Maintaining Your Hot Water Heater, Paint Colors That Raise Your Spirits, and the Laundry Room Organization Tips You’ve Been Waiting For
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: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we are here to help you tackle your home improvement projects, solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas, make your home beautiful, more comfortable and more energy-efficient. But help yourself, first, by calling us at 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, you count on hot water at the turn of a tap. But if you don’t keep your water heater maintained, chilly showers might await you. We’re going to have some tips to keep things heated up, just ahead.
LESLIE: And also ahead, if winter blues have you feeling bleh, well, why not perk up your space with some paint? It’ll be like spring paid you an early visit. We’re going to tell you which colors work to bring happy hues to your home, coming up.
TOM: And is your laundry room one of the more disheveled rooms in your house? We’ve got advice on a laundry-room makeover that can help make this space work for you and not against you.
LESLIE: And one lucky caller this hour can finally get those frames and artwork up on the walls. We are giving away a laser level, which is perfect for making the right placement for whatever nails or holes or any sort of bracket you need to put up. You’ll know that it’s in the right spot.
TOM: It’s a prize worth almost 30 bucks going out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach us for today’s show. So let’s make that you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Jane Ellen in Pennsylvania is looking at getting some new windows. How can we help you make that decision?
JANE ELLEN: Yes. Well, we are looking at getting – replacing our single-pane windows. And our question is: do you think it would be more cost-effective to spend the extra money on triple-pane windows or would double-pane windows be OK? Other than the windows, the house is fairly well insulated; it’s not real drafty. We haven’t priced our options yet, so we just were looking for an opinion.
TOM: I think that double-pane windows will be fine. The thing is that when you shop for windows, you have all of these different features and benefits that you have to compare and contrast and sometimes it gets very confusing when you do that. What I would look for is a window that’s ENERGY STAR-rated and one that has double-pane glass. As long as the glass in insulated and has a low-E coating so it reflects the heat back, that’ll be fine.
It’s been my experience that unless you live in the most severe climates, triple-pane glass doesn’t really make up the additional cost in terms of return on investment.
JANE ELLEN: Wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: What kind of windows do you have now? Are they very drafty?
JANE ELLEN: Well, they’re single-pane windows. They’re relatively decent windows for single-pane but they’re old. They’re starting to – you can see the gas is starting to escape from them and they are a little drafty.
Our house has a field behind it; our backyard kind of opens up into a field. So, there’s a significant amount of wind that comes across the field and flows into the back of the house. And off the main back area, we have a three-season room, which helps to block some of the wind from the interior downstairs. But the upstairs bedrooms, you feel the wind a little bit more significantly. We notice the single-pane windows a little bit more there; it seems more drafty right there.
TOM: Well, I think these windows are going to make a big difference for you. Now, if you need to save some money and maybe not do them all at once, that’s fine, too. What I would do is the north and east sections of the house first – sides of the house first – and then the south and the west second. OK?
JANE ELLEN: OK. Sounds great.
LESLIE: I know given the winter that we’ve all had in the Northeast and pretty much all over the United States, you might think that a triple-pane glass is going to do the trick, especially when we’ve had, what, like an average of five degrees, Tom?
LESLIE: I’ve got to tell you, the days that we’ve had 30- and 40-degree temperatures, I’ve put on a light jacket. I’ve seen families out with no jackets. People are out of their minds when we get 40-degree days.
TOM: Yep. I know. We’re happy for it, right?
LESLIE: It’s like summer.
TOM: Alright. Well, Jane Ellen, I hope that helps you out. Thanks, again, for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jimmy, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JIMMY: Couple of weeks ago, I was listening to your show and a person called in and had paneling in their den. And they wanted to paint it. And I missed the first part of it.
JIMMY: I have paneling in my den. It’s red-oak paneling and my wife has been wanting to paint this stuff forever but you said you had to use a primer. I got that part of it, you know – and a good-quality paint – but I think you said you had to sand the paneling first. Is that correct?
