In this episode…
Remodeling your kitchen is a project that adds value to your home, but it can also get pretty expensive. We’ve got 3 kitchen renos you can get done for under a thousand bucks to add style and convenience without draining your bank account! Plus…
- Moving into an apartment doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your décor desires. We’ll have simple apartment decorating ideas that will make your apartment feel like home AND still make sure you get that security deposit back at the end of your lease.
- Saving water becomes more and more important this time of year. But rather than rely on your kids and family to use less water, WaterSense fixtures can actually do the water saving for you! We’ll tell you how to find faucets, toilets, showers and sprinklers that can do the job, without wasting water.
- Dishwashers make life easier, but could your dishwasher be shortening the life of the dishes it’s cleaning? We share 4 things never to place in that marvelous cleaning machine.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about, eliminating smoke odors, installing proper drainage behind a retaining wall, eliminating weeds, installing an indoor pool, repair or replace a leaky roof
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 are so glad you are here. What are you working on? Are you planning a project for this weekend? Do you got a project that you’d like to get done but you don’t know where to start? You need help solving a problem, solving a decorating dilemma, solving a how-to? You don’t know how to get it done? These are all great topics for us to help you with so give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
This is Money Pit Episode 2013 on a beautiful summer day in our part of the country. We hope it’s nice where you are, as well. And coming up on today’s show, if you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen, that is a project that always adds to the value of your home but it’s also one that can get pretty pricey. So we’ve got three kitchen renos to tell you about, that you can get done for under 1,000 bucks, that will add some style and convenience without emptying the bank account in the process.
LESLIE: And also ahead, moving into an apartment doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your décor desires. We’re going to have some simple decorating ideas that will make your apartment feel like home and still make sure you get that security deposit back at the end of the lease.
TOM: And if you’d like to save a little water this summer, it is more and more important, of course, this time of year. But rather than rely on your kids and your family to just use less water, there are new water fixtures out there that can do the water-saving for you. We’ll tell you how to find faucets and toilets and showers and sprinklers that can do the job without wasting water.
LESLIE: But first, let’s talk about how we can help you make your home your happy place with a fix-up or a décor project, a yard project, an inside project. Whatever it is, let us help you get that job done right. Give us a call.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the number. That’s 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Heading over to Delaware where Eve is trying to get rid of a smoke smell. What’s going on?
EVE: Right. We recently purchased a row home in Philadelphia and it has a third-floor studio apartment where the previous occupant was a heavy smoker. And we’re trying to get rid of the smell from the cigarettes. We’ve tried removing the floor tiles, replacing the drop-grid ceiling tiles and painting. But the odor is still pretty strong. So I’m wondering if you have any suggestions.
TOM: Hmm. So above the drop ceiling, did you paint that surface, as well?
EVE: No. We didn’t.
TOM: What did you paint with? Did you use any kind of a primer?
EVE: Going over paint, so we didn’t. We just used a regular latex paint.
TOM: Right. So the best thing to do in a situation like this is to use a very good-quality primer – either an alkyd primer or a solvent-based primer – because it tends to seal in all of those wall and ceiling surfaces, including the odors that are underneath.
The other issue, of course, is the floors. Now, you mentioned that there’s a tile floor there. So it was a hard-surface floor?
EVE: Yeah. Right now, we pulled up everything. We’re down to the plywood. And we were just going to put in a new flooring. So is there anything we should do before we do that?
TOM: Yeah. I would also prime the plywood.
TOM: I’d seal everything and I would use a good-quality oil-based primer, like a KILZ, for example. And I would prime the heck out of everything because that does a good job of sealing out those odors. That and some just normal ventilation ought to do it. But I think if you don’t prime those surfaces, you won’t be able to completely get rid of that odor.
Then, of course, it goes without saying that you’ve disposed of furniture and curtains and things like that?
EVE: Yes. The only other question is: what about kitchen cabinets?
TOM: You can’t do much with them. But what you can do is you can clean them with TSP – trisodium phosphate. It’s like a powdery soap mix that you buy in the paint aisle and you can mix up a solution and clean those.
