Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist's understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. 'Ph' in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us with your home improvement questions. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemmas. We are all truss and no fuss, so pick up the phone and let's get to work. Coming up this hour, we've got lots of house fires that are out there caused by lint buildup. You know, it's in the clothes dryers. We're going to tell you how to keep your dryer running cleanly and efficiently and safely.
LESLIE: And listen, folks, we know if you're not emptying your lint thing in the dryer. You know how we know? And I'm telling this to my husband who's probably listening to the show. Because when I pull it out, I see blue on one side and white on the other; which means you didn't empty the lint screen (laughter) between loads. I'm like it's double-sided.
LESLIE: I'm on to you.
TOM: He's busted.
LESLIE: So make sure you empty them. And on the lines of clothing, are your closets one size fits all? Well, your clothes aren't so, obviously, your closet shouldn't be. Find out how you can customize your closet rods so that any one of any age, any height, any ability can reach everything.
TOM: And if winter is cold where you live, a fireplace or wood stove can be a great way to keep warm and to shave a few bucks off your home heating bills. We're going to talk to an expert this hour about how to choose the right fireplace or wood stove that's right for you. And we're going to find out about some alternative fireplace and wood stove fuels. You know, there are more things than wood that burn well in wood stoves. And some of them burn cleanly and efficiently. We're going to find out about that, coming up.
LESLIE: Alright. And one lucky caller we choose this hour is going to win a great prize. It's the Eureka Uno upright vacuum. It's $130 in value. So call us right now with your home repair or your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Terry out in North Dakota listens on KNDC. What can we do for you today?
TERRY: Oh, hi. We have a home that was built in the 70s. And we replaced all the windows in the house and since we did that, in the winter time we have a lot of condensation coming through the window - well, not coming through the window, but buildup inside the house.
TERRY: (inaudible) puddles.
TERRY: And I'm wondering whether we just sealed the house up too tight.
TOM: Mm. Could be. If you have good quality windows - you replaced all these windows and that's when you started having the problems? Because I would have thought you would have had it before you replaced them as well.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Beforehand.
TERRY: Well, they were drafty. Now they're not drafty (inaudible.
LESLIE: And you didn't replace them with single-pane aluminum frame windows? (chuckling)
TERRY: No, they're vinyl replacement windows.
TOM: Thermal pane windows?
TOM: Mm. Geez, I wonder if these windows are having a problem with the glass is not insulated properly. Because the reason you have condensation is because you have warm, moist air inside the house and you have a cold window. And if the glass is insulated properly - if it's low-e glass and has a properly insulating glass - I'm presuming it's double-pane glass - then that glass on the inside is going to be warmer than the glass on the outside so that when the warm, moist air inside the house strikes it, it doesn't condense. So my first concern is whether or not there's anything wrong with the glass in these windows.
The second thing would be just to give you some general moisture management advice, Terry, and that would be steps to reduce the overall humidity inside the house. For example, make sure your bathrooms and your kitchens are vented outside. Make sure you have gutters and grading that's sloped away from the house and that the gutters are draining water away from the house. So you really want to look at the moisture management issues like that to reduce the overall vapor pressure inside the house.
LESLIE: What about a whole-house dehumidifier?
TOM: Well, yeah, a whole-house dehumidifier would be fine as well but, generally, you don't use those in the winter time, which is when this apparently is happening.
TERRY: Right. Yeah.
TOM: You must have hellacious moisture, humidity problems in the summer. And a whole-house dehumidifier would be great for that. Aprilaire makes a really good one that takes out, I think, 90 pints of water a day out of the moisture inside the house. So that's another option for you and that would be permanently installed into your HVAC system, Terry.
LESLIE: Is there any way to test to see if the windows aren't insulated properly?
TOM: Were these name-brand windows or - you know, or were they sort of from a local window contractor? What's the story on these windows?
TERRY: They are a name brand window.
TOM: Hmm. Well then, I would suggest that you call the manufacturer and see if they can get a service tech out there to check the glass.
TERRY: OK. We can do that.
