How to Drain a Water Heater

Most people never give their water heater a second thought – until it stops working. Experts recommend draining your water heater every year, no matter what type of storage tank water heater is currently installed in your home. Regular maintenance helps remove sediment which, over time, can compromise the energy efficiency of your water heater and can cause fixtures throughout your home to clog. Just because clean-looking water comes out of your tank, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in tip-top shape. To remove sediment, you must completely drain your water heater using these steps.

Check the Pressure-Relief Valve

Before you start draining your water heater, it’s important to check the pressure-relief valve. This valve helps prevent the tank from bursting due to excess pressure. To check this valve, switch off the power to the water heater and trip the lever on the valve in the cold water supply line. Once you have opened the valve, listen for air and look for water. If you hear air and see water, the valve is working as designed and you can move onto the next step. If nothing happens, you’ll have to replace the pressure-relief valve before moving forward.

Run the Drain Line

Once you’ve ensured the pressure-relief valve is in working order, it’s time to run the drain line. To do this, run a garden hose from the water heater drain to the exterior of your home. If the tank sits in a basement, you’ll likely need to hoses: one that runs from the rank to a portable pump, and another that runs from the pump outside. To be on the safe side and protect yourself from burns, give the water in the switched-off water heater a few hours to cool off before beginning this process. Note: taking a long, hot shower is an effective way to speed up this part of the draining process.

Flush Your Tank

Once the water stops flowing out of the hose, open all the hot water faucets in your home and turn the water supply back on. This will flush out any of the remaining sediment left behind in the water heater. Let the water run through the hose until it comes out clear – once the water runs clear, close the drain valve. At this point, it’s safe to turn the hot-water faucets inside your home back off. The heating element could possibly blow if there is no water in the tank. Some tanks may need to be completely full in order to prevent damage, while others don’t. When in doubt, always read the warnings and instructions on the tank label carefully, as water tanks vary.

Finish Up

If the water coming out of the tank appears to be running clear, turn the supply off before closing the water heater drain valve and turning on the cold water supply. At this point, it’s safe to turn the pressure-relief valve back to its original position. Once you’ve done so, restore the power to your water heater and move on with your day, as you’ve successfully removed drained and removed the sediment from your water heater.

The Benefits of an Eco-Friendly Bathroom

Whether you live in California or have heard the drought news from across the country, reducing your water consumption is as important as ever. While cutting back on water usage isn’t mandatory in every city or state, going green in the bathroom can not only save energy and water, but it can lower your monthly utility bills as well. Whether you're completely renovating your bathroom or are looking for ways to reduce your water consumption and be kinder to the environment, there are dozens of eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and products available from some of the most popular manufacturers. Here are some benefits of "going green".

Conserves Water

According to a 2013 report from the United States Environmental Agency (EPA), each person in the United States uses an average of 100 gallons of water each day. Unfortunately, a part of that waste can be contributed to dripping faucets and toilets that don't stop running. If your home is one of the 10% that have water leaks due to old and ineffective toilets and faucets, you should consider an upgrade – one person alone would use 30% less water by upgrading to water-efficient fixtures and appliances. Whether you live in an apartment, a rented home, or a home of your own, it's a good idea to invest in water efficient fixtures.

Saves Money

Since eco-friendly bathroom fixtures and appliances conserve energy and water, homeowners are sure to notice a decrease in their energy and water bills. Traditional showerheads use an average of 2.5 gallons of water per minute, while water-efficient showerheads use just 1.5 (or less) gallons of water per minute. Similarly, replacing your old toilet with a low flow toilet can help the environment and your bank account. Depending on the fixtures or appliances you replace with water-efficient alternatives, you'll notice a decrease of 10-50% on your monthly water and energy bills. Over time, this can quickly add up to thousands saved per year.

Improves Indoor Air Quality

Before the 70s, every product seemed to be coated or made from lead – including faucets, paint, and other bathroom fixtures. If your home was built before the 60s, replacing the fixtures with eco-friendly alternatives will not only conserve water and save money, but it can improve the indoor air quality of your home. In order to truly preserve your home's air quality, switch to eco-friendly cleaners. Major cleaning brands have green cleaning products available that are affordable and easy for the public to get their hands on. Biodegradable and natural products will serve your home's cleaning needs without negatively harming the planet.

