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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Welcome to the weekend. Hope you are having a great day. And if a home improvement project is part of your plan, part of our plan is to be here to help you. You’ve got to help yourself first, though, and pick up the phone and call us. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great hour planned for you. First up, more than any other room in your home, your dining room really calls for a touch of elegance. Don’t you agree? But if it looks more …

    LESLIE: It’s got to be fancy-pants.

    TOM: It’s got to be fancy, right? If you’re going to have one, it’s got to be the fancy room. Of course, it’s always the fancy room that no one eats in but still, if you’re going to have it, it’s got to be fancy.

    LESLIE: Of course.

    TOM: If it looks, however, more like a mess hall, there may be an easy DIY project that can change that in a flash. We’ll tell you about it, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And since we are in the middle of summer, I wanted to just vent for a minute and really tell you what just bothers the heck out of me in the summertime: bugs.

    So if you are also bothered by the creepy-crawly visitors around your home, we’re going to tell you about some easy, natural changes that you can make to send them running.

    TOM: And another downside to summer are the storms and the damage that they can cause to your beloved money pit. We’ll have the step-by-step instructions you need to make sure your home hasn’t been damaged when a storm rolls in.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, one lucky caller is going to get some relief from the heat. We’re giving away a KuulAire 53 . Now, it’s an evaporative cooling unit and can actually cool a space up to 400 square feet.

    TOM: It’s worth 200 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, drawn at random from this hour’s callers. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jeff in Illinois on the line who’s dealing with a ventilation situation. What can we do for you today?

    JEFF: Yeah, I should vent a little bit, because I had to insulate that attic up there.

    TOM: OK.

    JEFF: Yeah. So, you know, it’s an old addition and when they built it, they covered the old gable up. And so when I went up there to insulate this spring, I had to kind of cut a hole through the old gable end to get into the addition. And so my question is: do I need to – should I keep cutting away at that or do I – how do I properly vent that? I don’t want to cut the whole thing out, because I suppose there’s some support there.

    TOM: OK. So they – basically, when you added the addition, they added it onto the gable end of the old roof. So when you go up in the attic, you kind of see the old roof structure and the old gable end where the vent used to be, correct?

    JEFF: Right. In fact – and I couldn’t get through there. I mean there was – the vent was too small for me to get through to get into the addition to insulate.

    TOM: Oh, so there wasn’t even any access in there to insulate. They didn’t insulate when they built the addition?

    JEFF: They did. They did insulate but how they actually got it in there, I don’t know. I couldn’t get to it, I know that.

    TOM: The answer to your question is that you want to basically treat each space separately in terms of ventilation. And the best type of ventilation is – actually no longer do we consider gable vents to be the best type of ventilation. The best type of ventilation – a continuous ridge vent that goes down the peak of the roof, matched with soffit vents at the overhang. So this way, we take air in down low, we run it up under the roof sheathing and exit it at the ridge. And that cycle will repeat 24-7, 365.

    JEFF: Yeah. The only problem is there’s no soffits in this house.

    TOM: Alright. So if you did want to improve the ventilation, you could use a type of vent called a drip-edge vent, which would require a little bit of carpentry. You’d have to extend or actually reshingle the bottom layer of shingles at the edge. But the drip-edge vent actually extends that roof line by about 2 inches and creates a continuous soffit.

    And if you go to AirVent.com – that’s the website for the CertainTeed air-vent companies – I know they’ve got a good diagram of one right there. So that’s the way to improve that.

    Now, if you can’t do that or you don’t want to do that, for all the obvious reasons, and maybe you’re not seeing that you have a big ventilation problem right now, then I guess what I would suggest to you is to put in the ridge vents, since that’s something that you can always do, and then couple that with as many other roof vents as you can.

    Jeff, thanks so much for calling 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now I’ve got Judy from South Carolina on the line who’s working on a flooring project. How can we help you with that job?

    JUDY: I have a house on slab; it’s about 25 years old.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And I wanted to put down either some laminate or some type of engineered hardwood?

