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: Give us a call, right now, because we are here to help you with your home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Are you working on a décor project? We’d love to hear about that, as well. What projects do you have planned for the next season, the fall season? That’s usually when we kind of are ready to get back into fixing up our houses before the cold weather shows up. Or are you struggling through some really super-warm days right now and you need some tips on how to stay cool, how to improve that A/C in your house? All great questions. Let’s talk about it at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, now that we are officially in the dog days of summer, you might find that you’re having a hard time maintaining a lush, green lawn. Well, the good news is that it’s actually OK to let your lawn go a little brown for this month if you know how to protect it so it’ll jump back once the weather cools off. We’ll tell you, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, if you’re planning to buy a home in the months ahead, you don’t want to do that without taking one very important step and that’s getting a professional home inspection. We’re getting to get expert advice from Randy Sipe, the president of the American Society of Home Inspectors.
TOM: Plus, we’ve got tips for low-cost to no-cost ways to keep you cool during these warm days of the summer season.
LESLIE: And if you give us a call today with your home improvement question, you might also win a $50 prize pack that will help make your outdoor living much more comfortable. We’re giving away a supply of the new Terminix AllClear Mosquito Bait & Kill.
Now, this is the only control product that mosquitoes will actually eat. And then in just two to three weeks’ time, your populations are cut by more than 90 percent. So that’s a huge way to get rid of mosquitoes.
TOM: Good stuff. And I love the fact that it’s 100-percent nontoxic and safe for people. You’ll get 2 twin packs, plus we’re going to throw in a $25 gift card to The Home Depot. So pick up the phone, right now, and call us with your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now, we’ve got Janet in Georgia on the line who wants help with a decking project. What’s going on at your money pit?
JANET: I just had a deck built last month and already, some of the boards are kind of shrinking because it’s been raining on and off a little bit.
JANET: And I was wondering when it would be the best time to stain the wood. Is it that I’m staining it against the water or I’m just staining it in general?
LESLIE: OK. Do you know what material your deck was made out of?
JANET: We bought the wood at Home Depot. It was supposed to be a pretreated wood?
LESLIE: So just a pressure-treated lumber.
JANET: Pressure-treated. That’s correct.
LESLIE: OK. So, really, what I always do with a pressure-treated lumber, just because of the fact that they inject a different type of chemical into the wood itself to make it weather-resistant – so it can be a little wet. And since you’re dealing with a high-moisture situation in your weather anyway, you might just want to give it the summer season to sort of dry out as best it can. And then in the autumn – when you’re dealing with some drier, low-humidity weather – it could be a great time to put a finish on it.
Now, you do want to let it dry out. So if you’re dealing with some wet weather as you’re getting into a weekend that you want to work on the project, wait until you’ve had a good few days of dryness and you know it’s going to be dry the day you’re working, so that that wood does get a chance to dry out. And then, depending on how it looks and the look that you want, I definitely wouldn’t paint it, because paint is just going to sit right on top of that lumber and then just peel off throughout the winter season and you’ll have to do something again in the spring.
JANET: Right. I really didn’t want painting, because I just like the look of the wood. And I know that there’s something that I have to do every so often. They tell me every year I’d have to stain it or something.
LESLIE: It really depends on what manufacturer’s stain that you buy. And keep in mind there’s solid-color stains and there’s semi-transparent stains. So if you want to see the grain in the wood, you’ll want to go with something more semi-transparent so that you’ll actually get some color or just some natural tone. And you’ll be able to see that grain through it.
And you want to apply it just in the way that the manufacturer says. And you’re probably going to get about three years on horizontal surfaces, maybe five on vertical before you’ve got to tackle it again. Depends on how dry that lumber is on that decking when you do, you know, put the stain on.
JANET: OK. That sounds good.
TOM: Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: William in Missouri is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you today?
WILLIAM: Yeah. I have a – I live in a modular house. It’s 3,000 square feet. And I have a bounce in the floor in the middle of the house. What do I need to do to solve that issue?
