For more information, visit
Bath fans can
cause it. Here’s
what you need
BY JAY CORK
The humble bath fan
does more than
prevent a foggy
mirror after a hot
shower. It gets moisture
out of your house.
Without it, excess
humidity can cause mold
growth and peeling
paint, or bigger prob-
lems like rotted window
frames, damaged dry-
wall and wood decay
inside walls. Repair costs
can easily reach thou-
sands of dollars.
On the other hand,
a fan that isn’t installed
properly can actually
cause more damage
than no fan at all.
But here’s the good
news: Bath fans aren’t
complicated. If you
understand a few
basics, you can recog-
nize and correct almost
50 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
Dust and Ice dams
reduce If your fan duct has loose insulation or it vents into
airflow the attic, the warm air may create a warm spot,
risking an ice dam. The warm spots on the roof melt
The fan is running snow, and the meltwater flows down to colder areas,
but not working freezes and forms a dam.
Solution: Check the vent in the attic to make sure the
If your fan seems to run just fine but doesn’t seem to insulation is tight to the duct and isn’t sagging down
be expelling air and moisture, light an incense from the roof vent.
stick and hold it near the fan. The smoke should flow
quickly into the fan. Alternatively, place a tissue over Existing fan
the fan grille—the fan’s suction should hold it in place. housing
If your fan fails either of these tests, here are some
likely causes: New fan
Q THE GRILLE IS DIRTY
Bath fans draw in dust and lint, which can eventually
clog the grille and limit airflow.
Solution: Vacuuming the grille is a good start, but for
a really good cleaning, remove the grille, soak it in
soapy water and scrub it with a brush.
PHOTO (TOP LEFT): ANDRII ATANOV/GETTY IMAGES Q THE DAMPERS ARE STUCK Noisy fan
There are two dampers for a bath fan: one at the hous- If your bath fan seems louder than it used to be, it’s
ing and another where the duct exits the building. If not just your imagination. Over the years, fans
they don’t open easily or open only partly, airflow will become noisy as the motor parts wear out. This is
be weak. especially common with cheaper models.
Solution: Move the exterior damper by hand to make Solution: Some fan models allow you to replace just
sure it opens easily. Clean away any debris that might the motor. But if that’s not an option, choose a fan that
hinder movement. Interior dampers rarely stick, but if fits into the existing ceiling opening—then you won’t
you suspect trouble, remove the grille and push open have to cut into the bathroom ceiling!
the damper with a stiff wire.
Q THE BATHROOM IS TOO AIRTIGHT Cold air is coming in
A fan can only drive air out of the bathroom if replace- This is most apparent in the winter months. It’s possible
ment air can get into the bathroom. Without adequate for the damper on the duct hood to become stuck in
replacement air, the fan may not be able to warm up the open position. This allows air to come back in, and
the duct and completely evacuate the moisture. in some cases the strength of the fan is not enough to
counteract the reverse airflow.
Solution: The easiest way to let in replacement air is
to leave the door cracked open while the fan is run- Solution: Check the exterior vent to make sure it’s
ning. Another solution is to trim the bottom of the free of debris. Be sure the damper can move freely
door so that there’s at least a 1/2-in. gap between the even if there are no visible obstructions.
door and the floor.
FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 51
Drips and Q THE OUTSIDE
Water Stains DAMPER IS STUCK
If water drips from the fan grille, If the damper won’t
you have a condensation prob- open, the fan may drive
lem. If you see water stains on the enough air through the
ceiling (even several feet from the duct to cause condensa-
fan), that could also be condensa- tion, but not enough to
tion. Here’s what’s going on: On a warm the duct and dry it
chilly day, the exhaust duct in your out. There’s a damper on
attic is cold. When you flip on the the fan housing too, but
fan and send steamy air through the the outside damper is
duct, moisture gathers inside the much more likely to stick.
duct. Normally, this condensation
process quickly stops, and the mois- Solution: Find the vent
ture evaporates as warm air heats hood on your roof or
the duct. exterior wall. Make sure
the damper isn’t
If that doesn’t happen, water con- obstructed or stuck.
tinues to form and will eventually Usually, just moving it
trickle back to the fan housing and with your finger is
drip down through the grille or drip enough to free it.
out through tiny openings in the
duct. Most often this will occur Q MISSING
when the duct is run through the INSULATION
attic, but it can also happen when a
duct is inside a wall or floor. Ducts need to be fully
encased in insulation.
