One-Weekend Home Improvements #1009172
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One-Weekend Home Improvements #1009172

  • Man Caulking Window
  • Transcript

    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 what are you working on this beautiful fall weekend? If it’s a project around your house, you’re in exactly the right place because we want to help. That’s right. We’re going to come to your house and do it for you or do it with you. Well, not really but we’ll answer the questions to help you get it done a lot easier.

    LESLIE: We will guide you.

    TOM: We’ll guide you. Help yourself first: call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question and your pictures to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    Coming up on today’s show, if you’re a home-improving weekend warrior, sometimes it seems that it takes a month of weekends to get a project done. We’re going to change all that by highlighting some all-in-one-weekend projects that you can definitely fit in between your Saturday-morning coffee and still get it done in time for a leisurely dinner on Sunday afternoon.

    LESLIE: I like the sounds of that.

    Plus, there is nothing worse than running out of hot water, especially on a chilly morning. Well, tankless water heaters can solve that problem and they’ve come a very long way. We’re going to have tips on the latest technology to keep your warm water flowing.

    TOM: And when the temperatures start to fall, your energy costs start to rise. If you want to stop that, plugging drafts around windows is a good way to reverse the trend. We’re going to highlight the best ways to make sure your windows keep the energy in and the drafts out.

    So let’s get to it. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Adele in New Jersey is on the line with a flooring question. How can we help you today?

    ADELE: We just had new carpeting installed in our living room/dining room and we’re having the balance of the house done in about a week-and-a-half. We are now finding, when you walk through the living-room and dining-room area, we are getting a few squeaks in the floor in walking.

    Now, whether that has anything to do with our subfloor – the house is approximately only 28 years old. We bought it new when it was built. Now, do you think it might be a problem with the subflooring? We do have a crawlspace.

    TOM: So, underneath the carpet, what is the subfloor? Is it plywood?

    ADELE: Yes.

    TOM: OK. So, you have a good opportunity now, not for the rooms that you’ve already carpeted but for the ones you’re about to carpet. When you take up the old carpet, you need to go through and re-nail or screw the subfloor down to the floor joist. Because those boards loosen up and as you step on them, they’ll – they move back and forth and that’s the squeak.

    So, what I would like to see your contractor do is pull the carpet up and then take some drywall screws – these case-hardened steel screws that are sold everywhere today – and physically screw the plywood down to the floor joist. You put a screw in – about four screws across the width of the plywood on every single floor joist. You just go from one end to the other. They’re driven in with a drill, so it’s a very easy job to do. And that will really tighten up that floor and reduce the movement dramatically and that will prevent, if not eliminate, squeaks under that carpet.

    ADELE: Yes. Oh, that sounds terrific. Thank you so much for your help.

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

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Eddie in Delaware on the line who is dealing with a moisture situation going on. Tell us about it.

    EDDIE: I’m having a moisture problem with two out of the three bathrooms. It’s a three-bathroom home. And each bathroom has an in-line exhaust fan. And this occurred last season – last winter season – and we got a really severe winter and we’re getting a lot of condensation.

    I have dampers in two of the bathrooms, at the ceiling. And last season – the last winter season – I installed an additional damper after the exhaust fan – after the in-line fan in the ceiling – and I was still getting a lot of moisture, actually, at the ceiling where the sheetrock was actually falling apart. That’s how much moisture we got.

    TOM: OK. First of all, right above this space, is there an attic? What’s above it?

    EDDIE: Yeah. It’s an attic, yeah.

    TOM: Alright. And how much insulation do you have in that attic?

    EDDIE: The home is only eight years old.

    TOM: So, first of all, bathrooms are sources of warm, moist air. If the temperature of the drywall is chilly, it’s going to condense and cause condensation. So you want to make sure that the attic above it, that you’ve got at least 15 to 20 inches of insulation in there. That’s really important.

