Get answers to your home improvement questions about radon testing, replacing air conditioning, cleaning siding, furnace repair, replacing a roof, repairing a garage floor, installing wood flooring, avoiding leaks, heating a garage, and cleaning oil-based wall paint.
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. We are here to help you with your home improvement project. It’s a beautiful spring day; well, at least it is where we live. I hope it is where you are, too. And if you’re inspired to pick up a hammer or pick up a paintbrush, why not pick up the phone first? Because we’re here to help. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
What are you planning to tackle this spring? If one of those things is to perhaps just change the look of a room in your house, it could be as easy as changing the lighting. Just in time for Earth Day, we’re going to tell you, this hour, about an energy-efficient dimmer switch that is made specifically for CFLs – the compact fluorescents – and also LED lights, that will help you go green with your lighting.
LESLIE: Hey. And why not go green in more ways than one? How about a nice, lush, green lawn? It’s the time of the year when we need to tune up that mower and lay down the weed killers. We’ve got the tips on how to fertilize your lawn for spring from This Old House landscaping expert, Roger Cook, coming up in a little bit.
TOM: And then there’s the green that you don’t want, like the moss and the algae, on the exterior surfaces of your home. You know, we love spring because everything grows but that includes the stuff that you don’t want to see, like …
LESLIE: This is the one thing you don’t want growing.
TOM: But there is actually an easy and safe way to get your home sparkling clean again. It’s literally the kind of thing that’s sort of like set it and forget it. You apply this product, you do nothing else and miraculously, over the next couple of weeks, all the mold goes away and it doesn’t come back. So we’ll tell you about that, as well.
LESLIE: Alright. And also this hour, we’re giving away a set of Philips award-winning LED bulbs.
Now, the Philips LED Bulb is the most efficient bulb comparable to a standard, 60-watt incandescent, which is a really popular bulb. And this prize is worth 100 bucks and it lasts a super-long time.
TOM: So give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Or maybe it’s a direct-it-yourself project: one you don’t want to do yourself; you just want to get some help so you hire the right contractor or you buy the right product. All great questions for us. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: J.C. in North Carolina is on the line with a question about radon. How can we help you?
J.C.: If your home is built on a concrete slab, then are you in danger of radon effect?
TOM: Well, you could potentially be in danger of it but the risk, that would be a far smaller chance of you having an elevated radon level on a concrete slab than if you had a basement. Because radon is a gas that emits from the soil and typically, it gets into the home at the basement level through concrete-block walls and the concrete floor and the gaps around it, builds up in the basement. And it’s typically highest in the basement, then it gets far less on the first floor, second floor and so on.
J.C.: Yes. And I would assume it would be more dangerous with a crawlspace then.
TOM: Actually, I think it’s less dangerous with a crawlspace and here’s why: because crawlspaces are open to the outside all the time, so they’re completely ventilated. So the highest risk would be if A) you were in an area that was prone to radon and B) you had a basement. Then you would definitely want a test.
Now, in North Carolina, there are three different Radon Zone levels: 1, 2 and 3. Very little of the state is in the Radon Zone 1, which is the highest risk. I’d say about 30 percent, maybe 25 percent is in Radon Zone 2 but the rest of the state is all Radon Zone 3, which is the lowest risk.
And in your area, which is Lee County, you’re in Radon Zone 3. So you’re in an area that has a low risk of radon, you’re on a concrete slab. I’d say the likeliness of you having a radon problem is very small but the only way to know is to test, J.C. And you can do that with a charcoal absorption canister very inexpensively.
J.C.: Alright. Well, I do thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Anastasia in Colorado is on the line with a bathtub question. What’s going on?
ANASTASIA: Well, I have a tub drain. Trying to get that out – the drain out because it’s – I can’t put a plug in it now. So, what I’ve dried is the drain-remover tool or it’s a plug wrench. And then I also tried that flaring tool to get it out and neither one of them works, because the little crosshairs in the bottom aren’t still in there, because it’s from 1960 tub.
TOM: Oh. So you have nothing to grab onto, is that what you’re saying?
ANASTASIA: Yeah. So, I’ve tried to get WD-40 in there underneath the tray but I can’t reach under there. And then I could crawl under the house but I don’t want to do that. So I was trying to think of a better way of getting it out.
