How To Fix Low Water Pressure

There are a few options to fix low water pressure that can affect faucets, showers, and other types of household fixtures. The first step is to determine whether low pressure is fixture-specific or affects the whole house.

fix low water pressure in your kitchen

Kitchen Faucet

The spouts on faucets for sinks in a kitchen often have an aerator to direct the flow of water. If water is slowly coming out of the spout, then the aerator (which is used to prevent water from spraying out of the spout) may need to be cleaned.  Remove it by hand or with a pair of pliers. If the aerator has lime scale buildup, then soak it in vinegar for up to eight hours. This will dissolve minerals that are causing low water flow.

Shower Head

One of the main reasons a showerhead will have low water pressure is because mineral deposits from hard water are causing a clog. Remove the showerhead and then turn on the water. This will remove any debris inside the pipe.  You can also use vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits inside the showerhead.

Toilet

A toilet that is slow to fill may have a bad fill valve. You can check the operation of the fill valve for a toilet by first turning the angle stop off. Remove the flex line connected to the toilet and place it into a bucket or other container. Turn on the angle stop and check the pressure of the water. You may find that the fill valve is bad and will need to be replaced.

Bathroom Faucet

Low water pressure from a bathroom faucet can be caused by a clogged aerator.  Use the same procedure as described for fixing the kitchen faucet, as shown above.

Washing Machine

Washing machines that fill slowly may have hard water deposits on the screens or supply hoses. Clean any mineral deposits by taking off the water supply hose from the machine.  The screens are on the end of the hose and on the washing machine. Cleaning the screens will improve water flow coming into the machine.

Additional Information

If trying to fix low water pressure sounds intimidating or just simply beyond your scope to tackle alone, call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or go enter your zip code above to locate a Handyman Matters location near you.

How to Replace Basement Windows

Installing your own replacement basement windows is a great way to save money, especially when you’re in the process of remodeling your home.  With the right supplies and tools, it is possible to replace a basement window in under ten minutes.

Measure the dimensions of both your old windows and the replacement ones to be certain the new window will align perfectly.  An improperly fitted window can cause a variety of problems.

When removing the old window, use a dry towel or a brush to sweep away any debris that might have settled around the area.  This will help ensure that your new window fits properly and seals to prevent drafts, leaks or any outside moisture from escaping into your home.

  • First, install your replacement basement window’s molding on the inside. Make sure that it’s properly seated so that it stays stable during the next step.
  • Next, install your window and molding from the outside.  Push the window in place from the outside. If you notice a small gap of 0.5 inches (1.27 centimeters) between the molding and the window, don’t be alarmed. This is normal and will happen.
  • At this point, take the window back out and begin adding caulking.  You should start by caulking the windows on the inside, following the instructions that your replacement basement window provides.
  • Then place the window back in the frame. If you need to adjust how the window is situated, use shims to keep it level. Once you’re satisfied with how the window appears on the inside, secure it in with screws in the way your window’s instructions specify.
  • Next, caulk the outside of the window.  Do this to prevent any air or water leaks around the outside of your window.  This can be the difference between a dry and a flooded basement in the summertime.

Saving a few dollars by installing your own basement window and gaining a bit of window installation experience can be more than worth it.  But if that’s more of a challenge than you want to undertake, you can always call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or go to enter your zip code above to find a location nearest you to arrange for a professional to do the job for you.

 

 

 

How to Increase Bathroom Safety

Bathroom safety is an often underestimated aspect of owning a home. Although most people would assume their bathroom is a safe place, the mortality rate says otherwise. Falls, being the primary cause of bathroom related fatalities, claim over 6,000 lives in the United States per year and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. Fortunately, for homeowners new and old, subtle renovations can greatly reduce the dangers associated with bathroom usage and potentially save the lives of themselves and their loved ones.

Toilets

Toilets may seem harmless, but they are the cause for over 40,000 injuries in the United States alone. Not all of these injuries prove fatal, but statistically, there’s a 1 in 10,000 chance that they will, an alarming statistic given the average person’s amount of visits to the bathroom. If you’re one of the unlucky few that has sustained an injury while using the toilet, there are many ways to prevent it from happening again.

  • Taller Toilets: Installing a taller toilet makes sitting down and standing up easier for those using it, lessening the risk of injury.
  • Conscious Seating: If you share a bathroom, ensure that the seat is down after usage. This is not only polite, but a great way to avoid a broken hip from falling in.
  • Keep it Clean: Always keep personal bathrooms clean and routinely maintained.