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And I needed to know if I should put down a moisture barrier of some sort, even though there has not been any type of moisture problem with the carpet.

    TOM: No, not necessarily. Both of those products will have recommendations from their manufacturers and they’re all a little bit different. Now, some of the laminates have sort of a vapor barrier attached to the bottom of them.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Almost like an underlayment.

    TOM: Right. And both of them are floating floors, so they’re not physically attached to the concrete. And you are correct that engineered hardwood is OK over concrete. Regular hardwood, of course, is not; it will buckle. But engineered is dimensionally stable. So, both of those are excellent choices to go on top of a concrete floor and as long as you follow the installation instructions, you won’t have any problems.

    A very good source for both laminate and engineered hardwood floors is LumberLiquidators.com. Take a look at their website. They’ve got some floors there, Judy, that have a 100-year warranty; they’re amazing.

    JUDY: OK. That sounds wonderful.

    TOM: Alright, Judy. Good luck with that project. 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. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, if you have a dull-looking dining room, even a complete DIY newbie can transform it into an elegant space, with wainscoting. We’ll tell you how, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Finish wood-staining projects in just one day with new Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish. Better yet, let us do it for you. If you win the Take It Easy Sweepstakes, we will. No purchase necessary. See Flood.com for official rules and to enter.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do pick up the phone and reach us with your home improvement question, we’ll toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. Because one caller who makes it on the air with us this hour is going to win a KuulAire 53. It’s a small, portable cooling unit that is perfect for rooms like your kitchen, where you need some relief from the heat. It has an eight-hour timer and a remote control.

    It’s worth 200 bucks. Going to go out to one caller at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So give us a call right now with your home improvement question, for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now up, we’ve got Paul calling in from Tennessee who’s got an issue with a water pump. Tell us what’s going on.

    PAUL: I’m getting some air in this well water. The well is six-and-half years old, as is the house. And it goes down 350 feet and the casing goes down 105 feet where they grouted it. When they first put it in, I was bothered by the amount of turbidity I had in it and I was changing the whole-house filter about once a week.

    And I went back to the drilling company and they said, well, it would take about three months to quit that. Well, it was 36 months. And then after about four years, I started getting some water hammer in the cold water, particularly in the basement although upstairs, it’ll do it, too.

    But then I’m getting air out of the faucets upstairs and it’s collecting air from somewhere and I can’t figure out where. And as far as I know, the well tank, with the bladder in it, the 40 pounds of air pressure hold the bladder. That seems to be OK, Tom.

    TOM: OK. Yeah, that was the first thing I was going to think: that if you had a leak in that bladder tank, that that would cause that. Other possible causes are bad siphons but I’m not quite sure how you could test that without having all the gear that you would need.

    Have you had the well company come back and take another look at this, specifically for the air-bubble problem?

    PAUL: No. Because it’s been quite a while and they – the guy they used to have there at the company, in the daytime, didn’t seem to know much about it. In fact, when he told me 3 months it was going to clear up and it was 36 months, I thought maybe I’m talking to the wrong guy. But I haven’t gotten a hold of him.

    TOM: Well, he told you 3 months because his warranty was 90 days, right?

    PAUL: Yeah.

    TOM: Paul, obviously, we’re getting air into that system and if it’s not coming through the bladder tank, I’m not quite sure where it’s coming in. And I think you’re going to have to get a well expert there – a real expert – that understands these things and try to see if there’s any way they can determine exactly how that air is getting in.

    Do you have another well company that you might try?

    PAUL: Yeah, there’s several of them here because this area is very rural. We’re right at the edge of the Smokies.

    TOM: I would try another well company, because you didn’t have good luck with the first one, and see if you can get to the bottom of it. But I agree with you: if it’s not the tank, it more than likely is the pump.

    PAUL: OK. Well, very good. And thank you. I will try someone here local and see if they can (inaudible at 0:10:33) it out.

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

    Well, if your dining room is more of a space you just pass through to get to the kitchen than a showplace, you can change that pretty easily. It doesn’t take a lot of do-it-yourself skill to add wainscoting.

