How to keep wood furniture clean?

January 13th, 2012

Wood Furniture enhances the beauty of your home, whether it is an outdoor patio or indoor furniture. Homeowners always prefer wooden furniture in the front or back lawns, as it gives adds to the natural environment of the garden. It gives you the real feeling if sitting in the lap of nature. You can not afford to ignore an outside wooden furniture, as it is more prone to damage as compared to the furniture placed inside a home.

Routine cleaning and maintenance checks are required to keep the outside wooden furniture in top shape. Wood furniture can be made of cedar, pine or spruce, but the best one is teak furniture. Though, teak furniture is less prone to damages as it is resistant to wet environments due to its naturally occurring oil. There are many methods that you can adopt to keep the outdoor furniture clean, as it make your furniture last longer than expected.

Keep a rug for cleaning
People start using patio more often when the summer season approaches. To prolong a furniture’s life, you must pay proper heed to its maintenance and care. You must be well acquainted with the stuff of the furniture, for instance, whether it is made of wood, bamboo, plastic or some other material. You must keep a rug for wiping the wooden patio, whenever you use it. If you are cleaning it with water, beware of the mild dew formation on it.

Protecting from stresses of nature
Often changes in temperature, like moisture and humidity leads to the deterioration of wooden furniture. Wood reacts to these temperature fluctuations in different ways. It is always advisable to buy teak furniture if you are going to place it in your garden, as it is less prone to infestation, as it has natural oils which keeps it resistant to water damage.

Keep a check on outdoor furniture
Timely inspect your outside wood furniture from time to time for the buildup of pollen, sap, or mildew. If the furniture is exposed to harsh weather environments, you must store it inside the garage or at a safe place, when it is not in use.

Cleaning wood furniture twice a year
You must clean all kind of wooden furniture at least twice a year. There are many techniques that you can practice at home to clean outdoor furniture. Take five tablespoons of dish washing liquid and add a tablespoon of bleach in it. Take a gallon of water and add the prepared solution in it. Take a bristle brush and gently rub the surface of the wood furniture, with the solution prepared. Leave it for at least ten minutes and wash it off with water. Let it dry in sun for some time.

You may also repaint the specific areas to conceal cracks in the furniture. Regular checks and maintenance will make your outside furniture more durable. You can hire a handyman for cleaning furniture, as they are professional trained in different cleaning techniques. A well maintained patio or garden furniture will add to the beauty of your home.

 

About the Author:Author has been associated with professional handyman services london from a long time. Presently with his vast experience, He is helping others in choosing the best service provider for them in london and its surroundings.

Wood Furniture enhances the beauty of your home, whether it is an outdoor patio or indoor furniture. Homeowners always prefer wooden furniture in the front or back lawns, as it gives adds to the natural environment of the garden. It gives you the real feeling if sitting in the lap of nature. You can not afford to ignore an outside wooden furniture, as it is more prone to damage as compared to the furniture placed inside a home.

Routine cleaning and maintenance checks are required to keep the outside wooden furniture in top shape. Wood furniture can be made of cedar, pine or spruce, but the best one is teak furniture. Though, teak furniture is less prone to damages as it is resistant to wet environments due to its naturally occurring oil. There are many methods that you can adopt to keep the outdoor furniture clean, as it make your furniture last longer than expected.

Keep a rug for cleaning
People start using patio more often when the summer season approaches. To prolong a furniture’s life, you must pay proper heed to its maintenance and care. You must be well acquainted with the stuff of the furniture, for instance, whether it is made of wood, bamboo, plastic or some other material. You must keep a rug for wiping the wooden patio, whenever you use it. If you are cleaning it with water, beware of the mild dew formation on it.

Protecting from stresses of nature
Often changes in temperature, like moisture and humidity leads to the deterioration of wooden furniture. Wood reacts to these temperature fluctuations in different ways. It is always advisable to buy teak furniture if you are going to place it in your garden, as it is less prone to infestation, as it has natural oils which keeps it resistant to water damage.

Keep a check on outdoor furniture
Timely inspect your outside wood furniture from time to time for the buildup of pollen, sap, or mildew. If the furniture is exposed to harsh weather environments, you must store it inside the garage or at a safe place, when it is not in use.

