Handcrafts and Handyman

Writing about everything under the sun and even the sun.


All types of information on do-it-yourself home and auto repair. Occasional entries about everything else under the sun and maybe even the sun.

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How to test a car thermostat

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

There are a couple of different ways to tell if your thermostat is working in your vehicle. You can check the function with it installed in your car or by itself. If you test it while it is installed, make sure that your cooling system has the correct level of coolant and water mixture before starting.

Method one

Make sure your vehicle is cool and then start it. Stay in the car and watch the temperature gauge. Analog or digital gauges will both provide an adequate reading. You should notice the temperature level go up and then there should be a sudden, small decrease in temperature. This indicates that the thermostat is opening.

Some tips suggest turning the heater on and checking for warm air. While this can work, if the heater core is bad you will not get any heat.

Note: if the thermostat is stuck in the open position, your vehicle may not heat up or will heat up very slowly.

Method two

Locate the hoses leading to and from the radiator. Start the vehicle and allow it to warm up fully. Carefully check both hose to see if they are warm. If the return line is cool, the thermostat is not opening. Be very careful using this testing method. The hoses and the engine will be hot. You must also keep your hands and clothing away from the fan blades and other components.

Method three

Remove the thermostat. Place it in a deep pot of water on your stove. Allow the water to heat, but not to boiling. You should see the thermostat open when the water becomes warm enough. You can use a candy or meat thermometer to test the water temperature. Thermostats usually open at 195° F. Some open at 185° f and others at 205° F. If the water temperature goes over 205° F and the thermostat does not open, it is defective.

Thermostats are normally inexpensive and fairly easy to install. You will need to make sure it includes the gasket and make sure you have enough antifreeze available to make up for the loss when you take the system apart.

https://plus.google.com/+BarbaraLBaird#+BarbaraLBaird/posts" target="_blank">B. Leslie Baird

Benefits of Using a House Cleaning Company

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Guest post by Grace Bailey

Cleaning your home on a regular basis is something we all do and there is no avoiding it, no matter how much we wish it was possible. For all intents and purposes, if you are a busy professional, or simply someone who never has a chance to do your cleaning, you should consider hiring a cleaning company to handle all of that for you. There are plenty of benefits to doing so, as we will explain in the following tips:

You'll have more time

After all, who wants to clean all the time? Hiring a company of this type to do the cleaning for you will give you a chance to enjoy all your time for more pleasant things than cleaning. Focus on your work, your family, your friends, hobbies and whatever else makes you happy without giving it any second thoughts. You won't have to deal with messes, bearing the ever-present bucket, broom, vacuum and mop like a cleaning crusader on a war against dirt and grime. You'll have your very own cleaners taking care of it all for you instead.

Expect trained and experienced cleaners

House cleaning makes it so that the employees working for these companies will need to have passed background checks, ensuring you will have disciplined and honest cleaners around your home. You can be sure your home will be cleaned and you won't have to worry about its security, as well as the safety of your personal belongings. Things won't be damaged by a professional and you won't even have to supervise their work, as they will be skilled enough to be able to do what needs to be done.

Get discounts on regular cleaning

If you can negotiate a contract, long-term solution to your cleaning needs, then you will have a much smaller overall cost for your cleaning bill. If you are a recurring client, you might have a higher chance to be granted a special deal at lower rates. On the other hand, having a contract signed will mean you have terms and conditions that will need to be met that you have agreed upon. The overall gain is always in your favor if you seek the long-term solution.

For more tips, visit:  Sofa Cleaners .org

How to Install a Garbage Disposal Unit

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Guest post by Grace Bailey

If you need to install a garbage disposal in your home, you will need to be properly prepared before you move on to doing so. Its not a truly difficult task, but it does warrant some prior knowledge if you want to get it done right. If you do not have an electric supply, have an electrician install one.

Follow these tips to begin work on the project:

  • You should first start off by checking your home for the appropriate amount of space available. You will first need to check the space under your sink, making sure you take measurements so you'll see whether it will work out for you. Take the dimensions to your local home improvement store and see whether you can get a disposal unit that fits your measurements and the pipe space.

  • Once that is done, you will need to disconnect the water and power. This will start out the installation process. Turn off the power to your entire kitchen by shutting it down from the circuit breaker. You will also need to disconnect and remove the drain lines as well. You should place a rag or some sort of blockage over the drain to prevent leaks and smells from creeping in. Look at the area where the pipes and the drain meet and remove the large nut there. That will allow you to remove the strainer or drain section there.

  • Remove the old putty from the area with a putty knife or screwdriver. You should be ready to do a good bit of cleaning and scrubbing using a wash rag. The opening should be completely free of putty. Once you do that, you can start looking at the mounting assembly. Loosen it up and reach the snap ring there.

