Show Notes: Generators, Allergies and Grills – On the House

Show Notes: Generators, Allergies and Grills

By on October 17, 2015
backup generator for power outages

Is your generator ready for a winter workout? Is your home filled with allergens? Is your grill ready for winter storage? If you answered yes to all these questions, Morris and James have answers for you.


Thank you to our guests:

Tommy Herron, “The Lighting Geek”

David Smith with Roxul:


Before You Close Up Your Home For Winter Test For Allergens

We found this simple test at a local home improvement store that you can run for answers to what’s in your home and what can be making you feel sick.

For many Americans “allergy season” never ends. Most indoor environments actually trap allergens where they can pose a risk to your respiratory health. It is estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from indoor allergies, and approximately 55% test positive to one or more allergens. Eighty percent of Americans are exposed to dust mite allergens and 60% to dog and cat allergens. Countless more Americans are being exposed to allergen sources they don’t even know about.

Allergens can be found almost anywhere. Even “clean” homes trap and hold allergens. They can be found in clothing, carpets, bedding, pillows and ordinary dust. The ordinary home has tens of thousands of insects and millions of dust mites. Cats and dogs also produce allergens. Many homes have hidden rodent populations that spread allergens. Allergens can be present in every room of the house!


Maintaining Your Portable Generator

Tip 1: Don’t get burned by wattage ratings

Watts are not all equal

Ignore the higher rating and select a generator based on its “rated,” “running” or “continuous” watts.

Tip 2: Stock up on oil and filters

Keep your generator humming

Pumping out watts is hard on engine oil, and oil-change intervals are short. Store up enough oil and filters to get you through a long power outage.

Tip 3: Chill out before you refill

A headlight helps for tank filling

After the engine cools, strap on an LED head lamp so you can actually see what you’re doing. Pour slowly and avoid filling the tank to the brim.

Tip 4: Running out of gas can cost you

Some generators, especially low-cost models, can be damaged by running out of gas. They keep putting out power while coming to a stop, and the electrical load in your house drains the magnetic field from the generator coils. When you restart, the generator will run fine, but it won’t generate power. You’ll have to haul it into a repair shop, where you’ll pay about $40 to reenergize the generator coils. So keep the tank filled and always remove the electrical load before you shut down.

Tip 5: Old fuel is your worst enemy

Out with the old

Empty the tank with a hand pump before running the carburetor dry. Reload with fresh gas next time you run the generator.

 Tip 6: Backfeeding kills

Don’t backfeed! It’s just plain dangerous

Forget about using a double-ended cord to run power backward into a receptacle. Instead, run separate extension cords or install a transfer switch.

Tip 9: Use a heavy-duty cord

Long cords let you get some sleep

Invest in some long extension cords to put some distance between you and the noisy generator. But don’t exceed 100 ft. between the generator and appliances.


When You Turn On Your Heat

It’s Time To Reverse You Ceiling Fan

First, they cool a home by gently circulating air during the hot summer months and, second, when blades are reversed, they warm a room by bringing heated air down from up above. Third, that same movement of warm air helps dry up condensation on window interiors and cold, clammy walls. That’s a three-ring performance that’s hard to beat.

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings — and it might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.  


Get Your Grill Ready For Winter

Strip it: After a long summer of grilling you probably have a good build up of black, greasy gunk in your grill. Nasty as it sounds, you want to get in there and get all of that cleaned out. This stuff can be corrosive burners.

Dismantling your gas grill and cleaning off the individual parts is actually the easiest way to go. Once you have the grill stripped down to the shell you can clean it out easily with warm soapy water and a good rinse from the hose. The burners and grates can be cleaned up inside. You should also make note of any part that is rusted through and need replacing.

You might not be able to find those parts in the off season but you will know exactly what you need when the stores roll out their barbecue selection next year. This is an excellent time to repaint your grill either entirely or parts that need paint.

Store it: With the shell and all the components clean you can reassemble the grill. Fire it up one last time to make sure that it is completely dry. Now you can go over the metal parts with some cooking oil or spray. This will repel any moisture that might build up during the winter. Now you should cover your grill and park it in a place where it will be sheltered from the elements. An important note about gas grills is that while a nice dry corner of the garage is the perfect place for the grill, it is not the place for the gas tank. Never store propane bottles in an enclosed area. Even the slowest of leaks can flood an area with explosive gas. It’s best to keep the tank in a well ventilate area, protected from the weather.

