In this episode…
There’s a good chance there’s one room in your home that’s eating up your heat – and your heating budget, your garage. Stay tuned for tips on adding energy efficiency to this chilly space.
- Whether you’re a young Mom with her hands full, or taking care of an aging parent, universally designed products make life so much easier and safer. We share why universal design works for all homes and all ages later on.
- Plus, have you checked your WINDOWS lately? Listen up for a checklist for you to make sure your windows are still as energy efficient as they were the day there were installed.
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 here to take on your reno, your remodeling, your décor, your demolition, your garage questions. Whatever project you’d like to take on around your money pit, give us a call. There’s several ways to get in touch with us. You can call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, you can post your question to The Money Pit website at MoneyPit.com or you could post it to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
So whatever you are working on, if you need some help, some guidance, we’re here to do just that because to us, a money pit is not just a house, it’s a home. It’s not a disaster; it’s a home that you love. Sure, it needs care and feeding but heck, so do your kids. So, you’ve got to just take care of it. And if you take care of your house, it’s going to take care of you. So we want to take care of the questions you have and help you get that done.
Coming up on today’s program, there’s a good chance that there’s one room in your home that’s eating up your heat and your heating budget and that is your garage. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can add efficiency to this very chilly space. Super helpful if you just want to lower the heating bills or maybe even work out there during the cooler weather, whether you’re working on your car or your crafts. It’s not a room that’s typically insulated as much as your house is. And we’re going to tell you where you can fill in those gaps.
LESLIE: And whether you’re a young mom and you’ve got your hands full or maybe you’re taking care of an aging parent, universally-designed products make life so much easier and safer. We’re going to share why universal design works for all homes and all ages, later on.
TOM: Plus, have you checked your windows lately? Listen up for a checklist. We’ve got one that will help you make sure your windows are still as energy-efficient as they were the day they were installed, because it’s kind of draft season, you know? And maybe you don’t – you’ve had those drafts all year long but you don’t feel them when they’re warm. When it’s cold outside, boy, you feel them and tend to have to run up the heat and that costs a lot. So we’re going to tell you how you can work through those windows and seal them up as much as possible.
LESLIE: And fall is also a popular time to take on bath renos that you’d like to get done before the holidays. And as luck would have it, we’re giving away $3,500 in bath products from American Standard and Grohe, available at RiverbendHome.com. All you need to do is enter the Beautiful Bath Sweepstakes at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: But first, we want to get to your calls, your questions, your emails about what’s going on in your house.
So, Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading out to Texas where Colleen has a question about water softening. What’s going on?
COLLEEN: Well, we have well water and it’s really high in sodium and calcium. It’s extremely hard.
COLLEEN: And we’ve had water softeners before and they need – some of them need to be replaced.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
COLLEEN: And I was looking at this EasyWater that you recommend. And I was wondering if it would really take care of the extremely hard water we have in West Texas.
TOM: Well, I’ve never had a listener use it with really, really, really hard water. It sounds to me that if that’s the case here, that you probably need a salt-based water conditioner which, by the way, doesn’t put salt in your water. It just fosters the chemical process that softens the water and makes it easier to use.
What EasyWater does is it charges the particles in the water so that they don’t stick together, they don’t clog your pipes and stuff. And then – but I do think it would probably – would still be – feel a bit hard when you’re trying to do your clothes. Like sometimes it doesn’t feel like it gets sudsy when it’s really hard? So I would just replace it with a standard, salt-based water conditioner, Colleen, OK?
COLLEEN: Would you suggest using that charger, too, on the – in the well? The pump house?
TOM: So that doesn’t go on the well; that goes on the main water line when it comes in. It wouldn’t hurt but I would put the salt-based system on first, because I think you’ll find it’s probably enough.
COLLEEN: OK. Great. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Those EasyWater systems are like – think of them as magnets, Leslie, where the particles have the same charge, so they repel each other. And they’re effective because they – it doesn’t stick to the pipes and clog up things. But I still wonder whether or not you’ll get the same level of sort of sudsiness. I know that if I’ve had houses with hard water, that you try to wash your hands, for example, with soap or try to do the dishes, it doesn’t get very slippery because the hard water just kind of fights you the whole time.
