hMagazine writerpens new book
Norman Becker has been answering homeowners' questions in Popular Mechanics' "Homeowners Clinic" column for more than 20 years. Now his answers to 500 of those questions are compiled in the new book "Popular Mechanics 500 Simple Home Repair Solutions."
Unlike many home-repair guides, the book is devoted to the nagging problems that perplex homeowners from time to time. Becker covers topics ranging from the common to the somewhat obscure, such as what could be causing a concrete driveway to deteriorate, why a whistling sound is coming from ductwork and why a home's light bulbs always seem to burn out in the early fall. His answers cover a home's exterior, interior and electrical and mechanical systems.
The book is published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. and sells for $19.95 in hardcover.
Heat-N-Glo fireplaceputs new twist in design
Heat-N-Glo's new Cyclone is a new twist on fireplaces.
Cyclone is a cylindrical gas chamber with a whirling natural-gas flame inside. It can be used in place of a pillar or displayed on a wall. The flame's unusual spinning action is created by a fan at the bottom of the unit.
The chamber generates only half the heat of a typical gas fireplace, so in can be installed in almost any room. The exhaust is vented to the outside, just like a direct-vent fireplace.
Cyclone is available from Heat-N-Glo dealers and distributors. The stand-alone model retails for $3,499, and the wall-mount system for $7,999. More information is available by calling (888) 427-3973 or visiting www.heatnglo.com.
Silver tarnish could besalt residue, sign of age
Q. When polishing my silverplate pieces for Thanksgiving, I noticed a couple of pieces had small, raised blemishes where the silver was corroded down to the base metal. These pieces are stored, uncovered, in a glass-fronted cabinet. I am careful not to wrap them with plastic, newspaper or foil, and they are clean when I store them. What can be causing this?
A. John Shulan of Shulan's Fairlawn (Ohio) Jewelers said some salty residue may have been left on the pieces without your realizing it, possibly from salt in the dishwater. He recommended always washing silverplate in clean water, drying it thoroughly and allowing it to air dry overnight before storing it.
Another possibility is that the silverplate is old and it is breaking down, Shulan said. The plating gets thinner with wear, and eventually tiny pinhole openings appear that allow the base metal to oxidize and erupt through the silver. Unfortunately, he said there's nothing you can do to prevent that.
All together now
If you are using more than one extension cord, knot them together to keep them from pulling out from each other.
New hues unveiled
Even as landfills clog with old stoves and refrigerators in the '70s palette of avocado green, harvest gold and burnt orange, Sears has unveiled new hues for our oft-dreary laundry rooms: a clear Pacific Blue, metallic Champagne, and Sedona, which looks a lot like that old burnt orange.
Market research showed that consumers yearned to go beyond white, bisque, and black or slate for their washday appliances, says Larry Costello, a Sears spokesman.
Thus was born the "HE4t" line of Kenmore large-capacity washers ($1,499) and dryers ($999).
New Year's resolutions
By now you've probably broken all your resolutions. But don't despair. You can have a second chance. F2