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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now. We are here to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. But you’ve got to help yourself first by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Because we kind of live and eat and breathe this stuff and we’re here to help you not be quite as obsessed with your house as perhaps we are, please.

    LESLIE: Which we are.

    TOM: Because we are. But we are here to help you with some of those smaller projects that perhaps are around the house, that you can do yourself or perhaps even a bigger project that maybe you want to hire a contractor to do. We can help you with all that, if you pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, coming up this hour on the program, time is quickly running out to take advantage of those tax credits for making energy-efficient home improvements. There are lots of things that you can do to save money and energy but one of the top projects that you can do quickly and easily is adding insulation. And we’re going to have tips on a brand new way to do just that. It’s a new product; it’s a new system that is out that allows you to completely seal and insulate your home against the cold weather. We’ll have that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And this time of year, you’re probably just about ready to take on that last round of yard work outside of your money pit. But we want to help make sure that you are using all of those tools and the equipment safely. So we’re going to have advice on yard-work safety, from This Old House lawn-and-garden expert, Roger Cook, coming up.

    TOM: And also ahead, big holiday meals mean big holiday messes to clean up, including those stains like the wine, the gravy, the cranberry sauce; it just gets everywhere. We’re going to have some holiday stain-cleaning tips, though, that will help make those stains disappear and we’ll tell you what those are, in just a bit, too.

    LESLIE: And since a lot of us across the United States are starting to feel a little bit on the chilly side, we’ve got a great prize to give away. We’re giving up a SUNHEAT infrared heater and it’s a great way to turn down your thermostat and safely heat only the rooms that you use the most.

    TOM: It’s a great product; it’s a great prize. It’s worth $399. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us this hour at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with their home improvement question.

    Now, you must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us. We’ll toss all of those names in The Money Pit hard hat and one caller will receive that great SUNHEAT infrared heater.

    And by the way, they sent me one of these things, Leslie. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

    LESLIE: Yeah, is it working really well for you?

    TOM: Working well; gorgeous cabinet. Infrared heat is very comfortable, very safe and the cabinet itself, dovetail construction.

    LESLIE: Oh, now nice.

    TOM: I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t seen that kind of construction in a long time and …

    LESLIE: Unless you want to spend gazillions of dollars on fancy furniture.

    TOM: I’m telling you, beautiful product.

    So that’s going to go out to one caller that reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So, let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: We’ve got James in Texas on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you with this project?

    JAMES: Yes. I’m wondering about installing ceramic tile over existing vinyl flooring.

    TOM: OK.

    JAMES: I’ve heard both sides of the argument on that, whether sometimes you have to peel it up and scrape all the paper and sometimes you can go right over the top of it. I just wondered what you all’s opinion was on that.

    TOM: You want to glue the ceramic tile down with tile adhesive?

    JAMES: Yeah, with thin-set.

    TOM: Oh, you can’t go on top of the vinyl. You’re going to have to put an underlayment down first.

    JAMES: OK. It’s concrete floor.

    TOM: Right. But you can’t go on top of the vinyl; it’s not going to stick.

    JAMES: Oh.

    LESLIE: It might even actually cause the vinyl to break down.

    TOM: Yeah. I don’t like that idea at all.

    LESLIE: And then cause the adhesive underneath your ceramic tile to start to move and then as you step on those tiles, those tiles will crack.

    JAMES: Oh, OK. Alright. So I’ll scrape up all the old vinyl and the paper and …

    TOM: And go from there. That’s right. You need to have good adhesion.

    JAMES: OK. Alright. Well, thank you for the answer.

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

    LESLIE: Lil in Arizona is calling in with a patio door question. Tell us what’s going on.

    LIL: Well, actually, it’s not a patio door. It’s a sliding, glass mirror door for a closet.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    LESLIE: Oh, OK.

    LIL: OK. And well I have – I had stored them underneath the bed for about a year and I put them back up and now one of them is cloudy and I can’t get the cloudiness off of it. What do you suggest?

