The Washington Post

Hints From Heloise: Monitoring the meter box

Dear Readers: What would we do without electricity in our homes? We take it, and sometimes safety, for granted. Here are a few hints about METER-BOX SAFETY. Read these and see if you are practicing safe homeowner guidelines:

* If you have a circuit breaker that “pops off” several times, you need to call a licensed electrician to have the fuse and the meter box checked. Ignoring it could cause a serious problem.

* If you notice a major problem, call a professional immediately, even if an electrician has just been there recently.

* Label circuit breakers (please print clearly) in the meter box so that you know which one belongs to what. It will take at least two people going all around the house trying to figure out what breaker goes to what appliance, plug, etc.

* If you are doing any electrical work around your home, turn off the power at the main switch where the electricity comes into your house. This is the master shut-off. If you don’t do this, someone could be seriously hurt!

* Be sure that you (and the electrician) can easily get to the main switch box outside. Cut back bushes and vines, and check for wasps or ants.

Please make safety a high priority, and always use caution when dealing with electricity. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read the hint from the person who puts her jewelry into little plastic bags with a note about where the piece came from, etc.

I go one step further. I photocopy my jewelry — several to a page — and then write next to the photo where I got it, how much it cost, who gave it to me, etc. I keep this in a file. — Elsa Nichols, New Orleans


Dear Heloise: I’m always battling vacuums, as they repeatedly get clogged up and don’t want to work. The last time, I was struggling to pull out a big clog of dog hair and lint, and I had a “eureka” moment and used one of those cheap plumbing sink zippers (long, notched drain-cleaning tool).

It works well for removing the hairballs in the vacuum. I have a really big 100-pound dog, and I need my vacuum to work at full strength to suck up the dog hair and debris that Teddy brings into the house. — Jeanie in Huntsville, Ala.


Dear Heloise: To the person who loves to save used jars and wants to get rid of the odors (for example, pickles): I found that if I crush newspapers, stuff them in the jar and close the lid, the odor is eventually gone from the jar.

I use this with plastic items and store them with stuffed newspapers in them, and everything is fresh when I reuse them. I love this hint and use it all the time. — Sandy, via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate



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