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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 it’s time to get your fix. Pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. There’s got to be something that needs a fix in your house. Call us; we’ll help get the job done. 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you, coming up on The Money Pit this hour. You know, Energy Star is probably the most revered brand in the energy-efficiency space. However, Consumer Reports, also a very respectable brand, says there might be a little problem with the government’s testing standards. We’re going to tell you about their discovery and how it could actually save you hundreds in energy bills.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, have you been avoiding some serious woodworking projects because they’d require more advanced tools like, say, a router? What? You don’t even know what a router is?

    Well, do not fear the router. It is one of the most valuable woodworking tools that you can own and we’re going to give you some tips to help you tackle all sorts of cool projects with it, coming up. And then, I guess, you’re going to be running out and buying one immediately.

    TOM: Plus, one great way to save money and have some fun is growing your own food. But if you think fall is too late to plan a garden, well, think again. We’re going to have some tips on how you can bring that vegetable garden indoors so you can enjoy fresh produce all winter long.

    LESLIE: Alright. And painting is about to get a lot easier for one lucky caller who’s going to make it on the air with us today and be our lucky winner, because they will be getting a starter kit from HANDy Paint Pail. And it’s valued at close to 60 bucks.

    TOM: So, pick up the phone and give us a call right now, especially if you’ve got a painting project planned. The number is 888-666-3974. Let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Alyssa in North Carolina who’s dealing with a painted garage. Tell us what you’re working on.

    ALYSSA: Well, I have a garage door and it’s wood but then it’s kind of like a panel door, so there’s insert pieces.

    TOM: Right.

    ALYSSA: And the insert pieces are some kind of pressed wood or particle board or something like that.


    TOM: OK.

    ALYSSA: And the door – the garage door was starting to peel and the paint was starting to come off, so I went ahead and started stripping it with a scraper, not with any chemicals. And I found the wood underneath there and now the wood is – fuzzy is the best way I can describe it.

    TOM: Fuzzy?

    ALYSSA: And yeah, it’s like it’s kind of coming off in pieces.

    TOM: OK.

    ALYSSA: But it’s not rotted. It’s not something where it’s rotted wood where I can put my finger through it or put a pen into it or anything like that.

    TOM: I don’t think it’s wood; I think it sounds like a hard board or a pressed board.


    TOM: And that’s a hard one to refinish. So why not just paint it?

    ALYSSA: That’s fine. I can do that. I just didn’t know if that was the best way to do it. Do I just go ahead and do a really good coat of primer?

    TOM: I think so but what I would do first is – yeah, I would definitely prime it. I would lightly sand it and I would use a primer. And if you want to be absolutely certain that you get good adhesion, use an oil-based primer. It’s a little more work and a little more expense but it definitely will give you the best adhesion to this uncertain wood surface. And then the top coat will lay real nice on top of that.

    ALYSSA: OK. Yeah, because I’m just trying to – I don’t know why anyone in the world would put a wood garage door in North Carolina.

    LESLIE: Or anywhere, really.

    ALYSSA: They just – it didn’t make sense to me but I’m trying to get it to last at least another five years, four years maybe.

    TOM: Right.

    ALYSSA: So, at least if I can get it decent looking for that long, I’d be happy.

    TOM: Well, that sounds like a plan.

    ALYSSA: OK. So an oil-based primer – lightly sand, oil-based primer and then a good top coat.

    TOM: Correct.

    ALYSSA: Awesome. OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Joe from Maine on the line who’s dealing with some pesky mildew that doesn’t want to go away and stay away. Tell us what’s going on.

    JOE: I was talking about a shower thing and I seem to be – they have two parts. And we put the caulk in there, we take it out because it’s getting mildew behind the wall and stuff. I used Mean

    Green; it took it out and stuff but it keeps coming back about a month later. A customer keeps calling back, another one. And then sometimes with mildew on the porch here and we clean it with this Mean Green, it works but it seems to be seeping through. So I didn’t know if there was some kind of (inaudible at 0:05:54) or remedy that is out there so the (inaudible at 0:05:57) and this and that – that’s easy to use and has a chemical and everything else and stuff.

    TOM: Now, is there caulk at the seam, Joe?

