Free Cooling, Lowering Humidity and Bathtub Caulk Secrets
TRANSCRIPT FOR JULY 13, 2009, HOUR 2
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone right now and give us a call with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma because this is where home solutions live. Hey, if you’re suffering in the heat right now and wondering how you can make your house just a bit cooler – you know, before there was central air conditioning, there was actually a free and easy way to do just that. In fact, Leslie still uses it today.
LESLIE: (chuckling) And it does work.
TOM: It’s a tip that still works and we’re going to let you in on this cooling secret (Leslie chuckles), coming up in just a bit.
LESLIE: I’m like, “The time before central AC? Oh, you mean right now.” (Tom and Leslie laugh) You know, high humidity – if you’ve got it in your home, it can absolutely make you feel super-uncomfortable this time of year. And all of that moisture in your house can come from many places. And with that moisture in the air, it can be very damaging to the furnishings, your floors, your walls – pretty much anything that’s made out of wood or paper, which – pretty much everything. So we’re going to tell you how to control the moisture in your home and make yourself more comfortable and prevent some damage, in just a little bit.
TOM: And if you pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, not only will we shed some light on your home improvement questions, we’ll give you some light as well because we’re giving away, this hour, the Energizer Hard Case Professional Flashlight worth 25 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller chosen at random who reaches us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: John, what’s going on at your Money Pit?
JOHN: I’m talking about an old Victorian that’s been in the family since the ’20s and ’30s, probably built by an aunt in Cumberland, Rhode Island here. And it has a kitchen and a breakfast nook area …
JOHN: … that have an old rug that’s, you know, so dirty that I can’t stand the sight of them anymore. (John and Leslie chuckle) Under it appears there’s linoleum but under that linoleum it appears that somebody put down – decades ago, before they installed the linoleum – I assume like black tar paper on top of the hardwood flooring.
JOHN: And I took off the old rug; the linoleum lifted right up. Some of the black tar paper came off but large spots were like from the – I guess from the pressure of the traffic over 30, 40, 50 years maybe – almost like bonded to the – you know, to the hardwood floor and I’m getting it off but it’s like hard rock labor; like one square inch at a time on my hands and knees.
TOM: Well, you’re going to probably end up refinishing that hardwood floor, aren’t you?
TOM: Well, then I wouldn’t worry about it because when they come – when you come in with a belt sander, the floor sander which is a 12-inch-wide belt sander that runs across the floor, the grit on that is very, very heavy – usually start with a very, very heavy grit like a 40-grit or something like that – and you will cut right through that paper and right through whatever is on top of that floor. So I would just get the most of it off – the loose stuff off – and then let a professional come in and floor-sand that. I generally don’t recommend that people do their own floor sanding because it requires, you know, sort of some – the touch.
LESLIE: An evenness.
TOM: Some practice.
JOHN: Yes, I know. I tried that once.
TOM: Yeah. If you don’t practice and you don’t have the touch, what can happen is you’re going to really damage that floor. So I would – I think you’re doing the right thing. Just get the most of it off that you can and then have a floor sander come in and do the rest of it.
John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jess in Washington needs some help with a tile countertop. What happened? What’s going on?
JESS: Well, we have a 25-year-old kitchen counter of five-inch, square ceramic tiles. Some of the tiles have become pitted and the off-white color has become dingy. We’ve been unable to locate replacement tiles and solid-surface replacements won’t guarantee us that our adjacent garden window won’t be damaged. Do you have any suggestions?
LESLIE: Are the damaged pieces sort of all in one area or are they interspersed throughout the entire countertop?
JESS: They tend to be in the most conspicuous – near the edge – simply because, out of ignorance, early on we were cleaning off this countertop with vinegar and I suppose it has tended to eaten little pits into the tile.
