Learn how to make your own compost in your garage, mudroom or laundry room to get a head start on a spring garden that thrives. Find out why garage doors don’t have to be plain, boring white and why the curb appeal factor can get amped up with the right garage door. Plus get advice on breaking down the cost of painting the exterior of your home and learn why cheap paint just doesn’t pay. All this and get answers to your home improvement questions about, soundproofing walls, heating distribution, clean siding, collect rainwater, fire pits.
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 with your home improvement project. Let us help you solve that do-it-yourself dilemma. The number, again, is 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, it might be too cold in most places to think about spring but you can get a jump on your gardening with one easy step. We’re going to teach you how you can make your own compost, starting today, so you’ll be ready to be plant those blooms in just a few months.
LESLIE: Plus, garage doors, they don’t have to be the forgotten piece of your curb appeal. We’ve got some information on some really beautiful and functional garage doors that will make your home pop.
TOM: And speaking of curb appeal, if you’re thinking about painting your house this spring, it’s a great project. But you need to choose the right paint so you don’t have to do the job twice. We’ll tell you what you need to know.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a very cool prize. It’s the AdvanTEXT Sump Pump and it’s an appliance that will text you when there’s a problem, like a power outage.
TOM: You can rest easy knowing that your sump pump will let you know when it’s working. The AdvanTEXT Sump Pump from WAYNE Water Systems is worth $329. Going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. So, pick up the phone, give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Stuart is on the line with an insulation question. How can we help you today?
STUART: I’m wondering at what point in a house life should you look at the insulation in your attic and reinsulating.
TOM: Well, if you have insulation that’s old and you notice that it’s sort of sagging and compressed and no longer fluffy, at that point I would remove the insulation and replace it. If you’ve got insulation that’s still pretty fluffy and it holds a lot of air but you just don’t have enough of it, then you can add additional layers on top of that.
You do that with unfaced fiberglass batts. You lay them in perpendicular to the existing insulation to try to get up to that, say, 15- to 20-inch level of insulation. Because at that level, you’re going to be super-insulated and it’s really going to make a big savings in your heating costs.
STUART: OK. But if it’s flat, it needs – removed before you put further insulation on top of it. It needs to have a little bounce to it, I guess.
TOM: If it’s old and it’s flat and it’s compressed and it’s sagging, then I would take it out and start from scratch.
STUART: Hey, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
TOM: You’re welcome, Stuart. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Marcia in Illinois needs some help getting a window unstuck. Tell us about it.
MARCIA: I have a window over my sink in my kitchen, so I have to lean over the sink to raise this window. And it’s always been extremely hard to get up or down and I just don’t know what to do with it. I think I’ve tried WD-40.
TOM: Is this a wood window, Marcia?
MARCIA: Yes, it’s a wood window.
TOM: So, probably over the years, it’s gotten bigger, swollen in its place. And it’s gotten tighter in the jambs. And I’ll presume with paint, too, over the years that that didn’t make it any better. So, why don’t you think about a replacement window? I mean look, we can talk to you about taking this whole window apart and sanding down the jambs and sanding down the sashes and making it easier to use and replacing the cords and the balance and all that work, but I think this would be a good time to treat yourself to a replacement window.
You don’t have to do all the windows in the house. You can buy a double-hung replacement window at a home center today for a couple hundred bucks and it’s a pretty good-quality window. So, you may want to think about replacing just this one window or in the alternative, you can pull the trim off, you can take the sashes apart and you could sand them and sand them well. And that will make them a little bit smaller all the way around and make them easier to operate. And of course, also make sure that the balances are working.
Now, if it’s an old, wood window, you may have cords or chains that go up and you want to make sure that they’re still attached because that gives you a little bit of assistance as you open and close the window.
MARCIA: OK. Well, I appreciate your advice. I guess I’ll have to invest in a new window.
