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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is Bona Kemi Wood Cleaner Safe for Cats and Dogs?

Question about the Product: Case of Eight (8) 32 oz. Spray Bona WOOD Cleaner Product Code: : ES-BK-1154-8
Q:"I would like to know if it is safe for cats and dogs." Maureen

Answer: Bona Kemi floor cleaners are all non-toxic waterborne cleaners. Years ago, we discussed the safety of the concentrated hard wood cleaner with our Bona rep and were assured that it was a "green" safe cleaner. I've used it for years on my ceramic floors and never had a problem with my dogs (and now cat). (Yes, it works great to clean ceramic and vinyl, too.)

I doubt that an animal would have the chance to drink it if it is used as recommended, i.e. with a spray bottle. My two Boston Terriers have licked food off the floor and never had a problem

We also sell an entire line of soy based cleaners that are non-toxic.

Hope this helps. We like the concentrate: it is easier to ship, weighs less and works just as well as the premixed once it is diluted.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Help! My Attic is Full of Raccoons!

Question about the Product Code: EP-MB100K PROFESSIONAL Evictor Strobe Light Squirrel Rat Repeller

Q:"I have had more than six raccoons in my attic since January. They lined up in front of my window so I could count them. How nice! I can't close the opening under the roofline because I can hear babies squealing in the walls and the Exterminating Co. we hired only trapped one and then gave up. I need another method. WILL A STROBE LIGHT REALLY WORK? And how do I get it into the attic without being attacked? As you can see, I really need HELP.. Please be honest as we've already thrown out money for the Exterminating / Trapping company. Thanks, Esther"

Answer: For raccoons, the Professional Evictor is the better choice of the two Evictor strobe units as it will cover about 1600 square feet of open attic and is 6 times stronger in light intensity than the home unit. If your attic is an irregular shape, you may need two or more of these lights.

The first challenge is getting an installer and the units into the attic! Raccoons are essentially nocturnal animals but occasionally venture out in the daytime particularly toward evening. So the best time to install the Evictor is during daylight hours. Of course, attics tend to be dark even in the daytime so the raccoons may be moving about during day time. So first you need to get the raccoons out of the area where you plan to install the light.

Today I received this email from Evictor's sales rep. Here is his suggestion:

" For this situation, your customer needs at least 3 of the professional Evictor lights. We do not know how long the raccoons have inhabited the house. The large Evictor lights work well to expel raccoons. With that many raccoons and if they have babies, entering the attic is dangerous unless you are a trained professional exterminator/ Evictor installer as the raccoons are likely to attack.

Not only must the lights be installed but the access holes must be closed and traps set on the outside to catch the raccoons as they leave the premises. The activity in the walls is only temporary as they are exploring their current residence.

If the homeowner plans the installation himself, it would be best for two people to handle the installation. First, make and continue making a lot of noise before entering the attic. Take with you a radio on maximum volume tuned to a talk show. Leave the radio on and bang on a pan or make similar noise while you set the lights and leave as quickly as possible." Mike.

This was my original answer:

"A sonic animal repeller that can be set to be on continuously is the first step. Get a long extension cord, plug in a Yardgard set to the small animal setting, turn the volume to the loudest setting, push the attic access open and place the device on the nearest rafter. The noise should encourage the raccoons to hide or vacate the attic especially if you also have a way to turn on an attic light.

After a few hours, it should be safe to install the Evictor or Evictors if yours is an attic that has an irregular shape. If you have an electrical outlet in the attic, you can quickly install the unit by hanging it onto a rafter and plugging the cord into a timer. Or if the raccoons have temporarily abandoned the area, have the units wired so there is a switch handy to the access so you can turn it off before entering the attic to clean up after the raccoons.

Once the raccoons are gone, do remove overhanging tree limbs and other accesses to your roof and close off the entrance points. "

The only good news is that the damage to your house is probably covered by insurance. At least when this scenario happened to a friend who was then living in Milwaukee, her insurance company paid to have all her upstairs ceilings replaced as the damage was not done rodents.

Thanks for your question and good luck!

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Can I Locate the Flood Stop Controller Remotely?

