Home Improvement Tips & Advice
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.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
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 now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This is the show where we discuss the four elements of any remodel: earth, air, fire and credit. (Leslie chuckles) How you gonna pay for it? Call us right now. We’ll help you figure out economic ways to get your home improvement projects done.
We’ve got a busy show planned. Up first, is dust collecting in your home at an alarming rate? It is at my house, for sure. (Leslie chuckles) Well, if you’re dusting almost daily and still see it coming in and coming in and coming is, there is help. We’re going to have a checklist to help you track down the sources of the dust that’s getting into your house and, more importantly, getting into the air that you are breathing and causing respiratory issues.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, are you in the market for a new garage door opener? Well, if you’re still opening that door by hand you should be. We’re going to tell you about what type of garage door opener is best for you and your home. Do you need a little extra power? Are you looking for some super-quiet operation? We’re going to go through all of those options, because there are quite a few, a little later on.
TOM: Also ahead, how many smart homeowners does it take to change a light bulb? Well, just one if it’s you. We’re going to give you some tips on energy efficient light bulbs that can really add up to some big savings in your house.
LESLIE: And also this hour we’re giving away two pairs of safety glasses today that fit right over your prescription glasses or even your reading glasses. They’re worth 70 bucks. They’re super safe. They could be yours for free. All you’ve got to do is ask your question on the air.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Jerry in Oregon, you’ve got the Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JERRY: I have a problem with my lint from the dryer. Well I have a pipe that’s going underneath the unfinished basement for about 15 feet and seems to me every three months I have to take the pipe off and clean the lint because it clogs up. There must be a better way to fix this problem.
TOM: Is the lint pipe a flexible hose or is it a solid …
JERRY: No, it’s a solid pipe going to the outside.
TOM: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
JERRY: It’s an unfinished basement so the dryer is on the first floor. So I want to – eventually I’d like to finish the basement but I can’t do that because every time I’ve got to take the pipe off.
TOM: Well, there’s a tool that actually you can use to clean the dryer duct out.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you would actually do it from the exterior of your home where that dryer duct vents to the outside. It’s something called the Gardus LintEater and it’s basically a series of semi-rigid flexible piping that connect to sort of a bristle brush the same diameter as the dryer vents.
TOM: Yeah, it’s like a fiberglass rod with bristle brushes at the end. You stick it on your drill and you can rotate it in and out of that pipe from the outside. Leslie and I have …
LESLIE: And you will pull out so much gunk. It’s awesome.
TOM: Yeah, Leslie and I have both used this tool and pulled out wads of lint balls from those ducts. (Leslie chuckles) So it works pretty well. It’s not too expensive, either. You should be able to …
LESLIE: And this way you can finish your basement and not have to worry about physically taking that pipe off.
TOM: Yeah, I think their website is LintEater.com.
TOM: Alright, Jerry?
JERRY: Outstanding. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking countertops with Cathy in New Jersey. Tell us about what’s going on with yours.
CATHY: Yes, hi. My countertop is lifting in a section – there’s Formica. Just like a little section and my husband tried to stick some glue in there and clamp it and hold it overnight but when he took the clamps off it just lifted back up.
TOM: What kind of glue did he use?
CATHY: A cement glue, I think.
LESLIE: Was it a contact cement?
CATHY: I’m not sure.
LESLIE: Because generally what you want to do, if it’s just the Formica or the laminate peeling up off of the subcounter or the particleboard – whatever it’s covering – what you can do is if you can get a brush or a roller underneath there you want to lift up the piece of laminate that’s sort of lifting up so that you can get in there. You want to put contact cement on both sides; on the subcounter and underneath the laminate itself. Then you need to let it sort of air dry just the tiniest bit so it’s tacky.
LESLIE: So you’re going to be holding it up for a little while.
LESLIE: You want it to be tacky then you put those pieces together and then clamp it and leave it be. And that should do the trick.
