00:00/ 00:00

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: And we’re your guides for your home improvement adventure so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’re here to help you get those jobs done around the house; perhaps with a certain – as opposed to the uncertain – result that many adventures can have. We’re here to help you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Hey, are you ready for the summer cooling season? I bet your system is on and working and hopefully firing on all cylinders right now, but how about that wallet? Are you suffering from leaky wallet disease (Leslie chuckles) because it’s so darn expensive to run the air conditioner? Well coming up we’re going to have some great ways to keep cool in your home that will allow you to cut down on your AC use.

    LESLIE: Plus all of that warm weather means summer storm season is here and tornadoes in the Midwest; we’ve got hurricanes along the coast; and even bad thunderstorms all across the country. You could find yourself in a situation without any power in your home. But you don’t need to be left in the dark. We’re going to tell you what you need to know about backup generators.

    TOM: And those summer storms can sometimes bring pretty intense lightning as well and it can be very frightening when a bolt from the blue strikes very close to your home. But it is, in fact, possible though to protect your house from lightning damage. We’re going to tell you how to do it in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And we’re giving a portable security system this hour. It’s called the YETI and you can set it up at your campsite or at your beach blanket. It is totally portable.

    TOM: And it’s worth 200 bucks so pick up the phone and call us right now. It’s going to go to one caller who reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: We’ve got an insulation question with John in Alabama. What can we do for you today?

    JOHN: Well what I’ve been doing is on the Styrofoam that I get as packing material – like the TV set or appliances and things like that – I’ve been putting it up amongst the rafters; kind of supplement the insulation.

    TOM: (chuckling) OK.

    JOHN: Then somebody said, ‘Hey John, that stuff causes bugs to get in there as it deteriorates.’ So I just think, you know, am I – does that help; does it hurt? What should I do?

    TOM: I don’t think you’re hurting yourself. It doesn’t cause bugs to get in there. If you leave Styrofoam insulation on the ground around your house, ants especially will infest it and sort of carve out a space for a nest. But to put some extra sheets of it up in the attic, you’re not hurting anything. You’re probably not adding a whole lot of insulating ability. If you want to improve your insulation the best thing to do is to add another layer of unfaced fiberglass, but if you’ve got sheets of Styrofoam and you’ve got it up there you’re probably not hurting anything. You certainly are not causing any bug problems.

    JOHN: OK. Well that was my question.

    TOM: Alright, good luck.

    JOHN: I appreciate it. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to messy Tiffany in North Carolina who spilled some paint on a hardwood floor. Did you do it or did a pro?

    TIFFANY: I did. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And I really had the plastic down but I didn’t have it taped down; so when ladders were picked up and slid across the floor to another location …

    TOM: Right.

    TIFFANY: … it kind of tracked the paint on the floor, too.

    TOM: Oh, boy.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and it gets really slippery; so you have to be careful.

    TIFFANY: Yes, and they had just been redone. It was a 1950s house and the previous owner had just finished them just for the sale of it and I did find something that took the paint off was an SOS pad and it also takes the shine off really quick.

    TOM: Yeah, steel wool was probably not the best choice for that.

    TIFFANY: No. But I want to know what can I do to get the paint off and what can I do to replace the shine that I took off from the SOS pads.

    TOM: Well, you’ve already abraded part of the surface off now. You’re not going to get the shine back without you doing like a hard paste wax or another coat of polyurethane.


    TOM: Now probably the easiest way to do this is – and it’s a big job; I mean don’t get me wrong. But if you were to rent a floor sander with a sanding screen, it sort of looks like a window screen-like material. It’s somewhat abrasive and it spins under the floor sander and abrades off the top layer of the finish on the floor. That will take all the paint off that’s stuck to it. I mean the fact that they just refinished these floors can actually work in your favor because at least the paint’s not getting into the pores of the wood. And then once you get that paint off you vacuum the floor; you can damp mop it to get all the dust off. And then what you can do is apply another layer of polyurethane – probably a satin finish – and you want to make sure that you apply that with what’s called a lamb’s wool applicator, which is sort of like a pad like wrapped under a flat stick that is attached to like a mop and you actually mop this stuff on; you don’t brush it on or roll it on. Sort of mop it on; work your way out of that room and you know, about four or five hours later you’ll be done.

