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: 1:00]
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: Ready to spring into home improvement. You got a question about your home improvement project, call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie and I are standing by to help you solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas, whatever they are; soup to nuts, floorboards to shingles. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So Leslie, here's one topic that we could tackle this hour; the topic of outside your house.
TOM: How do you keep the outside of your house - that exterior trim, in particular - looking really good? Because it needs a lot of maintenance. Now there are, though, some new products out that can actually replace all that ... you can replace all that wood with. And they're made of plastic.
LESLIE: Yeah. In fact, lots of kids are doing it. Yeah. Actually, a lot of homeowners are actually incorporating these new products into their exterior woodwork already. Of course, wood is still the number one material used and it's expected to make up 60 percent of the total demand by 2009. But the sales of plastic trim and molding are taking off. And this is a viable option that you should consider. And it comes in every profile available. So think about it. It's a good idea.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What's your home improvement question? Call us now. Not only will we answer your question on the air, but you could also win a great prize.
LESLIE: Yeah, we're giving away a great prize this hour. It's the Peerless two-handle lavatory faucet. It's worth $65 and it could be yours for free if you ask your question on air and we pick your name out of the lucky Money Pit hardhat. So call in now.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, you're looking at your screen and you see that we have a caller from New York that wants to ask about windows.
TOM: Well, it's actually ... he may be from New York but he ...
LESLIE: Is it my cousin?
TOM: No, it's not your cousin. We have a little surprise for you.
LESLIE: Oh, good lord.
TOM: Principal Okulski is on the phone right now.
LESLIE: No! (laughing)
OKULSKI: Yes. Hi, Leslie, how are you?
LESLIE: I'm good. Hey, get those kids to stop putting their cigarette butts on my front lawn. (laughing)
OKULSKI: You're not living in ... still living on Long Island, are you?
LESLIE: Oh, I moved back.
TOM: She's a Long Island girl. (laughing)
OKULSKI: Really? Where are you living now?
LESLIE: Oh, very close to the high school, my friend.
OKULSKI: But I ... but I'm not there anymore.
LESLIE: I know you're not.
TOM: So Principal Okulski wrote me today and wanted to know how he got in touch with Leslie. I said I got the perfect way for you to get in touch with Leslie. Let's call you on the phone.
LESLIE: You guys are little schemers.
TOM: Because I've got ... I've got some questions for you, Principal Okulski. I want to know what kind of student ...
LESLIE: I was a good student.
TOM: ... Miss Segrete was in high school.
OKULSKI: She was a great student. (laughing)
LESLIE: I was the National Honor Society.
LESLIE: I was in plays, tap dancing my heart out in Anything Goes. I was a good student. O parlato Italiano (sp). I did good.
TOM: Did she make ... did you ... did you have her redecorate the principal's office?
OKULSKI: No, I wish I had. (laughing)
TOM: You see that? It would have ... it would have been worth a lot of money today. You know, one of her first decorating projects. (laughing)
OKULSKI: Well, it's a shame I didn't know about it earlier. I would have brought her in to do that.
LESLIE: (laughing) So ... so ...
OKULSKI: She was never in the principal's office, though.
TOM: Oh. Well, see I was going to ask you. Did she ever have to go to ... now, in my school, if you were bad you went not to the principal's office; you went to the vice principal's office.
OKULSKI: (laughing) Well, she was never in either office.
TOM: Okay. (laughing)
LESLIE: I was a good student. It was college where things went downhill. (laughing)
TOM: I see. Well, but least Principal Okulski gave you a good start.
OKULSKI: We tried.
LESLIE: So how can we help you, Mr. Principal?
OKULSKI: I just was calling to congratulate you. I think it's great all the things that you're doing.
LESLIE: Thank you so much.
OKULSKI: And I happened to see your picture in a store around the corner from me. (laughing) And I said, 'Gee, let me see if I can get through to Leslie. (laughing) I'd like to really congratulate her and tell her what a great job she's done.'
LESLIE: Thank you so much.
OKULSKI: And we've ... you know, we've kept in touch ... kept watching you because I saw you ... you know, every once in a while things would pop up about you. I tried to contact you once before but I was unsuccessful. Thanks to Tom, I got through this time.
LESLIE: Well, you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the best way.
LESLIE: And that's so great. And it's funny because I noticed at the high school, now, Mr. Ludwig is now the choir teacher. And he was my church choir instructor for like eight years. See? I was a good kid, Tom.
