Get tips to control odors at home during the holidays. Find out how to fix holiday lights. Learn an easy way to find, fix and prevent water leaks. Plus, get answers to your home improvement questions about installing wall tile, eliminating animals from the attic, tankless hot water heaters, eliminating water in the basement, fixing a hole in a pipe and refinishing countertops.
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: Standing by to help you with your home improvement projects; to help solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas; to give you the tips, the advice or the helping hand that you need to get those projects done around your house.
Coming up this hour, are you getting ready to host a house full of guests this holiday season? After all that cooking, your house may not smell as inviting as you had hoped for or maybe you’ve got a pet at home. Clearing the air, clearing the odor could go a long way to making existence in your house a lot more pleasant. We’re going to have some tips on how you can do just that, coming up in just a bit.
LESLIE: And this week, (singing) haul out the holly. (Tom chuckles) Millions of us Americans will be whipping out our holiday lights and decorating their Christmas trees. Whoo-hoo, mine has been up two weeks; so get with it, guys. (both chuckle)
TOM: But a lot of people wait til the week before to do it.
LESLIE: I know.
TOM: It’s a big tradition in some families.
LESLIE: I know. I just – you know my dream is to keep one up through February 28th for my birthday (Tom chuckles) and it’ll never happen. But for those of you decorating this weekend, you know, just because the lights worked last year when you took them off the tree, that doesn’t mean they’re going to work this year.
LESLIE: And why is that?
TOM: Yes, I think it’s basically a big conspiracy to make you buy more lights every, single years.
LESLIE: Oh, I’m sure. Because I’m one of those suckers. I’m buying them every, single year. (Tom chuckles)
Well, we’re going to solve that mystery and tell you how to fix those strings of lights so you don’t have to buy a new one.
TOM: And one place in your home where a leak could do some pretty major damage is right in whatever room is under your washing machine; because those washing machine hoses, they break without any notice. You’re probably doing a lot of laundry right now. This is one problem you don’t want to have. We’re going to give you the absolute, sure-fire way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you, coming up in just a bit.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize. We’re giving away a stainless steel sink from Blanco America worth 300 bucks and I’ve got one in my house and they’re beautiful. I’ve had mine – I guess it was six years ago we did the kitchen and it still looks great.
TOM: That could be our home improvement gift to one lucky caller who picks up the phone and calls us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Look at that. The calls are coming in already. Let’s get right to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading over to Nevada to chat with Brett about a tiling project. What can we do for you?
BRETT: Well, I’m doing a project in my bathroom and I’ve done a lot of ceramic stuff on my floors before; I’ve laid down a lot of ceramic tiles. But this time, I’m going to be putting it on a wall; so it’s going to be a vertical application and I’ve never done that before and I’m a little nervous about it. Are there any sort of tricks of the trade that I can apply to this so that I don’t have any problems?
TOM: Well, it’s not that difficult to do. I mean if you use a good-quality adhesive, you actually can put those tiles up as you go. They’ll stay firmly in place. They won’t shift. They won’t move. They won’t float around. We always recommend working from the bottom up and the layout is really the most critical. You need to figure out your cuts first because you don’t want to end up against the ceiling with a small piece.
TOM: If you’re going to have something small, you want to have that towards the bottom.
BRETT: OK, but there’s nothing – because I had looked up some stuff on the internet and they showed people that had used like strips of wood to keep the tile in place. I don’t need to worry about anything like that?
TOM: I don’t think so. Leslie, you’ve done a lot of that before.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No, as long as your adhesive is mixed properly. If you’re mixing your own, you want it the right consistency. You want to make sure that it is the perfect sort of tact-icity, if you will; it’s sticky enough so that the tile is going to go on. Choose a tile – you know are you looking at one that has a mesh backing? Are you looking at individual tiles? What kind are you choosing?
BRETT: These actually have a mesh backing.
