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  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
    (NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help you get that job done around the house. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Coming up this hour, has this ever happened to you? You’re ready for a marathon session of lawn mowing when your mower conks out; like before you get started? (Leslie chuckles)
    Actually, that’s not half bad because it’s like, “Sorry, honey. I tried.”
    LESLIE: “Aw, I didn’t even get to do it.” Or it’s worse if you’re like midway through and like one half is jungle and the other half is all clean and nice. (chuckles)
    TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s the worst part. Well, if you maintain your mower so it’s ready to go when you need it, you’re not going to have that problem. We’re going to have an expert joining us in just a bit with some tips on how to do just that.
    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, we’re going to have a quick and easy way to cut down on energy use and keep your house cool during the warmer months – got to love that – and it’s actually a laundry tip also. It makes a lot of sense and it’s going to save a few, too.
    TOM: And summertime means electric overload with all of those air conditioners running. So if you don’t want to get left out in the dark, we’re going to have a bright idea for you; a way that you can have continuous power even when the utility company drops the ball on you and shuts down the street.
    LESLIE: And this hour, we’ve got a great prize that we’re giving away. We’ve got up for grabs a $50 gift card to Lowe’s that will help bring you one step closer to that entry door of your dreams. You know, you could use it towards a Benchmark door from Therma-Tru, which is sold exclusively at Lowe’s.
    TOM: So pick up the phone right now and give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Mike in Oklahoma is dealing with a water heater problem. What happened? What’s going on?
    MIKE: Well, I don’t have a problem but I am unable to have one of these tankless water heaters because I do not have gas or propane.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: And what I have kind of thought through on my own was kind of cycling my electric one on and off by using my circuit breaker when I’m gone. I’m gone quite a bit, so the circuit breaker is by the back door and I just flip it when I leave.

    TOM: OK, are you gone for, you know, like more than a day at a time, Mike?

    MIKE: Yes.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: And my main question is am I maybe doing more harm to the electronics or anything in there by flipping it?

    TOM: Absolutely not. You’re doing exactly the right thing. If you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time, turning off the 240-volt circuit breaker to the water heater is the right thing to do. If you were gone only like a day or two here and there what we would be telling you to do is to put a 240-volt timer on the water heater. But your job takes you away for several days at a time. The right thing to do is to turn it off at the circuit breaker panel.

    MIKE: OK, well thank you so very much. I appreciate that.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Jane in South Carolina has a roofing question. What’s going on?
    JANE: Well, the situation is we have a leak in our roof. It comes down behind our front door and it’s in a corner behind the front door and every time we talk to a roofer, bring a roofer over, they want to replace the whole roof …

    TOM: Yeah, let me guess.

    JANE: … for something that’s obviously in the well between the garage and the porch.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    JANE: So what can I do or not do?

    TOM: Well, first of all you’re not talking to the right roofers. What you have here is a flashing problem. You have some element of the intersection of the garage and the porch where it’s leaking. Replacing the roof is ridiculous when all you have is a leak in a flashing area so you need to find somebody that’s a good technician that can diagnose this and is willing to fix that. The kinds of products that you need here are flashing products.
    What I would suggest is the website for the Grace folks. Those guys make Ice & Water Shield and different types of stretch flashing materials. It’s GraceAtHome.com. I think what you’re going to need is one of their flexible flashing products to seal in that space underneath the roof shingles and that will stop it once and for all. But keep in mind, Jane, to do this you’re going to have to pull off the shingles and then install the flashing product and then reshingle that area.

    JANE: OK. Alright. Thank you so much.

    TOM: But you definitely don’t need a new roof.

