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Home Repair and Maintenance


We are going to be getting the two doors that go through our knee wall and go to our crawl space, weather stripped for zero air flow. In the meantime I made a couple draft stoppers. They are made of fabric and filled with sand. I bought 1 yard of the fabric on clearance for $2. I cut the fabric into four 8 inch wide pieces. I double layered them so I had two 8 inch by 45 inch bouble thickness pieces. I folded each over, and sewed along the edge and bottom so I had a tube. I turned the tube inside out. I already had sand out in my garage, so I filled up both tubes with sand and sewed up the ends. I laid them at the bottoms of the two doors to block out the cold air flowing out from under them.
I also bought some weather stripping and sealed around the door leading to our basement utility room. This morning I felt cold air coming through in a couple spots. When I turned the light on in the utility room, I could see light around the door in a couple spots, and under the door as well. So after placing weather stripping around the door, I could still see light around the top of the door. I noticed the trim along the top wasn’t lined up well with the side trim. Using a pry bar, I pulled the top trim down a little bit, and banged it inward. With a couple finishing nails to hold it in place, the top is now sealed well. I will look into a solution to seal the bottom of the door tomorrow. Maybe a sweep of some sort.

Today I went to grab a garbage bag from under the kitchen sink. I was trying to figure out why the plastic bag was a little wet. I start feeling around under there, and found the bottom of the garbage disposal unit seemed to be damp. I tried running water into it, and then turned it on. Water started streaming out of the bottom of the disposer. Huh. I started thinking that it would need to be replaced. I removed the unit from the sink. I was surprised to find the disposer was a septic unit, and had a little squirt bottle that will spray stuff into the drain when the disposer is used. Huh… We have been in the house almost 5 years, and didn’t realize there was a little bottle that should have been replaced. I saw on Home Depot’s web site that this was a $200 unit. I started thinking that the leak might just be a seal or something. I removed the plastic shell, and couldn’t find a leak at first, but then I found it. There was a hole punctured through the side of the metal. Apparently something had been in the unit when it was running and put a hole into the side. I guess the unit would need to be replaced. We went to Home Depot, and looked at the units. I decided that we really didn’t need the septic type unit as the bottle has probably been empty for since we moved in, and probably longer. We decided to get the 3/4 HP model since that was the same power as the one we had. We brought the unit home, and in about an hour I had the new disposer installed. It was pretty easy. I have installed one before, but this one was a little different. The drain from our dishwasher goes into the disposer, so I had to knock out a little plug in the unit. I was going to use plumber’s putty, but a webpage I found suggested silicone. And then the guy at Home Depot also suggested silicone, so I ended up using silicone to seal the drain collar part to the bottom of the sink. I will let it cure over night. A website with great pictures and instructions can be found here.

I ordered an Aube TH115 programmable thermostat for about $60. I am still waiting for it to be shipped (hopefull next week). I just found that Honeywell has a thermostat called LineVoltPRO 8000 which looks almost identical. They both seem to have the same specs and will run 240 line voltage, 3600 watts, 15 amp, 4 wire, double pole, etc. The TH115 has a GFCI test button and light, which the Honeywell doesn’t have, and the Aube switch says on/standby, and the Honeywell says on/off. Other than that they look exactly the same. The Honeywell sells for about $80, or $20 more than the Aube. The Honeywell lists a 5 year limited warranty as opposed to Aube’s 3 year warranty. I am guessing that Aube makes the thermostat for Honeywell, or possibly visa versa. I new 5 total, and have already ordered one of the Aubes. I could order 4 of the Honeywells, and spend an extra $80. I recognize Honeywell’s name, but am not familiar with Aube at all except from the web. Hmmmm. I am thinking that if the Aube ships when it is supposed to, and it isn’t on extreme backorder, and if it works well, I will probably stick with the Aube and save the $80. I the Aube doesn’t work, I am guessing the Honeywell wont either. So the main thing is if the Aube thermostat ships next week.

For the last two days, the termperature has been hovering around 40 degrees when I got home from work. I have taken the oportunity to squirt Great Stuff under the bottom edges of my wood siding. I believe cold air has been entering the house in at least one spot. Wednesday night I sprayed the foam uder some parts. Last night I went out and fixed a couple spots where foam had not stuck well enough and had fallen out. The foam has expanded out past the bottom of the siding. So tonight, I will go back and trim the expanded foam to be flush with the bottom of the siding. This will also help seal a couple places where ants have been entering my house over the last few years.
The temperature had been dropping last night, and was snowing by about 7:30. My motion sensor light had died, with the bulb having gotten fused to one of the contacts. I went to Home Depot, and bought another one. I took the old one down, and put the new one up. The light itself worked. But the motion sensor wasn’t triggering. I turned the light off and on. I played with the settings, but I wasn’t even getting the little red LED light to light. So ticked off, I removed the new light, and reinstalled the old dead light (at least to cover the hole). PIssed off, I took the light back to Home Depot and got another one. I installed the new one, and it worked. I read in the directions that the light needs to be powered on for a minute and a half for the motion sensor to work. I believe I had the other one on for more than a minute and a half, but maybe not. My fault.
I had talked to tech support at Heath Zenith yesterday, and they said they would take care of the light if I had the receipt. I went home last night, and fortunatly I had the reciept! Yes! In your face Heath Zenith! I just had to fax them the receipt and some other info, and they are going to send me a replacement light. Since I already replaced the dead light (with the one I bought from Home Depot), I may install the one they send me in a different spot over our deck.

When we moved into our house about 4 or 5 years ago, there were several flood lights around the house. These were the kind with two screw in flood bulbs. I replaces these with Halogen motion sensor lights made by Heath Zenith. The one over my garage has already been replaced once. The little contact inside the light that touches the end of the bulb, had coroded. I replaced the whole light. The light has been acting flakey the last couple weeks. The light wouldn’t come on when triggered, but would come on maybe 30 seconds later. Then it stopped coming on at all. I got my ladder out to check the bulb, and found the end of the bulb welded the the contact, and the contact now loose from the tab that it used to be connected to. Grumble! I called the tech supposrt line, and they said that this happens when the bulb was not seated well, and it causes arcing. He suggested to rotate the bulb on it’s access to make sure it is seated well. I asked if I can replace just the tab but he said no I have to replace the whole light. The light is warranted if I can find the receipt. I think I might have it. It is annoying that I have to replace the light AGAIN! And I use that light when it snows to light my driveway when I am using my snow thrower!

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