Califonia Bountiful

Now from Nationwide: Repair and maintenance tipsĀ for common home problems

March/April 2021 California Bountiful magazine

Part of owning a home is learning how to manage common repairs. Doing household repairs isn't the most enjoyable part of the home ownership experience, but it's unavoidable. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to make these repairs simpler or even avoid them.

Clogged drain

Eventually, you might have a drain that doesn't live up to its name. If yours is draining slowly or not at all, you don't have to call the plumber just yet.

Rather than pour harsh chemicals down your sink, which can damage your pipes, use a bit of white vinegar and baking soda:

  • Pour several cups of boiling water down the sink.
  • Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and then follow that with a mixture of equal amounts of white vinegar and water, such as a cup of each. You'll hear some fizzing and bubbling.
  • After several minutes, run boiling water through the drain to clear it out.

To prevent clogs from happening frequently, maintain your sink and shower drains by pouring vinegar in and removing any hair from the drain. You can use a cup of vinegar per week to keep sink drains clean. Each time you use a sink, run hot water into it after you've finished your washing up. To deodorize your sink, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain followed by 2 quarts of boiling water.

Grimy grout

Showers and other tiled areas can get surprisingly dirty. Mold can grow on the grout between bath tiles, or you might find that the grout simply becomes dirty over time.

Once again, it's baking soda and vinegar to the rescue. This natural solution not only clears drains, but it also can get rid of the grime that builds up on grout. To keep the grout clean:

  • Coat tiled areas with white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Scrub the grout using a stiff-bristled brush and rinse it.
  • Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply it to the grout lines with a small brush.
  • Spray the tiles and grout again with the vinegar. Allow the mixture to bubble.
  • Scrub away the stains and rinse the grout and tiles with hot water.

Keep a spray bottle filled with a half-vinegar, half-water solution near the shower or tub area and spritz the tiles as part of your weekly cleaning regimen.

Drafty windows

Over time, the caulk that keeps your windows sealed and airtight can dry and crack. That means your home can start to feel drafty. In turn, this can affect your comfort level and drive up your utility bills.

Home window repair is a simple fix. First, scrape away the dried caulking from around your window. Clean the area and then reapply fresh caulking in place of the old, including on all the joints in the frame and the joint between the window and the wall.

In addition to making your home more comfortable, your windows can look better, too. By making it a practice to check caulking around your windows at the beginning of every winter and every summer, you can catch dried-out, cracked spots early and keep them from worsening.

Dinged wood floors and furniture

Unsightly dings, chips and small scrapes in your wood floors and furniture don't have to ruin their look. Rub a walnut on smaller scratches to help them blend in with the surrounding wood again. You can also color-match the wood's stain to a repair marker; simply color over the scrape with the repair pen to help it disappear.

If your wood has dings in it, wet a washcloth and place it over these spots. Press a hot iron on the washcloth for about 10 seconds. This steams out the dents by causing the wood to swell.

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