TOM: If I understand it correctly, this normally would unscrew but what you’re driving – what you’re trying to grab onto is either stripped or completely gone.
TOM: I have only two suggestions for you. Number one is to hire a plumber, which is probably – you didn’t need me to tell you that. But I will say that the plumbers deal with this kind of thing all the time. And secondly, if I was a plumber and I was faced with this and there was absolutely no other way to get this off, I would probably drill it off and chisel it away, which you can do with a cold chisel.
And it’s not a pleasant process and it’s time-consuming and kind of a pain in the neck but when all else fails and you’ve just got nothing to grab onto, that’s a way to get it done.
ANASTASIA: Alright. That’s what I thought but I thought you might have a little trick up your sleeve.
TOM: But that’s a trick but it’s a lot of hard work. Anastasia, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We are here for you this wonderful spring weekend to help you with all of your home improvement projects, so give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we’ll give you a hand at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, bright lights are great when your kids are doing your homework at the dining room table but what about when you need a nice, relaxing dinner, perhaps with softer lighting? Well, you can have both and you can do it with energy-efficient lighting. We’re going to tell you how, next.
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MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we make good homes better. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you pick up the phone and give us a call right now, we will shed light on your home improvement projects in more ways than one. Because one caller who comes on the air with us is going to win a set of Philips award-winning LED bulbs worth 100 bucks.
These are the Philips 10-watt LED Bulbs. It is the most energy-efficient alternative to a 60-watt incandescent and it’s not going to fade fabrics or furnishings. It is fully dimmable and it delivers instant-on light. This is a state-of-the-art set of light bulbs from Philips.
You can see what light can do, at Philips.com. One caller is going to win that set of bulbs by reaching us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, if you want some more tips on products that can help you save money and energy, why not take a look at our green product guide right now at MoneyPit.com? And it’s being presented, in part, by Philips.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: John in North Carolina needs some help with a garage floor. Tell us what’s going on.
JOHN: My house is approximately seven years old and for the last two years, I’m getting a lot of powder coming up on the floor. I can sweep this garage out every other day and it’s like a dust storm. And parts of the garage floor, now it looks like 80-grit sandpaper.
TOM: So the surface of the concrete is wearing away, it sounds like.
TOM: So, you know a good solution for that is to use a concrete-resurfacing product on it.
TOM: Made by a number of manufacturers. QUIKRETE, I know, has one that’s very good and it’s specifically designed to stick to the old concrete surface. So with that, you would probably clean it up – follow the label directions but you would clean up the dust and then apply the resurfacer to the whole surface. And then once that dries, that should lock in that deterioration and stop it from happening further.
And then beyond that, you could go ahead and paint the garage floor, maybe with an epoxy paint. There are two-part epoxy paints that have a hardener mixed in with a color coat. And then they have a chip, like a color chip, that you can throw in that gives the floor some density and some depth to it.
JOHN: I have a couple hot tire marks. Could I power-wash those off?
TOM: Well, you want to be careful with the power washing. I mean if you’re going to use the resurfacer, as long as the surface is reasonably clean, I think you’d probably be able to go right on top of those. If you power-wash, you’re essentially going to inject that old concrete driveway with a lot of water and that’s going to take a long time to dry out. So I would rather the slab stay as dry as it can be and you not just blast it with a whole bunch of water right before you resurface it.
JOHN: I appreciate it very much. I’ve been dealing with this now for three years. It’s been driving me buggy.
TOM: Let’s take care of it this weekend, shall we, John?
JOHN: It’s on top of my list.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: OK. Online at MoneyPit.com right now, you can find a whole host of cool energy-saving products to help you green your home this time of year, in our green products guide, which is presented, in part, by Lutron.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s a good place to start when you’re thinking about greening your home, because Lutron invented the dimmer switch way back in 1961. And these guys have really been leading the charge ever since.
You know, a dimmer can help you change the ambiance of your favorite room very inexpensively and very easily. And they’re also a great option for saving energy.
Now, there are many options, from toggles to slides, and installing one is almost certainly a DIY project that you can handle. Why, you say? Well, because the Lutron guys are pretty cool. They actually have an 800 number that you can call and as long as you can figure out how to turn the power off at the breaker box, these guys can talk you through the rest.
So, while we generally tell you to be very cautious when it comes to doing any kind of electrical work, this one we have a higher level of confidence in you for, because as long as you can turn the power off …
LESLIE: And use your phone.
