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: So happy you’re here listening to us today. We hope that perhaps we’ve caught you in the middle of a home improvement project or maybe you need some help, because that’s why we’re here. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT so that we can help you out, or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com, because that’s what we do.
We’re here to give you advice, answers, solutions to the DIY dilemmas that you’re facing, as well as those projects that you need to hire a pro to get done. Or maybe you’re stuck in the middle of a décor project and you don’t know where to go. Need some great advice? Call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
You’ll be happy to know that I will not give you décor advice but Leslie will. And she’s much better at it than I am.
Coming up on today’s show, now that summer is almost here and we’ll all be drinking a lot more water, we’re going to have some tips on how to test your water with simple DIY solutions to improve its taste and clarity.
LESLIE: Plus, when it gets too hot to open your windows, does your house start smelling a lot less like the fresh air outside? Well, we’re going to have some tips for natural deodorizers that you can use in your home, coming up.
TOM: And we’d also love to take your question about the project you’re working on today. And if you do call it in to 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to The Money Pit’s Community section at MoneyPit.com, The Home Depot has hooked us up with some awesome products to give away to step up your outdoor-living experience this summer, including this: the Weber Genesis E-310 Gas Grill worth 499 bucks.
LESLIE: And we’ve also got the very cool Hampton Bay Cross Ridge Fire Pit Table Patio Heater. Together, with the grill, you guys can really transform your outdoor-living experience.
TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Rose in New Jersey is on the line and she has a very busy tree that’s causing lots of problems with roots.
What’s going on, Rose?
ROSE: Well, the tree, the roots are ruining the lawn. And they suggest I have the tree taken down. But it’s so beautiful I don’t want to take it down. So they’re suggesting I wait until September and have topsoil put down. And I was just wondering, what do you think I should do?
TOM: Well, I mean they’re correct. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too. You can’t trim back the roots. You can trim back other things on a tree but you can’t trim back the roots. So, you have to either cover those roots with more topsoil or wood chips or anything else, depending on how you – what you want it to look like. Or you’ve got to say bye-bye to the tree.
It’s funny you mention this because just today, I had to take out a big maple tree in my yard, which I was really sad about because I love the tree. But it was just dying from the inside and it was getting dangerous. And so the tree company I hired ground out the stump for me and left about 6 inches or 8 inches of wood chips sort of flush with the soil. So I had to – I took three barrels – wheelbarrows – of wood chips out of this hole, filled it all with topsoil and planted seed. That was my project for today.
So, I do feel your pain. If you love this tree, you want to save it, you’re going to have to put up with those roots and you’re going to have to cover it. And if you’re – if they’re telling you to wait until September so the grass grows – but the other thing is if you’ve got a big tree, you’re going to have a hard time getting the grass to grow. So, you might want to think of another type of plant – a shade plant – that could sustain itself there. Because right under that tree, it’s not going to be easy for the grass to grow.
ROSE: Oh. Because the tree is so big. It’s about 25 years old. Beautiful tree.
TOM: Yeah. Well, then just keep it and enjoy it. Deal with the roots. You’re going to have to cover it with something.
ROSE: So you think I ought to have the topsoil put down and have it reseeded?
TOM: Well, you can do that but like I said, I don’t know that you’re going to get much grass to grow under a big, old tree. The sun can’t get there. So you might want to think about a shade plant, like Pachysandra, for example.
ROSE: OK. Well, thank you so much for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Heading out to Minnesota where we’ve got Trevor on the line. How can we help you today?
TREVOR: I have tongue-and-groove boards on my ceiling in my living room. I was wondering about replacing them and putting new ones up. And they’re starting to twist and gap and whatnot. And I was wondering if a person needs a vapor barrier behind there.
TOM: Yeah, there are a lot of advantages to spray-foam insulation and one of them is that you don’t need a vapor barrier. The concept of managing moisture with a spray-foam application is not the same as if you had fiberglass.
