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: What are you working on this fine weekend? We’re here to help. Pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. Let us help solve your décor dilemmas at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, we’ve got easy and inexpensive tips to extend the life of many of your home’s appliances.
LESLIE: And also ahead, if a vacation home is out of reach, consider glamping and take your vacation on wheels. We’ve got tips to convert a camper or a trailer into a getaway that comes home with you after every vacation.
TOM: And one caller we talk to on the air today is going to win the Cyclone 1000 Evaporative Cooler from Portacool. It’s a prize worth $389. So give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to the phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going over to Michigan where Linda is on the line and wants to add onto a farmhouse. How can we help you with that?
LINDA: Well, I have about a 100-year-old farmhouse and I – the only bathroom is upstairs. It’s a two-story farmhouse. And I want to age in place, so I want to add another bathroom downstairs. And also, I inherited a doll collection from my mother and it’s stored in all the storage in all the rooms, so I kind of want to bring it into one room and add another room for that and hobbies.
People have been suggesting that I just – oh, just add – break up one of the rooms in the house and just put a bathroom any old place. But the rooms are really well-proportioned; it’s good cross-ventilation. I don’t want to have a mess. I want to have some style to the additions, so people have suggested that I go to either an architect or a drafter or interior designer. I don’t know – I’m not sure what that process involves and how many I should go to or …
TOM: Well, I think that you hit the nail on the head and that is to hire an architect. Because, essentially, you want to make sure that whatever you do to this house flows and maintains its structural integrity, as well as its design integrity. So an architect can help you do just that.
Selecting where to put that bathroom will be a balance of compromises trying to decide where it fits best in the design, where the plumbing is now, what it would take to get the plumbing where it needs to be for this particular bathroom and then how best to design those rooms for your collections and that sort of thing. The architect can handle with the structure and the mechanical systems. Once that’s done, then you could consider bringing in an interior designer to help lay it out and choose colors, choose furniture and make it work for you visually.
LESLIE: And I think the other good thing about bringing in the architect is they may have an interior designer that they work with. You can bring in your own. They’ll be able to sort of work together to help you specify the right materials for the right areas. So it really is a strong partnership.
LINDA: I see. Now, do I bring – do I talk or consult with two architects and get their ideas? Or do I just go with one and get the designs?
TOM: What I would do is I would bring in one or two or maybe three architects to see the property, tell them what you want to accomplish, find out how they work. You get a feel for them, yeah, they get a feel for you and then you make a decision based on that.
LESLIE: I think you meet with somebody – you meet with two or three architects, as Tom suggested. Just get a feel for them, because you’re going to know if you want to work with them, you’re going to know how well you communicate back and forth. You’ll sort of spitball ideas there during that meeting and get a really good sense of how much they’re understanding you. And whoever you feel the most comfortable with, I think, is what’s going to lead you to the right decision. And then you’ll start drawings.
LINDA: OK. I did get a card from someone who used them but – used this person but he was – this card says he’s a drafting – and a consultant.
TOM: You don’t want a drafter, OK? You want an architect. You just want an architect – the good-quality architect. So focus on that first. You can take – usually, they’ll have books that show some of their past projects. You can see what kind of work they do.
It’s going to be – you’ll figure out, through a process of elimination, which one you’re most comfortable with and that’s the person that’s going to get the job. But they’re well worth the investment because they’re going to make this process easy and they’re going to be – you’re going to be assured that it comes out exactly as you plan.
If you bring in some – if you go right to the contractor step, they’re just going to squeeze this bathroom in wherever they think it fits and you’re not going to be happy with it. So get the architect; they’re well worth their investment.
LINDA: OK. Great.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Anthony in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ANTHONY: I was just wondering about the proper way to measure hardwood flooring: from the outside or the middle in. I heard you guys mention something about that.
TOM: So are you thinking about replacing your flooring?
ANTHONY: Yes. I want to sand it, drum-sand it, edge-sand it, you know.
TOM: Measuring it is simply, obviously length times width. If you’re sanding it, you’re not replacing it; you don’t have to worry about accounting for any extra for cuts. But if you’re trying to calculate how many square footage you have to work with, then just measure it as length times width.
