Day 31 – Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat, smell my feet! Now, give me something good to eat. Are you ready for the trickery tonight? Ahhh, good. What about the time change in the US? On Sunday, November 2nd be sure to turn your clocks back one hour. Are you ready for that? What’s to be ready for? Well, this is one of two times a year you need to maintain your smoke detectors.

I don’t have to tell you how tragic not having a working smoke detector can be. All you have to do is read the news to hear many stories about homes burning to the ground and many lives consumed by the fire because they slept through it. Let’s commit to each other that we will reduce the statistics of fire fatalities.  All you have to do is maintain your smoke detectors twice a year when you change your clocks.

Day 31 - Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips:

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

First, gather a few supplies and then we can whip through this maintenance task.

Materials:

  • Can of compressed air
  • NEW 9 volt batteries
  • Permanent marker
  • Hearing protection
  • Electrical tape (or other tape)

Instructions:

Put on your hearing protection. (I finally got smart this year and wore hearing protection while replacing the batteries and testing the smoke detector. No need to damage my hearing or get a headache from listening to the alarm one foot away from my head!)

Begin by removing your smoke detector. Don’t forget to check your hardwired smoke detector, it might also use a back up battery.

Open the battery compartment and remove the old battery.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want to reuse that 9 volt battery, mark the month and year on the battery. That way you know that this was removed from the smoke detector. Don’t EVER reuse the battery in your smoke detectors, but it’s fine to use for your toys and electronics.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are going to throw away the battery, it’s important to cover the terminals with tape. If you don’t a fire could start if something metal touches both terminals at the same time.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Put a new battery into the smoke detector (pay attention to where the + and – terminals go.)

Use the can of compressed air to blow out around the sensor and inside the smoke detector. Keeping a clean detector is important for it to function properly.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Replace the smoke detector and press the test button. After the alarm has stopped you can take off your hearing protection.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Move on to the next smoke detector.

Okay, tell me honestly, am I the last human being to figure out wearing hearing protection while maintaining your smoke detectors is a great idea?

That’s it! Day 31 of Nester’s 31 Days Challenge! I’m done and have to let out a big breath of air. Posting for 31 days straight was tough, but I’m glad I made it. Did you enjoy the series? How many other series did you follow?

I’m planning on taking it easier in November, so I hope you’ll excuse me if I miss a day or two out of my normal 3 day a week schedule.

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Other tips in the 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes series:


Install Security Film to a Glass Door and Protect Your Home

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

The folks at Allstate Insurance have graciously sponsored this post, which will help you learn how to install security film to safeguard your doors (or windows) from a potential break-in! It’s a simply DIY solution that could potentially save you the heartache of having your home burglarized.

I’ve noticed an unsettling trend in our area. There are more thefts popping up around our neighborhood. Luckily the majority of them are burglaries with no violence. But, it’s still unsettling. If you want the latest on crimes around you, sign up for SpotCrime.com. Simply enter your address and you’ll get emails when crimes are reported around you. Then again, this could lead to a bit of paranoia {raising hand.}

SpotCrime.com map

Regardless, there are two doors in our home that have always caused me some concern. We have two half window doors that needed some added security measures. The first one is the entrance to our mudroom. The second one is the back door to our garage (and you know I’d be heartbroken if anyone stole my power tools!)

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have a door like this, a burglar can simply break the pane of glass closest to the knob, reach in and turn the deadbolt and handle. One option is to install a two-sided keyed entry deadbolt lock. Because we have little children, I worried about them not being able to find the key and get out of the house in the event of a fire.

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors &  Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

This past week I happened to hear about security film and did a little research. I was skeptical until I tested the material myself. The results seriously amazed me! You can watch my test in the video later in this post.

In the meantime, here are the supplies you’ll need and the very simply installation instructions!

Materials:
(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)
  • 8 Mil Security Window Film
  • Spray bottle with water and a few drops of dish soap (or baby shampoo)
  • 4 inch Squeegee
  • Paper towels
  • Razor blade
  • X-acto knife (or scissors)
  • Metal Ruler
  • Ball point pen or fine-tipped sharpie
  • Cutting surface

 Instructions:

1. Begin by removing the grill if you have one solid piece of glass with faux dividers (see my video below for more details on removing the grill.) If you have true divided light, move on to the next step.

