- Hot Water From Your Garden Hose? Yes! The convenience of hot water from your hose is now an option. Learn more about a great new product that makes it possible.
- Best Gear to Get Rid of Snow: Do you need a snow blower or a snow thrower? Here’s what to know before winter snow starts falling.
- Easy Attic Insulation: Blown-in insulation for your attic can now be a DIY project with an easy-to-use machine that gets the job done fast.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Accessible Bathrooms: Randy wants to remove an old bathtub and make his bathroom handicapped accessible. We tell him about design kits that offer customized components that seal out water and can meet various needs.
- Foggy Windows: Why do those old windows keep fogging over? The thermal pane windows in Sarah’s home have lost their insulation seal and there’s moisture trapped inside. Her best option is to replace them.
- Pressure Washing: What is the best, pet-safe way to pressure wash mildew from your siding? We’ve got info for Randy about a green product that’s specifically made for pressure washers and is safe for pets.
- Elevators: Is it possible to install an elevator in an existing two-story home? Rosalie learns that new technology is making it more common.
- Pipe Insulation: When contractors moved Caesar’s washer and dryer up against a cold outside wall, they didn’t properly insulate the drain pipe. We’ve got instructions on how to cut open the drywall and correct the problem.
- Kitchen Range: The commercial stove in Cindy’s kitchen is a fire risk next to her wood cabinets. Her best option is to contact the manufacturer to find out the specs for proper installation to keep things safe.
- Retaining Wall: A retaining wall in Howard’s yard is starting to lean over because of expansion caused by moisture. We’ve got advice on taking apart the landscaping blocks and adding stone for drainage, then rebuilding the retaining wall at a better angle.
- Lighting: Patrice loves the look of LED lighting for her bathroom but hates exposed wires. We offer ideas on ways to hide the cords instead of having to use battery-powered light fixtures.
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 help you take on the to-dos you’d like to get done around your house. So, what’s on that list? What projects are you working on? I love this time of year. The leaves are just in full fall bloom around my part of the country. It happens here a little bit later than the rest of the country because we’re kind of close to sea level. But man, it’s just so gorgeous. I can’t wait to get out on the weekend and get some projects done around my house. If you’ve got some projects you’d like to take on but maybe need a little help to get going, reach out to us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com/Ask.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, wouldn’t it be nice, now that it’s chilly out, if you could get some hot water out of your garden hose for cleaning projects, like maybe washing your car or washing your pet or maybe cleaning your siding? Well, now you can thanks to a very cool, new hose nozzle invented by Rheem. It just slips right in your garden hose and delivers a continuous stream of hot water. We’ll explain how it works, just ahead.
LESLIE: And I know Tom is talking about fall. But hey, you guys, let’s talk about winter snowstorms.
TOM: No. Boo. No snow.
LESLIE: I mean really, it’s around the corner. But it was funny, when I was a kid we didn’t have any fancy snow-removal devices. I was the snow-thrower. All the neighborhood kids were like, “Hey, let me help you shovel.” So, these days, it’s a lot different. Shoveling snow is a chore that I personally don’t want to be doing anymore. So we’re going to share some tips on how you can choose a snow blower that’s going to make that chore a lot easier.
TOM: And if you’d like to improve your home’s insulation and feel comfortable all winter long, the attic in your home is definitely the place to start. But for DIYers, it’s also one of the easiest places to add insulation. We’re going to share tips on an insulation option that delivers absolutely instant warmth, in just a bit.
LESLIE: But first, what are you guys working on? I can’t even believe I’m saying we’re halfway into November. How is this happening so quickly? I’m super excited that it’s almost Thanksgiving and Christmas, as I whisper to you guys. But it’s just going too fast. So, how can we help you get your house ready for all of the stuff that’s about to be coming through your front door? So let us know what you’re working on, let us know how we can help you because we are standing by to do so.
TOM: The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you give us a call with your question, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. Because we’ve got a handy set of 5-in-1 Staple Guns to give away to one caller at random. They are from Arrow and they’re worth about 85 bucks. So give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions to MoneyPit.com/Ask.
