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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

How to of the Day

How to of the Day

How to Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 08:00 AM PST

Preventing exterior pipes from freezing isn't hard to do, but it is important. A frozen pipe may burst, which can lead to expensive and time-consuming repairs. To keep exterior pipes from freezing, protect them with polyethylene pipe insulation and duct tape. In your home, turn the heat on until the weather warms up and keep your cabinet doors open underneath your sink. Leave your sinks on so that a thin trickle of water comes out and keeps the pipes from freezing. In the event that a pipe does freeze, you can use a hair dryer or heating pad to warm the pipe up and clear the ice.


[Edit]Insulating Your Pipes

  1. Survey your exterior pipes to determine which pipes to insulate. Grab a pen, paper, and a measuring tape, and take a walk around your home. Identify any pipes that you want to cover. Measure the length of each exposed pipe that you want to insulate and write it down. For each pipe, note the diameter next to the length.[1]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 1.jpg
    • If your house is on risers, get a disposable crawl suit and a flashlight to crawl into your crawlspace and look at your pipes.
    • You can tell if a pipe has water in it by putting your ear up to it and listening carefully. You should be able to hear water rushing through it. You can also tap it with a screwdriver. If the sound is hollow, it probably doesn't have water inside.
    • You don't really need to insulate pipes that contain wires, but you can if you'd like. Pipes that contain wires are typically silver and made of metal. Copper, PVC, or cast iron pipes are more likely to carry water.
  2. Purchase polyethylene insulation for your pipes. Take your list of measurements to your local construction or home repair store. Buy enough pipe insulation to cover all of your pipes by matching the inside diameter of the insulation to the outside diameter of your pipes. The length and interior diameter of a piece of insulation is listed on the packaging, so read the label carefully before buying your insulation.[2]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 2.jpg
    • For example, if you have 2 pipes with identical diameters that measure and , you need at least of insulation. It's always a good idea to have some extra insulation on hand, though!
    • Polyethylene looks like a black foam and is the most commonly-used material to insulate exterior pipes. Fiberglass sleeves are typically used to insulate interior pipes. If you're using fiberglass sleeves, wear a dust mask, gloves, and protective eyewear.
    • Pipe insulation is precut so that it can wrap around the pipe easily. You can cut it to length with scissors if needed.
  3. Wrap insulation around each of your exposed pipes by hand. To wrap insulation around a pipe, find the vertical seam where the insulation is cut. Dig your fingers into this seam and gently pull the insulation open. Press the inside of the insulation around the pipe and let go of both sides to attach the insulation to the pipe. Repeat this process for each pipe that you're insulating.[3]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 3.jpg
    • Put on a pair of gloves before doing this to avoid burning your hands on hot water pipes.
  4. Secure the insulation with duct tape or cable ties. To keep your insulation from sliding off of your pipes, use duct tape or cable ties. Wrap duct tape around the base of the insulation 4-5 times and pull it tight to keep the insulation in place. Attach cable ties by wrapping the plastic tie around the pipe and threading one end of the tie through the opening on the other end. Secure the tie by pulling firmly on the length that slides through the opening. Work your way up and wrap duct tape or place a cable tie once every . Repeat this process for every pipe.[4]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 4.jpg
    • Don't pull so hard on your pipe that you end up ripping it out or cracking it. So long as the ties or tape keep the insulation from sliding around, you're fine.

[Edit]Using Water and Air to Prevent Freezing

  1. Turn the heat on inside your home and leave it at a steady temperature. Keeping your home heated will ensure that the walls stay warm. If the walls are warm, the pipes leading inside will have a harder time freezing. Turn the heat on to a temperature higher than . Leave the heat where it is and don't turn it down or off when you leave or go to bed.[5]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 5.jpg
    • You don't need to set the thermostat to its highest setting to keep your home warm. So long as the air in your home is or hotter, your pipes will be less likely to freeze.
    • Use a space heater or free-standing radiator to heat rooms that have poor circulation. Don't leave a space heater on when you aren't home or go to sleep, though.
  2. Open the cabinets under your sink to improve air flow. Hot air has trouble making its way into your cabinets where your exterior pipes lead inside. To prevent exterior pipes from freezing, improve the air flow where the pipes enter into your home. Go to every sink in your home and open the cabinet doors. Leave them completely open to allow the hot air in your home to make its way under the sink.[6]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 6.jpg
    • Keeping your interior pipes warm will prevent the exterior pipes from freezing up.
    • If you have a garage, keep the door closed. Many garages have water lines running underneath or alongside them.
  3. Let water drip from each of your faucets to keep water flowing. Your pipes can't freeze up if the water is constantly moving. To keep water moving through your pipes, turn the handle on each of your sinks and tub to leave a trickle of cold water running at all times.[7]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 7.jpg
    • This will increase the price of your water bill, but it's worth it to avoid spending thousands of dollars on a burst pipe that leads to water damage.

