Find out how to plant a tree for shade, comfort and protection. Get tips to keep your pets safe while you are working on home improvement projects. Paints, solvents and even concrete can be toxic to dogs and cats. Learn about new advances in composite decking that help it resist mold, staining and fading. Discover new types of composite decking that look like tropical hardwoods. Plus get answers to your home improvement questions about eliminating lawn pests, cleaning mold, cook tops, vents, replacing a HWH, insulation, window condensation, and plumbing odors,
(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 1 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:025]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: There’s one number and one number only you need to reach this show; it’s 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Go to the phones right now, pick it up, call that number and ask us your home improvement question and we may even have an answer. Because I think it’s going to be a good day; we’ll probably have a lot of answers today.
LESLIE: (chuckling) On a good day, we have good answers.
We’ve got a great show planned for you this hour. It is prime home improvement season and after the quite long and cold winter that much of the country has had, some of us are finally getting ready to stretch those do-it-yourself muscles. But before you pick up the paintbrush, we want to spend some time this hour talking about home improvement safety when it comes to your pets because some projects are just too dangerous to be done around your four-legged friends. We’re going to tell you how to make sure you keep those family members safe, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, one home improvement that is budget-friendly and has good return on investment is a decking project. So we’re going to have tips on some new advances in composite decking that’s going to make it look exactly like wood.
TOM: With none of the maintenance hassles associated with that.
TOM: And to help you enjoy that new deck, how about planting a nice, new shade tree. We’ve got a guy stopping by who is a real-life tree hugger, so to speak; it’s Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor from TV’s This Old House. Roger will be by with tips on how to select and plant trees in your yard.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a dozen Enviro-Logs. Now these are clean-burning fire logs that are made of 100-percent recycled materials and they’re perfect for camping – which I know you do a lot, Tom – and even backyard marshmallow roasts. You also do that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) I do. Which we also do a lot; that’s right. So it’s a good prize. Pick up the phone; give us a call right now. It’s worth 60 bucks. Going to go to one caller who has the courage to come on the air with us (Leslie chuckles) and ask us their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Linda in Texas who’s got gophers and moles living in the yard. Tell us about it.
LINDA: Well, these are not the kind of pets I want to have.
TOM: (laughing) Wow.
LINDA: I live on seven acres and sandy soil. And I tried to have a garden once and they took care of that problem. I haven’t planted a garden since. (Leslie chuckles)
LINDA: I have about 30 to 40 runs of moles and the same about gopher hills; about 30 to 40. I have tried the poison. I’ve tried putting the little whirly-dirly things out there to scare them off. I’ve done everything but stand out there and try to shoot them. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: Have you used grub control?
LINDA: I put fertilizer on and pre-emergent, so I’m not sure what grub control is.
TOM: No, that’s different.
LESLIE: Yeah, different.
TOM: Yeah, see, what we want to do here is not treat the grass; we want to treat the bugs that are in the grass because that’s the food that they’re eating.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s the food that they want.
TOM: OK? They’re eating earthworms, they’re eating grubs. And while we like to keep the earthworms, we don’t like to keep the grubs. So what you need is grub control. There are a number of products out there. Bayer Advanced has a grub control. Scotts has a grub control. Spectrum has a grub control. But you’re going to need a season-long grub control product, which is going to cut down on all of the grubs that are in your sandy soil and it will send the moles looking elsewhere for their next meal.
LINDA: Excellent. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Bobby. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BOBBY: My wife got ready to take a suit out of the closet and it was soaking wet and we couldn’t understand it. We didn’t have any leaks or anything in the closet or anything and I don’t know where it’s coming from.
LESLIE: Now, you’re saying that the clothes are wet. Where are you seeing this mold? Is it on the floor, is it on the walls, is it physically on the clothing?
BOBBY: It’s around the walls. After I took all the clothes out, I saw it around the walls.
LESLIE: And is this closet on an exterior wall in your home?
LESLIE: So it’s probably – what’s happening here is that you’re getting such a difference in temperature from that exterior wall of your closet that the closet on that side is cold and then on the inside, where the room is, is warm from being heated; so now you’re getting this sort of moisture situation because you’ve got the hot and cold mixing and you’re getting condensation.
