By Barbara Kavovit
Did you know that there are a handful of home repairs and renovations you can do yourself? Especially these days when you may not want to pay $150 an hour for a plumber, or shell out $1000 to a contractor for a paint job you could do over a weekend. So in this series of three posts I’ll share my list of top 10 do-it-yourself fixes. Keep these posts in your “everything” drawer. You’ll save time and money -- and might even have some fun in the process!
The perfect toolbox: Just as every woman should have the perfect manicure set, every woman should have the perfect toolkit with the following items: hammer, screwdriver, pliers or wrench, tape measure, Teflon sealant tape, level, electric drill and hex keys. Each tool should be contained in a soft or hard bag within easy reach and kept away from all who might think of taking it!
1. Change a showerhead
It’s easy to make an old shower look new. A new showerhead can perk up an old bathroom, improve shower flow and even add a massage feature. Use pliers or your hand to twist off the old showerhead (counterclockwise) while holding the shower pipe stem. Wrap the Teflon sealant tape two or three times around the threads at the end of the pipe stem. Using a cloth under the pliers to protect the new showerhead fitting, screw on the new showerhead (clockwise) until tight. You’ve now earned that hot, steamy shower!
2. Unclog the toilet
Don’t call the plumber! This is one easy fix you can certainly do yourself. Place the cup of the flanged plunger over the drain outlet, and plunge up and down rapidly while maintaining a seal around the lip of the cup. Slowly pour a 2-gallon bucket of water into the bowl to clear the drain. Repeat plunging, if necessary.
If that doesn't work, an object may be obstructing the drain. A closet auger, sometimes called a toilet auger, will help. Push the auger cable into the trap (where the water drains out) until the bend sits in the drain opening. Crank the auger handle in a clockwise direction to break up the clog or snag obstructions. Continue to crank as you retrieve the cable and pull the obstruction out of the trap.
3. Repair a running toilet
Step 1: Start with the stopper. Remove the lid and check the guide rod or chain attached to the tank stopper to see if there is any problem with twisting, erosion or buildup that is preventing the stopper from having a complete seal.
Step 2: Try the float. Lift the float ball up. If this stops the water from running, try bending the arm so the float ball is buoyant. If the float ball is not floating on top of the water, unscrew the old one and replace it with a new one from the hardware store.
Step 3: Eliminate erosion. If the toilet continues to run, there may be buildup or some kind of sediment that is not allowing the stopper to close properly. Check the flush valve and the flush valve seat to see whether there is any damage. The stopper and the valve must be replaced if they are broken.
Step 4: Flush away. Your tank should now refill – and stay full. No more wasted water, and you did it yourself!
After 10 years in the construction business, Barbara Kavovit launched Barbara K!, a line of home improvement tools for women and an extensive line of high-quality do-it-yourself kits. Her newest venture is Barbara's Way. She is also the author of Invest In Your Nest: Add Style, Comfort, and Value To Your Home, and Room for Improvement: Change Your Home! Enhance Your Life! With Tools, Tips and Inspiration from Barbara K!
Read the next post in the series: How to install electrical & nonelectrical items