TOM: And use your phone, that’s right. Lutron can help you get through it with their 800 number.
LESLIE: Alright. And you know what? One of the latest innovations is Lutron’s new C?L Dimmer, which is designed to work with dimmable CFL and LED bulbs. And these dimmers can also be used for halogen and incandescent bulbs, so it really works across the board in your home.
And you may get a flicker with traditional dimmers when you use CFLs and LEDs but not with the Lutron C?L Dimmer. This really is an advancement. We’ve been waiting for this and this is truly the dimmer that you want if you want to be green in the lighting in your home. And Lutron helps make sure that today’s dimmers work with tomorrow’s light sources.
TOM: And they really do, because I’ve got four LED bulbs in my kitchen high-hat fixtures and one of these C?L dimmers and it works perfectly. It comes on every time; I never get any flickering. It just works great.
If you want to learn more about Lutron’s C?L dimmers, you can visit Lutron.com/DimCFLLED for more information.
LESLIE: Bob in Washington is on the line with a roofing question. What can we do for you today?
BOB: I’m looking at putting a roof on the home and in the Yellow Page ads, there’s – one advertises against the other. There’s two; they’re larger contractors here. And one suggests that he’s better by using a hand-nailed technique versus air-mechanical. And I’d like your thoughts on that.
TOM: Well, I think it makes no difference whether the roofing product is nailed by hand or nailed with an air gun. Both are completely acceptable ways to fasten roofing products to the house.
I think what makes the difference between one pro or the other is really their workmanship. So I would not be confused by competing claims of how a roof is nailed. I can see somebody using that as – it’s kind of like hand-cut, hand-finished, hand-nailed. You have this sort of vision of something that’s quality in craftsmanship involvement, right? But I really don’t think it makes a difference.
But what makes all the difference when hiring a roofer is the quality of that work and how well the roof is put together, especially when it comes to those intersections that have to be flashed. So, if all else looks good with these two roofers, I would do a deeper dive on their references and perhaps check online sites like ServiceMagic or Angie’s List, sites like that, to just double-check what their reputations are, talk to past customers.
You know, last time I had to hire a contractor that I did not know, I did get a list of references. And I’ve got to say, I think the contractor was quite shocked when I actually called these folks. So get their references and call them and you’ll find people are generally very willing to talk to you about their experience with the contractor. So, I think that’s the best way to proceed. Workmanship makes all the difference when it comes to hiring a roofer.
BOB: On the roofing material, up in the Northwest where I am now, would – is there – and I’m looking at a conventional, three-tab, asphalt-type composition roof. Is there a better grade of material or something that I should be looking for? As you can tell, this is a first-time roof for me, so …
TOM: Are you in a high-wind area?
BOB: We do get quite a bit of wind up where I’m at, up – kind of up on a hill.
TOM: I would consider the wind-resistance but I mean a product like an Owens Corning shingle is excellent. But I would definitely consider the wind-resistance and buy a product that’s weighted for – that’s rated for wind. Some of those – I know some of those OC shingles are rated for over 100 miles an hour.
LESLIE: I think it’s even up to 150.
TOM: Yeah. The good news is the roof will be there; the house, not so much.
BOB: Well, thank you so much. That’s been enlightening to me to hear what you have to say.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nancy in Oregon needs some help with some spring cleaning. How can we help you today?
NANCY: My siding gets green on it and so does the riser on my stairs. And north flower beds get lots of moss in them and I was wondering how to keep the moss out without harming the flowers.
TOM: OK. So this is a very common problem and especially when you have shaded areas. When you don’t have a lot of sunlight getting to a space, typically it can get a lot of algae and a lot of moss.
Now, one way to deal with this is with a mixture of bleach and water but that can definitely kill your flowers. There’s another product out there that is more effective and much safer. It’s called Wet & Forget.
NANCY: Wet & Forget. Now, that’s for the stairs and the siding?
LESLIE: Yeah. It really is a great product because what you do with it is you just sort of spray it on the surfaces, which would be your siding and the staircase, and then you just let it sit there and do its job. As it gets rained on, as it just sort of sits there, it works to get rid of the mold, moss, algae, mildew, whatever is there. And it works in a way that it sort of just stays there and will continue to work over time.
