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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protect frozen pipes from bursting

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31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 9 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. Would you believe that a burst water line can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home? It’s true! If one of your water supply lines is not braided metal, you could be putting your home in danger of a massive leak; leading to a flood; which can lead to rot, mold and termites! Yup, termites love moist wood.

Day 9: Replace All Water Lines with Braided Metal:

Take a few minutes to look behind your toilet, behind your washing machine and under sinks to see if you have water supply lines that look like these:Replace Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses | Pretty Handy Girl

If you do, it’s time to change them out for braided metal water lines:

Replace Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses | Pretty Handy Girl

And if you are purchasing a new washer, dishwasher or refrigerator, request braided metal water supply lines instead of the basic lines that are sold with the appliance. The cost difference is literally a few dollars in some cases. That extra dollar or two could save you tens of thousands of dollars!

Replacing the water lines is as easy as attaching your garden hose. To replace your washing machine hoses, locate the water shut off (usually it is behind the washer.) Turn the knobs off. Then remove the supply line from the shut off and the back of the washer. Have a towel underneath to capture any drips.

Replace Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses | Pretty Handy Girl

Tighten the new braided hoses onto the washing machine and the water shut off valve. Turn the water back on and look for any drips or leaks. You might need to use a wrench to tighten up to half a turn more if you notice any drips after you turn the water back on.

Replace Water Lines with Braided Metal Hoses | Pretty Handy Girl

Replacing the water lines to your toilet and sink is almost as easy, usually the shut off valve looks like this:

water_shut_off_valve

Replacing the dishwasher water line can be a bit trickier if it is behind your cabinets. You might need to call in a helper to help you remove the dishwasher.

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water line replacement

 

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31 Day Writing Challenge

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

Raise your hand if you have a sad excuse for a shower head! Is it drippy, rusty or clogged? If you answered yes to any of those questions, I’m about to show you why there is no excuse for you being able to install a new shower head yourself! It’s super easy.

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

Materials:

(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.)

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

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

  • Optional: Shower arm & flange, rag to protect new shower arm

Instructions:

1. Remove the old shower head by unscrewing it from the pipe arm. Use pliers to help get it started.

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

2. Unscrew the old shower arm if it is rusty or won’t match the new shower head. Remove that rusty flange (now is the time to do it! Don’t put it off any longer.)

unscreEasy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girlw-old-shower-arm

3. Replace the old shower arm with new one by screwing it into the plumbing pipe in the wall. Then slide the new flange over the arm.

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

Wrap the end of the shower arm with plumber’s tape (wrap it clockwise to keep it from bunching up when you attach the new shower head.)

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

4. Screw the new shower head onto the end of the shower arm. Hand tighten the head. Then put the rag over the spot base of the shower head and use the pliers to tighten it 1/4 turn.

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

5. If your shower head has an extension hose, attach that at this time by screwing it onto the shower head and attaching the other end to the body sprayer.

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

Turn on the water and test the spray! Beautiful! No drips or clogs? If you have some leaks anywhere, give an extra 1/4 to 1/2 turn to tighten it the shower head or hose.

I installed the Delta In2ition shower head in the Topsail Beach Condo we renovated. I’ve been intrigued by this shower head and after trying it out, I love it!!!

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

Because who wouldn’t love a shower head that sprays from the top even when you want a body spray too?

The interior head is fully removable and nests back into the outer ring when done body spraying.

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

The only initial drawback I found was getting used to setting the body sprayer back into the ring. Once I realized you have to push it in and down firmly, there was no problem.

Wasn’t that easy? Go on and replace your shower head today if you’ve been putting it off!

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Disclosure: No disclosure necessary. I wasn’t paid or provided with the Delta In2ition shower head. My stepmom paid for it to be installed in the beach condo. I chose this shower head because I wanted to try it out.  

You must think I have plumbing on the brain. After all our leaks, I’ve spent some time in the plumbing aisle. While there I came across these three things:

They are beautiful, don’t you think?! Can’t you see them hanging from your Christmas tree or on your door? What? No?

Okey dokey, come along I’ll break it down for you, this is going to be fun. Read more

Leaky Shower or Tub Faucet

You know that saying, when it rains it pours? That statement has become an actuality in our home. While we are trying to build back from the plumbing leak, one of our tub faucets developed a leak. When I tried to tighten the handles to stop the dripping, this is what happened:

Leaky Shower or Tub Faucet

Oops. Luckily, I knew the fix was an easy one, if you can screw in a light bulb, you are qualified to fix a leaky faucet!

I’ve solved this problem in a few tubs and showers (including one on the day I went into labor with my youngest.) Yup, you could say that the faucet wasn’t the only thing that sprung a leak. LOL.

