Saturday, August 1, 2009

Welcome to Question the Maintenance Guy

This Blog is dedicated to helping you find answers to your questions about your house and yard.

Most asked question
How do I install an automatic (dusk till dawn) or motion sensor porch light?
Removing your old light and installing a new one isn’t that hard. I know electricity scares a lot of people (including me) but, what’s turned off can’t shock you. Just like before, when you fix anything; around the home; you should posses some basic handyman skills. You should also possess and use a 7 in 1 screwdriver or #2 Philips screw driver and Standard screwdriver, combination wire stripper, lineman pliers, form-fitting rubberize gloves and a voltage detector. (A voltage detector senses power through insulation, without actually touching the wire.)


SHUT OFF POWER TO LIGHT. You must shut off the power to the porch light before you can continue any further. IMPORTANT THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS IF IGNORED. (Danger, Danger, Will Robinson. Danger! ) NEVER ATTEMPT TO FIX ANYTHING ELECTRICAL WHILE THE CIRCUIT IS LIVE. No one wants to die with a permanent afro, unless you already have one and like it.
Turn on your porch light. There are three ways to turn off the power to the light. First way is to locate the circuit panel in your house or garage. Usually, the electricians who wired your house took time to label which circuit breaker belongs to your porch light. Determine which circuit it is and shut off this circuit only. Second way is post someone in front of the light and turn off, then on each circuit in the house until you find the right one. Keep the circuit you found off. I hope you like resetting all the clocks as your daughter yells at you for shutting the computer off while she was on it. Third way is buy an audible circuit finder and screw in plug adapter. Unscrew the light bulb (with a dry washcloth) screw in the plug adapter. Plug in the transmitter to the plug adapter. Go to the breaker box and hold the receiver perpendicular to the breakers. Scan each breaker one at a time with power switch facing up on the hand-held receiver. It is normal for the receiver to beep and flash at several breakers. Go back and scan the circuits again (without turning off the power) when the receiver beeps and the arrow flashes on the second scan; you have correctly located the circuit. Shut off this circuit. The light should be off.

Unscrew the two screws on the outside of the fixture. (righty-tighty, lefty-loosey) Test the wires with a voltage detector by holding the unit outside the wires and making sure it doesn’t light up. If it lights up; go back and check circuit breakers until the detector won’t light up. In any case, MAKE SURE THE LIGHT IS SHUT OFF. THIS MEANS THE POWER TO THIS CIRCUIT IS OFF. It is now safe to continue. Please USE YOUR GLOVES; even if the power is off. Remove old light and old wire nuts. If necessary; install an offset cross bar on to the electrical box but, it should already have one.


Install the new light. Run the black, red and green wires coming from the electrical box (through the rubber gasket) splicing them to the wire of the same color wire (all black wires with black, etc) coming from the lights. Make sure there is enough wire but, it’s always a good idea to cut the old wire (coming form the circuit) back a little. Using the wire stripper, strip off a little more than ¼” of wire insulation. Insert the wire in the gauge hole closest to the gauge of wire you have. Grab wire tightly twist all the way around one and half times then, pull out firmly. Match the two wires you want to join side by side. If the wire is stranded twist it by rolling it with your thumb and fore-finger in a clock-wise fashion. Grab the end of the wires with the linesman pliers in one hand and the two wires in the other and twist clockwise. Trim off excess wire with the cutters on the pliers. This is a correct splice. Screw on new yellow wire nuts over the wire splicing, tightly. Push wires into the electrical box; make sure gasket is in correct position to seal out moisture. Screw on the new the light fixture.

Turn on circuit breaker and restore power. If you have installed an automatic (dusk to dawn) light fixture, you can check the lights for power by covering the sensor until the lights come on. Lights will come on in 2 to 3 minutes after covering. You can cover the sensor with a cap, if one is provided or use electrical tape) If you have installed motion-sensor lights you will have to adjust them. Loosen the lock-nuts and twist the light where it’s needed. Tighten the lock-nuts. To activate the lights sensors turn the lights off; wait a few seconds; and turn them on again. Underneath the sensor there should some small dials. To adjust how long the lights will stay on for, turn the TIME dial. To adjust how sensitive the sensor is, turn the SENSOR or RANGE dial while having someone walk around near the light or set it close to the middle. Some sensor-lights have a dial that keeps the light less bright for a certain amount of time. To adjust for brightness turn the DUAL BRIGHT dial to the middle. Congrats you’re done. Yehaw!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Most frequently asked question

My kitchen sink faucet leaks, how do I fix it?
Any leaking faucet spells trouble, let alone the kitchen faucet. When you fix anything; around the home; you should know some basic handyman skills. You must posses and use an adjustable wrench and needle-nose& channel lock pliers in this endeavor. If your faucet is old, outdated or just plain ugly, it might be better to replace it
but, that’s another question to answer.


TURN OFF WATER LINES. Shut Off (turn clockwise) the hot and cold water lines located under the kitchen sink. Righty-Tighty Lefty-Loosey

IMPORTANT! MAKE SURE WATER IS SHUT OFF COMPLETELY BEFORE REMOVING FAUCET PARTS OR FAUCET! You can test this by turning on the faucet. Check first the hot then, the cold. There should be no water coming out.

REMOVE HANDLE AND REPAIR FAUCET. Locate Allen screw at base of handle. (Allen screw may have small cover on it, remove and save). Use an Allen wrench; counterclockwise; to remove screw. Remove screw and set aside. TIP Spray a lubricant such as WD-40 on part that needs loosening and clean it with a rag .Easy cheesy nice and peasy.

Take off handle and set aside. Remove adjustment ring that is sitting on top of the cap and set aside. Loosen the cap with your hand; if it is too tight; wrap cap with a strip of torn t-shirt. Using a pair channel-lock pliers gently grab the cap; with the rag in between; turn counter-clock wise. Remove cap and set aside. Find the cam housing and remove; it is a plastic collar with a thin washer on top and a large washer stuck to the bottom. Locate plastic ball with the metal stick in it; this is a cam ball. Pull out the metal stick s l o w l y. Inspect the cam ball for damage. If it is broken replace it. Find the two black rubber seats (inside the faucet body) and pull out them with a small pair of needle-nose pliers. Do the same with springs behind the seats. Remove spout by lifting and twisting at the same time. Pull or cut off big o-ring from faucet body. Take the cam ball, the cam housing with washers, the big o-ring and the two black rubber seats and springs in a plastic bag and take it to the hardware store. TIP It helps to know the brand name of the faucet but, it isn’t always necessary as long as you have the parts.
Buy the replacement kit using the parts in the plastic bag to compare. Don’t forget to buy some silicone grease for the cam ball. Always replace the cam housing and the big black o-ring on the faucet body, for it is often a source of most leaks. Once, you have returned the faucet; replace the parts in the order you retrieved them. Put on big o-ring back on faucet body. Replace the spout, pushing past o-ring. Put in the springs, the two black rubber seats, and the cam ball back in place. Place silicone grease between bottom cam washer and cam ball. Replace the cam with the washers in order. Screw back on the cap, clockwise. Replace the handle making sure that stick in the rotary ball is inside the handle. Replace the Allen screw and tighten. Make sure screw is tight.


Turn on the water lines under the sink on (counter-clockwise) s l o w l y. IMPORTANT! IF IT LEAKS THE SAME OR WORSE, SHUT OFF WATER AND CALL A PLUMBER! Turn handle to the hot then, the cold. Congrats-- you’re faucet works! Yeah! Wahoo!

I hope this helps. If you like this blog, please feel free to comment and request help. Thanks, Gordon

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