Fix Airflow issues from your vents in your home

 

I noticed when I turned my AC on for the first time this year, the air blowing from the vents was very weak.  I figured there must be some reason for this.  Today, I’m going to show you how to get your HVAC unit back in shape, by cleaning it out and allowing more airflow.

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Tools / items needed:

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First and Foremost – Turn off all power to your HVAC unit.  Turn the power off for your HVAC on your breaker box.  Also, turn off any switches on the unit itself.  You don’t want to get shocked.

filter

Check your air filter and see if it can be replaced.  Mine was overdue to be replaced.  I suggest using the cheaper green air filters.  You can usually get a 3 pack for about $2.  They will allow more air flow than the pleated filters, so your unit won’t have to work as hard.  This will save on energy costs.  Change these filters out about ever 6 weeks.

open

Unscrew your cover on your unit.  On my unit I had to use a socket set, however your unit may be a little different.  Once you get the cover off, you should be able to see the coils/fins that the air passes through to get cooler.

scrub

The fins are usually where you will see dirt, hair, & gunk.  I spray this with Simple Green (1 part Simple Green, 5 parts water).  Then scrub off all the gunk with a scrub pad.  I actually use a “scrub daddy”, which seems to work really well.  Be careful not to bend any of the fins when you are cleaning.  If you do, you can always get a fin comb to straighten them back out.

scrubbing

After you clean all the gunk out of there, replace the cover and put a new filter in place.  Now turn everything on, and you will get better airflow coming out of your vents.  I found that my house was significantly cooler.  I hope you find this tip as useful as I did.

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Change your Oil and Replace Oil Filter

Changing your oil on your car can be a pretty easy job.  It can save you a lot of money doing it yourself instead of going to a quicky-lube place.  Although, pretty much everything in this video is universal, the oil filter is different on a 2009 Toyota Matrix.

 

tools needed

Tools needed:

Oil, Oil Pan, Socket Set, Pliers, towels, Car Ramps, New Oil Filter, Oil Filter Wrench

wrench

Many models of cars use an oil filter, that is one unit that is removed and replaced (1 for 1).  However with this Toyota, the filter is removed with a special kind of oil filter wrench.  You are only replacing the inside of the filter and a new o-ring (gasket).

The Oil filter wrench that I purchased fits Toyota & Lexus Vehicles with 4 Cylinders & some 6 : 2009-2015 Corolla 2009-2015 Matrix 2007-2015 Prius 2010-2015 Rav4 2008-2015 Lexus CT200h 2008-2015 Scion XD 1.8L 2005-2015 Scion TC 1990-2015 Camry 4 cyl, V6 (2007-2008) Avalon (2005-2008) Highlander 4 cyl (2001-2008) V6 (2008) Tundra (2007-2008) Sienna (2007-2014).

ramp

I prefer using ramps when I change my oil, but jacks on either side would work as well.  Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have your own hydraulic lift, go ahead and use that too.  Just make sure your car is in park with the emergency brake on.

oilpinandfilterlocation

Once you find the location of your oil filter and oil plug, figure out which socket fits your plug.  In my case it was a 9/16″.

oildrip

Loosen your oil plug and get your oil pan ready for the old oil to shoot out.  I usually use a towel or something while loosening the plug to avoid a big mess.

wrenchfilter

Use the Oil Filter Wrench to loosen the oil filter.  Loosen it the rest of the way with your hands.  More oil will pour out this way as well.

 

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Here’s the oil filter.  Remove the inside of it, and also the o-ring (gasket).  Lube the new o-ring with fresh oil and snap it back on the filter.

filter

Put the new oil filter in the oil filter housing, then screw it back in place.  Use the Oil filter wrench to tighten it all the way in place.  Then put the oil plug back in place, and tighten it with the socket wrench.

newoil

Make sure your oil filter & oil plug are tight and in place before you add new oil.  You don’t want a big mess!  Check your owners manual for the exact amount of oil to add to your car.  In my case, I’m adding 4.7 quarts.  Once you are done adding the oil, check the dipstick to make sure everything looks full.  This would also be a great time to refill your window washer fluid.

Congratulations!  You just changed your oil!