You’re going to put it on. You’re not going to see it happen right away but give it a couple of days, a week and you’ll see it start to go away and then be gone. And it’s usually around 35 bucks a gallon or so and you can find it at Ace Hardware and other types of shops like that. And it’s a great product.
NANCY: So you put it on full strength?
LESLIE: Yes. Nancy, it’s a concentrate so what you need to do is you want to dilute it about 2½ cups of the Wet & Forget to a gallon of water. And again, you just apply it. Within a few days, you’ll start to notice it working and that’ll really do the trick.
Now, for your flowerbed, I think what you really want to do is try to get more sunlight into the flowerbed, because that will deter the moss from growing. Obviously, it’s a shade garden so that’s kind of what happens in that space: you’ll get moss. And you probably have plants in there that do well or best in shade. So if you can get a little bit more sunlight in there, that will truly help to get rid of that moss.
NANCY: Well, Wet & Forget sounds like a good thing to try.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Mary from Iowa on the line who’s got a question about the furnace . How can we help you today?
MARY: I have a forced-air furnace that I heat my garage with.
MARY: And what would be the best furnace filter for that? Because I don’t like any dust out there.
TOM: Well, that’s a good question and you have several options.
First of all, the standard furnace installation comes with a fiberglass filter  and of course, that just keeps the big particles out. You can use a high-efficiency filter. I know that 3M has one that’s quite good called Filtrete – F-i-l-t-r-e-t-e. And that will do a much better job than the fiberglass – standard fiberglass – filter.
And then if you really want to keep out a lot of dust, then you go for electronic air cleaner. And now you can have something that actually is so efficient, it will keep out virus-sized particles. So three good options. And if you don’t want to dust – and we feel your pain on that – you’ve got to put in a good-quality filter .
MARY: OK. Well, anyway, I certainly appreciate the fact that I got a chance to talk to you and you answered my question.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Say, do you want to be the envy of your neighborhood this summer? Learn how to fertilize your lawn now and get a lush carpet of green, just in time for Memorial Day. We’ll tell you how, next.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Andersen Windows. Right now at The Home Depot, all special-order Andersen windows, patio doors and accessories are 10-percent off. Replacing windows or patio doors is always a big decision. Saving 10 percent on Andersen and lowering energy bills? Well, that’s easy. And Andersen makes replacing your old drafty windows easy, with a new 400 Series Tilt-Wash Double-Hung Replacement Window. Now 10-percent off at The Home Depot. Valid through April 22nd, U.S. only. See store for details.
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: Online right now at MoneyPit.com, we’ve got our green home guide, which is chock-a-block full of money-saving and energy-saving products for your house. You can check it out right now, online, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Diane in Arizona needs some help with air conditioning and being in Arizona, you’re going to need some air conditioning. How can we help you?
DIANE: I had a settlement with the insurance company, because we had a storm here and I got – my air conditioner got damaged and it was 10 years old. And it’s a central air. I have electric for air conditioning and for heat, we have gas. And when – I do not have a computer, so I hear about different units like York, Goodman, Trane, a Lennox. I don’t know which ones are good, which ones are bad, which ones last longer.
TOM: First of all, are you only replacing the outside condensing unit or you’re also replacing the furnace and the air handler or any of the inside parts?
TOM: Everything. OK. Because it’s important for maximum efficiency that what you put outside matches what you put inside the house. Because they have to work together or you don’t get the same efficiency.
I think that Trane is a very good brand to start with – T-r-a-n-e. It’s a good-quality product. Lots of great options and very energy-efficient.
It’s going to be real important, Diane, that you choose one that is Energy Star-rated. I’m sure they all are with Trane but even if you go with a different brand, if you compare Energy Star-rated units against other Energy Star-rated units, at last you have a basis for comparison. At least you know that you’re getting the same level of energy efficiency.
But Trane is a good place to start and now is a great time to get this project done before it gets too hot.
DIANE: That’s wonderful to know, because there’s a lot out there.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, the most humid place in your home is probably your bathroom. And while there’s nothing like a good, hot, steamy shower, you need to know how to control the moisture in your bath.
TOM: That’s right. Too much moisture can cause paint to peel and mold to grow but there are ways to prevent it. Here to tell us how is the plumbing and heating expert from TV’s This Old House, Richard Trethewey.
RICHARD: Nice to be here.
TOM: Now, we often think of mold being a basement problem but mold is actually more common in the bathroom, isn’t it?