  • Get rid of the snap ring while you're working on it. Grab a screwdriver and pry it off the flange. Once you do that, you can remove the mounting assembly with ease. Make sure you're careful not to damage the gasket or lose any bits and pieces.

  • Apply the new putty, rolling in a bunch of it in a long snake, then press it firmly around the opening. Once you do that, you can start putting the assembly together again.

  • Slip the mounting ring on the flange, then make sure you hold the backup ring and gasket in place while you do so. You can hold them together with a wide rubber band above the groove.

  • Install the new snap ring by sliding it under the sink flange. Slide it up the flange until it snaps into place. Clean up the remaining putty and remove the rubber band.

  • If you have a dishwasher connection, look at where the plug is located, then start knocking it back into the unit. Remember to connect the dishwasher line to the unit.

  • Remove the access hole cover on the bottom of the disposal unit, then pull out the ends of the wires that need to be connected. Use a wire clamp and hold the electrical wire, then begin connecting them. Make sure you're matching colors and use a wire nut to connect the wires together. You may want to wrap them with electrical tape for added protection. Don't forget to ground the wire, then push them back in the access hole. Tighten the clamp well, but not too much as you may damage the wires.

  • Mount the assembled system following the precise instructions that came with it, inserting it as they tell you to do. Once you've done that turn the mounting right until it feels secure. You can use pliers to adjust the lock tabs on the ridges.

  • Install the drain lines by attaching the trap arm and tail piece, then insert the discharge tube in its T-fitting, but don't tighten too much. Insert the other end into the disposal system, then use a screwdriver to secure the flange with the bolt. Once you do that, you can tighten the rest of the slip nuts.

  • Now that all of that is done, you can slip the bell over the disposal drain, then clamp it down. You will likely need a screwdriver to secure it completely. You will then need to test how it works with a bit of water. Run the disposal, and as long as you have no leaks, you can consider it done.

Get more tips at: Deep Cleaning Richmond

How to measure a cubic foot for concrete or mulch

Posted on March 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Understanding cubic foot measurements for concrete is sometimes easiest when done visually. Cubic foot measurements can also be applied to sand, gravel and top soil. Bags of ready to mix concrete will usually show the amount of cubic feet of concrete that will be produced when mixed with water. If you are planning to build a walkway, driveway or patio area, you need to know how much concrete to purchase. Measuring the area you will be filling will allow you to determine the total amount of concrete you need.


“Drawing” the picture:


Twelve inches equals one foot in linear measurement. A two dimensional drawing would include length and width. A square that is twelve inches long by twelve inches wide would be one square foot. This type of measurement can commonly be found when measuring for certain types of flooring or drywall. Cubic feet involves a three dimensional picture. The dimensions include length, width and height or depth. Picture a box that is twelve inches in length by twelve inches in width by twelve inches deep. This box would be equal to one cubic foot.


The math:


The basic measurement for a cubic foot is 12” X 12” X 12”. The same cubic foot amount can cover an area that is 24” in length by 12” in width by 6” in depth. If you only need a four inch depth for your concrete project, one cubic foot of concrete would fill an area three foot in length by one foot in width by the four inch depth.


Another approach to the math is the total of the numbers. 12 X 12 X 12 equals 1728. Multiply your length in inches, times your width in inches, times the depth you need in inches and write down the answer. If you divide this number by 1728, you can determine the number of cubic feet of concrete needed for your project.


For example, a patio area that will be 8 feet by 8 feet in area with a concrete depth of 3 inches would be figured out like this:


  • 8 feet in length equals 96 inches.
  • 8 feet in width also equals 96 inches
  • Your depth is set at 3 inches
  • 96 X 96 X 3 equals 27648
  • 27648 divided by 1728 equals 16
  • You need 16 cubic feet of concrete



Larger concrete measurement:


When pouring concrete for larger projects you will normally need to measure and then purchase concrete by the cubic yard. One cubic yard is equivalent to 27 cubic feet. You can visualize 27 of the 12 by 12 by 12 boxes to understand the size of a cubic yard. Most concrete projects for walkways or driveways require concrete poured at a depth of three to four inches. There are many ways to determine cubic feet and while the numbers used in this example may be large, the method is simple.


For area in square yards: 


  • Measure the length in feet
  • Measure the width in feet
  • Multiply the length of the room by the width gives square feet
  • Divide the result by 9 to get the square
  • 9 square feet equals one square yard


 Square yards can be used as a measurement for carpeting wood and tile flooring, landscaping and much more.


Do not let the math scare you, it is really very simple.


One yard is linear - one square is area. Cubic adds volume.


