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:
[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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project? Need some help with your do-it-yourself dilemma? This is The Money Pit where we talk about the ups, the downs of home improvements, the fix-ups, the mess-ups and when it's time to give it up. (Leslie chuckles) We'll help you get the job done right. Call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today's program, did you know that you can actually measure your home's energy efficiency? All you need is a ruler. We're serious. We're going to tell you how you can use this simple tool to find out how to make your home more energy efficient.
LESLIE: Also coming up, a quick way to cut your dishwashing costs by one-third and no, you won't end up with dishpan hands, Tom, I promise.
LESLIE: Alright, we want you to save energy and save money while keeping your dishes clean so we're going to tell you all about that.
TOM: And we're going to talk a little bit about decorating today; specifically, window treatments. We want you to be able to have a no-muss, no-fuss experience when it comes to window covering so we're going to tell you about a brand new window treatment by a company that you know that will make decorating any room in your house a real breeze. You can do it yourself.
LESLIE: And one caller we choose this hour is going to become one of our very first Money Pit American Homeowners Association members for free for one full year. Your membership is going to put you in the network of prescreened, licensed, insured home remodeling professionals and if you hire one you get a $1,000 guarantee that the job is going to be done right. We've got all the details coming up later this house.
TOM: And you get a boatload of services with this membership. It's really, really a good deal. It's worth 120 bucks. We're going to give it away this hour on The Money Pit so call us to get in on the prize, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, and to ask your home improvement question.
Leslie, who's first?
LESLIE: Peggy from Minnesota is looking to remove some moldy sheetrock. What happened? Did you have a leak? A flood?
PEGGY: Hello. Thank you for taking my call.
LESLIE: You're so welcome. Tell us how this sheetrock got moldy.
PEGGY: Well, I'm not actually sure if it's a true mold. We live in a house about 60 to 70 years old and we have a decorative sheetrock-type wallcovering in our basement which was put in about, oh, 20 plus years ago. It's becoming discolored in spots, although it doesn't smell moldy. There's no moldy odor.
TOM: Is the basement damp and moist?
PEGGY: It possibly could have been.
PEGGY: You know? I mean at some point it must have been. I guess that's my only thought.
LESLIE: Well, do you run a dehumidifier down there?
PEGGY: We do. Not full time, but I do try to run one when it's warm and hot and humid in the summer.
TOM: OK. Well, if it is mold you have to be very careful about how you approach it. I'm going to send you our website at MoneyPit.com. We actually have an entire mold resource section there. If you click on Ideas and Tips then click on the Mold Resource Guide, you can actually see all of the tips for cleaning up mold and there's some links to the EPA pamphlet that's online also about cleaning up mold and there's a lot of great information there. You have to approach it very carefully because you don't want it to become airborne.
But essentially you're going to - what you're probably going to do is spray it down with a bleach and water solution and then clean it up if it's a small area like that. If it's a larger area then you really have to take some personal protective measures so that you don't breathe that stuff in. But the quicker you get to it the smaller the problem is going to be. OK? So I do suggest you go to MoneyPit.com, click on the mold resource section right there and then read through all the tips and you'll be good to go.
PEGGY: Great, that's what I was hoping to find; what type of, say, face and nose protection we might need or ...
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Click on there. You're going to want to use a respirator while you do this and one with a charcoal filter works best. But again, go to the website, MoneyPit.com, and click on the Mold Resource Center.
Peggy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, now we're going to go to Alaska. Frank, what's going on out there?
FRANK: Hi, thank you so much.
LESLIE: You sound so close.
FRANK: I do sound close, don't I? Well, you never can tell. Alaska's a big state and I have two questions for you if you have the time.
LESLIE: We sure do. What can we do for you?
FRANK: Well, I am building a new house and my first question is about putting in a fire sprinkler system. I understand there's some type of national or federal code for putting in a sprinkler system. I, however, do not want to spend that kind of money. I want certain areas of the house protected.
TOM: OK. And so certain areas you want sprinkled and some areas you don't want sprinkler protected.
FRANK: That's correct.
FRANK: Would that be illegal?
TOM: Well, that's a question for your local code authority but considering the fact that I don't think that home sprinklers are required ...
FRANK: They're not.
TOM: ... then you probably have the option of putting in a partial system if you choose to do that. People make economic choices like that everyday and as long as an entire system is not required and it's a residence then I don't see why you can't do it on a partial basis.
FRANK: That's wonderful and that was my logic as applied to that issue.
The second question is we have, as you can imagine, electricity outages from time to time and I would also like to put in an emergency gaslight system; the type they probably still put in motor homes.
TOM: You mean a gaslight for like illumination?
