Hello there and welcome to our monthly feature of all kinds of tips.
We at the business desk are pleased to bring you our monthly feature of a
plethora of tips that cover a wide range of topics.
All of our tips are designed to help you save time, cut down on your
research, and help you get ahead.
So go ahead and read on.
This week we bring you our monthly tips.
It’s what we do for a living! We help you to help yourself!
From the business desk team at http://www.sterlingcreations.com.
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld
Helpful tips for August 2020
In this issue:
Articles of the day
* Replacing Faulty Light Switches and Wall Outlets
* When the Lights Go Out, Replacing Fuses and Resetting Circuit Breakers
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
* Protecting yourself at a hotel
Courtesy of the research team at http://www.sterlingcreations.ca
Scams of the month:
Before giving you our scam tips of the month, here are some very valueable
You need to remember that scams come in the following formats:
As emails, as phone calls both recorded and via a live caller, and o yes!
It can even show up at your door and in your mailbox.
And now they are targeting us through texts being sent to our cell phones.
Before giving you the latest scams making the rounds; we have some do nots
to share with you.
Do not respond to emails that look strange to you.
Do not download attachments from unknown senders.
Do not share your username and password to your online banking and any other
online payments facilities with anyone.
Do not give out any banking or personal details on the phone to unknown
Do not pay any attention to threats from automated phone recordings or from
live persons with regard to your credit card or that you owe money to any
Do not entertain any offers either via email or by phone from senders and
callers offering incredible service packages as they may pertain to cable
and tv services, prizes that you have won, or any sort of any type of
Do not answer the door to unknown callers.
Take extra caution to make sure that the details of your credit cards and
debit cards are fully protected when you make payments at restaurants or at
stores, pharmacies, and elsewhere.
Do not enter your password for Facebook or Twitter in response to a text
request on your cell phone.
The same if you are asked for your Apple ID.
Do not fall prey to a text message telling you that your banking details
have been compromised online.
For this month:
We see that those phone scams continue to be an annoyance.
Be ware of the number that calls you, does not leave a message or hangs up,
and then they hope that you call them back.
Calls from India and China continue to make their presence felt.
These are scams looking to encourage you to disclose your personal or
Don’t take calls from those research companies whose names you do not
Ignore fax numbers that you do not recognize.
An interesting bit of info about the aging of dogs?
A dog’s first year is the equivalent of 30 years of adult life.
By the time your dog reaches 4 years, it is the equivalent of 52 years of
And here is another tip on dogs:
If you notice that they are either rubbing against the wall excessively or
licking themselves in the same way or even scratching, then your poor dog
may be suffering from a skin problem or even an allergy.
Check with your vet as soon as possible.
They can destroy your flowers but they also love those bird seeds that you
may leave in your outdoor bird feeders.
Want to make your own hand sanitizer?
Use 3 parts water and one part rubbing alcahol.
Also, any hand soap is also quite good.
One way to ensure that your plants survive the summer heat?
Do not over water, just make sure that soil is damp.
It is always easier to revive an overly dry plant than an over soaked one.
About those pesky musquitoes?
They usually fade away during very hot temps.
Want to give your room the appearance of being larger than its physical
Then you need to paint it in a very light colour.
Ways to measure your waste and hips?
Your waste is 3 fingers down from right under your breast bone.
Your hips is is 3 fingers further down.
This is a good way for you to locate your waste and hips.
All about the benefits of dry shampoo?
There have been great strides when it comes to the use of dry shampoo.
There was a time when it came in a powder form but alas!
It now comes in the form of a spray, there are several very refreshing
fragrances, and it does a great job keeping your hair looking fresh and easy
on the eyes.
Articles of the day
Chosen by the Business Desk team
Replacing Faulty Light Switches and Wall Outlets
These directions are intended for both the general population as well as
blind and/or low vision home repair enthusiast.
