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  • Transcript

    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.)
    (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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. We are here to help you make your home better, safer, more comfortable, bigger. Or maybe you can’t go bigger. Maybe you just need to find room for all your stuff; we can talk about that. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    You know, all home improvements don’t have to be really expensive. This hour, we’re going to talk about upgrading your kitchen. It can be one of the smartest investments that you make but you don’t have to spend a bundle to get that big impact. We’ve got a quick and easy way for you to create a brand new kitchen backsplash at a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire counter and splash altogether. We’re going to have that coming up in just a bit.
    LESLIE: And also ahead, we’re going to have tips for choosing the right fire extinguisher for your kitchen; because if you choose the wrong one, all you might do is actually spread those flames all over the place. So we’re going to tell you …
    TOM: Not good. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Seriously. We’re going to tell you what works and what doesn’t in just a little bit.
    Plus, while we’re on the subject of kitchens, we’re going to have an insider’s trick of the trade to upgrade your appliances without spending a single cent. You’ve got to love that.
    TOM: And to make sure you have the right tools on hand to tackle your next home improvement project, this hour we’re giving away a set of Craftsman hand tools worth almost 60 bucks; including a 7-piece wrench set. So pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Jen in California has a sprinkler system issue. Let’s see what we can do. What’s going on?
    JEN: Hello. I just bought a used house a couple of months ago and the first month …
    LESLIE: (chuckling) A used house.
    TOM: A used house, huh? (Jen chuckles) Not to be confused with a used car.
    JEN: Yeah, well you know; a little better. [Not the sales price either] (ph).
    TOM: A previously owned model. (chuckles)
    JEN: Anyway, my sprinklers are hooked up to a multi-station timer.
    TOM and LESLIE: OK.
    JEN: And so the first month, everything was fine and dandy; but the second month, one of the stations – the water pressure went to about 50 percent.
    TOM: OK.
    JEN: And so, what I did was I went to the sprinkler’s little inline valve with the twist – with the manual bleed screw that you can twist and then it’ll manually turn it on.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
    JEN: I went and turned it on and that went to a full 100 percent. But when I go back to the timer and use it through the timer, I only get half pressure; just for one of the stations.
    TOM: Sounds like one of the valves is not opening up all the way and, apparently, when you do it by hand you don’t have that problem; but this is a problem with the control circuit. So, I think you’re going to – you’re probably going to have a part to replace here; not likely to be that expensive but it sounds to me like one of the valves isn’t opening all the way, which is the reason you’re not getting all the water that you’re supposed to have. It’s only opening halfway or part way.
    JEN: So it’s not going to matter even if it’s the same system that’s working when you use the little bleed valve thing?
    TOM: No, because I think that you’re bypassing something there. I think that whatever the valve is that’s not open all the way and that’s what has to be fixed. So this should be a minor repair. You know, having a sprinkler system, this is very typical. They need an awful lot of maintenance.
    LESLIE: They really do.
    TOM: They’re always breaking heads or pipes that are cracking or leaking or valves that aren’t working right. They take a lot of wear and tear.
    LESLIE: Not to mention all the times you try to plant a plant and accidentally cut something that has to do with your sprinkler system.
    TOM: Yeah, at the end of the season this year, we came home to a geyser that was shooting water up over the roof of the house because one of the heads had snapped off.
    LESLIE: (chuckles) How crazy.
    TOM: And so you know, when this happened it was like (inaudible at 0:03:54.2). Like you know, I’m just turning the system off; turning the valve off; [flew all the lines off] (ph) and we’ll fix it in the spring.
    JEN: Yeah. Well, I appreciate your help. That’s …
    TOM: Alright.
    JEN: Yeah, wouldn’t have thought of that; that it would bypass it.
    TOM: Alright, Jen.
    JEN: So thank you very much. Take care, you guys.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that new, used house.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) I like that.
    Alright, calling in from my neck of the woods – Long Island, New York – we’ve got John who has a roofing question. What can we do for you?
    JOHN: Yeah, hi. I have and old house and I have a slate roof on it.
    TOM: OK.
