TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are super glad to be here with you, to help you with your home improvement projects, your do-it-yourself dilemmas. What are you thinking about doing right now? Look, it’s still winter, sort of, but not too much longer, right? So you’ve got to start thinking a little bit about what lies ahead. March is around the corner and it’s going to start to warm up and green up. And that is when we get so inspired to take on so many projects inside and outside our house. So, if you’ve got one that you’re thinking about, why don’t we help tackle it together? Call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up this hour, if you are feeling stuck in the winter and you’ve got the blues because, let’s face it, it’s still a little dark outside, we’re going to have some tips on the best paint colors to spark both a better mood and a brighter space.
LESLIE: Plus, did you know that one common laundry-room item is sparking hundreds of emergency-room visits for kids? We’re going to share important dos and don’ts to keep your kids safe.
TOM: And after a winter of chilly temps, are you getting ready to replace leaky or drafty windows? We’ll have some tips on the best way to get that project done for year-round energy savings.
But first, we want to hear from you. We want to hear what you’re working on, what you’re thinking about working on, what’s going right in your house, what’s going wrong. Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question online at The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: We’ve got Cindy in Michigan on the line who wants to talk about reducing energy costs. How can we help you?
CINDY: Is there a way to lower your electric bills by generating your own electricity? I’ve heard of solar panels and windmills and seems like they cost a lot of money to get them going. And I’m wondering, is it actually feasible, financially, to do something like that?
TOM: Yeah. Well, first of all, the most effective way to cut those energy costs – and especially if we’re talking about heating and cooling energy – is to improve the energy efficiency of your home. And the single most important way or easiest way to do that is by improving insulation. It’s amazing how many people simply don’t have enough insulation. And in a state like Michigan, you’re certainly going to want to have 15 to 20 inches of insulation in your attic.
Now, as to your question about generating your own power, there are some programs that are run by state governments and by utility suppliers that include different sorts of rebates and different sorts of purchase – I don’t want to say schemes but sort of plans for getting that equipment to your house.
So, for example, in my part of the country, they have offers where you don’t actually pay for the initial installation there. You partner with an energy company that does the installation of solar panels. And then, as it generates energy, you get to keep some of that and some of that goes back to the utility company and eventually, it pays off the cost of that installation. So I would investigate solar programs in your area and rebates that might be available. Start with the utility companies and go from there.
Because if there’s a favorable program, that’s the only way it makes them cost-effective. You are correct in that a lot of these things are very expensive and don’t make a lot of economic sense. But if there’s rebate money available – either locally, at the state level or federally – it does make sense.
CINDY: OK. So you would just call your energy company then?
TOM: I would start there, with your utility company, or simply do some research online for rebates that are available in your area. OK, Cindy?
CINDY: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Randy in Delaware is on the line doing a bathroom project. Tell us how you’re working on it.
RANDY: So, a shower stall – you know, an old shower stall – was removed with an old pan just all cruddy and moldy and just outdated. So, installing a new shower base. It’s not a mud base; it’s preformed epoxy and cement. And then, I was wondering about what type of flashing you might recommend from the framing members, behind the corners and any of these areas. How susceptible are they to these moisture issues where the corners may, with expansion and contraction, may break open or get some kind of moisture penetration? What’s the extent of the flashing system that you put behind cement board?
TOM: OK. So, when you put on tile backer board, you don’t flash like you would if you were putting up shingles and intersection – intersecting – with siding. I mean essentially, what you do is you put the pan in, you put the backer board on, you overlap the pan and then you put the adhesive on and the tile right on top of that. That’s sort of the normal procedure for doing a tile job. You don’t really flash the board any further than just making sure it overlaps the prefabricated pan.
Is that what I’m hearing? Are you using a prefabricated, say, a fiberglass tile pan?
