Window Condensation, Avoiding Mold, Laundry Room Design Tips and more
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma because we are here to motivate you, to inspire you; to advise you on the tips that you need to get that project done around your house.
And Leslie, I think a lot of projects are motivated by events.
TOM: There are a lot of events that happen in the summer.
LESLIE: And they certainly keep you to a timeline.
LESLIE: If you give yourself, say, a garage sale or a birthday party (chuckles), you really have a deadline you need to stick to.
TOM: Yeah. And sometimes a deadline is good; it really gets the whole family moving. But if the deadline is like a wedding that’s going to happen with your home improvement or not, we would suggest that’s not the best way to start your life together. (Leslie chuckles) So, don’t stress on that. But give us a call. We will help you out with everything else in between. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up this hour, summer heat may have you sweating up a storm but what about your windows? If they are sweating on the inside, that’s condensation and a sign that your home may be too humid or that you might just need new windows. We’re going to walk you through the reasons and the remedies, in just a little bit.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you’ve got moisture in your house, guess what? Mold is probably not far behind, because moisture and mold usually go hand in hand. But don’t think you’re off the hook if you live in a dry climate. You know, even desert areas are susceptible to mold. So coming up, we’re going to tell you where mold strikes the most and you might actually be surprised.
TOM: And give us a call right now with your home improvement question because if you do, you may just win yourself a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get right to those phones.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Ray in Oregon is dealing with water in the garage. What can we do for you?
RAY: Yeah. I built a 36×40 addition onto my existing building, then put down eight inches of fresh sand underneath and six inches of concrete. And I did this job two years ago but that floor never seems to dry out; it always has like a salty solution on top of the concrete and it’s always wet. And I want to know if there’s something I can paint on top of that to stop that.
TOM: Well, two things. First of all, do you have gutters on this building?
RAY: Yeah. And it sits up high and there’s no water. All the water runs away from it; I made sure of that. I made sure the gutters empty into an underground drain system I put in and everything and it’s up high, so there’s no water laying there.
TOM: So you’re sure, Ray, that you’re not collecting water around the foundation perimeter?
RAY: Yeah, there’s no water around the foundation.
TOM: OK. Well, alright, then I think that the best thing to do here is to use a good-quality floor paint like an epoxy patching compound. Those painting kits come with cleaners that will remove the mineral stains or the mineral salts, which is what is left behind right now. And it’ll do a great job of sealing in the floor and stopping these stains from reforming.
You have to remember that concrete itself is very hydroscopic, which means it absorbs water like crazy. And so, what we want to do is stem that by sealing the surface.
RAY: OK. So an epoxy-type paint then.
TOM: Yeah, an epoxy paint. They are two-part epoxies; they are chemical-cure paints.
RAY: OK. I will do that. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ray. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mary in New Jersey has a question about radon. What’s going on at your house?
MARY: I have a dirt crawlspace like under my house.
MARY: And it’s under – we have a full basement under part of the house and then a crawlspace. And the crawlspace, I always worry about that. Are we losing heat there? Should we be putting plastic on the floor and do we have to worry about radon?
TOM: Well, a couple of things. First of all, let’s talk about the plastic vapor barrier on the floor of the crawlspace. That’s always a good idea, because that stops the moisture from evaporating up off the soil and getting into the house space.
In terms of radon, radon is tested in the lowest living space of the house; so in your case, that would be the basement. If you’ve never tested for radon, it’s a good idea. The fact that you have a crawlspace is not going to increase or decrease the risk of having a radon problem. You could have it regardless because, as far as the radon is concerned, it’s going to go right through your concrete floor just as fast as it’ll go through your dirt floor.
TOM: So, if you’ve never tested for it, I would encourage you to do that. Northern New Jersey and some parts of it are certainly known for having high radon levels. If you did test it and it came out high, you could install a radon mitigation system which, again, is not incredibly expensive. I mean it’s not cheap but it’s probably in the $5,000 range. And that would draw off the radon gas before it gets into the house.
