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: And what are you working on this fine summer day? If it’s a home improvement project or a home décor project, we can help. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Give us a call, right now, with your questions. No, we won’t hop in the car and shoo on over to your house and pick up the paintbrush and do it for you. But short of that, we are very generous with our advice, mostly because we don’t have to come over and do it ourselves. Because it’s just easier to tell you how to do it.
LESLIE: We’re trying not to.
TOM: We will help you save some time and some money if you give us a ring at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on this hour of the program, we are smack dab in the middle of barbecue season. And whether you are the resident grill master or just flipping your first burger, you might be at risk for hidden grill hazards. There have been a number of new stories this summer about folks that have been seriously injured regarding grills. So we’re going to have some safety tips, just ahead.
LESLIE: And talk about a dream job. Imagine being the person who comes up with paint names for a living. Well, one guy tried his hand at it and came up with some pretty unforgettable results. I mean this story is hilarious. I can’t wait to share it with you guys.
TOM: And one lucky caller this hour can stop leaving their safety to chance, because we are giving away the SimpliSafe Classic Home Security System. It’s a fantastic prize worth $350. It goes home free to one caller we talk to on the air this hour. So, let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you must have a home improvement question to qualify.
Give us a call right now. We’ll help you with your question and we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. You might just win that fantastic SimpliSafe Classic Home Security System.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Mike in South Dakota needs some help searching for a tankless water heater. What can we do for you?
MIKE: I love your show.
MIKE: Was just thinking about a tankless water heater as an option for our home. We’ve got a small utility room and one, it might offer us a bit more storage space in the utility room. But family of five, all-electric house, a lot of water usage, you can imagine, with an eighth grader, a third grader and a college student that comes home from time to time. And was just curious your thoughts on if there’s a good product to really take a look at and with return on investment, things like that.
TOM: So, do you have any gas power whatsoever? Do you have a gas grill or a propane supply for heating?
MIKE: We sure do. I do have a propane tank out back, about 250 gallons. I do use it primarily for gas grilling.
TOM: OK. Perfect. What I would recommend is that you look at a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters are awesome right now because they save you a lot of energy and they literally never, ever run out of hot water. And with those kids, you’re going to need an endless supply of hot water. Trust me, as a father of three, they use a lot of hot water.
Now, one of the complaints, typically, about water heaters is that it takes a long time for the water to get to the faucet, especially first thing in the morning. Rinnai, though, is now out with a new technology that incorporates a thermal-bypass technology, which enables you to have relatively instant hot water, regardless of how far that fixture is from the house. So I would take a look at the tankless water heaters made by Rinnai and I would look, especially, at the models that feature thermal-bypass technology. Because that’s really state-of-the-art.
MIKE: Excellent. I will do that. I live in an area where there’s quite a few plumbers, so we’ll see what options are out here. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Going out to California where Marlene has got a question about a rotten-egg smell in the bath. What’s going on?
MARLENE: In our master-bathroom shower, when you turn on the hot-water faucet, it smells like rotten eggs. It’s really awful. And this lasts for several minutes and then it’ll go away. We have, oh, six other hot-water faucets in the house, including a shower, and none of these faucets do this. And so we were wondering, should we call a plumber? Would a plumber know what to do to change this?
TOM: Marlene, that odor usually stems from your water heater. Even though you’re only smelling it in those couple of bathrooms, I suspect it could be forming in your water heater. That sort of rotten-egg or sulfur smell is actually caused by a bacteria in the water. And it’s reacting to the deterioration of the sacrificial anode, which is inside a water heater. It’s usually made of magnesium or aluminum and it will react with that and cause that odor.
So, one of the solutions is to replace that anode. And if you look at the top of the water heater, it looks like there’s a bolt sort of stuck into the top of the water heater? That’s the anode there. And if you pull that anode out and replace it, even with one – a better bet is one that’s made of zinc. There’s a type of anode called “zinc alloy.” That will stop that odor from happening.
MARLENE: Oh, OK.
TOM: It’s probably best to have a plumber do that, yeah. But if you call a plumber about this rotten-egg odor and tell him to look at your anode, I think you might find the solution right there.
