Save Your Yard and Home From Flooding By Preparing Your Gutters For Spring!

There’s no doubt about it – we had some crazy weather last year. We as a nation experienced 1,897 tornadoes, intense thunderstorms, and a horrible drought that wreaked havoc across the nation in the summer. Perhaps the most memorable event that took place last year, though, was the record-breaking spring floods that affected the area.

In April and May last year, we experienced one of the largest and most damaging floods of the Mississippi River in the past century, comparable even to the notorious flood of 1993. In fact, the flooding was so intense that a two-mile hole was blasted in the levee protecting the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway, flooding 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri so that the town of Cairo, Illinois, an historic town located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, could be saved.

Springtime will arrive in the northern hemisphere on Tuesday, March 20, and with it, rainstorms will surely arrive. Perhaps we won’t see record flooding, but it’s always best to be prepared for the worst. Now is the time to inspect and fix your gutters and downspouts before the spring rain comes!

In the fight against rainwater and flooding, your gutters are the first line of defense. They, along with the downspout, aid in protecting the house from the rain and the melting snow, that is, if they are functioning properly.

But how do you know if your gutters are in good shape in the first place?

First of all, you need to clean out all the debris from your gutters and your downspouts thoroughly. Then inspect your gutters. Your gutters should be installed in such a way that there is a drop of approximately 1/16” for each foot of length the gutter runs. While you can use a chalk line and a level to mark the slope of your gutters, the easiest way to see if your gutters are working properly is to simply pour a bucket of water into the gutter. Watch how it flows. If it runs off without leaving pools of water in the gutter, then you’re in great shape! If you see low spots, the water will sit in the gutter, showing you where the low spots are.

If you find that your gutters are clogged, you should probably remove the elbow in your downspout to check for clogs as they almost always tend to occur in the elbow. If the clog isn’t there, you’ll need to look further within the downspout to locate it.

Found a leak? No problem! Scrape off all the rust with a steel brush (and we mean ALL of it – if you leave any, you’ll have to do it all over again in the future!). Next, cover the area to be repaired with a thin layer of asphaltum paint and let it dry thoroughly. Next, cover it with a heavy layer of the plastic cement that is specially made for roofs and gutters. After that, simply cover the whole area with strips of heavy aluminum foil while the cement is still wet. Press the foil down tightly into the gutter using a dry cloth. Oh, and you might want to have gloves on when you do this.

Taking care of your gutter system will take care of you in the long run. You’ll save your tree roots and plants from dying, your basement from flooding, your floorboards from leaking, and your house from becoming full of mold and mildew.

As an extra incentive, caring for your gutters and downspouts and inspecting them twice a year can double or even triple the longevity of the life of your drainage system, which, in the long run, can save quite a lot of money.

If you have any questions or would rather have a professional tackle the job, feel free to call us here at Get It Done, Inc.! Our number is (314) 966-3251. You can also check out our website at www.getitdoneinc.com to see what we can do for you!

How To Fix Your Toilet Flapper Chain – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St. Louis

 

On one of my toilets, I have to hold the handle down in order for the toilet to flush all the way.  What do I need to do?

-C.R. Kirkwood, MO

This can be a source of frustration, especially when nothing appears to be wrong.  There are a couple of possibilities, however, and the fix might be an easy one.

Inside the toilet there is a chain that connects the flushing handle to the “flapper” (the covering which is usually at the bottom of the tank where the water drains out).  Sometimes, the chain has too much play in it.  It should only have a small amount of slack.  If it has too much slack, the flapper may not raise up all the way when the handle is pushed.  If it doesn’t have any slack, it may not let the flapper rest all the way completely down. 

In your case, it could be too much slack, so try adjusting it.  First, turn the water off to the toilet by closing the “shut-off valve” which is located under the toilet tank where the water comes out of the wall.  Turn the valve clockwise to stop the water flow.  Then unhook the pin at the end of the handle bar.  Put the pin down a few links in the chain (towards the flapper), making it slightly shorter in length.  Reinstall the “hook” or “pin” onto the end of the handle.  You’ll then need to turn your toilet shut-off valve back on, let the tank fill up, and see if this did the trick.  If not, you may need to adjust it a little more.