    TOM: Huh. Well, I wonder if the mirror surface is deteriorating because, you know, when the back of the mirror starts to go, that’s what causes that fade to start to form. So it sounds to me like one of the mirrors is deteriorating. If it’s nothing on top of it and it’s looking cloudy, then the mirror material itself is going.

    LIL: Well, the other one – they’re both stored together and they were both stored with a blanket. And I looked at the back side of the mirrored door and I see no bubbles or nothing that would make me think that it is – has deteriorated. I just wondered if there was something on the surface that I could use that might help restore this or …

    TOM: Well, the question is this: is the deterioration – is the cloudiness on the surface or is it underneath? If it’s on the surface, you should be able to clean it with any type of a strong glass cleaner. If it’s underneath – if it’s the mirror material itself that’s breaking down – then you’re not going to be able to clean it, Lil.

    LIL: Alright. Sounds like I need to buy a new mirror.

    LESLIE: And you know what the other thing is, if you see any sort of, in addition to the cloudiness, almost like a brownish or a blackish mark through the mirror, that could be an adhesive issue to where they attached the mirror to the frame, because there’s a certain adhesive that you’re supposed to use for mirrors rather than anything else. And so if they used the wrong thing, that could cause it to break down.

    Have you tried white vinegar at all, just to see if that does anything?

    LIL: I’ve tried white – I’ve tried everything I could possible get a hold of and nothing seems to be clearing up …

    TOM: I think it’s time for a new mirror.

    LIL: OK. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. 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. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, much like that turkey help-line that’s available around this time of year.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: We are here to help you with all of your home improvement emergencies, for this big, upcoming holiday of the turkey day, Thanksgiving. So if we can help you with anything that you need to get your house ready, your kitchen ready, the dining room ready, you give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, an easy weekend project that will save energy, money and qualify for a federal tax credit. We’re going to teach you about a completely new way to seal and insulate your home, in a single step.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    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. And we’d love to hear what you’re working on, so pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement, your repair or your décor questions; even your turkey recipe tips. We are happy to hear them, help you with them, because we want you all to have a very nice holiday season.

    And one lucky caller that we talk to on the show today is going to win the original SUNHEAT Electronic Infrared Zone Heater. Now, it’s a super, highly-effective, portable, supplemental heater which can safely warm up to a 1,000-square-foot room in your home and it’s a great way for you to sort of go over to the thermostat, lower it but still maintain a nice, comfy temperature in the room without spending a ton of money on your energy dollars.

    And it’s only 399, so it’s going to pay for itself in one heating season. And one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win one but you have to call us to be in on it, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. And if you’re not the big winner today, no worries. Head over to their website, Sunheat.com. You can learn a lot about this amazing technology, see these beautiful cabinets and learn how you can save some money this heating season.

    TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number you need to know, to get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning that beautiful, original SUNHEAT electronic zone-heating system.

    Hey, we are all trying harder to be green these days. And despite all the major strides in energy efficiency, homes and buildings use up to 40 percent of the country’s energy resources. That’s a lot and the main use of energy in our homes goes to heating and cooling.

    So, to maximize energy savings and cut down on air infiltration, there is a new system out from Owens Corning that is the first high-performing, affordable, whole-home insulation and air-sealing system. And it’s really important because air leakage is a major source of wasted energy in everyone’s home.

    Now, the new EnergyComplete System reduces air infiltration by up to 70 percent. It controls the amount of air that needs to be heated or cold and it keeps the room-to-room temperatures very consistent.

    LESLIE: Yeah and you know what? This is a great way where you can cut down your heating and your cooling bills and you can actually save up to a third with the EnergyComplete System.

    Now, let me tell you a little bit about how this works. What it is, it’s a foam-based, flexible-seal technology and you can use it with blown-in or batt insulation. So it’s great for additions or renovations but you can use it in existing areas of your home, too, which is great because sometimes you can’t, based on whether you’re a new build or modifying something.

    And you’re also going to get the added bonus of noise reduction, defense against pests and less moisture for mold to feed off of.

