Learn how to hide the wires that hang from your flat screen TV. Find out easy ways to open your garage door when it freezes shut. Learn how to fix your vinyl siding yourself when it becomes loose. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions such as, soundproofing walls, window condensation, metal roofing, tile over vinyl, pellet stoves, pre-fab homes, plumbing problems, trash disposals.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We are standing by to help you tackle your home improvement project but you should help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, the big game is upon us; Super Bowl XLVI is just about to begin. And unless you’re lucky enough to make it to Indianapolis, the best way to see the action is with a beautiful, big, flat-screen TV, which I think is far cheaper than the cost of Super Bowl tickets. So if you need to make that argument to your spouse, you could sort of do the math and it could work out for you.
LESLIE: I would say so.
TOM: But if you do convince her or him that a flat-screen is a must-have for the big game, this hour we’re going to have some installation tips to help make sure that you can mount it securely and be sure to hide the wires just in time for the big, required Super Bowl party.
LESLIE: That’s right. Now, if you live in a colder climate, you probably know one of those ugly sides of ice and snow: that’s when it freezes you into your home. This hour, we’re going to have tips to help you free up frozen, stuck doors and more.
TOM: And you might love your vinyl siding because of how durable it is but it’s not infallible. And with winter winds, it can become quickly loose, so we’re going to tell you how to fix that easily and inexpensively.
LESLIE: And we’re giving away a prize this hour that can turn your shower into a spa experience. It’s a Levaqua One-Touch Digital Showerhead and it’s got four different spray settings that you can change with just a touch. It’s worth $90.
TOM: And it’s going out to one caller who picks up the phone and calls us with their home improvement question this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those calls.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Andrew in Idaho is on the line needing some ways to soundproof a room. Tell us what room. What’s going on?
ANDREW: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
ANDREW: I’m having some problems. I’ve got four roommates. We’re all friends.
TOM: And you want to stay that way.
ANDREW: Yeah. And I just got a new job. I work at 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
TOM: Oh, man.
ANDREW: A lot of them stay up until 3:00 a.m. in the morning.
ANDREW: And I was just wondering if there was any quick and efficient ways I can soundproof, say, my bedroom to be able to sleep at night.
TOM: Yeah, now, where is your room in relation to the noise? Are you like at the end of the hall or anything like that? Tell us about it.
ANDREW: We’ve got three steps; there’s three different levels.
ANDREW: And I’m in the tallest level. You walk down a flight of stairs; they’re mostly in the living room. And if you take another corner from going down those stairs, you’ll go into their rooms.
TOM: OK. So, sound transmits, as you know, pretty quickly and pretty aggressively. If you want to quiet it in your room and you’re willing to do a little bit of work, you can make it a lot softer by improving the walls.
There are a couple of ways to do this. One way is to use a product called Green Glue, where you essentially put the glue on the walls and then put a second layer of drywall on top of that. And that second layer, with the Green Glue in between, sort of isolates it.
That said, it’s expensive to – because you need 2 tubes of Green Glue for every 4x8 sheet of drywall and we’re talking about these big tubes, not the little caulk tubes. The ones that are humungous. And so you put a lot of Green Glue and a lot of drywall and of course, you’ve got to spackle, you’ve got to paint; you’ve got to do all that. That’s the first way to do it.
The second way to do it is to use a product called QuietRock, which is kind of like a laminated drywall that already has the glue sort of in it and whatever else they do to stop sound transmission. And again, with that you put a second layer on your existing walls.
And the QuietRock is about, what, 35, 40 bucks a sheet, Leslie? Something like that?
LESLIE: Yeah, it – I mean it’s pricey but it does the trick.
LESLIE: Andrew, are you renting?
ANDREW: It’s kind of hard to explain. One of the couples just got married and they bought this house.
ANDREW: And they’re – I’m renting the room, technically.
TOM: How do you feel about improving their house, even though you’re a renter?
ANDREW: They’re fine with it because they’re wanting to do the same thing for their rooms, so …
TOM: OK. Yeah.
