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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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a direct-it-yourselfer, we are here to make sure that you don’t become a do-it-to-yourselfer (Leslie chuckles) and take a wrong step in tackling those projects around your house. Got a lot going on with today’s show to help you do just that.
    First up, was your home the unfortunate target of perhaps a neighborhood prankster this week? Halloween does bring out all kinds of goblins and goons who may be intent on more tricks than treats (Leslie chuckles) and we’re going to help you with some cleanup tips this hour in case you were a victim of just that.
    LESLIE: And here’s a mess we hope you never, ever, ever, ever have to deal with; a forgotten pen or, say, a runaway crayon that’s been left in your pockets or put into the dryer on its own by your one-year-old. Well, if they do end up in your dryer, it is a big, stinking mess. We are going to tell you how to get rid of stains in the drum before the next load of clothes are ruined too.

    TOM: And we’ve got a prize that will help you with your heating bills this winter. It’s an EdenPure. It’s an infrared, portable heater that’s worth almost 400 bucks but it’s going to save you loads on your heating bills this winter. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us. Let’s get to it.
    LESLIE: Darren in Utah needs some help cleaning up an incident. What happened, Darren? Tell us what’s going on?
    DARREN: Well, what I have is a concrete driveway that has some older oil stains on it. I’ve tried some household products like Simple Green and Ultra Dawn to try and clean the stains away but I’m still left with these shadowy, black marks. How do I get rid of them?
    TOM: Well, first of all, are the oil-dripping cars all – have they all been removed? (Leslie and Darren chuckle)
    DARREN: Well, they have been removed.
    TOM: Alright, good thing.
    LESLIE: Very good.
    TOM: Have you tried TSP?
    LESLIE: Trisodium phosphate?
    TOM: Yeah, that’s …
    DARREN: No, I have not tried the old standby, TSP.
    TOM: I would try the old standby. It’s pretty effective. I would pick up some TSP and then usually you’ll find that, surprisingly enough, in the paint aisle of most home centers and hardware stores.
    LESLIE: Well, I mean come on, you’re painting; you’re bound to spill something and make a mess.
    TOM: Yeah, exactly, and that’s a pretty industrial-strength cleaning formula. And what we like to suggest, Darren, is that you mix it up into sort of like a loose paste and then apply it to the stained area. Let it sit for a good 10 or 15 or 20 minutes and then scrub it clean. And it does tend to do a pretty good job of lifting out those oil stains. Now, if they’re really, really old and it’s really, really stained, it’s not going to perform miracles but it will lighten it up quite a bit.
    DARREN: Very good. That’s a great idea. Now, do I have to be careful about the TSP solution, once I’m rinsing it off with a hose, getting into the lawn and killing the lawn?
    TOM: You’re going to put so much water on that that it’s going to be pretty diluted.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Dilute it so much.
    TOM: Yeah. You know, I wouldn’t wash it towards my prize rose bushes but (Darren chuckles), you know, if you’re just generally careful with it and use plenty of water to rinse it off; plus, you’re only applying into these sort of very concentrated, patchy areas. I don’t think you’re going to have an issue.
    DARREN: Right. Great. Thanks for the answer, guys. I love your show.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Darren. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got Delores in Rhode Island who is considering a sunroom for her money pit. What can we do for you?
    DELORES: I’m just wondering, before I go into all the expense of putting in site plans and blueprints and all to coastal resources – because I’m on the water – if there’s a way to judge approximately what a sunroom should cost? Is there something like so many dollars a square foot?
    TOM: Well, it depends a lot on what exactly you’re talking about building. Now, is this going to be a prefabricated sunroom or …?
    DELORES: I don’t think it can be because they have to take out a couple of walls in the house.
