Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
[audio timestamp: 0:025]
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. We're here to help you get your projects done around the house. If you're stuck in the middle, put down the tools, step away from the project and call us first. The call is free at 888-MONEY-PIT. The advice is worth more than what you paid for it.
Hey, coming up this hour on the program we're going to have some tips on how to prevent identity theft. It's a growing crime, it's hard to track and now - check this out - criminals are getting even sneakier. They are stealing the identity of kids and they may not even find out about it until they grow up and apply for a home loan.
LESLIE: It's so crazy. It's been all over the news.
TOM: We're going to tell you how to keep your kids safe, and yourself, from a stolen identity so that if you do need some money for your home improvement project you get a good chance of getting it.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright. Well, this time of year everybody is making New Year's resolutions. Now, fast forward to February or perhaps even tomorrow and you've already skipped going to the gym; you've blown your diet. You know that they are super hard to keep; especially when you make them for yourself. But now how about making a New Year's resolution for your home? We're going to give you a few ideas in just a few minutes.
TOM: And also ahead, if one of those resolutions is to get some new flooring to replace the threadbare, warn carpets or linoleum in your house, we've got some tips for you. In a few minutes we're going to talk to an expert that's from Tarkett, a company that's been doing flooring for over a century, about why bad flooring can date a home and how the right flooring can actually increase your home's value.
LESLIE: And this hour we've got a great prize; especially if you've just received a ton of home improvement tools for your holiday presents. We're giving away a soft-sided tool bag to hold all those gifts you just got. It's worth 130 bucks and it comes to you from our friends over at CableOrganizer.com.
TOM: So pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let's get started.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: James in Michigan is calling with a question that I bet many of you deal with out there: 'How come when I'm in the shower and somebody flushes the toilet it is a freezing shower?' Welcome, James.
JAMES: Absolutely. I tell you, what a pain. I'm taking a shower and all of a sudden somebody flushes a toilet and I get either scalded or I'm ice cold.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright.
LESLIE: And you're not sure if they're doing it on purpose or not. (Tom laughs)
JAMES: I think they might be getting back at the old dad, I guess. I don't know. (Leslie chuckles)
LESLIE: Well, you know what you need, James? There's a type of valve that's called a pressure-balanced valve. The reason you get the scalding hot or the chilly cold water is because of an imbalance in the volume of water that's coming out at any one time. I mean you set your mix and then when somebody else calls for water somewhere else in the house - by flushing a toilet, for example - more cold water is diverted to that toilet flush, in this example, and of course therefore your shower mix is now more hot than cold and that's why you get scalded. So the answer is a pressure balance valve and what a pressure balance valve does is it maintains the mix of hot and cold water that you set regardless of how much flow comes through that valve. So what will happen, in that flush example, is the mix will stay the same temperature-wise; the flow will go down a little bit so you have a little less water to all the other fixtures in the house but the mix will stay the same and, hence, you'll have no more shocking showers.
JAMES: Oh, wow. That's fantastic.
LESLIE: So now, James, you can go back to filling the pitcher with ice cold water and then when somebody's in the shower and you want to play a trick on them you just dump it over the top. (Tom chuckles)
JAMES: That's great. I'll do it. Where can I get one of these?
TOM: Oh, they're available at plumbing supply stores everywhere. It's called a pressure-balanced valve. You're essentially going to have to replace the main shower valve. Do you do plumbing projects yourself, James?
TOM: Well, you know, if you can replace the valve; if you can solder and handle the basic plumbing connections you can do it yourself or it's a job that you might want to get a plumber to do. I'll give you a little trick of the trade: if you can access that shower wall from the backside - if it happens to back up to a closet or someplace like that - it's a lot easier to work on it from the back of the shower than it is to mess with tile or whatever other surface you have on the front of it.
TOM: Because you've got to get in the wall to do the job.
JAMES: Alright, well you're awesome. And that has to be on every valve?
TOM: Just on the shower valve. Just on the shower valve.
