11 Plumbing Fixes You Can Do
11 Plumbing Fixes You Can Complete

When I tell people that there are few reasons to call a plumber, they are usually doubtful. Today I want to show you 11 Plumbing Fixes You Can Complete on your own! Whether you have a leaky faucet, a slow drain, or a malfunctioning toilet —today you’re going to learn how to solve all those plumbing issues and more! Ready to get started? No plumber’s crack required. 😉

Did you know you don’t have to live with a drippy, rusty, or poor functioning shower head? Learn how to Easily Install a New Shower Head for a simple bathroom update.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Shower valve stems wear out, it’s as predictable as rain on the day you want to rock a killer hairdo. Unfortunately I can’t help you with your bad hair day, but I can teach you How to Repair a Leaky Shower or Tub Faucet in no time. (Just so you know, my eight year old helped me with this fix. If he can do it, so can you!)

Unfortunately, clogged sinks happen to the best of us. Next time your sink basin refuses to drain, try this Non-Toxic Drain Opener. Plus, you can find the ingredients in your pantry (or buy them because they are inexpensive and chemical free!)

Non-toxic clog opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Oh $*+! Did you drop your favorite earring down the drain? Put down the phone, you can easily learn How to Retrieve Items Dropped Down the Drain by following these few steps. And hey, even if it isn’t your favorite earring, you’ll want to remove the item to prevent a future clog.

Replacing Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses is as easy as attaching your garden hose. But, it can save you thousands of dollars in damages from a burst water line. If you don’t have the braided metal type of hoses, you’ll want to learn how to replace them.

Replace Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses | Pretty Handy Girl

Drip, drip, drip! Is that leaky faucet keeping you up at night? I have a 10 minute fix that will bring you sweet dreams and a lower water bill. Follow this simple tutorial for Fixing a Leaky Faucet.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Sometimes the simplest and least expensive solution for a leaking faucet doesn’t fix the issue (especially if the faucet has been leaking for a long time.) Don’t fret, you can still stop the dripping without replacing the entire faucet or resorting to calling a plumber. Learn how to replace the valve stems in just a few minutes.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Years ago, my mom’s kitchen sink sprayer started spraying us! We tried to clean the head, but ultimately gave her faucet the boot. Learn how you too can install a new sink faucet in no time.

Occasionally a sink drain assembly will fail on you. You don’t have to wash your money down the drain by hiring a plumber. Instead, see how easy it is to replace a sink drain.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Toilet broken? Rarely does that mean you need to replace your toilet. If your toilet is in need of a repair, here are several fixes to put it back in working order:

Okay, I understand you really want to update your throne. In that case, here’s How to Install a Toilet using this simple app. If you get stuck, you can press a button and have a video conference with a licensed plumber! It’s amazing how one little app can save you hundreds of dollars on plumbing repairs (and more.)

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I hope you have the confidence to take on your own plumbing fix after reading these 11 Plumbing Fixes You Can Complete on your own. Remember, I believe in you, go ahead and believe in yourself.

The Perfect Showerhead for a Small ShowerPerfect Shower Head for a Small Shower

Raise your hand if you have a small shower. Have you ever struggled to find the Perfect Shower Head for your tiny shower? I feel your pain. Recently I had to replace a worn out shower head in our bathroom and I struggled to find the perfect hand held shower head. But, this story has a happy ending, because I stumbled upon the perfect showerhead for a small shower that works beautifully in our not so beautiful shower. I warn you, the harvest gold tile you are about to see may sear your eyes. I warned you.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I started by installing a Moen Twist Shower Head (that was given to me complimentary at Haven last year.) The problem reared its (shower) head immediately. The first morning, after installing the new showerhead, I turned on the water to take a shower, and realized this new showerhead wasn’t going to work. I stepped into the shower and got a face full of water, because the spray was too high no matter where I angled it. I could barely stand under the shower spray unless I was pressed flat against the opposite wall. I removed it and installed the showerhead into the boy’s bathroom tub shower and it was a better fit.

standard hand held shower head

At the home improvement store, I studied all the showerheads like a crazy lady. I decided I needed to find one that didn’t sit in the shower arm at the bottom of the sprayer. I almost gave up until I saw the Moen Six Function Magnetic Showerhead. It looked promising. But, I had to admit, I was skeptical of the magnetic technology. I tested several magnetic faucets that didn’t have the strength to really grab a faucet sprayer without being exactly against the base.

