Save Money on AC Bills, Energy Efficient Window Information, Storm Ready Toolbox and more
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
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 want you to pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. And this is the weekend where you should be doing projects not only for yourself but for your dad.
Happy Father’s Day, everybody. We hope if you are a do-it-yourself dad that you are getting some help this weekend and maybe some of your kids are stopping by to help you tackle your home improvement projects. And kids? Maybe that’s a good thing for you to ask dad; if here we are, last minute, and I don’t have a gift, give them the gift of helping with a home improvement project.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Are you dropping hints, Tom? (chuckles)
TOM: So pick up the phone and give us a call. Kids, you can call, too, and ask us how to get that job done. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, summer now is just about ready to officially get under way and if you want tips to cut those A/C bills, we’ve got a great idea that will keep your house cool and cost a lot less in running the air conditioner. We’ll tell you how, in just a bit.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, another way to keep cool air inside is with energy-efficient windows. And now there’s a way to have the government help pay for them. You’ve got to love that. We’re going to have all the details coming up.
TOM: Plus, hurricane season is under way with a very active summer and fall predicted. And even if you are not on the coast, storms could cause major damage if you’re not ready. We’re going to tell you what you need to know to protect yourself and your house.
LESLIE: And this hour, we’re giving away a $200 gift certificate for Top Knobs hardware. You know, we often tell you that just changing out the dated hardware can actually update your bath or your kitchen and this is really a great way to accomplish that. Man, 200 bucks; you could buy a lot of knobs. (chuckles)
TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement question, your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Let’s get to it.
LESLIE: Catherine in Hawaii is calling in with a flooring question. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
CATHERINE: Hi there. I’m so glad to talk to you. Well, I live in a very humid place and over the years, in my kitchen which has a hardwood floor, near the heavily-trafficked area in front of stove and the sink and the counter, there have developed little speckles of what looks like it might be mold.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
CATHERINE: It’s not a lot of it but it looks dirty and it’s under the surface of the finish.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. OK.
CATHERINE: So I want to know if there’s a way to get rid of that without refinishing the whole room.
TOM: Probably not; not if it’s under the finish.
LESLIE: Yeah, if it’s under the finish.
TOM: Are you sure it’s mold? It might just be dirt. It tends to grind in due to the open pores of the wood.
CATHERINE: Uh-huh. I’ve tried to scrub it pretty good. Do you have any suggestion on a …?
TOM: Yeah, I can tell you sort of a way to do a very light refinishing of it without sanding it down thoroughly. What you can do is you can rent a floor buffer with a sanding screen. Now, you’ve seen the big floor buffers they use in commercial buildings, right? Well, this is a screen – it looks kind of like a window screen kind of material but it’s abrasive – but it’s only very lightly abrasive – that goes between the floor buffer and the floor.
And you can buff this floor and it kind of sands off the finish and just sort of cleans it up; any ground-in dirt, it’ll take that up. And it doesn’t take up nearly – it doesn’t really eat up the wood or anything like that. It’ll rough it all up and freshen up the surface and then you vacuum it. That’s the only bad thing about it because there’s no vacuum associated with a floor buffer, so you have to sort of vacuum all that dust up; make sure it’s really, really clean. And then you can refinish right on top of that.
So that’s a nice way to do sort of in-between major sandings of floors; you can just use the floor buffer, clean off the surface and then seal it from there or polyurethane it from there.
CATHERINE: If it were ground-in dirt, that would probably …
TOM: That’d probably take it up, yeah. I mean you may have to do a little bit of hand-sanding but that might be a good place to start.
CATHERINE: I think I will start there. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Catherine. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dennis in Iowa is working on an insulation project. Tell us what’s going on.
DENNIS: Well, I’d like to insulate the ceiling in my attic and I was wondering if I could use maybe those 4×8 sheets of foil-back styrene.
TOM: Why would you want to do that? Are you living in your attic?
DENNIS: Yeah. I use the attic for storage and was trying to keep some of the heat out of there and I thought if I …
TOM: Yeah. Well, your attic is either going to be conditioned space or not-conditioned space. Are you heating the attic?