MARY: OK. And as far as the vapor barrier, is that just like plastic that you just roll out?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it’s plastic – yep. Yeah, go ahead and …
MARY: And how far up the sides? Do you go up the sides, too, or just …?
TOM: You don’t necessarily have to go up the sides. What you can do is roll it out across the entire dirt floor. Try to use as few seams as possible. If you have to use multiple pieces of plastic viscuine, then overlap it about three feet.
MARY: OK. Thank you. What about insulation of the beams above the crawlspace (inaudible at 0:05:52)?
TOM: A good idea to insulate the floor above an unfinished crawlspace. Use unfaced fiberglass batts. They can be …
TOM: Unfaced. That’s right. No paper; no foil face. They can be supported in between the floor joists with wire insulation hangers. They’re like long pieces of wire that sort of get sprung, bent and sort of stick in between the two floor joists to support the batts in place.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now, you can be part of The Money Pit action. Just pick up the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, in the warm weather, condensation on the outside of your lemonade glass might be a natural occurrence. Condensation in the inside of your windows, however, is not. We’re going to tell you what to do about that, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Exterior Weatherproofing Wood Stains and Finishes, with an advanced 100-percent acrylic resin to protect decks, siding and fences from sun, rain, snow and ice. The line offers long-lasting beauty and excellent durability. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, do you find yourself having a do-it-yourself dilemma? Maybe you’ve got a home improvement how-to question. Well, if you do, just pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now. If we take your question on the air, not only are you going to get an expert answer but you are going to be automatically entered into our weekly prize drawing.
And this hour, we are giving away a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed – jam packed – with useful information to help you save money and get your projects done right the first time so you’re not like, “Drat. Why did I do it this way? I should have done it the other way.” We will help you sort out all of the ins and outs with your how-to project, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, is it so hot outside that you think your windows are actually sweating? Condensation or that sweating is a natural occurrence on all windows and it’s caused by excess humidity or invisible water vapor that is present in the air.
But when this water vapor comes in contact with a surface, which is at a cooler temperature, that vapor, of course, is going to turn to visible droplets of moisture. And that’s not a good thing because that condensation inside the house is going to run down the windows; it can cause mold to grow on the window frames; and it can actually make the house unhealthy. So, it’s a good thing to keep an eye on and to make sure that you take some steps to correct it if the humidity is getting too high inside your house.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Now, here’s a really kind of obvious tip but so many of us just forget to do it. If you’ve got exhaust fans in your kitchen, your bathroom and your laundry room, use them. They are meant to circulate the air in your home and reduce that moisture. And when it …
TOM: Especially in the bathroom, you want to make sure that you use it on a timer and let it run for a good 10 minutes after you leave the room after a shower.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Because think about it, I mean when you open that shower door, that’s truly when that massive amount of condensation occurs because you’re letting in the cooler air into that nice, steamy bath and then, bammo, you end up with moisture everywhere; so do run that exhaust fan.
Now, you can also use a dehumidifier and you also want to make sure that your home’s gutters – make sure they’re clean and make sure they’re not just dumping the water against your house where it’s going to eventually soak into the foundation and then evaporate into your home’s air and then raise that humidity level all over again.
So really, you’ve got to tackle some things outside, maintain some things inside and stick to some regular practices when it comes to those exhaust fans, because that’s what they’re meant to do: reduce that moisture.
If you want some more tips on condensation and how to get rid of it in your windows, head on over to our expert friends at Simonton.com. They’ve got tips to make your life and your home way more comfortable.
TOM: And also check out the free window replacement guide that we put together with the folks at Simonton that is on the home page of MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974 is the telephone number that you need to call for the answer to your next home improvement question and someone did just that. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Talking countertops with Cathy in New Jersey. Tell us about what’s going on with yours.
CATHY: Yes, hi. My countertop is lifting in a section. It’s Formica. Just like a little section and my husband tried to stick some glue in there and clamp it and hold it overnight but when he took the clamps off, it just lifted back up.
