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Home Improvement Tips & Advice

  • Transcript

    Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete

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


    (promo/theme song)

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We’ve got lots of tips, some techniques, some advice to help you get through your home improvement projects this weekend. In fact, we’re going to talk about lighting today and shed some light on energy savings. For example, if you’re still using those incandescent bulbs around the house, stop. We’re going to tell you how much money you can save if you just switch to those really cool-looking compact fluorescents, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also, one of the top energy wasters in your home, did you know that it’s recessed lighting? Yep. Those energy dollars are going to fly right out of the cracks around those high hats, as they’re called, if they’re not installed correctly. We’re going to help you figure out the right way to install them and save some dough.

    TOM: Plus, we’re going to talk about an easy way to solve your hard-water problems. You know, the traditional water-softening systems that are out there actually replace the minerals in your water with salt and that can be pretty unhealthy. They’re also costly and they’re very expensive to install. But there’s an easier solution. There’s some new technology out there that makes it very simple to solve your hard-water problems and we’ll tell you what that is in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And if you’ve got a refinishing project on your fall to-do list, we have got a great prize for you this hour. We’re giving away a random orbit sander from our friends over at Ryobi. It’s worth 40 bucks and it could be yours for free.

    TOM: So call us right now with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and you must have a home improvement question and be willing to come on the air and ask us to qualify for that great Ryobi prize.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Time to help Grace in Michigan fix up a floor painting project. What can we do for you?

    GRACE: I live in a 108-year-old house and the linoleum in my room is really old and I was wondering if you would be able to paint it with wall paint.

    TOM: No, because it’s not really – two things. First of all, linoleum doesn’t really take any type of paint very well and wall paint, of course, you’d never really be able to use it. It would just wear right off. You’re better off going out and perhaps picking up some vinyl remnants that you could buy at a home center or a flooring store – these are the cutoff pieces; sort of the end of the roll – and putting down some new flooring.

    GRACE: OK.

    TOM: That’s probably the least expensive way to go.

    LESLIE: You know what else you could do, Grace? You could head to the home improvement center and buy some canvas drop cloths; the ones that have, you know a nice, plastic backing or a rubber backing. And you can finish the edges just by using some carpet tape to give it a nice, smooth edge; then you can prime that whole piece of canvas and paint it to look like a rug. This way you have like a fun area rug.

    GRACE: OK, thank you.

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

    LESLIE: We’re talking asbestos with Richard in New York. What can we do to help you with this?

    RICHARD: Yeah, hi. I was ripping out my basement and I’m noticing these big steam pipes with asbestos on them and I’m sure you’ve come across that before. But my question is, can I wrap them with something, rather than have to go through like looking up in the phone book asbestos removal or just leave it alone?

    TOM: Well, you should not be wrapping them with anything because if you disturb them then you’re going to increase the risk that you will be exposed to asbestos fibers. Asbestos on the steam pipes is serving a purpose. It’s insulating the pipes so that the steam does not escape or the steam stays in the steam state, I should say, until it gets up in the radiators where it condenses back to water and goes back to the boiler to be reheated. So the insulation is doing its job.

    What we know about asbestos is that if it’s disturbed, if it’s damaged or becomes friable or deteriorated, it can be released to the air. Now, in the process that you might go through wrapping this with something, you’re more likely to release more of that than would ever come out on its own if you just left it alone.

    So if this is a basement that you’re going to really not have a lot of activity in, Richard – like the kids aren’t playing down there, they’re not kicking balls around, that kind of stuff –

    RICHARD: No, no.

    TOM: – and you leave it alone, then you’re probably OK. The best thing to do is to completely remove it but that has to be done by an expert because if it’s done incorrectly it could contaminate the house.

    RICHARD: Yeah, I thought they had some kind of product that you could just stick over it and wrap it up so that it was …

    TOM: There’s two ways to deal with it; there’s removal and encapsulation, but either process should be done by a pro. I generally prefer removal because, this way, it’s gone. If you encapsulate it and you have to make a repair or something like that, you have to dig back into that same asbestos.

