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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: Pick up the phone; give us a call right now. We’re here to help you get those jobs done around your house that you know needs doing. Hey, the summer is right around the corner and we know that there’s a to-do list piling up. Now that you have nice weekends to get outside and work on your house, we are here to tell you exactly what to do. That’s what you needed, right? Somebody else in your life to tell you what to do.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) (overlapping voices) To boss you around.
    TOM: Well, hey, listen. That’s the only way we can make a living. What can I say? (Leslie chuckles) No, seriously, we’re going to give you some projects that you can do, make it a little bit easier, and just teach you how to take care of your house in a fun way because we’ve all got a money pit. We love them but we own them and we’ve got to take care of them. We’re here to tell you how to do that. The first thing you’ve got to do, though, is pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Now, one project that you might be thinking about doing this weekend is cleaning; not inside your house but maybe outside your house. Because if you’ve looked at your house lately, you may notice that throughout the year, that siding gets kind of dirty and dingy, the windows become harder to see through, the screens are yucky. So this hour, we’ve got some tips on easy ways to add that sparkle to your exterior once again.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead, concrete – it’s durable, it’s tough and with so many tints and colors and patterns that you can create, it’s absolutely gorgeous these days. But when it comes to concrete, there are very specific ways that you want to clean it to make sure that the concrete stays looking fantastic. So we’re going to share that step-by-step with you in just a little bit.
    TOM: Absolutely. In fact, it’s very easy to really mess up your concrete by cleaning it incorrectly.
    LESLIE: The wrong way.
    TOM: You can completely destroy it. Believe it or not, you think it’s a durable material? Man, if you use a pressure washer the wrong way on that stuff, you’ve ruined it; you’ve totally ruined it for life.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, hello, aggregate. It’s bad.
    TOM: Exactly. (Leslie chuckles) Where did that rock come from? That wasn’t there before. Yeah, exactly. So we’re going to tell you the easy way to keep it clean and looking good.
    And let’s turn to the inside of your house now. And one problem that’s pretty annoying is the problem of water hammer; you know, when your pipes start banging and clanging and big racket and rattle happens at the most inopportune moments, like when you flush a toilet or run a dishwasher or maybe you’re having dinner and somebody runs the kitchen sink. They turn it off and it just goes kachung and the whole house like rocks from it.
    Well, that problem is easily solvable and we’re going to tell you exactly what to do with a little help from our pal, Rich Tretheway, from This Old House; the plumbing contractor. He’ll be in with the secrets to get that job done around your house.
    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize that we’re going to share with you; actually with one lucky caller and who gets their question asked on air. We’ve got the Stanley Fatmax Toolbox. It’s worth 30 bucks and it’s a strong – but it’s also a lightweight storage box for all of your hand tools. And you know what? It makes a fantastic Father’s Day gift, which is right around the corner. So let’s not forget about the dads in our life.
    And if you’re kind of stuck with what to get that dad in your life, go on over to MoneyPit.com because we’ve got a great list of gift suggestions right there for those dads.
    TOM: But right now, we want you to pick up the phone and call us with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Austin in Hawaii needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?
    AUSTIN: I’ve got a hardwood floor in my house.
    TOM: OK.
    AUSTIN: And it’s about a 10×10 room and I’m turning it into kind of like a dog room and stuff like that.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
    AUSTIN: And I just have a question as far as if I’m going to be running just some tile over it, what I would use and how I would prepare the hardwood floor for the tile.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. So you want to tile over …?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Are you thinking about ceramic tile?
    TOM: Yeah, over a hardwood floor?
    AUSTIN: Yeah, over the hardwood floor. It’s termite-damaged and stuff like this, so it’s not really reparable except for like wood putty and stuff.
    TOM: OK.
    AUSTIN: And I’m just kind of going to go over with it a cheaper tile just to do it and that’s not really a room that we’re going to be using other than the dogs, so …
    TOM: Alright. So you absolutely don’t care about the hardwood floor anymore?
    LESLIE: And never, ever want to see it ever again?
    AUSTIN: Not at all.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
    TOM: Alright. Then go ahead and glue new tile right on top of it.