TOM: What kind of glue did he use?
CATHY: A cement glue, I think.
LESLIE: Was it a contact cement?
CATHY: I’m not sure.
LESLIE: Because generally, what you want to do, if it’s just the Formica or the laminate peeling up off of the sub-counter or the particleboard, whatever it’s covering, what you can do is if you can get a brush or a roller underneath there, you want to lift up the piece of laminate that’s sort of lifting up so that you can get in there. You want to put contact cement on both sides; on the sub-counter and underneath the laminate itself. Then you need to let it sort of air dry just the tiniest bit so it’s tacky.
LESLIE: So you’re going to be holding it up for a little while.
LESLIE: You want it to be tacky. Then you put those pieces together and then clamp it and leave it be.
CATHY: (overlapping voices) OK.
LESLIE: And that should do the trick.
CATHY: Oh, great. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Pat in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
PAT: I’m the unlucky owner of three cats: two male and one female.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) OK.
PAT: The ancient one that refuses to croak had a kidney infection and urinated on the carpet. (Tom chuckles)
PAT: And on a twice-used, new guestroom mattress. (Leslie groans)
TOM: Oh, great. Great.
PAT: If that wasn’t bad enough, the other, younger, insecure male exercised his dominance and repeated the offense. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Oh, man.
LESLIE: Oh, well, this must be the thing to do.
TOM: You’re going to have to order some cleanup products by the caseload, I think.
LESLIE: No, you know what, Pat? It’s not going to be that bad. There is actually a great product and it’s called 1-2-3 Odor Free. I discovered it when my husband and I got a puppy who is now five years old and very well-trained, but at first she refused to find the out-of-doors and loved our carpet in the hallway.
And just in searching the web, I found this product. The guy who owns the company used to be a professional cleaner and in retirement got super-bored and his kids were like, “Why don’t you go back into the business and do it online?”
And so he put together a kit. It’s called 1-2-3 Odor Free and it’s sort of a series of different products. One comes with this like crazy syringe that you inject into the carpet so it gets into the matting. And then another is something that you put on top with a damp rag that goes overnight. And I kid you not, the odor is gone and the stain is gone and Daisy, our puppy, never went in that spot again.
PAT: Oh. Well, that would be good.
LESLIE: And there …
PAT: I tried one of those enzyme things but now it just smells like cat urine with a floral overtone.
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
TOM: Thanks for sharing, Pat. (Pat chuckles)
LESLIE: This one does not have any scent to it, so you’ll find that it really does the trick.
PAT: (overlapping voices) Oh.
LESLIE: The website is JustRite.com and “Rite” is spelled R-i-t-e. And Bill is the owner and he is just a lovely man.
LESLIE: So tell him Leslie says “Hi” because it’s been a long time.
PAT: (overlapping voices) I will.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Terry in Minnesota needs some help building a house. What can we do for you?
TERRY: I have a rather unique situation. We have an option of purchasing a large lot in a rural area but it has a small house on it that would not comply with code.
TOM: Why would it not comply with code?
TERRY: Electrically, plumbing or any other way; insulation-wise or anything.
TOM: Well, when you buy a house that’s non-code compliant, is the local municipality going to force you to bring it up to code?
TERRY: Well, that’s part of what I’m calling about.
TOM: Yeah, the first thing that you should do is really talk to the municipal authorities: the code enforcement authorities, the zoning authorities. Find out about the house and find out what’s going to be required, because you understand that it’s in very poor condition.
And very important, make sure, make sure, make sure that you get a home inspection because what you see, that could be the tip of the iceberg. Get a professional home inspector to go in there and do a detailed inspection for you. You may find out that it’s got fatal flaws that make it totally not worth buying or you might find out that the things that you see are not so bad and may be easier to fix than you imagined.
But I would recommend a home inspector. The way to find a good one is to go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org – A-S-H-I.org. You can put in the zip code for the area you’re buying the home in and they’ll come back with a list of ASHI-certified inspectors. And I’d call the guys in that list; choose one of the few that they send you and then find someone to go inspect that house.