Now, you mentioned drum-sanding it. I would only drum-sand the hardwood floor if it really, really needed it. It’s a pretty drastic step. It takes off a lot of material. It really shortens the life of the floor.
TOM: So, what I would rather see you do is use a machine called a U-Sand machine. It’s a disc sander. There’s four rotating disc sanding heads under sort of one hood and it has a vacuum attachment for it that’s actually easier to use than the drum sander. Takes up a lot less material but gets the floor kind of prepped to be refinished.
ANTHONY: And where can I grab one of those U-Sanders?
TOM: Yeah, you can rent them at home centers.
ANTHONY: Like Home Depot or no?
TOM: My Home Depot rents them; I bet you yours would, as well. You’re up in Rhode Island, correct?
ANTHONY: OK. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah. It’s just U-S-a-n-d. Look it up online. You’ll see exactly what I’m talking about and then perhaps you can find it in one of your local home centers.
ANTHONY: OK. I understand.
TOM: Anthony, 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. Give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are here to give you a hand with whatever is going on at your money pit. Call us, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Still to come, we’ve got cleaning tips to help your hardest-working household appliances work well and keep the odors away.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand and a leader in air-quality solutions. Haier is a new kind of appliance brand, focused on home solutions designed for each stage of the emerging consumer’s life.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You know when you step out of the pool on a hot summer day and you instantly cool off? Well, that’s called “evaporative cooling” and it’s the idea behind our giveaway today.
Pick up the phone, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller who gets on the air with us today is going to win the new Cyclone 1000 from Portacool. Now, that’s a portable cooling unit and it’s going to lower the temperatures by as much as 30 degrees using that natural process of evaporation.
TOM: It’s a prize worth $389. Visit Portacool.com to learn more and give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Minnesota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: Yes, I have a sauna in my basement that I have to transfer over to a shower.
TOM: OK. You want to convert it to a shower?
JOHN: Yes. And I’m wondering what I can put on those walls to dress it up. Like some paneling or panels? Or do I have to use tile?
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, before we talk about what you’re going to put on the walls, how are you going to drain this? Is there a drain below the floor?
JOHN: Yes. I have a cement floor and there’s a drain right in the middle of the – in that room there. Yes.
TOM: Now, do you know if that drain is connected to the plumbing system of the house? Or is it just a basic floor drain that perhaps goes outside somewhere?
JOHN: It is hooked up to the – my sewer system.
TOM: Alright. Terrific. Well, that’s the hardest part. That’s solved. So now it just becomes sort of a décor question for you. And you say that this was a sauna at some point in time?
TOM: So I guess the sky is the limit here. What do you like? Do you like tile? Do you like solid surfacing materials like Corian? You have – you can pretty much do anything at this point. You’re going to start with the floor and you’re going to put – you’re definitely going to put tile on the floor, I would think. And place that drain with a cover that’s built into the tile base. And then from there, you’re going to build it up.
So you could do really anything you want to do at this point. You could put tile on those walls, you could put solid-surfacing materials on those walls. Or if you want to keep it funky, you could leave them as a wood – you could leave it as wood. I’m presuming it’s probably cedar or some other type of moisture-resistant material.
JOHN: Well, the walls are that – it’s that clay tile.
TOM: Oh, the walls are clay tile? So then it has to be covered, yeah. So then the right thing to do here, if it’s just basically sort of a raw surface right now, is you’re going to need to put in a shower pan to start with. And then build up the bathroom from there.
Now, if you’ve already got walls that are sort of creating this – how big is the space that the sauna was in now?
JOHN: Eight by eight.
TOM: OK. Do you want an 8x8 shower? You want it to be pretty much a drive-in shower there? It’s a pretty big shower but do you want it to be that big?
JOHN: Well, I was going to probably have like 80 percent of it to shower. I wanted to put a double – like a double, two-headed shower or one on the – have a rain shower on top and one coming out the side and then the other …
TOM: Yeah, like a car wash.
