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Live Broadcast from The National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Transcript

    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: A very special edition of The Money Pit Radio Show, coming to you today from the floor of the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. And this is where thousands of exhibitors come to showcase the newest and the best products their companies have to offer.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And the National Hardware Show is really the first step to getting those products to a store near you. And this hour, you get to hear about these products first before anybody else. Plus, we’re going to talk about the latest trends in home improvement.

    And two things that we see here – you know, companies are counting on the fact that Americans are starting to reinvest in their homes again. And green advancements, they’re really in demand more than ever.

    TOM: That’s right. And we’re also seeing that the outside areas of your home remain an important part of your money pit. And there are many products here aimed at making those outside spaces beautiful and comfortable.

    LESLIE: That’s right.

    TOM: And that also includes landscaping. And one idea that appeals to those who want both a green lawn and green lawn care is the push mower. But we’re not talking about your grandfather’s push mower or even the newest, high-tech versions that come with the jogging cleats.

    LESLIE: No, not at all. Actually, there’s a new mower on the market that gives you lots of power but it’s very easy on the environment. So we’ve got a great guest, Jim Brody, and he’s here to talk about that. He’s part of a company called Driven By Solar and he’s going to talk to us about a new product called the Recharge Mower.

    Now, Jim, welcome to the program. I had an opportunity to see this Recharge Mower yesterday and I like the fact that your battery is only 4 pounds. So then you can actually have a push mower whereas, traditionally, you get a battery-operated mower, they weigh a ton and you have to self-propel.

    JIM: Absolutely. First of all, it’s a pleasure to be here and good morning to Tom and good morning to Leslie.

    Yes, the Ultralite is a lithium-powered push mower. The whole unit only weighs 35 pounds. The battery only weighs 4 pounds. So to your point, it’s a push mower you can actually push.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Yeah, I’ve seen these battery-powered mowers before and I was always dissuaded by the fact that you needed a car battery to operate them.

    JIM: And that’s exactly it. Most of them weigh between 65 and 105 pounds. My goodness, some people actually are the same weight as the mower.

    LESLIE: It’s like the weight of kids.

    JIM: And you think of a hot day pushing that around, it’s impossible. So this is just a great advancement. It’s so light, so maneuverable, so easy to operate.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what I noticed is that there’s a power-indicator panel on it, as well. So there’s no second-guessing like, “How much can I mow and where can I cover? Is it going to go kaput on me?”

    JIM: Absolutely. The lithium battery actually has a level indicator right on it so you can see how much charge – you can charge the battery in the machine or you can take it inside, which is very handy. Sometimes, people are worried about leaving it in their garage or their shed. So it makes it really easy to recharge and you can recharge it up to 900 times.

    LESLIE: Oh, wow.

    TOM: Wow. Nine hundred times.

    JIM: You know many years of mowing that’s going to be?

    TOM: That’s a lot of grass.

    JIM: That certainly is.

    LESLIE: Now, I was going to ask you, with the opportunity to bring it inside, I know with some of my battery-powered tools, I have to be very concerned with temperature shifts in the wintertime and do I store the battery in my shed or garage? With this being able to bring it in, do I have a concern about temperature swings with the battery here?

    JIM: There is that with all batteries but because this is only 4 pounds, you can put it in your sock drawer or wherever you want and you have – it’s so easy. It’s simple to charge. There’s actually no assembly required on this, either to – the handles are already assembled. All you’re going to do is pull them up and set them to the angle and the height that you want and you’re off and mowing.

    TOM: Now, how much lawn can you really cover with a Recharge Mower?

    JIM: You’re going to get about 4,000 square feet of cutting on this. This is ideally designed for the homeowner who has a residential property. If someone has acres and acres, this is probably not the perfect tool for them.

    TOM: Right.

    JIM: But for all …

    LESLIE: Unless you want really strong arms.

    JIM: Oh, yeah. For sure. But for all the people who have a more traditional city lot, this is perfect. It’s great for all the seniors that couldn’t push 100 pounds.

    TOM: Right.

    JIM: Sometimes, the women of the household, they’re gardeners but they can’t do it; it’s too complicated. You don’t have the fumes, you don’t have the gas, all the emissions, the noise. It’s quiet.

    TOM: It’s got to be a lot quieter, too.

    LESLIE: It’s really quiet.

    JIM: It is quiet, so that’s great that way, as well.

    TOM: Right. And you could always have a second battery, because you can charge this without the battery actually being built in, correct?

    JIM: That’s correct. That’s what we find. Many times, people will have the second battery; they swap them in and swap them out and they continue.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The collection area where the clippings will go, there’s sort of a little flag that pops up that’s going to tell me when it’s full with all of my lawn clippings, so nothing’s going to sort of build back up into the machine and hinder my mowing.

