Stain in the Neck? Here’s How to Get Stains Out of Carpet

Stain in the Neck? Here’s How to Get Stains Out of Carpet

How to get stains out of carpet is an age-old question that has plagued many a homeowner. The frustration that comes with it can cause many people to just ditch carpet altogether and go for an easier cleaning floor material, like tile or wood.

But for those of you who love the luxurious, soft feel of carpet beneath your bare toes, there is hope out there. The best place to start with any stain is knowing exactly what caused it. Then you can attack the problem head-on with one of our nifty carpet stain remover tricks.

Note: for each of these tips, be sure to use a clean, white cloth and always dab at the stain, don’t rub.

Coffee & Tea

You wouldn’t think it, but one of the best ways to get a stain out of your carpet from these beverages is to grab another beverage—beer! Pour a bit of beer right on top of the stain and then lightly rub into the carpet. Repeat a couple more times until all traces of the stain are gone.

Small Spills

There are a couple things you can do for small spills ,like juice from a sippy cup. First, shaving cream. Blot the stain with a clean cloth, then pat it with a wet sponge. Squirt a bit of shaving cream on top, and then wipe away with another clean, damp sponge.

You can also try using a bit of vinegar. Rub a small, light stain with a solution of 2 tablespoons salt and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Allow the solution to dry and then vacuum it up! This is also a solution you can use for how to get old stains out of carpet before completely ripping the carpet out.

Red Wine

Before you do anything to figure out how to get stains out of carpet caused by red wine, remember to always blot the spill first. You want to remove as much wine from the floor as possible; dilute any remaining wine with cold water using a clean cloth.

You can now clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. After this, sprinkle salt onto the stain and wait about 10 minutes, then vacuum everything up. Some stores carry carpet stain removers specifically targeted at red wine. You can also purchase one of these to have on hand for a spill.

Paint

Vinegar isn’t just for the kitchen or laundry room. You can use vinegar to clean up several different kinds of stains — including paint! That said, you’ll need to move fast, because dried paint is a much bigger problem. While the paint is still wet, mix a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar with 1 1/2 teaspoons laundry detergent and two cups of water. Pour the solution on top of the stain and then using a sponge, sponge away the solution and paint before it dries and sets in. Rinse everything with cold water.

Grease & Oil

Shaving cream can also work on grease and oil stains. Spray the cream on top of the stain, and then gently work it into the stain, allowing it to soak into the shaving cream. Let everything dry and then rub it away with a soft, damp cloth.

Another great carpet stain remover for grease and oil is to use cornstarch and milk. Mix the two together to create a paste, then apply it to the stain. Let the solution dry then vacuum it up! You can also just pour straight cornstarch onto a grease or oil stain. Allow it to sit for a few hours and then vacuum it up.

If the stain is caused by greasy food, you can mix 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and rub it hard into the stain. Wipe away with a clean cloth.

Vomit

Vomit can be a tough cookie to crack when it comes to a carpet stain. To tackle this particularly nasty mess, head to the store for a good carpet stain remover. Once back at the house, start by clearing away any solid matter from the mess using a fork or spoon (gross, I know, but important if you want to save the carpet). Next, grab a stain remover from the store and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Then blot with a damp, clean cloth. You may need to repeat this process.

Dog & Cat Urine

These types of stains can be some of the most difficult to deal with, so you may need to invest in a wet vac or a store-bought remedy. Don’t use a steam cleaner as it can set the stain… and the odor. Instead, start by blotting the stain with a white cloth, then use a store-bought carpet stain remover specifically designed for pet messes. Repeat this process until the stain and smell are gone. You can also try to use a wet vac. Once you’ve used it on the stain, rinse the area with cool water.

Easy Tips for Saving Electricity

Easy Tips for Saving Electricity

Seeing a high electricity bill this month? Looking for ways to bring that nasty number down? Easy peasy. There are several things you can do each and every day to help you save electricity so you can not only save a little bit on your monthly bit but so you can also cut back on your carbon footprint. Check out our top electricity-saving tips below and then share them with your family members or roommates so you can all learn how to save electricity together.

