Dear Heloise: We recently had a very dangerous moment at our home. While cooking steaks on the grill (on the patio next to the house), somehow a spark must have flown up from a small breeze and caught the side of the house on fire. I ran for the fire extinguisher, and it took us about 10 to 15 minutes to figure out how to operate it.
Neighbours turned on their hose and put out the fire, but it was a close call. Please tell people that they need a fire extinguisher but they also need to know how to work the model they have, before there’s a fire. A house is more than just walls and floors. — Margaret H., Miami, Fla.
Dear Heloise: Three weeks ago I went to a family gathering, and when I was in the bathroom, I noticed the hostess had not put out any hand towels, so everyone had to use a bar of soap and the family bath towels to dry their hands.
It taught me a lesson! Now when I have company over I set out liquid soap in a dispenser and a roll of paper towels. Several of my friends have commented that they like this idea very much! — Nancy W., Fairfield, Vt.
Tankless water heater
Dear Heloise: I am writing in response to your column that appeared in The Washington Post on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, which opened with your advice to readers regarding tankless water heaters. You told only one side, which is a list of the potential positive benefits of this technology. Sadly, that isn’t even half the story.
I was making plans with my HVAC specialist to have a new furnace and air conditioner installed in my home in Maryland.
I asked him and my plumber about going to a tankless unit. Their response was a flat, “Don’t do it.”
While a tankless heater appears to provide energy cost savings, they said those savings will never be enough to cover the higher cost of the tankless unit as well as its additional installation cost, and will not add appreciably to the value of my home. — Cynthia A., Suitland, Md.
Cynthia, thanks for the great email! A lot to think about. — Heloise