Showers

It should come as no surprise that showers have the potential to cause bodily harm. Surfaces are wet and slippery, visibility is compromised and those showering are often groggy and inattentive. Whether rushing to make it to work on time, or enjoying a luxurious rinse, shower users welcome risk into their daily routine upon turning on the faucet, but steps can be taken to lessen these dangers.

  • Shower Chairs: Shower chairs come in all different shapes and sizes. Installing one is relatively easy and can offer a relaxing place to sit while showering.
  • Grab Bars: Grab bars can either be installed permanently, or suction-cupped to the wall. They may not be the most decorative, but they increase shower safety tenfold.
  • No More Tub: If you’re not much of a bather, consider putting in a walk-in shower. This eases entry and prevents tripping over the tub.

Floors

Wet floors are responsible for 15% of the accidental deaths in the US, making them one of the most dangerous surfaces people set foot on daily. In bathrooms, locker rooms and kitchens around the country, wet floors have taken thousands of lives. A wet floor sign may seem adequate when it comes to prevention, but as the death toll continues to rise, it’s apparent that other solutions are needed.

  • Bathroom Mats: Bathroom mats and rugs need to be replaced frequently but can greatly reduce falling on the way in and out of the bathtub and shower.
  • Upkeep: Keep floors properly mopped and clean, and when possible, put up a wet floor sign so that people are aware that the surface is compromised.
  • Awareness: At the end of the day, awareness in the bathroom can be your saving grace. Although it’s easy to zone out on those drowsy mornings, don’t ever let your tired eyes result in your demise. And if you’re someone who shares a bathroom, ensure that it’s safe prior to people using it.

 

“Fortunately, for homeowners new and old, proper bathroom safety products can greatly reduce the dangers associated with bathroom usage and potentially save the lives of themselves and their loved ones.”

Author Bio: Jared Pennington suffered a bruised tailbone in high school after taking a spill in the locker room. He was fortunate enough to laugh it off, but he knows that other people aren’t so lucky. After he was defeated by a wet floor, he swore to never let anyone suffer the same fate in his bathroom at home.

Maintaining Your Yard and Garden During the Summer

Unfortunately, we can’t just do a little spring planting, fertilizing and weeding and expect to have a gorgeous yard and garden that lasts unattended all summer long.  It requires a bit of ongoing maintenance, like it or not!  But here are some easy and effective tips that will help you continue to enjoy your outdoor area to its fullest as the summer days pass (all too quickly, it seems).

Painful as it may seem to “deadhead” your flowers, doing so will ensure bigger, healthier blooms later on.  “Deadheading” is the process of pinching the blossoms off of petunias, pansies, columbines and other flowers just shortly after the flowers have reached their peak.  Plucking away the blossoms allows the plant to redirect energy and nutrients towards the flowers yet to come!

Similarly, it’s good to thin out clusters of sprouting seedlings for both flowers and vegetables.  During the planting stages, we never know which seeds will germinate, and which will remain dormant.  As often as not, too many seedlings will sprout in a single spot and then begin nudging each other for the available sunlight, water and nutrients.  By plucking out some of them, this enables the remaining ones to grow bigger and producer sturdier blossoms, fruits and vegetables.

Remember while trimming larger plants like rose bushes and shrubs, it’s important to keep the blades clean and sharp to secure clean cuts.  Otherwise, you risk harming vulnerable plants.  Be sure to clean your tools after dealing with diseased plants, and keep the blades free of debris and sap.

Be judicious in your watering, not just to conserve the resource, but to apply moisture when it is most advantageous to your plants.  Watering in the heat of the day or during a gusty afternoon is an exercise in pointlessness, as the water will quickly evaporate back into the atmosphere before it can soak in enough to do the plants much good.  Water things in the very early morning hours or in the evenings, when the sun’s rays aren’t at full effectiveness.  Collect rainwater from drain spouts, if you can.  And keep in mind that plants aren’t quite as discriminating when it comes to water as you or your pets are.  They can flourish just as well from leftover dish or bathwater or the contents of unfinished water bottles.

Make a habit of patrolling your property every week or so, checking for any signs of pests, damage caused by pets or sections of grass mysteriously turning brown.  Move quickly to refill holes, re-seeding bare patches, or applying a grass repair kit.

Be mindful that if you’ve set up a kiddy pool, gazebo, tent awning or heavy lawn furniture, it’s a good idea to relocate these things periodically to allow the grass beneath them to breathe and receive much-needed sunlight.

