10-Minute DIY: Bypass Thermostat to Test Your HVAC Unit

A thermostat is simply a switch: inside it is a mechanism that activates whenever it detects a too-high or too-low temperature. And because it’s a switch, you can turn it off.

First, make sure the thermostat is set to ON, and set on either A/C or Heat. See if there are any programming overrides. Finally, replace your batteries if your unit is battery-operated.

Still not at “room temperature”? Now it’s time to check the HVAC unit itself by bypassing the thermostat.

Supplies needed: masking tape and a pen or pencil, flat head screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver

How to Bypass the Thermostat

1. Turn the circuit breaker for your HVAC system off.

2. Remove the thermostat cover plate with a flathead screwdriver. (Each model is different: some will have a cover plate that pulls off easily, while others require you to twist, push a tab down, or remove a few screws.)

3. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the wall mounting screws from the thermostat.

4. Using masking tape, label the wires coming out of the thermostat. They correspond to the letters R, W, Y, G, and C on the terminals of the thermostat.

5. Carefully unscrew the thermostat terminals, then disconnect the wires from your thermostat. You can use some masking tape to secure the wires and keep them from falling back into the hole in the wall.

6. Connect the R and W wires. The other wires should not be in contact with one another. Turn the circuit breaker of the HVAC unit on; the furnace should turn on. Turn the circuit breaker off, and untwist the R and W wires.

7. With the R and G wires, repeat step 6. This should cause the fan to activate. Turn the circuit breaker to the HVAC unit off and untwist the wires.

8. If steps 6 and 7 caused the furnace and fan to activate, then you have a faulty thermostat. Replace your unit as soon as possible.

9. However, if the tests didn’t cause your furnace or fan to turn on, the HVAC system might be at fault. Make sure your unit is getting power; if it’s getting power but isn’t running, this could point to a break in the wire connecting the thermostat to the furnace or to a problem with the actual furnace. At this point, you’ll want to call a professional for an assessment.

Whatever the results, you just saved a chunk of change by doing these tests yourself.

Adam enjoys writing about home improvement and technology. He works with F.H. Furr Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. More info at

10 Reasons For Decorative Concrete Basement Floors

I got really interested in interior decorative concrete applications about 6 years ago. In 2002 I was rehabbing old steel buildings with new facades, landscaping, signage, lighting, basically turning lemons into lemonade.

Flooring was a big issue. The floors were always concrete. The big issue was height at steps and doorways. Any new flooring that added height required doors to be removed, openings raised, new doors purchased and installed. A big expense. At stairways, any increase of floor height at stairs created a zoning violation and hence denial of the Certificate of Occupancy. Tile and hardwood never worked, they always added an inch.

The only solution that worked was either a concrete acid stain with concrete sealers or a concrete overlay. Most older floors needed a concrete overlay which added less than 1/8th inch in height.

There are many concrete floors where the only decorative solution is a stain or overlay. One of the largest is basement floors. Almost everyone who owns a home or retail store with a basement has the same flooring issue. Everyone who has a concrete overlay in their basement is happy, those that don’t wish they did.

So here are the 10 reasons why I like concrete overlays on a basement floor.

1. Do It Yourself – yes you can. Many have purchased decorative concrete kits and installed themselves with excellent results for under $2.00 per square foot.

2. Green – Concrete, water based dyes and sealers are non – hazardous. Reducing dust and mold, they are the healthiest floors.

3. Thin – concrete overlays at less then 1/8th inch thick solve the height issue created by other floors. Saves time, money and hassle.

4. Durable – Bonds to concrete with strength of Iron. Cures to a rock hard finish. Many retail stores, restaurants and grocery stores have them because they are durable.

5. Custom – Create simple gray or brown floors. Easily design with patterns using tape or stencils. Acid stains and concrete dyes can be applied. The beauty of overlays is ability to control color.

6. Moisture – Decorative concrete floors can survive flooding. They are porous and breathable allowing moisture vapor from concrete slab to pass through.

7. Versatile – They can be applied right up concrete stairs and walls.

8 Quick application – applications are 2-3 days.

9. Price – In most cases decorative concrete kits can be purchased with all tools and materials for under $2.00 per square foot.

10. Satisfying – The satisfaction of creating your own concrete floor is very high.

That’s why I like decorative concrete overlays on basement floors. They work!