[Edit]Thawing a Frozen Pipe

  1. Turn the water on to apply pressure to your pipe. If a pipe freezes, turn on the water at each sink and tub in your home. If water starts building up or no water comes out, your pipe is fully blocked. Turn your frozen faucet off to avoid overflowing your sink or tub. Leave the other lines running while you deal with the blocked pipe by heating it directly.[8]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 8.jpg
    • Don't worry if the water backs up. It'll go down as soon as you heat the pipe directly and the pressure from the water will make this process easier.
    • It's usually pretty easy to find a frozen pipe. Simply go to the wall outside of the sink or drain where you're experiencing problems. You'll find the pipe leading out of the wall or base of your home.
    • The supply line is frozen if no water comes out. The drain line is frozen if water won't go down.
  2. Use a heating pad or hair dryer to heat a frozen pipe directly. To thaw a pipe out, take a portable heating pad or hair dryer out to the pipe. Turn the heating pad to its highest setting and wrap it around the frozen section. If you're using a hair dryer, turn it on to the highest setting and run it over the frozen length. After heating the pipe for 10-15 minutes, check your sink to see if the water has gone down or come back on. If it hasn't, repeat this process until the pipe is fully thawed.[9]
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 9.jpg
    • If you don't have a portable pad or hair dryer, find an outlet outside and use an extension cord to reach your pipe.
    • You can also soak a towel in hot water and layer it around the pipe. This may work, but the towel will freeze if you leave it on for too long.
  3. Call a licensed plumber if you cannot clear the blockage or find the pipe. If you cannot clear the blockage after 30-45 minutes of heating the pipe, there may be a blockage underground or in your wall. If you can't find the pipe, you may need help identifying the source of the problem. Call a licensed plumber immediately to clear the blockage for you. The longer a pipe remain frozen, the more likely it is to burst.
    Keep Outside Pipes from Freezing Step 10.jpg
    • A burst pipe can lead to costly repairs and permanent water damage that will require heavy renovations.


  • Pipes are more likely to freeze if it's or colder.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

[Edit]Insulating Your Pipes

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Crawl suit (optional)
  • Flashlight (optional)
  • Pipe insulation
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape or cable ties

[Edit]Thawing a Frozen Pipe

  • Hair dryer
  • Heating pad
  • Extension cord (optional)


How to Improve Your Art Skills

Posted: 14 Jan 2020 12:00 AM PST

Improving your art skills takes passion and dedication. Whether you want to be a professional artist or just get really good at a new hobby, you can create thoughtful, highly-skilled art with a little patience and lots of practice. You'll need to develop a daily routine to practice and have an open mind about taking on new skills and experimenting with old ones. Training your eyes to see the world like an artist will also help you create realistic pieces or work with light, shadows, and composition in a novel, creative way. Art is supposed to be unique, so have fun and don't shy away from breaking the rules!


