Learn how to insure, restore, and spot more in this episode about avoiding costly renter’s insurance pitfalls, repairing and replacing tiles, and finding termites in your home. All this and much more home improvement help in today’s episode!
- Renter’s Insurance: Beware this costly loophole in your renter’s insurance and stay protected.
- Replacing Tiles: Get tips for repairing or replacing hard-to-find tiles.
- Termites: Learn how to spot termites in any season before they make themselves at home.
Top Questions & Answers
- Bathroom Ventilation: Lisa’s not sure if her bathroom exhaust fan is working. We suggest asking her HVAC contractor about proper air exchange and installing a humidistat timer.
- Foundation: Steve wonders if a solid concrete foundation is better than cinderblock walls, but moisture issues are simple to address with proper drainage outside the home.
- HVAC Condensation: Should there be condensation on a high-efficiency HVAC system? Jean should have the HVAC serviced annually and check how it’s supposed to pump out moisture.
- Chimney Removal: How hard would it be to remove two abandoned chimneys in John’s old home? It’s a messy project that’s not for the faint of heart, but it can be done.
- Mold: Robin is worried about moisture causing mold in her bathroom exhaust vent. It may actually be dirt she’s seeing, but we have tips on running the vent fan longer.
- Water Heater: Tony says the cold water line leading into his water heater feels hot, but we think it’s just conductive heat from inside the heater that’s warming the pipe.
- Running Toilet: The toilet keeps running several times a day. Patty learns it’s an easy and inexpensive fix to replace the fill and flush valves inside the toilet tank.
- Bathroom Grout: Rust from the screws is seeping through the bathroom tile grout. Bill should remove it and replace it with epoxy grout.
- Central Air Conditioning: Can a new central air conditioning system be attached to existing ductwork? It depends on the design and size of the home and how far the air needs to travel without wasting energy.
Ask Your Home Improvement Question
|TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: Here to help you take on the projects you want to get done around your house. You know, if you consider your house a money pit like we consider ours, remember, it’s a term of endearment. We love our homes, but we acknowledge the fact that it takes money to keep them in good working order. We’re going to help you spend as little as you possibly can and get those projects done to fix up your house and maintain it and improve it successfully every single time. First step, though, is to help yourself first and reach out to us with your questions. The number here is one eight and eight Money Pit, 888-666-3974 or even easier. Go to MoneyPit.com/ask. Click the blue microphone button. You can record your question to us. It’ll be sent right to the studio. You’ll get the quickest possible response. Coming up on today’s show, we’re going to start with a tip for renters if you rent a house or an apartment. Did you know that there is an insurance loophole that can cost you big if your home was damaged by a flood or a fire? We’ll tell you about a simple solution to keep you protected.
|LESLIE: And also ahead, tiles are beautiful. I mean, they really are decorative element for your floor and your walls. But what happens when you need to find a replacement? One or two cracks and you just can’t find one? We’re going to share some tips for repairing or replacing those hard to find tiles.
|TOM: And hey, homeowners, you know, a termite problem is easily spotted over the summer in the spring as well, especially when they decide to swarm. And you’ve got a gazillion of those buggers flying around. But this same infestation gets a lot harder to spot when weather turns cold. So I’m going to share a home inspectors trick of the trade for finding termites before they eat you out of house and home, even in winter.
|LESLIE: But first, we want to know what you want to know. It’s our job and our mission to educate, inspire and help you build confidence on projects that you want to get done. But your job is to help yourself first by reaching out to us with those projects and those questions.
|TOM: And there are a couple of ways to do just that. You can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or even easier, just go to MoneyPit.com/ask and click the blue microphone. But let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
|LESLIE: Lisa in Michigan’s on the line dealing with a human bath.
|CALLER: I have an energy efficient house that was built very tight, and they put in a exhaust fan in the bathroom to allow ventilation for the whole house. And I don’t know if it’s doing a correct job. And I’ve read some places where they say to leave it running all the time.
