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 question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we're here to help you get the job done.
Hey, coming up this hour, besides talking about home improvement we're going to talk about a gutsy new scam that con artists are taking across the country. You ready for this? House stealing. How do you steal a house right out...?
LESLIE: Running away with your house on their back? That's crazy.
TOM: Not exactly but it's kind of technical and they've figured out a way to do just that. It's not that hard and we're going to tell you exactly what to look out for.
LESLIE: Well, and also ahead, are you unhappy with the look or the energy-efficiency of your front door? Well, if you are you are in luck because you could win a $5,000 front door makeover by entering the Ugliest Door in America contest and it is sponsored by our friends over at Therma-Tru and we're going to have all the details to that exciting contest coming up in just a bit.
TOM: And summer storm season is almost upon us and in the case of a power outage during one of those storms it might not be a bad idea to have a backup power plan in place. We're going to tell you about a natural gas-powered system that can be permanently installed and deliver electricity to your entire house within minutes of losing the lights.
LESLIE: And if you call us right now with your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT you could win a showerhead from American Standard. It's worth 90 bucks and it's going to help you save water but still give you that refreshing shower you are looking for after a hard day of home improving.
TOM: So let's make those home improvement projects easy. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Oprah in West Virginia, you've got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
OPRAH: Oh, thank you for talking with me. I had put carpet on my porch about three years ago and now the edges of the steps are unraveling and I wondered if there was anything I could do or put them.
TOM: Why did you put carpet on your porch, Oprah?
OPRAH: Because it was - I had a painted porch and the mailmen were always slipping on it.
TOM: So is this like an indoor/outdoor carpeting kind of thing?
TOM: Yeah. Well, the steps are going to take the most wear and tear so you may have to replace the carpeting on the steps more frequently than you do in other areas of the house.
LESLIE: What about some sort of metal edger that just sort of affixes, you know, on the tread and over - you know, down onto the rise?
TOM: Well, you could but you want to make sure that it's weather-resistant.
OPRAH: Yes, I was afraid that maybe they would catch somebody's toe with the metal.
TOM: Well there are different types of thresholds and strips and edging strips for carpet.
LESLIE: Even like durable plastic.
TOM: Yeah, I would head out to the home center, look at what's available and see if you can find something that actually looks like it'll fit.
LESLIE: Because if your carpet hasn't unraveled that much you might be able to cover it, depending on the depth of these strips that you might find in the store that are weather-resistant. If it's unraveled enough you might have to replace whatever is on that step and then go ahead and protect it. But go and see what's available at the store.
TOM: And thanks for keeping those mailmen safe.
OPRAH: (chuckling) And thank you for taking my call.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jerry in Nebraska is dealing with some poor water quality at home. Tell us what's going on.
JERRY: We built a new house couple of years ago and in the last four or five months we've developed a sulphur odor in our kitchen.
TOM: Are you on city water or well water?
JERRY: Well water.
TOM: OK. When is the last time you had the water tested?
JERRY: Three months ago right after this odor started showing up.
TOM: And what did the test show?
JERRY: That everything was normal.
TOM: It might mean that the water is safe it just has a bad odor to it and in that case you may need to add a charcoal filter to the filtration system. Do you have any kind of filter system on it now at all?
JERRY: It's a Culligan filter with a 10-mitron filter but it basically just catches sand and rust particles.
TOM: Right, doesn't affect taste. I would call the Culligan guys; talk to them about the taste problem that you're having, the odor problem; and find out if a charcoal filter might be in your future because I have a feeling that it is. And that will take that smell right out and I think you'll be a lot happier with it.
JERRY: OK, thank you.
TOM: Jerry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joan in New York is dealing with a concrete problem. What can we do for you?
JOAN: Yes, we have a 48-year-old house with an oversized two-car garage. Over the years, cracks have occurred in the cement floor.
JOAN: They have been repaired but eventually reappear. We're wondering if there's any solution, other than tearing up the entire floor.
TOM: Not really because you have a structural problem.