After installing the new showerhead, I lifted the sprayer off the shower arm. It detached from the magnets with a firm tug.

As I moved the showerhead back toward the arm, the magnets pulled and reseated the sprayer firmly in place. I was surprised and pleased by the magnetic grip.

magnetic Moen shower head

But, I was more interested to see how the spray pattern would measure up. With the water turned on full blast, I was pleased to see the spray didn’t hit the wall on the opposite side!

Here’s a good side-by-side comparison of the two spray heads (thanks to my wonky photoshop skills):

difference in handheld shower heads

Overall, I’m very happy with the new Moen Six Function Magnetic Showerhead. It is the Perfect Shower Head for a tiny shower!

I’m curious how many of you have a tiny coffin-like shower? Let’s start a small shower support group so we can discuss the challenges of shaving your legs in confined spaces.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post or paid review. I purchased the showerhead with my own greenbacks. The first showerhead I installed was given to us in our swag bags at Haven last year.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Just the other week we had a situation in the Handy Household. It was a recurring issue and was bound to get out of control resulting in a big mess sooner or later. Fortunately, the situation happened while Handsome Guy was traveling so I had a few days to try to resolve the problem. Ultimately I ended up doing some research to find a solution and that’s how I discovered The App that Saved My Butt: DIYZ App Review.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

DIYZ App Review

I have to admit, when I first heard about this app it didn’t sound like anything revolutionary. You can get a ton of DIY tutorials all over the web and YouTube. But, when I tried the DIYZ app, my mind was changed forever. This is where I should mention that this is a sponsored post for DIYZ. But, I wouldn’t write about any app unless I truly thought it is a good resource for you, my loyal handy readers.

Now that we got that out of the way, here’s how the story unfolded. We have a toilet downstairs that has always been temperamental. It usually acts up when we have company and then it’s embarrassing for all parties concerned. But, this toilet was usually set right with a few healthy plunges. Hopefully you understand that we put up with this cycle (clog-yell-plunge-solved) for nine years.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago as I tried unsuccessfully to clear that problem toilet once again. I plunged and plunged (while silently cursing my boys who were probably guilty of clogging it) until the plunger broke. I went over possible solutions in my head:

  • Hire a plumber – No, too expensive.
  • Replace the toilet – Maybe as a last resort.
  • Search the web for ideas to unclog a toilet – Free, but it’s hard to know which advice is good advice.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I happened to remember the DIYZ app (that I downloaded this summer) and figured, what the heck. I found a tutorial for How to Unclog a Toilet.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Within the app, you can shop for all the tools you need for the job.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I purchased an auger and tried to clear the clog, but still had no luck. DRAT!

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I knew it was time to take more drastic measures. I looked through the plumbing tutorials on DIYZ until I found the one I needed:

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

The tutorial was a quality video that included a list of tools and materials I’d need.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

The required safety gear is well illustrated. (Any tutorial that mentions the suggested safety measures gets a gold star from me!)

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

A list of the steps were spelled out in the beginning.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

After watching the video I felt confident to take on the task by myself. (Of course it would be easier with a helper, but no one was around to help me.)

