- Are you ready for a new washing machine? We’ll take a look at the most popular features and help you decide which make the best washing machine for your laundry needs.
- For 55 years, ShopVac has been helping Americans with clean ups that household vacs could never hope to handle. Now this iconic brand has a new owner and some very exciting plans for the future. We hear from the new CEO.
- And did you know that the average Americans receives a tax refund of about $2,800? We figured, there are a lot of projects you can get done for that kind of money so today we’ll start a new series in partnership with HART Tools called Tax Refund Projects!
- Do you have a boring bathroom but no bucks to spruce it up? There’s a lot you can do on the cheap with paint. We share tips for stenciling and more.
- Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about energy star rebates, repairing a slow dryer, temporary caulk for windows, repairing a stained tub, eliminating mice from your home, safety options for your home.
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: Here to help you take on the projects you’d like to get done to create your best home ever. How can we help? What do you need? Where are you stuck? Give us a call. We’d love to chat. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You can also post your questions at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up on today’s episode, are you ready for a new washing machine? Well, if you are, you’re going to find out very quickly that there are dozens – I mean dozens – of features now that are available. And it becomes a really confusing process to know what is the best feature set for you, because the more features the more money you’re going to pay. We’re going to get into that and give you some really clear advice on what you should be looking for and what you might just want to skip.
LESLIE: And for 55 years, Shop-Vac has been helping Americans with cleanups that household vacs could never hope to handle. Now this iconic brand has a new owner and some very exciting plans for the future. We’re going to hear from the new CEO.
TOM: And hey, guys, did you know that the average American receives a tax refund of about $2,800? We figured there’s a lot of projects that you can get done with that kind of money. So, what do we do? We’re going to start a new series called the “Tax Refund Project.”
LESLIE: I love it. Now, this series is presented by HART Tools, which you’ll find exclusively at Walmart. And our first topic is kitchen renos. We’re going to share five simple updates that can make a big impact and get done for less than the average tax refund.
TOM: But most importantly, we are here for you. We know that taking care of a home can be a combination of love, pride and some heart-stopping fear. But we promise to help you plan, help you save some money and spare you from snafus. So, if you’d like to participate, you can do that by calling us with those questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting them on MoneyPit.com.
Because that’s kind of where we’re different. We really are experts in this space. We’ve been doing this a long time and way before we decided to talk about it on the radio. And we love helping you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got Cindy in Michigan on the line who wants to talk about reducing energy costs. How can we help you?
CINDY: Is there a way to lower your electric bills by generating your own electricity? I’ve heard of solar panels and windmills and seems like they cost a lot of money to get them going. And I’m wondering, is it actually feasible, financially, to do something like that?
TOM: Yeah. Well, first of all, the most effective way to cut those energy costs – and especially if we’re talking about heating and cooling energy – is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. And the single most important way or easiest way to do that is by improving insulation. It’s amazing how many people simply don’t have enough insulation. And in a state like Michigan, you’re certainly going to want to have 15 to 20 inches of insulation in your attic.
Now, as to your question about generating your own power, there are some programs that are run by state governments and by utility suppliers that include different sorts of rebates and different sorts of purchase – I don’t want to say schemes but sort of plans for getting that equipment to your house.
So, for example, in my part of the country, they have offers where you don’t actually pay for the initial installation there. You partner with an energy company that does the installation of solar panels. And then, as it generates energy, you get to keep some of that and some of that goes back to the utility company and eventually, it pays off the cost of that installation. So I would investigate solar programs in your area and rebates that might be available. Start with the utility companies and go from there.
Because if there’s a favorable program, that’s the only way it makes them cost-effective. You are correct in that a lot of these things are very expensive and don’t make a lot of economic sense. But if there’s rebate money available – either locally, at the state level or federally – it does make sense.
CINDY: OK. So you would just call your energy company then?
TOM: I would start there, with your utility company, or simply do some research online for rebates that are available in your area. OK, Cindy?
CINDY: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Robert in North Carolina is on the line and is dealing with a dryer that – guess what? – just is not drying. That’s the worst. Tell us what’s going on.
