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: 1:40]
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. 888-666-3974. It's a beautiful time of the year to get out and fix up your home sweet home. And you know who knows that best, Leslie?
LESLIE: Well, everybody out there who's doing it right now. And the weather is telling you to get out there and do some work.
TOM: Actually, I was thinking about the termites that have been chewing on your house.
LESLIE: Shhh! (laughing) Don't air the dirty laundry.
TOM: The audacity of those insects (laughing) attacking the home of such a lovely home improvement expert.
TOM: Tell me what happened.
LESLIE: I saw the wings. First key sign.
TOM: Yep. The wings are ... the wings are a signal.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Then Edward - my husband - was coming up to me with these little bugs in hand and, you know, smooth black body, wings. I'm like, 'Okay, that's a termite.' Little bit more investigation, saw some mud trails. Made some phone calls, got the guy in. Not only do we have a mild termite infestation on the south side of the house ...
LESLIE: ... but they seem to have destroyed the 3x3 landing of the stairway to the basement.
LESLIE: And now there's going to be like some pretty major construction work and once we open up that stairway, who knows what else they've gotten into. It's just we can feel it there.
TOM: Well, that's interesting ...
LESLIE: So, we'll see.
TOM: That's interesting because you know, in all the years I spent as a home inspector, we often found termite infestations. In fact, I found termite infestations in one out of three homes.
LESLIE: Well ...
TOM: It's amazing. People don't know that they're there.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it was interesting. You know it was interesting. I was chatting with the termite guy and he was saying that the foam block and cement framed homes ...
LESLIE: ... the new system that you and I have been talking about ...
LESLIE: ... he says, apparently, that the termites even love the foam ...
LESLIE: ... which is quite surprising.
TOM: Right. But the goods news is that the foam is not structural.
LESLIE: Right. But it's amazing to think that they're getting in there; that they like the foam. You would think something inorganic they're not interested in it.
TOM: Well, you know what else. There's another insect that loves to nest inside foam and that's the carpenter ant. Another equally destructive pest.
TOM: So, if the bugs are bugging you, if they're chewing up your house - or maybe they're not; that's good. Maybe you're the two out of three homes that are not impacted by wood-destroying insects. And maybe you just want to pick up the hammer and pick up the nails and make some home improvements to your home, call us first at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We're standing by to help you with those jobs.
LESLIE: Yeah, and one of those lucky callers we're going to choose, this hour, to be the winner of a fantastic prize. It's the VAX X5 vacuum. It's worth about 300 bucks and it's super cool and it could be yours for free if we pick your name out of the Money Pit hardhat.
TOM: So, basically, we'll help you make the home improvement and then give you the tools (chuckling) to clean up from it. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Carla from Pennsylvania finds The Money Pit on WYHL and you've got a garage question. How can we help?
CARLA: Well, I have a ... I had a new garage door installed by a handy man of some sort. And when he installed it, he found that there was a hole underneath a piece of wood. So when he removed that panel of wood, he had to put another ... you know, he couldn't fit another one in there. So now I have this like 4x4 inch hole in my garage door. So I'm scared bats are going to come in and just really don't know how to seal it back up because I think another piece of wood would make it hit the track.
TOM: Is this an overhead door?
TOM: Hmm. And what kind of material is it made out of?
CARLA: It's wood.
TOM: OK. So you have a four inch square hole in a wood door that's been cut out.
TOM: Alright. Well, what you're going to need to do is make a patch. Make a piece of wood that fits, actually, in that space.
TOM: And then you're going to physically connect it. Now, let's think about the best way to do this. Probably, what I would do is I would make it to fit the exact size of the hole. I'd probably put a strap on the back of it so there was a piece of wood that goes across the whole thing.
LESLIE: Maybe even two; one on the top and one on the bottom.
TOM: Right. To hold it in place. And then I would use probably a construction adhesive to hold it in place. And glue that in place.
TOM: And once it's dry ...
CARLA: Like a liquid nail or something?
TOM: Correct. Yeah. Once it's dry and sort of locked in place, sand out the excess glue. You're probably going to need to use some wood putty to kind of fill in the seam around it and sand it so it's all nice and smooth. And then you can - once it's all done - then you can paint it and you'll be good to go.
CARLA: Wonderful, wonderful. Thank you all so much. I appreciate the help.
