Needle Nost Pliers – A Must Have Tool

channel lock needle nose pliersI want to talk to you about a few features of needle nose pliers and this style that I picked up is channel lock extreme leverage and what makes it unique – the pivot point is closer to the blade itself and so it allows you to get better leverage and it cuts through material easy. Needle nose pliers are excellent for all types of wiring projects, the blades will cut through wire very easily.

If you are doing individual wire, if you are using cable, it also cuts through cable very easily and it has a knife and anvil style cutting surface, so actually it makes it very easy to cut through insulation because one side is flat, so your blade always lines up. The needle nose pliers are excellent for bending your wire, so when you’re wrapping around screw terminals. So good for those types of projects.

Also, if you’ve got anywhere where you are trying to hold objects, like a screw, deep into a box for a screwdriver, this allows you get better leverage, it hold it in place for you, so it does a nice job with that. What I like about this style of needle nose pliers is it has this arched area to grab nuts, so it can hold it for you, makes it very convenient. And I will show you a couple more uses for needle nose pliers.

One area I always use needle nose pliers for projects is if we are redoing the bathtub shoe and removing this flange. I just dropped it into this cross area and either using large adjustable pliers or a pipe wrench, I will unscrew this with needle nose pliers. There is a specific tool that you can use for that, but most homeowners don’t have it and needle nose pliers are just an easy way to remove that flange for the tub shoe.

Another project that I use the needle nose pliers is when I am replacing the sink basket on a kitchen sink. It’s really a two men job, where someone on top is holding the top of the sink basket in place, while you are tightening this from below. So just by holding this like this or you can also use adjustable pliers or a pipe wrench to hold it in place while you are tighten it up. So just simple and effective, an excellent tool that every homeowner should have in a tool box.

Fixing a Dishwasher’s Drain Pump

Today we’re gonna show you how to change and replace your drain pump on your dishwasher. You’re going to need a quarter-inch and a 5/16″ nut driver and a pair of slip joint pliers.  We’re going through these steps here because I recently had to do this over the phone with a friend who had a broken dishwasher in Austin (I had had the exact same issue and contacted and got it sorted out).  Since it was going to be a while before I was out to visit, we did a phone/skype repair session together.  I think we were both pretty impressed we got it done.

The best way to do this repair is with the dishwasher pulled out of the cabinet. We will need to unattach the mounting tabs at the top the dishwasher that pass into the bottom of your countertop. You also need to remove the lower access panel gain access to your electrical connection and to your inlet water connection – you need to make sure that that is turned off.

To get started, just remove the two quarter-inch hex head screws that hold that access panel in place. Just tilt it forward and let it rotate in place. You now have access to the electrical inlet connection, your drain hose your inlet water hose… just disconnect what you need to then just pull the dishwaser out of the counter cabinet.

drain pump Now that we’ve disconnected utilities to the dishwasher and pulled it from the cabinet, the easiest way to do the repairs is to lay it on its back. That gives access to the component on the bottom.

To change the drain pump, you’ll need to remove the 2 electrical connections from the front of the pump. Just pull those off. The pump is held in place with a little mounting bracket on the side of it. We also need to disconnect the outlet drain hose and the inlet from the pump.

We’ll start with the outlet drain hose, and there is probably going to be some water in that drain hose, so you need something to catch the excess water. You’ll need to loosen that 5/16ths screw on the clamp, slide the clamp down over the hose and wiggle the hose off the pump, and just set that aside.

Next with slip strip joint pliers we’ll depress the clamp to the dishwasher pump and slide that clamp upwards. And now pull that hose right off.

The mounting tabs are located inside this little box and you can depress the one closest to you using a flat blade screw driver and just pop up out of there. Then you should be able to twist the pump enough to rotate the other one over that opening. You can just discard that old pump now.

drain pump shematicWith the new pump it comes with a new hose and two new clamps, so we don’t need to transfer anything from the old pump. You just line up those two tabs with the slots on the side of the pump housing and press those into place, lining up the inlet hose at the same time. Make sure it snaps into position and press the hose firmly until it bottoms out.

With our slip joint pliers, slide that clamp down into position. Make sure you leave the tabs on that clamp where you can access them with pliers in the future.