    JOHN: On the north side, it’s got a loss of moss. Is that OK or should I remove it?
    TOM: No, it’s not necessarily a problem. What can you do about it? Well, a couple of things. First of all, if you want to remove it, you need to wash it down with a mildicide and there are a number of different products out there that you can do that with; like OxiClean, for example. You want to apply it, let it sit and then you can rinse it off until it goes away.
    If you want to prevent it from coming back, you can add a copper strip to the ridge or a nickel strip to the ridge and when the rain hits it it’ll run down the slate roof and acts as a mildicide and cleans that. And the third thing that you can do is look to whatever is causing the shade on that side of the house – if you have any high trees overhead or anything like that; try to let a little more sunlight on that side and that will stop it from growing back as well.
    But it’s not hurting anything and as long as you don’t mind the look of it it’s not going to cause leaks. You can just live with it.
    JOHN: OK, so it doesn’t get under the slate (inaudible at 0:05:23.1) tiles.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, rarely, rarely. Yep, it can get pretty thick but it rarely causes a problem; especially with slate. With asphalt roof shingles, it can break a shingle now and again but it’s not something to panic over. OK?
    JOHN: That’s great. Thanks so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can be part of The Money Pit if you pick up your phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you get your projects done.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, a new kitchen backsplash can make a huge impact for a very small cost. We’re going to tell you how you can knock this job out in a single weekend with the right materials, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This hour, we’re giving a prize pack from Craftsman which includes the Craftsman Edge utility blade that cuts through rubber, plastic and even softer wood. There’s also a universal, 7-piece wrench set and a Craftsman dog bone with a swivel head on each end. I’m pretty sure that’s for you and not for your dog. (Leslie chuckles) It’s worth close to 60 bucks and can be yours when we pick your name out of the Money Pit hardhat on today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, so give us a call for your chance to win.
    LESLIE: I don’t know, Tom. I think your dog Spot might enjoy running around the house with it. (chuckles)
    TOM: Well, I’m hoping I can train him to do home improvements and this way I have a little helper around.
    LESLIE: That would be great. Could you imagine if you got your dog to help you with whatever was on your honey-do list?
    TOM: The kids are teenagers now; it’s no longer fun to help Daddy. (laughs)
    LESLIE: Yeah, they’re too busy with their social activities or texting. They’re like, “Can I text and use this power saw at the same time?”
    TOM: Yeah, exactly.
    LESLIE: Not so much. But you can text ideas about kitchens, if that’s what your kids are doing. (chuckles)
    Well, if you guys are thinking about upgrading your kitchen but you don’t want to spend a lot of money, now there’s an area in your kitchen which is called your backsplash and we all know that your kitchen is a super-valuable room in your house and if your backsplash is boring, it’s really not doing anything to boost this high-commodity room in your house and we all know that kitchens do sell homes. So you want to give your backsplash some bling with brand new tiles.
    Now, you might think, “I can’t do that myself” but you can. Installing your own tile backsplash is not a hard do-it-yourself project and, with so many choices of tile out there, you can actually find a tile that will fit your budget that you’re going to love.
    TOM: And the best part about this project is that there is no longer any reason to deal with messy mastic or mortar nor do you have to wait the amount of time it takes for these products to dry; in fact, there’s now a much easier and a better way to lay tile, from one of our sponsors. It’s called Bondera TileMatSet from Grace Construction products. It’s actually a sheet adhesive that can be rolled out and applied just about anywhere. It’s basically peel and stick. Tile adheres to Bondera and you are ready to grout immediately. There’s no waiting for mastic to cure, no mess to clean up, no added expense for special tools. And we have used this on a project ourselves and it was very, very impressive.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know what? It was really easy to work with. It made the tile job happen much more quickly and it was super-easy and this stuff is really, really, really super-sticky; so the tiles stuck right away. I mean if I had to reposition something, I could kind of pry it up and work with it to restick it but this stuff really does a great job. And the bonus is that the Bondera tile mat set, it’s water-resistant so there’s no reason to install a special backer board on your project. And since it resists moisture, it will also resist mold and mildew – which we love because backsplashes in your kitchen do get very wet around the sink area. So go ahead; take on your backsplash. Kick it up a notch. Get designer-happy. Pick out tiles that you love; add a border; pop in a decorative detail one.