TOM: You're very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So it doesn't matter if the hole is in your garage door or in your floor or in your roof. (chuckling) We will try to help you fix it. Call us right now.
LESLIE: Gary in North Dakota is next and he finds The Money Pit on WDAY. And what can we do for you?
GARY: Well, I have a house that I've lived in - one owner - for the past 30 years. And I'm thinking I'll probably be selling it in the next two or three years. And it needs a number of things done with it and I'm wondering which might be the most cost effective or the best for resale. Such as I've never reshingled it; it has the original windows; the interior is the traditional mid-70s dark mahogany. And I'm wondering where I should start.
TOM: Well, that's a great question. Gary, it's 30 years old? Is that correct?
GARY: Yes, it is.
TOM: So it was built in 1965, 1975? Something like that?
GARY: 1975, yes.
TOM: 1975. OK. Well, first thing you want to do when you to get a house ready to sell is remember that the people that are buying your home are really buying it for space. So you want to do as much as you possibly can to create space inside that house. So think about, first of all, getting rid of clutter, storing furniture away. Start working on that now. You've got plenty of time to do that and now is a great time to tackle it. The second thing is to neutralize everything in that house.
LESLIE: Yeah, absolutely. Make things more neutral; especially if you have everything that's dark mahogany. Something dark can seem very small and overwhelming. And I think if you can open it up and brighten it up with some lighter, more neutral colors; that will really allow people who are looking at the house to sort of envision their belongings in there.
I think as far as your shingles outside, I don't think you need to redo them. But make sure everything's painted nicely and cleaned up well and really just paid attention to the small details. I don't think you need to invest in residing.
TOM: Something you might want to invest in, Gary, is to have a home inspection done. Because when it comes time to sell your house, the buyer is inevitably going to hire a professional home inspector to evaluate that property and figure out if there's anything wrong with it. You can kind of get on the front end of that by hiring a home inspector now. That would be an impartial expert advice that would come in and do a home inspection of your home that would include all of the structural and the mechanical systems. And that person might come up with a checklist of things that you can tackle.
And I've got to tell you, it's nice to have that information early on before a buyer is involved. Because, this way, you can decide whether you want to repair something or replace something.
LESLIE: Well, also, then you know the legitimacy of their claims.
TOM: That's true as well. You want to find a good home inspector, Gary. There is a website for the American Society of Home Inspectors that I would highly recommend. That's ASHI - A-S-H-I.org. That's a nonprofit association of home inspectors that have all passed tests and adhere to a strict code of ethics and a standard of practice. And they'll do a great job for you. You put your zip code in there and it'll return several home inspectors in your area.
So those are all good things to think about doing when you're getting your house ready for sale. Now if you want to talk major improvements, probably the best ones that give you the best return on investment - I would say, Leslie - kitchen and bath.
LESLIE: Yeah, but those are also sort of iffy ways to renovate as well. While they'll give you a big return, if you make highly stylized choices, you might deter people from buying. Because if you pick something that's just so outrageous, you know, that means they have to work to do when they move in.
TOM: Yeah, very right. So, basically, the theme running through this whole conversation, Gary, is neutral. Keep it neutral and create space. OK?
GARY: The only follow-up I have on the neutral question is, you know, with the dark interior and wood work, I'm debating over painting it, sanding it down and restaining it or replacing it.
TOM: Well, painting it would definitely be ... no, I think you're talking about wood trim, right?
GARY: With the wood trim. You know, all the doors and all the door and window trim are all dark.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you know, there are some people out there that like natural stain wood. But I would not sand it down and restain it. The question is whether or not you want to paint over it. What about the walls that surround it?
GARY: They're just sheetrock that's textured.
TOM: But are they painted light colors or neutral colors?
GARY: Well, they can be repainted very easily. They're kind of a light neutral color but each room is a little different. I was thinking it'd be even better to be maybe (inaudible).
TOM: Well, let me tell you, if a relocation company was to take over your house - these are the folks that are experts on selling property quickly - what they would probably do is they would take out all the carpet in the house and replace it with a tan carpet; they'd send the painters in and paint all of the walls with an off-white paint; they'd probably leave the dark trim because some people like that. But as far as the walls and the carpet, I would definitely make them as neutral as possible.
GARY: Alright, well I'll do that and I'll also check out those tips you gave me as far as some of those websites.
