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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And I’ve discovered they call it “fall” for a reason, because it’s beautiful outside but the leaves are now mounting in my gutters. Just mounting up there.

    LESLIE: It is true.

    TOM: And that’s a project you’ve really got to – need to think about tackling, perhaps this weekend. Because if you don’t, it can actually cause a whole host of serious problems, from cracked foundations to slippery sidewalks.

    So, if you’ve got a question about how to clean your gutters, how to fix a leak, how to fix a squeak, we’re here to help you get those jobs done. But pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Coming up on today’s show, cooler temperatures mean you may not be the only one hunkering down. This is also the time of year when furry critters could be looking for a place to hole up, so we’ve got some tips and advice to help make sure that your house doesn’t turn into the local rodent population’s winter retreat, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: You know, my sister went out to my family’s vacation house out east on the island. And she opened up her jammy drawer and she found mouse droppings.

    TOM: Oh, no. Totally gross.

    LESLIE: I guess everybody wants to cuddle up in warm jammies when it gets chilly outside. So take care of the pest control now, before you find a special surprise in your jammy drawer.

    Well, also ahead this hour, if you’ve got a fireplace, this is a great time of year to inspect that chimney crown. Because you may be up on your roof cleaning your gutters anyway, so why not take a look?

    Now, the crown, it’s a potential weak spot that could cause water damage if you do not take care of it. So we’re going to tell you how to check it and make sure it’s sealed properly, in just a few minutes.

    TOM: And speaking of water, all month long we’ve been telling you how to slow the flow and stop those leaks at home, by giving you some water-saving tips. Coming up, we’re going to hear from one of our partners in the effort, the EPA. Their relatively new WaterSense program takes the guesswork out of saving water and money in the home and we’re going to have an expert from the EPA joining us, in just a few minutes.

    LESLIE: And be sure to call us with your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT because this hour, we’ve got a great prize. We’re giving away a myGrid charging station from Duracell and it charges four devices at one time, no cords needed. You just sort of sit them right on top.

    TOM: So give us a call right now with that question. It’s worth 90 bucks. Going to go out to one caller who reaches us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got William in Florida on the line who’s got an insulation question. What can we do for you today?

    WILLIAM: Yes, I have a brick home that was built back in the 70s.

    TOM: OK.

    WILLIAM: There’s no insulation between the drywall and the brick.

    TOM: Right.

    WILLIAM: I was wondering, what would be the best way to do – would be to blow insulation in there, like cellulose or fiberglass? Or can I do foam or – without having to rip drywall off? I’m trying to find the easiest way to do that.

    TOM: So the brick wall forms both the interior and the exterior structural surface? There’s no studded wall in the …?

    WILLIAM: No, just the exterior. The interior’s drywall.

    LESLIE: Right. Are there studs between the drywall and the brick?

    WILLIAM: Yeah.

    TOM: If there is studded wall between the drywall and the brick, then that studded wall would be filled with fiberglass insulation in the typical way. If you can’t access it, then you can blow in fiberglass or you could consider blowing in cellulose.

    That said, William, the most cost-effective place in your house to add any amount of insulation, even if you had no insulation in the exterior walls, is the attic. Because that is the main source of energy loss, both in the winter and in the summer. And so I would start up there and make sure that I have the right amount of insulation which, in your area, is going to probably be in the 15- to 20-inch range.

    You can learn more at EnergyStar.gov. They have a calculator there that will, based on zip code, tell you how much you need. I would start there and make sure I have that adequately insulated. And if you’ve got some time, energy and money left after that part of the project, then you can go ahead and think about adding the wall insulation.

    But the biggest energy savings will be to add to the attic first. Does that make sense?

    WILLIAM: Yeah, it does. What would be the best product for the walls: the cellulose or the fiberglass? Or does it matter?

    TOM: Either. I think either is fine, as long as it’s blown in. You may find that it’s a little bit easier to handle one or the other or one or the other might be more available in your area. But you would have – you’d pretty much have to use a blown-in at this point, because you’re not going to take your drywall down on the inside of your house.

    WILLIAM: OK. Alright. Well, thank you. Appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Holly in Iowa who’s dealing with some yucky ice coming from the ice maker. That sounds terrible, considering how much I love ice. Tell me what is going on.

    HOLLY: Yeah. It’s great to talk to you both.

