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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

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


    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we believe home improvements should be fun. They’re an adventure. You don’t always know how they’re going to turn out. They’re exhilarating. They always get the blood pumping and when they come out great you feel fantastic, just like when you take an adventure trip. You know, some say go hiking in Peru. We say …

    LESLIE: Whitewater rafting.

    TOM: Yeah, we say remodel your kitchen, you know? (Leslie chuckles) Put on a new roof. You get the same kind of exhilarating feeling out of it. And let us help. We’re your tour guides. 888-666-3974.

    Coming up this hour, we’re going to get you started with everything you ever wanted to know about power tools. It used to be that power tools were reserved for the pros or for the big-time do-it-yourselfers; but today, even the occasional weekend warrior has got a few power tools. We’ll help you choose the right ones for you.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Plus, if you think you can take the easy way out and avoid sanding your cabinets before you restain them or paint them, that is not the best idea. We’re going to tell you why in just a few minutes.

    TOM: And are you drowning in your hot water bills? Well, there is a simple, free way to cut costs. We’re going to tell you what that is in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And along the lines of free, we are giving away a bug-free backyard prize pack, from the fine folks at Cutter, this hour. It’s got everything that you need to make sure the only thing that you are slapping around in the backyard are steaks on the grill and not those mosquitoes off your arms.

    TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Heating season is not that far away and Richard in New York has a question about radiant heat. What can we do for you?

    RICHARD: Hi, Leslie. Yeah, I’m redoing my house and I’m putting a whole new heating system in and I have it scheduled to have radiant heat in all the floors.

    TOM: OK.

    RICHARD: And my question is, I’m doing the floors in a Douglas-fir, which is going to be on top of the radiant heat and I’m just wondering if there’s any problems with the wooden floors warping or cupping.

    TOM: No, not at all because – and in fact, the radiant floor heating system is going to be a very steady temperature and, you know, it will move seasonally but it will not cause the additional problem with cupping.

    RICHARD: I see. So as it would move without the heat, because it’s an organic wooden floor …

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    RICHARD: … the extra heat will not be a problem for it.

    TOM: No, it’s really not that significant in terms of additional heat. It’s not like it’s going to crack or anything of that nature.

    RICHARD: That’s great to know. Thanks a bunch.

    TOM: And it’s going to be really comfortable, too. You’re going to love that heating system.

    RICHARD: I appreciate it.

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

    LESLIE: Yvonne in Texas is dealing with some damaged doors. How can we help you?

    YVONNE: Well, I have hollow core doors; they’re the oak kind from the 70s.

    TOM: Right.

    YVONNE: And they have holes in them from the previous owners of the home.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    YVONNE: We’re going to eventually replace them, so I don’t want to put a lot into them but I would like for them to look better.

    TOM: OK …

    YVONNE: So is there anything I can do to repair them?

    LESLIE: Cover them with wallpaper.

    YVONNE: Oh, that’s a good day.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Hide it.

    TOM: Yeah, but even if you do that you’re still going to have like sort of the depressed-in area where the holes are. Are these big holes; like fist holes or foot holes or are they little, tiny ones?

    YVONNE: They look like fist holes or foot holes.

    TOM: Ugh, that’s hard.

    LESLIE: Angry previous homeowner.

    YVONNE: Yes.

    TOM: You know what you might want to do? Why don’t you pick up some luan plywood, which is sort of the material that many of those hollow-core doors are made with …

    LESLIE: Are framed with, yeah.

    TOM: … and just put another layer on the top. You’ll have to reset the hinges to make up for the thickness of the plywood …


    TOM: … but you could essentially relaminate those door slabs with some very thin luan plywood and they would look great.