Durable & Sustainable

Eco-friendly homes require less effort to maintain since eco-friendly products tend to be more durable. Since installing green bathroom fixtures give you the unique opportunity to conserve our Earth's resources without having to change your lifestyle, you'll be actively protecting natural resources for future generations to come. With constantly dwindling natural resources, homeowners should make every effort to conserve what they can while they still have the chance. Since eco-friendly homes will only continue to grow in popularity, installing eco-friendly fixtures could even help you sell your home more quickly once you decide to put it on the market.

How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity like a Professional

Over the past few decades, contractors and home builders have consistently installed oak vanities in new bathrooms. While there’s nothing wrong with wood vanities, the humidity of a bathroom can begin to make them look washed out over time. Whether you’re an expert DIYer or are new to the game, repainting your bathroom vanity is a fun and easy weekend project. As with any other paint job, it requires some preparation and lots of patience; follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to a shiny "new" bathroom vanity.

Materials & Preparation

As with any other DIY project, collecting your materials beforehand is essential. Materials can vary depending on the condition of your vanity, but here’s a list of the basics: a high density foam roller, household cleaner, alcohol, primer, sandpaper, foam brush, acrylic latex-based paint, painter’s tape, and plastic sheeting. You’ll likely create a mess during the project, so it’s best to protect your walls and floor with the plastic sheeting. From there, remove the vanity drawers and doors, and remove all hardware. Wash the doors and vanity with a solution of two ounces of household cleaner per gallon of water. After the doors and vanity have dried, rub down the surfaces with alcohol. This will remove any residual gunk and prepare your vanity for a fresh coat of paint.

Prime & Paint

Acrylic latex-based paint, whether sprayed or brushed, needs an undercoat of a compatible primer to ensure proper adhesion. Use 150-grit sandpaper to sand the exposed surfaces, scraping loose any peeling paint. Once you’ve finished sanding, use a vacuum or tack cloth to wipe away the excess dust. Before you actually begin painting, apply two coats of primer to the drawers, doors, and vanity. Once dry, it’s time to paint. A high quality acrylic latex-based paint will work fine, or you can buy a paint that’s formulated specifically for cabinets. Typically, you’ll need at least two coats of paint to eliminate any burn through and/or eliminate the wood look.

Replace Hardware & Reassemble

If you want to give your vanity a totally new look, consider changing the drawer knobs and door handles. While your drawers and doors are separated from the vanity, fill the existing holes with wood filler and allow them to dry. Once dry, mount the new pulls and handles for a brand new look. Once the new hardware has been installed or the old hardware has been replaced, it’s time to reassemble the vanity. Start with the bottom drawers and work your way up, making sure to fix any broken drawers or cracks along the way. Be patient – it can take a day or two for the paint to dry completely, and the last thing you want is to have to paint a scratched or damaged vanity all over again.

Other Tips

If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, wear a dust mask while sanding and painting to avoid breathing in dust or fumes. Be sure to follow the recommended drying requirements for the primer and paint, otherwise the final result may not turn out as desired. Some stores carry a specialty paint designed for cabinets – this paint can be used on vanities and does not require a primer. Regardless of your DIY skill level, repainting a bathroom vanity is a relatively easy home renovation task – you’ll save time (and money) by not having to hire a pro!

Bathroom Light Bulbs: An Overview

Proper lighting in the bathroom is important for a variety of reasons. Not only do we need to see ourselves clearly in the mirror, but we need to make sure the room is well-lit for safety purposes. While each type of light bulb has its own pros and cons, certain bulbs work better in different areas of the home. While high color temperature daylight bulbs are great for kitchens and bedrooms, the bathroom benefits from lower color temperatures closer to the light of incandescent light bulbs. Below is an overview of the best light bulbs for the bathroom, in addition to valuable lighting tips and tricks that will help illuminate your space.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Not only do compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs match the incandescent light we’re accustomed to in bathrooms, but they consume a quarter of the energy and last ten times as long. Unlike traditional florescent lights, CFLs are quiet, turn on instantly, and have a warmer, color-corrected tone. This warm light is perfect for bathrooms, simply because our skin appears better under it. While they’re great for bathrooms, CFLs can be used anywhere you’d use a typical incandescent bulb. Since CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, they should be handled with care. When they burn out, they should be recycled.

