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 we are here for you, to help you with your home improvement projects. So what are you working on today? Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, do you hate waiting for your shower to heat up? The colder it gets, it seems the longer it takes for that warm water to find its way out of the showerhead in your bathroom. The solution is a hot-water recirculation pump. It can deliver hot water to faucets almost immediately. We’re going to tell you how it works and what it takes to install one in your house.
LESLIE: And are you hoping to avoid the flu in the coming months? Well, hands-free, motion-activated faucets are good for cutting down the spread of germs in public restrooms. But are they a healthy fit for your home?
TOM: And looking for more storage space to hide the clutter in your home? I mean who isn’t? Nooks, crannies and other untapped turf are probably hiding in plain sight. We’ll have tips on where to look.
LESLIE: And if you’re planning a flooring project this fall, we have a fantastic giveaway going out to one lucky caller this hour. And that’s a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
TOM: And you can use it at any of their 375 stores nationwide or online at LumberLiquidators.com. It’s going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Give us a call right now. Let’s talk about your next home improvement or home décor challenge, 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: John in Arizona needs some help venting a water heater. Tell us what you’re working on.
JOHN: I’m going to install a tankless hot-water heater and I’m curious – a gas tankless hot-water heater. Curious if there’s any simple way to vent it on the interior wall of the house.
TOM: Well, you obviously have to get that exhaust out. So, that means you’re going to probably have to go up if we’re on the interior wall of the house. You can’t downdraft something like that. So you need to be on a space where you can get that vent pipe up through the interior wall, up to the attic and out through the roof.
Now, depending on the efficiency, that may not have to be a metal vent pipe. It could potentially be a plastic vent pipe. But that’s going to depend on the efficiency of the water heater and whether or not it’s a condensing version, which basically takes as much heat out of that – out of those gases, so all that’s left is basically water vapor. And then that can vent out of a plastic pipe. But you do have to have it vented.
The other thing that you could do is you can direct-vent those. So, you could go out, say, through a side wall. Many times, I’ve seen those and mounted on an exterior wall and they basically turn right through the wall and go right out. Now, there are rules about how close that vent termination needs to be or more accurately, how far away that vent termination needs to be from a window. But you can direct-vent those, as well.
JOHN: Right. From the top of your head, do you know the smallest diameter I could get away with on venting it?
TOM: No. I don’t know the specification precisely but I would guess it’s around 3 inches. I’ve seen these come through roofs many times. It’s usually around a 3-inch vent pipe.
JOHN: Right. OK. Well, that answers my question. Thank you.
TOM: Alright, John. Well, good luck with that project. I think you’re going to enjoy a lot of efficiencies with a tankless water heater, in addition to the fact that you’ll never run out of hot water.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sandy in Texas on the line who’s got a question about texturing drywall. Tell us about your project.
SANDY: I stripped the wallpaper in our kitchen and so it’s down to sheetrock. And we’d like to put texture in it but I’d like to do it as simply as possible. So I’ve heard that you can put texture into paint and I’d like some more information about that or what you recommend.
TOM: It is possible, right, Leslie, to use an additive in paint? But frankly, we usually get the opposite question. Most people call us wanting to take the texture away.
So I would say, Sandy, are you really sure you want to do this? Because once it gets on there, it’s hard to make it go away.
SANDY: Right. Yes. Our other walls have some texture. And it’s not a heavy texture. It’s just a little bit to make it just not the flat sheetrock.
LESLIE: And it’s a texture in the paint or it’s an actual texture within the drywall itself, almost like a stippling?
SANDY: Well, I’d rather not go that route: the stippling or spackling. I’d like to add some texture to the paint just to give the walls something other than the smooth drywall.
LESLIE: Well, there’s a couple of different techniques that you can use. First, there’s something called a “linen technique.” That’s done with almost like a wallpaper brush: sort of a very short, stiff bristle that’s, you know, maybe 12 inches to 18 inches wide. And you put the paint on and then you sort of drag that brush through. And that gives you a linear texture to it. And that can kind of look like wallpaper and you can do it with one color or do a base color and then let that dry and then put a thinner coat on top and then drag that line through.
