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  • Transcript

    (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.)
    (promo/theme song)

    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: Pick up the phone and give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma. We are here, standing by, to help you get the job done. That’s us over in the corner with the paint brush and the circular saw. (Leslie chuckles) That’s right. We’re not your stalkers; we’re your helpers. So pick up the phone and help yourself first by calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
    We’ve got lots planned for this hour on the program, starting with the fact that forecasters are predicting it’s going to be one of the worst hurricane seasons ever. In fact, they’re predicting seven major storms. Can you believe that?
    Well, we’re going to have some tips this hour on how to protect your house from a hurricane or other type of severe storms, including what to do if a storm rolls through your neighborhood and you want to find out if your house suffered any damage. This is assuming a tree is not crashed through your living room (Leslie chuckles) but we’re talking about the less-obvious types of hurricane and severe storm damage. We’ll tell you what you need to know in just a bit.
    LESLIE: (chuckling) Yeah, the tree in your living room is a pretty obvious sign.
    TOM: That’d be the first clue.
    LESLIE: Or the roof being gone; that’s also another obvious… (laughs)
    TOM: Yeah. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Well, you know, summer storms, they can also do some damage that’s not quite as severe as what we’re joking about but they can also bring power outages. And one way to avoid being stuck in the dark is to make sure that you’ve got your home equipped for backup power. So we’re going to outline the best ways to get a backup power system working in your home so that you can keep working when the power goes out.
    TOM: And to keep you working all year long, we’ve got a copy of our book My Home, My Money Pit going out to one caller who reaches us on today’s show at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, so let’s get right to it. The number, again, is 1-888-666-3974.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Gene in Georgia is dealing with some cracks in the concrete. Tell us what’s going on.
    GENE: I have a problem in my garage and in the outside. I have some small cracks that need to be sealed in the garage and in the outside.
    TOM: OK.
    GENE: And I was trying to figure out what the best way might be to get that done.
    TOM: So the cracks are in the concrete surface, the floor, the – what about the …
    GENE: Yes, concrete surface. Yes.
    TOM: OK. So we’re talking about the floor or the foundation or what?
    GENE: The floor.
    TOM: The floor? Alright, well there are a couple of options here. If they’re wide cracks, you can use a product called a flowable urethane. If they’re narrower cracks, you can use silicone or you can use an epoxy patching compound. But you don’t want to use regular concrete because that’ll simply crack and fall off.
    LESLIE: Won’t ever stick in there.
    GENE: And do they carry something like that at The Home Depot?
    TOM: I’m not sure if they have it at Depot but, if not, you could find it at a lumberyard, I’m sure.
    GENE: Oh, OK.
    TOM: Alright?
    GENE: Alright. You’ve been very helpful. I really appreciate your help.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Vicki in Texas is having a hard time keeping the attic cool. Tell us what’s going on up there.
    VICKI: Well, we added a room. We had enough space to put a 22 by about 17-inch room. It’s got a half-bath and a closet. And we’ve got six inches of insulation, batting, (inaudible at 0:04:05.0)-based, on all of the exterior walls.
    TOM: OK.
    VICKI: But we have a metal roof and it’s about six inches from that metal roof. And we’ve only got maybe a couple of inches left in between the joists to put anything further to help insulate that room, because it is very hot in the summer. Is there anything, any product that we could use that is out there that would work to fill that tiny space that would be effective?
    LESLIE: And you’re using that space as living space?
    VICKI: Yes, it is a bedroom.
    LESLIE: It’s a bedroom and it’s 8,000 degrees up there.
    VICKI: You know, it’s got air conditioning and we know we’re paying for it in electricity and so we’d like to bring our utility cost down.
    LESLIE: There is a paint additive product. You’re going to have to search for it online; it’s something called Insuladd.
    VICKI: OK.
    LESLIE: I-n-s-u-l-a-d-d. And it was developed from NASA and it’s a coating that they use on the ceramic tiles that surround the space shuttle so when it enters the atmosphere and it gets crazy hot, those sort of reflect …
    VICKI: I have heard of it.
    LESLIE: Well, they’ve marketed now to the public and it’s sort of just on its way up. I mean the research is behind it; it’s very scientific. It’s just having a hard time breaking through to the home ownership. But what it does is, whether you’re trying to heat or cool that space, it’s an additive you put in paint and you paint all the walls, the ceiling, everything with this. So it helps to either keep the heat in or it helps to keep the coolness in the room by sort of creating a barrier from that exterior.