    TOM: Right.

    JIM: You’re right, Leslie. One of the things – any time people are using a grass-collection system, if they’re not mindful of how much grass is actually in it, then the bag gets full and all those clippings get back underneath the deck and it doesn’t work properly. So this is kind of like your vacuum cleaner. People have seen that …

    LESLIE: And maintenance is a breeze on this, right?

    JIM: There’s none. There’s no maintenance because, again, there’s no spark plugs, there’s no belts, there’s no gas, there’s no oil, there’s nothing. It’s simple.

    TOM: Where can we find it?

    JIM: This is available online at a number of retail partners and on our own website, www.RechargeMower.com. This has just been in the market for six weeks.

    TOM: Wow.

    JIM: Brand new.

    LESLIE: And what’s the price point?

    JIM: $489.

    LESLIE: Wow, that’s great.

    TOM: That’s a great price. Jim Brody from Recharge Mower, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    JIM: It’s been my pleasure. Everyone have a great day.

    TOM: And again, that website is RechargeMower.com.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? That might actually make a good Father’s Day gift. If you want some other great Father’s Day gift ideas – because it is right around the corner, folks; don’t forget about dear old dad – check out MoneyPit.com and check out our Father’s Day gift guide. We’ve got lots of really cool ideas there, for those of you who really aren’t sure what Dad might like and don’t want to get a pencil cup again, Tom.

    TOM: And the gift guide – yeah, thank you very much. The gift guide is sponsored by Stanley. One of the featured items is the new CARBIDE Utility Blade from Stanley.

    And this is very cool for a couple of reasons. First, Stanley is celebrating 75 years of being on the cutting edge, literally, because they were actually the first to market with the utility blade 75 years ago. It’s the utility blade birthday.

    LESLIE: Happy birthday.

    TOM: Now, this CARBIDE blade is completely new. It’s the sharpest, strongest, longest-lasting utility blade Stanley has ever created. It’s unbreakable under normal working conditions and if you’ve ever worked with sheetrock or drywall, you know that the blade – you can go through those pretty darn quick. But these new Stanley CARBIDE blades, they don’t require changing nearly as often. They save you money, they save you time and I tell you, it’s really a terrific innovation.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And any do-it-yourself dad would love that and there are lots of other great ideas, including gifts for dads who aren’t as handy, all at MoneyPit.com.

    You’re listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com, coming to you from the floor of the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

    TOM: Still to come this hour, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on new outdoor furniture. Thanks to new technology in spray paint, you can now prime and paint outdoor furniture in just one step and get a great look for less. We’ll have all those details, next.

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    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show coming to you direct from the 2011 National Hardware Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And we’re learning a lot here about how consumers shop, what they buy and what they want. And more of you than ever want that outdoor space that you can really relax in and it remains a great way to add value to your home.

    TOM: And part of that relaxing outdoor space is the right outdoor furniture. But you don’t have to spend a fortune; you can work with what you have. If you have a rusty, red lawn chair that you might want to turn into sort of a lovely light, say, taupe or something like that …

    LESLIE: Well, that might sound like a painter’s nightmare with lots of costly and time-consuming primer but Krylon has a new product that it says can eliminate the need for primer. And we’re joined now by Denise Patterson from Krylon to tell us about a way to cut down on cost and time by eliminating that priming step.

    Welcome, Denise.

    DENISE: Thank you, Leslie.

    TOM: What a great idea: primer and paint in one can. Now, that must have been a technological challenge for you guys.

    DENISE: We have a very talented research-and-development lab who’s been working on this. And like Leslie said, it’s what people want when they’re painting outdoor furniture.

    And this product is the perfect solution for them. It gives great performance. It does give them a time savings but at the end of the day, they want a beautiful finish and we deliver that with one can of Krylon Tool.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And it gives you a cost saving, as well.

    DENISE: It really does.

    LESLIE: I mean let’s face it, you’re buying three or four cans of your primer and then three or four cans of your top coat.

    DENISE: Right. Right.

    LESLIE: So it really does help and I have to tell you, when it comes to my outdoor furnishings, whether it’s my metal bistro set or an Adirondack chair, when you’re working with wood and metal, you’ve got to prime those outdoor furnishings, because they’re going to see the toughest of conditions and you want it to last. And if you skip that step, you’re not going to get a full season.

    DENISE: Right. You’re going to be painting again in a month.

    Yeah, this delivers just excellent adhesion and then it also has that rust resistance that’s so important for metal when it’s outdoors? And that’s typically why people prime; about 25 percent of people use a primer when they’re painting something metal. So this will deliver that corrosion inhibition that you would get when you use a primer but you don’t need it now.

