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 we are so psyched to be with you today on this beautiful day, to help you take on the home improvement and décor projects that you’d like to get done around your money pit. Because together, we are in the money-pit prevention business, which means we are here to help you fix up your house. You’ve got to help yourself, first, though. Pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Well, with all the spring rain now making our gardens grow, it also means that we may have a lot more yard work to do. So, this hour, we’re going to have some tips on low-maintenance landscape upgrades that can help you cut way back on all that work, just ahead.
LESLIE: Plus, if you’ve got a painting project on your to-do list, there are literally a dozen different paintbrushes that you can choose from to get that job done. We’re going to tell you about the one that will save strokes and get your paint project done the fastest.
TOM: Plus, we just love to take your questions about the project you’re working on today. And if you do call, we’ve got some great products to give away to a couple of callers picked at random, including the brand-new Greenworks 2200 Pressure Washer. It’s worth 179 bucks. And I just saw this at a big trade show when they rolled it out. And I tell you, it’s a pretty sweet machine.
You know what was fun, Leslie? They had a van there. And they had a couple of folks throwing dirt on the van to kind of get it really grimy.
TOM: And then you’d come behind it and test out the pressure washer and blast it off. So it was kind of fun.
LESLIE: Pressure washers are always fun, especially ones that are good. And the Greenworks’ one certainly is.
And you guys, to help keep you all mosquito bite-free this entire summer, we’ve also got up for grabs a DynaTrap Mosquito and Insect Trap. And that’s worth 129 bucks.
TOM: So give us a call right now. You can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Community page at MoneyPit.com. Let’s get to it, 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: John in Pennsylvania is on the line and has a question about dehumidification. How can we help you?
JOHN: Yes, I recently had my house waterproofed. And they suggest that I run a dehumidifier all the time. Actually, two of them. I was wondering if there was any cheaper way to keep the moisture out.
TOM: Well, these waterproofers, did they tell you to improve your grading around your property and make sure your gutters are clean, your downspouts are extended away from the wall? Did they give you any of that kind of advice, John?
JOHN: Yes, they did. And we took care of that.
TOM: OK. Well, those are all important things and that’s going to go a long way towards cutting down the volume of moisture.
Now, in terms of these dehumidifiers, you may be thinking of the kind that sits on the floor and has a pan in it that you have to empty all the time. Is that correct?
JOHN: That’s correct.
TOM: John, there are a lot of other options in dehumidifiers, aside from the kind that sit in your basement on four wheels and have a quart-sized pan you have to dump out all the time. In my house, I have a Santa Fe dehumidifier. This is more of a professional product. And when I say that, I don’t mean for commercial buildings. I mean it’s for a house but it’s designed to be a lot more efficient and effective. If you take a look at – just Google “Santa Fe dehumidifiers.”
Mine is one that takes out 90 pints of water a day and it kind of hangs from the ceiling in the basement, so it’s kind of up and out of the way. And it has a nice pull-through of air. And so it’s going to really constantly draw the water out of that. And then it’s hooked up to a condensate pump so that once the pan inside of it is filled up, it just pumps the water right outside. And I ran that right out, actually, in my case to a splash block.
So I think you may be unaware of the better-quality dehumidifiers that are out there. You could look at the ones from Santa Fe and kind of start right there.
JOHN: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Janet in Arizona needs some help gardening. What can we do for you?
JANET: I live in Sedona, Arizona, which is – and I live kind of up in a canyon area headed up towards Flagstaff here. And I have a really hard time getting any plants to grow around the very shady sides of my house, in kind of border boxes and things like that. And I’ve tried a few different things and just with not much luck. So I’m just wondering if you guys have any suggestions.
TOM: What have you tried?
JANET: I’ve tried coleuses, pansies. Right now, I do actually have something called Astilbe that’s kind of working there.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Have you tried hostas?
JANET: Hostas? I don’t think I’ve tried hostas.
TOM: What about a copper plant? Have you ever seen a copper plant? They’re very beautiful. They’re sort of a greenish, red, orange kind of a plant with big leaves.
