Is your house haunted? If you’re not actually seeing ghosts, but you are experiencing some creepy sensations, your house may be trying to tell you something. Sometimes it’s a cry for help, other times it’s just a little greeting from an aging building.
Do your overhead lights flicker when you turn them on? It might be ghouls, but it’s more likely to be electrical arcing caused by loose electrical connections in your wiring or fixture. Your house is asking for an electrician. Arcing can cause fires, so it’s worth the cost.
Creaking and groaning can be truly frightening, but it’s usually just normal noise a house makes as it “settles” or ages. If a creaky floor is waking the baby or haunting you…sift a little talcum powder between the floor boards to quiet the squeak. Avoid cornstarch, as it attracts and holds water, which can damage your floors over time.
Smelling something foul? Demons are supposed to smell of sulphur, but so do many kinds of bacteria, which is far more likely. Run the water in your sink, and take a sniff. Smell that rotten egg scent of sulphur? The next step is to pour a glass of hot water from the tap, walk into another room and sniff the water. If the water smells of sulphur, call a plumber to help you disinfect your water heater. It may need to be drained, cleaned, and refilled. If the glass of water smells clean, your drain is most likely growing some icky bacteria. Pour a whole bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the drain and let it sit without running water for 20 minutes, so that it has a chance to kill the bacteria growing in the drain elbow. Then flush with hot water. The sulphurous scent should be gone.
Find the cause of spooky sights, smells, and sounds in your home, so that you can stop wondering if your house is haunted, and go back to enjoying the home of your dreams.
Many people expect to do regular maintenance on a wood burning fireplace but did you know gas fireplaces require some maintenance too?
Safety note: Always make sure your gas and pilot light are turned off and the fireplace is cooled to room temperature before any cleaning. Follow your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance and cleaning instructions. The tips below are meant as helpful suggestions and reminders to supplement but not supersede your owner’s manual. Always defer to your owner’s manual.
5 Tips on How to Care for a Gas Fireplace
- Clean glass as needed. Most gas fireplace doors are removable for easy cleaning. Using the owner’s manual as a guide, remove glass doors and place on old newsprint or a large plastic bag to protect your table or flooring beneath. Wipe gently but firmly with a soft cloth sprayed with household window cleaner. If there are any stubborn soot spots, you can use a small amount of fireplace cleanser or ceramic cook-top cleanser and rinse away residue with another clean, damp cloth. Dry glass thoroughly with paper towels or newsprint to prevent streaking and replace doors. Wait at least 30 minutes to use fireplace, allowing any window cleaner to evaporate completely before exposing to flame.
- Clean interior as needed. Using the wand attachment, gently vacuum dust and debris from the fireplace interior. If you have lava rocks which are small enough to be inhaled by the vacuum cleaner, cover the wand opening with cheesecloth or an old stocking and secure tightly with a rubber band. This creates a filter that allows dust and dirt to pass through, but not the lava rocks.
- Clean logs. Gas log sets require little cleaning or maintenance. If soot begins to build up and discolor your vented gas logs, follow your owner’s manual instructions to remove logs, bring outside and gently brush the soot from the logs with paintbrush or other soft-bristled brush. Do not wash or damp-wipe logs, as that can fade or damage the finish. NEVER spray with cleaners. Vent-free gas logs should not be moved or cleaned by anyone but a Qualified Service Technician, as even brushing vent-free logs can cause safety risks.
- Replace batteries. Twice a year, when you replace your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries, replace the batteries in your fireplace remotes. If you ever need to shut down your fireplace quickly, you’ll be glad to know there are fresh batteries in those remotes.
- Inspections. Do have both your fireplace and your chimney inspected once a year. A vent-free fireplace will have no chimney, but the fireplace itself still needs to be checked by a Qualified Service Technician. These check-ups help catch any problems early, keeping your family safe and your repair bills at a minimum.