Sink hole

If you have a sink in which the small overflow hole gets clogged very quickly, approach the issue from two fronts. First, take out the drain stopper, and clear the drain and stopper as best you can. The sink-overflow passage drains into the hollow space of the sink at the drain assembly. The drain holes are inside the pop-up drain fitting of the sink where the stopper goes. Clear out those holes with a rag and run some water down the drain.

Then, reinstall the stopper, and fill the sink with water up to the drain overflow hole. Once water reaches the inside of the overflow hole, you can use the palm of your hand like a little plunger - cup it over the hole and push water through the passage till it clears. Once cleared, run a little more water through it. Make sure you have plenty of towels to catch any splashing. If this doesn't work, you should call a plumber.

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Beige stylings

Have you noticed how many model homes have beige and taupe color themes? Looks classy, right? That is because beige colors look and feel both comfortable and rich. But the most important reason model homes are decorated in such neutral colors is because those hues are very pleasing to the eye. Now, take that beige/taupe idea and enhance it by adding other attractive colors.

Black is always in style, so why not combine it with beige? In the '80s, black was very popular, particularly for large pieces of furniture, such as wall units, appliances and countertops. Pantone is the color authority for the design industry, and it announced that the color of the year for 2009 is "mimosa," a warm, engaging yellow. All that said, you are the greatest color authority. Personalize your home in your favorite colors, repeating the color scheme throughout the house.

In hot water

If your hot water takes a long time to come out of the tap at home, the problem might be that the water heater is located too far from the fixtures where it has to heat the water pipes before reaching the faucet. In a typical residential plumbing system, water is forced from the water heater through the pipes to the fixture.

Once the faucet is shut off, the water remaining in the pipes cools, and you get cooled water the next time the faucet is turned on. If your hot-water pipes are accessible, they should be covered with a foam insulation to reduce the heat loss to the surrounding air. The 3-foot-long pieces of foam are slit down the side for ease of installation and are available at most home and hardware stores. You can also have a circulating hot-water pump installed on the water heater to force hot water to any fixture you desire.

An electrical-timed water pump is connected to the hot-water-supply pipe at the water heater to force water through the pipes. A small connecting valve is also installed between the hot- and cold-water pipes at the farthest fixture where you want hot water the most often. There is no need to add a third return pipe with this system.

When the faucet is off and the water is pumping through the pipes, the valve allows some of the hot water to return to the tank through the cold-water line. When the hot-water faucet is opened, the valve under the sink closes and the hot water flows almost instantly to the sink.

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