TOM: Well, only sort of lightly sand it. We’d like you to rough up the surface just a little bit because it tends to be fairly glossy, as you know. And so yeah, if you rough up the surface just a bit with some sandpaper and then you apply a good-quality primer and a good-quality paint, you’re going to get the best outcome in terms of that project.
JIMMY: OK. Because she cleans this paneling every year and she uses an oil-based cleaner to clean it.
TOM: Well, OK. So on top of that, then I’m also going to suggest that you wash it down with TSP – trisodium phosphate. So, I would give it a sanding and then I would wash it down with a mixture of TSP, which you’ll find at home and hardware stores, usually in the paint aisle. And this way, you’ll clean it of all that oily debris that may still be on the surface that could impede the ability of the primer to stick properly.
JIMMY: OK. So I don’t know what TSP is. What is that?
TOM: It’s trisodium phosphate. It’s essentially a detergent. It comes in a powder and you mix it up with water. It’s very soapy but you wash it down with that, rinse it off and you’re good to go.
JIMMY: Alright. I appreciate it.
TOM: OK, Jim. 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 or your home improvement question. Pretty much whatever you are working on at your money pit, we will help you get it done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Still ahead, we’ve got tips to help you take care of your water heater so you keep in hot water instead of out of it.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by for your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Hey, this hour we’re giving away a laser level to one lucky caller. It features a unique ball-and-cup mounting system, so it’s perfect for helping you to hang a shelf or align a picture and whatever you need to do to make sure it’s on the straight and narrow. This tool can help you do that.
It’s worth 30 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Robin in Kentucky who’s noticing an odd odor. What’s going on at your money pit?
ROBIN: Well, purchased a house last February and about two months later, the house developed an odor.
LESLIE: Wait, the whole house? Like inside/outside? Where is this odor that you sense?
ROBIN: It appears to be coming from the ductwork. It’s slab construction and the people in the area say that it’s – the house was built in ’55. They say that they used ceramic ductwork under the slab and they’re thinking that the ductwork has cracked and is letting an odor from underground come up.
TOM: Eh. Maybe not. But go ahead.
ROBIN: Well, we’ve had a number of people into the house to look at it and they’ve taken air samples and stuff and no one can really say what it is. All they can say is, “Well, we suggest that you replace that ductwork with overhead ductwork through the attic.”
TOM: That’s a pretty big change. Have you ever had a duct inspection done with cameras?
ROBIN: No. I’ve tried a number of people to get that done and no one in the area can do it. We called Roto-Rooter because we know they do it but they said they wouldn’t do it for ductwork. They would only do it for pipes.
TOM: Well, Robin, as you’ve probably discovered, tracking down odors that are associated with heating and cooling ducts is a very tricky business. And part of the reason for that is because there’s so many possibilities: it could be mold, it could be other forms of organic matter, it could be sewage gases that are somehow working their way into those ducts.
What I’m going to do is send you to a resource guide where every conceivable cause of duct odors is presented and explored and lets you research this a little bit better on your own. And maybe you’ll put two and two together based on what you read here and what you’re experiencing in your home and come up with a solution.
Alright. So, I want you to go to a website called InspectAPedia. InspectAPedia. It’s a website actually put together by an old friend of mine named Dan Friedman. He’s one of the best home inspectors in the country. He’s gone through a lot of trouble to collect information on problems just like this. And if you go to InspectAPedia – so it’s Inspect, A and P-e-d-i-a – and you search “how to find and remove odors in heating ducts,” you’ll find this guide. And it’s thousands of words long. And you should be able to go through and see if you can get to the bottom of it.
Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Margie in Delaware on the line with a flooring question. What can we do for you today?
MARGIE: Well, we had carpeting down here from the 70s, in this home that we moved into. So, we pulled up the carpeting and there’s beautiful hardwood floors underneath. Except wherever the wood strips with the nails were that were holding the carpet down, there’s a bunch of black holes where the nails were. So how can we clean that up?