    JANE: Thank you. That’s what we figured.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question; even home décor, painting. Whatever you’ve got going on at your money pit, we will help you solve that do-it-yourself dilemma 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, is your home ready when the lights go out? Well, don’t get left in the dark during a power outage. We’re going to have an idea that can help. Find out more, right after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the WORX GT, the revolutionary trimmer/edger that’s fully adjustable, runs on rechargeable battery power and weighs less than a gallon of milk. See the WORX GT in action at FreeLineforLife.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Call us now for your chance to win a $50 gift card to Lowe’s. You can use it towards a great investment in energy efficiency and curb appeal. It’s a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Benchmark doors are prehung for easy, do-it-yourself installation and they’ve got the look of a traditional wood door with all the benefits of fiberglass; which means it’s not going to rot, warp, swell, split or crack. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Call us right now for your chance to win that $50 gift card.
    LESLIE: Alright, pick up the phone and give us a call because we love it when you are part of The Money Pit and we really want to hear what you guys are working on, what your concerns are. And if you find that you are in a part of the United States that is heavily storm-ravaged during the summer – which, does that sound like every part of the United States? (Tom chuckles) I mean, truly, during the summer season, we can get a slew of storms across this entire country and what is the biggest side effect of bad weather is power outages. In fact, last year, more than 75 percent of Americans suffered a power outage; myself included.
    So, to protect yourself, install a whole-house backup generator and these whole-house backup generators will automatically repower important systems like heating or air conditioning, refrigeration, your computer systems. Whatever you tell it to tell it turn back on as soon as the power goes off, it will. And it’ll turn on so quickly; you know, even before any damage can be done.
    And Tom and I are lucky enough to have a Generac standby generator installed here at our studio and I can’t tell you how many times we’ve actually used it in the five almost years Tom and I have been together. You know, the power will go out; we’ll have a storm and all of a sudden everybody in the neighborhood is dark but the Money Pit studio is still going strong.
    So you want to make sure – especially if you’ve got kids or you work from home and your computer system is really important to you or you’re in a storm-prone area of the United States – that you get a backup generator for your entire house. This way, you will never be in the dark again.
    TOM: You will, unfortunately, however, have neighbors lining up with milk and cheese and butter and other things that they want to like put in your refrigerator.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, watching their favorite TV show.
    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones. Who’s next?
    LESLIE: David in Texas has a question about concrete. What can we do for you today?
    DAVID: Yeah, we’re getting ready to pour a concrete driveway and they were talking about putting fiberglass fibers into the concrete. What’s the purpose of that?

    LESLIE: Is that like a reinforcement?

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a reinforcement material. It’s a way to make the concrete stronger. See, concrete by itself is actually pretty weak especially in certain types of bending actions. For example, if you try to bend concrete, if it’s not reinforced it’ll bend very quickly. Now, with a driveway or a sidewalk it’s usually best to put reinforcing wire in there, but if you don’t put reinforcing wire then you can use a fiberglass reinforcement fiber inside and that helps to tie it all together so that it won’t break.

    LESLIE: Is there a choice ever as to when fiberglass is used over rebar or over that rolled-up sort of squared wire?

    TOM: I would imagine that fiberglass is probably less expensive than putting the rebar in but personally, if I was doing it, I would probably always try to do a rebar reinforcement. Are they giving you an option, David?

    DAVID: Yeah. We’re still going to use a rebar or the wire but I just wanted to make sure.

    TOM: OK. So they’re going to do both?

    DAVID: Yeah. I’m going to have both.

    TOM: No, I think you’re in very good shape. Both of those is going to stop that concrete from cracking and shifting. It’ll be much more stable that way. I think it’s the right way to go.

    DAVID: And it’s fairly cheap, too. It’s not a big expense so …

    TOM: It’s a good investment.

    DAVID: Alrighty. Thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, David. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Marilyn has got a question to help the sky fall. What’s going on? Your ceilings are too high for you?
    MARILYN: Yes. I have a house that the ceilings are ten feet tall. I’m 4’8″.

    LESLIE: So that’s really high.

    MARILYN: Yes, very much.

    TOM: So I guess tall heels are out of the question, huh?

    MARILYN: (chuckles) Very much so.

    TOM: OK.

    MARILYN: What I want to do is I want to put tin – like you have in a building; on an old building. I’ve seen it done in a ceiling and I need to know how I go about lowering the ceilings where it would still support the tin and still look old. I don’t want it to look new.