LESLIE: It’s so weird, isn’t it?
TOM: It’s a very weird feeling and it kind of dries out your skin, too.
LESLIE: Oh, I know. I’ve experienced it when traveling with the home makeover shows. You know, it’s like you get to Louisiana and you’re almost always going to have – and you’re like, “Why is my hair always like this?”
TOM: Yeah. “What’s wrong with this?” Right. “What happened to my hair?”
LESLIE: Yeah. And it’s so weird for the ice makers. The ice is never right and the dishwashers get clogged up. It’s just not good all around.
TOM: And if you have a tankless water heater – so it has a very, very small plumbing system where the pipe goes through many, many loops – it can clog them up. There’s actually cleaning procedures, in areas that have hard water, for tankless systems because they can clog up and stop working.
LESLIE: Well, hopefully this helps her.
Heading to Massachusetts where Joe is on the line with a question about paint that probably isn’t supposed to be on concrete. What’s going on?
JOE: Basically, I’ve got about three coats of paint on my concrete and I want to get it up, because it’s – concrete is cracking and so forth.
TOM: OK. And what do you want to do once you get the concrete up? When you say you want to get the concrete up, are you thinking about …?
JOE: No, I want to get the paint off of concrete.
TOM: You want to get the paint off of it. OK.
TOM: Are you ultimately going to repaint it, Joe? Or what’s your plan?
JOE: What I’d like to do is probably to use that QUIKRETE Re-Cap.
TOM: OK. So you want to repair this concrete surface.
TOM: And then, I guess, after that you want to repaint it or something?
TOM: OK. Well, I don’t think that – if it’s just a crack itself, I don’t think you have to take all the paint off just to fix the crack. Now, the Re-Cap product is done to resurface the entire concrete slab. And if you had a crack in your concrete and you resurfaced it, I unfortunately would think that it will probably crack again. It’ll be smaller. But because you have two distinct pieces of concrete moving at different speeds, so to speak, expanding and contracting, that crack will probably show through.
TOM: So what I would suggest you do is to use one of the crack products specifically designed for repairing cracks. Normally, what you have to do is widen out that crack a little bit until it’s about ¼-inch.
TOM: And then you can apply one of the crack-filling products that’s made by QUIKRETE.
TOM: And then once it all dries and has settled, then you can put another coat of paint over it.
To try to get paint off of concrete is a very difficult job and it’s one you only want to do if the paint has completely failed and delaminated and getting loose and flaky.
TOM: If it’s relatively solid, then you could scrub it, you can abrade it, you could acid-wash it. There’s a lot of ways to get it ready.
TOM: And then you could put another coat on top of that. And maybe you might want to put on an epoxy paint this time. And that is a really durable surface that will stand up very, very well and is very attractive.
TOM: So you have some options on that.
But I don’t think you need to remove all the paint and I don’t think that Re-Cap – as amazing a product as that is, it’s meant for fixing deteriorated surfaces. So if you had sort of pockmarks in the concrete because maybe you had salt that wore away some of the surface – sometimes we hear about that after a hard winter. People have sort of pitted concrete surfaces or steps or little pieces that are chipped off. It’s perfect for that because it binds like the devil. It doesn’t – once you put that stuff on, it doesn’t separate, which is great. But it’s not necessarily a crack filler; that’s a different type of movement.
TOM: And that’s why you want to use a crack-filler product and then repaint the whole thing.
JOE: Great. Thank you very much. I appreciate your ideas.
TOM: You’re welcome, Joe. Thanks so much for calling us at The Money Pit.
LESLIE: Lynette in Louisiana is on the line with a warped-floor situation at her house.
How can we help you today, Lynette?
LYNETTE: My home that I live in was built in 1940 and it is on concrete piers.
LYNETTE: There’s a differential crawlspace underneath the house, as little as 6 inches on the east side to approximately 2 feet on the west side.
LYNETTE: And recently, I had a pest-control professional do a wood inspection and determined, fortunately, that there were no termites. But in walking through my home, he noticed that my floors, which are laminate-covered, were warped and very soft in various areas throughout the house, which I’ve experienced – continuing to deteriorate in that fashion over the last 3 to 4 years.
