Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

How accurate is the Alcohawk compared to what police use?

Question about the product: Q3 Innovations AlcoHawk Slim Series
Product Code: : Q3I-2500

Q:"How accurate is this product compared to what a police officer would use?"-Francine.

Answer: Every alcohol detector has a margin of error. The AlcoHAWK Slim is accurate to +/- .01 at the point of calibration. Each unit is checked prior to shipping and must meet this standard.


In terms of our entire AlcoHAWK line, it's safe to say that the greater the price, the greater the accuracy and specificity. Our AlcoHawk line of breathalyzers are alcohol screeners. A screener is a unit that can screen individuals for the presence of alcohol. For the most part, police officers in the field use screeners to test drivers. In fact, several law enforcement officials are now using the AlcoHAWK as their preliminary screening device because the semiconductor technology is more affordable than fuel cell technology. Some police officers still use evidential units in the field that utilize fuel cell technolog that are accurate to +/- .005 at the point of calibration and can print these results.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Using Washing Machine FloodStop with Rear Mounted Water Valves

Question about the product: Washing Machine FloodStop FS3/4H-90.

Q:"Please tell me how many inches it is from the valve connector to the inside 90 of the device. Please send diagram with measurements if possible. Our valves are located in the back of the box and I have concerns if the valves will protrude past the front cover, plus I want to install water arrestors. Thanks, Jim."

Answer: We checked with the manufacturer's rep as this was beyond our expertise. Bob's response: "I have no diagram available for him, but understand his question.

The distance from the inlet end of the valve where the spinning female threaded collar is to the inside edge of the 90 degree downward outlet end of the valve is 2 9/16 inches (slightly over 2.5 inches). The FloodStop 3/4-H90 was specifically designed for wall box type installations. Numerous wall boxes were evaluated to determine the valve design so it would fit all brands. I cannot remember when someone returned a FloodStop 3/4-H90 because the outlet end of the FS valves did not protrude past the front cover of the wall box. Typically installing water arrestors increases the extension of the FS valves out from the hot and cold water hose-bibs."

FYI: The FloodStop is a dual valved water damage control device that turns off water to a washer machine when the water sensor (placed usually under the machine) senses moisture. The newest model utilizes AC power with a battery backup and has twin ball valves that shut off the water.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Construction of Snoozer Buddy Bicycle Basket

Question about the product Product Code: =OD-85002 Snoozer Buddy Bicycle Basket - Pink

Q: "The description does not mention a metal frame. Can you please confirm if there is or is not a metal frame? I don't see how I can tow my 9 lb. dog in this is there is no metal frame."

Answer: Thank you for your question. We've now added this information to the product description! The dog bike basket has a metal frame around the top for structure and also has a hard bottom. The basket is constructed with a metal support to keep the basket from touching the front tire. We've had no reports about problems with this bike pet carrier unit which is a popular selling unit. 9 pounds is well within the limit of 14 lbs for pet weight. My guess is your dog will enjoy your cycling as much as you do!

If you have more questions, please contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Keeping Feral Cats Out of Window Boxes and Yards

Question about products to keep feral cats out of my yard and flower window boxes.

Q:"I live in Washington D. C. where feral cats are not only protected but indulged by my neighbor who is viewed as a hero for feeding them. Not only does he feed them at his house but he trespasses on other properties to leave food. The rats are attracted to the food, too. I've even seen the cats and rats playing together! I've complained to the city but no one will take action. What choices do I have to keep the cats out of my yard? The amount of feces left by them is incredible. I have a 7 foot wooden fence around my back yard and thought about bird spikes because I think the cats would back off if they felt the spikes. I have dogs that go out into the yard and a cat who is always inside.

Answer: Upon some research, I learned that bird spikes make an excellent barrier for climbing animals such as cats, raccoons and even snakes. The spikes would have to be put on top and on your side of the fence however unless your property line is beyond the fence line.

I have a supplier for wide stainless steel spikes and am working on another supplier who has actual animal barrier spikes. This is not an inexpensive choice but you shared that you are willing to spend quite a bit to eliminate this problem.

My customer service staff reports that the bird gel is another deterrent you might use on the top of your fence or as a second line of defense around your plant boxes.

The Cat Stop and the Water Scarecrow are both effective in getting rid of pest animals. The CatStop frequencies are inaudible to humans and dogs. The WaterScarecrow would shower the cats with just enough water to have them remember to leave your home alone.

Please report back on your results.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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What is the case made from on a 30 Page DataBank Watch?

Question about the Casio 30 Page DataBank Watch ?