If the chain adjustment doesn’t completely fix the problem, there is one more thing to check.  Look at how the flapper is attached to the tank.  It should have either “ears” or a “ring” attachment.  The ears will be on either side of a tube which stands in the toilet – it’s the tube where the water goes down when the toilet is filling up.  These ears are small pieces that stick out slightly and the collar of the flapper fits into the ears.  A different way of attaching the flapper to this tube is by a ring on the flapper which goes over the tube and rests on the bottom.  Both the “ears” and the “ring” are designed to keep the flapper in place.    You should have one or the other.  If you have both, the flapper gets into a bind and won’t operate freely.   If that is the case, remove the ring and use only the ears. 

Check out Steve Cloninger showing you how to fix it in this video!

Steve Cloninger, expert handyman from Steve Cloninger on Vimeo.

Good Luck!

Time: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Materials: None

Keep The Cold Winds of Winter at Bay By Replacing Your Old Weather Seals!

 

The temperatures and weather conditions this winter have been rather benign for the most part, but winter is only halfway over. The temperatures could drop in no time to freezing and below freezing temperatures, and the arctic cold could sweep down and dump snow and ice in our area. So even though the winter is halfway over, it’s important to remain prepared for the worst to occur. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure your weather seals on your doors are in tiptop shape!

Sometimes, weather seals on the bottom of doors can wear out. It’s quite common, especially after a couple of years of good use. The seals, which are supposed to be pretty much air tight, tend to wear out due to the constant friction they get when you open and close the door. Soon enough, the seal deteriorates and starts to come off, leaving you with an unprotected door and a nice crack for all that cold air to sneak into.

Luckily, installing new seals doesn’t have to be rocket science. There are two basic ways of installing new seals. Either way will work just fine, too; it just depends on how you want to go about installing them.

The first method to install new seals is to replace it with the same type of seal that you have now. This would require taking the door off its hinges, taking the old seal off, and then installing a new one.

Sure, that may seem scary, but really, it’s not difficult to do! All you have to do is take a screwdriver and a hammer and tap the hinge pins of the door up and out of the hinges. If the door is heavy (which most entry doors ARE), you will probably need the assistance of another person.

Once the pins are removed, GENTLY pull the door out. You will then be able to set the door down and get to work! Check out the bottom seal to see how it was installed. Usually, the seals are nailed or stapled in, but sometimes, they just snap in, so you’ll have to see which way you need to remove the seal.

Next, find the replacement seal! Although the hardware stores may carry something that looks similar, it is best to find an exact match, which means going to a specialty store. If you are doing more than one door, it’s best to get a sample from each door. The new seal will be installed the same way the old one was, either by small nails, staples, or just snapping it in. Once this is done, just reverse the process of putting the door back on the hinges.

 

The second method of replacing the seal is actually easier to do because it usually doesn’t require taking the door off. The hardware stores will carry a variety of different seals. The best to use is called a “door shoe.” It is a “U” shaped seal that attaches to the inside of the door with small screws.

To use a door shoe, you’ll first have to remove as much of the old seal as possible. It’s best if you can get the entire seal off. Once the old seal is out, the “U” shaped seal can slide under the door and be attached. The slots where the screws attach to the door allow for you to adjust the seal up or down for a good fit. Before screwing in this new seal, be sure to close the door and make sure it will fit. If it doesn’t, you may have to remove more of the old seal.

When you’re done, close the door and get down on the floor to look to the outside. You should not be able to see any light under the bottom of the door. If you do, loosen the screws and adjust the seal downward until you can no longer see any outside light. It’s a fairly simple process, and once you have done one, you’ll be ready for the next.

So if you have any seals on the bottom of your doors that are in disrepair, take advantage of the unusually mild weather now and replace them! You will be happy that you took this project on and may very well feel the difference when the cold winter winds begin to howl (finally)! And besides, even if the winter winds up remaining mild until springtime, it’s better safe than sorry!

Do you have any questions? Want the professionals to tackle a project for you? Pick up the phone and call us here at Get It Done, Inc., at (314) 966-3251 or visit our website at www.getitdoneinc.com! Let us help you make your home the best it can be!