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  • Transcript

    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    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 with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    We’ve got a busy show planned for you this hour. First up, your washer and dryer are there for you wash after wash but if you don’t follow some simple maintenance, you could actually risk some pretty serious safety problems or even big floods. We’re going to have some tips to help you avoid toxic home appliances, coming up in just a bit.
    LESLIE: And if there’s one room in the house where you use your hands a lot, it has got to be your kitchen. So this hour, we’re going to give you a hand with tips on some products that can help you get hands-free action in the kitchen, so stay tuned.
    TOM: Plus, if you did a little repainting lately, we’ve got some tips on how to go about storing touch-up paint so it stays fresh for those inevitable patch-up jobs that will become necessary over the next few years.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) They always happen.
    TOM: I mean, with three kids, (Leslie chuckles) I have to keep the touch-up paint always handy because there’s always a ding.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) You need like a pocket-size applicator.
    TOM: Exactly. (laughs) I have to follow the kids around with it. (Leslie laughs) Well, there’s a way to store it so it stays fresh; it doesn’t go bad and get all kinds of crusty in the can. (Leslie chuckles) We’re going to teach you about that in just a bit.
    LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a huge prize. It’s a $300 gift certificate to La-Z-Boy. And if you’re this hour’s winner, you could get a good start on some new furniture and some nice relaxing, I might add. (chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah, after that home improvement project is done. So let’s get to it. Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Look around your house. We know there’s a project on your mind or perhaps one that you’ve been bugging your spouse to get done. Give us a call right now. We’ll give you some encouragement; give him or her some tips to get it done. Perhaps add – give you something that could be considered, perhaps, a romantic home repair (Leslie laughs) project this year. You know, maybe you want to paint some – a nice bedroom; maybe you want to add a spa.
    LESLIE: I think adding a dimmer would be a romantic home improvement.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) A dimmer. Very simple, very simple. (Leslie chuckles). That could be a romantic home repair. Whatever is on your mind, give us a call right now. We want to get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll get it done together.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Richard in Missouri wants to take on a flooring project. And how can we help you?
    RICHARD: Yes. I’m remodeling an older house and it’s a concrete floor.
    TOM: OK.
    RICHARD: And I’m thinking about putting laminate lined – going to put laminate flooring in the kitchen and tile in the bathroom. Does it have to be perfectly level and if it does, how would be the easiest way to do that?
    TOM: Well, it doesn’t have to be perfectly level; it has to be somewhat flat. I mean, the laminate floor will take a certain level of unevenness in the floor. But the nice thing about laminate is there’s a very thin layer of like insulation underlayment.
    LESLIE: Like a foam sheet.
    TOM: Yeah, like foam sheeting that goes underneath it. And then you lock together the pieces and the whole thing floats on top of the concrete floor, so it’s a perfect solution for covering a concrete floor. And it doesn’t really matter if it’s completely level; it just can’t have any kind of huge bumps in it.
    LESLIE: Like, you know, you can’t put it over the dog’s toy. (Tom chuckles)
    RICHARD: Whoa. You’ve seen my work before. (Tom and Leslie laugh) Well, that was my main question because I – it’s fairly well level but it’s just, you know, not perfectly level.
    TOM: Yeah, well, I put laminate floor in a very old, 1886 house that was very unlevel – uneven – and it did bend and twist with the floor but it’s not supposed to do what I did with it. So it will take a little bit of unevenness but, for the most part, just make sure it’s as flat as possible.
    RICHARD: OK. And to fill all of the – what’s the best stuff to fill the cracks with.
    LESLIE: Oh, you want to use an epoxy patching compound. You can’t go ahead and put concrete over concrete because it’ll never stick. You know, when we redid our basement floor, we pulled up the carpeting and the concrete underneath was just a mess; I mean crumbling and falling apart and uneven. And we used something called Abocrete from a company called Abatron.
    TOM: Yeah, correct.
    LESLIE: I always get the company name confused. But Abatron is their website as well, so you can find out all of the epoxy patching compounds that they have. And that will, you know, self-level, it will smooth out the floor and it will stick very, very, very effectively to concrete and that’s the best way to go about it.
