A new study reveals your shower may be spewing potentially dangerous bacteria. Tom and Leslie talk to one of the study’s researchers. Learn how to fix a creaky deck. Get product info on a highly energy efficient hot water heater that has a touch pad temperature control. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about removing odors from concrete floors, leveling a driveway, refinishing furniture, fixing a leaky roof, removing stains from a patio, correcting a wood floor installation and painting and staining a deck to eliminate flaking
TRANSCRIPT FOR OCTOBER 19, 2009, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:025]
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 and give us a call with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Before you pick up the tools, pick up the phone and call us because we will help you get the job done. No matter what you’re doing – whether you’re painting, whether you’re fixing squeaks, whether you’re fixing leaks in the plumbing system – give us a call and let us help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, here’s a scary thought: you think you’re getting clean when you take your morning shower but, truth be told, you could actually be getting a face-full of potentially dangerous bacteria.
LESLIE: Ugh. Well, I’m never going to take a shower again. (Leslie and Tom chuckle) No, we are not talking about a Halloween prank here. It’s completely true, according to researchers at the University of Colorado. So we’re going to talk to one of those folks about their findings and what they mean for you, a little later.
TOM: And also ahead, a squeaky, creaky floor can get pretty annoying. We’ve got one listener’s solution for a very inexpensive fix.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win Eureka’s new Whirlwind Plus upright vacuum worth 129 bucks.
TOM: Great prize, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now. That’s going to go to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Kay in Virginia who needs some help with a basement. What’s going on?
KAY: Hi. Thank you for taking my call. My issue is with my unsealed concrete basement floor.
KAY: I have a sick cat in the basement for, actually, a couple months; who tended to miss the litter box on a couple occasions and …
TOM: OK, enough said. We got it. (laughs)
KAY: Well, I’ve been able to clean up the debris, so to speak, but – and I’ve sprayed the floor with …
LESLIE: But it’s the odor, right?
KAY: Yes. So I still have the odor and I still have the stains that won’t go away.
LESLIE: OK, are you willing to paint or finish the concrete floor when you’re done removing the odor?
KAY: I can certainly paint.
LESLIE: OK. What you want to do, there’s a product that I’ve used when we were training a puppy and she wasn’t very well-behaved and carpeting and yada-yada-yada. It’s called Just Rite. It’s R-i-t-e, right?
TOM: Yes, correct.
LESLIE: JustRite.com is the website. And it comes in like a set. It’s a couple of different products that you use together and basically it’s an enzyme that kills this bacteria that’s living in the concrete causing the odor to constantly be there. So if you do the process, it’ll make that odor completely go away.
Now, once that odor is gone, you’re probably still going to – you may still have some remnants of the stain. If that’s the case, I would use like an epoxy coating on that floor. It’s going to finish really nicely on the concrete; it’ll hide the stains; it’ll wear very, very well – it’s very durable; and it comes in one kit, so it’s very easy to install.
KAY: Wow, that sounds like a great – I can do that. I can do that myself.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, the product actually is called 1-2-3 ODOR FREE and, again, the website is Just Rite – spelled R-i-t-e.com.
KAY: Alright. Listen, I really appreciate it. Thank you guys very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Kay. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Bob in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BOB: Hi. Lovely show.
TOM: Thank you.
BOB: My situation is this: I bought a house recently and it has a shared driveway – it runs along one side of the house – and that driveway is higher than my foundation on my house by probably a couple feet.
TOM: Wow, OK.
BOB: And the water tends to run off of it towards the house and the foundation.
TOM: How much space is there between the edge of the driveway and your house?
BOB: There’s probably about four-and-a-half, five feet.
TOM: OK. Well, that gives you enough room – and that’s soil in that area?
BOB: It’s sort of a mix of adobe and – it’s fairly hard and not super-good drainage.
TOM: OK. Well, what you need to do here is you need to install some drainage, Bob, and what you want is something called a curtain drain. And a curtain drain would end up being right below the surface of the soil at the edge of the driveway. You’re essentially going to trench out, in that space. You’re going to add perforated pipe surrounded by some drainage stone and then …
BOB: So this would be similar to a French drain? Is that …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Same thing.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yes, similar to it; except that it’s going to be invisible.