JOHN: Yeah, exactly. Then the other part just kind of a drying area.
TOM: So, John, this sauna area, this 8x8 area, this is made of the terracotta clay tile?
TOM: Then I think you can glue ceramic tile right to that with a good-quality tile adhesive, as long as it’s fairly flat. Because the tile’s not going to bend. But if it’s a flat surface, you should be able to adhere the tile right to it, since it’s already a water-resistant back, and pretty much go up from there.
Now, the floor, you have to build up a shower pan there so you get good drainage down to the hole in the floor, so to speak. But once you get that established, I think you could adhere ceramic tile right to those terracotta walls and go right from there.
Now, make sure that you have ventilation in that space, you have an exhaust fan. Of course, do all your plumbing ahead of time and the last thing you’ll do is lay those tile walls in. Does that make sense?
JOHN: OK. Yes, it does.
TOM: Alright, John. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you think about it, the garbage can may be the most underrated appliance in your home because although you put some pretty nasty things in there, it does a good job of storing life’s leftovers right in the middle of where you live, eat and breathe.
LESLIE: Yeah. But if you want to maintain your trash can’s stealthy persona, about once a month you’ve got to take all your indoor trash cans outside for a thorough cleaning. Now you want to mix up ¾-cup of bleach into 1 gallon of water and then you wash the interior of the garbage can. Don’t forget the handles and the lid. You want to clean everything.
TOM: Now, to make sure the bleach-and-water solution has time to kind of kill the bacteria and odors that could be harmful to your health, let it sit for at least five minutes. Then just rinse it and dry thoroughly. You’ll be safe, you’ll be healthy and most importantly, it won’t be smelly.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Anna on the line who needs some help with some door improvement. Tell us what you’re working on.
ANNA: Hi. Yes, I have one metal door and three fiberglass doors that – I got a guy to paint it. And not knowing – when I got home, he actually painted with a spray-can paint. So when the heat hits the door, I can’t open the door because it’s sticking to the door jamb.
TOM: Oh, boy. What a mess. What a mess.
ANNA: How do I repair that?
TOM: Well, you know, even though he painted it with spray paint, it should still work. I mean it should dry. The fact that it’s spray paint is not making it any more or less tacky than perhaps if you use paint out of a gallon. But the fact that it’s sticking might mean that the door needs a bit of an adjustment inside the opening. Are all the doors sticking?
ANNA: All the doors stick right on the rubber of the door jamb. It’s like a – I think that it’s a shoo-shoo (ph) can paint, not – I’m like, “Well, you sprayed what to the door?”
TOM: What kind of paint did he use?
ANNA: I call it a “shoo-shoo (ph).” Regular can paint. He went to the hardware store, got a spray-can paint and sprayed it.
TOM: Well, look, what you should do now, if you’ve had a bad paint job, is you really have to pull that old paint off. So I would take the doors off of the hinges, lay them down horizontally, use a paint remover to pull off the paint that’s there.
Once you get it back down to where it was when you started, then I would prime the doors first. And I would use an oil-based primer, because that’s going to give you good adhesion to both the metal and the fiberglass doors. And then I would put a good, top-quality finish coat on that using a semi-gloss paint. Then let them dry really well and then reinstall them.
ANNA: So is it possible then to – this is on metal and fiberglass – to get a paint remover for this thing?
TOM: Yes. There’s paint removers – the citrus-based removers are the most effective, so use the citrus-based paint removers, pull off the old paint, prime the doors and then repaint them. You should be good to go. OK, Anna?
ANNA: Thank you so very much again.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in Washington is on the line and is having a door issue. What’s going on at your money pit?
JIM: Well, I have actually two doors with similar problems. Gradually, it’s grown worse over the last several years. The door does not fit tightly up against the weatherstripping. And I’ve finally resulted to putting in small wedges. And this is a front door and a door to the garage. To keep it pressed up against there, I have replaced with new weatherstripping twice but it still doesn’t get up there tight. What can I do to correct that, outside of replacing the door?
TOM: So, if you close the door and you push it tighter closed, does that make the seal?