LED Light Bulbs

LED, which stands for “light-emitting diode”, is a long-lasting and extremely energy-efficient lighting technology. Unfortunately, these aren’t a direct substitute for other types of bulbs, as they don’t provide general light. Instead, these types of bulbs should be used for directional light – they’re a great lighting solution for under-counter task lighting or directed at an angle above a mirror. If you have a choice, it’s best to choose lower color temperature light bulbs, as these produce the best light.

Halogen Lights

If you prefer incandescent, halogen bulbs are also an option to consider. They give off the closest light to natural daylight, and colors appear sharper as halogen bulbs can be dimmed. Although they’re more expensive and burn at a higher temperature than incandescent lights, they’re more energy efficient and tend to have a longer life span. Ideal for under cabinet and recessed lighting, halogen light bulbs cast a bright light and last twice as long as standard bulbs. Just remember to avoid using your bare hands to remove halogen bulbs – in certain situations the oil of your hands can cause the bulbs to explode.

Bathroom Lighting Tips and Tricks

Having mirrors and other reflective surfaces in your bathroom can help distribute light throughout the room. While a mirror above the sink is the best placement for this type of reflective light, side mirrors elsewhere in the room can help. Although a mirror above the sink is ideal for reflective light, it’s important to avoid adding a light directly above the mirror. It’s ineffective for putting on makeup and shaving, and can visually add ten years to your face.

Like all rooms in the home, you can save money in the bathroom by installing energy-efficient bulbs. In addition to using energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures, you can save money and energy in the bathroom by placing your various light stations on different switches – that way, you’re only using the light bulbs you need while using the bathroom.

How to Remove Scratches from a Porcelain Sink

Although porcelain sinks are manufactured using tough, durable materials that can last for decades with proper care, unsightly scratches and nicks are easy to notice. If your porcelain sink is visibly scratched, you don’t need to throw it out or call a professional to help you with your porcelain sink repair –there are many ways you can remove scratches from your bathroom sink on your own. Depending on the type of marks, it may require some elbow grease and a few repair essentials to get rid of them completely.

Bleach the Sink

Most of the time, sink scratches are caused by certain accessories, such as curling irons and blow dryers, coming in contact with the porcelain sink. Instead of scrubbing the bottom of your sink with abrasive cleaners, try filling the sink with warm water and adding about two cups of bleach to the water. Let the solution sit overnight; if the scratches are minor, there’s a good chance they will be completely removed by morning. In order to keep your sink sparkling white without having to resort to harmful scrubbing, you should bleach your sink on a fairly consistent basis. In order to keep the routine, add sink bleaching to your Bathroom Cleaning Checklist.

Bar Keeper’s Friend

This commercial cleaner can be found in almost every grocery or hardware store in the country. Available in two versions, a scouring powder and a scrubbing cream, Bar Keeper’s Friend can work wonders for scratches that can’t be repaired by bleach. All you’ll need is a pair of rubber gloves, a sponge or soft scrubbing pad, and whichever version of Bar Keeper’s Friend you prefer. When it comes to scrubbing the solution, be sure to avoid using a sponge that’s too harsh, as you can unknowingly remove the shiny finish of your porcelain sink. Note: this multi-purpose solution can also be used to clean cookware, kitchen, and bathroom surface, so keep it handy for use around the home.

Baking Soda

In cases where the scratches are relatively minor, baking soda can be used to remove annoying porcelain sink scratches. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the length of the scratch, or cover the entire nick with a hefty dose of baking soda. From there, buff the scratches and nicks with a soft, damp cloth. When doing so, be sure to rub the baking soda the entire length of the scratch in a back and forth motion; for nicks, use a circular motion. After a few minutes of rubbing, rinse the baking soda from your sink with warm tap water. If the scratches remain, consider trying Bar Keeper’s Friend.

Pumice Stone

A pumice stone, available at most hardware stores, is another way to remove scratches from your porcelain sink. Plug your sink with a drain plug, and fill the sink with 1/4-inch of water. From there, dip your pumice stone into the water until it’s completely wet – if the stone isn’t drenched, it can actually add new scratches to your sink. Next, scour the scratches with the web pumice stone to smooth and buff away the scratches. Unfortunately, this method will not help with deep scratches, as it’s intended to remove very minor nicks and scratches.

