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Transform Your Bathroom Without Ripping Out Plumbing, How To Dispose of Waste After a Remodel, How to Build a Block Wall, and more

  • 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: We’re on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Welcome to this hour of the program. It is a beautiful summer weekend and we hope that if you have a home improvement project on your to-do list, that you’ll let us help.

    Now, we won’t schlep out to your house, hand you the tools, open up the paint cans, hold the ladder, anything of that sort. But we will take your questions and help you get some information that could make that project easier, faster, more convenient, perhaps a little safer to complete. Help yourself first: go to the phones right now, call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. That’s 888-666-3974. I hate typing out letters on telephone keypads, so we’ll just give it to you: 888-666-3974.

    We’ve got a great show planned for you this hour. You’d be surprised how many homes are harboring a bathroom that looks like a horror show. That’s a big problem, because bathrooms are the number-one selling point for any house. And if yours looks bad, your value can plummet. So we’re going to give you a way to transform your bathroom into an oasis that will add value and peace of mind.

    LESLIE: And also ahead his hour, have you ever remodeled a room and loved the finished product but have no clue what to do with all the stuff you ripped out, like your old cabinets, walls, boards, plumbing fixtures and other stuff that you just can’t fit in a trash can? Well, we’re going to tell you about a quick, easy and inexpensive option to make all of that big trash disappear.

    TOM: Also ahead, outdoor masonry projects are a very popular do-it-yourself choice but remember, the final product is only as strong as the glue holding it together. And in this case, that’s the mortar. We’re going to teach you how to choose the right mortar for your outdoor masonry project, in just a bit.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a wireless audio system that works from your lamp. They’re called AudioBulbs and they’re LED lights that transform into wireless speakers with the touch of a remote control. That sounds awesome.

    We’re giving away a whole system to one lucky caller.

    TOM: It’s worth about $300. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to the phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Mike in Ohio is working on a bathroom remodel. What can we do for you?

    MIKE: I was actually pulling the floor – the subflooring – up because whoever lived there before – I don’t know. The bathroom or the toilet didn’t have a good seal on it, so the whole floor was rotted out.

    So I pulled up the subfloor and one of the floor joists did not go all the way to the outside of the house, to be sitting on the block wall.

    TOM: OK.

    MIKE: And it’s all warped. I mean completely bent over. My cousin told me I should cut it off and sister-up another piece of 2×8.

    TOM: OK. So is that joist damaged? Like was it water-damaged or something?

    MIKE: No, there’s no water damage at all. It’s fine in regard to that but it’s just totally twisted.

    TOM: OK. So I think that’s a fine option. You can sister another beam but remember that new beam has to be as long as possible. Preferably, it will be as long as the original floor joist. Not sure if that’s practical but you want it to be nice and long. You want to both glue it and bolt it to the old beam. It’s kind of like a very sturdily-added splint when you’re done, if that makes sense to you.

    MIKE: Yeah, I’ve got it. Well, I tried to put some screws – some long screws – in it but it doesn’t seem to be catching very well. Should I drill holes through both sides and then …?

    TOM: Yeah, drill holes and use carriage bolts.

    MIKE: Oh, carriage bolts.

    TOM: Yep.

    MIKE: Oh, my goodness. Why didn’t I think about that? Oh, perfect. OK. Great. Thanks a lot.

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

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Joyce on the line who’s calling in about a humidity problem caused by a leak. Tell us what’s going on and is the leak fixed, Joyce?

    JOYCE: Well, no, it isn’t and …

    TOM: Well, then it’s going to keep happening.

    JOYCE: Well, I don’t know what’s happening. Number one, it’s a rental property and number two, I found a receipt for lye in this person’s car in February.

    TOM: OK.

    JOYCE: I was called and said that they flushed the toilet once and it went down through a fir-wood ceiling and through a suspended ceiling and soaked the tile?

    TOM: Right.