TOM: When was it built?
WILLIAM: It’s almost 16 years old.
LESLIE: And is it like a really long, wide room?
WILLIAM: Well, it’s the living room. It’s like 20 feet by 13 feet.
TOM: Now, are the floor beams – the floor joists underneath that – are they traditional two-by floor beams or are they – do they look more like a plywood beam?
WILLIAM: Yeah. They’re a two-by – look like a 2×10 to me.
TOM: Like a 2×10. OK. Well, here’s the thing: if it’s always had this bounce in it, it may be technically built correctly. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s bouncing. So what you could do is you could add a girder down the middle of those beams – basically split them in half. And that would basically take the flex or the bounce out of this.
Now, it wouldn’t be the kind of girder that you typically would build first and put the entire floor structure and the rest of the house on top of it. You’re basically just going to build either a girder or a wall underneath the middle of those beams to basically cut the span in half. And that would take out the bounce. So if it’s really bothering you, that’s the way to do it.
The reason I asked you about the plywood beams – because a lot of times in prefabricated houses, you get these types of beams called TJIs that look like kind of like a wooden I-beam with a plywood web. And they tend to bounce a lot. But if that’s not what you’re doing – not the case here, you’ve just got a pretty long span, that’s what’s causing that flex. I think adding an intermediate girder would take it out.
WILLIAM: Well, that sounds like a winner to me. Do I need to get a contractor to look at it or an engineer or anything?
TOM: It’s not a bad idea. Just to make sure that this is not a condition that’s developing because of any construction defect. The process itself is pretty straightforward if you’re handy but if not, you can have a pro do it. But I do think it’s a good idea to have it looked at by an expert that can actually see it.
WILLIAM: OK. Well, I sure do appreciate the help.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call with your home improvement question. Pretty much whatever you are working on, we are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you having a hard time keeping your cool, literally and figuratively, through these warm summer days? We’re going to give you some low-cost and no-cost ways to stay cool and comfortable, 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: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a prize that’s going to keep you itch-free. It’s a supply of Terminix AllClear Mosquito Bait & Kill.
And this is a really interesting, new product that works in three simple steps. First, it sort of baits the mosquitoes with a sugar attractant. They love to get near that sugar. And it uses a formula that mimics the mosquitoes’ sort of natural plant sugar, which makes it very irresistible, so they can’t help but feed on it. And then they actually kill them with indigestible toxin, which is – guess what? It’s garlic oil. Apparently, it’s very toxic to mosquitoes, yet it’s safe for people, pets and the environment.
And it’s really effective because it collapses the populations in two to three weeks. In fact, after feeding, mosquitoes begin to die off within 24 to 48 hours. And in just 2, 3 weeks, it decreases the populations by more than 90 percent.
You’re going to get a supply of Terminix AllClear Mosquito Bait & Kill, plus a $25 gift card from The Home Depot for any home improvement projects around the backyard you’d like to tackle.
Learn more at BaitAndKill.com. And give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Della in Iowa is on the line with an attic-fan question. How can we help you?
DELLA: My husband and I – our attic fan went out.
DELLA: And we don’t know the first thing about attic fans.
TOM: OK. Do you have central air conditioning, Della?
DELLA: Yes, we do.
TOM: OK. How old is your house?
DELLA: It’s like 35 years old, 40 maybe.
TOM: And what kinds of roof vents do you have?
DELLA: We have a slanted – all one roof. It goes straight down. We just have a little portion of the home that’s attic. We have the – it doesn’t have any attic above the living room and the dining room area.
TOM: Alright. Because generally, we don’t recommend attic fans for homes that have central air conditioning and here’s why: because when the attic fan operates, it depressurizes the attic and then it draws air from inside the house and up into the attic and exhausts it. So what that does is kind of robs some of your air conditioning, because most attic fans are overpowered for the attic spaces that they’re in.
