Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Back to Basics: How to Replace a Toilet Seat

Replacing a toilet seat is one of the simplest home repair or improvement tasks you can do.  The only tool required is screwdriver and it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to remove the old toilet seat and lid and install a new one.   

Step by Step Instructions

Remove the old seat

 Step 1 – Find the screws.  With the lid closed look between the seat and the tank.  You should see two covers.  Lift the covers with the flat end of your screwdriver or some other flat tool such as a putty knife.  They may come off completely or may be on a hinge.

Step 2 – Loosen screws.  Under the cover (cap) you will see a screw.  The screw may be plastic or metal depending on the model. Using your screw driver, remove the screws.  You may need to use your other hand to hold the nut underneath from moving as you turn the screw.Step 3 - Remove the screws, nuts and the old seat.

Install the new seat

Step 1 – Place new seat on bowl. Place the new seat in place on the bowl making any necessary adjustments to line it up with the bowl.
Step 2 – Insert screws and install nuts. Insert the screws into the holes from the top and carefully install the nuts onto the bottom of the screws.  Do not tighten yet.
Step 3 – Tighten screws.  While hold the nuts in place, tighten the screws from above.  Be careful not to over tighten especially if you have metal screws going into plastic nuts.  You can easily strip the threads.
Step 4 – Snap the covers in place or install the covers provided with your toilet seat.

Tips for choosing a toilet seat. 

You can find a toilet seat that costs anywhere from $10 to $1200, yes you read that right $1200 specialty toilets seats are available.
What style do you need? For the typical homeowner there are 2 main types, rounded (shown in the pictures) and elongated.
What material do you prefer?  You can choose from molded wood, composite, plastic, soft or china.  The typical toilet seat found in most homes is either plastic or molded wood.  It really comes down to personal preference.
Other features to consider:
o   Quick release.  This feature allows for easy removal of the seat and lid for cleaning purposes.
o   Children’s toilet seat.  They make seats with an extra one that kids can use, great for potty training.
o   Elevated.  You can also buy elevated seats that help for older or disabled people who need a higher seat without having to buy a new toilet.

Judy Browne is a Residential Real Estate Consultant and teacher.  
Judy has more than 10 years of comprehensive experience in residential real estate as a broker, home inspector, teacher, landlord, homeowner, student and handywoman. She has inspected over 350 homes, taught home improvement skills to more than 500 homeowners, owned and managed investment properties and has volunteered for over 10 years building homes with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver.  Judy's range of knowledge and experience will insure your home selling and buying experience happens quickly easily and with few surprises.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 Items EVERY home should have!

Moisture Detector/Alarm
     I have a friend who is a general contractor, remodeler and who also owns investment properties.  I sold her a home this summer that she remodeled and is now renting out.  Just last week the renters called and said the basement was flooded. The pressure relief valve (TPR valve) on the water heater failed and water poured out of the heater for quit a while before the renters discovered the problem.  What a mess. She had just installed all new carpeting and pad in the basement and now has to replace the pad at a significant expense.    

     We had lunch yesterday and were talking about water alarms and wondering why she didn't have one in place at her rental and also why neither of us have one in our home.  It just goes to show you that even people with years of experience don't always do the obvious thing.    

     Now we both have it on our immediate 'to do' list to stop by a hardware store and for as little as $12 pick up a water detector to put near our water heaters.  I suggest each of you do the same!       
     Here's a link to one you should be able to pick up at your local Ace Hardware Leak Alert Electronic Water Detector. ($12.99)
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
     I don't think I can stress enough how important it is for you to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If you have any gas or wood fired appliances in your home, and you don't currently have carbon monoxide detectors, I suggest you get into your car, right now, and go buy them.   In Colorado it's the LAW.  Colorado Carbon Monoxide Law

First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector - Battery Operated ($19.99) 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says:
"Unintentional CO exposure accounts for an estimated 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional deaths in the United States each year"
     Please don't let you or someone in your family be one of these statistics. I've talked about this many times before and have even written several blog posts related to this issue which are linked below:
Kitchen Fire Extinguisher
     According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2010, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,400 home structure fires that were reported to U.S. fire departments. These fires caused 420 deaths, 5,310 injuries and $993 million in direct property damage. Cooking caused 44% of reported home fires, 16% of home fire deaths, 40% of home fire injuries, and 15% of the direct property damage in 2010.  
Kidde Kitchen 711A Fire Extinguisher  ($19.97)

For just over $50 you can protect your family and your home from potential disasters.  Please consider purchasing these items if you currently do not have them in your home.