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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

System Needs to Be Repaired to Stop Particles From Flying Out of Ducts

June 06, 1992|JOHN MORELL

Question: A couple of years ago, we noticed that whenever our central heating or air conditioner have been turned on, Fiberglas particles build up on the furniture in some of the rooms. Our attic has blown-in insulation, and the pitch of the roof makes it very difficult to check the ducts. Would it be better to replace the insulation? Is there a health hazard involved?

D.M.

Santa Ana

Answer: "If that is Fiberglas coming through the ducts, it's definitely a health hazard," said Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing and Heating Supply in Los Alamitos. "I wouldn't recommend using the system until the problem is solved.

"It sounds as though it is a problem in the ducts. What commonly happens is that as a house settles, the ducts are moved and in many cases they're just held together with tape, and they separate.

"The particles you see could just be dust, and there are companies you can contact that will clean out your ducts. But you'll need to have an expert come out and check to see if the insulation is getting into the ducts as well.

"Even though getting to the ducts may look difficult, you're better off having them repaired than putting in new insulation. Besides, each time you're using the furnace or air conditioning, you're wasting energy by heating or cooling the attic as well."

Q: Approximately eight inches of wallpaper at the floor level in one of my rooms have been stained by a water leak. I have extra paper, and I'd like to find out the best way to remove the soiled area and replace it.

F.B.

Corona del Mar

A: "It's probably best to use an overlay patch," said Allen Howell of Imperial Paint Co. in Anaheim. "Take the extra paper and put it up against the wall so that the pattern matches. Use thumb tacks to place it into position. Then use a razor to cut through both layers at the same time. Then you'll just remove the damaged paper and replace it with the new portion.

"If you do it right, it will fit into the space perfectly, and you won't have a mismatched pattern."

Q: I have a stainless steel bread tray, and one of its parts has broken off. How can I fix this?

J.G.

Laguna Hills

A: "Unless you're adept at welding, I'd suggest taking it to a welding shop to be repaired," said machinist Tom Clay of Fullerton. "A welder has to use stainless rod or wire to make the repair, which makes it a little more expensive.

"Whether you'll be able to see the weld will depend on how heavy the material is. Stainless steel isn't an easy material to weld, but you should be able to find someone who will do it for you."

Q: We have acoustical ceilings in our home, and in one portion I've noticed a crack. When I touch the area, I can feel an air space about the size of a dinner plate surrounding the crack, where the acoustical material has seemingly separated from the ceiling. What causes this? Can we do the job on our own?

J.E.

Anaheim

A: "Since it's forming a bubble, it sounds as though the paint on the ceiling is coming off," said Chris Lanzone of A Pacific Acoustical Ceilings in Cypress. "On the other side of the acoustic ceiling, you're likely to find a layer of paint that has peeled away. The paint peels away because there wasn't a good bond between it and the surface, and, over time, it deteriorates.

"The area will have to be scraped away. But first, you'll have to remove a portion of the acoustic ceiling and send it to a lab to see if it contains asbestos. This is why most people have this kind of work done by professionals."

Handyman's Note: In response to a recent letter regarding how to put house numbers on plastic garbage cans, some readers have written that they've had good luck using the Super Color Marker pen made by Pilot, as well as using a shipping crayon.

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