Now we’ll rotate the drain hose back in the position and ensure it seats firmly on the new pump. We will take that clamp in the position and slide it fully onto the outlet, and tighten with our 5/16th nut driver. Reconnect the two wires – make sure they seat firmly in the opening.

And now we’re ready to put the dishwasher back into position and reinstall the kick plate, turn on the water supply, reconnect the electrical supply, and our repair of this dishwaser will be complete.

Intalling a GFCI Receptacle

GFCIToday I am going to show you in this video how to install one this GFCI receptacles. So the GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and most commonly you’re going to see this type of receptacle when you have a plugin within most places that cord is one meter, three feet from water, like a sink or some kind of water source.

Also a lot of times in a garage, most places are calling for this by code as well and on the exterior of your home. So these are just to protect you from getting electrocuted, if you happen to come in contact with water and electricity from this receptacle at the same time. So that’s what the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter stands for.

On these receptacles, they all are going to have a test, they’re going to have two buttons, one is a test button, which you should test probably every month, which just is making sure that the breaker that’s inside here actually works and then there is a reset button beside it that you push. They generally, most of them have a indicator light. On this one is right here, near the end of my finger.

Sometimes, depending on the receptacle, that light either can be on if everything is good and it’s functioning properly or some of them it’ll even come on only when it’s not functioning, if it needs to be reset. With this particular one, I don’t know off hand exactly which way this one is, until I actually power it up. Also you will notice in this particular one, this is for a twenty amp line, twenty amp wire, so that’s why it’s got these different slots, kind of a T shape slot on the one side.

remember that if you’re installing large kitchen appliances, you need more than your typical wall outlet. For more information, make sure you contact the Appliance Masters at

We’re doing a kitchen counter circuit and it needs to be a twenty amps circuit, so this is a twenty amp GFCI. I don’t think there’s anything else, this one is a TR style, which means it has the little shutters inside the slot, which is coded in most places now as well. It just prevents kids from being able to jam something in there, get shocked.

GFCI 2Something else I should mention. If you look on the back side here, when you take it out of the box, there usually will be this some type of yellow tape or sticker across two of the screws, those screws are only if you are feeding more receptacles down the line, after this receptacle, that’s the only time you use these top ones. Those are, I believe they call them the load terminals. When the power is, in our situation, is feeding straight to this box, this is the first plugin, we’re going to be using the bottom screws, which are not covered up.

They are the line screws. We’ll just go to the electrical metal box to start with. I’ve used for this, I used a box that’s got a little bit of extra room on the sides, it’s bulged out a little bit, just because these receptacles are pretty big and sometimes you need a little extra room for the wiring in there. You might not be able to find those all the time, at your local retailer, but if you can, it does work nice for these GFCIs.

So I am going to set that down, I want to start by attaching the ground, that’s the first thing I do all the time, I want to attach the ground not only to this box, to the metal box, but it also needs to be attached to the receptacle itself. So first we’re going to attach it to the box and to do that you’re going to find in the back of the box usually, they generally are always in the back, there’s going to be two ground screws.

I want to take that ground wire that’s coming into the box and, sorry, I am kind of getting in the way here, and I am going to wrap it around that screw and then tighten that screw up. So I’ve got that all tighten up and good to go. You generally want at least about three inches of the wire protruding from the box, I’ve just barely got enough here, to easily work with so it could have been just a hair longer. I initially thought that this ground is going to be a little short, but I am pretty sure I can make it work.

Removing Wallpaper

removing wallpaperWe’re going to look at making what can be a very difficult job into something quite a bit more manageable… To remove ordinary wallpaper you need to gather a few simple items.

  • A pre-taped drop cloth
  • a bucket of water
  • a paint roller and pan
  • a perforator
  • a scraper which looks a lot like a putty knife but has a slot for replaceable blades
  • wallpaper removing solvent
  • and a bucketful of patience

The first step is to protect the floor and molding from water damage. Use a pre-taped plastic drop cloth and tape it to the top the baseboard floor molding.  Go all around the perimeter of the area and then unfolded it into the room to cover the floor.  If you skip this step it can get messy, not to mention the damage that water can do the floors and baseboards.

wall paper removalThe second step is to score the wallpaper with a razor scraper or perforating tool.  It’s a perfect gadget for removing wallpaper from walls made of wallboard or gypsum drywall because it won’t damage the paper face to the wall board. And that means you won’t have to spend time repairing the walls later. When you score the paper with holes or slits, it allows the moisture, when applied, to break down the adhesive.  If at anytime you notice the razor is getting dull, be sure to change it.