TOM: And as the last step, you put some filter cloth across the top of the trench and then you cover it with soil and grass or whatever you want. So you won’t see it when it’s done. Well, what will happen is the neighbor’s water that comes off that driveway will fall into that curtain drain and then it’ll run out somewhere. So the key here is you have to be able to drain that curtain drain somewhere to daylight; the pipe, in the end, has got to end up …
BOB: Right. That’s a bit of a problem because from where I am, it’s fairly level out towards the street. There’s not much of a dropoff.
TOM: Could it go underground into a sewer system? Street sewer?
BOB: Well, it possibly could. It would be expensive to cut through the sidewalk and into the pipes and all.
TOM: OK. Well, I mean you could also potentially go into a dry well if it’s far enough away from the house.
BOB: Uh-huh. OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ginny in Pennsylvania, welcome to The Money Pit. How are you today?
GINNY: Fine, thank you. And you?
LESLIE: Great. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit?
GINNY: I have a concrete breezeway and there’s a damaged place in it and I need to kind of fill it and then I want to paint the breezeway.
GINNY: What can I fill that with?
TOM: You’re going to want to use an epoxy patching compound; available at a home center or a hardware store. It will stick properly to the concrete. Then after it dries, then you can paint the whole concrete surface again with an epoxy paint.
GINNY: And it’s not going to chip out or …?
TOM: It will not chip out.
GINNY: Oh, that’s great.
TOM: As opposed to using a concrete patch, which could chip out. You want to make sure it’s an epoxy-based patching compound. It’s designed specifically to stick to the old concrete.
GINNY: Can you do the same thing with a crack in the concrete; like in the sidewalk?
TOM: Yes, you certainly can do the same thing to a sidewalk crack as well.
GINNY: OK, well I thank you very much and I enjoy your program.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, now is a good time to take on some basic deck repairs to make sure that your deck survives the winter and is ready to go in the spring. We’ve got a listener’s unique idea that worked wonders to silence a squeaky, loose deck that was making the great outdoors far too noisy. We’ll tell you what that is, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:07:19.5]
ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
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.
Hey, pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who gets on the air this hour is going to win a pretty great prize; especially since I like to clean in all seasons and fall might as well be a cleanup season as well. We are giving away the Whirlpool (ph) Plus vacuum from Eureka. It’s worth 129 bucks. Now, this new vacuum is the result of a ton of research by the folks at Eureka who found that busy families need a multipurpose cleaning tool with maximum suction and all of the attachments conveniently located to help you save time and to not lose them, which actually happens all the time at my money pit. So, great prize for all of you out there. You’ve got to give us a call for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, fall is a good time to do a deck check and make sure, for example, that any boards that have loosened up are secured for the winter. Now David, who is one of our listeners, wrote to share his tip about how he used Liquid Nails to fix some loose deck boards.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. David says: “A couple of years ago, my elderly neighbor complained to me about her new deck creaking like an old staircase when you walked on it.” He says, “I checked the foundation first and it’s solid but the deck joists were set on 24-inch centers. I added some spreaders and a central support but the creaks didn’t cease. I then went in again and painstakingly pried up along each plank about ¼-inch and squirted in some Liquid Nails. Three years later, not a creak. She is a great neighbor and lets me use her pool whenever I want.” (Tom and Leslie laugh) “Signed, David.”
TOM: That’s a good story, David. Well, if you’ve got a home improvement solution that you completed using Liquid Nails, you can e-mail it to us at MyStory@MoneyPit.com
and if we use your story on the air, we will send you a Liquid Nails gift pack.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Jamie in Nebraska needs some help with a furniture refinishing project. What’s going on?
JAMIE: Hi. I have a couple of old pieces of furniture, a pie hutch and a table …
JAMIE: … that are painted and, you know, they have the really need patina of age. But I also have two little kids. I’m worried about lead paint.
