Proper Care for Your Disposer, Top Trends in Hardwood Flooring, LED Lighting Options for your Home and more
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: What are you working on this fine day? We’d love to help. Put us on your to-do list by picking up the phone and calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll help you take some more items off of that list, get your house comfy for the chilly weather ahead. Maybe you’re thinking, “Man, I’ve got to spend a lot of hours inside and I want to make this space look a lot better.” We can help you with some décor projects, as well. Whatever’s on your to-do list, why don’t you move it over to ours at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, fall is a big time of year for one very hard-working appliance in your kitchen: your disposer. Lots of indoor cooking and cleanup right now through the major holidays ahead, so it’s no surprise that this is the time of year that most disposers stop working properly. We’ll have tips on what you can do to keep yours fresh, clean and running right.
LESLIE: And move on over, oak. There’s a whole new lineup of hardwood floors that are hot this fall. New colors and patterns, they are keeping this traditional floor choice current. Find out what they are, coming up.
TOM: And also ahead, there’s a new LED bulb in town and this one is sleek, compact and it saves tons of energy. We’ll have details later this hour.
And we’re taking your calls. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Shannon in North Carolina is on the line and needs help with a bathroom-vent switch. What’s going on?
SHANNON: The problem is I turn the switch on to it, sometimes it comes on, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I turn the switch on, it briefly takes between two to three minutes. And if it comes on after that …
TOM: Now, Shannon, is this powering an exhaust fan?
SHANNON: Yes, it is.
TOM: So I think probably the exhaust fan is starting to wear out. It sounds to me like the motor for the fan is perhaps dirty or the bearing is a little worn and it takes a while for it to kind of get going. And that’s a very kind of common symptom of a motor that’s wearing out.
Is this an old bath fan?
SHANNON: Yes. It’s about 18 years old.
TOM: Yeah, man, time to replace it. Don’t last forever.
SHANNON: Yeah, I know.
TOM: You know, it’s very simple. Does this bath fan have a light that’s built into it, as well?
SHANNON: No, sir.
TOM: Alright. Well, when you pull the cover off the fan, sometimes you’ll see that the fan is actually plugged into the side of the housing. And so you could plug a light into the side of that housing, unplug the fan and then go to the light switch and turn it on – I’m sorry, the bath fan. So turn it on/off, on/off. You’ll probably see the power come on and off like normally, as evidenced by the light bulb that you just plugged in for testing purposes. And again, that just means that the power is fine. It’s not a problem with the switch; it’s the fan.
And if you’re getting that kind of resistance out of it, I’d just replace the fan. They’re not very expensive. And the good thing is that even though it’s an 18-year-old bathroom-exhaust fan, the sizes are pretty standard. So, chances are you’ll be able to replace that without a lot of trouble.
SHANNON: OK. Sounds common and easy.
TOM: Yep. Pretty straightforward. Shannon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ann in North Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a wet crawlspace. Tell us what’s going on there.
ANN: Hey. I have a question about my house. It was built a long time ago and of course, back then they didn’t put a house off the ground. And it’s very low. And I’m just wondering how I can protect it from dampness and rot. I don’t have a lot of money to work with and I’ve heard a few things but I’m really not sure of what I can do.
TOM: OK. So right now, you’re on a crawlspace and the crawlspace, is it accessible? Can you get in there?
ANN: Through one small door.
TOM: OK, fine. It’s not a pleasant project but it is a project that you can do yourself, Ann.
So, a couple of things. First of all, you want to take steps to reduce the amount of moisture that collects at the outside of the foundation. You do that by making sure you have gutters, the gutters are clean and free-flowing and dumping water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation. That’s the most – single most important thing to do is a good gutter system.
Second to that is to make sure the soil around the house slopes away. You don’t want soil that’s settled and is very flat and holds water against the foundation; you want it to slope away. So you could have some clean fill dirt delivered very inexpensive. Basically just carry – pay for the truck to carry it out there. And then grade that to slope away from the walls on all four sides. Over the fill dirt, you could put some topsoil and some seed or stone or whatever you want to do to control erosion.
Then the third thing you do is go in that crawlspace and cover all of the open soil with plastic. Get some large rolls of sheet plastic with as few seams as possible. Cover all of the soil with plastic. That stops a lot of the moisture from evaporating up into the air.
And those three things together will make a big difference.
ANN: Do I need a certain thickness?
