00:00/ 00:00

Planning now for Spring Gardening, Jersey Shore Rebuilds, New Garage Technology and more

  • Transcript

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

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. Let us help solve the do-it-yourself dilemma that you’ve been dwelling on. Pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 888-666-3974.

    Hey, coming up this hour on The Money Pit, fall is in full swing, so you might think that planning for the spring gardening is eons away. Well, not true because what you do in your garden, right now, can help make sure spring is in full bloom next year. We’re talking about planting bulbs. We’re going to tell you what you need to know, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: Plus, how many times have you gotten all the way to work only to sort of sit there and realize, as you’re stuck in traffic or parking your car there, “Did I leave the garage door open at home?” It’s the worst and that’s going to egg you all day long. And the only way to know for sure is to head back home, right?

    TOM: Yeah. Or call and harass your neighbor or something.

    LESLIE: Right. “Can you check my garage and then go lock my garage?”

    Well, not anymore because there’s actually an app for that. We’ve got information on a new way that you can check on your door from anywhere in – get this – the world.

    TOM: And also, the final installment of our exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds, airing right now on your local PBS station, sponsored by Red Devil. It’s been a wild ride for the three homeowners featured this season. And we’re going to have updates from all of them and talk about their recovery process.

    LESLIE: And one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 gift basket of Citrus Magic’s solids and sprays. And Citrus Magic air fresheners naturally absorb those odors and replace them with a fresh citrus scent.

    TOM: So let’s get to it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Peter in California is dealing with a water-heating situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    PETER: We just recently moved into a new rental and they have really, really hard water. So, the tank sounds like it’s out there just boiling away.

    TOM: So it sounds like it’s boiling? Does it sound like it’s sort of rustling water?

    PETER: Yeah, it sounds like there’s explosions going on there.

    TOM: Yeah. That’s air in the tank and that’s actually not that uncommon. I wouldn’t get too freaked out about it as long as it’s properly installed, has the right-size pressure-relief valve on it. Usually, it’s sort of expansion and contraction of the tank that sometimes is made worse by a little bit of air that gets in there. I’ve heard that kind of sound before.

    How old is this water heater?

    PETER: I have no idea. We’ve only been here a month. And other people on – in our cul-de-sac have the same problem. They say it’s from the calcium, the sediment buildup in it.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s actually possible. So, one of the things you can do is you could drain some water off the bottom of it. You’d have to hook up a garden hose to it. You have to turn it off and wait an hour or two for it to cool off and then you could drain some water off the bottom. That tends, sometimes, to rinse out any of the mineral-salt deposits that are built up at the bottom.

    PETER: OK. Because I was going to give that a go. I just wondered if that was one step to go with.

    TOM: You could try it. You could try it. But it’s usually pretty harmless, OK?

    PETER: I appreciate that. Alright. Thank you so much.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Susan in Pennsylvania is dealing with a woodpecker, except it’s not Woody the Woodpecker giving her the heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.

    Although he might be, as he’s making holes in your house. What’s going on, Susan?

    SUSAN: Well, thank you very much for taking my call. I’ve learned so much from listening to this show. I live with my daughter and son-in-law and there is a woodpecker every morning. He comes and has breakfast, compliments of our home. And my son-in-law has looked and there is damage and of course, he’s going to have that taken care of. But we’re trying to find out how do we deter this woodpecker from coming back or just picking another spot.

    TOM: Does he generally like to pick the same kind of spot?

    SUSAN: Yeah. He seems to be right over top of their bedroom, right in that area on the side of the house.

    TOM: Oh, great. So it can wake them up in the morning.

    Alright. So, let me give you a couple of things that you can try that are really easy. One of which is to get some tin pie plates, like the aluminum pie plates. Hang them from fishing line or sort of a thin cord or something so that they sort of dangle in the area where the woodpecker likes to hang out. Because they really are annoying to the birds and they don’t like to see their reflection; they think there’s other birds around. And sometimes, that’s all it takes to make them go away.

    Another thing that you can do is you could take strips of a plastic Hefty bag, cut it into 3-inch strips so that it kind of blows around in the breeze. That kind of has the freak-out effect. And neither of these, obviously, hurt the birds. You don’t want to leave them on for very long but they do work pretty well at keeping the woodpeckers away from your house. And maybe they’ll just decide that, you know, your neighbor’s house is a better place to be.

