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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: Pick up the phone, give us a call. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you’ve got a home improvement project on your to-do list, whether it’s a do-it-yourself project or perhaps one that you want to hire some help for, give us a call and let’s talk about it first. We’ll help you save some time, save some money, maybe find out – maybe we can figure out the best product that you’ll need to get it done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie and I have been doing this for more years than either of us cares to admit to.

    LESLIE: I’ll never admit it.

    TOM: Maybe we should add the years together and say like, I don’t know, “We’ve got, collectively, 50 years of home improvement experience.” That would still keep us young.

    LESLIE: Still makes me sound old.

    TOM: It does, it does. I can’t help you with that, though.

    We just – we know what we’re doing; at least we think we do. And we think we can help you. Why don’t you give us a try? Call us at 888-666-3974.

    So, we’ve got a busy show planned for you this hour. We’re going to start by talking about concrete. You know, it is a very inexpensive and durable building material but what many people think about this is that it’s kind of boring, it’s not very versatile. But we’ve got a way that you can transform plain concrete into a spectacular showpiece if you’re using it to build a wall, a driveway or a walk.

    LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know that mold in your home is an ugly and dangerous problem. But did you know that the best way to deal with it is to never let it grow in the first place? Well, we’re going to talk about mold prevention, with Kevin O’Connor from This Old House.

    TOM: And today’s This Old House segment is sponsored, in part, by Philips. Philips makes products that can save money in all of your lighting fixtures. See what light can do at Philips.com.

    And also ahead, we’re getting ready to say “happy birthday” to America. So we’re going to help you avoid crashing that nationwide party by disrespecting Old Glory. We’ve got some tips on the proper way to fly the flag, as well as how to add one to your house without damaging the flag, the house or yourself.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And hurricane season has officially begun. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, says to expect 9 to 15 named storms before hurricane season is over. And that’s like November, guys, so we’re just getting into it.

    Don’t get caught unprepared. One caller this hour will win a Stanley Hurricane Preparedness Kit. It’s a great collection of six Stanley FatMax tools, including a 3-in-1 Flashlight, utility knife and the great FuBar for cleanup. It all comes in a Stanley tool box, so it’ll be good to go well before the storm arrives.

    TOM: And it’s worth $150. Going to go out to one caller who reaches us with their home improvement project question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We will toss all names of those that call the show this hour into The Money Pit hard hat. And it might be you that gets drawn out. So why not pick up the phone and give us a call right now? The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to it.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Russell in Texas who’s dealing with a door that’s just not sitting right. What’s going on?

    RUSSELL: Well, we recently had the windows and doors replaced in our house about eight months ago. And up until about two weeks ago, the door locked fine. Now, the deadbolt will lock. I mean it’ll go into the side of the door frame but the door knob itself won’t go in. And these were prehung doors. And I don’t know exactly how to diagnose the problem or even how I would go about fixing it if I was able to figure out what was wrong with it.

    TOM: So it’s gotten increasingly warmer in Texas over the last couple of weeks, right?

    RUSSELL: Yes.

    TOM: And so, I think what’s happening is we’re getting some swelling of the door jambs or the door. And that’s shifting things just enough to make the door knob not sit properly in the strike plate. So, this is just a door adjustment.

    And did you install these doors yourself? Did you have a pro do it?

    RUSSELL: They were done by a contractor.

    TOM: So I think it’s reasonable to ask the contractor to come back and adjust the doors because they’re swelling now. It is possible to put these doors in so that they work year-round without any adjustments. And so I think it just needs a minor adjustment; it shouldn’t be a big deal. But I would call the contractor; ask him to come back and fix it.

    RUSSELL: OK. Alright.

    TOM: Alright?

    RUSSELL: I’ll give him a call.

    TOM: Yeah, nothing to worry about there, Russ. Pretty normal. Just needs a bit of adjustment. And fixing a door – adjusting a door is complicated if you don’t do it every day, because it’s kind of an interesting beast. It has about six different ways it can move and if you move it in the wrong direction, you end up making it worse. So I’d have the pro come back and fix it.

    RUSSELL: OK. I sure will.

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

    LESLIE: Mary in Maryland is on the line with wood-eating bees. Aaah!

    Mary, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?

    MARY: My porch is being attacked by wood bees and it has been under this attack for, actually, a couple years now.

    TOM: Right.