    AUSTIN: OK. What kind of glue would I use for that?
    TOM: You can use a thinset; like a tile adhesive.
    TOM: And you basically clean it, obviously, so you’ll have good adhesion.
    TOM: But you can glue right over that and that would be a fine base. And then after it dries, you can grout it and you’re done.
    AUSTIN: Right. Then I shouldn’t have to sand the wood or anything like this, right?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, as long as it’s flat. Remember, tile doesn’t bend, so (chuckles) – especially if you use bigger tiles. You need to make sure they have good, flat, total adhesion to the surface but as long as it’s flat, there’s really no reason to do anything to it. You can put tile over floor; you can put tile over tile and the glue is going to stick.
    AUSTIN: OK, great.
    TOM: Alright, Austin. Sounds like the dogs are going to have a very nice room.
    AUSTIN: I hope so.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, when the dog lives in Hawaii, they get a pretty good life. (Tom chuckles)
    AUSTIN: Yeah, yeah, that’s true. That’s true. (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Austin, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Holly in Florida needs some help removing a decorative wallpaper border which, unfortunately, were very popular for a long amount of time but not a lot of people like them. Holly, what’s going on?
    HOLLY: Well, I’ve got a bedroom border in the kitchen and it’s a 12-inch-wide border that’s been up for well over 12 years. Well, I’m finally getting around to taking it off and I was trying to remove it and part of my drywall facing has started to be removed, as well.
    And I’m afraid to put steam on it or wet it, you know, because of the mold and all of that other good stuff that can happen down here in Florida.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Mm-hmm. Well, Holly, you’re not going to cause a mold problem by using a steam wallpaper iron and, in fact, that’s probably the best way to get that to separate. You’re going to probably end up …
    LESLIE: Without destroying the drywall.
    TOM: Yeah, you’re going to end up scoring it with a utility knife or with a paper tiger – which is a tool that puts little holes in it – and then steam through it. You want to get that steam underneath the wallpaper and get it to separate from the drywall. But if you just try to take it off, you will end up pulling the paper off the drywall and then that’ll be a big mess. So steam would be the way to do that.
    LESLIE: Yeah. And once you do get it off and the wall sort of dries, you might see sort of a residue or some sort of an uneven surface. You can lightly sand it and see if you can get it nice and smooth again; then go ahead and prime the drywall and then paint.
    But make sure if you do especially have any sort of unevenness where that border was, when you go to paint, make sure you choose a flat paint because anything with a sheen above flat – you know, the more shiny you get, if you will, the more evident any sort of imperfections in that wall will show through.
    HOLLY: OK. Well, thank you so much for your advice.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    LESLIE: I have to tell you, the popularity of wallpaper border – just as evidence of the 350 episodes of home improvement makeover shows I have done –
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: – apparently, they were very popular for a long amount of time.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) I bet.
    LESLIE: Because every house has them and I have seen them put up from everything from wallpaper paste to hot glue to staples. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, it’s officially the summer season. That’s right, Memorial Day is past us so let’s get into that summer enjoyment. And we can help you get your deck beautified, make your lawn sparkly and green, make your house super-shiny. So gives us a call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: Beautified. That’s a Leslie word.
    LESLIE: It is. There are Leslie-isms everywhere.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s a good one. It’s a good one. And if you want to beautify the outside of your house, we’ve got some tips on the dos and the don’ts of cleaning the exterior, coming up after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you can be part of The Money Pit by picking up the phone and giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And this hour, we’re giving away to one of our lucky caller-inners, a Stanley Fatmax Foam Toolbox. It’s worth 30 bucks and it’s got a watertight seal that’s going to protect your tools in any weather, because we all have been outside working on a home improvement project when bammo, thunderclouds and all of a sudden …
    TOM: Yeah, it doesn’t start that way but it seems to always end up that way. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I know. And you know what’s so funny? It’s like you’re scrambling to try to finish as much as you can before those first raindrops fall. You’re like, “I just want to get this done.” So this will really solve all those problems, because none of your tools are going to get rusty when they’re in this toolbox. It’s got sturdy construction and it is one of our dandy dozen gifts for your handy dads.
