2013-07-15 / Columns

The Super Handyman

Winding Cords In Half The Time…
by Al Carrell and Kelly Carrell

Want to know how to wind a long extension cord up in half the time? All you have to do is fold it in half and then wind it up from the fold out. You need to make sure not to kink the cord too tightly when you fold it. You will end up with a folded cord that has both ends sticking out. It also unwinds a lot faster. Even if you are using a cord reel, you can do it this way. It also helps keep the cord from tangling.

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Dear Carrells: Our kids are past the wooden-fort stage, but we still have the fort in our yard. The cover was falling apart, so we removed it. Then we added potting soil inside the base area to create a raised bed. We have a nice garden there now, and the shade of the structure really helps protect the plants from the excessive heat we have in our summers. This winter I plan to add plastic to the sides to try to grow a small garden during the wintertime. – K.S.

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A SUPER HINT - Cars sure have changed, but we still put bumper stickers on them. Of course, you still have to remove them from time to time, too. I’ve always suggested mayonnaise as a good solvent, but it works even better on the new plastic bumpers.

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Dear Al: Our new patio door is just great, but it’s a lot larger than the old one. My wife started looking for a new curtain rod that would cover the doorway, but they were few and far between, not to mention expensive. I took her over to the home center to see what it had. We found an extra-long piece of metal conduit that would actually need to be trimmed to fit. Then she picked out some neat-looking wooden finials, and we glued them in place. Then I bought the hardware to mount it, and she did the drapes. It looks great and cost us a fraction of what the drapery stores are selling them for. – R.E.

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Q: The window air conditioner that we use occasionally has a bad smell coming from it. I have cleaned the filter, but the smell is still there. What else can I clean or replace? – M.B.

A: As the condensation drips from the coils, it fills a tray and drains away. There is a fungus that likes these conditions, and it can smell bad and clog the drain hole. Use a little liquid laundry bleach, mixed with water, to clean the tray and drain hole. Use warm dishwashing liquid and water to clean the coils while you are at it. That should do the trick.

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A Tip From the Super HandyMom – If you are climbing a ladder to replace a bulb in a fixture that has more than one to replace, it can be a little treacherous. To avoid ongoing danger, just go ahead and replace all of the bulbs at once. It will save you a lot of time and probably several trips up and down the ladder, and will reduce your risk of a fall.

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SHOPTALK – The Planter’s Pal Multi-Purpose Garden Tool looks like a hand trowel, but it’s really seven tools in one. One edge of the trowel is serrated for cutting open bags of soil or mulch, and it has a sharpened straight edge for cutting sod, a twine cutter, a weeder tip, a poly tamper for tamping down stakes, markers and fertilizer spikes, and an 11-inch measurement scale for proper plant placement. Even the ergonomic grip is great. Look for it at your garden center or online at www.ames.com.

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Got a question or a handy tip? Visit our website at www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.

(c) 2013 Cowles Syndicate, Inc.

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