For more information about concrete resurfacing and to view photos of
http://www.marylandconcretedesign.com/basement-flooring-in-maryland/”>basement flooring visit

5 Ways to Deal With the Dreaded Vinyl Wall Panels in Mobile Homes

The biggest complaint for most mobile home owners is usually about the notorious vinyl wall panels in their homes. Every model and make seemed to have used them between 1980-2000. Each company used their own special brand and some have that plastic looking coating and some don’t. Colors and patterns vary drastically. All have the seams with the strips or battens that “connect” the panels and nobody really knows how to update them, until now. Here is the 5 best ways to handle those pesky walls:

Just Paint Them. Easy enough for anyone. Always clean them first with TSP (or equivalent). Paint doesn’t stick to grease or smoke or dirt and there’s more on your walls than any of us care to think about. Use a really good primer. If your walls are more paper like than plastic make sure to use an oil based primer. That will keep the paper from soaking in all the moisture and raising in odd shapes that look like Abe Lincoln’s hat. If they are more plastic like, you may want to use a Grip type primer. It grips paint and it works.

Texture It All. Not so easy but fun! Just remove the strips (battens) and then throw some mud up. Texture by using whatever tool you have handy. There’s endless types of mud and spackling so do your homework or ask the home improvement employee unless they are younger than you. In that case, go find anyone that looks like they would know. You will get a better answer.

Remove the strips, mud the seams, sand and paint. This is not easy and not fun. If you are a perfectionist do not even try it. You will never match your mud texture to the walls but you can get really close. If your walls have a texture, you don’t have to work so hard. If your walls are smooth your gonna have to work at it. It will look great when you do match closely though.

Strip the paper. Not easy nor fun and not highly recommended. This is for the walls that have the very fine layer of paper attached. If it is easily pulled down in small strips and you see a smooth wall underneath this is a great option for you. If your lucky enough to have this type, just start peeling. You could always rent a steamer to help. Simply prime and paint afterward.

Wallpaper. Remove the strips (battens) and hang. Wallpaper is not easy so get a pattern that can be quickly matched. Get some good tips and tricks before you start. The more knowledge you have the better you can fight the paper, and fight you will.

There’s plenty more ways to update vinyl walls in mobile homes. Painting the walls one color and adding white 1×3 molding over the seams can create a cute cottage look. You could also paint the panels in vertical stripes and use the strips as the divider between colors. It all depends on how much work your willing to do and how much help you have. Use your common sense and ask the pro’s if your in doubt. Don’t take on too much at once, limit yourself to one wall at a time and complete the first before starting the next. Otherwise, have fun with it. If your ready for a new look I’m sure your walls are, too.

Crystal Adkins was born and raised in mobile homes and is now the proud owner of her own. She hates the words “trailer trash” and tries to rid the world of the stereotype every chance she gets. She’s an art and craft fanatic and constantly updates her home. She publishes a blog called Mobile Home Living that features ideas, inspiration and information on mobile homes. Join her at

7 Quick and Inexpensive Decor Changes

The holiday season is fast approaching. It is not too late to make some decor changes to your home before the holiday guests arrive.

Here are 7 quick and inexpensive decor changes you can make NOW!

1. Yes, you knew it was coming, #1 on our list is paint. Painting a room a new color, or at least touching up the existing color will give your rooms a fresh look and feel.

2. Add new hardware to your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Try knobs on drawers and a coordinating handle or pull on the doors.

3. A new area rug in any room of the home including the entry area, and the kitchen(either under a table or in front of the sink) will add color and pattern. For a contemporary look, check out FLOR carpet tiles.

4. Change your bathroom shower curtain. For a more finished look, try buying in-stock 84″-95″ long drapery panels instead of a standard 72″ shower curtain.Hang a rod with a functional shower curtain liner, then a second rod in front and up higher to hang the drapery from (you will need 2 panels for a standard size shower enclosure)

5. Get new bedside table lamps. You can also just change the existing bedside table lamp shades for a new look and feel.

6. Purchase new bedding for the guest and/or master bedroom beds. If you like what you already have, you can still change the accent pillows and/or add a colorful and cozy throw to the mix.

7. Replace your bathroom and entry lighting fixtures. Lighting is one of, if not the most important design element. The bathrooms and entry areas of your home will definitely be seen by your holiday guests. If you have a builder grade light bar in your bathroom, GET RID OF IT. Lowes and even Home Depot have inexpensive options to choose from.

Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID is the owner of S Interior Design. S Interior Design works with clients to make their homes and offices functional and beautiful. She is an experienced residential and small commercial interior designer. S Interior Design is the exclusive provider of Pawprint Design Services Stunning Interiors with Pets in Mind. For more helpful tips-visit

Copyright 2007 Suzanne Lasky, All Rights Reserved,
You have permission to re-publish this article as long as the Resource Box is included with the article. All rights reserved.

