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How to Measure Quickly and Easily, App that Opens and Closes Garage Door, Track Lighting Tips and American Standard Delivers Flush for Good Campaign

  • 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: Very glad to be here helping with your home improvement projects. So you have to help yourself first, though, by taking a look around and thinking about that project that you want to get done. Maybe it’s the one that your spouse has been nagging you about. I’ve got a couple of those and the nagging is made with love and that’s good. And we’re getting them done, slow but sure.

    But maybe you’re in that situation, maybe it is just not – maybe you’re just a super-motivated person that you just have things that you want to get done. Whatever is on your to-do list, let’s move it to the done list. Pick up the phone and call us. We’re here to help, 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, how many times has this happened to you: you’ve left your house and you wondered did you leave your garage door open? Well, you don’t need to have that feeling of panic or worry anymore because there’s an app for that. We’ve got info on a new, smart garage-door system that will tell you when you left the door open and allow you to close it from your smartphone.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, another smart way to help with do-it-yourself projects. We’ve got a new laser measurer that’s got just two buttons. It’s very easy to use and very quickly gets you the information that you need, whether you’re a designer like me or a realtor or a contractor or even just a do-it-yourselfer, which we love the most.

    TOM: Plus, there is something in your house, right now, that millions of people don’t have. You use it several times a day and you don’t think twice about it. We’re talking about your toilet. We’ve got info on a campaign by the folks at American Standard that is helping to bring sanitary conditions to the most impoverished parts of the world.

    LESLIE: And speaking of toilets, we’re giving away a hydro kit from MJSI. Now, it includes the HydroRight Dual Flush Converter and a Perfect Seal Toilet Ring.

    TOM: And that’s going to save you lots of water, so give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Ann in Florida needs some help with a flooring project. What can we do for you today?

    ANN: I’m going to rip up my carpet. I have concrete underneath and I want to put down the ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. And are you familiar with the product?

    LESLIE: I am, very much so. I’ve actually used it on several projects.

    ANN: Oh. And my question was, also: should I wait and not do it right away? That they’re going to even have better-looking – the wood look? I was told that it’s supposed to get even better.

    LESLIE: I imagine that with all things, when you wait things get better. But wood-grain tile has actually been quite popular for probably four or five years now, so I’ve seen it greatly improve. Depending on how much you want to spend on it – and I’m not sure what manufacturers you’ve looked at but a good price point is a manufacturer called Daltile: D-a-l – tile. And they’re sold through tile stores, so it’s – you can call Daltile and take a look.

    And they have one line called Yacht Club, which is fairly new for them. And it’s like a 6-inch by 24-inch wood plank but it’s a ceramic tile. It comes in a couple of different colors. I think it lays really nicely. It has a good texture of wood and it comes in some color palettes that I think are very realistic. And the way it fits together, it looks as if it were a real wood …

    TOM: A lot like wood, yeah.

    LESLIE: Yeah, like a wood floor. It doesn’t have a big grout line. They have another one in their line called Timber Glen and that’s a really big plank. But the way it pieces together, you see a lot of a grout line, so that kind of looks weird. Not as realistic wood, as you might expect.

    So if you do go with a wood-look tile that does have a predominant grout line, I would choose a grout that’s similar in color to the tile.

    ANN: Uh-huh. I’ve seen the tile where the tile is like wood planks.

    TOM: Yeah. And that’s exactly what this looks like; it looks like wood planks. And I will caution you, though, that you’re talking about – any tile that’s 24 inches long in one direction like this is going to need an extraordinary amount of support underneath it.

    So you have to be very careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to prepping the floor before the tile is laid. If there’s any flex or bend or unevenness in that floor, eventually this tile is going to crack. You don’t want that to happen, so you want to make sure that the floor is properly supported to take a bigger – big tile.

    When we used to have mosaics years ago, it didn’t really matter if the floors were flexible, so to speak, or not because there was a joint every 1 inch in a mosaic tile. But a 24-inch-long tile, that’s not going to bend; it’s going to break. So you want to make sure the floor is really strong before you do that installation, OK?

    ANN: Yes. OK. Great.