He indicated, through his inspections, that he looked at the – underneath the house and noticed that there was wood rot and possible mold occurring. And I’m calling to see what can I do to rectify that and does that mean that I need to literally tear out the floor to remedy the situation?
TOM: Probably not. But did he prescribe – like did he give you an estimate for fixing it? Because sometimes these guys will do that: they’ll find a problem and say, “I’m just the guy to fix it for you.” Did he give you a number?
LYNETTE: No, sir. He simply came out to give me a state form for this wood inspection that’s necessary for a VA loan.
TOM: OK. Right. So he sounds like he might be a decent guy, then.
So the next thing you want to do is try to get a sense as to how much decay, if any, is down there. And I think – I mean for that, what I would tell you to do is to contact a professional home inspector. Home inspectors don’t work for a contractor; they work for you. And they only represent the information, so they don’t have any conflict of interest in trying to identify – or make a problem sound like it’s bigger than it really is.
Sure, it’s not going to be unusual for a house in your part of the country to have some decay or some potential mold growing on it. But I want to get a sense as to how bad that is. Are the floor joists completely rotten? Is the subfloor rotten? How much mold are we talking about? If you’ve got a couple of feet on one end, then you can probably get pretty far into that. And then with a high-powered flashlight, you can work your way down as far as the eye can see. If it turned out that you had to do work on it, typically what you would do in that case is you would trench that area where the grade goes up to, as you say, 6 inches so that you can actually kind of go back and forth and work on that space.
Once we know exactly what’s going on, then we can talk about treatment options. And so, if there is actual decay and if the decay is bad enough to warrant some structural repairs, then that would be done from the crawlspace. In terms of the floor itself, if that subfloor was really badly rotted, you would have to take that apart from the top. But if it’s not really that rotted and maybe you’ve just got a decayed joist or two, you may be able to make that repair from the bottom. Worst-case scenario is you tear out all your floors but I think that’s really extreme. And I wouldn’t even think about that until I had a lot more information.
Now, the lumber can also be sprayed and treated to stop any decay or mold growth that’s going on right now. And then you could also – when you’re all done figuring out what caused this and what you’re dealing with, you want to make sure you get better ventilation in that crawlspace so that you don’t have this problem reoccur. Now, if you can’t get natural ventilation, you could use fans that are hooked up to humidifier switches – or humidistats, I should say. And they’ll come on whenever the humidity gets high and it’ll pull drier air through the house – through that crawlspace – to keep it from decaying any further.
So you’ve got a few steps in front of you, Lynette, but I would start by getting a good, independent home inspector to take a look at it. You can go to HomeInspector.org – that’s the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors – and start there. You are looking for an ASHI-certified member. That’s A-S-H-I – American Society of Home Inspectors. An ASHI-certified member. And they’ll give you some good advice and help you take the next step, OK?
LYNETTE: Fantastic. Thank you so very much. I appreciate the information.
TOM: Well, if you’ve got a garage, it’s clearly the coldest room of the house in the winter. And even though it’s not designed to be heated, without some extra insulation and sealing, it could definitely impact your home’s energy efficiency and lead to higher heating bills. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot nicer to be in if you use the space to work on cars, crafts or really any other projects in the cold weather.
LESLIE: And your garage really wasn’t meant to be a living space, so it doesn’t have nearly as much insulation as the rest of your house. In fact, the walls shared by the garage and your home’s interior is pretty much it. So, do a little garage winterizing to keep your home warm and your time in the garage bearable.
TOM: Now, for starters, let’s talk about the big drafts. You can stop them from getting in around the garage door by checking the weather-stripping at the sides and the top of the door.
And add a new gasket along the bottom. That’s going to help seal out drafts, too. It’s really interesting. When you close your door, you may very well see light coming in around it or under it. And that is going to be a sure sign that drafts are there.
Now, the door on the bottom, where it strikes the concrete slab, if it doesn’t strike square because maybe the slab has settled or the door isn’t adjusted right, if it’s a wood door you can actually trim it level with perhaps your unlevel concrete floor so you get a straight seal. But once you get it tight, you’re going to find a big difference in how much air is getting in there.