Cleaning wood furniture twice a year
You must clean all kind of wooden furniture at least twice a year. There are many techniques that you can practice at home to clean outdoor furniture. Take five tablespoons of dish washing liquid and add a tablespoon of bleach in it. Take a gallon of water and add the prepared solution in it. Take a bristle brush and gently rub the surface of the wood furniture, with the solution prepared. Leave it for at least ten minutes and wash it off with water. Let it dry in sun for some time.

You may also repaint the specific areas to conceal cracks in the furniture. Regular checks and maintenance will make your outside furniture more durable. You can hire a handyman for cleaning furniture, as they are professional trained in different cleaning techniques. A well maintained patio or garden furniture will add to the beauty of your home.

About the Author:Author has been associated with professional handyman services london from a long time. Presently with his vast experience, He is helping others in choosing the best service provider for them in london and its surroundings.

Stainless Steel Restoration Tips

November 3rd, 2010

stainless steel scratch repair dutch touch handyman

How to Repair Scratched Stainless Steel

 
Whether you can remove a scratch has much to do with how deep the scratch goes. Here are several ways to deal with this problem and restore your cookware, stainless steel appliances, countertops or sinks to their former glory.
 
You have a shining, gleaming stainless steel and a kitchen that fairly sparkles. Then, it happens. Somehow there is an ugly scratch on the stainless steel refrigerator, oven, or dishwasher, and you can see it from across the room. It’s just about as obvious as a blemish on prom night. But you can restore your stainless steel appliances to their former beauty.
  
STEP 1  Assess the damage. Determine if this is a deep scratch or a surface scratch, by running your finger across it. If you can actually feel the indentation, you have a deep scratch, gouge or ding. With clamps, carefully hold a small piece of dry ice over the gouged area. Hopefully,it will pop out, and not be as noticeable. Then you can treat it in the same way other scratched areas are treated in the steps below.

 
STEP 2  Determine if the scratched appliance is “real” stainless steel or if it has a synthetic coating or finish. Damage to coated appliances is permanent.
 
 These are all coated: Whirlpool – “Satina;” GE – “Clean Steel;” Amana – “Ultra Finish Steel;” Kitchenaid – Architect Series II, “Monochromatic Stainless;” Kenmore – “Ultra Satin;” Frigidaire – “Titanium;” Electrolux (all brands except “Classic,” “Icon” and “Electrolux”); Maytag – “Silver Ultra Finish,” “Satina Stainless Look,” “Monochromatic Stainless steel,” “Monochromatic Satina.”

Also,coated stainless steel doesn’t smudge easily and is magnetic. You will only further damage the surface if you use a rubbing compound, or a product like Scratch-B-Gone, on a synthetic or clear-coated finish. If your appliance is coated, you cannot fix the damage.

STEP 3  Identify the existing grain of the stainless steel. See which direction the tiny original brush lines go in the damaged area.

STEP 4 Use an abrasive pad from the Scratch-B-Gone kit to repair scuffs, light scratches and even deep scratches. The kit has 4 different abrasive pads and instructions to tell you which one to use depending on the severity of the scratches and scuffs. Otherwise, go to an automotive shop and buy different fine grades of sandpaper.

STEP 5   Apply a small amount of Ultra Shine from the Scratch-B-Gone kit onto the appropriate abrasive pad. Or use an automotive rubbing compound on the sandpaper.
 

STEP 6   Begin rubbing the damaged area of the stainless steel in the direction of the grain covering over about a 5-inch area at a time. Slide the pad backward and forward increasing pressure as needed until you see the scratch is disappearing.

STEP 7  Repeat this process until the scratch is removed and the surface is restored. For a deeper scratch, dry rub the area with the coarse pad, and wipe area off with a microfiber cloth to make sure the scratch is gone.

STEP 8   Blend the metal surfaces by using the finest grade sandpaper or abrasive pad with the rubbing compound or Ultra Shine and gradually increase the area around the original damage to about three times the original scratched area. Be sure to go with the existing grain of the stainless steel so you don’t create crosshatching.

 

stainless steel sink repair dutch touch handyman service

How to Shine Stainless Steel Appliances

Bright, shiny stainless steel appliances can add a nice touch of class to a kitchen, but if they aren’t properly cared for, they will lose their lovely patina. With just few simple steps, you can keep those stainless steel appliances bright and shiny for many years to come

STEP 1 Apply baby oil to the stainless steel appliance with a soft, dry cloth.
 

