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    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 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    As we move through the fall season, we know that there’s a project on your to-do list. Have you got a few leaves in those gutters? Feeling the first drafts come through the windows? Maybe thinking about changing out a door, thinking, “Oh, my gosh. I’ve got months and months of chilly weather ahead. I’m trapped inside this house. What can I do to make it look better?” Well, pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and we will help you plan your next home improvement project.

    Coming up this hour, if you’re finally ready to reorganize your basement, you better plan for a high-moisture situation or possibly even flooding below grade.

    A lot of people learned that lesson the hard way, Leslie, this past year when their basements were flooded by all of those awful storms we had, especially in the Northeast. We’re going to help those folks that are in that situation, with some great ideas for below-grade storage, coming up.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead, I’ve got a few of my secrets to success for upholstering a headboard. And it’s a really great project which gives you a huge change. And let me tell you: it does not require a lot of effort or really a lot of expense. And it’s a project that you can do yourself, so we’re going to share that with you in a bit.

    And this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. We’ve got a set of hammered-copper bathroom accessories from Premier Copper Products, including a towel ring and a towel bar. And copper is super-hot, so this is a great prize.

    TOM: It’s a prize worth 175 bucks. Going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Daniel in Wisconsin is doing some work on a deck. Tell us what you’re doing.

    DANIEL: I have some 4×4 posts that are support-structured posts that have warped. And I want to take them out, replace them. And what I want to do is get an idea from you guys – there’s any product out there that I could replace these posts with that would cheer (ph) some of this warping so it wouldn’t happen again.

    TOM: Well, is it a 4×4 post?

    DANIEL: Correct.

    TOM: Yeah, they do tend to twist and warp a lot. How long are they?

    DANIEL: I would say 8 feet: 4 on the – 4 below the deck and 4 above.

    TOM: OK. And you want to use like one piece and have it go right sort of through the deck and become part of the railing structure?

    DANIEL: Correct.

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t know that you’re going to have any luck finding any better 4x4s. It’s kind of a condition that these things – that that size twists a lot. If you were to upgrade to a 6×6 and do a different kind of railing, you would have a lot less twisting.


    TOM: But a 4×4 is very, very famous for twisting and cracking and checking. I’ve seen these things twist 15, 20 degrees; it’s almost like they’re rotating.

    In fact, one time, I was putting in a railing system where they had to be covered by a PVC sleeve and we could not get the sleeve over the 4×4 because it had twisted. We ended up having to plane the 4×4 down – all the high spots – so that we could slide the sleeve for the railing system on top of it.


    TOM: So with that length, 4×4, you’re going to find a lot of twist. If you’d like to have less twist, you’re going to have to use a 6×6.

    DANIEL: OK. Second question, the original – this deck was put in a for a hot tub on top and the original construction person used 20-inch on center spacing. Now, the deck boards themselves have warped because of that, because they didn’t have the appropriate support underneath it.

    LESLIE: Because it wasn’t close enough for the hot tub.

    DANIEL: It was support for the hot tub but the spacing – see, we’ve taken the hot tub off now and the boards themselves – the decking boards – have warped. And what I want to do is – I’m asking you a question: what size boards should I put in between this 20-inch on center? Should I use a 2×6, 2×8?

    TOM: That’s a really odd size but you should be – definitely be able to do OK with a 2×6 because 2×6 could go 24 on center. So I would do a 2×6.

    Now, by the way, if you’ve only got a couple that are warped or cracked, you could pop them up and flip them over and screw them down the next time. Because the back side will typically be in almost perfect condition.


    TOM: Save some money.

    DANIEL: OK. Yeah, I’ve got to get after it and it’s going to be a nice-looking thing once I get it done. I appreciate you guys.

    TOM: You’re very welcome, Daniel. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Pick up the phone and give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we are here to help you get all of your autumn home improvements in check before the – brrr – winter season arrives. We’re here for you at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Coming up, expert tips on an easy project that will add drama to any bedroom: an upholstered headboard. Leslie has done dozens of these with perfect results each time and she’s going to share her secrets to getting that project done in your house, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by InSinkErator, instant hot or hot/cool-water dispensers. Delivering 200-degree hot or cool filtered water in an instant, at the touch of a lever right at the kitchen sink. Perfect for homeowners looking to save time in the kitchen. For more information, please visit www.InSinkErator.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement questions. One lucky caller who makes it on the air with us is going to take home a gorgeous way to add a touch of shine to your bathroom. We’ve got a set of hammered-copper bathroom accessories from Premier Copper Products.