Without it, the duct never
warms up and condensa-
tion continues as long as
the fan is running.
Solution: Grab a flash-
light and pop your head
into the attic. If your duct
is uninsulated or the insu-
lation has fallen off, add
some or reattach the
loose parts. Use alumi-
num tape to fasten the
insulation to the fan hous-
Q THE FAN ISN’T RUNNING Q BATHROOM IS TOO AIRTIGHT
Without adequate replacement air, the fan
If you run the fan for only a few minutes, won’t be able to force out all the warm air,
condensation will occur, and it won’t have which can lead to condensation.
time to evaporate. Eventually, the water
formed will leak out of the duct. Solution: Leaving the door cracked open
while the fan is running is a fine solution
Solution: Get in the habit of running the but may sacrifice privacy. Cutting a little off
fan for at least 10 to 15 minutes after a the bottom of the door to create about a
bath or shower. Better yet, install a timer 1/2-in. gap between the door and the floor
(about $25). To see how, search for will allow plenty of airflow to let the fan
52 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
Q FAN IS VENTED
INTO THE ATTIC:
Terminating the duct in
the attic is surprisingly
Moist air will condense
on framing and sheath-
ing, forming ice or water
that will support rot and
mold or damage the
Solution: Extend the
duct to vent the air out-
side before major
Bath fan Q DUCT IN VENTED
It’s OK to run a duct out-
side through a soffit—
unless the soffit contains
inlets for roof venting. In
that case, moist air
coming out can reenter
the attic through soffit
vents; the effect is similar
to venting directly into
Solution: If you have
vented soffits, you’ll have
to run the duct outside
through the roof. To see
how, scan the QR code
FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 53
Exhaust fan 4 Cool Fan
with LED and Features
UV-C light Q HUMIDITY SENSORS
User error is the No. 1 reason
bath fans don’t work. We either
forget to turn them on or we
forget to turn them off. If you’re
replacing a bath fan, consider
getting one with a humidistat
built in. It will automatically turn
on when it senses moisture and
off when that moisture level has
dropped. If your fan doesn’t
need replacing, a humidity-
sensing wall switch might be the
perfect solution. Most home cen-
ters have them for about $40.
Q BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS
More and more household appli-
ances are able to connect to our
digital devices, and bath fans are
no exception. With built-in
speakers, you can connect your
phone to the bathroom fan and
listen to your favorite podcast
while you shower. Broan-NuTone
and Home NetWerks offer blue-
tooth fans starting at about $100.
3 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN SHOPPING Q LED LIGHTS
1. SIZE THE FAN FOR THE ROOM number, the quieter the fan will Modern fans are available with PHOTO: BROAN
be. One sone is roughly equal to more and more features built in,
Fan capacity is rated in cubic the noise your refrigerator and LED lights are one of the
feet per minute, or cfm. This makes. Most fans are between most practical. They can comple-
indicates the volume of air the .75 and 1.5 sones, but there are ment the existing lights in your
fan is able to move. The higher some as low as .3 or as high as bathroom and act as a night-
the number, the more air that is 6! Experts generally recommend light. Some manufacturers offer
evacuated. Most bath fans are fans with ratings of 1.5 or less. replacement grilles with built-in
rated from 50 to 110 cfm. You LED lights, so you don’t have
should choose a fan with a cfm 3. DON’T BUY A CHEAP FAN to replace the entire fan to get
rating that roughly equals the the upgrade.