STEP 2  Rub it on well, making sure all of the appliance has been coated with baby oil.
STEP 3  Apply a stainless steel cleaner to the area with a soft cloth. Follow up with a stainless steel polish to bring back the shine.

STEP 4  If the scratch is still there or if you can put your fingernail in the scratch, you may have to try fine grit sand paper. Sand the area and go outside the scratch by one or two inches as you did before, following grain of the metal.
 
STEP 5 
After sanding, use the coarse side of the finishing pad. Flip the pad over and use the fine side to help smooth the surface out.

STEP 6  Follow up with using a stainless steel cleaner and apply with a soft cloth. Use a polish afterward to help restore the metal to its original shine.

stainless steel boad repair kitchen dutch touch handyman servicesTips and Warnings

Do not use abrasive cleaners containing bleach or it could scratch the metal. Use cleaners specifically designed for stainless steel or others such as white vinegar, Windex, club soda, rubbing alcohol or ammonia, which are safe and will not harm the surface. Just because a product is for stainless steel it still may be acidic or slightly abrasive and you should proceed with caution when using. Always use soft cloths to clean such as micro fiber to prevent scratches. You may have to consult a professional for very deep scratches or scuffs.

stainless steel oven repair baked grease grime dirt goo muck slime dutch touch handyman services

How to Get Corrosion Off of Stainless Steel Appliances
 
Stainless steel is a steel alloy that is incredibly resistant to rust and corrosion; it is commonly used in building or decoration. The visual beauty of stainless steel makes it a popular choice as a finish for home appliances. However, although stainless steel is incredibly resistant to wear, it is not indestructible. Proper care can prevent nearly all rust or corrosion, but in rare cases, your appliances can show wear. Luckily, it only takes a few steps to clean stainless steel.

Things You’ll Need:
Soft cloth
Mild detergent
Stainless steel cleaner

Step 1   Wipe the appliance down with a wet rag to remove any debris, grease or oils from the surface.

Step 2   Dry the appliance with a soft cloth or towel.

Step 3   Apply a small amount of mild detergent such as dish soap to a wet rag, until the rag is sudsy. Wipe the appliance down, applying mild pressure.

Step 4  Clean off any remaining soap from the appliance and dry.

Step 5   Apply stainless steel cleaner to your appliance, and buff with soft cloth. Rinse with wet cloth.

Step 6   Dry the appliance one last time, making sure to leave no residue of water or cleaner on the appliance.

How To Remove Rust From Stainless Steel

Though stainless does have incredible resistance to oxidation and corrosion there are still major factors that can lead to different types of corrosion. Corrosion of stainless can come from moisture from the ocean and air, humidity and temperature from weather, as well as the oils and skin secretions from people.

The best method to remove rust from stainless steel that we’ve found is to use Bull Frog Rust Remover. This rust remover will remove the rust and it has proven itself safe on the stainless steel finish.

To use Bull Frog Rust Remover on stainless steel just apply the product to the rust stained surface. Let the rust remover work for half an hour, and then wash off with water. If the rust stain remains, repeat the process but leave the rust remover on for an hour. Again, rinse off the rust remover.Using Bull Frog Rust Remover has advantages over traditional abrasive methods. First, this method is very quick to apply. Secondly, and most important, is the end result. Using abrasive methods can lead to a sanded looking finish on the rust stained area. Keeping the original finish on the stainless steel is important to the overall appearance of the stainless steel. (Source: theruststore.com)

To prevent corrosion, all stainless steel should be kept cleaned and coated with a corrosion prevention coating. In salty and humid environments they should be washed more regularly as salt can accelerate the rusting process.

How to clean stainless steel

1. Water and a cloth.

Routine cleaning can be accomplished by using warm water and a cloth. This is the least risky option for cleaning stainless steel. Dry with a towel or cloth to prevent water spots. Wipe in the directions of the polish lines.

2. Mild detergent, (dish washing liquid) and cloth.

For cleaning that needs more power, mild detergent and warm water can do a great job without damaging the stainless steel. Make sure you rinse the surface thoroughly to prevent staining and spotting. Towel dry to prevent water spots which can be caused by minerals in water.

3. Glass cleaner for fingerprints.

Fingerprints are one of the biggest complaints about stainless steel, but can be taken care by using glass cleaner or household ammonia. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. There are some newer types of finishes for stainless steel that resist fingerprints, a must if your pint-sized helpers leave their mark on your stainless steel appliances.