TOM: I think it’s going to be easier than all the work it would take to get the old window working. And I’m all for easy and that’s why I suggest that. OK, Marcia? Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And look, if you’ve got these old windows, you can work on them and put 8, 10 hours into a window and sure, it’ll be just as good as new. But why? It’s still going to be an old, drafty, wood window when you can go buy a double-pane, vinyl-clad window – a replacement window – that slips inside the existing opening and just have better energy efficiency and a window that really works, tilts in to clean, the works. Just doesn’t make any sense.
LESLIE: You’re still going to have to reach over that sink. It’s just going to be easier to work.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in with your home improvement, home repair, décor, spring cleaning. Whatever project you are working on, we here at Team Money Pit are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Step by step, we’ve got a guide to making your own compost for rich, fertile soil when The Money Pit continues, after this.
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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: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
If you get on the air with us this hour, you get a chance to win a terrific prize. We’ve got the AdvanTEXT Sump Pump from WAYNE Water Systems.
Now, are you wondering why it’s called AdvanTEXT? Well, because it’s no ordinary sump pump. What’s very cool about the AdvanTEXT is that it will send you a text message when it senses high water or if your power goes out.
LESLIE: That’s right. And it’s going to alert up to three of your contacts. And since it works off of cellular technology, there’s no need for a landline or even Wi-Fi.
Now, the battery backup is going to ensure that you get that text and the ½-horsepower, top-suction design is actually going to allow debris up to a ½-inch to pass through.
The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. Give us a call for your chance to win the awesome AdvanTEXT Sump Pump from WAYNE Water Industries worth $329.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Anthony in Tennessee on the line. How can we help you today?
ANTHONY: Yeah, I’ve got a ‘99 379 Peterbilt and it’s got one bed in it. And we pretty much live in the truck and we’re wanting to turn that one bed into a bunk bed. We tried to widen it and it didn’t work out too good. So I’ve got to go lightweight because I’ve heavy and the truck’s real heavy. So if I do it in 2x4s, it’s going to be a real heavy, heavy truck.
TOM: Anthony, you know what comes to mind, that I think would be a good solution for you, is a metal bunk bed – an army cot bunk bed. The army cots, if you just Google “army cots and bunk beds,” you will see a wide variety of metal bunk beds that are stackable. And they certainly have them in light-duty to heavy-duty designs.
They’re not terribly expensive. I see them online for $300, $400, $500. And they’re not very heavy and they’re super-strong and they can be two, full, twin-size beds stacked one on top of another.
ANTHONY: OK. Well, the bed that’s in here, the frame of that bed is part of the truck.
TOM: So it has to sit on top of that, correct?
ANTHONY: Yeah, I have to set something into that framework above my bed.
TOM: Right. So then maybe what you want is just basically one half of that cot-style bunk bed. And then you have to build supports to get it up in the air for the space. So I would take a look at these metal bunk beds online.
TOM: I think you’re going to find your solution there and it’s going to be a lot easier to deal with than trying to frame something out of wood.
ANTHONY: Yeah, because then I could just set it in place and mount it to my bed.
ANTHONY: Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that.
TOM: Alright, Anthony. Well, I’m glad we helped you out. And I’ve got to say, this is one very unusual question for us and I’m glad we were able to come up with a solution.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Brenda in Illinois who’s got an HVAC question. What’s going on?
BRENDA: I have an excessive amount of dust and lint that comes out of my vents when the furnace is running?
TOM: OK. Yep.
BRENDA: It’s the heat pump that we have. The heat pump is two years old. So I’d like to know, is there anything that you would suggest that we might need to look into?
TOM: Yeah, I think the reason that this is happening is because you don’t have an adequate filtration system on your heating-and-cooling system. What kinds of filters do you have on this, Brenda? Do you know?
BRENDA: The name of it is Air Bear Supreme Media. We change these about every four to six months.
TOM: What’s happening here is the dust and the dirt that’s circulating in your house is forming in your house. And what happens is it’s not getting collected by the filter. The filters could be improperly installed, there could be gaps where the air is getting around them.