You need a vapor barrier in a fiberglass situation because you need to keep the moisture from building up in the fiberglass and making the insulation ineffective. But with spray foam, that’s not an issue. Basically, there is no sort of unconditioned space left, so it all becomes part of the conditioned space and therefore needs no ventilation, it needs no vapor barrier whatsoever.
TOM: So it’s pretty easy.
TREVOR: Some carpenters have told me that sometimes they put sheetrock behind there before you put tongue-and-groove boards up or something.
TOM: Well, yeah. Because the reason for that is because sometimes the tongue-and-groove boards will shrink. You’ll see gaps behind it. So that’s not a bad idea. It’s kind of your option, though, whether you do that or not. If you like the look of the tongue-and-groove planking on the ceiling, then that’s your call. But certainly, you do not need any kind of vapor barrier.
TREVOR: Oh. Outstanding. Perfect. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor.
We’re going to do our best to answer your home improvement question but there’s an even better reason to call us today or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: Yeah, especially this weekend, because we’ve got an awesome prize to give away to one listener drawn at random. It’s the Weber Genesis E-310 Gas Grill from The Home Depot worth almost 500 bucks.
Now, to win it, you’ve got to do one of two things. You’ve got to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it online at MoneyPit.com’s Community page.
And let me tell you, if you can’t do it right now, right this second, as long as you do it this weekend, the way we do this is we basically take all of the folks that have called us or wrote us over the week with their questions, we throw them all into the Money Pit hard hat. And then on Monday morning, our office manager, Lisa, gets to play Santa Claus to our entire audience and pull out of that hard hat the winners for that weekend’s prizes. You may get a call on Monday telling you that you won a great grill from The Home Depot.
So don’t delay. Give us a call, post that question at 888-MONEY-PIT or online at MoneyPit.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.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: You can get matched with background-checked home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free. No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire a pro you can trust.
TOM: You know, Leslie, we’d like to think our audience will call us at 888-MONEY-PIT just for an amazing answer to whatever how-to or décor question they may have. But we also know that a bribe will help, so here it is.
LESLIE: It certainly does.
TOM: If you give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT or post it to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com, we will toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat for a chance at winning a Weber Genesis E-310 Propane Gas Grill.
This is a great grill. If you’ve got an old rust bucket for a grill, you need this. It includes two full-use, stainless-steel tables for food prep. It’s got porcelain-enameled, cast-iron cooking grates. It’s highly rated for easy-to-assemble design.
It’s available at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com for 499 bucks but it’s going out to one lucky listener drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Terry in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
TERRY: I’ve got water coming in my foundation. I live on a concrete slab. And I have 2 foot of block work on top of the slab, on one side of my house, before the plate starts. And I believe water comes in through the block.
TOM: So, concrete slabs and concrete block are very hydroscopic, which basically means it can sort of draw the water up into those surfaces sort of against gravity. So if you have a lot of water that collects in the grade, especially that foundation perimeter, perhaps, because of an overflowing gutter or because the soil is too flat or it slopes into the building or it doesn’t have the right kind of sort of mulch and it’s sort of just hanging there and being very spongy or maybe you have some sort of landscape bed, all those things that keep water against the house can lead to this issue.
TERRY: It’s got to rain 3 to 4 inches of raining before it does it.
TOM: So you’ve established that it is consistent with rainfall, which is good news because that means that it’s under your total control to stop. So I think this is a good opportunity for you to evaluate all the exterior drainage that contributes to that – and starting with the gutters and making sure the downspouts are extended at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house on that side is really important.
If it does rain heavy, you have to opportunity to go outside and actually watch what’s happening with the water. That can be very instructive, because you’ll see exactly why the water is collecting in that house and coming up into the wall and into the carpet as it is. You’ll be able to see what the issues are. I’ve seen this happen from something as simple as a blocked gutter to things that are more complicated, where perhaps the gutter is just overwhelmed by the volume of the water and maybe you need a larger gutter or more spouts.
