Q. I discovered a bird’s nest in the exhaust fan over my kitchen stove. I hear them chirping in the early morning, but then the noise goes away. How would I take care of getting rid of it?
That exhaust fan is exhausting to the outdoors, where presumably a flapper pops down when the fan is shut off. It may not be working well enough, so you can have a mechanic check it out. Better yet, install a screen at the end of the unit, just behind the flapper, to keep the birds out. Or let the birds chirp. They will soon leave the nest and won’t be back until next spring. The trouble with that is that the nest might stay in the exhaust, blocking it.
Q. We have a natural gas generator for emergencies. It’s loud. How hard is it to build a fence around the unit to spare the neighbors from hearing it for days when the power is out? I need two 4-foot sides and one 5-foot front. I want to use white vinyl, maybe 3 feet high.
It is not difficult, but build it 5 feet high; the higher sound goes up, the weaker it gets. White vinyl is sterile looking. Instead, use pressure-treated 4-by-4 posts, pressure-treated 2-by-3 rails, and white cedar pickets, spaced 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart. They will give a much more natural look.
Q. The American Standard toilet in my condo is only 11 years old, and any time solid matter is flushed it will overflow. The flapper allows it to flush twice. My super could not find anything clogging the pipe and said if it happens again the bowl or whole toilet needs to be replaced.
When you say the flapper allows the toilet to flush twice, do you mean that lightly flushed, it will flush just 1 gallon of water and if heavily flushed, will allow more water to go down? Try this: Use a plunger to force debris up or down. If no luck, call a plumber to see if he can find something wrong. Or contact the dealer where you bought the toilet.
Q. My deck was converted to an all-weather porch, and there is air conditioning in the porch via two ducts in the ceiling. One duct is collecting water. How can I stop it?
The duct itself is cold, probably cooler than the air going through it, and the air condenses and water gurgles out. You could insulate the ceiling and check the duct insulation for tears and holes that make the metalwork cold.