Archive for June, 2015|Monthly archive page

Plumbing Noises / Sprucing up Old Paneling / Do You Really Need New Windows?

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2015 at 10:17 am


My plumbing makes noises and it’s really annoying. Are there any remedies?


If you turn on a faucet and hear a banging noise, and feel a vibration in the handle, it’s probably because the washer has worked itself loose. Turn off the water, stop up the drain, remove the handle and the stem, and check the washer. Tighten the washer screw if it is loose. If the vibration and rattling still occur, then replace the stem.

Do you hear rumbling noises coming from the hot water heater? That generally means minerals and sediment have accumulated on the bottom of the tank. Draining some water out of the tank usually flushes out the sediment, quieting the tank. The drain valve is near the bottom of the tank. It also means the tank could be approaching the end of its useful life.

When you turn off a faucet, do you hear a banging noise somewhere in the walls? That’s called water hammer. Occasionally, the air chambers that cushion the flow of the water in the plumbing system become waterlogged. To correct this, turn off the water at the meter and open all the faucets. Now go back and close all the faucets and turn the water back on. If the problem recurs, you may need to install additional air chambers.


I have old wood paneled walls that have lost their luster and charm. How can I perk them back up again?


If the paneling you speak of is the old mahogany paneling that has not had any real maintenance in years then the first thing I would do would be open the windows, turn on a fan, and using a sprayer or paint roller, apply a thin film of paint thinner or mineral spirits to the paneling. Keep the walls moist for five to ten minutes. I think this is as good a time as any to tell you to wear protective clothes, gloves, and eyewear and by all means do not smoke. Think about it.

Wipe the panels down with absorbent cloths or better yet facial tissue (Kleenex). When the surface is clean and dry, apply a Danish oil type finish using cotton rags.

Your paneling will have all the charm that it once had and will look great.


Is there anything I can do to avoid having to replace the windows on my house?


Before you replace your windows, think about how much money you will save if you might be able to get more efficiency out of your existing windows.

Do you have storm windows? Are they secure or do they rattle, reducing efficiency? Are the storm windows caulked to reduce drafts? Did you know they should be caulked along both sides and along the top, but not along the bottom edge? By keeping your storm windows maintained will help avoid having to replace them.

If you have older, poor quality aluminum or steel windows, it almost always pays to replace them and upgrade. If you have wood windows that rattle when the wind is blowing and cause drafts, often, just pulling off the window stops and moving them closer to the sash, stops the rattles and drafts. The window stops are vertical wood strips, which seem to hole the window in the channel. By moving them, you reduce the gap. Of course, you can also install inside storms.

If you don’t want to live with older windows, you can reduce your utility costs somewhat by replacing them, but by how much? Consider these factors:

  1. How much are your average heating bills? If you replace the windows, how much will the bill drop? Ten to twenty dollars per month?
  2. How much insulation do you have in your attic? In the north and Midwest you should have R-49-60.
  3. Is there insulation in the walls?
  4. Is your house caulked efficiently? The amount of caulk needed, on average, is probably equivalent to leaving a three-foot window open all winter.

Whatever your decision, remember that you’ll be on the inside looking out.

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