Learn how to prepare for winter storms, including stocking up on food, water and how to choose a backup generator. Get tips on finding valuable items at flea markets and yard sales. Fixes you can do around the house to keep your valentine happy. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about, installing new windows, tankless hot water heaters, carport roof, sidewalk repair, structures, heating, and roof repairs
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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. So, get out that list, pick up the phone before you pick up the tools and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, from trash to treasure, we’ve got the host of the Antiques Roadshow joining us: Mark Walberg. That’s the Antiques Roadshow Mark Walberg, not the actor Mark Wahlberg. Mark and Marky are both welcome to join our program.
But the Antiques Roadshow Mark Walberg will be stopping by to talk about his brand-new show and teach you some tricks about how to find those hidden gems in your attics and your basements and wherever else they exist.
Plus, Valentine’s Day is upon us and if you usually give away flowers or candy, we’ve got some tips to help you step it up and spice it up with a Valentine’s Day room makeover.
And speaking of room makeovers, we’re also giving away a beautiful area rug worth $500 this hour, from our friends at Loloi Rugs. It’s going to go out to one lucky caller drawn at random. So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, let’s get right to those phones. Who’s first?
LESLIE: Robert in North Carolina is on the line and is dealing with a dryer that – guess what? – just is not drying. That’s the worst. Tell us what’s going on.
ROBERT: Well, I’ve got a dryer; it’s about five or six years old. And here, lately, for about the past six or eight months, it’s taken sometimes three cycles to dry a medium-to-large size load of clothes.
TOM: Oh, that makes no sense.
ROBERT: Yeah. And the heating element was replaced maybe a year-and-a-half, two years ago. We just don’t know what’s going on with it.
TOM: Do you get good airflow when the dryer runs, where it’s pushing warm air out the exhaust duct?
ROBERT: Yeah. I went up to the roof one time when it was running and it was coming out of there fairly decent and the air was warm.
TOM: You just may have uncovered one problem. When you take a dryer vent and you push it up against gravity – and so it’s driving all the way up to the roof from, I presume, the second floor – a dryer is not really designed to do that. And I know that a lot of times, folks install them that way but trying to force that hot air to go up all of that distance to the roof can sometimes be problematic.
Look, if your dryer’s not heating properly, there’s only a few things that could be causing that. One is the heating element. So, let’s presume that this is working correctly, although it certainly seems – sounds like it’s not. There could be multiple heating elements and one could be burned out. This is a reason you feel some warm air.
The next thing is the ductwork and you want to make sure that that’s clean: not only the external ductwork but even internally. Sometimes, if you get something stuck in the internal ductwork in the dryer, that can block some of the airflow itself.
TOM: And the other thing that can happen is sometimes it can overheat and then cycle. So, if it’s overheating, what’ll happen is it’ll get really hot and then it’ll overheat and the heating element will go off. And then it’ll cool down and then it’ll come on again, it’ll get really hot and it’ll go off. And that kind of cycling of a thermostat can be a problem, as well.
I mean at this point, it sounds to me like you’ve done almost everything that you can do on your own. You might want to either replace it or get it serviced.
How old is the dryer?
ROBERT: Probably no more than six years.
TOM: Yeah, well, you know, six to eight years is not a terribly short period of time for a dryer. So, you might want to think about replacing it or getting a pro to fix it. Because I think it’s probably one of those three things that’s causing the issue.
ROBERT: Yeah. And another thing, it’s got about between 20, 25 feet of – it has the corrugated duct. And we were thinking about changing that to the smooth, stovepipe kind of duct. Would that help, also?
TOM: Where is this 20, 25 feet? You mean from the discharge port all the way up to the attic where it discharges?
TOM: That’s a long way and certainly a solid metal duct is going to be better. Can you go up into the attic and then go sort of across the attic floor and down towards the soffit and install a vent right there?
ROBERT: It’s possible. It’s just a single-story house, so I’m sure I could do that. But the laundry room is in the middle of the house.
