In this episode…
This is a big episode for The Money Pit. It’s show #2,000 and we can’t thank you enough for allowing us to help you make your home the best they can possibly be!!!
- Not all home improvement projects require an entire weekend to get done! We’ve got 3 –30-minute home improvement hacks that can help you save time, energy and make your space look great!
- Do you love your dog — but not so much having to get up in the middle of the night to let the dog out? We have tips on how to install a pet door that your pet can actually open, close and LOCK themselves – without human intervention or risk of unwanted wildlife using that same entry!
- New window treatments are a fast way to stepping up the décor in any room. But if that if you’re working in a child’s room, it’s important to choose a design that keep kids safe. We’ll share tips, just ahead.
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? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because that’s what we do. And in fact, this is a big show for The Money Pit. It is our 2,000th episode of the program. I cannot believe it.
LESLIE: How can that be when we’re both just 25?
TOM: I know, right? It just doesn’t make any sense.
LESLIE: That’s such a huge accomplishment.
TOM: Yeah. I can’t – I don’t know how it happened. We just got started so recently, right? It feels that way.
LESLIE: True. Two thousand. That’s a lot.
TOM: We went from one station to a second station to a third station to syndication. And I think we had 12 stations when we started that and now we have 385, plus a podcast which Chartable ranked the number-one home improvement podcast of all time, which is so awesome. Unbelievable but awesome.
And we could not do it without you, because that’s why we’re here. That’s why we exist. So I want you to pick up the phone on today, this 2,000th episode of the show, and call us with your question: the one that’s been poking around in your mind, the project you’d like to get done. We’re going to keep doing this as long as we’re able and we’d love for you to be a part of it. So if you’ve got a project going on or one that you’re dreaming about taking on, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, coming up on today’s show, not all home improvement projects require a weekend to get done. We’ve got three 30-minute home improvement hacks that can help you save time, energy and make your space look great.
LESLIE: And do you love your dog but not so much having to get up in the middle of the night to let your dog out? We’ve got some tips on how to install a pet door that your pet can actually open, close and lock. That’s pretty amazing. They can do it all themselves without the help of their human or even a risk of unwanted wildlife using that same entry.
TOM: And new window treatments are a fast way to step up to the cord in any room. But if you’re working in a child’s room, it’s really important to choose a design that keeps kids safe. So we’ll share some tips on what to look out for.
LESLIE: But first, this show is about helping you with your own home décor and improvement questions. So give us a call with your home repair, home question, home design, décor. Whatever it is you are working on, inside or out, we will help you get that answer.
Plus, today, you’re also going to get a chance at winning tools to help you get those jobs done. We’re featuring the Jorgensen Heavy-Duty 24-Inch Bar Clamp.
TOM: We’ve got a set of 4 of those, worth 140 bucks, going out to one caller, one listener whether you call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question at MoneyPit.com or post your question at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. However you choose to get in touch with us, we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and might be sending that set of four clamps out to you.
I have a set of four clamps – this exact model – and I love it.
LESLIE: What was the last thing you did with them?
TOM: I was redoing a bench that I actually had built a long time ago. Had fallen into disrepair. And it was complicated because it had spindles, railings and bars and stuff and it was really hard to hold it all together while I was gluing it up. And I used all four of those clamps and a bunch of other stuff, including the clamps and some ropes.
Do you ever make a clamp out of rope, like a tourniquet? It’s really good when you want to glue something together that’s oddly shaped. You basically string the rope around, you put a stick in it, you spin it up tight and it pulls the whole thing closed. And between all those clamps and my ropes, it worked great. Should have seen this thing. It looked like a mess when it was all clamped up but man, it came out great. It looks fantastic.
So, we’re going to send those tools out to you. If you’ve got a question, call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get to it. The phones are lighting up. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Peggy in Texas on the line who’s got a tiling question.
Hey, Peggy. How can we help you?
PEGGY: Our house was built in the 50s and our – it has the Saltillo tile in it. And over the years – we bought the house about 20 years ago. And they had put a heavy layer of polyurethane down – oil-based polyurethane and …
TOM: Over the tile?
PEGGY: Over the Saltillo tile, yeah.
TOM: Wow. OK.
PEGGY: So, over the years raising our kids, we – lots of skating and things like that going across them.
TOM: Sure. Yep.