TOM: Well, I wouldn't ...
LESLIE: What about an emergency generator?
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, exactly.
FRANK: Well, that will go in there, too; however, if the outage is long enough there may not be enough gasoline.
TOM: Well, I have a better idea for you. How about a natural gas generator? Have you ever heard of one of those?
FRANK: No, but out here we don't have natural gas. We only have propane.
TOM: Ah. Well, see ...
TOM: ... propane may not be a bad way to go, too. I personally have - I have a natural gas backup generator and I, of course, am on this side of the country in the east coast and if the power in my home were to go off it can be repowered within about 15 seconds and we can repower almost all of the circuits in the house. Now, if propane is something that is reasonably abundant there and you have a large tank on your property that might be a possibility.
I am really not familiar with any type of gaslight system enough to recommend it, really. I mean frankly, the only time I've seen gaslights is when I'm in the quaint, romantic places like Williamsburg, Virginia or a place like that, you know? I mean I can't imagine I would really want to have any kind of gaslight inside my house. I mean I would be fearful that it would be very, very dangerous; not to mention the fact that you have the venting issue. I mean look at the propane lights that are used for camping. Those are extremely hot and you can't use them in enclosed space.
FRANK: Right. However, the propane I would be using would be the same propane that I use to run my kitchen stove and my dryer.
TOM: Yes, but you know, again, you have a venting issue ...
LESLIE: But those are all properly vented to the outside.
TOM: Well, not necessarily. I mean a stove and a dryer don't use so much propane that they have to be vented externally and ...
LESLIE: And they're not constantly using it.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So I would not recommend a gaslight. I mean I would look for backup generation either gasoline, where you can store the gasoline and always keep some available, or propane or perhaps you can use a model that does both. But I would definitely not be very comfortable with any kind of gaslight inside the house in an emergency. OK, Frank? Our two cents for what it's worth.
FRANK: Thank you so much.
TOM: You're welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I mean especially in Alaska. They're probably freezing their butts off so they're, you know, so sealed up in that house. You wouldn't want to bring one of those light fixtures in there.
TOM: Yeah, it could become a carbon monoxide issue very, very quickly. I think if I was him I would - and most - I think most folks that use that much propane have a very, very large propane tank. We're not talking about the 20 gallon ...
LESLIE: (chuckling) It's not like your barbecue.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's a very large tank and I think I would vote for a propane backup generator probably as being the best option.
LESLIE: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whenever the mood strikes you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, want to make your house more efficient? All you need is a ruler. We'll tell you what to do, after this.
[audio timestamp: 9:55]
[audio timestamp: 13:38]
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is 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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I'm Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I'm Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller who gets on the air this hour wins a one-year membership to the Money Pit American Homeowners Association. Now this is a very special Money Pit membership and with it you can save hundreds a month on groceries. You are even going to save on contacts and eyeglasses, legal services and home improvement products and services. We know you like that.
TOM: I've got to tell you. With the way things are today, if you're a homeowner you really need this. I started using this membership a couple of months ago ...
TOM: ... and I really can't believe how great it is. You know you save a lot of money on different things. You save money on groceries, you save money on insurance. You need a lawyer, you need a contractor there's even a $1,000 insurance policy to make sure the job gets done right. So it really is a good opportunity. There is a 30-day free trial ...
LESLIE: Oh, good.
TOM: ... if you don't win this today. Yeah, the information is all at MoneyPit.com and, in fact, if you go to MoneyPit.com and sign up for this you could win a - well, not even win. We will give you a free laser level and stud sensor for just trying it out.
LESLIE: And this is for the first 1,000 people to sign up, right?
TOM: Yep, exactly.
LESLIE: Perfect. Hey, good incentive.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, the LaserBall 360 from Zircon and a OneStep stud sensor. Try saying that ...
LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah.
TOM: ... 10 times fast. And that is available if you sign up for this membership at MoneyPit.com. It's worth 50 bucks.
So, let's now talk about energy efficiency in your home because I think people feel the challenge by this they can't figure out exactly, you know, how to make their homes as efficient as possible. Very easy. Get a ruler, go up in your attic and measure your insulation. This is just one thing that you can do to make your house more efficient. Now, most of us are going to find out that we don't have nearly enough because the insulation standards change about every two years and if you have less than seven inches you have way, way not enough insulation in your attic. On average we like to see you have at least 10 to 12 to 14 inches of insulation. If you have that much that will do a good job on keeping a lid on your energy bills. If you don't, add some more.