TOM: So, Principal Okulski, when Leslie was going through the halls of your school - what high school is it?
OKOVSKI and LESLIE: Garden City High School.
TOM: Garden City High School. Did you have any idea that she may have this kind of future in home improvement media?
OKULSKI: No. I mean (inaudible) terrific. (laughing)
TOM: No inkling? Nothing that she did? You know, nothing whatsoever? I mean were you ... did you work like on the plays and build sets or anything of that nature, Leslie?
LESLIE: I did.
TOM: See, that's the seed. The seed was planted.
LESLIE: See, it's always ...
TOM: You got the media bug.
LESLIE: It's always been set design. It's just a fluke that I've stumbled into this home improvement arts because it's really all related.
OKULSKI: Well, you worked for Mrs. Spires, right?
LESLIE: Inez. That's correct.
LESLIE: With her crazy green eye shadow. (laughing)
OKULSKI: She's a very famous lady. She was ... when Susan Lucci finally won her Emmy, she congratulated Mrs. Spires because Mrs. Spires was a drama teacher in the high school for over 50 years.
LESLIE: And she still wore makeup from the 1920s when it was all about greasepaint (laughing), let me tell you. But she was a fantastic character and I learned a lot about set design and the theatre arts from these folks. And I thank you so much for a wonderful education, Principal Okulski.
OKULSKI: You're welcome, Leslie. Thank you very much for everything you've done.
LESLIE: Thanks. See you at the home show next week.
TOM: Thank you.
OKULSKI: Okay. I'll have to stop by and see you.
TOM: Leslie's high school. Principal Okulski's just checking in to congratulate Leslie on all her success. I thought that was very nice.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices)You guys are trouble makers.
TOM: Do you like that? We snuck that one in on you. (laughing)
LESLIE: Sneaky. I was like, 'Oh, is it my cousin John? What's going on? What's going on?' Yeah.
TOM: Well, as we ... as we suspected, you were a good kid growing up.
TOM: And things have not changed. (laughing) 888-666-3974. Let's take a real caller now. Who's next?
LESLIE: Carl in Alabama has a question about what's cheaper; gas or electric? How can we help you, Carl?
CARL: Hey, I was listening to your show four or five weeks ago and somebody called in and the answer to the question was by far, hands down, gas was cheaper and I don't think it is but (inaudible) ...
LESLIE: The debate floor is open. Let us hear your point.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright, give us your argument. Give us your argument, Carl. Why do you think that ...?
CARL: Okay, I run an iron foundry in Florence, Alabama. And we're heavily energy intensive - okay, this is on the business end - and plus, I have natural gas appliance in my home.
CARL: And by far, I think they do warm a body better than and they heat water a lot better. And it was cheaper five years ago but per BTU or therm of gas per kilowatt of electricity, by far electric is - in my area - is a lot cheaper (inaudible) to operate.
TOM: Hmm. Well, what kind of heating system do you have inside your house, Carl? What exactly ...?
CARL: Oh, it's a ... it's a 1999 Lennox, 96 percent efficient.
TOM: Oh, it's a pulse ... it's a Lennox pulse furnace?
CARL: No, it's not a pulse. It's the generation after that.
TOM: Okay. Well those are really good furnaces and I'm ... and I'm ... I would be surprised if that was not more efficient than any kind of electric system you could put in. Of course, resistant heat is the most expensive. The only thing that could possibly compete with it - although, I don't think it could on a long-term basis - might be a ground loop heat pump. But the problem with the ground loop heat pumps is that they're good until the loop breaks and then you've got to tear up your yard to replace it.
CARL: Okay. Just ... what I did this year, since gas has gotten so high - it's like 140 percent higher; it's $2.12 per 100 cubic feet and I was paying 79 cents for it a year ago. And like if I had my gas heat on right now, it would be like a $5 to $700 bill. I've got a 5,600-square-foot home and I'm just using space heaters; I haven't turned the gas on at all. And I've been running water ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, if you're going to use the space heaters on a room-by-room basis and basically not heat your house in a central way, sure.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's when you decide what's important to heat or not.
TOM: And sure. But you compare that and say it's cheaper but it's not really a fair comparison because the space heaters are not ... are not heating the same volume that the entire system is designed to heat. If you have that kind of a gas bill, it sounds to me like you might want to take a careful look at all of the energy-wasting features that could be in the house - I mean everything from drafts and weather-stripping and insulation and things of this nature - to see what we can do to tighten that house up.
