Halloween Safety Tips, Water Saving Advice, Pumpkin Carving 101 and More
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: Standing by, waiting to answer your home improvement question. We want to solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. We want to help you with your fall fix-up project. Help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us. The call is free: 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Or post your question online at MoneyPit.com.
We have got a very busy show planned for you, starting with this: Halloween is just around the corner. Can you believe it?
LESLIE: I’m so excited.
TOM: It’s like, what, two-and-a-half weeks away now or something like that? And …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I’ve got all my decorations ready. I’ve got the candy and hopefully, there’ll be so left if I don’t eat it all.
TOM: Ready? We’ve got ours up already. What, are you kidding?
TOM: We’ve got a great show planned for you. Coming up this hour, Halloween is just around the corner but the scariest thing you might see this month is your water bill.
TOM: Coming up, we’re going to have some tips to help you slow the flow. Our water-conservation campaign with the EPA’s WaterSense program continues and we’re going to hear from a plumber who figured out a simple and quick way to reduce the amount of water that you use with every single flush. It’s a cool, new invention called HydroRight and that’s coming up, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we are going to give you this week’s Fresh Idea. We’re going to have some great tips for keeping your home safe for the trick-or-treaters, as well as your neighborhood ghosts and goblins. Ooh!
TOM: And later this hour, learn how to keep the plumber away by following our advice on a favorite fall activity: pumpkin carving. It’s a lot of fun but it can be terrible for your pipes. We’re going to tell you how to keep them clear, later on.
LESLIE: That’s right. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a set of copper bath accessories, including a hammered-copper towel rack, which is so gorgeous.
TOM: It’s worth 175 bucks. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. So pick up the phone; the number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Bart in Arizona on the line. How can we help you today?
BART: Hey, guys. I was curious. I’ve got a – house was built roughly ’92, ’93.
BART: And come to find out the joists were never nailed into the hangers.
TOM: Oh, OK.
BART: So, there’s some sagging areas and I’m up at about 7,200 feet, so we’ve got a lot of expansion and contraction, you know, depending on what time of year it is, because we get snow and everything.
BART: So I’m just kind of curious to what I can do without affecting the house too much, how I can get those – maybe the sags out and then hung back in.
TOM: Well, first of all, we’re talking about a floor joist here? And are they over a basement where you can access them or what’s going on? What does it look like?
BART: I’ve got a crawlspace of anywhere from 18 inches to 2 feet. I can belly-crawl underneath there.
TOM: Alright. So you’re going to have a bit of a time with this. But we would recommend that you nail them in and you’re going to get Teco nails for this or – like they’re short nails. And there’s a handy tool that would help with this and it’s made by Craftsman.
Leslie, do you know – you remember what I’m talking about?
LESLIE: Yeah, you’re right, Tom. It’s called the – it’s an auto-hammer and it’s their Lithium-Ion Cordless Hammerhead Auto-Hammer by Craftsman.
And what’s so great about this is it’s a right-angle head, so you can really get into tight spaces. And then what you do is you just sort of get your nail in place and put this auto-hammer right on and bum-bum-bum-bum, it’s in. You’re exerting zero energy except for lifting your hands over your head.
TOM: Yeah, you only need 3½ inches to use this, so 3½ inches of clearance.
TOM: And then it sort of vibrates the nail right in. So, if you have trouble where because you’re working such a tight space you can’t get a real swing on a hammer, this auto-hammer would be a good solution for you.
LESLIE: And the head rotates, as well. So if you’ve got a weird angle or a tricky space, even more so than what you’re already dealing with, this will work for you. And it’s, I believe, only $80, so it’s a great prize considering the amount of nails you’re about to work with.
BART: Oh, for sure. And I’m wondering, is there – should I try and take any of the – if I notice it – any of the sag out of the floor joists before I nail them?
TOM: Well, you can’t really take the sag out. The nailing of a floor joist to a joist hanger is not going to have any impact on the sag of the joist. If you’ve got joists that are sagging, there’s a different way to fix that and it would have to be really badly sagging for me to tell you to go ahead and do this.
But let’s say you had one that was crowned, where it was sort of higher in the middle and lower on the outside edge. In a situation like that, you’d drill a hole in the middle about 1 inch down from the top and you’d cut the joist in half, from the middle of that hole down. And then you’d put a whole other joist next to it, bolt them together. That’s how you sort of relieve a joist that’s crowned.