JAMIE: So my question was if I should maybe put a polyurethane on it or if I could repaint it; if that’s enough for the lead paint. And I don’t know that it’s lead paint but because it’s so old …
LESLIE: And it’s chipping and your kids will probably pick it up and put it in their mouths …
JAMIE: Could be. But right now it’s in storage but I would like to see them someday.
LESLIE: Is the paint so loose in a lot of areas that it’s just constantly falling off or is it just a couple of little problem areas where you see the paint lifting?
JAMIE: Well, you know, it’s not really like falling off. It’s just – it’s kind of – you know, it’s got probably a couple layers of paint, so it’s kind of – you can see other colors coming through.
LESLIE: But you like that look, right?
JAMIE: I’m sorry, what?
LESLIE: But you like that look, right?
JAMIE: Yeah, I like the look but I didn’t know if I should just kind of forget it and repaint it or polyurethane it or …
TOM: Well, I think if you take the piece out and you lightly sand it …
LESLIE: I would sand the edges that are sort of picking up. I wouldn’t sand the whole thing; I would just sand where you think your kids could get a nail hold underneath.
TOM: And then prime it. Use a good-quality primer.
TOM: Then you should be able to repaint the whole thing and have no worries.
LESLIE: (groans) No paint.
TOM: No paint?
LESLIE: I say don’t paint it. I say …
TOM: Well, she said it already has paint on it.
LESLIE: I know but if she likes the look – because I know exactly what she’s talking about. There are areas where there’s sort of different washes of color and then there’s natural wood showing through and it has this really interesting, age-y look that people like long for when it comes to sort of this country decorating style.
JAMIE: (overlapping voices) Right. Yes.
LESLIE: So what I would do is lightly sand, like Tom suggested, but just in the area where anybody could sort of get a nail-hold underneath and pick off a chunk of paint. And then I would get a water-based, clear topcoat and I would do it in a flat finish. Don’t get a gloss; don’t get a semi-gloss. Get flat as flat can be; matte is what it’s probably going to be called. And then put it over that and that’ll seal those edges down so that it’ll take a good bit of work to get under there. But having a one-year-old, I know that their magic fingers can take apart anything – I don’t know how. (Jamie chuckles) But I think if you put that clear coat on it, it’ll seal everything in there as best as it can and, this way, they won’t be able to pick the paint off and you’ll still have that look.
JAMIE: OK. Good to know. Well, thanks so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to chat with Kelly in Texas who has a flooring issue. Tell us what’s going on?
KELLY: My wife had some bamboo floors installed in a new house. And they’re dark, about three-inch-wide slats, they’re real long. And they’ve been in about two years and we’ve noticed that on the edges – they seem to be forming a ridge along the edge. This is throughout the house; not in one location. My wife is very concerned that there’s water under the house. And I think maybe it was something – maybe the installation, the glue is not holding. But we’re just looking for ideas.
TOM: So these three-inch-wide boards are solid bamboo; they’re not engineered?
LESLIE: It’s not a bamboo veneer on top or something?
KELLY: No, they are solid bamboo because they actually had some slats out in the garage; some extra ones.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. And when you say the edges are curling, I mean wood doesn’t usually curl; it’ll cut.
KELLY: It’s not – they’re just like ridges where they’re – you know, side by side you can just see where they’ve kind of – they’re just – it’s very subtle.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
KELLY: I’m thinking if you run your hand across it, you can just feel this little edge. And also, it’s starting to wear. You know, that’s where it’s starting to – you can see some wear there where it’s in the middle (inaudible at 0:14:10.4).
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, Kelly, you’re going to get some wear and tear on the floor now that it’s a couple of years old and you’re also going to get expansion and contraction. So I wonder if what you’re seeing here is the normal gaps that form in any type of a plank floor. When they put it in, it looks nice and tight; but then, as it starts to shrink and expand and shrink and expand, eventually the boards separate and you get spaces and then you get dirt in the spaces and – you know, it can …
LESLIE: Things become more obvious.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. I wouldn’t expect bamboo to do any curling whatsoever because you can’t really get a more moisture-resistant piece of wood than bamboo. That’s very tough stuff.
