Sunday, July 29, 2012

Suction Cup Fail

Those handy little racks for the shower are easy to install, right? Just dampen the surface, stick on the suction cups and you have a convenient holder for soaps and shampoos. No more leaning over to reach stuff on the bathroom rim.

Sooner or later, you're going to hear a crash in the tub or shower. The suction cups have developed a failure; they've released from the surface. If there are enough heavy items in there, the fall could potentially damage fiberglass. Worse, yet, a full shampoo bottle falling from a distance could break a toe.

Prevent the potential for an accident with these two tips:

1. Place the rack slightly lower than normal to reduce the weight of a fall.
2. Remove the racks on a regular basis and re-stick them according to directions. Usually they require a 24-hour rest period before re-loading.

Once every 3-4 months should be enough to avoid a suction cup failure.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GFIs (Ground Fault Interrupter) or GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) can go bad. You might hear a regular clicking begin at any time, but it's especially disturbing at night. GFIs can and do fail (although rarely) and, usually, they won't be a fire hazard. First, push the Test button; it should produce a firm click. Next, push the Reset button until you feel it firmly click into place. That could temporarily solve the problem. The safest route is to take all precautions and shut down power at the breaker until you can replace the offender.

Those who are comfortable working with electrical components can easily replace the outlet. Use a tester to make sure the juice is off. Unscrew the old plate and detach the wiring, marking each for re-attachment to a new GFI. At the end of a chain, there should only be three wires; if there are outlets downstream, then you should see six wires. If you're not familiar with electrical outlets, call an electrician.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Give Leggy Greenery a Plush Update


You may have a few taller plants that are getting a little leggy. You're attached to them to supporting posts; they're getting older, but still thriving. If you prefer not to propagate, here are a couple of tips for giving them a greener, fuller look at the base and upward to cover those ungainly stalks.

—In a smaller container, plant a healthy ivy plant and begin training it upward.

—For larger containers, you may be able to plant trailing vines directly into the soil.


With a little patience and care, you'll have a lush mixed species display that's preserved your treasured larger plant with a little companionship from vines. Keep both regularly trimmed, watered, and nourished and reap the visual benefits!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Which Grout is Best?

Do-it-yourself tiling projects are pretty straightforward, even for the non-handy home adventurer. With the right tools and a little patience, you can create tiled entries, dress up a bland countertop or create a new section of flooring.

When it comes to indoor floors and walls, it's easy to update small or large spaces. Before you begin, you'll need to decide how far apart the tiles will be. That determines the type of grout you'll need.

--If the spacing is 1/8 inch or less, unsanded grout will work fine – as a general rule.
--Larger spacing requires a sanded grout, which creates a strong cemented bond.

Using sanded grout in smaller crevices can actually weaken the bond and cause cracking.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cabinet Knobs Not So Safe


Those simple knobs on cabinet doors can be a real hazard. Innocuous little rounds, they're easy to grab with no sharp edges or places to catch fingers. However, those little devils can catch a lot of other things – things that could bring small appliances crashing to the floor, or worse yet – cause a major snag for humans."

They catch on electrical cords, including blow dryers and curling irons.
They catch on robe sleeves and even reach out to snag the inside of a shirt placket.

Think about children racing around the kitchen or bath area. Or senior adults pass by and catching a loose sleeve. Dangers lurk in odd places.

Enclosed handle styles are actually a safe choice and an inexpensive way to add a new measure of safety in the home. They may be a bit more difficult for arthritic hands, but they won't be the cause of burns from a hot curling iron, either.

Simple fully enclosed cabinet handles – not knobs or bar styles – are best.