[Edit]Learning New Techniques

  1. Watch free online tutorials to learn techniques like blending or shading. If you want to learn how to make particular colors or create realistic-looking shading and shadows, consider watching some free online tutorials. Have your sketchpad and supplies handy so you can pause the video and practice as the instructor breaks it down.[1]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Peruse the comment section on videos because it's likely that other artists have left some tips and suggestions.
    • Search for tutorials in any particular technique you want to learn. For instance, you might find some good lessons on composition, working with light, cubism, surrealism, or even creating 3-D effects. If you can think of it, the internet probably has it!
  2. Take private lessons or join an art class focused on particular skills. If you're a beginner, look to local community centers and libraries for beginning art courses. If you already have some intermediate or advanced skills, you might consider enrolling in a class offered at a local college or art institute.[2]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Taking classes is a great way to meet other artists and get some constructive criticism.
    • To find local instructors, classes, and workshops near you, go to
  3. Use instruction books if you're a beginner or learning a specific skill. Workbooks are a great way to start if you're a beginner or looking to pick up a very specific skill like figure drawing or cartooning. This is a great option if you have a busy schedule because you can tackle each lesson at your own pace.[3]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • You can buy instruction books online or at most large bookstores.
    • If you rent an instruction book from your local library, don't draw in the book! Photocopy the practice pages so you can draw on those instead.
    • If you're a beginner, look for instruction books that have traceable practice sheets so you can get a feel for it before practicing on a canvas or sketchpad.
    • Beware of the "paint or draw by number" format—it can help if you're an absolute beginner, but it may also hinder your individual style. Great artists are unique!
  4. Connect with other artists online for tips about styles and materials. If you want to learn to draw or paint particular things (like people, animals, and landscapes) or work with certain materials (like oil paints, watercolor, and charcoal) join an online artist community. Peruse the forums for any particular style or material and don't be afraid to ask for advice![4]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • Deviant Art, Artist Daily, and Wetcanvas are great online communities with thousands of artists to connect with and learn from.
    • For example, you might visit a new artist thread and post something like, "I'm trying to learn different techniques for blending oil paints. I'm also not sure what kind of brushes are best for my geometric style. Any tips or advice?"
  5. Assess your weaknesses and work on them. Take some time to think about which techniques you're really good at and which ones you can improve upon. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each of the following skills: realism, life drawing, portraits, imaginative or memory drawing, proportions, composition, human anatomy, color blending (or theory), and shading. Then, put extra effort into working things that you've rated on the lower end of the scale.[5]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if you're great at drawing geometric shapes but struggle with shading, spend more time practicing different shading techniques.
    • Set a realistic goal for improving on particularly weak skills. For instance, you might say, "I'm going to devote at least 40 minutes of each sketching session to practicing shading faces."

[Edit]Practicing Your Skills

  1. Practice your art every day and set goals for yourself. Schedule time to practice every day, even if all you have is 20 minutes to spare! Practicing every day is essential to learning and mastering new techniques. If you're a beginner, make an effort to practice for at least 30 minutes each day and gradually work your way up until you're practicing for an hour or longer.[6]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • After dinner or before going to bed are good times to practice because it will help you unwind from the day.
    • Keep a calendar and "x" off each day that you practice your art. Try to rack up as many days in a row as you can to form a good habit.
    • Set daily or weekly goals for your art practice. For example, you might say, "I'm going to finish 1 charcoal sketch per week."
  2. Use a wooden human mannequin to practice drawing anatomy. Set up a wooden mannequin in any position you like in order to practice drawing the body. This is particularly helpful to learn proper proportions.[7]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • You can buy a wooden mannequin online or at any art supply store.
  3. Reference a photograph to practice making realistic art. Use a photograph you took or clip one from a magazine. Set it up near your work area and try to emulate it as best you can. Or, you can incorporate some elements of the photograph (like color the color scheme and composition) and let those things inform your own artistic creation.[8]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 8 Version 2.jpg
  4. Set up your own still-life scene to draw or paint. Search your home for interesting objects you'd like to paint or draw. Then, arrange those things in an interesting way in front of any backdrop you like. For instance, you might place a vase, candle, and bowl of fruit onto a table in front of a checkered wall.[9]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • When setting up a model, play with the composition by moving pieces around before you start working.
    • Consider making interesting shadows by rearranging larger or taller items in reference to the light source. For instance, you might create an interesting shadow across a bowl by placing a tall candle between the bowl and the light source in the room.
  5. Ask a friend or family member to be your model. If you want to practice life drawing or portraiture, consider asking someone you know to sit for you while you sketch or paint them. Just make sure they're okay with sitting still for however long it takes you to do it![10]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • If you're using a live model, keep lighting in mind. You might want to use a small desk lamp to light them from the side to create interesting shadows.
  6. Invest in quality art supplies. Better paints, tools, and other materials will often perform better and last longer. Putting money into your art will also make it more likely that you'll take it seriously and keep practicing. Don't swear off cheaper materials altogether, just try to work with the best quality materials for what you're trying to do.[11]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Experiment with various brands of the same media at different price ranges.
    • Open stock supplies (like paints, pencils, and markers) are often less expensive than ready-made kits.
    • Get out of the children's art supply section! Those brands typically don't have the same properties as the more professional or artist versions.
  7. Break out of your comfort zone by trying new mediums and styles. Try out different mediums and styles to expand your overall skill set. For example, if you typically use pencils and colored pencils to create classical art, try using pastels for a new perspective. Or if you're comfortable drawing anime, try practicing surrealist art or cubist styles.[12]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 12.jpg
    • If you're okay with spending some extra money, try using a pen tablet to take your art to a new (digital) level!
    • Learning different mediums will also help you create unique mixed-media pieces.
  8. Get inspired by your favorite artists. Look at the work of some of your favorite artists and consider learning how they did particular techniques. For instance, if you want to learn how to use shapes in an interesting way, you might study Picasso's Guernica and try to emulate a similar sense of urgency through the geometry of your work.[13]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 13.jpg
    • As another example, if you want to get better at blending colors, you might focus on emulating a particular section of one of Van Gogh's works. Then, use that skill and apply it towards your own work.
    • Go to local art galleries and museums to get inspiration. And, when you do go, read the artist's notes and statements next to the pieces to see what materials they used. If the artist is present, ask them about their techniques.
  9. Don't be afraid to experiment and break some rules. Some of the greatest artists hold strong opinions and unique viewpoints, so feel free to rebel against artistic norms. Think of how Picasso rebelled against traditional modes of perspective or how Edgar Degas rejected classical methods of composition. Like Picasso said, "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist!"[14]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 14.jpg
    • Art is all about making mistakes and working with them, so if you experiment and don't like the result, find a way to make something new out of it.

