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Today’s durable screens resist pets and minimize sun’s impact

Also, solar-powered purifier kills pond algae, won’t harm fish

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Dear Jim: Our pets and children have worn out our screens. Are there any durable screens that I can install myself? Do the special sun-control screens block much heat and can I add screening to a door? —Ron T.

Dear Ron: There are many new screening kit options specifically designed for the do-it-yourselfer. These include retractable screens for doors and windows, super-tough pet-resistant screens, many degrees of sun-control screening and exterior micro-louver solar screening for ventilation too.

Most of the sun-control screens also are extremely durable. They are often made of superstrong fiberglass mesh that not only blocks the sun's heat but resists its damaging effects. This type of screening will fit into most of your existing screen frames. Just install it like any other screening.

Sun-control screening is available in many levels of heat control and can block up to 90% of the sun's heat. It appears to be a very dense mesh up close, but when you stand back from it, you can see outdoors clearly. In the winter, remove the frame so that the sun's heat will come indoors.

Another option, that also blocks the sun's heat, is special pet-resistant screening. It is made of vinyl-coated polyester, and it is seven times more resistant than ordinary screening to tearing and damage from pet's claws. Micro-louvers mount on the exterior and work like mini Venetian blinds.

The most convenient way to add screening to a door is with a retractable screening kit. It opens and closes like a horizontal roll shade. When the screen is opened, it is completely hidden in a vertical cassette on the side of the door. These kits can accommodate sun-control screening.

The vertical cassette is attached with brackets on one side of the door frame. Narrow channels are mounted at the top and bottom of the door opening and a magnetic or mechanical latch is mounted on the opposite side of the frame. To cover the door, pull the screen out of the cassette and over to the latch on the other side. Springs in the cassette keep it taut. There are several darker strips, called sight lines, woven into the screen for safety.

Another option for adding screening is to use one of several screen framing kits. These have a metal or plastic channel that is screwed to the window or door frame. Any type of screening is placed over the channel. A cover trim strip makes it taut when it snaps into the channel to trap the screen.

There are special screening kits to convert a garage into a screened porch. These are screened flexible covers, up to 20 feet wide, with a zipper in the front for an entrance. They attach easily with hook-and-loop strips.

Write for (instantly download — www.dulley.com) Update Bulletin No. 477 — buyer's guide of 12 add-on retractable screening kit and sun-control/pet screening manufacturers showing design types, sizes, colors, unique features, prices and illustrations. Please include $3.00 and a business-size SASE. James Dulley, Deseret News, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244.

Dear Jim: You wrote about solar-powered ionization purifiers for swimming pools and spas recently. I have a fish pond in my garden and it has an algae problem. Will the solar purifier work in the pond, too? — Mary W.

Dear Mary: A solar-powered ionization purifier is great for a pond, too, and it will not harm the fish. The copper ions from the electrode kill the algae. It is much safer for the environment than using harsh chemicals. In a small pond, it will not have to float on the water long once the proper copper ion level is reached. Use the simple test kit and regularly check the ion concentration.