- Heating Costs: If high heating bills are making your blood boil, you need these easy tips for cutting energy costs.
- Patio Heaters: The right patio heater can extend your outdoor living well into fall. Find out how to choose the best one.
- Air Quality: Eliminating odors is always better than just covering them up! We’ve got info about an air purifier that will have you breathing easily.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Wood Doors: Restoring solid walnut doors is worth the time and effort to get beautiful results. We’ll talk Mary through how to strip, sand, and refinish her wood doors to resist UV rays and last for years.
- Fire Pits: James needs advice about installing a fire pit. We suggest an easy DIY fire pit kit that comes with everything he needs.
- Stone Veneers: Can stone veneers be used to cover the walls of an old glazed block building? Greg learns it can be done with the right type of veneer adhesive.
- Indoor Pests: What’s the best way to catch indoor pests if you don’t want to kill them? Leslie offers Dorothy some ideas about how to relocate centipedes and crickets and prevent them from returning to her basement.
- Gravel Driveway: How should you maintain a gravel driveway? Keith gets info about using crushed gravel that will stay compact and costs less than asphalt.
- Outdoor Shower: Elizabeth says that the water pressure has suddenly dropped, only in her outdoor shower. She may just need to disassemble the shower head and clean out any debris that’s clogging it up.
- Brick Stains: The stains on a brick mailbox may be salt deposits. We give Louise some tips on using a vinegar solution to clean the stains and applying masonry sealant to protect the surface.
- Deck Stain: Justin’s wood deck currently has a semi-transparent stain. It’s easy to apply a solid stain over it with the proper preparation.
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: What are you working on this beautiful fall weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in the right place because that’s probably what we’re doing, as well. And if we can help you get your projects done, we’d like to do just that. You can reach out with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com/Ask. Just click the blue microphone button, record your question and we will answer it the next time we’re in the studio.
Coming up on today’s show, now that it’s getting colder we’re starting to see higher heating bills show up every month. In fact, it turns out that almost a third of energy consumption goes to our heating needs. But the solutions to reduce these costs are often pretty simple and also pretty easy to overlook. So we’re going to walk you through some easy fix-ups for just that.
LESLIE: And it might be getting chilly but that doesn’t mean outdoor living has got to end. You know, with the right patio heater, you can hang out in your yard or on the deck well into fall. So we’re going to share some tips on how to pick the perfect patio heater for your house.
TOM: And before we get wrapped up inside for the cold months ahead, we want to talk about air cleaners and air purifiers. What’s the difference? One masks the odor, one totally removes the stink. We’re going to highlight the best way to detox the air inside your home sweet home before you have to seal the hatches for the chilly season.
LESLIE: But first, what are you guys working on? We want to know all about all the projects you’re tackling or even just thinking about tackling. So give us a call, let us know how we can help.
Plus, we’ve got a great tool to give away to one very lucky listener. It’s the Arrow 5-in-1 Manual Staple Gun. It’s good for upholstery, installing insulation, craft projects, if you’re hanging some holiday lights. Lots of projects that you can tackle with the staple gun. So give us a call and let us know what you are working on so we can lend a hand and give you some cool tools.
TOM: Because that’s the only way you can get entered into today’s drawing. You’ve got to call us with your home improvement question or post it at MoneyPit.com right now. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or go to MoneyPit.com/Ask.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Mary from Massachusetts is on the line and needs some help with finishing a project.
What can we do for you?
MARY: Well, I live in a very old home. And the front – I have double front doors that are made of walnut. They’re very heavy and very thick but somewhere along the line, somebody put some kind of finish on them. So now they’re peeling. They face the east, so they get a – I mean the west. So they get a lot of summer – hot sun. And I just don’t know how to get everything off and then refinish them.
TOM: So, what are the doors made out of? Are they wood doors?
MARY: Oh, yes. They’re solid walnut. And they’re about an inch-and-a-half thick.
TOM: OK. And the finish that’s on it, is it a clear, like a urethane-type finish that’s peeling?
MARY: Yes. It looks like that. And then there’s some kind of stain on the door that turns really dark, dark wood.
TOM: OK. So, listen, first of all, congratulations on having a really beautiful set of doors. Walnut doors are very rare and that’s terrific. So they’re worth putting the time into it and time you will need for this project, Mary.