JIM: Yes. And that’s why I’ve resorted to …
TOM: So then why didn’t you just replace the – why didn’t you just adjust the lock?
JIM: I don’t know how to do that. I didn’t know you can do that.
TOM: OK. So, basically, what you need to do is – where the lock strike is – OK, that’s the metal plate in the jamb?
TOM: You need to move that closer to the weatherstripping so that the door has to actually shut more before it latches. Because you need that weatherstripping to compress a little bit before it latches.
Now, does this have a deadbolt on it?
JIM: Yes, it does.
TOM: Well, you could probably just do it with a deadbolt. Sometimes the deadbolt – if you just push in the door a little bit, put some pressure on it, then turn the bolt so you kind of create that seal, that would make a lot more sense than trying to wedge it against that. Because that’s exactly what the lock does: it holds it – holds the door tightly closed. So I would adjust the lock and forget about the weatherstripping for the moment. Are these wood jambs with the weatherstripping sort of inserted into a groove?
JIM: Yes. Yes, they are.
TOM: So those pieces of trim with the weatherstripping inserted into it, those usually will come off the door. So another thing to do here is you could take that weatherstripping – those pieces off – and actually move that. It’s, essentially, a piece of trim. Move that closer to the door and reattach it, as well.
So, either way, you need to basically get the door closer to the weatherstripping. The easiest way to do it is just to adjust the lock, though. So you’re adjusting the striker, not the lockset. You’re adjusting the strike: that metal plate that’s in the door jamb.
JIM: OK. And because, naturally, that’s screwed into there, do I just fill the old screw hole with …?
TOM: No. What you do here is you unscrew it. You pull it out, right? And then you move the plate closer by a ¼-inch or whatever gap you have to close, OK? You’ll probably have to notch out the door jamb to fit the new one. Then look at how the holes line up. You may be moved over far enough where you actually will have a shot at making a brand-new hole and you can ignore the old one.
If you can’t, what you want to do is take a small piece of wood. I usually use pieces of cedar shingles. I put a little glue on them, I shove them in the old screw hole, break them off flushed to kind of create a wood plug and then you can drive a new screw next to it.
JIM: Fantastic. Alright. I think I will try that first. And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll try moving the trim.
TOM: OK. Good luck, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Linda in Pennsylvania on the line with an insulation question.
LINDA: We have a two-story house built in the late 1980s. In the winter, it’s colder upstairs than downstairs and especially in the summer, it’s just really hot upstairs. We also – we have a whole-house fan and it’s – I don’t want to get rid of that. The one person that came and talked to us about insulation said we should get rid of that. I don’t know – rather the fan has blown some of the insulation over that blocks the soffit vents that we’re not getting enough circulation. So I guess I just don’t really know what to do about adding more insulation.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, a 1980s house probably has a minimal amount of insulation. What you really want is 15 or 20 inches of insulation.
Do you have decent space in the attic? Can you walk around up there?
TOM: OK. So how is it constructed? Is it made of trusses, where it’s hard to get around?
LINDA: Yes. And it’s not real high in the center. I mean you can get around but no, it’s not very high up there.
TOM: I would have blown-in insulation installed, because you can easily – a professional can get that where it has to go. Professionals are also good at making sure that the baffles are in place, which keeps it out of the soffits.
And then when it comes to the whole-house fan, you should have a cover for that for the wintertime, just to kind of seal it up a little bit. Perhaps cover it with some sort of an insulation blanket and then you can pull that off in the summertime. It will be a source of energy loss, so you have to kind of take that additional step. But I agree: it’s a great thing to have. But I will say it must have good exit venting, though, too.
Do you have big gable vents on the side walls of the house? Because when you turn that fan on, you don’t want to pressurize the attic. You want to make that air go out.
LINDA: No, we have the ridge vent. And when they replaced the roof a couple years ago, they did put in – they said there is a slightly larger-size ridge vent and that’s what they put in.
TOM: Alright. Well, then, that’s probably big enough to handle the exhaust venting.
