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Super Handyman: That cellphone camera is handy for more than just selfies

My refrigerator has the ice and water on the door, but the ice stopped coming out. I thought it might be jammed, so I took it apart and made sure it was clear. Still no ice. I needed to see what was happening inside the dispenser when the door was closed. I put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the ice holder, set my phone to “video” and placed it face-down on top of it. I placed a flashlight inside the freezer and closed the door. Then I tried to operate the ice dispenser. Finally, a clear picture. I could see that the motor was working, but the blade was no longer turning. That was an easy and inexpensive fix, and the video was the key. Don’t forget to think outside the box when making repairs.


Q: We have an old-fashioned wet bar in our den. One day I want to tear it out, but for now, I just want to make it look better. I’m thinking about painting the laminate countertops. What do you think about this? – R.D.

A: There are some great countertop-painting-kits at your hardware store or home center. They are epoxy paint, so will stand up to use and some abuse. If you do it right, they can look a lot like granite.

Wine bars are popular these days. Maybe you could install a varnished wooden countertop made from old wine crates. Add a wine fridge, some racks and nice glasses.

Tips from readers

Whenever you buy a new product, fill out and send in the warranty card. You usually can do it online, too, and it’s worth the extra effort. Many times, you will get product information and discounts on other products when you register. Also, if there ever is a recall, you’ll receive a notification. Just do it. – D.J.


I have been trying to clean out this old refrigerator that I bought at a garage sale for my basement. I used vinegar and baking soda to clean it first. Then I wiped it down with bleach and water, but it still had a funny smell. I tried using mouthwash on a cloth next. This really worked. I also put some in a bowl and closed it up inside when I turned it back on. It killed the bad smell. I guess my fridge had bad breath! – D.M.


We have had problems with too many birds in our yard at night. I can’t believe I’m having this problem, because I always wanted birds around to eat bugs. But it had gotten out of control. We set out one of those plastic owls. The first couple of days, it worked great. But then I guess they figured it out. Then we repositioned it a little bit. That worked. Now we just move it around every other day or so, and they think it’s real. It still works after two months! I’m wondering if they make a remote-control owl. – G.T.

A Super hint

I’m all for recycling plastic and jugs and bottles. They are good for all sorts of things around the shop and home. Set them in a sink or bucket full of hot water before trying to cut it. It will make cutting through it much easier.


If you have a room in your home that doesn’t get enough air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter, you might want to consider a Cyclone Register Booster. This simple plug-in, whisper-quiet booster fan is designed to fit in place of a standard-size vent panel. It can be operated manually or automatically via hidden sensor. To find out more, go to

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