    TOM: We’re talking to Denise Patterson; she is with Krylon. The new product is called Dual Paint and Primer by Krylon.

    Now, how does this – the fact that it’s paint and primer in one – how does this affect multiple coats? Does it have any effect? You can put successive coats on without any issues?

    DENISE: You absolutely can. Put multiple coats on. A lot of people want to do that if they want a thicker layer of paint on there or if they’re trying to hide a problematic surface. That’s no problem at all; the adhesion is going to perform no matter how many coats you use.

    TOM: Because generally, the idea with spray paint is to do a very light, thin, even coat and just keep layering it on, because that gives you the best finish.

    DENISE: Right. It is going to give you the best finish. It also ensures that you have good coverage if you do multiple light coats, that you don’t accidentally miss a spot and then you have performance problems later.

    TOM: That you don’t have any running, yeah.

    DENISE: Right. Absolutely.

    LESLIE: And I will tell you, we only saw a selection of the colors when we started working with the Krylon Dual product and the colors are fantastic, because you really want to make sure that when you’re being creative around the yard, that if I wanted to do my bistro table in a bright pink or a red, I can.

    DENISE: Right.

    LESLIE: And then you can also use it on ceramics, as well, correct?

    DENISE: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: So if I want to just be inspired and do the planters, I can go ahead and do those, as well?

    DENISE: Absolutely. You can create a coordinating palette for your whole patio and have colors that are bright and vivid but they’re going to last a long time.

    TOM: Terrific. Denise Patterson from Krylon. The product is called Dual Paint and Primer. Thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.

    DENISE: Thank you.

    TOM: Well, Team Money Pit working hard here at the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, scouring the aisles and aisles of products to find the best of the best for you.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And with the economy, it’s kind of been a tough couple of years but slowly and with very smart project choices, homeowners are fixing up their biggest investments again.

    TOM: And keeping the exterior of your home looking great, with the right curb appeal, is a low-cost investment that can pay off in a very big way. Right now, we’re going to talk about that topic with Jeff Spillane from Benjamin Moore.

    Hi, Jeff.

    JEFF: Hey. How are you doing today?

    TOM: And paint is the least-expensive way, man, to get a return on investment on any project in your house. Now, in the case of exterior painting, what’s new from Ben Moore?

    JEFF: Well, we’ve had a number of things. We just launched a new exterior stain line that can be used on the body of the house, as well as your deck, exterior of a home. Most people end up painting because they want a color choice but the reality is we need to paint the exterior of our homes or stain them to protect them. Because it’s a big investment and you want to make sure that the surfaces of the exterior of the house have been well-preserved by putting products on them.

    You know, we’re coming into the spring, weather’s breaking. It’s time to go outside and take a look at the house and evaluate what situations exist on the home and what might need to be painted or protected.

    TOM: Now I want to ask you, painting is obviously a do-it-yourself project, something that’s fairly attainable. But even though it’s simple, there are some very common painting mistakes that people make, especially on the outside of the house, that affect the quality of the finished product. Can you talk about some of those?

    JEFF: About 80 percent of all failures when you paint exterior have to do with poor preparation or the lack of preparation.

    LESLIE: Lack of is more like it.

    TOM: There’s no bad paint; there’s just bad painters.

    JEFF: Well, the prep is the hardest part of the job.

    TOM: Right.

    JEFF: And it’s the piece of the puzzle that people have a tendency to skip and painting over wood that’s already cracked or there’s mildew or dirt, not cleaning off the surface. Making sure that you’ve got a good, sound surface before you put a premium product on it is going to make the job last a lot longer and protect the house a lot better.

    LESLIE: Well and I think with exterior projects, you have to be so careful because it involves huge ladders. Maybe you have to rent something to accomplish the job. If you’re hiring a pro, it could be expensive to do the outside of your house. So you want to make sure that that prep is done correctly and then you want to use a great product like Benjamin Moore to make sure that it’s going to last.

    And I work as a decorator and I, 100 percent of the time, specify Benjamin Moore paints for the color selection, the durability. And you guys really just hit the ball out of the park when it comes to your fan decks and the colors that you offer. Because there’s a right color for every client and I thank you for that.

    JEFF: Right. And in putting a good coat of paint on, because the prep and the investment is so large as far as time-consuming for a consumer, you want to put a good-quality product on. Benjamin Moore has Aura, which is our new ultra-premium product that’ll last for a long time.

    TOM: Now, what do you have in stains? We’ve only got a few seconds but what’s new in exterior stains?

    JEFF: ARBORCOAT is a new stain line we have. It’s a blend of a water-dispersible alkyd and an acrylic, so you get the best of both worlds: penetration from the alkyd and durability and protection from the sun with the acrylic resin that’s in it.

    LESLIE: Really good adhesion. Oh, that’s great.

