TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone and call us, right now, because we are here to help you with your home décor dilemmas, your home improvement questions, your repair questions, your maintenance questions. Whether you should do it yourself or get some help, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Perhaps you just suffered through another holiday of a lot of cooking this Thanksgiving that just passed a little while ago and decided, “This is it. I’ve had it with this kitchen. It’s time to replace it.” Let’s talk. Did the relatives show up en masse and made you recognize that it is time, in fact, to update the bathroom? We can talk about that. Whatever is on your to-do list, slide it over to ours at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
And something else that’s coming up, Leslie, now that we’ve sailed past Thanksgiving: Christmas, right around the corner. So you could also be thinking about decking out those halls and wondering whether you should go with a fresh or fake tree. Well, we’re going to talk through some of the pros and cons of each, including some tips on how to choose the very freshest trees available when you do hit those tree farms or roadside stands.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, this is my second week with the tree already, because Thanksgiving was so early and I always put the tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving. So, fingers crossed it lasts until Christmas.
Also ahead this hour, you guys, do you hate the feeling – I know I do – of stepping on a cold floor with your bare feet in the mornings? Well, if you add some radiant heat to your floor, you can stop that toe shock, plus make your entire home more comfortable and possibly cut down on your energy bills. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to get started with that project, coming up.
TOM: And as you do your gift shopping, have you noticed how many retailers are offering the opportunity to purchase an “extended warranty”? I mean these things seem to be available on everything from a toaster to a television set. But do they ever make sense? We’re going to share some tips on how you’ll know, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, if you call in your home improvement question to us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post to The Money Pit Community section, we’re giving away a year’s supply of Filtrete vacuum bags and filters and belts worth up to 200 bucks, just in time to help you with all that holiday cleaning.
TOM: Going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone right now. Join the conversation at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Margaret in Kansas is on the line with a roofing question. What’s going on at your money pit?
MARGARET: What I wanted to ask, please, is how to remove moss on a tile roof without going on it, because it – our roof is steep and we had our tile roof at another house one time and we moved. And apparently, the person went up on the roof and he had to have a whole new roof put on. And everybody up where we are, up on the mountain up here, has quite a few tile roofs. And we all want to know how – without walking on it and breaking them.
TOM: So you can apply a mildicide from the ground without actually walking on the tile or maybe from a ladder with an applicator. And there’s a variety of products out there. One that we like is called Spray & Forget, because it’s just that easy to use. You basically soak the roof down with this stuff and then it starts to kill off the mold and the moss and the mildew and the lichen. And eventually, it will release from the roof itself and just – it seems like the roof just cleans itself from that point forward. And that can be applied from the ladder so that you don’t have to actually walk on it.
MARGARET: Mm-hmm. OK, so you just use something that can spray it up? Because they say if you spray up, that it can get under the tile. Rather you should spray down. So that confused me.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You’re not going to – it’s not like you’re going to put a whole lot of water up on there. But I think if you – it’s going to naturally drain down once you get up there high enough.
You can use a pump-up garden sprayer, which you can get a good 15 foot of spray out of that.
TOM: Or you could use – there are different types of applicators that they sell where basically – there’s one where the hose actually connects up to the bottle itself. And so that once you just kind of carry the hose up there and turn on the applicator, it just mixes the Spray & Forget right in with it.
MARGARET: Well, can I purchase that in Canada?
TOM: I’m sure you can. And if not, you can certainly buy it online and have it shipped there.
LESLIE: There’s probably a special formulation for Canada. I know when we filmed up there, there were certain things we could get, as far as what types of paints and opposing things that we could get in the States. So I’m sure there’s a formulation that you can find up there.
MARGARET: Very good. I’m just thrilled with you guys. I’d be lost without you. Thank you. Bye-bye.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Paul in Massachusetts is on the line with a basement question. What’s happening at your money pit?
PAUL: I have a question on waterproofing a basement floor. I have a very, very old house. It’s over 100 years old. I have a fieldstone foundation and I waterproofed that with a product called DRYLOK.
PAUL: But I was wondering what – how do – what would I do for my floor?
TOM: OK. So, why are you concerned about waterproofing? Are you getting water infiltration into that basement space, Paul?
PAUL: Yes, I was, in one area.
