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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 project – the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT – because we are here to help you get the jobs done that you need to do to turn your money pit from house to home to castle. Now we know there’s a project on your to-do list this weekend … 
    LESLIE: Or many. (chuckles) 
    TOM: Or many projects. Could be many. Could be multiple projects. You could be multitasking with your home improvement projects, whether it’s which end of the hammer to hold (Leslie laughs) or how to install a window. Regardless of your ability, we don’t judge; we just help you get it done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.  
    And you’ve got to get it done quickly because, soon enough, it will be time for summer and, with that, time to fire up the air conditioning. And if you don’t check your insulation right now, it could actually cost you money in the summer. Did you know that? It’s not too late to cash in on summer energy savings with some additional insulation. We’re going to tell you, this hour, how to do just that because a well-insulated home will keep cool air inside as well as cut summer energy costs. We’ve got some tips on how you can do just that, in just a bit. 
    LESLIE: And you know what? This is absolutely my favorite time of the year because the weather is fantastic, you can get outside, and I love to use the grill. I mean outdoor cooking is perfect in the springtime in New York because it’s not too hot and it’s just the right time to move all of your cooking chores outdoors after a winter of being shut in. So get outside. So coming up, I’m going to share with you some grill safety tips for your first use of the grill of the season. 
    TOM: Plus, do you know where Americans are at the highest risk – the highest danger, I should say – of dying in a fire? This really surprised me. 
    LESLIE: Uh-uh. 
    TOM: It’s in your own house. 
    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. Really?  
    TOM: It’s true. And we’re going to talk with Ron Hazelton in just a bit. Now Ron is the home improvement expert from Good Morning America. He’s also host of House Calls and a friend of the program. He’s a great guy and he’s got some tips on trends in home sprinkler systems that can actually keep you safe. You know, more and more states now are requiring these with new construction. 
    LESLIE: It’s smart. 
    TOM: We’re going to talk with Ron about how you can add that to an existing home, at the bottom of the hour. 
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. We’ve got a cool bath accessory and it’s a classic S-shaped towel holder stand from EveryFaucet.com. 
    TOM: It’s worth 64 bucks; going to go to one caller who has the courage to pick up the phone (Leslie chuckles) and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question. 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to the phones. 
    Leslie, who’s first? 
    LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got Randy in Indiana who’s dealing with, it seems like, some sort of bad situation happening on his carpet. What happened? You spilled bleach? 
    RANDY: No, not exactly. The dog made a small mistake on the carpet.  
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Ah, ah. Well, [that kind of bleach] (ph). 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh. 
    RANDY: (overlapping voices) We have a Yorkie in the house and I rushed to (inaudible at 0:03:19.3) there and grabbed a cleaner that had a bleach in it. 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Aw. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh. 
    RANDY: Our carpet is kind of a blonde color; really light blonde. 
    TOM: OK. 
    RANDY: You can barely notice it but there are two white blotches of white color on our carpet and I was wondering if there’s a way you can possibly stain that to kind of blend it where it’s not so noticeable. 
    LESLIE: I’m thinking you’re walking from the laundry room with like a full gallon of bleach and like, “Whoa,” trip and like (Tom laughs) – I’m thinking this is a huge mess and I’m like, “Oh, gosh, how are we going to help you?” 
    RANDY: No, it’s two spots, oh, about as big as about four inches diameter, three inches diameter. And it was actually – it was a laundry detergent that had a bleach in it, so I was … 
    TOM: Right. Well, you know, that’s not a very big spot and I think that you’ve got a chance of getting it close to what it was. It’s probably always going to be there but we can make it less obvious.  
    There’s a company that actually specializes in this, called Americolor. And their website is AmericolorDyes.com – A-m-e-r-i-ColorDyes.com. And they have an extensive selection of carpet-dyeing products. They’ve got dyeing pens; they have dye kits. 
    LESLIE: They have bleach neutralizers. 
    TOM: Yeah, because it’s not just adding the dye; you have to actually get the surface ready to accept it. And so they’re kind of set up for that. We’ve recommended them for a number of years and they’re pretty thorough. 
