Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(Note: The timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
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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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call or click on to moneypit.com with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. Pick up the phone and call us, 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. So Leslie, when you buy a car you get an owner's manual, right?
LESLIE: Yeah, but I didn't read it. Don't tell anybody.
TOM: Right. Well, nobody reads it. (laughing) When you buy a toaster, you get an owner's manual, right? (laughing)
LESLIE: And a toaster's a pretty lamo little thing. Plug it in, put toast in, press down.
TOM: (overlapping) Exactly. And I still ... and I still manage to burn the toast. But, you know, when you buy a house you don't get an owner's manual. And a very good friend of mine, Lynda Lyday, has taken it upon herself to write 'The Homeowner's Manual: Caring for Your Most Important Investment.' And she will be joining us, at the bottom of the hour, to give you some tips on what steps you might want to be thinking about taking when you buy a brand new house.
LESLIE: And that's a good book to have on hand if you don't have Tom's personal home phone number, like I do, and you run into a problem around the house and you want to ...
TOM: Well, I have caller ID.
LESLIE: Yeah (chuckle). Is that why you don't answer my calls? I'm going to get a complex. Thanks, Tom. But seriously; great book, lots of good information in there and a lot of relevant information that people need to know. Because there are so many questions and so many things that they just don't tell you. And she's going to unravel all of that for you. And we've got a great prize, this hour. We're going to give away the Ryobi AIRgrip Lasa - uh, Lasa? The Lasa Level? (laughing) We're going to give away the Ryobi AIRgrip Laser Level. Thank you very much; I'm from Long Island and I'll be here all week. (laughing)
What else do we have, Tom?
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We've also got some emails coming in but let's get right to those phones.
LESLIE: Kathleen in Virginia finds us on 106.7, WJFK; and you want to talk about hanging pictures properly. How do you know you hang them improperly?
KATHLEEN: (laughing) Well, I just ... sometimes people come in the room and they ... and they're saying, 'Why are your pictures so low?' Face it, I'm a short person. (laughing)
TOM: Well, that's a good reason.
KATHLEEN: So I want to be able ...
TOM: Because you hung them for yourself and not for them.
KATHLEEN: That's right. Or for somebody who might be sitting on the couch instead of ...
TOM: There you go.
KATHLEEN: ... you know, instead of hanging them at six feet high all around the room.
TOM: Well, this is an interesting question. Leslie, I mean you're the decorator. I think that picture should be at eye level, don't you?
LESLIE: Well, pictures generally tend to be at eye level or, if you have a chair rail, sort of split the difference between the chair rail and your crown molding. But it really depends. You can have a featured area where your art work does come down much lower. Well, how ... how low are we talking?
KATHLEEN: Let's see. Probably at about five or six feet.
TOM: That doesn't sound that low to me.
LESLIE: That doesn't sound low.
TOM: No. I think your friends are all wrong.
KATHLEEN: That's eye level for me and I find that, if I'm looking at a photograph or a painted picture, I can get the most out of the effect of that picture. But if I have to come in and look at somebody else's pictures (chuckles) and they're ...
LESLIE: Then they're way too up high for you.
KATHLEEN: They're way too high for me.
LESLIE: I think, maybe, you need to sort of split the difference and find either a space that ... I generally tend to put the top of any of my art work - and depending. Like if I have a large feature piece, the top of it usually is at six-and-a-half feet. And, generally, that's just because that's as high as I can reach and I think it makes a nice line, it looks really nice in the space. But sometimes I use that to be a center point and then will put smaller pictures all around it - on the bottom, on the sides. So it depends. You can do a gallery style hanging of your art work, which some could be even lower.
And a good thing to do is when you're trying to hang art work, if you want to hang a series of things and make sure that they're all evenly distributed, you can use a laser level, which some of them stick to the walls themselves. So you can put it to the wall, put a laser level, and know that that would be the line where you want the top of your art work to be. And you know that you're doing a consistent height.