    TIFFANY: OK. Very good. I think I can handle it.

    TOM: Alright, get to it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And next time, use a bigger drop cloth, would you? (Leslie chuckles)

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 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 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. How’d you like to cut two months of payments off your cooling bills? We can teach you how to do it no sweat. We’ll be back with the answer, 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, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and as much as we love talking about home improvement we love to hear about you and what you’re working on at your money pit right now. So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller who gets on the air this hour is going to win a pretty cool prize. We’re giving away something called the YETI security system. It’s worth 200 bucks and it’s really a unique system because you take it with you wherever you go. You can set it up at a campsite, at a worksite, at your beach towel, wherever you are; wherever you think there might be a security issue. I know you hide your wallets in your shoes. (Tom chuckles) You think that’s great at the beach. Everybody knows that trick, OK.

    TOM: Hmm, gee I wonder where the wallet is. (Leslie chuckles)

    LESLIE: The YETI system, it’s like a traditional burglar alarm; so anybody who comes near it it’s like (alarm sound) and then they run the heck out of there before they get your wallet. You’ve got to be in it to win it though so ask your home improvement question on the air at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Now here is a great way to cut down on some of those cooling costs you might be faced with this summer. It’s a whole-house fan. You know, a whole-house fan that’s mounted in the ceiling of your hallway will actually draw air throughout your entire house through windows that are left open. The fans are about 50 percent cheaper to run than central air conditioning and they give sort of a cooling effect that will keep you and your cooling bills very, very comfortable. Now remember, we’re not talking about attic fans. These are the fans that go up in the attic and vent out just the attic; which, by the way, is not such a good idea because they steal a lot of air conditioned air at the same time. No, we’re talking about whole-house fans and the best way to install one is on a timer so that when you’re going to bed at night and it’s a little stuffy in the house you can open up a couple of windows, set the timer on for an hour or two; it’ll draw a nice, cool breeze through your house and then shut off after you’re fast asleep. Saves you a lot of cooling money and actually allows you to cut about a month of the use of the air conditioner off the front and the back of the summer cooling season.

    888-666-3974 is the number you need to call for the answer to your home improvement question.

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk roofing with Jeff in Tennessee. What can we do for you in your money pit?

    JEFF: Well, we’ve had a little tornadic action down in this area and my house didn’t get hit by a tornado but some twisting winds tore off about three or four of the shingles. I don’t know whether to go ahead and replace a few shingles or go for a whole roof and in looking at the different available coverings for roofs I’m now looking at a metal roof and my question really has to do with something that roofing people don’t seem to be in concert about; can I put a metal roof over a shingle roof.

    TOM: Absolutely. There’s no reason you can’t do that. If you had a couple of layers of shingles, just for the issue of the weight alone, I’d probably take it off and go down to the original sheathing. But there’s absolutely no reason you can’t put a metal roof on top of an existing shingle roof as long as you can, you know with good workmanship, make that metal roof look well. If the shingles are built up and it’s another inch of massive shingles on the roof and it makes it hard to flash the metal roof against adjoining sections of the roof or sections of siding, then I might consider taking the old shingles off as well but there’s no reason you can’t. Those original shingles are not going to shorten the life of the metal roof. However, if you were to put multiple layers of shingles on top of each other they do shorten the life of each other because they cause additional heat which allows the shingles to dry out. But in the case of metal roofs there’s no asphalt to evaporate so you don’t have to worry about that.

    JEFF: Thank you, Tom and Leslie. It’s been a pleasure and I listen to you as much as I can.

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

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

    MARTHA: I’m calling because we moved into the house my dad built and we have no furnace. We have two fireplaces …

    TOM: Martha, were you very cold growing up?

    MARTHA: (chuckling) Yes. (Tom laughs) Yes, I used to scrape the ice off the bathroom window every morning. So yes, it was very nice. But we currently heat with wood stoves …

    TOM: OK.

    MARTHA: … and a little too old to chop wood anymore and I’m thinking about adding some sort of heating. But my question is, you know, is forced air – we have just a small basement. We have – some of the house is on crawlspace; some of it’s on cement slab. We have the perfect Heinz 57 house and wondering how to heat it efficiently; you know, is electricity better because we could do solar panels; or wind turbines in the future or …

    TOM: What fuel choices do you have? Is it possible to get natural gas to the house?