TOM: I’ve got to tell you, even if you had that venting perfectly, three – running this thing for three loads to dry one load of clothes sounds like it’s something else and not necessarily totally venting.
ROBERT: OK. Yeah, we were thinking about – just don’t think it’s worth it to call somebody out there to fix it. We’ve got – we found a fairly decent dryer. We know somebody that runs a childcare center and uses the one we’re thinking about getting. And they run it five, six times a day and they’ve had theirs for three years.
TOM: I think that makes sense. Unfortunately, these products today are almost disposable because the cost of repair is so high. I will give you one other suggestion. There’s a website called RepairClinic.com that’s pretty good at helping you identify problems with appliances and then selling you the parts you need to fix it.
So, you may want to take a look at that. They have a little tool there where you can put in your model number and it’ll walk you through the scenarios. And who knows? It might be a common problem with that particular model.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeannie in Colorado is working on a construction project. How can we help?
JEANNIE: Hi. We sure are. We’re putting all-new windows in and we’ve got them – hello, by the way.
TOM: Well, that’s exciting.
JEANNIE: Sorry about that.
JEANNIE: So we put windows all around but in the living room, which is a large window, we were thinking about one of those – I guess it’s not a bay window but the kind that extend out, like a garden window?
JEANNIE: And it’d be so nice to have a little window seat there but I am wondering, does that need to actually have a foundation poured then if you do something like that?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Hmm. Depends on how big your butt is.
JEANNIE: Four hundred pounds, yes.
TOM: No, you don’t have – you don’t need a foundation for that. You can – there’s an L-bracket that will come from the house siding, up underneath the window, that supports a bay window like that.
JEANNIE: Yes, I’ve seen that. That’d be enough?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm and …
LESLIE: Well, I’m sure you’ll have to use a sufficient amount to cover the weight that you’re expecting but I also think it’s a good opportunity for you to think about using that space to create window seating that may have storage underneath, tops that open up, so you can tuck away a couple of off-season items in there or toys or whatever you might need extra space. And then, of course, think about using foam and upholstery and creating a really great, comfy, little space that you can enjoy.
JEANNIE: That is the plan. We have two, little-bitty grandkids.
TOM: Oh, terrific.
JEANNIE: One’s a year-and-a-half and the other one’s younger. And I thought, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” Maybe it’d be a little bed for them, too, inside there. What do you think about that?
LESLIE: That could be great. I mean they’re so little, they’ll snuggle up in there no problem. Just make sure, if you’re doing this yourself and you’re going to put storage underneath, with small kids like that, you want to – on the hinge, there’s going to be a stop mechanism so that if the kids open it up and then let go, it’ll softly close or hold that top open so it doesn’t come slamming down on them.
JEANNIE: Got that down. OK. We’ll have to do some shopping, I know, but I was afraid if it needed new foundation and everything really like that, we couldn’t do it. But with brackets supporting – which we could put several, like you say, to support the weight – that’d be wonderful.
Well, thank you so much. That gives me hope.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by for your calls, 24-7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, as we here on the East Coast learned, major storms can pop up at any time and with simply not enough notice. So, like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared. We’re going to have some tips to help you be ready, next.
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: Standing by to take your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And one lucky caller is going to win a 5x8 luxury rug from Loloi. It’s going out to one caller drawn at random and it’s a beautiful prize for this hour of the show. It’s the winner’s choice from the Encore Collection; you get to choose any one that you like. The rugs are in a plush, shag style but they’ve got varying pile heights for a really sleek and sophisticated look.
You can see it for yourself at LoloiRugs.com. That’s Loloi – L-o-l-o-i – Rugs.com. And give us a call right now, because we’d love to toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. Maybe we will be putting that carpet under your feet.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joe in Michigan who’s dealing with a gutter issue. Tell us what’s going on.