KATHLEEN: Oh, okay. Okay. I wondered if it was something I should measure down from the ceiling or up from the floor. But I guess if it's telling me it's already level, it doesn't matter.
TOM: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So you put those pictures wherever you want and get them straight and tell your friends when they can go to their house and you won't complain that they're too high.
KATHLEEN: Okay, great. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Jeff in California has a vapor barrier question. Do you have a moisture problem? What's going on, Jeff?
JEFF: Yeah, I have a crawl space; it's probably about 24 inches under my house. And when it rains, the water goes underneath and I have a sump pump that 'audio gap.' But I have ... I mean when we bought the house three years ago, when I first went under 'audio gap,' there was some crumpled up plastic and stuff but it wasn't really a good job that was done. And I wanted to do a vapor barrier to protect the wood from, I guess, fungus and mold. And 'audio gap' materials to use and how exactly to ... should I roll it out or should I tape the plastics together or ...? Those were ... that was my question. I don't know what to use.
LESLIE: Well, wouldn't it also help control the moisture in the rooms above it?
TOM: Yes, certainly, because if you have the soil covered, you're going to have less evaporation of that moisture up into that space. So, for all of those reasons, it's a good idea to put in a vapor barrier.
JEFF: What materials should I use?
TOM: You want to use regular plastic viscuine. It comes in very wide sheets. The trick here is to put it in with as few seams as possible. You want to use big sheets ...
LESLIE: (overlapping) And if you do have a seam, do you just overlap them?
TOM: Yeah, overlap them by about 12 inches and if you want to do a super good job you could silicone caulk the seams together. The other thing, though, you mentioned that your basement - or your crawl space - floods occasionally. Nothing that you do with that plastic is going to stop that moisture from coming through. But what you could do is take a very, very careful look at those exterior drainage conditions, right Leslie?
LESLIE: Yeah, you want to look at the grading of your property, especially around your foundation walls leading to these crawl space areas. You want to make sure that it goes down about six inches over four feet so you get a nice gradual slope so any sort of water that may go there rolls away from the house.
If you have any gutters, you want to make sure that they're clean as often as you can. Otherwise, when the water hits into them, it's just going to sort of spill out and over instead of pooling in there and going down the downspout. So make sure you clean those gutters. And also, on your downspouts, make sure they're not depositing directly next to your house. Make sure they go out a good three to six feet away from the house so that the water gets away from the house.
JEFF: (overlapping) Yeah, I've already piped them out to the street, actually. I've already piped the gutters out. But I think the ... actually the house is ... my whole neighborhood is built on a ... like a levied marsh. And so there really is just water six inches underground. It doesn't ... it can't go anywhere, really. So the house ... I mean I think that that's the problem; that there's not the ... I mean I've tried to get as much water away from the house, from the roof, as possible. But just the groundwater, in general, that falls in the back yard and it just soaks down. And - yeah.
TOM: Well, another thing that you could think about doing is putting in what's called a curtain drain. If you're getting runoff in that yard and the water's collecting, you might have to put in a drain that's in the yard that may be would be made of a trench that was only about 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep that was filled up with a pipe with perforated holes in it and then cover it with stone and then a little soil on top so you can plant grass again. And then the water would fall into that and it would run around and it would go out somewhere, say, to the side of the house.
JEFF: Oh, around the perimeter of the house.
TOM: Exactly, exactly.
TOM: But if you could ... anything you can do to control that moisture - like Leslie's suggesting, from the outside - is going to mean you're going to have less of a moisture problem and a vapor problem inside.
JEFF: Right, right.
TOM: So the order of events should be to do that first and then put the vapor barrier down as one of the last things you do.
JEFF: Okay. And does it need to be sealed to the foundation? To also ... like in the corners around the house?
TOM: There are different schools of thought on that and, in a perfect world, if you could seal it really, really well to the foundation and at the seams, that's going to do the best job. But it's very difficult to work down there, especially when it's an existing construction.
