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Buyer’s Guide: Space Heaters

Understand which features matter most so that you can find the space heater that works best to warm up your home.

Best Space Heater Options

Photo: istockphoto.com

Ever-rising utility costs can make it difficult to heat an entire house during the coldest months of the year. To keep occupied areas comfortable—say, the home office from 9 to 5 or the living room during a movie marathon—while the rest of the house remains heated just enough, many homeowners turn to space heaters as a means of conserving energy. Those in the market for a replacement or addition are in for a pleasant surprise: Today’s models offer basic heating features at more affordable prices than in years past, and newer bells and whistles including upgraded safety features abound. Start your own shopping trip for the best space heater with this guide on what features matter most—and which models have them.

Consider safety first. Space heaters are a leading cause of house fires in winter, so it’s smart to stock one that boasts additional safety features that reduce the risk of burns and fires. Manufacturers have introduced automatic shut-offs that kick in when a unit overheats or gets inadvertently knocked over, and exterior cases keep a unit cool to the touch while the heater runs. Some models even come equipped with motion sensors that detect and turn the heater off when a pet or child comes too close. For extra peace of mind in your purchase, look for the letters “NTRL” on the space heater packaging; these indicate that the model has been tested for safety by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory.

Note: Before heading out to buy a space heater, call your homeowners insurance agent. Some insurance policies will not cover damages from fire caused by a space heater.

Know your heating needs. A common consumer complaint about any space heater is that the unit does not warm the room adequately. Assessing your needs—as well as a room’s limitations—will help ensure you find the best space heater to meet your needs. As a general rule of thumb, select a space heater that will produce 10 watts of power for every square foot of floor space. For instance, to heat a 10-foot by 12-foot room, you’d need to purchase a 1200-watt space heater. A very large room may require more than one space heater to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout. Other factors that affect a space heater’s efficiency include ceiling height, the insulating factor of the exterior walls, the number of windows, and the available outlets. While high-wattage heaters offer more heat than lower-wattage models, they’re limited to the capacity of the electrical outlets they plug into. Since a home’s standard 110-volt electrical outlet can only provide 1,500 watts of power, that’s what the wattage would cap at for any machine plugged into it.

Find the right type. 

Fan space heaters are among the least expensive models on the market, ranging in price from $25 to $80, but the design design—one that heats the air around an electric coil or wire elements and disperses the heat with a fan—does not offer the same efficiency as other space heater types. Plus, the fan motor can be quite noisy. They’re best saved for rooms without drafts and for when you need to heat up a small space quickly.

Convection space heaters warm air over ceramic plates or disks and allow it to flow naturally back into the room. Some models do include fans for quicker heating, and, like plain fan heaters, they work best in rooms without drafts. Convection heaters come in compact or tower models, often with exterior cases that are cooler to the touch. Prices range from $30 to $80, depending on wattage and added features.

Infrared space heaters are among the quietest options for the home, starting at $60 per unit. They generate heat quickly, not by heating the air in the room but by radiating heat to the objects in front of them. Because this type of heater heats you—not the air—it’s a good choice for use in drafty rooms. Just aim it at your chair and enjoy.

Oil-filled space heaters take a while to heat up but, when they do, radiate continuous warm heat. These units are particularly well suited for larger rooms where they’re left on for long periods. Due to the weight of the oil and steel casing, many of these heavy heaters utilize wheels for easy relocation. Prices start around $65 for small units and run into the hundreds for larger models.

Micathermic space heaters combine convection and radiant heating processes. Designed as a panel to stand or hang on a wall as you would a picture, they create a welcoming ambiance for all of the senses by mimicking the look of a real fire and radiating heat. Some models include fans for greater efficiency and remote controls for extra convenience. These advanced heaters range in price from $300 to over $1,000 for designer models.

 

More Than Just Hot Air

After comparing space heater reviews from consumers and publishers alike, we’ve rounded up three of the most highly rated models available today to help you find one that fits your home’s needs and your wallet’s budget. Start your shopping for the best space heater with the picks below.

 

Best Space Heater - Lasko Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

Photo: amazon.com

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater ($30)
A compact choice for small spaces, the 9.2″-tall Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater makes it a good choice for an under-the-table heater with a stay-cool carry handle to move with you during the day. This little powerhouse features a manual High/Low temperature control, a fan-only option, and an automatic shut-off to prevent overheating, all for one of the most affordable prices on the market. Sweethome recommends it for its “proven reliability, affordability, and excellent heating ability,” and Amazon buyers agree, awarding the Lasko heater a resounding 4.1 stars! Available from Amazon.

 

Best Space Heater - Honeywell Digital Ceramic Tower Heater with Motion Sensor

Photo: amazon.com

Honeywell’s Digital Motion Sensor Room Heater ($60)
The 23″-tall Honeywell Digital Motion Sensor Room Heater oscillates to distribute “Max Heat” or “Energy Saver” temperatures evenly in small to mid-size rooms (up to 12 feet by 12 feet). Good Housekeeping recognizes the tower not only as a quick-heating option, but a very safe one, to boot. This unit includes many extra precautions: a motion sensor that prompts a shut-off when it detects movement, an auto shut-off when tipped over, and cool-touch housing and handle. The model’s safety features and ease of operation—thanks to a large LCD display, programmable thermostat, adjustable timer, and remote control—ultimately outweigh the low fan noise for its Amazon customers and fans. Available from Amazon.

 

Best Space Heater - DeLonghi Oil Filled Radiator Heater

Photo: amazon.com

DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater Black 1500W ($70)
For larger rooms with constant supplemental heating needs, Consumersearch recommends a unit with superior ability to retain and radiate heat, even after you turn it off: the DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater. Though it takes a while to get warm, once its sealed oil-filled reservoir heats up, the DeLonghi operates silently. Amazon customers, who gave it 4.1 stars, rave about its three adjustable heat settings and a “climate control” feature that allows users to select and maintain a desired room temperature between 41 and 95 degrees. Its energy-saving timer even allows homeowners to program on-and-off cycles for a 24-hour period, meaning that you can wake up to a warmed bedroom without needing to leave the heater running all night. Available from Amazon.


So, You Want to… Install a Shower Pan

Whether you're planning on adding a shower, replacing a bathtub with a shower, or just fixing up an existing shower, you'll need a new shower pan. Here, learn the basics of selecting and installing a new pan, whether prefab or custom.

How to Install a Shower Pan - Kaldewei From Wayfair

Photo: wayfair.com

The shower pan is an unsung hero in cramped bathing quarters that rely on a walk-in shower instead of a full-size bathtub. Its role? Protecting your subfloor from water damage by aiding drainage. This waterproof floor covering—often made of fiberglass, acrylic, or tile—slopes just enough to direct water toward the drain in the floor, thus eliminating most problems caused by lingering water, from mold and mildew growth to structural issues like wood rot. Whether you’re remodeling a bathroom to include a shower pan where none existed before or replacing one that’s seen its day, basic plumbing skills and a free weekend are all you need when learning how to install a shower pan.

Why Switch to a Shower?

Many homeowners choose a shower (and thus a shower pan, because you can’t have one without the other) over a bathtub when renovating in order to increase the available floor space and make the bathroom feel larger. Walk-in showers tend to be sleeker in style than boxy or bulky bathtubs, and the glass walls that often enclose them contribute to an airier, less crowded aesthetic. And when it comes to actual dimensions, a shower pan can be as narrow as 27 inches, making it much easier to squeeze into a floor plan than a 60″ x 30″ tub. Even those few inches regained by switching out a standard tub for a shower can go a long way toward making a claustrophobic bathroom feel roomier.

