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Sealing HVAC Ducts

Sealing HVAC ducts can help eliminate air leakage through air ventilation duct seams, plus minimize or prevent ambient foreign particles and gases from entering the return air vents.

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How to seal ducts with mastic tape

Understanding Duct Joints and Seams

A typical HVAC ductwork configuration consists of large rectangular trunk lines connected directly to your furnace: one forced air, and the other return air. Then round rigid galvanized metal piping branches off to different sections of the home. Note: Proper duct sizing calculations are configured by a professional and educated HVAC technician.

Trunk Lines (i) Each section of the main trunk will have folded over edges at each end, and then use what is called cleats, that slide up and pull the ducts together.

HVAC Duct Trunk with Cleat Connection

HVAC Duct Trunk with Cleat Connection

Round Galvanized Pipes (i) Each connection is done with a slip joint, and accomplished by one end of a pipe or fitting being crimped to make smaller. (ii) The first step on the round piping is to add 2-3 sheet metal screws around the perimeter to secure the connection. Proper screws like Malco; which can found at Home Depot; or equivalent sheet metal specific screws are to be used. The bottom half is the most important, as this is where the weight is, and the screws strengthen this area from sagging.

 

Round Duct and Floor Boot Connection

Round Duct and Floor Boot Connection

Sealing HVAC Ducts with Tapes & Mastic

  • Duct Tape  Duct tape may share the same name as duct work, but it’s not a suitable product. The sealing properties are not great, and the tape will dry out from the heat; eventually leading to deterioration. Note: The timeframe that this happens will vary on what kind of duct tape was used and how often the furnace is pushing hot air.
  • Foil Backed Tape  There are various sizes, brands, and types available; and several can be found at your local hardware supply store. A much better alternative to plain duct tape, but still not superior because of the thin level of adhesive backing. Better used on foil covered insulated flex duct.
  • Duct Mastic  Comes in either a tube, just like caulking, or a plastic container much like joint compound, and looks similar as well. Apply with a brush, putty knife, or wear some type of rubber based gloves to spread it on by hand. The mastic will dry and seal any gaps between the ductwork seams, while remaining pliable. Readily available at most local hardware supply stores in the HVAC section, or amazon.
  • Foilmastic Tape – The Polyken 367-17 by Berry Plastics is a 2mm thick butyl rubber adhesive tape with a foil backing. This is our preferred choice, since it’s easier to get around joints in pre-installed ductwork, and it’s less mess than the duct mastic, while doing a great job at sealing. Plus it’s 3″ wide compared to more basic foil tapes that typically come in at 2.5″ or narrower. Unfortunately we are not aware of it being sold at any local hardware supply stores and must be purchased online. The easiest supplier we have found for homeowners is Conservation Mart.
NOTES:
  • If there is existing duct tape, and it’s not coming off too easily, you may consider sealing over it.
  • When considering the horizontal seam where the round galvanized ductwork locks together; you’ll have to decide if you want to go through the extra time and expense to seal that area as well.
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Fix & Install

Garbage Disposal Installation and Replacement

These InSinkErator® video tutorials provide a detailed visual how-to for garbage disposal installation.

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InSinkerator Disposer Installallation

Adding a new garbage disposal to your sink? InSinkErator® will guide you through with their detailed step-by-step video instructions.

How to install a InSinkErator garbage disposal

Along with providing full video tutorials, InSinkErator also created handy step-by-step written instructions for many garbage disposal related installation and troubleshooting questions, along with addressing common garbage disposal questions and concerns.

Note: Check your local building codes for connecting the dishwasher drain to the disposer. For bacteria buildup concerns, some cities and states require the dishwasher drain to be directly fitted to the drainpipe and not the garbage disposal. However, this is only a concern if you plan on selling, in which the drainage will have to be connected according to local building codes to pass inspection. If you plan on staying in your home, you can choose whichever dishwasher drain connection option.