    MARTHA: No, I haven’t looked into that. That’s …

    TOM: OK.

    MARTHA: … another thing I’ve just been hearing about.

    LESLIE: You know, Martha, you should find out – I know you mentioned solar and you mentioned wind turbines. You should find out who the local heating and cooling provider is for your community where you live and see if they do offer solar or wind power and find out if you added your own solar panels could you potentially off the grid; which would mean you would generate enough solar power that it sort of feeds back to the main system. Because some of the service providers, you know, they offer wind or solar power but in a very limited scale because, you know, the demand is sort of just growing now and they’re not at a point where they can meet it yet. So it might be something that you want to ask them to find out what the potential is for your neck of the woods but it might not be something that’s viable right now.

    TOM: And regardless of how you actually get that energy, you still have to answer the core question which is what kind of heating system do I want to put in. So your first choice would be natural gas; perhaps propane or oil would be the second and third choices. If none of those are available then I would think about putting in a heat pump system but I would put in a ground source heat pump, which is going to be the least expensive for you to operate.

    LESLIE: Charles in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    CHARLES: Hi, there. We installed a new heating and cooling system; dual fuel heat pump, air cleaner, humidifier. Now we have a sewer gas odor that accumulates through the house.

    TOM: Hmm. There’s a condensate drain associated with that system. When they tapped the condensate drain did they go into the main plumbing system for that or is it running outside?

    CHARLES: Yeah, they went into the main plumbing system.

    TOM: Yeah? Well I bet you that’s where the problem is. You probably don’t have a trap in there the way it’s installed and the venting is probably coming right out of that hole where it’s connected.

    CHARLES: I bet it is.

    TOM: Either that or I’ll tell you something else that happens. If the trap is there but the trap is dry because the water is evaporated – it’s not spilling out that much moisture right now – that can let sewer gas come in, too. So if the trap is there you might want to pull the hose out and pour a little water in there so it stays wet because if it’s not wet it won’t block sewer gas and if it’s not there that’s the problem right there as well.

    CHARLES: OK. Well great.

    TOM: Should be an easy fix, Charles.

    CHARLES: Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Peggy in Utah, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    PEGGY: Hi, I have a home that was built in the 70s and the bathrooms have toilets that are attached to the wall instead of the floor.

    TOM: OK.

    PEGGY: And I am going to be having some plumbing work done and I’m wondering if I should have those replaced because frankly it’s a little nervous. I have someone very heavy that comes over to the house and I’m afraid if he sits on the toilet it’s going to fall right off the wall.

    TOM: Well those are usually put in very, very well as they’re attached to the wall. Now do you see any weakness? Is there any bulging or looseness in the toilet at all?

    PEGGY: Doesn’t seem to be any bulging or looseness but the toilet seems to be tipped slightly forward in both bathrooms. It just doesn’t feel like it’s quite horizontal anymore.

    TOM: Alright, you mentioned you were going to have some plumbing done. When the plumber comes over have the plumber take a look at those toilets and tell the plumber your concern about their security and the plumber will be able to detect whether or not there’s any weakness. It may be that that thing hasn’t moved since the day it was put in in 1970. But those toilets are usually bolted to the wood framing on the wall and they really don’t move whatsoever. So I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless there’s some evidence that it’s actually moving now, Peggy.

    PEGGY: OK, and I had a second question.

    TOM: Alright, go head. Two-for-one special today. (Leslie chuckles)

    PEGGY: OK, great. I have a guest cottage that has been winterized and there’s not going to be anyone coming during the summer.

    TOM: OK.

    PEGGY: Is there any problem with just leaving it indefinitely winterized or is that bad for the pipes?

    TOM: No, there’s nothing – no reason that you can’t leave it winterized. The only thing to remember is that if you have …

    LESLIE: You might have to worry about moisture though conditions for the summer.

    TOM: Yeah. If you have no heating and no cooling there you could get swelling of the walls, swelling of the doors; you could get mold that forms. So it’s good to have the HVAC system working even if it’s not, you know, keeping it super cool or super warm in the winter; just to have it moving some air and conditioning that air so you don’t have a humidity issue.