Light switches and electrical wall outlets can occasionally become
defective, working only sometimes or not at all. In addition to
this making the light or appliance unreliably usable, it can be unsafe. Many
people are afraid to tackle electrical projects fearing
that they will be shocked or injured. Any person, with or without vision can
safely and successfully replace electrical switches and
outlets by making sure the electricity to that switch or outlet is turned
off and following the five steps described below.
If you do not have enough vision to identify the colors of the electrical
wires and the color of the terminals, you will most likely need
assistance from a sighted person to identify the color of the wires and to
be sure you know which terminals are brass and which
are nickel so that you can safely install them.
Tools that you may need:
Straight or philips screw drivers
Pliers that incorporate a wire cutter, sometimes referred to as
Wire stripper or sharp knife for stripping insulation from the
Parts you may need:
Replacement switch or outlet of the same amperage capacity and
color of the one you are replacing
Replacement switch or outlet covers if the one you remove is
marred, dirty, or cracked
A selection of wire connecters, also referred to as wire nuts, used
to connect two or more electrical wires together or to cap off an
Switches are, or should be, mounted in a plastic or metal junction box
inside a wall. Most often, light fixtures are controlled by only
one switch, sometimes called a single-pole switch. It has a lever which when
moved into the “on” position allows electricity to flow
to the lights or other device and when moved into the “off” position, breaks
the circuit thus stopping the flow of electricity. Usually,
the switch is installed so that when the lever is up, the light is on, and
when the lever is down, the light is off. Sometimes two
switches are installed in the same junction box with two separate switches
that are side by side or two switches incorporated into
the same housing. These switches have two screws or terminals usually
located on one side of the switch where the incoming and
outgoing black supply wire is connected. A third terminal is located on the
end of the switch where a “grounding” wire is
connected. The grounding wire which may be red or some other color than
black or white will be grounded to a water line or
grounding rod somewhere near where the electrical wires enter the building.
A dimmer switch works in a similar manner. It will have a sliding lever
which, when moved up or down, increases or reduces the
amount of current thus raising or lowering the illumination. Some light
fixtures such as fluorescent lights can not operate on a
dimmer switch. The dimmer switch may have three wires to connect the power
and ground rather than terminal screws. These can
be connected to the wires in the junction box by twisting the uninsulated
end of the wire from the switch to the incoming and
outgoing wire using wire nuts.
Light fixtures can also be controlled from more than one location with a
two-way (double-pole), or three-way (triple-pole) switch.
The three-way switch will have three terminals and the four-way switch will
have four terminals. The least complicated to install is a
light switch that operates from only one location although multiple location
switches are not much more difficult to replace.
Replacing switches that operate lights from two or three locations is
similar to the following steps except that there are more wires
to connect. When removing a two-way or three-way switch, pay attention to
which color wire is connected to which terminal on the
switch and try to install the new switch following that pattern.
Electrical wall outlets also should be mounted in a plastic or metal
junction box inside the wall. Sometimes outlets are connected
to a switch in another location. This is usually done so that lamps can be
turned on near an entrance to the room.
Electrical outlets that power appliances with 120 volts of electricity have
two screws or terminals on each side, one set being brass
colored and the other set a shiny nickel color. The incoming black supply
wire is connected to either one of the brass terminals and
the outgoing white wire should be connected to one of the nickel colored
terminals. If another outlet is connected through the
outlet, an outgoing black wire may be connected to the second brass terminal
and the white outgoing wire should be connected to
the other nickel colored terminal. You may not be able to tell which wires
feed the outlet and which go on to another outlet, but it
really doesn’t matter so long as the black and white wires are connected as
Tip:It is helpful to put a small piece of electricians tape on the black
wire to tactually identify it. You can also use the orientation of
the light switch or the outlet to help remember where the brass terminals
Almost all outlets have two places where an appliance can be plugged in. In
older installations, the outlet will have two slots into
which the plug can be inserted. Newer outlets have a third opening where the
third prong of a plug can go in. As with the light
switch, there is a grounding terminal located on the end of the outlet which
connects the third prong of the plug to the grounding
circuit. Outlets that are installed in a bathroom, above kitchen counter
tops, or outside should be equipped with a ground fault
interrupter circuit (GFI). The outlet has a circuit breaker incorporated
into the outlet which trips if too much current is drawn or if a
short occurs because of moisture. The GFI outlets connect in the same way as
Appliances such as kitchen stoves and clothes dryers which operate on 220
volts of electricity have only one place to plug in the
appliance instead of two like the 110 outlets. It is usually controlled by
one circuit breaker that is distinguishable from the 110
circuit breakers because it is much larger and is located in a separate
circuit breaker box. A 220 outlet is replaced in much the
same way as a 110 outlet but is connected to 3 wires of a much heavier gauge
inside the junction box.