Are these wooden cabinets or laminate cabinets?
TOM: If it’s wooden, you may not want to use the TSP on it. You could use Murphy’s Oil Soap instead.
TOM: But you’re going to have to clean them.
EVE: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Eve. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Thankfully, fewer and fewer people are smoking today, so we’re getting fewer and fewer of those calls. But I tell you what, when you get a house that’s like that, what a mess. What a big mess. Hard to get rid of that smell.
LESLIE: Alex in West Virginia is on the line with a question about grading. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
ALEX: I bought my house last year. It’s a 1926 American Foursquare home. The lot that the home was built on is 140 feet deep by 30 feet wide. But the problem is the drop from the very back of the lot to the very front of the lot is pretty significant. It’s about 10 feet. So the house is on a hill and I’m wondering what I can do to level out the front yard so it’s easier to mow and so it looks nicer, if I could build some sort of retaining wall.
And then I want to do something in the backyard the same way because playing on it, for our dog and kids, is kind of hard. I was wondering what you thought about maybe trying to level that out somehow.
TOM: Well, right now it sounds like the house is kind of cut into the hillside. Does it – so it slopes down towards a street in the front or it slopes away from the house?
ALEX: That’s correct. It slopes down. If you stand on the very front of the yard, you can’t – you’re not even above the lawn in the back.
TOM: So, I mean a retaining wall is the best way to achieve that. But of course, building a retaining wall, especially if you’re talking about several feet like that, is no small task. It’s a pretty big project and it’s got to be done well because if it’s not engineered properly, it’s going to fail. Fortunately, today there are a lot of good masonry products – precast masonry products – that work extremely well for retaining walls.
It used to be that your best option was something that looked like railroad ties that were stacked up and you had these railroad ties that would go back into the hillside. They were called “deadmen” because they would just lay there and hold the wall in.
LESLIE: That’s a terrible name.
TOM: But eventually, it – that’s what it was called. It was called the “deadman” and it was the piece that was perpendicular to the wall and was basically covered with soil, because that would be sort of the tie that would hold it in place.
But today, you could use precast retaining-wall blocks. They’re made by a number of great manufacturers. And you can stack those up, once you prepare the base properly, and then just sort of backfill as you go.
And remember to provide for proper drainage because that really is the key. Whatever you do, you want to make sure that you’re handling the water that’s running down that hillside properly. And if you are building into a slope like that, it’s really more important than ever to have what’s called a “swale,” where the water sort of divides before it gets to the back of your house, then it goes around the left and the right sides and then runs down to the street.
But certainly, that’s an option but it’s a big project. And it’s one that I would recommend you get professional help with because of the size and the scope of it. Well worth having a landscape architect or a designer kind of spec that out for you because if you’re going to do it yourself, you’ll know exactly what you have to do.
And if you’re not going to do it yourself, you can use that spec to get bids from qualified contractors and you’ll know that they’re all going to be sort of bidding apples to apples. The problem is if you just call a contractor and say, “Build me a retaining wall,” everyone’s going to build it slightly differently. And it’s going to be hard for you to figure out what’s the best choice, because the guy that’s the cheapest may not be doing the best job or using the best materials.
You follow me?
ALEX: Mm-hmm. Oh, yeah, yeah.
TOM: That’s the way I’d approach it.
ALEX: I appreciate your answer. I listen to your podcast every week.
TOM: Well, thank you so much for doing that and we’re so glad you called.
ALEX: Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Alicia in North Carolina is on the line with The Money Pit. Has a question about a patio and deck. What’s going on?
ALICIA: We have a patio cement slab in the back of our house. It runs the length of our house. On half of that slab sits our deck.
ALICIA: We live in a split-level, so the deck goes up rather high and has posts that sit on this cement-slab patio. And there’s a crack going down the middle of it. We bought the house about three years ago. We didn’t notice the crack. It was there but we really didn’t notice it. And then I’d say about, last year, we were sitting down and noticed that the crack is now splitting open.
