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How to Install an Under Sink Water Filter, How to Keep Weeds from Overtaking Your Lawn and Garden, Pro Advice on Your DIY Painting Project and more

  • Transcript

    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 transform your home from money pit to palace. I mean to us, the money pit is a term of endearment. We love our money pits but they need some care and feeding. And we’re here to teach you how to do just that. So pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us with your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s program, are you a family that really enjoys bottled water? I bet you don’t enjoy the cost associated with it. We’re going to have tips this hour on how to install an under-sink water filter. That’s a great way to enjoy good-quality water at home without the expense of buying it at the store.

    LESLIE: Plus, have weeds taken over your lawn and garden? Well, we’ve got tips to help you get a handle on those weeds so they’ll stop growing, well, like weeds.

    TOM: And hey, did you start out as an avid do-it-yourselfer but now have officially graduated to pro? If so, we’re going to tell you about a nationwide Home Depot event that’s really designed to say “thank you” to all of the pros who frequent the stores across the country and show you how you can benefit from a new, exclusive loyalty program they’re running.

    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize to give away. We’ve got a Bostitch 3-Tool Compressor Combo Kit. Now, it comes with a finish nailer, a brad nailer and a crown stapler and it’s a prize worth 279 bucks.

    TOM: Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question, so let’s get to it. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Lauren in Florida is on the line with a lead-paint question. How can we help you today?

    LAUREN: Hi. My husband and I are remodeling a 1907 home that’s been vacant for multiple years, so there’s lots of damage. A lot of the paint is chipping off the windows. There is – on the beadboard and wainscoting, a lot of the paint’s chipping off. And someone has gone in and put sheetrock mud to texture over the original plaster walls, so some of that’s chipping off. And we’ve got three young children, so we need to repaint this house and fix it but we’re really concerned about the lead-paint issue.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Understandably so. And your house is in the timeframe where you do need to be concerned about lead paint.

    Now, we had an issue when we put central air conditioning in the house when my son was six months old – you know, when he was little, I didn’t think that – any concern. And they did a great job. They were very tidy; they contained all the dust. But something must have gotten on something and when we had gone for his next exam, he had elevated lead levels probably from some dust getting on a toy and then the toy going in his mouth, anything. Anyway, it turned out after we did the next blood work, his levels went back to normal, so we were really not concerned at that point. But it is a very scary issue.

    Now, I’m not sure, nationwide, what the rules are – and maybe Tom can speak better on this – but in New York, when you are fairly certain that you’ve got lead paint or the timeframe sort of dates it that way, you have to work with a painter or a contractor who’s certified in sort of lead-paint containment, if you will. Because even if you have it on a window frame and you’re opening and closing that window, you’re creating little specks of lead dust that are getting into the air. And with small children, you do need to be concerned.

    So you do need to make sure that, if you can, that this is done by a pro. There’s nothing that regulates when a homeowner does it themselves but knowing that you probably have lead paint and with small children in the home, I would just have a pro do it. And you want to make sure that things are taped off and really sealed up and cleaned very thoroughly. There are specific rules, I know, in New York State that allow for a contractor to be certified. And that’s something you really want to look for.

    TOM: Yeah. And especially because the paint is flaking in deteriorated condition right now, that’s the highest risk for this, Lauren. So you’re wise to proceed very cautiously and make sure that the contractor that you’re working with is certified as a lead professional.

    LAUREN: Alright. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Lauren. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Damian in Iowa on the line who’s got a mystery noise in the bathroom. Tell us about it.

    DAMIAN: Bought a new house beginning of April and it’s my second house I’ve owned. And in my master bedroom, in the closet – master closet and the master bath – it’s just some weird, like clicking/ticking noises in the walls.

    TOM: Does that happen when you run water, Damian?

    DAMIAN: That does but that’s mainly – I think my plumbing’s in the flooring. And I don’t think this is a plumbing issue.

    TOM: So if it happens consistent with running the water or turning the water on/off, it’s almost always the pipes expanding and contracting. If the pipes are rubbing against the wall as it expands or contracts, it will make that clicking sound and then that clicking sound will resonate. So, it could be originating in the floor and you might hear it in the wall and so on. Sometimes it sounds like a drip, sometimes it sounds like a click. But in a bathroom area, that’s the – almost exclusively the reason that that sound occurs.

