Keeping the Attic Cool with an Electric Vent

Replacing the Motor in an Electric Roof Vent

Several years ago, we installed an electric roof vent where an old plastic roof vent used to be. Let me tell you, that vent really helps keep the power bill down by removing a majority of the heat in the attic therefore keeping the air conditioner from working so hard in really hot weather. The only drawback is that the motors are oil-less and eventually the bearings dry out causing the motor to stop working. I was able to find a replacement motor and replacing the motor in an electric roof vent is very, very easy! Let me show you…

Replacing the Motor in an Electric Roof Vent

The new motor has a capacitor on it where the old one did not. This means it helps the motor run a bit more efficiently and also helps protect the motor from power inconsistencies.

We started by shutting off the power to the fan. I have mine wired to a switch and shut the power off at the breaker. Matt and I tag-teamed this project – he was inside disconnecting the wiring in the attic, and I was on the roof taking the housing apart to get to the motor.

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I tried to remove the set screw in the collar that hold the fan blades on the post of the motor. The set screw was quite snug but a little WD-40 took care of that!

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I removed the bracket holding the old motor, and secured it to the new motor.

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I slid the fan blade assembly on the post then secured the set screw.

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I secured the brackets back into the housing. At this time, Matt was back in the attic connecting the wiring. I stood back – far back – and let him adjust the thermostat so the fan came on…

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It worked like a charm! The new motor is much more quiet than the old one, and I was so thrilled at the load it took off of the A/C! Because it had been so hot, the A/C had been running continuously for several hours a day. Now, it doesn’t! Seriously, replacing the motor is that easy!

If your home has an electric roof vent and the motor quits, don’t be afraid to try your hand at replacing the motor in the electric roof vent. It truly is easy and we were finished within an hour! Have any questions? Leave a comment below!




Build a Mailbox Post

Step Up Your Curb Appeal with a New Mailbox Post!

Generally, we give our homes and our yards a lot of attention. The house gets a new coat of paint, a transformation to the front door, or a fresh look to our shutters. The yard will get mowed, clipped, raked, fertilized, and watered which turns it into a lush, green oasis. But do we ever think about the mailbox and the post that holds it? I’ll be the first to admit that although I’ve painted the mailbox, the post is left looking a bit unattractive. Matt asked me to create plans to build a gorgeous new post for the mailbox. Sure, a new mailbox post can be purchased then sunk into the ground but it is a few bucks cheaper to build your own and customize it to reflect the style of your home!

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The receptacle for the Rebel house (the rental that Matt and I have been remodeling) had a mailbox and a post that was way worse than mine. I did not take a “before” photo, so I will describe it to you… The box was rusty and had a magnetic covering on it featuring a “deer” scene. The post was a bent pipe that was leaning. In fact, Matt yanked it out of the ground with his bare hands! It was in very sad shape! Once the post was built, set into the ground, and painted, it made the Rebel house look like a million bucks all the way to the curb!

Materials:

  • 1 – 4×4 post at 8′ plus a scrap piece at 14″
  • 2-1/2″ Weather Resistant pocket hole screws (“Blue Kote”)
  • 1 scrap piece of treated 1×6 the length of the mailbox
  • 2″ exterior screws
  • Exterior screws to secure the mailbox to the shelf
  • 1 treated post finial or cap
  • Wood glue rated for exterior use
  • Paintable silicone caulk
  • Post hole digger (if a new hole is required)
  • Bag of quick-setting concrete
  • Level
  • Exterior paint and brush
  • Exterior screws to mount the mailbox

Cut List:

  • 1 – 4×4 at 79″ – Post
  • 1 – 4×4 at 14″ – Post Arm
  • 1 – 4×4 at 16-1/16″ – Arm Support
  • 1 – 1×6 cut to the length of the underside of the mailbox – Post Arm Shelf

Build a mailbox post

Click on the drawings for a larger view!

Step One

Start be reviewing the guidelines from the US Postal Service. They have a specific height for the box from the curb to the underside which makes it easier for the carrier to reach it. You can find the guidelines HERE.

Step Two

For this plan, the main post will extend up above the mailbox to show off a finial. Cut the main post at 79″ which includes the necessary 2′ that will be cemented into the ground.

