Q: I have a two-level home with a walk-out basement, totaling almost 4,000 square feet. It has a heat pump. During the summer, the top floor...
Q: I have a two-level home with a walk-out basement, totaling almost 4,000 square feet. It has a heat pump. During the summer, the top floor is hotter, and in the winter, the basement is colder.
To compensate, I partially close three of the vents upstairs over the coldest area of the basement in the fall. This seems to keep the basement less chilly, and the upper floor doesn’t seem to suffer much. In the spring, I reverse this and close the vents in the basement’s coolest areas, to divert cool, conditioned air upstairs.
Am I causing any kind of problems by partially closing the vents?
A: Small adjustments are fine if you aren’t completely shutting off air to moderately large areas of the house. Just don’t get too ambitious and close off half the vents in the house. This creates problems with overheating or icing, just like a plugged air filter would do.
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The same is true of any forced-air type heating system, not just heat pumps.
Q: I am struggling with a major case of dog urine in carpeting. The carpet is physically in good shape, but does it ever stink!
I have tried every kind of deodorizer and even rented a carpet cleaner. It still stinks, especially after the room is closed. I can’t afford to replace the carpet. Will anything get rid of the stench?
A: High tail it to the nearest pet-supply store or veterinarian, and get yourself some carpet cleaner/deodorizer with enzymes.
Personally, I have had very good luck with this stuff, even when the carpet pad was soaked by a very large Fido.
The enzymes literally eat the smelly proteins and bacteria. This works much better than baking soda, vinegar and other traditional remedies that change the pH. Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor Remover is a well-known brand, but there are others at various price points.
If you can pull the carpet up, you’ll have better access to the whole stain. Even if that is not possible, first wash out the old cleaners and deodorizers with water. Let the carpet dry. Then soak it in the enzymes. After a few days of drying, the odor should be gone.
Of course, in extremely serious cases, you may need to replace the pad, clean the subfloor and spray it with sealing primer, and reinstall the carpet.
Darrell Hay is a local home inspector and manages several rental properties. Send home maintenance questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry, no personal replies. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/columnists.