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: Call us right now. We know that you have a home improvement question and we are here to help you get the answers, get the projects done. Take a look around your house; we know that there's something that you want to tackle. It's summer; we know it's hot. Maybe you're sick and tired of paying high cooling bills. We can help you cut back on those. Maybe you're thinking towards cooler times and want to talk about making your house more efficient. Maybe you got a storage plan to take care of before the kids go back to school. Maybe you want to do some re-do of their rooms. All of those are great topics for us to talk about on this hour of the program.
Also ahead, we're going to talk about the whine, the bite, the ouch and the itch of mosquitoes.
LESLIE: (chuckling) I thought you were talking about me for a second.
TOM: No, not you. Not you. (Leslie chuckles) You don't whine.
LESLIE: Well, not that much. (chuckles)
TOM: No. No, we're talking about mosquitoes, you know, but they are making a meal out of us these days and insect repellents can keep them away. DEET is, in my experience, the most effective but there are actually some new, natural repellents out there including some products that you can use to treat your yard to keep them away. We're going to talk about what to do when we interview a pest prevention expert later on in the program.
LESLIE: Plus, are you tired of staring at that black hole in your living room a.k.a. the fireplace? Just because you're not using it this time of year doesn't mean that it can't be a focal point of design in your mainstay room of your house: your living room. In a few minutes, we're going to tell you how to dress up your non-functioning, at the moment, fireplace.
TOM: Then it can look good and it won't suck energy out of your house at the same time. Also coming up, would it surprise you to learn that one out of four homes in America needs a wiring upgrade? Could yours be on the list? We're going to tell you what you need to know to make sure your home is safe.
LESLIE: Plus, this hour we're giving away a great prize, especially if you're thinking about tackling a painting project. We've got a Tape-Seal prize pack. It's worth 50 bucks and this prize includes everything that you need to properly prep your paint job. We can't tell you enough about prep work. It ensures a good, long-lasting, finished paint job and it's got a great new product in it that's going to help you get those nice, clean paint edges.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let's get started.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Denny in New Jersey is dealing with water in the basement. Tell us about the problem.
DENNY: Every time that it leaks, every time that it rains, water is going to come inside.
DENNY: I'm thinking to put a sump pump in there but I don't know if that's going to help or not.
LESLIE: Well, I think that that's going to be overkill; I mean, especially you're mentioning that you're only seeing the water in the basement when it rains, which is consistent with a drainage situation. You're probably dealing with too much water that gets around the foundation perimeter of your home during these rainstorms.
So what you want to do to address it, and get that water away from the foundation where it's not going to come into the basement, is you want to look at your gutter system. You want to make sure that you've got enough gutters on the house and that they're clean and the downspouts are free-flowing and then you want to look at where the downspouts deposit the water. You want to make sure that they're not sort of just stopping against your foundation wall and all that water is just sort of collecting there. You want those downspouts to extend away from the house four feet - whatever you can do, get them underground, bury them, move that water out just so you're getting the water away and you want to look at the grading around the perimeter of your foundation as well. You don't want that soil sloping towards the house. You want it sort of gradually rolling away from the house so that it's moving all of that water away and if you can do that, you'll keep that water from coming in during a rainstorm. I think a sump pump is going to be overkill.
DENNY: OK. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Our pleasure. Thanks Denny.
Heading over to Georgia to chat with Carolyn about a noisy toilet. Tell us about the problem.
CAROLYN: We have a toilet that automatically flushes. You can hear the sound in the bedroom, in the hall and all of the sound and water seems to take place in the tank. What causes a toilet to spontaneously flush?
TOM: Well, you know, some people would pay thousands of dollars to have their toilet automatically flush. (Carolyn chuckles) The reason it's happening is because you have a leaking flush valve - that's the valve in the bottom of the toilet - and what happens is it leaks water out to the point where the fill valve wants to sort of complete the job and refill the toilet. And so the solution is to replace the flush valve but since both flush and fill valves are so inexpensive, I would replace all of the guts of the toilet, both flush and fill valve. It'll cost you about 15 bucks in parts. It's not too hard to do it yourself and that problem ...