    RICHARD: OK. That was my question. I sure appreciate it.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, it’s our pleasure.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Good luck with that project, Richard. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Song in Alaska has a question about a rental property. Welcome to The Money Pit.
    SONG: I have this older, split-home rental house that’s been flooded several times. The renter told me last spring – what he realized was after he took a shower from downstairs …
    TOM: Right.
    SONG: … and the water wouldn’t drain from the tub, he realized that the toilet wouldn’t drain either from downstairs and then he realized the toilet didn’t drain from upstairs either.
    TOM: OK.
    SONG: So he plunged it, the toilet, downstairs and he couldn’t get it through and then he had to take the toilet seat out and run a very long snail.
    TOM: Snake.
    SONG: And he said his hand actually reached over, probably about a foot or so, into it and then he heard this noise like a perforation noise (ph) (blows air into the phone) and then he said everything started to drain again. So, my question is, does this solve the problem or do I need to have this camera examination?
    TOM: Well, have you had it happen again since he snaked the drain out?
    SONG: No.
    TOM: OK. Well, I think that you should leave well enough alone. It very well may have been something that was stuck inside the pipe that the action of using the snake, you know, freed up. And so I don’t think it’s necessary for you to have a drain camera inspection done unless you have an ongoing problem; we’d need more information. At that point, you can have a drain camera inspection done.
    And basically, it is exactly that: they take what looks like a plumbing snake but has a camera on the end of it, run it through the pipe. And it’s very helpful if you think that the pipes are old or cracked and you don’t know where the breakdown is.
    LESLIE: Where there’s a root issue.
    TOM: You can visibly see it; I mean, you can watch this thing go through the pipes. I’ve seen these tests done.
    SONG: Right.
    TOM: But if you – but if they – if he’s already broken through the clog, then I think you’re good to go. And I think you’ve got a pretty handy tenant there, too. (Leslie and Song chuckle)
    SONG: Thank you. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, we’ve got tips on how you can go hands-free at the kitchen sink. Some cool, new plumbing faucet ideas, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    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.
    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. You know, for 31 million Americans suffering from back pain, doctors have a new prescription: your recliner. (Leslie chuckles) Seven out of ten doctors say reclining at home can actually help your aching back and doctors recommend using a chair that offers total body and lumbar support. And it so happens that we can help you do just that because this hour, we’re giving away a $300 gift certificate towards a La-Z-Boy.
    So, if you’d like to pick up a brand-new recliner for your house – it’ll look good in the living room of your money pit – pick up the phone right now and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about, “Hmm, how else can I recline and give my body a break?” well, think about things that you can do to give your hands a break in your kitchen. Now, a good place to start is your kitchen sink. I mean, first of all, if you’ve got separate hot and cold faucets, think about replacing those with just a single-handle faucet. I mean, seriously, we have a double-handle faucet at my house …
    TOM: Right.
    LESLIE: … and when I think about how many times I’m hot/cold, hot/cold – and especially when I’m washing Henry’s hands, I have to make sure, you know, that the hot isn’t on too much; and when I turn it off, I need to make sure that I turn the hot off first and not the cold.
    TOM: Right.
    LESLIE: So, seriously, changing to a single-handle faucet would be a huge help in your kitchen. This way, you can turn everything off with just one hand.
    Now, you can also ask your plumber to put a lever handle on the faucet so it’s easier to grasp. Plus, with an extra-long handle on that faucet, you can actually turn off your tap with an elbow or an arm which, again, when washing my son’s hands would be really, really helpful.
    TOM: Very, very handy. Now, if you want to go totally hands-free at the sink, you can consider installing something called a pedal valve.
    LESLIE: Ooh, those are cool.