    VICKI: OK.
    LESLIE: I mean it’s worth a shot.
    TOM: The website is Insuladd.com, so it’s I-n-s-u-l-a-d-d.com and I think you can order the product right online.
    And you know, I’ll also point out that metal roofs today, the newer metal roofs, are being coated with a low-e paint …
    LESLIE: To reflect everything away.
    TOM: … which solves this problem by reflecting some of the heat of the sun out. So the concept of adding a paint that’s going to reflect some of that heat is definitely a good part of the solution here because you can’t work it from the underside, which is the way you would normally handle it, because you have such little space to work in.
    VICKI: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you very, very, very much. We will definitely look into that and try that. Because it’s just been – it’s just such a pain. (Leslie chuckles) So, it’s certainly worth it. Thank you so much.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that project.
    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, your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whenever you are about to swing that hammer and you’re like “Wait! What am I working on? How do I get this project done?” (Tom chuckles) We can tell you, “Hit the nail on the head.” So give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we can help you get those projects done.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Up next, we’ve got tips on how to take a look at your home after a storm and determine if it’s suffered any damage. Learn how to check things out and quickly spot small problems before they become big repairs, after this.

    (theme song)
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and you can give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we can help you tackle any project that you are about to get started on. And while you’re working on those projects, do you sometimes think, “Man, I wish Tom and Leslie were right here with me telling me exactly what to do, how long this material is going to last, did I buy the right thing, did I pay too much, should I hire this guy”? Well, if these are questions that are constantly reeling through your brain, we have got the prize for you.
    We’re giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure, and it is packed with the same kind of advice that we give you on the radio each week and we’re sure you’ll refer to it again and again. Now one lucky caller that we talk to on the air this hour is going to get one as their special prize, so give us a call for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    TOM: 888-666-3974.
    Well, forecasters are predicting an active hurricane season this year but even if you don’t live on the coast, summer storms can damage your home; so here’s what you need to know.
    After a storm, you want to check your siding, your metal trim and your soffits. If these parts are loose or cracked or missing, leaks can develop. You want to look at the windows for any broken panes. Even the small hairline cracks can form because of the severe pressure brought on by high winds in a storm. Sometimes the windows can crack and not be super-obvious; so look very, very carefully at that.
    And even the best roofs can also leak under extreme conditions. Driving rain can often push up under the roof shingles and result in major leaks. If this has happened, repairs may not be necessary, however; unless the shingles have actually been physically damaged. If they’ve not ripped off the roof and they’re just sort of loosened up and the wind is blowing under them and the rain has gotten in under them, they’re probably OK. You can put a dab of tar and reseal them back down.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know what? It’s also a good idea to check inside your attic for the effects of loose flashing around your chimney, around plumbing vents, anything where you’ve got an intersection of roof lines or something sticking out through your roof. Make sure that the flashing is still in great shape there.
    Now, when you make these checks, you want to use a good flashlight and that’s going to help you to really see any potential damage and then you can fix it before these small leaks become huge problems.
    TOM: That’s right. And speaking of good flashlights, today’s storm-ready tip has been presented by Stanley, makers of the 3-in-1 LED tripod flashlight which, I might add, was my favorite Father’s Day gift. It’s got a …
    LESLIE: Oh, you got it. (chuckles)
    TOM: I got it. I got it. My family took a hint. It’s got a hands-free tripod design. So if this is your only light source in the 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 also multidirectional; they swivel up to 120 degrees. So it’s really a perfect storm flashlight; also very handy for all of those other projects that you need a flashlight for around the house.
    You can learn more about it at MoneyPit.com in our product recommendation section. Again, that’s MoneyPit.com.
    888-666-3974.   Let’s get back to the phones.
    Who’s next?
    LESLIE: Kenneth in Georgia, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we for you today?
    KENNETH: My sink in my kitchen is inside of an island.
    TOM: OK.
    KENNETH: The sewer vent beneath the island – beneath the sink which is underneath the cabinet, is starting to stink really badly and I don’t know why it’s stinking all of a sudden.
    TOM: Well, does it have a trap in it? In other words, is it properly plumbed? That’s the first thing to check. Does it have the U-shaped pipe underneath that’s filled with water?