JEFF: Yeah, it's really a small spot, so ...
TOM: Yeah. So just do the best you can. Any you get down is going to stop that evaporation; that's going to keep the house a lot drier.
JEFF: Right, right. And probably warmer, too.
TOM: Yeah, well, the moisture gets into the insulation and it makes it less effective. So if insulation gets damp, then it doesn't insulate as well as when it's dry. So yes, it would make the house warmer to have a vapor barrier down there because of that.
JEFF: Right. Okay. So what's the thickness of the plastic I should use? What millimeter?
TOM: Probably like six mil.
JEFF: Six millimeter?
TOM: Yeah. Pretty thick stuff.
JEFF: Okay. And try to get the biggest sheets I can and ...
TOM: Yeah, only because you have fewer seams. You wouldn't want to use narrow sheets because you'll have more seams.
JEFF: Right. Okay. That's great.
TOM: Yeah, you're going to have to get a friend and be patient. (laughing) Okay?
JEFF: Yeah. A skinny friend that could go into there and work around the sides.
TOM: Small, thin people. Yes.
LESLIE: Who's not afraid of the dark or bugs.
TOM: That's right.
JEFF: Right. (laughs)
TOM: Last time I had to run wires in my crawl space, I sent my 12 year old in. (laugh)
TOM: I said if I could get in there, he can get in there.
JEFF: Okay. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, thank you. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright, Money Pit listeners. Do you want to hire someone for a direct-it-yourself project? But are you worried about being taken for a ride? Well, don't be. Check out moneypit.com. We have all the dos and don'ts of home improvement for hire. It's one of the hundreds of articles and columns we've written in the Repair and Improve section online at www.moneypit.com. And there, you can also sign up for the free Money Pit e-newsletter; it's chock full of fun information.
TOM: That's right. Because besides the do-it-yourselfers out there, most of us are really what you call direct-it-yourselfers. We like to hire people to do stuff for us.
LESLIE: Well, the big things, anyway.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. See, I often feel like my wife's a direct-it-yourselfer because she directs me 'inaudible.' (laughing) Well, if you think you have covered all your home improvement bases by making sure you've sealed up those drafty windows, well think again. Because that is not the only way air leaks into your home. There are some even bigger holes to worry about. We'll tell you about those and how to plug them, next.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Kenmore, makers of the Kenmore Elite Induction Cooktop which cooks food faster and more efficiently than gas or electric ranges. To learn more, visit your local Sears store or call 1-888-KENMORE. Now, here's Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us or click on to moneypit.com. You can also email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So if you're looking for leaks that are making energy bucks fly right out your house, check the outlets on the outside walls of your home. Not the windows, not the doors; although, those are important. It's the outlets that could be major, major energy leakers. Leslie, have you ever felt a draft from an outlet as you worked in the house?
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. Especially the ones on exterior walls; you're going to see a huge amount of airflow through there. So it's a good place to get down there and check it out because you're losing lots of energy dollars and they are expensive this year, folks.
TOM: Yeah, but don't caulk them. See, that would be bad; you can't caulk your outlet shut.
LESLIE: Well, because it still needs the circulation.
TOM: Right. Well, what you can do is you can buy these very inexpensive foam gaskets. You simply pull off the cover plate and place the foam gasket in between the outlet and the cover plate. That does a really good job of sealing the drafts out that come right through those outlets. So a pretty cool idea and a very inexpensive one that will definitely help you save some energy dollars and stop them from leaking right out of that wallet.
LESLIE: Yeah, and it's a place that people do not think to look. So good tip. Good tip this hour. Alright, we've got a great prize, this hour, to give away. It's the Ryobi AIRgrip Laser Level. It's a first-of-its-kind product and it uses a patented hair grip vacuum technology. Basically, it attaches itself to the walls but it does not damage, mark, scar, stain, stab the walls in any way. So it's a great, great product. And it has a visible light that reaches up to 30 feet and you can rotate that laser level line 360 degrees and 90 degrees vertically and horizontally. So it's a good tool to keep everything on the straight and narrow in your home. And it's worth about $39. So call in now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Who's next?