    TOM: Yeah. Here’s what I would do. Since you’re on the water and you have so many questions and estimating construction costs is so important, I would definitely have an architect spec this out for you. You know, for the cost of hiring the architect, you’re going to get a lot of questions answered and, most importantly, if you do decide to build it, you’re going to have a set of plans that’s going to detail exactly how this has to be built; stylistically and also structurally, which is very important when you’re on the water because of the weather. This is a situation where I think it will be well worth your expense to hire an architect and there’s plenty of architects out there that are looking for small jobs right now.
    LESLIE: Well, and also, Delores, when you’re going to, at some point, file with your local building department and the environmental impact folks, you’re going to need all of that in hand before you even approach them; so the architect is really the starting line here.
    DELORES: OK. I understood that. I was just wondering. Because I don’t know if I want to spend a lot of money on that if I can’t afford the room.
    TOM: Sure.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, an architect will also sort of steer you in the direction of are we talking about a three-season room, will this room be heated, is it strictly screened in, what are my building materials; and that will really figure out your costs per square foot.
    TOM: Yeah. If you start with the architect, you’ll be able to get an initial sort of gut-level estimate of what you’re talking about based on the kind of room that you’d like to create. And if it turns out to be too much money, the architect can also scale it down and give you some options. So you get that information first – you’re not talking a lot of money at this point, just to hire the architect – and if it looks like a good project, then you decide to move forward with the legal review.
    DELORES: OK, I really appreciate that information. I never even thought about doing that.
    TOM: That’s the way to do it, Delores.
    DELORES: OK, thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever your home improvement dilemma happens, we are here for you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Coming up, we’ve got tips on post-Halloween cleanup; especially when the neighborhood children have been playing more tricks than treats.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCEMENT: This portion of the Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology. Designed to not only help you save time, but also preserve your home’s interior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you could win a great prize. We are giving away the EdenPure GEN3 quartz infrared portable heater. Now, I’ve got one and it’s a great product that’s super-safe and is going to save you tons of energy and dollars. Now, the EdenPure has no exposed heating elements, so there is absolutely no danger of accidental fire, and it can help you cut your heating bills. It truly does do a good job. Let me tell you about it; I’ve been using mine and I love it. It’s worth $397 but you could win one if you’re among the callers who get on the air with us this hour and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: And even if you don’t win, EdenPure still has a great offer for you. If you call right now at 800-262-4824 – that’s 800-262-4824 – and mention a magic word – you must know the authorization code which is “Leslie” –
    LESLIE: It’s very difficult. (chuckles)
    TOM: – you could try out the heater for 60 days for free and also get 100 bucks off the purchase price. But you need to call now at 1-800-262-4824. We asked the EdenPure folks to give us a great offer for our audience because it is the perfect time to pick up one of these for your house and really give you a chance to try it out. So again, if you call them at 800-262-4824; you mention the authorization code “Leslie,” you can try it out for free for 60 days and if you buy it, you get 100 bucks off the purchase price. Pretty good deal all in all.
    LESLIE: That’s right. Alright, pick up the phone and give us a call; especially if you have been experiencing a very rough Halloween holiday. You know, waking up the day after Halloween is tough enough as it is with the candy hangover but the neighborhood kids, maybe they targeted your house this year; maybe you were that lucky house that got all of the …
    TOM: That’ll teach you to give out the cheap candy.
    LESLIE: I know, seriously. I learned my lesson the first year we were homeowners. I always now get the good candy.
    So, here in the northeast, we call the night before Halloween “Mischief Night” and that is a whole night – lucky us – devoted to toilet-papering trees, egging houses and generally creating an annoying mess.
    TOM: And the trick is to clean up that mess as quickly as possible. Now eggs in particular can actually corrode painted surfaces within hours and especially in warmer temperatures. So, after you get done picking off the eggshells and hosing off as much as possible, for the stuck-on egg that’s left behind, here’s a little trick of the trade: soak a paper towel with a 50-50 solution of warm water and vinegar; put it on the stain; let it sit. It will melt right away.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, if you were lucky enough to be TPed, which, where I live, toilet paper happens all year round; especially if you are a cheerleader or an athlete. So …
    TOM: I was going to say after football games. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: Right before, after; apparently, if you’re on the track team – our neighbor got toilet papered. So if your house does find you have paper decoration, you want to make sure …
    TOM: You’ve developed quite a bit of expertise on this subject.