Q: "Is the watch case metal or plastic? And what is the 30 page data bank used for?"

Answer: The case is metal. The 30 page databank is used to store phone numbers, etc. the other features are a 10-year battery, 50M water resistant, Analog-Digital combination, World Time (29 Cities), LED light, 1/100 Sec. Stopwatch, Countdown timer, 3 Daily Alarms / 1 Snooze Alarm, Hourly Time Signal, Auto Calendar and both
12/24 Hour Formats.

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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What Size Protect-A-Bed Fits a 105 cm x 200 cm Mattress?

Question about Protect-A-Bed mattress covers.

Hello, I am interested in this kind of products. My bed is 105 cm by 200 cm. Do you offer any solution for this size? And to what price?"

Answer: To answer your question, I first went to a website and converted the centimeters to inches. Your bed is 41.3 inches wide by 78.7 inches long. An twin extra long mattress is 38 Inches by 80 Inches by 12 Inches. If your mattress is not over 14 inches thick, this cover would fit. The waterproof protection would not cover the entire width of the mattress (short by 3.3 inches total or just over 1.5 inches on a side. The skirt on this bed stretches to fit over mattresses of various sizes so the cover would fit just fine.

To see the current price, please click through on the blue "twin extra long".

Thanks for your question. And for other customers in similar situations, please convert the centimeters to inches and then choose the size closest to the converted size in inches. If you have questions, please contact us prior to purchase.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Using A Tattle Tale Alarm for a Peeing Cat

Question about the Tattle Tale Sonic Pet Training Alarm.

Q:"I am trying to keep a cat from walking to the edge of a rug and peeing on the hard floor. The pee is soaking into the rug. Is this product sensitive enough to feel the vibration of a cat walking on a rug?" - Jean

Answer: "The Tattletale device is activated only by vibration. The cat walking on a carpet is unlikely to set off the alarm as the carpet is tightly stretched and won't move much and the cat is not very heavy.

We suggest you purchase a Scat Mat. These are plastic mats with thin wires embedded in the plastic. When powered by a 9 volt battery or AC power, the mat develops a static charge. You can choose a low, medium or high level of static. When an animal walks on it, there is a "shock" from the static charge like when you get a shock from walking across a carpet with nylons and then touch a wall or a person.

My suggestion is to purchase one of the large scat mats and up to 2 large extension mats to increase the length of the scat mat coverage. Each large mat is 48 inches to adding two more mats increases the protected distance to 12 feet. If you are concerned about the cat jumping over the 20 inch width, you can place the mats side by side to protect 60 to 66 inches in width and 48 inches in width.

Another suggestion, more urgent, is to have the cat checked by a veterinarian. My cat owning friends tell me it is rare for a cat to pee anywhere but in a litter box unless the cat has a urinary tract infection, has not been neutered, has a dirty litter box or has no access to the litter box. My friend's daughter was keeping his neutered male Siamese for him along with her two cats. After two months' time, she complained about the cat pooping in her baby's room. When he stopped to pick up his cat, he saw litter boxes that were very dirty. He recently bought an automatic kitty litter box and is very pleased with the reduction in odor and in box cleaning.

Good luck. Let us know what yours results were.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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What Will Keep Rabbits Out of My Garden?

Question about the Animal Away Pro.

Q:"Rabbits are eating up my garden. Will an Animal Away Pro keep them out? My garden is about 16 feet by 16 feet."

Answer: Our experience at Safe Home Products is that several animal deterrents used at the same time work best. The first line of defense is generally a fence. Usually what is recommended is a 2 foot high fence of chicken wire that is buried in the ground or very tight to the ground. Green vinyl coated is hardly noticable and more easily used than uncoated chicken wire. This option you rejected.

For a single option, the best choice is using Rabbit Scram. Your choices are either to use the Rabbit Scram (2.5 lb shaker) as a protective perimeter strip or spread it around your plants. Rabbit Scream is a granular, all natural organic rabbit repellent that is not offensive to people and is biodegradable and environmentally. Consistently apply every 30-45 days. One 2.5 lb. shaker protects up to 1,350 square feet.

You mentioned your grass is usually no higher than 3 inches and we figured a rabbit was probably six inches high. So you could mount an Animal Pro at the 5 to 6 inch level each side of your garden as a secondary line of defense.

Thanks again for your question. Hope we helped keep your garden growing.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Using Knotted Bird Netting to Cover a Pen

Question about the produt Bird Net Notted, Polyethylene 25 ft by 25 ft.

