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AROUND THE HOUSE: Rethink your garage door sensors in bright sunlight

By: KEN MOON Special to The Gazette
September 24, 2013 Updated: September 24, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Dear Ken: My garage door won't close when the sun is shining on the sensors. Can I fix this myself? - George

Answer: This can be a problem with southerly facing garages at certain times of the year. There are three alternatives for you. You'll have to decide which one is most convenient.

- Try moving the "eyes" farther back into the garage, so they're shadowed by the door jamb. If there is some wood to screw into, this is probably the easiest. You'll also have to re-aim the system. That's fairly easy using the little red or green pilot light on the receiving sensor. Check the manufacturer's installation instructions if you need to.

- You can create sort of a shadow "tunnel" by attaching a piece of black radiator hose to each sensor.

- You can switch sides. Move the transmitter to the former receiver side and vice versa.

This is a good time to remind you that this system protects little kids only when the two devices are low enough. The manufacturers recommend that they be installed no more than 4 inches or so above the floor. This is a vital safety arrangement to protect small children and pets at your house!

Dear Ken: We have a cheap 8-year-old bathtub at our house. It has small pin-sized rust spots on the bottom. What can we do to stop this? - Kerri

Answer: You could try to touch it up yourself. Scratch each spot with some emery cloth to clean it, then apply some porcelain touch-up paint. If these spots are in vulnerable places - for instance, near the drain or where you stand all the time while showering - this fix will be temporary at best.

Perhaps you could justify applying some stick-on bath appliques. They're a fun decorating touch in the kids' bathroom and provide extra no-slip protection. They do stain over time, but can be easily removed with gentle heat from a hair dryer - and then replaced.

The ultimate fix for you is a new tub surface. There are many companies that can apply a polymer resin coating over the entire surface. These jobs are usually guaranteed for five years or so. Pick a company for this job only after you've thoroughly researched their track record.

Dear Ken: Can I paint my metal gutters? Or would replacing them be better? - J.H.

Answer: If the gutters are bare metal, you'll need to etch them with some acid first to remove any grease or oil residue. Otherwise, if the old paint is adhering well and they don't leak, you certainly can.

You'll probably want to apply a primer specifically made for metal first, then a couple of coats of a good grade of exterior latex house paint.

Gutters expand and contract in response to temperature changes. Those changes can actually slough off a new coat of paint. So get this job finished now, while the weather's day-to-night changes are less severe than in other seasons.


Ken Moon is a homebuilder-turned-home inspector in the Pikes Peak region. His radio show, "Around the House," is carried on KRDO, AM 1240 and FM 105.5, at 9 a.m. Saturdays.

Go to

to contact Moon.

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