8 Essential Survival Skills Every Home Owner Needs To Know.
Everyone knows that owning a home can be hard sometimes. From pesky bee's nests to unexpected holes in your gutters sometimes we all need a little help with the day to day tasks of being a home owner.
This is one of the trickiest repairs to pull off because the new paint tends to stand out from the rest of the wall. Your best bet is to use a foam brush or roller, says painter Mauro Henrique. "Use vertical strokes only—and try to apply the thinnest possible coat," he says.
Paint a Ceiling
Stand on a ladder to cut in the edges, then stand on the floor and use a roller on an extension pole to fill in the field. Keep your roller fairly dry by rolling it over the paint pan's ridges a few times after loading it up, to avoid getting dripped on. Apply a second coat, rolling in the opposite direction to catch any holidays from the first pass.
Immediately get to a source of fresh air—outside the house or at an open window or door. Then call 911. Emergency responders will use high-grade detectors to determine whether the alarm is genuine. If there's really a leak, they'll find and shut off the source of the gas and air out your place.
Measure Without a Tape Measure
Aside from memorizing the length of your stride, here are handy approximations to know:
• Dollar bill: 6 inches long
• Credit card: 2 inches wide
• Soda can: 5 inches tall
Get Rid of Invasive Weeds
Hand weeding won't work on these guys because you'll never get 100 percent of the roots out of the ground, so they keep coming back. The only effective solution is a systemic herbicide, such as Roundup. "The problem is, weeds are usually mixed in with garden plants and the spray will kill anything it touches," says Roger Cook. "So I like to cut the weed down to the ground and, as soon as it leafs out again, paint the chemical onto the leaves using a foam brush." Coat all of its leaves, and it will finally die, roots and all.
Get Rid of a Bee's or Hornet's Nest
Under the cover of darkness, when the stinging pests are all tucked into their hive, soak its entrance with a jet-spray insecticide from a safe 10 to 15 feet away. If the hive shows no activity the next day, discard it. For carpenter bees, spray each hole they've bored in your house, "and expect it to be an ongoing battle," says Tom Scollins, a longtime pest-control pro who's now at Baltimore County Animal Control. If you have honeybees, look for a local beekeeper who might come and take the nest so they can live to pollinate another day.
Patch a Hole in a Gutter
Grab some tin snips and cleanly cut away rusted or corroded material around the hole. Fashion a patch from flashing made of the same material—aluminum, copper, zinc, galvanized steel, or even vinyl—several inches larger than the hole. Glue the patch inside the gutter using a thick bead of roofing cement, available in caulking-gun tubes.
Troubleshoot a Fixture That Keeps Blowing Bulbs
With the power off, run through this decision tree from electrician Scott Caron:
(1) Is there black around the socket?
If No, go to (2). If Yes, replace the fixture. It's likely been "overlamped," meaning that 100-watt bulbs, say, were used in a 60-watt-max socket.
(2) Check whether the tab at the bottom of the fixture is pressed down.
If No, go to (3). If Yes, that could be causing a short. Gently lift the tab with a flathead screwdriver back to its original position.
(3) Does the tab look corroded?
If No, go to (4). If Yes, clean with an emery cloth to clear the way for a better electrical connection.
(4) Plug a digital multimeter into a receptacle on the same circuit and see if you're getting more than 120 volts.
If No, go to (5). If Yes, the extra juice is blowing the standard-bulb filaments. Buy a rough-service or 130-volt bulb.
(5) Is there a kid's play space or bedroom overhead?
If No, go to (6). If Yes, excessive vibration could be breaking the filaments. Buy a rough-service bulb.
(6) If all else fails, swap in an LED bulb (making sure to replace any dimmer, too, with an LED-friendly unit). These solid-state illuminators aren't bothered by excessive voltage or vibration, and their low energy consumption won't tax an old socket.