|TOM: So the timer that’s in the bathroom exhaust fan, first of all, that would be a very weird place to put whole house ventilation. By the way, that exhaust fan is probably just for your bathroom to take the moisture out of the bathroom. That would be more normal. Don’t. Why do you think it’s for the whole house?
|CALLER: It’s not a whole house. They use it for ventilation because the house is so tight.
|TOM: Well, it’s taking air out? Well, if the house is really tight, the ventilation would be where we add air back in, not where we take air out. We take air out. That’s usually because we have damp moisture. We want to get rid of. I’m pretty sure that what you’re seeing in your bathroom is not for the entire house. I think it is just for a typical bathroom exhaust fan and the timer on it is one that would set normally it would be set for humidity. It might have a humidistat on it. So I don’t think what you’re seeing is for the whole house ventilation, there would be a different type of fan that would be used for that. Is this in the bath ceiling?
|TOM: Yeah. It’s not for the whole house.
|CALLER: Well, but that’s what I’ve read that that’s what they’re doing on some of these houses.
|TOM: So it might be just bad information that’s getting passed around. That wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever.
|CALLER: Okay. All right. Yes. Do I need to have some type of air exchange for a house that is.
|TOM: Well, that’s an architectural question. And it depends on how tight the house is and what the air changes per hour were designed to be. If it’s any less than about three quarters of an air change per hour, then you probably do need to have some replacement air ventilation in it. But I would ask your builder or your HVAC contractor that question and then they can discuss the options for that. The trick is that you want to be able if you’re going to bring in fresh air, you want to do it through something called an air to air heat exchanger so that if it’s your exhausting stale air, but you’re recovering the to use that were used to heat that air. So you’re not getting rid of the heat. It’s kind of like a radiator where it’s passing it from bad air to the good air on the way in. So you’re sort of preheating that, that and that air is coming in from the outside using the heat that was in the stale air. That’s why it’s called an air to air heat exchanger, because it extends the air, but it traps the heat or the cool. Okay. So good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Steve in Maryland is on the line with a question about a foundation. How can we help you?
|CALLER: My neighbor had a house built within the last year. She had a solid, concrete foundation put in with her crawlspace and I’ve got a cinder block walls on my foundation. And I’ve had a lot of I’ve had some water penetrations through my walls. And I’m thinking because she has solid concrete, I think maybe if I if I ever had another house built, maybe that’s the way to go with solid concrete. I don’t see how water can penetrate that. And I wanted to bounce her off of you and see what you have to say about it.
|TOM: Well, water can certainly penetrate solid concrete walls, perhaps not as easily as it can a concrete block wall. But in either case, you can stop that very simply by improving the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter. Most of the time when a foundation leaks, whether it’s a leak crawl space or a basement. There’s something wrong with that drainage. So your gutters are clogged and overflowing. The downspouts are perhaps not extended out 4 to 6 feet from the house because most contractors leave them go out about a foot or so, which is which is a mistake, or the soil is too flat or the soil is slipping back into the wall, or there’s some landscape element like, you know, brick edging or 4×4 timbers or something like that. That’s holding water against the foundation. If you want to stop a foundation from leaking, you want to manage that drainage. But if you are sort of starting from scratch and had your option to go with a block wall or solid concrete wall, I do agree that a solid concrete wall will be much stronger and much more solid and not be prone to some of the issues that we’ve seen with block walls over the years, like leakage or cracking and that sort of thing.
|CALLER: Yeah, I appreciate that information.
|TOM: All right. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling this at one 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Jean in Iowa has a question about her heating and cooling system. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
|CALLER: I have a five year old high efficiency furnace with the PVC pipe that comes out for the attic and the exhaust. And it’s the first joint. It’s about a 45 degree angle. And we noticed that that joint wasn’t totally sealed. But our question is, we noticed that there was condensation dripping out of the joint. So if we seal it, well, that’s harmonization go into our furnace and cause damage. We’re not sure what we should do with it.
|TOM: How old is this furnace?
|CALLER: Five years.
|TOM: What’s the efficiency of the furnace.
|CALLER: In the nineties?