    RICHARD: Alright, great. I really appreciate that.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone, give us a call. We’d love to hear what you’re working on and we love to lend a hand. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, did you know that recessed lighting fixtures can add dollars to your energy bill if they’re not properly installed? Happens all the time and it costs a bundle. Find out how to fix it, next.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by FRAM. Worried about high gas prices? Do something about it. Replacing your clogged air filter with a new FRAM air filter can help improve your gas mileage. So remember, before you slam it, FRAM it. Now here are Tom and Leslie.

    TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, the show that helps you out by being the guides for all of your home improvement adventures. That’s why we named our new book My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, because that’s what we do and we think home improvements should be adventurous, they should be enjoyable and we’re here to help you get the job done and win some tools to do just that. So pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, because this hour we’re giving away the random orbit sander from Ryobi worth 40 bucks. It could be yours if you have a good home improvement question and are willing to ask us.

    LESLIE: Alright, well speaking of random, did you know that those random air leaks that you’ve got around your house, they account for 40 percent of the energy losses that your home suffers and one of …

    TOM: Well, they wouldn’t be random if they always accounted for 40 percent. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: (chuckling) Well the air leaks and where they occur are pretty random, but the amount of energy loss, that’s pretty specific.

    TOM: (chuckling) Pretty guaranteed.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and one of those random air leak areas that we’re talking about, that could actually be coming from your recessed lighting that you’ve got around the house, because air can easily escape and then enter a structure through any space between a recessed lighting fixture and then the ceiling opening around that. And the best prevention is to install a lighting fixture that’s rated IC. Now IC is going to stand for insulation contact and that means that your decorative light can actually be surrounded by insulation, thus being more energy-efficient and then that lighting unit is going to be sealed; you’re going to have no energy leaks and you are going to save a ton of money.

    TOM: You know, another thing that can happen with those gaps is you can suck dust up into the attic space and I actually saw a house once where that dust got stuck in the insulation and guess what happened. It grew mold.

    LESLIE: Which is so crazy.

    TOM: Right, and it made the people really sick. So you’ve got to have the right types of fixtures. They’re called IC. Stands for insulation contact fixtures. They’ll save you energy and they’ll save you a lot of health headaches at the same time.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Elaine in New Jersey needs some help with a patio project. What can we do for you today?

    ELAINE: Hi, my name’s Elaine. I have a concrete flat patio in the back of my house that I want to paint a big picture of sunflowers on.

    LESLIE: Beautiful.

    ELAINE: However, the concrete needs preparing before I do it. It’s got some old paint stuck to it where I had put paint on it before and a lot of it’s worn off but there’s still a lot that’s down into the crevices and I don’t know how to get that out without using acid.

    TOM: Well, is the old paint loose and peely or is it fairly well adhered?

    ELAINE: It’s pretty well adhered.

    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I would get all the loose stuff off I can and then I would prime right over that.

    LESLIE: This is a good opportunity for you to repair any cracks with a flowable urethane or a silicone caulk just to give you a nice, smooth, even surface.


    LESLIE: Then go ahead and prime the entire surface of the patio …

    TOM: And I’d use an oil-based primer, too.

    LESLIE: … to really adhere.

    ELAINE: Oh, really?

    TOM and LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    ELAINE: I have some paint that I bought that’s – what do they – it’s an epoxy-based paint; like porch …

    TOM: Well that’s probably OK as well.

    LESLIE: Yeah, but the epoxy-based paint, don’t you think that’s going to give it sort of – especially if you’re using that as a base, won’t it give it some sort of like a sheen almost to it that might not have the topcoat or the decorative layer of the paint stick?

    TOM: Well, and the other, too, is if you stay with the same line of paint – say you choose the same brand of primer and then topcoat – it’s more likely to stick well together.

    ELAINE: Mm-hmm, OK.