Let’s get to it on this beautiful fall weekend. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading to Little Rock, Arkansas where we’ve got Randy on the line.
What’s going on at your money pit?
RANDY: I’ve got an older bathroom and now I want to take the tub out and the shower kit and install more of a handicapped top shower kit.
RANDY: I’m getting about – to be about 60 years old, so I want to kind of go ahead and make it handicapped.
TOM: Prepare for the future? Yeah.
TOM: Sure. Right. Why not?
RANDY: Have something to hold onto, anyway, you know?
TOM: Well, it makes a lot of sense.
So, there are prefabricated, accessible, one-piece shower-unit designs that are a possibility. But if you want to build something that’s maybe a little more customized, a little nicer, maybe you want to have a built-in bench and do it with tile, I would tell you to take a look at Schluter Systems.
Now, Schluter is a company that makes a whole host of tile underlayments. And they have a system that’s called KERDI – K-E-R-D-I. And the KERDI System has components for every piece of that shower assembly. And it’s designed to basically go together so that you don’t have any leakage whatsoever. Once it’s all installed, then you basically tile over top of the whole thing.
And the part that really is where the sort of the rubber meets the road, when it comes to water integrity, are all of those different types of seams and the shower pans and such. And with the KERDI system, that’s all eliminated. It’s all built in together so it works well together.
So take a look at Schluter Systems and in particular, their line of products called KERDI. And I think you will find a system there that will give you everything that you need to accomplish this as quickly and easily as possible. And you’ll also have something that just will not leak and it will be there for the ages.
RANDY: Hey, that sounds great. I’ll sure take a look at that.
TOM: Alright, Randy. Good luck with that project.
RANDY: Thanks a lot.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Sarah on the line with foggy windows. What’s going on?
SARAH: We have Andersen Window on our sliding door in our patio. The rest of the windows in the house, we can’t seem to find a brand. But they fog over. We have dealt with this for 2 or 3 years. I have to clean them every day to keep the moisture off them. Do we need to get new windows? Or how do we solve this?
TOM: So unfortunately, Sarah, this is pretty common with windows. When you have thermal-pane windows and you have a failed thermal pane seal – that’s the seal between the glass – then moisture gets in between that glass. And then it condenses on the inside of the surface and it leaves some of its mineral salts behind. And that’s why you get this kind of ugly, gray, dirty-looking fog. There is nothing you can do to remove that. It’s inside between the panes of glass.
And the reason you’re getting condensation is because that window is now not insulating. See, when these windows were built, normally they have a seal inside. And the seal basically keeps that interior of the window between the glass in a vacuum. And to supplement that vacuum, the manufacturer adds an insulating gas, like argon, in there. So you’ve pretty much eliminated all that in these windows at this point – or the windows have eliminated it, I should say. And as a result, the warm, moist air inside your house hits that cold glass, it cools and releases its moisture and that’s why you’re always kind of mopping up after these damp windows.
Unfortunately, I think the best thing to do here is to replace the windows. I don’t think – while it’s possible to find a manufacturer that can make new, sealed, thermal-pane sealed windows for you, it’s probably not going to be – it’s probably going to be more expensive than actually replacing the window. There’s a lot of options in replacement windows today. Generally, they’re a lot easier to install than they ever were before.
And you don’t have to do the whole house at once. You can do the north side first, if you’re concerned about cold and trying to keep warmer. I’d do the north side first. And if you want to cut down on the air conditioning, do the south side first. That’s kind of the way you should approach this, systematically.
And one more thing to look for in any of those windows: just make sure you’re getting a window that’s ENERGY STAR-rated. That’s going to mean it’s real efficient and will definitely do the job going forward. And hopefully, those windows will last a lot longer without any seals failing again.
If you’ve got a home improvement question, we’d love for you to go to MoneyPit.com/Ask. If you do that, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat because we’ve got a great product to give away. Actually, two products to give away because we’ve got a set of them. It’s the Arrow 5-in-1 Manual Staple and Nail Gun. You can keep one and give away the other one as a gift.