|TOM: I ask you this because some furnaces are designed to trap the condensation and pump it out. And so if you have a condensing furnace, then that might not be as much of an issue, because what happens with those high efficiency systems is they put the exhaust gases out at such a low temperature that they quickly turn from gas back to water and then the moisture drains back through the vent pipe, gets caught by a condensate system and then pumped out. Have you had service this winter yet?
|CALLER: Not the sweater.
|TOM: You really need to do it every year because you know, the fact that the gas burns, it burns dirty and then you get combustion deposits on the burners and then they can become inefficient. They’re wasting money and potentially be dangerous. So I would address this with a service contractor. He comes out to do your service, which you’re going to call for tomorrow.
|TOM: Okay. You want to make sure you get that done because it’s important every winter to have a heating system serviced.
|CALLER: Okay. Thank you.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Hey, guys, if you’ve heard a helpful tip or two while listening to our show, please help us help even more home improvers by dropping us a five star review on Apple Podcasts.
|TOM: That would be awesome. And you might even win a copy of our book My Home, My Money Pit, Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Just go to MoneyPit.com for review.
|LESLIE: John from Ohio, You have got The Money Pit. Now, I understand in this instance you’re calling because you want us to sort of settle a debate between you and your wife.
|LESLIE: Okay. I hope we can help.
|CALLER: Yes. So we have an old home that was built in 1935 and the home has two main chimneys. And I think if you divide the house in half, if you look at the front of house divided, they have one chimney stack on the left side services, the three fireplaces right in the middle of the house, the half the house. The other chimney stack is in the middle of the right side, and it was used originally as an incinerator and also for the original heating system for coal fire with a coal sheet and all that good stuff. The chimney over on that side, it just runs all the way from the basement, all the way to the first, second, third floor. And it’s just right in the middle. And it’s just very not conducive for an easy flow. And so I’ve been kind of looking into and trying to tell my wife like, we should get this thing taken out. And she thinks it’s going to be a massive ordeal to have this taken out. And that’s like my question, like how common is it to remove these chimneys? How difficult is it? What would you recommend? That’s where I’m about.
|TOM: Well, first of all, that was the chimney that was used for the heating system. How is the heating system being vented now?
|CALLER: Good question. We have forced air now and with now ductwork. And there’s a vent off the furnace. It goes out like one of the windows in the basement. Excuse for nothing.
|TOM: So you have a high efficiency system now where your vent is essentially a PVC pipe that goes out the sidewall.
|CALLER: Exactly. Yeah, the PVC pipe. PVC pipe that goes out, it’s a high efficiency, hundred thousand feet that you train that was purchased probably six years ago.
|TOM: Okay. So this chimney is absolutely abandoned and not being used at all correctly.
|CALLER: And I’ve even looked to see if I can see if anything has been right up there, even like cable lines or anything. And nothing. Not even that. Yeah, not even the forced air vents. You’re even going through it. Okay.
|TOM: So then if that’s the case, I mean, you certainly can remove it. And gravity is important here, so you’re going to stop it. Start at the top, on the top of the roof and essentially disassemble this thing one brick at a time. It’s a brick chimney.
|TOM: Know it is going to be a big mess. Your wife’s right about that. There’s going to be a lot of dirt and dust and that’s going to impact every floor of the house when you get there. Is the chimney is the chimney walled in in any areas or is it fully exposed?
|CALLER: So I can only see from the basement up. And then there is an old oak access panel on the second floor bathroom that I can have one of those little cameras and you can stick it in your phone. It’s a screen and it looks like nothing’s affixed to it and it’s just kind of floating inside of framing.