What you really should think about doing is installing an electronic air cleaner. This is an appliance that fits into the return-duct side of the HVAC system. It’s an appliance; it’s not just a fiber filter or a mesh filter. It’s an actual appliance and it is very effective at taking out 99-percent plus of the airborne contaminants. I mean these things are so good today, they can come out – they can take out virus-size particles.
You could take a look at two brands that we can recommend. One is Aprilaire.
TOM: That’s April – a-i-r-e. And the other one is Trane. It’s called the Trane CleanEffects. Those are two highly rated, very efficient electronic air cleaners that I think will make a world of difference for you in cutting down on the dust that you’re seeing. I just don’t think your filtration system is working properly.
Brenda, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, now is a good time to get ready for spring gardening with rich, fertile soil. And you can actually make it yourself.
Now, all organic matter will eventually decompose, so all you need is an ideal environment for bacteria and other decomposing microorganisms to thrive. And the final compost looks and feels like really fertile garden soil.
Now, you can easily make compost from vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and even shredded paper. You just have to remember that you can’t compost diseased plants, meat scraps, dairy, cooking oils or pet waste.
TOM: Now, to get started, you’re just going to need a plastic bin, which you can keep in the garage or in the mud room. You want to add a few inches of shredded paper for bedding. Avoid the glossy paper, avoid the brightly colored inks. Just basic newsprint is probably fine. Then scatter the daily supply of kitchen scraps on top. Cover the scraps with about the same amount of bedding or a little more. Scatter on some potting soil on top of that, maybe a little lime or wood ash and just keep going until it’s full.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you want to mix the contents up about every couple of weeks with a compost poker or compost aerator. You can buy one or you can even improvise.
Now, if you don’t put meat scraps, cooking grease or dairy in that compost bin, it should not give off any odor, which I know a lot of people really complain about. So if it starts to smell, you can add some more dry bedding. By the time your container is full, you’re going to be ready to use it in the yard, which will be just in time for spring.
TOM: Now, for the step by step on how to make your own composting container, head on over to MoneyPit.com. It’s all right there.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Nicole in Illinois on the line who needs to fix a crack in a wall. And you’re saying it’s from an earthquake? When did you have an earthquake in Illinois?
NICOLE: Well, it was just a really small earthquake. We get them just randomly, about one or two a year.
NICOLE: Because we’re right on – there’s some fault that’s down south of us.
TOM: And now that fault has worked its way up into your wall. So what does it look like? How big of a crack is this that we need to fix?
NICOLE: It’s about an 18-inch crack and then that’s going down from the ceiling. And then it goes like – it goes diagonally up the wall and then hits the ceiling and then just moves horizontally on the ceiling for a couple of inches.
TOM: So it’s 18 inches long altogether?
TOM: How old is the house?
NICOLE: It’s not very old, like ‘99.
TOM: OK. So it’s a drywall crack then.
TOM: Many people will simply spackle that but the problem is that if you spackle that crack, the wall is now always going to move – and walls always do move but now that the wall has a crack, the two sides of that are going to move at different rates. And so that crack will reform. The way you stop that from happening is by taping over that crack with drywall tape and then spackling it.
Now, taping with paper drywall tape can be a bit tricky, so there’s a product out that’s a perforated drywall tape that looks like a netting. It’s like a sticky-backed netting. And that type of perforated tape is the best one to use because you put the tape on first and then you spackle over it. You want to do two or three coats, starting with smaller coats and then working wider as you go.
And remember, the thinner the coat the better; I’d rather you put on more coats than put on too much spackle, which too many people tend to do. Then it kind of gets all gooped up and piled up on your wall and you’ll see it forever. So, thin coats – two or three thin coats – and that should do it.
NICOLE: OK. Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Nicole. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steve in Arizona, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STEVE: Yeah, we’ve got a square fire pit out in the backyard. It’s really nice. We bought it about a year ago. It’s got nice, Southern tile on top. And in the middle of it, it’s got a round Lazy Susan. And then you take off the Lazy Susan and it’s a fire pit with a stainless-steel fire ring. And we’ve got a bunch of fire glass in there. It’s really nice.
