In this episode…
Are you ready to buy a bigger and better air conditioner to keep cool this summer? Well, you may be surprised to learn that bigger is not always better for your comfort. We’ll have tips on how to pick the best one for your home. Plus…
- Smelly water is a common complaint among homeowners, for good reason: No one wants to drink, cook or clean with water that smells like rotten eggs. We highlight the causes and cure.
- Summer gives us lots of opportunities to display the red, white and blue. Memorial Day just passed, July 4th is ahead and this weekend we celebrate Flag Day! We’ve got some tips to help you hang and display your flag.
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: And we’re here to help you with your home improvement, décor and remodeling projects. Just pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, post your question online at MoneyPit.com or post it to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. All great ways to get in touch.
Coming up on this edition of the show, it’s getting pretty warm outside. And this is about the time that folks think about buying a bigger and better air conditioner. But you may be surprised to learn that bigger is actually not always better for your comfort or for your wallet. So we’re going to walk you through some tips on how to pick the right size window A/C or central A/C for your home.
LESLIE: And smelly water is a common complaint among homeowners and for good reason. I mean nobody wants to drink or cook or clean with water that smells like rotten eggs. We’re going to highlight some of the causes and the cures, just ahead.
TOM: Plus, summer gives us lots of opportunities to display the red, white and blue. Memorial Day just passed; July 4th is ahead. And this weekend, we get to celebrate Flag Day. So we’ve got some tips to help you hang and display your flag.
LESLIE: Plus, if you call us with your question or if you post it to The Money Pit’s Facebook page, we’ve got a three-piece gardening set from Centurion to give away, which includes a rake, a leaf bag and a broom.
TOM: It’s worth 51 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random, so make that you. Pick up the phone, shoot us an email, go to the website, get in touch with us right now. That number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Fonda (sp) in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
FONDA (sp): We are demolishing our old deck that leads to an old patio at the ground level. And the old patio has two substrates. You lead down to a plank patio. It’s like wood – 2x6s, I think – which is in awful shape. It’s probably 30 feet by 30 feet. And then it butts up to a pretty substantial cement pad that’s 20 feet by 20 feet.
And we know we’re going to demo the wood pad but it’s – the question is: what do we put in? Do we have to chop up the old cement pad, which is in great shape, because it’s so substantial? Or can we put in another cement pad next to it for the new patio? Can you go over the old cement with something and stamp it or make it just – and then the other problem is is it’s square. And I would like the new patio at the ground level to be rounder and curvier.
TOM: One idea that I have straight off is to go over the old patio with brick pavers. And if the patio is flat and strong and solid, there’s no reason you can’t put pavers on top of that. And so you could basically create a – do almost a patio makeover by preserving the concrete and putting brick pavers right over the concrete. They’re all going to assemble together. You won’t see them when they’re done.
Now, you mentioned changing the shape. That, of course, is a little more complicated because you’re going to have to build up to the edges. Part of the patio would be over concrete and part of the patio would be over traditional, built-up stone, if that’s possible. But if you want to avoid changing the shape, then it becomes a very easy project to do it with brick pavers. And of course, you have lots and lots and lots of choices on shapes and colors and all of that that you could go with.
FONDA (sp): And on the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers?
TOM: On the side that’s not cement, what’s under the brick pavers is this. First of all, you dig out, obviously, all the grass and that sort of thing. Then you put down about 4 to 6 inches of gray gravel. You tamp that down really, really, really well. Then on top of that, you lay some sand. Get that nice and flat. On top of that, you put the brick pavers and then you put additional sand in between.
But tamping and properly preparing that ground and tamping that stone really well is critical. Because if you don’t, it gets all roly-poly over the years and weeds start to grow up through it.
FONDA (sp): Alright. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Fonda. Good luck with that project. Just in time for summer. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Tim in Michigan is on the line with a question about wavy linoleum. What is going on with your floppy flooring?
TIM: So, we had the floor laid a couple years ago. It’s your standard, floating vinyl linoleum floor. One piece. When it was laid – the floor, to me, was not laid correctly. They didn’t stretch it out as they should. And now we’re dealing with wrinkles in the floor. We’re dealing with – in front of our dishwasher, in our door area it’s kind of wrinkling up. We’re just wondering what some of the simple ways would be to fix it aside from just taking all the appliances out of the kitchen. And also, what would be an alternative without breaking the bank?