LESLIE: Now, the door leading from the garage to your home should also get some attention. You have to make sure it’s sealed and weather-stripped to prevent air leaks.
And next, you want to think about adding insulation to your garage ceiling. Now, it’ll make that space warmer if you’ve got a cold-weather project. And it’ll also slow down the chill from spreading to the rest of your house if there’s any attics that are connected to that garage ceiling space.
TOM: Now, builders are usually not required to insulate and drywall any walls that are not covered between the house and the garage. So, if you’ve got open walls like that, just add insulation and then drywall them. That’s also going to make it easier to finish them in the future.
And finally, think about adding a garage heater. There’s lots of options out there. You don’t need a really expensive one. I’ve got a 20×30 building that I heat. It is insulated. It’s a detached garage and I heat it all winter long, whenever I want to work on it, with a simple kerosene heater and it works perfectly.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Rhode Island on the line who’s dealing with a water issue. Tell us what’s going on.
DOUG: Hi. What happened was the water service was turned off for a day. When it was turned on, we received a lot of dirty water with a lot of grit. And it seemed to be causing a problem – well, not a problem. I’m concerned if there could be a problem. There’s a lot of grit and sandy sediment in the water tanks behind the toilets.
DOUG: And I don’t know if that’s going to be an issue.
TOM: I don’t think so. Here’s what you need to do. First of all, the fact that you had some dirty water, some brown water, some gritty water after pipe work was done is not really that unusual. You do have to flush it out.
Here’s something – first of all, before we get to the toilet – you may have forgotten to do and that is I would recommend you take off the aerators from the sinks in the bathroom and the kitchen. Because those screens will sometimes trap a lot of that debris behind it. And that will reduce your water pressure over time, especially if some more dirt comes down the line. So I would take those aerators out and flush them out. Just keep in mind that they – sometimes they come apart in three different pieces but it’s like a Rubik’s Cube to try to get it back together. So just remember how you disassembled it and put it back together and clean those out.
As far as the toilet tank is concerned, the only problem is that sometimes if you have a lot of grit in it, it will wear on the flush valve, which is the flapper on the bottom of the tank. If you want to just be sure, what you could do is turn the water supply off behind the toilet, go ahead and flush it a couple of times, get all that water out of the tank. And if there’s any sand lying in the bottom of the tank, just kind of wipe it out, clean it up as best you can and then just turn the water back on. You’ll be good to go.
DOUG: OK. I appreciate it. And you’re correct: I did have one aerator that did – interrupted the flow, the pressure.
TOM: Alright. But you knew enough to take it apart and get it cleaned out. Good man.
DOUG: Yes. Yeah.
TOM: Alright. Well, there you go.
DOUG: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Doug. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now I’ve got Winston on the line from Ontario, Canada.
And you’re dealing with some stains on a concrete floor. Is it a driveway? Garage? What are we looking at?
WINSTON: A garage.
LESLIE: Alright. So tell us what happened.
WINSTON: OK. This engine was leaking down to the floor. Tried to get the spot from the floor but it penetrates inside the concrete.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. That’s because the concrete is very, very porous.
TOM: And once that happens, you’re never going to be able to get all that stain out. What you can do is to paint the floor with an epoxy garage-floor surface kit.
Now, there are a number of products you can use. I would recommend you look at Abatron – A-b-a-t-r-o-n – Abatron.com. We’ve been recommending them for years. They make an excellent set of products designed for resurfacing concrete and repairing concrete. And you should look at the epoxy coating that they provide. Because once you apply that to the concrete slab – you have to prep it properly. There’s usually an acid-wash step that makes sure the concrete is ready to receive the epoxy. But it’s a really cleanable surface. And so, if you do get drips and leaks from oil, it’ll be fairly easy for you to clean it up.
WINSTON: Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, we’ve all been spending a lot more time at home these days, taking on lots of home improvements. And one area that you might want to think about improving is the accessibility around the house.
Now, not only are many of us living longer in the homes we’re in – and we can benefit from improved access – but there’s been such a big interest in how these simple design changes make the home easier to use, that more and more young families are looking to have accessible homes, as well.