And the – one of the things that we’re disappointed in somewhat is that the flame isn’t really very high on the thing. It’s really a nice kind of romantic, low fire but we’d like to figure out if we could find some way to make that a little more robust. And I’m thinking about just drilling out the holes in the fire ring to – and I’m wondering if that might solve the problem or if I’d be creating more problems than solving.
TOM: Generally, you don’t want to modify a gas burner like that. Was this a manufactured unit that you purchased and installed?
STEVE: Yes. Yeah, it was – it all just came – all we really had to do was just pretty much plunk the thing down and hook up the gas.
TOM: Well, you certainly don’t want to mess with the manufacturer’s design because that was very specifically designed to do a certain job. And if you start drilling bigger holes in it, you could create something that’s very dangerous.
But let me just ask you this: is this natural gas or propane?
STEVE: It’s natural gas. Yeah, when we landscaped the yard, we had a natural gas line run out to the area of the yard. Then we poured a really nice, big, oh, 18-circular-foot pad out there. And then the – and then stubbed it right in the middle, so that’s where the fire pit is.
TOM: Alright. Have you checked the gas pressure to make sure that it’s where you expect it to be?
STEVE: No. I’m not really sure, no.
TOM: I would have a plumber check the gas pressure to make sure that the gas pressure is correct. If you have low gas pressure, that could account for the low flame.
The other thing I would do is contact the manufacturer to find out what flame level that’s designed for, because it might be doing exactly what it’s intended to do. And if you add more – if you try to modify that, it could be, certainly, dangerous. I would not encourage you to drill out the burner or anything of that nature. I would encourage you to check the gas level – the gas-pressure level – as well as the valves that service it because something is partially closed or you just don’t have enough pressure coming through that line, for whatever reason. That could also be the solution, as well.
Steve, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Margie in Maryland needs some help with a kitchen incident gone awry. What happened?
MARGIE: What happened is – it’s sort of like a barbecue gone bad inside my house.
MARGIE: I had some deer meat in a big pot on the stove. It was – it had a cover on it. And it – I stepped out for a while and I came back and there was smoke everywhere in my house. And we opened everything; we opened all the windows and doors and all of that. And what I need is to find out how to get rid of the smoke smell. It is just disgusting; it’s terrible.
And I – we’ve done what we can. I’m washing – my poor washing machine is going nuts. I just wash, wash, wash everything. And we Febrezed on the furniture and – but my wood furniture I don’t know what to do about and my walls and my painted woodwork. Because the day that it happened, I washed up the floor with vinegar and water. But it seems like the longer it goes, that it’s getting harder on the surfaces that it’s touched. And I just need some help to figure out how to clean it up, especially on the wood furniture, the walls and the painted woodwork.
TOM: Well, on the furniture, on the woodwork, I think something like Murphy’s Oil Soap would be a good choice. That’s a mild solution that smells pleasant and it’s designed specifically to clean wood surfaces.
However, I suspect that the source of most of the smell is going to be in – because of materials that are harder to clean, like fabrics, rugs, couches, upholstery, the pillows, that sort of thing. And for those, you really need to have a professional company come in and clean them. There are companies like – I think ServiceMaster is one of them that specializes in fire-and-smoke cleaning and water cleanup. And they have the right equipment with the right types of chemicals to take the odors out of those sorts of things. What you can do is clean those hard surfaces on your own.
As far as the walls are concerned, I would mix up a fairly weak TSP solution – trisodium phosphate. You can pick that up in the painting section of any hardware store or home center and wash the walls down with that. OK?
MARGIE: Yes. Thank you so very, very much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Margie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, garage doors, they’ve come a long way. You know, they can be extremely attractive, as well as functional. We’re going to learn about some beautiful, new looks in garage doors, coming up.
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.