What you need to do is you need to strip all that old finish off. What I would do is I would take the doors off of the hinges, I’d lay them on a couple of sawhorses. I’d have a vibrating sander. I would just start to sand that finish away and get all of that down to raw wood. It is totally worth it because you can’t put, you know, good finish over bad finish. You’ve got to get down to that wood.
Now, once you’re down to the wood, since it’s a darker wood you may or may not want to stain it. If it turns out that there – maybe there’s some unevenness in the coloring of the wood, you could think about adding a stain to try to sort of blend it all in. And then on top of that, you’re going to put a new finish.
Now, since these doors face the sun, what I would use is I would use a marine varnish on that. And the key difference with marine varnish is it has exceptionally high UV protection. So it’s going to stand up to that UV radiation from the sun and not peel off quite as easily as just any other exterior UV would. So, strip it down to the raw wood, stain it as needed and then refinish it with a marine varnish. I would use a satin, not a gloss, because it’ll make the doors look a lot nicer. And then just enjoy them. If you do this, even though it’s going to take you a long time, it’s going to last for years to come.
Now, look, it’s also not the kind of project you can bang out in an afternoon. So, this may be a situation where you pop the door off the hinges, which is pretty easy to do, you get it out on the sawhorse, you do as much as you can for the day, you put the door back on the hinges and you close it in whatever shape it’s in at that moment. And then the next time you have time to do this, you take the door off and continue. So it can just kind of continue on.
I don’t want you to try to do this vertically. It’s going to make you much more tired. Believe me, gravity plays a big part in being able to do this well. And if it’s laid out flat on a couple of sawhorses in a shady area, it’s just going to be a lot easier for you to work on it.
MARY: OK. Just one other quick question: what weight of sandpaper do you use on the vibrating sander?
TOM: That’s a great question. It depends on kind of how it behaves, so to speak, when you start to use it. But I would start with a medium grit. So that’s going to be around 100 to 125, maybe 150. The thing is if you go too fine to start it, you might find that the paper clogs up.
There’s also a type of paper that’s available that looks more like screening or netting. And when you’re working with finishes, that type of material tends to clog less. So if you’re in the home center aisle and you see that as an option, that’s something that you might want to give it a try until you find the paper that works the best.
Try not to put too much pressure on it. You don’t want to – if you lean in and push hard down on it and not let the machine do its work, what’ll happen is some of that old finish can heat up, it’ll kind of gunk up the paper and ruin it and you’ll just have to get a new piece and continue. But you’re going – it’s going to take you a while and you’re going to have to do a lot of handwork, as well.
And speaking of which, if you have sort of nooks and crannies, if you have sort of moldings in this door that you have to get into, there are sanding sponges that companies like 3M make. I also see these in the home center paint aisle at Home Depot. And these sanding sponges, I really like them because they’re squishy but they’re abrasive. So you can actually crush it up against that uneven molding, press it in there, work it up and down and it does a good job, OK?
MARY: Oh, OK. Because there are – there is molding in it. They’re not even, flush doors.
TOM: Yeah. You’ll find that sanding sponge really handy.
MARY: OK. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate your help.
LESLIE: James in Illinois is on the line and is looking to make a fire pit at their money pit.
What’s going on?
JAMES: Well, I just want to know what’s the best way to build a fire pit in the ground. Would you use fire brick or would you get those galvanized rings?
TOM: There’s a really nice fire-pit kit that’s on the market now at Home Depot that’s made by Pavestone. It’s called the RumbleStone Fire Pit Kit. I like it because it contains everything that you need. It’s got the stone, which you can use to create the round fire pit itself and then it also has a metal insert and a screen. So, basically, everything you need is in the box and you can pick it up and put it together and they’re pretty good about giving the instructions and step-by-step. Why don’t you take a look at that?
I’ve got to tell you, I have a fire pit now but if I was doing it again, I would pick up the RumbleStone Round Fire Pit Kit at Home Depot.
JAMES: What would – the metal ring that goes around there? How thick is it? And would it rust and you’d have to replace it in a couple years?
TOM: I’ve had metal fire pits for a number of years and I find that they’re good for 5 or 6 or 7 years. So I don’t think it’s an every year kind of thing. And this one, in particular, is made of heavy steel.
JAMES: And what’s the price of that?
TOM: I think it’s around 400 bucks, maybe 400 or 450 bucks, something like that. But it includes everything, so it’s all in there: the brick, the stone, the metal ring and so on.
JAMES: OK. Well, I thank you very much.
TOM: RumbleStone will work very well.
