Do you know when the best time is to buy a back-up generator? On a bright, sunny day! But when do people buy them? When the power is out, and they are desperate to get the juice flowing again. The problem with the latter is that the selection is poor, so you may buy the wrong one, and you may pay more for it too. Here is some advice on what to buy, and how to use it. [Read more...]
If you are a parent like my wife and I, I am sure you had lots of fun with your children this summer. Soon, they will be heading back to school and all that fun means your home may need a little organizing. The first place to start is in the garage. At our house, we have more basketballs than I know we paid for. If you can identify who they belong to, put one of your kids on a bike to deliver them to the rightful owner. I have found the best way to clean out the garage is to take everything out. Your neighbors may think you’re moving, but this way you can start with a clean, open space. If you have ever wanted to put an epoxy finish on the floor, now is the time. Rust-Oleum (one of our sponsors) makes a terrific system called Epoxy-Shield that is easy to apply and will give you awesome results. Then it’s time to thin out the herd. Look at all the bikes, balls, toys, and tools. If you have not used it in the past 12 months, then donate it. While you can spend a lot of money on garage organization systems (and they do work!), you can make a huge difference with well-placed hooks. Hang the bikes, hang the tools, and install some plastic snap-together shelving kits that sit on the ground and can hold up to 500 lbs. In one afternoon you can transform your garage from the mess that it is — into a place where you just might be able to park your car.
This morning Lou Manfredini (which rhymes with tortellini as Kathie Lee and Hoda point out) answers YOUR questions!
Q: What kind of caulk can you put on the bottom of rugs to prevent slipping?
A: None. The trick is not caulking, since that can potentially damage the flooring. The best options are non-slip mats that can be cut to size, or double-sided carpet tape that you can apply to the back of the area rug. If using a mat, cut it about 2 inches narrower than the rug, so it will lie flat and not become a trip hazard. If using the tape, apply it to the corner of the rug. It will stick to the floor, but will allow the rug to be moved later with minimal or no adhesive residue on the floor. If any residue does remain, lightly swab the affected area with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.
Q: I’m replacing my gutters and downspouts. What can I use to avoid having the black coils throughout my landscapes to move the water away from the house?
A: To avoid having these unsightly plastic pieces running along your yard, opt for a downspout that extends underground instead. When pitched correctly (for example, by a landscape contractor), these lines can be extended for 20 feet or more. At the end of the run is a small, pop-up head called a bubbler pot that will spring up and allow water to drain, then go right back down. It’s so inconspicuous and out of the way that you can even run your lawn mower over it without any issues. (If you’re in the Chicagoland area try PermaSeal!)
Q: Is it okay to paint over wallpaper instead of removing it and then painting?
A: While you can certainly paint over wallpaper, it’s not an option that will last you in the long run. The wallpaper will lift, and the water-based glue that keeps paper on the wall doesn’t hold up very well when paint is introduced. If you choose this option, be sure to wash the walls first before painting, and know it’s only a temporary fix. The best thing to do is to strip the wallpaper before you begin to paint. To do this, make holes in the wallpaper by making small, circular motions with a tool called a Paper Tiger. Once you make the holes, spray them with a wallpaper stripper called Chomp, allowing the product to soak in for about 20 minutes. Then take a scraper and peel off the paper. After all the paper is off, wash the walls — now you’re ready to do a paint job that will look great and will last for as long as you need it to.
Despite a cooler summer thus far – August still has potential to bring the heat! Here are some simple, DIY A/C maintenance tips to keep you and your family cool for the rest of the summer.
I spent many a summer day as a young kid cutting lawns in my neighborhood in suburban Chicago to make some summer spending cash. I used our family Bolens mower (they don’t make those anymore). It was hard to start, hard to push, and I don’t think it did a very good job cutting the grass – or maybe it was the kid pushing it? Anyway, I have learned a few things since then, [Read more...]
Does it seem like summer is taking a while to arrive across the US? It sure does to me. But mark my words, when it hits, it will be hot, and there are a few things you need to do to get ready. Here is a checklist of a few summer heat preparations we should all complete: [Read more...]
This morning on Lou’s “Ask Lou” segment on NBC’s Today Show he tackled loose drain pipes, removing oil from your driveway and painting kitchen cabinets!