    JOE: Yeah. Just in the bottom half and stuff. But I mean isn’t there a chemical that would cut it completely, that once you caulk it that it won’t seep through or …?

    TOM: Well, no, because what happens is the condensation occurs from the surface.

    Now, in terms of the caulk, there are caulks that you can use that have mildicides in them. In fact, DAP has a line with a product inside of it called Microban, which is very effective at stopping mold from being able to grow on the surface. So it’s a combination of trying to dehumidify as much as you possibly can and then using the appropriate products. So, in your case, that would be probably to remove and replace that caulk and then to add a timer to the fan. Otherwise, it’s going to probably keep coming back over and over again.

    Hope that helps you out and 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, home improvement, décor, design, help-it’s-almost-fall-what-can-I-do-to-make-my-home-more-energy-efficient question. Whatever you are working on, we are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: Up next, one of the handiest woodworking tools ever invented is the router. But for some reason, there are those amongst you who are just a bit too frightened to use one. We’re going to tell you how to get started with this very amazing tool. And we’ll talk about all of the fun projects you can tackle with it, after this.

    (theme song)

    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 on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, you might just win a starter kit from HANDy Paint Pail, which is available only to today’s winner. The prize includes a new-generation paint tray with a disposable liner that makes cleaning up a breeze. You can visit HANDyPaintPail.com for more information.

    This prize is worth almost 60 bucks, so give us a call right now with your home improvement question for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone; we’d love to give you a hand with some projects.

    And maybe something that you’ve been thinking about tackling is a great woodworking project. But perhaps you’re one of those people who maybe push that router to the back of your tool box or your work area or worse, you don’t even have one because you’re too darn afraid.

    Well, we are here to change that. Now, a router is nothing to be feared and it can actually be one of the most useful tools that you own. But you’re thinking, “Hmm. What exactly is a router?” Well, in the simplest terms, it’s a shaft that runs off of a motor and at the end of that shaft, there’s a router bit or a cutter head. And basically, it’s the device that actually cuts shapes – or in router terms, the profiles – into the wood that you’re working on. Super-simple.

    TOM: That’s right. Now, there are many projects that you can take on with the help of a router: you can add a decorative edge to furniture, you can create your own crown molding or your own chair-rail molding, you can build furniture or you can even add a cable/speaker wire port to an existing cabinet or a TV stand.

    And if you’re still a little hesitant, there is a great, new starter kit that’s available from Skil. It’s perfect for beginners. And the Skil router has Soft Start technology, which is cool because it eliminates that kickback you get when you turn the machine on. You’ll get better control as a result of that Soft Start technology; it’s not going to sort of feel like it’s going to spin out of your hands.

    Now, the kit comes with a bunch of extras, including a plunge base, a fixed base and a carrying bag. You can visit Skil.com for more information on that product.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And once you actually start working with a router, it’s going to be one of those tools that you’re like, “Why didn’t I ever use this before?” And you’re going to start thinking about really cool projects that you can do with the router tool.

    But you kind of want to remember some additional safety tips when you are using your router. You want to always remember safety glasses. They’re super-important; every home improvement project you should have a pair on. Earplugs, a really useful sort of tool for yourself to have when you’re working with a router, because they get pretty loud and it’s kind of repetitive, so it’s helpful to have the earplugs in.

    If you’re working with super-small pieces, you want to clamp those down to your workstation and you always want to keep both hands on the router for really good, smooth control. And when you’re working with a router, remember use multiple and shallow passes across the edge of that wood and you’re going to get the best results.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now for the best results for your home improvement projects.

    LESLIE: Sean in Tennessee is on the line who needs some help restoring a door. Tell us what the project is.

    SEAN: Yeah. Actually, when I bought a house – I’m just fixing to sell it and whoever lived in the house before me had started trying to paint the door facings white to match the walls, I guess.

    TOM: OK.

    SEAN: And what I have a problem with is they used the wrong kind of paint and I guess they realized it halfway through the project, so they didn’t even finish. And the paint that they used is peeling off of the doors and stuff like that. Well, I’m going to sell my home and so that’s one thing that I would like to fix up.

    TOM: Sure.