TERRY: I was just going to repaint my block interior wall here with masonry waterproofing.
TOM: Well, you can do that but clearly, for whatever reason there’s …
LESLIE: It’s coming from somewhere.
TOM: Yeah, it’s coming from somewhere and the water is collecting enough against that house to be able to draw into those places. So, there is a source of water.
LESLIE: Something could have become disconnected, something underground, perhaps, has detached and the water is just going where you don’t want it to.
TOM: Right. If you’re getting leakage consistent with rainfall, then the solution is adjusting the way that water is flowing around your house. So I would take another hard look at it and like I said, if you do happen to get another bad rain, take a look outside and see what you’re seeing. There might be something simple that you’re missing, Terry. Alright? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’d like to improve the taste and clarity of your tap water, there’s a new product out at The Home Depot that can help. It’s called the PUR Chrome Horizontal Faucet Mount System. That’s PUR as in P-U-R and it’s attractive, it’s effective and it’s also very affordable. It actually mounts on the faucet itself and it gives you great-tasting water direct from the tap.
LESLIE: Now, with any water filter, it’s really important to make sure that you keep up on the filter maintenance. And PUR has a CleanSensor Monitor that visibly indicates the filter status, so it’s pretty easy to know when you need to replace the filter.
Now, each filter gives you about 100 gallons of clean, healthy, great tasting water. Plus, it’s certified to remove 99 percent of lead and over 70 other contaminants, including 96 percent of mercury and 92 percent of pesticides.
TOM: Installation is pretty easy and completely tool-free. It’s also got a two-year warranty. The PUR Chrome Horizontal Faucet Mount System is available for 34.98 at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com, your source for a comprehensive set of water-quality solutions.
LESLIE: Eileen in New York is on the line and has a question about generators. What can we do for you today?
EILEEN: My son has sleep apnea and he’s on manufactured oxygen. He has to have it whether he naps or sleeps all night or he could go into cardiac arrest. I’m wondering if it would be practical for him to get a small-type generator, not the ones that you fill the gas in. But it would go through the gas line in my home, in the basement.
TOM: I think it’s an excellent idea, Eileen. And you have lots of options. The generators come in a wide variety of sizes. You know, you may have one that covers parts of your home or you may opt to get one that covers the entire home. I would look at both and here’s why: because the core installation cost is pretty much the same, especially after you have to hook up a plumbing line and run some electrical cable to it and set up a transfer switch. You’re going to be doing that whether it’s a generator that handles a dozen circuits or a generator that handles 25 circuits.
So, I would look into both options. The difference is one’s called a “standby,” one’s called a “whole-house.” And I think that’s an excellent application for a generator.
EILEEN: OK, then. Thank you very, very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Eileen.
EILEEN: And I listen to your program. If I wake up early on Saturdays, I’ll turn it on and it’s a lot of information.
EILEEN: You’re very descriptive of everything, you explain everything good to people. And I think it’s great.
TOM: Well, thank you so much. We really appreciate that. Thanks for listening.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Bill in Nevada is on the line with an LED-lighting question. What can we do for you?
BILL: I recently replaced a standard, overhead, incandescent lighting fixture with an LED lighting fixture. The installation went OK; everything works. But when you turn on the light, there’s a delay. There’s about a second-and-a-half, maybe a two-second delay before the lights actually come on. Is that standard? What causes it? And more importantly, is there something I can do about it?
TOM: Yeah, I’ve seen that with some LED fixtures that I have and I never thought it was anything other than normal. LED bulbs themselves are pretty complicated when you look at all the circuitry. And I just presume that’s what it takes to bring the light up and maintain it at that level. So I’ve never thought twice about that being an issue. But I could see how it might surprise you.
BILL: So you’ve seen it before?
TOM: Oh, yeah. I’ve definitely seen it before.