TOM: For whatever reason, the floor is moving. It could be that the soil underneath the slab was never compacted properly. It could have been that there was biodegradable material that's in that dirt, like tree parts and stuff like that, and they've rotted out over the years and caused voids. And so the fact that it continues to crack is just evidence of the fact that the slab is continuing to move and you're not going to stop that without a major project. Now, if this was a commercial property and it was a very expensive floor we could talk about mudjacking and things like that. But for your average residential home it doesn't make sense to do any of those sorts of structural repairs. A garage floor, fortunately, though, is not load-bearing. It's basically just a durable surface that allows you to park your car on it; so I wouldn't worry about it structurally. But if you want to stop it from cracking it needs to be broken out and then properly poured and reinforced.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit and if you can't figure it out, spring is the perfect time to tackle those outdoor projects. So let us help you and give you a hand to get the job done. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement question.
Up next, house stealing. We're going to tell you how con artists are making your house theirs with just some simple switcharoo of the paper work.
[audio timestamp: 0:06:35.7]
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: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and whatever your spring home improvement project is give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller that we talk to this hour is going to win the FloWise showerhead from American Standard and it uses a special mechanism to create a really powerful spray but it doesn't use a ton of water. It's worth 90 bucks but it could be yours for free so call us now, ask your question on the air and we're going to throw your name into the Money Pit hardhat for your chance to win.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Alright Leslie, you've got to hear this. The FBI has uncovered a pretty gutsy new scam out there called house stealing.
LESLIE: This is crazy.
TOM: It basically combines identify theft with a mortgage scam. Con artists first pick out a house to steal and then they assume the owner's identity; pretty easy, as you may know, with all the identity theft that's out there. Then they go ahead and file some forms that transfer the property over to them.
LESLIE: It's so crazy and it's scary that it seems like it's so simple to accomplish. So here is what the FBI is telling all of you to look out for.
If you get a payment book or information from a mortgage company that's not yours, whether your name is on it or not - on the envelope, on the papers - don't just throw it away. Hold onto it and follow up with that company that sent it and from time to time go ahead and check out all the information pertaining to your home through your county's deed office just to make sure that everything is right. They'll let you take a look at everything. It's not going to cost you anything but in the long run it could save you a ton of money and a lifetime of hassle.
TOM: That's why every once in a while I like to order one of those credit reports because you never know who's messing with your credit and sometimes ...
LESLIE: It's so scary.
TOM: ... you don't find out until it's too late. So you've got to keep an eye ...
LESLIE: I tell you, I had an incident with my credit card one time ...
TOM: You did.
LESLIE: ... because I have one credit card for work, you know, with the TV shows I work on and I do a lot of shopping on the internet; you know, one-time items from random companies ...
LESLIE: ... and you don't really care about the legitimacy but they have a great tile and you want it and you need it for filming so you get it. And I noticed a $6.00 charge on a credit card statement. I was like 'Aw, whatever.' Next month, a $600 charge and someone had just phished my credit card off the internet ...
TOM: And they were testing it?
LESLIE: ... and was ready to go shopping. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah, and if it worked, then look out.
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly. You've got to pay attention.
TOM: (overlapping voices) You can't be too careful. Watch out all the time. That's why we're here to watch out for you; to help you get those home improvement projects done. Pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Lots of folks standing by. Let's get to it.
LESLIE: Well, some squirrels are driving Jeff in New Hampshire nuts. Ha-ha. (Tom chuckles) Sorry, Jeff, I had to do it. Welcome, Jeff. What can we help you with.
JEFF: Yes, hi. Gray squirrels. They're all over the place and a few years back I guess there were certain times during the year where they wouldn't allow you to hunt them.
JEFF: And talking to the game warden I guess you can do it all year now. So the population is up there. Anyways, they've found their way into our home rather than finding a place in a tree and I don't know if it's a soffit or the eave, but at the bottom of the roof line ...
JEFF: ... there's a little bit of an overhang and - right at the edge of the house; they've gnawed their way there. So they're not actually in the house but ...
TOM: What kind of soffits do you have? Are they wood or vinyl or what?