RICHARD: Well, anywhere you combine moisture, air and some food source – drywall or a paper – you’re going to get a mold problem. And the bathroom is a perfect candidate for that.
TOM: And one of the best ways to prevent that is to have good bath ventilation. What are some of the options to choose from?
RICHARD: Well, I think there’s really three. The most common one that we all know is that bath fan. Sometimes, it has an integra (ph) light in it and it sits right in the center of the bathroom. And it turns it on and you exhaust it to outside.
RICHARD: They also make a remote fan now, which you could put a – as the name suggests, you could put a fan up in an attic and it could be the fan for more than one bathroom. And that can be quieter and it can be energy-saving.
TOM: So it’s ducted to the individual bathrooms then but really one motor can basically run everything.
RICHARD: That’s right. And the motor’s efficient and quiet.
RICHARD: And the other thing that you see more and more in these tighter houses is a thing called an energy-recovery ventilator or a heat-recovery ventilator.
TOM: Alright. Now, how does that work?
RICHARD: Well, just imagine that all the places where you could get air that was both highly humid and filled with odor – that would be bathrooms and kitchens – that leaves through an exhaust duct through this box.
RICHARD: And as that air leaves, it will pass through this energy-recovery ventilator while at the same time, fresh air from outside will pass in the opposite direction across that stale, heated air.
Now, the air doesn’t touch it directly but the heat is transferred to that new air that’s coming in.
TOM: Ah, so we actually take some of that heat that we paid to create – in that smelly, damp, moist air – and we transfer it through this sort of heat-exchange mechanism to the fresh air coming in.
RICHARD: Yeah, we get the best of both worlds. We get preheated, fresh air into the building while we’re exhausting the stale air out. And with an energy-recovery ventilator, we also can transfer humidity, so we’re not going to be bringing in dry, dry air in the winter. We’ll get some of the humidity that was in the house to stay in the house.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about the switching mechanisms for these, because I think that one of the easiest ways to try to keep mold down in your bathroom and reduce that humidity is to make sure not only that you have the ventilator of your choice but that it runs long enough to do the job. Timers can play an important part there, couldn’t they?
RICHARD: Right. You need enough fresh air in a building and as the building gets tighter, as fuel goes up, people are insulating more and doing all sorts of things to keep the heat and the air in. So putting a timer for 20 or 25 minutes of every hour, to just bring some fresh air in, is actually good to keep ahead of that mold issue.
TOM: And probably the more that you can do this with occupancy sensors and things like that – where you don’t have to depend on your kid, for example, to set a timer when they step out of the shower – makes the most sense.
TOM: Because it’s more of a chance it’s going to actually get used.
RICHARD: I think that’s part of the future, Tom, is this remote-proximity sensor. I think in a bathroom, it should bring on the fan to bring fresh air in, it should bring on a recirc line to bring hot water to the hot-water faucet. And then more and more of that’s being done now with some of these cool home-automation systems.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about venting. Once you take that humid air out of the bathroom, it’s real important that you don’t put it somewhere else where it can do damage, like the attic.
RICHARD: Right. We’ve seen on Ask This Old House all these years, so many times the attic is so filled with mold because the vent pipe has come off of the exhaust fan. You’ve just been dumping highly humid air into this wooden rafter opening.
TOM: Which is cold and condenses and it’s wet all the time.
RICHARD: Absolutely. Perfect condition for mold.
TOM: Not to mention the fact that that insulation getting wet really doesn’t do its job very well, either.
RICHARD: That’s right. We often see that flexible ducting that’s used on these bath fans also can – if it’s not supported, can provide sag points where moisture will sit in it and that really becomes a mold place.
TOM: Interesting. So it becomes almost a trap, just a plumbing trap, but it’s collecting condensation.
RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.
TOM: Now, what are some other things that you can do to reduce mold in the bathroom? Specifically, let’s talk about grout or caulk, for example. I mean that’s really – that’s that one dirty area of the house that you wish you’d get cleaned but sometimes you just can’t.
RICHARD: Well, they have mildew-resistant caulking and that can do a good job. It’s not going to stop every bit of mildew if you’ve got high, high humidity levels. You can use paperless, mold-resistant drywall in the bathroom. You’ve got to really get rid of that food source, which is any paper or cellulose, where mold wants to grow.
