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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

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


    (promo/theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Don’t look now, but your home improvement projects just got easier. Call us for the answer to your home improvement question; to let us help solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas. If you have ever nailed your work glove to a project, we won’t complain. (chuckling) We won’t embarrass you. We won’t chide you.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) We might laugh at you a little.

    TOM: Because we’ve probably done it ourselves.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) And then we’ll tell you exactly how we did it. (laughing)

    TOM: Yeah, exactly. (laughing) Call us. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. What are you doing? What are you working on? Calling this show is the difference between a grounded outlet and an embarrassing trip to the emergency room, OK? (chuckling) So pick up the phone right now and call us. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because we’ve got some advice for you coming up this hour.

    We’re going to talk about cleaning your kitchen; a special part of your kitchen that if you don’t do it, it can become very, very unsafe. You know, your stove’s vent hood, it’s there for every cooking adventure. But if it’s greasy and dirty, it can be a very grimy, unsafe mess. We’re going to show you how to fix it quickly and easily.

    LESLIE: Plus, you might be shocked to learn that one out of four homes is due for an electrical wiring upgrade. Well, is your home one of them? We’re going to tell you how to find out.

    And October is indoor air quality month. Why? Because it’s the time of year we start to seal ourselves into our homes for the winter. But doing so can actually trap the bad air inside with you, so we’re going to give away a tool to help keep your indoor air clean all winter long.

    TOM: It’s a big tool.

    LESLIE: Yeah, this is a huge prize. If you log onto MoneyPit.com, you can sign up to win the Clear the Air sweepstakes. You will win an Aprilaire Model 5000 electronic air cleaner and it’s going to be installed for you. That’s huge.

    TOM: And also, this hour, we’re going to give to one lucky caller to 1-888-MONEY-PIT, a brand, spanking new faucet from Peerless worth 65 bucks. So let’s get to those phones, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Robert in Texas is updating his energy system. What can we do for you?

    ROBERT: I have a question. Down here in deep south Texas, we do not have the best quality water. And I would like to get some information about tankless water heaters. I’d like to install one at the house. Want to get the pros and cons of this thing.

    TOM: Well, I don’t think there’s any cons of it except for, perhaps, the cost. It is more expensive than a standard water heater – as we call them, the dumb water heaters because they basically hold water, they heat water and they do that 24/7 whether you need it or not. The nice thing about tankless water heaters, Robert, is that they are on-demand units, so that they only heat the water you need when you need it. So they are not very wasteful. And that’s why they’re a little more complicated to build and a little more expensive.

    In terms of the installation, unless you’re a pro, it’s not a do-it-yourself job because there’s a lot of things to consider. First of all, you have to size it right so you have enough hot water for the entire house. It has to be located safely, vented properly and wired properly. So those are generally jobs that are best left up to the professional. But I don’t really see a downside to having one. In fact, some of the models actually have what I think – what I think is very cool; a remote control that actually tells you what the temperature of the water is at any one time and allows you to control it. So for example, if you have a family with kids and you want to send Junior up to take a bath by himself, you can actually dial down the temperature, say, from standard 120 degrees down to a 100 degrees, so he can’t possibly scald himself. And then, after Junior’s done, you could dial it back up to 110 or 120; wherever you like it. So there’s a lot of advantages and not too many disadvantages.

    ROBERT: That’s pretty good. That’s good to know. Is there – do you know if there are any replacement filters or anything of that nature?

    TOM: No, and there’s no water heater to drain or anything of that nature. They need very little maintenance once they’re installed. So I think it’s all good stuff, Robert.

    ROBERT: Excellent. Well, I appreciate it, guys.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Ann in New Jersey listens to The Money Pit on WCTC. What can we do for you today?

    ANN: Well, I was wondering if I put an addition on top of the garage – I live in a – my house is a split level.

    TOM: OK.