2. Measure your windows. Reduce the size by 1/8″ to leave space at the edges for the water to escape. Transfer the measurements onto the film with pen. Cut the window film with the x-acto knife and ruler. (You could use scissors in a pinch.)

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors &  Windows | Pretty Handy Girl [Read more...]

Rosemary Wreath, Juniper Garland Tutorial {+ a Healthy Home Giveaway from Filtrete}

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is upon us and with the temperatures dropping we have our windows closed and doors shut. Thus sealing in the stale air and odors. Not to mention cold and flu viruses. Ugh. But, I have a few easy and inexpensive tips to give your home beautiful natural scents and cleaner air. Plus, Filtrete is giving away some healthy home products to help you survive winter indoors. Read to the end of the post to learn how to enter the giveaway.

DIY Juniper Garland Tutorial:

As I was driving through our local shopping center last week, I spotted several juniper bushes that were ripped out of the ground by the landscapers. It was obvious they were getting rid of them. I did what any resourceful crazy DIYer would do and filled my trunk full of the bushes.

juniper-filled-trunk

I was just about to drive away as one of the landscapers hailed me down. I totally thought I was about to be reprimanded. Gulp. But, he asked me if I knew they were dead. I laughed and said it didn’t matter because I was going to make garlands out of them. He then showed me the location of the three dumpsters full of more juniper I could have for more garlands! Score one for the crazy DIY lady!

If you don’t have free landscaping waste at your disposal, you can use any trimmings from pine and evergreen type bushes.

Materials:

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Fresh trimmings
  • Floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Pruners
  • Gloves

Instructions:

Put on your gloves. Cut your trimmings into manageable sections. Layer clumps together.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Wrap a small piece of floral wire around the clump to secure them. (I should have worn gloves, I totally regretted my actions after having many tiny cuts on my hands.) Continue adding to create a garland rope.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Secure the garland rope to your bannister, mailbox, mantle or wherever you want to decorate with holiday greenery. I used more floral wire to attach the garland to our banister.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Then I added some pretty bows. I wish my blog had smell-o-vision because these juniper garlands have a fresh evergreen scent.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Not bad for free greenery!!!

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Rosemary Star Wreath Tutorial:

Making a rosemary wreath is almost as easy as making a garland, but on a smaller scale. If you have a fresh rosemary bush, you can use trimmings from it for this project. If not, now’s the time of year to purchase little rosemary trees at your grocery store.

Materials:

  • Fresh rosemary
  • Scissors
  • Floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Copper pipe (or a coat hanger will work)
  • Fishing line

Optional: Plumbing strap for hanging

Instructions:

Form your copper wire into a star shape. Wrap (or solder) the ends together.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Use small pieces of floral wire to attach rosemary springs to the star shape. Add a plumbing strap on top and feed fishing line through the hole in the strap.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

Hang your rosemary star wreath and enjoy the heavenly scent of rosemary in your kitchen throughout the season.

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

DIY Rosemary Wreath & Juniper Garland | Pretty Handy Girl

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Cleaning the Air in Your Home:

Having the doors and windows closed in the winter helps keep your home warm. But, it also traps odors and makes the air in your home stale. You know who else is trapped indoors? Viruses and germs are also trapped inside! Besides frequent hand washing, you can improve your odds of staying healthy this winter by changing your air filters.Use a good quality Filtrete brand filter, like the Filtrete Healthy Living Filter, MPR 1900, to trap viruses and to clean your home’s air.

Be sure to check your filters and change them every 1-3 months to keep your home healthy and your HVAC system running smoothly.

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Filtrete Healthy Home Giveaway:

filtrete-healthy-home-giveaway

Filtrete is offering a special giveaway of two products to help you stay healthier this winter:

A new filtering water pitcher to help keep you hydrated in the cooler and dryer season. And the Filtrete Healthy Living Filter to scrub your home’s stale winter air.