TOM: Alright. You don’t want to insulate the rafters, then. If your attic is properly insulated, the heat is kept at the floor level. You don’t want to add insulation to the roof structure, especially because if you do it wrong, you’re going to have an overheating situation where the shingles will wear out very, very quickly.
So you only insulate that roof rafter if you’re going to have – that attic is going to be a finished living space with heat in it. And if you do it that way, if it is finished space, then what you do is you insulate only about two-thirds of the rafter bay. So, for example, if it’s a 2×6 rafter, you’d put 2×4 insulation in that or four inches thick of insulation, so that you have space above it where air can flow and keep it cooler.
DENNIS: Oh, OK.
TOM: But you definitely don’t want to insulate it if it’s not a conditioned space, because that’s just not going to work out very well for you.
DENNIS: OK. Well, thank you.
TOM: Alright? See, now you have another project to think about this weekend, since we took that one off your list.
DENNIS: There you go.
TOM: (chuckling) (overlapping voices) Good luck.
DENNIS: (overlapping voices) Thanks.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there. If you have a project you are working on or want to help your dad with a project, give us a call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for hurricanes and other severe summer weather with a storm-ready tool box. Find out what yours should include, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And you should give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, especially if you’d like a cheap and easy way to do a complete kitchen or bathroom makeover because this hour we’re giving away a $200 gift certificate for a set of Top Knobs bath or kitchen hardware.
You can give your space an instant makeover that’s totally a do-it-yourself project, with this gift certificate from Top Knobs. And they have some new products available. They have the Aspen Cast Bronze Collection and they have a sealed finish that projects the bronze patina and the natural, distressed look so that every knob maintains its color and its finish; never showing age or wear.
Call us right now for your chance to win. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, June means the start of summer and of course, Father’s Day – so Happy Father’s Day to all of you guys out there – but also the beginning of hurricane season; it officially kicked off June 1st, you guys. And this year, forecasters are predicting a pretty busy hurricane season.
Now, millions of people, even those of us inland, are getting ready to face severe weather at a moment’s notice. So we want to make sure that you’re prepared, by making sure that your tool box is storm-ready. For example, you want to make sure that it includes a staple gun and plastic sheeting. You know, this is going to help slow down any major leaks or to protect any belongings if the rain does happen to find its way inside your home.
Also, you want to have a caulk gun with silicone caulk handy. Now, this is good for emergency leaks because the silicone can be applied even when the surface is wet; it’s still going to stick. You also want to make sure that you have some safety glasses and some leather gloves in there.
TOM: And perhaps most important, you want to make sure you have a good flashlight. And there’s a brand-new one out now from Stanley, that I love. It’s called the 3-in-1 LED Tripod Flashlight. It’s got this kind of cool, hands-free tripod design. So if this is your only light source in case of a power outage, you’re pretty much all set. But you can also use each flashlight separately, so it’s great for members of your family to move around the house with ease. The lenses are shatterproof; the heads are multi-directional. They swivel up to 120 degrees, so this is really the perfect storm flashlight to have in your tool box. And I bet you there were a lot of fathers that got this as a gift, because it’s a terrific Father’s Day gift, as well.
You can learn more about the Stanley 3-in-1 LED Flashlight at MoneyPit.com in our Father’s Day gift guide.
888-666-3974 is the phone number you need to know for the answers to your home improvement question. Let’s get back to it.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Marilyn in New Mexico needs some help with a kitchen project. What can we do for you today?
MARILYN: I needed to know how do I get cooking grease off my kitchen cabinet?
LESLIE: Are your kitchen cabinets wood?
LESLIE: Have you tried one of those orange-based cleansers, like an Orange Glo?
MARILYN: I’m afraid to try anything. I’m afraid it’ll take off the finish, I guess, or dull them.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No, no, no, no. No, you’re not going to take anything off the finish unless you go with something that’s like a chemical stripping agent, that’s made to remove the finish. But an orange-based product – that really gets a lot of gunk and sticky stuff off of wood surfaces.
I know when we took the protective bumpers off of our wooden coffee table as our son started, you know, growing out of banging his face on the edge of the coffee table, I was left with all of this adhesive on there that I just could not peel off or get off. And the Orange Glo worked fantastic to remove it and made the wood sparkle like the sun; I mean it’s really fantastic.
