

    Laminate – Another popular choice, laminate is easy to install and even easier on the wallet. This flooring is made when various wood-based materials are layered together and topped with a wood grain photographic imprint on the top of each board.

    Bamboo – Created by a lightweight woody grass, bamboo flooring has the strength of steel, making it highly resilient. The material resists swelling and contraction with changes in humidity. Pre-finished and made with tongue-and-groove joints, this flooring is easy to install.

    Cork – A “green” flooring alternative, the wood’s honeycomb-style structure gives the floor a cushioned feeling. Cork absorbs vibrations and sounds, and actually bounce back like new if dented. Cork tiles have a natural, non-slip top, perfect for kitchens and bathroom areas that are typically subject to water on the floor.

    Linoleum – This option is considered eco-friendly because it is made from all-natural materials. While it may not be the sleekest style, it does retain a level of popularity. Made primarily of linseed oil, rosins, and wood flour, it creates no adverse health issues during production, installation, use, or disposal. The bactericidal properties of natural linoleum stop microorganisms from multiplying, which is why many hospitals use it.

    Tile – Terra cotta, natural stone, and slate are great choices for flooring. Porcelain is the most budget-friendly option while still combining the beauty and hardness of stone. Glazed porcelain tiling is durable enough to handle heavy traffic areas and comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures. To get really creative, consider combining tiles of different sizes, colors, and textures for a truly unique floor.

  • Handyman Help: Steps to Install a Ceiling Fan for the Summer

    If you’ve received your first electricity bill since AC-usage started for the summer, you may be looking for options when it comes to keeping the house cool within more reasonable means. A ceiling fan makes a big difference in the climate of a home at a far lower cost than running an AC unit (or multiple units) throughout the day.

    Installing a ceiling fan for the summer does not require advanced handyman skills. First, decide on a location for the fan. Since a fan uses the same amount of power as a ceiling fixture, be sure the circuit has enough capacity. Next, determine the floor-to-ceiling distance and subtract the space that will be occupied by the fan. Check your local building codes to ensure your fan meets the requirement. If your ceiling is too low, consider a low-ceiling mount for the fan.Ceiling Fan

    Turn the power off before starting to avoid accidents and injuries. Determine the center for the fan and adjust the location to best match for the joists. Install the junction box by cutting a large enough hole. Fasten the box to a 2x4-inch header that has been nailed between the joists.

    To assemble the fan, install the hanger pipe, which is placed in a hole over the motor. The wires run through the center. Tighten securely to keep the pipe in place. Attach the fan blades on a stable surface.

    To mount the fan to the box, install the hanger bracket on the box with screws and lock with washers. Washers are important as they prevent vibrations of the fan from loosening the screws. Wire the unit and place the ceiling cover back in place. Connect the black house wires to the black fan wires and the white house wires to the white fan wires. Ground the fan and bind the wiring with a nut.

    Finally, attach to the joists and install molding. Turn the power back on and enjoy cool indoor temperatures at a much lower cost.

  • Arts & Crafts: Summer Garden Party Decor

    Warm weather and cool evenings make the perfect setting for an outdoor garden party. Arts and crafts aficionados can also use the opportunity to create some creative touches for summer gatherings. From decorations to invitation cards, here are arts and crafts projects that will add a fun and stylish look to your next party.

    Invitations: Create floral invitations to your garden party even if you are just inviting a few people. Tailor the cards based on your level skill, whether that means starting with a completely blank postcard, to buying pre-designed packs and adding small personal touches.

    Make a sign that describes your theme: Print out individual letters or words and use paint, markers, or stencils to make the sign as simple or colorful as you like.Garden Party Table Setting

    Statement drinkware: Reinvent your plain drinking glasses into chic statement pieces by taping off the bottom of each glass and sticking dots toward the bottom. Cover the mouth and top portion of the glass with plastic to protect it when spray painting the bottom portion in a gold, or another color of your liking. If spray paint isn’t easily accessible, use glitter to cover the stemware of the glasses. You may want to designate each guest a different color.

    Creative cooler: Instead of pouring ice into a cooler, use balloons as ice packs. Choose 2-3 colors that match the theme you are going for and fill the balloons about ¼ of the way with tap water. Freeze them overnight and use the colorful frozen balloons to keep your drinks cool.