TOM: And always make sure you have a paint that has a mildew-resistant additive to it, as well?
RICHARD: That’s right. That’s right.
TOM: Yeah. So, essentially, if we want to stop mold growth in our bathroom, we need to attack it on all fronts: we need to make sure we keep the humidity down; we ventilate all that warm, moist air; and then any other opportunity we have to choose something that’s mold-resistant, then definitely take that step.
RICHARD: Yeah. Water is the active ingredient that you’ve got to stay ahead of, most importantly, Tom.
TOM: Unfortunately, we need a lot of that in the bathroom.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: Richard Trethewey, the plumbing and heating contractor from TV’s This Old House, great advice, as always. Thanks for stopping by.
RICHARD: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and a step-by-step video on this project and others, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by Lumber Liquidators. Lumber Liquidators, hardwood floors for less.
Still ahead, do you have unsightly moss and mildew beginning to take over your home’s exterior? You know, there’s no such thing as attractive moss; it’s all unsightly. But we’ve got a quick and easy way to help you get rid of it, once and for all, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. Tired of reminding your family to turn off the lights? Install a Lutron Maestro Occupancy Sensor and you’ll never have to remind them again. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit ChooseLutron.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. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who gets on the air with us this hour wins the award-winning Philips LED Bulb.
Now, this bulb won the L Prize, which is a Department of Energy competition to develop an energy-efficient light bulb to replace those incandescents. And it is the most energy-efficient alternative to the standard 60-watt incandescent bulb which is, of course, the most popular incandescent, so it’s great that we’ve got a wonderful alternative.
And you know what? It delivers soft, white light and get this, can last more than 25 years and save up to $165, over the life of the bulb, in energy costs. That’s huge. And it’s available in select Home Depot stores by Earth Day. So look for the display and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win one now.
TOM: 888-666-3974. We’ve actually got a full set of those bulbs, so you can have two in your house if you give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Frank in North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a flooring project. Tell us what you’re working on.
FRANK: Yeah. I had some flood damage to a building and I had ¾-inch waferboard in it and I replaced it with ¾-inch plywood. I wanted to put down wood-plank flooring and I’m wondering if I need to put down underlayment before I put down the wood plank or just use adhesives and nails on it.
TOM: You want to put down prefinished or raw wood-plank flooring?
TOM: So you want to put down unfinished wood flooring? Well, typically, all you do is lay down rosin paper. You know what that is?
FRANK: Rosin paper, OK.
LESLIE: It’s like that pink roll of paper that you find in – it’s usually in the flooring or the roofing section, somewhere in the home center.
TOM: Yeah, just because it gives you a clean surface to start on. And then you’ll nail right through that. You don’t glue the flooring down; you nail it down with a – you can rent a nail gun – a flooring gun – so you get the nails in. Because the nails have to be driven at an angle into the tongue of the floor. So you rent a nail gun and go from there.
FRANK: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, you’re spending more time outdoors now and as soon as the weather warms up even more, the sun is out longer, you’re going to start to see something grow and multiply out there. No, we’re not talking about grass, we’re not talking about flowers, we’re not even talking about weeds. But we’re talking about the kind of stuff that grows on your siding and sidewalks: it’s mold, mildew, moss and algae. We get a lot of calls to the program about how to clean these common culprits.
And guess what? The traditional method is no longer the most effective.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Traditionally, we’ve recommended pressure-washing. We’ve also recommended bleach. But we now know about a great product that uses neither: Wet & Forget. It’s an easy, gentle and biodegradable solution for removing moss, mold, mildew and algae stains. And it’s been used to clean places like Sea World, which you know has a lot of water, and the Sydney Opera House, also around a lot of water.
And Wet & Forget is non-caustic, non-acidic and contains no bleach. All you have to do is dilute Wet & Forget with water and apply to any outdoor surface. Just apply it.
TOM: Yeah, I mean the name says it all: wet it and forget it. There’s no scrubbing, there’s no rinsing, there’s no power-washing. Every time it rains, Wet & Forget actually activates and works to wash away the stains for you.
You can find Wet & Forget in the blue bottle at participating Ace, Do it Best, True Value and local lawn-and-garden retailers. Or visit their store-locator map at WetAndForget.com.
888-666-3974. We’re going to help you forget some of that stress you had over the home repair project on your to-do list. Give us a call and we will help you find the easy way to get it done.
