Blew a fuse? It happens. And fortunately, it’s an easy problem to solve. When you move into a home, one of the first things you should learn is where the fuse box or circuit breaker box is located. They’re usually behind panels in garages and basements, but can also be found in closets or elsewhere.
Fuse boxes are important because they are the main access point to your home’s electrical grid. If there’s an electrical problem the box is where you can fix it.
In this article, we’ll look at why fuses and circuits blow or turn off, how to reset them, and how to fix a blown fuse or circuit.
Why Do Circuit Breaker Problems and Blown Fuses Happen?
Electricity enters a home through the main line which is outside of the home. You can spot the mainline by finding the electric meter outside of the house. The electricity travels from the power plant to the main line and then to the fuse box. The fuse box acts like the electrical heart of the home and distributes this electricity to the rest of the house.
Sometimes electrical surges, or large demands for electricity from appliances in a specific part of the house, will create a problem for the rest of the house’s electrical grid. In order to minimize the damage of a sudden surge, fuse boxes and circuit boxes were designed to be the weakest part of the grid.
This protects the home because the circuits or fuses are likely to turn off or blow long before any other part of the house’s electrical grid sees the damage.
Not only does the circuit breaker work as a method to reduce electrical damage to your home, but it’s also a convenient method to centralize most electrical problems to one part of the house. If the electricity goes out in any one part of the house, the circuit breaker box is the place to go to fix it. It doesn’t matter if there is a blown fuse or a circuit that needs to be reset. You can do it all from the box.
How to Fix a Fuse or Circuit Breaker That’s Off
A fuse or circuit breaker that turned off is probably the easiest electrical problem to fix. You simply have to turn it on. The process for turning on a circuit breaker will change based on the age of the house as circuit boxes and breakers have changed over time.
For Older Homes
What we now call a circuit breaker in a newer home used to be called a fuse box. Old fuse boxes would have round shaped fuses that you could screw in and remove from the fuse box. Old fuses do not turn on and off like new circuit breakers. In order to fix an old fuse, you need to buy a new one from a hardware store or elsewhere, remove the broken fuse and screw in the new one. This method is also detailed below in the “How to Fix a Blown Fuse” section.
Broken fuses may be easily spotted as they’re likely to look partially burnt or melted. However, if there is no damage to the fuse then you’ll have to do some extra work to find the broken fuse.
If there is no damage to the fuse, do the following:
Find whichever fuse controls the lights in the room you are in by removing and putting back each fuse in the fuse box until the lights go out.
Replace that functioning fuse with one of the other fuses in the fuse box to see if the lights turn back on in the room.
Once you confirm that a fuse is working, put it back where you found it.
Go through every fuse until you find one that does not turn the lights back on in the room. That’s the broken fuse that needs to be replaced.
Instead of putting that fuse back where you found it, replace that fuse with the new one you purchased.
Throw out the broken fuse and put the original fuse for that room back in place to turn the lights on in that room.
When moving into a house, you can proactively speed up this process by creating labels to the side of each fuse indicating what part of the house that specific fuse controls. A permanent marker and some masking tape are the easiest way to do that. All you have to do is remove the fuses one by one to see what part of the home is affected by that fuse. This way, if there is a blown fuse with no obvious damage to it, you simply look for the label that corresponds to the area of the house experiencing the electrical problem.
For Newer Homes
New homes use circuit breakers, which are switches, Circuit breakers are easy to fix because the circuit that needs to be turned on is flipped to the off position. You just need to flip it to the on position like you would a light switch. Sometimes an electrical problem isn’t strong enough to flip a switch although it does turn the circuit off.
To fix this problem you need to go circuit by circuit and carefully turn each one off and then turn it on again. Go from circuit to circuit until you find the one that fixes the problem.
How to Fix a Blown Fuse
Since old fuses only break, the process to fix a blown fuse is the same as mentioned before: Replace blown fuse with a new one. Circuits, however, can blow and when that happens the circuit needs to be replaced.
Circuits, however, can blow and when that happens the circuit needs to be replaced.
In order to replace a blown circuit breaker, you need to:
Shut down your main power.
Pop out the affected circuit and remove the two wires attached to it by removing loosening the screws.
Attach the wires to the new circuit breaker and tighten the screws to fasten the wires to it.
