Handyman Tools You Should Have in Your Toolbox

Handyman is a professional that performs various maintenance tasks for businesses or residential clients. Handyman Naperville IL responsibilities may include plumbing, painting, electrical work, and woodworking. Starting a handyperson business requires the right tools. The proper hand tools will prepare your team for success and help them get jobs faster.

HandymanClaw hammers are the hammers most people keep around the house and are one of the most versatile tools for general use. They feature a flat face for pounding and a claw on one side that can be used to pull nails or pry materials apart. They are available in a range of weights from 16 to 24 ounces and come with wooden (often hickory), steel, or fiberglass handles. The head and claw of the hammer are generally made from metal, so they must be sharp enough to cut through wood or drywall.

Most claw hammers have a smooth or plain face to reduce damage to surfaces where appearance is important. Some may have a milled or waffle face, which provides a grip when it contacts the nail and can decrease mis-hits and bent nails. However, it is optional to have this feature on a claw hammer for most home use or carpentry projects.

There are a number of different types of claw hammers, all designed for specific uses. Some are more suitable for heavy-duty jobs such as framing and demolition work. Others, like the rip claw hammer, have a straight claw that makes it better for removing nails. Rip hammers also have a longer handle, which can be useful for pulling up floorboards and other tasks that require leverage.

Most claw hammers are made from steel, which is stronger than fiberglass and is less likely to break under extreme pressure. They should also be well balanced and have an ergonomic design to reduce hand fatigue, especially when using the hammer for extended periods of time. A good claw hammer should be comfortable to hold and will not produce too much vibration, which can cause pain or discomfort in the hands and wrists. It should also be easy to replace parts, such as the head or claw, if they are damaged or worn out.

Chalk Line

When you need a straight line on a wall, floor or other surface, the chalk line is an excellent tool to have. Basically, it’s a reel of string that has been coated in powdered chalk and is used to impart long, straight lines onto a surface. This allows you to have an accurate guide prior to cutting, laying tiles, levelling posts, hanging wallpaper and many other tasks. Some models are also able to be used as plumb-bobs which are great for creating vertically straight (‘plumb’) lines.

The most important consideration when choosing a chalk line is its durability. A good model will be strong and made of a material that is tough enough to withstand falls or corrosion. Aluminum, stainless steel or heavy duty plastic are common choices. It’s also worth considering the ease of use and convenience. You will want a model that has a snap handle to easily open and close, a large chalk port, easy-to-use clip and an automatic rewind system.

Before using the chalk line, it’s a good idea to take the time to fill and coat the spool with a good amount of chalk. This will help ensure that the line is fully coated and will leave a good, bright mark. It’s also worth taking the time to make a mark at both end points of the line, this will ensure that the line is correctly positioned before being snapped.

It’s best to use a chalk line with two people, however, it is possible to use them alone. If you are working alone, drive a nail or screw into one of the end points and then hook the other end of the chalk line over this. When you snap the chalk line, it will leave a clearly marked line on the surface from one point to the other.


Having a variety of screwdrivers on hand can help you tackle any repair job. Using the right tool for a specific type of screw can prevent stripping and damage to both the screw and whatever it’s fastening. It’s important to match the screwdriver head and bit size to the screw type for maximum performance.

Slotted screwdrivers have a flat blade that fits into a groove or slot in the screw head. This allows the tool to turn a screw while also applying torque to the head of the screw. These screwdrivers come in a wide range of tip sizes, from very small to very large. They’re ideal for tight spaces where you can’t fit a standard screwdriver in.

Phillips screwdrivers have a cross-shaped recess in the head of the screw. They can be inserted and removed from the head of a screw with a standard screwdriver, but they require more force to turn than other drive types and are susceptible to cam out.

Pozidriv screwdrivers are a cross between Phillips and slotted, with a self-centering design that reduces cam out and allows for the use of angled screw drivers. They can be used for a wide range of applications, from electronics to installing towel bars.

Hex screwdrivers, which look like a bow-tie, are used in many places that require durability, including doorknobs and faucet handles. They can be used with a standard screwdriver, but are best when you’re working on your car or assembling furniture.

A multi-bit screwdriver has a handle where interchangeable bits can be stored. They’re available in a wide variety of bit types, from flathead and Philips to hex and Torx. This type of screwdriver allows you to work on a wide variety of tasks without needing to switch tools.

Tape Measure

The humble tape measure is the most commonly used measuring tool in tradesmen’s toolboxes, but it can have a number of uses beyond simply taking measurements. Tape measures come in a range of lengths and are made from various materials including metal, plastic and cloth. They typically have slightly curved metal blades that are coiled up inside a casing and retracted by an inner spring with a locking lever to hold the blade in place for measurement.

