Show Notes: Garages, Pumpkins, Fire and Safety – On the House

Show Notes: Garages, Pumpkins, Fire and Safety

By on October 15, 2016

Is your garage ready for winter weather? We have some tips to help you get organized for wet weather.  October means it’s time for pumpkin carving, do you know how to make that scary pumpkin last? We do, and we have some safety tips for Halloween lighting.

Thank you to our guests:

Dave Smith with Roxul :

Lenny Sciarrino with Granite Gold :


Quick Tip For Weekend Car Mechanics  

Oil Drain Basket

Use an old kitchen dish drainer to drain residual oil from the old filter and the last few drops from used quart containers. Set the drainer over an oil pan (use strips of wood to support the drainer if it’s smaller than your oil pan). Let the containers drain overnight and they’re ready for recycling. Your Septic System

The No. 1 rule in septic system maintenance is to have a licensed expert perform septic tank pumping on a regular basis. Once a tank becomes full of sludge, you probably have jeopardized the entire system because there’s a likelihood that solids and scum have escaped into the drain field, which can cause serious damage.

Some septic owners have garbage disposals, but some experts recommend against them. The additional volume of waste and water usage means more frequent pumping and an increased risk of system clogs. Also, refrain from flushing items that don’t break down easily in the toilet. For a list of such items, talk with your local hardware store or a septic system expert.

Most experts agree that additives aren’t really necessary. Studies have shown they provide no real benefit and, in fact, some may actually be harmful. “It’s an old wives’ tale that adding yeast is beneficial to septic systems.” Yeast creates gas, which generates bubbles, and actually disturbs settling in the tank. And as far as other additives, they really offer no discernible benefit.

Even products marketed as “septic safe” may not be advantageous. There is no industry standard to determine what this means. Instead, use common sense when it comes to product selection.

Bottom line: “Treat your system as if it will cost you a lot of money if it’s destroyed, because the reality is, it will.

Proper maintenance of your system is the best way to ensure it will continue working for years to come:

  • Avoid putting anything but human waste and toilet paper into toilet bowls.
  • Limit laundry to one or two loads each day rather than several at one time.
  • Opt for liquid detergent, and use less than the recommended amount.
  • Limit bleach use and avoid toilet bowl hangers that release bleach with flushing.
  • Check for plumbing leaks, which can lead to system overload.
  • Don’t pour grease or cooking oils down the drain.
  • Never pour harsh chemicals like paint thinner, varnish, motor oil or gasoline down the drain.
  • Think twice before installing a garbage disposal, and limit its use if you already have one.
  • Plant only grass over drain field and keep area free of tree and shrub roots.
  • Avoid parking or driving over drain field.
  • Have tank pumped regularly, and treat your system with care


Protecting Stone Counters And Floors For The Holiday Season

It’s early fall and the holiday season with hosting family and other guests is just around the corner. On the list of things to do should be protecting your granite or other natural stone counters and floors – before it’s too late when you discover a stain or etch after the party.

  • Up first is making sure the protective seal is working properly. Use the water test: Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface in several locations and let it sit for 30 minutes. If you see a dark mark or ring, the water is penetrating the stone and it’s time to reseal.
  • Frequentlysealing granite countertops and any other natural stone surface is among Three, Essential Steps to care for your natural stone, whether it’s a countertop, floor, shower wall or vanity.
  • Sealing frequently will maintain maximum surface protection for resistance against staining, etching and soil build-up.
  • How often?
  • Can never over-seal natural stone – particularly important to seal prior to holiday celebrations, giving stone additional protection with all the food-preparation and guests in the home.
  • In six simple steps, here’s how to seal granite and all other natural stone for about 10 percent of the cost of having a pro come do it for you or having to dress like your local hazardous waste team:
  1. Make sure you thoroughly clean the surface with a safe-on-stonegranite cleaner.  We, of course, recommend Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®.
  2. Spray Granite Gold Sealer on the surface in a 3-foot section
  3. Immediately wipe into stone with a lint-free cloth.Do not allow sealer to dry on the surface – it will cause hazing
  4. Buff dry with a lint-free cloth
  5. For maximum protection, repeat the process 2-3 times
  6. Wait 24 hours for sealer to cure before using a granite polish such asGranite Gold Polish® to add shine and luster
  • Once you’ve sealed and protected your stone for the coming holiday events, use Granite Gold Clean & Shine for quick clean-ups after the parties. It’s a combination of Granite Gold Daily Cleaner® and Granite Gold Polish®, and it helps saves you a little time to maintain your beautiful stone.
  • You can find these Granite Gold® products and more at most Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, and Bed Bath & Beyond stores. Check out the Store Locator at


Pumpkin Preservation

Keep your Jack o’ Lantern from getting moldy & falling apart with this easy tip from Wet & Forget.

