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The Super Handyman: A ‘crazy’ cure for clogged drains

This might sound a little crazy, but if you read the column regularly, it won’t surprise you. When it comes to unclogging a drain, there are several ways to go about it. If your drain is clogged, you’ll try anything until you find something that works on your clog. Have you ever tried air? You can use air pressure to blast a clog. You can use an air pump for this one, although an air compressor would work better. You need a scrap of rubber that can be fit tightly around the air hose, which will be pushed down into the drain. The rubber keeps the air pressure directed into the drain.

As you pump, pressure builds up in the line and can force a clog on down. File this idea away and use it the next time you have a clog.


Q: I’m trying to find a way to straighten up my sagging patio door. It’s just a screen door, but it has a lot of character, and I would like to keep using it if I can fix it. Have any suggestions? – B.P.

A: I’m assuming it’s wooden, as it’s hard to picture an aluminum door with a lot of character. Use a turnbuckle and some wire, attached diagonally, from the top to the bottom at the longest point. The turnbuckle goes in the middle and, as you tighten it, will pull the door back into shape. Talk about giving a door character!


Q: When I was cleaning the shower in our guest room, I noticed some space around the drain line, just under the grill. I’m thinking that water might get into this cavity and cause some damage. Is this true? How should I go about fixing it? – B.H.

A: You’re right to seal up this gap, and you can do it with a good-quality bathroom and kitchen caulk. Make sure the area is completely dry, pull the drain cover up, apply the caulk to the gap and give it at least 24 hours to set. Then you can replace the drain cover and feel confident that it is sealed and fixed up correctly.

Tips from readers

I found out that I am getting bugs from my floor drain, located in my basement. I know the house is old, but these bugs are a real nuisance. My neighbor showed me a neat trick. He had the same problem, but he put a rubber ball over the drain.

When it’s dry, the ball sits over the opening and blocks bugs, but when there’s water on the floor, the ball floats and lets it drain out. Cool, huh? – T.Z.


We spend a lot of time on our patio, especially during the summertime. I hung several strands of LED twinkle lights for some fun lighting, and it’s great. I just bought a bag of shells at the hobby store and have glued them right onto the lights. Now we have “shell lights.” It’s just another fun thing we did to liven up our patio. I also have decided to glue some shells to some of the flowerpots to make them match, too. – G.W.

A super hint

Large wall mirrors are very popular, and very pricey! But you can use a salvaged mirrored closet door, backed by plywood and framed with some trim, to create one on a very small budget.

Have a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.