Tips on drying out that damp basement, clearing rust and lime from pipes

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Q The old three-quarter-inch water pipe from our well 250 feet away is clogged with lime or rust deposits. Do we have to replace the pipe or can it be unclogged?

Also, our old farmhouse has a very damp basement. We have not tried a dehumidifier, and a fan makes no difference. The six windows are kept open. Would a big fan at a window help to dry out the area?

Mrs. J. Henry Clark Williamston, Mich.

Recommended: 17 heavenly pies

The extent of the constriction, age of the pipe, and its condition are all relevant to the question of whether to unclog the pipe or replace it.

Aquadene, made by the Stiles-Kem Corporation, 3301 Sheridan Road, Zion, Ill. 60099 (312-746-8334), is a product designed to remove interior deposits from metal water pipes. There are equivalent products which your local plumber may favor.

Sonic vibration is another method of cleaning constricted pipes. Check with your plumber as to the local availability of this interesting process.

Chemical or sonic cleaning of old galvanized water pipes should be done with caution and a knowledge of the possible consequences. Cleaning may remove the protective inside galvanizing (if any is left), which may expose the uncoated metal and bring objectionable color and taste to the water. Also, the walls and fittings of old pipe may be damaged in the process and ultimately leak.

I'd try unclogging the existing pipe line before spending money to replace it. As part of the program you should remove any sediment in the bottom of your water heater, by draining it. Beware of caustic chemicals for the deconstriction.

Now, about the damp basement: Which is it - humidity from an inadequately ventilated basement or dampness of the walls or floor from rain or ground-water penetration?

If the problem is mere humidity, try a big exhaust fan along with a dehumidifier. Continued cross-ventilation may be the simple answer. But if the moisture is from water penetrating walls or floor, apply a tried-and-true waterproofing material to the interior of the basement walls strictly following the manufacturer's directions. Avoid shortcuts if you really want a successful waterproofing job.

One such waterproofing product is made by Sealwall Products Inc., 36300 Lakeland Boulevard, Eastlake, Ohio 44094, but there are others. Ask your local hardware store or building supply company. Getting rid of silverfish

To the real estate editor:

Here's a simple solution to the silverfish problem mentioned in your Sept. 16 column:

We have found that using eucalyptus buds on every bookshelf and in our basement works well in southern California. It is an inexpensive method if one doesn't object to the odor of eucalyptus.

A. M. Hager San Pedro, Calif.

To the real estate editor:

Another cure for the ''silverfish problem'' is No Pest Strip, which is guaranteed for three months. I have used them over the years and found them effective for a year. I once lived in a cedar-shingled house and this was how I eliminated a problem in my attic.

No Pest Strip can be purchased in most hardware and large grocery stores. It also eliminates moths and other pests.

Elsie Jewett Bowie, Md.

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