If one is sagged, you would put another one next to it in the opposite way and sort of jack it up.
BART: Oh, OK.
TOM: But I mean a little bit of sag is not a big deal; I’d rather just see you get them nailed in so that they’re stable.
BART: Yeah. I’ve noticed along the edge of the wall, like where the moldings out on the floor, that there’s some areas that it’s kind of rolled up. So I can feel it like a hump in the carpet but it’s right along the edge of the wall. So that’s what I’m concerned – that if that’s – if I’ve got a sag, it’s pushing that part of the …
TOM: Well, when you say “sag,” you don’t mean sag in the middle of the floor joists, you mean at the end?
BART: Well, at the end it’s actually raised, so it’s almost like the floor joist is bellied. And then at the wall, at your foundation where the hangers would basically sit – your stem-wall area – (inaudible at 0:06:48) …
TOM: Yeah but there’s not much you can do about that. You’re not going to notch down the floor joists; you’re not going to cut them down where they fit into the hangers.
TOM: So I would just secure them in place.
TOM: Alright? And take a look at that tool, though: the Craftsman Auto-Hammer. It’s only about 80 bucks or so and I think it definitely is going to save your shoulders and your forearms from having to nail in those tight spaces.
BART: Oh, yeah, I’m all about cool tools, too.
TOM: Alright. 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 improvement, home repair, design, décor. Whatever you are working on, this is home improvement’s busy season, so we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up, we’ve got some simple ideas to keep your trick-or-treaters safe, including the ones who show up at your front door.
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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: Give us a call right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a set of hammered-copper bathroom accessories from Premier Copper Products. It includes a towel ring and a tissue holder.
You know, copper is a really growing trend in bathroom finishes right now. You can check out everything from sinks to faucets in copper at PremierCopperProducts.com or call us right now for your chance to win. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, it’s time now for this week’s Fresh Idea, presented by Citrus Magic. And today, we are talking about Halloween safety.
Now, it’s a really fun time of year but you want to make sure that all of the scares are in the spirit of the holiday and not because of a scary situation compromising safety. So here’s what you need to know when it comes time to have fun with your Halloween décor.
You want it to be super-fun but you want to make sure that those decorations do not get in the way of your pathways or your steps or your lighting or maybe block the hand rail on your banister on the steps leading up to the house. Also, this is a really good time of year to check for loose bricks, uneven walkways and again, those loose railings, because you really want to make sure everything is tightened up and fixed before those trick-or-treaters come knocking.
TOM: That’s right. And you also might want to install some low-voltage lighting to light the approach to your home. And consider adding motion-sensor lights in the dark corners. If you’ve got decorations on stair railings, make sure they don’t prevent those little hands from grabbing the railings for extra support.
And finally, think about the pets. Anxious pets and spooky costumes don’t always mix, so make sure that your furry friends are safely held indoors, away from trick-or-treaters and any of that traffic or spooky sounds.
Now, when it comes to your own little ghosts and goblins, you want to make sure that you choose costumes that don’t pose a trip hazard and make sure they allow for good visibility and that they are also easy for drivers to see.
LESLIE: That’s right. And that is your Citrus Magic Fresh Idea this week. To keep your home smelling fresh and clean all the time, we recommend Citrus Magic natural, odor-absorbing, solid air fresheners.
TOM: That’s right. It’s all-natural, no chemicals at all. But it still works very well to remove even the toughest odors from your home. It comes in several scents, including Citrus, Crisp Linen and Island Spring. One solid air freshener can absorb odors for six to eight weeks in a 350-square-foot room. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information on this and other great, all-natural products.
888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in Delaware, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PAT: Oh, thank you for taking my call.
TOM: Our pleasure.
PAT: I have a plumbing question.
PAT: I moved into a new home that’s 10 years old and the hot water in the tub, which is a combo shower/tub, goes directly from hot/cold to boiling; there’s no intermediate. And when I’ve had a plumber out there, they checked it to get into the cut-out to see what the shutoff valves were. There was no cut-out.
Now, I have another one, which is a stand-up shower. It does the same and there’s no way to get into the plumbing either. So the …
LESLIE: So there’s no access panel on those back walls?
PAT: Right, exactly. And the plumber said there wasn’t anything he could do.