And I know it works really well with kitchen grease. I’ve used it on my cabinet doors and you’ll see you even get like a little buildup from just your fingers on the edge where you open the doors. And it really does do a heck of a job to get that stuff off.
MARILYN: But it will take the grease off there, too? Because I’m having a problem with that.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It absolutely will.
MARILYN: Because sometimes I use even my fingernails because it’s gotten so like crusty on there and gooey.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thick. Yeah, I would try the Orange Glo first. Try like an orange-based product. I bet you that will – you know, 99 percent in my mind, I feel like that’s going to take that off. If for some reason it doesn’t, there’s another product out there from a company called Nutek Formulations and it’s called Grime-Away. And it comes in a wipe format and I’ve used that to get buildup of tree sap off of my outdoor furnishings. And that hasn’t damaged the wood surface of my outdoor furniture, so I don’t see why that would hurt your kitchen cabinet. But that’s like more aggressive. I would start with the orange product first, since you’ve probably already got it in your house, and then look for the Grime-Away.
MARILYN: OK. So just go with Orange Glo first and then, if not, go with the Grime-Away?
MARILYN: And where would I find Grime-Away at?
LESLIE: It’s available at a variety of different retailers. I know The Home Depot started carrying them but if you go to their website, it’s Nutek – N-u-t-e-k – Formulations.com and look up the product. It’ll tell you where to buy it.
MARILYN: OK. Well, thank you. I’ll give that a try, yeah, because I’ve been trying at it on and off for the last week (Leslie chuckles) and nothing has really worked.
TOM: Alright, Marilyn. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dan in North Carolina has an outdoor lighting question. Tell us what’s going on.
DAN: Well, hello there. First of all, I just love your show.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Thank you very much.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks, Dan.
DAN: And I listen to you every week. Hey, I have a question. Down my driveway, I have six light bulbs that are 110 volt. I’ve put fluorescent in them and I have a motion detector.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
DAN: When I drive down, it turns the lights on.
DAN: Do I have to have any kind of fuse between the motion detector and then that line of lights?
TOM: No, because the circuit breaker for where this ties into your house, whatever circuit it’s on, that’s where you have the fuse protection.
TOM: You wouldn’t put a fuse between a motion detector and the light bulbs because the motion detector, essentially, is the switch; so you don’t fuse between the switch and the bulbs.
DAN: This is an existing house and there was a fuse in there, in between. And I didn’t know, when that thing blew out, if I needed to just hardwire that across or if I needed to put another fuse in that line.
TOM: Well, listen, if you’ve got old wiring – who knows how this was done but, typically, here’s what would happen. You would run a circuit from the main electrical panel. It would run, basically, down the driveway and up into and including this motion detector that’s turning them on and off. And the circuit breaker itself is what would protect the circuit. So if, for any reason, you had a short or you were pulling too much power, it would turn the entire circuit off. So I can’t imagine why there would be an in-line fuse. If it wasn’t done professionally, who knows what happened? But if it was done professionally, the circuit breaker or the main fuse panel is where you would have the protection for the circuit.
TOM: And the other thing, by the way, since this is an outside circuit, is you would also have a ground fault protection built into that, so that a ground-fault breaker – basically, not only does it sense a wire that’s overheating; it senses a diversion of current to ground source, which is what happens if you’re getting a shock. That’s when you see the outlets that have test and reset buttons in them and they have breakers that way, too.
TOM: So that would be part of that circuit, as well. Listen, Dan, get an electrician to look at it if it doesn’t look like it was built right, because it doesn’t sound like it was. And if you found one thing that looks odd, there may be something else. And since it’s an outside circuit, you want to make sure it’s done correctly.
DAN: OK. And always, thanks, you guys, for what you do. You have great comments and you help a lot of people.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, you’re very welcome.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Thanks.
TOM: Nice of you to say. Thank you so much and thanks again for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ed in Maryland is having a siding issue. Tell us what’s going on.
ED: OK. I have three courses of siding that have blown off the bottom of a modular home.
ED: And there is no starter strip on this siding. It’s hooked into a piece of 5/16 Homasote and then nailed just across the top of the siding. And so, evidently, over the years, it’d get moist and deteriorated.