    YVONNE: Alright. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright, you guys are certainly working on great projects. Well, if you find yourself stuck, pick up the phone; give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are here to help you. You know the number. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, preparation is the key when it comes to planning a paint project and that is especially important if you’re planning to paint your kitchen cabinets, which is a very popular project. We’ll tell you exactly what you need to know, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    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: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for a chance to get in on our weekly giveaway. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win the Bug Free Backyard prize pack from our pals over at Cutter. You’ll get the Cutter outdoor fogger, the Cutter Bug Free Backyard spray, the Backwoods insect repellent and Skinsations insect repellent all in one great prize pack worth about 25 bucks. You’ll be able to enjoy the outdoors once again if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Yeah, the prize pack is worth 25 bucks but the experience of not being bitten like crazy (Tom chuckles) when you’re outside enjoying the yard is priceless, so call us now to get in for your chance to win that great prize.

    TOM: I’ve got to tell you, the only product I used to trust when I was a home inspector – and I worked in this area with horrendous, biting horseflies –

    LESLIE: Oh, and they kill.

    TOM: Ugh. I used to call them attack helicopters. (chuckling) You know? Because they would just zero in on you.

    LESLIE: And they get stuck on you and you cannot get them off of you.

    TOM: They were terrible. The only thing that would keep them off is the Cutter, so I really like that stuff.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and it really does work, so why not get a whole bunch of free stuff. So call us now for your chance to win. And especially call us if you’re thinking about tackling a home improvement project around the kitchen; especially one which would, you know, involve painting your cabinets or restaining your cabinets because it really is an inexpensive and easy way to update the look of your kitchen that you can do on your own. But you have to make sure you do the proper prep work because you want it to last, you want it to look good, you want it to be durable and you have to sand the cabinets before you put any new coat of anything on there. It really is a must. Sand, sand, sand.

    First you want to go ahead and wash away the grime before you paint your cabinets. That’s a good start. Don’t skip the sanding. I don’t know how many times I can say it. You have to sand it; otherwise, nothing is going to adhere. It’s going to make sure that not only the paint and the stain stick, but if you’ve got a lot of dings or blemishes just from years of usage, it’s going to make all of that go away and the more you sand the better your final results will be. So don’t just lightly go over it and be like, ‘Yeah, looks good.’ Really take your time.

    TOM: For more tips just like that, check out the kitchen chapter of our brand new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, available online at MoneyPit.com and in bookstores everywhere. Or pick up the phone and give us a call with your kitchen question right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Steve in Florida is getting organized and hanging some cabinetry. How can we help you with your project?

    STEVE: Hi, my house was built in 1991 and I have, I guess, metal studs.

    TOM: OK.

    STEVE: And my question is what kind of screws can I use to keep those cabinets up? It just seems like any kind of screw I put in the metal stud slips right out without an anchor.

    TOM: Well, typically, steel studs you use the steel case hardened screws; the same kind of screw that you use for drywall. You see those in the home centers. And the trick here is going to be to make sure that you’re real accurate with installing those so that you hit the surface of the stud and not the edge of the stud.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, because there’s nothing behind the edgers, right?

    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to really hit it square and so you’re going to need to use a stud finder and make sure you locate the edges and then sort of divide that in half to find the exact middle. You’ve just got to be real careful. If it’s a wood stuff, you know you can angle the screw one way or the other. With a metal stud you pretty much have to be dead on.

    STEVE: And they’re called case hardened screws?

    TOM: Yeah, they’re case hardened screws. If you go to any home center or hardware store, those metal screws were originally designed to attach drywall and other building materials to metal studs and then the industry started using those to attach drywall to wood studs; finding that they were just so darned handy to handle. And those will work fine for attaching cabinets as well.

    STEVE: Fantastic. I thank you. Any special length I should use for something like that?

    TOM: Yeah, make sure it’s long enough to hit the stud. (chuckles)

    STEVE: (chuckling) OK, good enough. Thank you very much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Is there a good rule of thumb for the backend length; you know, once you get through the drywall, through the cabinet drywall stud …

    TOM: You know, it doesn’t really matter as long as you’re through the stud anywhere from a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch. That’s all the bite you’re going to get.

    LESLIE: Alrighty.

    Byron, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    BYRON: Hi, Tom and Leslie. Yeah, every time I do my dishes the glasses dry and I notice there’s like a milky-white residue. And I was just trying to figure out what that is. I’m in a new house and don’t know what’s going on.

    TOM: Do you notice that when you pour water it looks a little cloudy; or anything of that nature?

