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INSIDE & OUT | A HELPING HAND

Silicone: a Lubricant Without the Residue

September 13, 1997|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q: We have a white screen door with a white pneumatic closer on it. The problem is that we get lots of black dust on the door and closer, which I presume is from the lubricant in the closer. I have to clean it off every few days. Is there a way to stop this?

N.H.

Laguna Niguel

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A: It sounds as though a graphite lubricant has been used inside the closer, says Frank Eckert of Arrow True Value Hardware in Orange.

You may want to clean off the piston arm as best as you can, then spray it with silicone lubricant spray. Silicone is an excellent lubricant because it doesn't leave a residue. Unless you can open the closer mechanism to clean it out, you'll probably have to continue the cleaning work until all the graphite has been forced out.

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Q: My son tells me we have millions of spiders in the unfinished attic. Is there anything we should do about them?

S.E.

Costa Mesa

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A: This isn't something to be too worried about, unless you're seeing lots of spiders get into your living area, says contractor Randy Kernan of Fountain Valley.

Spiders don't do any structural harm to the house, and may even help by catching flying termites in webs.

On the downside, lots of spiders may be a problem if you have technicians work on your furnace at some time. You can try keeping it from being overrun by using bug spray in the area or having a pest-control company come out and do the job.

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Q: We recently bought a home that has some old shutters on a window in the living room. They haven't been cleaned in a long time, are covered in dirt and dust and the paint appears to be flaking off in a few areas. Is there a way to clean and repaint these easily?

G.H.

Fountain Valley

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A: First, you'll want to wash them down with TSP and water, says Steve Willsey of the Orange Paint Store.

After rinsing them and allowing the wood to fully dry, you can apply the primer and finish coat. Because of the intricacies of getting between the slats, you might find it easier to use a sprayer, which most paint shops rent out.

If the shutters aren't very big, you could also use spray cans. The key is to apply light coats, whether you're using spray or a brush. Thick coats will tend to drip and won't look very good.

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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