The toolbox: Wireless LED lights go on when the power goes off

  • Updated: March 26, 2013 - 4:38 PM

Try newspapers, charcoal or other absorbent agents to get rid of refrigerator odors.

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the toolbox

Lights for power outage

Install up to 30 lights throughout your home with the Mr. Beams ReadyBright wireless system of wireless LED lights, and get up to 40 hours of battery-powered illumination during a power outage.

The system turns on automatically when the electricity goes off. Turn it off manually to conserve battery power when no one will be at home.

The starter kit ($59.99) includes one ceiling light, one path light for a stairway and one flashlight that also works as a remote control within a 70-foot range. Components are also available bundled in other configurations.

The lights can be mounted using basic tools. Visit www.mrbeams.com for more info.

Charlotte Observer

Eliminating refrigerator odor

Q: I had anise bread in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator in my garage. The freezer stopped working when it got cold, and the bread thawed. Now I can’t get the anise odor out of the refrigerator and freezer. Do you have any suggestions?

A: I assume you’ve already cleaned the refrigerator and freezer, but you may need to clean them a few times. Be sure to clean everything, including shelves, drawers, gaskets, the drain tube, the drip pan and all the little crevices.

If the odor remains, you can try a strong deodorizing product such as Smells BeGone spray or Odors Away. Check bedding, hardware and hospital supply stores, or order online.

Placing containers of clean cat litter, unused coffee grounds or a few ounces of imitation vanilla (not real vanilla extract) in the refrigerator and freezer may also absorb the odor.

Or try this method recommended by Claudette Reichel, an extension housing specialist with Louisiana State University: Empty the fridge and run it for a couple of days with nothing but a shallow pan of activated charcoal in it. (I’d put a pan in the refrigerator section and one in the freezer compartment.) If you can, reactivate the charcoal every six to eight hours by heating it in a 350-degree oven until it’s hot.

Another method, recommended by the Michigan State University Extension, is to pack the refrigerator and freezer with crumpled newspaper. Set a cup of water on the top shelf, or sprinkle the newspaper lightly with water. Let the refrigerator run for five or six days.

If those measures still don’t work, the plastic of the freezer’s interior walls might have absorbed the odor. That’s when Reichel suggests repeatedly heating and ventilating the interior walls to try to remove the smell. Warm the walls with a hair dryer, hot-air popcorn popper or portable convection heater that blows warm air. Don’t leave the heater unattended or use a device that gets so hot it could damage the walls. Once the walls are warm, turn off the heat and ventilate with a portable fan until they’re cool.

Repeat the process for several hours until the smell is almost gone. Then you can try absorbing the rest of the odor with activated charcoal.

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