JANET: Oh, nice. No I haven’t heard that one. I can look for that, yeah. That would be great.
TOM: You said you tried – what about Begonias? That’s a good shade flower.
JANET: I think I’ve tried those in my hanging baskets and they don’t do well, either.
TOM: Well, some of this is going to be trial and error. You know, I know that Home Depot has a new garden club that they’re doing now out of the local stores. And they’ve got some real experts that are associated with that.
TOM: So that might be a good place. Or just go to a local nursery and see what they recommend.
JANET: Yeah. OK. Will do.
TOM: But those are the typical shade plants that we would put in desert locations.
LESLIE: I mean I use hosta all across the country whenever there’s shade. And they come back. They’re very hardy. It’s a perennial, so it’ll come back season after season if you’re able to.
JANET: Yeah. OK.
LESLIE: And they really – they thrive in the shade. And there’s a ton of different varieties of hosta, so you can find them sort of variegated from a yellow and green, a green and white, different tones on the greens.
JANET: Uh-huh. Right. Right.
LESLIE: So there’s probably one that you like. And occasionally, the ones that I have in my super-shady areas almost never flower. The ones that get partial shade will get sort of a long, whispy one stem with a couple of purple flowers on it.
JANET: Mm-hmm. Right, right. Right.
LESLIE: But check them out because you really can’t kill them.
JANET: Yeah. Yeah, I think that that’s a great suggestion. Thank you very much.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome.
Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, give us a call with your home improvement question to 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. From small repairs to a major remodel, HomeAdvisor is the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project.
TOM: Just ahead, would you like to win a brand-new pressure washer? We’ve got the Greenworks 2200-PSI Pressure Washer going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone, right now, and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
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: Give us a call, right now, for the answer to your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor.
Hey, are you ready to get that deck you’ve always been dreaming of? HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: And if you call, right now, or post your question to the Money Pit Community section, you’re going to get the answer, of course, to your home improvement question because we love to help out. But we also love to help out by giving stuff away. This hour, we’ve got up for grabs the Greenworks 2200-PSI Pressure Washer.
Now, it’s got a brushless motor and a really super Smart Response technology, which is going to sense the type of nozzle that you’re using and then it automatically adjusts the motor RPM for optimal water flow and optimal cleansing. Now, it’s got a high-flow soap nozzle to really make it feel like you’re working at a car wash, on-board LED panel with digital pressure sensing. It helps you to use the pressure washer correctly and effectively and it’s really a lot of fun.
You can find them at Lowes.com. It’s worth 179 bucks but one of those Greenworks 2200-PSI Pressure Washers is going out to a lucky caller this hour drawn at random.
TOM: It’s a great giveaway. You can find the Greenworks 2200-PSI at Lowes and Lowes.com. It’s worth 179 bucks but it could be yours if you’re the lucky caller we draw at random from those that reach us today at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Brian in Massachusetts, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
BRIAN: Hi, I have some honey-oak kitchen cabinets that I’m interested in painting white. And I was wondering if there’s any certain sort of preparation that I need to do. And is there some sort of primer coat that will kind of fill in the grain? Because the oak tends to be a little grainy.
LESLIE: Now, I have oak cabinets and I was looking into having them painted and you definitely do want to fill that grain, because it will stick out through the paint. And as far as what’s going to go on there that’s going to stick and stay and give you a smooth surface and not be affected by moisture, humidity, all the things that go on in the kitchen, that’s a tricky situation.
But first, let’s talk about what’s currently on your cabinets. Now, they’re stained?
BRIAN: Nope. It’s just urethane.
LESLIE: Just urethane. And it feels like it’s pretty solid of the coating on there?
LESLIE: Yeah. You’re going to want to strip that off. Otherwise, anything that you put on there isn’t going to adhere. So what I would start with is either using a chemical stripper. Or depending on the quantity of the urethane, you can try to sand it a little bit. But I would try to get as much of it off as I can with a stripping agent. Strip everything down.