To enter to win this Healthy Home Giveaway. Simply like Filtrete on Facebook using the Rafflecopter widget below. (If you can’t see the widget, click here.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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filtrete_brand_ambassador

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete. I have the honor of being an ambassador for them and have been sharing information from 3M Filtrete. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own.  I have been compensated for my time and for this post. I continue to work with certain companies like Filtrete that I believe in, because of their quality and because I feel they have helpful messages for my readers. I will always disclose to you if you are reading a sponsored post.

How to Reinforce an Entry Door and Make it Burglar Proof

Reinforce an Entry Door

Reinforce an Entry Door

Burglar proofing your home is easy. Especially f you have a gazillion dollars to hire security guards, attack dogs and a web of lasers. Ahh, to dream a dream. But, for those of us who actually have a budget there’s a quick solution. And it’ll help you sleep a lot easier at night.

Having a home invasion is nerve wracking to say the least (yes, I’ve experienced this), I understand the fear many homeowners face:

A  passionate desire to keep our family safe from all the badness in the world.

Think about this, in many instances the only things stopping a robber from kicking open your front door are 1/2 inch screws, some thin metal (in the form of hinges and  strike plates), and at best a wimpy 1 inch piece of wood called your door jamb. Um, I think my 74 year old dad could kick open most people’s doors.

Today I’ll walk you through the installation of EZ Armor. It’s a door reinforcement kit you can buy for $69 at Lowe’s. You need limited tools and 15 minutes.

Here’s a supply list to help you get started:

  • Drill or impact driver
  • 11/64 inch drill bit (if you choose the drill)
  • Phillips head bit for said drill or driver
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses

I promise you’ll boost your home’s safety by leaps and bounds by using EZ Armor. It only take a few minutes to understand why.

The EZ Armor kit I bought came with the following accessories:

  • Jamb shield (1)
  • Hinge shields (2)
  • Door shields (2)
  • 2 1/2 inch screws (4)
  • 3 1/2 inch screws (17)

EZ Armor

Okay, if you’re an excitable DIYer like me you might dive right into the installation. You can watch the video or read the photo tutorial below:

[Read more...]

Krud Kutter Exterior Clean Up without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

clean-house

How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

Is your home ready for Halloween? I don’t mean decorating. I mean is it so grimy and dirty that you don’t need to decorate to scare off the trick or treaters?

How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder

Umm, yup, that was my house. But, a few weeks ago I was introduced to my new CBFF (Cleaning Best Friend Forever.)

Krud Kutter Original - My Cleaning BFF

Seriously, you can ask my sister and stepmom! I was toting around a bottle of Krud Kutter this past weekend while working on renovating a VERY dated beach condo. What? You didn’t know I was doing that?!

Pretty Handy Girl Instagrams from Topsail

Well, you NEED to follow me on Instagram to get the latest deets of my DIY life!

Anyway, back to Krud Kutter. The folks at Krud Kutter couldn’t believe I’d never used their products before. So, they offered to send me some to try. But, before I agreed, I checked with a few DIY friends like Holly.  And, they all agreed, “Oh yeah, that stuff ROCKS!” Holly says she uses it to clean grimy furniture before painting it. I figured if she likes it, I might.

Within a few days, a box containing some Krud Kutter Original and Krud Kutter House Wash showed up on my VERY dirty doorstep. I’m sure my UPS driver thinks our stoop is a disgrace. I had contemplated buying a pressure washer to clean it.

How to Clean Your House Exterior without a Pressure Washer or Ladder(That white grout you see at the top of the picture was protected under the door mat for years.)

You can imagine my skepticism that a little plastic bottle could do the same job as a pressure washer.  But, I was shocked at what happened next.

[Read more...]

Kitchen Progress Update + Filtrete Healthy Home Remodel Contest

FiltreteHealthyHomeClubBadge

kitchen_progress_2.21.13

I can honestly say that this is the first week that I’ve felt the progress on our kitchen (besides just feeling it in my sore muscles.) And, it FEELS GOOD! No more road bumps like termites or asbestos.  I’m sure from this picture you are thinking, “What progress? When the heck is she going to put her kitchen back together?” Well, come on in and I’ll show you some of the forward movement that’s been made! [Read more...]