    JOYCE: And it was dripping in the kitchen, OK? So I had my plumber come over and he had to literally cut out the wood in the kitchen, which is – the toilet is above it. And he flushed the toilet and he said, “It’s not that.” And he said, “Maybe it’s the roof.” Well, then it rained for a month-and-a-half and this person – they moved out. And I kept checking it every day and there wasn’t a drop that came in. Nothing.

    TOM: OK. Well, now, what I’m saying, if you have a leak, you think the toilet may have caused that leak and you had a plumber in your house to fix that. What I would expect the plumber to do is to take the toilet off of the floor, which is actually not that complicated, and replace the wax seal that’s under the toilet and price it and put it back together again. Because if it is leaking and it’s not the fill valve on the back or not the water-supply pipe, it’s most likely happening around that wax seal. And then once you do that, go ahead and flush it 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 times and see if it continues to leak. Does that make sense?

    JOYCE: It does. And he flushed it.

    TOM: But that wax seal is the most common cause of toilet leaks, Joyce. And once you get to the bottom of that, I think your problem is solved. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re always here to lend a hand at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, when you take on a masonry project, the finished product is only as strong as the mortar you use. It’s kind of like the glue that holds the whole thing together. We’ll tell you how to choose the right mortar for your project, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: The number to call is 888-MONEY-PIT. You’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance to win a great prize. This hour, we’re giving away a very futuristic way to turn just about any lamp into a speaker for your music.

    It’s called an AudioBulb system. These are LED light bulbs with four-stage dimmers that become wireless speakers. You simply turn up to eight lights into speakers for one whole system. It’s worth about $300. Going to go out to one caller that reaches us with their home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Lyndon in Iowa is on the line, looking to paint some concrete basement walls. It’s not sticking for you, is it, Lyndon?

    LYNDON: No, it’s not. What I had is I have a – the corner of my basement, the concrete just keeps flaking and you want to paint it but it doesn’t hold the paint.

    TOM: Well, there’s a simple solution to that, Lyndon. The reason the corner of your basement is flaking is because you have an excessive amount of water getting in the foundation, right in that area of the basement. And I can bet you that the reason for that is a misdirected or a blocked downspout.

    Downspouts typically come down in the corner of buildings. And if the downspout is dumping all the water right there, it typically will flood out that corner and you almost get sort of a triangle shape inside where you get a little bit of water at the top and a lot more as you get down to the bottom. And then whenever that block wall is that wet, it’s not going to stick.

    Now, are you having any kind of a moisture problem with this basement that you know about? Because I suspect that you have one and you may not know about it.

    LYNDON: I have a couple areas. I actually keep a dehumidifier running.

    TOM: OK, well, let’s get to the bottom of this, OK? Because that’s all after the fact; painting is all after the fact. I want you to stop the water from getting down there in the first place.

    So, the couple of things I want you to concentrate on is number one, making sure your gutters are clean and that those downspouts are 4 to 6 feet away from the house. And number two, take a look at the angle of the soil around the foundation perimeter; add enough so that you can get a grade that drops off about 6 inches on 4 feet. Pack it down really well. Don’t use topsoil; use clean fill dirt. Tamp it down very solidly. And this way, that first 4- to 6-foot area around the foundation will stay as dry as possible. If you do all that, I think your flaking problem is going to go away.

    And the very last thing you do after you get all of the exterior work done could be to pull off all that loose paint and paint it one more time, just to stop some of the surface moisture from getting through. But that would be the very last thing, not the first thing to do. You’re trying to sort of put your hand in the hole in the wall and stop the water from coming through, in a way, and that’s not the way to fix this. The way to fix this is to fix the drainage issues outside and then the rest will just dissipate on its own.

    LYNDON: Alright. Well, thank you very much.

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

    LESLIE: Well, we get a lot of questions about outside masonry projects. And these types of projects do go through a significant amount of wear and tear. So whether you’re planning a barbecue pit, brick steps, a retaining wall or concrete pillars, the key really is in the material that you choose.

    TOM: That’s right. Because the mortar is, after all, the glue that holds these types of projects together.

