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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.)


    (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. Call us right now if you’re thinking about replacing your windows this fall or perhaps your doors. If you’re getting sick and tired of heating your neighborhood more than your house, (Leslie chuckles) now is a good time to think about doing that project, before the next heating bill arrives and we can certainly help with it. So we’re going to have some tips on how to select replacement windows and doors this hour on the program.

    LESLIE: And also ahead, you know, here at The Money Pit we get lots of calls on the show about stains on your roofs at home; including moss, algae, mildew and, basically, any other organic growth you might find up there. Well, there is a simple solution. It’s a trick of the trade and it works really great with Mother Nature to prevent one type of roof discoloration. We’re going to tell you exactly what it is, in a little bit.

    TOM: And when you hear the term miter saw, you probably, like most folks, might be a little intimidated. You know, it used to be that the miter saw was the backsaw that you would use, sort of the handsaw that was – had the straight, metal bar on the back of it and you could use it to make picture frame molding and things like that.

    Now, miter saws are associated with the power miter box, which is pretty intimidating sometimes to use. But the good news is that that tool has actually become a lot simpler to use, a lot more cost effective to buy and we’re going to give you some tips on picking one up, a bit later in the show, including how to select the right features and options to handle just about any project in your house.

    LESLIE: Yeah, and one that you really will not be afraid of. They are the greatest tool to have around your house, if you do any type of woodworking at all or building in any way shape or form. I guarantee you, once you learn how to use one properly, you will be thrilled with it.

    And speaking of thrilling you folks, going on right now – are you ready for this – at MoneyPit.com, we have got your chance to win, not some dinky prize, a $5,000 grand prize that you can use toward maybe your next home improvement project or really, whatever you want to spend it on; we’re not going to judge. And all you’ve got to do for your chance to win is play the My Home, My Money Pit Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes.

    TOM: That’s right. All you need to do is answer a few home improvement trivia questions. If you get them right, you’ll be qualified to enter and win the cash or one of 200 other prizes. Actually, we’ve got a prize pool for this thing now, Leslie, that’s up over $16,000, all available right now at MoneyPit.com.

    Let’s get right to the phones. Let’s start helping you with some home improvement projects. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Mark in Arizona is dealing with an odor at his place of business. What can we help you with?

    MARK: Well, we’ve owned the business for 11 years and the whole time we’ve owned the business, the building that it’s in has always had a smell – only in the summertime; never in the winter – and it’s always been like a sewer smell, like you would smell like – the smell would come out of those vent pipes that come out of your house.

    TOM: Right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    MARK: And we can – and I tried – like there’s two of them in the – there’s two bathrooms, so there’s two vent pipes going up and out of the building and I tried extending, because it’s only on one side of the building we have this smell.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    MARK: So I tried extending that pipe, thinking because it was coming over – the wind coming over the building was blowing it into the air conditioner unit and putting it inside the building.

    TOM: Right.

    MARK: But that didn’t work.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    MARK: And I was wondering maybe if there was something that could be done to – that would make that smell go away.

    TOM: Generally speaking, when you have a sewage odor issue, there’s a problem with the trap and the trap is the curved part of the pipe that basically holds water inside of it so it won’t let …

    LESLIE: To stop those sewage gases from coming out.

    TOM: To stop the gases from leaking back out. Now, do you have any kinds of showers or anything of that or is it just – what’s in the bathroom itself?

    MARK: It’s just a sink and a toilet. That’s it.

    TOM: Sink and a toilet? Mm-hmm. I wonder if you’ve got a broken vent pipe somewhere in the wall. Can you see the vent pipe all the way up and out, the way your building is designed?

    MARK: You can see some of it. I don’t know if you can see all of it. I tried looking at that a year or so ago and we tried different things and we just never can resolve it. And it’s only in the summertime; it’s never in the winter, which is strange. It gets really hot here.

    TOM: Right.

    MARK: Like 120 degrees hot.

    TOM: Right.

