Cleaning Moss from Roofs and More
TRANSCRIPT FOR AUGUST 3, 2009, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(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.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now with your home improvement question or your do-it-yourself dilemma and we are here to help you get the jobs done that you need to do to make your house more comfortable, safer and perhaps stay a little cooler this summer.
Speaking of which, if both you and your windows are dripping sweat this summer, it might be time for new, energy-efficient units. We’re going to have all the details on how you can get this project done and help you qualify for a federal energy tax credit that can actually pay for it.
LESLIE: Plus, also ahead this hour, nothing accents a room more nicely than all of the decorative trimmings: you know, the crown moulding; the baseboard; wainscoting. Whatever you’ve got, it really can be beautiful. Well, we’re going to give you an insider’s trick of the trade for getting a clean, finished look when you’re installing that baseboard and crown moulding.
TOM: And with all the rain we’ve had this year, more and more folks are experiencing the dreaded roof moss which can make your roof green, spongy and it can actually cause leaks. We’re going to have the step-by-step tips that you’ll need to solve that problem, coming up.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a set of the first recycled garden gloves to hit the market from the folks over at West County Gardener so you can be green while you work on your green thumb.
TOM: Yeah, they’re actually made of recycled roof moss.
LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s why they’re green.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Brad in Michigan is not getting the shower that he enjoys. How can we help you with this problem?
BRAD: Well, the problem is that when you turn on the bathtub water to start the shower, the water’s coming out of the spout and then it says “Pull for shower” and when you pull it, only about 90 percent of the water reverts to the shower portion.
TOM: Yeah, that’s because you have a problem with your diverter. It’s not divertin’ (chuckling) like it should be and that’s a valve issue and it probably can be fixed by replacing the shower valve; replacing the diverter valve. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly difficult thing to do.
LESLIE: Because it’s behind all of that tile and wall, correct?
TOM: That’s right. The other option is, depending on the age of the valve, some valves have like what’s called a cassette, which is like all the guts in the valve in one piece, and it’s replaceable. Is this an old house?
TOM: Yeah, it may not be easy to do but it’s worth talking to a plumber about. Sometimes you can replace the guts of the valve without opening up the wall and replacing the whole valve itself.
LESLIE: Is there an access panel, Brad?
BRAD: There is an access panel in the bedroom behind the bathroom.
TOM: Well, that’s good news.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s great.
TOM: That makes it a little bit easier.
BRAD: OK, so it something that still a plumber should be doing though?
TOM: Yeah, it’s a little complicated and if you start taking it apart yourself I’m afraid you might not be able to get it back together again, Brad.
BRAD: Alright, well thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Brad. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading to the Great North to talk with Sharon in Alaska. What can we do for you in your money pit?
SHARON: Hi. I have a metal roof and no attic and out on my porch it’s starting to leak. Now how can I tell if it’s leaking in the house and how can I fix it?
TOM: Well, I mean, if it was leaking in the house, you would certainly see some evidence of moisture. But how do you fix it? Well, it depends on why it’s leaking. Generally, you can use a silicone sealant on a metal roof because it attaches very, very well to metal.
SHARON: OK. How can I tell if it’s leaking like in between the ceiling and the roof?
TOM: You definitely would see it because that ceiling material is not going to hold back the water. So if you’re not seeing any stains, I wouldn’t worry about it but on a dry day, if you can get up on the roof over the porch and try to figure out where it’s leaking – and if you want some help trying to figure that out, an easy way to do that is to grab a hose and work the roof one, sort of, section at a time and see if you can actually make it leak.
TOM: And that will give you an indication as to where the leak is and then you could seal that with silicone and you’ll be good to go.
SHARON: Now the silicone; do I have to do that again in a couple years?
TOM: No, it’s pretty durable stuff. So I would just do it once and see what happens.
SHARON: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Sharon. Good luck with that project. Thanks for checking in with us from Alaska.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tom is always waiting, very patiently, by the phone. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) We’re here for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, sweaty windows means there’s too much moisture in your house. We’re going to share some solutions, when we come back.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. 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 1-888-MONEY-PIT because this hour we’re going to give you the answer to your home improvement question, debacle, dilemma, whatever the heck is going on at your house. But we’re also giving away a great prize. We’re giving away a pair each of women’s and men’s gardening gloves from our friends over at West County Gardener. Now, these gloves are super-special because they’re made from recycled beverage bottles; so every time you have a water or a soft drink and you send them to the recycling center, they’re actually being made into gloves that might end up on your own hand. And it’s amazing because the bottles are then ground up and then spun into recycled yarn. Now each pair of gloves keeps one eight-ounce bottle from going to a landfill, so that’s just fantastic. They’re worth 40 bucks, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win now.