TOM: OK. So, waterproofing is not the solution; it’s not the fix for water coming through the walls or through the floor.
TOM: You can put all that stuff on you want and it might slow it down but it’s not going to fix it. You need to fix it and the fix is outside your house, especially if that water comes in consistent with heavy rain or a snow melt. You know, whenever it’s consistent with precipitation like that, it comes down to two things: the grading, angle of the soil around the house. If it’s flat, if it’s pitched back towards the house, it collects a lot of water at that foundation perimeter.
But even more important than that is the gutter system. If you don’t have a gutter system or your gutter system is undersized or clogged or the downspouts are dumping – as most are, frankly – right near the foundation perimeter, right near the foundation corners, you need to extend those out 4 to 6 feet. If you manage the water carefully around the outside of the house like that, you are much, much, much more likely to not have any issues with water infiltration.
PAUL: Even if you live on a hill?
TOM: Yep, especially if you live on a hill.
TOM: It doesn’t matter. With hillsides, sometimes the water is worse because it comes right at the house. And in that case, you need to have what’s called a “swale,” which is where the grade kind of splits to divide the water around it.
But generally, if you keep the water away from that first 4- to 6- to 8-foot perimeter of your house, try to keep that immediate perimeter as dry as possible, you’re not going to get water infiltration.
PAUL: OK. Alright. And don’t even worry about the floor.
TOM: Yeah, don’t worry about the floor. That’s the very last thing you do. You deal with those big things outside with the grading and the drainage first.
PAUL: Very good.
TOM: And then the floor may never be an issue again. Alright, Paul?
PAUL: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. What’s your how-to or décor question? Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project.
TOM: Just ahead, fake or fresh? We’ve got tips to help you pick out the perfect holiday tree no matter which type is right for you, after this.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call, right now, with your home repair or home improvement question, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
And hey, if your vacuum isn’t working well or it just leaves a cloud of dust every time you use it, there is a great reason to reach out by phone or by posting your question to The Money Pit community. Because we have got ourselves a year’s supply of Filtrete vacuum bags, filters and belts worth over 200 bucks to give away.
And Leslie, it’s amazing how effective your vacuum can instantly become if you put a good bag in it, because it stops spewing dust out the back
LESLIE: Oh, correct. When everything is working to its peak performance, your vacuum actually does its job. I mean it’s pretty amazing.
TOM: Yep. So if you replace your Filtrete vacuum bags every one to two months, the filters every three to six months and the belts about once a year, you’re going to make your vacuum maintain its peak performance. You’re also going to help achieve good indoor-air quality.
So we’ve got this package going out to one lucky listener. We’ll hook you up with the exact products for your specific machine. We’ll ask you what machine you have, what vacuum you have and the Filtrete folks will hook you up. You’re going to get 12 Ultra Allergen Vacuum bags, 4 HEPA filters, 2 belts. Total value up to 200 bucks.
And that year’s supply of Filtrete vacuum bags, filters and belts going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Rebecca in Kansas is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you?
REBECCA: I have several questions. They’re all related. I have a large mud room, a laundry room and kitchen and eating area that are all the exact same ceramic tile and grout.
REBECCA: And of course, the ceramic is very unforgiving and splits. Hard on little kids with socked feet. They fall. And I’d like to change it out. My first question is, given it’s a kitchen, laundry room and that type of area, would we – what kind of material – could I use some kind of a hardwood or engineered hardwood or vinyl? And second off, I just can’t imagine picking up all that ceramic. Could I possibly do a floating floor over the top of the current ceramic tile?
TOM: Yeah, those are all great questions. So, let’s take them one at a time now. There are lots of options. All those options that you mentioned are viable: engineered hardwood, laminate and others, like engineered vinyl plank – EVP flooring – is another good idea.
Whether or not you can put a second later on, typically you can. But in the kitchen, if you put another layer on, you have to be concerned that you don’t sort of block in your dishwasher. If you’ve got a built-in dishwasher and you put more flooring up against that front edge of it, you may not be able to get it out when it comes time to replace it.
So you need to maybe pull the dishwasher and make sure that if you were to put another layer of flooring in front of it, that you account for that. Because you want the floor that the dishwasher sits on to be the same level as the finished floor. So you may need to sort of pad it up and make sure you still have enough room. So that is definitely a concern, because you definitely do not want to block that in.