TOM: Obviously, the valves are behind the wall. But let’s talk about the kinds of valves.
So your concern is that you get sort of a shower shock where it goes from cold to hot?
PAT: Well, yeah. And I don’t want anybody getting a burn, you know?
TOM: Does it happen like when you’re in the shower and somebody else is running something somewhere in the house?
PAT: No, no. It just – that’s the way it is all the time. It goes …
LESLIE: Pat, have you checked the actual water heater? On the tank, there’s a temperature-demand gauge that you could be like, “I want it to be on A, B or C.” And it’s the thermostat, which tells you how hot you want it to be. And you might just have it all the way cranked up.
PAT: No. My husband went down and looked at it and he said – I want to say 120, 140, something like that?
TOM: Yeah, that’s way too hot. You want it to be more like around 110. But I think that you have another problem here and that is that if the valve is just going from cold to hot, there’s sort of no middle ground, then you just might have a bad valve. And if there’s no access …
PAT: Is that the same thing as a diverter? Because the plumber said something about he would check – the diverter sometimes wear out.
TOM: Well, the diverter is going to divert water from the faucets to the shower.
PAT: Oh, OK.
TOM: OK? From the tub faucet to the shower.
LESLIE: It could be the mix valve, though, right?
TOM: It depends on the kind of valves; sometimes it’s all in one. But I think it’s a problem with the valve; you may need to replace the valve.
There is a type of valve called a pressure-balance valve. The nice thing about a pressure-balance valve is that once you set the mix of hot and cold, it doesn’t matter what happens elsewhere in the house, the mix always stays the same. So you can’t get a situation where somebody flushes the toilet or runs a dishwasher or something like that and all of a sudden, the temperature changes.
TOM: So you don’t get the cold shock or the hot shock. But I think the bottom line is that you’re going to need a new valve. And to get – to replace that valve, you would open the wall behind the bath. So if that – if there is a wall behind the bath that’s covered with drywall, it’s very easy to sort of surgically cut out a piece of drywall and access the back.
PAT: Well, the only problem is the back of the shower, where the faucets are in the shower, is the living room wall. That’s where it is.
TOM: OK. But I mean how old is your house? So it …
PAT: Ten years old.
TOM: Alright. So it’s drywall. Drywall is repairable. I understand it’s your living room wall and it’s not going to be pretty to have a hole in your living room wall.
TOM: If you cut that open nicely, you can patch it nicely. There’s …
LESLIE: And then repaint and you’ll never know it was a …
TOM: And then repaint: retape, respackle and repaint. Yeah, it’s a project.
PAT: Yeah but what if you have to go back in again?
TOM: You shouldn’t have to go back in. It’d be nice – the perfect situation is when it backs up to a closet or something like that.
TOM: But if it backs up to a finished wall, OK. So you’re going to open it up, you’re going to replace the valve and hopefully you’ll be good for 5 or 10 years.
LESLIE: Yeah but Pat, if there’s a piece of – is there nothing on that wall? No piece of furniture? Not a bench, not an ottoman, nothing?
PAT: The cut would be right between two doors: one goes up to the attic; the other is a coat closet.
TOM: It’s not possible that any of that plumbing is behind the coat closet door?
PAT: No, we checked. We were praying.
TOM: That wall area? OK. Yeah, right, I bet.
LESLIE: Because an access panel can be as small as it needs to be. And you can get three or four of the same mirror or piece of art or objet-type (ph) thing to put on the wall and hang them vertically as a purposeful group and use one to conceal your access panel, in the event you ever need to go back in there, which you may never.
TOM: Now, listen, if you want to fix this, you’re going to have to open up the wall and replace the valve. After that, if you want to patch it, fine. If you want to install an access panel there, that’s fine. I’m sure there are a lot of things that you could put there that could cover that and make it less obvious.
But I am not the least bit concerned about you completely drywalling that wall back together again. Because even though it feels like it’s an enormous project, we’re talking about a half-a-day’s worth of work here to patch a wall, collectively. You know, patching it is very simple. You put one coat of spackle on, you come back the next day and put another one, another one and so on. It’s not that big of a deal to cut into a wall and replace it. Don’t let it dissuade you from doing this project the right way.
Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Alaska on the line who needs help with a decking question. Tell us what’s going on.
DOUG: The cabin we had built by a local builder, it’s remote. And what was supposed to have been done was a decking adhesive used on the floor joists on the three-quarter OSB tongue and groove.
