Dear Heloise: I love those tabletop water fountains made for use inside the home. I own several, and the instructions for each say to use distilled water in them. Is it completely necessary to use distilled water, and if so, can I make distilled water at home by boiling, etc.? K.G., via e-mail
We checked with a manufacturer, and a representative said distilled water is recommended because it does not contain calcium and magnesium salts that can build up in the motor and tubing, causing them to become blocked.
What is distilled water? It's made by a process that boils regular water and then collects the steam; the steam is then cooled to form water minus all the impurities.
You cannot make distilled water at home without a distilling system, which can be expensive. But you can probably use a water purifying system (the ones that filter water in a container on your kitchen countertop or in your refrigerator) without a problem.
Hope this helps you to keep your tabletop fountains in tiptop shape! Heloise
Dear Heloise: When I go on vacation, I don't buy postcards to send back home. Instead, I have doubles made of the photos I take and mail them to friends and relatives. It's a much more personal touch.
You have to use permanent-ink pens when you write on the backs of the photos. I use an extra-fine-tip marker -- otherwise, the ink will smear. Marcie M., Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Dear Heloise: This helpful hint regards the iron and ironing board. I keep my ironing board in an extra bedroom. I am afraid I might leave the iron connected, so I use a triple plug. One wire is from a lamp, and one wire is from the iron. Whenever the iron is connected, the lamp is on. When I quit ironing, I pull out the triple plug. The light goes out, and I know the iron is off. Connie Fabula, La Jolla, Calif.
Dear Heloise: Here's a way to make snow shoveling easier: Just spray the shovel with cooking spray. The snow comes off easily, so you don't have to lift the same sticky snow with each shovelful. Makes a world of difference! Rev. Kathe Ford, Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
This will also help ease some back strain, too! Heloise
Dear Heloise: Please warn your readers not to leave glass objects in or near sunny windows. My neighbors came home recently and found a stack of smoldering papers on their desk next to a collection of glass globes.
The sun shining through the glass on a sunny, but cold, winter's day obviously started the fire. When I related this story to a friend, she told me she knew someone whose house burned to the ground from a fire started by the sun shining through some glass pint jars left drying in a window. C.M. Stone, Houston
XSend a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax: (210) HELOISE; e-mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.
King Features Syndicate