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Home Repair, Improvement and Hardware: Products and Tips for Do-it-Yourself Projects

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As shown in image above, the need for plentiful storage led to a handsome addition to this galley kitchen, with an inviting window seat in the eating area. (read more...)

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How Thermostats Work

Thermostats are switches that are turned on by a temperature-sensitive device that, in turn, activates the switch controlling the operation of a boiler, furnace, electric heater, air conditioner, or other heating or cooling device. Low-voltage and milivolt thermostats are the most common types. The three principal parts of a thermostat are:

  • Heat Sensor Usually bi-metal coil, the heat sensor contracts as it cools, tripping the switch to "on" and expands as it warms, tripping the switch to "off".
  • Switch The switch may have open contacts (in older models) or a mercury-type contact enclosed in an airtight glass tube.
  • Heat anticipator (found in low-voltage types only) The anticipator prevents the living area from overheating by shutting off the boiler or furnace just before the desired temperature is reached.

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Installing a Thermostat

  • After removing the old thermostat, feed the wires through the hole in the new base plate and insert the screws.
  • Level the plate, then tighten the screws.
  • Strip the ends of the wires if needed, or scrape them clean.
  • Wrap the ends clockwise around the terminal screws and tighten the screws.
  • Mount the thermostat on the base plate.
  • Using a pencil, set the anticipator pointer to match the current value marked on the gas valve.

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Troubleshooting Garbage Disposals

The two types of garbage Disposals are:
  • Batch Feed - Activated by turning a stopper
  • Continuous Feed - Activated by a wall switch
Problems usually involve jams or clogs, or occasionally leaks.

Safety Tip

If dismantling the Disposal or working on electrical connections, shut off power at the main disconnect. Never put your hand in the Disposal. Use pliers or tongs to remove an object. Never pour a chemical drain cleaner into a Disposal.

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Troubleshooting a Garbage Disposal

  • If your Disposal makes a loud whirring noise or stops, it has jammed. Turn it off and wait 5 minutes, then firmly press the reset button on the bottom of the motor housing. (Machines without buttons reset automatically).
  • If the Disposal still doesn't work, see if it's designed to be unjammed from below. It may have a small crank or a socket for an Allen wrench to turn the flywheel. Or it may have a reversing switch.
  • Lacking these, angle a broom handle against an impeller blade and work the blade back and forth until the jam dislodges. Then press the reset button.
  • To cure a clog, disassemble the trap and use a snake.
  • Water dripping from the Disposal usually indicates one or more seals are worn and need to be replaced.
  • Helpful Hint When professional help is required, take the Disposal to the repair service to avoid paying for a service call. To remove it, separate it from the drain elbow and loosen the mounting screws to release it from the support flange.
  • For best service from your Disposal, run cold water during disposal and for a minute after.
  • Never put glass, metal or rubber in the Disposal.
  • Disposals vary, so consult your owner's manual.

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You can't turn on the motor

Check for:

  • No power.
  • Defective on/off switch.
  • Tripped overload protector switch.
  • Defective motor.
  • Check the fuse box/circuit breaker, and if the disposal is plugged into a wall outlet, check the outlet.
  • On continuous feed models, check the wall switch.
  • On batch-feed models, check he stopper switch.
  • If the flywheel is jammed, free it. Then, push the reset button.
  • Call a qualified contractor.

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Motor hums, but unit doesn't grind

Check for:

  • Jammed flywheel.
  • Frozen motor bearings.
  • Free the flywheel.
  • Call a qualified contractor. You'll probably have to buy a new unit.

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The disposal continuously blows fuses

Check for:

  • Too many appliances plugged into the circuit.
  • Install a 15-amp circuit just for the disposal.

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You can't stop the disposal

Check for:

  • Defective on/off switch.
  • Call a qualified contractor.

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The disposal drains slowly

Check for:

  • Not enough water.
  • Clogged drain line.
  • Disposal isn't grinding finely enough.
  • Run more cold water when using the disposal.
  • Don't use harsh chemical agents.
  • Flush with hot water to remove a grease clog, then remove the drainpipe and clear it.
  • Replace a dull shredder ring or any broken flyweights.

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The disposal is making an unusual amount of noise

Check for:

  • Metallic object in the unit.
  • Loose mounting screws are loose.
  • Broken flyweight.
  • The motor is defective.
  • Inspect the unit and fish out the object with thongs or forceps.
  • Tighten the mounting screws.
  • Replace the broken flywheel.
  • Call a qualified contractor.

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There is a leak in the disposal

Check for:

  • Loose sink connection.
  • Loose drain connection.
  • Damaged housing gasket.
  • Tighten the flanges holding the gaskets or replace the gaskets.
  • Tighten the drain flanges or replace the drain gasket.
  • Replace the gasket.

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One of the most respected hardware items is duct tape. If you're even more curious, Wikipedia has a superb description of duct tape here.

Here at Construction Resource Folks, our goal is to help you reconstruct your home by providing you with the widest range of do-it-yourself products. We single out only the best do-it-yourself and home improvement vendors. Although this research is time consuming, it's the only way we know to filter vendors that offer quality products, have reasonable prices, and provide superb customer support. Whether you are looking for replacement blades for your lawn tractor, bathroom fixtures, or a few screws and fasteners, you will find parts for your specific needs, application and budget on our web site.

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Modified: Thursday, 2016-10-13 19:57 PST

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