Most modern tape measures have a number of features to make them more useful for the tradesman including a nail grab and serrated marking tool on the end of the case. The nail grab can be used to hook a screw or nail and the serrated edge can be used as a mark to scribe a line on a surface, if a pencil isn’t available.

In addition to standard inch increments many tape measures also include metric measurement indicators on the blade. These are indicated by small white arrows. There are sixteen of these spaces or ‘sixteenths’ in an inch and the shortest lines on the tape are usually 1/16” apart.

Some tapes also have black diamond stud and joist marks on the case, these are designed to help carpenters space I-beam timbers for support when building structures such as homes. Some tapes also take the length of the case into account when measuring and have a marked zero point, whilst others have a viewing window that allows the user to check the length without pulling out or retracting the tape. Some tapes have a lock button that locks the blade in place and some have an adhesive backing for use on non-porous surfaces.

Cordless Driver

As its name suggests, this tool delivers a fair amount of torque. It combines a small motor with a hammer and anvil power train that turns a hex-shaped bit held in the chuck into a spinning impactor. This action, delivering up to 1,350 inches per pound, drives screws into and out of wood and other materials with ease. This model from Gtech is compact, lightweight and retails for a shade under PS130 with battery, charger and a dozen quality bit heads.

Water Heater Repair

How to Troubleshoot Water Heater Repair

When your water heater starts causing issues, it can be difficult to know how to troubleshoot. Some of the most common issues include not getting enough hot water, loud noises, and rusty water.Water Heater Repair

Generally, Cincinnati Water Heater Repair needs to be addressed by a licensed plumber. However, there are a few things you can do to help the problem until they arrive.

There are a few things that can go wrong with electric water heaters. The heating elements may fail, the high temperature cutoff may trip, and sediment can build up in the tank. The thermostats can also go bad, causing the heater to overheat. Fortunately, most of these problems are relatively simple to fix.

To begin with, make sure the breaker in your service panel hasn’t tripped. This is a common problem that causes a loss of hot water. The circuit breaker can be reset by turning it off and then on again.

Next, shut off the power to the heater at the breaker box and post a sign telling others not to turn it on. Turn off the breaker for the electric water heater in your service panel. Remove the access panel to the upper heating element on the heater and remove the plastic safety guard and insulation, being careful not to touch any wire or electrical terminal. Push the red button-the high-temperature cutoff reset button-located above the upper thermostat.

Thermostat problems are usually caused by an electrical short between the thermostat’s metal strip and one of its contact points. When the thermostat is hot, it bends the strip down slightly, forming an ohmic (resistance times 1,000) connection between the two. As the thermostat cools, it springs back up to its original position, making the contact point complete and allowing electricity to flow through the contact point. When the thermostat reaches a higher temperature, the strip coils go up and the contacts make another ohmic connection. The contact points then send a signal to the switch in the wall that turns on the heater.

When the contact points fail to make a good connection, it causes a constant current to run through the wires and can burn them. Over time, this will deteriorate the wires and cause them to fail as well.

The best way to determine if the thermostat is open is with an ohmmeter. The test requires disconnecting the upper and lower heating elements, so a replacement will be necessary if the test indicates failure. Make sure to purchase a replacement that is the same size and model as the old element. It is also a good idea to wrap the new element with Teflon tape or apply pipe dope around its threads to ensure a waterproof seal.


If you’ve noticed your water heater isn’t producing enough hot water, it could be the result of a broken element. Water heater elements are responsible for heating the water within your tank, so when they break down, it’s likely your water will not heat at all or will be too hot to use safely.

Fortunately, replacing a water heater element is a relatively easy task that many homeowners can complete on their own. Regardless of the type of water heater you have, the first step is to turn off power to your water heater by shutting off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the circuit. It’s importante to remember that you’re working con electricity and water – two things that do not mix, so safety is paramount.

Once the power has been turned off, the next step is to drain the tank. This can be done by attaching a hose to the drain valve and opening it. Once the water is drained, it’s a good idea to flush out the entire system with a solution that removes any sediment that might be present in the tank.

One of the most common reasons for water heater failure is due to mineral deposits that build up over time inside your tank. These deposits clump together at the bottom of the tank, reducing efficiency and potentially shortening your water heater’s lifespan. Home improvement experts recommend performing preventative maintenance on your water heater each year to reduce the risk of these problems. This includes inspecting the anode rod and temperature release valve to ensure they’re in good condition.

If you suspect the heating element is broken, you can replace it by following these instructions: Remove the wires connecting the element to your water heater’s control panel. Loosen the screws holding the element in place by turning them counterclockwise with a ratchet wrench and 1 1/2-inch socket. Some repair kits include a socket that fits the element. After the screws are removed, remove the gasket that seals the element to the tank. Once the old element is removed, replace it with a new one of the same voltage and wattage as the original.