1. Invest in a smart thermostat

These smart thermostats, like Nest, will show you a temperature range for your AC or heat. This range is an eco-friendly setting that will still offer money-saving benefits while still keeping your house a comfortable temperature. If you don’t have a smart thermostat, you can still save by lowering your set temperature by two degrees. Lower it by five degrees to save 10% on your heating bill.

2. Reduce heat in the kitchen

In warmer months, mix up your weekly menu to include more salads, smoothies, or meals you can cook on the barbecue outside. Avoid using your stove or oven as much as possible, this can help you reduce the heat in your home while also lowering your cooling costs.

3. Wash all laundry in cold water

Washing all of your loads in cold water is not only good for your electricity bill, it’s also better for your clothes. On average, washing three loads per week in cold water could save you $22 a year on your energy bill.

4. Set your dishwasher to air-dry

Stop using the heat-dry function on your dishwasher. Depending on how many loads you do in a day, you could be saving about $27 a year. While some things may be a little wet still after the load is done, you can just leave the door open and let it finish air-drying.

5. Unplug appliances you aren’t using

Instead of manually plugging and unplugging everything in each day, connect your items to a power strip and then simply turn that off when you aren’t using something. If you’re going away for vacation, unplug as many appliances as you can – though you should leave necessities, like your fridge, running. Although each device alone doesn’t drain a lot of energy, all together they can make a big dent in your utility bills.

6. Install/replace weather stripping

Weather stripping prevents warm or cool air from escaping out of your home. If air is escaping, your AC or heating system will have to work overtime to keep the temperature stable, leading to higher electricity bills. Check all your doorways and windows for any damaged or missing weather stripping and make the necessary replacements.

7. Turn off unnecessary lights

It’s worth getting in the habit of turning lights off when you leave a room. Two 100-watt incandescent bulbs switched off for an extra two hours each day could save you about $15 a year. Even better, switch all your bulbs to LED.

You can also use task lighting. This means using table lamps or under-counter lights to work in kitchens and hobby areas rather than turning on ceiling lights to light up the entire room. 

8. Use natural light

Did you know south-facing windows can illuminate 20 to 100 times its area? During the day, take advantage of the sunlight: open up blinds and curtains instead of flipping on lightbulbs.

9. Be smart with window coverings

Window coverings can help promote airflow along with block the afternoon sun. In the summer, if you’re not in a room, pull down the blinds or draw the drapes to keep heat from sneaking into the home and causing your AC to work overtime.

10. Take shorter showers

Heating up your shower or bath water is expensive. Start cutting back on your showers. You can save $30 a year by cutting your shower down by one minute. In hotter months, try taking showers in tepid water, rather than steaming baths.

11. Don’t leave the sink running

Along with cutting down your showers, start reducing your hot water usage by turning off the sink while you do things like brush your teeth, shave or wash dishes. Doing this can save you about $19 a year.

12. Bundle up

Turn down your heater a few degrees and add a layer or two. Get used to wearing socks around the home, along with a sweater. Use a blanket if you’re sitting at your desk or on the couch. This can help you save a little bit during the winter and fall months instead of using your heater to stay warm.

13. Hang dry your laundry

If you have a large family, or several people living in your home, try hang-drying the laundry rather than using the dryer. If you do eight loads of laundry a week and hang dry half of those clothes, you could save $65 a year.

14. Run full loads

Try to only run a load of laundry when it’s full. Or try cutting out one load of wash each week. You could save another $20 a year simply by waiting to wash.

These tips can help you reduce the energy usage throughout your house with only minor adjustments. Learning ways to save electricity can save the environment and your wallet!