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I starting by turning off the water.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Then I followed the step-by-step tutorial from DIYZ. Thanks to this app, we had a working toilet downstairs within a few hours. And it saved my butt because I know Handsome Guy would not have been happy to come home from his trip to this sight:

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Let me tell you why I really think the DIYZ app rocks. Have you ever gotten stuck in the middle of a project and need an answer from a pro? Or have you wanted someone to double check your work? This is the feature that sets DIYZ apart from the any other DIY tutorial source:

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

If you need a pro, you can have a licensed professional on the phone to help you in a minute. This is a revolutionary service. Think about it — you can get instant advice. Just send photos or switch to video chat to show the licensed pro the issues you’re dealing with. No more wondering who you can trust and who you can call. No more rushing back to the home improvement store to try to hunt down someone to answer your question. And no more watching YouTubers who may or may not give you the answers you need.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

How much do you think this service costs? Remember licensed contractors can charge up to $150 per hour. For that reason, you’ll be thrilled to hear that this service is free until the end of the year! In 2017, the Get Pro Advice will begin charging $10 for the first 10 minutes and $1 a minute after that. Definitely more cost effective than hiring a pro!

The app is now available for free download in the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android.

DIYZ also has more than just plumbing tutorials. Learn how to fix or update just about anything in your home from the DIYZ app.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Go ahead, download the app right now! What are you waiting for? It’s free and you have nothing to lose.

You can watch lots of tutorial videos in your free time. Educate yourself and learn how to complete your own home repairs and improvements. I can’t even begin to tell you how much money you’ll save doing it yourself.

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Handy Hints: If you do have to replace your toilet, I have a few tips for you if you are flying solo.

  1. Have a large lawn and leaf bag sitting next to the toilet.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the toilet inside the bag to catch any drips as you escort your toilet out of the house.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

2. If you are installing the toilet yourself, it can be difficult to line up the toilet on the bolts. Cut a drinking straw in half and put a straw on each bolt. This makes it a little easier to line up the holes in the toilet base with the bolts.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

3. Add scrap boards on either side of the waste pipe to rest the toilet on top of before seating the toilet and compressing the wax ring. This will allow you to line up the bolts, then remove one board at a time to slowly lower the toilet while double checking that it is still lined up with the bolts.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

One last tip. Don’t forget to remove the rag before setting the toilet (ask me how I know.)

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

Are you curious about what caused our toilet to clog beyond fixing? Well, it was actually my fault. Unbeknownst to me, my camera remote fell out of my pocket and into the toilet. For once I couldn’t blame it on any of the boys or men in my life. It was my fault!

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I had no idea, but it had wedged itself in the toilet. Even though I could have re-set the old toilet and called it a day, I decided to replace the toilet with a newer dual flush toilet and save water in addition to saving our guests any more embarrassment.

The App That Saved My Butt | DIYZ | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m happy to say the new toilet works perfectly! And that’s how a little app called DIYZ saved my butt! 😉

PHGFancySign

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for DIYZ. I was approached about working with DIYZ, but didn’t agree until after I found the app extremely helpful while replacing our toilet. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post.

How Energy Efficient Is Your Water Heater? | Pretty Handy Girl

Let’s talk more about energy efficiency today. Did you know that your water heater can be one of the biggest energy hogs?

How Much Energy Your Home Uses

It’s true! That conventional storage tank water heater works all day to keep your water hot. If the thermostat senses the temperature dip below the set temperature, it turns on to heat the water again. This goes on all day and night regardless if you are home or not. And until recently, water heaters had very little insulation. This meant that cold air in your garage or crawlspace would wreak havoc on the water heater making it work that much harder to keep that tank of water hot. It makes sense that this is one of the least efficient systems in your home.

New government guidelines have been established to require all conventional water heaters (tank storage style) to be more energy efficient. To achieve these higher standards, newer tanks have built in insulation. Sounds great, right? Not entirely. If you are replacing your old water heater with a new one, the same gallon capacity water heater takes up more space and may not fit in the same spot. This means you may have to purchase a new water heater that doesn’t hold as many gallons. This is a real problem if you have a crawl space water heater. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and replace your water heater before it dies. Your new water heater may even pay for itself by being more energy efficient than your old one.