    KENNETH: I’m not sure. No, I’m not.
    TOM: OK. Well, that would be the first thing. There are two reasons that this thing could smell: number one is it’s not plumbed properly. Sinks have to have a P-trap underneath. Looks like the letter P or the letter U. And essentially, what happens is water …
    LESLIE: And essentially, it stands for pee-ew. (Tom and Kenneth laugh) If you don’t have one, it stinks.
    TOM: Absolutely. And the water sits inside the U portion and basically that acts as the trap and blocks the sewage gas; allows water to pass but won’t let the gas come back up. So if it’s not plumbed properly, you could have basically an open vent pipe to the sewer line and that could stink really, really bad.
    The second thing is that sometimes you get a biological film that forms in sinks from all of the soap and the hair and the food particles and everything that’s in there. And if that happens, typically, if you fill the trap up with bleach it will kill it. You have to let it sit for a little while but that will kill that and stop the odor from happening.
    KENNETH: Got you. Now I’ve tried the bleach and it solves the problem for maybe a week or so and then it comes back.
    TOM: Yeah. Take a look at the trap; let’s make sure you have one. Otherwise, you could put all the bleach in the world down there and it’s not going to happen.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And it’s not going to make a difference.
    KENNETH: Now, I’ve lived in this house for maybe five years, so I would have to have a trap, right? Otherwise, I would have been had this problem, right?
    TOM: Yeah, we would hope so. How old is the house?
    KENNETH: The house was built in 2000.
    TOM: You would think so.
    KENNETH: Yeah. OK.
    TOM: But that’s the first thing to check, OK?
    KENNETH: Will do. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Sheila in North Carolina is calling in with a deck issue. There’s some graying going on. Tell us about the problem.
    SHEILA: Hey.
    LESLIE: Hi.
    SHEILA: Yeah, we moved in about a year ago and the vines had overgrown the railing. So we cut them way back and we found that the wood underneath was a gray color. We thought it was just dirt but it’s not going away, so we don’t know if it’s rotted or has to be replaced or if it just needs to be restained or …
    LESLIE: Did you use a pressure washer to give it, you know, a good, thorough cleaning?
    SHEILA: No, we didn’t, we didn’t. We just cut them back and thought maybe all the rain in North Carolina would take care of it. (chuckles) It hasn’t.
    TOM: Is this a first-floor deck? Is it one level; ground level?
    SHEILA: Yeah, it is.
    TOM: OK. So what I would do is first of all I would check the deck’s structure and make sure that you don’t have cracked, checked or otherwise rotted or split boards. Make sure it’s attached well to the house and it’s very secure.
    In terms of the graying, that’s pretty normal, Sheila. I don’t know if you have pressure-treated lumber or not but both types of lumber will gray from exposure to UV radiation, to the sun and to the weather. And what you might want to think about doing here is to stain the deck. We would recommend that you use a solid color stain that has a lot of pigment in it and, if you want to do something to that stain that’s going to make it stick a little bit longer, you can add one pint – actually, one half a pint – of polyurethane to it.
    LESLIE: To a gallon, right?
    TOM: To a gallon. Yep.
    SHEILA: To a gallon? OK. And the grain is raised on it in that area. So do we need to sand that down or …?
    TOM: No, no reason you can’t. If you want to sand any of those areas, go ahead and do that first and if you have any badly cracked or checked deck boards, you can actually pull those out, flip them upside down and put them back down again because the underside should be in good shape.
    SHEILA: Oh, OK. So it doesn’t – the graying doesn’t mean that the structure – I mean that the wood has been compromised.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) No, it’s pretty normal.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No, it’s just wear and tear.
    TOM: Yep, pretty normal.
    SHEILA: Oh, OK. OK. Alright, great.
    TOM: Alright, Sheila.
    SHEILA: So I think we can tackle that. That’s a lot easier than replacing the deck. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) It sure is. Sheila, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You know, Tom, I have to tell you my sister and her husband had been out at the summer house one of the weekends before my husband and I were out and they pressure washed the – would you call it the – it’s like railroad ties that are holding back a hill that we’ve sort of created a sunken deck in. And …
    TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Mm-hmm. Yeah, retaining wall.