4. Stainless Steel Cleaner.

If you’ve had staining or scratching, or need to polish your stainless steel, a stainless steel cleaner may be a good option. Some of these cleaners and polishes can help minimize scratching and remove stains. They also can polish stainless steel surfaces nicely. Read the directions on the stainless steel cleaner and test in an inconspicuous spot. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

Tips and Warnings

1. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

2. Keep stainless steel appliances clean, because dirty appliances will lose their shine very quickly. Wipe them often to remove kitchen grease, using a damp sponge or rag soaked in hot, soapy water. Dry the appliance thoroughlyt with a soft towel. Wipe against the grain and with the grain of the stainless steel

3. Remove fingerprints from stainless steel appliances with window cleaner, and wipe them dry.

4. For a quick shine, put some club soda in a spray bottle and lightly mist the stainless steel appliance. Follow up by drying the appliance with a soft cloth.

5. Never use bleach on stainless steel appliances. It will react with the steel and can cause staining.

6. Never use brushes or steel wool on stainless steel appliances. They can scratch the stainless steel and cause rust to form.

stainless steel appliance repair dutch touch handyman services

How to Get Scratches Out of Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless steel appliances can be sharp and modern when they are gleaming, shiny and new. However, it can be easy to scratch up a stainless steel surface and this can take away from its luster. There are a few things that can be done to remove scratches from stainless steel. It just takes a few materials and a little effort to get your appliances back to their original state and shine.

1. Use the coarse side of a finishing pad on the scratch if it is minor. Be sure to follow the grain of the metal. Overlap the area by one or two inches on each side, which will help it to blend in with the surrounding metal. Flip the pad over and use the fine side of the pad to smooth out the area.

We restore and repair stainless steel in the following cities and areas:

Carlsbad CA, 92008 92009 92010 92011 92013 92018

Del Mar CA, 92014 

Encinitas CA, 92023 92024 

Escondido CA, 92025 92026 92027 92029 92030 92033 92046 

Oceanside CA, 92049 92051 92052 92054 92055 92056 92057 92058 

Rancho Santa Fe CA, 92067 92091

San Marcos and San Elijo Hills CA, 92068 92069 92078 92096

Solana Beach CA, 92075 

Vista CA, 92081 92083 92084 92085

 For further information, please visit our website:

http://www.dutchtouchhandyman.com/


Handyman Tips For Door Repairs

October 20th, 2010

Dutch Touch Handyman Services Door Repair

Common Door Repair

 One of the most common, and most bothersome, small problems around the house is having a malfunctioning entry door. If your door squeaks, sticks, or has other problems opening or closing, it is often an issue several times a day for anyone who lives in the house. Entry door repair is not always a straightforward task, but in most cases, it is not incredibly involved, either. If you’re tired of dealing with an offending door, here are a few tips about door repair that might come in handy. 
 

door repair san diego north county dutch touchDoor Repairs for Sticking or Swelling

 Changes in temperature and humidity can cause swelling, and subsequently sticking, of an entry door. Repair for this situation will involve sanding down the portion of the door that sticks and causes friction. To identify where you need to sand, you can slip a piece of carbon paper in the area where friction is suspected and close the door; when you open it back up, the area that needs to be sanded will be marked with ink. Once you sand the area smooth, make sure to seal it up with varnish, or you’re likely to have even more moisture problems in the future.

sagging door hinge repair san diego countyDoor Repair: Sagging
 
 A door will occasionally sag under its own weight and bind in the doorframe. If the situation isn’t corrected, it will worsen over time until it’s virtually impossible to open or close the door. Sanding the upper door edge is only a temporary fix because the door will continue to sag.
Instead, remove the screws from the upper hinge leaf that’s attached to the doorjamb and replace them with three-inch decking screws. The screws will pass through the jamb and reach deep into the trimmer studs of the rough opening. Tighten the screws just enough to pull back the door a little bit. Be careful not to over tighten them or you’ll bow the jamb and distort the swing of the door.
 
   

 

drafty door entry repair dutch touch handyman services

Drafty Entry Door Repairs

Especially in colder climates, a drafty entry door can make a room that would be perfectly comfortable into a far less pleasant place. Two very common solutions to this problem are adding weather stripping or installing a storm door. Weather stripping comes in a few different varieties, and can be installed in a couple different ways. When done properly, it is a sure fix for drafts that is cost-effective and quick. Installing a storm door can make a huge difference when it comes to blocking drafts, and when the weather gets warmer, a storm door fitted with a screen can allow a great deal of air circulation without letting in bugs.

