In this episode, we’ll unlock expert secrets on fortifying your space! From installing motion-sensing security lights to preventing frozen pipes and sealing pesky floor drafts, we’ve got you covered. Tune in for these and other home improvement insights to make your home a haven of safety and comfort!
- Motion-Sensing Security Lights: Stop burglars in their tracks by easily installing motion-sensing security lights.
- Frozen Water Pipes: Get thawed-full advice to keep pipes from freezing when temperatures dip.
- Floor Drafts: Learn what to do when drafts coming up from the floor send chills down your spine.
Top Questions & Answers
- Kitchen Plumbing Vent: What happens if a kitchen plumbing vent is left welded shut? Unless Kate’s drains are sluggish, it shouldn’t be a problem; otherwise, she’d need to remove and extend the vent.
- HVAC Mold: Brandon is worried about mold by his furnace, but it’s probably just algae from condensation that overflows from the air conditioning coil.
- Electrical Outlets: Why do some outlets have two holes and others have three? Lisa learns it’s from different types of wiring and how they’re grounded.
- Refinishing Exterior Wood Doors: John wants to be sure he’s properly refinishing his mahogany doors and gets tips on maintaining and protecting them from UV damage.
- Flooring Insulation: We offer Janet some advice on sealing drafts and adding insulation between the floor joists under her new side addition.
- Foundation Water: Rainwater is coming in through the rock under Keith’s house foundation. He learns all the steps he can take to improve exterior drainage and keep moisture away.
- Brick Flooring: Barb is struggling to remove layers of wax from her unique brick floor and gets suggestions for using a wax stripping product.
- HVAC Systems: Is it cheaper to run a natural gas or a fuel oil HVAC system? We think it’s smart for Bob to switch to more efficient and cost-effective natural gas.
- Textured Countertops: Is there a way to smooth down countertops that have a leather-like texture? Unfortunately, Ann would be better off replacing the countertops instead.
|TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Lesley Segrete.
|TOM: And if you’ve got a project you looking done around your house, you are in exactly the right place because we tackle home improvements every single day and we love helping you get those projects done. So if you’ve got a DIY project, if you’ve got a little maintenance project, you’ve got an improvement that you want to plan for the days, the weeks, the monster, or even the year ahead, reach out to us with your to do it alone questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 1-888-666-3974. Or for the quickest possible response, you can go to moneypit.com/ask and click the blue microphone button coming up on today’s show. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, it’s a good time to think about adding some security lighting to your home. And this is a job, maybe surprisingly, that you can do yourself. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know just ahead.
|LESLIE: And frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. We’re going to share some super simple and inexpensive ways that you can prevent those pipes from freezing and those massive leaks that for sure do follow.
|TOM: And if you guys ever felt the chilly draft like wash across on a cold day, well, it might be coming up from the floor below. We’re going to share exactly why that happens and the easiest way to fix it in today’s weatherization tip just ahead.
|LESLIE: But before that, we’re here for you. So if you need some help with a renovation or repair or a decor project, reach out because we’ve got tips, ideas and inspiration to help you avoid the perspiration when it comes to improving your space.
|TOM: Reach out to us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or go to moneypit.com/ask and click the blue microphone button. Leslie, who’s first?
|LESLIE: Kate in Minnesota, you’ve got the Money Pit. What can I do for you today? I live in a.
|CALLER: Fifties Rambler in Minnesota, and when I moved in, the inspector said that our kitchen plumbing vent had been covered. So this summer I went up there to uncover it, but the cap came off and it’s still welded across the top. Is there a reason that this would be sealed off like this and what’s the easiest way to uncover that?
