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20 Feb 2014 

Home Theater

When we first moved into
our home there was one room that was designated as the home theater.  It worked out just fine for the time when we
moved in but as our kids grew up and started having families of their own, we
needed to make some changes.  When we had
get togethers, one of the activities we enjoyed was watching movies, especially
during Christmas time.  We would all cram
into the theater room but there never seemed to be enough seating room.  That sometimes caused some quarrels and
resulted in some unhappy children.

We looked around for some
new ideas, and went to some Home Shows (my wife loves going to them and there
are some pretty cool things to see).  One
home that we went to had a home theater that had separate tiers for
seating.  We found our solution!

We decided the couches
that we wanted to have in and custom built some platforms so that there would
be enough room for the seating and to walk in front of it.  The first step to making this change was to
remove the carpet.  Once this was done,
we started to build the different levels that would house the new couches we
picked out.  We measured out the wood,
cut it, then put it together.

Once the platforms were
built we secured them to the ground.  To
do this we used wood blocks and drilled holes into them that went into the
concrete.  We then used masonry screws to
attach it to the ground.  To finish it
off, we added tack strips around them and installed new carpet.  Now we have enough seating for our family!

WSmith · 31 views · Leave a comment
14 Feb 2014 

How to Fix a Peerless Faucet

Having a home means having to keep up that home.  In addition to keeping it clean, you will have to make sure that the appliances and other things that keep your home comfortable are functioning properly.  We don’t pay much attention to many of these things as we use them on a daily basis unless they become broken or they are having some sort of problem.  Among these items we use on a daily basis is our faucets; in the kitchen, bathrooms, and sometimes our laundry rooms.  We use them to wash our hands, our dishes, and sometimes our clothes, just to name a few of their functions.

When a faucet stops functioning properly, it can cause a number of different problems.  It is hard to get your dishes clean if your faucet is leaking out of the handle so much that you can’t get enough water to flow out of the spout to be effective.  If your bathroom faucet is leaking, not only is water being wasted, but you will hear the constant drip, drip, drip or trickle of water that comes along with the leak.  If these problems aren’t fixed as soon as possible, they can become worse and can cause other problems that can result in expensive consequences.

When dealing with a kitchen faucet, there can be a few different problems.  If the faucet is leaking from the handle, it most likely has to do with something within the unit or as some people refer to them, the “guts” of the faucet.  The least expensive option would be to replace the O-rings on the inside of the unit, if possible, and if this will fix the problem.  To do this, turn the water supply valves off that go to the faucet (these are found under the sink).  There should be a small hole of the faucet where you can take the handle off by unscrewing it.  You will need a small sized Allen Wrench to do this.  Once off, you should be able to take out the parts that are inside.  Inspect the O-rings to see if they are torn or worn out.  If they are, you can take them to your local supply house and match them up with some new ones.

If it appears that the cartridge itself is broken in some way once you have removed it, take it to the supply house to see if they have one in stock.  If it isn’t in stock, the people working there can usually find and order a new one for you.  Once you have the new part, put it back into the faucet, match up the handle to it and screw it back on.  The same procedures for the kitchen faucet can be applied to bathroom faucets as well.  The biggest difference comes when you are trying to fix a pull-out or side sprayer of a kitchen faucet.  Many times, you will just have to order the entire part for this type of fix.  Many parts can be found at:

WSmith · 101 views · Leave a comment
07 Feb 2014 

How to Use a Rain Bird Sprinkler System

remember when we first moved out to the Western United States from back
East.  We moved from an area where there
was plenty of moisture (snow during the winter and scattered rain during the
other seasons) to a dry climate where water use is regulated and many times we
are in a drought.  One of the biggest
changes was learning about how to use our sprinkler system, something we never
had to use in the East.

moved into a home that the previous owners were still living in until we
purchased it.  They ran the system up
until the day they moved out which means the lawn still looked great when we
moved in.  At first, I didn’t realize
that there was a system installed and that it had been turned off.  I started to notice that the lawn was looking
a little less green than before so I decided to find out what was going
on.  We had a neighbor next door who
brought some of his sons over to help us move in and who had a great looking
lawn, so I decided to talk to him about it.

said he noticed that our sprinkler system hadn’t been running and that could be
the issue.  I told him that I had never
had a sprinkler system in my entire life and never had to worry about watering
the lawn.  We went into my garage and
found out that I had a Rain Bird sprinkler controller for the system.  It had been unplugged and so none of the
previous settings had been saved.  My
neighbor explained to me how to set up watering times, showed me where the
valves for each zone was located, and how everything worked with the system.



timer we have is pretty user friendly with a control knob, up and down arrows
to adjust settings, and buttons on the side to select watering days and times.  To make sure that the system would run at the
times I needed it to, I turned the dial to the “Set clock” circle, then
proceeded to set the date.  Then I was
ready to program the clock for the four zones that our yard has.

do this, I turned it to the zone I wanted to program.  I then looked on the right side and pushed
buttons to correspond to the days of the week that I wanted to have that zone run
and the number of times it would run. 
Using the arrows on the left side of the timer, I was able to program in
the time I wanted the zone to run.  On
the right I used the arrows to select the amount of time the zone should
run.  Since there are restrictions during
the summer not to have the system on between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., I was able to
set the zone to run once at 7:30 a.m. and again at 8:00 p.m.  The timer also allows me to turn the nob the “Off”
position, just in case I want to have a BBQ or other get-together in the
backyard.  Keeping my lawn green is easy
with my sprinkler system!