It’s a great multipurpose tool. It’s going to handle a variety of projects, like crafts and wire-stapling and carpentry. It’s even got high- and low-power settings, so you can adjust how deep the fastener gets driven. And it’s comfortable to use, which is going to save you some time and effort.
So, the value of these two products is 86 bucks but we’re going to give them away to maybe you if you reach out with your question, again, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got Randy who’s looking for a way to pressure-wash his home.
What’s going on?
RANDY: What is the best way to pressure-wash 30-year-old, mildew-stained siding that is pet-friendly. If you can help me out on that, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you.
TOM: Hey, Randy. So that’s totally doable. And one product that I like is Simple Green. Now, Simple Green is great because it’s very environmentally-friendly. But they actually have a special formula for pressure washers. It’s called Simple Green Total Outdoor Cleaner.
And this particular product is actually rated by the EPA as a climate-friendly product. So that means it’s safe for pets, it’s safe for landscaping and so on. Not terribly expensive, either; it’s about $20 a gallon. And you could just put that right into the detergent tank on the pressure washer and you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Now we’ve Rosalie on the line who’s looking for ways to make her home more accessible.
Tell us about it.
ROSALIE: I’m looking to install an elevator in a two-story house.
TOM: That’s actually becoming very common: installing elevators in houses. It used to be something that was thought of as impossible but now, with advanced technology, it’s entirely possible. It takes the same space as, say, a small coat closet. It operates – you’re not going to have five people in it. It operates designed for a single person or maybe a person and an aide. I would make sure it’s big enough for a wheelchair, because that could happen in your future, and you’ve just to block out the space for it.
So, the first question is: where do you want to put it? And do you have access to this first floor of the elevator without having to go up – basically, the landing of the elevator without having to go up any steps or make sure there’s a ramp there. And then you need to carve out the space for it, for the two stories or whatever – however number of stories you’re going to have for this. And it can be installed.
I actually helped my cousin who had an elevator put in his house. He was impacted by a very severe hurricane in the Northeast and lost a good part of his house. And when he rebuilt, he planned in an elevator space. And the only issue we had was that it was basically accessible from ground level. And there was a small pit underneath of it for some of the controls and I guess, the springs or the motors or whatever. And that pit used to fill with water. It was something that he hadn’t thought about. But being on the shore, I guess that was something that he probably should have or at least his architect should have told him.
So, we designed a pump and found this – helped him install a pump and found one that fit perfectly underneath the elevator to keep that pit dry. But I’m telling you, it’s a tried-and-true technology today and there’s no reason you can’t do it.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps you out and gets you around the house a little bit easier.
TOM: Well, guys, do you enjoy the flexibility of using your garden hose for tasks like washing your car, your patio or even giving the family dog a bath before letting those muddy paws get inside? Well, now there’s a new product on the market called HotWave that extends this cleaning capability by providing hot water wherever and whenever you need it.
LESLIE: Yeah. And here’s how it works. Now, HotWave attaches to your garden hose and provides a continuous stream of hot water on demand. Turn on the faucet, hot water. How fantastic is that outside? You’re going to have complete control of water temperatures, spray pattern and the pressure in an easy-to-use sprayer. This is amazing.
TOM: Yeah. There are four spray patterns to choose from, so you can choose exactly which pattern you need. And it’s powered by – think of it as a miniature, tankless electric water heater. Same technology. So the temperature of the water going in is going to affect the temperature of the water coming out. But since it makes hot water as you need it, you’ll basically never run out of hot water.
LESLIE: Yeah. And HotWave has so many uses and really can tackle tough jobs like cleaning your patio, to even the more gentle jobs, like washing your favorite furry friend out of doors. I mean I love this idea; I always wanted to give the dog a bath outside but I always feel so badly that the water’s freezing. So this is amazing.
And the other thing. I know it’s not summertime yet. But do you remember when you would break out the kiddie pool and your mom would boil teapots of water to add to the super-cold water that came from the faucet. And you’d be like, “I can’t go in just yet.”
