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    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: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-666-3974. “What,” you say? You’re not a do-it-yourselfer? Well, maybe you are what we call a “direct-it-yourselfer” and you’re going to hire somebody to get that project done. We can help you make sure you get started on the right foot if you call us, first, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    That’s the only part of the do-it-yourself project you have to do is to pick up the phone and call us. We’ll tell you how to hire the guy, what to ask, what he’s not telling you, what you need to make sure is included in the contract. All of that is possible if you call us with the details of your project at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Coming up this hour, is one project on your mind getting rid of your tired and dated bathroom? What? Perhaps you don’t have the funds to do a total overhaul? Well, you don’t have to. We’ve got a solution for you. It’s a fitted bathtub surround that’s made of acrylic, that can give your bathroom a really amazing, luxurious look. We’ll tell you all about that, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And also ahead this hour, want to get serious for a minute, because a really fatal fact of summer is pool drownings. You know, it’s really the number-one cause of death for kids this time of year, so we’ve got to think about safety. We’re going to teach you what you can do to protect your family and others, a little later.

    TOM: And also ahead, we’re giving away a very cool prize this hour: it’s the Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock from Sonic Alert. It will shake you out of bed. It’s great for non-morning types, like me, and the hearing-impaired. It’s worth 50 bucks. Going to go out to one caller drawn at random from those that reach out to us this hour with their home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Stuart in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    STUART: Hey. Well, I was calling to ask you about, though – I’ve got the stucco house.

    TOM: OK.

    STUART: One of a kind here in East Atlanta, (inaudible at 0:02:15).

    TOM: Alright.

    STUART: But I’m noticing the small cracks and (inaudible at 0:02:21), nothing really serious. And it’s specifically in the paint.

    And so we had it painted. About six years ago, they pressure-washed it. Did a really nice prime coat and then two top coats. It’s about time to repaint it, I think, so question is: is about six years right on repainting? So the – every six years or is there a better strategy so it’d be more complete and protect my stucco?

    TOM: It feels a little light. Six years for an outside paint job seems like it – I’d rather see you try to get eight to ten years out of it. But if it needs paint, it needs paint.

    Now, in terms of the cracks, is the stucco cracking or is it just the paint that’s cracking?

    STUART: Both.

    TOM: OK. So, for the stucco cracks, once you prime the surface and clean the old paint, before you repaint – reprime, in this case – you’re going to want to seal those. If they’re very fine cracks, like under a ½-inch in terms of width …

    STUART: Oh, yeah, they’re small, very small. In width, in terms of width, like 1/8-, 1/16-inch.

    TOM: OK. So you can use a crack sealant. And QUIKRETE makes one that’s designed for stucco repair, that has kind of like a sanded sort of feel to it.

    STUART: Right.

    TOM: And it blends in with the stucco and it’s paintable; it’s an acrylic formula.


    TOM: So get some of the QUIKRETE Stucco Repair. It looks like caulk; it comes in a caulk-like tube. Designed specifically for stucco repair, though, because then you get that sanded formula and it’ll, texture-wise, kind of fit in with the rest of the stucco.

    But make sure you seal up all those cracks because otherwise, if you get water in there, then it expands and causes additional havoc. So just make sure you seal them up first and then repaint the place.

    STUART: Alright. Well, thanks a whole lot. I appreciate your help.

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

    LESLIE: Della in Iowa is on the line with an attic-fan question. How can we help you?

    DELLA: My husband and I – our attic fan went out.

    TOM: OK.

    DELLA: And we don’t know the first thing about attic fans.

    TOM: OK. Do you have central air conditioning, Della?

    DELLA: Yes, we do.

    TOM: OK. How old is your house?

    DELLA: It’s like 35 years old, 40 maybe.

    TOM: And what kinds of roof vents do you have?

    DELLA: We have a slanted – all one roof. It goes straight down. We just have a little portion of the home that’s attic. We have the – it doesn’t have any attic above the living room and the dining room area.

    TOM: Alright. Because generally, we don’t recommend attic fans for homes that have central air conditioning and here’s why: because when the attic fan operates, it depressurizes the attic and then it draws air from inside the house and up into the attic and exhausts it. So what that does is kind of robs some of your air conditioning, because most attic fans are overpowered for the attic spaces that they’re in.