RANDY: Right. But a lot of – there are a lot of recommendations out there to run a 6-mil plastic sheet behind the backer board so that any penetration that could occur in the future hits this plastic wall. It overlaps the pan and in front of that, the backer board overlaps it. But anything that penetrates the backer board and the tile and all that hits this plastic and eventually makes its way to the pan, never actually getting to the framing members.
TOM: I don’t have a problem with that. But let me put it to you this way: for many years, the way that tile showers were done is they simply put the green board – the water-resistant drywall – right on top of the studs and that was it; there was nothing more than that. So, by putting on a tile board, you’re already making it a lot more durable. And if you want to put a polyethylene sheet behind that, I have no problem with that. Just make sure that the shower pan that you choose goes up enough to create that good overlap at the bottom so you don’t have water that backs up into it.
RANDY: I think that’s it.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. 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. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can get instantly matched with top-rated home pros for any project and book appointments online, all for free.
TOM: And still ahead on The Money Pit, have the winter blahs got you feeling a bit blue? Well, don’t worry. We’ve got tips on the best paint colors to perk up your space and brighten your mood, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call, right now, with your décor or improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
TOM: We’re standing by to take your calls, your questions at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Linda, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LINDA: We had a new kitchen floor installed about a week-and-a-half ago. It was a middle-of-the-road-grade sheet vinyl. And a couple of hours after the installers left, we were moving stuff back in. And we moved the refrigerator and it gouged it a couple of times. And the flooring has a 15-year warranty, so they said they would honor that and replace it or patch it or whatever. But then, two days after that, my eight-month-old puppy got a hold of the seam and ripped it in several places and also took a couple of chunks out of the middle of the floor.
TOM: Oh, boy.
LINDA: So, I called the gal – the rep – back and she suggested going with an LVT click-it tile – luxury vinyl tile.
LINDA: And I was just wondering what you guys thought as – if that would be a viable option, mainly because of the dog. I just don’t know.
And another thing is she was saying that they would probably install it right over the floor that they just put down, so that would mean we have the subfloor, my old floor, the new floor and then this tile on top of it.
LESLIE: It’s a floor sandwich.
TOM: First of all, whether or not you can put it on top of old layers of floor is really a manufacturer specification. It’s not unusual.
For example, when you put down laminate floor, that always sits on top of whatever is underneath it, because it kind of floats. So it might be that it’s perfectly fine.
TOM: Luxury vinyl tile is probably way more durable than sheet vinyl. Sheet vinyl tends to be really soft, so I’m not at all surprised that it got torn up just by moving the refrigerator back and forth. I mean you would think that if you’re in the flooring-design business, that that would be sort of a standard. Like if your kitchen floor can’t handle a refrigerator being rolled back and forth, you probably shouldn’t be in the business.
TOM: But unfortunately, a lot of those sheet products are very, very soft and can easily tear. It’s a darn good thing that you got your claim in, though, before the dog ripped the rest of it up. Because otherwise, they may not have had any interest in helping you.
But I do think a tile is going to be a pretty durable option. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting it on top of the old floor as long as it’s permitted by the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which you certainly should ask to – for a copy of so that you can review.
LINDA: OK. Alright. Well, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Linda. I hope you love that dog. It’s costing you a lot of money.
LINDA: Yeah, we do. We do. Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Alright. Dale in Georgia is on the line with a question about a shifty front door.
What’s going on, Dale?
DALE: Our house was built in 1937 and it’s still settling back and forth, spring and winter and summer. And the front door, I’ve had problems getting it to catch the striker plate, so I’ve had to move it back and forth. And we’re at a point now where the house has settled again and I can’t even latch the front door.
TOM: How convinced are you that the house is actually moving, as opposed to the front door just kind of getting out of whack?
DALE: Just about positive. I can see – there’s a different gap at different times of the year. It’ll be like at the top in the summertime and at the bottom in the wintertime and …
TOM: And what kind of door is this? Is this a metal door? A wood door?
DALE: No, it’s a solid-wood door.
TOM: A solid-wood door. And you really like this wood door?