    DAMIAN: Here’s my thing. It happens in the closet and it happens for hours at a time when the plumbing’s not even being used.

    TOM: OK. Well, it still could be expansion and contraction.

    DAMIAN: Could it be because – I’m kind of facing the west side and it happens in the afternoon. Do you think the sun has anything to do with it? Stuff heating up in the walls or …?

    TOM: It may very well because when you’re heating things up, then you’re going to get expansion.

    DAMIAN: OK. Yeah, I’m just glad you said – I used to own a brick house and this one’s steel siding, so I never used to hear those kinds of sounds.

    TOM: Oh, well, see, yeah, the expansion and the contraction of the siding is very noisy, too.

    DAMIAN: Oh, could that be it then?

    TOM: Yeah, it could be, absolutely.

    DAMIAN: I’ve gotten to the point where I almost want to take a hammer to my drywall and see what’s going on in there.

    TOM: I think you’d be chasing it for a long time and probably never exactly find the point. But it’s pretty typical and I wouldn’t worry about it. OK, Damian?

    DAMIAN: Alright. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, guys.

    TOM: Alright. Try to get some sleep. 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.

    Well, the unofficial end of summer is just around the corner, with Labor Day and the kids all going back to school. So what are you working on at your money pit to sort of get things wrapped up before the cool weather sets in? Give us a call. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to lend you a hand at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are the weeds in your yard out of control? We’ll show you the green way to make those weeds go away, next.

    MIKE: Hey, this is Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and I’ve just been told that Tom and Leslie might have a dirtier job than me? I find that hard to believe but then I heard they worked in a pit. It’s a money pit but it’s still filthy.

    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 the number to get Team Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one of you lucky callers who gets on the air with us this hour is really going to win a very exciting prize pack. We’ve got up for grabs a 3-Tool Compressor Combo Kit from Bostitch. Now, it’s lighter and more compact than other compressors, so it’s really easy to carry around. And it’s got 90 PSIs of power for nailing and stapling. And of course, it’s got a Bostitch high-efficiency motor for easy start-up, especially in the cooler weather right around the corner.

    TOM: Yeah. This tool is great for dozens of projects, I mean if you’re doing crown molding, baseboard molding, cabinetry, insulation. All those sorts of projects go so much easier when using air tools and a Bostitch compressor.

    So, the Bostitch 3-Tool Compressor Kit is actually worth $279 but it’s going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s program. So pick up the phone and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania is on the line and has a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?

    JOHN: We’re about to become homeowners and we need to rip up some carpet. And we want to install hardwood flooring. We were curious how far you have to leave it away from your new floor – away from the wall.

    TOM: Is it prefinished hardwood, John?

    JOHN: Yeah, it’s all finished. Yep.

    TOM: OK, well, that’s great. Now, I would recommend probably around ½-inch.

    JOHN: OK.

    TOM: You want to make it so that a piece of baseboard molding plus shoe molding will cover it. So, between baseboard and shoe molding, you’ve probably got about an inch to an inch-and-a-quarter of overlap, so to speak. So generally about a ½-inch will work.

    Most of the flooring manufacturers will give you specific advice on what the gap should be but I’d say generally about a ½-inch is fine. And remember, that’s a ½-inch away from the drywall. Because even – you have space under the drywall, as well as another ½-inch. That should give you plenty of room for expansion and contraction.

    JOHN: OK. And then the other question was: when we get the new floors delivered, they said you have to leave it a certain amount of time before we install it to get, I guess, acclimated to our weather?

    TOM: Yeah, you want to acclimate it to the space that it’s going to be in. Because if it comes really cold, for example, it’s going to kind of shrink and then if it expands, it could buckle up. So you want to just put it in the room that you’re going to install it in and leave it there for a good couple of days to acclimate.

    JOHN: OK, great.

    TOM: Good luck with that project. It’s very exciting. This is your first house?

    JOHN: Yeah, yeah. First house, yep.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck and call us anytime, Dan, if we can help.

    JOHN: Appreciate it. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Connie in Arizona is on the line with a leaky roof. How can we help you today?

