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INSIDE & OUT | A HELPING HAND

An Airtight Solution for Vapor Caught in Dual-Paned Windows

April 11, 1998|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q Approximately five years ago we installed wood French doors with dual-paned windows. Although the doors are in good shape, some of the panes have moisture between them. How can we get rid of and prevent this?

R.K., Huntington Beach

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A Fixing these windows will mean replacing them, says Katy Jackson of Martin Glass & Mirror in Costa Mesa.

Most dual-paned windows are made by connecting two glass panes separated by an air gap. In more expensive thermal windows, the air between the panes is removed, leaving a vacuum. Should the seal around a dual-paned window crack or break, moisture can get inside, which spoils the insulating quality.

If only a couple of windows have been affected, it may be worth replacing them. If it's more than two, it may be wise to replace them with quarter-inch tempered glass, which may not have the insulating qualities of dual-paned but won't be ruined by moisture.

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Q The previous residents of our house burned rolled-up newspaper logs in the fireplace. This dissolved the spark arrester, and the acid in the soot left a stain on part of the asphalt shingle roof. This stain is an eyesore and is very visible. Any suggestions on how to remove it?

D.S., Mission Viejo

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A Try cleaning the area with a solution of TSP and water, says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

After scrubbing, rinse it well. If the shingles have a gray or off-white tone, you can apply a coating such as Cool Life, a reflective coating used on mobile home roofs to help reflect heat. It's applied with a brush or a soft broom. You may need to coat the entire roof to get a uniform color.

Also, be sure to have a chimney sweep get rid of excess soot and ash in the chimney and fireplace.

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Q We have a 20-year-old dishwasher that seems to be cleaning just fine, but recently we've noticed a grinding noise when it runs. I've been told that the motor is probably about to go. Is a dishwasher motor relatively easy for a sometime do-it-yourselfer to replace?

B.F., Fullerton

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A It's not that hard. If you can replace the spark plugs in your car, you probably wouldn't have much trouble replacing a dishwasher motor, says Gary Kuhn of Appliance Parts Center in Laguna Niguel.

There are usually about four bolts and two wires to be pulled, and then you've got it. However, Kuhn questions whether the problem is in the motor. Grinding noises are often caused by a piece of glass stuck in the impeller or pump. This is also simple to remove and replace.

Figure to spend about $20 for a pump kit and, if necessary, about $80 for a motor.

If you have a question about your home or garden, 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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