Question about the FloodStop 3/4 in Valve Water Heater Shutoff COMPRESSION
Product Code: : FS-3/4-C


Q: "It looks like your system has a control box with buttons. Can I turn the system off or on with this controller placed remote from the shutoff valve? I would like to be able to turn the whole water supply off when I am away." Thanks, Kevin

Answer: Yes, you can turn the system on and off remotely. However, you cannot place the controller itself remotely from the shut-off valve. The moisture sensor is connected to the controller so remotely positioning the controller won't work.

The FloodStop Controller indeed has three buttons, mute, close valve and open valve.
The outputs are normally closed. You can use contacts for any device that can utilize them, like auto phone dialers, alarm systems, X10 home automations devices., etc. There is a 4-pin connection to valve/sensor connector.

We do sell a whole house or zoned water shut off valve called the WaterCop which has a remote shut-off available that must be wired to the WaterCop unit with Cat 5 cable. This is a more expensive unit that uses individual moisture sensors that radio to the unit to shut the water valve when moisture is detected on the sensor (the circuit is closed by water between the two prongs of the sensor).

Please contact us if you have more questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Dealing with Noisy Dog Next Door

Q: "My neighbor's young Lab type dog wakes me up every morning at 4:30 am. when my neighbor puts him out before breakfast. Then he puts the dog out on a tie out when he leaves for work. The dog barks every time he spots movement outside or even when I move in my kitchen. There are bushes between the yards that aren't very dense. The dog is about 20 feet from my house. Please help!"

Answer: I phoned this customer to get more details. The police are not responsive to his complaints about the almost constant barking despite noise ordinances. He hesitates to bring up this barking issue again with his neighbor because they've had differences about the junk strewn in the neighbor's front yard, the unkempt lawn, etc. The customer is concerned his neighbor may become violent or retaliate.

We discussed the Super Bark Free Pro , the Super Bark Free and the Super Bark Stop. All three units respond to dog barking with ultrasonic tones that are usually effective in reducing nuisance barking. The range on the units is up to 50 feet.

Due to the distance, the customer's desire not to have the neighbor know the units are installed, etc. the customer decided to think about other options. We had one customer years ago who actually painted the Bark Free units to match the siding on her house and had great success silencing the next door neighbor's dogs. (She was an order taker for Sky Mall and bought from SHP because our prices were much, much lower!)

Unfortunately, in these situations, the owner, not the dog, is responsible for the problems.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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What powers the ThermoHawk 630 & how does it work?

Question about the product: the ThermoHawk 630 thermometer.
Q:"What type of batteries does it use? How does it work?"

The ThermoHawk 630 uses 9V batteries. This is a professional infrared thermometer for use in manufacturing plants, checking out HVAC systems or electrical equipment troubleshooting. Hand held, the ThermoHawk 630 lets you check the surface temperature of almost any object from as much as 8 inches distance. Auto mechanics, scientists conducting experiments, electricians testing terminals on circuits and others needing to know operation temperatures between 0~50°C(32~122℉) find this device very useful. Check for leakage around pipes going into your home or uninsulated heating ducts. You can do your own energy audit or check the surface temperature on your refrigerator shelves.

Hope this helps. Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Has the Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector been EPA evaluated?

Question about the product Product Code: Safety Siren Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector, SM-RAD-PRO3

Q: "The EPA states that "persons and companies should not represent themselves, their products or their services as "EPA Listed" or "EPA Approved" or "Meets EPA Requirements" or otherwise imply an EPA sanction." Please provide verification that the radon detector has been "EPA evaluated" as stated in your catalog. "

Answer: Per the actual product manual: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Radiation and Indoor Environments National Laboratory (R&IE) has approved this device for radon measurement."

This is a very popular product especially as more becomes known about the cancer dangers from radon, a colorless odorless gas released from soil, water and now reportedly from some granite countertops.

Thank you for your question. Please read the manual on our website for more information.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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When No Cigarette Lighter is Available for an Inverter

Question about the product Product Code: = GP-300 Go Power 300 Watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter 12Volt .

