Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

Removing Non-Skid Decals From Tub / Fixing a Wobbly Ceiling Fan / Wrapping Gas Water Heaters And Save

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2015 at 10:25 am


I have tried, but still cannot remove the dirty and worn non-skid decals from the bottom of my bathtub. How do I remove those bathtub appliqués if they won’t come off?


For those of you not as “sophisticated” as I am, we’re talking about removing those rubber bathtub decals. Most of the time, you can’t even get your fingernail under the edge to try and pull them loose. Well, don’t fret, put a piece of paper towel over each appliqué and soak the paper towel with mineral spirits. After twenty minutes they should loosen up. That also should have made the adhesive easy to remove. If not, try one of those super removers like Goof-Off® from W.M. Barr and Company or Goo-Gone® from Magic American Corp. Those are just a couple of the products that should help you come clean in the tub. They’re also available at any hardware or drug store.

If that doesn’t work, try using Un-Do® by Un-Do Products, Inc. It is the best sticker and tape remover I’ve ever seen. It’s also available at home and hardware stores as well as Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond.


I have a ceiling fan that vibrates and shakes. Does this mean I have to replace it?


Maybe so, but understand there are several reasons why a ceiling fan wobbles when operating. The fan blades could be out of balance, out of track or warped. The wobble could also be caused by the air turbulence that results from the blades being closer than six inches from one side of a sloped cathedral ceiling or ceiling beam.

You can check to see if the fan blades are out of balance by clipping a spring-type clothespin half way between the tip and the blade iron on the leading edge of one blade. Turn the fan on to the LOW speed and see if the weight stops the wobble. Try each blade to determine if it needs more weight. If the clothespin stops the wobble, it should be replaced with thin adhesive-backed lead weighted tape, which is available through the fan manufacturer’s service center.

Check to see if one or more blades are out of track. Using a yardstick, measure the distance from the ceiling to the tip of each blade. The distance should be equal for each blade. If it isn’t, contact the nearest manufacturer’s service center about correction or warranty replacement. If the blades are not out of track, try swapping blades to correct the problem. Switch the position of two adjacent blades while leaving the other two in their original positions. While the blades are off of the fan, lay them on a flat surface to see if they are warped. If so, then replace the blades. Now as for me being warped, that’s a different story.


Awhile back you mentioned that for about ten dollars I could save five to ten percent of my water heating utility costs. That sounds like easy money, but what is the catch?


There’s no catch. The 40 to 50 gallon tank of your water heater is like a hot water radiator that continually gives off and wastes heat. You can reduce this energy cost in two ways. First, lower the water temperature to 120-degrees. Unfortunately, the temperature setting knobs on most water heaters just aren’t calibrated in degrees. If you have the owners manual you can look up the temperature settings otherwise, use a meat thermometer and run hot water onto it. The point which the temperature stops rising is your hot water heater setting.

Second, cover your gas water heater with a special blanket. Buy a fiberglass blanket to wrap around your water heater. To do it safely, follow the directions that come with the blanket and it’s especially important not to do insulate the top of the water heater, do not cover the air intakes for gas burners, leave the controls and all valves exposed and do not cover any warning labels.

The only exception is some high-efficiency electric water heaters do not need extra insulation. Adding it can void the guarantee so check the owner’s manual. What are you planning on buying with the money you will save? New car? Jewelry? Present for me?

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Shingle Problem / Finding Vintage Hardware / Grunfos Circulating Pump

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2015 at 9:50 am


The shingles on the roof of our 4-year-old, remodeled home have started to curl at the ends. We contacted the builder who has yet to inspect the problem so our questions to you are:

Will the curling lead to a leaking roof?

What should we expect or demand from the builder?

Should we replace only the shingles that are curling or the entire roof to match color?

During the remodeling process he was cited for improper venting and had to add additional vents to the roof in order to pass inspection. Therefore, we are assuming that the roof is properly vented. What else could cause curling?


The curling is usually a result of improper ventilation. Not just with the vents on the roof, but the soffit vents under the eaves as well. I’ve seen where there “appears” to be adequate roof and soffit ventilation but the openings in the roof sheathing or soffit boards are not there at all or cut open enough. Normally, an inspector would not find the problem during a routine inspection. Another possibility is that the insulation in the attic may be covering or obstructing the soffit vents.

Regarding your questions:

  1. The curling should not cause the roof to leak. It will make it look bad prematurely as well as lead to accelerated failure of the shingles. (Read that as premature failure).
  2. Depending on the amount of shingles that are bad, the builder may need to remove and replace the entire roof or possibly a few shingles. That depends on the severity of the problem. It should be easy to closely match four-year-old shingles without too much problem.
  3. One final thing. Most roofing manufacturers will send a representative out to inspect their shingles if there is a problem so make sure you know the brand of shingles on your roof.


I have a home that was built in the 1920’s and I am trying to locate a place that would sell some knobs and hardware from that period. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.


Replications can be found locally at Russell Hardware, located at 36280 Woodward in Bloomfield Township (248-644-0100). You can also go to Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Company at 1977 East Maple in Walled Lake (248-669-7474).

Another source is one of my favorite publications, the Old House Journal. You can find it at any bookstore. In each edition they have ads from salvage yards and suppliers from around the country that can get you exactly what you are looking for.

The ‘Old House Journal’ also puts out an annual Restoration Products Directory as well as a Traditional Products publication that sell for $14.95, which includes shipping and handling. You can reach them at 800-826-3893 for customer service or get product information by going to www.oldhousejournal.com.


Every morning I have to let my hot water run for quite a long time before it gets hot. I insulated the pipes, but that didn’t seem to help. Help!


Help is on the way. It takes the form of a Grundfos circulating pump.

Grundfos is a major, if not leading, manufacturer of pumps. A few years back, they introduced the comfort series instant hot water system that can be retrofitted onto any existing hot water tank.

The circulating pump keeps the water in your pipes constantly moving through the pipes and tank thereby giving you instant hot water. Normally what happens during the evening or while you are at work, the water remains stagnant and cools down. You have to wait until all the cooler water, which you previously heated, runs down the drain until you get to the hotter water.

What I especially like about the Grundfos system is the timer. It lets you automatically start circulating the water prior to the morning rush and stop during the day if you want. It accommodates your needs and lifestyle. According to Grundfos, the pump itself uses less energy then a 25-watt bulb and it saves up to 16,000 gallons of water per household. You will actually look forward to getting yourself in hot water!

Check with any licensed plumbing contractor for installation.

For more information call 1-913-227-3400 or visit www.grundfos.com.

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