JEFF: Yeah, it's all wood.
TOM: It's all wood? Are they chewing right through the wood?
TOM: Well Jeff, we need to get rid of these squirrels once and for all and there's a couple of things that you can do. First of all, the area that you repair - are you repairing that with wood; are you trying to put a wood patch there? Because probably the best thing to use is hardware cloth, which is like a mesh, or a piece of sheet metal over that hole.
JEFF: I've used a couple of old license plates and they've eaten around that, too.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, the other thing that you need to do then is just start trapping them and the best thing to do that is with a Havahart trap.
JEFF: Yeah, OK. Well, thanks.
TOM: You're very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, here at The Money Pit we sometimes try to determine the source of mystery noises. Diane in California, what are you hearing?
DIANE: Hi, I have a - there's a hum that's coming from inside my bathroom ...
DIANE: ... and underneath the bathroom is where the water heater and the furnace and then the septic system pump and all that is. So at first I thought it was that, but I shut the electricity off in the house and it's not that.
LESLIE: And it's really bothering you.
DIANE: Well, it's a very loud hum. And so I went out to the street and shut the water main off and the hum went away. And so ...
DIANE: ... my question is have you ever heard of water from the tank of the toilet or some sort of place where pressure is - maybe there's a leak or something in there causing a hum in the pipes?
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, copper pipes do a really good job of transmitting sounds, but typically what causes this is if you have a bad valve somewhere. Now it could be the fill valve on the toilet. It could be the main water valve to the house. It could be another valve somewhere that's not fully open or fully closed and so when the water runs through it's causing like a turbulence that causes a vibration that transmits down the pipe causing the sound that you hear.
TOM: So what I would try to do is identify, by turning off different valves; like for example, if you turn off the toilet does it still happen. You know, kind of isolate it that way until you figure out exactly what's causing the problem. And lastly, when you're in that crawlspace, I'd also check the pipes to make sure they're securely attached to the framing because if you have loose brackets, sometimes the brackets ...
LESLIE: Some sort of vibration?
TOM: Yeah, the vibration gets a lot worse.
DIANE: OK. Well that's helpful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome, Diane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Leonard in Alaska, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
LEONARD: I was wondering what the remedy was or the ingredients for a plugged sewer line. Not plugged but, you know, partially plugged.
TOM: Do you know where in the line it's plugged, Leonard?
LEONARD: Not for sure, no; just - well actually it's not plugged. It's just draining slower.
TOM: OK, so we're talking about the waste pipe like from your sink?
LEONARD: Yeah, from the shower.
TOM: Leonard, what you need to do is take a half a cup of baking soda and a half a cup of white vinegar; pour that down the drain together then wait about 15 minutes and then follow that up with some boiling water.
LESLIE: You know and if you just boil some water in a teakettle and then bring that right to the bath and dump that down then - you'll be really careful with it though because you don't want to hurt yourself. And also, if you've used a commercial drain cleaner, give it a good day before you go ahead and do this homemade concoction because the two can mix and cause some fumes that won't make you feel so great. So give it some time if you've just done a commercial product. But the homemade remedy really does the trick.
LEONARD: Very good.
TOM: That should do it.
LEONARD: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You're welcome, Leonard. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Elaine in North Carolina is looking to keep some bugs out of the house. What kind of bugs are you seeing?
ELAINE: Oh, it's just an assortment of different kinds of bugs; maybe some palmettos, spiders; you know, not like termites or anything like that. But if we don't - so far, if we don't pay an exterminator to come in spray, you know, every three or four months, they come in the house.
TOM: Yeah, and that's a problem because with the way these insects are today, the treatments are very, very specific. You know, pest control has changed to the point where the chemicals that we're using are very, very specific and you can't put sort of the generic chemicals down anymore and expect them to do the job. You really need to have the pro come in and spray the right products down to keep the infestations down on the bugs that are inside your house. So aside from sealing and caulking and making sure you have good screens and things like that, if you do want to keep those bugs away from your house you really need a pro to spray every now and again.