You know, our backyard slopes down. It’s North Carolina with lots of that red clay. It’s most of what our ground is made up of. And it’s like the ground is pulling away from that cement slab because of rain and flooding in our backyard which, unfortunately, floods as well. So it’s making it worse. I don’t know whether the footings are what they really should be.
We’ve had a couple people come out and estimate the situation. I just don’t know what to do.
TOM: First of all, are you convinced, Alicia, that this crack is active, that it’s opening up? Or is it just that you’re paying attention to it now every time you walk out in the backyard? So maybe you’re imagining it’s getting bigger.
ALICIA: No, it’s different looking than it was when we first bought it.
TOM: How big is the crack?
ALICIA: It’s not huge. It’s not like it’s – yeah. No, it’s not like it’s 3 inches big now. It’s small. Still, it’s opening up. The caulking isn’t covering the crack anymore.
ALICIA: So I’d say about ¼-inch.
TOM: Alright. It’s not bad.
So, there’s a couple of things you can do here. First of all, you do need to clean out that old caulk and reseal this one way or the other. QUIKRETE has a product that’s made specifically for concrete slabs that you can use, that will give you a textured finish. And it dries in about an hour, so you do want to reseal it.
Now, in terms of not having to look at it, maybe doing something that would be a little more attractive, maybe slowing it down, I think you’re right. The reason it’s moving – if it is, in fact, moving – is it’s exacerbated by water. Cement slabs don’t have footings, so there’s nothing holding it back from doing this. And I just wonder if this deck was properly built, because it’s sitting on top of half of it. It really just shouldn’t be sitting on the 4-inch concrete slab; it should be sitting on the footing below it.
Be that what it may, another idea that you might want to consider is Pavestone makes a paver brick that is about half the thickness of a full paver brick. And it’s designed for taking a cement slab that maybe doesn’t look so hot and creating a beautiful paver patio with it. The way it works is you lay down the perimeter and then you sort of put your whole pattern in. And then you take up the perimeter and you basically glue in the outside perimeter row. And then that holds all the bricks inside of it and then you add this typical paver stone and it looks fantastic. So, that’s available from Pavestone.
ALICIA: My big concern is five years down the line, if we want to put the house on the market kind of thing – and I didn’t want to – I wanted to do something – if it was – if I was already seeing an increase in the crack now, what would it look like five years?
TOM: A cement slab is not a structural part of your backyard or your patio, OK? It’s just – it’s basically there as a surface that you can work with.
TOM: And if you put the pavers over it and it goes from ¼-inch to 3/8-inch, no one’s ever going to see that. And pavers are just going to shift.
The product is made by Pavestone. It’s actually called Pavestone Milano. That’s the brand. That’s the particular product that is the thinner version of the full Pavestone paver.
TOM: And again, it can go down right on top of that slab. Goes down really quick and it’ll look fantastic.
ALICIA: Oh, thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I love your show.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, remodeling your kitchen can easily add to the value of a home, but a total renovation can also cost you a bundle of cash. But you don’t always need to do a major renovation to just spruce up the space. We’ve got three projects that you can get done, for well under a grand, to get some of that same style, safety, and convenience.
First of all, as many a clotheshorse will tell you, a great look is all about the accessories. And that same concept goes for an on-display room, like your kitchen. Change the knobs and pulls on the cabinetry. It’s super easy. It’s a great and cost-effective way to change things and liven things up.
And you can go with a completely different finish than you had before. Go from a brushed bronze to a brass or a chrome to sort of an antiqued silver, something, anything. Change it up and you’ve completely changed the look.
Next up, another focal point in your kitchen is the faucet. And with a wide range of faucet styles in the neighborhood of $200, you can easily amp up the style standard while also saving water. So look for faucets with the EPA WaterSense Seal. It’s going to tell you that they use less water without giving up the features that you love, like a built-in spray head.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about those cabinets. Replacing cabinets is always one of the most expensive parts of a kitchen reno but painting is really a great alternative. And today, painted solid-cabinet finish, it’s even more popular than ever in brand-new cabinets. So why pay for new cabinets that are going to be painted anyway? Paint the cabinets that you have. It’s pretty similar to painting just about everything else in your house, with a couple of really important exceptions.