TOM: Alright, terrific. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So you've heard the expression, good fences make good neighbors. But what makes a good fence? And is your fence looking a little less than neighborly?
LESLIE: Well, if you've got a wood fence, then stick around. We'll tell you how to make sure it lasts for years, right after this.
[audio timestamp: 10:30]
[audio timestamp: 13:10]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Interior Sateen Kitchen and Bath Enamel with advanced NanoGuard technology to help consumers protect these areas, keeping them looking new longer. For more information, visit Behr.com. That's B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, Leslie, I think there's a conspiracy out there by the fence installers of America.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Why is that?
TOM: To make sure that your fence does not last; therefore, they get more work as time goes on.
LESLIE: (laughing) Are you saying they're installing them to close to the ground? You know, where you're getting prime availability for rot and termite damage?
LESLIE: You're really making it a key place for these bugs to go.
TOM: Listen. When I had my fence put in my house, I had to stand outside and tell these guys, 'Too low, too low, too low.'
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) 'Lift it higher. Lift it higher.'
TOM: Because not only did they put it in too low to begin with. Then, of course, it settles. So by the time you're done, it's pretty much resting ...
LESLIE: Sags down.
TOM: ... on the soil. And I've actually found termite tubes coming out of the soil and up into the fence structure. So the first clue ... I should say, the first way to make sure your fence lasts a long time is to make sure it's put in properly. And that is, leave a good four inches underneath it so that those boards don't touch the soil.
LESLIE: And the second thing you can do is treat the bottom of those fence boards with a preservative and really, just don't let them come in contact with the ground. Direct contact equals bad. Three to six inches is what I usually say.
TOM: Absolutely. Now, coming up in our next e-newsletter, we're going to give you three ways that you can save money on your new wooden fence. Our newsletter is free so if you've not already signed up for it, you can do that right now by logging onto MoneyPit.com. Click on the newsletter section and sign up right there.
By the way, Leslie, speaking of fences, do you know that there's a good side of the fence and the bad side of the fence and if you have a fence that is just one-sided you have to put the good side facing ...
LESLIE: To the neighbors.
TOM: ... your neighbor. That's right. So you pay for the fence ...
LESLIE: Exactly. But I can't tell you how many times I've seen it the other way around in town.
TOM: I know. Because you would think that you want to look at the good side from your backyard. But, no, that is not the neighborly thing to do. You have to put the good side facing out so you have to look at the ugly side. Unless you want to buy a two-sided fence, which costs more money but that makes everybody happy.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But then, everybody's happy.
LESLIE: But the good thing about having the ugly side toward you - towards you - is that sometimes you get a more easy way to climb up. So when I was kid I could stare in the neighbor's yard quite easily.
TOM: (laughing) That's true. (laughing) And I never thought of that. I wonder why.
LESLIE: (laughing) I'm a little strange.
TOM: Apparently my mind just doesn't work that way. (laughing) But yours does.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, speaking of other free things - like our e-newsletter - we're giving away a great prize this hour and it's going to help you with your spring cleaning list. And it's the VAX X5. It's a super cool vacuum and it makes your vacuuming so much easier. It's got an easy-reach cleaning wand and a 27-foot retractable cord so you can get just about anywhere with it and it can be yours for free if we answer your question on air and then draw your name out of the Money Pit hardhat. So good luck, everybody, and call in.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you want to get a shot at winning that $300 vacuum from VAX.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: James in Tennessee finds The Money Pit on WNWS. And what can we do for you?
JAMES: Well, my main question is have y'all heard about the BioSeal, which is the foam insulation?
LESLIE: Like a blown-in installation - insulation?
JAMES: Well, actually, it's not blown-in. They spray it in and it expands and then they come in and they shave it off to where it's even.
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Yep. I've seen that done and I've seen it done with good results. It's an expandable foam insulation. Basically, Leslie, they spray it into the house when the ... when the drywall ... before the drywall's up. They spray it on the studs. And so it expands to fill the stud bay.
LESLIE: Oh, it's like a giant Great Stuff.
TOM: Yeah, it's like giant cans of Great Stuff. Exactly. And then they saw it off flat and they trim it off and then they put the drywall on top of it.
LESLIE: How does that affect wiring and plumbing and ...?