    ANN: I was told that I could go out the top from the garage because the roof is – has had a peak at that area. And – as opposed to the other side where it’s coming down flat, you know, (INAUDIBLE) – it’s not a peak anyway. What would be the cost of – what should I look at for the cost of putting that addition in there?

    TOM: Well, adding an addition where you’re going on top of the existing single-story garage is, you know, going to be less expensive than if you were going out from the house and including a foundation. What you essentially are going to end up doing is removing all of the ceiling joists and all of the roof rafter framing and leaving just the walls of the garage. The first design challenge is how are you going to support that new floor system. You may need to run a girder through the garage to be able to do that. So that’s probably the one design challenge. And then, after that, it’s simply a matter of adding floor joists and building it up from there.

    It’s not a do-it-yourself project but I will tell you that it’s going to be less expensive than going out. If you had the option to go up or go out, you’re going to spend less money going up than you would going out and adding to your house in that way. And you’re going to add the same number of square feet. I would definitely take the least expensive option.

    LESLIE: And Ann, you shouldn’t have any problems with zoning because you’re staying within the same footprint of the house. You’re not extending any where and creating new foundation. So you shouldn’t have any problems with zoning, but always check with your local zoning laws just to make sure.

    Things are cracking up for Eddie in Virginia by way of the foundation. What’s going on? Tell us about it.

    EDDIE: Basically, I have a crack in my foundation; especially from the top to the base of the – base of the foundation.

    TOM: OK.

    EDDIE: And probably about – oh, I’d say about an inch at the top and then it kind of comes together toward the bottom.

    TOM: Wow. That’s a pretty big crack. Is it – is this new – do you think it’s been – always been this way? Any sense that it’s moving, Ed?

    EDDIE: No, it’s not. Actually, my mom and I, we fixed it when – 15 years ago when we first moved into the house. We patched it up with a cement; you know, from like Home Depot and stuff like that …

    TOM: Right.

    EDDIE: … and it pretty much held up pretty well. There’s no movement or anything. But last month, when – out in Virginia we got …

    LESLIE: A lot of rain.

    EDDIE: … a lot of rain, actually. And pretty much – I had a sump pump out there, too, which broke down that I didn’t know about. So I’m not sure if it’s from the water that came in from the rain; if it’s from the saturation or if it’s from the crack in the foundation.

    TOM: Well, generally what happens when you have a lot of rain is the soil’s getting wet around the foundation perimeter; and especially in the area of the footing. And so, you – think about this. When the yard is wet, you sink in it because it’s muddy, right? Well, your house does the same thing. It doesn’t have the same strength; in terms of the surface strength. It’s not going to hold the foundation wall the same way when it’s soaking, sopping wet. So you can get movement when the soil is that way.

    The question is whether or not this is an active crack to the point where it needs some further reinforcement. You say you fixed it but it sounds like you just patched it. You didn’t structurally repair. You just patched the crack so you didn’t have to look at the hole in the wall. But you may need to do some structural repair to this if the thing continues to move.

    I would keep an eye on it and if – and if you’re not comfortable with it and feel like it is continuing to move, I would get a professional home inspector to check it out for you and give an opinion as to whether or not you should have an engineer design a repair for it.

    EDDIE: Well, that’s the thing, too. I’ve had a lot of estimators come out and they’ve given me all these different ideas about how to fix it.

    TOM: That’s because you’re probably talking to people that are in the repair business and I’m telling you to talk to people that are in the design repair business. In other words, somebody that’s going to be paid just to design the repair, like an architect or an engineer. If you call a contractor …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Not somebody who’s actually going to do the work themselves; who’ll say, ‘Well hey, this is what you should do to fix it and I happen to be that person.’

