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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.)


    Hi, this is Tom Kraeutler and thanks for listening to the show. Hey, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cool contest we’re running right now with our friends at Therma-Tru. It’s called the Ugliest Door in America contest and two of our listeners could win a brand new, completely installed entry door worth up to $5,000. Entering is super easy, too, at MyUglyDoor.com. So if your front door, back door or patio door is looking a little worse for wear, log onto MyUglyDoor.com and you can enter to win a beautiful new entry door from Therma-Tru. That’s MyUglyDoor.com.

    (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 now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help you get the job done.

    Hey, coming up this hour we’ve got tips to help make sure your appliances are running right. First up, we’ll tell you what you need to know about your fridge. You know, there are a few easy maintenance steps that you can take that will help maximize your refrigerator’s lifespan and it’s energy efficiency. That will save you some bucks.

    LESLIE: Also ahead we’re going to tell you how to increase your dryer’s efficiency and find out what time of day is actually best to use your dryer during the summer season.

    TOM: Plus we’ll tell you how to go green while you’re growing green. It’s nice to have a beautiful lawn but it’s even nicer when you can do that with earth-friendly products. We’ll tell you all you need to know in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And we’re giving away a great prize from Ryobi this hour. It’s a One+ power tool starter kit worth $109.

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

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: If you’re thinking about selling the house that’s what Jay in Alabama is doing and we can help y’all with that. Welcome, Jay.

    JAY: Well, I’ve got two projects on the horizon and can’t decide which one we want to go with.

    TOM: OK.

    JAY: First would be doing a kitchen upgrade. We’ve got – the appliances are all three years or younger. We’ve moved in three years ago and we’ve replaced the dishwasher, the stove and the refrigerator; so they’re all newer appliances. The question is should we invest our money in replacing countertops, tiles — there are custom cabinets that my wife’s grandfather built for our house doing, you know, the faux finishing; or would our money be better served by investing in – we have a back deck – taking and redoing that deck to put a roof over it, enclosing it with a screen so you can have ceiling fans and making more space in Alabama that you can use on these hot evenings and mosquito-infested nights, I guess?

    TOM: Is the deck makeover a popular project in your part of the world? I mean do you see a lot of homes that have these screened-in back porches?

    JAY: Yeah, about 50/50.

    TOM: OK.

    JAY: Lot of times, you know, in new construction they just go in and do just the deck …

    TOM: Right.

    JAY: … where it’s just an open deck where the added benefit would be if it were covered then also you could sit out there any time of day and with the screen keeping the insects away no matter what time you’re sitting out there.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Well, I’m looking in the cost versus value report for 2007 …

    JAY: OK.

    LESLIE: … and for east south-central, which encompasses the Alabama state area, we’re looking at a 91.4-percent return on investment for a deck addition.

    JAY: OK.

    LESLIE: So that’s pretty good and for a kitchen remodel, on the minor end we’re looking at an 85-percent return on investment.

    TOM: So for all intents and purposes they’re pretty similar, so I’m thinking you could do a combination here; you know, doing a little more – spruce up in the kitchen to make sure it’s presentable for sale and then if you’re telling me 50 percent of the homes in your neighborhood have screened-in porches and you don’t, then certainly that’s a good improvement …

    JAY: Yeah, OK.

    TOM: … and one that will be attractive to a buyer.

    JAY: Good. Thanks for your time.

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

    LESLIE: Sandra in Pennsylvania needs some help with some cleaning of shingles. What’s going on? Tell us about it.

    SANDRA: Yes, I have white shingles on my home that’s about seven years old and on the side – of course it’s the front side (Leslie chuckles) – that doesn’t get as much sun we’re getting black streaks down it. Is there any way to clean them off?

    LESLIE: Well, why would dirt present itself on the side of the house that no one’s going to see? (Tom and Leslie chuckle)

    SANDRA: Yeah, isn’t that the truth.

    TOM: And the reason for that is because the sun is a natural mildicide.

    SANDRA: Yes.

    TOM: The shingles will get mildewy, they will get mossy and they do need to be cleaned from time to time; especially on a very, very shady side of the house. So here’s what you need to do.

