31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m sure you already know how important it is to change your air filters in your home. As a Filtrete Ambassador, I’m happy to remind you why you should replace your Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction MPR 1900 filters on a regular basis:

  • Helps improve air quality in your home
  • Allergen reduction from air passing through the filter
  • Clean filters allow better air flow and less stress on your heating and cooling system
  • Capture airborne microscopic particles that can carry bacteria and viruses
  • Regularly maintenance and filter changes can help maintain your system

ultra_allergen_filtrete_filter

If you’re like me it’s hard to remember when it’s time to change your air filters. I have a solution!

Two tips to help you remember to change your air filters regularly.

1. Write the date you changed the filter on the new filter. That way you can peak at the filter to see if you need to change them soon.

date-on-filter-watermark

2. Sign up for a reminder email. You can sign up for the Filtete Clean Advantage Club to get reminder emails when it’s time to change your air and/or water filters. It’s easy and they’ll email you at your preferred intervals to help you remember to change your filters.

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Simply enter your filter size, the date you need your first reminder (or the date of your last filter change). Then choose how often you replace your filters (or should I say how often you should replace your filters.)

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Don’t forget to add your email address and click submit.

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Now sit back and don’t worry about remembering to change your air filters ever again! When it’s time, you’ll get an email from Filtrete!

Now you can spend time trying to remember other important things, like what time is Flip or Flop on? Anyone else watching this show? Is is just me or does it bother you that Christina doesn’t ever get her hands dirty. Must be a Handy Girl pet peeve. 😉

Follow Filtrete via social media on Facebook or Twitter for more tips and tricks to help create a healthier home.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete Brand. I have the honor of being an ambassador for them and have been sharing information from  Filtrete Brand. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own and additional products used in the project were selected by me.  I have been compensated for my time and for this post. I continue to work with certain brands  like the Filtrete Brand that I believe in, because of their quality and because I feel they have helpful messages for my readers. I will always disclose to you if you are reading a sponsored post. #HealthierHome #Ad

 

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Is your refrigerator running? Then go catch it. Is your HVAC choking? Time to administer CPR! When was the last time you looked at your HVAC unit? Specifically the condenser which is the big box usually located outside the house.  At first glance it doesn’t look too bad, but if you peek around the back…

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

…you’ll find a stray vine trying to make its way inside.

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

In order for your HVAC system to work efficiently and live longer, it’s important to keep vegetation and leaves away from the condenser. Never plant bushes or shrubs too close to the unit.

To discourage weeds and plants from growing back lay down some mulch, rocks or other weed resistant materials. I used leftover slate slabs around our unit. It’s what I had on hand and it was FREE.

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

Go check your condenser and if it’s choking give it some CPR by pulling back all the weeds and shrubs.

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outdoor air conditioner & HVAC

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl
 

Do you have hard water? If you do, you probably understand when I say, “It’s the bane of my existence when it comes to cleaning sinks!” However, I have a trick to scrub away that stubborn hard water crusty stain in no time! And I use a little power to save myself from fatigue.

hard-water-crust

Day 20 – Scrub Away Hard Water Stains

The other day I shared my non-toxic drain opener with you. Today, pull that vinegar and baking soda back out. You’ll also want to grab a good scrub sponge. I’ve been using the Scotch Brite Non-scratch Scrub Sponges and like them because they are non-scratch and use natural fibers. (I was not paid to say that!)

Pour some baking soda and a tiny bit of vinegar to create a paste on the hard water stain. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

vinegar-baking-soda-scrub

While you are waiting, cut a piece of the scrub sponge to fit on the sanding head of the Dremel Multi-Max. The hook and loop will hold the scrub sponge in place. If you don’t have a Multi-Max, you can scrub by hand, but it will take a little longer to remove the crusty stain.

cut-scrub-sponge-to-size

Before you plug in the Multi-Max, make sure your vinegar baking solution is more paste and not too much liquid. If there is too much liquid, add more baking soda. You want to make sure you are working with a paste to avoid any potential electrical shocks.

Turn on the Multi-Max and let the vibration of the sanding head do all the work for you! It may take several passes until the hard water stain is gone.

dremel-multimax-scrubbing-sink

Before:

hard-water-crust-around-sink

After:

How to Scrub Hard Water Stains Away | Pretty Handy Girl

I love finding ways to clean with power tools!

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl
 

Occasionally you need to drill a hole to a specific depth. Or you want to drill a hole into but not through your wood. This simple trick helps you do just that!

Day 19 – Drill Holes to a Certain Depth

When I was drilling the top of the new closet doors, I marked the depth of the door pin onto the drill bit with painter’s tape.

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

As I was drilling, I know to stop when the tape reaches the wood.

Similarly, when creating these fun art utensil holders for my mom, I put a piece of painter’s tape to mark how deep to drill without going through the other side.

drill_holes

You can also use the tape trick to create countersink holes. Drill with the smaller bit first, then center the larger bit and drill just deep enough to bury the screw head.

drilling_countersink_hole

I hope you are enjoying these quick little tips and tricks. I’m on the homestretch and still have some great tips to share! Stay tuned.

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Using a stud finder is the quickest and easiest way to find a stud. But, if you don’t have one or are too lazy to find yours (I’m often guilty of this), you can use one of these ways to find a stud.