    MARY: And there’s sawdust on the floor and there’s holes in the ceiling. And I would like to know if there’s some way that I could get rid of them without actually killing them.

    TOM: Have you tried to ask nicely?

    MARY: I have. I really have. In fact, I even took some mosquito spray out and thought maybe if I just sprayed around the holes, they wouldn’t like that and would go away but …

    TOM: Yeah, well, unfortunately, the answer is “no.” What you’re talking about is carpenter bees. And once they find a place that they like, they will come back there over and over and over again, because it’s very tasty.

    So, your options are to have them sprayed with an insecticide. They use a powdery insecticide that they spray into the holes that will permanently discourage them from coming back, because it will kill them. But there’s nests in there and that’s what – that’s why they’re going in. They’re drilling those holes to go in and lay eggs, so they’re going to keep coming back.

    The other thing to think about doing is if you want to do some construction work – because you can change the wood areas of the – that they’re eating to a composite material, like AZEK. I did that on a garage that we have on our property. It looks like wood; it looks like sort of that white pine trim that we see around but it’s a composite. It’s made out of CPC, the same kind of plastic that plumbing pipes are made out of. But it’s got air cells in it, so it really cuts and looks like wood. You can even paint it.

    And once I did that, it was funny: the carpenter bees kept going back to it because they thought it was wood, too. But I can imagine they’re thinking, “Looks like wood. Doesn’t taste like wood.” And once they figured out that it wasn’t wood, they never came back again.

    MARY: Oh, wow. Well, that’s a good thing.

    TOM: Alright? So check it out online. It’s AZEK – A-Z-E-K – .com. 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.

    Happy Pre-Fourth of July Weekend, everybody. I’m sure you’re doing a lot of stuff to get your house ready. You might even be taking a five-day weekend. Who knows? If you are, good for you. Get some projects done. We are here to lend a hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, we’re going to talk about concrete. It’s a strong building material but it’s not known to be very attractive, right? Well, when we come back, we’re going to share a technique that can turn concrete into a totally standout feature for your home.

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

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And you should give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Why? Well, you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and an opportunity to win a great prize. This is the beginning of hurricane season and no matter where you live, severe storms can hit and hurt your house, as well as the people that live in it. So why not be prepared?

    We’re going to help you take a couple of steps in that direction, because one caller we talk to this hour is going to win a hurricane preparedness kit from Stanley. It’s a Stanley tool box that is filled with six storm must-haves, including a hammer, a tape measure, a utility knife, a hand saw and the Stanley 3-in-1 Flashlight. It’s worth 150 bucks. Going to go out to one caller whose name we will draw at random from those that reach us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Anthony in Florida is dealing with some algae on a condensation drain. Tell us about it. Where is this drain?

    ANTHONY: The drain itself – which is unusual, to my knowledge – runs down to the intake of the actual air conditioner itself, to the condenser and runs down through the foundation. And to me, it drops straight down to the main drain, because I took a wire snake – it’s just about the only thing I could get down there – and it dropped about 12 feet, so …

    TOM: Wow.

    ANTHONY: Yeah. Yeah, it took about 12 feet of that wire. Didn’t feel like it ran around any corners. Then again, it’s PEX pipe, so it may have just snaked through a curved S or whatnot down to the main drain.

    TOM: OK. So it goes from the air handler down through the floor below? Is that what it’s doing?

    ANTHONY: Yes, it does. Through the concrete foundation, yes.

    TOM: Through the floor below and into the concrete foundation. Well, it’s probably just – it sounds like it’s – you don’t know where it pops out anywhere, do you?

    ANTHONY: No, it does not pop out anywhere.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s probably just dropping into the soil under the house; that’s what it sounds like they did to it.

    So what’s your question?

    ANTHONY: My question is – I managed to free up the drain tube, because I had a lot of water in my receiver. It was insane. I managed to clear that by using that wire snake and then – I wanted to know, is there an enzyme that you can put that will prevent that from happening again or is that just something I have to check every six months, say?

    TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to want to treat your condensate water, which is what you’re suggesting. If this becomes an ongoing problem, I might think about a way to reroute that, perhaps add a condensate pump and have the condensation pumped elsewhere so it doesn’t gravity-drain. You could pump it up and drop it somewhere else that makes sense based on the configuration of your house. It could be up in the attic, across and out. It could be down into a floor, across and out. It could be into another drain somewhere else in the house. But if it became a real ongoing problem, I’d consider rerouting it so that you could maintain it properly.