TOM: Well, you've got to have that all done ahead of time, obviously. But think about it. Once it's in it really does a great job of sealing up all of the gaps. And I'm sure it would make for an extremely energy efficient house, James.
JAMES: That is my question. Is ... you know, is it more efficient than your conventional insulation?
TOM: I think it would ... I think it would be more efficient than fiberglass insulation. It would also do a better job of sealing up the frame. I think you're going to get a much tighter house with a product like that.
LESLIE: Plus, it probably doesn't condense over time like a foam ... like the ...
TOM: Settle, yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, it wouldn't settle.
JAMES: I have ... you know, I have ... we're building a house, right now, and that was being presented to us. And my question to you all was would it be beneficial to do it in the long run because it is a substantial amount of cost to it.
TOM: Yeah. Well, how much more expensive is it than standard insulation?
JAMES: It's about ... it's about $1,800 to $2,500, depending on whether you spray the root (ph) deck or the ceiling deck.
TOM: And what would standard insulation cost?
JAMES: Twenty-five-hundred-square-foot house - which is what I'm building - is about 5,200 and this is going to cost me about $7,000 to do this. But, they guarantee me ... I went from a $210 heating and cooling cost down to $124.
TOM: I have a feeling that for the extra two grand, it's going to be worth it.
LESLIE: Well plus, also, think over time, in the future as the fiberglass insulation does settle, you're going to have to replace that or add to it. So there's additional cost to that as well.
TOM: Yeah, I think there's going to be a lot of benefit. And you know what? You're in a good space right now, James, because the house is being built and it's wide open and you can only do this once.
JAMES: That's right. And that was my question to you all.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You know, so I think it's a good idea. I think it's a real good idea.
JAMES: Well, that was my question and I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, Leslie, a lot of people are gun shy about foam insulations because years ago - I mean many years ago; probably I think it was the early 80s if I'm remembering correctly - there was a type of foam insulation called urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, where basically ...
LESLIE: Ooh, that sounds bad.
TOM: Well, what happened was they'd mix these two components together and they'd inject this foam insulation, which would like expand inside the base between the dry wall and the sheathing, and do a good job of insulating the wall. The insulation wasn't the issue. The problem was that when it got damp, it would off-gas this urea gas.
TOM: And people were allergic to it and they had to move out of their house. Now, the off-gas ...
LESLIE: Wow, and there's no way of knowing until it happens. And so many things have an off-gas that I don't think people are even aware of, such as paint.
TOM: Exactly. But the good news is that that would only happen for five years. So even if you have that right now and if you're living happily in your house, you have nothing to worry about. But that was a big faux pas, that's for sure. And today, you know the insulations are so much better. You know, we have isonene and we have these bio-fill materials. And they're just so much better and they're so well-perfected that I think it's a really good way to get a really airtight house.
LESLIE: Alan in Ohio has a plumbing question. What's going on?
ALAN: A house we purchased recently, we've got a little extra plumbing pipes in there from copper with some of the new things, some galvanized on the old section, and some plastic with something in between.
TOM: Little bit of everything, huh?
ALAN: Yeah, little bit of everything. My question was I'm not real good on copper pipes, as far as soldering.
ALAN: What's your thoughts about going with this CPVC that's good for hot and cold?
TOM: Well, there's a lot of homes being built with the new ... with the new plastic piping. And I think it's standing up extremely well. If you've got a lot of work to do, it is a very do-it-yourself-friendly product to use, Alan. Why ... do you have a lot of work to do? I mean, why are we having this conversation? What's going on with that plumbing that's going to force you to have to do so much work?
ALAN: Well, we'd like to add a bathroom to the basement ...
ALAN: ... because we need ... we need more bathroom space. And the other problem we have, also, is right now, when somebody's in the shower and you crack a faucet at, say, the kitchen sink, the shower instantly either goes hot or cold; one - you know, depending what you turn on at the kitchen faucet.
TOM: OK. Well, that actually can be solved by replacing the shower valve. What you need is a pressure balance valve. That's a type of valve that could be installed in a shower that maintains the same mix that you have, in terms of hot and cold water, regardless of how much pressure is in either pipe. Do you follow me? So you'll reduce the flow but you won't change the temperature of the water.
TOM: So here you were thinking you had to replumb your house, Al, and we just saved you a big bunch of work. (laughing)
TOM: Well, that's what we try to do. Alan, does that answer your question?
