Show Notes: Home Not So Safe Home? – On the House

Show Notes: Home Not So Safe Home?

By on October 24, 2015

 “Home Sweet Home” not a home safe home? If your home can use a safety tune up and find you have hazardous materials in your home, James and Morris have a  safety checklist for you. Don’t know what’s a hazardous material? James and Morris  have a list for that too!

Thank you to our guests:

Greg McKenzie with Danco:

Steve Easley, product expert- Spray Foam Insulation

David Baeza designer for Woodenbridge Cabinets


Home Improvement Skills Every Grown-Up Adult Should Know

  1. How to install shelves on drywall

This process comes down to two simple steps: 1) figure out where your studs are (points at self. Winks in mirror), and 2) figure out what size anchors you’ll need. And you will need anchors. If you attempt to actually hang something slightly heavy on drywall without anchors, it will immediately fall out of the wall, break your stuff, piss off your landlord, and leave you wondering if this is a metaphor for all of your shortcomings. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to replace an old shower head

You guys, it’s so easy! All you need is a wrench, a new shower head, and some teflon tape. Take the old shower head off, light it on fire, and throw it in the trash. Remove the old teflon tape from the shower pipe, apply a new layer of teflon tape to the shower pipe, and screw your new awesome rainfall shower head on. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to properly hang a picture

There’s a right way and a wrong way to hang art, and you’ve probably been doing the latter. Start by measuring 57” up on your wall. This is where you’ll want the center of the picture to sit. Then, after measuring the size of the frame and where your nail will go, hang that art up like you’re the goddamn Guggenheim. [See how it’s done 

  1. How to pick the right screws

Are you drilling drywall-to-wood? Drywall-to-metal? Metal-to-wood? Wood-to-wood? Each of these scenarios require a certain type of screw. Here’s a pro-tip: when you’re at the hardware store, just tell one of the employees what you’re drilling, and they’ll hook you up with the right hardware. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to fix your toilet

If your toilet is constantly running, making weird noises, or seems like it isn’t flushing to its full capacity, you could have a faulty system. The explanation on how to fix this would be incredibly long-winded to write out, but check out the link for an adrenaline-pumping video on how it’s done. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to replace your old faucet

There are some things you should definitely call a plumber to fix… say your basement’s flooding, or a large water pipe broke. But replacing a faucet is no big deal, since most new ones include everything you’ll need to upgrade. If you have a wrench and access to YouTube, you can have this done in less than 30 minutes. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to stain wood

You’ll first want to mix the stain up real good, so you get a consistent color. After that, grab your brush, dip it, and “paint” along the grain of the wood. Let the stain set for at least 15 minutes (the longer you leave the stain, the darker your wood will become). After you’ve let the stain set, wipe with a rag (again, going with the grain of the wood). If you’re satisfied with the color, set the wood aside for at least four hours (somewhere cool and dry). If you want a darker hue, apply a second layer of stain after the four hours. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to patch a hole in the wall

Scenario: you come home wanting a sweet piece of delicious cold leftover ‘za. You open your fridge and see the box. You open the box. It’s empty. Rage fills you up and you need an outlet. BOOM. You punch a hole in your drywall and then cry because your hand hurts and you have no pizza. Luckily, like your anger problem, the hole can be fixed. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to replace caulk

No one cares for moldy caulk. No one. Scrape out the old caulk using a screwdriver (or razor), then clean the surface by using rubbing alcohol on an old rag. Once that’s dried, apply the new caulk with a caulk gun and smooth it out. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to paint a room (correctly)

Painting a room isn’t quantum physics, but knowing a few key pointers could save you hours of work. Do you have a drop cloth? Roller extenders? Painter’s tape? A screwdriver? That’s right, you’ll want a screwdriver. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to install a ceiling fan