    TOM: I have a better solution for you.


    TOM: Armstrong makes some really high-end ceiling tiles for drop ceiling frames …

    MARILYN: Yes.

    TOM: … that look just like tin if they’re painted properly.

    Leslie, what’s that finish that they put on there?

    LESLIE: Oh, on the – to make it look like it’s patina?

    TOM: Like tinny. Yeah, it’s like a patina.

    LESLIE: You can – I mean there are several ways you can do it. You can do it as a foiling. You can do it as almost a glazing. There are different ways that you can do it but they may even offer it as a tin ceiling tile and you might even be able – because they’re replicas they’re lightweight; they’re aluminum and not tin …

    MARILYN: Yes.

    LESLIE: … you can actually sheathe these drop-in tiles with those tin-style pieces to make it look like the real thing.

    TOM: It really looks good and it’s not hard to install; you know and drop ceilings today don’t look anything like the drop ceilings of yesteryear. These ceilings look fantastic.

    MARILYN: OK. Thanks a lot for your help and I like your program.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Marilyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Debbie in North Carolina needs some help with furniture refinishing. What can we do for you?
    DEBBIE: Well, I have got a piece of furniture that I got out of a – well, I got it out of an old hotel suite. It’s one of those real heavy pieces of furniture. I had looked at it. It looks like it possibly could be particleboard but, if it is, it is really, really heavy.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: And I want to refinish this thing but the exterior coating on it is such that I can’t sand it; I can’t paint over it because the paint won’t adhere to it; and I don’t know how to refinish it or to take the varnish off of it. Can you all tell me any ways that I can change the color or paint this thing?

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    TOM: It sounds like you need to apply like liquid sandpaper, which will rough it up …

    DEBBIE: Liquid sandpaper?

    TOM: Yeah, rough up the exterior surface just a little bit. And then, if it’s got a varnish on it I would definitely prime it because you’re going to have an adhesion issue. But if you prime it with a good-quality oil-based primer that should solve that.

    LESLIE: Then it should stick.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: I mean because it sounds even like it’s got like a heavy-duty resin coating. A lot of times these commercial furnishings will be so heavily varnished that it’s almost as if it’s like a thick coat of resin, which could be part of the weight issue that you’re feeling, and if you suspect that it is particleboard you can’t chemically strip it and you can’t sand it down because if you get below whatever this finish is or if it’s a laminate, you’re not going to have anything to paint.

    DEBBIE: Alright, I appreciate it. Thank you.

    TOM: Well, you’re welcome, Debbie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Dennis in Illinois has a question about basement drainage. What can we do for you today?
    DENNIS: I bought some waterproof paint for the wall but just in case it’s coming up from the crack between the floor and the wall …

    TOM: OK.

    DENNIS: … I’m thinking about cutting like a one-inch-wide or less groove around the base of the wall so it will drain to another drain in the basement and I was wondering if there was something I could use to do that.

    TOM: Well Dennis, let’s back up for a minute. Does your basement seem to flood after heavy rainfalls?

    DENNIS: Yes, sir.

    TOM: OK. Well, the solution here is not putting holes in your floor.

    LESLIE: Not a moat in the basement.

    TOM: No, the moat idea is out. Here’s the order of events. First of all, we want to make sure that the gutter system is absolutely guaranteed to be clean. It would be good if you flushed each downspout and confirmed that there’s no leakage and that the water is extended out away from the house. Secondly, I’d like to see you improve the drainage so there’s no flat soil against the walls. Thirdly, you’re going to want to add a dehumidifier to the basement to accept moisture that evaporates from those walls. Putting the paint on the walls, the damp-proofing paint, is a good thing and it does cut down on some of the evaporation.

    If those three things together are not working and you’re still having water, I would recommend, before you do any demolition of the floor, that you hire a professional home inspector to do an inspection of that house and see if they can spot something else that’s leading to water infiltration. Because many times there is some element of that outside drainage that’s just not working right and is allowing that water to get into the basement. And after that, we’re talking about pretty expensive repair work here, so I’d like to make absolutely sure that we’re doing all the basic things right.