    A better approach is just to use passive vents where you have, say, ridge vents that go down the peak of the roof and soffit vents that …

    DELLA: We have that.

    TOM: You have that.

    DELLA: We have huge overhang with the little vents all the way around.

    TOM: Then I wouldn’t worry about the attic fan.

    DELLA: A guy – one of the guys says that make sure – see, we have three story – it’s not a real story; it’s like 12, 14 to the upper level. Then we have the basement, first floor and then all of our bedrooms and guest rooms are up on the third level. But we thought it would be cooler to get that hot air out of the attic.

    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t think you need another attic fan. It sounds like you’ve got exactly what you need to have right now.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair, home improvement, design, décor, renovation, addition. Whatever you are working on, big or small, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, are you ready for a bathroom renovation? Maybe it’s a bathroom revolution? You want to change that boring, drab or ugly bath into something that is beautiful? We’re going to tell you how to do that, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.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. The number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    Now, one caller to the show this hour is going to get a surefire way to wake up in the morning. I’m not sure how the rest of your day is going to go after being woken up like this. But it’s a super-loud Sonic Boom Alarm Clock from Sonic Alert.

    Now, besides having just a ridiculously-loud alarm, it’s actually going to shake your bed and shake you in your bed until your feet just shake right off the bed, onto the floor. It’s the craziest thing ever and I might consider getting this for my husband, who sets the alarm clock on whisper. It’s more annoying than anything else.

    It goes off in the morning, it’s like, “Hey, you guys. Want to wake up or anything?” And I’m like, “Seriously?” And it wakes me up; it doesn’t even budge him. So I’m getting him a Sonic Alert.

    It’s worth 50 bucks but could be yours for free. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to be shaken out of bed.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Chuck in Texas needs some help preserving a wood project. Tell us what’s going on.

    CHUCK: I have three decks and when I made them, I used, of course, the Wolmanized lumber.

    TOM: Right.

    CHUCK: And then I have treated them two or three times now with Thompson’s WaterSeal.

    TOM: Right.

    CHUCK: But what – it seems like it doesn’t even last a year. And we don’t even get that much rain here.

    TOM: Right. So when you say it doesn’t last a year, what are you seeing in terms of the wear and tear?

    CHUCK: Well, they’re dulling, which I expect, but when they get wet, the water far from beads up.

    TOM: Right. So, look, in my experience, Thompson’s WaterSeal is a good application for regular lumber, not pressure-treated lumber.

    CHUCK: OK.

    TOM: And it does preserve it but if you want to really protect the deck, I would use a solid-color stain. I would use a solid-color exterior stain.

    Now, exterior stain comes transparent, semi-transparent and solid-color. The more color, the more pigment, the longer it lasts.

    CHUCK: OK.

    TOM: You’re never going to – that natural color of the wood will fade no matter what you put on that’s clear. So why not just give it a nice color that you like? If you like it to be a cedar color or a darker brown color, whatever color you like, choose that in a solid-color stain and stain the deck. And then that’s something that could last you five years.

    CHUCK: OK. Well, that sounds great instead of having to do it every year, every year-and-a-half.

    TOM: What else are you going to do with your weekends, Chuck?

    CHUCK: I have got so much stuff going on. I just got done building the wife a big pagoda out here in the backyard and putting the biggest fan and all that stuff in it.

    TOM: Oh, nice. Well, there you go. Thanks so much, Chuck. I really appreciate that. Have a great day.

    Well, if your bathroom has seen better days but a major overhaul is out of the question, there are many things that you can do to bring a blah bathroom up to date.

    First off, consider a new coat of paint. You’d be surprised at what that will do to any room of your house. You also might want to think about updating the fixtures and the hardware: everything from the faucet to the drawer pulls makes a difference. And if your bathroom is too far gone to benefit from the easy swap-outs, there’s another solution for you: it’s called a fitted surround.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, before you start shouting at us, like, “No way! I don’t want this.” I know what you’re thinking: it’s the cheap way out. But really, both in terms of price and quality, that might be what you’re saying but that’s a complete myth.

    For example, BATH FITTER – and they’re a proud sponsor of The Money Pit – they make custom bath surrounds that will actually knock your socks off. Go check out their website: BATHFITTER.com. You’re going to see they’ve got designs that are beautiful, durable and easy to clean. And you’re going to get precise, professional installation in one day – you’re not going to find that with a full bathroom renovation – with no messing with the floors or your plumbing. And the result is seamless perfection. I’m not talking about caulk, grout. Nothing to deal with here; everything is ready to go. The guys leave, you can take a shower. And it’s awesome.