    TOM: Well, that’s terrific. It’s a great product line, Benjamin Moore. You guys have really been leaders for many, many years and as Leslie said, you’re a very important part of her decorating life.

    LESLIE: You make my life very easy, so I thank you so much, Jeff, because I have hundreds of happy clients and I’m thrilled that you’re part of it.

    JEFF: Thank you.

    TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, coming to you from the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. And we’ve been talking this hour about outdoor spaces and how to keep them looking good.

    One problem, though, is the growth that can totally creep up on your outside surfaces, like mold, mildew and algae.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you’re in that situation, you might have tried bleach to get this under control. But there is a product that works just as well, actually, if not better and it’s much safer. So here to tell us about Wet & Forget is the company’s president, Brett Perry.

    Welcome, Brett.

    BRETT: Hi, Leslie. Hi, Tom.

    TOM: So thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    Now, so many folks have used a wide variety of bleach, homemade solutions and bleach-like cleaners and things that their grandma mixed up to try to get rid of this nasty growth that affects so many homes and so many surfaces.

    LESLIE: Homemade solutions.

    TOM: Mold, mildew, algae. How does Wet & Forget approach this problem?

    BRETT: Well, Wet & Forget is a little bit different. We like to think about working smarter, not harder. And as you say, people have used all sorts of things over the years to try and deal with this problem, because it’s really a problem that’s universal. I mean these things are all over the country and one of the key things is we want to make it nice and simple.

    TOM: Right.

    BRETT: So, what Wet & Forget does is you just – as the name describes – just wet the surface with the product, walk away and forget about it. There’s no scrubbing, there’s no rinsing. We like to say, “Let Mother Nature do all the hard work for you.”

    LESLIE: And you know what, Brett? I have to say – it’s so funny when you look at the packaging, there’s this giant red tag that hangs on the top of the container. And it’s like, “Please read the directions before you proceed.”

    TOM: Please.

    LESLIE: And it’s in a really funny way but it’s super-important because you’re right, you put it on and you don’t scrub, you don’t rinse; you do nothing.

    TOM: Right.

    BRETT: That’s right. Yeah, we get a lot of comments about those labels.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: They’re very funny.

    BRETT: “This is that (inaudible at 0:16:18). You’re wasting your time. Failure.” Things like that.

    TOM: Right. No, trust us. Please read.

    LESLIE: Read the directions.

    TOM: “Will work if you do it the way we tell you to do it.”

    BRETT: Yeah.

    TOM: Now, I think that when you finally get up the energy to want to actually clean these surfaces, people kind of want an instant result from that. And that’s probably what you fight with a label like that is that people put it on and they don’t see an instant cleaning of the surface, because it takes some time for the product to work. Do you sort of fight that impatience in the consumers?

    BRETT: Well, some people think that they want something that works immediately. But what people really want is easy.

    TOM: Yeah.

    BRETT: And we’re really – we want to take the easy way out and the problem with that is not – most of the times, that doesn’t work. But here we have a product that, yeah, is really simple and is easy to apply. In fact, I just had a comment come through on the internet earlier this month from a woman who was raving about our product, because she couldn’t believe that she went to her grandmother’s house and her grandmother had used it to clean the mold and mildew on her siding.

    TOM: So she’s still learning from her grandmother after all these years, right?

    BRETT: Exactly.

    LESLIE: Well and I think what’s so important with Wet & Forget is that you get a longevity of cleanability, if you will. You put the product on and six months, a year from now – depending on your environmental conditions – you could really still see a clean surface, if not cleaner than six months before.

    BRETT: That’s exactly right. One of the things is that when you apply the product, because we’re not rinsing it off, it’s staying on the surface and keeps on working. Most of the other products out that are out there are very caustic, have high or low pH. Our product has a pH of 8, so we can safely apply it to any surface, be confident it’s not going to damage the surface and we can leave it on there, whereas those other products have to be rinsed off almost immediately.

    TOM: And it can also – it’s also environmentally friendly, so you don’t have the same concerns about getting into your landscape, correct?

    BRETT: Well, you – obviously, you don’t want to be dousing your prized petunias in it.

    TOM: Right.

    BRETT: But you want to try and avoid overspray, if you can, but it’s not going to leach into the landscaping and kill all your plants.

    TOM: Terrific.

    LESLIE: You use it at the Sydney Opera House, so it’s going right there.

    TOM: Brett Perry from Wet & Forget, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    We will learn much more when we continue with our broadcast from the 2011 National Hardware Show, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil. And now you can easily cut through the most difficult projects with ease, with a Power Cutter from Skil. With powerful, lithium-ion technology and an auto-sharp blade system, Skil’s lightweight Power Cutter will soon become your favorite tool, too. The Skil Power Cutter. It cuts just about anything.