    Now, copper is one of those materials that you can apparently charge more for when you beat it up with a hammer.

    LESLIE: Of course. It looks better when it’s aged.

    TOM: It does. And this is going to include a towel ring and a towel bar worth $175. Going to go out to one caller that has the fortitude, the energy, the courage, the stamina to pick up the phone and call us at 888-666-3974. Make that caller you.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. That’s right. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to give you a hand with whatever project that you’re working on right now.

    But here’s a project that I’d love for you to add to your to-do list for this holiday season, maybe as a surprise for a loved one or just to sort of spruce things up around a guest room. But seriously, one of the fastest ways to give your bedroom, guest room, whatever a face lift and make it look like a professional decorator had a hand in it is to upholster your headboard or make one from scratch.

    Now, if you’ve ever priced an upholstered headboard, you’d know that they can set you back quite a bit. But this is a project that you can do yourself. And thanks to the folks at Arrow Fastener, we worked together to create these step-by-step tips so that you can create an upholstered headboard yourself.

    So here’s what you need to start. First, you want to figure out the size and the shape that you want your headboard to be and then go ahead and get a piece of plywood cut to those dimensions, shape, whatever you’ve got in mind. Then you want to attach a piece of 3-inch, high-density foam to the wood with spray-foam adhesive. You can get that at any fabric/crafty store. And you want that to be the same exact shape and size as the headboard plywood itself.

    Now, here’s one of my secrets: when you wrap the headboard with the fabric and the batting, you want to place your fabric face down on the work surface and then put your headboard on top of it. And then you want to make sure that everything’s centered and of course, you want the back of the headboard looking up at you so the plywood is facing you now. And then what you want to do is pull the fabric up and onto the back side of that plywood and then staple in place.

    Now, what I like to do is I’ll usually work on the end that’s furthest away from me first. This way, I can get a good, tight grip on it and start in the center and work my way outward and then sort of shift it around and work on the opposing side. This way, everything just gets nice and tight.

    And I like to use my Arrow T50 Staple Gun. And there’s an even new and improved, if you can imagine. There’s the Arrow R.E.D. Line of staple guns that are much easier to work with. And as you’re stapling, your hand’s not going to get tired, which is so great about the R.E.D. Line.

    So what you want to do is start from the center, work your way outwards to the end, leave the corners for last; do this on all four sides. And the trick to making the corners look neat and clean – I know this is a tease but you’ve got to go to my blog, because there’s a couple of different ways that you can do it and I explain them really clearly there this week at MoneyPit.com.

    And when it comes time to hang your headboard, use a cleat system; it’s one of the cleverest ways to attach large, heavy items to a wall. And of course, a ton of details on the exact step-by-step are in my blog this week, as well.

    TOM: And Leslie’s blog is online at MoneyPit.com.

    This decorating tip has been presented by Arrow Fastener. And if you’d like to win a $10,000 makeover of a room in your house, check out ArrowDreamRoom.com.

    LESLIE: Art in Michigan is doing some work around his money pit. What can we help you with?

    ART: Hi there. I have two, large porch openings that get a blast of Northwest wind through the winter. They’re about 12 feet long by 6 feet tall, two of them. And I’m trying to figure out how to close them in without – with a clear enclosure so that from inside we could still see through the porch and also in a way that would not – I would not have to screw into the wood frame of the opening.

    TOM: Well, you’ve got to have some system for attaching it so at some point, you have to have some hardware installed.

    ART: Yes.

    TOM: Now, it may not be something that you’re nailing in every single season and we could come up with a system that, essentially …

    LESLIE: Like maybe a tracking system.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking. What I was thinking that if you had – have you ever had sliding windows?

    ART: Yes.

    TOM: Or a sliding door? Do you know how to – how they drop in at the top, you lift them up very high and then you drop them into the bottom track?

    ART: Yes.

    TOM: What if you built panels that did it, where you had a channel up top and a channel down below and the channels were attached to the opening? And you dropped in some panels that were clear; they could be framed and covered with clear Plexiglas. And then you drop them in when the winter season comes. So slide them up the track and then in.

