An Exploration of Air Conditioner Maintenance and Repairs

How To Replace The Upper Heating Element In An Electric Water Heater

Electric water heaters can experience part failures over time that will cause your home to have inadequate or nonexistent supplies of hot water. A common cause of water heating difficulties is the upper heating element, which warms up the top portion of the water tank until it triggers a sensor that then moves the heating down to the bottom of the tank.

If you feel certain the upper heating element is the problem, changing out the part is a potential do-it-yourself task if you have some basic supplies.

What You Need:

  • Garden hose
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical or painter’s tape
  • Socket or heating element wrench
  • New upper heating element

Step 1: Access the Upper Heating Element

Shut off the power at the circuit breaker. Turn the shutoff valve on the water intake line by turning the valve in a clockwise direction.

Hook a garden hose up to the drain valve near the bottom of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose over a drain. Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in your house to relieve pressure and then turn the drain valve. Allow at least half of the tank’s water to drain out so that you can change the upper heating element. Turn off the drain valve, remove the hose, and turn off the hot water faucet.

Locate the access panel for the upper heating element. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the panel in place. Pull the panel off and set the panel and its screws aside.

Look inside the access area and you will see insulation with the center piece cut into a flap. Pull that flap of insulation up and over so that it is flush with the exterior wall of the water heater. Secure the insulation flap to the heater using either electrical or painter’s tape. 

Pull the tab on the plastic cover under the insulation then remove the cover and set the cover aside. You are now looking at the upper heating element.

Step 2: Remove the Old Element and Install the New Element

Pay attention to the orientation of the wires going into the element. Unhook the wires by loosening, but not removing, the abutting screws. Use a socket or heating element wrench to rotate the heating element in a counterclockwise direction until the element can pull free of the heater. Dispose of the old element.

Insert the new upper heating element into the appropriate hole in the water heater. Tighten in a clockwise direction using your wrench. Attach the wires in the proper terminals using the orientation you memorized earlier. Tighten the screws to hold the wires in position.

Snap the plastic cover into place over the heating element. Remove the tape holding the insulation onto the heater then push the insulation flap into place. Place the access panel door over the hole and attach with its screws.

Turn on the electricity at the breaker and restore water at the shut-off valve. Leave the water heater alone for a bit and then test to see if your water is heating properly. If you still don’t have adequate or any hot water, call in a plumbing company to take a look at your unit.

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Starting To Weld? Here Are A Few Stud Welding Systems To Be Aware Of

There are a number of stud welding systems out there, and if you have decided to start welding your own personal projects or you want to start welding professionally, it can be tough to know which systems you should be aware of and learn about. Here are a few common welding systems that may interest you.

Capacitive Discharge Welder

If you plan to do work on electronic devices and computers, working with a Capacitive Discharge (CD) welder might be where you want to start. Studs are spring mounted by melting the surface of the metal. That way, as the metal cools, the stud can’t be removed because it is firmly in place. Because these types of welders tend to be small and provide a speedy release of energy, they are suitable for metals such as copper, which is generally used for electronic projects.

Arc Welder

You might have already started to work with arc welders; they are commonly used on construction sites and work well for a variety of metals. With these types of machines, electrical currents are used to melt aluminum, steel and other metals so that studs can be driven through them.

While arc welding is versatile and suitable for many projects, there are some reasons why you might choose another system. If, for example, you need hundreds of pieces welded right away, this system might not be the right one for you.

Production Welding

If indeed you do need to produce a high number of uniform welded pieces on a regular basis, you will likely need to learn how to use production welders. They are generally used in vehicle and industrial production; if you should ever find yourself in a warehouse where motorcycles are manufactured, for instance, you may see these machines. They are large and typically have a number of welding ports so that more than one person can use them.

There are many welding needs in an industrial shop, so production welders are usually equipped with a number of different power settings. Because of the large size of these machines, many industrial shops only have a few of them and wheel them about the shop on casters when they are needed.

You might ultimately decide to work with all of the above systems to make sure you have skills for any circumstance, or you may choose to specialize in one type.  Talk with local welding contractors in your neighborhood to get more information about which systems might make the most sense for you to learn.

For more information, contact a company like Northland Fastening Systems.

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FAQs About Bathroom Refinishing

If your bathtub is old and dingy, the idea of taking a bath might not be as relaxing as it normally sounds. You can either live with the tub, refinish it, or completely replace it. Depending on the tub, refinishing it might be the best option. If you are thinking of refinishing your bathtub, here is what you need to know.