MARLENE: That’d be wonderful.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we are always here. Well, people at our call center are always here and then they tell us you called, so we’ll call you right back. But we are here to give you a hand with your projects and that’s really what we live for, you guys. We want to help you get things done right the first time and also still keeping your 10 fingers. We’re here for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, everybody’s got a junk drawer, right, where you toss stuff in that you need once in a while? We saw this amazing, new plastic welder at the 2015 National Hardware Show that can fix about a zillion different things in your house and it’s literally the size of a pen. We’re going to tell you all about it, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by Pella Windows and Doors. Pella products with Insynctive technology can connect with compatible home automation systems so they can be programmed to help keep your home in sync with you. Learn more at Pella.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. Well, it’s your worst nightmare. You return home from vacation, you open up your door and suddenly you realize that your home’s been burglarized. It’s terrible. It’s the most violating feeling you’ll ever have in your life and it’s just unsettling in every way, shape and form. So do not be an easy target any longer. This hour, we’re giving away a SimpliSafe Classic Home Security System. No contracts required for SimpliSafe. You simply pay each month without locking into a long-term plan.
TOM: Yep. And there’s no wiring or drilling either. This is a wireless system that can be up and running in 30 minutes. If you want to find out how, head on over to SimpliSafeMoney.com. That’s SimpliSafeMoney.com. And there’s a special Money Pit listener discount if you go to SimpliSafeMoney.com. Simpli is spelled S-i-m-p-l-i-SafeMoney.com.
But we’re going to give one away to one caller this hour. So if you’d like to win it, you’ve got to be in it. Pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Olin (sp) is on the line with a wainscoting question. How can we help you today?
OLIN (sp): Yes. I was wanting to do some wainscoting in my living room. And I’d seen some people do it with pallets, actually taking the pieces off and using the slats for the wainscoting. And I know they do treat them with some chemicals and stuff. And as long as I run it through a planer and everything, would that pretty much treat it, as long as its sealed up with polyurethane and all that to keep it from being toxic from – for the children and stuff?
TOM: Well, I can’t really answer that question because I’m not sure how they treat the pallets. And frankly, I’ve torn a lot of pallets apart in my day, as things have been delivered, and I never really had a concern about treatment and never actually can recall smelling an odor from the treatment.
OLIN (sp): Well, I never would have thought about it but I looked at some pallet ideas online and I saw where some people had done wood floors with them and the wainscoting and it just – it looks stunning, really. It was totally different-looking from what you’d think a pallet would usually be. And so that’s what gave me the idea and I thought, “Well, that would be a cheap idea to use.”
TOM: Yeah. And hey, it’s an upcycling, too, Leslie. I mean you’re taking something and reusing it in a new and creative way. Better than sending it to ground to a dump.
OLIN (sp): Yes.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t be, personally, too concerned about treatment, because I’m not sure that they are treated. But I would say that if you detect any odors and you think that they’re treated, then by virtue of the fact that you’re going to seal them will probably minimize that.
So I – for me, I don’t think it would be a concern.
OLIN (sp): OK. Well, that sounds good then. I appreciate it, guys.
TOM: Alright, Olin (sp). Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cynthia in New York is on the line and there seems to be a whole host of problems going on with this tile floor. I was going to start itemizing but why don’t you just tell us what’s going on?
CYNTHIA: My house was built in 1948. It’s oak hardwood floors throughout. I bought 12-inch-square ceramic tile from Lowe’s in order to put in an area coming in from the front door, going through the foyer area. And last year, I installed – had it installed. And it was during a heavy rainstorm, so the repair people cut the tiles right inside my house and created tremendous – there was a cement dust throughout.
And when the installers left, they told me that the grout should be sealed, which I did using a special spray can. And they said that they would return to finish on the edges to prevent tripping, et cetera, because it was raised slightly higher than the rest of the floors.
After a few weeks, I noticed movement of the tiles and then a couple cracked. And now, all of the tiles move and the grout in the heaviest traveling areas has turned brown when I wet-mop it. The rest remains white.
TOM: OK. So, Cynthia, let me just summarize this. Essentially, you’ve had this tile down for less than a year and the tiles are getting loose?
TOM: Alright. So the installation was not done correctly. The grout – the porosity of the grout – whether it’s getting brown, red, yellow or blue I really don’t care so much about, because that’s all meaningless when the tile is not adhered well.
So the problem here is that the installation sounds like it was done incorrectly. I don’t know how they adhered the tiles, I don’t know how they prepared the floor but there is no way that tile should be loosening up inside of a year and having all of these problems associated with them. So, this is a situation where it really is the installer’s responsibility. And if you can get that installer back, I think they owe you a new floor.
