Show Notes: Fall Fix-Ups to Finish Before Halloween
Don’t be scared of all the fall fix-ups!
Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here.
And, October is National Kitchen and Bath Month!
What’s In Your Dust Bunnies?
Do dust bunnies slowly drift across your floor like delicate dirty tumbleweeds, to settle out of sight beneath the bed? Does dust collect in the corners and perch daintily atop your baseboards? It happens to the best of us. But if you’re a dust-phobe who incurs rolling eyes at your obsessive cleaning, consider yourself justified. Dust has been found to contain a potent mix of toxic chemicals that migrate from home products, roll in through open doors and windows, and hijack rides in on shoes – eventually winding up as a major component of the dreaded dust.
The distinct dust mix in any home will vary based on climate, age of the domicle and the number of people who live in it — not to mention the occupants’ habits. But nearly everywhere, dust consists of some blend of shed bits of human skin, animal fur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot, particulate matter from smoking and cooking, lead, arsenic, pesticides, and even DDT.
A groundbreaking study by the Silent Spring Institute found 66 hormone-disrupting chemicals, including flame retardants, home-use pesticides and phthalates, in household dust.
Meanwhile, an EPA study, reported in Environmental Science & Technology, provided proof that pesticides can be tracked into residences on shoes. People and pets who walk on pesticide-treated lawns can pick up pesticides like the herbicide 2,4-D, for up to a week after application. The study found that “track-in” exposures of pesticides may exceed those from pesticide residues on non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables.
It’s enough to want to make a person live in a bubble. Or get religious with the Endust and Mop & Glo. But that’s no answer, given that some of the most popular dusting and mopping products score so miserably in terms of toxins of their own.
So, here’s a dust action plan, as devised by Environmental Working Group (EWG), to wrangle those bunnies and otherwise decimate the dust:
- Vacuum frequently with a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. These vacuums are more efficient at trapping small particles and can remove contaminants and other allergens that a regular vacuum would recirculate into the air. Change the filter often, and don’t forget to vacuum the stuffed furniture (get under those couch cushions).
- Wet mop uncarpeted floors frequently to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating (dry mopping can kick up dust). Buy wooden furniture or furniture filled with down, wool, polyester or cotton. These are unlikely to contain fire retardant chemicals.
- Wipe furniture with a microfiber or damp cotton cloth. Skip synthetic sprays and wipes when you dust – they only add unwanted chemicals.
- Caulk and seal cracks and crevices to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating in hard-to-reach places.
- Equip a forced-air heating or cooling system with high-quality filters and change them frequently.
- Avoid ozone air purifiers – ozone irritates lungs and does not remove dust or other airborne particles.
- Pay special attention to places where little kids crawl, sit and play. They live closest to the floor and are exposed to those toxic dust bunnies.
(And to which I add the obvious: Remove your shoes before entering the home!)
Don’t Get Your Circuits Crossed
How to Figure Out Which Circuit Breaker Is Which If Not Labeled
When you need to shut off the power to an electrical receptacle, you have to know which circuit breaker you should switch to the “off” position in the breaker box. In a perfect world, all circuit breakers would be accurately and legibly labeled for users. Yet, many times there are no clues as to which circuit breaker controls which outlet. If you invest a bit a time and enlist a helper, you can label all of the breakers in one fell swoop so you won’t ever have to query over which switch you should flip again.
Draw floor plans of your home or business and mark the location of all lights and electrical receptacles. Remember to label the garage and any outdoor areas. Ask someone to help you identify each circuit breaker. Give them one handheld radio while you keep the other one so that you can communicate with one another during the task.
Turn on the lights in every room of your home so that your helper can more easily identify which breaker you have turned off. Remember to turn on switches that are connected to electrical outlets. Give your helper a small appliance such as a digital clock to plug into receptacles to test for power, as well as the floor plans and a pencil.
Open the door of the circuit breaker box and begin with the first breaker at the top of the row. Communicate to your helper, via radio, that you are going to flip the first breaker. Ask your helper to tell you the location of the light or lights that went out. Your helper will also need to test each outlet in the room by plugging in the small appliance. Have your helper write a “1” on each light and receptacle in the plans that is connected to breaker No. 1.
Tear off a small piece of masking tape and place it next to the breaker and write, in permanent marker, the location that is connected to the first breaker. You can also write directly on the breaker box if you don’t want to use tape.