    LESLIE: Are you having a hard time with soap sudsing up?

    BYRON: A little bit of problems with soap sudsing up; but yes, the cloudiness in the water. If I’m drinking tap water I do notice that after a couple of seconds it is pretty cloudy.

    TOM: Well, it sounds to me like you may have a hard water issue. That basically refers to having an excess amount of minerals in the water and that’s directly related to where your water comes from. So if you happen to have like sort of a stone quarry that your water comes from you’re going to have more hard water in it, typically, and it can occur with both well water as well as city water.

    There are a couple of things that you can do. First of all, with respect to the dishwasher, there’s such a thing known as a rinsing agent and the most common one out there is a product called Jet-Dry and that goes in – most dishwashers have the rinsing agent dispenser built in. That leaves like sort of a coating on your glasses that makes the water evaporate quickly and I guess the way to explain is it’s sort of like Armor All for your drinking glasses; you know, the water runs – runs off but …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it just sort of makes everything wash right off.

    BYRON: (overlapping voices) OK.

    TOM: Yeah, but it’s safe to use. And the other thing is that you might want to think about putting in a system to treat your hard water. Now, typically that’s done with salt-based treatments, but that’s kind of expensive and it takes some time and some expense for the plumbing to be installed. There’s another system out there, though, that we like – called EasyWater – that recently became a sponsor of this show, so we learned all about it. And basically, what EasyWater does is it uses an electronic technology, instead of salt or chemicals, to make sure that the minerals don’t stick and what that does, it helps it run off the glasses; it doesn’t clog up your faucets, your aerators, it doesn’t require any plumbing to install it. You simply install this near your main water valve and there’s sort of a wire that you wrap around the main water valve – not the valve, but the main water supply pipe –

    LESLIE: The pipe itself.

    TOM: Yeah, that sort of creates like a coil and essentially what happens is the treated minerals, once they go through this, kind of repel each other. They lose their electrostatic charge, which is what makes them stick to the faucets and stick to the glasses and stick to everything else.

    BYRON: OK.

    TOM: So once they go through this EasyWater treatment system they essentially lose that charge and then they don’t stick. So that’s a good option as well. So use the Jet-Dry. Think about putting in a hard water solution like EasyWater and I think that you’ll see that the water is going to clear up in your house.

    BYRON: Now is the EasyWater something I can find at the home centers or online or where?

    TOM: The easiest place to buy it is, frankly, right online. You can go to their website – it’s EasyWater.com – and talk with the folks over there. They’re very good at sort of walking you through the issue and making sure that this device is going to solve it once and for good.

    BYRON: Awesome. Thanks. I love you guys’ show. You guys have bailed me out a couple of times.

    TOM: Aw, you’re welcome, Byron. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Helen who has a painting question. What can we do for you today?

    HELEN: I have a question about movable shutters.

    TOM: OK.

    HELEN: Needs repainting and the painter seems quite reluctant to do it because he claims that they won’t be moving; they won’t be movable after they’re painted.

    TOM: Well, that’s not true. If they’re painted correctly they would be and if they are movable shutters, they’re hinged shutters, you know what the most important part of that shutter is to paint? The backside, because that’s where it’s going to rot and if you ignore painting the backside they’ll start to rot from the back forward and they’re not going to be movable very much longer after that.

    LESLIE: And you would want to remove them from the home for painting in the first place, correct?

    TOM: Or certainly if they’re on hinges …

    LESLIE: Open them out.

    TOM: … open them out – that’s right – so you can paint the back and the front. That’s silly. I mean you definitely can paint the shutters if they’re done correctly. It sounds like you’ve got a painter who just doesn’t want to do the job. (Leslie chuckles)

    HELEN: They’re indoor shutters; not outdoor.

    TOM: Oh, indoor shutters?

    HELEN: Yes.

    TOM: What are they shuttering if they’re indoor shutters?

    HELEN: Windows.

    LESLIE: They’re like decorative like plantation shutters.

    TOM: Oh, you mean decorative shutters?

    HELEN: Yes.

