- Toilet Makes Noise Occasionally
Ever heard water running for 5 or 10 seconds in the bathroom and wondered what it was and why it was doing that? The culprit is most likely a leaky flapper valve. Water pushes past the flapper into the toilet bowl, lowering the water level in the tank. The fill valve’s float lowers and opens the water supply to fill the tank. An easy way to ensure the flapper valve is leaking is to put a small amount of food coloring in the tank, let the toilet sit without use for a couple of hours, then check to see if any food coloring is in the toilet bowl. If there is, you know the flapper needs to be replaced. Note, I don’t recommend putting kool-aid packets in the tank in place of food coloring. If the granules don’t dissolve, there is a potential they could gather on the flapper seal and cause leaks. If kool-aid packets are used, make sure to completely empty the tank and wipe up any leftover granules.
- Unclog a Shower Head
Deposits left from water flowing through a shower head inevitably cause slow flow and blockages in a shower head. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to use a luxuriously large shower head when only half of the nozzles spray water. A natural and safe method to unclog shower heads involves only three items: a food storage bag, white vinegar, and a rubber band. Fill the food storage bag halfway with white vinegar, put it over the shower head, and secure the bag to the shower head pipe with the rubber band. Tip: Don’t have rubber bands? If everything is dry, electrical or packaging tape can be used instead.
- Difficult to Open Lock
Dry graphite lube is commonly used by locksmiths to lubricate lock cylinders. If a lock on a door isn’t working as well as it used to (and the door is still aligned), the lubricant may need to be applied inside the lock. Don’t have any dry graphite lube handy? Use a pencil. Here’s how: rub the tip of a sharpened pencil back and forth over the teeth of a key until a bunch of graphite is built upon the key’s teeth. Insert the key, and begin working the lock back and forth. Continue the process until the lock is buttery-smooth.
- Stripped Screw
Anyone who has done home improvement is unpleasantly familiar with the dreaded stripped head on a screw. After finishing cursing at the previous owner for stripping that screw, try this method: a rubber band. Place a wide rubber band over the head of the screw, then use a screwdriver as normal. The idea behind this method is the rubber is pliable enough to fill crevices while being durable enough to hold up to the force when turning a screw. Is the screw too destroyed for that to work? Try a screw extractor kit from your local hardware store.
- Faucet Not Flowing Freely
Most kitchen and bathroom faucets have aerators screwed into the water outlet of the faucet. The main purpose of this is to reduce water flow, which saves water and energy. If a faucet seems like it’s not flowing as well as it used to, a dirty aerator screen is likely to blame. On faucets that have a visible aerator cover attached to the end of a faucet (such as many kitchen faucets), a rag or tape can be placed over the aerator cover and pliers used to remove the aerator. If the faucet has an aerator insert instead of cover (like many modern bathroom faucets), a wide flat blade screwdriver or ½ -inch wood chisel can be used to unscrew the aerator. If you don’t have the aerator tool and the chisel method needs to be used, remember to use the chisel as a screwdriver to not damage the aerator.