BILL: Alright. Well, that was the question. I appreciate you taking it and giving me a good, quick answer.
TOM: Alright. You’ve got it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Carol in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
CAROL: We have a new porch that we put on the back of our house. And we used on it a treated lumber and we put a transparent stain on it. Now, we have two other porches on two different other buildings and they did not get stained or anything. They were treated wood and now they’re kind of weathered-looking. You know how they turn.
So, now we’re wondering if we pressure-washed them, could we put the transparent stain on them?
TOM: You could but I wouldn’t recommend it. And here’s why: because the transparent stain doesn’t have any pigment in it. And so it doesn’t really do a good job of keeping the UV away from the wood. It’s not – you can’t – the natural color of the wood is, unfortunately, impossible to maintain. What I would recommend is that you do clean those surfaces to make sure they’re ready for a new stain, let them dry thoroughly and then add either a semi-transparent or a solid-color stain to that porch surface. You’ll still be able to see the grain of the wood underneath but it’ll be well protected.
CAROL: Thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carol. Good luck on that farm. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Craig in Rhode Island is on the line and he needs some help with a bathroom makeover. What are you working on?
CRAIG: Well, actually, my second bathroom in my master, it’s kind of old. It has a Symmons water mixer – a shut-off valve. And actually, I’m looking to replace it. It’s cracked, it has some issues. But I can’t get behind the shower to open the wall up to replace it because it’s actually adjacent to my first bathroom shower. It’s a fiberglass, one-piece pop-in.
My first thought is, “Take the insert out, tile it.” But then I have to put a shower pan in. I’d have to do a lot more extra work and money. And then I heard possibly cutting the hole bigger and they have bigger back plates. But I mean I don’t want it to look awkward, as well, you know?
TOM: So what exactly is wrong with the valve you have there now?
CRAIG: Well, see, I don’t think the mixing valve – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But the plate on the shut-off valve, it’s cracked. I also have well water. I know it’s been taking a toll on the pipes. The home is 20 years old. I’m pretty sure it’s original to the home, as well. I’ve only owned it for about coming up on two years now and …
TOM: So you basically are telling me that it’s a cosmetic piece?
CRAIG: It is, it is. But I’m redoing the bathroom and I want to update the fixtures. And like I said, it’s kind of your typical apartment, Symmons, very like a chrome – the kind of cheap, chrome finish.
TOM: Well, look, you have the most impossible scenario because you have back-to-back plumbing walls. And typically, you design bathrooms so that one side of the wall’s a closet where you can go and tear out the back wall and then you can get to the valves. But in your case, you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, because you either have to take apart the fiberglass shower or you’ve got to take apart the shower that’s basically getting you started here.
And I don’t really have a good solution for you. I was asking you about the existing valves because I was wondering if maybe – sometimes, plumbers can rebuild all the working parts of that from the action side, from the inside and maybe pick up some additional faucets that will look like they’ll work in there. I wouldn’t go to the tear-out without at least exploring that.
I, for example, recently had a new shower valve that had to really be replaced. And it turned out that the valves were plastic – inside, some of the valve components were plastic. The seats? And we tore them out and we replaced them with brass. And we were able to find those at a plumbing-supply store. And so I didn’t have to actually replace the faucet.
CRAIG: My next step is going to – I’m going to go to a plumbing supply and see if they just have an updated kind of – updated Symmons where I could keep that valve in and everything is kind of pieced together, as well.
TOM: Right. I think that’s a smart thing. What you want to do is take some pictures of that and go talk to a knowledgeable guy behind the counter and figure out what your options are.
CRAIG: Yeah, yeah. That’s my next step and it’s not a – I guess I’ll be tiling a new shower.
TOM: Yeah. If you can figure out a way to make it passable, I think you should do that because you know what?
TOM: Nobody’s going to see that space and I’d hate to see you spend a few thousand bucks redoing it if all you’re trying to get is new valves.
