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Super Handyman: A bright idea to add more light

Want to double the amount of light you have in a room? Just replace your plain lamp screw-in socket with a double socket. This is a great way to get extra light in a dark basement, garage or closet. You can even add more of these, by replacing the socket of one of the bulbs with a double socket. You can keep adding to this if you like, and you can create a whole light fixture if you feel the need. The only caution is that you need to use LED or CFL light bulbs, not incandescents, to avoid overloading your outlet. As an added bonus, these bulbs last longer, too.


Q: You aren’t going to believe this tale. I was up on my roof using my plumbing snake to clean out my vent stack. I don’t know how it happened, but it slipped through my hands and is now inside the vent stack. How in the world will I be able to get it out? – N.S.

A: Secure a magnet to the end of a rope and see if you can “fish” it out that way. If that doesn’t work, see if you can cut through the pipe in your attic and get it out from there. A little pipe glue, a joint and a few minutes to repair the pipe there is all you will need after that. Hopefully you won’t need to cut into a wall inside your home to get it out.

Super HandyMom tips

I try to have the paint store do most of the stirring of my paint, but sometimes you don’t get to it in time and need to do a little stirring of your own. Since I like to keep things reasonably clean when I’m working, I have an extra paint can lid into which I have drilled a hole so I can do this. I remove the lid, run my stirring bit through this extra lid and then chuck it into my drill. Then I put this lid on the paint can and tap it down. Now I can keep all of the paint inside the can and off of me!


The older I get, the less I enjoy lugging around heavy stuff in the yard. I like big potted plants on the patio, and I prefer ceramic over plastic. To cut down on the weight, I put large chunks of packing foam in them along with the soil and plants. This makes it a whole lot easier to move them around come winter.


I don’t normally use neon or day-glo paint, but when I do, I want everyone to see it! I paint some on all of my garden tools. My rakes, hoes, shovels, etc., all have a bit on the handle or the blade. This reminds the people who borrow them to return them to me … well, hopefully.


Most stepladders have a “paint shelf” on the back side to hold stuff. This does come in handy, but it could be made even handier. Keep a bungee cord hanging from it, and then you can tie down your paint can, tools or even a tool tray. Bungee also can come in handy when you fold your ladder away when you are finished using it. Use the bungee to tie it together and even secure it in your garage so it doesn’t fall onto your vehicle. I love bungees!


Several years ago, we had to replace a water heater in a hallway. It was set behind the air conditioner, so it was impossible to remove without going through the wall. Since the bedroom door was always in the way, we took the opportunity to change the swinging door to a pocket door. The water heater got replaced with a tankless model, and we got the pocket door we always wanted in that spot!

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit Those of general interest will be used in future columns.