|TOM: Yeah. I mean, it’s basically that’s the way it would have been built. But listen, if it’s closed in by walls, you’re going to have to open those walls up to continue this process because you’re going to take that brick apart, you know, with a hammer and chisel and you going be banging them loose, banging them, and then pull them out and hand them, throw them in the bucket and then walk in the bucket downstairs and dumping them. And it’s just going to take a long time to do this. So your wife is correct and that’s a big project. I understand, you know, the benefits of it, but you know, it’s not for the faint of heart. This is going to be take. It takes some time. I mean, if it was me and I was like, let’s say, for example, I had to redo my roof, I’d knock it down to below the roof level and put sheathing over it and the roof over it. So I didn’t have an extra protrusion of a chimney through a roof, but you’re pretty much just wasted space right now. So it’s really kind of a cost benefit ROI kind of analysis you have to do If you’re going to pick up some space by doing this, it’s going to allow you to reconfigure some other things in the house and then why not do it again as long as it’s definitely not being used by a water heater or a furnace? You said you’re forced air. How are you getting hot water now?
|CALLER: Are we ever. So we bought the house. I put an orange eye on the man.
|TOM: Yeah, but is it in? So that is that also I. It’s a high efficiency tankless water heater.
|CALLER: Yeah. It’s a tankless or not tankless. I’m sorry. Yeah. So that’s funny you ask because the original water heater when we bought the house, did you use that as an escape then. Yeah. And then when I put them in I and I said no don’t do that right. Put it escaping like the furnace at one of the windows in the basement.
|TOM: Yeah. I’m actually about to take out a very old gas boiler and a converted water heater that is fueling my house right now. And one of the things I’m considering is using my old chimney just as a change, just as a space to run the vent pipe for the new coffee boiler up and get it up and out of the house. Don’t have to do that. I could I could bring in a side wall. But I’m concerned that if I come out the other side wall, I’m going to be in the area close enough to where our patio is. And we like to sit out there and, you know, have dinners in the summer. I don’t want to have any of the off gassing from the from the boiler impacting us because it’s is also the water heater. We would have some of that no matter what time of the year. You know, we were out there.
|CALLER: Thanks. You take care.
|TOM: Well, guys, if you’re a renter, there is a good chance you do it to save money or the hassles of being an owner. Either way, it can be a really good thing for some folks. But because of a loophole in most leases, renters are actually vulnerable to one very serious expense the cost of replacing personal belongings that are ruined by a fire, a flood or other weather related damage.
|LESLIE: Yeah, you know, on rare occasions, landlords include clauses in leases guaranteeing that they’ll cover renters damages. But those clauses are uncommon, which means that most renters are vulnerable.
|TOM: Yep. And especially vulnerable during cold weather months when most home fires take place without contents, insurance, furniture, clothes and other belongings that are damaged by smoke or flames or water from the hoses are not covered by the landlord’s insurance, which is why renters need their own type of insurance.
|LESLIE: Yeah, and you know, there’s really a simple and inexpensive solution out there, which is to purchase your own renters insurance policy. Now, typically these policies run 15 to $20 a month and they cover everything from fire, wind, hail, even lightning damage to items lost due to a burglary or even a break in.
|TOM: This type of contents. Insurance also covers against damage from plumbing issues or electrical currents, which renters are especially susceptible to in older homes and buildings. So it’s a smart and inexpensive way to make sure your personal property is covered.
|LESLIE: Now we’ve got Robin in Oregon, who’s dealing with some mold issues. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: In our bathroom. There just seems to be a lot of moisture. I don’t know if the exhaust fan is working properly or not. We use a fan. We use the exhaust fan and we use a dehumidifier fire. And I noticed on the outside, I guess outtake vents, there’s a whole bunch of black stuff. And then also when our sink’s underneath the faucet, there’s like mold back in behind that hole. So I’m wondering, is this going to be a health concern or how do I stop some of this mold?
|TOM: Well, I mean, the solution comes down to managing moisture and it sounds like you’re doing the right things. But one common mistake that people make with the exhaust fans is that they don’t leave them on long enough After you take a bath or shower, they really have to stay on supposed 15 or 20 minutes to properly dry out the room.
|CALLER: Well, I know I can’t speak for my husband, but I know that I do just because I’ve got a fan running, I’ve got a dehumidifier and I’ve we’ve also got the exhaust fan, and it is the biggest one that you can have. And I’m wondering if just because of our moist area, we need to get two of them. So it’s directly over the shower. I don’t know. But I’m worried that through the whole pipe that leads to the outside, is that all filled with mold in there at the outside vent shows mold.