    Now, QUIKRETE, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, makes a perfect product for this. It’s called Mason Mix Type S and it’s a blend of sand and cement that’s specially designed for masonry projects, including tuckpointing those mortar joints on your brick steps. You know the kind that deteriorate when all the water soaks in and freezes and cracks and splits them? This is a perfect product to make that repair with.

    LESLIE: That’s right. And not to miss a chance to add a bit of style, QUIKRETE also makes a liquid cement color that you can add to give your project a decorative look.

    For more details about all kinds of cement and masonry projects, visit QUIKRETE.com. That’s QUIKRETE – Q-U-I-K-R-E-T-E – .com.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. If you’re taking on an outdoor home improvement project this summer, give us a call. We would love to help.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bela on the line from North Carolina who’s dealing with a bathroom that’s just got chilly water. Tell us what’s going on there.

    BELA: Well, we have a two-story house, about 3,400 square feet. And on the first floor, in a bathroom, it takes forever for the hot water to come.

    TOM: Right.

    BELA: I talked to a plumber and he said we need a recycling loop or something.

    TOM: Yeah. A couple ways you can tackle this, Bela. You can add a recirculating loop that will constantly move warm water around the house, because it’s a distance thing. You know, you’re a certain distance from the water heater and as a result of that, you’ve got to wait for the warm water to get from the water heater to your bathroom.

    BELA: Yeah.

    TOM: Or you could consider something that’s going to be a little more expensive but probably more energy-efficient in the long run and that is to add a second water heater closer to the bathroom. You can do this very easily today with tankless water heaters, because they’re very small and they can fit in virtually any space that you have. And in doing so, you would basically shorten the distance – the physical distance – from the bathroom to the water heater.

    BELA: Well, the other – they have two water heaters, electric. Each 40 gallons.

    TOM: Are they side by side?

    BELA: Yes.

    TOM: Well, why don’t you move one up closer to the bathroom? I bet you it’s on the same loop. Yeah, that would definitely shorten the distance.

    Now, by the way, with those two electric water heaters, do you have them on timers so that they go off in the middle of the night, say, when you don’t need hot water?

    BELA: No.

    TOM: That would be a smart thing to do because they’re very expensive to run. So you can put those on 240-volt timers, set them to be off between 10:00 at night and 8:00 in the morning. It won’t take that long for the water to heat back up again but you could turn them off for 8 to 10 hours a day and not have to pay for that electricity. That saves you a lot of money.

    BELA: I appreciate that.

    LESLIE: Rose in Pennsylvania has a question about some gutter guards that she saw. How can we help you?

    ROSE: Yes. I was wondering, how well are those rubber, black sponges that you insert into the rain gutters?

    TOM: Yeah, they’re not black sponges, they’re brushes.

    ROSE: Oh, brushes?

    TOM: Yeah, they’re brushes. I think the product you’re talking about is called …

    LESLIE: They look like a bottle brush, right?

    TOM: Yeah, it looks like a big bottle brush and it fits inside the gutter.

    ROSE: The gutter, yes.

    TOM: Right, yeah. Well, first of all, I think a gutter guard is an important thing to have because I think if you don’t keep your gutters clean, then as a result of that, you have lots of opportunities for gutters to become clogged, basements to flood as a result of that, foundations to be negatively impacted, sidewalks get slippery. So for all those reasons, I think it’s a good idea.

    The product seems to have a pretty good reputation. I’ve never used it personally. We do have an article on our website, though, about the cost of gutter guards, where we go over all the different types of gutter guards that are available out there and what some of the strengths are of each particular style or design.

    ROSE: I see.

    TOM: So if you go to MoneyPit.com and you search “cost of gutter guards,” you will find the wide array of gutter-guard products that are out there and perhaps get closer to choose one that will work well for you.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Robert in Tennessee on the line who thinks the foundation in their home is not very firm.

    How do you know? What have you been doing, poking at it? What’s going on, Robert?

    ROBERT: Hey. No, it’s just any time the boys or the dogs run through the house, there’s a couple of areas where vases and things start shaking on top of furniture. And we just want to know the best way to shore it up.

    TOM: Oh, so you’ve got some bouncy floors.