Q: "Hello, I would like to connect this inverter to a 12 volt 32.5 ah Deka agm battery. What cables would I need to use? Do you sell the cables? In the description it says that it uses a cigarette lighter. Can I connect it directly to the 12 volt battery without a cigarette lighter? Thank you. -Thomas."

Answer: This power inverter does not have an option for battery cables. I suggest you look at a 400 watt inverter as all the inverters above 300 watts do require the use of battery cables. These power inverters cost just under $100 or more at this time. Among the inverters that are 400 watts to 600 watts with battery cables are the Xantrex XPower Digital Micro Inverter 400 Watts and the Go Power 600 Watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter 12Volt. Please remember that manufacturers are constantly updating/revising their products so these particular models may not be available in the future.

Please contact us if you need additional information.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Recommended Devices to Scare Away Dogs and Cats

Question: "For scaring away dogs and cats, what stationary device is the most effective? Thanks!"

Answer: The answer is dependent upon whether you want to keep the cat or dog off a particular place like a table or a car or whether your purpose is to keep the animal out of your yard.

Ultrasonic Area Repel Devices for Cats Only:

  • The CatStop by Contech. An ultrasonic cat repeller that is motion activated and uses a high decibel alarm that startles the cats to leave while not disturbing the peace. This unit operates for about nine months on one standard 9 volt battery. (Battery life estimate is based upon 4900 activations over 245 days at an average of 20 per day.) The CatStop protects about 330 square feet (20 feet or 6m in front of the unit in an 80 degree arc). There are no controls or adjustments. Install the battery. Position it in your yard. Turn it on. The ultrasonic alarm is from 21-25 kHz, levels rarely heard by animals other than cats.

Ultrasonic Area Repel Devices for Dogs and Cats:

  • The Koolatron Dog and Cat Repeller with AC Adapter and the Lentek Koolatron Dog and Cat Repeller, Battery Only. These are identical except for the AC adapter. use PIR (passive infra red) motion sensors, are powered by two 9V batteries (not included) and battery life is approximately 2000 sound releases. Mount no greater than 3 feet as close as possible to the area to be protected. 85 feet range at a 70 degree arc. Waterproof to IPX4 standard. Advanced ultrasonic sirens: Ultrasonic sound: 80 to 115dB; Frequency sweep: 18 kHz to 24 kHz.
  • The Bird-X Yardgard Outdoor Animal Repeller is the most powerful unit (and most expensive) motion sensor activated unit that we sell. The coverage: 4,000 sq. ft. (278.7 sq. meters) , Frequency range: 15,000 - 25,000 Hz (adjustable) Sound pressure: 90 dB at 3 feet . Electricity costs: Less than $0.25 per month or uses 4 "C" cells (not included). Working current: <200>
  • The Animal Away Pro. Power supply: 9V (Two 9V akaline batteries, not included)Power: Standby current: 0.16mA . Warm up time: 30 seconds. Frequency range: 18,000 Hz to 24,000 Hz. Protection coverage: Fan shaped area of 70 degrees, distance up to 40 feet. Material of plastic housing: ABS plastic. Again motion sensor activated.

Protect a tabletop or car in a garage from dogs or cats:

  • Scat Mats. These are clear plastic static mats that come in large and medium sizes and strips run on either 9 volt batteries or an AC adapter. To extend coverage, you can buy extension mats. The animal/animals don't like the harmless static electricity generated and stay off.
  • The Contech Mini Scarecrow is motion sensor activated and uses a warning sound followed by a puff of compressed air to scare an animal off a surface. Once your pet responds to the warning sound, switch to "sound only" mode and conserve compressed air. The motion sensor and spray are separately adjustable to allow precise positioning. Keeps dogs and cats from scratching furniture and drapes, jumping on counters, window sills, tables; entering a room, etc.

Please take a few minutes to examine the details on one or more units before you make your choice. We also sell a standard Animal Away unit that is less expensive and less powerful. The advantage of this unit is you can use it inside or buy several units to surround an area.

Hope this helps. We thank you for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Hardware Do I Need to Install a Duragate?