LESLIE: Tom in California listens to The Money Pit on KQKE. And you're talking about scratches in your floors. What happened?
TOM IN CA: Well, we have a home that ... about 103 years old ...
LESLIE: Mmm, sounds nice.
TOM IN CA: ... and when we first moved into it about six months ago, we paid to have the floors refinished. And of course, the floors, they show a lot of wear. It's not like these floors are in any kind of pristine condition. But after they were refinished, at least they looked uniform and ...
TOM IN CA: ... we enjoyed the way they looked. Well ... and I moved some furniture and I put some scratches in the kitchen while I was moving a cabinet. And so my question is what can I do, that's easy, to remove those scratches?
TOM: Have you tried some floor wax on it?
TOM IN CA: No, I haven't tried anything, really. I ... there are about ...
LESLIE: Is it a deep scratch or is it just a marking?
TOM IN CA: Well, no, they're scratches. They're definitely scratches. They're definitely lines as if a knife had done it. Probably the sharp end of a ... of the leg of a cabinet or something dug in there, probably.
TOM: Minwax ... Tom, Minwax sells these wax pencils that look ...
LESLIE: Oh, I love this trick.
TOM: Yeah, they look like freezer pencils. You know the old-fashioned freezer pencil; you pull the string and the paper unravels?
TOM IN CA: Yes.
TOM: Right. They look like grease pencils, like that. And you can buy them in various colors. And you want to buy the one that matches the floor color or, if you can't get the one that matches the floor color, you buy the one that's darker than the floor or the one that's lighter than the floor. Now, here's what you do. You take like a butane lighter and you heat - gently heat - the end of that pencil. And remember, it's wax.
LESLIE: So it's going to melt.
TOM: Because they're really soft. And then you can kind of rub that wax into the crack. And if you get like a glob on top, take your finger and just real fast to build up some friction, rub it across it. And you will see the crack - the scratch - completely disappear into the wax. Now that's going to serve the purpose of filling in the space and coloring it to match.
TOM IN CA: Right.
TOM: But on top of that, to protect it for the long haul, I would use some floor wax. Now floor wax is different than car wax because it's not slippery. And so you want to get some floor wax and then buff that whole area. You can do it by hand; it's a lot of work. Or if you have like a hand buffer, you could do that. Or if you really want to get into it sometime, you can go rent a floor buffer like they do at a mall and buff it that way. But floor wax is the key. So use the Minwax stain sticks to fill in the scratch and make it blend in nice and then use a floor wax to finish it off. And that actually will give it some protection, too.
TOM IN CA: Okay, great. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, Tom?
TOM IN CA: Okay. That sounds good.
TOM: Believe me, it works. I've filled quarter-inch holes in cabinet door faces with that stuff. (laughing)
TOM IN CA: Okay. I trust you.
TOM: And as I say that, there's some homeowner somewhere in America going, 'Gosh darn it. I knew that guy was up to something.' (laughing) When I was working in their house and mis-drilled the cabinet door handle. (laughing) But that'll help you out. Tom, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jack in Florida is looking to do some cleaning. So Jack, tell us about this siding that you want to clean.
JACK: It's not siding; it's actually ... it's roofing. It's shingles.
LESLIE: Okay, what are they made of?
JACK: The asphalt shingles. Architectural.
LESLIE: Okay. And what do you see on them that makes you want to clean them?
JACK: I just ... you know they get the streaks after a few years. You know, that looks like it might be mold or something like that, you know?
TOM: Yeah, it's algae ...
TOM: ... is what it is. That green, mossy-looking stuff?
TOM: Yeah. Okay, well, there are a couple of things that you can do, Jack, to get rid of that. First of all, you probably want to wash the roof down. You can use a mildicide solution for that. There's a product on the market called Jomax that works pretty well - J-o-m-a-x.