    MARK: So I’m thinking it has something to do with that, obviously, because versus the winter, you never get it, so …

    TOM: Right. Well, here’s what you might want to think about doing. You could have a pipe inspection done and the folks that usually do the drain cleaning – like Roto-Rooter and that sort of thing – they have drain cameras that can actually run through these pipes …

    LESLIE: So they don’t have to disrupt anything.

    TOM: Yeah, without doing any demolition and try to figure out where this disconnect is because, obviously, that’s what’s going on. The trap is either improperly constructed – it’s too shallow, it gets warm, the air dries out, something of that nature; but if it’s happening inside the building cavity, that might be a good way to identify it without doing any demolition.

    MARK: Alright. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Well, we are off to a great start this hour so why don’t you pick up the phone and get in on the fun? Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question or even your home improvement debacle emergency. We can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, we’re going to give you some tips on a new high-tech patio door technology that can reduce those air leaks and stand up to the toughest storms that Mother Nature has to dish out and rake up energy savings, all at the same time. That’s coming up, next.

    (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 the number here over at The Money Pit studio is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone and give us a call right now because one caller that we talk to on the air this hour who asks us a home improvement question is going to win a child’s safety kit from CableOrganizer.com. And this kit has got everything that you need to keep your child safe from electrical and common household dangers that are going on around your house. It’s worth almost 60 bucks, so give us a call for your chance to win this great prize at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. Let’s talk now about how to seal up your house from some of those nasty air and water leaks that always seem to fly in through the windows and the patio doors and places like that. If you have one of the old patio doors, a good thing to do right now is to switch from the aluminum patio doors, which are very energy inefficient to the new high-tech, durable fiberglass patio doors.

    These fiberglass doors are super-strong, they look great and they’ve got low-e glass – most of them, of course – so you’ll be warm and toasty all winter long. They’ve really come a long way in terms of the weatherstripping system around these doors too because they can stand up to some really, really severe rains; really severe windstorms, as well.

    So if you’re thinking about getting some new doors; if you’re tired of having the real drafty doors, look into the fiberglass doors. Therma-Tru makes some really good ones. They’re available online at ThermaTru.com.

    Now, when it comes to replacement windows, you know, there’s a lot of window manufacturers out there that tout custom windows. The truth is that with most of the windows today, all of the replacement windows are custom because they’re ordered to fit your house. The key thing to look for there is the Energy Star label because it can be very confusing. There are a lot of manufacturers and especially the local window dealers that will tout energy savings using some sort of some crazy numbers, like you can save 50 percent of your heating bill and things like that with no way to really justify it.

    If you want to really try to find something that you can use, like sort of as an apple-to-apple comparison, look for that Energy Star label. That’s what’s going to tell you if the window is going to stand up. So replacement patio doors, replacement windows – all great projects. Make you comfortable, save lots of energy, add some value to your house all at the same time.

    888-666-3974. If you’d like to lower your heating costs or replace some doors or windows or tackle just about any other project in your house, give us a call right now.

    Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Frank in Georgia needs some help cleaning a floor. Tell us what’s going on with the stain.

    FRANK: Hello. Yes, I am trying, unsuccessfully, to clean vinyl flooring. I’ve used the – I guess the household brands like Mop & Glo and it just doesn’t clean it. I even have a steam cleaner that didn’t do a real good job either. I can get on my hands and knees and still tell that there’s, I guess, some dirt still in and I just wondered if there’s anything that successfully cleans vinyl flooring.

    TOM: You know, Frank, I think what you might want to think about doing at this stage is using a floor stripper – not so much a floor cleaner but a product called a floor stripper. Armstrong makes one; of course, they’re one of the leading floor manufacturers in the country so you would hope they’d get it right. It’s called New Beginning Extra-Strength Floor Stripper. It’s available online and at retailers. You can go to their Armstrong website and look it up at Armstrong.com but basically it’s designed to remove really ground-in dirt …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: (overlapping voices) … ground-in stains …

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Any sort of buildup.

    TOM: … wax buildup, any kind of polish that’s on the floor and kind of gets you back to what it used to look like.