LESLIE: Joe in Iowa needs some help getting rid of termites. Tell us what’s going on.
JOE: Well, doing a little bit of work underneath the back deck and lifted up some old boards that were laying underneath there and found a little nest of termites and eggs. The house has a history of having a little bit of termite damage around it.
JOE: And I was curious – I’ve heard you talk about Termidor before on your program but only exterminators are allowed to spray it, from what I understand.
JOE: So I was wondering if there’s a product on the market that I could self-apply that would help me out.
LESLIE: It’s not going to work as well.
TOM: Yeah, definitely not going to work as well and not that I’m aware of. There are some baiting systems that are do-it-yourself and I’m trying to recall the company that makes it. It might be Spectracide but …
LESLIE: The baiting systems are something that you sort of pepper around the yard, Tom? They’re sort of little places that they kind of come to and then get the treatment?
TOM: Yeah. Conceptually …
JOE: Yeah, it’s a little plastic cap with some treated wood in it. Yep, I’ve seen those at the hardware stores before.
TOM: Right. Conceptually, what happens is that you wait for the termites to find this and then once they find it, you replace the wood with a piece of material that has termidicide in it and then they take the termidicide back to the nest. But it takes a long time, you have to monitor them regularly and I really think that using a product like Termidor is the quickest, most effective way to be sure that you get them once, you get them right and they’re not going to come back again.
See, the reason that you use this product is because it’s an undetectable product. That means that termites don’t know it’s there. Now they live in the soil; they live deep in the soil. And when the product is in the soil, they go through it; they get it on their bodies and take it back to the nest. I’ve used Termidor now in two houses; been very happy with it and haven’t had any recurrence after we did the application.
JOE: OK. So, sounds like it’s worth the investment to have an exterminator come on and apply it then, huh?
TOM: I think it is because, I’ll tell you, those termites will keep coming back and they can find a lot of ways in.
LESLIE: Ben needs some help putting up some decorative items around his money pit. What can we do for you today?
BEN: I live in one of those Brooklyn brick houses.
TOM: They’re gorgeous.
BEN: And my neighbor and I are attached with a wall.
BEN: Maybe it’s cinderblock; maybe it’s something – I don’t know. It’s something really strong.
BEN: But if I try to hang up frames or hooks in the wall, the nail goes in just a little bit, partially. And then it starts bending and all the sheetrock starts chipping away around it.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, nails aren’t necessarily good for nailing into masonry. (chuckles) Probably not the best choice.
LESLIE: So you’ve got drywall on top of the cinderblock or concrete; whatever is back there.
LESLIE: Well, what I’ve done, if I’m ever attaching something into brick or concrete or any sort of stone, is use something that’s called a Tapcon, which is a screw that’s specifically made to go into a masonry product.
Now, I’ve never done that through drywall, Tom. Does that work?
TOM: Well, it’s not drywall; it’s plaster. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. When you buy Tapcons at the hardware store or home center, Ben, they come with a drill bit that’s properly sized for the screws that you’re buying. And you use that to pilot out the hole first and so …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you’ll go through your plaster and then into whatever masonry is behind there.
TOM: Exactly. Well, you’ll feel it when you hit the masonry and just make sure you use a long-enough screw that you attach it into the masonry and not into the plaster part.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah. And bring your strong arm that day because you will be leaning on that drill.
BEN: Hmm. So it’s T-a-p-c-o-n.
TOM: That’s correct.
LESLIE: Yeah. They’re blue.
TOM: (overlapping voices) It’s called Tapcon. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: Make sure it’s got – some of them come just the screws themselves. Make sure you get the kit that’s got the drill bit attachment with it.
BEN: Uh-huh. Just drill it in and then knock it in with a screw.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And that’ll hold anything.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. They’re super-strong.
LESLIE: Well, screw it in with the driver.
