Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(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: Call us now with your home improvement question; call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Call us because you’ve got a question about hardwood floors. We’ve got some tips about that this hour. You know they’re a great investment in your home but if you’re going to do that, how do you make sure they stay looking great? We’re going to tell you about the hardwood floor’s worst enemies in just a couple of minutes.
LESLIE: And also ahead, do you find that it just takes forever for your shower to get hot in the morning? Well, that’s a big waste of time for you and it’s an even bigger waste of water, energy and money. We’re going to tell you how to get your hot water just a bit quicker.
TOM: And you’ve heard of solar energy for decades but now lots of folks are banking on a solar boom and there’s new technology that’s driving costs down. We’re going to shed a little light on that topic when we interview the editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine.
LESLIE: And also, we’re giving away a great prize pack today. It’s Telebrands Go Duster, Stick Up Bulb and Closet Doubler. These might sound familiar because you’ve seen them on TV. It’s a package worth 65 bucks but it could be yours for free.
TOM: So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Christine in Kalamazoo, welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?
CHRISTINE: You know, my drain that’s in the bathroom …
CHRISTINE: … (inaudible at 0:01:46.1) pipe that goes right behind the toilet?
CHRISTINE: A lot of people call it a stink pipe or something like that. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
CHRISTINE: But you know the fumes come back through that pipe some kind of way and I was wondering if it could be clogged.
TOM: Well, something might not be right. Are you talking about the vent pipe that goes from the toilet up to the roof?
TOM: And you’re getting odor through that – like from the walls or something?
CHRISTINE: I think it’s from the pipe.
TOM: Well OK, but see the pipe should be filled with water and it should be vented up to the roof. So if you’re getting odors from that area then it’s possible that the pipe was not connected properly or, if you have an old sink or something in that area where the trap dried out, you could get sewage gas back from that. Is there a floor drain in this bathroom?
CHRISTINE: No. There’s one in the basement though.
TOM: OK, that’s another area where very often you get odors because those drains are not used very often and if they get dry then they can leak sewage gas back up into the house. Generally, if you have an odor it’s because the vent pipe is not working correctly. If it’s clogged, that’s not necessarily going to contribute or take away from the chances of an odor, but if the vent pipe is not installed right that’s when you’ll get odors. So that’s the solution to the problem; get that vent pipe straightened out.
Christine, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Dick in Virginia. What’s happening with the flooring at your house?
DICK: Well, it’s stretching away from the wall.
LESLIE: OK, what type of flooring do you have in there?
DICK: It’s a sheet vinyl flooring and in two places it is pulling away from the wall. In one place it’s about an inch-and-a-half and another about, oh, three-quarters-of-an-inch.
TOM: Oh wow, that’s a lot. Now you’re sure it’s not the wall moving away from the floor. (all chuckle)
LESLIE: Wow, my house is growing. This is amazing.
TOM: I don’t think you’re going to get it to stretch back, Dick, so you’re going to probably have to replace that flooring.
LESLIE: How old is that floor?
DICK: Well, the house is 10 years old and the entire first floor is sheet vinyl.
TOM: Yeah, I think you’ve got a lot of shrinkage there. I don’t think you’re going to be able to be able to get it to stretch back. So we don’t have any miracle cure for you. I thought that you were going to tell me it was simply loose and peeling up. But if it’s actually shortened away from the wall that much and so much so that you can’t cover it with moulding – which, if it’s an inch away you certainly cannot – then you’re going to have to replace it.
DICK: Yeah. In a couple of places I can – I’ve got half-inch shoe moulding down; I can put one inch and cover it in a couple of places but it’s …
TOM: Yeah, I think it’s time to talk about new flooring for you, Dick. Yeah, you might want to think about looking at some laminate options. You can go right on top of that vinyl; looks great; much more maintenance free; super durable and it doesn’t shrink – most importantly for you.
DICK: Well, that’s bad news.
TOM: Yeah. Sorry, Dick.
LESLIE: Sorry, Dick.
TOM: But the good news is you’re going to get a new floor, Dick.
TOM: Think of it positively, man.