square footage of your bath- Most home centers have basic
room, but these ratings are only bath fans for about $20, but Q ANTIBACTERIAL LIGHT
part of the story. Long runs of they’re loud and have low cfm TO DISINFECT SURFACES
flexible duct in your attic will ratings. It’s smart to spend at
work against the efficiency of least twice that; you’ll get a fan UV-C is a short-wave ultraviolet
the fan. When in doubt, opt for a that’s quieter, pushes more air light that’s harmless to humans
higher cfm rating. and is likely to last longer. Even and pets but is highly effective at
high-end fans cost only about killing mold, mildew and bacte-
2. CHECK THE SONE RATING $200. The higher cost will usu- ria. Hospitals use this technology,
ally get you more features, such and now you can too. A new fan
“Sone” is the term used in the as LED lights, humidity sensors from Broan-NuTone uses UV-C
industry to describe how loud a and quieter operation. light to help disinfect bathroom
bath fan is. The lower the surfaces. It costs about $200.
54 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
Quick & simple
56 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
Make a dozen Test
great gifts in groove
BY TRAVIS LARSON
If you have a lot of
people on your gift
list, we’ve got you
covered. Here’s a
simple item everyone
will appreciate. And
you can crank out
12 of them in an
bCUT A TEST GROOVE
Assemble a 3/8-in.-thick dado set in your table saw and adjust it to cut
3/8 in. deep and 1 in. away from the fence. Set the angle to 20 degrees,
then cut a groove in a piece of 2x6 to test the fit of your devices.
WHAT IT TAKES
TIME COST bCHECK THE FIT
Once you’re set 25¢ to a few dollars Rest your devices in the groove. They should feel firmly secure when
up, you can each, depending on you tap the screens. If not, adjust the depth and/or width of the groove
make at least wood species and and retest until they do. When the fit is right, cut the groove in your
10 an hour thickness project board.
SKILL LEVEL Beginner FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 57
TOOLS Table saw
bRIP THE BEVELS
Set your saw’s blade to 20 degrees. Cut parallel bevels on
the edges of the board. A ripping blade is best for ripping solid
lumber, but a combination blade is fine.
Stop Choose any wood,
block any thickness
Miter gauge Our photos show how to make a device stand
suitable for holding either a tablet or a phone.
bCUT TO LENGTH All you need is a length of wood of any species
Crosscut the stands to length using a miter gauge with a that’s at least 3/4 in. thick. A 3-1/2-in.-wide
stop block clamped to the saw’s fence. Clamp it a few inches board works fine for phones, but you’ll need a
behind the blade. As you slide the workpiece past the block, minimum width of 5-1/2 in. to make a stand for
there’s a gap between the fence and the workpiece so it a tablet. The cutting angles and steps are the
doesn’t bind. Cut a bevel at the end of the board, then slide the same for any width or thickness.
beveled end against the block to cut successive stands to length.
We used walnut to make the phone stand
shown on p. 56. But this would be the perfect
project for an eye-catching exotic species like
bubinga, teak or purple heart. They’re all
available at woodworking stores and online.
With a project this small, you can get a beauti-
ful, unique look without breaking the bank.
You’ll need a table saw
This project involves cutting grooves (Photo
1), ripping beveled edges (Photo 3) and cut-
ting the stands to length (Photo 4)—tasks best
done on a table saw. We cut beveled edges
parallel on opposite sides, but you can cut
opposing bevels or go with square edges and
rout decorative profiles if you wish. The groove
dimensions don’t factor in any protective case
you may have. They’re just a starting point;
you’ll likely need to adjust them. The test shown
in Photo 2 will help you fine-tune the grooves.
bSAND THE EDGES Sand the boards ﬁrst
Glue sandpaper to a flat board using spray adhesive, and
then sand all four beveled edges up to 180 grit. If you’re using construction or rough-sawn
lumber, sand the top face of the boards up to
180 grit before doing any cutting. It’s much
easier than sanding small parts later. When
you’re done, spray on a finish of your choice. If
you’re in a hurry, shellac is a good choice
because it dries quickly between coats.