In addition, the range of shower pan sizes and shapes allows great flexibility in placement. Awkward corners and walls that are too short to fit the average length tub can often accommodate a shower pan, be it prefabricated or custom-made. Because of this variety, homeowners are more likely to achieve an optimal layout that makes the most of limited space in a bathroom.

Last but certainly not least, the accessibility a shower affords makes it an attractive remodeling choice. The low, three- to four-inch threshold of a shower pan as well as helpful features like shower rails make bathing simpler for homeowners who are aging in place or who have to contend with limited mobility. Plus, if down the line a shower seat or bench becomes necessary, the relatively flat surface of a shower pan is more conducive to sitting than the curved bottom of a tub.

 

How to Install a Shower Pan - Aquatic from Home Depot

Photo: homedepot.com

Size, Space, and Style

Are you wondering how to install a shower pan where there was none before? Prefab options certainly simplify the process. These models, available online as well as at your local big-box hardware store, range from 27 to 66 inches in width, so you’re almost sure to find one that fits the configuration of your bathroom. Should that turn out not to be the case, you can get just what you need with a custom shower pan made from concrete, stone, or tile. When selecting an appropriate pan, whether prefab or custom, it’s critical to consider the following:

Decide on a door first. A shower pan can’t necessarily take up all the available space in a bathroom corner. When determining the right pan size, you also need to account for the space required by whatever door you select for the shower enclosure. Consider the variety of doors and stalls available: sliding versus swinging, corner door versus side door, or perhaps no door at all! In Europe and Mexico, it’s popular to skip the door altogether, either hanging a curtain to contain splashes or leaving the shower area open and placing a drainage hole in the bathroom floor to draw away overspray. Each style has its pros and cons. A swinging door requires enough clearance outside the shower for it to open without hitting a toilet or other fixture—and this may mean that there will be a little less square footage available for the shower stall and pan. A sliding door, on the other hand, requires enough space to retract, so one side of the pan needs to be double the width of the door. The third option, eliminating the door completely, offers the most flexibility in cramped spaces, but at the price of having to deal with overspray every time you take a shower. Either way, you have to nail down the door style before you can be certain how much floor space is available for the shower pan.

Allow enough room for you. It may seem obvious, but beyond the constraints of the room, a big factor in determining shower pan size is you. How wide are you? How much room do you need to comfortably lather up and rinse off? If you’re a former linebacker, you’ll need a much larger shower space than, say, a 5-foot-3 gymnast. To get an idea of how much room you need, try out your best “YCMA” moves in the potential space.

Choose between a ready-made shower pan and a custom creation. As mentioned, your space may dictate whether you can buy something prefabricated or whether you’ll need a custom shower base. For example, sometimes the perimeter of the bathroom juts in so that a standard shower pan won’t fit, or you just can’t find a suitable shower pan in the length you need. But this choice isn’t only about necessity; aesthetics also factor in. Most store-bought shower pans feature acrylic, fiberglass, or porcelain finishes in a neutral hue, while custom creations in such materials as concrete and tile encourage a little more creativity in execution and appearance. A custom shower—a renovation that can boost a home’s resale value—can certainly be left to the pros, but it could also be a DIY job for a homeowner who is comfortable working with concrete or mortar and tile.

How to Install a Shower Pan - Delta from Home Depot

Photo: homedepot.com

What to Expect During Installation

Even though custom shower pans vary widely from one bathroom to the next, they share many of the same installation considerations that apply to store-bought models. In general, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for a prefab pan to a T, keeping in mind these key steps.

Take extra precaution to waterproof. Lay out a plastic shower curtain liner over the subfloor before you place your shower pan. Should you make any mistakes during the installation process, this extra (and cheap!) layer of waterproofing between your subfloor and your shower pan will act as a saving grace. Apply a ring of caulk around the drain and then, once the shower pan is in place, seal along the perimeter where the pan meets the wall with a bead of caulk.

Ensure that the floor (and the shower pan) are both level. A slight slope built in to an acrylic or fiberglass shower pan allows water to drain properly, and the pan has to be completely level for it to do the job correctly. Before installation, use a four-foot level to check the bathroom floor; if it’s not level, you’ll have to compensate by shimming the shower pan until it’s level and then affixing it to the nearest wall studs using the fasteners included with the shower pan kit.

Pay attention to the location of the drain pipe. DIY-minded remodelers should select a shower pan that has a drain hole that will align with the drainpipe. This will save you a lot of effort (and headaches) when connecting the plumbing. Forcing or jerking the pipe into place is a big no-no, since it can lead to slow leaks over time and joint failure down the line. Fortunately, most kits specify left, right, or center drain. When you get started with the installation, the drainpipe should extend roughly 1/4 inch above your subfloor in order for it to attach properly.

Take it for a test run. Once you’ve successfully fit your pan, attached the drainpipe, secured the flange, and made all connections according to the manufacturer’s instructions, run the shower once to inspect for leaks. It’s also wise to plug the drain for a minute while the water is running, then stop the water and see if the water level holds to make sure the pan’s not leaking anywhere. If everything looks good, your shower should be set.

 

How to Install a Shower Pan - Maax from Home Depot

Photo: homedepot.com

Signs You Should Replace an Existing Shower Pan

Assuming proper installation, the average commercial shower pan should last a decade or more and often comes with a manufacturer’s warranty to guarantee the product itself. As it nears the end of its lifespan, though, a shower pan can break down. To prevent a compromised pan from letting water permeate and damage the subfloor of your bathroom, keep your eyes open to signs of old age:

Visible cracks in the shower pan itself.

• Water spilling out onto the bathroom floor, which may be a sign that the shower pan is on its way out. In some cases, if you can see the source of the leak, you may be able to repair it. For less than $10 and a hour spent caulking, you could get another few years from the pan.

Moisture stains in the walls or ceiling beneath the shower indicate a leak through the bottom of the pan or along the seams, completely out of sight. If the bathroom is on the first floor, you’ll see similar damage in the crawl space or basement.

• Movement in the pan—if you step from spot to spot and you notice it’s buckling or warping underfoot, it’s time to prioritize a replacement shower pan. Buckling or deflection can indicate that the subfloor under the shower pan has already suffered serious water damage due to a leak or crack that has so far gone unnoticed. Don’t delay on this repair!


How To: Breathe the Purest Possible Indoor Air

Stuffy recirculated air is certainly unpleasant, but when it's laden with dust, bacteria, and mold spores, it can also trigger allergies and spread illnesses. Read on to learn how technology can help your family enjoy the cleanest, freshest indoor air.

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UV Air Purifiers

Photo: istockphoto.com

Popular taste in decor changes over time, and even types of furnishings come and go. For example, these days TVs that mount sleekly on a wall have largely eliminated bulky entertainment centers from living rooms across the country. But for the most part, today’s typical home isn’t so different from those built several decades ago, particularly with regard to construction. Perhaps the biggest difference is that, against a backdrop of rising energy costs and growing environmental concerns, our homes have become more tightly sealed, thanks in large part to advances in building materials, especially insulation and windows. Of course, as a home becomes more airtight, ventilation becomes much more important to the health and comfort of its occupants—and, according to Daniel O’Brian, a technical specialist with SupplyHouse.com, “many homes just don’t get enough.” The result? “Stale air recirculates over and over,” O’Brian says. This forces homeowners to endure not only the discomfort of stuffy conditions, but also the potentially detrimental health effects associated with exposure to airborne toxins and impurities.