|TOM: Your Hey, Leslie, I’ve actually seen this before. When plumbers put systems in, sometimes they do cap it so that they can check the pressure on the whole system. They’ll blow air in it and see if they have any leaks. Problem is that this guy forgot to take the cap back off. So in your case, Kate, you could cut off that end of the pipe to basically restore your event, but I’m not sure where it is. If it’s probably up in the attic, you really should extend it through the roof. Now, having said all that if it’s been like this for a long time and you’re not seeing like a sluggishness of the drains or hearing any gurgling or anything like that it’s probably working fine. They’ll be pulling air from other places in the plumbing system, and you might just want to leave it alone. But if you do decide to cut it, remember, you got extended up and out through the roof. You’ll need a piece of plumbing vent flashing to do that. You got to go on the roof. So it is kind of a potentially treacherous job for a DIY that’s not used to working in that environment.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’re going to chat with Brandon from Ohio who just bought a home first timer here and got a bunch of questions, as I’m sure you do. What can we help you with?
|CALLER: Hi. Well, thanks for taking my call. I am calling because the home has a little bit of a mold issue and a little room where the furnace is. And basically it looks like I don’t know if there’s water somehow getting in or what it may be, but when I go outside to see what’s going on, it looks like the gutters are working properly and pulling water away. But I do notice I like underneath like this portion of where the furnaces might be there. There’s no basements on a slab. There’s like a gap between like the bottom and there’s like a space where I guess there’s like maybe water’s coming up underneath. I’m not quite sure what’s going on.
|TOM: You have a central air conditioning system and a hot air furnace.
|CALLER: I do?
|TOM: Yes. Your air conditioning system, which is going to be mounted your ear, your coil for the AC is going to be on top of the furnace. And as the air blows over the coil, it’s going to release condensation. And very often the condensation can overflow if like the condensation drainpipe gets clogged or the pump stops working, or if it’s just humid, like the outside, the ducks can start to sweat. And if you have a little bit of evidence of moisture around the heating system like that, that’s almost always what causes it. And even though it looks green and disgusting, it may not be mold in the toxic center, more likely to be algae. Everything that’s green is in mold. You have algae of like and you do have mold, but it’s more likely to be an algae. And I think what I would do is not panic over this. I would I would watch it in the summer since we haven’t really gone through a summer yet in this house. And you’ll have much more information at that point as to what’s going on.
|CALLER: Okay. Okay. I’ll give that a try.
|TOM: You’d be amazed how much how much moisture those pumps will put out. we’re talking about gallons and gallons of water every day. Just pull it out of out of the air. Because when you when you cool air, it releases moisture. That’s why when you sit outside in the summer and you have like a glass of ice cold tea, you get water on the outside of the glass because the humid air strikes, the glass cools and releases the water. So that’s the condensate they were collecting in an air conditioning system. And then it has to be channeled outside.
|CALLER: Awesome. Thank you. I really appreciate that.
|TOM: You got it. Good luck with that project and good luck with the house. Call back anytime.
|CALLER: He probably will hear from me again. Thank you.
|TOM: All right. Good luck.
|LESLIE: Hey, you want to support our podcast and help us grow? We’ll go ahead and leave us a five star review on Apple Podcasts, and we’ll be forever grateful. Plus, you’ll be helping other homeowners discover our show. Just go to Money Pit dot com slash review. Heading over to Texas, where we’ve got Lisa on the line who’s got a question about outlets. What’s going on in your money pit?
|CALLER: Hi. We have an older home. It was built in 1960 and in some areas of the home there are older outlets with only two holes and then in some other rooms we have holes that have I’m sorry, outlets that have three holes. So my first question is, is it safe to leave them as they are with just the two holes, or should we have all consistent outlets within this house?