LESLIE: But with HotWave, you can get that perfect kiddie-pool temperature right away. So, yet another way to spoil our children.
TOM: HotWave retails for 239 at Amazon.com and at Rheem.com/HotWave. And I think, personally, it would make a fantastic holiday gift. Hint, hint to my family that’s probably listening.
LESLIE: I’ll send her a note, don’t worry. I’ll let Sue know.
Heading out to Chicago where we’ve got Caesar on the line.
What is going on at your Money Pit?
CAESAR: Hi, guys. We bought a house here in Chicago in the summer. And over the summer, we had some contractors come in and help us move the washer and dryer to where now they’re backed up against a wall that the other side is the outside. And so, the drainpipe is now facing the – well, the other side of the drainpipe is outside and it’s freezing in the freezing-cold temperatures here in Chicago. And so, we think that they just didn’t insulate or under-insulated and so I was wondering, what is – is there a DIY project around insulating? I know that, you know, you can get guys to come in and do an injection or maybe even blow in. It all sounds like a lot but this is a wall that’s only 8×8, so I was wondering if there’s something maybe easier that I could do, as far as insulation goes.
TOM: So you say the drainpipe is freezing. What about the supply lines?
CAESAR: Funny enough, no problems with the supply lines. We were running the washer and the water was going into the washer just fine. But then we saw flooding actually coming because the – it was obviously – when it tried to drain to drain, all the water was coming out.
TOM: Wherever that trap is – it’s the U-shaped portion of the pipe – the water just sits there and it must be being exposed to the exterior temperatures.
TOM: And this pipe is inside that wall?
TOM: Because if it’s a normal 2×4 wall, you don’t have a lot of space left for insulation. What they should have done is they should have put a piece of foam insulation, like the foil-faced foam, just backing up against the sheathing, right?
CAESAR: Oh. Yeah.
TOM: Against the sheathing. And then the pipe could have been in front of that and you would’ve had at least a thermal bridge between the exterior and the cavity. So right now, that’s probably the coldest spot in the whole exterior wall, where that pipe is, because that takes a lot. I think I have rarely heard of this happening, Caesar.
But unfortunately, there’s going to be no easy way to fix this except for cutting open the drywall and doing it right.
TOM: So you’ll have to pull the washer out of there. And what I would try to do is I would try to surgically cut out the drywall on the center of the studs. So you’re going to have a stud to the right of the pipe, a stud to the left of the pipe. And you want to cut it right down the middle of that stud so you retain that other half of the wood as the nailing edge, right?
CAESAR: Ah, gotcha. So I’m just exposing that bay and cutting so that I can cut – put the same piece of drywall back in easily, OK.
TOM: Correct. Well, that’s optimistic.
CAESAR: Oh, OK.
TOM: I don’t think you’ll be able to put the same piece of drywall back in.
TOM: You’re probably going to have to get a new piece. I would probably only do this from the height – the top of the pipe down.
TOM: We can hope that there’s insulation above that. I mean once you get it open, you’ll be able to kind of look – get your head upside-down and look up underneath that bay and see if there’s any more insulation above it. Clearly below it, it’s not.
Does this go down to a basement?
CAESAR: Well, it does go down. It’s just we’re on a concrete slab. So, when you say basement, (inaudible). And I also don’t totally know the house yet, so I don’t know exactly where it’s going but I know it’s going down. I imagine it reroutes back in towards the warmer wall, where it used to be but they just rerouted this weird shape to get it to where we wanted the washer. But now that it’s exposed to the cold, I imagine it now goes back down to where it used to go – the original drainpipe – which is more inside the house.
TOM: I don’t think they cut a hole in your slab to do this. So, they probably – they had to have run it somewhere. I’d be interested in where it’s running so that we’re sure we’re actually insulating the right section of this.
TOM: You want to see if you can trace out where you think that drain is running. Or if you can reach the contractor, ask them how they ran it so that you’re actually getting to the right place here. Because you could tear this wall open and insulate behind it and maybe it’s freezing somewhere else.