ANDREW: For the Green Glue, do we have to worry about texture?
TOM: No, no, no. It’s all between.
LESLIE: Well, that goes in between the two sheets of drywall.
LESLIE: It sort of acts as the sound barrier behind that new sheet of drywall that you’re putting on. If you go with the QuietRock, which is the second option, you don’t need that Green Glue but you are adding a second layer of drywall.
TOM: Right. Now, there’s one other important thing I have to mention, Andrew, and that’s this: technically, to soundproof a room, you really need to get to the electrical boxes and other penetrations of the wall from behind it, from the inside. And of course, that’s impossible to do in a finished house.
So even though you’re going to quiet it, you’re not going to do as good a job as you could because if the wall was wide open, you’d go from the back side and you would be wrapping the electrical boxes that are special, almost like a clay-like kind of a material that you press around the box with the QuietRock, that seals in all of those gaps so that no sound gets through there.
So you can’t do everything but you can do a pretty good job.
ANDREW: OK. Yeah, we were just wanting to do a little bit of changing just so people talking in the living room and stuff, it won’t come into the bedrooms.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, unfortunately, it’s not a simple fix; it’s basically taking all of your stuff out of your room and redrywalling the whole thing. You can put heavy drapes up, you can put carpets on the walls – I mean hang wall coverings, things that like – that will soften it from a décor perspective. But realistically …
LESLIE: But it’s not going to do what you really want it to do.
ANDREW: Well, I will definitely look into that Green Glue. I do have some sheetrock experience.
TOM: Alright. Well, then, maybe it’s a good project for you. It’s either that or earplugs, my friend, OK?
ANDREW: Alrighty. Thank you, guys.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Amy in Michigan is on the line with a condensation question. How can we help you?
AMY: I live in a house; it’s about 15 years old. And every winter, I have the same problem. I’ve been here for three years but I have condensation on the inside of my windows. I think they’re pretty decent windows. I know when we had the home inspection, the guy said these are really good windows. Just wondering what I can do to control it.
LESLIE: Now, when you’re talking about this, this is in your living room, you’re saying?
AMY: It’s actually in just about every room of the house. It’s worse in my bedrooms and it’s gotten – it seems like it’s getting worse in other areas of the house.
TOM: Well, the reason that your windows condense, Adrienne, is because they’re not insulated properly. I’m going to presume that they’re thermal-pane windows, is that correct?
AMY: They are.
TOM: They’re thermal-pane windows but they’re not very good thermal panes, because the windows are super-cold. So what happens is when the warm, moist air inside your house strikes them, it condenses.
So what can you do at this point in time short of replacing the windows? You could take some steps to try to reduce the volume of moisture that’s inside the house.
TOM: This might include taking a look to make sure that your outside drainage is done properly so that you’re not collecting water.
Do you have a basement?
AMY: We do.
TOM: OK. So you want to make sure that you have gutters on the house, downspouts that are clean, downspouts that are extended away, soil that’s sloping away from the walls. That sort of thing reduces soil moisture. Dehumidification of the basement can help. You can either do it with a portable or a whole-house dehumidifier.
LESLIE: Depending on your heating system.
TOM: Making sure that your bath fans are exhausted outside, making sure that your kitchen range hood is exhausted outside. Those are the sorts of things that will reduce the volume of humidity in the house.
But I think until you get better-quality windows in there that are better-insulated, you’re still going to continue to have this to some degree, because it’s just sort of the nature of the beast. If it’s really cold outside and it’s really warm and moist inside, that condensation is going to form, the same way it happens in the summer when you go outside with a glass of ice water and you get droplets on the outside.
TOM: It’s just the nature of the condensation.
AMY: Why does it seem worse when I have the blinds drawn or the blinds are down and closed? And then there’s more condensation on the windows.
TOM: Because the windows are probably colder when the blinds are down. The warm air inside the house is not getting to the glass as readily. So the windows are probably a little colder when the blind’s down; you have less air circulation across it, so you’re not drying off some of that moisture, probably, as quickly as you would have.