With Halloween just around the corner and pumpkins piled up in bins in every grocery store, are you looking forward to carving a jack ‘o lantern? It’s a favorite holiday activity that’s just as much fun as an adult as it was as a kid.

Lots of people know Wet & Forget but may not know that the same solution can also help keep a jack ‘o lantern from getting fuzzy mold and black mildew inside. It’s super easy, and (spoiler alert) fun to watch the pumpkins float! If you’d like to try this, here’s how:


  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Try to remove as much of the stringy fibers on the inside of the pumpkin by scraping them away with the spoon. Be sure to clean the underside of the pumpkin top, too.
  2. Rinse the pumpkin inside and out with water.
  3. Cut the desired face or design into the pumpkin.
  4. Measure 5 parts of water and 1 part Wet & Forget Indoors into the  5 gallon bucket.
  5. Immerse the pumpkin in the Wet & Forget solution. Since the pumpkin floats, you will need to stir it around to make sure all surfaces contact the solution for a full two minutes. And don’t forget the top!
  6. Remove the pumpkin from the soaking solution, and let it air dry on a few paper towels.
  7. Spray your carved pumpkin with Wet & Forget Indoors every several days to ensure your pumpkin will last all the way through Halloween


Getting Your Garage Ready For Winter Weather

Why wait until January when winter comes knocking at the door. Sometimes it just kicks the door in and sets up housekeeping. It’s time to marshal every resource your home has to help the cold and dark months pass more smoothly.

One such resource? The garage. Unlike most of the year when the garage is your friend — a repository for “stuff,” a place to work on small projects — in the winter months it becomes more utilitarian, mainly just someplace to park the snow blower between driveway excursions and where you warm your car before venturing out.

Transitioning the garage to winter duty isn’t a monumental task, don’t let the fall pass you by without dealing with the leftover accumulation of summer. So here are a few reminders about what a homeowner can do:

Clear the decks

First, get the trash and clutter out of the way. You’ll need the floor space for the chunks of frozen slush that are falling from your car’s wheel wells.

Drain hoses, roll them up and put them out of the way.

Check containers of liquids to see that they are intact and not leaking, then move them to the basement (use a large plastic tote; it makes hauling them easier and helps prevent a mess should something later spill or spring a leak). Keep an eye out for condensation on the containers once you bring them in from the cold.

Move any remaining toys of summer (sports equipment, canoes, squirrel traps) into the far corners.

Snow patrol

Your grass-cutting days are over for a while, so make sure you’ve taken care of the lawn mower, draining the gas tank and removing the spark plug, plus whatever the owner’s manual recommends — and stash it out of the way. This should clear space for the snow blower and shovels to take center stage, in a spot where they’re readily accessible.  

Check your supplies of ice-melting material for sidewalks and steps, and wild bird seed to use over the winter. Supplement if necessary, and make sure you have them in an easy-to-access spot.

The big door

It’s time to call in a professional for a tune-up. It may be working just fine now, but garage doors are notorious for getting balky when weather is at its worst. A little oil, a little tightening and a check of your openers, and you’re in business, ready for the next storm. A door that won’t open properly renders a garage useless and leaves you parking in the elements; one that won’t close is a security risk and can raise your heating bill.

The house door

Check the weather stripping on the door that provides access to the house. If it’s worn, replace it


Halloween Lighting Smarts

Look for the UL mark. This means representative samples have been tested and met the rigorous safety standards of UL. If the UL mark is in red, it means the product has been tested for outdoor use, including exposure to rain and UV light from the sun. If the UL label is green, the lights are suitable for indoor use only.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping your decorations from year to year, but don’t forget to inspect the lights, as well as extension cords and electronic decorations, before putting them out. Look at the wires and sockets when you pull them out of the closet. If they are broken or frayed, throw them out. These decorations are relatively inexpensive and it’s not worth the risk.


Website Mentions:

For window water spots: C R Laurence:

Old window repair parts: Blaine Window Hardware, Inc. :

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