- Learn how to keep your lawn green and healthy through the hottest months of the summer, plus how to handle droughts or water restrictions.
- Drain clogs can be a real hassle – but they don’t have to be complicated to free up. We’ll share quick solutions to get things flowing.
- If you love to grow herbs in your garden for cooking, many of the most popular also can be used as herbal medicines. We’ll share a few of the most popular
- If your gas grill needs a mid-season grill cleaning? The same char broiling grill action that flavors ribs, chicken, steaks and burgers all summer long can really cause problems if you don’t stop and do a thorough grill cleaning once in a while. We walk you through the steps.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- Jeff is looking for the easiest way to clean out the shower drain.
- Dixie needs a step-by-step walkthrough of how to handle repair of major cracks in a foundation.
- Spray foam insulation vs. blown-in. Max wants to know if spray foam insulation is more efficient than blown-in insulation
- Pam asks if it’s worth fixing insulated glass on a door or should you just replace the whole door?
- Joe is trying to figure out the cause of some pretty big leaks around his chimney.
- Kathleen would like to know if she can install faux tin ceiling tiles on a vaulted ceiling.
- Midas is adding new flooring and want to know how to create the transition between floors in two rooms when one floor is higher than the other.
- Diane is asking where is the best place to add insulation in a house?
- Mercedes needs advice on repairing a metal roof.
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: Hey, what are you guys working on this weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place. Could be your condo, your co-op or your yurt, too. Those all count. But if you’re doing a project around the place you call “home” and you need some help getting it done, that’s what we do on The Money Pit. We give you expert tips and advice to help you tackle those to-dos with confidence. If you’ve got a to-do in mind, we’d love to help. You can get in touch with us be calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT or posting your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Hey, coming up on today’s show, July and August are really tough months to keep your lawn looking green. So, we thought it’s a good time to share some tips to help you keep that lawn healthy during the droughts or the water restrictions, if you’re facing those in your neck of the woods.
LESLIE: And also ahead, drain clogs can be a real hassle, usually because they happen at the least convenient moment. But they don’t have to be complicated to free up. We’re going to share some quick solutions to get things flowing.
TOM: And if you love to grow herbs in your garden for cooking, it turns out that many of the most popular herbs can also be used as herbal medicines. We’re going to share a few of the most popular recipes.
LESLIE: But most importantly, we’re here to help you take on the projects that you want to get done around your house and to give you some free tools to help. We’ve got up for grabs, this hour, a pneumatic brad nailer from Arrow Fastener and it’s a great prize worth 55 bucks.
TOM: So, give us a call right now. We want to hear your question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or post your questions to MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get going. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading to Ohio. We’ve got Jeff on the line.
Jeff, what’s going on with your tub?
JEFF: It’s been draining slower and slower. I’ve tried snaking it and that hadn’t helped any. Is there some sort of solvent that I can put down there to dissolve whatever is causing the clog?
TOM: This is a really common problem usually because, in our tub drains, we usually get a lot of hair and it gets stuck in there.
LESLIE: It’s not just the ladies’ hair.
TOM: No, it’s not. It’s not. And I’m not blaming the ladies. I didn’t say – I wasn’t going there, so no.
LESLIE: But you were going to.
TOM: But well – you know, I will say that with having two beautiful ladies in the house, I do notice it a little bit more after they take their showers than other times. But listen, if I had more hair, I’d probably leave more in the drains or maybe that’s where my hair went. Who knows? But you know what, Leslie? It’s not that uncommon a situation when you get hair in those drains.
And there’s a couple of things that you can do, Jeff. So, first of all, what you could do is get a snake, which is a type of drain cleaner that’s designed for tub drains. And here’s what this kind of snake looks like: you imagine a comb, like a long comb, with the tines on both sides of it. That’s what it looks like. It’s about an inch, inch-and-a-half wide and it has these little tines on both sides, little fingers that stick out.
And it’s designed to pull hair out of drains just like that. It’s just long enough to go down the drain, get into the trap and then you pull it back up. I’ve used these things for years and pulled gobs and gobs of hair out of drains with them and saved myself a lot of money on plumbers I didn’t have to hire.