AMY: Oh, OK. Yeah, that makes sense.
TOM: So do what you can to reduce the amount of humidity inside the house and then keep an eye on them. But I think, eventually, you’re going to want to think about replacing your windows and you can do that in stages. Start in the north side first, because that’s going to be the coldest side of the house and the side that will give you the best return on investment.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, have you ever found yourself stuck in your own garage thanks to a winter blast of Arctic air? We’re going to tell you the best way to release your car and yourself from the trap of a frozen garage door, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And the number to call is 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller that makes that call this hour might just win the One-Touch Digital Showerhead from Levaqua. It’s a showerhead that installs in minutes and lets you program timer settings, choose your water spray and even select an eco-option to save water all while you get yourself nice squeaky-clean. So give us a call to get the answer to your question and your chance to win, at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Steve in Kentucky is on the line with a roofing question. Tell us what’s going on.
STEVE: Hi, Leslie. Well, I’ve got a little 1930s – early 30s – farmhouse that we’re restoring and trying to get a little environmental project going up there.
STEVE: And we have a couple of leaks. We’ve had a record rainfall down here in Louisville this last year and we noticed that when it’s a really hard rain out of the west, that along the seams of the old tin roof, we get – well, it’s like a wetness and then it turns into a drip in different locations.
And I’m just wondering what’s the proper way to seal something like that up where we don’t have to, you know, pull the whole roof to get it.
TOM: Now, what kind of tin roof do you have? Is it a flat-seam metal roof or is it a standing-seam metal roof?
STEVE: It’s a standing-seam metal roof.
TOM: OK. And has it ever been covered with tar or anything like that to try to seal it up?
STEVE: No, it’s still the original tin.
TOM: OK. So …
STEVE: It has a little paint on it.
TOM: Right. I mean that’s a good thing because, typically, the way you fix those is you solder them. And to do that, you have to strip the paint off, identify the sort of worn-out area. There’s probably a worn-out, cracked, rusted-out area and the repair would be to solder it. And that’s actually a good thing, Steve, because if you solder it, it’s sort of a lifetime repair.
What happens with these – too many of these metal roofs, though – is that folks don’t want to take sort of the long approach to this repair and they will cover it with tar or caulk or something of that nature. And in doing so, eventually the water gets underneath that and then it seriously rusts it out pretty quickly.
TOM: So the secret to success here is to try to find somebody who’s been around long enough that knows how to resolder a metal roof. And that will fix it permanently.
STEVE: OK. And I’m assuming that that’s probably some specialized tools then.
TOM: Well, just the right-size torches and solder and all of that sort of thing, yeah. But the guys that do metal roofs have those tools.
STEVE: Great. And is that – I guess maybe I ought to go up there with them. If I can get them fix it, I’ll watch and learn a little bit.
TOM: Yeah. Well, then, you’d be able to do it yourself next time, right?
STEVE: Maybe so, maybe so. Well, I appreciate the advice and I’ll look along that path. And I just want to let you know that we really enjoy you all’s show down here in Louisville.
TOM: Well, thank you so very much and good luck with that project. Remember, when you’re working with that heat up in that roof, too, that there’s a fire hazard associated with this repair, too. So just make sure that you’re super-super-careful, OK, Steve? We don’t want you to call us back and ask us how to rebuild the building as the next call, OK?
STEVE: Nope. I think I’ll put somebody with a fire extinguisher in the attic and we’ll do it on a little spring day.
LESLIE: Thanks for calling The Money Pit.
Well, storing your car in a garage can help keep it frost-free but the same can’t be said for garage doors that often become stuck in super-cold weather, trapping you and your car inside. If you find yourself frozen in, this is what you’ve got to do. First, you really just need to try to adjust the pressure setting on your door opener. A little extra pressure might just be exactly what you need to dislodge it from the ice. If that doesn’t work, disconnect the automatic opener and try to open that door manually.
TOM: And in either case, be sure you don’t force it or you could damage the door.
