HGTV's Handyman Anthony Gilardi Answers Your Home Repair Questions

Sheri Reed

Anthony Gilardi

Last week on Home & Garden Buzz, you got to ask professional handyman Anthony Gilardi, of HGTV's Myles of Style, your very own home repair questions.

This week Anthony has answers to your questions and takes more questions for next week.

Q: Anthony. I have a circuit breaker popping in my living room every day. I sew for a living and any time I use my sewing machine and iron at the same time it pops. boom, lights out. If I run the same two machines in a different room, this doesn't happen. Our house is a historic home from 1906, but it was completely rewired and a new breaker box was installed in 2005, so I don't know what the problem could be. Could just that one circuit be bad, and if so, is that something I can fix on my own? Thanks!

—Kristin, LuminousMom 

A: Hello, Kristin. Thanks for writing in.

This is a very common problem with older homes.

If a home was built before 1978 and renovated after 1978, although a licensed electrician is required to update all wiring, in some states they are not required to increase the amperage of the home. Herein lies the problem.

Not knowing how many square feet or how many rooms your home has, it sounds like you don’t have enough amperage coming in to power your needs.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad breaker.

However, you may be able to solve this problem yourself. You told me your home was rewired with a new breaker box. First thing you need to do is check to see if they labeled the breakers properly so you know which area of your home belongs to which breaker. If not, you should label them yourself. It’s usually a two person trial and error job. Use a two-way radio or cell phone if your home is large, turn all the lights in your home ON and see which area turns off when you flip each breaker switch. NOTE: Make sure nothing or nobody in your home is relying on power to survive, such as with a pacemaker, and properly shut down all computers first.

With this info, you will know which breaker supplies your sewing room. Plug in surge protectors or power strips in two completely different outlets that run on two different breakers. They may be in two different rooms. Surge protectors have from 3 to 6 usable outlets and cost about $15. Use one strip for only sewing, and the other for any other small appliances like an iron. This should solve your problem.

If it doesn’t, you may want to have a licensed electrician give you a FREE estimate on how much it would cost to dedicate each room of your home to its own breaker. After you pull yourself up from the floor (LOL), you can decide if it’s in your budget.

Good luck. Let me know if it works.  


Q: Anthony, how are you?

I have a cabinet door that is off its hinges. I do not know how it happened, but one of the metal hinges broke into two (the top one) and the bottom hinge disconnected itself from the bracket on the door panel and seems to be splitting the wood on the door panel where the bracket is inserted into the hole on the door panel. Should I replace the cabinet door or just the brackets...and how would I do that? Thank you.


A: Hi Maisah.

Okay, let’s see if I understand your problem.

It seems to me that both hinges need to be replaced. I’ll get to that in a second. The question is how bad is the wood splitting?

If it’s just a small crack, we can take care of this very simply.

If it is a split from end to end, it will probably just get worse and worse, and the entire door should be replaced.

Let’s say the wood is splitting only around the hinges.

You’ll need:

  • A sheet of sandpaper, 100 grit will do; this will cost under $1.
  • Two new hinges and screws—make sure they match all other hinges in your kitchen. If they are not high end or custom made, average hinges are relatively cheap, under $10 for a pair.
  • Finally, some wood glue and spackle or wood filler.

Then here’s what we’ll do:

  1. Take the cabinet door off of its frame.
  2. Remove what’s left of any old hinges.
  3. There will be some old screw holes, some cracks, and perhaps some splintered wood.
  4. Sand everything down so the area is smooth.
  5. Put some wood glue in the cracks and holes and let it dry.
  6. If the doors are painted, top the entire area off with some spackle. If the doors are wood finished, use matching wood filler to top of the entire area. Again let the area dry and then sand smooth. You can touch up any paint or stain at this point.
  7. Install the new hinges to the cabinet door. NOTE: Do not use the same holes or screw into where the wood was split. You’ll probably have to install the new hinges slightly higher or lower than where the old ones were located.
  8. If you have a power drill to drill out some pilot holes first, that would be the best. If not, carefully hammer in a 4d finish nail and remove to create your pilot hole. FYI: Pilot holes are holes slightly smaller than the screws you are using that are drilled out to prevent splitting.
  9. Attach the cabinet door with the new hinges to the frame by lining it up with any existing door. Make sure you use pilot holes again in the frame.

It’s all about confidence. I know you can do this.

Make me proud.


Q: Hi Anthony,

A drawstring on fleece sleep pants got caught on the washing machine agitator. How do I remove the agitator on my washing machine? I found this article, but it seems to be missing the step I need to take.

If this is a contest for home repair... I'd like to enter my home, definitely would make a great show! Thanks so much.

—A fan of your show, bergencounty

A: I checked out that site and was very impressed. As you know, I love info on DIY. I’ll probably use it again myself. However, it is lacking the personal touch that I take pride in on my show.

Let’s see what we can do about your problem.

So you’re strangling your agitator with the drawstring of your PJs. Very interesting…

The good news is a problem such as yours is VERY common and ALL newer model washing machines have a way to correct it. The bad news is, every make and model is different.

Most of the time you can raise the agitator by simply removing the cap. Sometimes there is a release switch at the bottom. I’m reluctant to give you a solution without having more info.I don’t want you rip apart the cap of an agitator that is not removable.

So here’s what we’ll do: Seems to me like you’re computer savvy. Check the make and model of your washing machine and go to the manufacturer's website. Here is the most popular Maytag website, just in case you have a Maytag. It took me five minutes to find what we needed on this site.

All the others are the same.

If you can’t find your manufacturer's website for some reason, write back next week with the info, and I’ll find the answer for you personally.

Love to hear you’re a fan of the show!

Keep watching.

The best is yet to come.


Mr. Gilardi will answer more of your questions next week. Leave your home repair questions in the comments below.

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