TOM: Well, vinegar is a very, very mild acid but I’ve never heard of it being possible to eat away at the tile. But Leslie, any suggestions for ways that maybe we could replace these worn tiles with ones that are complementary?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, if they’re sort of spaced out where if you popped, you know, one of the worn ones out and maybe you could put in maybe not even a five-inch tile but five-by-five of little one-inch fun mosaics to make it a little bit more colorful or like a design choice or a decorative tile; something that’s a little different if it’s sort of interspersed and you can make it almost seem like it was a design choice.
If you say that they’re all towards the edge, you might want to think about doing, you know, a border and then continuing it on the wrap-around on the countertop as well, just so it sort of seems like it’s a design choice. You want to make whatever you do seem like it was intentional.
JESS: Ha-ha. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: My pleasure.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone, give us call. We can help you solve any and all do-it-yourself dilemmas and we’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now who else can you count on like me and Tom? So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we’ll give you a hand.
Up next, are you suffering? Are you sweltering in the heat? Well, we’ve got tips on a free way to cool your home, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you should be part of The Money Pit so pick up the phone and give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great prize that we’re giving away this hour, especially with summer storm season fully upon us and the potential of a power outage happening at any moment – a very big possibility.
The prize we’re giving away is the Energizer Hard Case Pro Flashlight worth 25 bucks. Now, it’s got four bright-white LEDs. It’s got the Energizer Max batteries and a shatterproof lens. So if you lose it in the big storm, when you find it, it’ll work no problem. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT so give us a call right now and have your home improvement or your home décor question ready to go.
TOM: You know, one question might be how do you keep cool in the summer if you don’t want to use your air conditioning system? You know, you might want to try the very first type of home cooling system. In fact, you’ve probably got it right now; I know Leslie does. (Leslie chuckles) It’s called the double-hung window.
All kidding aside, double-hung windows were actually the very first built-in cooling system for your home. What people used to do is open both the top and the bottom windows halfway and form a natural, convective loop because the warm air goes out the top; the cooler air goes in the bottom. If you just open the bottoms – which is what most people do – you’re not going to get this effect.
What you want to do is open the top and the bottom both halfway. That forms the convective loop and that draws the air in and out of your house and it will make your house a bit cooler and more comfortable. That’s just one of the many free tips that are available in our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure and there is a free chapter available of that book right now at MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Gwen in Florida has got mold on her mind. How can we help you?
GWEN: Oh, I just need some help with my – I don’t know if it’s a mold problem or what it is exactly. We had water leakage in a common wall between two rooms.
GWEN: One of the rooms is the bathroom and it’s right where the shower is. The other room is an office and the office smells kind of musty and icky. And we did get the roof repaired where we know the leak was coming from but do I have to tear out the whole wall to find out if there’s …?
TOM: How long did it stay wet, Gwen?
GWEN: It was during the hurricane; the last yucky hurricane that came through here.
TOM: Well, I mean was it like a few days or something like that?
GWEN: When I realized it was wet I cleaned everything up on the inside and then the guy didn’t come through for about six months.
TOM: Oh. Well, geez, it might – you may have a mold problem. If that stayed wet for six months, Lord knows what you’re going to find inside that wall.
LESLIE: And kept getting wetter and wetter due to continuing rain.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So I think, in this case, it probably might be a pretty good idea to remove and replace that drywall in that area and see what you’ve got.
GWEN: The one side is a custom shower that’s about (inaudible).
TOM: Well, can’t you do it from the other side?
GWEN: If we do it from the other side, it – I guess we can try that. That would certainly be easier.
TOM: Well, if you had the option of opening up a shower wall and opening up a regular drywall wall, you would simply open up the drywall wall.
LESLIE: Because the drywall wall is probably where the mold is growing. If your shower wall has tile or any sort of waterproof material on top of it, you’re dealing with a waterproof backer board of some sort. So the problem is definitely within the framework or that drywall.
TOM: And you know drywall, while it seems like a major job to open that wall up …
LESLIE: It’s not.
TOM: … it’s not. And it’s not that hard to fix it.
LESLIE: You will feel so good about yourself if you do this project because it is very simple to replace drywall.
