We all have those tasks around the house that pop up unexpectedly. Running toilets, squeaky doors and damaged walls happen to the best of us. When these unfortunate events occur, don’t just shrink back in fear. With the right tools and these tips, you can tackle just about any job around the house.
Stop a Running Toilet
If your toilet is running, you should probably stop it. A constantly running toilet can not only drive you crazy, it can waste money as well.
1. Reach behind the toilet and turn the water off (there’s usually a knob behind it that controls the flow).
2. Next, lift the top of the tank. More often than not, you’ll find that the flapper or the flush valve has a problem, leaving the tank constantly emptying into the toilet bowl. The fix can range from a readjustment of the float and the arm (so the tank gets plugged) to a complete replacement of the tank’s interior parts.
3. Remove the old flapper and take it to the store to find an exact replacement. Most hardware stores often carry a wide variety. There is a catch; you may not find an exact match. The range of flapper styles has increased over the last 15 years, and you may find 15 to 20 flapper options on the store shelf. Some packages include specific brand and model information (so note yours before you leave home). Others have a “universal” label. If you can’t find an exact replacement, try the closest one and pick up a universal type as well. They’re cheap, and the extra one just might save you a second trip to the store. Avoid the “adjustable” types unless you’re replacing an adjustable one.
4. Install the new flapper and make sure it opens and closes freely. If the water continues to run or runs intermittently, you’re not getting a good seal. Try a different flapper.
1. Use isopropyl alcohol to make sure the surface you’re working on is clean. This usually breaks down any oil or residue that could make the caulk not stick properly.
2. Use some tape on either side of the surface you’ll be caulking. This will ensure straight, crisp lines.
3. Caulking is sort of like using a pastry bag (if you’ve frosted a cake). It requires constant pressure and the correct application, which is achieved by cutting the tip of your canister to a 45-degree angle. Insert the caulk into your gun—make sure you’ve punctured it if your gun doesn’t have a mechanism that does so for you—and take a deep breath.
4. Using constant pressure on the trigger, go between the taped lines. Don’t worry too much if it isn’t completely perfect, as you’ll be smoothing it out with your finger later, but get it as smooth as you can.
5. After you finish that up, wet your finger with some of that alcohol or some water and go along the caulked line, pushing it up against the surface while smoothing it out simultaneously. Wipe your finger as you go, as if you let your finger collect too much, it makes the job harder.
6. Once you’re done, pull off the tape and admire your work as a handy(wo)man.
Fix a Drywall Hole
Bad news, drywall holes happen. Anyone with small children or rowdy roommates knows this. Good news, it’s a pretty simple fix. With some specialized tools and material, scrap wood, compound, matching paint and sandpaper, fixing drywall holes is a cinch.
1. Use a retractable razor blade and cut out any paper or extra material that’s hanging out or loose.
2. Use a self-adhesive patch (it looks like metal mesh that can be found at any home improvement store) and fix it to the cleaned out hole. Let it dry out.
3. While waiting, mix up some drywall compound. Once that’s at a pasty consistency, use a tape knife and spread the compound around on the screen. Make sure that your drywall compound is thick enough that it doesn’t just ooze through the mesh. Cover the patch completely.
4. Next, add another coat of the compound onto the patch, covering the first coat completely. Using a wet rag, blend the outside of the patch into the surrounding wall, so there’s not a noticeable edge to where the compound ends and the wall begins.
5. Once the compound dries out completely, you can sand, paint and prime it to match the surrounding wall.
Don’t use a sander to strip paint from that dresser you’ve been dying to restore. There are chemical strippers out there that are safe for the environment and work without any truly hard physical labor. A chemical stripper can let you varnish and sand your wood instead of spending time sanding.
1. Simply spray or paint it on, let it sit for a while, then come back and scrape the paint right off. Works like a charm.
Reset a Circuit Breaker
So you went a little overboard while multitasking. No worries!
1. Turn off all the lights and unplug everything in the affected room or rooms.
2. Take a flashlight and open the circuit breaker panel so you can see the circuit breakers. Each breaker has three positions: on, off, and a center position.
3. Look for the circuit breaker with the switch in the center position.
4. Flip the switch to off, and then flip it to on.
5. Wait a moment to see if the switch stays in the on position. If it does, the circuit breaker is reset and power is restored to the room. If the switch doesn’t stay in the on position, it indicates a serious wiring problem. Contact an electrician immediately.
Milestone Electric cares about the safety, comfort and well-being of our customers. Visit Milestone Electric at www.MilestoneElectricDFW.com.