DALE: Yeah, it’s – I think it’s the original door. It’s got the handmade glass in it and the ornate decoration around the edges and …
TOM: Right. So you have no interest in replacing the door?
DALE: No. I put a new door on the back but I really don’t want to lose this door, if I can …
TOM: What I would probably do is, essentially, rehang the door. So what that’s going to require is you removing the trim from around the door, inside and out, so you can see just the jambs. Because I suspect that the jambs are not securely attached to the framing or they may have loosened up over the years. I would basically want to rehang this as if it was a new door but maybe with not doing all the work that would be responsible for that.
So if you pull the trim out, then you’re going to look at the attachment points for the jambs. You’re going to do one final adjustment to getting the door exactly where you want it and then you’re going to re-secure the door jambs to the door frame.
You need to make sure that the space between the door jamb and the door frame is completely shimmed with a wood shim. So you would use wood blocks followed by, usually, cedar shingles, one from one side, one for the other. If you push them together, they get wider and they get thicker and they get nice and tight.
And then, what I would do is – I wouldn’t nail it in. I would actually use a drywall-styled screw – so a long, case-hardened screw – that you can set just below the surface of the door jamb and then putty over it. Because if you attach them with screws and you shim it properly, that door really shouldn’t move.
The expansion and the contraction of the door is about all you really should be – have left. And if it gets tight at one point in the year, I would take the door off and I would trim it a little bit, just to make enough room for it to close when it’s fully expanded.
DALE: OK. That’s something I didn’t think of. Alright. Well, I do appreciate it.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, this is the time of year that really drags on for a lot of people. You know, the holidays are behind us, winter just seems to be dragging on. And spring? Well, that doesn’t seem like it’s anywhere in sight.
But while we wait for spring to show up, one great project to perk yourself up is painting with color, because color can be a real pick-me-up for your room and for your mood. And it really depends on the color that gets the different kind of mood reaction.
So, for example, think about orange. It creates a warm, really kind of inviting environment. And you want to look for a shade with maybe a pink or a yellow undertone. And that can liven up a foyer or a bathroom or the kitchen. I mean a really great color to bring in. Plus, coral is the Pantone Color of the Year, which sort of falls into an orange depending on which coral you pick.
Now, blue, that’s another favorite and don’t be afraid to go dark. With blue, it’s a really good idea to paint a large swatch on that wall and check out the color in different light. You want to see what it looks like in the daytime, in natural lighting as the day progresses and the light changes, what it looks like with your lights on. It’s really an extra step that’s totally worth it. You try on your clothes, so why not try on paint?
Finally, yellow. Such a super-happy color. But if you go too light in a room with a lot of natural light, it’s going to end up looking white. So try to choose a deeper shade that’s got some warmer orange undertones. And it’s such a happy color to bring into the house.
TOM: I’m glad you mentioned the idea of sort of painting a swatch on the wall, because the manufacturers are making it a lot easier to do that right now. Pretty much all of them are selling these sample-size, almost like baby food-jars size of paint so that you can do just that. You could paint two or three different colors on the wall of the ones that you’re kind of considering and then watch them through that whole light cycle, day to night. And it really helps you know what you’re getting into before you paint the entire room and decide you don’t like it.
So, all great tips to help spark a better mood while we wait for spring to arrive.
LESLIE: Belinda in Kansas, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BELINDA: I live in this apartment. It’s a senior complex. It was an old school at one time. It’s three stories. It was completely gutted. Everything’s new on the inside. New double-pane windows. But I’m – it’s in the northeast-corner of the building and I’m having an awful lot of problems with drafts and then cold air coming from the walls, underneath the windows. Because it’s brick and stone on the outside and so there’s the air pocket and the inside wall. And so, at night it’s like living inside a refrigerator and try – really, really. And trying to …
TOM: That does not sound very pleasant.