CYNTHIA: Yeah. I can’t stick one here and stick one there or that sort of thing.
TOM: You’re fighting a losing battle, OK? Because you had – you saw it right away; they started to loosen up right away. Now it’s just getting worse. And the reason the tiles crack is because they’re not supported evenly underneath.
So this all comes down to installation. If the floor was put down correctly, those tiles would be rock-solid. Insofar as the grout is concerned, yeah, you do seal the grout. It is a maintenance issue to maintain it. I’m not so concerned about that. It certainly wouldn’t crumble if the tiles were secure. But that really is the issue. The tiles have to be removed at this point. The adhesive has to be pulled out. You may need another layer of underlayment. I’m not quite sure, again, how it was attached. And if it’s done correctly, though, it literally can last indefinitely.
Cynthia, thank you so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that project.
Well, the best inventions are the ones that solve common problems. We’ve got an invention here that’ll take care of a household hassle we all face.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s called Bondic. Now, it’s the world’s first liquid plastic welding tool and it can bond and fix pretty much any material. But where Bondic works especially well is on all of those plastics – utensils, housewares, kitchenwares, even toys that just seem to crack or break pretty much the second you buy them.
TOM: Yep. And it comes with a really interesting story. Robert Harbauer is Bondic’s CEO.
LESLIE: You liken it to almost like getting a filling at the dentist’s office.
ROBERT: That’s actually where the technology came from. So, my business partner is a dentist. And he had a client in the chair who said, “You know, that stuff you’re using, can I get some?”
He goes, “Yeah, sure.” But at the dentist, the little vial is like $800 and $300 right?
ROBERT: Because it’s specialized for the enamel and that?
ROBERT: And he came back and he said, “Listen, I need a bucket of it.”
He says, “A bucket? What on Earth do you need that for?” And it was for an electronics application where you have a tiny, little, hair-like wire you have to mount with a microscope?
ROBERT: And you can’t solder because the heat would wreck that component.
LESLIE: Tiny wire.
ROBERT: Right. So he would put that tiny wire on this part of the chip and then he would basically attach it with the liquid plastic.
TOM: Right. Yeah, so let’s explain how that works.
LESLIE: And because it’s plastic, does it still – it can still conduct.
ROBERT: No, it’s insulating. So the wire is touching but then the plastic surrounds and becomes hard and it grips it and holds it.
TOM: You can listen to the entire interview with Robert in our Top Products Podcast at MoneyPit.com. And to learn more about Bondic, visit NotAGlue.com. That’s NotAGlue.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Darryl on the line who’s got a question about a leak in a crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on.
DARRYL: Yeah. I’ve got a house that has a crawlspace. It’s got a cement floor in it and it gets water in the crawlspace. And been trying to figure out how it’s getting in there. I’ve noticed that the vents around the foundation are not very high off of the ground and I’m wondering if maybe that’s how they’re – it’s getting in there and if I can put some window wells around those windows. I mean they’re only about – these vents are only like 12 inches by probably 8 inches. And the window wells I’ve seen are much larger.
TOM: That’s not the issue, Darryl. Let me ask you this: when does the leaking seem to be worse? Is it consistent with heavy rains and snow melt and that sort of thing?
DARRYL: Well, yeah, probably. But I really – it’s hard to say because it’s not that easy to access. And I just know that when I have a long dry spell, it does seem to dry up.
TOM: So, when you have leaks in a crawlspace or even a basement that’s consistent with precipitation, it’s always caused by drainage issues at the foundation perimeter. So, by drainage issues, we’re talking about the gutters. If the gutters are clogged, if there’s not enough gutters, if there’s not enough downspouts, if the downspouts aren’t discharging well enough away from the foundation – you need to go out about 4 to 6 feet if you’re dealing with a water-infiltration issue.
And aside from the gutters, the grading, the soil around the outside has to slope away. And so what I would do in your case is I would take a really careful look at the gutters. Because I’ve got to tell you, most of the time, that’s going to solve it. If you get – if you make sure the gutters are collecting water and discharging them far away from the foundation, that’s going to solve it.
The way the water gets in is because when the soil at the foundation perimeter gets saturated, the foundation, being a concrete masonry structure, it’s very hydroscopic. So, literally, it soaks up moisture like a sponge. And that water can show up coming right through the floor. I’ve seen it come up like a little geyser in the middle of the floor. But it will come through that concrete cover on the floor of your crawlspace. So you need to deal with the drainage issues first. And I think that will solve it for you, Darryl.