TOM: Alright. Go forth and improve that home. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Here’s a common problem in the morning. You are waiting for a hot shower and the water is just running cold, running cold and running cold. How do you change that? How do you get the hot shower as soon as you turn the faucet on? We’re going to tell you, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: If you are short on space and need to add an addition to your addition, well, you’re in the right place because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
You can give us a call with whatever home improvement ails you and your home or even just your project list at 1-888-MONEY-PIT right now and as a bonus you will get in on our prize giveaway because one caller that we talk to on the air today gets a chance at our random prize drawing. And we’re giving away three Telebrand products. The total package is worth 65 bucks. It’s a Go Duster, a Stick Up Bulb and a Closet Doubler and the coolest thing is you’ve probably seen all of these on those TV commercials; those great products that you can only get your hands on when you see them on the telly but we’re putting them in your hands for free. So give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s talk about hardwood floors. They look great and they’re a good investment in your home and they’ve pretty much replaced wall-to-wall carpeting as the flooring of choice; at least for, you know, the main living areas in your house. But you need to know about a few of your hardwood floor’s worst enemies so that you can keep it looking great. So first up, your floors are going to get dirty. How do you clean them? Well, with as little moisture as possible. It’s OK to use a damp mop on them but you want to keep it almost dry so that you don’t saturate the wood. If you saturate the wood it swells; it impacts the finish. Also be careful with the furniture. Never drag furniture across a hardwood floor because it always leaves marks. If you have to move the furniture lift it up, slip a furniture pad or an old blanket or something like that underneath the furniture and then pull it softly across the floor. That’s a good way to move things around on a hardwood floor without causing any trouble.
If you’ve got a hardwood floor question or a vinyl floor question or maybe a ceramic tile question – or for that matter, any questions – call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Dawn in California, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?
DAWN: I have purchased a product called Alloc Flooring.
TOM and LESLIE: OK.
DAWN: I was wondering – it has a 30-year warranty and I was wondering like what kind of value that would raise for my house appraisal and do I need to seal it in any way because it’s going to be in the kitchen and the bath.
TOM: Well, first of all, in terms of a return on investment, you know, any good-quality flooring is going to probably give you the same return on investment. I don’t think that that’s the kind of thing that you can necessarily, though, peg with a specific number. If it was a room improvement like adding a kitchen, adding a bathroom or even adding a deck or a patio, it’s easier to figure out how much the return on investment that will give you because there are actually studies that are done on that every year. But just, obviously, maintaining your house is a good idea because it does maintain the value of your house.
Now, in terms of the laminate floor, it’s an excellent choice for the kitchen and the bathroom because it’s a very, very durable, water-resistant finish. There’s nothing to seal. It’s basically the same kind of laminate that we’ve used for years on countertop, with one key difference. It’s about 30 times more durable than the laminate used as a countertop. There’s a test called a taber abrasion test where they rotate these grinding discs into the laminate surface to make sure it’s thick enough and this test for the laminate floor is about 30 times tougher than the same test for the countertop. So, same technology but just a lot thicker and it can look a lot better because, obviously, on a floor you can choose – anything you can photograph you can make a laminate floor out of. So I think it’s a good choice all the way around.
DAWN: Thank you.
LESLIE: You’re welcome, Dawn.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: John in Connecticut, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
JOHN: Long-time listener; first-time caller.
JOHN: My question today is when installing a hollow-core door – replacement door – is there a rule of thumb for how much I can cut off the height and the width?
LESLIE: Before you get to the hollow section?
TOM: John, if you’re going to replace your doors, you probably want to buy a prehung door. You probably don’t want to get involved with trying to set your own hinges because it gets a lot more complicated. If you replace the jambs at the same time, that part of it’s already done.
Now, when it comes to adjusting the height of the door, you typically only cut off the bottom of the door. You don’t touch the top because that’s already fit in with the prehung jamb. How much can you cut off the bottom? I’d say probably two to three inches. If it happens that you have a door that’s unusually low and you have to cut more than that, there is a carpenter’s trick of the trade and that is to simply repack that area of the door. If you end up cutting more off than you have solid bottom of that door, you can take some of the material that you cut off and then trim it to fit the – sort of the guts of that and slip it back inside, glue it top and bottom, clamp it, sand it, sand it, paint it and you’ve repacked the bottom of that door and you’ll be good to go.