LESLIE: The mesh backing really makes it fantastic because the adhesive sort of squeezes through each of those little perforations on the mesh and it really helps it adhere. Again, work from the bottom up. Make sure that when you lay it in, you’re not sort of compressing all of the mesh that helps with the layout.
LESLIE: As long as you’ve got everything prepped properly; you’ve got your backer board on the wall, I think you’ll really have a good project.
BRETT: Excellent. Thank you very much for your assistance.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cathy in Kentucky has a roofing situation. Tell us about it.
CATHY: Yeah, I had a new roof put on my house. Part of it was ripped off by a tornado. And I have dormers. I don't really have an attic.
CATHY: And the problem is I have something up there gnawing since they put the roof on.
CATHY: There's something up in there and it's in my walls and the other night it was up in my ceiling over my bed and I had to get up and pound on the ceiling.
TOM: Do you have access into this space, Cathy? Is there an attic hatch or something of that nature?
CATHY: No, nothing.
TOM: There's nothing? There's no way to get in there?
TOM: Well, obviously the animals found a way in. I think what you're going to have to do is cut an access into that; you know, a small hatchway or something like that from an interior is probably the way to go.
TOM: Once you get up into that space, one trick of the trade is to take some mothballs and throw it around because a lot of the rodents that infest don't like that. The other thing that you could do is get a Havahart trap because if the animal is running around, it's looking for food.
TOM: Get a Havahart trap and get one for like a squirrel size trap and you can – for bait ...
LESLIE: Because it probably is a squirrel.
TOM: And for bait you could use like an apple; half of an apple or something like that.
LESLIE: Wire it down.
TOM: Yeah. Trick of the trade; wire it down because the animal will knock it around and it won't 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 your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even during this very busy holiday time, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, you’re ready to decorate that tree. You’ve pulled out the string of lights. You’ve plugged it in and you got nothing; even though it worked last year when you put it away. You’re absolutely sure.
Well, there could be a simple thing that’s stopping that light string from working and I’m going to tell you how to fix it, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:39.6]
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you could just get the answer to your question and a chance at winning a brand new sink from Blanco Products.
Leslie, you’ve got a Blanco stainless steel sink, don’t you?
LESLIE: We do. We’ve had it for about six years now. I absolutely love it. It is beautiful. I was really surprised when we bought our sink – I guess it’s six years – at the affordability and the durability.
LESLIE: It’s super-deep. I love it. And you know, with stainless, you’ve got to understand that over time they are going to get the scratches and the rings from all of the usage but I really think that adds to the patina of the sink and it looks gorgeous.
TOM: The character. It’s the character of the sink.
LESLIE: Really, it does.
TOM: Well, this one is worth 300 bucks and we’re going to give it away to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, so let’s get right to it.
LESLIE: Pick up the phone and give us a call if you are about to decorate your tree and none of your lights are working. This has to be the biggest annoyance that I find every year. You know, you unpack all your lights. They worked great last year. They were even working when you took them off the tree and wrapped them back up. Yet, for some reason, next year rolls around and maybe half the strand works; maybe they don’t work at all; maybe if you shake it they come back on. (chuckles)
TOM: And the biggest con is that when you buy these lights, it always says on the package, “Lights work even if one bulb goes out.”
LESLIE: And they don’t.
TOM: Well, technically they would if the light bulb burns out but the truth of the matter is that those miniature light bulbs almost never burn out.
LESLIE: What is it? Is it a short?
TOM: What happens is this: the bulbs get loose in the socket. The connection between the bulb and the socket is not real positive. It’s pressure fit and as you wrap the lights up, the bulbs get loose. So, if your string doesn’t work, here’s what you need to do.
LESLIE: You’ve got to tighten each and every bulb.
TOM: Plug it in and start at one end and work to the next end and push every bulb in tighter to the socket. You will most likely find one that’s slightly loose. You’ll push it in and, poof, they’ll all come on.