TOM: OK. Well, look, it is very difficult for you to fix what’s happening to that floor. I’m not quite sure why it’s happening. You mentioned that it wasn’t stretched. You don’t really stretch linoleum when you put it down. And if it’s floating, there’s no adhesion and that can actually be a blessing. There’s no glue; it’ll be easy for you to take it up.
Typically, when you do put down a sheet product like that, the care and the prep involves in making sure the subfloor is absolutely smooth and flat. And very often, installers will put a second layer of a type of plywood that we call “luan – l-u-a-n – plywood” – it’s a very smooth, finished plywood – on top of it and they’ll attach it with a ring nail, which is the nail that has rings in it and grooves. And it attaches very, very well.
But that’s pretty much it. Now, if this has loosened up and stretched on its own – and probably in the wear and tear areas because, you know, you walk up to the dishwasher and you stop and you start. And you scuff your feet or you go to the refrigerator and you stare at it 10:00 at night, like I do sometimes when I know I shouldn’t be looking at it at that hour and want something to eat. It basically wears and tears on that floor.
So, I think I would, personally, give up on trying to fix what you have.
TOM: I mean you could take the appliances out and you could glue it. But I just want to tell you that there are so many good flooring products out today – that are very, very affordable – that you could replace this with. And you could do it fairly quickly and fairly simply.
For example, if you look at Lumber Liquidators’ stores and Lumber Liquidators.com, they have a line of engineered vinyl plank – EVP – and LVP, which is luxury vinyl plank. Man, this stuff is gorgeous. It looks just like the wood that it’s designed to replicate. It’s durable.
I put some of this down for my mom and she had a tough kitchen, with a lot of different weird angles and stuff because of the way the house was built. And we laid it down and it’s been great. She was worried about a floor being slippery. This was not. It’s been cleaning really well for her.
But aside from that, you could consider also using laminate floor. And they have laminate floors today that have a locking seam that’s waterproof, so the water doesn’t soak into them.
TIM: I was just going to ask about that laminate, because we just had that done in our dining room and our bedroom. Would that be acceptable in a kitchen?
TOM: Yes. I would look at the high-performance laminates that – I know the one that Lumber has – Lumber Liquidators has. Or actually, they call themselves LL Flooring now. They just had a name change. Has a special seal. I think it’s called AquaSeal. And it basically – I did a little video on it once where we kind of poured a whole bunch of water on it and tried to get it to break through the seal. And we couldn’t do it. So, I think that’s pretty good stuff and I think laminate’s a good choice, as well.
I would look at the laminates. I would look at the EVPs if you’re not familiar with that. And the third thing I was going to mention is engineered flooring. So you could have real hardwood in the kitchen, which I normally would not recommend if it was full-thickness. But engineered is made up of multiple layers of hardwood or different types of wood, so it’s dimensionally stable and it can take a saturation if you have to mop the floor without swelling up and making a mess of it.
TIM: Sure. Let me ask you another question, because the problem that we’re dealing with – because I thought about all of that. And I think the only one that would work in that house would be the LVP or the EVP. And the reason why I say that is the floor is not totally even across. There is a little bit of a (inaudible) where they added on the kitchen but they never leveled up that floor.
TOM: So, there’s a product called “floor-leveling compound” that you can pick up. And basically, the way floor-leveling compound works is you find your level in this floor.
Now, there’s different ways to do this; there’s some tricks of the trade. But what I like to do is if I am working with a level and let’s say I shoot a level line across the wall and I’m measuring down to figure out where I’m at with that, I will set a screwhead at the finish-floor height that I want, in a couple of a different places. And that becomes a guide.
And then when you pour this leveling compound – and it kind of free-floats and settles out. And when you do this, if you watch those screwheads that you just put in, you’ll know when you’re kind of in the ballpark of being level. And the stuff gets really hard and then you can just floor right over it. So there’s a way to correct that.
TIM: OK. Well, hey, I appreciate the callback and we’re going to start looking into this and …
TOM: Sounds good, Tim. Thanks so much for reaching out to The Money Pit. And stay safe out there.
TIM: Absolutely. Thank you, sir.
LESLIE: Well, Father’s Day is just a week away and we’ve launched a new sweepstakes to help you win tools for Dad. It’s called the DIY Dad Giveaway and we’ve got 10 sets of tools from Arrow to give away to 10 lucky winners.
TOM: That’s right. Each set is worth $120 and includes both a T50 and a PT50 Arrow Staple Gun, as well as an Arrow GT300 High-Temp Glue Gun. These are all tools that are perfect for taking on dozens of projects around the house. Arrow is all about making durable, reliable tools and fasteners, so they’re going to give your dad years of use.