ALAN: Yeah, it does. I appreciate that. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You're very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Yeah, Leslie, you know sometimes we make more work for people. (chuckling) But we could occasionally make less.
LESLIE: So, Alan's plumbing pupu platter, if you will, really isn't such a bad thing.
TOM: Not so bad and pretty easy to do. And that'll definitely have him avoiding those cold spurts of water in the shower.
Up next, you know, if you're tackling home improvement projects, it can be very frustrating when the ... when the batteries run dead on all your cordless tools. Well up next, we're going to talk to you about a new battery technology that means you're going to work longer and have more power.
LESLIE: Yeah, we're going to tell you how to get more life out of your battery packs when we talk to an expert on rechargeable batteries from Milwaukee Electric Tool. That's next, folks.
[audio timestamp: 22:47]
[audio timestamp: 22:58}
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is being sponsored by Peerless. If you're putting in a new bathroom or kitchen faucet, Peerless can help you with every step including the hardest one - getting that old faucet out. For a complete undo-it-yourself guide, visit the Peerless faucet coach at faucetcoach.com.
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. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project, need some help solving the do-it-yourself dilemma, call us right now. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Well, this is the worst. And I'm sure this has happened to you because it's happened to me several times. Are you ready?
LESLIE: You're in the middle of your latest home improvement project. You're working away, you're happy, everything is going smoothly. And then, suddenly, cordless interruptus.
TOM: Oh, no.
LESLIE: You know, the power tool dies. (laughing) Raaah. Done. (laughing) No doubt this has totally happened to you before; once, twice, maybe even more but you don't want to admit it. But it doesn't have to. With the new cordless power battery tools out there, the technology is amazing and it's even more powerful than before.
TOM: That's right. You know, newer tools have much longer run times, they have quicker charge times. Joining us now with more info on that topic, as well as the best way to keep your batteries in tip-top shape, is David Selby. He's the head engineer for the Milwaukee Electric Tool company.
Hi, David. Welcome to the program.
DAVID: Hi, Leslie and Tom. Pleasure to be here.
TOM: So David, cordless tool technology has really changed big time in the last decade. Now it seems that there is no limit to what we can do with a cordless tool. It can pretty much handle just about anything that a corded tool could do before.
DAVID: Oh, absolutely. The battery run times have increased steadily over the last 10 to 15 years and now you can run, basically, twice what you could as far as run time and number of screws, number of holes, etc., with your current packs. And now, with the lithium ion packs, you can double that again. So, tremendous improvements over the last 10 years.
LESLIE: Well, what's so special about the lithium ion, other than the tremendous power and the duration?
DAVID: Well, it's a new chemistry that produces a much higher voltage, inherently, of itself; 3.5 to 4 volts, where ...
LESLIE: But what about weight?
DAVID: ... and that's per cell. So, what happens is you can make a battery pack with fewer batteries in it and they can shrink down in size and be lighter weight and so ... or you can get much more energy, much more power, out of a battery pack of the same size of your current, let's say, 18-volt nikehead pack today.
TOM: Well, let's talk about how you get the most life out of those batteries. We know we can get more power out of them but let me ask you this question. A lot of people say - and it's one of those old wives tales, so to speak - that batteries have a memory. Is that still the case? Has it ever been the case? Do you ... can you let your batteries ...
LESLIE: Or are we being bamboozled?
TOM: Yeah, can you let your batteries run all the way out? Should you let them run out? When is the ... what's the best charging technology here - charging procedure, I should say - that a homeowner should be doing?
DAVID: Well, that's a loaded question but, really, battery memory is really a myth. You know, it occurred years ago in certain satellite applications but, really, in power tools it's not really present. The best thing, though, for batteries - all batteries and all chemistries - is that ... a couple of the dos and don'ts. You really want to make sure you store them in a cool place and don't store them in a hot car trunk or leave them on the dashboard of your car. That's a bad thing. And another thing you don't want to do is you don't want to deeply discharge them. You don't want to like leave a flashlight in the basement on a project you're working on in a crawl space and then forget to turn it off and let it run over a weekend. That'll do some real damage to your battery pack.
And again, just the deep discharge and high loads are a bad problem. Customers will typically do something that the tool was not intended for and stall the motor out. You know, the guys that drive the last screw by turning the handle of the drill.