A better approach is just to use passive vents where you have, say, ridge vents that go down the peak of the roof and soffit vents that …
DELLA: We have that.
TOM: You have that.
DELLA: We have huge overhang with the little vents all the way around.
TOM: Then I wouldn’t worry about the attic fan.
DELLA: A guy – one of the guys says that make sure – see, we have three story – it’s not a real story; it’s like 12, 14 to the upper level. Then we have the basement, first floor and then all of our bedrooms and guest rooms are up on the third level. But we thought it would be cooler to get that hot air out of the attic.
TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t think you need another attic fan. It sounds like you’ve got exactly what you need to have right now.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Stuart in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
STUART: Hey. Well, I was calling to ask you about, though – I’ve got the stucco house.
STUART: One of a kind here in East Atlanta, (inaudible at 0:11:04).
STUART: But I’m noticing the small cracks and (inaudible at 0:11:10), nothing really serious. And it’s specifically in the paint.
And so we had it painted. About six years ago, they pressure-washed it. Did a really nice prime coat and then two topcoats. It’s about time to repaint it, I think, so question is: is about six years right on repainting? So the – every six years or is there a better strategy so it’d be more complete and protect my stucco?
TOM: It feels a little light. Six years for an outside paint job seems like it – I’d rather see you try to get eight to ten years out of it. But if it needs paint, it needs paint.
Now, in terms of the cracks, is the stucco cracking or is it just the paint that’s cracking?
TOM: OK. So, for the stucco cracks, once you prime the surface and clean the old paint, before you repaint – reprime, in this case – you’re going to want to seal those. If they’re very fine cracks, like under a ½-inch in terms of width …
STUART: Oh, yeah, they’re small, very small. In width, in terms of width, like 1/8-, 1/16-inch.
TOM: OK. So you can use a crack sealant. And QUIKRETE makes one that’s designed for stucco repair, that has kind of like a sanded sort of feel to it.
TOM: And it blends in with the stucco and it’s paintable; it’s an acrylic formula.
TOM: So get some of the QUIKRETE Stucco Repair. It looks like caulk; it comes in a caulk-like tube. Designed specifically for stucco repair, though, because then you get that sanded formula and it’ll, texture-wise, kind of fit in with the rest of the stucco.
But make sure you seal up all those cracks because otherwise, if you get water in there, then it expands and causes additional havoc, you know? So just make sure you seal them up first and then repaint the place.
STUART: Alright. Well, thanks a whole lot. I appreciate your help.
TOM: Well, we call them the “dog days of summer” for a good reason. August always seem to be the hottest. So if you feel like your A/C is running overtime and your house just isn’t getting as cool as it could, well, you’re right. And besides the higher energy bills, there’s also a lot of wasted energy. So much so, in fact, it actually might shock you.
LESLIE: Yeah. Did you know that the average house gives off more greenhouse gases than a car? Two times more, in fact. How about this one? The average homeowner spends about $2,000 a year on utilities. And heating-and-cooling bills account for nearly half of that.
TOM: Now, there are a few things that you can do to not only cool off more quickly but also cut costs, as well. You can keep the heat out by increasing attic insulation, you can use drapes and blinds and consider upgrading your roofing and your windows.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you can keep the cool in. You want to seal and insulate your cooling ducts in the attic and seal gaps and cracks and any leaks that you find around your home. Also, keep your cooling system efficient by properly maintaining it every year. And remember, close off the vents in rooms that you just don’t use.
TOM: And there are some other sort of no-cost ways to keep cool. If you have storm windows in your house and you’re using room air conditioners or central air conditioners, those storm windows should be kept down. Because remember, those same cold drafts that leak in the winter – you have the warm drafts that leak in in the summer. And that makes it harder for you to cool your house.
You can also think about using anything that generates heat in your house only at night when it’s cooler. So that might be to run your dryer at night or if you’re baking a cake, run the oven at night. Those heat-generating appliances do contribute to the heat load in the house and it causes the air conditioners to run longer to cool them off. So, run them only at night in the warmer, warmer days.