Then once you’ve gotten there, you can go ahead and sand it just to keep everything looking nice and smooth. Use a tack cloth to wipe away any of that sort of residue that’s still on there. Make sure you’ve got a nice, clean surface. And then I think Tom can better speak to what you could put on top that would fill in that grain and stick.
TOM: Once you have it sanded down, I would recommend that you prime it. I would use an oil-based primer for a couple of reasons. It tends to flow nicely.
TOM: And that’s going to fill in some of those – some of the grain that you don’t want to see.
TOM: And it’s also really durable and it’s really sticky, so it’s going to really adhere to an old cabinet and give you the perfect surface for the topcoat of paint. So I would definitely put oil-based primer on it or solvent-based primer. And then you’re going to need a couple of coats of finish paint over that.
And again, I tend to stick with the solvents for cabinets because I think they have more abrasion resistance with those doors slamming, you know. And you’re going to get a lot of rubbing of the doors against the stiles. And I’m afraid that if you don’t use something that’s tough, it’s going to chip off.
BRIAN: So you recommend oil-based primer and oil …
TOM: Yep. I would. For something like that I would, definitely.
BRIAN: OK. And it’s not any particular product or oil-based primer that would have – like I know – I do some work on cars and they have a spray primer that actually will fill small imperfections. Is there anything like that that might be available for …
TOM: Not specifically for cabinetry but I just think if you use a good-quality primer, you’re going to come as close to it as you possibly can. Remember, you can take those doors off, take the drawers out, try to make this as easy on yourself as possible. And you mentioned spraying. If you have access to that kind of equipment, you could spray the doors and the drawers and it’ll look even nicer.
BRIAN: Oh, I was talking about a spray can for the smaller parts.
TOM: Oh, no. That would be a lot of spray cans.
BRIAN: Yes, it would. Well, thank you so much for your help. I appreciate your input. And keep up the good work.
TOM: Alright. Well, thank you. Good luck with that project and let us know how it comes out.
Well, if you’re remodeling your home today, choosing products that are low-maintenance is really key, especially on the exterior of your home. And that includes the landscape. We’ve got ideas to help you do just that in today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando.
LESLIE: Well, spring rains have certainly been good for our lawns and gardens but that also means you’ve got plenty of weeding to take care of, as well. Now, you can cut way back on your lawn-and-garden to-do list by carefully selecting outdoor spaces and the materials that you plant.
Now, for example, your first step, really, is to figure out those areas that you’re going to use for entertaining, like your deck or your patio. Now, depending on that size, that’s really going to adjust the space that you actually have to landscape. But when you’re building out that patio, avoid the number-one mistake that most people make, which is to not properly prep the base of that patio.
For example, if you don’t have at least 6 to 8 inches of crushed gravel underneath the patio, it’s going to settle, weeds are going to start to grow through, you’re going to have to pull things, you’re going to find uneven areas on that patio. So do the prep work up front and that saves a lot of headaches down the road.
TOM: Now, speaking of crushed stone, for plant beds, you can also use crushed stone and container gardening instead of topsoil and plants. It’s kind of a really clean look and it’s going to result in a lot less weeding. And for flowers, you always want to lean towards perennials. They’re very hardy plants and they come back year after year.
LESLIE: And if you’ve got a lawn that you want to plant, it really is best to choose grass that’s designed for your climate. You want to find the right seed for the right lawn for the right area of the country. So, if you do this, you’re going to end up with much less watering, much less weeding. And the lawn care is just going to drop dramatically, so you’ll have less to deal with. You’re also going to want to mulch everywhere that you can, especially in the springtime.
Now, by doing so, you’re going to cut back on the weeding, as well, but that’s going to last throughout the entire season.
TOM: And lastly, when fall comes around, you want to be sure to remove the leaves from your lawn. If not, you’ll be faced with dead and deteriorated sections of the lawn. And then next spring, it could take maybe the full season to really come back. So, get those leaves picked up before the winter sets in.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Exterior Home Improvement Tip, presented by Tando Exterior Cladding. With Tando, you can replace wood and stone with beauty, longevity, low maintenance and moisture resistance. TandoShake’s Signature Stain features six stain colors with a true semi-transparent wood stain for rich color. And TandoStone has the rich look of stone without the weight, messy mortar or maintenance. Ask your contractor to use Tando to accent any other type of siding for a visually-interesting mixed-materials look.