    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: We are broadcasting from the 2011 National Hardware Show today in Las Vegas.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And there are over 100,000 products being showcased here this week and some from brand new companies trying to get the word out and some who’ve been in the business for decades and are just simply innovating the brand.

    TOM: Right now, we want to talk to Jason Swanson from TTI, a guy who’s probably not been in the business for decades; he doesn’t look quite that old.

    JASON: Well, thanks. Wow. Seen my gray hair, though? Unbelievable.

    TOM: But TTI is – of course, you know TTI. They make lots of great brands, including Ryobi and Ridgid. And now, you’ve got a new line of grills called STOK.

    JASON: Yeah. I’m so STOK about this product.

    LESLIE: Jason.

    TOM: You knew that was coming.

    JASON: Absolutely. It’s …

    TOM: Well, tell us about it.

    JASON: It is a brand new brand and we designed and engineered this in Anderson, South Carolina and in partnership with The Home Depot, are launching it this spring. And the true innovation is the interchangeable grates system, so you’re not just limited to the cast-iron coated grates on the top but you’re also going to get to …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, your cooking surface is what you’re talking about.

    JASON: Yeah. No doubt.

    TOM: Right.

    JASON: Multiple cooking surfaces, so you can do the vegetables in a wok; you can do the vegetables in a vegetable tray; you can do quesadillas, pancakes, bacon, eggs.

    LESLIE: Pizza.

    JASON: You name it, you can do it on the grill and you don’t have to fire up the stove inside the house, so you don’t have – in the middle of the summertime, you’re not going to have to deal with all the heat in the house.

    LESLIE: Well, I think the benefit of having so many options for grilling is that if you’re having a party or even just a family dinner and everybody’s outside in the yard, it’s like – I do the grilling at my house, so poor Mom is always inside/outside running back and forth and I don’t get to enjoy myself. So this keeps me outside by the grill. I can be part of the action, I can cook everything from side dishes to pizza for the little guys and never step away.

    JASON: Yeah, great point. And then, truly, it’s all about timing. On a traditional grill, it’s all about the meat.

    TOM: Right.

    JASON: So, typically, you’d have people inside the house doing the vegetables and then the guy or the gal outside doing the meat and they would never quite get the timing right. So now …

    LESLIE: You never get to eat anything together.

    JASON: Exactly. “Hey, here’s the meat.” “Oh, hey, here’s the potatoes.” “And hey, here’s the veggies.” Now, you’re going to get everything all at the same time so, like you said, you can have that whole family moment that many people don’t get to enjoy these days.

    LESLIE: Right.

    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, as with many of the products that we’ve seen from TTI, you guys have put a lot into the design. So it’s a very, very attractive grill, as well.

    JASON: Yeah, no doubt. Most of the entire grill is either a cast-iron or a stainless steel or a metal or a porcelain-coated type of surface.

    TOM: Right.

    JASON: So the longevity of the grill is 10-plus years, especially when it comes to the burners, which ultimately would be – the first thing that’ll probably go on a grill would be the burner. And we’re going to back that with a 10-year warranty, so …

    LESLIE: Now, the inserts, which really make the Quattro STOK grill so special, do they come with the grill or am I then going and buying something else?

    JASON: No. We do have some that are available as accessories but the four or five surfaces that are going to come with the Quattro are the cast-iron grill grates – which are porcelain-coated, so you get some long, long life out of those – the vegetable tray for doing vegetables; the griddle for doing pancakes, bacon, eggs, fish, quesadillas; and then the last one – but my favorite and my kids’ favorite – is the pizza stone.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I can imagine it would be a favorite at my house.

    TOM: Yep. I’ve never had barbecued pizza or barbecued pancakes. I don’t know why I missed that but now we can do it.

    JASON: Yeah.

    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, I come from an Italian family and in a lot of Italian families, folks had summer kitchens, right? It was like the extra stove, completely against all the zoning laws out there.

    LESLIE: In the basement.

    TOM: But you’d have the stove in the basement. People would cook down there because it was so darn hot. So, with this kind of interchangeability, you really can move a lot of that cooking outside in the warmer weather.

    JASON: Absolutely. And if you’re a big fan of charcoal, we also have a smaller charcoal unit, which also has the interchangeable grate system.

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    JASON: And so, yeah, if you like that deep, rich flavor …

    LESLIE: It’s definitely a personal preference. People are either all gas grills or all charcoal and then they butt heads about the situation.

    JASON: Absolutely. So, yeah, if you want the extra flavor from charcoal …

    LESLIE: Can I dish-wash the inserts? Hand-wash? How do you clean them?

    JASON: Dishwasher-safe inserts. Except for the pizza stone, obviously.