But in terms of the products, yes, all of those are viable options. So I would just shop for what you like and take it from there. But do take a look at that EVP product. You’ll find that at Lumber Liquidators and other great retailers. Because I’ve noticed that it looks an awful lot like wood but it’s 100-percent waterproof. Now, if you were to use engineered hardwood, that is designed for damp locations but it’s wood. And so it’s going to wear like wood and perhaps not be as durable as some of the new, high-tech vinyl products.
REBECCA: OK. And could those engineered vinyl products be floating?
TOM: Yeah, they’re all designed to be floating floors. Yep.
REBECCA: OK, OK. If a person goes ahead and puts that in, is it better to do the lengthways with the longest running – crossways or lengthways of your room? Are you better to go the length of the room with the …?
TOM: Yeah, we understand what you mean.
Typically, Leslie, you would go with the lengths parallel to the longest walls, correct?
LESLIE: Depending on if there’s a hallway joining them. You always want it to run that longest length so that the planks don’t seem short and weird. And then that will determine where you need a threshold and different things for the adjoining rooms.
REBECCA: Right, right. OK. Very good. Oh, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. Send us some pictures.
888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
LESLIE: Well, now that we’ve sailed past Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner, which means many folks are spending these weekends shopping for a holiday tree. Or maybe this is the year you decide to skip the tree farm or roadside stand and pick up a fake tree. Ah, gosh, I hate to even say it but there are some trees that really do look nice. And it makes me wonder why I always get the real tree. But you know what? There’s good reasons to go either way.
TOM: Yeah. Now, live trees, they smell fresh and I mean that’s the thing that you just can’t replace: the beautiful smell of a fresh evergreen. Plus, the whole routine of just picking out that tree, look, that’s a favorite family tradition that never gets old. You know, if you get a tree from a nearby farm or a stand, it can also help support your local economy, especially since there are lots of local organizations that use that opportunity as a fundraiser, too.
Now, the downside, of course, is dealing with all the needles and the watering. And you’ve got to be careful it doesn’t dry out so there’s no risk of fire, as well.
LESLIE: I’ll tell you, it’s so funny. When I was filming Good Bones in Indianapolis, I went and got a real tree for my hotel room while I was there. And of course, for some bizarre reason, I got it right before Thanksgiving and then I flew home to New York for Thanksgiving. And when I came back, the tree was dead. So, I literally threw that tree out and went and bought another one. It was my two-tree Christmas. It was ridiculous.
Now, if only I had the fake tree. Now, the good thing about the fake tree, guys, is that you can use them year after year. And some of those artificial trees not only look just like the real thing but they include some really amazing lighting systems into them that have thousands of lights. And they’re so much easier to maintain and you don’t have to worry about allergies or sap. All of that stuff with the real trees, you get a lot of great stuff with the fake trees, too.
TOM: Now, if you do want to go fresh, here is a quick way to tell how fresh your tree might be. Just do a freshness test by sharply bending a few of those tree’s needles with your fingers. Now, the fresh, green needles are going to break crisply, kind of like a fresh carrot, so to speak. Now, if you do want to keep it alive as long as possible, you need to do two things: you’ve got to make sure it has a fresh cut, so recut that base before you put it in your Christmas tree stand; and then make sure you follow up with lots and lots and lots of fresh water. No additives. Just fresh water and that’ll do it.
888-666-3974. If you need some help with your home improvement project just in time for the holidays, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Raymond in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RAYMOND: I’ve got a dilemma with my last flat-top stove. It’s a Samsung. I’ve had it for about probably close to three years. And my right front burner goes directly to hot and stays there. It has no control. It’s a – you have two burners into one: a small burner and a big burner. And I’m not sure what to exactly do here besides call our appliance person. And I’m just kind of on the poor side trying to figure it out.
TOM: Well, it could be one of two things. It could be the burner, which is replaceable. You do have to disassemble the glass top to do that, to get to that actual element. Or it could be the thermostat itself. In either case, we’re talking about a repair that has to be done here, a product that’s going to – a part that’s going to have to be switched out. Because what you’re describing is obviously not normal, nor does it sound very safe.