    TOM: And if you think that your home is fine, you might want to consider that 80 million Americans just don’t have enough insulation. So, to find out where the air leaks may exist in your house and to learn more about Owens Corning EnergyComplete System, you can visit their website, which is OCEnergyComplete.com/Homeowners. Again, that’s OCEnergyComplete.com/Homeowners.

    And don’t forget, this and other energy-efficient home improvements will still qualify for the federal energy tax credits. You’ve only got about six weeks left now, so get it done now. This is a really important improvement to make that’s going to deliver a lot of benefit to you over a lot of years.

    LESLIE: Debbie in Florida is calling in with an electrical question. What can we do for you?

    DEBBIE: I have several ceiling fans in my home and when – they all have the attached bulbs for the light.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: And when I turn the ceiling fan off with the remote, it stops the fan but the bulbs, at nighttime, unless you – they just constantly flicker, flicker, flicker, flicker. And unless you turn off the wall switch, then you can’t use your ceiling fan, of course. And I was wondering if you knew how to fix that.

    TOM: Hmm. Sounds to me like it’s still getting power and it shouldn’t be doing that. Are all the fans of the same – made by the same manufacturer?

    DEBBIE: Yes.

    TOM: Well why don’t you contact the manufacturer?

    DEBBIE: That would be a good idea. That’s a great idea.

    TOM: Because I don’t think – what you’re describing is not normal behavior and there may be a core defect that’s affecting all of these fans. But if you have it turned off and it’s not going off, then something’s wrong with the circuit. And when I say circuit, I mean internal; I don’t mean external.

    LESLIE: Like in the light fixture itself.

    TOM: I mean the light fixture itself.

    DEBBIE: Yeah, well, the only way I can stop it is just to turn the switch off.

    TOM: Right. Because then you know positively that you have no power going to it and hence it’s not going to flicker. But when you do have power going to it, it does flicker and it’s not supposed to do that. So, I would contact the manufacturer and take it from there.

    DEBBIE: OK. Well, I appreciate that. Thank you very much. I didn’t even consider that but thank you for your knowledge. I appreciate it.

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

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

    BOB: What I have is I have a gable roof that is going into an existing roof, that is going into another gable of the new building. And I know – want to know how to flash it where the roof line meets the new gable.

    TOM: Yeah. And so any time you have an intersecting roof section like that, there’s a couple of ways to flash it but the best thing is there’s a product from Grace, which is a flexible flashing material. And you would put down Ice & Water Shield and then you would put the flashing material on top of that and then you would roof over that.

    BOB: Well, now, on this existing building, I wasn’t going to put a new roof.

    TOM: Well, what you have to do is you’re going to have to pull up a few shingles to make the intersection then.

    BOB: OK. So how far back do I need to go back on those – on the old shingles?

    TOM: About 3 feet; 2 to 3 feet.

    BOB: OK.

    TOM: Because you want to make sure that you get that intersection done just right.

    BOB: Alright. I think – and how tall is the flashing itself that goes up against the gable?

    TOM: The flashing itself – you know, it can kind of work its way up the wall, so it can go up about 12 inches.

    BOB: OK. Well I think that’ll work then.

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

    LESLIE: Henry in New York is calling in with a grout question. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    HENRY: Well, I have a building that was built in 1898 and it has some of the grout – well, the mortar between the bricks – that I noticed that were very crumbly.

    TOM: OK. That’s pretty typical.

    HENRY: Yeah, I would think so. Probably they didn’t have very good cement in those days.

    TOM: Well, it’s 100 years old, you know.

    HENRY: Yep.

    TOM: I expect by the time that we all get to be 100, we’ll be kind of crumbly ourself.

    HENRY: Yes. What I was wondering is how deep do I go and take that out? What if it’s crumbly all the way to the whole thickness of the brick?

    TOM: Yeah, probably won’t be but you’re going to go in about half of the distance on the brick and repoint it.

    HENRY: OK.

    TOM: And that’s not an unusual project. And there are special masonry trowels for this that are very narrow and allow you to press the new mortar mix right in there.

    HENRY: Uh-huh. And that would be like a slick whatever-they-call-it?

    TOM: Mortar; a mortar mix.

    HENRY: Yeah, mortar mix. Yes, OK.