All About Termites and Clean Up with The Bagster Bag

termite_damaged_studs

learn-about-termite-damage

There we were, Harvey the electrician and I were happily making progress on the kitchen renovation. Harvey was just finishing up on the last row of outlets when his hand disappeared into the wall. “Ummm, Ms. Bailey, I think there’s something wrong with this stud.” I looked over to see him pulling wood shavings out of the hole he had cut for the outlet. “What the…..?” (I repressed my urge to curse.) Within five minutes of his discovery, we had pulled down the sheetrock around the suspicious stud and were glaring at a poor excuse for two framing members and the wall’s bottom plate.

termite_damaged_studs

The two studs were so brittle and destroyed that I was able to poke my entire finger through them. (Let’s see you do that to a solid 2×4, Mr. Houdini!)

finger_through_termite_damage

Not good…not good at all. I had to make the unfortunate call to Pretty Handsome Guy to tell him the bad news. But, I broke it to him lightly, “Honey, what is the one home disaster we HAVEN’T had to deal with yet?” He guessed tornado (Shoot, forgot about that one.) “No, Termites! But, the good news is that there is no live infestation.” See, it always helps to temper the bad with some good news. ;-)

The next few days were fraught with nail biting, lightly walking around that wall (for fear it might topple over), and multiple phone calls to the termite company, our building inspector and a structural engineer. To make this long story short, the structural engineer was the most helpful and advised us to fur out our walls to carry the wall load over the remaining perfectly good rim joist. If that sounds Greek to you — no worries — I really want to share with you what I’ve learned about TERMITES instead! [Read more...]

Installing Semi-Rigid Dryer Hose to Prevent Fire Hazard

connected_semi_rigid_dryer_Hose


prevent_fires_replace_dryer_hose
Last year when I showed you how to clean out your dryer hose to prevent dryer fires, I didn’t realize that I still had a fire hazard living in our laundry room. Since then, I stumbled across a video that scared the bejeezus out of me. Matt from Great Lakes Home Performance created this video showing what happens to foil dryer hoses.

I knew that white plastic dryer hoses were bad and had previously replaced ours with the flexible foil hose. But, I felt duped when Matt showed what happens to those “foil” hoses. First, what I didn’t realize is that those shiny metal hoses aren’t foil! They are made of flammable plastic. Go ahead, run to your dryer right now and see what type of duct work you have — I’ll wait. If it is white or shiny foil, I’ll show you how to replace it with semi-rigid duct to keep you and your home safe from a dryer fire. This is an easy tutorial, you can definitely do this (if your exterior dryer vent is on the 2nd floor, you can keep the same vent and just replace the hose.) [Read more...]

How to Replace Garage Door Extension Springs – Guest Post Home Repair Tutor

Homerepairtutor_bike_garage_door

 

Hey guys and gals, I have a special guest for you today! Today I have a real life Handy Man today. That’s right we’re bringing in a little testosterone to mix things up.

This is Jeff aka Pretty Handy Man:

Jeff writes Home Repair Tutor, a blog that shares tips on saving time and money when doing home repairs. He shares his experiences, both good and bad, to help you with what sometimes seems like overwhelming home repair projects. He also likes the Steelers, (I’m supposed to tell you that because guys find that stuff important. So, if you hate the Steelers, boo on you. Can you tell I’m naive on how to talk sports?)

Plus, he always adds a little humor to his videos. (My favorite is garage door testing the unorthodox way. Don’t you just love a man who isn’t afraid to ride a pink bike?)

I’ve been following Home Repair Tutor for a few months now and Jeff’s recent post about garage door maintenance saved me some cash. I had been trying to solve why my garage door was running so rough and had already replaced the rollers. But, Jeff had one tip that I had forgotten to do: Lubricate all the moving parts! Duh, a few squirts of lubricant had the doors rolling smooth again. I hope you’ll check out his blog and follow along. You won’t be disappointed.

So, today I give you handy man and comedian, Jeff from Home Repair Tutor! Woooohoo!

Thanks Brittany for the opportunity to guest post on Pretty Handy Girl. You’ve set the bar high for home remodeling tutorials and I hope to empower your fans with another great DIY project. But first let me briefly introduce myself.

