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Learn How Car Washes Save Water and Money. Which Blinds Are Safe and Easy to Clean. Find Out How Staple Guns Are Made and More

  • Transcript

    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: We are here for one reason and one reason only and that is to help you get your fix, so pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement project. What’s on your to-do list? There’s got to be something that needs a quick fix, needs a repair, needs an improvement. Maybe you’re just sick and tired of the space you have right now and you’re thinking, “Wow. In just a few short months, I’m going to be trapped”?

    LESLIE: “I’m going to be stuck looking at this same space all the darn time.”

    TOM: So why don’t you let us help you spruce it up? But help yourself first by picking up the phone at 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, you might think that washing the car yourself is something that might save you some water. I mean if you imagined going to a car wash and all of those gallons and gallons and gallons of water that get dumped on your car to get it, hopefully, clean, you might as well stay home and do it yourself?

    Well, it turns out that that’s not necessarily true. A car wash could be your best way to save water when it comes to washing your car, because of a new water-efficiency program that we’re going to be covering this hour on The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: And since a car wash really is the best way to have somebody else do the cleaning of your car, that might be a big sign that you are just not a fan of cleaning or dusting. And if that sounds like you, you might want to consider getting some blinds that are enclosed behind glass. And that’s a system that totally eliminates your need to dust.

    So we’re going to have tips on some cool add-on blinds. It’s a product, really, for your doors, that are going to give you privacy and light control without the dusty drawbacks of traditional door blinds.

    TOM: And also ahead, Leslie and I got a chance to do one of the favorite things we get to do on this show and that is take a field trip.

    LESLIE: Yay!

    TOM: We went to check out how staple guns are made. We were invited by the folks at Arrow Fastener to come tour their factory, which is actually here in our neighborhood in New Jersey. It’s been around since 1929 and it was a really interesting experience.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, it really was. I couldn’t even believe the amount of work and detail and just the steps that go into making one staple gun. It truly was incredible to see.

    So this hour, we’re going to hear how it all gets done, from the president of Arrow Fastener, Gary DuBoff. And it really is a great American company that’s continuing to make a great American product right here in the U.S.A.

    TOM: And this hour, we’re also giving away a great prize to those of us with the courage, the fortitude, the determination to pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. It is the Indulge Contemporary Hot Water Dispenser from InSinkErator. It’s a really cool product that allows you to have instant hot water, so you don’t have to let the water and your money go down the drain waiting for it to boil. It comes out hot enough to make coffee or tea right from the get-go.

    The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you pick up the phone and give us a call, we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat for our drawing for that great prize at the end of today’s program. But you must have a home improvement question to qualify, so very simply pick up the phone and call us with that question. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got Sam in Florida who’s looking to use a laminate flooring in a project. Tell us what you’re working on.

    SAM: Our house is tiled. And the tiles in some of the rooms – like we’ll have four in a row that pop up or we’ll have four that meet. And they’ll tent up and – so we’ve put them back down at times over the years but it still keeps happening. And I’m wondering if we could put laminate flooring over the tile.

    TOM: Yeah. What kind of tile is it? Is it vinyl tile?

    SAM: I would say ceramic tile.

    TOM: Oh, it’s ceramic tile.

    SAM: And with grout and everything?

    TOM: Oh, I see. OK. Well, the answer is yes, you can; there’s no reason you can’t. Just keep in mind that you’re going to add another 3/8-of-an-inch to the thickness of the floor. So if you have any issues about the height of that in terms of doorways and archways and thresholds between rooms, you need to adjust for that.

    But there’s no reason you can’t do that. Laminate floor is, in fact, a floating floor, which means it’s not attached to the floor underneath; it just lays on top of it. Gravity holds it in place quite nicely. All the tiles lock together. And the only trimming you have to do is at the edge of the room.

    SAM: So even if some more tiles would tent up in another area, since the floor is floating, we would be OK?