    LESLIE: Oh, yes; very much. (Tom chuckles) We live on a very active vandalism block, if you will; in a fun way. But if you find that you’re one of the houses that have been TPed, you want to try to remove all of that toilet paper before it rains because once it gets wet it is much, much harder to get rid of. And you can stick duct tape to a broom handle to help you get to those hard-to-reach places because toilet paper is usually high up in the trees.
    Now, if you’ve got shaving cream, that can actually leave permanent marks on cars; so you never, ever want to let it bake in the sun all day long. And spray string; that can also be very damaging to the paint on your cars. That string hardens and adheres to the painted surface. You don’t want to use your fingernail to sort of pick it away because your car’s paint may come off with the Silly String. First, try to hose off as much as you can, if that’s possible; then use a cotton ball or cotton swab to lift off any remaining string. Pain in the butt but I bet it was a super-fun day.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us with your cleaning question. Call us with your home improvement question. We are here to help.
    LESLIE: Now we’re going to head over to California to chat with Michael about a wallpaper problem. What’s going on?
    MICHAEL: Oh, not much. What I got is a vaulted wall. It’s 14 feet high, 24 feet wide and it’s completely covered with wallpaper. Now, here and there, different spots, the vertical seams of the wallpaper are peeling away from each other and I am at a complete loss as to how it is I can get those seams to lay down and make it look like it belongs.
    TOM: Michael, there’s a product that will fix that. It’s called SureGrip. It’s made by the Zinsser Company. They’re a pretty big manufacturer of different types of home improvement products, so this is something that should be widely available. It’s called SureGrip Seam and Repair Adhesive. It’s about five bucks a tube and what I like about it is that it actually adheres those loose seams in ten seconds, so you don’t have to sit there and hold it down forever.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And hold anything.
    TOM: You put it on, it’s like a non-drip formula and it works really, really well.
    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Marcia in California with a water damage question. What happened?
    MARCIA: Well, we had flashing around our heating and air conditioner that was on the roof and we didn’t realize that that flashing was damaged. And so, by the time we got water damage in the bedroom, it’s not very good and the ceiling is all stained. And so I was hoping to find out the steps for preparing that ceiling to paint it.
    LESLIE: Step one, fix leak. (Tom chuckles)
    MARCIA: OK. OK, we have a new roof.
    TOM: Alright, good.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) OK, good.
    MARCIA: New flashing, new roof, new heating/air conditioner. (chuckling)
    TOM: Alright, those are all good things. Now, how big is the stain?
    MARCIA: It covers a good portion of the ceiling.
    TOM: Alright. And that’s all I needed to know. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to get an oil-based primer – this could be KILZ or it could be Bin …
    LESLIE: Zinsser.
    TOM: The Bin – what’s it called; Bin 1-2-3 or something like that?
    LESLIE: Bulls Eye 1-2-3.
    TOM: Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Any one of these good-quality, oil-based primers. And I want you to prime not just the spot but the entire ceiling and the reason that you’re doing that, Marcia, is because if you don’t prime the entire ceiling, the ceiling paint that you’re going to put on after this is going to absorb differently in the primed versus the non-primed spots. But if you prime the entire surface, it will neutralize that stain; it will give you good adhesion from the old to the new; and it’ll give you a nice, flat, smooth surface for the topcoat to be on.
    MARCIA: After putting the oil base on, is it OK to use latex after that?
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Absolutely.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Absolutely. Mm-hmm, yep. Absolutely.
    MARCIA: OK. And I was wondering – some friends of mine said that they thought that I ought to wash the ceiling down with bleach because that would kill anything that was in there that was growing.
