Show Notes: December is Here! – On the House

Show Notes: December is Here!

By on December 1, 2018

Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired December 01, 2018

December is here! December might not be the 10th month anymore, but we sure have 10 GREAT facts from today’s show for you!

From choosing a new faucet, preparing your air conditioner for snow, and readying your guest bathroom for the holidays, we have you covered!

We also talked about clever uses for corbels, treats for the birds in your yard, and how to test your sump pump. Read on to find out more about what the Carey Brothers talked about on today’s show.

Missed our live show? That’s okay, we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever you’re ready! Check it out here.

Tips on Choosing a New Kitchen Faucet

Style is critical, but don’t forget about practical factors

kitchen faucet

Looks are NOT everything
Most people choose a faucet based on looks alone. And that’s a mistake.

Looks are important, but you can usually get the look you want without compromising on convenience and long-term dependability. For advice on those practical considerations, we talked with faucet designers, manufacturers, retailers and plumbers.

Here’s what we learned.

Things to look for in a faucet
• Spout height and reach
• Pull-down vs. conventional sprayers
• Number of holes in the sink
• Single vs. multiple handles

Watch the spout height and reach
Faucet spouts vary a lot in height and reach, and most of the time you can just choose the look you like best. But if you have a shelf above the sink, a tall spout may not fit. With a three-bowl kitchen sink, a spout with a short reach may not extend to all the bowls. A bath faucet with a short reach might cause you to slop water behind the spout when you wash your hands.

Some finishes are tougher than others
Here’s Rule No. 1 of faucet finishes: Choose a finish that matches nearby cabinet hardware, towel bars, etc. Mismatches look bad. If you plan to replace existing hardware, your choice of faucet finishes is wide open. The vast majority of faucets have polished chrome, satin nickel or bronze finishes. All of these finishes are durable and keep their good looks for years. But some are more durable than others.

Count the holes in your sink
If you want to switch from two handles to one, you have to think about the number of holes in the sink. Most sinks have three holes: one for the hot handle, one for the cold and one under the spout. Some single-handle faucets include a cover plate to hide the extra holes. But some don’t, so check the label. If you currently have a “wide spread” bathroom faucet with two handles far from the spout, you can’t switch to a single-handle model.

If you want a kitchen faucet with a “pull-down” sprayer mounted in the spout, there will be an empty sprayer hole. But the solution is simple: install a soap dispenser. Your new faucet may even include one.

A single handle is more convenient
Two-handle faucets have a stylish symmetry that suits many bathrooms, especially traditional ones. But in practical terms, single-handle faucets have all the advantages. They’re just plain more convenient; water temperature adjustment is easier and there’s one less handle to clean.

Pull-down sprayers are better
If you’ve ever had a “side” sprayer (a spray handle mounted in the sink), you’ve probably had dribbles or leaks. And you might assume you’d have similar (and more expensive) trouble with a faucet-mounted sprayer like the one shown here. Probably not. All of our experts told us that “pull-down” sprayers have proven much more reliable than the old side sprayers.



Treats in a Tree for the Birds

Just as those who celebrate Christmas like a tree full of treats so to do the birds!

A tree full of treats attracts winged ones and helps them survive winter.

bird feeder

Trim an evergreen tree, if possible, to give birds shelter as well as sustenance. Birds will savor any of the following edible ornaments. Follow our directions for making several simple treats, and then tie the bird-friendly decorations to tree branches using strands of raffia.

Orange Cups: Cut oranges in half; scoop out fruit. Make a handle for each cup by poking a small hole, one-half inch from the rim on opposite sides. Push one end of an 8-inch-long ribbon into each hole; secure with a knot. Fill cups with birdseed or suet cakes.

Bread Cookies: Using bread heels or day-old loaves, press a cookie cutter into a bread slice to make a fun shape. Make a hanger of raffia strung through a small hole in the cookie. Hang stale donuts, bagels, or rice cakes the same way.

Stuffed Pinecones: Melt 1 part peanut butter with 1 part lard (straight peanut butter is too hard for birds to swallow). Roll 2-inch-long (or larger) pinecones in this “frosting,” and then roll in birdseed before the fat hardens. Set on a cookie sheet to dry. Tie a raffia or ribbon hanger to the top of each cone.