JOHN: Oh, very interesting.
TOM: OK, but I would definitely go prehung because you’re going to find it a lot easier to install a prehung door than to try to take a slab and make it fit the old openings. It’s probably not worth it.
JOHN: OK, well you know, there are very few problems I can’t overcome as long as I’ve got The Money Pit Radio Show.
TOM: Well, thank you very much, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dale, you are live on The Money Pit. How can we help you?
DALE: Hi. My home has a well and septic system and the water pressure on the second floor showers is not very good and I was wondering if you might be able to help me by figuring out what I could do to increase the water pressure in my second floor showers.
TOM: Sure. Now you said that you have a well. Have you checked the well pressure at the point of entry?
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s the first place for you to go. The well should be maintaining like 60 to 80 pounds of pressure when it’s off and about 40 to 50 when it’s running. So you want to run about three faucets and take a look at the pressure gauge where it comes into the house and make sure you’re staying in that 40 to 50 pounds-per-square-inch range.
TOM: If that’s the case, the next thing you need to do is take a look at the piping. How old is your house?
DALE: About six years.
TOM: Six years. OK. Well, good news is that the piping is going to be copper and that means it’s not going to suffer from anything like internal rusting or something like that. And I would suspect that if you’re still having a problem and the water pressure is OK, then it’s got to be traced down to a valve and you’re going to need to start backing up from the second floor and testing each of the valves to see where the problem is. How many plumbing faucets do you have on the second floor that are affected by the water pressure? Is it just the sink, by the way?
DALE: Well, it’s really most noticeable in the showers. I really don’t notice it in the toilets or the sink.
TOM: Have you – for a six-year-old shower, have you ever checked to see if you had a pressure-reducing valve on the shower? Because I bet you you do.
DALE: Hmm. Well, I …
TOM: No, would be the answer, Tom. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to try to take the shower head off.
DALE: Yes, I did replace it once.
TOM: Alright, well take it off. Don’t replace it at the moment. Just take it off ….
LESLIE: And then look into it.
TOM: Well no, actually, turn the shower on and see what kind of water flow comes out of that pipe. If it’s like soaring out of that pipe then it’s probably water restricted and if you take the shower head off now and look on the inside of it – like the part that screws on – you’re probably going to see a rubber washer or a rubber plug. That is the water restrictor and if you want more pressure …
LESLIE: Take it out.
TOM: … pull that out, screw it back on and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
LESLIE: Dale, is this a new problem? This is a new problem. This has always been happening?
DALE: It’s been this way ever since I bought the house and I …
TOM: Well, I bet you that’s the case.
DALE: … purchased one of those fancy shower heads that, you know, does all these great things and I screwed it up, turned it on and it wouldn’t do anything but just dribble water out. I never got to use any of the cool features because the pressure wasn’t that great.
LESLIE: Like Tom said, check for the pressure valve on the backside and if, for some reason, your shower head doesn’t have one of those, you could have an aerator installed into your shower head like you do at your faucets at your sink. And what that does is it puts more air into the water so it makes it feel like there’s more pressure even though it doesn’t actually change the pressure. It’s similar to what happens at your sink. So it would be called a shower aerator. So if you find that it’s not that pressure valve, go ahead and put in an aerator. You’ll really notice a difference.
DALE: Thank you so much for all your options and ideas. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Eileen in Nebraska, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you?
EILEEN: I want to – I’m putting on some countertops …
EILEEN: … and I want to cut them and I was wondering what kind of saw – whether I use a circular saw or a jigsaw.
LESLIE: Is this the prefabricated particleboard with the laminate on top? Did you pick it up at the home center?
TOM: OK, so you want to cut it to size? Alright, so here’s what you need to do. First of all, you want to take the area that you’re going to cut and put masking tape over it.