TOM: The thicker the plastic the better, because it just – it’s easier to put down. You end up having to crawl on it and you won’t poke through.
ANN: Oh, OK. And does it need to be anchored in any way?
TOM: Nope. You can lay it right over the soil.
ANN: Really? I like that; don’t like the crawl part.
TOM: Yep. OK. Alright.
ANN: It’s just, ugh, scary under there.
TOM: Yeah, it’s a little – like I said, it’s not the most pleasant job but it’s not hard and you can do it yourself. Get a really good friend to keep you company and do it together.
LESLIE: One who likes squishing bugs and giving you support.
ANN: OK. I appreciate it. That answers my question.
TOM: Good luck, Ann. 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 or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, we’re going to talk floors. Now, hardwood is still the hottest floor out there but these traditional looks are being replaced with some very modern takes on flooring. We’ll teach you what those are, after this.
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: Well, laminate and ceramic are on the rise but hardwood flooring is still the hottest and most timeless flooring trend we’ve got. But the difference today is the type of hardwood homeowners are choosing. There are lots of different options now and here are some ideas on how you can stay ahead of the popularity curve.
LESLIE: Well, for example, do you wish you had a beach house? Well, a beach-style home is second only to the real thing. Now, white-washed flooring and white-washed touches, they’re making a big comeback and that can give a nautical-style look to today’s modern sanctuaries.
TOM: Yep. And distressed and reclaimed wood are also popular and they kind of tap in today’s vintage trends. Reclaimed wood is also known as salvaged wood and it’s not only great for its environmental benefits but it really gives a distinct sense of history and character to a space.
LESLIE: Distressed flooring is the synthetic version, which provides a similar look but with a lot less maintenance.
TOM: And gray hardwood is the hottest look in modern flooring. Now, the darker gray looks more like traditional hardwood whereas the lighter gray, that can add a really modern touch. Either of these options helps your furniture and your housewares pop, as well.
So, don’t go traditional. Think about some new touches to that hardwood floor and you will love those results.
LESLIE: Now on the line, we’ve got Pat in Michigan who’s dealing with a problem in a home’s addition. Tell us what you’re working on.
PAT: Well, I had added onto my house in 2003 and added on a small room in a garage. And what I’ve noticed, just recently, is a door that exits this addition – that the security door won’t close.
PAT: And then if I looked into the house, I see where the door is also sagging and then I see a crack radiating from the corner of the door at the top. So, it looks to me like this addition is settling. That side has gone down, which has caused the security door to not close.
TOM: Now, can you clarify for me – you mentioned that this was over a garage?
PAT: No, no, no. This was an addition to the house, which included a room and a garage.
PAT: This room I’m talking about is 10×20. And it’s one of the walls – it’s one wall, which is 10 foot long and that’s where I see the problem. If you look on the outside of the house, it’s brick, this addition, and there’s nothing noticeable from the outside: no cracks in the brick, no movement of the brick that you could see. You’re just seeing it on the inside of the house.
TOM: I think you should rehang the door at this point. The type of crack that you are mentioning is pretty common, because that’s the weakest part in the wall frame. And I’d like for you, before we do anything that’s too drastic in terms of reinforcing foundations during that kind of a project – we don’t know that it’s that bad. This might just be some normal settlement. So I’d like to suggest that you pull the door out and rehang it, square it up and then watch it and see what happens.
PAT: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Anna in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ANNA: Well, I hope you can without involving me in too much work. I have …
TOM: OK. A tall order but we’re up for the challenge.
ANNA: I have two long slats from a bunk-bed set. Now, to use it as a bunk bed, you can’t get rid of these and I was thinking about throwing them out. And then when I looked at them, I thought, “Down the road, if somebody else would ever want these and use them as a bunk bed, I can’t throw them out.”
ANNA: But they’ve been outside and they’ve been kind of sheltered. But they’ve been outside for a couple years and they’re rusted; they’re metal. And so, I wondered how I could clean the metal off, (inaudible at 0:10:29) the rust off them so that – and treat them however – so that they could be used again.
TOM: Right. So, very simple. What you’re going to want to do is either wire-brush and/or sand the metal to get rid of all of that rust. Then wipe it down so it’s nice and clean and dry and then you’re going to paint it with a rust-proofing primer, like Rust-Oleum. If it’s fairly flat, you can brush it on. If it’s got any kind of detail to it, you can buy it in a spray can and just spray it on.