    LESLIE: And you know what? The best part is you don’t have to sort of figure it out for yourself on the website; they’re very helpful in the customer service department. So if you seem a little confused or don’t know exactly what the right thing is, call them up and they’ll talk you through it and get you exactly what you need. 
    RANDY: OK, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. 
    TOM: You’re welcome, Randy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Liz in North Dakota is looking for a gutter makeover. What can we do for you? 
    LIZ: Yes, we have some gutters that were installed on our home when we built it new 40 years ago, approximately. 
    TOM: Yep. 
    LIZ: And I know the company that we bought them from and it was supposed to be a warranted lifetime. I haven’t contacted them or anything. But they’re white and I believe it’s galvanized metal. 
    TOM: They galvanized; they’re not aluminum?  
    LIZ: No. No, they’re – I think they’re galvanized metal. 
    TOM: Hmm. Are they rusting out? 
    LIZ: No, they’re not rusting; they’re just fading out. 
    TOM: Huh.  
    LIZ: They were white. 
    TOM: Well, regardless if it’s galvanized steel or if it’s aluminum, they can be painted. The key here is going to be surface preparation. You’re going to have a lot of what we call chalking of the old finish. In other words, when you rub it, the old, white paint will come off. That needs to be cleaned very, very well and then I would recommend use of a primer because primer is going to make sure that the surface bonds properly to the final coat of paint.  
    I will tell you, Liz, that this is a lot of work – it’s not easy because the gutters are all up in the air – but you can prime them and paint them with a good-quality, exterior-grade house paint after they’re primed. And if you do it right and you take the steps I’m recommending, you can probably get another, say, five to seven years out of them with one good coat of paint. 
    LIZ: What do you recommend; oil-based or latex? 
    TOM: I think latex is fine but I just want you to make sure you prime the metal first. Make sure it’s a paint that’s designed for metal and make sure it’s primed properly. 
    LIZ: Alright, thank you very much. Enjoy your program. 
    TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    Just imagine that project. You’ve got to go up the ladder and you’ve got to go down the ladder and then you’ve got to move the ladder and you’ve got to go up again. It’s going to be … 
    LESLIE: It’s one for somebody with long arms. (laughs) 
    TOM: Exactly, and a lot of time. (chuckles) 
    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, home improvement, home design, outside design. Whatever project you are working on at your money pit, we can give you a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    TOM: 888-666-3974.  
    Up next, you know the right amount of insulation can make a huge difference in summer energy bills. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know to get this project done in time for some serious summer savings, after this. 

    (theme song) 
    TOM: Making good homes better, 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. 
    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question which may, in fact, even be the correct answer. We’re running a special today. We’re only giving out correct answers on the show.  
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Lucky you.  
    TOM: And we’re also giving away a Gatco classic floor S towel holder from EveryFaucet.com. It comes in a chrome finish or a brass finish and this way you’ll always have a towel waiting for you outside your shower or bath. It’s worth 64 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us on today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: So you mean my husband doesn’t have to stand there anymore holding the towel the whole time? (laughs) 
    TOM: He does not. He does not. But you know, we don’t have to tell him that.  
    LESLIE: (laughing) Good, because I’m not going to. I like him standing there.  
    TOM: He can be your towel boy. 
    LESLIE: (laughing) Alright. Well, you guys, now that the weather is getting warmer, you may be thinking that insulation is not the project to do this time of year but that’s actually not true. Adding insulation to your home is the single most important thing you can do in your home to cut down on energy costs and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Summertime, wintertime, any time of year, it is a great project. 
    So first off, take a peek in your attic. Now this is a great time of year to do this because it’s not quite the burning heat of summer yet, so it’s not going to be a gajillion degrees up there and if you wait a little while longer, it is; so it’s a good time to head on up there. And it’s also right before you start using your air conditioner on a regular basis, so any energy savings that you can accumulate, you’ll start to benefit from immediately. 
    Now, Owens Corning, they advise 19 inches of fiberglass batt insulation or 22 inches of blown-in insulation. If you find you do need more, here are a few insulation tips.  
