Repairing cracks which cause floods
Dear Glenn: At the bottom step of my Bilco Scape Well door there is a hairline crack that runs the width of the step. Every time it rains I
get a 1-by-2-foot puddle on the basement floor. Whom should I call to get
-- Greg, Ann Arbor
Dear Greg: The Ann Arbor providers of Bilco Scape Well Doors are: Clark Bldg. Supply. Co., (734) 663-3372; Eighty Four Lumber Co., (734) 769-8417; and Fingerle Lumber Co., (734) 663-0581. Any one of them should be able to provide a repair contractor recommendation. You can also call Bilco from any part of the country at (800) 854-9724, or check out their Web site at www.bilco.com.
Keeping leafs out of your gutters
Dear Glenn: I'm getting to the age where I have no business climbing up on a ladder to clean the leaves out of my gutters anymore and my kids have left the nest and live out of the community. I've used screens from the hardware store, but they don't work well.I've had proposals from both Gutter Helmet and Leaf Guard representatives. Do you prefer one over the other (cost is not a consideration), or is there another system you would recommend ?
-- John, Waterford Township
Dear John: Both the Gutter Helmet, (888) 4-HELMET, and Leaf Guard, (800)532-3482, systems are very good. My personal choice would be a system that did not attach into the roofline. For more information, go to my Internet Help Site, www.MasterHandyman.com , and type "gutter Protectors" in the search engine. My May 8, 2004, article "Gutter systems guard against leaves, but they'll also need cleaning" reviews 10 different systems.
Have your roof vents snaked out
Dear Glenn: We just bought an older home. The inspector said we should go up on the roof and force water down the roof vent pipes because they were plugged. Some of the drains are slow. This is a two-story house. Should we pay someone to go up and put a hose down the pipes?
-- Bob, Birmingham
Dear Bob: You want to hire someone to get up on your roof, but leave the hose behind. Call a plumbing service and tell them that you need to have your roof vents snaked out. Not every plumber is willing to climb on the roof, so you may have to call several places. In the north Woodward Avenue area, try Nelson Brothers, (248) 541-0819, or Sumner Plumbing, (888) 844-7473.
Negative air from your furnace carries dirt
Dear Glenn: I have noticed a lot of "soot" along the edges of my carpets and on the walls. Is this the sign of a dirty furnace?
-- Molly, Trenton
Dear Molly: The black lines are not signs of a dirty furnace but of negative air. Your house is expelling more air than is being replenished naturally through windows and doors. This causes a pressure imbalance that is pulling air through tiny cracks in the walls. The air carries a good deal of dust, which is "filtered" through the carpeting, depositing the line of
dirt you see along the wall. One solution to the problem would be an EQUALIZ-AIR air makeup unit by Xavier, (734) 462-1033, www.equaliz-air.com. They are carried by Damman Hardware and www.wattbusters.com.
Open your door by remote
Dear Glenn: I am trying to locate a remote-control lockset so that my wheelchair-bound mother will be able to lock and unlock her entry door from the living room. I haven't been successful in locating such a device.
-- Ron, Clarkston
Dear Ron: You don't want to open a door if you don't know who is on the other side. John at Smart Home.com, (866) 243-8020, suggested the company's Door Bell Front Door Answering System, item 5070. Mom can answer the door from her telephone (or cell phone) and open the door remotely.
If you just want a remote opening door lock, www.keylesspro.com has a large number of remote locks. A1 Electric Automotive Accessories -- (888)838-0506, www.a1electric.com -- has locks that can be opened only by remote control.
Refrigerators could be destroyed by the cold
Dear Glenn: We have a 16-cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer in our garage. We have it backed against the interior wall of the house. That wall
plus the two side walls and the ceiling of the garage are all insulated. The garage door is metal without any insulation, but I suppose it could be insulated with those 1-inch sheets of foam-type insulation. Is it really harmful to leave that refrigerator in the garage during Detroit winters? If it would be easier on the refrigerator, I can empty it and shut it off during the winter.
-- Charles, Brownstown
Dear Charles: If the garage is not heated and kept at 60 degrees, the refrigerator/freezer's warranty is void and the unit will eventually be destroyed by the cold. Some manufacturers do make cold weather units that can be used in an unheated garage. These appliances cost 3 or 4 times as much as a regular refrigerators. Unfortunately, insulating a garage door is not a DIY project. If you want an insulated garage door, you have to buy one.
Basement bathroom's challenge: It will have to flush UP
Dear Glenn: We are installing a bathroom in the basement and the sewer line is above the basement floor. How do I get the waste discharge to go up to the sewer line?
-- Jon, Romeo
Dear Jon: All you need to do is flush up hill. The Saniflo -- www.saniflo.com, (800) 363-5874 -- toilet uses a pump mechanism to transport the waste up to the sewer line.
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