And, of course, a warm August afternoon is the perfect time to curl up with a glass of tea or lemonade and a seed and bulb catalogue so that you can begin making plans for next year’s garden.

For assistance in keeping your yard, lawn and garden in excellent shape, or for other landscaping help, you can always call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above in order to secure the services of Handyman Matters professionals who can tackle those outdoors tasks that are just a little too large for you to handle alone.

 

When Should I Clean My Air Ducts?

Ducts can be one of the filthier aspects to our home, and the thought of breathing in dirty air can give someone nightmares about respiratory problems and disease. I’ve been called on dozens of occasions by friends and acquaintances who seek advice on whether their air ducts should be cleaned – either by their own inclination, or because a duct cleaning contractor offered them an apparently sweet deal on their services.

Ducts can be one of the filthier aspects to our home, and the thought of breathing in dirty air can give someone nightmares about respiratory problems and disease. I’ve been called on dozens of occasions by friends and acquaintances who seek advice on whether their air ducts should be cleaned – either by their own inclination, or because a duct cleaning contractor offered them an apparently sweet deal on their services.

It seems that every facet of a house needs to be cleaned every once in a while, so it is natural for both residents and contractors to assume that air duct cleaning is a necessary routine maintenance procedure. After all, ducts constantly wheeze particulates of dust which cling to its surface and collect in supply registers. But despite how necessary it may seem, the benefits of regularly cleaning your ducts are debatable at best. The real question should not be how often a duct should be cleaned; it should be, “Is duct cleaning worth it?

In fact, there are very few circumstances besides visibly witnessing large clumps of dust being blown through your system that merit a good cleaning. As long as you keep your filter replaced or cleaned every so often, there’s not much to worry about from your air ducts. There are, however, two circumstances that absolutely require a thorough duct cleaning.

Mold

Mold can be particularly insidious in a duct system, where spores might become dispersed throughout your home. Not all molds are necessarily toxic, and some might not cause any kind of noticeable harm. But no matter the strain, allowing mold to spread freely throughout your system is always a terrible idea, especially if anyone in your family is experiencing symptoms related to mold exposure. The easiest way to check for mold is to smell it; since air ducts transport air throughout the house, you should check your ducts if you smell mold anywhere in your house and can’t locate where it’s growing.

Visual confirmation can be difficult with a duct system unless you have specialized equipment, and attempting to disturb a mold colony to get a sample can cause a world of trouble since you’ll be scattering mold spores everywhere. The coloration of mold isn’t usually relevant, but black mold might mean you’re dealing with a particularly dreadful toxic strain that has received a lot of press: Stachbotrys chartarum.

Regardless of the strain, a confirmation of mold in your system unquestionably merits a professional cleaning. It’s also necessary to address the source of moisture, since mold can only prosper in a moist environment. You’ll need to have the house inspected for water leakages that might be reaching your ductwork. Alternatively, excess moisture might be a product of excessive condensation, which is a red flag that your system is pushing too hard and needs inspection. Sealing air duct leaks will help keep moisture out and greatly increase your energy efficiency.

Refrain from using harsh chemical biocides in your ductwork. Sheet metal found in ducts is an ideal nonporous material for a mild 1/10th water bleach solution. After the mold is dead, vacuum dead mold material out of your system − dead mold can still be harmful mold. And if any trace of mold exists throughout your HVAC system, it is only a matter of time before it spreads again, so thoroughness can’t be stressed enough.

Pest Infestation

Any critters or bugs that make their way into your air duct (such as mice, roaches, fleas, etc.) are not only difficult to reach in an air vent, but they’re also prone to kicking up allergens, leaving droppings, and spreading disease.  Like mold, pests in your system can stir up a variety of symptoms, like allergy/sinus/asthma issues.

And as with mold, pest infestations in air ducts are problematic because it is a difficult to access space where harsh chemicals are unwise. Aerosol poisons are completely out, since it will linger in your system for days and inevitably lead to heavy intake on your family’s part. Any poison is a terrible idea, since you’ll leave a dead mouse to dry up in your system. In any case, pesticides are only a temporary solution. Bait like peanut butter traps are hit and miss, and can be messy. One viable trick is to use glue traps, but their application is limited.

The best method for purging your ductwork of pests is to remove the reason why they’re there. To be precise, use the Integrated Pest Management approach, which is more effective, cost efficient, and environmentally safe than any alternative. The gist of this approach is that inspection, identification, and treatment are necessary to eradicate pests. Proper sealing and maintenance are essential to deprive pests transportation, water, and food in your home.

