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 day? If it’s your house, you’re in the right place. Pick up the phone and call us because we will lend a hand at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, if you’re planning a kitchen project, we’ve got some tips, coming up, on a new technology called “induction heat.” That’s right. Move over, gas ranges; induction heat is here to stay. But it’s kind of costly and we’re wondering, probably, what you’re wondering: do the pros outweigh the cons? We’ll cook up that answer, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And are you sneezing or sniffling? Are your allergies getting you down? Well, here’s a thought: maybe it’s mold you’re allergic to. To find out, there’s a new test on the market that detects mold in less than five minutes and you have no lab fees to go along with it. We’re going to share all those details, in just a bit.
TOM: But first, we’re taking your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So give us a call right now. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Charlie in Tennessee is on the line and looking to do some renovating at his money pit. How can we help you today?
CHARLIE: I have a small kitchen that – I’m trying to knock out the walls to increase space, to make my kitchen and my dining room one big room. My dilemma is the fact that I don’t know whether the wall that I’m knocking down is a load-bearing wall or not.
LESLIE: Well, step away from the project and don’t knock it down just yet.
TOM: OK. Well, first of all, what kind of house do you have, Charlie? Is it a ranch? Is it a Colonial? Describe it to us.
CHARLIE: It’s a wood-frame home.
TOM: OK. One story or two?
CHARLIE: One story.
TOM: And the roof peaks in the middle? Goes up from the front, goes up from the back, peaks in the middle?
CHARLIE: Kind of. It’s L-shaped.
CHARLIE: And where the wall would be would be pretty much right where the two meet.
TOM: Yeah. So you’re in the middle there; you’re not quite sure. And the dining room and the kitchen are side by side? Is it aligned front to back on the house or is it aligned end to end, so to speak?
CHARLIE: It would be – that wall would be parallel for the front to back.
TOM: So, it’s aligned front to back. OK. I would say that in most cases, that is a bearing wall. That doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water; it just means it’s a little more complicated for you to open this up. Because if it’s a bearing wall, you have to support the structure while it’s disassembled and then you have to put a new beam in to carry that load in the new open-plan design.
It’s not something that you would do yourself. It’s not like – I don’t want to you like, “Hey, I’ve never done home improvement but today, I’m thinking about tearing down a bearing wall.” Bad idea, OK?
TOM: So you need to know what you’re doing or get some people to help you to know what you’re doing or hire a pro. And get a building permit.
And basically, the way it works is temporary walls are built on either side of the bearing wall and this holds up the structure that they’re supposed to be holding. Then the bearing wall is taken apart. The bearing wall is reconstructed but now you would use a girder. And it could be a wood girder, it could be a metal girder, it could be a combination wood/metal girder that goes the whole span. It could be a girder that sits below the ceiling or it could be a girder that’s actually flush with the ceiling so when it’s all done, it’s invisible.
But one way or the other, you’ll need this beam to carry the load above that. And then once it’s all put back together, you know, you’re really not going to know that it’s there. But you’ve got just to do it right so that you don’t damage your house in the process, OK?
CHARLIE: Yes, sir. Thank you. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Charlie. Good luck with that project. Now, put the saw down, OK?
CHARLIE: No problem. Thank you. I appreciate you.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Lorraine from Vermont on the line who’s got some ants invading her money pit. How can we help you today?
LORRAINE: I have them out in my flower beds, I have them on my front and back lawn. There’s a lot of a sand here around my house.
LORRAINE: And I am wondering what I could do to get rid of them.
TOM: Are they getting into the house, as well?
LORRAINE: No, they are not in the house.
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s good news.
So, look, there are ways that you can work with this using sort of over-the-counter products. But I would recommend a different direction. The insecticides today have become so sophisticated and so accurate and so able to target, specifically, the insect that you’re dealing with that it’s really worthwhile having a professional apply these insecticides. One in particular that, actually, we just used at my mom’s house – well, not we; I mean I hired somebody to do this – it’s called Termidor – T-e-r-m-i-d-o-r. And I’m very familiar with this insecticide because it’s one that is part of a class called an “undetectable.”