    I can tell you in the 20 years I spent as a home inspector, Dennis, 9 out of 10 times we can solve wet basement problems just by fixing the drainage outside. So I want to make sure that yours is absolutely letter perfect before we recommend anything more dramatic than fixing your gutters. OK?

    DENNIS: Very good.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Heading over to Texas to chat with Nancy. What can we do for you today?
    NANCY: I have a utility apartment, so it’s not very big nor am I. I’m five feet tall.

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.


    NANCY: About two-thirds of my apartment is wasted space since I can’t reach it (Tom and Leslie chuckle) …

    LESLIE: OK. And stilts are out of the question.

    NANCY: (chuckling) I’m debating on whether to put in shelving because it’s cinder block –

    TOM: OK.

    NANCY: – it’s like brick walls – or hang things from the ceiling or both and how to do that.

    TOM: Well you certainly can put in shelving and there’s a neat little piece of hardware called a Tapcon which is essentially a screw that’s designed to go right into a concrete block wall and, in fact, when you buy them they come with the drill bit that you need to predrill them.

    LESLIE: Yeah, make sure you buy the one that comes with the attachments.

    NANCY: OK.

    TOM: And you can drill it right into the concrete block wall and attach right to that. So no need to hang things from the ceiling, which would probably be more dangerous. Plus, you can’t reach the ceiling anyway, as you mentioned.

    LESLIE: Yeah, how were you going to do that anyway?

    NANCY: (chuckling) Ladders. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    TOM: Oh, yeah. (chuckles)

    NANCY: Being from California, I don’t like things hanging over my head. (chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: No, I think you’re in a non-earthquake zone though; so relax about that.

    NANCY: Yes.

    LESLIE: But Tom and I have also seen some interesting upper cabinet inserts and there’s one from a company called Rev-A-Shelf, is it Tom?

    TOM: Yes.

    LESLIE: And it’s something that goes inside your upper cabinet so when you open the cabinet door, if you can reach that bottom there would be sort of like a handle or a grabbing thing there that you would pull down and now everything that’s in that upper cabinet sort of bends down to meet you.

    NANCY: Oh, how cool!

    TOM: Yeah, kind of takes the whole guts of the cabinet and drops it right there on your lap.

    NANCY: It’s like a kneeling cabinet.

    TOM: Sort of.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: It’s like public transportation. (Tom chuckles)

    NANCY: (chuckling) Awesome. Oh, that’d be great.

    TOM: Alright, Nancy.

    NANCY: Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Jane in New Jersey needs some help around the garden. What can we do for you?
    JANE: I have a patio …


    JANE: … and there was a tree blocking – the leaves blocked it; covering it with all the shade. And now the tree is down but I have moss growing in between the pavers.

    TOM: OK.

    JANE: What can I do to remove the moss?

    TOM: You want to spray a bleach and water solution on the patio.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, that’ll kill that moss.

    TOM: Mm-hmm, it’ll kill the moss. And then you can pressure wash it off; the rest of it.

    JANE: How many parts of bleach to the water?

    TOM: I would go about one-third bleach and two-thirds water.

    JANE: Okey-dokle.

    TOM: Okey-dokle. (Tom and Leslie chuckles) Jane, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, I live in New Jersey and I never heard anybody say …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And you’ve never heard okey-dokle?

    TOM: … okey-dokle. Nope.

    LESLIE: What is that QUIKRETE product? Is it the ProLock (sp)? It’s that joining sand.

    TOM: The joining sand, yeah; and that might not be a bad idea for her to put that in after the fact because that sand product that QUIKRETE has, it actually solidifies and kind of locks the pavers together and stops …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and this way nothing can grow up between there.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

    LESLIE: But it’s still – you know if you ever need to take out a paver you can but it sort of makes this, you know like semi-suctiony lock thing that’s temporary.

    TOM: It’s okey-dokle.

    LESLIE: It’s okey-dokle. (Tom chuckles) I’m going to add that to my repertoire.