Dip Tube

Your water heater’s dip tube performs a vital function that helps prevent sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank. It also brings cold incoming water directly to the burner located at the bottom of the tank. Without it, you might not have hot water for showers or laundry. If you have a heater that is old or in need of repairs, you might notice your water heater’s dip tube beginning to break down and become cracked or full of holes.

The tubes themselves are prone to corrosion since they are submerged in water of different temperatures and mineral content. Some manufacturers use a curved dip tube that creates swirling action as the water travels through it, which may help reduce the amount of sediment that accumulates inside the tank. The curved tube may also improve your overall water quality as it can filter out some impurities that could otherwise make their way into your home’s plumbing.

You can replace a water heater dip tube fairly easily. First, drain a few gallons of water from the hot water heater through a garden hose attached to a spigot at the nipple (see this guide on ‘How To Drain A Water Heater’). You can then purchase and install a new nipple-attached dip tube. It’s important that the new dip tube be a close match to your existing one in size. Some newer units with the cold water inlet on the bottom of the unit do not have a dip tube.

You will know it’s time to replace your water heater dip tube if you start to notice that you don’t have as much hot water for showering or that your laundry isn’t getting very warm. You might also see that your sacrificial anode is corroding faster and producing a sulphur smell in your hot water.

Pressure Valve

The pressure/temperature relief valve is a safety device designed to open at a preset pressure and discharge water until the system overpressure reaches acceptable levels. The valves are usually welded to the top or side of the hot water heater tank and connected to a plastic or metal discharge tube that points up. The valve has a handle that is turned clockwise to open the valve and counterclockwise to close it. The pressure/temperature valve should be inspected and replaced at least annually.

The valve works by using a spring-loaded “poppet” valve element with an elastomeric (or in high pressure designs, thermoplastic) seal configured to make a seal on the valve seat. The pressure of upstream fluid and the force of the spring combine to apply a constant force on the poppet, keeping it sealed against the valve seat. When the pressure of the upstream fluid exceeds the spring force, the pressure on the poppet increases and the valve opens. When the upstream pressure drops below the set point, the spring retracts and the valve closes.

To increase the pressure capacity of the valve, a secondary control chamber or huddling chamber can be installed on the body of the valve to enhance lift. It is also important that the elastomer selected for the sealing surface be compatible with the fluid and expected operating temperature range.

When a pressure/temperature valve is not working properly, the water heater will often develop leaks around the valve mounting threads on the tank or at the pipe connections to the valve. The leaking water can damage the insulated tank and may result in hot water stains or spots on the floor around the tank.

Before attempting to check or replace the pressure/temperature valve, shut off the electricity to the hot water heater. It is extremely dangerous to attempt any electrical or plumbing work on a live water heater and could create a risk of personal injury or property damage. Also, turn off the water supply to the heater and drain the tank by turning the valve on the bottom of the tank to the drain position.

Fireplace Repair

Keep Your Fireplace Safe and Warm With Fireplace Repair

Winter weather can take a toll on your fireplace. Year-round maintenance and annual chimney inspections will help prevent wear and tear and keep your home warm.Fireplace Repair

Gaps in the mortar between your hearth and firebox can let smoke into your house. These gaps are caused by the expansion and contraction of materials and are normal, but they should be repaired as soon as possible. For professional help, contact Fireplace Repair.

Firebrick and refractory mortar are designed to withstand high temperatures, but this constant exposure takes its toll over time. Small cracks in the brick and mortar can be repaired using a special high-temperature caulk that is formulated to resist heat. This type of caulk also contains silica to prevent moisture penetration into the mortar joints.

When a fireplace is frequently used, expansion and contraction of the brick and mortar occur, especially in the mortar joints. When these cycles are not addressed, the cracks widen and deteriorate the mortar between bricks. Once the mortar between the bricks begins to deteriorate, water can enter the joint and cause more damage.

A qualified chimney sweep will inspect the fireplace and chimney before they are used. They will look for any cracks in the brick or mortar that require repointing, as well as check to make sure the damper works properly. They will also ensure the chimney is free of creosote buildup, which can cause a chimney fire.

Some minor repairs and modifications that can be done by a homeowner include replacing a damaged or worn-out fireplace brick panel, resetting loose or broken bricks, adding courses of brick to an uneven chimney, and repairing cracked or missing mortar in a brick fireplace wall. Some of these projects pose a fire safety risk and should only be attempted by a homeowner with some DIY experience.

When attempting any DIY fireplace project, homeowners should always exercise caution and wear safety equipment such as eye protection or a dust mask. It is also important to read any manufacturer’s instructions that come with any tools or products you will be using.

If you have a fireplace that is masonry in nature, make sure you are aware of the differences between a masonry fireplace and an insert fireplace. While there are advantages to both, it is important to know what kind of fireplace you have before you begin any improvements or repair work.

