Humidity might be causing ceiling paper to come loose

The Philadelphia InquirerSeptember 4, 2013 

Q: After six months in this house, I notice ceiling paper started coming loose at the edges. I put glue in the edge and tape to hold. Now I see more cracks and puffing.

New flat roof, no water spots, crawl space between roof. This is the only place in the whole house where this happens.

A: You didn’t say what room this is, but it could be the result of high humidity coming from somewhere and might be a long-standing situation the previous owner handled regularly and didn’t remember to mention because he or she thought it wasn’t unusual.

Question: We’re interested in refinishing a fiberglass pool slide that has lost its finish in several spots. Can you tell me whether anything can be done and, if so, what? Since I’m 77 and my husband is 81, neither of us use it, but our great-grandchildren love to.

Answer: Pool slides are either made of fiberglass or coated with fiberglass gel coat, which is a finishing paint and provides protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. You might get some help with restoring it at a pool-supply business or a marine-supply company. They might know someone who does this kind of repair.

Q: When we turn on our kitchen faucet, it runs slowly for a few seconds, “burps” a couple of times, and then flows normally. What causes this? Will it become a more serious problem?

A: A clogged aerator comes to mind, with increasing pressure dislodging whatever is blocking the flow.

Once the water is shut off and the pressure reduced, whatever is clogging the aerator slips back into place. If you don’t have the instructions for the faucet, find the make and model online and look to see how to remove the aerator.

The burping makes me think of air in the inlet pipe, but, as with all readers’ questions, if I cannot see it, it is difficult to diagnose.

REMOVING A SMELL

In response to a recent letter about a smell in her Bosch dishwasher, another reader, Patricia Elkins, has an idea:

“About six years ago, I was in the market for a new, quiet dishwasher.

“Bosch was rated the quietest and the best-functioning, with KitchenAid coming in at a close second.

“After much research, I learned the Bosch had an odor problem and the KitchenAid did not.

“After more research, I discovered the Bosch did not have a built-in garbage disposal, but a food filter that needs to be cleaned regularly.

“Since I purchased the KitchenAid and not the Bosch for this reason only, I have no idea where this filter is located in the machine or the method of cleaning it.”

I do know, however, since I have a Bosch dishwasher. When you open the door and roll out the bottom rack, the filter is smack in the middle. It unscrews easily, so you wash it in the sink and use a toothpick to extricate the yuck.

SHOWER HEADS

From Jim Petzel: If I may, I have a belated comment to your column on pink discoloration of shower heads. I am a professional microbiologist and would like to pass along some information in case the topic comes up again. You reported that one website mentioned Serratia marcescens.

While this is certainly possible, I think it is much more likely that Methylobacterium is the cause. This is a common environmental bacterium and is typical in many water systems. It is very hardy and persists in harsh habitats.

There are a few reports of this bacterium causing infections of immuno-compromised people in hospitals, but it is unlikely that a healthy person would have an issue with this organism.

Contact Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472 or aheavens@phillynews.com.

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