Leaky Shower or Tub Faucet Read more


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Thank you all for your comments about my post on polybutylene pipes. Since that post my life has been squished into a duffle bag and rolled down a big hill. I'm not sure whether we are coming or going. On Wednesday night we all slept in the house, but we were getting headaches (either from the mold or the gigantic HEPA filters running full blast all over our house. It must be what it's like to live in the turbine engine of a plane. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”)

By Thursday morning we were anxious to get the mold remediation on it's way. But, then we got some bad news. Under our linoleum kitchen floor was another layer of vinyl flooring…a suspiciously older layer of flooring. The disaster team had to send a sample to the lab for asbestos. I seriously never would have thought it would come back positive, but guess what?! …it did. 🙁

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At that point we packed all our bags and got the heck of out the house. Lucky for us, we have family that lives close by, so we're hunkering down with the in laws. (I don't know what we'd do without them.) I'm a little concerned about how long we'll be staying here. My mother-in-law better be prepared for when I get stir crazy and start going a little “pretty handy girl” on her home ;-D.

In the midst of our adventures living out of suitcases, the Southern Bloggers Conference started here in Raleigh. I don't think the timing could have been more perfect to help take my mind off of this musty mess. I've been enjoying being surrounded by other creative bloggers. I have more pictures, but can't download them off my camera until I can get a little time back home.

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Rhoda from Southern Hospitality Blog

AND NOW….I've been dying to Rock Your World!!!!! A bunch of my DIY friends and I decided we wanted to put together a HUGE giveaway! One that will truly rock your socks off. Get ready for three days of amazing prizes! Each day will have almost $5K worth of goodies from our favorite companies.

Are you ready? Limber up your mouse and your index finger….because you are going to want to enter to win every single day!!!

Coming up on Monday:

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Seriously, we tried to fill everything plus a kitchen sink into this giveaway!

Followed by:

The Pin-acle of all Giveaways

And Finally:

Shut the Front Door {To Keep the Goodness In} Giveaway

 

I'm really excited and truly hope that you win! So be sure to be here Monday morning when I can reveal all the prizes!

 

Photo courtesy of Grotuk via Creative Commons

Today’s regularly scheduled post has been interrupted by a leak in our laundry room.

I hope my misfortune is your gain. These are the things I’ve learned about burst pipes, polybutylene pipes and mold. If you are a homeowner, soon-to-be a homeowner or even if you rent, this post is for you! Read more

 

three in one patio table centerpiece vase and planter

 

Wanted: A better name for this invention I created!

What is it? I consider it a multi-purpose centerpiece for your umbrella-shaded patio table. But, it can also be a serving station for utensils and napkins. Add some water and it becomes a vase for the table. When the flowers wilt, plant some shade loving flowers into it and you have a living centerpiece! So, my working title was: Plant-a-ma-bo-a-ma-holdey-flowers-n-stuffin-vase. But, I don’t think that anyone would be able to pronounce that. (Nor would that be very SEO friendly.)

Whatever the name, I’d love to share how easy it is to make this outdoor living table centerpiece. Read more

Installing Your Own Sprinkler System

Last week I shared with you how to grow a better lawn based on what I learned from my education at Pennington Seed. Part of growing a more beautiful lawn is learning how to water it properly. Did you know that the majority of homeowners overwater their lawn and plants? Typically your yard only needs 1 inch of water per week (1/2 inch waterings two times a week) If you install your own sprinkler system with a timer and a rain gauge, you can insure that your lawn and/or landscaping gets just the right amount of water.

When we lived in our old house, Pretty Handsome Guy and I received a quick tutorial on installing a sprinkler system in our yard. Our neighbor — the previous owner of our current home (Yes, it’s complicated like that.) — showed us how to piece together pvc pipes, add spray heads and set up a timer to water our lawn. Now I’m passing this information on to you.

Here is the Pretty Frugal Girl’s method for installing your own sprinkler system! Read more

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

I’ve received a few emails and comments letting me know that some of you are going to try to repair your toilets! I just wanted to say, way to go! Plus, some of you had a few questions for me as well.

Here are the questions:

1. Our 1/2 bath toilet seems to chronically clog. We use enzyme stuff to clear it but it just clogs again the next time someone does anything substantial in it. It’s annoying. Any tips?

A. Adjust the amount of water in the tank so it will give more H20 to flush (as shown at the end of Toilet Repairs Part 2). Or use a good accordian style plunger:

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

If all else fails, you may have a clog and need to snake your toilet out. I’ve seen some snakes that attach to a drill.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Just be careful you don’t scratch the bottom of your toilet bowl when snaking it.

2. What are the symptoms for needing a new fill valve? On ours, you have to push the flush handle down really hard and hold it… or it won’t flush at all on first flush sometimes. Thanks for the great tutorials!

A. It sounds like you either need a new flapper or you might try tightening the chain between the flapper and the lever rod. If you need to replace the flapper, you should probably replace the entire overflow tube/flapper assembly.

And that leads me to today’s tutorial!

How to replace the overflow tube and flapper:

In review, here is what your toilet tank parts are:

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

And here is the kit I recommend you purchase (costs about $20):

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

And here are the tools you will need:

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

  • Plumber’s Wrench (must have a wide mouth opening. The Irwin pliers shown have just enough of an opening to work)
  • Adjustable Crescent Wrench
  • Handsaw (drywall, coping or hack saw will work. Needs to cut through PVC)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Level
  • Scissors
  • Bucket or basin
  • Sponge
  • Rags or Towels
  • Rubber Gloves

Disclaimer: This tutorial is a general overview of replacing an overflow tube and flapper in your toilet tank. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your toilet parts as there may be changes or additional steps.