It takes a couple of hours to dry the Rust-Oleum product but it’s worth it because it really does seal it in and protect it. Then after it dries, you can put a topcoat on of the same color that the slat was before, just so it doesn’t look like – it doesn’t have that primer color to it.
ANNA: OK. So I can get it in a color as a shade.
TOM: Oh, sure. Yeah, any color you want. But the rust-proofing primer is kind of like a rust color. And so after that dries, then you can paint whatever you want.
ANNA: Thank you for the advice and I like your show an awful lot.
TOM: Thanks very much, Anne Marie. Good luck with that project. Thanks for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Jim. Welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
JIM: Yes. I’m shopping for a new driveway.
JIM: My old one’s cracked really bad. And I was wondering what to look for as far as to know whether a guy is going to give me what I really need and something good that won’t crack again very well.
TOM: What kind of driveway do you have now? Is it a concrete or asphalt driveway?
JIM: It’s a concrete.
TOM: Well, the key here is going to be the preparation of the base. I mean that’s where the rubber meets the road. If the concrete is not thick enough, it’s not going to be strong enough. And if it’s not strong enough, it’s going to crack. So what I would focus on is making sure that you get a quality contractor first.
And how would I find a quality contractor? Well, I would thoroughly check the contractor’s references. I would go online and check some of the review sites. Take a look at Angie’s List, for example. And see if you can find somebody who’s got a good reputation for doing good work in the area.
And then, once you’ve selected one or two guys that are good, then get their estimates and compare those to try to make an apples-to-apples comparison, because there’s a lot of ways to kind of cut corners when it comes to driveways. You know, one guy could put 3 inches of concrete down and another guy could put 6 inches of concrete down. One guy could tamp the base really solid with equipment that’s designed to do that and another guy might just throw the mud down and drive off.
So, it really comes down to technique and making sure it’s applied correctly. And if it is, you’re going to have a concrete that can – a driveway that can last indefinitely.
JIM: OK. This one gentleman I was talking to about it said the concrete he uses was – has fiberglass in it?
TOM: Yeah. Well, there’s a way to put a – different types of material in concrete that helps it resist cracking and that’s just one of many elements that would go into a good driveway job.
JIM: OK. Do they still use mesh and rebar and stuff like that?
TOM: Oh, yeah. Mm-hmm. Yep. They sure do.
JIM: OK. Well, I really appreciate the help.
TOM: Alright, Jim. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to North Carolina where Reba is dealing with a spider problem. Blah. What’s going on?
REBA: I have moved into a brand-new set of apartments and there are just spiders everywhere. But they have a lot of mulch around our apartments and – where they’ve planted new flowers and such. But there are some tiny spiders that are little black spiders and then there’s brown spiders that are as big as quarters. They’re the fastest spiders I’ve ever seen in my life.
TOM: Oh, boy. And the brown spiders that are as big as quarters, they sound like brown recluse spiders, which can bite. So those we don’t like at all.
REBA: Right. But I have tried – I have bought stuff from Lowe’s. I’ve sprayed all kinds of stuff all inside my house and all around the outside but they’re impossible to get rid of.
TOM: So, I hate to say this but have you considered hiring a professional? I know you’re probably saving some money. But whenever I hear somebody is buying lots and lots of pesticide and spraying it inside the house and spraying it outside the house, I’m kind of of the opinion that by the time you do all that, you’ve exposed yourself to so much excess pesticide that you would have been better off just having a pro come in, because they can buy stuff that you can’t buy.
Plus, they’re specifically trained on where to put the insecticide, how much to put. And also, the insecticides today are very specific and they remove only the insects that they’re supposed to remove. And they don’t remove the beneficial insects that you want to leave behind.
So if you’re having that much of an infestation, I would stop shopping for my own pesticide and call a pro and have them treat the house. And once you get the populations down to where they’re manageable, kind of more normal, then you could try to use some of those other products just on a maintenance basis. Does that make sense?
REBA: It sure does. But here’s the only question: when everybody else is having the same problem and the mulch is all around the whole entire neighborhood, is just me spraying going to help? Is it going to stop it?
TOM: Well, yeah, it’ll create sort of a barrier around your place. But let me ask you, is this an apartment you rent or is this a townhouse? What’s the form?
REBA: This is like – they just built this whole neighborhood of new apartments. There’s like 43 apartments.
TOM: So they’re rental apartments?