CRAIG: That’s what I’m trying to stay away from. Well, thank you, guys, very much.
TOM: You’re welcome.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Well, just ahead, summer is on its way and with all that heat, we’re all going to be drinking a lot more water. We’re going to have some tips on how you can test and improve your water’s clarity and taste with simple DIY solutions for your home, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, when we turn on the faucet for a glass of water, the taste and clarity of that water might be something you feel that you really have little control over. But with a filter, you can have clear, better-tasting water all the time.
TOM: And stepping up your water-quality effort is not just limited to pitchers and faucet-mount filters. Under-sink systems are available that are not that difficult to install and that can deliver clear, great-tasting water whenever you need it. With us to talk about that is Lindsay Chason. Lindsay is the water-quality expert for The Home Depot.
LINDSAY: Hi, guys.
TOM: Hey, I have to tell you I spent 20 years as a home inspector, Lindsay, and I frequently saw these small charcoal filters hanging off the end of a kitchen faucet that probably hadn’t been changed since the day they were installed. And I always think that they might even be contaminating the water at that point. So, choosing the right filtration product and knowing how to maintain it are really critical to your family’s safety, right?
LINDSAY: Absolutely. And it might have been actually my house that you were inspecting, because I think I had the same thing go on when I bought a house. But yeah, changing your filter is incredibly important. If you think about every year you change your clocks twice a year, so that’s a good time to remember to change your water filtration under the sink or in your whole-home system and making sure that whatever system you’ve spent a lot of time and energy and money putting into your home is actually performing at tip-top shape.
LESLIE: Now, I think a lot of people think when it comes to water purification, it’s got to be an entire house, every single faucet, all the water has got to be taken care of. And I think in some extreme cases, that could be a possibility. But there are under-sink systems that really allow you to get the purified water right where you need it, right?
LINDSAY: You bet. You can look at a number of different products. We have really basic systems that are just one stage that reduce chlorine taste and odor, to something that’s really premium like reverse osmosis that actually is purifying your water as much as something maybe more industrial might. So, a ton of different options, all of them available at The Home Depot. There are all kinds of systems, really, no matter what your preference is. And we can filter out taste, lead, cysts, mercury, pharmaceuticals. That’s something that’s coming up a lot more. And hopefully, this takeaway is The Home Depot has everything that you need to set up your home with great water-filtration options.
TOM: Now, if you’re cruising down the aisle and you’re seeing all of these options and you’re trying to decide what you really need for your house, the first step is really before you get to the store with a test, right? I mean you need to know what actually is coming out of that tap, first.
LINDSAY: That’s right. And we have a number of different test options for our customers. We offer a free water test that you can find basically at every Home Depot. And that will tell you a lot of what’s in your water and you can schedule a consult with one of our water filtration experts. Or you can purchase a water test kit on our shelves at The Home Depot. It’s like a little science experiment. When you get it home, you’ll have test tube of your own water and pH strips. Then you can see when the pH strips turn color, it tells you if there are contaminants there. And then you’re a lot more informed once you start to go through the research process in figuring out what do you want to put in your home.
TOM: Who doesn’t love a science project at home? Right, Les?
LINDSAY: Exactly. A lot of fun.
LESLIE: But Lindsay, when you go to the store, you’re looking at all of these different products for water filtration and purification in your home. How do you know what’s a good one? Are there standards? Are there certain testing procedures that go on so you know what’s the best kind for your needs?
LINDSAY: That’s a great question. So you don’t want to just assume that a manufacturer has sent their products out for testing. At The Home Depot, we have a number of different options that were either certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association. Pretty much anything that you see in our store at The Home Depot is going to have one of those two certifications. And those are established by the EPA as the best in class.
TOM: Lindsay Chason, the water quality expert for The Home Depot, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. The weather’s getting warmer and we’re drinking more and more water. We want to make sure it’s the good stuff when it hits our lips, right?