LESLIE: It's usually in the painting aisle.
TOM: Yeah, you mix it up with water and bleach and Jomax all together and then you spray it on there, you let it sit a little bit and then you hose it off. And the other thing that you can do to give yourself some longer term resistance to it - little trick of the trade. Is this a pitched roof?
TOM: Alright. You can take a piece of aluminum flashing or copper flashing or nickel flashing or even a copper, aluminum or nickel ridge vent, and put it at the peak of the roof. Because what happens is as the rain hits that, it releases some of that metal. And that washes down the roof and acts as a mildicide and kills the algae before it has a chance to kind of grab on and take hold and start to grow and get all fungus-y looking. If you've ever noticed where you have copper flashing around a chimney, for example, you'll see streaks under the chimney. That's because of that effect. The metal basically washes the roof.
LESLIE: And those streaks are actually clean spots.
TOM: Yeah, that's right. It's dirty around it and clean where the water ran down.
JACK: Okay. 'inaudible'
TOM: So there's a way to do it and to kind of try to make it last clean a little bit longer is to add those metal strips.
JACK: Add the metal strips at the ridge of ...
TOM: At the peak, right. So that the rain hits them and they run down.
JACK: Well, excellent. That's a lot of real good ... real good information; I appreciate it very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Jack. Thanks so much for calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974, where we are awash with good advice.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Coming up, the three most important things you can do, right now. Right now, while you're listening. Write them down, do them, do them while you listen. And these will keep the cold air out of your home and your energy dollars in your wallet where you want them.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Reiker Room Conditioners, available at all Menard's, selected Lowe's and Home Depots and as a special order in all Lowe's and Home Depot stores. Or contact Reiker at www.heatingfans.com. Or call 1-866-4Reiker - that's R-e-i-k-e-r - for additional information.
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974, if you've got a question about your home improvement project and need some help with your do-it-yourself dilemma. If you had a book you could just open it up and read the answer to all of those home improvement woes. If you had a manual for your house - because you know we have manuals for our car, we have manuals for our computer, we have manuals for our toasters, but we don't have any manuals for our homes. Right, Leslie?
LESLIE: Yeah, and that's a pretty big, huge investment. You'd think somebody would tell you what to do with it.
TOM: Yeah, well you know what? Somebody did. She's my friend, Lynda Lyday, and she just wrote 'The Homeowner's Manual: Caring for Your Most Important Investment.' Lynda, super-good idea.
LESLIE: Well done.
LYNDA: Thank you. Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
LESLIE: Hi there.
LYNDA: Yeah, it's ... 'The Homeowner's Manual' is exactly that; it's a manual for our home, much like a car manual is for your car. Absolutely. It's also one of those things that ... you know, the home just doesn't come with a manual. And I find that a lot of ... well, just about everybody I know has gone from an apartment into a house. And when you go from having a super in your apartment, if you're a renter, and then you go into a home, it's just a whole different ball game. So this is the manual and it is really broken down from A to Z in sections of your home and systems and so forth to help somebody understand what a home entails.
TOM: I think the challenge of writing a book like this is not what you put in; it's what you leave out.
LESLIE: There's so much.
TOM: Because there's just so much to know.
LYNDA: You know, you're right about that. You're right. So I kind of had to figure out what are the ... what are the basics. And as far as being a carpenter and a contractor, I just kind of broke it down into the building part of it; from, literally, A to Z. It starts out with your appliances, goes into your basement, decks, doors, drainage, driveway, electricity; all the way down to the walls. So if you have a problem in a certain area, then you can just go to that area and figure out what it is.
LESLIE: And the book weighs 7,000 pounds (laughing) and is four million pages long.
LYNDA: No. That's a good question. How many pages is it? It's 226 pages, so not bad.