    TOM: They’re very cool. It’s a valve that sits on the floor and it lets you turn on the water with your foot; so totally hands-free. It definitely comes in handy when you’re trying to use both hands to hold a pot or, say, fill something up with water or you just, you know, want to use your hands to actually wash the dishes as opposed to operating the faucet. (Leslie chuckles) You can do that with a pedal valve mounted on the floor. Surprisingly affordable, too, so you don’t just have to take the basic kitchen faucet anymore. There are a lot of options, including some that are very cool and very hands-free, to make that part of your house work that much better for you.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now with the area of your house that you need to make work better for you. We will help you get that project done.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: J.K. in Texas is looking for a window that will keep people out. What can we do for you? You’ve got a lot of break-ins in your neighborhood?
    J.K.: Oh, I did but, fortunately, these neighbors moved. (Tom and Leslie laugh) But I was thinking about a window that has several attributes: one, that you could open and close to enjoy the out-of-doors; number two, that would have good insulating factors – r rating; one that was sturdy – that would not be able to be broken in easy; and maybe incorporating shutters.
    LESLIE: You mean for hurricane resistancy because you guys probably …
    J.K.: No, no, no. Just for security sake. It’s for – probably, you know, if you have a big house, someone could break in easy and you not even hear them.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Sure. Right. Well, listen, first of all, in terms of energy efficiency, not a problem. Ease of operation, not a problem. Now, let’s talk about the security issue. There are storm-resistant windows that basically have window glass that’s similar to automobile glass so that it doesn’t shatter and fall into a million pieces; it sort of stays intact, yet it still breaks. So you’re not going to come up with a break-proof window that’s available in residential construction very easily.
    There are storm shutters that are available that are automatic, motorized shutters that can close the entire exterior space; so it basically closes down that whole window space and they’re very common in hurricane areas or in homes that are along beaches and that sort of thing.
    The other option is, of course, security bars but if you put those up, you want to make sure that they are openable from the inside because in a lot of areas where, you know, there are neighborhoods that people want to be more secure in, they put these up and they lock them and they can’t get out in and God forbid there was a fire.
    J.K.: Oh, right.
    TOM: So those are some of the trade-offs that you have to deal with. But in terms of security of glass, it’s either going to be standard, insulated glass or it’s going to be storm-resistant glass that is not going to shatter. But either one will break.
    J.K.: OK. Well, thank you all for the answer.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, J.K. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Margaret in New Jersey has a situation with a leaky shed. Tell us about the problem.
    MARGARET: Well, yes, it was a brand new shed from the bottom up. It was set up on, I believe, cinder blocks and it’s at the shore, about two blocks from the beach, which gets a lot of rain and what-have-you. Now, it had a Therma-Tru door, which opens into the shed. It has no storm door. And about a year or so into – after the shed was built – I start to see on the left side, on the floor was rain or – in other words, water damage. And so – not thinking much of it but in the meantime, I saw the bottom hinge of the door become rusted and was slightly away from the door. So I thought it was the door, so I replaced it with a new door.
    TOM: OK.
    MARGARET: Now the following year – so the door was put in and the same thing happened, only now I see water damage on both sides of the door; on the left and the right.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, first of all …
    MARGARET: And in the interim now – this has been going on several years – everybody I had to look at it, they didn’t know where the problem was coming from.
    TOM: Well, first of all, this shed that you have, we’re talking about like a wood shed; like a small building?
    MARGARET: It’s a small building with siding on it.
    TOM: With siding on it. OK.
    MARGARET: Everything was brand new.
    TOM: And how do we know that the siding is correctly installed and there’s not a flashing problem? Because that’s kind of what it sounds like.
    MARGARET: Well, see, I did have the contractor look at it about a year or so later and of course he said, “You know, there’s nothing I can do about it.” He says, “Just put up a storm door.” And that was his answer. (Tom and Margaret laugh) So … (chuckles)
    TOM: What he meant to say is, “There’s nothing I want to do about it, Margaret.” (Leslie and Margaret chuckle)
    MARGARET: So, I’m baffled.
    TOM: The situation here is not complicated.
    MARGARET: Uh-huh.
    TOM: You have siding that’s probably not flashed properly around that door and, as a result, you’re getting water between the door and the siding.
    MARGARET: (overlapping voices) Uh-huh. I see.
    TOM: And I don’t care what kind of door you have in there; the door is not going to – it’s not going to be watertight if it’s not the door.
