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Lou Manfredini, "Ace Hardware’s Helpful Hardware Man" Provides CasaSugar Readers With Home Advice

Ask an Expert: Cheap and Easy Home Improvement Projects

In October, I asked Lou Manfredini (better known as "Ace Hardware’s Helpful Hardware Man") to give CasaSugar tips on keeping your homes cozy and efficient during the Winter months. Lou had such great advice that I asked him if he could answer some other reader-inspired questions about home fixes and improvements. Check out his answers!

CasaSugar: What are some easy home projects that tool-shy readers should attempt to fix or upgrade their homes?

Lou: Simple things that can really make a difference are projects like changing and upgrading your furnace filters. Clogged filters will force your furnace to run longer which means more money spent on energy costs. And by upgrading to Ace pleated furnace filters you can trap 10 times more of the airborne particulate that flows through your unit than the standard blue fiberglass filters. Also at around $5-$6 a filter it’s over 50 percent less per filter than leading consumer brands. Another project is to change six of the most used light bulbs in your home to compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), which will save you over $60 a year on electrical energy costs. You can also put a face lift on your kitchen cabinets with a small bottle of Howard’s-Restore-A-Finish and #0000 steel wool. This “face peel” for your cabinets will bring the life back into the wood. Finally, refresh your hardwood floors with Bona X Hardwood floor refresher. After you clean the floor you apply the urethane coating and spread it out with a synthetic sheepskin pad. Leave the home for about two hours and the shine will look brand new — no sanding, low odor, and it’s a waterborne product.

For the rest of Lou's answers, read more.

CasaSugar: What is the number one cheap and effective way that readers can change their homes, using Ace Hardware?

Lou: Paint, For about $25.00 a good gallon of Ace paint and a few tools can be purchased which will change the look of a bedroom or even a small kitchen or dinning room. Adding some color will creating a whole new look in the matter of a day or so. Another way that consumers can be more “green” is by shopping locally. We like to say that most of America is within 5 miles of an Ace hardware store, which are all locally owned and operated and help their community by giving back every step of the way. Not only are we competitively priced against the big boxes but I can say with 100 percent assurance that we are the most helpful place on the planet when it comes to your home improvement needs.

CasaSugar: Are there any painting tools that you recommend that would help make readers’ painting projects easier?

Lou: One thing to keep in mind when it comes to painting is that the quality of the tools you use as well as the quality of the paint is critical. If you have made the decision to paint yourself you will be saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on the size of the project. With that in mind, buy higher quality brushes, roller frames and covers, ladders and so on. In this category you get what you pay for, and using cheaper tools will make the job harder and not give you the look you are trying for.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of Lou's tips!

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