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How to Soundproof for a Home Theater

Posted on March 15, 2014 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Guest post by Grace Bailey

If you have ever had the pleasure of being isolated from the outside world during movies, then you know how great it feels when you can completely submerge yourself in the worlds we experience through them. One great thing you can take from movie theaters is the fact that you can use the soundproofing they possess as a base for your home theater. It doesn't need to be too big, but it can make all the difference in the world if you want to watch your movies in peace. Let's begin with a few tips:

You must begin with bare walls, removing anything that sticks out of the walls. You may need to take down everything and bring it down to the wallboard or drywall. This will allow you to work on it without any issues as you go.

Next comes the measuring phase of your project. Once you prepare your room, you will need to start measuring. Make sure you do that at least twice, so you won't get any wrong dimensions written in. This will help you greatly in the long run, as you won't make as many mistakes with materials as you would otherwise.

Speaking of materials, you should check either at local home improvement stores or online. You will need enough drywall to get the entire room covered, as well as the appropriate levels of sound dampening materials, to cover each and every surface you can find. If you don't have too much money to work with, you may want to work with something cheaper, such as cork with enough thickness that it gets the job done. This will allow you to soundproof the entire room appropriately and without any issues.

Up next comes the installation of materials, which means you will need to have some help by your side. Wallboard can be quite heavy, so you will need the extra hands if you want to get things done. You should start by installing the cork using adhesive along the walls, then pressing the cork sheets against it. Once you have the walls covered with cork, you will need to cover them with the wallboard, starting from one end of your room and working your way all around.

Finishing touches need to be made, such as installing any flooring and carpeting, if you haven't done that yet, as well as painting it as you wish or using wallpaper. You can add matching furniture that suits your tastes and choices as well as the style of electronics you have there.

Decorate your room and put up your home theater system as your final move. All you have left now is to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More helpful tips at: Bayswater man with a van

Furniture Makeover Tips

Posted on February 18, 2014 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Blog post by Grace Bailey

People like to change the looks of their home at some point in time, whether through serious home improvement projects or through smaller touches. After you've spent years looking at the same furniture, same walls and views, you might yearn to change things around a bit. A little change will do anyone good, so this is where you can really shine.


For the most part, we may not always have the resources for huge changes to our homes, so we may want to focus on smaller solutions. Changes such as buying new furniture, re-carpeting your rooms, painting your walls and even remodeling a whole room or two can carry a significant price tag with them. You could do a whole lot more by giving your furniture a makeover, instead of completely replacing it.


One of the easiest ways you can approach that subject is by repainting your current furniture. You can choose bold and bright new colors, neutral ones that fit with any environment or darker ones that stand out against the background. This can work on wicker or wooden chairs and furniture, as well as metal pieces too. Regardless of your choice of colors, you will add a new look to your room, bringing out something unexpected and sending the old, boring colors on their merry way.


You could also reupholster all of your furniture or simply choose a few pieces that suit your needs best. Although this could carry its own complications, you could still do it much more cheaply than buying an entire new suite of furniture. When you're choosing the type of fabric for your chair, you should look up a tutorial that walks you through the process. It all depends on the type of chair and materials used in the process. Although this will take a good deal of time and a great deal of patience, the end results will look wonderful if you do so.


Slipcovers may be another way of changing the furniture's looks. You can make your own or buy some from a store. Whatever your choices, they will fit in over your sofas or chairs, completely changing the way they look overall. You can find various sizes of slipcovers in many shapes, fabrics, textures and patterns up to the point where the possibilities are incredibly numerous. You could also use a larger throw blanket to cover up and drape some of the furniture pieces.


In many cases, the changes can be done as simply as cleaning up the furniture and bringing out the underlying fresh looks once all the dust and grime are out of the picture. Choose your method and bring out the best of what your furniture has to offer.


More tips at http://www.removalserviceslondon.com/islington-man-and-van/islington-removal-van-N1.html

How to care for a cartilage piercing

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Cartilage piercing requires more healing time than a piercing that just goes through the skin. Fortunately, the care required for a cartilage piercing is not difficult or time consuming.


1 - Always wash your hands before cleaning any body piercing. Soak a gauze pad or cotton ball with warm water and wet the area around the cartilage piercing.


2 - Apply a small amount of an antibacterial soap to the pierced area and gently work up a lather with your wet cotton pad. Allow the soap to remain in contact with the pierced area for one minute or more.


3 - Using a damp cotton swab, loosen any discharge or crust in the area.


4 - Turn your piercing jewelry as you are cleaning to allow the liquid to reach the inside of the piercing.


5 - Rinse the entire piercing area well and allow it to dry naturally. Clean your piercing two to three times a day, for the first three days, or as recommended by the piercing provider. After the first three days, cleaning once or twice a day will prevent over drying of the area.