If you haven’t done so already, start by turning off the water. There should be a water shut off valve in the wall behind your toilet. Gently turn the knob clockwise to shut the valve.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Next, flush your toilet to drain the water from the tank. If your tank re-fills the water is not completely shut off.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Remove the lid to your tank. Set it in a safe place where it can’t get dropped and broken.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

If there is still a lot of water in the bottom of the tank. Lift the flapper chain to drain the tank to the top of the flapper.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Use a sponge to completely soak up all the water remaining in the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Once the tank is completely empty we can start to remove the overflow tube and flapper. But, first you need to disconnect the water supply tube. Because TODAY we are going to take the entire tank off! Don’t be freaked out, you can do this. It is just like unscrewing the screws and removing a light switch cover (only it weighs a lot more.)

Look underneath the tank to see where the water line feeds into the tank. Using pliers, loosen and then remove the coupling nut from the supply line.

One quick note about supply lines: If your toilet has a plastic or rubber supply line, you should consider replacing it with a braided metal supply line that is less prone to breaking or leaks (in other words they can cause a major flood!) The same advice applies to the water lines under your sink and definitely your clothes washer.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Place the basin or bucket underneath the supply line and gently remove the line from the bottom of the fill valve (gray threaded stem shown below.)

 

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Detach the chain from the lever rod inside the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Remove the rubber gasket by lifting up the sides of the flaps. If your gasket is attached a different way, don’t worry about it, just leave it attached.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Disconnect the water refill hose from the overflow tube by sliding the anchor hook up and off the overflow.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Use your flat head screwdriver to lose the bolts at the bottom of the tank (on either side of the flapper.) You may need to reach underneath and hold the nut (or wing nut) with pliers as the bolt begins to loosen.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Once the nut (or wing nut) has been removed, you can now lift the tank off the toilet (using both hands.) Ask for help if you are concerned about possibly dropping the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

I recommend draping a towel over the toilet seat lid to rest the tank onto.

Remove the rubber gasket in the center of the underside of your tank. You may want to wear gloves (not because of germs, but because the rubber may be deteriorating and can leave black on your hands. But, come to think about it, I have two little boys and their aim isn’t exactly spot on. If you know what I mean.)

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Now you need to remove the two bolts that held the tank to the toilet base. Loosen the nut with the pliers or crescent wrench.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Remove the nut and washer.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Repeat to remove the other bolt.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Grab the pliers and loosen the large plastic hex nut that was under the gasket. Then remove the nut. (I’m very thankful that the Irwin Adjustable Hex pliers I have worked perfectly. Otherwise, I would have had to buy a pair of plumbing pliers.)

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Now you can remove the overflow tube and flapper assembly from the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

If you are replacing all the parts in your tank at once, when the tank is empty is a great time to give it a good cleaning!

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Okay, time to put Frankenstein back together again. Grab the new overflow tube and flapper assembly from your kit. Insert the new overflow tube back into the toilet tank. Make sure it is sitting flush against the bottom of the tank (you may need to tilt the tank for it to feed all the way through.) Then set your level up to the line indicated on the fill valve. Make a mark on the overflow tube one inch lower than the mark on the fill valve..

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Cut the top of your overflow tube off using a saw. Sand any rough edges if necessary.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Re-insert the flush valve (overflow tube & flapper assembly) into the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Thread the new hex nut onto the bottom of the overflow tube and hand tighten it.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Because I don’t possess the masculine type strength, I use my pliers to turn the hex nut another half a turn until it is snug but not tight enough to crack the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Fit the new rubber gasket over the hex nut as shown below.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Insert two new bolts into the tank with a rubber washer just below the head of the bolt.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Thread a metal washer and a nut onto the bolts from the underside of the tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Gently tighten the nut with the crescent wrench. I can’t stress enough how important it is not to overtighten the nut. Or you will crack your toilet tank.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Repeat the same steps to insert the other bolt. The bottom of your tank should look like this:

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Carefully replace the tank back onto the toilet base. Being sure to line up the bolts with the holes on the toilet.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Set a level on top of the tank and level it.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Thread the rubber washer, metal washer and then the new wing nut onto the bottom of the bolt. Tighten the wing nuts on both sides. All the while keep an eye on the tank to make sure it stays level.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Attach the flapper chain back onto the lever rod. Make sure there is a slight amount of slack in the chain, but not too much. Trim any excess chain that hangs too close to the flapper.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper
Attach the water refill hose to the over flow tube by sliding the anchor clip back onto the overflow tube..

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Re-attach the water supply line making sure the coupling nut is nice and snug.

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Turn on the water supply to refill the tank. Test the toilet by flushing it. Make sure the flapper closes and nothing holds it open. Replace the tank lid and enjoy your fully functioning toilet!

Toilet Repairs Replacing the Overflow Tube and Flapper

Hey, thanks for sticking with me through this “ugly” but necessary tutorial series. Hopefully I haven’t scared you off (judging from the very few comments I received.) I promise I have some more “attractive” tutorials coming soon. Then you can bring back your wonderfully sweet comments.