    TOM: Well, you say “tent up.” If they tent up and push up, you’re going to see a lump in the floor. If they just loosen, no problem.

    SAM: OK. Alright. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Melvin in Minnesota is calling in with a mold issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    MELVIN: Well, my daughter has a lake home and it’s got a crawlspace underneath. And there’s mold under there. So she’s – she can tell it when she goes there because she got – she gets all stuffed up. So I was wondering what we should do. Should we take out the dirt and put new dirt in or what?

    TOM: Because she has mold in the crawlspace, you want to take out the dirt? Now, this is an environmental problem. That mold has been there as long as the dirt has been there and you can’t replace the dirt; that’s not where it’s growing. In fact, mold only grows on organic matter, so the mold is probably in the framing of the lumber itself. And there are a couple of ways that you can deal with this.

    First thing you need to do is reduce moisture as much as possible. You can do that by improving the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter and also getting the gutter system cleaned and extend the downspouts away from the house. The next thing I would do is I would add a vapor barrier to the crawlspace floor – a piece of Visqueen plastic sheeting – and run it all the way across that crawlspace floor with as few seams as possible.

    Then, what you could also think about doing is having all of the wood – the framing in the crawlspace – treated. There’s different products that they can use; pesticide control companies can use T-Borg (ph) and other products like that to treat the lumber, which will kill any mold spores that are attached to it. So it’s really a matter of managing the moisture and then kind of zapping what you have right there. Removing the soil will do absolutely nothing to solve the problem.

    LESLIE: And the other thing to think about is keeping the home slightly conditioned when nobody’s using it, because you’re getting the mold in the crawlspace. And if you’re not maintaining the moisture levels or the humidity, I should say, in the home when no one’s there, you’re going to end up just dealing with this issue inside the house over and over again.

    MELVIN: So, OK. Well, I’ll have to tell her that then. So, I thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. 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. Now, you can call in your home repair, home improvement, design, décor. Whatever you are working on around your money pit, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, do you want to save money washing your car? Then doing it yourself may not be the best way to go. We’re going to tell you how to save at a car wash, 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And don’t you forget about our cool giveaway this hour. We are giving away, to one lucky caller who makes it on the air with us, the ability to save time and money. I know. Those are big gifts but really, it all boils down to – ha ha, get it – an Indulge Contemporary Hot Water Dispenser from InSinkErator.

    TOM: Oh, now I get it. Boils down.

    LESLIE: Ho ho ho ho. It is so great. It really is sort of an instant hot-water dispenser that’s going to give you hot, filtered water at 200 degrees. So when it comes out, you’ve got your morning cup of tea super-instantly; you don’t have to wait for anything to boil. You just want a quick cup of coffee? Done and done. It really is a great, really, thing, if you will, to have in your home. You’re going to wonder what you did before you had this.

    And it’s got a great, sleek style that’s going to go with any kitchen. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for the answer to your home improvement question and your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, we’re kicking off a new segment here on The Money Pit today called “Slow the Flow.” We’ve actually partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, to provide you with ways to save water, money and help the environment.

    And this week, we want to talk about car washes. Now, I’m sure that many of you wash your vehicles at home thinking that probably you’re saving money. But in the long run, it turns out you’re probably not.

    In fact, according to the International Carwash Association, there is a program called WaterSavers. And car washes that participate in this program use actually less water than at-home washing. They also use water that’s recycled or reclaimed and that discharge directly into the local water-treatment facility. So washing your car at home can send soap and harmful chemicals into storm sewers and then into the rivers and lakes. And that’s why using a car wash that’s part of the WaterSavers program makes a lot of sense.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And when you think about it, a typical home washing machine can use about 41 gallons of fresh water. But washing a car with a garden hose can use more than that in about six minutes, which is so crazy. I mean I can’t wash a car in six minutes, can you? I can barely reach the top of my car in six minutes.

    TOM: No.