    Centerpieces: No garden party is complete without summer-inspired centerpieces. Arrange seasonal flowers in mason jars, or fill plant pots with fruit such as lemons, oranges, or grapefruits. Use the leaves to add contrast to the color of the fruit.

    Signature Drink: Take your craftiness to a whole new level by creating a signature drink or mocktail. Use petals, leaves, fruit, and other colorful elements to compose a drink that looks like a visual masterpiece.

  • Weekend Warrior: Getting the Pool Back in Shape for Summer Fun

    It’s time you got your pool ready for splashing about. But getting it ready is not just about taking the cover off. You will need to clean the water, wash the various pool surfaces, reassemble the pumps and filters, and make sure that they are sturdy enough to last the summer season. While this may seem like a lot of work, the health and safety of your family depends on how well you maintain your pool.

    Here are some guidelines for getting your pool back in shape for summer fun:

    Remove the Leaves and Debris

    Use a leaf rake to scrape the surface of the cover clean of dried and dead leaves, and other debris.

    Remove the Top Cover

    With the cover of the pool clean, it’s time to remove it. Removing the top cover of the pool is a delicate task. There may be molten ice or snow on the cover, which will first need to be pumped out so that it does not run into the pool and dirty it. Use a small cover pump for the job. Once the cover is clean, remove it by fan-folding it in into folds not more than five feet wide. Make sure to clean and dry it before stowing it away.

     Check the Water’s ConditionPool in Backyard

    After lying unused for several months, the pool might have gathered debris, leaves, and algae. Check the water and the water level. Cloudy water means that there is still dirt and debris in the pool. Use a leaf rake- or bag-type skim net to skim the surface of the water and also scoop up the dirt and debris from the bottom of the pool. Look carefully to ascertain if there are silt deposits in the pool. Also check the walls to see if algae and moss are clinging to these surfaces. You will need to vacuum the floors and walls to ensure that these dirt particles do not end up in the filtration system to clog it up.

    Check the Filtration System

    You might need to change the sand or the cartridge. Put the filter valve in the filtering mode, adjust all the pipes, and start filtering.

    Tighten the Pipes

    After you reassemble the unit for the summer, make sure that all the pipes are tight and no screw loose or sticking out. Do not tighten too much.

    Check the Chemical Balance of the Water

    First check the alkalinity of the water. The ideal value should be anything between 80 and 120 parts per million (PPM). The pH level should be ideally between 7.4 and 7.6. After correcting the alkaline and pH levels, add chlorine to the water. Make sure that you also check that the Cyanuric acid levels do not drop below the recommended amount.

  • Arts & Crafts: Give Your Home a Facelift with Creative Décor

    Giving your home a summer-appropriate facelift does not require a ton of time or money. Instead, creativity and the ability to complete a few craft projects are important elements of sprucing up your home décor. Here are a few ways to freshen up the rooms in your home:

    1. Paint just one wall in a room in a focal color, or paint a contrasting rectangle above a sofa to use as a gallery space. You may also try painting the ceiling a lighter version of the wall color, or painting the insides of bookshelves in an unexpected color.
    2. Work with what you have - in a different way. Take down all paintings and artwork. Move them around to different walls or rooms. You would be surprised how the same items in different areas can transform the house.
    3. Frame moldings can give a plain wall or hallway an instant paneled look.
    4. Retile the kitchen backsplash. You may only need a few square feet of tile, so consider splurging for a fancy style if the budget permits. Or, use plain porcelain tile for most of the surface and then mix in a few hand-painted or high-end tiles as accents.Woman Painting a Wall
    5. Paint a trio of terra cotta pots in coordinating colors. Plant herbs or flowers and line the pots up on the kitchen windowsill.
    6. Use upholstery tacks to add some flair to a plain piece of wood furniture. Insert them along the lines of a table, bench, or chair for an eye-catching accent.
    7. Use a simple bath mat, turn it vertically, and use it as hanging wall art.
    8. Remove the doors on a bank of upper cabinets for instant open shelving. For a colorful touch, arrange 2-3 single step vases on the shelves.
    9. Have unused or old rhinestone necklaces sitting in your jewelry box? Use them to make curtain tiebacks for a bohemian-inspired look.
    10. Use jute rope to add a nautical touch to window dressings.
    11. Tie shower curtains on with bows instead of metal rings for a feminine and classic touch.

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