    FRANK: And that won’t damage the no-wax floor?

    TOM: No, because it’s designed to work specifically with flooring products.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) For vinyl.

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    FRANK: Well, great. That sounds like my answer then. I’ll try that.

    TOM: Alright, Frank. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Karen in California is hoping that her dryer will serve double-purpose in her home this cool season. What can we do for you, Karen?

    KAREN: Well, yeah, along the lines of conserving heat/money, is there any way to harness the heat from the dryer vent that just melts the snow in the winter, outside the house while the inside …

    LESLIE: But it’s helping you shovel that area. (Tom chuckles)

    KAREN: (chuckling) Well, there’s bunny holes. I mean, somebody’s benefiting. (Leslie and Karen chuckle)

    TOM: You know, Karen, that’s a good question and it might seem like a logical question because why dump all that heat outside your house? There actually have been, over the years, manufacturers that have designed these damper-like devices that basically filter the air but sort of bypass the cleaned air back into the house.

    The problem with that is that it’s not just hot air; it’s hot air that’s got a lot of water vapor in it. And when you dump all that water vapor back into your house, you cause all sorts of air quality issues, including mold and that moisture that gets up into the attic space eventually …

    LESLIE: And I bet it just feels gross.

    TOM: Well, it kind of gets pretty damp. If that moisture gets up into the attic, because eventually a lot of that vapor pressure gets up there, then it also saturates your insulation and that makes that very ineffective.

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which won’t work as well.

    TOM: So good question but not – there’s no practical solution to it. If you’re concerned about conserving energy, I would start with a good energy audit. You know, the EPA website, the EnergyStar.gov website, has a great section on home energy audits. They’ve got home energy audits that you can do yourself and then they’ve got referrals to find an actual auditor that comes in your house and looks for those kinds of areas where you can conserve some energy. So I don’t think that that’s a good place for you to start though, for all those reasons.

    KAREN: Oh. OK. Well, the bunnies, I guess, will have it. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Good idea. That’s right. (Karen chuckles) Alright, Karen.

    LESLIE: Let the bunnies enjoy their heat.

    KAREN: Yeah.

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

    LESLIE: I’m serious. It always give me a good starting point in my driveway.

    TOM: Does it really?

    LESLIE: I’m like, alright, here’s a melted shovel area. Let me start from there. (Tom chuckles)

    TOM: Pre-softened, so to speak.

    LESLIE: Exactly.

    TOM: Hey, whatever works.

    LESLIE: Marie in Rhode Island is with us on The Money Pit to talk about a cleaning problem. What can we do for you today?

    MARIE: What is the best product to use for removing mold from Trex decking?

    TOM: Well, composite decks, as good as they are, do tend to build up, you know, an algae that can get across the surface and there’s a number of products that are available to clean that. One of which, which is real easy to find, is called JOMAX – J-O-M-A-X. It’s made by the Zinsser Company. It’s available at hardware stores and home centers and …

    LESLIE: And does a great job.

    TOM: It’s basically a siding and a roof wash and a deck wash. And you apply this stuff – you let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes and then sort of scrub it and rinse it off and it does a really good job of bringing the shine back up to that deck.

    MARIE: Very good. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Heading over to New York to chat with Ken about some unwanted visitors. You’ve got mice?

    KEN: I have a dropped ceiling in my basement and it has insulation in it – fiberglass, I think. I believe it’s fiberglass now.


    KEN: And there are plenty of droppings there inside the – on the ceiling tiles. I was just wondering if they were nesting up there. They suggested removal of the fiberglass insulation but will that make my basement colder or my upstairs first floor colder or …

    TOM: First of all, you need to get rid of the mice problem here, Ken, and there’s a couple of things that you can do to try to make it a little less inviting. First of all, I would suggest that you put down some bait because bait is very effective.

    KEN: Yeah. I have that down already. I had exterminators in already, yeah.

    TOM: OK, so you had the exterminator. Did you also – did he talk to you about inspecting the outside of the siding? Because very often, you’ll have some little holes that’ll form in the siding or it …

    LESLIE: And it can be the tiniest holes, like the size of nickels.