The second reason that this happens – that it typically doesn’t work – is a fuse burns out; but that’s a lot less likely to happen. Typically, if it’s a fuse, it’s going to happen after they’re up and live for a while and perhaps you tied too many strings together and the fuse will burn out. If the fuse does burn out and you’re wondering where it is, it is the tiniest fuse you will ever see in your entire life.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It is.
TOM: It’s like a ¼-inch long and it’s inside the plug. It’s inside the male side of the plug and …
LESLIE: And it’s always that tiny, little bag that they staple to those strings of lights; you know, with the flasher and the extra light and then there’s that weird, little metal chip. Hold onto that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Exactly. Yeah, so get your reading glasses out or your big magnifying glass and go look for that fuse. But really, most of the time it’s a loose bulb and it’s really easy to fix. So make sure you check those bulbs when the string goes out and you will avoid having to buy another string this week.
888-666-3974. Give us a call with your home improvement question.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Marilyn in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MARILYN: I'm the president of a homeowner's association in a condo building. We have six small townhouses and one water heater. It's about 16 years old and one of these days it's going to go. And I've been wondering if it's possible to use a tankless water heater to replace this for, you know, six units.
LESLIE: Well, it would be a tankless per unit, correct?
TOM: Not necessarily, Leslie. It depends on the size. Now you would have to have it sized correctly by the plumber that installed it. But it might be that a single tankless could do it or there could be a series of two or three tankless that are hooked up together side by side that work together. This is a very common situation in a commercial building and very often the solution is some number of water heaters hooked up in series. But they have to be done correctly because they're all computer controlled and in order to keep that flow where it needs to be they need to be properly installed. But certainly tankless is a good option.
I presume here, Marilyn, that you have a gas-fired water heater.
MARILYN: We do ...
MARILYN: .. but here's an issue. Because I've been in some condos where they had them in individual units and one person I know had it retrofitted and it's on the third story and it takes forever to get hot water in her kitchen downstairs. And we have a pump, a circulating pump, that keeps hot water going for a good portion of the day.
TOM: I see.
MARILYN: So how do you stop from having to use a lot of water to get to your hot water or could you?
TOM: Well, you would have to do some new plumbing.
TOM: The advantage of tankless water heaters is that they're small. I don't think you need one per unit but maybe one per floor or something like that. You may be able to get additional ones but, remember, that's going to require additional plumbing work to close that loop. The idea that you're circulating a hot water loop throughout the whole building is wasting an enormous amount of energy; an enormous amount and I'd love to see you find a solution around that. But I think that at this point, considering the age of that unit, it's a good idea ...
TOM: ... to bring in a good contractor or a number of them and let them give you some options and some pricing for those options because as an association, you have the ability to fund that perhaps over some number of years, so it wouldn't be a dramatic cost all at the same time.
MARILYN: OK. Alright, I really appreciate all that feedback ...
TOM: You're welcome, Marilyn.
MARILYN: ... and I love your show. I listen to it every week.
LESLIE: Lee in Arkansas is dealing with a basement situation. What’s going on?
LEE: How you doing? First off, love you guys’ show. I’m an avid listener.
TOM: Well, thanks, Lee.
LEE: I have a sub-basement that is five feet below the outside ground.
LEE: Every time we get a heavy rain – I’ve heard this on your show many times – I get water seepage coming in. I have a sump pump in the basement, so it can get the water out. So it’s not flooding; it’s just always coated in a layer of water.
LEE: My question is I want a French drain around the house. How deep does a French drain need to be? Do I have to go down to below the level of the basement or can I just run an average trench which goes down about three feet?
TOM: So you have extended downspouts and you have grading and you’re still getting water?
LEE: Yes, sir. The property behind me is on a hill, so I’m getting the runoff from that hill which fills up the drainage – a small little ditch they have running off into the wet-weather creek.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK.
LEE: But, over time, it just – the whole ground, the water in my backyard, just gets saturated.
TOM: I see.
LEE: And it lasts that way for about a week after a heavy rain.