Well, if your kids love to draw those hearts and smiley faces on the condensation inside the windows of your home, this could be a clue that perhaps you’ve got a bit too much humidity in your house. What do you do about it? Well, there are a lot of ways to reduce humidity in the home. First you need to understand what causes the condensation. Typically, when you have a cold surface and a lot of warm, moist air, that air is going to strike the cold surface; it’s going to chill and it’s going to release that moisture in the form of water droplets. There are a few things that you can do to reduce that moisture in the house.
First, use ventilation fans in your kitchens. Use ventilation fans in your bathrooms and let them run for at least 10 to 15 minutes or so after you’ve used the shower or bath. Thirdly, you want to improve the grading around your house. The grading is important because if you get water that moves away from the foundation wall, if you clean your gutters and extend the downspouts; you keep that area as dry as possible, that’s going to reduce the amount of moisture that gets into the foundation and you’ll have less humidity that will build up in the house as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, you also want to consider adding a dehumidifier to your house. That way, you can remove any excess moisture that does end up in the air. And when you’ve got energy-efficient windows, the temperature of the glass helps to reduce the condensation buildup.
To learn more about replacing your windows with more energy-efficient models that are out there, you can download the free chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit. Now our chapter is Your Complete Window Replacement Guide and we put it together with the help from the folks at Simonton Windows. And it actually includes info on all those great tax credits that are available right now for your replacement windows. It’s completely free and it’s available at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. And that’s a great one right there. Maybe you’ve just been staring at your windows; you’re noticing all the moisture; you’re seeing something weird like that in your house; you want to know what causes it, what are your options, how do you get it fixed. Call us right now. We will help you out.
LESLIE: Steve in Florida is getting organized and hanging some cabinetry. How can we help you with your project?
STEVE: Hi, my house was built in 1991 and I have, I guess, metal studs.
STEVE: And my question is what kind of screws can I use to keep those cabinets up? It just seems like any kind of screw I put in the metal stud slips right out without an anchor.
TOM: Well, typically, steel studs you use the steel case hardened screws; the same kind of screw that you use for drywall. You see those in the home centers. And the trick here is going to be to make sure that you’re real accurate with installing those so that you hit the surface of the stud and not the edge of the stud.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, because there’s nothing behind the edgers, right?
TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to really hit it square and so you’re going to need to use a stud finder and make sure you locate the edges and then sort of divide that in half to find the exact middle. You’ve just got to be real careful. If it’s a wood stuff, you know you can angle the screw one way or the other. With a metal stud you pretty much have to be dead on.
STEVE: And they’re called case hardened screws?
TOM: Yeah, they’re case hardened screws. If you go to any home center or hardware store, those metal screws were originally designed to attach drywall and other building materials to metal studs and then the industry started using those to attach drywall to wood studs; finding that they were just so darned handy to handle. And those will work fine for attaching cabinets as well.
STEVE: Fantastic. I thank you. Any special length I should use for something like that?
TOM: Yeah, make sure it’s long enough to hit the stud. (chuckles)
STEVE: (chuckling) OK, good enough. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Is there a good rule of thumb for the back end length; you know, once you get through the drywall, through the cabinet drywall stud?
TOM: You know, it doesn’t really matter; as long as you’re through the stud, you know, anywhere from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch. That’s all the bite you’re going to get.
Now we’re going to talk to Helen who has a painting question. What can we do for you today?
HELEN: I have a question about movable shutters.
HELEN: Needs repainting and the painter seems quite reluctant to do it because he claims that they won’t be moving; they won’t be movable after they’re painted.
TOM: Well, that’s not true. If they’re painted correctly they would be and if they are movable shutters, they’re hinged shutters, you know what the most important part of that shutter is to paint? The backside, because that’s where it’s going to rot and if you ignore painting the backside they’ll start to rot from the back forward and they’re not going to be movable very much longer after that.
