Friday, October 23, 2009

Take a picture of your plumbing problem

Does this story sound familiar? You go to the hardware store spend forever trying to buy what you need, go home and realize you bought the wrong thing.

Or how about this story? Something goes wrong and you don't know how to fix it so you hire someone and pay a minimum of $50 for the repair.

I've found a much better solution. Take a picture of your problem before heading to the store. In the past year all 3 of my toilets have broken, a pipe corroded under my kitchen sink and most recently I had a leak at the connection under my kitchen sink (pictured). I have been able to fix these problems for less than $4 each time there has been a problem. Much less than it would have cost to pay a professional.

I simply take a picture of the problem area and take my camera with me to Lowe's. I show the worker where I have the leak and seek their advice on what tools I will need to fix it. They then show me where to find the parts as well as give whatever advice they may have on fixing it. In the instance of the pipe that corroded I also took a picture of the writing on the pipe so that I would know exactly what size I needed to get, not allowing my handwriting to confuse me if I had written it down.

Some plumbing problems can be very complicated and I would recommend a plumber for those but a simple problem such as a leaky faucet can be easily remedied by anyone as long as you know what parts you need. The best part of it all? The satisfaction of acomplishing something and not spending a lot of money doing it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Inexpensive Way to Update Your Light Fixtures

My house was built in the 1970's and the light fixtures have been hanging around since then. I don't have the money to buy new ones and to be honest the thought of switching the wires terrifies me. This is a simple and easy way to give them a little update without doing a whole lot of work or spending a whole lot of money.
1. Buy a spray paint that you can easily apply to metal surfaces. This is a hammered finish spray paint that I bought for less than $7. I wanted my fixtures to look like dark metal but there are all kids of paints for all kinds of decorator styles.
2. Clean off you light fixture and lightly sand it if necessary.

3. Remove glass and bulb. Also, make sure you turn off the power to that light.
4. Unscrew the knob that connects the sconce to the wall.

5. Tape paper to the wall to protect it from the spray paint. I used old Christmas wrapping paper that I buy for pennies at the after Christmas sales.
6. Replace the sconce carefully. Do not put the main screw back on, paint it separately, you do not want it to get stuck as it dries.
7. Spray the sconce until all parts are covered. I made a mistake and didn't get the underside. I'm going to have to redo mine so make sure you got it everywhere the first time.
8. Let dry. Make sure that the paper isn't sticking to the sconce.
9. Remove paper and put main screw back in place.
10. You can also put the bulb back in and even change out the glass. Our Church did a swap earlier this year of old items we didn't need. It was basically a free, multi-family garage sale. There I picked up a big box filled with glass for light fixtures. This one is a little too clear or my taste so I think I will lightly paint the inside white.
This project was super easy and took much less than an hour to complete. I'm happy with the finished product and I'm ready to work on updating the rest of the fixtures in the house. Good bye gold!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fill Out Those Product Information Forms!!

You know when you buy a baby item such as a crib, high chair, stroller etc. they come with a little card for you to fill out your information and send it back to the company? They often call these product registration forms. FILL THOSE OUT!

I have much better things to do with my time than to scour random websites to see if any of my child's toys or other items are recalled. However if you fill out those forms and send them in you don't have to search they will contact you.

Recently I received an e-mail informing me that my child's crib (Jardine Americana) had been recalled. The reason? Some super human babies were strong enough to kick and break the wooden rails and 13 of them got minor scrapes and bruises. Not really concerning to me but the good news was I was now eligible for a new crib!

I hated the crib that we originally bought. Pregnancy brain, stress and a husband who was sick of spending countless hours wandering the aisles of Babies-R-Us forced me to buy a crib I wasn't in love with. For the past year I looked at it with resentment, plus my child was able to chew on the wood which made it uglier than ever.

Because I was informed about the recall I immediately was able to contact the company and was sent a voucher for any crib I wanted within the limits of the highest price that I could have bought the original crib at which for me was $299. The one I ended up with was a beautiful, dark wood, sleigh crib that was on sale for $299 down from almost $500.

So my advice - fill out those papers! It could pay off not just in a newer model but it could also potentially save your child from injury. Also, if your child's items fall apart or become hazardous don't be afraid to contact the company. You should at least be able to get a refund and you could save someone elses child from an injury in the future as well as help direct companies to make a stronger, safer product.