CAESAR: I see, I see. OK, yeah.
TOM: I would just replace that piece of drywall. Take that out, insulate behind it, try to get – don’t just put fiberglass behind it because it’ll get all squishy and won’t really give you much. I would try to put an isocyanurate, which is like the foam insulation or the Dow board – the blue Dow boards.
TOM: That kind of thing. And probably, unfortunately, you’re going to have to buy an enormous piece to get what you need out of this. But maybe your home center will sell you some scraps.
TOM: And fill that cavity. All the way down to the floor, all the way up as far as it goes and then insulate the rest of it with some regular fiberglass and see what happens. You might even leave it – if you do it in the near future, you might even leave it open for a while to kind of test it and see what happens before you close it back up.
CAESAR: Right, right. Well, I really appreciate it. That makes a lot of sense what you’re saying, so I’ll give it a shot.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Caesar.
CAESAR: Thanks, guys.
TOM: Hey, how’d you like to win a whole workshop full of tools to take on fall fix-up projects and more? Well, you can, right now, when you enter The Money Pit’s Fantastic Fall Fix-Up Sweepstakes.
You know why it’s fantastic, Leslie? Because I got to choose the name. And I thought Fantastic Fall Fix-Up just kind of went together. That’s why.
LESLIE: You just like to use all of the same letter and then make me read them. That’s what happens.
TOM: Yeah, the hard one.
LESLIE: You guys, he loves to put together these hard things and then make me say like, “Suffering succotash.”
TOM: Right. If we have a guest that is – had a really difficult name to pronounce, we make sure Leslie gets to do that.
LESLIE: I’m always the one. I don’t know why.
But all joking aside, we love The Money Pit’s Fantastic Fall Fix-Up Sweepstakes by Arrow, because one of you lucky winners – this grand-prize winner is going to receive $750 worth of Arrow tools. And it includes the Professional High-Temp Glue Gun, which we love and the Cordless 5-in-1 Electric Staple Gun. Both fantastic prizes.
TOM: We’ve also got 5 runner-up winners who will receive the Arrow Holiday Light Helper Prize pack worth about 100 bucks. Some good tools in there, as well. You’re all going to get plenty of staples and glue sticks to get those fall projects started.
And you can enter once a day at MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes. And one of the features of the Money Pit Sweepstakes is that you get bonus entries if you do things like click on links and follow our podcasts and stuff like that. We actually bribe you with (inaudible) entries to the sweepstakes. So, hey, it works. Everybody enjoys it.
Go to MoneyPit.com/Sweepstakes. We hope to see you there.
LESLIE: Heading out to California.
Cindy, what is going on? How can we help you?
CINDY: We have downgraded to a smaller home. And we bought this cute, little house that has got this beautiful, six-burner gas stove. And the people that built the house put the stove right next to a wooden cabinet. And I can’t use – somebody turned one burner on against the wall and it caught the cabinet on fire. So, I need to find out what I can put against that wall, that will either allow me to use the burners on the stove or not be able to use them at all and just have it look pretty.
TOM: You know, Leslie, so many folks love to have those very large, commercial-style stoves today but there’s a lot more to them than you think because you have all of this additional power, in terms of the burners. And also, you need better venting, right? You can’t use a typical vent.
And in Cindy’s case here, she’s got a serious fire risk.
So, my thought is this. Tell me if you think this makes sense. First of all, I would get in touch with the manufacturer of the stove, because there will be a specification for installation that will give you, step by step, exactly what has to be done to make sure that the surfaces around this range are fire-resistant.
There are things that we could suggest but they may or may not work. Putting stainless steel, for example, on this side of the cabinet could help. But then again, it might just heat up and you could burn yourself on it.
So, I don’t want to be – I don’t want to give you any specific advice about how to make the rest of the area that surrounds this fireproof, because I know it does exist. The manufacturers of these types of commercial ranges will have them. You really need to kind of take a step back and see how it should have been installed and then decide how you can modify your existing kitchen to make it work.