    TOM: OK. Well, OK. You still can paint them. I don’t see why not. I’ll tell you what. If he’s concerned about it he could take the hinges off and then put them all back on.

    HELEN: Would spraying be a better idea?

    TOM: No, not necessarily. I mean either way is fine. But they certainly can be painted.

    LESLIE: I mean are they plastic or are they wood?

    HELEN: Wood.

    LESLIE: Then there should be no issues.

    TOM: I see no reason you can’t do that, Helen.

    HELEN: Thank you so much.

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

    She’s got a painter that just doesn’t want to do the job.

    LESLIE: Regina in New Jersey has an air conditioning question. What can we do for you today?

    REGINA: Well, my air conditioner is 13 years old and when I went down to the basement it was surrounded by a lot of water.

    TOM: Hmm, OK.

    REGINA: I was checking it out and it looks like there was a – I was looking in the furnace and there were a whole bunch of water droplets inside the unit.

    TOM: OK.

    REGINA: So it looks like the humidity is coming out of the house but not going outside …

    TOM: Mm-hmm, yeah.

    REGINA: … but puddling around the floor of the furnace.

    TOM: Yep, easy fix.

    REGINA: What’s the problem?

    TOM: Your condensate – a couple of things. You’re looking at the – what you’re seeing is the air conditioning condensate. When your air is cooled it releases moisture and so what you’re seeing is that moisture is not draining properly. Now I’m not quite sure how your system is set up to drain but I can give you a couple of options.

    Typically there’s a condensate tube – usually a white PVC pipe – that is mounted above the furnace that catches that water and drains it down that pipe and into what’s called a condensate pump, which is usually a small box, about the size of a car battery or maybe smaller, on the floor next to the furnace where that water is pumped out. Now it could be – what typically happens is sometimes that condensate line gets blocked. You know, I’ve seen paper labels off of air conditioning equipment block that. I’ve seen other types of debris block that. It doesn’t take a lot because you’re not talking about a lot of water pressure, but I bet you that that condensate line is blocked and, as a result, the water is backing up and spilling over into your furnace area.

    Now you do want to get this fixed because in the long run what can happen is, besides making a big mess, that can rust out the heat exchanger which is right below that and that means you’d need a new furnace. Now that would take a long time but, for right now, you definitely want to get on it. It should be a simple fix. If you can’t figure it out yourself, have your HVAC contractor do it. But it happens all the time and it’s not a big deal.

    REGINA: Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Regina.

    REGINA: And I enjoy your show every week.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thank you.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we’re going to talk power tools. You know, they used to just be for pros but now even the novice homeowner has got at least a drill in hand. To make sure your power tools stay power performers, we’ve got some tips on tool care, coming up.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And you know, it used to be that power tools were reserved for the pros or for the big-time do-it-yourselfers, but today even the occasional weekend warrior has some sort of power tool cache in his garage or tool shed – or her garage or tool shed.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) That’s true. And you know, it’s because these power tools are so much easier to use and charge and even handle than ever before. But they’re so many choices out there that it gets confusing to know what’s even right for you and then, once you get them home, are there any special things that you need to know about keeping these tools power performers for their entire lifespan so you can just keep using them for ever and ever?

    Well, I know it’s confusing; so we’ve brought an expert tool guru in here. We’ve got Jason Swanson from Ryobi. He’s going to answer all of these questions and more to get us a kick-butt tool arsenal in the garage.

    TOM: Hey Jason, welcome to the program.

    JASON: Hey, glad to be here.

    TOM: Hey, we’ve got to start with a question. If you could sort of sort this out for us because there are so many different types of power tool batteries out there. Could you please explain the difference, for our listeners, between alkaline, NiCad lithium and this newest version of lithium called lithium-ion. What is the best battery for a power tool?

    JASON: Well, like you said, there’s a ton of different options and here’s a simple way to think about it. Alkaline is probably the oldest chemistry out there; NiCad is a little bit newer; and lithium is the newest; and lithium-ion is the newest, yet rechargeable. And probably the two most prevalent ones out there are NiCad and lithium-ion with lithium-ion being the one that probably lasts twice as long.