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Step Three

Cut the piece for the post arm. Set the pocket hole jig for 1-1/2″ material and drill two pocket holes on each side of one end of the piece. Secure to the post as shown using glue and 2-1/2″ weather resistant pocket hole screws.

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Step Four

Cut the piece for the arm support. The angles are each cut at 45 degrees. Drill two pocket holes at each end on each side of the piece. Secure as shown using glue and 2-1/2″ weather resistant pocket hole screws.

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Step Five

Measure the underside of the mailbox and cut the 1×6 piece to fit. Allow enough room for the door to open and close easily. Mount the piece on the arm using glue and 2″ exterior screws. Allow a space at the back of the shelf (at the post)  for the mailbox to fit.

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Step Six

Use a drill bit at the same diameter of the screw in the bottom of the finial. Drill a hole about 3/4″ deep in the center of the top of the post, then screw in the finial. Use the paintable silicone caulk to fill the pocket holes.

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Step Seven

Refer to the US Postal Service guidelines for the required location for the box, and dig a new hole if necessary. The hole should be a little deeper than the required 2′, and (obviously) bigger than the post itself. Mix and add the concrete according to the directions on the bag of quick-setting concrete. Check the post with the level, then let the concrete set.

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Step Eight

Once the concrete is dry (usually in 24 hours), paint the post using the exterior paint of your choice. We used Valspar Exterior paint in White with a semi-gloss finish.

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Step Nine

Position the mailbox on the shelf and secure using exterior screws on the sides into the shelf.

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Now that you’ve used your skills to build a new mailbox post, your mailbox will be the nicest on the block! Add a few gorgeous plants or flowers around the base and – voila! – you have just turned the style up to 10!

 




Auger Anchors

How to Use Auger Anchors in Drywall

I am a huge fan of auger anchors. I live in a house where the interior wall studs are not at 16″ on center – they are 24″ on center. If I want to fasten anything to the walls, I need to use something strong that won’t pull out of the drywall. In the same situation? I’ll show you how to use auger anchors to keep your photo frames, shelves, etc. securely fastened to the wall!

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Auger anchors are little plastic corkscrew-looking pieces – they almost have a dangerous look to them, don’t they? They twist into the drywall then pop apart when the screw is inserted. There is less of a chance of them coming out of the drywall compared to regular plastic wall anchors.

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Installation is so easy – here is how I do it:

If I am installing a shelf, I drive the screws through the marked location on the shelf directly into the drywall (without anchors). This creates the hole where I need it to be plus it is spaced correctly with no measuring. Then I remove the screws.

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The auger anchor will fit directly on the end of a drill or screwdriver with a Phillips head, and is driven in the hole in the drywall.

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Replace the screws through the item being hung (or by itself for a frame) and drive the screw until the auger anchor “pops”. This is the end of the anchor splitting which further secures it into the wall.

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As always, use caution when installing anchors near electrical outlets so that it does not come into contact with the wiring!

I hope my little tutorial on how to use auger anchors has helped! If you have any questions, please contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Disclaimer:

This post contains links to a site of which I am an affiliate. What that means is if the link is clicked and a purchase is made, I will get a commission of that sale. Rest assured I would only direct my readers to sites I shop at myself!




A Quick Guide to Cutting Crown Molding Using a Jig

A Crown Molding Cutting How-to

The time has finally come for Matt and I to install crown molding in the Rebel House – yay! After nearly a year, we are almost finished! I’ve always found crown molding a little intimidating… There are a lot of fabulous crown molding cutting how-to articles on the web – a couple of my faves are from The Design Confidential and Sawdust Girl. I had purchased the Crown Pro from Kreg Tools quite awhile back and decided to give that a try.

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First and foremost, let me state that the instruction booklet will become your best friend! It is very clearly written and easy to understand. It includes diagrams on inside corners and outside corners, as well as instructions on how to measure the wall corners.

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Start by using the Angle Finder tool (the grey tool) to find the spring angle of the molding. The three common spring angles are 38°, 45°, and 52°. (The crown we purchased was 38°). There is also an adjustment nut on the bottom of the Crown Pro jig to set it at the same spring angle as the molding.