    TOM: No, if it’s still – if it’s dry – because I presume the leak has been fixed for quite a while now –
    MARCIA: Yes. Yes, it has.
    TOM: – there’s no reason to use a mildicide on it. Primers like that have mildicides in them and I wouldn’t worry about that. You just want to get a good primer on there so you can seal that stain in; because if you don’t, what happens is some of the qualities of that stain, you get a chemical reaction and some of those colors will leach through the paint unless you prime it first.
    MARCIA: Oh, I see. And so then the bleach would be a bad idea?
    TOM: Well, it’s just not necessary. It’s just not a necessary state (ph).
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) To add more water.
    TOM: No, I just wouldn’t do it. I would just prime it and that’s all you need to do and you can paint right on top of that and be done with it.
    MARCIA: Oh, good. So then I don’t have to use the bleach; the KILZ is sufficient.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, you don’t have to. No. Nope, you’ll be fine.
    MARCIA: I’ve heard of the KILZ before and I’ve used that in my bathroom and I know it works really well.
    TOM: It works great.
    MARCIA: We had a severe mold problem in there and I had to take the wall out; and so I just didn’t know whether or not that stain would give up. (Marcia and Leslie chuckle)
    TOM: No, if you prime, you will seal that stain right in and you’ll never see it again.
    MARCIA: We’re getting it really cool in the morning and if you could give me a temperature range of when is the best temperature to start painting and the best temperature to stop painting.
    TOM: As long as it’s not an extreme cold or an extreme hot, you’ll be fine.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and if you wait for a really non-humid day, it’s going to dry lickety-split.
    MARCIA: OK. OK, so humidity is more important than the temperature.
    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
    TOM: Yeah, when you’re painting inside your house, for sure.

    MARCIA: Well, I can tell you here in California, we really appreciate you, Tom and Leslie; the program that you put on here. It’s really helpful.
    TOM: Thank you so much, Marcia. Good luck with that project.
    MARCIA: Thanks a lot.
    LESLIE: Mike in South Carolina needs some help with a basement floor. What’s going on at your money pit?
    MIKE: Hello and thank you for your show. I enjoy it.
    LESLIE: Thanks.
    MIKE: Have a small house – story-and-a-half – that has a walkout basement as the bottom floor.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: And it has a smooth, finished, concrete floor in it that used to have carpet on it.
    TOM: Alright.
    MIKE: The carpet was taken up and now we have the carpet glue on the floor. And I was thinking about refinishing the floor with one of the epoxy coatings.
    TOM: OK.
    MIKE: So my question is how do I get the surface smooth enough to paint?
    TOM: Very difficult to remove those old adhesives.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, that’s going to be tough.
    TOM: Have you thought about using a different type of floor product? Have you thought about perhaps using a laminate floor?
    MIKE: (overlapping voices) I have, yes. Yep.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Is this a space that you’d really like to finish? Because that would be my choice.
    LESLIE: Well, and that would be the easiest because then you’re not dealing with having to remove the sort of uneven surfaces, the remnants of the adhesive. Now you’ve got this sort of floating floor that goes over everything with that foamy underlayment that you’re going to put underneath your laminate. It sort of smoothes out all those little bumps that you’ll see in there and then that floor will sit right on top of that. If you …
    MIKE: Now, a lot of that engineered product is just kind of a snap in place; it’s a floating type floor? Is that right?
    LESLIE: Absolutely.
    TOM: It is. It’s not adhered down and I can tell you it’s very forgiving when it comes to uneven floors. I have laminate floor in my kitchen of my 1886 house and I can tell you that that floor is about as roly-poly as it gets and I’m sure I far exceed the tolerance that’s specified by the laminate floor manufacturer for how far out of whack a floor can be.
    MIKE: Right.
    TOM: But this laminate floor has really gone down great. It’s been down now for a decade and it really has stayed together nicely. So yes, I think that it’s very forgiving when it comes to uneven floor surfaces and if you have some glue buildup, get off as much as you can but between the fact that it’s floating and it goes over an underlayment, I think you’re going to be in good shape and be very happy with the result.