    Now, wainscoting is a project that can be done in a weekend and enjoyed for years to come. And LIQUID NAILS, who is a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, makes it even easier to install wainscoting.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, when you’re thinking of your shopping list, you can actually buy precut panels of wainscoting. And they’re absolutely ready to just go right up on your walls. There are even some PVC options that are going to help you cut down on maintenance.

    But if you choose real wood, it’s a good idea to let it sit in your home, preferably in the room that it’s going to go in, for about 48 hours before you install it. That’s going to allow that lumber to acclimate to the space and not shrink or expand once it’s installed. It’ll do whatever it’s going to do before you do it, before it – while it’s sitting there in the room acclimating.

    Now, when you’re ready to install the wainscoting, you want to apply a ¼-inch bead of LIQUID NAILS Heavy-Duty Adhesive all along the back edges of the panel, about an inch thick. Then make an X in the middle, press it in place, wait about a minute and press again. And truly, that’s it.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s really simple. You just do the same thing with the other panels and you’ll have a brand-new dining room. You can add decorative trim on top using the same method if you like.

    Now, if you’d like more tips and tricks, plus more details on LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive, visit LIQUIDNAILS.com.

    LESLIE: Carrie in Nebraska is dealing with a decking nightmare. Tell us what’s going on.

    CARRIE: I’m having a problem with black strikes coming from a coated nail that was put into the cedar wood that – we did a replacement on a deck and we found out that was the wrong thing to use. And now we – being that it’s raining so much, oh, we’ve got all these black strikes coming off of each nail head.

    TOM: Yeah, cedar is very temperamental that way. If you use the wrong fastener with it, it’s going to tell you about it. You might want to consider staining it.

    Now, even though it’s cedar and it’s naturally disease- and decay-resistant, if you don’t stain it, it will check and crack over time. So it’s still a good idea to put in a good-quality sealer. So if you use the semi-transparent or a solid-color sealer on that, you would eliminate the streaking problem.

    CARRIE: Well, we had it already bought before this happened but we haven’t gotten to that stage because we wanted to – we thought that removing the stains from each – there’s a million of them in this deck that that should be done first before we seal it with a water …

    TOM: Right. But I’m not talking about sealing it; I’m talking about staining it, OK? And if you use semi-transparent or solid color, solid color is going to have more pigment and – but you’ll still see the grain come through it. But either semi-transparent or solid-color exterior stain, I think, is the next step for you. So you don’t necessarily have to seal it; there’s not really a sealing step. You can just stain it with a semi-trans or a solid-color exterior stain and you’ll be good to go.

    CARRIE: So, there’s no way to individually address these black marks?

    TOM: No, because sure, you could sand them out and all of that but it would just be crazy to do that because they’re only going to come right back. I’d rather see you apply a stain to the deck and just kind of cover it up.

    CARRIE: OK. Alright. Well, thanks for your help.

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

    LESLIE: And my God, depending on the size of the deck, how many nails, how many stains do you have to deal with?

    TOM: I know, I know, right?

    LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Ray in North Carolina who’s dealing with a roofing problem. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    RAY: Make a long story short, I’m getting a new roof put on tomorrow, so I wanted to find out what questions to ask. I’ve already asked a lot, as you can imagine. But what is occurring right now is that I have very rotten fascia boards, if I’m pronouncing it correctly. And the gutters seem to leak a little bit, so I’m concerned. It seems to be two separate entities but when they put the roof on, what do I need to ask and what should I be looking for? This is – just so you know, it’s a – I believe it’s called a dimensional roof. You know, it’s kind of the upgraded dimensional shingles.

    TOM: It’s a dimensional shingle. OK. Well, first of all, the first thing I’d check is the weather report; let’s make sure we’re not running into a lot of rain.

    RAY: Yeah. Luckily, we’re in good shape on that end.

    TOM: Alright, good. Good. Check. That’s good.

    Now, next, are they taking off the old layer or are they putting a second layer?