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

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

    BILL: I’m trying to clean some pressure-treated deck. This is on the second floor of my house and also on the ground is stone. What we have here in Tennessee is Crab Orchard stone; it’s a soft stone. And it’s turned black. The stone has turned black over time and it’s about 15 years old. And the pressure-treated wood has turned black, also, and I wanted to see what the best thing to clean both of them – I’ve tried cleaner on the end of a garden hose and it don’t – and I followed the instructions but it didn’t do much at all.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I mean it sounds like a combination of the wood aging and also mold or algae.

    Now, you know, a pressure washer set to an aggressive but gentle setting, if that makes any sense, will probably do the best to kind of attack this growth on it. If you could use some bleach and water or Wet & Forget, a product like that that will do a good job of – I’m not going to say “attacking” but you know what I mean: really aggressively going at this growth. That will probably do a good job of getting to the base of it and removing it from it.

    If you can get more sunlight on the area to sort of beat this shady mold growth that’s happening, that will help tremendously. There’s some things that you can do there.

    BILL: OK. That’s good. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still to come, a new trend in smart technology for the home is coming to your garage door. We’ve got tips on a new app that can open or close your garage door from just about anywhere in the world.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call right now. We want to talk about your home improvement project.

    And one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a hydro kit from MJSI. Now, a HydroKit Dual Flush Converter is included, also a HydroClean Toilet Fill Valve and Danco’s Perfect Seal Toilet Ring.

    This is pretty much a total makeover kit for your toilet. It’s going to save you a lot of water and prevent a lot of problems, like structural damage that can occur when those wax rings actually leak. It happens very, very commonly.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you know what? Those base-of-the-toilet leaks? They’re actually the worst because you don’t even realize they’re happening until the floor is suddenly soft and maybe you fall through the floor. Who knows?

    You can learn more at ItsAPerfectSeal.com. The Perfect Seal by Danco is available at The Home Depot. The number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Laurel in Pennsylvania is dealing with some stinky drains at home. Tell us what’s going on.

    LAUREL: My bathroom drain and the kitchen drain, they’re starting to smell like garbage. And nothing I put down there helps. Can you help me?

    TOM: What have you tried to do in terms of cleaning them?

    LAUREL: Like dishwashing liquid and real hot, sudsy water.

    TOM: Laurel, the odor that you’re describing is most likely what we call “biogas” or “biofilm.”


    TOM: Because of the moisture and the waste that gets into these lines, they form sort of a mass of biological material that sort of gels together and releases an awful odor, kind of like something that’s rotting. And there’s no way to kind of make it simpler than that but it’s really kind of a gross thing.

    So, what you need to do is – just sort of rinsing it out with hot, soapy water is not going to do this. You’ve got to take the drain cover off, you’ve got to get into the drain with a bottle brush or something like that and scrub the inside of the pipe. And that will start to break down the biofilm and that should help eliminate the odor problem. It’s not just a matter of rinsing it out because that’s kind of just feeding it. You literally have to abrade this gross stuff away to make it clean once again. OK?

    LAUREL: Alright. And I really enjoy your program every week.

    TOM: Thanks so much, Laurel. Good luck with that project and call again.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Anthony in Tennessee on the line. How can we help you today?

    ANTHONY: Yeah, I’ve got a ’99 379 Peterbilt and it’s got one bed in it. And we pretty much live in the truck and we’re wanting to turn that one bed into a bunk bed. We tried to widen it and it didn’t work out too good. So I’ve got to go lightweight because I’ve heavy and the truck’s real heavy. So if I do it in 2x4s, it’s going to be a real heavy, heavy truck.

    TOM: Anthony, you know what comes to mind, that I think would be a good solution for you, is a metal bunk bed – an army cot bunk bed. The army cots, if you just Google “army cots and bunk beds,” you will see a wide variety of metal bunk beds that are stackable. And they certainly have them in light-duty to heavy-duty designs.

    They’re not terribly expensive. I see them online for $300, $400, $500. And they’re not very heavy and they’re super-strong and they can be two, full, twin-size beds stacked one on top of another.

    ANTHONY: OK. Well, the bed that’s in here, the frame of that bed is part of the truck.

    TOM: So it has to sit on top of that, correct?

    ANTHONY: Yeah, I have to set something into that framework above my bed.