Prepare Your Outside Air Conditioner Unit for Winter

Find the air conditioning circuit near your unit. Usually, it has a plastic or metal lid that covers the electrical circuit. Open the lid and flip the switch to turn the unit off. This prevents the unit from turning on during an unusually warm winter day, keeping water out of the unit that could potentially freeze.

Wash the air conditioning unit with a hose to remove bird droppings, dead bugs, dirt and dust. Remove leaves, small branches and grass clippings from the unit. Allow the unit to dry completely.
Install foam pipe covers around exterior exposed pipes. Cut the foam to fit the length and diameter of the pipe. The foam covers insulate the pipes and protect them against freezing temperatures. Wrap duct tape around the foam covers to hold them in place.

Cover the HVAC unit with a plastic or vinyl cover. Choose a cover that is waterproof. Some manufacturers make covers that are specifically designed for air conditioners, but you can use any plastic or vinyl covering that fits over the unit.

Wrap vinyl ropes or bungee cords around the air conditioning cover to keep it secure. Make sure the cover is wrapped tightly so it doesn’t blow away in strong winds.

Check your air conditioner once a week to make sure the cover is secure. Brush water, snow and ice off the unit. Remove twigs, pinecones and leaves from the cover.


Your Deam Bath

Brought to you by American Standard Walk-in Tubs

holiday bathroom

Ida from Horsehead, New York is taking in the holiday spirit! She wants to know how she can turn her guest bathroom into a holiday-friendly bathroom. See a few of the Carey Brother’s tips below and listen in for all of them!

Tips for Getting the Guest Bathroom Holiday Ready:

1.Remove the Clutter
3. Holiday Wreath
5. Extra Items for Guests


How to Test Your Sump Pump

Don’t wait for raising water!

Sump pumps remove water from homes during times of excessive snowmelt or rainfall, helping ensure that your home’s bottom levels don’t flood. To ensure that your sump pump will work properly when it’s needed, you should check it periodically. Here’s how to test your sump pump.

1. Check for blockage
2. Test the power
3. Test the pumping action
4. Test the pump shut-off

Check the Exterior Drainage Pipe for Blockages

Before checking the sump pump itself, you should first make sure that the pump’s exterior drainage pipe is free of any blockages. Find the pipe that drains pumped water away from your house, and examine it for any obstructions. Remove any dirt or debris (or ice buildup in the winter) that you see. Take care when removing debris not to strain or damage the pipe. If you find un-removable blockage or breakage in this drainage pipe, it is time to replace the drainage pipe. If you don’t want to tackle that task yourself, call on home maintenance and home repair specialists.

Make Sure the Sump Pump’s Motor Runs

The next step is to make sure the sump pump’s motor runs. To do this, locate your sump pump. Most pumps are in basements, crawl spaces or maintenance rooms.

There are two common types of power cords. One is a simple single power cord for the sump pump. The other is a piggyback system of two power cords, one plugging into the side or back of the other.

Single power cord

Your single power cord powers the pump, which means that the switch to make it run is triggered by the water level in the pit. You can’t effectively test that the power is working other than being sure that the circuit that powers the pump is working. If that electrical check is OK, then you move on to the pumping water test.

Piggyback power cord

In this arrangement, one cord is the switch that lets power come to the sump pump.

There will be two cords running from the pump to a nearby outlet, with one cord plugged into the back of the outlet. Unplug these two cords, and plug the one that was in the back of the other directly into the outlet. This cord is for the pump’s motor, which should immediately turn on. If the motor doesn’t turn on, the sump pump must be repaired or replaced.

Assuming the motor turns on, unplug the pump’s cord, and then plug both cords back in as you found them.

Watch the Sump Pump Drain Water

Next, watch the pump drain water out of its basin. This ensures that not only does the motor run, but the pump actually pumps out water.
To do this, you’ll need a 5-gallon bucket filled with some water. You only need enough water to raise the float switch until the pump turns on. Slowly pour water in until the pump turns on, and then watch to make sure the water’s pumped out. If the motor turns on but the water level does not go down, then the sump pump needs to be repaired or replaced.