So that’s what I would do. I would use blown-in insulation. Now, around the fan itself, what the installer will do is put sort of a wall around that made of sort of like a stiff cardboard or some type of material like that, so that they can pile the insulation up higher against that opening and keep it away from the operation of the fan.
TOM: It’s done all the time, Linda, and it’ll definitely make a big difference in how comfortable you feel in that house, OK?
LINDA: Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Coming up, we’ve got some info on a brand-new line of products that’s designed to extend the life of many of your appliances. It’s inexpensive and best of all, it’s easy. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, our appliances are there for us through every wash cycle, dish rinse and disposer grind but doing all of that dirty work means they need to be cleaned from time to time.
LESLIE: Well, now there’s a product line on the market specifically designed for cleaning appliances, called Glisten. So here to tell us about it is the company’s SVP of Sales and Marketing Tony Cronk.
TONY: Thank you very much, Leslie, for having me. And Tom.
TOM: So, Tony, Glisten is the machine-cleaning expert. Now I think that a lot of Americans don’t think of these machines as needing cleaning, because they’re cleaning machines. Whoever thinks you have to clean your cleaning machine? But as we know, because we’re a little closer to hearing about the breakdowns that occur, keeping those machines well-maintained does mean keeping them clean.
So you guys have taken a unique approach and developed products that really work on all of the major appliances inside our houses. Let’s start by talking about the dishwasher. You’ve got a product called Dishwasher Magic. How does this work?
TONY: Glisten Dishwasher Magic is specifically formulated to be a heavy-duty cleaner for the dishwasher. It solves buildup caused by hard water, calcium, lime, rust inside there, detergent that may stick around, food, odors, grease, et cetera and those pesky odors that can linger, especially in the newer machines which have better seals.
What sets it apart from the other dishwasher cleaners, it’s the only EPA-registered dishwasher cleaner and disinfectant.
LESLIE: Well, that’s really great.
TOM: Yeah, it is. Absolutely. And I think that anyone who’s ever opened up a dishwasher after maybe leaving it sit for the entire day knows about that sort of wash of odor that then kind of pours out of that machine. And that’s because there are even these very small food particles that kind of get left behind. As they start to degrade, they release a lot of odor.
LESLIE: Well, there is the trap that you’re supposed to clean often but who does it? I mean I don’t do it until I notice that there’s something in it. So, if you’re not maintaining it, you’re eventually going to need to give it a pretty heavy-duty cleaning.
TONY: That’s right, Leslie. Just think of your car. It’s an expensive investment, just like most of the appliances are, but you regularly change the oil in that vehicle just like you would cleaning these machines. You have to regularly take care of them in order to make them work the most efficiently.
TOM: And how frequently do you recommend treating the dishwasher with Dishwasher Magic?
TONY: Well, if you have a problem today where it’s got heavy buildup of rust, we recommend one or two uses of the product, to just give it that once-over the first time. And then if you regularly use the product once a month, you’ll keep that machine running at tip-top shape.
TOM: Now, another product that you guys came out with that I used very recently is Glisten Disposer Care. I love this because the disposer, again, is an appliance that builds up odor and food particles and all that sort of thing. And this is kind of a fun product to use because when you drop it in the machine, it actually foams up. You can see it work, which is really pretty cool.
So, was this one of the early products that you guys discovered? Or did this come after the dishwasher product?
TONY: This came before, actually. It was co-developed with a company by the name of InSinkErator, the number-one manufacturer of garbage disposers.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Sure.
TONY: Probably 10 or 15 years ago. Now, we’ve improved on the product since then. What makes it unique, it uses a heavy-duty, foaming formula to clean both the disposer. And it also gets – reaches deep into those plumbing lines and it’ll actually come up in the other sink to clean out that side of the wash basin, also.
In addition to that, the product is made with a biodegradable paper pouch. That pouch actually has functionality. It actually works to scrub inside that disposer while it’s foaming and cleaning, to strip off any of the residue and buildup that’s in there over time.