Put the breaker into place on the circuit board and then turn the breaker on.
Turn on your main power again.
Electric problems can be difficult to fix and dangerous to attempt if you do not know what you’re doing. That being said a blown fuse or resetting a circuit breaker is easy enough where you probably won’t need to contact an electrician. Hopefully, now, you feel better prepared to fix any and all board related problems that may happen in the future.
Have you ever experienced a bad smell coming from your kitchen sink?
Disposals are great for getting rid of unnecessary food waste quickly and easily without having to get your hands dirty. While your hands may stay clean, however, your garbage disposal will eventually get dirty. The waste that collects in and around your disposal will eventually create an unpleasant smell.
The best way to get rid of the smell is to get rid of the waste, and that requires cleaning the disposal.
This article will explain how to clean a garbage disposal using different cleaning methods. It will also give you some proper disposal maintenance tips to keep it clean longer.
Method 1 – Ice And Salt
One great method to remove waste from the disposal is ice and salt. Ice is strong enough where it will stay stuck in the disposal until properly crushed by the blades and salt creates enough grit that, when combined with the ice, it will scrape filth off of the blades, flange, and surrounding area.
All one has to do is turn on the disposal, let cold water run down the sink and toss ice cubes and salt into the disposal.
You can also make ice cubes out of white vinegar or replace the salt with baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda work as natural deodorizers and both have similar qualities to ice and salt.
Method 2 – Citrus
Citrus peels are tough to cut through without being too tough for your garbage disposal. The peel acts in a similar fashion as ice and salt by scraping and cleaning the inside of the disposal.
It has a side benefit of leaving a pleasant citrus smell behind as it the disposal shreds the peel.
You can also pre-cut citrus into tiny pieces and freeze them in a plastic bag in your freezer. This will give the citrus a little extra durability in the disposal allowing it to clean a few seconds more.
Method 3 – Clean The Baffle
The third method for how to clean a garbage disposal requires removing and cleaning the rubber baffle found in most modern disposals. The baffle is this rubber component found inside the pipe near the blades of the disposal.
In order to clean it, one just must reach their hand down the sink and pull it out. It’ll likely look very dirty since baffles are almost never cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning the baffle is pretty easy and just requires some rinsing and wiping. Once the baffle is clean, place it back into the sink.
This should go without saying, but make sure that the disposal is off at all times when removing the baffle or putting it back into the sink.
After the disposal is clean it’s important to take proper care of your sink to prevent the smell from coming back. Make sure to limit what goes into the disposal to degradable waste. Make sure that waste has been reduced to small pieces before throwing it into the sink. Avoid dumping grease down the sink as it is hard to clean.
These suggestions will keep your garbage disposal cleaner for longer which means you will spend less time cleaning the disposal and more time enjoying it as a modern convenience.
There are many resources out there that explain how to clean a garbage disposal and keep it clean. These are some of the most common methods people use. Find a method that works for you and use it to keep the smell at bay.
Not all home repairs and renovation projects are created equal.
For example, replacing ductwork can be relatively easy or nearly impossible depending on the building’s duct layout and growing a nice, healthy lawn is dependent on the quality of soil, species of grass you’re looking to grow and the overall state of the original lawn.
There’s no need for an expensive HGTV makeover when a simple paint job can be a relatively easy and inexpensive way to spruce up a kitchen or bathroom. But painting and repainting are similar to other renovation projects in the sense that some surfaces are more difficult to paint than others. One material which you may have a hard time with is Formica. In this article, we’ll go over what it is, how to paint formica and how to maintain it after painting it.
What Is Formica?
Before we get into how to paint Formica, we should explain what Formica is.
Formica is a brand of laminate.
To make an analogy that’s easy to understand, Formica is to Kleenex what laminate is to tissue paper.
Many people think Formica is a special type of laminate because we talk about the two as if they’re different but they aren’t. The process is the exact same no matter if one wants to learn how to paint Formica or if they want to learn how to paint generic laminate.
Supplies for Painting Formica
Preparation for painting Formica is not much different from preparing other surfaces. First, one has to gather the correct supplies. Most of these might seem obvious for any painting job. But some are unique to painting formica, like a window cleaning solution.
Make sure to have:
Soap or an appropriate cleaner
Two rags that can get wet
One rag that can effectively dry
Sandpaper 120-150 grit
How to Prep the Surface for Painting
Once you have all your supplies, there are a few more preparation steps.