    You need to apply a mildicide up there – now you can use bleach and water; you can use one of the commercially available roof cleaners – and then you need to let that sit for a while and then you need to brush it off. Usually you have to have somebody go up there with sort of like a broom and hose and apply the material, let it sit for a while and that will clean it up and then …


    TOM: … after you get them nice and clean what we’re going to suggest you do is add a copper or a nickel ridge vent to the peak of the roof and the reason you’re doing that is because when rain hits it some of that metal releases into the water and it acts as a mildicide and scrubs that roof clean. The third thing that you should do is see if there’s an opportunity to trim back some of the branches, some of the trees …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That cause the shade.

    TOM: … on that shady side …


    TOM: … so that you can get at least some sun over there. I’m not talking about cutting them all down but just a little …

    LESLIE: Just thinning things out, perhaps.

    TOM: Exactly; will make a big difference.

    SANDRA: OK, thanks very much. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned in to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, some cool tips to make sure your refrigerator has a very long life.

    (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, 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. Let us know what you’re working on. Let us know what you might need a fresh approach to; you know, sharing your thoughts about what you’re working on is always a good way to get inside tips on how to get the job done right and get it done the first time. One caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a great prize. We are giving away the Ryobi 18-volt One+ starter kit. This is a great prize for the weekend warrior who’s looking to start an excellent tool collection. The kit includes an 18-volt drill and a circular saw and the best thing about the One+ system is that the batteries are completely interchangeable with any and every One+ tool so you can just build upon your power tool arsenal with these two batteries that are included in your prize kit. It’s worth 109 bucks. Pick up the phone for your chance to win. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Let’s talk now about your refrigerator. You know, it works pretty hard but it needs regular maintenance to avoid a breakdown. Now the easiest thing that you can do is to keep it clean. The coils on the backside of your refrigerator must stay clean for it to work efficiently. Here’s what you need to do.

    Pull the refrigerator away from the wall from time to time and vacuum. Do it about every six months. Also, if you have one of the old-style refrigerators with a drain pan underneath be sure to pull that pan out and clean it frequently to avoid mold growth. Do those two things and your refrigerator will work super efficiently and last for a very long time.

    Hey, do you have an appliance question? Do you have a roof question? Do you have a floor question? Call us right now; soup to nuts, floorboards at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Adam in Kansas. You’ve got the Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    ADAM: Hey, Tom and Leslie, I’m having some – my wall is bowing downstairs in my basement.

    TOM: That’s not good.

    ADAM: No it’s not.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like how much of a bow.

    ADAM: Well, they said on the west side of the house it’s bowing about an inch and on the east side of the house it’s about a quarter of an inch. So my question is – you know, I’m having these contractors come into my house and one says put in the steel I beams; one says to put in the wall anchor system; and you know, I really can’t decide which one I want to go with or what’s the best for me.

    TOM: OK, stop getting the advice from the contractors. (Adam chuckles) You have a structural problem, Adam, and contractors – unless the contractor also happens to be a professional engineer – should not be dealing out structural engineering advice which is exactly what they’re trying to do and they’re all going to try to sell you their system that they like to work with.

    You have a serious problem here and it affects the value of your home; it affects the safety of your home. So what I recommend is that you hire a structural engineer to do an inspection of these basement walls and then to design a very specific repair. You take that design; you give that to contractors, let them bid on that, let them execute the repair as designed by the structural engineer. Then do one more thing, Adam; have the structural engineer come back and give you a letter that says it’s all OK; it’s all done correctly. Because now what you’ve created is sort of a pedigree and if you try to sell your house and somebody sees that bow in the wall and all the repair work you can just explain just that; you had an engineer design a repair, you had it done and you had the engineer recertify it and those walls will be just as good as new with nothing to worry about. But if you don’t take those steps you really don’t know what quality of service and what quality of repair you’re going to have at the end of the project.

    ADAM: OK, well I appreciate all you guys’ help and I love the show.

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

    LESLIE: Amanda in Nebraska is looking to install a dishwasher. Hopefully we can help. What’s going on?