58 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
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Expert advice from the job site. By Jay Cork
Expert tools Back-butter
with the flat side
and techniques of the trowel
for rock-solid BACK-BUTTER FOR A BETTER BOND
Because larger tiles (12 x 12 in. or bigger) have more surface area, it’s critical
results that you “back-butter” the tile to ensure a strong bond. It takes only a few
extra seconds for each tile. Before setting it, trowel a thin layer of thin-set on
Installing tile the back of the tile by placing the flat edge of the loaded trowel near the
in a kitchen or center and spreading a thin layer out to the edge. Rotate the tile a quarter
bathroom is turn and repeat until the back is evenly covered. Then when you set the tile,
hard work. And for it will create a strong connection with the thin-set you’ve troweled onto the
lasting results, the floor or wall.
installation needs to
be done right. I sat FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 61
down with Josh
Risberg, our resident
tile expert, to talk
about his favorite
tools and his
approach to setting
tile. Josh, our lead
carpenter, has more
than 16 years of
This collection of
tips will help you
avoid the most
MEET THE EXPERT
Aside from being a
master carpenter, Josh
Risberg is a skilled tile
setter, certified with
the Ceramic Tile
BEST PRO TIPS
Josh has spent years trying
out tile tools. Here are a few
of his favorites.
LASER-WELDED CORING BIT KNEEPADS
Josh uses laser-welded diamond These kneepads from
coring bits ($70 and up) to drill SuperiorBilt allow Josh
holes in tile. A laser-welded dia- to work all day on his
mond coating is more durable than knees without fatigue.
a coating made from braze-welded You can find a pair for
diamonds and can cut wet or dry. about $50 online.
Josh prefers soft silicone grout floats
to hard ones. They conform to rough
surfaces without having to be pressed
down as much. You can get them for
about $10 at a home center.
LEVELING WEDGES TROWELS WITH
AND SHIMS ROUNDED NOTCHES
These wedges and Rounded ridges in
shims help you set thin-set collapse more
tiles evenly and avoid uniformly for better
uneven tile edges, coverage and fewer air
called “lippage.” pockets. That makes for
They’re available at a better bond.
most home centers
and all tile stores.
Josh uses china pencils
to mark tile cuts. The
marks are easy to see,
and they won’t rinse off
if you’re using a wet saw.
62 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
GRINDING STONE VARIABLE-SPEED GRINDER FLUSH-CUTTING
A grinding stone is used Josh only uses a grinder that DIAMOND BLADE
to ease the edge of cut has variable speed when he Most blades for angle grinders
tile. Josh really likes to works with tile. Slowing down don’t cut flush. These do. Josh
use one when he’s work- allows him to work safely, uses these when he has to cut
ing with natural stone. It handle details and avoid over- close to a tub or cut under a tile
helps him dress the cut heating his diamond blades. that needs to come up in one
edge to make it appear Variable-speed grinders cost piece. They’re available for
more like a natural break. about $150. about $25 each online.
MARGIN TROWEL SUCTION CUPS
Most trowels are Suction cups (about $7 at
triangular, but a home centers) help you
rectangular shape move large tile around or
is better for mixing, pull it back up after laying
scraping and it. Be careful with textured
scooping from a tiles; the uneven surface
bucket. Josh pre- may not hold suction well.
fers a long margin
trowel, which costs
DOUBLE BOX MIXING PADDLE SCRUBBER SPONGES
This style mixing paddle mini- Start grout cleanup with the plain
mizes air buildup in the thin-set, side of the sponge. When the joints
and costs about $16 at home are nicely shaped, switch to the
centers. scrubber side. The scrubber side can
be used to clean tools, too.
Nippers can make the FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 63
small detail cuts that a tile
cutter just can’t. They’re
available in the tile section
of your home center for
BEST PRO TIPS
Aim for the
Josh’s tips for a
ﬂawless tile job
Remember to add
LET THE THIN-SET SLAKE
After the thin-set is initially mixed, it’s important to
let it sit long enough to absorb all the water. This
is called slaking. Remix the thin-set after letting it
slake for about 10 minutes, adding a little water if
needed until it’s the consistency of peanut butter.
Play the same waiting game when you’re mixing
the grout later.