Now, I’m going to put a piece of plywood down with a starter strip, with the courses back on. But what happens when I get to the original course that’s still nailed and I’m trying to put a new one in? How do I lift them up and then hook them back together again?
TOM: With a little tool called a zip tool.
ED: A zip tool?
TOM: Yeah. It’s a siding removal or installation tool. It’s a tool that has a handle and sort of a curved blade. It allows you to get in there and either zip or unzip those locking sections of siding together. That’s how you repair it if it’s blown off.
ED: OK. Now, this house had no wrap or tar paper or anything like that.
TOM: Yeah, you know, I’ve seen that before and I think that, technically, according to the code you don’t need it but it makes me very uncomfortable. Except, at this point in time, there’s not really much you can do about it, because that affects the whole house. But I actually have seen houses without a building wrap.
You believe that, Leslie? Where it’s vinyl sided right onto the wood sheathing.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s amazing that you would even do that.
ED: Yeah. This company is long gone out of business, the modular home, but it does have the high-density styrene, blue styrene.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yep. Well, that’s good.
ED: Yeah, so …
TOM: So you do have some draft-proofing as a result of that as well.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But that should be on top of the paper.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
ED: Yeah, well, there’s nothing. Alright, well, I thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ed. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, it’s bound to be a hot, hot summer and air conditioning can be very, very expensive. But there is a less-expensive alternative, especially for use early in the morning or early in the evening. It’s called a whole-house fan. It can save you major energy dollars this summer. We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes, with an advanced 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers long-lasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
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 you can follow us on Facebook. Just text “Fan TheMoneyPit” to FBOOK at 32665 from your cell phone. You’ll be instantly added as a fan. And if you do become a fan of our page on Facebook, we will shoot you messages when we’re in the studio and then give you the hotline; the special number that gets you right in to ask your question when we are live and in the studio.
And for everyone else, for every other idea, every other question you have, call us 24 hours a day at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we’re not in the studio then, we call you back the next time we are. So let’s get to it. Pick up the phone and call us right now.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Laurie in North Dakota is refinishing some wood floors. Tell us what’s going on.
LAURIE: Hi. I’m calling to see about my interior wood floor. I am wondering if I need to let it cure for any length of time after we’ve put the stain on it, before we put our furniture back on.
TOM: So this is a brand new wood floor?
LAURIE: No, it’s not.
TOM: But you say you stained it? What did you do? What was the project that you did, Laurie?
LAURIE: We’re stripping it right now and sanding it down and I’m going to stain it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK.
LAURIE: We haven’t stained it quite yet.
TOM: Yeah. No, once you stain it, you can literally re-urethane it the next day; you know, as long as the stain dries. You don’t have to let it “cure” or anything like that. Just go ahead and move right through from staining to sealing.
LAURIE: OK. And then how about once we put the polyurethane on, do we need to let it cure for any length of time then?
TOM: Ah, that’s a whole separate matter. (chuckles)
TOM: Because the polyurethanes, even the ones that say “quick-dry,” are generally not and you do need to let them dry thoroughly. And it takes quite a while before you can really start to beat up the floor.
So, what you want to do is you want to apply the polyurethane with a lambs wool applicator. So you don’t want to brush it on; you don’t want to roll it on.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) You want to sort of like mop it on.
TOM: (overlapping voices) A lambs wool applicator is more like a mop. Right? You kind of mop it on. And you work your way out of the room. And then it helps if you have a little bit of heat on it; it helps it dry quicker, even if it’s warm that day. A little bit of heat helps it dry and evaporate quicker.
So you’re going to probably wait at least a full day; maybe even two days before you put a second coat on. And then you add a second coat; let that dry. And then I would leave maybe some rosin paper or something down in the traffic areas. And when you put your furniture back, even if it seems to be dry to walk on, be very careful about sliding furniture and really being too rough on it, until a good month or so has passed because it does take quite a while for it to really harden up.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you do have to make sure that between coats, Laurie, that you do let it absolutely dry because if, for some reason, it’s still a little tacky and not quite dry when you put that second coat on, it will never dry.
