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HANDYMAN Q&A

Refrigerator Seal Can Be Restored

July 07, 1991|From Popular Mechanics

QUESTION: The refrigerator door on our side-by-side refrigerator-freezer seems to have warped and gone out of shape on the bottom and left side. How do I repair this? All the door seals are good but at the bottom left they don't contact the door frame so they can't seal properly.

ANSWER: Sounds as if your door may need adjustment. The first thing to do is to open the refrigerator door and remove everything from the door shelves on the liner. Then make a careful check to see that there is nothing sticking out from the refrigerator itself and that there is no debris or other object springing the door open.

Next, roll back the door gasket. Loosen all the retaining screws around the door seal. Once these screws are loosened, the door will lose much of its rigidity. Now, shut the door and hand shape it to fit the face of the cabinet by pushing in on the door at all four corners. Then, open the door gently and tighten the screws in the corner that didn't fit before. Shut the door again gently to see that it has not changed shape. Reopen the door and tighten the rest of the screws.

Sometimes, after aligning the door, the door gasket will no longer seal properly. If it does not rest tightly against the face where it seals (test by closing the door on a dollar bill and then pull the bill through the crack--you should feel some drag) you may have to replace the gasket or shim it out so it does seal. The easiest method is to put something resilient--such as silicone caulk--behind the gasket to make it contact the cabinet.

Use Oxalic Acid to Remove Rust Stains

Q: A few years ago I installed white vinyl siding on my house. Now I have a problem with rust stains running down all over the siding because the nails I used were poorly galvanized and started to rust. I tried to remove the stains with vinegar, mineral spirits, household bleach, steel wool and TSP, but nothing helped. Do you have a solution?

A: Oxalic acid will remove your rust stains. Dissolve one tablespoon of crystals in one cup of warm water. Wear rubber gloves and goggles. If you can't find oxalic acid, use DuPont's Heavy Duty Cooling System Cleanser for cars. It has oxalic acid in it.

This treatment, however, will only remove rust stains and not prevent further rusting. Try painting the nail heads with anti-rust paint. The problem could have been prevented by using aluminum nails. However, if you have to hang siding over a hard substrate, such as asbestos shingles, then use hot-dipped galvanized nails.

How to Give Mineral Deposits the Brushoff

Q: What's the best way to remove mineral deposits from toilets and other fixtures, and can these deposits be prevented from forming?

A: You can avoid a buildup of mineral deposits by keeping your fixtures clean. Use a general purpose bathroom cleanser with a stiff brush once a week whether your fixtures appear to need it or not. The buildup begins before you can actually see it. By the time you notice the stain, the deposits will have developed a stubborn hold.

Dry-Wall Screws Can Quiet Squeaky Floor

Q: We have a problem with squeaky floors in our 50-year-old home and will be tearing up the floor to correct the problem. What can you suggest to insure that the squeaks don't come back?

A: We suggest that you use 1 5/8-inch-long dry-wall screws instead of nails to attach the plywood to the joist. Dry-wall screws don't require pre-drilling a hole and will countersink themselves. They hold tighter than nails and won't come loose even if the wood shrinks.

These screws are also used by some contractors on outdoor decks, and we have seen boards stay as tight as when they were attached under conditions where temperatures vary from sub zero to more than 100 degrees F, and the humidity varies from 0% to 100%.

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