I know I was messy in this video, but you try to shoot a video with one hand while unscrewing an oil filter with the other. 🙂

+Greg

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Easy Phone Mount for your Car

Would you like an Easy to build Phone mount for your Car?  Well look no further!

neededTools/Items Needed:

Parachute Cord, Rubber Bands, 1 Large Binder Clip, Vise (or Vise grips or pliers), & scissors

bentbinder

Take your Binder clip, and bend the looped ends inward using your vise.  Depending on the size of your phone, you may need to bend the metal more than I did above.

wrapped

Cut a piece of ParaCord (Parachute Cord) then pull the inside of the cord out.  Slip the paracord cover over both bent parts of the clip.  I was able to find ParaCord at Walmart in the craft aisle for only $2.

rubberband

Now wrap a couple rubberbands around the binder clip to add some tension.  It will need enough to hold onto your phone really tight, but not too tight.

clippedonvent

The mount is now complete.  Clip the black part of the clip on your vent in your car.

phonemount

Now pull apart the other ends of the clip, and put your phone in place.  Make sure to clip it where it’s not gripping on one of your phone buttons.

This project is really simple, and can be made in a matter of minutes if you have all the materials.  Please comment below if you have made one of these or have any ideas to improve it.

+Greg

 

 

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Simple Shelf from Pallet/Scrap Wood

We’ve been in the process of transforming our home office (which never really materialized as a home office) into a home gym, hopefully the gym will be a lot more useful than the office.  After everything was cleared out of this very small room, we were left with only the modem and router remaining.

before

There was no way to relocate these devices, the cable for internet came in here and all of the network lines ran from a wall plate about a foot from the ground.  We didn’t have the floor space available to leave a small table in the room, so the next logical location became high on the wall.  I determined that about 5 and a half feet from the floor would give us plenty of space below for any exercise equipment that could end up in the room.  So in order to get these devices on the wall, I would need a shelf.

I needed the shelf to be at least 12 inches deep and a 24 inch width would be ideal.  I wasn’t interested in buying something that I could simply build, and the cost of the simplest shelf that would match this description would probably cost at least $25.  Even THIS incredibly basic shelf from the dreaded IKEA would cost at least $25 after shipping, and I could build something with a lot more character and it would better fit my needs.

So I scanned through the the scrap wood pile in the shop.  Pallet wood was the obvious choice, but I would need thicker material to support the brackets of the shelf.  I located a piece of 1″x8″ pine that I had left from the headboard project.  That’s probably all I would need.

I started with the pallet wood.  I grabbed a handful of pallet slats and looked for pieces that had the same thickness.  Since I had decided that the shelf length would be 24 inches, I looked for pallet pieces that had straight undamaged 24 inch length available.  I trimmed off the rough ends (nail holes) with a miter saw and cut enough slat pieces for the 12 inch deep shelf that I desired.  The slats laying side by side ended up being about 16 inches wide.

I ran each of the pallet slats through my table saw to trim off about a 1/4 inch from each edge.  This allowed the slats to butt up to each other smoothly, creating a shelf top that would be gap free.  Now the slats laying side by side measured 14 inches.

I then used the 1×8 pine board to create the side brackets, the rear mounting brace and the front decorative rail.

I cut a 45 degree angle on the two side brackets and cut the total length to 12 inches.  This length would allow the front decorative rail to attach to the front of the brackets and allow a 1 inch overhang of the shelf.  I attached the 4 pieces together with glue and nails, essentially creating a box.

frame

From there I attached the pallet slats to the top of the shelf frame starting with the edge that would attach to the wall and moving toward the front.  The slats were glued and nailed.

At this point the build was complete.  I ran an orbital sander over the entire project with 80 grit sand paper followed by 220 grit sand paper.  Then I spray painted everything with some glossy black spray paint that I had available and lightly sanded the entire project again to give it a weathered/rustic look.

I also drilled three 1 inch holes near the rear of the shelf in order to run the network/cable/power cords through.  I should have drilled these holes prior to painting, but it turned out ok anyway.

top complete underneath complete

After the paint dried I determined where to mount the shelf to the wall.  I wanted it high enough on the wall to be out of the way, but not too high that I couldn’t access the devices.  I settled on about 5 and a half feet high and I located two wall studs with my stud finder.  I drove one screw into the wall through the rear support then leveled the shelf before driving the other screw, giving the shelf a solid anchor to the wall.

wall level

At this point the I sat the router and modem on the shelf and ran all of the cables through the holes.  The next step will be to create a tunnel of some kind along the wall to hide the wires that are running up to the shelf.  I may eventually add a second shelf connected to the bottom of the two brackets for additional storage space.

wall complete

Check out the video for more an overview.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Josh

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Pallet Wood Headboard with Coach Lights and a Recessed Shelf

headboard with glasses

Total Cost: about $50, Total Time: about 16 hours, Tools Required: tape measure, saw (circular, miter, hand), hammer, drill

I was inspired to build my headboard after watching THIS video on Homesteadonomics YouTube Channel.  The headboard was very simple to make, took very few tools and the cost was very minimal.