And if you’ve got a ceiling fan, make sure that it’s pulling cold air up, not pushing warm air down. There’s a little switch on the side called a “reversing switch.” If you flick that, that’s all you need to do. So, hope that helps you out and gives you some ideas on how you can keep cool in your house through these final warm days of summer.
888-666-3974. What are you working on in your money pit? We want to hear right now.
LESLIE: Ruth in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
RUTH: I have – it’s on the inside of my house. I have redwood stain and I have a white film. I’ve used furniture polish and got it off, thinking that took care of it, but it’s back again.
LESLIE: Where is this stain? Is it trim work? Is it …?
RUTH: It’s the banister and the doors.
TOM: And you have a redwood stain on these areas?
RUTH: Yes. It’s a redwood stain on it.
TOM: Well, if it’s trim work and banisters, doesn’t it have a finish coat on it, like a polyurethane?
RUTH: No, it does not.
TOM: Typically, for banisters and trim, you would use the stain first, then you would have a clear coat on top of that.
RUTH: No, it does not have that.
TOM: So, is it fairly rough to the touch then?
RUTH: Yes, it is.
TOM: So, what I would do then – because the stain is not designed to be the finish coat. Stain is designed to be covered with a urethane. So I would do this and I would do this in an experimental way to start with. I would clean it again, make sure it’s nice and dry and then I would seal it or urethane it.
And I think on the trim, you could use water-based urethane; get a quart of it. And it goes on real thin, it dries very quick and it will seal in that stain. And see if that protects it in the way you expect it to behave. Because stain is really just designed to color the wood and make the grain come out. It’s the urethane that gives you the wear-and-tear protection.
RUTH: I appreciate your help. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ruth. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Steven in South Carolina is on the line with a water heater that seems to be leaking. And it’s only four months old, so that’s not good. Tell us what’s going on.
STEVEN: Leslie, I consider myself a home improvement master.
STEVEN: And I put in this new water heater in a rental unit that I have – a rental unit/townhouse. And I went over there the other day and noticed that the pressure-relief valve is slowly leaking. And I can’t figure out why it would be leaking.
TOM: Well, Steven, there’s two reasons it could be leaking: the first is that you have a bad pressure-relief valve; the second is that your water heater is not working correctly and it’s actually building up excess pressure. And as a result, the valve is doing exactly what it’s intended to do, which is to open up if the pressure in the valve exceeds – or the pressure in the tank exceeds 150 pounds. So which is it? That is the question.
And I wouldn’t recommend that you do this project yourself. But I guess the first thing I would do is probably replace that valve and see if it continues to happen.
TOM: The other thing that you could try to do is you could try to let a little bit of water out of it. Since it’s already leaking, it’s probably not going to get much worse. We almost never tell people to do this because sometimes, if there is a little crud in the water from dirt or debris that’s inside the plumbing system in your house, it can actually make the leaking worse. But if it’s already leaking pretty bad, I would open and close that little valve lever – the lever on the side of the valve that releases some pressure – a few times. Just let some water blast out of that and see if it resets.
But if it continues, then there’s something wrong with the water heater and it’s doing its job.
STEVEN: Well, let me ask you this. What about – I put it in the same way it was installed 10, 12 years ago. And it’s just the hot water out, cold water in. And isn’t there some kind of a diaphragm-type valve or something that can go on the newer water heaters?
TOM: It doesn’t – it’s not for that, OK? You may be talking about a water-hammer arrestor but this has nothing to do with the pressure in your water heater. The water heater is an appliance that’s designed to work by itself. It’s designed to heat the water and deliver the water to your domestic system. And specifically, if it’s not doing that correctly, in terms of this valve, it’s going to open up and prevent it from rupturing.
So, no. The water heater is not supposed to leak and if it is leaking, something’s wrong – either a bad valve or a bad water heater – and you’ve got to get to the bottom of it.