Back in the Grind: How to Install a Garbage Disposal

Back in the Grind: How to Install a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a wonderful appliance. Rather than having to deal with disgusting food refuse stinking up your kitchen garbage can, you simply wash the excess scraps down the sink, turn on the disposal, and let the grinding blades take care of everything. And if you’ve ever lived anywhere without one, you know how convenient they can be.

Unfortunately, sometimes, these units can fail or need to be replaced. The good news is that installing garbage disposal on your own is fairly easy and doesn’t necessarily require a professional. Learn how to install your own garbage disposal through our step-by-step process.

Supplies Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • PVC cutter
  • Wire nuts
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Garbage disposal

Installing a Garbage Disposal

1. Your first step in installing a garbage disposal is to remove your existing assembly. However, you definitely want to place a large pan or shallow bucket below your kitchen sink in order to catch any water that could spill out from the drain as you disconnect it. Keep a towel nearby too. Now, begin by removing your existing assembly including the drain basket and P-trap.

2. Open up the box that houses your new garbage disposal. If the flange is pre-assembled, use your screwdriver to gently remove the ring and loosen the fasteners.

3. You will now apply putty to the flange gasket. Locate your flange gasket, if it came with a rubber gasket, remove this. Plumber’s putty is your best option and will give your seal a longer life than the rubber gasket. Roll the plumber’s putty into a snake shape about 3/8-inch in diameter. Make sure it’s long enough to wrap around the gasket, under the flange. Now, gently press the putty evenly around the underside of the flange, just like you would a pie crust.

4. Before attaching your new gasket, clean and wipe out your kitchen sink. Make sure there’s no moisture and that any gunk around the drain opening has been thoroughly removed.

5. Now, take your flange and insert it onto the top side of your sink. Attach the fastening system on the underside of your sink. Apply pressure to the flange from above. You may want another set of hands to help with this. Alternatively, you can use a heavy object to help keep the flange in place so you can attach the fastening system on the underside of the sink. You should be able to see the plumber’s putty oozing out from under the edge of the flange all around. If you don’t see this, you haven’t put enough putty on the flange. Remove and start over if you need to. If you do see putty all around the flange, carefully trim the excess with a rag, but only after a complete seal has been formed.

6. You can now attach the mounting plate to the underside of the sink. Use your screwdriver to fasten the screws, but don’t over-tighten. If you’re worried, start by attaching them first with just your hands, and then only use the screwdriver at the very end to guarantee a good seal.

7. Grab the tailpipe and attach it to the rubber seal on the side of your new disposer unit. You will secure it with the metal spring ring or the metal bracket that is attached to the tailpipe.

8. To attach your disposer unit to your flange, align the two together from the underside of your sink. Press the disposer into place against the flange and secure it loosely by rotating the lower mounting ring onto the ramp tabs of the upper mounting ring. Continue rotating the unit until the entire drain assembly is aligned. You may need to use a sturdy object to prop your disposer unit up as you rotate and align everything.

9. It’s now time to connect the P-trap. Using your PVC cutter, trim the extender pipe and then connect your disposer to your P-trap. With the drain assembled, rotate the lower mounting ring until all three mounting tabs are locked over the ridges that are in the slide-up ramps. You can now tighten these with a screwdriver.

10. Your unit is now installed, but you’ll want to make sure it’s secure before you start using it. Take the drain stopper and place in the drain, then fill the sink up with about an inch of water. Check under the sink for any leaks. If there are leaks, there’s an issue with your plumber’s putty seal. If you don’t detect any leaks, remove the stopper and allow the water to fill up the drain and P-trap. Continue checking for leaks and tighten any spots and needed.

Your garbage disposal is now ready for use! Plug it into a GFCI-protected receptacle. Move and organize your cords as needed so they don’t get caught in a mess under your sink.

Optional Step

If your dishwasher needs to drain through your disposer, there is another step necessary for you to follow in your garbage disposal installation — you will need to locate the breakout plate inside the inlet port. Gently remove it by tapping it with a hammer. You do not need to do this if your dishwasher won’t be draining into your unit.