    All you need to do is head on over to MoneyPit.com and learn more about our top picks for Father’s Day presents and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your question and your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, have you been looking for a project to do this weekend? Perhaps you might want to think about cleaning the outside of your home. Well, before you rip out the pressure washer to deliver the high-speed blast, remember that certain parts of that exterior need some very special care, like the windows. You never want to wash windows or even doors with a high-pressure spray because the extreme pressure could crack or destroy the seals around the units and even cause leaks well into your walls. Instead, you want to take time to clean the windows using soft cloths or long-handled, soft-bristle brushes and very mild detergent.
    LESLIE: You know what? And while you’re cleaning your windows, you want to really pay attention to them and give them a good examination. If you find that the windows themselves aren’t operating well, it might actually be a good time to consider replacement windows for your house.
    You know, through the end of this year, homeowners can get up to 30 percent of the purchase price of their windows returned as a federal tax credit when you meet certain criteria. It can all be kind of confusing so to get the details and learn exactly which windows qualify for what and what reason, head on over to Simonton.com/taxcredit or you can download the bonus chapter on window replacement from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. And that’s available for free right now at MoneyPit.com, because it does get a bit confusing and there are a lot of labels you have to pay attention to.
    And these two options – the chapter and Simonton.com – really explain how to select the proper window so you’ll get something that’ll, in the long run, pay you back a great deal.
    TOM: Absolutely. And in fact, that is one of the most popular downloads on the website at MoneyPit.com. It’s up on the home page right now.
    888-666-3974. Pick up the phone right now. Call us with your home improvement question so we can help you solve it.
    LESLIE: Lynn in South Carolina is looking to improve the value of her money pit. What can we do for you?
    LYNN: Well, we have thought about selling our home and it is a beach home. It’s not beachfront but it’s on the ocean side.
    TOM: OK.
    LYNN: And since prices have kind of taken a nosedive, we were wondering what would be the best home improvement that we could do to try and increase the value of our home and make it more appealing.
    TOM: Well, how old is your house, Lynn?
    LYNN: Home is about 10 years old.
    TOM: Alright. Well, that’s still a pretty new house. I wouldn’t imagine that there’s a lot that you need to do in terms of replacing kitchens or appliances or anything of that nature. I would go back to the basics.
    First thing I would do is make sure it looks really good from the outside. Make sure that you have good landscaping so you have great curb appeal. Remember that a lot of people make a home-buying decision without ever actually getting to your house. They’re going to look at the picture.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Online, based on photos.
    TOM: Yep. Yeah, so make sure that picture looks really good.
    Secondly, inside you want to make sure that your house is as neutral as possible. So, if you’ve got kind of a strong decorating taste, you might love it; the next buyer will have a hard time imagining their stuff in your house. So you want to keep to the neutrals and the off-whites and the beige colors. If you want to do any decorating, you want to tone everything down so that no matter what the décor tastes are of the potential homebuyers, they’re going to all feel like it will fit in your house.
    And also, you want to make sure that you declutter; so you want to make the house look as wide open as possible. I mean typically, most of us end up moving, a lot of times, because we’ve kind of grown out of our house. And if that’s the case, you want to make sure that you try to declutter as much – you know, have some of those garage sales; those lawn sales; put some stuff out on eBay. Try to get rid of as much stuff as possible so that your house looks as open as it possibly can.
    But at 10 years old, I don’t think we’re talking about replacing a kitchen, upgrading a bathroom; things like that. Do you have …?
    LESLIE: Which are always the biggest return on investments.
    TOM: Do you have a deck or patio?
    LYNN: We have a deck.
    TOM: Well, I mean that’s good, too. So it sounds like you don’t really need to do a lot here besides some basic cleanup, basic landscaping and maybe some decorating.
    LYNN: Well, I truly appreciate that. That’s exactly some of the things that we are doing and so that lets me know that we are on the right track. Plus, you gave me some other fine things to think about and to put into motion.
    TOM: Sounds good, Lynn. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that home sale.
    LESLIE: Kevin in Maine is thinking about getting a new washer and dryer. How can we help with that decision?