    LESLIE: Exactly. And it was also gray and horrible and gross and that was the one thing I never touched; I always worked on the deck boards themselves.
    TOM: Yep. And it looked good?
    LESLIE: And they pressure washed and I literally had to call up my sister and was like, “Did you replace the lumber?” She was like, “No, dumb-dumb. I pressure washed.” (Tom laughs) It’s amazing; amazing the difference it can make.
    TOM: Looks good. But you have to be careful because if you use too much pressure, you erode those boards.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, you will wear everything away.
    TOM: Yeah.
    LESLIE: So you’ve got to be gentle but it does make a huge difference.
    Rita is calling in from Brooklyn with an issue with a sink. What’s going on? Tell us about it.
    RITA: Yes, I have a two-family home in Brooklyn, New York. A sink on the top floor overflowed. Quite a bit of water came down. It came through the first-floor kitchen into the basement.
    TOM: Oh, man. That’s a lot of water.
    RITA: Yeah. I have a fairly new kitchen ceiling, about a year-and-a-half old, and it’s terribly stained and there are also water streaks on my walls. What is the best way to handle something like this?
    TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. OK. OK. Is it just stained, Rita, or is it deformed from water damage?
    RITA: It’s just stained.
    TOM: OK, that’s good. So here’s what you need to do. What you need to do is you need to prime that wall and I want you to use an oil-based primer – a good-quality, oil-based primer; not a latex primer but oil-based. And you need to not only prime the stain itself. You really need to do the entire ceiling because it’s going to change the sheen of the paint; it’s going to change the level of absorption in that ceiling. By using the primer, you will seal in the old stain. And then once you prime it, you can paint over it and you’ll never see that stain again.
    RITA: The same process for the walls?
    TOM: Yes, same process. You want to prime it with an oil-based primer and then paint over it with latex and you’ll be good to go. See, if you just put paint on top of the stain, it tends to sort of leach through and come through; it will draw through. The oxidation in the stain will react with the paint and it may come back to the surface. That’s why you have to prime it first.
    RITA: I thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Rita. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Larry in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
    LARRY: Yeah, I’ve got an old house – it’s like about 100 jillion years old – and we moved into about – oh, about …
    TOM: A hundred jillion. That’s a lot. (chuckles)
    LESLIE: (chuckles) Is that what you said?
    LARRY: Everything about this house is old. I’ve had satellite TV put in; I’ve had drills – and then they tried to drill through the walls. “This is pure oak.” I said, “Well, I can imagine.” It’s just an old house that – it’s sturdy; it’s a nice house.
    And the problem I have is I’ve got a central air unit downstairs and it doesn’t seem to want to – the air doesn’t seem to want to go upstairs. I’ve had a ceiling fan at the top of our stairs; tried to draw the air up. Doesn’t seem to work.
    When I had the house rewired, I had a 220 line put upstairs in the attic just in case I need to put a unit – I guess some old houses have attic units since the central air doesn’t go all the way upstairs.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Right.
    LARRY: I have one vent that goes upstairs; goes to my daughter’s room. She loves it. Well, the rest of the upstairs has to suffer because she shuts her door. It really wouldn’t circulate anyway, so …
    TOM: Right.
    LARRY: I guess one of my options is – do I try to pipe another pipe upstairs to go to the attic to distribute the air or do I get an attic unit to do the job for the upstairs?
    TOM: Well, it depends. I mean if the duct system is installed correctly – and that means you have the right number of supply and return registers, you can have one central system that handles both floors.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and the dampers have to be properly adjusted from the air handler in the basement or the attic.
    TOM: But that really depends on whether or not the system is big enough, first; and secondly, whether or not you could run the right sized ducting. Obviously, having one supply with your daughter is not going to do the trick.
    LARRY: I was told the central air unit wasn’t really big enough, so he was trying to sell me one upstairs in the attic. So …
    TOM: Well, I mean having two zones with two separate systems is not a bad thing to do but it’s an expensive alternative. I would want to know if there’s a way that I could run enough duct work, supply and return, to that second floor to avoid that because that’s going to be the least expensive thing to do right now and the least expensive system to run. Because remember, if you have two systems, you have two compressors, you have two air handlers and you have two bills to run it.
    LARRY: Right. So do I just call somebody up that does like heating and air conditioning and ask their appraisal of it and see what I need to do with that from then on or …?