Q:"Can this be used for bird cages? I'm looking for something to cover a pen that is 15 feet by 25 feet." Thanks. McKey

Answer: This knotted netting has 3/4 inch square openings and is quite flexible. You should easily be able to wrap this netting around a pen or bird cage. The netting can be cut to fit any size you need. Depending upon the pen structure, you can attach the netting using one of the methods below that are usually used to keep birds out rather than in.

Choose one of these methods to attach the netting:
1. Wire and polyclips: Often used on concrete, brick or steel structures. Polyclips easily fold over wire and snap together through netting spacing 1 – 3 feet apart depending on the application. Polyclips come in a case of 250.
2. Epoxy caulk: Purchase at hardware stores. Use on concrete,brick and steel. Or purchase special adhesive from Ssfe Home Products.
3. Plastic banding and stapling. For wood structures, staple to a solid wood surface through the plastic banding that is woven into the netting every 4 to 5 strands.
4. Wood lath strips: On wooden structures, use nails and wood lathe strips.

Thank you for your question. Good luck with your birds.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Explain Workings of the Replacement 12V Propane Gas Shut-Off Valve

Question about Replacement 12V Propane Gas Shut Off Valve, No Detector

Q:"Is this a normally open or normally closed valve? If not open, then does it shut off the gas flow when power is applied?" - old-falcon

Answer: This valve is part of a 12 Volt gas leak detection system for a motorhome or RV. Occasionally the shut off valve wears out or is faulty and needs replaced. Some people prefer to replace the entire system at that time. We sell systems, too.

Although we have labeled it as a 12V valve, it is actually a 9V valve that works with a 12Volt propane gas shut off system. The ball valve is open until a significant propane leak activates the system and closes the valve.
If the power source is disconnected, or if the power is otherwise interrupted, the detector light will go out and the gas will be shut off. When the power source is reconnected, the detector will alarm and the gas will remain off until the detector is reset. The gas cannot be turned on unless the detector is powered and the air is free of combustible vapors.

This is from our website:

Automatic gas shut off valve is used with the CCI Control Gas Detector Alarm Model 7719 in flush mount beige, brown or polar white.

When a gas leak is detected in an RV, trailer or camper, the propane alarm sounds and shuts off the gas supply via this UL listed LP gas valve. The CCi gas detector draws 162mA per hour of power, less than an instrument panel lamp. Turn off the gas detector when the motor coach is not in use.

The CCI 7719 propane detector (sold separately) detects LP gas and sounds an alert at 20% of the LEL (Lower Explosion Level) for propane gas. The automatic gas shut off valve and propane gas detector and alarm are intended for detection of LP gas only.

CCI Controls Replacement Propane Automatic Gas Valve Control Model 7718 Features:
* Goyen 3/8" Solenoid Gas Shutoff Valve Model 7718.
* Note: Must be used only in conjunction with CCI Control Model 7719 LP Gas Detector.
* Warranty: Limited 2 year manufacturer.

Hope this helps answer your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Concern about Cats Getting Caught in Protect-A-Bed Mattress Covers

Question about the Queen Protect-A-Bed Waterproof Allergy Mattress Cover .

Q:"Your pad sounds like just what I need, but what is the "skirt" for? I have 13 cats and they would love to wiggle under something enticing like a skirt hanging down. Two of the cats were injured and are incontinent which is one reason I need a mattress cover. What is the purpose of the skirt? I bought a bed with drawers underneath it so that they could not get under the bed. Is there such a thing as a good quality cover like yours minus the skirt? Thank you, Ellen."

Answer: The skirt is the stretchable fabric that goes down the sides of the mattress and partially underneath like a fitted bottom sheet does. There is elastic around the fabric to keep the mattress cover taut on the bed. Once you have the bottom sheet on your bed, the cats should have no access whatsoever to the cover or the fitted part, the skirt. Without the side skirt, the cover would not stay in place on the bed.

I don't know of any other similar cover that is both water repellent and soft and comfortable to sleep on. The other ones are vinyl or that heavy flannel and vinyl that are cold in winter and hot in summer. These covers are cotton bonded to polyurethane and are quiet and don't get either hot or cold.

We do sell a total encasement cover that zippers, the AllerZip . The only drawback for you is that removing and reinstalling that cover would be more difficult for you. The Protect-A-Bed mattress covers are on all my mattresses at home. My one dog wet the bed a few times when I first got her. Plus I have grandkids who sometimes sleep very deeply and we all know what can happen then. Because the covers are not heavy, they machine wash and machine dry easily.