TOM: OK. So the solution here may not be a French drain right up against the foundation because I don’t think that’s the best place to collect the water. But what you might do is create what’s called a curtain drain between your house and this hill.
Now, a curtain drain is a trench that’s essentially about 12 to 18-inches wide and deep that is filled with stone and then you have a perforated, solid, PVC pipe embedded and encased in more stone all the way around it. And then, when you’re done, the last layer is filter cloth and then some soil and then grass. So when you’re done, you don’t see it; it’s completely underground. But what happens is as the water runs down the hill, it falls into this trench, comes up into the pipe and then you run the pipe out somewhere to daylight where you can drain the water. Typically, when you have a hill and you need to intercept water, that’s the way you do it.
If you let the water come against your house, yeah, you could intercept it there; but by the same token, you’re saturating the soil, which makes the house unstable. So I’d rather see you try to collect it farther away from the foundation for that reason. Does that make sense?
LEE: Absolutely and I was going to do that. I was also going to out six feet around my house, all the way around my house, and French drain it and have that going into the wet-weather creek as well.
TOM: Well, let’s do this one step at a time, Lee. Let’s not do everything at once.
TOM: I would put the curtain drain in first and try to collect that water coming off the neighbor’s property. And you know, measure it; see how it goes. Wait a year and then you can always put the next set of drains in after that. But big project, so …
LEE: (overlapping voices) OK. And I’m pretty handy. I think this is something I can do myself. I had a quote for over $10,000.
TOM: Yeah, it’s pretty simple. Just make sure that you get a ¼-inch-per-foot slope on the pipe so that the water will eventually run off and out.
LEE: OK, excellent advice as always. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Lee. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Myrna in Utah has a problem with the gutter system on her money pit. What can we do for you?
MYRNA: Hi. I don't know if you've answered this for someone else but on a very long pipe – they are older pipes but they seem fine – but there's a big hole in the one and I was wondering if we could just put some epoxy or glue or some way without replacing the whole gutter or do we have to replace the whole gutter?
TOM: Are you talking about the leader, Myrna, or the gutter; the drainpipe off of the gutter or the gutter itself?
MYRNA: The gutter itself.
TOM: How did you get a hole in there? That's kind of unusual. Did it wear? Is it sort of wear and tear or did something fall through it?
MYRNA: I have no idea.
MYRNA: You know, because the rest of them are doing fine but ...
TOM: Is it an aluminum gutter?
MYRNA: I think they're steel.
TOM: Yeah, well maybe they're rusting.
TOM: Well, here's what you can do. You can get a piece of gutter material; whether it's steel or aluminum. You can get some asphalt roof cement and, using that as the adhesive, working from the inside, I want you to cover that hole with the piece of gutter material. So you're going to create a patch here. And then what you're going to do is you're going to either use sheet metal screws or rivets to connect those two together. So think of it as sort of sewing a patch on some clothes ...
MYRNA: Oh, OK.
TOM: ... but you're doing it from the inside and you're attaching it using this asphalt roof cement. That will give you a watertight seal or you could use silicone caulk as the sealant as well; that'll allow you to patch it and cover the hole and have it not leak anymore.
LESLIE: Lynn in Nevada is dealing with an unwanted pool in front of his house. (chuckles) What’s going on, Lynn?
LYNN: I have a pool-of-water problem every year in front of my house. Fortunately, I don’t have a basement but I have a concrete slab. I’m not anxious to put up gutters because of the ice and snow and, if I do put up gutters, I’d have to put up [some safety nets] (ph). And I want to keep it simple and I thought of the possibility of doing a linear – some (inaudible at 0:17:26.3)-type drains that go across people’s driveways sometimes.
LYNN: And I have a slope off the front of my house, so I could carry the water away from my house down.
TOM: So you’re talking about a curtain drain. Now, the thing is that’s not going to stop water from eroding that area. You know, putting all that water against the foundation is not good for it either. There’s another option. It’s called a rain handler. Have you ever heard of this?
LYNN: No, I have not. Rain handler.