3 Easy Steps to Lowering Your Utility Bills With DIY Solar Power Kits

Years ago, I looked into DIY solar power kits to help offset my utility bills. I finally decided to jump into the “going green” fray and do my part in helping the environment. I was determined to learn how to build my own solar panels and solar water-heating units. I found the information and instructions I needed, in an e-Book I purchased online.

Reading the e-Book –I realized just how simple the whole process is, and was amazed how so many people choose to have professional installers charge them huge amounts to perform something so simple. The e-Book provided me with all the information and instructions required to assemble a complete solar panel and water heating system.

Constructing the Simplest DIY Project First –I first tackled learning how to heat my family’s water because solar water heating systems are so basic and simple to fabricate. Over the course of one weekend, I was able to assemble the materials and had a fully functional solar hot water system up and running. The return on my small investment was immediately paying for itself. Just using the sun’s warmth each day was replacing a substantial percentage of my utility bill every month.

Fabricating Solar Panels –Before I was informed, I always thought solar power generation was a complex system to turn the sun’s rays into electricity; however, it turns out, it is not. I purchased my DIY solar power kits and simply assembled them. A whole house solar power generating system is nothing more than a series of simple solar panels all connected together. I wanted to build a small system at first, to offset only part of my daily utility bill, and connected together a small number of solar panels. As time went by, I expanded the size of my solar power system by simply adding more panels together.

I eventually over-built my solar power generating system and sold the excess power to my local electric company (they are required by law to purchase any renewable energy available for sale). This not only allows me free energy for my home 24 hours each day, but also a check from the neighborhood electric company each month.

Information and detailed instructions are readily available on how to assemble your own DIY Solar Power [http://diysolarpowersystem.info/] kits for your home. Any do-it-yourself beginner can build and install his or her own solar power system to generate hot water or electricity.

Timothy Lancester is a committed environmentalist, dedicated to constantly seeking the best online resources for “green-minded” do-it-yourself individuals interested in renewable resource energy [http://diysolarpowersystem.info/diy-solar-power-kits-made-easy/] systems.

10 Easy Do-It-Yourself Tips to Build a Wine Rack

Do you like Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects? If so, then construct your own wine rack. It provides you with an easy way to store and display the various wines that you have. Also, building it is probably much easier than you might expect. Furthermore, DIY projects can save you a ton of money, which you could dedicate to increasing your selection of wines. Here are the simple tips to build a rack:

1. Choose the size of the wine rack that you want to build

Wine racks can range in size. They can be small enough to fit on a wall in your home. Mid-size win racks fit easily onto areas such as your kitchen countertop. Meanwhile, larger racks sit on the ground, as a bookshelf would. They can store the greatest number of bottles.

2. Create one that holds the bottles horizontally

Why is this important? There are a few benefits. Firstly, this helps to keep bits of debris from entering the bottle’s neck. Also, keeping the bottles horizontal will ensure that the bottle’s cork will remain wet.

3. Construct a wine rack that is a minimum of 7 deep.

You may consider buying wall racks if you struggle with DIY projects. If not, remember that the deeper it is, the less the bottles will protrude from the it. This will make the rack sturdier.

4. Select certain slots to accommodate a high number of bottles

After deciding on how many bottles you want to store, determine which type of slot you want to use. The two best types are the flat-box slot and the diamond-slot. These types of slots are ideal, as you can hold many bottles in a single slot. If you are trying to maximize the number of bottles you can squeeze into a small space, then these types of slots are ideal.

5. Consider slots large enough for a single bottle, for convenience

If you want to access your wine bottles easier and faster, then take this step.

6. Screw holes before installing screws

Do this to avoid cracking the wood of the wine rack, as you drill holes into it.

7. Consider buying a wine rack if necessary

If you lack the time to build your own rack, then consider buying it. These racks are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and bottle capacities.

8. Verify that your wine rack is sturdy

In particular, when creating slots for multiple bottles, ensure that the rack can support full bottles’ weight.

9. Use the right wood if the wine will sit in a cellar

This will prevent the wood from experiencing rotting, mildew, etc.

10. Add slots in your wine rack, for glasses

This will further serve as a space-saver.

One of the most practical wine racks remains a wall decoration one. However, if you are a DIY fan, then build your own!

This article is written by Alyssa Davis, who writes for
http://www.metal-wall-art.com/”>Metal Wall Art.