Reach out to us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because if you do, we’ll toss your name in the Money Pit hard hat for a chance at winning a fantastic prize from our friends at Arrow.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got, up for grabs, the Arrow T501. Now, it’s a 5-in-1 manual staple gun. And what’s so cool about it is you’re able to then drive five different types of fasteners. So you can do a ton of projects, like upholstery, installing insulation, maybe a craft project, hanging holiday lights, putting up some trim, maybe a woodworking project. So many things that you can tackle with the Arrow 501.
It’s a great prize. We are giving it to for nothing today but if you were to buy one, it’s 75 bucks. It is a great stapler and I promise you will find a ton of projects to tackle this fall season.
TOM: So reach out to us at MoneyPit.com/Ask or call in your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. That Arrow T501 5-in-1 Manual Staple Gun is going out to one listener drawn at random. So make that you.
LESLIE: Looking to improve his curb appeal, we’ve got Greg in Ohio who needs some help with the exterior. What’s going on?
GREG: I have an old, glazed block building. I’m wondering if I can stone-veneer over that glazed block. And I thought maybe you can give me some advice.
TOM: So, Greg, if you’re talking about the thin stone – the stone veneer which is maybe an inch thick or so – yeah, I think that that’s possible. Now, it’s going to be an adhesive that you use to make this connection. And that’s going to take some research to figure out which of the many types of veneer adhesive are going to work well for this situation. But I think it is possible. It’s the same procedure that you would use if you were just gluing tile – which is a different type of a siding – over that glazed stone that you have right now.
As long as the surface you’re working in is not pitted, deteriorated – relatively solid – you should be able to identify an adhesive that is designed specifically for these two products. And it’ll bring it together and it’ll be a permanent situation where you won’t have to worry about those veneers popping off anytime in the future.
LESLIE: Well, now that it’s getting colder, we’re starting to see higher heating bills showing up in the mail every month or even on your phone. Well, in fact, it turns out that almost a third of energy consumption goes to the heating of your home. But the solutions to reduce those costs are often simple and also the first to be overlooked.
TOM: Yeah. It’s kind of amazing how many homeowners don’t even have the basics right. For example, insulation. I’m always surprised by folks that call us and ask about installing, you know, things that are maybe out of the norm, like a wind generator or some other equally-complicated system.
LESLIE: Oh, we get that all the time, yeah.
TOM: Right. Because they want to reduce energy costs. We get it. But when we ask about your insulation, most people have no idea how much they have and that’s kind of an issue.
LESLIE: Yeah, considering it’s probably the easiest thing that you can do. It’s pretty simple and there’s a lot of places that you can start to improve your energy efficiency.
So let’s start with that attic insulation. Check it. Go upstairs, see how much you have. Because most often, homes don’t have enough insulation and that really is the key to reducing both your heating and your cooling bills. So if you live in a Southern state, you’re looking for a depth of about 13 to 14 inches. And if you live in a colder climate, you’re going to need 16 to 19 inches.
Now, if you’re not sure how much insulation you have, get a tape measure, head up in the attic and measure it.
TOM: Yeah. It’s really not that tough.
Now, let’s talk about your HVAC equipment. That’s your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment. Just as a tune-up of your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating-and-cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. So definitely get that done if you’ve not done it already.
Next, an easy installation, an easy way to be smart with your conservation is to install a smart thermostat, a programmable Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat like a Nest. It’s automatically going to raise or lower your heat based on whether someone is home or not. And collectively, this adds up to a lot less heat being used, which saves you a bunch of money.
And last, how about sealing your heating-and-cooling ducts? Ducts that move air to and from your furnace, your air conditioner or your heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing them and insulating those ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating system by as much as 20 percent and sometimes much more.
And by the way, you know what you don’t use to seal your ducts? Duct tape. It’s not actually designed for ducts, believe it or not. It will dry up and fall off. There’s a special type of tape. It’s foil-faced. It’s called UL181 tape. And that actually is what you want to use.
LESLIE: Alright. Good tip.
Another thing you can think about doing is replacing your furnace’s air filter before the heating season begins and then monthly thereafter. If you use a dirty filter, it’s going to make your system work harder to deliver air to those registers because it’s just reducing the airflow.
Now, next, think about insulating your water heater. A water heater is going to lose heat through their outside shells. So you can add a water-heater jacket. It’s simple and inexpensive and it keeps the heat from escaping. Also, think about turning down your water heater’s temperature setting to a safe but really super-efficient 110 degrees instead of that potentially scalding 140 degrees that most water heaters are set to.