LESLIE: Alright. So, when I was a kid, I was the person that did all the shoveling. Basically, it was my older sister, then the middle sister, then me. If you had kids, they took care of the snow. It was amazing. Today, my kids will look at the snow and be like, “Yo, mom. I don’t know. It’s a lot of snow out there.” And I’m like, “Oh, thanks.” And then I go outside and deal with it. But these days, I choose not to have to shovel.
So having a snow blower really is a must. Now, if you’re ready to pick up a machine before the winter sets in – because it’s always hard to find one when you need one, so now is the time, guys – it’s not always clear on what model is the best for your home situation.
TOM: Right. So, first, let’s clarify the difference between a snow blower and a snow thrower. Because they’re actually different machines and it really has to do with the way they work.
Now, snow-removal machines come in several stages, so we have to start there. A single-stage machine is called a “thrower” because that’s what it does; it picks up snow and it sends it out the chute in one motion or one stage. But a two-stage or even a three-stage machine, those are called “snow blowers” because they actually move the snow multiple times. First, the metal auger scoops up the snow and the ice. Then a high-speed impeller throws it out through the discharge chute. And in between that, it grinds it up so it all works perfectly.
LESLIE: So, listen, guys. If you’re kind of wondering which of these machines is best for your home, you’ve got to consider some things. First, think about the area to be cleared: the amount of snow and the surface you’re clearing the snow from. Now, single-stage snow throwers, they’re typically 19 to 22 inches wide. The width really, though, isn’t as important as the height of the machines, which is limited. So the deeper the snowfall, the less effective this one’s going to be.
Also, you shouldn’t use a single-stage snow thrower if you’ve got a gravel surface, unless you really want to hurl gravel through the snow thrower and break some windows. I mean if that’s what you’re into, fine. But definitely not recommended.
TOM: Oops. Sorry about the window. Not a good way to make nice (inaudible).
But listen, if you’re battling 12-inch snow drifts, go with the 2-stage snow blower instead. Or if you’ve got a lot of space to clear – like if you’ve got a big double-wide driveway – go with the two-stage snow blower. It’s also important to note that these run on gas, so you’ll need to be serviced from time to time.
You can find electric versions, by the way. And some of these even run on batteries. But they’re only good for very small areas with very little snow, like decks and steps where a gas-powered machine just isn’t going to fit.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, regardless of the type that you choose, safety is very important when you’re using a snow blower. So, think about it. You’ve got very powerful blades moving at super-high speeds. So before it snows, think about clearing the driveway of any downed branches, toys, newspaper, other stuff that kind of just gets left out there or is thrown out there in the middle of the night while you’re sleeping. So just think about what’s out there.
Also, be sure to know the location of all landscaping light fixtures. Know that where their positions are along the driveway edge. You don’t want to run these things over with the snow blower.
And if you live in an area that gets super-deep snow or you know one super snowfall is coming, get those little marker flags or dowels or something and just kind of drop one there so they’ll stick up above the snowfall and kind of help guide you along.
TOM: And this is really important: never, ever, ever clear a clogged impeller, clogged snow blower or an auger with your hand. Don’t do it. Not only should you turn the engine off – even when the engine’s off, you need to use a wooden stick to dislodge that clog. Because sometimes, even though the engine’s off, the impeller is set to move forward. And once you lose that – once you loosen up the ice, it’ll fly forward and it could definitely seriously injure you. So, just don’t do it.
LESLIE: Ooh, I grew up with a friend who – they were one of the first to get a snow blower when we were growing up in the 80s. And he totally lost like four fingers doing this. So please be careful. Please be careful.
TOM: Oh, my God.
LESLIE: Heading out to Texas where Howard is on the line with a retaining-wall issue.
What’s going on?
HOWARD: I have one in my backyard with landscaping bricks that weigh about 25 pounds each. And the wall is leaning forward and beginning to fall over. I’ve been told it’s because there’s possibly water building up behind it and pushing that over.