    Now, someone told me that I should just use Portland cement and sand and omit the lime because the lime will draw in moisture.

    TOM: I don’t know. I’ve never heard that.

    HENRY: No?

    TOM: No and I think the lime makes it a lot easier to handle the product, too.

    HENRY: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Yeah.

    HENRY: Let’s say I have several rows that are crumbly like that.

    TOM: Right.

    HENRY: Should I work from the bottom up or for the – from the top down?

    TOM: I mean you probably could do it all at once. It’s just several rows; that’s not that much.

    HENRY: Oh, OK. That sounds great.

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

    LESLIE: Louella in Oregon needs some help with attic insulation. Tell us what you’re thinking about using.
    LOUELLA: Oh, I don’t know. That’s the reason I’m calling you; I don’t know what to use.
    LESLIE: Alright, how can we help?
    TOM: Alright, how can we help you and what are you considering?
    LOUELLA: Well, my east roof is made of – if it were made of glass, this time of year, with all those fall-colored leaves, one could see a giant Scotch Tartan muffler from – of russet green and gold – stretched from Canada to Mexico for as far as eyes can behold.
    TOM: OK. Alright.
    LOUELLA: But how do I divorce the intense heat of summer and the cold of winter? Everything up there now is the back side of the roof. You can’t see that beautiful view and I want to know how to make it into glass.
    TOM: Yeah. Now, is this roof over an attic? So do you have space for insulation?
    LOUELLA: It’s in an attic.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
    LOUELLA: But that would block out my view, wouldn’t it?
    TOM: Well, what are you seeing now? You’re talking about installing some skylights? Is that what you’d like to do?
    LOUELLA: Well, I just want to be able to see that view and all I can see now is the back side of a bunch of boards.
    TOM: Alright, well – alright, so here’s what you need to do. You need to install skylights and you have lots of options with skylights. We would recommend that you use a curbed skylight and that means that it sits up off the roof by about four inches. It’s easier to make it watertight.
    And once you put that in, then you have to build what’s called a well – which is sort of a light shaft that goes from the skylight through to the ceiling – and then that’s all covered with drywall. So when you’re done, you can look up and you can look out. And depending on the angle of your roof, sometimes if you have a very steep roof, you put in something called a roof window where you can actually even open it up. So that’s an option.
    While you’re working up in there, though, I would make sure that you add some insulation because that’s what’s going to keep the rest of that hot, radiant heat coming through the roof from getting down into your house and warming it up in the summer. And the skylight that you put in, it should be – have low-e glass; high-performance glass that actually reflects the heat of the sun back out. If you do that, you can have your view, you can watch your birds and you can stay cool in the summer.
    Louella, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, you’ve probably got one last good weekend of outdoor chores before you’ve got to put away that leaf blower, the rake and that pruner for good. So up next, we’re going to remind you about yard work safety from Roger Cook and he’s the lawn-and-garden expert from This Old House.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you by Trewax All-Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner. Since 1935, Trewax products have set the standard for quality floor care with a line of waxes, sealers and cleaning projects.

    We’ll be back with Roger Cook from This Old House, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by SnowBlowersDirect.com. Thinking about getting a snow blower? Check out SnowBlowersDirect.com’s interactive buying guides, recommendations and customer reviews. Snow blower experts are available to help you pick the perfect snow blower. Visit SnowBlowersDirect.com.

    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 with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here to help you get the job done, whether you’re going to do it yourself or hire a pro to help you. We can help you first by sort of getting it all worked out, getting all he predecisions made, figuring out what kind of materials you’re going to need, what you do first, what you do second. Call us and let’s talk about that project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    And Leslie, it’s a good thing that my mom called me this weekend about her home improvement project like, you know, so many of us.

    LESLIE: Yeah. What’s she working on?

    TOM: Trying to get her house ready for the holidays.


    TOM: And she reads these ads in the papers and these guys that work the retirement communities, they call themselves “grout mechanics” or something like that and they’re going to come and fix up all the grout. So she’s …

    LESLIE: Is there a badge that goes along with that?