PEGGY: And what has happened is it started kind of bubbling and popping up in places.
PEGGY: Decided I was going to scrape all the polyurethane off of our tile.
LESLIE: How did the tile hold up?
PEGGY: It looks OK in most of it but where – I have to say where it popped off previously, that is discolored differently.
PEGGY: So if the section popped off, I guess it got dirty or well …
TOM: Right. Of course. Yeah, that makes sense. Yep. Mm-hmm. How did you do with the polyurethane? Did it all come off?
PEGGY: I’m not finished.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yeah.
PEGGY: I’ve done about half of that.
TOM: It’s a lot of work.
LESLIE: That’s a lot.
PEGGY: Yes. And then the grout, I can’t hardly get the polyurethane off the grout. So I kind of stopped with worrying about that.
LESLIE: Can you do a grout saw right over the painted grout lines now to just sort of cut it out?
TOM: Well, you probably have the thick grout lines, right? And you have a sanded grout?
TOM: So, yeah, to grind that out is just going to be a – oh, man, what a painful project.
Do you want to put – I hate to ask this because you just took it all off. But do you want to put a fresh coat of polyurethane down and try to make the old stuff match? Or do you want to just have it gone?
PEGGY: What I was thinking I could do is go with a water-based polyurethane.
TOM: No, absolutely not. No, do not do that. Here’s why. Water-based polyurethanes, they’re OK maybe for furniture or something like that, maybe a desk. Do not use it for a floor. Yeah, they don’t have the abrasion-resistance. They will – you will be really upset with yourself, after all this work, if you do that.
TOM: If you’re going to do it, you’re going to have to go right back to a good, solvent-based urethane.
PEGGY: OK. Do you recommend that – OK, so my husband suggested let’s make it darker and add some color. Can we add color to the polyurethane?
TOM: No, not really. I mean it’s not really designed for that. It’s really designed to be clear.
What color is the floor now?
PEGGY: Well, it’s – when it has the polyurethane on, it’s kind of a dark orange.
LESLIE: Because it’s a clear poly. It’s the natural Saltillo.
TOM: Yeah. Right.
LESLIE: But it just chips away at the surface of the – because I have that tile in my kitchen now and it’s the same. It’s very, very, very aged and there’s areas where the poly has worn off and you have these dark streaks in it. And I feel like the only solution – in my mind, because the restoration of it would require so much work – would be to put something over it until I can actually get the right tools for it, you know? I don’t know that I would attempt it now.
TOM: Right. Hey, how about this? Could you – Leslie, do you think she could polyurethane over this again but use flat urethane? So it doesn’t appear …
LESLIE: Or satin.
TOM: Yeah, definitely satin but not gloss.
TOM: Put a low-luster product is what I’m thinking.
LESLIE: Yeah. Would you – and that could take away some of the harsh from the areas that are super dark and even really contrast-y.
PEGGY: OK. Right.
TOM: Right. Yep. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: Because the sheen is what’s making you notice all that stuff, because there’s sheen and no sheen and some – because I have the same and I’m at a point where I’m like, “I don’t like this floor anymore.”
But yeah, if you go with a satin – Tom, you’d have to sand the remaining of the poly on there, right, just to give something to grab onto?
TOM: Well, yeah. You’re going to probably want to make sure that’s it abraded, at least, just so that it’s not the original. And of course, by this time, with all the rubbing you’re doing on this, it’s probably pretty clean. And getting up all that dust and dirt is going to be good.
What I might suggest you do here is – before you commit to the whole floor – is start in a corner with a product and see how you like it. You can experiment with a number of coats and see how it looks on top of some of the old grout joints and how it looks on some of the tile.
But it’s smart that you’ve gotten this loose stuff off, because you can’t – I always say you can’t put bad paint over good paint. And that certainly applies to urethane, as well.
PEGGY: It’ll pop off again.
TOM: Because the – it’s the adhesion is what’s the problem. So, you might want to try that in an area that’s less conspicuous, just to kind of get started with it. And see if that – if you like that.
And by the way, remember, if you end up giving up on this, you can leave that flooring in place and put another tile over it. You don’t have to take it up as long as it’s structurally sound. You can put a second layer on it.
PEGGY: I may call back and let you know how it works out. Maybe I’ll send you pictures. Can’t put that on the radio but …
TOM: Please do.