LESLIE: Now, your next product, it’s the Glisten Microwave Cleaner. This is a product that I absolutely love because having small kids, I hate to say it but the microwave sometimes is the primary source of cooking. And you guys know, it’s like if something splashes in the microwave and then you’re using it again and again, it just sort of cooks and cooks until it’s stuck to the side and you can’t get it off. So your microwave cleaner is like a lifesaver to us.
TONY: Oh,well, thank you, Leslie. I appreciate that.
Yeah, it’s funny. From my own experiences with children, some of those stains, when they get on the walls – I’ve taken a paint scraper before to get them off.
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
LESLIE: I wasn’t going to say it but I’ve done it.
TONY: But with Glisten Microwave Cleaner, it’s very easy to use. It’s a specially developed scrubber that has a cleaning solution impregnated in it and it will not harm your food or anything inside the microwave, so don’t worry. You put it in there, turn it on for 30 seconds, let it foam up. It steams to soften the messes on the walls and then, at the end of the cycle, you open it up, wipe down the walls, throw it away and you’re done.
LESLIE: That’s great. And you’re so right. I get so nervous with using – well, before finding your microwave cleaner, I get so nervous using traditional cleaners in the microwave. Because again, you’re cooking in such a confined space and you’re like, “Did I leave the residue on there? Is it going to harm the food?” And so, you’ve really ensured peace of mind.
TONY: Yes, that was one of the first things we looked into – and we look through in all of our products – is finding products that are safe to use and more sustainable for the environment.
TOM: We’re talking to Tony Cronk. He’s a senior vice president with Glisten, a brand that is the machine-cleaning expert. It helps your appliances work, look and smell like new by eliminating all of that greasy residue and grimy buildup and odor.
Now, one machine that is very commonly associated with bad odors is your washer. These front-load washers tend to get different types of dirt and organic particles trapped in their seals and they can really raise quite a stink. You’ve got a product that attacks that, as well. It’s called Washer Magic. How does that work?
TONY: Yes. Glisten Washer Magic is unique from the fact that it is a liquid cleaning formula. So it does – it’s a two-fold attack. You can clean both the drum, through your regular wash cycle, and you can use the liquid formula to clean around that door seal, which is where the majority of those odors build up. It leaves no residue behind. Highly effective. It’s one – it’s a one-dose, heavy-duty shot that we use to clean that machine.
What’s most important though, Tom, is it’s not just the AG machines that need cleaning. All washing machines need cleaning, just as I talked about earlier. All machine manufacturers recommend regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them working in top condition.
TOM: Tony Cronk, the senior vice president for Glisten, thank you so much for being a part of the program.
Hey, for helpful tips, periodic offers and information on the whole family of Glisten products, be sure to visit GlistenCleaners.com. That’s GlistenCleaners.com. You are going to love these products.
Tony Cronk, thank you so much for being a part of the program.
TONY: Thank you, Tom and Leslie. I really enjoyed being on.
LESLIE: Alright. And still ahead, brand-new advances in lighting technology are making outside-lighting installation very easy and safe. We’ll tell you how, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the smart solution for all your electrical needs. Learn how to help improve your home’s electrical safety at GetSafeToday.com. And be sure to enter their June Safety Products Giveaway. That’s GetSafeToday.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got some cool home improvement advice for you and a cool prize. We’re giving away the Cyclone 1000 from Portacool. It’s a portable cooling unit that lowers temperatures by as much as 30 degrees using the natural process of evaporation.
LESLIE: Yeah. The Cyclone 1000 is perfect for cooling down your garage or your garden area, even your patio or deck. You just plug it in to a standard 110 outlet. And it’s far more effective than a fan and it operates for just pennies an hour. It’s a prize worth 389 bucks.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dennis in Alaska needs some help cleaning up hard-water residue. What can we do for you today?
DENNIS: Yeah, I was wondering if you knew of a product that could take care of that rusty-looking stuff on a porcelain …
TOM: Try CLR. CLR stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust and it works super-well at removing those rust stains. It’s readily available at home centers and supermarkets, as well.
DENNIS: I could probably find it down at Home Depot or someplace.
TOM: I’m sure you can, Dennis. It’s been around for years and it does a really good job. Sort of one of those standard things you’ve got to have on your cabinet shelf.