    TOM: Right. There’s two questions: number one – does it need to be fixed?; and number two – how should it be fixed? So, if you hire an engineer and they come out and they say, ‘Yeah, it has to be fixed and here’s the way you need to do it,’ they’ll prepare a specification for that, Ed, and that’s very important because that becomes the pedigree that shows a future buyer that this job was done right. Once the job is completed in accordance with the engineer’s specifications, you would also want the engineer to come back and certify that it’s now complete and safe and done correctly. And this way, if anybody wants to buy your house in the future and they question the crack, you can say, ‘Hey, yeah I had a concern about it, too, so I hired a pro; they designed a repair. Then I hired a contractor; they installed the repair. Then I hired the pro to come back and certify that it was done correctly. Here’s the paperwork.’ You know, no questions asked, that was the right way to do it.

    EDDIE: Great. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, now you can call in your home improvement or your home repair question 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year; even Christmas, which is not that far away. Just call 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Up next, your stove’s vent hood is there for every cooking adventure, but it doesn’t get much credit. We’re going to teach you how to show some love to that vent hood by keeping it in tiptop shape. We’ll show you the easy way, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit has been brought to you by Roto-Rooter, for all your plumbing and drain cleaning needs. Whether it’s a small job or a big repair, request the experts from Roto-Rooter. Call Roto-Rooter that’s the name and away go troubles down the drain. Call 1-800-GET-ROTO or visit Roto-Rooter.com.

    (promo/theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.

    TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, making good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, to keep that kitchen exhaust fan in tiptop shape, here’s what you need to do. The filter needs regular attention. You need to clean standard filters in a degreasing solution, followed by warm, soapy water. And then simply put it on the top rack of your dishwasher. You can run it through. And in units that use activated charcoal filters, you want to replace those filters on a regular basis. It’s as simple as that. If you clean it, it’ll work much, much better and it won’t stink up the kitchen.

    LESLIE: Alright folks, well if seasons are changing where you live, you’re about to head back indoors for the next four to six months. But who or what else is sneaking in the door behind you? You know, ever since the energy cost shocks of the 70s, we’ve been making our homes more and more energy efficient. And in the process of tightening up our homes, we’ve made it harder for the homes to breathe.

    TOM: And as a result, we’ve now welcomed lots of uninvited guests back into the house; like dust mites and molds and viruses and bacterias. Bottom line – we need to get those houses cleaned and cleaned quick and we are going to help.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Well, what are we going to do? If you’ve got a forced air heating system, we can help. October is indoor air quality month and The Money Pit has your chance to win an Aprilaire Model 5000 electronic air cleaner. It’s a $1,000 value and it could be yours if you register at MoneyPit.com.

    TOM: That’s right. Sign up for the Aprilaire Clear the Air sweepstakes right now. It’s totally free and it’s at MoneyPit.com. You could win a Model 5000 electronic air cleaner; the air cleaner that was ranked number one by Consumer Reports for the last three years. We give away good stuff on this show, so log on right now. There’s no purchase necessary. And remember, the deadline to enter is October 31st. That’s Halloween. It would be scary if you didn’t sign up because then you couldn’t win. For complete contest rules on the entry, you can check them out on the entry page at MoneyPit.com.

    888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: John in Delaware, you’re on the line. What can we do for you?

    JOHN: Alright, I have a aluminum siding and we put mulch around my house. And after about six months, we started seeing all these black little specks on the aluminum siding. And one of my neighbors had the same thing and they actually had to replace their siding. I immediately pulled out all my mulch and it stopped. And I wanted to find out how we can get rid of that.

    TOM: That’s called artillery fungus and it’s a fungus that very frequently lives in mulch.

    LESLIE: But you’re not going to see it in the mulch because it’s so small.

    TOM: Right. And what happens is it gets up into the air and as the – as the fungi grow, they burst like little shots. And then that gets carried on the air and it sticks to the siding and it leaves the white dots. It’s very, very, very difficult to get rid of. You did the right thing in getting rid of the mulch because that stops the source of it. Removing it from the siding, you have to physically scrape it off – which could be done, in your case, with some steel wool; done very, very gently so you don’t take the paint off – or sometimes you can wash it off with a solution of Jomax, which is a household cleaner, and a pressure washer done very gently so you don’t, again, harm the siding.