This seems like it’d be an intimidating task to accomplish, but it’s pretty simple if you have the right tools. You’ll need a voltage tester (to make sure you won’t get electrocuted), a screwdriver, a new fan (obviously), and maybe a ceiling fan brace depending on where your fan will be installed — if it’s between two beams, you’ll want to use a brace for sure. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to install, and you can have a new fan up in under 30 minutes. [See how it’s done]

  1. How to admit defeat and call a pro

When your wall is riddled with large hammer holes, your electricity isn’t working, and your roof is making weird noises… it’s time to make the call. A shoddy job isn’t only unsafe (and probably against code), it’ll devalue the worth of your property in the long run, and encourage vagrants to take up residence since you now run a veritable flophouse. [See how it’s done]


Home Safe Home Checklist 

Smoke Alarms

There is one smoke alarm on every level of the home and inside and outside each sleeping area.

Smoke alarms are tested and cleaned monthly.

Smoke alarm batteries are changed as needed.

Smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.

Cooking Safety

 Cooking area is free from items that can catch fire.

Kitchen stove hood is clean and vented to the outside.

Electrical & Appliance Safety

Electrical cords do not run under rugs.

Electrical cords are not frayed or cracked.

 Circuit-protected, multi-prong adapters are used for additional  outlets.

Large and small appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets.

Clothes dryer lint filter and venting system are clean.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms are located on each level of the home.

Carbon monoxide alarms are less than 7 years old.

Heating Safety

Chimney and furnace are cleaned and inspected yearly.

Furniture and other items that can catch fire are at least 3 feet from fireplaces, wall heaters, baseboards, and space heaters.

Fireplace and barbecue ashes are placed outdoors in a covered metal container at least 3 feet from anything that can catch fire.

Extension cords are never used with space heaters.

Heaters are approved by a national testing laboratory and have tip-over shut-off function.


Some Best Buys For October

Air Conditioning Units

The sweltering heat of summer is finally gone and most people are thinking about purchasing fleece and hoodies for fall. Think outside the box and upgrade your air conditioning unit now when demand is low and sales are plentiful. Deals may be found on many window units in particular as retailers are trying to clear floor space for the holiday shopping season.

Gardening Tools and Accessories

Summer is over and garden centers and big box retailers are eager to get rid of patio sets, statuary, gnomes and more. In addition to outdoor furniture and décor, many retailers are also marking down bulbs and perennials. Have a green thumb? Take a stab at planting one of these markdown plants on a warm fall day and add to your landscaping for a fraction of the cost of buying in-season. Gardening tools, gloves and other items may also be marked down.

Patio Furniture 

New patio furniture is probably the last thing on your shopping list this month, but the truth is October can be a great time for patio furniture deals. Retailers are desperately clearing out their inventory and furniture that didn’t sell in September. Last year, for instance, Sears took 70% off its patio furniture in September, and added a stackable dollar-off coupon during the month of October. By comparison, patio furniture deals in November were significantly harder to come by and discounts generally topped off at 40%.

Camping and Outdoor Equipment

October is the ideal time to purchase all the equipment you need for camping and enjoying the great outdoors. Not only can you purchase great deals on camping items in October, if the weather stays warm enough, you might also have time to use those new items before the season is over. Check out outdoor equipment stores like Cabela’s, Gander Mountain and the online store REI for deals on tents, sleeping bags and much more.

These are just a few of the best things to buy in October, but don’t let this list stop you. There are plenty of deals to be had this fall, and your savings account will thank you.


October is National Repair Your Toilet Tank month, so it’s a great time for us to talk about how to get your toilets ready for all of those holiday guests.