|TOM: Well, certainly you’re talking about two different types of wiring and the wiring, the outlets that have three that have the ground, the ground, plus the two prongs. That’s a ground wire, which is basically run separately. The ones that have the two prongs is basically to our system in the ground is done through the box itself. So is it safe? It’s yeah, it’s it can be safe. It’s not as safe or as durable, I would say, as having the modern outlets. But it’s just not a matter of switching out the outlets. You have to make sure you have the wiring there to support it. Now, if you’re going to plug something that has three prongs into the two prong, you have to use an adapter and then you have to actually attach to adapter using the center screw between the outlets because that’s how you’re picking up the ground. And even doing that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s grounded because who knows how those were put together behind the walls. So if you want to be sure you could have an electrician check them all out and find out if you will be creating a grounded situation if you use that adapter or not. But if you’re going to do some upgrading, I never think it’s a bad idea to upgrade your wiring and make it safe and make it current.
|CALLER: I see. Well, that is very helpful to know and that is something we can definitely take care of and contact. I’m actually a friend of the family. He’s an electrician, so we can perfidy that problem.
|TOM: Excellent. All right. Well, good luck with that project.
|CALLER: Thank you so much. And you guys have a wonderful week. Bye bye.
|LESLIE: All right. We’ve got John from Pennsylvania on the line. We need some help refinishing doors. What are you working on?
|CALLER: Seeking recommendations for exterior finishes for wooden garage doors and French mahogany would be to install.
|TOM: These doors are directly exposed to the weather.
|CALLER: They have additional mahogany entrance doors.
|TOM: But they’re under porches.
|CALLER: They’re approximately 25 years old. And I have used min wax spa oil based polyurethane marine varnish. Are there better.
|TOM: Alternatives? Well, maintaining exterior wood doors is certainly a big challenge. You do take a lot of abuse, as you pointed out Now from Mahogany. I guess it really depends on whether or not you want to preserve that mahogany. It sounds like because you used a urethane that you do want to preserve the beauty of the mahogany. And I think you’re actually doing it right. you’re using a good quality oil based finished that also is a marine finish. And by the way, the difference between a regular exterior urethane and one that’s rated for marine finishing is that the marine fish has much better UV protection. So I think you’re doing exactly what you need to do. The fact of the matter is it’s only in the last a few years and you have to do it over and over again. Now, actually, you have a mahogany front door as well, if I recall correctly. What have you been doing?
|LESLIE: Oh, well, I have a beautiful, solid slab mahogany front door, and the exterior of it is in full sun all the time, full exposure. And it just took a beating. So every couple of years I was refinishing that door, sometimes having to sand some areas, sometimes totally having to strip some things, but always with a new stain and a new coating just to keep it up. And finally, two years ago, I just painted the door black. I gave up.
|TOM: So basically you gave up?
|LESLIE: I did. I gave up. the insides, gorgeous. They sounded just kind of like, wax it and keep it beautiful. And it’s mahogany and lovely. The exterior is shiny and black and pretty, and I’m sorry.
|TOM: All right, well, it is a solution. It is a solution. Hey, it’s a tradeoff, right? All right, John, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Well, if you have a motion detecting light anywhere outside of your home, you know that it’s a great deterrent to both people and critters that you might not want skulking around outside of your home.
|TOM: And if you don’t have them, well, why not? They are very easy to install, They’re very affordable. And the sense of security and a little bit of peace of mind. So as long as there’s an existing light fixture, this job is a cinch. Kill the power, remove the old unit and wire up a new one. That is about it. It’s all it takes to add those detectors.
|LESLIE: Yeah, but how do they work now? Motion detectors are small electronic eyes, and what they do is they detect heat waves from moving objects. This can include people, animals and even cars. And that light stays on anywhere from one minute to 20 minutes, depending on how you set it. It’s going to automatically shut off if it doesn’t continue to sense any movement. Now, a photo a cell deactivates that light during those daylight hours, and most motion detectors have a semi-circular field of view, up to 240 degrees, an adjustable distance range up to 70 feet or more. So you kind of control like how and where it’s looking.