|TOM: Well, the vent that’s taking the air from the bathroom out. Is that what you’re seeing on the outside wall?
|CALLER: I’m not seeing on the wall. Just on the vent itself. You know, with a I guess where the air goes out the outside, that whole vent is all moldy looking.
|TOM: Well, you know, a lot of people look at events that are dirty and call it mold. I think I think it would be unusual for it to be moldy because you’d have to have a pretty strong food source there. And the only thing you’re going to have coming out then is a bit of dust, which could be a mold source, but it’s very unusual for it to really develop. So I think you might just be seeing a dirty vent that’s much more likely that what you’re seeing there’s dirt and not mold. But I would say this if you want to eliminate the possibility of moisture inside the bathroom, what you want to do is you want to make sure that the exhaust fan, the bathroom fan is wired to a humid estate. And if you take a look at the fans that are made by Broan, they actually have a new one coming out. I know that has administrative control and I think they have some others as well. We just saw one last week at a major trade show called International Builders Show that they were releasing for the first time. But if you get one of these fans, it’s got the humidistat control on it. But you don’t have to worry about whether or not somebody is leaving it on or not. It just stays on until the moisture goes down, then automatically goes off. So it kind of takes you out of the equation.
|TOM: And your husband, because he could be the problem.
|CALLER: I don’t have to be a grouch and say, turn that back on. Okay.
|TOM: You do not.
|CALLER: Do not. All right. Well, I will try those in the can. Chromium is working great in the shower, so that was an excellent tip from before.
|TOM: Our pleasure. Glad it worked out for you, Robin. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Well, Leslie, we are at the point in the winter where, you know, we’re towards the end of January. Now, getting into February, you we can almost see spring around the corner. Are you thinking about any projects you want to get done?
|LESLIE: My gosh, there’s so much to get done. But I think a good one that I tackled during this winter and I want to kind of tackle on the other sides of the house as the snow melts away was I replaced all of the caulking on the exterior of the window on the south side of the house, all the windows. I was getting leaks, I was getting drafts. I mean, I’ve been in the house like eight years and I think I put those windows in when I first bought the house. So it’s definitely it was time and what a huge improvement. So as the weather starts to warm again, I’m going to definitely tackle the rest.
|TOM: Well, especially the north side, that will save you some money on your heating bills as well.
|LESLIE: Tony in Iowa is having a hot and cold water situation. What’s going on?
|CALLER: Well, I’ve got electric water heater and the main feeder comes in from the city that goes into my electric water heater. It’s cold, but yeah, I get cold water to come out of my classes and everything, but that cold water lines up around through the ground, through the water heater there. It’s hot. The line when I touch it.
|CALLER: And I’m just curious what’s going on with that.
|TOM: So you have an electric water heater and that’s going to be fed by a cold water line and it’s going to go through the water heater and come out as a hot water line.
|CALLER: That’s correct.
|TOM: Okay. And so what’s the problem So far it’s normal.
|CALLER: that the water line that goes into the water heater, the cold water. Yes. Yep. That line is hot.
|TOM: Hot. Well, some of the heat from the water heater can be working its way back up the pipe. So you may be feeling some conductive heat that comes from the hot water in the water heater itself Could be making that pipe warm. But if you go farther down the line, you’re going to feel that it’s cold again. It goes in cold and comes out hot. But the fitting right around the top might feel like it’s a bit warm, but that’s only because of the conductive heat of the water in the water heater coming back up the metal pipe.
|CALLER: Okay. That alleviates my concerns there.
|TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Well, ceramic and clay tiles are very beautiful and they’re decorative. But what happens when even just one gets cracked? You know, that’s an eyesore. It starts to throw off that look that you kind of put so much effort into creating. Well, you know, you start looking for a replacement tile and maybe you’re lucky and you took some away in the garage, but maybe you weren’t and you just had enough. And you’ve got not an extra one in sight. And you know what? Sometimes are really hard to replace. So here’s a great tip. Now all you need to do, first of all, is figure out how to remove that old tile and then you can glue a new one in place and touch up the grout. But if you don’t have a tile and you’re trying to figure out what you can do, you have to think about what you can do in those cases. So if you can’t find the tile, think about where you might find one that you already have in existence. So maybe you can take a tile from a less visible spot in that same room, maybe under the appliances, maybe under your fridge or your oven or your dishwasher. There’s a tile that’s just waiting there for you. You can bring those broken pieces to a well-stocked tile store, and maybe there you can find something that’s a close substitute or you can have a tile made to order. Now, sometimes this can be a little bit expensive, but it can definitely create a custom tile using those shards that will match that old tiles color, especially if you just can’t seem to work out an extra one. And those missing tiles or those broken tiles are very prominent. This is a good solution. But here’s a tip Make an extra one or two as well.
|TOM: Or here’s my system. You could forget about trying to match the tile altogether and fill that spot with an accent tile of a different color or texture in that case, you might want to randomly replace a handful of tiles around the floor or the wall to make that fix blend in with the rest of the field. I’ve taken this approach with my carpentry work from time to time, and sometimes if I make a mistake, I repair it and people think, you know, I repair it, as you say, in a creative way, like an extra twist or turn or joint or seam people go, it’s just so amazing.
|TOM: They don’t know they made a mistake that led me there. So I think the action tile is a good way to go.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’re heading over to Patti in Illinois, who’s got a toilet that is running constantly. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: Well, it doesn’t run constantly, but it runs about 5 seconds, you know, several times an hour. And it’s gone to the point that my water bill has gone up quite a bit and I’m needing to know if I need a new toilet or if I need new seals or new handle pump or what would you think?
|LESLIE: It’s actually an easy fix. And I mean, this tends to happen kind of regularly. You know, unfortunately, people don’t realize that there’s actually some level of toilet maintenance because, you know, it’s just an appliance in your house that’s there and you use it and you expect it to work. But inside the tank itself, there’s a fill and a flush valve and those need to be replaced. Not that often, but, you know, every couple of years or so. And of course, now that you’re dealing with this water running issue, Tom, is it FluidMaster?
|TOM: Yeah, FluidMaster is sort of a mainstay of a replacement valve parts. And, you know, they just wear out. Patti over time. So this is a pretty easy fix.
|LESLIE: And I mean, it’s probably ten bucks to get both of them. But if you go to Fluid Masters website, the only reason I recommend that is because on their website they’ve got a really great how to video. So you can actually see what the Phil Valve is, what the flush valve, the flapper valves, you know exactly what you’re looking at and how to replace it. And it’s a really easy do it yourself project that you can, you know, do confidently and, you know, definitely decrease your water bill.
|CALLER: Thank you. That that sounds wonderful. I appreciate it. And thank you so much for taking my call. Love your show.
|TOM: You’re very welcome. Patti, Thanks so much for calling us. At 88 Money Pit.
|LESLIE: Bill in Texas has a question about Rusty Grout in a bathroom project. What’s going on?
|CALLER: Yes, ma’am. I a couple of years ago, I put in a tile shower. I removed a fiberglass shower and I put in a tile shower and the problem is, you know, how you put like the rubber barrier up like 42 or 48 inches? I put that up, but I I’m guessing that I should have used like stainless steel screws because in two spots you can kind of detect like a rust color kind of seeping through the grout. And I’m wondering if I should remove the grout and maybe try it. They have that epoxy based grout if I should do that or if there’s when I remove the grout, if there’s a product I should apply to kind of neutralize the rust. Basically, that’s what’s going on. I’ve just I’m decently handy so I know I can remove the grout and everything, but I’m just wondering what steps I should take to prevent the rust from coming back.