    TOM: So I don’t know how well the traditional paints – you know, water-based paints – are going to adhere to the epoxy as the base because the epoxy is not designed to be a primer. The epoxy is designed to be a topcoat. And you want to paint over that with something that’s going to enable you to paint those flowers on it.

    LESLIE: Nick in Alabama needs some help in the basement. What’s going on at your money pit?

    NICK: Well, my money pit is a lead problem with paint.

    TOM: OK.

    NICK: I’ve got an older house and, as you know, you don’t want to – I’ve read all the abatement rules and all that. But in places where you cannot scrape or clean or whatever, is there a primer or an overcoat on the market that you can put over that would safely seal the lead paint under it?

    TOM: Yeah, there’s two techniques: one is removal; the other one is encapsulation and that’s what you’re talking about.

    NICK: Right.

    TOM: And there are primers that are designed specifically to encapsulate lead paint.

    LESLIE: You know, Nick, there’s one actually online that you can find called Nansulate and the website is Nansulate.com. It’s a little bit pricey. You’re looking at about $80 for a gallon and almost $400 for a five-gallon pail.

    TOM: And Nick, if you have kids that you’re real concerned about, there’s another encapsulating paint called Child Guard and what’s different about Child Guard is it has an additive called Bitrex which basically makes the coating bitter. So if any kid tried to taste any of that paint at any point and time in the future, it would have a very, very bad taste to it.

    So the products are out there. They’re called encapsulants and that’s the way to coat that lead paint so you get a nice, neutral surface and you can go from there.

    NICK: OK. That’s all I need to know.

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

    LESLIE: Kevin in Connecticut needs some help with a flooring project. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.

    KEVIN: Well, what we’re looking at here is an 1848 house in Connecticut that has wide-board floors, original floors. And there’s no subflooring as I think plywood was in short supply at that time.

    TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, it wasn’t invented yet. (laughs)

    KEVIN: No. Yeah, they didn’t have any. So what I have is the cracks between the wide-board floors. When I refinish them I don’t know what to put in the cracks, which can be anywhere from 1/8 to 3/8-inches.

    TOM: Yeah, the trick of the trade for that, Kevin, is to press some jute rope into it. That’s the sort of – how would describe the jute …

    LESLIE: It’s like …

    TOM: Stringy, right?

    LESLIE: … a natural fiber that’s …

    TOM: Natural fiber, yes.

    LESLIE: … twisted and woven out of many sort of individual strings of the jute roping itself.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: So what you would do is you would buy a pretty thick one – you know, not the super-fat one but one that would work for the widest width of your gaps on your floor – and then you can stain the rope to match your flooring.

    KEVIN: Oh.

    LESLIE: And once that’s dry, you want to grab a knife – not a matte knife – a scraper, one of those nice paint scrapers, and you can go ahead and shove the roping into the spaces between the flooring and as it sort of thins out and waivers you can peel away – you know, unravel some of that rope to help it fit into the appropriate opening. And that’s really the best way. Because if you use a wood filler it’s just going to crack out; you’re going to vacuum it up; it’s going to dry out; it’s never going to look right.

    TOM: Kevin, it sort of looks like a very thick twine.

    KEVIN: Alright, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Ted, what can we help you with?

    TED: I have a question about hanging some interior doors in a master bathroom.

    TOM: OK.

    TED: My question is, for us people who don’t do this very often, I know you can buy a template to set this and you need a router. Is there a tool that you can put on your power drill or something or an easier way to indent those doors for the hinges?

    LESLIE: Are there doors already hanging there now that are set appropriately?

    TED: There are doors already there and I know the dimensions about where I need the indentations, but it’s a pretty good job on chipping that out. Is there an easier way?

    TOM: Ted, have you thought about using a prehung door and not just replacing the physical door but also the door jambs?

    TED: No, they’re not prehung.