What’s a homeowner to do? Well, first and foremost you need to determine if it’s time to replace your current water heater. Take this simple few question quiz to help you determine if you need to think about replacing your water heater. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here. Read more

Protect Water Pipes from Freezing | Pretty Handy Girl

In the same vein as Monday’s post about adding insulation, let’s continue preparing for winter. While you are under the house looking at insulation, take notice of your water pipes. Are they insulated too? If not, it’s important to protect your water pipes with foam insulation to prevent them from freezing.  Here in North Carolina, we’ve been experiencing more winters with temperatures dipping below freezing and sometimes in the single digits.

Having a water pipe freeze and burst is not a disaster I wish to experience. Water leaks, mold, termite damage and asbestos are plenty of experiences for one handy girl. Given my experience with water leaks, I will do everything I can to prevent future leaks (including installing water leak detectors.)

Ready to learn How to Protect Water Pipes from Freezing? This is one of the easiest tutorials I’ve written. Honest.

Materials:
(contains affiliate links)

Protect Water Pipes from Freezing | Pretty Handy Girl

Instructions:

If you are venturing into the crawlspace, protect your knees. As a brand ambassador for Duluth Trading Company, I was overjoyed to try these Duluth Trading Company cargo pants with knee pad sleeves. They are now my favorite work pants and I wear them with the inserted knee pads anytime I have to go under the house.

Protect Water Pipes from Freezing | Pretty Handy Girl

Locate any unprotected water pipes (look for copper, white, red, blue or gray pipes about 3/4 – 1 inch in diameter).

Protect Water Pipes from Freezing | Pretty Handy Girl

Measure the length of the exposed pipe. Read more

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever needed to know How to Replace a Sink Drain? Or maybe in the past you hired a plumber. Well, I’m here today to tell you that it’s not a hard project and I know you can do it!

I think the plumbing Gods smiled down on me recently. After the little leak that turned into a major kitchen renovation, finding this crack in the drain pipe saved us from another costly leak.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

I don’t normally inspect the drain pipes on our sinks, but I just happen to be looking for something under my sons’ sink when I noticed the crack on the drain pipe. Remarkably, there were no drips in the vanity. Before I could grab a new drain assembly, I gently hinted to the family that they might want to use another sink in the house. (I’m subtle, aren’t I.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Replacing a Sink Drain Materials:

(contains affiliate links)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Replacing a Sink Drain Instructions:

Lay out a towel under your sink to catch any drips and to cushion your work area.

Reach behind your drain and unscrew the cap around the pop-up ball and rod. Remove them from the drain. (FYI, if you ever have a broken pop-up, you can fix your pop-up stopper with this tutorial.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the stopper from the drain.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Look under the sink and locate the P-trap. Loosen the slip nuts from the p-trap near the wall and on the drain. (For more details, you can see this tutorial for removing the p-trap.)

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Pull the P-Trap down to release it from the drain. Dump any excess water and gunk into a basin.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

The tailpiece on my drain assembly was plastic and just crumbled in my hand (that’s why it looks like I skipped ahead.)

Use your pliers to loosen the nut on the drain and remove it. If the nut is stuck, spray a little WD-40 on it and wait about 10-15 minutes.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Pull the rubber gasket from the bottom of the drain.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Reach on top into the sink and lift up the drain flange.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Preparing the new drain:

Remove the new drain assembly from the package.

How to Replace a Sink Drain | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply teflon tape to every threaded section of the drain assembly: Read more

Fix a Leaky Faucet - Take 2 | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember last week when I was showing you how to fix a leaky faucet in 10 minutes? Well, sometimes a fix doesn’t always solve the problem. This is not unusual in home repairs. It doesn’t mean you did it wrong or it’s time to call a plumber. It just means you have to look further for the solution. Don’t give up! Today’s tutorial should also take 10 minutes or less (minus the trip to pick up the parts) and should definitely fix that leaky faucet.