DENNIS: Right, yeah. OK. I’ll look into it.
TOM: Alright, Dennis. Good luck.
Well, with so many of us taking vacations right now, it’s really important to make sure that our homes are adequately lit, because a dark house invites burglars. But if you want to add lighting to the exterior of your house, it can be a really expensive project. But not with a brand-new, networked, wireless spotlight system that we discovered at the recent National Hardware Show.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s called Mr. Beams and it’s a lighting company that actually allows you to have lighting wherever you need it. Their new product is called NetBright. We talked to Scott Walters from Mr. Beams, who explains how it works.
SCOTT: A two-pack of LED lights that are motion-sensing spotlights. When one’s activated, it’ll send a signal to every other light that’s on the same frequency.
TOM: Oh, that’s cool.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s fantastic.
SCOTT: And they’ll all activate. So you’re able to have a secure perimeter of lighting.
SCOTT: Much more cost-effective than wiring your entire house, property.
TOM: So that would really freak out anybody that’s sneaking up to your house, right?
SCOTT: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Because not only does the light in front of them go on but all the lights around the house go on.
LESLIE: Yeah. But also, think about it as a homeowner. You know, you’re walking from your car to the back of the house. If the first one trips on, then boom, boom, boom, you’ve got a well-lit walkway.
TOM: The LED bulbs have a 20- to 25-year life and the lights take standard, alkaline batteries that will last at least a year. You can learn more at MrBeams.com. And check out all of our top product picks from the National Hardware Show, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Theodora in Hawaii is on the line with a leaky ceiling. What’s going on?
THEODORA: We got a leak. We don’t know where it came from. We don’t know if it’s from an outside frame on a window or if it’s from vines that were crawling up the outside, which we pulled out and loosened the frame.
Anyway, we’ve got a leak. It’s a two-story house. I live on the main floor and it’s my ceiling that’s leaking. And it’s left – it barely leaks and it rarely leaks unless we get water from that side.
TOM: So kind of like a driving rainstorm?
THEODORA: That’ll do it.
TOM: Yeah, OK.
THEODORA: And the thing is that we cleaned it with bleach and we put KILZ on there. And then about a month later, we put latex on there.
THEODORA: And I was told that ought to work but the stain came back. It’s kind of a rusty color and pretty ugly.
TOM: So the question is: do we think it’s still leaking, Theodora? Or do you think it’s just a stain you’re having difficulty with?
THEODORA: It leaks only when we get those Kona storms. And otherwise, it doesn’t leak. Storms come and go and it does not leak.
TOM: So, if the leak is active no matter what you put on there for paint, obviously, it’s going to keep coming through again. So we have to deal with the active leak.
Now, you mentioned that you live on the first floor of this home. Is it a two-family house or – who’s upstairs?
THEODORA: My daughter lives up; I live down. I rent from her; she’s my landlord.
TOM: Oh, I see. OK. Well, you’re going to have to complain to the landlord here, I think. Obviously, you’ve got a leak that’s caused by driving rain, which means it’s coming in generally through flashing. What kind of siding is on this house?
THEODORA: I guess I would have to say that the walls are hollow tile? That brick that has a hole in the side? And there is no flashing I – there is on the second story, on the ceiling – on the roof. But in my area, it’s just kind of – if you put adobe on there, you’d have kind of a brick house.
TOM: Well, what you’re going to have to do is basically have a contractor look at the side of this house, because you’re getting water up and under somewhere. And if you don’t deal with it, the mold could get worse.
Now, because it’s a driving rainstorm, it’s going to be probably flashing-based, like I said. And so, that may involve you taking apart some of the trim around windows, for example, or where roofs intersect or where plumbing pipes come through in trying to get to the source of this.
One thing that you could try to do is you could have a contractor run water down the house, starting at the top and working down, to see if we can recreate the leak. That might help you narrow down where it’s happening.
THEODORA: The second-story roof has vaulted ceilings. It’s way up to heaven. They won’t get up there with water. I know that.