The other trick of the trade is if you happen to own a wet/dry vacuum – a Shop-Vac – that can handle pretty big suction. They handle water, as well as debris. A little trick of the trade is you can carry it upstairs, turn it on and then take that Shop-Vac and suck the hair up and the water up out of the drain. I’ve used that successfully many times to loosen things up and pull it up. And then sometimes, between that and my little snake trick, I clean them every single time.
Yeah, you talk about putting something down the drain, that would be a chemical drain cleaner. You’ve got to be really careful with that stuff. You splash it on you, it’s going to burn. It could get in your eyes. It can rot out your pipes. So I would try these sort of mechanical ways first and I think that’s going to solve it for you.
LESLIE: Dixie in Illinois has a question regarding a crack in the basement and the possibility of it caving in.
Dixie, are you calling us from a pile of rubble or are you just concerned?
DIXIE: I am actually concerned because it started out with just hairline cracks following along the concrete blocks. And there’s cracks in each corner of the foundation above ground, as well as these cracks in the walls below, in the basement.
But the cracks are getting bigger and bigger. I mean there are some of them that are gaping, I want to even say, an inch-and-a-half, 2 inches of …
TOM: You have an inch-and-a-half crack? You mean width? It’s open an inch-and-a-half?
DIXIE: Well, they are – well, you can’t see through the crack but the walls are bending in. We’ve even put reinforcements.
TOM: Alright. So, horizontally – like the cracks are horizontal and they’re bending in, Dixie?
DIXIE: Most of the ones that are bending in are horizontal, yes. But the cracks do go up and down, as well.
TOM: Alright. So you need to immediately contact a structural engineer and have the foundation inspected. This sounds serious. I can tell you that, typically, horizontal cracks are caused by frost heave, where the drainage conditions are poor at the outside of the house, water collects there, soil freezes and pushes in.
But you have that many cracks and those cracks are that significant, you need – not a contractor. I want you to find a structural engineer. You’re just hiring this guy to inspect the home and prepare a report discussing the condition of the foundation. And if repairs are needed, the engineer should specify those repairs. Then you can bring a contractor in to follow the engineer’s specification and make the repairs.
And then finally, make sure you bring the structural engineer back to inspect and certify that they were done correctly. Because at this point, unless you follow those steps just like that, you’re going to have a serious deficit to the home value. So that’s why if you have it inspected by a structural engineer, repaired by a contractor per the engineer’s specs and certified by the engineer as OK, you have kind of a pedigree for that repair you can pass on to future home buyers, OK? Does that make sense?
DIXIE: OK. But how do you find a structural engineer?
TOM: So, there’ll be local engineering companies. You could also check the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI – A-S-H-I – .org. Now, those guys will not necessarily be a structural engineer but there may be an engineer among them that’s also a home inspector.
Alright? Thank you very much, Dixie. I hope that helps you out.
Well, guys, if you love tools like we do, you’ll be very happy about today’s giveaway. We’ve got the Pneumatic Brad Nailer from Arrow Fastener to give away, plus a supply of nails to get you started. It’s a great tool for most small-trim and interior-molding projects. It’s easy to handle, it’s durable. Its reloading is really super simple. And it’s got non-marring rubber tips so it protects the project’s surface and most importantly, a contact safety to prevent misfires.
It’s worth 55 bucks. It’s available at Walmart, Amazon or Ace Hardware. But if you pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT or you post them to MoneyPit.com, we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and perhaps send you that Arrow Pneumatic Nailer at the end of today’s program. So, give us a call, right now, with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’re staying local for me. We’ve got Max in New York who just bought a really old home and he’s trying to make it more energy-efficient.
What’s going on, Max?
MAX: My wife and I just bought a home that’s 150 years old and they had plaster in four different walls added and the exterior wall has wooden boards that have enclosed, blown-in insulation. And I’m trying to figure out whether to open those boards up, take all that insulation out and just put gray foam insulation in there. Or should I just spray foam over the boards that are holding the insulation in the exterior walls?
