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. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because we are here to make those jobs easier to accomplish; easier to get done. If you’re stuck with a do-it-yourself dilemma, let us help by calling us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, it is a buyers market out there right now. Lots and lots of inventory. Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to get a new house. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be a bit scary. That’s why we invited our friend, Bob Vila, to stop by with some great advice and insight from his many decades in the real estate and home improvement business on how to find that perfect property. He’s got some pretty cool tips.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, you know, you might be surprised to learn that winter is the busiest time of year for firefighters. So if emergency crews needed to find your house in a hurry, could they identify it pretty darn quickly from the street? Well, we’ll give you the advice to put your home on the map.
TOM: And undertaking a renovation that includes a hot tub, a jetted tub, a new shower or another plumbing upgrade is a big project and one where you’re definitely going to want to consider adding a tankless water heater. Why? Because they are super energy-efficient and they deliver hot water fast if you install them near the bath. We’re going to tell you how to do that in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a great prize. It’s a residential security system from the folks over at Swann. It’s worth $199 and it includes a digital camera that oh so secretly will catch intruders in the act of doing whatever it is they are not supposed to be doing.
TOM: Will it also catch teenagers that are coming in past curfew?
LESLIE: Exactly! (Tom laughs) I mean put it wherever you want. If you’ve just made a fresh batch of cookies, put it by the kitchen so you can see if hubby is stealing them or your kids or whatever. This could be the best trick ever in the house.
TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Talking to Paula in Illinois. What can we do for you?
PAULA: Hi. I was wondering about a garden that would absorb or – you know, the sump pump in my yard really gets saturated; the yard area.
PAULA: The ground.
PAULA: So is a garden a good way to, you know, absorb some of that water?
TOM: Well, does the sump pump run more after a heavy rain?
PAULA: It does.
TOM: OK. So a couple of things here. First of all, let’s talk about how to reduce the amount of water that the pump has to pump out. Secondly, let’s talk about what we can do with that discharge.
TOM: The answer to the first question is if your sump pump is working overtime you probably have a drainage problem somewhere at the foundation perimeter.
LESLIE: Especially after a drain.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So your soil is probably a bit too flat and needs to be regraded to slope away from the walls more.
PAULA: I’m going to do all that. That is something I’ll do in the spring.
PAULA: But it’s more than that. It runs, you know, all year round. So it has to do with underneath my foundation.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah, but you told me that it’s worse after rain.
PAULA: Yes, it runs – oh, I would say worse – well, please, during the rain – you know, the one in August?
PAULA: That thing could not keep up. It was unbelievable.
TOM: I’ll bet. Right. So, a couple of things we want you to do. We want you to improve the grading and the drainage. Do the soil. Clean the gutters out. Extend the downspouts out away from the foundation perimeter. Now, on the extension, if your house – is your house positioned in such a way where you could possibly install some underground drains off of those gutters and then take that water, perhaps, to the street or some other place on the property where it could drain with gravity?
PAULA: There’s one possibility.
TOM: Because if you could do that, that would be the hot ticket because you could also take the sump pump discharge and drop it into the same line. There is a fitting that takes a four-inch drain pipe off of the gutter system and it converts it to a four-inch round PVC connection and then you could use solid PVC pipe and actually solidly pipe this underground and then discharge it somewhere off or towards the edge of the property. And I would physically plumb the sump pump discharge right into that. Be careful that you have at least a quarter-inch per foot pitch, which is not very much …
PAULA: Correct. Mm-hmm.
TOM: … but that will take the water out and that will stop that ponding in that corner. Because probably what’s happening, if that water’s dumping out right there, it’s a vicious cycle. It just goes right back through the soil …
TOM: … in through the foundation and back into the sump again.
PAULA: That’s very possible. Because for four years this thing ran continuously. I mean it was just – it drives me crazy.
TOM: It was the same water. It just kept rerunning. (everyone chuckles) Paula, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
PAULA: Thank you.
LESLIE: Charles in Maryland, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
CHARLES: Well, I have a question about linseed oil. I have a cypress board on the outside of my house and my mother-in-law has been putting linseed oil on it. However, she’s passed away now and I don’t know what she was using. Was she using boiled or was she using raw linseed oil?
