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Do It Yourself

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Unstick dishes with your WD-40

By Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton has been the handyman expert for the Boston Globe for more than 30 years.

Q: I dropped a nice dessert dish into an equally nice coffee mug, and they stuck fast. I can wiggle them, but they won’t separate. Can I do something about it?

A: Spray WD-40 where they touch. Still no luck? Put boiling water into a large, separate bowl. Put the coffee mug into the hot water, then put a bunch of crushed ice cubes in the dessert dish. The cold dish will shrink and the hot mug will expand, and, voila: Separation!

Q: When I installed gas heat I included a humidifier on the hot air furnace. Now the unit leaks water on the basement floor. The installers adjusted filters or something without success. How can I stop the leaks?

A: Turn it off. These units have a drain that is supposed to drain condensate water, and often, it seems, they don’t work very well. I had one and it also leaked, so I shut it off. You can do the same. If you feel you really need humidity, install a console model on the first floor. Since humid air rises, the one console should work for both floors. They are easily adjusted and cleaned.

Q: My first-floor bathroom fan light works well enough when it’s on, but when it shuts off in winter, it creates a big backdraft. How can I prevent that draft when it’s off?

A: You mentioned that you put a lead fishing weight on the flapping lid of another fan. Do the same with your fan light. You will have to experiment to reach a point of opening for power and closing properly when closed.

Q: I’ve moved back into my childhood home. It has oil heat with baseboard radiators. I can remember my Dad “bleeding” the radiators when I was a kid. Is this something that needs to be done? If so, is there somewhere I can go to read about how it is done? Again, if so, how often should this be done?

A: Sounds similar to my childhood home in Michigan, but mine goes back maybe further than yours, and I never saw my father bleed the radiators, let alone show me how. It was a gravity system, and maybe that’s why. So call your oil dealer and ask him the same questions. He knows the answers.

photton@globe.com
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