Archive for the ‘DIY Home’ Category

Fixing miniature Christmas lights

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Christmas is just around the corner, and that means many people are hanging lights.  This can be fun, but it can also be frustrating.  Sometimes you pull out a strand that worked fine last year, and only part or none of it lights up.  Many people then throw the strand away and buy a new one.  But I have found that with the right tool and a few minutes of your time, you can fix many of these strands.

My tool of choice is called the Light Keeper Pro.  The main function of the tool is to repair the shunts in the bulbs.  The purpose of shunts is to pass the electrical current on to the next bulb if the filament burns out.  Normally, the shunt activates as soon as the filament fails, but sometimes they don’t work and need a little help to activate.  This is where the tool comes in.  While the strand is plugged in, you pull out a bulb in the burnt out section, insert the tool into the socket, and pull the trigger.  Each time you pull the trigger, it sends a high voltage blast of electricity into the bulbs to help activate any shunts that haven’t yet done so.  You can tell when the job is done because the previously unlit portion of the strand will light up.  The tools also has a few other features, such as a current detector, and a bulb removal tool.

If you are interested in this tool, and in fixing your lights, I recommend you visit their website and check out their instructional videos.

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  And hopefully this will help make your holiday season a little brighter (pun intended).


Water Heater Maintenance

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Proper water heater maintenance is easy to forget to do.  Your water heater sits tucked away in a basement or closet.  Most people usually find out they have a problem when there is no hot water.  But with a little planned maintenance, you can prevent issues and extend the life of your water heater.  I was recently doing some work on my water heater, and so I figured I would write a quick post about it.

Things that can help your water heater live a long happy life:

-Flush your water heater each year.

-Check the anode rod when you flush the water heater. *

-Replace the anode rod if it is heavily deteriorated.*

*Quick tip: Use an impact wrench with a 1-1/16″ socket to loosen the anode rod if you are having trouble removing it.

Another common issue that is often easy to fix is a pilot light that won’t stay lit.  There is a device called a thermocouple that controls the flow of gas to the pilot light and burner.  The thermocouple is heated by the pilot light.  If the thermocouple is cold (pilot light not lit), it is supposed to shut off the gas.   If it is hot (pilot light lit), it is supposed to allow the gas to flow.  When these go bad, they fail safe to the off position and shut off the gas.  They are usually easy to replace and you can get a new one at most hardware stores.