TOM: Wow, 150 years old, Max. We definitely feel your pain because both Leslie and I own old homes. Mine is only 130 years old. I thought mine was old. Listen, if you’ve got – already have blown-in insulation and you want to open those walls up because maybe you’re doing other work, maybe you’re replacing your old plaster – if you’re going to have the walls open, I would definitely recommend spray-foam insulation. It is far more efficient and effective than blown-in because it not only insulates, it seals.
And I used it in my attic and it made a huge difference. In fact, I just opened up – you know, the energy company for us, which is PSEG, they send you these updates once a month. And every time I look at mine, I have average house in terms of energy efficiency and then my house. And my house is half the average house now and that’s all because of the spray-foam insulation.
So I think whenever you have the opportunity to use spray foam, you definitely should do just that. And an old house is just chock full of gaps and holes and drafts that can really drive your heating and your cooling bills up. It really provides a great solution to stop that from happening.
LESLIE: Pam in Maryland, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAM: Off of my master bedroom, it has a small deck out there. Apparently, the seal has broken. It’s two pieces of glass that had some sort of, I don’t know, some sort of thing inside of it. And it’s now looking really milky. I’m wondering if I can replace it by getting another glass door or can I replace the glass alone?
TOM: OK. So what’s happening is you have insulated glass and that seal between the panes of glass is called “swiggle.” And when the swiggle fails, then moisture gets in there between the panes of glass and then you get condensation, which is that white, milky, yucky appearance to the glass.
Now, it impacts the energy efficiency in some way but other than that, it’s pretty much just cosmetic. And I say that because it’s not an easy fix. You have to replace the sliding-glass door or replace the glass. And it’s probably less expensive to simply replace the door itself. You get a good-quality Pella or Andersen sliding-glass door there and you’re not going to have to worry about glass that fails for a very, very, very long time. And I think that that is probably the best way to attack that problem. Either live with it and accept the fact that it’s going to be yucky-looking or replace it with a new, good-quality slider.
PAM: OK. Sounds good. Well, thank you for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Pam. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you think watering your lawn is wasteful, you are probably right because when, where and how much water you use on your lawn can mean the difference between a lush lawn or an empty wallet. And it’s very important to get the watering just right, especially this time of year.
LESLIE: Yeah. So to cut costs without giving up the green lawns that we love, you want to water your lawn early in the day and that’s going to prevent evaporation. If you water at night and then leave the lawn wet, your grass could develop a fungal disease. Also, make sure that you adjust your sprinklers to avoid wasting water by having it directed away from your driveway and your sidewalks.
TOM: Because the only thing that grows when you water your driveway or sidewalks is your water bill, right?
LESLIE: Very true and quickly.
TOM: And speaking of timing, timers are also important to use on your sprinkler system. Now, if you don’t have a built-in sprinkler system, you can use a timer that will hook onto the end of your hose bibb and then your hose hooks up to that. And that’ll tell you exactly how much water you are releasing.
A good rule of thumb, though, is to make sure your lawn receives about 1 inch of water a week. So, when you check the weather report, it usually tells you how many inches of water you had in a week. You can use that to judge how much additional water your lawn is going to need to stay healthy and green through these dog days of summer.
LESLIE: Joe in California is on the line with a leaky chimney Tell us what’s going on.
JOE: Well, it’s an old one from the 60s, I believe, but it was beautifully built. It’s 15 foot wide and 2 stories up and I’m on the second story. But the water is going through the mortar coming in and it’s terrible. It’s like a waterfall in the wintertime.
TOM: So, you say that water is coming through the mortar. Do you know for a fact that it’s coming through in a particular place? Because, generally, when chimneys leak, there’s two areas that we concentrate on. The first is the very top of the chimney. And if it’s a masonry chimney, you probably have a clay flue liner. Is that correct?
JOE: Yes, it is.
TOM: Alright. And then so the space between the clay flue liner and the outside edge of the brick chimney, that has to have a concrete cap on it. And that should be sloped away from the flue liner to the outside edge. It can’t have any cracks or holes or gaps in it. And very often, you have to caulk it, if that does develop, around the flue liner, as well as through the cracks.