JOE: Hey, this roof, I need some help with. I bought the house about eight years ago. And it’s got a good roof on it but it appears that they tried to save some money and have somebody do it. And what the problem is is the shingles don’t come out far enough from the top of the roof to get into the gutters. And there’s a metal strip that goes along, right at the bottom edge of the roof.
And from what I see, it almost looks as though it’s turned around backwards, as though if it were put in properly, it would extend out further to help get the water towards the gutters or into the gutters?
TOM: Hmm. OK.
JOE: So what – the mess I’ve got now is I’ve got all this water that’s hitting some spots in the gutter properly and others not. And I’ve tried to push the gutters and tap the gutters back up as far against the fascia as I can and I’m still getting water through there and it’s frustrating.
TOM: Well, the metal strip is throwing me a little bit. Now, typically, at the edge of the fascia, you’d have something called a “drip edge,” which is sort of like a right-angle piece of trim that goes over the front of the fascia and up under the roof. And it’s at a 90-degree angle. Is that kind of what you’re seeing or not?
JOE: I had them install some aluminum over the fascia board but I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about. It is a channel of sorts but it’s right on the top lip of the roof, if I’m explaining this right. You know where they first start putting the shingles on and then they start moving up forward? It’s like right at that edge, there’s a – there’s metal.
TOM: Are the shingles resting on top of the metal?
TOM: Regardless, the solution here is the same. What you need to do is to extend those roof shingles into the gutter. So, because there’s not a magic potion that will do that, the way to fix this is to get a flat bar – and that’s a very thin pry bar. And you’re lifting up the edges of those shingles at the bottom of the roof edge. And you’re going to slip underneath some flashing and the flashing that you would use is probably just aluminum-roll flashing, maybe 6-inch or 8-inch-wide flashing. And the easiest way to do this is in small pieces, because it becomes too hard to handle when you have a long piece.
And you run the flashing up under the roof shingles and you make sure it extends past the roof shingles and lays into the top of the gutters. So, essentially what you’re doing is creating a bridge to make up the distance between where the shingle ended and where it really should have ended, which is at the edge of the gutter. And this way, when the water comes down the roof, it will drop from the shingle to the flashing to the gutter. Does that make sense?
JOE: Absolutely. And that sounds like something I can do, so I appreciate you and we’ll give that a shot.
TOM: Well, if we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s that bad winter storms can certainly pop up anywhere, anytime. And even if you’re in a warm climate, you know you can get some pretty powerful thunderstorms pretty much any day of the year.
So, the trick here is to don’t be caught unprepared. It’s important to have some ready-to-eat food stored and plenty of bottled water. You need about a gallon of day. Of course, flashlights, batteries, battery-operated radio, all of that’s critical, as well. But the key here is to really think about investing in backup power.
I’ve got to tell you, when my family was knocked offline for nine days as a result of Hurricane Sandy, we were one of the few homes in our area that had a standby generator. And it ran our house for nine days straight, powered by natural gas because guess what? You couldn’t even buy gasoline when the power is out in a community. So, good time to think about investing in a standby generator or if you can’t afford that, at least a portable so that you are protected when the storms roll in and the power rolls out.
LESLIE: Esther in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, you can tell me how I can put little windows into a metal garden shed.
TOM: Oh, OK. So, it’s just a single-wall metal shed?
ESTHER: It is. It’s like overlapping metal sheets.
TOM: Yeah. Hmm. Why do you want to put the windows in there? Just for light?
ESTHER: For light and also because if we put shutters on the outside of them, they’re dressed up and it’ll look kind of cute from the outside.
TOM: And it looks pretty, right? Yeah.
If you purchase very inexpensive, new-construction style windows – new-construction style windows have sort of a fin – a nailing fin – on the outside of it, like a strip that surrounds it. If you were to do that and you cut the hole in the wall to just fit around the outside of the window and install the window backwards – in other words, instead of putting it in from the front and covering it with siding, you’re going to start on the inside and mount it there and then stick it sort of through the hole that you cut, that fits around the window. And then you could bolt them in place and then cover the bolts with the shutters. That would be the way to create the illusion that the windows were built into the shed.