|TOM: Well, the sand based grout certainly is going to allow any rust stains to kind of permeate right through epoxy grout. Probably would not. That might be the simplest solution. If it’s just minor surface rust. It’s a little bit late now to pull tile off and start changing fasteners. So I think that’s probably makes the most sense. Bill would be just to remove the old grout with the grout saw and then regroup it with epoxy based grout, which by the way, is a little harder to work with. So make sure you take your time, maybe practice off of those bathroom walls before you apply it to it. But I think that’s probably the best solution in the short term.
|CALLER: Now, the for automotive that was for 15 and different products to like neutralize the rust. Is there anything like that that you would it be worthwhile to even try to attempt that or is it not worth much?
|TOM: I’m not familiar with those products, but my concern would be that, you know, if you got one, you know, probably open up somewhere else along the way. So it’s kind of like you’re chasing a ghost after a while.
|CALLER: Okay, So maybe try the parking grout and cross my fingers.
|TOM: I would say so. I think it’s a pretty good chance it’s going to work out. Okay.
|TOM: Okay. Thank you so much.
|LESLIE: Well, termites can wreak havoc on your home and result in expensive damage. Now, the key to avoiding that costly headache is to identify termites ASAP, which, depending on the season, can be surprisingly hard to do.
|TOM: Yeah. Now termite activity slows down when it’s cold, but the hungry bugs don’t stop. So while an infestation is harder to I.D. during the winter, even for experienced pros, it is just as important to catch it then.
|LESLIE: So here are a few things that you should be looking for even during the winter. First of all, you want to look for mud tubes on the foundation walls and on the wood framing of the house. Now, these are termites, superhighways. They use them to travel between the ground where they live and your house, where they eat.
|TOM: And if you work from the basement or crawl space, you can also inspect the floor framing and beams by tapping them with a termite tapping tool, also known as the biggest screwdriver you can find. I used to buy the biggest screwdriver the craftsman had when I was a home inspector, and I would use it so frequently and where the tip off of it. But it was really handy to tap on the beams. And if you found one that’s been eaten up by termites, it has a distinctly hollow sound and helps you find where that nest is. The other thing that you could do is use a flashlight, especially if you don’t have a basement. Use a flashlight on a wall. If you hold the wall, the flashlight flat to the wall. So it’s just sort of bathing the wall, not on it like a spotlight, but would parallel to it. You’ll be able to see indentations in that drywall where termites have dug their tunnels, believe it or not. Between the drywall or the plaster part of it and the paint surface. So they eat out the paper that you have, You have paint your paper. Then you have plaster and drywall. Well, they leave the paint, they leave the drywall and the paper. And you can see it kind of looks like veins on the wall.
|LESLIE: Now, if you do find an infestation, the termite treatments available today are really the best that they’ve ever been. They’ve got to be applied very pro and are a type that termites cannot detect. And as a result, the termites carry those treatments back to the nest where it’s most effective because it gets on all the other termites that stop their activity cold.
|TOM: Yeah. You know, as a home inspector, I used to find termites in about one out of every three or four homes that I inspected. So they are pretty common, which is why it’s smart to have a yearly termite inspection before most pest control firms will include that as part of standard service contract. This way. If termites have recently made their way in, you could treat the problem before serious damage is done.
|LESLIE: Marion, Missouri You’ve got the Money Pit. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: My husband and I are trying to install central air in our home. It’s a ranch style and we bought the central air unit and the ductwork from a building that had been torn down. And I wondered if we could simply attach the gas for them. And we’ve kept the holes in the wall in the ceiling for the fence. I wondered if we could just go ahead and attach the ductwork that was there from the previous building, or if we had to redo all the duct work, I mean, all the vent piping.