Now, if you have an electric water heater, you can also cut the cost of running it in half if you put a timer on it.
TOM: These are all easy things to do.
So, finally, let’s talk about the one thing that always forces us to turn up the heat probably more than we need it and that’s drafts. You need to go on the hunt to find drafts and seal them out. The outside walls of your house are pretty much like Swiss cheese. And every hole for a window, a door, an outlet, a light switch, it’s a source of air leakage. So seal these openings from the inside and that’ll prevent serious drafts and energy loss and reduce home heating costs.
So none of these improvements are costly. Frankly, none of them take a ton of time. You could tackle one or two in a weekend or one or two a day. I mean they’re really pretty simple and you’re definitely going to save money and feel a lot more comfortable in your home.
LESLIE: Alright. Dorothy in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
DOROTHY: I respect all life but when you have a centipede crawling up a wall, that left the basement coming up into the house, it looks very ugly and scary. I understand they’re carnivores, so maybe they’d eat other bugs, but I don’t really know how to get rid of them. And also, I’d like to know about crickets, how I could catch them.
LESLIE: What kind of crickets are you talking about? Those weird-looking ones that hop and they’re gigantic in your basement? They look like prehistoric?
DOROTHY: The black ones that live outside but as soon as it turns cold, they come in and you hear them singing in your garage.
LESLIE: Oh, OK. And you don’t want to kill anything, correct?
DOROTHY: Well, I guess I could. But personally, I have a pet that eats crickets. I’d like to catch them. I read on the internet – I can’t seem to come up with a way to capture them. And we’re – I’d like to capture them and get them out.
The centipedes, I’m open to extermination.
LESLIE: Well, I was going to say, for your basement, I would start by making sure that everything is sealed off. So if you have anything that protrudes through the foundation wall – dryer vents, anything – make sure that it’s all sealed around. Anything can come in through the tiniest opening. So whether you use an expandable foam or a steel wool, you want to make a combination of things to close up every opening that you see, because that’s how they’re getting in.
Now, once you’ve done that, if you see a centipede in the house, I would suggest – you could take a vacuum and you can put a piece of pantyhose at the end of the intake hose. So before it gets into the bag or gets into the area, it gets caught in that little piece of pantyhose.
DOROTHY: Oh, that’s a good idea.
LESLIE: And you can vacuum them into the pantyhose and then release them into the wild or whatever you like or feed the crickets to your lizard or snake friend.
Now, as far as the crickets in the garage, I would do the same. I’d make sure everything is sealed up. I don’t know of any sort of traps that you can place and leave and go and then collect any of the crickets. I’ve done – and I’ve seen this done with bait – with people who have crickets in the basement, specifically the cave crickets. They take tape and lay it sticky-side up around the entire perimeter of the room. And then the crickets, when they crawl in under the walls, they get stuck to the tape.
Now, they’re still alive stuck to the tape. I would usually think people throw away the tape but you might be able to, I don’t know, feed them to your friend that way?
DOROTHY: Right. OK. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Keith in Alaska, you have got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KEITH: Everyone talks about asphalt or concrete driveway repair and maintenance. I don’t hear a lot about gravel driveway – gravel or dirt driveway maintenance. What would be a good type of gravel to – that’s compactible but won’t rut or erode and won’t get dug up by snowplows in the wintertime, like we have in Alaska?
TOM: So, actually, that’s a great question, Leslie.
You’re talking about what’s the best type of gravel. Because there actually are a number of different types of gravel.
But I think when it comes to a driveway, you definitely want crushed gravel, as opposed to natural gravel. Natural gravel is sort of the squarish stones. And they’ll actually sort of roll on each other under the stress of tires and stuff. But if you use crushed gravel, that’s actually compactible. And they’ll settle in kind of much the same way that a road does.
That said, it’s not going to be as strong as an asphalt surface. And you’re still going to have issues when it comes time to snowplow. Unless you’re real careful with the snowplow, you can easily start to tear some of that up and move it around.
It’s going to be less expensive than an asphalt driveway but there is sort of an in-between. Have you ever heard of a tar-and-chip driveway, Les?
LESLIE: No, I haven’t, actually.
TOM: A tar-and-chip driveway is something that you see a lot in mountainous areas where you have steep driveways.
LESLIE: Because it gives you that sort of grip built into it, right?