TOM: Oh, yeah, yeah. (laughing)
DAVID: And the battery's just barely able to turn that chuck. Doing that continually or frequently is not good for your battery pack. You don't want to take it down to that last bit of charge. You want to take it off, put it on the charger when it really can't perform the job like it's intended.
LESLIE: As soon as it slows down just a little bit ...
LESLIE: ... and you feel it; you can hear it.
DAVID: Right, right. But those are some common dos and don'ts.
TOM: We're talking to David Selby - he's the head engineer from the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company - about battery technology, how it's changed and how you can make your cordless tools last longer and longer.
So David, when it comes to battery-powered tools, is there anything that, really, those tools cannot do today? What about high-temperature applications or super-cold weather? Do they perform equally well when you're working in the ... you know, the hottest August days or the coldest January winter?
DAVID: Well, actually, the new ... the new cells, the new lithium ion cells that are on the market, they perform very well in cold and hot temperatures. And really allow you to run bigger tools than ever before. And so, there's less worry about overheating with lithium ion. I know the Milwaukee V28 lithium ion is kind of ... has an internal electronic kind of monitoring. So it takes the smarts and takes the decision-making out of your hands and takes care of the pack in cold weather, hot weather and basically makes it a worry-free operation. And a lot of the ... a lot of the new technology packs and systems on the market today have that kind of internal electronic control so the user doesn't have to worry so much and they can focus on their project; not worrying about their battery pack.
LESLIE: So, with the new lithium ions, are they sort of spanning the entire line of tools that Milwaukee is offering so you're able to interchange them? Or is it sort of one tool per battery, right now?
DAVID: No, we have a system and I think most manufacturers recognize that customers love to have a system of tools to run off one battery platform. So, we have a whole family of tools that run off, in our case, our V28 28-volt battery pack. So once you commit to the system, you can just keep expanding your tool ... your tool supply in your garage. You know, sky's the limit. And we ...
TOM: One battery for life is basically what you're saying.
DAVID: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: Well, that's pretty cool.
David Selby with Milwaukee Tool. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. If you want more information on this new, cool battery technology, you can go to their website at MilwaukeeTools.com.
LESLIE: Well, Tom, did you know that lightning strikes the earth about 20 million times a year. That's right; I said million ...
LESLIE: ... times a year. That's crazy.
TOM: It is.
LESLIE: But is your house protected from all of that lightning and the damage it can bring? Find out, after this.
[audio timestamp: 29:33]
[audio timestamp: 32:46]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
So, before the break, we were talking about lightning protection. And I think that that is an important home improvement that too few people actually do.
LESLIE: Especially when you think about the high concentrations of areas that do get lightning strikes. I mean, they get so many per area per storm that it's kind of a scary thought. So what can they do?
TOM: Well, lightning protection is basically a system that redirects the energy from a lightning strike around your house so that it doesn't impact ... it doesn't, you know, burn your house; it doesn't fry your wiring in your house. And it has to be professionally installed because there are some tricks to the trade. For example, you need to have the lightning arrestors on the roof and the cabling that goes down the side of the house to the ground stake can't be near any plumbing pipes and it can't be near any electrical wires. Why?
LESLIE: Oh, that's smart because, otherwise, it would come back in.
TOM: It would just jump right over. That's exactly right. So, putting a lightning protection system in is a good idea. Plus, it looks pretty darn cool. Have you seen the really neat copper ones?
LESLIE: No, I haven't.
TOM: I've got one that's got like a glass vial on top of it that's kind of cool. And I guess if ... that's how you'll know if it was ever struck, because the glass would like break. But you wouldn't care because it just saved your house.
LESLIE: That's excellent. So I guess that's something you would need to update every time your house did get struck by lightning.
TOM: Well ...
LESLIE: Although they do say lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice.
TOM: That's right. Unless you're asking for it, I guess. (laughing)
LESLIE: Unless you're standing out there like Ben Franklin with a key.
LESLIE: Well, alright folks. We've got our usual Money Pit fantastic prize to give away this hour to one lucky caller who gets their question answered on air. And it's a fantastic vacuum. It's the VAX X5 and it actually makes vacuuming fun because it's so cool. It's got an easy-reach cleaning wand that extends 11 feet; so you're not going to have to bend or climb or stand on that couch to get to the ceiling to clean those spider webs. Come on, folks. You know they're there. And it's got a 27-foot cord which retracts with an easy-to-use foot control. So it's a super prize and it's worth about 300 bucks. So call in now.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Delores in Texas has a kitchen question. What can we do for you?