    EDDIE: Oh, there is. There definitely is. And what I also did was – when I started having this problem, I replaced the flexible ductwork, which was originally R6, to the maximum of R8. And I’m still getting the problem. And these two bathrooms that I’m having the problem, they are not used for showers or bathing of any sort.

    TOM: The second thing I want to suggest to you is – you mentioned that you have exhaust fans in two of the three?

    EDDIE: No, no. All three have their own individual, in-line exhaust fans, yes.

    TOM: OK. So in-line – in other words, it’s ducted out somewhere? They’re all connected together and ducted out at once, at one point?

    EDDIE: No, no. They’re not connected together; they’re all different.

    TOM: They all vent on their own out the building?

    EDDIE: Yes.

    TOM: And you can confirm that the vents are working? So if you turn the fan on and you go outside, you’ll see the flapper?

    EDDIE: Yes.

    TOM: So, hooking them up to a humidistat/timer might not be a bad idea. Because this way, when the humidity gets high in the room it’ll automatically come on. Leviton makes such a switch, designed specifically for bath fans. And I think that might be the next step. I think we need to move more air through these rooms.

    The second thing is, what’s underneath these bathrooms? Are these on the second floor or first floor? Are they over a slab?

    EDDIE: It’s a ranch home.

    TOM: And what’s underneath?

    EDDIE: A crawlspace.

    TOM: Crawlspace? OK. Does the crawlspace have a high humidity problem?

    EDDIE: No.

    TOM: I would recommend that you replace that existing fan switch with a humidistatically-controlled fan switch.

    EDDIE: Yeah, OK. I’ll try.

    TOM: Eddie, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’d love to take your call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.

    TOM: Just ahead, weekend warriors rejoice. We’ve got tips on all-in-one-weekend projects that are so easy on your schedule, you’ll fit them in between Saturday-morning coffee and Sunday dinner. That’s all coming up, next.

    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: Our number is 888-MONEY-PIT and it’s presented by HomeAdvisor, where you can get instantly matched with top-rated pros for any home project and book appointments online, for free.

    LESLIE: And hey, here’s a great reason to reach out by phone or through our Community page right now: we’re giving away the Mr Beams Home Safety and Security Lighting Bundle, including a Security Light, an UltraBright Ceiling Light and the very cool MB360XT LED Spotlight, which is ridiculously bright. I mean 200 lumens of motion-activated light right there.

    This is a prize package worth 110 bucks.

    TOM: Yep. And that reflector face is designed so that it has a really wide coverage area of about 600 square feet. So that can really be a great spotlight to put out the back of your house, the front of your house. It’ll come on when people are walking up to it. And what’s cool about it is it actually runs on batteries. So you get about a year light with an average use of 8 to 10 activations a day.

    You can learn more at MrBeams.com but that $110 Mr Beams Home Safety and Security Lighting Bundle is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Donna in Arkansas is on the line and has a noise issue. How noisy is that place?

    DONNA: Well, I don’t know. My son and his roommate live in a duplex. And the common wall between their living rooms, they can hear the neighbors and so I’m sure the neighbors can hear them. They were just wondering what they could do on that wall to block some of the noise.

    TOM: What they would need to do requires a pretty significant addition to the existing wall. What they would do is they would have to put a second layer of drywall over the existing layer.

    And there’s two options here. You can use a noise-resistant drywall; there’s a couple of different brands of this out there. And basically, it has some sound-deadening built into it. Or you can use a product called Green Glue, which is sort of like a gelatin-like adhesive. And you would apply that to the old wall and then you would put new drywall over that. And that creates a noise barrier.

    And you also have to be very careful around the outlets and any openings in the wall. And they have to be sealed properly. And even after you do all of that, you will still probably get some sound through that wall.

    Unfortunately, soundproofing is not – is harder to do after the fact than it is to do when you’re building it from scratch. So, not always the answer, exactly, that you want to hear but that’s really what it takes to try to soundproof the rooms in this situation.