    CONNIE: Yes. I have a Pro-Panel roof. And it has started – I live in Arizona, so we don’t get a lot of rain. But when we do, it rains really hard. And I have a leak and I cannot find where it’s coming from on the roof because it’s all Pro-Panel and there’s no vents around where it’s leaking out of. But it runs down [an eave] (ph) and leaks in my kitchen and I cannot find …

    TOM: So, what you want you want to do in a situation like that, where you’re not really sure why it’s leaking or where it’s leaking, is you can get up there or a contractor, obviously, can get up there with a hose – a garden hose. And start on one end and then very slowly work away – work across the roof until you find the area where the leak exists. And then once you identify that, you can get that roof taken apart in that particular area and then resealed.

    With a metal roof, it’s very frequently a fastener that comes through the roof that needs to be sealed. And the other approach is to simply reseal all the fasteners that are in the area of the leak and sooner or later, you’re going to get to the bottom of it.

    OK, Connie? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Well, like it or not, weeds play an important role in our ecosystem because they colonize bare soil and they prevent erosion. But when they interfere with your gardening plans, there are actually environmentally-friendly ways to get rid of them.

    LESLIE: Now, weeds will be the first plants to show up in bare soil, so cover bare ground with plantings or organic mulch. Now is the perfect time to give your yard and garden a treatment of corn gluten meal. These super-tiny granules will prevent weeds from sprouting and you can spread them again in the fall for early protection against next spring’s weed growth.

    TOM: Now, for pesky, established weeds that are, say, between sidewalk cracks or paver-brick patios, you want to turn to horticultural vinegar. That’s going to do the trick. And for younger weeds, you can make them disappear very simply with a mixture of household vinegar and lemon juice. It’s as easy as that. With a few, simple green products, you can make that weed problem go away.

    Hey, if you’ve got a home improvement problem you’d like to make go away, pick up the phone and call us and we’ll see what we can do to help you out. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

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

    BILL: We put a deck on the back of our house. It was with pretreated wood. Stained it with deck and – transparent deck stain. Turned out the color was not what my wife expected. We tolerated it for a few months and then she said, “I don’t like this. So, let’s paint it or let’s do something.” So we went back to the place where we got the paint.

    And they gave us a paint that was not a real pink paint but he said it will go ahead and just cover that blue. So I said, “OK,” painted it. And it was satisfactory and then decided more – decided to put a rug out on half of it so that it would match the paint in the house and so forth. So, left this for a year and sure enough, when you pull the rug up, the paint – some of the paint peeled off, which I understand because of the moisture in that. But other parts of the deck are starting to peel off now. And I’m wondering what I should do to go and repaint it or rough the – sand the deck down or something. But it won’t work.

    TOM: Well, here’s the thing: you can’t put good paint over bad paint.

    BILL: Right.

    TOM: So, if the paint layer is separating and delaminating, you have to strip it. So you absolutely, positively have to strip this deck with a good-quality wood stripper. Get it down to the wood and then go back up from there.

    I would recommend that you not paint but use solid-color stain next time. That’s going to give you long-term protection of the deck. And it’s not the kind of material that will generally peel, either. So I would strip it down and then use a solid-color stain to get to the color that you want it to be. OK?

    BILL: We’ll give it a try. Hey, thank you very much.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck, Bill. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Judy in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    JUDY: I’m in a house that my father built back in 1990.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And while they lived there, they experienced black spots coming through on the drywall.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: And they called in a painter; a painter came in. He went over everything with KILZ first and painted it. Well, since then, they’ve both passed away and so I purchased the house.

    TOM: Right.

    JUDY: I had a friend take a look up in the attic and he told me, “Oh, I can’t believe that your father wrapped all this in plastic. Your house can’t breathe. We need to get up here and slice this plastic, let the house breathe and you won’t get any more of these black spots.”

    TOM: So does he think the black spots are mold?

    JUDY: I don’t know.

    LESLIE: And what room were you seeing it in?

    JUDY: Every different room. Yeah.

    TOM: OK.

    JUDY: It’s almost like it’s the nail heads are getting wet or something.

    TOM: OK. So, up in the attic – let’s talk about that area. And you say he wrapped it in plastic. What exactly are you seeing?

    JUDY: Well, I didn’t; I haven’t been up there.

