Saturday, October 29, 2011
Keep em safe out there. I know dark and creepy is part of the theme but we're talking about the people who will decide which nursing home we go to. Well I'm kidding but you really need to keep trick or treaters safe. Keep the approach well lit. If you want to keep it toned down for the ambience of the holiday get some low voltage walkway lights. These will keep the foot trail illuminated for proper hazard avoidance while still allowing you to scare the little ones with your headless scarecrow or whatever you got in mind. Be aware that if your treat stinks then the punk with the bag on his head that is just trying to clean up on candy may be back to exact retribution in the form of his own tricks (girls don't normally indulge). Nothing says punk like a 5'8" kid saying he's a hobo. Stay up for awhile it's fun to catch them just remember todays kids carry guns so keep your own handy. Happy Halloween!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Got a little taste of fall this morning. Windows open, chilly breezes, low humidity, and all the dogs and cats are being frisky. Don't get used to it, it will be hot and sticky again soon enough. But I had a thought....Your body uses a lot of energy to keep you warm when its cold out so you wear a jacket. Well guess what my water heater lives outside and I'll just bet a lot of people have similar set-ups. My water heater is using a lot of energy to keep my water hot and I can't bring it inside so I figured it could use a jacket too! Think about it....Todays water heaters ( I refuse to say hot water heater cause it's a cold water heater) come standard with some insulation between the shell and the tank but it's only a token amount. Get your butt down to the nearest home center and buy your water heater a new jacket. You'll likely get the cost back in savings over the course of a season.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
No, really. Are you ready for some football? As in a bunch of beer-swilling friends talking smack and asking for more nachos? You may say to yourself..."self....what does this have to do with home improvement?" Well it actually has nothing to do with home improvement at the moment cause there is football on. The home improvement angle comes in when the last of your beer soaked buddies is gone. Now you are left with the wreckage to clean up which is fine if your team won but,...If you lost then the mess is an insult on top of what you probably lost betting on your guys. Take a minute...survey the damage...and ask yourself how do I make this easier? OK here is my secret. Bet someone clean-up duty if team A wins. Then bet someone clean-up duty if team B wins. Now you have help cleaning up no matter who wins. I know you were smart and had a huge garbage can with an industrial strength liner right next to the TV. Guys have tunnel vision and you have to put the can in the tunnel if there is to be any hope of it being used. Here's a thought....No carpet in the drinking zone! It's fine if that's what you like but I don't want a seasons worth of nasty beer and rotten salsa haunting me in a rug.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Sometimes this time of year is difficult. On the first cool day you shut of the AC and open the windows. That is the way to go but ultimately you wind up sitting and sweating because the first cool day was not the last hot day. Where I live humidity is a big deal and can be a factor all by itself. High humidity leads to the Florida state flower....Mildew. Bleach is your friend. If you get in the shower and mildew is in bloom then take a spray bottle full of bleach with you. I normally wouldn't advise this but the bleach kills mildew,mold,every sort of germ known to man and is on my short list of things to have handy in a disaster situation. Your drinking water is purified with chlorine...the main component in bleach. A few drops of chlorine bleach can make a gallon of water safe to drink and while I am not an expert I have spent time in the woods and a tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water has never made me sick. On the other hand a gallon of water w/o bleach has often sickened me.
Friday, October 7, 2011
When the mercury drops you aren't the only one that wants to come inside.Rats, mice, bugs, squirrels, reptiles, vagrants, bums and all your kids friends want to share your hearth and home. You can't do much about the humans except on an individual basis but something can be done about the rest. The vermin with fur just love the attic/crawlspace. Seal up every opening you can find with spray foam, caulk or even steel wool tucked around gaps. inspect and repair any damaged screens covering openings meant to be ventilated (you know that hole the neighbors cat uses to duck under the house). Do the same for the attic, attics are meant to be ventilated so dont block air vents in the soffit or near the ridgelines. Pipes and wiring are run in the walls and on older houses the holes drilled to facilitate their installation were never sealed. Again here you can use spray foam and caulk to seal holes. When you come out of the attic backtrack and replaced disturbed insulation and add as necessary. Now in a best case scenario you sealed critters out as well as trapped a few inside. The down side of poison is obvious...besides being poisonous to you and pets and family the rats and mice can't get outside to die if you did a good job sealing and will smell pretty rank. For these I recommend traps...traps set right will kill them where they can be safely removed and disposed of. I also recommend the use of a good exterminating service for any bug problems you can't handle since a licensed exterminator has been trained to safely handle the various poisons/agents used to control pests without harming you or your family/pets. Ask to see the credentials, don't settle for Bubbas bug blasters cause they are cheap.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Summer is leaving and Fall/Winter is coming on. Time to get the old homestead up to snuff. Now is the time to take care of all the stuff you don't want to do with frozen fingers. Outside pipes. Outside pipes as a rule will break on the coldest day in the hardest spot to get to. It does not have to be this way. Put on the pipes winter coats (insulation) now while it is pleasant outside and supplies are plentiful. Don't forget to go under (if you have an off-grade home or trailer). This isn't a waste of time since you'll be giving them a thorough inspection as you cover and should spot any bad stuff. If you are under the house take note of any insulation malfunctions and replace that too. Evict any critters you find and tighten up all entrances to keep them out. When it gets cold critters come looking for warmth and can make a mess of things in short order.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Garbage disposals are dirty,nasty, stinky,and loud. We know these things to be true. They also are handy and versatile. Keep it fresh by grinding lemon peels. keep it fresh by grinding a mix of baking soda with ice-cubes. Save the nasty stuff like potato peels and coffee grounds for use in the compost heap. Remember to grind the good smelling stuff last and use plenty of water to flush it away. Todays disposers are made to be quieter than granpas old bonecrusher you just shouldn't be crushing bones in it cause it doesn't have the power to do it effectively. I don't know what the disclaimer language on a modern disposal units packaging says but I'll bet it advises against using it to dispose of the usual things one normally does.