GWEN: Oh, I’d love to try that but I’m not sure I know how. (chuckles)
TOM: Well, it’s not difficult to do, Gwen. Maybe you can get somebody to help you. But basically what you’re going to want to do is – very simply, you start at the corner; you’re going to cut that first with a utility knife and then you’re going to identify …
LESLIE: Because there’s some tape in that corner.
TOM: Yep. And you’re going to identify where the stud is in the wall. You can find that with a stud finder. And then right in the middle of the stud is where you’re going to cut that other piece of drywall out. And so make two vertical cuts and then once you have the vertical cuts you’ll also cut it across the ceiling. Then you can remove that whole thing in a clean way because – basically, remember, when you cut drywall out, you want to have a clean edge so that you can patch it back in just as easily. You know, cutting drywall is pretty easy stuff.
LESLIE: And the reason why you split it on the stud is so that when you put the new piece on you have something to attach to, so you’re not just floating in space.
GWEN: I never would have thought of that.
TOM: And now you can do it.
TOM: Alright, Gwen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Folks, this is not that hard. You can do it.
LESLIE: Kyle in Indiana is having a tile situation. What’s happening?
KYLE: Hi. Yes, I have some tile on my kitchen floor and in a couple of places the grout is starting to come up. When I bought the house, they did leave some tiles and a bag of grout. Can this just be filled in or does it need to be replaced or more extensive work done to fix this?
LESLIE: Well, are you seeing actual damage to the tile or is it just the grout is breaking up and sort of moving away?
KYLE: Just the grout is starting to come away in a couple places on a couple of the tiles.
TOM: Well, I think that you certainly can mix up some of that grout and it’s great that you still have it. The one caution I would give to you is that even though it perhaps is the original grout and originally was the exact same …
LESLIE: It’s not going to match the wear and tear.
TOM: Yeah, it was the – originally the exact same color. The existing grout no doubt has gotten dirty over the years; so when you first put it in, you may find that it’s very obvious that it’s a patch but as it wears and as it gets dirtier over time and as you’re washing the floor, it’ll probably sort of melt right in there. So I think it’s great that you have the existing grout. I would mix some up into a paste-like consistency. I would go for sort of a toothpaste-like consistency and fill in those places. Make sure you get it as clean as possible before you do this and you should be good to go.
KYLE: OK. Great. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome, Kyle. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda in New York is dealing with a situation in her basement that she’s hoping is not mold. Tell us about it; we’ll help you out.
LINDA: Oh, thank you. I have a Colonial home from about the 1920s and we’ve lived here a long, long time but we’re noticing – in the back part of the yard or back part of the basement where the Bilco doors are – on the one side of the wall, all this paint is all like peeling off in big chunks; big pieces of white paint.
LINDA: And underneath it appeared to be something like black – might have been moldy. And I did spray it with a chlorine bleach-type of solution – a Tilex – and it seems like it got lighter gray but I’m just wondering what I can do to, you know, forgo any further damage?
TOM: Well, what I suspect you have here is mineral salt deposits because the peeling paint is a sign that you have leakage and moisture. So you’re getting moisture into that foundation wall. I would look at the area outside the Bilco doors. I would add some soil and have it slope away from the wall there. I’d check the gutters to make sure they’re not overflowing. Try to manage the moisture in that particular area because that is the heart of the problem. Once you get rid of that moisture, you’re going to be a whole lot better off.
In terms of what you’re seeing come through, I don’t think it’s mold; it’s most likely mineral salt deposits, which is what’s leftover when the water evaporates, Linda. And so, what you’re doing is the right thing by spraying it down with – actually, a bleach solution, probably not necessary. I would spray it down with a vinegar solution.
LINDA: (overlapping voices) Vinegar? OK.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, white vinegar.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, white vinegar will take off the salts.
LINDA: Alright. Well, thank you very much. I’ll try that and hopefully that’ll work.
TOM: Alright, Linda. Have faith.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Heading to the great outdoors with Scott in California with a decking project. What can we do for you?
SCOTT: Yeah, I was thinking about taking up my redwood planks on my deck and replacing it with tile, which would entail putting plywood and some cement board down. I was wondering should I put some kind of moisture barrier down between the cement board and the plywood?