    TOM: You would need to have a good HVAC contractor to help you with this. Yes.
    LARRY: OK. OK.
    TOM: It’s not a DIY project.
    LARRY: OK. Well, I sure appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
    TOM: You’re 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, you know the U.S. has an aging power grid and a lot of us are asking for a heck of a lot more electricity than we used to and that can all combine to mean frequent blackouts across the country. Throw in a very hectic hurricane season that’s being predicted and you have got a recipe for trouble.
    TOM: The solution, though, is backup power and it’s actually more affordable than ever before. We’re going to give you some tips on how you can avoid losing power with a properly-sized and affordable backup system, after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
    TOM: Welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And I’ve got to tell you, without the products of our next guest, The Money Pit would have been kicked off the air many, many times.
    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It’s true.
    TOM: We’re talking about backup power from Generac. Our generator keeps us going 24/7 here at The Money Pit studios. And I tell you, it’s something that can definitely help you at your house, too.
    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, we’ve got the company’s senior VP of marketing, Clement Feng, joining us now. And Clement, before we had our Generac backup system here at The Money Pit work headquarters, we were actually knocked off the air. But now we’ll be sitting here, a huge storm will be happening, we’ll watch the lights go all out up and down our block but we’re still going. So thank you. (chuckles)
    CLEMENT: Yeah, we’re very glad to help you out, guys.
    TOM: And you know, Clement, it’s now officially hurricane season – it started this month – and predictions are it’s going to be one of the worse ones in recent memory. So this is an excellent time to talk about the importance of backup power.
    First, let’s talk about the basics; the difference between standby generators and portable generators. I think many of our listeners are more familiar with the latter; generators that literally are on wheels or on feet where they can be taken out of the house, off to, say, the construction site and set up. But we’re talking about something that’s a little more permanent than that.
    LESLIE: Sophisticated. Yeah.
    CLEMENT: Yeah, that’s right. Permanently-installed standby generators are really the far-more-convenient solution if you’re worried about backup power in the event of a power outage. They are permanently installed and attached to the home or business. They protect the home or business 24 hours a day and they run off of the building’s natural gas or propane fuel supply.
    LESLIE: So Clement, how do you even start to think about the proper sizing? I mean are you going out all gangbusters and getting something that’s going to operate every piece of electrical equipment in your home or business or do you sort of have to be selective and think, “Alright, I need the fridge. I need my computer”? How do you choose?
    TOM: Well, if you’re a guy, you just buy the biggest one you can afford.
    CLEMENT: Yep. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: Of course but that’s a given.
    CLEMENT: That’s right. Exactly. And a lot of people do. They go out and buy a generator large enough to power the entire house even if you turned everything on simultaneously.
    LESLIE: At the same time? That’s insane.
    CLEMENT: Yeah, which is a little crazy. But you could save yourself a little bit of money by really analyzing which rooms are the ones most important to back up and things like the kitchen; if you have a private well and a sump pump you’re going to want to back those up; and then probably a couple of rooms, like your family room, so you’ve got TV and internet going. And then that’s it. You can get by with a pretty small generator if you just keep it to a minimum.
    And then you have in-between solutions, which Generac offers, where you can get by with a smaller generator and then have an intelligent transfer switch with smart electronics in it. So you back up the whole house and the electronics monitor. If you begin turning on too many appliances at the same time, the switch backs off on certain circuits so that you don’t overload the generator.
    TOM: That’s really interesting. So the transfer switch – and we should define that for the audience. A transfer switch essentially is what tells the generator whether or not it’s supplying power to the house or not. In other words, you’ve got to have a way of knowing whether your house is going to be pulling power from the power company or from the generator and a transfer switch is the intelligent part of that circuit. Correct?
    CLEMENT: That’s right. The transfer switch does a couple of things. It monitors the utility power – so that’s how the generator knows or the system knows if utility power is down – and it gives the signal to the generator to start up and supply power to the house. And this all happens in 20 to 30 seconds.
    LESLIE: Wow.
    CLEMENT: More advanced transfer switches like Generac’s Nexus system …
    TOM: Right.
    CLEMENT: … have intelligence built into them, so they’re monitoring the load being put on the generator. And if the load starts approaching the limits of the generator, it automatically sheds certain circuits that the homeowner or the installer predetermines at the time the generator was put in.