STEVEN: I appreciate your insight.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project.
STEVEN: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully, it works out for me.
TOM: Alright. I’m sure it will. Steven, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you guys in the market to buy a new home? Well, how do you make sure that you don’t end up with a real-life money pit? Guys, you’ve got to make sure that you find yourself a good home inspector. We’re going to have Randy Sipe stopping by – and he’s the president of the American Society of Home Inspectors – to share tips on how you can find a good one to help you out.
ANNOUNCER: Today’s Money Pit is presented by Haier, the world’s number-one appliance brand. Stay cool this summer with a Haier Serenity Series Air Conditioner. Quieter than the average window air conditioners, yet cool your home effectively and efficiently. Learn more at HaierAmerica.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, if you’re thinking of buying or even selling a home, there’s one step in the process that you don’t ever want to forget. And that’s getting a professional home inspection.
LESLIE: That’s right. Not only will your inspector help you make sure that your home is structurally and mechanically sound, they do that without any conflict of interest, because they never work on homes that they inspect.
TOM: With us to learn more is Randy Sipe, the president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, the nation’s leading home inspection association.
RANDY: Thank you, Tom and Leslie.
TOM: And by way of full disclosure, I am actually still a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. As you guys know, did it for about 20 years. So really glad to get you on today and find out kind of what’s new in the industry. What are home inspectors looking for today, Randy, that perhaps they didn’t years back?
RANDY: Things have changed a lot. The way that – the in-depthness (ph) of the inspection. People expect a lot more with the internet activity people have. They can Google about everything. So, they’re looking at the home inspector for the next step. So when the home inspector points things out to them, they’re going to have a lot more questions because they’re more knowledgeable as a buyer today.
TOM: And I think those educated buyers actually are a terrific compliment to the home inspector’s skill set, because we love when folks ask us questions and do take that next sort of deep dive into the content.
RANDY: That is true. And I love your show, The Money Pit, because that’s exactly – a money pit can be everything from something that needs a lot of work to something that doesn’t need - or on the surface need a lot of work.
TOM: Well, for us, it’s a term of endearment, you know? We love our homes but we’re always pumping money into them.
For those that are not familiar with home inspectors, Randy, let’s talk about the unique skill set that inspectors have, which I think a lot of folks don’t appreciate and also, just as important, how they avoid conflicts of interest. There are so many contractors out there that offer “free inspections” and then miraculously find problems that they invite you to hire them to fix.
RANDY: And you’re right, Tom. And that’s one thing that the ASHI members can be proud of is that our code of ethics prohibit us from making any other type of financial gain off the property that we inspected. So when we walk in on a property to do the inspection, we have nothing else to gain other than inform the buyer of the condition of the property that we’re looking at.
LESLIE: Is there a most common issue that the home inspectors are finding or is it just really so different from property to property?
RANDY: There’s always the same issues you see about on every house. Depending on the age, it changes. But grading issues are always something that we have to pay attention to, especially for water getting intrusion into the basements or giving us foundation problems. Those seem to be a constant adjustment for people and they don’t realize that. And it’s as simple as gutters: gutters clogging up, backing water up to the house or causing ice dams in the winter. These are things that we commonly see.
TOM: Now, if folks are shopping for a home inspector, how do you do an apples-to-apples comparison? How do you find the best pro for your particular project?
RANDY: Well, that’s a great question. And you have to ask a lot of questions. The first thing, of course – and I being an ASHI inspector, I would ask that. Are you an ASHI-certified inspector? And let me tell you what that means because nobody else does that. A certified ASHI inspector means that they’ve undergone a rigorous battery of exams. There’s a third-party organization that has certified us as a truly certified organization. We’re the only people that have done that so far. So we don’t have a committee that says you’re certified. We actually have a third-party group that does national certifications that have already told us what – the criteria that they have to meet to get to that stage.