    TOM: There you go. Use that in a sentence today.
    You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
    Up next, keep your lawn mower running in tiptop shape and extend its life. We’re going to show you how with some expert advice, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you should pick up the phone and give us a call, especially if you guys are working on any maintenance projects around your money pit. You know, when you’ve got an automobile – and we all have cars – and your car starts to act funny, you know that you can take it to your local mechanic. Bu what do you do when your lawn mower is acting up? You – and you know this has happened to you before – you end up being the mechanic and you’re trying to figure out what’s going wrong and hoping you don’t have to go out and buy a brand new replacement. It’s confusing.
    TOM: Well, if you’re not sure where to start troubleshooting or even how to maximize the life of your mower so it lasts as long as it can, we’ve got an expert that can help. Here to give us some assistance is Scott Mack. He’s the senior training specialist for Kohler Engines.
    Hi, Scott.
    SCOTT: Hi, how you doing?
    TOM: We are excellent and I’ve got to tell you; there’s a lot of people that pulled their lawn mowers out this year and started pulling that crank over and over and over again until their shoulders hurt. (Leslie chuckles) What’s the best way to get your mower going for the season?
    SCOTT: Well, the best way to get your mower going for the season is the proper maintenance before you put it in storage. Yeah, that’s …
    TOM: (chuckles) OK.
    LESLIE: What if you didn’t do any of that?
    TOM: That’s right. What if say, for example, possibly we knew someone who didn’t do that? (chuckles)
    SCOTT: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and that’s usually the case.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) (overlapping voices) Not that it’s either of us.
    TOM: Hypothetically speaking, of course. You know, how do you kind of get back to where you need to be to get your mower going?
    SCOTT: Well, a lot of times, what I find is you need to take the carburetor off and clean it out a little bit.
    TOM: OK.
    SCOTT: And what I do is I would take the carburetor off, take the ball off the bottom – there’s a float ball on the bottom; it’s usually a nut that you take off. Depending on the size of the engine, sometimes there’s a solenoid that you take off and you expose the bottom of the carburetor and then you see a float; and most times it’s a plastic float. And there’s a small pin that you would slide out and you’ll expose a needle-and-seat area. That’s usually what plugs up or sticks.
    TOM: Scott, if we’re getting ready to drag our mower out this year, what should we be doing before and after each use of the lawn mower to make sure that it’s properly maintained and does the best job for us?
    SCOTT: Well, when you take it out, a lot of times you’re going to find that you’ll turn the key and sometimes, you know, the engine won’t turn over. You want to make sure that the battery connections are nice and clean.
    TOM: OK.
    SCOTT: That’s usually the first thing. And if there’s a lot of corrosion there, you can take like a baking soda and water solution and that’ll neutralize the acid that’s on there. Clean that up …
    TOM: Oh, that’s a good trick.
    SCOTT: Yep. You can clean that up with a wire brush and that usually takes care of any battery problems.
    TOM: OK. What’s next?
    SCOTT: From there, blow it off. Make sure that there’s no grass buildup. A lot of times, what I find, if an engine and mower sits in storage for a long time, a lot of things can happen; animal nesting for one. I know that’s happened to me, where I look at the engine and I see all this grass hanging off that wasn’t there before.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) And it’s a nest.
    SCOTT: (chuckling) It’s a nest. So you have to take off the shroud and clean out whatever was living in there and make sure that they didn’t chew on any of the wires inside as well.
    Another thing we can do is just make sure you have fresh fuel in it before you start it up.