Should You Refinish the Bathtub?

There are many reasons that refinishing the bathtub is a good idea, but one of the best is that it can save you money. A new bathtub can cost as much as $3,500 in some situations. By contrast, you can refinish a bathtub using a do-it-yourself kit for as low as $20.

If you have an older bathtub that is composed of high-quality materials, refinishing it can help restore its character. This is particularly beneficial if you own an older, historical home that is being restored.

Refinishing is also ideal if your bathtub is not too damaged. The technique used during the refinishing helps to repair cosmetic issues and might not work too well in repairing structural problems.

How Do You Prepare for Refinishing?

Before bathtub refinishing can be completed, any leaks or other plumbing issues need to be fixed. A leaky faucet can ruin the prep work that is required to start the finish.

You also need to prep the walls surrounding the bathtub. The refinisher must apply painters tape to the area around the bathtub so that he or she does not get any of the refinishing products on the walls. If you fail to properly prep your walls, when the tape is removed, the wall’s paint could be damaged.

Prepping the walls usually involves only cleaning the walls so that nothing sticks to the tape. If there is additional work needed, the refinisher can provide you with instructions.

If you are doing any remodeling work in your bathroom, you should have it taken care of before the refinishing occurs. For instance, new flooring, painting, and tile work should all be completed. If you are installing a toilet or vanity near the bathtub, the refinisher might ask you to wait on those because they could limit the amount of room he or she has to refinish the bathtub.

Refinishing your bathtub could make a significant difference in how your bathroom looks. Consult with a refinisher to determine what other steps you need to take to prepare your bathtub for the project.

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3 Backyard Fencing Considerations

Your backyard can be a continual source of delight, bringing beauty, function and form together in a way that pleases throughout the seasons. A fence can add to the pleasure and functionality in many ways. And there are plenty of reasons why you may want to consider one, ranging from the practical to the aesthetic.

Consider Your Reasons

You may live in an area where there are friendly little creatures that want nothing more than to come by and eat your plants. Or you may live on a property that has been used as a shortcut, and you would like to encourage neighbors to go around your space rather than through it. These are just some reasons you may want to establish some kind of border or fence, in addition to the beauty that a well-designed fence can bring to any space.

Consider the Functions of a Fence

A fence can also help to define your space and provide a great backdrop to your garden, helping to emphasize its dimensions and even showcase particular plants, shrubs or trees. The contrast of the materials that you can use for a fence, whether you choose wood or other, contemporary synthetics, allows a fence to be a decorative as well as functional choice. A fence also creates privacy and establishes property boundaries for your home. Think about what you want your fence to accomplish for you. That will help you decide what kind to get.

Consider the Budget

Building a fence does not have to be cost prohibitive, although if you have money to spare, you can create an elaborate one. Of course, the materials you choose can also factor into the final cost. Some materials might be less expensive in the beginning, but there may be trade-offs in appearance or longevity. A wrought iron fence might be spectacular to look at, and last forever, but its highly specialized installation and custom installation may keep this choice out of reach for many homeowners. Wood fences remain popular choices in part because homeowners can easily maintain these themselves, and the cost is less prohibitive than some other materials. Your fencing contractor will help you to choose an appropriate fence that falls within your budgetary boundaries.

A fence can add beauty to your home and property, increase its value, provide you with privacy and define your property. These are all great reasons to consider putting in a fence. Contact a company like Rut Fencing for more info.

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The Best Ways To Save Money On Your Driveway Installation

There are several ways that you can lower the cost of installing a concrete driveway. If you install the driveway yourself, you will save on labor and you will also be able to make other decisions that will help further reduce the cost of your concrete driveway installation. Also, for any stage of the process that you are not comfortable with, you can always hire a freelancer for that specific stage. If you have settled on installing your driveway yourself, there are several ways that you can save money.

Plan Your Driveway Carefully

Use a computer or a pad and pencil to sketch how you would like your driveway to look. By planning ahead, you will be less likely to make mistakes that would force you to start over. Grade the land yourself and pour your own ready-mix concrete. Try to keep your concrete driveway as simple as possible. You do not need to add any unique colors or textures. Simply add the features that are necessary for you to have a functional driveway.

Make sure that you perform calculations multiple times before ordering concrete. If you order too much, there is more of a risk that you will be forced to throw some away. Even worse is if you order too little and you are not able to finish your project properly.

