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Puddles form under fridge; check tray

Do It YourselfPeter Hotton

Q. I am getting quite a bit of water on the floor under and in front of my refrigerator. I can't find where it is coming from, but it's enough to be a nuisance. What can I do to stop it?

That water is from condensation, which runs down the sides inside of the box and goes down a drain at the bottom. It is supposed to discharge into a tray under the box, which is big enough for the water to evaporate before it overflows.

Check under the box to see whether you can find a plastic tube and the tray that holds the water. Make sure it discharges into the tray.

Icy gutters

Q. When I had Gutter Helmet installed last year, it worked very well, and still does. But last winter, water cascading over the helmets froze, creating huge icicles, and coating my front stoop and back slider with ice, a hazard that needs continuous attention.

The Helmet people said this happens in winter and offered to take them down for about as much as they cost new. They suggested putting in heating cables to keep the cascading water from freezing. Is there anything else I can do?

You could try putting up small roofs over everything, but that just creates another drip line for icicles to develop on.

I don't see how removing the helmet (a quality product) will do much good if you can find a solution. Heating cable is a good solution, though it is expensive to operate and you must make sure it is on only when water or ice or both are present.

Perhaps thermostatically controlled heating cable would be safer. Does anyone out there have other ideas?

Dirty plastic chairs

Q. I have some nice-looking plastic patio chairs that have been marked by pollen and dirt. How can I clean them? Is there a finish I can put on the chairs that will resist all those ugly marks?

Alcohol for the pollen, and just for the heck of it, see what Armor All will do. That's the stuff used for polishing auto tires and dashboards.

Or, a strong solution of detergent and water, plus added bleach, will work.

I don't think there is any finish that will resist pollen, but why not try coating one chair with Fusion, a Krylon aerosol spray that binds with vinyl and PVC. It is very shiny and very hard, so who knows for sure what it will do.

Smoke alarms

Q. I have three smoke alarms hot-wired into my three-level condo. They are 15 years old and are going off without warning. I vacuumed them out without success.

There might be bugs in the works, real ones, not electronic types. Instead of vacuuming, see if you can blow anything out of the detectors with air from the vacuum, if you can put your vacuum on “blow.”

Also, a short circuit can cause a problem. Have an electrician check it. If still no success, new detectors might be in order.

Peter Hotton: The Boston Globe, 135 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02107; p_hotton@globe.com.

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