1) Remove any and all materials from the surface intended for painting. If painting a counter, remove anything on top of it. If painting a wall, remove pictures, nails or anything else attached to it. If it’s a piece of furniture, remove any and all hardware.
2) After removing everything that should not be painted from the laminate object, use warm water and soap to scrub the surface clean. If there is dirt or residue on the object, the paint will not stick well to the surface. You can use soap or a window cleaning solution to clean off the countertop. Use one rag to apply the soapy water and to scrub the surface and use the other one to dry it.
3) After cleaning the laminate, it’s time to sand the surface. Painting Formica can be difficult because laminates usually have slippery smooth surfaces. Sand the laminate surface to give it enough texture for the paint to stick.
4) The last step of preparation is to use the second damp rag to carefully clean all of the laminate dust from the surface. Make sure the surface is clean because Formica dust won’t make painting any easier.
How to Paint Formica
Once the surface is prepared, painting laminate isn’t much different from painting any other surface. Follow painting best practices and apply as many coats as necessary to get a rich, even color.
1) Open a window to ventilate the kitchen, bathroom or whichever room you’re working in. Paint fumes are strong and can cause headaches while you’re painting. Opening a window or turning on a fan can help you get more fresh air.
2) Place painter’s tape on nearby surfaces that you don’t want to paint. If you’re painting a surface like a table, you can probably skip this step. But countertops or cabinets are usually near areas that you want to keep paint-free.
3) Apply primer. Experts recommend before painting laminate that one applies some sort of primer. Because of the slippery nature of laminate, it’s recommended that one uses a stronger primer like shellac. This will maximize the primer’s effectiveness. It’s also worth mentioning that shellac is harder to clean off of brushes. Some paints are made specifically for laminate but if one’s using a general purpose paint, make sure to use a primer.
4)Apply paint. Painting laminate is a little difficult because of most laminate surfaces (tabletop, countertop, cabinets, etc.) experience a lot of wear and tear. This means you should choose tough paint. You could buy a laminate paint kit, interior acrylic paint, or two-part and water-based epoxy paint. It’s typically best to paint on a few thin layers of paint. You should let the paint dry in between painting the multiple layers. Normally the paint takes about three hours to dry.
5) Remove any painter’s tape or other painting supplies.
How to Care for Painted Formica Surfaces
Look at the paint can to see if the paint requires time to cure. If so, follow those instructions exactly. Also looks to see if the paint should avoid water, direct sunlight or anything else. Following the paint company’s instructions is the best way to properly care for and maintain painted formica. If the paint doesn’t have time to cure, the paint could smudge or scratch. Even placing heavy weight on a recently painted countertop or table can damage the paint.
In the long-run, it’s best not to cut directly on laminate countertops that you have painted. The paint isn’t too difficult to chip or cut into. It’s also helpful to keep hot pots, pans, plates or bowls from resting directly on the painted surface. Tough sponges or strong chemical cleaners can also damage the paint.
Whether we’re talking Formica specifically or laminate generally, these surfaces are known to be difficult to paint. It’s important to remember that, although it is difficult to paint Formica, it’s far from impossible to paint it. With a couple extra steps and some good primer, anyone who needs to can paint laminate without help.
Mold isn’t always visually seen or easy to find. Here are some of the most common warning signs that may indicate there’s toxic mold growing inside your home.
Some of the more commons signs of mold growth are:
Dormant allergies or allergic reactions
Aggravated asthma or other lung problems
An increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy; usually these problems are associated with an increased consumption of medications such antihistamines
We’ll dive into some of these mold symptoms more to help teach you whether or not you need professional mold testing and mold removal or if you just need to take some precautionary steps to prevent mold spores from settling in your home.
What does Mold Smell Like?
Does mold smell? You bet it does. But what does mold smell like? And what does mildew smell like? Probably what you’d expect it to smell like, actually: earthy, damp, tangy — kind of like dirty socks or rotting wood. These unpleasant smells come from the microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) mold releases as it grows. Of course, different molds and mildews can have different smells to different people. If you notice that the air in your home has a unique smell that you can’t pinpoint, you might want to start looking for mold.
