Mathew Lilienthal
Author Archives: Mathew Lilienthal

General How-To Hints For The Homeowner

home repairs for low income families in pa,remodeling magazine editorial calendar,home improvement projects under $100,remodeling bathroom cabinets,remodeling bathroomSpackle and then paint holes to get rid of them. Go to your local home improvement store to buy the spackle. Use a very small amount in the event that you need to fill tinyThe little holes could be filled with spackle using just a bobby pin. Use pretty much anything with a straight, hard edge or an old charge card to smooth the dessicated spackle. Then you definitely have to paint. The holes will disappear.

Clean up the outside of your house. Sometimes all it takes to create your house look and feel better is a little TLC on the outside. Trim the shrubs and pull the weedsof the flower bed. Add some ornamental landscape lighting and be sure that most of the outside light fixtures are in proper working order.

One of the very best home improvements when selling your home, you can do is to replace the old and worn out carpets. This give a fantastic impression on potential buyers and will make the property appear fine. Buyers quickly get turned off if they think that they are going to need to replace the stained and tattered carpets in every room.

home repairs for low income families in pa,remodeling magazine editorial calendar,home improvement projects under $100,remodeling bathroom cabinets,remodeling bathroomThe outside of your house also makes a superb spot for a home improvement project. A beautiful touch is added by staining your drive to the front of your dwelling. Additionally, look to see in case you have to fill any cracks or re-mariner the driveway. Sometimes, the front of your house may be forgotten as you make developments, but these endeavors can definitely add a lot to the aesthetic worth of your property.

Smoke detectors are required for security in your home. Many dwellings just set them in certain areas. It's possible for you to raise the safety in your home, by installing additional sensors in areas like bathrooms, kitchens and cellars. These regions can sometimes be overlooked, though prone to fires as much or more in relation to the rest of the home.

Before you embark on a home improvement project, think about the impact in your house's resale value. For example, converting your garage into a living room may make sense for your immediate needs, but a lot of home buyers are turned off by this sort of improvement. Even should you not plan on selling promptly, circumstances can change, and you may have to spend additional money getting your house back to the way it was.

Be sure to check with local officials on what permits you need when you begin to plan a home improvement project. If you don't do this all the work that is done may be asked to be torn down and the endeavor began all over again because of regulation infractions.

Enhance your house by removing things you do not need. You may have more space and your house will appear to be larger. De-litter by throwing away, storing or giving unneeded items like clothes, furniture, etc. Even placing them in the attic and packing your stuff away in boxes will remove things from your immediate living place.



Expert Advice on Troubleshooting Refrigerators That Aren’t Cooling

Troubleshooting Refrigerators That Aren't Cooling 2Today we’re looking at some of the different things that can contribute to refrigerator problems at home – more specifically, you fridge not cooling the way it’s supposed to. So today we called on the expert advice of some of our very good friends at Appliance Masters in Tucson, AZ (, and they’re going to walk us through some trouble shooting steps.

You have your overload and your relay for your starting components right in here, what we are going to do is we have a little metal clip holding them on, to take that metal clip off, it hooks on the bottom, wraps around and then hooks on the top so I am going to go ahead and just check and see if I have any problems with the compressor.

Troubleshooting Refrigerators That Aren't Cooling 3So the bottom two pins are showing me about nine, ten but are still fluctuating but the top and the pin closest to me, it’s fluctuating quite a bit, settling right around five, five and a half, so we are pretty close, as far as the winding goes, I will double check them again, this one down here is right at ten. So it is pretty close, I can’t definitely say if it’s a bad compressor cause the windings are showing fairly close where they are supposed to be registering, I am going to now check for continuity on it being shorted to ground.

Alright, so no short to ground, so what we are going to do now is discuss with the customer, options and make a decision on the repair from here, alright, so what we are going to do first is get the starting components pulled back out from the inside of the unit, I am hoping that we can get them out fairly easily and the lines can flex some but you don’t want to bend them too significantly so you get the components back out and you are going to separate them, they are actually two separate pieces.

Troubleshooting Refrigerators That Aren't CoolingYou are going to reuse this piece right here, this is just basically your overload, we will start relay on this thing, you hear that, the rattle, this relay is bad so I set that aside, I’m not going to put anything back in yet, we’re going to eliminate the plug of this plug that was onto the, starting components, going to peel back these wires a little bit, the use is I’m using a universal starting component kit, it basically works on all compressors for a refrigerator, you use it to follow your directions properly to hook it up and I explain it to you how I’m hooking this one up as we go through, the kit comes with two wire knots and it comes with the starting component.

It is two black wires that are by themselves which are four, the actual power leads that we had stripped back on the unit, has a red, white and black wire that according to the package, the diagram shows exactly which ones to hook it up to, it has your compressor which is as common start, run, it tells you what color wire goes to those plugs or pens of your compressor, so I like to lay it on the floor and since this one has one pin on top and two pins on the bottom, laid out on the ground just like the way that the picture looks, it is on there so I come look and say that the background which is the farthest one from me is the white wire so I’m going to take my white wire.

Fixing a Washing Machine That Won’t Drain

Today we’ll be looking at a situation where a Frigidaire front load washer isn’t not draining. I recently got a question about just this situation, but with a Whirlpool brand, from a reader who wrote in to saying they needed help with a washer repair in Austin. Since I told him I wasn’t likely to be in Austin any time soon, I said I’d post about my similar experience, and hopefully it’ll help him sort out his own washer problem.

