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, November 22, 2008

Attaching Rupture Proof FloodChek Washing Machine Hoses

Question about using the FloodChek Washing Machine Hoses and the Product Code: =SM-FC-Gooseneck2. Gooseneck Connectors.

Q: "My washing machine sits fairly close to the wall. I'm concerned that the Floodcheck washing machine hoses are too stiff to install correctly. Can I attach these gooseneck connectors to the back of the machine so that the hoses do not stick straight out, and then attach the hoses to the free end?" Thank you. Howard.

Answer: Yes, the purpose of the goosenecks to provide an angle so the hoses do not stick straight out. We recommend the gooseneck connectors when space is tight for installation. Some customers must install two sets, one on the water supply pipes and one on the washer, to be able to use these rupture proof hoses.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Friday, November 21, 2008

PEARL, The Home Fire Escape and Rescue Ladder in a Cabinet

Question about the Pearl Protected Escape and Rescue Ladder.

Q: "I read about the Pearl fire ladders. How difficult is it to install one? We live in a two story house. I want my family to be able to escape a fire. I am concerned about panic setting in and the kids not remembering the chain ladders are under the bed." Thanks Tom

Answer: Installation is not that difficult. The PEARL ladder is a 23 foot 8 inch ladder for 2nd and 3rd story homes or buildings. The PEARL is housed in a cabinet mounted between wall studs in a hallway, bedroom or other room. Usually the ladder is mounted under a window. Studs must be 16 inches center to center with a finished wall space equal to the dimensions of the cabinet. If you do not have 14 inches of wall space, you may notch out part of the molding (window apron and/or baseboard) to make room for proper installation.

We recommend professional installation. If you are handy, DIY installation takes about an hour. The easiest time to install is when a home is being constructed or remodeled.

You can use this ladder for up to a 3 story installation. The primed cabinet can be painted to match the wall The cabinet dimensions are 14" high x 16.5" wide with an access door of 13.5" x 15.25".

Features:
# Anti-slip rungs: Spaced 14" apart, stand offs on each rung. Fingers and toes have ample room for climbing.
# Ladder Rungs: Extruded aluminum ladder rungs (6061, T6). Lightweight, strong and durable.
# High heat resistant Nylon webbing . Lightweight, stronger, tangle-free alternative to chain.
# Load Capacity: 1500 pound maximum.

Repacking this ladder is not something we recommend. so don't try to rehearse fire drills with it! Children can deploy it much easier than a portable chain ladder as PEARL weighs less and is easier to get out the window.

I do recommend two PEARL ladders minimum per second floor and above. You need more than one escape route besides your stairs.

Thanks for your question.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Protecting Town Buildings from Water Damage Using Water Cop Water Alarms

Question about WaterCop water leak alarms.

Q: " I have a request to supply the town of ____ police, town hall and library a water leak alarm in three separate buildings within a 1000 ft. area. Is your radio-link capable of sending a relay output to an alarm monitor?" Thanks. Gilbert.

Answer: Yes, the WaterCop system has that capability. There are many questions that need to be answered before I can make recommendations. In our discussion by phone, you mentioned that the buildings are essentially closed each week-end and that the water leaked all week-end in the basement of one of the buildings.

Questions about the buildings and what the town wants:
  1. Dimensions, number of stories, type of construction
  2. Number and location of all water using appliances like toilets, sinks, water heaters, etc.
  3. Diameter of incoming water pipes to all three buildings.
  4. Does the town want to isolate certain areas of the building or buildings? For example, does the town want to shut off water to all but parts of the police station during night and week-end hours. Is there a humidifier that must run 24/7 in the winter? Note: Watercops and sensor codes can be set at the factory so that a water leak in one part of the building will not shut a water valve on a WaterCop in a different part of the building.
The largest non-commercial sized WaterCop available is one with a 1.25 inch pipe capacity. There are also 1 inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch sizes available. Each WaterCop has a built-in I/O port with an RJ45 connection for a security system or other similar notification device like a Sensaphone unit. Water leak sensors can be used with batteries or with AC adapters. For optimal protection, a waterhound moisture sensor needs to be next to each water using appliance. For back-up drain protection, you can install units next to drains as well.

There is a signal repeater available that can increase range of the signal up to 200 feet farther. I checked with the manufacturer who suggests that you first install the WaterCop before adding repeaters as you may not need them.

Also remote water shut offs can be installed so that water could be shut off as part of the shut down and security system setting each time the building is closed down for the day.

If you need help with installation, there is technical assistance available. Please let me know the answers to the questions above so I can make more specific recommendations to your town.

Thanks for your questions.
Sincerely, Barbara

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Using Watts Up or Kill A Watt Meters for Home Appliances

Question about the Watts Up and Kill a Watt Electricity Usage Monitors.

Q: "Electric costs in Florida are to increase up to 30% this next year. What advice do you have about deciding which electrical appliances I should replace with more energy efficient ones? How can I measure current usage without going to a lot of expense?