TOM: Well, if you don’t it’s going to rot away. Boy, that’s an awfully big job. Why are considering doing that?
SCOTT: Well, this is California so you’ve got to basically strip it and restain it every two years and it’s pretty labor-intensive.
TOM: What’s the framing made out of?
LESLIE: Yeah, can it support the weight of all of that concrete board and the tile and the mortar and the grout?
SCOTT: Yeah, it’s redwood decking.
TOM: But is the framing redwood or is the framing pressure-treated, Scott?
SCOTT: It’s redwood.
TOM: (groaning) I’ll tell you what; I don’t like the idea of doing the tile. I think it’s going to be very heavy. I think it’s going to be very expensive. If you want a better alternative, I would suggest composite.
Leslie, you just did some composites. What’d you use? The fiber …
LESLIE: I used the Fiberon …
TOM: Fiberon is good.
LESLIE: … and they have a line that they do called Tropical and we chose the mahogany and it’s sort of – I mean it has a beautiful graining pattern to it. It’s not like the traditional, first round of composites that came out a few years ago that was all gray. This has a lot of depth, a lot of movement, a beautiful color and it’s never going to change.
TOM: Plus, you know, the thing is eventually you may need to do some repair to that structure and there’s just no way to access it if you put all the tile on it.
SCOTT: Well, that’s why I’m looking at it because it’s almost 20 years old.
TOM: Yeah, I think that this is a good opportunity for a deck makeover where essentially you remove the decking and the railing. You keep the structure, assuring that it’s in good structural shape – if it’s not, you can do repairs then – and then do a makeover with composites. The composites today are really indestructible. They need very little maintenance. They can be installed even without showing any nails.
SCOTT: OK. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joan in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JOAN: Yes. Hi, Leslie. Enjoy the show. I have a question in reference to 40-year-old aluminum siding.
JOAN: Now what – perhaps if I can paint over it, what are the steps? Should it be latex, oil? Should it be primed? Should it be sanded?
LESLIE: Is the siding in pretty good shape? You’re just tired of the color?
JOAN: Well, it is white. It looks as though – if I do power wash it, it looks as though that it’s probably going to be, you know, maybe a little bit chalking. I’m afraid I’m going to be losing probably some of the color if I do try to power wash it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, if you want to paint it you’re going to want to lose some of that paint that’s on the surface.
LESLIE: You know, so many times we see with aluminum siding, as the paint starts to deteriorate it sort of flakes off and becomes very chalky.
JOAN: Well, it looks as though like it’s getting like a lot of black marks around – you know, closer to the ground level.
LESLIE: When you say “black marks” are you seeing sort of speckled-looking mold?
JOAN: I guess that’s what it would be called then. I never really figured that’s what it was so – OK.
LESLIE: Well, do you have a lot of mulch in the area on the ground where the siding and where you’re seeing this sort of dotting?
JOAN: Yes. Not a lot but definitely it’s in front of the house, yes.
LESLIE: Because Tom and I always talk about – there’s something called artillery fungus …
LESLIE: … or shotgun mold and it appears, a lot of times, on siding and on the siding of homes when you have mulch in your garden and your flower beds – especially right up next to the home – and it’s terribly difficult to get rid of. Does bleach and water work on that one as well, Tom?
TOM: Yeah, it will. A siding wash or bleach and water will do it but in terms of painting the aluminum siding …
TOM: … essentially what you’re going to want to do is try to sand as much of the old paint off as possible. You could wire brush it; you could power wash it.
LESLIE: Be careful with the power washer, though.
TOM: Yeah, you want to get as much loose stuff off as you possibly can.
TOM: And then I would recommend an oil-based primer because you get really good adhesion that way …
TOM: … and then you can use a latex topcoat and if you can, I would recommend spraying the paint; not just brushing it.
LESLIE: This way you’re not seeing any brush marks and there are so many nooks and crannies it would just be a wrist nightmare.