And by the way, on our website there is a great article, right on the home page, about how to solve wet-basement and crawlspace-flooding issues. It’s one of the most popular articles on the site. And it will walk you through the step-by-step, tell you exactly what you need to do.
DARRYL: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Harriet in Georgia is on the line with a painting question. What are you working on?
HARRIET: I have a brick house and the trim is wood. My house was built in ‘78 and originally, the trim was painted with oil-based paint. And since then, it’s been painted with latex paint. And I felt like the oil-based paint lasted better, longer. And I wondered, which do you all recommend?
TOM: Well, certainly, oil-based paint is more durable in terms of sort of wear and tear because it’s harder. But if you have latex on it right now and you want to go back to oil or back to solvent-based paint, you’re going to basically have to sand that to make sure there’s no loose paint left. And then you’re going to have to prime it and then put your topcoat over that.
Because my concern is that if it’s not prepped properly, that you might get a situation where it delaminates, Harriet, and starts to peel off. You’ve got to get rid of that top layer of paint by sanding it to make sure that whatever is left is really well-adhered to the surface that it was originally applied to. Does that make sense?
HARRIET: Yes, it does. Well, if I did the oil-based paint and did sand it, would – is that a better paint than latex or does it really matter that much?
TOM: Well, it’s maybe a little bit more durable but there’s plenty of good-quality latex paints that are out there today. The thing about paint is you don’t want to kind of cheapen out on it; you want to use the best paint from a good manufacturer. Because if you use like, for example, a Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams, you’re going to have good results. The only time I really suggest oil-based paint these days may be on a floor, if you’re going to paint a floor, because it’s really durable for that or perhaps on something like kitchen cabinets, where the doors are getting banged around a lot.
But for trim, for the most part, you can use a latex-based paint.
LESLIE: Well, grilling and summer go hand in hand, so to help make sure your burger is the only thing that ends up well done, we’re going to share some grilling safety tips that you can’t afford to miss, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand and a leader in air-quality solutions. Haier is a new kind of appliance brand, focused on home solutions designed for each stage of the emerging consumer’s life.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, ‘tis the season for grilling and chilling. You know, cooking outdoors is a favorite pastime for pretty much everybody but it’s also an undertaking that requires some basic safety.
TOM: And here to give us that advice is John Drengenberg. John is the consumer safety advocate for Underwriters Laboratories.
JOHN: How are you doing, Tom and Leslie?
TOM: We are doing well. And it’s time to get out and fire up the grills and enjoy some of those summer barbecues. And I think that people sometimes think if it worked last year, it’s going to work this year and safely. But that’s not always the case, is it?
JOHN: That’s true. And the fact is that there are about 3 billion meals served off of grills every year in the United States.
LESLIE: That’s a huge number.
JOHN: Amazing number. That’s huge. But also, another big number is there are about 8,000 structure fires associated with grilling – is flare-ups that happen all the time. And that’s why you always want to do things the right way and the safe way.
And check your grill. The first time of the season, take a look at it. If you see twigs, some leaves and animals might have gotten in there, insects, whatever, clean it out before you turn it on and then you won’t have problems.
TOM: Now, very often I find that when you start the grill for the season, you will have spiders that have nests inside the gas jets of the burners. And the only way to get them out is to kind of run like a pipe cleaner through that. Because if you don’t do that, you’ll get sort of a backup of gas that can cause a flare-up and that can be pretty scary.
JOHN: That’s right. And you don’t need any additional protein in your dinner, so it’s a good idea to clean out those burners and make sure that you don’t have critters in there. And it’s a normal nesting place for various things. Rodents, too. Mice can get in there and build a nest. It’s surprising what you can find in there, so take a look. And even the leaves from last fall that might have blown in there or somehow gotten into the grill should be cleaned out.
LESLIE: Now, you mentioned 8,000 structural fires every year with grilling. Is it because people are putting their grills under an overhang? Too close to the house? What’s the mistake that tends to happen?
JOHN: It even starts more basic than that. The number-one tip is always grill outdoors. Believe it or not, there’s a tendency for people to take some of the smaller grills – the little, hibachi-type grills – and bring them inside if it starts raining and put them in the kitchen sink or in the bathtub figuring, “Well, that’s safe.”
LESLIE: No way.
JOHN: No, it really isn’t.
