Unblocking A Blocked Toilet

Introduction

As you can see I’ve censored the featured image for this post. I decided somethings are best left to the imagination. Imagine the water level is just below the level you can see and you will have the picture.

I had to help an elderly neighbour the other day when they reported a blocked toilet to me. I’ve unblocked the occasional blocked toilet over the years. I can assure you I don’t like making a mess or getting dirty in the process.

Another thing I’ve done with toilets is remove the water from the built in trap. I’ve done that so I can disconnect them without spilling the trap water when they are moved.

Both of these things can be done using the same tool and similar methods.

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What Is A Retractable Clothes Washing Line?

Introduction

Consider the benefits of having a retractable clothes washing line:

  • Coiling it up in a box keeps it clean.
  • If you have a nice vista you won’t want it permanently scared with one or more lines cutting across it.

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Condensation Free Bathroom Mirror

Introduction

This post describes how to make a condensation free bathroom mirror using an automatic mirror heater. See the one I made in 2007 here. Look carefully and you will notice the condensation around the edge but not in the central heated area.

Without a heater it would be impossible to use the mirror without first wiping it with a towel. Cold mirrors usually mist over again after wiping.

With an active mirror heater it’s possible to get straight out of a bath or shower and use the mirror immediately.

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Making An Insulated Loft Trapdoor

Introduction

I recently had a ground floor extension built which required access to the loft space in the pitched roof to provide and service pipes and cables. So I asked the builder to create an insulated loft trapdoor. I made it clear that it should not just be a sheet of MDF or plywood. It must have thermal insulation fixed to it to prevent it forming a cold spot in the ceiling. I also required it to be out of sight if possible. By that I meant he must avoid putting it in the main reception room of the extension.

By widening the gap between two ceiling joists he made an opening 485mm wide. Enough to accommodate a telescopic ladder I bought to climb into the loft.

The builder built the opening and finished it with architrave around it and clapping strips on all sides to form a lip that supports the insulated loft trapdoor. I offered to make the insulated loft trapdoor myself since it wasn’t part of the original estimate. That allowed the builder to get on with work that was part of the original estimate. Continue reading “Making An Insulated Loft Trapdoor”

Replacing A Toilet Fill Valve

Introduction

helpfulcolin.comI am in the process of making some changes and additions to this post. Please bear with me.


I have already written about making a Toilet Silent Fill Valve Repair, but whether a toilet fill valve is silent or not it can’t always be repaired. So I have written this article about replacing a toilet fill valve to help those who need to get a new one.

“This operation can involve spilling CLEAN water. So be warned and be prepared.” — HC

I have also written another article about How A Toilet Silent Fill Valve Works which is appropriate to a specific type of fill valve.

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Prevent Office Chair Castors Damaging Carpets

Introduction

When I first had a Microsoft Windows personal computer I put it on a computer desk in the lounge and bought a typical office chair with five castors. Over the next few years wheeling that chair around the desk area with my weight on it seriously damaged the carpet in that location. So I had to find a way to prevent office chair castors damaging carpets. See this discussion on the subject.

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Lighting Charts – Which Lamp Do I Need?

Introduction

We are all trying to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions by choosing modern alternatives to incandescent lamps. Here are some lighting charts to help you select the best lamp for your situation. Since the decline of incandescent lamps there have been many alternatives made available based on fluorescent tubes bent in many ways to condense a long tube into a confined space.

I had my first Philips SL prismatic Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) lamps soon after they came on the general market back in the 1980’s. I only recently sent my last one to recycling after deciding that even my shed could do better than have one of those long time warm-up devices.

Fluorescent Tubes

In the early days of low energy lighting there was nothing better than the good old fluorescent tube, usually confined to kitchens and garages in the British house. I still had two twin fluorescents in my kitchen until 2015. If you want the room lit without shadows that’s the way to do it. After much searching in 2003 I found some streamlined fluorescents fit for the modern era to replace my old fluorescent ‘chunky boxes’. Unfortunately they went off the market and I struggled to find a decent looking replacement that didn’t cost a fortune. There were some problems with the ones I used. They had a self destruct mechanism built-in. The plastic fixings for holding the wires in place on the frame all deteriorated under the ultraviolet light given out by fluorescent tubes. I replaced them with zip ties but they suffered from the same problem.

Lamp Brightness

To get back to the point of this article, which is to advise on the brightness of replacement lamps, I have chosen to publish a chart by espares lighting chart which seems to relate to the UK/European market and another by ovo-logo which relates to the American market and appears to suggest their lamps emit more light than European lamps, e.g. UK/European 100W ≅ 1300 lumens, American 100W ≅ 1600 lumens (see A USA Lighting Chart). Continue reading “Lighting Charts – Which Lamp Do I Need?”