First one is this: you need to use a special type of primer. It’s called a high-bond primer, basically, because it sticks to smooth surfaces better than the kind of primer that you might use on a wall. And most manufacturers have a version of this.
Now, after the primer, I also recommend that you use a solvent or oil-based, semi-gloss paint. Even though cleanup is harder, it is worth it because those oil-based paints provide a much tougher finish. And if those doors are going to be opening and closing and those drawers are going to be slamming, it’s really important for durability to use a paint that gives you a really hard surface.
So there you go. Three improvements that you can take on, for under a grand, that will definitely add some value to your home.
LESLIE: Bob in Wisconsin is on the line with a question about adding a patio. How can we help?
BOB: Yes. I have a 16×20-foot patio. Runs the 20-foot length of the house. And what we’re thinking about is putting an enclosure on it. But the roofline runs along the patio so that it’s sloped down towards the patio. And so, the deck, I should say, is on the outside, of course. And we’re thinking about enclosing the deck.
Is there some way we could enclose that without cutting into the existing roof of the house?
TOM: Why are you hesitant to want to not cut into the roof of the house? Because if you think about it, roofs are always naturally intersecting. And if it’s done right, it can be done in a very permanent way so it will not become a leak problem.
BOB: OK. The roofline, where it comes down to the deck, would be about 8 feet. So I would imagine throughout the 16-foot length, we’d have to probably raise that up about how far?
TOM: Well, let’s just say you wanted to get a 3/12 pitch. So, yeah, it’s going to have to come up quite a bit. But the other option is to go with a very low-slope roof and use a roofing material that’s designed for that.
So, if you were to use a rubber roof – and that’s a heat-sealed roof that goes down and can be perfect, almost flat. It’s not going to be flat; it’s going to be low slope. And if that is intersected correctly with the existing roof, you may be able to maintain that ceiling height.
BOB: OK. I understand. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I don’t think there’s any easy way to do it.
One other question, if I might. We have a patio area that has concrete on it now and it’s 4 feet by 20 feet. And we’d like to put tile on it. It’s outside, though. It is covered by a roof area but it is an outside area. Is there a way to do that without running into problems?
TOM: Well, the adhesive that you use has to be rated for – you know, to have the temperature climate that you’re in. My concern would be, living in Wisconsin, that that tile, even though it’s covered, is going to get wet and it’s going to freeze and it’s going to pop off. So, rather than use tile, you might be better off with a paver brick that is more durable in an environment like that. The tile, I’m just concerned, is not going to last.
BOB: Yep, that was my concern, too, with the freezing and expansion and contraction. So, yeah. OK. Well, that was my two questions and thank you so much. We enjoy listening to your show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much. We appreciate the call and good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, for many of us, moving into an apartment is the first stepping stone to buying a home. Not only are you now on your own but you also have the chance to use your creative side and decorate. But since you’re a renter, you need to do it in a way that’s not going to damage the apartment and then blow your security deposit. We’ve got four ideas to help you do that.
First of all, I am a huge fan of this: check out peelable and removable wallpaper. Same thing. They sell it everywhere, from Home Depot and Target to fancy online sources. All you have to do is search and the patterns are endless.
But you do need to take your time. You need to make sure the walls are nice. Get a nice, little – I use a plastic squeegee that I put a little bit of sticky felt on the end, so it’s nice and smooth and I’m sort of putting out the paper. Peel it as you go along. Don’t unpeel too much, because you can make a mess. But it will change a room so quickly and for not that much money.
TOM: Now, the next trick of the trade is to add a large mirror to your living room. Now, mirrors can be really magical when it comes to making spaces look bigger than they are. And they serve as a good focal point for décor. But if you’re worried about putting holes in your wall, well, don’t do that. Just go with an oversized wall mirror. They can be actually leaned up against a wall and this way, you’ve got zero chance of damage. And it will totally open up that space without risking having to fork over part of your security deposit to repair all those holes you put in the wall.