I think what you’re going to need to do, Bobby, is take all the clothes out; clean everything. Make sure you get whatever is wet; have it laundered or dry cleaned – whatever it needs to be. Then look at the walls in there. Scrub everything down, where you see that mold growing, with a bleach-and-water solution. If you’ve got carpeting in there, take it out; put down some sort of laminate floor or something in there – a vinyl floor – just to get that carpet out of there.
And then what I would do is either under-cut that closet door or add a vent into the door or get a louvered door; something. Because you need to circulate air through that closet because that is what’s causing the mold to grow is the condensation and the lack of air flow.
TOM: Alright, Bobby? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com and now you can be part of The Money Pit, so pick up your phone and ask us your home improvement or your home repair or even a décor question. We are willing to help you with your spring to-do list, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, building a deck is a great investment you are sure to recoup. But building a deck with composite decking is something that will make sure that investment will be around for decades to come. We’ll have tips on the best advances in composite decking, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:43.9]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru Doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit Therma-Tru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, 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: The number, of course, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour, that calls 888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question, you could get a chance to win the Enviro-Logs, which are perfect for spring camping trips or a backyard fire pit. Enviro-Logs – you know, when I read about this, I thought, “What could be more environmentally friendly than a piece of firewood?”
TOM: Well, apparently, taking all kinds of other materials and recycling them into firewood; and that’s kind of what these things are. But they burn 50-percent cleaner than standard wood.
LESLIE: That’s great.
TOM: So that’s kind of cool. So we’re sending out a prize package worth 60 bucks to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And you know what? These logs, they’re a great way for everyone to enjoy their backyards nearly year-round. I know, Tom, you and your family are constantly burning things in your little fire pit, roasting marshmallows, really enjoying yourselves out there. Right?
TOM: We are. It’s sort of a little home away from home. We have a nice patio. We have a very inexpensive fire pit and the kids just love to go out there and sit at night and roast some marshmallows and make some s’mores and just kind of hang out and enjoy each other’s company.
LESLIE: Gosh, that just sounds really, really lovely. And if that sounds like a great idea to you out there, you might be thinking, “But my backyard is not that great and I don’t really have a patio or a deck.” Well, fear not because a deck is a very easy project and it’s really the least expensive way to increase your exterior living space. And now new developments in composite decking materials means that your deck will be both durable and beautiful – and I mean it, beautiful; you will not have to lift a finger except to clean this thing once a year – for many, many years to come.
Now, Fiberon, they’re the leading manufacturer of composite materials and PVC decking as well as railings and fencing products. They’ve got a line called Horizon, which I really do love because it combines a really good-looking composite with super durability. And you can now get Horizon in two new, exotic, hardwood colors: Ipe and Rosewood.
TOM: Mmm, sounds good.
LESLIE: They’ve got a lot of beautiful graining to them, a lot of deep tones. That Rosewood kind of has like a reddish mahogany tint to it. It’s really beautiful and these new colors have the dramatic wood tones of all of these wonderful tropical hardwoods and they really can make a fantastic addition to your home.
TOM: I’ve got some of the Horizon decking in the office right now and it’s got a really cool surface. Have you seen this? It’s called PermaTech. It’s a really tough coating on the outside. It sort of encapsulates the entire composite structure.
LESLIE: Is this the one we wrote on with the marker?
TOM: That’s right, that’s right. This is the sample I brought back from the trade show. We actually wrote on it with a permanent marker and then you could wipe this permanent marker right off like with a tissue because it was so stain resistant. So really cool stuff and really tough and, in fact, they’ve got a 20-year warranty on this and I’m pretty sure that that’s the only composite in the market that’s got a 20-year stain and fade warranty.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They’re the only ones out there.
TOM: So it really is a pretty good way to go. If you’d like to build a deck, you ought to take a look at that product. If you want more information, you can go to FiberonDecking.com. That’s FiberonDecking.com. Or pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. Perhaps it is a decking question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sandra in Connecticut needs some help cleaning a stove top. Tell us about it.
SANDRA: Hi. I have an electric range with a ceramic cooktop.
SANDRA: About three months or so before my warranty was up, I saw these little black dots. So I didn’t give it much thought. They were about the size of a pinhead.
SANDRA: And as time went on, three months after my warranty was up, these dots started combining and getting larger. And then I called Frigidaire because now I had no idea. It wasn’t on the glass itself because when you’re wiping it and cleaning it, it has nothing to do with that. It was obviously something from underneath. And I called Frigidaire and they were – very surprising to me, they were no help whatsoever. And I have no idea where to go with it or what to do.
