Catering for Drain Pipes

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

An important consideration when building an extension is the position of any drainage pipe run — either an existing one from the house or any new waste pipes from fittings in the new extension. You must sort out the route the pipes will take before the walls are built since they will pass through them below floor level, and openings must be left in the walls as they are built.

Lintels will need to be incorporated to support the wall above the openings. If the extension is to have trench-fill foundations, ducts should be made in the concrete to allow the passage of pipes. A simple method is to set slightly larger pipes in the concrete as it is poured and then run the pipes through these round openings later.

The positions of the inner and outer leaves of the walls should be marked centrally on the concrete of the foundations with chalk. The center lines of the wall and foundations being within lin of each other.

As the walls are built, stringlines are stretched between the corners to make sure each course of bricks or blocks is laid in a straight line.

Although you can use brick for both inner and outer leaves of the wall, in practice it makes more sense to use lightweight concrete blocks for the former since these will provide a certain amount of insulation — a requirement of the Building Regulations.

With this type of construction, the inner leaf is the load-bearing part of the wall, carrying the weight of any floors and ceilings so lintels must be fitted across doorways and windows. Steel boot lintels are best since they are relatively lightweight and their shape ensures that any water that penetrates the outer leaf of the wall is prevented from reaching the inner leaf and is channeled out over the toe of the boot.

The two leaves of the wall should be constructed simultaneously, laying a few courses of each at a time. As construction proceeds, the two leaves must be linked together with metal or plastic wall ties to prevent them leaning away from each other.

Ties are designed to prevent water running across them to the inner leaf but they must still be set in the mortar joints so that they slope downwards slightly towards the outer leaf. Ties should be set about 18in apart vertically and 3ft apart horizontally, the positions in each horizontal row being staggered with those above and below. At door and window openings, ties should be set one above the other at 12in intervals.

Water penetration must also be prevented from below and this is achieved by inserting a flexible bitumen damp-proof course (DPC) in a horizontal mortar joint around the base of each leaf, at least two courses of bricks above ground level.

When the floor is laid, a damp-proof membrane (DPM) is taken up the walls and tucked under the DPC. Strips of DPC must be fitted in the vertical mortar joints where the inner leaf is turned to close off the cavity at windows and door openings, and below the threshold of the door, linking to the DPC in the outer leaf.

The walls must be toothed into the existing house walls at alternate courses to ensure permanent stability.

Home Repair Tips – Fluorescent Light

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair    by: ITC

Fluorescent lights use less electricity and give off less heat than regular lights. They also last much longer and provide more light. Fluorescent light fixtures now being used include two basic types:

• Starter-type fluorescent tube The starter-type fluorescent fixture has a fixture ballast, starter, and the tube itself. Rapid- start fluorescent fixtures do not have a starter.

If a fluorescent light goes out, check the house fuse or circuit breaker first. If a light blinks on and off, tube and check that the pins on the ends are straight and clean. Straighten the pins with needle-nose pliers. Clean the pins with sandpaper and brush them clean.

In a starter-type system, it is most economical to replace the starter first. Some starters have a button to reset them manually. However, the most common type must be replaced. Turn off the electricity and remove the fluorescent tube. Turn the starter counterclockwise to remove it. Be sure the replacement starter has the same watts rating as the Old one. Most new model fixtures do not use starters anymore.

If replacing the starter doesn’t work, try a new tube. Sometimes the light from a new tube swirls and flickers. This is normal and will stop in a few hours.

Finally, if the light still does not work, replace the ballast—the most expensive part. Insulation tar leaking along the ballast indicates a faulty ballast. Be sure the ballast has the same rating as the old one. Replace the ballast carefully, one connection at a time. You may decide to replace the entire fixture for a little more than the cost of the ballast.

Noisy fixtures may have loose connections. A special low-noise ballast is also available to make the fixture quieter. Discoloration at the ends of the tubes is normal. If the ends of an old tube are very dark, the tube is worn out. A new tube that turns black indicates a bad starter.

Most fluorescent lights won’t work at temperatures below 50°F. If you need one for a cold area, such as a garage, you can buy a special cold-temperature fixture.

Screw-in types of fluorescent fixtures are also available. The entire fixture is screwed into a regular threaded light socket.

Home Repair Tips – Wire Splices

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Most home wiring can be joined with splices. A splice is made by twisting two or more pieces of wire together. All wire splices must be made in an electrical box. The three splices most often used in home repair are:

• Pigtail splice

• Tap splice

• Western Union splice

The pigtail splice is a quick and easy way to connect two wires. Twist the ends of the wires together. Then tape the end or attach a solderless connector. The pigtail splice is weak. Use it only where the wires will not be pulled.

The tap splice joins a cut wire to a continuous wire. Remove about an inch of insulation from a midpoint in the continuous wire. Then wind the tap (cut) wire around the exposed portion of the continuous wire. Insulate the splice with tape.

The Western Union splice is the strongest splice. It conducts electricity well and withstands strain. The secret is to wrap the end of each wire around the body of the other wire. Use tape to insulate it.