LESLIE: You can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com. And be sure to take advantage of the many ways that you can earn extra entries, by subscribing to our podcast or visiting us on social media.
TOM: Enter again at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Martin on the line who wants to talk about fascia boards. That is an excellent design detail on the exterior. What can we do for you?
MARTIN: The fascia boarding that connects the ceiling of my porch roof to the overhang has separated from the ceiling. And I want to know if I need to – do I need to rip that out and replace it? Or can I just seal it and maybe put a larger molding over it?
TOM: Well, if the fascia board is loosening up, then I would tell you to resecure it. And that’s actually not an unusual thing to happen, because the nails that hold that are usually going into the ends of the rafters behind it. They tend to expand and contract a lot.
But what I would do is I would tell you to resecure it but do it with screws, not with nails. If you use long screws – like 2½-inch, case-hardened drywall screws or wood-trim screws – that will pull that fascia board back in tight and it’ll be impossible for it to loosen up again.
So don’t think of it in terms of something covering it. Just put it back where it was but use screws instead of nails and it won’t come out again, OK?
MARTIN: And do I do that by going under the molding?
TOM: Well, you want to try to get that fascia board resecured in, so if that is going to require you to take off a piece of molding to get to it, then that’s what you do. But you want to get to the original fascia and tighten it up.
MARTIN: OK. I can do that, then. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re planning to buy a room air conditioner this summer, one of the most important considerations is the size of the unit. But contrary to what you might think, bigger is not better.
TOM: Yep. And here’s why. If you buy a unit that has too much cooling capacity, it’s going to waste energy. And one that’s too small is not going to do a good job of keeping your home comfortable. Plus, here’s something very few people understand. An oversized unit will quickly cool the air but it’ll do so without running long enough to dehumidify your home. And that’s going to result in your home being very damp and musty instead of cool and comfortable. It’s not good.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, determining the best size air conditioner for your room really depends on a number of factors, including the type of air-conditioning unit that you plan to install, the size of the room you need to install it in and the size of the window.
TOM: Now, most manufacturers will have some sort of handy calculator that’ll step you through the most important considerations and then deliver the right recommendation for your home. And if you’ve got the choice, remember it’s always best to install the unit on the shady side of the room and keep the vent out of the direct sun. That makes it run more efficiently.
And make sure you are only buying air conditioners that are rated ENERGY STAR. If they’re not ENERGY STAR-rated, don’t do it. You’ll waste a lot of money.
LESLIE: Heading out to Texas where Ray is dealing with some water noises. What’s going on? Can’t sleep, huh?
RAY: Well, whenever you turn the hot water on, sometimes it sounds like somebody in there with a little jackhammer. I don’t know. Maybe the pipes rattling or whatever. But I don’t know how to stop it.
TOM: Yep. Yeah. Alright. So …
RAY: I put two stems in.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. It’s not the stems, though, Ray. Here’s what’s going on. That is called “water hammer.” And basically, it’s caused by the force of the water starting and stopping as it travels through the pipes. And copper pipes, in particular, have this amazing ability to resonate, like a lousy musical instrument. And so, all of that noise and that banging you hear is when the water stops and starts because you’re operating the valve. The pipe is loose, so you’re getting that rattle. And that can resonate and make it sound even louder.
There’s two things that you can do. So, first of all, depending on how your house is built, if you can get to those pipes, you can add additional brackets, just little U-clamps to attach them to the sides of the wood framing that’s around it, so that they don’t have any ability to kind of rattle. And I would do that first, because that’s the easiest thing to do.
And the second thing you do is there actually is a plumbing device called a “water hammer arrestor,” which is kind of like a shock absorber for your pipes. And it goes at the end of the line and it takes sort of the force out of that water starting and stopping and will stop the pipe from wiggling and shaking as a result. Does that make sense?
RAY: Yes. What you’re saying does make sense to me. But this wasn’t happening until I changed the stems. I had one stem that was broken. Whenever you go to turn it off, if you turned it too far it would come back on. So that stop was broken, so I replaced that stem. And then I replaced the other stem and then I started noticing this water hammer happening.
TOM: I have some guess as to why that’s happening. It’s either coincidence, OK, or more likely, the new stems that you put in there are operating much more efficiently than the old stems. So when the old stems – when you turn the water off, if you were to turn that water off very slowly, then you’re not going to get that water hammer, because you’re kind of slowing down that force, right?