PLAN YOUR LAYOUT SNAP CUTTERS ARE STILL GREAT
The last thing you want when you’re tiling is to reach Affordable tile saws are available at any home
the end of the course and have a sliver of a space to center, making it easy to overlook the primitive,
fill. To avoid this, measure and mock up a row of tile to old-fashioned tile snap cutter. But don’t. It’s inex-
determine your layout. Doing this bit of layout plan- pensive, and it doesn’t make a dusty mess, throw
ning will make setting the tile the easy part. Remember water all over the place or need power. While you
to add spacers between the tiles if you’ll be using could spend hundreds on one, you don’t have to;
them to create grout lines. Use this mock-up to deter- basic models cost less than $40.
mine whether you should shift the layout to get a
wider tile in the corner or along a wall.
START OUT LEVEL ON A WALL MARK, DON’T MEASURE
Laying your first course of tile on baseboard or a tub Using a china pencil to mark the cutting lines on your
surround will lead to trouble. That first course of tile tile is not only faster but also more accurate. By elimi-
will likely be unlevel, which will force you to adjust the nating the step of using a measuring tape or ruler and
following courses, and as the tiles get stacked higher, then transferring your lines, marking directly on the tile
your grout lines will get farther off. Use a ledger will save you time and avoid miscuts.
instead. Screw a straight board to the level line and
stack your tile on the board. When you’ve completed
tiling above the board and the tiles are held firmly,
remove it and cut the first row of tile to fit.
64 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
CLEAN SQUEEZE-OUT Long, straight TROWEL THIN-SET
NOW, NOT LATER trowel lines IN STRAIGHT LINES
When you’re done setting the tile, It seems so natural to spread
inspect all the joints for thin-set that thin-set by sweeping your
has squeezed out between tiles, trowel back and forth, but
and clean it out before it hardens. that’s absolutely wrong. The
Also look for smudges of thin-set on problem with a swirly bed of
the face of the tile. If a smudge has thin-set is it will trap air, which
hardened and won’t wipe off easily, will prevent a strong bond.
wet it and scrub with a synthetic This is especially true for large
abrasive pad. But don’t rub too tiles. It’s important to trowel in
hard! It’s possible to dull polished long, straight lines in the direc-
stone or glazed tile. tion of the long edge of the
tile. This allows the ridges to
collapse properly and let all
the air escape.
Slide tile back, Self-leveling
then forward rotary laser
SLIDE THE TILE KEEP THINGS LEVEL WITH A LASER
A laser level is a great tool for helping you place ledger boards on the wall
If there are air pockets or voids or guide boards on the floor. When you’re using it for laying tile, it’s better
under the tile, it’s likely to crack or than chalk lines because the lines won’t get covered by the thin-set. You’ll
loosen eventually. In the tip above, find laser levels at home centers and online starting at about $70.
we talked about the importance
of troweling in straight lines. FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 65
Here’s where it matters. When
you set tile, slide it forward then
back about the width of your
trowel notch. This motion needs
to be perpendicular to the trowel
lines; it collapses the ridges and
eliminates the air channels, creat-
ing a strong, uniform bond.
BEST PRO TIPS
Save ELIMINATE LIPPAGE
money ON LARGE TILE
rental Uneven tile edges, called
tools “lippage,” are hard to avoid
with large tile. Leveling clips
and wedges will help you lay
the tile flat. Just slip the clip
under the tile and push in the
wedge until the two edges are
even with each other. After the
thin-set hardens, break off the
exposed clip. LASH brand clips
are available at tile stores and
some home centers.
RENT, DON’T BUY DON’T TRUST
A large wet saw will set you back at least $300, probably more. So, if
you’re setting large tiles in your home, just rent one. Renting will cost Your thin-set probably has a
about $70 a day, plus you won’t have to explain another new tool in chart like this on the label. Don’t
the garage! rely on it. The recommendations
are a good starting point, but
Guide board they don’t guarantee you’ll have
enough for the job. Buy a little
more than you think you’ll need.
It’s better to have some leftover
thin-set than not
GUIDE BOARDS BEAT CHALK LINES
The usual way to position the first row of tile is to snap chalk lines. But
there are two problems with that method: First, chalk lines are hard to
see if you’ve slopped thin-set over them. Second, the first row of tile can
move as you set the next row. Guide boards solve both problems. Position
the boards the same way you would position layout lines and screw them
to the floor. Choose perfectly straight boards or strips of plywood, and
wrap the edge of the guide with duct tape so the thin-set won’t stick to it.