LESLIE: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Good luck.
PEGGY: Thank you. Mm-hmm. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Steve in Michigan is on the line with a water-heater question. What can we do for you?
STEVE: My hot-water tank has no good water pressure behind it.
TOM: Where are you spotting this? Is it at a particular faucet or fixture or is it multiple bathrooms throughout the house?
STEVE: Everywhere. My shower, my sinks, my washing machine, anywhere where I have hot – if I just have hot water going in my washing machine, it takes forever to fill up. When I go to take a shower, if I just have the cold – just straight cold water going, I have nice pressure behind it.
TOM: And let me ask you a question: how old is your house?
STEVE: Built in the 70s.
TOM: OK. I think you’ve got a problem with a valve somewhere on that hot-water line that’s restricting the flow. Because the water pressure is going to be the same for hot and cold when it comes into the house. So the fact that it’s going through the water heater and then slowing down means that something is clogging it or something is basically slowing down that flow. So I think that the problem would most likely be at the water heater itself: either the water flow into it or the water flow out of it. And it could be that one of those valves is stuck, closed or partially stuck.
I would close the valves all the way and then open them back up and see if that makes a difference. I would also follow the line back to make sure that every single valve is fully opened on that hot-water side. And I suspect that you’re going to find something that’s partially closed and that’s what causing this.
Steve, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you breaking out all your summer furnishings and noticing that some of it is in need of repair? Well, we’ve got a great prize to help you out with that this summer season. We’re giving away a set of 4 Jorgensen Heavy-Duty 24-Inch Steel Bar Clamps. They’re super easy to use. They’re fast-acting with a sliding head; large, easy-grip handles; swivel pad. So, basically, you can operate these super efficiently and easily.
It’s really a helpful prize, this hour, because it can hold things together when your hands can’t for an extended period of time.
TOM: You can check them out at PonyJorgensen.com. See the entire Pony Jorgensen product line. The value is 140 bucks. Going out to one caller, one listener drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your question at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to chat with Linda in Washington who’s got a question for us here at The Money Pit. What’s going on?
LINDA: I, all of a sudden, have little, tiny black ants in my bathroom. And I’ve never had this problem. I don’t know how to get rid of them.
TOM: Hmm. Well, they are probably dirty and they needed a bath.
LINDA: They’re close to the tub.
TOM: There you go, yeah.
Well, you know, that happens from time to time. They may be feeding on some mildew or something that they happen to like. One of the things that you could do is you could put down ant traps. And we actually just had some ants visit our kitchen today and I actually did just that: I put down an ant trap.
And then I also sprinkled some Borax, which I happened to have a box of for cleaning. It’s a good, natural cleaner. The Borax is great because they’ll pick that up, take it back to their nest and feed it to all their ant buddies. And that will wipe out the nest.
But I think that the ant traps are very handy because they’re so easy and clean to use. You just sit one down and you usually don’t even have to open it up. You take it out of the bag and sit it on the surface, usually in a corner. And they’ll find their way in there.
And again, the way these products work today is, basically, once the ants start to feed on it and they take it back to the nest, that food is passed around and it can wipe out the entire nest. So, I would simply do that.
LINDA: OK. Now, I see them also when – close to my kitchen outside. So should I put one out there also?
TOM: Yeah. Now, on the outside you have some other options. There are different ant-insecticide products that you can sprinkle near the foundation. And if you put them around the foundation where you just see them coming in, that will help control those ant populations.
I have a tree that was infested in ants and I was able to sprinkle a pesticide in there. And that took care of it. Just be careful of the wind when you’re applying the stuff outside. And wear a dust mask, because you don’t want to breathe any of this stuff, OK?
LINDA: OK. That sounds good. So I can go to any store and buy this Borax or …?
TOM: Home center or hardware store, yeah.
LINDA: OK. Alright. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with the project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, some home improvement projects are fun but others you just want to get done as quickly and inexpensively as possible, which is where hacks can help. Here are 3 easy ones that can be done in 30 minutes or less.
TOM: OK. So here’s something that you may not have thought to do but it really makes sense and that is to label your water valves.
