Q. I am getting ready to do a bathroom remodel and will be doing much of the work myself. I will be changing the galvanized water pipe to copper. Do you have any tips that you can share when it comes to soldering pipe? A. Soldering copper can be either a very enjoyable experience or a dreadful task. Take the following steps and you'll be grinning from ear to ear.
* Make sure that all joints and fittings are dry, clean and sanded.
* Don't use old, previously soldered pipe or fittings.
* Flux and assemble the pipes and fittings, strap them into place and solder everything at once.
* Use a fireproof shield (fabric or metal) to protect wood, wallboard and other combustible materials while using a torch.
* Use 1/2 inch of solder when soldering a half-inch fitting and 3/4 inch of solder when soldering a three-quarter inch fitting.
* Don't get the fitting too hot or the solder won't be drawn into the fitting.
Some key terms from water bottle labels and what they mean.
The labels usually indicate the source of the water. "Purified" usually is municipal water that has been processed using distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. "Artesian" water comes from an aquifer. "Spring" water bubbles naturally from a spring, or is extracted. The location of the spring will be identified.
The label should indicate Total Dissolved Solids, or TDS. This refers to elements dissolved in the water and can range from 0 ppm (parts per million), as in distilled water, to more than 3,000 ppm in some European waters. The higher the TDS, the more minerals and salts are present, suggesting a more distinct taste. In the United States, only waters with TDS of at least 250 ppm can be called "mineral water." No minerals may be added to this water. "Low mineral content" means the TDS is below 500 ppm. "High mineral content" is greater than 1,500 ppm.
For best bloom later this winter, Christmas cactus, potted azaleas and kalanchoe may be left outdoors until night temperatures drop to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring bulbs for forcing can be potted up now and stored in a cool, frost-free place until it is time to bring indoors, usually 12 to 15 weeks. Broadleaf herbicides can be applied now to control cool season weeds such as chickweed and dandelion. Continue harvesting tender crops before frost. Harvest winter squash and pumpkins before frost. For best storage quality, leave an inch or two of stem on each fruit. Dig sweet potatoes before a bad freeze. Gourds should be harvested when their shells become hard or when their color changes from green to brown. A few degrees of frost protection may be gained by covering tender plants with sheets or light-weight fabric row covers. The average first frost usually arrives about October 15-20.