TOM: Interesting question. Do you know what the difference is between boiled linseed oil and raw? The difference is that the boiled linseed oil is the only one that dries. The raw one does not dry. And so, for a siding sealing material, for an exterior finish, you use boiled linseed oil.
LESLIE: When would you ever want it to not dry?
TOM: You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know. I think if you were doing a finish technique called a French polish, which is something that’s used in furniture making …
TOM: … where you mix wax and linseed oil together and you do it like on a lathe when something’s spinning around very fast. That’s one time I think I’ve used it, but for the most part, in terms of sealing anything outside the house, always use boiled linseed oil.
CHARLES: Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. One other useless fact that I’ve trapped in my brain.
LESLIE: Why thank you, Cliff Claven. (Tom chuckles)
You are listening to The Money Pit and everybody here over at team Money Pit wants to wish you a happy New Year. Well, we can help you put your home on your resolution list this year by helping you tackle all of those projects. So call in your home repair or your home improvement question to get those lists started right away and on the right foot 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, are you making a renovation that includes a new bath? Are you making over your bathroom that you have right now? Well, there is one item that you need to consider. You won’t be able to see it when your room is done but you will definitely be able to feel the results every, single day. We’ll tell you what it is, next.
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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are chock-a-block full of great, expert advice. Perhaps you’re wondering where you should store your motorcycle for the winter. (Leslie chuckles) Well, we would recommend against the attic. Probably a bad idea. Unless you’re joists are rated for Harley. (Leslie chuckles) Then it’d probably be OK. For other, less dramatic questions, call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. If you do, you could win a cool prize we’re giving away to one caller this hour; the Swann Digital Private Eye Security System. It’s worth 199 bucks. It looks kind of like a simple alarm system but it’s got a motion detector that will sort of trigger if somebody walks by it. And Leslie says she can set it up in front of the refrigerator (Leslie laughs) to catch the diet cheaters. So there’s another possible use for it. Anyway …
LESLIE: I’m telling you. It could open up a whole bunch of fun around the house.
TOM: (chuckling) It could also open up some embarrassing moments. (Leslie chuckles) So we recommend against that. Use it for the security purpose for which it is intended and if you want to win it, call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Because one caller to the program this hour, that – and here’s the rules: you must come on the air and ask your home improvement question – may get a chance at winning just that.
LESLIE: Alright, well we love bathroom makeovers and we know that bathrooms offer a huge return on investment all over the country. They really do provide all that money – well, a good portion of it – back from what you invest into the project. Behind that is kitchens. But if you’ve got a bathroom on the project list this year or even if someone you know is thinking about renovating their home bath or even just adding a jetted tub or a hot tub or one of those multiple spa-like showers, a body spray unit or just even adding another bathroom to the house, more than likely there’s going to be a need to upgrade the hot water supply; especially if you’re going from one bath to two. You know, it really is a piece of cake with the installation of a tankless water heater.
Now, tankless units, they’re a lot smaller, which makes them super easy to install almost anywhere in your home. They’re also much more energy efficient because they heat water only as you need it, which means that you’re never, ever going to run out of hot water. And Rheem, which is a great company, offers a variety of both tanked and tankless water heaters that can supply enough hot water for any renovation or any home addition.
If you’re interested in enhancing your renovation or your home addition with an energy-efficient Rheem tankless water heater, great website to visit. It’s going to answer all your questions. It’s SmarterHotWater.com. Or, of course, visit MoneyPit.com and ask us your question today.
TOM: Or call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Kent in Montana has a question about flooring. What can we help you with?
KENT: Hey, I have a couple bathrooms that have linoleum on the floor.
KENT: And I want to tile over them. And a friend of mine told me that I can put some thinset down, wonderboard and tile right on top of that.
LESLIE: Well, wonderboard, thinset. (chuckling) The other way around.
KENT: Yeah. Thinset, wonderboard. Well, I’m going to put the – don’t you put thinset down before the wonderboard? Nail it down and then put thinset again for the tile?