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Use the Angle Finder to measure the wall corner so that the saw can be set to match the correct angle.

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Make the cut…

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Then install the crown molding. Honestly, we are awful at it but then again, there is a fabulous product on the market to fill those gaps called “caulk”…

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As with any crown molding cutting how-to, there is a bit of practice involved. I used the jig to cut crown molding for a couple of shelves and the corners came out perfectly!

Disclaimer:

This is not a post sponsored by Kreg Tools or anyone else. I purchased the Crown Pro with my own money and thought I share my experience with my readers. I do still need to practice with it!!




Functional Cabinets Are Remodeling Essentials

Kitchen Remodeling Essentials

I was compensated to post this article on Designs by Studio C. The post was not written by me but I do agree with the content. Posts like this are what helps DbSC add more great plans and projects!

Great looking cabinets can set the tone for your entire kitchen remodel, but having cabinets with extra functional features is an essential for a truly value-added kitchen renovation. Here are some great functional features that will make your kitchen remodel stand out above the rest.

Gliding Shelves

Shelves that glide out of a cabinet when pulled add to the accessibility of the whole cabinet space. They are especially convenient to quickly access what is stored on the shelf. A handy use of the glide out feature is a small appliance cabinet to make use of a deep and narrow space. A cabinet door that pulls out reveals stacked shelves of appliances like a mixer, food processor, and blender. These handy gadgets can stay out of sight until needed.

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Mounted Wastebaskets

Mounted wastebaskets that glide out of a cabinet space make bending to throw trash away under the sink a thing of the past. The glide out feature can help you make the most of the space by handling a larger waste container than what the under sink space could accommodate. Easy accessibility to your waste container means easier trash bag removal and replacement as well.

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Cookie Sheet Storage

This type of functional storage solution utilizes vertical partitions so that items like cookie sheets, griddles, and even pan lids can be stored vertically. With this type of cabinet storage, everything has its designated place. Storage space is maximized and the time it takes you to find what you need is greatly reduced.

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Hanging Pots

How to store pots and pans is one of the main cabinet decisions you will make during a kitchen remodel. If the idea of pots that store hung up by the handles intrigues you but you do not like the clutter of them hanging from a ceiling mounted rail, the cabinet version may appeal to you. A specialized rail system that is installed inside the cabinet allows you to hang out of sight yet within reach. This is a streamlined and quiet solution to clattering around in a traditional cabinet trying to find the pan you are looking for.

Multidimensional Pantry

A way to get the most storage and functionality out of a deep pantry space is to invest in a multitasking multidimensional pantry. This pantry design is the best way to get the most use out of a deep cabinet space. The pantry consists of shelving units on the inside of the doors as well as shelves within the back part of the space. The extra functional feature of this style of the pantry is the tower feature that supports two to three short depth shelving units that pivot on the tower like a store poster display. The direction that you move the towers determines which deep shelf storage you have access to.

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To make your new kitchen especially functional, it is a good idea to do your research and talk to a professional about the latest in kitchen cabinet storage ideas. The clutter you eliminate and the organization you gain can make a difference in your satisfaction with your new kitchen remodel.




How to Cut Decorative Posts for a Deck

An Easy Way to Cut Posts for a Deck

Matt and I are in the process of building the railing for the deck at the Rebel house. I’ll tell you what – the materials for a deck are expensive! We didn’t want just plain old posts either but some of those decorative posts and post caps are way out of the budget. I can across this article from The Family Handyman on how to cut posts for a deck. It seemed pretty straightforward except that they use a circular saw… Using a circular saw is not entirely a bad thing but I am still deathly afraid of mine – go figure! I decided to cut the deck posts using my miter saw and my table saw.

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Let me state up front that all safety precautions need to be in place. It is a lot easier to create these posts with a helper nearby. Keep your hair back (if necessary), no loose clothing, any hoodie strings tucked out of the way (I tie mine under my chin), and wear gloves and safety glasses.

I started by cutting the posts to length using the miter saw. They each measure 48″ which will allow 6″ to be notched and attached to the side of the deck using lag screws. Then I started cutting the kerfs for the notches. I removed the splitter, anti-kick back pawls, and blade guard from my table saw then set the blade depth to 1-1/2″ with the rip fence set 6″ from the blade.