DOUG: It wasn’t done. They put nails in and I’ve asked them since if he could go back at least and – they can’t redo that unless you tear everything up – to go ahead and put some decking screws in there.
And I’ve got kind of two questions. One, would it be worth it after he goes through and does the decking screws to do something underneath, at the juncture of the underlayment of the underside of the OSB, along the top of the – yeah, would that be worth putting some kind of decking adhesive in? And is there a gun that’s made that you can do from the standing position to put extra decking screws in from up above?
TOM: The answer to the second question is yes. First of all, let me explain what’s happening. When builders nail in OSB, they typically use a special type of nail. It’s called a cooler and it’s about a seven-penny common nail with a black rosin coating on the outside. And when you drive the nail in, it heats and the friction melts the glue, theoretically.
And then once it cools, it sort of glues in place. The problem is that it doesn’t always do that and as the boards sort of move and pull in and out of the floor joists that they’re attached to, because the rosin is on the nail, it makes an awfully loud sound. So that’s probably why you’re getting the squeak.
The solution is to screw it down. And do you have – what kind of – do you have a floor covering on that now? Is there anything covering that OSB?
DOUG: Well, no. We haven’t got any squeak yet because the cabin was just built about – finished the floor about – roughly two weeks ago.
TOM: Perfect. So, I’m telling you, squeaks will happen – I’ve just predicted for you – unless you screw everything down.
DOUG: Oh, great. Yeah.
TOM: But yes, you definitely can screw it down. Easy way to do that, by the way, would be to chalk lines where all the floor joists are, so you don’t have to guess. And then just go ahead and screw about six screws in every floor joist that goes through each sheet of plywood. So you do six on the seam and six on the next joist, the next joist, next joist and so on.
Now, as far as the screwdriver, there is a special type of screw gun that is specifically made for this and it has an attachment that’s about 2 feet long. And it has a cartridge of screws that sort of roll through it, so you literally can stand up and walk down the line and screw the floor in; you don’t have to do it on your hands and knees.
DOUG: Right. Is it worth anything to get up under the underside of the deck and put it – any glue or (inaudible at 0:18:40) the juncture of the top of the joists on the underside of the decking itself?
TOM: I don’t think you need to get up under the underside of the deck like you were asking earlier. I think that if you screw the floor down from the top, you will be good to go.
DOUG: You betcha. Bye bye now.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead this hour, a do-it-yourself way to turn your water-wasting toilet into a dual-flush wonder: one flush for liquids and a stronger one for, well, other business. So stick around.
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TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are talking water-saving and money-saving ideas all month long in our Slow the Flow campaign, which is being conducted in partnership with the EPA’s WaterSense program.
And right now, we’re going to tell you about an ingenious way to cut your water bills instantly. It’s called a dual-flush system and it installs to your toilet.
LESLIE: That’s right. And here to tell us about the HydroRight system is its inventor, a fourth-generation plumber and the company’s president, Michael Schuster.
MICHAEL: Thank you for having me.
TOM: Well, it’s our pleasure. And what was the first-generation plumber in your family working on? What do you think?
MICHAEL: Bringing plumbing in.
TOM: Moving it from the out-house to the in-house.
TOM: Well, Mike, you’ve been in this business a long time. And I think it’s really instructive that somebody with your knowledge and your history identified this opportunity for a new product that really can have quite a dramatic effect on how much water we actually use in the toilet every single time it flushes.
Now, I think this is based on the principle that you don’t always need a full flush. Sometimes you need a short flush or a half-flush and sometimes you need a full flush. Problem is that that takes some reworking of the guts of the toilet, which most would perceive to be a very complex and expensive job, most likely requiring the purchase of a brand new toilet. You, however, have invented a valve which actually does this work for us and the whole thing costs less than 20 bucks. Tell us about it.
MICHAEL: Yes. The product is called HydroRight and the reason why we invented this drop-in, dual-flush converter is exactly that. We wanted something that the do-it-yourself consumer could do as a water-conservation measure and actually have an impact on their water bill and water use. The HydroRight can actually save over $100 a year and over 15,000 gallons for your average family of four. So I mean it can really make a difference.