    DONNA: Alright. Well, we sure appreciate you taking our call and thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Sam in Idaho, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    SAM: I have a [life of] (ph) cedar fencing someone gave me. I’m going to plan it. It’s 10 or 12 years old, never been in the ground. I’m just curious if you would recommend treating the post.

    TOM: Well, you can treat the posts if you want to put like a wood life on it. And make sure you get it into the end grain. It’ll help a little bit.

    But the best way to stop that post from rotting is more about the installation. And what I would recommend is this: I would use a post-hole digger to dig it – the hole – just slightly wider than the post itself. I would put about 4 inches of gray gravel stone in the bottom of the hole, set the post on top of that stone and then use the rest of the stone to fill around the post and tamp it down.

    Now, you can use a tamping iron or if you don’t have a tamping iron, you can use the butt end of a 2×4 to do the same thing. But do not concrete those posts into the ground, because the concrete will hold a lot of water against the post. It will cause rapid deterioration. If you just put the stone in, it’ll be really, really strong and it’ll drain well. So, that’s the best way to preserve it.

    SAM: OK, guys. Thank you.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you love to take on home improvements over a weekend, you know that some of those projects can take a month of weekends to simply get done. We’ve all been there. You think it’s going to be fast and then, all of a sudden, it’s like tomorrow and the next day. But there are some projects that can truly, easily be knocked out in a day or two. So here’s a few all-in-one-weekend projects that you can fit in between your Saturday-morning coffee and your Sunday-night dinner.

    TOM: Now, first up, let’s talk about painting your tub or your tub surround. Now, we get a lot of questions about this and it’s definitely an area that frequently needs attention. Because most tubs get so grungy over time that no amount of scrubbing is going to make them shine.

    So, what you could do is you could pick up a tile-and-tub refinishing kit. That could be the answer, because they contain everything you need to repaint ceramic or porcelain and fiberglass or even steel or acrylic tubs and surrounds.

    Now, a caution here: the finishes are not going to last as long as a new tub but obviously, it doesn’t cost anything near the same cost, either. And it does give you a chance to refresh your bathroom’s look for a very small budget and just a couple of weekend days’ worth of work.

    LESLIE: Now, another project is remodeling your fireplace. Fireplaces really are that focal point of your living room or den. So your fireplace does deserve attention, especially when it comes to the décor.

    However, revamping a fireplace doesn’t have to mean springing for an expensive replacement. You can simply top it off with crown molding, refinish with peel-and-stick stone façade or even something as simple as repainting. These really are all ways that you can breathe fresh life into an old hearth. Just remember to make that painting decision carefully because once you paint a brick or a stone, you really can’t go back.

    TOM: Now, finally, let’s talk about a really fun project and that is to build your own outdoor fire pit. I mean you might as well tell the neighbors to bring the marshmallows, because fall is that prime fire-pit season. And they’re really fun and it’s certainly the stuff that autumn memories are made of.

    Now, they’re actually not too hard to build yourself. And so, we’ve got project plans online at MoneyPit.com to help you get that job done. And again, this is a project you can knock out in just a couple of days. So maybe invite them over for Sunday dinner and then afterwards, you can go outside and make the dessert. S’mores, of course.

    LESLIE: Mack in Missouri is on the line and has a question about a pool. What can we do for you?

    MACK: Well, every year I seem to open my pool up in the spring and it’s always green. I would have to drain it and clean it out and all that stuff. So, I had this brilliant idea to just leave it going all winter long: just put the cover over it, put it on timer and just keep it open and have it come on every day for – you know, every 15 minutes, every couple hours or something, so it doesn’t freeze. What do you think about that crazy idea?

    LESLIE: I’ve got to tell you, we have a pool, Mack, at my family – like my parents own a summer house out on the North Fork of Long Island. Every spring, we take off that cover. That pool is the nastiest, green-looking thing you’ve ever seen. We have never drained the water. You use a whole sort of chemicals, which is sad but you shock that water, you get the system up and running and it goes right back to beautiful, crystal blue and we’re swimming in it in no time.

