for Cold Climate Housing and much more

Weekly Maintenance for your Home

February – Week 08

Just like preventative maintenance on your car, if you take care of a few small items around the house every week, you can avoid many emergency breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Winter is dragging on so let's tighten up some things inside the house. First of all, check all of those door handles. You notice when a door handle starts to get loose, but we tend to wait until it almost falls off before doing anything about it. Take out that long neck Phillips screwdriver and give a few turns to the two screws on the round plate under the inside door handle of each and every door in the house. You may be surprised to discover that most of them are at least a little loose.

Do your outside doors latch tightly when you pull them closed, or do you have to pull real hard while you turn the deadbolt key to get it to lock or unlock? You can always adjust the door catch to make it just a bit tighter, or get an automatic catch called "Door Tite". This is the greatest little latch that has a stair step catch which works like a ratchet to hold the door closed tight.

While you are on the door, make sure that all the hinge screws are in tight. Loose screws on the top hinge can cause the edge of the door to bind. If the screws turn without biting into the wood, replace them with longer screws. In fact it is a good idea for every hinge to have at least one three-inch long screw that keeps it locked into place by being screwed into the framing material of the wall.

You can squirt and squirt lubricant on hinges but if you really want them to stop squeaking, pull out the pins, one at a time, and clean them off with a rag soaked in lubricant. By the way, WD-40 is more of a cleaner than a lubricant. It won't stop squeaking for nearly as long as a true lubricant. Take any product, spray it on a piece of metal and let it dry for a couple of days. Then run your finger over it to see if it contains more solvents (which have now evaporated) or more lubricants (which will still be there).

I'm sorry about the fact that some of those hinge pins are on the outside of the house, and I promised you an indoor job today. But it is the outdoor hinges that need the most attention. No more than half an hour and those doors that were just beginning to give you trouble will be working like the day they were installed.