Home & Garden

Is air-duct cleaning worth the expense?

Q: What do you think of air-duct cleaning? The ducts in my home are for hot-air heat and air conditioning. I don’t know how long they have gone without being cleaned, and I get no bad smells from either the heat or the air conditioning.

A: I think air-duct cleaning is good but expensive. If you don’t know when the ducts were cleaned, chances are they need it. My ducts were 50 years old and there was no smell, but you should have seen what came out of them when they were cleaned. Have them cleaned every 10 years. And make sure to clean out the dryer vent at least once a year. It can fill with lint and cause fires.

Stained mahogany

Q: My daughter bought a house on Cape Cod and found an old mahogany table that was stained red. She tried to paint it. Oh, woe. The red stain bled right through the paint. What can she do?

A: Stained mahogany is virtually impossible to paint without the bleeding. Sanding down to the bare wood probably won’t work because mahogany is open-pored, and any stain gets stuck in the pores forever, it seems. Even heavy sanding and using a stain killer did not succeed on a similar table I had. I ended up sanding to the bare wood, staining it a darker color, and varnishing it.

Hotton: photton@globe.com

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