You could do something that’s almost called a – I guess it is actually called a “Venetian plaster.” But that involves sort of marbling the texture on and burnishing it and rubbing it and it really is a heavier coat of paint and plaster. But that gives a really interesting sort of cloudy, textural look that sometimes has a high shine to it. There’s a sueded texture. I think Ralph Lauren is one of the paints that makes that. And that has – it really does look like suede. It has that sort of rubbed, softer, matte-looking texture to it. There’s a sanded finish where there’s actual sand in the paint. Sometimes that can feel a little rough, almost like a sandpaper. But that gives a nice texture, too.
They all have different application techniques. So if I were looking at a paint that has a specific texture in a home center, I’d make sure that I really read those directions and looked at what that manufacturer was recommending for the application process and get those correct tools and do the proper prep work for it. Because some of those textures are kind of labor intensive for a DIYer and you want to make sure you get it right.
SANDY: Absolutely. OK. Well, I will look into the things you’ve suggested here and make a decision then.
TOM: I hope that helps you out.
SANDY: It does. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
You guys, October is almost over. We’re getting ready for all those holiday visitors. Believe it or not, they’re coming and they’re coming sooner than later. Give us a call. Let us help you get your money pit in tip-top shape. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, you wash your hands to get rid of germs but you might be picking up even more of them when you touch the handle to turn off the water. We have tips on how to undo that dirty irony with a hygienic home solution worth considering, especially as flu season nears. That’s all coming up, after this.
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: And we’d love to talk with you on this beautiful fall weekend and give you the answer to your home improvement project and give you a chance to win a great prize we’re giving away, this hour, from our friends at Lumber Liquidators. We have a $500 gift certificate.
Now, you can use it to choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile. You can also use your gift card for the finishing touches, like moldings and grills. Or if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, you can even use it for installation. You’ll redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide.
That $500 gift certificate going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Michigan is on the line with a question about installing a whole-house fan. What’s going on there, Mike? What’s your situation?
MIKE: I’ve got a brand picked out. It’s the Tamarack I think that you guys – I’ve seen on This Old House videos. And my question is the location. Does it need to be installed at a central location and at the highest point for that? For us, that’s a great room. Gets warmest, includes the kitchen, got vaulted ceilings. But that portion is at an angle on the roof. And I’m wondering if that – if it’s not recommended. I don’t have the unit but I’m wondering if it can be installed on an angle or if installing something like that on a kitchen – in a kitchen – is a poor idea.
Another variable is that next year, we’ll be doing a kitchen remodel. We don’t have a range hood. We just have the microwave version of that. And if I should instead get a proper range hood that exhausts out of the house and then find a different location for the whole-house fan. What is it that you guys suggest?
TOM: Alright. Let’s break this up into pieces here. So, first of all, your question is where does the whole-house fan go. It can’t go on a cathedral ceiling, which is what you’re describing to us. It has to go on a flat ceiling where there’s an attic space above. Because in that attic space, you have to have exhaust venting. Basically, it pulls the air from your house up into the attic space. Usually goes out through some very large gable vents down at the end of the building, because you can’t too terribly pressurize that attic space.
So it’s not going to work in the great room that you’ve described. I thought maybe you were going to tell me that you had a little bit of an attic above that but it sounds like you have no attic. So it’s really not designed for that particular type of installation. Because you have to get plenty of exhaust ventilation in that space or it’s not going to work.
Now, you do bring up a good point with what’s the effect of this whole-house fan on a kitchen and other ventilation systems. If you’re not careful, you can depressurize the whole house and that can certainly take not only the kitchen smoke and stuff – take it out through the fans but I’ve seen it depressurize a house so much that it reverses the draft on the heating system which is, of course, really bad because now you’re pulling your combustion gases into the house.
So, it’s the kind of thing that you really need to approach carefully, maybe get some expert help to make sure you’re not overdoing it in finding the right place for that. But typically, you’re going to put that in a second-floor hallway. Or if it’s in a ranch, somewhere near the bedrooms. And the way you use that, of course, is you’ve got to have some windows or doors open in different parts of the house when that fan kicks on so that you’re pulling a breeze through. Otherwise, you’ll just depressurize the house and that could lead to all sorts of issues.
