Everyday Home Ownership: Maintenance and Repair
By: Danny Lipford
Owning a home often involves tackling common maintenance and repair chores around your home. Recently Access Hollywood entertainment correspondent, Laura Saltman, received a helping hand from Danny and Allen to solve some nagging problems on her home in Los Angeles.
Toilets that run constantly or don’t flush properly are a common problem. Solutions include:
- Adjust the float to control the water level in the tank.
- Replace the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank.
- Adjust the chain length between the handle and flapper valve.
- Replace corroded or broken chain.
More information can be found at How to Repair a Toilet.
Water Heater Maintenance
It’s important to drain your hot water heater periodically to remove any sediment in the bottom of the tank. Here’s how to go about it:
- Turn off the gas or electricity to the water heater.
- Close the cold water supply valve coming into the water heater.
- Attach a garden hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank.
- Run the hose outside on the ground.
- Open the drain valve on the tank.
- Release the pressure relief valve on top of the tank.
- Allow the water in the tank to drain out.
- Once the tank has drained, open the cold water supply valve for a few minutes to flush out any sediment.
- Close the drain valve and pressure relief valve.
- Remove the hose from the drain valve.
- Allow the tank to fill.
- Turn the power back on or relight the pilot light.
More information can be found in our video on How to Drain a Water Heater.
Heating/Cooling System Maintenance
The heating/cooling system on your home needs periodic maintenance as well. To keep your HVAC system running properly, be sure to have it inspected by a trained professional at least once a year. In addition, the homeowner should perform the following routine maintenance:
- Replace the air filter every 1-3 months with a high quality filter.
- Pour a cup of bleach in the air conditioner condensation drain line at least once a year to keep mold and mildew from forming and clogging the pipe.
More information is in our article on Air Conditioner Maintenance.
Closet Door Repair
Sliding closet doors can become hard to open and close. To free them up:
- Lift up on door and remove from track.
- Clean track and bottom of door with putty knife and sandpaper to remove any dirt or paint.
- Apply paraffin wax or other lubricant to the track and bottom of door.
- Rehang door on track.
To replace sliding doors with bifold ones, check out How to Hang Bifold Closet Doors.
Window Screen Repair
To repair a torn window screen:
- Place the screen frame on a flat surface.
- Insert a small screwdriver or the point of a utility knife under the end of the rubber spline.
- Pry the end of the spline out and remove the spline around the frame.
- Remove the screen wire from the frame.
- Position an oversized, new piece of screen over the frame.
- Use the convex end of a spline roller tool to push the screen into the groove at one end of the frame.
- Place the spline over the groove, and use the concave end of the roller tool to push it into the groove.
- Pull the screen tight at the other end of the frame, and use the roller tool to push the screen and spline into the groove.
- Pull each of the other two sides tight and press the spline in, being careful to avoid wrinkles.
- Trim off excess screen with a utility knife.
More information is available in our video on Repairing Window Screens.
To repair nicks and dents in drywall, simply fill the damaged spot with premixed drywall joint compound, allow to dry, and sand smooth.
To repair a hole in drywall:
- Cut a patch slightly larger than the hole from a scrap of drywall the same thickness as the wall.
- Place the patch over the hole, and trace around it with a pencil.
- Cut to the lines with a drywall saw, and remove the damaged wallboard.
- Position 1”x 4” cleats in the wall behind the hole, and attach them in place with drywall screws.
- Insert the drywall patch in the hole, and screw it to the cleats using drywall screws.
- Cover the patch with joint compound and imbed strips of drywall tape over the seams.
- Smooth out the joint compound with a 6” drywall knife and allow to dry.
- Apply two additional coats, with a 10” drywall knife, feathering the compound out evenly over the adjoining surface.
- Once the compound has dried, sand it smooth before priming and painting.
More information can be found at How to Cut and Hang Drywall.
Paint Stuck Window
Windows often become painted closed over the years. To free paint stuck window:
- Score the paint film where the sash meets the frame on both the inside and outside of the window.
- Insert a putty knife in the gap between sash and frame, and run it around the opening on the inside and outside of the window.
- Position a flat pry bar on the outside of the window where the sash meets the sill, and tap it with a hammer to force the pry bar under the sash.
- Carefully pry the sash up, working from each side.
More information is available at How to Open a Paint Stuck Window.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Vacuuming Small Spaces
Shop vacs are great, but they’re not designed for delicate vacuuming tasks, such as cleaning a keyboard. To solve this problem, insert a small rubber hose in the vacuum crevice tool, and seal up the remainder of the opening with tape.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Husky HydroSurge Pressure Washer
The Husky HydroSurge electric pressure washer has a unique dual tube wand that allows you to dispense soap at high volume, then clean the surface at high pressure (1600 PSI). The Husky HydroSurge is available at The Home Depot.
Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
Homemade Rain Barrel
Rain barrels are a great way to save and store water for use on your lawn or garden. While commercial models are available, you can also make your own rain barrel from a plastic garbage can. Watch our video on How to Make a Rain Barrel for Your Yard to find out how.