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Quick fixes before your guests arrive

Published on: 04 December 2014

Your home is spotless and beautifully decorated – the stage is set for the perfect festive meal for your friends and family. Guest will be arriving in a few hours but, as Murphy’s Law would have it, something has gone wrong. From squeaky doors to broken ovens - check out these quick fixes for common household problems:

1 - The doors squeak

Squeaky doors are annoying and they may be difficult to open or close if the hinges are not lubricated.

Step 1 - Gather some rags and aerosol lubricant. Spray the tops of each door hinge lightly with lubricant and catch any drips or overspray with a rag.

Step 2 - Open and close the door several times. This will work the lubricant into the hinges. If the squeak is not gone, or the door is still sticky, repeat the process.

Step 3 - Look for other areas that might need lubrication. You can spray lubricant into door lock mechanisms and latches to keep them operating smoothly.

2 – The flush lever broke

You just finished getting the bathroom sparkling clean. You flush the toilet and the lever breaks - or it flushes, but keeps running. You can get a temporary repair done quickly.

Step 1 – Carefully place the tank lid on the floor.

Step 2 - Check the handle and chain. The chain from the handle to the flapper has likely broken. You can temporarily use a heavy piece of string to make this connection, if you cannot repair the chain.

Step 3 - If your toilet keeps running, check the stop ball or flapper. Dirt can build up and prevent the ball from sealing. You can remove the build-up with a rag or fine sandpaper. If the toilet is overfilling, causing water to run out the overflow tube, check the float arm or ball-cock assembly. Bend the arm gently to position the float lower in the tank. Do use caution, old arms can break.

Step 4 - Test your repair and don't forget to put the lid back on your tank.

3 - Your drain just clogged

Of course it did – you are cooking constantly and probably shoving way too much grease and food remains down the sink. If you don’t have drain cleaner handy, try these tricks to clear the drain safely.

Step 1 - Use a small bucket and use it to get rid of any standing water and solid debris. If possible, dispose of it outside, not down another sink.

Step 2 - Try using a plunger to see if you can clear the clogged drain. Remember two things: Do not use a plunger if you have used drain cleaner. Cover any attached drains.

For example, with a dual sink, you must cover the drain on the other side or the water will just shoot out at you.

Step 3 - Try baking soda and vinegar. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow with 2 cups of white vinegar. This mixture should create a foamy, noisy chemical reaction; however, it is completely safe. You may have to repeat the process a second time. Once the drain is clear, flush it with some boiling water to make sure everything moves out of your home’s drainage system.

If you do have drain cleaner, be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging.

4 - The table or chair that wobbles

Minor wobbles are annoying, but easy to fix:

Step 1 - Determine which table or chair leg is causing the wobble by pressing on each leg. The one with the wobble will move the table when you press down.

Step 2 - Get some cardboard. Cut a small square and slide it under the short leg. If the wobble does not stop, add a second layer of cardboard. Continue layering until the wobble is fixed.

Step 3 - For a table, simply leave the cardboard in place. Because a guest will be moving the wobbly chair, wrap a piece of duct tape around the cardboard to hold it to the chair leg.

5 - Your oven just broke

Okay, in reality, you probably can’t fix the problem yourself, or get an electrician out in time for your festive meal. But there may be a simple solution to your problem. Check your mains switch board, an overload could have tripped the circuit. If that's not the problem, it is time to gather your countertop appliances.

Step 1 - . Slow cookers are perfect for heating vegetables and other meat dishes.  This might take longer than a stovetop or oven baking, but you will get the job done.

Step 2 - Break out the electric skillets and hot plates. Hot plates are great to keep items like biscuits or a pan of gravy warm while you are getting other items ready.

Step 3 - Remember the braai. Yes, you can braai a turkey on a gas or charcoal grill! Prepare your turkey the same way you would for oven roasting, including placing it in a pan. To cook a turkey, plan on 25 to 30 minutes per kilogram. Gas grills with separate controls for the left and right side will allow you to cook different foods at the same time.  

With these awesome tips you can go ahead and impress your guests with your skills.

Remember: If you have home contents and buildings insurance with MiWay –  then you are entitled to MiHelp Home Assistance. From a locksmith, electrician or plumber – this value-added service is available when you need it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 08600 767 64.

Click here to read more about MiHelp.