So, the way it works is – in the old days, we’d spray insecticides that would repel the ants or kill them on sight. And they would sort of know it was there, so it was detectable. Well, these new insecticides are undetectable. So as a result, the ants go through the insecticide and then they get it on their bodies and they bring it back to the nest. And then they share it with the other insects in the nest. So just getting some ants to go through it basically takes it back to the nest and wipes out the whole nest. So it’s a very effective way to try to control the ant populations around your house.
I don’t know that I would go so far as to do it in my whole yard unless it was really bothering me. But generally, you do this right around your – the perimeter of your home to try to minimize them in that area and stop them from potentially going in the house. You haven’t seen them yet but if you’ve got that many, I can almost guarantee that they’re in the house.
Alright, Lorraine. Does that help you out?
LORRAINE: That does. I actually tried – someone had told me to use Borax and sugar?
TOM: Yeah, that’s one of the home remedies that I mentioned. And Borax does work but it’s just not nearly as effective as a product like Termidor.
Good luck with the project.
LORRAINE: Thank you so much.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. We’d love to hear from you. We always want to know what you are working on and give you a hand. If you need some help or you want some guidance or advice, give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, early summer is a good time to make sure your deck is still safe. We’ll tell you what you need to know when The Money Pit continues, after this.
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 where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
No air conditioning? No problem. Head on over to MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And search the phrase “home cooling tips for summer” to learn why central air conditioning isn’t the only way to beat the heat. We’ve got great ideas on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Patrick on the line who’s got a roofing question. How can we help you today?
PATRICK: I had a question about a metal roof versus a shingle roof. Our roof is about 17 years old and it’s ready for – it’s ready to change.
LESLIE: Now, is it ready to change because you don’t like the way it looks or is it failing in some way?
PATRICK: Oh, no. It’s actually fine; the shingles are fine. But I was kind of wondering about the cost benefit of spending twice as much for a metal roof versus a shingle roof for another – you know what? How long will the shingle – how long should that metal roof last? What’s the gauge of the metal? That kind of thing.
TOM: How long do you plan on staying in the house?
TOM: Forever. OK, that’s important information.
So, if you put a metal roof on this house, I think it can last, for all intents and purposes, forever. The metal roofs of yesteryear, when they were properly maintained, would easily last 50 to 100 years. The metal roofs of today will do the same thing and they can even do it more successfully because of some of the modern elements of technology that are added to it.
For example – you are in Florida? Is that correct?
PATRICK: Yes. Port Charlotte.
TOM: You know, the one nice thing is that metal roofs have a reflective paint; it’s like a low-E paint. And they actually reflect some of that radiant heat back off of the roof. So instead of having a roof that’s like a heat collector, you’re going to have a roof that’s a heat reflector. So there’s also an energy-efficiency element to it, as well.
But I think that metal roofs last literally indefinitely, as long as they’re properly maintained. They don’t need a lot of maintenance. Of course, if there’s a storm and that sort of thing, they stand up a lot better; they don’t fly off like shingles do. And even though it’s twice as expensive, it’ll probably be the last roof you’ll ever have to put on that house.
PATRICK: If I do this $11,000 roof, will I report that to my homeowners insurance and will I get a benefit from that or no?
TOM: That’s a good question for your broker. Certainly, a metal roof is more fire-resistant. I also would look into energy – any energy-efficiency rebates. Because since it’s a low-E roof coating, you may actually qualify for an energy rebate. So I would look into that, as well.
PATRICK: And how would I look into that?
TOM: A good source is the Metal Roofing Alliance. That’s a trade association for the metal-roof industry. Go to MetalRoofing.com. And in fact, they have a section on their website about tax incentives, so they are available for metal roofs.
PATRICK: Alright. I appreciate your help.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stephanie in California is having a heating-and-cooling issue. Well, specifically, a cooling issue in the bedroom. What’s going on?
STEPHANIE: Oh, we don’t know. Right now, we live in a four-bedroom house. Every room in the house, except for the master bedroom, gets cool in the summer. We have not done a winter yet. This bedroom – the master bedroom – is at least 5 to 7 degrees warmer than any part of the house.
TOM: OK. Well, there could be a number of reasons for that. First of all, what side of the house is it on?
STEPHANIE: It would be on the south side of the house.
TOM: The more sun, the more cooling you need. So it’s not unusual for a room on the south or the west side to need more cooling power.
So let’s talk about what you could do to try to improve this. First of all, I would check the airflow at the registers to make sure you’re getting good airflow at all of the A/C registers. In some cases, systems can be balanced so that they supply more air to one room and less air to another.