TOM: Yeah. The strips are called “tackless” and what’s happened is the nails have oxidized, so you get some rust and other types of corrosion that form on the metal and react with the wood. And it leaves that sort of black stain. So what you have to do is sand the wood floors.
You sand the wood floors, you’ll get rid of most of that black stain that’s showing around the top of the hole. And then you can fill in the holes with a wood putty that matches the floor. Sand it again and you’ll just about cover them. You’re still going to see a little bit of them but they will not be obvious.
Right now, they’re painfully obvious, I know. But if you sand the floors and then fill them in and sand it again and finish it, it will blend in.
MARGIE: That’s great. It’s got to be better than what it looks like now.
TOM: No, it’s nice. Think of that carpet as a beautiful drop cloth that protected those floors for all those years.
TOM: And now you get a chance to enjoy them again.
MARGIE: OK. Thank you so very much.
TOM: You’re welcome Margie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, you turn the tap and you get hot water. But have you ever thought about what it actually takes to heat that water? So, lots of energy dollars can be wasted if you do not properly maintain your water heater. So here’s really what you need to know. Now, most water heaters run on gas, oil or electricity. So if your water heater is gas-fired, it’s important to have it serviced. Combustion deposits can actually build up and that’s going to make your heater super inefficient.
TOM: Yep. And actually the same goes for an oil water heater. Not as common but needs just the same kind of maintenance. And what you want to do is make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned so that that oil is burned efficiently, is not being wasted and is not producing excess of carbon monoxide.
Now, let’s talk about electric water heaters. For those, one of the two coils that run the electric water heater can burn out after a while. So if you see that you start to run out of hot water quickly, that’s probably what’s happened; you’ve lost one of those coils. And an electrician or a plumber can take care of replacing it.
Now, another way to save money with electric water heaters is to put a timer on them. And this way, you’ll only run the water heater when you actually need it which, for most of us, is a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the early evening.
LESLIE: And if you’re willing to make the investment, a tankless water heater heats only the water that you need, as you use it. And it’s the most efficient type of water heater out there.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s small enough so that you can actually install it close to bathrooms, so you won’t actually have to wait for hot water again. So, lots of ways to go here. But the bottom line is you’ve got to maintain these systems if you want them to be there when you need it.
LESLIE: Now we’re heading over to Georgia where J.W. has a question about heating. What can we do for you?
J.W.: I paid some people to come out and clean my chimney. And they asked me what did I want to do. I said, “Well, I’ll put a wood-burning stove there.” But I have a coal-burning chimney and they said I couldn’t do it. And I want to know, can I put a wood burner where my old burner is set and use the same chimney?
TOM: It might be that the chimney is too small for wood burning.
TOM: So it may be a physical space issue with the size of the chimney itself, J.W. Not so much that you can’t physically do it but the venting may not be correct if the chimney isn’t – is too small. Or the chimney may not be lined. I don’t know how old your house is but it sounds to me like there’s a safety issue.
J.W.: Ah, so I’d be better off just to do as they suggested: to cut a hole in the roof to get that special insulated – what is it, aluminum?
TOM: I rarely agree with chimney sweeps because they give people bad advice a lot. But in this case, I tend to agree with them. If you were to start clean and just put in a regular, wood-burning stove, you’re going to be able to get, first of all, a wood-burning stove that’s very, very efficient, as opposed to a fireplace insert, which would be less efficient. And you’ll have complete control over the venting and you’ll be able to do it in a very, very safe and reliable way.
J.W.: OK. Now, is there a special place where I should put a wood-burning stove? It’s a six-room house.
TOM: You could pretty much put it anywhere you want as long as you do it safely. There are standards that are established for how to install a wood stove in a safe location. It has to do with clearance to combustibles and that sort of thing.
