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Recent Posts

    Q – We have two rooms on one side of the house that never seem to get cool enough in the summer (or warm enough in the winter for that matter). Do you think it is because our a/c unit isn’t large enough? Buzz in Sandy Springs  A – Well Buzz… It would be hard to tell if your a/c system was big enough based on a warm room or two. You should have a qualified air conditioning company come out and give your house an inspection. They should look at things like which way the house faces, tree coverage, amount of glass, etc… then make a decision on the sizing of your a/c unit. Chances are your unit is probably pretty close to being the correct size. They will also check your thermostat to make sure it is working properly and is hung in an appropriate spot in your house. The next step is to check out your duct work. You can have the hvac company install dampers which will help dictate the flow of air to certain rooms, which can force more cool air into those rooms. Another option would be to add a smaller unit, such as a Mr. Slim unit into that area. These smaller units do a nice job of cooling and heating smaller spaces and are very effective in bonus rooms over garages. You might also want to check your thermal envelope in that area of the house to make sure your windows aren’t leaky and that the insulation is up to snuff. Doing all that will make you a busy little bee, Buzz…
  • Q – Recently, lightning struck near our house and the resulting power surge knocked out our television. Could we have prevented this? Ann in Morningside A – It’s pretty hard to prevent lightning strikes, but what you can prepare for are power surges. First of all, power surges don’t only result from lightning strikes. The average home actually faces five or more power surges per day. Since it is so hard to know where or when a power surge is going to, well, surge - it is important to protect your whole house. Quick facts: The average Atlanta area household has $8,000 of electrical items. 40% of all computer crashes and data loss comes from power surges Your home’s average voltage is 120 volts. A surge can be 10 times stronger (or more). Half of all surges come from inside your own home, when large appliances turn on and off. A quality surge protection device covers all incoming lines into the house, including telephone. A good electrical company can fix you up with a whole house surge protector. Whole house protection is the best way to go – far, far better than just the surge strips you purchase at the hardware store. Your best bet for this protection is to contact a good, certified electrician or your local utility company.
  • Q – I think I need better ventilation in my attic. Is there a problem with using a ridge vent and a power-ventilated fan? Mike in Canton A – Actually, you would think the more ventilation systems in the attic the merrier. After all, removing hot air out of the attic makes everyone happier. However, that is not the case. The proper use of a ridge vent system is to have soffit, or overhang vents that allow outside air to enter freely, move up through the rafters, then out the ridge vent. A power vent in addition to a ridge vent ends up pulling air back through the ridge vent and force it out through the fan, which basically moves all the flowing air to one small localized are around the fan. It ends up not ventilating the entire attic space. To make sure your ridge vent is working properly, check the soffit vents and make sure that they aren’t covered with insulation. That will allow for full air flow. Remember - you can use a power fan with gable, canned or soffit vents – or any combination of the four. But don’t use it with a ridge vent.
  • The heat is on. Is keeping cool costing you extra $$? 5 Things you can do to lower your electric bill. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They last 10 times longer and use 75% less electricity. You can save about 2% per degree that you raise your thermostat during the summer months. Clean your air filters. Help keep your hvac system running at its peak efficiency. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Read it again. Now read it to your kids. Now read it again to your kids. By lights I also mean television. Make sure your attic is properly insulated and your windows and doors are properly weather stripped.