Watch the Sump Pump Shut Off

Stay until the pump turns off, so you know it’s shutoff feature is working properly. A pump that won’t shut off will eventually overheat. Most likely a thermal overheat switch will shut it off at that point.

If at any point in the process the pump doesn’t function correctly, it will need to be repaired or replaced. If it turns on, pumps out water and turns off, your sump pump should be ready for any excess water that comes.

Testing your sump pump does not take very long. Doing it regularly can alert you to a problem before rising water threatens your home.



How to Buy Thermostats

Stay comfortable with smart, manual or programmable thermostats


Home thermostats can range from simple manual units to sophisticated programmable units. This guide will help you understand the different types of thermostats, what you should know when selecting your thermostat, and the special features that increase convenience, comfort and energy efficiency. Thermostats are designed as manual, programmable or smart. All three work with air conditioning and a variety of gas, oil and electric furnaces.

Manual Thermostats

• Typically found in older homes
• Economical with simple controls
• Limited energy savings and comfort, but can work efficiently if you’re diligent about changing settings as the temperature changes

Programmable Thermostats

• Adjust the temperature automatically throughout the day
• Save you as much as 33 percent on heating costs, and up to 15 percent to 25 percent on cooling
• Advanced models can switch back and forth between heating and air conditioning during seasonal transitions
• Easy-to-operate digital interface, with many mercury-free newer models
• Can be set to 7-day (daily individual programs), 5-2 day (work week vs. weekend programs), 5-1-1 (work week plus two different programs for Saturday and Sunday), 1-week (same week-long program)

Tip: You can manually override the program’s schedule as needed with many programmable thermostats.

Smart/WiFi Thermostats

• Improve energy efficiency
• Allow you to control the temperature from your computer, tablet or smartphone

Thermostat Compatibility

Identify if your home is fitted with 1 Stage, 2 Stage, Direct Line Voltage, 24mV, or Zone heating and cooling to determine which thermostat will be compatible.

Your new thermostat will be clearly labeled with one of the following:

• Works with 1 Stage heat or cool: For use where you have separate heating and air conditioning units
• Works with 2 Stage or multi-stage heat or cool: For heating or cooling units that have a high and low speed
• Works with Direct Line Voltage: 110 or 240 direct current power source used in some older homes to power the thermostat
• Works with 24mV: For use with a fireplace, floor, or wall furnace
• Zoned HVAC: Heating and/or cooling is individually controlled in different areas from the same HVAC system



Clever Uses for Corbels Around the House

Waddell WADCR 321 5-1/2 in. x 4-1/2 in. x 9-1/2 in. Basswood Classic Corbel

A home’s character is often defined by its details – the woodwork, trim, lighting choices, paint colors, etc. Unfortunately, adding details to a home usually takes a backseat to the basics, leaving a limited budget for these fun additions. One detail, however, that while small, makes a big impact is a corbel! A corbel is typically a piece of carved wood or stone that is used to structurally support another object – basically, they are a fancy type of bracket. Decorative replica corbels might even be made of resin or plaster. But whether you use a structural or decorative corbel, you won’t believe how many uses there are for them around the house!

Kitchen Cabinets: You can give your original, builder-grade cabinets a custom look by adding corbels at the end of each cabinet that tie into the backsplash. In this case, the corbels aren’t being used structurally since the upper cabinets are bolted to the wall, but rather decoratively. Even so, it’s a small detail that goes a long way toward creating a custom look!
Kitchen Countertops

Shelf Brackets: You can purchase ordinary shelf brackets at any hardware store, but a corbel is so much more interesting and completely changes the look of the shelving.
Desk Legs: In search of a desk {or even an entryway table}. Consider mounting large corbels to the wall and adding a glass or wood top!
Fireplace: You can dress up the look of your fireplace by adding a corbel underneath an existing mantel or floating shelf, or even add corbels and a shelf to a plain-front fireplace!


That’s it for this week! Tune in next week for more ways to keep your house in tip-top shape!

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