TOM: Yep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we're going to talk flooring with Elizabeth in Minnesota. What can we do for you?
ELIZABETH: Hi. I just [want to find that] (ph) my floor - I've got a laminated floor in my family room which is like on the ground level. I don't know. Before I had a [leakage of window] (ph) that the water does come in and we have got a barrier - it's a vapor barrier - underneath the laminated floor but it swells up. And I don't know how to do the correction for that? How do I get rid of the ...?
TOM: Well you know, I think what's happening here, Elizabeth, laminate floor does not swell by itself. I've seen laminate floor immersed in water and it doesn't swell by itself. So what's probably happening is the water got under the floor and the flooring has swelled. So basically you have a structural issue where the floor is actually swelled up above it.
Now, the only way to fix this is basically take apart the laminate floor and get to the subfloor that's damaged here and correct that and then reinstall the laminate floor. It's going to be a tricky job. If you - I wouldn't even tackle it unless you had extra flooring material available because you're going to end up probably destroying some in the process.
ELIZABETH: Right. So I've got to remove everything?
TOM: I think probably if you're seeing a buckle, you're probably seeing wood that's damaged underneath. The subfloor is probably swollen. Because laminate floor by itself will not swell.
ELIZABETH: OK, because I've got a vapor barrier.
TOM: The vapor barrier is not going to protect water that's coming through with a major leak getting into the subfloor. The vapor barrier is really an underlayment under the laminate. It helps it go down and lay evenly. But the vapor barrier is not going to stop leaks. And I think what's happening is the water got under there and it got swollen and that's why the floor is deformed.
Elizabeth, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: On our way to Alaska now where Ron listens on KENI. And it seems like you've got yourself a real Money Pit. What's going on over there, Ron?
RON: (chuckling) Well, I feel kind of foolish. I purchased a repossessed home back in January of this year. And it was, you know, kind of as is. The place had really been - not vandalized but mis-taken care of. The carpets were gone. The place is just a mess. And anyhow, but that was fine. I bought it as is. But the further we went along from when I signed the purchase agreement, it was about a ten-week period in there before we closed. And the vandalism continued ...
TOM: Oh, no.
RON: ... and so the damages continued. I guess I was curious to know is - should still be responsible for that until the actual date of closing?
TOM: Well yeah, but if - have you closed yet?
RON: Yes, we did. This was last January.
TOM: Well, it's a little bit late right now. I mean, absolutely. Because you entered into a contract based on your perception and your understanding of the condition of the house and the date you signed the contract. If things change between the date you sign the contract and the date you close, then you certainly should be entitled to renegotiate that contract. But now you've got a problem of trying to establish the history as to when vandalism occurred and things of this nature. And trying to pursue a claim against the government right now after this thing has closed, I just see this as a real bees' nest. Yeah, you might be able to get some different advice from an attorney, but it just seems like a real difficult situation.
Have you assessed its condition? Do you have a game plan for attacking this house and getting it back in shape?
RON: What I've done is, since January, I've completely remodeled the home. And I mean it's a great house and I'm very pleased about the outcome. It's just the added expenses. What I did have for - because they had it with a management company, there was a written record of each time the home had been broken into and the damages that had occurred.
LESLIE: And is that still occurring now?
RON: No, this was before I purchased it.
TOM: Yeah, but Ron I've got to ask you, why are you bringing it up now? Why didn't you bring it up at the time of closing?
RON: I did. I had brought it up at the - before closing. The thing that happened was because it had taken so long to get the home sale finalized because of the condition of the home, I had - still had this in question even at the time of closing. But I had been kind of reassured that the problems would be taken care of.
LESLIE: Yeah, but with ...
TOM: Who made that assurance?
RON: The HUD agency and their management company.
LESLIE: But you know what? Ron, when you buy a HUD home, generally, these are urban areas that are being redeveloped so you're almost like a pioneer in your own right because you're moving into a neighborhood that's generally different and you're going to find a lot of changes and you're going to find a lot of vandalism potential. So it's almost like buyer beware a little bit.