LESLIE: There’s something that happens between the two coats that just causes it to sort of be like …
TOM: It seals in its gumminess.
LESLIE: Yeah, gelatinous. Like it’s very strange, so you have to make sure that first coat is super-duper dry before you apply the second.
TOM: And the damper it is outside, the longer it’s going to take.
LAURIE: Alright. We won’t rush into that second coat then.
LAURIE: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Laurie. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, just about this time of year, the air in your house is often stuffier and hotter than the air outside. And you feel silly turning on the air conditioner but how can you get rid of that stuffy, stale air?
TOM: Ah and that’s where a whole-house fan comes in. Here to tell us about that is This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor, and the show’s general contractor, Tommy Silva.
Kevin, a whole-house fan also cuts down on energy costs. Can save you a bundle, right?
KEVIN: That’s right. A great way to reduce your air conditioning costs is to take advantage of the times of the day when the air outside your house is cooler than the air inside your house. And that’s exactly what a whole-house fan is designed to do.
TOMMY: That’s right. A whole-house fan, installed in the attic floor, will actually pull the warm air from the house into the attic, pushing the hot air of the attic out through any vents, like a soffit vent, a ridge vent or even a gable vent. It actually will create a negative pressure in the living space of the house but you have to open a window down on the first floor of the lower level to pull that cooler air in.
You should run it at night or early in the morning, when it’s cooler outside than in. And it can also save a lot of energy by reducing the need for your air conditioner.
KEVIN: So if you do have air conditioning, can you also have a whole-house fan?
TOMMY: Absolutely. But don’t run the fan while the air conditioning is running, unless you want to cool the outside.
KEVIN: Alright. Well, to learn how to install a whole-house fan, check out our video on ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for their fan club.
TOM: Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor (chuckles), thanks for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: That’s bad, that’s bad.
TOMMY: Talk about hot air. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Waa-waa. You’re so funny, Tom. Why don’t you bring the jokes to me, silly? (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
But seriously, guys, if you’re looking for some more great tips, you can watch Kevin and Tommy on TV’s This Old House. This Old House is brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is here.
TOM: Still ahead, we’ve got tips on optimizing the first whole-house cooling system invented: your windows. That’s right. Windows can actually start saving you money instantly, if you know a little trick of the trade. We’ll share that, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac Automatic Standby Generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This hour, we’ve got a great prize up for grabs. We’re giving away a $200 gift certificate for a set of Top Knobs bath or kitchen hardware. Now, you can give your space an instant makeover that is totally do-it-yourself. I mean it is as simple as unscrewing one screw and then screwing in another screw. It’s really super-simple to change the hardware.
And new from TopKnobs.com, you can get now free samples delivered directly to you. Now, normally these samples are only available to people like me in the trade and then you’ve got to get it from me and I’ve got to get it to you but Top Knobs will give it directly to you. And they’ve got this great, sealed finish which allows every knob to maintain its color and finish, so it’s never going to age and it’s never going to show wear. So call us for your chance to win and the number again here at The Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, changing out your kitchen or bath hardware is a quick and easy improvement. Replacing your windows is an extremely wise and a money-saving improvement but a little tougher to do. But having said that, it’s a really good time to tackle that project because if you choose the right type of windows, this year you can receive up to $1,500 via an energy tax credit off of next year’s taxes. Now, the team from Simonton Windows has actually helped us put together everything you need to know for our window replacement guide, available right now for free at MoneyPit.com.
This guide has got great tips on selecting windows, including how to choose the most energy-efficient glass. There’s a lot of choices out there. How do you know if the glass in the windows at (inaudible at 0:26:07.5) is really energy-efficient? We will tell you how to do that; also how to make sure you get the right warranty, which is critical, and how to survive and thrive through the installation process. You know, people get afraid thinking about replacing their windows because they imagine their house has to be torn open to the environment. Well, it only has to be taken open strategically; like one window at a time, for a very limited amount of time.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, it doesn’t have to be like Swiss cheese?
TOM: No, it doesn’t have to be. (Leslie chuckles) You don’t have to worry about birds flying through your house and stuff like that.
LESLIE: But people do.