So, just to review, you would purchase a very inexpensive window, because we’re not in the least bit concerned about energy efficiency; this is just for show. Make sure it has a nailing flange around the outside of it: sort of this fin that sticks out. Cut the hole in the metal wall that’s the exact size of the window, insert the window from the back and then the nailing flange that’s on the back you can bolt in to the metal that’s all the way around. And then you would cover those bolts with the shutters. And you’ll have to caulk it to make sure it’s watertight.
ESTHER: Oh, sure. Great. OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re welcoming Tim from Illinois to The Money Pit with a water-heating question. What’s going on?
TIM: Oh, I have a nine-year-old water tank and I’m trying to get the rod that collects all the minerals out and it didn’t want to come, so I was afraid to have busted some pipes. So I was curious, should I just – should leave it alone? And with it being nine years old, it’s almost at the end of its life as far as the water tank. Because I understand that water tanks are usually from 8 to 12 years for a replacement?
TOM: Yeah. So you’re – you’ve been trying to replace the anode and having a hard time getting it out, correct?
TIM: Yeah. I think it’s rusted-in or I …
TOM: Sometimes, you have to put – get a little leverage on the wrench to do that. And once you get the wrench on the anode, sometimes you have to kind of extend that wrench handle to really get that out. It’s a bit of a tricky job. But considering the age of the tank, I probably wouldn’t spend much money on it, because I think you’re right: 10, 12 years is a pretty average life expectancy for a standard water heater.
And when it comes time to replace the water heater, you might even decide to upgrade it and go with a tankless water heater, which is going to last you a lot longer and be far more efficient.
TIM: And that might be a good choice for me, because I’m single and no one else lives in the household and I’m gone most of the time.
TOM: Yeah, well, that’s the difference between the tankless water heater and a standard water heater: the water heater is kind of dumb. It just – it heats the water 24-7 whether you need it or not and when the water cools down, it comes back on and heats it some more.
A tankless water heater is going to heat on demand. And so because that’s going to be a lot more efficient for a single guy – but even a big family with teenage daughters, for example, that don’t know the meaning of a short shower, they never run out of hot water when they have tankless. Could just – works very well in both extremes.
TIM: So how much is something like – cost for installation and so forth?
TOM: Well, if you compare it against a high-efficiency, tanked water heater, it’s similar. But if you compare it against a standard, sort of low-efficiency, it’s probably going to be about twice as much. But it will last longer, too, and you’re going to save money on the energy bills, too.
TIM: I thank you for your time. And I love your show and your advice is well worth listening to.
LESLIE: Kip in Louisiana is on the line and needs some help with a brick problem. Tell us what you’re working on.
KIP: I just built a patio and we covered the patio with a – basically, it looks like an addition to the house to match the existing roof. And we have brick on the outside but whenever the builder came in and put the patio, he had to cut some of the overhang to make it go straight up, if you kind of imagine what I’m saying here.
And so now I have particle board, or OSB board, at the top and then brick at the bottom. And I’m looking the best option to cover this with to give it some kind of – something nice to look at instead of going it with stone or something like that. My options were stucco, tongue-and-groove board or the Hardie Board or something like that.
TOM: So, right now, you have brick on the bottom of the house? And what other kind of siding do you have on top of that or is it only brick? Is this the only area that’s sticking out?
KIP: Well, the wall is brick and then we have the door, of course. But you have the wall is brick and where he cut the overhang out, above that is OSB.
TOM: OK. Well, OSB obviously is not an exterior-siding material and so you’ve got to put something on there. I think that the composite shingles – the HardiePlank – is probably a good option for you. The thing is, if you do something like stone, it may not look right, because it may not match the brick properly and not look natural. But if you use a completely different siding product, then it may have a better, more complimentary appearance. Either that or even something like 1x8 cedar clapboard. You know, it’s a very thick, deep profile and brown cedar siding looks pretty nice against red brick.