My name is Jeff Patterson and my remodeling blog is Home Repair Tutor. In my spare time I manage and fix my own older rental homes here in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade and have experienced numerous projects that include kitchen remodels, bathroom installations, hardwood floor restoration, and more. My goal is pass along all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned so others can benefit.

Today’s post deals with a project that anyone can do:

Replacing Garage Door Extension Springs

Garage Door Extension Spring Repair

A squeaky garage door has a penetrating sound that can drive anyone crazy. The average garage door is opened and closed over 600 times every year. This repetitive action is what leads to the creaks you hear on a daily basis.

But regular maintenance can help your garage door run smoothly and safely. Two of the most used items on your garage door are the extension springs that help lift and lower it. Extension springs are found on most traditional roll up garage doors. They’re dangerous if not properly maintained since they hold a tremendous amount of tension.

(Pretty Handy Girl notes: Torsion springs are the other type of garage door springs. They run directly over the garage door opening on a rod. Serious injury can occur if you don’t know what  you are doing or have the right tools to replace a torsion spring. In my opinion, these should be left to the pros.)

This tutorial will take the mystery out of how garage door extension springs work and will show you how to safely replace them on your own without spending a ton of money. By the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to perform this home repair project, and tell your neighbors you’re a garage door Jedi :).

Are Your Garage Door Springs Misbehaving?

This tutorial is going to address garage door extension springs that run along the door’s horizontal track. But how do you know if your springs need replaced?

The picture below is a good example of what a spring looks like at the end of its life cycle.

Warped Garage Door Springs

If this spring breaks it will release an extraordinary amount of tension that can be unleashed on a person or item in your garage.

Another sign of worn springs is creakiness or uneven closure of your door. Bad springs can put pressure on the garage door rollers and cause them to screech. If one spring is bad but the other is in good shape the door may close unevenly, too. You’ll notice this if the door is closed and one side is higher than the other.

Extension springs are colored coded. In my case the springs had red paint sprayed just on one end, and this indicated that we had a 150 lb. garage door.

Garage Door Springs are Color Coded

You can go to Home Depot and buy your replacement extension springs based on the color code. The picture below shows the wide range of springs you can buy.

Garage Door Extension Springs are Sold Based on Their Color Code

Now that you know how to choose your springs you can get started on your project.

Become a Jedi of Garage Door Springs

But even Yoda would agree that safety comes first.

Completely open your garage door and unplug the power cord to the opener.

Place a C-clamp on each track underneath the the bottom garage door roller. This will prevent the door from rolling down to the ground in the next step. For extra protection you can put a step ladder underneath the center of the door.

Use a C-Clamp Underneath the Bottom Garage Door Roller

Pull down on the garage door’s manual safety release. This allows the garage door to be moved up and down without the help of the opener.

Pull Down on the Garage Door Manual Safety Release

The door weight should now rest on the C-clamps.

This next step is a smart tip that will ensure your extension spring installation was done correctly. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape on the garage door track underneath the pulley that’s attached to the extension spring. Then place a mark on the tape to indicate the center of the pulley’s bolt.

Place a Mark on the Tape to Indicate the Center of the Pulley's Bolt

Since the spring has no tension in it you can safely remove the steel safety cable that runs through it. This cable is in place so that if your garage door spring snaps it won’t shoot across the room and hurt someone. The safety cable runs through the spring. It’s tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening on one end and is simply tied to the vertical support bracket on the other end.

Before removing the safety cable from the support brackets you should take pictures of how it was tied together. This will help you when you have to re-tie it after the new extension spring is installed. I also numbered the holes on the vertical support bracket as 1 & 2 to help with this process.

Take a Picture of the Steel Cable Before Undoing It

Since the steel safety cable will only need to be removed from the horizontal support bracket I also decided to make a reference mark on it. This mark will allow you to reinstall the safety cable to how it was originally setup.

Place a Reference Mark on the Steel Safety Cable

The next step is to remove the garage door extension spring.

There’s a steel cable connected to the bottom of your garage door. This cable runs over a stationary pulley that’s attached to your garage door track. This steel cable continues until it goes over and around a second pulley that’s attached to your extension spring via a pulley fork. The steel cable then is attached to the horizontal support bracket via an S-hook. This S-Hook is also attached to a three hole adjusting clip.