Look, J.W., it’s not a do-it-yourself job. If you’re asking those kinds of questions, it’s definitely not the kind of project you want to do on your own. I would get a pro to help you with.
Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Joan in California needs some help with a kitchen remodel. How’s it going?
JOAN: Yes, well, we haven’t started yet and I just need some advice on how to get started. Do you start with an architect or what do you do?
TOM: That’s a good question. So, planning makes perfect. You want to start with a plan. Now, are you essentially going to replace the kitchen in sort of the same layout that you have right now, Joan? Or are you thinking about really changing things up a lot?
JOAN: Well, it’s a very small kitchen and I just want to know how to maximize everything.
TOM: Alright. So if it’s a small kitchen, you can probably do this inexpensively by perhaps starting with a home center. A lot of the home centers have designers that work on the – work on designing kitchens for the cabinetry that they sell. And for a very small fee, they can help you lay that out and take advantage of all of the latest options.
If you want to do more than that, what you’re going to do is hire a certified kitchen-and-bath designer. But this is sort of like hiring an interior decorator that works just on kitchens and baths. And that’s going to cost you a few bucks.
But if you want to just do this an easy way, I would start with a home center, in the kitchen department, and see if they’ll lay out some options for you using the type of cabinets that they sell. Those cabinets are usually pretty affordable at that level and they’ll be able to give you some ideas on things, perhaps, you haven’t thought about.
LESLIE: You know what, Joan? I think it’s really smart to keep a notepad in the kitchen. And everybody and anybody, yourself and your family, who use the space, as you walk through and notice little areas where you’re tripping over one another or things that just don’t make sense or you wish that X was here and not there, sort of jot all of those down. So when you do go sit down with – whether it’s a certified kitchen-and-bath designer or someone in the home center, you sort of have all of these issues that could be addressed or might be able to be addressed.
JOAN: One thing I really want is more electrical outlets, so that’ll have to definitely be in the plan.
TOM: Well, it’s definitely in the plan and you’ll do these things in order. The first thing you’ll do is rip out the old cabinets and the next thing you’ll do would be to rough-in new wiring and new plumbing to have it exactly where you want it. And then, of course, you’ll start the installation of the new cabinetry as almost the last step.
It’s also a good time to think about universal design in the kitchen, maybe having countertops of different height. So as you get older, you could sit down and work at the kitchen counter as opposed to just standing up. So, think of the sort of accessibility issues when you design this kitchen, as well.
JOAN: How much time should I allow for something like this?
TOM: Well, it depends on whether you have sort of all your ducks in a row. Sometimes it takes a while to get all the cabinets delivered. But if everything is accessible and on site, you can tear out this kitchen and rebuild it inside of a week.
JOAN: Oh, wow.
TOM: If you have everybody lined up and everybody is there when they need to be there and the plumber shows up on time, the electrician shows up on time and so on, sure, I don’t see any reason you can’t get it done in a week.
JOAN: Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project, Joan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Cody in Texas is on the line with a garage-door question. How can we help you today?
CODY: I’m interested in insulating the garage door. The garage has insulated ceiling, the walls, everything, except for the door. You know, it’s just that thin, metal panel and I wasn’t sure if it’s worth my money to go ahead and buy a door that’s insulated, like from Overhead Door Company, or if it would be just as good to buy foam panels from Lowe’s or Home Depot and cut them out and try to fit them into each panel themselves.
TOM: Well, you’ve got nothing to lose by taking the inexpensive route first, because those foam panels are pretty cheap. And yes, if you can fit them securely inside those garage – those existing, metal, garage-door panels, you’re probably going to pick up as much insulation as you would if you replaced the whole thing.
An insulated garage door doesn’t, in and of itself – even if it’s brand new is not going to add that much insulation value to it. So, really, all you have is as much foam as you can squeeze in there.