    We got a new refrigerator. It has the freezer on the bottom and it came with an ice maker. And our old refrigerator had an automatic ice maker on the top. And I don’t know if it’s the original water line when the house was built but the ice comes out – it smells bad, it tastes bad so that we won’t even put it in drinks, because the drinks take on that kind of icky, musty smell.

    TOM: OK.

    HOLLY: And wondering is it a matter of replacing the water line? Does it need to be flushed? A filter? We’re not quite sure which way to go.

    TOM: Right. Well, I mean the easy thing to do here is to replace the water line, if you can get to it. Ice-maker water lines are about the easiest plumbing project that you can do because they attach to their supply pipes by what’s called a “saddle valve.” And a saddle valve basically pierces the copper line and makes space for the water to come through and into the ice-maker line. And it’s plastic tubing, too; it’s not even metal.

    So I would replace the ice-maker line. I would also put in a filter – a charcoal filter – on the ice maker, since you’ve got such a problem with taste. I think between those two things, you should turn this right around.

    HOLLY: So is a charcoal filter the kind that you put on the back? See, there’s no water in the door.

    TOM: It doesn’t go inside the refrigerator; it goes into the water line.

    HOLLY: Right, in the back.

    TOM: Yeah, it could be behind the refrigerator; it could be wherever the water line connects to the supply. Anywhere it could be is fine. Just one tip, though: make sure you write a date on your calendar when you put that in and remember to replace the filter as time goes by. I think – usually they last about a year.

    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, holiday decorating, home improvement, whatever-you-are-working-on question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – we’re here to give you a hand; that’s what we do – at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Still ahead on The Money Pit, learn about a potential weak spot in your home that’s prone to water damage. We’re going to talk to you about your chimney and to seal the gaps and cracks that can cause it to fall apart, 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. That’s a money pit but still filthy.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at Icynene.com. I-c-y-n-e-n-e.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: And if you pick up the phone and call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, one caller who makes it on the air this hour with us is going to get a charging pad from Duracell. It’s called the myGrid. Pretty cool device. You just slip a sleeve on your mobile device, put it on the myGrid and it charges with no cords. It’s also very fast, as chargers go. It’s worth 90 bucks but going to go out to one caller who calls us with their home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call; we’d love to give you a hand.

    And since it is chilly outside and we’re all getting ready to nest in for the rest of this autumn and the winter, you might be feeling the urge to fire up your fireplace.

    Now, if you are, you have to, have to, have to make sure that you are keeping your chimney in tip-top shape. Because that really is the key to making a fire in your fireplace a really safe experience. So to keep your chimney’s structural integrity intact, it’s important to make sure that there are no leaks.

    Now, one common weak leak in a masonry chimney is the crown or that cement area between the outside edge of the brick and the terracotta-clay chimney liner. Now, when that crown cracks, water leaks down into the chimney and then during the winter, water that gets trapped in those cracks, it could freeze and then cause the brick to break up when that ice does expand. And then you’re going to end up facing major repair costs long before they should even be necessary.

    TOM: Now, to avoid this problem, you need to inspect your chimney crowns yearly. The best way to do this is from the roof but you can also use binoculars to inspect that crown.

    What you want to do is step far back from the house so you can see the entire chimney and use those binoculars to look for loose or broken brick. You can also look for any discoloration or moss, which could be a signal of a damaged crown. And if you suspect a problem, you can contact a chimney sweep or chimney repair company.

    But beware. These companies are also known for scaring homeowners into costly services that might not be necessary, so make sure you choose the company very carefully. Find out if there are complaints filed against them. Check references online or look for companies that are certified by professional organizations, like the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

    If you want more tips on chimney inspection and repair, you can visit MoneyPit.com and simply search the word “chimney.”

    LESLIE: Ed in North Carolina is about to tackle a concrete project. How can we help you with that?

    ED: Yes. I’m getting ready to pour a three-bay garage in my backyard.

    TOM: Nice.

    ED: I’m going to be putting an above-ground lift in.

    TOM: OK.

    ED: And what I’m planning on doing is I’m planning on pouring the concrete about 5-inches thick in where the garage is or in the whole garage, except for where the lift post would be.

    TOM: Right.

    ED: And I thought I’d pour it 6 or 7 inches deep, just scoop out a little bit and pour a little extra concrete where the post would be.

