Hooray! Spring is HERE!

Like you, I am so happy that winter is over. We live in Chicago and in all my years I had never heard of the Polar Vortex, but we sure felt it in our part of the country. Wow was it cold! Last month I gave you some early tips to clean your lawn up and hopefully you had a chance to complete that task. Now, it’s time to get things going! Here is a check list: [Read more...]

My Favorite Tools for the SPRING that IS coming!

Spring is here!  No really…it is.  Though the winter has been rough on many of us it’s time to get out there and spruce things up.  When the first day that you can get outside comes, grab my favorite “go-to” tools.  To jump start your yard, first grab a lawn leaf rake and a spade shovel. [Read more...]

Tough Winter for our Homes and Pets

Now, I am no pet expert, but I do have a pet … specifically a dog. We have owned dogs my entire life. They are wonderful animals and when I think back on all the dogs we had in our family, I just smile. Our first dog was Star, a white German Shepherd who was big, smart, protective and beautiful. [Read more...]

Picture Perfect – How a picture is hung is just as important as what picture you hang.

Although I’m not an art collector, guests to my home love looking at what’s hanging on the walls. Call it the Manfredini Wall of Fame.

Right by our main staircase, my wife and I have hung every conceivable family photo in a patchwork of frames that just keeps growing. We have photos of our four children at various ages, of course, along with photos of ourselves—including those back when I had a full head of hair and a few less pounds. Aunts and uncles look out on everyone, along with grandparents from both sides. And there in the center is the World War I Italian Calvary photo of my great-grandfather Luigi, circled with all of his medals from the war. The family gallery really has become a focal point in our home and everyone rushes to check out the new additions since their last visit. [Read more...]

Gift Ideas for the DIY-er

With just a few days left for your holiday shopping, I have three gift ideas for the handy person in your life. These are great for contractors and DIYers. From all of us at HouseSmarts, we hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed New Year.

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Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda – Ask Lou (Repeat Please!)

This morning on The Today Show with my girls Kathie Lee and Hoda we answered viewer questions in another segment of Ask Lou. There is only so much time on TV when it comes to giving advice so here is more information on what we talked about.

Replacing a Light Fixture

Whenever you are working with electricity you need to have a healthy respect for the potential harm that may occur. Always turn off the breaker to the fixture you are going to be working on. Use an electrical tester to confirm that the power is off. Then remove the screws that are holding the fixture in place. We showed wall scones that are usually held in place by one center nut or two screws. Once those are off you gently pull the fixture out from the wall. You will see two wires, again typically a white wire and a colored wire. The white is the neutral and the colored wire is the hot. Unscrew the wire nuts that are twisted to keep the wires together and then the fixture will be free. Your new fixture will also have two wires and those will get attached with the wire nuts to the wires coming out of the electrical box. The white to the white and the colored wire to the colored wire. Then carefully place the new fixture back on the wall and attach it. Turn the breaker back on and then test the light. This is general information and in no way a definitive step by step – only a general look at what it takes. Again, if this sounds like too much then please hire a licensed qualified electrician to do the work.

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

This is something that needs to be done at least twice a year. The build up of lint in a dryer can cause a fire. Unplug the dryer and then remove the hose from the back of the unit. Use a flexible brush and vacuum to remove all the lint from behind the machine and in the hose itself. You also need to clear the lint from the vent that is on the outside of the house. Try and reach as far into the vent pipe as possible. Before you reattach everything consider a safety device called Lint Alert. This plugs into the receptacle and then you plug the dryer into it. There is a sensor you place in the vent pipe and if the airflow gets reduced an alarm will sound to remind you to clean it all out.

Getting More Power Out of Your Shower

90% of the time the reason your shower is not strong enough is because the shower head has so much calcium build up that the water just won’t flow through it. You can either take yours down and soak it in a good cleaner like CLR or Lime-A-Way or replace the shower head all together. The trick is to use some painter’s tape around the head and shower arm before you grab it with a pair of slip joint pliers. Also when you put the shower head back on make sure you use some thread tape so it won’t leak after it’s screwed it back on.

Fixing a Burn Mark in Your Carpeting

This is a fix that really works and it starts with a product called Tear Mender. This is like a sewing machine in a bottle and it works on any porous material like denim, cotton and even carpet threads. Cut some threads from an area you will not see. Apply some Tear Mender to the damaged area and then carefully place the loose threads. In a few minutes it will bond. Run your hand over the area to even it out and you will not see the damage again!

It’s Going to Get Cold

Now is the time to eliminate the drafts in your home before the temperatures drop too low. Windows and doors are the areas of greatest heat loss in our homes.  Applying some caulking to the exterior of the window frames and using window film kits can, and will, make your home more comfortable and lower your energy costs this winter. [Read more...]

The Latest and Greatest

In today’s day and age, we are all trying to make our everyday living simpler. For most of us the place to start is at home. Here are some of my favorite “latest and greatest” products to make your home smarter, more efficient and easier to manage. [Read more...]

Ask Lou with Kathie Lee and Hoda on NBC’s Today Show

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From drywall to varnishes to dimmers to doggy doors…Lou solves the world’s problem with his favorite gals Kathie Lee and Hoda this morning.

Bugs Are Still in Your Home

We think that bugs are an issue in the spring and summer months but they like to hang around well past the first frost. At our house, we are overflowing with tomatoes from our bountiful plants (my wife makes a mean bruschetta, yum) but along with me loving the tomatoes, so do the fruit flies. While you can find all kinds of home remedies online, the tried and true for us has been the Terro Fruit Fly Trap. Now, I have nothing to do with this company, but their products do work. Their trap looks like a little apple. You squirt the sweet juice inside and the flies go in for a swim and never come out. It takes about a week but it will solve your issue. As for the rest of your home, you can treat nooks and crannies with Raid Maxx Bug Barrier. This non-odor spray will help control all sorts of bugs, from roaches to ants, and it can be used inside or out. Thank you for watching our show! If you have any suggestions as to what you would like us to cover just send me an email at asklou@housesmartstv.com and if you have a question about our home just shoot me an email as well. I will get back to you as quickly as I can.