But remember, just as important as the insulating – the door panels is to make sure that you have weather-stripping along the edge of the door and that it’s adjusted so that it sits well against the concrete floor and it sits well against the jambs – both the side jamb and the overhead jamb. Because I would think that wind is probably your biggest enemy in trying to keep that garage warm. And it’s good that you’ve got the rest of it insulated and certainly, insulating the panels will help. But garage doors aren’t really known for their comfort, so whatever you do is going to have a limited effect.
CODY: OK, OK. Good deal. So the bid I got was $880. I think I will go with the foam sheets first because that’s – I’ll probably have $80 total in that.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. And see how that goes.
CODY: OK. Well, I do appreciate it. I always listen to the show and appreciate the advice.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Still to come, do you feel dysfunctional when you’re doing your laundry? Well, it might not be you as much as it is your laundry room. We’ve got advice that helps you make, not break, your laundry experience.
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TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, what are you working on on this beautiful day? Pick up the phone and give us a call. We would love to talk. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LINDA: We had a new kitchen floor installed about a week-and-a-half ago. It was a middle-of-the-road-grade sheet vinyl. And a couple of hours after the installers left, we were moving stuff back in. And we moved the refrigerator and it gouged it a couple of times. And the flooring has a 15-year warranty, so they said they would honor that and replace it or patch it or whatever. But then two days after that, my eight-month-old puppy got a hold of the seam and ripped it in several places and also took a couple of chunks out of the middle of the floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
LINDA: So, I called the gal – the rep – back and she suggested going with an LVT click-it tile – luxury vinyl tile.
LINDA: And I was just wondering what you guys thought as – if that would be a viable option, mainly because of the dog. I mean I just don’t know.
And another thing is she was saying that they would probably install it right over the floor that they just put down, so that would mean we have the subfloor, my old floor, the new floor and then this tile on top of it.
LESLIE: It’s a floor sandwich.
TOM: First of all, whether or not you can put it on top of old layers of floor is really a manufacturer specification. It’s not unusual.
For example, when you put down laminate floor, that always sits on top of whatever is underneath it, because it kind of floats. So it might be that it’s perfectly fine.
TOM: Luxury vinyl tile is probably way more durable than sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl tends to be really soft, so I’m not at all surprised that it got torn up just by moving the refrigerator back and forth. I mean you would think that if you’re in the flooring-design business, that that would be sort of a standard. Like if your kitchen floor can’t handle a refrigerator being rolled back and forth, you probably shouldn’t be in the business.
TOM: But unfortunately, a lot of those sheet products are very, very soft and can easily tear. It’s a darn good thing that you got your claim in, though, before the dog ripped the rest of it up. Because otherwise, they may not have had any interest in helping you.
But I do think a tile is going to be a pretty durable option. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it on top of the old floor as long as it’s permitted by the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which you certainly should ask to – for a copy of so that you can review.
LINDA: OK. Alright. Well, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Linda. I hope you love that dog. It’s costing you a lot of money.
LINDA: Yeah, we do. We do. Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Dale in Georgia is on the line with a question about a shifty front door. What’s going on, Dale?
DALE: Our house was built in 1937 and it’s still settling back and forth, spring and winter and summer. And the front door, I’ve had problems getting it to catch the striker plate, so I’ve had to move it back and forth. And we’re at a point now where the house has settled again and I can’t even latch the front door.
TOM: How convinced are you that the house is actually moving, as opposed to the front door just kind of getting out of whack?
DALE: Just about positive. I can see – there’s a different gap at different times of the year. It’ll be like at the top in the summertime and at the bottom in the wintertime and …
TOM: And what kind of door is this? Is this a metal door? A wood door?
DALE: No, it’s a solid-wood door.
TOM: A solid-wood door. And you really like this wood door?
DALE: Yeah, it’s – I think it’s the original door. It’s got the handmade glass in it and the ornate decoration around the edges and …
TOM: Right. So you have no interest in replacing the door?