66 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
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HEALTH I MAINTENANCE & REPAIR I STORAGE & ORGANIZATION
can kill your
Many carpet deodorizers contain
baking soda because it’s a good
odor absorber. But a vacuum
repair technician tells us that
baking soda is harmful to your
carpet as well as to your vacuum’s
performance and longevity.
Here’s how it can damage your
carpet and your vacuum:
Q Baking soda particles, which are
abrasive, work their way under the
carpet where your vacuum can’t
suck them out. In heavy traffic
areas, the resulting abrasion
breaks down the carpet backing.
Q Baking soda gets into the
vacuum’s motor, gears and bear-
ings, gradually destroying them.
Q Baking soda can quickly clog a
vacuum cleaner filter. A clogged
filter makes the vacuum work
harder, wearing it out much sooner.
To remove odors, you need to clean
them out, and baking soda doesn’t
clean. You wouldn’t sprinkle baking
soda on your clothes, vacuum it off
and call them clean. Cleaning
involves a carpet cleaning machine,
liquid carpet cleaner and water.
To make your house smell good
without harming your carpet or
vacuum, try Fragrant Scent Vacuum
& Room Freshener ($8 for a two-
It’s safe to
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68 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
junction boxes washer tip
Avoid a ceiling
Years ago, a spinning ceiling fan crashed to the floor, missing my 2-year-
old daughter by inches. It could have been catastrophic, but fortunately it
was just a stern reminder to take ceiling fan installation seriously. It’s a
common mistake to think that any round junction box is fine for a ceiling
fan. That’s not the case, however. Boxes intended for light fixtures aren’t
meant to support the weight and vibration of a ceiling fan, and a falling
ceiling fan is no joke.
So, when you’re installing a ceiling fan, know how much it weighs and
install a junction box rated for a ceiling fan of that weight. These boxes are
marked by the manufacturer as approved for fans and typically support a
fan weighing up to 70 lbs. Several varieties are available for both new con-
struction and retrofits. They cost $3 to $15 at home centers.
BRAD HOLDEN, SENIOR EDITOR
NOT GOOD WITH COLORS? PRESSURE WASHER
You can no doubt do a better job than this ...but if envisioning the perfect
color palette for your house is outside your skill set, get expert help from My pressure washer wasn’t working
a nearby Sherwin-Williams paint store. For $100, a consultant will come properly. Instead of flowing contin-
to your house, help you pick colors for the whole house and estimate uously when I pulled the trigger, it
quantities. Considering the huge impact that color choices have on a would just surge: on, off, on, off.
home, we think this is a great deal. Find out more at sherwin-williams.com/ When I pulled the trigger with just
homeowners/color/colorsnap-in-home-consultation. the water turned on (no power), the
tip had an odd spray pattern, so I
cleaned it out with a needle. It
looked clear, but to be thorough, I
soaked the tip in vinegar.
After about four hours, I noticed
a tiny particle in the bowl with the
tip. I put the tip back on the gun
and it worked perfectly! Pressure
washers don’t see as much use as
a shower or kitchen faucet, but
they're still susceptible to lime,
scale or mineral buildup. And the
tip openings are so small that a tiny
obstruction can cause big problems.
JAY CORK, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 69
Protect Your Battery in the Off-Season PHOTO (BOTTOM LEFT LOGOS): OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
Storing a seasonal-use battery—say, for a boat or an RV—is simple, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
Q Before storing, check and refill water levels as needed.
Q Fully charge the battery before storing.
Q Freezing a battery damages it irreparably, so store the battery indoors, in a warm location.
Q Heat can also harm a battery, so don’t store it near any heat sources such as radiators or space heaters.
Q Contrary to popular belief, storing a battery on concrete is perfectly fine. The materials used in modern
batteries make possible moisture take-up from concrete a nonissue.
Q Hook up a battery maintainer to keep your battery charged.
Q Check the battery once a month to be sure it’s fully charged.