Hiring a Handyman for Door Repair

 Entry door repair is a project that generally doesn’t take too much time, especially for an experienced professional. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, you may want to hire a handyman to come and do the job for you. Even folks with some experience in fixing things around the house might want to call a handyman service for door repair and group it together with a few other odd projects. Make sure to let the service know when you contact them about each individual project you need done, as this will allow them to come to your home prepared.

How to Fix Locksets & Doorknobs

Many lock-set problems can be corrected before they become so serious that the lock set will not work. Often, a malfunctioning latch assembly or lock mechanism causes the problem. An improperly functioning latch may be the result of a poorly fitting door. The lock mechanism may not work simply because the lock is dirty or dry and needs to be lubricated with graphite (do not use any type of oil).
 
 Materials & Tools We Recommend for This Project:
 
MATERIALS: Graphite Lubricant, Wood Filler
TOOLS: Combination Square, Curved Claw Hammer, Drill-Driver Bit Set, Power Drill, Screwdriver Set, Utility Knife and Wood Chisels.

For serious lock problems, it is usually best to call a locksmith or to replace the lock entirely. If your problems require professional help, keep in mind that removing the lock and taking it to a locksmith is far less expensive than having the locksmith come to you.
 
 A setscrew on a doorknob locks the knob to the spindleA setscrew on a doorknob locks the knob to the spindle. To loosen the setscrew, turn it counterclockwise with a screwdriver; to tighten the setscrew, turn it clockwise. If a door latch does not operate smoothly, the latch bolt on the door may not be lined up properly with the strike plate on the doorjamb. Repairs range from making minor latch adjustments to repositioning the door.
If the latch does not catch, close the door slowly to watch how the latch bolt meets the strike plate.
The bolt may be positioned above, below, or to one side of the strike plate. (Scars on the strike plate show where it is misaligned.) It is also possible the door has shrunk and the latch no longer reaches the strike plate. Once you have figured out the problem, try one of the methods shown here.
 On mortise lock sets (the type that fit into a large slot in the edge of the door), doorknobs may become loose over time. To tighten them, loosen the setscrew on the knob’s shank. Hold the knob on the other side of the door, and turn the loose knob clockwise until it fits snugly.
Then tighten the screw until you feel it resting against the flat side of the spindle. The knob should turn freely. If this does not help, remove the knob and check the spindle; if the spindle is worn, it must be replaced. If the whole lock set is worn, it is best to replace it entirely.
 
 If the latch does not reach the strike plate, shim out the plateFor less than a 1/8-inch misalignment of the latch bolt and strike plate, file the inside edges of the plate to enlarge the opening.
For less than a 1/8-inch misalignment of the latch bolt and strike plate, file the inside edges of the plate to enlarge the opening.If the latch does not reach the strike plate, shim out the plate, or add another strike plate. If the latch still will not reach, shim out the door’s hinges. Replace the door with a wider one only as a last resort.
more than a 1/8-inch misalignment, remove the strike plate, and extend the mortise higher or lower as necessary.

For more than a 1/8-inch misalignment, remove the strike plate, and extend the mortise higher or lower as necessary. Replace the plate, fill the gap at the top or bottom with wood putty, and refinish.

GARAGE DOOR REPAIR

For repairing a garage door, read this link.

We service doors in the following cities and areas:

Carlsbad CA, 92008 92009 92010 92011 92013 92018

Del Mar CA, 92014 

Encinitas CA, 92023 92024 

Escondido CA, 92025 92026 92027 92029 92030 92033 92046 

Oceanside CA, 92049 92051 92052 92054 92055 92056 92057 92058 

Rancho Santa Fe CA, 92067 92091

San Marcos and San Elijo Hills CA, 92068 92069 92078 92096

Solana Beach CA, 92075 

Vista CA, 92081 92083 92084 92085

For more information, please visit our website:

 
http://www.dutchtouchhandyman.com/

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Handyman Electrical and Lighting Tips

October 20th, 2010

  

broken lightbulb
 
So… Welcome to the club!! You broke a bulb in the socket, and you feel like a klutz! I suppose you have heard of the old potato trick. Cut a potato in half, push it into the bulb base, and twist it out. Does it really work? I guess it could, though I must admit (sigh) that I never tried it. Why, you ask? I guess it’s because I don’t carry a potato in my toolkit!

bulb replacement safety poleHOW MANY POTATOES DOES IT TAKE TO ELECTROCUTE A HANDYMAN?

