Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #7: Prevent Wear on My Outdoor Power Tools

Posted by: on January 1st, 2012 | Make A Comment

Outdoor Power Equipment Maintenance

Most of us have at least a few pieces of outdoor power equipment in our power tool arsenal to help us take care of our home and yard, but what do you do with yours after the fall growing season is over? Do you just pull them into your garage or shed and let them sit until spring?

Here are seven key maintenance tips to consider that will help you extend the life of your outdoor power equipment all year round:

1. Drain the gasoline and oil out of each outdoor power tool at the end of the fall growing season. Fuel that is older than 30 days can develop moisture and lead to gum deposits in the engine, carburetor or fuel line. When spring rolls around and the growing season begins, fill with fresh gas and oil.

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31 Days, 31 Ways to Get Organized

Posted by: on January 1st, 2012 | Make A Comment

A new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start. This year, disorganization is out, and clean, clutter-free spaces are in, and with 31 Days, 31 Ways, we plan to offer you solutions for those jumbled closets, kitchen cabinets in disarray, and under-the-bed junk. Some of these tips are tried-and-true organization best practices, and others are clever ideas from our friends all over the web. Follow 31 Days, 31 Ways to Get Organized, and let’s kick off the new year in clean, mess-free bliss!

Day 1 of 31 Days, 31 Ways to Get Organized: Store your Christmas ornaments for next year.

Wrapping Christmas ornaments in newspaper or tissue paper is the most popular method for packing up ornaments come January, but it isn’t the fastest or the most full-proof. One ornament inevitably winds up crushed at the bottom of the heap, or a cardboard box gets gets smashed or damaged. Try something new this year. Rather than wrapping your ornaments in newspaper, try storing them in plastic cups attached to cardboard à la Martha Stewart.

Store Christmas ornaments smartly in a plastic storage container in paper cups

Martha Stewart’s instructions are to hot glue plastic cups to a piece of cardboard to create individual cubbies for each ornament. Stack the cardboard layers in a plastic box, and label the box at the top, “Christmas Ornaments.”

No broken ornaments next year!

[Editor's Note: 31 Days, 31 Ways to Get Organized is a series featuring clever storage and organization tips that will help you clean house in the new year]

Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #6: Finally Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

Posted by: on December 31st, 2011 | Make A Comment

A programmable thermostat

Programmable Thermostats

As we mentioned in our post Learn How to Maintain My Thermostat, air conditioners and heating systems are some of the highest energy drainers in our homes. Even though the latest technological advances have decreased the amount of energy required to run our heating and cooling systems, there are several do-it-yourself steps you can take to help get more mileage out of your HVAC system and save on energy costs.

Upgrading to a new programmable thermostat is the next step in saving some real dough.

Estimates on energy cost savings when using a programmable thermostat range from 7-40 percent. Most experts agree that a household can save an average of 20-30 percent off their energy bills, depending on region and climate.

The Home Depot carries a large selection of programmable thermostats with such features at various price points.

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How to Use Joint Compound to Repair Damaged Drywall and Create Texture, Part 1

Posted by: on December 30th, 2011 | Make A Comment

Once upon a time in the 1980s when wallpaper was a hot home décor trend, a home was built with wallpaper attached directly to the drywall. One day, the new owner of the house, CraftyGalDIY (a.k.a. me) decided to give the bathroom a makeover. First step, ditch the wallpaper. Off to the store I went to get a scorer, wallpaper remover and paint.

Like a good little, amateur DIYer, I scored the wallpaper, steamed it and began to pull it off the walls. Down came the wallpaper and part of the drywall paper, too. Since no primer was applied to the wall before the wallpaper was put up, the wallpaper became a part of the drywall. Frustrated, I dropped the project and began to really hate my bathroom.

Joint Compound

Image from CraftyGalDIY

I happened upon a Drywall Texturing thread started by homedepot.com community member tbsmiley33, seeking advice on texturing bathroom walls using the Spanish Knife method of applying joint compound. I was immediately interested since I was having some drywall issues of my own.

Paul, another community member, shared a link to DrywallSchool.com. The website provides step-by-step instructions on drywall texturing and a video tutorial on the Spanish Knife technique.
Call it a DIY epiphany, but I believed this Forum thread provided the solution to my problem with my bathroom walls. Could I really solve my drywall and wallpaper problems by using joint compound?  I checked out the instructions on Drywall School.com, made my shopping list, went shopping at my local The Home Depot store, then returned home to try to fix my walls…fingers crossed. :)

Did it work? Is my love-hate-relationship with my bathroom over? Check back next week for part 2 of How to Use Joint Compound To Repair Damaged Drywall and Create Texture.

Have you created texture on wall using spackle or joint compound?

Editor’s Note: Want more advice from our experts? Join the conversation. Visit the Forum for DIY tips and tricks from our Store Associates. From the Forum Friday is our weekly column highlighting expert advice.

Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #5: Learn How to Maintain my HVAC

Posted by: on December 30th, 2011 | Make A Comment

HVAC Maintenance

Air conditioners and heating systems are some of the highest energy drainers in our homes. Even though the latest technological advances have decreased the amount of energy required to run our heating and cooling systems, there are several do-it-yourself steps you can take to help get more mileage out of your HVAC system and save on energy costs.

According to HVAC Hub, a leading resource for homeowners and HVAC professionals, there are 15 DIY maintenance tips to help keep your heating and cooling systems operating efficiently:

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Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #4: Stop Air Conditioning the Outdoors

Posted by: on December 29th, 2011 | Make A Comment

Home Winterization

Since New Year’s Day is almost here, it’s a great time to discuss winterizing your home. There are many small projects you can do that will keep the cold air out and save you money on utility bills.

One test that everyone should try is the hair-dryer & ribbon test for doors and windows that demonstrates whether or not you have gaps that need plugging.

Here is a picture of the ribbon test set up. Tape the ribbons on the door near the bottom so the ribbons lay on the floor in front of the door on the inside. In this photo, the ribbons are lying still on the floor.

Once on the other side of the door, aim your hair dryer at the door threshold and turn it on. If the ribbons don’t move, you have a sharp, air tight seal. If the ribbons spring to life, you have some work to do. Here you can clearly see our ribbons dancing around, indicating gaps that need to be plugged. You can also run this same test on your windows.

To plug any gaps around windows and doors, think weather stripping.

The Home Depot carries over 300 weather stripping-related products on homedepot.com. You can find all kinds of door seals, sweeps, bottoms and thresholds that help you get air-tight seals to keep out the elements.

We also have window insulation kits that improve the insulating power – called the R-value – of single pane windows by up to 90%. These kits will stop window drafts and limit heat loss. Caulk is another great application. Apply caulk in any gaps you find in your baseboards or crown moulding.

Next, let’s talk insulation. One of the best ways to get a warm cozy home is by adding insulation in your attic and basements to reach the recommended R-value for your area. This R-Value chart paints a colorful picture so you know how much insulation you need for your attics and floors.

Remember to stock up on ice melt and traction control mixtures to melt away snow and ice from your porches, walkways, driveways and sidewalks. Make sure your snow blower is ready for the season by checking the spark plugs, gasoline and oil levels.

To make sure you are on top of these all-important tasks, make a note on your calendar, day-timer, blackberry or smart phone for January 1, 2012. At that time, conduct the ribbon tests and consider adding insulation if your R-values are not up to code. Then, complete your home winterization planning by ordering some ice melt from homedepot.com, and checking to make sure your snow blower is in tip-top shape.

Editor’s Note: In this 7-part series on home maintenance, we take a look at different home maintenance topics that sometimes slip our minds. We offer research and advice on how to tackle each one without emptying your wallet. Be sure to use homedepot.com as a resource throughout the year to successfully complete each task and save money.

Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #3: Make Sure My Plumbing Doesn’t Break

Posted by: on December 28th, 2011 | Make A Comment

Plumbing Precautions

There is no part of our home that’s more of an afterthought than our plumbing system. But if you’ve ever been unlucky enough to be downstream from a water main break, you know firsthand how inconvenient life can be when you don’t have running water.

Just think of all the day-to-day tasks that require running water: cooking, bathing, showering, flushing, landscaping and hot-tubbing, just to name a few.

So for 2012, take the following seasonal steps to take care of your plumbing so you aren’t left high and dry.

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All About Oil-Filled Radiator Heaters

Posted by: on December 27th, 2011 | 3 Comments


Oil-filled radiator heaters are a great way to warm up any room in your home. Not only are they an efficient source of convection heat, but they are safe around children, pets and in any high activity space in the house.

Watch this video as Home Depot associate, Above Average Joe, explains how oil-filled heaters work and why he loves to recommend them to customers looking for the perfect way to get through these cold winter days and nights. Visit Above Average Joe and our other expert associates on The Home Depot How-To Community Forum.

See more DIY and home improvement videos here on the Home Depot blog and on The Home Depot’s YouTube channel.

Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #2: Prevent My House From Burning Down

Posted by: on December 27th, 2011 | Make A Comment

A fire extinguisher and smoke alarm, two essential items for home maintenance and safety

Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors & Fire Extinguishers

In part one, we reviewed Fireplace & Chimney Maintenance. Today, we’re focusing on a related topic, maintaining smoke detectors, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and fire extinguishers in your home.

To further illustrate the importance of having all three of these items in your home, see how you score on the following quiz:

1. By percentage, how many US homes have smoke alarms?

A. 88%

B. 92%

C. 96%

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Home Maintenance New Year’s Resolutions #1: Maintain My Fireplace in the Off Season

Posted by: on December 26th, 2011 | One Comment

Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance

Many of us have wood or gas burning fireplaces in our home. But does it ever cross your mind how to properly care for your fireplace and chimney?  One big reason you should: saving money.

Chimney sweepers stay busy in the winter months and the months leading up to winter, so it makes sense to schedule an appointment in the spring or even summer to take advantage of off-season discounts.

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