CARL: Well, I got these low-e windows and the hydrogen or nitrogen - whatever they are - filled (inaudible). I mean it's ... the best of everything in 1999 was put into this home.
TOM: One of the things that you might want to think about doing, Carl, is having an energy audit done of your home. Your local utility company might offer to do that; many do.
LESLIE: And most do them free of charge.
TOM: Yeah. And a good ...
CARL: TVA does that.
TOM: A good part of an energy audit, if you can find somebody that does this, is something called a blower door test.
TOM: And a blower door test, basically it's a fan that pressurizes your house and once it's pressurized it can determine exactly how much leakage you have in the house and where those leaks are.
TOM: And I suspect you're going to find areas in that house that could stand some energy-efficient upgrades. And now is a great time to do that because not only can you actually make the improvement but you can get the government to help you pay for it.
CARL: Trying to do the best I can. You were very informative and thank you for having me on your show.
TOM: You're very welcome, Carl. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is moneypit.com. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, if your home is less than 30 years old, you probably have circuit breakers than occasionally trip when you're running, say, your hair dryer and your microwave at the same time. Well, not that I've ever done anything like that; oh no. (laughing)
TOM: And we know you don't run the vacuum cleaner and your hair dryer and microwave at the same time.
LESLIE: Maybe I do them both at the same time. (laughing) To save time. Multi-tasking.
TOM: Well, regardless of how many appliances you're running in your house at the same time, did you know that a circuit breaker in your home will not protect you against a deadly electric shock? It is not designed to do that. Learn why, next.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Metal Roofing Alliance. We call metal roofing investment-grade roofing. Because in your lifetime, a metal roof will save you money and add value to your home. To find a Metal Roofing Alliance contractor or to learn more about investment-grade roofing, visit www.metalroofing.com.
TOM: So, are you decorating challenged? Well, you know, you don't have to do something as drastic as knock down a wall to get that whole new look. You could just paint walls a different color, rearrange furniture or change the lighting to make the room look dramatically different. In fact, what you ought to think is lightscape.
LESLIE: That's not nice, Tom.
TOM: Well, you know, some folks may not be comfortable with choosing colors and things of that nature. But you know, you don't have to do something as drastic as, perhaps, knock down a wall to get that whole new look. You could just paint the walls a different color, rearrange furniture or just change lighting to make the room look dramatically different. I like to think of it as lightscaping.
LESLIE: Ooh, I like that word.
TOM: You like that? Lightscape. Just like a landscape complements your home's exterior, arranging a light scheme can improve your home's interior. Here's what you need to know.
You want to mix and match task lights - now, those are the lights that may be, say, on your kitchen counter or over your desk - with feature lights - the kind that, maybe, feature art or the kind that you might have in the soffits above your kitchen cabinets - along with the room lighting to come up with a perfect mix. And if you use dimmers, you could actually control that balance and come up with different scenes. You can have the dining scene and the party scene and go crazy.
LESLIE: Yeah. And it could even be as simple as changing the lamp shade that you're using because certain lamp shades only allow for a certain amount of light to get through. So it could be as simple as that.
And if you'd actually like a bit more color but you just don't know where to begin, here's a little tip that can help you decide. Use a compass to find out which way the windows in your room face. Then follow the sun. Your house, the quality of light in each individual room, will change and impact which colors work best, depending on the amount of sunlight it receives. So that's always a good place to start.
TOM: You know, that's a great point because so many times when you see the light and you're making that choice of paint color, you're looking under one level of light. But as that sun moves across your house, the light is changing all day long. So you really need to get a sense as to what that's going to look like over the course of that eight to 12 hour day.
LESLIE: Yeah. And of course, whatever the lighting conditions are in the home improvement center, you're almost never going to duplicate them at your house anyway. So it's always good ...
TOM: Unless you have mercury vapor overhead lamps.
LESLIE: Yeah. (laughing)
TOM: You know, in your bathroom.
LESLIE: Yeah. Of course not. Well, speaking of bathrooms, we've got a great prize this hour and it'll give you a fresh look in your bathroom. If you call us now and ask your question on air, you could be eligible for this. We're going to give away a Peerless two-handle chrome lavatory faucet. It's worth $65. It features a charming teapot-inspired design and the lever handles also come with a set of porcelain inserts that can coordinate with any d