Now, if the ice is too thick to open it by hand, you’ll need to defrost the door first. You can spray the lock with a deicer along the bottom of the door. And by the way, WD-40, the miracle product, also works well for that or you could pour some lukewarm water along the base and then slide an ice scraper along that bottom sort of to break away any remaining ice. Now, once the door is open, clear away any remaining snow and ice so it doesn’t happen again.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: Beverly in Nebraska is on the line and is looking to do a flooring, I guess, tiling project. Tell us what’s going on.
BEVERLY: Well, I have a brick fireplace that I would like to reface with ceramic tile.
LESLIE: Oh, great. It’s a fireplace question.
BEVERLY: Yes. I want to know if what – if I need to do any special steps to prep the brick. I’ve heard yes and I’ve heard no, so thought I might call somebody that might have a real answer.
TOM: As long as the brick is not dirty or doesn’t have loose paint on it or anything of that nature, I don’t think there’s a lot of prep involved there. What’s going to be really important is that you get a good coat of adhesive underneath it. And you can use a tile mastic on top of that brick to attach the tile to.
LESLIE: What size are the tiles that you’re looking at, Bev, to put over this?
BEVERLY: Twelve by twelve, probably.
LESLIE: Tom, is there any concerns with the difference between the brick and the mortar line for unevenness? Or because the tile is so large, it’s going to …
TOM: No, because you know what? Think about it. When you put tile down, you use a notched trowel, right? So you never have a complete 100-percent contact of the tile with the substrate. So the fact that there’s recessed mortar on this brick fireplace is not of a concern to me. It’s just more of a concern that we get a good, solid coat of adhesive there and that they dry well, they’re nice and stable.
And really, you want to make sure that you plan this out carefully, Bev. I mean frankly, it’s really small spaces to get that to fit right, to look right, to make sure the corners are done properly. If it’s sloppy, you’re going to be kicking yourself because it’ll be obvious to anybody that looks at this that it wasn’t done by a pro. So just make sure it’s done really well so that it looks like it was almost intended to be that way the first time the fireplace and the hearth was envisioned, OK?
BEVERLY: OK. One thing that I’d heard about, the brick mortar line sucks up the moisture out of the mastic quicker. Is that something I need to worry about or just …?
TOM: Nah. Nope. Wouldn’t worry about it at all. That makes no sense to me. Look, people put concrete – put tile down on concrete and will tell you the same issue. Just plan it correctly, Bev, so that you have all the corners line up right, you have the right pieces, the right – the types of tile that you’re choosing are the ones that, for example, have closed corners where they wrap around the outside.
And make sure it’s going to work. You may find that 12-inch is too wide for that; it might be easier if you use a smaller tile because you’d have a little more flexibility.
BEVERLY: Like maybe a six or eight?
TOM: Like a six, yeah, or an eight. Yep, exactly.
Depending on the shape, right, Leslie?
LESLIE: Yeah. It really depends on what look you’re going for. And with a ceramic tile, think about the finish on them. You know, a glazed tile is going to clean better when you get dirt and debris from the smoke in the fireplace itself. But an unglazed one might have a more hearth-y, traditional look. So think about the overall look you’re trying to get.
And you can also – a 12-by is kind of large so if you’re looking to put a decorative tile, say, as cornerstones around your mantle or something, think about adding in little detail pieces and then you can size your tiles accordingly.
TOM: So does that help you out?
BEVERLY: Yeah. We’re just trying to make it look a little more modern.
TOM: Yeah, I think that’s definitely a good idea. I think it will look more modern; I think it’ll be very attractive. Just take your time, do it once, do it right and you won’t have to do it again.
LESLIE: Jim in Tennessee is on the line with a concrete cracking-up issue. Tell us what’s going on.
JIM: Yes. I have a concrete driveway that every winter it seems to – the crack seems to separate.
TOM: OK. Yep.
JIM: I’ve used several different things, like cement. But the cement crumbles.
TOM: Of course it does, Jim. Because cement is not a good patching material.
JIM: Oh, OK.