    TOM: Yeah, apparently. So, she’s got little, tiny sections of grout that are missing in a couple of her bathrooms. The guy comes in and says, “Well, I could patch it but it’s never going to stick and the water’s going to get behind it and it’s going to rot your wall out,” and it was just like a big, fat lie.

    So he’s trying to up-sell her to now he wants to remove all the grout and regrout the whole thing, because that’s the right way to do it. And then he gives her a price of about 450 bucks for – per bathroom for two bathrooms – but he’s going to discount that down to about, I guess, $600 right there on the spot.

    LESLIE: If she just decides right then and there.

    TOM: Yeah, right then and there. She says, “I don’t do anything without my son’s advice first.” Good for her, so she says that …

    LESLIE: And they’re like, “And who’s your son?”

    TOM: Right. No, we didn’t get into that part but then a couple hours later, he calls her back. He says, “Well, I’ve got a hole in my schedule next week. I just had a cancellation. So if you take it on this date,” he was going to give her another 100 bucks off. I mean come on, you know? You can’t – you’ve got to be so careful because these guys are everywhere and obviously complete crap what he was trying to sell her and she needed none of that.

    LESLIE: And expensive.

    TOM: She needed a minor, minor grout repair; trying to turn it into a big project at hundreds and hundreds of dollars of cost. So be very, very careful when you have a contractor that uses any kind of panic-peddling technique in their sales pitch, you know?

    LESLIE: Who seems too enthusiastic.

    TOM: Yeah. Whenever they say that it’s got to be done right away or some evil will befall you, usually the evil is what’s going to fall out of your wallet; all the money you’re going to lose. So, be very, very careful.

    Alright, so there you go, even if it happens to us, too, folks. 888-666-3974. Maybe you’ve got a contractor story like that. Call us; let’s talk about it.

    LESLIE: Well, working in your yard can be a wonderful opportunity for exercise in the pursuit of a beautiful lawn or garden.

    TOM: Ah, yes. But it can also be an opportunity for backaches and unplanned visits to the emergency room if you are not careful. Here with some tips on how to stay safe while working in the great outdoors is Roger Cook, the landscaping expert from TV’s This Old House.

    And Roger, this is the kind of project that you don’t do all the time and when you do do it, you finally get a lot of energy up and a lot of excitement, you want to dive right in but man, you can get hurt awfully quick, can’t you?

    ROGER: Well, there are dangerous parts to it, Tom. You have to assess it before you do it, I guess, is the way to look at it.

    TOM: So where are the most common places that people get hurt doing yard work?

    ROGER: Well, usually going out the door when they trip over the stoop and fall down.

    The biggest complaint, to start with, is sore muscles and blisters, OK? If you haven’t done this for a long period of time, then you should really think about stretching a little bit before you go to do the work or doing a little over a period of time.

    The other thing is wear gloves. A lot of people don’t have that beat-up, callous hands that I have. And once you get blisters, boy, that’ll put a real damper on the whole day.

    LESLIE: And do you think it’s also an unfamiliarity with some of the tools, because you’re not using them that often? Is it good to really read manuals if you’ve got them and familiarize yourself?

    ROGER: Readapt yourself every year you go out and you go to do something and it’s like, “Oh, yeah, I kind of remember how to do this.” But it takes five minutes to read a manual and pick up all the safety tips you need.

    TOM: Now let’s talk about lawnmower safety, in particular. I mean that’s a – certainly can be a very relaxing thing to do on a Saturday afternoon but as those blades are spinning around, you’re throwing a lot of debris with it, too.

    ROGER: Right. And you always want to have either a bag or they make a chute deflector on a mower. Never take the chute deflector off, because that keeps those things from flying out of the chute. That sounds pretty good: flying out of the chute.

    TOM: That’s why it’s called a chute deflector.

    ROGER: Deflector. But it’s very, very important. I’ve seen windows broken; I’ve seen dents in cars from things being thrown out. But you’ve got to imagine that the power coming out of that is incredible. I’ve seen people cutting their lawns in bare feet and shorts and it like scares the living daylights out of me.

    TOM: Wow.