So, unfortunately, this is a circumstance where you may need to turn to an expert because we don’t know what parts you’re going to need. And I could send you to a site like RepairClinic.com, for example, where you could order these parts and perhaps get some online instruction on how to do it yourself. But it’s going to be somewhat trial and error, because you just don’t have the tools to determine which part of the circuit has gone bad. Nor do I feel like it’s a really good idea for you to do it yourself unless it’s something you have some significant experience with.
RAYMOND: Sorry to hear that but I kind of understood that was probably what’s going to be the answer anyway. I’ve been playing with it and keep looking around and YouTubed a lot of things. But I haven’t found anything that really helped me.
TOM: Well, there’s only so many parts to these ranges. And it’s got to be either the element or part of the control circuit that’s controlling the element or in your case, not controlling the element. So either way, one or the other has to be replaced.
Look, you could call Samsung directly, describe the problem, see if you can get through to customer service or write them and see if they can provide any advice or direction. Perhaps this is something they’re familiar with, something that’s been reported by other customers. Maybe there’s even a recall on it that you’re not aware of. It wouldn’t hurt you to do that before you start spending money.
But I don’t encourage you to do it yourself unless it’s something you’re really comfortable with, because we’re talking about taking apart some electronics here. And if you make an error putting it back together, it could be unsafe. OK?
RAYMOND: Right. I’ve called Samsung and I’ve talked to them and they can’t give me any answers, either. Best thing they were telling me is no different than what you’re telling me it’s about: get an appliance person out there that’s professional, doing the job itself. And of course, again, there’s only so many parts and I’m – I guess I’ll have to bite the bullet.
TOM: Alright. Well, sorry we couldn’t give you more do-it-yourself advice. But sometimes, the best advice we can give you is to tell you to not do it yourself.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, one of the most unpleasant steps that you can take in your home is that step when you put your feet on those icy-cold floors. That’s the worst. And that’s just one of the reasons that adding radiant heat to your floor is a great idea. We’ll explain more, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, whether you’re buying, selling or just enjoying your home, we are here for you every step of the way. Call in your home improvement or your décor question, right now, to 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
LESLIE: Linda in Rhode Island is on the line with a question about a lawn. How can we help you?
LINDA: I’ve been reviewing various companies that manufacture AstroTurf. And I can see how beneficial it can be. My only question is: what is the best time of the year, in the Northeast, to have it installed? And are there different grades? Will some stand up to the different changes of the season and does it fade? I don’t know what to look for or what is really the best.
TOM: And that’s a good question and a lot of folks are looking at these products these days. We’ve gotten some questions on this before. The AstroTurf or artificial grass has been around for a long time for sports fields but it hardly looked like a lawn. Today, there are new products on the market that look a lot more like the real thing.
Now, the downsides, though, of artificial turf are that it’s expensive and that a lot of homeowners claim it gets really hot and is uncomfortable to walk on or even lounge on when you’re in a lawn chair. Because the heat tends to radiate up through that product on a hot day. It does, of course, need professional installation. And like anything, there’s good products and there’s cheap products but there’s no good cheap products out there. So you need to consider that.
And I’d also think about how it impacts resale value. While you might think this is the best thing since sliced bread, a buyer may have their dreams of a beautiful, green lawn that they can smell and walk barefoot on crushed by it. So, I don’t think it’s a slam dunk either way. But I do think it’s something that you can look into and consider. But the thing that most people seem to complain about the most is the fact that it retains heat.
And the other thing I think you’re going to find is odd is this beautiful, green lawn is going to look perfectly natural in spring and summer. But when it snows and you’ve got the greenest house – the greenest lawn on the street, you’re going to stand out a little bit, OK?
LESLIE: This is true.
LINDA: I’m sure. And that was my question because sometimes we do have blizzards. And after the sun comes out and the snow starts to melt – but how long does it stay on the AstroTurf?
TOM: It basically melts right through it, you know.
LINDA: It does.
TOM: You’re going to have to clean it, rake it and shovel over it like anything else. So that’s why you’ve got to buy a really good-quality product.
LINDA: I see. Well, that’s really interesting.
LINDA: I do appreciate all your help. Because after I looked at different ones, I really didn’t know which one would actually be the best.