    LESLIE: It’s so amazing how much water you waste when you feel like you’re doing a project at home that’s going to save water. And if you do choose to wash your car, say, once a week – it’s like a good weekend project; I remember my dad would always do it – it really can raise your water bills drastically.

    Now, the WaterSaver car washes, they use 40 gallons of water or less per car. And if you want to find a car wash that participates in the International Carwash Association’s program, you want to go to WashWithWaterSavers.com.

    And you can also get more information on how to save water, with our online water-saving guide. All you need to do to get that is just head on over to MoneyPit.com. Free resource. Really great information there.

    Ken in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. Tell us what’s going on at your house.

    KEN: Well, winter is coming and last year, when I would come home, there would be snow all over my car. I’d pull into the garage and my garage is heated. The snow would melt and the water would seep underneath my garage door and it would freeze.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: Freezing the door to the ground or prying it open?

    KEN: Well, it would freeze at the seal.

    TOM: Huh. What kind of seal do you have? Is there a rubber strip on the bottom of the door?

    KEN: Right.

    TOM: And it was so frozen that you couldn’t break it loose?

    KEN: Well, you’re right. I have an automatic opener and then when I’d go to open the door, sometimes it would pull that seal, rip it from the bottom of the door.

    TOM: Really. Have you thought about spraying the seal with maybe some WD-40 or Liquid Wrench?

    KEN: Well, no. That’s what I was calling about, to see if there was something I could do to …

    TOM: Yeah. Why don’t you try doing that? Maybe keeping it fresh with a bit of lubricant on it. That should stop it from sticking.

    KEN: OK. That’s what I needed to know.

    TOM: Alright. Easy problem. Ken, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Man, that is one powerful motor on that door.

    TOM: Sure is.

    LESLIE: Because I know that we still are living in the Stone Age with our manual garage-door opener – me and my husband – and if …

    TOM: Human garage-door opener.

    LESLIE: Yeah, I’m the human garage-door opener. And ours freezes shut all the time. So there are times …

    TOM: If I remember right, don’t you have the tilt-in kind of door?

    LESLIE: Yeah. Oh, no, no. It like folds up.

    TOM: It rolls up?

    LESLIE: Yeah, it rolls up.

    TOM: But it gets stuck.

    LESLIE: Well, the seal will get frozen to the ground all the time but it …

    TOM: Yeah, well, there you go. Now you can try that, too, and see if it works.

    LESLIE: I’m going to try it this winter but it’s really tough because that – it creates a super-strong seal.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s like glue.

    LESLIE: It really does. There’s no kicking that seal loose, nothing. That’s why when I know it’s going to be dodgy and snowy, I keep the shovel in my porch.

    TOM: Well, it’s just like when your door gets stuck on your car when it ices shut. I take WD-40 with the little sort of nozzle thing – the tube that comes out of it – and I’ll spray it around the door jamb and in the locks and that helps me open the door. Because it really does feel like it’s sealed shut.

    LESLIE: I bet that Nutek formulation – that Simply Soy – will do the same. Because I try to be green.

    TOM: I bet it will. Yeah. Or Liquid Wrench. All of those products.

    LESLIE: All those things. Good idea, Tom.

    TOM: Yeah. Alright.

    LESLIE: Genius.

    TOM: Every once in a while – write it down on the calendar – I come up with a good one.

    LESLIE: Today is the day. Tom equals super-smart.

    Warren in Vancouver, Washington is having an issue with a deck. Tell us what’s going on.

    WARREN: Hi. I have a second-floor deck that’s got safety-deck coating on it, so it’s waterproof?

    TOM: OK.

    WARREN: And so it slopes out away from the house to a gutter, OK?

    TOM: OK, good.

    WARREN: And of course, the gutter has – it’s got, essentially, flashing in it, laps up onto the deck. So when it was constructed, there’s a little lip right there at the gutter. So water doesn’t completely drain into the gutter and then whenever water evaporates, I’ve got all this debris and dirt that was in the water that has now stuck to this granulated decking.