    You can learn more about the super product, Bondera, at bonderatilematset.com and you will be tiling in no time.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your kitchen makeover project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. If your floor squeaks, if your toilet leaks, we are here to help you fix it up; so call us.
    LESLIE: Alright, Joe in Georgia has got his house down to the studs. Tell me what is going on. You’ve gutted it?
    JOE: Yes, I bought a house; it’s about 58 years old.
    TOM: Great.
    JOE: And I gutted the house, based on – just the interior walls looked kind of shoddy. I got it at a great price. So I gutted the house. Now the problem that I’m faced with is that there’s some interior wood in the walls that is going to need to be replaced.
    TOM: OK.
    JOE: Problem is that all of the studs are true 2x4s.
    TOM: Ah. So it’s really 2″x4″. It’s not 1-5/8 by 3-1/2.
    JOE: Nope.
    LESLIE: Huh.
    TOM: Right. OK. So you just took – you took all the old plaster and wallboard off of this stuff and so now you just want to figure out how you’re going to clean it up? Do you have to replace studs? Why don’t you have …?
    JOE: Yeah, there are several. I would say probably 25 percent of the studs are going to have to be replaced.
    TOM: Well, here’s what I would do. I would buy standard 2x4s. I would rip out some – set up a table saw; rip some 1/2″ strips of wood; I’d build the wall. You can either pull the 2×4 forward so that it basically has some space behind it or you can just pad it out by about 1/2″.
    JOE: So basically, build the individual – or build a new 2×4 up.
    TOM: Exactly, build a new 2×4.
    JOE: OK.
    TOM: That’s going to be a lot cheaper than – I mean you can always buy 2x6s and rip them down but that would be a terrible waste.
    JOE: Right. I just didn’t know if I was going to have to buy like milled 2x4s or …
    TOM: No, I don’t think you can buy them. By the way, you know the wood originally was 2″x4″, as you saw, and the milling is what took it down to 1-5/8 by 3-1/2; so they still call it a 2×4. But the 2×4 measurement was actually before it was milled. So that’s just a little bit of building lumber history; a little stud history there as to why it’s called a 2×4.
    But you know, your options are to pad up the surface before you put your wallboard on it or just to buy 2x6s and cut them down.
    I don’t know. If I had maybe half-a-dozen studs to worry about, I’d probably buy the 2x6s and just rip them down. If I had one or two I might pad it out.
    JOE: Alright, well thank you for your help.
    TOM: And those are your options, Joe. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Yeah, you know when you built the old walls and you were putting up lath and then slathering plaster on top of that, it didn’t matter if they were not completely flush; if one bowed out a 1/2″ or …
    LESLIE: Right, because you could cover that up.
    TOM: Yeah. You’d put a little more plaster here, a little less plaster there and you’ve got a flat wall. But now when you’re trying to put drywall up and the board bends and buckles and shows every deflection, you’ve got to have a pretty straight wall. And so, when you gut it, this is a problem; part of the problem.
    LESLIE: Brian in Canada, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    BRIAN: Yeah, I’m looking at getting a tankless water heater installed in my house. It’s got an old gas – about a 30- or maybe even a 40-gallon tank in there right now and I’m just kind of wondering the advantages of the tankless and also maybe a good place to shop around and compare prices would be.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Sure. A tankless water heater is an excellent idea. They are super-efficient and it’s very nice to have an on-demand system; one where you basically have an unlimited supply of hot water. It’s there whenever you need it; also convenient if you have kids because you can instantly dial the temperature up and down. You’re not storing or paying to heat an entire tank of water that you’re not going to use. You’re basically heating it just as you need it.
    BRIAN: Right.
    TOM: There are lots of good manufacturers out there; one you might want to take a look at is Rheem. You can go to their website at RheemTankless.com; got a selection of the products that are available there. In the states, they qualify for the federal energy tax credits and also the Energy Star designation; so very energy-efficient product.
    BRIAN: OK.