    SEAN: I have a Dremel tool and it has a little-bitty, old sanding head on it and I kind have been trying to do that but needless to say, it’s very tedious and time-consuming.

    TOM: Well, that’s a really tiny tool to be using for a big sanding project like that. Get a bigger Dremel.

    LESLIE: I mean the Dremel sanding disk is an inch in diameter; they’re little.

    SEAN: Well, I guess this is my deal. I have a bigger bit to use and I actually borrowed somebody else’s tool – somebody else’s bit – but it actually started kind of getting into the actual wood of the door.

    TOM: What you might want to do is get a palm sander or a ¼-sheet sander. Or they have sanders that are designed for details like that. I know that Black & Decker makes one; I’m sure there are others. They’re kind of in the shape – they look like a small iron.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They’re triangular.

    TOM: They have that kind of triangular – so that pointy shape? You can get in the nooks and crannies with that kind of a tool. And then start with a very coarse grit and work your way down.

    Now, if you’re going to repaint this, you don’t have to get all the old paint off, just the loose paint off.

    LESLIE: Just smooth.

    TOM: And then you want to prime it and repaint it and that should be all you need to do, Sean.

    SEAN: I’ll keep listening to the show and I appreciate you all’s time, man.

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

    LESLIE: Tammy in Michigan is looking to makeover a kitchen. How can we help you?

    TAMMY: Well, I’m wondering if you know anything about or can walk me through the process of using the product out on the market that is – like you paint your old countertops that leaves a hard granite – a hard surface?

    LESLIE: OK. So currently you have a laminate of some sort?

    TAMMY: I do. It’s a 1979 faux butcher block.

    TOM: Oh, so you want to go from a faux butcher block to a faux granite top?

    TAMMY: Yes, there you go.

    TOM: Alright.

    LESLIE: But it doesn’t have to be granite. You know, there are so many different manufacturers that make these counter paints.

    One of them is Rust-Oleum, who I’m sure you’ve heard of. They have – it’s like a counter paint kit but it’s really just one product in a box and I think they’re labeling it as Counter Makeover, Counter Paint. If you go to RustOleum.com and search products, you’ll find exactly what it is. And the only downside is it needs three days to cure, so you need to make sure that once you prep the surface and roll out the paint, that you really, really let it dry. And that’s available in 12 solid colors, I believe.

    Modern Masters, which is like – I believe it’s the same company as Rust-Oleum, like under the umbrella but they’re more high-end finishes. So I think the kit’s going to run in the $200 range, whereas the countertop paint is only going to be in the $20 range? But Modern Masters makes one that is really phenomenal when it comes to trying to get a granite look. And it’s very user-friendly.

    There’s another company called GIANI that makes a granite paint but that one’s sort of more like a sponge-painting kit, so you get a different effect. Not sure of the price point on that one but whatever you do, make sure you follow the prep procedures, make sure you clean it and do whatever they tell you to do so that you want it to stick. And really let it dry before you put anything back on top of it.

    TAMMY: OK. Awesome. Thanks so much.

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

    LESLIE: Jim in Illinois is dealing with some low water pressure. Tell us about the problem.

    JIM: Well, I have a rental and we’re in the middle of the city – about 100,000 people – and we’ve got low water pressure. And so what we’re thinking of doing, some people dig up the whole line out to the street and replace the line. But what we’d like to do is put in a pressure tank and a pump and use that to increase the pressure.

    TOM: Yep. Yeah, no reason you can’t do that; that’s a perfectly fine and normal response. We very often see that in folks that are building big houses and the street pressure is not enough to serve the water that you need for all of the fixtures and faucets. So putting in your own pump and a pressure tank is a perfectly acceptable way of solving this.

    JIM: OK. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to North Carolina where Nicole has a roofing question. Tell us what’s going on.

    NICOLE: Well, we had a tree fall on our house and we had no structural damage but we had shingle damage. And so we’ve been working on finding the best reroofing option. So we’ve gotten some estimates and been looking around and researching; doing some research on the different types of shingles and that sort of thing.