    TOM: You know, it’s a really good-quality product. It has a lifetime warranty, so you can really rest easy. And there are a huge variety of color styles and accessories that will please anybody who’s just the fussiest homeowner. You’re going to find your solution right there. It’s very affordable and the BATH FITTER experts actually guide you through the whole process.

    So you can learn more at BATHFITTER.com or call 866-654-BATH and speak to a BATH FITTER pro. That’s 866-654-BATH.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Joan in New York on the line who’s dealing with a chrome faucet. They’re the hardest things to keep clean. Tell me what’s going on with yours.

    JOAN: And now my problem is it is chrome and there’s a bar on top of the sink and then your faucet. And on either side your hot and cold and the knobs are round.

    Now, between the bar and the knobs, it gets kind of crappy. So I’ve been using the toothbrush, trying to get in there and trying …

    TOM: You’ve got a lot of nooks and crannies to clean, don’t you?

    JOAN: Yes. And I wondered if you guys could come up with a better solution than using a toothbrush and not having to take the knobs off and clean the bar and put everything back.

    LESLIE: I sometimes – in the nooks and crannies on my sink, I actually use Q-tips. And I know that’s kind of a crazy person gets in there and cleans like that but I do.

    Are you also dealing with – so this is really just that watery, pinkish buildup on the sink surface itself or are you dealing with water stains on the faucets?

    JOAN: It’s just – no, no. It’s just under the knobs.

    LESLIE: Like around the knobs: that pinkish yuckiness.

    TOM: Just in the knobs, yeah.

    JOAN: Where it sets onto the bar.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    JOAN: I thought maybe I could caulk them. Would that do anything?

    TOM: Caulk them? Why would you want to do that?

    JOAN: Well, I don’t know. To keep it dry? When we finish at night, everything’s dried off; there’s no water, spots, no nothing there.

    TOM: Right.

    JOAN: So everything’s dry.

    TOM: It sounds like the faucet here is designed to hold a lot of water behind it and that’s why it’s causing such a maintenance problem. There are new faucets today with much better finishes that this won’t happen to.

    JOAN: Oh, really?

    LESLIE: And is this happening every time you wash and sort of see it the next morning? Or is it over time that you’re seeing the crappiness, if you will?

    JOAN: Over time.

    LESLIE: Because it could be you end up with – if you’ve got any sort of hard water or any minerals in your water and it sits on the surface, no matter how well you dry it, once it evaporates you’re going to end up with that pinkish, whitish, yucky look around the fixtures. And generally, to give it a good onceover with a lint-free cloth with maybe some vinegar, like white vinegar, on it and just wipe it down with it and then use a similar cloth – dry, to really dry it well – that can sort of beat that mineral deposit and maybe keep it lasting longer in a clean look.

    JOAN: Either that or buy a new set, huh?

    LESLIE: Yeah. And chrome is one of those finishes that’s really just hard to keep looking clean and it can drive you crazy. But the newer finishes are made to sort of stay looking shiny longer, if you will.

    JOAN: So I’ve been using a toothbrush but maybe I could use some vinegar on the toothbrush to keep it cleaner?

    TOM: Just don’t mix up that toothbrush with your regular one.

    JOAN: Nope, I won’t.

    LESLIE: Oh, God, no.

    JOAN: I listen to you guys every week on my WGVA 1240 radio station.

    LESLIE: Oh, good. Thanks.

    JOAN: And you guys always come up with good ideas.

    TOM: Alright. Well, that’s what we try to do. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    JOAN: Keep up the good work.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Barbara K. on the line, calling in from Minnesota, who’s got truly a geographically-unique question. Barbara K. accidentally wore her ice cleats on her boots into her home and did a number on the floor.

    TOM: So Barbara, was there ice in the house that caused you to wear the cleats inside?

    BARBARA: No. I did break my arm, though, in February – both bones – and my son give me his boot/cleat thing and …

    TOM: Oh. So you weren’t really used to having them on?