So I would also ask questions. “How long have you done this?” “What did you do previously?” I think those are two of the key important things. Because what the current market condition – the way it is, lots of sales going on, people are saying, “I kind of like that profession. Maybe that’s what I want to do.” But I’m telling you that you have to have a good educational background in construction, you have to know – you have to have that third eye, you have to have that detective mind to go into a house and not just look at what’s on the surface. You have to actually really dig deep. When something doesn’t look right, you need to know where to look to find out why it is not right.
LESLIE: Now, Randy, because you have this investigative sort of background, as it goes into the home inspection arena, when you’re seeing all of these issues that are going on in a home, do you think there’s something that you’re learning there that you can share with homeowners so that maybe they can do some DIY maintenance that can help them avoid major issues?
RANDY: Well, sure, Leslie. And I’ll tell you what: everybody puts things off to the back burner and well, it just doesn’t seem that important to them. But I’m going to tell you, water intrusion is the worst thing that can happen to a house. If you have an old roof, be proactive, get the roof changed. If you have an old water heater that’s 12 years old, it’s getting on in its life, be proactive, get that water heater replaced. Because guess when it’s going to break and water’s going to go all over your home. It’s when you’re not at home and there’s no way to shut the water off. So you need to be proactive on things that have an expected life expectancy and get them changed before they fail on you.
TOM: We’re talking to Randy Sipe. He’s the president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. If you are buying or selling a home, you should not, not, not do that without the skill set of an American Society of Home Inspector-certified inspector taking a look at that.
We’ve talked about buyers. Let’s talk about sellers. I think there’s a lot of benefits that sellers can gain by having that home inspected before it goes on the market, right?
RANDY: Oh, absolutely, Tom. And it’s surprising. People get complacent with things. They forget about a dripping faucet. They forget about things. They just live with these things. So when that inspector comes in and he starts going through the house and he makes a good, what I call, “honey-do list” for these people, now he knows what he needs to do. Some things might be in their skill set, which would be an easy fix. Some things may be not. But he now has a full awareness, so if he doesn’t get up to the 11th hour before closing and now, all of a sudden, the deal starts to fall apart because there’s too many things. He can be very proactive in that sense.
TOM: Good advice. If you are buying or selling a home, please get a professional home inspector. You can find the best ones in the nation by going to HomeInspector.org. That’s HomeInspector.org, the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Randy Sipe, the president, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
RANDY: Well, thank you, Tom and Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright. It’s about this time of year that you see some lawns go from that beautiful, velvety green to more of a haystack brown. We’re going to have tips for your summer lawn survival, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by the Generac iQ2000 Portable Inverter Generator. Quiet, portable power anywhere from home to the jobsite, campsite, tailgating and more. Money Pit listeners who call 800-965-1172 or visit GeneracIQ.com will receive free shipping and a free copy of Tom and Leslie’s book to the first 100 who order. That’s 800-965-1172 or GeneracIQ.com.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. We want to help you with whatever it is you are working on this fine weekend. And we also want to give you a great prize. And this one will keep you itch-free, mosquito-bite free for the rest of the summer. We’re giving away a supply of Terminix AllClear Mosquito Bait & Kill.
Now, the Bait & Kill works in three simple steps. First of all, it’s going to bait the mosquitoes with sort of like this sugary attractant. And it’s really a formula that mimics mosquitoes’ natural plant sugar. And they love it and they cannot help but feed on it.
Two, it’s going to kill mosquitoes with a safe, ingestible toxin. Now, the sugar bait that’s being used gives the mosquitoes a lethal dose of what is toxic to them but it’s perfectly safe around people, pets, even the environment.
And lastly, it’s going to collapse the mosquito population around your money pit in two to three weeks. So after the feeding, you’re going to notice that mosquitoes will begin to die within that first 24 to 48 hours. And then in just two to three weeks, you’re going to see that population decrease by more than 90 percent. It’s 100-percent nontoxic and safe for people, pets and the environment.