    ANTHONY: OK. Well, I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, it’s time for today’s Project of the Week, presented by Sakrete. Concrete is economical and it makes any wall or walkway strong. But it can also be the centerpiece of your home’s curb appeal.

    Now, you can turn concrete into almost any look that you want, with a technique called “stamping.”

    TOM: To do this, you just press different forms into the concrete when it’s still wet. You can use many different styles and patterns. It could be made to look like stones or you can use a rectangular pattern to create the illusion of bricks or even a more artistic, sort of freeform touch like ocean waves. You’re really only limited by your imagination.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, you can buy premade mats of patterns or you can create your own stamps. You just lightly press them in when the concrete is ready to texture.

    Now, you can leave the concrete natural or shade it with a paste of color hardener, acrylic bonder and water. The result is a wall that is both highly durable and an attractive addition to your home.

    TOM: For this project and more, Sakrete is the pro’s choice for concrete, mortar and stucco mixes. Learn more, get more tips, visit their website. It’s Sakrete.com – S-a-k-r-e-t-e.com.

    LESLIE: Tony in Virginia is on the line with some creaky stairs. Tell us what’s going on.

    TONY: Well, I’ve got a 55-year-old ranch house and this time, before we change the carpet, I’d like to try and get some of the creaks out of the stairs that go to the basement.

    TOM: OK.

    TONY: And on each step, I’ve put seven 2-inch screws where the – around where the finishing nails were. And then on the back plate, I put six screws. And some of the squeak is definitely better but they’re still very squeaky.

    TOM: So, what kind of staircase is it? Is it – do you know your stairs? Is this what’s called a “box stair,” where you have a wide stringer on the side of it that goes all the way down to the basement?

    TONY: Correct.

    TOM: And so can you get to that face? So could we screw through the stringer, into the edges of the treads?

    TONY: Boy, that would be tough because it’s a crawlspace. It’s possible but it would be almost heroic to get to that spot.

    TOM: OK, I hear you. So here is a way – and you’re going to carpet this, so we really don’t care how pretty this repair that I’m about to tell you to do is, because it’ll be covered by carpet.

    But where the treads go into the stringers, what you can do there is on a 45-degree angle, you can pilot first some small holes. And then drive the screws at an angle through the tread, catching as much of the tread meat as you dare and then going through the back of the tread and then into the stringer itself. Because probably where the tread pulls in and out of the stringer is where you’re getting most of your squeak. I’m going to imagine that what you screwed down right now is the attachment between the tread and the risers, because those are more accessible. But we want you to actually – to secure the tread into the stringers on both sides.

    So do that sort of by nailing – not nailing but screwing at a 45-degree angle, piloting first. But not with a big pilot: just enough to kind of keep the screw straight. And that will pull the tread down into the stringer and hopefully lock it in place. That plus what you’ve already done, Tony, I think is the best that you can do. You know, wood stairs have a lot of parts to them and they do move as you walk up and down. They will squeak. But if you try to secure those loose treads before you carpet them, I think it’ll make a big difference, OK?

    TONY: Thank you very much.

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

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

    JAN: We have a – it’s a very small bathroom and they had built a tile shower in this – like the middle of the room. And I want to know if you can change the places where the shower and the toilet are: if you can just reverse them and use the existing drains.

    TOM: No, you can’t because the shower drain is about half of the size of the toilet’s drain waste/vent pipe.

    LESLIE: And it’s a gray-water line, too.

    TOM: Yeah. It’s not – well, they’re going to drain to the same place but you would have to reconfigure the plumbing. So it’s not quite that easy but not impossible. What is this bathroom built on? Is it over a crawlspace or a basement, by any chance, or is it over a slab?

    JAN: It’s on a slab.

    TOM: Very expensive project. I would think of something – other way to redecorate that bathroom and make it pleasant for you. Because switching those is a big job; you’re going to have to tear up the floor to do the plumbing.

    JAN: Oh, wow. OK. Well, I guess we’ll just leave it the way it is.

    TOM: Looking better all the time, isn’t it, Jan?

    JAN: Well, no. But I mean it is what it is.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    What were they thinking when they put the shower in the middle of the room?

    LESLIE: Views from every part of the bathroom? I’m not sure.

    TOM: That’s not a walk-up shower; it’s a walk-around shower.