Mark where the S-hook was positioned on the support bracket then remove it.

Mark the Position of the S-Hook Then Remove it From the Support Bracket

Now you need to disassemble the pulley that is connected to the spring. This is simple but again take a picture of your configuration for reference. Remember that the steel cable that runs from the bottom of the garage door goes over the top of the pulley then to the horizontal support bracket. You’ll need two wrenches to undo the nut and bolt that hold the pulley to the pulley fork.

Remove the Pulley from the Pulley Fork by Undoing the Nut & BoltRemove the pulley and pulley fork from the extension spring. The spring can now be taken off the eye bolt hanger. The eye bolt hanger is attached to the vertical support brackets that come down from the ceiling.

Remove the Extension Spring from the Eye Bolt

The picture below shows the old spring on the left and the new spring on the right. Is there any doubt the extension springs needed replaced? :)

Old Versus New Garage Door Extension Spring

A New Era of Garage Door Efficiency Begins

The installation of the new spring, as you can imagine, is opposite that of the removal process. It’s easy but requires attention to detail.

Attach the non-color coded end of the spring to the eye-bolt and run the steel safety cable through it.

Pull the steel safety cable through the vertical support bracket. I labeled the two holes the steel cable will pass through.

Hole 1 has the cable going through it right to left. The cable should then pass through Hole 2 from left to right.

Position the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support BracketA loop is created. Thread the cable back through this loop. Notice the black reference mark that was made on the cable. I used pliers to pull the wire tight such that this mark stops short of going through Hole 1.

Thread the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support Bracket

Pull the steel cable through the hole on the far side of the support bracket.

Weave the cable back and forth in the same manner as it was before being removed.

Tighten the Steel Safety Cable to the Support Bracket

The other end of the steel safety cable that runs through the extension spring should be tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening.

This next part is where your attention to detail is somewhat critical.

Place the pulley fork onto the color coded end of the extension spring. Ensure the plastic bushing that has the steel safety cable running through it is facing away from the garage door track.

The Plastic Bushing on the Pulley Fork Must Face Away from the Garage Door Track

Pull the steel cable that comes from the bottom of the garage door over the top of the pulley. The S-hook and 3-hole adjusting clip attached to the steel cable should be hanging down from the pulley.

Make sure this steel cable is not twisted with the steel safety cable. (I didn’t check for this and had to undo the entire pulley/pulley fork assembly — not fun.) The steel cable should run freely from the stationary pulley closest to the garage door opening to the pulley that will be connected to the extension spring.

Position the pulley into the pulley fork then place the nut onto the pulley fork so that it is next to the plastic bushing.

Place the Nut for the Pulley on Top of the Pulley Fork Next to the Plastic Bushing

Pass the bolt through the pulley fork and pulley. Tighten the nut and bolt until they’re secure.

Attach the S-hook & 3-hole adjusting clip to the horizontal support bracket where it originally was located.

Place the S-Hook & 3-Hole Adjusting Clip into the Support Bracket

At this point you can use the reference mark on the blue tape to check the tension of the steel cable. In this case the pulley’s bolt lined up perfectly with the mark and tension was good to go.

Check the Tension of the Garage Door Extension Spring

The tension of the garage door springs can be adjusted by doing the following:

  • Move the S-hook to different holes in the horizontal support bracket
  • Adjust the cable in the 3-hole adjusting clip connected to the S-hook (this is a pain!)
  • Moving the eye-bolt up or down on the vertical support bracket. Do this with the door open and C-clamps on the tracks. (Moving the eye-bolt up will increase tension while moving it down releases tension)

Use great care when adjusting the spring tension. As mentioned before, garage door extension springs can cause serious injuries and that is the last thing anyone wants. This is a safe project to perform as long as you follow all of the steps :). Remember that both extension springs need to replaced at the same time. So, while this tutorial only shows one spring being removed you need do the above steps for the second. Otherwise your door may close unevenly. Besides, if one spring is bad, chances are the other isn’t in good shape.