    KEVIN: So we have an old electric washer and dryer and we’ve been talking about upgrading them for quite a while. We have a newborn and we do cloth diapers; we do a lot of laundry. My question …
    TOM: You do a lot of laundry. A lot of laundry.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) A ton of laundry.
    KEVIN: A lot of laundry; a lot of laundry every day. (Tom chuckles) And so what my question is – is an old washer and dryer kind of like a car? You run them into the ground or would it be better to upgrade to something that’s going to be more efficient?
    TOM: Well, that’s a great question and depending on how much laundry you do, the return on investment could be pretty significant. Now, with a new baby and lots of diapers – and certainly, I can tell you as a father of three and Leslie as a mother of one, it doesn’t get any better. I mean the laundry just really piles up and so, with old equipment, it may make good sense for you to replace it now. The new equipment is far, far, far more energy-efficient.
    LESLIE: And it uses way less water and far less detergent.
    TOM: Exactly. So it’s a good time to do that. Can you run it into the ground? Absolutely. The deciding point would be whether or not it needs a repair and at that point, you don’t want to put any money into an old appliance.
    In fact, I wrote a very detailed story about this on MoneyPit.com. If you go on MoneyPit.com and you search “appliance repair versus replace,” you’ll find that we even developed a chart that tells you how much money you should spend on an appliance repair, based on the age and the replacement cost of the appliance. So it’s all sort of figured out for you right there on the website.
    But generally speaking, with real old equipment and a family that’s on the up-curve of the amount of laundry, it probably would make sense for you to think about replacing it and getting some new, energy-efficient equipment; certainly Energy Star-rated equipment.
    KEVIN: Excellent. Let me ask you one real quick question, too. And so we have the option – right now, it’s an electric dryer but we have the option of making it a propane dryer. What are your thoughts on that?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Would this be the only propane piece of equipment in the house? Are you heating by …?
    KEVIN: No. No, actually, I was listening to your show when I was traveling – which is how I heard about you guys – and I’d been thinking about a tankless hot water heater for quite a while. And so we recently got a tankless hot water heater but we also have two Rinnais in the house. So we already have a tank and we’re all set up. And when the put the tankless hot water heater in, they put a T on the line so it would be …
    TOM: Oh, then I would definitely go gas.
    KEVIN: You would definitely go gas? OK, OK, OK.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Definitely go gas.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s going to cost you far less money to run.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    KEVIN: It is? OK, OK. Very good. Guys, you’ve been helpful. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Kevin. Thanks so much for calling us.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And congrats on the new baby.
    TOM: Absolutely. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. He’ll be calling next week to ask a storage question: “How do I find more room in my house?”
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) I know, right? And man, the amount of laundry I remember doing when Henry – that whole first year, like every day was another load of laundry.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
    LESLIE: Could you imagine with cloth diapers on top of the regular washing? The (inaudible at 0:16:33.9).
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. How could such a small human being generate so much dirty clothes?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, good Lord. And you know what? There are services out there that will come and take those cloth diapers away and bring you nice clean ones every day. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from my favorite place in the United States – Hawaii. Welcome, Jim. Aloha.
    JIM: We have a frame house that’s about four years old now and we live in an area on Maui that gets a fair amount of rain, so we’re getting some gray mildew up underneath the eaves of the house.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
    JIM: We’ve done some cleaning on it already but the plywood surface under the eaves is rough and just spraying with water mixed with a mildicide that we bought just really does not do the job.
    TOM: There’s a product called JOMAX that I like – J-o-m-a-x. Have you tried it?
    JIM: Yes, we have.
    TOM: That seems to work pretty well.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I like bleach and water with a good, stiff brush.
    JIM: OK.
    LESLIE: Jim, you can always have me out to your house and I’ll do it for you. (Tom chuckles)
    JIM: (chuckling) OK, great. It’s a deal.
    TOM: 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. Well, you don’t have to live with those noisy, banging pipes anymore. You know, water hammer – it’s annoying but it actually can be damaging for your plumbing. So we’re going to share some solutions with you, next.