    JASON: It’s like a normal cooking stone that you’d find in the – in your pantry at home, so …

    TOM: Terrific. Jason Swanson here with info about the new STOK grill.

    If you want more information, head on over to their website and that is spelled STOK – S-T-O-K – Grills.com.

    Thanks so much, Jason.

    LESLIE: Alright.

    JASON: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, a great kit for homeowners to help you figure out what you can fix yourself and when you need to call in a pro.

    TOM: We’ll be back with more from the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, after this.

    (theme song)

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: A very exciting show today. We’re broadcasting from the floor of the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, a place where we love to discover products that will help save you time and money, because those are the two things that you can never get enough of.

    LESLIE: Boy, is that right.

    And now we want to tell you about a comprehensive set of troubleshooting tools that will actually help you determine whether you can do a project yourself or whether it’s a job that you better leave to those pros. And this is a kit made by Amprobe. And here to tell us about the three tools that are included in this kit and how to use them, we’ve got Stephanie Tarantino.

    Welcome, Stephanie.

    STEPHANIE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, Stephanie, I was a professional home inspector for about 20 years and Amprobe was always a part of my tool bag for a long, long time.

    STEPHANIE: Fantastic. Yeah.

    TOM: So it’s a great, great product. And you guys are taking a step now to put this more into the hands of the consumer by packaging up some of the most common and popular electrical tools that we need in our homes.

    STEPHANIE: Yeah. That’s right. You know, Amprobe has been around since 1948. In fact, we invented the first clamp meter. And the brand is well-entrenched with professional contractors.

    Been exciting to see us launch into Lowe’s this past year, with some SKUs that are some products that are very helpful to a homeowner. And one of them being this electrical test kit.

    TOM: Now, inside the electrical test kit, you have – let’s talk about the components. You have a socket tester.

    STEPHANIE: Yeah. Right.

    TOM: And you think that maybe you can be intimidated by electrical testing? Not really. This is plug and play, essentially.

    STEPHANIE: Exactly.

    TOM: You plug this into an outlet and it communicates to you A) whether the outlet is working and B) whether it is grounded properly and C) whether the polarity is reversed, correct?

    STEPHANIE: That’s right. Exactly.

    TOM: And I think that a lot of folks don’t understand that you can plug something in and because it works doesn’t mean that it’s working safely. And in fact, if it’s not grounded, it could be very, very dangerous.

    STEPHANIE: Absolutely. In fact, you could get shocked. And I’m not a technical person at all but I’ve used it in my own home, in an attic space that was converted, to check some outlets. And it was just very easy to use. I mean you don’t need any special knowledge to use these tools.

    LESLIE: And we get so many questions at The Money Pit where people want to tackle electrical problems or situations in their houses themselves. Maybe they shouldn’t and they’re adding outlets and things and so, as the next homeowner, you don’t really know who’s done that work in your house.

    STEPHANIE: Yes. Exactly.

    LESLIE: So it’s a really good idea just to make sure that everything is operating safely.

    STEPHANIE: Absolutely.

    TOM: And here’s a common situation that you’re non-contact voltage detector – tester – actually solves. Now, how many times have you done work on an electrical project in your house and you have the husband and the wife: one is near the circuit breaker going …

    LESLIE: And you’re on your cell phones.

    TOM: Right. Going, “Is this one it?” Click. “Is this one it?” “No.” Click.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Meanwhile, you’ve turned off every alarm clock in the house. But with this non-contact voltage tester, you can just simply bring it near the electrical wire or the socket or the outlet and if it’s hot, it beeps.

    STEPHANIE: Yes. Mm-hmm. It’s very intuitive; you just push a button and hold it up next to the wire and it’ll start chirping at you. And it’s fantastic if you’re replacing a light fixture in your home, a ceiling fan, anything of that nature. It’s just a quick go/no-go kind of check.

    TOM: We’re talking to Stephanie Tarantino. She’s the marketing communications manager for Amprobe.

    And finally, the last piece of this is the one that I’m most excited about. It’s the digital multimeter.


    TOM: So, pretty much that covers everything else that you might need to do inside the house. If you’re diagnosing any type of a switching problem – three-way switches, installing a dimmer, fixing an appliance or even something a DC current – like a power-tool repair or something like that – this digital multimeter is flexible enough to do all that.

    STEPHANIE: It is. Absolutely. It’s got a lot of great functions on it. And one of them that’s very cool is an auto-ranging feature.

    So, if you’re, let’s say, checking a fuse on your HVAC system and then later, you go to check your outlet for voltage, this has this auto-range feature in it that automatically adjusts the range on your digital multimeter so that you won’t blow a fuse within the product. And that’s a very important feature in this product.