TOM: We do have a system to get this done without, you know, exposing your house to the weather. So all of that information is contained in the free window replacement guide. It’s actually a chapter from our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure, available for free download at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? The experts at Simonton, they actually say that energy-efficient vinyl windows – if you replace your windows with that type, that’s going to help you immediately reduce your heating and cooling bills. It’s going to give you great curb appeal and it’s actually going to increase your home’s value as well, so it’s really great all around.
If you want to check out our window guide, head on over to MoneyPit.com and you can read it there.
TOM: 888-666-3974 or pick up the phone and call us right now with your home improvement question.
LESLIE: Jim in Texas has a water heating question. What can we do for you?
JIM: Well, I need a new water heater and my house is all electric.
JIM: I was thinking about putting in a tankless water heater but I’d have to run a gas line in. The gas makes my wife a little nervous. I was looking at the Eternal Hybrid Condensing Water Heater, which sounds really good and it almost sounds too good to be true. Have you all heard of that?
TOM: Not familiar with that particular brand but I will tell you this: a) your wife should not be nervous about natural gas; it’s completely safe if it’s properly installed, so nothing to worry about with respect to that. Secondly, if you don’t want to change to natural gas – but that is, by the way, going to be the most efficient way to heat your water – you can use a heat pump water heater which combines heat pump technology with an electric water heater. And I think GE has one; I’m pretty sure that Rinnai makes one, too. And they’re super-efficient and they actually qualify for the tax credit that’s available right now, too.
TOM: Jim, on our website, we’ve got an article about one of those products: it’s the Rheem HP-50. If you search that on MoneyPit.com, you’ll find it. It’s very, very efficient and it can even pay for itself. And the Rheem website for that product is RheemHPWH.com.
But I do think that these heat pump water heaters are really a great option for someone that has an all-electric house but needs to find a way to spend less on the cost of heating their hot water.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Heating water.
TOM: You know, short of this, the only thing that you can do is to use a standard water heater with a timer on it, which is great but it’s still not going to save you as much as a heat pump water heater.
JIM: Right. If I were to add the gas line and put the tankless up, are they as efficient if you mount them on an outside wall?
TOM: Yes, absolutely. And they’re very small, too. It’ll be about a quarter of the size of a heat pump water heater or really any water heater.
TOM: And you’ll never run out of hot water, because they supply it on demand.
JIM: OK. Well, thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Eleanor in Hawaii has a problem with the dryer. What can we do for you today?
ELEANOR: Yes. I am not getting any lint in my lint screen on my electric clothes dryer.
ELEANOR: And before I call a repairman, I was wondering if there was something I, myself, could check to see what the problem might be.
TOM: Are you wearing lint-free clothes?
ELEANOR: (chuckles) No, no. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yes, everything is spandex. That’s so strange.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Wow, that’s really interesting. I wonder if somehow the airflow is being blocked. Have you checked your dryer exhaust? Have you looked at where the dryer exhaust comes out the house to see if your …?
ELEANOR: No, no, I haven’t because I was waiting to get some man in here to help me move it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
ELEANOR: And it goes up through the attic, out the roof.
TOM: Oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah. There’s got to be a blockage somewhere because first of all, that’s a really long way for a dryer exhaust duct to run. And when you run it up vertically – dryers are not generally designed to have enough air pressure to push that lint up really far like that, especially against gravity. And what tends to happen is they get clogged and then they can become dangerous. And if you have that kind of a dryer exhaust, it’s really critical that you have it cleaned at least once a year.
So I do think it’s a good opportunity for you to get a service person in to thoroughly clean it. They’re probably going to have to take it apart a bit but there are special brushes that fit in there and they actually fit up onto vacuums, too, so that you can loosen up the dust and suck it out all in one sort of move.
ELEANOR: I see. Yeah, that sounds like it might be the problem. The clothes seem to be drying OK but I haven’t used it for several days. But I thank you. I’ll certainly have someone come and check that out.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, if you haven’t gotten Dad a Father’s Day gift yet, time is certainly running out fast. (Leslie and Tom chuckle)
TOM: Time ran out. (chuckles)
LESLIE: Seriously. It’s like, “Um, hi, you’ve got to get a gift now.” So, up next, we’re going to tell you where to turn for help when you aren’t sure which tool your dad is going to like best, so stick around.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you haven’t gotten Dad a gift yet for his special day, you’re running out of time; so quick, you need to get on it. And if that is your situation in your household, and especially if you’ve got a do-it-yourself dad, we’ve got the perfect place for you to go.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’ve got Bill Kiss joining us and he is the Chief Marketing Officer for Sears. And he’s got information on a fantastic resource to help you pin down the right tool for Dad or just about any home improvement project you might be working on as well.