    PEGGY: OK, I see. So if – do you suppose if I just opened the windows?

    TOM: Well, in the summertime? Well sure, if it’s very dry but I do think …

    LESLIE: But what about a security issue …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … especially if the home is not going to be attended to all summer?

    PEGGY: Well, it’s on the second floor of a very large garage so there really wouldn’t …

    TOM: Alright, well just keep an eye on it. We don’t want to have any – a lot of times when you have a vacation property or a home that’s been winterized you get a lot of condensation and then mold issues. So just keep an eye on it. Don’t, you know, not check it for six months because you might be surprised by the fuzzy stuff on the walls the next time you do.

    PEGGY: OK, great. Thank you very much.

    LESLIE: Tim in Texas is looking to seal a door. How can we help?

    TIM: Yes, I was just trying to find out what’s a good product to use to seal the front door – the main door into the house?

    LESLIE: Seal around the trim work; seal under the door? Where are you feeling the draft?

    TIM: This is actually when you close the door. You know, they usually have that little metal flashing or something there.

    TOM: When you close the door do you see an even gap all the way around it? Can you identify specifically where the drafts are coming through, Tim?

    TIM: I can feel the draft at the bottom of the door and on one side.

    TOM: OK, so on the bottom of the door what you’re going to probably want to do is replace the door sill or you can add something called a door sweep, which is usually a rubber or sometimes a brush-like looking piece …

    LESLIE: Yeah, it looks brushy like a broom handle or …

    TOM: Yeah right, like a broom handle that goes along the bottom of the door and that will seal that in. The other thing to look at – how old is your house, Tim?

    TIM: Thirty years.

    TOM: Well, is the door 30 years old?

    TIM: Yes.

    TOM: Alright, well it’s probably not adjustable. I was going to tell you if it was a newer door there may be plugs in the sill that you could remove and actually adjust the doorsill up and down, but if not you’re going to have to use conventional weatherstripping. And then on the other side of the door where you feel the draft you’re simply going to want to replace the weatherstripping there or add additional weatherstripping and any home center or hardware store can sell that to you. It’s very easy to install. Some of it you have to nail on; some of it has sort of sticky-back tape that you peel it off. But a fairly simple home improvement project to tackle.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by for your phone calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Hey, we’ve got a great contest going on right now. It’s called the Ugliest Door in America and it’s sponsored by Therma-Tru Doors. So if you’ve got a front door or a back door or maybe even a patio door that’s looking a little worse for wear you could enter the contest and win a new door makeover worth up to 5,000 bucks. The details are at MyUglyDoor.com.

    LESLIE: And prize winner or not, if you find yourself doing some home renovations this year it’s a good time to think about adding a backup power system. If you do this you will never again be left in the dark because of a power outage. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about buying a backup generator, next.

    (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: 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 and summer is actually almost here. I’m so excited about. But with summer comes the dreaded thunder boomers; summer storms; lots of crazy, aggravated weather across the country and that time of year, unfortunately, is almost upon us. In fact, we see tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes along the coast; even just plain bad thunderstorms all across the country and this type of turbulent weather could really knock out the power at your home and loss of power was just once a nuisance but now it really has become quite a serious situation.

    TOM: Absolutely. You know we had I think it was something like 11 million power failures that we get every year and since we all depend on power for our home-based businesses or our refrigerators or for just about everything else that’s important in our homes, we need that power. You can’t really leave it up to utility companies anymore. You’ve got to take some steps to protect your power. So actually, several years ago I took that step and installed a Guardian standby generator at my home and I’ve got to tell you it was a smart move because now whenever the power goes out we’ve got an automatic backup system that comes on and repowers our entire house.

    So I thought to talk a little bit more about that issue we would invite Dan Giampetroni to join us. He is the senior marketing manager for Generac and Dan, I am a – I’m a convert; I’m a believer. (Leslie chuckles) You got one here and I’m spoiled because whenever the power goes out on my street I’m the only house that’s got lights. Now that’s good except that the neighbors seem to line up with all of their things that go bad in their refrigerator and want to stick it in mine, but it’s great to have it.

    DAN: I was just going to say you must have sold a couple already then.

    TOM: (chuckling) I probably did.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Just by example.