    TOM: Right. So then maybe what you want is just basically one half of that cot-style bunk bed. And then you have to build supports to get it up in the air for the space. So I would take a look at these metal bunk beds online.


    TOM: I think you’re going to find your solution there and it’s going to be a lot easier to deal with than trying to frame something out of wood.

    ANTHONY: Yeah, because then I could just set it in place and mount it to my bed.

    TOM: Exactly.

    ANTHONY: Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that.

    TOM: Alright, Anthony. Well, I’m glad we helped you out. And I’ve got to say, this is one very unusual question for us and I’m glad we were able to come up with a solution.

    Well, if you’ve ever wrestled with a tape measure or a pencil and just your two hands, you’re going to want to hear about this next product that’s brand new from our sponsor, Stanley Tools.

    LESLIE: Yes. It is the TLM65 Laser Distance Measurer, which I just completely measured four hotel rooms, a lobby and a lobby bar/restaurant for an episode of Hotel Impossible. And it was awesome because I didn’t have to fumble with my tape measure and write things down and then the tape measure comes flying back at me. I mean it’s really a perfect tool for real estate agents, designers, contractors and most importantly, do-it-yourselfers. Because a lot of times, you guys tackle projects by yourselves.

    Now, all you have to do is point, click. It measures and you’re done. It’s accurate to an 1/8-inch up to 65 feet away. It’s got two simple buttons. And I can tell you, it is truly accurate.

    TOM: Yep. And the tool measures distance and calculates area and volume very, very quickly. It can also instantly calculate the square footage of a room or a space, which is perfect when you’re trying to figure out how much paint you need or flooring materials to buy.

    You can learn more about the TLM65 Laser Distance Measurer at StanleyTools.com.

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

    GWEN: Well, we’re working on a kitchen remodel and I’m looking at sinks. Right now, we have a stainless-steel sink that has three compartments in it. And it just doesn’t seem to hold the water hot for very long. And I was wondering, are different things more insulated or how could we insulate a sink?

    TOM: Well, sinks are generally not insulated.

    GWEN: Right.

    TOM: What should be insulated is the wall behind the sink. And if the wall behind the sink is not insulated, then the cabinet gets that much colder and then, of course, the water doesn’t stay warm in the sink very long. It’s an interesting question, though, Gwen, and I’m thinking about how could you possibly insulate a sink.

    One idea comes to mind is to spray the whole thing with expandable foam insulation, because it would be under the cabinet. And once you got it done – it would be kind of a messy job but once it was done, you’d be finished. Except that you would want to make sure you keep it away from all the plumbing connections because, eventually, you’re going to want to replace the faucet and you don’t want to have to cut through all that mess. Or you could just wrap it with some other type of insulation: one that’s perhaps encapsulated, like a batt insulation.

    But I’ve never actually had anyone ask me how to try to keep a sink warmer but I see why it’s important to you, because it would make sense, as you’re doing the dishes, to try to keep that water as warm as possible. But I would first want you to concentrate in making sure the wall underneath there is properly insulated.

    GWEN: That makes sense. So when we pull it all out and – we’ll double-check to make sure that wall has good insulation.

    TOM: Yeah, that might be part of your problem. And if you get it warmed up – insulated and warmed up ­- you may not have to deal with trying to insulate a sink.

    GWEN: OK. Well, great. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Gary in Maryland with some wall cracks. Tell us what’s going on.

    GARY: The cracks are along the one outside wall – or the one wall on the short side, on a 26-foot side. And they’re both on either side of the bathroom, which is between two bedrooms.

    TOM: So what you’re describing is a pretty normal scenario. We typically get movement in walls of homes and where you have seams between walls and ceilings, one wall and another wall or above a window or above a door. That’s where the movement tends to evidence itself.

    Now, the solution here is going to require that you redo the seam between the cracked areas. What you’ll do is you’ll pull off the old drywall tape, if it’s loose. If it’s not loose, you could probably leave it in place. But if it’s loose or if it’s wrinkled or anything like that, I would pull it out. And I would replace that with fiberglass drywall tape.

