TODAY   |  November 15, 2012

Installing a generator: Learn how with pro tips

Lou Manfredini, TODAY contributor and host of “House Smarts,” answers viewers’ home repair questions, including how to know if your sump pump needs to be replaced, how to install a generator, and how to keep woodpeckers away from your shingles.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to handle? ask lou .

>>> time for another installment of "ask lou " where viewers send in questions about the pesky household problems they don't know how to fix.

>> "today" contributor and host of the show "house smart" lou .

>> how do i get a disgusting smell out of my garbage disposal ?

>> i have a love/hate relationship but people use them as garbage cans . this is what's under the sink you don't see. this part is what you see, the part where the water goes down. i want you to take any cleaner, pine sol , simple green , spray a little down inside. take your poilt brush and go down inside here and scrub. what happens on the side wall, all that gunky smelly stuff. rinse, repeat. you'll be amazed how nice and fresh it smells. that's it.

>> does it help to put vinegar in there?

>> it would, but you have to scrub. everybody pours it and it's on the side. you've got to do the scrubbing.

>> janet has a question about her sump pump . how do we change our sump pump ? we had it since the builder installed it in 1996 .

>> a couple of numbers here. most sump pumps should be replaced every seven years. the switch, this is an example of one should be replaced every three. 1996 , you're getting your money's worth out of it.

>> people lose track.

>> absolutely. it unplugs. this is similar to what it looks like. this is the pipe coming out. take the screwdriver here and remove this from the check valve. then pull this out of the pit. then buy a new one. this pipe right here screws in. that's all it does. screws back in when you put the new one in. taking forever.

>> we like to watch you work.

>> hold on. you plug it back in, screw everything back together. you're done. a decent sump pump is going to cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but will protect your basement from flooding.

>> a lot of people need generators. how do you install these?

>> this is a portable generator. it's all about the wattage. this particular one is 3,000 watts. this will do things like a refrigerator, a few lights, maybe a pump. you need to remember the kinds of things you are powering, for instance, a refrigerator uses 600 watts when it runs. when it first starts, it uses 1,200 watts. that get up and go is key. notice i have this plug in wire right here. this is a separate breaker and feed off this generator nobody ever uses.

>> why?

>> they don't know this. they use these plugs here and like why can't i run more off my generator? getting a cord like this and plugging it in. you notice on the end i have a splitter where you can cut in more cords, you get the full maximum power can provide. needs to be 20 feet away from the house. it's never in an enclosed area. you need to keep it monitored. they also make them now that run on propane.

>> i was going to say if you don't have power, what is that running on?

>> gasoline. in the northeast, gas stations didn't have power.

>> how to keep woodpeckers away?

>> i learned this in florida. take fishing line , put a few nails on the outside of your cedar siding. if you go with lighter fishing line , you won't see it. the woodpeckers don't want to get tangled up in it.

>> who is smarter than lou ?