TOM: ... will go away for good, Carolyn.
CAROLYN: Oh, that sounds great. That sounds great. So I will replace both of them, just as you said.
LESLIE: And Carolyn, there's a great website - it's FluidMaster.com - and they give you detailed pictures of the entire process, step-by-step, how to go ahead and change both of these items so you can actually do it yourself.
CAROLYN: OK. Thank you very much. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement or your home repair question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whatever you are working on, we can help you get the job done right so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Coming up, will your home project add electrical wiring to your existing system? Well, stop right there. We're going to give you some important safety information to make sure your house is safe, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:27.8]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and hey, you've got a phone. Pick it up and use it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This hour, one caller that we talk to on the air, who asks their home improvement question, is not only going to get the answer to the question that they are dealing with right at the moment but they're going to get a great prize.
We're giving away a prize pack from Tape-Seal. It's worth over 50 bucks but in this prize pack, you are going to get every single thing that you need to prep your painting project; including drop cloths, painter's tape, brushes, rollers and two jars of the super-cool new product called Tape-Seal. And this is sort of a cool, clear, acrylic gel that you paint along your painter's tape edges so that if you're painting stripes or patterns or lines, whatever you're doing with your tape, it's going to seal that edge so any paint that you're putting on top of it, as sort of an accent color, is not going to bleed underneath and you're going to get those nice, crisp edges. Without it, you'd be spending a ton of time going in with a nice, little brush and trying to get those lines nice and straight. So give us a call for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now it's time to talk about your electrical system. This is a little bit shocking: surveys are showing that one out of every four homes needs an electrical service upgrade before new or additional wiring is installed. And I have seen this time and time again, in the years I spent as a home inspector, where folks constantly tried to basically make do with the old panel when they definitely needed more service for that house and that can lead to some pretty serious electrical problems that could be really dangerous.
Leslie, I have frequently opened up electrical panels and found burned wiring, so this is definitely something you need to be careful of. If you're going to add on to your home; if you're going to put in some new appliances, make sure you have an electrician do an assessment of what you have and if you don't have room in the panel, go ahead and put on a subpanel. It's not that much more expensive and it'll be a lot safer, to boot.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Maybe you have a wiring question. We'd love to hear about it at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Elaine in Texas, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ELAINE: Hi. Hi Tom and Leslie. I do have a question. I do enjoy your show first and I ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, thank you.
ELAINE: We got a new countertop in our kitchen about six months ago with a nice, new, stainless steel sink ...
ELAINE: ... and about two months ago, I was washing a clock jar in the sink and I scratched the bottom of the sink.
ELAINE: And I am just so distressed over this. It had a very nice, shiny finish and the scratches are in a - are circular ...
ELAINE: ... and the grain runs lengthwise ...
ELAINE: ... from front to back. So is there anything that will take those scratches out?
LESLIE: Well, actually, there is and it's a quite simple do-it-yourself project. You just need a couple of things. If you go to the home center, 3M makes these Scotch-Brite pads and you want to start with the coarser one, which is I think the grey color and also pick up the fine one, which is like a maroon or a purple color. And with the grey one, you want to start the coarser one in the same direction as the grain of your sink that you see and you want to sand over your scratches in the direction of the grain until you start to make some headway with that. And then you want to finish it off with the finer pad and that really does a great job of getting out all of the scratches from any stainless.
ELAINE: Oh, that's fabulous. Thank you ever so much.
TOM: Well, you're welcome. Thanks so much for listening to us in Dallas, Texas on WBAP.
ELAINE: WBAP. I certainly do and I certainly enjoy your show. Thank you ever so much.
LESLIE: Heading to the Great North to talk with Sharon in Alaska. What can we do for you and your money pit?
SHARON: Hi. I have a metal roof and no attic and out on my porch it's starting to leak. Now how can I tell if it's leaking in the house and how can I fix it?
TOM: Well, I mean, if it was leaking in the house, you would certainly see some evidence of moisture. But how do you fix it? Well, it depends on why it's leaking. Generally, you can use a silicone sealant on a metal roof because it attaches very, very well to metal.