Direct Replacement of an InSinkErator Disposer

If upgrading and replacing an existing InSinkErator garbage disposal, InSinkErator makes sure the job is super easy with their universal Quick Lock® sink mount. Whether, choosing a more budget friendly Badger Series or investing in the premium Evolution Series, you’ll find that InSinkErator designed their garbage disposers to be a direct replacement.

I can attest from personal experience the simplicity of upgrading to a new InSinkErator

Each new disposer is provided with a Quick Lock sink mount, but if the existing Quick Lock® sink mount is in excellent condition, you can save a lot of time and inconvenience by attaching the new disposer to the existing Quick Lock® sink mount.

Choosing a InSinkErator Disposer

InSinkErator has a full list of features and specifications for each individual disposer to help you choose the right disposer for your application and budget.

Q) What’s the difference between the InSinkErator garbage disposals sold at Home Depot?

A) A Consumer Specialist from InSinkErator responded with “The differences between the InSinkErator brand models and the comparable models offered at Home Depot are horsepower, grinding components, length of warranty and some aesthetic differences in trim shell colors, etc. The same high quality of materials and workmanship are found on all models manufactured by InSinkErator”.

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Fix & Install

Doorbell Wiring Diagrams

The provided wiring diagrams are based on the NuTone 2-note door chime, but the common wiring configurations should pertain to all other brands of chimes as well.

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Modern stainless steel doorbell cover

This article started as a short and simple doorbell wiring tutorial, and we’re definitely going to cover various doorbell wiring diagram configurations in clear detail, but our research and testing led us to the conclusion that there is much more to know about a doorbell system, so we’ll go into those specifics as well.

From past to present the common 2-note door chime has remained a simple setup. There are three main component stages and we discuss the relevance of each stage and how all the parts work together to create a chime sound when the doorbell pushbutton is pressed.

The Broan-Nutone company, and more specifically the NuTone chime and transformers have a deep history in the doorbell market and may very likely exist in many home applications. You’ll see this brand referenced throughout the article.

Another popular doorbell brand that tops our reference list is HeathZenith, who offer product manuals and helpful how-to videos on their site.

The parts that make up a wired doorbell system.

As mentioned earlier, there are three main stages of a wired doorbell system, plus the wiring to connect all the components.

Note: Each home improvement store likes to carry it’s preferred brand of products and these can change over time, but overall the basic functioning of a wired 2-note doorbell system will closely resemble the following descriptions and layouts.

**Consult your specific doorbell brand for further reference.

Chime: You can’t have a ding-dong sound without the heart of the doorbell system. There are varying decorative covers, and dimensions may vary between manufacturers, but the fundamental chime design you see here, by NuTone, will remain uniform.

To access the internal chime, most, if not all covers snap on and you’ll only need to apply some force to pull the cover off. No tools should be needed.

Note: You’ll notice that the chime has a wiring diagram printed on it, which can be helpful, but if you’re not very familiar with electrical work, the lack of more details may leave you apprehensive, which is why we created clearer diagrams.

Nutone 2-note wired chime

Push-Button: The buttons used to activate the chime are of the momentary switch type. Think of it like this, you could remove the switch and manually touch the two open ended wires together, therefore completing the electrical path to activate the chime. Add the switch, and it achieves the exact same thing, momentarily completing the electrical path when depressed to energize the chime, then breaking the electrical path when released as the internal contacts no longer join.

Note: These types of buttons make wiring easy. They are not polarity specific, therefore either wire can be connected to either terminal. There is no chance of messing up the wiring.

An economical rectangle pushbutton is very common as they are included in chime kits, but any of the fancier pushbuttons still work the same way, whether lighted or unlit.

Want to upgrade your doorbell pushbutton? Tutorial to come!

NuTone doorbell pushbutton

Transformer: A wired doorbell needs power to operate, but the 110-120VAC from the electrical box is too powerful and un-needed for the application. For doorbell purposes a step-down transformer reduces the 110-120VAC voltage to 16-20-24 volts for doorbell component voltage compatibility.