Now, if you want to add insulation don't add faced insulation. Add unfaced. So it's got no paper face, no foil face. It's just raw bat insulation. And put it perpendicular to the insulation that's there right now so you can build it up. So if you go up in the attic and you find out that you don't have enough add some more. It's inexpensive. It's easy to do. Now is the perfect time. It's not too hot up there to work and you will definitely save some money this winter.
If you've got an insulation question, perhaps some other energy efficient questions - maybe you're thinking about changing your windows around your house or sealing up some gaps - we can help you with that, too. But you know what to do. Pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: OK, next up is Karen from Rhode Island who finds The Money Pit on WPRO. What can we do for you?
KAREN: Oh, hi guys. Yes, I caught your show and I have some questions. I have a couple of remodeling jobs that I need to do and I didn't know which way to go to get more bang for my buck. Like I have a bathroom remodel I need totally done; gutted. I have a basement that's finished that got flooded in October so that's all torn apart. And then of course the kitchen. And I wasn't too sure - I know the kitchen and bathroom add money but I don't know which one to go first if I don't have a lot of money to do.
TOM: Karen, you know there's a website that Remodeling Online maintains that has something that's called the cost versus value report. And I find it to be a very valuable resource. Basically what they do is they do a survey every year to try to figure out which home improvements have the best return on investment. And all three of the improvements that you're tackling have a great return on investment. In fact, they're so close it's probably, you know, not worth even considering what's going to give you the best because they're all going to give you good returns on investment.
For example, you mentioned that you're working on a bathroom, a kitchen and a basement. A bathroom remodel, national average you get 102 percent return on investment if you sell the house within a year. So in other words, you basically get dollar for dollar on a bathroom. Yeah, it seems like you actually make money doing a bathroom.
You want to talk about doing a kitchen; say a mid-range kitchen remodel? Ninety-one percent return on investment. And a basement is 90 percent return on investment, so ...
KAREN: Oh, I got all good - three good projects.
TOM: All good projects. Exactly. So no matter which one of those you do you're going to get a great return on investment as long as, you know, you don't go overboard and get too crazy. Generally you want to do things that add value and not get too personalized and too sort of out of the ordinary. You know, if you choose all of that really wacky wallpaper for one of those rooms, I don't know, maybe you'll be down below those numbers but on average you get a great return on investment for all of those rooms. So I would say, Leslie, pick the one she wants to do the best.
LESLIE: Yeah, or the one that's in the worse shape or the one that needs the most help. And I think they're all going to be good for you.
KAREN: The basement wasn't supposed to be done but then we got flooded out back in October in the rain storms. The whole finished basement got totaled. So now we have to throw that in the loop. It's all, you know, demolished.
TOM: Did you get insurance money on that?
KAREN: No, we don't live in a flood area.
TOM: Oh, that's too bad.
KAREN: It was just the rains - 10 days of rain in Rhode Island and I never had rain and water in 20 years.
TOM: Oh, boy.
KAREN: Yeah, I mean luckily I had team - I had mold, you know, had to get removed. And a lot of people got - I didn't get a team in here for almost 10 days because they were all booked up.
LESLIE: It seems to me that the basement might provide the most beneficial earnings to your sales. Because especially if you bring in - if someone brings in an inspector or home inspector they're going to look down there and they're going to see, 'Oh, what was this flood? What was all of this from?' and then it might deter them a little bit from pursuing a little bit more of your house; whereas something that's just stylistically not pleasing, you know, you can think beyond that. But if something seems like it could be a huge problem ...
TOM: Well, it sounds to me like the basement is the one that's really bothering you the most so go ahead and tackle that. I agree, Leslie, that's probably the best place to start. OK?
KAREN: Sounds great. Thanks a lot, guys.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, John in Savannah, Georgia, I think you called just in time. Tell us about your problem.
JOHN: Yes, I can usually fix almost anything in the house and I have a gas dryer, clothes dryer, and it continually is burning my clothes in little creases.
TOM: Oh, no.
LESLIE: Like, to a crisp?
JOHN: No, no. Just in creases. It's almost like - it looks like wherever the clothes are folded over there's a little crease and where that crease is is a burn mark on my clothes.
TOM: Does it look like a black burn mark?
JOHN: Yes, black or dark brown.
LESLIE: Like when you burn a marshmallow.
TOM: No, actually I know exactly what's wrong. Here's the good news. I don't think that it's burning it. What I think is happening is I think that there's a rubber roller that the dryer tumbles around and in some types of dryers what happens is the clothes actually get tangled with those rollers ...
TOM: ... and it actually leaves like a rubber - it's almost a tread mark - on the clothes. I've seen this before. That's one thing that comes to mind. The other thing is if there is any kind of a burning issue then A, you may have a problem with the thermostat that controls the amount of heat in the dryer if it overheats ...