LESLIE: So, Howard, I hear what’s happening. That’s not unusual. The reason it is happening – it most likely is happening is because of water. What happens is water gets behind that kind of wall and in the wintertime, it expands. Or if you have a type of soil that expands, it pushes on that wall. So water management is really the key to keeping your retaining wall in good shape.
You mentioned it’s made of landscaping blocks. That’s actually going to be your friend here, because what I’m going to tell you to do is disassemble this wall. Basically take it apart and dig out behind it. Because I want you to try to have at least 6 to 12 inches of stone behind that wall for its entire height. You kind of want to trench behind it because that’s going to allow the water to sort of fall and not expand into that landscaping block.
And what I would also do, when you rebuild this, is I wouldn’t ever make a retaining wall completely vertical. I’d always lean it into the hill, just for this very reason. Because if nothing else, if it moves a little bit, at least I’m not now teetering over. So you want to do this – especially with the landscaping blocks, it’s easy to do – is you’re basically just sort of overlapping them in such a way as you sort of step in with each one a little bit, to kind of give you a little bit of an angled wall when you’re done.
Now, I don’t know how high this is; I’m going to assume it’s not terribly high. If it’s really high, then you may have some deeper structural issues. But if it’s a typical retaining wall – it’s 3 or 4 or 5 feet high – you should be able to address it in that fashion.
Well, if you want to improve your home’s insulation and feel comfortable all winter long, the attic in your home is definitely the place to start. But if you’re a DIYer, it’s also one of the easiest places to add insulation to improve comfort and maximize your energy efficiency.
LESLIE: Now, one way to do just that is by adding blown-in insulation. Now, typically, this loose type of insulation has got to be installed be a pro. But Owens Corning has a system called AttiCat, which actually enables DIYers to do this project themselves.
Now, AttiCat Expanding Blown-In Insulation is specifically designed to add attic insulation in new or existing homes. Now, you can always hire an independent pro to do the job for you. Or you can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and rent an AttiCat blowing machine and easily do it yourself.
Now, the machine is engineered specifically for insulating your attic. In fact, topping up your attic insulation with Owens Corning’s AttiCat System can save you up to 20 percent in energy costs.
TOM: Now, the project can be done in as little as 2 hours. There is an easy chart to tell you how many bags are needed per square foot. And you just load up the machine with the AttiCat PINK Loose-Filled Fiberglass and blow the insulation right where it’s needed.
Now, here’s a trick: you could even set up some rulers or yardsticks in the areas you want to insulate. This’ll help you guide the depth of the insulation so it’s nice and even across the entire space.
LESLIE: And the best part about insulating your attic is that you feel the difference immediately. It’s the same as putting on a coat and a hat. That warmth is almost instant.
TOM: You can find AttiCat PINK Loose-Filled Fiberglass and any of the Owens Corning insulation products at Home Depot or Lowe’s stores or learn more at HomeDepot.com or Lowes.com.
LESLIE: Patrice is on the line and has a question about adding some LED lighting to her bath.
PATRICE: I’m seeing a lot of LED lights on TikTok trending and I think it looks really cool. I think it would make my bathroom look really cool. But I don’t like the fact that you have to plug it into the wall. And I think that the cable is a little unsightly. Do you have any tips for covering up the wire or making – having the effect of an LED light in the bathroom without having to have an ugly wire hanging out of my ceiling?
LESLIE: I get it. You don’t want to see a lot of cords. You want to make sure things look clean. I think with LED lighting, there’s a lot of different options for things that are cordless or a pro electrician can hide the cords. It really depends on the type of fixture that you’re looking at to determine the best way to disguise that.
If there are some cords or cabling that you do need to see, I always try to run it behind a piece of conduit or a piece of molding or some crown molding. It’s kind of dependent on where that fixture is going. There are ways that you can hide it behind a piece of trim so that it’s not being pinched or compromised in any way but it’s totally hidden in a super-decorative manner.
TOM: Yeah. The other option is there are a lot of LED lights out there now that run off batteries, because they just don’t use that much power. But then you’ll have to be dealing with switching the lights on and off and that’s going to lose its value pretty soon. I think that would get you pretty bored.
