5 Quick Fixes Before Your Guests Arrive

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What You'll Need
WD-40 or other safe lubricant
Heavy string
Light sandpaper
Baking soda
White vinegar
Duct tape

You have all the ingredients to make the perfect holiday party meal. Your home is beautifully decorated. Guests will be arriving within 24 hours and now something has gone wrong. From sticking squeaky doors to broken ovens, check out these five fast fixes for common household problems.

1 - The Doors Squeak

Squeaky doors are annoying and they may be difficult to open or close if the hinges are not lubricated. WD-40 or another safe lubricant can solve numerous squeaky or sticky problems around your home.

Step 1 - Gather some rags and your WD-40. Spray the tops of each door hinge lightly with WD-40. Catch any drips or overspray with a rag.

Step 2 - Open and close the door several times. This will work the lubricant into the hinges. If the squeak is not gone, or the door is still sticky, repeat the process.

Step 3 - Look for other areas that need lubrication. You can spray lubricant into door lock mechanisms and latches to keep them operating smoothly. If your guest bed has a squeaky frame, give any joints a quick spritz of lubricant.

2 - Flush Lever Broke

You just finished getting the bathroom sparkling clean. You went to flush the toilet and the lever broke, or it flushes, but keeps running. You can get a temporary repair done quickly.

Step 1 - Get everything off the toilet lid and set it down on the floor carefully.

Step 2 - Check the handle and chain. The chain from the handle to the flapper has likely broken. You can temporarily use a heavy piece of string to make this connection, if you cannot repair the chain.

Step 3 - If your toilet keeps running, check the stop ball or flapper. Gunk can build up and prevent the ball from sealing. You can remove the buildup with a rag or fine sandpaper. If the toilet is overfilling, causing water to run out the overflow tube, check the float arm or ball-cock assembly. Bend the arm gently to position the float lower in the tank. Do use caution, old arms can break.

Step 4 - Test your repair and don't forget to put the lid back on your tank.

3 - Your Drain Just Clogged

Of course it did. Plumbers love the holidays. You are cooking constantly and probably shoving way too much grease and food remains down the sink or disposal. If your have drain opener handy, follow the instructions. However, try these tricks first to clear the drain safely.

Step 1 - Use a small bucket and get rid of any standing water and solid debris. If possible, get dispose it outside, not down another sink.

Step 2 - Try a plunger. Do try a plunger first to see if you can clear the clog. Remember two things: Do not use a plunger if you have used drain opener. Cover any attached drains.

For example, with a dual sink, you must cover the drain on the other side or the water will just shoot out at you.

Step 3 - Try baking soda and vinegar. Pour ½ cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow with 2 cups of white vinegar. This mixture should create a foamy, noisy chemical reaction; however, it is completely safe. You may have to repeat the process a second time. Once the drain is clear, flush it with some boiling water to make sure everything moves out of your home’s drainage system.

4 - The Table or Chairs are Wobbly

Minor wobbles are annoying, but easy to fix.

Step 1 - Determine which table or chair leg is causing the wobble by pressing on each leg. The one with the wobble will move when you press down.

Step 2 - Gather some cardboard. Cut a small square and slide it under the short leg. If the wobble does not stop, add a second layer of cardboard. Continue layering until the wobble is fixed.

Step 3 - For a table, simply leave the cardboard in place. Because a guest will be moving the wobbly chair, wrap a piece of duct tape around the cardboard to hold it to the chair leg.

5 - Your Oven Just Broke

Okay, in reality, you probably cannot fix the problem yourself, or get a technician out in time for your holiday meal. Do check your electrical panel or fuse box first, an overload could have tripped the circuit. If that's not the problem, it is time to gather your appliances.

Step 1 - Arm yourself with crock-pots. Crock-pots are perfect for heating vegetables and making candied yams. This method will take longer than a stovetop or oven baking, but you will get the job done.

Step 2 - Break out the electric skillets and hot plates. Use your electric skillet to cook items that do not fit into a crock-pot. Hot plates are great to keep items like biscuits or a pan of gravy warm while you are getting other items ready.

Step 3 - Remember the BBQ. Yes, you can BBQ a turkey on a gas or charcoal grill. Prepare your turkey the same way you would for oven roasting, including placing it in a pan. To cook a turkey, plan on 12 to 14 minutes per pound. During cold weather, 14 minutes per pound should be correct. A meat thermometer should read 155 degrees F or more. You can also cook a ham. Pre-cooked ham will take 12 to 14 minutes per pound on medium heat. Bone-in ham will require more time, up to one hour longer. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature is 147 degrees F or higher.

Gas grills with separate controls for the left and right side will allow you to cook different foods at the same time. You can even make biscuits on a grill, so go ahead and impress your guests with your skills.