TOM: Yeah, you could use a screwdriver or you could use a ratchet or something like that.
BEN: (overlapping voices) Screw it in. Mm-hmm.
TOM: Yeah, they work really well. I actually built a bench to hold some computer equipment in our basement with that and attached the whole table with Tapcons to a block wall and it worked great.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, we are right in the middle of the summer season and you might be starting to notice that your outside wood table and those chairs are really taking a beating this summer.
Well, there’s a new, spray-on wood stain product that’s going to deliver an easy fix to that furnishing. We’ll tell you all about it, next.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Well, outdoor wood furniture – it looks great and can last a long, long time but it has to be maintained to do so. Well, if the thought of pulling out the stain and paintbrush has got you just cringing, we have got some fantastic news for you.
TOM: That’s right. Krylon has now created the first-ever exterior spray stain in a can. It sprays right from the can and it’s easy to use and it’s also very easy to clean up. Here to tell us all about it is Krylon Product Manager, Denise Patterson.
TOM: Now this is a terrific invention because, typically, when you need to use wood stain, you pretty much have to get it in a bucket, right? It comes in a quart can or a gallon can. I know in my house, I always end up having a lot more than what I need to get the project done. And it goes on pretty loose, so it’s easy to drip, it’s easy to spray this stuff or sort of shoot it off your brush and it gets all over the place. But in the can, now you’re not going to have that problem.
DENISE: Right. And you’re not dealing with brushes and rags and it’s easier all the way around.
LESLIE: So there’s no wiping in the same fashion that you would if you brush on stain?
DENISE: No. You don’t have to wipe it. The EZ Touch 360 Dial Tip allows you to put on light coats of the stain, so you really don’t deal with putting too much product on. Of course, you can always run a rag over the surface if you feel like you’ve overdone it but it really isn’t necessary.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. That’s very cool. Now, does this have the same UV protection that you might get in a stain that comes in a can?
DENISE: It does. It has UV fade-resistant protection.
TOM: Right. Interesting. Now, how did you guys come up with this idea?
DENISE: Well, I mean, Krylon is all about innovations and looking for new things that we can put in a can and spray. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And we realized that people were spending a lot of time brushing on stain for small projects like chairs and picnic tables and spindles. And we thought, “Hey, there might be a solution here.”
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
DENISE: So, we gave it a try and it’s really a terrific product.
TOM: Now, solid color stain is typically – or even if it’s going to be transparent, it’s typically heavy because of the pigment. Did you have to reformulate that pigment to get it to work through a tiny spray tip?
DENISE: No. We really have experts at our research and development lab, so they do a terrific job of knowing just the right proportion of product to put in there so it sprays evenly. And I think that when you look at that final sprayed surface, you can tell that it’s worked out just right.
LESLIE: Can I ask you an application question? I know whenever I’m spray-painting something, you end up with a tremendous amount of overspray, so I’m always really cautious to put down a drop cloth or newspapers or spray in a box. Do you have to take similar precautions with the spray stain?
DENISE: Well, certainly, you want to be mindful of the areas around your point of spray. And if it’s a windy day, you certainly need to be mindful of the fact that that wind can carry the product away.
But the 360 Dial Tip that I mentioned earlier allows you to turn the fan pattern and if you’re spraying something like a spindle, you actually have a spray pattern that’s only an inch wide.
DENISE: So you don’t have a lot of overspray and you don’t have a lot of wasted product.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s fantastic.
TOM: (overlapping voices) It sounds like a very, very handy design because I mean besides the big things that you may want to stain – you know, the big picnic tables – there are a lot of small things, too, you know. You have wood planters, you have mail boxes, you have shutters and, as you mentioned, spindles and railings.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Which are the biggest pain in the butt.
DENISE: They are. (chuckles)
TOM: And they’re very difficult. Yeah, they’re very difficult to do. Now, I understand that this comes now in three new colors, too?