TOM: Yeah, it sounds to me like a manufacturing defect and it’s unfortunate that the manufacturer wasn’t helpful with this. I’m going to recommend you contact a website called RepairClinic.com. These guys are real experts in diagnosing unusual appliance problems. I’ll give you their phone number; it’s 800-269-2609. 800-269-2609. We’ve had them on the show before. And tell them you were listening to The Money Pit and that we suggested that you call. And give them the model number and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of this for you, OK?
SANDRA: That would be excellent. Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Unfortunate. Does sound like a manufacturing defect.
LESLIE: Yeah, it does. And there’s no way to get underneath there; just, you know, average homeowner.
TOM: Well, I don’t think you’re supposed to get under there.
LESLIE: Yeah. No, that’s why.
TOM: If the thing is breaking down, it’s breaking down.
LESLIE: David in Michigan has some concerns in the attic. Tell us what’s going on.
DAVID: Hi, Tom, Leslie. Like your show.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you very much.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks so much.
DAVID: We have a ranch that was built in ’58 and we wanted to ask about improving the insulation in our ceiling but we don’t have an attic. The ceiling follows the same angle as the exterior roof, with the distance between them really just being the height of the joists.
TOM: Yeah, you have a cathedral ceiling. You said the house was built in the 50s?
DAVID: Right, ’58.
TOM: Yeah. Very, very common. Not really possible to easily improve the energy efficiency of that roof structure because there are only two places you can do it: on top of the roof or under the roof. (chuckles) You can’t – you know, on top of the roof involves adding sort of a sandwich roof structure, which changes the whole line of the roof. And underneath means you have to give up part of the cathedral by basically lowering – you can create something that’s called a scissor truss, where you have – you know, one angle is the roof and the other angle is the ceiling and there’s space in between and fill that up with insulation; but short of doing something like that, I don’t see how you’ll be able to get additional insulation into that space.
I mean I guess another thing that you could do is cover the underside of the ceiling with, say, something like isocyanurate foam boards or something of that nature, which would add a little bit of r to it; but then you’d have to drywall over that. But it’s a lot of work no matter how you look at it.
The main concern with that type of ceiling, by the way, is condensation. Because, typically, if you have like a 2x12 rafter, you only want to use 10 inches of insulation because you need to leave space for air to move above it. So make sure you keep an eye on that roof for any signs of decay or delamination in the roof sheathing as a result of inadequate airflow. That happens, you’re going to end up taking that ceiling down anyway and you can just do it over at that point.
DAVID: OK. Thanks for letting me know for sure. Now I know.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rita in Illinois is calling in with an HVAC question. What can we do for you?
RITA: Yes, I was wondering how you feel about having someone vacuum out your hot and cold furnace vents.
TOM: Your heating ducts.
TOM: Yeah, we don’t really feel strongly about that. I think that what we do recommend is a good-quality electronic air cleaner on your system. But unless you’re having construction done in the house, where you’ve generated a lot of an excessive amount of dust, I don’t really feel like duct cleaning is necessary.
RITA: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much. My husband will be glad to hear that. (Leslie and Rita chuckle) Save us some money.
TOM: OK. Alright. Tell him he’s got some more money now to take you out to dinner. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I tell you, all those advertisements you get in the mail can really be alarming.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it’s excessive.
LESLIE: You see these dirty, dirty ducts and, oh my gosh, everything is in danger if you don’t clean them out and that’s your first instinct is to follow them; but don’t.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep, exactly. And a lot of times, they’ll warn you about mold and things like that and if you had mold …
LESLIE: And health risks.
TOM: If you had mold in your ducts, about the worse thing you would want to do is vacuum and loosen all that up and make it airborne.
LESLIE: Rod in Colorado needs some help with a water heater purchase. What’s going on?
ROD: Well, I have a gas hot water heater that’s about 21 years old.
LESLIE: Wow, OK.
ROD: And it’s starting to slow down on recovery, so I think it’s time to replace it. So my question is I’m looking at replacing it with another gas hot water heater or maybe switching over to either an instantaneous or I’ve read a little bit about a heat pump water heater but I’m not sure about those. I want the most efficient but that also has good recovery.
TOM: Right. OK. So, right now you do have natural gas. Correct?
ROD: That’s correct, yes.
