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Housemaster Inspections Answers Your Homeownership Questions

Tips on tubular skylights, clues to dishwasher leakage, the downside to sealing attic vents, and water heater corrosion protection.

Q. My kitchen has only one window, leaving it pretty dark most of the time. We thought about a skylight but have been told there wouldn’t be much addition lighting from it because of the design of our roof and attic. Any suggestions?

Yes. There is a product on the market called a tubular skylight. This type skylight may be perfect for lighting your kitchen or just about any other dark area of your home. You can find a skylight like this on a website such as if you’re interested. It involves the installation of a flexible, aluminum tube that has a highly reflective inner surface to direct additional lighting to your living area. The sunlight is captured by a roof-mounted receptor and directed down through the tubing to a ceiling diffuser that casts the light throughout the room.

Q. When my dishwasher runs, I notice some water coming out from underneath it at times. I removed the base cover and there is no evidence of leakage from the pump or hose fittings. it is not coming from the seal around the doors. It seems to be coming out the sides of the dishwasher but there are no cracks on the inside liner. Any suggestions before I call in the serviceperson.

It’s possible that your problem is associated with a recirculation hose that runs up the side of the unit to the spray arm at the top of the dishwasher. This may have cracked or deteriorated. To check this it will be necessary to pull the unit out from under the cabinet. If that is the cause, if you are fairly handy you should be able to replace it yourself. A replacement hose can be purchased from the manufacturer or a parts supplier.

Q. My neighbor seals up all openings in his unfinished attic each year to keep the cold air out and to save on heating bills. I seem to recall reading that this is not a good idea. What is right?

What you read is correct. It is best to allow the cold air to circulate through an unfinished attic. Of course, you must adequately insulate the attic floor to keep the heat in the house from rising up and out of your attic. The attic hatch or door should also be insulated and weatherstripped.

Sealing off the attic fr