    TOM: OK.

    ED: I, of course, going to put plastic and wire down. I’ve got a foundation that’s like 3-foot thick of screenings that’s been packed with a packer, so it’s hard as a rock.

    TOM: OK. So that’s my question. You’ve got to have a really solid base underneath this and you’re saying that you do.

    ED: I’ve got – in one corner, I’ve got about 4½ feet of screenings and I used one of these vibrating packers; about every 4 or 5 inches, I’d pack it for a while.

    TOM: OK. But the soil underneath the slab has been tamped down with a vibrating tamper?

    ED: Yeah.

    TOM: OK. Well, I think you’re good to go. I might go a little bit deeper underneath where the lift post is. I would probably go 12×12 underneath that area, so I’d do like a 12x12x12 sort of pier there. So, no reason not to have a lot of extra concrete right there.

    ED: I’ve got one more question.

    TOM: OK.

    ED: And as far as making expansion joints in the floor, it’s going to be three bays and I was planning on getting one of these little tools that you just run across the concrete and cut – it cuts at about an inch deep to – and just run three joints; in other words, have …

    TOM: Right. Mm-hmm, yes. Yeah, it’s not going to be enough. You’re going to have to put spacers in between those slabs because if you do that, I mean it may crack on those – you’re talking about a scoring tool. It might crack there; it might not.

    But I would probably put at least two expansion joints in there, divide that into thirds and have a full expansion joint installed so that those pieces of concrete can move independently. Otherwise, you’re more likely to get cracks.

    ED: Yeah.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Sue who’s dealing with a leaky roof. Tell us about it.

    SUE: Hi, Tom and Leslie. Thanks so much for taking my call.

    We have a leak in our bedroom. And I live in – we live in a patio home which – you know, a two-story patio home. It’s got just a simple peak roof. The chimney is in the center of the house; it’s not on an outside wall. And the chimney stack has a wooden structure built around the stack itself.

    TOM: OK.

    SUE: And my husband was up there last year and thought he had resolved the problem. Whenever we have a very hard, driving rain – and he says mainly, when it comes out at the southeast – south or southeast – we get excessive leaking in our bedroom.

    TOM: Right.

    SUE: The popcorn ceiling’s falling down.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    SUE: It’s pretty bad, yeah.

    And so he was up there last year and he said that he tarred around the flashing or underneath the flashing?

    TOM: OK.

    SUE: But it’s obviously not resolved the problem. So we’re not sure if the leak is emanating from the bottom of this wooden structure.

    TOM: OK.

    SUE: The roof itself is only eight years old; it’s in very, very good condition. The chimney is directly above our bedroom, so we really suspect that’s where it’s coming from.

    TOM: OK. So the chimney pierces the roof above your bedroom? Is that correct, Sue?

    SUE: Yes.

    TOM: OK. And by virtue of the fact that you’re telling me your husband is tarring flashing, that, in and of itself, tells me that the flashing was probably not put on correctly initially. Because chimney flashing shouldn’t be relying on tar to remain leak-free.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And tar really isn’t the answer.

    TOM: Right. When properly installed, flashing is a two-piece operation. You have a base flashing and a counter flashing. The base flashing goes in between the roof shingles and lays up against the side of the chimney. The counter flashing gets notched into the side of the chimney and folded over the base flashing. And together, it creates a seam that can expand and contract with the roof and seal out water, regardless of direction.

    So, couple of things that you can do. You could just decide to have the chimney flashing properly replaced. And let me just tell you that you have to be very specific about finding a roofer that can do this properly.

    SUE: OK.

    TOM: You can’t leave this up to chance, OK?

    SUE: OK.

    TOM: You don’t want to hire another guy to go up there with a bucket of tar. You need a real pro that can properly assemble flashing.

    SUE: OK.

    TOM: The other thing that you could do is – is there some amount of roof that is above this that sort of drains into the chimney?

    SUE: As I said, it’s a patio home and it’s got a simple peak roof. The chimney itself is built on the back side of the slope, just on the other side of the peak.

    TOM: Right. If I was a drop of water and I was running down towards your chimney from the peak, how far would I have to travel? Like a foot, 10 feet, 20 feet, what?

    SUE: Oh, no, no, no. I’m looking at maybe 3 feet from the peak?