TOM: Alright. So then what we would recommend is a high-efficiency gas water heater or a gas tankless water heater and that’s going to supply an unlimited amount of hot water – a tankless will – properly sized and installed. And that would be the most efficient way to go.
Now, the heat pump water heaters are new on the market and they’re an excellent option. But I don’t think that I would recommend that you forego a gas water heater to put in an electric heat pump water heater. If you have an electric water heater now, that’s a way that you can get something that’s two or three times as efficient. But since you already have gas, I would continue with the gas but I would install a tankless water heater.
ROD: How efficient are those?
TOM: Incredibly efficient. They only heat water as you need it. They don’t store water; that’s the difference.
ROD: Wow. And then, with those, basically you don’t have to worry about recovery. You would have unlimited hot water, correct?
TOM: You absolutely would because that’s the way it works. You call for hot water, it bakes the hot water right there, heats the hot water right there; sends it down the pipe and then it stops heating.
ROD: Does it require a larger supply of gas than I currently use for my hot water heater?
TOM: It requires a slightly bigger pipe but it uses less gas.
ROD: It just uses a burst of it.
TOM: Instead of a 3/4-inch gas line, it needs a one-inch gas line; so there’s a little bit of replumbing involved but, over all, it uses less gas.
ROD: Wow. OK, I hadn’t even thought of that one.
TOM: Yeah, that’s what I would – I would look at the water heaters that are made by Rheem – R-h-e-e-m – or Rinnai; both good brands. OK?
ROD: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: Alright, good luck with that project. You’re very 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, you know trees offer shade, a nice view and protection for your home. But is planting a tree something that you can do yourself? Well, it is if you’ve got the right advice and we’re going to share it with you, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:18:15.1]
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show online at MoneyPit.com. You can visit MoneyPit.com right now for safety tips to keep your home trip hazard-free. We’ve got a great article about preventing falls at home there because falls are the leading cause of home injury and injury related to death in the United States. You believe that? Just simple falls is what causes more problems than anything else.
LESLIE: That’s amazing.
TOM: So if you’re like me and often trip over your own two feet (Leslie chuckles), you may want to go to MoneyPit.com and search on “preventing falls at home.”
LESLIE: Step one: look where you’re going.
TOM: Usually, while carrying chainsaws, too. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Oh, Tom. At least point the chainsaw down.
TOM: That’s right.
LESLIE: Promise me that.
TOM: I swear, Leslie, I feel like I’m like the Chevy Chase home improvement guy sometimes.
LESLIE: Oh, no.
TOM: Especially at the end of the day when you’re getting really tired.
LESLIE: Do you have to do a finger inventory at the end of the day? (Tom laughs) “I started with ten, I ended with ten.”
TOM: I ended with ten. Exactly.
LESLIE: Good. Check.
TOM: We check ‘em in, we check ‘em out. (Leslie chuckles)
Alright, who’s next?
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Leslie calling in – and it’s not me. And Leslie has a question about window condensation. Welcome.
CALLER LESLIE: Hello. Yes, my question is how can I reduce or eliminate condensation that forms on the inside of my windows. The home was built in the 50s and so the windows are stationary; they’re not intended to be opened or closed.
TOM: Right. Yeah, and obviously you have very inefficient windows. You probably do not have insulated glass, correct?
CALLER LESLIE: Probably.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you’re fighting physics right here, Leslie. What’s happening is you have warm, moist air that forms in the house – from everything that we do inside a house, from cooking to bathing to breathing – and that strikes the cold glass, which is not insulated, and condenses. So while you can take steps to reduce the amount of moisture inside your house, with dehumidifiers and things of that nature, you are almost always, most certainly, going to have some level of condensation unless you replace your windows.
Now, if you are thinking of replacing windows, I will say that doing so before the end of this year is wise because you can qualify for a $1,500 tax credit and that will help offset some of the expense.
CALLER LESLIE: Wow, alright. So, also, the wood around it is really weak; especially at the bottom.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, well, because it’s …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because there’s water damage.
TOM: Sure. Yeah, it’s subjected to all that water. You know, you only need to raise the moisture inside the wood 20 to 25 percent before the decay organisms wake up; so yeah, that doesn’t surprise me in the least.