TOM: Learn more at TandoBP.com.LESLIE: Patty in Arizona has got something going on with the water. What’s up, Patty?
PATTY: Well, the water in Arizona is very, very hard. And I heard that you were having a drawing on something – receiving a water system that would soften or help that. And I thought, “Well, maybe I should just call and see, even if I don’t win, what I should be doing.”
TOM: So tell me about your hard water. What are you seeing in your house? How is this affecting you?
PATTY: Oh, well, everything is spotted. The toilets get a ring around the top very quickly. It’s hard to wipe things off. The dishwasher doesn’t rinse completely, it seems like.
TOM: It really affects a lot of things in the house. Well, there are a couple of different water-purification systems out there that are designed specifically for hard water. There are types that use salt to soften the water. And there are other types that are salt-free.
And Home Depot is a good source for pretty much any water-quality solution but what I would encourage you to do, first, is to have a water test done. And you can have this done professionally. There are free tests that are available at places like Home Depot. But have a water test done so you know exactly what you’re treating for and then you could make the best decision on the system that’s going to work for you.
But it’s not hard. You know, these systems are pretty straightforward to install. Usually, they’re installed at the main. And they’re going to treat that water, 24/7, and it’s going to be to a lot easier for you to clean with that water and wash with that water and you won’t have the spots and your clothes will come out softer. And it just kind of affects you all the way down the line.
So that’s what I would do. I’d start with a water test and then choose the system that’s best for you based on that result.
Patty, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Kevin in Missouri, you’ve got a roofing question. How can we help you today?
KEVIN: My fiancée and I just bought our first house.
KEVIN: Oh, thank you so much. And when I’m standing in the garage, I can – and I’m looking outside, all the way along the roof, above the top plate, I can see daylight.
KEVIN: And I was just wondering, do I need to flash that? And if so, do I need to pull up the first course of roof shingles in order to do that or what’s the best way to handle that?
TOM: So, when you’re up in the attic of this garage and you look down towards the eave, you’re seeing light up there?
KEVIN: Well, actually when I just stand in the middle of the garage, I can see over the top plate a little bit.
TOM: OK. So there’s no ceiling, right? You’re looking up into the underside of the roof structure?
KEVIN: Yeah, exactly. It’s an unfinished garage.
TOM: OK. And so they’re looking at sort of the overhang where the roof rafters go over the plate. So there’s a soffit right under that, typically. And yeah, you’re going to get light that comes up in there. But unless you’re getting water, I wouldn’t worry about it. In fact, in normal construction, you would have – if that was over the interior of the house, the heated portion of the house, that would all be vented. And when you go up in an attic and you look down that same spot, you almost always see light coming up in there.
KEVIN: Now, in this garage, there’s not really much of a soffit at all.
KEVIN: It’s basically the roof ends at the top plate and then there’s gutters right outside of that. Is that a problem or …?
TOM: No, because it doesn’t have to be ventilated in the garage, because there’s no heat there. But that seam, I think, is pretty typical. And again, unless you’re seeing leaks, then I wouldn’t worry about that.
KEVIN: OK. Great. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: Yeah. I’m sure there are other things to worry about in your house, Kevin, but that’s not one of them. Alright?
KEVIN: Yeah. We’re kind of new homeowners. It’s kind of terrifying.
KEVIN: Love every little thing.
TOM: Good luck with the house. Call us anytime, OK?
KEVIN: OK. Thank you so much, sir.
LESLIE: Hey, are you thinking of taking on a painting project? We’re going to have the tips to choosing the perfect tools for that paint project, after this.
JONATHAN: Hey this is Jonathan Scott, host of HGTV’s Property Brothers. And you’re listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
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: Give us a call, right now, on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor.