    LESLIE: Is there a benefit of one over the other? Is the lithium-ion lighter? Do you pack more of a punch? Do you get higher voltage even though it’s lightweight?

    JASON: Yeah, absolutely. You get about twice the energy in the same amount of space that would be taken up by a traditional NiCad. So again, you get twice the run time, twice the cuts and twice the screws.

    TOM: Now with the lithium-ion technology I always notice that with the NiCads, by the time it gets to be maybe about 10 or 20 percent of the battery capacity left, the tool performance really starts to falter …

    LESLIE: And NiCad like slow …

    TOM: Slows down. It doesn’t have as much zing, whether it’s a saw or a drill driver. With lithium-ion, is it steady delivery of power right through sort of the last ounce of battery power?

    JASON: Oh, absolutely. In the industry they call it the fade-free power, so …

    TOM: OK.

    JASON: … the awesome performance you have on, say, the first cut, you’re going to also have that on the last cut as well and then it’ll be similar to like your cell phones; you’ll get like a little warning and then your caller is gone. So you get, definitely, steady performance out of the lithium-ion.

    LESLIE: So it just drops dead right there on the spot?

    JASON: Absolutely.

    LESLIE: Now, I know there’s a lot of confusion. You know you set up your workshop; you have all your charging stations ready to go. Do you leave the batteries on the charger even if they’re charged to capacity or is that not good practice? Is it true that these batteries sort of get a memory?

    JASON: Yeah, memories are probably a thing of the past. So if you’re using your tools, say, on a weekly or even a monthly basis, it’s going to be just fine to leave them on the charger. But if you’re going to go like on vacation for a few months, it’s probably a good idea to kind of take them off. But with today’s new technology and better components inside of these chargers, memory effect is kind of a distant memory; so to speak. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: We’re talking to Jason Swanson; he’s the director of communications for Ryobi.

    Jason, what about in the winter? Are these batteries susceptible to freezing today? Do we have to be concerned about that or can you leave your lithium-ion battery-powered tools like outside all winter long?

    JASON: Yeah, lithium-ion technology is a little more friendly to cold or frigid temps, so you’re going to have better results if you do leave them outside in the back of your truck. With NiCad, it’s typically better off to store it in a room-temperature location.

    LESLIE: Is it the same with heat? Because sometimes I have all my tools out on like a super-hot jobsite or, you know, maybe we’re down in southern Florida and the entire tool truck is just like an oven once you close everything up with all your batteries and tools and everything going on in there.

    JASON: Yeah; good, good question. The lithium-ion technology, again, will even go and withstand even higher temperatures; upwards of probably 160 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

    LESLIE: I hope it doesn’t get that hot in that trailer.

    JASON: (chuckling) Let’s hope not.

    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah. So it sounds like it’s just a matter of time before all of the tools now are lithium-ion. There’s almost no point to going back, is there?

    JASON: Yeah, as it’s more readily available and more manufacturers start to use it, you’ll see the demand go up and, hopefully, the cost will come down; which will give people better deals in the aisles as well.

    TOM: Well, speaking of cost and new tools, what are some of the newest products that Ryobi has out in the lithium-ion category?

    JASON: Well, you’ve got everything to cover from the basic homeowner four-volt lithium screwdriver with a bit set so you can throw it in the kitchen drawer; then we step up to the 12-volt compact lithium-ion for someone with smaller hands and that probably uses it maybe once a week to do hanging drapes or doing some small work in the garage and building craft projects.

    LESLIE: You’re making that sound awfully girly. (Tom laughs)

    JASON: Oh. But it’s not. (Leslie chuckles) It definitely has the performance and the run time. Absolutely.

    LESLIE: But it’s better for me because I know sometimes – I remember with my NiCad tools, working with – God, in college, 14-volt was, you know, the highest available with NiCad and I remember putting up a header and feeling like, ‘Oh, good lord, I can’t hold my hand above my hand any minute longer.’ So I can appreciate the lightweightness of a tool.

    JASON: Yeah, with lithium-ion – with a 12-volt you’re probably going to get about 14.4 volts worth of performance. So yeah, I think you’d be really excited to see and use a 12-volt lithium ion.