I started with a couple of scrap 2″x6″ pine boards for legs.  My headboard was inserted into the frame of my bed.  The legs could be any dimensional lumber, it only needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the headboard material and be able to mount to the wall or the bed in some way.  I cut these boards to 5 feet in length giving me about 3 feet of height for the headboard.  The other 2 feet would be from the mattress to the floor.

I then used a couple of 2″x4″ pine boards for the bottom and top cross sections which completed the frame of the headboard.  These 2×4’s were cut to 68 inches long giving me a total width of 72 inches or 6 feet.  My bed is king size and 6 feet is the distance side-to-side.  These cross pieces could be adjusted wider or narrower depending on the size of your bed.

Headboard1

Since I would be using pallet wood as the material for the exterior of headboard, I needed support in the middle of the frame to attach the variety of lengths of pallet slats.  I used pallet risers cut to length between the top and bottom support of the frame.  I also used pallet risers to frame out the location for the recessed shelf.  The shelf would be 4 feet in length and about 6 inches in height.  I also added a few smaller pieces of riser material throughout the frame at 1 foot increments in order to easily measure and cut the pallet slat material for the exterior.

headboard2

Adding the pallet slats to the frame was pretty simple, just match up slats of the same width to form a row across the frame.  I mixed different colors and textures and worked from the top down.  I used my compound miter saw for these cuts, but a hand saw would work as well.  I attached the slats to the headboard frame with 2 inch finish nails shot from a nail gun, manually nailing the slats would work just as well.

I used slats for the rear of the recessed shelf as well as the top and bottom of the shelf.  I used a couple of wider pieces of pallet slat to give the vertical edges a finished look.

The only 2 pieces of lumber that I purchased for this project were an 8 foot 1″x8″ and an 8 foot 1″x10″.  The two boards were about $10 combined.  I used the 1×8 for the finished sides of the headboard and the 1×10 for the finished top.  For a decorative finish, I used my router along the under side of the top piece to cut a quarter round edge.  I attached all of these pieces with the same 2 inch finish nails.  These boards gave my headboard a depth of about 10 inches which was necessary for the design of my existing bed frame.

headboard5

After everything was assembled I sanded the headboard with an orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper followed by 220 grit sandpaper.  The sanding took off all of the rough edges and dirt and gave the headboard a smooth finish.  Then I stained everything with miniwax dark walnut stain to match the rest of the bed frame.

headboard6

To further customize the headboard I added some very inexpensive coach lights that picked up at Lowes for $12/each.

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I drilled holes through the pallet slats to feed the wire through then ran 18 gauge lamp wire that I had on hand to wire the lights to switches that I mounted inside of the recessed shelf.  I chose black switches and plates to blend into the headboard.  Unfortunately, the switches and switch plates were more expensive than their basic white counterparts.  Total cost for 2 switches and 2 plates was about $10.

headboardswitchclose

I also drilled a couple 1/4″ holes into each corner of the shelf near the switch in order to feed a phone charger through.

switch and charger angle2

Overall this headboard was very easy to build and it turned out great.

A few pictures from different angles to show more detail.

top plate close uplightcloseup

Check out my video for more information.  Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions.

 

 

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How To Replace a Broken Clothes Dryer Belt

In this video we show you how to replace a broken belt on a Dryer.

Tools needed:

Screwdriver, crescent wrench, hammer/prybar (depends on the model), replacement dryer belt, vacuum (optional)

dryer3

Sometimes, when you cause to much stress on a dryer it could break the dryer belt.  Never fear, this is an easy fix.  On this particular dryer, there was a heavy wet comforter put in the dryer.  It was just too heavy of a load, and it eventually broke the belt.

When the comforter didn’t come out dry after an hour, and we started to smell a burnt rubber smell, it was pretty evident that the dryer wasn’t spinning.  Most of the time, this is because the belt is broken.

I bought a “Universal” dryer belt at Lowes for only 8 bucks.  Read the package, you can usually see if it will fit your model of dryer.  I was working on a Whirlpool dryer, and this belt is “suited for most Whirlpool Dryers”.

dryer2

A dryer doesn’t have much to it.  There’s a big drum, the belt and a motor.  There was only a few bolts and screws on this model to remove to get to the inside.  You may need a prybar or the back of a hammer to pry open the lid, as I did.

Once you’re on the inside and you remove the drum, I highly recommend vacuuming out any lint/dust build up.  You might as well do it now while you’re inside the machine.

dryer1

Take the old belt off the machine, this one was broken, so it was pretty easy.  Wrap the new belt around the drum, and hook around the gear on the motor.  You can see how it’s hooked up on my dryer.  May sure the belt isn’t twisted.