TOM: OK. So, if you get the exterminator out there and they tell you that you’ve got something like a brown recluse spider there and you bring that to the attention of the rental agent, I think you’d give them plenty of reason to treat the whole apartment complex and not ignore them to the point where people and kids start getting bitten.
REBA: OK. I thank you for your information.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re welcoming Tim from Illinois to The Money Pit with a water-heating question. What’s going on?
TIM: Oh, I have a nine-year-old water tank and I’m trying to get the rod that collects all the minerals out. And it didn’t want to come, so I was afraid to have busted some pipes. So I was curious, should I just – should leave it alone? And with it being nine years old, it’s almost at the end of its life as far as the water tank. Because I understand that water tanks are usually from 8 to 12 years for a replacement?
TOM: Yeah. So you’re – you’ve been trying to replace the anode and having a hard time getting it out, correct?
TIM: Yeah. I think it’s rusted in or I …
TOM: Sometimes, you have to put – get a little leverage on the wrench to do that. And once you get the wrench on the anode, sometimes you have to kind of extend that wrench handle to really get that out. It’s a bit of a tricky job. But considering the age of the tank, I probably wouldn’t spend much money on it because I think you’re right: 10, 12 years is a pretty average life expectancy for a standard water heater.
And when it comes time to replace the water heater, you might even decide to upgrade it and go with a tankless water heater, which is going to last you a lot longer and be far more efficient.
TIM: And that might be a good choice for me because I’m single and no one else lives in the household and I’m gone most of the time.
TOM: Yeah, well, that’s the difference between a tankless water heater and a standard water heater: the water heater is kind of dumb. It just – it heats the water 24-7 whether you need it or not. And when the water cools down, it comes back on and heats it some more.
A tankless water heater is going to heat on demand. And so, because that’s going to be a lot more efficient for a single guy – but even a big family with teenage daughters, for example, that don’t know the meaning of a short shower, they never run out of hot water when they have tankless. Could just – works very well in both extremes.
TIM: So how much is something like – cost for installation and so forth?
TOM: Well, if you compare it against a high-efficiency, tanked water heater, it’s similar. But if you compare it against a standard, sort of low-efficiency, it’s probably going to be about twice as much. But it will last longer, too, and you’re going to save money on the energy bills, too.
TIM: I thank you for your time. And I love your show and your advice is well worth listening to.
LESLIE: Well, LED bulbs, they will save you a lot of energy. That’s true. But some of you are still having a hard time getting over that high price tag.
TOM: Yeah. I remember when those LED bulbs first hit the market. I was kind of freaking out when I heard they cost 50 bucks or more. Well, all that has changed. We’ve got tips on a brand-new LED bulb that costs less than four bucks, when The Money Pit continues after this.
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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: Well, when LED bulbs first came out, the energy savings got some early adopters on board but many homeowners were not convinced. The cost, the look and the light of LEDs just wasn’t what they were accustomed to.
LESLIE: Well, LEDs have come a long way. You know, they look great and the costs have come down significantly. So here to talk about that is John Strainic from GE Lighting and Joey Corona, the light-bulb merchant for The Home Depot.
JOHN: Yeah. Thanks for having us.
JOEY: Thanks for having us on.
TOM: Well, it’s great to talk to you both, because this is an industry that is constantly in motion. So many changes happening so quickly. You both have done a great job of staying on top of this.
John, let’s start with you. How big is the market for LED light bulbs?
JOHN: The market for LED light bulbs is growing dramatically. There are about 4 billion sockets in the U.S. and only about 10 percent of those sockets today have an LED bulb. So you can see that the opportunity to continue to grow and expand the LED presence in the home is huge.
LESLIE: And Joey, if you go into the aisle at any of the Home Depots, it is just inundated with choices with LEDs and CFLs, I mean so many different types of lighting. So for you, Joey, how do you see these options for lighting changing over the next five years to come?
JOEY: Well, they’re going to change and they’re going to change rapidly. Like John said, there’s a huge shift into LED at the moment and I feel like our customers are really navigating that shift quite well. What’s really happened in the last year, year-and-a-half is that the price points have come down dramatically in LED.
Really, we’ve been able to offer some very affordable LED options for our customers. When you think about things like the GE Bright Stik that we’ve got out in the market now, 3 for 9.97, compare it to price points that were north of $40, $50 for a single bulb in the past. It’s really just been able to accelerate the adoption within LED.