    ROGER: Please, when you’re using something like a lawnmower, work boots, long pants, gloves, eye and ear protection; they’re all good things.

    TOM: And keep your kids away and whatever you do, don’t put them on the mower. I cannot believe how many people do that; it is just so, so dumb.

    ROGER: Right. And you watch the kid push down on the handles to make it turn and then it’s going and the blades are going and every – please, no.

    LESLIE: Now what about – so many of us have to use pesticides or certain chemicals to control situations in the yard. I imagine there’s a whole host of safety issues there.

    ROGER: It’s the classic case of minimize what you use is the greatest thing you can use. So use some organic things where you can get control; then you have to use your pesticides and insecticides. But when you do, number one, use the proper protection: even a breathing apparatus and glasses; long pants, again, so you don’t absorb it; and sometimes rubber glove.

    But the biggest thing is storage. You want to put that someplace that you’re the only one to get at; either under lock and key or up high enough that no kid could ever grab it.

    TOM: And most of us or very many of us who just, say, that have garages will store our lawn equipment and our lawn chemicals there. And I think what many people don’t realize is that’s the one place in your house where toys and toxins are almost side by side.

    ROGER: Right. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it?

    TOM: It really is.

    ROGER: One mistake either way and disaster.

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE: Oh, this soccer ball, it’s right next to that chemical pesticide. Go for it.

    ROGER: Right. No, that’s alright. You go get it.

    TOM: Now what about string trimmers? That’s a pretty popular tool to have. See a lot of homeowners using it; the trimmers and the edgers. What kind of mistakes do people make with those?

    ROGER: Again, eye and ear protection is a must. I’ve seen even commercial guys out trimming without that and I’ll stop and yell at them at the side of the road and say, “What are you, crazy?” It takes so little for you to lose an eye. One little pebble coming up and that could be it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the other thing that I think a lot of people get excited to use in the yard has got to be a chainsaw. But I think about one and suddenly I have visions of Friday the 13th, the movie, with hockey masks and screaming; crazy messes. How do you safely use one if you don’t use one all the time?

    ROGER: Again, read the directions. Don’t overestimate what you can do with a saw. A lot of people go out and take a tree that’s huge and try to cut it down or cut it up with a little, tiny saw and it won’t do the job and then you start pushing really hard to make it go and it kicks back and it cuts you.

    The one thing I will tell you is I use chainsaws a lot. Every day, before I start a chainsaw, I say, “This piece of equipment can kill you,” and that rationale helps me get through the day. The other thing I would tell you that when you use a chainsaw, as the day goes on, you get tired.

    LESLIE: Well and you become complacent; you just feel like it’s repetitive.

    ROGER: Right. And that …

    TOM: And the blade gets dull.

    ROGER: Well, yeah. The blade getting dull isn’t as critical as not being in proper position when you’re cutting.

    TOM: OK.

    ROGER: Because you’re tired, you start reaching and doing things that you wouldn’t do, instead of positioning your body in the right spot.

    TOM: Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    And for more tips on how to work safely around your home, you want to visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    And Leslie, there’s also a great photo gallery there called “11 Ways Yard Work Can Kill, Maim or Blind You.”

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I know it’s a funny title but it’s a really, really important topic, so make sure you check it out. And of course, you can watch Roger and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House, on your local PBS station.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    Up next, looking forward to turkey with all the trimmings but maybe not so much the cleanup? We’ve got your stain-removal tips to take some of the work out of that post-Thanksgiving laundry, coming up.

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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: And you should give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your home décor question; perhaps you have your repair question. Because one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the original SUNHEAT Electronic Infrared Zone Heater. This is one of the best prizes we’ve given away in months and I say so because I have one of these and it’s great. And we use it in our kitchen and it keeps us nice and toasty warm. It’s a very …

    LESLIE: Yeah and your kitchen is like that problematic heating room, isn’t it?

    TOM: It does, because my kitchen is sort of stuck off from the rest of the old house and it’s always been difficult to heat it and cool it. But now we use the SUNHEAT in it and it’s just perfect. It’s an electronic …

    LESLIE: Bet you’re going to save a ton of money this year.