    TOM: Well, that’s my point. If you used a prehung door it would be fairly easy for this to be installed, but taking a door and making it custom fit is actually a fairly difficult carpentry project.

    Now, if I didn’t have a router template, what I would do is I would be using a chisel. I would be laying it out very, very carefully and I would be using a very sharp wood chisel to set my hinges in flush with the jambs and to set them in flush with the edge of the door.

    TED: OK, OK. I’ve also been told on resetting the holes that are in the hinge door on the outside that I can put a toothpick or some kind of piece of wood with some wood glue and it’ll set that. Would you recommend doing that?

    TOM: Yes, that will absolutely work. Do it all the time.

    TED: OK.

    TOM: Little bit of Elmer’s and a sliver of wood is a good thing to do to fill in an old nail hole or if you have a screw that you’re putting in and the nail hole is a little too big and sort of stripping it, that’s an easy way to fix it.

    TED: Well, I appreciate that very much. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: And there are so many companies that manufacture hinged templates: Hinge Mate, Porter-Cable. I mean there’s a lot of options out there. They are in the $100 range …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … but if you have one of those it’s going to set it up exactly the way your existing door is and it – you know, even though it’s work.

    TOM: If I was just doing it one time, I would definitely do it by hand.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: I wouldn’t buy the template. Because you’ve got to buy the template and the router to make it work and I don’t think Ted had that tool.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, but a router is so fun.

    TOM: Yes, routers are fun to use.

    LESLIE: And you can do so many things.

    TOM: That’s it. Buy the router, Ted. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: It’s an excuse to get a new tool. Come on.

    TOM: Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Matt in Alabama has an electrical question. How can we help?

    MATT: I purchased a new home and I had a reputable, nationwide home inspection company do an inspection on the new home. I thought that was very a good idea for me to find some things. He pointed out a few things and then he left the premises with his report and I went up in the attic, not knowing what to look for, and I noticed an electrical junction box that was blue that wasn’t fastened to anything but a lot of wires were going into it with black electrical tape. But yet, no cover was on it and it was exposed. What am I to do with that problem?

    TOM: Well, if it’s … if the junction box is open like that, there ought to be a cover on it and it ought to be secured. We don’t want to have it where it’s going to be disturbed by anything. An open junction box could be a fairly minor electrical repair. Have you closed on the house yet?

    MATT: Yes, I did. I moved in and I’ve been in the home for six months.

    TOM: Oh, OK. Well, it should be a standard electrical box. You could simply go pick up a cover for it. It’s not a major issue but it’s something you ought to tend to.

    MATT: Great. Thank you so much for your help. I love your show.

    TOM: Ah, you’re very welcome.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Enjoy your new house.

    MATT: Alright.

    TOM: Yeah. Matt, call us again. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and if you’ve ever wondered why, when you’re washing your hands, you’re having a tough time lathering up that soap or your plumbing gets into a lot of difficult situations and your appliances need a lot of maintenance, well you might have hard water and that really makes for a lot of tough situations around your house.

    Coming up, we’re going to go have details on a new invention that’s going to make your life easier and it’s a brand, spanking new way to soften your hard water without a lot of cost or installation expense. That’s all coming up, 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: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. We’re here to help you get those jobs done around your house.

    Speaking of your house, you know enjoying your house shouldn’t be hard but, unfortunately, if you have hard water it can be just that. Hard water makes it pretty tough to lather up in the shower and the minerals that get left behind on showerheads or inside water heaters, they can shorten the life of the entire plumbing system or even cause it to grind, sometimes, to a complete halt.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and hard-water problems, they generally exist in homes that have well water or even city water and have historically been costly or troublesome to eliminate; primarily because treatment required expensive salt-based systems. But now we’ve got an inventor from Indiana who has designed a much healthier and far less expensive way to eliminate hard water. His name is Bill Freije and he’s joining us now.

    Welcome, Bill.

    BILL: Hi.

    TOM: Bill, thanks for being on the program.

