Handyman on Call

Why hot water in kitchen but not bath?

Q. I can’t seem to get hot water in my bathroom. I get just enough for a shower, but filling the tub is out of the question. I had to fill the tub with pots of water from my kitchen faucet because the spigot on the tub was only giving me lukewarm water. Why is the kitchen water hot but not the bathroom?


by e-mail

A. If you have an anti-scald valve, a round plate with a handle at the bottom of the round fixture that you can switch from tub to shower and vice versa, and the water flow is very low, I think that you have not pushed the handle all the way to “tub.” If that doesn’t work, call your favorite plumber. You may need a new valve.

Q. The putty on the windows of my second floor is flaking off like a blonde’s sun-burned skin. It has been 37 years since windows were installed. At 79 years old, I won’t go near a ladder. My son will do it but I was wondering if a caulking gun could be used. Would you suggest pulling the windows out and doing them flat? No ladder needed.




A. Not going near a ladder is a wise thing to do, and at 85 I am doubly avoiding ladders and roofs. To reglaze, all the loose putty (glazing compound) must be removed and new glazing compound applied. Your son can do that with windows in place. If some of the putty has come off down to the bare wood, apply a coat of boiled linseed oil to the wood to prevent its dryness from sucking out the oils in the glazing compound, ruining a good job. I have seen a few products using a caulking gun, but they may not work as well as glazing compound. If your son can find one that works, OK, because it will be much faster.

Shoo, deer!

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When Tom Jerome asked about deer repellents, the Handyman replied that repellents might work as well as anything.

Then Sophie from Natick replied: Don’t waste time with smelly capsules, sprays, or netting. As an avid gardener, I found that the only thing that will deter deer is a motion detection spray from a garden hose. On the Internet it may read as a Scarecrow Sprinkler Motion Activated Animal Deterrent. It scares off the deer, and any young kids walking by. There are also lists of plants that deer won’t eat.

And from Janice Locke of Concord: He might try a product called wireless deer fence. He can read about it at Wire
. It’s not a fence, but stakes that hold batteries and a deer attractant. When the deer touches the attractant, it receives a mild shock and avoids returning to that place. I’ve had good results, and even use the stakes in the snow, taped to taller wooden stakes. Deer repellents are helpful, too, as you mentioned. It’s best to vary the type used so the deer won’t become used to any one, and it’s important to remember that the repellent does wear off, and that deer will eat a sprayed plant if they’re very hungry. In my yard, where I’ve seen as many as 17 deer at a time, I use both repellents and wireless deer fence posts, and seldom have problems anymore unless I get lazy and forget to spray the repellents or let the posts’ batteries run down.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (photton@
) also chats online 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to