LESLIE: Is it more cost-effective if you sign up for some sort of maintenance service plan with the extermination company to sort of, you know, keep costs down from them coming back every so often?
TOM: I think that it is but I tell you, I'm so concerned about the level of pesticides that we put in our homes, I always recommend a pro over the do-it-yourself products because I think people tend to over-apply and actually put themselves and their family at greater risk.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, did you know that your front door is a potential weak spot when it comes to strong wind, heavy rain and that flying debris that loves to go airborne in a storm? Well, if your door is a little worse for wear and could use a makeover, we've got a great opportunity for you. Up next we'll have details on how you can win a $5,000 makeover from Therma-Tru by entering the Ugliest Door in America contest.
[audio timestamp: 0:16:16.1]
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home's exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That's B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
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.
Hey, did you know that May is National Home Remodeling month? It's enough of a reason to take a closer look at the first impression people have of your home: your front door. Replacing that door can add lots of value. In fact, it can add value that's five times the cost of the project itself; a great investment for your home. And it's a project that's not too drastic. In most cases it can be accomplished in a single weekend.
LESLIE: Yeah, and if you're short on cash this spring yet it's a project that really seems like something you're into and you're looking at your front door and you're thinking, 'Ugh, I could really use a new one or update it or something; energy efficiency. My door is horrible!' well then you are in luck because we've got some friends over at Therma-Tru doors and they are offering to help you out by launching their fourth annual search for the Ugliest Door in America and they're going to pick two of them. They're going to get two grand-prize winners who are going to receive Therma-Tru entry door makeovers with a retail value of up to $5,000. If you want to be in it you've got to go to this website; it's MyUglyDoor.com and you can enter everything you need to do to get in it right there.
TOM: There's actually two ways to enter. You can write a short essay about why you have the ugliest door in America and send it in with two pictures of your door; or for those of you that are the super-creative video types, go ahead and shoot a 60-second video of your door. Tell your story and submit it at MyUglyDoor.com.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by to help you out with your projects, floors or doors. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Anthony in Georgia is looking to keep an attic cool. What's going on at your Money Pit?
ANTHONY: I was - I built a house last summer ...
ANTHONY: ... and they installed three little vents at the top. I was in a smaller house; about 1,200-square-foot house. I put a powered attic fan up there; not the gable mount but up at the ridge.
ANTHONY: I mounted it at the top and cut a hole in the roof and put it in there.
TOM: Right, right.
ANTHONY: Seemed to help a lot but I have since been told that you can actually pull cool air out of the house into the attic doing that.
TOM: That's correct, because what happens is when you turn the attic fan on not only does it depressurize the attic space but it'll reach down through the walls and through the ceiling, through all the little gaps like where wires run through the walls and that sort of space, and it'll actually reach in and find its way into the interior space of your house and actually suck out some of the air conditioning.
TOM: So attic fans, even though they do a great job of cooling the attic, unfortunately they don't stop there and they pull air conditioned air from the house itself.
TOM: So the best way to cool that attic is probably by increasing the amount of ventilation that the builder put in initially. You mentioned three separate vents. It sounds like you have three separate roof vents and what you want instead is a vent that goes down the entire peak of the roof and that's called a ridge vent and you want to match that with fully-open soffit vents. Continuous ridge and soffit venting is the best way to flush the warm air out of the attic in the summer and the cooler and moist air out of the attic in the winter when that can cause condensation and mold problems. But not an attic fan.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, when storms are predicted it's time to batten down those hatches by picking up things like garbage cans and lawn furniture and toys that can fly around your yard and cause damage. But what can you do to prevent the related power failures that always seem to show up, especially during those real summer thunder bumpers that seem to knock all the lights out? We're going to have details on a system that can restore the entire power in your house in 15 seconds, after this.