ROBERT: Well, I’ve got a dryer; it’s about 5 or 6 years old. And here, lately, for about the past 6 or 8 months, it’s taken sometimes 3 cycles to dry a medium-to-large size load of clothes.
TOM: Oh, that makes no sense.
ROBERT: Yeah. And the heating element was replaced maybe a year-and-a-half, 2 years ago. We just don’t know what’s going on with it.
TOM: Do you get good airflow when the dryer runs, where it’s pushing warm air out the exhaust duct?
ROBERT: Yeah. I went up to the roof one time when it was running and it was coming out of there fairly decent and the air was warm.
TOM: You just may have uncovered one problem. When you take a dryer vent and you push it up against gravity – and so it’s driving all the way up to the roof from, I presume, the second floor – a dryer is not really designed to do that. And I know that a lot of times, folks install them that way but trying to force that hot air to go up all of that distance to the roof can sometimes be problematic.
Look, if your dryer’s not heating properly, there’s only a few things that could be causing that. One is the heating element. So, let’s presume that this is working correctly, although it certainly seems – sounds like it’s not. There could be multiple heating elements and one could be burned out. This is a reason you feel some warm air.
The next thing is the ductwork and you want to make sure that that’s clean. Not only the external ductwork but even internally. Sometimes, if you get something stuck in the internal ductwork in the dryer, that can block some of the airflow itself.
TOM: And the other thing that can happen is sometimes it can overheat and then cycle. So, if it’s overheating, what’ll happen is it’ll get really hot and then it’ll overheat and the heating element will go off. And then it’ll cool down and then it’ll come on again, it’ll get really hot and it’ll go off. And that kind of cycling of a thermostat can be a problem, as well.
I mean at this point, it sounds to me like you’ve done almost everything that you can do on your own. You might want to either replace it or get it serviced.
How old is the dryer?
ROBERT: Probably no more than 6 years.
TOM: Yeah, well, you know, 6 to 8 years is not a terribly short period of time for a dryer. So, you might want to think about replacing it or getting a pro to fix it. Because I think it’s probably one of those three things that’s causing the issue.
ROBERT: Yeah. And another thing, it’s got about between 20, 25 feet of – it has the corrugated duct. And we were thinking about changing that to the smooth, stovepipe kind of duct. Would that help, also?
TOM: Where is this 20, 25 feet? You mean from the discharge port all the way up to the attic where it discharges?
TOM: That’s a long way and certainly, a solid metal duct is going to be better. Can you go up into the attic and then go sort of across the attic floor and down towards the soffit and install a vent right there?
ROBERT: It’s possible. It’s just a single-story house, so I’m sure I could do that. But the laundry room is in the middle of the house.
TOM: I’ve got to tell you, even if you had that venting perfectly, three – running this thing for three loads to dry one load of clothes sounds like it’s something else and not necessarily totally venting.
ROBERT: OK. Yeah, we were thinking about – just don’t think it’s worth it to call somebody out there to fix it. We’ve got – we found a fairly decent dryer. We know somebody that runs a childcare center and uses the one we’re thinking about getting. And they run it 5, 6 times a day and they’ve had theirs for 3 years.
TOM: I think that makes sense. Unfortunately, these products today are almost disposable because the cost of repair is so high. I will give you one other suggestion. There’s a website called RepairClinic.com that’s pretty good at helping you identify problems with appliances and then selling you the parts you need to fix it.
So, you may want to take a look at that. They have a little tool there where you can put in your model number and it’ll walk you through the scenarios. And who knows? It might be a common problem with that particular model.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joyce in Massachusetts, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOYCE: I have nine windows and we had someone caulk the windows where the window sills – because we live in Boston and the cold air has been blowing in. I want to know how I can seal them up, because it didn’t do one iota thing for the gentlemen caulking the nine windows.
TOM: Didn’t do any good, huh? And did he caulk them from the outside or from the inside?
JOYCE: From the inside, because this is an apartment building. And what – we’re on the seventh floor and we have windows going on different angles. And so I’m trying to find out what is the easiest way to prevent the cold from blowing in, because it’s unbearable.
TOM: OK. Since you’re on the seventh floor, I presume that you don’t use your windows – you would never use your windows for emergency egress. Do any of them go to a fire escape or anything like that?
JOYCE: No, no.