    RAY: Correct.

    TOM: They’re taking it off. Good. That’s good.

    So, what do you need to ask? Well, first of all, you want to ask them how they plan to dispose of the old shingles. I mean the right thing to do here is to put tarps around your house so that when they throw the shingles off the roof, you don’t end up with a million little pieces of this. So get their sort of plan and their cleanup plan for this.

    In terms of that fascia, now that’s not uncommon. And typically, what happens is the gutters back up a little bit over the years and the water gets up there and it saturates against that fascia and it rots it out. Now is the time, however, to replace that. To do that, though, you need to take the gutters down, obviously.

    RAY: Exactly. And my biggest question is is that I’ve heard various things. Basically, the roofer is saying it’s a separate situation. “We’ll do the roof first” – because it’s stupid to mess with the gutters, as far as he’s concerned – “because if you put new gutters up or whatever you do, it’s going to create a mess. So let’s do the roof first and then address the fascia and the gutters second.” Is that – does that sound proper?

    TOM: It’s fine. You could do it all at once or you could do it separately.

    RAY: Gotcha.

    TOM: It just – one doesn’t affect the other. You can put the roof on with the old gutters or the new gutters. But one more thing I’m going to suggest to you and that is instead of putting wood back up as a fascia, take a look at a product called AZEK – A-Z-E-K.

    RAY: A-Z-E-K?

    TOM: A-Z-E-K, right.

    RAY: OK.

    TOM: It’s an extruded PVC material. It’s air-entrained so it kind of looks like it has sort of a wood structure to it but it’s made of PVC. So it doesn’t rot, bugs won’t eat it and you’ll never have to deal with this again. And you can paint it.

    RAY: And if they put it up properly, it should last, so to speak, forever?

    TOM: Forever, exactly.

    RAY: Very good. Well, that’s a good idea.

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

    LESLIE: Mavis in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    MAVIS: Hi. A question about a front porch. I have a cement front porch – poured cement – and it doesn’t have a very nice finish on it and it’s hard to keep clean.

    TOM: OK.

    MAVIS: I’m wondering what I could – could I paint it or put an epoxy finish on it or something?

    TOM: Well, you can certainly put an epoxy finish on it; that’s a nice thing to do. Make sure you use an epoxy that’s rated for the exterior and that will be very attractive and easy for you to clean, which I think is your main concern, correct?

    MAVIS: OK. Yes. And could I do that myself? Is that difficult to do?

    TOM: Sure. No, it’s not difficult. If you can paint a room, you could do this.

    MAVIS: Sure. OK. OK.

    TOM: The difference is that with epoxy paints, it’s a two-part mix, so you want to get the whole surface ready. And when you’re ready to apply the epoxy, you usually have to do a cleaning step before it. But when you apply it, you want to do it at once because you’re only going to have a couple of hours of working time with the product before it burns.

    MAVIS: OK. Do you have a particular brand you recommend?

    TOM: There’s a number of different brands that are out there. QUIKRETE, yep. QUIKRETE is a good one. Behr has one, Rust-Oleum has one. And if you want even more options, there is a company called Abatron that has sort of commercial-grade products. And that’s A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com. Abatron.com.

    MAVIS: OK. Now, this will withstand Northwest Iowa winters?

    TOM: Oh, it will.

    MAVIS: It will. OK. That’s …

    TOM: And winters in other parts of the country, as well.

    MAVIS: Great. OK.

    TOM: And just make sure you put it down and follow the label directions and you should be good to go.

    LESLIE: And let it cure correctly. Give it enough time to dry properly.

    TOM: Yes.

    MAVIS: Yes, OK. And I’m sure it has to be certain temperatures that you do this in and I will try to do that.

    TOM: Yep.

    MAVIS: Thank you very much.