The second place that chimneys typically leak is at their intersection with roofs. And unfortunately, roofers have almost universally lost the skill set that would have enabled them to be able to flash this joint properly between the chimney and the roof. Because the proper way to do this is with a two-piece flashing system where you have a base flashing that goes underneath the roof shingle and up against the side of the chimney. Then counter flashing, which is carved into the mortar joint, folds over the outside edge of the chimney and also over the base flashing.
And the reason that sort of two-piece design is important is because chimneys are always moving and roofs are always moving and they don’t move together. And so, this is sort of a slip joint, so to speak, where they can actually move and shift with the wind and the heat and the rain and the expansion and contraction without actually breaking down.
So, I would look at those two areas. And then I’ll just give you one other tip. If you have a roof where there’s a lot of water running down before it hits the base of the chimney, in a situation like that, what you want to do is put a diverter on the roof, midway, to kind of short-circuit some of the water that’s running down towards the chimney and run it around the chimney. And that will just simply reduce the volume of water that’s getting in there and potentially leaking through into your house.
JOE: This has got a flat, metal top over the top of the chimney that mostly keeps the rain from coming down the chimney but I haven’t really looked at the flue liner up there. That’s a good point.
TOM: Yep. Take a careful look, Joe, OK?
JOE: OK. Alrighty. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Kathleen in Illinois on the line and she’s got a question about a vaulted ceiling. What can we do for you?
KATHLEEN: I’m calling about a renovation project that we are trying to do on a three-season sun porch. And it’s a 12×27 room. We did tackle doing window replacement by ourselves and we managed to do that. They’re vinyl-clad windows, the tilt-in kind and everything. But the ceiling right now is 12-inch tiles that are – they seem to be glued up to the ceiling. They’re not on a grid system; they’re just up there. And we want to put faux-tin ceilings. And we’re wondering if that’s a project that we could tackle or is that something best left to professionals or – we’re looking for your advice.
But we had some damage from rain on the roof and we’ve had the roof replaced. But I even painted over where the water stains were with that Zinsser Stain Stop. And you can still see the – it did not cover it, so we need to change the ceiling.
TOM: Hey, they make these tiles that are a drop-ceiling type of a tile that looks just like tin. Have you seen those, Kathleen?
KATHLEEN: Yes, we have. And we thought that those were very cool and we didn’t know – do you think just LIQUID NAILS or something to put it up over these existing tiles?
TOM: What’s underneath the tiles? Plywood sheathing?
KATHLEEN: I don’t know. It feels really solid when you push a …
TOM: I would try to figure out what’s underneath it. You could take some pieces of the old tiles apart, see how thick that is. I would prefer to have a mechanical attachment, like a staple or something like that, than just simply the glue. The glue is OK.
LESLIE: I mean I would use LIQUID NAILS and something else.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
KATHLEEN: Uh-huh. And you don’t think it would – I don’t want it to look uneven, how they – you see sometimes those grid systems where the tiles kind of droop and sloop and look …
TOM: No, if it’s done really well, it looks great. We’ve seen them at really high-end décor showrooms, where you have some really upscale decorating done and they look fantastic.
KATHLEEN: OK. Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project, Kathleen, and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’ve got Midas calling in from Las Vegas with a floor problem. What’s going on?
MIDAS: I’m making a transition with 3-foot ceramic tiles to carpet and I’m stumping my toe. Is there any solution I can get to make that transition better so it’s not so sharp?
TOM: Well, that sounds painful, stubbing your toe all the time. I think the solution is very simple here. What you need, Midas, is called a “floor saddle” or a “threshold.” And they come in different sizes and shapes and in your case – when you have one section of flooring that’s higher than the other, some of the thresholds are available where they’re sort of notched, right? So one side’s thicker than the other. So you put the thick side on the low portion of the floor and then the thinner side sort of overlaps the high portion which sounds to me, like in your case, it’s the tile. So, a saddle transition is definitely what you need.
If you have an unusual situation where maybe you can’t find the molding that fits it exactly, there’s another way to go about this and that is that you buy one saddle that’s the exact same thickness as the floor you’re trying to come up to. Put it up – butt it up against that edge and then take another piece of saddle material, which is sort of sloped down on both sides, and then cover the seam so it’s like a two-part transition.