    When you go in – walk into a store like Lowe’s and you buy a digital multimeter, if it’s manual ranging, you have to dive in more to the owner’s manual to figure out the settings and stuff.

    TOM: Right. Yeah.

    STEPHANIE: This is more goof-proof, if you will, yeah.

    TOM: Well, that’s terrific. Stephanie Tarantino from Amprobe, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    STEPHANIE: Thank you.

    TOM: If you want more information on the Amprobe Electrical Test Kit, head on over to their website at Amprobe.com. You can also see it at Lowes.com or pick up the phone and give them a call at 877-AMPROBE. That’s A-m-p-r-o-b-e.

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, next up, we’ve got another way to save money using less supplies. We’ve got two very cool adhesives to tell you about right now and the first gets rid of any need for fasteners like nails or screws.

    TOM: And the second is a super glue that won’t glue your fingers together.

    LESLIE: Which I’ve done.

    TOM: How about that? Here to tell us about these adhesives from Loctite is Tim Ferguson.

    Hey, Tim.

    TIM: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie. How are you doing?

    LESLIE: Hey.

    TOM: Now, we were talking a lot about super glue at your booth yesterday and it’s really interesting. You think that super glue is super glue is super glue; it’s really not. You guys have engineered this to address pretty much any specific need for the product. Talk about some of the differences between the Super Glue lines.

    TIM: Yeah, sure. Going all the way back to Loctite’s invention in 1950 – in the 1950s – we’ve been really focused on end-user insights. And super glue is a category that is penetrated into a lot of households and so there’s a lot of different types of users.

    The one that we’re talking about here is, for those reluctant users, are the ones that are a little intimidated.

    TOM: Right.

    TIM: There’s odors, there’s a fear of it bonding too fast and sticking to something permanently and there’s the real fear, that you mentioned before, of gluing your fingers together. We’ve invented a product called Power Easy that really tackles all of those things and really enables people to engage super glue in a way that they maybe weren’t comfortable with in the past.

    TOM: So …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And I think it’s important to consider what you’re adhering to what, to find the right product. Because not all super glues are going to put everything together in the right way, correct?

    TIM: Yeah, that’s right. I mean super glue is really versatile but there are, obviously, some substrates or materials that any adhesive is going to have some difficulties with and …

    TOM: Well, to that point, you guys also have a great tool online where you can actually choose the materials that you’re trying to bond, whether they’re the same materials or they’re different materials. And this tool actually drives you in and tells you exactly which product does the job, which takes the guesswork out. Because I think, Tim, when you walk into the aisle where you see all the adhesives …

    LESLIE: It’s overwhelming.

    TOM: It is very overwhelming and it all says “super glue” and there’s little descriptive phrases. But you need to really figure out which one is designed, because we’re talking about a chemical reaction here that we have to get and we have to get it right.

    TIM: That’s right. And specificity is really the name of the game. And with that specificity, sometimes it can be a little intimidating from a complexity standpoint. And a Loctite product advisor that we have online, as well as on mobile, really takes all the guesswork out of it. It’s very intuitive and walk through, answer a couple questions and we’re going to point you to the right product for your job.

    LESLIE: Oh and I love that it’s a mobile app, as well. So I could actually be standing in the adhesive aisle and be like, “Oh, right. I needed to glue metal to leather,” or whatever.

    TIM: Exactly. And even easier, it’s – you can pour it in through a 2-D barcode – a QR code – so you don’t even have to sit there and type in the address.

    TOM: So if you have your iPhone, you can kind of scan it, right?

    LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.

    TIM: That’s right.

    TOM: Now, you have two other glue products that you’re bringing out. Just tell me about those, quickly?

    TIM: Again, going back to that specificity around super glue, one of the other concerns that we had – or that consumers have with super glue – is this can’t go outdoors, you know?

    TOM: Right.

    TIM: And so what we did is we actually developed a super glue that is – has rubber inside of it.

    LESLIE: Oh, smart.

    TIM: Makes it more durable and it can take it outdoors, so it can come in contact with water and still maintain that good bond.

    TOM: And these guys demonstrated this by gluing a rubber tube to a bowling ball and you could move it up and down. Yeah.

    TIM: We don’t recommend that at home but it’s a good demonstration for the versatility.

    TOM: And how about for the hardcore super-glue user?

    TIM: We have – the name of the game with super glue is speed and strength.

    TOM: Right.

    TIM: And the last product that we have is the Professional Control. It is the world-record holder for strength; it held 8 tons. And it’s just for those people that really love speed and strength with super glue.

    TOM: Terrific. Tim Ferguson from Loctite, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    LESLIE: Alright. Up next, we’re going to share three new products that will help your lawn and garden look lush and green without spending a fortune.