|TOM: Now, the one thing to guard against is what we call nuisance trips like a pet or a passing car or in my area, deer that run through the lights and they turn them on. When you don’t want. They can be very annoying to both you and your neighbors. And in fact, some home owners will install motion detectors for that reason. But you can usually solve this by adjusting the range on the detector and aiming it very, very carefully. Now, motion detectors also allow you to operate the light manually, usually by flipping the switch. Offer a second and then back on. This allows you to keep the light on at night when you want you even when there’s no motion. And lastly, we just put a motion detector porch light on her back porch and has one more feature, which I thought was really neat. At dusk it goes on, but only goes on to 30% brightness until you open the door or somebody comes up to the porch and Bing automatically goes up to 100. So kind of a super cool feature to have.
|LESLIE: Oh, interesting. That’s a really smart feature. Now, when it comes to figuring out where do you put these motion sensing lights? Like how do you know what a good spot is? Well, for best effectiveness, you want to position that motion detector sensor to cover the walks leading to the front and back doors of the house, the driveway. You can also use them to light up decking patios, any potentially hazardous locations if you’ve got a stairway, swimming pools, those types of areas that you want to give some security to and also help you when you’re walking through there yourself.
|TOM: Now, if you’re using them for security, you want to position the lights to cover all the approaches to your house, including fence gates, patio doors, and certainly those darker areas of your yard. bottom line is that good lighting can’t guarantee security, of course, but it’s one of the best low cost ways to keep unwanted intruders away from your house.
|LESLIE: All right. We’ve got Janet on the line who’s dealing with some insulation issues. What’s going on?
|CALLER: I have a side entrance on my home that was sort of an add on area that is not well insulated. Am I better to find some sort of insulation to go up under this add on? Or should I pull the linoleum flooring up and the plywood underneath and insulate and then put the flooring back on?
|TOM: So, Janet, it sounds to me from your question, like you have the ability to get underneath that floor without tearing it up, that would be optimal. If that’s the case, I’m going to presume it’s over a crawl space. And if that’s the situation, you do want to insert insulation in between the floor. JOYCE But you do it from the underside, tearing the floor out from the top. When you can get in an easier way, it would not make any sense. So I would insulate that floor. But it also would make sure I’m checking the ceiling above. If there’s an attic space above that that ought to be insulated. And then thirdly, you can do the walls making sure you’re sealing out any gaps that may be forming around there. Generally, the most important thing to insulate in any area is sealing first, then followed by floors, then followed by walls. That’s for a couple of reasons. First of all, heat rises. Floors are generally easy to insulate and walls not so much, but there are other ways to try to seal out some of the sources of energy lost in the spaces that are easier than taking the walls apart from the inside.
|LESLIE: Keith in New York is on the line and has a flooding basement. What is going on?
|CALLER: During times of really heavy rains and downpours, we’ve noticed that the rain comes in through the rocks of the summit wall that our firehouse was built upon and our house was built in back in the 1800s. So it’s been a slow process and now it just seems like it’s coming in all at once.
|TOM: Well, that sounds like a really solid house, Keith. I personally have a house was built in 1886, and I’ve got old, old brick foundation here. But I can definitely sympathize with it. And the good news is that this is a very easy problem to solve, one that is very, very common as well. And the reason we know it’s going to be super simple for you to solve is because you mentioned that this problem is consistent with heavy rainfall. And that means one thing and one thing only, and that is that you have some drainage improvements to make, my friend. But those improvements are not inside the house. They’re outside the house. So you need to look very carefully at the foundation perimeter and you start with the gutter system, right? You’ve got to make sure you have gutters, you’ve got to make sure the gutters are not clogged and that the downspouts are clear and free flowing and discharging at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house. You’ve got to manage that roof water. If you let the water run off the roof right along, the foundation is going to head right into the basement. That is the number one cause of the condition that you’re describing. The number two cause is the angle of the soil at the foundation perimeter. Sometimes if the soil source would settle over time, especially, you have a water problem that settles as it goes. You can collect a lot of water cause it’s not running away from the house. So what you need to do is add some soil. The foundation perimeter is sloping away, and you want to use clean filter, not topsoil. So that can be tamped down and give you a good slope. You drop about six inches over four feet. You’re going to add some mulch or you can add some pebbles or really sod anything you want on top of that. But you got to have that grade established first. Once that grades establish and once those gutters are clean, free flowing, and also make sure you got enough downspouts. Generally speaking, you want one down spout for about every 4 to 6 square feet of roofs. If you stand back from your house, I’m going to try to rough that out. And if you figure out kind of in your mind what a ten by ten section looks like and just kind of do the math, make sure you’ve got enough spouts and managing that roof water, managing the drainage around the foundation perimeter that will stop that that problem happening in a heartbeat.
