Show Notes: Spiders, Skylights & Screens
Summers only a few weeks away and there is so much going on: weddings, graduations, and vacations. The last things you want to think about are home improvements. Today we have a little something for every one.
Thank you to our guest: BILL GRANDE WITH LEVITON
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5 Tips To Make Your Sliding Door More Secure
Increase your sliding glass door security with these simple safety measures.
Keeping your home safe means making sure that every entry point, from front doors to back doors and windows, has the proper mechanisms to deter criminals. While dead bolts are great for steel-coated front doors and locks are easily installed on windows, sliding doors can be more difficult to secure. Here are five tips for improving the safety and security of a sliding door:
- Test the existing lock
Most sliding doors will have a lock on one side, typically in the handle; this small latch lock holds the door to the frame. Before addressing any other security door issues, make sure this lock works by closing the door, locking it and then trying to pull it open. If the door moves, the latch isn’t catching the door properly or is coming loose from the frame. Repair or replace as necessary. Consider hiring a professional door installer or contractor to make sure the frame is level and secure.
- Install a slide-locking bar
The slide-locking bar sounds complicated, but actually it’s just a thick wood dowel or metal bar, cut to fit in the bottom track of your door. When locking up your home for the night or going out, simply fit the dowel or metal bar into the track. This keeps the door from being opened, even if the latching lock is damaged or removed.
Newer sliding door models are secured the length of the frame, making them more secure.
- Maintain door tracks and rollers
Most sliding doors move back and forth on plastic rollers, but if these become damaged they won’t move smoothly and the door may be more easily lifted from its tracks. If your door isn’t rolling properly, start by lifting it out of the track and cleaning any dirt and debris — both can cause the track and the roller to degrade.
If, after cleaning, the door still won’t move properly, you may be able to adjust the size of the rollers. Some doors have small adjustment holes along the bottom and top edges that will fit a Phillips screwdriver and allow you to expand or compress the rollers. Clean tracks and snugly fitting rollers can prevent a thief from simply lifting the door off its track, bypassing any lock you have in place.
- Install a commercial locking product
You may also want to consider a commercial lock available from a local hardware store or online retailer. These locks feature one- or two-bolt locking systems that attach to the closure point on your door and have steel bolts that drop into place.
Most can be installed at any height on your door and are adjustable, meaning they can either supplement or replace an existing latch lock. Key and lock options are also available, as are products with battery-powered audible alarms.
- Wire in your home alarm system
If you have an in-home alarm system, make sure it’s wired to a contact on your sliding door. This is easily done at the time of installation by alarm technicians and means that if your sliding door is opened after you’ve set the alarm, a warning will sound. You can also install glass-break sensors on your door or the wall nearby in case a thief tries to smash the glass instead of opening the door.
Fixing Damaged Window Screens
Do your window screens look like they’ve been through a gunfight, and you haven’t got money or time to replace them? Well, don’t despair.
To repair holes in aluminum screens, cut a patch slightly larger than the hole. Pull off one strand of wire on each side and bend remaining edge wires downward. Place the patch over the hole with bent-wire ends sticking through, and crimp them over on the backside to hold it. For fiberglass screens, cut a slightly larger patch and place it over the hole, matching the pattern.
Add a thin bead of epoxy cement or super glue, even clear caulk will do, and dab off any excess before it dries. You can glue aluminum screening, too. It’s a process of trial and error.
Spiders In The House – Friend Or Foe?
Spiders are among the most prevalent household pests, crawling their way into two out of three American homes. At the same time, the most common creature-based phobia in the world is arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. So when most homeowners spot a spider, they tend to employ the nearest form of DIY pest control – a vacuum or shoe.
But a few fearless folks adopt a live-and-let-live motto, hoping to enjoy some of the good that spiders do. If seeing one dangling in a web or scurrying across the floor doesn’t make you shudder, you might want to share your home with a few spiders.
One word of caution: It’s always best to avoid touching a spider. While spiders never actively seek human contact, they will bite if they feel threatened or endangered. Spider venom causes reactions that differ from spider to spider and person to person. Symptoms of a spider bite may include a stinging sensation, red mark, localized swelling or an injury requiring hospitalization. Consult your doctor if you have a concern.
Before you squish the next spider you see, consider how this eight-legged wonder might improve your life.
3 Ways Spiders Help Indoors
- Spiders eat pests. Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as roaches, earwigs, mosquitoes, flies and clothes moths. If left alone, spiders will consume most of the insects in your home, providing effective home pest control.
- Spiders kill other spiders. When spiders come into contact with one another, a gladiator-like competition frequently unfolds – and the winner eats the loser. If your basement hosts common long-legged cellar spiders, this is why the population occasionally shifts from numerous smaller spiders to fewer, larger spiders. That long-legged cellar spider, by the way, is known to kill black widow spiders, making it a powerful ally.