6 - As an alternative, iodine free salt or sea salt can also be used for cleaning a cartilage piercing, but do not use this method within the first few weeks. Dissolve approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and use in the same manner as the antibacterial soap.


Always completely rinse any shampoo or bath soap away from the piercing after a shower.


You need:


  • cotton pads
  • Cotton swabs
  • Antibacterial soap.
  • Iodine free salt or sea salt


Important notes:


  • If your piercing becomes infected seek medical care.
  • Do not use ointments that can clog the piercing openings.
  • Do not use peroxide to clean your piercing
  • Do not change your jewelry until your piercing has healed.
  • Keep you hair away from ear cartilage piercing.
  • Do not tug on your jewelry or allow it to get caught in bedding or towels.

Understanding gauge sizes for body jewelry

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Body jewelry gauge sizes can be difficult to understand and the correct size is needed to fit into the piercing. Like the AWG system for marking electrical wire sizes body jewelry sizes get bigger as the number goes down. A 20 gauge piece of jewelry is smaller than an 18 gauge. 16 gauge is smaller than 14 gauge.

Large sizes for plugs will use inch measurements. A 0 gauge is approximately 5/16". A 00 is about 3/8". From there sizes will usually be in inch format but can also be marked as 000 or 0000. Size may also be marked by using the metric system.

As not everyone is happy dealing with fraction conversions, this may help:

1/4 is the same as 2/8 or 4/16

5/16 is the next common size up from 1/4. 5/16 is smaller than 3/8 which equals 6/16.

More information can be found in my article: The most popular types of body jewelry and how to wear them

Dental Cleanings: Scaling and planing

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Regular dental cleanings and check ups are important for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. If you practice a routine of proper flossing and brushing, your check ups should go well. As you age, plaque or deposits build up creating tartar or calculus, a cement like substance on your teeth. If this calculus build up is not removed, periodontal disease may begin. Left untreated, gum, or periodontal disease, can lead to tooth loss and many other health complications.

Plaque is formed by bacteria. Bacteria accumulates between teeth, at the gum line and below it. The bacteria feed on sugars from the food and drinks you consume and turn the sugar into an acid that creates cavities. When the bacteria are not removed, minerals found in your saliva turn bacteria into the hard substance known as tartar or calculus. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing; it must be scrapped away from the tooth by a trained hygienist or dentist. The tartar or calculus on the surface becomes a breeding ground for more bacterial growth and the continuation of tartar formation.

Moderate plaque build-up and early gum disease

Scaling and Root Planing

When you go for routine dental exams, the hygienist has a limited amount of time to perform a cleaning. Individuals, who have limited amounts of tartar, can normally be taken care of during a regular visit. Unfortunately, patients with large amounts of tartar build up will require special, deep cleaning appointments for thorough scaling and planing.

Scaling and root planing is the term used to describe the deep cleaning process of scraping away calculus built up on the teeth and below the gum. Planing goes below the gums to remove the tarter at the root, or base, of the tooth. It may sound painful, but it is not really an uncomfortable or difficult process.

Extreme build up of calculus at and below the gum line

Scaling and planing treatments are usually done in sections or quadrants, depending on the amount of work that needs to be performed. This breaks the cleaning process down into the lower and upper teeth on the left and right side of the mouth. Topical or injected pain relievers can be given if needed. In some dental offices, nitrous oxide may be available, if needed.

The good news is that once the scaling and planing has been completed, your gums should heal quickly and symptoms of periodontal disease should diminish. This procedure does not need to be repeated, as long as you do your part in brushing and flossing to prevent future build up. Using a bacteria reducing mouth wash also helps to reduce the formation of plaque.

Unfortunately, this procedure is not always covered under all dental insurance plans. The cost per treatment can be as much as $600. However, there are lower cost options for individuals that cannot afford the treatment. Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio operates a Dental Hygiene school. Individuals can make appointments at the college for low cost dental cleanings.

X-rays are used to determine the health of teeth, locate cavities and detect calculus formation

Laundry and cleaning: Cold weather and cold water

Posted on February 11, 2014 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The continuing extreme cold and a load of laundry got me thinking about the right temperature for washing clothing. Cold water is often the best choice as it reduces shrinking and fading. There are also a few detergents that are designed to work in cold water. The problem is what temperature defines cold water.

As cold as it is here, the water coming from the cold faucet is not much above freezing. When it comes to laundry, hot water is defined as about 130 F (54 C). Warm water is 90 F to 100 F (32 to 43 C). Cold water is supposed to be between 60 F and 80 F (15 C to 26 C). Water below about 60 F (15 C) is too cold to do any good.

If you are doing cold water washes with extremely cold outside temperatures, you should probably mix warm and cold water to get the cold to a temperature that will work for your laundry. This also applies to any cleaning you might be doing, cold water straight from the faucet may be too cold to really work.




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