[audio timestamp: 0:20:33.5]
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.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you pick up the phone and call us right now not only will you get the answer to your home improvement question but a chance to win a $90 showerhead from American Standard. It's called the FloWise showerhead and it uses 40 percent less water than current standards. One caller we talk to this hour is going to win it. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Maybe you've got a call about 'What do I do with all this crazy weather that's going to be happening this summer and I've got a lot of things running on electricity ...' perhaps '... that I don't want to lose information that's saved on like my computer.' Or maybe 'What about the air conditioning that I know I'm going to need?' Well, more and more homeowners out there, and small business owners, are addressing this concern and they're installing a permanent standby power generator and even more are considering doing so, especially based on the growing popularity that we're seeing in the industry, at industry events, on these automatic units.
TOM: And actually, I have one of these units installed in my house. I have a Generac backup natural gas-powered generator. And the reason I put it in was not so much because I was concerned about power outages. At the time, the radio show, I was broadcasting it from a studio I had built in the house and we actually got knocked off the air.
LESLIE: Because of a storm?
TOM: Because of a storm. And so I said, 'Well, that can't happen again,' and so I got one of these automatic generators and after I did that I don't know why it took me so long because now every time the power goes out in the house, whether I'm on the air or not, I love the fact that my house is the only one on the entire street that has lights. It's kind of spooky.
LESLIE: It's kind of creepy I bet.
TOM: Looks a bit possessed, but it's darn convenient and we never have to worry about the refrigerator going out or losing the computers because this natural gas generator from Generac, the standby generator, it repowers the entire house in like 15 seconds. It comes on; lights are back on; no problem, we're back to work.
LESLIE: And it's great. You don't have to worry about gas; you don't have to worry about any sort of air quality situations; where do you put the generator. It really is quite user-friendly.
TOM: And if you don't have natural gas in your house you can do this with propane as well. So propane or natural gas, it works great. No gasoline to mess with. And in the next edition of our e-newsletter we're going to give you some additional tips on preparing for storms, including the best way to track them so you kind of know when they're coming and you have plenty of time to get things battened down before that happens. Sign up for free at MoneyPit.com.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: Pam in North Carolina, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
PAM: I have a house that was built in 1972 and it's built on slab. The entire center of the house is an atrium and it has a slate floor.
PAM: And under the atrium part, the - well all the ductwork is galvanized and ...
TOM: Does it go through the slab; through the cement floor?
PAM: Yes. Yes, it is.
PAM: And in the atrium part we have narrowed it down to the atrium. There are pretty large holes in the galvanized ductwork and when we have rain the rain seeps in and sometimes it's almost to the level of the cement and we have to pump it out.
PAM: And I was wondering if there's anything you can recommend to seal this galvanized ductwork areas.
TOM: Pam, unfortunately this is a fairly common problem that a lot of people complain about and there's really not a lot that you can do but I'm going to give you two tips that could help.
TOM: First of all, we want to try to see if we can reduce the amount of water that's finding it's way up into those ducts and the solution here is the same advice that we would give you if you were calling about a flooded crawlspace or a flooded basement. If you get a lot of water that collects in those areas when the rain is heavy, you want to try to take the steps to get the water away from the foundation perimeter. So, for example, the gutter system; you want to take a look at the gutter system that's closest to this atrium area and make sure that they're clean and free-flowing and the downspouts are extending way away from the foundation. Also you want to look at the grade, the angle of the soil, as it slopes away from the outside walls. Those two things will help manage a lot of the storm water and keep it away from the duct space.
TOM: Typically what ends up happening here is people give up on the ducts and then put in some other type of heating system. You can use the ducts as chases to run PEX tubing. For example, if you wanted to, say, take this portion of the house and convert it to a hot water system or you could, you know, use some other system or run ducts above it and try to push the heat down which is, frankly, challenging to do but sometimes when you have these heating systems in the slab it's your only option. But I hope that gives you at least some place to start with it. It's not uncommon and unfortunately it ends up with them rotting out and filling up with water.
PAM: Should we fill those ducts with cement?
TOM: Well, if you can solve the heating problem then yes, you would seal them off.
PAM: Alright, that sounds good. Thank you so much for your help.
TOM: You're welcome, Pam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit and maybe you're dealing with something going on in your kitchen, like an appliance that seems like it's nearing the end of it's life; maybe it's failing or maybe you just know it's time to replace it. Do you think, 'Should I replace it right away or wait until it just stops working?' We're going to help you sort that out, after this.