    AMANDA: How easy is it to install a dishwasher – a built-in dishwasher – and put the fixtures in for it, like the piping and stuff, for a house that has never had a dishwasher in it.

    TOM: Well, first of all, Amanda, you need enough room to do that. To the left or right of the sink area or somewhere in the cabinet area would you have a space that’s 24-inches wide?

    AMANDA: Oh, yeah.

    TOM: OK, because that’s the space that you need for a dishwasher. So you need to carve out that space. Now if you happen to have, for example, a 24-inch drawer base or a 24-inch cabinet that you can remove and you don’t mind losing that much storage …

    LESLIE: Then it’s a perfect fit.

    TOM: Yeah, now it’ll fit fine. In terms of the plumbing itself, not that hard to do because the lines are flexible. You can have a flexible water supply line that connects up and you can also have a flexible drain hose that connects up.

    Is this house over a crawlspace?

    AMANDA: No, it’s just a regular house with an attic.

    TOM: But is it on a slab? What’s underneath the kitchen floor?

    AMANDA: Oh, no. There’s a full basement.

    TOM: Oh, OK. Then you have access to get under it; you have access between the cabinets. So it’s actually not that terribly hard. You have to run the wiring so you can plug it in and you have to hook up the plumbing so you have the drain line and you have the hot water – hot and cold water supply lines.


    TOM: You need to carve out the space in the cabinets. Those are all the projects that are involved. You know, if you’re a handy person it could be a do-it-yourself project; if not, a plumber and electrician could bang the whole thing out for you.

    AMANDA: OK, and can you put one under a sink? Like under the kitchen sink itself?

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Can you put one under a sink? You know, Leslie and I have been looking a lot into the topic of universal design and I know that we have seen dishwashers that are split that have drawers so that you have almost two dishwashers in one, but I’ve never seen one that fits under a sink. Have you, Leslie?

    LESLIE: No and then you’re putting the dishes so low to the floor that it becomes a tripping hazard and it becomes sort of a backache every time you have to bend down and get them.


    TOM: Yeah, you really want to put it to the side of the kitchen sink.


    TOM: That would be the place to put it. OK?

    AMANDA: Alrighty, thank you very much and I love your show.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Amanda.

    Adrian in Florida, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?

    ADRIAN: Yes, ma’am. I was wondering – I’ve got a problem with my cold water. It seems like I get spurts of high pressure at times and I’ve got a filter system on my house and I just wanted to know what can I do about it or how do I fix that.

    TOM: Alright. Well Adrian, what you’re probably going to want to do is this; you’re going to have to check the pressure when it comes into the house. Are you – do you have domestic water or is this well water?

    ADRIAN: Domestic; city water.

    TOM: Alright, you’re going to want to have the plumber check the pressure at the main valve of the house; see what kind of water pressure you’re coming in with. It might be that you have excessively high pressure and you need to put a pressure reducer on the main water line. That’ll solve the problem?

    ADRIAN: Oh, where would I put that? Is that like something a plumber would have to do?

    TOM: Yes, because it’s going to have to go right on the main water line; probably right after or right before the main water valve.

    LESLIE: Chris in Michigan’s dealing with a leak. How can we help?

    CHRIS: I have a three-year-old house and I have an air handler that’s up in my attic and the air handler has a 16-inch flex tube that goes out to my living room.

    TOM: OK.

    CHRIS: And it is collecting moisture during the winter months.

    TOM: So you have condensation that’s inside of it, Chris?

    CHRIS: Lots of it and it’s leaking down the living room wall.

    TOM: Wow. Was the flex duct securely connected to the register?

    CHRIS: Yes.

    TOM: OK. Because I think there’s a leak in there. Two things you can do. First of all, I would check all the connections on the ducts; and secondly, I would take some steps to reduce the amount of humidity up in that attic space. A three-year-old house I’m going to guess that probably doesn’t have enough attic ventilation because builders tend to under-ventilate these days. What we’d like to see is a continuous ridge and soffit vent and we want to make sure that the type of ridge and soffit vent are selected really have a lot of opening. Some of the vent systems that are out there now don’t seem to have very much air flow, but if you flush out that attic with as much passive ventilation as you possibly can that’s going to reduce the condensation considerably.

