Weekly home rail, with items on a tricky toilet, foreign investors in the U.S. housing market, and new wireless technology.
How to: Fix a running toilet
Step 1: First check the guide rod or chain on the tank stopper. If the rod is bent or the chain links are twisted, just straighten them.
Step 2: Next check the float mechanism. If lifting the ball up stops the water from running, try to bend the float arm down to get the right buoyancy. If you notice that the ball has water in it, it needs to be replaced. Replace it by unscrewing it from the arm and putting a new one in its place.
Step 3: If the toilet is still running, the valve seat and stopper may have corrosion or build-up preventing the stopper from closing. Lift the stopper up and check for any objects. Gently scour the seat and the rim. If there is a great deal of damage, replace the stopper and valve seat.
Step 4: The flush valve assembly may have to be replaced if the toilet is still running. Take the old parts with you when purchasing new inside gaskets and assemble to ensure a perfect match. If the shaft of the assembly is cracked, the whole shaft and assembly will need to be replaced. Again take the flush valve assembly with you to get a perfect match. -- Doityourself.com
Whether or not your pets get along depend on their personalities. Here are a few tips for introducing a new pet into your home.
- Always supervise your pets until you are absolutely sure they get along.
- Introduce your pets indoors in controlled situations.
- When introducing a cat to a dog, do NOT hold the cat in your arms. A frightened or nervous cat may scratch.
- Allow your new pet to familiarize itself with its new home. Temporarily confine existing pets to a room to give your new pet a chance to feel more comfortable with its surroundings.
- Give your pets separate food and water bowls.
- Be especially careful when introducing dogs or cats to caged animals.
- Give them time. Do not try to force your pets together; allow them to adjust at their own pace.
A growing wave of foreigners are buying second homes in the U.S. for work and play and as an investment.
One in five American realtors has sold a home to a foreign investor in the past year, according to the National Association of Realtors.
The events of 2007 have made the U.S. much more affordable for international home buyers. Severe dollar declines against the euro and pound have made U.S. homes much cheaper for Europeans. But even foreign buyers without that sort of currency advantage are benefiting from sharp drops in housing prices at a time when problems in mortgage lending are keeping many Americans out of the market. – yahoo.com
Number to Know: 4
A well-equipped home kitchen should have at least four types of knives. The chef’s knife, usually 8 inches long, is the most important and the workhorse of the kitchen. You'll use it for chopping, slicing, and dicing a variety of foods. A slicer is generally longer and thinner and is used mainly to cut cooked meat. A utility knife is often interchangeable with a chef’s knife for cutting and slicing fruits and vegetables, though its smaller size -- 4 to 6 inches -- can make it more convenient. A parer, usually 3 to 4 inches long, is perfect for peeling and coring. -- consumerreports.org
Coming Soon to Your Home?
It's all about hiding speakers and cords. You can conceal them in walls, ceilings, furniture, and now in lamps. Wireless omnidirectional speakers from Soundolier are hidden in torchier floor lamps. They can be connected to any audio source, such as music systems, home theaters, mp3 players, game systems, or just a plain old TV. Thanks to the wireless technology the only cables you'll see are the ones plugging the lamps into the outlet. It costs $299.95 per lamp or $379.95 for a complete wireless system with lamp and transmitter. – Luxuryhousingtrends.com
A tip from Treehugger.com on how to go green at home:
The essence of recycling is the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminating waste and the need to extract more virgin materials. Supporting recycling means feeding this loop by not only recycling, but also supporting recycled products. We can now find high-recycled content in everything from printer paper to office chairs.
Q: I use an old-style round thermostat to control the heat in my home but am considering switching to a new digital programmable model. Will this type of thermostat help me save money on my utility bills?
A: Programmable thermostats can cut your heating and cooling costs by up to 20 percent by automatically raising or lowering temperatures at night and when you're away from home. Manufacturers have taken some steps to make programmable thermostats less daunting. The best models have built-in energy-saving programs, eliminating the need for you to create them from scratch. But you'll still have to set the time, date, and the system your thermostat controls. Odds are, you'll also want to tailor programs to your schedule. – consumerreports.org
GateHouse News Service