Q. My front steps are 8-by-8 railroad ties. They’re on the north side of the house, so they’re in the shade and don’t dry out after it rains. They get covered with moss or some other green stuff, but the real problem is that they’re very slippery. Do you have a solution?
Moss and that other stuff, algae, do contribute to the slippy-slidiness of the ties. Install heavy-duty rubber stair treads with an open pattern that allows debris to settle in the openings. To clean, pick them up and sweep off the debris. The Improvements Catalog carries them. Go to www.improvementscatalog.com or call 800-642-2112. It’s also a good idea to clean off the algae and moss, then treat the ties with a solution of one part bleach and three parts water. Let dry, rinse, let dry, and apply one coat of a semitransparent stain. The stain is a preservative that will resist the return of moss and algae.
Q. Our gas cook stove produces carbon monoxide, which accumulates over time. Is a small amount of CO normal? If not, I assume the burner is out of adjustment. Is it possible that air flow into the stove is restricted by dust or a clogged filter so that gas cannot burn completely to carbon dioxide?
All gas cook stoves produce CO, but usually not enough to be a problem. If the flame is blue, you should have no worries. If the flame is yellow, it needs adjustment from a gas technician. If you are concerned, open a window or turn on the exhaust fan (if it is exhausting to the outdoors).