    CHRIS: OK.

    TOM: And then the other thing that you could do is you could add additional insulation on top of that duct so that the warm, moist air that’s coming up from the house doesn’t strike a super-cold duct and condense. So three things: check the connections; improve the attic ventilation; and add some more insulation around the duct systems.

    CHRIS: OK. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Carol in Missouri, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    CAROL: Hi, I need to have a question answered about caulking around your tub.

    LESLIE: Sure, how can we help?

    CAROL: Well, I had my bathroom remodeled and they put tile around the tub but it doesn’t seem to go all the way down to the tub itself; the tile. Of course there’s grout in there. Well that has since eroded away and every time I caulk it it just doesn’t stay.

    TOM: Ah, because you don’t know the secret way to caulk your tub.

    LESLIE: Yeah, there’s a secret trick.

    TOM: Yeah, a good tip.

    CAROL: Oh, good. I was hoping somebody would help me.

    TOM: No problem. First of all, when they put tile in they just always grout down to the tub lid but the tub is always moving, Carol; it’s always expanding and contracting and especially as it gets filled up with water or if you step inside of it for a shower. It kind of pulls down and stretches down.

    CAROL: I thought that was my imagination.

    TOM: No, it is absolutely not. It is absolutely not. So what you can do is sort of fake it out. Here’s what you do.

    First of all, get rid of all the old grout, the old caulk; make sure it’s really clean.

    CAROL: OK.

    TOM: Then fill the tub up with water. Fill it up as much as you possibly can. Water is very heavy.

    CAROL: Ah.

    TOM: It weighs eight pounds per gallon.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and make sure that that area where you pulled that grout or the existing caulk out of, make sure it’s really dry in there before you go and refill it because you don’t want that extra moisture back there for when you do recaulk it.

    CAROL: What if there’s not enough of that green board all the way – going down all the way behind the club. See that’s what I think is a problem, too.

    TOM: Then what you want to do is caulk that gap and you do it with the tub filled with water because this way after the caulk dries you can let the water out and the tub will sort of go back up and compress and when you step in the tub to take a shower it’s not going to pull down again; it’s not going to pull out. So clean it really good; fill the tub up with water; caulk it, Carol, and then let the water out and you will be good to go and you’ll have a caulk joint there that’s really going to last a long time.

    CAROL: Wonderful. There had to have been a secret. I thought, ‘Why is it doing this all the time?’

    TOM: There was a solution.

    Hey, are you not in love with your front door or your back door or your patio door? Maybe it’s looking a little worse for wear? Well, there’s less than two weeks left now in Therma-Tru’s Ugliest Door in America contest. Details at MyUglyDoor.com. You could win a $5,000 door makeover for one of those doors in your home but you need to enter right away at MyUglyDoor.com. Take a couple of photos of your house. Send it in with an essay or just shoot a video. Entry details are all at MyUglyDoor.com. Fourth year in a row they’ve been running this contest and you might just be the winner of a brand new beautiful entryway from Therma-Tru if you enter today at MyUglyDoor.com.

    LESLIE: Alright, well a free front door is a great idea and another great idea for making over around your house is your yard. Up next we’re going to have some ideas to help you take care of your lawn with a green thumb and a green conscience, so stick around.

    (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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and spring is sprung and it’s that time of year that you really want to have that lush, green lawn getting ready growing so that you can really enjoy it all summer long. And why not? A healthy lawn, it’s not only beautiful but it also provides great benefits for the environment. If you didn’t think so it actually does. For example, what you don’t know is that every 2,500 square feet of lawn produces enough oxygen each day for a family of four. That’s pretty amazing.

    TOM: Well now there’s a way that you can take care of that lawn and the environment by going green in more ways than one. To tell us a bit more about that is Ed Yuhas. He’s Divisional Vice President for United Industries. They’re a manufacturer of Stay-Green fertilizer.

    Ed, welcome to the program.

    ED: Hi, how are you?

    TOM: We’re excellent and Ed, there seems to be a lot of interest in not only going green but growing green this year. Can you talk to us about some of the trends and how the green environmental interests are impacting lawn care?