While there is no definite word on whether regular duct cleaning is necessary, you should be mentally equipped to recognize when a problem exists and your air ducts require more drastic cleaning measures.

For more information you can call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to get in touch with your local Handyman Matters location.

Jason Wall is an HVAC technician of more than 23 years who occasionally writes for Griffith Energy Services. He spends his time enjoying life with his family and keeping up with professional baseball. 

Protecting Your Home and Property With Fire Mitigation

As we hear more tragic stories about loss of life and property due to wildfires, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to implement fire mitigation measures around our homes. With preparation, you can dramatically reduce the risk that wildfire poses to your house, property and community.

As we hear more tragic stories about loss of life and property due to wildfires, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to implement fire mitigation measures around our homes.  With preparation, you can dramatically reduce the risk that wildfire poses to your house, property and community.

Consult with your local firefighting agencies as well as representatives of the nearest State or National Forest Services in your region for the best measures to reduce risk around your home and in your neighborhood.  And you can take the following steps on your own:

  1.  Remove all debris from your home’s rain gutters.  Check all the nooks and crannies of your roof where dried leaves and pine needles may settle.
  2. Do not store firewood immediately adjacent to your home.
  3. Rake and bag up all ground debris—pine needles, cones, and dried leaves, and arrange to have them hauled away from your property.
  4. Prune dead branches from all trees.  Remove dead and dying bushes and other vegetation.  Keep in mind that it is not necessary to clear-cut all vegetation and trees.  Consult with a tree trimming service or someone from your local fire department who can properly advise you as to how to cut back trees, bushes and shrubbery.
  5. If there is a fire hydrant located on your property, clear a 3-foot area around it for fire department access.
  6. Maintain clearly visible house numbers at the entrance to your property and keep the emergency number for the fire department near every phone in your home.
  7. Check with your homeowners’ association or your local Chamber of Commerce to see what wildfire awareness meetings and seminars are available in your community.  Encourage these and other organizations to put such programs into place if they aren’t there already.  Community-wide efforts at fire mitigation ensures even greater success.
  8. Don’t wait to have an evacuation plan in place.  Have an emergency evacuation kit at the ready for quick departure that contains the essentials—water, change of clothing, financial information and other important documents.  And keep in mind:  Ultimately none of this is as important as the safety of you, your family and pets.  If it’s a question of escaping safely with only your loved ones in tow, remember:  Everything else is ultimately replaceable.

For assistance in implementing fire mitigation measures, remember that you can always call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find the Handyman Matters location nearest you.

Remodeling Help From the Pros at Handyman Matters!

Not everyone has the ability to look at a color sample on a small card and envision what an entire room will look like when painted that hue.  Even fewer of us can take this same paint chip and hold it up to various pieces of furniture, window treatments and flooring and know with any degree of certainty just what the overall effect will be when the room is decorated.  And once you’ve gone to all the time, effort and money to redecorate, you really want things to look as good in actuality as the vision did in your head in the first place!

This is where the amazing advances in home renovation software can come into play.  Great landscape design and interior design programs have been created that can assist homeowners in having a much more hands-on ability to imagine their living spaces.  Such software packages run the gamut from basic, free versions available online to more professional packages that retail for upwards of $500.

These software programs streamline all areas of home design—from color schemes to home schematics. Some packages even allow you to view your plans in 3D, which can really make your design vision to come to life. The higher end programs can even show you where shadows will line up, which plants will be within watering range, and they can also enable you view things in daylight or nighttime mode.

These programs have been designed for the average homeowner, so most feature things like drag and drop functionality and video tutorials. You’re able to select from hundreds of floor plans, thousands of furniture pieces and even pick details such as custom cabinetry and ceiling trim.

If these weren’t enough, a number of software programs let you plan more intricate phases of the home renovation process like foundation planning, layout of electrical, HVAC, and plumbing systems.

You can even estimate the costs of your project with higher end software packages, and print up blueprint plans to give to the contractor on the project.

Home design software facilitates clear communication between the homeowner and the contractor, allowing everyone to be on the same page creatively. No more costly and frustrating miscommunications.  Before any paint is applied, before carpeting is pulled up and replaced, before nails hit the wall, you will have a clear picture of the outcome.  You can have a realistic budget in place and be confident that there won’t be any hidden surprises or unexpected additional charges.

For those of us who lack in visual-spatial judgment, home design software makes planning a renovation fun.  And Handyman Matters stands ready to assist with any and all remodels and repairs and to help you realize your vision of a perfect remodel.  Call 1-800-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find the Handyman Matters location nearest your home.