JOAN: Oh, OK. Alright, that certainly sounds like very good advice.
TOM: Alright, well good luck with that project, Joan.
JOAN: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And the best is if you rent one of those paint sprayers …
LESLIE: … you should also buy one of those little, disposable white paint suits that you zip into with the hood and everything. (chuckles)
TOM: Just so you look totally professional.
LESLIE: Just so you look like you’re doing (inaudible at 0:18:12.8) because you do end up with overspray.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Because the look is very important. (chuckles)
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Well, we’ve been talking about some ways to keep cool this summer and one way to do that is to cut the moisture in your house. Cut down that humidity. We’re going to have some tips to help you do just that, next.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us right now if you’ve ever heard the phrase “It ain’t the heat; it’s the humidity.” Of course you have because …
LESLIE: But it’s a dry heat.
TOM: That’s right. Excess moisture in your home can make it feel a lot warmer than it is. We certainly are feeling that now more than ever. And not only does it make it feel uncomfortable, it can also damage your furniture, your electronics and your floors and it can also drive up your air conditioning costs.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the answer to really – how do you solve this question; how do you propose a solution to this dilemma – is a whole-home dehumidifier. So we’ve got a great guest who’s going to share the insights and the benefits on a whole-home dehumidifier. We’ve got Ken Gehring and he is the president of Therma-Stor.
KEN: Thank you for having me today.
TOM: Hey, it’s our pleasure.
Now, Ken, you guys have been in the dehumidification business for a lot of years. You were founded back in 1977 so I know you a lot about the moisture-moving business. I think a lot of folks don’t realize all of the sources of moisture in their house that contributes to that uncomfortableness, do they?
KEN: No, they don’t. Now the – you know, talking about sources – the most common source really turns out to be breathing.
KEN: As we do things in our home and breathe, we are putting about a quarter pound of water into the air per person, every hour we’re in our home.
LESLIE: That’s a lot!
TOM: A quarter pound of water per person just from breathing. Man, I had no idea it was that high.
KEN: Yes. So all that fogging that you see on your glasses before you wipe them? That counts up.
TOM: (laughing) Guess it does.
LESLIE: You know, we know, Ken, that the excess moisture that’s in the air – I mean, it’s bad for your furniture; it’s bad for things that are in your house. It causes mold growth; it causes wood to warp. What are other things and how does that excessive moisture affect us?
KEN: Well, we like some moisture in our air, of course. And the opposite side of that is in the wintertime, it can be too dry. But we like – we’re comfortable at about 50 percent moisture. When we’re that low, a little breeze over our body feels cool and refreshing. So, personally, comfort is one of the biggest things that we’re concerned with.
TOM: Now, typically, if we have excess humidity, we use portable dehumidifiers. A lot of folks complain about the use of portable dehumidifiers because you have to empty them all the time. Now, I know that you guys …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s the maintenance of it.
TOM: Yeah, and I know that you guys make both portable and whole-home dehumidifiers. Let’s talk first about whole-home and talk about the technology and how it kind of automates the dehumidification process and makes us a lot more comfortable.
KEN: Well, the key is that whenever the home goes above a certain humidity level, something should automatically turn on and remove that moisture and get it down the drain and that’s what these devices are designed to do. And many times during heavy air conditioning loads, there’s no supplemental dehumidification needed.
But cool evenings and our air conditioners don’t run, we’re still generating moisture and dehumidification is needed and by having one of these devices in the house set properly, automatically they turn on and supplement the air conditioner to keep the humidity at the set point.
LESLIE: Now, Ken, with these whole-home dehumidifiers, are there multiple sort of reading units that measure the humidity within that space or is it something that measures the humidity in one area and the machine sort of guesses or estimates what it needs to do where? Are they smart enough to do that?
KEN: Well, like an air conditioner, the controls are located centrally in the house. Now, different than air conditioners, dehumidifiers measure – are measuring moisture, not temperature. And moisture wants to defuse throughout the air much more aggressively than temperature does. Temperature heat goes up, cold goes down but moisture moves in all directions and quite quickly.