TOM: Let's talk about energy, for example. Because, before our break, we were talking about three ways that you can save energy this year. That's the time, because energy costs are so high. How about some energy-saving tips. Where do you tell a homeowner to start looking at their house to solve those problems?
LYNDA: Yeah, boy. It ... I don't know. Have you just checked your energy bill lately? Mine has just doubled with the prices of everything now. So the best place to look for is, obviously, the holes in your home. Meaning the windows and the doors. That ... those are the easiest places for, of course, air to come through. My suggestion is if you're thinking about ... if you have the budget for it and if it's a home equity loan you can go into or whatever, because everybody's sitting on a good bit of money because their homes are now worth more than they were (laughing) - I would say to really investigate replacing your windows and your doors and always buy an Energy Star-certified window or door.
And if you don't have the finances to do that - which many of us don't - I think the best thing to do then is to really check it out and start putting in some various weather stripping and ... you know, the first thing - first things first - is to locate where is the air coming in.
LESLIE: Well, if there's one take-away tip of something that's really important for somebody to learn and know as a new homeowner, what would you say it is?
LYNDA: Oh, one take-away tip? That's a really good question. I would say ... well, first of all, curb appeal is probably really important to most homeowners. You know, (chuckles) if you don't get your inside of your home done, at least keep your outside ... keep the curb appeal there as far as what your home looks like on the outside.
But on the inside, I would just say the maintenance. If you know the maintenance, then you can prolong the lifespan of your appliances, of your building materials, your roof; I mean all of it. So if you know the time span of when you're supposed to check things, when you're supposed to seal your deck, how you check for things like that ... I think it's in the maintenance tips. I think that's what this book really helps people out with.
TOM: It's called 'The Homeowner's Manual: Caring for Your Most Important Investment.' It's written by Lynda Lyday, America's home improvement expert. Lynda, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. If you want more information on Lynda's book, you can go to the Lyday tool line at Lyday.com - and Lyday is spelled L-y-d-a-y - or call 888-by-Lyday; 888-b-y-l-y-d-a-y.
Lynda, thanks again for stopping by the program.
LYNDA: Thanks so much, Tom and Leslie. You all take care.
LESLIE: Take care.
LYNDA: Alrighty. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Well, this is the time of the year many homeowners notice leaks in their roofs. All that heavy, wet snow or rain. Even the ice melting will give away a leak, every time.
TOM: True, but leaky roofs don't always require replacement. Sometimes when you call the contractor, they only want to sell you the replacement not the repair. When we come back, though, we're going to tell you how to stop the drips without leaking lots of cash.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. Study after study shows that as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, more contaminants become trapped inside. Aprilaire's technologically-advanced electronic and media air cleaners are the best choice for maintaining healthy indoor air. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You've been procrastinating tackling the home improvement projects? Join the club. (laughing) Pick up the phone right now; we'll help you get motivated to get them done. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
How about repairing that leaky roof? Well, it doesn't always mean that you need a complete roof replacement. Most roof leaks happen when chimney vent pipes - chimneys, I should say, chimneys or vent pipes - get loose around the flashing. That's the metal that makes the junction between the asphalt shingles and either the brick chimney or the metal roof vent. Now, if that flashing gets loose, if it's out of place, if the seals on it break, you're going to get a leak. So you should always attempt to repair that first, before you even think about replacing your roof.
Another thing to pay attention to, by the way, is when you get those roof leaks. If it comes when the rain is driving from a particular side of your house, that might help you pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. Leslie, have you had a roof leak in your history of Chateau Segrete ownership?
LESLIE: Thank goodness. I almost hate to even say the n-o word but (knocking) ...
TOM: Knock on wood?
LESLIE: No, that was me knocking on my desk.
TOM: Alright. (laughing)
LESLIE: It's like you don't even want to talk about these things. And when you say procrastinating, I have to laugh because several months ago I came across a small leak in this little storage area underneath our steps in the basement.
