Show Notes: We Clean Garages and More
Do the words “Clean the Garage” send your family running out of the house? Is everything you don’t know what to do with in your garage? Is the family mantra “STUFF IN” and never stuff out? No worries James and Morris have some ideas that will simplify an otherwise daunting task to a a much easier process.
Thank you to our guests:
Joan Grimes: www.grimesbklaw.com 925 939-1680
Alan Meeks: Marwin Company – www.marwincompany.com
Interior Home Safety Checklist
Exterior Doors, Windows and General Safety Concerns
Check every door leading to the outside. Do they open and close easily? Are they strong? Do the locks work smoothly? Do the doors seal well? Any gap between the door and trim provides an easy way to pry the door open from the outside.
Is there a light switch within reach of the entry door? The ability to turn on a light immediately upon entering a dark house is an important safety feature.
Pay close attention to the floors in the house. Repair or replace flooring that begins to warp, buckle, peel, or may cause trips and falls.
Keep carpets and rugs flat on the floor, secured to prevent skidding and slipping. Use double-sided tape to secure loose rugs.
Test peeling paint for lead or, as the EPA suggests, hire a certified inspector to test the entire home for lead if the home has never been inspected or you plan to remodel.
Keep windows in good working condition, easily opened from inside. Test the locks annually. In the event of a fire, a window may be the only means to exit the home.
Watch for evidence of mold. Musty smells, black or white powdery or fuzzy growths and excessive moisture or condensation may indicate mold. Use vinegar and water, or borax and water, to clean and disinfect naturally.
Look for evidence of mice, rats and bugs inside your home in spring and fall. Treat as necessary.
Inspecting Stairs and Hallways
Inspect interior stairs annually. Bounce on the steps slightly to test strength. Pull on the railing to make sure it is secure. Check the flooring for slipping, frayed edges or tears.
Replace lighting over the stairs immediately after it burns out. Stairs can be one of the most dangerous places in the house.
Add nightlights along stairs or in hallways for nighttime safety.
Safety in the Bathroom
Do you have nonslip stickers or mats inside the bathtub or shower?
Is there a grab bar in the tub or shower and near the toilet? Pull on bars to test stability. The bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the home, even for younger people, as the New York Times reports.
Check the floor for rotten areas, especially near the tub and toilet.
Keep a working nightlight near the bathroom entrance.
We Clean Garages
Is everything you don’t know what to do with in your garage? Is the family mantra “STUFF IN” and never stuff out?
If you have thrown up your hands in frustration and are ignoring the disaster you call the garage, we have help for you.
To simplify this task, concentrate your field of vision on one side of the garage. To start, move everything on that side of the garage into the driveway. If you find things you have borrowed, return them. Some of your neighbors or passerby’s may think you are having a garage sale. Here is your change to unload some unused items and make some cash.
Clean the empty side of the garage from floor to ceiling including the shelves. Once you have the dead leaves, mouse droppings and cobwebs cleaned up it is time to put SOME of your belongings back. Anything that is broken rusted or past it’s prime has to go. Items that are no longer used, and are in good condition should be sold, given away, or donated. If it is be given away, put the recipients name on it for delivery and then deliver it with in the week or have them pick it up. Mark items to be sold. Keep them together in containers marked “for sale”. Photograph them and post for sale
on eBay or Craig’s list by the end of the week. Some communities have a free Close5 site to sell unwanted items locally.
Start purging the remaining “stuff”. Make 2 piles only, Trash and Donation. Be prepared with a fresh box of large trash bags. The trick is not to put the bags back into the garage but to make sure they get to their final destinations.
As you return the IMPORTANT “stuff “ back into the garage, hang anything you can up on the wall, such as tools, garden tools or sporting equipment. If you are planning to install shelving or storage cabinets now is your chance. Make sure to have the organization items on hand before you begin the cleaning so you are not distracted by a trip to the big box store.
For a more organized garage, store similar items in plastic containers and label them for quick content identification.
Now move on to the next wall and repeat until the entire garage has been cleaned, purged and organized.
How To Put Out Kitchen Fires
When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from getting out of control. But how you act depends on what kind of fire you have and where it is. Follow these instructions for putting out kitchen fires:
• If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! The lack of oxygen will suffocate the flames.
• If your oven continues to smoke like a fire is still going on in there, call the fire department.
• If you have a fire in a cooking pan, use an oven mitt to clap on the lid, then move the pan off the burner, and turn off the stove. The lack of oxygen will stop the flames in a pot.
• If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, use your fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire — not the flames.
• Never use water to put out grease fires! Water repels grease and can spread the fire by splattering the grease. Instead, try one of these methods:
• If the fire is small, cover the pan with a lid and turn off the burner.
• Throw lots of baking soda or salt on it. Never use flour, which can explode or make the fire worse.
• Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth.
• Use a fire extinguisher.
• Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
• If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house and call 911! Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your
How To Assess Your Attic Storage Potential
The floor of an attic is the framing for the ceiling beneath it. As long as they are not damaged, these ceiling joists should be strong enough to allow you to move around the attic for an inspection and to provide storage for typical boxed items.
