Thursday, May 14, 2015

Staying Comfortable at home

            This past weekend we had a hot spell.  The temperature was in the 80-90s, which for some people may not seem like a big deal, but after the winter we had here, it was a huge change from the weather we were having before.  Needless to say, I was glad that we have a central air system that helped us to stay cool, while other people who don’t have a central air system were complaining of how hot their homes were and that it was hard to sleep at night!  The thing I like most about these types of systems is that they are very customizable and can be designed around the layout of your home or other space where people will be living/working.
            When we were finishing our basement, we didn’t have to worry about the placement of the rooms because of the layout of the air system vent (we had to plan around the existing pipe for the bathroom instead).  Once we knew what needed to be done for the existing plumbing, we were able to get everything framed up and ready for the next stages of construction.  Although we ran into some problems with other projects, we were able to get the vents (diffusers) to heat/cool the rooms that we were building.  It was fairly easy to install these diffusers, especially after watching a video similar to this one.  All I needed were the diffusers that were going to be installed, a marker and some tin snips to help get the job done right.

            Using the marker, I was able to trace the outline for each of the different vents that we had chosen for the bedrooms and the bathroom.  Drilling a hole in the space where the pipe needed to be cut made getting the rest of the pipe cut out much easier (just like back in elementary school when I learned how to cut out a circle in the middle of construction paper).  I cut each hole wearing safety glasses and gloves to avoid injuries that I had experienced in the past (a cut from aluminum is not a fun one to get).  After each hole was cut, I was able to get the unit on the pipe and install the “decorative” part of the vents (we just went with the basic white grates to save on cost).

            Now the years have passed and we are enjoying the fruits of our (mostly my) labors (don’t worry, I got permission from my wife to say that!).  Now when we experience some “scorching” heat, we are able to keep our cool.  But most importantly, we also can stay warm during the bitter cold winter months that we have been experiencing the past few years.  With each season, we can be comfortable in our home when we are spending time there, whether it be by choice or because we have been snowed in and there are travel bans!  Whatever the weather throws our way, we will be ready for it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Versatility of a Power Grinder

            When working on different projects, there are certain tools that will help you get the job done right.  With many years of use, some tools, especially gardening/landscaping tools, can become dirty from digging and being used with water/other liquids.  Liquid can cause metal tools to become rusted over.  Using a certain tool with the right parts can help make these tools clean and appear like they are new.  This type of tool is called a grinder and the needed part to get the tools clean is a wire wheel.  Using this type of wheel can also remove other debris, such as dried cement and dirt.  If you switch out the type of wheel that is in the grinder you can also use this tool to sharpen your tools.
            Grinders can be used for many other purposes as well.  For example, when you are laying cement, a grinder tool can come in handy for more than one purpose.  When you are getting rebar sorted out to use for the base of the cement, you can use a grinding wheel to cut the pieces of rebar that you have.  Once you have laid the cement and it is dry, you can also use another type of wheel to smooth out any surfaces that may have set a little unevenly.  Grinders can also be used to clean out the cracks that are in between the different pads of cement.  Then when you are done with all your tools, you can use the grinder to clean off all those tools that you used during the cement laying process!

            Other times when you are working on home improvements around the house, grinders can help you get the job done.  A few years back we decided that our rickety old deck needed to be replaced.  We took out all the boards and screws that we could with normal tools like drills and screwdrivers but sometimes they wouldn’t come out.  Using a grinder, we cut the bolts that were too old and rusty to be removed with conventional tools.  We also found some areas where the cement on the side of the house needed to be smoothed out in order for use to install the new deck parts.
            Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer that only needs a grinder for a few projects or you are a contractor and/or handyman that needs a grinder for many different jobs, you can find the right tool for the job you need to get done.  There are different types of grinders and different grades of grinders to help you get the job done.  For the occasional do-it-yourself project a less expensive small grinder will most likely get what you need done.  For the more than once a week use, you will want to get a grinder that is more durable and designed to have the wheels switch out.  No matter what you are looking for, find the one you need at:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Love Our Toyota Camry XLE!

            Growing up and gaining independence has many milestones.  One of the most satisfying independence gaining experience is that of owning a car.  The first car that I paid off was a 2001 Toyota Corolla.  It was a great car for a college student, like I was at the time, but as the years went by and my family started to grow, I realized it may not be the best vehicle of choice.  I first got married and some years later we were expecting our first baby.  The months flew by and our baby arrived in a hot summer month!  The interior of the car was black, making it that much hotter, and when we put the car seat in the back seat we had to twist it the right way to get it in the seat base.  This was pretty annoying at times, but for our baby, it was worth it.