TOM: OK. So, there’s two things that you can do here, one of which is you can use a shrink film. It’s a clear, plastic wrap that you cut to fit the size of the window. You attach it with a double-face – clear double-face tape that comes with it. And then you use your hair dryer to heat it and it becomes very taut and clear so it doesn’t obstruct the view.
JOYCE: What about weather-stripping, like weather felt?
TOM: Well, that’s all possible but there’s another option. And the reason I asked you if you needed to use your windows for egress is because I was going to recommend temporary weather-stripping.
Now, there’s a caulk that’s like a weather-stripping sealant but it’s a temporary sealant, OK? So the way this works is you essentially caulk your windows shut. You caulk all the seams in the window, where they slide up and down, with this clear, temporary caulk. And then what happens is in the spring, you can actually grab the edge of this caulk and peel it right off. It comes off like a clear, rubbery strip. And it enables you to essentially seal your windows shut in the winter and then restore them in the spring.
JOYCE: Thank you very much. And I enjoy your program immensely.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re in the market for a new washing machine today, you’re going to be presented with dozens of possible features. And as more features are added to the machines, the price goes up, so …
TOM: Yeah. So to help you narrow those options, Consumer Reports recommends that you choose high-performing washers that fit your budget and then consider features that add convenience or some that save time.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, based on their tests, these four are making the most sense. First of all, automatic dispensers. This feature is designed to dispense detergent, bleach, fabric softener, whatever you like to use, at the right time and the right amounts. And today, some of the washing machines can actually hold several months’ worth of detergent. So that’s a big time-saver.
Another is automatic temperature control. Rather than simply mixing hot and cold water in preset proportions, auto temperature control adjusts the water to the optimal temperature for whatever setting you’ve selected.
TOM: Now, the next one they recommend is the extra rinse cycle. I thought this was really interesting, because all types of washing machines use a lot less water than they used to. And most new washers have an extra rinse cycle. And it can really help you if your skin is sensitive to detergent residue. Because if you think about it, since we’re using less water, you’re not getting as much of a rinse, right?
LESLIE: Oh, that’s true.
TOM: So this gives you that extra rinse. And it also helps wash away pet hair and other stubborn messes.
And finally, stainless-steel tubs. Definitely a sign of durability. These can withstand the higher spin speeds much better than plastic. And they can take out more water and they can actually cut your drying time.
So there you have it: four things to think about if you’re shopping for a new washing machine, thanks to the folks at Consumer Reports.
LESLIE: Barry in Tennessee needs some help with his Jacuzzi. What can we do for you?
BARRY: Well, what happened was the drain got stopped up. So I took some Crystal Drano and poured it and it got on the tub itself. And it burnt all the way around the drain. I mean it’s burnt plastic. So I was wondering, is there a way to get that back to looking new or do I just have to replace the whole tub?
TOM: Well, unfortunately, you’ve chemically damaged the tub by using caustic drain cleaners. We really don’t like caustic drain cleaners for reasons just like this. They don’t really work very well to begin with. And what happens is you end up overusing them or spilling them and I’ve seen them melt tubs and melt plastic before. There’s a new drain-cleaning product on the market right now that I’ve just come across and it’s fantastic. It’s called DRAIN-FX. The website is DRAINFX.com.
And essentially what this is is for under $20, you’re purchasing what’s, in essence, a pressure washer for your clogged drain lines. You hook this up to the sink faucet. It has a long tube that you can run hot water down. You drop this into the trap and then you turn the water on and it blasts the clogs away.
It’s under 20 bucks. Check it out at DRAINFX.com. You should have one in your toolbox because you never know when this is going to happen. And look, you could save yourself not only the hassle of a clogged pipe but in your case, the hassle of potentially replacing a tub or learning to live with the ugly stains that have resulted.
Do not use caustic drain cleaners on these surfaces. Take a look at DRAIN-FX. It’s a much better option.
Barry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Angela in Missouri, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ANGELA: I am purchasing a beautiful 1940s home. It’s two stories with a basement and I was just wondering you guys’ thoughts on the second floor. Basically, there’s a very tiny staircase that goes up to the second floor and I’m worried about if there was a fire, something that blocked the stairway. Are there products out there that you can purchase – well, yeah, I don’t know, a roll-down ladder or some kind of alarm or something? What do you guys know about that?