    First of all, use cut pieces of plywood for sitting or kneeling and for cutting your insulation; this way you don’t end up in the bedroom ceiling. And also, start at the outer edge of the attic and then work towards the center so you don’t get yourself stuck anywhere. 
    TOM: Correct. Now, if your joist cavities are already filled, you can add a second layer of insulation. You just want to lay the new insulation in long runs, perpendicular to the joist; so that’s at a 90-degree angle. Now you can use any leftover pieces to fill in the small spaces and if the spaces between the joists are not filled in, first you want to bring those to the joist level with the new insulation and then run the rest of the insulation on top of that; again, perpendicular to the original layer. 
    For more tips on energy efficiency and insulation, you can visit OwensCorning.com. 

        1. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question.

    LESLIE: Jim in Ohio, you’ve got the Money Pit. What can we do for you today? 
    JIM: Well thanks for taking my call. I have a house I purchased about 11 years ago and when I purchased it, there is a small crack in the basement wall at the top cinder blocks and along my back wall and my side wall. And it really hasn’t moved for a number of years and then, recently, I noticed that on my one side wall, the very top blocks, the gap is starting to get bigger and they’re actually starting to lean out. And what worries me the most is there is a metal beam that one of them is under and it’s leaning on that. So I’m just kind of wondering what type of fix or who do I get to look at it; a basement person or what. 
    TOM: Yeah. Well, not a basement contractor. You have two options. I would suggest either a professional home inspector or a structural engineer. Because if you’ve got a visible crack or a serious crack like that, you really need to make sure it’s evaluated by a professional because when it comes time to sell your house, Jim, you want to be able to say that you had a report done and this was the diagnosis.  
    And in the worse-case scenario, if it turns out that you need a repair, at that point you would only be working with a structural engineer who would specify what has to happen step-by-step. Then you’d have the contractor make the repair; you’d have the engineer come back and recertify that it was done correctly and that becomes sort of a pedigree so that if you go to put the house on the market and anybody sees that you’ve got a crack in the basement, you can say, “Hey, I saw that. I was concerned. I hired a structural engineer. He or she designed a repair. I had a contractor do it and then the engineer certified that it was done correctly.” And if I saw that as a professional home inspector for a potential buyer, I would be completely satisfied. 
    JIM: OK, great. I appreciate it. 
    TOM: Alright? So that’s the way to handle it. 
    JIM: Thank you very much. 
    TOM: You’re welcome, Jim. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Christy in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today? 
    CHRISTY: I have a question about old lamps. I bought some antique lamps, probably – they’re over 50 years old. And I just want to know if – I’ve had the wiring – I’ve taken them to a hardware store and they’ve rewired them but I don’t know very much about electricity in old light fixtures and I just want to know if I replace the electrical cords, how would I know if they’re safe. I mean is that all I need to do to be sure that they’re safe? 
    TOM: Well, I mean if the hardware store is doing this for you, I think that you’re probably in good hands because what they would do is they would replace everything, including the socket, the bulk socket, and the switch and the cord. So essentially … 
    LESLIE: They just work off of the fixture and replace all the guts. 
    TOM: Yeah. I mean, essentially, all of the operable parts, from an electrical standpoint, are new; so I think you’ll be perfectly safe doing that. 
    CHRISTY: Yeah, because people are always throwing out these really cool, old lamps with all kinds of unique features … 
    TOM: Yeah. 
    CHRISTY: … and then I find some local hardware store where the guy knows how to fix it and they’re pretty awesome. So that’s really just my question. I have these lamps; they’re beautiful, they’re old and they’re unique but I don’t want them to be a fire hazard. 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, absolutely not. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) I think that you’ll be perfectly fine. 
    CHRISTY: OK. Do you have any suggestions for reference? Like just by chance, would you know any book or any website that I could find out about the age of old lamps or information on vintage lamps and lighting fixtures? 
