QUESTION: The wallboard in our living room needs patching. I can handle most of the job, but I'm not sure how to go about filling the few spots where there are openings in the wall without anything behind them. Can I apply masking tapes over each opening and then cover with a patching compound?
ANSWER: Yes, but one of the modern products that will fill the bill is a ready-made patch available in most paint stores and home centers. Tape it on according to the directions and you will find it easy to disguise the patch when it is painted.
Sash Cord Broken on Double-Hung Window
Q: One of the double-hung windows in our house has gone haywire. I am fairly certain the trouble is with the sash cord. Can the cord be removed or is it too much of a job?
A: Removing the sash is not difficult. Merely take off the stop moldings on the inside. Use a chisel or putty knife and work very carefully, especially if you intend to use the moldings again. If your aim is to replace the sash cord with another of the same type, be sure to observe how the cord is connected so you will be able to replace it without too much trouble. Before you do this, however, look into the kinds of sash cords now on the market. They are easier to use and install and are virtually indestructible.
Initials Stand for Measuring Efficiency
Q: My husband and I looked at a lot of central air conditioners recently, since we intend to purchase one shortly. All of them had the initials SEER, followed by a number. Can you tell us what this means?
A: Sounds as if you did not talk to a salesman, who could have explained that SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is the measure for cooling energy efficiency applied both to central air conditioners and heat pumps. Under standards developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Bureau of Standards, all such units must be tested by the same procedures, producing the SEER number. The higher the number, the greater the energy efficiency. Those models with eight or higher are considered in the high-efficiency category. The cooling as well as the heating performance of the heat pumps also is measured by these numbers.
Latex Paint Preferred for Painting Concrete
Q: We want to paint the concrete walkway around the swimming pool at the back of our house. Can a latex paint be used or is it better to use an oil-based paint?
A: Latex paint formulated for use on concrete is generally considered better than an oil-based paint for such a purpose. Epoxy paints are considered tops, but cost more.
Puzzled by Overload on Electrical Circuit
Q: Ever so often, one of the fuses on our electrical circuit blows and has to be replaced. Before replacing it, I have always taken one of the appliances off the line controlled by that fuse. This means, of course, the line is overloaded. But I recently learned how to add up the watts on the line and I cannot find there is an overload. Can you tell me what the possible cause of the trouble might be?
A: It's quite probable that one of the appliances on the circuit has a large motor, which causes the overload when it is turned on. What you may need on the circuit is another fuse of the same amperage as already there, but this time, make sure it is a time-delay fuse, usually called a Fusetron. If this does not solve your problem, better call an electrician.
Combination Sander Functions Explained
Q: I inherited a lot of power tools from my grandfather. Among them is a combination orbital-in-line electric sander. I have used separate orbital sanders in the past but never had a combination type. Can you tell me when I should switch on the orbital sanding action and when the in-line sander?
A: The orbital action is used for sanding the fastest, but when you get around to the final finishing on the wood use the in-line action. It's important the final sanding be done with the grain of the wood. Use the finest grade of sandpaper for the in-line sanding. Like all power sanders, the machine should be kept in motion at all times. Do not stop it on the wood while the electricity is on or you may get down slopes on the surface. Also, guide the sander with very little downward pressure.
The techniques of using varnish, shellac, lacquer, stain, bleach, sealer, etc., are detailed in Andy Lang's booklet, "Wood Finishing in the Home," which can be obtained by sending $1 and a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope to Know-How, P.O. Box 477, Huntington, N.Y. 11743. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column.