LESLIE: That’s going to prevent the laminate from chipping and splitting as your blade goes through because you’re going to cut right through that tape. So you want to put the tape where you’re cutting; so you’re cutting in the middle.
TOM: Right on top of the cut line. Now, you also want to turn it upside down and you want to cut it from the bottom and the reason you’re doing that is because the circular saw blade, as it spins through, the blade spins up and it’s not going to chip off the edge of the laminate. So putting the tape on it and cutting it upside down – so cutting the bottom of the countertop as opposed to the top, is going to stop you from chipping it as you do this. And you’re going to need to cut across the bottom and then across the splash and sometimes you have to finish it off very, very carefully with a handsaw and just what’s remaining in that little corner. But that would be the way to do it.
The other thing we would tell you is to make sure that you put the countertop up against the wall and check for squareness because you may find that that end cut against the wall has to be slightly out of square because very often the wall corner is not perfectly square.
EILEEN: (inaudible at 0:14:46.3) (chuckles)
TOM: That is the case, right? (chuckles)
EILEEN: That is the case.
TOM: OK, Eileen. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mark in Florida, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
MARK: I’m in Pensacola. I’m a fairly new homeowner and I have an in-ground swimming pool in my backyard and I got the stereotypical concrete decking around it but I’d like to liven it up a little bit and put down some porcelain tile. Do I have to worry about any type of additive to grout or thinset in order to be resilient enough to take on the battles of chlorine?
TOM: Oh, no. I mean chlorine is corrosive but, you know, sand grout or epoxy grout are both designed to stand up to chlorine. I mean chlorine is in all the water – not only the pool water but it’s in the water that we drink and …
LESLIE: In your drinking water.
TOM: … you know, it stands up to it on shower walls and bath walls and things like that. So you don’t have to worry so much about the chlorine.
LESLIE: You do have to make sure – especially with ceramic tile, you’re saying you want to put outside by the pool – you want to make sure you choose something that’s specifically rated for floors and that can maintain stability during, you know, very wet situations, which is what you’re going to have in Florida and around the pool. You want to make sure that people are staying on their feet and not slipping and sliding so you need to make sure that that slip-resistancy rating is appropriate for that.
MARK: Oh, absolutely and it’s probably going to be a porcelain tile because of the freeze rating. But I was worried about the chlorine not just splashing on it but maybe pooling or puddling on it and sitting for a long time; if it could seep into the grout or anything like that and then cause it to lift up later.
TOM: No, I mean not really any more than any other moisture that could get on there. So I wouldn’t worry about the chlorine. I think that’ll be fine with any grout you choose.
MARK: That’s the answer to my question, then. Not a problem.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit. When we return we’re going to be shedding some light on solar-generated electricity that you can have in your home, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Don’t look now, America, but your home improvement projects just got a little bit easier because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and we’ve got a hot green topic to talk about today and we’ve got a great guest to do that with us. You know, so many people are talking about solar energy and you’ve probably heard about it for decades, but now a lot of folks are banking on another solar boom, which would be fantastic. But are you out there sort of scratching your head right now, kind of embarrassed to say that you’re still not exactly sure what solar-generated electricity is or how the heck it even works?
TOM: Not to fear. Kevin Ireton, editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine joins us now to shed some light on the topic.
KEVIN: Hi, Tom. Hi, Leslie.
TOM: You know, when we think of solar power most of us envision the big, old, honking collectors that are on top of roofs and see nothing but a maintenance headache. Has that all changed?
KEVIN: Well, a lot of people think about solar how water first. You know, they think about pipes on the roof and those big tanks. Photovoltaics are a little different; although, still your most common form are these, you know, big banks of solar panels up on the roof and they’re a visible thing. I mean they’re, you know, kind of ugly to some people; beautiful to others.
TOM: Well, Kevin, what about the solar shingles? Have you guys looked into those? Because those are pretty darn attractive.
KEVIN: We sure have. In fact, one of our latest issues we’ve got a Colonial house with a solar roof that you really can’t tell because the way the industry is going they are trying – they’re using these thin, film silicon technology to apply photovoltaics to things like a roof shingle so it looks like a roof shingle but actually generates electricity. It’s very cool. Those systems, unfortunately, are still the more expensive systems available.
