Preventing things from becoming damaged, broken or unusable.

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26
votes
12answers
4k views

What are the “must do” tasks before winter hits?

I've had my furnace serviced in time for winter, but what other things should I consider doing before the snow and the ice come?
21
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I repair rusty tools?

Should I use sandpaper to clean the rust from the tools (e.g. Needle-nose pliers), or can I soak them in vinegar or lemon juice? Would I be better off just buying new tools (which can be an ...
18
votes
1answer
10k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
13
votes
6answers
3k views

How do you sharpen a knife?

Just got done sharpening a few knives, and thought it could be useful to post a question about it here. So lets say I have one of these guys. With a coarse stone, a medium stone, and a fine ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

When should I replace a circular saw blade?

Is there a rule of thumb for how often a circular saw blade should be replaced? Is visually inspecting the blade condition enough?
11
votes
6answers
7k views

What is involved in DIY swimming pool maintenance?

We moved into a new house last year and when cleaning out the pool shed last weekend I stumbled across a report that was done by a business that handles swimming pool maintenance. It checked ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I handle significant snow and ice dams on a 4/12 gable roof with ridge vents?

It is our first winter in a new-to-us house, that has a pretty flat roof (3/12-to-4/12 pitch), and a ridge vent along the entire top of the roof. We just had the snowiest December on record ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

What are some routine home maintenance tips?

We just built a new home, and I'm wondering what routine things need to be done to keep everything working, well maintained, and happy. I can think of a lot of things, but the problem with any ...
9
votes
1answer
658 views

Is it OK to use powdered graphite to lubricate a garage door opener?

I am about due to lubricate my garage door opener and related parts, and while I have some silicone lubricant, I was wondering if I could be doing better. The can I have says it's good for all parts ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Should I powerwash and waterseal a pressure treated deck?

Is there any maintenance that I should be doing such as yearly power-washing and water-sealing for a pressure treated deck?
8
votes
4answers
731 views

What type of regular maintenance should I be doing on my central air conditioning unit?

I have not done any maintenance on my central air conditioning system since I bought my house five years ago. Everything seems to be running fine but is there some sort of maintenance I should be ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a home made solution that will clean drains?

Not sure if this counts as "Home Improvement", but it's worth a shot: I'm currently in an apartment where I'm not supposed to use chemicals to clear drains, like in the sink/tub. I've cleared out ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the best way to remove dried egg from a house?

Some troglodytes egg my house anywhere from every 1-6 months, and have been doing so for the last four years. They just did it again tonight, so I have a fresh supply of drying egg to now remove. My ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the proper way to clean a water heater?

I have heard many times that it is good to clean your water heater about once a year by flushing it. I went to look online to find the proper way to do so and found many people recommending different ...
6
votes
3answers
372 views

How do I clean a 96-gallon automated trash can?

The town provides us one of those automated trash collection 96-gallon trash cans. Ours really stinks... you do not want to be down wind from it in the summer. I have been avoiding cleaning it for ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

Should I open the top or bottom of double hung windows?

I'm a new home owner and was wondering if there is a "right" way to use the double hung windows in the house. Should I open the top or bottom? Is there a seasonality to it? Does it even matter at ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I use a PVC cleanout plug in a Cast Iron Cleanout?

There's a cleanout plug on this pipe that I simply can't get loose. I've tried liquid wrench, PB blaster, heating up the area with a torch, everything I can think of. All that's really left is to go ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Flush a gas powered water heater, not sure if it's ever been done in 15 years. Will it survive a flush?

I'm concerned that there might be seals that are bad, or corrosion keeping things waterproof. It looks great on the outside, But I don't know how efficiently it is working - I've never owned a home ...
5
votes
2answers
305 views

What maintenance does a cedar deck require?

We just moved into a house with a very nice 16'x16' cedar screened porch. The problem is I've never had a cedar deck and am not sure what maintenance to expect or how often to do it.
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How to make a swing swing straight?

I don't know if this is "home improvement" since it is about an item in my garden but it is not about "gardening and landscaping" either so I am going to ask it here in the hope that, since it I think ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Rust spots on water heater — time to replace?

So I noticed today there's some rust spots showing up on the outside/bottom on the water heater. No more than a couple specs. Should I be worried?
4
votes
5answers
2k views

How often should the air filter in the furnace be changed?

Does the period of change of this air filter have an affect on the longevity of the heating and a/c system? What is a good rule of thumb to require replacement?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

How long can I leave a paint brush and roller sleeve submerged in water without damaging them?

I'm painting my fence (with water based paint) and have more to do tomorrow. How long can I leave the paint brush in water until it's likely to be damaged? I think it's a synthetic bristled one. ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Do gas fireplaces need chimney cleaning?

Is it necessary to have the chimney cleaned by chimney sweeping service if I use a gas imitation fireplace log (no wood) exclusively? If so, what is the reason? What is the root cause for chimneys ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best way to condition and protect a hardwood floor under heavy use?

We rent an old house with hardwood floors and the area under one of our office chairs is now brittle and dull. What are our options for conditioning and/or protecting the wood (especially to prevent ...
4
votes
1answer
7k views

How does one know if a well pump is “Short Cycling” or pressure tank is water logged?

Is there any calculation that can be performed to estimate the amount of water a well water pressure tank should output between pump cycles? E.g.- I have a 40 gallon pressure tank (non bladder) with ...
4
votes
2answers
913 views

What is the maintenance schedule for a concrete driveway?