LESLIE: And you would want to remove them from the home for painting in the first place, correct?
TOM: Or certainly if they’re on hinges …
LESLIE: Open them out.
TOM: … open them out – that’s right – so you can paint the back and the front. That’s silly. I mean you definitely can paint the shutters if they’re done correctly. It sounds like you’ve got a painter who just doesn’t want to do the job. (Leslie chuckles)
HELEN: They’re indoor shutters; not outdoor.
TOM: Oh, indoor shutters?
TOM: What are they shuttering if they’re indoor shutters?
LESLIE: They’re like decorative like plantation shutters.
TOM: Oh, you mean decorative shutters?
TOM: OK. Well, OK. You still can paint them. I don’t see why not. I’ll tell you what. If he’s concerned about it he could take the hinges off and then put them all back on.
HELEN: Would spraying be a better idea?
TOM: No, not necessarily. I mean either way is fine. But they certainly can be painted.
LESLIE: I mean are they plastic or are they wood?
LESLIE: Then there should be no issues.
TOM: I see no reason you can’t do that, Helen.
HELEN: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
She’s got a painter that just doesn’t want to do the job.
LESLIE: Mike in Tennessee has a window issue. Tell us about the problem.
MIKE: We’ve got some windows that are probably about five foot tall. They’re about a foot-and-a-half, they’re double paned and they have moisture that is trapped in between the two panes so you can’t really see in or out of the windows …
MIKE: … due to the fact of the moisture. Is there an easy way to get rid of the moisture or do I have to just simply replace the windows?
TOM: Yeah, unfortunately, you have to replace them. What’s happened is that there’s a seal between the windows and it’s a vacuum seal and as that seals fails, then you get moisture and condensation in there. Now the good news is it probably isn’t affecting it dramatically from an efficiency perspective but, as you mentioned, it gets pretty ugly.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, doesn’t look so nice.
TOM: As the moisture gets in there and it condenses, it looks pretty nasty. But that’s the way – you basically have to replace it. And I will say that, Mike, now is a really good time to have to replace that glass because you can qualify for a federal energy tax credit that can reimburse you for up to $1,500 of the cost of the products.
TOM: Yeah, and that’s available until the end of 2010, so it’s never been a better time to replace windows like that and, in fact, we’ve got a free chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit, online right now at MoneyPit.com, called The Complete Window Replacement Guide, that walks you through the entire process. So why don’t you go over to our website, download the chapter, take a read and then consider your options from there.
MIKE: I will definitely do that. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading over to Georgia to chat with Carolyn about a noisy toilet, tell us about the problem.
CAROLYN: We have a toilet that automatically flushes. You can hear the sound in the bedroom, in the hall and all of the sound and water seems to take place in the tank. What causes a toilet to spontaneously flush?
TOM: Well, you know, some people would pay thousands of dollars to have their toilet automatically flush. (Carolyn chuckles) The reason it’s happening is because you have a leaking flush valve – that’s the valve in the bottom of the toilet – and what happens is it leaks water out to the point where the fill valve wants to sort of complete the job and refill the toilet. And so the solution is to replace the flush valve but since both flush and fill valves are so inexpensive, I would replace all of the guts of the toilet, both flush and fill valve. It’ll cost you about 15 bucks in parts. It’s not too hard to do it yourself and that problem will go away for good, Carolyn.
CAROLYN: Oh, that sounds great. That sounds great. So I will replace both of them, just as you said.
LESLIE: And Carolyn, there’s a great website – it’s FluidMaster.com – and they give you detailed pictures of the entire process, step-by-step, how to go ahead and change both of these items so you can actually do it yourself.
CAROLYN: OK. Thank you very much. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Carolyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Chris in Iowa, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
CHRIS: Yes, hi. I was looking at a home that has a really old heating system. It was built in the 1930s and, basically, what they’ve got is a boiler system …
CHRIS: … and very large radiators.
TOM: I bet. Probably got asbestos on those pipes, too.
CHRIS: Actually, I’m not sure about that.
TOM: That would be common with the old system. Do you know if it’s a steam system or a hot water system?
CHRIS: Hot water.
TOM: OK. And so what’s your question?
CHRIS: My question is would it be viable to remove those very large radiators and do the baseboard heat?
TOM: Oh, that would be such a shame.