    LESLIE: And the track then really isn’t visible because you’re probably going into the soffit or right into that opening on the porch and then to the floor or somewhere, so you’re not really seeing it. This way, when it’s not functioning, you’re not looking at a hole or …

    ART: Alright. Well, very good. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Tina in Illinois needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you today?

    TINA: Hi. I just wanted to know – I previously had some mold on an area. We had that professionally treated and the mold has not come back but now the paint is cracking off of that area. Is there any special treatment I need to use before I paint that again?

    TOM: Well, if you have cracked paint, the reason that probably happened is because that wall was damp and that would also be what supported the mold growth. So you do need to get rid of the loose, cracked paint. If you leave it there – no matter what you put on top of it, even if you prime it, it won’t stick and the cracking will come through.

    So is this a situation where you can scrape off the loose paint, Tina?

    TINA: Yes, I can.

    TOM: OK. So you need to get rid of that loose paint and then I want you to wash the wall down with a damp solution of trisodium phosphate – TSP. That will clean it real well and then you want to prime it. And use a good-quality primer and if you do that, then you can top-coat it with a latex wall coat after that and you should be good to go. But just make sure that you get rid of that bad paint, because you can’t put good paint over bad paint or you’ll have good/bad paint, if you know what I mean.

    TINA: Oh, yes. OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Tina. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Rodney in Alabama who’s calling in with a water-quality question. What can we do for you today?

    RODNEY: Well, I live right outside of Birmingham in a rural area and my house is about 18 years old. I have a coal water-softening system that runs off of the salt tablets. I recently saw an advertisement for something called EasyWater and I looked it up on the internet. It looks like it’s a control box that you mount on the wall with the wire coming off of it. And you wrap the wire around your incoming water supply and it’s supposed to reduce the hardness (audio gap) water and take the place of that other unit. Do you know anything about how effective that type system might be?

    TOM: Yeah, Rodney, the EasyWater system is one that actually we are familiar with. They sent us a couple of units some years ago. Had a chance to put it in a friend’s house who had a very good experience with it. It is a less-expensive alternative to a salt-based system. Installation, as you said, is pretty simple. You do have to wrap a wire basically around your main water line.

    And what it does is it sort of takes the mineral deposits inside the water and polarizes them in the sense that it pushes them against each other so that they won’t stick …

    LESLIE: Like reverse-polarizes them.

    TOM: Yeah, so it won’t – they won’t stick together. Kind of like when you take the two positive sides of a magnet and try to push them together and they don’t stick? That’s what happens: they sort of bounce off each other and they don’t stick. So as a result, they flow through the plumbing system, they flow through the faucets and the screens and the restrictors. And people have had very, very good success for it – with it. They also have a real solid guarantee.

    And I tell you, Bill Freije – is the guy’s name that’s behind it – is a very solid guy and a really industrious – a really good inventor. So I would definitely give it a shot and if you’re not happy with it, they’ll take it back.

    RODNEY: Alright. That sounds great. That sounds like a good alternative to the old salt-lugging thing there, so I appreciate the information very much.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Going over to Utah where Mary Jane needs some help fixing cracks in the basement. Tell us what you see.

    MARY JANE: Well, in the middle part of the basement where we once had a great big furnace, there are tiny hairline cracks. And they don’t appear to be leaking or have air or anything like that but I just wondered what you would do. It’s a concrete floor.

    TOM: If they’re hairline cracks, I would probably not do much about it, Mary Jane. Do you want to finish the floor somehow?

    MARY JANE: No, it was just that I didn’t want them to get worse.

    TOM: Well, the hairline cracks are probably shrinkage cracks and it’s not likely they’re going to get worse. They’ve probably been there for a long time, as you said. If they’re bigger cracks and we’re just trying to seal them up so that we don’t get water in there, we don’t get dirt in there, we don’t trap our heels in there, then we would tell you to use an epoxy patching compound or to use a flowable urethane caulk product.

    But if they’re hairline cracks, there’s really not much you have to do. And in fact, if you use, perhaps, one of the epoxy floor paints, they’ll probably fill in nicely and you won’t even see them anymore.

    MARY JANE: Oh, OK. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Alright, Mary Jane. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: James in Rhode Island is going green with some solar panels. What can we do for you?