Well, 2014 is the year of the garage door. Forget about plain, white doors that simply just do the job and not much else.
TOM: The garage door is gaining importance as an aesthetic element to a home’s façade, including some brand-new looks that you might not have even thought of.
LESLIE: Yeah. And they’re pretty darn gorgeous. So here to tell us about some of the trends and the latest innovations is Pat Lohse for Clopay Doors.
PAT: Thank you.
TOM: You guys came up with a survey that developed some pretty interesting responses and unexpected responses, too. One of which was that these carriage-style house doors are really popular today and I hadn’t known that. So, talk to us about what you guys learned.
PAT: Well, what we’ve learned is over the last 10 years, since carriage-house doors were introduced, they can have such a positive impact on the curb appeal of a home. And today, consumers and builders, architects, remodelers are really recognizing that a garage door can account for 30 to 40 percent of a home’s façade. And putting the right garage door on the house can make a huge impact on the curb appeal and ultimately, on the value of the house.
TOM: Now, that’s a really good point because traditionally, when you think about shopping for homes, you think about driving down the street, looking at that curb appeal from the street, from your car, trying to make the all-important decisions. But today, that shopping process starts actually earlier and it starts online when you’re looking at these postcard-size images of the home. And having a really good image of your home with a beautiful garage door can make the difference.
PAT: That’s right. If you don’t like what you see on the outside, chances are you’re not even going to go inside.
LESLIE: Now, that is true. And I think a lot of people sort of get stuck on the idea that garage doors have to be these utilitarian sort of metal, non-welcoming surfaces. But you’re even finding that a lot of people are more open to the idea of keeping a garage a natural surface.
PAT: That’s right. Clopay offers garage doors in all sorts of materials, from original wood, which – today, wood is really more custom wood. They’re real high-end, carriage-house designs. We make those because virtually, you can make wood look like anything, so they’re very high-end, they’re very custom.
And then we make carriage-house doors in more maintenance-free materials. We make doors with a surface called Ultra-Grain and it really looks like a wood door but it’s actually a painted-steel door. And those have become incredibly popular. And we have our Gallery Collection, which is a lower price point of the carriage-house offering.
The bottom line is we have doors in any price point, any design and any finish that you can imagine.
TOM: We’re talking to Pat Lohse – she is with Clopay Doors – on some of the latest trends in the garage-door category.
Pat, you guys have an interesting finish that you’ve developed that I want to talk about. For those that do want to have a painted door, you now have a finish that’s called “cool paint” technology that actually reduces the heat of the garage door and in turn there reduces the amount of heat that would be transferring into the house. Now, that has to make a difference when it comes to the summer cooling season.
PAT: It does. It contains more reflective properties so that the sunlight actually reflects off of the paint so that there is not as much heat buildup on the exterior of the door. And we’re using that paint technology on products with really, really dark colors, like I said, to reduce that heat buildup on the exterior. Because ultimately, that can add to wear and tear on the outside of the home.
TOM: Excellent. And I’ve got to tell you, if you were thinking about replacing your garage door, this is the year to do just that. There is a survey that came out from Remodeling Online. It’s called the “Remodeling Cost Versus Value Report.” And these experts say that homeowners can expect to recoup up to 83.7 percent. It’s one of the highest returns on investments that you will get for a home improvement project on your house and that is if you sell the house today. That’s the return you’ll get on the investment of installing a garage door. That’s very, very good.
Pat Lohse from Clopay, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on the latest technology and choices, that we have as consumers, when it comes to picking the perfect garage door.
PAT: Thank you.
TOM: And if you’d like more information about Clopay garage doors, you should visit their website at ClopayDoor.com. That’s spelled C-l-o-p-a-y-Door.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And still ahead, more curb-appeal tips, including what not to do when painting the outside of your house so you don’t have to do it again and again and again. So stick around.
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TOM: Making good homes better, this is 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 today is going to get a chance to win a fantastic prize. We’ve got up for grabs the AdvanTEXT ½-Horsepower Sump Pump from WAYNE.