    Let’s start by talking about what exactly hard water is. For people that really have never experienced it, they may not quite understand it. Can you kind of explain – what’s the difference between hard water and soft water, for example?

    BILL: Hard water basically just has more calcium and magnesium and those are the main components of hardness and they come from rock; so it depends upon where you get your well water or where your city water comes from, what that water is flowing over and water is kind of what’s called a universal solvent so it dissolves whatever it flows over. So if it’s flowing over rock, it takes in hardness.

    LESLIE: So if I were to fill a glass from a tap, would I notice severe cloudiness, sediment on the bottom?

    BILL: No, not really. The water can look – you know, well water, even mineral water that’s really high in minerals, you don’t notice the minerals in the water because they’re dissolved. You don’t see them. When they become a problem is when the water is heated, for instance; that causes those minerals to no longer be able to stay dissolved but they come out of solution, as it’s called, then they’re floating around in the water. But that’s when they have a charge on them and they want to stick to something, like the holes of your showerhead or the screen under your faucet or your water heater.

    TOM: And this has become more and more of a problem today because of the increase in technology and water – for example, you were mentioning to me, off the air, that tankless water heaters have been known to seize up from the type of hard water buildup that can occur. So this really can be a serious problem, not just an inconvenience.

    LESLIE: But this could even be hazardous to a traditional water heater. I mean imagine all that sediment on the bottom or even just the clogs in the water – you know, in the pipes that bring the water to the fixtures throughout the house.

    BILL: Well, you’re right, Leslie. I mean that is the reason, the main reason, for failure of a tank-type heater. There’s a plate, a metal plate, on the bottom of a tank-type heater; the flame is below that plate and you can imagine as this hard buildup – and it’s like poured concrete. There is a little bit of sediment that can build up in a tank-type heater but, for the most part, little by little this coating starts building on that hot plate and you can have several inches of it in a fairly short amount of time. Well the flame is below that plate. It’s trying to heat the water that’s on the other side of that scale buildup that might be two or three, four inches thick and the plate overheats and it fractures. And that’s why a tank-type heater leaks. That’s how you know it’s failed.

    TOM: And even on the way up to that, I imagine that the efficiency just goes right out the window because you’re running the flame more and more and more to try to do the same job of heating the water.

    BILL: Absolutely. Absolutely. It doesn’t take – scale is a very efficient insulator, Tom, and so it doesn’t take very much of it to really lose 20, 25, even 30 percent efficiency in your gas water heater.

    TOM: Well, Bill, the way that hard water has typically been treated is with salt-based systems that involve tanks and plumbers and rerouting water lines. That’s a pretty expensive and complicated way to treat your hard water. But one of the things I liked about you guys is you have a completely different way of treating water and this is a system that you invented called EasyWater. Can you talk about how it works?

    BILL: Sure. The best thing to do is compare it, if you don’t mind, to a salt softener. A salt softener removes the hardness – you mentioned hardness and hardness is mainly calcium and magnesium – and replaces it or exchanges it with two times as much sodium. So if you have quite a bit of hardness in your water and you probably do or you wouldn’t want a softener, you end up with two times that much sodium. What we did instead is we found a way to send electronic frequencies into the water from an insulated wire that’s wrapped around the outside of the pipe – so there’s not even any plumbing involved – and it sends those frequencies into the water and those frequencies basically cause the minerals, those same minerals, not to stick. It literally physically changes them under a microscope. They look like a Frisbee instead of a tree branch and they just don’t have a charge anymore and they just run right on through and don’t stick.

    TOM: You know it’s interesting. As the old saying goes, electricity and water don’t mix. (Leslie chuckles) But in your case, they actually do mix and they do a really good job of taking the hardness out of the water. The other thing I noticed about your system is the ease of installation because, like you say, there’s no plumbing. You simply wrap the signal wire around your main water pipe and plug the unit in and you’re done.

