Thursday, April 5, 2012

Can you be a Ms-Fix-It? Yes. You. Can.

I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to my friend Kim, who blogs over at The Money Pit. 
If you haven't yet seen her blog you should go now and take a look. You'll be jealous enough to hate her, or totally inspired BY her. Take your pick. For me it's the former. I haven't been motivated enough yet to consider myself officially inspired. But anyway - - Kim and I know one another IRL, and she's someone whose work I think you'll enjoy checking out. So read on, and then click over, and find yourself inspired. Then send some of those motivated vibes my way - please ... 

When Andrea asked me to guest blog on GoodGirlGoneRedneck I was super excited.  I always love to share my love of home improvement and DIY projects, especially with other women/moms and I knew her readership was right up my alley. 

If you aren't a fellow DIY'r (or if you think you don't have the skills or desire to do simple repairs or improvements in your house) don't stop reading!  Trust me.. once you see how easy it really is, how much  money you can save doing it yourself, and how great it comes out when you are through you are going to be empowered too.  

A lot of women I talk to are afraid to tackle projects at home and often lament that it is "their husband's area of expertise." But I know if I waited for my husband to get around to a 'Honey Do' list I would die before it happened.  And that is how I got started blogging about home improvement.  I bought a house.. it needed a LOT of improvement.. and I had no money and nobody else willing to do it.  It was up to me.

My number one piece of advice for anyone thinking about tackling a project but freaking out because they feel clueless is this: 

With the exception of a few things (like electricity), a home improvement project (even if you screw it up) will not kill you.  You can do this! 

I laugh when I hear on someone hiring "unskilled labor" to do a home repair.  If it is UNSKILLED surely I can handle it, I have an advanced degree for crying out loud! This isn't brain surgery.. it is painting a wall, fixing a toilet, hanging some shelves... 

And if you aren't sure what you are doing, that isn't a reason to not try.  There are so many people out there who are willing to help you, just ask.  Hardware stores aren't just for boys anymore!  Don't be intimidated.  

image source

I always remind myself (when I begin freaking out that I am in over my head) that *IF* I mess something up, there will always be someone I can call to fix my mistake.. nothing is forever.  No guts, no glory! (Although I can say that I have NEVER EVER needed to have someone repair damage I have caused attempting a project.  NEVER.  Somehow it has always worked out in the end.)

So jump right in.  Inspired by something on Pinterest?  DO IT!
Something not working around the house and it is driving you nuts?  GOOGLE IT! 


Pep talk over.  Time to talk DIY!  How 'bout Plumbing?!

Since we moved into our current house, the powder room faucet has always sprayed crazily.   An explosion of water in all directions (I didn't even know water could do an 180 degree turn, but it can!)   I have spent the last 6 months of my life wiping water stains off the mirror.  My husband told me to call a plumber and have the faucet replaced.

Umm.. yeah. No.  That would cost at least $50 for a new fixture and a couple hundred dollars for labor.  l decided to take it apart to figure out what was wrong with it 
(Remember, you could always call a plumber if you can't figure out what is wrong.. but there is no need to call him first!)

To take apart a faucet, you just need to unscrew the spout to get at the "guts."  If you can't get it to unscrew with just your fingers, you can use a pliers to loosen it: 

Once it is loose, remove it completely 
(make sure you close the sink drain so nothing gets lost!)

In my case I immediately realized what the problem was. 
The aerator was missing:

Ah Ha!   Off to the hardware store!
When selecting a new aerator there are TONS and TONS of choices.  

It may be intimidating, but it isn't impossible.
When doing a repair project, it is always best to take exactly what you are fixing with you.  It will make selecting the right replacement part much easier (and if you are lost, you can always hold up the part to an employee and say "what is this and how can I fix it?")

Here are all the parts of my faucet spout:

It turns out when repairing a faucet aerator there are a few things you need to know:
How big is the spout and how is it threaded?
What flow rate do you want (how much water comes out)?
What type of flow do you want?

You don't know the answers?  Ask for help!   

Question 1: How big is the spout and how is it threaded?  
Well, lookie that.. 
Home Depot gives you a handy dandy cheat sheet right there in the store:

In my case it turns out that I had a 15/16 inch (27 thread count) spout.

That sign actually says "90% of faucet spouts are 15/16" Well, whoda' thunk! 
My faucet is average. 

Question 2: What flow rate do you want? 
My spout (like most) had the flow rate printed on it: 2.2 GPM (gallons per minute.)  Because we live where water is pretty valuable, and because the powder room is where my kids wash their hands (AKA play in the water) I decided I wanted to cut down on the flow rate.   Low-flow aerators range from 1-1.5 GPM.  I settled on a 1.5 GPM replacement.

Question 3: What type of flow do you want? 
Well, in my case I wanted ANYTHING that wasn't "spray all over every surface."  
However, if you are pickier than me, you can once again count on Home Depot to show you your options:

I decided on aerated, since that is typical for a bathroom faucet.  
This is all personal preference.

Now that I know what I need, I find it on that giant wall of faucet parts**.  
Here is what I buy (Notice the three yellow circles indicate the answers to the three questions we just answered):

Total cost: $4.89 (take that extra $200 you saved and buy some shoes!)

When you get it out of the package you can clearly see difference between it and the one that wasn't working correctly.  This one has a screen to keep the water aerated.

Before you put it back on your faucet want to make sure you assemble all the parts in the correct order (there is a diagram on the packaging):

Now screw it back onto the faucet and you are DONE!  That is all there was to it. 

Stand back admire your handy work:

A splatter free faucet. 

Now get out there and tackle those projects!  Don't be afraid! 

Pin It

**Another option was to buy just the plastic insert and reuse the metal spout that was originally on my faucet. 
My home depot was sold out of the small inserts that fit, so I settled on an entirely new spout. 


  1. I try to be handy but I'm not. I will have to try this next time I need to replace it.

  2. My recent trip to IKEA *may* have been inspired by Kim... now I have bookshelves I plan to un-IKEA-fy and I will definitely post before and after will probably take months, but I'll get to it!

  3. Wow! I just take the part to the store and ask someone for help! Your guest poster is amazing!

  4. This is right up my alley. I love when I can fix something myself. I will definetly link to her blog.

  5. Thanks so much for featuring me Andrea! You are the best.. I promise if I am ever in your neck of the woods and you need something fixed, I'll be sure to stop by! ;)

  6. Alright, may I say...outstanding post! I get rather tired of hearing someone(usually a mom) say Oh, I just can't do that. My husband traveled (ALOT) years ago and I am quite proud to say I can take apart and fix a dishwasher, unclog a sump pump (ok..maybe NOT so proud of that...kinda gross), light a water heater and gas dryer and then some. Yes, I'm quite a handy girl, LOL! So, YES you can do it. and also...thought I (and my momma) was the only ones who say whoda thunk it...bwaahaa! #avocado ;)

  7. Op, sorry...wrong didn't leave my name (comment above)


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