QWe are am older couple and sleep in separate bedrooms. I'd like to have a simple alarm system so my wife could signal me if she has a medical problem during the night. Can you suggest something? -- D. Dinshaw
AA wireless doorbell would provide a simple and inexpensive alarm system, but I'm not sure it is the best answer to your problem. A wireless doorbell consists of a push-button transmitter, which could be set up near your wife's bed, and a receiver that can be installed in a separate room. When the button is pushed, the receiver will sound. Some systems are entirely battery powered; with others, the receiver plugs into an electrical outlet. Installation is simple. Prices start at about $25. Wireless doorbells can be bought at many home centers and are also available on the Web.
More sophisticated medical alarm systems are available and could let you or your wife signal for outside help if there is an emergency while either of you is alone. Most advanced systems are connected to a central station where they are monitored for a monthly fee. You can get more information on the Web by using a search engine and the words "medical alert systems."
I have a kitchen table with a plastic-laminate top that has a flat finish. The top stains easily because of the flat finish. Is there anything I can put on the surface that will give it some protection? -- N. Cashnelli
Try a cleaner-polish called Gel-Gloss, which works well on plastic-laminate surfaces such as Formica, as well as fiberglass (tubs, showers, boats), ceramic tiles, marble vanities, stainless steel and chrome fixtures. The polish will seal the surface and help repel surface stains such as water spots.
Gel-Gloss is sold at some home centers and hardware stores or can be bought on the Web.
When it rains, and sometimes before it rains, my garage floor gets wet, but not flooded. How can I fix this? -- M. Hancock
You need to determine whether this is condensation, seepage or both. Sweep the floor and tape a couple of foot-square pieces of aluminum foil to it. The next time the floor gets wet, check the foil. If it is wet on top, the moisture is coming from condensation. If the foil is dry on top but wet on the bottom, water is seeping through the floor slab. If the foil is wet on top and bottom, you have both problems.
Condensation can usually be cleared up with a dehumidifier and improvements in ventilation, such as a fan to bring in fresh air. Seepage through a floor slab is much more difficult to control. If the garage has rain gutters, make sure they are not clogged and are carrying water well away from the foundation. If the garage has no gutters, consider installing them.
You should also make sure that water is not entering under the garage door. The door should seal tightly at the bottom when it is closed. Replacement garage-door seals are sold at most home centers.
Questions and comments should be sent to Gene Austin, 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, Pa. 19422. Send e-mail to email@example.com. Questions cannot be answered personally.