LINDA: The main thing I was concerned about is the fact that many times, if there is a water shortage and they prevent the homeowners from using that to …
LESLIE: Regular watering.
LINDA: Right. Exactly. And then the whole lawn is lost and you start all over again. So that was …
TOM: Yeah, well, that happens. You’ll probably – if you do have artificial grass and your lawn looks so fantastic in a hot August when there’s a water shortage, I bet you you’re going to have some water official knocking at your door and going, “You’ve got to stop using water.”
LESLIE: Somebody knocking on the door.
LINDA: Exactly. Oh, very good. Well, thank you ever so much. Because it really does answer my questions now.
LINDA: If you were installing it, would you do that in the spring or the fall or …?
TOM: I wouldn’t do it in the winter. I’d probably do it in the spring, yeah.
LINDA: In the spring would be best. Well, I really appreciate all your help. It certainly has been beneficial to me.
TOM: Good. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LINDA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Well, for many, one of the most unpleasant steps you can take in your home is by setting foot on a cold floor with bare feet.
TOM: So true. And that’s just one of the reasons adding radiant heat to your floor is a great idea. Not only does it stop that toe shock, it can actually make your entire home more comfortable and cut down on your energy bills. Here to tell us more about radiant heat is Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House.
RICHARD: Glad to be here.
TOM: Now, this is a project that can be done from above or below the floor, right?
RICHARD: That’s right. It can be installed from below the subfloor or above if the area below is difficult to access.
TOM: Now, let’s talk about the types of radiant heat. The one that you most commonly work with is hydronic heat, correct?
RICHARD: Right. That’s a fancy word that people don’t understand; they think it’s hydraulic, hydronic, hydroponic.
RICHARD: But it’s really just the use of warm water to circulate through pipes and the other is electric.
TOM: Now, how does the hydronic heat work? Is it run through special types of pipes?
RICHARD: What you really want is you want to have these veins running through your building that are going to last. And so the plastic pipe of choice is called PEX – P-E-X. And that can be installed a couple of different ways. It can go from below the subfloor; it can be sandwiched in between the subfloor and the finished floor, as well.
TOM: Now, I’ve seen you, on the show, use something that looks like sort of grooved-out plywood boards that’s made for the radiant heat to fit right in. And can you talk about that?
RICHARD: That’s right. It’s that sandwich I was just talking about where you’ve got your plywood subfloor and you put down these plywood strips that have aluminum attached to the back side. It has a perfect groove in it to allow you to put the tubing right into it. It has a place for the tubing to return back and forth, so you have a serpentine pattern of radiant heating in your kitchen. And then you put your finished floor down over the top of it.
The key on that is to make sure you don’t put the radiant underneath your kitchen cabinets, don’t put it under the island. It’ll make the potatoes grow like a weed.
LESLIE: Now, are there better flooring choices that work more in partnership with a radiant floor?
RICHARD: Well, everybody has to understand that the more you put in terms of R-value on top of the floor, the hotter the water and the hotter it is to send the energy up into the room. So tile or marble or stone is the greatest because it just gives off its heat so readily. And then – but some people want to put wood floors on; that’s fine. With any solid hardwood, you’ve got to be sure you get the moisture level correct. I’m particularly a fan of prefinished wood, which is – it really comes out of a box and just clips together and it’s – it doesn’t have any issues.
TOM: Like engineered hardwood, for example.
RICHARD: Absolutely. And it works great and it’s perfect for radiant. And you can do carpet but you have to find a place where you can live with a carpet that doesn’t have too high of an R-value and too thick of a pad. Because if it is, you’re just defeating the purpose already.
LESLIE: You’re not even going to feel it.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: We’re talking to Richard Trethewey. He is the plumbing-and-heating contractor from TV’s This Old House.
Richard, let’s talk about that radiant electric heat. Now, that’s something that’s typically used in the kitchen or the bathroom. Good application for those small rooms, especially?
RICHARD: Well, it’s such a great sort of way to chase the chill off of a room. I don’t think I would always use it in our particularly cold climate; we’re based in the Northeast here. I might use electricity just as a backup to sort of chase the chill off the tile. But in marginal climates, it could be the principal way you heat the building and there’s nothing better. And you can put it in floors, you can put it in walls of shower stalls. You really don’t think one-dimensionally; you can put it in a lot of different places.