    JAMES: I had a discussion with my brother. Basically, are there any types of maintenance issues you have to handle with solar panels – yearly, quarterly, electrically or cleaning – in this issue/area if you put them on your house?

    TOM: Well, there’s going to be some mechanics involved with the panel. You’re going to have a circulation pump, for example, that needs to be oiled. But in terms of cleaning the panels, unless you have some odd event that gets them really dirty, like a very severe storm or something of that nature, I really don’t think that you need any maintenance to the panel surface itself. I mean those panels are really, really durable and continue to perform well even when they have normal accumulation of dust and dirt on it just from the environment.

    So I don’t think you have a lot of maintenance there. You will have some mechanical maintenance, though, to make sure that the system is continuing to circulate. I presume we’re talking about active solar panels here for a hot-water system.

    JAMES: Well, yes. And it’ll apply to electrical, too, then, the same issue.

    TOM: Well, it certainly would and there’s been a lot of changes in the electrical solar-panel industry. Probably the most recent is that they’re starting to come out with solar tiles that look like roofing shingles or at least shaped to work within a roofing system that actually are photoelectric collectors.

    LESLIE: And they’re so thin. They lay in the exact profile of the existing roofing material, so they do sort of blend in while providing the greenness and the energy efficiency you’re looking for.

    TOM: Exactly.

    JAMES: Amazing. Amazing. Well, thank you so very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You know, I can understand why he’s asking the question. Because if you search the web and just try to do some research about solar panels, tons of companies will pop up saying, “Oh, we’ll come to your house and clean your panels.”

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But it’s not really a huge necessity.

    TOM: Right, exactly. And there’s always going to be somebody out there to sell you something you don’t need or something that you do need, at an exorbitant price, and that’s why you can pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you in part by Arrow Fastener Company, the leader in professional fastening products since 1929. The makers of the iconic T50 Staple Gun, the world’s bestselling staple gun, Arrow Fastener has the right tool for every application. Explore Arrow’s latest product innovations at ArrowFastener.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the HydroRight Drop-In Dual Flush Converter, proud sponsor of Water Conservation 2011. The HydroRight easily converts your toilet into a water- and money-saving dual-flush toilet. Push the quick-flush setting for liquids or the full-flush for more. Look for the HydroRight at The Home Depot and other fine retailers or visit SaveMyToilet.com.

    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: Hey, could you use a $10,000 dream-room makeover? Well, who couldn’t? And our friends at Arrow Fastener are going to make that possible. They’re awarding one lucky winner a $10,000 room makeover with one of the most famous decorators I know. In fact, she may be the only decorator I know: Leslie Segrete.

    LESLIE: That’s …

    TOM: If you’ve seen my house, you’ll know she’s the only decorator I know.

    LESLIE: Aww. Well, you guys, this is so exciting. We’ve partnered together with Arrow Fastener and we’re doing this great dream-room makeover. And all you need to do is head on over to ArrowDreamRoom.com. Great website. You can enter there.

    And we’re really looking for a family who’s just stuck in a rut: you’ve got a room you don’t know what to do with, it’s not working for you and your family anymore, maybe you’ve just grown tired of what you have in there. Well, $10,000 can make a huge transformation and I am so happy to help everyone start spending it.

    So head on over to Arrow Dream Room today so you can enter and maybe be our lucky winner.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    If you don’t have 10,000 bucks and still have a home improvement project to tackle in a room in your home, well, we can help you for a lot less, too. So pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about finishing your basement, you’re like our friend Robin in New Hampshire. What can we do for you?

    ROBIN: Hi. We are going to be finishing the basement. Probably most of the work ourselves. And I thought I heard you talk about not doing a treatment for waterproofing. We had about 6 inches of water in our basement a couple years ago when everybody was getting wet basements. What would you recommend? Because it was coming right through the cement walls.

    TOM: Yeah, what we would recommend is a multi-step process. First of all, when your basement floods consistent with heavy rainfall, which is generally what’s happening when everybody’s getting wet basements, you want to look outside your house first. Look at the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter: the immediate 4 to 6 feet around the outside of your house. Start at the roof, look at the gutter system. Make sure it’s clean, make sure the downspouts …

    ROBIN: We have no gutters.

    LESLIE: That’s part of the problem.