    MARGARET: It’s not the door. Oh yes, right.
    TOM: That’s right. You had two great doors in there and they’re still leaking. Well, it’s not the door; it’s the siding. So what has to happen is – what kind of siding is on here?
    MARGARET: Plastic siding.
    TOM: You’ve got a door that’s not properly installed against the siding and what’s missing is the flashing. So, I would recommend that you pull off the existing siding and that you would re-flash that. Now, a good product …
    MARGARET: All around the frame.
    TOM: Yeah, all around it. There’s a good product that’s made by the Grace Company. It’s called Vycor – V-y-c-o-r – Plus Self-Adhered Flashing. It’s specifically done to protect against air/water/moisture leaks and it works to basically seal all those vulnerable spots, like around window and door openings. Those are the hardest places to flash.
    I would go to the Grace website; get some information on the product. It’s GraceAtHome.com – GraceAtHome.com – and it’s called self-adhered flashing; Vycor Plus Self-Adhered Flashing. I think if you get the siding off and if you get it flashed properly, you’re not going to have any more door leaks and you can get back to the beach and enjoy that weather.
    MARGARET: That sounds good. (chuckles) Thank you so much for your help.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Paul in Urbana, Illinois is having some issues with a water heater. What’s going on?
    PAUL: Well, the hot water heater is – I think it’s about 23 years old.
    TOM: Wow. It’s an antique. (laughs)
    PAUL: Yeah, well, it’s been – it has served us well. The top is gathering a lot of – I don’t know what you call it (chuckles). It’s lime; I guess it’s lime, huh?
    TOM: Is it white and crusty?
    PAUL: Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah. Those are mineral salt deposits, Paul, and they’re caused by leaks. And you probably have leaks in the pipes that are going into the water heater up top. Very common to get it around the fittings. At the age of 23, though, I mean that water heater can go at any time now so I think it would be time for a preventative replacement. I don’t think you want to wait much longer because when it goes, it’s going to be a big mess.
    PAUL: Yeah.
    TOM: Yeah, you know what you might want to think about is looking at one of the high-efficiency water heaters; either a tankless water heater or – do you have electric or gas in the house? What fuel do you use?
    PAUL: Well, we use gas.
    TOM: So I would get a gas-fired tankless water heater. If you buy one right now, they’re going to be covered by the federal energy tax credit program and you can get up to 15 percent of the cost of the water heater as a tax credit on your 2010 taxes.
    PAUL: They pretty expensive?
    TOM: Yeah, well, they’re not – they’re more expensive than a tanked water heater but they last a lot longer.
    PAUL: OK. Well, thanks for the information.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Paul. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright. Glenn is calling in from Devils Lake, North Dakota. Hey, Glenn, go easy on us, Satan. I’m kidding. (Tom and Leslie laugh) Hey, Glenn. How are you?
    GLENN: Real good. Real good.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
    GLENN: Well, I’ve got – in the basement, it was poured in two sections; a seam right down the middle. And the concrete is flaking off of this seam, about up to four to six inches, in a wide area. And actually, I’ve got some real light carpet. It’s bubbling up. I was wondering what I could do to …
    TOM: And it’s only happening in the seam area?
    GLENN: Yes, it is.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, you know, when they pour concrete, the aggregate is sort of bubbled up to the top and then they sort of shake it and vibrate it and it sinks down. And sometimes, if you get some inconsistent mixing, you can get some parts of the concrete surface that are a little more susceptible to chipping, which may be what happened depending on how this was poured.
    But I will say that the best thing to do is to pull off all of the loose stuff; don’t try to repair it in place. Pull it off, get everything off that you think is even the least bit loose and then you want to use an epoxy patching compound because what that does is that really seals the surface in and it attaches well to the rest of the concrete. And once it’s done, it will never pull off again. You can’t try to patch this with more mortar or concrete because it will separate – it will delaminate – but if you use an epoxy compound, then it’ll stick really well and it will never fall off.
    LESLIE: And the epoxy is super-flexible so any further movement that you get in there – you know, it will go with it.
    TOM: Yeah, expansion and contraction. Mm-hmm.