DELORES: Hi. I have a copper countertop in my kitchen and, of course, when it gets moisture on it, it - and water, whatever - it turns green. (chuckling) And then it has to be cleaned probably every three or four weeks. But I would like to seal it, some way, so that I wouldn't ... that wouldn't happen when moisture gets on it.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, when you're sealing the copper, you want to make sure that you have something that's very durable, obviously, because you're going to be cleaning it a lot and it's going to be in a very moist situation. There are a couple of options. You can go with an acrylic top coat with something that's in a high gloss that'll go on there. But if you do that, make sure you pick something that's non-yellowing. Because when you're in a kitchen situation and there's a lot of moisture, it can tend to yellow. So make sure you choose an acrylic topcoat that doesn't have ... I mean, that has a non-yellowing component to it.
Also, you can get a lacquer, which would give it a nice, high sheen. Or resin. And resin's going to be a little bit more caustic. It's a toxic smelling thing, but it's safe to use. Just make sure you wear a respirator and install it properly. But that can do a nice, self-leveling, even top coat. And there's something called EnviroTex Lite, which you can get at any sort of craft store. And it's a two-part resin mixture and you can pour that on; it self-levels. And I like using that. I've done resin countertops with that before. And it looks really nice. It doesn't yellow. It goes on very, very clear. But it's very, very stinky.
DELORES: OK. Say that name again. It's ...
LESLIE: EnviroTex Lite. And it's l-i-t-e.
DELORES: I-t-e. OK.
LESLIE: It can be kind of pricy, but if you're only putting on a thin coat and you're not trying to fill something up deeply, it would work well.
DELORES: OK. Maybe that might be the best (inaudible).
TOM: OK, Delores? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Wisconsin seems to have a crafty question. What can we do for you?
MIKE: Yes, hi. Was just wondering what kind of equipment I would need ... my wife has a basket-weaving business and sometimes her baskets have a bottom on ... that solid wood bottom.
MIKE: And our supplier is going out of business. And just wondering what I would need to make these thick ...
LESLIE: Just like a round?
MIKE: Pardon me?
LESLIE: Just a regular circle of wood?
MIKE: Yes. There's circles, there's ovals. Sometimes square but mostly circles and ovals.
TOM: I would think probably the best tool for you to invest in would be a band saw. (clears throat) Because a band saw is a stationary piece of equipment and you can make templates to cut circles. You can even make templates to cut ovals. And it's pretty easy to use. How many of these baskets are you actually making, Mike? You making a lot of them?
LESLIE: See now, I was thinking, if it's mostly circles, you can make a circle jig for a router quite easily. By tracing out that base on the router and then making a long sort of ... almost like a do-not-disturb sign; you know, it's oval on one end with a hole and then it's like a long piece extending from it. Does that make sense?
MIKE: Yes, it does.
LESLIE: If you make one of those and trace the round end exactly to the router end, take off that plate, screw this piece on and then measure from the router bit out to your radius, you can then make a circle. It's ...
LESLIE: Yeah, if you just screw down the jig at the hole, at whatever measurement you want to make. If it's an 18-inch circle, put it at 9 inches. And then you just move the router around and you've made a circle and it's perfect.
TOM: OK, Mike?
TOM: There's a couple of options for you there.
MIKE: Yeah. If you don't mind, they're smooth also. And, generally speaking, the edges are rounded. What ... could I also do that on a router?
TOM: Oh, then there's another use for the router right there. I mean that's the main use of a router; to route over the edges and smooth them out quite nicely.
LESLIE: But you can even get the bit that makes the curved end ...
TOM: That's what I mean.
LESLIE: ... and cuts your circle. Like start it with a plunge bit then switch it out and go around with the rounded bit.
MIKE: OK. Thank you.
LESLIE: Are those noisy pipes keeping you up at night?
LESLIE: Making you have a hard time falling asleep?
TOM: Well, it can be kind of bangy and sputtery (laughing), that's for sure.
LESLIE: Well, what causes all those shudders and sputters anyway? Is there something wrong with the plumbing?