|CALLER: Cool. Because they’ll be like a like a little gutter system when it hits the ground. Now, because we tried to move it away from the basement area, when the rain comes down, becomes very large. They go in a slant.
|TOM: Yeah, well, do you have a gutter system and a new path?
|CALLER: Yes. This is a really old roof.
|TOM: Well, if you don’t have gutters in the whole house, that’s the first place to start. And by the way, if you’re going to put it up, I would put up the six inch gutters, not the four inch gutters. I would step up the gutter size because I find that it’s not that much more money. And if you do that, you’ll find the clog a lot less frequently because the downspouts are just wider.
|CALLER: Well, thank you very much.
|LESLIE: Barbara in Ohio is on the line and is dealing with something that’s on the floor. Is it something we need to get up? What is it?
|CALLER: Well, I have a brick floor in my kitchen and dining room.
|TOM: That’s unusual.
|CALLER: Well, I kind of like it. It’s it was a farmhouse. And when we moved in, it had, like I would say, ten layers of wax on it. So I’ve slowly tried to get it off. I’ve used ammonia, let it soak, scrubbed it. I’ve got about half of it done now. But everyone’s telling me replace it. And I don’t really want to because it kind of adds to the structure of the house, that kind of thing. But. But my question is, I got some of it cleared of the wax. I’m using ammonia. I don’t know if there’s another product that I can get because it really is a lot of wax. I don’t want to have like particles in the seal, so I have to scrub the floor again and get it all points. How long do I have to leave it dry before I reseal it? Because I don’t want it to have wet bubbles in it. I just don’t know what I’m doing, I guess.
|TOM: Well, we feel your pain. you probably should be using a wax removing product or a wax stripping product as opposed to the bleach and the ammonia, which just sounds like an awful mess. And that’s going to do what it can do. And there’s actually a good article online about brick floors and how to pull the wax off of them. But brick is very, very porous. And because becomes very porous when you do wash it, if you let it dry for a few days, I don’t think you’re going to have any issues with it forcing a new finish to kind of release.
|CALLER: Let’s see, the whole thing is I have to move everything out of my kitchen. So I was I didn’t know if I had to wait a day to day. So you’re suggesting three days, then?
|TOM: Yeah, I would definitely wait a couple of days. You can still use the floor while that time is going on to move it all out. But I would definitely wait two or three days before I put my next layer finish on.
|CALLER: What do you recommend? There’s a finish.
|TOM: I probably would try to keep it as natural as possible. If you used a solvent based wax, that is another option because if you did that, you wouldn’t have to strip the floor. The solvent base polish can actually be applied over an old wax because it sort of gives good adhesion and they’ll stick to it. So you’re probably going to end up with a new wax finish. So if that’s the case, you’re you may not need to move as much of that old as you thought you did if you took the new wax and solvent based.
|CALLER: It looks like it’s flat. I might put this on and never cleaned it.
|TOM: No matter what you do, this floor is going to be a lot of work. Okay? Okay. Because truthfully, it’s just going to use a lot a lot of work.
|LESLIE: And if you don’t get the old wax off, the new one you put on is going to lock in that color.
|TOM: Yeah, that’s right. That’s another point.