    BARBARA: Yes, I – well, the bird food I keep in the porch. And I would come in the back door and go through the linoleum kitchen, the dining room hardwood floor, the living room hardwood floor and the porch hardwood floor. And these are 1900 wood floors: all different woods. And there must be billions, if not millions, of – not on the whole floor, of course, just the …

    TOM: Oh, my God. So you turned around at some point in this journey and saw the holes that you now pierced into your floors.

    BARBARA: Yep. Well, about a month-and-a-half later. I didn’t notice them because it’s always so dark here in the winter. And then one day, the sun did shine and it hit them at an angle and I thought, “What the heck is that?”

    TOM: So were you wearing these cleats all winter long while you fed the birds?

    BARBARA: No, no. No but I would go for a walk every day and then get my mail and come home and feed the birds last and …

    TOM: Oh, hmm. Yeah. And so you just kept those cleats on until you got done with all your routine and now you’re faced with hole-y floors.

    BARBARA: Yeah. With a broken arm, they were hard to get on and off with one arm, so I left them on and I didn’t – I’ve never had them before.

    TOM: Oh, OK.

    BARBARA: I was stupid. I was in a lot of pain for about two months, anyway, so I wasn’t thinking straight.

    TOM: Yeah. Your judgment was clouded by pain medication, I’m sure.

    BARBARA: Oh, no. No, no. I’m allergic to everything, so that wasn’t a problem.

    TOM: OK. So let’s tackle these one floor surface at a time.

    BARBARA: Yeah.

    TOM: The hardwood floor – if it’s solid hardwood floor and they’re not too terribly deep, you could lightly sand the surface and refinish it. If they are kind of deep, then you have to have it professionally sanded so we can get down below those dents.

    Linoleum, no, I don’t have any solutions for you on there. There’s no way to patch that, so you’re going to have to live with that and eventually replace it. But the hardwood you may be able to sand out.

    BARBARA: Yes. And I did measure the cleats. And I don’t know what they were new before walking on concrete for a couple of months but right now, those cleats are between 1/8-inch and a ¼-inch long. So that’s how deep: just under a ¼-inch deep holes.

    TOM: Yeah, that’s pretty serious damage and I’m pretty sure it’s not covered by homeowners insurance, either.

    BARBARA: I know. But you think sanding, huh? I mean there’s no – there’s nothing I can pour on it or …?

    TOM: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

    LESLIE: And if you do, any sort of filler that you put in, because it’s a floor, it’s just going to pop out when you vacuum, traffic, movement. It’s just not going to ever stay.

    TOM: Just consider it a little Wisconsin character very, very special to your area and a great story to tell people. And by the way, may I suggest that you wear slippers next time?

    BARBARA: Yeah, well, then I will break another arm.

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

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still to come, you think you’re covered just because you’re insured? Well, think again. Most insurance companies are going to try to get out of doling out any claim money pretty much any way that they possibly can. And that’s when your own adjuster can help. We’re going to tell you more about this idea, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by BATH FITTER, the one-day bathroom remodeling company. Call 866-654-BATH today for your free, in-home estimate or visit www.BATHFITTER.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: You know, we get a lot of questions here that involve insurance companies, especially when it comes to filing a claim. But unfortunately, if something happens to your house – like a leak, for example, or a flood – the insurance companies don’t always have your best interests in mind.

    This is a situation I have seen many, many times, Leslie. And I had an incident this past week that just reminded me of it. A woman, several weeks ago, that I work out with – she goes to my gym – had told me that her mom and dad actually had a very serious basement flood and had called – this woman with a broken pipe called the insurance company. They send their adjuster out and the guy starts double-talking them about, well, if the pipe is under the ground it’s covered but if it’s in the slab and it broke, it’s not covered. And it’s like how are you supposed to tell when a pipe goes beneath a concrete slab, where exactly that break is, as if that even makes any difference? They start right away trying to find ways to get out of what you hired them to do.

    So I had told her, “Look, go out and hire a private adjuster; a public adjuster it’s called. It’s somebody that works for you, exclusively. Represents you to the insurance company from soup to nuts and works on a commission; basically, works on a percentage of the claim.” And she could not have been happier.

    She found one through her attorney, which is where I said to go to get the recommendation, and they have gotten tens of thousands of dollars now out of this insurance company. They are completely gut-renovating the damaged area, treating it for mold. Whatever it needs, it’s getting done because she had the smarts to, well, ask me but get the advice to get a public adjuster in there who took over. And once you do that, the insurance company backs right down.