Switch the breaker back to the “on” position. Your partner can turn out any lights in the room if he has them marked on the plans.
Continue flipping breakers and labeling them as your helper identifies where the power has been suspended. If your helper can’t readily identify a location that the breaker is connected to, mark the area next to the breaker with a piece of tape or a small dot from the marker and come back to it after you have finished identifying the rest of the circuit breakers. You can then look at the plans and use the power of elimination to figure out what location goes with the breaker in question.
5 Home Improvement Projects to Complete Before Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner, and you can’t wait to carve pumpkins and hand out candy to delightful
ghosts and vampires.
But what’s this?
Your house already looks like it fell out of a classic horror film: broken windows, flickering lights, and missing shingles.
Although the look certainly suits the season, you don’t want to scare potential visitors too soon.
If you want to invite happy haunters to your home, make sure you complete the following improvement projects before All Hallows’ Eve.
- Repair Cracked Windows
Broken glass poses a hazard to you, your family, and your guests. Furthermore, even the tiniest cracks
allow air to flow from your home, which means your heating and cooling system has to work harder to maintain
a comfortable temperature.
Hire a professional to replace any cracked panes or swap out old windows entirely. If you want to save on
your utilities every month, don’t forget to ask about energy-efficient window selections.
Oil Squeaky Doors
Do your doors creak and groan whenever you open them? Wear, tear, and settling may be the culprit.
Fortunately, you can usually fix a squeak with minimal effort. Simply tap a nail at the bottom of the hinge
to push the hinge pin up and out. Then lightly lubricate the pin with petroleum jelly and dab a little into
the pin slot. Replace the hinge pin, pull out the nail, and wipe off excess lubricant.
Have a different door problem? Perhaps your door mysteriously closes on its own, or you have a door that
sticks whenever you open it. In these cases, talk to a contractor about repairs or replacement options.
Wash Dirty Siding
Dirt, dust, and other debris build up on your siding and age your home’s appearance by several years. To
make your siding look like new again, use your garden hose to rinse away the outer layer of muck. For more
stubborn stains, dampen a wrap or soft-bristled brush with warm soap water and wipe each panel, starting from
bottom to top (to minimize streaking). Rinse often.
As you clean your siding, look out for dented vinyl or cracked wooden panels, since these tell-tale signs
allow water and condensation to collect inside your home. Have an expert replace these damaged sections as
Inspect for Faulty Wiring
Flickering lights not only look spooky-they also pose a safety hazard. When you frequently notice multiple
lights flicker at the same time, you can usually blame power arcing. Power arcing occurs when wire connections sit close to each enough to each other that they generate an electrical current. But arcing also
creates heat, which increases the likelihood of a fire.
Talk to an electrician as soon as you notice multiple lights flickering at once. He or she will pinpoint and fix the problem, as well as point out other electrical hazards such as a failing switch or abnormal power
Replace Missing Shingles
If an early autumn storm ripped out a few of your shingles, don’t wait until you see the next dark cloud to replace them. The longer your roof stays exposed to sun and bad weather, the greater the likelihood of mold growth, rot, and leaks.
Fortunately, you can replace and refasten asphalt shingles with the right tools. To start, use a screwdriver to take off shingles directly above the missing patch. Then position the replacement shingle onto
the bottom row so it overlaps the one directly beneath it. Make sure your shingle aligns with those on either side before hammering it into place with a galvanized roofing nail.
Apply a little roofing cement to the nail hole, and then repeat the entire process. When you reach the last shingle, use a utility knife to remove the nail strip, apply roofing cement to the underside of the
shingle, and then carefully place the shingle beneath the shingles on the row above. If you don’t feel comfortable making the repairs yourself, feel free to hire a roofing contractor to do
the job for you.
Once you’ve made these five repairs, go wild with your Halloween decorations and enjoy a spooky good time.
Recall: DEWALT Multi-Functional Utility Bars
The utility bar can break while being used for prying, posing an injury hazard to the user. Return one of the 145,000 units and get refunded. This recall was conducted, voluntarily by the company, under CPSC’s Fast Track Recall process. Fast Track recalls are initiated by firms, who commit to work with CPSC to quickly announce the recall and remedy to protect consumers.
DeWALT has received at least 56 reports of the utility bars breaking, including four reports of injured users.
Sold At: The Home Depot and other hardware stores nationwide, and online at www.amazon.com and other online retailers from December 2015 through March 2019 for between $30 and $40.