Not least because the average person spends only 5 percent of his time outside, the Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air pollution among the top five environmental health risks in America. At home, O’Brian says, “we’re practically surrounded by impurities.” Generally speaking, there are two types. First are particulate pollutants, which run the gamut from dust, smoke, and pet dander to mold, bacteria, and viruses. Second, there are gaseous pollutants. These materialize in the home almost without fail, because as O’Brian puts it, “everything from furniture to paint to cleaning products” contains harmful toxins, which slowly “off-gas”—emit potentially damaging gases—into the indoor air. While it may seem like our homes are conspiring against our health, the good news is that there are plenty of options for dealing with airborne contaminants. “The trick is to prevent the impurities from recirculating throughout your home, and there are many effective ways to do that,” O’Brian says.

UV Air Purifiers - Operational Diagram

Photo: supplyhouse.com

Step one is to cover the basics. “There’s no substitute for adequate ventilation,” O’Brian says, and “it’s critically important to maintain and, if necessary, upgrade the HVAC filter.” A critical line of defense, the HVAC filter removes most particulates from circulation—but it doesn’t remove all particulates. For that reason, O’Brian recommends going a step further by installing an ultraviolet (UV) air purifier. Located within the HVAC system, adjacent to the blower fan, the UV purifier works by administering a high-intensity light, which, according to O’Brian, “kills the mold, bacteria, and viruses that traditional filtration typically doesn’t capture on its own.” In a sense, O’Brian continues, UV purification “closes the loophole that traditional filtration usually leaves open.” Whereas the filter catches the bigger particles—dust and pollen, for example—only UV technology scrubs air of bacteria, viruses, and mold spores, all of which are microscopic.

For decades, hospitals, water-treatment plants, and other institutions have been capitalizing on the proven germicidal effects of UV light. So, even though UV light has only recently entered the residential arena, many industry pros believe that, given the pedigree of the technology, it deserves serious consideration by homeowners who insist on high-quality indoor air. Why? “You can have perfectly good indoor air quality without a UV purifier,” O’Brian says, “but you can’t have the best.” In other words, you can’t protect against the full spectrum of indoor pollutants if you don’t use UV to eliminate the impurities that only UV can eliminate. The added bonus: UV purifiers also eliminate odors. True, that isn’t technically a health benefit, but it can “certainly make life a little more pleasant,” O’Brian notes. After all, “What’s the point of prioritizing indoor air quality if the effort doesn’t leave your home feeling fresh and clean?”

Make no mistake: Stuffy conditions don’t have to be a fact of life in the winter, and you don’t have to live with lingering doubts about the quality of the air in your home. Ventilation and HVAC filtration go a long way toward ensuring a steady supply of fresh, clean air. But while many combinations of air-quality improvement measures can deliver satisfying results, UV technology makes any of these combinations more comprehensive. Even if you’re not particularly concerned about the quality of your home’s indoor air, don’t forget that there’s a financial incentive—today’s home buyers consider home health a top priority. In fact, in a 2014 survey conducted in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), 68 percent of the responding home buyers and homeowners said they would be willing to pay more for a healthier home. That being the case, O’Brian concludes, “Clearly, there’s more than one benefit to breathing easier at home!”

UV Air Purifiers - Product Array

Photo: warmboard.com

This article has been brought to you by SupplyHouse.com. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


How To: Descale a Keurig

Give your hardworking Keurig a pick-me-up—and improve the taste of your favorite decadent drinks—with this quick and easy descaling routine.

How To Descale a Keurig

Photo: amazon.com

Whether your daily drink of choice is a frothy latte, creamy hot cocoa, or an old-fashioned cup of Joe, the Keurig can satisfy your caffeine cravings in record time, all without leaving pesky spills behind. But after serving up buzzworthy beverages around the clock, even a no-fuss, no-mess coffee dispenser like the Keurig requires a routine cleanup to keep up with your coffee habit and keep out the most unsavory of intruders: limescale.

Limescale can take up residence on the inside of any heated appliance when hot water evaporates and leaves behind solid white calcium deposits. If left untreated, the chalky culprit can diminish the look of your coffee maker and produce a bitter aftertaste in your morning Joe—even prevent your Keurig from heating up. Fortunately, even stubborn limestone breaks down when exposed to the acetic compounds found in store-bought descaling solution or the household equivalent, vinegar. Use your preferred solution when you follow these instructions for how to descale a Keurig, and follow through with the routine every three to six months (some of the company’s newest coffeemakers even remind you to do so with an alert!). You’ll not only improve the taste of brewed beverages, but also extend the life of your Keurig.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Soft cloth
- 14-ounce bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution
- Distilled vinegar (optional)
- Large mug
- Filtered water
- Clean pitcher or tall glass

STEP 1
If your Keurig model has the auto-off capability enabled, disable it according to the owner’s manual. Then, power off and unplug the brewer before descaling.

When the brewer is cool to the touch, remove any detachable parts, including the Keurig water reservoir, lid, water filter, drip tray, and brewing pod holder. Empty residual water from the water reservoir into the sink, and discard any used brewing pods and their grounds in the trash. Then, wipe down the interior and exterior of the water reservoir and other loose parts with a damp, non-abrasive cloth. Dry and reinstall all detached parts except for the water filter. Never submerge the electrical components of the brewer underwater.

Descale Keurig

Photo: amazon.com

STEP 2
To loosen and lift built-up limescale from your brewer, fill the water reservoir with the descaling solution of your choice and then replace the reservoir lid. You can opt for the company’s specially formulated descaling solution or a handy homemade equivalent:

• If using Keurig descaling solution, pour equal parts descaling solution and water into the water reservoir to fill it. Depending on the model and size of your brewer, this could range anywhere from one-third of the bottle to a full bottle of Keurig’s 14-ounce descaling solution, followed by an equal amount of water.

• If you prefer a DIY descaling solution, pour equal parts water and distilled vinegar into the reservoir until full.

STEP 3
Plug in and power on the brewer. Then, place a large mug on the machine’s drip tray. Without inserting a Keurig beverage pod, lift and lower the brewer handle. (If on a smaller Keurig appliance the water reservoir is not detachable, allow five to 10 seconds here for any descaling solution to drain into the appliance before lowering.) Select the largest brew size and then press the Brew button to start a cleaning brew cycle using the reservoir filled with descaling agent. When the cleaning cycle is complete, remove the mug and discard the hot water in the sink.

Repeat this step until the appliance prompts you to refill the water reservoir, or there is no more visible scale in the water reservoir. Then, power off the brewer and wait for 30 minutes before removing and discarding the contents of both the mug and the water reservoir.

STEP 4
Reinstall the water reservoir in the brewer. Without exceeding the maximum fill line, fill the reservoir with fresh, filtered water from a clean pitcher or glass. Power on the brewer and return the mug to the drip tray. As in Step 3, start another cleaning brew using the largest brew size to rinse away any residual build-up or vinegar odor from inside the Keurig.

