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 1 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 now with your home improvement project. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will help you get the job done. Maybe you don't have a project. Maybe you're thinking, 'Hmm, I could use a project. Maybe you could suggest one.' Well, we could do that, too. Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you started a project (Leslie chuckles) and said, 'Oh, no! What do I do next?' We can help you with that, too.
LESLIE: I tell you, you know what I've been sort of thinking of as spring is like inching closer and closer and everything ...
TOM: What's that?
LESLIE: ... in the yard is just sort of wet and muddy? I'm hoping that those plants that I planted when I redid my yard last year ...
LESLIE: ... and you know they're the ones that are - is it perennials that come back every year? Because the garden, you know, is not my forte.
LESLIE: I'm looking at this blank dirt bed and I'm hoping to God it's growing back.
TOM: Something actually comes up there. Right. Yeah.
LESLIE: I'm like waiting. I'm looking out there everyday. So, anybody who's good at gardening, keep your fingers crossed for me because I'm certainly bad at it.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number. We have a great hour in store for you. Up first, you don't have to bend and stretch when you're filling or emptying your dishwasher. There's only eight inches that stand between you and a much easier task. We're going to teach you how to install a dishwasher so that it's actually not a back-breaking chore to use it.
LESLIE: It's not a callisthenic exercise ...
LESLIE: ... when you're reaching in there for your coffee mug?
LESLIE: And also, when you're waterproofing your home remember your windows. They are, in fact, the weakest link when it comes to water. We're going to tell you how to keep them water tight.
TOM: And today we're giving away a Moen Rainshower showerhead with pressurized spray. It's worth 65 bucks but it can be yours for nothing if we talk to you on the air. So call us right now. You must have a home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: On our way to Oklahoma to talk to Ronny about gas lines. How can we help you?
RONNY: Hi. Yeah, I just got a new house. It's new to me.
RONNY: Thank you. It's got a center island but it's - the island just has electric to it. And I love cooking on gas.
LESLIE: Nice, even temperature. Very good.
RONNY: And I like flaming up when I'm cooking something. (Leslie laughs)
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
RONNY: But the closest gas - I've got the hot water heater that's on the other side of the kitchen wall; about eight feet away.
TOM: Is this over a basement or a crawlspace?
RONNY: No, it's a concrete slab.
TOM: Agh! That makes it really hard because you're going to have to break up the floor to get the gas line over there. There's no other way to do it.
RONNY: Well, one thing I was going to ask you. I've got like that box lighting; or the drop ceiling, kind of.
RONNY: Is there any way if I maybe made a new island with pillars going up, could you run the gas line through the pillar from the ceiling?
TOM: Yeah sure, if you had pillars that came down you could hide it from the ceiling and bring it down from the top. Absolutely you could do it that way. But you know, frankly, it might be just as much work to break out a section of concrete floor to set the gas line in there and bring it up.
LESLIE: Plus then design wise, if you start to build this island up to the ceiling you're going to sort of lose that openness and the accessibility from all corners. So you're kind of sacrificing, you know, the savviness of an island by doing that.
TOM: Yeah. Although it seems like a major job, frankly, breaking up a piece of that concrete floor to get that pipe across, it's not terrible. I mean it could be done in a day. It's not structural; the floor. And I'm just going to ask you do you have hydronic heat? Do you have any heat in that slab at all or is it - or do you have heat ...
TOM: ... through ducts. Well then there's nothing in the slab to worry about hitting. So you could simply do it that way. Cut open the floor, drop the gas line in that floor, patch it over on the top, bring it up under the island and then put new flooring down. What's your flooring? Is it vinyl? What is it?
RONNY: It's tile.
TOM: It's ceramic tile? Well, you may be able to break up enough tiles in that area to be able to do the trench and to put the tiles right back down again. You wouldn't even see it.
RONNY: Alright, well that sounds like the way to go then.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Now we're going to Pennsylvania and talking to Mike. What can we do for you?
MIKE: Well, I'd like to install a laundry chute. I have a single-story brick ranch house. And I want to put a laundry chute in the closet. I'd like to build the top of it about waist high and I (audio gap) to know what's the best way to do that and what I could line that with so that the clothes don't snag as they're going through.
LESLIE: Have you thought about maybe moving the washer and dryer up to the main floor?