LESLIE: It would be. The only benefit is that you’re going to regain some space that, obviously, that big, giant radiator was taking up, Chris.
LESLIE: But unless you go with a cast iron baseboard heater, you will never get the heat retention that you once had from those big radiators. They’ve got a ton of character. You can build beautiful coverings for them that have built-in storage; that are sort of – you know, vented window seats that you can sit on if it’s a lowboy radiator in front of a window. You can do these wonderful covers that have sort of a vented top with a nice cushion so you can heat up your little booty while you sit out there and watch the snow fall on a nice winter day.
LESLIE: Wouldn’t do it. Especially if you’re going with aluminum baseboard; it’s going to be tinging, it’s not going to retain the heat and it’s just going to be an annoyance.
TOM: It really will detract from the value of your house, Chris. We really wouldn’t recommend that you pull out those great, old, cast iron radiators. They’re a very fantastic way to get heat.
CHRIS: Very good. Well, I appreciate the information.
TOM: You’re welcome, Chris. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Judy in Utah needs some help venting a bathroom. Tell us about the problem.
JUDY: OK, I have a downstairs basement bathroom that I’m redoing and it had a vent in the wall that went into the furnace room. And somebody told me that – and now I want to move the vent into the ceiling and somebody told me that it shouldn’t go into the furnace room; that it should go up through the floor of the bathroom upstairs and out the roof.
TOM: OK, this is – now this is the vent for the plumbing or the vent for the fan; the vent fan?
JUDY: The vent fan.
TOM: OK. Well, the vent fan should vent to the outside. It shouldn’t vent to another room in the basement or upstairs or anywhere else. Now, if it’s a basement bathroom, the shortest distance between the bathroom and the outside is where you want to go and probably the easiest way to do that is to not worry about running it all the way up into the attic space but just run the duct hose for the vent in between the floor joists and take it out the exterior wall at the level of the floor structure.
TOM: And that’s a lot easier than worrying about taking it up and out. Plus, you know, a fan for the bathroom doesn’t have that much power. It doesn’t blow that many cubic feet per minute. And if you try to push that air up two stories …
LESLIE: It won’t make it.
TOM: … it’s not as effective.
JUDY: Alright, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Judy. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Yeah, I wasn’t sure what kind of vent she was talking about because there’s two kinds of vents in a bathroom; you know, the plumbing vent, of course – which is the pipe that has to go up through the basement; usually all the way to the outside …
LESLIE: And that sort of vents gases?
TOM: Yeah, that vents – well, that actually vents the sewage gases. Yes, the sewage gases.
TOM: And then, of course, we have the vent fan, which is just as important for creature comfort for other reasons.
LESLIE: True; for other types of gases. (chuckles)
TOM: Building a bathroom is all about managing the gases. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) Trying to get them where you want them and not where you don’t want them to be.
LESLIE: Alright, up next, getting a clean, smooth look for your baseboard and crown moulding; so stick around.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 with your home improvement question which might be, “How do I get a really nicely, sharply-trimmed room if I’m using crown moulding, baseboard moulding, picture frame moulding? How do I have it actually come out like the pros?”
One, simple trick of the trade. Used it for years. Somebody taught it to me years ago and I’ve never stopped using it. It’s caulk. Yes, it’s caulk. You know, when you nail a trim against the wall – let’s say, baseboard moulding – you always get, basically, a dark shadow between the moulding and the wall. Even if both parts are white, you’re going to get a dark shadow. If you caulk the seam between the trim and the wall, that dark shadow completely disappears; 100 percent you won’t see it and you can paint over it so that you’ll have no line whatsoever.
Caulk is also good as an adhesive if you have a minor repair to make. But use the latex acrylic type because you can simply smooth it out with a damp sponge and it will really clean up the process of putting trim around your moulding, trim around your windows, trim around your doors, even crown moulding. If the cuts are off just a little bit; if you’ve got a piece of the wall that doesn’t fit properly, caulk is the way to make it all sort of blend together. And because it’s elastic, it expands and contracts with the wall; so it never really pulls apart.
Leslie, have you used caulk on the trimming projects that you’ve done around the house?
LESLIE: I mean all the time. It really does make a huge difference. Occasionally, as things shift and move within your house, you might have to go back in and add more caulk and touch up. But another trick that I always have used caulk for – especially on these budgeted makeover shows I work on – we build a lot of things out of MDF.