    BILL: That’s right. It takes – you know, the first time, everything seems to take longer. I wish I could put my kids’ swing set a second time. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) But you know the first time, it’s going to take probably 45 minutes, even an hour to install this. But if you know where your main cold water line is inside of your home, you simply wrap this insulated wire around that and you mount this box on the wall that’s about the size of a college textbook and you plug it into a 120 outlet.

    TOM: And that’s it and you’re done. The product is called EasyWater. It’s available at EasyWater.com. The telephone number is 1-888-7NO-SALT. That’s 888-7-NO-SALT.

    Bill Freije, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Interesting to hear about a product that solves an age-old problem in such a simple and effective way.

    BILL: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright, well we know it only takes one homeowner to install the EasyWater system, but how many smart homeowners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, if it’s you. And if you want a light bulb that lasts longer and uses less energy, we’ve got that information when we come back.

    (theme song)

    ANNNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by FRAM. Installing a new FRAM air filter can help improve your gas mileage. Remember, before you slam it, FRAM it. 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 the number here, over at operation station Money Pit, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone, give us a call. If you ask your home improvement question on the air, you’ve got a chance to win a great prize. We’re giving away a random orbit sander from Ryobi. It’s worth 40 bucks. It’s got a really powerful motor. It can handle some tough jobs and it’s got a built-in spin control mechanism that’s going to prevent swirling, which you sometimes see if you get a little carried away with your sanding, but not with this great prize. You’ve got to be in it to win it, though; so pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Well, would you like to be a little more environmentally conscious in your home? Here’s a quick and easy and fairly inexpensive way to go green. Why don’t you take all of those incandescent lights in your house and replace them with compact fluorescent light bulbs? They can last up to 10,000 hours and actually save you about $9 a year in lighting cost. That can really add up when you consider how many bulbs are in your home. I mean you could have what, 50 bulbs in a house? That’s entirely possible. That really adds up to a lot of expense that you won’t have to pay if you simply change those bulbs to CFLs.

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

    Leslie, who’s next?

    LESLIE: Alright, our next caller, Cathy, is calling just in time because there is a potential risk for a dryer fire. Tell us what’s going on with your dryer, Cathy?

    CATHY: Yes, my laundry room is located in the basement of – the downstairs of a raised ranch and it’s in the center of the house. It actually goes up. The vent goes up over the bathroom, which is located next to it before it goes out. So it doesn’t have a direct line to the outside wall.

    TOM: OK, it kind of snakes its way out.

    CATHY: Right. How would I go about changing something like that? I did have a plumber come. He said it wasn’t worth it.

    TOM: So right now, the dryer vent that goes through – is it going through a wall cavity?

    CATHY: Yes, a ceiling cavity.

    TOM: A ceiling cavity? And it’s a plastic dryer vent?

    CATHY: Yes, it is.

    TOM: Not safe. Well, you know there probably is a way to snake a metal dryer exhaust duct in there …

    LESLIE: Like a fitting that would go inside of the existing one?

    TOM: No, what I’m thinking is that if you – it’s the same way that you would snake wires or new plumbing pipe through walls. You may have to cut an access hole but you can – if it’s the accordion type where it sort of unfolds, all you need to do is to kind of get it started and you can pull it through that whole space and hook it up to the outside.

    LESLIE: Cathy, how do you know that the entire dryer vent line is all plastic and it’s not just the piece that’s going from your dryer into the wall?

    TOM: And by the way, Cathy, that would be very unusual for there to be plastic inside the wall.

    LESLIE: Because it’s a fire hazard.

    TOM: Alright, so it’s that one piece, from the ceiling outside, that has to be replaced.

    CATHY: Right.

    TOM: Yeah, well you’re just going to have to snake a new one in there. I mean it’s not impossible. You may have to open up a piece of the ceiling on the far end so you can access all the way across …

    CATHY: Right.

    TOM: … but it’s very important that that be replaced because if it’s plastic it’s a fire hazard.

    CATHY: It is plastic.

    TOM: It definitely is?