MIKE: Yeah, that’s fantastically helpful. So you would not recommend putting it in that area, even if I was to open a window? You say don’t put it in the cathedral-ceiling portion of the home?
TOM: Depends on how big that attic is. If I had a really small attic that was just barely big enough to fit that fan, I probably wouldn’t do it.
MIKE: Excellent. Alright. Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. Thanks so much, sir.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, hands-free faucets have been around in commercial use for decades but are they really practical for home use?
LESLIE: Well, for one, you don’t need to worry about your hands being dirty or soapy or even full, for that matter. And they’re great for keeping the germ count down: less hands touching, less surfaces. And that’s something that can come in really handy with a household full of kids or pets and sometimes even elderly relatives.
TOM: Now, there’s other advantages, as well. You can save water with these because if you think about it, the faucet is not running when your hands kind of aren’t under it. So that actually ends up saving you quite a bit of water. And to the elderly question, it’s also good for people that have limited hand mobility and actually have problems turning those faucets on and off.
LESLIE: I could see how useful it would be in my house. My kids really – well, Charlie really has a hard time reaching the faucet. So just being able to do the hands-free motion would be so fantastic for him and perhaps encourage more hand-washing.
TOM: Yeah. Now, these things install pretty much like a standard faucet. The difference is that there’s a battery that operates the electric eye that makes the faucet come on or off. And if you’re worried about having to change that frequently, don’t because they last about a year or more. And then they usually start blinking or something like that to tell you it’s time to replace the battery.
So I think it’s pretty cool technology. It started in the commercial space but now it’s become a very doable thing for your home. So, look into that the next time you’re thinking about getting a new faucet.
And if you’re thinking about taking on a new home improvement project, the first place you should start is by calling us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we are here to help you get started.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Esther on the line from South Dakota with a gutter question. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, we need to replace our rain gutters but our shingles on our dearly beloved old house are Portland cement shingles. And the first three people that are the first – the companies that I’ve talked to about replacing rain gutters, they all tell me how simple it is to just lift up the asphalt shingles and put the strapping in underneath it and fasten it. And I think, “OK. Asphalt is flexible but I think the cement singles might crack.” So how do I find someone who knows how about preserving the shingles and putting up new rain gutters?
TOM: Well, I think there are a number of ways to install gutters. You can put straps that go up under the asphalt shingles but they can also be attached directly. So what you’re going to want to do is attach those gutters directly to the fascia. And instead of using nails, you’re going to want to use gutter screws. They’re very long lag bolts – lightweight, thin lag bolts. Usually have a hex head on them.
And the nice thing about these gutter bolts, so to speak, is that once you put them in, they don’t pull out. Sometimes the nails – the gutter spikes that they use – will pull out. But these gutter screws will not pull out. So you just need to use a different fastening system. And have you had – physically had somebody at the house that saw this configuration? Or are they just sort of telling you this on the phone?
ESTHER: No. We had just moved to the area and I was just going down the Yellow Pages trying to get a …
TOM: Well, once they get to your house, they’re going to figure out the best ways to attach the gutter. But rest assured, there’s a number of ways to do this. And no, you don’t have to take your shingles apart.
And by the way, as long as those shingles – those roof shingles – look good, then there’s no reason to replace them. You know, the cementitious roof shingles are very durable. The reason that most people replace them is they tend to grow a lot of algae and moss and they can look nasty after a while. But if they’re still looking decent and they’re – it’s not leaking, then you’re good to go.
ESTHER: Yep. We’re good and there’s a whole pile of – or a little pallet, probably 200 or 300 of them down in the basement. So, if we have another hailstorm, we should have some shingles.
TOM: Oh, boy. So you are good to go. Alright, Esther. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mary in Illinois is on the line with a basement-moisture situation. What’s going on over there?
MARY: My neighbor’s house sits a little higher than mine does. And they’ve also re-landscaped since they moved in about three or four years ago. They have an oversized downspout that’s pointed directly towards my house. And when it rains, the water pools from their downspout up against my house. And then, also, after it rains, for days later the downstairs basement brick wall can be moist.