    (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: A very important date coming up. Saturday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m., we want you to tune to A&E because somebody I know has got a new show premiering.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) That’s right. It’s the big premiere of my new series called $100 Makeover on A&E. And it’s really got a lot of valuable lessons about how we can work with what we’ve already got in our own homes, to make some great design choices. And it’s a lot of fun and I really hope you guys all like it.
    TOM: Saturday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m. Make sure you mark that on your calendar and tune in to the $100 Makeover, starring Leslie Segrete, on A&E.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yay!
    TOM: Congratulations. We’re very proud of you, my friend.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks very much. I think you’re going to like it, Tom.
    TOM: I’m sure we will.

    Hey, if you would like to do an upgrade to the exterior of your house, one thing that you might be thinking about changing is the front door, especially if it is a really ugly door. But it turns out that if you have an ugly door, in fact …
    LESLIE: You’re not alone. (chuckles)
    TOM: Yeah. You’re not alone and, in fact, if you think it’s the ugliest door in America, you might want to enter this contest being put together by our friends at Therma-Tru. If your front entry could use a facelift or even if your patio doors need help, you want to visit MyUglyDoor.com for a chance to win a makeover worth up to $5,000, courtesy of Therma-Tru.
    The My Ugly Door Contest runs now through July 2nd. Visit MyUglyDoor.com for more contest details and entry info.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And you know what? Even if you think that your door is not ugly, head over there because some of these pictures are just so terrible, (chuckles) they’ll make you feel a lot better.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. And if there’s a really ugly house (Leslie chuckles) in your neighborhood, maybe you could enter that house and their door. And who knows? Maybe they’ll win and they’ll accept the makeover and it’ll be an upgrade to the entire neighborhood.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Be a nice surprise. (chuckles)
    TOM: 888-666-3974. That could be our battle cry: don’t embarrass your neighbors; call us and let us help you with your home improvement project. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Rex in Alaska who’s working on a flooring project. What can we do for you today?
    REX: Yes. I want to know if I can lay a laminate floor straight over a Berber carpet rather than putting the padding down that usually comes with the laminate.
    TOM: Yeah, generally not a good idea. We prefer to see you take the carpet up. Is it glued down?
    REX: Yeah. That’s a problem; it’s glued down to vinyl and the vinyl is glued on subflooring over a crawlspace.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. (Leslie chuckles) Ugh.
    LESLIE: It’s like a history of …. (chuckles)
    TOM: You have like a crazy flooring sandwich there, don’t you?
    REX: Well, yes, so I don’t really want to tear into it. What would be the worst thing? I mean doesn’t a Berber carpet – seems like it would act as the padding.
    TOM: Yeah, it could but if it’s too soft, it could make the joints break apart on the laminate floor. You have to have a certain level of sort of stability to that underlayment. I would like to see if you could try pulling the Berber carpet off, even if it’s glued and you had some residual glue left behind. I’d rather see the Berber carpet be pulled up. Then you can lay the underlayment down and put the floor over that. I’d give that a shot; at least try to see if it’ll rip up.
    REX: OK. So then I don’t have to get all the glue or anything off? Because I’m just going to cover that with …
    TOM: No, as long as it’s relatively flat. Then you put the underlayment down. It’ll be fine.
    REX: OK. Because the Berber seems pretty sturdy. There’s not any padding under it; it’s just the vinyl and then the Berber and I was thinking that that might work.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    REX: But I also thought of that because the floor is just floating; you know, it’s not attached to anything.
    TOM: It might work but I prefer to see you take it up, if possible.
    REX: OK. Thanks for the advice. Appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Rex. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Well, we’ve talked a lot on the show about water hammer and how, for the most part, it’s really just more annoying than anything else.
    TOM: However, that loud banging can eventually lead to problems with your plumbing system, including leaks. We’re going to get the lowdown on how to fix it, from This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor and plumbing expert, Richard Tretheway.
    And Kevin, this is a situation that when your house speaks, sometimes it’s best to listen and take a little action.

    KEVIN: If you hear a loud banging noise every time you shut the water off, it’s called a water hammer. And it’s not just annoying; it can actually cause serious damage.