LESLIE: And so, when I’m building a bookcase or shelving or something and, you know, my shelf doesn’t quite match up with the sides of my bookcase and you get a little bit of wavering, I use caulk in there.
LESLIE: And once that all dries and I paint it up, you can’t even tell.
TOM: That’s why we …
LESLIE: So caulk is miraculous.
TOM: That’s why we call this caulk radio. (Leslie chuckles) 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to your calls.
LESLIE: Richard in Tennessee needs some help with a landscaping project. What are you doing for your staycation?
RICHARD: Well, we’re trying to decide if we can kill enough Bermudagrass to put in a flower bed …
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK.
RICHARD: … and was interested in how you would go about doing that.
TOM: Well, if you know exactly where you want your flowerbed to be, you want to definitely mark this area out and you’re going to have to protect sort of the good side of the grass from the grass that you want to kill. And then what I would do is I would use a herbicide like Roundup and you would strategically spray this over the Bermudagrass that you want no more. You’re going to have to do this carefully because, remember, if it’s a windy day …
LESLIE: It’s going to go everywhere.
TOM: … the stuff’s going to spray onto the good side of the grass, then you’re going to kill more grass than you want to. But this is what’s called a roundup restoration and eventually it will kill off all the Bermudagrass in that area where you want your flower garden to be and as the grass dies, you can actually rototil it right into the soil and then plant your new garden in the same soil. It will not affect the new growth.
RICHARD: OK, that sounds good. I can do that.
TOM: Alright, just be careful as you apply it – OK, Richard? – for that reason.
RICHARD: Yeah. Yes, [I’ll work on that] (ph).
TOM: Watch the wind direction and all of that.
RICHARD: Alright. Thanks for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’re going to talk to Robert in New York who’s got a question about paint. What can we do for you?
ROBERT: Yes, I have a wraparound six-foot-high gate around my house.
ROBERT: And I want to paint it – you know, I want to use a – oil-based or water-based; I want to know which one is better to use, you know, to work with that.
TOM: Is this like an iron fence?
ROBERT: Yes, iron. Yes.
TOM: OK, well the first thing you need to do is make sure that you clean it really well and remove any loose, flaky paint. So, in the case of an iron fence, you’re going to want to wire-brush it and even sand it with a real coarse like emery paper to make sure you get as much of that loose stuff off as you can. The next thing I would do is I would prime it and I would use Rust-Oleum right out of the can …
TOM: … and let it dry properly. It takes usually under about four hours to dry. But let it dry really well – it’s an oil-based product – and after that, I would use an oil-based Rust-Oleum topcoat. That’s going to give you a good seven or eight years. It takes a lot longer to do the fence that way, with all the prep going into it, but it’s really going to make a difference in the longevity between paint jobs, Robert.
ROBERT: OK. Will do. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’ve gotten a ton of rain like we have this summer, your lawn might not be the only green thing at your money pit. If you find your roof is joining in on the green look, we can help you out, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. 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: And do you want to go green while working out that green thumb? Have we got a prize for you. This hour, we’re giving away a set of recycled garden gloves from the folks at West County Gardener. Each pair keeps one eight-ounce beverage bottle from ending up in a landfill. They’re worth 40 bucks but they can be yours for free if you pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah, pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you’ve got a problem on the outside of your money pit. You know, if you’re finding that you love the look of a green lawn but not exactly the look of a green roof, we have got a solution to help you solve the problem of roof moss, which we are just hearing about from all of you guys all across the country. It has been more common this summer, thanks to all of those lovely, wet, rainy, damp days we’ve all had in the last few months and there are a number of ways that you can deal with it.
You want to clean it and there are several things that you can buy right off the bat: roof wash; maybe Jomax; or you can even make one out of bleach and water. Then go ahead and trim the trees that are giving your roof a lot of shade, if you can. Cut things back; just try to get as much sunshine as you can onto the roof surface because that’s going to help kill all that moss as well.
And then, when you’re up on the roof, you can add some copper or nickel flashing or a copper or nickel ridge vent because what that does is as the rain hits the copper and the nickel, it sort of releases a bit of the metallic properties of the copper and the nickel and that helps to naturally clean away the roof moss.