Now, imagine that a pipe broke in your ceiling and the water is now leaking through every electric light fixture onto your brand-new carpet or flooring. You’ve got that mental picture? It’s not good. But if you were to locate and label every important water valve in your household, including the main water valve, the hose valves, the ice-maker valves and the water-heater valves, you will be covered in the event of pretty much every kind of leak that could happen. You’d know exactly where the valve is. You could shut it off and you would be done.
So this is a project that takes less than ½-hour. Take some cards – some index cards – maybe attach a piece of cord to it or a wire to it and wrap it right around that valve so that you know where it is and can find it in a jiffy.
LESLIE: Alright. Hack Number Two, guys: stop your toilet’s leaks. Now, toilet flush and fill valves can break down over time. And when they do, that wastes a lot of water. I know it doesn’t seem like it – it’s the toilet – but it does. It’s constantly running if those valves aren’t working right.
Now, if you find you have a toilet that flushes all by itself – it sort of makes that ghost-flushing sound – then you know it’s time for new valves. Another way that you can test to see if you need this is add some food coloring to the toilet tank itself. Wait 30 minutes and then look in the bowl. If that food coloring has leaked into the bowl at all, it means that flush valve is leaking and you should replace that.
Now, both of these jobs can be easily done in less than 30 minutes and truly only costs you a few dollars.
TOM: And finally, it’s time to exercise – well, not you – your circuit breakers. Exercise is good for your circuit breakers, as well. About every six months, you want to turn the breaker off and back on again. And then every month, push that test button on the GFCIs, if you’ve got them, to make sure it stays flexible and strong, like you after a good workout.
Want more 30-minute home improvement tips? Look up “30 Under 30” on MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a whole list for you to choose from.
LESLIE: Ray in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RAY: I have a little problem. I had painted my bath – the walls and the ceiling – a few years ago and also put on a border. Well, the ceiling paint is peeling in big spots. And when I painted it, I used KILZ. And I don’t know why it’s peeling.
TOM: So there must be moisture behind it or – how old is this house?
RAY: Well, the house was built in ‘78.
TOM: Because the other thing that can happen is if you have multiple layers of paint, sometimes you’ll get delamination of an older surface of that paint. So what might be peeling off might not be the paint from the KILZ or the KILZ from the prior paint. It could be a layer several layers back. And when you have such a severe adhesion problem, the best thing to do is to strip the old paint off of the ceiling, then apply an oil-based primer like KILZ or really any other brand that’s a name brand. And then apply a flat ceiling paint on top of that.
RAY: Yeah. I did use a ceiling paint. But now that you mentioned it, looking at where it’s peeling, it does kind of – it’s a – let me think here – yeah, like a grayish color underneath the paint.
TOM: Yeah. So, you see, it may not be what you painted that’s peeling. It might be a prior layer that’s peeling.
RAY: Right. I follow what you’re saying. Yeah.
TOM: Yeah. So you need to get all that old paint off and start from scratch, unfortunately.
RAY: So now, do you have to just scrape it or sand it or do you have to …?
TOM: Well, no, you’re going to need a paint stripper. You’re going to need a paint stripper because you’re not going to be able to scrape it. You’ve got to get that loose stuff off.
RAY: That’s a lot of work.
TOM: I mean look, the other thing you could do is you could put another layer of drywall right on top of that and just skin it. You wouldn’t even need to use ½-inch drywall; you could use ¼-inch drywall. You’d have a seam or two to tape and spackle but then you’d start from scratch.
RAY: Alright. Well, I appreciate the help on that.
TOM: And I think we just filled up a couple of weekends for you, too.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Amber in Ohio is on the line and has a question for us. How can we help you today?
AMBER: I have a loft and it is – it’s all open to the, you know, downstairs. But at any rate, when people come and stay, it is so – it gets so warm up there. It’s very warm and people always complain, summertime or wintertime.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
AMBER: It doesn’t matter. And downstairs, the first floor can be 10 – it feels 10 degrees different than upstairs.
AMBER: And I have (inaudible) set on one certain degree.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
AMBER: And downstairs just feels like it’s not paying attention to what I set the thermostat at.
TOM: Yeah. Alright. What kind of heat do you have? Is it forced air? You have a duct system?
TOM: Mm-hmm. And do you have central air conditioning or not?
AMBER: I do.
TOM: OK. And do you have any ceiling fans or paddle fans that can help mix up the air?