LESLIE: Yeah. Here’s another thing, guys: throw rugs. You’re not changing anything; you’re just adding something. And they can be your apartment’s best friend. It’s going to give you warmth and comfort in your space. And it really cuts down on the dirt and the dust bunnies that love to skate along wood floors. Also, it keeps things a little bit quieter. Your downstairs neighbors will be happier.
And throw rugs, you can get washable ones online. You can get an outdoor rug for an indoor space that kind of looks cozy but it’ll clean up easy. You know, lots of different things. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a rug in a space but you can find ones that are affordable and will really give you that decorated look.
TOM: Let’s talk, finally, about the bathroom. You can give it a boost by maybe updating your shower curtain and adding one that’s got some color. Then you could pair that with a little bath rug and matching sink décor. You can even add some simple framed prints to bring that whole room together. Just use Command Hooks whenever you want to hang something on the wall. Command Hooks are really handy because they don’t permanently adhere. They have a system where when you’re done with them, you pull the tab and they totally release form the wall without damaging the surface.
So, lots of things you can do like that to spruce up the apartment and make it feel like home without risking any damage to it that’s going to impact your security deposit.
LESLIE: Kim in North Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KIM: Well, we have trouble with weed. And it was never a trouble before. But it – we have had trouble finding what we used to have and want to know if it is outdated or no longer safe to use for the environment.
TOM: Oh, you mean your weed-killer?
KIM: Well, no. It’s not a weed-killer, because we try not to put anything down in the ground other than to kill the fire ants.
TOM: But your goal here is to eliminate weeds?
KIM: We used to use a black plastic. The black plastic would keep the weeds gone – just literally gone. And the plants would actually flourish from the root system being gently baked, we use the term. But now, all you can find is that Zen fiber stuff almost.
TOM: Well, listen, if it’s worked for you in the past, I don’t see why it won’t work for you in the future. It certainly is available and it’s safe. And you’re talking about weed block. That’s a different material entirely. And weed block is basically designed to cover the whole surface or to be just below the surface. It will work, as well. But generally, with weed block, you put slits in it and that’s how the plants grow through it. They don’t grow under it.
Now, if you’re talking about a lawn, there are other ways to deal with a massive influx of weeds. If your lawn is in really bad condition and completely full with weeds, then I would recommend a kind of radical step called a “Round-Up restoration,” where you essentially spray the entire lawn with a Round-Up product in the fall, by the way. In the fall. You spray the entire lawn. And then as that lawn starts to die out, you put seed on it. And the seed comes up through the original dead lawn. And then by next spring, you’ll have a beautiful, new, green lawn without a lick of weeds in the whole place.
So there’s a couple of ways to approach it but either way, I think, is fine. If you can identify the plastic and use it again, I see nothing wrong with doing that. If you want to use the weed block, that’s fine. But you have to have cuts in it for the plants to come on. Or if you just want to restore the entire lawn, then go with the Round-Up restoration.
Kim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Leslie in Tennessee – I feel like I’m talking to myself – welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: Yes. I’m an avid listener of your show. We really love it.
We have a question. After several years of having an outdoor pool and enjoying it but not being able to use it because of the full four seasons here in East Tennessee, we were wanting to add an addition on the house. And we’d love to put a small indoor pool, just like a little lap pool, only about probably half the size of our outdoor pool. And we were wondering what would be the best type of construction.
Our house is a frame house with brick but you have moisture problems, I know, with an indoor pool. So, for an addition, I want to see if you all had any recommendations for certain materials or a certain type of system to reduce the moisture in the home or how – what would you do?
TOM: Well, there are dehumidifiers that are designed for pool rooms. I mean they’re similar to whole-house dehumidifiers, where they take out a lot of water from the air. I would definitely isolate the area where the pool is, from the rest of the house, so that the moisture is contained into one space. And that makes it easier for you to manage that level of moisture. You know, it could maybe just be a sliding glass door or something like that that separates it.
But in terms of the material, you have to be very careful with the venting. For example, in the roof above, you have to choose materials that are mold-resistant in terms of the surface. For example, instead of using paper-faced drywall, you might use fiberglass-faced drywall. That doesn’t grow mold because it’s not organic. So with a few things like that and the right mechanical system – and the pool manufacturers that you’re talking to, the installers, they’ll be very familiar with this because these pools are being put into inside spaces. You’ve got to deal with the evaporation.