    And I know you’ve talked about self-leveling stuff but I want to fill in that little gap – maybe 3/16-of-an-inch – but I want to keep a slope on it and I don’t know what to use.

    TOM: So, what you’re saying is that the gutter is actually above the edge of the deck or it’s slightly below but there’s some sort of a gap in between?

    WARREN: It’s below but the flashing has got an edge that is on the deck.

    TOM: Right.

    WARREN: And when it was – and when all this fibrated emulsion was put on, that actually created a lip.

    LESLIE: So unless that rain is really moving, it’s going to sit there.

    TOM: Yeah, it hits the edge of the flashing and stays.

    WARREN: That’s right. A little bit and – but then it …

    TOM: Is there any way to reflash it so – because it sounds like the flashing is put in exactly the wrong place. I mean typically you would not put flashing on top of the surface you’re trying to flash. You’d put it underneath so that the water rolls from the deck to the flashing to the gutter.

    WARREN: Oh. No, the flashing was attached to the plywood decking and then this fibrated emulsion was painted over it.

    TOM: But it still sort of raises up a little bit at the end.

    WARREN: Yeah, yeah. It’s got to go over this edge at the end, yeah.

    TOM: Well, the thing is anything that you do to build that up right now is going to require you to take that emulsion down or put more on top of it, because you’ve got a coating there.

    WARREN: I’ve got a 5-gallon bucket of the stuff.

    TOM: Oh, you do. So it’s not a problem.

    WARREN: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I could give – you probably know what I’m talking about, the product.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    WARREN: OK. So, yeah, that’s not a problem. I just – before I painted it down again, I wanted to – and it’s a granulated thing so you don’t slip on it. But I wanted to fill that in somehow before painting it over.

    TOM: So, I think what I would probably use in this situation would be like an epoxy patching compound, similar to what we would use on a concrete cracked surface or the kind of – there’s also – it’s also …

    LESLIE: Like a subfloor resurfacer.

    TOM: Well, you know what? It’s also used to restore rotted wood and – because I want something that’s going to really adhere well to the substrate. So I think that if you used an epoxy compound, that that would probably be the best because it will stick really well to that existing roof deck and not delaminate.

    LESLIE: Does he need to do anything with the finish on top, that anti-slip surface? Because that may eventually break down over time and would that cause this new, leveled surface to sort of delaminate?

    TOM: No. That’s why I said yeah, he does have to take that down first, because you can’t put it on top of it. So you have to basically sand that down, get rid of that, build it up with the patching compound: the epoxy-based products. And then once the slope is just letter-perfect, then you put another coat of the emulsifier on top of that.

    WARREN: OK. So I’ve got – it’s 30 feet long and then I’ve got – I may have to taper it back.

    TOM: Right. Exactly. Yeah, you’re going to feather it up and essentially use a very wide trowel, like a 10-inch – almost like a 10-inch drywall knife.

    WARREN: Yeah, no problem. I’ve got those.

    TOM: OK?

    WARREN: Oh. So an epoxy patching compound.

    TOM: Yep. Yeah. There’s a company called Abatron that has a wide variety of these products. You might want to give them a call and find out the best one, because they have different formulations. But that’s their website: A-b-a-t-r-o-n.com.

    WARREN: OK. I’ve got that. Yeah, I think I looked at that for something-crete: Abotrete or crete?

    LESLIE: Abocrete, yeah.

    TOM: Yeah. That’s one of the products, as well.

    WARREN: OK. But this – the epoxy won’t get me into the self-leveling dilemma. I’ll be able to use this instead.

    TOM: I think so.

    WARREN: Oh, OK. Well, that’s what I’m looking for.

    TOM: Alright, Warren.

    WARREN: And then I just build it up a little at a time and then put down this – put my paint back down again?

    TOM: That’s right.


