Fix a leaky sillcock and change a shower light bulb
We have received two questions about leaky sillcocks; particularly the one in the garage. This can be a real nuisance because the water puddles on the garage floor. If a sillcock leaks when the water is on, you are in luck, as the fix is relatively easy. This leak is caused by a loose packing nut. To tighten it, remove the handle by taking off the screw. It is usually a Phillips head screw. Behind the handle, you will see the packing nut, which is usually white plastic. To tighten it, use a ¾-inch open-end wrench or an adjustable wrench. This nut has a left-handed thread, which means you turn it counterclockwise to tighten it. Do not over-tighten it, as it is plastic and can be damaged with too much force. Now reattach the handle, and the problem is fixed.
If the sillcock drips when it is turned off, you have a more complicated problem. The fix is internal and will require that the water main is turned off so you can disassemble the sillcock. Most of the houses in Sun City do not have a turn-off valve on the water line to the sillcock, so you must turn off the water to the house.
When you turn the knob on the sillcock to turn off the water, you are actually closing a valve twelve inches inside the house. It is designed this way so that in the winter the water is in the warm zone and not exposed to the cold outside air where it might freeze. The sillcocks on most Sun City houses have a 12-inch extension. There are kits containing the replacement parts to fix a leaky sillcock available at hardware stores and home centers.
To install the replacement parts, turn off the main water shut off to the house. Remove the handle to the sillcock. Under the handle you will see a white plastic packing nut. With a ¾-inch open-end wrench, turn this nut clockwise to remove it (left-handed thread). Sticking out of the sillcock where you removed the packing nut you will see a square 1/4-inch copper piece where the handle attaches. Using a 1/4-inch wrench, unscrew this piece by turning it counter-clockwise. Pull this piece out, and you will have a 16-inch long copper rod. All of your replacement parts consisting of rubber washers and o-rings will be installed on this rod. Follow the instructions that come with the replacement parts kit.
Reverse the disassembly steps to reassemble your sillcock. You should now have a leak-free sillcock.
How to change a light bulb
I will assume that you know how to change a light bulb that is simply screwed into a socket. The ceiling light over your shower is another matter. There is a glass lens that is held flush with the ceiling by a bezel that is spring loaded into the fixture above the ceiling. To get to the light bulb, slip your fingernails under the bezel between the bezel and the ceiling. Pull down, and the bezel and lens assembly will come down about three inches.
You will see wire clips on each side of the light fixture. Squeeze these together, and they will release from sheet metal hanger clips on each side of the fixture. Look up into the fixture to see how the wire hangers attach to these clips. You can now remove the lens and bezel assembly, thus exposing the light bulb. Replace the bulb. Consider using a low-energy bulb. The compact florescent, CFL, is a good choice, but if you never want to change this bulb again, use the more expensive long-life LED bulb. Reinstall the lens and bezel assembly by squeezing the wire hangers together and latching them over the metal clips inside the fixture. Push the bezel up tight against the ceiling.
If you have suggestions for future tips or have questions about maintenance around your home, submit them to email@example.com.