    LESLIE: And I’m girly, so that’s OK. (Jason chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah, I actually got rid of my dumbbells and I use old NiCad battery-powered power tools for my shoulder exercises right now. (Leslie chuckles) Works very well.

    JASON: Hey.

    LESLIE: Well, speaking of old batteries, Jason, what if I’m updating my tool arsenal and I have ones that just don’t work well anymore or I just want to plain get rid of? Can I actually recycle these batteries?

    JASON: Oh, yeah. That’s the great thing about lithium-ion. Since they use a heavier metal, more of the battery is actually recyclable and you can, typically, go find a recycling battery center at most home centers or, if you’re having a hard time finding one, you can go to RBRC.com and then type in a location that’s nearest your home.

    LESLIE: Yeah, Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation.

    TOM: Alright, Jason Swanson, Director of Communications for Ryobi, thanks for filling us in on power tools.

    If you’d like to check out Ryobi’s latest line, you can go to their website which is RyobiTools.com.

    Thanks, Jason.

    JASON: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Thanks again, Jason.

    Up next, we’ve got an easy, free way to cut down on those hot water bills; so stick around.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    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 you should pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and let us know what you’re working on and let us give you a hand to get the job done once and right and on your own without calling in the big guns. And if you ask your question on the air today you are going to be automatically entered into our random prize drawing and this hour our winner is going to get a Bug Free Backyard prize package from our friends over at Cutter. It’s worth 25 bucks and it includes everything that you need to be bug free, including Cutter Outdoor Fogger; a Bug Free Backyard spray; Backwoods insect repellent; and Skinsations, which is the one that I use and I love because working down in southern Florida all last summer I was covered in bites until I went and got this stuff. And I remember at one point a producer asked me, can you stop getting so many bug bites? (Tom laughs) I was like, ‘Yeah, let me work on that.’ It was crazy.

    TOM: Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

    LESLIE: But true, the Skinsations works really, really well. Tom and I both use them. You should enter in. Give us a call because everybody loves to be bite free. So call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Speaking about things that bug you, how about high hot water bills? They’re certainly an annoyance. But there is a free and easy way to change that by simply lowering the temperature of your water heater from the average of 140 degrees down to a safe 110 degrees. You’ll have plenty of hot water for showers while saving energy costs and, of course, it will protect your kids from accidental scalding as well.

    Another thing that you can do, for just a few bucks, is to install a water heater timer, if you have an electric water heater, that turns the water heater off for those few hours of the day that you’re not using it; like in the middle of the day or the middle of the night.

    And of course, if you really want to invest in a really good water-heating solution, install a tankless water heater, which is super safe and extremely energy efficient. Although it costs a little bit more upfront, it will definitely save you money in the long run.

    888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.

    LESLIE: Tin roof! Rusting. (Tom chuckles) George, you’ve got a rusty roof. What happened?

    GEORGE: I had cedar shakes put on the front of my garage and what happened, after the first rain I’m getting what I call teardrops from the nails.

    TOM: Right.

    GEORGE: What he did he put steel nails instead of galvanized or stainless steel.

    TOM: Right.

    GEORGE: Now, I don’t know what I can do about that.

    TOM: Not much.

    GEORGE: I called him and he has – he answered the phone but he’s never come down.

    TOM: Yeah. Not much. He used the wrong fastener, George.

    GEORGE: Yeah.

    TOM: The only thing I can suggest is if you were to stain those cedar shingles –

    GEORGE: Yeah.

    TOM: – perhaps with a bit of a darker stain – it may not be quite so obvious. But that metal is going to react. If he didn’t use the right fasteners it’s going to react and it’s going to streak.

    GEORGE: That’s why he probably doesn’t come down. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Yeah, probably not. And I suppose you’ve already paid him …

    GEORGE: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

    TOM: … so it’s too late for that. Yeah, the only thing else, you could consider a small claims court but it might just be easier to stain these shingles.

    GEORGE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. No, I don’t want to do that. No. OK, alright I want to thank you very much for taking my call.