KIP: OK. What about the – and I know it’s not pressure-treated but there’s a tongue-and-groove pine. If that being stained with a sealer, would that last the duration or not?
TOM: Not nearly as much as one of the siding products like HardiePlank or cedar. And by the way, if you take your time and finish that properly, you can probably get 20 years out of it. And by finish it properly, I mean use a good, oil-based primer on the siding and then cover that with a solid-color stain.
KIP: OK. Well, good deal, guys. I appreciate it.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, have you ever walked away from a flea market or a yard sale empty-handed or worse, with useless junk? We’re going to have some expert tips on how to sort trash from treasure, straight from the host of the Antiques Roadshow. Mark Walberg joins us, next.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, we’ve all had moments where you dug up an old antique out of your attic or perhaps you came across something that caught your eye at a flea market. And no doubt you wondered is it worth something: I mean something more than maybe the 25-cent price sticker says on the teacup or the $1 bowl that you found.
Well, Mark Walberg has made a career out of helping people answer that question. He is the host of Market Warriors on PBS and he’s here now to offer help in identifying those hidden treasures.
MARK: Good to talk to you, Tom and Leslie.
TOM: So, let’s talk first about your show, Market Warriors. For those that haven’t seen this, give us the quick elevator speech. How does it work?
MARK: Well, Market Warriors, we have four professional pickers who have varying expertise. And we send them to a flea market somewhere in America. And there are two or three shopping rounds where we give them a challenge of what they have to shop for and a budget. And then they search high and low to find what they think would be a good item. They buy what they can, for as low as they can, and then we take those items and our pickers to a different location in the country where those items will be auctioned off at an auction house, to see if they make a profit.
TOM: So you really put them to the test. So this is kind of what happens to us when we go to these flea markets or when we’re cleaning out Grandma’s attic. What are some of the best places to find these hidden treasures?
MARK: Flea markets, you would think you’d get these things really undervalued, that you would think that at the flea market, the people have all the stuff on their tables and all of it is way below retail price. But the truth is it’s very close to retail. And because of the internet and because of people’s ability, the dealers who bring things to these antiques fairs and these flea markets, they’re pretty aware of what they have and what the value is.
TOM: Yeah, they generally know what they’re doing.
MARK: Absolutely. So, the best thing for you to do is know what you’re doing. And there’s no real remedy for that except research. So, if you’ve got an iPad, bring that with you and see what you can find out on your smartphone and see if you can research the item. But I think what people overlook a lot when they’re shopping for value is that the same thing that drives value in the retail stores drives value everywhere.
Condition is so important. So sometimes you find something that you know is a really valuable, old piece but if it’s beat up or broken, it’s not valuable.
MARK: That’s probably the biggest mistake people make that I see.
TOM: So I guess the fact that we are all so wired today has really changed the dynamic of flea-market shopping and garage-sale shopping because really, we could spot something and even kind of put it in our pile or our cart, grab the iPod and do some really quick – or even the iPhone – and do some really quick research to kind of see what we’re holding onto there.
MARK: Absolutely. And that’s a great idea to do it, because it’s not too hard to find comparable sales prices. If you know you’ve got an authentic piece that’s right, it’s not hard to do a quick search and see what something very similar to that same specs sold for recently. And then you know if you’re in the ballpark.
TOM: So of all the different sort of categories of valuables that are out there, are there certain categories like, I don’t know, china, for example, that you’re apt to find a better deal in – than maybe jewelry or …?
MARK: I really couldn’t quantify it like that. I couldn’t tell you if there’s a certain area where you are – have a better margin. But there are great pieces of furniture out there: mid-century, modern furniture that can be had at a really good price and hold its value.
And there’s great costume jewelry that can be found. The difference is with jewelry, there’s far more inventory; there’s lots of pieces out there.
MARK: So if you can search and you know what you’re looking for, you can find some really great costume and fine jewelry that is under value and you can really find some finds.
