Q: Our laundry room is off the foyer at the front entrance. My husband is a retired plumbing contractor of 50 years, so, believe me, he has taken apart and cleaned out the waste line many times over. A sewer smell comes and goes. Sometimes it comes up into the bathroom (over the laundry room) through the heating vent and up through the laundry chute in the bedroom closet. We may buy a new washing machine, as it is the only thing we have left to try. If you ever find a solution, please share it.
A: A sewer smell like yours is usually due to no trap in the drain or a trap that has lost its water seal. Check out the drain wherever it goes, and if you cannot find a trap, install one.
Here’s another idea, from a reader: If the washer is a front loader, the odor is probably coming from the machine itself. Ours had the same issue, and a repairman recommended we use use less detergent, keep the door open when not in use, and run an Affresh tablet through the “clean tub cycle” once a month. I haven’t had a problem since I began following his suggestions.
And from another reader: Water is left in a front-loading washer after it is finished washing your clothes. After standing for a couple of days, the odor develops. For a machine with this problem, you have to use one cup of bleach in the hottest water and on the longest cycle once a month.
Bats in the attic
Q: We live at the ocean and near a marshy area, which means a very active bug/bat life. As a result, we now have bats in our attic. I’ve found droppings and a dead bat on the floor. How can I get them to move on? I was thinking of installing additional lighting with a timer. Would this help?
A: Light will help the bats to move on. Install several 100-watt bulbs in the attic, turn them on, and keep them on until the bats are gone. Then close off where they are coming in or install a one-way exit so the bats can escape but cannot come back. A wildlife removal specialist can do this.
Q: I have a basement window that is hard to reach. It is an old wooden hopper, and the sash is not in good condition. I want to buy another wooden sash just like it rather than install a replacement window. The frame of the window is fine. Do you know where I could find or order one?
A: Go to any lumber store and ask for the Brosco catalog, which carries any window built in the past 100 years, it seems. Your hopper window is in that catalog.
Q: Our coffee table has scratches but not enough to warrant sanding the whole top if we can avoid it. The finish is dark, but I don’t know what kind of wood it is made of. Any suggestions as to what kind of products might fill in and/or disguise the scratches?
A: Try this: Find an oil stain that is close to the color, and apply it to the scratches with a small brush or a Q-Tip. The dark color will match, and you will have nearly an invisible fix.