How to Fill Voids and Knot Holes in Wood

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Occasionally, you will get a piece of gorgeous wood that has voids or knots in it. You wouldn’t want to add wood putty, because it wouldn’t retain the look of the knots. But, you want a smooth surface. The solution is to fill the wood knots and voids with epoxy. The results will be beautiful and you’ll be hard pressed to find the patch afterwards.

Materials:
(contains affiliate links)

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Instructions:

Begin by taping off the area around the holes, voids or knots. Press the edges of the painter’s tape down to seal it against the wood.

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the epoxy from the packaging. (I used Gorilla Glue Epoxy glue that sets up in 5 minutes.)

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Snip or snap off the tip of the epoxy tubes.

How to Fill Holes and Knots in Wood | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the cap out of the plungers before trying to depress the plunger. Retain the cap to use if you have any leftover epoxy. [Read more…]

2 Minute Tutorial to Change Wiper Blades

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever had something get stuck in your wiper and you don’t realize it until it is pouring rain. Instead of pulling over to remove the object from the wiper, I tried the old “reach out the window and flick the wiper up.” Big mistake! I ended up breaking the wiper blade off the wiper arm. Ugh. Luckily we weren’t far from home, and I was able to drive home and swap cars before driving off the road.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Lesson learned, next time I won’t be so lazy.

New automobiles have improved the ease with which you can change the wiper blades. In fact, it will probably take you less time to change your automobile wipers than it takes to read this tutorial. Do you have 2 minutes? Great, let’s get to it.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Buy a new set of wiper blades. Go ahead and splurge for good quality wipers so they won’t start squeaking in a few months. Grab a flathead screw driver.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Insert a flathead screwdriver under the tab on the wiper.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Lift up and expose the wiper arm hook.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Press the lever down and push the wiper in toward the arm to slip the blade off the hook.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the broken wiper.

2 Minute Wiper Blade Change | Pretty Handy Girl

All wipers aren’t the same, so take a look at your’s. Sometimes you need to squeeze the sides or remove a small clip. Here’s a video to help you remove two different types of wipers: [Read more…]

How to Refinish Scratched & Rusted Appliances

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have an appliance that has scratches and/or rust spots? Unfortunately over time the rust will get worse if you don’t deal with it.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Today I want to show you how to refinish scratched and rusted appliances so you can extend the life of your appliances and make them look almost like new again.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Before you get ready to tackle this project, you’ll need to order spray paint specifically for your appliance. If your brand doesn’t carry a touch up spray paint you can try the universal spray paint by Rustoleum. Or buy the liquid touch up paint and only paint the rust spots.

Be aware that all white paint is not the same color. However,  typically the colors are usually the same within a specific brand. (i.e. All Whirlpool white appliances are painted with the same white.)

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Instructions:

Begin by sanding any rust spots down to the metal. Sand the entire surface lightly to minimize scratches.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Fold the sandpaper in half to get into grooves and tight spots.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Vacuum up any sanding dust and dirt.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a clean damp cloth to wipe any additional dust off your appliance.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

If you can drag your appliance outside, that’s the best way to spray paint it. But, if you can’t, you can mask off an area around your appliance with cardboard and newspaper. You can also use saran wrap to mask off tricky areas.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are working inside, crack a window and open a door. Use a fan to pull air away from your work area. Send the kids and pets outside if you are painting indoors.

How to Refinish Rusted & Scratched Appliances | Pretty Handy Girl

Put the respirator mask on. Spray the appliance with the spray paint. Use back and forth strokes that extend off the appliance and onto the masked area. If you stop at the edge you’ll have puddles of paint. A light coat is all you need for your first coat. [Read more…]

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding

$3 off Coupon for Bona Products | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

I love our antique heart pine floors! They are beautifully distressed. The round pegs and square nails securing them in place add loads of character. However, the square nails sit flush with the surface preventing us from ever being able to refinish them with a sander. The nails would tear up the sandpaper in no time. But, that’s no problem because I know a way to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding!