TOM: Sure. There’s all sorts of things. In terms of egress, if you have just the staircase and you want another option, you could always get a ladder that – it’s like a chain ladder that hooks over the window and you drop it down the outside wall of your house. Problem with those, though, is that in – from a practical matter, in a fire, if you have black smoke filling the house it’s really hard to find that ladder and set it up.
LESLIE: Some of them are actually built into window-box units that look like a decorative window box that you can attach to the exterior of your home. And it would be right outside of the window. But then again, that’s not really ideal if it’s a kid’s room.
ANGELA: Right, right. Yeah. And that’s – it’s just me and two kids and we all have our own room, so …
TOM: So I would make sure that you have a good-quality smoke-alarm system. You know, if you can afford to use one that’s centrally monitored, I think that’s best because now you know the system – the home is being monitored 24/7. And you could add carbon-monoxide protection to that and even flood protection to that and temperature protection to that all in the same system.
ANGELA: Is there some kind of system that – I don’t want to have to hard-wire it in the house. But is there a system that maybe uses Bluetooth or some things that have to talk to each other?
TOM: Yes. If you have hardwired smoke detectors now – so if you have a detector that’s already wired – not battery-powered but hardwired – you can replace that with a Nest Protect. And the Nest is the brand, Protect is the detector. And the Nest Protect is a combination dual-technology smoke detector, so it works for both with a photoelectric sensor and an ionization sensor, which basically means it’ll detect smoldering fires and flash fires but it also protects you against carbon monoxide.
Now, what I like about this system is if you also install it with the Nest Thermostat, if either of those things were to happen – if you had a fire or you had a carbon-monoxide alert – it will actually turn the thermostat off, which is important. Because if it’s carbon monoxide, the most likely source in the home is the furnace or the boiler, depending on what kind of system you have. And if you have a fire, running that furnace during the fire helps to spread the smoke.
You definitely can install it yourself. It’s not difficult. Nest provides great instruction on how to do that. In fact, I just replaced – I have a centrally monitored system in my house but I decided – we also had, sort of as a redundant system, two hardwired detectors: one on the first floor, one on the second floor. I’ve just replaced those with the Nest Protect. And I’m really happy with it. I think it’s a really good system and just gives me some added peace of mind.
ANGELA: OK. Well, thank you so much. That’s a great idea. I think that’s the way I’m going to go.
TOM: Alright, Angela. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, there’s a rare level of notoriety for products whose brand names become synonymous with what they do.
For example, you may ask for a Xerox copy or grab a Kleenex or use Scotch Tape to make a repair. But for cleanup of big wet and dry messes around the house or the garage, the tool you turn to is a Shop-Vac.
LESLIE: And for 55 years, Shop-Vacs have been helping Americans with cleanups household vacs could never hope to handle. So with us to talk about the latest changes for Shop-Vac and new innovations to come is Gary DuBoff, Shop-Vac’s Group President and CEO.
GARY: Hi, guys. How are you?
TOM: We’re excellent.
So, Shop-Vac is one of those products that really defines the action, right? I mean when you have a big mess, you say, “I need my Shop-Vac.” And the problem is that people call tools Shop-Vacs that even are not Shop-Vacs. So that’s why I want to make the point that this is the original Shop-Vac and you guys have been building them for 55 years. And now you’ve got a lot of exciting changes happening. So, tell us about it.
GARY: Yeah, we do. Actually, we took over the business on December 23rd and it was purchased by a division of GreatStar Tools U.S.A. by the name of Hangzhou Equipment Holdings. And for those not familiar with GreatStar – and I wouldn’t expect a lot of people are – GreatStar is really one of the largest manufacturers of hand tools in the world. They are the largest manufacturer in all of Asia and they’ve invested quite heavily in the United States in – with quite a few brands.
But as of December 23rd, we purchased the assets of the former Shop-Vac Corporation and we’re reopening and hopefully we – bigger and better than ever.
TOM: So talk to us about some of the products that Shop-Vac is known for. Obviously, it’s the vacuum but what is the particular type of vacuum or size of vacuum or variety of vacuums that make that brand so popular?