TOM: And no longer do the accessibility products that you might have seen in a hospital setting look that way. I mean today, they are useful and beautiful at the same time.
So let’s share some examples maybe, Leslie, of say – let’s talk about three different levels. So we’ll start with the small changes, the easy stuff.
Lever handles. Lever handles on doors instead of knobs are so much easier to use. We replaced our doors a few years ago and the hardware that came with the door were these beautiful, brass lever handles. And I love it because my hands are full, I just use my elbow to push it down and I can get in and get out. It’s just a lot easier to grasp whether your hands are full or whether you have hand-strength issues.
Light switches. The simple toggle switches, the littles ones that we all may have grown up with? Replace those with the big, paddle-style switches. They’re called “rocker switches.” Again, a lot easier to use.
Add lighting so you can see what you’re doing, especially task lighting, whether it’s homework or making dinner.
Think about installing a handheld showerhead for showering. So that’s helpful, especially if you have an aging parent that maybe has to sit while they shower. But it’s also great for rinsing off kids and pets.
And why not install two bars in the closet? Not just an upper one but a lower bar, as well, so it’s a lot easier to reach. Works well for parents and it works well for kids.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re looking into some medium-level changes, you can think about installing railings on both sides of a staircase. And you can do that both inside and out.
In the bathroom, you can look into installing grab bars but they don’t have to look sterile, like you would see in a hospital-like setting. There’s so many decorative options available that almost look like a really beautiful towel bar but these are made to be super supportive. And you’ve got to install them properly into studs. This way, they actually are supportive as you need when that time comes.
Now, you can also replace traditional faucets with motion- or even touch-sense faucets.
And installing pull-down shelving, which is fantastic. If you can’t reach something, you sort of just grab it and it kind of brings the whole – it’s like the interior of the cabinet down to where you can reach it. And it goes up very easily. And that’s super helpful for kids, for adults, for short people. It really is a great benefit to have in the kitchen.
TOM: Now, finally, let’s talk about maybe some bigger changes that, if you have a good need for it, you might take on.
In kitchen design, varying the heights of counters and spaces under counters to accommodate a chair makes a lot of sense. You know, even I – I’m pretty tall but when I’m cutting up a lot of vegetables or something like that, my back starts to bother me after a bit. And it might be nice to sit down and just shift the weight a little bit.
Another thing to think about is a microwave but not one that’s installed at a high height, in the cabinet line like we see so often, but one that’s installed below the cooktop. There are designs now where they can be, essentially, at the countertop height, right below the countertop. And this way, you don’t have to worry about reaching up high to take out hot dishes. It’s a lot safer.
You can also get drawer-style dishwashers. Again, takes up the same space but instead of having two big trays and a big door, you have two drawers that pull out so there’s less bending.
And then finally, my favorite little sort of luxury item that’s also part of the accessibility design craze is a pot-filler faucet. Because if you’ve got to fill up a pot with water, water is heavy. It weighs 8 pounds per gallon. So, if you have a 2-gallon pot and you pick it up, that’s 16 pounds of water you’re carrying across the kitchen. It’s hard on your back. You end up spilling some on the way to the stove. Can be unsafe. Pot-filler faucets get mounted near the stove.
And guess what you do with them, Leslie? You fill the pot. It’s very easy. You just pull them out and then push them out of the way when you’re done. So no more carrying those heavy pots full of water.
So, there you go, guys. There’s some easy, some, say, medium and maybe some bigger changes that make the home more accessible and beautiful at the same time for folks of all ages and capabilities.
LESLIE: Lorna in Rhode Island is dealing with some flies at home. Tell us what’s going on.
LORNA: Fruit flies. They seem to be invading the kitchen and I’m thinking they’re heading for the garbage-disposal area but I’m not really sure.
LESLIE: I mean are they coming up out of the garbage disposal?
LORNA: No, they don’t seem to be.
LESLIE: Generally, if you think they’re coming to the sink or from the sink, sometimes people will actually put some tape over that drain and just seal that off to see if they are coming from there. This way, if they’re getting stuck on the underside, you know they’re coming up from the drain and then that would be a different approach.
LORNA: Oh, OK.
TOM: Yeah, you could do that during the day, say, when you go out for the day. Just cover the drain temporarily with the tape and keep an eye on it.