LESLIE: And photovoltaic is sort of the large word that encompasses all of these solar energy collectors, correct? It would be the same name regardless of shape or size.
KEVIN: Absolutely. It’s generating electricity with the sun.
TOM: So the electricity is generated and then it’s collected and then it’s converted into household power, correct?
KEVIN: You’re way ahead of me. Absolutely. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) The big thing that’s changed since we first started hearing about photovoltaics 30, 35 years ago is something that’s called net metering and I really want to take a minute to explain that.
LESLIE: Now does that sort of go along with being off the grid and on the grid? Is that in conjunction with one another?
KEVIN: Exactly. In the old days, photovoltaics meant you had a cabin up in the woods; you didn’t have a power company to supply you with electricity – what are you going to do? – and you could put in a photovoltaic array, use sunlight to create electricity, then the question is what happens at night. So you needed a bank of batteries …
TOM: I remember this – first learning about this years ago and we used to see cabins with like sheds that were like stacked up with what looked like, you know, dozens of car batteries (Leslie chuckles) sort of saving energy.
KEVIN: And that system works but it’s a maintenance hassle; there’s a lot of toxic chemicals, you know, involved in the batteries. So it’s a much bigger hassle. But now we have a possibility called net metering and, literally, what that means is you’ve got electric – you know, these photovoltaic cells on your roof; you’re generating the power when you need it. But let’s say it’s cloudy or it’s night, you’re still connected to your utility company’s grid and you’re using their electricity when you need that.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) When you need it.
KEVIN: And to make things even better, on days when you’re generating more electricity than you need with your photovoltaic panels, your electric meter can actually spin backwards and you can be selling power back to the utility company.
TOM: Oh, very cool.
LESLIE: Interesting. Do you find that almost all utility companies across the country are welcoming this or is it sort of slow to catch on with the service providers themselves?
KEVIN: It’s been slow but it’s been happening and now I can say – and I’m happy to say – that most states allow it. There are a handful that don’t and there are some that only allow it in parts of the state. Now here’s the fun, interesting and infuriating fact. Two states – Florida and Arizona –
LESLIE: The sunniest states.
TOM: Where there is plenty o’ sun.
KEVIN: Plenty of sun – only allow this net metering in some parts of the state and not in others.
TOM: There must be – there’s got to be some politics involved in that, you know. (chuckling) Maybe the power companies don’t want to buy it back.
KEVIN: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean part of the – you know, it seems like we’re – you know, they’re running out of supply as it is. They’re needing to build more power plants. This seems like, ultimately, the best way for everybody. But some are still slow to catch on.
TOM: Well, it’s an interesting topic, Kevin, and I’m glad to hear that there’s been so much development to get the cost down and the technology up on this.
Kevin Ireton, editor of Fine Homebuilding magazine, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit. Great story.
KEVIN: My pleasure, guys.
TOM: Fine Homebuilding magazine is on newsstands now or you can go to their website at FineHomebuilding.com.
LESLIE: Alright, Kevin is always so helpful and it’s really so great to know that solar energy is becoming so much more affordable and easy to have in your home regardless of where you live. Well, that’s what we do for you here at The Money Pit. We help you out and give you great advice.
So do you want to stop waiting for that hot shower in the morning? Does it feel like it’s just taking ages to get the shower the perfect temp? We’re going to help you get the heat flowing a little more quickly in just a bit.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
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: Call us right now. We can help you turn your pipe dreams into a brand new bathroom. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Not only will you get your home improvement question answered on the air but you’ll also get automatically entered into our prize drawing because this hour we’re giving away three products from Telebrands, the as-seen-on-TV people. We’re giving away a Go Duster, a Stick Up light bulb and a Closet Doubler worth 65 bucks.
LESLIE: Hey, you gotta love those prizes and, best of all, we’re giving them to you for free. So call in with your question. Also, we know everybody’s in a rush these days and maybe you’re finding that waiting in the morning for a hot shower is just wasting your time and not to think about it, folks, but it’s wasting energy. I hate to put that in your mind but know that it is. And your money, which I know you’re thinking about.