            My wife and I discussed it and we decided that we needed to get a different vehicle.  Since we only had one child at the time, we didn’t want to buy a mini-van so we started looking for a bigger car.  For months we searched and searched.  Finally we decided we just needed to take a weekend and go car shopping.  We found some online at dealerships and from private parties.  One that we saw was a Camry XLE that had wood paneling in it.  The pictures looked ugly but we decided to look at it anyway.  That was our first stop and then we went to two dealerships.  We knew it was the one, and for the best price!  It had much more room-making it more comfortable, ran quietly, and drove smoothly.  It has been great!  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Securing Pipe With Pipe Hangers

            Even if you know only a little bit about plumbing, you probably are aware that in order for it to work, there are a lot of different pipes that need to be installed.  Some of the pipes supply water to different parts of your home, while other pipes drain the water once it has been used to wash dishes, take showers/baths, doing laundry, etc.  Do these pipes just stay in place once they are installed and ready to be used?  In most applications this is not the case, something has to hold the pipe in place.

            There are many different types of pipe hangers and other materials that are used to secure pipe into place.  Depending on what kind of pipe you are dealing with will determine what type of hanger or other part you will use to secure that pipe.  For smaller pipe-about 1/8” to 2” (some even go up to 4”)-there are parts that are called one hole or two hole straps.  These are designed to fit over the pipe that needs to be held in place and they have either one or two holes on the base of the strap that be secured using a screw or special type of nail.  These “straps” are made from metal, such as galvanized or copper, and is used to secure gas, water, and other lines to the walls in the home.

            When dealing with larger pipe that will be hanging from the ceiling in a basement or more commonly in a commercial building, a clevis hanger will be used.  A clevis hanger has somewhat of an oval shape and sort of looks like a stirrup on the horse’s saddle.  The pipe rests on the “u” shape of the hanger and the top is secured to the ceiling using a rod with threads and lock nuts.  This gives it the option of being adjusted, if needed, to make the pipe more level in different places.  This type of hanger can hold pipe up to around 6” you just need to make sure that you get the correct size for the supply house.  These hangers are made of metal and come in galvanized, copper, and black steel.

            For larger piping or when there is a lot of piping running in the same direction, the use of plumber’s tape is helpful.  Despite its name, this product is not an adhesive tape, but it does come in rolls.  It comes in rolls copper, galvanized, or plastic.  Plumber’s Tape is a strip, like tape, but it has holes punched in it (that are close together).  It can be wrapped around the surface of pipe that it will be holding into place and cut to the specific length that the pipe needs.  It is then secured using a screw.
            There are number of other different straps available, such as the tube talon that is used to secure pex to the wall.  These hangers are made of plastic and come with a nail that secures it to the wall.  To find these and other products to hang pipe, visit

Monday, June 9, 2014

Evaporative Cooler Parts to Keep Your Cool

       If you own an evaporative cooler (also referred to a swamp cooler) you know that there are certain things that need to be done in order for it to run properly.  Depending on the model you have, you have to change the cooler pads every six months or so.  You also have to make sure the water in maintained properly so that the air that is blown out from it doesn’t become contaminated or smell moldy.  There are a number of other things that need to be done to keep the cooler up and running.  Even if you work hard to make sure all these things are done, nothing in the industry lasts forever.

       Like a vehicle, household appliance, and other things, certain components of an evaporative cooler will wear out and need to be replaced.  In the majority of these cases, buying a cooler part and replacing it will be more cost efficient than buying an entirely new unit.  With the use of water will come the corroding of different parts that will need to be replaced.  Though they will last for many years, the float valve and the actual ball float can become damaged and need to be replaced.  If you live in a climate where you experience the four seasons and particularly where it gets cold enough for water lines to freeze, you may have to fix the line that supplies water to your cooler.

       Just like comparable appliances, a swamp cooler requires a motor and other moving parts for it to function the way it should.  After years of use the motor may wear down and will need to be replaced.  Cooler use belts, some like the ones found in the engines of cars, and these belts also will wear down until they break and need to be replaced.  In some areas the water that is being used to supply the cooler may contain sediment and other objects that will require filtering.  Replacing the filter as specified is also crucial to the function of the unit.  All other air conditioning units will have parts and pieces that need to be replaced also, the main difference is that swamp coolers are more efficient to run.  So if you live in an area that is ideal for this type of cooler, it will probably be your best option for cooling your own.

       Whether you just need parts for the regular maintenance (such as cooler pads) of your cooling system or you need to replace parts for your cooler to work at all, it is good to have a source where you can buy these parts (click on the image to be directed to the site).  Having a place that offers a good selection of universal parts and all sizes of cooler pads will help you to maintain your system.  You will also be able to find the replacement parts that you need when your cooler has broken down and needs to be fixed.  Go with the more economic choice and use an evaporative cooler!