MIKE: I have but that's not going to be possible with the arrangement of the bedrooms and all the (inaudible).
TOM: So you want to construct a laundry chute and you want to line it. Usually, the best laundry chutes are lined with metal. And what you could do, Mike, is you could contact an HVAC contractor after you have the chute constructed and you could have them make a metal duct that basically lines it. Starts from the entrance right down to the bottom of the chute. That would be a nice, easy way to do it. Or if you can actually fit in there, as you're doing this, you could also line it with wood. But then, as you say, the risk is that you'll have some splinters or some nails or some fasteners.
LESLIE: Don't want to get stuck.
TOM: If you used a very good, glossy paint surface on it, that would minimize that. But those would probably be your options. How long is the chute going to be altogether?
MIKE: Oh, three, four feet.
TOM: Tell you what. You might just want to have a duct made for that.
MIKE: I hadn't even thought of that. That's kind of - light bulb went on in my head (chuckling) (inaudible).
TOM: That's what we do. That was us. We were pulling the switch.
MIKE: Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Gosh, that would be the funnest thing; just to chuck your clothes down and have them waiting for you in the laundry room. But then you'd forget how much is waiting there.
TOM: (overlapping voices) No, the funnest thing would be to chuck your clothes down and have them just come back up clean and pressed. That would be the funnest thing.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Already back in your drawer. That would be amazing.
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, already back in the drawer.
LESLIE: Now if I had one of those when I was kid I'd be like, 'Hmm, how would I slide down here.' (Tom laughs)
Gil in Maryland's up next who finds The Money Pit on WJFK. And what's going on with your pets?
GIL: Well, we just moved into a new home; have new carpeting throughout the home. And I have a miniature schnauzer that has picked a spot to urinate on.
TOM: Ew! (chuckles)
GIL: Got rid of the smell - yeah, ew. I agree. Got rid of the smell but the stain is still there. It is a lighter colored carpet. It is a cream colored carpeting. I'm looking to see what might I be able to use that won't destroy the carpeting, that'll get rid of the stain.
LESLIE: I've got two options for you, Gil. One of them is called 1-2-3 Odor Free. It's from a company called Just Rite out of the Midwest. And it's a ...
GIL: 1-2-3 Odor Free?
LESLIE: Odor Free, yep. And it's from JustRite.com. And it's R-i-t-e. And there's several products that work together to get rid of the odor that may cause your pet to go back to the same spot; there's another product that gets rid of the yellowing; and another product that gets rid of the bacteria that grows under the rug. So it's a series of steps but it really does work.
If the spot is super duper stubborn, Bissell has a product called the SpotBot. I don't know, you might have this or you might have seen one somewhere at a store. And it's basically a miniature robot that uses a cleaning fluid and you just put it down on top of the stain. And within five minutes it's made the stain disappear. So one or two of those or both are really going to make your stain go away.
TOM: The other thing I want to give you a heads-up about, Gil, is that sometimes when you're dealing with pet stains like that, part of what's down there is ureatic acid and that can react with some carpet dyes and make it lighter. And it could look like a stain but it actually could be that some of the carpet is sort of dyed out. And then if that's the situation then, unfortunately, it's permanently stained - or permanently discolored - and you would have to replace that. So give these products a shot but don't be surprised if you have a situation where - especially if it sat there for a long time, it could be that the pet's urine reacted with the carpet and that acid just lightened up the whole thing.
GIL: OK, I appreciate the information. I will give these items a try.
LESLIE: Listening to The Money Pit on WABC, we've got Kay in New York, New York. What can we do for you?
KAY: I had a girl in to help me clean and she used oven cleaner on the oven, which was OK. But she laid the can, which was (inaudible) on the bottom, on top of my Formica. It may not be exactly Formica but it's something close to Formica ...
KAY: ... and I have rings around it.
TOM: I'll give you one tip. Now, is - do you think these rings are a discoloration in the laminate itself or is it something that's on top of it?
KAY: Yeah, it's a little dark and the circles are - they're getting a little lighter.