DENISE: It does. This year, we’ve introduced a weathered gray, which has a driftwood look to it; Olive Grove, which is a really nice green; and then Earthen Brown, which is a really, deep brown color and really natural-looking.
TOM: And how long does it take to dry, Denise, once you spray it?
DENISE: This product dries to touch in about 15 minutes.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, wow.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s great.
DENISE: So I mean very quick. You can certainly pick it up and put it in place and then let it cure while it’s out on your deck; anywhere outdoors.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And how long do you want to dry between coats?
DENISE: You can apply coats – after a minute or so, you can put on your second coat. Wait another minute, put on your third. And your stain will set up better if you do that.
LESLIE: That’s great.
TOM: Well, it sounds super-easy to use. The Krylon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain.
Denise Patterson from Krylon, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and telling us all about this cool new product.
DENISE: Thank you for having me.
TOM: For more tips, you can head on over to Krylon’s website at Krylon.com. That’s K-r-y-l-o-n.com.
Well, up next, it has been a dry, hot summer but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from mold. We’re going to tell you why moisture and mold don’t necessarily always go hand in hand and what you need to do to stay safe year-round, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Generac and the Generac Automatic Standby Generator. Be protected and never worry about power outages again. Visit your favorite home improvement center or call 888-GENERAC or visit Generac.com. Your home will stay on the next time the power goes out. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We can help with any project you’re about to tackle. Wouldn’t it be great, though, to keep us there right next to you when you’re working? Not in sort of a stalking capacity (Leslie chuckles) but in sort of a helpful friend capacity.
Well, you can if you win a copy of our book, My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide To Every Home Improvement Adventure. It is packed with the same kind of advice we give you on the radio and we’re sure that you’ll refer to it over and over and over again. And if you pick up the phone and call us, you could win that book because one caller to today’s program is going to receive an autographed copy. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if mold is a topic that is currently popping into your mind – you know, specifically as you’re dealing with maybe a humid summer in your area or just taking a lot of hot showers, because the summer season has just been so awfully warm across this country – well, mold really does not sort of discriminate in the places it likes to show up. You know, a recent survey started telling us that wet areas of the country are not actually the only ones most susceptible to mold.
Now, states with dry climates like Nevada and Arizona, they’ve actually been ranked among the top 10 states for mold risk. And on the other hand, some of the Gulf states didn’t even come close and that’s after the hurricanes hit the area.
Now, drier climates – they’re often at risk for mold because they are constantly hot. You know, think of Phoenix, Arizona and the house that is continuously sealed off from the heat with that air conditioning running virtually non-stop. I mean, why would you want to turn it off?
TOM: Well, it’s important to know because insurance companies are becoming wise to the whole mold issue and mold damage is now excluded or severely limited on standard property insurance. So if you live in a dry state or a humid area, check your insurance policy and also check out our mold section for more mold safety tips for the entire country, online at MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Jay in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JAY: I am going to be moving into a home that needs a new furnace and a hot water heater and I heard so much about these hot water panels. I spoke to my plumber and he said that it’s very expensive to install but, in the long run, it will be cheaper for you.
TOM: Jay, I think you’re talking about a tankless water heater, correct?
JAY: I believe so, yes.
TOM: Yeah. It hangs on the wall as opposed to being sort of a stand-up water heater and your plumber is right; they are a little more expensive to buy than a standard water heater – probably about twice as expensive – but they last a lot longer and they’re also more efficient. It’s definitely the way to go.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) How long do they last?
TOM: Probably a good 20 years.
LESLIE: So double the life span?
TOM: Double the life, at least. Yes.
JAY: He said a 25-gallon hot water heater will give me anywhere from 7 to 10 years.
TOM: Yeah, well, not 25. That would be really small. The smallest water heater for your average residential house is about 40 gallon gas but the tankless water heater is going to be about a quarter the size of that. It’s going to deliver an endless source of hot water; you’ll never have to run out of hot water again. It’s more efficient because it only heats water when you need it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. So think of all your energy savings.
TOM: Exactly. If you add it all up, I think it’s the way to go.