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

    LESLIE: Alright, well thank you so much for all of your calls here at The Money Pit. Hey, when we come back we’re going to jump into our e-mail bag because one of our listeners writes about heating bills. I know it seems like we’re sweating it up in the summertime right now, but just around the corner are those inevitable heating bills and our listener wants to know if you can insulate your roof from the outside. Hmm, interesting. We’re going to answer that when we come back.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information visit ThermaTru.com.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And add us to your summer reading list. Our new book is available at bookstores right now. It’s called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and in it you’ll find the same helpful advice and information we offer here on the radio show each week along with fun and a little bit of humor, too.

    LESLIE: And there’s a lot of humor in there and there’s really useful chapters and one of my favorites is a chapter called ’30 Under 30′ and that’s 30 home maintenance musts that will all take less than 30 minutes and you can squeeze in a 30-minute project here and there over a weekend and really get things done. We actually have one of those tips coming up in my last word at the end of the show and you can check out the complete list in our new book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, which is available at bookstores now.

    TOM: Hey, do you have a home improvement question and can’t get to the phone? Well, head on over to MoneyPit.com and click on the Listen section and then click on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like Travis did from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    LESLIE: Which I’ve actually been there.

    TOM: Pretty chilly area up there.

    LESLIE: It really is and Travis writes: ‘We are planning to reshingle the roof of our cottage this summer and I was wondering if we can put any insulation under the shingles, as can be done with tin. There is no attic; the roof is simply a large A-frame. If this can be done, can you let me know what kind of insulation to use; how thick; and what kind of nails to use?’

    TOM: Actually, you can. It’s called a sandwich roof and it’s often done if you have a cathedral ceiling, which is sort of like what you’re dealing with here. And basically, on top of the sheathing, you put in foam insulation. It’s usually isocyanurate, which is sort of like a very thick, stiff foam.

    LESLIE: Is it the one that’s silver-lined?

    TOM: Yes, and typically it’s three or four inches thick and it’s attached with very, very long nails and then the roofing is put – another layer of plywood is put over that and then the shingles are put on top of that. It’s sort of – you can always tell because it’s built up and has a very, very thick edge like above the gutter line. You know I mean?

    LESLIE: I mean what do you do for the edgers? They’re like a fascia board or do you wrap shingles?

    TOM: Yeah, it requires some fancy trimming, around the outside edge, to conceal it. It’s not my favorite way to insulate a roof but in a situation like that it definitely is a good option.

    LESLIE: Will it work for Winnipeg, ‘Cananada’?

    TOM: It will and up in Winnipeg …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because it is cold.

    TOM: … it gets pretty chilly up there. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: Alright, good luck with that project, Travis.

    TOM: Well, if your windows have more bugs than Microsoft’s latest operating system …

    LESLIE: Ooh. (laughs)

    TOM: … you’re probably having some trouble with your screens. Can you tell I’m angry? (laughs)

    LESLIE: (chuckles) Please, it’s the reason I’m not getting a new computer. (laughs)

    TOM: Well, wait just a few more weeks, before you’re ready to close up for the fall, to give those screens a good cleaning. Leslie tells us how in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Alright, and this one comes straight from our ’30 Under 30′ chapter of The Money Pit Home Improvement book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and it’s called ’30 Home Maintenance Tips That We Promise Will Actually Take You Less Than 30 Minutes to Complete.’

    You can give your window screens a bath. All you need to do is remove all of the screens – make sure you label which windows they come from so it’s not a guessing game when you go to put things back – and then mix up some household cleaner like Spic ‘n Span. You want to apply it with a gentle brush and then rinse everything with a garden hose, let it dry and then reinstall. The rest of those 30 ideas in under 30 minutes, you’re going to have to look up in the My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and I guarantee you’ll have lots of fun completing all those projects.

    TOM: Available in bookstores right now or online at MoneyPit.com.

    Hey, coming up next week on the program, it’s the leading cause of poisoning deaths in America and you can’t see it or smell it. We’re talking about carbon monoxide, of course, and it kills more Americans than any other poison. But you can protect your family with a CO detector. We’re going to tell you what to look for and how to make sure it’s working, 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.

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2008 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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