TOM: OK, if they're getting a little lighter that means that it's something that's on top that can be worn off. I'll give you a little trick of the trade. Rubbing compound. It's the same stuff that you use when you're trying to take a light scratch out of your car. It's sort of like an abrasive. And if you rub it with that - or you could also try a little bit of Bon Ami, which is also just a little abrasive as a cleaner, and see if that lightens it up. Do it very carefully and you may just have a stain there that's on top. It could be a reaction between the metal and the can and it might have actually pushed some rust on top of that laminate that sometimes has the appearance of like soaking in. But if you use an abrasive cleanser, like a Bon Ami or you could use a rubbing compound, it might come out.
LESLIE: Or even like granular dish detergent, like dish soap; if you use some of that with a little bit of water and try to just gently scrub the surface. Another option is distilled vinegar. You can try to use that as well to help draw it out. And I've even heard of Pine Sol working.
KAY: Oh, thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Here at The Money Pit we can help you get your home ready for spring. That's why you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
OK, how much would it take to make dishwashing easier? Well, only about eight inches. Find out what you can do to make dishwashing less back-breaking with a few tricks of the trade for your dishwasher, after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:50]
[audio timestamp: 14:40]
ANNOUNCER: Stay-Green lawn care products and gardening supplies provide practical solutions for seasonal lawn and garden needs at value prices. Stay-Green products are available exclusively at Lowe's and come with a written guarantee printed on every package and label. The complete line of Stay-Green fertilizers, growing media, weed controls and grass seed help keep lawns looking beautiful year round and are the perfect blend of science and technology at an affordable price.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and we have got a great prize for you this hour. If you want your shower to make you feel like singing in the rain, then you better get on the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because you could win a Rainshower showerhead. It's from the folks at Moen. It's worth 65 bucks. It's a seven inch-wide showerhead that has InvigoRain, which is a pressurized spray. It's super easy to install, it's gorgeous to look at and it can be yours if we pick you out of our lucky callers we talk to this hour. So call us now. 888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 1-888-666-3974. I actually have that showerhead.
LESLIE: It's amazing.
TOM: And I sent one to a friend of mine because I had two. And he called me and wanted to know where I got it so he could get another for his house because they are so great. They just give you that real wide shower spray so you just sort of jump in, you're totally covered by water.
LESLIE: And it's - even though it's like some of those larger showerheads that are like rainwater-like, they sort of just drip and spit at you. This one's really like a pressure rain system. You know?
LESLIE: You feel great and it's almost spa-like.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Yeah, I want the pressure washer shower in the morning, you know? (chuckling)
LESLIE: That's what I always want. But I know it rips off your toes - pressure washers - so don't do that.
TOM: It's not quite that aggressive.
LESLIE: I know. (laughing)
TOM: But it's comfy-aggressive. (Leslie laughs)
Alright, let's talk about doing the dishes. It's a chore that perhaps is not the most favorite thing to do in your house.
LESLIE: Gosh, everybody hates it.
TOM: But there is a way to make it easier and that is simply this. The next time you install a dishwasher, raise it eight inches off the floor. We're starting to see this design in a lot of new kitchens; where you have countertops at multiple levels.
LESLIE: Different heights.
TOM: Different heights. And the dishwashers are raised up. Now, why is that important? Because when you put the door down for the dishwasher you don't have to bend over quite so far or reach in quite so far and strain your back out while you're putting dishes in and taking them out of the dishwasher. Simply raising that area of the kitchen just eight inches will leave you with a lot less stress.
And while you're at it, leave a space next to the dishwasher where you can pull up a chair. Then an older relative can sit down to load and unload the dishes. Or a family member, perhaps, who uses a wheelchair will be able to help with kitchen chores. Just with a few tweaks of your kitchen design it'll be simpler and more effective and easier for you to use your dishwasher.
You want more ideas, go to the website for AARP at AARP.org/HomeDesign. That's AARP.org/HomeDesign.
OK Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Jeannette in Florida, you've got The Money Pit. How can we help?
JEANNETTE: Well, is this Leslie?
LESLIE: It is indeed.
JEANNETTE: Oh, how nice it is to talk to you.
LESLIE: Thank you so much, Jeannette.
JEANNETTE: I've admired you on television for a long, long time.
LESLIE: Oh, why thank you! I hope we can help you.
JEANNETTE: Well, you can help me by telling me whether I should attempt this job myself. I have tiles that have hairline cracks and I am on a very strict budget.