TOM: OK, rain handler. And what it is, it’s a configuration of a piece of metal that is mounted to your fascia and it takes the water that runs off your roof and disperses it into droplets.
LESLIE: It’s like a louvered panel of metal blades. It almost looks like a blind.
TOM: Yeah. And it hangs off the edge of the roof. Go to RainHandler.com. If you have a basement, I still prefer gutters because it gets the water away. But in your situation, you don’t have a basement, what this would do is disperse the water into a much wider pattern so it’s not likely to pool in front of your house; which is the issue you’re trying to deal with. I think this could be your solution
LYNN: OK, thank you very much, Tom, Leslie. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, clearing the air at home. We’re going to share some great ideas for getting rid of that pet and all that food odor that is occurring in your house right about now, especially when your doorbell is about to ring with holiday guests; so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:19:08.8]
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.
Well, according to a survey by the Soap and Detergent Association – yes, there is one (Tom chuckles) – 98 percent of us feel good about themselves when our house is clean. I know I do. And part of a clean home is a fresh-smelling home.
TOM: And that is so important; not only year-round but now that the holidays are here, there’s nothing worse than three-day-old turkey smell …
TOM: … after you’ve cooked a big roast for everyone that is stopping by your house.
Well, here to help with that is Cheryl Picken. Now, Cheryl is from Beaumont Products. They are the makers of the Citrus Magic line of natural air fresheners and cleaners.
Hi, Cheryl. Welcome to the program.
CHERYL: Why thank you. Good to talk to you; both you and Leslie.
LESLIE: Thanks, Cheryl.
TOM: Well, it’s our pleasure to have you.
Now, Cheryl, before we talk about how the products work, I want to talk about the problem of odors in homes. It seems to me that nowadays homes are a little smaller. We have very open designs, great rooms, kitchens that are connected right to the rest of the house; at least as far as the odors are concerned. Are people more concerned about this today than ever before because of those issues?
CHERYL: Well, I think so and certainly this time of year with people coming into your home for either dinner or just to celebrate the holidays, whatever. You know, it’s wonderful to have that fish the night before or the roast beef with cabbage the night before but people don’t need to come into your home and know what you cooked for dinner the night before.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
LESLIE: And you know what? It’s like the odors linger. You, as the chef and the homeowner, might not have noticed it anymore; but somebody walking in fresh, it really is there and it’ll last a few days.
CHERYL: It will. I think it sticks to the draperies and your furniture and upholstery and this time of year, we can’t always open a window to freshen your house. So one of our solutions –probably, in our opinion, the best solution – is to spray some Citrus Magic into the air.
TOM: And that’s quite a challenge that you have, to deal with odors. Because, as you say, the odors are very sticky; they do get into the furniture, get into the carpets, into the drapes. Not only do they get into it, they get into it throughout the entire house. So, how do you formulate a product as good as Citrus Magic to tackle all that?
CHERYL: Well, one of the wonderful properties of citrus fruit is that it actually destroys airborne odors permanently. And then the way to spray that – of course, you can’t always be peeling citrus fruit nonstop in your home, which would certainly help freshen the air. I know my grandmother used to put her orange peels down the garbage disposal to destroy the odors emanating from the garbage disposal.
LESLIE: Oh, clever.
CHERYL: So what we’ve done is actually bottled up Mother Nature’s finest product – and that is citrus fruit peel oil – and put that in a bottle that delivers a very fine spray from a non-aerosol can.
TOM: And I tell you, it works really well. I first discovered your product when I had that exact three-day-old turkey situation in my house and you guys had sent me some to try out. And it was really amazing. Just one spray did it and it covered the entire first floor of the house; smelled fantastic.
So you say it’s concentrated citrus oil, huh?
CHERYL: It is. It’s actually the peel oil of about several thousand pounds of citrus fruit all ground down into the purest and most essential oil.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, wow.
TOM: Your grandma would get really tired by the time she got done peeling all those. (Leslie chuckles)
CHERYL: (chuckling) She would.