SHARON: OK. How can I tell if it's leaking like in between the ceiling and the roof?
TOM: You definitely would see it because that ceiling material is not going to hold back the water. So if you're not seeing any stains, I wouldn't worry about it but on a dry day, if you can get up on the roof over the porch and try to figure out where it's leaking - and if you want some help trying to figure that out, an easy way to do that is to grab a hose and work the roof one, sort of, section at a time and see if you can actually make it leak.
TOM: And that will give you an indication as to where the leak is and then you could seal that with silicone and you'll be good to go.
SHARON: Now the silicone; do I have to do that again in a couple years?
TOM: No, it's pretty durable stuff. So I would just do it once and see what happens.
SHARON: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Sharon. Good luck with that project. Thanks for checking in with us from Alaska.
LESLIE: Robert in Utah needs some help in the basement. What's going on? Tell us about the problem.
ROBERT: Well, in our house we have an unfinished room with bare cement walls, going down to the bare cement floor, and there's a crack in the wall and whenever the sprinklers are on too long or it rains outside, the water comes down and leaks into the basement through a visible crack there. It's not a very big leak but it could be a problem in the future, so my question is I know that I can dig down the outside of the wall and apply some sort of a sealant to correct the leak from the outside but that implies a lot of digging. I was wondering if there's some sort of a product or something that I could use on the inside to seal that crack and keep from having to do all that digging.
TOM: Well, sure. I mean, you certainly could use a good quality caulk on that crack; like a white silicone adhesive caulk or something of that nature. The issue here is probably the drainage outside that wall.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean and you even mentioned, Robert, that it occurs if your sprinklers are on too long or if you get a rain.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I think you ought to take a look at the grading and the drainage at the outside foundation perimeter. Make sure that the soil is sloping away from the wall and, with respect to the rain, make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and that if you have a spout discharging anywhere near there, that you extend it out least four feet.
ROBERT: But I could use just a regular silicone caulk on the inside and that would hold?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, absolutely. There's no reason you can't. It's nothing special; just a masonry block wall. And basically, what water is doing is simply finding the path of least resistance. So you can seal that and you could repaint the wall and you'll be good to go.
ROBERT: OK, well, thank you very much. Appreciate your help.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in New Hampshire is dealing with a moist situation in the basement. Tell us about what's going on.
MIKE: We have a typical New England home whereas it has large, granite walk-through walls and a dirt basement. If we go away during the summertime - that is anywhere, really, between April and October - and we leave the house closed-up, it's very damp-smelling when we come back. We tried a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier costs like $60 a month; the thing runs continuously. I heard about a tangential fan, which is contractor installed. But all these things are really costly. I was wondering, is there any cure for a dirt basement floor by some other means of ventilation?
TOM: Well, there's a number of things. Is there any possibility that you may want to actually pour a floor down there?
MIKE: Yeah, we'd actually thought about it. In fact, I was thinking of leveling it and then using gravel as a base and see how that affected the condensation.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Gravel won't necessarily help but if you put plastic sheeting down and poured a slab over it - even if it's a very thin slab, what we call a dust cover, that actually will make a big difference because what you're having here is evaporation of the moisture off of the soil.
TOM: The other thing to do is to make sure you pay attention to your drainage conditions outside because if you have good, positive outside drainage conditions, Leslie, I think that will reduce the volume of humidity and moisture inside the house.
LESLIE: Yeah, Mike. You want to look at the grading around your foundation perimeter. You want to make sure that all of the soil slopes away from the house and you want to go down about six inches over four feet so you do get all of that moisture just moving away from the house itself. And you want to look at your gutter system and your downspouts.
LESLIE: You want to make sure that everything is free-flowing and any downspouts that you do have, you want to make sure that there isn't just sort of, you know, that small return and it deposits all that water against the foundation wall. You want to try to move those downspouts at least four feet away from the house; you know, get it as far away from that foundation wall as you can.
MIKE: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah. Good idea.
LESLIE: Whatever you can do to move that moisture away is going to keep that moisture out of your basement.
MIKE: Yeah, Leslie, I think you hit the target there because there are some gradations there that go backwards; in other words, not away from the house ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, go towards it.