    ROBERT: Yes, sir.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, let’s see. A 1919 house is going to have beams that are a little bit smaller than what we would put in today and probably not much in the way of bridging. So you can put in some mid-span support to that. You could add another girder down the middle of the floor joists to kind of half the distance that they’re traveling.

    Now, this girder doesn’t have to have the traditional foundation associated with it. Some stiff lally columns would do the trick here, because really what you’re doing is just trying to take the flex out of the floor joists. But that kind of bounce is not really that unusual in an older house and I wouldn’t be too terribly concerned about it. But if it’s bothering you, you could put in a mid-span girder to take the bounce out. Does that make sense?

    ROBERT: It does. I have put a couple of them in. I just find that I wonder when the blocks will ever settle that they’re under, because it seems like every other year I have to go back under there and jack them back up some more.

    TOM: Tighten them up? OK. So I mean if that’s the case, then you might want to go through the trouble of digging yourself out of footing. It doesn’t have to be 3 foot deep but if you dig out the floor to the point where you’ve got maybe a 2-foot square hole, fill it up with concrete and place the lally column on top of that and make sure that’s under the girder, then I think it’ll be a longer-term repair for you.

    ROBERT: OK. Sounds good.

    TOM: You can mix it up yourself just with a couple of bags of QUIKRETE or something like that.


    LESLIE: And Robert, you can always enforce the speed limit in the house with the kids.

    ROBERT: Well, that’s a never-ending problem there.

    TOM: I hear you, Robert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    ROBERT: Thank you, Tom and Leslie.

    LESLIE: Michael in Pennsylvania needs some help painting a basement. Tell us what’s worked and what hasn’t.

    MICHAEL: So far, it’s a neighbor of mine; it’s his basement. And I went in and I looked at it and I’ve never seen paint kind of disintegrate right off the wall: just a fine, powdery mist. And I do know that he’s had some moisture problems.

    TOM: Yep.

    MICHAEL: And he had painted it, I guess, five years ago and I asked him if he had prepped it or sanded it or primed it or anything and he said no. So I don’t know if that’s the problem or not and I was – he was asking me what could he do to remedy that problem.

    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got a water problem; that’s your problem. If the walls – if the paint’s not sticking to the walls, the walls are wet. And it may not be obvious to you but that’s most likely what’s happening.

    MICHAEL: OK. Is there any way to – I know he had a dehumidifier in the basement. That was …

    TOM: Oh, well, that further confirms our suspicion, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Oh, completely. If the basement is moist and the walls are moist, then nothing is going to stick. And really, the best way to keep a basement dry is yes, to use a dehumidifier. But look at what’s going on with the water and the drainage and the moisture on the outside of the house.

    And that generally – wet or moist basements usually mean you’ve got clogged gutters, clogged downspouts or when the rain comes through those downspouts, it’s being deposited right next to the foundation wall. So you really want to make sure that you’re keeping your basement dry, that those gutters and downspouts are clean, that where the water comes out of those downspouts is 3 feet from your foundation wall or more, that the soil around the perimeter of your home is sloping away from the house. And that will keep the moisture down in the basement and then you can go ahead and prime, prime, prime and then paint.

    MICHAEL: So, at this point, you wouldn’t suggest doing anything as far as putting paint or at least primer on the walls at all?

    TOM: No, I would get the moisture problem under control and then you can peel off the loose paint and then painting with a damp-proofing paint will be your next step after that, OK, Michael?


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

    MICHAEL: Alright. Thank you.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, if you’ve ever remodeled, you know how much construction trash can be left behind. We’re going to tell you a quick and easy way to get rid of those remodeling leftovers, after this.

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

    Well, before you take on a construction project, you usually need to do a fair amount of deconstructing first. The problem becomes what do you do to get rid of all of that waste?

    Now, you could rent a dumpster but that can be costly and who wants to see that big, metal box sitting smack-dab in the middle of your yard or driveway for potentially weeks on end? Waste Management now has a much better solution: it’s called the Bagster Dumpster in a Bag. And it’s a super-durable, woven bag that can actually hold up to 3,300 pounds.