    TOM: Oh, your friend saw it.

    JUDY: My neighbor went up.

    TOM: Alright. Well, look, when it comes to vapor barrier, here’s the rule: the vapor barrier goes towards the heated side of the house. So a common mistake, for example, up in attics, is to put the insulation in backwards where they have the vapor barrier sort of facing up as you’re in the attic looking down.

    And the solution to that is to cut the vapor barrier. I’ve seen that in crawlspaces, too, where they put the vapor barrier because it has the nailing flange on it. And the only tab on it – at the edge of the beams and it’s on the wrong side. So, as long as the vapor barrier is between the ceiling and the insulation, it’s done correctly. If not, then yes, you can go up and slice the vapor barrier and let it breathe more.

    The other thing to do is to make sure that your attic has adequate ventilation. And the best ventilation is a continuous ridge vent, which goes down the peak of the roof, matched with soffit vents at the overhang.

    JUDY: OK. That’s what I needed to know.

    LESLIE: Pat in Pennsylvania is on the line with a leak in a garage roof. What can we do for you today?

    PAT: Well, I have an attached garage to my house and right down at the end where the – near the garage door is there – right where the soffit meets the shingles, I have a leak there. And I was just wondering how I could try to fix that, if I could just put some of that BLACK JACK in there and try to fix it or …

    TOM: How long do you want it fixed for? A week or like forever? Because if you just use the tar, it’s going to be a very short-term repair.

    PAT: OK.

    TOM: Tell me where exactly the leak is evidencing itself.

    PAT: Well, it’s just a little bit of a water spot there right at the garage door and it seems like the shingles are lifted up a little bit. But my – we built our home only nine years ago, so I wasn’t sure if it was the shingles or …

    TOM: OK. So you’re not even sure if it’s the shingles themselves that are cracking. So if you built your home nine years ago, you’ve got a fiberglass-based asphalt shingle. And one of the ways that fiberglass-based asphalt shingles wear is they actually develop sort of fissures or cracks in them. So if you put a ladder against the front of the garage and you kind of go up and look down on the shingle itself and if you see cracks that go through them, that could be the source of the water.

    Now, if you’ve just got one or two shingles that are pushed up like that, usually that’s because a nail is actually backing up through the roof. And you could put a flat bar in there and kind of tap that nail down. And yeah, if you want to put a little bit of asphalt sealing under the tab just to kind of hold it in place, then that would be OK.

    But in terms of leak prevention, that type of sealant is not the way to fix the leak. If it turns out that the shingles are cracked, I don’t want you to tar them; I want you to take them off and replace them.

    PAT: OK. So that’s not a permanent fix then, I guess, is what you’re saying.

    TOM: Well, that’s right. It’s not going to be a permanent fix. If the shingles are cracked, then you should pull off the shingles that are damaged and replace them and you can do that with a flat bar. You can actually sort of extract – sort of surgically remove – a shingle from the middle of a roof and put a new one back in its place.

    PAT: OK. You wouldn’t think after nine years, though, that the shingles would be cracked already, would you, or …?

    TOM: I have seen it happen quicker than that.

    PAT: Oh, really? OK.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s why – see, that’s kind of the way those shingles wear. It depends on a lot of factors. But I would take a very careful look at that and see if that’s what’s causing it.

    PAT: OK. Well, that sounds good. I appreciate your help.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Pat. 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.

    Well, is your recycling bin filling up super-fast with just dozens of empty water bottles? Why not just install an under-sink filter and forget those bottles altogether? That tip, coming up next.

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    TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com and also on Facebook. And if you head on over to our Facebook page, all this month you can enter our Dog Days of Summer Sweepstakes.

    This is great because we’re giving away good stuff, including the Namath Rapid Cooker grill. You know our friend, Joe Namath? He was on the show just a few months ago when this product first came out. It’s doing really well. It’s one of the best grills I’ve ever seen for producing sizzling steaks. It works great in a backyard, works great as a tailgate.

    It’s worth $397 and it’s just one of three amazing prizes that we’re giving away this month. All you need to do is “like” The Money Pit on Facebook and enter. And then you can share the sweepstakes with friends. And check this out: if they enter – for every friend that enters, you get five more bonus entries. That’s online at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. Or just click on the Facebook link on MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Diane in Illinois who needs some extra storage space at her money pit. How can we help you today?