TOM: We’re talking to Mark Walberg. He’s the host of Market Warriors on PBS.
So, Mark, tell us some of the surprise finds that your pickers have identified: something that they picked up that maybe everybody was totally blown away when they then got to auction, in terms of what it actually pulled.
MARK: Well, we find that we get surprised on both sides: that pieces that our experts fall in love with and buy and what they think is a good price don’t move at all on the auction. And then there are certain pieces that turn a nice profit.
There was a recent episode where they bought a cane that had an ornate handle on it and I forgot what he paid. Maybe he paid $80 or something like that? And it sold for 150 or something like that and that was a nice – for us, that’s a nice profit.
MARK: We’re just looking to see if you can do better, as opposed to losing money. But then, often, you’ll find pieces that you think are really – really make a difference and you can’t – you lose on them.
There were a couple lamps. They were mid-century, carved-wood, nude lamps and what I found interesting was – the footnote at the end of the show was that our expert bought it for 100 bucks or 200 for the two and it sold at auction for a little less than what he paid for. He lost money on it, if I remember correctly. But then they took that to a shop, they did a little silver plate or gilding on it and added really nice lampshades and now it’s in a high-end gallery for $2,800.
TOM: Wow. Hmm.
MARK: So, that’s another thing is that sometimes, these diamonds in the rough need to be polished up a little bit. Not literally polish but just fixed and made ready to be purchased by somebody who’s, say, designing a home and has money to spend.
TOM: And finally, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The value of these pieces is, obviously, directly proportional to who’s in the room at the time of the auction, right?
MARK: You know, I also host Antiques Roadshow on PBS and what we always say is that value is subjective and fluid, because it’s only that value if somebody wants to pay it. So we can talk about comparables, we can talk about what it sold for 10 years ago, we can talk about what we think it should be worth today but unless there’s a buyer willing to pay it, it doesn’t have any value. It really is about who’s in the room. And if they have a need, then you can certainly make some money on it. But if they’re not shopping, you just have a lamp.
TOM: Mark Walberg, host of Market Warriors, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
If you’d like to catch the latest episodes of Market Warriors, you can find them on PBS Mondays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 p.m. Central. Learn more at PBS.org.
Up next, are you at a loss as to what to get your Valentine? Well, how about a romantic room makeover? We’re going to have tips on that project, after this.
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.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are taking your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re also giving away a great prize to one lucky caller. It’s a $500 rug from Loloi Rugs.
These are machine-loomed rugs from Turkey that work with any décor style. Check them out at LoloiRugs.com or give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Tracy in Missouri is on the line with an HVAC question. How can we help you today?
TRACY: Well, what really the deal is is I had a new unit put in a few years back. And when they put it in, I had that – my home was built in 1964 and they had what they called “spider ductwork” back then and it’s just the old, metal, 5-inch ductwork. And they put them in (inaudible at 0:27:42) and extended off that in some area in the house for some bigger ductwork.
But they said that that existing ductwork would be fine. When they went in and checked it, they said that it was cooling the room fine, because it was in the summer when they did they work. They said there’s a degree or two difference, which they expect – kind of normal, because the way it is.
But the problem I’ve got is, in the wintertime, my daughter’s room is the coldest room in the house and in the summer, it’s the hottest. They’ve been down there and checked; everything’s properly connected. And they say that they’ve dampered it down a little bit, so it would push air a little more that way, and it’s still not getting in there.
So my question to you is: would it be wiser to just go and get 8- or 10-inch – one single duct going into that room and just have one duct or extend those two – make those – both of the two existing ones – a little bigger with maybe an 8-inch or something like that? Cost is an issue but I want to make sure that it heats or cools efficiently for my daughter.
TOM: Is this – does this house have a central return duct or is the return duct also in the same room?
TRACY: It has a central return duct.
