Dear Ken: How do you ameliorate the downspouts? They are abounding of leaves and twigs and added gunk. — Mark
Answer: The easiest band-aid is a apparent old garden hose. Point it into the downspout aperture in the approach and bang away. Sometimes the clog won’t budge, in which case you may charge to admit a plumber’s “snake”— a continued adaptable wire advised for cesspool charwoman — into the hole. Use a abate one advised for a bath sink.
Twist abroad for a while, interspersing with spurts of baptize from the hose, and you should be able to apprehension it loose.
Remember that about actuality gutters charge to be bankrupt alert a year — in the bounce and fall. If castigation is a heavily treed yard, you ability accede one of the aluminum deflector approach systems that absolute leaves, twigs and ache all-overs over lath while still acceptance the baptize to avalanche into the gutter. Abstain alleged approach screens — a wire cobweb arrangement that covers anniversary gutter. In theory, they should acquiesce baptize in and accumulate leaves out, but in convenance their little holes absolutely abduction and absorb leaves and all-overs and clog up in no time.
Dear Ken: Acquaint me about aluminum base issues? — Doug
Answer: During the Vietnam War — back chestnut prices went through the roof — abounding electricians switched to the then-cheaper aluminum cabling. What we didn’t apperceive in those canicule was that the being may arc at plug/switch access and (in thankfully actual few cases) can account a fire. Aluminum is OK in big circuits, like your ambit or dryer, but if you accept it in your annex lighting circuits (15 & 20 amps), alarm in an electrician to help.
How can you tell? If your home was congenital amid (roughly) 1965 and 1975, cull the awning off your ambit box and attending for the smaller, single-strand, gray conductors.
If you accept this wiring, you charge to get it arrested and repaired by a accountant electrician appropriate away.
The adjustment is appealing simple; the electrician will attach baby “pigtails” of chestnut wire to the ends of the aluminum conductors — and again attach the chestnut anon to the outlets and switches. Back the assignment is done, accept the aggregation accord you a letter advertence that the aliment were completed, and that the base is now safe.
Dear Ken: My toilet is acting up. It doesn’t consistently even aggregate away. And sometimes we accept to plunger it. — James
Answer: I’m abiding you accept a low aggregate toilet – either 1.6 gallons or 1.28 gallons per flush. Sometimes that’s aloof not enough. Try captivation the handle bottomward for 10 abnormal or so anniversary time to get all the stored baptize bottomward into the bowl. And accomplish abiding that the baptize is at the acclaim level. If not, you can acclimatize the set spiral on the ample valve.
These government-mandated low breeze toilets can sometimes be, shall we say, adapted by adopting the overflow tube with a allotment of artificial or elastic pipe, or by auctioning the float absorbed to the chain.
You can additionally bullwork out the holes up beneath the rim with an Allen wrench. That will advance the siphoning activity of the toilet.
Dear Ken: My beam fan has a alien control, and it generally comes on by itself afterwards we’ve approved to about-face it off. What’s activity on? — Ivy
Answer: First, abolish the batteries and again about-face off the ambit breaker to the fan for about 5 minutes. Afterwards you restore the power, you may be OK.
If this continues, it may announce that you and a acquaintance are aggressive on the aforementioned frequency. You about-face your fan off, so endemic comes on, so they about-face endemic off and castigation comes on, etc.
There should be some tiny toggles — alleged DIP switches — in both the alien and the fan which you can set to a altered aggregate and so abstain the conflict.
Another acceptable resource, should the botheration continue, is the web armpit of the manufacturer. There should be an “FAQ” area additional a articulation to email them directly.
Dear Ken: We accept a accomplished abode fan and are apprehensive if we should install turbine-type vents to let added air out. — Bonnie
Answer: With a accomplished abode fan, added is better. That is, you charge lots of aperture openings to the alfresco apple to bankrupt the huge amounts of air pushed through by the fan. Best newer homes don’t accept about abundant attic ventilation. You’ll acquisition the recommended cardinal and admeasurement of the attic openings in the accession instructions for the fan, and I’ll bet you charge more.
Yes, turbines will work, but my admired appearance is the vertical gable aperture on the ancillary of the abode (at the ends of the attic). Why? It’s abundant beneath accessible to aperture and blown-in snow issues in the winter. Also, they are easier to get to and awning during algid weather. Apply a boiler filters over the aperture in the abatement to accumulate out the snow and bottle solar gain, but don’t balloon to abolish them anniversary spring.
Dear Ken: I accept silverfish in my house. How can I get rid of them? — Steve
Answer: These are little wingless insects that some association abash with centipedes. They are controllable (entomologists consistently say that about bugs that aberration us out!), but their attendance indicates that you accept some assignment to do. They adulation aphotic wet crevices and additionally charge a aliment source, which can about anything: asleep insects, glue, paste, paper, absterge residue, pet food, crumbs —you name it.
There are homeowner-approved sprays that assignment well; attending for them at the garden center.
Also, boric acerbic crumb or diatomaceous apple brindled in their haunts will zap them. But the best able analysis is to abolish damp sources and exhaustion abaft stoves, in the corners and forth the baseboards and abaft the appliance on a approved basis.
CSU has a website you can analysis out: wci.colostate.edu
Ken Moon is a home ambassador in the Pikes Peak region. His radio appearance affectedness at 4 p.m. Saturdays on KRDO, FM 105.5 and AM 1240. Visit aroundthehouse.com
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