    With us to explain is Dave Friedman. He is the product-line director for Waste Management’s Bagster Dumpster in a Bag.

    Hey, Dave.

    DAVE: How are you doing, Tom?

    TOM: Doing well.

    This is a really unique product and was this sort of a Eureka moment when you guys thought of this?

    DAVE: Yeah. We really took a look at our customers and what we really do is try to understand what people need out on the marketplace. And we found a gap there. There’s projects that are just a little too small for a dumpster and too big for trash bags. And that’s really where the Bagster bag fits in perfectly.

    TOM: Now, the Bagster actually folds flat, right? I mean it’s almost like a pouch when you get this from the store, correct?

    DAVE: Right. When you buy it at home improvement retailer, it’s small enough to fit under your arm, weighs about six pounds. You can carry a bunch of them at one time and it actually folds out to be 3 cubic yards, holds up to 3,300 pounds.

    TOM: Now, that’s great. So how does this work? You go to the store, you buy the Bagster. You take it home, you unfold it, you load it up with all your stuff. Now, how do you get rid of everything that you put in the Bagster?

    DAVE: Sure. You can go to our website: that’s TheBagster.com. And you can schedule your collection and pay for that collection online. Or you can call our toll-free number and schedule and pay for the collection over the phone.

    TOM: So it can get done pretty quickly and that really is different, I think, than sometimes when folks have had to rent dumpsters in the past. I know that usually you get those for a week, two weeks, a month and they tend to sit around. This, literally, you can unfold it when you need it and then call for a pickup right away.

    DAVE: Yeah, the product is really – the service is really ready when you are. You know, projects, they go on for days, weeks sometimes. You start something on one timeline and life happens. You have to push it off a day, push it off another day. And instead of paying extra rental fees or worrying about the permit for a dumpster, you’ve got the Bagster bag just ready when you are.

    TOM: And it seems like it’d be far less damaging. I know that sometimes I’ve worked on job sites where they’ve had to drop dumpsters and you end up killing off part of your lawn, because it sits there so long, or you put dents in your driveway. This seems like it’d be a much gentler way to get rid of all of that – all the debris that you take out as part of your project.

    DAVE: Yeah. People tell us it looks much better on the yard than a big steel box.

    TOM: I bet. Now, what kinds of projects would this be good for? Maybe a kitchen tear-out? A basement tear-out? That sort of thing?

    DAVE: Definitely. Those remodeling of bathrooms, bedrooms, even clean-outs. You’ve got too much stuff in your garage, you recycle what you can recycle and then what’s leftover you put in a Bagster bag for disposal.

    TOM: Now, what does a Bagster typically cost and what does the pickup generally run? Can you give us an idea of the price?

    DAVE: Sure. If you were to go to your home improvement retailer, you’re going to buy it for about $29.95, $30. And then collection depends on where you are across the country. It ranges from about $70 to about $170.

    But it’s the same price in a market. So if you are in, let’s say, Chicago or you are in Tampa, no matter where you are in that city, it’s the same price. So it’s a flat rate, easy to understand. It’s not based on how much you throw away. You buy the bag, you know the price, you know how much it’s going to be for the collection all up front.

    TOM: No surprises that way. And I guess that’s probably about half the cost or more than a traditional dumpster rental, correct?

    DAVE: Definitely. What we found is the – what’s mostly available in markets is a 20-yard dumpster. And that’s great for larger projects. When you’ve got something smaller, you’re just paying extra for space you don’t need. So the Bagster bag is a great solution for that.

    TOM: The Bagster Dumpster in a Bag. It is a solution, folks. If you are tearing out a kitchen, remodeling your basement, tearing out a deck, don’t know what to do with that debris, don’t want to rent a dumpster, go out to your local home improvement center, pick up a Bagster Dumpster in a Bag from the folks at Waste Management.

    Great product. Dave Friedman, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us all in.

