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Season 5 Show Descriptions

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Episode #526

Original Air Date: Week of March 29, 2007

Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O'Connor how to build a simple workbench. Then Tom and Kevin, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and landscaping contractor Roger Cook ask, "What is it?" Afterward, Roger shows Kevin how to tune-up a gas-powered lawn mower. Then, Richard helps quiet a whistling forced-air heating system by installing a "bypass duct."

Building a simple workbench
Tom and Kevin start by visiting a local home center, where they purchase plywood and lumber for a simple workbench. Tom explains that "BC" grade plywood is a good choice because it has one side that is sanded smooth and is relatively inexpensive. They also select 2x4's for the workbench frame, making sure to get the straightest ones they can find.

Where to find it:
For a variety of different workbench plans, visit

3x4 BC-grade plywood, 2x4 lumber, deck screws, and wood glue can be purchased at your local home center.

What is it?
The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.

Where to Find It

Roger showed an emergency device that allows people to rescue themselves if they should fall through thin ice.

Pick-of-Life® Ice Awls

Lawnmower tune-up

Up in the loft, Roger shows Kevin how to tune up a gas-powered lawnmower. At the end of the mowing season, Roger recommends running the lawnmower until it is emptying of gas so it doesn't become stale and gum up the carburetor. When Spring comes, he recommends changing the oil and replacing it with the type specified by the manufacturer. Roger also recommends checking the air filter and replacing it if it appears dirty as well as replacing the spark plug. Finally, Roger recommends lubricating all the moving parts including the wheels and cables.

Where to Find It?

Lawnmower parts and accessories can be purchased at your local home center or power equipment store.

Quieting a noisy forced hot-air system

Richard helped a homeowner with a noisy forced hot-air heating system. The homeowner complained that when the heat was on upstairs and off downstairs, the system made a loud whistling sound. Richard determined that the system used "motorized zone dampers" to control the flow of air through the ducts servicing both the upstairs and downstairs registers. When the downstairs damper would close, the air pressure inside the open ducts increased, causing the whistling sound. To remedy the situation, Richard installed a "bypass" duct that diverted some of the air from the supply plenum into the return ducts, thereby relieving the pressure. Once the pressure was reduced, the whistling stopped.

Where to Find It

The bypass damper and motorized zone dampers are manufactured by:
Air Purchases
Episode #525
Lawn Mowing and Edging Basics, What is it?, Repairing and maintaining electric water heaters, Repairing a broken stair tread … more
Episode #524
Replacing a damaged mailbox post,Repointing Brickwork … more
Episode #523
Installing a new radiator/towel bar warmer, What is it?, Controlling crabgrass … more
Episode #522
Replacing a corroded shut-off valve with a "compression" fitting, What is it?, Selecting and planting "climbing" roses … more
Episode #521
Installing composite decking with hidden fasteners, Quieting a noisy steam radiator… more
Episode #520
Replacing a Shub, What is it?, Installing a roof-mounted attic fan… more
Episode #519
Refinishing cast-iron radiators, Installing a standby electric generator… more
Episode #518
Patching a damaged vinyl floor, What is it?, Repairing a leaking in-ground sprinkler system… more
Episode #517
Shopping for and installing wall-to-wall carpet, What is it?, Table saw safety… more
Episode #516
Removing an overgrown Juniper bush, Coiling an extension cord, Replacing a pop-up assembly in a pedestal sink … more
Episode #515
Clearing clogged drains, What is it?, Install Kitchen Cabinets… more
Episode #514
Prune a willow tree, fix a hot-water heater… more
Episode #513
Mulching, Sash Balancers … more
Episode #512
Shower Valve, Recycling Batteries … more
Episode #511
Cedar Clapboards, Chainsaw Etiquette … more
Episode #510
Kitchen Backsplash, Installing Sod … more
Episode #509
Child safety, What is It?, Installing a sump pump… more
Episode #508
Maintaining stone countertops, what is it?, Installing a chain link fence… more
Episode #507
Home Energy Audit, what is it?, Removing a toilet seat with corroded bolts… more
Episode #506
Rebuilding a small exterior deck and stairs.… more
Episode #505
Planting flower bulbs in fall, making straight rip cuts with a circular saw, what is it?… more
Episode #504
Installing garage storage cabinets, What is it?, Installing a ceiling fan… more
Episode #503
Installing a new shower base, Installing a rain barrel… more
Episode #502
Replacing a clogged faucet aerator, Selecting houseplants, Quieting a squeaky subfloor under carpet… more
Episode #501
Repairing a bathroom door, planting a bamboo privacy screen, what is it?… more