So, after that, reverse the process, and put everything back together.  If all goes well, you’re dryer will work perfectly again and you’ll be back to doing laundry at home instead of your friend’s house.

+Greg

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Garden Hose Hanger From Scrap Wood

DIY Garden Hose Hanger for less than $20.

Over the years I’ve purchased multiple hose hangers, hose reels, hose carts, etc.  They’re usually plastic, have lots of moving parts, and end up broken after a year or two.  And these things aren’t cheap!  You can expect to pay $30-$50 for a low end model.  After my $40 hideaway cart broke beyond repair a couple of years ago, I was left with winding the hose up in a (sometimes) neat pile in a flower bed.  This was inconvenient and not very attractive.  Plus I had a couple close calls with spiders and other things that would hang out around the hose while it was laying on the ground.

Cost:$0-$20, Tools: Saws (circular, jigsaw, handsaw or combination), drill.  Time: 1.5 hours

garden hose hanger before picture

So I set out to do something different.  I wanted something that was simple and going to last for a while.  THIS great video that Steve has over at Woodworking for Mere Mortals was inspiring.  I liked his design, but I wanted to take a more simple approach to the build.  I wasn’t too concerned about the hanger being precisely cut or completely perfect.  It just needed to serve the basic purpose.  I also wanted it to be as cheap to make as possible.  So I gathered up some scrap pieces of pressure treated lumber and decided that a half circle design wouldn’t be hard to create.

An 8 inch diameter flower pot was used to trace the curve onto 3 pieces of scrap 2″x8″.  I then glued the 3 pieces together and screwed them together with 3″ wood screws from both directions.

hose1

A couple more pieces were used as the ends of the hanger, one as a mount for the wall and one to keep the hose from falling off the hanger.

hose 2

I cut these pieces so that the bottom would be flush with the half round pieces and the height would be about 10 inches.  Then I attached the two end pieces to the half round structure.

hose3

I rounded off the front end to give the garden hose hanger a more appealing look and to also allow the hose to wind around without getting caught on the 90 degree angles.  At this point I also ran the orbital sander over everything to remove splinters, paint, etc.

garden hose hanger after sanding

Three 5 inch lag bolts were added to secure the garden hose reel to the side of my house.

garden hose hanger with mounting bolts

I finished off with a coat of deck stain and hung the garden hose reel near my hose spigot.  Finally, I drilled pilot holes through my siding and into the floor joist above my foundation.

Stained Garden Hose Hanger

This garden hose hanger project is a very simple project and very cost effective.  I only spent about an hour and a half for time and I had all of the materials on hand.  Even if the material would need to be purchased the cost would be under $20.

Mounted Garden Hose Hanger

Check out the video for more information

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How to Fix a Roomba making a Clicking/Knocking Noise

Is your Roomba making a clicking/knocking noise while operating?
Does it randomly stop and tell you to clean the brushes, however they’re already clean?

Tools/items needed:

screwdriver, white lithium grease, toothpicks, paper towels

roomba

This is a common problem with Roombas.  After months of usage, it will start to build dirt, grime, hair, etc. into the gearbox.  The gearbox contains several gears which can’t turn properly when it is full of dirt.

I’ll blame my problem on my dog, because most of the issue inside my gearbox was hair.  This video shows you how to get into the gearbox.  Once you get into this, you’ll have to do some heavy cleaning.  After that is done, put a little grease on the gears and put it all back together again.

This is a pretty easy fix, but I’ve noticed that this will not prevent dirt buildup in the gearbox again.  So, you will have to clean it out again in about 10 – 12 months.  Or whenever you start hearing the clicking / knocking noises again.

Comment below if this has helped your Roomba problems.

+Greg

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How to Add a Cup Holder to an Adirondack Chair

In this 1st video from How to Fix it Workshop, we show you how to add a cupholder to a plastic Adirondack chair.

Tools/items needed:

Drill, Jigsaw, File, Pencil, Icing/Frosting Container, & Adirondack chair.

achaircup

These chairs can be purchased from Home Depot or Lowes for under 20 bucks.  So, with a cheap plastic frosting container, you can easily add a cup holder.

Since this video was shot, we have learned that you may want to drill a hole at the bottom of the frosting cup.  This allows for rainwater to drain out easily.  Otherwise, the container may eventually crack.  But, they can easily be swapped with a new frosting cup (after you eat the icing out of it of course).

Please comment below if you’ve taken on this project, or have some tips to make it better.

+Greg

 

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