LESLIE: Just ahead, are you planning a paint project? Well, not all paintbrushes are created equal. Kevin O’Connor from This Old House is stopping by to tell you how to choose the best brush for your project on today’s This Old House segment, which is presented by the Citrus Magic brand of odor-eliminating air fresheners.
TOM: Available in refreshing, long-lasting sprays, solids and exciting, new candles. Experience the magic of Citrus Magic Odor Eliminators today.
LESLIE: Brian in Rhode Island is working on some crown molding. How can we help you?
BRIAN: I’m putting up some crown molding above cabinets. Now, I’ve worked with crown molding before. I have this ingenious jig that – I believe it’s called a Cut-N-Crown.
BRIAN: And when you put it together with your miter saw, it does a good job of the angles for inside and outside corners.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
BRIAN: And what I can’t figure out is now I’m trying to do crown molding above some kitchen cabinets that I’ve installed, OK? And I’m not quite sure how to nail it on. I don’t want to nail into the stile above the door or the rail above the door because number one, I don’t want to do that. Number two, it looks like it could split it, so I’m just trying to figure out what people do to fasten crown molding above kitchen cabinets.
TOM: So, you have space above these cabinets – empty space, so to speak – between the cabinet and the ceiling?
BRIAN: Yes, I do.
TOM: OK. Well, I think you are going to have to mechanically attach it to those cabinets.
Now, whether you do that with nails or some other fastening system is going to be up to you. But is this a hardwood crown molding? Is this oak?
BRIAN: Yes, it is.
TOM: So you’re going to have to pilot drill – anything you do with this has to be pilot-drilled, because you can’t just nail through it; it’s going to split it. So you’re going to have to get a drill bit that’s just slightly smaller than the nail or the screw that you’re using and pilot-drill through this.
Now, I wouldn’t hesitate to attach it to the cabinet body above the door if I had the space. If you wanted to try to kind of hedge your bet a little bit, get a little bit more control, what you could do is you could attach a nailing strip or a screwing strip, so to speak, on top of that cabinet. So let’s say you have a piece of wood that maybe is 1×1 square. Well, you attach that to the top of the cabinet, you drill down so it attaches into the top stile of that cabinet and now you have a much bigger, flatter surface for you to kind of have some meat behind it, get that nail or screw into, you know what I mean?
BRIAN: OK. I know exactly what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. In fact, now that I see what you’re saying, I might want to improve that just a little more. I might want to take something that’s like a 2×3 or something along that line and cut it out so it fits above it but I can’t screw from above to attach it. So, if I’ve got the room, I might (inaudible at 0:22:30).
TOM: Why not? How much space is there?
BRIAN: There’s about 4 inches.
TOM: Oh, yeah, you can’t do that. No, you’d have to go – then you’d have to go from underneath. You could go from underneath. You could drill up from the underside of the cabinet stile – the front stile. You can go up that way and attach it there.
BRIAN: That sounds good. That would solve my problem.
TOM: Alright. There you go. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT and good luck with that kitchen.
LESLIE: Well, painting is one of the do-it-yourself projects that probably seems the simplest to do. I mean how much harder can it be than dipping a brush in a can and slapping some paint on a wall?
TOM: And that’s exactly why it’s even more frustrating than ever when a seemingly simple project like painting comes out badly, which can happen if you start with the wrong paintbrush. Here to talk to us about that is a guy who’s had a chance to brush up on a lot of his own home improvement skills as host of TV’s This Old House: Kevin O’Connor.
KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.
TOM: And Kevin, the painting aisle at the average home improvement center provides a lot of options for brushes; it’s overwhelming. How do you know which one is right for you?
KEVIN: It can be overwhelming; there are definitely a lot of choices out there. It comes down to picking the right paintbrush and by that, I mean actually the right type of bristles on the paintbrush for whatever type of job that you’re doing, based on the paint, the stain or the finish you’re applying.
There are two big categories: natural bristles or China bristles. These are designed for oil-based paints.
KEVIN: And they’re going to give you a nice, sturdy finish, an even finish. And you’re going to have to clean them up with paint thinner and turpentine.