    SUSAN: Oh. OK. That’s fantastic. Yes.

    LESLIE: I had a woodpecker put a pretty nice-size hole in the soffit material of my home. And I was re-siding and changing out all of the soffit material for one of those AZEK type of extruded PVC product that looks like wood but obviously, the woodpecker is not going to eat it. So I didn’t bother repairing this pretty nice-size hole that the woodpecker made. And in the process of the work happening, before that soffit and fascia material came off, a whole family of squirrels moved in.

    SUSAN: Oh, aren’t you lucky? Well, thank you very much.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.

    Well, we are just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving and really, the holiday season because Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are the same day this year. I mean that is just crazy. What do you celebrate first? Do you have the turkey and then light the menorah?

    Well, whatever you are celebrating, you probably have some guests coming over, your kitchen probably needs some help, maybe there are some things you just want to tackle to make everything look ultra-festive. Give us a call; we’ll give you a hand. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and I think, most importantly, we don’t judge. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT and we’ll give you a hand.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Hey, still ahead, don’t put away those gardening tools just yet. What you do now to prepare for spring can make a huge difference in how your garden grows. Learn what you need to know, next.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by Diamond Crystal Salt. The benefits are bigger than you expected. After all, you’re worth your salt. Diamond Crystal Salt. A brilliant choice since 1886.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by the new Chamberlain MyQ Garage. When you forget, it alerts your smartphone so you can close your door from anywhere, on most garage-door openers. Available now. For more information, go to Chamberlain.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 the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 gift basket from our friends at Citrus Magic. Citrus Magic air fresheners are extremely effective at getting rid of bad smells. I tell you this from experience. Not that I am stinky but I have an 11-month-old who makes stinky things in little packages that you then put in a bag in their bedroom. It’s amazing.

    TOM: Do you spray the 11-month-old?

    LESLIE: I do not. What I actually do is I take the Solid Air Freshener from Citrus Magic and I put it in the diaper pail, like separate from the bag, where the diapers actually go.

    TOM: Well, that’s brilliant.

    LESLIE: And it’s amazing how effective it is. So if you are our lucky caller this hour, you’re going to get a whole basket of good scents. And it’s really a unique formula that includes baking soda in the Solid Air Freshener, which just absorbs those odors. And they’re all natural and they work.

    TOM: And they’re made in the U.S.A. You can get them online at CitrusMagic.com or at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger or your favorite local hardware store. Check them out and call us right now for your chance to win that basket of products at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Ray in North Carolina is on the – on the floor, I was going to say.

    RAY: You sound like me today.

    LESLIE: Sorry, Ray. I’m reading what your question is about and I introduce you as “Ray is calling in from the floor.”

    No, we’ve got Ray from North Carolina on the phone who’s got a crack in the garage floor. Tell us what’s going on there.

    RAY: Unbelievable. We’ve got a very small – not unbelievable but had a very small crack since we moved in, which is back in 1996, and it never really moved. And we had a little earthquake here. I don’t know if you heard about it but it was a small, little earthquake that – the one that affected the Washington Monument and all that.

    TOM: Yeah.

    RAY: But it did drag down here. But anyway, I don’t know if it’s really related to that or not but there are no cars in the garage because I’ve had too much junk, unfortunately.

    LESLIE: Join the club.

    RAY: But now the crack is now about a ¼-inch to, in a couple of spots, almost a ½-inch wide. And it goes from one end to the other. We’re talking about 17 feet. I don’t know what to do.

    TOM: Well, first of all, the concrete floor is not structural in the sense that it’s not helping to hold up the building, in most cases.

    LESLIE: And essentially, it’s right over dirt.

    RAY: Right.

    TOM: Yeah. Think of it as a very stiff type of flooring because that’s basically what it is.

    RAY: OK.

    TOM: Now, to fix that crack – you’re never going to make it go away but what you can do is seal it. And when you seal it, you stop moisture from getting in there: water that runs off the car, for example, in the wintertime. That could freeze and cause it move more quickly.

    So, there’s a couple of products out there that will do this. I would take a look at a very basic and effective product called QUIKRETE Concrete Repair. Basically, it’s a crack sealer that’s in a tube, like a caulking tube.

    RAY: Right.