AMBER: Yes, I do. But it seems to be that even when they put the fans on, they say that they don’t feel the difference but …
TOM: So, when you turn the ceiling fans on, do you know that there’s a way that you can reverse the motors on that? There’s a little switch on the side. And in the summer, you want to set those so it pulls cold air up from the first floor. And in the winter, you want to change that setting so that it pushes warm air down from the second floor. Does that make sense?
AMBER: Yes, yes.
TOM: Now, have you operated those reversing switches? Did you even know they existed? Because many people don’t.
AMBER: I have, yeah. I have known that they existed and I could tell – I haven’t told the people that come and stay, though, that – up in the loft so …
TOM: But it’s the kind of thing that you’re going to do – yeah, you would do this one time per season, so you wouldn’t expect them to do that.
Now, the other thing that you can do is you could add supplemental air conditioning to that space. And what I would recommend there is a split ductless system. So split ductless means you have a small compressor that’s outside and then you have the actual air – you actually have the air handler that is inside. And that mounts on the wall the same way you’d hang a TV, for example.
And then between the outside compressor and the air handler inside, it will add additional air conditioning or cooled air up there, which will then filter down from there to the first floor and make everybody comfortable. And when you have a house that’s got this kind of configuration, it’s very common to have this great difference in temperature. And it’s a real challenge.
And the only other thing that you could potentially do is you could talk to your HVAC company about adding an additional supply and return to that space. But that would involve ducting and it’s going to depend on how hard it is to get that up. If there’s a way for they can get those ducts run up pretty easily and you had additional supplies and return in that space, then it’s going to cool a lot better and heat a lot better. But if not, then you’re going to have to do it a different way.
Now, by the way, that mini-split ductless system, that can be purchased to work as a heater and air conditioner all in the same system. So, if folks are complaining and – about it being too cold or too hot, depending on the season, you would have control over that for both seasons.
AMBER: Oh, that would be wonderful. Split ductless is …
TOM: Split ductless. Yep, exactly.
AMBER: And I would go to my home people or what-have-you and …
TOM: No, you’re going to have to go to an HVAC contractor. It’s not a DIY project.
AMBER: HVAC. OK. OK. That’s great.
TOM: Alright, Amber. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you tired of hearing your door scratched constantly by the dog in the middle of the night? Well, having a pet door for your dog can put that to rest. So, how do you go about making that happen?
TOM: Well, the first step is to plan this out before you start cutting or your pet might not be the only one getting a brand-new door.
Now, there’s a bunch of options for locations. You need to think through this. Premade pet doors are designed to be installed in pretty much any door. So it could be a back door, front door, patio door, slider, garage door or even an exterior wall. You’re going to want to position it with access to a secure, fenced-in area so that when the pooch gets out it doesn’t go beyond your yard.
And make sure you purchase the right size door. And to do that, you’ve got to measure your pet. You’ve got to measure the pet at the shoulder and then add 2 inches to determine the right height of the door.
LESLIE: Now, you’re also going to want to think about the type of door you have and what that door is made of. If you have a dog that likes to chew, you’ve got to look for a bite-proof door. That’s definitely what you’re going to want. And another advantage of this type of door: the construction is really advanced. So they’re higher energy-efficient compared to thinner models. So that’s helpful there.
Now, if you have a sliding-glass door, this type of pet-door insert is the most convenient because it doesn’t require a storm door or a screen door to be opened for that dog to get access. However, it’s generally not the best for cold or hot weather as it provides virtually zero insulation. So it’s not great if you live in a colder climate. It’s just not going to work out well for you.
And a door flap is probably the most common style of dog door that you’ve ever seen or that you see around. And some models come with even sliding panels. Now, this type of dog door is more energy-efficient – the sliding one – as it keeps extreme heat or even extreme cold from seeping in. And another advantage of the sliding type of doggie door is that you can lock them, which keeps pets in and trouble out, which generally is something you’ve got to worry about with dog doors.
Now, my favorite type of dog door is one that locks and unlocks when the dog approaches. These doors operate on a small RFID chip. It’s sort of a sensor that’s clipped to the dog’s collar. The sensor triggers the lock and the dog gets to go in and out all by itself so you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night in your jammies, especially in the winter, to have to take the dog out.
888-666-3974. If you’ve got questions about your home improvement projects just like that, call us right now.