TOM: Now, you don’t want to use those for latex paint, because they don’t perform quite the same way, do they?
KEVIN: No, you don’t want to use those for latex paint. For latex paints, you want to go with a synthetic bristle; those are definitely going to be best.
And what I would say for both of these, whether they’re natural or synthetic, you definitely get what you pay for. You want to buy yourself a high-quality brush to get the best results. And you’re also going to have a lot of choices out there: what length are the bristles going to be, how many bristles are in each brush, are they angled or not? So think about those based on the job that you want to do. But splurge a little bit; get yourself a nice brush.
LESLIE: Is the goal that you’re going to buy a brush that you hope to use over and over again rather than sort of a one-project wonder and pitch it when you’re done?
KEVIN: There are some projects that you’re really just going to do a one-project wonder. I can imagine, as you’re going to try to stain a piece of wood and you’re probably never going to stain anything else in your house that color again, well, you might just want to get a cheap brush because it’s going to be a one-time use.
But if you’re painting a house – interior paint, trim work, walls and stuff – you’re probably going to do that a lot over the course of many years and one brush can serve you really well. So it’s really a small investment to buy a high-quality brush if you’re going to be using it over the course of 2, 5 or 10 years.
LESLIE: How do you best care for these brushes to ensure that you’re able to do so over time?
TOM: Yeah. Because half of the time when you finish the project, no matter how hard you clean them, they seem to be stiff and crusty the next time around.
KEVIN: Yeah, it always seems like that for us but I’ve been on a lot of job sites and I’ve seen professional painters whip out a brush that looks brand new. And then you ask these guys and they’re on their fifth or their seventh year of this thing.
KEVIN: It means that they’ve been taking good care of it. So there are a couple tips to think about in terms of taking care of your brush. Get as much paint off the brush as possible before you even start thinking about cleaning it. Take an old piece of newspaper and scrape all that paint, pull all that paint off of the brush.
Now, if you’ve got a China-bristle brush that you’re using with oil paints, you’re going to need to use a paint thinner. Stick it in the paint thinner for a few minutes and then actually use a dab of dish soap and some warm water to get the paint thinner off of the brush. And then hang it with the bristles pointed down to dry.
TOM: Now, that’s a good point because gravity really does help you out here; it drains out any leftover remains of that paint and makes sure it gets out as much as possible. If you hang it with the bristles up, I would imagine the bristles can start to sort of lean over and fall and sag.
LESLIE: I think it’s more than that. What happens is the water or whatever that you’ve used to clean the brush sort of goes into the tine, which is that metal area that’s wrapped around, connecting the bristles to the brush handle itself. And that will expand and then the tine opens up and the bristles start to fall out, so it’s really important to hang them with the bristles down.
KEVIN: And it’s just as important to do that with a synthetic brush, as well. With those, however, you’re not going to be using paint thinner. A little bit of warm, soapy water is going to do the trick, because it’s going to be working with latex paints. You just want to make sure that you give it a good shaking and let it dry out and also hang those things with the bristles pointing down so they dry out.
TOM: And storage-wise, I think it’s always a good idea to put them back in those cardboard sleeves that they come in when you first buy them, because it really keeps them in good shape.
KEVIN: Yeah, it’s a good point, Tom. I mean those cardboard sleeves, they’re not just packaging; it’s actually part of the tool and they’re designed to keep that brush in good shape, to keep their form. So make sure it’s not the first thing you throw away.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Which is generally what I tend to do when I buy a brush.
TOM: Kevin O’Connor, host of TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Thanks for having me, guys.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.
Just ahead, how would you like to go the entire summer with virtually no mosquito bites around your home? We’ve got the super-effective DynaTrap Mosquito and Insect Trap going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Money Pit Community section at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Making good homes better, you are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: Give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Money Pit Community. You’re going to get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a really great prize.
TOM: Yep. It’s the DynaTrap Mosquito and Insect Trap.
Now, I’ve had one of these puppies for a year. I’m telling you, it works great. Keeps the mosquitoes away from your yard and your patio. I don’t think we got a single bite all last year.