About a year ago, I had a landscaping company come in because I thought I could address this on my own. And they put a French drain in and trenched it out through my backyard and it still doesn’t seem to be addressing the issue.
TOM: Well, have you spoken with your neighbors about potentially extending those downspouts in a different direction? Typically, you can just run them out farther so that they don’t end up on your property.
MARY: I haven’t spoken with them yet. I had another issue shortly after they moved in where they were – again, they are higher on ground and I – and they had their sump-pump line pumping out. And it ran downhill, flooding my backyard. So, when I tried to address that with them, although it did eventually get changed, it wasn’t an easy nor very negotiable process. So I was trying to not get into another situation where …
TOM: Yeah. You’re trying to be as nice as you can but – and they’re not being very cooperative. That’s not very neighborly of them, is it?
TOM: Well, I mean there’s always legal recourse but what you might want to do is speak with them and say, “Look, I’m having this issue with water in my basement.” You can blame us. Say, “Hey, I called my friends at The Money Pit Radio Show, who diagnose this problem every single minute of the day sometimes.” And we get so many questions about this. And just explain to them that water that collects around foundations ends up as basement leaks and you’re trying to avoid costly repairs. And if they would simply extend their downspouts or allow you to extend the downspout so it doesn’t drain water right at the foundation corner, that will be very helpful.
Now, I do think that your landscaper was on the track – on the right track. You said that he put in a French drain. I’m going to guess what you’re talking about is a curtain drain, because curtain drains that are properly installed – and it may very well be that this was not properly installed. But a curtain drain that’s properly installed can intercept that water as it runs down and run it away from your house.
And if I was putting a curtain drain in, I would trench it down about a foot below the surface. I would put in 2 or 3 inches of gray gravel, on top of which I would put a perforated PVC pipe. Not the flexible, black drainpipe that so many landscapers use but a regular PVC pipe with holes in it. It’s a perforated pipe. That pipe has to have a pitch to it, so it has to drop maybe an 1/8-inch per foot or so, just so it has some pitch.
And the holes are on top. What happens, it fills up, the water flows into the holes and then it runs down the pipe, around the house and out. So, on top of the stone, you put the pipe, you put more stone to cover it completely. Then you put filter cloth, which is like a black, sort of burlap-y kind of landscape cloth. Then you could put dirt and sod on top of that.
But if it’s done correctly, it will successfully intercept the water – the runoff – and run it around the house and away from that foundation. You’ve got to start with the simple stuff here, Mary, which is talking to your neighbors and seeing if they’ll extend those downspouts so that they don’t dump into your house and flood your basement.
MARY: OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. How’d you like to not have to wait for hot water when you step into a shower in the morning? Well, one simple addition to your home can make all that downtime and wasted water a thing of the past. We’ll share that secret, next.
ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with Tom and Leslie.
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: And now that it’s fall, it’s a good time to clean and seal your driveway before winter really sets in. So, if it’s a project you want to tackle this weekend, just start by cleaning up any oil or gas spills. And then you want to patch the cracks and seal any holes that may have formed in that asphalt surface. Next, you apply an asphalt sealer.
Now, most of these are available in latex formulas today and they’re actually easy to clean up afterwards and they work really well. Then, as winter wears on, if you want it to stay sealed, be careful about the deicing treatments that you choose. You want to use ones that don’t degrade concrete or asphalt surfaces or harm plants. If you do, your driveway will stay in good shape.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to Tennessee where Jean has a stucco question. What’s going on? How can we help you?
JEAN: Well, the house was built in 1914. And the outside exterior walls are covered with stucco that has the kind of swirly bumps where they throw the trowels on it. And it looks like it’s in good condition, so I was thinking we could probably just spray it a nice color. It’s still kind of golden, like it used to be. But wherever the branches of the shrubs went against it, it’s kind of yucky and gray-looking.
But I know that when we painted our patio slab, we had to do some treatment to it before we could paint it. Does stucco need some preconditioning besides just hosing it off with [soap and water] (ph)?
TOM: Well, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that there’s no algae attached to it. And so I would probably do a very light pressure-washing and cleaning of the outside of the house and let it dry for a good couple of days in warm weather. And then I would prime it with an oil-based primer and then I would use a good-quality, exterior topcoat paint over that.