But either way, that will definitely solve the problem here. It’s just another detail of the flooring project that wasn’t done the first time but it’s a really easy fix. So good luck with it.
LESLIE: Well, if your drains get clogged, fixing them can seem like an expensive hassle that often involves plumbers. But they don’t have to be all that complicated to free up.
TOM: Yeah. So first, when a clog happens, most people will reach for a chemical cleaner to clear a drain. So, will that work? Yeah, sometimes but frankly, not always. The chemicals, also, will sit in the pipe and it can kind of help to rot it out. And those chemicals should never be used if you’re on a septic system, because you’re going to kind of mess with the septic system’s ability to break down waste. And of course, they’re very dangerous if you splash them on your skin or in your eyes.
So, I have occasionally used chemicals. I will admit that there are some times when it made sense to me when I had a deep clog that I couldn’t reach and I wanted something just to sit in there overnight. But I do it very carefully. But generally, you’ve got to be really careful. I think people overuse them way too much.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you have to pick the right one for your system, as well. Otherwise it’s not going to do anything.
Now, plungers, they’re another option. But surprisingly, a lot of people use them incorrectly. With a plunger, guys, the goal is to pull the clog up, not push it down. So you do this by pressing the plunger down tight against the bottom of the bowl and then yank up sharply to pull that clog free. By pulling the clog back into the bowl, you’re actually avoiding pushing it further down the trap inside the toilet, which does get smaller as you go and tends to clog more easily.
TOM: Now, if you want to try to snake out the drain, you can use what’s called a “hand snake.” They come in a wide variety of sizes. You feed them down. It’s usually a spring-like coil. You feed it down the drain directly into the trap, which is mostly where these clogs are going to sit most of the time. And then you twist it a few times, you pull it out and usually that will free it up.
I also want you guys to know that there’s a snake design that is just for clogs – just for hair clogs – in tubs and in showers. I have used this for years when we had tenants that had long hair, when my daughter was in college with three female roommates. The clog – the drains were always clogging up. I would always buy these snakes that kind of look like a comb with sort of bristles on both sides of it. It’s usually 12 or 15 inches long and all you do is slip it down the drain, pull it right back up. It will go through the smallest obstructions in drains and it pulls up all the hair in clots. And it’s only about five bucks, so you can’t go wrong. So look for that type of flexible snake design.
And if these methods don’t work or you just don’t know where the clog is – because sometimes, it can get pushed way down the line – then you probably need to turn to a drain-cleaning service. Among the tools of the trade that they carry are drain cameras and they can pinpoint the exact spot where the drain is. And they can also tell you if maybe the problem is down the line, like a broken waste pipe. Sometimes that happens. Or roots from trees that come in. Sometimes that happens, as well. And the drain cameras can spot that.
But there are other things to try first that will save you some time, some money and some aggravation and get things flowing, hopefully, quickly.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got – calling in from Money Pit territory, we’ve got Diane from New Jersey who’s got a question for heating up a home.
Diane, how can we help you?
DIANE: Yes and thank you. I love your show. And I think I realized most people, when they call their house a “money pit” – even though that’s a bad word.
TOM: Well, for us, Diane, it’s a term of endearment, you know? We love our homes, even though they can be money pits. And we’re here to kind of help take the pain away.
So, how can we help with your house? What’s going on?
DIANE: Well, my mom is 89 years old. And every year, she’s cold and she doesn’t want to put on the heater because – higher because it’ll take too much money. So, I got determined. And last winter, I insulated – it’s a split-level home. So I insulated the basement and I painted the walls – the cement walls. And yet she’s still cold. So I’m wondering, what is it?
TOM: Well, how much insulation do you have in the attic of Mom’s house?
DIANE: There is a plank where you walk. And on either side of the plank, it is insulated. It was done by a modular-home company, so maybe it’s not the best.
TOM: Because here’s the thing: if you’re going to pick one space in a house to insulate, you need to pick the attic. Because heat rises and that’s where you get most of your heat loss.
TOM: So, I would take a look at that attic. And in New Jersey, you need to have 15 to 20 inches, easy, of insulation – of fiberglass insulation. So I – most homes need additional insulation. And you can add that by adding unfaced fiberglass batts. Not with the paper or the foil type of face but just plain, old, raw fiberglass batts. And you lay them perpendicular to the insulation you have right now.