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: Alright. Well, that’s helpful there. And so, just – so more or less probably a pool manufacturer or a pool place around here would have that recommendation then.
TOM: Well, they would. And generally going to probably talk about mechanical dehumidification. And then in terms of the construction of the space, just be mindful to choose materials that are not easily going to grow mold and certainly one that’s – materials that are cleanable, OK?
LESLIE IN TENNESSEE: That’s great. Well, thank you very much and I appreciate you all being on our radio here in Northeast Tennessee.
LESLIE: Well, this time of year, saving water always becomes more and more important. But rather than relying on your kids and your family to use less water – because I’m sure they’re not going to. You’ll be lucky if they turn the water off before they leave the bathroom. I’m talking to you, Henry and Charlie. Those are my kids, by the way, not just random Henrys and Charlies out there.
But guys, you can actually update your plumbing fixtures to do the water saving for you. And it’s a pretty simple pro plumbing project.
TOM: We’ve got a few tips on how to find faucets and toilets and showers and sprinklers that can do that job without wasting water, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
First, let’s talk about those toilets. They can last for decades and that pretty much makes them the most durable plumbing fixture in the house. But while they don’t wear out, old toilets can waste plenty of water with every single flush. So, instead, you want to switch out to WaterSense-certified toilets.
LESLIE: Yeah, now WaterSense, it’s a program that’s run by the EPA. And it’s just like the ENERGYSTAR program which helps consumers find products that save energy. WaterSense is designed to help consumers identify products that will save water.
Now, to qualify, a product must be certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy and perform as well or better than the regular models.
TOM: Definitely. Now, besides toilets, if you were to also replace your bathroom faucet and showerhead, the EPA tells us you can save 26,000 gallons of water a year and create 380 fewer pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions, not to mention knocking about 250 bucks off your utility bill. So it’s definitely a well worth project to do.
LESLIE: Yeah. And speaking of those utility bills, if you use less water, you also use less natural gas or electricity – however you heat your water – so it’s all going to add up. Plus, besides bathrooms and kitchens, WaterSense fixtures are also available for outdoor use, like your lawn sprinkler, rain controllers, all those other irrigation products you can update to help you avoid wasting water while still enjoying a beautiful landscape.
TOM: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. You can find top local pros, book and even pay for over 100 everyday projects with clear, up-front pricing on the HomeAdvisor app. To get started, download the HomeAdvisor app today.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Gail on the line who has a question about her oven. What’s going on?
GAIL: Yes. I have a stove that – it’s an electric stove. And it’s about five to six years old. But it’s a self-cleaning oven. And right after I received it, it seems as though there’s – in between the glass on the door, it doesn’t clean that when I use the automatic cleaner. And I just wondered how I clean in between the glass on the oven door.
TOM: That’s a tough space to clean. And I agree. I don’t think you can. I think what you have to do is take it apart. And that can be done. The door has to be disassembled. And so, it depends on how comfortable you feel about taking that project on. It’s not sealed glass, in the sense of a double-pane window. It’s really two pieces of glass. And sometimes, because of heat and humidity and steam, it gets in there and it discolors. But you have to disassemble that door if you really want to get it clean. So it’s obviously not the kind of thing you want to do every time you clean your oven.
GAIL: No. And I noticed that it looks like there’s Phillips-head screws at the bottom part of the door. But the top part, it doesn’t look like – it’s not a regular screw. It’s just – it’s something that – it doesn’t fit a screwdriver. So I don’t know if that bottom part – and I’m afraid that once I get that undone, I’m not going to be able to get it back.
TOM: Yeah. Get it back together again. No, I hear you, I hear you. I know that there are some great videos online of people doing this. I’ve seen them. And so you could take a look at YouTube. But the process is going to be to disassemble that door.