So these are all some things you can do. Some are preventative, some are instantaneous but you’ve just got to keep on it. And if we continue to have these rainy summer days, it’s something you’re going to have to maintain more but it’s not the end of the world. You can make it go away.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Pick up the phone, give us a call right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Robin in Massachusetts has a rabbit problem at her house and they multiply in great numbers, we know. (Tom chuckles) Welcome, Robin.
ROBIN: Oh, hello. I’m calling because the rabbits are eating all the flowers from the marigolds.
TOM: That’s terrible.
TOM: Well, rabbits need to eat, too.
ROBIN: And the squirrels are eating all the strawberries. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: OK. (chuckles)
ROBIN: So we need to know what to do.
LESLIE: Stop planting such tasty things around your house.
ROBIN: That would be a good idea. (Leslie and Robin chuckle)
TOM: You know, there’s a good product out from the folks at Havahart. It’s the Woodstream Corporation and it’s called Defence and it’s a rabbit repellent. It actually repels rabbits and deer. You can buy it for around $12 or $13 a bottle and basically it’s as easy to use as it gets. You spray it on the plants. It works on flowers, it works on ornamentals, it works on any kinds of landscape areas and one application lasts up to three months and it will make those beautiful flowers very not tasty to the rabbits.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and the best part is the USDA certifies it as being approved for organic gardening. So you don’t have to be concerned about it, you know, damaging your strawberries.
ROBIN: Oh, good. And where can I find this?
TOM: Well, you can find it in different home centers and garden stores or you can find it online. It’s one of the Havahart products, so I would maybe start with their website which is Havahart.com.
ROBIN: OK, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: George in Illinois needs some help with a roofing project. What can we do for you today?
GEORGE: Yes, I have a 20-year-old cedar shake roof …
GEORGE: … and I’ve replaced several shakes during the years. The shakes are in relatively good shape and I’m having a roofer come over to fix the top ridge and put some more shakes on and he’s recommending that I put a UV protectant on the roof; not a sealant because I don’t want to seal the shakes, but it would be a UV – kind of a waterproof and UV protectant. And the total cost is about $1,500 and about $750 or $800 of that is the UV protection …
GEORGE: … and I’m just wondering if that’s worth the money or not.
TOM: I don’t know. I rarely hear of people doing any type of surface treatment to cedar roof shingles; not to say that it might not help a little bit. But if it’s lasted 20 years, you know, George, you’re pretty much near the end of a normal life cycle for that. If you go another five, you’re going to be – that roof is not going to owe you a dime, so to speak. And putting sealant on that is not going to buy you a whole lot of extra time. So I’m not so sure that that’s a great use of your money.
GEORGE: OK, so just go with the replacement of the top ridge and the additional shakes to replace the curled ones and missing ones and outwardly damaged ones.
TOM: I think so. I don’t think it’s probably worth it for you to put any more money than just the maintenance that you can do to replace missing and damaged shingles, at this point. Because probably in the next five years you’re going to have to think about replacing and, at that time, you may want to consider cedar or you might want to consider going with a dimensional shingle that looks like a cedar roof but actually will be a lot easier for you to take care of.
LESLIE: Regina in New Jersey has an air conditioning question. What can we do for you today?
REGINA: Well, my air conditioner is 13 years old and when I went down to the basement it was surrounded by a lot of water.
TOM: Hmm, OK.
REGINA: I was checking it out and it looks like there was a – I was looking in the furnace and there were a whole bunch of water droplets inside the unit.
REGINA: So it looks like the humidity is coming out of the house but not going outside …
TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah.
REGINA: … but puddling around the floor of the furnace.
TOM: Yep, easy fix.
REGINA: What’s the problem?
TOM: Your condensate – a couple of things. You’re looking at the – what you’re seeing is the air conditioning condensate. When your air is cooled it releases moisture and so what you’re seeing is that moisture is not draining properly. Now I’m not quite sure how your system is set up to drain but I can give you a couple of options.
Typically, there’s a condensate tube – usually a white PVC pipe – that is mounted above the furnace that catches that water and drains it down that pipe and into what’s called a condensate pump, which is usually a small box, about the size of a car battery or maybe smaller, on the floor next to the furnace where that water is pumped out. Now it could be – what typically happens is sometimes that condensate line gets blocked. You know, I’ve seen paper labels off of air conditioning equipment block that. I’ve seen other types of debris block that. It doesn’t take a lot because you’re not talking about a lot of water pressure, but I bet you that that condensate line is blocked and, as a result, the water is backing up and spilling over into your furnace area.