CALLER LESLIE: Lovely. (Leslie chuckles)
CALLER LESLIE: Alright. So replacing the windows, then, is …
TOM: Is the wise thing to do. I’ll tell you what. On our website at MoneyPit.com, there is a free download of a chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, that has everything you need to know about choosing replacement windows. It’s got all the latest information in it, too, about the tax credit program. So go to our website, MoneyPit.com – I believe it’s on the home page; it’s one of the rotating panels there – and you can download that free chapter and that’ll get you started.
CALLER LESLIE: Alright, thank you guys so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, Tom, have you ever noticed that many of these new – and I mean brand, spanking new housing developments – they lack one very important, and I might say homey, thing.
TOM: Yes, trees.
LESLIE: Seriously. I mean is there ever a tree in any of these new developments?
TOM: And if they do put trees down, they are the smallest, thinnest, homeliest-looking trees that you can possibly imagine.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Dinky-looking things. It’s true. I mean it. It’s like, clearly, when the builders decide “Alright, this is where the development is going to go” and they clear the area for the housing, trees and, basically, landscaping – other than lawn – clearly becomes the main afterthought of the whole project.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. True. But that doesn’t have to be that way if you are a homeowner looking to put some trees in your own yard because trees are great for shade, they’re great for protection and they’re even just great to look at. So, how do you that?
Well, here with some advice on how to plant a tree are a couple of guys that know a lot about trees: This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor; and lawn-and-garden expert, Roger Cook.
And Kevin, this time of year this is a very popular project because everybody loves trees.
KEVIN: You got that right. Who doesn’t like a big, beautiful tree in their yard? A specimen tree in your yard can make all the difference. It can provide shade, it can screen out unsightly views and it can provide a dramatic burst of seasonal color. But many homeowners, well, they’re probably uncomfortable planting a big tree because it does sound like a pretty big project.
ROGER: Not at all, Kevin. The principle is the same as planting a small tree; you’re just digging a bigger hole. And that’s one of the keys: make sure the receiving hole is two or three times the size of the root ball you’re putting in. When you put that root ball in, you want it an inch or two higher than the existing ground.
Before you dig the hole, think about the tree: how fast is it going to grow; what’s it going to look like in 10 or 15 years. I don’t want you planting it too close to the house where it could eat it.
KEVIN: And so what about watering? What do you recommend?
ROGER: I water the new tree everyday for a week; give it a good soaking. Then I like to see you get one of these watering bags. You’ve seen them. They’re green and you tie them to the tree.
ROGER: Makes the job easy. All you do is fill that bag with water and it slowly comes out of the bottom of the bag, watering the tree perfectly.
KEVIN: Seems like a pretty big job. Should homeowners be leery of doing it themselves?
ROGER: Not at all, Kevin; in fact, if you have any questions, just go to ThisOldHouse.com and watch the video that Kev and I did on planting a tree.
TOM: Roger, what’s the most common mistake people make when they try to plant their own trees?
ROGER: Planting them too deep. You know, we have a little saying: if you plant them high, they won’t die; plant them low, they won’t grow.
TOM: (chuckling) Good point.
Roger Cook, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: It’s been a ball.
KEVIN: Great to be here. A tree ball, that is. (Roger and Tom laugh)
LESLIE: Boy, if there’s a way to make a joke about anything and everything, you guys find it. I’ve never heard a tree joke before. (laughs)
TOM: We will find it. Tree humor is not beyond us.
LESLIE: And tree jokes are very few and far between.
Alright, well if you love the information that Kevin and Roger are sharing with you today, why not check them out on their very popular TV show, This Old House? And This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.
TOM: Up next, safety is always important when it comes to home improvement projects. But there are special considerations when you have pets around the house. Find out how to keep those family members safe, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:25:13.0]
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: 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 and you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to help you out with your home improvement debacle. Whatever is going on at your house right now, we want to give you a hand with that project.
TOM: It’s serious when it gets to the debacle level.
LESLIE: There is a debacle here. (Tom laughs) It could be anything and it could be a lot of things; it could be a small project. We’re happy to lend you a hand there. And if you happened to be the lucky caller-inner this hour, you would win a great prize. We’re going to pick your name out of the Money Pit hardhat from one of those lucky people we talk to on air this hour and you could get two six-packs of Enviro-Logs, which are perfect for your spring camping adventures or even for your backyard fire pit.
Now, the Enviro-Logs are made up of 100-percent recycled materials. They burn cleaner than regular firewood and they generate 50 percent more heat. That’s pretty nice. And it’s a …
TOM: Well, that means that you would toast your marshmallows that much quicker.
