Here are some useful tips to help homeowners fix common household issues.
Fix a leaky faucet
Usually due to a bad washer or cartridge in the handle. Turn off the water supply (under the sink), and cover the drain so no small parts can go down it. Pop the cover on the handles, remove the screw, and the handle. Disassemble the stem next, using a wrench and lining up the parts in order so you will know how to put it back together. Remove and replace the damaged or cracked parts and reassemble the stem and handles.
Open a seized dead bolt
Spray some WD-40 into the keyhole to lubricate the mechanism. Prevent it from seizing by spraying once a year with Teflon spray.
Stop an overflowing toilet
The float inside the tank drops when the toilet is flushed and water from the tanks moves into the bowl. It then rises as the bowl and tank are re-filled. To prevent more spillage when the bowl is brimming over, lift the lid on the tank, grab the float and lift it to close the valve. While holding the float, turn off the toilet’s water supply. Now it’s clean up time!
Pick an interior lock
Toddler locked in the bedroom? Look for a small hole on the knob or the plate around it. Take a slim piece of metal (screwdriver for eyeglasses, ice pick, metal skewer) and slip it into the hole to compress the spring inside. In some cases, you will need the flathead screwdriver to insert into a slot on the spring and turn it. Either way, you’ll disengage the lock and set your little one free!
Use a fire extinguisher (remember PASS)
P – Pull the Pin
A – Aim nozzle at the base of flames
S – Squeeze the trigger
S – Sweep the spray from side to side
Work calmly but quickly!! (most extinguishers have 8 seconds of life) Call 911 and let the pros confirm that the fire is really out.
Prune a hedge
Trimming a shrub from the top only will make it too bushy and will prevent the sun from reaching interior branches and roots. Pruning from the interior out will help bring it back to health. Pull back outer branches so you can reach the interior to clip away dead branches. Cut back tall shoots where they join the branch rather than snipping the end. Use this method to prune about 1/3 of the bush for 3 years and your bush will thrive!
Unclog a sink
Skip the liquid drain cleaner and remove manually. Remove the stopper and block off any overflow holes. With water in the sink, use a flat-faced plunger to plunge the drain and remove clog. If it doesn’t move, use a wrench to remove the U-shaped trap under the sink and look for the clog there. If the clog is deeper, rent a hand-snake to reach it. Slowly feed the coil into the drain, when you get to the clog carefully, twist, pull and push the coil to dislodge the clog.
Unstick a door
Excess humidity in summer can cause a wooden door to swell and stick. A gap of 1/8” to 3/16” between the door and jamb is recommended to accommodate seasonal changes. Note where the door sticks and use a bench plane to shave off the high spots. Round over any sharp edges with sandpaper and paint the exposed wood. Allow to dry completely before closing the door.
Bypass garage door opener if your power is out
Pull the red cord that dangles from the ceiling-mounted operator to disengage the electric chain drive. Then you can slide the door open manually. Be careful, a full-size garage door can be very heavy!
Remove the base of a broken lightbulb
Unplug the lamp or turn off the fixture. Cut a potato (russets are best) in half and gently press it onto the jagged glass. Turn slowly to remove the base.
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