    TOM: Yeah, and even right under the siding that’s up into that same space. And a way to deal with that is to take some steel wool and kind of stuff it in there so that they can’t get in. As Leslie said, they don’t need much space; maybe something the size of a quarter or so they can squeeze right in. So make sure you inspect the outside perimeter of your house to try to identify any spaces that the mice can be getting in.

    LESLIE: And generally, Ken, if you sign up with some sort of service contract with an exterminator who will work with you maybe in like over two or three months to solve this problem – especially this time of year, they’re looking to come inside – the exterminator should, in their package, you know, go around the perimeter of your home and look for all of these holes and seal them.

    I know I live I think in a similar area to where you live in New York and we had a similar problem in the fall season and I hired a company and a gentleman came and he found holes that I’d missed, which is where they were coming in and it wasn’t a huge expense for us.

    Mark in North Carolina is looking to get some hot water to those far places. How can we help?

    MARK: I’m actually having some problems with my dishwasher.


    MARK: It doesn’t seem like it’s that far from the hot water heater but it takes forever for water to get to the faucet there, near the dishwasher.

    TOM: OK.

    MARK: And what I end up doing is running the water at the sink by the dishwasher, pretty much …

    LESLIE: Before you run the dishwasher.

    MARK: Not just before but actually through the whole cycle.

    TOM: Oh, that’s crazy.

    LESLIE: Wow.

    TOM: What’s up with your dishwasher? Doesn’t seem like it’s working very well.

    MARK: Yeah, and I don’t know if there’s a way to test the heating element in it or if it’s just a matter that, you know, when it’s not demanding the water that it – you know, since it does take so long.

    TOM: Are you finding, Mark, that if you don’t do that the dishes come out dirty?

    MARK: Yes, that’s the reason that I started checking on the hot water.

    TOM: Well, listen. I think the problem is your dishwasher. It’s not your water heater.

    LESLIE: How old is the dishwasher?

    MARK: About three years old.

    LESLIE: Hmm.

    TOM: Yeah, I suspect that the water heater in the dishwasher, which is supposed to boost the water temperature up, is not working.

    MARK: Hmm.

    TOM: You know, there’s a good website. It’s called RepairClinic.com, where they can …

    LESLIE: It’s an excellent website.

    TOM: They can diagnose the specific part based on the specific model …

    MARK: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and then you can actually buy the part and they provide you step-by-step instructions on how to fix it yourself. You might want to head on over there because I don’t think this problem is with your water heater. This problem is with your dishwasher and you’re probably wasting boatloads of cash.

    MARK: Yeah. And I’m not running it on a high – at a high amount. I get it hot and then I let it trickle during the hot water cycle but still, I know that that’s not great.

    TOM: Yeah, but listen. The temperature of the water that you need to clean dishes is higher than the temperature of the water …

    LESLIE: That comes out of the faucet.

    TOM: Yeah, that you clean yourself with.

    MARK: Hmm.

    TOM: There’s supposed to be a booster in the dishwasher that boosts that temperature up a lot. I mean it comes out of the water heater – the maximum it could come out of the water heater is – and this is assuming that the water heater is completely set improperly …

    MARK: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … at maybe 140 degrees or so …

    MARK: Right.

    TOM: … which is absolutely scalding and totally dangerous. It should be down around 110 or 120. But the dishwasher itself should be boosting that up to 160-ish …

    MARK: Hmm.

    TOM: … because of the temperature inside. You ever notice when you open up a dishwasher mid-cycle and there’s just all this steam that comes out?

    LESLIE: It’s like a steam bath.

    TOM: That’s not happening …

    MARK: Yeah, I don’t get that. (Leslie chuckles)

    TOM: Well, that’s not happening, obviously. That’s not happening because the water’s going in at 120. It’s going in – it’s happening because there’s a heater in there. So your heater is not working. That’s the problem that you need to solve. OK, Mark?

    LESLIE: And that’s a young dishwasher …

    TOM: Yeah, exactly.