Just as important is to check the return registers, Stephanie, because not only do you have to push cold air into the room, you have to pull the air back so it can be recooled. If you don’t have a return in the bedroom itself, it’s going to be a central return, like in the hallway, perhaps, outside of the bedroom. If that’s the case, you want to make sure that when you close the door of the bedroom, that there’s at least a 1-inch gap under the door. Because that’s how the air gets pulled back and again, recirculated.
Other things that you can do would be to increase insulation over this particular room. So if there’s an attic access above, for example, you could double up the insulation over that and that would also help to keep it cooler.
So I would speak with your HVAC professional, initially, to try to get the balance working a little bit better. And then, if that doesn’t work, think about adding some additional insulation. And if that doesn’t work at all, the other thing that you could do is you could add supplemental cooling to that.
I have a room, for example, in my house where I have a split-ductless system because it happens to be on the west side, in my case, and it overheats. It’s far away from the air-conditioning-system supply and so I never quite get enough cooling air into this one room to make it comfortable. So we have a split-ductless system in there that supplements it.
So those are all good options to help even out the temperature of that room in the house.
So, now that it’s warmed up, you’ve probably been outside enjoying time on your deck. But you may not have thought about whether that deck is actually safe. So, before you plan your next big get-together with 45 of your closest, personal friends, you want to make sure your deck is up to the task, with this week’s Pro Tip presented by Grayne Shingle Siding from Tapco.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, deck trouble is really something that a homeowner can spot on their own if they know what they’re looking for.
So, first of all, you have to look for rot. Check the structural sections of the deck, like the beams, the girders, the railings. And you want to make sure that the wood is still sound. Take a tool, like a screwdriver, and try to actually poke through or penetrate the wood surface. If the wood is soft and spongy, you probably have decay present.
TOM: Next, you want to check the flashing. Now, flashing is a metal or a plastic guard that directs water out and away from sensitive areas. It’s often installed where the deck attaches to the house, which keeps moisture and debris from collecting between the house and the deck’s ledger board. You want to make sure that that flashing, though, is sound and firmly in place.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You also want to tighten any loose fasteners and pound in any nails that have popped up. If a fastener does appear to be rusted or corroded, consider replacing it. I mean it takes two seconds. Because a corroded fastener, it can cause deterioration in the surrounding wood.
And also, your deck or your stairs, they should appear even, no sagging. And they shouldn’t sway or move when you’re testing on them. And by testing on them, I mean stand on them, jump on them, shake your hips side to side. See if they’re going any which way.
TOM: And here’s a good trick of the trade: find a floorboard that’s rotted or cracked. Pull it up and flip it over. The underside will look like it was brand new because it’s not been exposed to sunlight.
And that’s today’s Pro Tip, presented by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from the Tapco Group. The uncompromising beauty of Grayne’s 5-inch shingle siding offers the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com – that’s G-r-a-y-n-e.com – or ask your pro today.
LESLIE: Chad in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CHAD: I attended an energy show where they were showing an energy shield or a wrap made out of aluminum. What it was designed to do was to basically block the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer. Thus, you’re using less energy, I guess, to stay cooler.
And then, in the wintertime, what it does – it prevents your heat from escaping, very much like the astronauts use from the extreme temperature in space. Since I’m building a new house, could you put this wrap between your ceiling drywall and the bottom of your trusses? Or is there a better way of keeping the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer?
TOM: What you’re talking about here is a product called “reflective barrier.” And I have to say that I’m not convinced that it works really well and would not necessarily recommend it. And usually, it’s put in a home that’s already constructed. It’s a little bit easier to put in a home that, obviously, is being built.
But there are far better alternatives if you really want to make your home energy-efficient. I would tell you to look into spray-foam insulation, specifically Icynene. Because when you use a spray-foam insulation in new construction, it does two things: not only does it insulate but it seals every possible little gap that is going to be throughout that building. And when the walls are open like that, you can have it sprayed and it’s going to do that. It’s also quieter in terms of preventing sound transmission. It just has so many wonderful benefits. I would tell you to focus on something like that to give yourself a real benefit and stay away from the radiant-barrier products.
CHAD: Oh, OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Chad. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Stephanie in Colorado on the line who’s installing someFrenchdoors. How can we help you?