JAMES: You guys are awesome. I love your show. Thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, we're going to talk water heaters with Mark in Pennsylvania. What can we sort out for you?
MARK: We have a hot water tank. It's operated by electric. The house is 20 years old. It's the original water heater. So it's about that time, probably, to change it ...
LESLIE: It's over that time.
MARK: Yes, way over that time. (Leslie chuckles) You're absolutely (inaudible at 0:05:10.9). That and with noticing my current electric bill; you know, trying to save electric any way I can. I was actually thinking about going with the tankless water heater or water on demand, if that's what it's called.
TOM: Do you have gas in the house at all?
MARK: No gas at all. No.
TOM: No propane?
MARK: No propane, no.
TOM: Alright, then you cannot install a tankless electric water heater. They don't work nearly as well as the gas water heater. You don't have the efficiencies that you would with a gas tankless water heater. Your best bet, Mark, is to put in another electric water heater but with a couple of things different. First of all, I'd buy a high-efficiency electric water heater. They have more insulation on the jacket. Secondly, I would put in a timer because you don't need to run the electric water heater 24/7. You can run it about 12 hours a day, strategically. You run it for a few hours in the morning and a few hours at night. It'll stay hot during the day and that'll save you a lot of money as well. So, unfortunately, you can't go tankless but you can do a more efficient job with the next electric water heater.
MARK: OK, perfect.
TOM: Mark, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. It's a new year and we want to get your projects off on the right foot. So give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week and we'll help you get the job done at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Now perhaps your home improvement project that you have in mind might require a home loan. You set about to borrow some money only to find out that somebody has ripped off your identity. It's happening to more and more homeowners. We're going to tell you some tips to help prevent that from happening to you, next.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:46.3]
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.
Pick up the phone and give us a call. We'd love to hear what you're working on and we'd love to help you get the job done right the first time. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And to help you get the job done, those of you who do call in and get your questions on the air are going to have a chance to win a great prize. We're giving away, this hour, a Pro Pac open tool bag. It's an open-top organizer and it really helps you find everything you're looking for because the tools go in vertically; so when you look into the bag you can actually see what you're looking for. No more fishing around and nicking your fingers on the screwdrivers and what-not that you have in there. It's coming to you from our friends over at CableOrganizer.com. It's worth 130 bucks but it could be yours for free, so pick up the phone and ask us your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now perhaps your home improvement project is one that's going to involve a home loan. You go to apply for that loan only to find out that someone has stolen your identity. You know, identity theft is a growing crime. It's hard to track. But when a criminal steals the ID of a child, you might not even realize it until decades later. This is the newest scam. Imagine applying for your first home loan and learning that you are already 40K in debt or worse. That actually happened in one case and there are some ways to prevent child ID theft and some signs to look out for that should make you pretty suspicious.
LESLIE: Yeah, first of all, if you get an earnings report from the Social Security Administration for your child and he or she has never worked, that is a major red flag. Now if anybody ever asks you for your child's social security number, make sure you check into why. Just don't hand it over. You know, in one case a troop leader got this info under the ruse of needing it for medical forms and, instead, stole the IDs of several of the kids in the troop. So that is just crazy. You can also put a freeze on your child's credit. This way, no one will be approved for credit under that social security number until that freeze is lifted. Don't let your child carry his or her card and never give this info out online. Keep that ID number very secret.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Perhaps you've got a New Year's resolution that involves your house we can help you with. Let's get back to the phones and get those projects done.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Heading over to Iowa to chat with Cindy about a garage door. Tell us about what's going on.
CINDY: Hi. I've got two cracks under my garage door from the edge of the concrete in. The space in between the two cracks is heaved. My garage door now is kind of high-centered. It's a little worse on the east side than the west side and I didn't know if there's anything you could do about like ...
TOM: What kind of door is it, Cindy? Is it wood or metal?
CINDY: I think it's fiberglass. It's insulated.