TOM: I mean you could soak that in a bathtub for a week and it probably won’t change its shape whatsoever.
KELLY: So we can just call this patina and not worry about it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. I mean you might …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. It’s charm.
KELLY: That sounds great.
LESLIE: Kelly, you might also want to just reach out to the manufacturer and perhaps shoot them a photo of what’s going on with the floor. They’ll probably confirm that it’s the same issue going on but who knows? Perhaps the year that you bought the flooring there was a manufacturer defect and …
TOM: Or with the finish.
LESLIE: Yes, something that could warrant replacement or they’ll say, “Nope, that’s just natural wear and tear” or “You’ve got an installation issue and you should seek out some sort of recourse with that person.”
TOM: But I definitely think your wife is spending too much time staring at the floor.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Looking at the floor.
KELLY: OK, yeah. (Tom chuckles) It is subtle.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Maybe she wants new shoes.
TOM: OK. Kelly, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Trish in Reno, Nevada is dealing with a leaky roof. Tell us about the problem.
TRISH: Well, my problem is my garage roof and I believe the problem is the material on the roof. I think it has – I just had a new roof put on five years ago but I’m out in the sun in Reno a lot – the roof is – and someone had told me that walking on the roof probably also broke the material down and it’s just leaking straight through. Because there’s no rips and tears anywhere and I can’t figure out where the leak is.
TOM: (overlapping voices) That could do it. Yeah. OK, what kind of roofing material is it?
TRISH: Well, it’s – right now, it’s tar paper or – let’s see; what do I want to say?
TOM: Is it a roll? Is it roll roofing?
TRISH: It’s a roll. It’s rolled on and then it’s sealed with something …
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. At the – at seams?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Around the edges.
TOM: Yeah. Trish, probably the best roofing solution for your particular situation is a rubber roof. It’s known as an EPDM roof and …
TOM: Yes, EPDM. But the rubber roofs, they’ve been used for many, many years. They’re extremely durable. And most importantly, though, when you go on that roof to do the roof maintenance on the upper roof, I want you to lay down some boards. I don’t want you to walk directly on the roof.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Lay down some small pieces of plywood …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Need something to spread out the force of your weight.
TRISH: I see.
TOM: This way, your heel’s not pressing down into one soft place and causing a crack. The rubber is going to be a lot more flexible, so it’s not likely to crack. The roll roofing that you have right now can crack by looking at it crooked, you know?
TOM: But if you use a rubber roofing product the next time around, I think you can get a roof that lasts a lot longer and it’s going to be a little more durable when you have to go up there to seal up the roof above it.
LESLIE: Is this a project you’re thinking about doing yourself?
TRISH: I’m doing it myself, yes.
LESLIE: There is an excellent online site; it’s called FlatRoofSolutions.com. Because, traditionally, these rubber roofing products have only been done by the pros; but this company really makes it easy to understand. The installation instructions are very comprehensive. Photos, everything you need; they’ll help you order it. And the EPDM that they sell – it’s a Firestone product – comes in 50-foot widths and 100-foot widths so that you can – you know, you really don’t have to worry about seaming, which is another area where a leak could occur.
TRISH: Oh. How nice. Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Trish. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Up next, it’s like the shower scene out of Psycho but worse. You think you’re getting clean during your morning shower when, unbeknownst to you, germs are actually lurking in your showerhead. Ugh.
TOM: It’s true. Researchers have found potentially dangerous bacteria hiding out there. We’re going to talk to one of the members of that research team from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Find out what they discovered and how you can protect yourself from those yucky findings, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:46.7]
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And it’s something that millions of Americans do every day. We get up, we stretch, we yawn and we jump into the shower so we can start our day out real fresh and relaxed and clean. Right? I mean that’s what we all think. We all want to be very clean. But guess what? There was a study that came out last month from some pretty smart folks at the University of Colorado at Boulder that found out that the water that comes out of that showerhead could be loaded with bacteria. I mean it kind of reminds you of the Alfred Hitchcock shower scene but sort of a high-tech version of it.