GARY: Yeah, there are a number of different SKUs but – and a number of different models. But they vary anywhere from, you know, a small one that you can just keep in your car if you’d like to, that’s a couple gallons, all the way up to really large vacuums that handle a lot of water and 16-gallon cans. And again, there’s everything in between.
But Shop-Vac, to your point, is really – they were the pioneers in the heavy-duty vacuum-system category. And it’s people that work in workshops and garages and factories, anywhere that you really had demanding applications. And unfortunately, in September of 2020, they closed their doors. But the good news is we’re back and we’re going to be providing customers with what we think are very reliable and trusted products that we’ve been selling for more than 55 years.
LESLIE: Now, with this new acquisition, do you think that most of the products will be manufactured overseas? Or are we looking at sort of a combination of U.S.-based and overseas-based?
GARY: We are really happy to say that the plant that we’ve always had in Williamsport, Pennsylvania is open now. It will remain open. We produce a number of our vacs right there. Many of the large ones, actually. So, from 10- and 12-gallon on up are produced in Pennsylvania. They always have been and they will continue to be produced there.
LESLIE: That’s great.
GARY: We do have plants in China and Vietnam, as well. And we will continue to make some products there. A lot of the smaller vacs are made overseas but it will be a hybrid, just like you mentioned, Leslie. We’ll make products in both areas.
TOM: And as you mentioned, GreatStar is very well-established in the tool business. Some of the brands that you may be familiar with are Arrow Fastener, for example, or Pony and Jorgensen wood-working clamps and Goldblatt concrete and drywall and masonry tools and even Prime-Line Products, which makes security hardware. So, this company has been expanding and doing well and making good-quality products in the U.S. for a long time.
GARY: GreatStar is a – they’re a really tremendous company but they’ve got a really strong track record of acquiring very well-known American legacy hardware and tool brands. And the brands that you just mentioned – Pony Jorgensen, Goldblatt, Arrow Fastener, Prime-Line Products – these are now all in the GreatStar portfolio.
And we are really pleased that the brand, Shop-Vac, is now in our portfolio, as well. We are very excited about it. We think it’s something that we can bring a lot of innovation to the category and a category that really needs to be innovated. It’s been a little bit stale for a while but we’re excited about the changes that can be made.
And we’re seeing, from the customer perspective, a huge need in the marketplace. There are not that many manufacturers of wet/dry vac. And to see someone like Shop-Vac potentially go out of business, it was upsetting to us and we think it’s too iconic for that. We’re thrilled that we can bring it back.
LESLIE: That’s really great that you’re able to keep these really well-known American brands, that are so synonymous with fine tools and just helping all of these DIYers out there – to help them just retain their position and just find their way back is fantastic.
TOM: I saw the Shop-Vacs being distributed in Walmart. Just last week, I was down in the tool aisle. What other hardware and home center retailers are you going to be using for distribution?
GARY: We’re going to be in all the major home centers, all the major big-box retailers. One of the things that we do a really good job at is distribution. Our goal is to be able to offer the product wherever the consumer is ready to buy. So if it’s online, we’ll be online. If it’s in a big-box home improvement store, we’ll be there. If it’s in a hardware store, we’ll be there, as well. So, we’re excited about the distribution and we’re really excited about the brand itself. It’s iconic and we’re thrilled that it’s going to be here for a long, long time.
TOM: Well, we’re excited for you, Gary. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Fifty-five years this brand has been around and I’m sure it’s going to be around for many, many more under your new leadership.
Gary DuBoff, the CEO of Shop-Vac, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
GARY: Guys, thanks for having me.
TOM: Well, guys, did you know that over the last 3 years, the average tax refund was over 2,800 bucks? And for DIYers, that means some newfound money to take on projects that you may have been putting off.
LESLIE: Well, to help you make the best use of your hard-earned windfall, we’ve put together a series of projects that will add value to your home and get done without blowing your tax-refund budget. Today’s Tax Refund Project is presented by HART Tools, available exclusively at Walmart.
TOM: And today’s project is kitchen renovation.
Now, look, kitchen renos can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars but they don’t have to. And here’s why: there are simple updates that make big impact. So, here’s our top five.