Repeat the fresh water rinse cycle at least three and as many as 12 additional times for heavily scaled brewers, refilling the depleted water reservoir with fresh water as needed to complete the brew. More is better: You will not want any lingering vinegar or descaling solution to taint a future cup of coffee.

STEP 5
When you’re finished rinsing the brewer, power it off and discard the residual water from the water reservoir. Rinse the reservoir with filtered water, then air-dry it before reinstalling it in the brewer. Regular cleaning of your Keurig will allow you to enjoy your favorite hot drinks the way they were meant to taste.


How To: Paint MDF

Want to makeover your MDF cabinets or shelves? Follow these steps to give this increasingly popular material a clean, smooth coat.

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How To Paint MDF

Photo: istockphoto.com

Medium-Density Fiberboard, known simply as MDF, is common for both furniture and home construction these days. The inexpensive engineered wood material—a composite of sawdust and resins, fused together in a high-heat, high-pressure process—comes in 4’ × 8’ sheets and smaller project-sized boards ranging from 1/4” to 1” thick, much like boards of plywood. But unlike plywood, which is manufactured from many thin sheets of wood veneer, MDF is free of the knots, rings, and grain of real wood. The result? A composition that is very easy to cut, and therefore often used for such upscale applications as custom trim work and cabinetry. Plus, its hard, smooth surface takes veneer and paint very well.

Painting MDF requires an understanding of the material, however: It comes from the factory sanded to a 150-grit smoothness, so the face is ready to paint, but the edges are more porous—almost fuzzy—and require some prep for a smooth, uniform finish. Additionally, the material’s porosity also makes it unsuited to water-based products for the initial coat. Follow the guidelines here for how to paint MDF and your colorful project will turn out great!

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Drop cloths
- Tight fitting dust mask
- Eye protection
- Drywall compound
- 220-grit sand paper and/or sanding pads
- Tack cloth
- Solvent-based primer
- Paint
- Paint brushes/rollers/spray gun
- Sealer such as polyurethane, lacquer, or wax (optional)


STEP 1
If working on a piece of furniture, remove any hardware and set aside until paint has thoroughly dried. Then protect the work area with drop cloths to make cleanup easier. MDF produces a lot of dust when sanded, and the fine particles can irritate eyes and lungs, so be sure to wear protective eyewear and a tight-fitting dust mask.

Painting MDF

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 2
Whether your MDF project has a factory edge or has been custom routed, the edges must be sealed to accept paint in a way that matches the smoother face of the material. Seal the edges by running a generous coat of drywall compound over them with your finger. Once it has completely dried, sand edges smoothwith 220-grit sandpaper. Fill any scratches on the face of the MDF with drywall compound as well, as any mars or scratches will be painfully obvious once painted. Sand the entire piece with 220-grit sandpaper, then wipe it all down with tack cloth to remove fine dust and any remaining dirt or debris.

STEP 3
Prime the MDF with a solvent-based primer. A water-based product will cause the wood fibers to swell, resulting a surface that appears to have a raised grain that will not sand out. Use a brush, roller, or spray gun to apply—whichever is appropriate for the project.

STEP 4
After it is sealed, painting MDF with a water-based paint will produce the same results as painting it with an oil- or lacquer-based product. Choose your preferred paint, and use a brush, roller, or spray gun to apply, whichever best suits the project. When dry, assess if your work needs a second coat; if you spot any patchiness, cover the entire MDF project with another layer of paint.

STEP 5
Allow paint to dry thoroughly. Then, apply preferred sealer (polyurethane, lacquer, wax, etc.) if you expect your MDF  project to get daily use in order to preserve your paint job. (For example, painted cabinet doors could benefit from an extra layer of protection from wear and tear; MDF crown molding, on the other hand, will be out of reach and therefore not necessitate a sealer.)

STEP 6
When project is completely dry, replace any hardware you may have removed and step back to admire your work. After a coat of color, MDF will look just like any other painted wood. In fact, DIYers can create custom trim, wainscoting, or furniture partly with MDF and partly with wood, and once painted, the final piece will blend seamlessly together.

 

All of the Expert Painting Advice from BobVila.com
Of all the options available to remodelers, paint provides the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to achieve a transformation, inside or out. Ready to look at your home in a new way? Click now for the color ideas to make your project beautiful.


Solved! What to Do About a Leaking Shower Head

Armed with these easy instructions, save yourself from the annoyance of a dripping shower head—and the shock of unexpectedly high utility bills—by dealing with a leak sooner rather than later.

How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead

Photo: istockphoto.com

Q. Lately, when I take a shower, more water drips and runs out from behind the shower head faceplate than comes out the spray holes. I’ve also noticed water leaking from the shower head when it’s not in use. What gives? Should I call a plumber?

A. If a constant drip, drip, drip keeps you awake at night, or if you get startled by a spray of water from a leaking shower head every time you hop into the shower, it’s time for a little servicing. If left unattended, those droplets can really run up your water and energy bills and even stain the interior of the shower—especially if your water supply is high in iron. Fortunately, fixing a leak from behind a shower head faceplate will likely be a quick project that won’t require special tools or skills. Repairing a leaking shower head that drips when turned off is more complicated but, depending on the cause, may also be solved without a plumber.

Try soaking the shower head in vinegar. Over time, hard water deposits can build up in the holes of the shower head, restricting the spray of water and forcing the backed-up water out around the faceplate or out from the junction of the shower head and arm. To break up the hard water deposits, first remove the shower head by loosening the nut that secures it to the shower arm. Soak the shower head overnight in white vinegar to soften the mineral deposits, and scrub away any remaining residue with an old toothbrush before reinstalling.

How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead

Photo: istockphoto.com

Check for a worn seal. Washers and O-rings form watertight seals between connections on a shower head, but they can harden or split over time, which allows water to leak out. This type of leak is especially common in shower heads with swivel connections, which have a seal behind the swivel assembly. If you suspect a worn seal, remove and disassemble the shower head to replace the washer or O-ring. Tip: When purchasing a new plumbing seal, take the old one with you to the hardware store to ensure that you bring home an exact match.

Replace the washer in a compression faucet if the leaking persists. Compression faucets have two different handles: one hot and one cold. If you have a compression-style shower that leaks when turned off, the problem could be a worn washer in the assembly. First, determine which handle, hot or cold, is causing the leak by feeling the temperature of the dripping water. Then, turn off the water supply and give this fix a try: Remove the faulty faucet handle, which is held in place with a screw located below the handle or hidden under a pry-off cap. Slip off the cover trim to gain access to the faucet stem, which is secured with a hex nut. Use a deep socket wrench to remove the nut, and you should find a rubber washer. Replace it with a new rubber washer, and reassemble the faucet.

In rare cases, the small curved area behind the washer (called the “seat”) can become so corroded or damaged that even a new washer won’t seal tightly enough to prevent water from leaking out of the shower head. If this happens, you’ll probably need to call in a plumber to replace the entire assembly.

Replace a defective cartridge in the valve body. Many newer showers feature a single handle that controls both hot and cold water flow. In the wall behind the handle lies a valve body containing a cylindrical cartridge made of hard plastic. If the cartridge becomes worn or cracked, water can seep through—even when the handle is in the “off” position. This can cause water to drip or trickle from the shower head.

