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INSIDE & OUT | A HELPING HAND

Something in Smoke Detectors Isn't Right

March 22, 1997|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q: About four years ago, I put smoke alarms in each bedroom of my condominium. They worked fine, and I replaced the batteries regularly. Last fall, after changing the batteries, I found that each unit beeped every hour. I changed batteries, but this still occurs. What could be the problem?

E.G.

Anaheim

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A: You may have changed the batteries, but Mike McCoy of Current Supply in Westminster suspects there's a problem there.

Many people will buy multiple packs of batteries, and if the batteries have been sitting for a while on the store shelf, then they're all going to do this, says McCoy, who also suggests that you make sure the batteries are properly installed.

It's not uncommon for dust or cobwebs to foul with the unit and impair its effectiveness. Clean the contacts on the alarm and on the battery, and if it still does it, try a battery from a different pack. Check the owner's manual or with the manufacturer to see if the beeping could be an indication of something else, such as particulates blocking the sensing device.

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Q: I recently discovered some dry rot in my patio overhang. In some places it goes fairly deep, and the wood will have to be replaced. However, most of the rot appears to be confined to small surface areas. Can I treat the wood to prevent further decay and perhaps strengthen it to avoid the expense of replacement?

C.P.

Huntington Beach

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A: Generally, you're better off replacing wood that has been affected by dry rot, says Jim Volivitch of Ganahl Lumber in Anaheim.

If the affected lumber is load-bearing, simply filling in the affected area with a patch could be dangerous, especially since the dry rot is likely to continue to damage the good wood. The new wood should be properly primed and painted to keep moisture out, and the roof overhang area should be checked for leaks that could have affected the wood.

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Q: Our 20-year-old kitchen sink is set in a tiled counter with beveled edge tiles overlapping the sink. To replace the sink, these tiles will have to be removed. What's the best way to do this without damaging the tiles?

S.B.

Costa Mesa

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A: Removing the sink without damaging the tiles will be very difficult, says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. You might want to try using a grout saw to cut away the grout, then try to pry up each surrounding tile.

It's not likely that you'll be able to do this and remove the sink without causing some scratches and gouges, which is why most people in this situation choose to replace the tile counter as well as the sink.

If you can get the sink out by breaking up just the overlapping tiles, you could replace them with colored tiles that complement a color in the kitchen.

If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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