Managing Your Bathroom Renovation Costs

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the home and can begin to show age rather quickly. Fortunately, a bathroom remodeling project can breathe life into your home while adding value and improving overall efficiency. Unfortunately, nearly 40 percent of American homeowners spend more than they plan to during a renovation. From choosing a contractor and selecting a style, to purchasing fixtures and making sure they’re properly installed, it’s easy for the costs of a bathroom renovation to get out of hand. If you’re concerned about not being able to stick to your renovation budget, here are some tips for managing your bathroom renovation costs.

Skip the “Total” Renovation

While in the planning stages of your bathroom renovation, stand in the middle of your bathroom and take a good look around. Chances are, there are parts of your bathroom that don’t even need to be touched. Whether it’s the tile, the toilet, or the vanity, you should determine what can stay and what should be replaced immediately. While a total bathroom renovation would be nice, in most cases it’s not necessary. Make a list of what needs to be renovated or replaced in priority order – you may find your bathroom renovation budget will shrink before your eyes as you cut out any unnecessary aspects.

Resist the Urge to Make Changes

Be aware of the possible consequences that making changes to your bathroom renovation can have on your remodeling costs. The truth is, making changes can quickly cause remodeling costs to spiral out of control. Each time you request a change, it can delay the schedule, cause the contractor to shift workers to another home, and almost always increases the bottom line. If you’d like to finish your bathroom remodel according to schedule and escape extra fees, try to avoid making any changes once construction has officially begun.

Use a Rewards Credit Card

If you’re taking more of a DIY approach and are purchasing many of the materials yourself, use the best rewards credit card you own. Many credit card companies offer deals and bonuses for customers who use their cards, as long as you pay the balance in full when you receive the bill. Typically, credit card companies offer everything from cash back deals and frequent flyer miles, to free merchandise and discounted groceries. Just think: with all the money you spend on a bathroom remodel you could get a free plane ticket to the destination of your choice. It just might make the renovation stress worth it.

Let the Workers Do Their Jobs

While it’s only natural to want to see the progress being made on your bathroom, it’s best to save the walk-through for after working hours. Many of the workers are there to do a specific task, and will have no idea about the plan for the overall project. If you’re constantly interrupting them during working hours to discuss your project or ask questions, you could be slowing down their progress and unknowingly extending the life of the project. If you have any questions or concerns you’d like addressed, call up the contractor – he or she should know exactly what’s going on with your project.

The Best Vintage Bathroom Decor

Whether it’s antique pieces from the early 1900s or brand new products inspired by days gone by, decorating your bathroom with vintage décor is a chic and stylish way to fuse the past with the present. When many of us think of vintage bathrooms we think of claw foot tubs, pedestal sinks, and white subway tile – but you can add a vintage flair to your bathroom with more than just the fixtures. From shower curtains to color schemes, here’s some tips for incorporating vintage décor in your bathroom.

Shower Curtains

If you’re going for a hippie look, consider purchasing a set of shower curtains in a bright and vibrant pattern. If they look like they were taken straight from last seasons’ Mad Men set, you made the right choice. If you have wallpaper in your bathroom and are worried about the curtains clashing with the walls, consider purchasing curtains in colors that are reminiscent of the time period, including avocado greens, daisy yellows, and tangerine oranges. This funky shower curtain is a fun way to bring pops of orange, green, and yellow into your bathroom. As long as the shower curtains match the color scheme of the rest of the room, you’ll be one step closer to creating the vintage bathroom of your dreams.

Small Accessories

Instead of spending tons of cash on an antique toilet or sink, consider focusing on the details. Soap dishes, antique perfume spritzers, or vintage-inspired makeup bags are an easy and cost-effective way to add vintage charm to your bathroom. If you’ve never been to an antique or thrift store, you’d be surprised at what you can find. Make a list and head to your local antique mall, browse Saturday morning yard sales, or head to an estate sale – you may find just what you’re looking for at a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking for a “free” way to liven up your bathroom, purchase a simple vase and head to your backyard or local park – daisies are a beautiful way to breathe some life into your bathroom.