    TOM: And definitely the way to go. I just think if you’re going to replace your water heater today, you really don’t want to continue on with a tanked unit. You really want to go tankless and save as much money as you possibly can moving forward.
    You know, tanked water heaters didn’t really last that long; I mean ten years was an average life. The tankless are going to last a lot longer and be a lot more efficient. It costs a little bit more money but definitely worth the investment.
    BRIAN: OK. Thanks, appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: June in North Carolina is thinking about selling her house and needs some help with what repairs to do first. How can we help you?
    JUNE: Yes, first of all I’d like to say how much I love the show.
    LESLIE: Thanks, June.
    JUNE: You’re welcome. My husband and I have a three-year-old house with three bedrooms and two and a half baths plus a fog (ph).
    TOM: OK.
    JUNE: We’re trying to figure out if it would help the marketability of the house to add a closet and a bathroom so we can classify the fog (ph) as another bedroom.
    TOM: Hmm, OK.
    JUNE: Or would it make any difference?
    TOM: In general, adding bathrooms always helps but you need to compare your house to what’s selling in the neighborhood because when you put your home on the market, you’re competing with everything else that’s around you and having an extra bathroom may or may not help you. It’s really an appraisal question. I would check with some local realtors. You can ask them to do a market-value assessment of your home both ways; you know, with two and a half baths and three and a half baths, or whatever the case is, and see how the numbers play out. Bathrooms generally do get you the best return on investment but only if you stay within what’s for sale in your neighborhood.
    JUNE: OK. Thank you.
    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Harvey in Illinois needs some help with the gutters on his house. What can we do for you?
    HARVEY: Hi. I just wanted to mention you have a wonderful show.
    LESLIE: Thanks.
    TOM: Thank you, Harvey.
    HARVEY: OK, I’m repairing some gutters for a neighbor. OK, she had some gutters put on by a contractor and they did a very poor job.
    TOM: OK.
    HARVEY: The problem is they threw on some leaf guards.
    TOM: Alright.

    HARVEY: Plastic, snap-on leaf guards and left the receiving end sticking up in the air.
    TOM: OK.
    HARVEY: They’re not tucked under the material; so that’s a total disaster. So my question is do I just leave them off or do I cut the seal along the edges of the roofing material to tuck them underneath there.
    TOM: Why do you have to cut a seal? Is this asphalt shingles?
    HARVEY: No, it’s not; they’re single ply.
    TOM: Oh, it’s single ply. Yeah, no you don’t want to cut it. Probably wouldn’t even have put leaf guards on that. Is this a flat roof?
    HARVEY: It’s a gently-sloping flat roof. Yeah, yeah.
    TOM: Yeah. That was probably not a good choice for leaf guards because what happens is if you don’t have a lot of water that runs off, you’re not going to wash those leaves off the top of the gutter guard. Typically, you need like a 2/12 or a 3/12 pitch to make that work. So I think, in this case, I would tend to leave the leaf guards off. I would put the wire baskets in the top of the downspouts, that stop leaves from going down there, and then at least if you have to clean them off you won’t have a clogged downspout to worry about.
    HARVEY: OK, that sounds like a solution to me. Appreciate it.
    TOM: Alright, that’ll help you out.
    HARVEY: Thank you.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Harvey. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Nice of Harvey to be taking care of the neighbor’s gutters.
    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a good neighbor.
    TOM: Most people in this country don’t take care of their own gutters. (Leslie chuckles) Harvey is a particularly generous soul.
    LESLIE: And then there’s me; that makes fun of her neighbor’s gutters. (chuckles) There’s a tree growing out of one.
    TOM: Yeah, well you learned to take care of your gutters when your basement flooded. (laughs)
    LESLIE: It was my first house. Leave me alone. I never had a gutter.
    TOM: Alright. (chuckles) Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Lynette in California has questions about a tankless water-heating system. What can we do for you?
    LYNETTE: I have a – I’m remodeling a bathroom in an old home and the water heater is on the opposite side. I’ve always had problems getting the water to heat up. And so I was wondering if that tank would be able to solve that problem.