And that’s the single, most effective way to reduce your heating costs and improve your comfort.
TOM: OK? Good luck, Diane. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, do you guys like tools? We do. And if you do, you’ll be happy that we’ve got a great one to give away today.
LESLIE: Yeah, we’ve got up for grabs a pneumatic brad nailer from Arrow Fastener, plus a whole supply of nails to get you started. It really is a great tool for some small-trim and interior-molding projects, which are definitely a DIY project. It’s easy to handle, it’s durable. Reloading those nails is super simple. Plus, it features a non-marring rubber tip. So whatever you’re working on, you’re not going to mark it up as you’re getting ready to fire that nail in. And it has a safety mechanism that’s going to prevent misfires, so it’s definitely a great tool to have.
It’s worth 55 bucks. You can find it at Walmart, Amazon, even Ace Hardware. But one of you lucky listeners out there is going to win one today.
TOM: Make that you. Pick up the phone, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you guys like to garden, we do, too. And we grow herbs in our garden, as well as veggies. And I recently learned that there are a number of medicinal benefits associated with some of the herbs we grow. Now, that wasn’t why we grew them but for us, it was kind of like an added benefit. It was a really fun topic to learn about.
LESLIE: Yeah, it really does make sense, because natural-plant products and home remedies have been used throughout history for a lot of purposes. Sage, for example, was used as a detoxifier and to clear negative energy, as well as a remedy for spasms, cuts, bruises, even abdominal cramping. Now, sage also makes a very refreshing tea and it’s another exceptional healing plant that’s very easy to grow.
Another, guys, is turmeric. Now, it’s frequently included in curry dishes but has many medical and health benefits, including treatments for pain that’s caused by arthritis and also, stomach issues and headaches.
TOM: Now, here’s an Italian favorite. We love to cook with garlic and it’s super easy to grow. But when it’s chopped, smashed or chewed, it actually releases sulfur compounds that can aid digestive problems, help you fight colds, reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol. However, there is one thing it won’t improve and that’s your breath.
LESLIE: That is true. Although if you’re around vampires, it’s a totally a go.
Now, finally, there’s lavender. Now, it’s not just a beautiful, purple plant. Lavender can actually help you fall asleep. It reduces stress and anxiety. It even improves blood circulation and can relieve pain.
Now, while gardening itself has a lot of health benefits, it’s nice to know that we have all these natural remedies growing right at home.
TOM: To help, we put together a detailed list of plants that provide these kinds of benefits. It’s on MoneyPit.com. Just search for “11 Easy-to-Grow Herbal Medicines for Garden Fresh Healing” and you’ll know what maybe you want to start planting in your garden.
LESLIE: Heading on over to Minnesota where Mercedes is having some roofing issues. What’s going on at your money pit?
MERCEDES: Well, I had roofing put on a few years ago and they nailed it in the valleys instead of on the ridges.
TOM: Oh, OK.
MERCEDES: And then now that it has rained these – you know, quite a bit in between, then my paint in my kitchen ceiling is peeling off and the sheetrock is wet because of the moisture coming in.
TOM: So, basically, it’s leaking through the metal valleys because there’s holes in those valleys, Mercedes?
MERCEDES: Yes. Yes, in the valley.
TOM: So, obviously, that wasn’t done right. And so, you have really two choices: you can either replace that valley flashing – and that’s a project, because the metal roof has to be loosened up to get the new valley underneath it – or what you could do is silicone-caulk those holes and hope for the best.
Silicone, you’ll probably get a good couple of years out of that but you may have to do it again.
MERCEDES: Well, now, I wonder, did you hear about this product that – they put an undercoat on a metal roof to repair it? And then they put a second coat over the top of that?
TOM: No. And I don’t know how you get an undercoat under a metal roof that’s already down.
So, metal roofs have been around for over 100 years and they’re super-durable roofs. But the problem is that a lot of times, the contractors don’t have the skill set to properly construct them and properly repair them.