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

    MAVIS: Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, ants, mosquitoes, raccoons, bats, all of them, they just love summer. Isn’t that great? But we want you to know a great way to make sure they don’t summer at your house. We’re going to share that with you, next.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And is summer your favorite season of the year? We just love the warm weather, the fresh air and all the fresh produce that goes along with it. But unfortunately, bugs feel the very same way.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And banishing bugs is a problem that homeowners face all of the time. And of course, you could call in the pros and exterminate or you could actually try some natural ways to keep those little buggers away. Elisa Bernick from The Family Handyman is joining us with some great tips.

    And Elisa, you say no chemicals are required to keep these buggies away?

    ELISA: You know, there’s a lot of great things just growing in your garden, or things you can plant in your garden, that are natural pesticides. And these are great things to try. And the approach we have around here is you can try a variety of things because, usually, it takes a multi-pronged approach to get at these little buggers.

    TOM: So, basically, you can make your own personal environment a little less insect-friendly. You may not get rid of all of them but perhaps you will reduce the population to the point where you really notice the reduction.

    ELISA: Absolutely. And also, if you’ve got pets, if you’ve got kids, these are great things to try because you’re not going to do any damage, certainly. And you can really help the situation a lot without risking the health of your kids and your pets.

    TOM: And there’s a lot of history to some of these solutions, because there was a day when we didn’t have pesticides and a lot of our forefathers used some of the tips that you’re offering in the current edition of Family Handyman to do just that. So let’s start with ants. You say you can get rid of ants with mint or bay leaves. How does that work?

    ELISA: The idea is you, of course, want to catch ants before they come into your house. And a good way to do that is to try planting a barrier of mint around your foundation. And as anybody who has ever grown mint knows, mint likes to grow fast. So it’s, on the plus side, pretty easy to grow a lot of mint very quickly. It’s beautiful, it blooms, it smells terrific to humans but ants don’t like it. And then you can also use it to cook with, so this is a great thing to try.

    Now, if you do have ants coming inside – and often you see them on your countertops and on your windowsills – a great thing to use is bay leaves. So you can actually just set whole bay leaves around kitchen food canisters: behind them, on your counter. And also sprinkle some crushed bay leaves along your windowsills, because ants don’t like the smell of bay.

    LESLIE: Hmm. That’s really smart.

    Now, I tend to be mosquito bait, myself. And I never remember to put anything on myself but for my son, I’m always taking care of him: long-sleeve shirts, making sure he’s protected. But the mosquitoes love to bite me, so what can I do?

    ELISA: OK. And we’re talking about natural remedies here. So one thing – and this is really great when you spend a lot of time outside, during the summer, on your deck – lemongrass, which is an herb commonly used in Asian cooking. It’s also a beautiful grass. You can plant lemongrass either in your garden or in containers on your deck, around your patio.

    Now, lemongrass contains citronella and everybody knows about citronella candles. Well, this is a natural source of citronella and it repels mosquitoes because mosquitoes don’t like the smell of it. So just having it planted nearby means you’re going to have fewer of them around. But also, if you cut lemongrass and mash it up and then rub the juice on your skin, that’s a natural mosquito repellant. So that works great.

    And another thing is basil. Everybody grows basil; we cook with it, we love it. Well, mosquitoes don’t like the smell of basil. So use it the same way I just mentioned, with lemongrass, in terms of planting it in your garden and also in containers all around your sitting areas in your backyard.

    LESLIE: Can you use it as a centerpiece? Is it effective enough that if you were dining out of doors, you could put smaller pots of it on the table and it would deter the mosquitoes while you’re dining?

    ELISA: I think that is well worth trying. And a lot of the herbs – the very smelly herbs – those are the things that are going to repel mosquitoes and other insects, as well. So I think you could grow some really beautiful, decorative planters and use them, yes, as a centerpiece and do big planters of them around. And I think it would have a very significant effect. Well worth trying.

    TOM: We’re talking to Elisa Bernick – she’s an associate editor at Family Handyman Magazine – about some natural ways to control insect populations around your house.

    And here’s something that’s natural to any do-it-yourselfer: duct tape. You say that we can use that to stop crickets from coming in. How so?

    ELISA: We love duct tape around here. Who doesn’t? Duct tape. Multi-use.