So, centrally located sensing does quite well. There are some other things that we do to also mix up the house and stir it so typically our better installations will have – will include a device that mixes the house up every three hours to make sure that we don’t have any wet spots someplace.
TOM: We’re talking to Ken Gehring. He’s the president of Therma-Stor and they make whole-home dehumidifiers.
So, Ken, a whole-home unit then is installed into the HVAC system, so there is really nothing to drain; it totally is automatic, correct?
KEN: That’s right. Totally automatic, down the drain and much like the air conditioner does.
TOM: Now, let’s talk a little bit about the impact of ventilation; that’s also very, very important. Do you recommend that you have a system on your HVAC system that brings in some drier, fresh air to kind of mix in with this process?
KEN: Well, yes. Fresh air is a critical thing inside of a home. Most of us feel that our homes are getting more than enough fresh air but what you find is that there is a range of ventilation rates on a home. Cold, winter days you probably do get plenty of fresh air but in the calmer airs of summer – when the temperatures inside and out are very similar – the house really slows down and doesn’t breathe very much. And at that point, it’s really critical that we would have something that’s thought to be – most experts feel, anyway – that it should be an air change in four or five hours.
TOM: Well, that’s all important and I guess it’s a combination of the proper ventilation and the proper dehumidification that will ultimately lead to our comfort.
Ken Gehring, President of Therma-Stor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great information.
KEN: OK. Thank you.
TOM: So, Leslie, if Ken is right about us breathing a quarter pound of moisture an hour, can – is that …?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Which is fascinating.
TOM: Can that work itself into a diet? I mean, that comes out to about six pounds a day, I think, of moisture.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well, then you would have to (Tom chuckles) absolutely measure every single bit of food that went into your mouth and then account for if it causes you to breath more (Tom chuckles) because, say, perhaps it’s like oniony and then you’re breathing more. I think we’re onto something.
TOM: I think we could write a book; we’ll call it The Moisture Diet. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
LESLIE: Alright, folks. Well, stick around because we’re apparently going to have a diet book coming out shortly. But even more quickly than our diet book, we’re going to share with you next the easiest and cheapest way to give a bright, new look to an old bathroom and it doesn’t involve breathing. Hmm. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) Stick around.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100 percent natural, odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will give you the answer to your question and a chance to win an Energizer Hard Case Pro Flashlight worth 25 bucks. We’ll make it so much easier when you go to fix the leaky kitchen drain in the dark cabinet. Have a flashlight …
LESLIE: Oh, you mean in the cabinet cave underneath your sink?
TOM: (overlapping voices) The cabinet cave. That’s right. The number again is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And please have your home improvement or home décor question ready to go.
LESLIE: Now, if you’re underneath that kitchen cabinet cave right now and you’re like, “Darn, I could really use a flashlight because I wrote my question down under here,” you’d better be remembering it and picking up the phone and giving us a call, especially if you’re thinking of a way to spruce up your bathroom, which could be looking a little bit worse for the wear right about now because, you know, it’s summer. Nobody really wants to clean; everybody wants to just enjoy themselves.
But if you’re finding that you’re just sick of the way that your bathroom looks and it just seems like it’s a little dingy, think about redoing the caulking in your bathroom because nothing says dingy and dirty bathroom than old and yucky, mildewy caulk.
Now, this is a super-easy, do-it-yourself job that’s going to take just one afternoon. Now, here’s a few tips. You want to use a caulk softener to help get rid of all of the old caulk. Don’t leave any in there; get rid of all of it. Then go ahead and clean out that area with a bleach solution and then let the area completely dry. I mean dry – bone dry – before you apply that new caulk because if you trap moisture back there, you’re just going to breed more mold.
So once it’s dry, go ahead and apply your new caulk. Now, here’s a tip that Tom and I love to share: before you apply the caulking, fill up your bathtub with water. This way, the weight of the water is going to expand that space to be filled because the weight of the water pulls the tub down and it’s going to open that space up more. Then, you go ahead and caulk it. Once it dries, empty out the tub. It’s going to sort of shrink back up but when you go to take a bath or when you stand in there for a shower, it’ll stretch down and not pull off. Ah, genius Tom tip-of-the-day.