    CATHY: Yes. I can see it from the outside opening, you know, when I clean it out.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, and you know it’s working? When you turn the dryer on, you see that the hot air comes out the vent on the outside?

    CATHY: Yes, if I’m outside I can see it.

    TOM: OK, so we know it works.

    CATHY: Right.

    TOM: You’re just going to have to replace that. It is definitely worth it because it’s dangerous to have a plastic vent, dryer vent, inside the ceiling cavity. It’s not designed to do that.

    Up next, how’d you like to win 5,000 bucks to help you out with your next home improvement project? Well, you could do it. Details on the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes are 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. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we’ve got some very exciting news. Going on right now, we’ve got the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes. We’ve taken our advice and we’ve put it into a very fun, entertaining and super-informative book called My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure and to celebrate the launch and success of our book, we are giving away $5,000 cash and lots of fun home improvement products with our first ever home improvement game.

    TOM: To enter, all you need to do is head on over to MoneyPit.com and tour our interactive online Money Pit. It’s a room by room house where you can answer some easy true or false home improvement questions. You get them right, you’ll be qualified to enter the sweepstakes and win our $5,000 cash grand prize.

    LESLIE: And in addition to the cash, we’ve got dozens of other prizes, including five EasyWater water softening systems worth almost $1,300 each, two Lifetime sheds worth nearly 1,200 bucks each, a Lifetime trailer worth more than $1,500 – these are big prizes – and a hundred packages of monkey hooks.

    TOM: Test your home improvement knowledge. You could walk away a winner. Go there right now, MoneyPit.com. While you’re there, click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question, just like Jack did, who says: ‘I get severe water hammering from my steam heating system. The water level in the boiler is correct; however, when the boiler fires up, water travels with the steam and comes out of the vents and we get that severe knocking and hammering in the pipes. Would a boiler cleaner rectify the problem?’

    No, Jack, because the problem is not with your boiler. It’s doing its job. The problem is with your radiators. What’s happening is they are not level. Now, not level …

    LESLIE: Interesting.

    TOM: … is a good thing, when it comes to radiators but I think these are tilted the wrong way. You need to tilt them so that the water always runs out of them. If they’re tilted so the water gets stuck in them, you get little steam explosions and that’s what causes that knocking and hammering sound. So with a few adjustments to the angle of the radiators so water doesn’t get trapped behind, the knocking will magically go away.

    LESLIE: And that’s the same with all radiators: tall, cast iron ones; baseboards? Same thing?

    TOM: Well, with baseboards it wouldn’t really happen but with the cast iron ones, happens all the time.

    LESLIE: Alright, add that to your fall home improvement list.

    TOM: Well, if you like a lot of glass, French doors are classic and beautiful as a feature in a room that showcase and view the outdoors. They’re great on style but not so much when it comes to privacy. However, Leslie’s got some ideas on how to screen out those prying eyes but still let the light shine in, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and this is a pretty easy trick that you can do. You just need a steady hand, a straight edge and a matte knife or an Exacto knife to cut the paper nice and easy. What I’m talking about doing is giving your French doors a lot of style, some privacy and really add just a decorative touch to your space because you can hide the view with cut pieces of decorative paper: you can look at rice paper; you can look at other textural, natural papers. Cut them to the size of your panes of glass and then go ahead and attach them to the interior of the doors with some double-sided tape. Use it really small in the corners, around the edges. When you want to remove it, you can just peel it off and get rid of all the tape when you’re finally ready to change the look. But if you head to a high-end art store or even craft stores in your neighborhood, you can find some beautiful paper choices that are very inexpensive and then you can go ahead and update and add some privacy to those beautiful French doors and still enjoy the look.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. The website is MoneyPit.com. That’s about all the time we have this hour. But coming up next time on the program, we’re going to tell you why duct tape should never, ever be used to seal your ducts. Find out what you should do to keep those ducts airtight and save lots of energy dollars, on the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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