    DIANE: Well, I have a deck off of our master bedroom. And it’s a 12×12 deck and I want to turn it into a walk-in closet. And I want to bring my washer and dryer from the basement upstairs and put it into that closet.

    TOM: Well, this sounds like a good project, Diane, but I have to tell you that generally, when people try to convert a deck into a finished room – I’ve seen it done many, many times, especially in the 20 years I spent as a professional home inspector – it just doesn’t work, for a lot of reasons.

    And I can understand that you want it to flow nicely into the house and all of that but you’re really talking about an addition here. And if you’re going to build an addition, you typically were going to build it different than a deck. What I would recommend is that even though this is a small project, it’s a complicated project. Because not only do you want a closet, you also want laundry there.

    I think this is a great opportunity for you to consult with an architect because you have a lot to do to get this done correctly. And you also don’t want to make it look like it’s sort of slapped on the outside of your house because it’s going to detract from your home value.

    But every single time I’ve seen somebody try to take a deck and convert it into living space, it’s never worked out too well. It might be that you can preserve some of the framing and maybe incorporate it in there but it’s going to now be living space. It’s going to have to be heated, it’s going to have to be cooled, it’s going to have to have wiring, it’s going to have to have plumbing. It’s an addition; it’s no longer going to be in a deck. So while that space might fit well for it, starting with the existing deck doesn’t always make the most sense, OK?

    DIANE: OK. So what would – we would have to just tear that deck down and start over or …?

    TOM: You may. But that’s why I say – let’s not speculate on this and let’s not make a wrong step. This is a type of project where you are well advised to hire an architect. It’s not going to be an expensive consulting fee because it’s a small project. But it’s really smart to do that in this situation because you’ll find out what you can save and what you have to tear down. You won’t make a costly mistake.

    DIANE: OK. I didn’t want anything falling off the house and tearing the roof apart. And I didn’t want to have to do all of that, so I appreciate your advice.

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re a big drinker of bottled water, you may have noticed that the price never seems to go down and you might be ready for an alternative to the cost and all that waste.

    TOM: But there are alternatives. You can save money and go green with an under-sink water filter. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating expert for TV’s This Old House is here to explain.

    Welcome, Richard.

    RICHARD: Hey, guys.

    TOM: It’s good to see you again. And Americans, boy, we drink a lot of bottled water and those expenses can really add up.

    RICHARD: You know, it’s about a $6 billion-a-year industry, this bottled water.

    TOM: Wow.

    RICHARD: It is – there are a lot of those little bottles going around. And the rest of the planet uses about $29 billion. I mean it is a big industry. What is the Earth, two-thirds water?

    TOM: Yeah.

    RICHARD: We’re going to drink it all sooner or later, so …

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: Now, why do people think that the water in those bottles is that much more cleaner than what comes out of their sink? There are regulations that water authorities have to follow.

    RICHARD: Yeah. Right.

    TOM: They’re respected all the time.

    RICHARD: Right.

    TOM: The water in this country, for the most part, is pretty darn good.

    RICHARD: That’s right. We feel like we can trust in this country – when you go to a faucet, you at least feel, if it’s a municipal water supply, that that water is trustworthy. But what’s happened is people, I think, are still nervous. There’s a few things I think every house will have, sooner or later. One is water filtration, both under the sink and potentially coming into the building. A couple of solar panels will be on the roof, I think, on most houses.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    RICHARD: And I think every house will have some sort of way to bring fresh air into the building, some sort of mechanical ventilation device.

    TOM: Yeah, that makes sense.

    RICHARD: Those are the three things I think …

    TOM: We’re all feeling that much more health-conscious.

    RICHARD: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    TOM: Well, in terms of the sink filters themselves, there are a number of different types of filter technologies out there.

    RICHARD: Yeah.

    TOM: Talk to us about how they actually work. And which ones are most effective?

    RICHARD: The most common one, by far, is a thing called “granulated activated carbon.” That is the – it’s a carbon-block filter and the water goes through it. Carbon is a great filter to get taste and odor under control.