LORNA: Great …
TOM: And the other thing that you could do is you could – if that’s the case, then you could put some bleach down that drain or maybe some OxiClean or something like that and then cover the top of it. That tends to really sort of gas any that are sort of laying in there.
LORNA: Oh, OK. So straight bleach or mixed with water or …?
TOM: No, you could just put some straight bleach down there. Or you could use OxiClean, the powdered bleach.
LORNA: OK. Alright. Yeah. Great. Well, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, now that the temps are starting to drop, you may have started to feel the drafts from your windows. You can bet these drafts are definitely driving up energy bills, too. So now is a good time to give them a bit of attention.
LESLIE: Yeah. You want to start by examining the edges of your windows and patio doors for any drafty spots. Now, an easy way to do this is to run the back of your hand slowly over these areas. The back of your hand is way more sensitive than the palms, so you’re going to be able to quickly find the leakiest spots.
TOM: Good tip. And those leaks can also hugely cut down on the energy efficiency of your windows.
Now, you can also use weather-stripping or caulk to seal those caps. And if you don’t use the windows at all during the winter, consider a window film that can be temporarily installed for the whole season and then removed. Or there’s also a removable caulk product. It’s called “weather-stripping caulk.” And that can be also applied inside the windows and then it just peels off in the spring.
LESLIE: Now, if your windows aren’t opening or closing very easily, it could mean that key components inside that window are damaged or maybe they just need some adjusting. And that could mean that the windows are no longer as efficient as they were, so you might want to consider repairing or replacing them as needed.
TOM: Now, if this sounds expensive, remember that you can replace windows a few at a time to cut your costs. But if you’re trying to do this, be smart. Replace the ones on the north-facing rooms of your house first, because that is going to be the coldest side of your house. And you get the most bang for your buck.
Now, if it was the summer and you were doing this project, I’d tell you to do the southern-facing windows first, especially if you live in the southern states, because your big expense is air-conditioning. But for those that have a pretty healthy heating season, you want to go north first, then east, then south and west after that.
LESLIE: Stan in Florida is on the line and it’s apparently raining in his house.
Stan, what’s going on?
STAN: Well, we like to keep it cool and comfortable. And with the humidity outside, the condensation accumulates on the air vents.
STAN: And it literally is dripping and staining the ceiling areas where I painted.
TOM: Yep. I’ve seen this before and it’s amazing how much humidity and how much water can come out of the air when it’s that warm, right?
STAN: Yes, it is. It’s been bothering us. I was wondering what my solution might be.
TOM: So, your solution is to insulate the air-conditioning ducts. You know, we don’t think about insulating ducts much in the southern part of the country because usually, you’re insulating them to prevent heat loss.
In this case, the reason that you’re getting this condensation is because you have warm, moist air, of course, that’s up in that attic space where those ducts are. And as that warm, moist air strikes the attic ducts, it condenses and releases its moisture, much the same as what you would see happen if you took a glass of ice water outside and the outside of the glass gets wet. That’s the warm moisture in the air striking the glass and cooling. So as it cools, it releases water because cool air can hold less moisture than warm air. That’s why no one ever complains about it being too humid when it’s cold outside, because the moisture is not in the air.
So, what you need to do is to insulate those ducts. Now, I can imagine that in some cases, this is difficult because of getting access to it. But perhaps if you focused on the areas where it’s worse, by insulating the ducts you won’t get that condensation that forms on them because the insulation will be a barrier then between the duct and the warm air itself.
Does that make sense?
STAN: It sure does.
TOM: And that is the solution there, sir. You’ve got to have insulated ducts and that will stop that from happening. Because we can’t control the humidity, that’s for sure.
STAN: Right. Well, we have some blown-in insulation but I was wondering, should I add an attic fan and circulate the air? Would that help any, also?
TOM: I don’t generally recommend attic fans and here’s why, especially in a southern climate. What attic fans tend to do is depressurize the attic as they try to pull air out of it but the problem is they don’t just stop at the attic. They are so strong that they reach in through the wall cavities, where wires and pipes go through and there’s little spaces between the drywall and the walls. And they actually find a way to steal the air-conditioned air from your house. So, using an attic fan in Florida can actually drive up your cooling costs when most people would think it’s the opposite.