LESLIE: Hmm. When I’ve done countertops I’ve done wonderboard, thinset, then tile.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
LESLIE: I’ve never created like a mud base for it.
TOM: A wonderboard sandwich. (chuckling)
KENT: Well, you nail it down, right?
TOM: No, no. You’re thinking of Wonder Bread. That’s the sandwich.
LESLIE: You do …
KENT: Yeah, Wonder Bread. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: You do nail it down or screw it down.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. You attach the wonder board, then you put the thinset on top of that.
KENT: But no trouble going over the linoleum?
TOM: No, shouldn’t be. There’s no reason to take that up, as long as it’s flat. I would go right over it. There’s really no reason to pull it. Are you doing this in the kitchen?
KENT: No, it’s two bathrooms.
TOM: Oh, OK. Alright. Well, no. You’re going to pull the toilet out and you’re going to have to …
TOM: … extend the drain so that it comes up another half-inch or so or whatever the thickness of that is. That’s something you will have to do.
KENT: (overlapping voices) Oh, yeah. How do I do that?
TOM: Well, there’s actually a component for your plumbing system that will extend that.
TOM: That fits inside there. So yeah, but that’s a plumbing repair and that’s something you’ll have to do. Because you have to make up that distance.
KENT: Man, that’s …
TOM: Is that more than you counted on?
KENT: That’s important stuff. That’s important stuff, right there.
TOM: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
TOM: Don’t want to have a leak.
KENT: No. (Tom chuckles) That’s …
LESLIE: And then make sure when you’re reattaching that toilet to the floor, Kent, that you don’t over-tighten the screws and shatter the porcelain.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a bad thing, too.
KENT: Yeah, I know. I’ve done that before. (Tom and Leslie laugh)
TOM: You knew that.
KENT: (chuckling) Yeah.
TOM: Alright, Kent. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
KENT: (overlapping voices) Yeah, I want to thank you.
LESLIE: Calling from my neck of the woods, Long Island, New York. Dorothy, welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
DOROTHY: Hi, I have a garage door that, at night, opens by itself.
TOM: (chuckling) OK.
DOROTHY: First time I didn’t know what time. The second time I happened to get up at 2:30, looked out the window. The garage door was closed but when I went to the garage it was open at 6:30. Now, my garage door is not hard-wired. So what I have been doing is closing the door and then walking 10 or 15 feet and unplugging the door. However, I am handicapped and this is difficult for me.
Now, I came in on one of your programs, in the middle, where you – one of you said there was something that had a whole bunch of different codes for the garage doors.
TOM: Dorothy, how old is your garage door opener?
DOROTHY: Well, I had a new unit put in four years ago.
TOM: Mm-hmm. OK.
DOROTHY: But that company, unfortunately, is out of business.
DOROTHY: Now, what gets me is I’m afraid to call somebody because I’m an old lady by myself and I’m afraid they’re going to take advantage of me.
TOM: Alright, Dorothy, let me tell you what’s going on here. If you have an older garage door opener or one that is not up to modern standards it’s not going to have the right type of encoding. The very – the old openers only had, you know, four, five, six, eight, ten different possible codes. And the new ones use something called rolling code technology. So every time the door goes up, every time you use your remote, it actually physically changes the code and there are millions of different codes. And it all is handled automatically by the opener itself; by the transmitter that’s the kind that you keep in your car.
LESLIE: And Tom, that would be bad so – because if your neighbors got a similar code and they go to open their garage, yours would open, too.
TOM: Well, exactly, and that’s what I think may be happening to Dorothy. Someone else in your neighborhood may have the same code and when the conditions are right that’s actually opening your garage door. So I think the solution here, Dorothy, is a new garage door opener and you have to specifically ask if the opener has something called rolling code technology. It is very common. It’s not hard to find. Most of the new openers have it and that’s what you need to ask; about rolling code technology. If they have that, then you will probably be absolutely fine and solve this problem and you’ll not have to unplug your garage door opener anymore.
LESLIE: There’s no way you can switch it yourself?
TOM: Well, there might be. It depends. If you look at the back of the garage door opener there’s a set of switches; they’re call dip switches.
