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Buying Paint / Replacing Plumbing Pipes / Do Odor Killers Really Work? / Try “Flush-n-Sparkle”

In Odors, Plumbing, Products Worth Checking Out on June 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

Q:
When buying paint, do you really need to buy the best?

A:
There are two rules of thumb to help you choose the type of paint you want to purchase.

First, choose an exterior paint for outdoor surfaces and vice versa. Second, select a top of the line paint for a reputable manufacturer (one that has been around for awhile).

Yes. Some paints contain additives, such as mildewcides or pesticides that improve the paint’s performance. Some also contain better quality binders and pigments than others.

With latex paints, 100% acrylic is the best binder, followed by acrylic, and then vinyl.

With oil-based, alkyd is almost universally used as the binder. As for pigments, titanium oxide is best. It covers better in both latex and oil-based paint. Be wary of paint that has a lot of calcium carbonate. It’s used as a filler to reduce the cost.

You can bet the more you spend within a manufacturers’ line, the better the quality of paint but choosing between brands is not easy. One manufacturer’s best quality may not be as good as another’s middle grade. To find out more about the paint you’re buying, ask your paint dealer for technical information sheets, or have them explain the differences in the grades.

Q:
I want to replace my old water pipes and am considering copper pipes. What are the advantages of copper? Which is better copper or PVC and which would you recommend?

A:
Houses built prior to the 1950’s used galvanized pipes for plumbing. The pipes rust and corrode. They should be replaced as soon as possible. If you are low on funds, as we all seem to be (except plumbers) you can replace just the hot water horizontal pipes at this time because those are the ones that are the first to fail.

The choice today is copper, plastic or a combination of each. Semi-handy homeowners can do it themselves by using C.P.V.C. plastic. It’s easy to cut, fit and weld joints using a solvent. The system is excellent, but the one common failure of do-it-yourselfers is using enough hangers to properly support the pipes.  More serious do-it-yourselfers and plumbers generally use copper or PEX plumbing. The only caveat with installing copper is make sure you don’t burn the house down when you’re soldering the joints.

PEX plumbing is a system generally used by professionals. It is, as are the other two, also excellent, but requires two special tools i.e. a PEX cutter and a crimping tool along with unique crimps. The crimps connect all ends and fittings and absolutely must be installed properly or they could fail. The bottom line, if you are doing it yourself and you’re handy, read directions (an interesting thought).

Q:

Do any of those odor killers really work? They just seem to mask the odor, but the smell still comes back.

A:

You must correct the cause of the odor first, because if you have an odor and don’t eliminate the source, it could continue to smell.

Once that is accomplished, you should use enzyme odor killers that truly eliminate the odor. There are several on the market such as “Smells-B-Gone” or “Odor Mute”.

I have tested and was impressed with a couple of products from Neutron Industries. One is called D-Molish, which comes in an orange or spring fresh scent. D-Molish is sprayed on and removes stains and odors. The other product is called “NI-712” and eliminates airborne odors. NI-712 also comes in a variety of scents. They both work great! Check out their products at www.neutronindustries.com or give them a call at 1-888-712-7127.

Q:
We bought a toilet 2 years ago and had to replace the flapper. I heard many flappers deteriorate when exposed to bleach or chlorine. That means no sanitizers, discs or anything like that in the tank.

A:
You’re right, the chemicals that you drop into the tank help but do degrade the plastic and rubber components.

All is not lost. Fluidmaster (949-728-2000 / www.fluidmaster.com) has an easy-to-install product called Flush-N-Sparkle™.  It is a toilet bowl cleaning system that has a replaceable cartridge. The cartridge releases a measured amount of cleaners into the water flowing directly into the bowl. It is available at home and hardware centers.

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