    LESLIE: I don’t, actually. I was going to send you to a website called LampShop.com and they sell lamp parts. Because I, like you, like to either make my own lampshades or I find something cool like a vase or some sort of interesting, antique-y object, if you will, and I like to turn those things into lamps. And there’s a guy that works there who – I believe his name is Ryan – he’s completely awesome; he talks me through the whole process. I sort of describe the piece that I’ve found and what’s the best way to turn it into a lamp. So you may, in your next dumpster-dive adventure, find something cool that isn’t already a lamp that you might want to venture into doing yourself and as long as you use up-to-code electrical wiring, I mean it’s as simple as running an electrical cord up this piece and wiring it to a socket. It could not be easier. As long as you’re using current items, it’ll work fantastic and you’ll be able to create really unusual pieces. 
    CHRISTY: Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. I love your show. 
    TOM: You’re welcome, Christy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Jim in Georgia with a plumbing question. What can we do for you today? 
    JIM: Yeah, I do. Listen, I do a lot of remodeling. We have rental homes and we buy them in disrepair. We’re doing everything basically in CPVC in the house and PVC to the house. 
    TOM: Right. 
    JIM: And you guys recommended PEX … 
    TOM: Yes. 
    JIM: … and I walk by PEX in the hardware store all the time and never consider it. Can you give me some advice on it? What are your thoughts on PEX compared to CPVC?  
    TOM: Well, I think it’s a very convenient product because it’s easy to run. I mean you run PEX like you run wiring. It’s very, very flexible.  
    And of course, for those that are not familiar with PEX, PEX is short for cross-linked polyethylene, which is a type of plumbing pipe. Easy connections to make; you know, not a lot of specialized equipment, no torches involved. You can take PEX and heat it and stretch it and it has got memory; comes right back to the same shape it was before, so it’s really durable stuff. And I just really like working with it. I just think it’s a great product and a lot easier and a lot more durable than other products that are out there. And so for remodeling it’s perfect because you can twist and turn this stuff and basically get it anywhere you need to go. 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Get around things. 
    JIM: So we don’t have to wait on all those glue joints to dry. We put in a lot of elbows and Ts and … 
    LESLIE: No. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. No. Once you put it in, you’re completely good to go. And in fact, you know, with those glue joints, too, if you don’t clean them right, you don’t get them … 
    LESLIE: It doesn’t stick. 
    TOM: It doesn’t stick and it leaks. You can develop leaks and there’s no way to fix a broken joint like that; you have to rip out the pipe and put a new piece in.  
    LESLIE: And the PEX is like a crimping system. 
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. 
    LESLIE: So it just locks it up. 
    TOM: If you’re doing a lot of remodeling, I would invest in the tools and I think you’re really going to find that you love this stuff and it’ll be one of those things where you wonder why it took you so long. 
    JIM: OK. Well, based on that, I’ll give it a try. We’ll see how it goes. I appreciate that. 
    TOM: Alright, Jim. You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    LESLIE: Cindy in Iowa needs a hand with a painting project. What can we do for you today? 
    CINDY: I have two steel entry doors and they’re just the way they came from the factory; they’re just the basic kind of putty color. 
    TOM: OK. 
    CINDY: And I wanted to paint them and I don’t know what to use; what type of paint or how to apply it would be the best: brush, roller or spray. 
    TOM: What I would recommend is that you take the door off the hinges; try to lay it out on a nice day on a couple of sawhorses; take all the hardware off. You’re going to want to lightly sand the whole thing so that you get off any old finish or any weathering or debris that’s on there. Then you’re going to prime it; I would recommend Rust-Oleum as the primer. You can use a good-quality oil-based brush to apply the primer and you can also use a top coat of Rust-Oleum over that and those two will work very well. And I will tell you that Rust-Oleum takes a long time to dry. 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, but it’s worth it. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s actually a good thing because it really is a very, very durable surface and with a door you really want something that’s not going to chip or take any – show any signs of wear and tear because a door gets a lot of abuse. 
    So that’s what I would do. Take it off, prime it, flip it over, prime the other side. You might have to stop at that point and put the door back in for the night because you’ll be out of daylight. Next day, take it off again; put the first coat of the finish on the one side; flip it; do the other coat; put it back and repeat. You’re going to need probably two finish coats and one primer coat but you’ll be done with that door for 20 years; you won’t have to paint it again, Cindy. 
