Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Specialty Tools

In addition to hand and power tools, there are a couple specialty tools that are very nice to have around. These tools are for diagnostic work or other tasks, and can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration in keeping your house running. These are all things that will see less use than the other tools we've discussed, but once you have them you'll wonder how you ever got along without them.

Stud Finder

This is, by far, my wife's favorite tool on the list. When you need to hang something on the walls, or secure a water heater or heavy piece of furniture, you will want to mount it securely, which means you need to screw the mount into a stud in your wall. This unit takes the guesswork out of finding them.

Voltage and Outlet Testers
A non-contact voltage detector lets you know that a circuit is live before you learn this with your fingers. Electric shocks can range from painful to deadly, and even the least painful ones hurt more than you want to know.

Outlet testers diagnose problems with outlet wiring before you take the box apart. It's a quick and easy way to narrow down what needs to be fixed before you ever turn a screw. Outlets can and do fail over time, and need to be repaired or replaced.

This kit contains both of the tools that I use professionally at a wonderful price.

Again, this is a diagnostic tool. When outlets don't supply power, or lights dim, a meter can point you in the right direction. Set to measure DC voltage, they also make wonderful battery testers, which can be particularly important if you've got off-grid or backup power setups. This unit is easy to read and operate, and all of its range settings are automated, which means you just rotate the knob to the mode you want to measure, without having to declare a specific range to measure within. It's also made by the best manufacturer on the market.

There are a variety of levels out there, each with a particular task in mind. Around the house, levels are great for squaring repairs, hanging things properly, and otherwise making sure things sit right. For a good general purpose level, a 24 inch box level or I-beam level is about as good as it gets. It doesn't need to be fancy, and in fact I prefer my levels to simply have bubble vials. Electronics are nifty, but batteries die and the components can come out of calibration; old-school and simple levels, however, will always work because the bubble never lies.

Once you've got these three tool lists assembled, there's not many tasks you aren't equipped to handle. You also know what you're looking for when you start expanding your equipment.


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