    LESLIE: And you might just have to, you now, physically scrape at each spot; and especially on the aluminum siding, if you find that – because sometimes when you get the fungus spot off itself, you’re going to find like a brown stain underneath.

    JOHN: Right.

    LESLIE: You might just need to go back in with an oil-based paint and just sort of touch up. You know, get something that really matches as close as you can to the siding color. And you need to be careful because it can actually – the artillery fungus can jump to cars.

    JOHN: Oh, really?

    TOM: If you want to try a mulch that tends to be – tends to not contain artillery fungus, don’t use shredded wood. Use whole chips of wood; whole chips of bark. That tends to be much more successful than using the shredded mulches.

    JOHN: Well, I appreciate that. I’ll try that solution.

    TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Chester in Arkansas listens to The Money Pit on KFPW. And you’ve got some sounds from the water pipes. Describe them.

    CHESTER: Well, sounds like I got a miniature tugboat in my pipes or something. I heard the …

    TOM: A tugboat in your pipes? (chuckling)

    CHESTER: That’s what it sounds like (INAUDIBLE) …

    LESLIE: So it’s more like a (horn sound).

    TOM: Kind of a haunted sound, ay?

    CHESTER: Yes, sir. It’s like I would hear something like my toilet would make a sound like it was releasing water. And then all of a sudden I have – I have make a – it makes a loud noise in my pipes.

    TOM: Now, does this happen, you know, just periodically or does it always happen when you flush the toilet or when?

    CHESTER: No, it just like – it’d be – nobody could be in the bathroom; it’ll just …

    TOM: Here’s what’s happening. First of all – there’s two things going on here, Chester. First of all, you have a leaky flush valve. The valve – the flapper – at the bottom of the toilet is letting water out of the tank.

    LESLIE: Is that like a phantom flushing?

    TOM: Yeah, it’s like ghost flushing. So what happens is as the water leaks out of this flapper valve, the float senses that it’s – it needs more water. So it’s as – it’s as if you flushed the toilet. The float comes up and tells the water valve to come on and then it lets water in. That’s the first thing that’s happening. So you have to replace the flapper valve. It’s like two or three bucks to do this. It’s inexpensive. You can buy a new toilet rebuild kit with a flush valve and a fill valve at any home center.

    The second thing that you mentioned – the banging of the pipes – that’s called water hammer. And the reason that happens – and it would happen with any fixture that you’re running; it just so happens it’s happening in this toilet. There may be a loose pipe in the wall – as water runs in through the pipes to get to the tank to fill it back up at the toilet, then all of a sudden the fill valve, having received enough water, shuts off instantly. The water has a certain level of centrifugal force and it keeps going down the pipes and it doesn’t want to stop. So if the pipes are loose, it kind of bangs the pipes a little bit.

    So that’s what’s happening. It’s not really a mystery. It’s just a combination of those two things. And I think that if you replace the fill and the flush valve, that’ll stop the one situation. The banging pipes – just something you have to get used to. It doesn’t really cause any kind of damage or mechanical damage to the plumbing system. It’s just more of an annoyance. If you can ever open the wall and expose the pipes, you could tighten them up by putting additional pipe clamps against the framing. But certainly worth taking the walls down to do that.

    Chester, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Michael listens on WWBA and you’re thinking about painting. What can we do for you?

    MICHAEL: Hey actually, I’ve got an old 1926 construction built house and …

    TOM: Cool.

    MICHAEL: … I’ve got some – we’re in the process of taking plaster out of the house right now because it’s just kind of cracked beyond all repair. Do you guys have any tips for – I don’t know – like keeping kind of the flavor of an old bungalow-style house? I know we’re going to have to put sheetrock up. Or do you guys recommend – you know, should we try and plaster again or is modern-day plaster not quite as good as the old stuff was?