  • Dishwasher leaking? Dryer not drying? If your appliances aren't working should you repair them or replace them. Learn more here… If you aren't getting the usually reliable service out of your household appliances the question always becomes: Should I repair it or is it time to replace? The very first thing you want to know is, is the appliance really on the fritz?  Not to bring up stories of cars that wouldn't run only to be diagnosed as out of gas, or irons that wouldn't heat up because they were unplugged but those stories are out there and you should be aware of them. For instance a washing machine will vibrate and create horrible noises sometimes with an unbalanced load. It could also cause a water leak not from malfunction but from a faulty hose connection, or a burst hose behind the machine. Some appliances may not turn on at all not because they are broken but because a circuit breaker may have tripped. If an appliance is still in its useful life span (see below) my gut reaction is to always call a repairman, at least for an estimate. Many a time I have had an un-drying dryer dry with the replacement of a single part which cost me less than $75 installed.  Here is a listing of common items and how long the professionals say they should last.  - Refrigerator: 15- 20 years - Freezers: 15-20 years - Ranges/ovens: 10-14 years - Dishwashers 10-12 years - Washer/dryers: 10-14 years - Computers 2-4 years - Televisions: 4-8 years Of course, your mileage will vary based on care and usage. Appliances will most likely break down when you need them most. Your odds of getting a repairman to the house are in direct proportion to the untimeliness of the break down. Product warranties are inversely connected to life expectancy i.e. your dishwasher with its 10 year life expectancy no doubt only carries an 8 year warranty. A salesman will call.  Here are some general guidelines for helping you through the repair or replace dilemma. Electronics: (Phones, cameras, televisions, computers) If the device is less than 2 years old, repair it. If more than 4 years old, replace it; you'll likely get more advanced technology and cool stuff at a (relatively) cheaper price. If your gadget is somewhere in the middle (say between 2 and 4 years), replace it if the repair cost is more than half the replacement cost. Major appliances:  (Home theater, audio, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers) If the device is less than 4 years old, repair it. If more than 7 years old, replace it. For the middle years, replace it if the repair cost is more than half the replacement cost. The trade-off on these guidelines? If you really like what you have and don't want to send it packing, spend the money on repairs, on the premise that this breakdown (like a broken drive belt or timer) was a one-off incident. If it appears that the breakdown is the start of something bad/worse, employ the 'replace if more than 50% to repair' rule. Another thing to remember is that broken appliances may have an opportunity loss - food going bad in broken fridge, home business that depends on computers, that sort of thing. These factors will force you into quicker decisions - more likely to replace if you don't have the time for repair. Another little potentially costly gem that may be hiding in wait for your is this: be sure that the appliance you decide to replace can actually be removed. I have seen an instance when a framing enclosure was added around a refrigerator; when it had to be replaced, the extensive surround required expensive removal. If your decision is to replace, keep these things in mind… Energy-saving features on major appliances are important. If the item is Energy Star-certified, you'll save some on your utility bills; if power costs you less at night, opt for a washer or dryer that has a delayed start option. Over time, you'll save money. The more complicated a machine is, the more that can go wrong, and the more it will cost to repair; do you really need 8 wash cycles or 6 dryer cycles to get your clothes clean? To minimize cost, get the least you need to do the job. Can you accomplish some of the repairs yourself? The biggest cost component of a service call is usually the labor -- if you can change a drive belt or a lint filter yourself, find an appliance that makes it easy to do so. Preventive maintenance, by you or a service rep, may pay dividends in the long run. Finally, one more thing about repair services. There are 3 general types: factory repairs by the manufacturer, authorized repairs by a contractor who likely has undergone factory training, and independent repairmen who may not be much more than a handyman with a pickup truck. Know what you're getting.
  • What kind of wine goes with berber? Q – We had a party over the weekend and someone whom I will not name (my husband) spilled red wine on our carpet. By the time I got to it I managed to get quite a bit up. I know getting it all out now is going to be hard, but what is the best way to remove wine stains the next time – and there will be a next time – an un-named party (my husband) spills on our carpet. Donna in John’s Creek A – Such a waste. I hope that someone (your husband) pays for wasting perfectly good wine. You are correct about getting to it quickly. That is the number one important thing you can do. From there, it gets a little confusing. I have heard tell of home remedies that work, from pouring common table salt on the stain, to using milk, shaving cream, or a concoction of 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and 1 part Dawn dish washing liquid to clean the stains. Here is what I use, and have some success with, although I am not a big wine spiller (such a waste). First and most important is to blot. Don’t scrub the stain as that will only make matters word. Blot with a white paper towel or cloth, then neutralize with a white vinegar solution (2/3 c of water to 1/3 c of white vinegar) saturating the spot, but not wet enough to soak the backing. Blot up the excess moisture. Then I use a detergent (1 qt of water with ¼ teaspoon of detergent that doesn’t contain lanolin or bleach) applied to a cloth and blot more rinse with tap water using a spray bottle. That should get you in the right direction. Good luck. Oh yeah – how about a tippy cup for whats-his-name, (your husband)… >> More from Dave Baker
