A Primer on “S” Traps

-  Have you ever noticed some nasty odors in a bathroom that you never use?  It’s probably because the water in the trap has completely evaporated, allowing sewer gases to come in to the home. . The purpose of a trap is to prevent sewer gases, and possibly vermin, from coming in to the home.  I’ve actually found this condition on a number of larger occupied houses.  When water sits in the trap, sewer gases stay out.  The easiest fix for this is to periodically run a little water in the plumbing fixtures.   As a longer-term solution, you could also pour RV antifreeze in to the drains; that stuff won’t evaporate ..More

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Poorly Insulated Eaves at Old Houses

- . The only downside to having this type of insulation installed is that it’s more expensive than other types of insulation, and the work should be performed by an experienced spray-foam insulation installer.  It’s not a DIY project ..More

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Rubber Washing Machine Hoses

-  I’ll post a follow-up on this topic next week. . There’s a new version of these hoses called Floodsafe®, which is supposed to completely shut off the water supply in the event of a burst hose.  I did a little testing with these hoses, and I’m not a big fan ..More

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Ionization vs. Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

- . Recent statistics show that in 24% of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound; in half of those cases, there was a missing or disconnected battery.  This is a common problem that I find all the time while doing Truth-In-Sale of Housing evaluations, and the reason people always give is that the smoke alarm goes off every time they cook or shower ..More

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Dirty glass at gas fireplaces

- . Next, follow the directions on the bottle; shake well, apply liberally, clean with paper towel, etc… repeat as necessary ..More

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