    TOM: Well, that’s a good – that’s a good question. I think that you can maintain the look and the feel of an older house without doing plaster. It would be nice if you could. It’s interesting the way the wall construction has changed over the years. In a house that was built at the turn of the century, you had balloon framing and then you had wood lath, which is like wood sticks put up against the framing, and then wet plaster in multiple layers put on top of that. And then from like, say, the 30s – late 30s to like the mid 50s, you had plaster lath, which I think was like the best ever wall construction off all time, where you had what was kind of like drywall with a coat of plaster on top of that. And then, of course, you went to totally drywall.

    Now, I don’t think that most people are going to be able to tell what kind of wall construction you have, once you’re in that house, if it’s, you know, finished properly. I think, Leslie, more of the details of an older house come from the trim and style …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … not so much the wall construction.

    LESLIE: I mean I think, Michael, it’s really important to do your research. Look into any historical books, magazines; anything that referenced the time frame of construction of your home and the style – bungalow style. And then look into any sort of decorative features; like Tom said: trimming; how the doors are made. Are there raised panels, are there recessed panels, is there bamboo detailing. Look into all of that and try to duplicate those things as best you can, you know. And you don’t have to do it all at once. Those things can be done later on as you’re doing the work on the house, you know, and as you can afford them budgetarily. But you know, look into the details that make up the aesthetics of that time period and of that building style to really convey that period.

    TOM: Yeah, you’re definitely going to have the best of both worlds, Michael. My house was built in 1886 and that’s exactly what we did. We replaced all of the plaster in this house but we kept the trim – or actually rebuilt the trim in the exact same style it originally was. And you can have the best of both worlds. That is definitely the right way to handle it.

    LESLIE: 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s the number to call. Stay with us.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, standing by for your calls at 1-888-MONEY-PIT 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are always open. Call us with your home improvement question, really, anytime. Or you can email us by logging onto MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie.

    Now, let’s get to the phones. Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Gordon, you’re up. What can we do for you?

    GORDON: I recently redid my kitchen and I updated my laundry room. And I’m having drainage problems.

    TOM: What kind of drainage problem are you having, Gordon?

    GORDON: The – it’s backing up.

    TOM: Alright. So the sink drain is backing up?

    GORDON: No, the sink’s fine. It’s the dishwasher or the new washing machine.

    TOM: Well, you probably have an obstruction in the – in the drain waste vent pipe that’s going from the kitchen out. Have you had – have you tried to snake this pipe with a plumbing snake?

    GORDON: Yes.

    TOM: And you’ve found nothing?

    GORDON: No, not a thing.

    TOM: Explain the layout to me, Gordon. Where is the washing machine in relation to the dishwasher and where is the water backing up?

    GORDON: OK, everything is backing up into the sink.

    TOM: And where’s the washing machine? How close is that?

    GORDON: Everything is within about four foot of each other.

    TOM: Alright. Well look, the drain that they replaced – when you replaced the kitchen, the drain pipes were all the same size?

    GORDON: Yes.

    TOM: Alright. There has to be an obstruction here. You just haven’t found it yet. There’s no – there’s no mystery to this. You know, the water flows down the pipe and works it’s way to your sewer system or your septic system and it’s done. Now, if you snaked it and you haven’t found an obstruction, you probably haven’t gone far enough.

    I would do this. I would call Roto-Rooter; have those guys come out and they can either snake it or they can run a drain camera down it and figure out where the obstruction is. It’s not a mystery. There’s a reason that all these pipes are backing up when you run a lot of water and there’s probably a partial obstruction in that pipe or a partial collapse of the pipe somewhere. It can happen for all sorts of reasons. And when enough water gets in that pipe, from all of the fixtures that you’re running, it just backs up. Probably goes down after it sits for awhile, but that’s because it’s not completely blocked; it’s only partially blocked. The thing here, Gordon, is you’ve just got to figure out where it is. And if you’ve tried all of the stuff locally, it’s time to call the pros – like a Roto-Rooter – and have those guys come out and really figure out where this is.