Only one… if the power is on!

FIRST THE REMEDY… THEN PREVENTION!!

1)First and foremost, make sure the electric power is off. If you can’t determine which circuit the fixture is on, turn off ALL circuits.
 
2) Put down a tarp to catch any remaining broken glass from the old bulb.
3) Leather gloves are preferred if you have to touch the broken bulb base.
4) Wear eye protection, especially if you are working on an overhead fixture. A hat might also help keep glass off your head!

There are two ways to take out the bulb’s base…

• Using both hands, insert the pliers as far into the broken base as you can.

• Spread the handles apart, exerting force against the sides of the bulb base with the tips of the pliers, and rotate counter-clockwise (the pliers, I mean).

• Continue turning until the base is out. If you meet resistance, turn base back in slightly and then back out. The idea is to remove the broken bulb base, not break the fixture.

If the first method doesn’t work, try this:
 
• CAREFULLY insert a small screwdriver or awl between the bulb base and the socket. Bend the bulb base SLIGHTLY INWARD, just enough to allow the needlenose pliers to get a grip.

• Hold the pliers firmly and begin to turn the base out, counterclockwise. You will probably meet some resistance. When you do, turn the base back in slightly, then out again. The trick is to work the base out, not break the fixture. Prevention… DON’T OVERTIGHTEN YOUR BULBS

 If you follow this simple, commonsense guideline, you will probably never have to remove another broken bulb (unless you do it for other people)!

When you replace a bulb, turn the bulb in just until you feel slight resistance. Turn the switch on. If the bulb lights without flickering, you are DONE. Do not turn the bulb any further!
 If bulb has not lit, turn switch back off, turn bulb a quarter turn, and try again. Do this until the bulb lights. Never screw in a bulb so tightly that it bottoms out.

Let there be light!!
 

 Home Electrical Safety Tips

electrical outlet repair

Here are some checks you can make in your home today to ensure electrical safety! This information is provided courtesy the Electrical Safety Foundation International, or ESFi, a non-profit organization whose goal is to prevent deadly and unnecessary electrical accidents and injury.

Outlets

Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any missing or broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
 

Cords

Make sure cords are in good condition—not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.
 
Extension Cords

Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.

Plugs

Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock.

NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN’T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)

GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs according to the manufacturer’s instructions monthly and after major electrical storms to make sure they are working properly.

 Light Bulbs

Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you don’t know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.

 Circuit Breakers/Fuses

Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.

 

Appliances

WATER AND ELECTRICTY DON’T MIX

Don’t leave plugged-in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out—even if it’s turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don’t use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.

 

If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
Entertainment/Computer Equipment
Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly. Look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.

 Outdoor Safety

 Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. When using ladders, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.

Lightning

During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e., hairdryers, toasters and radios) or telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage; and use surge protectors on electronic devices, appliances, phones, fax machines and modems.

 Space Heaters

Space heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture and rugs. Don’t use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug when not in use. Do not use space heaters with extension cords; plug directly into an outlet on a relatively unburdened circuit.

 Halogen Floor Lamps

Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children’s bedrooms or playrooms. Consider using cooler fluorescent floor lamps

ceiling lamp fixtureRepairing and Troubleshooting Fluorescent Fixtures and Tubes
 
On the home repair scale of 1 to 10 (10 being hardest), repairing a fluorescent fixture is a 3 or 4… fairly simple but some basic electrical skills are necessary, such as being able to identify wires by color, stripping insulation from the ends of cut wires, installing wire nuts and reading instructions. I added the first and last with tongue in cheek… I know most of you are not color-blind and most of you can read… or you wouldn’t be here!
Here are some common fluorescent freak-outs and some suggested solutions! Note that I will be primarily referring to fixtures using straight fluorescent tubes in this discussion. Curved tubes work in a similar fashion but have different mounting methods.

I use the term “bulb” and “tube” somewhat haphazardly and inconsistently. My apologies. Both are correct, though “tube” is the more correct term and probably a little less confusing.

Fluorescent bulbs designed to replace incandescent bulbs in standard fixtures, such as in recessed lights or table lamps, have all the same features of a fluorescent fixture. Alas, they cannot be repaired… they must be replaced if they become defective.
Finally, let the buyer beware!! Parts for some small fluorescent fixtures may cost more than a new fixture!
Troubleshooting dead or flickering fluorescents… could be a bulb, the starter or the ballast!!