A masonry fireplace is built into the walls of a home and is typically made of firebricks with refractory mortar in between each brick. It is important to know this distinction because an unlabeled fireplace may have a gas insert instead of firebricks, which could present a fire safety hazard and must be addressed by a professional.

Water Condensation

While fireplaces can add architectural charm to a home, they’re also important for heating it during the colder months. However, when problems arise within the chimney system, like condensation and leaking, the results can be serious.

Water condensation is a natural phenomenon that forms when water molecules cool down from the hot, liquid state into the cold, solid state. The cooling process is what makes it possible for dew drops to form on plant life, for example. Water condensation can occur inside the house, too. It can be caused by things such as plumbing leaks, a clogged dryer vent, or damp basements. A good way to reduce moisture in your home is to cover bare soil with a plastic vapour barrier, use a sump pump in the basement, and make sure gutters are working properly.

The amount of water vapour in the air also has an impact on condensation. This is why it’s important to use dry, seasoned firewood for your fireplace. Damp or fresh firewood contains a higher moisture content, which can lead to more water vapour in the flue during combustion. This leads to more condensation within the chimney.

Another factor that can cause condensation is the type of gas you use in your fireplace. Vent-free gas appliances, which are popular with many homeowners, can produce more water vapour than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. When this happens, it’s often a sign that there is a problem with the venting of the gas.

A common symptom of condensation is finding a white, foggy film on the inside of your fireplace glass. This can be a sign that you have a problem with the chimney’s flue gas, which could be contaminated by byproducts of combustion, such as sulphur.

A professional technician can test your gas fireplace to determine what is causing this issue. The technician may recommend installing a chimney liner to improve the chimney’s efficiency and prevent excessive condensation. Chimney liners isolate the chimney walls from the hot gases in the flue, which slows down the cooling of the walls and reduces condensation. The technician will also inspect the chimney’s crown, which is the surface at the top of the chimney, for cracks. Cracks in the chimney crown can allow water to seep through the flue lining into the chimney and damage your walls and ceiling.


Smoke in your fireplace can be a sign that there is something wrong with your chimney. During normal operation, fireplaces produce carbon monoxide, water vapour, smoke, and soot. These are all meant to be expelled from the fireplace, but if the draft is weak or the chimney is not working correctly, these substances can end up back in the home. This can lead to expensive water damage or even fire. A smoky fireplace can also be dangerous to your health, as wood smoke contains air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

If your fireplace is smoking and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, it’s a good idea to call a professional chimney sweep for an inspection. They can help pinpoint the problem and offer viable, long-term solutions.

The most common reason for a smoky fireplace is that you are using green or wet wood. This type of wood can have up to 25% moisture content and produce more smoke than seasoned logs that have been dried for several months. This problem can be corrected by removing the damper, allowing it to completely open before lighting a fire, and coating the damper hinge with a creeping lubricant such as WD-40.

Another common cause of smoky fireplaces is a low indoor-outdoor temperature differential. To improve drafting, make sure the fireplace is used only on warm days and that the fire is started after a rolled-up newspaper has been held in the flue for one to two minutes. This will increase the heat in the flue and help it rise more quickly.

In gas fireplaces, the simplest way to stop smoke from returning to the living area is to make sure the pilot light is lit and that it stays lit. If the pilot light turns on but then goes out, this is likely due to a faulty thermocouple, which converts heat into electricity to keep the gas valve open. Cleaning the thermocouple may fix this, but in some cases, a new thermopile is needed. A professional can replace it and return proper gas flow to your fireplace.

Gas Leaks

Although gas fireplaces have become safer in recent years with shut-off devices and oxygen depletion sensors, they are not immune to leaks. Gas leaks can be very dangerous, especially for children and elderly adults. Knowing the warning signs of a gas leak can help homeowners quickly get their home safe again.

A foul smell like rotten eggs is one of the most common indicators of a gas leak in a fireplace. If this odour is present in the house, turn off the gas fireplace immediately and open windows to air out the area. This should give you a few hours to call a professional to come and fix the issue.

If you hear a whistling or hissing sound near the fireplace or gas line, it is another good sign of a leak. The yellowing of plants or grass outside the home or around the gas line is also a symptom that there is a problem. Natural gas is strong enough to kill plants, so a buildup of it in the soil near the gas line is dangerous.

While there are some gas leaks that can be fixed by tightening the valve and lines, major leaks should be handled by a professional to avoid safety hazards in your home. A professional will test the thermocouple or thermopile (if your fireplace is newer and has one of these), make sure all wiring is secure, and check for a possible clog in the burner orifice.

If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas fireplace and all appliances that use gas. Call your PSE&G representative and don’t search for the source of the leaking gas, as this can expose you to it. In addition, do not smoke or use any electronic devices in the affected room, as these can spark an explosion. Finally, don’t leave the area until you’ve been reassured that it is safe to return.