We appreciate your question and wish you well with your animals.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to Deal with Thousands of Flies in a Garden

Question about the product: The Contech Outdoor Fly Trap CT-FLY152

Q: "We have a 20 x 30 foot garden. When we water, the flies swarm the ground. Nothing we have seems to help. We have one bag trap now that has picked up just a few flies. We are talking about thousands of flies that seem to swarm the area. They mostly look like deer flies with multi-colored tails. How many would you suggest we put out in our garden area?"

Answer: Unfortunately, these traps are not designed for use with horse or deer flies. I am referring you to a link with some information about flies.

Customer: "thank you so much for writing back . From your description, ours may not be a deer fly, ours has yellow and black circles around the body of the tail section. We did find that Purex non allergenic laundry detergent sprayed on the ground and around the plants has done the job. We do not know how long this will last but so far so good."

Thanks again for trying and we will definitely keep your site for any future products we may need.

Sincerely, John and Donna

Thank you for your interesting question and thanks for sharing how you solved it, even if it turns out to be temporary.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Can I Buy 3 FloodChek Washer Hoses?

Question about Floodchek Washer Hoses ?

Question: "Can I order Three Floodchek washer hoses (that is a pair and a half?) I have a dryer that uses steam (cold water connection) so need one extra hose. Thanks. BA"

Answer: Unfortunately, the Floodchek hoses are sold only in pairs. You would have to purchase two pairs of hoses and then either discard one or keep it as a spare. This extra hose would work well to connect to a dehumidifier or to do that necessary annual drain of your hot water heater to get rid of the sediment.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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All About Next Day Air & Express Shipping

Question about how long next day air shipping requires.

"I ordered the item on Thursday April 10 via next day air. I didn't receive it on Friday nor on Saturday. I am receiving it on Monday, April 14. I should not be charged for next day air! Please refund me the difference." Thank you Lon.

Answer: Actually your order was shipped and received by you in the correct amount of time. Until I started Safe Home Products in 1999, I, too, was not aware of how express shipping worked either for a courier service (UPS, DHL, FedX, etc) or the postal service.

Here is how internet and catalog companies ship express (next day, next day Saturday, 2nd day, 2nd day Saturday and 3 day select)

1. The order is received. Your order arrived via email at 2:08 PDT. In Iowa where we are located, the time zone is Central so it was 4:08 p.m. That was 4 hours past our cut-off time for express shipping. (Noon is our cut-off for shipping express.)
2. The package is picked, packed and shipped. This was done the next business day. (Business days are Monday through Friday.)
3. Mail gets picked up about 2 p.m. daily. UPS (our primary shipping courier service) picks up about 3 p.m.

So, your order was received after both our cut-off for express and both our shipping pick-ups for the day.

Your package shipped on Friday, the next business day. Week-ends are not included in expedited shipping unless a premium is charged such as for Next Day Saturday delivery. What you ordered was Next Day which means delivery on the next business day after the item is shipped. You did receive your order on Monday, which was the next business day after shipment.

If you had ordered your items via United States Express Mail, the package would still have shipped on Friday. And would have been delivered at the earliest on Monday if you were in a zipcode that qualified for that speed of delivery time. Sunday delivery would have cost $12.50 more if it was available in your area.

So, the basics about express shipping via UPS, Fed X or another courier service are
* Next day delivery does not include Saturday or Sunday.
* The day of shipment does not count
* No matter what the on-line store, each store has a cut off time for shipping.

We do appreciate your business and hope this explanation helps with further purchases from Safe Home Products and also from other merchants.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
Barbara

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Does this Bird Feeder Have Drainage Holes?

Questions about Frisky Friends Brass Wakefield Bird Feeder

Q: "Does this feeder have drainage holes in the seed tray? How does it come apart to fill? What are the dimensions of the seed tray and the cover at the top? Thank you.-Carol"

Answers: The seed tray has no drainage holes. Remove the top of the unit to fill with see. The top of the bird feeder is about 12 inches across and the bottom is about 8 inches.

Thank you for your question. Remember that if you have trouble with squirrels feeding from your bird feeder, we do sell two bird feeders, the Brome Squirrel Buster Plus and the Brome Classic Squirrel Proof Feeder that work very well. Also we sell the Squirrel Stop , a device on which you hang your bird feeder that spins when a squirrel tries to eat from the feeder.

Hope this helps and you have lots of birds in your yard this summer to control the bugs and entertain you!

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Can I Use the Cat Stop to Keep Cats Off My Car?

Question about the Catstop Ultrasonic Cat Repeller Device.