    LESLIE: … so you really should take advantage of the repair.

    TOM: Yeah, at that age it’s definitely worth fixing.

    MARK: And you say it’s ApplianceGuru.com? Is that what it was?

    TOM: RepairClinic.com and yes, the – that is one of their characters there. I think it’s the Repair Guru or something like that.

    MARK: Yeah.

    TOM: But it’s RepairClinic.com.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit and in just a little bit, we are going to be talking about a tool that you might think is a little too tough for the average DIYer. We’re talking about a miter saw and if you are afraid of it, fear not. Up next, we are going to tell you what a miter saw can do for you and why you shouldn’t be afraid to use one and then you’re going to run out and get one. So stick around.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Owens Corning. It’s easy to insulate your home and save money. What’s stopping you? Learn more at InsulateandSave.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And you know we love to talk power tools here and we’ve got one for you that may sound a little bit scary. You know, we talk about miter saws and it might make you feel a bit intimidated and you might be thinking, ‘Well, gosh, it sounds like a tool I should probably leave to the pros or the folks who really do serious home improvement.’ But actually, you can learn to operate a miter saw very safely and you’ll be totally blown away at the projects it can help you with around your home.

    TOM: It’s definitely one of those saws that once you get it, you start thinking of all the projects that you can do with it. And I’ve got to tell you, my power miter box – I use that more than any other power tool in my total arsenal.

    LESLIE: Me, too.

    TOM: We ended up this weekend – we were building a garden and putting some like railroad ties, like small ones around the edge …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and we brought out the chop box and away we went. So here to talk to us about the advantages of buying and using a miter saw, with some ideas on how to do that safely, is Jason Swanson from Ryobi.

    Hi Jason.

    JASON: Hey, how are you guys?

    TOM: You guys make lots and lots of power tools; some of the best in the business comes out of your group at TTI. Talk to us about miter saws. That’s got to be one of the fun ones.

    JASON: Oh, absolutely. Shoot. Every project requires a little bit different size or a little different angle on how to cut your boards, so we kind of offer a different flavor for every, single project.

    LESLIE: But how do you sort of make it easy for the novice do-it-yourselfer? I mean, I know when I first started learning about tools umpteen years ago, looking at the miter saws – there were sliding, there were compound, there were non-compound. What sort of makes it easy for the do-it-yourselfer to figure out what they need?

    JASON: Yeah. Typically, a homeowner is going to have to look at their project. And if you look at the list of cuts you’re going to have to make or the dimensional lumber that you have, if you have something that’s, say, 2×4 or less in all your cuts, a simple miter box will work just fine. And shoot, most of the times, they’re $99 or less.

    TOM: Now, these miter boxes are getting easier to use and one of the reasons I think is because of the laser track system; the laser guiding system that’s on many of them. Does Ryobi have that technology?

    JASON: Oh, absolutely. And our 179, which is our mid-price point model and our 12-inch model, they both have a laser. And the cool thing about it is you can actually move the laser to the left of your cut line, on the middle of the cut line or right at the cut line so you can kind of customize where you want to be.

    LESLIE: Oh, I still line the blade up.

    TOM: I’d never remember where I left it. (chuckles) But that’s great. You know, I think it’s good to have options, just so you don’t have to use them. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)

    JASON: Absolutely.

    TOM: Let’s talk about the portability of these saws. They seem to have been getting a lot lighter. I know that when I first bought a miter saw, it had a cast iron base and all I could do with two arms just to lift it. Now, they’re getting a lot lighter. They’re even available in a battery-powered version. Talk to us about some of the technology that goes into that.

    JASON: Oh, yeah. Shoot. Over the past, you know, five or ten years, cast iron has become a thing of the past and they’ve gone to some lighter weight cast aluminums which are, in most cases, even stronger and like you mentioned, half the weight.

    LESLIE: Super-lightweight.

    JASON: Oh, yeah, certainly. And you get – by using lighter weight materials, obviously, you can get from job site to job site and you can throw it in the back of your car or the back of your pickup truck and not hurt yourself.