    If that’s what you’re trying to do, just to sort of cosmetically clean up that water for taste and odor, you can’t beat a granulated activated carbon filter.

    TOM: Now, is that under-sink? It’s an under-sink filter.

    RICHARD: Yeah, most of these are under-sink.

    TOM: OK.

    RICHARD: You have to decide: “Am I trying to deal with the whole house? Am I trying to deal with the water that I drink?” And so, in most cases, there’s so much water coming into the house that you’re going to use for bathing and for toilets. You really don’t often have to do a whole-house filter. You’ve really got to think about that water that people are going to drink with, cook with or to make ice cubes with.

    LESLIE: Cook with.

    RICHARD: And so, under-the-sink filter is what most people should have and do have.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And is that something that you can do yourself, as far as installation?

    RICHARD: They have made the installation pretty darn easy nowadays. You’re still dealing with plumbing, so you’ve got to make sure you turn the water off and make those connections. But so many of them are these really do-it-yourself-able connections.

    First of all, you – if you want to have a separate spigot at the sink, you have to use one of the holes that are on the sink. You have to drill a new hole so you have that separate spout coming out for your filtered water.

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm.

    RICHARD: Some people will do it on the cold water going to the faucet and do everything out of sight. I like to have a dedicated faucet where I know that that’s the water I can trust. And that’s what I go to.

    And then you mount it underneath the kitchen cabinet. We’ve done it on This Old House, Ask This Old House a couple times. They should be maintained. The ironic thing is the better the filter is …

    TOM: The less maintenance you need?

    RICHARD: No, the more.

    TOM: Oh, really.

    RICHARD: The more it’ll clog, meaning – so it has a better filter.

    TOM: Oh, interesting.

    RICHARD: And so people will say, “Oh, that thing’s clogged in.” Well, guess what? That means it took out a lot of stuff that would have – you would have been drinking.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And not even known about.

    RICHARD: That’s right.

    TOM: Right. Yeah, yeah.

    RICHARD: So, you really – you’ve got to look at it the right way. That if it’s doing its job, sooner or later it’s going to clog and that stuff, you avoid it. If you put one in that’s got such low filtration capacity, you’ll never have to maintain it but you might as well not have done it.

    LESLIE: So is the clog the indicator that the filter needs to be changed? Or do some of these fixtures have maybe a light that comes on or something that will tell you now is the time to change the filter?

    RICHARD: It’s going to clog. I haven’t seen any fancy – I’m sure there’s a few on the market that have sort of some filter – or you could do it on time. But I think you’re going to see that there’s a drop-off in the performance because that filter media is getting more and more clogged with particulates that we would have drank.

    TOM: We’re talking to Richard Trethewey. He’s the plumbing-and-heating expert on TV’s This Old House.

    Richard, one of the common complaints that people have about water is this sort of rotten-egg smell that comes from water. Can that be solved with a filter?

    RICHARD: Well, that’s sulfur and that is usually an indication that something else is going on in your system.

    TOM: OK.

    RICHARD: And what we most often find when you have that sulfur complaint, it’s usually on hot water. And it is that inside of the water heater, down in your basement or wherever it is – inside that tank, there’s an anode rod – a sacrificial anode rod – that is taking the electrolysis that would have eaten the tank and becoming sacrificial to it.

    Now, if that anode rod fails, sooner or later you’re going to start getting hydrogen sulfide in the water because it’s really the beginning of the breakdown of the tank. So it means that you should think about changing that water heater; it’s beginning to give that sulfur smell.

    TOM: So that’s a good point.

    RICHARD: That’s right.

    TOM: So if you actually tried to deal with it with a filter, you might, in effect, be masking (inaudible at 0:26:45).

    RICHARD: You might mask it but sooner or later, that basement is going to be flooded.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think you know what we’re talking about, this entire under-sink filtration system. Generally, we’re talking about municipal water supply.

    RICHARD: Yeah, yeah.

    LESLIE: What about well water? Are you able to filter that, as well, or is that a whole different animal?

    RICHARD: You don’t have any idea what the water is coming out of the ground. You don’t know where your neighbor’s septic system is in relation to the water, so I think you can’t filter the water enough when you’re coming out of the ground with a well. So, potentially, you’re going to have a whole-house iron removal, you’re going to have some sort of prefilter for the water coming through. And then by the time you get to the kitchen sink, you want to be sure to have a granulated activated carbon filter.