Q Make sure the battery is fully charged before putting it back into use.
I recently inspected a new apartment building for
which the builder had ordered hundreds of light fix-
tures online. None of the fixtures were certified by a
testing organization recognized by code officials. The
fixtures may have been perfectly safe, or they may
have been a disaster waiting to happen. I just couldn’t
let the builder install them.
Here’s the moral of the story: When you shop
online, be sure any electrical products you buy—from
desk lamps to furnaces—carry one of the common
labels shown here. Those that don’t are a dangerous
gamble. For a full
list of testing MEET THE EXPERT
labs, go to osha. John Williamson is
gov/dts/otpca/ the chief electrical
nrtl/nrtllist.html inspector for the
state of Minnesota.
70 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
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Need more EDITORIAL
Get our best tips Chief Content Officer Nick Grzechowiak
and hints in your Editor-in-Chief Gary Wentz
inbox. Sign up at
tfhmag.com/diytips Creative Director Vern Johnson
Managing Editors Donna Bierbach
GOT A DIY QUESTION? infringe the intellectual property rights,
Finding answers is easy at familyhandy- rights of privacy or publicity, or any other Amy Novak
man.com. Just use the search box at the top rights of any third party. You further repre- Assigning Editor Berit Thorkelson
of the page to get expert step-by-step help sent and warrant that you have attained the Associate Assigning Editor Mary Flanagan
with your projects. legal age of majority in your state/province
(18 in most states/provinces). If you’re a Senior Editors Brad Holden
GOT A HANDY HINT OR TIP FOR US? minor under the law of your state/province, Jeffrey M. Roberts
To share your information with us, submit your parent or guardian must submit on
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FAMILY HANDYMAN® ISSN: 0014-7230, USPS: 515-930. Vol. 70, No. 7, 606th Edition. Published 8 times per year: March, April, EDITORIAL OFFICE
May, June, July/August, September, October/November, December/January/February by Home Service Publications, Inc., 1610 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700,
N. Second St., Suite 102, Milwaukee, WI 53212. We may also occasionally publish extra issues and special issues (which count as Eagan, MN 55121; 651-454-9200
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51593-0188. You can also visit www.tmbi.com/preference-center to manage your preferences and opt out of receiving such offers
78 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM
Discovered! Unopened Bag of 1U3n8oYpeeanres!d for
138-Year-Old Morgan Silver Dollars
Coin experts amazed by
“Incredible Opportunity” 3 Historic Morgan Silver Dollars
3 Minted in New Orleans
The Morgan Silver Dollar is the 3 Struck and bagged in 1882
most popular vintage U.S. coin. 3 Unopened for 138 years
The Silver Dollar of the Wild 3 26.73 grams of 90% ﬁne silver
West, the Morgan went on 3 Hefty 38.1 mm diameter
countless adventures in dusty 3 C ertiﬁed Brilliant Uncirculated
saddlebags across the nation.
Finding a secret hoard of by NGC
Morgans doesn’t happen often—
and when it does, it’s a big deal. 3 C ertiﬁed “Great Southern
Treasury Hoard” pedigree
3 Limit ﬁve coins per household
How big? Here’s consultant to the Actual size is 38.1 mm
Smithsonian® Jeff Garrett:
These gorgeous 1882-O Morgans are
“It’s very rare to ﬁnd large as bright as the day they were struck and
quantities of Morgan Silver bagged 138 years ago. Coins are graded on a
Dollars, especially in bags 70-point scale, with those graded at least Mint State-60
that have been sealed... to (MS60) often referred to as “Brilliant Uncirculated”
ﬁnd several thousand Morgan or BU. Of all 1882-O Morgans struck, LESS THAN
Silver Dollars that are from 1% have earned a Mint State grade. This makes these
the U.S. Treasury Hoards, still unopened bags of 1882-O Morgans extremely rare,
unopened, is really an incredible certiﬁed as being in BU condition—nearly unheard of
opportunity.” -Jeff Garrett for coins 138 years old.
But where did this unique hoard come from? Read on... Don’t Miss Out—Order Now!