    LESLIE: Sort of like a priority order.
    TOM: Yeah, you can determine what goes on and off first and second and so on.
    CLEMENT: That’s right. And typically, what people do in these systems, they put a second or a third air conditioner as lower priority (Leslie chuckles) so they can just shuttle those back one at a time.
    TOM: (overlapping voices) I see.
    CLEMENT: Because you don’t have to have them all on at the same time.
    TOM: Yeah, not in my house. AC first.
    CLEMENT: You need the AC all the time. (Tom chuckles)
    LESLIE: It’s just amazing what the capabilities are. You know, I remember as a kid growing up, we had Hurricane Gloria hit Long Island. We were without power well over a week. We had creative grilling of pizzas and what-not. But I mean you’re really able to have your whole house back, which is fantastic.
    CLEMENT: That’s right. And back then, generators were around; they were just more expensive and they were mainly meant for businesses. Today, due to advances in technology and economies of scale, we’ve not only built better and smarter generators but a lot less expensive. In fact, an automatic standby generator begins as low as $1,699.
    TOM: Wow. Wow.
    LESLIE: That’s affordable.
    TOM: That’s amazing. That’s amazing.
    CLEMENT: It is.
    LESLIE: Well, and I think it’s important – I know we started off by talking about hurricanes but, regardless of where you are in the country, summer is like a really volatile time of year for weather. So it shouldn’t just be thought of as a hurricane necessity. It really is for everyone, regardless of where you live.
    CLEMENT: That’s right. You know, you don’t have to be living on the Gulf Coast and subject to a hurricane to lose power. I mean these hurricanes move inland and then – you know, last year was not a very powerful storm season but there was that one hurricane that churned off of the Atlantic Seaboard and took power out to Washington, D.C. and the mid-Atlantic for days at a time.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.
    TOM: Yeah, it just makes a lot of sense. If you’ve not – this is the kind of product, I would say, that if you have it, you never want to be without it.
    CLEMENT: Yes, definitely.
    TOM: You just get used to having the power. It’s just one of those things for your house that maybe you didn’t think about when you built your house or when you bought your house but once you get a standby generator, you go through a power outage, you see your power come back on 15 to 30 seconds later, your neighbors are knocking at the door with cartons of milk asking for you to keep it cold until the power comes on. (Leslie chuckles)
    CLEMENT: Yep.
    TOM: I mean really, once you have a generator, you never want to be without it. And I’ve got to tell you, we’re so thankful to have a Generac here at our studio and, as well, at my house, Clement. So thank you for that. It’s a great product. Thanks for stopping by The Money Pit and telling our listeners how to make sure they are never without power again.
    CLEMENT: Alright, thanks a lot, guys.
    LESLIE: Well, now that Clement has got us all thinking about summer storms, let’s think about something super-nice about summer: outdoor dining. You cannot get enough of eating outside; picnics, tables, you name it. If you’re sitting outside and having a great meal, I can tell you one thing that probably goes along with that: stains, spillage, ketchup, whatever.
    TOM: (chuckles) Mustard.
    LESLIE: Exactly. You know it tends to happen. So when we come back, we’re going to share with you how to remove those common stains from tablecloths, your outdoor furniture, and even your clothes.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: And if you have a home improvement question, we would love if you would pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If we take your question on the air, not only will you get the answer; you’ll be automatically entered into our weekly prize drawing because this hour we’re giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. Because, let’s face it, home improvements are an adventure. (Leslie giggles) They’re exciting, they’re exhilarating and they almost never turn out exactly as you plan. (Leslie chuckles) It’s all captured inside the pages of My Home, My Money Pit, so you can pick one up at your local bookstore or call us right now for your chance to win at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    LESLIE: Alright. Well, since it’s the summer season, we all love to eat outside and picnics are great. But eating outdoors, it actually can be pretty messy for your clothes, for your tablecloths, for your outdoor furniture. I find I’ve never quite mastered how to sit on the ground and eat with a plate without spilling something all over myself, so I imagine everybody has that sort of similar difficulty. Well, if you find yourself in that situation, here are some stain removal tips for the most common picnic stains.