LESLIE: Now, how complex of an installation is it, as an average do-it-yourselfer, because most people – plumbing could be a little scary to tackle as a project. And then a lot of people just don’t want to mess with the toilets. God forbid it breaks, you’re up the creek, if you know what I’m saying. So, people might be a little intimidated. How do you make it so simple?
MICHAEL: Basically, all you do is you remove the flapper and you remove the toilet handle. And then this whole unit just slides right over and sets right where the flapper was – it sets right in that opening – and then a button replaces your handle. It just clicks right in, no tools required. Installs in about 10 minutes and you don’t need to remove the tank.
TOM: Now, do you need to turn the water off when you do this?
MICHAEL: Yes. You can shut the water off. You can actually do it with the water on. If you’re doing multiple ones, and I would say if you’re on your second or third, you can drop it in without even shutting the water off.
TOM: And so, once it’s installed and connected up to the handle, how does it actually work? Are there two buttons that give you full flush or half flush?
MICHAEL: Well, yes. You have a button now instead of a handle, so you can select whether you want to have a quick flush or do you want to use the entire tank where it’s a full flush. Pretty much, 80 percent of the time that you’re flushing the toilet, it was used for liquid and paper. That means like four out of five flushes were just liquid and paper. So 80 percent of the time you’re flushing, you’re actually using twice as much water as you really needed, so that’s where the dual-flush comes in and allows you to select less water when you need less.
TOM: We’re talking to Michael Schuster. He is the inventor of the HydroRight Dual-Flush System, a pretty ingenious device that replaces the flapper inside your toilet and actually cuts your water use dramatically as a result of that.
Michael, how much water will the average family save over the course of the year?
MICHAEL: The average consumer can save over $100 a year and 15,000 gallons each year. This is figuring on the average family of four.
TOM: So, at less than $20 for the product, you’re pretty much paying for it in the first two, three months then.
MICHAEL: Absolutely. And that also doesn’t even equate to leaks. Your most common toilet problems occur from your flapper chain or your handle. What HydroRight does is it eliminates all three of the main causes of the problems, so no more leaky flappers or jiggling the handle to get your toilet to flush.
LESLIE: That’s pretty great. And considering it’s a very simple do-it-yourself project that can really yield huge savings for your family, it really makes you eco-friendly in a very user-friendly kind of way.
MICHAEL: Absolutely. We like to say it’s the right thing to do. Use the HydroRight.
TOM: Michael Schuster, President of HydroRight and the inventor of the HydroRight Dual-Flush System, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit, Michael. What a great product you guys have come up with that’s going to save a lot of water in households all across the country.
MICHAEL: Well, thanks for having us.
TOM: To see the HydroRight Dual-Flush Converter in action, you should go check out their website, which is SaveMyToilet.com. That’s SaveMyToilet.com. Or just head on out to The Home Depot where you can pick one up for under 20 bucks. The product is available at The Home Depot and other fine retailers.
LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, more water-saving tips for you, including the best way to save money, water and the environment when you wash your car.
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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. And we’d love for you to be on The Money Pit, so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, everybody is going to get an answer to their home improvement question. But one of you lucky callers is going to get a great set of hammered-copper bathroom accessories from Premier Copper Products.
Now, the winner is going to get a towel ring, a towel bar, a toilet-tissue holder. Really great prizes. And copper is just such a great trend right now in bathrooms. And if you want to just check it out, their website is PremierCopperProducts.com and it’s a prize worth 175 bucks. So give us a call for your chance to win at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, you may have seen storm drains around your neighborhood but you might not think about where all that water goes. Well, the storm water that runs down our streets and parking lots directly and untreated goes into our local streams, rivers and lakes. Runoff from lawn pesticide, leaky car engines and all sorts of other pollutants can find their way into those storm drains and into the local water supply.
So, you might want to do your part to prevent at least some of that pollution by taking your car to the car wash, not washing it yourself. You might think that washing your car at home saves water and money but actually, the opposite is true. Washing your own car at home can waste hundreds of gallons of water and sends detergents right down those storm sewers.
LESLIE: That’s right. As part of our Slow the Flow campaign in partnership with the EPA’s WaterSense program, we’ve learned about the WaterSavers designation from the International Carwash Association.
Now, this is a recognition program of car-wash owner/operators who are using less water, reclaim and/or recycle their water and then discharge the waste to a treatment facility. Now, there are more than 700 WaterSaver members across the country, so you might want to see if you’ve got one in your neck of the woods.