    Fiberglass drywall tape kind of looks like a netting and it’s sticky, it’s easier to handle. And so you press it into the seam. And then once it’s pressed in place, then you’re going to add three layers of spackle on top of that, making each one as thin as possible. So you start with the first one, try to keep it pretty narrow and just cover the tape. And then the subsequent two, you go a little wider and a little wider and try to feather it out at the edges. And that actually will bridge that gap between the two surfaces and the crack will not form again.

    If you try to spackle over a crack without doing that, it’s just going to show up. I mean you could spackle it and paint it but it’s going to come out every winter or every summer, depending on whether it’s swelling or shrinking that’s causing the crack. It’s going to pop open again.

    GARY: Good. Thank you very much. Good show, too.

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

    LESLIE: Tony in Florida is on the line with some noisy plumbing. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    TONY: It’s in the walls. It seems like the clanking is going on in the walls. And I can’t get to the pipes because they’re hidden – they’re all covered by the walls. So every time I put the faucet on, hot or cold, bang, it’s one slam and that’s it. That’s what I get. And I’m just wondering, is there some easy, quick fix for something like that, you know?

    TOM: Yeah. So does this happen, Tony, when you open and close the faucets? Is that when it’s worst?

    TONY: Correct.

    TOM: Alright. That’s called “water hammer.” And what water hammer is – you have to remember that water is very heavy; it weighs, actually, 8 pounds per gallon. And so, as the water is traveling through the plumbing line and you open or close a faucet, the inertia of that water just keeps moving. And it’ll shake the pipe and that’s what makes the banging sound. And of course, pipes transmit sound like crazy and so you’re getting that kind of sound to it.

    So, what can you do? There’s two things that you can do. All the piping that you could possibly access – so that would be like in the basement or crawlspace or attic. Any place where you can see a pipe, you want to add some additional strapping to the wall so that takes some of the bounce out of it.

    The second thing that you can do is you can install – or have a plumber install – something called a “water-hammer arrestor,” which is, essentially, a shock absorber for a plumbing system. And it will take that inertia from the water and absorb it slowly so it doesn’t bang the pipe.

    But what you’re describing is a very typical, very normal condition in an older house. Generally, unless it’s really super-bad, doesn’t cause damage. But it’s more of an annoyance than anything else.

    Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Still to come, a working, flushable toilet is a necessity in every home. But there’s actually millions of people worldwide who are subjected to very unsanitary conditions.

    TOM: We’ll tell you about a program that brings safe, clean latrines to the poorest parts of the world, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by QUIKRETE Concrete & Cement Products. QUIKRETE, what America is made of. Like us on Facebook and visit online at www.QUIKRETE.com for product information and easy, step-by-step project videos.

    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.

    Well, we take it for granted every single day. We don’t even think twice about using it and any home without one would be considered uninhabitable. I’m talking about your toilet, guys. Well, believe it or not, there are millions of people worldwide who do not have sanitary bathroom facilities.

    TOM: But our guest has a solution. It’s a campaign that is helping to provide sanitary latrines in the most impoverished parts of the world. Here to tell us about American Standard’s Flush For Good Campaign is James Walsh, the vice president of product management for American Standard Brands.

    Welcome, James.

    JAMES: Glad to be on the show.

    TOM: Now, typically, when we are covering American Standard product, we’re talking about product that is functional and luxurious. This particular campaign is focused on the functional aspect and bringing latrines to folks that really have never had them, correct?

    JAMES: That is correct. American Standard, as a leading toilet manufacturer, through the Gates Foundation, went into a Flush For Good campaign with the purpose of raising awareness of global sanitation crisis. As Leslie had mentioned, there’s roughly 3.5 billion people without sufficient sanitary facilities.

    Roughly 2.5 billion people use unsafe toilets or actually defecate in the open. And this relates to unsafe sanitary facilities that cause diarrhea, disease that kills about 2,000 people per day, mostly children. So we went into Bangladesh and our engineers developed an ingenious pit-latrine system, called the SaTo, for a very affordable price for the market that solves these problems of basically flies going into the latrine and transmitting disease through the villages.

    In conjunction with our performance-based Champion Toilet, every Champion toilet we sell, we will donate a latrine system, the SaTo, to Bangladesh. So last year alone, we donated over a half a million SaTos into Bangladesh.