    MIKE: OK. Well, very good. I’m into easy; whatever that might be. (all chuckle)
    LESLIE: You know what? It’s going to be easy, it’s going to look great and it’s going to turn that basement into a really warm, usable space.
    MIKE: Alright. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, a portable backup generator is a great appliance to have in case of emergencies but safety is key. We’re going to have some tips on how to use it, after this.

    (theme song)
    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: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Now, many of you are hardcore home improvers and you like to do your projects on the road. And if that’s the case, you may have an interest in portable power. You know, a portable generator is a great way to enjoy camping and tailgating as well as doing home improvement projects on the road without sacrificing the comforts of having power nearby. And they come in handy, of course, during power outages at home as well. I’ve had one for years and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to rely on it.
    LESLIE: That’s why we’ve got a great guest with us to tell us about some of the benefits of portable generators. We’ve got Clement Feng from Generac. He’s the chief marketing officer.
    Welcome, Clement.
    CLEMENT: Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom.
    TOM: Thanks for being with us. And Clement, you guys have a whole new line of portable generators that, technologically, have just jumped light years ahead of what’s out there. Talk to us about them.
    CLEMENT: Yeah, that’s right. We introduced the XG series of portable generators earlier this year and the first models are coming available to stores this fall. This XG line of portable generators has a lot of the features that pros look for in a generator: real heavy-duty engines – the Generac OHVI engine; they come in a nice, compact frame. So they’re designed with a homeowner in mind, despite being a really high-performing model, and it makes – so the small, compact frame makes it a lot easier to store when the generator is not being used. And one really novel feature that we put on the product is what we call a power bar. It’s a series of five indicator lights to let a user know how much power is being put out by the generator.
    LESLIE: Now, does the power being put out by the generator, is that based on how many appliances you have connected to it, what you’re using it for, how much fuel is in it? What does that read for us?
    CLEMENT: It’s basically telling you how much power is being drawn by all of the appliances that you’ve got connected to the generator. So if you have only, let’s say, three lights of the five lights lit, then that tells you the generator is putting out about half of its total capability. If you’re up at five lights, then you’re maxing out the output of the generator; so don’t plug any more stuff in.
    TOM: Yeah, good point. We’re talking to Clement Feng, Chief Marketing Officer for Generac, about the new line of portable generators that they have out on the market right now.
    You guys actually have won some award for these as well, haven’t you; for the XP line?
    CLEMENT: We did. Yeah, this particular model – the XG 8000 watt – won Popular Mechanics’ Editor’s Choice Award and the editors at the magazine saw the product and thought it had some great features that the market hasn’t seen before; that power bar is one of those.
    TOM: Clement, let’s talk a little bit about portable generator safety tips. I’m always amazed and saddened …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) How many incidents.
    TOM: … by the fact that almost every year, somebody uses a generator in the worst way possible and gets hurt by it; specifically, using it inside a closed space, putting themselves and their families at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Aside from the obvious no-no that that is, what are some of the other common mistakes that people make when they use a generator?
    CLEMENT: Well, carbon monoxide poisoning is definitely the biggest threat and it’s because carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas and people don’t always make the connection that a portable generator relies on an engine to run and that engine puts out exhaust just like an automobile or a lawnmower would. So they make the mistake of operating it indoors; you know, like a normal plug-in appliance. It’s just not that.
    Outside of carbon monoxide dangers, there’s also the threat of burns or fire because gasoline is what powers these generators and although we and most other manufacturers recommend or point out that you really shouldn’t fuel the portable generator while it’s running, people don’t always pay attention to those warnings and they forget that the exhaust is really hot, the generator is really hot and then, if you spill a little bit of the gasoline while the generator is hot, you can cause a little bit of a fire.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, Clement, I mean we’re talking about electricity here and, generally, when used in the event of bad weather, we’re dealing with winds and rain. Is there any danger of shock or electrocution that we should be concerned about?