    And what we’d really like to do is to go for a metal roof and we have a bid that’s not completely outrageous, which is nice. But the question, I guess, that we have is we’ve been told that some people choose to leave the shingles on the roof and to put the new, metal roof on top of it. Some people have said that it – that that minimizes the lifetime of the roof, of the new roof. So we were just calling to get your take on that.

    TOM: OK. I think what you’re doing is you may be confusing multiple layers of asphalt shingle roofs with a layer of asphalt under metal. First of all, I don’t think it will shorten the lifetime. If you’re talking about multiple layers of asphalt shingle roof, yes, a second layer is not going to last as long as just a single layer, because the single layer acts as a heat sink and stores a lot of heat.

    And frankly, it’ll do some of the same thing with a metal roof and it’ll radiate some of that heat back into your house. But the nice thing about metal roofs is that they have – and you should confirm this with the product you’re thinking about buying. But most of them have low-e paint on them. So, essentially, they radiate a lot of the heat; they sort of bounce it right back out.

    Now that said, I would prefer, if you’re putting a metal roof on, to make sure it was on the structure and not on a previous layer of roof. I don’t think it should add dramatically to the cost to take off that initial layer and I just think it’s a much nicer, cleaner way to do a metal roof. I mean a metal roof can last you a lifetime, so why have a …?

    LESLIE: Yep. Fifty-plus years.

    TOM: Yeah, why have a second layer of roofing underneath that for all that time?

    NICOLE: Yeah, we’ve also been cautioned about how the metal lays because if it’s not put on …

    TOM: Right, exactly. Yeah and so let’s say that you – let’s say that that roof starts to buckle a bit or those shingles start to curl underneath the metal roof, it could raise up the space. So I would tell you, if it was me, I’d probably pull it off even though I didn’t have to.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And Nicole, you may want to check with your community because I know in some municipalities, when you go to get your building permits some of them require a certain type of paperwork if you are leaving the roof structure as is and just putting a new layer on top. And some require a different type of permitting if you’re taking everything off. So just make sure you follow up with your community, so you’ve got everything filed before you start the process.

    NICOLE: Perfect. Thank you.

    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, this time of year, do you find yourself longing for that cool feel of autumn but assuming that that means you can’t get out in the garden, you’re done until next year? Well, not so. We are going to tell you how to bring your outdoor veggie garden inside for those chilly months ahead, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil’s complete line of routers, with Soft Start technology. You experience less kickback and better control. Pro features at a DIY price. That’s what the Skil routers are about.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And summer may be coming to a close but your garden doesn’t have to close down with it. There are ways to move many of your blooming beauties inside where you can enjoy them all fall long.

    LESLIE: That’s right. So we have gardening expert and author, Melinda Myers, joining us with tips on how to extend your bloom time into the colder months.

    Welcome, Melinda.

    MELINDA: Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

    TOM: Well, you’re so very welcome. Now, what kind of plants just can’t really survive it outside and make it through the colder climates and are sort of the must-moves to bring them inside?

    MELINDA: Well, I think gardeners, no matter where you live, have what I call “zone envy.” You know, we always try to grow things that really aren’t winter-hardy in our area. So if it’s a plant that is not winter-hardy, then you’re going to have to do something to get it through the winter.

    So if you’re a Northern gardener, things like tropical hibiscus, banana plants, even non-hardy bulbs like cannas and tuberous begonias and even our friends in the South may be pushing the limits and growing some things. Some parts of the South can’t keep their bougainvilleas and mandevillas over winter. So you need to really look at plants that aren’t hardy that you can bring indoors, grow them like houseplants at a good, sunny window or a cool, bright location and try to keep them alive until the weather’s right to put them back outside.

    LESLIE: Now, is there anything that you really should just forget about it and simply just leave outside for the colder months and hope for the best?

    MELINDA: Well, anything that’s borderline, if you can put it in a protected area that will help. And then there’s some plants that you just go, “I can just buy new ones next year.” And it doesn’t make sense to bring every single annual – impatiens, geraniums, begonia – indoors when it may be just as easy to say, “You know what? I’m going to compost those and then I’m going to just buy fresh, new plants.” Because there’s always new varieties on the market. And so it’s a great way to kind of spark up your landscape, even if you grow the same kind of annuals but try a new variety.