    TOM: That’s really amazing.

    So, James, how does the SaTo work? We hear about diseases in third-world nations that we fortunately have no experience with in this country, in terms of mostly the sanitation issues. But what is the connection between sanitation and disease in these areas of the world?

    JAMES: Basically, what happens is in Bangladesh, they’ll use these pit latrines where it’s open to the air. And there’s no ceiling mechanism to prevent flies from going basically down into the latrine, coming in contact with the disease and then transmitting it through landing on the food, landing on the person.

    Our engineers noticed this and developed a unique hinging system that seals the opening with both a water seal and a mechanical seal. So it not only doesn’t allow the insects to go down in there and transmit disease but it also keeps the smell, the caustic gases from the human waste from really escaping into the villages.

    TOM: Wow. So it’s a very simple mechanical device that really solves a huge problem. And how great is it that you guys are donating these to the people of Bangladesh? How many of these units have actually been donated thus far?

    JAMES: About 530,000 of them right now.

    TOM: Wow. That’s fantastic.

    JAMES: The other part, Tom, was we really wanted to make sure that these were affordable so the market could afford them on their own, as well. So this system – this latrine system – is roughly about $1 – a little over $1 in cost.

    TOM: Wow.

    JAMES: Because, you know, innovation doesn’t matter if it’s not meaningful and can be applied to the market area that it’s looking to target. So that was very important to us, as well.

    TOM: We’re talking to James Walsh – he’s the vice president of product management for American Standard Brands – about American Standard’s Flush For Good Campaign.

    LESLIE: Now, is there any way that if folks wanted to make a donation to help out without actually purchasing one of the Champion toilets, is that a possibility? Or is this really a partnership in a purchasing manner?

    JAMES: They actually can. Through our active engagement and outreach on our media – Facebook and Twitter – there are promotional opportunities. If you go to Flush For Good website, it’ll provide details. It’s called FlushForGood.com. That provides more details on this and how you can donate on your own.

    TOM: That’s terrific. And so, to help out, you can go to the Flush For Good Facebook page and you can learn more about the Flush For Good Campaign at FlushForGood.com. You can also call for information at 800-442-1902.

    What a terrific program and I see that by 2017, American Standard will reach an estimated 5.5 million people with this campaign. That’s really amazing. James, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JAMES: I appreciate it. Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, did you ever wonder whether you’ve accidentally left your garage door open or did you close it and you can’t stop thinking about it on your way to work? Well, now you can open, close and even check on your garage door with an app. Learn more, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. If you forget to close your garage door, it alerts your smartphone so you can control it from anywhere. Works with most garage-door openers. Discover smarter possibilities at Chamberlain.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a hydro kit from MJSI. Now, it includes a HydroRight Dual Flush Converter, a HydroClean Toilet Fill Valve and Danco’s Perfect Seal Toilet Installation Ring. These are far superior to those traditional wax rings out there because the wax is actually encased in a rubber seal, so it’s going to eliminate those chances for leaks.

    TOM: Yeah. And the thing about those leaks is that they’re usually right at the base of your toilet. And if they’re under that area, you’re not going to know about it until the flooring around the toilet has been soaked over time. And that means you could have rot.

    Learn more about the Perfect Seal by Danco at PerfectSeal.com. And the Perfect Seal is available at The Home Depot. Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Laura in Pennsylvania needs some help with a lighting question. What can we do for you?

    LAURA: Oh, well, my son gave me some compact fluorescent bulbs because he didn’t like them.

    TOM: OK.

    LAURA: And I had never used them before and I thought, “Well, I’ll put them in my little lights I use with timers.” Only they all blow out.

    TOM: There’s no reason you can’t use a compact fluorescent bulb in an outlet that has a timer. I mean a timer simply automatically turns the light switch on or off, so that shouldn’t have an effect on damaging the bulb.

    LAURA: Yes, that’s what I thought. And I have the incandescent bulbs in them now and they work just fine.

    TOM: Well, maybe he gave you some bum compact fluorescents, I don’t know. But it’s kind of an odd thing for it to happen to. Compact fluorescents work really well in most fixtures that take incandescents. In fact, you can even have them work well in fixtures that are controlled by dimmers.