That’s Cool! – Learn How Air Conditioners Work

That’s Cool! – Learn How Air Conditioners Work

Today, most modern homes are kept cool with the use of an air conditioning system. These systems draw heat energy out of our homes, transfers it to the outside air and replaces it with cooler air. Air conditioners can not only change the temperature of our homes, it can also change the humidity and overall quality of air in the rooms. Knowing exactly how air conditioners work can help you better maintain your overall system and prevent breakdowns and costly repairs.

How do Air Conditioners Work

An air conditioner is similar to your refrigerator, but it doesn’t have the exterior housing that comes with a fridge. While a refrigerator uses this housing to insulate its cold box, the walls of your home serve as the insulator for your air conditioner.

An air conditioner uses the same principles of your fridge to chill your indoor air. This process is achieved by following a simple physical law: as liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat. Air conditioners exploit this by forcing special chemical compounds to evaporate and condense over and over again in a closed system of coils.

Each air conditioner comes with three basic parts: the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. The compressor and condenser are located on the outside, while the evaporator on the inside. The cooling fluid will reach the compressor as a low-pressure gas. It is then squeezed by the compressor packing the molecules in the liquid closely together.

This fluid then exits the compressor as a high-pressure, hot gas, moving towards the condenser. As the fluid enters and leaves the condenser, it is much cooler. This process is aided with the use of the metal fins that sit all around the outside of your air conditioner. These fins work in the same way the radiator on your car does, aiding to dissipate the heat more quickly.

As the fluid leaves the condenser, it not only is cooler, but it’s also changed from a gas to a liquid due to the high pressure. This liquid then moves toward the evaporator through an extremely tiny hole. Once the liquid reaches the other side of the passage, its pressure drops allowing the fluid to evaporate into a gas.

As this is happening, heat is extracted from the surrounding air. This isn’t a bad thing, this heat is needed to separate the molecules of liquid into a gas. Don’t forget the metal fins on the outside of the air conditioning system: they also help exchange the thermal energy with the surrounding air.

Now that the fluid has left the evaporator, it becomes a low-pressure, chilled gas once again. This entire process is started all over again as the refrigerant fluid continues its journey back to the compressor.

In addition to this process, there is a fan connected to an air conditioner’s evaporator that circulates air throughout your home and across the fins of the evaporator. This is done as the air conditioning system sucks air into the ducts through a vent. The air is used to cool gas in the evaporator. As the heat is removed from the air, it’s cooled and ducts then blow cool air back into the house.

This entire process will continue until the inside air of your home reaches the temperature you’ve set on the thermostat. Once this temperature is reached, the entire air conditioner will shut off, it then kicks back on as the air in the house gets warmer and needs to be cooled again to reach the set temperature all over again.

This understanding of how A/C works can help you identify possible spots in the system that could become worn down or clogged, causing the entire system to eventually fail. The line that fluid passes through can become clogged and may need to be cleaned out, at least once a year. Ducts and vents should also be kept clean and clear of debris with vent filters replaced every three months. This will ensure that clean air is being filtered into your home.

Modern Air Conditioners

If you’re wondering how does A/C work in terms of the environment, don’t worry. Although older conditioners carried refrigerant formulas that contained chlorine atoms that could potentially damage the ozone layer, things have changed. Thankfully, this chemical composition has shifted over the last few decades due to international treaty agreements and the result of environmental concerns. Modern air conditioners contain a far more environmentally-friendly coolant.

Understanding how your air conditioning system helps make you a more prepared homeowner. Nobody wants to get caught in the heat with a busted A/C. That said, if you’re worried the fixes might be too much for you to handle alone, consider investing in a home warranty. With a warranty, you can keep your cool knowing someone has already been sent to fix your broken air conditioning. 