    TOM: OK. Alright. Because if it was farther down, I was going to tell you that you could install what’s called a diverter, which catches some of that water, runs it around the chimney so it doesn’t hit the back end of it.

    SUE: OK.

    TOM: But if it’s that close, you don’t have to worry about that.

    So, what I think you probably need to do is to replace the flashing, if it appears that it’s coming through the chimney. Now, this is a masonry chimney?

    SUE: No. It’s a chimney stack: just a metal chimney …

    TOM: A metal chimney? OK.

    SUE: It comes up and it’s surrounded by this wooden structure that’s been built around it.

    TOM: Is he sealing against the wooden structure?

    SUE: To be honest with you, I haven’t been on the roof and he’s not here to answer that question but I think so.

    TOM: OK. OK. So then, he’s kind of wasting his tar, OK?

    SUE: OK, OK.

    TOM: Because that’s just for show. If this is a – it’s called a “chimney chase.” If you have a chase around a metal vent type of chimney, then what you have to do is remove the chase and reflash the metal chimney where it meets the roof. And then you can replace the chase.

    SUE: OK. And he wondered about that, if it was coming from the top of the chimney stack and down into that wooden structure, not along the edges of the wooden structure itself.

    TOM: Maybe it’s the train going by your house that keeps rattling the roof leak.

    LESLIE: Right?

    SUE: Sorry. I tried to step in the garage so you wouldn’t hear that.

    TOM: Well, listen, the chimney chase itself is decorative. So I would take that out of the equation and get down to the metal vent itself. Seal and flash that and I think that’s going to solve your problem. If he’s just caulking around the chimney chase, water’s going to roll right through that and keep coming on in.

    SUE: OK. And he considers himself a jack-of-all-trades, master of none but he is pretty handy.

    TOM: Yeah.

    SUE: But you suggest that this is not something that he …

    TOM: Well, I would suggest that if he’s caulking the wooden chase and leaving the metal vent pipe, that perhaps a chimney repair is not one of the trades that he is the jack of.

    SUE: OK. And if he were here, he’d probably correct me. I’m not certain what he did. I’m a little afraid to get up on the roof myself.

    TOM: Alright.

    SUE: But alright, I will pass that information on to him. And I guess we’ll be calling a roofer.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, slow the flow. We’re going to hear from an EPA expert on how to take the guesswork out of ways for you to save water and money, next.

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    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, all month long, we have been sharing with you water-saving advice with our Slow the Flow campaign. And our partner on this effort is the WaterSense program, which was created by the EPA.

    TOM: That’s right. And much like EnergyStar does for appliances, WaterSense gives consumers, at a glance, an easy way to tell how water-conserving a product is. Here to tell us more about the WaterSense program is Stephanie Thornton. She is the outreach coordinator for the program.

    Welcome, Stephanie.

    STEPHANIE: Hi. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: Now, this is a very, very good program. And the reason I like this is because just like EnergyStar, WaterSense really gives you an easy way to tell how efficient a product is. I mean I think that consumers want to be green.

    LESLIE: They just don’t know how.

    TOM: Well, they often get into this sort of green-wash environment that we live in, from a marketing sense, where everyone claims their product is green. But with a WaterSense label, you can really be sure, can’t you?

    STEPHANIE: Yes, that’s right. The great thing about the WaterSense label is that if you see it on a product, you know that that product has been third-party, independently certified to meet EPA’s criteria for water efficiency and just as importantly, for performance, as well. So, these products are going to work the way that people want them to.

    LESLIE: And we’re finding the label on products like toilets, faucets. Where else can we look for a label?

    STEPHANIE: Right. It’s on the full suite of bathroom products, so toilets, faucets and shower heads. Also, it’s on urinals, in case anybody is planning on installing one of those in their home. And you can also find – just recently, we launched our New Homes program. So the WaterSense label is available on a newly constructed home, so that means that the entire home saves water, both inside and out.

    And then in the very near future, we’re going to be releasing our final specification for weather-based irrigation controllers.

    LESLIE: Oh, wow.

    STEPHANIE: So that’ll help people regulate their lawn sprinklers outside.

    TOM: Now, the program has been around since 2006. You guys started pretty simply, though. What was your first product, the toilet?

    STEPHANIE: That was the toilet, yes.