Vintage Ad Artwork

While in the antique store, ask the sales clerk or owner if they have any old magazines or newspapers for sale. Depending on the decade, these will be full of fun and unique vintage advertisements which can be turned into wall art or, in some cases, even wallpaper. Since the art will be featured in the bathroom, find vintage ads for makeup, brassieres and pantyhose, suntan lotion, or toiletries, and create a collage. Purchase an old frame while you’re there, paint it in a funky color that matches your bathroom color scheme, and feature the DIY artwork near the vanity or on a bare wall.

Mix & Match

When it comes to DIY vintage bathroom décor, it is okay to have some fun with mixing and matching. Instead of purchasing a brand new mirror to hang above the sink, consider using two or three vintage mirrors from the thrift store – if they don’t have frames, put then up anyways! If you have a drawer full of antique door knobs, use them as towel hooks or use them to replace the knobs on your vanity. For a unique “retrodate” on your medicine cabinet, consider using old shutters – paint them different colors and repurpose them as a fun alternative to a mirror.

How to Refinish Wood Vanities

Wood vanities are a great way to add warmth and charm to any style bathroom, but changes in humidity, age, and normal wear and tear can take a toll on even the most maintained wood vanity. Fortunately, you don’t have to rip out your old wood vanities and replace them with new ones – refinishing a bathroom vanity is a relatively simple DIY project. Giving your vanity a new coat of stain or a fresh coat of paint can transform its look, add years to its life, and save you money.

Preparation

Before you get started, make sure you have all the items you’ll need to refinish your wood vanity. Since the project is relatively simple, you probably have most of these items available in your toolshed. If you don’t already own them, they can be purchased or rented from a local home improvement store.

  • Cleaning product
  • Sponge/soft cloths
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Hand sander
  • Shop vacuum
  • Stain or primer and paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Polyurethane finish

Once you have all the items, go over the bathroom vanity with a cleaning product to remove all signs of hairspray, makeup, soap scum, deodorant, and other products that may have accumulated over time. Next, remove the drawers, handles, and knobs from your vanity. Place the handles and knobs in a plastic bag so you can easily put them back on once you’re finished.

Strip the Paint

Place the doors and drawers on drop cloths on a flat surface. Make sure the area you’re working in is well-ventilated, as some strippers, stains, and paints have strong fumes. Apply a chemical stripper to the doors and drawers with a paintbrush; once the stripper has been left standing for the recommended amount of time, scrape away the old finish. Wipe down the wood with a clean cloth. Use the hand sander and 180-grit sandpaper to remove any traces of the old finish. Be sure to work with the grain of the wood, and avoid applying too much pressure.

Before stripping and sanding the rest of the vanity, place painter’s tape on the wall around the vanity – this will prevent any paint from getting on the surrounding walls.

Prime, Paint, Stain

Once the paint has been stripped, it’s time to prime, paint, or stain the wood. Before getting started, use the shop vacuum to remove any excess dust from the vanity. If primer isn’t included in your paint, you’ll have to prime the wood before painting – it’ll help the top coat adhere to the wood and will help the paint last longer. Let the primer dry completely, which can take anywhere from one to ten hours. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended drying times. Once the primer is dry, apply either the stain or paint. Once the paint is dry, apply a polyurethane finish designed for the bathroom. Let the polyurethane dry completely before reattaching the cabinets, drawers, and hardware.

How to Prevent Bathroom Pipes from Freezing

Winter is here and, depending on where you live, you’re probably wearing extra layers to keep warm. But did you know your pipes need protection from the cold, too? If you live in an area where the temperatures drop into the 20s, even for only a few days, you’ll need to do several things to protect your plumbing. Each year, thousands of households deal with the messy and expensive inconvenience of frozen pipes. So, if you’re warm and cozy in front of the fireplace, don’t forget about your pipes!

At-Risk Pipes

Although all pipes are at-risk in extreme temperatures, some pipes are more prone to freezing because of their location in the home. Pipes most at risk for freezing include exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home, pipes located in exterior walls, and any plumbing that’s located outside the home. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls are especially vulnerable to freezing, particularly if there are cracks or openings that allow the cold air from the outside to come in contact with the pipes.

Preventative Measures: Exterior

If you incorporate the following tasks into your regular seasonal maintenance, you can prevent frozen garden hoses, costly pool repairs, and post-winter faucet replacements:

  • Drain water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines;
  • Remove, drain, and store any hoses used outdoors;
  • Check around the home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas;
  • Wrap insulation around any exposed pipes; and
  • Turn off the water supply to exterior faucets and drain them.