LESLIE: Now, Richard, how efficient is radiant heat? I mean are you really going to save a lot of money if this is your primary heat source?
RICHARD: Simply put, there is no more efficient way to heat the human body than radiant heating.
RICHARD: You put it into a floor, you stand on it. You have warm feet and a cool head. As the heat heats the person, it gets cooler as you go to the top of the room. Now, at the top of the room, that’s where most heat loss happens. So if you have less heat at the top of the room, less heat leaves the building. And you’re only circulating warm water; you’re putting 95- to 105-degree water where most baseboard or radiator jobs need 180 or 200 degrees. No better way to heat and no more efficient way to do it.
TOM: So you’re wishing us warm feet and a cool head always in life.
RICHARD: That’s right.
TOM: That’s a great thing to live by. Richard Trethewey from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on the warmth of radiant heat.
LESLIE: You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos on radiant heat and other projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot.
Coming up, as you do your gift shopping, have you noticed how many retailers offer the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty? They seem to be available on everything from toasters to televisions. But do they ever make sense? We’re going to share some tips, just ahead.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We’d love to talk with you about your home repair or home décor questions, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And we’d also love to give you something that can help make your home a heck of a lot cleaner.
LESLIE: Yeah, we’re giving away, this hour, a year’s supply of Filtrete vacuum bags, filters and belts worth up to 200 bucks. Yeah, I think a lot of people don’t realize that the vacuum bags have options and that’s where Filtrete comes in. They have Ultra Allergen Vacuum Bags, which will take all of the allergens out of the air, plus HEPA filters. Now, these are things that you should have in your vacuum that will keep it operating perfectly but will also make sure that all of that dust and dirt and dander and allergens that can get into the air and make you not feel so great, to keep it out of the air. And these are steps you should be taking with your vacuum.
Now, the other thing that people don’t realize is your vacuum belt, you’ve got to change that out once a year. And if you’re not doing these things to keep your vacuum operating, you know, efficiently, what’s going to happen is all of that dust, as you’re vacuuming, is going to come out the back side of the vacuum.
So up for grabs, this hour, we’ve got a year’s supply of the Filtrete vacuum bags, filters and belts worth up to 200 bucks. Give us a call with the type of vacuum you have. Our lucky winner will get everything they need for that exact model and you’ll be operating in tip-top shape, in a super-clean home, in no time.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question and that might just be you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Well, if an appliance is on your holiday shopping list, more likely than not you’re going to be asked if you’d like to buy an extended warranty with that product. And you’re probably wondering if that makes any sense.
Well, the Federal Trade Commission says millions of consumers pay for protection that they don’t need. So to keep you from wasting money, you’ve got to do your homework.
TOM: Now, first, you want to compare coverage. So you need to know what the basic warranty covers to see if the extended warranty really gives you any additional coverage. And also, you want to know your appliance. If you check its repair reputation online, you’ll have a good sense as to how likely it is that it’ll actually break down.
LESLIE: Yeah. You also need to check for those hidden costs. Now, extended warranties often have deductibles, service fees or even cancellation charges. So you’ve got to find out whether a technician will come to your home or if you’ve got to take it in to be serviced. And then find out how far away those repair locations could potentially be.
TOM: Now, in addition to seeing these kinds of extended warranties offered on appliances, these days you get them at toy stores, sporting-goods stores, electronics stores. They all try to tack these so-called product-protection plans – it’s sort of another name for an extended warranty – onto the sale. But here’s the thing: they try to do it right at the register. And let’s face it, that is the worst place for you to make any decision. Because as we’ve shown you, it’s pretty complicated. And you really need to do the homework to know if it’s a good deal or not and that takes time.
So, if it’s a major product and you’ve probably researched prices all over the place and decided you’re going to buy it at a particular location, hey, research the extended warranty first before you head to the store or before you go to that website to buy it online, so you know what the options are when you get there. Because you just can’t make that decision in a few seconds while people are behind you in line giving you dirty looks because you won’t hurry up. You really need the time to have it make any sense whatsoever.
LESLIE: John, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JOHN: I’m working on a cement fireplace cap on top of my fireplace. What I’m needing to find out is what kind of paint or some kind of sealant I can use to keep my cement fireplace cap from being weathered so fast.