Now, what makes this sump pump really unique is that it uses cellular technology to text you when there’s a problem.
TOM: Like if you’re on vacation and the power goes out or something, your sump pump will text you to let you know. And if your power does go out, well, there’s no problem. The backup batteries will make sure that you get that text.
The AdvanTEXT Sump Pump from WAYNE Water Systems is worth $329. Call us right now for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Joe in Texas is looking to collect some rainwater. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
JOE: Alright. Well, we have a ranch near Stephenville, about an hour-and-a-half southwest of Dallas/Fort Worth. And it can get pretty arid out here. So, we have some rain barrels – or some black, large barrels – hooked up to our rain gutters. And we’re trying to get it to where it’s actual potable water that we can use and drink in – just in our ordinary, daily lives. So we were kind of wondering what type of filtration system to put on to run that water through and also how to keep the junk from our gutters blowing in there.
TOM: Well, rainwater harvesting is something that’s actually gone on for centuries. And there are modern systems that are available to help you both collect the rainwater and purify it, because that’s the key and you want to make sure it’s safe.
A good place to start is RainHarvest.com. That’s a website for a company that has specialized in this area for many, many years. And they have everything from small, home-size systems up to industrial-size systems. And they also have the specialty filters you asked about keeping the gunk out of the water. There are special filters to keep out the leaves and the tree droppings and things like that from getting down in there.
So it sounds like you’re kind of well on your way but what you’re going to need to pick up is a purification system. And that’s a good place to start: RainHarvest.com.
LESLIE: You know, another good site that’s out there is HarvestH2O.com. A lot of articles on there about filtration, purification, some products. Good list to resources and inventors, as well, there.
JOE: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, are you thinking about having the exterior of your house painted but you’re looking for ways to save money on the project? Well, here is what not to do: never buy cheap paint. That bargain-basement paint is never a bargain.
Here’s why. When you figure out the true cost of a big paint job, you have to measure that cost on an annual basis and that includes the cost of the paint and the labor. So, let’s do the math. For example, you spend 7,500 bucks to paint your house and 500 bucks on premium paint, your total cost would be 8 grand, right? But that paint is going to last 10 years, so your average cost per year is $800. Makes sense?
LESLIE: That’s true. Now, if you spend the same amount on labor but pay only $300 for your paint, your total cost will be lower at about 7,800 bucks but you’ll have to repaint much sooner, probably in about 5 years. So your cost per year is going to be $1,560 which is nearly double. The bottom line: don’t get cheap paint and you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Do you have questions on another money-saving project? Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We are here to help.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading out to California where Carol is dealing with a heating situation. Tell us what’s going on.
CAROL: I bought a home – a brand-new home. And the air-conditioning unit and heating unit is above my bedroom and so it gets major heat and air conditioning. But the front room is vaulted and the two bedrooms on the opposite side of the house are regular – flat – like my bedroom roof. And the heat doesn’t seem to distribute very good, because the bedrooms and the front room are on the cool side, where my bedroom will be hot if you have the heater on or opposite with the air conditioning. And I’m wondering if there’s something I can have done to make that better.
TOM: Possibly. It sounds like the HVAC system was not properly designed. I’m going to presume that everything that was designed to work, in terms of ducts not being restricted and that sort of thing, is working. But what you’re describing is, unfortunately, a very common condition caused exclusively by an improper or inadequate HVAC design. Because you have to really design how much air goes into every part of the house and how much air comes back from the return and what path that air takes on the way back. It’s not just a matter of dumping air out; you have to take it back so it can be recooled and reheated.
And so if you’re having such an enormous problem with inconsistency of temperature throughout the house, then I think you need to get a really good-quality HVAC contractor in there to try to figure out why that’s happening and what you can reasonably do within the guidelines of the structure you have right now without doing a lot of demolition to walls to add more heat or cooling, add more air supply, into those rooms. Because, obviously, you don’t have enough and that’s what’s making you so uncomfortable.
