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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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Yes, you can replace an Insinkerator in a hurry AND on a budget

After having a second Insinkerator garbage disposal in about three months give it up and start leaking, I started wondering if there might be a way to get drop-in replacement at a lower price.

I found it. Actually, I found several. Emerson, the maker of Insinkerator, sells a budget brand they call Evergrind. And an Evergrind garbage disposal costs several dollars less than a comparable Insinkerator while still using the same mount. Ace Hardware garbage disposals (their house brand) are the same, as are True Value Master Plummer garbage disposals. Essentially all three of them are Insinkerator Badgers with a different label and molded a different color.

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Need an emergency paint remover? Use baby wipes.

I don’t remember where I picked this up, but baby wipes are surprisingly effective at removing paint. So if you get paint on some trim or on the floor and you don’t notice right away, reach for the baby wipes–or buy a package of baby wipes.

Paint that’s only a few hours old will come off with little effort. Paint that’s been on a while longer will take more effort.

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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 long it takes to paint a room with a Graco 360DS paint sprayer

It takes about an hour to paint a room with a Graco 360DS paint sprayer. Here’s why I know that. I had to paint a house this month for the first time in about five years. I don’t particularly enjoy painting and I’m not particularly good at it.

An old high school friend helped me out with the exterior, and after seeing his paint sprayer, I had to get one myself. Mine’s less expensive and less fancy than his: I bought a handheld Graco 360DS. While it has some limitations, I’m very glad I bought it.

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Plywood floors for a hardwood look at around $1 per sqft

A comment over at Lifehacker got me thinking about plywood as flooring, which led me to a blog post at Quarry Orchard. The author is one of many people who have had success making floors out of strips cut from ordinary 4×8 sheets of plywood, the variety that sell for around $14 at home improvement stores.

I’d be a bit concerned about durability but there’s a lot to like about the idea as well.

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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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Loose brick repair with epoxy

My home inspector told me about an easy, inexpensive and nearly permanent repair: Loose brick repair with epoxy. It works really well if you need to fix a loose brick in something like a fireplace or a retaining wall. Epoxy is a effective loose brick adhesive.

Epoxy works because it’s stronger than cement. And while it’s not economical to use epoxy for mortar instead of cement, in small quantities it’s cheap enough, and much quicker.

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