So if the stem was somehow inefficient – the old one – and now you put this new one in – I don’t know what kind of valves you have but these new ceramic-disc valves that are so common today, when that valve goes off, it goes off in a flash. And that could be just enough to make these pipes shake.
So it may be coincidental to this or it may be unrelated. But regardless of why it’s happening, it’s not being caused by the stems; it may be the result of a more efficient stem than you had before. So you’ve got to just secure the pipes and that should – most likely, that will do it. But if it continues to get bad and bother you, you can put in the water-hammer arrestors.
RAY: OK. One other question. Now, if nothing is done, is there any possible damage that’s going to come (inaudible).
TOM: It’s unlikely. It’s possible that you could, you know, shake a solder joint loose or something and cause a leak. But that would be – I’d consider that rare. It’s more of an annoyance, I think, for you than anything else.
Good luck with that, Ray. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, it’s a common complaint among homeowners and for good reason: nobody wants to drink, cook or bathe with smelly, yucky, rotten-egg tap water. We’ve got some tips on the most common causes of that rotten-egg smell and what can be done to make it go away.
TOM: Yeah. So, first, let’s talk about what that smell is. It’s actually sulfur and it rears its stinky head most often in houses that are located on a groundwater supply, as opposed to a municipal water supply, because the groundwater can pick up hydrogen sulfide, which is a naturally occurring gas.
Now, that hydrogen sulfide gets absorbed into the water, it comes into the house and there you have your odor. It’s not dangerous and it’s actually not even harmful, but it’s really annoying because it smells awfully bad.
LESLIE: It really does smell bad. So, how do you take care of it? Can you treat it?
TOM: Well, if the smell is coming from both hot and cold water, then you should call a well contractor. They’ll install a filter that will minimize that. But more often, it could be coming, predominantly, from the hot-water side and that could be because of a whole different reason. It can happen when the sacrificial anode rod that’s inside your water-heater tank basically erodes away.
These are typically made of magnesium, which the hydrogen sulfide attacks. And it releases that rotten-egg smell and eating away at the rod at the same time which is, by design, what it’s supposed to do. That’s why it’s called a “sacrificial rod.” They’re basically the least noble metal in the tank, which means rather than the steel parts of the water heater rusting away and leaking and causing that big mess in your house, these rods get the brunt of the water’s attack.
So, what you want to do is just replace that magnesium rod with an aluminum sacrificial anode rod. And that’s going to be much more impervious or resistant to that hydrogen sulfide. And they really do get the job done. They do so without the risk of so much sulfur adhering to them and then being released into your home.
So, bottom line, no more stinky water. You can pick them up for about 30 bucks at any plumbing-supply house.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Cody in Texas who’s got a safety question: the dryer vent has become disconnected.
Yes, Cody, this is dangerous.
CODY: Say, so I was up in the attic the other day and I saw some of the insulation blowing. The dryer was running at the time. And I walked over there and I could feel the air from the dryer blowing in from between the walls, you know? And that kind of concerned me.
It seems to me like it’s not connected within the wall and it’s just blowing out. I’m wondering, is that a big deal? Do I need to go in the wall and replace that? Or is it going to be fine the way it is?
TOM: No, it’s not fine at all the way it is, for two reasons. Number one, it’s a fire hazard because all that dust is being trapped inside that wall cavity. That’s a major fire hazard. And secondly, all that moisture from your wet clothes is being blown up into the attic in that insulation. And once it makes the insulation damp, the insulation does not work. If you even add a minor amount of moisture to insulation, it loses about a third of its R-value.
So, you want to figure out what went wrong and get it fixed. It can vent up into the attic but it has to continue through the attic and out to an exterior wall or out to the roof or out to a soffit. So you need to figure out why it disconnected, what happened and get it fixed in the easiest way possible. But get that dryer vent pointed outside as quickly as you can.
CODY: OK. I’ll do that. There’s some cabinets hanging above the dryer, so I guess I need to pull those off and cut into the sheetrock to try to see where the disconnect is.
TOM: Well, maybe. Why don’t you just pull the dryer out to begin with, stick a light in that duct and see if it tells you anything and then go from there? Try to minimize the exploratory surgery, Cody. OK?
CODY: Yeah, OK. I’ll do that. I appreciate it.
TOM: The more you cut open, the more you’ve got to fix, man.