And we’ve got up for grabs a supply of Terminix AllClear Mosquito Bait & Kill, plus a $25 gift card for home improvement projects around your backyard.
TOM: You can learn more at BaitAndKill.com and give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Rosie in Iowa who’s got a window question.
Hey, Rosie. What’s going on? How can we help you?
ROSIE: We have Andersen Windows, which we just love the low-E glass on the first level. We want to put some – keep the hot sun and the cold out in the – we want to put new windows on the third level, in the bedroom, the guest rooms.
TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. Yep.
ROSIE: Can you suggest what type of window? We’d have to do a replacement window.
TOM: Yeah. Andersen has a replacement window called the 400 Series. It’s a tilt-wash window, so like a double-hung that tilts down for cleaning. And it’s specifically a replacement window.
So, you order the window to fit the size of your existing windows there that you’re going to replace. And you can order it at The Home Depot. And I think the average cost is about $300 across the country, more or less, depending on size and features. But that’s a good window. It’s got high-performance glass in it; it’s got low-E4 glass in it.
ROSIE: Oh, we just love the ones we put in the basement. You can leave it – the window – open. You know, I’ve got plants down there and it doesn’t even feel warm, the sun.
TOM: Yeah. Take a look at the Andersen 400 Series Window at The Home Depot, OK?
ROSIE: Well, we were thinking about a cheaper one, like Window World or somewhere like that.
TOM: Why do that? You’ve had great experience with Andersen and the price is pretty fair. The average price is about 300 bucks.
ROSIE: Thank you so much. And that was Series 400?
TOM: Series 400. 400 Series. That’s correct.
ROSIE: Four hundred. Well, now you want to come and put them in for me? You’re so good at it and I know you love extra money.
TOM: I can’t do that but I’m sure the pros at The Home Depot could help. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’ve ever watched your lawn fade from luscious green to a wheat-field brown during these warm days of summer, you know how helpless you can feel. But one thing you might want to do is just, as my kids would say, take a chill pill. Because it doesn’t mean that the lawn’s dead.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Guys, your brown grass doesn’t actually mean that your lawn has died; it just means that your lawn’s taking a little nap. Seriously. That’s the one way you can use dirt nap effectively. No, guys, really. If you want to deal with your summer grass, first of all, you’ve got to cut back on mowing it. It really is best to keep your grass a little bit longer during the height of summer.
Now, cutting too much will actually cause that grass to lose more moisture from the ends that you’ve just cut. Now, if your lawn’s in good shape, you can allow your grass to grow into a semi-dormant state if you just cut back on the watering.
TOM: And if brown is not your color or you do prefer to water, you want to do so very early in the morning to give the lawn a chance to dry by nighttime, to discourage problems with bugs and disease. And it’s best to water heavily a couple of times a week to encourage deeper root growth rather than light watering every day. The roots that are closer to the surface are more susceptible to heat and they’re far less likely to turn into a dead grass-looking lawn.
For more tips on how to keep your lawn in great shape, head on over to MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Dale in Wisconsin is on the line with a leaky roof. Tell us what’s going on.
DALE: Well, we’ve got a metal roof. It’s a Pro-Rib system? Think of it as a pole barn but the basic structure is made out of metal trusses and then roof purlins and side girts.
DALE: And I’m assuming that they’re coming in from around – the leaks are coming right – because it’s not a lot of water. If I put a measuring cup underneath one of the drips, it probably wouldn’t fill up unless it was a really, really torrential rain. And then it also depends on which direction the wind is blowing.
TOM: OK. So what’s your question, Dale?
DALE: I’m looking for a hint on how to repair this, because I was hoping this was going to be my last house.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, you need to figure out where it’s coming from exactly. Is it possible to get on the roof?
DALE: Yeah. But I’m not as young as I used to be and I don’t bounce quite as well.
TOM: Yeah, I hear you.