    LESLIE: Well, and what I love about the portability and the lightweightedness, especially with the battery-operated model, is that I can take it from, you know, the tool corral; bring it into a room where I’m doing a crown molding project or a trimming project and it’s a lot of measuring and finagling of pieces into definite areas, rather than taking my measurement, running to the workshop, making sure I’ve cut it correctly, coming back in. You know, it really makes a project go so much more swimmingly smooth, you know?

    JASON: Oh, absolutely. It’s great you mentioned crown molding. On one of the saws – I think it’s our TS1355LA – you don’t have to remember that – we use a crown stop and what that does is allow you to nest crown on your saw against the back rail and in the back support and kind of look at it as you’d see it on the wall and then make your cut, versus having to do it the traditional way, which is a …

    LESLIE: Upside-down and towards you.

    JASON: Yeah. Like a flip-turn deal. So we’re trying to simplify things for homeowners so, you know, they can definitely see results at a reduced rate from having to hire a contractor.

    TOM: It’s great to see you guys building all this innovation into the tools because I’ve got to tell you, when I first started cutting crown molding on a power miter box, I used to draw the ceiling on the fence and on the table and line it up that way and then cut it backwards. (Leslie and Tom chuckle) And it worked but you always had to kind of keep in mind which side of the cut you were on, because crown molding is one of the most difficult moldings to attach.

    Let’s talk about some of the other features of a power miter box that you might want to be looking for if you decide to buy one: dust collection; the stands that are available; and what about the wings that sort of slide off the side of the table so that you can support your work? Are those all options that you should be considering?

    JASON: Oh, I think so. You know, it depends on how long you’re going to want to own this miter saw. Positive stops are always a must, so you don’t have to be a geometry whiz and figure things out. Eventually, in time …

    LESLIE: And a positive stop is it sort of just stops at zero and forty-five; you know, your basic angles, correct?

    JASON: Absolutely. And they’re also going to give you like a 33-1/2, which is a molding stop which is very common. And the other one, which is one of my favorites – and if you’re doing any in-home remodeling – is dust collection. A lot of the newer units will have a little bit enlarged dust collection port, with a little bit larger bag, and it’ll also make it easier to hook up to a normal wet/dry vac.

    TOM: Great tips.

    Jason Swanson from Ryobi, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great things to look for when you’re choosing a power miter box.

    If you want more information on Ryobi’s products, you can go to RyobiTools.com.

    Thanks, Jason.

    JASON: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Alright. Jason, thanks so much. You know I am already a fan of the miter saw, so thanks for helping a lot of our listeners out there get the courage to go out and pick up a new tool. I guarantee they are going to love it. Run out to the store today and get one; you will make projects left and right.

    Hey, are you tired of staring at those unsightly moss stains on your roof or maybe your neighbor’s roof? Well, we’ve got a simple fix for this very common problem, next.

    (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: 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 are you finding that hard water in your home is causing you to work extra hard in your daily life at your house? Well, if so, how would you like to win a $1,200 water softener that will solve it once and for all? You can win that and learn more about our brand new book, My Home, My Money Pit, just by going to Money Pit.com. And once you’re there, play the Home Improvement Adventure Game and Sweepstakes. It’s sponsored by Rinnai and we have got a ton of great prizes for you there.

    TOM: Yeah, there’s like 200 other prizes. We’ve got these big, beautiful storage sheds from Lifetime Products and lots of wall-hanging hardware from our friends over at Monkey Hook, plus a grand prize of 5,000 bucks cash. Now, that will definitely pay for some home improvement projects around your house, so …

    LESLIE: Or some shoes.

    TOM: Or some shoes. A lot of shoes.

    LESLIE: A lot of shoes. Well, maybe five pairs.

    TOM: Well, have some fun. Well, you buy expensive shoes, kid. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: Hey, if you’ve got prize money, you might as well go for the gusto.

