Quick Repairs to Make Before Your Guests Arrive
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Quick Repairs to Make Before Your Guests Arrive

Quick tips and repairs to fix those last minute items before your guests arrive over the holidays.

With the holiday season just about to get under way, you don’t want to be caught with your toilet running or floors squeaking when your guests come over for a meal or a weekend stay.

Get rid of Odors

If you don’t have time to find the source of the offending odor, you can try replacing your furnace filter with one that contains activated charcoal the day before and let the unit run to absorb the odors. You can set your thermostat fan control to “On” to run the unit without having to heat or cool your home. If it is running in the winter to heat your home, you can also try adding a few drops of vanilla extract to the filter to let it disperse throughout the house.

Fix a Loose Chair

It would be quite embarrassing to have a guest fall on the floor due to a loose chair leg or stretcher, so check them the day before guests arrive. Remove the loose leg and stretchers, use coarse sand paper or a utility knife to remove any dried glue from the tenon and apply polyurethane glue. Use some clothesline or rope to hold the leg in place by wrapping it around all four legs of the chair and tightening it like a tourniquet with a wooden dowel. Hold the dowel in place with another piece of rope or a bungee cord; you may also be able to slide it behind a stretcher. After a few hours, remove the cord and scrape away any dried glue.

Unclog the Powder Room Sink

A quick fix to unclog a sink would be to remove the ball-and-socket stopper assembly and pull out the stopper to get to the offending clog. If it is too far down or it doesn’t completely come out with the stopper, take a wire clothes hanger and form it into a hook and pull out or push down the clog. You can reattach the ball-and-socket temporarily to flush the trap with hot water. If the water goes down, remove the socket assembly and insert the stopper.

Install an Alcohol-based Fireplace Insert

If you have problems with your chimney, but would like to have a fire over the holidays, you can purchase an ethanol or gel-alcohol vent-less fireplace insert to create a clean-burning flame that also puts out a lot of heat. They can be purchases online or at your local retailer that carries fireplace equipment. A 1 liter bottle of ethanol can burn for 4 or 5 hours.

Picture: Eco Smart Fire http://www.ecosmartfire.com/en/home

Repair a Wallpaper Bubble

Use a sharp razor knife to make a vertical slit in the bubble. Use a craft syringe filled with Elmer’s glue and water, then inject the glue into the slit. Roll flat with an old paint roller, dry of course, or a wallpaper brush. Wipe any excess glue off with a damp sponge.

Fix a Loose Toilet

Take of the screw caps from the base of the toilet and try to tighten the closet bolts by hand if they are loose. Caulk under the toilet with a matching silicone caulk, and then gently tighten the bolts with a wrench about a quarter-turn more. Once the caulk sets, the toilet shouldn’t wobble any more.

Quite a Noisy Exhaust Fan

While you’re in the bathroom, vacuum out the inside of the exhaust fan and adjust the spring clasp that holds the cover in place. Over time, the spring loosens and makes the cover vibrate. You can either bend the tabs up a bit or bend a straight section of the spring to shorten it. If that doesn’t work, you can affix small felt pads to the corners of the cover to separate the housing from the cover.

Drafty Windows

If guests are staying over night and you don’t have time to weather strip the drafty window in the guest bedroom, try adding an additional latch to seal the window. You can also purchase some backer rod, used for caulking, and cut a piece to fit at the bottom of the sash before you close the window and lock it.

Fix up Scratched Wood Furniture

Go out and buy a few wax color sticks to touch up the scratches in your table and buffet in your dining room. People will be less likely to notice a repair than a deep scratch. You can blend 2 or more colors to attain a decent match and you can put a little paint thinner on a rag and smooth out the surface. If the wood is light like pine or oak, use lemon oil, which will darken the scratch and also add a nice shine to your woodwork.

Spotless Stainless Steel

If your refrigerator looks like a CSI crime scene minutes after you wipe it clean, throw away your stainless steel cleaners and use a window cleaner that is free of ammonia or alcohol. Stainless steel cleaners often contain naphtha, which leaves an oily residue and picks up dust and smears when touched.

Fix Loose Screws

If you have a towel bar or lock with small set screws that continuously falls off the bracket you can but some thread locking compound. Just remove the screw, apply a drop or two of thread locker, then reset the screw, this will keep if from vibrating loose. If you don’t have any on hand, wrap a thin thread around the threads of the screw and put the screw back in place.

Squeaky and Self-Closing Doors

The easiest fix is to repair a squeaking door hinge. You can either spray WD-40 directly onto the hinge and open and close it a few times, or take the hinge pin out and add a few drops of drip-less oil to the pin.

If you have a door that won’t stay open, the quickest way to fix it is to take the hinge pin out of the top or bottom hinge, place it on a hard surface, like a concrete sidewalk or basement floor, place it on the floor and give it a solid hit with a hammer in the middle of the shaft. This will bend it slightly and will cause the hinge to bind somewhat, keeping the door open.

Hopefully you won’t need all of these tips and tricks, but now you’ll be ready if you do.

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