SOME items from the mailbag:
Here's something else you can blame on El Nino: Termites loved the mild winter. But there is some good news: A new product developed by the Environmental Laboratories Co., in North East, Cecil County, can improve the appearance of your home and fight termite infestations.
It's called Term-A-Rid 613, and it's a decorative mulch that contains a naturally occurring element that interferes with termites' digestion, killing them. The mulch is completely degradable and nonthreatening to the environment.
Ordinary mulch is a problem, especially in foundation plantings, because it attracts termites (as does that firewood stacked on the back porch). Term-A-Rid can be used in areas close to the house, and the manufacturer says the element that upsets the termites' stomachs lasts as long as the mulch does.
Term-A-Rid comes in 2-cubic-foot bags and costs $4.99 per bag. It will be available this weekend at Valley View Farms, 11035 York Road in Cockeysville.
Honeywell has developed a "smart" device that monitors the level of humidity in your house and adjusts it accordingly -- just as a thermostat monitors and adjusts heating and cooling. The humidistat works with a whole-house humidifier to keep the humidity level below the dew point, or the point at which moisture starts condensing on windows. Constant dampness can damage window frames and sills. For more information, call 800-345-6770, Ext. 7204, or visit Honeywell's Web site at www.honeywell.com.1
Do-it-yourselfers familiar with the Internet can check out a new home-improvement site at www.DoItYourself.com, which offers advice and information on a variety of household topics, from cleaning spills to painting exteriors to planning a new kitchen or bath.
You know how going to a lot of trouble to make sure you have an umbrella virtually ensures it won't rain? We're going to write about this product in the hope that will mean we don't need it: Ryobi has a new device that converts its TrimmerPlus to a lightweight snow thrower. It can clear a 12-inch path through four to six inches of snow -- tossing it as far as 20 feet at 350 pounds per minute. The direction chute is adjustable. The snow-throwing device costs about $109 and is available at home centers nationwide. Or call Ryobi at 800-345-8746, or visit its Web site at www.ryobi.com.
Pool & Spa Living magazine recently did a survey to find the 100 best reasons to own a swimming pool. "Vacationing" at home and teaching children to swim were among the top reasons, but others were somewhat more unusual -- a place to meditate; a cure for headaches; less grass to cut; studying the stars; and a photo backdrop.
Ron Nodine is owner of American Renovator Inc., a Baltimore design-build remodeling firm, and past president of the Remodelors Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. Karol Menzie is a feature writer for The Sun. If you have questions, tips or experiences to share about working on houses, e-mail Ron at email@example.com or Karol at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or write c/o HOME WORK, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; comments, tips and experiences will be reported in occasional columns.
Pub Date: 2/21/99