    TOM: And you cut the tip off, you try to keep it to about an 1/8-inch, if it’s a ¼-inch crack. You can fill that crack from one end to the other, let it dry. And then you could put a concrete floor paint on top of that. And so that will make it very difficult for you to see, especially if you paint the floor and you use one of the products that has sort of a color chip in it. Gives it a little bit of a pattern and makes it harder to see; it’s not quite as obvious.

    So, I would simply fill it, paint it and call it a day.

    RAY: Very good. Yeah, it actually is painted now. Let me ask you this. The only other problem I’ve had in the past, real quickly, is that when I have tried to fill it, if I wait too long, it’s too high. And obviously, it’s very hard to sand down flat or level. Is this a self-leveling product? Can I just grind it down with a grinder?

    TOM: Well, it’s not going to be stiff like concrete. It’s a sealer, OK? I mean it’s a repair product, so it doesn’t – it’s not hard like concrete.

    RAY: OK. I’ve got you.

    TOM: But you basically want to put it in so it sits just below the surface.

    Now, a little trick of the trade is if you have a really deep crack, you can sort of stuff the crack first with a backer rod or some other type of product like that so that the repair material stays up towards the surface.

    RAY: Mm-hmm. OK.

    TOM: They have another product called a “self-leveling, polyurethane sealant.” And with that, it will definitely flow nice and even.

    RAY: Excellent. Well, I appreciate your help very much and I enjoy your show.

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

    Well, we are now knee-deep in the fall and you might be getting ready to hang up your gardening gloves for the season. But before you do, the experts at True Value suggest that there are three things you should take care of, right now, that will help make sure your lawn and garden come back strong next spring.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, preparing for winter now is going to give you less yard work to do when the warmer weather returns. Not a bad deal, I think.

    So, first of all, you want to get ahead of the game this fall by mowing your lawn right up until you have your first frost. And that’s about when the lawn stops growing, anyway. And it’s also the right time to clean and service your lawn mower. If you do that now, it’s really going to be ready to go next season.

    TOM: Next, now is also the time to plant bulbs that flower in spring. Now, flowers like tulips or daffodils need to be planted now to be ready to bloom and add some bright, cheery color to your garden when spring rolls around.

    LESLIE: And finally, remember this rule: fertilize before the first frost. Fertilizing now is actually going to help feed your lawn and give it the strength that it needs to survive the long, cold winter ahead. And then it’ll come back lush and green next spring.

    TOM: And remember, the local experts at your True Value understand the pride that you take in all your projects. And they’re ready with the products and advice you need to help you get any job done right.

    To find supplies and a local store near you, visit TrueValue.com. And for more project ideas and advice, you can visit StartRightStartHere.com or follow True Value on Facebook. Behind every project is a True Value.

    LESLIE: Ben in Illinois is on the line and is having some issues with a water heater. Tell us what’s going on.

    BEN: Over a period of time, my hot-water stream would keep getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And finally, it got to the point where I’d turn the hot water on, it would just barely trickle. I disconnected the discharge pipe on the discharge side of the hot-water heater and found that the lime had built up so bad in the pipe, coming out of the top of the hot-water heater, that there was just a very tiny hole there.

    TOM: Right.

    BEN: At that point in time, I didn’t know what else to do. I just took a very large screwdriver and tapped that limestone out of there. Of course, that fell to the bottom of the hot-water heater. It’s been fine for about four-and-a-half years. It’s getting to the point where I’m going to have to do it again.

    And I’ve talked to retired plumbers in that and they told me that what’s causing that is a reaction between the copper pipe and the metal that is on top of the hot-water heater. And I was told that there was like a nipple that you screw on top of the hot-water heater and then connect your copper pipe.

    My question is: what type of metal is that that goes between the copper pipe and the metal coupling on top of the hot-water heater?

    TOM: Yeah, Ben, all you want to do is head to a plumbing supply house and ask for plastic-lined nipples. That actually is going to create the sort of the bi-metal protection or insulation between those two pipes. And that will stop that corrosive effect that you’re seeing and of course, they’ll stop the pipe from clogging as a result of that.

    BEN: Alright. Well, I sure thank you for your time and your advice.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bonnie in California. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    BONNIE: We have a condo that we’ve – been rented for 12 years. And when our renters moved out, we were going to sell it. And we saw stains on the carpet and we thought, “Well, we’ll pull up the carpet, replace it and just paint and clean up and put it up for sale.”

    TOM: Right.

