IF "YOUR house is suffering from any ailment, follow the technique of your doctor—diagnose the trouble and, as Mr. Dombey used to say to his wife, “Make an effort” to do something about it.
During the past winter, most of us have experienced unpleasant moments. Something went wrong with the heating or plumbing; the cracking of plaster on walls and ceilings; dampness in the basement; draughty windows; leaking roof, or smoky chimney.
To avoid future jitters, make an examination coincident with the spring cleaning ritual, and make an effort to cure such ailments. You will be in pocket.
To help you, may I jog your memory concerning some of the nuisances you mayhave experienced last winter, and describe ways and means of correcting them.
If the inside face of the walls on the north side of the house sweats on very cold days, it is because the low temperature outside is transmitted to the interior, making the plaster surface on the walls very cold. In the room, warmer air. containing moisture, comes in contact with the cold plaster, causing condensation or sweating. Furring out with wood strips, then covering them with an insulating board or a plaster board, will cure this ailment.
That leak above the window in the outside wall, which still persists, in spite of the fact that you have caulked the joint between the window frame and the wall, may be caused by cracks in mortar joints, or by a porous mortar in the brick joints. The remedy is to rake out cracked mortar and repoint the joints. Porous mortar can be made waterproof by coating the wall with a transparent waterproofing.
The paint on the basement walls shows signs of becoming powdery. Remove it. If it is oil paint, use a solution of three pounds of trisodium phosphate in a gallon of hot water. After the paint has been removed, rinse with plenty of clear water. Casein paint is not affected by dampness or lime, and therefore is suitable.
The system of heating water may be an indirect heater coil, and at times when the water is not used very much it gets more than piping hot, in fact it comes out in the form of steam. You can correct this nuisance, by installing a thermostatic check valve in the return pipe from the heater coil to the boiler. This will control the flow of boiler water through the jacket of the indirect heater.
Daughter may have expressed a wish to exercise her interior-decorating talent. Renovating the kitchen walls with paint and enamel presents the opportunity for her to do so by pasting original paper designs, with rubber cement, on the walls.
Are you tired of the. color stain on the roof shingles? If so, do not attempt to paint them, because it would seal the pores and make the shingles very slow to dry out. Good results can be obtained with linseed oil tinted with color in oil.
Some of the copper window screens may have developed green spots. Such spots can be removed with ammonia.
The garage seems overlarge for your use and you have been thinking about forming a tool shed or small workshop in it. Plaster board or insulating board on a framework of two-inch by four-inch lumber will do the trick.
Visions of washing off splatterings of dirt on the exterior woodwork may have been on your mind. If so, scrub the surface with a mild soap and warm water. Then rinse well with plenty of clear water.
Leaking radiator valves may have been a constant source of annoyance, also, unknowingly, a booster of the fuel bill. Probably they are gummed, and all that is
necessary is to take them off and lay them in gasoline. This will dissolve the oil or dirt. If this does not clean out the valves, new ones are needed.
Black patches directly over the radiators are possibly seen. These are caused by the action of the heated air rising and carrying with it fine particles of dust off the floor and the lower part of the radiator. This dust is deposited on the wall. A radiator enclosure will prevent such unsightliness in the future.
During the high winds last winter you may have been troubled by an irritating flap-flap of asphalt shingles on the roof. A good asphalt roof cement spread under each defective shingle, which is then pressed down into the cement, will prevent the wind from raising them.
Possibly the tiled shower stall has been leaking and disfiguring the ceiling of the room below. By using a plastic cement suitable for filling cracked mortar joints in tile, this defect can be corrected. The cement being plastic, does not crack.
When looking at the fuel bill you have had a sneaking idea that there must be something wrong, and have wondered whether, if insulation were used, the consumption of fuel could be reduced. Definitely, yes. It is not absolutely necessary to insulate the side walls, but there will be an appreciable difference if the attic is insulated.
The ceiling in one of the rooms upstairs is discolored by a roof leak. It is a comparatively easy matter to repair the roof and if necessary, put in new copper flashing around the chimney stack. To correct the ceiling condition, if it is plastered, and to avoid mess and inconvenience, cover it with insulating board which is made in squares with a V-joint and is easy to handle.
Have you become tired of the aluminumpainted radiators? Do you wish to paint them in with the color of the walls? Why not? Paint can be applied over aluminum and will not peel, providing the surface is prepared properly. Remove all loose or peeling paint with a stiff wire brush or sandpaper. Wash the radiator with turpentine. The paint should be applied in thin coats well brushed out. Each coat must be thoroughly dried before applying the next, and, further, the radiator must be cold during the entire operation.
If the water pipes have “knockknocked,” have your plumber install “air cushions” at the end of each line of fixtures, or a “shock absorber.”
The ping-pong enthusiasts playing in the basement recreation room have annoyed or disturbed you when reading in the living room. They won’t in the future if you line the recreation room walls and ceiling with insulating board, and fill the space between the beams of the ceiling with one of the standard insulating wools.
Before closing this clinic, there are some therapeutic treatments for furniture, two of which will be of interest.
Your favorite leather-covered chair in the den may have begun to dry and to go at the edges. If so, rub with white petroleum jelly; give the leather all it will absorb. Finish by rubbing.
That grey film which has developed on the walnut bedroom suite can be removed by wiping with a mixture of one tables'poonful of cider vinegar in a quart of water. Wipe with a soft cloth dampened in the mixture. Polish with paste wax, applied thin and well rubbed.
Such ailments as I have referred to are only a few of which the average house suffers from. Nevertheless, if they are treated as I have outlined, you will find that the amount of energy expended will prove to be quite worth while.
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