STEPHANIE: My husband and I have sliding doors in our bedroom that go outside. And we have French doors that we have – they’re all ready to put in; they’re framed. And I was just calling to see if you had any advice about putting them in.
TOM: Well, let’s presume that the French doors and the sliding doors are going to fit in the same opening, to start with. Is that correct?
STEPHANIE: The French doors are a little taller.
TOM: Ah, that’s a problem.
STEPHANIE: Just about an inch.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a tough inch to pick up when it’s in the height like that. The thing is, you’re going to have to figure out if you have enough room to get those French doors in, Stephanie, without having to cut or modify the header that’s going to be above the sliding door. Because the distance from the floor to the bottom of the header, that’s called the “rough opening.” That’s the rough, vertical opening. And that rough, vertical opening has got to be taller than the distance from the bottom of the French door to the top of the jamb of the French door. Because if it doesn’t, you’re not going to get that French door in that opening. It’s absolutely critical that the rough opening be sized properly.
So, you could probably figure that out by just pulling the molding off from the side of the slider. And you’ll see enough of the framing there where you could get a pretty good measurement as to how much room. Sometimes, there is a fair amount of room above the sliding doors until you get to the header and maybe you’ll have that room.
Now, if you’ve got the room, putting that French door in is – it’s not a basic, do-it-yourself project. I’m just going to tell you that right off. But the way I would approach it is – the first thing I would do, if it was me, is I would take the slider out one panel at a time. You want to try to make this as light and manageable as possible. So you remove one panel, then the other. Then you pull out the slider frame.
And you put the French doors in the same way. You take the doors off of the hinges. And what you actually “hang” inside the opening is just the frame of the French doors without the physical doors in place. Just the outside jambs. Because that’s very easy and lightweight to handle and if that’s installed properly and square, then the doors will pop in right after that with minor adjustment. But that’s the way you approach it.
Again, not a basic, do-it-yourself project. Putting a door in is one of the more tricky projects. So if that’s above your skill set, I would definitely hire a carpenter or a handyman to help.
Alright, Stephanie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, in the spring season and even in the early summer, we’ve got allergies. And if your allergies have you sniffling and sneezing, even when you’re in your house, you might actually be allergic to something that you’re not even considering: mold. Well, there’s a new test to find out if you have mold in your house that’s more affordable but just as effective as hiring a costly inspector. We’re going to tell you where to find it, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Grayne Engineered Shake and Shingle Siding from The Tapco Group. Contractors can now offer homeowners the charm of natural cedar with none of the maintenance. Visit Grayne.com or ask your pro today.
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.
TOM: Well, if you’ve had a sneeze or a sniffle, you might be blaming the allergies. But what if it was mold instead that was causing that problem? Used to be it was hard to really tell if you had dangerous mold inside your house. And well, now that’s not the case anymore. There’s a new product on the market called the 5-Minute Mold Test. It is, in fact, the best-selling mold test on Amazon.com. And with us to talk about is Dr. Jim Whelan. He is the president and founder of Healthful Home.
JIM: Well, thank you. Happy to be here.
TOM: So you guys have an interesting backstory. You were in the business – I guess you still are in the business – of producing tests for first-responders that want to detect whether bio-warfare agents were used. How did you connect the dots between those kinds of tests and a mold test?
JIM: Well, it was a direct spin-off and it’s using the same technology. And you really are looking at threats – biological threats – in both cases. And the technology to detect anthrax and ricin and botulinum are the same. It’s just a matter of change in the formulation in the test and applying that technology.
And of course, when it comes to mold, it’s a more widespread occurrence than, fortunately, bio-warfare. So we just saw it as a natural fit.
LESLIE: And I think it’s interesting because you’re sort of putting the power in the homeowner’s hands. Which is interesting and potentially dangerous, in a sense, because you’re giving them this knowledge in mold. And I think that mold is one of the words that really freaks a homeowner out.
So why do you think it’s beneficial to give the homeowner the power to detect this?
JIM: Well, in cases where it’s visible, your nose is often the best sensor you have when it comes to mold. And what we’re doing is putting the ability into somebody’s hands to just confirm what they may already see. But it also gives them the ability to confirm something they cannot see. Because our test is sensitive enough that it picks it up in just household dust.