Queue the Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Plug your garage door opener into the outlet and remove the C-clamps. Hold your breath (just kidding) and hit the garage door opener. With any luck you’ll see the garage door close smoothly, safely, and with a resounding feeling of accomplishment.There’s a chance that your door may not close completely due to the new springs having more tension than the old ones.You can adjust how far the door travels by turning the adjustment screws on the door opener.
Adjust the Travel of Your Garage Door by Turning the Travel Screws

Now you know how to safely replace your garage door extension springs. Give yourself a high five! New springs will help your garage door run smoothly and efficiently while eliminating annoying squeaks.

For more garage door maintenance tips, you can read my post on regular garage door maintenance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’d be more than happy to help you with your project.

Thanks again Brittany for the opportunity to bring this tutorial to your fans. Hopefully this showed that it’s not difficult to do any project when you’ve got the right mix of patience and curiosity.

Make it a great day!

Thank you Jeff, what a great tutorial! I can always count on Home Repair Tutor to help me learn something new.

Keeping with the theme of garage door repairs, I’ll have a tutorial on how to replace your garage door rollers on Friday! And how I fought the garage door and I won!

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial (bonus points to anyone old enough to know what the heck that means.)

Time to Clean Your Dryer Ducts – Prevent Fires

pull_out_lint_trap

Once the weather turns cold and the heat kicks on, your home starts to get dry and static electricity arrives once again. This minor nuisance that causes siblings to shock each other for fun can actually be dangerous if it ignites lint that has built up in or around your dryer.

Why you should clean out your dryer ductwork:

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, ( CPSC ), annually there are 15,500 Dryer Fires, Up To 30 Deaths and over 310 injuries, due to dryer exhaust duct fires. You should clean your dryer hose and around it once a year, and inspect the vent and hose for any blockages at least every 6 months.

You could pay a professional to clean your dryer ductwork, but the price could be anywhere from $65.00 to $150.00! Ummm — no thanks — I’ll keep my money and do this myself. It only takes about 15 – 20 minutes to do and it is easy! As long as your ductwork is fairly accessible, you can handle this!

If your dryer exhaust hose tube is longer than 10′ this may be a bit more difficult. And if it is longer than 10′, did you know that your dryer may be working extra hard to dry your clothes? Worse yet is if you have a long tube that goes up into the attic (or the eaves) and then out the roof. The warm moist air from the dryer enters the cold attic, and condensation forms in the exhaust tube. Do you know where this little story is going? Well, at first your dryer can’t dry as quickly because the tube is blocked by water. Eventually it will fill with enough water to cause the exhaust tube to split and guess where all that water goes? Through your ceiling, that is where! Trust me on this one, it happened to us in our old house.

So, why don’t you sit back down and let me give you a little tutorial on cleaning out your dryer exhaust ductwork.

Instructions:

Start by unplugging your dryer and turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer.

Remove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen.

Using a brush (designed for cleaning out the coils under your fridge) bend the brush and run it inside the lint trap. Then follow up by using a shop vac or vacuum to suck up any lint and dirt loosened by the brush.

Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the exhaust duct tube from the wall and the dryer. There are normally two kinds of hose clamps holding the tube to the dryer and wall port. The first is a ring with two prongs. Simply squeeze the prongs toward one another to loosen the clamp.

The second type of hose clamp requires a screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Slide the exhaust tube off the dryer and the port (hole in the wall.)

Use your vacuum to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Then use the vacuum to clean out the dryer exhaust tube.

If you have an older style vinyl tube, it is important that you replace it with a foil style one. The vinyl ones are fire hazards. Also, if you can’t get your tube clean, go ahead and replace it. They are inexpensive, normally it costs just under $10 for a new foil flexible duct tube.

If your tube is long or difficult to clean out, you may want to purchase a hose brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning BrushAmazon.com: Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush: Home & Garden.

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is safer than a lint covered one.

Re-attach the dryer tube to the wall and the dryer.

Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

Locate your exterior dryer vent.

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running.Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t be helping your dryer’s efficiency!

And that is it?! That was easy wasn’t it. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by cleaning your dryer exhaust ductwork yearly.

Update: I wanted to let y’all know that the flex foil pipe shown in this tutorial is FLAMMABLE! Luckily I found this out before we had a fire.

prevent_fires_replace_dryer_hose

Read about installing semi-rigid non-combustible duct in this easy tutorial!

 

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