Hey, you want to learn how you can save money, energy and maybe do your part to save the planet, too? Well, just in time for Earth Day, take a look at our green product guide right now at MoneyPit.com, which is presented, in part, by the Philips Lighting Company.
LESLIE: Philips has created products that can save energy in all of your lighting fixtures, while making your home look great. See what light can do at www.Philips.com .
TOM: Well, when it rains it pours and when it pours, you may notice a leaky roof. If that happens to you, we’ll share a secret to help you pinpoint the source, after this.
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TOM: This is 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: You can reach us at 888-MONEY-PIT or you can head on over to MoneyPit.com and post your question in the Community section, just like Vijay did.
LESLIE: Alright. And Vijay writes: “I have a leakage in my bathroom only when it rains hard and windy. This wets the beam on the ceiling and the corresponding wall just halfway along the beam. Can you help me with what might be the cause? When it rains slowly and steadily, no leak.”
He’s answering it there: wind.
TOM: Well, yeah, obvious it’s a wind-driven leak, which is not unusual. But I will tell you that if you have a leak in your bathroom ceiling, it’s almost always caused by the same thing and it’s easy to fix.
Above the bathroom ceiling, you’re going to have a vent pipe. It vents the plumbing system, goes straight up through the roof. And around that vent pipe, there’s a piece of vent-pipe flashing. And the vent-pipe flashing has a rubber boot around it and the rubber boots typically dry and crack and sort of peel away. Water will get blown into that gap between the vent pipe and the flashing piece, run down the pipe and once it catches the pipe, it can go in any which way in terms of direction. And it will leak …
LESLIE: And it will.
TOM: And it will. And it will leak. And so, what I would do is go outside, grab a pair of binoculars, look up at that piece of vent flashing and see if it looks like it’s cracked or torn. If it is, replace it and you will be good to go. A project, by the way, that I had to do this year, myself.
LESLIE: Yeah, so it happens. It even happens to the best of them.
Alright. I’ve got a post here from Terry who writes: “I have a 90,000-BTU furnace that I would like to install in my garage, running off of a 100-pound portable propane tank. But I don’t know what type of regulator to get for the bottle. I tried a 30-pound bottle with a barbecue regulator and that just didn’t work. My garage is very small and I want to heat it up when I work in there.”
TOM: Terry, bad idea. This is not a do-it-yourself project, if you’re asking questions like that.
First of all, putting that furnace in your garage, that’s a huge furnace at 90,000 BTUs. And secondly, if it has a pilot light, you have to be very careful how it’s installed, because any furnace or any kind of pilot light in the garage has to be 18 inches off the ground. Why? Because gasoline fumes are heavier than air and if you have some gasoline that drips out of a car, leaks out of a car or even if you left, say, your filler cap off and some of those fumes got out and started to fill the floor area, if it contacts with the pilot light, boom.
So I would suggest – strongly suggest – Terry, that you have this furnace installed by a pro, a propane company, whatever. Just don’t do it yourself. You shouldn’t be messing with that, my friend. You could get hurt.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from June who writes: “What is the best way to clean oil-based painted walls? I have an oil base-paint accent wall with a crosshatch faux finish in a honey color that’s starting to look dingy but I’m afraid certain cleaners will strip it. Any advice?”
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think any cleaner is going to strip that. I mean oil paint is pretty tough.
LESLIE: It’s probably got a good coating on it. Yeah, generally when there’s, you know, a faux finish on a wall, there’s usually a top coat that sort of seals everything in place, correct?
TOM: Yeah. I was going to suggest maybe a very weak solution of TSP. If it’s really, really dirty, that would clean it. And if not, then you could just use any type of household cleaner on that and it should do the trick. But I would not have any concern about it stripping away oil paint. And even the latex paints, if it’s a good-quality latex paint, it could stand a good cleaning, too.
LESLIE: It’ll stick.
TOM: It’s the poor-quality flat finishes on the latex paint that you can’t clean. But certainly, oil-based you could or a good-quality latex, no problem.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. Good luck with that, June. Just don’t scrub too aggressively. Be very gentle with it and you’ll be enjoying your wall finish in no time.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you some ideas, some inspiration to save some perspiration when you get out and tackle a home repair or home improvement project on your list this weekend.
I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don't have to do it alone.
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(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.)