But not just – we’re not just calling – we’re not just talking about calling a guy for a service of your heating system now. We need a real technician that understands HVAC duct layout, can do a heat-loss calculation for your house and figure out where it’s gone wrong and what it’s going to take to fix it.
CAROL: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re 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.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still to come, do you feel dysfunctional when you’re doing your laundry? It’s a chore unless you’ve got a happy laundry room. Then it can actually become a breeze. We’re going to tell you what it takes to make or break a laundry room, after this.
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: Hey, check out our new board in Pinterest. It’s called “Chase Away Winter Blues.” We’ve got great ideas for refreshing and redecorating your home, just in time for spring. You can pin our articles and also share the good news. It’s all on the official Money Pit Pinterest page. You can find it on the Pin It button on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, head on over to the Community section at MoneyPit.com and you can post a question there, just like David from San Diego did who writes: “I live in a condo. I have one attached wall with my neighbor next door. I would like to somehow soundproof, or close to that, this one wall that runs the entire length of my place.”
TOM: That’s a common situation and since it’s a condo and we presume that you own this condo and can do a little bit of construction work on it, David, what I would recommend is putting a second layer of drywall on that wall between you and your neighbor.
Now, there’s two ways to do this. You can use a product called Green Glue, where you apply – it’s kind of like an adhesive. And you apply it to the wall and it helps create a sound – a deadening space between two layers of normal drywall.
You need a lot of Green Glue. Leslie and I did a project with this once and it turns out that you really do need a lot of it to follow the manufacturer’s directions, so it ends up being quite costly. In fact, for about the same money, another thing that you could do is use a product called QuietRock, which is a drywall that has a sound-deadening system built right into it.
Regardless of whether you go with Green Glue or the QuietRock, you also have to seal carefully all the areas around lights and outlets and switches. Because even if you make the wall quiet, those spaces can still let the sound get in.
LESLIE: Yeah. And then the other thing that you want to do is if that seems out of your budget, you can hang some draperies or some heavy pieces of artwork. Just sort of things to kind of sound-deaden in a more decorative way.
TOM: Well, happy laundry rooms start with good bones: basic, functional systems that work the way they should to help clean your clothes and prevent disaster. To give your bones a checkup and make sure all systems are go, Leslie has the checklist, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because if things go wrong in the laundry room, you’re going to go from feeling mildly happy about doing this chore, to being really sad. So you want to start with the basics. I’m talking about your water-supply hoses.
Now, typical, rubber-based, water-supply lines, they do have a tendency to swell and then burst. So, we recommend replacing those hoses with the braided-steel ones. Also, install an automatic shut-off valve. Now, they can detect an out-of-the-ordinary water flow before it turns into an all-out flood.
And while you’re at it, get familiar with the location of your water valves. You want to know where they are in the event of a problem. And you need to make sure that those valves are accessible, functional and labeled.
Now, if you have separate water valves for hot and cold water, take the opportunity to upgrade to a single-lever turn-off valve, which is going to turn both hot and cold water supplies off at the same time.
Finally, clean out your dryer vent every six months. I’m not talking about the little one in the dryer that you should be cleaning out every single load of drying laundry that you do. I’m talking about the one that goes from the back of your dryer – actually, the wall of your house – to the exterior, because lint is going to collect in that dryer exhaust duct. And what happens is if you don’t take care of it, it could actually be a fire hazard. And those dryer ducts, they can actually be responsible for a lot of deaths and nearly 15,000 dryer fires every year. We’re not trying to scare you but it’s a chore you should definitely add to your, you know, biannual to-do list for your money pit.
TOM: Good advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about septic tanks. They are the original, eco-friendly option for dealing with household waste and you don’t have to worry about the high cost of sewer lines or any extra bills. But septic tanks do need regular maintenance, so we’re going to teach you what you need to know to keep everything flowing smoothly, 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 2014 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.)