TOM: Yeah. So what happens is you start with a layer of gravel. And then you add asphalt over that – tarred asphalt over that. And then you put a very – a smaller form of gravel over that that actually sort of sticks out. It’s not a smooth driveway; it’s a really rough surface. It’s less expensive than asphalt and more expensive than a gravel driveway. And it gives you the traction which is especially important, I would imagine, in an area like Alaska where you’ve got some pretty rough weather.
That said, though, I know that the surface is going to have the same issues when it comes to heavy snowplowing equipment. If it’s too close, if you try to scrape that as opposed to just sort of leaving an inch or two on the roadway or on the driveway, you’re going to start to chip it away.
It’s also interesting to note that it typically won’t last as long as an asphalt driveway but you don’t have to tear it out. You could put additional layers of the tar and chip over what you have. So it’s going to require more maintenance but that kind of might be the happy medium if that’s what you’re looking to achieve.
LESLIE: Well, as the weather cools down and summer turns to fall, you might be wishing that there was a way you could keep enjoying your deck or your patio even with a little nip in the air.
TOM: Well, with the right patio heater, you can keep dining and entertaining in your beautiful outdoor spaces well into the fall. Here’s what you need to consider, though, when picking the best patio heater for your yard. Because there’s a lot to go through.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, you’re going to need to choose what type of fuel you want to use. Now, patio heaters are designed to work with one of three different types of fuel sources: propane, natural gas or electricity.
Now, natural gas, you use that for a permanent stationary heater. Propane, it’s pretty convenient because it’s available in tanks and that allows you to move that heater around the house – well, outside of the house. You know what I’m saying. And then there are infrared heaters that are often powered by electricity, though some do also run on natural gas. So you kind of have to think about how you want to power it.
TOM: Well, next, you need to decide if you want to go with a portable heater or one that’s actually fully built-in.
Now, portable patio heaters can be freestanding or tabletop models. And they can be pretty easy to use or convenient because you can sort of move them from one location to the next. But dependent on their size, you either need to refill or replace the propane tank when it runs out. And that can also get a bit expensive.
Now, permanently-installed stationary heaters definitely have some advantages, because they hook up direct to your natural-gas line. So, you don’t have to deal with tanks that need to be constantly replaced or refilled. And if you plan on moving the heater to a different location, though, you definitely need to rerun those pipes or you’ll need to pick up a portable propane model instead.
LESLIE: Now, another consideration is the size of the heater that you’re going to get. And I’m not talking about how tall it is but I’m talking about BTUs.
Now, the heating power of a patio heater is rated in British Thermal Units – BTUs. And as an example here, a 45,000-BTU heater – that’s going to produce a 20-foot heat diameter. That’s pretty large. So, of course, the higher the BTUs, the more gas it’s going to use. So you want to pick one that covers only the space, really, that you want to heat but no more because you’re just going to be wasting fuel and then wasting money.
TOM: And lastly, remember to be safe, guys. No matter what you choose, you’ve got to remember that gas heaters have to always, always, always be used outside, as in under the big, beautiful sky. Even using any kind of gas appliance like this in an area that’s partially enclosed, like a screen porch, can prove dangerous, especially like a garage. We hear about that all the time and it really is dangerous because those fumes will find their way into the house, where they can make everybody really sick or worse. So, always follow those cautions and make sure you’re familiar with the operating instructions before you fire it up, especially the first time of the season.
LESLIE: Elizabeth in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ELIZABETH: I have an outdoor shower and all of a sudden, the pressure just went very, very low. So I didn’t know what to do with it.
LESLIE: And it’s the only fixture that the pressure has changed on?
ELIZABETH: The rest of the – my hoses are fine outside. Inside is fine.
LESLIE: Well, have you thought about taking the showerhead off and sort of disassembling it? Because you may have just some sort of sediment or something that’s come in through the pipe and just sort of lodged itself at where the water outflow would come?
So if you unscrew the showerhead, then sort of start taking that aerator apart – but remember the order in which you’re taking things out, because it’s got to go back in, obviously, in the opposite order. And I would just start taking things out and rinsing things off, because there could be just some debris – I mean especially if it’s an outdoor shower – just something clogging it up in there. And that usually does the trick. I would start there. Just make sure you put it all back in the correct order and it’ll work fine.
ELIZABETH: Awesome. I love the outdoor shower. It’s the greatest.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: What are you guys doing? Are you planning a project? Are you dreaming of one? Well, we can help you make your home everything that you want it to be. So follow along with The Money Pit podcast at MoneyPit.com/Podcast. Or you can find it wherever you get your pods.