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***Psst, you’ll want to read to the end of this post to enter for the chance to win a year of cleaning services for your home and the Grand Prize: a trip for 4 to Hawaii!***

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How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

From time to time, our floors start to look dull…

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

…and the scratches are more noticeable. This is when I know it’s time to refinish them.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The first time I refinished our floors, it was several years ago when we were painting the office and dining room. I decided to try to refinish the floors because the rooms were already devoid of furniture. Several neighbors had recommended Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish. I was skeptical, but the results were beautiful floors that had luster, but still showed their beautiful age.

Before and After Finishing Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner did a fabulous job of cleaning the floor without damaging them. And, the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish provided a strong finish without any waxy build up. The high gloss protective layer adds some shine, but isn’t overly shiny. The polish also fills micro-scratches, evening out the appearance of the floor.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Fast forward to this past week when Bona asked me to write a sponsored post for them, I jumped for joy because I already use and love the Bona® Hardwood Floor Products! (Here’s my full disclosure: Yes, this is a sponsored post. No, I was not told what to write. And yes, I probably would have blogged about my experiences using Bona® Hardwood Floor Products at some point anyway. Win-win.)

I highly recommend trying the combo of the Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish before spending huge amounts of money to have your floors refinished. And to sweeten the deal, here’s the link to save $3 off your purchase of a Bona product(Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Polish will not work on floors that have an oil or wax coating. Test in an inconspicuous area to be sure it will work for your floors.)

Here’s how to Refinish Your Wood Floors without Sanding:

Materials:
(contains affiliate links)

Instructions for Cleaning the Wood Floors:

Remove all rugs and furniture from the room. If you have heavy furniture pieces that are never moved, you can leave them in place.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Vacuum or sweep the floors to remove all dirt and debris.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Assemble your Bona® Hardwood Floor Spray Mop as shown here: [Read more…]

How to Install a Towel Bar Securely

How to Securely Install a Towel Bar | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Securely Install a Towel Bar | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever reached for a towel and realized that the towel bar was barely secured to the wall? Installing a New Towel Bar Securely is a fairly simple DIY task if you know how to anchor the brackets.

As part of my little laundry room refresh, I decided to replace the dated brass towel bar that had started to come loose.

Materials:
(Contains some affiliate links)

How to Securely Install a Towel Bar | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional:

Preparation:

Begin by removing the old towel bar if you have one already installed. Look underneath for a tiny set screw. Usually you will need a small flat head screwdriver or allen wrench to remove it.

How to Securely Install a Towel Bar | Pretty Handy Girl

Once the mounting bracket is removed, you will see the mounting plate which can be removed by unscrewing the screws. Patch any holes in the wall and touch up the paint before installing the new towel bar.

Mounting Instructions:

Find the template that came with your new towel bar. Sometimes it is on the instruction sheet, and sometimes you have to cut it off the product box.

Hold the template up and line up the bracket locations with studs. If  you can’t line it up with two studs, you can use a good wall anchor. Don’t use the anchors that came with the towel bar. (Here’s why you should never use those freebie wall anchors.)

How to Securely Install a Towel Bar | Pretty Handy Girl

Tape the template in place and level it. Make any adjustments necessary to get the template perfectly level. [Read more…]

Auto Cup Holder Extender

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have a solid cup holder in your car that doesn’t hold all size bottles and cups? The console cup holder in our older Honda CRV has been a constant source of frustration for myself and Pretty Handsome Guy. When we drive around a corner the larger water bottles will inevitably tumble. Finally, I got tired of our bottles tipping and spilling on turns.

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

I found the solution in the plumbing aisle at Lowe’s! This plumbing part has solved our problem by becoming an auto cup holder extender.

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s called a 3″ PVC Cleanout Adapter Fitting and it costs less than $4. Simply run a line of hot glue onto the bottom of the fitting and set it onto the car cup holder.

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

Now we can take turns like a race car driver and not worry about those taller bottles and drinks spilling.

Auto Cup Holder Extender | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have any other auto tips or tricks for keeping your auto clean? I could use a little more help in that department.