    DAVE: I appreciate it, Tom. And if you want to go see the Bagster bag in action, you can see us with our wireless remote controls picking up the bags with our collection vehicles. You can go to TheBagster.com, find that, find pricing for your market and find what stores carry the bag.

    TOM: Terrific. TheBagster.com – T-h-e-B-a-g-s-t-e-r.

    Thanks, Dave.

    DAVE: Thanks, Tom.

    LESLIE: Well, if your bathroom resembles more of an outhouse than a spa, it might be a sign that you are way overdue for a remodel. Not to worry. We’re going to tell you about a company that has developed a way to transform that space quickly and beautifully, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: Got a wood-staining project to do? Finish faster. Introducing Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish, the wood stain that lets you finish the same day you start. Most wood stains can’t be applied until days after prep. Flood OneCoat Waterproofing Finish can be applied just hours later. Learn more at Flood.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get solutions to your home improvement problems, because we are in the solution business. But one of you will also get the latest wireless music system called AudioBulbs.

    Now, these are LED light bulbs controlled by a remote. But whenever you want, you actually push a button and they become a wireless speaker sort of surround system for your mp3 player. Complete surround sound from your lamps. No wires, no more fighting with your spouse. It’s totally awesome.

    The system is worth about 300 bucks, so give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Darlene in Oregon on the line who’s dealing with a heat pump and looking to get more energy-efficient. Tell us what’s going on.

    DARLENE: In the wintertime, my bill gets quite high trying to keep warm. And I have one of those small, little heaters. I think they run on oil; it’s enclosed. And I put that in my bathroom to heat up the bathroom before my shower in the morning. And I was wondering if maybe – a couple of those only cost about $50. Maybe put one in the living room and one in the bedroom, if that would be more economical than running a heat pump.

    TOM: Well, the thing about the heat pump is that you have to understand how to run it. And in Oregon, it’s firmly – just say that it’s really not an appropriate …

    LESLIE: It’s really cold.

    DARLENE: Yes, it does get very cold.

    TOM: Yeah, it’s not an appropriate technology. But you can reduce your expense on it if you kind of set it and forget it, like the old commercials used to say for Ronco, you know?

    LESLIE: For making chicken.

    TOM: Yeah. Set it and forget it. In other words, set the thermostat, walk away. With a heat pump, if you bounce the thermostat up and down, then what happens is you force the electric-resistance heater to come on and that costs about twice as much or more to run than the heat-pump system. Because every heat pump has electric resistance built into the back of it.

    And as long as the temperature – the difference between the temperature that it’s set at and the temperature that the room is is 2 degrees, the heat pump is going to run. When it becomes 3 or 4 degrees, the resistance heater comes on and that’s what really drives the cost up.

    In terms of these electric radiators, that is another form – I mean these oil radiators. It is another form of electric heat. Will that be cheaper? Maybe because you’re only heating on a room-by-room basis. But it may not be because it’s running on electricity. You just basically have electric coils inside that oil heater.

    DARLENE: Oh, I see.

    TOM: One thing that you might want to think about is a type of heater called SUNHEAT, which has a blower built into it. We have one cold room in our house. We use the SUNHEAT there; it does a pretty good job of keeping that one room warm. It’s also electric but because it’s got a blower, it really helps it along.

    LESLIE: It sort of helps to spread that heat around.

    TOM: And it’s very quiet and it’s got a beautiful wood cabinet. But it’s more expensive; I think it’s about $350.

    DARLENE: Yeah, because that might be the cheaper way to go then.

    LESLIE: But I would use that sort of in partnership with your heat pump set correctly, not one over the other.

    TOM: But just – right, set correctly. Yeah.

    DARLENE: Oh, OK. Oh, I see. Alright. Now I understand.

    TOM: OK?

    DARLENE: But you seem to think if I would just let that – just set my heat pump and just leave it there …

    TOM: Right. Whatever temperature makes you comfortable, set it and leave it there. That’s right. Don’t move it up, don’t move it down like, “Oh, I’m cold. Let me move it up.”

    DARLENE: Yeah.

    TOM: Because when you do that, your resistance heat comes on and the reason it feels warm right away is because you have electric-resistance heat now that’s coming on and heating up the air very quickly.