    TOM: Now, you were way ahead of the curve on this because back in 2006, I don’t think too many Americans were very happy with their low-flow toilets.

    STEPHANIE: Well and that’s why we took the performance-criteria aspect so seriously. You know, every time we develop a spec, we care, obviously, an awful lot about the water-efficiency side of things. But we also spend a lot of time developing criteria and performance tests for how the product works. Because we really want people to have confidence in the label and to be happy with the products once they purchase them.

    TOM: We’re talking to Stephanie Thornton. She is the marketing and outreach coordinator for the EPA’s WaterSense program.

    So, Stephanie, if folks want to make some improvements to their bathrooms and their kitchens, where do they begin? What’s the easiest way to start being water-efficient?

    STEPHANIE: Well, the easiest way, especially if you’re in the market for a new product – a toilet, faucet or shower head, especially – is just to look for the label. So when you’re in the store, you’ll see that WaterSense label on the product and you’ll know that it saves about 20 percent on the water side and that it also will work well.

    And then there’s also just easy things that you can do around the house to save water if you’re not in the market for a new product. One of the biggest things that people can do is to check for leaks. About 10,000 gallons are wasted every year in the average American house, just due to leaks alone.

    LESLIE: And so you’ve even created a Fix the Leak Week in March, where we should all be aware. Obviously, if you’ve got one earlier, tend to it. But if not, do a good, thorough check of the house that week, correct?

    STEPHANIE: Exactly. That week is just a reminder if you haven’t checked, to use that week as an opportunity to do just a couple – there are very simple things you can do around the house just to make sure you don’t have any leaks and just to fix them as quickly as possible.

    LESLIE: Now, what about if you’re not making any changes to the home? What are some of the recommendations that WaterSense and EPA just sort of puts out there, as a guideline for daily practice in your home, to just use less water?

    STEPHANIE: Mm-hmm. Well, the first place to start, really, is again in the bathroom, because that’s just where we use so much water. So, a really simple and easy thing is to turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving. You can lose 8 gallons a day down the drown for – you’re not using it for anything. So that’s a huge waste that you can just easily stop next time you brush your teeth.

    Another thing that you can do is when you’re washing loads of laundry or dishes is to make sure that you’re only washing full loads. If you’ve only got a couple dishes in there, wait until the dishwasher is full to run that load.

    TOM: Yeah, the thing about not letting the water run when you’re brushing your teeth, that’s very generational. I know that I was an offender, just out of habit over the years would let that water run. But then when my kids started learning water-conserving tactics in school – when your kid tells you to stop wasting water, you listen because they’re right.

    LESLIE: Please. Even my three-year-old says, “Turn it off and fill up a cup.”

    STEPHANIE: Well, that’s great.

    TOM: We’re raising generations of kids that are going to be far more efficient than their parents ever were.

    STEPHANIE: Well, that’s great. Well, it’s a good example of just one of those things that you just don’t think about. And then once you start thinking about it, it’s easy and it’s very obvious. But you just have to start thinking in that mindset.

    TOM: And it all adds up.

    Stephanie Thornton, Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for the WaterSense program, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you want more information on the WaterSense program, you can go to the EPA’s website at EPA.gov/WaterSense. That’s EPA.gov/WaterSense.

    Stephanie, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    STEPHANIE: Thanks so much for having me.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s Rodent Prevention Month. They’ve got a month for everything. And you know what? Those colder temperatures that we’re dealing with right now, they mean that those unwanted furry visitors might be looking to move inside your money pit. So we’re going to tell you how to keep them away, coming up.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    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 the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call with your home improvement question.

    And one lucky caller who gets on the air with us this hour is going to win a great prize. We’ve got up for grabs a myGrid charging station from Duracell. And the myGrid is going to charge up to four of your mobile devices at one time and only take up one outlet. How awesome is that? And it’s going to eliminate the need for all of those cords and then you’re not going to be looking at a drawer of cords being like, “What? Which one? Where?”

    So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win that great prize.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, it turns out that October is not only scary for the ghost and goblins that come out at the end of the month. It’s also scary because this is when all of the critters like to move into your house. We’re talking about rodents and October is Rodent Prevention Month.

    The CDC says rats and mice can spread more than 35 different diseases and they can be transferred to humans through the handling of the rodents and their droppings. Who handles rodents and their droppings? I don’t know. But more importantly, through rodent bites or even from the fleas and ticks and mites that hitch rides on the rodent.