In my tutorial last week I showed you how to replace the “O” ring and seat washer on the faucet. This worked for a few days, but then the faucet began leaking again. The cause was a worn valve. As promised, let’s get to this equally easy and quick fix for your leaky faucet.

dripping-faucet

(Side note: it will cost approximately $15-$20 for new valves vs. $5 for new seat washers and “O” rings. This is still cheaper than a plumber. But, one reason you might want to try changing just the washers is that they are easier to find at Lowe’s or other home improvement stores. Replacement valves may be a bit trickier to locate. Valves can usually be purchased at a plumbing supply store. If you have one nearby, I’d suggest replacing the whole valve stem that comes with a new seat washer and “O” ring.)

Materials:

Fix a Leaky Faucet - Take 2 | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Faucet stems (cartridges) purchase after removing the old

Instructions:

(This may be déjavu from the other post, but at least you’ll be familiar with the steps by now.)

Begin by turning off your water. You can locate the water shut off valves under the sink.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the water until the faucet runs dry.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the philips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw on top of the faucet handle. Read more

Leaky faucet? No problem! Check out this TEN MINUTE fix from Pretty Handy Girl to get that faucet working in no time! | how to fix a leaky faucet | #prettyhandygirl #tutorial #DIY

Drip, drip, drip! Is that leaky faucet keeping you up at night? I have a 10 minute fix that will bring you sweet dreams and a lower water bill.

Leaky faucet? No problem! Check out this TEN MINUTE fix from Pretty Handy Girl to get that faucet working in no time! | how to fix a leaky faucet | #prettyhandygirl #tutorial #DIY

Oftentimes the washers in faucets wear out after continuous use. Replacing them is actually easy and will only take about ten minutes (minus the time to run to Lowe’s to pick up the new ones.)

Materials:

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Pliers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Philips screwdriver
  • O-Ring (purchase after removing the old one)
  • Seat Washer (purchase after removing the old one)

Instructions:

Begin by turning off your water. You can locate the water shut off valves under the sink.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the water until the faucet runs dry.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the philips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw on top of the faucet handle. Read more

Seal Gaps Around Pipes

Do you have an open door policy for drafts and bugs?

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Of course not! Wait… you might and not know it. Have you looked under your sinks around the water pipes? If you have gaps around the pipes, you have the welcome sign up for cold air and bugs. Take a few minutes to seal around pipes with GREAT STUFF and you’ll stop them from entering your home.

Before GREAT STUFF approached me about writing a sponsored post for them, I was already a huge fan of their product. And between you and me, this post was already on the list of 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes! But, let’s keep that secret, because we don’t need GREAT STUFF to get an inflated ego. Ha, ha. Get it? Inflated. Oh yes, GREAT STUFF expands!

Two Headed Handy Girl

So much so, that I created a second head when I was working on my kitchen renovation. (I think my Halloween costume is complete, right?!)

But seriously, this is GREAT STUFF! It will fill in any gaps and holes in your home and foundation to prevent bugs and drafts from coming in. GREAT STUFF is easy to use, simply shake the can for 30 seconds. Add the spray nozzle. Don’t forget to put on gloves and eye protection. I created a super quick video to show you how to use GREAT STUFF.:

Spray GREAT STUFF into the gaps around your pipes. Do not overfill as GREAT STUFF expands as it cures.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Keep a wet wipe or paper towel nearby to wipe off the nozzle and wipe up any drips.

Once the GREAT STUFF has cured, trim off any excess with a serrated blade if necessary.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Here are just a few places you can use GREAT STUFF:

Around plumbing pipes under your sink:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

In the openings and gaps in your floor vents:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Around pipes and wires entering your home’s foundation:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you checked under your sinks or around your foundation lately? Buy a can of GREAT STUFF and seal all the gaps. Then enjoy your winter draft-free and your summers bug-free ;-).

Check out the Dow GREAT STUFF Pinterest board for more ways to use GREAT STUFF.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes

Pin for later!

sealing pipes with foam

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by GREAT STUFF. I was compensated for my time. As always, I’m extremely picky about the products I promote. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see it mentioned. All projects and opinions are my own. I was not told what to write or say about GREAT STUFF.

Other tips in the 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes series:


31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

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.

PHGFancySign

Pin for later!

baking soda cleaning use

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31 Day Writing Challenge

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