TOM: It doesn’t expand and contract, it doesn’t stick properly. What you need is an epoxy patching compound. Epoxy compounds are designed specifically to stick to the concrete floor that you have and to not crack and re-crack. Anytime you try to use regular cement and fill something in, there’s just not enough base there, so to speak, and it will continue to open and close and expand and contract and turn into little chunks of concrete that will fall out.
JIM: Oh, great. I had no idea.
LESLIE: And it’s an easy fix.
TOM: Take a look at the QUIKRETE website. There’s a number of products out there designed specifically for this. But make sure it’s a patching compound and it’ll do a much better job.
JIM: Hey, we love your show. I tell you, we get a lot of good tips on it.
LESLIE: Thanks, Jim.
You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, regardless of what team you are rooting for, one way to score a victory is to watch the Super Bowl on a big, beautiful, flat-screen TV.
Up next, Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House will be by with easy installation tips, including how to hide those wires, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at Icynene.com. I-c-y-n-e-n-e.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are standing by to help you get that next project done. And here’s one project that you don’t want to have to get involved in and that is if you get caught in a snowstorm without a snow blower. Log on to MoneyPit.com and find out how to choose a snow blower for your needs. That’s all online at MoneyPit.com. Just search “snow blowers how to choose.”
LESLIE: Jeff in Tennessee is tackling a flooring project in a bathroom. Tell us what you’re working on.
JEFF: Well, I’m in a quandary because I’ve been told I can’t do what I want to do but that’s not unusual.
JEFF: I’ve got a vinyl floor in a bathroom and I want to put down tile and I wanted to minimize or eliminate the extra work. And I wanted to put the tile over the vinyl flooring.
JEFF: And it’s just ceramic tile. It’s not a large area. It’s got a vanity and a bath/shower combination and a toilet.
TOM: Is it fairly small ceramic tile?
JEFF: Twelve inch.
TOM: Ooh, 12 inch. OK. So you need a really solid floor for this, which means you’re going to have to put down WonderBoard or a mud floor. Because if you try to put this down over the vinyl or over, say, luan plywood or something like that, it will most likely be too much flex in the floor. And tiles don’t bend, especially the big, wide, 12-inch ones.
So, your first priority is going to be to pull everything out of that bathroom and put down a solid floor – solid subfloor – and then you can tile on top of that. That’s the biggest part of that project.
JEFF: Now, Tom, if I do that, does that mean if I put – and I guess some people call that HardieBacker board or something like that.
TOM: Right. WonderBoard or HardieBacker, yep. Mm-hmm.
JEFF: OK. And if I put that down, am I going to have to raise that – the toilet – in order to accommodate the tile and that backer?
TOM: Yeah. But there’s an extension that you could put on the flange that will bring that up that inch or so that you’ll need.
JEFF: And I guess I’ll probably have to look at cutting off the bottom part of the door to accommodate the threshold of that.
TOM: Yeah but that’s easy enough to do.
JEFF: Now, you indicated that – and you kind of cringed a little bit when I said 12-inch. Would it accommodate smaller tile?
TOM: Well, I mean it’s a design question but when you have wide tile like that in a bathroom, it will tend to crack. You know, the floors get soft and bouncy, especially around the toilet, so it’s really critical that it be properly supported.
And the trend now is, surprisingly so, to go wider tile. It used to be that you would – in a small bathroom, you would use a small tile. But now, the trend seems to be opposite to that and they’re using a lot more wider tile because it makes the room look bigger.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And other options, as far as tile size in a small space, is going with a tile that’s more plank-size, so it almost looks as if it’s a plank of lumber. Maybe it’s 6x24 and then laying it out brick-style as you would wood floor. And that can also help make the space feel larger but again, because of the size of the tile, you have to make sure that that subfloor and that base is very stable and really secure. Because if there is any movement, that tile is going to crack.
JEFF: I just can’t get around being lazy. I’m going to have to go the whole route.
LESLIE: If you want it to last for a long, long time and save you from doing that project again, then yes.
JEFF: Thank you so very much. I really enjoy your show and catch it as often as I can.
