TODAY   |  November 11, 2013

Learn how to replace a fuse, unclog a toilet

Get some handyman tips this Veterans Day from Bob Vila of “This Old House,” who demonstrates how to replace a blown fuse and remedy a clogged toilet.

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

>>> new series. the things you need to know how to do. this morning, we're tackling the home.

>> five things from unclogging toilets to sealing windows. bob villa is here to show us how to fix common problems.

>> good to see you.

>> this is great.

>> these are things that are easy enough that even if we don't have your expertise, we should be able to do.

>> yeah, any homeowner should know what to do if the lights go out. go to the window and make sure it isn't just you, the whole street but if it is just you first find a flashlight. i always recommend that homeowners have several flashlights. you can have lanterns and the 4.99 specials and a lot of the new led lights are good.

>> different levels.

>> you should have them in different parts. if you have a big family, everybody in the family ought to have their own little led flashlight but that's your first tool to get you to where the problem might be solved which is in some houses -- this is kind of an antique thing but some houses still have fuses and if you have a fuse box , you want to go look at the one that's dark and that's burned out and that's the one you want to remove, pull out of there and carefully put in another one. but if you do have a fuse box , you might want to ask santa to bring you an electrician to give you an update. this is a small circuit breaker panel and when you do trip a circuit you will see orange and all you do is trip it back into the on position and you're back in business.

>> do you have to wait a certain amount of time.

>> no.

>> but the thing is to figure out why it tripped. if you were in the kitchen using a lot of appliances and a teenager with hair dryer is on the same circuit. that causes it.

>> this is pretty basic you would think but a lot of people don know how to do it. unclogging the toilet. this is a toilet plunger but if you have one that's a rubber ball with a flange on it that's designed for kitchen sinks. if you have a problem, one of the things you want to have is a bucket with extra water and some towels and the like. but the way to use this thing is to make sure there's some water in the bowl because it's not going to work unless there is some. if it's empty add water.

>> you should also have an auger.

>> if you can't solve the problem by plunging with the plunger for a minute and it's still clogged you want one of these guys ichl.

>> it's essentially like a snake, a spring. it will go down into the toilet, you know, wear gloves and put it all the way and then you yank it out.

>> okay. let's move on to getting rid of ashes from a fireplace.

>> this really is -- i mean, there have been situations -- i'm going to put it on the floor, there's been tragic situations but a lot of people enjoy these things. the fire pitts and the like and you think it's out but the embers are still in there. if the wind blows on them they can catch on fire again. i always recommend you have something like a good old fashioned ash can.

>> galvanized steel.

>> buy them at the hardware story and get everything out of there and into here and don't leave it where the wind can blow an ember. if you have a fireplace, make sure you have a good screen over it.

>> window trim, money goes out your door and the window.

>> yeah, this is the time when you want to check out your house. i often tell people you ought to have them so you can look at the roof and chimney and things that are far up without having to climb up there but a lot of the cold air infiltration happens between the cracks in the siding and the windows. that's where you can use something like this.

>> right.

>> you can buy this at the hardware store . use it on the inside and you hold it next to the window. if it's blowing, that lets you know that there's cold air coming through.

>> so you use caulk or whatever and really quickly, things you say you need to make sure you keep clean.

>> well, from the point of view of the family's health, air quality inside the house. at least a couple of time ace year you want to clean anything like the back of the refrigerator, the filters, anywhere in the washing and drying air and the hvac equipment.

>> this is the oldest refrigerator.

>> you have a lot of vintage stuff out here the morning.

>> yes but these things are still around.

>> just like us. good to see you.

>> good to see you.

>> well, coming up next on