    MACK: Yeah, I know. Takes a lot of chemicals to do that.

    LESLIE: I know. But the other option is – I wouldn’t leave things running all winter long. I feel like it’s going to put pressure on the system, it’s going to overload. You’re not probably getting the proper amount of air and things into it that it needs because the pool is covered. But if you’re so frustrated with it and the chemicals, why not think about a salt-water pool?

    MACK: Because I’m cheap.

    TOM: At least you’re honest about it.

    MACK: Well, I know you guys like honesty, so I’ll probably go against all conventional advice and try it.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck. Let us know how you make out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Natalie in Wisconsin is on the line and is having some issues with old windows. Tell us about the problem.

    NATALIE: Hi. I have vinyl windows, which served us very well. But now that they’re older and I want to raise them up, oh, 5 or 6 inches, they won’t stay there. So I have to brace them up or else they’ll fall down and they are quite heavy. Do you have any recommendations?

    TOM: So, the window jambs have springs in them and the springs have obviously broken down. And the problem with vinyl windows is, unless it’s a name brand where you can easily find parts, is that it’s really almost impossible to get those fixed.

    NATALIE: OK.

    TOM: And so I’m not going to have a really good solution for you here, Natalie. If it was an old wood window, we could talk about ways to deal with that. But because it’s a vinyl window, it’s already an upgraded window. And if the internal parts are breaking down, it’s difficult to find repair parts for that.

    NATALIE: OK. Yes, I have been trying and I didn’t have any luck so far.

    TOM: Well, I would search online for the manufacturer and see if there are repair parts available. But short of that, it might be time to start thinking about new windows.

    NATALIE: OK. Thank you so much.

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

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

    MICHAEL: I have an A/C coil that has an issue with it. It’s positioned at an angle – air handler in my attic. And I believe this is so it will allow condensation to run down the baffles, into a drain pan. But mine doesn’t do that. The condensation simply drops off the baffles, directly into the bottom of the air handler, not into the drain pan.

    Yeah, so I’m wondering if there’s a spray coating or something I can add to it to make it cohesive, where the water will stick to it until it goes to the drain pan. I had the A/C unit serviced last summer and one of technicians told me that the – he said, “The coating has worn off of your baffles and you just need to replace it.”

    TOM: It sounds to me like it’s the kind of thing that’s installed when the product is manufactured, not something that’s added as an after-market.

    So, is all the moisture dripping off of this as opposed to going – is most of the moisture getting to the drain pan or is it all just sort of spilling off all over the place?

    MICHAEL: The drain pan is completely dry. It just drips directly from the coil, from the baffles, into the bottom of the air-handler unit.

    TOM: Rusting everything out, too.

    MICHAEL: It’s rusting and from the air intake down the hall, it finally built up enough where it was basically leaking.

    TOM: And there’s no clog of any of the drainage of this down to that pan? There’s nothing that’s backed up? Because very often, some of that internal plumbing gets backed up.

    MICHAEL: No. There’s nothing in the drain pan to drain out. It’s completely dry. It doesn’t drain down the baffles into the drain pan. It just drips directly into the bottom of the air handler. I wondered if just getting – I mean I looked at – there’s some cleaners you can go on and clean your coil with and things like that. And I suppose that may help – I don’t know – but …

    TOM: It wouldn’t hurt. But the thing is you’re not going to know until next summer.

    MICHAEL: Well, yeah. I could turn the A/C down and check it temporarily but …

    TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of unusual but what would happen is sometimes technicians will see these same units over and over again, because they’re common to a particular area of the country or area of a state. And so they get accustomed to diagnosing this kind of defect over and over again. But unfortunately, I’m not aware of any type of coating that can replace what was probably put on when those blades were made originally.

    MICHAEL: Not the news I was looking for but …

    TOM: Alright. Well, thanks for giving it a shot.