With the machine I was working with, when we put it in to the final spin, get the drain running, it’s just not moving any water, so what we’re going to do is take a shop-vac, we’re going to manually drain out the water from the inside of the tub and then we’re going to go down and try to vacuum the water out as we’re draining it where the sump pokes up to the pump and then get the pump apart, then take a look, see if there is anything in the pump.

washer wont drain 2Now we’re going to go ahead and open it up, get as much water out from the inside as we can first, then we’re going to remove the access panel down at the bottom here.

Our drain pump is down at the bottom on the side, so we’ll just set that down at the side here, What we’ve got on the other side here, there’s a little clamp that holds the sump to the tub so we’re going to ahead and kind of loosen that and just kind of sort of crack it and hold the shop-vac under and get the rest of the water out.

Alright so we’ve loosened this clamp right here, we’ll do a bit of vacuuming, and now we’re going to go ahead and remove two of those clamps down here; the inlet and the outlet on the pump.

Now we’re going to take the two screws off that hold the pump in place, some 5/16th screws… Now we’ll disconnect our wiring harness here and pull the drain line off, and now we can get a look at our pump.

washer wont drain 1What we have is that there is something right in there that’s binding up the impellor, so we’re going to go ahead and just try to remove this piece. Now we’re just going to kind of jack that impellor, make sure it’s not broken free… it feels like it’s still okay.

Alright so we’ve checked over the pump, made sure it looks okay and kind of just inspect it and make sure the housing didn’t get cracked or anything from that, piece got shot around down there. It looks okay, so we’re just going to go ahead and wipe up the water down here and reinstall it.

Next, we’re just going to hook our electrical harness back up there and then we’re just going to test it. It’s tests OK, so now we’ve filled it up with water and we’re just going to go ahead and put it at spin cycle to see with the final spin to activate the drain pump and it’s putting the water out just fine now so that’s going to complete your repair, other than we’re just going to put the bottom panel back together of course.

Diagnosing a Fridge That’s Not Cooling Properly

One very common issue people have with their refrigerators when they start to notice that they’re not cooling properly is that a buildup of ice behind the fan. So today we’re going to have a look at what you can do if this occurs to you.

So with this refrigerator, the complaint was that it’s not cooling and the ice maker isn’t working (this diagnostic tip comes from the good guys at – when I have questions about appliance issues, these are my go-to guys). So we are going to remove this shelf, this is expandable so push that in and pull that guy out. We’re going to notice that the temperature, it’s cool at best in here, so we’re going to remove the back panel and check out the evaporator and see what the frost pattern looks like.

Okay the tools you’ll need for this repair are a common Philip’s screwdriver and a quarter inch nut driver.

Okay so we’re going to start by removing the ice maker, there’s just a Philip’s screw at the bottom and then two quarter inch screws that mount on the top of the ice maker and you can either take them completely off or just loosen them and then remove the connector. Now we just have the quarter inch bolts that hold the back of the evaporator cover on, take those off and once those are out of the way, we’ll just rotate this guy forward and move it, flip that over and we see what we should have, a nice even distribution of frost.

sealed system failureWe have just an ice ball in the upper right hand corner which indicates the sealed system failure and we’ll just recommend to replace this unit. You see, on a good refrigerator, we’ll have a nice even frost distribution on the evaporator. When you see a snowball or frost ball in any of the corners, they just, it indicates the sealed system failure and with the gauge and everything with this model. While it can be fixed, we’ll recommend it be replaced. Okay so for now we’re just going to put this unit back together and will line up the bottom of the fan with the hole, we’ll just lift up the fill tube for the ice maker and get this evaporator cover in place.

Replace our quarter inch mounting bolts and for the ice maker, just get one started and then we’ll get the hook of the back of the ice maker, we’ll plug in the connector, get the fill tube lined up and then just hook the back of the ice maker on for support and install the other mounting screws. Tighten this one up and finish with the Philip screw at the bottom, we’ll put our shelf back in. It’s got this little curve piece that goes in first in the back and then in, slide that out and we’re all back together.

Replacing a Standard Light Switch with a Dimmer Switch

A dimmer switch will help change the light level in a room, making it bright enough for reading or low enough for romance. But there is one caution – dimmer switches don’t work on most fluorescent fixtures, just regular incandescent lights.

Installing a dimmer switch 2Most dimmer switches can handle 600 to 1000 watts of power so before you buy a dimmer switch (here’s a bunch of different types from the Home Depot), check the rating that the model you’ve chosen.  Count the number of bulbs that the switch controls and add up the wattage of each light bulb. The total wattage should not exceed the rating.

First turn off the power to the switch at the circuit fuse panel. Unscrew and remove the switch plate then use a voltage tester to make sure that the circuit is dead.  It should read zero.

Now you’re ready to unscrew the switch from the electrical box and pull it out with the wire still attached.

Next remove the wires from the old switch.  Unlike standard switches that are connected by screw terminals, dimmer switches are usually connected by short wires that come out at the switch body.  Twist the wires together and then screw on the wire nut.

Use the connectors or wire nut supplied with the fixture to attach the black wires coming out of the dimmer switch to the colored wires in the box. It doesn’t matter how you pair the wires as long as you don’t use the copper ground wire.

Next, attach the green wire to the ground wire in the box.  Push the new switch back into the electrical box and screw it into place and screw on the switch plate. Then just push the control knob (if there is one) onto the switch.  Your final step is to turn on the power, and you’re good to go.