    DARLENE: I see. I see.

    TOM: So I would set it and forget it and then if you need supplemental heat, use the space heaters.

    DARLENE: Yeah. OK, fine. I really do appreciate your time and effort. You guys got a good show; I like it.

    TOM: Well, even if you’re remotely considering putting your house on the market and have an outdated bathroom you’re trying to pull off as a retro, well, forget about it. Bathrooms have become the number-one selling point for many home buyers. And even if you have no plans to sell, having a beautiful bathroom can change the whole feel of your home.

    Now, if that’s a project that you’re thinking about tackling, BATH FITTER, a proud sponsor of The Money Pit, has a system that makes this process really simple and quick.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You know, for example, one of the biggest hits to your budget and your time is going to be putting in a new bathtub and shower.

    Now, the good news is you can actually skip most of that hassle and cost by going with BATH FITTER. They make beautiful, custom-made, acrylic bathtubs and bathtub liners that are easy and affordable. And they won’t disturb your floor or your plumbing and they install in one day. That’s pretty great.

    In fact, if you check out the website, many of the testimonials given by customers say it’s like BATH FITTER was never there except you end up with a gorgeous, new look.

    TOM: And they also come with a lifetime warranty, so there’s complete peace of mind there, as well. They have custom acrylic pieces that are very easy to keep clean. There are great colors and styles to choose from and an extremely professional and knowledgeable staff to help you through the entire process.

    Go to BATHFITTER.com to learn more and browse all of the many beautiful choices. That’s BATHFITTER.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got Andy from South Carolina on the line who’s dealing with a storage and let’s call it an organizing issue.

    What’s going on, Andy?

    ANDY: Well, it’s not a boat in the basement but the stuff in an attic.


    ANDY: And the question is – the stuff is mostly at the end of the house, directly above a two-car garage. The good news is the two-car garage is away from the street. And I would like to, in some way, be able to remove the stuff out of the attic. And I’m thinking that the louvered vent – it’s at the peak of the roof, on that end of the house or something – that either I can hinge or I could take out completely and reinstall it or put a new one in.

    TOM: Oh, you mean to get the stuff out, as an easy way out? Is that what you’re thinking?

    ANDY: To get the stuff out, because I’ve got lots of stuff.

    TOM: I see.

    ANDY: Most of it is way too big.

    TOM: How big of a vent do you have there?

    ANDY: It’s a better part of 5 feet tall and about close to …

    TOM: Oh, it’s a big vent. OK. Well, then I think that’s probably a reasonable solution that’s a pretty quick way to get all the stuff out of the attic. And then next time, don’t fill it up so much.

    ANDY: Well, it was filled up a piece at a time through the years.

    TOM: Yeah, I know. Not all at once, right? Yeah.

    ANDY: It’s kind of like that boat in the basement thing but it’s stuff in the attic. And my wife said I would not bring it down through the house.

    TOM: Yeah. Well, I think it’s a reasonable solution if you have a vent that is that big. If it’s 5 feet wide, you’ve already got the structural hole in the attic. And if you can take it apart and get all that stuff out, put it back together, it might not be that big of a deal.

    Once you get that out and the space is now empty, it’s a good opportunity for you to also reinsulate in that area. Does it have a floor on it?

    ANDY: It does.

    TOM: Alright. So, you might want to think about checking under those floorboards, seeing what kind of insulation you have. If it’s filled up, you could actually add some additional insulation on top of the floor. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to re-store things there, because what you really want in your part of the country is about 16 to 18 inches of insulation. That will really keep those air-conditioning bills down, as well as the heating bills if it gets chilly.

    ANDY: Well, I recently had the house reroofed and I put in a nice, new, high-end ridge vent when we did all of that.

    TOM: Well, that was smart.

    ANDY: And we also went back with these power turbines.

    TOM: Well, that wasn’t smart.

    ANDY: Power turbines weren’t smart?

