Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

Cleaning an Oil Spill on Concrete / Shower Water gets “Hot” When Toilet Gets Flushed / Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2014 at 9:46 am


My son was working on his car this summer and spilled a great deal of motor oil on my new concrete driveway. What can I use to remove this unsightly stain?


You are in luck. There is a great product on the market called “Pour-n-Restore®” Oil Stain Remover. It is a biodegradable, phosphate-free remover that will lift embedded oil stains from concrete and masonry. It will also remove brake fluid, anti-freeze, grease and synthetic oils too.

When applied, it goes on as a liquid and dries to a powder. For the best results it should be applied in temperatures above 60-degrees. In open areas, such as driveways or walkways, it takes five to eight hours for drying time. It may take longer if applied in a garage or other enclosures that are not as well ventilated.

With Pour-n-Restore® there is no scrubbing or rinsing involved. When dry, just sweep the stain away. If the stains are older, another application may be needed.

Pour-n-Restore is available at Ace Hardware stores.


Why is it when someone is taking a shower in my house and a toilet is flushed from another bathroom, the water in the shower turns unbelievable hot even thought all the plumbing is copper? Is this normal and what can we do to correct the problem?


I’m always in hot water no matter what I do but your problem is not uncommon.

Flushing the toilet when the shower is running crates a surge of cold water being used, which will cause a pressure drop and the hot water will overpower the cold. This also happens if the shower is running or a toilet is being flushed while the faucet in the sink is turned on. If the tub has a three-handle style faucet, one for cold, one for hot and one in the middle to turn the shower on and off, this can be converted from a three handle to a single handle “scald guard” unit, which allows both temperatures to drop at the same time and will not allow the person in the shower to become scalded by hot water. This unit (for most bathtubs) will cover the old existing holes in the tile wall so no tile work will have to be done. Give any plumbing company a call and they will be more than happy to let you know what the cost for installing this would be. This is also a required plumbing code now in new constructed homes or any total bathroom remodeling jobs.

There is also another way where pressure balancers can be installed on both hot and cold water, which will do the same thing as allowing the temperature to drop at the same time. This price can also vary. Either way will work, but expect to pay in the hundreds for whichever one you decide to go with.

Dear Readers,

Most of you are not aware of a new type of home electrical safety device. It is called an Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter or AFCI. There are a few manufacturers that make them and they can sense any arcing within milliseconds on circuits protected and cut off the power. That includes wiring within the walls or protected circuits. They are now required for bedroom circuits on new home construction.

An old product recall occurred with the Square D™ AFCI breakers manufactured between March 1, 2004 and September 23, 2004. The Square D™ Company is an excellent company with an excellent reputation in the industry. The problem originates from a third-party supplied internal component. The company has corrected the problem and is working with local distributors, electricians, builders and supply houses to recover and replace affected breakers.

The reason I bring this to your attention is that I have recently realized homeowners do not seem to be knowledgeable or even aware of A.F.C.I.’s or this particular recall.

If your house was built, remodeled or had AFCI’s installed in that time frame, contact your builder, contractor or electrician etc. to have the AFCI’s replaced.

If you have any further questions call Schneider Electric at 877-342-5173 or visit www.squareD.com.


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Tub Re-glazing / Rotting Wood Siding and Trim

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2014 at 11:02 am


What are your thoughts on tub re-glazing?


Even if you’re a great cook, you’ll never be able to bake this!

The finish on tile, sinks, tubs and basins is baked on at the factory. When it’s chipped, cracked or worn, it can be re-glazed or patched, but don’t expect it to last like the original finish. There are several epoxy enamel kits for the do-it-yourselfer such as “Tough as Tile” from Rhodes American Company. They work, but require a lot of preparation and my experience shows it only lasts for a few to several years.

The difference between a “few” to “several” years is in the preparation of the surface. You should remove all fixtures such as spouts, handles, drains and overflow cover. Then thoroughly clean the entire surface with a mild muriatic acid solution mixed with water at a ratio of 6×1. You’ll find muriatic acid at paint and hardware stores. You absolutely should be working in a well-ventilated area wearing gloves, goggles, and following instructions.

Painting the muriatic acid mixture onto the surface will etch and clean the surface. Rinse it several times to apply the epoxy enamel mixture. They come in two parts, which you add equally. The mixture should be left to stand for approximately 1 and 1/2 hours. Using a quality pure bristle brush, apply the first coat. When dry, apply the second coat.

You shouldn’t use the tub or sink for 48-hours afterward, which during that time, you, of course, will be left high and dry.

Doesn’t sound like fun, and it’s not. My solution is not to re-glaze or even replace the tub. Check into relining the tub. There are several companies that will come out, measure

and photograph the tub. They make a 1/4-inch acrylic liner that they adhere to the original tub after the plumbing fixtures and drain have been removed. The plumbing fixtures are reinstalled after the liner is installed. Now you’re ready for a nice hot bath.


I am noticing the wood siding and trim around my house is starting to rot. What can I do to stop it before it gets any worse?


Rotting wood siding and trim will only get worse if not corrected. Wood siding and trim around a house should and could last decades if kept properly maintained and dry. The key word here is “dry. According to the Country Journal Magazine, termites and dry rot both thrive in wood that remains damp and warm (above 50-dgerees) for long periods, and only extreme pressure treated lumber can withstand that abuse and only for a limited length of time.

Dry wood never rots. The most common sources of damaging moisture are soil contact, plumbing leaks, vapor condensation and rain.

Rain per se doesn’t hurt: problems arise when it collects on a flat surface or is allowed to soak into places where it won’t dry out for days or weeks. Moldy wood will continue to rot, even after being treated with preservatives, unless moisture is kept away.

So the first step is preserving the wood is to eliminate the source of moisture. The common areas to correct are a poorly flashed door or window, rain getting in behind a gutter or moisture condensation inside the wall. This condition comes from moisture inside the house, not outside, and especially common in older houses where the walls were insulated years after the house was built.

If you have small areas of deteriorating trim like around a porch column or windowsill, they can usually be patched successfully with one of the numerous wood fillers available at your local hardware or building supply stores.

A basic inexpensive wood filler available is called “Water Putty” by Durham. You just dig out the rotten area, mix the water putty with water until you have the proper consistency and fill in the damaged area. It will be “putty in your hands” and it works just fine.

“Minwax Wood Hardener” is another product that reinforces soft wood and forms the base for their “Minwax Wood Filler”. Better yet, you can use the hardener along with the inexpensive Durham product.

There are other products like “Cure Rot” by Atlas Minerals, which is a resin and activator. It’s a good product, but expensive. Use the products at your hardware store first. I think if you follow directions (as I’ve always said an interesting concept) you’ll be quite satisfied.

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