    So if you ever have a problem where you have to file a claim, the insurance-company adjuster calls out, remember, they rep the insurance company; they don’t represent you. Get a public adjuster. That’s the only way you’re going to get what you paid for when you bought that insurance.

    The public adjusters don’t miss anything; the insurance-company guys miss everything, so …

    LESLIE: Well, it’s in their interest to do so.

    TOM: Just keep that in mind.

    888-666-3974. Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, because we don’t miss a thing.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ann in Seneca Falls, New York on the line who has some unwanted visitors to her home in the form of insects eating away. Tell us what’s going on.

    ANN: Well, I have a two-car garage. It’s about 25 years old and it’s covered with vinyl siding and the wood molding on the outside is covered with the aluminum frame/covering.

    TOM: Siding. OK, trim, yep. Mm-hmm.

    ANN: Yeah. And last spring, I noticed that one of the pieces of metal was rather loose. So I kind of tugged at it a little bit and it came out and I noticed that the carpenter ants have really had quite a snack.

    TOM: OK.

    ANN: In fact, most of the front of my garage is pretty well eaten away on the outside.

    TOM: Oh, boy. OK.

    ANN: Now, on the inside, it seems to be still intact.

    TOM: OK.

    ANN: And I pretty much know what you’re going to tell me; I need to replace the wood. But I’m just wondering, for the time being, if I could put some spray insulation in there to kind of fill in the voids? And then possibly reattach the metal molding for just over the wintertime, until I can get to it next summer?

    TOM: Well, I mean the good thing is that the carpenter ants are also leaving for the winter, so you don’t have to worry about them for a while.

    ANN: Well, I’ve been spraying. They seem – I haven’t seen any activity out there. I’ve really been spraying at least once a week with …

    TOM: OK. So here’s what I would do. First of all, I would try to make sure that we just keep it weather-tight for the winter, so whatever it takes to make it weather-tight is what we need to do.

    Secondly, next spring, I would consider having a professional apply a type of product called Phantom – P-h-a-n-t-o-m. It’s an undetectable ant-and-termite treatment product. And when you put the Phantom down, the carpenter ants won’t know it’s there and they go through it, they get it on their bodies, take it back to the nest and it wipes out the whole colony.

    ANN: Oh, good.

    TOM: Definitely the most effective way to keep them under control. It’s really a population-control issue with ants, because they just reproduce and reproduce and reproduce and they can do a lot of damage.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They love to breed.

    ANN: Yes, they certainly have.

    TOM: So, you’re going to have to have it done by a professional, though, with a product called Phantom. There’s actually a product – another product called Termidor – which I like even more but …

    LESLIE: But we can’t get it in New York.

    TOM: You can’t get it in New York. You can get it everywhere else in the country but New York. But in New York, the same company, which is BASF, makes a product called Phantom, which is available and approved for use in New York State.

    ANN: OK. Fine. And then, I probably will have to have the vinyl siding taken off in the front and then whatever wood has been eaten replaced?

    TOM: Yeah. If it’s just – is it the sheathing that you’re concerned about?

    ANN: It’s the outside sheathing.

    TOM: OK.

    ANN: It doesn’t seem to be on the inside of the garage.

    TOM: Yeah, so you’re going to have to try to replace as much of that as you can reasonably get to. It’s a matter of degree. You know, you may not necessarily have to tear it all out; you might just be able to do this in small sections.

    ANN: Oh, good.

    TOM: But yeah, I think that you just want to get as much as you reasonably can. There are other ways to support the wall from the inside if that becomes easier and you don’t have to take off as much siding. But get it treated in the spring so that we know the ants are under control, OK?

    ANN: OK. Would it help, also, if I filled in the openings in the cement blocks that are in the part of the basement?

    TOM: No. Listen, you can’t stuff stuff in the way of these ants.

    LESLIE: They’re going to find their way through.

    TOM: They’re going to find their way in, OK? It’s not – it doesn’t work that way. So I want you to concentrate – first of all, because you’re going away for the winter, I want you to concentrate on getting this thing watertight. When you come back, contact a reliable pest-control operator. Have them do a Phantom treatment. The website for the product is PhantomHome.com. They’ve got a zip-code search tool there. You can find all of the guys in your area that use the product. You can choose one, have it applied.

