Clink, Clink, Clink of the Ceiling Fan Chain
The Family HandymanEven if a ceiling fan is perfectly balanced, the breeze from the fan can cause the pull chain to smack up against the light fixture. Solve this problem by removing the chain and sliding a 1/4-in. plastic tube over it. You can buy the tubing at home centers.
Fix for Rattling Doors: Move the Stop
The Family HandymanA door will rattle when there's too much space between the door and the door stop. The easy, home repair solution is to reduce or remove the gap. Here's one solution: Knock the door stop flush with a hammer and a scrap piece of wood. If the stop is more than 1/16 in. out of whack, you may end up with a noticeable unfinished spot where the door stop used to be, especially on painted doors. Add a couple of brads or finish nails to the stop if it's a door that regularly gets slammed shut. This is what contractors wish all first-time home buyers knew about.
Fix for Rattling Doors: Bend the Strike Plate Tang
The Family HandymanMany door strike plates have an adjustable tab or tang. Some of these tangs can be adjusted in place with a flathead screwdriver. Others need to be removed and adjusted with pliers or an adjustable wrench. The more you bend the tang toward the door, the farther the door has to travel before latching shut. Here's what you need to know before hiring a handyman.
Fix for Rattling Doors: Fill the Gap with a Bumper
The Family HandymanA simple home repair for a noisy door is to install a cabinet door pad/bumper on the part of the door stop that contacts the door. Felt, cork or rubber will all work fine. Cabinet bumpers vary in thickness, so check out the size of the gap between the slab and the stop before you head to the home center. You’ll find the bumpers near the cabinet hardware. These are the absolutely vital home maintenance tasks you definitely don't want to overlook.
Water Heater Gurgle
The Family HandymanPopping or gurgling coming from your water heater is a sign of excessive sediment buildup in the tank. The sound is caused by steam bubbles percolating up through the muck. On a gas water heater, the sediment creates hot spots that can damage the tank and cause premature failure. On an electric water heater, sediment buildup can cause the lower heating element to fail. So flushing offers a payback in lower energy bills and extended heater life.
Start by shutting the water heater down. Turn the breaker off, and turn the thermostat to “Pilot” if you have a gas model. Shut off the water supply to the appliance and let the water cool. Then hook a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Put the other end of the hose into a bucket and open the drain valve. Dump the bucket outside so the sediment doesn't clog your pipes. Keep draining until only clear water discharges. If the tank empties before the water turns clear, open the water valve and allow more water into the tank to further rinse it. Once you're done rinsing, close the drain valve, let the tank refill and turn the water heater back on. Every first-time home buyer needs to be aware of these 12 surprising costs.
The Family HandymanMost aluminum soffits fit into a channel mounted to the wall. Sometimes the soffits fit loosely, which allows them to clatter in the wind. Set up a ladder and tap on the soffits to see which ones are loose. Next, insert a length of screen spline in between the soffit and the aluminum channel with a plastic putty knife. The soffits may have been cut too short, so push the screen mold in far enough so it won't be seen from the ground but not so far that it slides past the end of the soffit. A package of 25 ft. of screen spline is available at hardware stores and home centers.
The Family HandymanIs that dripping noise in your downspout forcing you to keep your bedroom window closed at night? Tie a synthetic rope onto one of the gutter hangers and run it down into the downspout. Drops of water will cling to the rope and flow down instead of plummeting the whole length of the downspout and causing that irritating drip. Adding a rope does restrict the water flow, so this may not be the best option if your gutter is prone to overflowing or gets clogged easily.
Banging Cabinet Doors
The Family HandymanThere are two kinds of people in the world: those who shut cabinet doors, and those who slam them. If you live with a door slammer, consider installing cabinet door dampeners. The piston in the dampener slows the door down before it makes contact with the cabinet. The one shown here is adjustable and installs with one screw in less than five minutes. Your cabinets need to have self-closing hinges for the dampeners to work. You can buy a 10-pack at home centers and online. Did you know these easy upgrades can add some serious value to your home?
Keep It Quiet
The Family HandymanWashers and dryers transfer vibrations to floors and telegraph noise throughout the house. The solution is to set their feet on rubber anti-vibration pads (available at some home centers and online).
Squeaky Door Hinge
The Family HandymanSpray squeaky door hinges in place with a little all-purpose lube, silicone spray or dry Teflon spray. If the squeaks persist, remove the hinge pins and rub off any rust or corrosion with a steel wool pad, and then coat the pins with a lubricant before replacing them.