LESLIE: Now, you know what I think is so interesting, Cheryl, is that the Beaumont Line, with Citrus Magic, doesn’t just stop at the citrus spray. There’s a full line and when my son was born, actually, Tom handed me your solid air freshener in the linen scent. And we bought a changing table that had a cabinet; which I guess, as the baby gets older, should be for a hamper but I thought, “Ooh, I’ll put the diaper pail in there.” And so now I have a diaper pail enclosed in a cabinet – which is, you know, two formulas there for just a stinky disaster – and I took the solid in its container and put it right smack at the bottom of the diaper pail and it really does the trick. I mean I’m just amazed.
And then, of course, in growing and knowing your line and getting to love everything that you guys make, you also have the Citrus Magic all-purpose cleaner which, because, number one, it’s green and it’s natural, I use it on my son’s high chair – on the tray, on the seat – and I don’t have to worry if he touches it while it’s still wet or if food comes in contact. Because, as a parent now, I'm a nervous wreck about everything that he’s going to put in his mouth.
CHERYL: Absolutely. And then I think, as the key for the products that we manufacture or make are really all natural and completely safe, if people are allergy sufferers – even pets and even tropical birds are not allergic to the fragrance that’s sprayed from the Citrus Magic.
TOM: That’s very interesting. So you’ve developed some unique markets of followers because the products are so green and so natural.
CHERYL: I think so. And also, just people like it because, compared to other air fresheners on the market, this really works. It doesn’t just mask an odor with perfume. It actually destroys those airborne odors without harming us or our environment.
TOM: And it leaves a very pleasant scent behind, too. You don’t have that sort of heavy, sweet, chemical odor that lingers. It just smells …
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s not turkey and cinnamon.
LESLIE: It’s just freshness. (chuckles)
TOM: (chuckling) Exactly.
CHERYL: (chuckling) That’s exactly right.
TOM: Right. It does a really great job, too, when the relatives come to visit; especially Old Uncle Charlie, you know. (Leslie and Cheryl chuckle) Everybody’s got somebody like that. (chuckles)
CHERYL: Especially if our Uncle Charlie loves to smoke cigars.
TOM: Yeah, exactly, exactly. (Cheryl chuckles)
We’re talking to Cheryl Picken. She is with Beaumont Products. They are the manufacturers of the Citrus Magic line of natural air fresheners and cleaners.
Cheryl, how long do these products actually last?
CHERYL: Well, in the case of the spray, it lasts four times longer than other perfume cover-ups that are on the market. Also, because it destroys the airborne odor, you may not notice the smell of Citrus Magic anymore but you also will not notice the bad smell that’s in your home. In the case of the solid air freshener, those will last up to six to eight weeks in a normal-sized room; which is quite a long time and longer than others on the market.
LESLIE: And I’ll even say that it’ll last longer in a diaper pail. (Tom and Cheryl chuckle)
Now, I mean your products are so great, where can folks go to get their hands on some for themselves?
CHERYL: Well, they can certainly find it at most natural-product stores – which would be, certainly, a target market for us – but as well as Target, Kroger, Safeway, Whole Foods, participating Ace True Value and Do It Best hardware stores. And also, if you can’t find it at your favorite store, you can always go to CitrusMagic.com.
Cheryl Picken from Beaumont Products, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. It’s a fantastic line. We enjoy it around here and I know that our listeners will enjoy it in their homes as well.