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I made a pass with each post through the saw and even had help from a sweet stray dog we’ve named “Mama”!

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that feeding the posts through the saw as I’ve shown is “wrong”. The post is should be clamped to the saw’s miter fence then pushed through so that there is even pressure on the post. Please note that however you choose to run the posts through the saw is at your own risk.

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I moved the rip fence in by 1/2″ and made a pass with each post. I continued to do this (what seemed like a bazillion times) until there were kerfs cut along the 6″ where the notches would be.

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I decided that I wanted a decorative line cut in the upper area of the post. I reset the blade depth at 1/2″ and the rip fence at 4-3/4″ which would make a “square” below the bevels that will be cut in the top. I made a pass with each post through the saw on all four sides.

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To cut the beveled top, I marked a line 1-1/4″ in from each side. This will give a 1″ square at the top of the post.

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I cut the bevels at 45° on the miter saw.

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To finish cutting out the notches, I used a chisel to remove the material where the kerfs were cut.

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The posts were then bolted to the deck using 3/8″ x 3-1/2″ lag screws. Rails and balusters were then added to create the railing.

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I was really glad to come across The Family Handyman article on how to cut posts for a deck! It gave me an inexpensive option to create stellar posts for the Rebel house without breaking the bank. The posts identical to these that I saw at one of the big-box home improvement stores were $10 each. I created these for $3.50 each. Not too bad, huh? Have any questions? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!




Pocket Hole Jig Basics

A Few Tips on Using a Pocket Hole Jig

Most of my plans call for using pocket holes to join the pieces to each other. I find this type of joinery to be the easiest, quickest, and strongest method of joining two pieces of lumber used in furniture and cabinet construction, at least for me! When getting started, the most expensive jig does not have to be used – a beginner can get away with the most basic pocket hole jig. I’ve created a video to show a few basics on using a pocket hole jig. (Its not the best quality – I’m still new to making videos!)

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Use this handy chart to reset the depth collar on the drill bit for different material thicknesses:

  • 1/2″ material – set the collar at 3-1/4″ from the step
  • 3/4″ material – set the collar at 3-1/2″ from the step
  • 1-1/2″ material – set the collar at 4-1/4″ from the step

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Use the handy-dandy notch on the underside of the jig to insert plug when filling the holes! Awesome!!

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I hope my tips on using a pocket hole jig takes some of the intimidation out of pocket hole joinery. Have questions? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Disclaimer: I was not asked nor compensated by any pocket hole manufacturers to make this video. I purchased the pocket hole jigs with my own money and they are tools I use in every project.




An Easy to Install Technology Upgrade for the Home

Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schneider Electric for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love things that make my life easier… In my home, I have a keyless entry (awesome when my hands are full of grocery bags!), timers on my lamps and now a new super-cool addition to my heating and cooling system. I am so excited to install the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat in my home which will help me save money without sacrificing comfort! Plus, I can adjust the settings and manage the system from my smartphone!

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Schneider Electric, the makers of the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, develops connected technologies and solutions for energy management (making the company the global specialist), in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable.

The Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is a highly intelligent thermostat with features such as Comfort Boost which is a unique feature that allows users to get instant heating or cooling without changing the schedule and Wiser Pulse which is an ambient glow feature that lights up Blue for cooling, Yellow for heating and Green when Eco IQ™ is saving energy. Eco IQ™ is a fabulous feature in itself  as it is self-learning and finds the right temperature for you. Comfort and savings based on user interaction are optimized based on factors such as humidity, outdoor weather, system run times and the home thermal profile.

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So, not only with the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat save money, but it is so easy to install! Here, let me show you…

I had an old programmable thermostat in my home that I installed years ago.

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I shut the power off to the furnace (very important!) and removed the old thermostat. Before removing the old thermostat, though, it is a good idea to take a photo of the existing wiring to use as a guide when connecting it to the new thermostat.

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Because the holes from a thermostat that was installed long, long ago would still be visible, I decided to use the back plate for the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat that is included in the box. I fed the wiring through the trim plate and into the back plate. The back plate is secured to the wall with drywall anchors and screws.