TOM: The durability of these bulbs is second to none. When those first bulbs came out and they were $40 and $50, we all started saying, “Well, maybe the bulbs is not just a disposable item anymore. Maybe it’s really an appliance.” Because that’s the only way we could justify spending that kind of money. When you went to sell your house, you would actually take your bulbs with you as opposed to kind of leaving them behind.
But now, what you guys have done is really amazing: brought these prices down where you can buy 3 bulbs for under 10 bucks. Is this the first time you’ve ever seen anything like this in the market, John?
JOHN: It is. And we designed the Bright Stik product to do exactly that: to get to an affordable price point under $10 for 3, a product that we think will accelerate the shift from the squiggly bulbs, compact fluorescent – as we call them in the industry – to LED over the next few years.
LESLIE: And I think it’s important to point, John, that the bulbs, they don’t have a warm-up time and they look more like a traditional bulb. I think that really brings a higher comfort level for the buyers out there.
JOHN: Leslie, I think that’s exactly right and that’s what we experience with consumers. That’s what they’re looking for -is they don’t want to compromise. They want energy efficiency and long life but don’t want to compromise like they’ve had in the past with some of the older technology.
TOM: We’re talking to John Strainic from GE Lighting and Joey Corona, the light-bulb expert for The Home Depot.
So, guys, let’s talk a little bit more about this brand-new product from GE: the LED Bright Stik. It’s got, as Leslie said, a very attractive design. The rated life on this is 15,000 hours or nearly 14 years. That’s crazy. Wow.
JOHN: It really is and I think, as we look at the lifetimes for these products, I think the great thing about it is consumers can put this into an application in their home and not have to worry about changing a bulb for quite a long time. And the other nice thing is the sweet design allows this product to fit in a lot of different sockets within the home.
LESLIE: Now, I noticed that the GE LED Bright Stik comes with a five-year warranty. Now what exactly does a warranty cover on a light bulb? I’m just curious about that.
JOHN: Leslie, what a warranty covers is – we warrant the product to operate as rated for up to five years and so the consumer – and then the shopper can feel confident that they’ve got a product that’s designed to last for at least the initial five years and beyond that.
LESLIE: It’s fantastic. I’m so used to occasionally, with an incandescent, getting a year, maybe, and constantly changing out a bulb.
LESLIE: So to think that, “Oh if this bulb fails in five years, we’re going to give you another one,” that’s mind-blowing to me.
TOM: And Joey, let me just ask you one more question before we let you guys go. As the guy that basically stands around the aisles at The Home Depot and watches what consumers do when they hit your lighting aisle, are more DIY consumers trying LED or are more contractors? Or is it really a mix of both?
JOEY: We’re actually seeing a great mix of both. We do a lot of sales with our DIY customer, particularly in areas of the country that offer consumer rebates. But we also have a huge maintenance-and-repair customer base, in terms of kind of the pro or the contractor. And so, really, both segments of our business have really kind of taken ahold of this LED movement and are both being accordingly.
LESLIE: And Joey, you guys really are kind of leaning on the contractor, who is putting these bulbs into new homes or renovations, to educate the customer that this really is the best choice.
JOEY: Certainly. Any new construction or renovation that’s taking place out there is definitely going the LED route.
TOM: And you guys have a big truckload event happening this month? Tell us about that.
JOEY: We do. So, for about the next month-and-a-half, you’re going to see a lot of activity at The Home Depot. The entire light-bulb aisle will be sold with stacks and stacks of light bulbs heavily skewed towards LED. We do have a little bit of everything but definitely skewed towards LED. And it’s just a lot of our greatest offers, best deals of the year are going to take place over the next seven weeks and including the – we have a special buy on an eight-pack of the Bright Stiks.
So we’ve got the three-packs in store now. We’re going to have an eight-pack on special buy during that same timeframe.
TOM: So, as the days get shorter and darker, brighten them up with this brand-new innovation from GE Lighting: the GE LED Bright Stik, available for 9.97 – 3 in fact for 9.97 – at The Home Depot.
John Strainic from GE Lighting, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
JOHN: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
TOM: And Joey Corona, the light-bulb merchant at The Home Depot, thanks for all the work you do to bring bright light into our homes every single day, Joey.
JOEY: Thanks for having me on.
TOM: And if you’d like to learn more about these products, you can go to The Home Depot.com. That’s TheHomeDepot.com.
LESLIE: Alright. And still ahead, the hardest-working season for your disposer is here. We’re going to tell you how you can keep it fresh and odor-free, after this.