Learn more about the recall here: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2019/DEWALT-Recalls-Utility-Bars-Due-to-Injury-Hazard
Helping the Housing Shortage
SECOND UNIT/ADU RESOURCE FAIR FOR HOMEOWNERS
Sun, October 13, 2019
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT
Veterans Memorial Senior Center
1455 Madison Avenue
Redwood City, CA 94061
- Please reserve one ticket per person attending (so a married couple attending together would reserve two free tickets).
This Second Unit/ ADU Resource Fair is a FREE event to help San Mateo County residents get the information they need to build a second unit.
About this Event
At this resource fair, you can:
- Meet over 25 architects, builders, lenders, and other professionals that specialize in Second Units.
- Learn about Bright in Your Backyard, Hello Housing’s One Stop Shop to help homeowners navigate the process of building their second unit with FREE project management support throughout the process.
- Tour a Prefab second unit on-site!
- Get a FREE how-to workbook on second units (while supplies last)
- Arrive and leave anytime during the event- you don’t have to stay the whole time.
- Meet city planners from Redwood City, Pacifica, and unincorporated San Mateo County.
Whether you are just starting to think about whether building a second unit is a good fit for you or if you are already putting together your project team, you won’t want to miss this unprecedented event!
We were joined by the Cavanna Brothers: Gene, Michael, and Ralph! A family business, Brothers Windows, boasts 25 years of service and 9 siblings!
Listen to the interview to hear them talk about their family values, how their family traveled to the US from Spain via the Phillippines, and a little about window replacements!
Learn more about them by checking out their website https://www.brotherswindows.com/ or giving them a call at 800 672-3777
Fall Fix-Ups For Your Outdoor Space
- Get decked out. Fall is an ideal time to tackle a deck project, whether it be repairs, board replacement or a completely new build. In addition to offering more pleasant temperatures for working outside, fall and winter are typically slower times for contractors, meaning you won’t have to wait as long to get onto their schedules. Contractors may also be willing to offer off-season discounts on their services or materials, which tend to be cheaper after the spring and summer rush.
“Another big advantage of waiting until the off-season to tackle outdoor projects is contractor focus “Rather than being one of many projects a contractor is juggling, you can be one of the few, which often translates into greater attention to quality and better customer service.”
- Think high and low. Research the best materials available for your budget and be sure to keep maintenance in mind. After all, the last thing you want is a deck that requires constant upkeep. Looking for materials that are both high performance and low maintenance.
- Raise your railing game. Railings is one of the most visible elements of a deck and has a tremendous impact on a deck’s aesthetic and curb appeal. In recent years, the industry has seen an influx of statement-making railing styles inspired by contemporary architecture and commercial design. Give your outdoor space an instant facelift by replacing your old wood deck railing with sleek, sophisticated aluminum railing.
- Hide and chic. Nothing dampens the enjoyment of an elegant al fresco gathering quite like the sight of unattractive trash bins or nosy neighbors. Providing function and design, a lattice is perfect for concealing storage areas or unsightly views and enhancing privacy. With styles ranging from romantic to deco, lattice panels also can be applied to structures such as arbors and trellises, or used as wainscoting or deck skirting.
- Light it up.“Lighting is a must for any outdoor space. In addition to amping up the ambiance, it enhances safety and helps to extend the time you can enjoy your outdoor space. Outdoor lighting can easily be integrated into deck boards and stairs, as well as railing posts and caps. DIY-friendly components that feature plug-and-play installation and energy-efficient LED bulbs that are dimmable and cool to the touch, making them safe for kids and furry friends.
- Dust Bunnies: https://www.treehugger.com/cleaning-organizing/danger-dust-bunnies.html
- Circuits Crossed: https://www.hunker.com/12299525/how-to-figure-out-which-circuit-breaker-is-which-if-not-labeled
- Greenest Cities: https://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/20-greenest-cities-us.html
- Fix-Ups Before Halloween: https://www.morganexteriorsinc.com/5-home-improvement-projects-to-complete-before-halloween/
- Five Fall Fix-ups: https://www.sfgate.com/sponsoredarticles/lifestyle/fashion-beauty-fitness/article/Five-fall-fix-ups-for-your-outdoor-space-14498709.php
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
Thank you for tuning in [INSERT PHRASE RELATED TO SHOW NOTES TITLE]! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“[INSERT SHOW NOTES TITLE]” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired October 11, 2019.