LINDSAY: That’s right. Thank you, guys, for the time.
TOM: If you’d like more information, you can head on over to HomeDepot.com or call 1-800-HOME-DEPOT to schedule an appointment with a water-quality expert.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Lindsay.
Hey, if you’ve got a home improvement or décor question, we really love to hear about it and we’d love to give you a chance to win a beautiful Hampton Bay Cross Ridge Fire Pit Table Patio Heater. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question on The Money Pit Community page at MoneyPit.com. We’ll be back with more of your calls, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Find trusted home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.
888-666-3974. Plus, if you give us a call, right now, not only will you get the answer to your home improvement question but we also will give you a chance to win a great product we’re giving away from The Home Depot.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got up for grabs the Hampton Bay Cross Ridge Fire Pit Table Patio Heater. This thing is amazing. It’s got an antique-bronze finish with a natural slate tabletop. So it’s really going to go beautifully in any yard, regardless of your décor. It’s made so well that it really will stand up to all of those outdoor elements.
It’s available at The Home Depot and HomeDepot.com. It’s a great prize. It’s worth 199 bucks and it’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. So give us a call.
TOM: 888-666-3974.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Harold in Texas is on the line and has a roofing question. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
HAROLD: The skylight (inaudible at 0:26:30). Someone has a – they had a leak on it and someone had one out there and took the dome off the skylight itself and left the frame. Now, my (inaudible at 0:26:39) it’s a frame and they put a modified on that. It’s torch-down. Is there any way that it should be leaking through the concrete shaft that goes into the roof itself?
TOM: OK. So you have a skylight that has a history of leakage. People have been out there sort of pulling the dome apart and trying to, what, tar it and get it to stop leaking? Is that what’s happening?
HAROLD: Yeah. Yes, see they put a modified torch-down on – you know, they put an old piece of plywood down.
TOM: Yeah. Hmm. Yeah.
HAROLD: But it still hasn’t stopped the problem.
TOM: Yeah. I’ve got to tell you, the – what kind of pitch does this have, this roof?
HAROLD: It’s flat (inaudible at 0:27:10).
TOM: Yeah, that’s about the toughest type of skylight to leak-proof. And I will tell you that if it’s not working for you, probably the shortest distance between two points to get this thing fixed is to pull it off and put a new light in. You’re going to want one with a solid curb and it’s going to be a composite curb. And then those types of curbs, especially if you have to buy one that’s designed for a flat roof, will have the built-in flashing system as part of that.
And if it’s done right, you can flood that roof with water and nothing’s going to happen to it. But I suspect that the light that was put in there now probably wasn’t even designed for a flat roof. And somebody tried to make it work and it’s just not happening. And as you’ve seen with these repairs, it’s not really solving it. But this is important.
If we – we’ve got to get this fixed because it’s going to impact the structure, it’s going to impact the home’s value. So, this is something – why don’t you do this? Why don’t you go to HomeAdvisor.com, nationwide company that will help you find experienced, certified, trusted pros. It’s all free online. You can read reviews from other people that have used these guys. And then maybe you can get a couple of pros to go take a look at it and give you a sense as to what’s really going to be required to make this right. I would use a service like that where you have other individuals that have used these guys before evaluating their – them and giving you reviews right online.
So it’s called HomeAdvisor.com. Check it out, Harold, and good luck with that project.
HAROLD: Yes, sir. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Well, if you’d like to improve the smell or the odors around your home, be they from kids or the babies or pets or spouses – whatever, we’re not judging – Citrus Magic has always been a good option. They offer natural, odor-eliminating, non-aerosol spray air fresheners, solid odor-absorbing air fresheners that seriously were so effective I used to take the solids and put them in the diaper pail when the kids were babies because, truly, it made the room not smell like a gigantic diaper.
TOM: That’s got to be one of the most powerful odors.