    ED: Well there have been a number of counties and municipalities that have passed ordinances banning the use of phosphates and one of the ideas – new items that we’ve introduced this year is called Stay-Green Phosphorous-Free Fertilizer and it’s basically removing the phosphorous from the bag of fertilizer and, quite simply, fertilizer has basically three nutrients in the bag –

    TOM: OK.

    ED: – nitrogen which makes the grass grow and green, phosphorous for root development and potassium for all-around development.

    TOM: So the challenge is how do you get the root development with less phosphorous, is that correct?

    ED: That’s right and the way that happens is that phosphorous is a naturally-occurring product within the soil and many industries – or excuse me – many municipalities have believed that there is some runoff from fertilizer into the lakes, streams and watersheds and …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, which then becomes your water supply.

    ED: That’s correct. So at United Industries we’ve been the first company to introduce, on a national basis, a line of phosphorous-free fertilizers; which we’re introducing at Lowe’s right now.

    TOM: So how exactly are you able to accomplish that? How do you take the phosphorous out and still get the root growth that you really need to sustain a healthy lawn?

    ED: Well, I think there are two ways of looking at it. For an established lawn like most of us have, phosphorous is a naturally-occurring mineral in the soil.

    TOM: OK.

    ED: And if you’re not sure you can get a soil test and many county agencies have an extension service and you can just call one of those and they can come out and do a soil test for you.

    Now, for a new lawn you can buy a starter fertilizer that has phosphorous and the counties and the municipalities have not outlawed the use of starter fertilizers for that reason.

    LESLIE: Because that’s a one-time-only thing.

    ED: That’s correct and that’s how you would establish – you would start a new yard; using starter fertilizer.

    TOM: So Ed, it sounds to me like what we’re talking about here is getting much more accurate in the application of fertilizer and all the components that make that up in that we have, to date, been essentially over-applying products that we didn’t really need to; for example, the phosphorous. Since it occurs naturally in the soil then truly we don’t need to add it unless it’s a brand, new lawn; is that correct?

    ED: That’s true. I think the other thing to remember here, too, is that you have to be a good steward around your environment. That means once you’ve applied your fertilizer don’t leave it sitting there on your driveway or your sidewalk where it can get brushed down into the sewer system. Sweep it off the sidewalk and the driveway and sweep it back onto your yard so the rain can soak it in. I think if consumers do that a lot of the problems would have disappeared. So it’s just basically a good stewardship as you’re applying lawn fertilizer.

    LESLIE: So it’s really not so much leaching through the soil system. It’s the wasted or the misuse of it that sort of just gets washed in.

    ED: That’s right. It’s the runoff and it’s just being somewhat sloppy about the way we treat our yards and if consumers had just basically swept, again, the remnants off of their driveway and their hard surfaces and put them back on the lawn I don’t think we’d be having this discussion.

    LESLIE: Ed, do you find that it really takes a savvy homeowner to sort of figure out what their lawn specifically needs to get it looking the way that they want or have the products really come so far where you can sort of just pick something that seems like the right choice and it’s going to do the trick for you?

    ED: Well, it is confusing. I mean there’s no doubt about it that the lawn and garden section of any store is confusing, particularly to the novice; but there are typically – within stores there are people there to help you out and help you find the right product. But when it doubt just a straight lawn fertilizer will do you no harm and if you read the directions carefully in terms of when to apply it and how much to apply it you’ll be perfectly fine.

    TOM: Great advice.

    Ed Yuhas, Divisional Vice President for United Industries, thanks so much for filling us in on ways that we can be good stewards, as you say, of our lawns. We can go green and we can grow green all at the same time. Ed, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ED: OK, my pleasure.

    LESLIE: Well, keeping on the green scene, did you know that you can take some of the heat off of your energy bills this summer by running one of your appliances at night instead of during the day? We’re going to tell you which one, after this.

    (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.