|TOM: I guess the answer is maybe. And the reason is because the duct design is going to be dependent on the building. And it depends on the size of the building and the distance that the air has to travel. And if it’s not done right, what will happen is you’ll either create a situation where you have either too much or too little heating or cooling, and most likely you’ll have too little. And if that happens, you end up wasting actually a lot of injury energy because the system has to run a lot more to try to make the building comfortable. So I would suggest to you that insofar as the duct design is concerned, you really need to have somebody that it’s experience to designing these systems. Lay it out for you. It’s definitely not a do it yourself project. It’s not the kind of thing that you can tackle, even if you’re very industrious. First time out because you might get it wrong. It depends a lot on the size of your building, how many windows are in your building, what what’s where the building faces. I mean, there’s a heat loss calculation that’s done. And then based on that, you determine how much warm or cold air you have to get to each room. So you can’t necessarily sort of just completely copy what was done in an old house, older house unless it happens to be an identical house. So this is a point where it’s good that you got the equipment inexpensively, you got the work in inexpensively. You do need to spend a little bit of money on getting it laid out properly or you just won’t be comfortable. Does that make sense?
|CALLER: Yeah, that was what I wanted to check, because we’re pretty self-sufficient. But I had a feeling this might be more than we could tackle.
|TOM: I think that’s a good idea. Mary, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Well, if there’s one thing that can bring an end to warm fuzzies and fireworks, it’s when a couple tries to agree on home design. Well, designed for him and her, it doesn’t have to involve so much sacrifice. Leslie’s got a few design ideas for marriage harmony in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word. Leslie, let’s save some marriages out there, shall we?
|LESLIE: Yeah. Seriously, it’s hard because people have differing design styles. It doesn’t matter. Male, female, two women, two men. Whoever you are, you and your partner may not agree on what looks good and what you think looks good. So it’s definitely an area where you have to kind of tread lightly, but also start to make compromises and find an in-between where you can both work together to create a design style that works for everyone. So for starters here, let’s talk about neutral colors. Let them dominate. They’re generally well-liked by everyone, and they’re perfect canvases for small splashes of colors that you both may love, that you both can bring in. You guys can take turns choosing throw pillows, things that are in your favor color way. And then you can also mix in or throw rug on the other person’s favorite color or favorite like. So there’s a different way to kind of combine those things on a very neutral base palette, especially if color preferences are very different. Heck, you can also each take a season like, my color is a summer color and yours is a fall. So let’s each have our own different ways to do it. Now we find that men kind of tend to lean toward earth tones, durable fabrics, materials, but also moms kind of like those things, too. So it’s interesting. You just kind of have to figure out who likes what and then each kind of be responsible for those things, but find a way to make them work together. So it’s interesting, those durable, earthy, all of those types of things, leathers, hardwoods, they tend to mix perfectly with softer fabrics and patterns. So there is a way, if one of you likes that feeling and the other one likes a softer, more delicate touch. You can layer those two in together very, very nicely to create a beautifully designed space. Another trouble spot for a lot of relationships is the couch. I mean, it’s got to be comfortable. It’s got to look good. So those are two things that you kind of have to balance. You know, you want to sit down and watch your favorite sporting event, but you also want to have guests over and be like, Hey, look at my fancy room. So you have to figure out a way to make that work again. That’s a great design shape. That’s also durable fabric, and that’s a neutral color palette with those colors that you both like sort of peppered in for personality. Now, when it comes to adorning those walls with art photos, prints, supply is your friend. If one of you loves rugged landscapes and sailing vessels while the other one prefers to look at cottages and flowers, will just keep looking. There’s artwork out there that kind of combines everything that everybody likes. And maybe again, maybe it’s a texture, maybe it’s a color, maybe it’s a family photo. Maybe it’s something else that works to create that need for decor without so much being like, Here’s a painting of my favorite boat. So there’s lots of ways that you guys can do this together. You just sort of have to talk out who likes what and then go shopping and have fun. I know it’s not everybody’s best day, but, you know, thanks to the interwebs, you can do that at home in a few minutes time.
|TOM: You know where I’m going to hang the picture of my favorite boat.
|LESLIE: Mean I’m going to hang minor mushy shed with my chandeliers.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show coming up next time on the program, If you’re thinking about adding hardwood floors to your house, you may be surprised to know that all hardwoods are not the same. In fact, some can be more than twice as hard and therefore more durable than others. We’ll sort out how to select the toughest hardwood floors for your home On the next edition of the Money Pit.
|TOM: 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 2024 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.)