TOM: Well, obviously, they get it wrong. It’s difficult when you try to use a duct system that was designed for a 1960s house. And I know exactly what you mean when you say “spider duct.” Basically, you had one big plant that came off the heating plant and then a bunch of ducts that were like home runs: every duct went to a separate place in the house, as opposed to having a large duct go down the center of the house and then other ducts come off of that.
TRACY: Yes, sir.
TOM: So, clearly, it seems like they got it wrong when they re-laid out the duct system. When these guys have come and said everything’s fine, obviously it’s not fine, because they got it wrong.
There are calculations. It’s called a heat-loss analysis that you actually do if you know what you’re doing and you’re in the heating-and-cooling business, where you know what compass direction the exterior walls are, you measure how much glass is in the room and you take all these other factors into account. And then you design your system so you’re delivering enough BTUs, be it heating or cooling, to that room to be comfortable in the extremes of the summer and the extremes of the winter.
So what you’re suggesting now is can you just make a few changes and see if that makes a difference and my answer is: I don’t know. Because I’ve not done that heat-loss, you’ve not done that heat-loss and if I were you, I would get back with the HVAC contractor that put it in wrong to begin with, in the first place, and get them to do that heat-loss, so that we get the right-size ducts going where they should be.
Now, if they’re not going to do that, then your options would be to hire somebody else that really knows what they’re doing, to try to get that adjusted. But I mean generally speaking, airflow is critical, so you want to make sure you have enough airflow. And in terms of the return, improving the return situation can help.
And in a bedroom, often that means putting in a vent that goes through the wall, say, into the hall. Doesn’t really supply anything; it’s just kind of a pass-through where more air from the room can get drawn back to the return. Because the more that goes back to the return, the more supply kind of makes that up in terms on the supply side. And that can make the room more comfortable.
But I hate kind of guessing at this when I know that there is a reasonably accurate and scientific way to do that that these guys have not done.
TRACY: Alright. Thank you very much, Tom. Appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Tracy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, it has arrived once again, guys. Yes, next week is Valentine’s Day and that’s the time when a woman’s fancy turns to things she’d like improved around the house. And we know that jewelry and flowers are a standard go-to but there are some romantic makeovers, that you guys might want to think about, that can make a great gift, as well, like perhaps some new lighting for your bedroom, perhaps a spa shower update, maybe a new paint color. Or maybe you can do something nice, like perhaps put together a collection of favorite photos of the two of you or the entire family to be hung as a gallery on the wall.
All of these are very nice, sort of romantic home improvements that you might think about tackling, which could make a very nice surprise for your Valentine on Valentine’s Day.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Leonard in South Carolina on the line who’s doing a roofing addition to the garage. What can we do for you?
LEONARD: I’m coming up with 10-foot studs, 16 inches on center. I’m putting a 10-foot wide, roll-up aluminum door. The first question is: if I breach this 10-foot opening with two 12-foot 2x8s, should I put – do I have to put a flinch plate between them or can I put ½-inch plywood?
TOM: That sounds like a pretty small header for a 10-foot-wide door; 2x8s sound really thin. In terms of do you need a flinch plate or not – and for those that are unaware what a flinch plate is – so a flinch plate is like a metal – a thick piece of metal. It’s about a ½-inch thick. It’s the same width as the 2x8, 2x10 – or I should say the same height as it. So if it was a 2x10, it would be 9½ inches.
And it’s designed to go in between the wood beams, so you basically make a sandwich out of the headers, plus the flinch plate is in the middle of it. And it’s kind of like having a wood I-beam, if you can imagine that. It’s a combination of wood and steel and really stiffens that up.
But I would think that a 2x8, which is only 7½ inches tall – or it’s a 10-foot span? Is that what you said?
LEONARD: Yes, I’m going to span 12 feet to make sure I move the studs a good ways.
TOM: Oh, boy. Twelve feet? Yeah, there’s no way you’re going to do that with a 2x8, even if it’s just a gable wall. I’d probably use at least a 2x12 for that. But I tell you what, why don’t you – you’re going to have this inspected by the local code-enforcement folks?