Steps to Replace Electrical Switches or Outlets
Step One: Turn off the circuit breaker
You must first turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse governing the
circuit to which the switch or outlet is connected. Older
homes and apartments often have one or more fuse boxes with anywhere from
two to eight fuses. The fuse box is metal and may
be located in a stairwell, closet, basement, or garage. The surface of the
box may be flush with the surrounding wall or it may stick
out a couple of inches. The box will have a metal door which must be opened
to expose the fuses. Fuses lay flat on the outward-
facing surface. They are round and screw into a socket in the box very much
like the socket for a light bulb. The fuse can be
unscrewed by turning it counter-clockwise. Circuit breakers are standard for
all newly constructed and remodeled homes. They
serve the same function as older model fuse boxes, and are generally found
in the same areas of the home. Circuit breakers look
like small light switches and are generally organized in rows of two to
eight or more that can run horizontally or vertically. To trip a
breaker, the switch-shaped button is moved down, up, or side-to-side
depending on the position in which it was installed.
When electrical circuits were installed, the installer should have provided
a list that tells which outlets and lights are on each
circuit. If no additional outlets or lights have been added since
installation, you can quickly tell from this list which fuse or breaker
governs the switch or outlet you need to replace. If the circuit list is not
available or has not been kept up-to-date, it may be difficult
to determine which fuse or breaker governs that particular switch or outlet.
You may wonder how you can tell which fuse or breaker
governs a non working light or outlet. If you are not certain you have found
the correct fuse or breaker, you can turn the power off
to the entire house or get a circuit tester to determine if there is
electrical current in the wire by the switch or outlet.
Tip: If there are two switches mounted side by side in the junction box or
two switches on one unit, be sure that the circuit
governing both switches are turned off.
Step Two: Remove the switch or outlet plate cover
Once you are certain that the electricity is turned off to that circuit,
remove the plate which covers the switch. There are usually two
screws holding the plate in place. Wall outlet covers are anchored with one
screw in the middle of the cover between the two
Tip: If the plate has been painted over, the slot in the screw may be
covered with paint. You can expose the screw slot by scraping
away the paint with a screw driver or point of a knife. If the wall and
outlet cover have been painted or covered with wall paper you
might carefully cut the wall paper with a knife just at the edge of the
cover before removing it. This will help avoid damaging the
finish on the surrounding wall. You can get a slightly larger plate cover
than the one you removed which will cover the edges.
Step Three: Remove the switch or outlet
The switch or outlet is anchored in place with a screw at either end. These
screws may also have paint in the screw slot which
should be removed as described above. Once these screws have been removed,
you should be able to grasp the switch or outlet
and pull it out of the junction box.
Step Four: Disconnect the old switch or outlet and connect the new one
In older installations, the switch may only be connected with two wires, the
incoming and outgoing black supply wire, and there
may not be much slack wire in the junction box. The white wire may be
connected somewhere in the circuitry or it may be found at
the back of the junction box. In older installations, a grounding wire may
not have been installed. To remove the defective switch,
disconnect the two wires from the terminals by loosening the screws in a
counter-clockwise direction. The screws can be removed
entirely but the last turn or two may require a bit of force because of the
way in which the threads holding the terminal are made. If
you do not remove the screw, you should find that the wire is curled around
the screw terminals in the same direction that the
screw is tightened. By using the point of a knife you can straighten the
wire enough to lift it off the screw. If the wire is not
connected to the screw terminals, it may be connected by being inserted into
a spring loaded slot on the back side of the switch or
outlet. You may be able to release the spring and withdraw the wire by using
a straight screw driver or the point of a knife in an
access slot that is provided. If the spring doesn’t release, you may have to
cut the wire with a wire cutter. If you do, make the cut as
near to the switch as possible thereby leaving as much slack wire in the
junction box as possible.