LESLIE: OK, are the tiles themselves cracked across the tile or is it more in the grout?
JEANNETTE: No, it's across the tiles. The tiles, I think, have been here since about 1970.
TOM: What kind of floor do you have, Jeannette? Is it over a concrete slab that these are cracked?
JEANNETTE: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. Well, you probably have some movement in those tiles. Generally, if a floor tile is going to crack ...
LESLIE: It's because there's movement underneath. It's not a level surface. So as you step on it, it causes pressure in the areas where there's unevenness below it.
TOM: Yeah, and they may have bent slightly and then, of course, cracked over the years and as the actual hairline sort of fills in with dirt it becomes more and more visually obvious to you.
The good news is if it's minor hairline cracks like that it's not a structural problem, for the most part. Repairing it, then, is going to be purely up to you in terms of how much it really bothers you. Because unfortunately there's no real repair for it. It's really just a matter of replacing. It would be unlikely that you'd be able to find the same tiles and even if you did, if you tried to regrout there the grout lines are not going to match real well. So - and this is a situation where I may recommend that you just live with it until you're ready to replace the whole floor.
JEANNETTE: Now, there is a process that I heard of, of painting it and then - with oil-based paint - and then giving it two coats of water-based urethane. Does that sound plausible to you?
TOM: You can paint - you can paint tile except I would caution you never to use water-based urethane on a floor. It is simply not durable enough.
TOM: What I would tell you to do is to get a tile that's similar in color - not the actual floor tile but go out and buy one that's similar in color - and go ahead and put some paint on it and a couple of coats of urethane and see if you like it.
LESLIE: You got to make sure that you're making the right mixture of things to stick really well to a ceramic tile. There's actually a product from Flood called ESP. And it will help you bond to all sorts of surfaces. So whatever you're going to use as a topcoat, you really want to make sure you get that good base there to cause a good stickiness.
TOM: Jeannette, just remember, if you're going to paint, you know what comes after paint? Repaint.
TOM: So, eventually you're going to have to repaint that. Once you commit to painting there's no turning back. That's the point.
LESLIE: What colors are the tiles now? Are they white?
JEANNETTE: Yeah, they're white. Uh-huh.
LESLIE: Are they fairly clean?
LESLIE: I've never tried this on a floor tile. I tried it on our wall tile. I was chipping away some border tile. I accidentally hit the tile below it and caused a crack in it. And I actually filled it with some caulk. And you know, I have to make sure I clean that area a little bit more carefully, but it looks good and you can't really see the crack very much.
JEANNETTE: There was another option; covering the floor with laminate.
TOM: Absolutely. You know, you have to remember that your thresholds now are going to be all that much taller. But you could use laminate or you could use locking hardwood floor and you can put it right on top of the tile. You don't have to pull it up. That would be simple, straightforward and affordable.
Jeannette, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Calling in from Newark, Delaware we've got Gail. What's going on at your Money Pit?
GAIL: Yes, I have five steps that go from the landing down to the family room. And the second step, it's like the wall is kind of shifted out a little bit and the steps are coming away; (inaudible) out. And it's kind of like toenailed from the outside so it's shifted. So I've got one whole step that's like come completely out. So I just was wondering what's the best way - should you repair something like that or replace it?
TOM: Well, you probably can repair it. You know, what you might want to do is not nail it back together but screw it back together; predrill the holes with a pilot hole - you know, pilot hole with a drill - and then add long screws to pull it back together so it doesn't separate and pull apart.
GAIL: We had a gentleman come who is a handyman and he said he would use the opposite wall in the laundry room to kind of push the wall over and then kind of attach the - because he says like nail something to the cement floor to kind of hold the wall from shifting.
TOM: So it's the wall itself that's moving?
GAIL: Yeah, and it's just like a framework wall. It's not like a wall wall.
TOM: Yeah, it's not a structural wall. It's just sort of like a wing wall.
GAIL: Yes, correct.
TOM: Yeah. You know, what really should happen is you really should take off some drywall from the bottom of that wall and then secure the sill plate to the floor. What are you on top of? Concrete slab here?
GAIL: That's - yeah, the bottom is a concrete slab. And really there's no drywall. It's just got paneling on it.