TOM: Yeah. That’s crazy. The amount of carbon monoxide that comes off even the smallest hibachi is insane. I actually measured it once and it would peg the meter in no time at all.
JOHN: Yes. And that’s just one of the issues. The carbon monoxide could cause severe carbon-monoxide poisoning, not to mention the fires that could be caused. You always have curtains in the bathroom and paper products and things of that type. The bathtub is not the place but we get reports of that happening all the time. So grill outdoors.
When you do grill outdoors, make sure you keep that grill 10 feet away from your house, your garage, your carport. Always the temptation to wheel it into the garage if it starts raining but that’s the last place you want to have a flare-up in your grill. You’ve got a car in there, you might have gasoline stored for your lawnmower. Not a good place to have a fire.
TOM: And if you get your grill too close to vinyl siding, you will find out very quickly how easily that stuff melts. I’ve seen this damage time and time again; I’m sure you’ve seen it, John. In the years that I spent as a professional home inspector, you get sort of that halo pattern in the siding where it melts and sort of arches up around where the grill was. And that’s not repairable. You’ve got to replace your siding when that happens.
JOHN: You bet and we do that here. We actually have built façades of homes just to check out various grilling techniques. And we find that if the grill is too close, you get that very pattern that you describe, Tom. And it not only could melt the siding, ultimately it could get under the siding and into the wooden structure and really cause a huge attic fire.
TOM: We’re talking to John Drengenberg. He’s the consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.
So, John, on start-up, do you think it’s a good idea to take the burners out, sort of wire-brush them, perhaps, to remove the lava rock if it’s there, clean that off as part of the start-up? And also, what about all of those rubber hoses? Good idea to check those for leaks, too. Perhaps with some soapy water solution?
JOHN: Well, certainly, cleaning out the grill for the first time is a good idea and periodically thereafter. You might have gone away for a few weeks and come back and want to do some grilling. Take a look and make sure that there’s nothing in there that could cause a fire.
But you’re right. The hoses. If you’re grilling with a propane grill, check the hoses to make sure that they’re tight. And if you do want to really check them, get a solution of dish soap and water and just put it over the hose connections. If you see bubbles forming, that’s a very good indication that there’s a leak there and that connection needs to be tightened.
Also, if you have the propane tanks, try to keep your extra tank. And many people have two tanks: one that’s just kept off somewhere so that – in case you run out of fuel. But keep that out of direct sunlight. Don’t keep it in the trunk of your car. And don’t keep it near the grill, because if there is any kind of a fire or emergency, you don’t need extra fuel there with the second tank of propane.
TOM: Hey, John, here’s a question that I have about propane tanks. Perhaps you’ve noticed this. So, the propane tank, the basic propane tank is known as a 20-pound tank because it holds 20 pounds of propane. But when you purchase propane today at a home center or a supermarket, they don’t put 20 pounds of propane in that tank anymore; they only put 15. So can you take those tanks that they filled with 15 pounds of propane and refill them with 20?
JOHN: Well, it will accommodate that but you want to make sure that you put the amount that the manufacturer recommends, because it all ties into the valve at the top of the tank. And if you have – propane is a liquid when it’s put in and so it actually is used as a gas, of course, in the grill. And the reality is that you want to make sure that you don’t follow the valves and that could cause safety problems too. So, whatever the manufacturer recommends on the tank – and usually, the people at the store where they’re filled would have a pretty good idea of just how much you can get in there.
TOM: Good advice. John Drengenberg, the consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit and teaching us about grilling safety.
JOHN: Anytime. Enjoy your meals and stay safe.
TOM: If you’d like more information from UL, you can go to their website at UL.com/Newsroom.
LESLIE: Well, would you look at your purple wall the same way if it’s painted a color that was called Barney’s Blood? How about Tarantino Red? We’re going to tell you more about some crazy paint-color names that were cooked up by one Reddit user, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is sponsored by Pella Windows and Doors. Pella products with Insynctive technology can connect with compatible home automation systems so they can be programmed to help keep your home in sync with you. Learn more at Pella.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And one listener this hour gets some added peace of mind. We’re giving away the SimpliSafe Classic Home Security System.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s wireless, so no wiring or drilling required. Even better, there are no long-term contracts. You can get home protection for less than $15 a month and then you can stop at any time you want.