TOM: Well, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: So you finally got that flat-screen TV that you’ve always wanted and you’ve got it hanging right where you want it: that perfect, prime spot for viewing, right up on your wall.
TOM: Yes but what do you now do with all those dangling cords and wires? Tom Silva is the general contractor for TV’s This Old House and he’s faced this problem himself and has some tips and tricks to magically make all that mess disappear.
TOM SILVA: Hi, guys. Nice to be here.
TOM: Now, this is one of those problems that you really want to – it kind of ruins the whole point of having a flat-screen TV, you know? It’s very clean, it’s very crisp, it’s very modern but then you have this mess of wire.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, with a mess of wire hanging down underneath, it looks terrible.
TOM: So what are some ways to hide those cables?
TOM SILVA: Well, there’s a couple of ways. Basically, you could punch a hole in the wall right behind the TV and another one down below the table or whatever it’s at, right near the outlet, and snake the wire down through there.
TOM: Down the channel of the wall.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, if you have a – yeah.
TOM: But what if it’s a brick wall or something you can’t do that to or if your wife is saying, “You absolutely will not be cutting a hole in my wall”?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, that happened to me, actually. I wasn’t allowed to do that.
But anyways, yeah, there are actually chases that you can face or screw to the wall. It’s …
TOM: Now, what’s a chase?
TOM SILVA: Well, you’re making a chase, I should have said.
TOM SILVA: It’s basically a little channel that you screw or even two-face tape to the wall. And then you run your wires into that little chase and there’s a little piece that you can clip right on it to hide the wires.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And those you can paint, right, to match your wall color and they virtually disappear.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, they virtually – you’re right. And they’re very hard to see because they disappear.
LESLIE: Yeah, they do.
Another thing that I’ve seen done, if you’re lucky enough to have a closet on the back side, is you can run your components through to that back-side closet. However, your remote control then doesn’t operate as effectively as you would have liked.
TOM SILVA: No, you have to get one of those little things – the wires that you glue to the TV right onto the remote sensor – and then that will pick it up there.
TOM: Because that’s one of the wires that hangs out.
TOM SILVA: But again, that’s just – it’s another wire that – yeah.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Now, you actually had a creative solution for this involving a threshold that I saw that you gave a reader of ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM SILVA: Yeah, I basically had a threshold that I basically put a channel in it.
TOM: Now, a threshold is for a door, typically, right?
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Well, we used – like I said earlier, I’m a Yankee.
TOM: You have to do it everywhere.
TOM SILVA: Whatever I can get off the shelf, I will use.
TOM SILVA: But yeah, basically an oak threshold, I think it was, and I put a channel in the back of it or a dado and hide the wires with that. You can actually make – you can take it – if you have a table saw, you can take any piece of wood and miter the three pieces and make your own without a dado blade.
TOM: Channel it out.
Now, any tips for running those wires safely once you’ve actually decided what your cord-management system is going to be?
TOM SILVA: Well, you want to make sure that you don’t have the electrical wires right next to or against the wire that’s bringing all the data to. Because sometimes, you can get interference with that, so you have to be careful of that.
TOM SILVA: So you want to try to separate them, so you don’t want to have the pieces – you don’t want to have that channel too wide.
TOM SILVA: If you’re just getting it into a wall cavity, that’s another thing you don’t have to worry about it that much.
You also want to make it so that you leave enough slack in the line so that if you have to turn the TV, you don’t pull the thing out and then you’ve got to say, “Why isn’t it working?”
TOM SILVA: And you’ve got to take the TV off the wall, in some cases, just to get to it.
And you want to make sure that nothing is rubbing; you don’t want to wear a wire. So if the TV gets moved a lot or a table or something gets moved into those wires, you don’t want them to rub.
TOM: A little trick of the trade from the radio business: label both ends of your cable.
TOM SILVA: Yes, yes. And another thing that’s very important: don’t lay them underneath a rug.
TOM: Oh, yeah.
TOM SILVA: Because you’re going to step on that rug. You’re walking on that rug and believe it or not, you’re wearing on those wires and you can get electrocuted, cause a fire.