JAY: Alright. Very good.
TOM: Alright, Jay. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to messy Tiffany in North Carolina who spilled some paint on a hardwood floor. Did you do it or did a pro?
TIFFANY: I did. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And I really had the plastic down but I didn’t have it taped down. So when ladders were picked up and slid across the floor to another location it kind of tracked the paint on the floor, too.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Oh, boy.
LESLIE: And it gets really slippery, so you have to be careful.
TIFFANY: Yes. And they had just been redone. It was a 1950s house and the previous owner had just finished them just for the sale of it. And I did find something that took the paint off real quick – was an SOS pad – and it also takes the shine off really quick.
TOM: Yeah, steel wool was probably not the best choice for that.
TIFFANY: No. And I want to know what can I do to get the paint off and what can I do to replace the shine that I took off from the SOS pads?
TOM: Well, you’ve already abraded part of the surface off now. You’re not going to get the shine back without you doing like a hard paste wax or another coat of polyurethane.
TOM: Now, probably the easiest way to do this is – and it’s a big job; I mean don’t get me wrong. But if you were to rent a floor sander with a sanding screen, it sort of looks like a window screen-like material. It’s somewhat abrasive and it spins under the floor sander and abrades off the top layer of the finish on the floor. That will take all the paint off that’s stuck to it. I mean the fact that they just refinished these floors can actually work in your favor because at least the paint’s not getting into the pores of the wood.
And then once you get that paint off, you vacuum the floor. You can damp mop it to get all the dust off. And then what you can do is apply another layer of polyurethane – probably a satin finish – and you want to make sure that you apply that with what’s called a lambswool applicator, which is sort of like a pad wrapped under a flat stick that is attached to a mop. And you actually mop this stuff on; you don’t brush it on or roll it on. Sort of mop it on; work your way out of that room and about four or five hours later, you’ll be done.
TIFFANY: OK. Very good. I think I can handle it.
TOM: Alright. Get to it. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. And next time, use a bigger drop cloth, would you? (Leslie chuckles)
LESLIE: Don in North Dakota is dealing with a situation with his windows. What’s going on?
DON: Well, we built the house about 11 years ago and we put e-gas windows in the front – the south side of the house with the picture windows – and they started clouding up about two years ago.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Oh, boy. Well, Don, I’ve got good news for you and I’ve got bad news for you. What do you want first? (Tom snorts)
DON: Well, (Tom chuckles) I kind of got -it’s going to be bad news; it’s going to be the cost to replace them.
TOM: Well, the bad news is that the fogging can’t be corrected by any type of repair because the seal is broken between the panes of glass and the condensate is building up and that’s what’s causing that sort of cloudiness to it.
The good news is there’s never been a better time to replace your windows because the federal energy tax credits, which are available through the end of 2010, will reimburse you for up to $1,500 of the cost of that window. So if you are going to replace it, now is a great time to do that.
And being up in North Dakota, I would recommend that you use triple pane because the farther north you live, the better return on investment you will receive from using better-quality, very energy-efficient windows and the ones that qualify, actually, under the federal energy tax credit program are very, very efficient. So I think that you’ll enjoy the new windows that you’ll get under that program and it’ll save you some money at the same time, through the tax credit.
LESLIE: Hey, Tom, another thing is will the failed seal impact the energy efficiency; especially because I mean they’re living in a pretty cold area?
TOM: Yeah, it definitely will affect the energy efficiency. I wouldn’t tell you to replace it just because of that but because the impact – you know, even if you got a new window, it’s probably going to take you a bit of time to get a return on that investment. However, if the cloudiness is really bothering you and you want to improve your home and improve the value of your home and save some energy and cash in on a tax credit, for all those reasons added together, I think it’s a good time to do the project, Don.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, real wood looks great but there is a measure of maintenance involved. So what looks like wood without the work? Well, we’re going to tell you, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your toolbox, visit StanleyTools.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. Well, even though summer is halfway over, you’re probably thinking about that vacation you’ve really been meaning to take this summer but maybe it’s just not in your budget. Well, if that sounds like what’s going on at your money pit, why not take a staycation instead?