    TOM: And is your front door in need of a major overhaul? Did you know that upgrading your front entry can add thousands of dollars in value to your home? Hey, what about the back door; even your patio door? If you think you’ve got an ugly door but you haven’t gotten around to replacing it, now is your chance at a free makeover worth up to 5K. All you need to do is enter our Ugliest Door in America Contest sponsored by Therma-Tru.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Therma-Tru is looking for the worst-looking doors in America and they’re going to pick two of the absolute ugliest. Winners are going to get a brand new Therma-Tru front, back or patio entry system worth 5,000 bucks. So you’ve got to enter now – there are only two weeks left – at MyUglyDoor.com.

    TOM: And speaking of great prizes, we’re giving one away today on the show. It’s the Ryobi One+ starter kit worth 109 bucks. If you want to win it pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s going to go to one caller to today’s program which could be you.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: We’re talking to Jeff in Montana here at The Money Pit. What can we do for you and your home today?

    JEFF: Well, we’ve got an old house built in 1899. It’s got the old, original glass and it’s all uneven glass and we want to try to retain all that but yet we want to bring it up to higher value of, you know, insulation.

    LESLIE: As far as energy efficiency.

    JEFF: Yes, we want to go with ground-source heating and they’re telling us with this kind of windows and stuff we’re not going to be able to make the house airtight enough for …

    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got to have a really efficient house to be able to get efficiency out of your heating system and so what you want here, Jeff, is sort of the best of both worlds.

    Leslie, I think that there may be a decorator trick here where Jeff could replace the windows with a thermal pane window but perhaps create another window that hangs inside of that that has some of the original glass. I’ve seen this done with stained glass; I’ve seen it done with seeded glass and with blown glass and it looks pretty cool.

    LESLIE: There are several options; in fact, Pella has something. It’s called the Designer Series window and it’s actually three panes of glass although the third pane is really sort of like non-functional; it acts more as a slider or opening – it pivots into you – that you can slip in a decorative panel from something that you can have printed from an image or some of their stock photography or textures or even colorations that offer you privacy or just change the look of the glass. I’ve even seeded glass you can get at glass stores to manufacture things for the home on a smaller scale but I wouldn’t reuse what you have; it’s just not going to give you the r value or the efficiency that you want from a thermal pane glass.

    TOM: So Jeff, there are really two options. You can buy new windows that have old styling yet give you the efficiency; or you can take some of that old glass and use it to create an insert that sort of hangs inside the newer window that will give you some of the effect of the old but still allow you to have some protection from the elements. Does that make sense?

    JEFF: Yes. Well, we would like to find someone that would be able to do that; to retain our original glass and maybe put it inside an energy e-style double-pane window or use it as one of the panes or …

    TOM: Well, Jeff, let me give you one more suggestion. Have you thought about doing something that worked well for many, many years; for 50 years in this country and that is to simply add a good-quality storm window and keep the old windows.

    JEFF: That’s what we would like to do but we want to be able to show off these windows also with all that cross-hatching woodwork …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    JEFF: … and (inaudible at 0:27:20.5).

    TOM: Yeah Jeff, I think an interior storm window is a really good option.

    LESLIE: Yeah, in fact, Allied Window; you know, they make an invisible, almost custom aluminum storm window and they’re really great for historic and even other renovation projects that you want to maintain some of the historical integrity of the building. So check them out at their website; AlliedWindowInc.com.

    TOM: Jeff, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Joe in West Virginia wants to talk plumbing. What can we do for you?

    JOE: Is it OK to put the copper pipe into concrete?

    TOM: Joe, it is completely possible to install copper inside of concrete because it’s done all the time with radiant floor systems. A couple of things that you have to be concerned about. Just where the pipe enters and exits the concrete itself you have to leave room for expansion and contraction and another thing that you can do if you’re worried about abrasion is the copper pipe itself can be wrapped with a sleeve or a tape that kind of will act as an insulator so that the pipe can expand and contract inside the concrete because copper does expand and contract a lot. So for example, if you were going to do an embedded hard right angle of the copper pipe you would probably want to have some insulating tape around there so it had some give and didn’t push against the copper; against the concrete as it was moving because that could cause a break. But it’s been done for years. It works very, very well and there’s no reason for concern about any chemical reaction between the copper and the concrete.