TOM: With us to talk about it right now is one of those researchers. It’s Laura Baumgartner from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
LESLIE: So this is just another excuse to avoid showering.
TOM: (laughs) You guys must have been pretty surprised when you ran across these numbers. Tell us about your study and how it came to be.
LAURA: The first seeds for the study were set with researchers at National Jewish Hospitals in Denver and they had seen a couple of people come in who had a non-tuberculosis microbacterial infection and they traced it back to the water supply. We were funded by the Sloan Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, to look at the human microbe interaction; basically, all the microbes
that you interact with in your air and your water. So we’re looking at schools and public places and water supplies.
And I had a group of students that I was teaching a class with that needed a project that related to them, so they – because we knew about the study at National Jewish, we thought, “Well, let’s go look at showerheads.” You know, you’re getting a blast of that in your face.
TOM: OK. Right.
LAURA: And they started out, took some samples from showerheads and they saw a little bit of this Mycobacterium avium and we thought – and we went out and did a much larger study, about 50 showerheads in all, and actually found in about 20 or 30 percent of the showerheads, that there was, in fact, a lot of Mycobacterium avium.
TOM: And that’s really frightening because we all presume that our water supply is safe. I mean some of us have well water; most of us probably have municipal water. Did I hear that you originally were testing well water and perhaps expecting to find something there and didn’t really get much in the way of results but you got quite a shock when you started turning to the big city water supplies?
LAURA: We actually started pretty much with both and the well water, as far as the Mycobacterium avium, we really didn’t see it there because Mycobacterium avium is resistant to chlorine.
LAURA: And so the chlorine sort of enriches for the Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium avium is in water supplies in some small amounts. Chlorination actually does keep us pretty safe. It is fully safe to drink your tap water. But what happened in the showerhead, because it provides a moist environment that’s not a flowing water environment, that seemed to enrich for the Mycobacterium and we found a lot more in some of the showerheads than what was in the water that was flowing through the showers.
LESLIE: Laura, did you find it was a shape of a showerhead or the functionality of a showerhead that sort of allowed this bacteria to grow?
LAURA: We couldn’t statistically link it to anything about the type of showerhead. We did kind of try to look at that and we couldn’t link it to any particular thing.
TOM: Well, you know, showerhead design has changed a lot in the last decade. It used to be that you tried to push as much water through the showerhead as you possibly could and now they’ve become more efficient and more efficient and as they’ve done that, they’ve become more highly-engineered. So, bottom line, a lot more nooks and crannies than ever before. Does that give the bacteria more places to hide?
LAURA: It probably does and one recommendation that we can make is something that’s very hard to find now is an all-metal showerhead; not just plastic coated in metal. But an all-metal showerhead should actually contain fewer bacteria because it’s harder for bacteria to attach and grow on metal than it is on plastic.
TOM: Yeah, you’d almost have to go back to an antique store to find an old-fashioned rain shower head.
LAURA: I can tell you that there’s a good hardware store in Boulder that does, in fact, stock all-metal showerheads.
TOM: Did you go out and buy a set for everybody; buy one for everybody on the team?
LAURA: I have to admit, I still use a plastic showerhead. (Tom laughs)
LESLIE: (chuckles) You’re like, “I’m not scared.”
LAURA: With all the nooks and crannies. For the average person, it really isn’t something to be scared about. This is something that people who are immune-compromised, who have AIDS or a recent organ transplant or perhaps are elderly and therefore they know that they should be worried …
LAURA: … this might be something for those people to take into consideration. Might be a good time to switch to baths; might be a good time to get a metal showerhead. If you have a short-term sort of thing, like a recent organ transplant, just buying a new showerhead should be helpful. We didn’t see bacterial loads that we could test and anything (inaudible at 0:23:33.0).
TOM: We’re talking to Laura Baumgartner. She’s a researcher at the University of Colorado in Boulder and they just came out with a study that showed that bacteria actually come out from the showerhead that you, perhaps, are using everyday in your house.