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Fixing a Leaky Faucet – Take 2

Fix a Leaky Faucet - Take 2 | Pretty Handy Girl

Fix a Leaky Faucet - Take 2 | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember last week when I was showing you how to fix a leaky faucet in 10 minutes? Well, sometimes a fix doesn’t always solve the problem. This is not unusual in home repairs. It doesn’t mean you did it wrong or it’s time to call a plumber. It just means you have to look further for the solution. Don’t give up! Today’s tutorial should also take 10 minutes or less (minus the trip to pick up the parts) and should definitely fix that leaky faucet.

In my tutorial last week I showed you how to replace the “O” ring and seat washer on the faucet. This worked for a few days, but then the faucet began leaking again. The cause was a worn valve. As promised, let’s get to this equally easy and quick fix for your leaky faucet.

dripping-faucet

(Side note: it will cost approximately $15-$20 for new valves vs. $5 for new seat washers and “O” rings. This is still cheaper than a plumber. But, one reason you might want to try changing just the washers is that they are easier to find at Lowe’s or other home improvement stores. Replacement valves may be a bit trickier to locate. Valves can usually be purchased at a plumbing supply store. If you have one nearby, I’d suggest replacing the whole valve stem that comes with a new seat washer and “O” ring.)

Materials:

Fix a Leaky Faucet - Take 2 | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Faucet stems (cartridges) purchase after removing the old

Instructions:

(This may be déjavu from the other post, but at least you’ll be familiar with the steps by now.)

Begin by turning off your water. You can locate the water shut off valves under the sink.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the water until the faucet runs dry.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the philips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw on top of the faucet handle. [Read more…]

Fix a Leaky Faucet in 10 minutes

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Drip, drip, drip! Is that leaky faucet keeping you up at night? I have a 10 minute fix that will bring you sweet dreams and a lower water bill.

dripping-faucet

Oftentimes the washers in faucets wear out after continuous use. Replacing them is actually easy and will only take about ten minutes (minus the time to run to Lowe’s to pick up the new ones.)

Materials:

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Pliers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Philips screwdriver
  • O-Ring (purchase after removing the old one)
  • Seat Washer (purchase after removing the old one)

Instructions:

Begin by turning off your water. You can locate the water shut off valves under the sink.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the water until the faucet runs dry.

10 Minute Fix for a Leaky Faucet | Pretty Handy Girl

Use the philips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw on top of the faucet handle. [Read more…]

Day 30 – Seal Gaps Around Pipes

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have an open door policy for drafts and bugs?

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Of course not! Wait… you might and not know it. Have you looked under your sinks around the water pipes? If you have gaps around the pipes, you have the welcome sign up for cold air and bugs. Take a few minutes to seal around pipes with GREAT STUFF and you’ll stop them from entering your home.

Before GREAT STUFF approached me about writing a sponsored post for them, I was already a huge fan of their product. And between you and me, this post was already on the list of 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes! But, let’s keep that secret, because we don’t need GREAT STUFF to get an inflated ego. Ha, ha. Get it? Inflated. Oh yes, GREAT STUFF expands!

Two Headed Handy Girl

So much so, that I created a second head when I was working on my kitchen renovation. (I think my Halloween costume is complete, right?!)

But seriously, this is GREAT STUFF! It will fill in any gaps and holes in your home and foundation to prevent bugs and drafts from coming in. GREAT STUFF is easy to use, simply shake the can for 30 seconds. Add the spray nozzle. Don’t forget to put on gloves and eye protection. I created a super quick video to show you how to use GREAT STUFF.:

Spray GREAT STUFF into the gaps around your pipes. Do not overfill as GREAT STUFF expands as it cures.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Keep a wet wipe or paper towel nearby to wipe off the nozzle and wipe up any drips.

Once the GREAT STUFF has cured, trim off any excess with a serrated blade if necessary.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Here are just a few places you can use GREAT STUFF:

Around plumbing pipes under your sink:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

In the openings and gaps in your floor vents:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Around pipes and wires entering your home’s foundation:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you checked under your sinks or around your foundation lately? Buy a can of GREAT STUFF and seal all the gaps. Then enjoy your winter draft-free and your summers bug-free ;-).