    So, for all of those gross reasons, it’s very important to keep them out of your house. Here’s how.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You do this by eliminating any of those nesting areas: places that they’re going to want to sort of nestle up in and hide. Now, I’m talking about stacks of newspapers, lots of cardboard boxes and even firewood. Those all encourage nesting. So you want to keep those items off of the floor inside of your home and you also want to keep them away from the foundation outside of your house.

    Now, think about this: mice, they can squeeze through places as small as a dime. So you have to seal up all of those potential spaces with steel wool. And you need to pay attention to areas around pipes, vents and ducting. Also, you have to remember to keep a clean house. If you’ve got crumbs, clean them up. Store your dry foods like cereals, rice, pet food in sealed, plastic containers.

    Now, they make poisons that are designed to eliminate rodent infestations and they work well as long as you follow the instructions and keep them away from your kids and your pets because, obviously, it’s a dangerous combination.

    So head on over to MoneyPit.com so you can avoid a fright you didn’t expect.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. We can take the scare out of your next home improvement project if you call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Bob in Missouri is working on a project in the bathroom. How can we help you with that?

    BOB: Well, I’ve got a toilet that I just can’t seem to get it tightened down to the floor real well.


    BOB: It doesn’t leak but about once a week, I’ve got to straighten it back out because it’s a little cockeyed. And every time I try to tighten it, it seems like it’s not doing anything.

    LESLIE: I mean it’s possible at this point, especially since it’s something that it seems like you’ve been working on for a little while now, that perhaps at this point those bolts are stripped, which means they’re not going to tighten at all. They’re just going to keep spinning and spinning because they’re not grabbing onto anything.

    So what we would recommend is, you know, taking out those old bolts – finding out the size, the length, the diameter, everything – and bringing them over to the home center and getting some new bolts. You can go ahead and make sure you turn off the water, disassemble those bolts, pull the toilet off of the floor, replace that wax seal. As long as you’re doing some work, you might as well make sure it’s nice and tightened up.

    Replace that wax seal and then reattach the toilet to the floor using those new bolts. But make sure – it seems like you’re really anxious to get this guy really plumb down to the ground. Don’t overtighten them, because one turn too many and you’re going to crack that porcelain and you’re going to need a whole-new commode.

    BOB: OK. So, basically, just snug them down good?

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm, exactly. You don’t want – don’t overdo it. If you think you need an extra turn, stop.

    BOB: OK. Thank you guys very much. You’ve been a big help.

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

    LESLIE: Charlene in South Carolina has a question about flooring. What can we do for you today?

    CHARLENE: Well, I need some advice on good carpeting for an extremely high-traffic area. And I can’t get Berber because of my dog.

    TOM: Hmm. How about no carpet?

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    CHARLENE: Yeah, that’s what somebody asked me before. She can’t – the dog freezes and panics. We do have tile and hardwood flooring in different sections of the house.

    TOM: Right.

    CHARLENE: And the dog’ll chase the cat onto that area and then freeze when she realizes where she is and she screams.

    TOM: And stop? She thinks like she’s on an ice sheet or something?

    LESLIE: Weird.

    CHARLENE: Exactly. She acts like she’s on an iceberg and she doesn’t move but she screams.

    TOM: Wow. You’ve got a dog with issues, Charlene.

    CHARLENE: It’s pathetic; it really is to see this huge Lab just standing there frozen.

    TOM: Oh, man.

    CHARLENE: No. I’m not going to do that to the dog, as much as I’d love to have hardwoods all over.

    TOM: Yeah.

    CHARLENE: So like I said, I do need – and this comes right into the house. They do walk through a Carolina room.

    TOM: Right.

    CHARLENE: That is tiled but not everything gets off the feet and we’re very, very close to the beach, so sometimes there’s sand.

    TOM: OK. So you mentioned that you have cats and dogs. Do they – does the cat scratch? Because the carpet’s going to be the issue; probably a low pile is what we would recommend and maybe a commercial grade.

    Right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Well, I mean the other thing here is how much square footage are we talking about to cover with this carpeting?

    CHARLENE: Probably 300, 350.

    TOM: Oh, that’s not much.