    BONNIE: Well, when we pulled the carpet back, the cement slab – it’s a cement slab, single-level condo, 1,600 – almost 1,700 square feet with a cement-slab floor. And when we pulled back the carpet, we found that it was very damp and there was that white, fuzzy kind of effervescence or whatever they call it that comes up from the cement.

    TOM: Efflorescence. Mm-hmm.

    BONNIE: Lots of that. We tore up all the flooring and thought, “Well, we’ll go ahead and hire a contractor and have it all fixed and put new stuff down.” And it didn’t dry out; it just was damp.

    But in any case, this problem is not getting solved. We have – we don’t know where to go from here. We want to figure out if there’s some way to seal that floor that is going to keep it from, you know, ruining the carpet and wood again and get it for sale. But fix it so that it’s – so that we can say it’s fixed.

    TOM: Alright. Well, here’s what I think is going on, based on your description. If you’ve got that much of a water source that close to the concrete slab – concrete is very hydroscopic. I mean it will really absorb water like crazy. And so if the ground outside is saturated, that is clearly drawing through the concrete into the interior and that’s why the floor has been so wet. My concern is that this could develop, if it hasn’t already, into a mold problem.

    The bad news for the condominium association is that if they’re responsible for the structure of this building, which would include the floor, this is their problem to fix, not your problem to fix. And if I was advising them, I would tell them to stop calling contractors to check leaking ponds and start calling professional engineers that can analyze the building and figure out exactly what’s going on and prescribe the proper fix. They’ve got to think big here, not think small. Because I think they have a lot of liability because it’s probably not you; you just happen to be the one that found it. But if your neighbors start pulling up carpet, they’re going to probably find the same thing.

    All that you can do on the inside is really stop-gap. You can clean up the efflorescence, you can put a masonry sealer on the floor. But the problem is that that concrete is going to continue to get wet, continue to get damp and eventually it’s going to pull back into the unit. So, I think that you need to have a very serious sit-down with that condominium association.

    BONNIE: Mm-hmm. OK.

    TOM: Alright? Good luck, Bonnie.

    BONNIE: Thank you very much.

    TOM: Thank you for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Up next, we are going to take one final look at the recovery effort This Old House is documenting at the Jersey Shore, including the major setback one community faced when a fire destroyed their brand-new boardwalk. Our exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds continues, presented by Red Devil.

    TOM: Red Devil’s ONETIME Patch & Prime is great for painting prep. There’s no need to sand or prime. And the unique, square tub makes using your putty knife much easier.

    For special offers and the latest in Red Devil’s innovative products, visit SaveOnRedDevil.com. We’ll be back with more, after this.

    NORM: Hi. I’m Norm Abram from This Old House and when we’re working on our projects, we listen to The Money Pit.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Plastics Make it Possible, reminding you that November 15 is America Recycles Day. When you recycle everyday plastics in your home, you help keep valuable materials out of landfills so they can live on as useful, new products. For more information, visit PlasticsMakeItPossible.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.

    When Hurricane Sandy made the Jersey Shore its direct target, hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged. Now, a year later, This Old House is documenting the renovation of three of these homes in three iconic Jersey Shore towns.

    TOM: And The Money Pit has been given exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to bring you the stories of these renovations and the victims behind them, presented by Red Devil. Now, in this week’s episode, we learn about a major setback that one Shore town faced when a roaring fire destroyed several blocks of newly reconstructed boardwalk.

    LESLIE: You can watch both This Old House: Jersey Shore Rebuilds and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station. Ask This Old House is proudly brought to you by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating. Mitsubishi, live better.

    Here’s our report.

    TOM: The iconic Jersey Shore, known for idyllic beaches, great family vacations, salt-water taffy and boardwalk memories has had a rough year, to say the least.

    Instead of a place for relaxing and enjoying fun in the sun, on October 29, 2012, the Atlantic Ocean became the enemy, fueled unmercifully by Hurricane Sandy, a superstorm that caused unimaginable destruction.

    And as Shore communities struggled to rebuild, obstacles and red tape got in the way. But summer came and New Jersey Governor Christie declared that the Shore was open for business. People showed up in droves to show support, both in spirit and with their wallets.

    One year later, things are slowly progressing and a new normal is taking shape for those who call the Jersey Shore home. And while some Shore communities are years away from being completely rebuilt, there are signs of new life up and down the shore. But one of those communities also suffered a serious setback that was indirectly caused by Sandy, months after the water receded.