TOM: Well, generally, you don’t use a finish on that at all. You could use a masonry sealer. If you do, make sure you get one that’s vapor-permeable, because that means that the moisture can evaporate out of it, doesn’t get trapped underneath and then freeze and sort of crack. But most importantly, you want to make sure that that cement cap is pitched properly so it’ll go from the clay liner out to the edge of the brick. And if you make it so it’s a bit thick at the edge, it’ll be a little bit more durable as that – because that’s the edge that will typically chip off and break off the quickest. Does that make sense?
JOHN: OK. Well, I thank you very much for your advice.
LESLIE: Still ahead, is your garage so full that it hardly fits your car or maybe doesn’t fit your car at all? We’re going to share some tips on making the most of your garage space, when we return.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor where you can find top-rated home pros you can trust.
LESLIE: Or post your question online, right now, at MoneyPit.com just like Sean did, who writes: “I’ve decided I’d like to start parking my car inside the garage.”
TOM: What a concept.
LESLIE: Imagine that. “Got any tips for organizing and storing all the stuff that’s parked in there right now instead of my car?”
That’s pretty funny.
TOM: Garage storage is something that really has to be set up once and then kind of maintained daily by all the family members. So you kind of need everybody to sort of buy in on this.
But safety is really the reason that this gets – it really should be important. And here’s why: if you think about this, garages are the only places in your house where toys and toxins are kept together, right? You’ve got gasoline, you’ve got motor oil, you’ve got pesticides and you’ve got kids’ bikes and you’ve got balls. And all of this stuff is in the same room. So you have to be very careful and very deliberate about how you keep this so everybody stays safe.
So, a couple of rules that we can give you. First of all, the large storage items ought to be kept behind that parking zone. And the heavy stuff ought to be at a level that’s not going to lead to injury if it was to fall. And after you’ve done that big clean-out and determined what tools and products you need, you need to get organized. So you want to formulate a garage-storage plan that’s going to accommodate every category.
So, for example, the only thing that should remain on the floor really should be your car. So you want to make use of ready-to-use racks and hooks and shelving systems and cabinets to get all that stuff up off the floor. Make sure those storage units are anchored for safe support of heavy items. And it’s also wise to include a flameproof cabinet for those flammables. We mentioned gasoline but what about spray paint, stains, cleansers? There’s a lot of flammable stuff out there.
So if you think about it and get all that properly organized, you can really step up the safety and the organization at the same time.
LESLIE: Yeah, I also really like to keep a section with all my seasonal-décor stuff and sort of rotate it front to back. And keep things that you’re using towards the front and put the stuff that you’re not using that season towards the back. That kind of keeps things out of harm’s way. That said, I can’t get my kids to put anything back in the right spot in the garage. So I feel like every time I open it, it’s a disaster all over again.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Karen who writes: “I have a brick house with a wall inside the garage that was painted. After about 25 years, the second coat of paint is now turning into a fine powder. I can scrape the loose paint but how do I safely and fully remove that powdery paint from the walls? I thought about using a steel brush but that’ll send the steel paint into the air. Even with a face mask, I’m afraid about my lungs.”
TOM: Yeah. And that’s because those simple dust masks are really not going to take anything that really generates some serious dust. So what you want to do is pick up a respirator. And the respirators are available for a wide range of filtration. You pick one up that matches the job that you’re doing. You know, if it’s just dust, that’s one type. If you’re going to use paint thinner, then you need to have one that’s good for vapors that get into the air. But they’re designed specifically for the job at hand.
Those dust masks themselves are great maybe for drywall dust. But for something beyond that, you need to have the proper respirator. And make sure it fits because if it doesn’t fit your face well, it’s just not going to work.
LESLIE: Alright. Hope that helps and good luck with that project.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you during the busiest time of the year. And if your busyness involves getting your house fixed up so that you can handle all the holidays that are still coming at us and all the folks that are coming to visit you, you are in exactly the right place because we are here to help you get those projects done. Whether we’re on the air or not, you can post your question to The Money Pit Community page at MoneyPit.com or call in, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. That’s all the time we have but the show does continue online.
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.
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(Copyright 2017 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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