Well, if you’ve been working in the yard this spring, we’ve got some great tools to give away that can help, from Centurion. We’ve got the All-Season Leaf and Garden Cleanup Set.
I like this because it’s all in one. It’s a set of ergonomically-designed tools that are engineered to help you get this job done as easily as possible. You’ve got a telescoping, all-season bristle broom. You’ve got an aluminum expandable rake head. That’s cool because it will expand from 7½ inches to 21 inches.
How many times, Leslie, have you had to rake and needed to kind of reach in or under or it’s too wide.
LESLIE: The rake’s not wide enough. Right.
TOM: For me, it’s more like it’s too wide and I’m trying to shove three tines on the left-edge quarter of the rake, under something to drag out that last leaf. It’s pretty cool that it’s flexible like that. Plus, you get a leaf pickup bag with handles.
It’s worth 51 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Learn more at CenturionBrands.com. That number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Sandy in Iowa is on the line and she has got a problem where the stairs meet the wall. What’s going on there?
SANDY: In my stairwell, where the sheetrock meets the floor joist, when they originally did that, they put that – you know how they use that heavy paper stuff and then they mud over that? Well, that cracked. And I peeled that off and now I’m trying to figure out how to smooth that over there between the sheetrock and the floor joist in the basement. Because it’s sheetrock to wood, I don’t know what material to use to fill that crack so that I can paint over and it look smooth.
TOM: So, what you want to do – it sounds like you pulled the old tape off – the paper tape off. Is that correct?
SANDY: I did.
TOM: Well, that’s OK. Because what you want to do now is you want to go out and buy some fiberglass tape.
Now, fiberglass drywall tape is perforated. It’s kind of like netting; it’s a little tacky. When you cut a piece off, you put it on top of that seam. And what that’s going to do is bridge the gap across the seam. And then you cover that with spackle.
And you want to do about three very, very thin coats. Don’t put too much on. A little bit of spackle goes a long way. Sand in between in each one and then just build it out and build it up over those three coats and that’ll be fine. And because you put the tape over – the fiberglass tape – it shouldn’t crack again.
SANDY: That sounds like something I can do.
TOM: I think you can, Sandy.
LESLIE: Well, summer gives us lots of opportunities to display the red, white and blue. And Flag Day is June 14th and I think, this year, we are all celebrating what it means to be resilient Americans. And what’s a better way to do that than flying our flag?
Well, we’ve got some tips to help you pay proper respect to our flag, because there’s always some confusion on – how do I handle it? Which way do I hang it? So let’s clear all of this up.
First of all, you’ve got to handle the flag with care. Your American flag should not touch the ground, become worn or even soiled.
TOM: Yep. Now, when you’re flying the flag, it should be displayed with the blue union up, except as a distress signal in times of dire emergency.
Now, another important bit of flag etiquette: never use the flag as a wrapping or any other sort of decoration. That’s what the red, white and blue bunting is for.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, here’s some other protocol that you’ve got to follow. When you’re hoisting the flag, you want to raise it briskly. And when you’re lowering it, you want to lower it ceremoniously to a recipient’s waiting hands. You’ve got to fold the flag neatly and carefully for storage.
And when you fly your flag at night, you need to make sure that there’s a light on it at all times. So, pick a spot that’s illuminated by a porch or a streetlight or consider installing sensor lights that automatically come on and illuminate your American flag for the evening.
TOM: Now, once in a while we get questions about how to mount a flag bracket to various types of siding material, whether it’s brick or it’s wood or it’s vinyl. We’ve got an article on how to do just that. It’s online at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Heading over to Louisiana where Albert is looking to take on a green project by adding solar panels. How can we help you?
ALBERT: Well, I’d like to put up some solar panels.
ALBERT: But my wife and I were discussing it and she seems to think they’d do better on the roof. Now, we have a pretty good bit of property here and I’m wanting to put it out in back of the house and away from the house. And she seems to think that being away from the house, it would – they would lose some of the effectiveness. Is that true?
TOM: Well, if you put them on the roof, they are closer to the sun. She’s right about that.
TOM: I don’t think that’s going to make a big difference. Listen, if these things are wired correctly, you can certainly collect the energy whether they are at grade level or on the roof. The added complication of putting them on the roof is that you have to put them over your roof shingles or whatever roof material you have. And when, ultimately, that roof fails, you have to remove the panels and – to reroof. So, it does add a complicated level.
How old is your roof now? Do you think you’re going to be replacing it in the next few years?