TOM: And all Money Pit listeners get a discount. Just head to SimpliSafeMoney.com. That’s S-i-m-p-l-i-SafeMoney.com. And call us, right now, for your chance to win this home security system worth 350 bucks at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Scott in Alaska needs some help with energy-efficient lighting. How can we help you?
SCOTT: Yes, I’m currently changing over my house to all LED lighting. And I also – I have, currently, a few rooms with fluorescent-tube lighting and I’d like to change those over to LED. And I live up here in Alaska and I just haven’t been able to find the tubes with LED.
TOM: Yeah, they’re available. You can probably find them online and have them shipped to you. But they’re made in the same exact shape as the standard fluorescent bulbs. You know, they’re not inexpensive but they do have a very long life. Those kinds of lights will typically last like 50,000 hours or something crazy like that. I think the bulbs themselves are probably, I would guess, $20 or $30 a piece.
LESLIE: And the shipping is probably going to be a hundred.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. But they’re going to last a lot longer. I mean at this point, though, I would also price out replacement fixtures. Because you might find by the time you buy all those bulbs, it might be cheaper just to replace the fixtures. Plus, I don’t know how much energy is going to be wasted, because all those fixtures have the transformers built into them. There may be some system waste, in terms of the fixture itself.
SCOTT: OK. I’m just looking. I’m very impressed with the LED brightness and of course, the energy savings over a period of time. And I just want my whole house to be energy-efficient and save me money in the long run, so – but I just can’t seem to find them up here in Alaska yet. I do like going to Home Depot and they did have some LED tube – fluorescent tubes – but not in my size currently.
TOM: Yeah. I would order them online and have them shipped. That would be the way to get them to your door, OK?
SCOTT: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.
TOM: Good luck, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, guys. Do you ever wonder who names all those paint-chip things like Serenity Sage and Boulevard Blue? Well, one Reddit user tried his hand at naming paint colors and came up with some pretty imaginative and unforgettable results.
TOM: Yeah. And the post, of course, went totally viral. He Photoshopped an olive-green swatch with the name Olive-ia Newton-John. And he called a gray color The Color of My Tears When Friends Ended. It’s hilarious.
LESLIE: Yeah. The best part, though, I’ve got to say is that the color codes that he uses underneath them are hilarious. Like earlier, we talked about Tarantino Red. And underneath it, the color code was like MRDER, like murder? But there’s one that I like. It’s called Yellow, Is It Me You’re Looking For? And then the color code is L10NL, like Lionel 39 – it’s hilarious. This guy was just so funny.
TOM: Did you see the one that they called Ugly Living Room? And then in parentheses underneath, he writes: “Seriously, don’t.”
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s terrible. It’s true, though. Who’s using that crazy, orange color in a room? Somebody somewhere.
TOM: If you want to check it out, head on over to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. You’ll definitely get a laugh.
LESLIE: We’re going to Mike in Michigan who’s got some concerns about working in the cooler temps.
MIKE: I heard a rumor that there’s cement that can be applied in much colder temperatures. But upon my research, I haven’t found any company that sells it or has any knowledge of it.
TOM: You talking about caulk?
MIKE: Yeah. To seal joints and cracks?
TOM: Well, generally, the solvent-based caulks can be used in a lot lower temperatures than the latex-based caulks. Are you using silicone caulks?
MIKE: No, we’re also using polyurethane.
TOM: You might want to look at the silicone products. Now, this is nothing special; it’s not a new type of product. But I know that some painters use these down to 0 degrees.
Now, the trick is keeping it warm enough to apply it so it flows well. But if you can keep the caulking tube warm and then go outside and use it, the application should be OK down to almost 0 degrees, as I recall.
MIKE: OK. And the freeze/thaw cycle, I know, is water turns to ice, it expands. That will not expand the sealant being wet?
TOM: No. Because it’s solvent-based. You don’t have the same expansion issues.
MIKE: OK. And how well does that level out? Do you have to more or less putty it in and smooth it out yourself?
TOM: It is more difficult to level out because of the cold temperature. As you know, if you’ve ever used this kind of thing on a warm day, it flows really nicely. But because it’s chilly, it definitely doesn’t flow as well. But if you’re skilled with the caulk gun, you should be fine with it. And cleanup is a little bit more difficult, as well. But again, it comes down to your skill and I’m sure, if you’re doing it all these years, that you’d be able to overcome that issue.
MIKE: Yes, yes. We’re just looking – when we heard about it, we figured, “Well, if we can get another month or two out of the season of doing sealant, we can make more money each year by doing so.”
