Great Projects for Under $100 – Get It Done – Ask The Handyman St Louis

FaucetThere are so very many things we can do to class up our home.  Some projects can be expensive.  But there are many which don’t cost quite so much that can leave a lasting impression.  Here are a few ideas that can make a difference.

Replace the door knobs and hinges on the interior doors with bright brass fixtures.  The cost of a bright brass interior lock is about $15 – 20, and the hinges are about $5 each (a door will need either 2 or 3).  The time to replace them would take about one hour per door, including the hinges.

Paint your front door.  A fresh coat of paint on your door will make it look as if it were new.  If you add a color besides white, you can really make a statement.  One gallon of paint will cost about $25 – $45, and it would take about one hour.

Add a door knocker and kick plate to your front door.  This also will create a classy look, especially if you use bright brass.  These can be seen from a long way away, making the front entrance welcoming.  The cost for a door knocker is about $15 – $20 and the kick plate would be about the same.

Replace ordinary toggle switches in the public rooms with dimmers.  You will be amazed how a lower level of light can create a wonderful effect.  If you have different lights on different switches in the same room, you can decide which part of the room you want to accent just by increasing that level of lighting.Dimmer switches run between $10 to $30, depending upon the style.  One note to make however is that if you use the compact florescent bulbs, you will need a special dimmer, and maybe special bulbs.

Replace a kitchen or powder room faucet.  A new faucet makes things sparkle and can really make a difference in the looks of things.  Be sure to use a brand name faucet and not a cheap brand.  These are readily available for under $100.

Create a new effect by mounting picture rails in public areas.  These rails are easily mounted to the walls and can hold several framed pictures.  Another trick would be to occasionally swap out the pictures, keeping visitors on the lookout to see what you have added.

Toilet Water Running – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

In the middle of the night, I sometimes hear water, as if someone has turned on a faucet or a dishwasher is running. It only lasts a few seconds, but it is of concern. It seems to be coming from the bathroom. Any ideas?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in hearing these sounds, and better news – we don’t need to call an exorcist! It sounds as if the noise is coming from your toilet, and the fix could be quite simple.

Lift off the lid of your toilet. At the bottom, in the center, you will see what is called a flapper valve. This is connected with a chain to the toilet handle. When you press the handle to flush the toilet, the flapper valve lifts up, allowing the water from the tank to empty into the bowl, causing the toilet to flush. As this flapper gets old, it loses its seal and can allow water to escape the tank, going into the bowl. This isn’t a water leak exactly, just water leaving the tank. As the water leaves the tank, the “fill-valve” (the tall piece, usually at the left of the tank) calls for more water, so that the tank is filled. So, without fixing this, you’re going to continually lose water. Over time, this can be costly. In fact, if you have a higher than normal water bill, this could be the cause.

Fixing the problem is fairly easy. First, turn the water off below the toilet at the shut-off valve. Then remove the old flapper by disconnecting the chain from the handle, then remove the flapper. The two most common flappers can then be completely removed by taking the “rabbit ears” off the notches, or, by lifting the flapper up to the top of the tube.

The best thing to do if you aren’t familiar with types of flappers is to go to the hardware store with the old flapper and buy a new one. The installation is just as simple as taking it off. However, once you have it in place, the chain may need to be adjusted. There should only be a slight amount of slack in the chain. If there is too much slack, the flapper may not lift up properly and you may not get a good flush. If the chain is too tight, it may cause the flapper to lift up somewhat, causing water to go into the bowl, and you then have the same problem as you did to begin with. So, be sure to adjust the chain properly. When this is done, cut off any excess chain, so that the flapper can’t get caught in the excess.

You’re done! Just turn the water back on, let the tank fill up and turn off. Then, just listen to see if any water is escaping. Or, a great little trick, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then come back and look into the toilet bowl. If there isn’t any colored water, you’re all set!

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Installing a New Vanity Faucet – Get It Done – Ask the Handyman St. Louis

Do I need a plumber to replace a bathroom sink faucet?

Generally, for a kitchen or vanity faucet, this can be done without a plumber.  However, changing a faucet is never a comfortable thing to do.  I’ve often said that plumbing is my exercise in prayer.

To begin changing a vanity faucet, first turn off the water supply.  If the faucet has shut-off valves inside the vanity, turn them off then verify that by turning the faucet on (if you have a two handle faucet, turn them both on).  If you still have water coming out, this means the shut-off valves need a new washer, so you’ll have to turn your whole house water shut-off valve off.  When verifying this step, you may still have a small stream coming out of the faucet as the water lines empty.  Once the water is off, use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the supply lines (both hot and cold) from the wall and faucet.

From underneath the vanity, remove the two nuts which hold the faucet onto the vanity.  You’ll also need to remove the nut from the pop-up assembly where a small arm comes out of the drain.  Remove this arm and connection and you should then be able to remove the faucet from the top, pulling the supply lines up through the holes in the vanity top.

Clean the surface of the vanity where the base of the old faucet was.  Then you’re ready to install the new faucet.  General instructions follow, but it is always a good idea to read the instructions that come with the faucet.

It is easier to install the new supply lines to the faucet first.   Be sure to wrap the threads of the faucet body where you are installing the supply lines with a Teflon tape.  This seals the connection.  Always wrap the tape in the same direction as you would be to tighten a nut – clockwise.  Be certain that the nuts on the supply lines are tight.  Drop the supply lines through the holes and rest the faucet body in place.  You’ll then need to take the nuts that come with the new faucet and slip them over the supply lines up to the underside of the faucet and secure them tightly to the faucet body.  This connection won’t need Teflon tape.

Next remove the pop-up assembly flange.  This is the item you see in the bottom of the sink which is held in place by a large nut underneath.  Using the channel lock pliers, remove the nut.  When you install the new flange, you’ll need to use plumbers putty under this flange.  Just roll out a ¼” ring that fits under the lip of the flange.  When you install the flange and tighten the new nut, this will create a seal so water doesn’t leak.  Continue following the manufacturer’s instructions for the rest of the pop-up assembly.  When you’re all done, connect the supply lines to the wall shut-off valves and then turn them on.

Before you turn the water on, it is a good idea to remove the aerator (on the spout).  Turn the water on (hot and cold) and make sure there are no obvious leaks.  Next turn the faucet on, both hot and cold, and again look for any leaks.  If there are none, allow the water to run and empty any debris from the new faucet, then reinstall the aerator.  Be sure to look for any leaks under the vanity.

After a quick clean up you’re done!  And, you can use your new faucet to wash your hands!

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