If you want to improve the ventilation in the attic, you should do it passively by adding ridge vents to the peak and then making sure the soffits – the overhang – are fully opened. And you’d have screening there but you want to make sure the air can get in there. And this way, it goes in the soffits, it goes under the roof and goes out the ridge. But a fan itself is not a good idea.
That said, I can promise you that just improving the ventilation is going to stop the condensation. I think you’re going to find when push comes to shove, that insulation is the best solution to this issue.
STAN: That sounds accurate to me. I appreciate your help so much and that’s what I’m going to do.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Stanley. Thank you so much for calling The Money Pit.
STAN: Thank you. Bye-bye.
LESLIE: Hey, here’s an annoying problem. Have you ever had to fix this? You know, you’re in your house and maybe you’re dealing with a clogged faucet or even the showerhead? Well, mineral salts can build up in the faucet heads, the aerators, even the showerheads. And that can lead to reduced water flow.
TOM: Yeah. And there’s actually a really simple fix for that. The way to correct it is to take a plastic baggy full of white vinegar and tie it kind of up around the showerhead or drop your aerators, if you’re taking them off of your sinks, into it. That’s the screen part. The vinegar is going to melt all the salts and that will release the clog.
Now, it works with white vinegar. Don’t try it with red vinegar. You’ll come out of the shower smelling like a salad. Don’t ask me how I know. We just do.
LESLIE: Alright. Sounds like there was definitely some sort of experience there.
Well, while we are on the subject of bathrooms, are you guys thinking about renovating your bath with maybe some new, beautiful fixtures and faucets from American Standard and Grohe? Well, you can by entering the RiverbendHome.com Beautiful Bath Sweepstakes at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes. We are giving away $3,500 in bath faucets, fixtures and more from RiverbendHome.com. You can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes.
TOM: David in Utah shot us a message. He says, “We’re moving into a new home and we discovered gorgeous hardwood under the old carpet. The problem is the hardwood is covered in staples and rust. What is a quick fix?”
So, Leslie, as the decorator in this family, what was going on in the minds of homeowners back in the 40s and 50s when they – first thing they did when they got hardwood floors in their house was cover them with carpet. I mean was that considered a bad look or something back then?
LESLIE: No. I think they were just looking at the floor as another way to spread their design ideas and just wanted to bring in some big color or make that room comfy-cozy. I just think things sort of come in and out of fashion and it’s the same with flooring. But lucky for many homeowners today, that – underneath that carpeting is usually a really beautiful hardwood floor.
TOM: Yeah. It’s kind of like a drop cloth that’s been protecting it for 50, 60 years.
LESLIE: It’s the best one.
TOM: So, yeah, you can pull that carpet up and you are going to have some nail holes from where the tackless – that’s the spiky stuff that held the carpet in place – and maybe staples from any padding. But you can pull all those out. Take a good look at it. If it looks like – if it looks OK, then you go with it. If not, you can do a very, very light sanding with a pad sander. It basically has what looks like a sanding screen, like a window screen, but it’s abrasive? It doesn’t take a lot of wood off; it just takes the finish off. And put a couple of coats of urethane over that and you’ll be totally good to go.
I would not recommend you do a deep sanding with a big floor belt sander, because it’s not necessary. There’s been no wear or tear on this floor. It’s just got a little bit of muck on it from being attached to the carpet for all those years.
LESLIE: Now, listen, David, once you’ve exposed your floor and the hardwood floor is gorgeous, you can use area rugs. If you want to have a carpet and you want to protect some areas and create little spots where you can entertain or relax or sort of set up spaces within a room, an area rug is perfectly acceptable. So, enjoy those new, beautiful floors.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. We really appreciate the trust that you place in us to help you with your home improvement and your décor and your remodeling projects. We try to be accessible to you anytime that you need to have some questions answered, so you can always reach out to us through our website at MoneyPit.com. Post your question there. If you’d like us to call you back when we produce the next podcast, there’s a way for you to do that, again, on MoneyPit.com. Or you can also call us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Enjoy your fall day. 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.)