“My Bathroom Sink Is Not Draining!”

This Quick Fix will strike fear into the hearts of most readers because they think it involves the dreaded “C” word (Carpentry). Anytime talk of fixing doors comes up, people immediately think of levels, pneumatic nailers, saws, and loud noises. This fix couldn’t be further from the truth. 

A door will close by itself if it was not hung plumb, that is to say, not perfectly vertical. The door will either close and latch completely, or will close partially. Sometimes the air conditioner will even pull it closed for the last couple of inches. People will get the idea that this one is WAY out of their league, when in actuality it is not. So, should you remove the door, tear out the jamb, re-shim it, re-hang it, and repair all the damage you caused in the process? Totally unnecessary! 

You will need a hammer (or something heavy and blunt) and a stubby screwdriver (or something thin and hard). Go to the door and remove the bottom hinge pin. You can do this by tapping the bottom of the hinge pin upward with the small stubby screwdriver. Once the head of the hinge pin is sticking out of the hinge, you can tap it out or grasp the head and pull it out the rest of the way. Don’t worry; the door won’t fall off in your hands. 

Now set the hinge pin down on the sidewalk on its side. Gently tap the hinge pin in the center with a hammer. The idea here is to put a slight crook in the hinge pin. I want to emphasize GENTLY. If you significantly bend the hinge pin, it won’t go back in the hinge. You want to create a slight amount of friction which will hold the door open. After you put a slight bend in the hinge pin, tap it back into the hinge where it belongs. 

Some doors are really heavy and will have 4 hinges. If bending the bottom hinge pin doesn’t do the trick on a heavy door, perform this trick to the bottom 2 hinge pins.

It’s like magic! You open the door and it stays open!

“My Bathroom Sink Is Not Draining!”

Here is a Pop Quiz for all you Plumbers-in-Training: You walk into the house of a married couple and go to the master bathroom where you see two sinks. Aside from the physical appearance of the sink areas, how can you tell which sink belongs to the man and which one belongs to the woman? Now remember, I said you can’t take the appearance of the sink into consideration since the cosmetics would be a dead give away. So what’s your guess? 

HINT: Your nose knows. Not to disrespect any readers of the feminine persuasion, but whatever you’re using on your hair, after it sits in a sink drain a few weeks, it starts smelling like the city morgue. That’s not to say that a man doesn’t put things down the drain that smell too, but there is something about long hair and chemicals, mixed in with a little bacteria that really make a pungent smell flourish. So what do you do? 

You can go to a home center and pick up a gizmo called a “Zip-It”. This is a long, skinny piece of plastic with small barbs running down its sides (think of a dipstick with thorns on its sides). 

The nice thing is that you don’t even need to get your hands dirty on this one (and it only costs a few dollars). Simply slide the tool down the drain past the pop-up stopper. It is flexible enough to turn corners and go down into the P-trap. What goes in must come out, so with a slow pulling action, gently remove the ball of gunk. Now when I say slowly, I mean slowly. If you pull out the hairball quickly, you may end up on the receiving end of a nasty shower. And talk about smell? Skunks will run from you. 

It might take a few times to finally clear the drain, but you will. In some nasty cases you may need to remove the trap and pull out the debris. This tool will work on tub and shower drains as well.