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Super Handyman: Devise a spring-cleaning plan

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s not too early to start planning your spring-cleaning attack. Here are some basics to help you get started with a good list and the proper tools.

Get a pencil and some paper or your iPad and take a tour of your home. Note areas that you need to work on. Remember, you are only human, so don’t get too critical. Leave room for scheduling information and listing tools and supplies you’ll need to get, which you can add in your spare time later.

Areas you don’t want to forget about include your fireplace, dryer vent, garage, appliances, light fixtures and carpets. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget those windows, the most common spring-cleaning project of all. Your list probably will be different, but it should include some of these areas. You can tackle a few others, as well, if you want.

Assign a date for each project, and set aside the time to do it.

If you need help, make sure to confirm with the person before the date, and consider a payment in the form of dinner or cookies – or maybe you can help him or her with a project, too. If you are working alone, you might even want to reward yourself.

If you need tools or supplies for your project, buy or borrow them in advance, and make sure you know how to use them. Know how to do the maintenance, as well. Make sure you have the right cleaners and other tools ready to use.

Study up, if you need to. If you’re deep cleaning an appliance, consult your owner’s manual. Some of the tips can make it a lot easier, and you may miss specific parts if you don’t know about them. If you don’t have a manual, you can get one online for free a lot of the time. Other sites also will have information you can use.

If all goes well, you will be ready to roll when spring comes around next month, and will have it all done long before summer!

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Q: I plan to replace my plain ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan before it gets hot around here. The problem is that I’m not sure the current box can hold a ceiling fan. Add to that the problem that the ceiling is on the first floor of our two-story home.

That means I can’t get much access to the ceiling. What can I do to brace it? – V.L.

A: Check your hardware store or home center for an expandable bracket that you can add between the ceiling joists after pulling down the box. These are easy to install by just following the package directions. They are fairly inexpensive and work great. Make sure you turn off the circuit before pulling the lamp and box down.

A super hint

When you are wrapping Teflon tape around a threaded pipe before attaching a joint, wrap it in the same direction that it turns. That way, as you turn the connection together, the tape will stay in place or tighten, instead of unwinding.

Shoptalk

Leak Stopper has quite a reputation, and it’s well deserved. It’s super easy to apply, and it really does work quite well. But the black color is only good in certain places. I’ve seen it in white before, but that doesn’t look a whole lot better in most cases. Well, thank goodness they now have a clear version. It works just as well and comes in a variety of applicators, including a caulking tube. Check it out at www.gardner-gibson.com. You even can order it directly from them and save some time shopping.

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at www.thesuperhandyman.com.