CHERYL: Great. Thank you both.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Up next, we’re going to tell you how to prevent a water leak at a super-vulnerable place in your home. And I’m talking about your washing machine hoses. We’re going to give you some great advice, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:26:48.1]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.com
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because you will get in on our weekly prize giveaway. And this week, we’ve got a great prize. We are giving away a STELLAR sink by Blanco America. Only one lucky caller this hour is going to win. And we’ve got an 18-gage, stainless steel, under-mount sink worth 300 bucks. If you want to see them, take a look at what you’re up for. If you’re in the market for a stainless steel sink and maybe you don’t win, go over to BlancoAmerica.com. Our sink in my kitchen is a Blanco sink. They’re fantastic, they wear well and they’re super-affordable. But give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Speaking of plumbing, there’s one plumbing part in your house that, if it breaks, man, is it a big mess; and it’s your washing machine hoses. You know, the rubber hoses that come with a washing machine, that you use to basically connect it to the plumbing in your house, those rubber hoses will break. It’s not if; it’s only when. And eventually they break and, man, is it a big, stinking mess. It’s like having a pipe that’s open all the time and it can flood your entire house. So, how do you avoid that? Well, there are a couple of things.
First of all, you want to check the hoses for cracks and leaks and sometimes you’ll get a little bit of a heads up when the hoses start to deteriorate. Secondly, you’re better off not having rubber hoses but having steel, braided hoses. They’re a lot more durable. And thirdly, there is a type of valve that you can put on that is an automatic shut-off valve. It will sense if the pipe is sort of wide open and just spilling water all over the place and it will automatically turn off and prevent thousands of dollars of damage from happening in your house.
And if worse comes to worse, remember: typically, a washing machine hose break, it’s covered by homeowners insurance; so perhaps you’ll get some relief that way. (Leslie chuckles) But you know, it doesn’t help. Even though you have homeowners insurance, it doesn’t help you with the big, stinking mess that you’re going to end up cleaning up nonetheless.
LESLIE: Now, Tom, we have a manual valve on our washing machine; which I always turn off after every, single use and make sure that the water usage is not continuing to the machine when it’s not operating.
LESLIE: Does that extend the life of a rubber hose or should you just not even have a rubber hose whatsoever?
TOM: I don’t think it extends the life of the rubber hose but of course it prevents the problem from happening. The problem is, though, that most people are not going to do that. They’re not – some of those valves are really hard to reach. You could replace it – do you have a single-lever valve?
LESLIE: We do.
TOM: Alright, so that makes it easy. So one …
LESLIE: Off-on, up-down; easy-peezy.
TOM: Yeah, one like 90-degree turn of the lever turns both hot and cold off. So that makes it kind of easy but a lot of people, you know, they can’t reach behind the machine or they don’t want to reach over the machine. It’s harder.
LESLIE: I mean it is awkward but it’s a lifesaver.
TOM: So the metal hoses are always the best.
Hey, guys, you know what? Another great way to stop leaks is to replace your faucets and fixtures that have got that little drip-drip-drip-drip that drives you crazy. Well, it might not seem like a lot but a little drip can actually add up to hundreds of dollars. So, take care of that. Change out your faucets. And you know what, there are some great new fixtures out there that have the WaterSense rating, which will help you save even more water.
And Moen has a fantastic line of these WaterSense-rated fixtures. Head on over to Moen.com and you’ll find out a lot of information about the WaterSense program and check out some beautiful faucets while you’re there.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to the phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Vinnie needs some help with the water at his money pit. What can we do for you?
VINNIE: You mentioned, on your program, a water softener that doesn't require the use of salt.
TOM: You're correct. It's called EasyWater.
TOM: Yep. Good product. They sent us one; I installed it; it worked very well. Does not require any salt. Works on a totally different technology invented by the folks at Freije.
VINNIE: Where can I buy one of these?
TOM: Best thing to do is just go online - EasyWater.com; and in fact, if you tell them you heard about it on The Money Pit, they'll give you 100 bucks off.
VINNIE: Yep. Money Pit, I don't have a computer. (chuckles)
TOM: OK, well then you can pick up the phone and call them. I'll give you a number. It's 888-766-7258; 1-888-766-7258.
VINNIE: Thanks a million. Appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, give it a shot. Let us know what you think.
VINNIE: Thank you, buddy. Bye now.
TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
Up next, butcher block countertops – I love these, Leslie, don’t you?
LESLIE: They’re so pretty.