TOM: Actually, there are a couple of things that do cause it and that's the topic of our email question, this week, from Amy in Alexandria, Virginia. So, we will tackle that question, for Amy and for all the rest of you out there that have noisy pipes, next.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Pella Windows and Doors. The Pella Windows Your Way Sale is going on now. Visit us at www.pella.com. Or call 1-800-TBD-PELLA today for a free consultation. Pella. Viewed to be the best.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number; available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our live screeners are always standing by to give you the solution to your home improvement question. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or log onto our website and email us by clicking on Ask Tom & Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. This is from Amy in Alexandria, Virginia, who writes: 'This question is actually for a friend of mine.'
TOM: Yeah, right.
LESLIE: Sure it is! (laughing)
LESLIE: Alright, Amy. Well, let's see if we can help your 'friend.' Her friend says that the pipes keep shuddering and it's not when she turns them on. More like after the water has been turned off. She had a plumber who adjusted the valves under her powder room sink and that seemed to do the trick for a while but, now, it's doing it again. She says her neighbors do this ... her neighbors do this and is concerned that it might cause her pipes to burst. Interesting.
LESLIE: So now her neighbors are chiming in.
TOM: Well, it sounds to me like what you're experiencing, Amy, is known as water hammer. And water hammer occurs when water is sort of streaming through the pipes in your house, then all of a sudden you turn off a faucet. And the centrifugal force of all of that water rushing through the pipes, coming to a screeching halt, causes the pipes to actually move or shake or bang. And that's known as water hammer. There is a solution. It's called a water hammer arrestor. It's basically a shock absorber that needs to be installed at a key juncture in that plumbing system, that basically takes the force - it takes the shock, it takes the impact - of that water as it's running through those pipes and gives it a soft, shock absorbing kind of place for it to land. And that's what's going to stop the banging and the clanging of the pipes.
Now, the good news is it's probably not going to damage your pipes, but it sure is awfully annoying to hear.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I like that the solution is direct ... is named directly in answer to the name of the problem. I have water hammer. Well, you need the water hammer arrestor. It's a good thing.
TOM: It's very important.
LESLIE: There's no confusion there. And I think, Amy, you should tell your friend to tell her neighbors to butt out. They're kind of nosy.
TOM: Yeah. Tell your 'friend' (laughing) to tell your neighbors.
LESLIE: Or Amy, tell your neighbors. (laughing) I mean, your friend's neighbors. (laughing)
TOM: Amy, thanks so much for writing us at MoneyPit.com. If you have an email question, you can log on to our website at MoneyPit.com. Click on Ask Tom & Leslie and you can actually research all of the email questions that we get on the show every single week. We also want to encourage you, while you're there, to sign up for the free Money Pit e-newsletter. Coming up next week, we're going to have some tips on how to keep those fences in tip-top shape.
LESLIE: Alright. Even if the question's for your friend, we'll answer them all here at The Money Pit.
TOM: Well, Leslie, you are a renaissance woman, an expert in so many things. I'm sure that you could tell us what a well-equipped closet might look like. But today we're going to ask you to talk to us about what a well-equipped toolbox might look like.
LESLIE: Yeah, well this is a well-equipped toolbox for all of your home improvement projects. If we wanted to talk about well-equipped sewing box, that's another issue of Leslie's Last Word. But for today, every toolbox needs what we like to call here at The Money Pit the dirty dozen.
TOM: The dirty dozen.
LESLIE: That's right. These are 12 must-have tools. And this is actually according to the folks at the Family Handyman magazine. And here's the list. Are you ready for the rundown?
LESLIE: Get your pens and paper ready.
TOM: Let me have it.
LESLIE: OK. A cordless drill; a hammer; an angle square for marking and checking corners - that's very important; a multi-head screwdriver; a pry bar; a utility knife; a 25-foot tape measure - anything smaller is stupid. Don't get one. Get the long ones; an adjustable wrench; a chalk line; a circ saw; and a level - also very important. Have them handy in your toolbox and you'll be good to go for just about any project that you have on your tick list.
TOM: They forgot one very important home improvement tool, though, Leslie.
LESLIE: Safety glasses.
TOM: The radio. (laughing) To listen to us.
Thanks so much for spending this hour with us. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Coming up next week, we're going to talk to you about front doors, give you some tricks of the trade to improve the energy efficiency. But for now, that's all the time we have. 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.
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(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.)