    JOE: Alright, then I thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Alright, well we here at The Money Pit love to share green tips, especially when they put more green in your wallet. You know, cooling your home takes a lot of energy because your AC not only has to cool the air down to the temperature that you’re asking it to but all of the things inside your home that absorb the heat – like your furniture and your bedding and your drapes – yeah, those need to cool down, too. And your clothes dryer; this creates a ton of heated air which completely adds to your cooling bills and takes away from your comfort and your wallet. So make sure you run your dryer at night when the outside temperature is much lower. It is just a smart thing to do. It’s way more efficient and then it doesn’t have to work so hard because it’s keeping the temperature outside cooler and you’re not going to be asking for the demand so much. Be smart. Save money.

    TOM: Speaking of appliances, up next we reach into our e-mail bag and answer some of your questions including one on the best type of cooking range for a kitchen island. That’s coming up after this.

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    ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. 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 if you like the advice and the info that we offer you each and every week here at The Money Pit you will love – I guarantee – love our free weekly e-newsletter. It comes to your inbox every single Friday and there’s always something new to learn and did I mention it was free?

    TOM: And in our next e-newsletter we’re going to have a great way to use an otherwise dead space in your house; by constructing built-ins. We’ll tell you what you need to know in the next edition of the newsletter. Sign up now at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: And while you’re visiting our website go ahead and click on the Ask Tom and Leslie icon and shoot us an e-mail with your question and every week at this time we jump into our e-mail bag here to get some questions answered. I’ve got the first one from Susie in Lexington, Kentucky who writes: ‘I’m installing an electric range in the island in my kitchen. What is the functional difference between a slide-in and a drop-in range and what’s the best way to vent the range if I have a second story above?’ Venting – island venting through the floor?

    TOM: Yeah, actually especially if you have a crawlspace or a basement underneath that is the right way to vent an island range. You just use a down vent and you go down through the floor and then in between the floor joists you run the ducts and then out the side of the house.

    Now the difference between a drop-in and a slide-in is really just stylistic. They’re just two different types of appliances. The slide-in you actually would have the heating elements on top and then the controls in front. With a drop-in everything will sort of be on the flat.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and I’ve actually seen some really beautiful stainless models; I think in the slide-in that have a vent system that’s built into it that sort of operates sort of high-tech. It comes up and down and then sucks all the moisture away. It’s really fantastic and they look beautiful and professional kitchen-like.

    TOM: Those are the downdraft ranges and they are terrific because it sure beats having the big, ugly hood overhead.

    Do you need a new way to get and to stay organized? Well, you might want to get all that clutter off your desk and onto the wall where it’s easy to see and easily accessible; plus with gravity working for you instead of against you because you can only put so much stuff on there. Leslie’s got some tips to help you do just that in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, this is a great project. I love to make them for my house and projects on home makeover shows. It truly is a lovely organizer that you can personalize to match any space in your home.

    You want to head to the home center and get something called Homasote. It’s a compressed gray paperboard that makes for a perfect push-pin-holding organizer for you and your family. It’s usually sold in about 4’x8′ sheets at lumber yards and home centers. Sometimes you have to go to a smaller specialty store but you can find it. Have them cut the piece to whatever size you want. Have them cut a bunch of them. Take them home. You’ll use them, I promise. You can fit it into a wall space anywhere in your home. Then go ahead and cover the entire piece with fabric and staple it right into the backside of each panel. You can use the fabric as is or you can even add some ribbon to create a fun and useful decorative grid pattern detailed to any of the pieces that you might want to use as an organizer and go ahead and hang this new organizer on any wall in your home by just attaching a picture hanger to the backside. If you want to really get snazzy put up a whole bunch of them in a grid pattern and then paint column and row titles so that you can keep classes and assignments properly sorted. Now all you need to be organized are thumbtacks. It’s easy to do and they look great.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. That’s all the time we have this hour.

    Hey, coming up next week on the program it is blackout season. Why? Well, with all the summer storms and the demands of air conditioning we get a lot more blackouts. That’s why we’re going to teach you about a new system that can actually repower your entire home within 15 seconds of a blackout.

    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 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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