    CLEMENT: There is and that’s another danger, too; there’s an electrocution hazard. So we always advise that portable generators should not be used when it’s raining or snowing and we do realize that makes it a little bit difficult; that, sometimes, is when you lose power. But you know, the ideal situation is the storm blows through and then you’re trying to recover; you’ve lost power.
    TOM: Right.
    CLEMENT: And at that point, it’s safer to use the generator.
    TOM: We’re talking to Clement Feng, Chief Marketing Officer for Generac.
    And of course, Clement, before we let you go, we should tell folks that if you are concerned, really, just about losing power at your house, then perhaps not a portable generator but a standby generator may be a better option; that’s, of course, a permanently-installed generator that does not fit so conveniently in the back of your pickup truck but thereby remains very close to home when you need it.
    CLEMENT: Yep, that’s exactly right. Homeowners can use a portable generator to back up their home; you know, in the event of a power outage. And the best way to do that is if you plan ahead and you have a manual transfer switch mounted on the house that you can plug the generator right into. But even better than that is to have a permanently-installed automatic standby generator and those generators sit outside the house all the time and they’re monitoring the utility power coming into the home and whenever there’s a power failure, within seconds, the automatic standby generator turns itself on and restores power to the whole home.
    TOM: Generators really give you convenience and protection and I think they’re an important part of the appliances that you should have in any home.
    Clement, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great products. Congratulations on the new launch and we look forward to talking with you again.
    CLEMENT: You bet. Thanks, Tom. Thanks, Leslie.
    LESLIE: Thanks, Clement.
    TOM: For more tips on Generac, you can go to their website at Generac.com; that’s G-e-n-e-r-a-c.com or pick up the phone and call them at 1-888-GENERAC.
    LESLIE: Well, a stray crayon, forgotten pen or even excess dye from clothing not only stains your clothes but it can also actually stain your dryer. You’re wondering why the next load of clothes kind of turns up that same odd, blue tone as well. Well, if that’s happened to you, we are going to tell you how to wash your dryer, right after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Rheem heat pump water heater. It’s easy to install and more than twice as energy-efficient as any standard electric water heater. The new Rheem heat pump water heater qualifies for federal tax credits. For more information, visit www.RheemHPWH.com.
    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you call, you’ll get expert advice and answers to your most burning home improvement questions and you could win our weekly giveaway. This hour it’s a biggie. We’re giving away the EdenPure GEN3 quartz infrared portable heater. It’s got no exposed heating elements, so it’s very safe; in fact, it only gets warm to the touch. It’s natural, healthy heat. The prize is worth $397 but one caller we talk to on the air this hour could win one. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Now we’ve only got one up for grabs, so if you don’t win don’t be sad because EdenPure still has a great offer for you. If you call right now at 800-262-4824 and mention the secret authorization code – which is “Leslie” – you could …
    TOM: Code “Leslie.”
    LESLIE: I know, right? I love it. I’ve become a state of emergency – Code “Leslie.” (Tom chuckles) Well, if you call in, you can actually try out the heater for 60 days for free and you get 100 bucks off the purchase price. But you need to call now at 1-800-262-4824. It really does work. It will keep your house super-duper toasty and you can have it running all day long and I swear it does not get hot.
    TOM: Now, sometimes warm heat doesn’t always work out for you; like when you leave a crayon or, say, a lipstick or a marker in the pocket of your clothes and send it into the dryer. In that case, it can become a real mess. You know, we’re always telling the kids to check their pockets but every once in a while, something sticks through and what is worse is the stains get on the dryer’s tumbler and they stay there – possibly for load after load after load – and they can really ruin your clothes.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and then they end up transferring to the next load. So if you find that this has happened to you – even if you think it may have happened, you just maybe want to do this once; you know, every once in a while just to protect your dryer.