If you want to learn more, visit WashWithWaterSavers.com and you can check out more ways to save water in our online water-saving guide at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lois in New Jersey is dealing with a leaky shower. Tell us about the problem.
LOIS: Well, we recently had our bathrooms updated, not fully gutted. We had a new floor, a toilet and a sink put in. The shower stall was fine, so we did nothing to it. But since they did the renovations, we now have a leak in the shower where the door frame of the shower meets the pan of the shower. It leaks out both sides and into a garage area below.
TOM: OK, is this – what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a tile shower pan?
LOIS: No, no. It’s, I guess, a fiberglass.
TOM: Fiberglass. Alright. Let me tell you how to test your shower pan, because sometimes you can get a crack in them and you can’t see them.
TOM: I want you to take a towel or maybe like one of those rubber jar-opener things and put it across the drain. Block that drain so no water can get through the drain in the bottom of the shower pan.
TOM: Then fill the pan all the way up with water but don’t let it go over the top. Don’t get it to the door, OK? But fill it all the way up and let it sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and see if you can create a leak. If you can create a leak, you’ve got a cracked shower pan, which is not good because you’re going to have to tear the pan out.
LOIS: Can you do that without pulling the tile off the walls?
TOM: But if you have a cracked fiberglass pan, you can repair it with material that you could buy at an auto-parts shop, like a Pep Boys or something like that.
If that doesn’t show any leaks, then we’ve got to start working it up the wall here and what I’d like you to do is to see if you can figure out a way of getting a hose or some sort of a spray arm into that shower space. I mean even if you have to run the hose like through an outside window and into the bathroom with some water on it, where you can start to kind of wet down, strategically, different parts of the door.
Now, don’t overdo it when you try to estimate how much water comes out of the normal shower. But remember, when you’re taking a shower, water hits your body and bounces off in all directions.
TOM: And sometimes that can cause a leak, where you just run the shower straight you never get a leak; you step in there and because water is going off all different places, you get a leak. So you want to kind of strategically work that spray around the shower until you see if you can get it to leak. And you’ve got to really narrow it down and once you do that, you’ll have a better idea as to where the problem is.
And one more thing to check – and it’s kind of silly but make sure that this didn’t happen – if somebody reversed the shower doors, they’re going to leak like crazy.
LOIS: No, they never took it off.
TOM: They never took it off? Because …
TOM: Right. If you think about it, the inside door has to overlap. The door closest to the shower water itself has to overlap the outside door. If it’s the other way around – and you can do it – the water is going to shoot right through the seam of the door.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Alan in Naples, Florida who is dealing with a well-water situation. Tell us what’s going on.
ALAN: I’ve got a salt-based water-softening system for our well water. And we use a combination of citric acid, along with a chlorinating tank, to keep that sulfur smell out of sinks and showers, which works well but unfortunately, as far as the laundry goes, we still seem to have a lingering smell to the clothes. Is there any kind of – or do you know of any kind of system that – or filtration system I can add to the incoming water to the laundry, to the washing machine, that might be able to help?
TOM: So your filtration system is located where now? Is it on the main water valve or not?
ALAN: Well, outside we’ve got it attached to where the water-softening tanks are; we’ve got a water-filtration system out there. As far as the drinking water, I’ve got a separate osmosis system under the sink. But as far as the laundry goes, it’s just directly from the salt-water tanks.
TOM: Alright. So your water softeners are located at the point of entry so, in fact, all the water that goes into the house does go through the softener, correct?
ALAN: Correct, yes.
TOM: And then the drinking water also goes through a reverse-osmosis filter and that’s why you don’t have the odor or – that’s associated with the water that goes through the laundry, because that’s not going through reverse osmosis.
ALAN: Exactly. And as far as the showers and the sinks go, we do add (audio gap) acid to the salts and that helps. And we have a separate chlorinating tank also attached to the salt-water softening system. But it’s still not enough for the washing machine.
TOM: Alan, it sounds to me like the filtration system that you have is just not adequate for dealing with the odor. What happens is you get hydrogen sulfide into the water and you’re not seeing this, obviously, at the faucets because you’ve got reverse osmosis going on for you. But the filtration system that you’re using outside – the salt-based system – it’s just not adequate enough to reduce the odor issue and that’s why it’s kind of getting through there.