Check out the Dow GREAT STUFF Pinterest board for more ways to use GREAT STUFF.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by GREAT STUFF. I was compensated for my time. As always, I’m extremely picky about the products I promote. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see it mentioned. All projects and opinions are my own. I was not told what to write or say about GREAT STUFF.

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Day 29 – Caulk Cracks in Siding and Trim

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

One of the best thing you can do to save money is to prevent water from getting through your home’s exterior. Now is a good time to walk around your home and look for gaps and cracks around doors, windows, trim and siding. If you see any, I’ll show you super quick way to caulk and fill them.

Here’s a big crack over our front door.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Gah! Two more gaps:

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Clean off around the crack with a wet rag dipped in mild soap and water. If there’s mold or mildew, a water and bleach solution should get rid of it.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Thanks to my reader, Susan Cole, for this tip. If you are caulking upside down or the tube keeps slipping out of the gun, slip a rubber band around the tube and gun to hold it in place.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Here’s a quick video tutorial to show you how I breeze through caulking cracks and gaps:

That’s all there is to it! Now our home is protected from water and insects.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

In case you were wondering, I was able to lean out the dormer window while keeping my feet on the floor.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

If I had needed to lean out any further, I would have used a sturdy ladder or hired someone to do it for me. Recently I’ve been leaning (pun intended) toward hiring out any task that involves climbing higher than one story. Falling from a ladder is just too risky for this DIY Mom. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I always will.

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Day 26 – Weatherstrip Your Garage Doors

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Do you have a garage? Are your garage doors insulated or weather stripped? Or do you have big gaps in the sides like this:

gap_in_garage_door

If you don’t have weather stripping on your garage doors, you could be throwing away money on heating spaces above and/or next to your garage. Not to mention, making it uncomfortably cold for any of us Handy Peeps who work in the garage.

Day 26 – Weatherstrip Your Garage Doors

In an hour you can seal the gaps around your garage door. This could make a huge difference in the temperature of your garage. And you could improve the temperature in adjacent rooms. After installing the weather stripping we noticed a huge difference in the temperature of our bonus room that sits on top of the garage.

Garage Door Side and Top Weather-strip Kit costs less than $20. Be sure to measure the sides and top of your garage doors and order enough to cover.

Use the nails included in the kit to secure the garage door seal against your doors.

For a time saving tip and more detailed directions you can follow my full tutorial for installing garage door weatherstripping.

These were the resulting temperature shifts after I installed the weather stripping on our garage doors:

Before Weather Stripping:

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 55˚F 10 degrees
30˚F 45˚F 15 degrees

 

After Weather Stripping: 

Outside Temperature Inside Garage Temperature Temperature Difference
45˚F 65˚F 20 degrees
30˚F 58˚F 28 degrees

 

Go ahead and seal those gaps and enjoy a warmer garage and home this winter.

garage_doors

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Day 25 – Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you leave your crawlspace vents open or closed? The great debate ends now.

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

If you guessed open, you are right. If you guessed closed, you are also right!

Crawlspace vents should be opened in the spring and closed in the fall. The reason being that you want to preserve any heat in your crawlspace in the winter. This will help protect your water pipes from freezing and keep your home a little cozier on those cold days.  Once spring arrives, go ahead and open the vents to allow better air flow in the crawlspace and to eliminate moisture build up.

Adjusting the vents should take you 5-10 minutes total.

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

Usually, they will slide freely open and closed with your own hand strength.

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

Occasionally you’ll run into a stubborn vent that might be rusty or stuck.  Use pliers or a wrench to grab the vent tab as close to the base as possible and gently tap on the wrench with a hammer.

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

The only time you shouldn’t close your vents is if you have high radon; an appliance that can build up fumes; or excessive water and moisture problems. If you have these issues, you have bigger problems than worrying about your vents being opened or closed. Consult with an expert to remedy those situations immediately.

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Day 23 – Remembering to Change Your Air Filters Regularly

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m sure you already know how important it is to change your air filters in your home. As a Filtrete Ambassador, I’m happy to remind you why you should replace your Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction MPR 1900 filters on a regular basis:

  • Helps improve air quality in your home
  • Allergen reduction from air passing through the filter
  • Clean filters allow better air flow and less stress on your heating and cooling system
  • Capture airborne microscopic particles that can carry bacteria and viruses
  • Regularly maintenance and filter changes can help maintain your system

ultra_allergen_filtrete_filter

If you’re like me it’s hard to remember when it’s time to change your air filters. I have a solution!