5 Ways to Find a Wall Stud (without a stud finder) | Pretty Handy Girl

5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

1. Measure from an outlet – remove an outlet cover and inspect the outsides of the box. One side will usually be nailed to a stud.

stud-visible-from-outlet-box

Then measure out to the left or right at 16″ intervals. US building code requires wall studs to be spaced at least 16″ on center (meaning the center of the studs.) This will help you locate studs. However, recognize that in locations near doors/windows or openings there may be a stud at less than a 16″ interval.

5 Ways to Find a Stud

2. Look for popped nails or dimples on the wall – It doesn’t always happen, but in older houses you might see nail pops where the drywall was nailed to a stud. In newer construction this is less likely to happen because screws are used.

3. Look for nails in your baseboard or crown moulding – inspect your crown or baseboard moulding for nails that might indicate where it was attached to a stud.

locate-nail-in-moulding

4. Knock on the wall – You should use this method in conjunction with the methods described above. Use your knuckle to knock along the wall horizontally. A stud location will have a higher pitched sound and feel hard against your knuckle. Lack of a stud will have a lower pitch and hollow sound.

5. Use a small pin – Once you think you’ve located the stud, use a small quilter’s pin to verify that you found the stud.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

If the pin sinks in up to the head, there is no stud there. If the pin sinks in about 3/4″ and then stops, you found the stud.

pin-locating-studs

The pin method will save you the hassle of creating a larger hole only to realize that you missed the stud.

Okay, now go find your stud! {snicker, hee hee}

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s no picnic when you realize your home has been invaded by sugar ants. Instead of spraying your kitchen (or wherever you find them) try this Two Ingredient Ant Killer.
2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo by Stephen Ausmus – https://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htm
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl

Mix equal parts sugar and Borax into a small disposable lid. Set it out near the area of largest ant concentration or near the location they are entering your home. Caution: DO NOT put this mixture where children or pets can get to it.

Leave the mixture out for 24 – 48 hours or until you have no more ants. The ants will take the sugar and Borax back to the nest where the colony will have a feast and consequently die after intestinal distress.

Lest you think buying a box of Borax is wasteful, I’ll have another use for Borax later this month.

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Take out the papers  and the trash…ummm take out the trash?

foot_on_trashcan

Grrr, don’t you hate when the trash bag gets stuck in the trash can? No worries, I have an easy fix that will make taking out the trash a much easier chore. It may sound a little crazy, but it involves drilling holes.

Day 16: Put Holes in Your Trash Can

To release the suction created by a full trash bag in the trashcan you need to add some air holes. If you put the holes about an inch up from the base you won’t risk any drips on the floor if the bag leaks.

Simply drill three to four air holes into the bottom of your trash can.

drill_holes_in_trash_can

Now you can take out the papers and the trash or you don’t get no spending cash. Yakkety Yak, don’t talk back.

before_after_trashcan

This year we’ve added several chores for the kids to handle. Taking out the trash and recycling is one of their responsibilities. I’m curious, what chores do your kids have?

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Curtain rods, towel bars, and other wall mounted accessories are relatively easy to hang. The trick is securing them to a stud so they can hold up to the abuse. But, how often have you found that you don’t have a stud where you want it mounted? Probably 98% of the time, right? That’s where it is important to use good wall anchors (specifically for your type walls.) Today I’m talking about drywall anchors.

Day 15: Use Good Wall Anchors

You are probably thinking, “Okay, no problem. The towel bar I bought came with wall anchors. I’ll just use those.” And that would be a mistake!

use_better_anchors

Why? Because those freebie wall anchors get mangled and they won’t hold up to regular use. DO NOT USE those El Cheapo wall anchors that come with your curtain rods, shelves, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc. In fact, don’t even save them if you don’t use them. PITCH ‘EM…NOW… JUST DO IT!

I am a big fan of the TOGGLER wall anchors because they are easy to drill into drywall and you can remove them fairly easily with a phillips head screwdriver. There are several other brands and types of wall anchors that will work just as well. When purchasing wall anchors, pay attention to the weight limit and wall types they are designed for.

Now, pin this post because friends don’t let friends use el Cheapo Wall anchors!

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

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A clogged tub or sink is an inevitable situation for any homeowner. Before you reach for the toxic drain cleaner, try this easy and inexpensive Non-Toxic Drain Opener.

All you need is a box of baking soda and cheap white vinegar.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Day 14: Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Remove the drain pop up and pour a LOT of baking soda into the drain.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour white vinegar into the drain until it causes a bubbling reaction. Continue until the baking soda fails to bubble up.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the hot water full blast. Let it run for at least a minute.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Hopefully this quick and non-toxic solution will clear your drain. Need some help getting that pop up back in place, follow this tutorial.

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is coming and this year I want to help you protect your home from a burst pipe because it froze. Much like your water pipes (which should have foam insulation sleeves on them,) it’s important to protect your spigot on the outside of your house from freezing.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, Frost King makes this handy dandy Insulated Outdoor Faucet Cover.

Day 12: Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

To install the insulated cover, you simply slip the interior cord loop over the spigot handle.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Cinch the cord lock tight onto the styrofoam cover.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

And your spigot is protected from freezing leading to a costly burst pipe.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

The nice thing about these covers is they can be installed and removed in seconds. If you need to use your spigot, it’s simple to remove and then replace the cover.

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