Around the House: Tips for painting your fireplace | Lifestyle

Dear Ken: My old fireplace is dark red and no longer matches my color scheme. How do i paint it? What color would you suggest? – Jan.

Reply: It’s pretty easy, but as with all paint jobs, the key is preparation. Apply a few coats of a primer / sealer like KILZ or Bullseye 1-2-3. You can roll it up if you want, but a better idea is to use a small sprayer after you’ve taped the area. The primer helps seal the pores in the brick so that your topcoat is more completely covered – not to mention it is easier to apply. You can choose a neutral color, e.g. B. Tan or creamy white – maybe three shades darker than the walls. Or if there’s a favorite accent color in the room, turn it off and use the darker tint. Finally, you can recreate the grout lines between the bricks with a dark gray or brown paint applied with a small brush.

Dear Ken: We have a Bruce “Gun Metal” floor that is badly scratched. Our doors are also dark and also milled out and in poor condition. Can we rework them? – Lisa

Reply: You have a factory finished hardwood flooring system. There are basically two types: solid wood and laminates. The former can usually be sanded and finished with a new gloss varnish. The problem with the laminate flooring system, which consists of several layers of colored veneer and unfinished interior filler wood. Sometimes the top layer is thick enough to rework, sometimes not.

The Bruce website is a bit vague on this so I would advise taking a sample of your wood to a local flooring dealer for further advice. If you can’t find a rest, remove one of the heat sink covers and take digital pictures of the edge of one of the boards.

The doors are a lot simpler; I would paint them. These old doors made of dark mahogany veneer can be primed and painted with a semi-gloss latex paint in a neutral color – like cream or beige. If they are scratched, apply some wooden spatula or putty knife to the blemishes first.

Dear Ken: Some time ago you checked a device for circulating hot water. I can not find it. Can you tell me again – Billy

Reply: Take a look at the Watts Premier system. It draws hot water from the water heater and pushes it back into the cold side pipe. That means you don’t have to wait almost as long for a hot shower every morning. And that can save thousands of gallons of water in your home every year because you don’t have to run cold down the drain first. It also has a built-in timer so it only runs when you need hot water. Program it so that it starts just before you get up in the morning and you have hot water almost immediately. It is supplied as a kit with all suitable fittings, a sensor and supply lines for easy installation. I saw it online for $ 176 and changed.

This circulation scheme is especially useful if you have a water heater. These will take even longer to bring hot water to you because the burner has to turn on first. So a small pump like this one has it at hand when you need it.

Dear Ken: I want to put a light on the front of my garage above the door. Should I connect it to the normal light switch or to the old lamp itself? – Matt

Reply: Save time (and cables) by plugging it into the nearest garage outlet. It will then be “hot” all the time, but if you choose a motion detection device it will only turn on when it is needed. Why leave an outside light on all night when instead the device is on standby and ready to turn itself on to scare unwanted visitors?

Dear Ken: One of my outside taps developed a little dribble. A plumber wants over $ 400 to replace it. How can I fix it myself? – David

Reply: Like all faucets, the outer hose spigots have a washer to control the flow of water. In this case, it’s deep inside the pod – maybe 10 inches or so – to keep it from freezing. Find the hex nut just below the handle and soak it in a penetrating liquid like WD-40 overnight. Then use a fairly large pipe wrench to loosen the shaft. Pull it straight out and you will see the washer on the inside end. Replace the existing washer with a tapered version. Why? The metal internals of these older faucets wear out, so the thicker washer will help fill in the gaps and stop the leak.

Dear readers: How is your disposal smelling lately? This is the time of year when bacteria fester in your chamber and give off that unpleasant odor around the sink. It is the mass on the underside of this rubber splash guard that can be the cause of this smell. Use a round toilet brush dipped in ammonia to scrub the accumulated mass underneath and as far up in the disposal chamber as possible.

Then throw in several handfuls of ice cubes and half a lemon, turn on the disposal and let it run for a few minutes to clean the inside.

It also routinely helps to add half a cup of pine oil cleaner down the drain on each side of the sink. Do it just before you retire and don’t rinse until the next morning.

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

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