Referring to my photo of the existing wiring, I connected the wiring to the new thermostat. It is really easy to do – you’ll basically plug the wire into the corresponding terminal. Easy, right? (If in doubt, always consult an electrical professional!!)

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Next, I snapped the front plate on the back plate being careful not to damage the terminals, then I turned the power back on.

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The Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat will launch an installation wizard to help guide you through the setup process. I followed the prompts, and installed the app on my smartphone.

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Now, I can easily adjust the thermostat to fit the comfort level of the home! Awesome, right? purchase the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat for yourself. With it’s simple installation and setup, you can have it up and running in no time!

Visit Sponsors Site




Cutting Trim with a Miter Saw

A Safe Way to Cut Narrow Trim on a Miter Saw

Please make sure to use safe cutting practices when using a miter saw, and make sure you are wearing adequate eye protection!

I wanted to cut narrow (1/2″ wide) trim for a project I am building, and needed to make miter cuts on the pieces for the drawer fronts. To begin with the handsaw, miter box, and I are not friends (plus I seem to have misplaced the miter box) so I had cut the narrow trim with the miter saw. In the beginning, I had a few issues until Matt made a stellar suggestion…

Cut Narrow Trim with a Miter Saw

When I had the trim placed against the fence of the miter saw, I had all sorts of problems with “chipping” (for lack of a better term) and the pieces seemed to blow apart. Not to mention that I wasted several feet of trim due to the issues I was having!

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Matt made a suggestion and it was a really, really good one… Use a spacer between the fence and the narrow stock so that the bottom part of the blade is doing the cutting not the back part of the blade on the upswing. The upswing is what was causing the chipping and the pieces to blow apart. I had not thought of using a spacer and was so glad he did – he saved me tons of frustration!

Let me show you what I mean… See where the blade is positioned in relation to the narrow stock without using a spacer?

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Now take a look at where the blade is positioned when using a spacer…

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It is a much safer cut as there are no pieces of trim flying every which way. For the record, the spacer should also be clamped to the bed of the saw so that it doesn’t slip under the blade due to vibration.

Any other ideas on how to safely cut narrow trim on a miter saw? Leave a comment below!




Cutting Tiles

Cutting Tiles

Cutting tiles can be a scary and almost incomprehensible task if you’ve never attempted it before. However, it is an inevitable part of tiling. There will come a moment when your tiles are too big to fit into that space between the last tile and wall, or you need a hole in the middle of the tile for a pipe, or a mirror fixture, and you might panic. How do you get a hole in the middle of a tile?!

There are several ways to cut a tile, and once you’ve got the hang of it, it gets pretty easy.

Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Straight Edge

To cut a straight line, you can use a relatively simple cutting tool like a snap or rail cutter. They leave quite a sharp edge, so they are suitable for use when the tile edge will be hidden from view, such as against a wall. Draw a straight line on the back of the tile with a pencil. Position a steel ruler on the line and score the tile with the tile cutter. Do this once with a strong pull, do it any more than this and you’ll end up with an uneven edge. Break the tile by holding the tile on both ends, placing the scored line facing up on an edge and applying pressure to both ends of the tile.

A Curved Corner

Curved corners may require more practice, as you’ll be doing it freehand. Draw the curve on the back of the tile you wish to cut, adding an extra 3mm for mistakes. Draw a straight edge on the circumference of the curve, and use a handheld tile cutter to cut it away. Then place the tile glaze side up and score the straight edge with the handheld cutter, and snap it as above. Score the curved edge and use tile nippers to cut away the remaining small pieces of tile.

Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Holes  

Cutting holes in tiles requires a drill. Though any drill will do, the drill bit must be the right one, as tiles are prone to shattering under pressure. Core drills with diamond drill bits are the ideal tile drilling equipment as they can help reduce expensive shattering. To drill a tile you should first measure the diameter of the pipe or fixture. Mark the measurement and position of the hole on the tile, then find the centre of the circle. Then, from the centre, mark the radius, and remember to add about 6mm for the grouting. Mark the new circle using a compass. Drill into the centre using a diamond drill bit on a low speed. Drilling through tile is not a matter of speed, but consistency. 

 

This is a partner post. The content was not written by me.