    What you want to do is apply a spray cleaner, a mild abrasive or even a laundry stain treatment to the affected area in your dryer tumbler and then wipe with a damp cloth. Then you want to dry a load of old towels or rags – you know, things you don’t care about; things you use just to clean up the cars or what-not – for about 25 minutes. Now, these steps are going to remove the stain and even if a mark remains on the tumbler, the color is not going to transfer onto anything that you care about; it’ll be on those dirty rags or those cleaning rags.
    So do this every so often; especially if you see an odd stain in the dryer. This way, you will relieve yourself of the trouble of checking all the pockets all the time. Cut yourself some slack and clean out your dryer.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Heading over to Texas to chat with Susie about flooring. I hear you’ve got a situation where the floors are falling apart. What’s going on, Susie?
    SUSIE: Yes, we put down some ceramic Italian white slate from Lowe’s; about 1,700 square feet of it. It was supposed to be high-grade – grade four – high-traffic. We have no children. We have no traffic. It is pitting just terrible and when it pits, underneath – evidently because the color doesn’t go all the way through – what I’m seeing is the red clay look underneath.
    TOM: So this is like a painted kind of a slate?
    SUSIE: I’m assuming it is.
    TOM: Yeah. Do you know what the manufacturer was?
    SUSIE: I don’t. I’ve still got a box of it. I just don’t know what to do.
    LESLIE: I mean it sounds like whatever surface coating that was baked onto there – because that’s essentially what it must be; it must be some sort of a glazed tile – is not sticking.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Is failing.
    SUSIE: (overlapping voices) Yes. OK.
    TOM: Right.
    SUSIE: Right.
    TOM: And there’s no easy solution there. How long has this floor been down?
    SUSIE: This floor has been down a total of three years.
    TOM: Here’s what I would do. I would get out that box of the unused tile.
    SUSIE: Right.
    TOM: I would go back to the manufacturer. Right? Contact them directly.
    LESLIE: If they’re still in business.
    SUSIE: Pardon?
    TOM: (chuckles) Let’s hope they are.
    SUSIE: Yes.
    TOM: Contact them directly. Find out what the warranty is on there. Perhaps you can get in touch with them, send some photos and see what they have to say about it. Because it sounds like you’ve got a bad finish on that.
    SUSIE: Possibly. Can I restain the whole floor; the grout and the tile?
    TOM: Don’t know. Don’t know. Depends on what the material is. There are concrete stains that probably could be used for this but you really have to test it out on something first; and perhaps, if you’ve got some extra tile, you could do that.
    LESLIE: I wouldn’t do anything before I contacted the manufacturer.
    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t go experimenting.
    SUSIE: Alright. And my last question for – can I put a wood floor laminate down on top of this?
    TOM: Yes. Yes. You would use an engineered hardwood or you could use a laminate floor. Either product would be fine. You don’t have to take up the old tile. It can float right on top of that. Just remember, you’re going to be a little bit higher; you’re going to have to do some trimming where it hits the walls. But that’s a good solution.
    SUSIE: That’s not a problem. And we had just put in the Rheem tankless and we love it.
    LESLIE: Yay.
    TOM: Wow. Fantastic.
    SUSIE: I am shocked. You know, it’s the size of two shoe boxes.
    TOM: I know. It’s so tiny, right?
    LESLIE: They’re little.
    SUSIE: It’s just incredible.
    TOM: And have you ever run out of hot water since you put in the Rheem?
    SUSIE: Only if you run out of cold water. (all laugh) And then you’re really in trouble.
    TOM: That’s right.
    SUSIE: Oh, we love it. Thank you. Love your show.
    TOM: Susie, that’s fantastic. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Up next, basement versus no basement. Which is better for your home’s construction and your home’s energy efficiency? We’re going to help you figure it out, after this.

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    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: Right now on MoneyPit.com, learn how to lower your electric bill. We’ve got simple solutions to help you save money. Just go to MoneyPit.com and search “tips to lower electric bills.”