I have a concrete driveway that I'd like to keep looking good, and in good working order. What needs to be done to maintain the driveway, and how often should it be done?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What maintenance can I perform on my GROHE 33 755 KD0 Ladylux Cafe Pull-Out kitchen faucet?

We moved into our house shortly after the previous owners installed this faucet: We've had it for about 5 years now and the water flow is severely limited. Also, it takes forever for the hot ...
4
votes
1answer
883 views

How should I clean stone surfaces prior to applying sealer?

I apply impregnating sealer to all my tile and stone surfaces annually. I had been cleaning it with just soap and water, then letting the surface dry for a few minutes before applying the sealer. It ...
4
votes
1answer
838 views

How do you descale a dishwasher heating element?

I've tried something I got at Lowes (with the wax plug, you put upside down) and CLR. The CLR worked the best, but didn't really get it off and it's building up again. I've heard vinegar will work ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What is an oven anti-tip device and how do you install one?

I'm trying to sell a home, and we're in the inspection / repair phase. The buyers asked for me to install an anti-tip device for the oven in the kitchen, and I'm not even sure what that is. Can ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Is cleaning out the main sewer line a regular scheduled maintenance item?

I just had to have my main sewer line snaked, and the technician said it should be done once every 2 years. Is this really the case, or was he just trying to insure he has job security?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What can cause the capacitor in an air conditioner to fail?

I just had the capacitor on my air conditioner fail. It was explained to me that the reason for this was the oil inside the capacitor got too hot, expanded, made the whole thing bulge, and no more ...
3
votes
1answer
215 views

What is the lifespan of pvc cement?

My house is 32 years old, due to other reasons I have my bathroom floor removed. Looking down at the PVC pipe that is used for the tub, sink and toilet got me wondering. What is the lifespan of ...
3
votes
2answers
717 views

Which flat roofing system requires the least maintenance?

I am a board member of my townhouse homeowners association and our townhomes are unfortunately very tall (need a lift or 60 ft ladder to access the roofs) and also the builder made the roof one single ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

How can I clean sticky and dirty hand tool's rubber?

I have a hand tool - Needle-nose plier that had a rubber that is used as the handle. Currently, I managed to clean up all the rust on the metal and would like to clean up the rubber handle as it is ...
3
votes
1answer
289 views

Can I use a rusty soldering iron?

I am thinking of getting back into stained glass. One of the projects I want to work on is to fix a stained glass window that has a section with a crack in it. I was given a couple soldering irons ...
3
votes
2answers
337 views

What - if any - annual maintenance is required for grout/caulk in a shower?

I'm a new home owner who has been living in house that was built last year. Upon moving in the builder mentioned that grout needed yearly maintenance--would he referring to re-sealing the grout? Are ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I remove rust stains from clothes?

While I was cleaning all my rusty devices and equipments, I got some nasty rust stains on my cloth. Then I remember that I had some old clothes that I can use to clean these rusty devices and ...
3
votes
3answers
80 views

What outdoor materials can be damaged by by ice?

I'm relatively new to this snow thing. I also have a new vinyl deck and paver stone walkway I'd like to take care of. I have a basic understanding of how water can get into things, freeze, and break ...
3
votes
1answer
134 views

Is it necessary to keep tools lubricated?

I've noticed that some of my tools, especially the more expensive ones (e.g., a wire cutter), come lubed. So, is it necessary to keep them lubricated? If so, what kind of oil should I use?
3
votes
2answers
9k views

How do I fix a Bostitch nail gun that is jammed?

I have a Bostitch nail gun (pneumatic) and it has been working fine all day until about 30 minutes ago. I went to nail in a piece of molding, and when I pulled the trigger I heard air feed into ...
3
votes
2answers
595 views

Is there a way to prevent mildew/mold from forming on vinyl siding?

The back side of my garage is shadowed by branches from neighbors trees, which causes mold/mildew to grow on the vinyl siding. Since removing the trees/branches is out of the question, is there some ...
2
votes
2answers
347 views

Metals in pool turn water green after adding shock, what's the solution?

Our pool hasn't been opened in 4 years. We are finally in the process of resurrecting it from the dead, and have spent a lot of elbow grease (and tears) to get it to the point its currently at. Last ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

How much maintenance should I budget for a historic home?

We've been considering some historic homes as a future residence, but one of our concerns is how much to budget annually for long-term maintenance and repairs. Let's use this late 1800's Victorian ...
2
votes
2answers
197 views

Is it a bad idea to use pine for painted exterior siding if prepared properly?

My house is about 95 years old, and currently has wood clapboard siding that is in pretty rough shape and needs to be replaced. My local lumber yard has 1/2" x 6" for $0.53/linear foot. Since vinyl ...
2
votes
1answer
446 views

How can I get my stuck sprinkler heads to go down after watering?

I have an automatic water sprinkling system in my lawn. After it runs, some of the heads are still stuck in the up position. I will attach some photos. What can I do to ensure these heads go down ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

How long can a fireplace go without cleaning/inspection if it's never used?

I have a gas fireplace that I have never used, nor planned to use. Then we lost power on the coldest day I've ever seen here (gas furnace - check, electric blower - oops) and I'm kicking myself for ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I clean an AC condensate pan?

I have a Ducane HVAC system that started leaking out of the evaporator coil housing. Mine looks like the EU1P. I read that i need to clean out the drip pan. II tried cleaning it by sucking out the ...
2
votes
2answers
412 views

Is sawdust really that bad for my vacuum cleaner?

My mother (who tends to be right about this stuff) says that using my non-shop-vac to cleanup sawdust will ruin the motor. I recently bought a new, fancy, expensive vacuum cleaner that was really ...