    TOM: No, because your problem is that the water heater is on the other side of the house; and so, no matter how you heat the water, it still has to travel a distance to get to the bath.
    Now, the other solution here though is to add a second water heater nearest the bathroom; and because tankless water heaters are a lot smaller than standard, than traditional water heaters …
    LESLIE: You can put it right in the closet.
    TOM: Exactly.
    LESLIE: And it won’t have to travel far at all.
    TOM: Yep. So if you want to split the domestic water heater piping into two zones, you could have one tankless near the far end of the house where the bedrooms are and the other water heater where it is right now.
    LYNETTE: But I need a closet of some sort.
    TOM: Well, you need some space. I mean it could be in a closet; it could be in an attic; it could even be outside of the house. There are a lot of places you can put a tankless water heater because they’re very small; they’re like the size of a medium-sized suitcase.
    LYNETTE: Oh.
    LESLIE: What is the lifespan, Tom, on an exterior-placed tankless unit; similar?
    TOM: I think they’d go probably 15, 20 years, yeah.
    LESLIE: Really?
    TOM: They’re designed to be in the weather.
    LESLIE: That’s great.
    LYNETTE: Alright. Alright, thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Lynette. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Up next, we’re going to talk about the ABCs of fire extinguishers. Do you know what kind of extinguisher you need; say, for example, for your kitchen? Kevin O’Connor will be here from This Old House to join us with tips on that information, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Install a new, energy-efficient Therma-Tru door today and qualify for up to a $1,500 tax credit. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com/TaxCredit.
    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: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Call us if you’re still scrubbing your way out of the holidays and into the winter because we’ve got cleaning tips for you on this hour of the program. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And cleaning is also one of the areas that we get a lot of questions on and, hence, have a lot of articles and tips and suggestions on it on our website at MoneyPit.com. Simply go there and search “Cleaning” under Ideas and Solutions and you will find the solution to your next cleaning issue.
    LESLIE: Jerry in Fargo has a situation with a basement floor. Tell us about it.
    JERRY: Hi. Say, I enjoy your show. Thank you so much for your service.
    LESLIE: Thanks so much, Jerry.
    TOM: Our pleasure, Jerry. How can we help you?
    JERRY: Well, I have vinyl composition tile; 12x12s.
    TOM: OK.
    JERRY: They’re – it’s a basement floor. The floor tends to sweat in the summertime.
    TOM: OK.
    JERRY: There is some alkaline in the soil, so that does tend to come up also through the concrete. And what’s happening is the glue is now beginning to seep through the cracks and …
    TOM: Yeah, can you clean it once it comes through or is it pretty much it?
    JERRY: No, and it tends to curl the [lino tube] (ph).
    TOM: Yeah.
    JERRY: Somebody suggested using a heat dryer or …
    TOM: Well, I don’t know. It’s really hard to save a floor that’s going bad like this, Jerry; I hate to tell you. I would do a couple of things.
    First of all, I would try to make sure we have as little moisture in the basement as possible and that means looking at your grading and drainage at the foundation perimeter; making sure the soil slopes away, the gutters are clean, the downspouts are extended.
    The next thing I would do is I would add a dehumidifier to your basement. How is your home heated? Is it a forced heating system, forced air?
    JERRY: It’s forced air, natural gas. Yes.
    TOM: Well, I would consider something called a whole-home dehumidifier. Are you familiar with this?
    JERRY: No.
    TOM: It fits into the HVAC system so that it basically dehumidifies every, single room that’s connected to that system. It’s much more effective than a portable dehumidifier that may be just, for example, in the basement. This will really control humidity throughout the entire house.
    LESLIE: Well, and it monitors the humidity situation through the whole house so if it only needs to come on in the basement, it will do so; if it notices, “Oops, somebody’s showering in this bathroom,” it’ll really kick on in that area more effectively than it would in other areas. So there’s – really, it sort of monitors the whole situation and I think the Aprilaire one removes – was it 90 pints of water a day; that you will never, ever have to empty a bucket.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, something like that; a whole lot of water.
    JERRY: No kidding?
