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Super Handyman: An easy trick that will help keep your kids safe

When you have children, you have to prevent them from slamming their fingers in a door or accidentally locking themselves in a room. One way to do this is to place something over the door lock to prevent it from engaging. The easiest thing you can do is to just loop the rubber band around the knob, twist it once and then slip it around the door lock bolt and then around the handle on the other side of the door. Make sure the twisted part goes right over the bolt, and, at least with most locks, the bolt won’t engage. If you want, you can slip a scrap of paper or cardboard between the door lock and the rubber band. The alternative is to remove the door bolt completely.


Q: During the winter, we seal up our covered patio with plastic to protect all of our plants. I’ve noticed that the concrete stays wet most of the time, too. But I’m trying to figure out if the moisture is coming from the sealed-up room or from the slab itself. What can I do to figure this out? – C.G.

A: Tape a piece of plastic to the floor, sealed all around the edges with strong tape. Check it the next day and see if it is wet under the plastic or on top. This should let you know where the problem is coming from. Plants do like humidity, but not too much.


Q: The circuit-breaker that my microwave is on keeps tripping. I replaced the microwave with another one to test it, and it still trips. I then tested it with my toaster and it tripped again. I had an electrician come and check it, and he just replaced the breaker. Is that OK? – H.T.

A: It is very possible that the breaker is faulty. They do weaken over time and do need to be replaced sometimes. As long as you don’t have any wiring issues, you should be OK.

Tips from readers

I like doing chores and making repairs around the house, as well as working in the garden. One thing I miss when weeding or working the garden is my nail apron. So I bought another just for the garden. I waterproofed it, and it’s just great for holding seeds, gloves and other yard stuff, and the fact that it’s waterproof makes it just about perfect. – R.J.


I just made my life a whole lot easier. I use a canister vacuum, and I love it, but I hate lugging it around while I work. I bought two new hoses, so I can now extend myself to a whole other room before picking it up and moving it. Wow! Now, that’s genius, right? – M.H.


Those plastic tags that come on our bread are pretty handy for several things around our house. I have used them to tag every cord under my desk and in our den behind the home entertainment center. They have the names of the assorted machines, speakers, printers and other stuff written right on each one where it is plugged into the power strip. That way, if I need to unplug something, I don’t unplug the wrong thing and have to reset it all. – M.N.

A Super hint

Keep shop manuals to a minimum. When you buy a new tool, download the manual and store it on your computer. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer them online, you can scan your manual and store it digitally. Either way, you can get rid of more paper that you no longer need.


It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. While I’m not one to decorate this far in advance, I did find a cool product at my hardware store. It’s called the Twist and Seal Cord Protector. It’s designed to seal around electrical cord connections to keep them from getting wet from the rain, snow or your sprinklers. They make three sizes of these for different needs, and they seem fairly simple to use. They are well worth the relatively small investment. Check them out at

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