DALE: No. I put a new door on the back but I really don’t want to lose this door, if I can …
TOM: What I would probably do is, essentially, rehang the door. So what that’s going to require is you removing the trim from around the door, inside and out, so you can see just the jambs. Because I suspect that the jambs are not securely attached to the framing or they may have loosened up over the years. I would basically want to rehang this as if it was a new door but maybe with not doing all the work that would be responsible for that.
So if you pull the trim out, then you’re going to look at the attachment points for the jambs. You’re going to do one final adjustment to getting the door exactly where you want it and then you’re going to re-secure the door jambs to the door frame.
You need to make sure that the space between the door jamb and the door frame is completely shimmed with a wood shim. So you would use wood blocks followed by, usually, cedar shingles, one from one side, one for the other. If you push them together, they get wider and they get thicker and they get nice and tight.
And then, what I would do is – I wouldn’t nail it in. I would actually use a drywall-styled screw – so a long, case-hardened screw – that you can set just below the surface of the door jamb and then putty over it. Because if you attach them with screws and you shim it properly, that door really shouldn’t move.
The expansion and the contraction of the door is about all you really should be – have left. And if it gets tight at one point in the year, I would take the door off and I would trim it a little bit, just to make enough room for it to close when it’s fully expanded.
DALE: OK. That’s something I didn’t think of. Alright. Well, I do appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Still ahead, winter blahs got you feeling blue? Well, perk up your space with bright paint and say hello to spring a little bit early. We’ve got some great color ideas, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll help you get anything that you are working on at your money pit done efficiently, effectively and cost-effectively, as well. And we’re going to help you do that by giving away a great prize this hour.
We’ve got up for grabs a laser level, which is really great for leveling pretty much anything. It’s great for putting up chair rail or any sort of accent pieces of molding, hanging artwork. You want to make sure things are all straight and in the right spot because sometimes floors aren’t level and sometimes ceilings aren’t level. And then you’ve got to figure out like, “How do I make this work and not look so weird?” Well, that’s where a laser level comes in.
It’s a great prize worth 29 bucks. Give us a call for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Kirk in North Dakota is on the line with a lighting question. What’s going on?
KIRK: So I’ve got a quick question on fluorescent lights. A lot of your lights are, of course, rated 60 watts, et cetera. So, my question kind of came in the fact on the fluorescent bulb, it says, “This is equal to a 60-watt bulb.” But sometimes, that’s just not enough light. So what happens – are you allowed to put a bigger bulb wattage because – since fluorescents are supposed to be taking less electricity, can a guy put a bigger bulb in there – on a fluorescent that says, “Equal to 100 watts”? Because it’s still drawing less electricity.
TOM: So, I think what you’re talking about here is compact fluorescents, Kirk?
TOM: So, the wattage limitations on fixtures is based on a calculation that involves incandescent bulbs and it – because it equates to heat. You know, a 100-watt bulb is going to emit a certain amount of heat and the fixture is rated to take that heat. That’s what it’s rated for and you can’t put more than that.
When it comes to fluorescents, you’re only using a quarter of the energy. So a 15-watt bulb will deliver you – deliver the same equivalent of 60 watts of light. You can have a bulb that delivers the equivalent of a bigger watt bulb but you’re still not actually putting that amount of electricity into it. Does that make sense?
KIRK: Right. So you could actually – like you say, if it’s a third, if it’s rated for a 60-watt incandescent bulb, you could virtually – say, if there’s a 150-watt bulb in a fluorescent, you should be able to put that in there and not cause an overload and get more light out of that same fixture.
TOM: Yeah, I probably wouldn’t double it. But I might – if it calls for a 60, I might go up to 100 because then you’re moving from saying 15 watts to 25. But I have a better suggestion. Forget the compact fluorescents. They are an outdated technology. The LED bulbs are where it’s at today. They deliver a much better-quality light with just the same, if not more, savings.
KIRK: But that was – the whole issue is sometimes you just don’t get enough light out of some of those fixtures.