You know, you’ve got a backyard out there. Why not actually relax in your own backyard? We’ve got a ton of staycation solutions – from decking to outdoor living to accessorizing your patio – all available for you at MoneyPit.com/Staycation. And you will find a lot of fantastic ideas to really spruce up your outdoor space and then you’ll think, “Why did I want to go anywhere at all?”
TOM: And while you’re online, why don’t you hit Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us your e-mail question just like Bradley did in Cranston, Rhode Island?
LESLIE: Alright. Bradley writes: “I’m planning to rebuild a house on the water and I would like to use cedar shingles. I know they can be stained to prevent them from turning black but are there any artificial shingles that look like real cedar?”
Sure there are, actually.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Two things. First of all, if you’re going to build a house on the water, you want to use white cedar, not red cedar. Red cedar turns black; white cedar turns a pleasant, light to gray color. So never use red cedar shingles when you’re on the water.
Secondly, there are artificial products out there. Probably the most durable are the composites like hardy plank.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like the hardy planks, right?
TOM: Hardy plank. And in fact, I’ve got some siding on my garage to match wood cedar shingles on my house and the hardy plank shingles in the garage look pretty darn good because they’re painted to match the house. And I don’t think you can tell the difference; certainly not from the street.
LESLIE: Alright. Now I’ve got one from Justin in Rochester, New York who writes: “What product should I use to remove the greasy buildup from my wood kitchen cabinets? And once that’s done, should I apply urethane or what as the finish?”
Now, you know what, Justin?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Trewax. Trewax.
LESLIE: Yeah. Oh, yeah, Trewax as the finish, right?
TOM: Trewax is a natural cleaner. Their website is Trewax.com and it’s fantastic for removing the grease and cleaning kitchen cabinets. It’s actually a hardwood floor cleaner but it works fantastic on cabinets.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I was going to say I’ve also used something called Simply Soy. It comes in a wipe format and that works fantastically, as well, to get a lot of greasy grime off of any sort of wood furnishing. So both good methods. Give them a try; see how you do.
TOM: Well, one of the busiest rooms in my house, Leslie, and I am sure in yours, is the laundry room. And if you find that you have developed a cluttered, dark laundry room, we’ve got some tips that can help you in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: You know what, Tom? I had thought I have seen some pretty cluttered, messy laundry rooms but working on $100 Makeover, we saw a really, really bad one in Seattle. So make sure you tune in on Saturday.
TOM: Totally disgusting, huh?
LESLIE: Because this was insane. The people ended up dry-cleaning everything because they just couldn’t know what was clean and what was dirty; I mean piles of clothing. So let’s not make that laundry room your laundry room. And most of us already feel like laundry is not the most fun chore but if you make a few simple changes to your laundry area, you will start to love doing this chore.
First of all, you want to make sure that your supplies are always within easy reach. Then you want to make sure that you store those supplies in maybe a low shelving unit or in wire baskets, so you can easily get at everything.
Now, if you have room, you should use a rolling cart to help you sort out your clothes. Now, if your space is limited, you can attach a fold-down shelf to the wall, which will really help you figure out this task. You can fold there, you can sort there; it really is super-helpful.
You also want to put up an ironing board hanger maybe on the wall or behind your door. There are even smaller ironing boards that attach to the wall and flip down, so there is no excuse for not ironing.
Now, if you make these changes in your laundry room, it’s going to be a great chore that you will look forward to doing and you might actually even drop the word “chore” from your list when you say, “I’m going to do the laundry.” (Tom chuckles)
TOM: Great tips. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week on the program, did you know that nearly half of your home’s energy use is devoted to simply heating and cooling? We’re going to have some tips on how you can save some money on the cooling cost of your home and allow you to have a few dollars left when it comes time to heat this fall.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
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(Copyright 2010 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)