    TOM: Oh, absolutely. Because we’re always overheating the rest of the house, because we need to move the heat into the kitchen and it doesn’t want to stay there.

    LESLIE: Just to compensate.

    TOM: So, yeah, it’s called zone heating. We turn down the heat in the rest of the house but only keep the heat up sort of in the area that you’re spending most of your time in, which is like your kitchen or your family room or your living room, whatever.

    And this original SUNHEAT is an electronic, infrared zone heater. It’s very portable, it’s very effective and it’ll actually warm to about 1,000 square feet. So, great way to save some money and enjoy some heat at the same time. Worth $399; it’ll pay for itself in one heating season. But if you have a home improvement question, you can call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you may just win it.

    LESLIE: Well, all this talk about heating and kitchens is getting me all toasty and cozy and thinking about Thanksgiving. And you know what? We are absolutely soon going to be sitting down to a meal of turkey with all of the fixings. And that meal? It’s fantastic; it’s absolutely my most favorite meal in a lifetime. If somebody said, “What’s your favorite meal,” I would say Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, having to cook it for hours and hours and hours doesn’t really make you want to eat it that much. But the next day is amazing to have Thanksgiving food.

    Well, if you’re the cooker of the meal, you know that the cleanup is kind of a big, giant pain in the rear end, especially with all of those food stains that get all over the tablecloth, the napkins, maybe even your clothing, maybe even on your upholstered furnishings. So if you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips on treating those holiday stains.

    So if you’ve got stains from proteins, say, like ice cream or eggs, first you want to dab the stain with a dry sponge. Then you soak the stain in cold water and what you want to do is agitate the fabric between your fingers and then wash it with a detergent that contains enzymes. And it’s going to say so on the back of the container.

    And the cold water is important when you’re getting rid of protein stains, because if you use hot water or the dryer before the stain is totally worked out, it’s going to set that stain in permanently and you will never get it out of there.

    TOM: Now, for a tannin-based stain – and that would be like a red wine or a coffee stain – you want to blot up any extra liquid, then wash it with a detergent in hot water. Never use dish soap to get rid of tannin stains because they will become permanent. Oil-based stains like salad dressing can also be sprinkled with a talcum powder or baking soda to help absorb it. And you want to use a solvent-based stain remover and then wash it off in hot water if the fabric allows.

    So hopefully, you won’t have any incidents that require those stain-removal tricks of the trade but if you do, at least now you are prepared. Let’s see if we can prepare you to tackle your next home improvement project. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Wendell in Michigan needs some help with, actually, a heating idea: blowers to a fireplace. Good idea or bad? Welcome, Wendell.
    WENDELL: Well, I’ve got a Heatilator fireplace that vents outside the wall.
    TOM: OK.
    WENDELL: And don’t have a blower. It puts out a lot of heat. My question is, is there going to be any advantage to putting in a blower in addition to just letting it thermosiphon?
    TOM: Well, if it feels like it’s delivering plenty heat right now, I don’t know that adding a blower is going to make that much difference to it. It’s going to be an expense to buy it, to install it and to run it.
    LESLIE: To run it, they all run off of electricity, correct?
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep, absolutely. And they’re also a little bit noisy sometimes. So if you’ve got a good, natural, convective loop – it’s working well within the room – I don’t think I would add a blower to that.
    WENDELL: Yeah, I was kind of feeling that way and so I’m glad you confirmed it.
    TOM: Our pleasure, Wendell. Anytime you need somebody to agree with you, you just call The Money Pit; we’ll help you out.
    WENDELL: OK, thanks. Thanks a lot.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, making-over the garage is often the last frontier in home improvement but a simple project like redoing your garage floor with epoxy paint can deliver dramatic results. We’re going to have tips on how to make sure that project goes smoothly, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers. Choose the brand that pros trust most: Bostitch. Available at Lowe’s and other retailers.

    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 head on over to MoneyPit.com. We’ve got a great section there all about weekend project ideas. And I know the last thing that you need is somebody telling you what to do, go around; you’ve got your wife to do that. Oops, did I say that? It’s true. We know your spouses nag you. Husbands, wives, we all do it.