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: Give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Esther in South Dakota, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ESTHER: Well, you can tell me how I can put little windows into a metal garden shed.
TOM: Oh, OK. So, it’s just a single-wall metal shed?
ESTHER: It is. It’s like overlapping metal sheets.
TOM: Yeah. Hmm. Why do you want to put the windows in there? Just for light?
ESTHER: For light and also because if we put shutters on the outside of them, they’re dressed up and it’ll look kind of cute from the outside.
TOM: And it looks pretty, right? Yeah.
If you purchase very inexpensive, new-construction style windows – new-construction style windows have sort of a fin – a nailing fin – on the outside of it, like a strip that surrounds it. If you were to do that and you cut the hole in the wall to just fit around the outside of the window and install the window backwards – in other words, instead of putting it in from the front and covering it with siding, you’re going to start on the inside and mount it there and then stick it sort of through the hole that you cut, that fits around the window. And then you could bolt them in place and then cover the bolts with the shutters. That would be the way to create the illusion that the windows were built into the shed.
So, just to review, you would purchase a very inexpensive window, because we’re not in the least bit concerned about energy efficiency; this is just for show. Make sure it has a nailing flange around the outside of it: sort of this fin that sticks out. Cut the hole in the metal wall that’s the exact size of the window, insert the window from the back and then the nailing flange that’s on the back you can bolt in to the metal that’s all the way around. And then you would cover those bolts with the shutters. And you’ll have to caulk it to make sure it’s watertight.
ESTHER: Oh, sure. Great. OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: Well, we get a lot of questions about how to keep a garbage disposer clean and sometimes those questions include some really major myths.
For example, folks have suggested that ice cubes dropped in a disposer can sharpen blades. Well, I don’t think that’s physically possible. They also suggest that lemons will naturally deodorize and clean. Yeah, for about three seconds. And I’ve even heard this idea that a light bulb run through the disposer will make it work better, because the glass is ground up in the blades. Really, really bad idea, not to mention plain dangerous.
LESLIE: Yeah. Yikes. That’s not a good idea at all. Well, the fact is, guys, you do have to keep your garbage disposer clean and functioning properly to avoid those clogs and that stinky buildup. Now, you never want to run any fibrous fruit or vegetables in there, like pumpkin guts or corn husks. And if you don’t clean it regularly, you may end up with what’s called “biofilm,” which could lead to pests and even drain flies. I mean it’s super gross if you don’t take care of it.
TOM: And that’s why we recommend cleaning your disposer monthly for optimal performance of both your disposer and your home’s plumbing system. And the best way to clean your disposer is with a product designed specifically for that purpose.
We use Glisten Disposer Care. Glisten are the machine-cleaning experts. They’ve got a line of products that’s designed to specifically clean, freshen and maintain your appliances.
LESLIE: Disposer Care is a foaming cleaner that comes in a premeasured, biodegradable packet. So what you do is you simply drop a packet into your disposer and the blue foaming action will do the rest. It’s kind of amazing. It just starts to foam up and really gets to work.
Glisten Disposer Care cleans what home remedies and other brands simply cannot, by reaching into all of those hidden areas and foaming away the toughest grunge and odors. And it really refreshes your whole kitchen. Disposer Care strips away all those food particles, it’ll cut through the grease and fat that gets stuck to it and it really just cleans the disposer, the blades, the sidewalls and even the splash guard.
TOM: Glisten makes a cleaner for all your appliances: your disposer, dishwasher, microwave, even your washing machine. Visit GlistenCleaners.com to learn more about these fantastic products.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Sylvester on the line from Louisiana who’s dealing with some hurricane damage, possibly, with a leaky attic. Tell us what’s going on.
SYLVESTER: Top of the roof is about – at a vertex, is probably 46, 49 feet. Well, there’s a – where the attic breathes, sometimes there’s squares, some rectangular, some round where it ends, the …
TOM: Yeah, the vents. Uh-huh. The attic vents.
SYLVESTER: I’m getting blowing rainwater that’s coming in there, running down the wall, coming in to a bedroom window below on the second.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Oh, boy. OK.
SYLVESTER: How is that – and it has happened before. But it’s only when it’s a strong, blowing wind blowing the rain …
TOM: Is it always in the same spot?
TOM: So it’s probably not all of the vents. It’s just one or two of the vents?
