26. Dispose of leftover paint
Unless it has dried to a solid, you need to take special precautions; tossed in the trash, paint solvents can eventually contaminate groundwater. You can speed up the drying process by putting cat litter in the can. Or go to earth911.org for links to programs in your area that recycle paint by giving it to schools or charities. The site also lists the 2,000 household hazardous waste centers in the country that accept all sorts of hard-to-dispose-of stuff, from batteries to cleansers.

27. Cut down a big tree
In 2004, 45,300 people were hospitalized from chainsaw, ax, and hatchet injuries, and that number doesn't include the thousands hurt by falling trees. If the tree's big enough for you to climb, call a certified arborist to remove it.

28. Solder a copper pipe
Learn to sweat a pipe properly and you can save some bucks by doing simple plumbing repairs yourself. Just make sure your joint starts with clean pipes (no water or grit inside).

1) Deburr inside the pipe ends with a reamer, then polish the outside with an emery cloth.
2) Coat both parts with flux and fit them together—wherever the flux is, the solder will flow.
3) Hold a propane torch flame on one side of the joint. When the flux bubbles, touch the solder to the other side of the joint and move the flame away. The solder will be sucked all around the fitting. "The heat draws the solder toward the hottest point," says Richard Trethewey.
4) Immediately wipe the joint with a damp rag. New joint, no sweat.

29. Deal with the strong smell of gas
A closed-up kitchen with gas flowing from an open unlit burner can create a combustible atmosphere in as little as 10 seconds. So if you smell gas—we mean really smell gas—do not turn on the lights or use a telephone, cell phone, flashlight, or computer, all of which could create a spark, blowing the place sky high. Instead, haul everybody out of there and call the gas utility or the fire department immediately.

30. Stem a flood--and save your wiring
As a safety measure, you should know where your main water and electrical shutoffs are. The water shutoff will be near where the water enters the house. Look for a metal wheel or a flat handle like a paddle. Or check outside for a mini manhole cover—the shutoff may be there. The main electrical switch will be in or near the main box. On an old fuse system, it may be a big lever or a handle that pulls out a whole block. On a modern breaker box it will be an isolated switch near the top of the box. Flip it to keep the circuits (and you, too) from getting fried.

Know the 4 Emergency Shut-Offs in Your Home
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