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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Solutions Sought for Zapping Termites

August 22, 1992|JOHN MORELL

Question: My neighbors and I have termite problems in our homes, and after talking with termite companies, we're leaning toward having non-chemical eradication done. What are the pros and cons of the various non-chemical extermination methods?

J. C.

Huntington Beach

Answer: "Unfortunately, there are no governmental agencies overseeing non-chemical methods of structural pest control," says Maureen Sharp of the California Structural Pest Control Board. "Therefore, it's hard to say which methods are better than others.

"A study is currently being done on how effective these methods are, but results won't be available for quite a while. We do recommend that homeowners interested in alternative methods get a guarantee from the exterminator that says they will fumigate if the non-chemical method doesn't work."

Q: About two months ago, we replaced the double-handled faucet in our upstairs bathroom with a single-handed type. Ever since then, we've had a loud "chatter" or vibration whenever a cold water tap is opened anywhere in the house. I've bled the water lines by turning all the faucets on simultaneously, but the problem persists. Any suggestions?

R. D.

Mission Viejo

A: "If the problem appeared gradually after you installed the faucet, it could be a problem with the washers in the new faucet, which are easy to replace," says Larry Hohenstein of Amco Builders and Plumbing Supply in Costa Mesa. "Otherwise, the problem is water hammer, which isn't easy to fix. In well-built homes, you'll find a stub-out, which is a torpedo-shaped valve that's used to absorb the shock of water hammer, so if you don't have one already in, you may need to install one at the water line feeding that faucet."

Q: My wall-mounted garden hose reel began to leak at the point where the joint rotates, so I took it apart to replace the O-rings that were worn out. After replacing them twice, the joint still leaks, and a larger set of rings kept the reel from winding. Where do I find the right O-rings?

B. G.

Los Alamitos

A: "Unfortunately, these hoses always seem to develop leaks, even with the right size rings," says Tim Ganci of Dickenson Lumber and Hardware in La Habra. "You might try putting Teflon tape on the threads and screwing it back on. If that doesn't work, I'd contact the hose manufacturer, since this is such a common problem, and they must have developed some way of dealing with it."

Q: I've accidentally scratched the bottom of my toilet bowl with the metal end of a brush. Is there any way I can remove or camouflage these scratches?

E. L. S.

Newport Beach

A: "You can try applying some porcelain paint on the scratches, but it's not going to be perfect," says Dave Krill, a plumber based in Santa Ana. "And over time you're going to have to continue applying the paint, since the water will wear it down. About the only thing that will make it perfect is to replace the toilet, but if it's working fine otherwise, I'd suggest trying to live with the patch."

Q: I would like to remove oil stains from our concrete driveway. What's the best way to do this?

L. Q.

Santa Ana

A: "There are lots of products on the market that can work successfully for you; it all depends on how badly the concrete is stained," says Steve James, a contractor based in Anaheim.

"I've used plain old anti-grease solvents, like the kind used to get oil and grease off of car engines. I spray it on the stain, scrub it with a brush and wipe it up with a rag. But be sure to use rubber gloves when working with solvents. If the stain has sat there for a while, it's going to be harder to get it out. You can also have a concrete cleaner work on it with a high-pressure hose. They usually charge around $100."

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