WSmith · 20 views · Leave a comment
22 Jan 2014 

Toto Toilet Tank Replacement

            It is said that nothing lasts forever, and I think I have maybe mentioned that before in some of my other posts.  This goes for many things that have to do with plumbing.  Though toilets appear to be pretty sturdy (enough that we can sit on them without them collapsing under our weight) sometimes accidents happen and things get broken.  There are many different brands of toilets and each one has their own design of bowl and tank.  So when it comes to replacing a part, many times you need to get brand-specific parts.  I learned this when the toilet tank on our Toto toilet broke.

            One day I was doing some remodeling in our bathroom and I was trying to reach a part of the ceiling (while on a metal ladder) that was out of my arms reach.  Needless to say that the ladder went tumbling down-with me on it-falling toward the toilet where it came in contact with the tank.  It cracked and immediately started to leak.  That was a bad experience, but it reminded me that I need to be more careful on ladders!

            Within the Toto brand (and other brands for that matter) there are different models of toilets which also means that the toilet tanks are different for each model as well.  The first thing I did was look to see if I could find any model numbers or anything that would tell me which model I had.  Since I didn’t have any success with that, I got on the company’s website to see if I could find a picture that looked like the toilet that I had.  After some searching, comparing of pictures and other research, I determined which model I had.

            Luckily, I was able to find a local store that had the tank in stock.  I had to call a few different stores, but it was beneficial to do so.  I purchased the tank, making sure the inside parts appeared to be the same as my old tank, and took it home.  I used the website again to see how to get the tank replaced.

            The first step was to turn off the supply valve to the toilet tank (which I already did the day that I cracked the tank).  I had a bucket handy to try to catch any excess water left in the different parts of the tank.  Next, I removed the supply tube that went to the toilet tank.  I was able to do this by loosening the bolt connected to threads of the tank.  After this was removed, I found the bolts that were securing the tank to the bowl of the toilet.  I had to use a flathead screwdriver and a pair of channel-lock pliers to get it off.  Once both bolts were loosened and the nuts were taken off, I was able to get the tank off.

            To put the new tank on, I did the opposite of what I just explained.  I put the bolts and nuts in place, tightened them, hooked up the supply tube and then opened back up the valve to the toilet.  The tank filled up with water and I was set to go!
WSmith · 106 views · Leave a comment
16 Dec 2013 

Best Room Air Purifier

When our kids were growing up, they were very healthy and strong.  None of them had serious health related issues but a couple of them did have allergies.  One of our boys would wake up during the night because his nose would be so stuffed that it was hard for him to
breathe.  Other times he would wake up with eye “boogies” and his face (mostly around his nose) would be covered with
dried up snot.  We knew we had to do something so we found out what we could from our family doctor.  The doctor told us that he had some mild
allergies and suggested that we get some sort of air purifier.

Since our son was mostly having the problems at night, and no one else in the house seemed to be having the same problems, we determined
that we would get 
room air purifier.  It was a lot less expensive to get a room purifier than to get a whole house
unit-which makes sense.   The room unit was a success.  Immediately our son’s
symptoms got better and as we continued to use the purifier, they almost disappeared
completely.  Throughout the years we have
tried many different brands to see what would work best for our son and that
would be dependable.

Some brands didn’t last very long and other brands
that did last longer weren’t as effective. 
We found that Honeywell air
to be the most dependable and effective air purifiers on the
market.  While looking for air purifiers,
at first we steered away from Honeywell because they were a little more
expensive than other brands.  We soon
found out that it was well worth the extra money.  They just lasted longer than the average
economy unit and worked a lot better in helping our son to breathe better.  It was also a lot easier for us to find the
right size of filter pads when they needed to be replaced.  With other brands it was difficult to find
the right size and many stores would be out of the brands that we needed.


The town we live in has grown over the years and it
has come to the point that we decided to get a unit for our entire home.  After seeing how the room purifiers
performed, we decided to go with a Honeywell. 
The air in our home is clean and we definitely see a difference.  We don’t cough as much as we used to and we
know that we are protected from pollutants and other debris that is found in the


Our son now has a little one of his own and he has
noticed that when they are at our house, her nose doesn’t run as much and that
she doesn’t rub her eyes as much.  When
he mentioned this to me one day, we knew exactly what to tell him to do.  He got a room unit for their small apartment
and he says that it has helped out immensely!

WSmith · 47 views · Leave a comment
13 Nov 2013 

How to Replace Shower Tile

Many of the older homes on the market can be made
to look better just by doing small changes. 
Also with older homes come bathrooms with tubs and showers that have some
tile that is, to be frank, really ugly. 
Replacing shower tile will take some time, but it will save you some
money and make your bathroom look more up-to-date, if not better in some way.

first task is to remove the old tile. 
The right tools for the job will make a big difference.    A flat knife, hammer, chisel, hammer, utility
knife, and a paint scraper will help to get the job done.  It is also recommended that you have some
gloves to protect your hands and some safety glasses.  Remove your plumbing fixtures and cover the
tub with something that will protect it if the tiles fall down.

the knife, remove the grout (white part) between the tiles, cut as deep as you
can.  The hammer and chisel will help in
removing the tiles themselves.  There
will be tile adhesive and possibly some tiles left stuck to the wall.  This is where the paint scraper comes in-use
it to remove these things.

you have the walls measured, start to install the tile by using tile adhesive
to stick them to the wall and using spacers so that the tiles are evenly
spaced.  Continue this process until all
the tiles are laid.  To seal off the
tiles, use caulking to fill in the spaces between the tiles.  Smooth off the caulk to give it the look it
needs!  Wait for the caulk to completely
dry before reinstalling your plumbing fixtures.

WSmith · 44 views · Leave a comment

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