    And then lastly, after it’s applied, you can work on the repairs, OK? Does that make sense?

    ANN: Mm-hmm.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Still ahead, we’re going to get serious because pool drownings, they peak in these summer months with most of those victims being under the age of five. We’re going to teach you how to protect your kids tempted by the sight of any inviting pool, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. One caller to the show this hour is going to get a surefire way to wake up in the morning: it’s the super-loud Sonic Boom Alarm Clock from Sonic Alert. Besides the loud alarm, it actually shakes your bed until your feet hit the floor.

    It’s worth 50 bucks. Going to go out to one caller, so pick up the phone and make that caller you. We want to hear your home improvement question. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Well, backyard drownings, I really hate to say it but in swimming pools, they’re a tragic fact of summer.

    Now, just recently – I’m sure you guys heard about it in the news nationwide – young siblings, two brothers, they were three and five in New Jersey, not far from where Tom lives. They drowned in their neighbor’s pool after they helped each other climb over a fence, because they just had to go swimming. So even if you don’t have young kids, you do face a huge responsibility as a pool owner.

    Now, pool fences, they are by far the most effective deterrent against drownings. And keep in mind that pool fences are different from garden and yard fences. They should be at least 4 feet high and they’re designed to be non-climbable. And the gates, they have to, have to be self-closing and self-latching. And that gate latch, it’s got to be mounted at least 54 inches off the ground so you can’t get little hands reaching up and unlocking it.

    TOM: That’s right. You need to think in terms of layers of protection so every layer keeps kids safe. The fence is a layer, the gates are a layer. And another layer are pool alarms. These can be floating devices that will sound an alarm if the water is disturbed by a large object, like a splash.

    And you can also get alarms that fit on the pool-fence gate, as well as the backyard gate. And get alarms to fit on any doors that go from your house out to the pool area so that if some child, that perhaps you lose track of for just a moment, opens up a slider door, slides out into the pool area, you’re going to know it. So good idea to set up these layers so that you can make sure that kids are safe.

    And one final tip: if you lose track of a child and you’re in an area of a pool, check the pool first, then look everywhere else. For more ideas on pool safety, visit our website at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Alan in Naples, Florida who is dealing with a well-water situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    ALAN: I’ve got a salt-based, water-softening system for our well water. And we use a combination of citric acid, along with a chlorinating tank, to keep that sulfur smell out of sinks and showers, which works well. But unfortunately, as far as the laundry goes, we still seem to have a lingering smell to the clothes. Is there any kind of – or do you know of any kind of system that – or filtration system I can add to the incoming water to the laundry, to the washing machine, that might be able to help?

    TOM: So your filtration system is located where now? Is it on the main water valve or not?

    ALAN: Well, outside we’ve got it attached to where the water-softening tanks are; we’ve got a filtration system out there. As far as the drinking water, I’ve got a separate osmosis system under the sink. But as far as the laundry goes, it’s just directly from the salt-water tanks.

    TOM: Alright. So your water softeners are located at the point of entry so, in fact, all the water that goes into the house does go through the softener, correct?

    ALAN: Correct, yes.

    TOM: And then the drinking water also goes through a reverse-osmosis filter and that’s why you don’t have the odor or – that’s associated with the water that goes through the laundry, because that’s not going through reverse osmosis.

    ALAN: Exactly. And as far as the showers and the sinks go, we do add (audio gap) acid to the salts and that helps. And we have a separate chlorinating tank also attached to the salt water-softening system. But it’s still not enough for the washing machine.

    TOM: Alan, it sounds to me like the filtration system that you have is just not adequate for dealing with the odor. What happens is you get hydrogen sulfide into the water and you’re not seeing this, obviously, at the faucets because you’ve got reverse osmosis going on for you. But the filtration system that you’re using outside – the salt-based system – it’s just not adequate enough to reduce the odor issue and that’s why it’s kind of getting through there.

    So if you want to have fresh-smelling clothes, you’re going to have to upgrade that whole-house filtration system. There are specific filters for hydrogen sulfide that are added.

    Do you have a service company that services your filtration system, like a Culligan or something like that?

    ALAN: Yeah, we’ve got a private contractor (inaudible at 0:31:25).

    TOM: I think you need to address this with your contractor, because you don’t have the right combination of filters to deal with the odor issue.