    LESLIE: And you don’t have to worry about using a brush leaving brush strokes because the oil paint does take a little bit extra time to dry; so it gives you that much more working time as you’re applying it so you don’t need to worry about seeing any of those brush marks. 
    TOM: Yeah, it flows really nicely. 
    CINDY: Alright. Thank you very much. 
    TOM: You’re welcome, Cindy. Good luck with that project. 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. 
    Well, more and more states are requiring home fire sprinklers in new construction projects. Up next, we’ll have tips on what it takes to install a sprinkler system in your own home, from Good Morning America’s Ron Hazelton, so stick around. 
    (theme song) 
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch, professional-quality hand tools, pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers. Choose the brand that pros trust most – Bostitch, available at Lowe’s and other retailers. 
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler. 
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. 
    Well, we all know that fire sprinklers can save lives and reduce property damage but today they haven’t been all that common in homes. 
    TOM: But the good news is that three more states have now taken steps to create fire sprinkler laws, bringing the total to six states that recognize the importance of having fire sprinklers in your home. Here to tell us more about this trend and debunk some of the myths associated with them is Ron Hazelton. Ron is the host of Ron Hazelton’s House Calls and also the former home improvement editor for Good Morning America.  
    Hi, Ron.  
    RON: Hey, guys. How are you? 
    TOM: We are excellent. And I think, Ron, when people think about fire sprinkler systems in their houses, they have this nightmarish view of somebody burning toast and the sprinklers come on and flood the whole place. 
    RON: Yeah. Yeah, that’s just one of the many myths about sprinklers. You know, the fact is that sprinklers are only set off by the heat from a fire, so that means that the smoke from a cigar or burnt toast will definitely not set them off. And in about 90 percent of the cases, only one sprinkler goes off and that’s the one closest to the fire. 
    TOM: Oh, interesting. So they’re basically zoned in the sense that they’re only going to go off where the fire exists. 
    RON: Right. When the temperature at the ceiling gets up to about 150 degrees – which, by the way, happens very, very quickly. I’ve been in a number of homes and a number of lab burns and usually the sprinkler activates within about a minute. So it doesn’t take long for the heat to reach that point at the top of the ceiling and then it sets off the nearest sprinkler. And then that sprinkler contains the fire and, in almost every case where I’ve been present, it has actually put the fire out. 
    LESLIE: Now Ron, of course I understand the importance of the home sprinkler system, but the designer in me is thinking, “What do these look like?” Does it look like something you would see in a commercial application? Do I need water pipes suspended from my ceiling everywhere? 
    TOM: And also, Ron, can you install these in a remodeling situation or are they really designed for new construction only? 
    RON: Well, those are two very good questions as far as their appearance. I usually drape fake plants around them and, surprisingly enough, they just blend right in with the décor. No, I’m just kidding. (Tom chuckles) 
    LESLIE: In your jungle room, of course. (chuckles) 
    TOM: That’s right. 
    RON: Yeah, in your jungle room. Right. What we’re used to seeing in commercial buildings are the sprinklers that sort of hang down from the ceiling by two or three inches and they’re not very attractive. But modern residential sprinklers are recessed into the ceiling. All you see when you look up there is a disk; it’s about three inches in diameter. As a matter of fact, they’re far less visible than a recessed light canister or a smoke alarm, so they don’t detract from the appearance of a room at all; in fact, you just really forget that they’re there.  
    And then I actually live with fire sprinklers and I did retrofit a 30-year-old house. It is more expensive to retrofit a house because you’ve got to open things up and get the pipes to run through the walls. 
    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm. 
    RON: But actually, I was surprised at how few walls they actually had to open up. I live in a two-story Colonial. They would use closets and run pipes inside closets; very, very little mess and very little disruption. 
    LESLIE: Well, these do really seem so important but are there any incentives – other than, of course, life-saving features – as far as insurance might go to have these installed in your home? 