LEONARD: I’m so far out in the country, I don’t even know if they know I’m alive.
TOM: They’re not – nobody alive that’s going to be coming to that?
LESLIE: “I’m not asking anybody.”
TOM: Alright. Don’t ask, don’t tell, huh? Easier to apologize than to ask permission? You’re sort or proceeding along those lines?
LEONARD: Well, we’re not going to have any – no electricity, no water. It’s just an addition room.
TOM: Alright. So I would – if I was – it’s just an addition but it’s a garage, right?
LEONARD: Yes, it – you have three sides to an existing garage.
TOM: This door is going to be a big roll-up door? I would use at least a 2x12.
LEONARD: OK. Yes, sir. I certainly appreciate your help.
TOM: Now make sure you run that design by your wife now, too, Leonard. Alright?
LEONARD: Actually, she designed it.
TOM: Alright. As long as she’s happy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, concrete, it’s one of the most basic of building materials but did you guys know that you can also use it to create a countertop? You can and we’re going to cover the pros and the cons of that project, next.
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.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, it is that time of year when we get to battle ice and snow. And of course, those chemical deicers are a great way to go but they can hurt your pets and your lawn. So if you want some tips on the easy and safe ones to deal with when it comes to icing your sidewalk, head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com.
And speaking of icy sidewalks, we have an e-mail here from Jim who says that his house was built in 1989 and he never had any problems with the sidewalk. Then he says, “OK, I put ice melt on and it was made into a salt lake. So, my problem is that it worked to keep the ice away but it also totally destroyed the concrete surface.”
Yeah, OK, I get this, Jim. And the reason that happened is probably because you used the wrong type of deicer. As you know, there are many different types of deicers and some of them are more corrosive to concrete surfaces, as well as pets, like we were speaking about earlier, because they get it on their paws and it really can burn.
So what you want to look for is a deicer that is safe for surfaces, not going to crumble one. Like don’t use potassium chloride or sodium chloride; use calcium chloride, because calcium chloride is not disruptive to those concrete surfaces and it’s much better for the pets. So if you choose those salts carefully, you will be much better protected.
Alright. Well, we promised you we would talk about concrete countertops. Got another post here, from Krista in California who says, “I was thinking about putting concrete countertops in my kitchen. I’ve seen some beautiful designs but is there a downside to concrete?”
I don’t think, Krista, that there’s a downside to concrete. Concrete tops are beautiful and they’re expensive but not that much more expensive than another type of solid-surface material like granite or engineered quartz.
They are built in place, so the construction is a bit different but you can actually do it yourself. There’s a product that’s out from QUIKRETE that’s a countertop mix where you can actually get this product and build the form and pour your own countertops. So, basically, do you want to make it a do-it-yourself project? You can. If you want to hire a pro, you’re not going to pay that much more than you would if it was really any other type of solid-surface material.
Well, we often hear about recalls in the news but half the time, we’re only half-listening and then when you realize they’re talking about something you might own, you’ve already missed the important part. Leslie has a solution, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word. It’s a great resource that can help you track down recalls in one, central, online location.
LESLIE: That’s right. Six different federal agencies have gotten together to better protect you, the consumer. Now, you can find recall information on everything, from cosmetics to baby products to boats, all on one website. It’s Recalls.com.
In addition to finding details about recalled products, you can also get other safety information. And while you’re on their site, you can sign up for e-mail alerts that will get you all the information you need on recalled products, so you know exactly what you’re looking for. They will pop right into your inbox and say, “Hey, pay attention to something that you own.”
Now, the site includes consumer safety and recall information in seven major categories. It’s easy to navigate and it’s available in both Spanish and English, so it is a very important site and super-user-friendly.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up next week on the program, the last thing that you want to greet you on a cold winter morning is a cold radiator. It is surprisingly common but there are some simple solutions. And we’ll tell you how to tackle that project, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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 2013 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.)