Archive for Home Repairs

Changing the Toilet Fill Valve


Did you know a toilet flapper and a toilet fill valve were two different pieces of equipment a toilet tank? I didn’t. Yours truly thought those were different ways of saying the same thing, like some people call a river a brook, some call it a creek, some call it a “crick”.

This diy home goddess learned how to replace the toilet flapper a couple of years ago. Check out the story here. It was fairly easy once you got the hang of it. I had done it a couple of times, since I have three floors and four bathrooms. I thought I knew it all. Boy was I wrong.

The Story of My Broken Toilet Fill Valve

A couple of months ago, (Easter morning, as a matter of fact) my roommate was making all kinds of noise in the bathroom. The toilet would not fill after he flushed. We had been hearing the occasional hissing noise for a couple of weeks, but I hadn’t looked into the cause of it yet. Bad diy home goddess! I really need to learn to look at things immediately!

He was taking water from the sink, and putting it into the bowl to flush the toilet. And then the toilet bowl would not fill again. He was cussing up a storm. He didn’t know what to do, and didn’t want to wake me up. I think maybe I was ignoring the noise for about fifteen minutes before I got out of bed to find out what was going on.

Yeah, it was quite early on Sunday morning, but I just knew it was a flapper that had gone bad. The toilet as only about 2 years old, but I learned a flapper will disintegrate anywhere between two and five years, depending on the usage, the brand, the water supply, etc. After all, I had been through this before, and a diy home goddess learns form her mistakes, from mentors, other people, and the Internet! Read more

Toilet Flapper Replacement



The toilet flapper? The stopper? The whatchamacallit? Whatever name you use for that contraption that makes the tank refill with water after you flush the toilet, you need to become familiar with it. Why? Because it will need to be replaced every two to five years. And a home goddess doesn’t need to waste the $50-$100 by calling a plumber (I have friends who do) when you can do it yourself. Yes, even a diy home goddess can do this, easy peasy.

Why do you need to change the toilet flapper? There are two reasons to change a toilet flapper (the handyman official name for it):

  • If you have a chain, the chain broke. It’s metal, it can happen. You can’t flush the toilet at all.
  • The rubber no longer seals the hole where the water escapes. The water never stops running, because the water keeps leaving the tank; it never gets full.

My Story – “Tanks A Lot!”

When was my first time? I had used the toilet before I headed to work one morning. The toilet would not flush. I opened the tank, and saw the chain was broken and spread around the base. I lifted the metal bar for a manual flush and rushed off to work.

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Total Bathroom Remodel – Not for a Novice!


I desperately need a new master bath. When I bought my house I knew the master bath would have to be redone soon. I saved, but every time I was close to the estimated price (8K), something came up that had to be handled immediately. It took me 5 years, but I finally have the money and called to get a few estimates.

Bathroom Remodel

This is plastic sheeting!

FYI, I am going with Home Depot for the bathroom remodel. The estimator spent 5 hours with me, discussing each piece, showing samples, offering suggestions and guidance, explaining how things worked, rules and regulations, everything.

I got another estimate from my normal plumber, but was disappointed in the provided service. He walked into the bathroom (no measurements) and told me roughly 15K cost. Oh, did I mention when I got the estimate a week later it was 22K? He didn’t ask me questions before he gave the number, and said:

  • A european vanity.
  • No shower door
  • A medicine cabinet had to be on side wall, and didn’t discuss any mirror
  • Put a notch area in the wall for holding supplies (can’t be done in a firewall)
  • Didn’t give me options for shower other than tile
  • No colors discussed
  • No fixtures discussed
  • An exhaust fan (didn’t explain why, or that with a window it wasn’t mandatory)

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Fix Fireplace Insert Cracks!


Fix Fireplace Insert Cracks

Is your concrete fireplace Crack City? Did you know that can be dangerous? Dangerous enough to actually burn your house down? I do not know if it would go that far, but a fireplace that is not well maintained can cause serious harm to your home. You do not want that happening, do you?

Of course not!

I didn’t either! I had my fireplace examined last fall. I’d lived in the house for several years, and had not ever used the fireplace. I really did not have any desire to use the fireplace. It’s not that I don’t like a good fire, don’t get me wrong. I love a fire as much as the next goddess. I just do not want to deal with the mess and care of a fire. I just wanted to make sure my fireplace chimney was not a safety or fire hazard.

A Goddess Gains Some Knowledge

So I called a chimney sweep. Boy did they do a good job! Who knows how long it had been since my fireplace had been cleaned. I’d lived in it over four years. I know it had been foreclosed on when I bought it, so I am not sure if the prior owner ever did anything. But they got a lot of soot out of the chimney. Enough for two sweeps to have to deal with it with some kind of mechanical, electrical contraption.

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