    TOM: Well, therein lies the big problem, OK?

    ROBIN: OK, we’ve got to get gutters.

    TOM: You need to have gutters because, otherwise, you’re dumping all the water off the roof edge at that back-filled perimeter, where the house was once dug up and then the foundation built and then the dirt pushed back in.

    LESLIE: Directly on the foundation.

    TOM: Well, that’s very, very absorbent and if that water is being dropped off the roof onto the foundation perimeter, it’s going to go right through the walls. No wonder your basement is leaking. If I wanted to make a basement leak, I would take the gutters off the house.

    ROBIN: Oh, OK. I guess I (inaudible at 0:22:55).

    LESLIE: Or you would take gutters that are on the house and fill them up with a lot of junk so that nothing can get through it.

    TOM: That’s right. Yeah. Robin, get gutters on the house and make sure the downspouts are extended away from the foundation perimeter. And the fact that you had no gutters and only had one wet basement in all this time, that’s not so bad. That actually is very surprising. So I suspect that just having a gutter system on your house is going to fix this once and for all.

    The other things to do, while you’re at it, are to make sure that the soil slopes away from the wall at the outside; it’s not too flat. You don’t want the soil to slope into it. And if you’ve got to improve it, you add clean fill dirt and slope that away.

    But those two things will solve the majority of wet basement problems and you’re right: you don’t need to put in basement waterproofing systems, you don’t need to dig up foundations, you don’t need to break up slab floors in basements and put in drains and sump pumps and all that. That is all a waste of money, in our opinion. You can solve most wet basements just by cleaning your gutters and regrading the foundation perimeter.

    ROBIN: Great. Thank you very much.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Lou from Arkansas on the line who needs some help with a home in Missouri. How can we help you today?

    LOU: Well, I’ve got a multi-level house and it has mold at the lower level.

    TOM: OK.

    LOU: It’s a living area and I cleaned it up with mold remover and bleach and all that stuff. And in addition to the inside, on the northern wall, it gets black and I had to really blast it with a power wash to get that off. But I’m concerned more with the inside, not only the mold and the odor that it creates but I’m thinking about trying an ultraviolet-ray kind of thing that I put in the furnace. Do you know anything about that or is that a good solution? Or do you know of any other?

    TOM: Well, I mean if we’re trying to solve a mold problem here, that’s not necessarily the right total solution for it. Those lights will help fight bacteria and germs that get into the air and – yeah.

    LESLIE: That are airborne. And those are usually associated with a whole-home air filter.

    TOM: Yeah or they can be installed separately.

    LOU: Right.

    TOM: But your mold problem sounds pretty serious.

    Now, when you said the lower walls were all coated, do you mean inside or outside?

    LOU: Well, the outside was sort of darkened and black; you could see it. But inside, there were little, tiny spots, so it wasn’t too heavily coated.

    TOM: OK, good.

    LOU: And I kind – wiped it all off and it’s not reappeared now but I’ve got complaints about odor.

    TOM: OK. Let’s deal with the outside first. There’s a product called Wet & Forget that I want you to look into. Their website is WetAndForget.com.

    This is a product that once you apply to the siding will work 24-7, from the moment you put it on, to kill the algae and the mold and the moss that wants to live there. And you will notice, after a period of time, that your siding is now very, very bright and you don’t have to go after it with a pressure washer. Because eventually, it’s just going to come right back.

    LOU: Yeah.

    TOM: The Wet & Forget lasts quite a long time and does a really good job. So, check that out: WetAndForget.com.

    Now, as far as the inside is concerned, you mentioned odor. Does the floor have carpet?

    LOU: Yes, it’s all carpeted: upstairs and downstairs.

    LESLIE: Well, that could be a big part of the problem.

    TOM: Well, the odor is downstairs predominantly or not?

    LOU: Yeah, predominantly downstairs, right.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LOU: There’s nothing upstairs.

    TOM: Yeah. See, carpet is not a good thing to put on a low- or below-grade space like that. I don’t know if it’s in your future to replace that or take it out but we much prefer to see laminate flooring or engineered hardwood, vinyl, anything but carpet.