Think Twice Before Purchasing Equipment

Do not purchase expensive equipment for ready-mix concrete if you will only be using the equipment once. You will be able to save a lot more money by renting the necessary equipment. Some tools might not even be necessary. Also, you will need brooms and other less expensive tools. If you do not already own them, ask acquaintances if any of them own these tools.

Find Cheap Sources Of Ready-Mixed Concrete

Look for local concrete sellers. They will not have to transport the concrete as far, so they will save money and can pass the savings on to you. Also, there might be a type of concrete that is created exclusively in your area and is therefore less expensive to make.

When In Doubt, Hire A Freelancer

If you feel like you have gotten in over your head, you can always hire a freelancer. For instance, if you are comfortable with mixing the ready-mixed concrete, but do not feel that you could handle the excavation, you could hire a freelancer for the excavation. You will still save money by performing some of the labor yourself.

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How To Dig Construction Fence Posts

If you need a temporary fence to mark off your construction site, fiberglass is a great option. It is extremely durable, yet it is more stylish than chain link fences. Fiberglass is most often used as a permanent fencing solution, but it can be great for temporary construction fencing. If you are going to install a temporary fiberglass fence in soil, you need to make sure the posts are properly installed. This article explains the best techniques and tools for installing temporary fiberglass fence posts in soil.

Don’t use Concrete Footing for the Posts

If you were going to install a fiberglass fence in a soil setting, you would want to pour concrete footings for the posts. However, this is not necessary if your fence is only going to be up for a few months. It is much more cost effective and quicker to install the posts directly into the soil instead of pouring concrete footing.

Dig the Hole for the Post

The most vital tool for setting posts is a post digging shovel. These specialized shovels are long and narrow, so you can dig deep without creating a hole that is too wide. The depth of your hole will vary depending on the height and width of your fence posts. Of course, a taller fence will need to have more of the post submerged in the soil. In general, you will be fine if about 1/3 of the fence post is beneath ground level. So a 6 foot tall fence would need to be built using 9 feet posts. 3 feet of the post will be in the soil, while the other 6 are above ground.

Tamping and Prepping the Hole

The difficulty of digging the hole will vary depending on the density of the soil. After the hole is dug to the perfect size, you need to prep it. With a tamping pole, you can pack down the bottom of the hole. This makes it harder and allows you to more easily control the depth of the hole. Once your hole has a nice, firm bottom, you can set the post. Hold the post in place (use a level to make sure it is straight) while a helper fills in the hole with soil. Tamp the soil around the post as you pour it to make sure it is dense.

Since no concrete is being used, the fence will be much easier to remove when the project is complete.

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Four Furnace Issues You Can Fix Yourself

Not all furnace problems require a repair visit. There are several common issues that you may not know about, but that don’t require the assistance of a furnace repair professional. The following guide can help you do a little preliminary troubleshooting so you can possibly fix the problem yourself. If not, you can rest easy knowing that the repair call is necessary and not because you overlooked something obvious.

Issue #1: Check the Thermostat

If your furnace isn’t kicking on, chances are that you already verified the thermostat settings. What you may not have checked the level of the thermostat. A wall-mounted thermostat must be perfectly level to work properly. Several things can affect the thermostat so it is no longer level, such as it getting bumped or the house settling. Use a simple bubble level or a digital level to verify that the top horizontal edge is level. If not, you can adjust it on its mounting screws until it is.

Issue #2: Turn It On

In some cases, there is more than one switch to turn on your furnace. Although most homeowners are aware of the switch on the thermostat, there is also often a switch near the furnace itself that needs to be flipped on. It may resemble a standard light switch, so any switches of unknown use could be the one. If the furnace still doesn’t fire up, check its switch in the breaker box to make sure it hasn’t been tripped.

Issue #3: A Bird in the Works

All furnaces have an exhaust flue. Birds will sometimes find their way into the flue when seeking out warmth. When this happens they may fall down the flue and clog up the works so the exhaust doesn’t port out properly. This causes a safety switch to flip the furnace off until the flue is cleared. Shut off the furnace and open the duct that feeds into this exhaust flue. Clear out any debris and then close the duct back up before turning the furnace back on.

Issue #4: Clear the Drains

This is a common occurrence with high-efficiency furnaces located in moist or humid climates. These furnaces drain off moisture via attached drain lines. If mold, algae, or sediments in the water collect inside the lines, they become clogged and the furnace will quit operating. Turn off the furnace and then remove the drain hoses. Rinse them out with solution of bleach diluted in water, which will remove and kill any mold. Once cleared, you can reattach them and try running the furnace again.  

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