CATHY: Oh, great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and you’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. So give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question; even your design questions. You want some help? We can help you through just about every situation 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you constantly chasing dust? Does it seem like you can’t keep up with it? Well, there might be a reason why excess dust is accumulating in your home. We’re going to dust bust next to help you track down the source of your problems.
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, welcome back to 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. If you do, we’ll give you the answer and an opportunity to win a great prize. We have a pair of safety glasses we’re giving away this hour from Live Eyewear. I like them because they are stylish, they are tinted, you can wear them as sunglasses and you can even wear them on top of your prescription glasses. They’re worth 70 bucks and if you want to win them you’ve got to call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and ask your question on the air.
LESLIE: Alright and if you’re wearing glasses I bet you’re seeing all of that dust that’s accumulating all around your house. Well, if you’re finding that it’s building up faster than you can keep up with it, we can help you.
Alright, dust; it comes from several sources and it really is terribly hard to get rid of completely. But increased dust could be a sign that it’s time to change a dirty furnace or even an air conditioning filter or perhaps your vacuum cleaner bag. Those are all simple fixes. And dust can also be introduced into your home through air leaks in ducts or even air filtration through leaky doors and windows.
TOM: So how do you get rid of it? Well, to cut down on dust you need to make sure you change or clean your furnace and air conditioning filters once a month or, better yet, consider installing a whole-house electronic air cleaner. The best ones are made by Aprilaire. I have one in my house and it actually made a huge difference in how clean the air was and how much easier it got to breathe around this house. Also, consider leaving your shoes at the door so you don’t track in debris, which can be a big source of dust in your house. And seal the air leaks. This can really help reduce air infiltration that could be a source of dust.
If you want some more info about preventing and locating the sources of dust in your home, visit EPA.gov. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has a great section on dust prevention.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Terry in Iowa, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with today?
TERRY: Well, I have an older home, built back in 1928, and it was moved onto a new foundation. It has a porch attached to the house and I want to knock the wall out to open up my living room. But this wall is a bearing wall and I’m not too sure how to go about it.
TOM: Very carefully, Terry. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
TERRY: Very carefully, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. Is this the original exterior wall of the home?
TOM: Well, I can tell you conceptually how it works. I mean, typically, if it’s a bearing wall what you have to do is you have to support what is being held by that wall before it’s cut open. So, I can’t …
LESLIE: I mean would you do it with columns? Would you do it with a lower header in that area to sort of displace that weight and maybe make smaller side walls?
TOM: You’re close. What you typically would do is build a wall, a temporary wall, inside of the wall that you’re dismantling and that temporary wall would take the place of the wall that’s being dismantled. Now, how much of this wall are you taking apart? Are you just talking about putting like a doorway there or you want to like completely open it up?
TERRY: I want to completely open it up. I was thinking about putting a beam up across and, you know, getting maybe 12 foot.
TOM: OK, Terry, you are beyond the scope of do-it-yourself. (Terry chuckles) And you are very close to do-it-to-yourself, OK? (Leslie chuckles) So this is …
LESLIE: Or not it down yourself, right?
TOM: Yeah, yeah. You may end up with a bigger project than you know what to do with here. This is a project that can be done but it’s pretty complicated because you have a lot of support work that has to be done before you can disassemble that. Now …
LESLIE: Is it something that an engineer could perhaps design the solution for and then if you’re a skilled do-it-yourselfer you could handle the construction process?
TOM: It’s still pretty risky. I mean, typically, the way this is going to work is you’re going to construct that temporary wall but you have to be very careful as to what’s underneath that and holding it up and how this wall comes apart.
And then there’s the whole issue of the beam. It does have to be designed; it has to be sized and certainly an architect or an engineer could do that. And then the type of beam that you put in is going to make a difference, too; whether it’s a flush header, which would be the best type; whether it’s a header that’s built that can be sandwiched, which has steel in between wood. This all has to be speced out by an architect or engineer based on how much weight is above that wall.