    LESLIE: Because what happens is the carpet and the pad sit on top of your slab. The slab is hydroscopic; it’s pulling in all the moisture from the surrounding ground. That goes up into the carpet pad, goes up into the carpeting. Never, ever really fully dries out and just becomes a breeding ground for mold. And then it’s just there in the room until you get rid of the carpet.

    LOU: Will this Wet & Forget work on the carpets or what?

    TOM: No, no.

    LESLIE: No.

    TOM: That’s just for the outside. That’s just for the outside.

    As far as the interior is concerned, when you get done with the Wet & Forget outside, we want to also look at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. Because high degrees of moisture that hang out around the outside of the house will evaporate, go through the walls and evaporate to the inside of the house and cause high humidity inside. And that could be also contributing to the odor.

    So, look at the grading: the angle of the soil around the house. Look at the gutter system, make sure all the downspouts are extended 4 to 6 feet from the house. Clean the inside using a bleach-and-water solution to spray any suspected mold areas is the right thing to do. And then, if at all possible, get rid of that carpet and then think about, as a last step, adding a dehumidifier. A combination of all those is going to solve this for you, my friend.

    LOU: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Lou. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Still ahead, we’re going to have the best choices for basement storage. The Money Pit continues, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac, makers of the number one-selling Guardian Series Home Standby Generators. Now introducing a full line of consumer and professional power washers. Whether you need to power it, clean it or protect it, Generac can help. Visit Generac.com to learn more.

    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 we’d love for you to be part of The Money Pit, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a great prize. And we’ve got up for grabs a hammered-copper bathroom accessory kit from Premiere Copper Products. And that includes a towel ring and a tissue holder. And copper is just a really big, growing trend in bathroom finishes. And it’s really beautiful. I mean I’ve seen it on everything from vessel sinks to faucets.

    And if you want to check it out and see what it looks like, head on over to PremierCopperProducts.com. But give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, if you realize that maybe you just have too much stuff because you are forced to have to take all of it out of a basement that flooded, you are not alone. Flooded basements were all too common in many parts of the country, thanks to the huge hurricane season that we’ve had. And if you need to organize that clutter and keep it safe from any more water issues, we’ve got some suggestions for you.

    First, remember that below-grade areas need special consideration. For example, when you shop for shelving, always look for galvanized shelving or plastic shelving or both, because they’re going to resist wear and tear and the effects of moisture. You also want to make sure that the lowest shelf is at least 6 to 8 inches above the floor. Store seasonal items in clear, plastic bins and label them so you can see them at a glance. And stay away from cardboard boxes or those fabric storage bins, because they become mold fold if they get just damp.

    Now, if you had carpeting laid down there, we strongly recommend that you replace it with laminate floor or even a painted concrete floor. If you want more tips on how to solve a wet basement or remodel one after a flood, visit MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Now it’s time to talk home maintenance. We’ve got Joan in South Carolina who needs some help with the A/C and the water heater. What’s going on, Joan?

    JOAN: Thank you for taking my call. I so enjoy listening to your show on the weekends in Greenville.

    TOM: Oh, you’re very welcome.

    JOAN: We have owned – we built our home about nine years ago. And we’re not having a problem but my neighbors are with the air conditioner and the water heater. They’ve replaced both. And I wonder – my question is: how often do you have these appliances – you know, how often do you have them checked?

    TOM: Well, your neighbor had some bad luck. Both an air conditioner and a water heater can go in 8 to 12 years. It’s unfortunate that your neighbor lost both; however, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you. In terms of maintenance, couple of things. First of all, you should have the air-conditioning compressor serviced at the …

    LESLIE: Annually.

    TOM: Yeah, annually, usually in the spring. However, you know, if you have your heating system serviced now because it’s getting chillier out, it’s not a bad idea to have the A/C service done at the same time. Frankly, nothing’s going to happen to it over the winter and this way you’ll know that it’s ready to rock and roll when it gets warm again.

    LESLIE: When you need to turn it on.

    TOM: And sometimes it saves you a bit of money. Secondly, in terms of the water heater, not a lot of maintenance needed there but what you would want to do is when you have the furnace serviced, have the water-heater burner compartment checked: make sure there’s no rust on top of the burner, make sure that the pilot light is good and strong. Because as gas burns, it’s very corrosive and tends to leave some rust in that area, which can impede the flow of the flame, so to speak. And that’s pretty much all you need to do with …

    LESLIE: Tom, what about draining water from the water heater? There’s always sort of like a mixed school of thought. Drain a certain amount of gallons out annually or don’t?