[Edit]Training Your Artistic Eye

  1. Take time to express curiosity in your surroundings. Study the color, shape, texture, and size of random things you encounter throughout your day. Look at the face of the person you're talking to. Notice how light affects the shadows and the shape of their features. Pay special attention to how light looks on certain textures like clothing and skin.[15]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 15.jpg
    • Noticing these things will help you gain a better understanding of how real objects look with different types of light hitting them.
    • As a fun exercise, try to describe objects without using their names to help you visualize and capture shapes. For example, if you're looking at a tree, you might describe the trunk as a sloping cylinder and the leaves as tiny lemon shapes.
  2. Identify variations in color so you can accurately recreate them. When you're looking at something, notice any color variations and how that causes your eyes to want to linger or move to another area. Note the subtle hues within a certain color (like all the different shades of red on an apple).[16]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 16.jpg
    • For instance, if you're looking at a brightly colored tulip, note how the hot pink petals contrast with the soft green hue of the stem and how your eyes are drawn to the lighter tips of the petals.
  3. Squint at objects to see their composition of shape and color. Take time to squint your eyes at a particular thing, landscape, or scene. Squinting minimizes your eyes ability to see color and detail and blurs the distinctions between things. This is especially helpful if you want to paint a mass of individual things that are far away like a landscape or a forest full of trees.[17]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 17.jpg
    • Squinting will also help you distinguish between shadows and light.
  4. Use negative space to create balance or tension. When you're looking at a particular object or scene, notice the background space (like a wall, table, or backdrop). Allowing negative space in your paintings will give it a sense of balance or tension depending on the scene and overall esthetic.[18]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 18.jpg
    • For example, take note of the colors, shadows, and textures of objects behind the central objects you'd like to paint. For instance, a burnt orange wall with a diagonal shadow can make the candles and flowers in the foreground stand out more.
  5. Study the composition of a particular scene or object. Notice how certain objects are put together to create shapes or lines. The geometry of a particular scene or collection of objects draws the spectator's in a particular pattern.[19]
    Improve Your Art Skills Step 19.jpg
    • For example, imagine a still scene of a bookstore. The aisle on the left creates a line that moves the eye vertically, a string twinkle lights between shelves might move the eye across the top, and another shelf encourages the eye to move up or down. The vertical eye movements on each side of the painting might act as a sort of frame for the still-life piece.


  • Join a local meetup group with other artists so you can share tips, critique each other's work, and practice together.
  • Ask friends and family to critique your work—if one of them is an artist, even better!
  • Everybody has an opinion about art, so learn to take criticism and be open to hearing different interpretations of your work.
  • Don't worry about drawing or painting quickly. Just let time fly and be fully present with what you're doing.


  • Don't listen to other people if they insult your talent or art because everyone has different aesthetic tastes. Keep your head up and keep making art!


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