Tip: If, for some reason, you cannot finish connecting the switch or outlet
and have to complete it at another time, you can place
wire nuts over the ends of the unconnected wires and turn the electricity
back on until you have the time to finish the job. If the
wire nuts are snugly fitted to the end of the wires, there should be no
danger so long as no one moves the wires around or loosens
the wire nuts.
Connect the new switch or outlet by connecting the wires to the screw
terminals as described above. Be sure to make a loop using
the needle-nose pliers and placing this behind the head of the terminal
screw head. Be sure that the loop curls in the direction that
the screw tightens. You can close the loop before tightening the screw by
using the needle-nose pliers so that the wire doesn’t slip
out from under the screw head as you tighten it. Tighten the screw by
turning it in a clockwise direction until it is snugly tight. Be
careful not to over-tighten the screw. If you had to cut the wire to remove
the switch, remove ½ to ¾ inches of insulation from the
wire with the wire stripper or by carefully cutting it away with the knife.
Be careful not to nick or scratch the wire if you strip it
thereby weakening the wire and possibly causing it to break when you bend it
to go under the terminal. If you prefer, you can
insert the stripped end of the wire into the spring-loaded slot. If there is
no grounding wire, there is not much you can do about
grounding it unless you want to install a grounding circuit which can be
difficult because of accessing the outlet junction box inside
the wall. The switch or outlet will function without the grounding wire but
electrical code usually requires that the switch or outlet is
connected to a grounding wire.
Tip: It is a good idea to place a strip of electrical tape over the
terminals thereby helping to assure that the terminals will not make
contact with the junction box.
Step Five: Finish the job
Anchor the switch or outlet back into the junction box with the new screws
that are supplied.
Tip: If the junction box is recessed a bit below the surface of the wall,
you can put plastic spacers which look like thick washers on
the mounting screws between the outlet or switch and the box. This will
allow the switch or outlet to be mounted flush with the wall
which will make it easier to use.
Tip: Bend the connecting wires before pushing the switch or outlet into the
junction box so that they fold in behind the switch or
outlet and then insert the mounting screws to secure it in place. This makes
a much neater job and helps eliminate excessive force
on the connection at the terminal screws.
Tip: Remember to orient the lever on the light switch so that when it is in
the down position, the light will be off. If the light is
operated from two or three locations, the lever may be up or down depending
on which switch was last activated.
Lastly, replace the cover. Turn the electricity back on and if it was the
switch or outlet that was faulty, your light and outlet should
By Gil Johnson from VisionAware
When the Lights Go Out, Replacing Fuses and Resetting Circuit Breakers
A sudden loss of electrical power—it’s one of those experiences that every
homeowner is either familiar with or soon will be. The summer months are an
especially vulnerable time as air conditioners are going full blast
for hours at a stretch, pushing electrical circuits to their limits. Even if
you replaced burnt fuses or reset the circuit breaker many times as a fully
sighted person, you may feel reluctant to fiddle with wiring if you have
some or all of your vision.
Don’t be discouraged, however. In most instances, you should be able to turn
the power back on by devoting just a bit more care and attention to the task
Understanding the Problem
Occasionally, a neighborhood—or even an entire city or region—will
experience a large-scale power outage. There’s little you can do about this
from your home, of course, so it’s important to keep fresh batteries, a
flashlight or two and a battery-operated radio on hand at all times.
