Question: My house is 21 years old. I have a bedroom over my garage that is freezing cold all winter long. A friend who has the same situation (but in an older home) told me that he had someone put insulation between the garage ceiling and the bedroom floor and it solved the problem. His bedroom is warm in the winter.
I spoke to an energy specialist about this, and he told me that adding insulation would not solve the problem in my house because, in newer homes like mine, there is only about six inches of space between the garage ceiling and the bedroom floor. He said that in older homes there is normally about 12 inches of space there, so more insulation could be put in.
Answer: Even six inches of insulation couldn't hurt. If the bedroom were over an open carport, I'd say forget it, but in your case you could insulate the garage underneath, too. It's kind of odd that an energy specialist wouldn't suggest that as a possible solution.
My garage is my workshop and is detached from the house. It does have a 20-amp electrical line providing electricity to it. When I bought the house, the garage was relatively new, having been rebuilt on a repoured concrete slab and enlarged to 18 feet by 18 feet. I can't recall how high the ceiling was, but I lowered it to 8 feet to make it easier to retain heat after ensuring proper ventilation. I insulated the ceiling with R-30 insulation and the walls (all exterior) with R-13. Recently, on a night when the outside temperature fell to 24, the garage - which also has energy-efficient doors and windows - had a low temperature of 52 degrees. (The indoor/outdoor thermometer was programmed to record the lows.)
I keep an oil-filled electric heater in my garage to push the temperature up to 60 degrees if I'm working in there, but it has never, in the six years since I finished the job, fallen below freezing in the garage.
Have an insulation contractor take a look at your situation. Every house is slightly different, and every problem requires an individualized solution.
Readers to the rescue: This time, you've turned out to to help a woman looking for ways to remove brown spots from her pots and pans.
Here's her original question: I have stainless-steel pots and pans that have brown stains on them, and I have tried everything to remove them. I think it is from having the flame too high, which I try to be careful of. Do you have any suggestions?
Jon Zulick of Huntingdon Valley writes, "You can clean the brown stains off the stainless pans with equal parts flour and baking soda, moistened with white vinegar. The longer you leave it on, the better it does. The foaming action acts like . . . scrubbing bubbles and does a lot of the work for you. I have heard of using straight white vinegar, but haven't tried it."
Elizabeth "Betsy" Bauer of Malvern says she has used Barkeeper's Friend, a commercial product, with Brillo, SOS or steel wool "and it does wonders. It also works on those high-end stainless-steel grills that look gross after a couple of uses."
Rosalie Johnson of Ardmore offers a stainless-steel cleaner called Cameo, "which comes in a container like Comet cleanser, only it's white. Follow the instructions and you will have clean pots and sinks."
J. Lapis Springtree of Downingtown writes, "Someone recommended to me once that I try spray-on oven cleaner when I brown-burned my favorite tea kettle, and it worked like a miracle after nothing else had. I just spread newspapers to protect my kitchen table, sprayed the kettle to coat, and left it to sit overnight. In the morning, the stains wiped away easily. Now, I use this technique regularly for frequent brown-burn stains on all my cookware."