    RICH: That’s right. Water hammer can eventually cause damage to the pipes and catastrophic leaks. Water hammer is caused by a valve that closes very quickly. You might find it inside of a clothes washer, a dishwasher or even a toilet.
    Now to fix it, first you want to secure all the accessible pipes. That might mean hangers and clips to hold that pipe in place. And then you want to consider potentially a water hammer arrestor. They also call it a shock suppressor.
    KEVIN: And how do those work?

    RICH: Well, it’s really pretty simple. It’s an air-filled chamber with a rubber diaphragm to absorb the shock that’s inside that water. It’s much like a shock absorber on your automobile.

    KEVIN: Alright. And you installed one for us. And to see a video of that installation, visit us at ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And whenever that water hammer occurs, man, you can hear it throughout the entire house because there is nothing that transmits sounds faster than those copper pipes.
    KEVIN: Absolutely.
    RICH: When I hear it most is when I’m trying to go to sleep.
    TOM: (chuckling) I know how that is. Richard, Kevin, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tips.
    KEVIN: Our pleasure. We’ll talk to you next week.
    LESLIE: Thanks, guys. You know, it’s good to know that there are relatively simple solutions to what seems like a huge problem but, really, it’s just noise.
    TOM: And for more simple solutions to your home improvement questions, you might want to watch This Old House on TV, which is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t get any better.
    Up next, concrete is one tough material but cleaning it can be a little tricky. However, we’ve got the tricks to make that job easy and successful every single time. We’ll tell you about them, next.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac Automatic Standby Generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because this hour, we’re giving away a fantastic prize. It’s the Stanley Fatmax Foam Toolbox, worth 30 bucks. This watertight seal on this box protects your tools in any weather. It’s sturdy, it’s got an ergonomic handle to make it a great toolbox and it’s one of our favorite dandy dozen gifts for handy dads in the Father’s Day section of MoneyPit.com. You want to go there and see all of our top picks for Dad’s day.
    I will put this over to my column, Leslie, if you want to pass the note around to the family. I’d love to have this toolbox (Leslie chuckles) because it is beautiful. And how many times are we out and about doing a home improvement project when the skies open up and you throw your tools in the box?
    LESLIE: Far too often.
    TOM: The next day, they’re wet and rusty.
    LESLIE: Far too often, unfortunately. I mean it really does happen so this truly is a great prize, guys. So get in by giving us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Ask us your home improvement question on the air and you could be the winner of the Stanley Fatmax Toolbox.
    Now, it’s warmer out; we’re in the summer season. Maybe you’re thinking about doing some cleaning projects outside this weekend. Now, your concrete walks and your driveway – concrete really can look dingy and until you start to clean it, you never realize, actually, how dirty it is.
    Now, concrete – you think it’s super-tough but it’s very porous so it can easily hold that dirt. Now, when you’ve got fresh concrete, if you apply a sealer to it, you can keep it looking brand-spanking new for years to come. But if you’ve got older concrete, like most of us do, you do want to use a pressure washer along with an application of a mildicide.

    Now, that mildicide is going to kill the fungus – which is what detracts from the concrete surface – and then the pressure washer is going to blast away all those years of grime. But you don’t want to be too aggressive with it. You never want to kind of come straight down on it. You want to go at an angle with a wide spray of water on it and really just kind of go more gently than be aggressive.
    And once you sort of clean off one block, you’re going to be amazed at how truly disgusting your sidewalk looks. (Tom chuckles) And it becomes an addictive project and before you notice it, you might even be all the way down your block to four houses down, because it’s a fun project to do. (chuckles)
    TOM: Absolutely. And it’s a great thing to do because it really makes your house sparkle.
    888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here to help.
    LESLIE: Ron in Wisconsin is finishing a basement and it needs some help. What can we do for you?
    RON: I have about a 50-year-old basement. It’s got the old, you know, the stone block walls; rock walls, actually.
    TOM: Right.
    RON: And I need, first of all, to seal those up good and I’ve been kind of using some of this foam in a can and I want to make sure that it’s OK to do that. And then, secondly, I need to make sure that I’m not getting water in. I want to build a stud wall around the perimeter of the basement and I want to make sure that I don’t have any issues going on back there when I get that done.