Preventative Measures: Interior

Although exposed pipes in the basement are rarely in danger of freezing because they’re in a heated portion of the home, there are plenty of pipes in unheated areas that require attention. Here are some preventative measures you can take to keep the pipes in the interior of your home from freezing:

  • Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen so the air in the room can keep the pipes warm;
  • Place a lamp with a 60-watt bulb in potential problem areas;
  • In moderately cold climates, cover exposed pipe in inexpensive foam pipe insulation or newspaper. In severe climates, wrap pipes in thermostatically controlled heat tape, which will automatically turn on at certain minimum temperatures;
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage;
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night; and
  • When the weather is very cold, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you forgot to prepare your pipes for winter and are suffering the consequences, you can still thaw out your pipes in a few steps. First, locate the water main cut-off valve and cut-off the water before attempting to thaw out frozen pipes. Once the water is shut off, open the faucet the pipe runs to so the thawed out water in the pipe has somewhere to go. By using a hair dryer, heat lamp, or portable space heater you can manually thaw the frozen water in the pipe, just be sure to avoid using blowtorches, kerosene, charcoal stoves, or other open flame devices. If you cannot locate the pipe or cannot thaw the pipe yourself, call a licensed plumber.

Five Budgeting Tips for Your Bathroom Remodel

So, you want to remodel your bathroom but don’t want to break the bank? Join the club. Although the cost of a bathroom remodel varies depending on location, materials, age of the house, and what kind of renovations have already been done, a typical bathroom remodel can set homeowners back by an average of $15,000+. With that type of investment, it’s important to stick to a budget the best you can. Here are some budgeting tips to help you minimize the costs associated with a bathroom renovation.

Purchase Items Yourself

When it comes to bathroom fixtures, like bathtubs and vanities, you can save some cash by purchasing these items on your own. While it might be easier to hire someone to purchase these items for you, you can save thousands of dollars on your bathroom renovation by finding your own deals. Online retailers are a great place to start – in many cases, purchasing directly from the factory can save you up to 70 percent and includes free shipping. If you’re going for a vintage look, try estate sales, auctions, and Craigslist – you never know what treasure you’ll be able to find until you take the time to look.

Ditch the Professional Painter

Whether you’re a DIYer or not, performing some of the work yourself is a great way to save on labor. When it comes to painting, it’s a time-consuming (and expensive!) act that most people can do themselves. Once you’re in DIY mode, think about what other parts of the renovation you can do on your own: demolition, removal of popcorn ceiling, and installation of smaller fixtures often top the list of bathroom renovation projects that are suitable for even the least-experienced individuals.

Don’t Relocate Fixtures

One of the major costs in a remodel is moving fixtures. Not only does repositioning fixtures require a lot of extra materials and plumbing expertise, but it’s a time-consuming act and you’ll be shelling out extra on labor costs as a result. If you keep the same floor plan, you’ll save up to $2,000 on plumbing costs alone. Then, there’s the cost of the fixtures themselves: if that exquisite glass vessel sink is a must-have, then pick a standard no-frills toilet or tub to make up the difference. While it’s certainly acceptable to splurge, don’t splurge on everything- especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget.

Donate Your Trash

While this won’t save you money right off the bat, donating your “trash” will give you a little bit extra come tax season. Before you begin a remodeling job, invite the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to remove materials and fixtures for later resale. About 85 percent of a home is reusable, so you’ll save space in the landfill, collect a charitable tax credit for the donation, and help a good cause. The average cost of trashing bathroom fixtures is about $100, and the cost to donate is nothing and includes a tax deduction – so why wouldn’t you donate?

Make Decisions Early

Start walking the aisles at the hardware store or home improvement center months before you call a contractor for an estimate. This way, you’ll get a good feeling for what you want in terms of fixtures, design, and appliances. Additionally, you’ll know their cost and have an idea of what number the contractor will throw your way. If the number seems too high or low, let the contractor know. If you’re absolutely clear about what you want from the get-go, your contractor will be able to give you a better estimate and, once the demolition and remodel gets started, you’ll be able to better stay within budget.