Maintenance Guy Not Due for a Week? DIY It!

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DIY plumbing

So you’re a fortunate tenant: you’ve got a landlord who’s accessible and comes through, when you need repairs.

However, this time around, for whatever reason, those few things you need to have fixed around the apartment will have to wait a week or so.

No problem.

Chances are that it’s not that much of an emergency or you and your landlord would have made other provisions. Right? However, if you’re bummed that you have to wait that long and wish you could just fix something yourself, hey, that’s not such a far-fetched premise!

Grab your work gloves and tool kit and head for the spot in your apartment that needs tinkering with. You might fix it before the landlord’s handy person comes a ‘calling, in which case you can send him or her on to the next item on the “to do” list.

Here, then, are a few straightforward DIY projects for you to tackle:

Q: “My dryer isn’t drying as well as it used to when I first moved in! Could this be a quick ‘n easy fix?”

A. You hit the nail on the head. This quick ‘n easy fix centers around removing lint which has accumulated around your dryer’s filter system and in the vent.

As a precaution, you may want to wear one of those dust masks you can buy in a Family Dollar or Dollar Tree style outlet.

You can start by disconnecting your dryer’s large hose-like duct. Some models have a metal ring which will slip off the edge of the accordion-like duct. The ring is to hold it in place. The duct is made from flimsy material, so be careful not to poke a hole in it.

Examine the back of the dryer unit for excess lint, and remove any dust balls. You may need a vacuum and extension hose if you wish to vacuum the actual duct. Don’t go in too far, as you may have a hard time extricating your vacuum’s extension hose.

Finally, clean the litter grid or filter, usually located on the top of the machine.

When you can’t remove any more lint, it’s time to turn the dyer on and give the machine a fast “blow dry”, to push out any loose lint.

You’re done. Your dryer should dry like new!

Q. “My faucet leaks. What can I do? I don’t think I need to bother my landlord about this small problem.”

A. This is a minor repair issue. Nine times out of ten, the “o” ring or rubber insert or washer inside the tap piece of your faucet needs replacing. Turn off the water and take out the tap. The rubber ring should come off with it. If not, reach in with your finger and pull it out. Take it to your local hardware store and ask for one that’s the exact same size. That should stop the leak. If it doesn’t time to contact your landlord or superintendent!

Q “I live in a huge old house, in the attic. It’s as big as a loft! The issue I have is a tree stump out in the back yard. My only picture window looks right down on top of it. It looks, well, sad! Is there anything I can do short of asking the landlord to send his super to remove the tree stump entirely?”

A. Wonderful question. There is no need to grind the tree stump. Tree stumps make very attractive planters.

If you’ve got a tree stump that is flattened on top, sort of like a coffee table…and, by the way, there are artists who make coffee tables out of actual tree stumps, by smoothing the wood down…you are in for a treat!

You can position potted plants and flowers right on top.

Or, if the top is slightly concave, you can plant flowering plants directly in the indentation.

Don’t try to chip away at the tree stump yourself, to make a plant hole larger. Ask your landlord to have a handy person (wearing protective goggles) use a mattock, which will chip away at the top and form a wedge for you to plant in.

You usually need around a 5 to 7 inch planting hole. Make sure there are drainage holes in the stump…someplace for the water to drain into.

Add some potting soil, pretty blooms, and water!

You’ll enjoy feasting your eyes on THIS tree stump/planter, when you look down from your attic, now!

Q “My shower faucet is clogged. My superintendent won’t show up for a few days. Can I remove the hair myself?”

A We don’t see why not! The only exception would be if you have such an accumulation of hair that it requires an auger (a screw rotator which removes liquid) or a snake…in which case it’s best to leave it to the pro’s.

Here’s what you can try. Remove the screws around the edges of the drain plate. Examine the screws first, to see if you’ll need a Phillip’s screwdriver (with four cross points) or a posidrive one (with a starlike head). These are the two most commonly used screwdrivers.

Using a metal coat hanger which you’ve shaped like a “J” or pliers (needle-nosed work well), manually remove the hair.

Get some water in the drain hole and position a plunger over the hole. Push down firmly but not too hard; create an air bubble and keep pushing on it. You’re creating a powerful suction action which should be sufficient to unclog the drain.


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