    TOM: I don’t think that it’s necessary to drain a water heater. If you have very hard water, some people believe in doing that because the mineral deposits in the bottom of the water heater can sort of form an insulating layer that can make it a little bit less efficient. But generally speaking, I don’t drain water heaters. But others do and that’s why.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, is it necessary to vent a garage roof? Will that make the garage more comfortable? Will it help the shingles last longer? We’re going to answer that question and more when The Money Pit returns.

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    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by The Iron Shop, the leading manufacturer of spiral stair kits. Visit www.TheIronShop.com today to find out how you can own a beautiful, iron spiral staircase.

    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 are helping you slow the flow this month, with water-conservation advice from our friends at the EPA’s WaterSense program. You can check out the cool product picks online at MoneyPit.com. Also, we’ve got lots of ideas for saving water and money. Just look for the water-saving guide right there on the home page.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re online, you can head on over to the Community section of The Money Pit and you can post your questions there, ask for some advice, even just show some pictures of what you are working on.

    And I’ve got a post here from Juice who writes: “Is it necessary to add venting to a garage roof? I thought venting was mainly for attics but I wanted to make sure. If so, what is the average vent-to-square-foot ratio?”

    Now, shouldn’t that only be if it’s conditioned space?

    TOM: Yeah. Typically, you only vent those parts of the roof that are conditioned: in other words, those parts of the roof that are over conditioned space. So, since the garage isn’t conditioned – it’s not heated or cooled – typically, you don’t vent it.

    That said, you’re not going to hurt it by venting it. The ratio is 1:150 for ventilation. So in other words, you put – for every square foot of attic space, you want to have 1½ inches of ventilation space. So you can do the math to figure out how many vents that you need. You’ll probably find that the garage will be a little more comfortable in the summertime if you do vent the attic, because it won’t be quite so warm. But it’s not totally necessary.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a question from Mary who writes: “Where can I possibly find a match to my ceramic, kitchen-tile floor? It may be hard, if not impossible, to find.”

    Mary, you just sound frustrated.

    TOM: And that’s why she’s turning to us.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: If you happen to have any tile that goes into an area that’s not seen, like a pantry or cabinet or something like that …

    LESLIE: Or under the refrigerator.

    TOM: Under the refrigerator? Right. Under the dishwasher, there’s tiles in there. You may be able to extract those and move them and replace the broken tile with that.

    Second option is you could take out the broken tile and take out several other tiles around the floor and then add a complimentary-colored tile to the floor, so you create a pattern that looks like it was sort of always supposed to be that way. You may have to regrout everything to make it look totally right but that’s another strategy.

    And thirdly, there are some websites that are specializing in finding old tiles, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Yeah. There’s one that I like. It is a service that you will have to pay for but the website is ThisOldTile.com. And what you would do is they offer a variety of different approaches and you send them a piece or a portion – whatever you have – of your tile, any information that you might know, which probably is not a lot if you’re stuck and can’t find it, and they’ll do the research. And they promise to either find that exact tile or a reasonable facsimile thereof that you could sort of swap in.

    And the two options that they offer – I think one’s $15 and one’s 30 bucks, so it’s not terrible, especially if you just cannot live without this exact tile.

    TOM: Yeah. And I mean it’s certainly worth it if they can come through for you and find the tiles that you are missing. And this time, buy enough for – and have extra.

    LESLIE: Yeah. But this could happen to everybody. You could move into a home and like the look of it and just be stuck without extra and have no idea where it came from.

    TOM: That’s true. That’s a good point.

    LESLIE: You know, one of the tips that I always do when I’m working with new design clients and we put in anything from fabric to tile to paint to wall covering, I’ll make a book for that client, which has the room and then every sort of specification of item that we’ve put in that space, with where we got it, what the stock number was, how much it cost at the time of purchase. This way, it’s sort of the Bible to your home and you know where to get everything.

    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 wish you good luck as you move forward with your fall fix-up projects. It’s a great weekend to tackle some of those around your house.

    Remember, if you have a question about a fall project or anything else going on, you can reach us 24-7 at 888-MONEY-PIT and always online at MoneyPit.com.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

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    (Copyright 2011 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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