Perfect Seal

  • Next generation of sealing technology
  • The Perfect Seal has the strongest, most secure seal of any toilet installation product on the market.
  • The Perfect Seal provides the best, leak-free seal because it forces the wax into the critical sealing zones around the flange and down the pipe.
    • Ordinary wax rings spread out and seal only against the imperfect surfaces of the top of the flange and the bottom of the toilet, making hidden leaks a possibility.
  • The Perfect Seal is the only toilet installation product that eliminates the guesswork of toilet installation because it fits a broad range of flange heights from ½” above the floor to 1 ½” below the floor.
    • No need for multiple trips to the store to buy multiple wax rings.
  • The Perfect Seal stabilizes the floor bolts making it easy to position the toilet, a one-person job.
  • The Perfect Seal works with any ordinary 3” or 4” toilet flange.
  • The Perfect Seal is available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s, Ace, True Value and on Amazon

Zero Cut Bolts™

  • Danco consumer research shows that the toilet bolts are one of the biggest headaches involved with installing a toilet.
  • Frequently, the bolts are too long, wobbly or difficult to line up. Snap off bolts are often scored at the wrong height.
  • Zero Cut bolts solve all these problems and make toilet installation faster and easier, requiring no tools and no bolt cutting.
  • Zero Cut bolts will be available at The Home Depot in September.


Why Spray Foam for Your Home Insulation

Spray foam insulation works as a high quality insulation product that could enhance your home. Whether it is new construction, a renovation or a retrofit job, spray foam can be a great investment in your home. Spray foam can be good for your pocketbook by helping to lower energy bills through reducing air leaks and improving your home’s energy efficiency*. In some cases, choosing spray foam may qualify you for tax credits or rebates. Spray foam could also improve your indoor environment by making your home more comfortable, especially during hot and cold seasons. With a high R-value and air barrier properties, spray foam is a powerful insulation material and it has a unique ability to fill the gaps and holes that could be difficult to seal. The exceptional air barrier that spray foam creates can help keep dust and pollen out of your home—a possible welcome benefit for households with allergy sufferers.

California has some of the highest energy costs in the country. Click here to find out spray polyurethane foam may help Californians save on energy costs. Learn more about spray polyurethane foam and its benefits, including energy efficiencyways to savebuilding strength and improved indoor environment.

  • Savings vary. Find out why in the seller’s fact sheet on R-values. Higher R-values mean greater insulating power.

Applications of Spray Foam

You may already be familiar with spray foam insulation, but your walls aren’t the only place to add SPF. Spray foam can be used in many parts of your home, including:

*While spray foam roofing is used primarily in commercial applications, some regions of the country with low slope or flat roofing can use spray foam roofs to increase the home’s air seal and decrease the home’s energy usage.

Homeowners on the Gulf Coast and other areas affected by hurricanes and other severe weather can use spray foam, which could improve the strength and durability of their homes. Spray foam helps improve a building’s resistance to wind uplift, so during periods of high wind, a home or building with a spray foam roof is likely to experience less damage than a building without SPF.

When having SPF insulation installed in your home, work with a professional contractor who can educate you on the installation process.

Tax Credits, Rebates, and Incentives for Homeowners

Purchasing a new home with spray foam or retrofitting your existing home may qualify you for tax credits, rebates, and other incentives. To find available local and state incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) at


 What is Hazardous Waste & Universal Waste (U-Waste)

Many common products that we use in our daily lives contain potentially hazardous ingredients and require special care when disposed of. It is illegal to dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage, down storm drains, or onto the ground. Chemicals in illegally disposed hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air, water, and possibly the food we eat. And by throwing hazardous waste in the garbage, you can cause additional hazards to your garbage handler.

We must keep hazardous materials out of the trash by bringing them somewhere to be recycled or safely disposed such as a household hazardous waste collection facility. Check with your local waste management agency to find out where to take these items in your area.

What Is Banned?

Lights, Batteries, and Electronics

  • Fluorescent lamps and tubes. Includes fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, and sodium vapor lamps.
  • Includes all batteries, AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, and all others, both rechargeable and single use. Also lead-acid batteries such as car batteries.
  • Computer and television monitors. Most monitors are currently considered hazardous waste when they have lived their life and are ready for recycling or disposal, including cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal diode (LCD), and plasma monitors. Learn about the State program to offset the cost of proper television and monitor recycling.
  • Electronic devices. Includes computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios, and microwave ovens. Refer to “How do I know if a particular electronic device can’t be thrown in the trash?” for more information.