If they’re installed properly, then they can last indefinitely and be leak-free. It sounds like there were some errors made in the installation of your roof. And so you have to kind of decide now whether you want to take this apart and fix those errors or just continue to explore opportunities for patching.
If it was me, I would try to disassemble it and replace that flashing, because it’s going to be a sore spot moving forward, not only with water but also, you’re going to have ice dams that’ll form there in your part of the country. The water will get behind it and that can also work its way into the roof.
OK, Mercedes? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Margie in Maine dropped us an email and she says that she wants a recommendation on air conditioning.
Margie, I don’t blame you. It is crazy hot this summer.
Well, Margie writes: “In our area, it’s been a particularly hot summer, so we’re looking at cooling options. Do you recommend central air conditioning or could we get away with window units?”
TOM: So, I think both Leslie and I have come from the window-unit side of things, because we own old houses that didn’t have air conditioning – central air – in them when we purchased the homes. And there’s advantages to having window units because they’re convenient, they’re portable. They can be a little bit more expensive to run than a central air-conditioning system. And you’ll definitely find they’re not as efficient.
Central air-conditioning system, great investment. It definitely would add value to your house, whereas a window unit would not because it’s a portable appliance.
And then there’s also a version of air conditioning called “split ductless” that both Leslie and I have in our homes, for similar reasons. I have one room in the house that’s on the southwest corner, where my office is, and the central air-conditioning system is kind of far away from it. So, in July and August right now, it gets really hot in here so we run the split ductless.
And Leslie, you use yours in your basement, right?
LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? I almost never even have it on cooling. I just use it to dehumidify and it keeps the basement super comfortable, really dry. Not overly dry but appropriately, with the right moisture level and cool as a cucumber. It’s fantastic.
TOM: So I guess, Margie, what I would say is if you’re planning on selling your home and the value of your home is important to you, central air conditioning is going to give you the best ROI. But if you’re just trying to slug it out when it gets really nasty and hot, then why not just buy a couple of extra portable air conditioning units, stick them in the windows? And you won’t spend that much money on it but you’ll get through that worst part of summer.
LESLIE: Alright. Good luck, Margie. Stay cool.
Now we’ve got one from Sarah. And Sarah says she loves to cook outside but after a couple of months of heavy grilling, her gas grill needs an extreme makeover of its own. Do we have any tips for mid-season grill cleaning?
TOM: Didn’t you just do this?
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. I just did this and I realized that I probably didn’t clean it at the end of last season, nor really clean it at the beginning of this season. So, you know, just last week as I was cooking, I was like, “Wow, this looks really nasty.”
So the next day, I took the whole sort of inner workings apart. I took the grills off – I guess that’s what you call them, the grill grates – and I soaked them in soapy water. I gave them a nice cleaning. Inside, I removed the lava rock – or maybe you have a ceramic or a briquette or something like that – and I cleaned those with a wire brush. And I sort of cleaned everything out inside the grill itself with the scraper and the cleaner. And I washed it all out, made sure nothing was leaking along the gas lines.
And the grill looks fantastic. I mean I was almost to the point where I was like, “Maybe I should just throw it out, get another one.”
TOM: Yeah. And you know what? When you’re all done, what you want to do is mix a 50/50 solution of liquid dishwashing soap and water to check for gas leaks. You just brush this on all the lines and all the connections and if there’s any gas leaking out, it’ll bubble up and you’ll see that and it’ll be a lot safer. So, good idea to do it. Plus, I think your food will taste a lot better.
And now I know it’s safe to go to dinner at your house again, too, Leslie.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s safe. Come over. Grill is clean.
And Sarah, you’ll just feel way better about cooking.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, guys, thank you so much for spending this part of your day with us. We hope we’ve given you some ideas, some tips to get the projects done that you want to tackle around your house. If you’re thinking about a project for the future, fall is a great home improvement season because it cools off and you can get a lot of stuff done when it’s really comfortable to work inside or out.
If you don’t know where to begin, I want to remind you that you can reach us, 24/7, with that 888-MONEY-PIT phone number or by posting your questions at MoneyPit.com. If we’re not in the studio when your call or message comes through, we promise we will call you back the next time we are.
But until then, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2021 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)