    Well, what we’ve discovered is – and I did this myself, so I know this from personal experience. We had a lot of crickets down at the end of the summer, each year, for years. And we just couldn’t figure out – where are they coming from and why are they here? And I like crickets; I like them well enough but I’d rather they stayed outside, not down in my basement.

    So what we did was – we just ripped off strips of duct tape and laid them out sticky-side up and left them down there. And we’d come back 24 hours, 48 hours later and they were filled with crickets. And I’d just wrap them up, throw them away, do another strip of duct tape. It works great.

    Now, that said, this is a temporary measure, right? Duct tape. To really permanently banish crickets, you need to seal the entrances by caulking around windows. And also, they like damp areas. So if you really have a problem, you need to dehumidify.

    TOM: Well, this is terrific information. Lots of things we haven’t thought of before. Elisa Bernick from Family Handyman Magazine, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    We encourage you to go to FamilyHandyman.com and take a look at the information that Elisa has provided. She’s got tips here on getting rid of drain flies, how to handle larger pests like raccoons and skunks, mice, you name it. It is online at FamilyHandyman.com.

    Elisa, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ELISA: Absolutely. It was wonderful to talk with you.

    LESLIE: Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods. Well, Mother Nature certainly does work overtime in the summer, thank you very much. But after they’ve passed, how do you know if your home has actually been on the receiving end of some damage? We’re going to tell you how to give your house a thorough, post-storm checkup, after this.

    ust one day with new Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish. Better yet, let us do it for you. If you win the Take It Easy Sweepstakes, we will. No purchase necessary. See Flood.com for official rules and to enter.

    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: Giving away a great way to beat the heat this summer. Our prize for one caller to The Money Pit is a KuulAire 53. It’s an evaporative cooling unit that can cool up to 400 square feet and it only weighs 25 pounds. And it uses about the same amount of electricity as a crock pot. It’s worth 200 bucks. Going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those who get on the air with us this hour. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dennis in Michigan is on the line with a septic-tank question.

    Dennis, tell us what’s going on. Because the whole idea of septic tanks, I know about them; it still grosses me out. What’s going on?

    DENNIS: Yeah, I have a 1,500-gallon septic tank and I moved into my house in 2007. And the neighbors say they pump theirs every four years but I’ve called numerous septic-tank guys and they say two years, four years maximum. And I was just curious, what do you recommend?

    LESLIE: Well, how many people are in the house and how many bathrooms?

    DENNIS: Actually, there’s two people: me and my wife.

    TOM: Well, it’s interesting that the neighbors do it every four years but you call the guys that get paid for pumping and they go, “Oh, no. Do it every two years.”

    LESLIE: That’s true.

    DENNIS: Yeah.

    TOM: “That’s why we get to charge you twice in four years.”

    DENNIS: Yeah, that’s why I was just curious; there’s so much discrepancy.

    TOM: And I think with just two people in the house like that, if you did it every four years, you’d be fine. Have you ever done it at all?

    DENNIS: No. But I do open up the tank every year and I’ve got a cover on it. And I look inside and it’s not overflowing, you know?

    TOM: Right. Well, it’s to get some of the solids out of the bottom of it; it’s not because it’s going to fill up and overflow. But if you did it once every few years, I think you’d be fine.

    DENNIS: Oh, OK. I appreciate that.

    TOM: Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, where we happily answer all of your poop questions.

    LESLIE: Well, it doesn’t matter what part of the country that you live in, your home is probably going to get clobbered by a serious storm during its lifetime. Sorry to tell you but that’s inevitable.

    Now, you need to be prepared to inspect your home to check if there’s been any damage. Stanley Tools, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, has some advice on how to do just that.

    TOM: Now, it’s going to be easy to spot things like broken windows. But some easy-to-miss things that could add up to big trouble down the road? Look for bulging walls, doors that won’t close or new cracks on interior walls. These could mean that your foundation flooded and you’ll need to call in a pro to figure out what the level of damage is. Also, check to see if any electrical appliances got wet and if so, replace that appliance.