    TOM: Alright. Does that answer all your questions, Warren?

    WARREN: Yeah. I’ll just have to find enough dry days to do it.

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

    WARREN: Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Still ahead, most do-it-yourselfers understand the amount of work and ingenuity it takes to make something worthwhile. Well, Leslie and I got reminded of that when we saw the amount of work that goes into making one staple gun. Stay with us for a cool trip behind the scenes on how it all comes together at the Arrow Fastener Company.

    (theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, it’s not that often that you get to see American ingenuity firsthand with an American product being proudly manufactured right here in the United States of America. But recently, Tom and I got to do just that when we took an inside look at the Arrow Fastener Company’s factory in New Jersey.

    TOM: And it was really eye-opening. You know, you and I have both used Arrow staple guns exclusively for a long time. And to get to see the amount of work that goes into just making one of these was really an experience.

    Here to tell us more about Arrow products and their five decades of history is the company’s president, Gary DuBoff.

    Hi, Gary.

    GARY: How are you guys?

    TOM: We’re good. And thanks for letting us take a field trip to your factory the other day. It was really interesting. Now, I should tell our audience that you guys make the T50 stapler, which is the world’s best-selling staple gun. Has been for five decades. That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment and you guys make the whole thing right here in the United States in your factory in New Jersey.

    GARY: We do. We press it out right from steel sheet and make all the parts ourselves, as well as all of the – all the staples.

    LESLIE: And even the packaging, which I thought was super-impressive.

    GARY: We do. We are vertically integrated; everything is done right here in New Jersey.

    TOM: And did I understand that the founders way back – I guess it would have been the 50s – actually had to invent the machines to make the staples themselves, because I guess they didn’t exist?

    GARY: Yeah, a lot of the equipment that we actually use here was produced – was actually manufactured by Arrow. And so we set it straight. We’ve actually been in business since 1929: 82 years.

    TOM: Oh, wow, 1929. But the – I guess the T50 has been the bestseller for 50 years.

    GARY: It has. It’s been – it was introduced in 1957.

    LESLIE: And has been the bestseller ever since?

    GARY: Ever since.

    LESLIE: That’s amazing. I mean how rare is it that you roll out a brand-spanking new tool and the public just instantly responds to it and really feels connected with it and shows their love by buying it and using it?

    GARY: The message that it tells us is that it’s a very high-quality tool. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that they’ve owned one for decades and it’s never failed. And they would never buy anything else because it’s been such a tremendous tool. And we hear those stories over and over and over again. It’s just been unbelievably reliable and people really appreciate that.

    LESLIE: Now, having worked with the tool myself for 20 years, I still have the original Arrow T50 that I purchased in high school to throw into my theater kit. But having recently put my hands on a new, modernized T50, there’s been a lot of changes in the 50 years and even in the 20 years since I’ve gotten my first one that make it much more user-friendly, much more comfortable to fire. Because that was always the issue: your hand would get fatigued and it required some strength. But now, they’re really easy to use.

    GARY: Well, we’ve got some new models that are just incredibly easy to use. And we’re very interested in design, we’re very interested in ergonomics. And in the past, to be powerful enough to properly sink a staple into wood, the tool needed a powerful spring, which made it very hard to squeeze.

    Today, we’re able to deliver much more mechanical advantage in the tool design, allowing us to supply even more power with much less force to squeeze the handle. And it’s a huge difference that you really can feel. And if that’s even something that you’re not comfortable with, we make electric staple guns, which require no more force than simply pulling a trigger.

    TOM: And that’s what I think is unique about the packaging, too: you can actually pick this up in the store and feel the power that’s in it and really, the very minimal amount of strength that you need to actually pull the trigger and drive that staple through. So it’s a really pretty interesting innovation.

