Avoiding DIY Plumbing work with a little care

Filed Under: Home repair    by: ITC

When something goes wrong with your plumbing the results can be quite expensive, but with some DIY plumbing knowledge you can prevent these repairs from becoming necessary by taking care of your homes plumbing yourself.
First of all, when the end of autumn comes around you should disconnect all outside hoses around your home because it will stop pipes from freezing and you will not need to worry about water damage. On the other hand, you can take some time to purchase hose bibs that prevent freezing and not worry about this DIY plumbing prevention task. Read more…

Common Mistakes In DIY Electrical Projects

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

In today’s declining economy more and more people are turning towards do it yourself home improvement projects. An electrical project is one of these many projects that they are undergoing as a way of saving money. It can be very expensive to hire an electrical contractor so you may be like many and decide to undergo the project yourself.

One thing that you need to be aware of however is that it takes careful planning and preparation to make sure that you are able to do the project. Although most times the home improvement projects tend to save you money, this is only the case if you have enough knowledge of the project you are undergoing and enough time to finish it. If you do not have these qualities you stand to cost yourself some serious money and also can get into some serious trouble. It can quickly become quite expensive to fix a very bad wire project then it would of originally if you hired the contractor from the very beginning.

There are a vast majority of people today in an effort to save money try and fix minor electrical problems themselves. Although these are just minor repairs you are still at great risk for an electrical shock. However this should not be your only primary concern because you also run into the risk of electrical fires as well. In most cases it is actually safer to consider hiring a professional for your electrical jobs. Besides these common problems there are other mistakes that a lot of homeowners do when they are trying to do an electrical job themselves.

First of all you need to be sure that you shut off your breaker box before you even begin your project. There are literally thousands of homeowners a year that suffer from electrical shock through failure to do this simple and easy step.

It is also a good idea not to splice any of your wires and then twist them together and cover them with electrical tape. You will be much better off to use the proper wiring from the very beginning to prevent any chance of an electrical fire later.

When you are looking to doing your home electrical repairs you need to be sure that you take a lot of considerable time and attention to the job. Failure to do this can result in serious injuries and can result in a fire.

As you can see just from the above tips the slightest thing that you do wrong can result in either serious damages or worse yet an electrical fire. If you still insist on going through this project yourself it is important that you take careful consideration and do plenty of research. This will help you prevent serious injury or electrical fires later.

Clearing Blockages

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

Professional plumbers rarely relish being called out to deal with a blockage. There are specialist drain clearance firms, but they can’t always be contacted quickly in an emergency — and their charges reflect what can sometimes be the unpleasantness of the job. Drain or waste-pipe clearance is usually well within the capacity of the householder, and there are certainly few more cost-effective do-it-yourself jobs about the house.

The outlet of the sink, usually the trap immediately beneath the sink itself, is the commonest site of waste-pipe blockage. Usually the obstruction can be cleared quickly and easily by means of a sink-waste plunger or force cup. This is a very simple plumbing tool obtainable from any do-it-yourself shop, ironmongers or household store. It consists of a rubber or plastic hemisphere, usually mounted on a wooden or plastic handle. Every household should have one.

To use it to clear a sink waste blockage, first press a damp cloth firmly into the overflow outlet, holding it securely with one hand. Then pull out the plug and lower the plunger into the flooded sink so that the cup is positioned over the waste outlet. Plunge it up and down sharply half a dozen or more times. Since water cannot be compressed, the water in the waste between the cup and the obstruction is converted into a ram to clear the blockage. The overflow outlet is sealed to prevent the force being dissipated up the overflow.

If your first efforts at plunging are unsuccessful. persevere. Each thrust may be moving the obstruction a little further along the waste pipe until it is discharged into the drain gully or the main soil and waste stack.

Should plunging prove unsuccessful you’ll have to gain access to the trap. Brass and lead U-shaped traps have a screwed-in plug at the base. With plastic U-shaped and bottle traps the lower part can be unscrewed and removed – see Ready Reference.

Before attempting this, put the plug in the sink and place a bucket under the trap: it will probably be full of water unless the blockage is immediately below the sink outlet, and the chances are that opening the trap will release it. Having done so, probe into the trap, and into the waste pipe itself. You can buy purpose-made sink waste augers for this purpose, but you’ll find that a piece of expanding curtain wire, with a hook on the end. can be equally effective.

Making a New Doorway

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

As with all jobs of this type, making a new doorway requires careful planning. You should also check the requirements of your local building code.

A lintel must be chosen to match the type of wall being cut into and you must select a position for the door that, if possible, will not interfere with existing cable and pipe runs and which should be at least 18in from any corner.

It is possible to buy doors and ready-made frames in a range of standard sizes, and unless you are making the frame, it is best to buy the door and frame first, making the opening to fit it. Make sure its height leaves enough of the wall above the opening for fitting the lintel and the temporary wood supports.