10 Top Benefits of Woodworking Videos

Whether you are a complete beginner, or you are an experienced woodworker trying an ambitious new project, woodworking videos can be an invaluable source of information, advice and tips. Typically, video tutorials are one of the very best ways to learn any craft or hobby.

Here are just 10 of the many benefits that you can gain from viewing woodwork videos.

The first, and most important, advantage of using a video is that it makes learning so much easier. We all know that the best way to learn anything is by copying someone else. And with a video, instead of trying to follow written instructions in a manual, you can see each stage of the process being carried out.

Similarly, this easy method means that you save time. Rather than spending hours trying to decipher diagrams and illustrations, you see exactly how to do something and simply copy the steps.

There are a great number of videos to choose from. So whether you want some basic woodworking advice for the beginner or there is a specific project that you would like to learn more about, for example furniture building, you are bound to find a video that caters to your needs.

Most good videos provide you with additional hints and tips about materials, tools and techniques. It is also possible to find video tutorials that advise on the best and most cost efficient ways to source materials and/or tools.

Beginner videos will offer information on how best to care for your tools, how to maintain them and keep them in perfect working order.

If you select a relatively modern video, you will be offered tips about brand new products. You will be advised on how to use them correctly and whether they are worth purchasing.

There is an abundant source of woodworking videos on the internet. Some of these videos are free, so it is wise to take advantage of these tidbits of information. However, in order to get the most out of these online videos, it is important that you have a high-speed internet connection.

Of course, there are other ways to get hold of woodwork video tutorials, including DVD, and CD. These are convenient, because you can setup a TV or stereo in your workspace and watch or listen as you work on the project.

Some videos come with a complete online course, which offers step-by-step instructions, basic hints and tips, interactive programs and project design plans. Naturally, this choice is very popular with many beginner woodworkers.

Online woodwork videos and courses typically provide a support section on their websites. This allows woodworkers to ask questions and receive good quality answers from the experts that created the video and course. Therefore, help is always at hand.

Of course, these are just some of the many advantages of woodworking videos. Others may depend on your circumstances, time constraints and budget. However, regardless of your situation, you can achieve wonderful results by using video tutorials as a springboard for your own woodworking flare.

You can easily download thousands of Woodworking Plans [http://easy-woodworking-projectstoday.com/products/woodworking-help/woodworking4home] and Training right now and instantly access over 20 years of woodworking knowledge. Just Click Here [http://easy-woodworking-projectstoday.com/products/woodworking-help/woodworking4home].

10 Types Of Companies That Can Help The Home

If you’re a house-proud homeowner, but struggle to keep the place looking how you like by yourself, getting a helping hand may be useful. Here are 10 types of companies you may want to use to get your home looking how you want it.

1. Furniture shops – If you want to buy some top quality furniture to kit your home out with the latest styles, then you’ll need to find some furniture shops in your area.

2. Furniture repairs – Alternatively, you may have the perfect furniture already, but it’s in need of a few repairs. Local furniture jobs do an excellent job of bringing your chairs, wardrobes and tables back up to a fantastic standard.

3. Cleaning services – If you’re working full-time, but still want your home to look clean and tidy, you may require some outside help.

4. Plumbers – Whether you want a new boiler installing or something needs fixing, it’s always worth including few reliable and trustworthy plumbers in your address book.

5. Electricians – Likewise, for any electrical problems you encounter or for an expert opinion on any home improvement projects you may have, a good electrician is always important.

6. Builders – If you have some significant home improvement plans to help complete your dream home, knowing who the best builders are locally will be extremely helpful.

7. Window manufacturers and fitters – You may want to have new windows installed in the home, perhaps as part of an extension. In which case, window fitters will need to be found.

8. Window cleaners – Once you’ve got those new windows installed, you’ll no doubt want to keep them clean. If you aren’t able to clean them yourself, you may want to find a good local window cleaner.

9. Flooring specialists – If you want to have new flooring installed, perhaps with special sound control requirements, then a flooring firm may be needed.

10. Gardener – If your home inside is looking the part, but its outdoor area leaves a lot to be desired, why not call a local gardening service to draw up improvement plans and give it a makeover?

For example, if you need a
http://localmole.co.uk/find-business/Manchester/gardener/”>Manchester gardener, you may be best served by using a Manchester business directory to create a list of local firms.

Directories carry locations information, contact details, reviews and ratings on a range of businesses, such as Manchester flooring specialists, plumbers and builders.

LocalMole.co.uk is a local business directory which provides information and user-reviews on a broad range of businesses throughout the UK, including a
http://www.localmole.co.uk/find-business/Manchester/locksmiths/”>Manchester locksmith and a Manchester driving school.