Q. I have a year-old refrigerator with a built-in ice maker. I’ve noticed lately that the ice cubes have a peculiar garlic odor, which is odd, because I don’t have garlic in the freezer and it’s rarely in the refrigerator. What could be causing this?
A. It’s probably not related to the ice maker, says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove. Odor problems with ice are usually caused by the water that’s used. There are minerals and sediment, especially in the water system here in Orange County, that affect the taste and smell of our water.
There are filters you can install on your ice maker that can remove sediment and odors. These are fairly easy to install. They basically have layers of screens, charcoal and other elements to trap the offending particles.
Q. Our 30-year-old house has some small plumbing problems. One of the toilets fills very slowly, and the water pressure on a couple of our faucets is low. A friend suggested that the answer is to have the galvanized plumbing replaced with new copper pipes. Would this be a good idea?
A. By changing your plumbing to copper, you’d notice a big difference, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating Supply in La Habra. Over time, galvanized pipe tends to accumulate deposits, and after 20 years or so, it affects the water pressure. Copper plumbing, on the other hand, is more expensive, but it can last three or four times as long as galvanized.
If you plan on living there for some time, it might be a good idea to make the switch. Otherwise, you might just concentrate on fixing the immediate problems.
A low-pressure faucet can occur if a new angle stop is needed. This is the point where you turn the water to the fixture on and off. If the toilet is one of the original fixtures in the house, it probably needs to be replaced, since water deposits can clog the passages inside.
Q. We have a kitchen that needs to be remodeled, but we don’t have much of a budget for the work. We need to replace the old Formica countertops. I was wondering if it’s possible to paint them instead. What kind of paint would be strong enough to adhere to the surface?
A. It can be done, but you’ll have to use a two-part epoxy, says Jim Craig of Decratrend Paints in Anaheim. You’ll have to prepare the countertop first by sanding and cleaning it. You could apply a heavy-duty primer to cover up a bright color or loud design. Then mix the epoxy, which is one part pigment and one part hardener, and apply it to the surface.
Q. I have a small bedroom I use as a den that has vinyl flooring. I’d like it to have carpeting, and it seems like such a small job I’d like to pick up a piece of remnant carpeting and do the job myself. What’s involved?
A. You’ll need to get a carpet kicker from a rental yard, some carpeting shears, padding and tack strips, says carpet installer Jack Belcamp of Huntington Beach. Hammer the tack strips in along the walls, then glue or tack down the padding. You’ll have to cut the remnant so that it fits the room, then get it rolled on the tack strip at the edges of the walls. It might be kind of tricky if you haven’t done it before. If you don’t want to go through all the trouble, you can always get a large area rug for the room.
Q. One of our bedrooms has a very squeaky door. I’ve tried spraying light oil on the hinges, but that only works temporarily. Is there a better solution?
A. You might want to try a graphite lubricant, says door hanger Steve Grimes of Fullerton. They’re available at most hardware stores, and they’re a little pricey, but they lubricate very well and they’re not as messy as the typical oils.