    LESLIE: Bill in Florida has an interesting question that probably has an equally interesting story that goes with it.

    How on Earth did you spill a milkshake on your television, sir?

    BILL: Well, it’s not a – you know the old folks’ drink, Ensure?

    LESLIE: Yes.

    BILL: OK. It’s called – and it’s a chocolate mix. And I’m sitting here on my recliner. About a week ago, I had some before I went to bed and I had about a ¼-inch back in the glass and it was on the table. And somehow, during the night, the glass went over and it hit the floor, it splattered all in front of the TV and then it splattered up onto the TV screen. As I explained, I think it’s an Emerson. I’m not sure if it is or not; I don’t have the book on it. It was given to me, the TV, about a year ago from my son, who brought it down from Pennsylvania in his van.

    It’s a beautiful set. It must weigh 300 or 400 pounds on wheels.

    TOM: Wow. So it’s really old, it’s really heavy and the manufacturer, you don’t think maybe they’re going to be any help with any cleaning tips on this?

    BILL: I have no idea. I don’t have the book.

    TOM: So, look, with the internet being what it is, what I’d first do is try to Google the set, see if there is – you’d be surprised how many owner’s manuals there are out for old appliances.

    I was looking, for example, last week – I have a phone system at my house and I had – was looking for the manual on it because I needed to reprogram something and it’s 10, 12 years old. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I found it online, piece of cake. People there – apparently, there are people out there that do nothing but copy paper manuals and turn them into PDFs where you can find them online. So I’d first search for it online or try to get in touch with the manufacturer, because this is an unusual situation.

    BILL: Yeah, I’ll see if I can tie down the manufacturer.

    TOM: And that’s the best way to try to get to the bottom of it and make the best decision on what you can possibly use here.

    Does this screen detach from the TV at all?

    BILL: If it does, I don’t know how.

    TOM: OK. Well, I would start by trying to find the owner’s manual, see if there’s cleaning instructions there. Get in touch with the manufacturer and take it from there, OK, Bill?

    BILL: OK. I’ll do that. I appreciate your call back and I’ll follow up with that.

    TOM: Well, 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, mold growing in your home can pose a serious health threat. We’re going to tell you how to stop it before it starts, with the help of Kevin O’Connor, host of This Old House.

    And today’s This Old House segment is brought to you, in part, by new Trex Enhance Decking, now in stock at Home Depot.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.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: And we’re also on Facebook. If you’d like to join us by “liking” our Facebook page, you will open the door to the best home improvement advice around. You can learn about our exclusive weekly prize giveaways. Check out our videos, our articles; they’re posted there first. And get priority access to ask your question here on the radio show. Just go to our Money Pit site and click on the Facebook icon.

    LESLIE: J.C. in Missouri is on the line with a water-heater issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    J.C.: Say, I’ve got a seven-year-old water heater and I have to change my heating element every six months, especially during the wintertime; it builds up a lot of calcium in it. And I was wondering if you know anything about that or a product that I can use to eliminate that problem.

    TOM: Well, if you have mineral salts that are building up a lot, you can use a water softener. There’s one that doesn’t require any salt and it’s called EasyWater.

    J.C.: OK.

    TOM: And it’s an electronic water softener that hooks up to your main water line. And you plug it in and it basically forces the mineral deposits to not stick; it keeps them liquid or keeps them moving through the water so it doesn’t stick to water heaters and things of that nature.

    That said, I don’t necessarily think that mineral-salt deposits are the reason that your electric coils are burning out every six months. I wonder if you’ve got a bad batch of coils or you’re buying them all at the same place. I wonder if there is any kind of fluctuation in the voltage to the water heater. There may be another cause for those to burn out so quickly, because they certainly shouldn’t be doing that. And if you had any kind of mineral buildup, it’s going to be in the bottom of the water heater, not on the coils.

    J.C.: Oh, OK. Yes, I do have that white calcium. Every time I drain the water heater, I have to get something to scrape out the bottom of the water heater. Yes, you are right about that. Yes, you are right.

    TOM: So, if you use a water softener like EasyWater, I think that that will help.

    J.C.: I’m going to try it.

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

    LESLIE: Well, even the cleanest of homes can have mold and we’re not just talking about the mold that covers the uneaten of leftovers from last week. You know, besides being unsightly, mold can cause major and even permanent health problems.