Because one way to kind of track it down is to wet down different sections of the roof with a garden hose to try to figure out where the breakdown is. And then from there, if you can track it down to just one or two panels, I mean I would silicone-caulk it just to see if it stops it or slows it down.
And if that’s the case and it works, great. If it works for a while but then doesn’t work any further, then probably you’re going to have to have a roofing contractor take apart those sections where the leaks are and then seal them that way.
DALE: OK. Sounds like a good plan. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Dale. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, summer vacation is a great time to redo your kid’s room. We’re going to have some tips for fun and easy ways that you can spruce up a space for your youngest family members, 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: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. We would love to talk about that.
Hey, you can also post your question to our website at MoneyPit.com, which is exactly what Brittany did. And she’s kind of annoyed by a noise in her house.
LESLIE: I don’t blame her. This is what Brittany writes: “The toilet in our main bathroom lets out a shrieking, high-pitched tone whenever water is run anywhere else in the house. The only way to stop the noise is either to stop running the water or go flush the toilet. What is causing this and more importantly, for our sanity, how do we fix it?”
TOM: It’s interesting that she hears the noise in the toilet. And it must have to do with the toilet valve. That’s the only thing I could think would cause this. And what I would simply suggest that you do, Brittany, is to replace the fill valve on that toilet. And heck, while you’re at it, replace the flush valve, too.
Those valves can be quite noisy when they start to wear. And that might be what’s really annoying you here. And because of the nature of plumbing pipes, they transmit a lot of sound. And in fact, if you had a bad valve somewhere else in the house, you may very well hear it in that bathroom. You’ve got to get to the source of the valve that’s causing it and replace it and that will solve that problem and hopefully, restore your sanity.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Michael who writes: “I have an oak finish on a door and I want to keep the door natural-looking. It has a hole in it but the patch isn’t staying hard. What can I do to fix this?”
TOM: You know, when you have a hole in a door and especially if it’s a hollow-core door, which is what I suspect this is, you can’t put enough patch material in there to have it harden. It just won’t happen. So what you have to do is you actually have to repair, mechanically or structurally, the back of that patch. What I would do is get an additional piece of material behind the patch inside the door, put a couple of flathead screws flush with the front of the door and add the patch material on top of that. This means the patch material will only be fairly, fairly thin and this way, it will dry as it should and you can sand it and paint it and you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Alright. I hope that helps.
TOM: Well, summer vacation is a great time to redo a kid’s room. And Leslie has some fun and easy ideas for sprucing up those spaces for the youngest family members, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. This really is the perfect time of year to design a room makeover for your kids. It’s super fun, guys. I love it when I have the opportunity to design a space for a kid. You really want to get them involved in the planning and let them help with the project. It makes them feel like they have ownership. Plus, you can kind of guide them in the way of the things that you want to happen as far as overall design choices. But let them really get involved, because it’s so fun to see where their imagination takes them with what their room is going to be.
Now, here’s the key, guys: storage. It’s always an issue. So set up show-off storage if they’ve got fun action figures or even Barbie dolls. You can do this by adhering iron-on pockets to an existing curtain. And this way this’ll keep them organized and keep their toys in a fun place where they can get to them.
Now, if you’ve got a child who really needs to stay focused, as far as scheduling and all of their different events that are going on, you can create a scheduling center on a door with some chalkboard paint.
Now, if you’re looking for a fun way to get a geography lesson and even brighten up the space, you can put a map of the United States, of the globe, whatever on your tabletop and then put a layer of clear glass or Plexiglas or something on top of it and then attach that to the tabletop. And that sort of protects that map there. And then you can let your kids have at it with a dry-erase marker. It really is interesting because it lets them sort of work on the geography and draw and feel happy with their own space.
If you can keep your kids’ interests in mind, they really are going to love hanging out in their room and they’ll probably keep it neater longer. I’m just saying.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, they’re easy to install, very affordable and add a sense of security. We’re talking about motion-detector lights. And we’re going to give you tips on how to get that project done, on the 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.
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(Copyright 2016 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.)