How to replace an AC power cord

How to replace an AC power cord

A damaged power cord doesn’t have to mean the end of life for a tool or appliance. Power cords are usually replaceable with simple tools and minimal expense. Here’s how to replace an AC power cord.

If you can open up the device, do this. Open it up, snip the bad cord off, tie a knot in the replacement cord and splice it onto the remainder of the old cord.

If you can’t open the device, do this instead. Snip the cord off above the defect, splice the replacement cord onto what’s left and insulate it well with heat-shrink tubing.

Here’s how.

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Where the red wire goes in a light fixture

Where the red wire goes in a light fixture

A friend was replacing a light fixture in his bathroom and ran into something confusing–a red wire in the electrical box along with the usual black and white wires. And when he hooked up his new light fixture, he did what I would expect the majority of homeowners to do–he connected the white wire on the fixture to the white wires in the box, and the black wire on the fixture to the black wires in the box. And then his light switch wouldn’t work–the light stayed on all the time.

He was on the right track when he asked what the red wire is for. That was the key to solving his problem.

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How to mark vinyl tile on the front

How to mark vinyl tile on the front

Sometimes you need to mark vinyl tile on the front before you cut it.

Here’s the scenario. You’re cutting a vinyl tile to fit an intricate spot on the floor. And you need to measure it with the top showing. So you measure it and draw your pattern. Then you start to cut, and you find out the hard way that the pencil or pen marks wipe away. And they’ll probably disappear before you finish cutting.

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Using a computer power cord on a garbage disposal

Using a computer power cord on a garbage disposal

When I replace garbage disposals, I prefer to use a power cord rather than hardwire them straight into the wall. The thing is, I don’t like paying $12 for the official power cord, which is chintzy looking and, frankly, looks under spec’ed. Instead, I prefer to use a computer power cord on a garbage disposal.

The label on a 1/3 HP Insinkerator Badger says it’s rated for 5.8 amps at 125 volts. I found a computer power cord in my stash that was rated for 10 amps at 125 volts. It’s overkill, but when it comes to electricity, overkill is good. Best of all, it let me repurpose something I’d already paid for and was probably never going to use.

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Tinted primer paint makes painting easier

Tinted primer paint makes painting easier

It took a few years but I discovered a non-obvious way to make painting easier. Use tinted primer paint to cover in fewer coats. If you’re asking if Kilz primer can be painted, the answer is yes. Absolutely.

I’ve painted more than a few rooms in my day, and the majority of them have been difficult to cover shades like red and yellow, or really bright colors. Sometimes when I’m really lucky, they’re the shade of the color that was popular in the 1970s. Those colors haven’t aged well.

Correcting other peoples’ violations of public nuisance laws requires a few steps. The first step is primer. But buy the right one, and don’t use white primer.

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Fixing a sink that quit working

My mother in law bought a foreclosed condo, and I helped her get the water turned back on, but one sink just wouldn’t work no matter what I did. I finally found an answer, and since there wasn’t much information online, I thought I’d share what I learned about fixing a sink that quit working suddenly, to save someone else some hassle.

The problem occurred in one of the bathrooms. The shutoff valves under the sink were extremely sticky and didn’t want to turn on. Eventually I got them to turn on, and then I ran the sink, and it worked. Then I turned the valves off and back on a couple of times to loosen them, in case she ever had to turn off the water. They loosened up to the point where they were usable again, but then the sink, which had been working fine a minute before, didn’t work anymore. If I turned the sink all the way up, the best I got was a slow drip. If someone else hadn’t been there with me and seen it, I would have thought I’d gone crazy.

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How to repaint screen door/storm door handles

How to repaint screen door/storm door handles

I have three storm door handles, much like the one to the right, that were a bit worse for wear. The painted black finish had worn off over time in places, creating an uneven finish of dull black and dull gray.  Replacing them would make the house look a lot better in a subtle way, but there was nothing wrong with them–they worked fine, they just looked worn out.

So I repainted them instead of replacing them and saved myself $30.

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