    But this here is really advice that you can actually use. We’re going to break everything down for you each month so that you know exactly what to do to keep your home running smoothly and uphold its value; you know, lots of good projects that are really worthwhile. And you can find your November and December weekend tips at MoneyPit.com right now, so you can put them right into your calendar.

    TOM: And while you’re on MoneyPit.com, you can head on over to our Community section and post a question, just like Joe did. And Joe says, “I painted my garage floor with an epoxy garage paint. For two years, everything was just fine. This summer, my car developed a very slow gas leak.” Well, that can’t be good. “And in the spot where the gasoline pooled, it ate through the paint and some of the concrete.” Wow.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: I wonder what kind of gas he’s using. “What can I fill and seal that soft area with so that I can recoat it?”

    Well, alright, first of all, obviously …

    LESLIE: Did I mention that my car is from Back to the Future and it’s a plutonium-based Lamborghini.

    TOM: Yeah, apparently. Apparently.

    LESLIE: A DeLorean, rather.

    TOM: First of all, fix the gas leak and secondly, what you can patch it with – you want to clean it very good. I would use a TSP – a trisodium phosphate solution – to scrub that area; make sure you’re getting as much of the old fumes and oils out of that …

    LESLIE: Is there anything he has to do to treat the area of concrete that it sort of ate through?

    TOM: Nah.

    LESLIE: Perhaps if it leeched into the ground or anything?

    TOM: No, because I would just clean it really well and then let it dry really well for a few days. And then what you want to do is use an epoxy patching compound, because that’ll stick to it; not the epoxy paint but an epoxy patch compound. And then once that dries, then you can repaint the entire garage floor with another layer of epoxy …

    LESLIE: Yeah, you can’t just patch it, right? With the paint, rather.

    TOM: No. Nope.

    LESLIE: You can’t just paint that one area.

    TOM: No, you’ve got to rebuild the deteriorated section of flooring.

    LESLIE: OK. Alright, Joe, I know that’s going to help you out.

    Now we’ve got an e-mail here from Jim who writes: “I live in a ranch home built in the 50s with one-and-a-half baths. The water level in the main toilet bowl is low. The tank fills fully and flushes well but the bowl only refills about 30 percent. We also have some slow drains in the shower and the sink in the same bathroom. Is it a venting issue? A partial clog? Do I need a plumber?”

    TOM: I would just replace the fill valves and the flush valves. You know, it doesn’t matter what goes wrong with your toilet. For about 20 bucks, you can buy all the parts you need to replace them; pretty much rebuild the middle of it.

    I suspect that the fill valve is not set correctly and you’re not putting enough water in. But why not just change the fill valve, change the flush valve? They do break down; they’ve got to be replaced every couple of years anyway and that’s the easy way to fix that, Jim.

    LESLIE: And what about the slow drains in the shower and the sink, being that they’re in the same bath?

    TOM: Not connected.

    LESLIE: No, not at all?

    TOM: I don’t think so. No.

    LESLIE: Alright. Richard in Alaska writes: “I live in Alaska and am interested in a tankless water heater. The house has two baths. Our water comes into the house at 40 degrees. Is the water coming into the house too cold to use a tankless?”

    TOM: No, absolutely not. Tankless units can work, because they basically take water from near-freezing and then bring it right up to temperature. They’re designed to do that. They use a lot of gas for a very little amount of time to heat that water up and that’s what makes them so darn efficient, so you shouldn’t have any concerns about using a tankless water heater on 40-degree water that’s coming into your house, Richard. I think it’ll be just fine.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. My goodness, that is a chilly, chilly shower if you did not have a water heater, Richard. I dare you to take a 40-degree shower and then write us a note when you stop shivering. And enjoy your new tankless. Don’t forget about your energy credits.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that your Thanksgiving plans or holiday plans are well underway. If at any time, though, you have a home improvement question that comes to mind – one that must get done – pick up the phone and call us any time of the day or night at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we will call you back the next time we are in the studio.

    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 2010 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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