    Now, your pal, Bill Sokol, told us a really interesting story there. Bill is the – is in charge of marketing for Arrow and he told us a story about a coupon that you guys had put in a staple package a long, long time ago. And when I ask you to retell that story, as I understand it, you told – and what was the year of this coupon? Was it the 50s or when was it?

    GARY: It was 1962, I believe.

    TOM: OK. So in 1962, you made a promise to purchasers of Arrow T50 staplers that if the gun ever broke, you would replace it for a dollar. And lo and behold, somebody actually saved that coupon for near 50 years and recently sent one in to be repaired. That must have been quite a surprise for you guys.

    GARY: They did. I got a letter; it was addressed to me. It came last year. It was a letter from a gentleman who’s in – who lives in Brooklyn, New York. And basically, the letter said: “I bought an original T50 back in 1962 and when I did, I got this coupon with it.”

    And he included the coupon and he wrote this long letter about how the gun’s been great and the staple gun has been great for so long but it finally broke. And although he really didn’t expect us to do anything, he was just wondering if we would still be willing to honor that coupon. And he sent a dollar. We got a dollar in the mail.

    LESLIE: Really?

    GARY: Absolutely. And I told my customer-service manager to immediately send him a new staple gun. And we sent him one of our new T50RED staple guns, which is one of our brand new designs. And to call him on the phone and thank him for his loyalty, because that was an unbelievable thing; it really was.

    LESLIE: Well and my goodness, where do you hold onto this coupon for 50 years? I can’t keep a receipt that I have in my pocket from yesterday, you know?

    GARY: He obviously kept it in the box.

    TOM: We’re talking to Gary DuBoff. He is the president of Arrow Fastener Company.

    And I think, Gary, a lot of folks don’t realize all the projects that you can tackle with a staple gun and some of the new trends that you are seeing. And I guess that we all think of staple guns as being used for crafts projects, maybe insulation. But there’s a lot of things that you can do. In fact, I know that you have specialized staples for holiday wiring, for example, and for fabric. There’s just a lot of uses for this particular product. What are some of the most popular that you hear from consumers?

    GARY: Yeah, well, what most people don’t realize is that a staple gun is one of the most useful tools a homeowner really can have. You can install molding in your house; you can fix loose molding; you can use it to insulate a basement, upholster a chair.

    As you mentioned, Tom, you can even hang holiday decorations or holiday lights. The truth is, really, a staple gun can do all those things; it really does it all.

    LESLIE: And I think what’s interesting is that for women who tend to be doing a majority of the crafty, smaller home improvement projects, this really becomes a power tool for them. And it’s something that is empowering and inspiring and it’s a tool that’s very easily used to accomplish a ton of different things. And with the more ergonomic design, it’s a lot easier for the women to use.

    GARY: You’re absolutely right, Leslie. The interesting thing is we’ve done a lot of research and we now know that about half of the staple-gun users today are women. So we’re now designing tools that work with smaller hands. They require less grip strength to get the job done.

    And we’re also seeing more and more women moving beyond traditional activities – like decorating and upholstery repair, et cetera – into the full range of DIY projects. When you look at home ownership now, the single largest group that’s buying homes are single women. So, we need to make sure that we can accommodate them.

    TOM: Gary DuBoff, President of Arrow Fastener Company, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on all the great work you guys have done since 1929.

    GARY: My pleasure. Thanks for having us.

    TOM: If you’d like to check out Arrow’s products, head on over to their website at ArrowFastener.com. And also on MoneyPit.com, we will have a photo gallery of our visit. You get a chance to see Leslie and I playing with the tools firsthand during our field trip to Arrow Fastener.

    LESLIE: Don’t worry. We didn’t make any ourselves.

    TOM: No, we didn’t. In New Jersey.

    Thanks again, Gary.

    GARY: Thank you, guys.

    LESLIE: Well, one of the trickiest things – and probably my least favorite chore when it comes to doing household work – is cleaning blinds in your home. It’s terrible. They get really dusty; it’s hard to get in all of those little slats and keep everything totally clean. And then a week later, you’ve got to do it all over again. So coming up, we’re going to tell you a way to make this cleaning chore a thing of the past. Hallelujah.