BELINDA: It’s not. It’s not. I lay in bed at night and I don’t sleep. It’s because I’m just listening – and it’s the heat pump, too, that they put in these. And so it’s going all night long; it never shuts off. And so I’m just wondering if they would – or they probably could, if they would. Because the National Historic Association is also in on this, being it’s an old building.
TOM: So you’re essentially wondering, Belinda, what you can do because you’re a tenant, right? So you don’t own the building.
BELINDA: Right, right.
TOM: You can’t replace the windows. So what are your options? So you have a couple of options.
So, first of all, if you wanted to spend some money, you could order interior storm windows. But of course, your – it’d have to be custom-made to fit the windows and they may be pricey. If you want an inexpensive option, there’s two ways to go. One thing is you could use shrink film, which is basically a window film that gets, essentially, double face-taped to the inside trim and then you use a hair dryer to shrink it so it’s taut and clear.
And the other thing that you can use is weather-stripping – caulk weather-stripping. Basically, it’s a temporary caulk product and it’s clear, like a silicone, but it’s not silicone. And you essentially caulk your windows shut with this temporary caulk. And then, in the spring, you can peel it right off. It comes off like in a rubbery strip.
Now, the only thing bad about using the temporary caulk is that you will not be able to open or close the window once it’s done, because it’s pretty much sealed shut. So you don’t want to do this to your bedroom window where you may have to use it to get out in the event of an emergency.
BELINDA: Actually, they pretty much tried all that. See, the problem is the National Historic Association won’t let them do a lot of stuff. And they hadn’t caulked around the cracks, where the frame of the windows meet the window sill and along the walls. So they came up, they did that.
TOM: So let me say that again, Belinda. We’re not talking about caulking outside the window; we’re talking about caulking inside the window. So, basically, right around the sash, where the sash meets the sill, where the sash meets the jamb, those are the areas that you typically would not caulk, you would never caulk. But if you use the temporary weather-stripping caulk, you can caulk right over those seams where all of the air gets in. And then, again, in the spring, you grab a little end of it and you peel it and it comes off in one – usually one – solid piece.
It works quite well. You may have to order it if you don’t find it on your store shelves. I know Red Devil makes one called Seal ‘N Peel. So you could look at – look up that brand.
Belinda, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, did you know that one common laundry-room item is sparking a lot of emergency-room visits for kids? We’re going to share important dos and don’ts to keep your children safe, after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, we all know how quickly toddlers can get their hands on something that they shouldn’t. And in the last several years, emergency rooms around the country have seen an increase in toddlers who’ve ingested the very colorful and convenient laundry packets that have become so popular in doing laundry.
TOM: And while laundry-pod poisonings are rare, they’re also completely preventable. And that’s one reason the American Cleaning Institute has launched a campaign called PACKETS UP!, to help educate parents on how to create safe laundry rooms. With us to talk about that is Brian Sansoni, the senior vice president of communication.
BRIAN: Hello, Tom. Hello, Leslie.
We here at the American Cleaning Institute are very happy to be with you in helping families keep their laundry rooms laundry-safe.
TOM: Now, let’s start by talking about these laundry packets, because I think this is kind of one that snuck up on everybody. The manufacturers did a good job of making these things look colorful and friendly and easy to use. But I don’t think anyone ever envisioned that kids would see those bright colors as potentially something that they might want to get into their mouth, because I guess candy is colored that way. And I don’t know if that’s the reason it happens or not. Perhaps you do. But it’s just one of those things that you just would never have predicted.
BRIAN: Laundry packets were really the first new successful laundry format, really, in decades since liquid detergent became popular. So it was a brand-new mass-market product. Came in about 2012 or so.
BRIAN: So people were just getting used to them. And we found, as some of the calls to poison-control centers increased, we needed to educate and inform a whole new crop of parents and caregivers about using these products safely. So that’s why today we call our program PACKETS UP!.
LESLIE: You know, I think it’s so important because, generally, when you’re in the laundry room, everything is stored low. Because you want to go under the sink to get to the detergent, everything is in a very easily accessible place. And because the design of these packets is very appealing, you’ve got to kind of rethink your entire laundry-room layout and how you use the space.