    There are special dimmers today that are designed to work with compact fluorescents and with LEDs, where you can adjust the range of the dimming so that it doesn’t ever flicker or go out. So, compact fluorescent bulbs are a great option. I don’t know why they’re not working for you but the timer shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    LAURA: OK. Well, maybe I’ll try them again or – I have two left. Or I’ll try and buy some. Maybe he has an off-brand or something like that, I don’t know. Because they should last a really long time, right?

    TOM: They should. And you know what I like better than compact fluorescents are the LED bulbs. Take a look at the Philips LED bulbs. These are – they’re very distinctive. They’re yellow. They look like bug lights but they have a very pleasant white light that comes off of them. And they’re going to be more expensive than compact fluorescents but they last forever and they’re super-energy-efficient.

    LAURA: OK. I will be happy to. That’s a really good idea. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: OK. So how many times has this happened to you? You get all the way to work when you suddenly get that panicky feeling and realize that maybe you could have possibly left that garage door wide open. It’s possible. Maybe you did.

    You really – the only thing you could have done previously was run back home and figure it out and go close it, maybe. Well, today, there is a new technology that can help you with that. There’s actually a new product from Chamberlain that lets you check on your garage door from anywhere in the world. So God forbid you get that sinking feeling while you’re boarding a plane to, say, China. You can check to see if your garage is closed.

    It’s called MyQ and you can add it to your existing garage-door opener with the MyQ system. And there’s no wiring needed. All you do is download the MyQ app and you’re ready to go.

    TOM: Now, if your garage-door opener is from 1993 or later, this system is compatible. If it’s older than that and you’re thinking about replacing it anyway, the MyQ system is also available with a Chamberlain garage-door opener that’s designed to work with it.

    MyQ is available at Amazon, Apple stores, Home Depot and select Best Buy stores. Or you can learn more at Chamberlain.com/MyQGarage.

    LESLIE: Rick in North Dakota is on the line with a driveway-repair question. How can we help you today?

    RICK: I have a concrete driveway that, over the years, it’s started getting little pits in it in some of the areas. It almost looks like it’s where rocks have popped out of the concrete from over time and there’s other areas that little – small, little scales or sheets of concrete have come loose. And I’m just wondering what type of a product I can use to repair those pits. I know I’ve seen, different times, where people have put regular concrete in there and it doesn’t tend to stay very well.

    TOM: So, what you want to do is use a concrete patching product. And it’s not just regular concrete or regular cement, because that won’t stick. It usually is epoxy-based. And I know QUIKRETE has a product designed specifically for this and you can go to their website at QUIKRETE.com. That’s spelled Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E.com. The epoxy-based products will stick to the old, original concrete material and not fall out the first time the surface freezes.

    Now, I just want to also point out that being in North Dakota, I’m sure you get a lot of road salt on that driveway and that probably contributes to this. But if you’re doing any salting on your own, make sure you’re using potassium chloride, not calcium chloride. Because potassium chloride is much less corrosive to the concrete surface and will not cause that destruction that you’re witnessing now.

    Alright. Does that help you out?

    RICK: Yep. That does. Thank you very much for your assistance.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sylvia in Texas on the line who’s got some bathroom things going on at her money pit. How can we help you?

    SYLVIA: Whenever I flush the toilet, I can hear the water running through my sink drain – you know, the bathroom sink drain?

    TOM: Right.

    SYLVIA: And so I didn’t know if that was normal or not. And then the other day, we had a real windstorm and I could hear the wind under my house, through my pipes, through that same sink. And I have a concrete slab, so I didn’t know – is that normal?

    TOM: Probably the wind blowing over the roof and you’re hearing it through the vent pipe. The plumbing system is all connected, obviously. And the water drains down and the air kind of replaces it from the top – from the vent on top. And so when you flush the toilet, in some cases you can hear that water run down through the pipe and it be replaced by air. So that’s entirely possible.

    But if it’s behaving properly and you don’t have any odors and everything’s flowing right, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, Sylvia.

    SYLVIA: Oh, OK, OK. Thank you very much. I was just worried about it, because I was just like, “What’s going on with my plumbing, right?”