You can’t cut any corners here. You can’t take any shortcuts. But if you do it once and you do it right, it’s going to last you a long time, because that siding is not organic. You may find very well that paint can last you 10 to 12 years, as opposed to maybe 5 to 8 if it was wood.
JEAN: Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, do you hate waiting for your shower to heat up? The solution might be a hot-water recirculation pump. They deliver hot water to your faucets almost immediately.
TOM: Ah, yes. But while they can save more than 10,000 gallons of water every year, will that savings be felt by your wallet, as well? Here to explain is Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: Hey, guys. Nice to be back.
TOM: So, listen, before we talk savings, let’s talk basics. How do hot-water recirculation pumps work? And how do they save so much water?
RICHARD: Well, hot-water recirculation pumps are designed to push water up through the hot-water line and make it be that you have hot water available at the hot-water faucet. That’s even not the ones that are the farthest away from the hot-water source.
TOM: The reason that’s important is because, typically, the reason we wait for hot water is because you have the, say, the master-bath shower and the water heater at completely opposite ends of the house. And you’re waiting, essentially, for that warm water to get from the heating system – heating source, which is the water heater – through the lines, all the twists and turns, actually back up to that shower. And that can take a long time and waste a lot of water.
RICHARD: A lot of water goes down the drain waiting for your fingertip to become just the right temperature for you to get it there.
TOM: To step in.
RICHARD: Right. So, there are two common types of systems. In the old days, we always used to have an additional line. When the plumbing was first installed and you knew you had the situation you talked about, Tom, where the bathroom is way far away, there’d be one additional line that came off of the farthest hot-water fixture and came all the way back to the water heater, wherever it was. And it had a bronze pump on it and a little thing called an “aquastat,” a little sensor. And what would happen is it would keep running that pump until it felt the temperature come back there. And that was really wasteful, because it was on all day and later on, people added timers.
TOM: You were also paying to heat that water 24/7.
RICHARD: That’s right, that’s right. So, you’d be wasting water. You’d be saving water by having the recirc line, by not having to run it, but you’d be wasting energy because you were wasting water unnecessarily all day long.
RICHARD: So that fell out of favor to some of the more modern innovations, which I really love. There’s two I can tell you about that are really awesome. One is – goes down at the water heater itself and it pushes water. There’s a little crossover fitting down between the hot and the cold and it actually – in this case, it pulls the – through the core, pulls hot water up to the farthest faucet and makes sure that you always have it there.
And then the other one goes underneath the vanity. In between the hot and the cold, there’s a little bronze pump. And what you have is now a choice on how you activate it. In one way, you just go up to the vanity and – or the little button and you hit the button when you come in to the bathroom. Then and only then does the pump come on just long enough to be – to put hot water there. And the other variation you can have is a proximity sensor. You know when you walk down a hallway and the light comes on?
TOM: Yeah, like an occupancy sensor.
RICHARD: Yeah. So that’s brilliant. Then you’re not having to think about it. If you walk in the bathroom, you bring on that pump just then and only then. So, yeah, those are the right ways to do it.
TOM: That’s fantastic. And because you don’t have that third line going back, you’re not wasting all of that water.
RICHARD: That’s right, right. You’re actually using the cold-water line as the source of water to come back. It’s actually going backwards, slightly. So the neat thing about this type of system is unlike the one where we had to have a separate line run from the very beginning when the plumbing system was first installed, in this anybody can have a recirc line. Because we’re actually going to be using the cold-water line as a way for the hot water to sort of recirculate back.
LESLIE: Now that seems like a recipe for savings but do you really see money back?
RICHARD: You’re going to see – water in some parts of this country is more expensive than others. But if you have a family of four or five and they’re running – it’s a big house and you’re running water all the time waiting for that thing, you will definitely see savings. You might not notice it but you’ll definitely see savings if you’re paying attention to your water bill.
TOM: Yes. But the first time you step into a warm shower on a cold winter morning, you will not be thinking about how much it costs to get that water there.
RICHARD: That’s it. Right. We need you to be comfortable, princess.