So, I like your suggestion, Leslie. Great ways to hide those cords.
Hey, here’s a quick tip. Thanksgiving is coming up and a lot of people like to clean their ovens before that happens. Don’t do it the day before. Really, really bad mistake.
LESLIE: Unless you want takeout. Maybe.
TOM: Yeah. That’s right. When you run your oven through a self-cleaning cycle, it really stresses out the appliance. And if it’s going to fail, believe me, it’s going to fail right there just before it’s time to pop the turkey in the oven. So don’t do it. Do it now. Do it a few days before but don’t do it the day before.
LESLIE: But also – pro tip – if you don’t want the person making the turkey, maybe go ahead. I don’t know. Chance it.
TOM: Alright. Aaron reached out to The Money Pit. And Aaron says, “I am buying a house that had been sitting vacant for the past year. And I am curious if y’all got any tips.” That’s what he said. He must be from the South. “Any tips on how to rejuvenate a 10×10 garden in the backyard? Are there things I can do now in the fall to benefit myself in the spring?”
Well, yes there are. Right, Leslie? I mean first of all, he should definitely be pulling out any plants that are there right now. Probably tilling the garden, right? You can rototill that and then add fertilizer. That’s going to help get that soil rejuvenated through the winter and get it ready for next spring.
But I’m also thinking this is a good time for sort of the hardscaping, right? So, fencing and that sort of thing.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah, for sure. I want to also say that with the sort of garden bed, if there’s any leaves, debris, get those out of there. If you see any perennials that are still sort of thriving right now, that you know will come back next year and maybe they’ve overgrown from neglect, you can divide them at this time and replant them. So kind of assess what you have. Then go ahead, like Tom said: till it, fertilize it. If you’re going to compost, you can add the compost to it now at this point. And then I would cover everything with mulch.
And then like Tom said, this is a great time of year to think about hardscaping. Are you adding a patio? Are you changing the border? Are you putting up a little fence around it? Are you adding anything new? This is a really good time to kind of take a look at what you’ve got and get ready for the new season. I think this is all great. Congrats.
TOM: Yeah. In my neighborhood, when we put up a garden fence, it’s got to be 6 feet high. Otherwise, the deer just jump over it and have at it.
LESLIE: They do love your garden, Tom.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, Pam wants to know: “Is it possible to insulate the outside of a house, to stop condensation on a basement wall? It seems to be mostly on the north wall and it only happens where the concrete is above ground.”
TOM: Totally expected, Pam. So first of all, it’s happening on the north wall because that’s the coldest wall. It’s happening where the concrete’s above ground, because it’s not insulated by the ground. And it’s happening because you’ve got warm, moist air in your basement area that’s basically resting or hitting the cold north wall. And then it’s giving up – it’s cooling and giving up its moisture. So that’s where it’s all kind of coming together.
So what you need to do is you need to insulate that wall. I would insulate it on the inside. You can add – there are special types of basement-wall insulations. Or you can use foam, like Dow board, and put that on the basement wall. And that will stop that surface from being able to release its moisture.
And by the way, probably a good idea to add a dehumidifier, as well. Because if you’ve got that much humidity in the basement, getting that much water, it’s probably damper than it needs to be.
LESLIE: Alright, Pam. I hope that helps you out. And you know, think about other ways you can keep your basement nice and warm. You can put down some area rugs. You can really make it cozy down there. So enjoy that basement space once your keep it from being chilly and wet.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Happy fall, everybody. You getting ready for Turkey Day that’s coming up very soon? Are you still taking on some projects around your house before it gets too chilly to do that? Hey, remember, whatever’s going on in your Money Pit, we can help you turn it from house to home to castle, give you some tips and ideas to get started or get you out of a jam in the middle of it. And reach out to us anytime for those answers at 888-MONEY-PIT or go to MoneyPit.com/Ask.
But for now, that’s all the time we have. The show does continue online, though. 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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