    TOM: Gardening expert, Melinda Myers, is joining us. She’s the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, available on Amazon, garden centers and in bookstores.

    So, Melinda, is there a shock issue to be concerned about when you take a plant that’s been growing outside and want to move it indoors? Is there something you need to do to sort of make that transition a little easier or is that just something that us humans think is important but the plants could care less about?

    MELINDA: Well, they’ll let you know that they don’t like changing of the conditions. Just like a lot of us don’t like to move all of our activities indoors for the winter, the plants don’t either. Just by moving your plants indoors, you’re reducing the light intensity by about a tenth. And as fall approaches and winter, the days are getting shorter, they’re not usually as bright in much of the country and so those plants are going through a shock.

    So what you’re going to need to do is gradually move them from the bright light outdoors to those lower lights inside. And the other thing you want to do is make sure nobody hitched a ride in, any insects.

    TOM: Oh, that’s a good point.

    MELINDA: Yeah, I know. Right there, I can tell Leslie’s like, “Oh, no. That’s OK.”

    LESLIE: Yeah. No, thanks.

    So how do you do that? I mean do you give them a shake or …?

    MELINDA: Yeah.

    LESLIE: You can tell I’m a great gardener.

    MELINDA: One of the things that you can do is when you bring it from outside into a good, sunny window, isolate the plants that are moving outdoors indoors if you have a big indoor plant collection. Because you don’t want to infest your plants indoors that have been indoors all year.

    So I like to do – so from outside to my screened-in porch to a room where just – a bright room where just those plants that are coming indoors stay and then I monitor. I check for a couple weeks, look for signs of insects: mites and aphids being the most common. If I find them – or even before, I might give them a shower with the hose before I bring them in; that knocks a lot of the insects down. If I find something, I like to use things like insecticidal soap or neem. Safe for kids, safe for pets.

    So, if you have a – I have a cat right now trying to munch on my lemon tree. And if you have pets that like to munch on your plants, then you know what? You don’t have to worry about them – the pesticide hurting them – because it’s all-natural and safe.

    TOM: We’re talking to Melinda Myers. She’s the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening.

    Now, what about the reverse of this? Let’s say we’ve gone through the winter and now it’s time to reintroduce the plants to the outside. Do you have to do that in small steps, as well?

    MELINDA: You bet. I always relate it to the – when the Northerners go to Florida in January and we lay on the beach and fry our bodies, the same thing happens to the plants. So, move them outdoors gradually, after the danger frost has passed. Then you want to put them in a shaded location. Each day, give them an hour more of sunlight. And then at the end of two weeks, they’re going to be ready for that bright-light condition.

    Or maybe you just want to move them into a sheltered location so that transition isn’t so great moving out for summer and back in for fall.

    TOM: There’s a lot of steps involved, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Seriously.

    TOM: This is why I kill plants.

    LESLIE: Me, too. I’m always, in the springtime, so thankful that things have grown back. I’m like, “Oh, good. We’re at 75 percent. Home run!”

    TOM: Yeah. “Hey, the plants survived Leslie for the season.”

    LESLIE: And then in the fall, I’m like, “Ugh.”

    MELINDA: Yeah. And the other thing that people may be wanting to do, too, is their non-hardy bulbs. Now, this may be a little bit on the easier side: things like tuberous begonias and calla lilies and dahlias that after a light frost, you lift those up.

    Take the soil off, let them sit for a couple days to cure, remove any dead foliage. Just gently brush off the soil, pack them in peat moss and put them in a cool, dark place in the basement away from the furnace. And then leave them there and hopefully they stay dormant and then you start the process over. So they don’t require much care over winter, so that’s a good, low-maintenance kind of over-wintering strategy for those kind of plants.

    TOM: Good advice. Melinda Myers, the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    MELINDA: Thanks so much for having me.

    TOM: You can get more information from Melinda by going to her website at MelindaMyers.com. And you can find her book in Amazon, garden centers and bookstores.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, we’ve all come to rely on that Energy Star label when it comes to shopping for appliances. But is that label actually misleading? We’re going to tell you how to make sure that you’re getting true energy-efficiency, when The Money Pit continues.

