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Maintenance

Summertime, and the Fixin' Is Easy

July 17, 1999|From ASSOCIATED PRESS

Here are a few chores to take care of this month:

* Check hoses for leaks

Hook up your hoses and check for leaks. Fix a single puncture in a hose by cutting out the damaged section and rejoining the hose with a coupling fitting, which you can pick up at the hardware store for about $1.50. Also replace damaged hose ends.

* Bee-proof your house

Stop bees, wasps and hornets from setting up new nests in your home by sealing gaps in siding, trim and other exterior surfaces.

Wasps prefer eave areas, and there's little you can do to prevent their nesting.

However, spritzing a developing nest with soapy water will usually send the insects elsewhere.

The same strategy will work on in-ground yellow jacket and bumblebee nests.

But think twice before you eliminate nests in remote corners of your yard; wasps and hornets kill tremendous numbers of caterpillars and other less desirable insects.

For more information, visit the University of Minnesota Extension Service Web site (http://www.extension.umn.edu) and enter the keyword "bees."

Order "Wasp and Bee Control" ($1) from the service by calling (800)-876-8636.

* Don't forget the garage floor

You may not need to tackle all three of these tasks for your garage floor--cleaning, repairing and painting--but at least one deserves to be on your to-do list. Use a stiff-bristled broom followed by a shop vacuum to rid the floor of debris and dust.

To remove oil or grease, try a degreasing cleaner like Drylok Concrete Cleaner and Degreaser (available at auto-supply shops, hardware stores and home centers).

Repair cracks with a high-strength patching mortar, such as Thorocrete Concrete Patch. Many companies make special concrete-floor paint that offers good resistance to abrasion and staining.

For more information on Drylok products, go to http://www.uglproducts.com/drylok.html; to learn more about Thorocrete products, go to http://www.hscs. com/thoro/consumer.html.

* Get your attic set for summer

Stay comfortable and keep cooling costs in check by making sure that soffit, gable and ridge vents are not blocked. (Related story on N1.)

Insulation should cover the entire attic floor; add new material or reposition existing insulation as needed.

If your attic is equipped with a thermostat-controlled exhaust fan, test it by blowing heated air from a blow-dryer onto the thermostat unit.

If the fan doesn't come on when the thermostat housing is warm to the touch, you need a new thermostat.

* Clean out air conditioners

Clean dust, insects and other debris from grillwork areas and from cooling fins. Replace dirty filters. Dislodge cocoons and larvae from between fins with a wood or plastic (not metal) paint-stirring stick. Turn on the unit and test its effectiveness.

* Repair split siding

Inspect siding for cracks and splits. For a crack or split more than 2 feet long, replace the entire board.

To repair a shorter crack or split, pry it open with a slotted screwdriver and fill with exterior-grade, water-resistant glue.

After boring two pilot holes in the face of siding, close the crack by pushing up on the bottom edge of the siding and driving in galvanized ring-shank siding nails. Wipe off excess glue with a damp cloth.

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