BRIAN: These products are so easy for people to use. It’s that whole load of detergent in one little packet, so it’s very easy to use. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so popular. But we need to make it intuitive for parents and caregivers, especially wihth young kids around, to use these products safely, to store the products safely.
So that’s why, with kids – that you might have toddlers running in and out of the laundry room. You might be busy. You might be doing dinner, you want to get this load of laundry in. But you’ve got to remember as soon as you put that packet into the laundry machine, you need to make sure that the container is sealed and it’s put back up out of reach and out of sight of children.
TOM: Yeah. We think about locking kitchen cabinets, for example, where we might keep some of our soaps and other cleansers or dishwasher packets or pellets. That’s probably the other place in the house where we use a sort of premeasured, packet-style detergent. But for the laundry, you just don’t think about that. And you’re right: we need to make sure that parents know to keep those packets up high where they can’t be reached and in properly-sealed containers.
What are some other tips for safety in the laundry room that people may not be thinking about, Brian?
BRIAN: One thing is to make sure, with the laundry packets, that you keep it in the original container. I’ve seen some design gurus say, “Hey, why don’t you make it more decorative and put it in a different canister?” You should never do that, because all the safety and usage information is in the original container. So, as appealing as that might be design-wise, you want safety first. And that’s why you keep it in the original container and then you make sure it’s out of sight and out of reach.
Another thing is parents told us in a survey we did in 2017 – two-thirds of parents with kids under 4 said their laundry room is accessible to children. So that spoke to us the need to really enhance our conversations with parents and caregivers, or those who talk to them regularly, about keeping their rooms laundry-safe. It’s OK for older kids to help with laundry as they grow up because we think it’s important that kids, as they get older – to know how to do the laundry. And candidly, that certainly would help out a lot of moms and dads as older kids know how to do …
TOM: It can’t happen fast enough.
BRIAN: That’s right. And so, when you can teach them those habits to do it – use the laundry safely, properly – that’s great. So that’s – so when you think your kids are ready, that’s OK. But I think most of the issues that we see have been with the kids under six who are still developing their safety skills. So it’s – kids move so fast and accidents can happen in an instant. That’s why we like to say there are new parents born every day.
BRIAN: So that’s why we think parents of brand-new babies, as they grow into toddlers, this is a really important safety reminder.
TOM: That’s a great point. Brian Sansoni, the vice president of communication and outreach for the American Cleaning Institute, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great advice on how to keep your kids safe in the laundry room.
And by the way, Brian was good enough to create a post for us: “Five Tips for a Safer, Healthier and Kid-Friendly Laundry Room.” That’s online, right now, on the home page at MoneyPit.com.
Thanks, Brian. Great work.
LESLIE: Brian Sansoni, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Just ahead, between sky-high electric bills and expensive heating costs this winter, are you finally getting ready to replace those leaky or drafty windows? Well, we’re going to have tips on the best way to get that project done, in today’s Pro Project Tip presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: That’s right. It doesn’t matter what that project is, they make it fast and easy to find those top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use, HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to Arkansas where Deborah is on the line thinking there might be some mold at her money pit. Tell us what you’re seeing.
DEBORAH: The last rain that we had, water got in one of my bedrooms. And once the water got in, I noticed that there were black spots on it, which was mold that was on there. And I was just inquiring about should I get someone to come out and clean it or if I would be able to clean that myself.
TOM: Have you fixed the leak yet, Deborah?
DEBORAH: No. I have not fixed that.
TOM: OK. So the first thing you need to do is fix the leak. Because if you don’t fix the leak, it’s just going to come back over and over and over again. So do that, first off.