    GLENN: OK. Sounds good. Thank you very much.
    TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Up next, we’ve got tips for maintenance on your home’s most potentially damaging appliances which, surprisingly, are your washer and your dryer. Find out how to take care of them so they take care of you, after this.

    (theme song)
    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: And you can visit MoneyPit.com right now for tips on romantic home repairs. (Leslie chuckles)
    LESLIE: It’s so funny.
    TOM: You know, great ideas to surprise your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. Folks, we’ve got a home repair angle on just about any (Leslie laughs) holiday out there, including ….
    LESLIE: Well, we’ll find one, anyway.
    TOM: We’ll find one – including Valentine’s Day. But seriously, you can learn how to do a simple room makeover or create some romantic bathroom lighting for a nice soak in the tub or even the right paint to put you in the mood. It’s all online at MoneyPit.com in our Home Spaces section. 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.

    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got Tiffany from Farmville, North Carolina who is dealing with a leaky air conditioning unit. What’s going on?
    TIFFANY: Hey, thank you for taking my call. We have an old house and it has popcorn ceilings and our air conditioning unit is in the attic. And in two rooms, we had leaks and the leaks have been fixed but they’ve left these really awful, brown stains on the ceiling. And I’ve been told if you try to repaint popcorn ceiling, you have to get it right on the first swipe or else it’s just going to peel right off.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TIFFANY: I was wondering if there was a solution I could spray up there that would take that away without having to repaint them.
    TOM: Yeah. You have to prime it though, first. If you don’t prime it, you’re going to find out that the stain is going to come right through the – whatever color you put over it.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah, there’s no removing that stain.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: You’ve got to cover over it.
    TOM: Now, if it’s fairly concentrated – how big is the stain in terms of – is it a square foot or a couple of square feet? How big is it?
    TIFFANY: It’s really wide, in both rooms. It’s really huge.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. Well, here is what I would do then. I would repaint the whole ceiling. I would get a roller – a slitted roller. There are rollers that are designed for popcorn ceilings. They’re very thick and they have slits in them.
    TOM: And the first coat that you’re going to apply is a primer. I would use an oil-based primer. It’s going to be a messy job; I’m not going to kid you about it. But that will seal in whatever is on the surface there; give you a real neutral, dry, sticky surface on which to apply the ceiling paint. Then you can apply the ceiling paint using the same type of a roller – very thick one with slits in it – and you’ll be good to go after that. You can’t just paint right over it, though, because it’ll keep coming through.
    TIFFANY: OK. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    That’s one of those situations, Leslie, where you really need the right tool for the job. Otherwise, it just doesn’t work.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And that was one caller who actually didn’t want to get rid of the popcorn ceiling.
    TOM: Yeah, well, how about that? (Tom and Leslie laugh) For every person that wants to take it off, there are 12 more that want to put it back on again.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) I think you meant that the other way around. (Tom laughs)
    TOM: Yeah, well that too. (Leslie chuckles) You know, it was a popular ceiling with builders because they didn’t have to be as detailed with their finish work.
    LESLIE: Or cover their seams. (laughs)
    TOM: That’s right. Exactly.
    Some appliances that we use every day can cause big problems if they’re not properly maintained. Clothes washers and dryers, for example, can do just that. Here with some tips to help us keep safe and dry in our house is Kevin O’Connor, the host of This Old House.
    Hi, Kevin.
    KEVIN: Hi, Tom. Good to be here.
    TOM: So, washing machine hoses. I’ve actually had a burst one in my house; it’s not a pretty sight.
    KEVIN: No, it isn’t. Hundreds of gallons of water spewing out all over your house is not something you want to see. So, there are a couple things you’d be thinking about.
    First, let’s focus on the hoses. You know, a burst washing machine hose can cause thousands of dollars of damage. So, think about replacing them every five years or so. And when you do replace them, use a steel-braided hose because they’re less likely to break. You also want to think about shutting off the water between loads. You can either do it manually or you can install an automatic shutoff that’ll do it for you.