ALBERT: It’s probably 10 years old.
TOM: Alright. So I mean you might be halfway through it. I just think, at some point, you’re going to be dealing with that and you’d have to decide if that’s an issue for you.
Now, if you do put it at grade, do you have anything that would be in its way, like trees overhanging, interrupting the accessibility to the sun, for example?
ALBERT: Well, I have an open property and trees.
TOM: Well, if it’s open, you think about the flow of the sun – the angle of the sun – throughout the year. As long as it’s open, then that might be a good option for you.
ALBERT: Yeah. OK. Well, I want to put it, probably, about 100, 125 feet from the house, you know?
ALBERT: And I didn’t know whether that would – I would lose any power being that far from the house.
TOM: Well, it depends on how you’re collecting it and that comes into the system that you’re working with.
There is a company that is called Wholesale Solar, who does a lot of really good work working with homeowners to help them make sure that they are choosing the right system and the right components for their project. You might want to just have a chat with those guys. And there’s no harm or no expense in doing that.
Their website is WholesaleSolar.com. I have had some of their guys, because they really know what they’re doing, on the show from time to time. And they could probably walk you through some more options.
ALBERT: OK. Sounds great. I appreciate that information.
TOM: Good luck with the project.
LESLIE: Chris from Oklahoma posted: “My neighbors just discovered termites in the wood trim of their house. Could this mean that I have them? Am I more likely to get them? What should I do?”
TOM: That’s funny. Listen, termites were here long before we were here, Chris, and they’ll probably be here long after we’re gone. The fact that your neighbor has them doesn’t necessarily put your house at more or less risk of getting some sort of termite infestation, because it’s one of Mother Nature’s marvelous ways of getting rid of dead wood, which unfortunately is the stuff we use to build houses with, right?
So, what you should be doing now is having your home inspected on an annual basis by a licensed pest-control operator or a home inspector or people that are in the business of inspecting, because they’re going to know how to spot termites and termite infestations way before you will. The worst time to find a termite infestation out is when they’re swarming. Because when they swarm, they sprout wings and they fly everywhere. And man, talk about gross. That is the grossest moment.
LESLIE: It’s gross.
TOM: Thousands of flying insects that can totally overwhelm your space.
But here’s something that’s interesting about those swarms that a lot of people don’t know, Leslie. If you get a swarm and they’re everywhere at once, those termites actually aren’t the kind that are doing the damage. Those are the reproducers and they’re going out to find some mates.
Now, if you do …
LESLIE: Where are the damaging ones?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So, if you do find termites, though, there is a type of termiticide called an “undetectable” that’s very effective. Termidor is one of the main brand names. And basically, the way the stuff works is it’s injected into the soil. It creates sort of a barrier that termites pass through to and from their work on your house. And it totally wipes out the entire colony. So, it’s a very effective way to protect your house from termite damage.
You can sort of put a barrier around it and it works better than the types of pesticides they used to use, which were detectable by termites because they would sense it and try to go around it. So you really had – and they’re persistent at this. So you really had to put much more on to control that.
With this stuff, you put on just what you need. I shouldn’t say you; it’s applied by a professional. And it really works quite well. So, look for those undetectables: Termidor or similar products.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Barb in Maine. Now, Barb writes: “I’m redoing my basement and putting a shower down there. Do I need to put a trap in the shower or will a straight drain be OK?”
TOM: Hmm. Yeah. Well, you always need a trap in a shower and you always need to drain it into the waste line for the house – the main sewage line for the house. You say straight drain. I’m not quite sure what you mean by that but I’m guessing maybe you’re thinking you could drain it through the floor or drain it outside to grade, because it’s just a shower. Not the right way to go.
Now, the trick here is that the drain for a basement bathroom may be lower than the waste pipe. So then you need to use what’s called a “lift pump” or specifically, a sewage lift pump, which is a special type of pump that basically collects the waste water. And if there’s a full bath down there, it’s going to grind it, too. And then it pumps it up to a point where it can then gravity flow down through the …
LESLIE: Up and out.
TOM: Yeah, up and out and away to never be seen again. But you definitely need to have a proper drain on that and that includes a trap.
LESLIE: Alright, Barb. Good luck with that. That’s really great adding a bathroom in the basement.
TOM: Making good homes better, you’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this beautiful, late-spring day. Summer is just around the corner. We are always here for you, on air and off, to answer your home improvement questions. You can get those to us by posting them at MoneyPit.com or to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. 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 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.)