A dead fluorescent can be caused by lack of electrical power (tripped breaker or blown fuse), a dead or dying ballast, a dead starter or a dead bulb(s). Check for power first… then the starter (if applicable) and then the bulbs. When all else fails, the ballast should be replaced. Since it is the most expensive item, be sure it really is dead!! Ahd check the price before you buy… some ballasts are more expensive than new fixtures!!
When flickering is the issue, you still must do the same sort of troubleshooting since all the same problems that can cause a lamp to not work can also cause flickering… defective starters, defective bulbs or a defective ballast.
IMPORTANT: Flickering fluorescent tubes can cause the ballast to overheat and fail prematurely! They can even cause a starter to burn out! Don’t wait too long to fix the problem or you may end up with a bigger repair!

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Testing fluorescent tubes…
 

First and foremost… look at the bulbs! If either bulb appears to be very dark near either end the bulb is defective or close to failure. Note the upper bulb in the left graphic… it is definitely approaching its golden years! Though this bulb is still producing light its days are numbered.

 
There is an electrode located inside each end of a fluorescent tube. Each has two visible pins which fit into the mounting sockets on either end of the fixture. By testing across these pins you can determine whether or not the electrodes are intact. Electrically speaking, if there is continuity across the pins, the electrode should be working. However, even if the electrodes are intact the bulb may not light. This can occur if some or all of the gas has leaked from the bulb… a condition for which there is no sniff test! Also, there may be a slight short in the electrodes that gives you a positive reading but the electrode is in fact kablooey!
lightbulb electrical service dutch touch handymanThus, the most reliable way to test a fluorescent bulb is to install it into a known working fixture. If you are troubleshooting a 4-tube fluorescent fixture, this is easy! Just remove one of the still-working pair of fluorescent tubes and replace it with each of the questionable tubes, one at a time. 99% of the time it will be one of the tubes that is the culprit.

What about pairs of fluorescent tubes?

A flickering fluorescent bulb means that it or one of a dependent pair of bulbs in the fixture has bought the farm. In many fluorescent fixtures, power is sent through a pair of bulbs. If either bulb is bad, they may both flicker or one may flicker and the other show no life.
My philosophy of sensible repair is to always replace both bulbs. Fluorescent tubes have such a long life and are so inexpensive (with the exception of some of the “natural light” bulbs) that it makes no sense to skimp. ceiling fan installation dutchtouch handyman service
Not that it’s the most economical solution… it is just a practical viewpoint from someone (me) who has been paid to do this type of work for others (you). To receive a second call in a month because the other of the two bulbs has gone bad is neither desirable from the customer’s point of view ($$) or mine (pride in a job done right).
However, if both tubes are functional, the problem is with the ballast or, if applicable, the starter. The starter is replaced first, and if that does not solve the problem, the ballast should be replaced. Read on…
Does your fixture have a starter? Maybe… though probably not!
A fluorescent starter is a little gray metallic cylinder that plugs into a socket attached to the fixture’s frame. Its function is to send a delayed shot of high-voltage electricity to the gas within the fluorescent bulb. The delay allows the gas to become ionized so that it can conduct electricity. Because this process is not instantaneous, the bulbs will flicker for a few seconds before lighting. Hence, a defective starter can cause either flickering or total darkness!