TOM: Right. And I think that if – right. And also, they’re very temperature-sensitive. If it’s a cold area, like …
LESLIE: And then they’re color-sensitive, as well. When you get a CFL, you have to pick what color temperature you want that bulb to feel. And they can all feel extremely different. So you might pick something that gives a cold, harsh light and you want something warmer. So there’s a lot of experimenting with what type of fluorescent bulb you’re going to get.
KIRK: We’ll have to try to some different things but I was just worried about the wattage and making sure I didn’t overheat the original fixture.
TOM: Nope. You’re smart to be concerned but I’d take a look at the LEDs. And I think once you start trying them, you’ll be disposing of those CFLs.
KIRK: Well, thank you very much for taking my call. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Well, this is the time of year that tends to drag on for a lot of people out there. But while it’s still a couple of months before we get those nice, long days that are warm and sunny, you can start now by perking yourself up with some paint. And some of those colors that you can pick could really be a good boost for your mood.
So let’s talk about orange. Now, orange creates a warm and inviting environment. It also makes me think of orange juice, which makes me think of summer, which – is that bad in any way, shape or form? So you want to choose a soft shade that maybe has a pink or a yellow undertone to it and that can really liven up any space in your home. And maybe a good, small space to start would be your foyer.
TOM: Now, another shade that works really well is blue. That’s one of my favorite colors. But don’t be afraid to go dark. The thing about blue is that you have to paint kind of a large swatch on the wall and check it out in different light, because it really does look differently across the entire day. It’s an extra step that’s totally worth it. I mean you try on clothes, right? So why not try on the paint? If for any reason you don’t like it, you can simply paint over it with another color and try again.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you’re right about the dark blue, Tom, because even though navy might seem like a dark, very rich hue, it does seem very bright when it’s on all of the walls. And navy, of course, goes with everything. And then there’s cobalt and all sorts of interesting shades of blue that even though they’re dark or rich, so to speak, can really brighten up a space.
TOM: Well, it can make everything else pop, too, right? With your décor?
LESLIE: Oh, for sure. And you know what? It’s a good balance if all of the rest of your furnishings are neutral, so it gives you a good base that sort of makes everything seem planned rather than everything just seems beige and blah.
Now, another good color might be yellow. It’s a really happy shade but if you go too light in a room with natural light, it ends up looking white. So you want to look for a deeper shade of yellow that maybe has some orange undertones to it. But you want to be careful because yellow can tend to look like butter very quickly. So you have to look for the right shade of yellow. Again, as Tom said with the blue, I’d bring home some different samples and try them out with swatches. Make sure you really like it.
TOM: Try us out. We actually might get the answer right this time. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re heading over to Iowa where Chad has a question about condensation on a bay window. What’s going on, Chad?
CHAD: Hi. I have a – well, it’s a bay window that’s got the three windows. The center one is larger than the other two on the outside. And on the center one, I get a condensation problem in the – it’s kind of an oval shape directly in the center of that window. Can’t seem to figure out why it’s doing that.
TOM: So, Chad, is this window a thermal-pane window or a double- or triple-pane window?
CHAD: It is double-pane.
TOM: And the condensation, of course, is in between the panes of glass?
TOM: Yep. So what’s happened here is the seal between those panes of glass has failed and it’s allowed warm, moist air to get in there. So as – especially as it gets cold outside, you have that warm, moist air striking the cold glass on the exterior. And then as the air chills, it releases its moisture and it condenses, much as what would happen, say, in the summer if you were outside with a glass of iced tea or soda and you got moisture on the outside of the glass. That’s the condensation that you’re seeing.
Now, there’s not really a great solution here because once the window panes fail like that, you have to pretty much replace the entire window pane. Now, it’s possible that you could have a pro take this window apart and replace just that one section but it’s just not easy. If there is good news, it’s this: it’ll have a minor impact on your energy efficiency, so it’s mostly a cosmetic problem that you’re experiencing. So if you can live with the look, just live with it. It may get a little bit worse, it may get a little bit better depending on the temperature difference between outside and inside. But it’s not going to affect the window in any other way.