    On September 12th, a fire ripped through businesses along a newly rebuilt section of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, just blocks from the site where that iconic image of the JetStar Roller Coaster sitting in the Atlantic Ocean was burned into our memories after Sandy. Six full blocks of newly rebuilt oceanfront boardwalk and businesses were charred beyond recognition in a horrific blaze that investigators later revealed was caused by electrical wiring exposed to Sandy’s salt water. It was a one-two punch for Seaside but the community vows to rebuild yet again.

    It’s a sad scenario that begs the question: should we be building so close to the ocean in the first place? Sarah Monzón is a series producer for This Old House and her take is that it’s probably too late to go backwards. But going forward, there’s certainly a lot to consider.

    SARAH: Well, the shore is developed and people are never going to want to live away from the water; they’re always going to want to live here. I was told yesterday that 50 percent of the population of our country lives within 50 miles of the water. And that’s the way it’s always been. It’s just that that 50 percent now represents a heck of a lot more people.

    So, we have to think about building smart and sustainably and not just building willy-nilly and not just building thinking it’s only going to last a few years. It’s a waste of money any other way than to build smart. And that’s what we’re trying to do.

    TOM: This Old House is trying to help. This past summer, the program filmed their 34th season right here at the Jersey Shore, telling the stories of three victims as they rebuilt their storm-damaged homes and educating millions of viewers that, as Governor Christie likes to say, it’s possible to be stronger than the storm.

    The homes featured were built to stand up to future storms. And the architectural design, engineering and technology highlighted on the program provided inspiration and insight to those who have yet been able to start rebuilding their own homes.

    SARAH: It’s our job to provide best practices. The guys on the show have been doing it for a third of a century. And they really know what they’re talking about. We’re trying to remain as impartial and as neutral as we can, tell the story as it’s happening without injecting our coulda-shoulda-wouldas. And that’s our goal.

    TOM: For some Shore communities, it’s private, oceanfront property that needs to be protected. And a group of homeowners in Bay Head are doing just that. Without federal or state aid, they’re using their own funds. They brought large boulders in from Pennsylvania and hired a crew to create a revetment system they hope will prevent the sea from breaching their homes in the future.

    This Old House Master Carpenter Norm Abram was on hand during the project and explains how it works.

    NORM: Well, revetment is a way that you can sort of minimize the damage from huge seas. And a lot of people think seawalls are the solution but seawalls don’t work because they get undermined and then they collapse.

    A revetment is kind of a clever solution. What they do is they dig down to a particular depth, usually related to the tide. And then they put in a fabric liner and then they bring in – in this case, they had to bring in from Pennsylvania big, huge boulders. And they’re put together like a puzzle and they have to be very carefully placed. And the total of the wall in the one I was looking at, I believe, was going to be about 23 feet high. And the front side that faces the ocean is a very low slope, a very low angle rather than a vertical wall. And then they covered the whole thing with sand.

    And what happens is when a storm comes through and those big waves are crashing – I mean we were told they had 30-foot waves coming through here. What it does is instead of that wave crashing into a wall, when it hits the slope, it slows it down so that it sort of – it takes the energy out of the wave as it’s approaching the shore. In a lot of cases, that’s all you need to sort of stop a lot of severe damage.

    TOM: Jed and Chris Laird have a home not too far from the revetment project. And even though they were advised to tear down their home or even to just walk away, they decided to raise it and rebuild the bottom floor, which was completely flood-damaged. Like many, the memories here were just too difficult to give up.

    CHRIS: We got married on the beach in Bay Head. We had the reception in our backyard. And our two children have grown up here and they paint seashells and sell them. And they just sit on the front porch and paint.

    And we just love everything about our house because it’s not a McMansion; it’s just a quaint, old, Jersey Shore beach house. And it’s just so many memories.

    TOM: Rita Gurry lives just north of Bay Head, in Manasquan. Ready for a new phase of life, she had just paid off her home and was looking forward to enjoying mortgage-free years. Now, she’s starting all over again with a new mortgage and a brand-new, prefabricated home built safely high off the ground.

    RITA: You know, I can actually visualize – I can visualize that this is just – this is like hope. From day one to today, from the destruction to the construction to the actual implementation and the setting of my house today, I’ve gotten to a point where I’ve got my life back.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Lutron’s new Maestro Occupancy-Sensing Switch. Never ask “Who left the lights on?” again. Starting at around $20, this motion-sensing light switch turns the lights on automatically when you walk into a room and off when you leave and works with all types of light bulbs. Learn more at LutronSensors.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.