    TOM: And the other thing about plumbing is it’s – it really carries the sound. Anyone that’s ever had a second-floor bathroom and flushed it to the horror of everyone that’s sitting in the dining room enjoying dinnertime knows exactly what I’m talking about.

    SYLVIA: Oh, thank God I don’t have a second floor.

    LESLIE: Still to come, does the term “track lighting” bring cheesy 80s images into your mind? Well, the new generation of track lighting is gorgeous, functional and energy-efficient. We’ll tell you more, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.com.

    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: Standing by for your home improvement questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And by the way, you can also head on over to our website or our Facebook page and post your home improvement question into the Community section on MoneyPit.com or to Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    LESLIE: Alright. And we’ve got a post here from Sheila in Virginia who writes: “I want to know if it’s safe to keep a fridge in my garage where I also store a lawn mower that holds up to 3 gallons of gas.”

    TOM: That’s kind of an odd question, Sheila. And I guess I would want to know why.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It’s not like your refrigerator is firing flames.

    TOM: Right, exactly. I see no reason why – I mean millions of people have refrigerators in garages. And there’s actually a whole ‘nother issue associated with that. But in terms of it being in the garage and a lawn mower also being in the garage, I don’t see a problem with that.

    Now, the issue with refrigerators in garages is generally the compressor because compressors are designed to work in a conditioned space, like inside your house. They’re not designed to work in a non-conditioned space, like in your garage, where you have extreme hot and extreme cold. And in fact, if they do run, they run very inefficiently.

    If you do want to use a refrigerator in the garage, you’re best to purchase one that is designed for that space, such as one of the Gladiator GarageWorks products. They have the Chillerator, which I believe is their refrigerator. They also have a freezer. I think they have a combo unit, as well. But these are appliances designed to work in the extreme heat and cold of a garage. A regular refrigerator is not.

    LESLIE: Yeah. So you really have to make sure you buy the right thing. Because if it gets too cold, the refrigerator, well, or freezer is not actually going to work at all. Everything’s going to go bad in there. Yeah, so you really want to make sure that you buy the right fridge for the right space. Because if it gets too cold, then the refrigerator is not actually going to come on, because the inside temperature and the outside temperature are going to get confused and everything’s going to go bad.

    TOM: Well, when you think of track lighting, you might be reminded of a 1980s look. But track lighting has actually come a long way. It offers flexibility, ease of installation and a dramatic effect. Leslie has got tips on that topic, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Now, I think we should start by defining exactly what track lighting is. Because a lot of people just think of this dated 80s look but let’s talk about it.

    So track lighting, it consists of a row of lights that will sit flush to your ceiling. And the great thing about track lighting is that it’s so versatile, you can kind of use it almost anywhere for pretty much any purpose, like task lighting or accent lighting or even both.

    Now, installing track-lighting fixtures is easier than ever because they come in a modular design sort of installation pack, which will allow you different tracks and fixtures. And you can snap them together in an endless variety of patterns and styles.

    Now, when it comes to the fixtures themselves, I think it’s interesting because track lighting today is – you can still get those big, white cans that you would see in the 80s. But there are so many other options out there that if you wanted to put it over a kitchen island, you could get beautiful pendant lights that would snap into the track lighting, ones with interesting stainless-steel sort of shades on them. So there’s a lot of good choices for different purposes.

    You can get really small halogen spot ones to help you highlight art or family photos. You can really be more creative and more specific to the type of fixture you pick for the type of task you’re trying to accomplish. It’s really great for a walk-in closet. It can help you light up the room and then you can focus it on specific areas of your wardrobe as you’re positioning the lights. So it really will fill and focus and I think that’s really the important part to think of when you’re considering track lighting.

    It’s not expensive. You can do it yourself. You can find it at the big-box stores. In fact, I’ve really even found some interesting pendants at a Home Depot. So you don’t have to go out of your way to find something unusual and it is an electric project that you can handle on your own.

    If you want to look for something even more beneficial, try to find track lighting that will use energy-efficient bulbs. This way, you’ll be able to save some energy dollars while creating a stylish lighting scene for your home.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, do you have an old bathtub that’s seen better days? We’re going to have tips on what you can do to replace, repair or refinish a worn-out tub, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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


    (Copyright 2014 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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