TOM: We’d like to give you some tips to help you with your home improvement projects and some tools to get it done. Because today, we’re giving away the Arrow 5-in-1 Manual Staple Gun. The Arrow Fastener 5-in-1 Staple Gun drives 5 different types of fasteners. It has high- and low-power settings. It lets the user switch to adjust the penetration of fasteners so you’re not going to pop through the other side of whatever you’re working on.
It’s available for 75 bucks but we’ve got one to give away. It’s the Arrow T501, the 5-in-1 Manual Staple Gun. Going out to one listener drawn at random. If you’d like to win it, you’ve got to reach out to us with your home improvement question.
You can do that two ways. You can pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT – that’s 888-666-3974 – or you can post your question at MoneyPit.com/Ask.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Louise on the line who’s got some mystery stains on a mailbox.
What’s going on?
LOUISE: OK, I have a brick mailbox and it seems to have salt deposits leaking through the outside of it.
TOM: Is it in the way of a lawn sprinkler, by any chance?
LOUISE: No, it isn’t.
TOM: Because, often, what happens is if it gets groundwater splashed on it – and that can happen if you have sprinklers and wells – a lot of mineral salts in there that will dry and basically adhere to the outside.
You know, what’s happening here is you are seeing some sort of mineral deposits and you’re going to have to clean it. And the best way to clean it, believe it or not, is to mix up a vinegar-and-water solution. Because vinegar melts the salts.
TOM: So you can mix them up in a bucket, splash it down with a nice, soft-bristle brush, scrub it. And that should make those disappear. They may come back but the other thing that you could think about doing, once it gets nice and dry and clean, is to apply a masonry sealer to it. And if you use a silicone-based masonry sealer, you want to get one that’s vapor-permeable so it doesn’t trap the water underneath the sealer surface. This lets it breathe and stops it from cracking and chipping. But that should slow down the showing up of any additional salt stains.
LOUISE: Well, thank you so, so much. I’ll do that.
TOM: Well, if you’ve ever used an air cleaner to get rid of odors in your home, you may know that many simply cover up the odors instead of eliminating them directly. EdenPURE has a new product out called the Thunderstorm Air Purifier that completely destroys any odors instead of just covering them up. And we’re talking about bad odors, like odors from pets, cooking or even cigarette smoke.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, the EdenPURE Thunderstorm uses Oxi technology to send out O3 molecules into the air. Now, these O3 molecules seek out those bad odors and other air pollutants and it completely destroys them. It’s kind of similar to what happens in nature after a thunderstorm, when O3 molecules are released and then remove pollutants. All of that happens naturally to purify the air.
TOM: Yup. And the unit is small, compact and portable but it’s also very powerful. It plugs directly into the wall. So, we’re not talking about something that takes up any floor space whatsoever. And unlike other air purifiers, there are no air filters to replace, which saves you money every single month.
LESLIE: Now, this unit retails for $129 and it covers a medium-sized room. But right now, there’s a fantastic offer out there for us Money Pit listeners, you guys. Just go to EdenPUREDeals.com, enter the promo code MONEYPIT3 and you’re going to get $200 off the 3-pack. So you’re going to get all 3 units for under 200 bucks.
TOM: I was checking out all the reviews on this product. And by the way, there are thousands of five-star reviews.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: But this one was my favorite. Shelly says she loves the product because – “Finally, my family room no longer smells like a teenage boy.”
LESLIE: I swear I did not write that. That was not me. But if I was going to write a review, truly, I stress-tested this in my son’s bedroom. I don’t understand what the heck happens. Between the sporting equipment and just being in the space, those rooms smell so bad. And I’m telling you, the EdenPURE Thunderstorm really, finally made all of that funk go away. So I am so very thankful.
You guys should check it out, too. It’s the Thunderstorm Air Purifier from EdenPURE. You can go to EdenPUREDeals.com and then enter the promo code MONEYPIT3 and you’re going to get $200 off the 3-pack. So you’ll get all 3 units for under 200 bucks. And I promise, it only took one unit to clean out the smell in my son’s room. And we’re going to give you free shipping. So you can find a spot for those two other units.
TOM: That’s EdenPUREDeals.com, promo code MONEYPIT3. EdenPURE, innovative products for better living. And remember, you must enter the promo code MONEYPIT3 to get the $200 off at EdenPUREDeals.com.