One way to fix the problem is to upgrade to a tankless hot water heater and a tankless unit, the best thing, they can be installed anywhere because of their size. It’s great for creating water zones in your home. If you put one near your kitchen and a second one near the bathrooms upstairs you’re not going to have to wait for hot water anymore. Plus, you’re going to have the added benefit of paying to heat water only when you need it instead of continuously heating hot water like traditional water systems do. They’re just constantly heating it and waiting for you to turn it on and ask for it.
If you want to learn more about tankless hot water heaters, you should go to a website for Rheem. They’re a sponsor of the show. They’re a great company. The website is SmarterHotWater.com. They have all your information there to really sort out the dos and don’ts and how-tos to get a hot water system in your house that’s smart and efficient and saves you some money. Or you can give us a call now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, let’s get back to the phones. Who’s next?
LESLIE: Sherry, you’re on The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SHERRY: I was calling – I’m having trouble with my hot water heater or hot water in my home.
SHERRY: When I get in the shower – and I don’t take long showers at all – by the time I’m ready to wash the conditioner out of my hair I’m running out of hot water.
TOM: What kind of water heater do you have right now?
SHERRY: You mean brand name or …?
TOM: Is it gas? Is it …?
SHERRY: Gas, uh-huh. It’s …
TOM: It’s gas? And how old is it?
SHERRY: I don’t know.
TOM: Really old? Like 10 years plus?
SHERRY: Probably so, yeah.
TOM: Well, you certainly shouldn’t be running out of hot water that quickly? So that sounds to me like the gas valve has malfunctioned and it’s not really doing the job it should be doing. You know, normally, if you have like a minimum-size gas water heater it’s going to be 40 gallons; it could supply 30 to 40 gallons of hot water per hour and certainly you’re not using that much in the shower. So it sounds to me like your water heater is not functioning correctly. You might want to check the valve and make sure it’s set correctly. You want to have the water coming out at about 110 degrees; not any hotter because you could get scalded. If the valve is set correctly and still not – you’re still running out of hot water that quickly, then you’re probably going to need to replace the valve or replace the water heater.
LESLIE: What’s the general life span on a water heater?
TOM: Ten to fifteen years, for the most part. And if you’re going to replace it, take a look at the new tankless water heaters. They’re a little more expensive to put in but a lot more efficient for the long haul.
LESLIE: We’re heading to the bathroom with Giuseppe. How can we help?
GIUSEPPE: Yes, thank you. I purchases a fiberglass tub about two years ago and it was supposed to be one of the top of the line. But my wife wants me to get rid of it because every time she takes a bath there’s a black film that develops on it and unless she scrapes it down with chlorine or something strong it doesn’t go away and she’s tired of cleaning it and I was hoping maybe you have a method of getting something to clean because I’ve tried everything – even that Rust-X – and it doesn’t seem to bother it.
TOM: This is inside the tub? Is there any sort of a surface treatment, like an anti-slip treatment, that the dirt is sticking to?
GIUSEPPE: No, I went to Home Depot. I spoke to the people there. I spoke to others. This has gone on for a while now and everyone tells me that, ‘Well, it’s cheap fiberglass. Cheap fiberglass,’ but …
TOM: You know, I don’t buy that.
GIUSEPPE: Neither do I.
TOM: You can have cheap fiberglass and it’s still going to clean properly. Giuseppe, if all the household products that you’re trying are not working so well, what I would suggest you look into is a marine cleaner. You know, fiberglass, of course, is the material that you use for boats and there are a lot of really good-quality fiberglass cleaners that work very, very well. One that I’m familiar with is called Dolphinite and it’s a fiberglass cleaner that can take off all sorts of deposits from the water or anything else that gets on a boat’s hull and I’m sure that it will do a good job of cleaning that bathtub.
LESLIE: Well, and once it cleans it, it also helps to guard against future depositing of stains. So it’s worth a shot.
TOM: Yeah, it’s pretty inexpensive. You can buy a 16-ounce bottle for about 14 bucks.