    MICHAEL: Yep. Thanks.

    TOM: You’ve got it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You know, there’s nothing worse than running out of hot water, especially on a chilly morning. We’re going to have tips on the latest technology to keep your warm water flowing, after this.

    TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Well, if you love the thought of never, ever running out of hot water, no matter how many teenagers are in your household, then tankless water heaters are the answer. They save energy, they’ve got many safety features and they never, ever run out.

    LESLIE: For an update on how far tankless technology has come and what they can do for your home, we welcome Eric Ashley, the product-development manager for Navien, one of the leading HVAC manufacturers in the country.

    Welcome, Eric.

    ERIC: Hi, Tom and Leslie. Thank you, guys, for having me on today.

    TOM: Eric, thanks for being with us today. And I want to start by talking with you about how tankless differs from a tank water heater. I think one of the issues with water heaters is that we love our water heater, we use it every day until it dies and then we’re in a full-blown panic to get it replaced. And I think at that time, it’s really difficult for folks to have the wherewithal to think about the technology that’s out there today and what it could do for them.

    So I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time talking about the differences between tank and tankless water heaters. So, where do we begin?

    ERIC: One big thing I think you hit on there is a lot of people don’t realize that their water heater needs to be replaced until it fails. And actually, ENERGY STAR and the Department of Energy have done a survey throughout North America. And what they found is that the vast majority of homeowners, their water heater is over 10 years old. So it’s in that critical stage of when it’s going to fail and need to be replaced.

    And they’re proactively promoting earlier replacement because not only is your existing water heater going to flood wherever it’s at but it’s probably a lot less efficient than a newer version of a tank or even if you went to tankless or a condensing tankless.

    TOM: And that’s really the main difference, because tankless water heaters heat on demand, so you’re only heating the water that you use and you’re heating it when you use it. Tanked water heaters, on the other hand, keep that water hot, 24/7, whether you need it or not. And that uses a lot of energy.

    ERIC: Yep. That’s correct. Most tanks are probably in the 60-percent efficient range where the least efficient tankless water heater is going to be about 82 percent or 0.82 EF and all the way up to – which our units are condensing units that are up to 0.99 EF.

    LESLIE: So, now, when you’re talking about the different types of water-heating – you’re talking about condensing verses non-condensing – I think a lot of people, they think of air conditioning when they hear condensing. So, where does that really come into play with water-heating and what’s the difference?

    ERIC: With a non-condensing water heater for tankless, what it does is it only has a single heat exchanger. And if your unit has 199,000 BTUs, you’re basically using 199,000 BTUs to heat your water and it’s giving you a set flow rate of guaranteed hot water. And with a non-condensing unit, you have very high exhaust temperatures that are in the probably 300- to 400-degree range and that’s all wasted energy.

    So, on a non-condensing unit that’s about 82-percent efficient, you’re wasting a lot of capturable heat or preheating and that’s what a condensing unit does. In a condensing tankless water heater, you have two heat exchangers inside the unit: you have a primary and a secondary. And the primary functions exactly like a non-condensing unit does but on the secondary heat exchanger, we trap and capture the flue-gas temperature. So, on our units, our exhaust temperature is between about 105 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So we’re taking out about, from anywhere, 200 to 300 extra degrees out of the exhaust, which increases the efficiency of the unit.

    TOM: Yeah, that definitely would make a big difference.

    Now, there are tankless water heaters that are steel – stainless steel, specifically – and those that are copper for the heat-exchanger materials. What is the difference between those two materials? I think folks are most familiar with copper, because it’s part of the plumbing system, but is stainless steel better?

    ERIC: Traditionally, tankless has been made with copper heat exchangers. And then when you go to a condensing model, it’ll usually be copper and stainless steel because condensate is corrosive. So you want to use a material that’s more noble.

    On our units – on our Navien units – we use stainless steel for both of our heat exchangers. Our unit is downward-fired. The benefits of using stainless steel is that it’s more noble metal than copper, so hard water doesn’t affect our units as much as it does our competition or other non-condensing models on the market.