    TOM: Now, that being said, what we want to do here is get the basement dried up. In terms of what you have now, it’s going to be difficult to save those tiles. The next time you want to do a floor in a basement, we would recommend laminate floor because the laminate – basically, you lay down a very thin layer of insulation – like it’s a very thin sheet of foam – and you assemble the laminate tile on top of that. They all lock together and the floor floats; and so, you have a little bit of insulation between the cold, damp concrete and the floor, so that’s going to help with any humidity and moisture that wants to come up and you’ll find it to be a soft, comfortable floor that’s very, very durable.
    JERRY: Alright, thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
    TOM: Well, most people know that smoke detectors are an absolutely essential part of every home to minimize the damage, injuries and deaths caused by fire but many people may not realize that household fire extinguishers are absolutely just as important. But to use the extinguisher properly, you first need to know a little bit about fire itself. With us with some tips on how to do just that is Kevin O’Connor, the host of This Old House.
    Hey, Kevin.
    KEVIN: Hey, Tom. Great to be here.
    TOM: Now you really need to know how the fires are classified before you even think about buying the extinguisher.
    KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. The classification of the fire is critical and so there are three different types. There is the type A fire and that’s anything that leaves an ash; like paper, fabric or wood. Then there are the B fires and that’s for anything that boils; like grease, gas and fuels. And finally is the C fire that is conductive, which is an electrical fire. And so you want to make sure that you use the right type of extinguisher for each type of fire. Now, fortunately, many extinguishers are designed for multiple uses; so they are labeled either AB, BC or the ABC extinguisher which covers all types of fires.
    Now, you want to make sure you also keep the extinguishers near the exits of the kitchen, the basement and the garage.
    TOM: And speaking of exits, always a good idea to have an escape plan.
    KEVIN: It is and you want to make sure you practice it.
    And another thing to think about: you want to make sure that you leave the house first and then call 911. And remember, never go back into a burning building for any reason.
    So, if you want more tips on fire extinguishers or if you want to see me actually put out a fire, watch our video on ThisOldHouse.com.
    TOM: Good tip. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
    KEVIN: Thanks for having me.
    LESLIE: You know, that’s really good information, Kevin, and I think it’s really important also to point out that many states and many local municipalities require fire extinguishers for a certificate of occupancy, so it’s really a must.
    TOM: Absolutely.
    Now, you can watch Kevin on This Old House and also on Ask This Old House on your local PBS station. Ask This Old House is brought to you by Stanley. Stanley – make something great.
    Up next, we’ve got tips on a free way that you can update the look of your kitchen appliances, so stay tuned.

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    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and why don’t you pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we really want to give you a hand with your project. And in addition to giving you a hand, we would like to give you some tools to help you get your project done. So this hour, we’re giving away a Craftsman prize pack that includes three hand tools. It includes the Craftsman Edge which is a super-durable utility blade which you will use all the time. It’s also got a Craftsman universal wrench 7-piece set – so, technically, you’re getting way more than three hand tools – which features an angled and a universal tooth design. Now, the angled head will allow clearance for your knuckles and it allows you better clearance and leverage when you’re working on these projects, so you can really get your hands into the areas that you need to do the job.
    And you’re also going to get a Craftsman dog bone, which we know is the double-ended wrench in there; so you’ll know it’s a good, good prize pack. It’s worth about 60 bucks, so give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, if you’d like to update the look of your kitchens and if your appliances are still in working order but you just can’t stand the color, the best tip you’ll ever learn is that many appliances are shipped with multiple color panels hidden beneath the one you see. So changing your décor can be as easy as removing a few screws and pulling out a black or white panel for an instant update and some appliances can also be repainted with the help of a pro or with products that are available to create very unique finishes like, for example, liquid stainless steel. Very cool paint product, easy to apply and absolutely makes the appliances look like they’re all stainless.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and it’s one of the few appliance paints that truly, truly does that; especially if you’re trying to get the look of stainless. If you’re going for a solid color, there are products out there that’ll do the job; but if you want stainless, this is really the one you want to use for your appliances.