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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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And why don’t you join in on The Money Pit fun by picking up the phone and giving us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT? Because one caller is going to take home a starter kit from HANDy Paint Pail. And it includes a brush and a roller. And the HANDy paint pails all have disposable liners, so cleanup really is super-duper easy. And they also have magnetic brush and roller holders on there, so you’re not going to make a mess unless you’re just a messy painter. We’re taking that mess out of the project, we promise.

    And the prize is worth almost 60 bucks, so give us a call right now for help with your home improvement project and a chance to win this great prize at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: Well, consumers have come to know and trust that big Energy Star label that is slapped on the sides of most energy-efficient appliances on the market. But a new report finds that some Energy Star refrigerators are actually using too much energy to qualify for the Energy Star status.

    Consumer Reports has been calling for tougher oversight of the Energy Star program for years and they’ve started using tougher standards for their own testing than what’s been used by the Department of Energy.

    LESLIE: You know, that’s right. And those tougher tests actually showed that two Samsung models and one higher model used way more energy than the government actually stated. And one of those Samsung models actually used 54 percent more and that could add hundreds of dollars to your energy costs over the life of that unit.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: It’s worth noting that these models were all manufactured before 2011, so they weren’t subjected to the Energy Star program’s new certification requirements.

    If you want to know the model numbers of those three refrigerators and see how your own refrigerator stacks up energy-wise, head on over to the Consumer Reports website at ConsumerReports.org.

    TOM: That’s ConsumerReports.org.

    888-666-3974. If you’ve got an energy-efficiency question, pick up the phone and call us right now.

    LESLIE: Eric in West Virginia is on the line and he’s got some stuck doors in the house. What’s the matter? You’re locked in?

    ERIC: No, no, no, no. There’s this inoperable door that we no longer use. We can’t get out that way or come in.

    TOM: So describe these doors to us. Tell us what they look like and tell us how difficult they are to get to open.

    ERIC: There’s just wooden doors with – they’re (inaudible at 0:29:39) doors. They have wood on that side and then glass.

    TOM: Full-height glass?

    ERIC: Glass, yes.

    TOM: OK. So when doors get stuck, it’s usually because they’ve swollen in place. Now, the other complication here is that these are so stuck you can’t actually move the handles. If they are hinged doors, what you’re probably going to end up doing is having to remove them off the hinges to try to free them up.

    Once you get them out the first time, then you can try to examine where they’re jamming. There’s usually some evidence on the door somewhere: some rubbing, some abrasion where you can tell where it’s really stuck. And you can start to abrade or plane away or sand away some of those high spots until you get a door that swings easily and closes correctly.

    As far as the hardware is concerned, possibly when you get the pressure off the door to get them out of there, that might start to work again. The other thing to keep in mind is that very often you can adjust the door’s placement by moving the hinges. If the hinges are deeper down into the jam, for example, that will create some room on the other side of the door.

    But a combination of those moves could be very effective in freeing these doors up. Eric, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Linda from North Carolina who’s calling in with a gutter question. What can we do for you?

    LINDA: I have gutters on my house right now but I want to switch them out because I think I need seamless gutters. So my question is, what is the best type of gutters to get? Because I have a lot of pine trees in the yard, so my gutters right now are filling up with pine.

    TOM: Your question is not so much what kind of gutters to get but what kind of gutter guard to get.

    LINDA: OK.

    TOM: And the gutter guards that I like better than any others are the ones that have a micromesh surface to them.

    LINDA: A micromesh.

    LESLIE: Almost like a screen on the top?

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a very, very fine screening material. And it really stops everything from sticking, not only to the mesh itself but certainly stops stuff from getting in.

    And then my second-favorite kind are the types that have sort of a louvered surface, where they work on the surface tension of water, sort of hugging them and then rolling over them. The only problem with the ones that rely on surface tension is that if you have a really steep roof and you get a big flow of water, that water can just sort of wash right over the edge and down.

    LESLIE: It’s just going to run right off.

    TOM: But the gutter guards that have a micromesh? Very, very effective.

    LINDA: OK.