TOM: The garage door is?
CINDY: Yes, the garage door is.
TOM: OK. If it was wood, you could actually score it and shape it and cut it to sort of follow the flow of the uneven garage floor. If it's not, the only other thing that you could really do is to try to double up the weatherstripping or add some padding to the bottom of it to try to take up some of that space.
TOM: And this way you can get perhaps a better seal. You know, garage floors are not dimensionally stable like they would be if it was, say, a slab foundation or something of that nature; they're basically just covering the dirt. And so they do tend to move a lot and crack and shift. And sometimes the only way to get that to work is with some additional weatherstripping. Now the other thing that you could think about doing is you could add to the backside of the garage door another piece of trim; whereas the trim is actually cut to the shape of the floor. Think of it as like adding a piece of baseboard moulding; where it's sort of a one-by material that attaches to the back of the garage door and then that gets shaped to the floor. The weatherstripping goes on the bottom of that piece.
CINDY: OK. I can do that.
TOM: So there's a couple of ways to deal with this. It's not so unusual and not something that you have to worry too much about.
CINDY: OK. Thank you so very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Cindy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Karen in Florida needs some help with a water heater. What can we do for you?
KAREN: Yes, I was wondering if you could give me any information on the tankless hot water heaters.
TOM: Yeah, what would you like to know, Karen? Are you thinking about putting one in?
TOM: Well, once you put one in you'll never be waiting for hot water again because they supply hot water on demand. Very, very efficient; inexpensive to operate. Requires a professional installation. Most common mistake is to put in an undersized gas line. Plumbers tend to like to use the small one but you need a bigger gas line because it uses a lot of gas but only for a little period of time and that's why, overall, it doesn't use as much gas to heat the water.
KAREN: Do you have to have more than one in the home?
TOM: No. No, you can have one in the same location that you have your tanked water heater now. I will say that if you have a large home it's very convenient to have two because they're very small; you can sort of zone your domestic hot water and have, say, one upstairs and one downstairs and what that would do is cut down on the time it takes for the water to get hot in the morning.
A good place to start is ForeverHotWater.com ...
TOM: ... and that is the website for the Rinnai company. They make an excellent product. It's a good website because it'll help you size and figure out the one that you need for your house.
KAREN: OK. Well, thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in West Virginia needs some help with a shower drain. Tell us what's going on.
JOHN: Hi, good day. I've tried several products - you know, several over-the-counter products - to clean out the drain. It's very sluggish. I've tried the - oh, it's like a sulfuric acid-type product on several occasions and it's worked - works temporarily then its like after a few weeks later it starts to clog back up again and it drains very slowly. Like to know if you know any products that would work where I wouldn't have to clean the drain out so frequently.
LESLIE: Hmm, it seems like you guys just have a collective system of, unfortunately, say, like hair and soap products that tend to clog up the drain. What you need to do is get that drain free-flowing. Sometimes it requires a snaking of the drain. Tom has a little trick where he likes to use a wet/dry vac to see if he can get whatever is near the surface of the drain; you know, a super-duper wet/dry vac to just get some of that debris up and maybe release some of that clog.
TOM: Yeah, it sucks but it works. (Tom chuckles)
JOHN: It sucks. OK. (chuckles)
TOM: Yeah. Use the wet/dry vacuum. You can pull a lot of the debris that's in that trap right back up ...
LESLIE: Right to where you can grab it.
LESLIE: The other thing you need to do, John, is once you get that drain running fairly clearly you need to sort of, monthly, pour down there one of those living, active cultures. You mix it up with a little bit of water. You pour it down there and it eats all of that soap scum and debris that's in there that tends to gunk up and clog it. It requires some maintenance. Because you don't want to keep clogging it and you really don't want to use those heavy-duty cleansers because that can deteriorate the plumbing.
JOHN: OK, well thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Josh in South Carolina, you've got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
JOSH: Well, I've just bought a house here and it's got Formica countertops and my fianc