    LESLIE: Now what you might want to think about is there’s a company called FLOR and it’s F-L-O-R.com. And they manufacture kind of like a modular carpet tile. And they’re 20-inches square; they range from $6 to, I want to say, $11 per tile. They’re super-durable and the beauty of it is when one of them gets dirty or damaged, you just sort of pop out that one tile, either clean it if you can or toss it and replace it. So, it’s really a perfect option for you.

    And you can check out all the options at FLOR.com. They’ll send you samples; it’s really a great site.

    CHARLENE: It sounds like a plan.

    TOM: Alright, Charlene. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And with all the money you save, you can get your dog some therapy.

    LESLIE: And shoes. Maybe if the dog wore like those furry, inside slippers, it would always think it’s on a rug.

    TOM: Yeah.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, extended warranties. We get offered those on everything we buy these days. Are they ever worth it? We’re going to deal with that question, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.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. And hey, you guys, I have partnered with Arrow Fasteners to have the opportunity to do a $10,000 dream-room makeover. So make sure you head on over to ArrowDreamRoom.com and enter today for your chance to win that awesome $10,000 room makeover.

    TOM: Now we’re going to MoneyPit.com’s Community section. We’re going to answer a question here from T. who says, “I’m about to buy a new refrigerator. How do I decide if buying an extended warranty is worth the cost?”

    There’s a lot of profits in extended warranties and that’s why you get offered them when you buy just about everything, from a toaster to a refrigerator and lots of stuff in between.

    LESLIE: All the time. Mm-hmm. Because you’re really gambling on the fact of if you’re going to need it, correct?

    TOM: Well, exactly. The truth is that if you look at some of the data that’s been put together on the risk of repair, by somebody like Consumer Reports, chances are that you’re not going to need it. But if you absolutely, positively want to get one, you’ve got to do a few things.

    First of all, you have to compare coverage. You don’t want to consider an appliance service contract until you know exactly what it covers. So read it carefully, find out if the contract gives you enough additional coverage to be worth the expense.

    Also, know the appliance. An appliance service contract may be a total waste of money if the product you’re purchasing may not need repair. Watch out for the extra cost; there’s always a few of those. Find out how the repair system works. Are there a lot of repair locations? And research the reputation of the contract provider. The answers to those questions should be the determining factor, whether you buy it or not.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what, guys? Head on over to MoneyPit.com. We have so many great articles on this very topic and I’m sure you’ll get all the answers there.

    TOM: Well, Leslie, as you often like to say, the key to creating a beautifully decorated room is all in the detail. So, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word, you’ve got some ideas on how you can get that project done with the right tools.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, it really doesn’t have to take a lot to make a room unique and your own. Now, fabric, it’s a great choice but you don’t need to know how to sew or even blow your bank account with custom work. It may only take a glue gun to make your design dreams possible. And the MT300 from Arrow is perfect.

    Now, you can use it to embellish lamp shades, you can adorn throw pillows or you can even create a fun table runner or tablecloth that matches your décor perfectly.

    Now, if you want to make a runner, here’s the first thing you need to do: you have to determine how wide and how long you want it. And the general rule of thumb is about 18 inches wide, plus 2 extra inches for the finished edge. And then what you want to do is fold over 1 inch along each long side of your runner and secure that nice, crisp edge in place, using your Arrow MT300 Glue Gun. No sewing required.

    And a trick that I like to do is I like to keep a dish of ice water nearby, just in case that you get the hot glue on your fingers, which you might do. Because it happens to me all the time. And if you get it on your finger, what you want to do is just dip it in that ice water and the glue is going to harden right away and then you can peel it right off. Because generally, you get that glue on your finger, you start grabbing at it with another finger and then you burn two fingers. So just dip them right in the ice water and it’s going to peel right off.

    And you can have a lot of fun with fabric and you can change the look of your room as often as you like without spending a fortune. For your lamp shades, you can glue a nice beaded trim or some decorative ribbon along the top or bottom edges. There’s a lot of great ideas for this project.

    And you can check out my blog at MoneyPit.com and visit ArrowFastener.com for a look at all of their terrific tools.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, as you spend less and less time on that deck or patio, you already may be missing the use of your outdoor space in cooler weather. But you don’t necessarily have to say goodbye just yet. Coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit, we’re going to have some easy ideas to extend your outdoor living season well into the winter.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2011 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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