WARNING: Electrical Hazard. Before beginning work, turn power off at the breaker panel or fuse box to avoid injury. Contact a certified Electrician if unsure of your DIY capabilities.

Depending on the door chime, or having multiple chimes, the transformer specs will have to comply to ensure that the chime / ‘s can function properly. The wiring diagram section will get into more detail on how the transformers in the chart apply to each doorbell system configuration.

Find more Nutone transformer specs and the latest information at NuTone
Model Mounting Type Rating Purchase
NuTone C905 lock-mount or wall-mount 16-volt, 10VA
NuTone C907 lock-mount or wall-mount 16-volt, 30VA
NuTone C909 Tri-volt lock-mount or wall-mount 8, 16 or 24-volt 20VA
NuTone C915 Fits in single electrical box 16-volt, 10VA

Locating and replacing a doorbell transformer can get tricky. Hopefully the transformer will be mounted in a visible place, but who knows what a previous installer may have done.

Tips:

  • A transformer can be mounted inside a junction box, e.g. NuTone C915, which may reside directly behind the door chime. This setup can remove the guesswork of locating a remote mounted transformer.
  • A transformer can be mounted to an electrical junction box. Check basements, crawl spaces and attics for possible locations.
  • Most transformers have screw mount plates as well as the electrical box connector. Check open floor joists or wall studs in the basement, crawl space and attic.

A very conventional location for a doorbell transformer is mounting the transformer directly to an electrical box. Why? The electrical box will have the needed power connection wires inside for the transformers pigtail wires to join to, and the higher voltage electrical wires remain safely enclosed.

Doorbell transformer design makes this connection and mounting even easier by having a threaded connector and nut that mounts through an electrical box knockout or a quick install lock-mount.

Broan-Nutone electrical box mounted doorbell transformer

**Further specific instructions will be included in product packaging.

Common NuTone Door Chime FAQ’s

We wanted to cover the basics and more in this article, but for additional answers and confirmation regarding NuTone products, reference the Nutone faq page.

Examples include:

  • Can a 2-note chime be replaced by a 4 or 8-note chime?
  • May two-chimes be on the same pushbutton?
  • What can be done for a 2-note chime that does not ring loud enough?
  • If an application is to connect two, 2 note chimes together, will 2 transformers be required?
  • What is occurring if the chime rings by itself?

Find the doorbell wiring diagram for your application

The following easy-to-understand doorbell wiring diagrams will give you a fundamental baseline for installing a new wired doorbell, replacing a wired doorbell and troubleshooting a wired doorbell.

My own home has one main entry door and an open floor plan. A single central mounted door chime connected to a single doorbell button is all that is needed. But homes vary in size and layout, so we’ll discuss the various doorbell systems that may work best for each application.

WARNING: Electrical Hazard. Before beginning work, turn power off at the breaker panel or fuse box to avoid injury. Contact a certified Electrician if unsure of your DIY capabilities.

Commonality between all types of doorbell wiring

  • Doorbell pushbuttons aren’t polarity specific. Either terminal of the pushbutton can be mounted to the red or white wires shown in the diagram.
  • The transformer doesn’t have an in / out set of terminals. The red wire shown in the diagram coming from the chime and pushbutton can connect to either terminal of the transformer.

Single doorbell button wiring

  • The NuTone C905 has a rating of 16V – 10VA and the standard specs for most single 2-note chimes. This is the type of transformer supplied in contractor grade wired door chime kits.
  • 20-22 gauge 2 conductor, e.g. 20/2, wire is commonly used to sufficiently handle the electrical load for a single 2-note chime and transformer power rating combination.

How to wire a single chime and doorbell button

Multiple doorbell button wiring

  • Add a rear or side door button in addition to the main front door button.
  • All the information for a single chime and doorbell button wiring apply, with the addition of another pushbutton.
  • The rear is only a 1-note chime. You’ll notice a bumper on top of the pin to prevent the second chime bar from being activated. This creates a slightly different sound between the front and rear buttons to know which one is being triggered.