MIKE: ... but towards the house.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Very, very common condition, Mike, and that's the solution.
MIKE: Great. Well, thanks. I really appreciate that.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up when we come back from the break, including information on how you can stop those mosquitoes from making a meal out of you. We're going to tell you about insect repellents and other products that are going to keep your backyard a bite-free zone, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:16:39.8]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the all-natural, super-strong air freshener. Available in spray and solid form. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
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: And about now, you've probably been bugged by bugs all summer long. Well, whether it's a mosquito, a biting fly or a tick, there are ways to enjoy your yard without becoming a meal for the local insect population to feed upon.
LESLIE: That's right and with us to talk about how to create your personal bite-free zone in your very own backyard, we've got Gary Ramey and he's the pest prevention expert for Hot Shot and Cutter.
Now Gary, in addition to just, you know, bug bites being annoying, bug bites can really carry a whole host of different diseases. I know we've seen the rise of West Nile virus over the past three years. So what can we do to make sure that our backyard is a safe haven for ourselves and our family?
GARY: Well, Leslie, you're exactly right. Not only can they cause West Nile but there's encephalitis, Lyme disease, malaria. And West Nile, you know, tends to rise as people don't protect themselves and we have wet weather, so you do have to take precautions. Some of the important things that you have to do is keep standing water from gathering around your house. In fact, mosquitoes can actually breed in something as small as a bottle cap ...
GARY: ... that's turned upside down.
TOM: And if I recall correctly, they need only about seven days. Is that right, Gary?
GARY: Yeah, that's absolutely right. They do breed very quickly, so you've got to keep any standing water from getting around your house whatsoever, including your gutters.
LESLIE: Now what can we do in addition to just sort of going around and getting rid of kids' toys and buckets and even those small bottle caps that may sort of just settle in in our backyard? Are there products that we can use, you know, to sort of create a temporary no-fly zone, if you will (Tom chuckles), when we're getting ready for dinner or a barbeque or a party?
GARY: Yeah, there are and a lot of it is just plain common sense, of course. Make sure you don't have the standing water. Before you pitch a tent or you go out to your patio, there are products that you can spray in your backyard, such as the Cutter's Bug Free Backyard brand and that will not only eliminate those insects but keep them away for up to four weeks.
TOM: Wow. So that's something that maybe you do two or three times a summer and you've got it covered.
GARY: You do. And you can enjoy your backyard and have as much fun and know that you're protected.
TOM: Is it true, Gary, that there is sort of a feeding time for insects that you want to try to avoid being outside?
GARY: Yeah, they tend to come out in the mornings and then again in the evening as the sun is going down. So if you're near a water area, you're going to get bit if you're out in the morning or gardening in the evening.
LESLIE: I mean, is it smart to - I mean, I can't imagine on the hottest day ever, wanting to cover myself up completely in long sleeves and pants and almost tape the end of my sleeves to my hands but I mean, does that help?
GARY: Well, it does. The mosquitoes sense the CO2 or lactic acid that you're emitting from your body and they go right to it. So while you may not want to wear that long sleeve shirt, it is a good idea. And then also protect yourself with a product and cover yourself with that because they will sense even a nickel-sized mist of an insect repellent.
TOM: So you have to really be careful to put it on completely.
We're talking to Gary Ramey. He is the pest prevention expert for both Hot Shot and Cutter brands.
And Gary, speaking of insect repellent, we all know of course, DEET, which has been around I think since the '50s. Are there more natural insect repellents that are available today?
GARY: There are and one of them is oil and lemon eucalyptus, which is from, obviously, the lemon eucalyptus tree and so it's a renewable resource. It's botanically based. You don't have that greasy feeling that you might get from other products and it provides great protection and it's recommended by the CDC.
TOM: Wow. Gary, I've got to tell you before we let you go, I am a fan of Cutter because of the 20 years I spent as a home inspector and one part of the territory - I used to inspect houses - was near a river and no matter what time of the day or night that I had a house to inspect there, by the time I went from my car into the front door of the house, I was absolutely ravaged by those green head-biting flies and the only thing ...