Here, too, replacing the worn cartridge requires turning off the water supply to the shower. Access the cartridge by removing the shower handle (which is held in place with a small screw) and taking off the decorative faceplate and the cap that covers the valve body stem (by twisting or by removing a screw, depending on the model). Slip off the stem cover, which should give way easily, to reveal the end of the plastic cartridge. Most cartridges are secured with either a twist-on nut or a clip. Remove the nut or clip, then use a pair of pliers to grasp the stem of the cartridge and pull the cartridge out. Take the worn cartridge to the hardware store to get an exact match, install the new cartridge, and reassemble the faucet. If replacing the cartridge doesn’t solve your leaking shower head, the valve body itself is likely damaged. Unfortunately, replacing a valve body is a job for a plumber.

All shower plumbing works in a similar manner, but faucets, shower heads, and valve body assemblies vary in the ways they connect. When in doubt, refer to the manufacturers’ manuals (often found on their websites) or leave it to the pros.


How To: Use a Chainsaw

This tool is famously fast and forceful, but extreme power requires extreme care. Stick to these safety guidelines, and follow our smart usage tips to stay injury-free.

How To Use a Chainsaw

Photo: istockphoto.com

The chainsaw—a portable power tool that cuts wood via a fast-moving chain that rotates around a guide bar—can make short work of pruning, felling, limbing, and bucking trees. It also ranks as the most dangerous power tool available without a license. While it’s designed to cut with either the top or bottom of the blade, just about anything that comes in contact with the top half of the end tip of the blade (known as the kickback zone) can change the cutting momentum and cause the saw to slam back against you. Kickback can lead to catastrophic injury, so users must take extra precaution and always follow proper form for how to use a chainsaw in order to avoid disaster.

You can minimize chances of kickback by keeping the chain sharp and tensioned, and always cutting below shoulder height. As well, today’s lower-powered chainsaws (including electric models)—developed not for pro lumberjacks, but for DIYers who want to get their own firewood and keep their property pruned—rely on a low-kickback chain that grabs less fiber as it rounds the kickback zone, minimizing the likelihood of kickback. Before you pick up any chainsaw—high power or low, gas or electric—take the risks very seriously. Familiarize yourself with the safety considerations reviewed here before attempting to operate a chainsaw, and then follow our practical tips for safe, effective cutting.

SAFETY TIPS FOR USING A CHAINSAW

• Whether you’re learning how to use a chainsaw for the first time or on a routine job, never operate this power tool alone. When something goes wrong, it happens fast. Having a friend nearby can save your life. If you’re working in the woods, set a traffic safety flag by your car. Make sure someone knows where you are and when you intend to return. Have a complete first-aid kit on hand with at least one blood-clotting bandage.

• Wear all necessary personal protective equipment, including chaps, a chainsaw helmet with face guard, gloves, and either steel-toed or logging boots. Never wear loose clothing, as it can get caught in the teeth of the saw.

• Find a comfortable stance, and keep both feet firmly planted as you work. Hold the chainsaw with two hands and at an angle or a little to one side rather than directly in front of you, in case of kickback.

• Never operate a chainsaw on a ladder, and never cut limbs that are higher than your shoulder. (If you’re looking to cut something higher, consider an altogether different tool: a manual rope saw.) To remove lower branches and buttress roots prior to felling a tree, slice downward and use the pulling chain—that’s the portion of the chain as it wraps the bar’s bottom. If the tree is on an incline, always work uphill from it.

• Be aware of the location of all power lines, and never fell a tree where there are utility lines, vehicles, buildings, and especially people within two-and-a-half tree lengths.

• Use the right-size chainsaw for the job. If you’re renting a chainsaw, discuss the scope of the job with the staff to learn what size motor they recommend, as blade size is relative to engine horsepower. Generally, the blade should be two inches longer than the wood it’s cutting. Light-duty cutting of firewood and such can be accomplished by a 14-inch blade, and 16- to 20-inch blades are appropriate for medium-duty cutting. The longer a blade, the harder it is to control, so novices should stick to blades less than 20 inches in length.

• It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: Always be stone cold sober when operating a chainsaw!

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Chainsaw helmet with face guard or goggles
- Nonslip/gripping work gloves
- Protective chaps
- Steel-toed or logging boots
- Earmuff hearing protection
- Gas
- Two-stroke engine oil
- Chain oil

STEP 1
Familiarize yourself with your work area. Be aware of your “escape routes”—places you can safely move to once the tree begins to fall. Your tree could fall in an unexpected direction, so it’s best to be prepared for any possible scenario. Chainsaws are called “widow-makers” for good reason—they can be hazardous to operate. Be sure to have a plan and understand the terrain you’re working on.

STEP 2
Don all of your gear, from head to toe. Check your saw to ensure that the chain has good tension. If you can tug the chain up from the guide bar and disengage the chain links from the guide or the “nose,” it’s too loose. You’ll need to tighten the tension to prevent injury. Check your machine’s maintenance guide for instructions on tightening the chain. Most of the time, you’ll use the “scrench” (screwdriver/wrench) that comes with the machine. A properly tightened chain should give slightly when pulled but should not become disengaged from the guide.

STEP 3
If you have a gas machine, check the gas levels and fill the tank before you start. With a two-cycle engine, the gas and oil will likely require mixing in the tank. Buy two-stroke oil and add it to the tank at the manufacturer’s recommended ratio (usually a ratio of 50:1, or about 2.6 ounces of oil to a gallon of gas). Fill the chain lube reservoir with chain oil.

How To Use A Chainsaw Safely

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 4
Set your chainsaw flat on the ground, with the bottom down. Push the chain brake forward until it locks. The chain brake, which is usually a separate lever located between the top handle on the chainsaw and the blade, prevents the chain from spinning until you release the brake and apply the throttle.

STEP 5
If you’re using a gas-powered saw and it has a choke, turn it on. If there’s a primer button, push it four to six times to pull gas into the carburetor, then turn the power switch on. If your chainsaw is electric, all you need to do is depress the safety switch and flip the power switch on.

STEP 6
Those with electric chainsaws can move on to Step 7. For those with gas chainsaws, put your right foot through the back handle and put your weight down on the handle to secure the saw. Use your left hand to hold the front handle firmly in place. With your right hand, pull the starter rope out sharply to its full length. It will usually take four or five pulls to start the engine. If the engine is “firing” but not engaging, adjust the choke by pulling it out halfway.

STEP 7
Even after the engine has started, the chain won’t be turning. You’ll need to press the trigger or throttle to get the chain moving. First, position yourself properly with feet planted firmly and a strong grip on the saw. Always cut with the saw off to the side or angled away from you to minimize injury in the event of kickback.

STEP 8
When you’re ready to cut, release the chain brake and fully engage the throttle. Lay the saw where you want to cut. Don’t apply pressure—the momentum of the chain and blade will draw the wood in.  Never, ever force it. If you’re using a corded electric saw, always make sure you’re aware of the cord, and don’t let it get in your way.

STEP 9
Maintain a strong, steady grip and keep the throttle fully engaged for the duration of the cut. Release the throttle only after you have cut through or removed the blade from the cut (if you’re making carved-in cuts for tree felling).

STEP 10
To power off the saw, simply switch it to “off.” Let the saw cool down before storing it.