|CALLER: Yeah. I think I need to take it off. I’ve got about half of it done. I just thought when I was listening to your show, I thought, well, maybe I might have a better idea, because you’re right, it is a lot of work.
|TOM: Hard work won’t fix.
|CALLER: Thank you so much.
|LESLIE: Well, it is about to get very wintery across this country, and frozen water pipes are a serious risk during these cold periods of winter weather. So when water freezes in a pipe, what happens is it expands and then it can exert a pressure of over Â£2,000 per square inch. And that’s enough to rupture most any pipe that’s filled with water.
|TOM: Yeah, that’s right. In fact, a split that’s just a half of an inch wide can easily cause over $10,000 in damage. But there are some very simple and inexpensive ways to prevent those pipes from freezing.
|LESLIE: Yeah. First, let’s talk about how not to defrost them. For example, using a torch. That’s a really bad idea. Obviously. But, Tom, you also advise against heat tape. But isn’t this what heat tape is made for?
|TOM: Yeah, let’s talk about that. So. So he tape is a strip of plastic with wires embedded. And it has a plug on one end. And it is designed to be attached to pipes that are already frozen. And then you can turn it on and it heats the pipe up. And the problem is that people use it kind of like it’s almost like it’s electrical tape. They wrap it around and around and around pipes and they even wrap it over itself, which is very dangerous because it’s not designed, nor is it rated to work that way. And so in the years I spent as a home inspector, Leslie, I can’t tell you how many times I found he tape that was plugged in and all brittle and decrepit and looks like it was sparking because it wasn’t put in right to begin with. And secondly, they take it one step further. They wrap the insulation on top of the heat tape. So it’s just crazy. Huge fire hazard. So if you use it correctly, okay, But most people don’t. That’s why I think he tape is a bad idea.
|LESLIE: All right. Well, fortunately, there are some safer ways. So, for example, here, guys, you can seal those air leaking holes and cracks that are around your house with an expandable foam, a seal in a silicone caulk. All of those things will seal those gaps in cracks to stop that cold air from coming in and definitely keep you feeling warmer in those areas. Cabinets, if you’ve got a sink, say, or a faucet or something on an exterior wall and it’s got a cabinet and it gets super chilly under there, keep those cabinet doors open, let the heat from the room kind of go in there and warm that pipe as well. You can also let the water run at a trickle. And just like a very little trickle, just to keep everything moving. And Tom, you also used foam rubber pipe insulation to protect those exposed pipes from the cold, right?
|TOM: Yeah, absolutely. Just don’t leave the elbows exposed. I see people do that a lot at the pipe corners. Just miter cut the ends of that foam rubber insulation with scissors and then secure the corner with some foam tape. It works very, very well.
|LESLIE: All right, but what about if you’ve got a pipe that’s already frozen? Can you thaw it before it burst or. You got to be pretty quick about that.
|TOM: You absolutely can’t. So before you attempt to thaw it, make sure the faucet is open so you’ll know when it’s thawed. I try to locate that ice blockage and then you can use a heat gun or a blow dryer to thaw the frozen pipe. And as we said before, never use a propane torch or anything, anything that has an open flame. Really bad idea. And if the frozen pipe is inaccessible, there is one other step you can take. And that is a thing called an electric pipe thawing machine. It’s something that plumbers use. It basically is a really intense way of adding heat to the pipe, more so than what you would get was heat tape. You can rent these machines if it’s a bad problem, and then you find the exposed ends of the pipe, you put the clamp the machine onto the pipes, and then the machine will warm up the pipe and eventually melt that blockage. But that’s an expensive step, and especially if you hire a plumber to do it. So what you might be better off doing right now if you think that your pipes are susceptible to freezing, is to go ahead and insulate them with the foam insulation. Right now, they also have fiberglass sleeves that you can slip on top of them. And that’s basically the same thing.