Two tips to help you remember to change your air filters regularly.

1. Write the date you changed the filter on the new filter. That way you can peak at the filter to see if you need to change them soon.

date-on-filter-watermark

2. Sign up for a reminder email. You can sign up for the Filtete Clean Advantage Club to get reminder emails when it’s time to change your air and/or water filters. It’s easy and they’ll email you at your preferred intervals to help you remember to change your filters.

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Simply enter your filter size, the date you need your first reminder (or the date of your last filter change). Then choose how often you replace your filters (or should I say how often you should replace your filters.)

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Don’t forget to add your email address and click submit.

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

Now sit back and don’t worry about remembering to change your air filters ever again! When it’s time, you’ll get an email from Filtrete!

Now you can spend time trying to remember other important things, like what time is Flip or Flop on? Anyone else watching this show? Is is just me or does it bother you that Christina doesn’t ever get her hands dirty. Must be a Handy Girl pet peeve. ;-)

Follow Filtrete via social media on Facebook or Twitter for more tips and tricks to help create a healthier home.

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filtrete-brand-ambassador-Badge_sm

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete Brand. I have the honor of being an ambassador for them and have been sharing information from  Filtrete Brand. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own and additional products used in the project were selected by me.  I have been compensated for my time and for this post. I continue to work with certain brands  like the Filtrete Brand that I believe in, because of their quality and because I feel they have helpful messages for my readers. I will always disclose to you if you are reading a sponsored post. #HealthierHome #Ad

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Day 22 – Is Your HVAC Choking?

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Is your refrigerator running? Then go catch it. Is your HVAC choking? Time to administer CPR! When was the last time you looked at your HVAC unit? Specifically the condenser which is the big box usually located outside the house.  At first glance it doesn’t look too bad, but if you peek around the back…

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

…you’ll find a stray vine trying to make its way inside.

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

In order for your HVAC system to work efficiently and live longer, it’s important to keep vegetation and leaves away from the condenser. Never plant bushes or shrubs too close to the unit.

To discourage weeds and plants from growing back lay down some mulch, rocks or other weed resistant materials. I used leftover slate slabs around our unit. It’s what I had on hand and it was FREE.

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

Go check your condenser and if it’s choking give it some CPR by pulling back all the weeds and shrubs.

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Day 18 – 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

locate-nail-in-moulding

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Using a stud finder is the quickest and easiest way to find a stud. But, if you don’t have one or are too lazy to find yours (I’m often guilty of this), you can use one of these ways to find a stud.

Day 18: 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

5 Ways to Find a Wall Stud (without a stud finder) | Pretty Handy Girl

1. Measure from an outlet – remove an outlet cover and inspect the outsides of the box. One side will usually be nailed to a stud.

stud-visible-from-outlet-box

Then measure out to the left or right at 16″ intervals. US building code requires wall studs to be spaced at least 16″ on center (meaning the center of the studs.) This will help you locate studs. However, recognize that in locations near doors/windows or openings there may be a stud at less than a 16″ interval.

2. Look for popped nails or dimples on the wall – It doesn’t always happen, but in older houses you might see nail pops where the drywall was nailed to a stud. In newer construction this is less likely to happen because screws are used.

3. Look for nails in your baseboard or crown moulding – inspect your crown or baseboard moulding for nails that might indicate where it was attached to a stud.

locate-nail-in-moulding

4. Knock on the wall – You should use this method in conjunction with the methods described above. Use your knuckle to knock along the wall horizontally. A stud location will have a higher pitched sound and feel hard against your knuckle. Lack of a stud will have a lower pitch and hollow sound.

5. Use a small pin – Once you think you’ve located the stud, use a small quilter’s pin to verify that you found the stud.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

If the pin sinks in up to the head, there is no stud there. If the pin sinks in about 3/4″ and then stops, you found the stud.

pin-locating-studs

The pin method will save you the hassle of creating a larger hole only to realize that you missed the stud.