So you say it’s not dangerous but if we are concerned, if we do want to try to clean the showerhead, is that possible?
LAURA: We don’t have any great recommendations there. We do have one anecdote that somebody’s in the lab showerhead came up with – not Mycobacterium avium but another species of Mycobacterium – and they wanted to clean it. They used chlorine and six months later they went from having a little bit of Mycobacterium to a lot (Tom chuckles) because Mycobacterium tend to resist chlorine better than other things. So, I actually have stopped bleaching my showerheads.
TOM: (chuckling) You’ve stopped bleaching your showerheads.
LAURA: Yeah, if you want to clean it – honestly, I hate to say it but get a new one. And there are showerheads out there that have filters in them. The one I know that’s been tested well is made by Pall – P-a-l-l – and that’s another option.
TOM: OK. You provided some information on that and we will have that on our home page at MoneyPit.com. In fact, I was surprised to learn that there are special filtered showerheads that are specifically designed for people that have immune issues.
LESLIE: Who knew?
TOM: Yeah, who knew, right?
LAURA: And that’s probably a good idea if you have those types of issues. The reality is, you probably have to change the filters about weekly in those – that’s the recommendation – and that’s not going to be cheap.
LAURA: So, for the average person, that’s probably not something to go out and buy but if you have sort of immune consideration …
TOM: So bottom line, you’re still a fan of showering. (Leslie chuckles)
LAURA: I’m still a fan of showering and everyone’s yucking out about the concept of showering and bacteria but you have to realize, your skin is covered in bacteria and most of them are very, very good for you.
LESLIE: Crazy. So I’m not going to drink shower water anymore. (Tom and Laura chuckle)
LAURA: Really, the shower water is exactly the same as your tap water and it’s perfectly fine.
LESLIE: Alright, then I’m doing it.
LAURA: Bacteria are good for you, I swear. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: We were talking about the idea of, you know, you want to run the shower before you get in it and – you know, some people – so everybody does that. You don’t just jump in the shower. But then Leslie and I were talking, before the show, about how we kind of run the tap …
LESLIE: The tub, yeah.
TOM: … and get the water where we want it and then turn the shower on once we’re in.
LAURA: Yeah, and I’m one of those people who runs the shower for a minute or two and goes and does something else, so I thought that’s what everybody did. And more and more people I’ve talked to said, “Well, I brush my teeth with hot water and then get in the shower.” I was like, “Really?” (Tom chuckles) So yeah, you do want to run it for a few seconds first. Don’t take that first blast right in the face.
TOM: Good advice. Laura, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.
LAURA: Thank you for talking with me.
LESLIE: Well, I guess we can say, “Hop on in. The water is fine.”
Hey, if you want to read more about those study results, head on over to MoneyPit.com. You will find a ton of information there about this very interesting story and I have to say, another reason for me to avoid showering. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
Coming up, heating water for that shower is the biggest energy expense after heating and cooling your home; if you can believe that. But you can make heating that water for your home less expensive and we’re going to tell you how, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:26:22.8]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now for your chance to win a Whirlpool (ph) Plus vacuum from Eureka. This is a vacuum that cleans multiple surfaces in less time with a 15-inch-wide cleaning path and powerful suction. It’s also got a HEPA filter. It’s worth 129 bucks. Going to go out to one caller who calls in with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We toss all callers this hour into that Money Pit hardhat and if we draw your name out, you’re going to get the prize that sucks. (Leslie chuckles) Really well. But that’s a good thing.
LESLIE: (laughing) Alright. Well, you’ve heard us – sorry, that’s a good one, Tom. (Tom laughs) Alright, alright. I'm getting back on the home improvement track here.
You guys have heard us talk to you tons of times about turning down the dial; setting the temperature setting on your water heater so that you and your family can avoid the possible risk of being scalded. Well, now there is a great new product on the market that’s going to help you with that so you don’t actually have to go and do it yourself. We’re talking about the Rheem HP50. It’s an integrated air source heat pump water heater and one of the really cool features is the touchpad control. Besides allowing you complete control over the water temperature, it’s got several settings that are going to help you save a ton of energy, including a vacation setting. I mean how cool is that?