    Gordon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Joyce in Montana listens on KMMS. What can we do for you?

    JOYCE: I am wondering whether it is up to code or proper to vent bathrooms into an eave.

    TOM: No, it’s not. (chuckling) You vent bathrooms …

    JOYCE: It’s not?

    TOM: … and everything else to the outside. You don’t vent them into attics. Is that what you’re asking?

    JOYCE: Actually, it’s – OK, I’m a real estate agent – a local realtor – and a home inspection was performed. And the home inspector found it to be not proper, but the city in which the permits were issued says it was.

    LESLIE: Venting to a soffit vent? Is it venting to a window?

    JOYCE: It’s venting into the eave.

    TOM: When you say venting into the eaves, do you mean into the attic?

    JOYCE: Into the soffit.

    TOM: The soffit? You have a bathroom venting into a soffit?

    JOYCE: Yes.

    TOM: No way.

    JOYCE: No way?

    TOM: No way.

    JOYCE: OK, well then this home inspector was correct. I …

    TOM: Yeah.

    JOYCE: I just happened to – the day after the inspection, when I got the report, I was listening to your show and I thought, ‘I’m going to find out whether this guy knows his stuff.’

    TOM: Yeah, and by way of full disclosure, Joyce, I’ll tell you I spent 20 years as a home inspector. But I’m taking …

    JOYCE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: I’m not taking sides. The guy is absolutely correct.

    JOYCE: Why would the city, then – that’s what’s bizarre to me is …

    TOM: Because you know what? The city doesn’t always …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Well yeah, but there’s a city code, even, that says if there’s a window in your bathroom you don’t need a vent. But if you’re not venting the bathroom properly, you’re just going to end up with excessive moisture in your attic, in the bathroom, in rooms near the bathroom. So it’s so important to vent those outside.

    JOYCE: Well, I agree. I just – you know, based upon what the builder said – that the, you know, the city said it was to code when they, you know, granted them occupancy …

    TOM: Yeah well, code – you know, code is another word for a minimum passing grade.

    JOYCE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Now what would happen if your kid came home and said, ‘Guess what, Mom? I got a D. Aren’t you proud?’

    JOYCE: Yeah. I understand completely.

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

    LESLIE: Well, this might shock you, but one out of every four homes needs an electrical upgrade. Find out if yours does, next.

    ANNOUNCER: AARP is proud to sponsor The Money Pit. Visit www.AARP.org/UniversalHome to learn more about making your home more functional and comfortable for years to come.

    (promo/theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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: It’s a great hour. It’s a great idea. It’s The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We are like a pressure washer for your home improvement to-do list. So call us right now. Let’s help knock some of those items off of that to-do list by helping you get the job done.

    Well, will your home improvement project add electrical wiring to your existing system? Is that part of the plan for the next project? Then stop right there. Do you know that one of out of every four homes needs an electrical service upgrade before new or additional wiring is installed? In fact, modern family homes usually need at least 100 amp service and many of them don’t have that.

    So, to assess your needs and do the work, you should always rely on the advice of a professional, licensed electrician. Don’t do it yourself when it comes to electrical wiring, folks, unless you are very, very experienced. It can be just too dangerous.

    LESLIE: Well, coming up in our next e-newsletter, electrical projects you can do yourself; like changing the atmosphere of a room with lighting or installing a programmable thermostat. If you’re not a subscriber, why not? Sign up now at MoneyPit.com. Our newsletter is free.

    TOM: Give us a call right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Let us help you solve your do-it-yourself dilemma. And you could just win a new faucet – some bling for your kitchen – because we’re going to give away a brand new, single-handle lavatory – oh no, sorry. It’s for the bath. It’s bling for the bath. And it comes in a brushed nickel finish. It features classic styling. It’s going to fit in any d

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