The next step is to mix the wallpaper removing solvent with water. The solvent breaks down the adhesive so that the wall covering loosens and can be easily scraped off. Use either a 50/50 combination of vinegar and water or 25/75 solution at liquid laundry softener and water.

The fourth step is to apply the wallpaper solvent with the paint roller or liquid sprayer. Start with a three foot section of wallpaper. After a few applications of moisture and a little time to let it soak in, you’ll be ready for the next step.

Now peel and scrape off the wet paper. Work on a three-foot wide section of a wall at a time and then move on to the next area.  As you scrape off the old wallpaper let it fall onto the plastic drop cloth. When all the wallpaper is removed use a sponge and some warm water to remove any excess paste from the wall, then just role at the entire mess – wallpaper, drop cloth and all.

Deconstruction and Reconstruction of a Bathtub Faucet

vegas 1Have you ever gotten into a project at home, then get pulled away from it for one reason or another, and when you finally make it back, you’re not sure where you left off, what goes where, or how in the world you’re going to put back together what you took apart in the first place.  Believe me when I tell you, if you’ve been there, it’s a bad feeling. But, you’re not alone. We’ve done it and had to call in our friends from Las Vegas Appliance Masters to help us get our kitchen working again when we decided to ‘improve’ some of our old appliances.  More recently, we took apart the leaky bathtub faucet.  This was the help we got to bet it back to working order…

What we need to do is apply the Teflon tape to the threads, and also some joint compound to make sure it doesn’t leak right here at this particular point so again, what you’re going to need on this is joint compound, a school of….some Teflon tape and of course some toilet paper, some kind of paper to wash your fingers clean, now what we’re going to do here is to go ahead and take a little bit of this, it’s going to be kind of messy so we’re going to take a little bit of this compound and apply it right here to the threads and you’re just going to wipe it all the way around, make sure it gets inside the thread here like so, do this all the way around, get the compound all the way in there, good, once that is done, then what we’re going to do, I’m going to wipe my finger, get that cleaned off a little bit, don’t let this too nasty.

Then what we have is a Teflon tape, now the secret to Teflon tape is this, you’ve got to put it on in the same direction that you’re going to putting on, so what we’re going to do is put the Teflon on and the Teflon tape about it, you’ve got to go in the direction that you’re going to turn, so I’m going to go clockwise with this because this is the direction I’m going to turn and insert, so okay, now we’ve got that already and we’re ready to insert, so we’re ready to go the next step, now what we’re going to do is just simply get this started back on and you’ve got to make sure it’s kind of square going in, if you put it in the angle or whatever, you have a strong tendency and a likelihood that you’re going to do some cross threading and you don’t want to do any cross threading, so we’re going to take it just like so and tighten this up as we go.

Bear down on this if you have to, just want to make sure that you’re completely on and in, now what we’re going to is just put on the sleeve, the sleeve back on and this actually fits around that whole fitting so this’ll just tighten up, this contraption that you just slip inside like this and what that does is it keeps it snug and go ahead and put this end over the sleeve, like so, and now we’re ready to put the handle back on, now just going to show you something interesting here, the inside of this handle is going to love a soap kick up, like I said this is a very old tub and floss it, so I’m going to just take something like something straight and hard here and just take it and clean this up all the way around, if I have to take like sand, paper, that’s what I’m going to do right here.

Make sure that is safe and clean and completely scraped up, the next step we’re going to do is to place the handle back on their correctly, all the way in and then take the screw, put it back in and you want to tighten this up, okay that’s good and tight, then you take the cap and it’s kind of cool, to go ahead in such an open position, put that in like that, straight up, now the last thing you’re going to is one test is that you’re turn, good and it’s in the off position, then you want to go to your cut off valve that you turned the water off on and turn it back on, come here test it, make sure it doesn’t leak, there are no leaks around here and then let the water turn on and off as it should.