LESLIE: Hey, do you ever wish when you’re working on a project – you’re gathering all your things and you’re holding stuff together and then maybe you’re using your foot to hold another part of it together and you’re thinking, “Wow, I could really use another set of hands,” then we’ve got a great prize for you.
This hour, here at The Money Pit, we’ve got up for grabs a set of 4 Jorgensen Heavy-Duty 24-Inch Steel Bar Clamps. And they can definitely and easily be those extra hands you’re looking for.
So check them out at PonyJorgensen.com. You can actually see the entire Pony Jorgensen product line there. And this prize is valued at $140.
TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Donna in New York is on the line and is having an issue cleaning some showers.
What’s going on, Donna?
DONNA: Well, I work at a fitness facility. And boy, do I have a problem with one out of four of the shower stalls there. That one, of course, is in the men’s room. Oh, my God, it’s so gross. It constantly cakes up this slimy, brown, gross, moldy – I don’t even know what this gunk is on the walls. And I have tried everything. I used bleach, the bathroom cleaners, antibacterial scrub brush. I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t even know what to do.
TOM: Yeah. It’s just getting away from you.
Well, first of all – and I know this is out of your control but the more humidity that builds up in that space, the worse this will continue to get. So if they don’t have good ventilation, they get dirtier and dirtier because it supports the growth of mold, mildew, algae and moss.
But one product that I’ve had great success with is called Zep – Z-e-p. It’s a shower, tub and tile cleaner. It’s a commercial cleaner. It’s not expensive. It’s about seven bucks a jug at Home Depot. And when you spray it on, it foams up and does a really good job of cutting out that nasty combination of soap scum and then everything that grows in the soap scum. Because the soap scum is like a food to a lot of those materials and that’s why it just gets so nasty. So I would try the Zep – Z-e-p – and see how you like that.
DONNA: Oh, my God. I am so glad I got through.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about getting some new window coverings – you know, freshening up the look at home – keep in mind that the cords on those blinds and shades pose a significant choking hazard to kids and pets. So, here are three safety tips to consider, presented by SelectBlinds.com.
TOM: Now, first up, the safest option is to go with cordless shades or blinds. You can find them as shutters, cellular shades or roller shades, too. But with no cords, there’s no strangulation hazards to worry about.
LESLIE: Now, another option is that you could upgrade to motorized shades. This way, you can avoid the danger of cords altogether and take advantage of smart-home technology that can do some really cool things, like raise your blinds when it’s time to wake up or lower them when the sun goes down. And these are great for spaces if you’ve got a window that’s high up or at a weird angle and you can’t really reach it. It’s super helpful for those.
TOM: And lastly, if you can’t install newer products, make sure all existing window cords are out of sight and beyond the reach and accessibility of small kids. For example, move all cribs, beds and furniture and toys away from windows and cords, preferably to another wall, like a whole different side of the room. This’ll prevent kids from stepping up on them and getting tangled.
LESLIE: Today’s tip was presented by SelectBlinds.com. SelectBlinds.com gives you all the inspiration, the tools and expert advice that you need to choose, order and install the right product and style to meet your needs, all while saving you hundreds and lots of time, as well.
Now, SelectBlinds will even ship you a kit with up to 15 free samples. I actually just did this in my home and it was super helpful. Because as much as I just wanted to get the shades up, I was like, “Just take the time and get the samples.” And it was good because what I thought I would have ordered – the fabric, based on just looking online – was actually not. So the fabric samples are fantastic.
So check it out. They’ll send some things so you’ll see the quality of the blinds and make sure that the colors work. It’s really just great.
TOM: Plus, they send you discount coupons, too, right?
LESLIE: There were some good discounts in the packet with the samples.
TOM: Yep. Because you always get at least 40-percent off with daily deals and discounts. Plus, always free shipping and delivery on everything, so you never have to wait for a sale.
Check out SelectBlinds.com. They really make it easy and convenient to order new blinds or shades for your home. And they save you time and money.
LESLIE: Chris in Georgia is on the line with an electrical question. What’s going on?
CHRIS: Yes, ma’am. Got a question with an electrical issue in our bedroom. We bought this house and trying to find out some answer to why the bottom plug of a duplex receptacle would work but if you plug into the top part of the outlet, it won’t work. There’s no power.