Mercury-Containing Items

  • Electrical switches and relays. These typically contain about 3.5 grams of mercury each. Mercury switches can be found in some chest freezers, pre-1972 washing machines, sump pumps, electric space heaters, clothes irons, silent light switches, automobile hood and trunk lights, and ABS brakes.
  • Thermostats that contain mercury. There is a mercury inside the sealed glass “tilt switch” of the old style thermostats (not the newer electronic kind).
  • Pilot light sensors. Mercury-containing switches are found in some gas appliances such as stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and space heaters.
  • Mercury gauges. Some gauges, such as barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges contain mercury.
  • Mercury thermometers. Mercury thermometers typically contain about a half gram of mercury. Many health clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices have thermometer exchange programs that will give you a new mercury-free fever thermometer in exchange for your old one.
  • Mercury-added novelties. Examples include greeting cards that play music when opened; athletic shoes (made before 1997) with flashing lights in soles; and mercury maze games.

Household and Landscape Chemicals

  • Flammables and poisons. Includes solvent-based (oil) paints and reactive and explosive materials.
  • Acids, oxidizers, and bases. Includes some pool chemicals and cleaners.
  • Pesticides and herbicides. Many pesticides and herbicides cannot be disposed in the trash. Consult the product label or check with your local household hazardous waste agency.

Paints and Solvents

  • Latex paint.
  • Oil-based paint (also listed under flammables).
  • Nonempty aerosol paint or solvent cans (all nonempty aerosol cans are banned from the trash).
  • Includes materials such as paint thinners, finger nail polish remover, etc.

Building Materials

  • Includes some older kinds of cement, roofing, flooring and siding. More information on asbestos in your home is available from the U.S. EPA.
  • Treated Wood. Includes wood that is treated with chromium copper arsenate (CCA).


  • Motor oil and filters.
  • Tires. (Note that tires are not considered hazardous, but automotive tires are banned from the trash for other reasons)


  • Compressed gas cylinders. Includes propane tanks used for BBQ or plumbing.
  • Needles and sharps generated in home health care. Includes hypodermic needles, hypodermic needles with syringes, blades, needles with attached tubing, syringes contaminated with biohazardous waste, acupuncture needles, root canal files, broken glass items such as Pasteur pipettes, and blood vials.
  • PCB-containing materials. Includes paint and ballasts that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB).
  • Photo waste (silver bearing).

Nonempty aerosol cans that contain hazardous materials. Many products in aerosol cans are toxic. And many aerosol cans contain flammables, like butane, as propellants for products like paint. If your aerosol can is labeled with words like TOXIC or FLAMMABLE don’t put it in the trash unless it is completely empty.


Halloween Fun Fizzy Potion Recipe

Mad scientists aren’t known for drinking tap water. This potion froths and fizzes and is available in the classic radioactive colors or tasty color-change formula. It looks vile and evil, but the fizzy potion is safe enough to drink and tastes better (in my opinion) than most soft drinks.

Gather the Fizzy Potion Ingredients

First lets cover the basic radioactive-colored fizzy potion.

will need:

  • mad scientist glass
  • water
  • food coloring
  • baking soda
  • vinegar

Let’s Do Science!

  • Pour a little water and baking soda into your glass. Add food coloring to get a nice deep color.
  • When you are ready for fizzing, add a splash of vinegar.
  • You can add more vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring to keep things going. You can drink this potion, but it will taste like salty vinegar (ick). This potion can keep fizzing for quite a while

Make It Taste Better and Foam Longer

Can’t stand the taste of baking soda and vinegar? Stir a small amount of baking soda into fruit juice.

Add a splash of vinegar to initiate the fizz. Juices not only taste better, but they can maintain foam longer. Beet juice seems to foam particularly well (though the flavor isn’t that appealing). 

How It Works

The chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar produces bubbles of carbon dioxide gas as part of this acid-base reaction.


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