LESLIE: Time to tackle a decking question with Justin in Iowa.
How can we help you?
JUSTIN: Well, 1 year ago, I moved into a new house and the deck was just put on the previous year. And right before the owner put it on the market, he stained it with, I think, a semi-transparent stain.
TOM: OK. So far so good.
JUSTIN: And I would like to use a solid-color stain, if I could, to redo it.
JUSTIN: So I’m not sure – can I do that, being that there’s already a stain on there?
TOM: And in fact, solid color is a good choice. We typically do recommend that because it has more pigment and it tends to last longer.
So, you want to make sure that you clean the deck very well, because we want to make sure there’s no moss, mildew or algae attached to that deck. Let it dry equally well and then you could apply the solid-color stain right on top of the semi-transparent stain.
JUSTIN: Sounds easy enough. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’ve got it, Justin. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Alright. Will reached out with a great question. He’s saying, “I want to add insulation beneath the attic floor but I’d have to pull the attic floor up to do so. How will this affect my second-floor ceiling? I’m worried that the ceiling beneath is being protected by the attic floor.”
I mean there’s got to be a cavity between. It’s not like that attic floor is his ceiling. I’m not sure what’s going on over there.
TOM: Well, it is sort of, in the sense that – the way it would be constructed is the floor of the attic would be, let’s just assume it’s plywood and then under the plywood you would have joists. Now, they would typically be ceiling joists, which means they’re not really designed to hold a lot of weight. And on the other side of the ceiling joists would be drywall.
LESLIE: The drywall.
TOM: And so in between all that is the insulation. And if that’s the case, I can tell you right now you definitely don’t have enough because there, frankly, isn’t enough space between the ceiling joists.
LESLIE: What is that bay, like 8 inches?
TOM: Yeah, 2×8 probably is the average size, I would say. But you were talking about needing 19 inches of insulation to really do a decent job.
So here’s what I would do and this is easy to do. You’re going to have to give up a little storage space to do it. But I would add more insulation. You could lay unfaced batts on top of that attic floor right now. So, just start stacking them up, lay them side by side, edge to edge, unfaced. Remember, no vapor barrier. And then if you do need to have some space for storage, you just sort of carve that out and don’t double up the insulation there. But this way, you’ll have more insulation in most of the attic, especially along the exterior wall. And you’ll get that value of having the insulation but you won’t have to tear up the floor and go through all that.
Now, the other way you can do this is kind of what we did – because I have a very old house, as you guys know. I’ve talked about it a lot. What we did is when we were replacing our roof and doing a lot of work up there, we decided to use spray-foam insulation on the underside of the roof rafters. Now, that completely changed the dynamic of the insulated space because no longer did we have to worry about ventilating the attic, because spray foam is a closed system. And so we were able to spray-foam the gable walls and the underside of the roof rafters. And we just left the existing insulation that was under the floor because, why not? There was no point in taking it out.
And I’ll tell you what, we were never happier. It made a huge difference in our comfort level and in our energy bills. You know when you get your energy bills and they have that comparison with how you do against the rest of your neighbors? We were always kind of on the high side a little bit because we have a really old house. Well, now we’re among the most efficient. I love seeing that every month.
LESLIE: Alright. That’s awesome.
Alright. Next up, let’s help Stan in Ohio who writes: “My wood garage door does not seal when it’s down. And anytime it rains or snows, water comes in under the door. Part of the problem is that the floor is sloped and doesn’t allow a complete seal. Is there any way to fix this without buying a new door or replacing the floor?”
TOM: Yeah. The good news is you have a wood door, so wood doors means you can cut it. And so what you want to do is bring it down and then you’re going to want to draw a line parallel with the angle of the floor. So if you have to end up taking an inch or so off of that door, no big deal. Once you have it equal with the floor, then you could put a new seal on the bottom of that door. And when it comes down, it will seal evenly and completely across that floor. And that should keep out the weather.
LESLIE: Alright, Stan. I hope that helps you out and keeps that garage nice and dry for this upcoming winter season.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, guys, thanks for spending a bit of your weekend with us. We hope that we’ve filled you in with some tips and ideas to improve your space, make it more beautiful, make it more comfortable. If you’ve got a question and weren’t able to reach out to us just yet, please do so. We love hearing from you. You can do that two ways by going to MoneyPit.com/Ask or calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Until then, 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 2022 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.)