    TOM: Might as well go crazy, right? Alright.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Well, you can spend it any way you want and Leslie can give you some shoe advice all at the same time. (Leslie chuckles) 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, let’s get back to those phones. Who’s next?

    LESLIE: Rudy in Florida, welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?

    RUDY: I have a pool with a screened enclosure.


    RUDY: And the screened enclosure has mold on it and so do the metal supports and I’m wondering what I can do to get rid of the mold without messing up the pool?

    TOM: Well, you’re going to use a deck wash on that. There are different types of mildicides that can be used for siding or deck when they get mildew on them. There are a number of commercial products out there. Flood has one called Deck Bright, which I think would work.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Dekswood, yeah.

    TOM: Dekswood, sorry. And JOMAX is another one – J-O-M-A-X – made by the Zinsser Company. And you mix these up with water and bleach. You apply them strategically, let them sit for a few minutes on the mildew and then go ahead and hose them off or if you have a pressure washer on a very light setting – not too hard but a light setting, Rudy – you can hose it off that way. And that’ll brighten it up and you’ll be good to go all over again.

    RUDY: Great. Thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Now, it’s time to talk to Debbie in Texas about heating and cooling. What can we do for you?

    DEBBIE: Hi. I built my home seven years ago and I had the insulation blown in the attic and then I put rolled insulation in the walls; the interior walls.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: But the insulation in the attic has packed down a lot …

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: … and I think that my heating and air conditioning bills are going up.

    TOM: OK.

    DEBBIE: I’ve heard a lot about radiant barrier. Is that something I should do or could do now that it’s already got that blown insulation in or should I just add more insulation?

    TOM: Both are good strategies. The radiant barrier does a good job of trying to keep the heat out of the attic, to begin with, in the summertime. It’s not going to do as much for you in the wintertime. But what you might want to think about doing is adding another layer of insulation on top of what you have.

    How many inches do you think you have there right now, Debbie?

    DEBBIE: My guess would be probably eight.

    TOM: Yeah. That’s not nearly enough. I would add probably at least another 10 or 12 inches. I would use unfaced fiberglass batt insulations, laid perpendicular to the ceiling joists.

    DEBBIE: Oh, so just lay a roll instead of having more blown in?

    TOM: Right up …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. On top.

    TOM: That’s right. You can lay it right on top.

    DEBBIE: Oh, OK.

    TOM: Yeah. This way, you’re going to …

    DEBBIE: Now, I have those canister lights in the ceiling. Is that going to cause a problem with laying that stuff?

    TOM: Well, they’re already – the canister lights; are they already – is the insulation covering them?

    DEBBIE: Yes.

    LESLIE: The blown-in.

    TOM: OK. Well, it depends on what type of lights. We would hope that the insulation contractor originally checked but if the canister lights, the high-hat lights, are rated IC – which simply stands for insulation contact –

    LESLIE: Then you’re OK.

    TOM: But if they’re not, then you cannot cover them and you have to go around them.

    LESLIE: Is there a place on the ceiling can itself where you can read that?

    TOM: Yes. It should be stamped right on the device itself and if it’s rated …

    LESLIE: On the interior side. So if you’re looking at it from the room …

    TOM: Well, it depends on the manufacturer but, usually, where you put the bulb in near the socket, there’s usually some labeling across that so that you can always see it. But it has to be rated to for insulation contact; otherwise, you simply want to just go around it.


    TOM: Alright?

    DEBBIE: Alright. Well, thank you. Thank you for taking my call.

    TOM: Well, you’re very welcome and good luck and we hope you get those heating and cooling bills down.

    LESLIE: Well, lots of great calls so far this hour. And you know, we’re moving further into the fall season right now and we’ve got a quick tip that we wanted to share for you about a common fall home improvement question that we get here a lot on the show. Tons of calls come in from all of you out there and you want to know how to get rid of stains on your roof and we’ve got an easy solution.

    If you find that you’ve got moss on your roof, you should consider installing a copper or a nickel ridge vent and then flash those filter vents with copper or nickel, whatever you can get your hands on; either material. This way, when it rains, the water as it hits that material is going to release minerals in those vents that will eliminate moss naturally.