Morgans from the New Orleans Mint Regular 1882-O Morgans sell elsewhere for as much
as $133, and that’s without the original brilliant
In 1859, Nevada’s Comstock Lode was discovered, and shine these “fresh” 138-year-old coins have, without
soon its silver made its way to the fabled New Orleans their special NGC hoard designation, and without
“O” Mint. In 1882, some of that silver was struck into their ability to tell their full, complete story from the
Morgan Silver Dollars, which employees then placed Comstock Lode all the way to your collection.
into canvas bags...
Given the limited quantity of coins available from this
The U.S. Treasury Hoard historic hoard, we must set a strict limit of ﬁve coins
per household. Call quickly to secure yours today as
Fast-forward nearly 80 years. In the 1960s, the supplies are sure to sell out quickly!
U.S. government opened its vaults and revealed a
massive store of Morgan Silver Dollars—including 1882-O Morgan Silver Dollar NGC Certiﬁed BU
full, unopened bags of “fresh” 1882-O Morgan Silver from the Great Southern Treasury Hoard — $99 ea.
Dollars. A number of bags were secured by a southern
gentleman whose upbringing showed him the value of FREE SHIPPING on 2 or More!
hard assets like silver. He stashed the unopened bags of
“fresh” Morgans away, and there they stayed... Limited time only. Product total over $149 before taxes (if any).
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The Great Southern Treasury Hoard
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That is, until another 50 years
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decided to sell the coins—still in their Offer Code MSH245-01
unopened bags—which we secured, Please mention this code when you call
bag and all! We submitted the coins to
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the coins the pedigree of the “Great
Southern Treasury Hoard.”
GovMint.com • 14101 Southcross Dr. W., Suite 175, Dept. MSH245-01, Burnsville, MN 55337
GovMint.com® is a retail distributor of coin and currency issues and is not afﬁliated with the U.S. government. The collectible coin market is unregulated, highly speculative and
involves risk. GovMint.com reserves the right to decline to consummate any sale, within its discretion, including due to pricing errors. Prices, facts, ﬁgures and populations deemed
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Laughs and lessons from our readers
OUT-THE-WINDOW A/C TRANSPARENT
Fall had arrived, and it was time to remove the air CAULK JOB
conditioner from our second-floor window for
the winter. It was a job my husband usually As a professional
did, but my son and I decided to handle it handyman, I
ourselves this time. We removed the install dozens of
screws and tried to open the doors every year.
window, but it wouldn’t budge. On one particular
So we looked for more screws job, I installed
and pounded on the window five interior
sash to make sure it wasn’t prehung doors,
stuck. No dice. which the home-
I told my son to step back as I painted white.
pried up on the window sash After they were
with a big crowbar. The window hung, I caulked
shot open and the now all the gaps
unfettered A/C unit tipped between the trim
out of the opening, and the uneven
bounced down the entry wall surfaces with
roof, flew over the white caulk. I’m a
gutter and smashed perfectionist, so
into several pieces on I made sure the
the ground. I guess job looked flaw-
removing it was trick- less before I left
ier than I thought. for the day.
GAIL BEAULIEU When I came
back the next
NOT A BIG-FAN FAN morning, none of ILLUSTRATIONS: STEVE BJÖRKMAN
the gaps looked
When the ceiling fan in our kitchen like they’d been
started making a loud noise, we decided caulked. After a
to replace it. We bought a new one with “Twilight Zone”
larger blades for more air circulation. My moment, I exam-
husband and I worked on the installation ined the caulk
together (that’s usually a challenge in more closely.
itself!). We turned the fan on, then stood Sure enough, I
back and admired how quiet it was. had used clear
caulk. It goes on
A couple days later, I was working in white but dries
the kitchen with the fan on and opened clear. Moral of
an upper cupboard door. I felt and the story: Read
heard a loud collision, which scared the the label twice
daylights out of me. You guessed it—the and caulk once.
longer fan blades whacked the edge of
the door. Now we keep a small rubber HARRY “THE
band on the handle for that cupboard HANDYMAN”
to remind us not to open it when the
fan is on.
80 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 FAMILYHANDYMAN.COM