    (theme song)

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

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are at the 2011 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. This is an exciting place, buzzing with the sound of circular saws and news of cutting-edge products, best services and the latest information out there for the home improvement enthusiast.

    LESLIE: It’s noisy.

    Alright. Well, no doubt you know the name Scotts Miracle-Gro very well. Well, the company has been making lawn-care products for over 100 years and is the world’s largest marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products. But that doesn’t mean that they rest on their laurels.

    Scotts Miracle-Gro is rolling out three new, brand-spanking new lawn- and garden-care products here at the Hardware Show. And here to tell us about them is Tom McLoughlin, VP of Gardening and Landscaping.


    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Welcome. Thanks very much for having me. Good morning.

    TOM: You guys make it easy for consumers to look good with their lawns, with the products and the engineering behind them. So talk to us about the new products.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: So we’ve got a few new products. The number one – first one we’ll talk about is Snap. It’s a revolutionary way to apply fertilizer.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: We figured out that the biggest problems consumers had were all around: “What are the spreader settings? How do I open the bag? How do I pour it in the mess?”

    And we’ve designed a system that just snaps and goes. It’s got an edge guard, so you can control where you put your fertilizer down and it makes it so much easier. And it really targeted for females and for smaller lawns.

    TOM: So it’s an applicator system? Is it a tool that you roll around the lawn? How does it work?

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Yeah. It’s like a normal spreader except you snap a piece in and the – it’s self-contained so the fertilizer stays in the bag. And when you’re done, you can pull it right off and it self-seals itself.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: Well, that’s great. So it’s completely mess-free. And I guess with that edger, you don’t have to worry about using too much.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Exactly. It goes exactly where you want it to go. You can make sure it gets on your lawn and you don’t get application anywhere you don’t want it to be.

    TOM: Right. Because runoff is a big issue and folks are concerned about that. So this gives you a very strategic application.

    LESLIE: Controlled placement, if you will.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Absolutely. Put it down where you – exactly where you want it to be down.

    TOM: You have another product out called Expand ‘n Gro. It’s a gardening soil. How does that work?

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: This is fantastic. It’s a soil that expands three times. And what we’ve done is we’ve …

    LESLIE: Is that why the bag is so light?


    LESLIE: Because it’s really light.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: We figured out that the – one of the biggest problems consumers had was: “How do I lug a big bag around of soil?”

    TOM: Right.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Because a 2 cubic-foot bag of soil can weigh 40, 50 pounds.

    LESLIE: It’s kind of heavy.

    TOM: Yeah.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: So, what we’ve done is we’ve found a way to make the bag almost – probably half the size or a third of the size. And actually, when you add water, it expands up to the full size of soil and consumers get all the benefits and then some.

    LESLIE: Oh, wow.

    TOM: Now, does the soil hold more water? Is it more absorbent, in terms of keeping the roots wetter for a longer period of time?

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Absolutely. Yes. We use a coconut fiber – coconut core – and that actually absorbs more water and actually can release it to the plants as they need it.

    TOM: OK.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: So it’s almost a self-regulating system for plants.

    TOM: Oh, cool.

    LESLIE: And so if you’re getting a flower bed ready for planting, would you spread it out, water and then till the soil so that you really get a good understanding of how much soil you’re getting?

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: Absolutely. What you do is you’d spread it out in your garden bed about an inch thick, then you till it in, then water it. The soil will expand and then you can plant right in it. The expansion, actually, opens up a bunch of – it opens up aeration for the roots to take development.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that’s so important because if you don’t till the soil and make a fresh bed every planting season, you’re not going to have good success. And when we first bought our house, we had terrible success in the garden. And my uncle, eight years ago, was like, “Leslie, pull everything out, turn that soil and do it again.” And we did and it works.

    TOM: We’re talking to Tom McLoughlin from Scotts Miracle-Gro.

    You’ve got one more new product. Tell us about it quickly: the Miracle-Gro Gro-Bag.

    TOM McLOUGHLIN: So what we found is we’re looking at consumers that are space-constrained. So we have a great product here called Gro-Bag. It’s a bag where you can peel off the top. It’s got three pre-cut holes in it so you can plant your – plant vegetables or whatever plant you want, right in the bag. The bag drains itself; it’s got drainage holes. And it’s a little taller than a standard soil bag, so it actually allows for root development.

    LESLIE: Wow, that’s great.

    TOM: Wow. That’s terrific. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    If you want more information on the Scotts’ product, go to their website at Scotts.com.

    You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, coming to you from the 2010 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. Anything you missed is easy to catch when you download our podcast of this show at MoneyPit.com or you follow our conversations on Twitter and Facebook.

    Next week on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about the easiest and cheapest ways to update the look of your room.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

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

    (theme song)


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

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