    TOM: Now, if you decide that you don’t want stainless but you want another color, look for spray epoxy paints. Those are the ones that flow the best. They take a long time to dry but they look great, they’re durable and they’re easy to clean. So, with a weekend and the right products, you definitely could change the look of all the appliances in your kitchen without spending a whole lot of money.
    888-666-3974. There’s a number that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money. Pick up the phone right now. Give us a call with your home improvement question. We’re here to help you out.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Sandra in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
    SANDRA: Well, every year I have my heating elements looked at, inspected and for a tune-up. And this time, I changed companies and the people that came found a biological growth and lots of dirt in the master bedroom system.
    TOM: OK.
    SANDRA: I’ve got three systems and that one is available through a closet; it’s not in the attic. And I was – he told me that I have to put in a very sophisticated system with some kind of bulb that would kill the mold that went through the tubes and so forth and that it would cost around $900.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Right. So you think he may be just trying to sell you something or do you think you really think you have a problem?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Since it’s a new company.
    SANDRA: Yes, I think so because my son went up after and he said, “Well, that’s just dirt”; that white mold that they said was there was dirt of the construction and he wiped it off.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, there is a light that’s an add-on to heating systems – like an ultraviolet light that is designed to kill bacteria and – I’m not even sure if it kills mold spores. It’s not a very popular add-on. But it sounds to me like they’re just trying to sell that to you, especially if your son IDed it as dirt. You know, a lot of these folks that are identifying mold, they just call it all mold and if they get the sale, they get the sale. So you’re right to question it. Always a good idea to have a second opinion. In this case, it sounds like your son had the right information and I wouldn’t worry about it.
    SANDRA: Thank you for your wonderful program.
    TOM: You’re very welcome, Sandra. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Josh in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
    JOSH: Well, I’ve just bought a house here and it’s got Formica countertops. And my fiancée and I were trying to decide on what to do about the countertops and I’ve been doing a lot of research and hearing a lot about the concrete kind of tops and we’re trying to get like the contemporary feng shui look in the house. And granite, as opposed to concrete or even – there’s another type; it’s like the fake – is it called quartz? Am I saying it right, quartz?
    TOM: Yeah, quartz. There are different manufacturers of it. There’s – what is it, Zodiac is the Corian product and then Silestone is another product. But they’re all quartz.
    JOSH: OK, well as far as the concrete – I mean what are the good and the bad things about it? I mean you don’t hear of a whole lot of people – from what I read, it started out west and you just don’t see it a lot hear in the south yet. I mean is it a good way to …
    TOM: It’s a beautiful surface and it’s a lot of work to make, it’s a lot of work to maintain; but it is very, very gorgeous. What’s the guy’s name that wrote that book on it?
    LESLIE: I can not …
    JOSH: Chang?
    TOM: [Fung Chang] (sp)? That’s it, [Fung Chang]; that’s right. Have you seen his writings?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yes.
    JOSH: I have, I have and I’ve actually read of a few of his books and from what I see about granite, which one is more maintenance? Is granite pretty high maintenance as well or is it …?
    TOM: Yes, and in fact, we know from having them ourselves and answering the same questions over and over again for many years that all of these products are not nearly as moisture-resistant and stain-resistant as good, old-fashioned fiberglass laminate. Having said that, believe it or not, my favorite countertop is Corian or one of the solid-surfacing materials because it is reasonably maintenance-resistant compared to the granites and the quartz out there.
    LESLIE: There’s also, Josh – there’s a new green product called PaperStone and their website is PaperStoneProducts.com. And it actually can look exactly like concrete but it’s a totally eco-friendly, sustainable product; which is totally cutting edge and something that you’re looking for if you’re looking for a green product as well. Check out their website just to sort of see it in …
    JOSH: PaperStone.com?
    LESLIE: PaperStoneProducts.com.
    JOSH: OK.
    LESLIE: Just to sort of see it in an installed situation and learn a bit more about the product and you can even find a dealer there. But that could be an interesting choice.
    And also, you can always just relaminate those countertops for a mildly inexpensive, do-it-yourself quick-fix.