    TOM: No. If you put a ridge vent in and you matched those with soffit vents, that’s really all you need. You don’t need an attic fan, you don’t need these spinning vents. They’re not as effective as continuous ridge and soffit vents.

    So, get the stuff out of the attic, improve the insulation, improve the ventilation and you will be good to go.

    ANDY: Sounds good.

    TOM: Well, before the Olympics get underway, the Olympic torch has to make it all the way to the opening ceremony. Torches are for more than just starting Olympic games, though: they can be a beautiful addition to your backyard if you use them carefully. We’ll tell you how to light up the night without causing a fire hazard, after this.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is presented by BATH FITTER, the one-day bathroom remodeling company. Call 866-654-BATH today for your free, in-home estimate or visit www.BATHFITTER.com.

    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.

    Hey, do you want to win some very cool tools that can help you get your painting project done up to five times faster than a traditional roller or brush might? Well, just “like” us on Facebook and you can enter our Weekend Warrior Giveaway.

    We’ve got six of the coolest, new painting products from Black & Decker, including their new two-speed paint sprayers, the HLVP Paint Sprayer and even two RapidRollers that will help you take on your next painting project with ease. Enter online at The Money Pit’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit. Good luck, guys.

    TOM: And while you’re online, head on over to The Money Pit Community section or post your question on the Facebook page. Kyle in Texas did that. He says, “My backyard has ticks in it. They’re attaching to my dog and he’s carrying them inside. I’ve used ointment on his skin but the ticks keep coming. Any suggestions?”

    Two things. Yes, have your yard professionally treated by a pest-control operator. This is a problem that is above and beyond over-the-counter pesticides. So have it done professionally and secondly, when you go outside, especially personally, use DEET. Any kind of repellant that includes DEET will keep ticks off.

    And as far as your dog concern – I don’t know about you, Leslie, but we’ve been using Frontline on our dog for many years and it seems to do a great job keeping the ticks away.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. We do use Frontline. Daisy does still end up with ticks. We also have Daisy vaccinated for Lyme disease. It’s something that they can do for pets but not people, which I think is totally weird.

    But I think even with the Frontline, it prevents them from biting but they still get on there. So you just have to do thorough checks of your pet, yourself. I mean Lyme disease is a very serious, neurological disorder that if you’ve got it, it ends up with you for the rest of your life. So just really be vigilant. Check yourself over every time you come back inside and that’s really what you want to do for the trick.

    And when you’re removing a tick, you really want to make sure that – a lot of people talk about taking a just-burned match or Vaseline. All of that causes the tick to sort of reinject whatever blood they’ve already taken from you back into your body. Best way is to just get a tweezer, get right to the head of the tick right at the skin and just lift up and away and get rid of it. But save it, because our pediatrician – our son got one. They can actually test it to make sure it doesn’t have Lyme disease, to put your mind at rest.

    TOM: Well, would you like to make sure your backyard gathering can turn into a memorable event? Take a clue from the Olympics and consider adding torches. Leslie has some tips on how to do this safely, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. One of the most dramatic moments of the Olympics is always the lighting of the torch. And the same goes for your backyard; you get instant ambiance.

    Now, you can pick up oil-burning torches at almost any store that sells outdoor equipment. You can also use Citronella oil in them to just keep those bugs away while still getting that ambiance. Of course, any time you’re talking about an open flame, you’re going to need to practice fire safety. Now, just keep a bucket of water around and maybe a hose close by, just in case. When you snuff out the flame, make sure that the torches are in a fireproof place.

    Now, you can go to SaferProducts.gov to make sure that the torch you’re using is considered safe and hasn’t been recalled in any way. For added safety, there’s some really great battery- and even solar-powered torches out there that might even turn on automatically at dusk and flicker like a real flame.

    It’s possible to light up the night without throwing caution to the wind. Get out there, enjoy your spaces and have a wonderful evening.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, the sounds of summer include the crack of the bat and sometimes the smashing of the glass if your little home-runner’s aim is just a bit off. The good news is you don’t always have to call in a pro. We’ll show you how to deal with those busted windows, in 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.


    (Copyright 2012 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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