If you have a charcoal grill the same basic rules apply. But you’ll have a much easier time of it. Charcoal grills and smokers tend to only need a light coat of oil over the cooking grates and don’t need to be oiled down like a gas grill. When spring arrives always let your grill or smoker heat up completely before you cook. This will burn off this protective oil covering.

If you do live in a place where winter never visits you should clean your grill anyway.


Inspect Your Roof Before It’s Too Late!

If you’re not sure, it’s time to inspect. If you hate heights, inspect things out from ground level with a pair of binoculars. If things look OK outside, climb into the attic to inspect the underside. Look for telltale stains on rafters and mildew that rots wood. If it looks good, check again after a rainstorm or bring out a hose and wet it down, one row at a time. Work from the bottom up, and inspect with a helper inside to spot rows that are “leakers.”

With proper installation and ongoing care, you save two ways. First, you extend the life of your roof and save the cost of replacing it. Second, you prevent leaks that can damage your home’s interior and contents. You’ll also be ready for the pitter-patter of feet, whether dancing girls or eight tiny reindeer.


Did You Know Dirty Light Bulbs Waste Energy?

Dirty light fixtures not only look bad, they reduce brightness and waste energy. Here’s how to clean your fixtures and brighten the room to boot.

Dirty bulbs shed 30% less light than clean ones, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Add a dusty, dead-bug riddled cover, and you’ve got an automatic dimmer, whether you want one or not.

Light Bulbs

These days, bulbs have long lives thanks to new LED and CFL technology. They’re bound to get dirty and should be cleaned.

If you use a damp cloth, you can get water into crevices in the lamp that can damage electronics. Also, don’t spray cleaning solutions directly onto the light bulb, which could damage the bulb.

Most important: Turn off the electricity to the fixture before messing with the bulbs. To be extra cautious, turn off the circuit breaker, or put a piece of tape over the switch so no one else turns it on while your working.


October Is Fire Prevention Month

  • October is Fire Prevention Month according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • A National Fire Prevention Association study reported that, on average, seven Americans die in a residential home fire each week. Though you never know when fire might strike, there are important measures you can take to increase your chances when seconds count. While it’s nearly impossible to make a house completely fireproof, you can build or remodel it using fire-inhibiting materials. When considering a home renovation, be sure to do your research for fire-rated and non-combustible products such as ROXUL stone wool insulation. ROXUL insulation resists temperatures up to approximately 2150˚F which is well above heat levels of typical house fires, and when directly exposed to fire, this chemically-inert material will not produce harmful gases or promote the spread of flames. Industry experts explain that stone wool insulation is designed to delay the spread of fire from room to room, providing valuable evacuation time that is critical to saving people, pets, property and reducing environmental damages.
  • Take ROXUL’s “When Seconds Count Challenge” and brush up on your fire safety knowledge by visiting for a chance to win $2,500.
  • ROXUL’s fire resistant properties are demonstrated on where videos show miniature homes created from ROXUL insulation set on fire with items in side. Do these items burn? Visit the website and see for yourself.


Halloween Home Safety Tips

Light up the night

Instead of real candles, opt for LED tea lights or wind a string of orange lights around your front porch. The U.S. Fire Administration says to make sure any decorative lights you plan to use have been tested by a recognized lab, and also to make sure the lights’ sockets, wires and connectors are in good working order before use. If you have a long driveway or walkway, turn on your regular outdoor lights, as well, so trick-or-treaters can easily see the path to the door.

Clear a path

Make sure the path from your driveway or the sidewalk to the front door is free from obstructions or hazards. Repair loose porch railings and uneven walkway stones that may pose a safety threat to young trick-or-treaters. If you add spooky yard decorations like tombstones, fake cobwebs or mummies, be sure that these decorations do not obstruct any pathways.

Clean up your yard

Fueled by candy and adrenaline, young trick-or-treaters often race from house to house, cutting through yards and alleyways. Anticipate potential hazards: Rake leaves, remove dead branches, trim hedges and fill in large holes. Store bikes, potted plants, gardening tools and hoses out of the yard and a safe distance from any walkways.

Confine pets

The constant excitement of young children ringing the doorbell is simply too much for many pets, the ASPCA warns, and scared dogs or cats can dart out the front door. Avoid a Halloween pet mishap by keeping Fluffy and Fido in a separate room, away from the excitement.


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