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, and those are the worst.
TOM: The only thing that would keep them away was Cutter.
GARY: Well, I appreciate that and every Cutter product that we make and market for folks is EPA tested and approved.
TOM: Gary Ramey, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, the pest prevention expert for Hot Shot and Cutter brands.
If you want more information on either of those products, you can go to their websites at either CutterInsectRepellent.com or HotShotBrand.com.
GARY: Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright, Gary. Thank you so much because I know I always get major, major mosquito bites in the summer, so thanks for helping us out.
Hey, if you're looking for a way to dress up your fireplace and create a nice, warm glow without all that heat for the summer season, we've got the information for you when we come back.
[audio timestamp: 0:22:06.0]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem Water Heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we make good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question because we've got the answers at 888-MONEY-PIT and in fact, one caller we talk to on the air this hour is also going to win a Tape-Seal prize pack worth over 50 bucks, which includes basically all the things that you need to properly prep your paint project, which is very important. In fact, it's so important I actually worked my way through that delicate tongue-twisting of a tease. (Leslie chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Properly prepping your painting projects?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Properly prep your paint project. Yeah, it really is, because so many calls we get on the show about painting can always be traced back to some lazy step, shall we say, (Leslie groans) when it came to prepping. There was this one thing that you didn't do. Like I've got this house in my neighborhood with a pretty good paint job on the whole house, expect for the gable. And then we found out that, well, was a little short on materials so the guy was in a hurry to get that part done ...
TOM: ... and he put it up without back-priming it and of course, here we are 10 years later with, you know, a whole section of the house that doesn't have paint on it because he tried to skip a step. So real important to prep. This prize package will help you do just that. It's available to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Names will be chosen at random at the end of this show.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, pick up the phone and give us a call for your chance to win and ask us your question, anything from painting prep to even decorating and design tips; we can help you with that. And in fact, if you're tired of looking at that black hole every time you sit in your living room, your den, your family room, wherever you've got a beautiful fireplace - you know, in the summer months, it's a dead area. It's completely this dead, dark zone and just because you don't have a blazing fire going this time of year, it doesn't mean that that gorgeous fireplace can't remain the focal point of that room.
Think about arranging some pillar candles of various heights throughout that hearth; they make wonderful candleholders that are sort of wrought iron and stepped up and you can even do it on your own with a big platter and just a ton of candles at different heights. It gives you a beautiful, warm glow on that space. It's not going to throw off a lot of heat. You can stay cool and you've got a beautiful sort of area of ambiance to look at. That's right. We help you with decorating tips as well so pick up the phone and we can help you with whatever it is you're working on.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let's get back to the phones.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Debbie in North Dakota is having a window situation. What's going on at your money pit?
DEBBIE: Well, I was just wondering what to do with a problem I have here with water. Every time it rains really hard, water comes down into the - I have an egress window, it is, and water comes in there and then leaks in my window.
TOM: So when you say egress window, where is this? Is this in the basement?
DEBBIE: Right, right.
TOM: OK. And what kind of window is it, stylistically? Is it a slider? Is it a double-hung?
DEBBIE: No, it cranks out.
TOM: It cranks out. So it's like an awning window.
TOM: OK. Alright, well, and the leakage is occurring in heavy rain or all the time, Debbie?
DEBBIE: Well, it's in real heavy rain.
TOM: Mm-hmm. And what have you tried to do to fix it? Have you done any caulking? Have you tried replacing flashing? Anything of that nature?
DEBBIE: OK, we caulked there with seems to be - and we've covered the window well but it's like it's coming in between the window well and the side of the house or something.
TOM: So is this a leaky window problem or is this a drainage problem? It almost sounds to me like this is a problem with drainage.
DEBBIE: I think maybe it could possibly be drainage. I mean so ...
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, look, here's what I want you to do. First of all, go out on a dry day and get a hose and hold the water - hold the hose up on the siding right above this and let it run around the window and see if you could force it to leak. Once we know that the window is not leaking, which I suspect is exactly what you're going to find, then let's talk about the drainage condition.
