Ask the Woodchucks: Fall Maintenance

As winter approaches, you should remove all hoses from the outside faucets, drain them, and store them in the garage to prevent them from freezing and damaging the hose. If you have a basement with a sump pump, be sure to remove the extension hose from the sump pump discharge pipe on the outside of the house. This is a black hose that directs sump water away from the foundation. If you leave it connected, water in the tube may freeze causing a blockage. When the sump pump turns on again it will not be able to pump the water in the sump out because of the blockage. This could cause the sump pump to burn out.

Question about exhaust fans in the bathroom: In our previous home, in order to clean the fixtures, we removed two springs on either side of the cover. This home’s cover has wire that does not release. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: There is a wire catch on each end of the fan cover. Pull the cover away from the ceiling and then squeeze the wire catches together so that they unhook from the fan housing. The cover will now come away from the fan housing.

Question about the walk-in shower glass doors: From previous experience in our other home, we only had to raise the door in the track in order to remove it to clean the track more effectively. There doesn’t seem to be enough head room in the track to remove the door? How can we remove the doors to clean the track? Is this common in the Sun City showers?

Answer: We can’t recommend removing the shower doors. These are tempered glass and any slight nick in the edge from a small bump can cause them to shatter into hundreds of pieces. A professional who needs to remove the doors to make a repair would remove the short plastic center track piece in line with the lower track between the two doors, and tilt the door inward so they can be lifted out.

To keep the doors and track clean follow this cleaning schedule:

1. Clean your shower door every week and the door tracks once per month. An old toothbrush and some Comet cleaner can get dirt and mold out of the corners of the track.

2. Use a squeegee or sponge to wipe down the shower door after every shower. This prevents soap scum and residue from building up.

3. Vinegar gets rid of mold and mildew on tile grout.

Question: We would like to replace our closet light fixture but cannot remove it from the ceiling. Turning and pushing did not work. Any suggestions?

Answer: Grab the globe on either side and pull straight down. There are three spring clips that snap over the edge of the globe. With the globe removed, you will see the screws that secure the fixture to the electrical box. Before removing these screws, trip the circuit breaker for that circuit. Turn the light switch on and back off to verify that the circuit is not live. You can now remove the fixture and replace it with a new one.

For those that just want to replace the light bulb, with the globe removed you can unscrew the old light bulb and replace it. If your spouse leaves the light on much of the time, as mine does, you might want to replace the bulb with an LED bulb to save energy. If this light is only on a few minutes each day, you might want to use one of the incandescent bulbs you removed to put an LED bulb in fixtures in high traffic areas. To replace the globe place the edge of the globe against the three spring clips and press the globe straight up until the clips snap into place. Pull down lightly on the globe to verify that it is clipped in place.

If you have suggestions for future tips or have questions about maintenance around your home submit them to

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