    Now, if water breached your heating system, it’s time to call in a pro because you want to examine all sides of your home, from the ground up, to check it out thoroughly.

    Also, take a look out for wind damage. You can do that with a binoculars from the outside. And look at the siding, the trim and the soffits for any piece of that that might have been ripped off in those high breezes.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, your home inspection can go a lot easier if you’re armed with the right flashlight. Stanley makes a 3-in-1 tripod flashlight that actually lets you separate the light in three different directions or you can team them up for one, super-powerful LED beam. It’s also going to stand up on its own when your hands are busy. You can learn more about it at StanleyTools.com.

    Alright. Now we’ve got Bart in Iowa on the line with a water-heater issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    BART: I’ve got a water heater; I’m not sure the age of it. It’s been in the house since we’ve been there: four or five years or more. And above it, where the cold water comes in, there’s a pipe and a kind of a joint fitting that’s kind of leaking kind of a green-and-white substance.

    TOM: Right.

    BART: It seems to be water dripping off of that but it’s kind of pooling on the top of the water heater and then down the side and then it’s draining.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BART: Luckily, my floor ends right there. It’s not excessive but definitely not what it should be. I’m just kind of curious – maybe my best solution for that.

    TOM: Well, what you do have is a leak and what you’re seeing in the green-and-white residue is mineral-salt deposits that – basically, when the water evaporates, it leaves its salts behind and then the salts react with the copper and make this multi-color kind of stain that you’re seeing, that can be pretty attractive but not too good for your pipes.

    So, what you have to do here is repair this leak. And if it’s in a joint – a solder joint – it probably just has to be resoldered.

    BART: Oh, OK.

    TOM: And if it’s not happening – if it’s not a major leak, you can do it the next time you have a plumber in your house and kind of put it on the list. But don’t rub it or try to clean it because that mineral salt also acts as kind of a scab. And if you wipe it away, it might start to leak even more.

    BART: Oh, I see.

    TOM: OK?

    BART: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of places. I was wondering if – because I figured it was some type of mineral deposit – if it was coming from my – this water softener?

    TOM: Right.

    BART: I don’t know if cold water going into a water heater would be softened ahead of time. I guess until you have hot water (inaudible at 0:31:20), it might be.

    TOM: Water that is evaporating is going to release its salts. So, that’s what you’re seeing, OK, Bart?

    BART: Sure. Yeah, definitely. Yes, I appreciate it.

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

    BART: You bet.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joe from Maine on the line who’s dealing with some pesky mildew that doesn’t want to go away and stay away. Tell us what’s going on.

    JOE: I was talking about a shower thing and I seem to be – they have two parts. And we put the caulk in there, we take it out because it’s getting mildew behind the wall and stuff. I used Mean Green; it took it out and stuff but it keeps coming back about a month later. A customer keeps calling back, another one. And then sometimes with mildew on the porch here and we clean it with this Mean Green, it works but it seems to be seeping through. So I didn’t know if there was some kind of (inaudible at 0:32:06) or remedy that is out there so the (inaudible at 0:32:09) and this and that – that’s easy to use and has a chemical and everything else and stuff.

    TOM: Now, is there caulk at the seam, Joe?

    JOE: Yeah. Just in the bottom half and stuff. But I mean isn’t there a chemical that would cut it completely, that once you caulk it that it won’t seep through or …?

    TOM: Well, no, because what happens is the condensation occurs from the surface.

    Now, in terms of the caulk, there are caulks that you can use that have mildicides in them. In fact, DAP has a line with a product inside of it called Microban, which is very effective at stopping mold from being able to grow on the surface. So it’s a combination of trying to dehumidify as much as you possibly can and then using the appropriate products. So, in your case, that would be probably to remove and replace that caulk and then to add a timer to the fan. Otherwise, it’s going to probably keep coming back over and over again.

    Hope that helps you out and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, with all the humidity in the air, it’s important to be on the lookout for mold. We’ll have tips on how to keep it from growing in your home, after this.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or head on over to the website at MoneyPit.com and post that question on our website.