    TOM: Yeah, I want to ask you about that. I’m glad you brought that up. Because hard water – those folks that suffer from hard water – there have been issues with tankless water heaters becoming clogged because there’s so many mineral salts in the water. So you’re saying that stainless steel is more resistant to those clogs and therefore, especially, a better choice if you’re on well water that might be hard.

    ERIC: That’s correct. And actually, it’s all heating appliances. Anything that has some sort of heating element in it, if you have hard water, it’s definitely going to affect it. That’s the big reason tanks fail. That’s why your tank cracks from the bottom and leaks all over the place, because you’ve had scale sediment build up at the bottom of it. You really don’t notice any performance issue in a tank when it has scale buildup.

    But on a tankless unit, you’re going to notice it because the water passageways are much smaller. With copper, because it’s a more porous metal, you definitely have the ability for scale to attract to it a lot easier because there’s areas that it can grab onto. Where a more noble metal, like stainless steel, has less porous areas, so it’s a lot smoother of a metal. And it’s less likely that scale minerals are going to attach to it.

    TOM: Got it.

    We’re talking to Eric Ashley. He’s a product-development manager with Navien, one of the best manufacturers out there for tankless water heaters and many more appliances.

    Eric, I want to talk with you about return on investment. I mean tankless water heaters are expensive, perhaps far more expensive than a tank water heater. What kind of a return on investment can a consumer expect if they take the leap?

    ERIC: There’s two sides to the ROI when you’re looking at it. Most non-condensing units are about $100 to $200 more expensive than a tank is today because of all the efficiency regulation changes. When you step up to a condensing unit, the price difference is going to be a little bit bigger between a tank and a tankless unit. You know, we look at the operating cost annually for our unit compared to a tank. It’s about $100 difference, annually.

    The big thing we always like to talk about with tankless water heaters is if you use your tankless water heater like you use your tank, which is 25 – you have a 30-gallon tank at home, which means you’re probably getting 20 gallons of hot water out of it and then it’s being diluted. If you use it the exact same away, you’re going to see massive payback. And it’s going to be very quick. In a residential application, it can be from 5 years all the way up to the 15. It really depends on the usage per household. But what we noticed is that people love the efficiency factor. And every dollar you put in, you’re really only wasting, in our units, between three cents and one cent, depending on which model you go with, for heating water. It becomes a comfort …

    TOM: Oh, that’s pretty reasonable.

    ERIC: Yeah, it becomes a comfort factor, though.

    TOM: Yeah.

    ERIC: When you know that you can take now a 15-minute shower or you can fill your bathtub up three times in a row, that’s really where I think a lot of people are looking at tankless as they invest in it, because they want the green factor but then it becomes a comfort factor. And when people experience that, there’s definitely a different mindset. So, it no longer becomes about the cost savings but it’s more about the comfort lifestyle that it provides and the savings while you’re producing the water.

    TOM: Good advice. Eric Ashley, the product-development manager for Navien.

    Eric, thank you so much. That was very informative and gives us a good idea of the benefits of tankless technology to save energy and most importantly, never, ever run out of hot water. Love it. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    And if you’d like to learn more about Navien’s tankless water-heater products, head on over to their website at US.Navien.com. Again, that’s US.Navien.com. And Navien is spelled N-a-v-i-e-n. Again, that’s US.Navien.com.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Eric.

    Hey, guys, still to come, the right replacement windows can make a big difference in your energy bills. We’ve got tips to help you choose the best ones for the biggest impact, next.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Reach out to us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They make it fast and easy to find top-rated home pros you can trust for any home project. And if you’re a service pro looking to grow your business and connect with project-ready homeowners, check out HomeAdvisor.com.

    LESLIE: Elizabeth in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    ELIZABETH: I have an outdoor shower and all of a sudden, the pressure just went very, very low. So I didn’t know what to do with it.