But they may not be adequate to support the weight of multiple people, furniture and heavy stored items.
Fortunately, it is usually not difficult to reinforce the framing with additional joists. You can then cover the joists with plywood or an OSB subfloor. You may want to discuss the suitability of your attic framing with a professional contractor.
Before you start moving around the attic, however, think hard about what you will be stepping or crawling on. The joists should support your weight, but the space between them almost certainly will not. The safest way to move around an unfinished attic is to create a catwalk (or walking platform) by attaching some 1×6 or 1×8 boards or strips of 3/4-inch plywood to the joists with screws (avoid hammering nails here as you could disturb the drywall or plaster below).
Traditional stick-framed roofs are composed of rafters running from the ridge to the walls. This framing style provides the most open space in an attic.
Newer truss roofs are made at factories, where lumber is joined in a carefully engineered web. These trusses should not be cut, and with normal trusses your storage options are limited. Some roofs are framed with special “storage trusses” that leave an open, central space suitable for storage.
If you want to use your attic on a regular basis or to store large items, you may need to enlarge the access opening and install folding or drop-down stairs. If the attic has potential to become regular living space, talk with a contractor about adding a fixed stairway.
This is where dreams of adding new living space in an attic are often abandoned. Building codes often require that a finished space have a ceiling height of 7 feet 6 inches over at least half of the available floor space. So if the distance from the ridge to the floor joists isn’t at least 9 feet, you probably won’t be able to meet the code requirement unless you add a dormer.
But you don’t need to worry about building codes for creating simple storage space or a place to sit and read. Either way, you do need to be conscious of the roofing nails that may well be poking through the underside of the sheathing. A hardhat is a handy bit of protection to have when looking around an unfinished attic. If you want to spend some time up there, however, consider adding a finished ceiling.
If your house is insulated, there’s a good chance that the attic is outside of the “thermal boundary,” or insulated space. For regular use or for storing temperature sensitive items, you may want to add insulation to the walls and ceiling.
Good ventilation can also keep an attic from overheating and developing condensation problems. Many houses rely on vents in the ridge, soffit or gable ends to provide ventilation, but a full attic conversion may require windows and skylights to provide fresh air.
How’s Your Home Humidity?
Many of us are experiencing a wetter than normal year. Don’t let the high humidity damage your home.
A home needs a certain amount of moisture in the air for your comfort and health, but too high a level can lead to trouble. There are ways to keep an eye on the level of dampness in your living space and with some understanding of humidity you’ll likely be able to bring the moisture level into a healthy range at little or no cost.
It might be blatantly obvious that your home has too much moisture. If you feel as though you are entering a sauna every time you walk through the front door, your humidity level is too high. However, less obvious signs can indicate an imbalance and, if left unresolved, lead to problems. If anyone in your household has allergies, excess humidity could be the culprit. Water stains on walls and ceilings, mold in bathrooms, a musty odor and condensation on windows also indicate high moisture in the air.
High Humidity Problems
Bringing a home’s relative humidity level down to within a normal range of 30 to 50 percent water to the maximum that the air can hold at a certain temperature — in other words, to 30 to 50 percent relative humidity — is important. Besides health issues, such as allergies, high humidity can damage a home and its contents. If left untreated, excess moisture in the air can wreak havoc on furniture and the home’s structure by the adverse affects of mold, such as rot.
Many simple factors can result in excessive humidity in your home; a damp basement, a leaky roof, improper ventilation, an improperly sized heating and cooling system or simply too many houseplants. Attempt the simpler and less expensive fixes first. Lay plastic over a dirt floor in the basement as a moisture barrier. Have a roofing contractor fix any roof leaks. Give away some plants (if your home is more like a jungle). Check that your clothes dryer is vented to the outdoors and that it is not blocked. Install kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans. Finally, if the problem persists, hire an HVAC specialist to make sure that your furnace and air conditioner are the right size for the square footage of your home.
In some circumstances, excess humidity can be a challenge. For example, if you live in a multifamily complex, like an apartment building, some factors may take humidity control out of your control — the other occupants’ lifestyles, heating sources, such as a boiler, and the age of the building. A dehumidifier will help lower the moisture in your living space by drawing some water out of the air. Typically, you can find portable dehumidifiers in any hardware or department store. For a permanent residence, you may want to contact an HVAC specialist about installing an appliance, such as a heat pump dehumidifier, in the dampest area of your home, most likely the basement.
You can check your humidity level with a hygrometer, which will read the moisture level in the air and give you a heads-up to a make any necessary changes, such as turning on exhaust fans or opening windows or doors. The healthy range of relative humidity is 30 to 50 percent, but humidity can vary by room and from season to season. In cooler weather, when the temperature drops to about 14 degrees Fahrenheit, expect the indoor humidity lever to hover closer to the 30 percent mark. Usually you can buy a hygrometer wherever you find thermometers, like hardware and department stores.