Now you do want to get this fixed because in the long run what can happen is, besides making a big mess, that can rust out the heat exchanger which is right below that and that means you’d need a new furnace. Now that would take a long time but, for right now, you definitely want to get on it. It should be a simple fix. If you can’t figure it out yourself, have your HVAC contractor do it. But it happens all the time and it’s not a big deal.
REGINA: Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Regina.
REGINA: And I enjoy your show every week.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you so much.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.
TOM: Coming up, are your tub or shower enclosures looking pretty dingy? We’re going to have some cleaning solutions when we return.
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: MoneyPit.com is the website. Click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let’s jump into that e-mail bag.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Brad in Connecticut who writes: “I’ve just purchased a home and it has two all-in-one shower tub enclosures. I would estimate their age to be between 12 and 15 years; possibly more. My question to you, is there a product or products on the market that will clean them or give them some type of sheen? What are your thoughts on having the fiberglass tub/shower units reglazed? One is gold and the other is blue. How does it work and how long will it last?”
TOM: I am not really familiar with any process that will effectively reglaze fiberglass.
LESLIE: No, I don’t think so.
TOM: You know, you can resurface porcelain but you can’t reglaze fiberglass. You know, there are some good marine products that will work because the care of the fiberglass tub and shower pan is very similar to the care of a boat surface.
There’s also a product called Gel-Gloss, which is available at most major retailers. This is an abrasive cleaner but just mild abrasive and sort of like a shiny topcoat that works very well as a cleaning agent and as a polish – something you’re going to have to repeat from time to time, probably once a month or so, but it’s a good maintenance step to have. So look into that product. It’s called Gel-Gloss.
LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Kimberly in Texas who writes: “We have what is apparently a high rust content in our city of Orangefield. It causes a rusty-brown, hard-to-remove film in our toilets and around the drains in our tubs. There’s no odor. What are our options?”
TOM: CLR – Calcium, Lime, Rust. That’s a product, the cleaning product, that will melt those stains away. Unless you’re going to treat your water, you’re always going to have those sorts of rust issues with that type of water if the water is particularly hard. You know, you could add a water softener to it; like EasyWater is a system that’s a fairly inexpensive, chemical-free way to treat the water. But really, you’re going to have higher maintenance in that sort of environment and CLR is a good product to clean up those bathroom fixtures.
LESLIE: Alright, I hope that helps with your rusty situation, Kimberly, and you can start enjoying a nice, clean bathroom again.
TOM: Well, September is right around the corner and it’s a big month for weddings. But modern brides are foregoing China and crystal for more practical gifts. Leslie’s got all the details in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: You know, that’s right. Today’s brides and grooms, they want gifts that they can actually use on a daily basis – you know, not just that fancy China that you only bring out at Thanksgiving or Christmas – and these items are anything from appliances to even office supplies. Plus, more people are actually getting married later in life, so they’ve already got a lot of these essentials already in their homes or apartments. And now, what they’re looking for are those extras that they need for entertaining or relaxing or even getting organized.
So, newlyweds and engaged couples are among the nation’s largest consumers of major appliances, furniture, even consumer electronics as well as, you know, the traditional items like tableware and linens and small appliances and cookware and a lot of these items are often purchased through a gift registry. And they’re registering at non-traditional retailers as well; even home centers. So whether you’re tying the knot or attending a wedding, be sure to open your mind to way more practical gifts. Think power driver, drill gun, folks. These are things people are actually going to use. And you might be on your way to turning their house into a home or maybe even your house into a home. People register for everything these days, so go out there and think off the beaten path and get some things that you actually need on those registry lists.
TOM: And if you just can’t decide, cash still works. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Exactly. Cash is king.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.
Hey, coming up next week on The Money Pit, this is probably the one thing you haven’t thought about all summer long – your fireplace.
LESLIE: It’s like the last thing you think of.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Because it’s just so darn hot. But there actually is a way to sort of do a hearth makeover that can make that fireplace very attractive and even functional throughout summer months. We’re going to have that tip on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 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.)