    DAN: Yeah, we find a lot of the activity out there in different parts of the country; you know, there – you’ve got ice storms and snow storms in the wintertime; you’ve got thunder storms and tornadoes in the summer; and obviously the hurricane seasons. What we find is that neighborhoods are actually, you know, some of the best ways to find about a standby generator. Somebody gets one into their neighborhood and then everybody else wants to join in or everybody might come over and kick the tires and then the next time that power goes out and that one house has their lights back on then everybody is, you know, reminded about it; what that thing does.

    TOM: So Dan, you were telling me that the cost on these has come down dramatically. Is it under $2,000 they start at now?

    DAN: Correct, and then installation probably starts around $750 to $1,000.

    TOM: Alright, so how do you figure out what size you need and what – therefore what generator to buy?

    DAN: Well, the basic – I guess the basic principal is how many circuits you want protected in your house. So …

    TOM: OK.

    DAN: … the smallest model – 8,000 watts – starts with eight circuits of protection. So if you wanted, for instance, you know a couple of kitchen circuits, a living room circuit and your furnace and if you’re on a well pump, you just kind of go down the line and pick, let’s say, eight circuits; that 8,000-watt unit, for about $2,000 plus installation is going to be your ticket. If you’re in a larger house and you want the whole house protected, you could go up to a 45,000-watt unit.

    LESLIE: And these are all similarly installed? Are there ever any limitations to what you might see on the exterior or interior of your home that might hinder the type of unit that you want? Like is there ever an, ‘Oh, we can’t do that here in this type of situation’?

    DAN: Your fuel source is probably the decision-maker on, you know, if it’s going to be an easy installation or an expensive installation.

    TOM: And what are your options, Dan?

    DAN: Yeah, these run on natural gas or propane and so …

    TOM: OK.

    DAN: … if you do not have natural gas at your house – if you live out in the country; if you live down in the south where there’s not a lot of prevalent natural gas lines – you’ll have to bring in a propane tank. Now if you’re living out in the country in most situations you’ll have a propane tank already but if you’re down south and you don’t have one, you don’t need one you’re going to have to bring one in if you want a standby generator.

    TOM: So they run on natural gas or they run on propane. They run automatically. How long after you have a power failure would a generator take to repower your home?

    DAN: They bring the power back on in about 20 seconds’ time.

    TOM: Wow.

    LESLIE: And then the first neighbor knocking at your door is about five minutes after that. (Tom laughs)

    DAN: Yeah, and that’s if they’re slow. You’re correct. (Leslie laughs)

    TOM: Dan Giampetroni, Senior Marketing Manager for Generac, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on standby generators. Good thing to have. I really enjoy mine and I encourage you to go to Generac’s website, GuardianGenerators.com, or you can call them at 888-Generac; get some information about how you could add one to your own home.

    LESLIE: Alright, Dan, good information for our Money Pit listeners out there. And another reason why you might find yourself without power – and this is all sort of associated with a storm season but could actually be a lightning strike and lightning actually strikes the earth about 20 million times a year and most of that is in Florida, if you (inaudible at 0:24:10.4). (chuckling)

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: But it is called the lightning capitol of the world.

    TOM: I think the folks in Kansas might have something to say about that.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, no matter where you live we want to make sure that your house is adequately protected from lightning damage. 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.

    TOM: And is your front door a disaster? Well, did you know that upgrading your front entryway can actually add thousands of dollars of value to your home? Well, what about your back door; perhaps even your patio door? The outside of your home has got to look good if you want to maintain value and if you’ve got an ugly door but haven’t gotten around to replacing it, now is your chance at a free door makeover because we are happy to tell you about the Ugliest Door in America contest sponsored by Therma-Tru.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Therma-Tru is looking for the worst-looking doors in America. They’re going to pick two of the absolute ugliest. Winners are going to get a brand new Therma-Tru front door, back door or patio door system. It’s worth about $5,000 each. You can enter right now at MyUglyDoor.com.

    TOM: And speaking of great prizes, we’re giving one away today so let’s get back to the phones because one of our callers is going to win a cool portable security system called the YETI. Learn more at MyYETI.com.

    Leslie, who’s next?

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

    BARBARA: Well hey, I just love your show; I listen to it all the time. But what I want to know is how do you install a lightning rod.