TOM: Yes, the Rheem HP-50 is very energy-efficient. It will actually reduce your family’s carbon footprint by nearly two tons every year and it’s cheaper to run than an electric or even a gas water heater. Plus, its Energy Star rating allows it to qualify for the federal tax credit and, possibly, even local credits through your state or through your utility company. For more information, you can visit Rheem.com. That’s Rheem – R-h-e-e-m.com.
888-666-3974. You can also call us with your home energy question right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to take a call from Dallas in Connecticut who’s having an issue with a deck. What can we do for you?
DALLAS: Yeah, well I have a problem with a deck. Unfortunately, I stained it about – roughly about a year ago. It seems that the rails held up pretty good but most of the deck portion, a lot of it just either faded out or came off. And my concern is I would like to maybe do something over it. Do you have something that’s not so labor-intensive [like sanding] (ph)? And if I wanted to put a paint surface instead of staining again, what would I have to do?
TOM: You’re pretty much looking for the magic wand here, aren’t you? (all chuckle)
DALLAS: (inaudible at 0:29:17.9)
TOM: You know, it is a lot of work – especially when you have a finish that goes on, Dallas, and then comes right off again – because you can’t put anything on top of a bad finish. If you do, it’s going to continue to peel off. So, if you want something that’s going to work and you’ve got a bad product on there now, you’re going to have to strip it off. There’s just no way around that because you can’t put good paint on bad paint and you can’t put good stain on bad stain. You have an adhesion issue that has to be addressed first before you can put the next layer on.
DALLAS: Any particular type of stripper that you might recommend; you know, that’s going to be safe to use?
LESLIE: Well, there are a whole host of different products. Every manufacturer makes one. If you’re looking for something that’s terrifically green, there is a website that you can go to; it’s called GreenBuildingSupply.com and they have a bunch of green strippers that are sort of more natural in their materials that they use for the product. But you just want to make sure that you get rid of anything that’s peeling up.
If you go with a solid stain – you know, one that looks more like paint but it still sort of saturates the surface as a stain does – look for one that’s sort of a mixture of an oil and a latex product, so it’s like a primer and a topcoat all in one, because that’ll really help with the adhesion. But you’re going to notice you always get the most wear and tear, obviously, on the horizontal surfaces and the vertical surfaces are going to keep the stain much longer. So make sure you follow the directions and you will get what the manufacturer promises as far as duration.
DALLAS: Oh, OK. Thank you so much and have a pleasant day.
LESLIE: You, too.
TOM: You’re welcome, Dallas. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading out to Oregon to talk with Sheree about rust stains. What happened?
SHEREE: Hi. Yeah, I have a concrete slab patio in my backyard and I think the fertilizer has caused some staining on the patio. It looks rust-colored. And I’m wondering if there’s a product or a process that will remove those stains for me.
TOM: Do you have a sprinkler system?
SHEREE: I do.
TOM: I doubt it’s the fertilizer that’s causing the rust. It’s probably just the rust that’s coming up through the sprinkler system. Do you have well water?
SHEREE: Oh. No, uh-uh. Runs the city water.
TOM: Hmm. Well, regardless, I think that you can clean it with a solution of TSP, trisodium phosphate, available at hardware stores, home centers.
SHEREE: (overlapping voices) Oh, OK.
TOM: Mix up a fairly strong solution. Use a brush; like a bristle brush on a stick.
TOM: Scrub it in a little bit, rinse it off. That ought to brighten it up. And make sure you direct those sprinkler heads so that the water does not reach the patio because I think you’re going to find that you’re pulling up some iron from the ground and that’s probably what’s causing this rust stain.