    TOM: And the number to call is 888-MONEY-PIT. One caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to win a $50 gift basket from Citrus Magic. Citrus Magic air fresheners are extremely effective at getting rid of bad smells. They come in lavender, pure linen and citrus scents. And they’re available in both a solid and a non-aerosol spray.

    LESLIE: Yeah. The sprays are made with organic citrus oils and the active ingredients in there last four times longer than those ordinary air fresheners.

    TOM: Makes a big difference. Get them online at CitrusMagic.com or at Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Kroger or your favorite local hardware store.

    Give us a call right now for your chance to win. Again, the number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: OK. So how many times has this happened to you? You get all the way to work when you suddenly get that panicky feeling and realize that you didn’t do something or you forgot something or maybe you left the garage door wide open? Well, there’s not much you can do short of turning around; harassing a neighbor; really, getting back to the scene of the garage-door open situation and correcting it.

    Well, not anymore. There’s a new product from Chamberlain that actually lets you check on the status of your garage door from anywhere in the world. It’s called MyQ and here’s how it works. You basically set up your existing garage-door opener with the MyQ system. There’s no wiring needed. Then you download the MyQ app and you’re good to go.

    TOM: Now, if your garage-door opener is from 1993 or later, the system is compatible. And that pretty much covers most openers. But if it’s older than that and you’re thinking about replacing it, you could pick up a new Chamberlain garage-door opener with the MyQ system built in.

    Now, it’s available at Amazon, Apple Stores, Home Depot and select Best Buy stores. Or you can learn more at Chamberlain.com/MyQGarage.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got David from North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a mold issue.

    Welcome, David.

    DAVID: I live in a – it’s a cinder-block house. And in the cabinets, it’s bad in the cabinets and in the closets, especially. You can feel the moisture on the back walls of the cabinets and in the closets.

    TOM: Yep.

    DAVID: And lately, it’s – since it’s started getting colder, it’s on the bedroom walls, as well.

    TOM: So, what are you actually seeing?

    DAVID: It’s green mold and moisture, like dew on the walls.

    TOM: Have you ever had this problem before in any of the past winters?

    DAVID: Last winter, it was a little bit bad. And my wife cleaned it with bleach and water and stuff and it pretty much went away. But then in the cabinets, it started coming back almost immediately after she cleaned it.

    TOM: And how is your house heated?

    DAVID: It’s gas.

    TOM: So it’s forced-air?

    DAVID: Yes.

    TOM: Do you have a dehumidifier or a humidifier running?

    DAVID: No, not at all.

    TOM: OK. Well, here’s the thing. You may have a situation here where the mold spores are starting to take hold and they’re multiplying and that’s why it’s happening more frequently. It also could be made worse by the weather conditions. And by that, I mean the weather conditions inside your house, in terms of the humidity and that sort of thing.

    DAVID: Yeah.

    TOM: So, what I’d like to suggest you do is a number of things. First of all, when you clean mold – and you should only be doing this if it’s a small amount, which it sounds like it is although it’s spread in different areas. When you clean mold, you want to make sure that you’re killing the mold spores first. And you do that – the easiest way is to simply spray that with a bleach solution that’s about 10-percent bleach and 90-percent water. And you let it sit on the areas for a good 15 minutes. So you don’t want to spray and wipe; you want to spray, wait and then wipe.

    DAVID: OK.

    TOM: And that makes a difference because this way, the bleach actually kills the mold spores. You’re not just wiping them away and moving them around and sending them back to the air where they’re going to settle immediately. If you can spray it with a bleach solution and let it sit there and then rinse it off and clean it as a second step, that’s important.

    DAVID: OK.

    TOM: In terms of the closets, if you can get more air into those closets – and typically, what we do in some homes is add additional vents to the closets. I don’t know – it depends on the way your closet is configured but sometimes, we put louvered doors on them or add vents to the side walls, that sort of thing.

    DAVID: Yeah.

    TOM: But if you could improve the ventilation in the closets so more of the warm air gets in there – and after you clean that – the closets and the cabinets – try to leave them open a little bit longer than you normally would so that the warm air from the house gets in there and doesn’t let the mold kind of reignite that quickly. Because that warmth from the forced-air heating system is going to create a condition where mold really can’t grow, because it’s going to be drying out that air.