Most modern fluorescent fixtures do not use starters, so you might not find one if your fixture is less than 15 to 20 years old. When determining whether your fixture uses a starter, be sure to look underneath the bulbs… sometimes the bulbs have to be removed first to gain access to the starter. If you do not see a starter… they are never hidden under any covers or “trap doors”… your fixture is a modern “self-starting” type.
Starters are rated by wattage to the bulbs they will control. If you have a fixture but have misplaced the starter, write down the wattage of any of the fluorescent tubes and take that information to the hardware store, lest you be scolded by the mean clerk and sent home without supper… or a starter.
electrical repair dutch touch handyman servicesSadly, there is no way for the home handyman to troubleshoot a starter except by replacing it. Before replacing the existing starter, though, be sure it is securely seated in the base by removing and then reinstalling it. A starter is installed by pressing it into the socket and then turning clockwise till it locks in place. To remove a starter, press in and turn counterclockwise… then withdraw the starter. You may need
If you own fluorescent fixtures that use starters, always keep a few handy for troubleshooting purposes! And don’t forget to throw away used ones… most of the time it is impossible to tell the difference between a good and bad starter!
Replacing the ballast (or not) may have unexpected side effects on your wallet!
I’m sure many of you wonder where the name “ballast” came from. After all, there is the nautical term “ballast” which refers to the contents of tanks on a submarine which control its buoyancy. Fill the ballast tanks with water and the submarine sinks… with air and it surfaces.
A defective ballast in your fluorescent fixture may make you want to sink it in the nearest pond! Indeed, the cost of replacing the ballast in a fixture may rival the cost of a new fixture… especially if you want to use a modern electronic ballast that lights the bulbs faster, runs cooler and is virtually hum-free. (Yes, Virginia, that hum when you flip on the fluorescent lamp is from the ballast, not the bulbs!)
When my customers ask my advice in this matter, I always lean to the aesthetic first. Do they like the appearance of the fixture? If not, add one point to the “replace it” side. Then I confront the ceiling repair issue. If the new fixture is smaller or has a different “footprint” than the original fixture, the ceiling may need to be repainted to cover the unpainted area under the old fixture. Sometimes, ceiling texture also has to be touched up after a fixture is taken down!fan ceiling repair dutch touch handyman services
Smaller fluorescent fixtures, such as those in kitchens to illuminate countertops or built into furniture, follow the same basic criteria. Since you may have a problem finding an exact replacement fixture (especially if the fixture is very precisely sized), replacing the ballast may be the best choice.
Thus, unless the fixture is absolutely hideous, replacing the ballast is usually the least expensive repair overall when all other factors are considered!
Replacing a ballast… just follow the colors!
To the left is a graphic of a two ballast, four-bulb fluorescent lamp system, with the ballast cover off to expose the wiring. One look at the spaghetti-like wiring could make anyone lose their appetite! But get the Rolaids… all is not lost! Within that snarly mess is order… just follow the colors!
Fortunately, most modern ballasts have a wiring diagram right on the body of the ballast, with the wire colors clearly marked. If not, the diagram will be packed in the box or printed on it. As if that wasn’t enough help, common ballasts often use the same color scheme, making the job about as easy as it can get!
Choosing the correct ballast…
Needless to say, when you go shopping bring your old ballast with you to assure you get the correct size. Size is not everything, though. Since you must purchase a ballast that is wired identically to the existing one, your only choice is the type of ballast, magnetic or electronic.
Magnetic ballasts are the old-time workhorses in the fluorescent world. They are inexpensive and will give 10 to 20 years of service. There were some fluorescent fixtures in my father’s gas station that were over 40 years old and still working!!
Electronic ballasts are the new guys on the block. They have some specific advantages over magnetic ballasts. First, they start more quickly than magnetic ballasts. Second, they do not hum. Magnetic ballasts hum right out of the box. The sound comes from the internal vibrations caused by the magnetic core which supplies power to the bulbs. As they age, magnetic ballasts tend to get louder and louder… till they finally fail. Electronic ballasts are silent out of the box and remain so… till death do you part.
Whether the additional cost of an electronic ballast is worth up to double the cost is up to you. I personally prefer the electronic ballasts because the hum makes me nuts. It’s up to you!

Can you use a dimmer with fluorescent light fixtures?
 

Yes and no. Yes, there is a specially-designed dimmer switch that will work with some fluorescent fixtures. However, this type of dimmer is “ballast-dependent”, meaning that each brand of fluorescent dimmer will only work with certain ballasts from certain manufacturers. In other words, trying to find a dimmer to match your fixture may be a mind-numbing chore. The ideal situation is to choose the dimmer and the light fixture together to assure compatibility. Also, these dimmers will not work for incandescent fixtures. You cannot mix fluorescent fixtures and incandescent fixtures on the same switch.
The “No” part of this question is that the “conventional” dimmer switches you can purchase at the hardware store are designed for incandescent lighting only, not fluorescent lighting. If you attempt to use them, the fluorescent fixture may work but only in the full-on position, if at all.

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For further information, please visit our website:

http://www.dutchtouchhandyman.com/

Your shouldn’t feel too bad! After all, Murphy’s Law says that the most likely bulb to break is the most difficult to replace, i.e. cathedral ceiling recessed floodlights! Well, let’s see what we can do to get it out.

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