LESLIE: Oh, it’s the worst.
TOM: Well, now they have introduced a new line of candles that will eliminate those unpleasant odors, as well, while cleaning and refreshing the air. So we really have three options to get the air smelling great throughout your house.
LESLIE: Now, the Citrus Magic solids and candles are great for 24/7 odor control and freshness, while the non-aerosol sprays are ideal for those instant, shall we say, odor events. You know what I’m talking about. Stick one in the bathroom. We don’t have to discuss any further. You know what I mean.
TOM: Y, if you are an odor-event creator, you know who you are.
LESLIE: Hey, I think we’re all odor-event creators. I’m just saying it. I’m going to put it out there. Citrus Magic, they’ve really been refreshing air in homes for over 25 years with products that are safe for people, pets, the environment. And they come in a wide variety of fragrances, so there really is something that everybody’s going to like.
TOM: Yeah. And you can find them all over the place. They’re in Kroger and Publix, Safeway, Albertsons, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Hannafords, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Meijers, Walgreens, Whole Foods and if all else fails, Amazon.com.
They cost from five to six bucks, so pretty affordable. You can pick one up today and experience the magic. To learn more, visit CitrusMagic.com or pick up the phone and call them at 800-451-7096.
LESLIE: Nils in Delaware is on the line with a fly problem at a new house. What’s going on?
NILS: Girlfriend purchased a historical home that was located in our county seat where all the court buildings are. It was built in 1806 and they moved it out of town. And so now we’re redoing it a room at a time but we’re trying to keep it in period, because it’s in the register. So, I guess we’ve got to be careful what we do.
But when we opened up the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom, there was a humongous snake that had died in the ceiling.
TOM: Oh, no.
NILS: And all that was left was the skin and she was done when she saw that.
TOM: Wow. That’s freaky.
NILS: But we’ve got all these different types of frogs in the yard. We’ve got a million ticks and now we’ve got these – everybody’s calling them “furnace flies” that sees them. But we don’t have a furnace. We’ve got a boiler but that’s out in what’s called a “potting shed” and it’s a detached building from the home. So I don’t know where these flies are coming from.
TOM: Well, listen, Nils, we can give you some advice on how to tackle the flies. But between the flies and the ticks and everything else that’s going on in this house, I really think you should just, you know, cut the pain and pick up the phone and call a pest-control operator – a licensed pest-control professional. Because they have the tools and the techniques and the products that can effectively and safely make this house a lot less insect-infested.
Now, with the flies, you can make your own fly traps out of apple-cider vinegar. All you do is you take a cup or a jar, you put a couple inches of vinegar – apple-cider vinegar – in it, you cover the top of that jar with plastic, punch some holes in it that are big enough for the flies to get in and they’ll find their way in there and they won’t be able to get out. So I mean we can give you some sort of home remedies like that. But if you’ve got this level of insect infestation in this old house and even the surrounding yards …
NILS: Oh, no, no, no. There is no infestation in the house. It’s just we’ve got flies that go around the kitchen and her family room. Most of the floor is like 18-inch planks, 18 inches wide. And we just don’t know where the flies are coming from and how to get rid of them. And I have to be careful, because our neighbor was killed in a car accident and we’ve inherited all five of her cats because they had nowhere to go, I guess.
TOM: Well, I still think that you could have the house professionally treated, safely, even with the animals inside of it. And it’s going to be a lot more effective than chasing them down with any other type of remedy. There are pyrethrin sprays that you can buy over the counter but I just don’t think you should use them.
A professional is going to come in and sometimes people think, “Well, if the professionals come in, they’re using the really strong stuff.” Well, I always put it this way: they’re using the right stuff and they’re using the right amount of it to do the job at hand. Pesticides today are heavily regulated and they have to be applied very specifically and consistent with the label directions. And they do a pretty good job, because the guys are trained to know how to do it. And so, considering the level of issue you’ve got going on here, that’s exactly what I would do here. OK, Nils?