Question about the White Duragate Metal Child Pet Gate w Height Extension Product Code: : SF-MG-25-TPX-W

Q: "What hardware do I need with sheetrock with a stud on both sides?"-Bob

Answer: Installing the Duragate in this situation is easy. Use the longer screws included with the Duragate for mounting in studs. You can mount this at an angle if you need to do so to install in a stud.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Does the Cat & Dog Repeller Work on Ducks?

Question about the product Product Code: =KN-CD01 Koolatron 9 Volt Battery Powered Cat & Dog Repeller

Q: "Does this product repel nuisance ducks??"-Leslie.

Answer: No, the Koolatron Cat and Dog Repeller frequencies are not heard by ducks and other birds. What you need to repel ducks and geese are other products designed and tested for this purpose. For ducks, the choices include visual scare devices, taste repellents and the Goosebuster sonic repeller. Using 2 or more devices usually works faster and is more effective.

Visual scare devices that repel ducks and geese are:

  • Two-dimensional Coyote decoy: Realistic photo silhouettes are portable and easy to set-up or take down. And repel ducks and geese.
  • 3D Coyote replica: The lifelike furry tail that changes positions with a breeze. This gives 360-degree coverage, visible from any angle and guards about 1/4 acre. This works best if you have several replicas and periodically move them around. Combine with the Garden Scent-ry plastic holder and the Shake Away Small Animal or Deer Repellent granules to add predator scent.
  • Gator Guard. The Gator Guard floats in your pond or swimming pool. It is a realistic, floating alligator head that is 25 threatening inches long and moves and bobs with the wind and water. Its life-like eyes flash in the light and scares away ducks, geese and small animals.

Taste Repeller: GooseChase repels geese and ducks from grass. This is a biodegradable food-grade repellent spray for grass made from grapes. one gallon of Goose Chase treats 1 acre or 1 pint treats 1/8 of an acre. Unfortunately, when it rains, this is washed off and needs to be reapplied.

Sonic Repellers: Goosebuster is a great choice if you have a lot of ducks and geese, a lot of property to protect and the funds. We've sold this to resorts, golf courses and those with larger properties who are tired of ducks and geese. This unit covers up to 7 acres, has 4 speakers and blasts out predator and ducks and geese in distress sounds.

Thanks again for your question. Good luck in getting rid of the ducks.

Sincerely,

Barbara

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

How Can I Keep Bears Out of My Yard?

Question about animal repellers for bears.

Q: "I have several bird feeders in my back yard and a garden. Bears are coming and eating the food and/or destroying the feeders and garden plants. Do you have suggestions for how to keep the bears from my yard?" Thanks.

Answer: Unless you install an electric bear fence around the yard perimeter as zoos, garbage dumps, etc. do, the best choice is the Critter Blaster Pro , a powerful sonic unit with four speakers and requires AC. Coverage is up to six acres. You'd have to install that at the edge/edges of your property as it will also repel birds. My other suggestion is to install Yardgard units around the perimeter of your yard.

Yardgards will also scare away your birds. Thus the perimeter placement. Continuous operation is possible only with AC. Motion activates the units if run on batteries. Overlapping the coverage will increase the battery operated units effectiveness.

Good luck. Contact us if you have more questions.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How High a Gate to Separate a Great Pyrenees & Irish Wolfhound?

Question about the product Product Code: SF-MG-25-TPX-T -Taupe Duragate Metal Pet Gate with Height Extension

Q:"I have a great pyrenees and an irish wolfhound. One weighs 100 lbs; the other weighs 140 lbs. They need to be separated for a while in the house. Iwill need to put the gate in a doorway that does not have a door attached. Do I really need the extra 8 inches since I will raise the gate 4 inches above ground giving me a total height of 42 inches. Am i correct?"

Answer: The MG-25-TPX-T does include the 8 inch height extension. This is a height of 29.5 inches plus 8 inches plus 4 inches equals 41.5 inches. See the installation guide on the webpage for specifics. As long as you have studs on both sides of the doorway, the installation should be fast. Answering the extension question is a bit more complicated.

The questions you must answer are how high can each of your dogs jump? Once you answer that question, then choose either the MG-25 in taupe, the MG-25-TPX-T or the MG-25-TPX-T with the additonal 8 inch extension.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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