A fire from bad wiring usually starts at a splice or outlet connection. When splicing wires, scrape the wires clean and twist them snugly. If you don’t, the splice will get hot. Soon it may arc and you will have a bigger problem to solve than bad wiring—a major fire in your home.

Other methods of joining wires are:

• Mechanical connectors such as electrical clamps

• Soldering

These methods are not used in most home repairs. However, soldering strengthens the joint and helps prevent corrosion.

Be careful when removing insulation. Cut at a 30° angle so you do not nick or cut the wire. A damaged wire will not conduct electricity well and may break.

In a tap splice the free end of one wire may be connected to the middle of another wire.

The Western Union splice is the strongest. It is used where the connection may be pulled. First twist the wires for 1 to-2 inches at the center. Then tightly wrap one end five or six times around the other wire. Do the same with the other end.

Tape a Western Union splice in this way. Keep the tape tight as you wind it around the wire.

Home Repair Tips – Appliance Wire

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair    by: ITC

Appliance wire is a good conductor, but it pulls apart easily. The wires inside most electrical cords are in strands. They are not solid like permanent wiring in the walls. The insulation around the wires is strong and helps hold the strands together. The wire usually breaks before the insulation does and you will not be able to see where it is broken. When the wire breaks, the lamp may go out entirely. If you move the cord or hold it a certain way, the lamp may go on again.

To check a lamp cord, plug it in and use a circuit tester to test the ends of the wire closest to the lamp. If the tester lights, the circuit is complete and there is nothing wrong with the cord. Most likely, the lamp socket is defective. If the circuit tester does not light up, flex the cord and see if this makes the circuit tester flicker. Be very careful while the cord is plugged in.

If the cord is bad, remove it. A replacement cord has a molded plug at one end and bare wires at the other. Be sure to replace the cord with one exactly the same. Heating devices especially require a special type of cord. Attach the new cord exactly as the old cord was attached.

If the cord is good, but the lamp still doesn’t light, the problem is usually the lamp socket, which contains the switch. The lamp socket has four basic parts:

• Cap

• Socket

• Cardboard liner

• Outer shell

When you buy a new socket, be sure to get the same kind. Although they may look alike, sockets come in different sizes and types.

Before working on the lamp socket, unplug the lamp and remove the bulb. On the outer shell there is a spot marked PRESS. By pressing and wiggling it, you can remove the outer shell and the cardboard liner. Unless the cap is damaged it probably does not need to be replaced. In the cap, the wires are tied in an underwriters knot. Examine the wires. If the insulation is brittle, cut back the wires or replace them. Tie an underwriters knot. Then attach the ends of the wires to the new socket just as they were on the old socket. Set the socket back in the cap. Replace the cardboard liner. Plug in the lamp and test it.

So they will be flexible, most lamp d appliance cords are made of hair-like strands metal in an insulated shell.

A wire may break or burn through _nder the insulation. Broken wire can cause sparking that will burn the insulation.

Repairing Home Appliances

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair    by: ITC

When appliances don’t work properly, the plug is often the problem. Prongs may be broken or bent. Wires may be burnt where they attach to the prongs. The plug itself may be split or cracked.

There are two basic types of plugs:

• Clamp-on plugs

• Wired plugs

Clamp-on plugs are easiest to replace. They have no screws and require no stripping. Cut damaged plug, and separate the wires for about 1/4 inch. Open the clamp or lever on the new plug and simply insert the wire ends into the plug. Close the clamp or lever, and the plug is ready for use. Clamp-on plugs should be used only for light-duty use, such as lamp cords.

To repair a wired plug take out the cardboard or plastic cover and loosen the screws. Pull the wires farther through the plug and cut off the bad ends. Separate the two wires for about 1-1/2 inches and strip 1/2 inch of insulation off the ends. Twist the copper strands so they will not separate easily. To relieve the stress on the plug and on the copper wire, tie an “underwriters knot”.

Pull the knot back into the plug cap and wrap the bare wire ends around the screws in the direction the screw tightens. Tighten the screws and replace the cover.

If your plug has three prongs repair it the same as a two-prong plug. Make an underwriters knot with the black and white wires. Attach the third green wire to the green screw. Attach the white wire to the silver screw and black wire to the brass screw. Be sure none of the bare wires are touching each other. Replace the protective cover.

Some plugs are completely cased in rubber. If one of these plugs goes bad, unplug the appliance and cut off the bad plug.

Broken electrical plugs are often because of appliance failure. Plugs are frequently stepped on or kicked accidentally. Common damage includes bent and broken or burnt wires, and damaged plug casings.

With a two prong plug, separate the wires for about an inch and a half and strip off the insulation for about 1/2 inch. Scrape the wire until it shines and twist the copper ends so they hold together.

Tie an underwriters knot in this way. This knot puts the pull on the insulation instead of the wire. If this knot is not used, the wire may come loose in a short time, especially if the plug is removed by pulling on the cord.

After the knot is pulled into the plug cap, the stripped wire is wound around the screws in the direction that the screw will be turned to tighten. This pulls the wire in under the screw. If the wire is looped in the opposite direction it will be pushed away as the screw is tightened.