    (theme song)

    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.

    TOM: And one lucky caller we talk to this hour is going to have 200-degree water coming right out of their sink instantly, because we’re giving away the Indulge Contemporary Dispenser from InSinkErator. It provides hot or cool filtered water with just the touch of a lever. So give us a call right now for your chance to win at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to give you a hand with your home improvement projects, especially if you’re thinking about a decorating/décor problem. Because this time of year, we’re really about to get stuck in our indoor areas for a long amount of time once the cooler weather sets in.

    And if you’re looking at your windows and doors and you don’t really know what to do with them, blinds, they’re a great option for your windows. But when it does come to dressing up your door glass, traditional blinds just get in the way, especially when you open and close that door regularly which, it’s a door; that’s what you’re going to do. And we often talk about cords from blinds being a huge hazard for kids and even your pets.

    Now, if you still want to get blinds for your doors, think about getting an add-on blind from ODL, because they address all of those issues and more. The ODL Add-On Blinds, they’re enclosed behind tempered glass. So, basically, you’re getting this framed-out window, if you will, that has a blind behind it and then you attach it to your door glass or the sidelights of the door.

    I think they do a full-glass and a half-glass on the doors, Tom?

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. Mm-hmm. Full and half, yeah. Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: And it sort of attaches on. You can paint it and stain it exactly how you want it to look. And then what happens is you never have to dust those blinds. There’s no exposed cords. And the best part, when it comes to a door window treatment, there is no swinging and no banging of those blinds. So it’s silence on your window treatments on your doors, which is great.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a great product. I mean you can get fingertip control to raise and lower the blinds. You can also tilt them for a full view or complete privacy or really anything in between. I really like them. They’re easy to install and they do increase the door’s energy-efficiency. The frames on these blinds can be painted or stained to match the existing door. And as we said, they’re available either full- or half-size. So if you want to check them out, maybe get a little more information, head on over to the manufacturer’s website, which is simply ODL.com.

    LESLIE: Blair in North Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?

    BLAIR: Yes. Say, on one of your previous shows, I heard that you got – I got this white mold or fuzz that grows on the cement floor in the basement.

    TOM: OK.

    BLAIR: And I have a – it’s a finished basement. And the thing is, I heard that you have vinegar and water to clean it up.

    TOM: Yeah and let me tell you, you’re calling it mold but I don’t think it’s mold; I think it’s mineral-salt deposits. Because mold doesn’t grow on concrete; mold needs an organic material to make it grow. But typically, what happens is if you get high water, moisture, humidity, you will get – some of that water will evaporate off and leave its salts behind. So you end up getting this sort of white, grayish crusty stuff that will form on block walls and also concrete floors.

    LESLIE: Yeah. And you’ll even see it around faucets, like in your kitchen if water sort of pools there. It’s just the mineral.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s right. And the reason that vinegar-and-water makes it go away is because the vinegar melts the salts.

    LESLIE: More vinegar than water, though.

    TOM: Yes.

    LESLIE: And white vinegar.

    BLAIR: Is there anything there that you can keep it from coming back?

    LESLIE: Maintain your water and moisture on the outside of your house.

    TOM: Yeah. Improve your drainage and your gutters at the outside of the house; that’s generally what causes it. If your gutters are clogged or not discharging well enough away from the foundation, if your soil is not sloping away from the walls, those two things cause this problem on a very frequent basis.

    BLAIR: Yeah, we’ve got a sump pump in the basement and we’re kind of in a …

    TOM: Does it go off when you get heavy rain?

    BLAIR: No, not really.

    TOM: Yeah. Does it go off other times?