So if you want to have fresh-smelling clothes, you’re going to have to upgrade that whole-house filtration system. There are specific filters for hydrogen sulfide that are added.
Do you have a service company that services your filtration system, like a Culligan or something like that?
ALAN: Yeah, we’ve got a private contractor (inaudible at 0:32:57).
TOM: I think you need to address this with your contractor, because you don’t have the right combination of filters to deal with the odor issue.
TOM: And it’s bothering you and obviously, it’s going to have to be dealt with.
ALAN: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, pesky flies pestering you? You know, those nuisance flies can breed any time of year and multiply faster than you can swat them. We’re going to have some tips on where they come from and how you make them go away, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.
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 if you’d like to win a $10,000 dream-room makeover, you should go to Facebook.com/ArrowFastener, “like” the page and enter for your chance to win, because that $10,000 makeover will be offered by Leslie Segrete.
LESLIE: That’s right. You can also head on over to their web page: ArrowDreamRoom.com. A great way to enter. We’re looking for somebody who just needs a makeover of the space and maybe have run out of ideas. Well, we’re here to help and $10,000 can certainly do that for you, so enter today.
TOM: Now let’s take this post from Daniel who says, “Help. We are overrun with flies. There’s no apparent cause – like open trash, food being left out, et cetera – but we get 25 to 30 flies per day, no kidding. Can you suggest a fix or a possible cause for this?”
Well, Daniel, there are four things that you can do to try to cut down on the fly population in your house. The first one is sanitation. You did mention that you don’t have open trash but I mean just a little bit of trash can cause a big problem. So you want to make sure that you cover your garbage regularly, that you clean up any spills, that sort of thing.
The second thing is exclusion, so make sure your screens are in great shape. Make sure the windows and doors are caulked all around. Thirdly is chemicals. Now, if you’ve had a big fly problem, it’s probably a good idea to have a pro come in and spray to keep this population under control.
And fourthly, you might want to consider making a fly trap. You can make one yourself. Not hard to do. You take a jar, you take a plastic bag, cover the top of the jar, press it down so it’s sort of like an inverted funnel with a hole, wrap that with a rubber band so it stays that way and fill the bottom of the gar with about an inch of beer. As that alcohol ferments, it will pull the flies down that funnel, so to speak. They’ll get through the hole, won’t be able to get back out and hopefully, with one or more of those four ways to control the fly populations, you will be swat-free very quickly.
LESLIE: Alright, Daniel. I hope that helps, because having the flies in the house really is no fun. So let’s get rid of them once and for all.
TOM: Well, it’s the busy season for plumbers and why, you might ask? Well, it’s because of an autumn decorating by-product that mysteriously ends up in drains and leads to a lot of clogged pipes. Leslie tells all in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Every Halloween season, American plumbers get the call to repair garbage disposers and kitchen-sink drains that become clogged with, you guessed it, sticky pumpkin pulp and of course, those seeds. Now, the goopy guts that you get when you cut open a pumpkin and create a jack-o’-lantern, unfortunately, they’re ideal for clogging household plumbing and drains.
Now, when that pulp dries up, it turns like super-duper-duper hard. If you’ve ever had any just sitting on the inside of your sink, you know how difficult it is to get off. And once it gets into the pipes and around your disposer blades, it can cause a ton of problems.
So remember, never put your pumpkin guts down the sink or worse, do not – I repeat – do not flush them down the toilet. To guard against Halloween drain disasters, you want to carve your pumpkins on a bed of newspapers, then go ahead and just wrap up that mess and throw all of the pumpkin-related materials into the trash.
But here’s the big tip here, folks: sort out those pumpkin seeds, wash them, put them on a pan, put some salt on them and roast them in the oven. If you’ve never had them, they are delicious. You are throwing away a really tasty snack that is so seasonal. And you can get creative and make spicy ones and garlic ones. So just don’t chuck them; eat those, throw the rest away. And remember, you can compost pumpkin pieces. That really is a terrific item for the compost pile. Get creative, have fun this Halloween season but do not put those guts down the drain.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, it’s time to get ready for spring planting. Yes, we did say spring. Why? Well, it’s time to get those bulbs into the ground now and you’ll have perfect spring blooms later. Wondering how to do that? Well, wonder no more because Roger Cook, the landscaping pro from TV’s This Old House will be by next week to tell us all how.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2011 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.)