Archive for the ‘kitchen’ category

Quick Tip #10 – Reviving a “Dead” Disposal

April 22nd, 2014

Garbage Disposal Wrench, ResetDead garbage disposal? Usually, it’s easy to bring this gadget back to life. Take a look at the illustration and follow these simple steps.

Does the disposal “hum” when the switch is on? If not, most likely the problem is a tripped overload in the disposal. Turn the wall switch off. Look under the disposal and locate the reset switch — a little button recessed within a hole toward the side of the housing. Push the button, and the disposal should at least hum when you hit the wall switch. It may also come up to speed.

If the disposal hums but the blades don’t spin, you can use a service wrench to loosen up the motor. You’ll probably find the disposal’s service wrench stored in a small plastic sleeve below the sink. It will look like a hex wrench with two angled ends. If you can’t find your wrench, purchase one (they’re inexpensive) at the hardware store.

With the power off (no hum), place the small hex wrench in the center hole at the bottom of the disposal. Twist the wrench back and forth to free the impellers. Remove the wrench and hit the switch — yeah!

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It

Quick Tip #7 – Get with the GFCI

March 24th, 2014

E119Ever noticed that some electrical outlets have a red and a black button in the middle? You’re looking at a GFCI — a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This sophisticated device senses any current leaking through and immediately shuts off the power so you don’t get a shock.

In newer construction, GFCI outlets are located wherever water and electricity are used in close proximity: near sinks, in the garage, and at exterior outlets. In an older home, there may be a GFCI breaker (with push buttons) in the main electrical panel.

You should test this device every month to make sure it’s working to protect you from shocks. A simple test is to plug a lamp into the outlet with the light on. Press the “test” button and you should hear a click and the light should turn off. Push the “reset” button and the light should turn on with a click of the GFCI outlet.

Statistics show that about 10 percent of household GFCI devices are not working properly. If you find a problem, hire a professional to fix it ASAP.

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It

New Disposal Backing Up

March 27th, 2010

I have a new garbage disposal. When it runs, water comes up in the other sink. I have looked at your websites and read your book, but have not found the answer.


Installation could be an issue here. Ideally, the disposal and the other sink basin will have a separate trap that is connected with a “Y” into the drain line in the wall.

In some cases, a disposal will be installed with a “T” to the tail piece of the adjacent sink (see illustration). With this installation, water can be pushed up into the adjacent sink.  You can buy a special “T” for this connection to direct the water down, but it’s still a questionable installation.

Water Coming Out of the Dishwasher Air Gap

February 10th, 2010

When the dishwasher is discharging water, a lot of water floods out of the air gap. Why does this happen? Thank you! I love your Saturday AM show!


The air gap is just that – a gap of air in the dishwasher drain line so dirty water can not be forced up out of the sink and into the dishwasher.  When the gap leaks, it is normally due to a kink or blockage in the tube from the air gap to the tail piece (drain line) below the sink. The gap may need to be cleaned, or the drain line below the sink may be plugged.

Pull the cover off the air gap and check for debris blocking the opening. Check the line for kinks or blockage, and check the drain line itself.

Sealing Space Between Kitchen Cabinets

January 16th, 2010


My brother-in-law and I installed new kitchen cabinets last spring. Everything turned out great, except for one oversight. A few wall cabinets have dead space in between them, and they are open at the bottom. It’s allowing outside air to come through the bottom of the cabinets. What kind of insulation might you recommend to fill these cavities? Would fiberglass be safe to use?



I assume you do not have solid drywall at the top of the cabinets to the attic and this is allowing air movement. You can seal the gap with anything that’s solid – drywall, wood, metal, or plastic. Fiberglass or insulation will not stop air movement.

You should also have a complete air seal from the heated space to the attic. In fact, you must have an air seal to prevent heat loss and moisture damage into the attic.