So if you have mold behind a wall, you suspect it’s there, let’s just test the dust. You don’t have to open up the wall. You don’t have to spend hundreds on an inspector. It’s really a first step.
And it gets somebody over the hump of doing something about it. Because the first step is recognizing you have a problem and then the second step, obviously, is fixing it. But if you don’t acknowledge you have the problem, you really don’t have the power to do anything about it. So that’s where we get to with people on this is to really recognize they have the problem and take action afterwards.
TOM: We’re talking to Dr. Jim Whelan from My Healthful Home about their new product, the 5-Minute Mold Test. In fact, the fastest-selling mold test and best-selling mold test on Amazon.com. Their website is – find 5MinuteMoldTest.com.
Now, Jim, the technology here really goes beyond a quick test. You actually are able to avoid very expensive lab fees that used to be associated with mold testing in the past. I mean if you saw mold or you suspected mold, in the past you’d have to have a mold inspector come in, which is very expensive. They would take a test, they would have to send it to an outside lab, wait for those results to come back. So not only did it take a long time, it was pretty costly. What does the 5-Minute Mold Test cost?
JIM: It’s 44.99 online. And if you really compare that to having an inspector come in, it’s quite a dramatic savings. Your average inspector is $300-$500 to come in, depending on samples, not to mention the time delay.
So if you’re waiting for closing on a house and you want to make a decision before things happen or even before you put a bid in on a house or you sign a lease agreement, you really can’t wait days or weeks, which is the case with some other technologies that are out there. In our case, you’ll know in five minutes and you can take appropriate action.
Just a personal anecdote. My mother-in-law, we were moving her into a condo recently and I took a test in a unit she really liked. Turned out it was positive for Stachybotrys. The inspector, who happened to be there at the same time, noticed there was some water stains on the wall and it turned out the roof was bad on the building. So, there were hidden costs that were coming, special assessments that were avoided. And there were a lot of other condos that she liked and we ended up getting another one.
So, there is some real power in being able to make decisions right away.
TOM: And early, too. Because sometimes, this problem builds up to the point where the – not only are the health risks significant but also, the expense goes up and everyone involved is just – it’s just a lot more work and a lot more drama and a lot more thrashing just trying to get this resolved. If your mom had moved into the condo and bought it or rented it, you might have a lease in play. And then you’ve got to get the landlord involved and gosh, landlords don’t always like to respond to stuff that goes wrong with your apartments.
LESLIE: No, they don’t.
TOM: So, having the documentation can really help that, as well. What a great product, the 5-Minute Mold Test.
Now, Jim, before we let you go, there are other types of molds in homes that perhaps would not be dangerous, like the kinds of mold that grow in your refrigerator. Does this test separate those sort of – I won’t call them “healthy molds” but just a less risky mold, since nobody likes mold period – from those that are – that can really hurt you, like Stachybotrys or Aspergillus or Penicillium.
JIM: Yes. And it’s a very good point. There are a lot of what we call “background molds” that are in the environment that just even blow in from outside. And they’re not an indication that you’ve had a water leak or what we, in the business, call a “water intrusion event.” And it’s those water-based problems, those ones that derive from your leaks – your leaky ceilings and your leaky pipes – that cause the worst health issues. And this is what this test does. It specifically detects the water-intrusion molds that are an indication that you have a serious moisture problem and a mold problem.
And of course, from there, you also want to take care of the moisture problem. We want to remind people just cleaning up the mold isn’t always the first step. The first step is finding out why you have mold.
But yes, it does differentiate from your background molds and it’s another great feature of this particular test.
LESLIE: So, Jim, I think once people find out that they have mold, how do you sort of help them to deal with the situation? Can they call you? Do you give them advice?
JIM: Absolutely. One of the primary features of the test is – includes a free professional consultation. We want people to call. We have a vetted list of professionals across the country that can come in and solve your problems for you. Quite often, we speak to people and they have a small problem.
And a lot of folks can deal with small – small as defined by the CDC is less than 10 square feet. And they’re not that sensitive to mold and they can take care of it themselves. We have some nice cleaners. But there are lots of good products out there we can recommend. And it’s absolutely – one of the things we want to do is hear from people and offer them that service. And that’s what we do.