    TOM: That’s right. But what do you do if you find mold or suspect that you have mold? The host of This Old House, Kevin O’Connor, is here to walk us through it.

    So, Kevin, if we suspect that we have mold or we spot something that looks moldy, is it a do-it-yourself project to clean it up?

    KEVIN: Well, I hate to say it but it depends.

    TOM: OK.

    KEVIN: And here are a couple things to think about. First of all, mold can pose serious health issues. So, if you’re allergic to mold or if you have respiratory problems or a suppressed immune system, you should not be getting rid of the mold yourself.

    Now, if you don’t have those health issues, then you want to think about how much mold do you have and where is it. If the mold covers, say, 10 to 30 square feet, that’s about the size of a 4×8 sheet of plywood, well, then you can probably get rid of it yourself. If it’s a bigger area than that, you want to call in a professional.

    And if you can see where the mold is, well, then you can probably get rid of it yourself. But if you’re afraid that it’s gotten behind the walls into places that you can’t see, that’s when you might want to think about calling in a professional, as well.

    TOM: And I think it’s important to note that even if you are going to do it yourself, you want to follow some basic guidelines. And the New York City Department of Health actually has some of those guidelines online that are very helpful.

    KEVIN: They do. So does OSHA. And basically, some of those guidelines say eye protection, gloves and a respirator whenever working with mold.

    LESLIE: Now, if you do attempt to sort of tackle this do-it-yourself cleanup of mold, should you first identify what kind of mold that you have, to even see if you should do it yourself? Or if you’ve got it, get rid of it?

    KEVIN: I don’t think you should bother with a mold test. I mean there are literally thousands and tens of thousands of different kinds of mold out there. Mold is a problem when it’s in concentrations and when it’s in our house. And so it doesn’t matter, really, what kind of mold it is; you want to get rid of it. So spend your time and money getting rid of the mold, as opposed to determining which kind you have.

    TOM: Now, if you are going to hire a pro, it’s a challenge today, more so than ever before, to find somebody who really specializes in that.

    KEVIN: And I think that’s the key. I think you do want to find someone who specializes in this. Someone might have done a great job renovating your kitchen and they might be a fantastic contractor but they should be trained in mold mitigation. And so not every contractor out there is right for this job.

    I would suggest that you go to a couple different organizations that certify folks. There’s the American Indoor Air Quality Council and the Indoor Air Quality Association. That’s a good place to start when looking for a qualified contractor.

    TOM: Now, what about insurance coverage, Kevin? Is this something that is typically covered by insurance or not?

    KEVIN: Well, again, I think the answer is: it depends.

    TOM: OK.

    KEVIN: Every insurance policy is different, so you want to read the fine print. And you should be aware that some insurance companies require a special rider for mold mitigation. So look at your policy and understand it well.

    LESLIE: Now, what about once you’ve got the mold situation under control, what can you do to make sure that this doesn’t come back and isn’t a recurring problem?

    KEVIN: Well, mold needs three things to grow and live: it needs oxygen, it needs food and it needs water. Deprive it of any one of those three things and you won’t have mold come back.

    Now, it’s very – well, it’s impossible to deprive it of oxygen.

    TOM: Right.

    KEVIN: And it’s hard to deprive it of food, because it likes anything organic and it loves cellulose, so we’re talking 2x4s, we’re talking the paper on the backing of insulation and drywall. So, get rid of the water. No water? No mold.

    TOM: Fix the leaks.

    KEVIN: Fix the leaks, keep the house dry and you’re not going to have a mold problem.

    TOM: Good advice. Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    KEVIN: My pleasure to be here.

    LESLIE: You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For your local listings and a step-by-step video on mold removal and other projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com

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

    Up next, it’s almost time to bring out Old Glory for the Fourth of July. Just remember that there is a right and a wrong way to display your Stars and Stripes. We’ll have tips on proper flag-flying, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes. Formulated to restore, beautify and protect decks, fences and siding year-round. Behr is available exclusively at The Home Depot, where you can visit the new Exterior Wood Care Center, built to help you find the right products and colors for your project. For more information, visit B-e-h-r.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron Dimmers and Sensors. If you want to change a look of a room, install a Lutron C?L Dimmer. It works with all bulb types and only takes about 15 minutes to install. For easy upgrades with big impact, choose Lutron. Visit ChooseLutron.com.