|LESLIE: Yeah. this is a good idea. As somebody who has dealt with this issue, it is something you do not want to deal with. If you can avoid a burst pipe and a big leak, let’s do that. All right, guys. Heading up to Massachusetts. We’ve got Bobby on the line who needs some help updating his heating system. What’s going on besides being chilly, I’m assuming?
|CALLER: Would it be cheaper at all to run natural gas versus number two, fuel oil? I want your professional opinion.
|TOM: So, Bob, I think that switching from oil to gas is a smart thing to do. Oil prices certainly continue to go up. I think gas is more potentially more efficient, and especially since you’re going to be replacing your boilers. The new boilers say that run on gas are really, really efficient. In fact, they’re so efficient, there’s a lot of rebates out there that are available. So I would not have any hesitation about making that switch to gas if you don’t have a gas line to your home yet. Generally, when you are installing a heating system or a large appliance like that, at least in our part of the country, the gas companies here will run the line into your house, set the meter up at no cost because you’re going to become a customer of theirs. So I think that you would be well-served by putting in natural gas. And you’ll find also that a lot of the boilers today are what’s called condensing boilers, which are the most efficient. In fact, I have a condensing boiler in my house and it’s so efficient I no longer need a metal vent pipe. My all the exhaust gas for my system goes out of a plastic pipe and doesn’t even have to go up the chimney. It goes out the side of the house so that I never have to deal with the issue of cleaning anything anymore once it’s done this way. So I think a condensing boiler, gas fired boiler would be a good choice. Well, have you ever felt a chilly draft wash across you on a cold day? You might be thinking it’s time to check the windows and the doors for drafts, but it actually might be coming up from the floor below. But the good news is it’s not hard to fix. We’ll tell you how in today’s weatherization tip presented by DAP.
|LESLIE: Drafts that shoot up from the floor below your feet often happen because the rim joists now that’s the floor beam, that line, the exterior of the floor, those were never sealed properly. You might also spot these kinds of drafts by running the back of your hand along the baseboard molding on exterior walls. These drafts can have a big impact on your comfort and your energy bills.
|TOM: Yeah, that’s right. In fact, the Department of Energy says the potential energy savings from reducing drafts in a home can range from 10 to 20% per year. Now, the fix for the situation is pretty simple. The best way to do that is with spray foam insulation. You want to head to your basement or crawl space and pull back the insulation along the perimeter, then apply the foam across the entire inside surface of that room joist. And what this is going to do is both insulate and seal out drafts in one application. And once you’re done, you can put the insulation back and you’ll be good to go.
|LESLIE: Now, DAP makes touch and foam, which is a perfect system for a job like this. Touching foam is a portable, self-contained one component, polyurethane foam dispensing kit that’s perfect for pros and serious DIYers who want to seal and insulate those gaps in the wall and in your floor cavities, as well as attics, basements, even crawl spaces. And as the foam is applied, it expands to fill those gaps where those drafts sneak through. And that’s going to leave you a lot more comfortable.
|TOM: And that’s today’s weatherization tip presented by DAP, makers of touch and foam professional wall and cavity foam that revolutionized spray on application with the first one component, broadcast spray foam. You’ll find DAP, touch and foam system at Menards and select Home Depot stores or learn more at DAP.com. That’s DAP.com.
|LESLIE: We’ve got Ann in Texas on the line with a question about a countertop. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: I wondered if my countertop if I could have a leather look to them and I would like to have them smoothed down. Is that something that can be done since they’re already installed, or do they have to? I have to take them out.
|LESLIE: And if this is a leather look, granite, which is a very specific finish to give it, that sort of rippled texture, I don’t think it actually looks like leather. It just looks like it has a very matte sheen and a lot of texture to it. I don’t think you can smooth that down at all, especially if it’s installed. this is something that would have to go through extensive machinery to be smoothed and resurfaced completely, right? Tom?
|TOM: It’d probably be cheaper to replace it completely and it would be smooth out what you have.