LESLIE: And it was just like a small pipe clamp had come undone and it was a little bit of a drip. But it was almost to the point where I was like ... it was such a messy cleanup; like boxes had gotten damp and things needed to be thrown away because there was mold on them. And I almost wanted to just close the door and be like, 'Let's pretend I didn't see this until tomorrow.' But you can't do it; you just can't do it. So don't put it off. Do it, everybody. Call in if you've got any questions.
And don't forget, when you call in, if you ask a question and we answer it on air, your name gets entered into the Money Pit hardhat and you can win a great prize. We've got the Ryobi AIRgrip Laser Level. It's got first-of-its-kind technology which features the AIRgrip vacuum technology so it sucks itself to your wall; won't leave any marks on that wall. It shoots a laser light about 30 feet in all directions, 360 degrees and vertically and horizontally. It's worth 40 bucks so call in now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. I beat you to it!
TOM: Yes, you did. 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Phyllis in California has an annoying dripping faucet. What's happening?
PHYLLIS: Hi. It's a drip ... I have the combination of the tub and the shower.
PHYLLIS: And it's the faucet that I turn on for the shower.
PHYLLIS: And it ... it doesn't drip all the time; off and on. But it's hard to turn it off. And I'm just wondering if I have to remove - or have removed - the whole area. You know? Because it's a tile.
TOM: Yeah. What's behind that wall? Is there a closet or an access to the valve from the back?
PHYLLIS: Yes, I ... well, I'm not sure because you know what? It's connected to the next bathroom in the other room.
TOM: Well, let's just back up for a second. If you're getting dripping through the shower diverter, that's fairly common. Does it only happen after you take a shower or does it happen after you take a bath, too?
PHYLLIS: Yes, after I take a bath, too.
TOM: Yeah, well. Then you're probably going to need a new seat in those ... a new faucet seat. And you may have to do some surgery on that faucet and it's not something that you can do yourself. It's probably you're going to have to have a plumber do. But the good news is it doesn't have to be done from the front; it can be done from the back.
PHYLLIS: Oh, okay.
TOM: In fact, if you have tile work - you want to try and you have to open up a wall to do some work - you, typically, do want to do it from the back because it's just a lot easier to make that repair.
PHYLLIS: Oh. Okay. Okay, that was my question. I hadn't thought of having to go to the other ... it's the other room, right?
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. From the back side.
PHYLLIS: Okay. Right.
TOM: In fact ... and a lot of times when you see bathrooms that back up against closets, there are panels there in the wall where you can open them up. Have you ever seen one of those, Leslie?
LESLIE: I have. You should always try to leave like an access panel so that in the event, God forbid, you have some sort of plumbing emergency, you don't have to break apart that entire wall. You can just sort of remove that panel and get to it.
PHYLLIS: Oh, well thank you very much. That helps me a lot and relieves my mind.
TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So Leslie, I have a riddle for you.
LESLIE: Alright. Riddle me this, Batman.
TOM: (laughing) Your water heater, your air conditioner and your furnace are all more than 20 years old. Which one's going to go first? Hmm.
LESLIE: Hmm. Water heater.
TOM: Hmm. Maybe. Why don't I answer that when we come back?
LESLIE: I have to wait?
TOM: Yes, you do.
LESLIE: I hate it.
TOM: If it leaks between now and the return to the show, you'll know you were right.
LESLIE: Mine's only two years old (laughing) so it's not me we're talking about.
[audio timestamp: 39:43]
[audio timestamp: 40:00]
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call or click on to moneypit.com for the answer to your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Alright, Chad from Woodbridge, Virginia writes: 'I recently bought my first house. The house was built in the 70s and, from the looks of it, my water heater, central air and furnace are all original to the house or at least 20 years old. I'd like to replace all three; we don't have extra money, right now. What should we do first? Should I get an electric water heater? Ours is currently gas.'
TOM: Hmm. Wow, those are a lot of questions there, Chad.
LESLIE: Yeah. Lots of questions.