    The moisture in the air is working against you here. And I know that we like to have a little bit of moisture in the house during the winter, because the heat system can be very dry, but an excessive amount can cause a mold problem to develop. Does that make sense?

    DAVID: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

    TOM: Alright, David. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Hey, you weekend warriors. Get ready for a chance to add some great tools to your arsenal. We’ve got details on your chance to win tools from PORTER-CABLE and Black & Decker when we introduce our newest Facebook sweepstakes, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, celebrating their 170-year anniversary. At Stanley, making history is our future. To learn more, visit StanleyTools.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.

    TOM: And hey, you can visit Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit, right now, for your chance to get in on our new Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes. We’ve got some fantastic prizes up for grabs, including three lawn-and-garden power tools from Black & Decker. We’ve got a blower vac, a hedge trimmer and a string trimmer.

    LESLIE: But wait, there’s more. Do you hate cleaning gutters? Well, GutterClear 365 protects your gutters from getting clogged with leaves and all that other gunk that ends up in there. We’re giving away enough GutterClear 365 to do your whole house.

    TOM: And our grand prize: a set of lithium-ion, 20-volt power tools from PORTER-CABLE. This is a great platform of tools with all the big ones included. You get the drill driver, the circular saw and a reciprocating saw, just to name a few.

    LESLIE: Yeah. It’s a total of $1,500 worth of prizes. So “fan” us on Facebook to enter today. If you share the sweeps, you’re going to get bonus entries, so you’ll have more chances to win. It’s all at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit.

    And while you’re online, you can post your questions, that you need a hand with, at the Community section of The Money Pit. And we’ve got a post here from Charlotte in Maryland who writes: “I have an older roof that’s starting to leak. Unfortunately, I don’t have the cash to reroof the entire house. Are there any less costly suggestions with regards to stopping the leak and buying time on the repair?”

    TOM: Well, you know, there is. And let’s give you the secret that most roofing contractors don’t give you: you can repair almost any roof. Any roof leak is fixable. Typically, roofs leak around flashing. So that’s where the roofs intersect the side wall, that’s where roofs intersect each other and that’s where things come through the roof.

    What comes through your roof? A chimney comes through your roof, plumbing vents come through your roof. So, if you have a carpenter or a roofing contractor look carefully, they can almost always identify the exact cause of a specific roof …

    LESLIE: Yeah. But do they want to, in comparison to the cost of replacing a roof?

    TOM: See, that’s the thing. These guys don’t make a lot of money with the small fix-ups; they make the money tearing off the whole roof. But sometimes you’ve just got to put your foot down and say, “Look, I can only do this right now. So help me figure out where it is, fix it and move on.” And yes, you can do exactly what you want to do, Charlotte, in this case, which is buy yourself some additional time.

    Now, that said, if you’ve got roof leaks in multiple places or if the roof is leaking such that it’s getting into the structure, into the sheathing and starting to decay any of the structure, then that’s a problem and that means you really have to find a way to get the whole thing replaced. But most of the time, these individual roof leaks are fixable without a complete tear-off.

    LESLIE: Alright. And next up, we’ve got a post from Julia in Tennessee who writes: “Can you recommend a good way to keep animals from getting into my garbage cans?”

    TOM: I’ve found nothing more effective than metal garbage cans with lids that you bungee-cord on. You just go bungee-cord from the handle to the handle and hold the lids on. If you’ve really got a serious animal problem, that is one way that they will stay away for good.

    Now, if it’s a more minor problem, then, of course, you can use the plastic cans that come with the locking lids. But if you’re out in the country and you’ve really got some critters, they are pretty smart. They’re going to knock those cans over and try to find a way to get the lids to burst open. That’s why I always bungee-cord them on in that situation and that seems to work best.

    LESLIE: You know what worked for us? We had a raccoon that kept knocking over the trash can. I put a brick on top of it.

    TOM: As long as it’s heavier than the raccoon.

    LESLIE: Right. As long as he doesn’t throw it at me, we’re good.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, coming to you on a beautiful fall weekend. We hope that we’ve helped you tackle some of your fall fix-up projects, maybe helped you save some money, save some energy or get your house ready for the holidays ahead. If you’ve got questions, we can be reached 24-7 at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or you can post your question online at MoneyPit.com.

    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.


    (Copyright 2013 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

Leave a Reply


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