Round the home: Duct tape might assist loosen rogue gentle bulb in ceiling fan | Way of life

Dear Ken: I have a ceiling fan with four light bulbs. When a light went out, I tried to remove it, but the socket turned with it. The lightbulb is too small to grab inside the tulip ball and I can’t remove the lightbulb without unscrewing the lightbulb. Any ideas? – Sam

Reply: Sometimes you can wrap your hand with duct tape – stick it side out – and rotate the lightbulb thanks to the extra handle. Otherwise you will have to break the lightbulb. Put on safety glasses and gloves, cover the end of the lightbulb with a cloth, and tap it with pliers until it breaks. Once the filament is exposed, you can grab the inside of the bulb with needle-nose pliers and twist the base out of the socket. If the socket wants to rotate, leave it. In my experience, the light bulb loosens before the socket is damaged. To help with future removals, rub petroleum jelly or cooking oil on the lamp threads first.

Dear Ken: My 2 year old dishwasher doesn’t clean very well. Could the drain be clogged or is it a water pressure problem? – Karen

Reply: Make sure the spray arms are working properly. If there is an upper and a lower rotating arm, verify movement by quickly opening the door in the middle of the cycle. If you have a tower arm that rises to glassware height, check that it expands completely and that its path is not blocked by other bowls.

If these tests are successful, take the forearm apart by unscrewing its center. You may need a Phillips screwdriver to remove the parts up to the pump. Check this well for dirt. With the spray arm loose, clean the exit holes with fine wire.

The next step is to make sure the water temperature is high enough. It should be around 130 degrees unless there are vulnerable adults or young children in the house. Also add detergent; With phosphates removed from these products a few years ago, it takes more to get the job done. I find the pod versions of dish soap work very well. They contain extra cleaning enzymes, a rinse aid and even a dishwasher. Visit the Procter & Gamble website at for more advice.

Around the house: magic eraser to the rescue

Dear Ken: Have you heard of installing a second water heater in line with the current one? – Lance

Reply: Many new homes, especially those with hot tubs, have two water heaters. Usually these are installed next to each other and each tank heats the water to around 120 degrees. I prefer your inline idea. Colorado water comes through the pipes at a magnificent 50 degrees all year round. That is a 70 degree difference to the heat. I like the idea of ​​dividing the difference between the tanks: one heats from 50 degrees to about 90 degrees and the second heats to 120 degrees. This preheating arrangement ensures you never run out of hot water. In an existing home, you can add a 30 gallon water heater before the current one. The only limitation might be the size of the smoke pipe that goes through the roof. Is the diameter big enough? A plumber will check this for you.

Around the house: wax up, wax down: cool it down to get off the couch

Dear Ken: Can you tell me how to clean an acoustic ceiling? We want to paint the rest of the room, but that just makes the ceiling worse. – Margin

Reply: For occasional stains, spray a mixture of one part bleach and two parts warm water on the surface. If the blanket has become soiled and dirty with age, it is best to spray some thin white latex paint over the whole thing. Use an eggshell or satin version, as these types are better at repelling adhering dust particles.

Dear Ken: We have a 1960s house with brick and lap siding and no wall insulation. We had problems with paint peeling on the lap siding. We want to install insulation according to today’s standards, but we fear that without a vapor barrier we will get condensation in the walls. What do you think? – Janet

Reply: Moisture tends to move through walls from the warm to the cold side, and that’s why we put in insulation with a paper vapor barrier.

You are now getting some condensation, as indicated by the paint problem. But as long as you don’t see mold growing on the interior walls, it is unlikely to be causing any significant problems.

Trying to isolate an existing wall cavity is problematic. The contractor usually drills access holes inside or outside and, after injecting the material, must mend the holes so they are not visible. it is generally not very successful. The insulation is unlikely to migrate through the wall cavity anyway because of the pipes, wires, and wood blocks.

It is better to put a layer of insulation on the outside, but this will require the purchase of new siding such as vinyl. Insulating such an old wall is expensive and not particularly effective. It’s better to focus on things that you can control like new vinyl windows, 16 inch loft insulation, and caulking around all openings of windows and doors. With a new high-performance oven you also save real costs on your electricity bill.

Ken Moon is the House Inspector in the Pikes Peak area. His radio show is broadcast on KRDO, FM 105.5 and AM 1240 on Saturdays at 4 p.m. Visit

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