    Now, for dryers, think about cleaning the lint out of the dryer and the dryer duct regularly, especially if you have a natural gas dryer, because you can end up with a dryer fire.
    TOM: Good point. Dryers can be especially dangerous.
    KEVIN: Yeah, they can. And according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, clothes dryers cause thousands of fires every year. We’ve actually got more information about washer and dryer maintenance on our website, at ThisOldHouse.com.
    TOM: Great tip. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
    KEVIN: Tom and Leslie, always great to be here.
    LESLIE: You know, that’s a really good point, guys. It’s something that a lot of people don’t think about is washer and dryer maintenance. And I tell you, as far as the dryer goes …
    TOM: Yep.
    LESLIE: … once I became a homeowner and saw the tumble lint, if you will, blowing across my driveway (Tom laughs) out of the dryer vent …
    TOM: Always a clue, Leslie, that you need to clean that dryer, when it starts to spit lint out at you.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Seriously. Well, listen, when you’re bringing your clothes to the corner laundromat for years before you’re a homeowner, you don’t think about where the lint goes. When it’s in your driveway, (Tom chuckles) it becomes very clear it’s time to clean the dryer’s lint vent. And it really is such a satisfying chore so I thank Tom for turning me onto this happy chore.
    TOM: Well, for more tips just like that, you can watch Kevin on This Old House and also on Ask This Old House on your local PBS station. Bostitch is a proud sponsor of Ask This Old House. Bostitch – quality, durability and reliability.
    Up next, got a bit of leftover paint from that recent room redo? We’re going to have some tips to help you store it properly for easy touch-ups in years to come, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Hey, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit with us this hour. Now, we’ve all felt that ache and pain, especially if you guys are home improvers like we know you are. I know there has been a day where you’re like, “Ugh. My aching back.”
    Well, you’re not alone. There are 31 million Americans suffering from back pain and doctors have a new prescription. Seriously, they’re going to write this down on a piece of paper for you. Seventy-three percent of doctors say that reclining at home in a chair that offers total body and lumbar support will help. Heck, it’s good for a nap if nothing else. (Tom chuckles)
    So this hour, we’re giving away a $300 La-Z-Boy gift certificate – that’s awesome. I hope I win. Oh wait, I’m not eligible (chuckles) – to one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and if you don’t win, go online at La-Z-Boy.com/prescriptionrecline and you will learn all about the benefits of kicking your feet up once in a while.
    TOM: Well, if you need to kick back in a La-Z-Boy after a big paint project is completed, that’s great. But before you quit, you want to make sure that the paint is stored properly. If the paint is kept sealed and in a cool and dry area, it can last indefinitely and the best way to preserve your paint is to make sure you do a really good job of wiping the lip of the can before resealing it. Because if you don’t, the dried paint gets stuck in that lip and it won’t let the can reseal properly.
    Now, one way to do that is to create drain holes in the paint can when you use it. You simply pull the lid of the paint can off and take a screwdriver or an awl and with a sharp rap from a hammer, punch some holes inside that lip of the can where the top sort of fits in and that creates drain holes.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. That’s clever.
    TOM: Anything that’s in there will drain out. And so do that; then wipe it really clean. Then I like to lay a piece of kitchen wrap – like Saran Wrap – across the top of the paint can before I hammer the lid back on. And those two things keep it as fresh as the day it came home from the store.
    LESLIE: That’s really, really clever. Because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to open a can of paint after storing it and it’s like petrified-sealed shut.
    TOM: Yep. Tell me about it.
    LESLIE: That’s great.
    TOM: Yep. That’s the way to do it.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Perhaps you haven’t done the paint project and need some help to get started. We can do just that.

    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Russ in Illinois has a question about flooring. How can we help you with the project?
    RUSS: Yeah, we have about a 20×30 foot family room over a crawlspace and we are thinking about putting down a floating hardwood floor – snapped together tight – and we’re wanting to heat the floor with an in-floor heating system like water tubing or something like that but we’re wondering what the most efficient way is; what the best way is to go about doing that.