If you’re using a gas saw, before you put it away you need to decide what to do with any fuel left in the tank. If you’re planning on using the chainsaw again in the near future, it’s fine to leave leftover fuel in the tank for up to four weeks, but if you wait longer than that, the ethanol in the fuel could clog or gum up the works (meaning you’ll need to disassemble and thoroughly clean the carburetor before your next use). To empty the tank, take the chainsaw to a well-ventilated place and drain any remaining fuel into a plastic container. You can often dispose of leftover fuel at a local automotive shop, but never pour this flammable substance into the soil, storm drain, or garbage, as these practices are dangerous and illegal. Once the fuel has been drained, fire up the engine once more (as in Steps 4 and 5) and run it until it dies, just to use up the last of the fuel in the carburetor.

No matter whether your chainsaw is gas or electric, store it in a case or with a bar cover to keep it safely stowed away and to prevent dust and debris from settling on the chain.

 

MUST-DO MAINTENANCE

To keep your chainsaw running well, refer to your machine’s instruction manual to learn about two best practices:

Tensioning. Check the chain’s tension around the guide bar every time you use the saw, as improper tension will have an impact on the machine’s performance. A chain that’s too tight runs the risk of breaking, and one that’s too loose can come right off the bar and cause injury. Your chainsaw should come with a maintenance guide and a “scrench,” the combo screwdriver-wrench designed for adjusting the tension of the chain.

Sharpening. Many electric saws are self-sharpening. On gas saws, however, the chain should be sharpened if it’s not drawing itself into the wood when making cuts, if it bounces around while you’re cutting, or if it seems to cut unevenly or on an angle. Sharpening may be required every three to four tanks of gas, but exactly how often will depend on the kind of wood you’re cutting, so pay close attention to changes in performance to help you determine when to sharpen.


All You Need to Know About Popcorn Ceilings

Remove, redo, or even create this once-popular bumpy texture to jazz up any room in your home.

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Popcorn Ceilings in the Dining Area

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Scottsdale, AZ

Half a century ago, popcorn ceilings were all the rage, cropping up above brightly colored walls, psychedelic patterns, and shiny furniture. Less expensive than traditional hand-troweled plaster, the sprayed-on technique—which actually resembles cottage cheese more than popcorn—camouflaged ceiling imperfections, offered a measure of fire-resistance, and provided noise-dampening benefits. These days, the speckled ceiling design tends to date a room’s style. Fortunately, whether you want to get rid of a popcorn ceiling altogether or bring new life to the retro look, you’ve got options.

Understand the Asbestos Issue
First thing’s first: Before attempting any sort of project on an existing popcorn ceiling, a homeowner should determine whether its material makeup may pose a health risk. Asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral, was the material of choice for popcorn ceilings until the substance was banned as a health hazard in 1978. Manufacturers switched to paper fiber that year, but suppliers continued to sell existing stores of asbestos-laced material. That means that popcorn ceilings installed as late as the mid-’80s could contain asbestos, and, when disturbed, disperse microscopic fibrils known to cause lung-scarring illnesses and even lung cancer if inhaled.

You can test a popcorn ceiling for the presence of asbestos by carefully scraping a small sample into a plastic bag and having it tested at an EPA-accredited lab. While homeowners are allowed to remove a popcorn ceiling that contains the material, a professional asbestos remediation company should do the job. Contact your local waste authority before having asbestos removed to determine the best (and legal) way to dispose of it.

Patch It Up
A popcorn ceiling damaged by unsightly stains or cracks can be patched, but obtaining an exact match of the original texture and ceiling color can be challenging. Popcorn ceiling patch products are available in spray-on aerosol cans or in premixed containers for application with a brush. Thinned drywall compound, which is commonly used to texture new ceilings today, is not recommended for patching popcorn ceiling texture since it contains water, which can cause the existing popcorn texture to come off.

 

Painting Popcorn Ceilings

Photo: istockphoto.com

Give It a Fresh Coat
As long as the texture isn’t sagging, flaking, or shedding, a popcorn ceiling can simply be painted to update the look. Begin by brushing off all dust with a super-soft-bristle brush attached to an extension pole. Then apply stain blocking ceiling primer to prevent stains and water spots from bleeding through. When dry, use a thick nap roller or a paint sprayer to apply paint, remembering to get an ample supply to fill all the nooks and crannies.

Cover It Up
You can hide a popcorn ceiling by installing rigid foam ceiling tiles, drywall panels, or even wood planking right over the existing texture. Feather-light decorative foam ceiling panels can be installed with adhesive, while drywall and wood must be attached to the ceiling joists with nails or screws. For high ceilings more than 8 feet from the floor, you might want to consider installing a drop ceiling, which involves mounting a metal grid that holds individual ceiling panels a few inches below the existing ceiling.

 

Removing Popcorn Ceilings

Photo: instructables.com via Sonata85

Scrape It Off
Unpainted popcorn ceilings are not necessarily difficult to remove, but the process is messy and time-consuming. After spraying the ceiling with water to saturate the texture, which causes it to release, it’s simply a matter of scraping it away with a large putty knife or taping trowel.

If a popcorn ceiling has been painted, water won’t saturate the texture beneath; you’ll need to apply a stripping product. You can find stripping solutions specifically designed to remove painted popcorn ceilings at your local home improvement center. These solutions, which often come in gel form to reduce drips, can be rolled or brushed on. After giving the solution adequate time to soften the paint and texture, you’ll proceed to scrape both away with a wide trowel.

This tends to be a nasty, dirty, potentially dangerous task, so gear up appropriately: Wear a facemask, eye protection, and old clothing that you can dispose of when the job is done. Keep the texture constantly wet to prevent the distribution of fibers, which can present a health risk if inhaled.

 

Popcorn Ceilings

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Give Your Ceiling New Popcorn Pizzazz
Homeowners intent on hiding ceiling imperfections with subtle popcorn texture are in luck: Today’s popcorn ceiling material is asbestos-free and easy to apply with a hopper gun, often available for rent at the lumberyards and DIY centers that sell the product. It comes in dry powder form and is mixed with water per package instructions.  To protect from overspray, remove furnishings, drape walls in plastic sheeting, and use a drop cloth on the floor. Popcorn texture comes in standard ceiling-white and, for a uniform look, it’s a good idea to prime the ceiling before spraying it on. The texture is also paintable, so if you want a color other than ceiling-white, plan on painting over the texture after it dries.


The Best Way to Avoid the Discomfort of Cold Floors

Put an end to the shock of waking up to icy floors—and frigid feet—by installing a cutting-edge heating system that provides all-encompassing, "everywhere" warmth. Read on, and you'll discover that toasty tootsies are just one of the many benefits of radiant heating.

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Cold Floors

Photo: istockphoto.com

You never get used to it—the discomfort you feel when you roll out of bed and set foot on an ice-cold floor. But while some homeowners merely wince, stumble toward their slippers, and get on with their day, building pros recognize cold floors as a hallmark shortcoming of traditional heating systems like forced hot air. Forced-air HVAC, which surged in popularity during the postwar era, remained the dominant mode of residential climate control for more than 50 years. Recently, however, amid a tide of innovation, a number of new options have come onto the scene, each boasting performance and efficiency advantages over older, increasingly outmoded technologies. Of all the systems in common use today, one in particular—radiant heating—stands out for its ability to guarantee warm, welcoming floors while maintaining an overall level of wintertime comfort that even the latest high-tech equipment can’t match.