    ALAN: OK.

    TOM: And it’s bothering you and obviously, it’s going to have to be dealt with.

    ALAN: Alright. Well, thank you very much for your time.

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

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, have you asked yourself this question lately: why is my house not getting cool enough? Well, it might be the way you have your A/C system tuned. We’ll tell you what the right way is, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by LIQUID NAILS. For tough jobs, demand the extraordinary strength of LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive. It bonds a wide range of materials, indoors and out, for a job done once, done right. Learn more about LIQUID NAILS Brand Heavy-Duty Construction Adhesive at LIQUIDNAILS.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.

    Hey, you just can’t get enough Money Pit? Why not download our free Money Pit iPhone app and you can listen to Tom and me whenever you want. On the go, wherever you are, just check out MoneyPit.com. You’ll find out exactly how to do it.

    And while you’re online, if you feel like posting a question in the Community section, go for it. We’ve got one here from Andrew in New York who wrote: “I want to install a wood laminate, or something similar, in my finished basement. The room is below-grade but so far, we’ve had no moisture.” And I hope he’s knocking on wood as he wrote those words. “We do find that the floor gets cold, particularly to bare feet.” Of course, it’s on a slab. “The current floor has a double pad and a Berber carpet.” Bad idea. “What can I use for the subfloor so that I can insulate under the floor somehow?”

    TOM: Hmm. Well, look, if you want to replace the carpet, we agree that that’s a great thing to do because the Berber carpet, even though it’s Berber, in a below-grade situation like that, it definitely can attract moisture. The dust gets stuck in there; that can create a mold-growth situation, so good idea to get rid of the carpet.

    You want to warm up that floor and use laminate, you’re going to put down an insulating layer first. Now, a lot of the underlayment pads are insulators in and of themselves. They don’t give you a lot of R-value but they do give you some separation between the cold concrete floor and the laminate tile itself.

    Once you have that down, if you want to put some sort of carpet down to kind of just give you a warmer surface, I would use area rugs. Just don’t use wall-to-wall. But a combination of the insulating layer of the underlayment and an area rug will do a good job at trying to make that floor as comfortable as possible.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Jim who wrote: “There are several loose, ceramic tiles on the floor of our church foyer. We have no spare tiles and I don’t think I can buy any that will match. Is there a way to secure the loose tiles without taking them up or can I take them up and reset them successfully?”

    TOM: Yeah, I wouldn’t be afraid of taking them up, Jim. You can’t reseal a tile in place; it’s not going to work. So if those tiles are loose enough to pop up, I would take them up, I would add some tile adhesive – or LIQUID NAILS would work, as well.

    Make sure you clean any of the dust that’s underneath the tile. Sometimes you get the old adhesive that’s there or some of the concrete surface. Make sure you clean it really, really well so nothing is sort of powdery or dirty there. And then use a LIQUID NAIL or a tile adhesive to reseal those tiles in place and then touch up the grout around them and I think it’ll last probably longer than the tiles that surround it.

    LESLIE: Aright, Jim. Good luck with that project and thanks for writing in.

    TOM: Well, is your A/C on but the house just doesn’t seem to be getting cool? Leslie has a quick way to check that everything is working right, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Does your air-conditioning system seem to be on the blink? Well, if you find yourself wondering whether your A/C is performing up to snuff, there’s actually a quick way that you can test it without calling in a pro. You want to take a thermometer and measure the airflow at the supply and the return duct nearest to the blower.

    Now, the temperature difference should be between 12 and 20 degrees. If it’s not, your system is not running efficiently and it could probably use some refrigerant which that, unfortunately, has to be added by the pro. But it’s really easy to do; it’s not expensive. And having have dealt with this at my mom’s beach house – you know, we had the room that was never, never, never, never cool enough and it was taking forever to cool down. And it split in two zones; we were on our own condensing unit. There was a tiny leak in the refrigerant line. It was fixed super-fast and this happened even last year on a Fourth of July weekend and that dude was there and it was hot and it cooled super-fast.

    So, really, do that; it’s a good way to check before you bring in a pro and start spending some money. It’s an easy fix.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Coming up next week on the program, everything slows down during the dog days of summer, including the housing market, which means it could be a great time to buy. We’re going to have some tips on how to make your dream home a reality, on the next edition of the program.

    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 2012 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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