TOM: Ron, unless they've made written assurances to you at the time of closing that there was going to be some action that they were going to take, then maybe you've got a claim. If not, I'm afraid you're going to have to just enjoy that house the way it is.
Ron, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know, you're buying these HUD homes in hopes - you know, not guaranteed - that this neighborhood is going to improve. And it might not improve over a year. It might take five years; ten years. So you're sort of investing in the future.
TOM: (chuckling) You know what? You know what I think happened? I think he overspent on the improvement and now he needs to find a way to get some of the money back.
LESLIE: Well yeah, because if you overbuild for that neighborhood and you're the only person that's moved in and improved, you're just wasting your money ...
LESLIE: ... because no one's going to pay a ton of bucks for a bad neighborhood.
TOM: Yep. Yep. Next time, if anything happens to a house, folks, before you close on it, that's the time to deal with it. After you close, it's a whole new ballgame.
LESLIE: Alright, everybody out there in Money Pit land. You know it. You can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week; even if you just want to know what new power tool to get somebody for their holiday list. We'll help you out. Just call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, spending just a few seconds cleaning your dryer lint trap not only saves energy but it could also save lives. Find out the easy way to get that job done, after this.
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ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So, we were talking about dirty lint. And Leslie, you had an experience with this. Your dryer coughed up a lint ball once or twice.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It wasn't even my dryer. It was my house.
TOM: Your house coughed it up.
LESLIE: When we first moved in - you know, I understand emptying the lint trap, that it only does so much.
LESLIE: But you know, I never realized you could clean the entire system. And I pulled up in the driveway and it was like tumble lint rolling across the driveway. (laughter) And it happened more than once. And then I called my good buddy, Tom, who, of course, knew exactly what to do.
TOM: And we got the tool out to do that. You know, it's important to keep the dryer vent clean, folks, because by virtue of how the dryer works, it does spit a lot of lint through that pipe. And if it's not cleaned regularly, it does get blocked up and that means it's going to take longer for your clothes to dry. So the least that's going to happen is that it has to run longer to do the same job and that's going to cost you some money.
But just as important - perhaps even more important - it can cause a fire. And so, you want to be very careful to keep the lint out of the vent. The way you can do that is with a tool that's designed to clean dryer vents. It's called a lint eater. I have one and I think Leslie has one now ...
LESLIE: I do.
TOM: ... and it works very well. It sort of spins out on a fiberglass rod; allows you to run through the entire vent and clean it out. They're very inexpensive.
LESLIE: And it's really fun. And it's making me wonder how often I'm allowed to do it.
TOM: I did it about six months later and found, thankfully, not as much lint. But it was still effective at pulling a lot out. So I think about twice a year works. But I tell you what? The first time I used this tool, it was like raining lint in my yard. (laughter) It pulled so much out of there it was embarrassing. And so, it really got me thinking about it. Then I did a little research and found out how many - how many fires are caused in the country because of lint and it really is a problem. So something that definitely is to keep in mind. So, if you want more information on that tool, you can log onto our website at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Yeah, and we're going to have more tips to help you keep your dryer safe in our next issue of our e-newsletter, including special drying instructions for clothes that have been soiled with a volatile chemical; you know, like a cleaning agent or a paint or a stain. Plus, you're going to find out when to call a pro in to keep your dryer running safely and efficiently. And that's all in our next free Money Pit e-newsletter. If you want to subscribe, hit MoneyPit.com. It's all there.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We've got lines open right now, so call in your home improvement or home repair question. Not only will we solve your do-it-yourself dilemma, but you could also win a great prize. One caller we choose this hour is going to win the Eureka Uno. It's an upright vacuum that tackles all surfaces of the home. So if you want to win it, it's worth 130 bucks. Call us right now. 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who's next?
LESLIE: John in Maryland, you're listening to The Money Pit on WJFK. What can we do for you in your house?
JOHN: Hi. Well, we have a basement room we would like to turn into a bedroom, but we understand one of the requirements is that we must have an egress window in there, which currently all we have are these skinny little windows that are up very high from the floor. So our problem is we haven't been able to find a source for windows that would be the same width - which is 29