Once you hook it up, it protects up to a ½-acre. It’s produces CO2, which is an irresistible attractant for mosquitoes but it does so through a chemical reaction. You know, some of these traps have lures or attractants or baits you have to put in them. These don’t. You set this up in the spring, you leave it run all through the summer, it cuts back on the mosquito population and they leave you alone. Completely non-toxic.
It’s available at Bed Bath & Beyond and also online at DynaTrap.com. But we’ve got one to give away worth 129 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.
[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Marcie in Nebraska, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARCIE: We have a 15,000 BTU. It’s a window air conditioner.
MARCIE: And it keeps popping our breaker.
TOM: Hmm. Yep.
MARCIE: It does it in the heat of the afternoon. If we have it on the fan, it won’t pop it.
TOM: Yeah, yeah.
MARCIE: Is it the window, the air conditioner or the breaker?
TOM: No, the breaker’s doing its job, because you’re pulling too much power. Is this in a bedroom? Or where is this?
MARCIE: It’s a living room.
TOM: A living room. Yeah. In some houses, especially older houses, you have typically too much on that same circuit. You ought to really identify what else is on that circuit and see what you can reduce.
I have that happen once in a while in my house. We had – we used to have to put a window air conditioner in one room in it, because it was just fully exposed and just needed a little bit of help when central air wasn’t getting there. But I knew that if we vacuumed in that house, I had to plug the vacuum into the next room. Otherwise, I’d trip the breaker. So you need to figure out what else is on that.
MARCIE: Well, that’s the only thing that goes off.
TOM: And the other thing you could do is you could have an electrician figure out why that’s happening. You can – there’s a way to determine exactly how much power that unit is pulling and perhaps even run an additional circuit, just for that unit, that’s properly sized.
LESLIE: Yeah, dedicated specifically for that.
TOM: But the reason it happens with air conditioners is because when they first kick on, there is sort of a surge of electricity that it needs to get the compressor going. So that tends to push those breakers a bit. And then they do what they’re supposed to do – is turn off to prevent the wire from heating up. Does that make sense?
MARCIE: OK. Yeah.
TOM: Yep. So that’s why it’s happening.
MARCIE: So would it be benefit to put a higher breaker on it?
TOM: Well, it’s not just the breaker. You have to run the properly-sized wire for it.
TOM: So you have to run a new circuit, OK?
TOM: You can’t put two – you can’t put a larger breaker on it because then you’re defeating the purpose of the breaker.
MARCIE: That’s what I needed to know. Thank you.
TOM: Well, you’re welcome. Good luck.
LESLIE: It used to be that working with concrete for small projects, like setting a fence post, was a hassle. You had to buy all the raw materials, mix them up probably using tools like your garden wheelbarrow and garden hoe and then cleaning them off before the concrete becomes permanently attached to those tools.
TOM: Well, QUIKRETE has made that a lot easier with their fast-setting concrete in the red bag. It’s a special blend of fast-setting cements and sand and gravel. It’s designed to set hard in approximately 20 to 40 minutes.
LESLIE: Yeah. You can use it for setting a fence post, mailbox, deck footings or even for pouring a slab. And for those posts, you don’t have to premix it. You just pour the dry mix into that hole, add the water and then that post itself, that area is going to be solid in about 20 minutes.
TOM: QUIKRETE is available at home improvement retailers nationwide. And right now, there’s a bonus bag available that has 20 percent more of the fast-setting cement. Look for it in the red bag or learn more at QUIRKETE.com.
LESLIE: Eddie in Massachusetts, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
EDDIE: I’ve got a problem with my roof. I’ve got some moss growing up there and I’d like to know how to get rid of it.
TOM: Well, it’s actually pretty easy, Eddie. There is a product that you can apply called Spray & Forget. You basically mix it up. There’s even a version that attaches to the hose. And what you want to do is put a ladder against your gutter line and get up there to the top of the ladder and then you shoot, with a hose, the solution all over the roof, kind of wet it down. And what it does is it basically causes all that moss to die.