    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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to get a jump start on storm protection, because we’re giving away the Stanley Hurricane Preparedness Kit. It’s got six great Stanley tools, including a utility knife, the 3-in-1 Flashlight, a tape, a hammer and the FuBar, all in a Stanley tool box. It’s worth $150. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement project, drawn at random. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So call us right now for your chance to win.

    LESLIE: A.J. in Iowa is on the line with an electrical issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    A.J.: Well, I bought a house recently. Moved in April 1st. And when we had the inspection done, the inspector said up in the attic, there was some knob-and-tube wiring.

    TOM: Right.

    A.J.: And he said I should probably get it replaced. I did some of my own research and I was a contractor back in – a subcontractor in college, so I kind of want to do all the work myself.

    TOM: OK.

    A.J.: But I’m kind of wondering if that’s something I should really try to tackle, because my research says that some of it says you can keep it if it’s OK or …

    LESLIE: Knob-and-tube?

    A.J.: Yeah.

    LESLIE: I don’t know if I would keep any of it in function.

    TOM: No. I would definitely not keep knob-and-tube. Let me tell you why. Knob-and-tube wiring is ungrounded and ungroundable.

    A.J.: OK.

    TOM: So that’s why it’s not a good thing to have. And do you know why it’s called knob-and-tube and what the purpose is of the knobs and tubes?

    A.J.: Well, I’ve just – looking at the pictures, I see the little ceramic knobs, I guess, that counteracts the live wires around it.

    TOM: Right. But let me explain to you – let me tell you what’s the reason for that. The reason for knob-and-tube – the structural reason for it – where you have these ceramic knobs that hold the wire away from the beam, that’s because the wires have to air-cool. You need to have air around them because they overheat. And the tubes just protect the beams from catching on fire as the knob runs through it. So these are wires that are designed to run hot. In fact, you cannot even put insulation on top of it.

    So, we would recommend that you deactivate all the knob-and-tube wiring and replace it with modern wiring. It’s just not safe at this point. It’s near 100 years old and I just wouldn’t take a chance.

    A.J.: Oh, is that something that I could probably tackle myself then? I mean I don’t have an extensive electrical background but I …

    TOM: Well, I think that you could probably – if you know how to turn the circuits off, you certainly could rip out the old wiring. But rewiring your entire house? No, I think you need a little more experience for that, A.J.

    A.J.: OK. Well, I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us and I’m glad we helped you out.

    LESLIE: Well, the Fourth of July is just days away. And if you plan on flying the flag to show your patriotism this Independence Day, the last thing you want to do is handle it in any way that could be deemed disrespectful.

    TOM: That’s right. So just follow these simple rules to show your love of our country. First, always fly the flag with the Union up; in other words, stars go up in the observer’s left corner. And if you plan to fly Old Glory at night, you need to have some lights on it. And don’t let it touch the ground; that might mean a second set of hands will be needed when you lower it. And if your flag becomes old and tattered, take it down and dispose of it respectfully, preferably by burning it.

    LESLIE: And if you’re installing a flag bracket to hold your flag for the Fourth and beyond, be sure to install it to a solid surface, like a wood column or section of wood trim. Now, flags take a lot of beating from the weather and the stress can actually rip that bracket right off the wall and then damage your house if it’s not solidly connected.

    Now, you can get some more tips on handling the Stars and Stripes on our website. Just go to MoneyPit.com and search “flag etiquette.”

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Do you have a summer home improvement project planned? Let’s talk about it. Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: John in Nebraska is on the line with a sprinkler question. Tell us what’s going on.

    JOHN: Alright. In the spring, when I – after I drain my system and I get ready to recharge it, I go out, close all the valves and the faucet.

    TOM: Right.

    JOHN: And when I turn the pressure back on, I was told to turn it back on slowly so the valve on the outside of the house would eventually – the water would moisten it up and then it would finally seal. When it finally does seal, it rattles and knocks so hard, you’d almost think it’s going to come out, come off the floor rafters.

    TOM: Right. Yeah.

    JOHN: And then it actually forces the pipe itself about an inch away from the exterior of the house.

    TOM: Is this because of the racket that it causes?

    JOHN: And the pressure, I guess.

    TOM: Right. So, what you’re seeing, John, is called water hammer. And it happens because as the water flows through the pipe, that valve then stops the flow of the water. The water has a lot of centrifugal force because it’s actually quite heavy; water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. So as the valve slams shut, the water stops cold and then all that force just rattles it.

