Let’s face it, between keeping up with your kids’ schedules and completing your everyday tasks, simple home maintenance projects get pushed to the bottom of your weekly to-do list. But did you know there are a number of things that you, as a mom, can fix around your home when the kids are at school or when you have a few minutes of downtime? My advice is to pick one area of your home and make that a priority for the month. Since winter is approaching, let’s focus on indoor bathroom projects that you can do yourself and get checked off of your list.
Say goodbye to your running toilet
Pesky toilets are common in many households and easier to fix than you may think! Does your toilet run frequently or take two flushes to work properly? If so, you will need to change the water level and replace the flapper. First, look inside your toilet for the up-right standing tube, known as the overflow. The water in the tank should be about a half inch below the top of the tube. To adjust the water level you will either have to turn a screw on the top of the fill valve, which is directly above the water coming into the tank or pinch a metal clip to lower or raise the float. If it is a screw, tighten the screw clockwise to lower the water level or counter clockwise to raise the water to the proper level. If your toilet has a metal clip, you need to push the float closer to the bottom of the tank to lower the water and lift it up to get more water in the tank.
Now, on to the flapper, which is the rubber piece that is connected to a chain. Over time it can become deformed and not seal properly, which results in a running toilet. A new flapper costs as little as five dollars and I recommend purchasing a Korky® Flapper which is made in the USA. First, disconnect the chain, then pull the little clips off of the side of the overflow tube and simply replace the old flapper with the new one and re-connect the chain.
Fix a slow draining bathtub
Does your bathtub take longer to drain than the time of your actual bath? If so, it’s time to tackle this quick project and avoid an expensive visit from your plumber. About 90% of the time a slow draining bathtub is due to hair being caught in the drain. To fix the problem, locate the overflow, which is just below the waterspout in your tub and designed to keep water from spilling onto to the floor if you forget to turn it off. Typically, there are one or two screws holding the chrome piece in place. Use a towel to cover your tub’s drain, and then remove the screws and the plate. Once removed you will see a pipe. Take a wet rag and wedge it into the pipe to seal it closed. Then, fill the bathtub with about two inches of water. Take a good quality plunger, and while holding the rag in the pipe start plunging the drain. You will be amazed at what comes up! Use a pair of rubber gloves to pull all of the build up out and throw it in the garbage. After a few plunges and easy cleanup, your drain will be running like new, just in time for your kid’s bath.
Make your shower and bathtub look brand new
Over time and repeated use, shower and bathtub caulking begins to wear and look less than new. A simple re-caulking job will have your shower area looking shiny and new! If you can decorate a cake with someone’s name on it then you can do this with ease. The first step is removing all of the old caulking. To do this, you need to first soften the caulk by applying a caulk remover, which you can pick up at your local Ace Hardware. Once the caulk has softened, slice through it using a sharp razor knife or plastic putty knife and most will fall free. Next, use your bath cleaner to thoroughly clean the area where you removed the caulk and use a small fan to blow air on the shower area over night to dry it out. This step is key to your repair lasting.
Once dry, you are ready to re-caulk. To get a clean line and to prevent any excess caulk from getting on your tile use Scotch® Blue Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape both above and below the open space where the old caulk used to be. This area is known as the “joint.” Place a strip of painter’s tape along the edge of the bathtub or shower base and just above the joint to create about a quarter inch gap between the tape. Use G.E.® 100% Silicone Caulking and apply it into the joint. Squeeze enough to get all the way into the joint and then use your finger to draw a smooth edge that will spill onto the tape. Once you are done, carefully remove the tape to get a clean, professionally looking job. Allow the caulking to dry overnight before using your shower/bathtub area.
For more product tips and advice to help you turn your home maintenance to-do list into a to-done list, head to your local Ace Hardware store or visit www.acehardware.com.