TOM: ... or B, you could have a simple venting problem. Now, is this a single-family house that you live in?
JOHN: Yes, and I did clean the vent out so maybe it's the thermostat.
TOM: And it is venting? OK, so it could be the thermostat or it could be the rollers.
TOM: Either way, you've got to get this fixed quick; especially if it's burning.
Let me give you a resource; a web-based resource that's pretty good. It's RepairClinic.com These guys maintain a database on pretty much every repair problem out there and every brand of dryer and have probably heard this many more times than I personally have and can tell you exactly what to do and what part you'll need to fix based on the brand that you have.
LESLIE: And get you that part in 24 hours.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. OK?
JOHN: Alright, well we don't use it anymore and it's one of those things where as soon as I can get it fixed - it was a decision: do you buy a new one or do you try to fix the old one?
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
JOHN: OK, I'll go online to RepairClinic.com. All one word?
TOM: Yes, all one word. OK, John?
JOHN: Very good. Thank you and thanks for answering my question.
TOM: You're very welcome.
JOHN: I love your show. Take care.
TOM: Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: More great home improvement advice coming up but first I want to tell you about some great innovations and some new high-tech window treatments. No cords; really beautiful fabrics. These are Roman shades like you've never seen them before so stick around.
[audio timestamp: 22:47]
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by - well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That's 866-REAL-HOME. 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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you doing? What are you working on? Give us a call right now. Let us help you get the job done. Hey, perhaps you are tackling a decorating project. We have got just the person to help you out with that right now. She is from a company with a name synonymous with window coverings. No doubt you have heard of Levolor.
LESLIE: Yeah, that's right. Well, you asked and now you are getting. The company has a brand new line of Roman shades which are so beautiful and that's in response to huge customer interest in more options for window coverings. So here to tell us more about Levolor's Roman shades is Sarah Rusch (sp).
SARAH RUSCH (sp): Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be here.
LESLIE: So, nonstop e-mails; phone calls. 'We want Roman shades.' 'We want fabric.' What drove this new product?
SARAH RUSCH (sp): Well, you're right in that Roman shades are completely new to our Levolor consumers and what drove the innovation on this product was our consumer research and that consumers were looking for some innovations like cordless as well as some beautiful fabrics. So what's exciting is that Levolor is the first to market for Roman shades that have the cordless option. So we're the first and only line.
LESLIE: That's crazy because I make Roman shades and I know that regardless of the kind, whether they're flat or hobbled, you have so many strings on the backside to operate that Roman. How did you do it so that it's cordless completely?
SARAH RUSCH (sp): Well, you know, Levolor was the first to innovate and bring cordless out in the window coverings market and we've done that once again with the Roman shade line. Basically, what we were doing is make it easy, you know, consumers with homes, with small children and pets because there's no dangling cords on the front of the product. It's much cleaner for aesthetics. It makes it easier to lift. And by being the only brand that offers the cordless Roman shade, you know, you can have safety at your fingertips and, again, great aesthetics with a clean line.
TOM: We're talking to Sarah Rusch (sp) - she is with Levolor - about a brand new product that just hit the market; Roman shades.
So Sarah, for those of us that don't know the difference between a Roman shade and a Venetian blind (chuckling), why don't you kind of describe how a Roman shade is different from, say, a cellular or a blind product?
SARAH RUSCH (sp): OK, I'll be glad to. The Roman shade basically is comprised of all fabric which hangs (INAUDIBLE) to the front and kind of softly, I guess what we call hobbles or pleats in the shade ...
SARAH RUSCH (sp): ... so that you get more depth than dimension; whereas a slotted product like wood or a metal type product, you know, you can tilt the wand, open the wand and light comes through. With the shade product, like a Roman shade, you know, you raise and lower to get your light in and out of the window but you definitely see beautiful fabric all the time to the front within your ...
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it's so interesting. With Romans there are so many different styles that when you put them up they sort of, you know, portray a lot of different characteristics when you're dealing with a hobble drum and you get beautiful folds over on the front that are so clean and you don't have to worry about a window shade looking a mess.
TOM: And I've got to tell you. Our office manager - Leslie, you may not know this, but Lisa put in Roman shades in a brand new room that she was building on her house ...
TOM: ... and what a difference. Just a huge difference in the appearance. It really added some color, some class, some texture to the room. Really changed the dimension.
SARAH RUSCH (sp): Yes, Levolor Roman shades are definitely beautiful in that they're going to come in 90 trend-right (ph) patterns and stripes; more than any other ...
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
SARAH RUSCH (sp): So you'll be able to suit any home d