TOM: Caulk it once; caulk it right and you won’t have to caulk it again.
888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to those phones.
LESLIE: Jacob in Georgia needs some help with a plumbing project. What can we do for you?
JACOB: Hi, I’ve got a shower stall in an old apartment. Well, it’s not that old – 1991 – but I cannot figure out how to turn off the water supply so I can change the faucet.
TOM: That would be the main water valve, Jacob. Do you know where that is?
JACOB: Well, I know where the one outside is. Is that what I’m going to end up doing?
TOM: Well, the one outside – does the one outside control all the water-flow into the entire house?
JACOB: Yes, sir.
TOM: Well, that would probably be the easiest way to do this. Yeah, just turn the water off at the main while you make that repair. You know, if you’re so fortunate that there are shut-off valves in line on the way to the shower, you can always turn it off there but chances are, in an apartment, that’s going to be difficult to find. So the easiest, most positive thing to do is to turn off the main water valve and then replace the faucet.
LESLIE: Yeah, but don’t you need to get approval from everybody else in the building since you’re going to be cutting all their water?
TOM: No, I’m presuming that it only impacts this one apartment but …
LESLIE: That’s just for his apartment. OK. (chuckles)
JACOB: That’s correct.
TOM: That would probably be a good thing to know before you do that. (chuckles)
LESLIE: You go turning it off.
JACOB: I have one more question. What’s the value for adding like a tankless water heater to a rental property?
TOM: If it’s a rental property, I would recommend it to your landlord but I would not do it yourself. I would not pay for it yourself.
JACOB: No, as I’m renting. (chuckling)
TOM: Right. I know. You’re renting so no, it’s not the kind of thing because you can’t take it with you and it’s a great thing – it’s a great product but it’s going to last you 15 or 20 years and so unless you somehow are going to earn the payback for that then I definitely wouldn’t do it if I was a renter.
If I was a landlord, I would do it immediately because I would have no more complaints of running out of hot water from any of my tenants and I would save lots and lots of money.
LESLIE: David in Kentucky, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
DAVID: Yes, I have a question on putting a utility sink in my basement. (dog barks) I don’t have a drain …
LESLIE: Because you want to wash that dog? (Tom and David laugh)
DAVID: You’re right! That’s one thing I could do. I didn’t even think about that.
LESLIE: Of course.
DAVID: But I don’t have a drain there. I just have a sump pump hole.
DAVID: (chuckles) Can I put my waste drain – drain it into the sump pump hole and have the sump pump pump that waste water out? (dog barks)
TOM: Well, let’s just say that that is not technically correct but I’ve seen it done. The better solution is something called a lift pump and what that is, it looks like about the size of a sump – maybe a bit smaller – and it’s kind of like a sealed, plastic bucket that is sort of underneath the utility sink. And what happens is it’s float-actuated so as the water drains into this reservoir, a float comes on when the water gets to the top and kicks on a pump and then it pumps the waste water up high enough so that it could be drained into the main drain-waste vent pipe that’s going out of the house.
DAVID: And that’s right there so that wouldn’t be a problem. Are you talking about – I mean how does it get into that pump?
TOM: Well, it actually sits right on the floor under the sink.
TOM: It’s about the size of a small trashcan is kind of the way to describe it.
DAVID: I see.
TOM: And not too hard to install and not terribly complicated or expensive to buy.
DAVID: Well, I appreciate that. I didn’t even know such a thing existed.
TOM: Yep, it does and you’ll find that online, in a plumbing supply house or probably even a big home center.
DAVID: OK. Awesome.