Now, it doesn’t happen instantly. It can happen in a few days to a few weeks but eventually, what happens is all that moss will die off and fall off. And then it has a residual effect where it keeps that roof moss-free for months and months to come. So, easy to apply. Spray & Forget. It’s sold everywhere. You can check out the website at SprayAndForget.com. And that’ll do it.
EDDIE: Alright. Thank you very much. I appreciate you answering my question.
TOM: Good luck, Eddie. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, now that it’s getting hot, is your air-conditioning keeping up with the challenge? We’re going to have three tips for a DIY checkup, next.
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.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro. And instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s background-checked pros for free.
TOM: Well, now that it’s getting hot outside, is your A/C system really doing its job? Here’s a DIY test that will tell you. The first thing you want to do is find a supply duct that is blowing pretty strong and preferably one that’s close to the furnace or air handler where the blower is actually located. And you want to measure the temperature of the air coming out of that duct. You can do it with a simple refrigerator thermometer, for example.
Now, next, you want to find the return duct. Now, that’s where the air is going back into the system, right? And then measure that temperature. To know if your A/C is working right, compare the two numbers. If the supply is 12 to 20 degrees cooler than the return, your system is working well. Anything less than that, you need to call a pro and get it serviced, because it means it’s working but it’s working way too hard to cool your house. And that’s costing you big bucks.
LESLIE: Alright, you guys. Hopefully, that helps with all of your air-conditioning needs as we’re getting into this hot weather.
And also, remember post your question to the Community section, just like Carla did. Now, Carla writes: “We installed a one-piece tub shower in our basement only about a year ago, as well as linoleum flooring. Already, the linoleum is rolling up where it meets the tub. What’s the best product to use to hold it down?”
TOM: You know, that is a pretty tricky situation because it’s hard to glue those edges down to the floor right near the tub. It’s wet, it’s dirty. You get moss, you get mold, you get algae in there. It’s just a really difficult spot, when that corner starts to come up like that, to try to get anything that’s going to be permanent in terms of keeping it down there. So I think a good thing to do in this particular situation would be to use a piece of trim.
Now, you say, “Well, but isn’t trim made out of wood?” Not always. You can pick up some CVC trim, like an AZEK-type product, that’s flexible and it will sort of bend along that tub edge. And then you can tack it down and use it to sort of mechanically hold the edge of that flooring in place. I think that that is really the best way and the easiest way to make sure that it stays in place for good.
LESLIE: Yeah. That really is a good trick of the trade. And you know what? It looks nice with the trim piece next to the bathtub, between that and the floor. It really does finish the project.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post from Dave who writes: “I live in a neighborhood of Mediterranean-style homes with stucco siding. According to our homeowners’ association, all buildings on the lot must be of the style and I want to build a new storage shed to meet those homeowner-association standards. I plan to use WonderBoard to frame it out and stucco as the finish and paint to match the house. I’m looking for suggestions as to how to attach the WonderBoard to the shed and problems that I could be anticipating.”
TOM: Well, I can understand why you want to use this WonderBoard product. It’s basically an underlayment for ceramic tile. It’s not really designed for sheds and it’s certainly not designed for sheathing. And the key with stucco is you can’t have any movement in that wall. So I would use regular plywood as you frame out that shed as your sheathing.
I’d put tar paper on it, wire mesh and then regular cement stucco. I don’t think you should try to cut corners on that. With WonderBoard, there’s no reason to use that. It’s not designed for that particular situation. It’s not going to add any rigidity to the building and you’re going to end up with a lot of cracks and you’ll spend a lot of time trying to fix them up.
LESLIE: True. Seriously. And they’ll – it’s going to be a lot of work if you do start to get the things cracking up.
Alright, Dave. Good luck with the new building.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Please keep those questions rolling in. You can call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to the Money Pit’s Community section at MoneyPit.com.
Our brand-new Community section is very active right now. Lots of folks jumping on there searching for the answers to their project and contributing some answers of their own. We’d love to hear from you on the phone and on the Community section.
That’s all the time we have for this portion of the program. The rest continues online.
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 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.)