    TOM: And that is definitely a pro project. You’ve got to test that water and build the filtration system around what you find, correct?

    RICHARD: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot of great pros in the water-quality industry in this country. You’ve just got to find a local guy that knows what they’re doing.

    TOM: Good advice. Richard Trethewey, the plumbing-and-heating expert on TV’s This Old House, helping us keep our water clean, safe and smelling nice.

    RICHARD: I’m thirsty.

    LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.

    Still to come, do your home improvement projects always seem to go over budget? Welcome to the club. It happens to the best of us but now there’s a new way to plan and track spending so you’ll stick to that budget for every single project. We’re going to tell you about it, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. We’re standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we draw your name at the end of today’s show, you might just win a cool prize because we’ve got the Bostitch 3-Tool Compressor to give away.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, it’s really light and compact, so it’s super-easy to carry around. And the kit is going to include a 16-gauge straight finish nailer, an 18-gauge brad nailer and an 18-gauge crown stapler.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s going to cover you for dozens of projects, from molding to cabinetry, insulation and so on. The Bostitch 3-Tool Compressor Kit is worth $279 and it could be yours if we answer your question on the air this hour, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Well, has doing it yourself transcended from a hobby to more of a calling? You may know a lot about home improvement but to give you a little extra information, we’ve got an Insider’s Trick Of The Trade, presented this hour by Pro Xtra, The Home Depot’s new loyalty program for home improvement pros. And this tip is about painting.

    LESLIE: Now, if you’re an avid do-it-yourselfer, most likely you’ve no fear of one of the easiest and cheapest room makeovers out there: new paint. But if you’re painting your house piecemeal, you may be making a mistake and wasting money. Pros will tell you to paint in bulk. So before diving into a paint job, take a step back and look around your entire home. Identify each room or space that needs to be painted.

    TOM: Build out a timeline for how long it’ll take you to save up. Or prepare to paint all the walls that need it at one time. By combining paint purchases, you might make yourself eligible for substantial savings.

    LESLIE: Now, a great resource that some folks really just don’t know about is The Home Depot’s special web page, which is specifically for the pros and those avid do-it-yourselfers, at HomeDepot.com/Pro.

    And starting August 27th, The Home Depot is hosting its first-ever, nationwide pro-appreciation event. It’s a two-day celebration to say “thank you” to its valued pro customers. And it’s really featuring some special deals on those top products. They’re offering free delivery on some products, 10-percent off of your first purchase when Pro Xtra members open up a new credit-card account. There’s giveaways, there’s snacks and so much more.

    TOM: And a pro or even serious do-it-yourselfers can join Pro Xtra, which allows free access to The Home Depot Estimator. Now, this is a great tool because it enables you to determine how much a job will cost. And the online purchase tracker will help you keep it on budget.

    LESLIE: So go ahead and check out Pro Appreciation Days at Home Depot stores nationwide. It’s happening from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Check out their website, HomeDepot.com/Pro, and you’ll find out a ton more ways that you could be saving.

    TOM: Pro or not, pick up the phone and call us. We’d like to talk about your next home improvement project. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Dan in South Carolina needs some help with a garage project. How can we help you today?

    DAN: I just wanted to know, is there any product – linoleum, tile – I could put on my garage floor? It’s been painted already with a stain. And they tell me I have to sand it up and everything. Is there anything I can put on that that would stay when I drive the car in and out?

    TOM: Yeah. There are garage-floor systems – tile systems – designed specifically for garage floors and to stay in good condition when you drive the car over it. These are usually tile systems that lock together. They’re very attractive.

    You could take a look at RaceDeck, for example, RaceDeck.com. You’ll see some drop-dead gorgeous floors there. And there are others, as well. And they’re ­- once they’re installed, they look good, they clean easy and they’re not going to peel up.

    DAN: And there’s no glue involved? They lock together?

    TOM: No, they lock together and they snap together and they’re basically floating floors. But they’re great.

    DAN: Oh, great. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Your place is going to look like Jay Leno’s garage if you put this in.

    DAN: OK. That’s what I want, without the cars.