How to wire a single chime and double doorbell button

Wiring a single doorbell button with two chimes
As I mentioned earlier a single chime works fine in our home, but what about a large ranch style home or multilevel homes where a single chime isn’t enough? Strategically placing two or more chimes is a simple solution in making sure you can hear the doorbell sound throughout the entire home.

  • With the need to power two chimes, make sure to use a larger transformer, e.g. NuTone C907 with a rating of 16V – 30VA.
  • Upgrading to 18 gauge 2 conductor, e.g. 18/2, wire is recommended to sufficiently handle the higher electrical load for the larger transformer power rating.

How to wire a double chime and single doorbell button

Wiring multiple doorbell buttons with two chimes

  • Add a rear or side door button in addition to the main front door button.
  • All the information for a double chime and doorbell button wiring apply, with the addition of another pushbutton.
  • The rear is only a 1-note chime. You’ll notice a bumper on top of the pin to prevent the second chime bar from being activated. This creates a slightly different sound between the front and rear buttons to know which one is being triggered.

How to wire a double chime and double doorbell button

What are alternatives to a wired door chime?

After reading all the information, analyzing your home and work involved, and concluding a wired doorbell system may not be your best option, you do have the option of the many wireless doorbell systems, if you don’t mind replacing batteries.

Note: We are in the process of putting together additional articles focusing on wireless doorbells. Stay tuned!

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Fix & Install

Instructions for Replacing a Glass Shower Door Sweep

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Replacing a frameless shower door seal

A pivoting glass frameless shower door will have a removable and replaceable door sweep along the bottom. By maintaining this shower door seal, you’ll ensure water doesn’t leak in the areas the seal should be protecting.

You’ll only need a few basic hand tools to cut the new seals to exact length, or for a little extra cost you can buy pre-cut shower seals and need no tools at all.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1) Remove worn door seal

Frameless door seals are simply pressure fitted. There are no adhesives or mounting hardware holding them on.

  • Over time and use the sweep fin will eventually tear from the main frame and lead to leaks.
  • Mineral buildup will also create an unsightly discoloration over time as well in the seal location, which may be cleaned to a certain extent.
Worn shower door sweep with torn fins

Worn and damaged shower seal

2) Assess sweep dimensions

Measure the glass door thickness and the length needed for a replacement.

How to measure a shower door for a new sweep

Doors do vary in thickness. Measure carefully and accurately.

3) Assess sweep style to order

Based on the existing seal and dimensions calculated in the previous step; determine the proper seal to order as a replacement.

Glass shower door sweep style replacements

Make sure you have the proper seal style

TIP: Ordering extra lengths of sweeps will save on long-term shipping costs, while providing a needed inventory for future replacements and miscuts.

4) Cut new seals to length

  • A hacksaw with the proper blade (32TPI) will produce a clean-cut.
  • A ratcheting PVC tubing cutter or pruning shear  may work, but I’ve had mixed results.
  • Using a utility snip or scissors can crack the rigid PVC material and most likely yield in an uneven cut.
How to cut a shower door sweep

A basic miter box helps cut a straight edge

5) Insert new shower door seal

  • Push new sweep over glass door as original was fitted. If a drip edge is part of the sweep, face it inwards to keep water within the shower stall.
  • View full video tutorial for more information.

Shower Door Cleaning

Clean the door sweep area thoroughly before installing a new sweep. Use the same removal and replacement steps above to do a regular cleaning of the sweep and seal area. Soap scum and minerals can build up over time.

Any general purpose bathroom spray cleaner works well when combined with either a scrub brush (utility brush, tile and grout brush, etc.), or scrub pad.

For excess mineral build-up on the glass door, a glass scraper may be required.

Items to clean the area of a shower door sweep

Additional Tips

  • During very cold climates, the door can shift around and leak even if the seal is in perfect condition.
  • Point the shower head away from directly spraying the shower door and corner pivot joints as an added measure to prevent water leakage.
  • Use of a bath mat will absorb any water that may escape the shower.
  • Inspect and ensure surrounding caulk joints are faultless.
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