    You can address that in a couple of ways: first of all, by increasing the number of fasteners that secure the water pipes and the sprinkler pipes; and secondly, by installing one or more water-hammer arrestors, which are essentially shock absorbers for the plumbing system. They get installed inline and then as that water does slam to a stop, it has sort of a place to expand to and therefore makes a lot less racket.

    JOHN: OK. You said, “Water hammer arrestors”?

    TOM: Yes. Water hammer arrestor it’s called, mm-hmm.

    JOHN: OK. The size of my – the pipe itself is 1 inch. Would that have something to do with it?

    TOM: No, that’s a pretty typical water-pipe size.

    JOHN: OK, OK. OK. Great. Great help, guys. Thanks. Enjoy the show.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, do you have ugly stains on your vinyl siding? Well, you’re not alone; a lot of us do. We’ll tell you what those stains might be and how to get rid of them, just ahead.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.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.

    You know, Tom and I have been doing this home improvement game for a long time. And as building-industry insiders, Tom and I always like to keep up-to-date on new trends, techniques, even developments in construction, architecture and design.

    Now, one way to do that is through magazines like American Builders Quarterly. And while they generally have the most interesting, accurate and up-to-date reporting, somehow they let a feature article on Tom and me just slip right into that current issue. I have no idea how that happened.

    TOM: They completely lowered their editorial standards, I’m sure, just for this one article.

    And the magazine is now in its sixth year covering America’s ever-changing construction scene. And the current issue takes a look at sports and recreation and features some brand-new stadiums and speedways that are being built across the country. Check out all of that, plus an exclusive interview with Leslie and me online, at AmericanBuildersQuarterly.com.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re online, head over to MoneyPit.com, check out our Community section and you can post any of your home improvement dilemmas right there.

    And I’ve got one from Dick who wrote: “I have vinyl siding on my house. Can you tell me what to use to keep it clean? It’s dirty on the north side where it gets no sunlight.”

    TOM: You know, just like an automobile being outside all the time, you have car washes, right? So you would expect that anything that’s outside is going to get dirty just because it’s there. There’s a lot of dirt in the air that blows around. There’s a lot of pollen that blows around. Houses do need to be cleaned. I mean they’re not maintenance-free. And while vinyl siding doesn’t have to be replaced, because it’s vinyl and it doesn’t rot and peel and things like that, the dirt will stick to it.

    Now, besides the dirt, though, you’ll also get moss, mildew, mold and algae that will grow on it, especially in situations like you described, Dick, where you have a shady side of the house. Well, you don’t have a lot of sunlight that really lets the mildew and the algae take hold.

    So, couple of things. First of all, what we would suggest is that you mix up a solution of Wet & Forget. It is a mildicide product that you spray on the mildewy areas, the algae-stricken areas. And then you pretty much walk away. And once it gets exposed to daylight, it kind of activates and it will kill all the algae that’s on that siding.

    Once you start to break it down, then what you can do is you can power-wash it. And if you power-wash the siding, you want to use a very gentle end on the power-washing wand, because you don’t want to tear through the siding. And remember, that power-washer, the pressure-washers are very strong; they can poke holes. So just be very gentle with it. Use the Wet & Forget first, let it do its job and then to get the rest of the dirt off, just pressure-wash it.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Carol from Nevada wrote: “I want to paint my wooden deck white. Can I just use any old exterior paint or is there a special kind that withstands the elements better? My deck takes a beating.”

    TOM: Yes, you don’t use – you don’t go to the store and say, “Can I have any old deck paint?” No. You want to use solid-color stain. And you can get some lighter colors. I don’t recommend white, however, because for all the obvious reasons: it will get dirty and it will not be easy to clean. So, solid-color wood stain is what you want, Carol. If you apply that, that will do the trick.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And make sure you give the deck a good cleaning before you go ahead and apply that new stain. And let it dry very well before you go ahead and apply it. This way, you’ll make sure it really adheres.

    TOM: You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Happy Fourth of July, everybody. We can say that because the Fourth is kind of in an odd position this year, right? It’s in the middle of two weekends?

    LESLIE: So you should have a whole free-week off.

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a 10-day celebration of America. So hope you’re out there enjoying it. If your weekend or your week includes a few home improvement projects, remember you can reach out to us 24-7 at 888-MONEY-PIT. Log on to the website, post a question in the Community section or post it on our Facebook page.

    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 2012 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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