    RON: Yes. Most insurance companies now will lower your fire insurance premium for having fire sprinklers. Congress right now is working out a bill that will also allow you to depreciate sprinklers, residential sprinklers, over a very short period – about five years; so that’s another incentive. 
    TOM: We’re talking to Ron Hazelton. He is the syndicated host of Ron Hazelton’s House Calls, a great television show seen all around the country.  
    So Ron, we mentioned earlier that sprinklers are now being required in, I guess, six states. What’s the hold up? What’s the resistance? Do you see this as a trend now where it’s going to start being more common in every state? I mean I remember, years ago, when we didn’t have requirements to put carbon monoxide detectors in homes and there was a lot of resistance; the builders didn’t want to do it. But slowly but surely, it became normal operating procedure to install carbon monoxide detectors right next to the smoke detectors. Do you think that’s going to happen with sprinkler systems? 
    RON: I do, I do. It’s now part of the National Fire Code. You can go back even further than that just to seat belts and there was a lot of resistance to that. No one would question the life-saving properties of seat belts today. And when you look at communities that have required sprinklers – and Scottsdale, Arizona is probably one of the longest records; 15 years they’ve been required there – the record they have there. The average property damage from a non-sprinklered home in Scottsdale over that period from a fire is $45,000; for a sprinklered home, $2,200. There have been no deaths in sprinklered homes in Scottsdale over that 15-year period.  
    There’s no question that they work. I think part of the problem is that builders – and I can understand this point of view – do not want to be mandated into having to put additional things in houses. 
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Anything. 
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. 
    TOM: Yeah, anything. (chuckling) They don’t want to be mandated to put so much as an additional nail in a house. (Leslie chuckles) 
    RON: Well, yeah. I mean they’re – however, I will say that I have met several builders now who have turned this around and turned it to an advantage and recognize that many buyers actually do see this as value added to a house. 
    TOM: Oh, good for them. 
    RON: In fact, a very recent Harris poll was conducted that demonstrated that 70 percent of the people who were interviewed thought sprinklers definitely added value. So there are two sides to this story but one thing is unquestionable and that is that these do save lives and they do reduce property damage significantly. 
    TOM: Well put.  
    Ron Hazelton, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.  
    If you’d like more information on fire sprinklers, you can go to HomeFireSprinkler.org or check out Ron’s website at RonHazelton.com. 
    Thanks again, Ron.  
    RON: Hey, guys, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. 
    TOM: Our pleasure. 
    LESLIE: Well, we’ve been talking about preventing fires in your house, which is very, very important. But this time of year, there’s one fire that you actually want to start – well, outside of your house – and it’s your grill. (Tom chuckles) So up next, we’re going to share safety tips with you to make sure that you light that grill correctly and you don’t start your summer off with a bang that you didn’t expect. Save that for the 4th of July. We’ll share that with you in just a bit. 
    (theme song) 
    TOM: Making good homes better, 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 you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because this hour we are giving away a great prize. Of course you have to call in with your home improvement question because you want that answer as well as wanting the prize. But here we go. 
    The prize this hour is the Gatco Classic Floor S Towel Holder from EveryFaucet.com. Now you can choose it in chrome or brass finish and, this way, whenever you take your nice, hot shower, you will have a warm and lovely towel waiting there for you right outside the door. No more making your husband and wife stand there with the towel. It’s perfect for outside your shower and bath. It’s worth $64. And the number here for your great answer and an awesome prize is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 
    TOM: 888-666-3974.  
    Well, would you like to know how to make sure that your barbecue is safe for an entire season of those sizzling steaks and burgers and chops and everything else? You need to do a few things to get your grill ready and here is the step-by-step. 
    The first thing you want to do is to remove the cooking grids and take out and replace the lava rock. Now the lava rock does not last forever. It’s very cheap to replace. And if you take it out, you’re going to find out that it’ll probably disintegrate in your hands. It’s not a bad thing. Just throw it out; go get new lava rock. 