    BLAIR: Well, yeah. We got – you know, it kind of – how do you say it – water troubles here in North Dakota so …

    TOM: Well, if your water troubles get worse after a heavy rain, then it’s sourcing at the drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter. I would start with those. Even if you did have a high water table, it’s very likely that poor drainage conditions at the foundation perimeter are the number-one cause of this.

    BLAIR: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, what’s that smell? We’re going to help a listener get to the bottom of a stinky situation with a dishwasher, after this.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. You can also join us online by following us on Twitter and you can get to that site, again, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re online, you can post your question to The Money Pit Community section. And I’ve got one here from Mise in Iowa who writes: “We recently moved into our new home. After about a month, our dishwasher developed a foul odor. The odor occurs just after the dishes are cleaned and stays with us while the dirty dishes are being loaded into the washer. We use it every two to three days. We’ve cleaned, sanitized several times and it still stinks. Help!”

    TOM: You know, there is a drain in the bottom of the dishwasher that sometimes, especially if you leave a lot of food particles on the dishes, will turn into a gelatinous, stinky mess. And sometimes, you have to actually disassemble the drain on the bottom, take it out, really get it into some hot water and kind of get rid of this goo. Because that’s – it’s sort of an organic mass that forms in the drain that is responsible for that smell.

    And you’re right. Nothing you put in, none of the sanitizers seem to work. I’ve had to do this to a number of dishwashers. It’s always a very unpleasant project but not a difficult one and it does solve it.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got an e-mail here from J.D. in Texas who wrote: “I had a house built and moved in mid-June. The builder forgot to install the manifold system to vent my dryer. They’re willing to come back and install it. Is it really worth the trouble?”

    TOM: Well, absolutely. You have to vent your dryer. The manifold system is simply a prefab duct that fits in the stud bay inside the wall and takes the vent from the dryer near the bottom, brings it up and then takes it out the walls. It’s really only a system.

    LESLIE: Yeah, you need that.

    TOM: And if he hasn’t done it and he’s willing to come back and do it, I’d let him do it. He is going to have to cut open the drywall to do it but if it’s on an exterior wall, there’ll be no insulation in there because the garage is not actually an area that you do insulate. So I think that would be a good idea and I would definitely let him do it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Go for it, J.D. Otherwise, that space where that washer/dryer is is going to be a humid, sticky, dusty mess. Plus, it’s a fire hazard. Just get it out of the house.

    TOM: Well, fall is becoming a very popular time of the year to tie the knot. So you might be finding yourself in the market for some gift ideas. Just keep in mind that modern couples are forgoing China and crystal for more practical gifts. Leslie has got those details in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. I’ve got a very modern sister getting married this coming October, so I’ve been dealing.

    TOM: Yeah. I need advice on what to get the lucky couple. I’m thinking circular saw.

    LESLIE: Yeah. Oh, my God, are you kidding? They’ll love it.

    So, it really is a sign of the times. Because brides and grooms today, they really want gifts that they can use on a daily basis. And it can be anything from electronics to office supplies. Seriously. They are registering for really practical things because gifts, they are a huge cost-saver. So ask for lots of things when you’re registering.

    Plus, more couples are getting married later in life, so they’ve already got all of those essentials in their home and now what they need are the extras for entertaining, relaxing, getting their homes organized. And newlyweds and engaged couples are among the nation’s largest consumers of major appliances, furniture and consumer electronics.

    So to get some of these items through a gift registry, many couples are registering at non-traditional retailers. So don’t be surprised if your next wedding invite includes a registry at a home center or even an electronics store. It’s crazy but these are the things that they want.

    So whether you’re tying the knot or attending a wedding, open your mind to more practical gifts and you may be on your way to turning a house into a home, which is a great gift.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us.

    Well, in just about another week, summer is going to be settling and fall will be setting in. And as you get ready to cozy up to your hearth, you want to make sure the fireplace is in good working order and safe. That’s why next week on the program, we’ll have tips to help you keep your home from going up in smoke when it comes time to start that first fire of the season.

    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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