Answer: I suggest you begin checking power usage on appliances with compressors, i.e. refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioners and dehumidifiers. Most appliances over 8 to 10 years old are energy hogs. I replaced my old manual defrost freezer (circa 1971, much in need of a new gasket) several years ago. I checked the power usage by plugging it into a Watts Up. I learned a new unit would pay for itself in less than 2 years just in energy savings!

If you want to check the power usage of a system such as your TV, DVD, speakers, etc, the easiest choice is by using a Kill A Watt Power Strip with Surge Protection. For data logging, the best choices are the Watts Up units that connect with your computer.

Prices on these power monitors range from about $40 to about $250. Since these units can be used over and over again, your extended family, neighborhood, church, etc. can move the unit from place to place doing your own energy usage audits.

Thanks for your questions. Remember that there are some electric company rebates on Energy Star appliances.
Sincerely, Barbara

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How does Orthogel Cold Therapy Pain Relief Gel Work for Muscle and Arthritis Pain?

Question about how Orthogel (topical analgesic) works for pain relief.

Q: "I am curious about how or why Orthogel works. I don't like to be taking aspirin or ibuprofen for every muscle ache or back pain. And those pain relievers take a long time to work. I've read your descriptions and need more information. Have you used it yourself?" Thanks. Phyllis

Answer: Orthogel is an FDA approved over the counter non steroidal product that is known as a counter irritant. The combination of the menthol and the camphor acts to stimulate nerve endings on the skin to cause a cold sensation. The ilex enhances this effect. The manufacturer recommends use twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. The coolness comes in 5 to 15 minutes for most people.

Orthogel comes in a roll-on, a jar, pumps, tubes and bottles. I recommend caution that you keep fingers away from eyes after massaging or applying the gel as the menthol will sting your eyes. (I wipe my hands on a dry towel and then wash my hands thoroughly with soap and water after applying it.)

Other similar products include Bengay and Biofreeze. I've used both. Bengay was strong in odor and greasy. Biofreeze sales appear limited to chiropractor offices, at least here in Iowa. I found that BioFreeze was more expensive, more intense in odor, "stickier" in texture and sold only in a roll-on. The Orthogel odor is low and diminishes quickly. The texture of the gel is smoother than BioFreeze and the light green color does not stain clothing.

I discovered Orthogel several years ago in a local store when I was out of Biofreeze and had a persistent back and neck aches morning and night. Currently, I use it 2 to 12 times a week mostly on my arthritic ankle but sometimes on my back or across my neck and shoulders. The coolness starts in about 5 minutes for me and the pain vanishes for 4 to 6 hours or more. My belief is that part of the pain issue is that I tense up my muscles when the pain starts and with the Orthogel coolness, I relax them.

My older brother uses Orthogel to cope with his chronic back pain from arthritis and a car accident. When I was home last, I noticed he massaged my mom's shoulders and upper back to relieve her pain as well. Sports trainers, physical therapists and massage therapists often use Orthogel in their practices.

Safe Home Products sells Orthogel in sizes ranging from 3 ounces to a gallon. Orthogel also has Vitamin E, Glucosamine and Aloe to help combat dryness.

Thanks for your question. I believe you'll find Orthogel as helpful as I do to relieve your pain. For more product information, go to the manual on any of our Orthogel webpages.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Reduce Home Air Leaks, Save Money with Sliding Door Outlet Covers.

Question about the product: CareCover 3 prong sliding door outlet covers.

Q: "What kind of energy savings am I likely to have if I replace my standard outlet covers with the ones that slide open and closed? I've noticed cold air coming in through the unused outlets in cold weather."--Jerry

Answer: Reducing air leakage would immediately improve your comfort. To get a dollars and cents number, you'd need to figure in costs of natural or propane gas, oil, etc. Get a professional energy audit: you may need more than outlet covers for significant savings. CareCovers will reduce leakage, though, as I personally learned.

I do recommend using either CareCovers or paintable CoverPlugs which fit over existing unused outlets. CareCovers were tested using the Minnesota Blower Door Test that showed a 15% decrease in air leakage with Carecovers. Family Handyman magazine in 2008 recommended CoverPlugs.

I quickly installed CareCovers on all my exterior wall outlets several years ago when I felt cold air coming through outlet holes one January day. (My house was built in 1990 with insulation updated in 1994). There was an immediate increase in comfort without raising the thermostat.

Unlike insulating gaskets installed around outlets, CareCovers's gasket is around the exterior of the plate itself. In 1988, a house was tested twice using the Minnesota Blower door test, first with standard outlet covers and then with each outlet covered with a CareCover. (The test uses a large calibrated fan being mounted in a house door to determine amount and location of air leaks.) Air infiltration was reduced 15%. For its energy efficiency, the Care Cover received a Department of Energy Award. On October 4, 1988, The Secretary of Energy announced the Care Cover won the United States Department of Energy, National Award for Energy Innovation.

If you have other questions, please contact us.

Sincerely, Barbara

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