    The next thing you want to do is pull out the burner and check it very carefully for rust or cracks. Surprisingly, these burners do develop cracks; they do develop rust-outs and holes and they’re certainly not designed to work that way. So if you find that your burner is cracked or rusted, you can order a replacement from the manufacturer.  
    You also want to clean out the venturi under the burner – that’s that little tube – and sometimes when you buy a grill it comes with a venturi brush which is sort of a long, wire brush with the bristles on the end of it. Very, very important because spiders love to form nests inside of those venturi tubes and if you simply run the brush through once, you’ll break that nest and that makes … 
    LESLIE: Are they super teeny, teeny, tiny; like long and wiry, those brushes? 
    TOM: Yeah, exactly. 
    LESLIE: If you have a neighbor who has a new baby and you’ve lost your brush … 
    TOM: Yeah? 
    LESLIE: … they give them in every new bottle, so just knock on the door and ask. (chuckles) 
    TOM: Oh, well alright. So there you have it. You know? There’s a mother trick from Leslie. 
    LESLIE: Tip from a mom.  
    TOM: Tip from a mom. Exactly. But I’ll tell you. You know, we were setting up the grill once – I think it was my brother-in-law’s grill – and it just wouldn’t fire right. And I took the burner out and sure enough, just the tiniest, little, thin spider nest across that; we poked it and, poof, it was just perfect after that. So I mean they really are hard to spot but just run that brush through, clean it all out. 
    Then when you put this thing back together, you want to check the hoses for leaks or cracks. Easy way to do that is with a soap-and-water solution. You can take some dish soap and water and brush it on. If you see any bubbles, that’s a bad thing; that means that you’ve got a leak and you need to fix that or if the hose is cracked, of course, you’ve got to replace it. 
    If all that works out well, open the grill before you fire it. Never fire up the grill when it’s closed. Always fire it when it’s open and if it works, I think you are good to go for a delicious meal. 
    LESLIE: Mm, mm, mm. 
    TOM: An entire season of sizzling fun. That grill is all set. 
    LESLIE: I do love barbecuing. 
    TOM: Absolutely. 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now. Maybe we’ve got you thinking about some outdoor home improvement projects; maybe an outdoor room, a patio, a walkway, a deck. They’re all great questions, so call us right now. 
    Who’s next? 
    LESLIE: Martin in New Hampshire is having some issues with a shower. Tell us what’s going on? 
    MARTIN: Yeah, I have a fiberglass shower enclosure that – well, the house is ten years old but – so when I’m in there taking a shower, the floor kind of creaks and I’m just wondering if there’s something loose or how that occurred and how I can fix that. 
    LESLIE: And the creaking on the shower pan, is this something new or have you always sort of sensed movement since you’ve been in the house? 
    MARTIN: Well, I’ve been living with it for a while. 
    LESLIE: (chuckles) Yeah. Because generally, with the shower pans, usually there’s a concrete base underneath and some people will just put the shower pan on top once it’s hardened and secured and other people will, as the concrete is sort of drying, sort of press the pan into it so it takes the shape underneath and really adheres the pan to the concrete base. So, it could be that yours was sort of not adhered correctly to the base underneath and is now … 
    TOM: Or just dropped on top. 
    LESLIE: Yeah, or just sitting on top and now you’re just getting some movement because of the age. 
    TOM: But I tell you that eventually, with all this creaking, sometimes the fiberglass will crack. And if that happens, your options would be either to replace the pan or you could do a temporary fix with a fiberglass repair kit like a Bondo kit; the kind that you would get … 
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, from an auto repair shop. 
    TOM: Mm-hmm, exactly.  
    MARTIN: So is there any way I could get underneath there from the inlet end where the water comes in, from that end, and I don’t know, try to get some adhesive in or something? 
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Something to glue it back down? No. 
    TOM: No. I mean even if you had access underneath that – I mean even if you used something like an expanding polyurethane foam, it may just expand so much that it cracks the pan and that would be, of course, not what you’re trying to do. 
    MARTIN: Oh, OK. Alright. So you’re saying I probably have to take the whole exposure (ph) out and start over? 
    TOM: Well, if it – you know if it cracked, that would be your option. At this point, I would just leave it. 