TOM: But they can be very dangerous because bacteria gets stuck inside of them. Wondering how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you? We’re going to tell you, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:03.9]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac automatic standby generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should visit MoneyPit.com. You can read up on my blog. Tom’s got a blog, too. There you will find lots of great, money-saving information and insight into our current home improvement projects. I know you’ve been reading a lot about what we’ve got going on at our house. And you will be relieved to know that a lot of the stuff we go through is the same stuff that you go through. So, go to MoneyPit.com. You can commiserate with us and you can also learn some fantastic things to do at your money pit.
TOM: And while you’re there, why don’t you shoot us an e-mail with your home improvement question. Sue did, from Illinois. She says, “One of our countertops is about two feet worth of butcher block. We put in new countertops and sanded down the butcher block to fresh wood. Should I apply anything to that wood? Someone suggested mineral oil. And how do I make sure it stays safe after I cut meat?” Good question, Sue.
First of all, to your first question, yes; mineral oil is the right thing to use on butcher blocks. But because butcher block countertops are so absorbent, you have to be very, very careful whenever you put things on there like poultry or meat, because that blood and that juice will soak into the butcher block and it can grow bacteria.
So, what you need to do, one of two things. First of all, always wash it down. Use standard dishwashing liquid but whenever you cut meat, I want you to mix up a bottle – a spray bottle works good – with a little bit of chlorine bleach, say about two tablespoons in that bottle of water, and spray down the surface. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off. The bleach will kill any bacteria that is on that surface.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? A butcher-block countertop is so gorgeous and you really can do a lot of different things with it. So do take excellent care of it. You might even think, at some point, of adding an additional area of butcher block; maybe even a butcher block island. I always find that an island with butcher block always just seems so sort of rustic and perfect for a cooking kitchen. Don’t you think, Tom?
TOM: Absolutely. And one more quick tip – if it starts to smell, you can always deodorize it with fresh lemon juice.
LESLIE: Ooh, good tip. Alright, enjoy your countertop, Sue.
TOM: Well, once again, it’s the ho-ho-home improvement season. (Leslie chuckles) It’s that time of year; time to deck the halls with holiday decorations. If you’re getting ready, no doubt you’re about to get up on a ladder; perhaps for the first time since last year. And considering that, we want to keep you safe; so Leslie has got some tips in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right, and we might as well call it the Debbie Downer Holiday Edition of Leslie’s Last Word. (both laugh)
Alright, guys. You know, you’re getting out that ladder. You’re going to climb on up. Before you even take one step onto it, think about it; so many people get hurt every, single year. Hundreds of thousands of us have serious injuries each year because of ladders that aren’t maintained, so let’s stay safe.
First of all, you want to make sure that your ladder has slip-resistant rungs and feet. Then, go ahead and inspect your ladder; take a good look at it. Look at the uprights. Make sure that nothing is cracked. Make sure that the rungs aren’t split. Make sure that the rivets that keep everything together are tight. If they’re loose, tighten them up.
Now, if you’re using an extension ladder, you want to make sure that the bottom of the ladder is pulled away from the wall by at least one-quarter of the height that you need to work at. So if you’re climbing up ten feet, you want that extension ladder at – oh, my God, my math is retarded – two-and-a-half; there I go. So make sure, really folks, that you do the math; do your ladder usage properly. We don’t want you to get hurt.
And finally, when you climb up the ladder and it says, “This rung is not a step,” they mean it. (Tom laughs) Do not step on that. You will teeter-totter. And always work with a buddy when you’ve got your ladder. Make sure somebody’s holding it, just in case you stumble and don’t feel so safe. And also, guys, a chair with wheels is not a ladder. So, only step on things that actually are ladders.
Be safe so you can actually enjoy the holidays instead of enjoy them with a sling.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’ve got tips to make the guest room cozy for all your visiting relatives; just cozy enough but not too cozy because we don’t want them to stay that long.
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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END HOUR 2 TEXT
(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.)