    TOM: Alright. Take care. 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.

    Well, still to come, have you been enjoying your deck all summer long, as evidenced by those grease and grime and ketchup stains? We’re going to have some tips to cut down on deck maintenance, when The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show continues, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Chamberlain Garage Power Station, an air inflator, utility cord, and LED task light all together in a new, 3-in-1 tool. 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.

    Hey, are you guys thinking about a renovation project? Well, if you are, you want to make sure that you pick the right project. In this market, over-improving your home is actually going to hurt more than it’s going to help. So if you want some great ideas, check out “Home Improvements for Under 1,000 Bucks” on MoneyPit.com.

    And while you’re there, head over to the Community section, post your question. I’ve got one here from John in New York and he writes: “My house recently lost power. When it came back on, I found that one of the circuit breakers had tripped. I reset the breaker and it tripped again. The breaker controls the living room, which has eight outlets. I unplugged everything and reset the breaker but it still pops. I went around to each outlet with a tester. All outlets indicated correct but the breaker keeps tripping. What should I do next?”

    TOM: Believe the breaker, John. I think a lot of folks …

    LESLIE: But it’s doing its job, isn’t it?

    TOM: It’s doing its job, right. You just haven’t found the source of the problem. If you blow a fuse or if you blow a breaker, it ain’t the breaker. The problem is in the wiring. There are other points that could be impacted and certainly, if there was a surge because of the storm, that could contribute to this.

    But look, the breaker itself could be bad. I’ve pulled breakers out of panels and found the back half of them all burned out. You could have a wire connection that’s bad. You could have pierced a wire with a nail or a screw hanging that heavy mirror or something like that. There’s a lot of places that it could have failed. So, believe the breaker. You’ve now done everything that you reasonably can do on your own, John. You do need to call a professional electrician to find out what’s going on. That’s simply the best way to tackle this problem and get it resolved.

    And by the way, speaking of breakers that blow, there’s a new kind of breaker that’s out that I want to tell you about. It’s called an “arc-fault circuit interrupter.” Now, we’ve talked about ground faults, right? The GFCIs? This is different. Ground faults prevent shocks but arc faults are new to the market and they’re specifically designed to prevent fires. So, look into the arc-fault breakers. And if you’re going to have an electrician in your house, that is a great time to put them in because you only need one per circuit. It could be in a circuit breaker or it could be an outlet. But you could have, in this case, eight outlets. With one arc fault, you’ll protect the entire string. Good thing to look into now and a great improvement to do and a very inexpensive one, by the way. They cost about 30 bucks apiece, plus the cost of the electrician.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? If you’ve got a bunch of electrical work that needs to be done in the house, sort of put everything together. Because you’re still paying the price for the electrician to come to the house, so you might as well have him work on as much as possible to keep that visit cost sort of more manageable.

    Alright. Next up, we’ve got a question from Rose in New Jersey who writes: “I have a 12-foot by 20-foot deck, which is about 6 years old. Each year, I have to refinish the deck.” Wow. Why each year? “I would like to give the deck a good finish and then put a composite deck over it to cut down on the maintenance. What do you think?”

    Why finish the deck and then cover it up is my question.

    TOM: You know, you don’t need to put a deck on top of a deck, Rose. If you are tired of the deck maintenance, you could do a composite makeover but I would remove the original decking. You’ll keep the structure, you’ll keep the frame but you’ll put the new composite decking down on top of that. And once you do that, you won’t have to worry about any type of decking maintenance in the future.

    But even once a year – look, if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t have to do it more than every two or three or four years. And there’s a great article on MoneyPit.com that will teach you how to properly stain and finish a deck.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Rose, every time I’ve refinished a deck – I know it seems like it’s every year. And maybe you really are doing it every year but most manufacturers are saying five years on exterior horizontal surfaces. So make sure you’re doing the proper prep, letting that deck dry very thoroughly before you put that new finish on. And that really should do the trick.

    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. I want to remind you that you can turn to us 24-7 by calling the show at 888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. You can also post it to our Facebook page, tweet us @MoneyPit or join the Community section at MoneyPit.com. All ways that we love to talk to you and help you achieve your home improvement dreams.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.


    (Copyright 2013 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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