|TOM: If it turns out that it’s not granite, you just have like a leather pattern to say a laminate. There are great countertop finishing kits out there that use real stone. Like there’s one called Spread Stone, which is a countertop kit that when you apply it, it takes about a week and it gives you a good looking top. It’s heat resistant, it’s water resistant. But again, you can only use it on a laminate if this is granite and it has that that textured rough pattern, then no, you cannot you cannot definitely smooth it out. So wish we had better news for you, but that’s the situation and good luck with that project.
|LESLIE: Emily wrote in to Team Money Pit saying there’s a fuzzy white growth on my basement walls. Is it mold?
|TOM: Are you know a lot of people think that fuzzy white stuff is mold. Emily but it is much more likely to be something that’s known as efflorescence. Basically, these are crystals of mineral deposits that are left behind when the moisture migrates through a foundation wall and then evaporates so the water goes away, but the mineral salt deposits stay. And that’s what kind of crusts up on that inside surface. It could look white, it can look gray. Sometimes it looks a little black, but it is not mold. And we can even prove this. If you want to take some vinegar, white vinegar and water and maybe put 25% or so vinegar or maybe a little bit more in some water and sprayed on those deposits, you’re going to find that they just melt away and that’ll prove for good that it’s just not mold. But it does also tell you that you’ve got to do something to reduce the moisture that’s on those basement walls. So we would go back to our general advice on this topic, which is keep your gutters clean, keep your downspouts extended, and try to sloped that soil away from the wall. Those are the things that really make a difference in terms of keeping that water out of your basement in your crawl space and avoiding all that ugly efflorescence that gets left behind.
|LESLIE: All right. Next up, Justin says, I bought a new range and now my other kitchen appliances are looking a little tired. That tend to happen, even though they’ve got plenty of use left in them. Is it possible to paint these major appliances?
|TOM: It’s probably a good strategy for getting your significant other to agree to more appliance replacements than were originally budgeted, right? You buy one, you go, Wow, it’s great. Boy, the other appliances look like heck. So for whatever reason you did this, Justin, I say that you definitely can paint those other appliances. Some of them are easier to paint than others. First of all, I would tell you the type of paint you choose for appliances is significant. You need to choose epoxy spray paint, not just any type of metal paint, but epoxy paint. When you use the epoxy paint, first of all, it takes a really long time to dry, which is a good thing because it will flow even won’t leave any spray marks there and is a very tough surface. So for example, if you’re painting the door of your dishwasher or your range exterior, you’re not going to have surfaces like it easily chipped and banged up. Now, some appliances like dishwashers actually have replaceable fronts, so that’s worth checking out, too. I want to go ahead and Google the manual for your appliance and find out if the friends are replaceable. Sometimes there’s multiple panels buried behind each other inside of a dishwasher and you could pull off a green panel and put on a white panel or whatever how they designed it. Sometimes those panels have one color at one side, one color on another. So I would definitely look into that. But you definitely can paint those appliances. It takes some work. you got to do it the right way. You’re going to take all the handles off and that kind of stuff, but they’ll look really good and I think it’ll save you the cost of a new appliance, at least for a little while.
|LESLIE: All right, Justin. But listen, this is a project that requires patience because it does take a full day to dry, may maybe a little more. It is going to be sticky. You just got to ride it out and let it do its curing and let it dry. So think about what you want to have for takeout for those next couple of days, because you’re going to be.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show on air and online at Money Pit dotcom. Thank you so much for spending part of your weekend with us as we all speed towards the holidays and the end of the year. Remember, if you’re a projects that you really like to get done and done right the first time, you can reach out to us anytime at money Bitcoin. There’s also a wealth of tips and advice on our website at Money Pit Icon just search for what you’re looking for and I guarantee you will find the answer right there. But for now, that’s all the time we have. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself.
|LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
|(Note: The above referenced transcript is AI-Generated, Unedited and Unproofed and as such may not accurately reflect the recorded audio. Copyright 2023 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.)