    LESLIE: And it’s the only fixture that the pressure has changed on?

    ELIZABETH: The rest of the – my hoses are fine outside. Inside is fine.

    LESLIE: Well, have you thought about taking the showerhead off and sort of disassembling it? Because you may have just some sort of sediment or something that’s come in through the pipe and just sort of lodged itself at where the water outflow would come?

    So if you unscrew the showerhead, then sort of start taking that aerator apart – but remember the order in which you’re taking things out, because it’s got to go back in, obviously, in the opposite order. And I would just start taking things out and rinsing things off, because there could be just some debris – I mean especially if it’s an outdoor shower – just something clogging it up in there. And that usually does the trick. I would start there. Just make sure you put it all back in the correct order and it’ll work fine.

    ELIZABETH: I love the outdoor shower. It’s the greatest.

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

    LESLIE: Well, if you’re thinking about buying new windows, you might be overwhelmed because there’s a lot of choices out there. Here’s a few things that you need to consider that will help you find the most energy-efficient window for your home.

    First of all, you’ve got to consider the U-value. That measures a window’s ability to insulate. Then you need to consider the amount of solar energy a window transmits. That’s called the “solar heat-gain coefficient” or SHGC. Just remember this, guys: the lower the U-value and SHGC, the more efficient that window is. Lower the number, more efficient.

    TOM: Now, you can also order different glazing for windows based on the side of the house that they’re going to be installed on. For example, you want to get the lowest U-value on windows that you can afford on the north-facing windows, because that’s the coldest side of the house. You also want to look for windows with double panes. You want to look for low-E coating and low-conductivity gas fill between the panes and the wood, the vinyl or the fiberglass frames. Basically, all of those things work together to give you the efficiency that you need.

    And if you can’t afford to do the whole house, just do it one side at a time. Start on the cold side of the house if you’re concerned about winter-heating bills or the south side of the house if you’re concerned about summer air-conditioning bills. Do one side a season or a couple of sides a season and sooner or later, you’ll have new windows in the entire house. And since windows can last 40, 50 years, who says you’ve got to do it all at once? Just do it one side at a time. Make it affordable and you’ll get it done.

    Hey, are you a home-improving weekend warrior just like us? Well, hey, we’ve got a sweepstakes for you. We’ve partnered with The Home Depot on a sweepstakes that will make the tool hounds out there drool, because we’re going to give you a shot at winning some of the best tools from the aisles of The Home Depot.

    LESLIE: That’s right. The Money Pit Weekend Warrior Sweepstakes is running, right now, at MoneyPit.com and features over $4,500 in prizes. You guys, the grand prize is amazing. It’s a beautiful Milwaukee Tools 16-Drawer Tool Chest and Rolling Cabinet Set. And it’s filled with a 6-Tool M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit. So we’re giving you the tools and a place to store it.

    Also up for grabs: two of these first prizes. It’s a Husky 46-Inch 9-Drawer Mobile Workbench with a solid-wood worktop. And it’s all filled with a 268-piece Husky Mechanics Tool Set. You will never be looking for a wrench to fit something ever again. You will find it right in there. Also, some second-place prizes: a RYOBI 18-Volt One+ Drill Driver and Impact Driver Kit. And some third prizes available: it’s our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.

    TOM: You get all the details and enter now at MoneyPit.com. You can even increase your chances of winning by entering once a day or sharing the sweeps with friends. It’s online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Well, the floor in your home, you guys know it: it’s the largest blank surface of all the design spaces in your house. And it really deserves as much attention, if not more than any other surface. So we’re going to have tips to help you let the room choose the floor, after this.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Standing by for your home improvement questions at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or you may post them to the Community page at MoneyPit.com. And The Money Pit is presented by HomeAdvisor.com, where you’ll find top-rated home pros you can trust. It’s really the easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.