    MARTIN: OK. Sounds awesome. 
    TOM: (chuckles) Alright. 
    MARTIN: Alright. Sounds good. 
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. 
    Well, water, water everywhere. If that is you, you are in deep trouble. Up next, your water leakage problems solved from ceilings to basements, so stick around if you want to stay dry. 
    (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 we’ve been getting lots and lots of e-mail inquiries about wet basements, leaky roofs and more after all of the wet weather we had this winter and this spring. You can get great tips online at MoneyPit.com and all that. We’ve got answers to your questions about water damage, mold and also how to find those pesky links. Just visit MoneyPit.com and search the hundreds of archived articles right there. 
    LESLIE: And while you’re online, why not send us an e-mail by heading over to MoneyPit.com. And we’ve got one here from Robert in Mechanicsville, Virginia who writes: “I recently found water damage in my basement. After tearing down the walls, I noticed a gap between the wall and the slab. What is this trough for and why is it located inside the house? Is it a radon hazard and should I and can I seal it off?” 
    TOM: Well, that gap is actually pretty standard in terms of a construction technique. Most of the time, builders will pour the cement slab and leave an inch gap or so between it and the wall so that if you ever have water that leaks through your walls, it’ll fall into that gap and underneath the house. 
    Now, in terms of this water damage, I will tell you to look outside at your grading and your drainage. Make sure your gutters are clean, they’re free-flowing, the downspouts are extended out away from the house, and make sure the soil slopes away from the house. That’s the leading cause of most wet basement problems. 
    In terms of the radon hazard, actually, it could be a radon hazard and if you did have a radon problem, Robert, that would be potentially one of the sources that would be sealed up when the mitigation is done. 
    Now, I don’t know why you brought this up. You may have had some radon in your area. If you’ve never done a radon test, it’s very easy, very inexpensive. I would do the radon test to find out if there’s any kind of a radon issue and then we can worry about what to do with that gap after that. 
    LESLIE: And it’s best to do the radon test now, in the springtime, before it gets super-hot and you’re going to be throwing open your windows because you kind of have to keep everything closed off for a very specified amount of time other than the occasional door opening to get in and out, et cetera. So seriously, take a test because if you do have radon, it’s a simple thing to fix and it can save your life. 
    TOM: Well, when you think of the term “home decorating,” you probably think there are big dollar signs associated with that. Not so, because Leslie has got the last word on changing up the look of your bedroom or living room this year without breaking the bank. 
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, a new season should really mean a new look for your bedroom or your living room and that really means just spending a few bucks on some well-placed accessories. And you might not even have to spend the money because, as I have seen across this country, a lot of you have closets where you shove things and never think about them again. So in there, you might find everything that you need to do a seasonal makeover in your house. 
    Now, if you’ve got some dark throw pillows, you want to replace those with light ones or pattern ones that have a nice, spring, airy feeling to them; softer textures; get rid of the velvets and the chenilles and go with linens and cottons. Think about what makes you feel cool and crisp like the summertime does. 
    Now also, change up candles. We love putting out candles in the wintertime and the fall; it makes everything feel really warm and cozy. But swap those out for springy flowers or plants.  
    And then your window treatments. All winter long we like to cover up those windows with heavy drapes and lots of layers to stop any leaky drafts that you might have. Well, for the summertime, open up. Get rid of those heavy drapes. Try using just sheers for a little while or maybe replace those with those grassy, woven, matchstick blinds.  
    I’m serious. If you look around your house, you may have everything you need to just sort of spruce things up for the season. So it’s really easy to bring in a light, fresh look to your room. Celebrate this new season without spending a ton of money and your house will feel fresher and you’ll find that you enjoy it all over again. So get to it. Search your house. See what you’ve got. 
    TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. 
    Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to talk about trees. You know, they are the original, all-natural air conditioning system because they do provide shade and comfort. So we’re going to have some tips on how to plant trees and, also, how to choose the best location for your new tree when we welcome Roger Cook, our pal, the landscape contractor from This Old House next week on the program. 
    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 2010 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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