TOM: OK, well that's even better yet.
LESLIE: No, that's easier to deal with.
TOM: Yeah, you can pull the whole piece of paneling off and attach that loose part of the bottom sill plate to the concrete floor with a couple of Tapcons. Right, a couple of the Tapcons. And that will stop it from moving. And while it's off, you can work from the backside of the wall and sort of reach right through and attach the stringer and pull it and screw it right into the treads so that the whole thing pushes back together again.
GAIL: Yeah, so you can do it that way.
GAIL: You don't have to actually replace the whole thing.
TOM: That's correct. This way you'll do it from sort of the backside. Yeah, because you usually can't get access to that. But if you pull the piece of paneling off then you can.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, your windows. They can be the weakest link in your house. Want to know how to strengthen the weak spot? We're going to tell you in just a bit.
[audio timestamp: 22:48]
ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/HomeDesign to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we make good homes better. Call us right now with your home improvement projects. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Hey, if you're working on a project together, call us together. Let's talk about it. You know, nothing says romance more than replacing a toilet together. (Leslie laughs) You know, it's sort of a bonding experience.
LESLIE: It either says romance or starts a pretty nasty fight. (Tom laughs) Either way, it could lead to romance so it works for you. (laughing)
Alright, folks. Well, are you getting ready to plant the garden of your dreams? I'm hoping mine's growing back. I planted mine last year and I'm hoping I did it right. You know, I don't have the green thumb. Those of you out there who do, I'm so jealous. Let's hope it works for me. But if you're getting ready to start, we've got the dirt on what you need to do to make it work. You're going to read all about it in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter. Comes right to your inbox every Friday morning. It's filled with tons of tips and all the information that you need to do just about any home improvement. And best of all, it's totally free. So sign up now at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you have a home improvement question and we can help, you can get a chance at winning a great prize. We're giving away that Moen Rainshower showerhead today worth 65 bucks.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Paul in Panama City, Florida, how can The Money Pit help you?
PAUL: I have a question. I listen to your program and I get some good ideas off it. I built a house about seven years ago and haven't had a problem with my AC whatsoever. And then all of a sudden I started [not to see] (ph) liquid draining out of my condensation pipe out in my backyard. And I had a new evaporator core put in. And like I said, it's not that old. But all of a sudden it stopped coming out. I'm just wondering if there's ...
TOM: Well, if the condensation was coming out and now it's not coming out, the reason could be that the condensate line is clogged. Very often, when you put in a new evaporator coil you can have a label or something else that's actually on that. When it starts to work, that piece of paper - I've seen this happen, Leslie - it can float down ...
LESLIE: Just like gunk up and float down it?
TOM: ... and just - yeah, right - and just block off the drain because there's not a lot of water pressure there. So it actually just blocks it off.
LESLIE: But wouldn't you notice this paper on the coil or is it ...
TOM: No, because it's all in areas that you wouldn't see. But I tell you what we'll notice. When it gets to be super humid out and the thing is really pumping out a lot of water, that condensate drain, if it doesn't open up, is going to overflow and you'll get leaks through the ceiling if that's where the condensate pan is.
TOM: So you've got to get on that. It's not normal to have no water coming out of that line and you really need to figure out why that's happening. So get your contractor back, have him take a look. It's probably blocked. It shouldn't be a big deal.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Angela in Utah, you're next on The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
ANGELA: Yes, ma'am. I was just calling to find out if it's basically worth the money to get a tankless water heater.
LESLIE: Well, what type of system do you have right now? Is it gas? Is it electric?
TOM: And do you have the ability to go gas or to go propane?
ANGELA: No, no. I don't want to go gas or propane.
TOM: OK. Well then, you have to rule out a tankless water heater because they're - they may be available electric but they're certainly not very efficient. What I would recommend, because right now you have an electric water heater, you should install a 240-volt timer on that water heater and what that can be done is set it so that the water heater only comes on for a few hours in the evening and a few hours in the morning and just - the water will just stay hot in between. Also, put a water heater blanket on there.
Tankless water heaters are fabulous if you have a natural gas hookup for your house. But they're not efficient when it comes to electric.
ANGELA: OK. So if I wanted to do that I would have to hook up the gas lines and everything.
TOM: Yeah, and you know ...