Secondly, with respect to the mold, I would spray a bleach-and-water solution on that: about one-third bleach, two-thirds water. Protect the surrounding area so you don’t stain the carpet or the furniture or anything like that. Let it sit for a good 15 or 20 minutes and then you can clean it up after that – rinse it off and clean off the wall after that. And I’d spray a product called Concrobium Mold Control over that, which will leave sort of a residue behind that will stop any future mold from growing.
But there’s no sense doing all that if you still have a leak, because that leak’s going to cause the mold to keep growing. So fix the leak first, then get rid of the mold after that. OK, Deb?
DEBORAH: OK. Alright. Thank you. Appreciate it.
TOM: Well, between those sky-high electric bills and the expensive heating costs that you may have faced this year, a lot of folks are probably thinking about replacing leaky or drafty windows.
Now, window replacement is an important job but it is a job that is best left for a pro. That said, we’ve got a few tips to help make sure it all goes super smoothly, in today’s Pro Project Tip presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Yeah. First of all, I think it’s really important to understand the difference between a replacement window and a new-construction window.
Now, replacement windows are just that: you get them custom-sized and designed to replace an existing old window. They’re going to fit in that exact same-size opening. Now, unlike new-construction windows, you don’t have to remove any siding to put these in.
TOM: And that makes it really simple.
Now, next, once you determine the pro you’re going to hire for the project, it’s important to let that pro measure for the new window. Don’t do it yourself. Here’s why: because it can be a big mistake. All replacement-window manufacturers’ specs are going to vary. But if the pro measures for the window and it doesn’t fit, guess what? It’s their responsibility to fix it. You’re not going to get stuck paying for a window that just doesn’t work in your house.
LESLIE: Now, once the big installation day arrives, you want to make sure you do some prep work. You’ve got to remove the window treatments, clear the window area as much as possible. It’s going to help that process go more quickly and much more smoothly. If you’ve got everything ready for when those pros arrive, they can get right to work.
TOM: And lastly, make a rain plan. You want to find out what your window installer’s weather policy is and decide together on an acceptable weather condition for the project.
Now, since windows can be replaced one or two at a time, you don’t really have to worry as much as you might think about your entire home being sort of left open to the elements. But you do want to make sure you communicate with your pro. By working together, you’re going to make sure there are no surprises.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project Tip presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, read the verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.
Pete in Wisconsin is on the line with a garage-door problem. What’s going on at your money pit?
PETE: Well, I’m a mostly do-it-yourselfer but I do call the professionals and have them come in when needed. I installed a steel, insulated garage door about three years ago, maybe four now. And worked just fine until just recently. It sounds like it’s binding when I – when it’s still going in the up position. And I ran it like 50 times trying to find where it’s binding. I’m not seeing any place where it’s rubbing on the track or anything else but it sure is making a noise like it is. And as I watch it, it appears as if one side may be going up slightly higher than the other. Any ideas, guys?
TOM: Pete, can you disconnect the garage-door opener from the door itself?
PETE: I can and I have.
TOM: OK. And once the garage-door opener is disconnected, can you open and close the garage door smoothly and evenly with no binding whatsoever?
PETE: There is less binding but there is still some. You can tell that there’s still a load on one side, it kind of feels like.
TOM: So it sounds to me like maybe the roller bearings are shot on some part of the door. Because there’s those roller bearings that fit inside the track and they help move the door up and down. And if something is stuck, if one of those bearings is not turning, it’s going to jam on that one side and they’ll sort of fight itself and it’ll try to come up crooked. And that might be what’s causing this.
I would disconnect the garage-door opener from the scenario and work on getting the door to operate nice and smoothly.
TOM: If it’s binding – if you feel like it’s binding or uneven without the garage-door opener attached to it, then that’s the heart of the problem right there.
PETE: OK. Do you think that would solve the appearance that one side is being raised? I imagine it would.
TOM: You mean raised more than the other side? One side comes up first?
TOM: Yeah. Because if the side that’s staying down is binding, then there’s a drag on that, so it’s going to try to pull the door up crookedly.