Shower Tiles – part 2

We’re just continuing on from the first part of this article where we started installing tile into our bathroom shower. If you missed it, go here for part 1.

tilingSo again, I’m just lining up with my line here and my tile that I’ve already put on, pressing it on and not worrying too much of the space back here, that is going to, in this case, it’s going to get silicone, grout then silicone, so we need a little bit of leeway, I’ve got a bit of a bulge, so it’s a wider gap over here. Another thing, check your tiles that are around the one you’re putting on, make sure it feels pretty good, you don’t have any huge differences in thickness away from the wall. We’ve got that on, I’m going to put a couple more on this way down, then I am going to switch it up and go across this way so we can get into some cuts. I’ll stick this on.

This type of Master that I’m using is a warm water and soup clean-up but try not to get too much on the surface, or on your hands, or on the wall. It will clean up relatively easy though. So again, I’m lining up with my line, you could see some adhesive squirted out there, we’ll clean that up little bit later and in this case, these tiles do have a small nub that creates a space, I wanted a little bit more of a grout line there. If you can buy plastic spacer, use match sticks or whatever you want. I’m shooting about 8 inches grout liner. We’ll stick this one on, then we’re going to go up and do some more 6×6, I think you’ve got the idea of how this works. Just pushing it on there.

If you can, when you’re doing a wall tile, try to put your tiles on and in this case, I’m working down, so I want to put it tight and slide it down to get my space, as opposed to sticking it on the wall and sliding it up, you have more opportunity for the tile to want to sag or slide back down the wall, if you slide it up like that. Okay. So we’ve got three on there, we’ve got our one 6×6, I’m going to continue across here, it’s going to take me another two or three 6x6s and then I’ll be into a cut, I can show you . Now we’ve got a spot up here, where we got to make a cut on this extra couple of tiles, so I got these tiles in place now, I’m going to measure off of this tile to get my distance and then transfer that measurement to the new tile. I’ve got 4 1/8th there, 5 and 3/8th this way.

white shower tilesNow I’m transferring those measurements to the tile, a mark to cut from; I want to be 5 and 3/8th and 4 and 1/8th. I’m just using a pencil, for the most part generally you can at least get a little bit of a scratch on there with the pencil to give you a guideline. Now I’m going to move over to the score and snapping saw and make this cut. This tile cutter is really designed for straight cut where you put your tile against the small fence over here, but as long as it is a straight line, you can just make any cut you want. In this case, we’re cutting off the corner of the tile, so I am [inaudible] where I know the cutting heel is going to be, I line it up with the little heel, make minor adjustments and now I just want a little bit of pressure on there, you can hear the heel making that screeching sound, now I just set the heel back on the tile and it breaks that corner off. Sometimes it;s a little jagged, that’s where this stone file comes in, clean it up and it’s good to go.

We’ve got the tile cut, I got the adhesive on the back, get it into place here, press it on the wall, check for flatness, I’ve got the next tile already pre-cut, pre-adhesived, so I am going to stick it on the wall as well. Again, I’m just trying to keep my grout line consistent, keep the tiles stepped on well and that’s good. I’m going to finish everything up here and then we’ll come back in and we’ll show you the finished product.

I just wanted to show you one last thing before we wrap it up, for the shower head up here, I had to drill one tile with a hole in it in order to be able to attach the plumbing, that’s where I used this drill bit, attached to my cord of the drill simply mark the center of that position on the tile and I drill half way through and then I flip the tile over, drilled from the other side until your piece comes through; in this case, the cleanness of the hole is not that necessary because we’re going to cover it with the chrome anyways, but I just wanted to touch bases on that, if you’re going to drill round holes in other types of tile, like stone, this probably won’t do it in stone, you’re going to have to go to a diamond type blade but for porcelain and ceramics, this definitely does a good job.

I’m going to stick this on the wall and then we’ll wrap things up. Okay. So this project, we’ve got all the tiles applied to the wall, we’ve not yet done the grouting, simply because this particular type of Master needs 24 hours to cure, before we can grout it. Anything you use is going to need some time, just check the bag or pile or whatever it came in, it will tell you how long you need to wait before grouting or walking on it. This one is 24 hours. Well, I guess we’ll wrap things up now that we’ve got that done.