LESLIE: There’s also a product out there called a “caulk warmer.” And it looks like a – sort of like an insulated lunchbox but it’s more like an envelope-style. And you can hold two to five tubes, depending on which size you get. And that can help you keep the caulk at a flowable temperature while you’re getting ready to work.
MIKE: Oh, OK. I appreciate all your help and assistance. You folks have a great day.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Up next, there’s a popular household cleaner that’s sending thousands of kids to hospitals and even Poison Control calls are happening. We’re going to tell you what it is, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by QUIKRETE. It’s what America is made of. For project help from start to finish, download the new QUIKRETE mobile app.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, we’d like to say “aloha” to our new listeners in Maui. Money Pit is now on AM and FM out there in paradise. Check us out, as always, on KAOI 1110 AM and now also on 96.7 FM.
We’re glad to have you with us, Hawaii. Mahalo. And I want to also mention that I personally volunteered to go to Hawaii to introduce the new station to our show. But I think we’re going to have to shoot for it, between Leslie and I.
LESLIE: Oh, I’ve already been. They didn’t tell you? I’ll take the Hawaii visit and you can take somewhere else.
No. Seriously, guys, while you’re online, though, checking out our new stations and looking up MoneyPit.com, post your question. And Jack writes: “We do not have a closet in our bedroom. I want to build one but I’m not sure how large it should be. Any rules of thumb for closet size?”
Well, Jack, I guess that really depends on your bedroom size and how much stuff you’d like to put in the closet. I mean I’ve never heard somebody say, “Ugh, that closet is too big. What am I going to do with it? Geez.”
TOM: “Too big.”
LESLIE: “Just get rid of it. It’s too big, that closet.”
But you really want to be careful because you’re taking up real estate in that bedroom, so you want to make sure that the closet is going to serve a purpose, be very well-placed. It doesn’t want to seem like an afterthought, so you want to make it work. Maybe it needs to have a partner on the other side of the room so suddenly you’re creating a nook.
But I think a good rule of thumb is probably something around – 3 feet by 3 feet would be the smallest I would make it. But I would do 3 feet by 4. Think about what you want to store. Multi-levels. Do you need drawers built in? Get creative with how you’re going to use that space and then build around that. But don’t make it look like an afterthought.
TOM: Well, you know better than to leave medicine in reach of kids but what about basic household cleaners? They can be just as toxic. We’ve got tips on how to keep the little ones clear of cleaning products, including one product that’s causing more harm than the rest, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, those liquid laundry packets, they certainly make your life easier but they can actually complicate things, too. They’re small, they’re super-bright and colorful and they have prompted more than 32,000 calls to Poison Control centers since 2012. That’s a number so high because those packets resemble candy. Granted, a rather large piece of candy but they’re bright and they’re pretty and they smell kind of good. And if you were a kid, you might be tempted to shove it in your mouth.
Now, it’s not just a matter of keeping these laundry packets out of your children’s mouths. They shouldn’t even be handled by your kids, guys. Because they’re used in the washing machines, your laundry packets, what you get, they’re going to dissolve very quickly when they come in contact with moisture. And then they start releasing their toxic chemicals. And those can linger and make their way into your child’s eyes or mouth even hours later. And the laundry packets? They’re not the only danger to your kids.
You never want to store toxins in containers that were once used for juice or milk, unless you are clearly and properly labeling them with their new contents and then, of course, keeping them away from the kids. You also want to keep all of your household cleaners locked up, out of reach, no different than you would treat medicine, guys. You’ve got to keep it out of the way.
And speaking of medicine, if you’ve got older kids, you want to make sure that all of your meds are in a locked medicine chest, guys. You may think your kid’s not going to do it but they’ve got a friend that comes over and then somebody starts talking. And it’s a bad idea but they want to try it. Just lock them up. Avoid temptation altogether. And you need to dispose of medicines that you no longer use or that you’re not needing anymore quickly but properly, as well.
I know sometimes villages will do like a prescription-medicine pickup day where they’ll take all of your used pills and dispose of them properly. Check with your village or your local municipality to find out what the proper way is to dispose of medications. Some pharmacies even take them back. So just definitely do your research before you just chuck them in the trash.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to talk about window awnings. Now, we’re not talking about the kind your grandparents used to have on their house. No, the new ones are now adding style and savings and some are even very high-tech. We’ll have some tips on the new generation of awnings, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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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