TOM: Dr. Jim Whelan, President and Founder of My Healthful Home. Check out their brilliant, new product: the 5-Minute Mold Test, the best-selling mold-test kit on Amazon right now. Their website is 5MinuteMoldTest.com. That’s 5MinuteMoldTest.com. Test your house. You may be very surprised at the result.
JIM: My pleasure.
LESLIE: Hey, toss aside all of your cookbooks that are full of those quick and easy, time-saving recipes. Why not get a stovetop that actually cooks faster instead? We’re going to tell you everything that you need to know about induction ranges, when The Money Pit continues.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Leviton, the smart solution for all your electrical needs. Learn how to help improve your home’s electrical safety at GetSafeToday.com. And be sure to enter their June Safety Products Giveaway. That’s GetSafeToday.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Are you hoping to make the most of this warmer summer weather? Well, tackle the top backyard projects for the summer. They add curb appeal to your home, as well as value. It’s a win-win situation.
TOM: Just Google “five smart backyard projects for summer” or search it out on our site at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Doug in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOUG: I’ve got a 30-year-old home here in Northeast Texas. Wanting to know the best way to upgrade my insulation in the attic. It has what I would call – it looked like a recycled newspaper, maybe, blown in there. Probably about 2½, 3 inches thick. And wondering if I could just blow a new type of insulation on top of it or do I need to do preparation first?
TOM: Yeah, you can add additional insulation and that makes a lot of sense. But I would not put new insulation on top of that old insulation. Because the old insulation is probably settled down, compressed and it’s not insulating as well as it should. So what I would recommend is that you remove the existing insulation.
Then, if you want to go with blown-in, there’s actually a product out now that allows you to do your own blown-in insulation. It’s from Owens Corning and it’s called AttiCat. And the way AttiCat works is you go to your local Home Depot and you purchase the bags of AttiCat insulation. And if you buy 10 bags, they will give you the blowing machine for free. The rental – there’s no charge for the rental.
And then the blowing machine gets positioned outside your house or in your garage or whatever. The insulation packages slide into it. It’s almost designed as a slot; you put it right in the side. You take the hose up to your attic and it’s remote-controlled, so you can turn the machine on and off and control the flow.
And then, this type of insulation gets into the nooks and crannies, it expands nicely and it’s low dust. So it’s a very easy way to do your own blown-in insulation and get a really good, contiguous, solid application of insulation in that attic.
LESLIE: And a targeted application, as well.
TOM: Yeah. And you could do a whole house in about four hours.
DOUG: OK. Great. Well, I appreciate the advice. I’d like to maybe get a big vacuum cleaner to get the old up.
TOM: Yeah. The new insulation will go in in four hours. Getting the old stuff out, though, that’s going to be a day. Good luck with that project.
DOUG: Alright. Thank you for your help.
TOM: Well, gas ranges have long been the favorite of home cooks but there’s a new kid on the block that’s gaining heat. It’s called “induction cooktops.” Pretty cool technology.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s kind of amazing.
Now, presently, only 2 percent of homeowners cook with induction energy but we’re expecting that to change. In a recent study, 22 percent of homeowners said that their next stovetop will feature induction technology.
TOM: And here’s why. Check out how it works. You’ve got electromagnetic currents that produce a magnetic field that excite iron molecules, which results in heat – fast heat. And one thing induction cooks need to get used to is that it takes far shorter heating and prep times than conventional gas ranges.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Here’s the thing, though, that’s easiest to get used to: the energy efficiency and savings. Induction cooktops waste less heat for lower monthly bills.
TOM: It’s also very cool that when you cook with induction, the pots and pans don’t get hot. Only the food does. But it all does come at an increased cost, because induction ranges are more expensive than gas or electric ranges and require specific cast-iron and stainless-steel pots and pans to transfer the heat effectively.
But if you’re ready for a total cooking makeover, consider induction heating. It is the way of the future.
LESLIE: Charlene in Louisiana is on the line with a roofing question. What are you working on?
CHARLENE: I have a shallow roof on my house. They call it a 2:3 pitch. It’s not flat but it’s very shallow, OK? Almost no attic, about maybe 2 feet in there. I was interested in an aluminum roof, like a lifetime roof? And I wanted to know which would be better: that or a regular shingle roof, like an architectural roof.
TOM: You don’t have the pitch for an asphalt-shingle roof. You need to have at least a 3:12 or a 4:12 roof to put in shingles.