Q:"Can the Cat Stop P7810 be used as an overhead device to chase/keep cats off my car? I have a Firebird and park it under a carport that is about 8 ft tall. Please advise. Thanks. Fred"

Answer: The Contech P7810 mounted overhead as long as it is pointed down toward the car. Another option is to mount it in front of the car at hood height. You might have to re-position it a time or two to see what works best, but it should be effective.

Directions for Use:
Place the Cat Stop facing the area you want to protect. An animal entering the area sets off the built-in motion sensor. The ultrasonic alarm is from 21-25 kHz. Humans hear sounds between 2 kHz and 20 kHz so this rarely disturbs people. Note: Most dogs hear at frequencies between 40 kHz to 100kHz.

Thanks for your question and hope this works wells for you.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Will ShakeAway Effect Feral Cats?

Question about ShakeAway For Small Animals?

Q: "Will household animals like cats and dogs be able to smell ShakeAway? Will it be upsetting/disturbing to them if they can smell it? I feed a colony of stray and mostly feral cats. I want to get rid of the possums and raccoons that keep eating the cat food without disturbing or frightening the cats. Please let me know if you think this product can accomplish that. Thank you."

Answer: Shake Away Small Critter uses a combination of garlic oil and urea to scare off animals. The odor of Shake-Away Small Animal Critter Repellent granules signals danger to small critters like squirrels, rabbits, skunks, chipmunks, woodchucks, gophers, possums, prairie dogs, groundhogs, porcupines and more garden pest critters.

The Shake Away could potentially bother any animal that comes in contact with it. Any method you use to rid the area of one type of animal could potentially affect all the animals in the area. You may want to look for a timed outdoor feeder for your cats. Our suggestion is the Ergo medium pond feeder which requires electricity but has a rainproof cover and empties the food onto the ground. If you have an area sheltered from the rain, you can use the standard Ergo Pet Feeder units, small, medium or large.

Thank you for your question. Please contact us if you have other questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Will Superears Plus Shut Down if In Use?

Question regarding: SE7500 SuperEar Plus Deluxe Personal Sound Enhancer

Q: "Your website states that this product automatically shuts off after 45 minutes. Is that with non use? We plan on using these for a 2 hour meeting and do not want them to turn off halfway through. Thank you for any help that you can provide."

Answer: The SuperEar Plus has a battery saver feature. The unit will not shut off if you are actively using it. Usually during meetings or lectures, the user of an Assisted Listening Device like the SuperEar Plus needs to adjust the volume as the speakers may change. Any adjustment of the unit will keep the unit going an additional 45 minutes. The SuperEar Plus is also ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant device.

For those considering a purchase of this unit, here are some features:

  • Premium lightweight stereo headphones: clear, crisp sound especially in human voice range.
  • Stereo earbuds included: Unobtrusive, have matched drivers for clear, crisp sound.
  • Maximum output: 107 dB
  • Swivel microphone: Allows easy aiming toward desired sound source.
  • Power: 2 AAA batteries (included).
  • Alkaline battery life: Up to 80 hours
  • Frequency range: 100 - 14000 Hz
  • On/Off switch and volume controls on headphone lead wires: easy volume adjustment.
  • Includes swivel microphone and belt/ pocket

Please contact me if you have additional questions.

Sincerely,

Barbara





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Question about Hours of Operation of a 300 Amp Jump Starter

Question about the Black and Decker 300 amp Jump Start System VEC010BD.

Q: "I am considering purchasing a Black & Decker 300 amp Jump Start System VECO10BDM, and would like to know how many hours this product will operate (on a full charge) pulling a continuous 5 AMP load?"--Jay.

Answer: On a full charge, this unit will operate for slightly under 2 hours when pulling a continuous 5 amphere load.

If you have other questions, please do contact us.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to Change a Bulb in an Eclipse Computer Lamp

Question about the Eclipse Computer Light bulbs .

Q: "I bought three replacement bulbs for Eclipse computer lamps and none of the bulbs fit."

Answer: These are exact replacement bulbs for your computer lamps. Over the years we have learned a few "tricks" to installing thes replacement bulbs. If you always leave your light on, the bulbs last for years.

The bulbs we sell are special Sylvania bulbs with a blue tint which is better for illuminating computer screens.

To Replace a Bulb in an Eclipse Computer Light:

Place the bulb on a counter, writing side up. Ignore the metal clamp on the right side of the computer lamp. Instead insert the bulb at a slight downward angle with some force into the left slot until you feel it pop in. We found that it had to be pushed in 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch more than we thought. Then push the bulb downward into the right clamp.

We hope this solves your problem.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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