    It’s going to remove all of those stains as the water hits the flashing and then drizzles down your roof and you will seen clean spaces. It is miraculous. Go up there once to do the installation and then never go up there again to do the cleaning; let Mother Nature do all the work. And you know fall and winter are filled with a ton of precipitation so sit back and enjoy the cleaning.

    TOM: And that is a perfect fall project. Here is another one; it’s also a good time to add insulation to cut your energy costs but how do you do that if the area you want to insulate is just not accessible; like, for example, the inside of your exterior walls? We’re going to help one listener figure out how to solve that problem when we dive into the e-mail bag, next.

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Hey, do you want to boost your home’s value and keep it in tip-top shape all at the same time? Well, simple maintenance can do all of that at the same time and it’s super-easy to do. We’re going to tell you how and what you need to do to accomplish that in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter.

    If you are not getting it, why the heck not? Sign up now at MoneyPit.com today. We’ll never give out your e-mail address but give you tons of information just for giving us your address.

    TOM: 888-666-3974 is the way you can get your home improvement answer and there’s another way, though, and that is you can log onto MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie, just like Marty did from Austin, Minnesota. Marty says, ‘How do you add insulation to a home built in 1907 with slate siding? You can’t drill holes and blow it in and I don’t know if it can be removed without breaking it. Sounds pretty expensive to me either way.’

    Well, Marty, in fact you can blow insulation into those walls. You don’t do it from the outside; you do it from the inside. Now, in a 1907 home, you probably have plaster lathe walls and, yes, you are going to have to do some patching and some painting but that clearly is the best way to do it.

    And the other thing that’s interesting about old houses is generally those walls are balloon frame, so you may only have to open it in one place and that insulation could fill in all the way up to the second floor. You might want to think about starting at the second floor as you drill the holes and use the blown insulation because it’ll probably settle down to the first, if there are no blockages in the way to stop it.

    And the way you’re going to know that is by the amount of the insulation that goes into that wall cavity. Once you get it right the first time, you’ll be good to go but clearly, blown-in insulation is the way to address a wall cavity that you can’t get access to. If you can’t get to it from the outside, you can do the same thing from the inside. Very easy, very effective and a great way to save some money this winter.

    LESLIE: Yeah. My goodness and imagine how much warmer you’re going to be in Minnesota by just doing that. Alright, we’ve got one from Rod in Florida who writes: ‘I have an old car which leaked motor oil on my brick driveway. I’ve tried to remove the stain; nothing is working. How can I get rid of it or should I just replace the brick where the stain is?

    TOM: Three letters: TSP – trisodium phosphate. Great cleaner available at – usually in the paint aisle of home centers and hardware stores. Mix that up into a paste; apply it to the driveway. It should pull the oil stain right out of it. Rinse it off and you will be good to go. And fix the car.

    LESLIE: Yeah, totally.

    TOM: Well, here’s some home improvement math for you. How’d you like to add some space and subtract clutter in a busy room in your house? Leslie has got the answer to that do-it-yourself dilemma in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. Built-in desks, shelves, even entertainment units – they are a great way to make use of otherwise dead space in very high-traffic areas in your home, like your kitchen or your den or your home office or even your living room or perhaps you have a studio where that one room is all of those things going on at once.

    So if you want to solve this dilemma, when you’re designing your custom furniture, include plenty of shelves and drawers and don’t forget to include provisions for your PCs, phones, faxes, all of those cables and cords and power strips and everything that you need. All the construction – it’s basically a simple box construction. Use the studs in the walls to support all the weight. It’s a simple project even a novice DIYer could take on with just a little practice. Tackle it once; you will tackle it in every little nook and cranny in your home and just take advantage of all of that unused space.

    TOM: Yeah. One more home improvement project to help take you into your home improving weekend.

    Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next week on the program, we’re going to have some tips on how to get you and your home ready in case a manmade or natural disaster would happen to hit. You’ll be ready to go when you listen to our program next week; same time, right here on The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

    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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