Installing Wall Tile for a Shower

shower tilesToday we’re going to be talking about installing wall tile. So some of the first products we’re going to need is adhesive, in this case I’m just using a non mortar type of adhesive, it’s all because we’re not in an area that’s going to have a lot of water contact, we’re actually trimming around the shower, not in the particularly, shower, so this product will be fine to use on there.

You’ll also need a notch trowel, whatever type of product for your glue that you’re using will specify the type of trowel, depending on the tiles you’re using as well. In this case I’m using a 3/16ths by 3/16ths notch trowel. You may also want a pair of tile nibblers, this is just for making small adjustments, small trim, work around the tile. They are just simply like a pair of pliers once you square the tile. Snap the pliers off. If you got to drill any holes through the tile, you’ll want a simple adjustable hole saw that you put in the corner’s driller and to drill, you can adjust the size of the hole by sliding this piece one way or the other. So that’s a good thing to have.

I also like to use this stone file. Sometimes you need to just take a slight amount off as you cut or maybe it’s not quite perfect cut, you can kind of cleaning up a bit. This works well for that. And then, when you’re doing just straight cuts, probably all you’re going to need is a snap and score, scores and snaps great and you simply can take your tile, in this case we’re using, of course, porcelain tile; slide it in the machine wherever you need it, make your measurement, there is a small heel down here and as I’m sliding it across the tile, it leaves a score mark, this little foot here, this heel, you push down and snap the tile off. Perfectly scored.

For what we’re doing today, that’s all we’re going to need. Okay. So the situation we have here is we’ve got a pre-shower stall installed in this bathroom right now. You’ve always got this transition from dry wall to the stall itself, some people will bury this flange, I don’t know if you could see that, but they will put this flange behind the drywall, I’ve seen few different things done. What I like to do is leave it exposed and actually trim this off with a nice tile, I just think it really finishes off really nice and you don’t have any ugly painting to do up against the tile or anything.

shower wall tilesSo for this particular bathroom, we chose a simple 6×6 white porcelain tile, nothing fancy about it, but it’s nice and clean and it goes well with the shower finish, then I’ve also bought these tiles that are 3×6 as well. The 3×6 we’re going to place along the front edge and the 6x6s are going to go across the top. So we’re going to have this type of look. You could if you wanted, and I’ve done it in the past, you could just buy all 6x6s, cut them down to do this; I’m just saving a little bit of time by not having to cut and you get a nicer edge as well.

So, we’re going to start out, first with this initial 6×6 and because we are doing such a small area, normally I would apply the Master or the glue on to the wall, but it’s a little difficult to do with a bigger trowel on small area, so I’m going to actually butter on to the back of the tile, trying to cover the whole back as well as you can, once you’ve got it on there, leave the strokes so that it actually leaves the glue on the tile and that’s ready to apply. Another thing that’s a good idea, it’s not such a big deal on small tiles, but I usually like to apply so that the lines on my glue are vertical, you have a little less in that way, sometimes when you put it like this, this little lumps will roll down the wall and you’re having your tiles sag, so just practice few, apply them in that manner.

So you want to press it to your wall, run it to your guidelines which I forgot to mention, press it to your guidelines, get good contact with the wall and just make sure it’s nice and straight. The guidelines that I use, I simply used the level and made a measurement out from the shower, mark myself a plum and square lines to run by. Just little easier to try to follow the shower, this way if there is any inconsistencies at a joint or something, you could easily fix that up with some, when you’re grouting with silicone. So we’ve got that on there and I’m going to put the 3×6 down the side here, same idea when I applied the adhesive on the back, give it nice stokes so we get nice lines in there.

A good way to know whether you’re getting enough Master on there or getting good contact, is to try to put one on , peel it off. You should have a good 75% contact on the wall and then you know you’re getting the right pressure on there.

There’s more to come in part 2, so keep reading…

Installing a Kitchen Sink Drain

installing kitchen sink drainToday I am going to show you what’s involved in hooking up a kitchen sink drain. So, we are going to be using AVS fittings and you can see a bit of an assortment here of the different ones that you may need. Most importantly we are going to need a P-trap.

Ok so this particular item, what it does is it creates a water trap down here so your sewer gases cannot come back through the wall and back out through your sink into your house so very important to be on all your sink drains and that sort of thing, tub drains.