  • Bugs in your house? Might be easier to keep them out than kill them… Q – I love ladybugs. It’s just that I don’t love them inside my house. Why suddenly are we seeing a bunch of them in our home and how can I get rid of them? Angela in Sandy Springs A – Ladybugs, stinkbugs, kudzu bugs, anything along those lines are all coming out of the woodwork this time of year and they are all looking for the same thing, how get out of your house. Ladybugs can pretty easily find a crevice to get inside our homes to spend the winter, but just like other over-wintering pests, they really struggle at finding their way back outside. So the number one best thing you can do is to seal entry points into your home – around windows, around where your utilities run into your house, around vents – just wherever there is a gap seal it with caulk or hardware cloth and try to keep them out come next fall. Now then, to get rid of the ones you have inside, anything with Pyrethrin as an active ingredient will do the trick. (Pyrethrin also works great on house flies come summer). If you find a huge amount of the l’bugs – and believe me that is possible, I have seen people carry 5 gallon buckets of them out of their house – stick the end of your vacuum cleaner hose into the pile and just suck them up. Quick and easy, you do it several times if you need to then just empty outside, or into a trash bag, seal and toss. Kill the pests, clean up the remains, and seal their entry ways. That will keep them out of your house. >> More from Dave Baker
  • How do I pay for this?... Q – I am having a problem with bed bugs in my house. My neighbor has had the same problem and I believe I have tracked them into my house. I don’t have a lot of money, so I don’t really want to call a professional. What do you suggest? Dave in Conyers A – I am going to suggest you call a professional… The thing about bed bugs and killing bed bugs is heat. Your entire house will need to be heated to over 140 degrees and held there for a couple of hours. That is why you need someone with the correct tools to do the work. If you really want to make sure they are out of your house your house will need professional help. I am not aware of any spray or bug bombs that will do the job well. Don’t think they are just in your bed. They can ride on you or your pets or your kids to other rooms and wind up all over the house. A professional will know all their hiding places. They even have trained dogs to sniff them out. S0, call a pro and discuss his payment options. Call around and get the best deal. Make sure you talk to a bed bug removal expert so that your money will be best spent. Better to spend a little extra on a specialist than go with the low number and get someone who once read an article on bed bug removal. Bed bugs don’t often go away by themselves, so somehow you will need to work out a deal and have a specialist come and clean your house.  >> More from Dave Baker
  • Q – In an effort to hide our air conditioning unit in the backyard my wife wants to plant plants to grow up around it. I tried to tell her that this is potentially bad for the unit but she doesn’t agree. We heard your hvac man on your show last week, so we’ve agreed to let you decide. Help! John in Lithia Springs A – That’s what I like, the entire sanctity of a marriage hinging on my word. John – I’m on your side on this one. Your air conditioning unit needs to be able to breathe. It takes fresh air in on the sides and exhausts hot air out of the top.  Therefore your unit should be clear of any obstructions, from plants to more permanent structures like a fence or your house for at least 18” on every side. Not only that, but in case your wife thought you should build a deck over the unit, you need 5 ft. of clearance on the top of the unit as well. So keep the area around your a/c unit clean and clear of debris. If you want to make your wife happy, feel free to plant some nice shrubbery about 3 ft. away from the unit. If you want to make here extra happy and make it look like you are doing even more work around your home, change its filter. It is amazing how many a/c problems can be corrected simply by putting in a clean filter. So re-filter and mow. Just make sure you leave room for the service man to get to your unit. Also leave room for your tent so that you will have a place to sleep. 
  • Here is your reminder. There are 5 Things that need a regular check-up in your home. Since a bunch of them could use it now, here is your list… - Pest Control. Now is the time to make sure your termite protection is current and that your monthly/quarterly pest control visits are in place. Early warm weather means early bugs. Give the early bug the boot. - Air Conditioning. Oh look - another benefit of the early warm weather. Make sure your a/c gets inspected and serviced so it is ready for what might be a long summer of use. - Electrical. Hot weather means pop-up thunderstorms which increase your chances of having an electrical surge ruining all those electrical things in your house. Get your system inspected and have a whole house surge protector installed at your house. And don’t forget those whole house generators. Don’t be stuck without power in your home. The recipe for ice cubes includes water and electricity. Don’t get caught without the juice. - Plumbing. From filling pools to watering landscapes to squirting the pollen off your car, have your plumbing inspected means no more dripping, leaky faucets which cost you money. - Garage Door. I know, you are thinking 'Really?” Well your electric garage door opener is very sensitive to power surges and making sure it is working correctly now will save you headaches later. Nothing more embarrassing than having to say the following words on the phone: 'I will be late to the office today. I can't get my garage door open.' It happens. More than you think.

News

  • Two men are behind bars facing charges of inducing panic after allegedly surfing on the swollen Great Miami River. >> Read more trending news  Passersby spotted the men in the water shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday. Andrew S. Cook Jr., 25, and Garrett M. Pickiering, 26, said they also had asked someone to call for help after they apparently fell into the river in the area of State Route 47 and Port Huron Drive. “We had prepared for a water rescue,” Sgt. Joel Howell, of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, said. “We weren’t exactly sure if they were in the water.” Deputies received word that the pair, who were wet and carrying an oar, were just south of town. “They ended up going to jail for inducing panic, the reason being they left after asking somebody to call for help for them,” said Howell, who added that Cook and Pickiering apparently admitted to seeing at least one deputy respond. Cook and Pickiering were each booked into the Shelby County Jail on suspicion of inducing panic. They await Monday morning court dates, according to online records. Howell said the river is especially dangerous because it is flooded over the banks, full of debris and has a swift current.