TOM: Cause a fire, yeah.
TOM SILVA: Yeah.
TOM: Good advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: My pleasure.
TOM: We’ll be thinking of you the next time we watch the big game on the flat-screen TV, because we’ll watch the game and not the wires.
TOM SILVA: There you go.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings, some great step-by-step videos and of course, informative articles on this project and others, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by Home Depot. Home Depot, more savings, more doing.
Still ahead, has winter wind wreaked havoc on your vinyl siding? We’ll have easy steps for maintenance and repair, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:29:50]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you should give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT because we’re giving out home improvement advice, of course. But we’ve got up for grabs to one lucky caller this hour a One-Touch Fixed Digital Showerhead from Levaqua. Besides turning your shower into a spa, it actually lets you pause your shower and even set a timer on it, too, which all adds up to water savings. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for us to give you a hand and for a chance to win that great prize.
TOM: Well, more than any other exterior element, siding makes a big visual impact for your house. And vinyl siding is probably the most popular siding in the country, mostly because it’s durable, it’s inexpensive and it requires very little maintenance.
LESLIE: That’s right. Even though it’s not often, vinyl siding will occasionally need some fixing.
Now, pieces can become loose from a storm and then they start to peel back. And this isn’t a hard fix; you just need to pick up a tool called a zipper.
TOM: Yeah. The tool actually works by locking the pieces back together as you slide it along, just like a zipper. And this makes it easy to snap a piece of loose siding back in place. It saves you time and money and it also makes sure that siding won’t loosen up further, leading to leaks inside your house where that could cause structural damage. So, just pick up a zipper tool and you will be done with that project in a flash.
888-666-3974 is the telephone number. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Alright. Our next caller is a Facebook fan of The Money Pit and he’s calling in from Wisconsin. We’ve got Antoine on the line who’s got a pellet-stove question. How can we help you?
ANTOINE: My house is about 1,000 square foot and I wanted to put in a pellet stove.
ANTOINE: And I was wondering, what would be the best location and the best way to ventilate it?
TOM: OK. Good question. Now, first of all, hurray for the choice of a pellet stove. A very green energy choice. Lots of options. Pellet stoves are affordable, the fuel’s affordable. They work very, very well. You fill them up and literally can walk away from them.
Since it’s not tied into a central-heating system, you want it to be centrally located so you get the best amount of heat distribution outside of it. Very, very important that you follow the National Fire Safety Protection Organization standards for installation of that, because they do get very, very hot.
How you install it, it depends on where you’re putting it. For example, the average wood stove needs about 3 feet of space behind it to combustibles. However, if you build a heat shield, then you can move it closer. I’ve seen them as close as 12 inches if they’re installed with heat shields, which basically create sort of a wall that’s vented that the heat can sort of pass over and the air can pass over and it can remain cool.
Going up to the attic? Same situation. You typically use a triple-wall pipe – triple-wall vent pipe – to take that hot gas out. And again, it has to be installed correctly. So it’s not the kind of project that I would recommend that you do if you’ve never installed one before, because of the specialty knowledge you need to make sure it’s done safely, Antoine.
So if you want to shop it, buy it, get it in the store, get it in the house, that’s great. But I would definitely consider having a contractor that’s built these before do the actual installation for you. I would also make sure that you have the local fire marshal inspect the installation for you to make sure that it’s done correctly.
ANTOINE: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and for “liking” The Money Pit page on Facebook, which is at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
And by the way, if you would head on over to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and “like” our page, you could also get priority access to the radio show as we produce it.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pre-fab homes? They’re usually less expensive but are there drawbacks when you choose to own one? We’ll tell you all about that, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:34:45]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Hometalk.com. Join Tom and Leslie on Hometalk.com and log on to become part of the community of folks who love taking care of their homes, at Hometalk.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And in the past decade, mold has become one of the most dangerous toxins found in homes. MoneyPit.com can help, though. We can help keep your home mold-free. Just search “mold-free home” at MoneyPit.com for advice from which building materials are mold-resistant, to mold-killing ventilation. That’s all online. Just search “mold-free home” at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: That’s right. And you can head on over to Money Pit’s Community section and post your question. I’ve got one here from Kay who writes: “I’m considering buying a home in a neighborhood that has mainly pre-fab houses. Are there any drawbacks to owning modular?”