Radiant floor heating isn’t anything newfangled. In fact, with roots reaching all the way back to ancient Rome, radiant-heat technology has been undergoing continual development for centuries. Today, it’s more than just a viable whole-home heating alternative—it’s the system that many industry experts consider to be the new standard-bearer. But although radiant heating has been widely adopted in Europe and Asia, it remains relatively rare in the United States. That’s all changing, though, as more and more homeowners learn that the virtually silent, dust-free, and energy-efficient performance of radiant heating surpasses that of competing technologies, including, among others, forced air. Read on for details on the benefits of a system that delivers heat from the ground up, across every inch of floor space, fostering even, encompassing, “everywhere” warmth.

 

HYDRONIC VS. ELECTRIC

Cold Floors - Radiant Heat Panel Tubing

Photo: warmboard.com

First off, a point of clarification: Many homeowners labor under the misapprehension that radiant systems heat only the floor. That may be true of electric radiant systems, but hydronicradiant technology operates very differently. In an electric system, a network of cables installed under the floor generate on-demand supplemental heat. Such systems do a good job of making making the floor feel warm, but it’s rare for homeowners to rely exclusively on electric radiant heating for their heating system. Why? Well, electricity doesn’t come cheap. Hydronic systems, on the other hand, rely on efficiently boiler-heated water instead of costly electricity, enabling homeowners to enjoy affordable whole-home radiant heat. In a hydronic system, as hot water moves through tubes set into panels below the floor, heat radiates outward into the home, creating a qualitatively different kind of comfort.

 

EVERYWHERE WARMTH

Cold Floors - Radiant Heat vs. Forced Air

Photo: warmboard.com

Hydronic radiant heat isn’t only a viable means of heating the whole house. Many experts argue that it’s the best means of doing so, because by delivering heat from the ground up, radiant systems don’t merely eliminate the problem of cold floors. They also deliver something forced air never could—uniform temperatures from wall to wall and from room to room. If you’re familiar with forced air, you know that it’s warmest—too warm, in fact—right near the vent, and becomes cooler the farther away you go. Plus, quite soon after entering a room, the conditioned warm air in a forced-air system flies to the ceiling, where no one can feel it. Under these circumstances, if family and guests feel totally comfortable, it’s for only a fleeting moment. In contrast, by delivering warmth across every square inch of flooring, radiant heat provides steady, “everywhere” warmth that’s concentrated not above your head, but at the level where you need it most.

 

EFFICIENCY

Cold Floors - Radiant Heat Panel Detail

Photo: warmboard.com

Perhaps more than any other technology, forced air has popularized the notion that in the winter you can either save money or enjoy a comfortable home, but you can’t do both. Why do forced-air systems cost so much to operate? One primary explanation: Ductwork, which is notoriously prone to leaking, especially at the seams, can lose energy, thereby compromising the overall efficiency of a forced-air system by 25 percent or more. With radiant heat, there’s no such heat loss and, as a consequence, no wasted energy. Still, bear in mind that while radiant heat always offers efficiency benefits over forced air, some radiant systems deliver greater efficiency than others. It all depends on the design of the system. Historically, radiant-heating systems relied on gypsum concrete, but that trend has been changing. Warmboard, for instance, builds panels with aluminum, a material whose exceptional conductivity allows the system to heat quickly while saving homeowners an extra 10 percent to 20 percent each month.

 

AIR QUALITY AND QUIET OPERATION

Cold Floors - Air Quality and Quiet Operation

Photo: istockphoto.com

Forced-air heating doesn’t tick like baseboards or hiss like radiators. But when the system clicks on and the blower begins to blow, the rush of air through the ductwork creates a sustained “whoosh” not unlike the sound of an idling jet engine. One of the most appealing characteristics of radiant heating is that it calls no attention to itself whatsoever. Besides being virtually silent, the technology also goes a long way toward supporting indoor air quality. For allergy and asthma sufferers in particular, radiant heat can be like a breath of fresh air. Unlike forced-air systems and their dust-collecting ducts, radiant heating doesn’t distribute airborne impurities throughout the home. Nor does radiant heating traffic warm, dry air through the house, reducing the moisture content of the air—a big relief for homeowners who were accustomed to spending the winter with red eyes and a scratchy throat.

 

Finally, radiant heating enhances not only comfort in the home, but also aesthetics. Indeed, for some, radiant impresses most not for the quality of its comfort or the efficiency of its operation, but for its complete invisibility. Whereas forced-air vents require clearance and, as a result, dictate furniture arrangement, radiant heating places no such limitations on the homeowner. True, there was a time when the technology didn’t pair well with certain types of flooring. Today, however, modern panels from the most reputable manufacturers make radiant a compelling choice in any circumstance, even if the homeowner plans to put in wall-to-wall, thick-pile carpeting. Indeed, when it comes to the benefits of a heating system beloved by builders and homeowners alike, eliminating the discomfort of cold floors isn’t the be-all and end-all—it’s only the beginning.

Cold Floors - Radiant Heat Solution

Photo: warmboard.com

This article has been brought to you by Warmboard. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Official Rules: Bob Vila’s $3,000 Home Decor Giveaway

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Bob Vila’s $3,000 Home Decor Giveaway (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by Vila Media, LLC, Post Office Box 835, West Barnstable, MA 02668 (“Sponsor”). The Sweepstakes consists of three (3) random drawings; one (1) Winner per random drawing and one (1) prize awarded per random drawing.

The Sweepstakes and entry period begins at 12:00 p.m. EST on January 31, 2017 and runs through 11:59 a.m. EST on February 28, 2017 (the “Sweepstakes Period”). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. MAKING A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. AFFIDAVIT OF ELIGIBILITY AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY FORM MAY BE REQUIRED.

Open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia who are age 18 or older. Void in all other geographic locations. Employees of Sponsor and its respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and advertising and promotion agencies and any other entity involved in the development or administration of this Sweepstakes, and their immediate family members or household members are not eligible to participate in or win the Sweepstakes. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any person who fails to meet the eligibility requirements or any person it determines, in its sole discretion, to be sufficiently connected with the Sweepstakes such that such person’s participation could create the appearance of impropriety. Entries generated by script, macro or other automated means are void, and Sponsor expressly reserves the right to disqualify any entries that it believes in good faith are generated by an automated program or via scripts. Entries that are determined, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor to constitute advertisements, commercial messages, or “spam” will be disqualified and deleted. Void where prohibited by law. All applicable federal, state and local laws apply. No purchase is necessary to participate in the Sweepstakes.