Now, it’s going to come apart one way or the other. The types of fasteners you’re describing may be the type of fastener that needs a specialized – not a screwdriver but a nut-driver or something of that nature or an Allen wrench or something like that. But it will eventually come apart. You’re just going to have to figure out how to do that. But if you’re not comfortable with that process, if you’re not really mechanical and are afraid to get into that because you might not be able to fix it, then I think you should just kind of learn to live with it, unfortunately.
GAIL: Now, is this true of all brands? Does it matter which brand it is? Do they all have to be – does it happen to them all? Or have you heard …?
TOM: Some may be better than others. But if it’s happened to you, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s happened to anybody else, because you don’t want to have to replace that oven. You really just want to make sure you can get it clean. So, that’s what you need to do.
GAIL: Yes. OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gail. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
888-666-3974 is our number. Hey, you can also post your question, like Robin from New Jersey. She says, “I live in an eight-year-old house that came with an upscale ceiling fan and light combo in the bedroom that operates by a remote. It worked fine until a few days ago but now the light will come on, all by itself, at odd times. That self-operating light scares me and annoys me both at the same time.”
I can appreciate that. I’m thinking short-circuit here, Leslie. Because if you’ve got a light that’s coming on of its own doing like that, it may be that something is loose. You could have a wire that where it attaches, it loosened up or it could be internal to it. But it’s definitely worth checking out.
And the only thing that I might do is replace the bulb. But if it still happens after replacing the bulb, I would definitely call an electrician and have him look at it. Because if it is short-circuiting, it could also be unsafe. It could overheat, it could even possibly – but just to rule out simple stuff, I would definitely change out the bulb first and then see what happens. Otherwise, you’ve definitely got a potential unsafe situation on your hands and you’ve got to have the right pro to fix it.
LESLIE: Yeah, Robin. Better to be safe than sorry. I mean so much can happen with electricity in places you don’t see, so it’s better to get it looked at and know that everything is operating correctly.
TOM: Well, if you own a dishwasher, it’s tempting to throw everything but the kitchen sink into it. But there’s a chance your dishwasher may be doing more harm than good. To find out which kitchen items always deserve that white-glove treatment or at least the rubber-glove treatment, we’re going to turn to this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Well, it goes without saying that anything that’s marked “hand wash” should be hand washed. But those aren’t the only items that should never make their way into your dishwasher.
Now, a seasoned cast-iron skillet, this is definitely a point of pride for any cook. But you can totally undo all of that seasoning and working to get that pan work so fantastically well if you put it in the dishwasher. So hand-wash cast-iron but not with soap. You want to scrub it with cooking oil and salt instead and then wipe it dry with a paper or a cloth towel, just to keep it from rusting.
Now, if you have an insulated travel mug for your coffee every day, you need to wash it every night and you need to wash it by hand. The force of water in the dishwasher can actually get between the mug’s outer and inner layers. And that just causes all kinds of gross stuff and it ruins that travel mug, so hand-wash that.
And the same goes for some non-stick pans. Some of them are dishwasher-safe but others lose their non-stick quality in that extreme heat. Now, you can either check your pan’s manufacturer or just simply play it safe. The minute or two that you spend hand-washing a non-stick pan really beats a ruined pan and then, of course, your many ruined meals to follow after that.
And finally, guys, anything that’s made of wood does not belong in the dishwasher at all, not only because it’s porous but can actually absorb soap and other germs. And because all of that heat is in there, it’ll eventually cause whatever that wood thing is – whether it’s a cutting board or a spatula or a spoon, whatever – it will cause that wood to dry out and then crack. So keep those wood utensils and work surfaces out of the dishwasher entirely, even a nice salad bowl that’s wood. Just wash them, guys. It’s not that much trouble. And then, this way, you can play your game of Tetris in the dishwasher with all the other stuff that you’re allowed to stick them in.
TOM: It definitely is a Tetris game, isn’t it, trying to get everything to fit?
LESLIE: And there’s only one correct way, Tom.
TOM: Of course.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. Coming up next time on the program, creating a beautiful living space outside doesn’t require walls or a ceiling, just a beautiful floor. We’re going to have tips on how you can create that perfect patio surface, on the very next edition of The Money Pit.
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.)
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