  • A Mississippi teen is fighting for her life after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Jonestown, Mississippi. >> Read more trending news  Family members said Lamonshae Williams was shot in the stomach during a graduation party overnight. She was rushed to Regional One in critical condition. Williams graduated from Coahoma Early College High School on Saturday. Relatives told FOX13 she graduated sixth in her class.  Another victim who was shot at the scene was treated at a local hospital and is expected to be OK. Lamonshae's mother Luetisha Gardner said she is heartbroken about the situation. She told FOX13 that Lamonsha's older sister was killed a few years ago. Jonestown has very limited police coverage, so Coahoma County deputies are currently handling the case. Officers have not identified any suspects at this time. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
  • A year ago, the world watched as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at Windsor Castle’s historic St. George’s Chapel. Less than a year after their nuptials, they welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. On Sunday, the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary. >> Read more trending news  Harper’s Bazaar reported that the couple has shared behind-the-scenes moments from their big day in an Instagram post on Sussex Royal. Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: A relationship timeline The video slideshow begins with a series of black-and-white photos that include images of Markle holding hands with her mother, Doria Ragland, and Prince Harry pretending to hitchhike to his wedding. Audio of “This Little Light of Mine,” which Sussex Royal said was selected by the couple for their recessional, can be heard as the images are displayed. The video slideshow ends in color images of the big day and wedding bells. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also shared a message to supporters, saying, “Thank you for all of the love and support from so many of you around the world. Each of you made this day even more meaningful.” Watch the video below.
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse College at institution’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.  But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the billionaire technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire class of 2019.  >> Read more trending news  “This is my class, and I know my class will pay this forward,” he said. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the ceremony. The announcement elicited the biggest cheers of the morning. Tonga Releford, whose son, Charles Releford III, is a member of the class of 2019, estimates that her son’s student loans are around $70,000. “I feel like it’s Mother’s Day all over again,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Smith’s gift has been estimated at $40 million. Tonga Releford’s husband, Charles Hereford Jr., is also a Morehouse graduate. He said their younger son, Colin, is a junior at Morehouse, an all-male historically black college. The father said he doesn’t know who the keynote speaker will be at Colin’s graduation ceremony but is hoping for a return performance by Smith.  “Maybe he’ll come back next year,” he said.
  • The creepy, unsettling image of the “Momo challenge” will be coming to the big screen, according to one report. Deadline reported that “Getaway,” a horror film directed by Lilton Stewart III, will follow a group of teens on their last summer vacation before college who end up secluded in a cabin. >> Read more trending news  “In ghost story fashion, one tells the story of the urban legend, MOMO, a strange spirit of a bird-like woman that taunts its victims with specific personal details and violent commands via text message and phone calls,” Deadline reported. “What starts out as a harmless prank soon turns more sinister over the next 24 hours as the teens start disappearing without any motive or pattern.” The urban legend is inspired by the viral internet hoax that made the rounds last year. Related: What is the ‘Momo challenge’ and is it a hoax? Despite endless media coverage and local law enforcement warnings on social media of the supposed internet challenge, there were no verified cases of the “challenge” or people being harmed because of the game. “We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube,”  the video platform said on Twitter in February 2019. “Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.”
  • DJ Khaled has released the music video for his single “Higher,” which stars John Legend and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The song comes from the producer-DJ’s new album “Father of Asahd.” >> Read more trending news  Billboard reported that the video, directed by Eif Rivera, starts with a tribute to Hussle, who died after he was shot outside his now-shuttered The Marathon Clothing brick-and-mortar store March 31. The video, TMZ reported, is the last one Hussle shot. Behind-the-scenes video obtained by the tabloid site shows Legend, Hussle and Khaled standing on top of a parking structure with a piano and retro cars in shades of blue. Khaled said in a statement Wednesday that the video footage was shot days before Hussle died. Legend reflected on shooting the music video after news broke of Hussle’s death. “Recently, I embarked on a soul-searching journey down a road I never thought I would travel in a million years. It began when a tragedy robbed the world of an enlightened soul, a brother, a father, a partner and my friend, Nipsey Hussle,” the statement said. “Just days prior, he shared his energy and positivity with me on a video set for a song called, ‘Higher.’ After much prayer and reflection, and with the full blessing of the Asghedom family, I am sharing that moment with the world. “The very title of the song reminds us that vibrating on a ‘Higher; level was the essence of Nipsey’s soul. It is in this spirit, of moving forward, of preserving his mission that I, my co-workers, producers and label partners are donating 100% of all our proceeds from 'Higher' to Nipsey's children, Emani and Kross. “The Marathon Continues.” Watch the music video on YouTube and see a teaser below.