    First of all, barbecue sauce – it happens all the time. If you’ve got barbecue sauce on your clothes, what you want to do is flush it with cold water from the underside of the fabric. Then you want to blot with liquid laundry detergent and then use a sponge with some white vinegar in it and apply the stain treatment and then launder. Now, the same steps will work great for ketchup and mustard; but remember, from the underside of the fabric.
    TOM: Now for a berry stain, you want to mix a tablespoon of white vinegar with a half teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and a quart of water and let the fabric soak for about 15 minutes. For tough stains, you can even blot it with a bit of alcohol and then launder as usual.
    Now if you’ve got more stains that you’re battling in your money pit, you can log onto MoneyPit.com and check out our cleaning section for more stain-solving solutions.
    888-666-3974.   Give us a call right now with your summer home improvement project.
    Leslie, who’s next?
    LESLIE: Tom in Pennsylvania has an insulation question. How can we help you today?
    TOM IN PENNSYLVANIA: Yeah, hi. I have a – about a 90-year-old frame home. It’s two-story. And I was wondering if it would be economically and energy-feasible to insulate the ceiling of my basement.
    TOM: Well, why do you want to do that? What are you trying to achieve? Is it noise? Is it energy efficiency?
    TOM IN PENNSYLVANIA: (overlapping voices) No, no. Just to conserve natural gas with a forced-air furnace.
    TOM: Is the basement a finished space?
    TOM IN PENNSYLVANIA: It’s not a finished basement; it’s the old-style basement with the, you know, stone walls and it’s got a concrete floor.
    TOM: Mm-hmm. Well, if you insulate the floor or the ceiling above the basement, it’s going to make the first floor a little bit warmer so it’ll be a little more comfortable. If you’re concerned about noise, it’s not a smart thing to do. If you’re concerned about, you know, insulating the basement, it doesn’t help. But if it’s the first floor, it’ll make it a little bit warmer and if you’re not planning on finishing the basement, I see no reason not to do it.
    TOM IN PENNSYLVANIA: OK, because – and that’s also where my thermostat is located, is on my first floor.
    TOM: Yes. You will have some energy – if it’s an unfinished space under the house, you know, I’d give you the same advice if it was over a crawlspace. If it’s an unfinished, unheated space, you can insulate it.
    TOM IN PENNSYLVANIA: OK. Alright. Very good. OK. Thanks so much.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Tom. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Cynthia in Kansas is looking to redo some floors. Tell us what’s on top of it.
    CYNTHIA: I have a lovely linoleum that – the house was built in ’48; the floor might have been there that whole time and that was covered by carpet. We got the linoleum up but it’s left this tar paper and black glue on the lovely oak floor.
    TOM: Oh, boy.
    CYNTHIA: We’re looking for a way to remove that.
    TOM: Yeah, well that’s very difficult to do. Has this floor ever been sanded, do you think?
    CYNTHIA: You know, the finish on it, where you can see finish, looks very nice. So I don’t honestly think it’s ever been sanded.
    TOM: Well then, this might be the time to do that because, frankly, that’s the only way you’re going to get it all off. That’s really thick, gooey stuff and if you used chemicals to get it up, you may end up having it – even if you loosened it up, some of that black goo might saturate down into the oak and it could stain the oak.
    LESLIE: It might still stay there. Well, and you’re going to have to experiment with so many different chemicals because if it’s alcohol-based – you know, it really depends on what that glue is made of what’s going to take it off.
    LESLIE: So it’s like you do have to do some experimentation and that’s just a whole, big pain in the butt as well.
    CYNTHIA: Right, right. So …
    LESLIE: And then you’ll probably end up sanding it anyway.
    CYNTHIA: (chuckles) Yeah, I cannot tell if it’s ever been sanded because it does look like – there are just spots where you can tell they didn’t get as much glue down and it pulled up pretty clean in little areas.
    TOM: Right.
    CYNTHIA: And there, the finish looks very nice. So I’m hoping that I can recover a decent floor. (chuckles)
    TOM: Well, I think you can. I mean – but professional finishing here is the way to go. I would not do this myself because you don’t have the right tools and if you rent the big, heavy, belt sander that’s about 12-inch-wide belts, if you just hiccup while you’re using that thing you’ll ruin your floor. It’s very hard to handle as a newbie DIYer. So I would have it professionally sanded. Even if you wanted to do the finishing yourself, I would have the floor professionally sanded; get down to a nice, new, fresh, raw floor and then take it up from there.