[audio timestamp: [0:26:12.9]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America's choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you're looking for some inexpensive ways to spice up your kitchen or your bathroom you need to read my brand, spanking new column on AOL.com. Just go to MoneyPit.AOL.com and I've got a new column there that highlights kitchen and bath projects for under 100 bucks. It is possible. You know, these are the two rooms that we always talk about as being the ones that give you the best return on investment but you don't always have to spend thousands and thousands of dollars and this new column ...
LESLIE: Do they range from decorative to improvement to repair?
TOM: Absolutely. All of the cool projects that you can do for under 100 bucks at MoneyPit.AOL.com.
LESLIE: Alright and I love projects on a budget. And while you are snooping around the internet there's a great website - maybe you've heard of it; it's MoneyPit.com. (Tom chuckles) And while you are there click on Ask Tom and Leslie if you're feeling too shy to pick up the phone and give us a call with your question today and you can link up to our e-mail question bag here and we always jump in at this hour in the show. And we've got one from Sam in Fair Lawn, New Jersey who writes: 'My air conditioning unit is 24 years old.' Well, that's how old I am. (Tom laughs) I'm considering replacing it for an Energy Star unit. Should I do it now or just wait until the whole breaks and does the brand of the system I get matter?'
TOM: Twenty-four years old, Sam, you're a pretty lucky guy. I think ...
LESLIE: Yeah, what's the general lifespan?
TOM: Probably 10 to 15 on a compressor.
TOM: So, this is probably about 10 years past the average life expectancy of an outside unit so I definitely would think about replacing that now before it breaks down in the middle of the summer when you have your friends and family over for ...
LESLIE: And then you're waiting for (audio gap) to come out.
TOM: And you'll really be hot under the collar in more ways than one. So I do think it's a good idea to replace a real old compressor. And the other benefit for that, as you point out, is that the compressors today are much more energy efficient, so you definitely should be looking into an Energy Star unit and I think if you get an Energy Star unit then it doesn't really matter so much which brand it is that you actually choose; just make sure that it's Energy Star rated and it will be much more efficient than the one that you have now that is as old as Leslie.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Oh, lovely and it's so young and (knock-kneed).
Alright, we've got another here from Elizabeth in Bristow, Virginia who writes: 'We live in a single-family home in Northern Virginia. The house is about six years old and we're thinking about hiring a company for termite control. We currently don't have termites. Is this a preventive measure we should take? Do we really need this? Should we use a local company or go with a national provider?'
TOM: Well, I think reputation is important when it comes to choosing a pest control operator but to the first question - do you really need it? - you know, Elizabeth, in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector not too far north of where you live, I found termites in one out of three homes and I can tell you that the homeowners are always the last to know when the termites infest your home. So I do think that in this part of the country it's a very good idea to do preventative termite treatments.
LESLIE: And it could be even that a previous homeowner - you know, she doesn't mention if she bought this house - may have had some sort of service contract with a termite company, you didn't ask this question purchasing the house and it's just still effective.
TOM: And the treatments today are very effective. If you do them once they usually last 10 plus years. The type of treatment chemicals that are used are known as undetectables because the termites have no way to sense that they're in the soil around the house and this is good news because they take it back to their nest, they share it with all of their termite friends and family and then they never come back to infest your house again. So I do think it's a good idea to do just that.
A good website to go to is TermidorHome.com. That is one of the products that I'm very familiar with. I used to do some work for those folks and it's what I used in my own house.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We've covered a lot of ground; as we always say, 'Soup to nuts and floorboards to shingles,' and I think we talked about everything but the soup this hour, Leslie.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It's not too late.
TOM: If you've missed any part of this show, you can log onto MoneyPit.com where the show continues live online 24/7. You can subscribe to our podcast and also view transcripts of the program and we want to also remind you that now is the time to enter the Ugliest Door in America contest sponsored by Therma-Tru; details at MyUglyDoor.com. You could win a $5,000 front door makeover.
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 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)