And so that’s why I say it’s really not a project that you should be doing yourself. Certainly, perhaps in the best-case scenario, you could offer to help the contractor but sometimes they charge you more when you want to help, Terry. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Wilson in Virginia has a question about installation. How can we help you today?
WILSON: Yes, I have a walkup attic and as you walk up to it – it was built in 1973 and as you walk up to the top of it there’s a flooring been put down. It’s about 14 feet wide; seven foot on either side of center. And after you get off the flooring there’s just regular blown-in insulation. I’m wondering if I can take that blown-in insulation and push it up under the floor and add new insulation. After listening to your show for a few times I realize that I’m way under-insulated and I need to put some r27 or better up there and I’m just wondering if I can push that stuff up underneath the flooring – not tight but just loose – and put new stuff down or whether I should rip it all out altogether or just lay stuff on top of it altogether.
TOM: First of all, Wilson, are you planning on heating this attic or is this just for storage?
WILSON: This is – when it was originally built it was just for storage and that’s all it’s being used for.
TOM: And that’s what you’re going to continue to use it for.
WILSON: Use it for storage.
TOM: So then we can that the attic floor is what should be insulated.
TOM: In other words, you’re not going to be using this space above the attic floor except for unheated storage.
WILSON: Right. There will be nothing upstairs that I have to worry about.
TOM: OK. Well, with that being said, how do you know that there’s no insulation under the floor section that’s there right now?
WILSON: Well there is but it’s that blown-in insulation.
WILSON: And it has settled down to about three inches on the outside of the floor so I figured it must be settled down two or three inches on the inside; you know, up underneath it. So I didn’t know whether I’d be safe to push up what was there up underneath it just to give it …
TOM: I think that you could do some of this. If you could actually reach back in there you probably could very carefully but remember, you’ve got wires in there and other things like that. You could cause some damage. I would be more concerned in getting insulation in the areas that were more accessible; like kind of – my theory is here let’s get as much insulation as we possibly can in the areas that it’s practical to do that.
LESLIE: So not try to take like a fiberglass bat and slide it underneath?
TOM: Definitely not a fiberglass bat. He may be able to get the blown-in. Or you could drill some holes in that floor and get some new blown-in and actually blow it in yourself. You can rent those blowers …
TOM: … usually from the home centers or from the rental houses.
TOM: Now as far as the rest of the area is concerned, generally what you want to do is fill up the space between the floor joist to the top of the joist and if you have enough blown-in to do that, fine; and then add a second set of fiberglass bats perpendicular to the floor joist. So if your floor joists are like eight inches and you add like another 10-inch fiberglass bat on top of that, you know, now you’re going to have maybe 18 inches or so. So times three, you’ve got yourself like almost 60r in insulation, which is pretty good.
WILSON: OK, because I was planning on getting some of those pink fiberglass rolls and just rolling it out …
WILSON: … and rolling it that way.
WILSON: But I didn’t know what to do with the loose stuff.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Either rolls or the bats. Either the rolls or the bats. Either are fine. Unfaced.
LESLIE: Make sure you wear long sleeves and a dust mask and safety glasses.
WILSON: If I want to do – if I want to cover up two-thirds of the floor area also, should I use unfaced?
WILSON: Because there are two-thirds of the area that I’m not even using.
TOM: Yes, unfaced.
WILSON: Unfaced all the way?
TOM: Yep, unfaced. Because if you put a face insulation in there you’re going to trap moisture on the wrong side one way or the other.
WILSON: OK, that’s fantastic. You all helped me out a lot.
TOM: Yep, unfaced. Let it breathe.
LESLIE: Margaret in North Carolina’s dealing with a nasty three-letter word – rot. Tell us about it.
MARGARET: Yes, we have a balcony and the balcony is 14 feet from the ground. The supports are wood and the wood has rotted out; the wooden supports. And so what we’d like to do is the wall itself, the fa