GIUSEPPE: What is the name again?
TOM: Dolphinite. It’s available online or you could find it at a marine store if there’s one near you. There’s a website, ShipStore.com, that sells it, too. So take a look at that. It’s a professional fiberglass cleaner designed for boats but I’m sure it would work very well on this troublesome tub and make your wife a lot happier to boot.
GIUSEPPE: Oh, I’m sure if she’s happy I’ll be much happier. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: That’s right. And if she’s happy, you’re happy. Right, Giuseppe?
GIUSEPPE: You better believe it. Thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, water, water everywhere! We’re going to answer some plumbing questions in The Money Pit e-mail bag, next.
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TOM: Making good homes better, call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Hey, do you have some things in your house that you’re not all that proud of; particularly mold? Well, if you do it’s not a good thing. The good news is if it’s in a small area, a one-time water issue that’s perhaps already been resolved – we hope – you can remediate that mold yourself. We’ve got a step-by-step how-to in our mold resource guide which is compiled by experts in the field and it’s chock full of info that is available for free at MoneyPit.com.
TOM: And while you’re at MoneyPit.com click on Ask Tom and Leslie and shoot us an e-mail question, just like Connie did from Jackson, Mississippi.
LESLIE: Alright, Connie writes: ‘Our gas starter in our fireplace is leaking. We tapped into it to put a ventless fireplace on the back porch which backs up to our inside fireplace that is a vented fireplace, which was once a log-burning fireplace.’ Zoiks. ‘The leak is around the starter key that controls both fireplaces. There is no leak in the new ventless fireplace on the porch but only on the inside starter that controls both of the fireplaces …’
TOM: Alright, I know enough. I know enough.
TOM: Put down the plumbing wrench and step away from the gas fireplaces, Connie, because this is not something you should be doing yourself. I don’t like hearing that you are merging these appliances together and I’m really uncomfortable with the way this is going. You need to stop right now and call a pro. Call a licensed plumber; have them come in and check this out because I’ve got to tell you, installing gas fireplaces is tricky business. If you don’t do it right you can cause a combustion situation where that carbon monoxide, that off-gassing, gets back in the house. So, you know, it could be the chimney is too small; could be the lines are too small. There could be a lot of reasons that it’s not working. So, don’t do this yourself. Call a pro. Get it done once, get it done right and you don’t have to worry about anything else.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one more here from Christopher in Woodbridge, Virginia who writes: ‘The cable company installers hit our main water pipe going to the house recently and we lost water. Ever since, the water faucet for the hot tub in my upstairs bathroom continues to run. Any thoughts?’
TOM: Yeah, you know, it might be that when you replaced the main valve that the new one now is sort of fully open so you have more pressure in the line and that could cause the faucets to leak. You probably just have a leaking valve seat in that one faucet. Easy fix.
LESLIE: Yeah, especially if that’s an old faucet.
TOM: OK, imagine that a pipe broke your ceiling and water is now leaking through every electrical light fixture onto your brand, spanking new carpet. Not a good thing. Reacting quickly is the only thing that’s going to save your home some major water damage. Leslie’s got the steps on how to do just that on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah, and best of all, this whole process isn’t going to take you more than a half an hour, right now, today. Go and do it because you could save yourself a fortune in case you ever do get a major water leak in your home like a pipe burst. You know, you have to know where all the valves are. That’s the most important thing in this whole step of time; know where these valves are. You want to locate them and you want to label every, single important water valve in your home. Today, right now, go ahead and do it as soon as you finish listening to The Money Pit. You want to include the main water valve, which is usually going to be in your basement; you also want to find hose valves, your ice maker’s valve and the water heater’s valve. You want to make sure that you can reach all of the valves; especially the one behind your washing machine. And if that unthinkable level of leak ever really did happen, you’re now all of about 30 seconds away from stopping that massive flow of water. So take your time today. Do it. It’s not going to take a lot of time but it’s going to save you a lot of money.
TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, want to learn how to add thousands of dollars to the value of your home without having to change a single thing in your house? Find out how landscaping can actually increase your home’s bottom line next week on the program.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2008 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.)