LESLIE: At least you know how to take care of it.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: You do.
LESLIE: That’s all I’m saying.
TOM: Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor on TV’s This Old House, great advice, as always. Thank you, Richard.
RICHARD: Great to be here.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House andAsk This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Up next, have you ever wished you could have just a little extra storage space? Well, it might be existing right under your nose, in hidden nooks and crannies of your home or apartment. We’ll tell you where to look, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a $500 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. There you can choose from over 400 varieties of first-quality flooring, including prefinished hardwood, bamboo, laminate, vinyl plank and wood-look tile. Now you can also use your gift card for the finishing touches, like moldings and grills. And if you’re not a DIYer, you can even use it for installation. I mean that’s awesome.
You can redeem it at LumberLiquidators.com or at one of the Lumber Liquidators’ 375 stores nationwide. Give them a call at 1-800-HARDWOOD.
TOM: Going out to one lucky caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, with your home improvement project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Scott in Alaska needs some help with energy-efficient lighting. How can we help you?
SCOTT: Yes, I’m currently changing over my house to all LED lighting. And I also – I have, currently, a few rooms with fluorescent-tube lighting and I’d like to change those over to LED. And I live up here in Alaska and I just haven’t been able to find the tubes with LED.
TOM: Yeah, they’re available. You can probably find them online and have them shipped to you. But they’re made in the same exact shape as the standard fluorescent bulbs. You know, they’re not inexpensive but they do have a very long life. Those kinds of lights will typically last like 50,000 hours or something crazy like that. I think the bulbs themselves are probably, I would guess, $20 or $30 a piece.
LESLIE: And the shipping is probably going to be a hundred.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. But they’re going to last a lot longer. At this point, though, I would also price out replacement fixtures. Because you might find by the time you buy all those bulbs, it might be cheaper just to replace the fixtures. Plus, I don’t know how much energy is going to be wasted, because all those fixtures have the transformers built into them. There may be some system waste, in terms of the fixture itself.
SCOTT: OK. I’m just looking. I’m very impressed with the LED brightness and of course, the energy savings over a period of time. And I just want my whole house to be energy-efficient and save me money in the long run, so – but I just can’t seem to find them up here in Alaska yet. I do like going to Home Depot and they did have some LED tube – fluorescent tubes – but not in my size, currently.
TOM: Yeah. I would order them online and have them shipped. That would be the way to get them to your door, OK?
SCOTT: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.
TOM: Good luck, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re looking for more storage space in and around your home, there are some places that may hide storage simply because of the way a home is constructed. Staircases, for example, are a great place to look. Using this space, you can create stairs that can double as drawers or even use the space below the stairs to create built-in cabinets or shelves and turn that unused staircase storage space into an attractive option for short- or long-term storage.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can even get creative with alcoves and corners, too. Just by adding a few simple storage solutions, you can convert even the smallest landings into sleek workstations, which are especially valuable if you can’t spare a bedroom for your home office.
TOM: Now, for bathrooms, look up. The space 18 to 24 inches below the ceiling is perfect for a row of decorative wire shelf that can give your family space to store about a week’s worth of bath towels. So, with a little bit of creativity and some investigative work, you will find storage spaces in your home that may exist right under your nose.
888-666-3974. We are here to help with your next home improvement, décor or maintenance project. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mike in Georgia is on the line with a question about flooring. What’s going on at your money pit?
MIKE: Well, Leslie – well, I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a problem. We had to pull up the carpet on the floor where it’s kind of L-shaped. Well, the old hound dog is kind of old and kind of urinated right there in one spot. Short of pulling up the floor and replacing all that, what can we do?
TOM: So, do you want to refinish the floor? And are we talking about hardwood floors here, Mike?
MIKE: Well, it’s got a blonde finish, more or less translucent.
TOM: Well, I think if you’re going to refinish the floors and you sand those floors, you’ll be able to get through that surface staining and you want have too much residual. It’s way – we’re way past talking about how to clean it. But what happens is you get acid in there from the pets and that can change the color. But it’s been my experience that a traditional floor sanding will cut through that without too much difficulty.
