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  1. #1
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Default What You Wish You'd Known

    ...as a car or home owner. I was thinking in the car the other day about the things that I learned since taking my first job that not everyone might know, depending on how much experience they have. Here are a few:

    If you are turning off the water in your house for an extended length of time, drain the pipes! Otherwise, if a pipe bursts or freezes, you'll have a mess on your hands.

    Running toilets will often quit if you jiggle the handle.

    If the car steering wheel locks after you have had the car parked for a bit and you can't properly start it up and go, try jiggling the steering wheel a bit. It will unlock.

    Furnace filters really do make your air cleaner. They need to be replaced every few months and there is a little sign on them that tells what you need. One size doesn't fit all.

    When you hang heavy pictures, you need to find the piece of wood behind the drywall that runs up and down (the stud) to put the nail into so the picture will hold. These are located at regular intervals. You can get a studfinder for less than five bucks at the store, or else try knocking on the wall, and you can here where it echoes differently.

    When hanging a picture, put it against the wall where you want it and mark where the top comes with a small pencil mark. Then measure the distance on your picture between the place for hanging it on the back, and the top of the picture. Using a measuring tape, mark that spot on the wall beneath your first mark. That's where the nail should go.

    Most tire places want you to buy all four tires at once so that they wear evenly. They should also be rotated from time to time so that they wear evenly. Costco gives a lifetime warranty on tires and is pretty reasonably priced.

    As your car gets older, it may need oil even between oil changes. Check it regularly.

    All cars come with a jack, which is usually located under the spare tire. Just be careful to park the car on even or solid enough ground that it isn't going to fall out when you start cranking (could be dangerous for you!)

  2. #2
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    good tips!

    also- for small holes in a tire, it's a lot cheaper (and if done right, just as good) to get the tire professionally patched- good to know when you run over a nail!

    high ceilings and skylights may look cool, but they also make your home cool in the winter

    you cut your cooling costs in the summer quite a bit by opening windows or french doors on opposing sides of the room and just enjoying the crossbreeze
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    If you have a septic tank, clean it once a year. (DOH!)

    For nails, as Fid says, I also drive them in close to flush, rather than letting them stick way out. You want to have the load pulling down closest to where the nail meets the wall, otherwise you're creating a "lever" .... and we all know that the longer the lever, the more force that gets exerted... and thus the more chance the nail will rip out.

    You can get income tax deductions on not just your mortgage interest for your house (although typically not for a car)... but also if you install approved energy saving devices/upgrades... including a new furnace, new cooling system, energy efficient appliances and windows, new water heater, etc. Check with the installer to see if it meets standards. The return can often be immense (I got $800 back on a $2700 window upgrade.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    They're not kidding about not sticking stuff in power outlets.

    Razors are sharp.

    Knives are sharp.



  5. #5
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    If you have a slow leak in your tire, you can find out where by taking off the tire, putting sudsy water on it and seeing where it bubbles.

  6. #6
    Oberon
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    Do not feed your car an exclusive diet of Exxon brand or no-name gas from convenience stores... or if you must, run a bottle of fuel system treatment through it once a month.

    Synthetic motor oils like Mobil 1 are worth the extra expense if you're keeping a car for the long haul.

    If you own a chain saw, keep it sharp. Otherwise you won't work the saw, it'll work you instead.

    Don't waste any more time than is absolutely necessary fighting with weed eater line.

  7. #7
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I didn't know that about the oil!

    Those Armour All wipes do a nice job of helping keep your car's interior looking good and protecting it from damage. Rain X also really does work well on the windshield for repelling water. (I've also heard that some people use it on their shower doors!)

    If your windshield wipers start making horrible scrapey noises, it means that the rubber part isn't in the place it should be and so it's metal scraping against the glass. Replace your wiper blades. Also, don't use the windshield wipers to clear off crusty snow/ice during the winter. It wrecks them. Clean your windshield first and loosen the wipers from the ice, then use them.

    If you are moving to a very cold area of the country, you will need a block heater if you want your car to start reliably. (I always assumed all cars had them. The east coasters who moved to the prairies had never heard of plugging in your car before and none had them at first when they came.) Not plugging in your car on the colder days is hard on your car battery.

    You save a lot of mortgage interest by arranging for bi weekly, weekly or (if you're lucky) daily payments rather than just going with monthly. You have to talk to the bank to see what they will set up, but it can make a lot of difference over a period of years.

    Saving/RRSP contribution is much easier if you arrange for money to be taken out of your bank account automatically when you get paid. Even $50/month makes a huge difference, both on your taxes (if they're RRSPs) or on what you save. It's also useful to have a savings account where you put little leftover dibbles from the end of the month, or unexpected bits of money (like $10 or $20 bucks at a time). You'll save huge amounts by paying attention to those kinds of things. I wish I had done that a lot earlier.

    Credit card interest rates can be lowered temporarily by making a phone call to the company. Also shopping around between banks for what credit card to get is worthwhile. Most gold credit cards will give you free car insurance when you rent a car.

    RRSPs and mutual funds are not the same thing. Mutual funds are just one type of RRSP (wish I had realized that a lot of years ago).

    Car leasing companies and airport rental companies often offer pretty good deals on low mileage, newish used cars. You get a good car for much less than if you bought new off the lot.

    Don't get credit cards until you absolutely need them. Then, only use them when you actually own the cash to pay them off with. I spent a long time trying to get rid of only about $1000 on my credit card. I couldn't believe how much more money I had once I finally got it paid off!

  8. #8
    Self sustaining supernova Zoom's Avatar
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    AAA is a godsend in terms of free towing when one's car breaks down and is in a tight spot, and is fairly cheap for a yearly membership. They can also do minor repairs on the spot, like if one locks their keys in the car or gets a flat tire - they can do many other things, which really helps if one doesn't know jack about cars.

    If one lives in a cold area, buy snow chains. Just do it. I found out on a roadtrip during the wintertime that in certain states it is required to carry them.

    Oh, and if one's car is overheating and ye don't have coolant handy, using water works, as it mixes with the coolant already in there and brings the temp back down.

    If something breaks prematurely on your car and you have a consistent mechanic, check to see if there is a warranty on it or the work - this can save some time and a lot of money. Keep all of the receipts of the work done on your car, oil changes included. These can matter when you need to refer to previous work done or sell the car.

    Minor leaks in an area that can be accessed just by going underneath the car can be fixed with an epoxy kit from an auto parts store.

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