TOM: Just describe what you want to do and they’ll hook you up with the right parts.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Up next, we are going to answer your e-mails. Hey, do you want to send us one or maybe you’ve already sent us one? Hmm. Well, if you have, no worries; we’re going to answer those next. But if you haven’t, head on over to MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and we’re going to answer your e-mail when we come back.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And a lush lawn is a key to creating a vacation getaway in your own backyard. Mowing that lush lawn, however, is another story. We’re going to help you do just that because we’re giving away a John Deere walk-behind mower worth over $400 right now at MoneyPit.com. Check out our staycation page for great lawn tips and your chance to win.
LESLIE: Hey, and while you’re online checking out MoneyPit.com, you’re going to see an icon; it says Ask Tom and Leslie and that is what you want to click if you want to send us an e-mail. And we can answer your e-mail questions right now like we do at every hour of this show so here we go. We’ve got one from Sharon in Alaska who writes: “We have a metal roof with large bolts that is leaking in one area. We have no attic. How do we know if it’s leaking anywhere else and what can we do to fix this problem?”
TOM: Well, if you can get on top of that roof with a garden hose, you can basically strategically let the water roll down the roof in different sections until you identify the exact spot. Then, you can simply seal that one spot.
Now, you say you have bolts going through the roof? Well, I imagine that there has got to be some sort of a sealant in or around those bolts. You could add some roof tar around the ones that are actually leaking but I have to say, in a climate like Alaska, it’s something you’re going to probably have to do every couple of years. But a garden hose in warm weather might be the way to figure out exactly where your roof is leaking. I’ve actually done that on a couple of different houses where we had a real tricky leak and trying to figure out exactly how that water was getting in.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got one from Yolanda in New York who says: “I plan on having my wood floors buffed and reurethaned. How long do I have to keep off of them?”
TOM: Ah, good question. My answer is longer than it says you have to on the can. (laughs)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Days and days and days.
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, they always say that you have to stay off it for an hour or two but realistically …
TOM: … I would stay off it at least a full day as long as you have some dry weather. If you have high humidity, I’d plan on staying off at least a couple of days if you really want it to dry and get super-hard so it’s not going to scratch up. And even when it’s time to go back on those floors, be very careful with the furniture placement because it really does take a while for it to fully cure.
LESLIE: Yeah, I would say two days, least, to make sure it’s dry; otherwise, you will be very sad. Good luck with that.
TOM: Well, if the next home improvement project that you want to tackle is to redo your kids’ room, Leslie has got some fun and easy ideas for sprucing up spaces for those youngest family members, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: And these are easy projects that you can actually do with your kids or have them help you with certain portions. When I was growing up, my mom always sewed all of our Halloween costumes and I have to say – as children of the ’70s – my mom did sew three matching sort of outfits for the three of us that sort of varied in fun. Lisa always had the short skirts, Stephanie had the pantsuit and I had the vest. It was inevitable; we all had sort of this matching little outfit.
So, whatever your level of handiness is, we have got projects for you to do with the kids. If you’ve got children – and we know most of you do – and those kids have a lot of toys and stuff that just end up all over their space, why not set up some show-off storage for their action figures or their Barbie dolls – pretty much any toy that’s kind of lightweight, like a stuffed animal – small ones.
You can adhere iron-on pockets to an existing curtain. What you want to do is take a little fabric pocket, fold over the edges, use some of that iron-on stitch-witchery – no sewing materials. Sew down the little pockets with the iron-on and then put them on to the curtain and then drop the toys in. You can even do it with clear fabric – you know, maybe shower curtain liner – so that you can actually see what fun toy is in there and not just what’s poking out.
You can also – if you’ve got kids that are super-duper scheduled – you can create a scheduling center on a door, with chalkboard paint or you can put a United States map between a tabletop and a layer of clear plastic or glass. This way, when your kids are sitting at that workspace or that table, they can sit there and use dry-erase markers and mark where we’ve been, where we’re going. It’s a really fun way to learn about geography.
Now, these are some fun ideas and they all came from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure and we’ve got lots and lots of great ideas in there for you, so check it out today at MoneyPit.com and get your kids involved and do some great projects with them. I guarantee they will love it and you will to.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope we’ve helped you out with your home improvement projects. 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.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(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.)