    JOSH: Right. OK, great. Well, I do appreciate it.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Josh. 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. Up next, dehumidifiers, they’re a great way to reduce the moisture in your home; so we’re going to help one listener figure out which type works best for which purpose, so stick around.

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    TOM: On air and online at MoneyPit.com, welcome back to this hour of the program. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    Hey, do you want to follow The Money Pit on Facebook but maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t really know how to do that”? Well, it is super-easy. You just want to text “Fanthemoneypit” – all one word – to FBOOK at 32665 from your cell phone and you’ll be instantly added as a fan of The Money Pit on Facebook. Standard text charges apply, so it’s super-duper easy and Facebook is really fun. I know, Tom, you’re having a good time with it.
    TOM: Yes, we get a lot of questions on Facebook and we get a lot of calls from the fan page, so please do join us.
    Here’s an e-mail that came in from Facebook. It’s from Emily Peters.
    LESLIE: And she writes – alright, she says, “I love your radio show. We live in Northeast Pennsylvania.” Our finished basement has electric baseboard heat and during the summer it gets damp and musty. We’re researching the whole house dehumidifier or should we go with a portable unit?”
    TOM: Well, if you have a central air conditioning system – so you have ducts that go throughout the house or wraps it …
    LESLIE: Would you have that and still have the electric baseboard in the basement room?
    TOM: Well, you could because we’re talking about the basement. Now, if you have a central heating system and central cooling system where you have ducts that go throughout the entire house, Emily, then we would definitely recommend that you use a whole-home dehumidifier and, in fact, you may want to extend the heating system to the basement to the extent that you could at least get a return there, properly installed and positioned by a heating and cooling contractor because if you put it in the wrong place, it could be unsafe.
    But a whole-home system is very, very effective because it, in fact, dehumidifies the entire home; plus, you don’t have to worry about draining the bucket in the portables, which is kind of a hassle, and it’s going to be probably even more energy efficient. So whole-home is definitely the way to go if you have that type of heating system. But again, you’ve got to have ducts that go out through the entire house for that to work.
    If not, you can go with a portable to make it a little bit more convenient. You could also back that up with a condensate pump, which will collect the water and pump it on out to wherever you want to basically put it. I have one in a dirt basement that gets really damp and we keep some storage down there, so we have that on a condensate pump. But for the rest of the house, a whole-home is best.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, Emily? You want to make sure that – if you have a portable unit, you want to make sure that you set your humidity level somewhere around 35, 40 percent. And if you do get a portable unit, just make sure you empty it everyday and keep it on all the time. Let it kick on when it senses moisture and let it turn off when it doesn’t. Don’t just be like, “Oh, if I run it an hour it’ll be fine.” You really want it to do its job and that’s truly the only way it will.
    TOM: And thanks, Emily, for reaching out to us on our Facebook fan page.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got an e-mail here from Ahmet Sharma who writes: “We had a slow water leak that was building up water behind the drywall connected to the washing machine and ultimately leaking water to our storage room in the basement. There was also a strong smell for several months, which I believe suggests mold. I had a plumber and contractor fix the leaking pipe; remove the vinyl flooring, drywall and the damaged floor panel. They also sprayed a bleach spray on the affected areas. I wanted to know if there’s anything else that I need to be doing.”
    TOM: Ahmet, mold needs three things to grow: it needs water, it needs air and it needs a source of food. Now, if you’ve stopped the leak, you’ve taken the water away; that should stop the mold. As far as the odor, you know most people have sort of the knee-jerk reaction that it was mold. It could have been something else that was just stinking up that area. But the fact of the matter is if you’ve dried it all out and you treated it with the bleach, you don’t have to worry about the continuation of any mold spores. I think that that probably did the trick.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I would say, Ahmet, when you refinish everything and you put up drywall, go with a fiberglass-faced drywall over a paper-faced since you’re dealing with a high-moisture in general anyway and the fiberglass won’t be mold food. And just make sure you prime everything. This way, you sort of seal in whatever is there and you’ll make sure it won’t come out.
    TOM: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Man, we covered a lot of ground and had a lot of fun.
    LESLIE: Yeah.
    TOM: Hope that you learned something along the way. The show continues 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 2009 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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