PETE: Wonderful. Well, I think you may have fixed my problem. I’m going to go check those rollers and make certain that those are all good. And if I need to replace any of those, those are relatively inexpensive. So the money pit isn’t so bad tonight, it looks like.
TOM: Alright, Pete. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, we all love a cozy fire this time of year. But if you’re not careful where you store your firewood, you could be opening your home up to termite infestation. We’ll explain it all when we come back.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, where it’s fast and easy to find top-rated, local home improvement pros for any home project. Go to HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: And don’t forget to post your questions in the Community section on MoneyPit.com. And I’ve got one here from Kim who writes: “How should I be storing and maintaining my firewood supply? I heard that storing wood too close to the house can invite termites.”
TOM: Ah, that’s a great question, Kim, because you are absolutely right. You know, in the 20 years or so I spent as a professional home inspector, it was not unusual for me to find neatly-stacked logs of firewood right up against the siding of house. And as a result, we saw termite infestations get into that house, too.
So you want to have some air space around it. Pull it away at least a foot from the house and keep it up off the ground if you can. And if not, set it up on some concrete blocks if you don’t have a rack. It’s important you do that because, otherwise, your house can become a termite buffet.
LESLIE: And here we have a post from Laurie who writes: “My kitchen isn’t that big and my one window is a precious source of light. Can you suggest any window coverings that provide style but don’t block out the light?”
TOM: Ah, Leslie, this is a great question for you. But I mean in a situation like this, couldn’t you just leave the window treatment off? What do we call that? A naked window? It’s kind of a decorating trend.
LESLIE: It’s true. I think it really depends on what your view is, what you need for privacy is, what that window faces. There are so many things that you can think about but you do not have to have a window shade or anything on it. So why not keep it open?
TOM: Well, are you ready for a laundry-room redo? That is a project that will go well if you start with what we like to call “good bones”: basic, functional systems that work the way they should, to help clean your clothes and prevent a disaster. Leslie has the checklist you need to know, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
Leslie? Laundry rooms are wrought with potential disaster if some of these things aren’t done right.
LESLIE: It’s true. But they’re also filled with potential design and usefulness if you go in the right direction.
Now, first of all, you want to start with your basics. We’re talking about the water-supply hoses. Now, typical, rubber-based water-supply lines have a tendency to swell and burst. So we recommend replacing those with braided-steel ones. It will save you a lot of headaches should anything ever happen to those rubber hoses.
Here’s another biggie: install an automatic shut-off valve. Now, these can detect an out-of-the-ordinary water flow before it actually turns into an all-out flood. And while you’re at it, get familiar with the location of your water valves. You’re going to want to know where they are in the event of a problem. And make sure those valves are accessible and functional and that every person in the house knows where they are and how to use them. And label them very, very, very clearly.
Now, if you’ve got a separate water valve for your hot and your cold water, take this opportunity to upgrade to a single-lever turn-off valve, which means both the hot- and the cold-water supply will turn off at the same time.
And finally, remember to clean out your dryer vent every six months. I’m not talking about the little lint basket inside the dryer that you should be cleaning every single time you do a load of laundry. I’m talking about the actual dryer-vent duct that goes to the outside.
Now, lint can collect in that exhaust duct and catch on fire. And those fires are responsible for multiple deaths and nearly 15,000 dryer fires each year. Cleaning out that dryer vent is very simple. It’s a simple tool you can buy online. You can hire a pro to do it. Just do it.
TOM: Yeah. And that’s a great point about the automatic shut-off valve. There’s another thing that you can do in that. You can install a smart-home water monitor. There’s one out now, a few months, from a company called Streamlabs. It basically tracks your water usage and if all of a sudden you start to use a ton of water, it actually sends you an alert to your smartphone so you’ll know to get back home and take care of that right away before your furniture starts floating out the front door, I guess.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thank you so much for spending this part of the day with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips and advice that help you out. If you’ve got questions, you can reach us, 24/7, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Or always, you can post your questions to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2019 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.)