With a masonry wall, you must provide temporary support for the wall above the opening and the load it carries while you cut out a slot for the lintel. If the wall supports the joists of the ceiling above, you must also make sure you support the ceiling on both sides of the wall as well.

Support the wall with 6ft lengths of 2 x 4in wood called “needles” — on top of adjustable metal props, which work like an automobile jack (you can rent these), spaced at 3ft intervals. With a normal sized doorway, you would need only one set centrally above the opening.

To support the ceiling, lengths of 4 x 12in wood are used across the tops of more props. None of the props should be more than 2ft from the wall, and if they are to stand on a wood floor, the feet should be placed on another length of 2 x 4in wood to spread the load.

Before marking out the doorway on the wall, use a bricklayer’s chisel and hammer to remove patches of plaster roughly where the edges and top of the opening will be. This will allow you to adjust fairly accurately the position of the opening to coincide with the mortar joints, in order to reduce the number of bricks you have to cut through.

Measure up the door frame, adding 2in to its width and lin to its height to allow for positioning. Using these dimensions, draw an outline of the opening on the wall. Then measure up the lintel — which should be at least l ft wider than the opening — and add a further 2in to its width for fitting. Draw the outline of the lintel on the wall above the door opening.

Finally, draw the outline of the wood needle centrally above the needle outline. Repeat the outlines on the other side of the wall.

Cut the hole for the needle with a hammer and bricklayer’s chisel. Slide the needle through so it protrudes equally on both sides of the wall and fit the props beneath it, tightening them to take the load. Both props must be adjusted simultaneously to ensure even support. Then fit the ceiling supports.

Home Repair Tips – Electricity

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

In this age of electricity, modern homes have more and more electricity built into them. In home maintenance and repair, knowledge about electricity is a must. It is important to know which electrical jobs you can handle and when to call an electrician.

People who work with electricity are called electricians. As specialists, they put wires in houses, install fuse boxes or panels, repair large electrical appliances, work on doorbells, and generally handle all common electrical equipment problems.

The most common house current is ‘110 volt, 60 hertz per second alternating current (called AC). AC is a type of electricity that “alternates.” This means that it changes its direction of flow as it passes through a wire. Sixty hertz AC is electricity that changes its direction of flow 60 times each second.

Another current, 220 volt AC is also available for use in most homes. It is very dangerous to work with, and a qualified electrician should be called in if you suspect trouble in a 220 volt circuit.

Electricity may be dangerous, but it is not difficult to work with if you follow certain basic rules. The following units include the basic safety rules for working with electricity and explain simple electrical repairs you can make around the house.

When speaking of electricity, the word hot means charged with electricity. Hot also means dangerous. To avoid danger when working with electricity, follow these rules:

• Assume that all electrical wires and parts are hot

• Always check to make sure that the electricity is turned off before starting or continuing any electrical work

• Never turn on the electricity for someone else unless asked to do so

• Always check for electricity with a circuit tester

• Never work with wires or electrical equipment in wet or damp places Electricity is invisible. You can’t tell

if a wire is hot by looking at it. Things that electricity can run through are called conductors. Things that electricity cannot run through are called insulators. Electricity runs well through most metals and through water. So wires and electrical parts are made of metal. Because the human body is mostly water, it also makes a good conductor of electricity. Always be careful around electricity!

When you are working with appliances, you can turn off the electricity by pulling the plug. Most shop work is done this way. But when you are working on wiring in a house you must turn off the electricity in a different way.

All house wiring runs to a fuse box or breaker box. A fuse or breaker in this box completes each circuit. Too much electricity flowing through a wire could make it hot enough to melt and cause a fire. To prevent this, the fuse will melt or the circuit breaker will open automatically when the wires get too hot. This opens the circuit and stops the flow of electricity. The electricity can also be stopped by removing the fuse or opening the circuit breaker by hand.

The circuit breaker box and the fuse box have a main switch. This switch turns on or off all the electricity in the house. When electricians are working they will padlock the main switch in the off position and tag it.

A careful electrician tests bare wires with a circuit tester. A circuit tester is made of two wire probes and a small bulb which glows if electricity is flowing through the wire being checked.

Fuses are designed to melt and break the circuit when the flow of electricity becomes too great. Removing the fuse will also break the circuit.

The main switch on a fuse or circuit breaker box controls all the electricity in the house.

Blown fuses must be replaced. Blown circuit breakers, however, may be reset by hand.

On fuse boxes the switch may be locked open to insure that the electricity remains off. On circuit breaker boxes, the main switch is thrown and the cover is then locked.

Most circuit testers are made of two wires or probes and a neon bulb. The two probes are touched to the wires. If the bulb glows, the wires are hot (electricity is flowing). Circuit testers have different voltage ratings so be sure you are using the correct type.