    TOM: Well, you know, inside water features really add a lot to the value of the house. (Leslie chuckles)
    RON: (chuckling) Yeah. I don’t need (inaudible at 0:27:20.3).
    TOM: (overlapping voices) But they have to be planned, not unplanned. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Basement swimming pools are fantastic.
    TOM: Well, listen, the first thing I want you to do is figure out what the source of that water is and stop just trying to plug it. It’s probably a grading deficiency outside or a problem with the gutters or for some reason, you’re running a lot of water against the foundation.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Combination of the both.
    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to stop at the source first. In terms of how do you plug it? Well, generally, if it’s a – you say it’s a block wall or a stone wall?
    RON: It’s a stone wall, sorry.
    TOM: Hmm. Well, I know what you’re using. You’re using the polyurethane foam.
    LESLIE: Expandable foam.
    TOM: Expandable foam.
    LESLIE: Could you use like a flowable urethane or an epoxy patching compound to fill in those areas?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. Something thicker is what I’d like to see. Like an epoxy patching compound would probably be a good choice.
    RON: OK.
    TOM: Because that foam may be working but it’s not really designed for that.
    LESLIE: Yeah. I would definitely go with the epoxy patching compound. Fill in all of those cracks because, this way, you know it’s going to stick to what’s there and you don’t have to worry about it breaking out or popping out. And it’s actually made for that purpose.
    And then when it comes to building the stud wall, you want to make sure that you give yourself some space between the studs and the stone wall itself; like maybe six inches.
    Tom, I know you always say less but you want to get air circulating behind there to sort of keep things dry.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    LESLIE: And would you use metal studs, Tom?
    TOM: Maybe.
    LESLIE: Maybe?
    TOM: It’s not a bad idea to use metal studs but again, you do want to keep that wall about six inches away from the foundation because, this way, you can have some air circulation.
    A little trick of the trade is you can use HVAC vents or registers, return registers, in the wall – one up high and one down low – to make sure you’re always constantly circulating some air flow through the wall space.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And when it comes to your wallboard choice, I would definitely use paperless drywall. You know, look for something that’s fiberglass-faced because if you’re already dealing with a potentially moisture situation in this basement, you don’t want to introduce mold food. So keep as much paper out of there as possible.
    RON: OK. Alright. That sounds really good. I appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Daniel in California is dealing with a heating issue. Tell us about the problem with the furnace.
    DANIEL: Yes. I have a forced-air furnace and I’m in a single-family (inaudible at 0:29:39.8) with one level. And the furnace goes on, it reaches the temperature that we set it at and then it goes off. And then 10 minutes later, I hear this slamming like it’s a sheet-metal gate closing rapidly.
    TOM: Yeah.
    DANIEL: It’s a bang. You hear it throughout the house.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. It’s called oil canning.
    LESLIE: That’s the duct sort of popping, right?
    TOM: It’s the ducts. What happens is as your furnace kicks on and off, the ducts fill with air and they expand and they pop. And then as the furnace goes off, the air rushes out of the ducts and then they sag and they pop again. So, it’s the sort of metal banging sound as the ducts expand and contract.
    Now, somewhere in the line of ductwork, you’ve got a section that’s doing this. Normally, when contractors install ductwork, you’ll see that they put bends in it that are sort of like X-shaped or diamond-shaped. That gives that duct some rigidity and stops it from doing all that flexing. It’s like metal sheets banging as they expand and contract. It’s why it’s called oil canning – like the old-fashioned metal cans that you could sort of bend, they would make a lot of noise; before they were real soft, aluminum cans like we have today. That’s actually where the term came from.

    But the fix is basically to add another piece of metal on top of the duct where it’s making the noise. You take like a small angle iron and screw it to the duct to give it some strength; some rigidity. And frankly, you could do it with a stick, too, like a 1×2; just anything to give that duct some strength. And that will stop it from making that racket.
    DANIEL: Oh. I just have to locate where it’s coming from.
    TOM: That’s correct. Yep. And start near the furnace; it’s usually close to the furnace.