LESLIE: Well, it's going to keep your cost down overall anyway just switching over to gas.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, it absolutely will.
LESLIE: Because electric is so expensive regardless of what the price of natural heating is.
TOM: Yeah, and I'll tell you, in my area I had - my house was on oil for many years and then we decided to abandon the oil tank. And I was surprised and I found out that the gas company was more than happy to run a gas line to my house and put in a meter at no cost as long as I agreed to hook up one gas appliance, which the thing we started with was a gas grill. And then we added on from there. So, as long as you agree to put a gas appliance in you may have the installation done at little or no cost.
If you have gas, a tankless water heater is a fabulous thing to do because although it is more expensive to purchase and install, it's far, far, far more efficient to use. You'll save a lot of money over time. In fact, there's a good website - ForeverHotWater.com - that has a comparison meter there where you can put in your local zip code and it'll tell you exactly how much gas you'll save over the life of the unit.
ANGELA: Alright, well thank you.
TOM: You're welcome, Angela. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Betty in Wisconsin's got some unwanted water in the kitchen. Tell us what's going on with the fridge.
BETTY: Seems like when (ph) I make ice it creates a lot of ice down in the [bottom - the freezer part] (ph) - and then it leaks out on the floor. And I don't know if it's when it's defrosting or when I'm making ice.
TOM: Hmm. Betty, where exactly is the water dripping out from?
BETTY: Down on the floor.
TOM: And you have a drip pan underneath this?
TOM: If it's a self-defrosting refrigerator, there's usually a tube that comes out and aims towards the drip pan. And what I'm thinking here is that that part of the drain is misaligned or has become jammed or bent or ...
LESLIE: The tube could even be clogged.
TOM: ... or clogged. Exactly. Because it's not getting to the pan. It's coming out elsewhere and that's the issue.
So what you're going to have to do is pull that pan out, look under there with a strong flashlight, identify where that tube is and try to figure out if it's blocked or it's clogged or perhaps it's missing. I don't think that it's a major deal. I think you're just going to have to be a bit of a detective here. And if you can't see under there, I'll give you a little trick of the trade from my years as a home inspector. And that is you can take a small mirror - like the kind that you use for a compact, like a makeup mirror -
TOM: - and shine the flashlight against that and that will light up the underside of the refrigerator and you can see where you're going with the mirror.
BETTY: Oh, OK.
TOM: Now, I don't want you guys to get the idea that I carried my makeup with me on my years as a home inspector. (Leslie chuckles) We actually used a folding mirror for that but I'm not suggesting you go out and buy one. But a compact works fine.
TOM: Alright, Betty. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Topeka, Kansas, you are on the line. Craig, what can we do for you?
CRAIG: In my heating vents in my house it looks probably like mold just where it comes out of the vents. I have a 95 percent efficient furnace with the dual chambers and all that.
TOM: It's probably not mold. It's probably dust that's building up in that area. What kind of a filtration system do you have?
CRAIG: One of the expensive ones.
TOM: Is it an electronic air cleaner or is it just a regular filter?
CRAIG: Yeah, uh-huh.
TOM: OK. That's really not the best kind for total efficiency. What we would recommend is something called an electronic air cleaner. And the best one in the business is made by Aprilaire. It was actually ranked number one by Consumer Reports magazine for the last ...
LESLIE: For the past three years.
TOM: Past three years, yes. They're model 5000. And it will take out mold. It will take out virus sized particles as well as dust. What I would recommend is two things. First of all, get an approved filtration system for your HVAC system. So a better quality filter like the Aprilaire. Secondly, have your ducts cleaned. Vacuum out everything that's in there. And I think you're not going to see this problem reoccur.
Very often, the air is very dirty in the home. And the other thing that happens around the edge of the ducts is you get this sort of convective loop where you have warm air and cold air mixing and the air sort of washes against the wall.
TOM: And especially if you have light color wall, those areas around the ducts and above the ducts tend to look like they're stained or dirty and they could appear to be moldy. But it's really just the dust and the dirt that's in the air constantly being washed against this colder wall where it condenses and sort of sticks to it.
LESLIE: The Money Pit, helping you in your home one project at a time.