LESLIE: Twice as fast.
TOM: Got to watch it.
LESLIE: Half as fast. Got to be careful. Got to watch out. Either way, toasty marshmallows, delicious. It’s a prize worth almost 60 bucks, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
Alright, let’s take a moment here and talk about how we keep our fine, four-legged friends safe during home improvement projects. Because if your pet is like mine – I mean my dog loves to eat just about anything he can get his teeth around, including taking things off the table and even out of the garbage can; which is why I have to be very careful when working …
LESLIE: (chuckling) About how close you leave things to the edge of the table?
TOM: Yeah. Oh, yeah. You know, if you leave a steak unprotected, it’s your own fault in my house. (chuckles)
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s true.
TOM: But that’s why I have to be really careful when working on home improvement projects. It’s always a good idea to think about keeping your pets out of any work zone. Now, if the project is big enough, it might even be worth boarding your cat or dog or having it stay with friends because there are a lot of things a pet can get into that can make them really sick or worse. I mean something as common as paint or solvents, they can cause anything from an upset stomach to even chemical burns. And if your dog or cat mistakes a nail or a screw for a treat, I mean that could cause damage to their intestines. So you’ve got to be really careful.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you know, even fresh cement, that can irritate or even be corrosive to the skin of some pets.
Now, just in case – God forbid some sort of emergency happens – you want to keep the phone numbers for your vet, an emergency vet and the ASPCA poison control center handy; keep it nearby in the kitchen or by the phone and be ready to tell the vet or the hotline what type of dog or cat you have, how much it weighs and what type of poison or building material that you believe it’s ingested and any symptoms that your pet is experiencing.
I remember, Tom, one year you sent me a beautiful Christmas arrangement.
TOM: I did.
LESLIE: And a holly leaf fell on the floor and …
TOM: That’s right and almost poisoned your pet.
LESLIE: Daisy picked it up and ate it and I remembered randomly reading something that they were terribly poisonous for animals.
LESLIE: And I called up; I had all the information for the animal poison control. They told me exactly what to do. Daisy puked that up and it was done. But I mean these folks are really helpful, so have that information handy and be prepared to take action. Because you want to protect your puppies and kittens when you’re working on your house.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: David from Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DAVID: What we’ve got is a ranch house and a walkout basement and the house has quite a tall ceiling. And that all faces to the north, the walkout exit. So what happens is when there’s a good, strong, north wind in the winter we get a nice, creaking sound over our heads when we sleep against that north wall.
DAVID: So, what I – the only information I could get in regard to that, online and through people that might have dealt with it, was that perhaps what I wanted to do was go up into the attic and take some 2x4s and support the trusses; connect them kind of together, I guess you could say; connect them crossways. And it did have an effect but, unfortunately, what it did is it took the creaking noise from the edge of our bedroom to directly over our heads. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
LESLIE: So it went from bad to worse.
DAVID: So my wife wasn’t as impressed as I had hoped she be. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: Yeah, right? (David chuckles) Well, how old is your house?
DAVID: It’s a 1987.
TOM: OK. It is important to reinforce trussed roofs and the truss manufacturers actually specify exactly how you’re supposed to do that.
TOM: Now, if the house was built correctly, all of this reinforcing would be actually in place. The fact that it’s not there is a bit of a concern. I can’t tell you how to go from point A to point B except to say that you are on the right track in terms of adding some cross members to that. And I would also want to make sure that none of the trusses were cut improperly because you can’t really cut a truss and sometimes you find that contractors do that. That’s why the framing inspection is usually after the mechanical inspection, because sometimes the plumber or the heating contractor will take an extra cut out of a structural member.
DAVID: OK, right.
TOM: So the first thing I’d like to make sure is that the trusses are in good structural condition. The second thing I would look at is the reinforcement. And the truss manufacturer or the architect will actually specify that. Is there any chance you can get your hands on a copy of the plans for your house?
DAVID: Only some rough ones but I do know the builder, as it turns out; so I could probably get a hold of him again.
