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S19 E19: Flickering Lights, Brick Stairs

Landscape Contractor Jenn Nawada travels to Orlando to upgrade a homeowner’s irrigation system with a smart one; Master Electrician Heath Eastman explains a few different ways to troubleshoot flickering lights; then Mason Mark McCullough repoints a set of brick front steps.

Previous episode: S19 E18 | Next episode: S19 E20

In this episode:

Landscape Contractor Jenn Nawada travels to Orlando, Florida to help a homeowner upgrade his inefficient, malfunctioning irrigation system with a new, smart system. The house was flipped before the current homeowners bought it, but not everything was done correctly. The sprinkler system was installed poorly, watering much of the sidewalk, driveway, and house instead of the grass. Since the irrigation system is already in place, Jenn only has to install new spray heads. A job that is easy enough for the average homeowner to do themself. She explains that you have to consider the features of the sprinkler head and the arrangement of your yard when deciding on what products to buy. Jenn then replaces the old spray heads with ones more properly fit for each location around the lawn, demonstrating the process of how to do so.

Then, Master Electrician Heath Eastman goes over some reasons as to why your lights might be flickering. Flickering lights are a problem most households deal with at some point, so Heath goes over a few common reasons why a light might be flickering and walks you through some basic troubleshooting.

Later, Mason Mark McCullough helps a homeowner fix her childhood home’s front brick steps. When the steps started forming hairline cracks a few years ago, the family hired a mason to come and repoint them. Afterward, they water-sealed them once a year to prevent cracking but to no avail. Mark sees the problems straight away. Firstly, the mason was sloppy, the mortar was left splattered on the face of the bricks. He also notices that mortar was just applied to the top of the joint when the whole joint should have been ground out and redone.

Mark noticed that the wrong type of mortar was used, based on the coloring of it. In colder areas, bricks expand and contract during the freeze/thaw cycle. Therefore, Type N mortar should have been used, which has a little flexibility to it. The previous mason used Type S, which is structural and harder so the bricks aren’t able to move, which creates cracking. Mark and the homeowner then cut out all of the masonry joints and start again with the right materials.

Then, Mark gives a general overview of the four main mortar types with Host Kevin O’Connor. Mark lays out three ingredients that make up mortar: lime, portland cement, and sand. He explains that lime gives mortar its flexibility, portland cement makes the mortar stronger, and sand gives the lime and cement something to bind to, so it can become a mixture. Keeping those ingredients in mind, Mark explains how each mortar type has a different strength and makeup designed for specific applications. To demonstrate, he gives a visual representation of what the ratio of ingredients looks like for every mortar type.


How to Upgrade to a Smart Irrigation System

Jenn Nawada travels to Orlando, Florida to help a homeowner upgrade his inefficient, malfunctioning irrigation system with a new, smart system.

Where to find it?

Jenn upgraded the irrigation system with the following components: 1800 High Efficiency Sprays, 42SA Simple Adjust Rotors, Emitter Conversion Kit for Drip Irrigation, and a WiFi Controller (Model ST8i). All of these are manufactured by Rain Bird.

The irrigation shovel can be found at The Home Depot.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Ken-Lin Landscaping Inc. in Oviedo, FL and Nawada Landscape Design.


How to Fix Flickering Lights in Your House

Master Electrician Heath Eastman goes over some reasons as to why your lights might be flickering. Flickering lights are a problem most households deal with at some point, so Heath goes over a few common reasons why a light might be flickering and walks you through some basic troubleshooting.

Where to find it?

Heath demonstrated a variety of light switches and fixtures, which can be found at any home center. In general, he recommends checking the switches to ensure they’re up-to-date and operating properly to troubleshoot any issues with flickering lights.


How to Repoint Brick Steps

Mason Mark McCullough helps a homeowner identify the culprit behind her cracking, front brick steps, and then repoints them using the correct material.

Where to find it?

To grind out the old mortar, Mark used a 1775E Tuck Pointing Grinder with a 9-gallon dust extractor HEPA vacuum with automatic cleaning, which are both manufactured by Bosch Tools. Using a grinder with dust collection helps keep silica dust down, which makes the job a lot safer.

To mix the new mortar, Mark used a Type N Mortar Mix, which is manufactured by Quikrete. To pour the mortar into the joints, he used an Anvil Grout Bag, which can be found at home centers. The other tools he used, including the jointers and brushes, can all be found at home centers and masonry supply stores.

Original Air Date: Apr 18, 2021 Season 19; Ep.19 23:42


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