Hey, did you know windows can be the weakest point in your home and they can allow moisture in. Stick around to find out how to keep the water out and prevent those leaks, mold, warping and even some costly structural damage to your home, next.
[audio timestamp: 31:15]
[audio timestamp: 35:19]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: OK, Money Pit listeners. So you've bought great, energy-efficient windows. They look good and you love them. But did you know that it's the installation that matters most? In fact, how well you install your windows into your home is going to greatly affect how they perform. So if they're not put in right, they're not going to be as great as you think they are. And most importantly, during installation you need to ensure that a waterproof seal is being created to guide any moisture that's around that window opening away from that window and keep those interior walls dry. While many people have traditionally chose caulk to create this seal, you really need to think about using a premium waterproof flashing because it's going to offer a more reliable solution and have far greater benefits.
TOM: Yeah, that's right. And most of the time, contractors-grade caulk is used to weatherproof around the window sill, the headers and the jambs. But when your windows expand and contract with the changes in the weather, the caulk can deteriorate and eventually separate from the wall.
The best practice for installing windows includes the use of a peel and stick window flashing; you know, something like Vycor Plus. It's a self-adhered flashing from Grace. The great thing is that it will form a watertight seal around the window, including over nails and staples. If it's a little bit of an odd shape it is not impacted in any way and it's a huge advantage over caulk.
If you want more information on peel and stick window flashing, you can check out Grace's website at www.GraceAtHome.com. Or you can call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Now we're talking to Glen in Florida. What's going on with your ceiling?
GLEN: Well, I'm trying to remodel a house and it has a popcorn plaster ceiling.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah, a lot of people don't like those.
GLEN: But I'd like to just get some advice on how to make the ceiling level and have a smoother finish on it.
TOM: Well, removing popcorn ceiling is a pretty messy job. But generally the way it's done is you want to spray it down - and you have to get it pretty wet - and then you're going to have to take a spackle knife and you're going to have to very slowly but surely scrape that away. The problem is, Glen, that when you do this what you're going to find is that even when you get all that popcorn away, it's still going to be fairly uneven. So you're not going to be able to get so much away that you could paint it flush and have it be, you know, perfectly smooth. So what you might want to do is use a textured paint after that but one that's not quite as bumpy and lumpy as the popcorn was.
GLEN: I was thinking about using quarter-inch gyp board over it after the popcorn is off. Would that work?
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, that's a good idea.
LESLIE: Or it doesn't have to be textured at all if you're going to go with the fresh gyp board, which would be a new drywall, really. You know, once you plaster over everything you could have a nice smooth surface and go with just a paint.
GLEN: Well, that's a good thought.
LESLIE: Doesn't always have to be textured.
TOM: That's right, Glen.
OK, hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in Richmond, Virginia, what can we do for you today?
RON: Oh, I just have a couple of questions about doing an addition.
RON: What should I expect to pay for about an 800-square-foot foundation for a two-story addition?
TOM: Just the foundation or you mean just what's the average per square foot price? Is that what you're saying?
TOM: Well, somewhere between $100 and $200 a square foot in most parts of the country. It's going to really depend on what you're putting into that. If you're doing an addition, we would recommend that you hire an architect to design that first for a lot of reasons. Not only are you going to make sure that it comes out as you expect it to come out but, just as important, you'll have a set of plans and a set of specifications. Once you have those specifications, then you'll be in a position to get competitive bidding.
LESLIE: You know, to shop around for a contractor who will then understand exactly what the scope of the project is. And so, instead of individually chatting to each contractor and getting, you know, a rough idea based on what your individual conversation was, you've got a piece of paper that says 'This is what I want' and each contractor can bid on the same thing.
RON: Excellent. Thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Ron. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, doors that you want open won't stay that way? Well, besides being kind of creepy and they sort of close on their own, it is pretty annoying. But don't use a doorstop. We're going to tell you how to adjust that door to have it working perfectly, after this.
[audio timestamp: 39:47]
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And good news, everyone. You can now have Leslie and I in your pocket. That's right. The Money Pit is portable. Help yourself to our entire library of Money Pit podcasts. You can even search them by topic. Perhaps you have a home improvement need. You want to search to see if we've spoken about it on the show. I bet you we have. And it's all available for free at MoneyPit.com where you can also click on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like J.B. did from Naples, Florida.