How to Patch Drywall

How to Patch Drywall

If you’ve just moved into a new-to-you home or are getting ready to move out, there’s a chance that you have a hole or two in your walls. Whether from an accident or hanging shelves or pictures, these unsightly holes may need to be filled. Patching drywall isn’t too difficult and is a great skill to have on hand. Follow these simple steps to restore your wall.

Supplies Needed

  • Sandpaper
  • Spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Joint compound
  • Stud finder

Note: If you need to repaint the wall after patching it, you will need at least a quarter gallon of matching paint for touchups. If it’s just a tiny hole you can use a dab of paint applied with a soft cloth. If your paint is a high gloss version, you will want to prime the wall before repainting it; high gloss and semi-gloss finishes tend to show the difference in textures much more easily.

Small Holes:

  1. Scrape away any snags or loose debris around the hole with a bit of sandpaper. 
  2. Cover the hole or dent with spackle
  3.  Using the putty knife, scrape away any excess in order to bring the putty level with the wall. 
  4. Give the spackle 24 hours to dry, and then sand it smooth with the sandpaper.

Medium Holes:

Medium-sized holes are generally bigger than a silver dollar but no larger than 6 inches in diameter. In this case, your drywall repair will be slightly more complicated. You will need to use a patch kit to fix the hole. A patch kit will come with a mesh patch to place over the hole. 

  1. Start by placing the patch over the hole, it should be self-adhesive.
  2. Using a putty knife, cover the patch with joint compound. Apply in a crisscross pattern, blending the edges with the wall by adding pressure to the outer edges of the patch area.
  3.  Allow the patch and joint compound to dry, applying a second coat of the joint compound as needed.
  4. Sand smooth once it’s dried.

Large Holes:

For much larger holes that a patch kit won’t cover, you will need a new piece of drywall to cover the hole. 

  1. Cut the piece of drywall into a square shape 2 inches wider and longer than the area that needs to be repaired.
  2. Using a utility knife, score the back of your square of drywall about an inch in from each edge.
  3. Using the scoring, snap off the thick gypsum, leaving the paper backing intact. (You’ve created your own drywall patch.)
  4. Place the patch over the hole and trace around the gypsum square (not the entire piece of drywall, i.e. not the paper edge)
  5. Be sure to check for any electrical wires beforehand, they are commonly attached to a stud, so if you’ve used your stud finder and found there is a stud behind your hole, proceed with caution.
  6. Cut out this traced square from the wall with your utility knife.
  7. Apply joint compound to the back of the paper border and then fit the gypsum square into your fresh hole. Press the compound covered paper edges into place.
  8. Cover the entire drywall patch with joint compound using a putty knife. Feather the edges so it blends in well with the rest of the wall. You may need to apply another coat of compound, allowing it to dry between coats.
  9. Sand smooth after drying with sandpaper.
  10. If you’re painting over your patch, make sure to do a final light sanding to give the wall a smooth finish, allowing your primer and paint to go on more efficiently. If your wall is textured, mix 4 parts joint compound with 1 part water in a small bowl. Using a stiff brush, dip it into the mixture and then hold it close to the wall with the bristles up. Using your hand, flick the compound mixture onto the wall by running your finger across the bristles. You can practice this beforehand on a scrap of board.
  11. If your wall has a knock-down finish, once you’ve flicked your mixture onto the wall, use a putty knife to press down on the compound mixture as it begins to dry.

Tip:

Another way to attach a piece of new drywall is to attach a furring strip—a small piece of wood—to either side of the hole with screws. This tip can be especially helpful if your hole is exceptionally large.

If you use this tip, make sure to screw the drywall patch into place along the furring strips. Be sure to sink the screws beneath the surface of the drywall.

Another great tip for ensuring your patch stays secure, is to apply joint tape to the borders of your drywall patch. Joint tape is a mesh tape that strengthens the bond between the existing wall and your drywall patch.

You don’t have to be intimidated by holes in your drywall. Whether the damage is large or small, you should be able to confidently make the fix. Save your walls and your wallet today.