    LESLIE: Alright. And Doug did just that from Pennsylvania and he wrote: “I’m painting the trim all throughout my home’s interior. I’ve always heard to be careful of too much sheen. Why? Sheen looks clean to me. But I don’t want to be sorry later.”

    TOM: Well, sheen does look clean but if you use it on the wrong wall, it will look bumpy and gross. And that’s why it’s OK to use sheen and preferably semi-gloss, which is sort of a medium sheen, on trim or maybe even doors. But you do not want to use it on your walls or ceilings, because those walls and ceilings are naturally very bumpy.

    Even if it’s brand-new walls, wherever you have a nail and spackle that’s been pushed through that wall, it’s going to look different than the wall surface around it. And because it’s such a big surface, whenever the light hits it – either the daylight or even worse, lighting fixtures when those light bulbs shine on it – you will see every imperfection in the wall if you have a shiny surface. If you have a flat surface, it will sort of not bounce around and it will look beautiful.

    So that’s why you use sheen only on trim and use it very, very selectively.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And semi-gloss really is the best choice. And if you’re doing a media room, you might even want to bump that down to pearl, just because – even though I know it sounds silly but trim work can really produce a lot of reflection in a media room. So if you’re using it in that space, bump it down one more notch even further.

    Alright. Celia in New Mexico writes: “I need to seal some gaps around pipes to prevent air leaks between the floors. I know there’s different kinds of foam. Which is the best for what I need?”

    TOM: Yeah, that’s a great question.

    Now, there are a number of different spray foams that you can use. The company, GREAT STUFF, makes a whole series of them. For the most part, if you’re going to just look for a foam that’s going to expand and fill that space, you’re going to use the original GREAT STUFF formula, which dries sort of very hard and stiff.

    That said, if you’re going to use foam to seal a gap around a window or a door and you don’t want that gap to expand and squeeze on the window or the door to make it hard to operate, you use the Window & Door version, which basically dries and remains spongy. So as long as you choose the right kind of foam, then you won’t have any problem applying it.

    Another key is that if you overspray, which is easy to do because it’s under a lot of pressure, let it dry first and then cut the excess away. Don’t try to use a putty knife and scrape it away, because it just gets really messy. Let it dry and then use the utility knife and just cut the excess away. It’s really easy to do.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If this is your first adventure with GREAT STUFF, you might want to also pick up a pack of those GREAT STUFF Wipes. It truly is one of the only things that’s going to get it off of your hands. So if you get it on something or on yourself, it does a great job of getting rid of it. You’ll know you’ve got what you need on hand to get it off of yourself. Because if it’s your first trip out with it, you might do so.

    TOM: Well, it’s summer-vacation season and a great time to redo a kid’s room. Leslie has got some fun and easy ideas for sprucing up spaces for your youngest family members, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, this is the perfect time of year to design a room makeover for your kids, because they’re around. You want to get them in on the planning and then let them help with the project.

    Now, storage always seems to be an issue, so set up some showoff storage for those action figures and Barbie dolls. Now, you can do this by adhering iron-on pockets. Make a little pocket, put some of that iron-on adhesive on the back side and then you just press it onto an existing curtain. This way, they can pop their little toys right into those pockets and keep them organized and also kind of show them off. Now, you can create a scheduling center on a door with some chalkboard paint.

    If you’re looking for a fun way to get a geography lesson and brighten the space, put a United States map or a global map between a tabletop and a layer of clear plastic or glass. And then you can let your kids at it with a dry-erase marker. It’s great for geography lessons and it’s just a lot of fun to talk about places that you’ve been or places that you dream about going.

    Now, keep the kids’ interest in mind and they’ll really love hanging out in their new space, which means they’re out of your hair, right?

    TOM: Absolutely.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, rocks can be a beautiful addition to your yard unless there’s a big one in the way of your building project. We’ll tell you how to bust up a boulder, the easy way, 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.


    (Copyright 2012 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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