SYLVESTER: I would think so. I don’t know. I haven’t actually gone into the attic yet to see which – where most of it’s coming from.
TOM: So I would do that as my next step, because I would go up in the attic and I would look for the leaks.
Now, it might be that maybe it’s not blowing in the vents; it might be blowing around the vents. The vents could be leaking. Because every one of those vents has to be cut through the roof, so this may not really be what you think it is. But I would get up in the attic with a high-powered flashlight and take a look in the area of the problem. Remember that water will run downhill, so it might start up high, run down a rafter and then drip off down below into – and show up in your bedroom or wherever.
But I would take a careful look to try to find those leak stains. That would tell me exactly where it’s leaking. And if I can identify the vent that’s leaking, I would just simply reseal it or replace it.
SYLVESTER: Thank you much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are you getting ready for lots of little Halloween visitors? Well, you want to make sure that the path to your front door is clear and safe. We’ll tell you how, when The Money Pit continues after this.
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TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: You can pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or if you’re the shy type, why not just post your question to The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/The Money Pit? That’s what Jamie did.
LESLIE: Alright. Jamie writes: “My attic stairs are old and rickety but I don’t know what type to replace them with. Do you recommend any particular brands or materials, such as wood versus steel?”
TOM: You know, Jamie, as you’ve discovered, there is a really wide variety of attic stairs out there. I faced this exact dilemma when I needed to replace a shaky set of old attic stairs in my home last year. The staircase that I ultimately choose was an unusual one. It was called the Rainbow Attic Stair.
Now, it’s a steel product and it was unlike any other I’d ever seen, because it’s got a prefab stairwell with sort of like an accordion-like stair that unfolds from it. Now, I did find it to be very heavy and very sturdy, so you need a couple of – maybe even three guys to help you get this thing in place. But I use my attic more as a result. It’s more efficient than a traditional attic stair, as well. And I’ve also found that it’s got a really good, insulated seal around it, so I’m not losing any heat up in that attic space, as well.
So you can learn more at RainbowAtticStairs.com.
LESLIE: Yeah. And I think you bring up a good point, Tom, because a lot of people don’t realize that that attic staircase is a form of huge amounts of energy loss.
So, whatever you’re going with, Jamie, you want to make sure that it does have a good seal and really does the job of keeping that air transfer to a minimum or not at all.
TOM: There are all these after-market products, like insulation that lays on top of it, but that’s just really inconvenient. If you have a good stair and a good seal, that’s all you need.
LESLIE: Yeah. And you don’t want to be moving something every time you want to go up and down.
TOM: Well, Halloween is right around the corner and with that, a lot of foot traffic is coming to your front door. So now’s a great time to make sure your sidewalks, your walkways and your driveways are safe for your littlest visitors. Learn how, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. It’s time to prepare for the happy haunting that comes with trick-or-treat traffic. So you want to go beyond styling your jack-o’-lantern and stocking up on candy and ensure the evening is safe and fun for everyone.
Now, whether you go all out with a haunted yard or you just keep your décor to the porch, you have to make sure that there’s a clear, safe route to your front door and away from your front door. Because you could end up with a lot of kids sort of building up and blocking the way.
Your sidewalks and your steps should be in good repair and free of obstructions. Your railings have to be steady and easy to grip. Also, you want to make sure that there’s plenty of space around your front door free of open flames and decorations that could catch onto costumes.
Now, Halloween lighting effects, they’re really fun but they should be secondary to your path lighting. You have to have a welcoming porch light in order to prevent trips and falls, because a lot of kids are wearing masks, their costumes are long. They’re just not – they’re blinded by candy, guys. You’ve got to understand that, so keep it safe.
Alright. And let’s not forget your pets. Halloween sound effects, that repeatedly ringing doorbell of all the kids and the kids in costumes, that could be upsetting to your pets. So keep them in their own room, behind closed doors away from all of the hubbub. Give them treats and food, water, a toy or two and then they’ll be happy in there.
Now, once the trick-or-treat trail quiets down, shut off your lights and your sound effects, blow out the candles and bring your jack-o’-lantern indoors so that you’re thwarting the mischief of those late-night vandals. I mean why give them the opportunity? If you want some more tips, check out my blog on MoneyPit.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next time on the program, do you want to keep your home warmer this winter but you’re not sure where to start? Well, we’ve got tips that you can use to stay cozy and save big, too, by choosing the best type of insulation for your house. We’ll have that info for you on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2015 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.)