3.Spiders help curtail disease spread. Spiders feast on many household pests that can transmit disease to humans –mosquitoes, fleas, flies, cockroaches and a host of other disease-carrying critters.
- Prevent entry into the home by spiders or their food source – other insects. Caulk and block points of entry.
- Keep debris, plantings, trash and mulch from touching your home’s structure.
- Store memorabilia and seasonal clothing in plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids. Cardboard boxes attract insect pests, which in turn attract spiders.
- Store firewood outdoors (away from the house) to avoid transporting spiders indoors.
- Apply residual insecticide to spots where spiders build webs and breed: corners, window and door frames, etc.
- Eliminate spider food sources by controlling insects in the home with a residual indoor insect killer.
- Consider applying a perimeter treatment with an outdoor pest control product that’s labeled for use around home foundations.
Care And Cleaning Of Skylights
Taking Care of your Skylight
Once they’re installed, skylights require only a minimum of maintenance and cleaning. Because of their shape, slope and location, heavy rains wash away most of the dirt. Occasionally, you’ll need to clean the inside – and the outside, too, if the rain doesn’t do the job.
Caring for the Frame
Most skylight frames are made of aluminum (colored ones are anodized) and require no care other than washing when you clean the skylight glazing. If you live by the ocean where the sail from the spray can eat into aluminum, you’ll have to protect the frame with paint. If your skylight frame has a painted metal finish, check it annually, touching up any bare spots with a paint recommended by the manufacturer.
Protecting and Preserving Plastic
Acrylic and polycarbonate are the two types of plastic generally used in skylights. The cleaning and repair suggestions below apply to acrylic and, for the most part, to polycarbonate.
If your skylight is made from fiberglass, follow the manufacturers’ instructions for proper care of the glazing.
Plastic glazing is susceptible to scratches and abrasions, as well as to damage by certain solvents. You’ll want to observe some general precautions when cleaning a plastic skylight:
Never use abrasive cleansers, abrasive pads, or gritty cloths.
Do not remove dirty by scraping with a sharp tool, such as a razor blade or putty knife.
Do not clean with window cleaning fluids or strong solvents such as gasoline, denatured alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, or acetone. They will cause the plastic to craze with minute cracks.
To clean a plastic skylight, use either a solution of mild soap or detergent and water or a weak solution of household ammonia and water (do not use ammonia for polycarbonates.) Apply a soft cloth or cellulose sponge and rinse well with clear water. To prevent water spots, blot dry with a chamois or a damp cellulose sponge.
To remove foreign material (protective paper, glazing compound, caulking, roofing tar, grease, or fresh oil paint) from acrylic, use hexane, a good grade of naphtha, kerosene, or methanol applied with a soft cloth. Use a good grade of naphtha, isopropyl alcohol, or butyl cellosolve on polycarbonate domes. Then clean the skylight as described above.
To maintain the luster of plastic, protect it with a thin, even coat of automobile polish (not cleaner polish) or floor or automobile wax applied with a clean, soft cloth. Buff lightly and wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove static electricity, which attracts dirt
You can minimize or remove minor scratches and abrasions from plastic, and often control cracks.
Minor scratches and abrasions can sometimes be obscured with automobile wax applied as described above. If this method doesn’t work, try polishing the scratched area of the plastic with a good grade of automobile cleaner polish on a soft cloth. The fine abrasive in the cleaner polish will smooth the scratches, and the wax in the polish fills them, reducing their visibility.
Major scratches should be repaired by a knowledgeable professional.
Cracks can be kept from lengthening – drill a 1/8 inch diameter hole at each end of the crack and fill the holes with silicone sealant.
Looking after Glass
You can clean clear or coated glass either with commercial glass cleaning solutions or with a weak solution of household ammonia, mild soap, or detergent (if rinsed thoroughly) and water. Apply with a sponge and dry with paper towels, a chamois, or, if the glass is flat, a squeegee.
To prevent scratches, abrasions, and deterioration, never clean coated, sun-control glass with abrasive cleansers, gritty sponges, or metal objects such as razor blades or putty knife
Food drippings from grills and barbeques can leave unsightly grease spots on WOOD deck surfaces.
THIS IS NOT FOR COMPOSITE DECKS
Fill a clean plastic bucket with 1 gallon of hot water and 2 tbsp. of liquid dish detergent. Thoroughly mix the solution.
Dip a long-handled nylon brush in the soapy water. Scrub the deck with nylon brush to dissolve the grease.
Attach a spray nozzle to a garden hose. Spray the deck with water from the garden hose to wash away the soapy water.
Inspect the deck for remaining grease. If grease remains, squirt liquid dish soap liberally onto the spots and stains. Refill the plastic bucket with fresh hot water.
Scrub the remaining grease stains with the nylon brush. Frequently dip the brush in the hot water to create lather.
Test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the deck to ensure the wood does not become discolored.
National Roofing Contractors Association: www.nrca.net
Dryerbox® – Safely Vent Your Dryer: www.dryerbox.com