    TOM: Ah, a lighting rod.

    BARBARA: And if you do install it how high up should it be and how far away from the house and how far down in the ground should it go? And – and (Leslie chuckles) does it draw lightning?

    TOM: OK. So the first – let’s do the last question first; does it cause lightning to draw to your house and the answer would be no. What it does do is if lightning is going to strike your house it will direct it towards the metal rod. But I don’t think it increases your risk.

    Secondly, how do you install it? Well, typically it’s installed at the highest point on the roof. There is a heavy cable that goes from the lightning rod down the side of the house and you have to, by the way, be very careful where the cable runs. Because you would not want to run the cable, for example, down the wall where there was electrical wiring or where there were plumbing pipes because that lightning strike could sort of rush over into the other metal parts that are in the wall, including the wiring and the plumbing, and cause someone to be shocked somewhere else down the line. So there is a science to where it’s installed.

    And then once it gets down, the ground wire is connected to a ground stake which goes into the soil, usually anywhere from three to six feet into the soil, and that’s where it dissipates and that would be located within a few feet of the foundation. And that’s all there is to it.

    You know, the lightning rods can actually be quite beautiful. Some of them are very, very ornate. I’ve seen them with different color glass bulbs that surround them. They really can look pretty neat on the top of a house and they do a good job just to keep lightning from damaging the home as well.

    BARBARA: How many feet did you say away from the house?

    TOM: Usually within a few feet of the foundation.

    BARBARA: How many is a few?

    TOM: Five.

    BARBARA: Five feet?

    TOM: Yep.

    BARBARA: Oh, my goodness. OK.

    TOM: Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jumping into the tub with Jim in Rhode Island. How can we help?

    JIM: Oh, I’m up against the eight ball here trying to figure out whether to put a tub surround. I’ve got an old-fashioned, built-in, cast iron tub …

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: … that’s pretty deteriorated. My water’s not the greatest. I’ve got a lot of iron in the water.

    TOM: OK.

    JIM: All the scrubbing has taken off all the finish. I’ve had it refinished once, so now I’m trying to decide to bust it up.

    TOM: Well, the tub inserts – I think you’re talking about the tub inserts …

    JIM: Right.

    TOM: … and they pretty and they’re certainly a good option, but I will tell you they’re very – the two things I don’t like about them: they’re real expensive; and secondly, they take up space, so it makes the tub physically smaller. But the other advantage though is that you can pretty much do a makeover of your bathroom …

    LESLIE: In a day.

    TOM: … in a day, yeah. So those are sort of the advantages and disadvantages of the tub inserts.

    JIM: Now taking out the old tub; say I was going to put just another cast iron tub in. People tell me you’ll have to take all the walls down and other people tell me you have to take two, three layers of tiles off from the tub – existing tub.

    TOM: The chances are you are going to have to take some tile up and the way to deal with that is, Jim, to actually choose a complementary tile color. So now, when you put the walls back together, you might end up with two tones because you may not be able to save the tile that you had so just choose one that matches; you know, a forest green and a mint green; or, you know, a gold and …

    LESLIE: Yeah, make it have its purpose …

    TOM: Right, exactly.

    LESLIE: … like you chose it as a design element.

    TOM: Right, make it look like it was always supposed to be that way. That’s a way around that.

    JIM: Oh, it’s pink. Remember the old-fashioned 1950s pink? Yeah.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s pink? So, put a maroon lip around it; you know? Or a rose color.

    LESLIE: Or even you can go with so many of those mesh-backed like tumbled stones or marble or even like river rock. They’re so easy to install. It would make a great transition. It sort of modernizes that vintage-y pink feel and it’s really an easy do-it-yourself project.

    JIM: Plus I think putting a regular tub will keep – you know, the house is a cute, old-fashioned house. To put one of those inserts …

    TOM: Yeah, it’ll be very consistent with its design. I agree with you. Jim, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, it’s the summer season and if you find you’re in some atmospheric conditions where you’ve got humidity, oppressive conditions, the sky is looking a little gray and stormy; those are pretty much some sure signs of an impending thunder and perhaps lightning storm. Well believe it or not, lightning can strike your home and lead to some costly damage; but if you’ve got a properly-installed lightning protection system it can truly protect your home and all of its belongings. You should think about having lightning arrestors professionally installed onto your roof. This way, if lightning does strike, those arrestors, they’re going to use a protected cabling system and it’s going to redirect all of that energy away from your house and into the ground, keeping you and your family safe.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, we jump into the Money Pit e-mail bag. On the docket today, your flooring questions. That’s coming up, after this.