    We’re going to go right to the Community page where Jason posted a question. He’s from Tennessee and he says, “I’m a first-time home buyer. I’m going to purchase a home that needs some TLC, especially in the kitchen. Should I replace the flooring before or after installing the new top and bottom cabinets?”

    Hey, that’s a great question because you know what, Leslie? They get this wrong a lot, right?

    LESLIE: And if you get it wrong, you’re landlocking everything.

    TOM: Yeah. Because if you put the flooring up against the cabinets, you’re going to have a really hard time getting a dishwasher out, because you kind of block it in. So you want to either prop up the cabinets or shim up the cabinets so it’s even with the top of the flooring. Or just put the flooring down first and put the cabinets on top of that. You don’t have to go all the way into the back wall under the cabinets completely but you do have to cover the edges and shim up the back.

    LESLIE: And you know what, Jason? It’s a really good idea to put your actual flooring all the way underneath the fridge. I mean you can move the fridge out to clean under there. You’ll want to clean the backside of the fridge. What if you move the location of the fridge? I feel like it’s just a good idea to do so.

    TOM: Well, the floor is one of the largest blank surfaces in your home and it deserves as much, if not more attention than pretty much any other space. Leslie has got some tips to help you choose what goes on that floor, in today’s Flooring Design Tip presented by Pergo Outlast+.

    LESLIE: Yeah. You know, when it comes to flooring, I like to let the room choose the flooring type, because each space really has very different needs. So let’s start talking about the foyer or the entryway or the mudroom. However you get into your house, you really need something super durable right in that space. I’m talking tile, I’m talking laminate or even a commercial-grade hardwood if you’ve got to have the real deal. Your shoes bring in all that dirt. That dirt acts like sandpaper and it can ruin the flooring.

    So, here’s your best line of defense: you’ve got to have durable, cleanable flooring right in this space. And please, don’t wear your shoes all around your house. It only just digs into all the flooring surfaces everywhere.

    Now we’re going to talk about your living room, your dining spaces, your bedroom, all of those places. Here, you really can choose pretty much any flooring type you like as long as it suits your lifestyle. Pets and kids, those are instant game-changes. In general, those living and dining areas can have any kind of flooring, from hardwoods to laminates. You usually would see less traffic in those spaces, so most flooring is going to hold up. If kids or pets are in the mix, you’ve got to choose something more durable and more easily cleanable: laminates, engineered hardwoods. I don’t really want to say tile here, because I don’t get the warm and fuzzies from it. But that’s an option, as well.

    Now we’re talking about bathrooms and basements. And these spaces really tend to see a lot of water, so durability and water-resistance is key in those rooms. Laminates or tile really are the only way to go. In your kitchen, here again you’ve got the chance for water, so you’ve got to think carefully. Engineered hardwood, laminates, tile, cork, all great choices. In a kitchen space, I actually like the idea of cork because it’s softer underfoot. And if you’re in there cooking a lot of meals or even a big meal, you can be on your feet for ages, so anything you can do to help soften that hard stance usually in a kitchen space.

    Whatever you pick, know that today’s manufacturing and milling really have created a bounty of materials to choose from, so there’s a match for every space.

    TOM: And that’s today’s Flooring Design Tip presented by Pergo Outlast+, the only water-resistant laminate that prevents water from seeping into the joints. Unlike other water-resistant laminates that let water pass through the joints and causes edges to swell, Pergo’s SpillProtect24 technology creates a watertight surface so spills can be wiped up or will simply evaporate over time. Plus, Pergo’s superior design, with deep textures and high-definition printing, create an incredibly realistic wood look.

    Outlast resists water and ends worries. Available in 19 different colors for 2.79 a square foot at The Home Depot and online at HomeDepot.com.

    This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. And coming up next time on the program, as the saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss. But a roof, especially one that doesn’t get a lot of sun, well, it does. So we’re going to have some tips on the best way to clean roofs and keep them moss-free, on the very 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.

    END HOUR 2 TEXT

    (Copyright 2017 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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