    LESLIE: Now Scott, I think this is an unusual summer season. You know we have a lot of people who, due to the economy, have had to let go of their landscaper or their gardener who may have tackled this chore for them and this is possibly their first adventure with a lawn mower. Do you have any tips or advice for that first-time user who could be just starting this adventure?
    SCOTT: Oh, sure. And it all has to do with maintenance, again. You know, if someone was doing the maintenance before, you might want to start with the owner’s manual; you know, find out how often you should really be changing the oil – in most cases, that’s at least once a season – and do it – you know, in the case of the core engine, anyway, it’s every 100 hours that you want to change the oil; change the filter; inspect the air cleaner – make sure nothing is loose or that all the parts are good, tight, sound and secure, the air filter is clean. Just make sure all the maintenance points are touched on at that time.
    TOM: We’re talking to Scott Mack. He’s a senior training specialist for Kohler Engines.
    So Scott, it sounds like if we have to do this every 100 hours, pretty much if we do a good job with this at the beginning of the season and again at the end, we’re going to be good to go and that mower is going to last as long as possible. Does that make sense?
    SCOTT: It sure does. You know, and how many times have you heard that, “You know, I’ve had this lawn mower for years and I think I changed the oil twice”? (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah.
    SCOTT: (chuckling) You know? You just – you don’t have to talk about it; you just have to do it, you know? (Leslie chuckles)
    TOM: Good tip.
    Scott Mack, Senior Training Specialist for Kohler Engines, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
    SCOTT: Thank you.
    TOM: For more information on Kohler products, you can go to their website at KohlerEngines.com.
    LESLIE: Alright, Scott. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Hopefully, everybody will have fantastically tiptop shape-running mowers this season.
    Well, here’s something for you. Do you know that you can take some of the heat off your energy bills this summer by running one of your appliances at night instead of during the heat of the day? We’re going to tell you which one, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic, the 100% natural odor-eliminating air freshener. Unlike other air fresheners, Citrus Magic actually eliminates odors and lasts up to four times longer. Visit CitrusMagic.com for more information. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you can give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Become part of the Money Pit show this hour and one of you lucky callers who gets on the air has a chance to win a $50 Lowe’s gift card. Now, you lucky winner can use it to increase your curb appeal by investing in a Benchmark door by Therma-Tru. Now, these Benchmark doors by Therma-Tru, they specialize in prehung entry doors for easy do-it-yourself installation, so no need to hire a pro there. And the fiberglass doors insulate up to five times better than traditional wood doors. And now homeowners can take advantage of a tax credit offer through the economic stimulus package for 30 percent of the product cost up to 1,500 bucks. That’s huge.
    TOM: It absolutely is.
    Now, speaking of energy savings, another way to save energy is to alter the way you use your appliances in your house. When it gets really, really hot out, you want to not run heat-generating appliances during the day. For example, your clothes dryer creates a ton of heat, right? And that sneaks into your house and adds to your cooling bills and it takes away from your comfort. So, during the summer months or anytime you live in a warm climate, run your dryer only at night. That’s when the outside temperature is lower, so it’s smarter and much more energy-efficient.
    888-666-3974. Hey, if you’re trying to save some money with your cooling bills, give us a call right now and we will help you out.
    LESLIE: Alicia in Alabama, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    ALICIA: We have a sunroom with commercial carpet that some paint got spilled on the carpet. It’s a big glob about eight inches.

