Friday, December 10, 2010

Outside Lights

Do you have outside lights that you like to have on at night but you have to remember to flip the switch? I'll bet most of the time they are never on. To solve this some people have bought those sensors that you screw into the bulb socket. These work most of the time but your light bulb is no longer in the correct position. There is a better way.

Go to Home Depot or another hardware store and buy a sensor for about $12. Also buy an electric gang box with wings for $1.50. Twenty-five feet of 3 strand wire will do it. That would be 12-3 gage wire.

The switch to your exterior light beside the front door should be located in the interior side directly below the exterior light. Remove the exterior light to reveal the wiring. Next, you need to cut a rectangular hole on the exterior side the size of the gang box insert. Now install the gang box making sure it is secure. Fish your wire through from the gang box to the light box and wire it according to the instructions included with the sensor. Re-install your light. Finally, test the sensor by putting black tape over the sensor eye. Turn on the light switch. Wait a couple of minutes. If the light comes on then your sensor works.

Now all you have to do is to remember to leave your light switch on at all times. Let the sensor do the rest.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fix the Squeaky Floor

Two of the most irritating things I know of are squeaky shoes and a squeaky floor. Fixing squeaky shoes is easy.... discard them. Fixing a squeaking floor is a little more difficult.

There are basically two reasons a floor may squeak. The most common reason is that it was improperly nailed to the joists and over time some of the nailing has worked loose. The squeaking is caused by the floor moving up and down again the nails. Simply tapping the nails down will not fix the squeak, that will be only a temporary fix. A proper and lasting fix will require removing the loose nails then installing new fasteners. The fasteners I prefer are the trapeze type deck screws one and five-eighths inches in length. Whereas other screws actually created separation between the joists and the plywood, these screws actually suck the plywood down tight. That is what eliminates the squeaks.

The other problem causing squeaking is the edges of the plywood rubbing together when they move. This can happen between floor joists as plywood flexes. The fix for this is to us a circular saw and cut along the seam between sheets if plywood to create space. Set the depth of your saw blade for only the thickness of the plywood to prevent cutting into the joists.

There are key times to fix the squeaks. One is when you are changing carpet of floor coverings. At this time the floor decking is open and joists are readily findable. These squeaks must be fixed before installing hardwood or tile. Covering them up will not fix the problem. In fact, your tile may crack if the squeaks are not repaired.

If you have any questions you may contact me in the comments area.