You may enter any given Drawing one (1) time per household per day by visiting the BOB VILA website at http://www.bobvila.com and submitting your name and email address using the online “Bob Vila’s $3,000 Home Decor Giveaway ” submission form. Each entry submitted in response to a Drawing and in accordance with the Official Rules will constitute an official entry. Duplicate entries submitted through either method within one day will be deemed void. If you do not have internet access, alternative means of entry for each Drawing is available by faxing your name, address and phone number to the Sponsor at 508-437-8486 during the Sweepstakes Period. One (1) alternative entry per household per day. Any additional entries submitted via fax within one day will be deemed void. Entries received after the end of the Sweepstakes Period will be deemed void. Normal time, toll, connection and usage rates, if any, charged by your Internet service provider will apply. All entries become the property of the Sponsor. By entering any Drawing during the Sweepstakes, you will be agreeing that any information collected in connection with the Sweepstakes may be used by Sponsor in accordance with Vila Media, LLC’s Privacy Policy, a current copy of which can be found here. By participating, all entrants agree to abide by these Official Rules. At the end of the Sweepstakes Period, employees or representatives of Sponsor will hold three (3) separate Drawings in which one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) shall be selected from all eligible entries to receive the prize designated for the respective Drawing. A limit of one (1) prize and one (1) Winner for each Drawing. Each winning entry will be chosen at random. The number of eligible entries received during the Sweepstakes Period determines the odds of winning for the Drawings. The Sweepstakes will be conducted under the supervision of the Sponsor. If the Winner is determined to be ineligible, forfeits or does not claim the prize, the prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion based on a subsequent drawing from the pool of eligible entries. Other restrictions may apply. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding with respect to all matters related to the Sweepstakes. All prizes (or in the event of a lost, misdirected, or otherwise unavailable prize, a prize of equivalent value) will be awarded. In no event shall the Sponsor be obligated to award more prizes than the number of prizes stated in these Official Rules. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. Must be 18 or older to win.

To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Prize Fulfillment, Vila Media, LLC, PO Box 835 Barnstable, MA 02668. Specify winner’s list or rules on your request. The Winner will be notified by email, or in the case of alternate entry, by phone; Sponsor reserves the right to determine the method of notification. The Winner must claim their respective prize within twenty-four (24) hours after the date of notification of their prize. A Winner’s failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified twenty-four (24) hours will be considered such Winner’s forfeiture of the prize and an alternate Winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate Winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries. Sponsor reserves the right to ship prizes directly to the mailing address (as applicable) provided by Winners during their entry to the Drawings. Prizes will be shipped via regular ground mail up to four (4) weeks after the official Winner is declared for each drawing.

The prizes for the three (3) Drawings held shall be from Lumens. There are a total of three (3) separate prizes; however, only one (1) prize will be awarded in connection with each Drawing. Each entrant picks one prize package when entering:

  • Lumens Cozy Reading Corner Package, consisting of a Tolomeo Classic Floor Lamp ($650), EDITH Blanket/Throw ($210), and Bink Side Table ($279).
  • Lumens Great Outdoor Space Package, consisting of a UMA LED Sound Lantern ($479), Bistro Folding Chair Set of 2 ($216), Bistro Round Folding Table ($295), and Pitch Birdhouse ($95).
  • Lumens Happy Home Office Package, consisting of a CSYS Task Lamp ($649), Model One Bluetooth AM/FM Radio ($179.99), Componibili Round Storage Modules ($190), and Rotary Tray ($80).

No transfer, substitution or cash redemption will be awarded in lieu of Prize. Limit one prize per entrant. Prizes shall be delivered within 30 days after the winner is verified. An entrant or winner may be disqualified from the Sweepstakes, and his or her entry may be deleted, if he or she fails to comply with each provision of these Official Rules, as determined in the sole discretion of the Sponsor. Participation in the Sweepstakes is at entrant’s own risk. The total approximate retail value of all prizes to be awarded in this Sweepstakes is $3,323. Income and all other federal, state and local taxes (if any) are the sole responsibility of each Winner.

Sponsor shall not be liable for (1) failed, returned or misdirected notifications based on inaccurate information provided by the winner on the Drawings entry forms, (2) entries and responses to winner notifications which are lost, late, incomplete, illegible, unintelligible, postage-due, misdirected, damaged or otherwise not received by the intended recipient in whole or in part or for computer or technical error of any kind, (3) any electronic miscommunications or failures, technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or failed incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate in part or wholly in the Sweepstakes, (4) any technical malfunctions of the telephone network, computer on-line system, computer equipment, software, program malfunctions or other failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human, mechanical or technical in nature, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from downloading any part of this Sweepstakes or (5) any warranty of fitness or merchantability of any prize or the function or operation thereof, which shall be the sole responsibility of the manufacturer of the prize. Sponsor does not make any, and hereby disclaims any and all, representations or warranties of any kind regarding any prize. Unless prohibited by applicable law, your entry constitutes your permission to use your name, photograph, likeness, voice, address (city and state) and testimonials in all media, in perpetuity, in any manner Sponsor deems appropriate for publicity purposes without any further compensation to such entrant.

By entering or accepting a prize in the Sweepstakes, the Winner agrees to be bound by these Official Rules and to conform to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. When applicable, the Winner may be required to execute and return to Sponsor within three (3) business days an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability and Publicity Release and relevant tax form W-9s to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner may be selected. Winner may be required to furnish proof of identity, address and birth date in order to receive a prize. By entering, an entrant agrees to indemnify, release and hold harmless Sponsor, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries and affiliated entities, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents, licensees and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from any damage, injury, death, loss, claim, action, demand, or other liability (collectively, “Claims”) that may arise from their acceptance, possession and/or use of any prize (or any part thereof) or their participation in the Sweepstakes, or from any misuse or malfunction of any prize awarded (or any part thereof), regardless of whether such Claims, or knowledge of the facts constituting such Claims, exist at the time of entry or arise at any time thereafter. Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any entrant or to any Winner or any person claiming through such Winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond the Released Parties’ sole control.

The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing, electronic or human errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) viruses or technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications or entry information, any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, failures or technical malfunction of any computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, whether on account of technical problems, traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing; (3) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (4) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Sweepstakes; (5) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes or the processing of entries; (6) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any prize; or (7) late, lost, misdirected, illegible, incomplete or mutilated entries or for theft, destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. These indemnification and release provisions shall survive expiration of the Sweepstakes.

Persons found tampering with, abusing, or otherwise disrupting any aspect of this Sweepstakes, or otherwise attempting to defraud Sponsor, as solely determined by Sponsor, will be disqualified and their entries will be deleted. If disqualified, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the entrant’s eligibility to further participate in this Sweepstakes and future promotions and sweepstakes of Sponsor or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates. Any attempt by an entrant or any other individual to undermine the legitimate operation of this Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such an attempt be made, sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

This Sweepstakes is strictly for promotional and entertainment purposes and may not be used in connection with any form of gambling. In the event this Sweepstakes is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to terminate the Sweepstakes, or to disqualify entrants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, the Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. Sponsor reserves the right to modify these Official Rules in any way or at any time. Sponsor reserves the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this Sweepstakes should viruses, bugs or other causes beyond their control corrupt the administration, security or proper play of the Sweepstakes. In the event any portion of this Sweepstakes is compromised by any non-authorized human intervention, actions of entrants, or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, corrupt or impair the integrity, administration, security, or operation of this Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to suspend, modify, abbreviate or terminate the Sweepstakes without further obligation. If Sponsor elects to abbreviate the Sweepstakes, Winner(s) will be determined from all eligible entries received for Drawing(s) prior to the action or compromise giving rise to the suspension or termination of this Sweepstakes. In the event of cancellation, abbreviation or suspension, Sponsor shall promptly post a notice on the Sweepstakes entry page to such effect.

This Sweepstakes shall be governed by New York law. By participating in this Sweepstakes entrants agree that New York courts shall have jurisdiction over any dispute or litigation arising from or relating to this Sweepstakes and that venue shall be only in New York City, New York. The failure to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision. If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unenforceable, that part will be enforced to the maximum extent permitted by law, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain fully in force.