    TOM: OK.

    ALICIA: And I was wondering if there’s any way of getting this blob that dried hard or if you can paint commercial carpet.

    TOM: Make it all match, huh? (laughs)

    ALICIA: Make it all match, yes.

    LESLIE: Is moving a piece of furniture over that stain completely out of the question?

    TOM: Yeah, as is a throw rug? (Leslie chuckles)

    ALICIA: Well, I’ve got a rug over it now.

    TOM: Yeah.

    ALICIA: But it is kind of in the middle of the room where …

    TOM: Yeah.

    ALICIA: … I ordinarily wouldn’t have a rug there.

    TOM: Do you happen to have an area of this carpet that maybe is in a closet or a place where you could cut out a piece and use that to patch in the area that’s stained?

    ALICIA: No, we don’t.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I can’t – we can’t honestly recommend painting carpet. I think that when you buy paint, you know, carpet is not one of the things that are listed as it being qualified to cover.

    LESLIE: Now is the carpet a light – describe the color of the paint and the color of the carpet.

    ALICIA: The paint is a light beige and the carpet is blue.

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    TOM: Well, you can dye carpet but you can’t paint carpet.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you can dye carpet but generally if it’s a lighter color going darker. And you’ve got a light-color paint on there with a deepish-tone carpet, so there’s really nowhere for you to go. There’s a good website that has carpet dyes and it’s AmericolorDyes.com. But they might not be able to take you from a darker color, especially with a light stain on it and obviously the paint’s been there for some time.

    An option is – there’s a company called Flor Carpet Tiles. F-l-o-r is how they spell it. You can search them online. And they sell carpet tiles that are sort of 20-inch square and you just piece them together and they do a full line of exterior carpets -you know, for a covered porch or any sort of area that’s kind of screened in – and you might be able to do an overlay to make it look like an area rug or at least just pull that out and start from scratch and then you’re in a situation where if you spill something again you can just pop out that one tile and put something down; a new one.

    ALICIA: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Alicia. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and buy a dropcloth next time, will you? (Leslie chuckles) Just so much better.
    LESLIE: I’m telling you, that one time; I forget what we were doing. Oh, I know what. We did the living room makeover and of course, being me, I made Ed and I do the entire makeover in one day; all the sewing, all the painting, all the moving the furniture back in. And you know, 11:00 at night, we put the can of white trim paint on the top shelf in the garage, closed the garage door and we hear like BAM-CLANG-CLANG. (Tom chuckles) And we open up the garage door and the white can of paint has fallen on the floor and has completely spilled everywhere.
    TOM: Well, at least it was the garage.
    LESLIE: Right, and I turned to Ed; I’m like, “Let’s just paint it white, like a stripe, and call it a day.” (Tom chuckles) And he was like, “I like that.” So now, every time I go in that garage and I see that white stripe …
    TOM: It reminds you, right?
    LESLIE: … I’m like, “Aw, never do home improvements when half asleep.”
    TOM: Yeah, well you know I learned that it’s not always a good idea to do home improvements when you have young children around. My young son knocked down a can – a gallon of paint and it poured all the way down the staircase to the first floor.

    LESLIE: Ooh, was this before you restained them?

    TOM: It was bad.

    LESLIE: Oh, Bad News Bears.

    TOM: It was bad. It was ugly.

    LESLIE: Ugh.