Ok so we have got the P-trap, in this particular case, we are going to also have a dishwasher in this kitchen so we need a fitting where the dishwasher drain line can drain into the drain and an important thing about this is it needs to be in front of or ahead of the P-trap. So this would be the end where the sink drain is in and then it drains down through here and out into the sewers so it’s important that it’s on this end. If you put it on this end ahead… before the P-trap has a chance to stop the gases, you can get sewer gas coming into the house through the dishwasher so it has to be on this end, on the sink end of the P-trap.

So that’s those two pieces now on top of that… actually why don’t I just show you. We have got the particular one just taken off of the sink that we are going to show you this on so I have got the P-trap right here and the only thing that’s missing is this little elbow cause it’s glued on. So we have got the P-trap, we have a little pipe here, this is an inch and a half AVS pipe then here we have got that dish water fitting…. Dish washer fitting, we have got another stub of AVS in there then we have got this fitting up top so that looks like this and what that is is the drain stub on the bottom of your sink, it fits down there and that makes that connection.

So your drain on your sink could be copper, could be plastic, doesn’t really matter as long as this fits this fitting, this fitting basically, how it works is this… if this is your sink stub, threaded on part goes on then you have got a washer fitting like this that’s tapered, you want the taper down, it would slide up on that pipe and then what happens is when you lower this down onto that tapered fitting and thread it onto here, it just tightens everything together and makes a seal around here, that wedge just fits right inside this tapered edge of the pipe as well.

So that’s how that works. So that’s another item that you might need. This is just an inch and a half coupler so depending on your situation, you could need one or two of those, you might need a ninety degree elbow. It’s just going to depend on where your drain line is coming in to the cabinetry and where the actual drain sink is. So you are going to need a variety of few different pieces as well as one or two feet of inch and a half pipe to cut into lengths. The AVS pipe that we used in here for stubs, that is simple… you can just cut it with a hacksaw, you can cut it on your electric wire box, that sort of thing.

So it cuts pretty easily. Just try to make as square and straight cuts as you can. All these pieces are glued together with some AVS solvent cement, it’s usually yellow, I think there is a while clear color out there so it’s just some glue. Now we do have another video on working with AVS pipes so to see the actual cutting and gluing and fitting everything together, just reference back to that video. This one here is just solely about the parts you are going to need for the sink drain.

kitchen sink drainOk so we have got the parts, we have actually… this has all been made up and ready to fit onto the sink so we are going to change the angle of the camera so that you see underneath that when I actually install this underneath then you can see what it actually looks like.

Ok so we have moved down below where you can see the kitchen below the kitchen sink here, we have taken the doors off the cabinet for clarity. So you can see here, our piece of drain is going to thread on to there and this is the tail piece, in this case, it’s plastic and this will slip on over there. So what we did is we took off these two pieces off the top here and I will just insert them onto the tail piece so there is our black threaded piece, here is our wedge shaped gasket right there. So when you are doing this you will dry fit all your pieces as you go to make sure it works.

We have already done that and glued everything up so I know it’s going to fit on there so we just need to slide everything up until everything makes good contact. This nut comes around, threads on to the elbow of the P-trap, just tighten that up, this one like I said before, this little wedge gasket slides down in there through this nut, tighten it up. It’s not usually necessary that you need to use a wrench, get it nice and snug with your hands. So you can see now, this is the drain in the sink, water is going to flow down here through the P-trap, up again slightly, back here into the horizontal pipe and down into the drain, this pipe up here is the vent system that vents out to the roof to get air behind water.

As I mentioned before, some water will always stay trapped in the P-trap and it prevents any sewer gas from coming up, once it gets to this point, it can get through the water, if this just came straight across in a ninety degree elbow and up, there is no water to prevent that gas from getting up through the sink drain into your home so really important that you have the P-trap. Your setup can be slightly different, your drain might be coming out of the wall or maybe from another cabinet or something so it’s all going to depend on what your actual setup is as far as what you need for parts and pieces. I recommend you buy a few extra little things, maybe a couple of forty fives, that sort of thing. You can always return them if you don’t use them, it always seems like, when it comes to plumbing, generally, you need to do a little bit more messing around than you thought you were originally going to have to.