Quite often, constantly smelling a musty odor could be the one of the only mold signs that your home has. If you can smell mold there is likely mold under something or mold in something. Just because you can’t always see mold doesn’t mean mold problems aren’t there. A nasal assault of musty odors is almost always the first sign of mold growing somewhere in the house. Thoroughly inspect your entire home or purchase a mold test kit if you suspect you may have mold. If you can take care of it before it turns into a huge problem, you could save yourself some serious financial (and health-related) headaches later on.
Do you feel better when you’re away from home, but notice your allergies tend to flare up whenever you’re at home? Mold is a very common allergen that can exacerbate chronic problems in those affected by mold. It does not usually take much mold to trigger these allergies. If you are suffering from allergies while you’re at home, there’s a strong probability that there’s hidden mold somewhere inside your home. It can be behind walls, in the basement, under the carpet, in damp areas of the house, surrounding roof leaks or in an area that experiences high humidity. It can even grow in your home’s mattresses. Typical allergic reactions to harmful mold include a runny nose, inflamed eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing.
Visual Indicators of Mold Growth
Seeing mold is obviously a sign that you indeed have mold. Greenish black areas, slimy textures residue left by stachybotrys chartarum and even simple mildew are all signs that a mold inspection needs to be scheduled. However, what most people don’t realize is that smaller mold spores may look like ordinary dirt or soot, but it could actually be mold in disguise. And so, people ignore it.
If you visibly see mold growing, no matter how small, immediately take action. If common molds can grow somewhere so can black mold and toxic molds like that are slowly poisoning many across the country who don’t realize how important it is to remove mold. Whenever you find mold make sure either you, the homeowner, or your landlord, if you rent, remove it immediately because all mold species can present a major problem if there’s no remediation. Even seemingly insignificant mold patches can quickly spread.
The fact that you have mold means you have the right conditions for it to grow and proliferate to several other areas of your home. Sometimes mold is unusual looking and doesn’t look like classic mold. In fact, some mold can appear whitish and thread-like, while other kinds of mold look like tiny clusters of black spots. Mold can appear in various colors including black, white, gray-green, or grayish-brown. Sometimes the mold that grows behind vinyl wallpaper can look pinkish-purple or even orange.
Indications of Water Issues
If your home has ever had any issues with moisture, condensation or some other water problems, you can almost be certain that somewhere, mold has started to grow. Therefore, if you know you presently have water issues, or had them in the past, you probably have mold and should probably hire professional mold inspectors to make sure your home is safe.. Strong indications that you have mold due to water issues include discolored walls, ceilings, or floors along with any water stains. Visually seeing any of these signs means there are colonies of mold growing either behind or within these materials.
Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring professional mold inspectors look for those who will give you realistic advice on how to prevent mold in trouble areas. Sometimes it’s as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture. A good inspector can give further advice.
If you’ve ever had flooding in your home, the chances that mold took root and started to grow are virtually 100%. Most likely whichever area the water stayed the longest, such as the basement, is where it probably exists. Floods frequently cause mold to grow in unforeseen or unexpected places where it’s visually undetected such as underneath flooring or behind walls. Anyone with past flooding should check their home warranty for damage coverage information.
Signs of Condensation
If you notice any condensation within your home, it means you have a great deal of moisture and therefore a strong sign you could certainly have mold growing somewhere. Condensation typically occurs on metal pipes or glass windows.
Water issues in a home are most often produced by a water leak. If you are presently aware that you have, or had, a water leak issue (think ceiling or pipe leaks) then you should realize that even if you can’t detect any visible signs of water damage, there’s still a very strong indication that your home has mold growing — most likely where the leak originated.
How Toxic Mold Symptoms Affect Your Health
Mold negatively affects your home’s air quality, can cause serious health problems, and should be taken equally seriously. If you suffer from any neurological symptoms like a short attention span, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, or have trouble concentrating, it could be a huge red flag that harmful, toxic mold is growing and continuing to spread throughout your home — and it’s literally poisoning you. It doesn’t matter if it’s visible mold or not; enough mold to cause health problems is a problem no matter what. Just like allergies, if you or your family’s toxic symptoms increase when you’re at home, you can almost be sure your home is carrying mold. Don’t wait; take action immediately before risking both the health of your home and family gets too far out of control, especially if you have children.