    (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 and don’t forget to check us out online at MoneyPit.com. On our great website we’ve got product reviews, our mold resource guide and even a year’s worth of past shows that you can search or download for absolutely nothing. It’s all free at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: And while you’re there click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question. This one is from Barbara. She says: ‘Would it be wise to put a bamboo floor in a bedroom? The house is on a terrazzo slab and it’s our beach house located in Florida where it’s pretty darn moist most of the time.’ I think so. What do you think?

    LESLIE: Well, bamboo is essentially – I mean I’ve seen bamboo two ways. I’ve seen solid bamboo and I’ve seen bamboo in an engineered format where it’s sort of like a bamboo veneer on top of the engineered platform. I think in that situation it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

    TOM: Absolutely. In fact, I would prefer a bamboo floor over any type of, say, a carpet floor and it would certainly be more comfortable than a tile floor. If you want to add a little softness to it then put some throw rugs on top.

    LESLIE: I mean they’re really durable and it’s a super renewable resource.

    TOM: Here’s one from John in Kansas. He says, ‘I’m thinking about installing an in-ground pool; however, I’ve heard you don’t get any of your money back when it comes time to sell and that it can be hard to sell a house with a pool. Is that true?’

    Well John, I would say, from my 20-plus years as a home inspector certainly working in the northeast that that’s probably true because you find some folks that really love a pool and others that absolutely hate it. So if you happen to get the guy that doesn’t like the pool it may be harder to sell your house in the Midwest. Now, if you live down in Florida it may not be so hard; in fact, people may really appreciate a pool there. But there’s definitely some strong opinions and I think you have to really look at the neighborhood to make that firm decision. I, in fact, even got some questions, in my years as a home inspector, as ‘How can I fill in this pool?’ You know?

    LESLIE: Oh, a girlfriend of mine has a great house, huge property in the backyard but they filled in the pool because they just didn’t want it and I look at that sort of outline in her backyard and I’m like ‘How did you do that?’ I’m a pool wanter but it’s definitely something that, you know, is specifically going to draw somebody to or hinder them from seeing your house.

    TOM: Alright, one more question from David in Arizona. He says, ‘How can I adjust the temperature on a single-handle shower faucet? The temperature is now 105 degrees and I’d like it a bit warmer.’

    Well David, on most single-handle faucets you actually have to take the handle off – there’s a set screw that you remove – and then you’ll find that there’s a stop to just how far you can actually turn that handle. If you adjust the stop you’ll be able to get a little more hot water out of that single-handle faucet.

    Well, one of the popular home improvement projects for the summer is to install a ceiling fan but when it comes to that, what’s the right direction for your house? Leslie has the lowdown in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: I know you might be thinking, ‘Direction of a ceiling fan?’ Well, it’s true. There’s a super-tiny switch on the base of that ceiling fan itself and it causes the blades to turn in opposite directions and the reason why they have a different directional operation option, if you will, is because the direction that those blades spin is really based on the season. And what you want to do is you want to make sure in the summertime that the fans pull the cooler air up from the floor and bring it towards the ceiling and circulate it back around; and in the winter you want them to push the warm air from the ceiling, push it downward onto you, recirculate that heated air, keep you warm and toasty. It makes a lot of sense. You’re going to notice a huge difference once you get into the habit of operating the fan in the proper direction. Once you do that you’ll be super happy but make sure you do clean those blades every six months. I know you don’t want to get up on there but go ahead, stand on the bed. It’s OK; just take off your shoes first.

    TOM: More tips online at MoneyPit.com.

    Hey, coming up next week on the program we’re going to have some tips on how you can beat back those menacing mosquitoes. They make a real meal of you when you’re trying to enjoy a meal yourself, so we’re going to tell you what you can do to create a backyard skeeter-free zone.

    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.)

Leave a Reply


More tips, ideas and inspiration to fuel your next home improvement, remodeling or décor project!