    LESLIE: You can also e-mail us while you are searching around the Money Pit. Click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and e-mail us your question. I’ve got one here from Dave in Syracuse, New York who writes: “I’m moving to Southeast Arizona where the houses have no basements. The lack of a basement concerns me as a basement regulates the interior temperature of the house; provides easy access under the living spaces for repair and modifications; not to mention utility and storage space. Am I unnecessarily concerned? Why are there no basements in this region?”
    TOM: Ah. You know, that’s a good question and the answer has to do with economics. In Phoenix – in the Phoenix area, there actually are some builders that are starting to use basements but these homes are a lot more expensive. Installing a basement actually adds about 30 days to the construction time; so, of course, that drives up the cost. Now …
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Interesting. Is it that the soil is so tremendously hard?
    TOM: No, it’s just that – it’s really just a matter of custom. There’s actually – you know, what’s custom there. Really, there’s no reason you can’t have a basement but they’re spoiled because here we’ve got to go down half the distance of a basement just to make sure we’re below the frost line. Well, in Phoenix you’ve got to go down like all of 18 inches just to have a solid base.
    LESLIE: Exactly.
    TOM: There is no frost line deal to worry about. So doing a basement is going way above and beyond what’s required to build a house and, of course, it drives the costs up. So, while it’s not common, you can find houses with basements in Phoenix. But by virtue of the fact that you’re not going to find one, I wouldn’t let that turn me off to any houses just because you’re used to it. There are ways to install slabs and have them be very energy-efficient. Of course, nothing is going to replace that extra space but you can certainly have the energy efficiency.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Tiffany in Utah who has a garden that was placed right next to the side of her house and the dirt has eaten away at the vinyl siding and appears to be doing damage to the wood boards. How can she fix it?
    TOM: I doubt it’s dirt that’s eating away at the vinyl. It’s probably rodents; hate to tell you that.
    LESLIE: Ooh.
    TOM: But what you need to do is to put a small retaining wall in front of that so that you can lower the grade and create some space between the siding and the soil. You really want 6 to 12 inches. And if the soil is too high, you need to build a retaining wall that can help you drop it.
    LESLIE: Alright, Tiffany, I hope that helps. Good luck with your project.
    TOM: Well, as the weather turns cooler, we spend more time inside our house. It’s nice to tackle some of those easy decorating projects that can make you feel more calm, more comfortable and declutter. Leslie’s got a great idea on how to do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. If you’ve got a large collection of books at your money pit, why not give that book collection a nice, clean look and give them a makeover? Now, you can cover your entire book collection in a solid-color paper like, say, white. White’s not your thing? Choose another color; that’s totally fine. And then you can dress up that starkness by adding a ribbon in, say, a solid or a stripe and that creates a fun detail. It just kind of unifies the look of the books. This way, you’re not looking at assorted, different-colored jackets; different jackets; everything sort of everything sort of seems the same. Yes, you’ll have to open them up to see which book it is but it’s a nice look; I promise you that.
    Now, if book covers aren’t your thing or you can’t remember how to make them from high school, you can remove each of your books’ paper jackets and that gives your books a nice, clean classic look. And then you can arrange them by color, by size. It looks really nice if you sort of create not so much a rainbow but if you stack all of the blue books in one section and all of the black-purple tones in one section. It really gives a nice visual presentation of your books.
    Now, you also don’t have to stack all of your books vertically. You can lay some down and stack some horizontally; you know, and maybe put one of your little accessories on top of that little stack of books or a photo. Mix it up. It really does change your entire feeling of a room by just rearranging your accessories. So have fun with it. You’re about to be indoors for a long, long time. So start to enjoy what you’ve got without spending more money.
    TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, do you want to use your wood stove to help heat your home this winter? Well, we’re going to have some tips. And also, if you’re thinking about buying one, we’re going to tell you how to get the best deal and to pick one that’s extremely energy-efficient. That’s coming up next week on 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.

    (theme song)
    (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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