When it comes to home repairs, few things are worse than mold. Mold and mildew, a specific type of mold, are similar in many ways. They smell bad, look ugly and can create long-term damage to a home. If a homeowner comes across mold or mildew, they should take immediate action to clean it and prevent it from spreading.
But, how do you tell if it’s mold vs mildew? In this article, we hope to explain the differences between the two fungi, how to prevent them and how to remove them when they’re found.
What Is The Difference Between Mildew And Mold?
There are several differences between mildew and mold. These differences can help a homeowner better identify and treat whichever fungus is causing problems in their home. Here are some of the differences between mildew and mold.
Looks of Mold vs Mildew
Visual appearance is a key difference between mold and mildew. Mildew comes in two forms. Powdery mildew and downy mildew. Powdery mildew looks exactly as the name suggests. It’s a powdery substance that rests on top of a given object. Downy mildew will look like a stain that’s usually yellow in color. Unlike mold, mildew grows in a flat pattern making it easier to predict which direction it will grow.
Mold comes in one of two forms. Mold looks either fuzzy or slimy. It comes in a variety of colors including blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black and white. Most often mold is green or black. Mold will attach to anything that it touches and spreads from place to place making it difficult to remove.
Problems Caused by Mildew and Mold
Mildew usually damages plants and crops, but it can still cause damage to wood, fabric and other materials. Many people mistake the health problems caused by mold or mildew exposure to be seasonal allergic reactions. Mildew causes breathing complications and headaches like mold but it’s usually the smell that bothers people the most. Some people have specific allergic reactions to mold and may experience more drastic health problems than others.
Mold can cause a variety of problems depending on the strain of mold. Health problems like respiratory diseases, allergies, headaches, joint pain, and fatigue, are common when mold is present in a house. Mold can also compromise the integrity of a structure because of how it spreads. Since mold does not grow in a flat pattern like mildew, it will grow in all directions in, around and through most objects at the same time. Mold’s fast growing nature makes it more damaging than mildew.
What Causes Mildew And Mold?
Both mildew and mold require the right conditions to grow. So what are those conditions? Mildew and mold thrive in moist, humid areas that receive little sunlight. It also helps if there is little air circulation as moving air keeps mold spores from settling on anything. So any place that is not properly ventilated, exposed to moisture, dark or prone to leaks is highly susceptible to mildew and mold.
How To Prevent Mildew And Mold?
Knowing what causes mildew and mold to grow can help a homeowner prevent it from growingin the first place. Look for any and all places in the house where mold or mildew are likely to grow. Bathrooms, basements, attics, and crawlspaces are all common areas where mildew and mold appear because these areas are usually warm, see a lot of moisture, get a little sunlight and little circulation.
Preventing mold in these areas is a matter of finding the sources for these conditions and combating them as much as possible. Adding fans or ventilation to an airtight area will help prevent spores from landing there. Making sure there are no leaks creating a moist, humid environment will prevent a space from becoming an ideal growing environment.
A homeowner should look at spaces that are ideal for mildew and mold and ask themselves, “How can I make this place worse for fungus?” Mold removal is always more difficult than preventing it in the first place.
How To Remove Mildew And Mold?
Mold removal and mildew removal take similar steps.
First, turn off the air conditioning or heater and seal off the vents in the area with mold. Second, put on a respirator and turn on a small fan to create circulation. Third, use either bleach water solution or another cleaning product meant for fungus and scrub the affected area.
Make sure to scrub beyond the affected area to get any spores that have spread but haven’t grown to the point of visibility. It’s important to wear gloves and clothes that you can throw away. Spores are likely to have landed on your clothes and keeping them will just spread the spores farther. If you need larger-scale removal, you may need to hire a professional to help with mildew and mold remediation. To get the best service at the best price, make sure to do your research on the local mold remediation and restoration experts in your area.
When it comes to these fungi it’s helpful to know how to tell the difference between mold and mildew. However, it isn’t exactly a matter of mold vs. mildew, since both mildew and mold can create a variety of problems from health issues, like respiratory problems, to structural damage to unpleasant smells. In order to avoid these problems, one must know how to recognize what causes mildew and mold, what they can do to prevent fungi from setting in and what to do if prevention methods fail. Mildew and mold are preventable but if they appear in spite of your best efforts, they can still be removed before excessive damage happens.