    LESLIE: The only – my only concern there would be having a pine tree in the yard and knowing the tremendous amount of sap they do like to give off – would be an issue with the sap sort of clogging up that mesh. It might be something you just want to ask the manufacturer, to ensure that that sap isn’t going to be harmful to it.

    LINDA: Right. Well, just a follow-up question: does a house really need gutters?

    TOM and LESLIE: Yes.

    TOM: Absolutely, Linda. And here’s why: that gutter system is going to control the water around the foundation. You don’t want the water to get too close to the house. It can undermine the foundation, it can flood a crawlspace or a basement. If it gets cold enough, it can freeze and be dangerous, cause slippery sidewalks. It can cause your foundation to shift and move. So a gutter is actually an important part of the structure of the house, believe it or not.

    LINDA: OK. Well, why do I see some without them?

    TOM: Well, because some folks just don’t want to put them on. I mean if your soil is really, really sandy, you might be able to get away with it. But for the most part, we think gutters are very, very important.

    Why don’t you head on over to our website at MoneyPit.com? I actually wrote an article about all the reasons that you should have gutters.

    LINDA: OK, I sure will.

    TOM: It’s online at MoneyPit.com. There’s also several articles there about gutter guards, too.

    LINDA: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, there’s a new predator at large on college campuses: bed bugs. We’re going to tell you ways to keep those critters from hitching a ride home with your co-ed, next.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Hey, have you thought about beefing up your home security? There is some amazing technological advances being made in home security right now. To learn more, just go to MoneyPit.com and search “home security” for the latest in keeping your house safe and sound.

    LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re on MoneyPit.com, you can post a question in our Community section, just like Mary from Texas did who writes: “My daughter is getting ready to go to college. I’m afraid of bed bugs in the dorm. Is there any way to prevent her from getting them or bringing them home?”


    TOM: Yes, there is.

    LESLIE: First of all, if there are bed bugs in surrounding dorms, if her roommate has them, you want to make sure that her suitcase or duffel bag that she brings home for the weekend is stored in a sealed-off plastic bin under the bed, wherever. Just don’t keep it in the open where anything could climb in and then transport home with you.

    And if they’re bringing home clothes, laundry bedding, wash, wash, wash everything right before they head home. Pack it up in that duffel and then get on the plane.

    TOM: Well, you may have been to a restaurant with those giant, umbrella-shaped heaters outside. You can actually do the same thing at home to make use of your outdoor spaces a little longer into the colder months. Leslie tells us how, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, what you see when you dine out of doors in the cooler months are those patio heaters. And they don’t always have to be as gigantor as you see when you go out to a restaurant.

    You can actually get a patio heater: the freestanding version, as you know, or even a tabletop version. And they’re going to range in price from around $100 all the way up to over $1,000. But they really do make a great addition to an outdoor space, especially if you’ve got that beautiful patio, you love your outdoors, you want to dine outside. It can help you enjoy your outdoor space well into October, November, December. It depends on how crazy you are.

    But really, when it comes to shopping for one, keep in mind their fuel. They can run on propane, natural gas or even electric. And compared to other heat sources like fire pits or chimineas, they produce less emissions.

    Now, most homeowners traditionally choose the tabletop patio heater. And there are some advantages to those because they’re lighter, they’re smaller, they’re easier to carry around. Now, the freestanding types, those are going to be much bigger – about 95 inches tall – and they’re the ones that you see when you dine out at a restaurant. But they’re also more powerful and can really heat a pretty decent-sized area.

    Now, if you do choose a stationary heater, you can hook it up to your natural gas line and you won’t have to have your tank refilled, replaced, the swap-out program. But it’s something that if you plan on moving your heater to different locations, that’s not going to work for you and a portable propane model is going to be the best.

    But whatever you choose, a patio heater is going to help you enjoy that outdoor space that you have loved all summer season long, well into the fall, maybe even into the winter, depending on where you live. But it’s a great addition to your outdoor space, so keep on enjoying it.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, you know when fall happens, you might find yourself up on a ladder cleaning out those gutters once again. And when you do, you want to make sure you take a good, hard look at them because gutters that are in bad shape will leak, even if they’re clean. Next week on the program, we’re going to have tips to help you make sure that your gutter system is truly good to go for the season ahead.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

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

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