First, flip the floors. New flooring alone can totally change the look of a kitchen. And floors today are very easily installed. You know, between the traffic from family and pets and small spills and bigger floods, though, kitchens are a challenging environment. So, there’s a wide variety, though, of beautiful, affordable and durable floors that are also 100-percent waterproof. So, look for products like EVP or engineered vinyl plank, which looks like wood, installs easily and is completely waterproof.
LESLIE: Next up, let’s talk about the cabinets. Now, if your cabinets are in good shape but maybe you don’t just love their finish or something, keep them. You can actually paint your kitchen cabinets. It’s a great option. It’s a good cost-saver. In fact, solid-color cabinets are more popular than ever right now. You just have to be sure that you select a high-bond primer and a good-quality paint. This way, you’re going to get professional results that will stick to that really highly-used surface.
Now, another big spot you can look at in the kitchen is the countertop. I mean these really become the feature point of your entire kitchen design. And changing the countertop is a simple way to make a big change.
Now, counter materials can vary as much in price as they do in style. But there are many that can be done within the budget of the average tax refund. You can choose between an inexpensive laminate or go for more costly options like granite, quartz or another solid-surfacing material. And if you’ve got a budget makeover, you can also resurface laminate tops with coatings that have been specifically designed to put a new finish on an old laminate top. And they’re pretty easy to do and they’re very user-friendly. So, lots of options to change this big surface in your kitchen space.
TOM: Now, whether you’re changing the countertop or not, you could also easily just switch out the faucet. There are a wide variety of faucet styles, in the neighborhood of just maybe a couple hundred bucks, that will allow you to amp up that kitchen style. Just look for kitchen faucets that have the EPA’s WaterSense seal. That means they are going to use less water and not give up performance.
And lastly, add some bling. Bling always makes everything look better. And when we’re talking about bling in the kitchen, we’re talking about the kitchen-cabinet hardware. It’s the simplest of kitchen-reno projects but the small changes – like new door handles, new drawer pulls – these can make a big impact in the overall look of the kitchen.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Tax Refund Tip presented by HART Tools, available exclusively at Walmart. Do it with HART. Learn more at HARTTools.com, where you’ll also find step-by-step plans for dozens of fun projects.
TOM: Hey, including one that’ll look great in your newly reno’d kitchen: the bulletin-board organizer, a beautiful way to help manage the mayhem of family life. Check it out at HARTTools.com.
LESLIE: Getty, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
GETTY: Oh, hi. My uncle is struggling with a mouse problem.
GETTY: And he wants to get rid of them the old-fashioned way but his wife doesn’t want them to be harmed or killed or anything.
LESLIE: That’s a tough one.
GETTY: Yeah. So they’re trying to figure out a way of, I don’t know, catch them or keeping them out of the house, stuff like that.
TOM: So, what I would suggest is that, first of all, you try to mouse-proof your house as much as possible. So, by doing that, you need to seal all the gaps that may surround the exterior, most commonly around where pipes and things come through the walls.
Secondly, you want to avoid anything that creates a nesting site or areas where the mice can sort of dig into. For example, a common one might be firewood piled close to the house and that sort of thing, high grass. So you want to try to make that as un-mouse-friendly as possible.
Next, you want to look at moisture sources and food sources that are inside the house. So, for example, I’ve seen folks develop mouse problems because they have pet food – in the big, heavy pet-food bags – perhaps sitting on the garage floor where the mice decide they’re going to cut their own door into the side of that bag and help themselves. So, you want to make sure that any type of food source is off the ground, up on shelves and in rodent-proof containers, metal containers.
TOM: You could also put in – now, see, she doesn’t want to kill them. So pretty much any other way to get rid of these things is going to remove – is going to kill them. You could use bait stations where they’ll – does she just not want to kill them or she doesn’t want them to die in the house? Because it’s a fine point, you know? If you use a bait station, they usually take the bait and go outside while that stuff goes to work.
TOM: I can understand her perhaps not wanting to use mousetraps, because that can get kind of messy and gross. But I would suggest you try to make your home as rodent-resistant as possible. We’ve got a great article on how to do that. It’s called “Beating the Rat Race.” It’s on MoneyPit.com. But I do think that if you really want a permanent solution, you’re going to end up having to use some rodenticides, as well.