    TOM: OK. Well, you have a couple of options. You can use electric radiant which – you know, all of these are available in sort of the modular systems where you can connect different panels together and run them, so you don’t necessarily need professional installation on everything. But the radiant heat that’s electric, it’s probably the more expensive one to run but the least expensive to buy.
    If you wanted to do something that was with, say, a hot water system, then you could do that. With a hot water system, you can either install the hydronic pipes underneath the floor or above the floor, sort of in channels where it’s like plywood that’s sort of carved out to take the PEX – which is cross-linked polyethylene piping – and then you put the hardwood floor on top of that. With that, though, you’re going to have to create a zone and add it to your heating system; assuming that you have a hot water system to begin with. Do you have hot water heat now?
    RUSS: We do have – no, we don’t. We don’t.
    TOM: I think electric is going to be your only option.
    LESLIE: You know, there’s a good website, Russ. It’s called NuHeat.com and it’s N-u-H-e-a-t.com. And it’s a great site because there are two different ways that you can customize your own radiant heat mats for the floor: there’s a standard set, which are basically for, you know, square and rectangle rooms; and then if you’ve got a tricky space, there’s a build-your-own mat system for curved walls – you know, whatever unusual circumstances you might have in the space.

    But I like the site because it snaps together very easily; there’s an instructional video so that it’s completely foolproof when you’re putting it together. And we all know radiant heat is just awesome; it will help lower your heating bills because you’re subsidizing the heat that’s in the room, plus your feet will be so happy.

    RUSS: Right.
    LESLIE: So, you know, it’s a good project to tackle.
    RUSS: Great. Yeah, we do want to do the project ourselves so I will check out that site. Thank you.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. .
    LESLIE: Alright. Dot in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    DOT: I was wondering if you could give me some information on a good air purifier with low maintenance and maybe some information on the filters.
    LESLIE: Alright.
    TOM: Well, Dot, do you have a forced-air heating system or are you looking for a portable unit?
    DOT: A portable unit.
    TOM: Hmm. OK.
    LESLIE: Do you have forced air in the house or you don’t?
    DOT: I have forced air.
    LESLIE: You do.
    TOM: Well, you’re much, much better off installing a whole-home air cleaner that really scrubs the air in the entire house than a portable unit, because you’re going to find that a portable unit is not going to be nearly as effective and it’s also a lot more expensive to run and it requires a lot more maintenance.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Plus, you’re going to need like 10 of them.
    DOT: OK.
    TOM: So, a whole-home unit gets installed on the return side of your heating and air conditioning system and it basically captures all the dust particles in all the air that goes through there, traps it in a filter and then you have to change the filter usually about once a year or so, with this type.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And the filter is ginormous (ph). I mean, it is just folds and folds and folds, like accordion style, of this super-dense fabric that traps everything even as small as viral size, which the portable units, a lot of them don’t have filters; there’s just some sort of metal blade, if you will, that you have to clean.
    Plus, with the portable units, I mean, think about it, Dot, that the air that only passes through the portable unit is the air that’s going to get clean. So if you put it in a corner, maybe a five-foot radius around it is all that’s going to work. But with the whole-house air purifier, as the air cycles through the system, it’s constantly being cleaned and scrubbed: smoke, odor, allergens, dust, virus-sized particulates. It really does an amazing job of getting about – what is it, like 99 percent of the particles out of the air?
    TOM: Yeah. Let me give you a couple of recommendations, Dot. There are two products out there that are pretty good: one is called Trane Clean Effects – T-r-a-n-e – Clean Effects and the other one is the Aprilaire Model 5000. Both are very effective, whole-house air cleaners. They can be installed by a local heating and cooling professional and they’ll do the job that you need to do.
    DOT: I thank you very much. I like listening to your radio program; you’re very helpful.
    LESLIE: Thanks, Dot.
    TOM: Thank you so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Up next, is it a leaking septic of leach field or normal system side effect? Well, we’re going to have tips to diagnose your septic systems, next.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And hey, you guys know that we love you – each and every one of you Money Pit listeners. I’m saying this because Valentine’s Day is around the corner (Tom chuckles) so you really need to feel the love from us.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Love is in the air.
