Ugh. We have a leak!

Ugh. We have a leak!

You know how as a homeowner you can sometimes feel like something is about to stop working? Well it happened and it wasn’t pretty. I guess that’s the life of home ownership. Everything is fine one minute and then the next minute you’re freaking out because something’s busted, you don’t have a clue what to do, and all you can think about is what the damage will be at the end.

Ok, so our water heater is older than our teenage daughter but still… when you find your water heater is leaking in your basement, it comes off as a shock. I tried convincing myself it must have been something else like condensation or something but my husband set me straight and we knew our water heater was toast. Fortunately, we have a water shutoff valve within easy reach so at least the damage can be contained.

Turns out that the water heater had been leaking ever so slightly for a few weeks. We couldn’t quite pinpoint where it was leaking from since it was a REALLY slow leak. We checked the usual home improvement forums and a few plumbing related sites. After going through diagnosing the water leak, we narrowed it down to the leak somewhere near the bottom of the tank. The hope was that it would be a simple fix like the drain valve but unfortunately, it appears to be the tank itself. Shouldn’t really come off as a surprise since the water heater is so old but it wasn’t the conclusion we were hoping for.

Now my husband is a pretty handy guy but replacing a gas water heater is not really in his comfort zone. We decided to bite the bullet and let the pros do the install once we found a new water heater. I figure I’ll do some research and find a good deal on a high efficiency water heater and we’ll actually be able to lower our energy bills. We’re not planning on moving anytime soon so I’m not really stressing about the cost since it will end up paying for itself.

We did end up looking into a new tankless model (which we’ve heard good things about) but at about $5k? Ummm… no thanks. We’ll be just fine with another giant tank in the basement. There are actually quite a few different water heater types including these “hybrid” models which weren’t really that much more than a normal unit but it wouldn’t work for our application without a whole lot of modification ($$$). So, standard 50-gallon gas model it is.

Ended up getting a good deal at Lowes even though I tried my best getting a better deal online. Who would have thought that a big, heavy, appliance would be expensive to ship across the country. Right? Instead of using Lowe’s professional services to do the install, we contacted a local plumber who agreed to do the install a couple hundred less that Lowes. The plumber ended up picking up the water heater the next day and installing it in a couple hours. I wouldn’t recommend finding a water heater leak just as the weather is getting colder but going a day and a half without hot water wasn’t the end of the world.

 

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Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

When we purchased our first home, we knew there was a bit of work to do on it. Like many other first-time homeowners, the number one thing we wanted to do was update the old with the new. Whether this be carpets or something as simple as kitchen cabinets, they are always looking to improve their homes with something new and pleasing to the eye. Replacing carpets and other flooring types is as easy as either calling a professional to come to your home and do it for you, or do it yourself by using materials from a big box home improvement store such as Home Depot. For updating kitchen cabinets, there are a few more steps involved.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be an awesome technique for updating old cabinets with a new look. For one thing, you can easily remove wallpaper when you want a new look. For another, you can choose a pattern that matches the look you are wanting for your kitchen. You can choose a multitude of different shades, patterns, and looks for your cabinets. Simply follow the instructions for the wallpaper you want to use and update to your hearts content.

Things to make sure you have when using wallpaper are:

  • Glue
  • Water
  • Stripping tool (in case there is a wallpaper goof-up)  
  • Knife (or scissors) for cutting wallpaper
  • Smoothing tool (for getting rid of any air bubbles)  

Paint/Stain

paint-kitchen-cabinetsAnother thing that can be your best friend with your endeavor to update your kitchen cabinets is to use paint or stain. Most cabinets are made out of wood, so this is another way to create a uniform look and give you a chance to express your artistic side as well. Go crazy and have fun.

Things to make sure you have when using paint are:

  • Paint color of your choice
  • Any texturing tools you may want to use
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Paint thinner
  • Scraping tool
  • Painters tape
  • Tarp (to make sure no paint drips on your other surfaces)  

If you want to paint the doors a different color than the rest of the cabinets then you can use spray paint as an alternative. Plus, one of the added benefits of using spray paint, you can create patterns by alternating distance between the doors and spray nozzle.

Replace

update-kitchen-cabinetsSome cabinets are in such great disrepair when you first buy the home that the only recourse for updating them is to replace them. This can mean several different things for a new homeowner. It can be a source of great trepidation or great joy, depending on the homeowner. If this is the situation that you are looking at, there are many options available to you.

There are two ways to replace old cabinets. One is to have a professional come into your home and replace them for you. The other is to do it yourself. Since my husband is pretty handy, he actually built new cabinets for us and they turned out great! The previous summer, he did a lot of research looking at portable air compressor reviews online. He had his mind set on a Makita unit since he loves their cordless drill and he found the best price on the Makita MAC2400 online. While having someone come in the home may be more expensive, it can also be the way to go if you want your cabinets done quickly. Let’s face it, not a lot of people are going to want to spend their off time doing repair work on their homes. 

One of the best way to determine what is the best choice for you is to do your research and ask questions. Find out how much it will cost you to do the work yourself and factor in the time it will take you to finish the work and compare it to what it will cost to have a professional come in. Look at all your options and determine which is the best path for you to take while updating your cabinets.

New Hardware

New cabinet pulls or knobs are probably the easiest and least expensive way to update the look of a kitchen. There are literally hundreds of different options available. For some, this is all they do. Others add new hardware as the finishing touch once the cabinet faces are redone (recommended).  Keep in mind that it’s a little more work if replacing hardware that has a different number of attachment points. With that, you may need to fill in the old holes and re-measure everything for alignment.

Most of all, remember to have fun with your decorating. After all, this is your home.

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Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of rolls of birthday, wedding, or Christmas wrapping paper scattered about under beds or in closets. I recently discovered the world of wrapping paper organizers. Don’t let your confusion about which wrapping paper organizer will fit your needs stop you. There are really just four main types, the hanging wrapping paper organizer, the vertical wrapping paper organizer, the under-the-bed or portable wrapping paper organizer and the cart wrapping paper organizer. Before you purchase one, take a look around your house to see what type of space you have available.

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Science Experiments for 4th Graders

Science Experiments for 4th Graders

4th grade science experiments are always one of the more interesting activities to do when it comes to explaining basic science concepts. This stage of learning deals with the study of Matter such as Atoms and Molecules, as well as Force, motion and energy along with Earth, Light, Electricity and much more. It is a very exciting stage for any young student, as 4th grade science covers some of the most important facts and provides the building blocks for higher science education. And as with any good elementary science learning, experiments help keep learning fun and exciting, not to mention it makes absorption of concepts easier since practical applications are being done using the lesson.

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