Generally, the problems with drainage are caused by imperfections in the grading, which is the soil around the house. Usually, it's too flat or it's graded in or sloped into the house or - and probably more commonly, the gutter system. You may have gutters that are dumping water out too close to that area, to that corner, to that window. I've seen, in my experience, those window wells fill up like a fishtank.
TOM: (chuckling) You look at them from the other side and you see the water level like floating. And so I suspect that this is an issue with grading and drainage more so than an issue with a leaky window.
Debbie, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit. When we come back, we're going to jump into our e-mail bag and we're going to address a question where one listener wants to know: 'Can shutting off my furnace between uses save some money on my energy costs?' We're going to answer that when we come back, so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 0:27:24.3]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation's leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information, visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or head on over to MoneyPit.com, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question and while you're there, you can read all about our brand new book. It's called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure.
LESLIE: That's right and we're going to jump right into our e-mail bag right now. We've got one right here on the top of my pile and it's from Alan in North Smithfield, Rhode Island who writes: 'Can you please tell me if it saves on oil to shut down the furnace each morning after showers, dishwashing and the like? We do have the big, blue Boilermate in the basement and even when we shut the furnace down, the water is still hot that night.'
Do you think you're wasting more energy by turning things on and off or will things get gunked up if they sit off for the day?
TOM: I think it's probably a bad idea to turn your furnace on and off. I think the best way to do that is to do it automatically with a clock setback thermostat. Because this way your system is always going to be on when you need it and it'll be off when you don't need it and adjust it at the thermostat rather than doing it manually because I think, overall, you're going to have more savings that way, Alan, than if you do try to do it by yourself.
LESLIE: Alright, Patricia in Elmira, New York writes: 'I have three double-pane windows with moisture in between. Is there any way to correct this?'
TOM: Unfortunately, Patricia, what you're seeing is a failed thermal pane seal. Basically, the vacuum between the window panes has failed. Now the good news is that this is not generally a major problem that causes leaks or anything ...
LESLIE: It's just cosmetic.
TOM: ... of that nature in your house. It really is more of a cosmetic issue. So live with it as long as you can; then it's just time to get new windows.
LESLIE: Alright, Patricia. I hope that helps.
TOM: You know, one of the toughest areas of our book to write, Leslie, I think has to be '50 Design Ideas For Under 50 Bucks.' We both really worked hard on that and ...
LESLIE: That was a toughie.
TOM: Remember, we were calling each other as, 'Well, I've got 27. What are you up to?' You know?
LESLIE: I'm like, 'How about 32? I'm stuck at 32.'
TOM: But I think what that exercise showed us is that there are tons and tons and tons of ideas that can make your place look a lot better and don't have to cost a lot of money and, in fact, you've got some in today's edition of Leslie's Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's right and this is a good one and you can either do this idea on something that you've already got kicking around your house - you know, a vintage sort of piece of furniture or maybe something that just needs some new life breathed onto it, if you will - or a gallon of paint and a salvage store find. You just need to do some research, hit a tag sale, whatever it is, wherever you're sort of dumpster diving, if you will. If you find the right piece of furniture, you can really give it a new, vibrant life by painting it an interesting color.
You know, choose a table, a desk, a sideboard, something that has really classical stylings - maybe turned legs, maybe rosettes, some interesting details - and then paint it like a crazy, unexpected color. You know, jewel tones are big for the fall season coming up; like bright pinks, turquoises, deep purples. All of that is going to be all over the fashion stores, you'll see, this fall season and that sort of carries over into home design as well. So if you go ahead and mix something that's just unusual in color and fun in shape and style of the piece of furnishings - but remember to prep properly when you're painting that new piece of furniture - you will have something that lasts and lasts, all for under 50 bucks.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number you need to reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And coming up next week on The Money Pit, we're going to talk about why do-it-yourself safety is a must when you have pets in the house. You know, there are many products out there that are much more toxic to animals than they are to us. We're going to tell you how to keep your Fluffies and Fidos and Spots and Daisies (Leslie chuckles) safe throughout your next home improvement project. That's all coming up next week, on the program.
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: 0:31:53.4]
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(Copyright 2008 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.)