    LESLIE: But we want to know that you love us, so why not fan us on Facebook? This way, we’ll see how many of you are out there listening. You’ll know when we’re in studio and you can pick up the phone and get to us directly, immediately.
    So it’s really simple: if you’ve got a cell phone – hey, everybody’s got a cell phone nowadays – all you need to do is fan The Money Pit. You’ve got to text that. Write it out: “Fan the Money Pit” to FBOOK at 32665 from your cell phone and you’ll be instantly added as a fan on Facebook to us at The Money Pit. You get lots of great articles, fun stories, great pictures of Tom, great pictures of me and Martha Stewart, I might add, (Tom chuckles) which is still going to be my prized possession. Standard text messaging charges apply so I think it’s going to be like a dollar; you’ll have to see what your company charges. But you will be part of The Money Pit Fan Club and we will adore …
    TOM: What, you kidding?
    LESLIE: What?
    TOM: I got unlimited text messages once I saw how many text messages my kids were sending.
    LESLIE: Yeah, I think you’re daughter – what did she do; like 1,300 in a month or something ridiculous?
    TOM: And that’s – and I hear that’s nothing. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) I hear I’ve got a long way to go.
    LESLIE: Well, this’ll be one of your 1,300. So join us at Facebook and be a fan and you’ll get lots of great information. And while you’re online, you can e-mail us your home improvement question at MoneyPit.com by clicking on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon.

    And I’ve got one here from Handy Manny – oh wait, that’s a cartoon – from Manny in New Jersey who writes: “I own a three-year-old house.” Alright. “It’s got a septic system with a leach field. This past spring, I noticed water in three of the four PVC pipe inspection ports of the field. Is this OK or is it a sign that the field is somehow not big enough or there’s a leak somewhere?”
    TOM: Hmm. Well, with a three-year-old house, you would not expect a field to be breaking down. As those fields get to be …
    LESLIE: But maximized like that.
    TOM: Well, as they get to be, you know, 15, 20 years old, they can become saturated and kind of clogged up and then things back up through the pipe.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Right. Gross.
    TOM: But at that age, that’s a pretty significant problem. So my recommendation would be for you to have an independent septic evaluation done by a certified health inspector; one that does septic evaluations all the time.
    Now, you happen to be in New Jersey. I know that those inspectors are licensed, if you use a certified health inspector. They would also be the same health inspectors that work for the town. Perhaps you can go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors and find one that’s an expert in septics.
    But that is definitely not right at that age of a unit; you would not have water backing up through those junctures, so that is definitely of concern and something I would have looked at as quickly as possible.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. Now I’ve got one here from Johnny Lee who e-mailed us to say: “I have a Tudor-style, 1929 house that has an arched, screen door. I’ve seen very few and I’m trying to get the one I have replaced. I’m looking for someone that can measure, make and install the door but have not had much luck. Any suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated.”
    You know what, Johnny, I think you’re going the wrong route by trying to find somebody locally who can craft and put the whole thing together and install it. There’s actually a great website online called VintageDoors.com and I think right on the left menu you’ll see something like Arched and Round Screen Doors; something like that.
    But you’ll find on there – I mean, dozens of beautiful styles. They start at around 600 bucks and go up from there. Tons of screen choices and you’ll see from the site that they feature them on Tudors, so they’re really the right style for your home. And then you just need to install it yourself and feel proud that you did.
    TOM: Alright. We’ve got one here from Ava in Manhattan who says she has a 7×10 foot kitchen; has three hanging cabinets that need to be refaced. “I’ve got contractors telling me it will cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000.”
    LESLIE: Oh, my God.
    TOM: That’s crazy, Ava. You could buy cabinets for a much bigger kitchen for the same amount of money, let alone reface. I would tell you to go to a good website like AngiesList.com. Take a look at the kitchen cabinet installers and refacers listed there. Read the reviews posted by the members and choose one from that, because you’re definitely not talking to the right people. New York or not, it’s way too much money.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s expensive. Alright, Ava. Good luck.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that we’ve made your home improvement projects just a little bit easier to accomplish.
    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.

    (theme song)
    (Copyright 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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