TOM: Oh, God, there’s absolutely no drawbacks to owning modular. In fact, Kay, it’s not that pre-fab is a bad thing in this particular case, because pre-fab means that these homes are built in factories where they really truly control the quality. And so you have consistency in terms of the accuracy of the cuts, the assembly. The lumber is not too wet or too dry, so it’s very stable.
A pre-fab home today can be a really excellent value. Plus, because it’s pre-fab, it goes up very, very quickly. It’s not exposed to the weather on-site and I think it’s just a really good option all the way around. So, I’ve got nothing but praises for pre-fabricated houses.
LESLIE: Yeah and you know what? In our neighborhood, which is mostly homes that are 100 years old, we do have a handful of pre-fab homes and you can’t tell the difference. They’re beautifully made, so I say buy it and enjoy it.
Alright. Next up, I’ve got a post from Laura who wrote: “Interesting problem. I can get hot water out of my bathtub faucet if I’m taking a bath but I have no hot water out of my showerhead. I’ve got water pressure, just water that’s not hot. Any ideas about this problem?”
TOM: Yep. Got a problem with the shower diverter; it’s not doing its job of getting that hot water up. So, a minor plumbing fix there, Laura. Interesting problem but very simple, simple solution.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got a post from SRC who writes: “What are the limits of my garbage disposer in the kitchen sink? When I was growing up, I got used to cleaning plates by throwing everything in the trash before putting the dishes in the sink to be washed. Every now and then, I still cling to my old habits and I cringe every time somebody dumps food down the kitchen drain. Am I worrying for nothing?”
TOM: Well, unless you clog the disposer, I’d say you are worried about nothing. For the most part, disposers can handle pretty much any kind of food waste that you put down them. You don’t want to put something like, say, peels from the shrimp or anything that’s really fatty, because the shrimp peels tend to sort of mash up and jam up and clog up your sinks. The fat can obviously clog the drains.
But for the most part, you can put pretty much anything down there. And even in some cases, you can even use small bones. Some of these disposers are so strong today that you can put bones in them. And the real new ones even have sort of clog-reversing mechanisms so if something gets stuck in there, it kind of reverses and sort of shakes the clog free. So you really should have no fear about putting it down the disposer. If it grinds it up and it washes away, then there’s really nothing further to be concerned about.
And by the way, here’s a myth of disposers, Leslie. In the 20 years that I spent as a professional home inspector, people used to think you always have to run water to run your disposer. You don’t. You have to run water only if you want to move the waste down but the disposer doesn’t need the water to sort of stay cool or anything of that nature.
TOM: It’s all a sealed-bearing system, so as long as the water moves the food down, that’s the only reason to run it. It doesn’t have to be run to turn the disposer actually on.
LESLIE: But I’m of the same mindset. Having never owned one – I mean I’ve been in friends’ apartments who have them and they’re like, “Put it down the drain. Put it down the drain.” And I know what can go down there. It still kind of weirds me out. I think I’d be afraid to use it but it’s just because I’ve never had one.
TOM: Right. But once you own a disposer, you will never, ever want to have a house that doesn’t have one, because you can pretty much put everything down there.
LESLIE: Well and imagine the less amount of trash you’ll have every day.
TOM: Well, exactly. And if you ever have one that jams up and actually gets stuck or seized, there’s a reset button underneath the motor, which you can see kind of you get upside down and look in the cabinet. If you just hit that reset button, it’ll start up again.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a good trick that people never know about.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. You may now all take a break from your home improvement projects and prepare your home for the big game, which is just upon us this weekend. Hope that you enjoy it. Hope that your team comes out on top. I know that Leslie and I will be rooting right there with you.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: Yeah, I’m rooting for wings.
And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2012 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)