GETTY: OK. I think that’d be a fair idea. She’s wanting to catch them all and take them down the road somewhere.
LESLIE: Oh, geez.
TOM: You’re not going to catch them. They’re pretty fast.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
GETTY: Thank you.
TOM: Libby has reached out to us at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.
LESLIE: That’s right. Libby says, “When I flush my toilet, a very loud sound is heard coming from the vanity and sometimes the shower drain. Several plumbers have advised to break the wall and access the pipe.”
There’s got to be an easier way.
TOM: I think plumbers always start with the most destructive method first.
LESLIE: I know. “First, we’re going to break down this wall. You have no access panel. We’re going in.”
TOM: If you’ve got gurgling sound, that is because you’ve got some sort of obstruction in the plumbing system. And there’s a couple of ways to deal with that without having to break down walls.
First of all, if it’s a pipe that you can’t access, you can always access your drainpipes from the roof. Well, not you. A professional would go up on your roof and run it down to clear the drainpipe. And if there’s a question as to where the clog is, you can also run a camera down there. They’re really small these days. They will pinpoint exactly what’s there and they’ll know exactly how to get to it, hopefully, without destroying any walls in the process.
LESLIE: And Libby, next time if, say, they do have to break open that bathroom wall or some wall, make sure they put an access panel in. So if something ever happens again, they’re just removing a little bit of the wall that’s made to purposely be removed. So, keep that in mind.
TOM: Well, do you have a boring bathroom but not so many bucks to spruce it up? There’s actually quite a bit that you can do inexpensively and easily with paint. Leslie has got the how-to, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Paint has got to be your favorite DIY product, because there’s so much you can do.
LESLIE: For sure. And I love refreshing a space with a new paint color. It’s a lot of fun, it’s inexpensive and it’s easy to do. And you can definitely do it yourself. And truly, there is no less of an expensive way that you can transform a bathroom space. Really, any space. So let’s talk about paint. Here’s some ideas that’ll help you get started.
Now, you can stencil the ceiling. And you’re like, “What? Ceiling? Stencil a ceiling?” Yes, it’s a space that a lot of people often just say, “OK. Go in ceiling white. Da-da-da. There’s my white ceiling.” But you can pick a contrasting color or something that’s a slightly different shade in sort of a more ecru or a warmer shade of white that’s sort of just off one bit. And you can stencil on a pattern there that suddenly becomes this beautiful focal point.
You can also paint your ceiling a different color, guys. You can go the same color as the wall. You can go a beautiful blush that’s really lovely for when you’re putting on makeup. So don’t just stop at white. You can do awesome stuff with the ceiling.
Now, you can create some really fun vibes or drama, whatever it might be, by picking a bold color for those walls. And you can think about colors that are really hyper-saturated, sort of deep blues, super-saturated grays, terracotta tones, turquoise. Whatever color you like, just go for that super-saturated tone of it without being too dark, if that makes sense. Just take a look at those cards.
Now, if you’ve got a little imagination and a paintbrush, you could paint a mural. I mean it could be simple. It could be ornate. It could be whatever you want it to be and whatever your skill set will allow. It could even just be a taped-out pattern. Whatever it is, whatever your comfort level is, you can create a great focal wall in your bath space with your own creative talents.
And when it comes to a vanity, you can replace it. You can do different things. But keep what you’ve got and maybe give it a makeover. Paint it. New hardware. All kinds of things that you can do to make your vanity that you’ve got become a whole different character in the space.
Just make sure you use super-durable paint. Oil-based, if you can get it, really works best in those moist bathroom environments, high humidity. It’s easier to clean. You’ve got to have a lot of good ventilation in the space if you’re working with an oil-based paint. They’re not available everywhere but they’re definitely the right tool for the job.
So, grab some paint. Take some time. Put on your paint clothes and have a great time changing that bathroom.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to look ahead to spring projects, because it’s almost here, finally. And the project we have in mind is privacy. We’re talking about your backyard. If you enjoy hanging out there but you’d like a little more of that privacy, we’re going to share some landscaping tips to create a private backyard hideaway, 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 2021 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.)