BILL: Hi, Leslie. Thank you for having me.
TOM: Bill, you just launched the Sears Blue Tool Crew, which is an amazing service available now to shoppers of Sears.com and the store. And you’ve got a group of trusted advisors now that can answer lots of questions and deliver lots of great ideas for Father’s Day gifts and also tools that you might need for any project. Tell us about it.
BILL: Absolutely, love to. So, you know, Sears Blue Tool Crew, we have a pretty simple but we think powerful proposition, which is we’ve got America’s largest tool selection and the people that know them best. So, these are the folks in the store that you can come in and talk to face-to-face or you can hook up with us on Facebook. What we’re really proud of is a new capability that we’re going to bring to market for this Dad’s Day, which basically allows folks to make a simple phone call and we have tool experts on the phone, 7 days a week, to answer any question you might have. And it’s not necessarily a hard sell; it’s if you have a question or you need an idea for Dad’s Day.
But we have knowledgeable folks out there that can give you tips and that phone number is 1-877-4BLUCRW. So, 1-877-4-B-L-U-C-R-W. But trusted advisors is how we’re positioning it and here at your disposal.
LESLIE: Well, Bill, that’s really great because I mean I know when I was growing up, my dad had a ton of tools for a ton of different projects and Father’s Day would always roll around and I would never know what to get him that quite would fit into what he already had or would complement something that he was working on. So is this something I can pick up the phone and be like, “Hey, my dad is working on this project. What should I get him? He’s already got these things.”
BILL: Absolutely. You can call in with – you can talk about what his level of interest is – meaning is it in woodworking versus is he a mechanic; is he a sophisticated or a very achieved do-it-yourselfer or if he’s a basic guy?
TOM: We’re talking to Bill Kiss. He’s the Chief Marketing Officer for Sears.
Bill, you cover tools, paint and hardware. You’re our kind of guy. And I think a lot of folks don’t recognize this but Sears is actually the largest retailer of power tools and hand tools in America. You have something like 30,000 tools in your little tool shop there, don’t you?
BILL: Yes, we do; over 30,000 products and over 400 brands. Very proud of that stable.
TOM: So it must be quite a challenge for you guys to stay on top of things. And how do you train the Sears Blue Tool Crew to be able to answer these questions?
BILL: We do a lot of rigorous training. We have these cool things – I’ll give you one – called tool rallies where we get all the troops together for an extended period of time and we take them through all the latest and greatest innovation. We also have, you know, processes where they can ask and answer questions, not only of folks here in our support center but also of our vendors and manufacturers. So, we built them a real good infrastructure to give them the tools and the information to answer the questions.
LESLIE: That’s great.
TOM: What’s one of the craziest questions you’ve ever gotten at 1-877-4BLUCRW?
BILL: Oh, that’s a good one. (Leslie and Bill chuckle) OK. “When I’m outdoors and I’m unpacking all of my gear and my garb, what’s the best place to go get a sandwich?” (Tom laughs) I kid you not.
BILL: I listened to him and God bless our folks, they basically came back and said, “Hey, tell you what, if you’re in this region, we can point you to some good restaurants or fast food joints.” But again, it’s about being a trusted advisor and an assistant to folks out there.
TOM: See, they really do have all the answers. (Leslie chuckles) The Sears Blue Tool Crew. Contact them with your tool questions, perhaps your lunch questions at 1-877-4-BLUCRW. You can also reach them at Sears.com, using the click-to-call feature.
Bill Kiss, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
BILL: No, thanks for having me, team.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. We hope that you are having a wonderful Father’s Day weekend, all the do-it-yourself dads out there. I hope your kids are doing a project for you.
LESLIE: Or with you.
TOM: Or with you, this time around. 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.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2010 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.)