TOM: Well, look, you can get as high as you need to get, with the right tools, Theodora. But the problem is you’ve got to deal – this is not – you called a question about how to deal with the stain. It’s not a stain issue; it’s a leak issue. The leak has got to be addressed. I can’t tell you where it’s happening on that side of the house but I can tell you it does exist and you’ve got to identify that. And you could try caulking obvious areas and things like that to see if it makes it go away. But I would recommend a more comprehensive approach. And unfortunately, you’re going to need a pro to get that done.
So, complain to that landlord. Get somebody in that can fix that. I’m sure your daughter will understand.
Theodora, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, still to come, we’re going to tell you all about a really cool, new trend in vacation homes. It’s actually one that you can take with you on wheels. We’re going to teach you how to go glamping when The Money Pit continues.
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TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
And hey, new on MoneyPit.com, we’ve got the top five ways to reduce hurricane damage. You can find out how to protect your home from sudden storms wherever you live. That’s on the homepage, right now, at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got a post here from Mike who writes: “I recently used spray foam from a can around an exhaust pipe coming from a hot-water tank in the opening of my chimney. I was looking at the can and it says that the spray foam is flammable but I don’t know if that applies here since the pipe I used it on carries exhaust only.”
TOM: Put the spray foam down and step away slowly. Then take immediate steps to remove what you’ve applied. This is not a good solution and it’s really unsafe. It’s critical that any gaps around a metal vent pipe that’s inserted in a chimney be filled with a non-combustible material.
So, we’re talking about stuff like mortar or fiberglass insulation that’s – as long as the paper has been removed. And most importantly, this kind of thing is not going to stop a carbon-monoxide leak by sealing that gap because the vent hood is, by design, an open system. Air is going to enter at the draft hood, right at the top of the water heater. It’s going to mix with combustion gas. It’s going to exit at the chimney.
So if the chimney were to be clogged, for example, the gas is just going to back up and back down that same draft hood. So, you’re not really solving anything by sealing this gap. But most importantly, you cannot seal it with spray foam. It’s just not designed for that. You use something that’s not combustible, like mortar, around that. And maybe this is best to be left to a pro. They can check out the venting of the entire system to make sure that there’s no combustion leaks whatsoever. Do not use expanded foam on a spot like that. It’s just not safe.
LESLIE: Yeah. Not a good idea. Thank goodness you wrote in.
TOM: Well, not everyone can swing a second home to get away from it all. Vacation homes are nice but too often, they are just out of reach for the average family. And that’s where glamping comes in. Leslie has details on how to create your home away from home, on wheels, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, you might not know what glamping is. It’s a combination of two amazing words: glamour and camping. Glamour camping. Glamping.
TOM: Two amazing words that you would never, ever think to put together.
LESLIE: Yeah, unless you’re a person like me who wants to go camping but doesn’t want to sleep on the floor. Hello, Tom.
So it really is like the opposite of roughing it. Again, the type of camping I enjoy best. And you can take it one step further and sort of go glamping by maybe getting a camper and then creating a vacation home on wheels.
Just imagine, you guys. You know, a pop-up trailer. It’s tricked out with the best bedding and beautiful décor. You can park it right near the beach or lake and now you have an amazing home on the water. And the best part is you can park it in your own driveway after the vacation is over. So you don’t need to worry about flood insurance or hurricane damage or somebody going and checking on the house all the time.
Now, the new trend of glampers is really something that you can take advantage of, even when you’re not away. It could be a guest house, an office.
Could be your man cave, Tom, or even any extra space and it’s just steps away from your home. Next time your teenager hosts a sleepover party, you don’t have to lose any sleep. Just stick them in the glamper.
I mean the possibilities are endless and it’s a fraction of the cost of a second home. And if you look for vintage campers, you can renovate it. It can be super-cost-effective. And they’re just amazingly stunning when you think of their design features. So you can go ahead and glamp it up, guys, and have an amazing summer anywhere you like.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some tips for stepping up your garden shed. Is it being used to its maximum potential? Have you created the man cave or the she shed of your dreams? We’ll have ideas to help you create better storage or convert it into a small, private workspace, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself ...
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)