    DANIEL: Oh, that makes sense. Well, that’s great. That’s great. (chuckles) I’ll take care of that. You’re the best.
    TOM: See that? Simple solution, Dan.
    DANIEL: Yeah, it sounds good.
    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Up next, I don’t know about your neck of the woods but we’ve had more power failures here than we’ve had in a very long time. And that’s why now is a better time than ever to install a standby generator. But how much power do you need? We’ll tell you how to figure that out, next.

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes, with an advanced 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers long-lasting beauty and excellent durability. 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And hey, if you’re looking for some ways to get more Money Pit in your life, why not become a fan of The Money Pit on Facebook?

    Now, if you’ve got Facebook already sort of loaded up on your mobile device – which all of us do; I cannot believe how addicted to Facebook we all are – it is so super-easy to become a fan that way. All you need to do is text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665, right from your cell phone, and you are going to be instantly added as a fan. Standard text messages – you know, those charges apply, which is kind of sucky but what can you do? We all have to deal with that. But once you do sort of sign on, you will get a ton of information there, just like you get right here at our fun show, The Money Pit.
    And while you’re online, you can e-mail us your questions. And I’ve got one here from Robert who writes: “I’m planning to install a standby generator in the next month or so. Right now, my dryer and stove/oven are gas but my water heater is electric. It was installed new in 2006 so it’s not exactly old but I’m wondering if it makes sense to convert to a gas tankless water heater, allowing me to install a smaller generator or if I should leave well enough alone. I don’t know if it matters but the house has a very hard water, which I’m also planning to deal with in the near term. I understand that hard water can be tough on water heaters.”
    TOM: Wow. So, a lot of questions here, Robert. First of all, let’s deal with the question of whether or not you should convert to gas from an electric water heater. Always a good idea to think about doing that, because you do save so much money. If you are going to do it, installing a tankless water heater is the way to go.
    The one thing that you might need to do, though, because tankless water heaters, if your water is very hard, they can cake up on the inside and need some cleaning and some maintenance; however, if you install a water softener, that problem goes away. So the upgrade to a tankless is always a good idea.
    Do you have to do it now or later? I don’t think you necessarily have to do it immediately. It’s going to impact the size generator that you would choose but what it basically means is you’re going to buy one that’s a little bit bigger than maybe you might need in the future. But frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing because you may just decide that initially, you don’t want to have, say, something like your central air conditioning on it. But then after you go off electric water heater, you could add that circuit in and still really not use any more additional power.
    In terms of the size, there is a very good sizing tool on the website for Generac at Generac.com – G-e-n-e-r-a-c – Generac.com. With the sizing tool, they’ll ask you a few simple questions about what exactly you need to power and then they’ll tell you what size generator you need in your house.
    Now, I actually have one in my house. I have a – I think it’s a 12kW, so it’s a fairly small standby generator. But with that unit, I power my entire house: my heating system, my lights, a freezer; everything that we really need when the power goes down around here. I am so glad that we have it, because the power does go down more frequently than it used to. And it’s nice to never have to worry about being offline or out of food or having to deal with even a portable generator that you may have to take out of the garage, run some extension cords to and run outside.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? With portable generators, you have to be so careful about how you place it, where you use it. Is there a window open? Is there a window closed? So you really need to be very cautious with portable units so you don’t have those issues with a built-in, installed standby generator and they just sort of go on when you need them.
    TOM: Then they have transfer switches that automatically switch off the circuits from the main electrical panel onto the generator. That happens totally automatically within 15 to 20 seconds of losing power.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. And that’s great because if the power goes out when you’re out of town, on vacation, out for the day, you don’t have to worry about if you’ve got medications in a fridge or food, for example, going bad.

    Well, Robert, you asked a lot of questions. I hope we answered them all and thanks so much for writing in.
    TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope you’ve learned a little bit about how to take care of your money pit. Perhaps we’ve made it just a bit easier. Hope you’re enjoying the super summer days that we are having and will continue to have for some time now.
    If there’s a home improvement project that comes to mind and you don’t know just where to turn and what to do, pick up the phone and call us any time of the day or night at 1-888-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.

    (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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