More typically, power failures are confined to the home. The cause could be
an electrical short. Circuit breakers and fuses will audibly “pop” almost
immediately if there’s a short or loose wire. These can be quite
dangerous, so it’s best to have a licensed electrician fix it for you. More
often, the issue is a blown fuse or tripped circuit caused by excessive
electrical current flowing through the wires. The fuse or breaker will
automatically cut off the current to prevent the wires from overheating and
causing a fire.
The best way to prevent such outages is to make sure not to use too many
appliances on one circuit at the same time. It’s one thing to multitask, but
it’s best not to pop the English muffins in the toaster until after the
ironing is done. If several high voltage appliances are rigged to one
breaker or fuse in your home, you may want to have a licensed electrician
migrate one or more appliances to another breaker/box.
Fuse Boxes vs. Circuit Breakers
Older homes and apartments often have one or more fuse boxes with anywhere
from two to eight fuses. The fuse box is metal and may be located in a
stairwell, closet, basement, or garage. The surface of the box
may be flush with the surrounding wall or it may stick out a couple of
inches. The box will have a metal door which must be opened to expose the
Fuses lay flat on the outward-facing surface. They are round and screw into
a socket in the box very much like the socket for a light bulb. The fuse can
be unscrewed by turning it counter-clockwise.
Fuses are rated at 15, 20, or 30 amps depending on the size of the
electrical wire they protect. You should replace a fuse with the same, or
lower, ampier rating than the one you are replacing.
Circuit breakers are standard for all newly constructed and remodeled homes.
They serve the same function as older model fuse boxes, and are generally
found in the same areas of the home, but are easier to reset.
Circuit breakers looks like small light switches and are generally organized
in rows of two to eight or more that can run horizontally or vertically.
When a breaker is tripped, the switch-shaped button is forced down or up
depending on the position in which it was installed. You can easily locate
the affected breaker by running your hand along the row of breakers and
locating the one that is out of line with the rest. To reset the breaker,
simply press the switch to bring it in alignment with the others.
For the “off” breaker to engage in the “on” position, you may have to push
the breaker that has tripped to the “off” position then back “on” again. The
circuit may immediately break again if the cause of the initial
overloaded circuit was not corrected.
Kitchen ranges, dryers, and other large appliances typically connect to
large-sized breakers that require 220 volts of electricity. These are easily
distinguished from the common 110 volt breakers for lights and outlets.
Power Off/Power On: Replacing Fuses and Resetting Breakers
Replacing fuses or resetting breakers is not a frequent occurrence, but when
it is necessary, there are steps you can take to complete the task safely
and with minimum aggravation.
· Check the circuit list. When electrical circuits were last
installed, the installer should have provided a list that tells you which
outlets and lights are on each circuit. If no additional outlets or lights
have been added since
installation, you can quickly tell from this list which fuse or breaker
might have been tripped by the overload. It is a good idea to keep this list
handy in case replacement or resetting the breaker is needed.
· If the circuit list is not available or has not been kept up to
date, you may have to experiment by removing one fuse at a time until you
find the one that has burned out. If you remove a fuse and no other circuits
affected, you most likely have found the culprit.
· Fuses can be changed while the power is still on but take care. It
would be like removing a light bulb without first turning off the switch.
Exercise extreme caution when removing fuses.
· Do not stick anything in an empty fuse socket as this can trigger
an electrical short, which could cause a serious injury or fatality.
—-author: Gil Johnson
From the pages of Donna’s travel diary
Protecting yourself at a hotel
As soon as you enter a hotel there are some things that you need to protect
at all times.
If you have pre booked, then you need to take along your passport and credit
card and when asked for them at the service desk, be sure that only you and
the service desk rep are the ones to see them.
Next, keep your key card very close to you.
If this falls into the wrong hands then someone will be able to enter your
room and have free reign to everything you own.
Do not leave your passport and credit card lying around in your hotel room.
Either keep them on you whenever you leave your room or lock them in your
Do the same for your bank card.
I’m Donna J. Jodhan enjoying my travels.
To learn more about me, visit
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