LESLIE: And you know what? It's strange. We picked J.B.'s e-mail but we got several e-mails on the same exact topic. So a lot of you are dealing with this issue so let's get to it.
'I have several doors that just won't stay open. I push them open and within one or two minutes the door is closed by a third to even half. Must I use an ugly doorstop or can I actually repair the problem?'
TOM: Well, the problem is that the door is not level. It's not plumb. It's not perfectly vertical. And as a result, if it's tilting one way or the other, it's going to force the door to actually swing open or for it swing closed.
LESLIE: Now, that just can happen over time? Sort of like a weight sagging issue?
TOM: Yes, it could.
LESLIE: I mean obviously it didn't happen in the beginning.
TOM: Yes - well, who knows? It may have or perhaps as the hinges sort of loosened up there was less resistance. If the hinge is a bit stiff - or sometimes this will happen where it never happened before and you decide to do some home improvement maintenance and squirt everything with some 3-in-1 oil or WD40 and all of a sudden they're closing right and left.
TOM: It's because they have no resistance anymore. But basically the reason it's happening is because the door is out of level. Now, you can adjust that but it's a little bit tricky. What you generally have to do is first of all, obviously, put a level on the door to figure out which was it has to move. But I have found that if you have to move the door jamb inside or - in or out at a hinge, you can actually drive a nail in and sort of move - if you - the last sort of rap of the hammer will push the door jamb in just a little bit. And we're talking about just, you know, a gain here of sixteenths of an inch at a time.
TOM: But if you do it just right, you can actually get it to be level again. And if worst comes to worst, you'd have to pull off the casing and then relevel the entire jamb. But you can move it with nails forward, backward, in and out. Or you can even take out the screws from the hinges, replace it with longer screws and that will pull the door one way or the other until you get it just right.
But that's the reason that it's out of level. And besides checking the jamb, check the outside edge of the door as well because sometimes if the door is not hung straight on the jamb itself - the jamb may be straight but the door might not be straight on it - you'll pick it up there. But it's basically an opportunity to adjust the door jamb is what's going to stop that from happening.
LESLIE: Now let me tell you. This is a perfect opportunity to look at the transcripts because you just talked a mile a minute and all I could think of was euro hinges, which are fantastic to install but when you get to the adjusting process you're like, 'OK, this screw does this ...'
LESLIE: ' ... this screw does that.' So it's like get the transcript, folks.
TOM: Well, you know, some of the good doors - the exterior doors - have adjustable hinges on them now.
TOM: So they're starting to sell exterior doors with adjustable hinges. They're not quite as complicated to use as the euro hinges ...
LESLIE: Uh-huh. (chuckling)
TOM: ... but they're great. But they're for this exact purpose because houses move. They're always expanding and contracting. They're all shifting. And if they do, the door's not going to close quite right. And when it comes to an exterior door, if it doesn't close quite right it's not going to seal right either.
LESLIE: Yeah, and then it's not energy efficient.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and now at MoneyPit.com you can also get fanwear. Are you a proud Money Pit listener? Well, show it off with a mug, a t-shirt or a hat? You can logo gear plus some really amusing home improvement theme stuff that ...
LESLIE: Yeah, I love these.
TOM: ... we have come up with.
LESLIE: I think these shirts are great.
TOM: Yeah, your favorite show is the 'Hosed' shirt?
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean hosed is something that I would say even before (Tom laughs) we put together t-shirts. I'm like, 'Aw, you're hosed on that one.' And now ...
TOM: Should describe it. It's a big picture of a garden hose with the letters 'ed' next to it.
LESLIE: Yeah, it's like a rolled up garden hose. It's amazing.
TOM: It's the 'ed' series; you know, hosed ...
TOM: Yeah, we have 'Hammered,' we have 'Screwed,' we have all kinds ... (chuckling)
LESLIE: 'Screwed,' an excellent one as well.
TOM: Yeah, we have a lot of fun home improvement-theme gifts at MoneyPit.com's new store. So check it out. It's at MoneyPit.com. And thanks so much for spending this hour with us. We have had a lot of fun. Hope we filled you with lots of great home improvement information. So go forth and build homes or, as Leslie says, 'Build big dreams.'
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: 44:30]
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 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.)