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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,


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!


Join The Conversation
littlekaren littlekaren 8 years
I am TOTALLY going to try the Restore-a-Finish!! I'm excited!!! LOL
THEQueen THEQueen 8 years
Renees3, I live in Columbus, OH. My gas heats the house, the water, and is the fuel for my kitchen range. The only thing on my electric that raises the rates is the A/C in the summer. I have 2 window units. It's never much over $40, even then. One thing I noticed a few years ago, I bought a new refrigerator, and my light bill dropped in HALF. It said it cost $37 a YEAR to operate it, and I BELIEVE it! I was happily STUNNED.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I guess we live in different areas THEqueen, because here I haven't paid ANYTHING to the gas company in months but my electric bill is over $400 in the summer. Anything to save on that is helpful! And I have some of these in the house and haven't really noticed any different strain on the eyes, do you know what it is that's bad for them?
lawchick lawchick 8 years
thanks vunder!!
vunder vunder 8 years
my mother cannot stop talking about that restore-a-finish. She LOVES it.
THEQueen THEQueen 8 years
About florescent light bulbs... these are harder on our EYES... and generally not good for us. I don't get the hype about saving on your electric. My electric only runs about $30 a month... My GAS is closer to $300! (and I do change my furnace filters frequently.) The one thing I do is only use 40 watt bulbs in all my light fixtures except my ceiling fan lights. Those I use 60 watt, but rarely use the one in my Keeping Room (Family, Living, Office...whatever) but use lamps instead. The Kitchen one gets used a lot.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
Has anyone tried that Bona stuff?? I have some really worn spots on my floors and that sounds amazing!
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