    TOM: But you can’t tell today. We got it cleaned up.
    Alright, it’s time for us to draw another Liquid Nails story here. We’ve been asking folks to send their Liquid Nails success stories in. You know, Liquid Nails is a leader in construction adhesive. It’s a brand choice for pros, for do-it-yourselfers. They’ve got a slogan – “Done once, done right” – for a very good reason; because they are known for durability and strength that make sure the project comes out perfectly.
    Now we’ve got one here from Mike in Dalton, Georgia that came in this week who says he wanted to do a flooring project but he found several layers of old flooring under his carpeting. He’s got as much of the old stuff up as he could and then decided to start fresh with new subfloor. So Mike adhered the new subfloor with Liquid Nails and he was ready to go with his project to lay a brand new hardwood floor. So that’s a great use.
    LESLIE: And you know what? That’s really a great idea because if you’ve ever tried to remove adhesive during, say, removing carpeting or an old linoleum floor, you know that it is extremely difficult to get all of that old adhesive off. So with this Liquid Nails for subfloors, Mike was absolutely able to just go right on top of what was there and make it work for him; you know, with a lot less back-breaking labor. So thanks for sharing your story with us, Mike.
    Hey, keep your Liquid Nails stories coming in and if we use your story on the air, we are going to send you a Liquid Nails gift pack worth about $65. So, to share your Liquid Nails story with us, just click on the link at MoneyPit.com or you can e-mail us at MyStory@MoneyPit.com.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, mysterious bathroom fixture noises. Hmm. Is the bathroom haunted or perhaps just has a minor plumbing problem. (Leslie chuckles) We will sort that out when we come back.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Villa Deco crown molding; the easy-to-install, lightweight crown molding that costs only a fraction of wood and includes precut corners. Go to DIYCrown.com for a special Money Pit listener offer.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And you should visit MoneyPit.com for all of your staycation solutions because, right now, you can download a free bonus chapter of our book, My Home, My Money Pit, called “Bringing the Inside Outside with Decks, Patios and Porches.” It’s got all of your staycation solutions. So check out MoneyPit.com/Staycation today to learn how to get your free bonus chapter. And you can also enter to win a $400 John Deere mower while you’re there.
    LESLIE: And while you’re online, if you’ve got something going on at your money pit and you need an answer to immediately, go ahead, click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon; we’re going to answer your e-mail question. Sometimes we write you back, sometimes we answer them here on the show. And we’ve got a bunch to get to today, starting with Sandy in New York who writes: “Throughout the day, one of my bathroom toilets releases a hiss. I can’t find any leaks. What could be causing this?”
    TOM: So her toilet is having a hissy fit.
    LESLIE: Apparently.
    TOM: I think the hiss is actually a leak, Sandy, and I would predict that you have a leaking flush valve; which is the flapper, the rubber flapper on the bottom of the tank. What happens is water escapes out of that valve and when enough of it leaks out, the fill valve comes on and refills the tank; hence the hissing sound you hear is that fill valve refilling the tank with water.
    If you want to check this, what you can do is take some food coloring. Put it into the tank of the toilet and wait an hour or so. If you see that food coloring leak it’s way through to the bowl, you’ll know that you have a bad flush valve.
    Now, the good news is that a flush valve is all of about five bucks to replace; so easy to fix and, once you do, your toilet will have no need to fill up all by itself and then you won’t have a hissing sound anymore (Leslie chuckles) and your toilet will also no longer have a hissy fit.
    LESLIE: And neither will Sandy. (chuckles)
    TOM: That’s right.
    LESLIE: Alright, now we’ve got one from Carla in Colorado Springs who writes: “Tenants just moved out of my investment property and left me a large, black stain on the hardwood floors. Someone told me it might be moisture damage but there’s no harping or anything like that. Of course the tenants say there was nothing wrong with the floor when they moved out, so they won’t tell me what caused the damage. What can I do?”
    TOM: Of course not. Did your tenants have a dog? Because that’s probably what happened.
    LESLIE: Yeah, and dog remains, if you will, or remnants or whatever, do sometimes turn wood black over time; especially if it’s been a continual damage to that same spot.
    TOM: Absolutely. What you’re going to have to do here, Carla, is you’re going to have to probably sand it out because wood is so porous, those stains get in down deep. So you’re going to probably have to sand that out and then refinish that section of the floor. It’s a pretty big repair to do, actually, and one way to solve this problem, next time, with the tenants; make sure you photograph the condition of your apartment before you rent it. Because this way, there’ll be ample proof of the condition before they moved in as well as you’ll compare that against what they leave you when they move out.
    LESLIE: Alright, Carla. I hope that helps you the next time you rent out that space.
    TOM: Well, summer is prime time for thieves to strike. A few simple and inexpensive steps, though, can take your house off of the target list. Leslie’s got the solution to that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, burglars who are on the prowl, they are looking for those obvious signs that you are not at your house. So here are some simple steps that you can take. First of all, use a light timer. Lights go on, lights go off. It looks like people are regularly beeping around your house.
    Next, have a neighbor collect your mail and any newspapers, boxes – whatever might collect on your front doorstep when you’re not there – because that is a sure sign that burglars are looking for and that means you are not there; you’re not bringing these things in.
    Now, you can also ask your local police force if they’ve got a vacant house patrol. You know, this way they’ll drive by once a day, late at night or sort of just pay attention to make sure nothing unusual is going on at your house.
    If you take a few of these simple steps, you will keep those potential thieves away and make your house not such a desirable target and then you can relax and enjoy your vacation.
    TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, older homes have charm and character and the old saying definitely rings true: “They don’t make them like they used to.”
    LESLIE: But the one thing to be aware of is lead paint. We’re going to tell you how to keep your family safe from the dangers of lead paint on the next Money Pit Radio Show.
    TOM: 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 2009 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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