TOM: Is there any possibility that the top outlet is on a switch?
CHRIS: Could be.
TOM: OK. I’ve seen that. And you don’t see it very often but I have seen it where what looks like a normal outlet is actually split and the top one is wired to a switch and the bottom one isn’t.
CHRIS: Oh. OK.
TOM: So, theoretically, you would have your light on that top one. Now, if that’s not the case, then obviously something is wrong with the outlet and I would just replace the outlet. It shouldn’t be a big deal.
CHRIS: Awesome. I appreciate the advice.
TOM: Alright, Chris. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
CHRIS: Very good. Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, heating and cooling always makes people ask a lot of questions. “What type do I get? I don’t know what to do about it.”
Now, what happens if you’re Julie from Florida who’s building a house? This is what she writes. She’s building a house. Hasn’t given as much thought to the heating system over the A/C system because here in Florida, suddenly it’s not as warm as it used to be. “We’ve got recent dips in the temperature and I’m wondering what the best heating system might be, in terms of efficiency, if we might have to use it only once in a while.”
TOM: So, in Florida, what you typically would do for heat and air conditioning is called a “heat pump.”
So, a heat pump is basically an air conditioner that has a sort of forward and reverse valve. When the refrigerant is going one way, it cools your house. And when the refrigerant is reversed, it heats your house. You can get away with this in Florida because your temperatures are mild.
And even if you were to get a really unusually cold night, for example, even if it hit freezing, the nice thing about a heat pump is it has a backup electric-resistance coil built into it. So in the occasional time when it might get super cold, it sort of automatically switches to electric-resistance heat.
Now, the downside of that is that heating system, if you had to pay for it all the time would be exorbitantly expensive. But because it’s a backup and you usually don’t have to use it very often, it’s the perfect system for you, Julie. So I would talk to your builder about the heat pump. And then, of course, you can look at the efficiencies. They’re getting better and better. Every time, every year they come out, they’re more efficient. So, I would just choose a really efficient heat pump and you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, I’ve got a question here from David in North Carolina.
Now, David writes: “I’d like to update and refresh my kitchen. My cabinets are in good shape but the doors don’t match on three of them. They’re standard sizes. Where can I buy just replacement doors for those three cabinets? I’ve looked online and the major stores but no luck.”
And he’s going to have three brand-new cabinet doors (inaudible).
TOM: Yeah. Well, listen, it’s a good reason to buy new kitchen cabinets but you don’t actually have to. However, what you might want to think about – because, yeah, you can find cabinet doors online. There’s lots of sources if you just Google them. But you might want to think about replacing all of the doors and drawer fronts, not just the three that are missing. Because this way, they’ll all match.
They’re not terribly expensive. And actually, if you were to pull all those old doors off, spend some time refinishing those cabinets, you could do a great job painting the cabinets. Painting the cabinets are very popular today. You could have a painted cabinet and a painted door or you could have a painted cabinet and a wood-stained door. You know, you have some options there. And I think now is a really good opportunity to do that without spending a whole bunch of time and money.
LESLIE: Yeah. David, I always love the idea of a painted cabinet. In fact, pre-COVID, I was interviewing people to come and really apply a professional finish to the cabinet doors and drawers and everything so – and the whole cabinet boxes themselves, so I could really instantly change the look of the kitchen without as much money. But after, it’s definitely a project that you can tackle yourself. You can do it safely at home and it really makes a beautiful difference.
And once you do that, you can add different things, like different styles of hardware or different color of hardware. Change out the faucet. Go from chrome or stainless to polished brass or antique brass, something different that feels a little fresh, a little modern. It gives you an opportunity to really update that.
You can add in a new throw rug in the kitchen. That suddenly changes the feel of the room. If you add lighting, change lighting, change a fixture, that all helps tremendously. So you don’t have to spend a ton to really update the look of your kitchen.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show and we are so glad you are. We are so glad that you have been for this, our 2,000th episode. Can’t believe we made it through 2,000 episodes of The Money Pit Home Improvement Show but I’m so glad we’re still here, because that means we are doing some good helping folks across the country with their home improvement and décor projects.
So, remember, if you’ve got a question, you’ve got a concern, you can reach us, 24/7. Because like we always say, and have said for 2,000 episodes, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2020 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.)