Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer system. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions about home maintenance and improvement from the Tucson area.
The electric outlets in my son’s bedroom do not seem to be working. I went into his bedroom last night and couldn’t turn on the lamp that was plugged into an outlet. I went out to the electrical panel and flipped the two switches on the box for that area of the house from on to off and back again. But it didn’t help. The outlet is still dead. What do I do now? Our house, by the way, was built about six or seven years ago.
A: There are several possibilities. If the outlet the lamp is plugged into is controlled by a wall switch, it’s possible that the switch is defective. Of, course, there might be loose wires or a bad connection inside the outlet. Or something may be wrong with the circuit breakers in your panel. Those aren’t problems you can fix yourself; call an electrician.
I’m remodeling a 900 square-foot guest house at my property in Tucson. It’s a slump block house with metal studs inside the walls. When I took off the baseboards, I found mold on the Sheetrock, but not on the studs under the Sheetrock. There are also no watermarks outside and no mold outside on the surface of the masonry. Can I get rid of the mold with hydrogen peroxide or bleach? But what caused the mold in the first place and will it come back again?
A: The bleach would work better than peroxide to clean up the whole area. You will also probably need to remove and replace some of the Sheetrock. But the real problem to be concerned about is that you may have a water source that is supplying the moisture for the mold to live in that area of the house. Is the mold still alive? It may not be and could have been left dormant after the moisture that helped it grow dried up somehow. If the mold is still active, you will first have to find and fix the source of the moisture that’s feeding the mold.
My wife is an excellent housekeeper and is going crazy because we have found bed bugs in our mattress. We’ve tried to kill them ourselves, but it’s not working. I probably brought them home myself after coming home from a business trip. What kind of treatment would a pest control company use in this situation?
A: This is a problem that you can’t fix yourself. You need to call a pest control company that will probably apply a heat treatment to kill the bugs.
Special equipment — a heating chamber — is used to heat up a mattress or other pieces of infested furniture to 130 degrees or more. A single treatment will kill the bugs and their eggs.
If you find these pests, it’s important to act quickly. Otherwise, bed bugs can multiply and infest other rooms in your house. Bed bugs, by the way, are about the size of an apple seed. You’ll often find them in box springs or the seams of your mattress.
An important suggestion to remember after traveling: When you get home, do not bring your suitcases back into the house. Unpack them and wash all the clothes in the suitcase regardless of whether you wore them or not.
And do not bring the suitcase inside the house again until you are sure there are no bugs in it.