So if you’re thinking about refinishing the floors, what I generally recommend is – even if you want to do some of this yourself – is to have a professional do the sanding. Because unless you use a floor sander as part of your day-to-day job, it’s kind of a hard tool to handle. I grew up with tools my entire life. I wouldn’t do my own floor sanding. I’d hire a pro for it so I didn’t ruin my floors. If you sneeze while you’re using that, you’ll dig out of it. And then you could put two or three coats of good-quality polyurethane on top of that but I think a sanding will make that go away.
MIKE: Alright. Well, I appreciate your advice, sir. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still to come, can mold grow on insulation? Well, the answer is a definite maybe. We’ll explain, 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: And hey, if you are raring to repaint the outside woodwork but have several layers of old paint to deal with, why not give new water-based paint strippers a try? They’re much easier to work with and they’re just as effective as the old solvent-based strippers. Here’s a tip that can help: after you apply the water-based paint stripper, you want to cover the area you’re working on with plastic sheeting. This actually prevents the stripper from evaporating too quickly and it’ll help you do a better job of removing that paint.
LESLIE: Alright, you guys. Hey, while you’re online, post your questions in the Community section, just like James in Delaware did. And James writes: “I have moisture in my attic. Just my attic. I’m worried I’m going to get mold on my insulation. Any idea how the moisture is getting there or how to get rid of it?”
TOM: Well, the moisture gets there just from sort of the normal movement of humidity and moisture throughout a structure. Typically, you have this sort of vapor cloud that pushes up from the places where we generate moisture which, of course, are bathrooms and kitchens and breathing and things like that. It gets up into that attic space and then it will condense against the colder surfaces.
So, the first way to stop the condensation from happening is to improve your insulation so we keep that warm, moist air down at the ceiling level. But once it gets into the attic, James, you need to have ventilation. Ventilation will help flush out that moist air and stop it from condensing on the underside of the roof sheathing and the roof rafters. And then if it stays there long enough and the temperature conditions are just right, it will grow mold. The mold can eventually cause the plywood to delaminate or the roof joists – the roof rafters – to actually rot.
But managing that moisture is a matter of doing several things. It’s reducing the amount of moisture that forms in the first floor, so that means having good bath fans that vent outside, having kitchen exhaust fans that vent outside – they’re not recirculators – having good insulation so you keep that warm, moist air in and even improving the drainage around your house.
Believe it or not, if you let a lot of water collect around the foundation perimeter, that also increases the amount of moisture and humidity inside your house. So all those things work together to try to reduce the amount of moisture that gets into the attic. And when it does get there, you have to vent it out.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Christy in Pennsylvania who writes: “I’m in the market for a new home. Can you tell me if there are any telltale signs that there’s been water in a basement? I know it’s supposed to be disclosed but I want to make sure.”
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s a good question. Now, the good news is that even though most people see wet basements as a fatal flaw, they’re almost always not because they’re usually correctable just by improving your gutter system – making sure your spouts are discharging away – and the grading – making sure the soil slopes away. But in that basement space, you know, the first thing to do is to look very carefully along.
Now, if it’s finished, you’re looking along sort of that finished wall, along the baseboard to see if you see any signs of water infiltration or warping of the paneling or plywood, any mold stains, of course, if there’s drywall down there. If there’s block wall, you might see a dark gray or whitish, crusty kinds of stains that come through. And what that is is water that leaks through the wall, it saturates into the wall and then it evaporates and it leaves behind its mineral salts. So those are some telltale signs.
Now, a professional home inspector – you definitely need to get one on this house. They can also check that space with a moisture meter where it actually can measure the moisture in the wall and compare it to, say, drier areas and find out if it really is significantly wetter. And if it is, then you could have an active leaking problem. But that’s kind of what you look for as a home inspector. I would definitely go to the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org and find one before you buy.
LESLIE: Yeah. It’s really super helpful. I mean that’s probably the best advice you can have as a homeowner.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending this beautiful fall weekend with us. We hope you’re out there enjoying this weather or enjoying taking on a home improvement project around your house. And perhaps we have helped make that project just a little bit easier with today’s show. Remember, you can post your questions to us at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or anytime, online, at MoneyPit.com.
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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(Copyright 2016 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.)