TOM: Well, okay. Let's look at the three appliances he's talking about. The water heater ... typically, it's going to go 10 to 12 years in life expectancy. Central air ... more like, say, 12 to 15 on the compressor. Furnace could go 20, 25 years.
LESLIE: So I was right.
TOM: You were right. You said water heater ...
LESLIE: Let's just take a moment and enjoy this.
TOM: ... and you're right. You are. You are. Feel the love.
LESLIE: Okay, go ahead. (laughing)
TOM: You were right. Leslie was right; I proclaim to the audience Leslie was right today.
LESLIE: (laughing) Thank you.
TOM: Just today. (laughing) This moment. (laughing)
TOM: No, listen, if you've got a 20 year old water heater, you're really on borrowed time. You can kind of protect yourself. I mean it's always a good idea, for example, to turn the water heater off when you're going away. Turn your main water valve off when you're going away so you don't get like a gusher if the thing goes. But yeah, if it's 20 years old, it would be time for replacement. And even though electric water heaters may seem, at first glance, like they might be less expensive because we're hearing a lot about gas cost, I would never replace a gas water heater with an electric water heater because over the long haul ...
LESLIE: (overlapping) It'll just be more expensive.
TOM: ... you'll definitely pay ... yeah, it will be a lot more expensive. So just ... I would change that with a gas water heater. Something else you could do, though, is you could think about taking this opportunity to put in a tankless water heater which would also run on gas. And it would be more expensive than a standard tank water heater but it would be far more efficient.
LESLIE: (overlapping) Just as the initial purchase price.
TOM: Exactly. But it'll last longer and it'll be a lot more efficient. And it gives you a lot more control. So as far as other things that might go wrong with that house ... with the air conditioner, I would not tell you to prematurely replace an air conditioner until it failed. If you're very unluckly - (chuckles) unluckly - if you're very unlucky that will happen in July when you have a big family party going on. (laughing) But for the most part, it's hard to tell. I mean it could be 15 years, it could be 20 years. I've seen them 30 years old and still chugging along. I would have it serviced and make sure it's working well but I would not replace it prematurely.
And on the furnace, same thing. Have it checked out, make sure it's running safely and don't replace it until it cracks.
LESLIE: And Chad, when you're ready to talk about that wood paneling that I know is in your 70s house, give us a call.
TOM: Okay, Leslie. Here's some words from the Architectural Building and Trades Dictionary. Ready?
LESLIE: Oh, excellent. Let me hear them.
TOM: Yes. Fascia - well, I knew that one. How about fat mortar? There's a new one, right?
LESLIE: Fat mortar? Is that when you don't have enough money to buy enough bricks ...
LESLIE: ... so put you put in an extra layer of mortar? (laughing)
TOM: You know, I think the construction industry purposely uses difficult terms to confuse you and so that you'll be amazed at their expertise. Here's another one. A loose joint butt. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) Don't talk about me like that.
TOM: No, it's actually a hinge. (laughing)
LESLIE: Well, I know a butt joint, but ... (laughing) That's what happens when you eat something with Olestra in it. (laughing)
TOM: (laughing) Well, you know, the construction industry does try to confuse you and that's why I particularly enjoyed the topic of today's Leslie's Last Word, where you try to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to construction technology.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. If you're remodeling or building an addition, we've got some tips to help you sort out this home improvement dictionary. Alright, both a home addition and a remodel begin with an existing structure. The difference is a remodel changes an existing area of the structure and an addition, literally, adds additional space to your structure. So to decide which best suits your needs, check the local zoning laws to make sure your project won't exceed these limits and require a costly approval process. So good things to keep in mind when starting this big project.
TOM: Here's another for you. Loophole.
TOM: It's a small or narrow opening or, another way to look at it is, the only way we ever got on the radio. (laughing) That's all the time we have on this hour of 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: 44:32]
END HOUR 1 TEXT
Copyright 2006 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.