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, are you looking for that one home design detail that’s going to have your guests talking for years to come? Well, if you are, we’ve got it. It’s an accent wall covered in salvaged wood. They are beautiful, they are unique and they’re really easy to do. We’re going to tell you how it’s the perfect weekend project. The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT which is presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. And it doesn’t matter what that project is. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros in your area.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Alright. Let’s jump into the Money Pit Community section. People are always posting in there, asking questions. I’ve got one here from Joe who writes: “I thought I was doing everything right by getting a sump pump with a battery backup. But I lost power for so long that the battery died and my basement still flooded. Is there anything I can do to prevent this in the future?”
TOM: Yeah. What you could do, Joe, is pick up a whole-house backup generator. The prices on these things have come down dramatically.
Now, I was sort of the first one on my block to have one and I was darn glad I had it, especially when we were hit by Hurricane Sandy. But really, for just starting at around a couple thousand dollars, you can have a generator that will literally power your entire house if not the most important parts of it. And you’ll never have to worry about issues like that again.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what, Joe? It’s not just the sump pump you’ve got to worry about, although that is a big concern. We’re talking about everything in your house, your fridge. What if you’ve got medications in there? You know, lots of things require that backup power and it truly has never been more important than now, so consider it.
TOM: Well, when it gets too hot to head outside, why not take on a project that lets you bring the outdoors in for years to come? Leslie has got tips on how to install a reclaimed-wood wall, on this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
And Leslie, this isn’t the kind of product you’re going to find at the aisle of a home center. But is it available out there?
LESLIE: Oh, my goodness. You would be surprised. So many specialty retailers, specialty furniture stores, even flooring manufacturers are sort of getting in on this wooden wall party, if you want to call it that. So you’re finding some kits that are available that are already a blend of a peel-and-stick vinyl plank that looks just like wood. You’re even seeing some places that have a true sort of thin veneer layer of an actual hardwood or a reclaimed wood or some sort of lumber that’s also peel-and-stick. So you can get out there and find something that’s ready to go or you can get as creative as you like.
Now, really, it’s a great, new design trend. It works in a variety rooms. I’ve used it just on a wall behind a bed. I’ve used it just on a section of wall. So really, think about the places that you can go with it and think about the type of wood that you want and also the ease of installation.
So now, first of all, if you’re going to hire it out, then go ahead and pick out the fanciest of fancy and whatever material you like and let the pro figure out how to put it up. But if you’re going to do it yourself, really go ahead and do some research, because you can find some products that are ready to go, sold in kits that are already blends of different styles of the hardwood. So you can get this sort of natural, mixed look in the different sort of patinas of the wood, if you will.
But what you want to do if you go ahead and you buy some planks from a salvage yard or even a specialty buyer, you want to look at those planks, check them out. Make sure if there’s any nails or any other sort of metal, get that out of there unless it’s a detail in the piece of lumber that you really like the look of. But if you’re putting something metal that could be potentially an ouch-y hazard, put it higher up or lower down, somewhere we’re you’re not going to bump into it as easily.
Once you’ve done that, sand away anything that you might need. Use a saw to cut the boards to size. In your home, though, consider this: if you’re using a thicker piece of wood, you might have to remove the trim from the wall. You might have to also sort of adjust for any power outlets, pull them out a little bit deeper to accommodate the depth of that wood. Some of the peel-and-stick ones that you’ll find ready to go are super thin; you don’t even have to worry about that. Get out there, do your research, Pinterest away. Look on The Money Pit. We’ve got so many beautiful images of what this can look like, because it is a great project.
TOM: And it is totally coming back. You’re absolutely right. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, there are some natural ways to create a privacy screen. Landscaping expert Roger Cook from This Old House is going to stop by with the step-by-step, on the next edition of the program.
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.
(Copyright 2017 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.)