    CYNTHIA: OK. Alright. I thank you for advice.
    TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
    Well, here’s one appliance that’s really getting a workout this time of year – your icemaker. When it doesn’t work, makes life just a little bit less pleasant. We’re going to get to the bottom of some icemaker issues; the common things that go wrong with icemakers that make them stop, well, making ice. We’ll have that advice after this.

    (theme song)
    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Fiberon Horizon decking and their new tropical hardwood colors. Ensure your deck stays as beautiful as the rest of your home. Insist on Horizon decking. To learn more, visit FiberonDecking.com.
    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where home solutions live. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
    TOM: On air and online at MoneyPit.com. Let’s get right to the e-mail.
    Leslie, who’s first?
    LESLIE: Alright, I’ve got one here from Suzy in Kentucky who writes: “I’m installing an electric range in the island in my kitchen. What is the functional difference between a slide-in and a drop-in range? What is the best way to vent the range if I have a second story above? And a vent in the island, can I vent it through the floor?” Huh.
    TOM: Alright, well first things first, Suzy. The difference between a slide-in and a drop-in is as follows: a slide-in is, essentially, your normal range; it just slides right in between two cabinets. A drop-in can have a little bit more of a custom look. Think of it as a range without a bottom drawer that fits right into the cabinetry, so there’s wood cabinetry actually underneath the oven in the drop-in range. It’s kind of expensive compared to the slide-in, so I’m not sure if that’s what you want to do. Typically, in an island, if you already have a full range somewhere, you would simply install a second cooktop; a down-draft cooktop.
    Now, on to your second question as to how you vent this thing – yes, you can, in a down-draft situation, actually vent it down through the floor; across in between the floor joists and out the house and that would be the best thing to do. The other option, of course, is to have a vent hood but that would have to go into the ceiling between your kitchen and the second floor and then you vent it out to the nearest way to get to the exterior wall.
    But a drop-in or a range or simply a cooktop that is a down-draft design would be the way to go for an island.
    LESLIE: Alright, next up we’ve got one from Ray in Utah who writes: “I have a storage room below our front porch. Every time it rains, water comes in. It’s ruined some of our storage shelves. Is there any product I can put on the concrete that will seal it?”
    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, concrete is a pretty hydroscopic material. It’s like trying to seal a sponge. It’s not designed to be waterproof in this type of application. What I would tell you to do is the easiest thing to do; might be to coat it with an epoxy paint. A couple of good coats of epoxy paint will go a long way towards keeping it, let’s just say, much more water resistant than it is right now.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you know what? Just try to keep all the water outside away from that area. If you’ve got gutters and downspouts, make sure that the gutters are free-flowing and the downspouts divert the water away from that area around your porch and that should do the trick.
    TOM: Well, here on The Money Pit, we believe in recycling, which is the reason we use the same material over and over and over again. (Leslie laughs) No, all kidding aside, the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – are the key to a green lifestyle. Leslie has got some tips along those lines in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word; some great ideas for a green side table that’s very, very cheap to build.
    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know what? This is truly about repurposing, which I think should be the fourth R in that equation. And this is a great trick of the trade, to just turn unusual items into actually functional and quite good-looking side tables. You just want to use what you’ve got around and then make sure that you’ve got a surface area to put a lamp on, your remote, a soda, whatever. So here are some examples.
    You know those glazed, ceramic garden stools? You can find them in every place from the discount shops to the super-high-end stores. Those look fantastic as a little unexpected sort of side table or in the bathroom as the place to put a little candle, maybe an orchid, some rolled-up towels. It really is a great use for something that might normally just go outside. Rain drums, vintage wire baskets, old suitcases, even musical instruments work just as well.
    Now if you’ve got any of those options, all you might need is a custom piece of glass and then you’re creating this miraculous transformation. Old suitcases, stack them up pyramid style, large to small, and then that works as a great little area; plus you’ve got secret storage.
    You know there are really some fun ways to turn a lot of these items into a functional little side table. Just make sure that they’re stable and if it’s got a questionable top, add that glass and everything is going to look great and work great for you as well.
    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com.
    Coming up next week, we are always telling you to seal drafts to help keep warm or cool air inside. It’s a good way to save your energy dollars. But there’s one place in your home that absolutely must be drafty. It’s your attic. Learn why, 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 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.)

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