Okay, now go find your stud! {snicker, hee hee}

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Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl
31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s no picnic when you realize your home has been invaded by sugar ants. Instead of spraying your kitchen (or wherever you find them) try this Two Ingredient Ant Killer.
2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo by Stephen Ausmus – http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htm
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl

Mix equal parts sugar and Borax into a small disposable lid. Set it out near the area of largest ant concentration or near the location they are entering your home. Caution: DO NOT put this mixture where children or pets can get to it.

Leave the mixture out for 24 – 48 hours or until you have no more ants. The ants will take the sugar and Borax back to the nest where the colony will have a feast and consequently die after intestinal distress.

Lest you think buying a box of Borax is wasteful, I’ll have another use for Borax later this month.

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Day 16 – Holes in Your Trash Can

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Take out the papers  and the trash…ummm take out the trash?

foot_on_trashcan

Grrr, don’t you hate when the trash bag gets stuck in the trash can? No worries, I have an easy fix that will make taking out the trash a much easier chore. It may sound a little crazy, but it involves drilling holes.

Day 16: Put Holes in Your Trash Can

To release the suction created by a full trash bag in the trashcan you need to add some air holes. If you put the holes about an inch up from the base you won’t risk any drips on the floor if the bag leaks.

Simply drill three to four air holes into the bottom of your trash can.

drill_holes_in_trash_can

Now you can take out the papers and the trash or you don’t get no spending cash. Yakkety Yak, don’t talk back.

before_after_trashcan

This year we’ve added several chores for the kids to handle. Taking out the trash and recycling is one of their responsibilities. I’m curious, what chores do your kids have?

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Day 15 – Use Good Wall Anchors

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Curtain rods, towel bars, and other wall mounted accessories are relatively easy to hang. The trick is securing them to a stud so they can hold up to the abuse. But, how often have you found that you don’t have a stud where you want it mounted? Probably 98% of the time, right? That’s where it is important to use good wall anchors (specifically for your type walls.) Today I’m talking about drywall anchors.

Day 15: Use Good Wall Anchors

You are probably thinking, “Okay, no problem. The towel bar I bought came with wall anchors. I’ll just use those.” And that would be a mistake!

use_better_anchors

Why? Because those freebie wall anchors get mangled and they won’t hold up to regular use. DO NOT USE those El Cheapo wall anchors that come with your curtain rods, shelves, towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc. In fact, don’t even save them if you don’t use them. PITCH ‘EM…NOW… JUST DO IT!

I am a big fan of the TOGGLER wall anchors because they are easy to drill into drywall and you can remove them fairly easily with a phillips head screwdriver. There are several other brands and types of wall anchors that will work just as well. When purchasing wall anchors, pay attention to the weight limit and wall types they are designed for.

Now, pin this post because friends don’t let friends use el Cheapo Wall anchors!

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

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Day 14 – Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

A clogged tub or sink is an inevitable situation for any homeowner. Before you reach for the toxic drain cleaner, try this easy and inexpensive Non-Toxic Drain Opener.

All you need is a box of baking soda and cheap white vinegar.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Day 14: Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Remove the drain pop up and pour a LOT of baking soda into the drain.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Pour white vinegar into the drain until it causes a bubbling reaction. Continue until the baking soda fails to bubble up.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the hot water full blast. Let it run for at least a minute.

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

Hopefully this quick and non-toxic solution will clear your drain. Need some help getting that pop up back in place, follow this tutorial.

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Day 12 – Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is coming and this year I want to help you protect your home from a burst pipe because it froze. Much like your water pipes (which should have foam insulation sleeves on them,) it’s important to protect your spigot on the outside of your house from freezing.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, Frost King makes this handy dandy Insulated Outdoor Faucet Cover.

Day 12: Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

To install the insulated cover, you simply slip the interior cord loop over the spigot handle.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Cinch the cord lock tight onto the styrofoam cover.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

And your spigot is protected from freezing leading to a costly burst pipe.

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

The nice thing about these covers is they can be installed and removed in seconds. If you need to use your spigot, it’s simple to remove and then replace the cover.

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