When it comes to maintenance, there are times when you are best served seeking professional help. After all, going after what looks like a trivial water leak with a monkey wrench and no specific expertise could potentially turn a minor annoyance into a major insurance claim. Still though, there are a number of common maintenance needs you can do yourself with simple tools and common sense.
Peeling Wall Coverings
Tools Needed: Wallpaper Paste, A Dull Knife, A Clean Sheet of Printer Paper and A Clean Cloth.
Use the knife to spread a thin layer of the wallpaper paste onto the sheet of paper. Gently rub the pasted side of the paper against the peeling wall covering to transfer the paste. With the paper still attached, press the wall covering back into place, then gently slide the paper out. Use the clean cloth to smooth out any bubbles.
Tools Needed: White Toothpaste, a Clean Dry Cloth, an Eraser, WD-40, Dishwashing Liquid, Water and a Clean Towel.
Spread a thin layer of toothpaste onto the scuff and gently rub it in with the dry cloth, taking care to avoid causing an abrasion in the linoleum. After working the scuff, dampen another section of the cloth and wipe away the toothpaste. Use the clean towel to buff the surface. If the scuff persists, spray the WD-40 on the towel and rub it until the scuff is removed. Use the dishwashing liquid and water to clean the area to prevent slipping on the residual WD-40. Dry it afterwards with the towel.
Sticking Sliding Doors and Windows
Tools Needed: Vacuum Leaner, Whiskbroom, Silicone Spray Lubricant and a Clean, Dry Rag.
Sliding doors and windows generally get sticky because debris builds up on their tracks, their lubricant dries out, or both. First, clean the track with the whiskbroom to sweep out any large particles of debris that may have collected. Then use the vacuum to clean up smaller particles the broom couldn’t address. Spray the lubricant on the rag, taking care to ensure the wind is blowing away from you to avoid inhaling the lubricant. Use the rag to spread the lubricant on the door’s track. Slide the door back and forth until it moves freely and easily. Repeat every six months or so to avoid a recurrence.
Constantly Running Toilet
Tools Needed: None
A float ball inside most toilets is lifted into position by water rising in the tank. When the ball reaches a certain level, the closure of a valve is triggered, which stops the flow of water into the tank. Sometimes the float ball’s rod gets bent upwards. Bending it downward will cause the ball to shut the water off sooner. If it isn’t the float ball, the chain attached to the flapper valve may be getting tangled or trapped beneath the flapper valve. Straighten the chain and shorten it if needed. If neither of those is the culprit, you’ll likely need to replace the flapper valve. Most of them pop on and off with no tools required. You can get a replacement valve at any hardware store.
Jammed Garbage Disposal
Tools Needed: Duct Tape, a Flashlight, a ¼-inch Allen Wrench and Needle Nose Pliers.
If the disposal does not hum when it is switched on, try resetting it. Make sure the disposal is switched off, use the flashlight to locate the reset button on the bottom of the unit and press it. Switch the disposal on again. If it doesn’t hum, call a technician. If the unit hums, but does not turn, it is likely jammed. Shut it off and place a strip of tape over the switch. Use the flashlight to locate the electrical cord serving the disposal underneath the sink and unplug it. Next, switch off the circuit breaker for that area of the kitchen and place a strip of tape over it. Tell everyone in the house you’re working on the disposal and you’ve switched off the circuit breaker. With these safeguards in place, insert the Allen Wrench into the socket underneath the disposal and try to turn it. If it resists, then moves, you’ve likely cleared the obstruction. Power it back up and see if it works. If it doesn’t, switch everything off again, re-tape the switches, unplug it and probe around inside the disposal with the pliers for foreign objects. Once you’re satisfied you’ve cleared it, try rotating the disposal again with the wrench. If it turns, reactivate the power and switch it on. If it still doesn’t work, call a tech.
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