CHAD: Yeah. OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, laundry-room tips to help make that space work for you, not against you, when we come back.
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: Hey, if you’re not sure where to turn for on-the-job answers, check out MoneyPit.com. From who to hire to how to do it, we’ve got DIY tips for projects big and small. It’s all online and at your fingertips any hour, any time at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And while you’re online, post your question, just like Joanna did who writes: “I’m thinking about building a deck this spring about 400 square feet. Is composite decking really worth the extra expense?”
TOM: Well, these materials are more expensive but I think it’s a very good choice. There are some maintenance issues with some of the early composite products but the new products really look good and they last an indefinite amount of time. I’ve seen them down for over a decade, at this point, and they show almost no wear and tear. Really just a little bit of light pressure washing is all you’ll need for this. Now, remember, you don’t have to do the structure: just the floorboards, just the railings. The structure can still be made with pressure-treated. It gives you the best of both worlds.
LESLIE: Yeah. That makes sense. And it really does look good.
TOM: Well, happy laundry rooms start with good bones: I mean basic, functional systems that work the way they should to help you clean your clothes and prevent disasters. You want to give your bones a good checkup, though, to make sure all systems are go. Leslie has got that checklist, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, this really is about the bones of a laundry room. We want to make sure that it’s working for you. We want to make sure that you’re not going to end up with a ton of water all over wherever your laundry room is nearby. So, you have to really go about the space once in a while, maybe once a year, and make sure everything’s functioning properly. So let’s start with those basics.
Let’s talk about your water-supply hoses. Now, you can make this change and it’ll last you for a while. Those typical, rubber-based, water-supply lines? Those do have a tendency to swell and burst. So if you still have those rubber hoses, get rid of them and replace them with hoses that are braided steel. They come in a variety of lengths. It’s a super easy, do-it-yourself fix. It’s going to save you a lot of money should one of those bust and send water everywhere.
And along those lines, let’s talk about an automatic water-shutoff valve. Now, they can detect an out-of-the-ordinary water flow before it turns into an all-out flood. And while you’re at it, you and your whole family should be familiar with the location of your water valves. You want to know where they are in the event of a problem and you want to make sure that all the valves are accessible and functional.
And I know this doesn’t have to do anything with laundry room, really, but your water main, your automatic – your water-shutoff valve for the water main into the house? Know where that is. Make sure everybody in the family knows where that is. Put a big tag on it that says “water main-valve shutoff” so everybody knows, just in case. There won’t be any questions.
Now, here’s another thing to think about: if you’ve got separate water valves for hot and cold water, you might want to take the opportunity now to upgrade to a single-lever turnoff valve, which will turn off both the hot- and cold-water supplies at the same time. Super effective, great time-saver and just really sort of buttons up the whole operation of the laundry room.
Now, here’s something you need to be doing every six months and this is our last tip. And it’s a super-important tip, guys. You want to clean out your dryer vent every six months. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to say that. You have to do it. Lint in there, it’s going to collect and then that’s what causes dryer exhaust-duct fires. You can end up with a dryer fire. There are 15,000 of those dryer fires every year. People die, people lose all their possessions. Don’t let that happen to you.
You can get a simple tool. There’s a lot out there but the one Tom and I have both used before is the Gardus LintEater. It’s amazing how much lint and just stuff is going to come out of your exhaust. It’s easy to do. You’ll be so thankful you did it and it’s kind of gross and you’ll be surprised, as well, what comes out.
TOM: Good advice.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk about standby generators. They can keep your home powered, no matter what. And they’re actually more budget-friendly than ever before. We’ll teach you what to look for in these power-outage saviors, on the next edition of The Money Pit.
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 2016 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.)