Today’s Homeowner Radio Show Podcast | November 12, 2022

This week, hear our advice for preventing slips on ice and space heater safety tips. (victorass88/-aniaostudio-, Getty Images)

Hour 1

Listen to hear our space heater safety tips, advice for preventing slips on ice, how to fill in a gravel pothole, and more. 

Space Heater Safety Tips

electric heater on the floor in a home
Never leave a space heater running unattended or while you’re asleep. (-aniaostudio-, Getty Images)

As the cold weather starts to intensify, many homeowners are looking for ways to supplement their heating systems. A space heater may be a good way to do that, but you have to make safety a priority anytime you use one of these things.

First of all, a space heater should be set up on a flat, level surface that isn’t within three feet of bedding, drapes, or other flammable materials. Also, never plug a space heater into an extension cord. 

It should have a thermostat, so you don’t run the risk of overheating a room, and a “tip switch” to turn the unit off if it accidentally gets turned over.

Finally, don’t let children or pets play around the heater. And never leave it running when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Preventing Slippery Ice

Slippery wooden steps covered with ice, outdoor close-up
Slippery ice on wooden steps poses a real hazard to homeowners. (victorass88, Getty Images)

Ice that forms on walkways, driveways, and decks following a winter storm poses a real hazard to homeowners and passersby, causing slips and falls.

Before the next big freeze comes, do this to prevent slippery ice outside your home.

Apply an ice pretreatment to surfaces up to 48 hours before it snows. Sodium chloride (salt), magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate and potassium acetate are the chemicals used to prevent and remove snow and ice. Once applied to the surface, these chemicals prevent the ice and snow from sticking, so you can easily wipe it off. 

Lay down abrasive tape on steps. This adds an extra layer of grip once the snow is melted. Simply dry the surface well and stick the tape to the edges of the steps to create more traction.

Reinforce handrails. Not only do you need to have handrails along steps, but you also need to make sure they are sturdy enough to hold the weight of a person in case of a slip.

Filling Potholes in a Gravel Driveway

A long gravel driveway in rural Missouri
You don’t have to buy extra gravel to fill potholes. (Sandra Sapp, Getty Images)

Joyce in Alabama has a gravel driveway with several potholes.

She asks, “Is there a product that I can use to fill in those holes?” 

As far as potholes on a gravel driveway, you can rake the gravel back to fill in the holes, but over time it will compact down and create a new indention. 

You can mix up some concrete and fill in the holes, so there’s a hard surface for the gravel to rest upon. However, this could create the opposite problem in the future. Erosion could lead to the concrete spot protruding from the gravel driveway.

A third option is to use Pavestone Paver Base. This will build up the foundation under the gravel driveway and also match the surrounding dirt texture. Simply tamp down the crushed stone and concrete mixture, then cover with gravel.

Hour 2

Listen to hear some fall front porch decorating tips, what’s causing dust to be blown through a furnace, and more. 

Fall Front Porch Decor

Home Accents Holiday 22 in Unlit Artificial Sunflower and Pinecone Harvest Fall Wreath on a wood front door
This festive sunflower and pinecone wreath adds interest to your fall porch décor and extends an inviting welcome to your guests. (The Home Depot)

With the change of the seasons upon us, it is officially time for sweaters, pumpkin-flavored everything and, of course, updating your fall decorating ideas for both the inside and outside of your home. 

Your front porch is the first spot your guests will see, so make sure it’s ready for fall with these easy fall DIY ideas from The Home Depot. 

  • Create a warm, inviting space by incorporating browns and shades of green, yellow and red to bring together your harvest-inspired fall look.
  • Door decorations are statement accessories. They add interest to your fall porch décor and extend an inviting welcome to your guests. This festive sunflower and pinecone wreath that is set on a rich brown twig base is a great stylish accent for a wall, window or front door. If you’d prefer to create your own wreath that lasts throughout the seasons, purchase one with a neutral base. Burlap, moss, vine and plain fabric wreaths are all good choices. Then, all you have to do is add decorative accents to reflect each season. Dried or faux flowers and leaves look nice in the fall. You can also add decorative wood monogram letters for a personal touch.
  • Welcome fall into your home with a visually appealing doormat that not only keeps dirt from being traipsed into your home but also can function as a nice welcome to your home for all your guests. This pumpkin-inspired one is perfect for welcoming the new autumn season!
  • Outdoor lighting takes fall porch decor to a whole new dimension and is an important consideration you don’t want to miss. If you have the space, string porch lights around the perimeter of your porch or zigzag them between columns. These LED Hampton Bay Edison-style bulbs are the perfect accent to any patio deck, or pergola, as well.

Furnace Blowing Dust

Male hands installing a furnace air filter
If dust is blowing from your furnace vents even after you’ve changed the air filter, call an HVAC technician ASAP. (BanksPhotos, Getty Images Signature)

Martin in Missouri has an ongoing problem with his furnace blowing dust throughout the house. 

“I have changed the filter and put plastic down in the crawl space. But dust is still being sucked into the furnace and then blown through the vents and in the home. What do you suggest I do next?” he asks.

This sounds like there’s a breach in the return air that’s pulling dust into the return air plenum before it passes through the filter. 

Call an HVAC technician immediately, because the furnace unit will not last long operating like that.

Best New Products

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Simple Solutions

Sanding the tip of a tube of caulk against a wood joint
Sanding the caulk tube tip inside the wood joint alters the angle to fit perfectly in the joint. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

How to Apply Caulk Like a Pro — Applying caulk to a 90-degree joint can be challenging because it’s easy to squeeze out too much caulk, which is wasteful and creates a mess to clean up. Here’s how to produce perfect caulk beads:

  • Snip off the tip of the caulking tube to a 45-degree angle, as you normally would.
  • Fold a piece of 120-grit sandpaper in half and crease it very tightly. Then, place it into the corner of the 90-degree joint that you’re about to caulk; be sure the abrasive surface is facing out.
  • Rub the tip of the caulking tube back and forth right against the sandpaper. Sanding the tip alters the angle, so that it’s not just cut at 45 degrees, but it’s also beveled back at 90 degrees to fit perfectly into the joint.
  • Now, just draw the caulk with steady, even pressure all the way across the joint and you’ll get a nice neat bead with no wasted caulk. 

Watch: Caulking Tips: How to Get the Perfect Finish Along Joints

Can’t afford picture wire? Make your own at a fraction of the cost! (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Homemade Braided Picture Wire — Here’s how to make your own braided picture wire from galvanized wire.

  • Cut the wire two times longer than the distance between the picture frame’s D hooks.
  • Fold the wire in half, then use pliers to bend a 4D finishing nail into a hook. 
  • Attach the bent nail to a power drill, and hook the wire onto the bent nail.
  • Grab the other end of the wire with a pair of pliers, squeeze the power drill’s trigger and watch the pieces of wire twist into a stiff, tight braid.
  • Twist the finished braided wire several times through each D hook.

Watch: How to Make Braided Picture Wire

Products and Links Mentioned

Further Reading


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