CHARLENE: Well, I have shingles on it now and they’ve been there for 20 years.
TOM: I’m telling you, you may but it’s not right. You can only put shingles on a roof that’s got a minimum pitch of 3:12 or 4:12. And if you’ve got them on there right now, count your blessings but it shouldn’t have been put on there. And any roofing manufacturer will tell you that.
If you – your options, therefore, are either to do, say, a rolled roofing or a rubber roofing or a metal roof, as long as it’s rated for that low pitch. And I think a metal roof is a great investment if you’re going to be there for the long haul. But that’s what I would invest in because with that low of a pitch, you probably don’t see it very much and you want to make sure that it’s really going to be watertight. And with a low pitch, you just can’t use an architectural shingle; it just won’t work.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, they’re back. I’m talking about garden gnomes. They are making their way from punchlines to potted plants. And they’re not the only surprise trends that we’re seeing in yards and gardens. That and more, after this.
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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.
Hey, from high ceilings to plenty of space, your garage could make the perfect family room or even master suite. But don’t seal off that garage door just yet. We’re going to find out which questions you should be asking before you actually go and convert your car’s living space into your living space. Just Google “garage conversions to spare rooms” and you’re going to get all the answers at MoneyPit.com.
And while you’re online, you can post your question. I’ve got one here from Jeff in New York who writes: “Tom and Leslie, I need your help. Is there any way to remove oil-based paint from a fabric car seat? I got it on the back of my jacket. Didn’t realize it and then drove my girlfriend’s car.”
TOM: I certainly hope that your girlfriend is an understanding woman, because we do not have good news for you. Getting oil-based paint that’s dried out of fabric is nearly impossible.
Now, if it hadn’t dried, you could’ve tried applying a solvent but then, of course, you run the risk of discoloring the fabric. Another option is always that if you do get a stain from oil-based paint – and again, it hasn’t thoroughly dried – WD-40 is really handy and has the uncanny ability to do many things, including removing those stains.
But since your paint is long dried right now, you might want to opt for seat covers and pray for a very understanding woman.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got one from Grace in California who writes: “I own a two-story townhouse with a hot-water recirculation system. Two of our six faucets consistently run out of hot water. What can I do?”
TOM: Hmm. Well, the fact that you have, you know, four faucets that are working fine and only two that don’t means we can eliminate problems with the water heater or water pump. Because they’re not going to deliver water to just four faucets and not the other two.
The problem is probably in the valves or the faucets themselves, Grace. If the valve wasn’t fully open, it’s possible that when it heats up, it could expand and interrupt the mix of hot and cold water. The same could happen internally for the faucets. So concentrate your trial-and-error search on your plumbing fixtures themselves, and not so much on the water heater or the pump, and I think you’ll get to the bottom of it pretty quickly.
LESLIE: Yeah. I mean who wants to run out of hot water? Even if it’s just on two faucets, that’s no fun.
TOM: Well, believe it or not, it might not be time to dust off that pink flamingo. Things are looking a lot more fun in yards and gardens these days. And Leslie has got the latest surprise trend, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. They say if you can’t beat them, join them? And saying that seems to be true in gardening, where even upscale looks are giving way to playful, even kind of themed displays.
Now, this year’s National Hardware Show showcased gardens with everything from general-store knickknacks to Frozen ornaments – and I’m talking Frozen as in “Let It Go” Disney movie, not ornaments made of ice, though that could be cool, too.
But if you’re not quite ready to trade in your traditional LEDs for neon or even other quirks, start slow. You can display a vintage garden gnome or an old sign among plants and greenery or just get in on the fun with fencing and ornaments in bold colors, rather than neutral choices.
And here’s another easy take on the fun: you can turn your garden into a game with a camouflaged ornament or toy that you can ask your guests to find. I love interactive experiences in your outdoor spaces.
Or here’s another idea: you can choose to stick with your more traditional garden and at least keep your eyes peeled for nostalgic, fun gardens in a yard near you. It’s not going to be hard to find because everybody is starting to get in on this trend.
You might not be into it; your neighbors might be. Take a look around. It’s really starting to pop up.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about pests and fungal disease and even Fido. Your yard has got a lot stacked against it. We’ll teach you how to diagnose those problems and get the lawn of your dreams, 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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