SHEREE: Yeah, it does seem to be around the edge of the patio, too, so that could be. OK, well thanks. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sheree. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, coming up, tips to help spruce up a dingy laundry room. If you’re going to be doing this dreaded chore this weekend, you might as well be in a pleasant work space while you do that laundry. We’re going to tell you how, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:12.6]
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: You can follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook. Those links are online at MoneyPit.com. While you’re there, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us your e-mail question.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got one here from Sherri in Montreal who writes: “My laundry room, which is located in the basement, needs a makeover. One wall is cinder block that has been painted royal blue …” (laughs)
LESLIE: “… and I have a combination drywall and cheap paneling on the other walls.”
TOM: Oh, equally lovely.
LESLIE: That sounds fantastic. “Can I paint all of these surfaces? If so, would I use oil or a latex primer first?”
TOM: The first thing I would want to do is try to get some consistent surfaces. What can we cover these walls with, Leslie, that will give us something that looks more like a room?
LESLIE: What about paneling on everything? And it doesn’t have to be that wood paneling. I mean there are all sorts of synthetic types of panelings that can look like beadboard, that can look wainscoting.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right, yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah.
LESLIE: There’s also drywall that’s fiberglass-faced so that it’s perfect for a below-grade situation. I think if you can unify the wall surface, it’ll make a giant difference and then you can paint that entire space royal blue, if that’s your favorite color, and it might actually work; rather than, you know, a mishmosh of different surfaces.
TOM: And as to your painting question, no, you don’t need to use any type of an oil primer. Just use a good-quality latex primer like KILZ or Behr or Zinsser or Bin or one of those products. And once you have the primer on, let it dry really well and then you can use, again, a good-quality top surface paint and you’ll be good to go. But get those walls consistent first. I think that’s going to make the biggest difference down there, Sherri. It’s tough when you’ve got a combination of wall coverings, one on each different side, because it doesn’t give you the opportunity to have any type of a consistent look.
LESLIE: And it also would, I imagine, make the space feel much smaller; so take some time and unify the look on the walls themselves and you’ll really create a space that works for you.
Alright, Charlie from Woodbridge, Virginia writes: “I need to vent my new clothes dryer through the attic space and out the roof. Total diagonal run through the space will be about ten feet. Venting through the basement is an option but more than twice the distance with more turns. I know the four-inch vent needs to be insulated to prevent condensation during the winter months. Is there a tubular insulation made for this purpose or do I need to wrap a standard r11 fiberglass batt?”
TOM: Well, you could get some insulation cloth that comes on a roll and can be wrapped around as if you were wrapping it around a pipe. That’s available. But most importantly here, Charlie, you’re right to be concerned about the length of the venting and the number of turns. Make sure you don’t use flexible plastic or flexible metal venting. I want you to use solid four-inch metal duct. Because the least resistance – the less resistance you have, the more efficient that clothes dryer is going to operate and that means it has to run less, too. If it’s not really working really efficiently, it’s got to run far longer and that’s going to cost you more money to dry your clothes.
LESLIE: Alright, I hope that helps, Charlie, and if you want some more great laundry room tips and ideas, head on over to MoneyPit.com and search laundry. Good luck with your projects, guys.
TOM: Well, recessed lighting looks great but if you don’t install them right, they’re going to cost you some money. Leslie tells you what to do to make sure you don’t lose those energy dollars, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Did you know that recessed lighting fixtures can actually add dollars to your energy bill; that is, if they’re not properly installed? Now, if they aren’t installed right, air can easily escape and then enter a structure through any space between a recessed lighting fixture and the ceiling opening and when this happens, all of those valuable energy dollars are lost. So the best prevention is to install fixtures rated IC. Now, the IC stands for insulation contact and means that your decorative lights can be sealed, they can touch insulation, they’re not going to burst into flames. They’re really what you want. So make sure you look for the IC in your high hats and then you won’t attract those high energy bills and we are all looking to save some money. So good luck with your decorating projects.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
Hey, coming up next week on the program, we’re going to get fall landscaping tips from This Old House lawn and garden expert, Roger Cook. We’re going to learn about leaf care, leaf cleanup, lawn care for the fall and everything that you need to do to make sure that your home can survive the winter.
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 2009 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.)