Streams

The Gurus of How-To Look Toward Spring

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, answer questions and give advice on how to repair and maintain your home or apartment. They'll offer tips on keeping your furnace in fine form, making sure your pipes don't freeze, and making sure you're home is heated and insulated efficiently.

Call 212-433-9692 with your questions or leave a comment below!

Guests:

Al Ubell and Larry Ubell

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Comments [18]

Charles

Spit up my coffee when I saw this.

Wireless radiator cover and smart phone app.

Take a look on kick starter. I kick you not.

Feb. 12 2014 08:25 PM
Drew

Silicone caulk is horrible. Use non-silicone caulk. Silicone caulk generally isn't paintable and it also grows mold and mildew in it and it's messy to use and is quite difficult to work to get a decent looking finish.
Also, you should mention tape-to-caulk, tape-caulking or custom caulking (whatever one calls it) to get a good looking finish instead of the hack gooping that most people are subjected to.
And another also - you didn't recommend to put a vacuum cleaner extension hose with up there to suck out whatever loose dust, dirt and/or debris is sitting close around the opening.

Feb. 12 2014 01:53 PM
Amy from Manhattan

On the danger of scalding water: In an office where I worked years ago, I heard 2nd-hand about an accident in the kitchen. 1 co-worker was removing the coffeepot from the dispenser when it broke in her hand, dumping boiling coffee on her. Luckily for her, another co-worker happened to have just filled a pitcher w/cold water & thought quickly enough to pour the water on the 1st woman--who wasn't nearly as badly burned as she could have been.

Feb. 12 2014 01:52 PM
JR from NYC

about the steam cast iron radiators: so should we leave it all the way open if it's a one pipe system? why can I not leave it half-open so there's less heat coming out?

Feb. 12 2014 01:49 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I like hearing from the Gurus as they represent a reality break from all the fiction, politics, and cooking that normally goes on over the air. Hard-core reality is stranger, more brutal, and more interesting than fiction.

Feb. 12 2014 01:42 PM
spnyc from WaHi

When I moved into my current apartment with my toddler daughter 7+ years ago, the smoke alarm was located near the bedroom door, but would go off the moment I put anything to cook on the stove in the kitchen. The baby would be freaked out by the loud beeping, I would have to LEAVE THE STOVE--leaving the food cooking unsupervised, run and grab an old broom handle I kept handy and try to turn the detector off, my toddler would think this was a game and would be dancing around my legs, while I am looking at the ceiling trying to knock the smoke detector off. I would invariably trip over her, there were some near misses with the stick as I brought it down, and she would be trying to grab it from me, and then I would have to rush back into the kitchen to try to salvage dinner from the stove. She would be upset because she couldn't "play the game", I would be mad at her, at the smoke alarm, at the burnt or ruined meal, and this would happen several times every single time I cooked on the stove top. In frustration I eventually removed the alarm which is wired into the ceiling and requires a battery. I know it's not safe, but the daily inconvenience was more than I could take.

Feb. 12 2014 01:37 PM
Elizabeth

Hi,

I recently bought a house in Brooklyn. I noticed yesterday that there were several large icecicles hanging from one of my (horizontal) gutters, and water frozen along one wall of the house, with a little water also appearing on the interior wall. After doing some research online, I think I have an ice dam. Can you suggest ways to correct this, and what I can do to prevent this in the future?

Thank you!

Feb. 12 2014 01:37 PM
Ruth from Queens

Any suggestions for dealing with an "ice jam" on roof? I can't reach it with a roof broom (above front door)... and now it's ice anyway...

Feb. 12 2014 01:33 PM
Arlene from Forest Hills

I live in a four story house where a few pipes (related to the top floor bathroom) burst a few weeks ago and have since been repaired. Since then, the water pressure to the upper floors has been lower than usual. Do you think these problems are related? I was wondering whether the pipe problem has introduced sediment in the faucets.

Feb. 12 2014 01:31 PM
Hal from Brooklyn

I have to replace the roof access ladder in my flat roof row house. Are there building codes which specify materials, dimensions or any other details for this ladder?

Feb. 12 2014 01:30 PM
Liz from Brooklyn Heights

There is construction going on in my neighborhood and every day my apartment building shakes. Is that safe? Who can I call about it? My building is a multi-family, five story, 150 year old building in Brooklyn Heights. Thank you!

Feb. 12 2014 01:30 PM
Meg from Staten Island

I live in a co-op building. My front door is located 10 feet from the rear vestibule which has inner and outer doors. The board replaced the doors years after I moved in. Previously, I never noticed any sound emanating from the doors in my apartment. With the replacement doors, however, I hear the doors closing with a thud each and every time. I've told the managing agent and he's dispatched a locksmith. But the thud still occurs. Isn't this more of a sound abatement issue? What would you recommend.
Signed, sleepless in staten island.

Feb. 12 2014 01:29 PM
Joyce from Brooklyn

We had the same problem recently with our smoke/carbon monoxide detector. Did a search online and found that it needed to be replaced, since it was older than 10 years old.

Feb. 12 2014 01:28 PM
ccinjc

We have hot water radiators. I have seen some suggestions online to put a large reflective material between the wall and the radiator to enhance the thermal output. Is this worth an investment to lower heat costs?
Also would it be worth placing on water tank to lower costs?

Feb. 12 2014 01:28 PM
Harold from Hightstown, NJ

How do I repair chipped "seafoam green" enamel on a '50s vintage toilet?

Feb. 12 2014 01:28 PM
Meg from Staten Island

I live in a co-op building. My front door is located 10 feet from the rear vestibule which has inner and outer doors. The board replaced the doors years after I moved in. Previously, I never noticed any sound emanating from the doors in my apartment. With the replacement doors, however, I hear the doors closing with a thud each and every time. I've told the managing agent and he's dispatched a locksmith. But the thud still occurs. Isn't this more of a sound abatement issue? What would you recommend.
Signed, sleepless in staten island.

Feb. 12 2014 01:27 PM
Katie from Brooklyn

I have H Vac heating system in my apartment. We only keep it at 55 degrees, have all the windows insulated with plastic and heavy curtains in all the windows and doors. Our bill was $600.00 last month. Any suggestions for lowering the electric bill? Thank you!!

Feb. 12 2014 01:25 PM
Amelia from Crown Heights

I rent in an old building and have no control over the heat. My radiators don’t have any controls or valves, and they get SO HOT that I’ve been opening windows in 20 degree weather. Is there a better way to temper an out of control radiator? Can I safely enclose it to block the heat (I’m on the top floor and more than enough heat radiates up from the lower floors)? How?

Feb. 12 2014 01:05 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.