TOM: I would do that and ask the builder if maybe you could buy him a cup of coffee (David chuckles) or a drink or something and have him come over and take a look at that. Let him know you’re not concerned structurally speaking but it is kind of an annoyance and he would help save your marriage (Leslie and David chuckle) if he could just stop by and take a look. Because I suspect that the bracing may have become loose or for some reason it’s not doing its job and maybe you could improve upon that and silence that roof structure. Because noise in the roof structure is not good.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Up next, bio-sludge is not the name of that new band your kids are listening to (Leslie chuckles) but it’s actually a really gross result of bacteria that congregates in your plumbing system and it can totally stink up your house. We’re going to tell you exactly what it is and, most importantly, how to get rid of it, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:32:42.0]
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com and also at Facebook, where you can fan us simply by texting “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 from your cell phone and you will, therefore, be instantly added as a fan of the program.
LESLIE: And you’re going to get lots of great information when you are a fan of The Money Pit. It’s just like the show, except everyday we’re going to be sharing some good stuff with you and you can meet a whole bunch of other people who are fans of The Money Pit as well and share lots of great home improvement information.
And while you’re online, you can e-mail us your home improvement question, if you don’t feel like calling us, and we will answer your e-mail like we do every hour in the show. And I’ve got one here from Jeannette in Indiana who writes: “Our garbage disposal has black slime which seems to grow and spread up the drain of the other sink. When cleaned out, it just comes back. Any ideas on how to treat it?” That sounds disgusting.
TOM: It is, it is. And what happens is, with that being a very moist environment, there are nooks and crannies in your plumbing system where this black, slimy sludge loves to grow. And the problem is not only is it kind of disgusting looking …
TOM: … it can actually develop quite an odor. It’s technically known as bio-sludge.
TOM: And so, what I’d like to suggest that you do here is to invest in about a half-gallon of bleach and pour it into that disposer …
LESLIE: Just straight bleach.
TOM: Right, straight bleach. Let it sit a little bit, slosh it around, run the thing, follow it up with some hot water, a little bit more bleach, let it sit for a few minutes, run through some more hot water, and that will loosen it up and kill the organisms – the microorganisms that make up this bio-sludge – and it will eliminate the odor. And you have to do it every once in a while. It depends a lot on your water. It seems to happen worse in some areas than others, but that’ll solve it.
LESLIE: Ugh, that sounds terrible. At least it has a simple solution.
LESLIE: Alright, Manny in New Mexico writes: “My home has very low attic space; approximately 30 inches at the highest point and about eight inches at the lowest. The soffits do not have vents in them. Can I blow insulation all the way to the edges of the space where it’s the lowest height? There will be no vent space, which I’ve read is recommended.”
TOM: No, that would be wrong. (Leslie and Tom chuckle) For whatever reason you don’t have vent space in this house in New Mexico, you definitely do want to have some vent space because you have no way for all the heat in the attic to evaporate; and what’s going to do then – or to vent, I should say, and what that’s going to do then is drive up your air conditioning cost.
So, in a perfect situation here, if you don’t have vents at the soffit area, you can add them. There’s something called a drip-edge vent and, of course, in a desert climate you don’t have to worry so much about rain. But the drip edge simply extends the roof by about two inches, which is enough to create sort of a mini-soffit and that will act as an air intake. That, combined with a ridge vent, will give you the airflow that you need because what happens is as wind blows over the roof, Manny, it will blow into the soffit, up under the roof sheathing and exit at the ridge and that will flush out all that hot air in the summer. That’s really important. You want to keep your air conditioning bills in check.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Val who writes: “My kitchen cabinets are in good shape; only dirty from grease and hand film. I believe a good cleaning is all that’s needed. Can you recommend a product that won’t damage the wood?” Now, I’ve used something from a company called Trewax and it’s their natural orange cleaner.
TOM: That’s good stuff.
LESLIE: I mean orange cleaning for wood is fantastic. It removes grease and grime and pretty much just any sort of buildup that you have on it. When we were taking the bumpers off our coffee table, from the baby, I had all this residue from the double-sided tape. And I took the Trewax natural orange cleaner and just sprayed it all over the tape and rub-rub-rub-rub-rub-rub-rub; tape was gone, sticky residue gone and the table looked amazing. So I imagine it’ll do a great job on your cabinets as well, Val.
Good luck with that and I bet you, you will see a beautifully-transitioned kitchen that now looks fresh and fantastic and it will also smell great, too.
TOM: You’ve been tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve given you lots of tips and ideas to help make your money pit the money pit you want it to be. The show continues online at MoneyPit.com.
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.
[audio timestamp: 0:37:26.5]
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2010 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.)