TOM: And they’re probably going to be adjusted one will be up, one will be down and so on. And that’s going to match the pattern of the dip switches on the transmitter itself. Now, what you could do is try to change that pattern and if you do that, you know, it may be that if someone else has the same pattern then perhaps [your good fortune enough] (ph) that it doesn’t open and close automatically anymore. But even so, it’s not really smart to have a garage door opener that’s not protected by rolling code because, you know, the crooks can have a garage door opener with, you know, 10 different combinations …
LESLIE: And just try every one.
TOM: … and they can just go up and down the street and try every one. Exactly.
LESLIE: Michael in Pennsylvania’s dealing with a slow drain. Tell us about your problem.
MICHAEL: Hey, I’ve got a slow drain situation. All copper pipes. It’s like an inch-and-three – well, I guess two-inch pipe. And I took a snake in there that I got from a rent-a-center and – you know, it’s like a drill all hooked up; turn it on; it spins – and ran that in.
MICHAEL: That freed it up a little bit but it’s still kind of slow. What’s the best way to chemically clean out a slow drain like that?
LESLIE: Well, we’ve got a natural way for you to give a whirl first before you go ahead and try anything super harsh that could, you know, actually do some damage to the plumbing itself.
MICHAEL: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
LESLIE: You want to take one-half cup of each salt, baking soda and vinegar – the white vinegar – and pour that down the drain. And then you want to follow it with two quarts of super boiling water and that’s going to sort of activate everything and get it to sort of foam up and clean its way down the drain itself. That should usually do the trick.
I’ve also found that Roto-Rooter makes a natural enzyme that comes in a liquid form that you mix with hot water and you do this once a month and that sort of helps loosen up all the goo and soap scum and hair and stuff that tends to build up down the drain as well and help move it along. It’s always better to try natural stuff first because the chemicals can be really harsh to the plumbing and end up causing a whole other host of problems.
MICHAEL: Right. Ah, well thank you very much. I’ll give that a shot.
TOM: You’re welcome, Michael. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Dean in Utah has a question about insulating a slab house. Dean, how can we help?
DEAN: I want to save energy by insulating my slab floor in my existing house.
DEAN: And I understand that some of this foamboard can be used but that there’s an optimum angle at which to place that foamboard next to your house. It doesn’t need to – it’s not good to have it parallel to the foundation wall but at some angle going out into the soil.
TOM: Now, your goal here is to warm the first floor of the house or is there a basement? What area were you looking …
DEAN: No, it’s a slab, one-story house.
TOM: Alright. Well, what you’re talking about is putting insulation against the outside of the foundation walls, correct?
DEAN: Right. Exactly.
TOM: OK. And this is a house that’s already constructed, right?
TOM: This is not one you’re building. So, in order to do that you’d have to excavate out the soil around the house.
TOM: That’s a boatload of work for a little bit of benefit, my friend. I’m not so sure I would do that. Just a lot of work and if you’re looking for ways to make your house more energy efficient and make your house warmer, there’s probably a lot of other things that you can do besides that. You’ll pick up a little bit of insulation by doing that but man, that’s a lot of work; excavating all that soil, getting it out so you can get down a couple of feet and putting foamboard against the walls. A lot of work for a little bit of benefit.
I would rather suggest that you look into having an energy audit done and I would be surprised if you didn’t find a dozen other places where that energy and that money is better spent to reduce the cost of operating your home, sir.
LESLIE: And Dean, your energy provider can do that energy audit for you. Many – you know, a lot of times these companies will do it for little or no charge and then they basically tell you where these energy leaks are around your home and give you some ideas on how to fix them.
TOM: For example, you may very well have gaps between the bottom of the sill, which is the bottom framed piece of the wall, and that slab that could be letting air in that needs to be sealed up. And …
DEAN: It’s a concrete block house, so …
DEAN: … there’s no gaps there.
TOM: Well, you know, there’s a material called Sill Sealer that’s supposed to be in between the frame of the wall and the top of the concrete block. And there could be. The thing is, you can’t see them but there’s tools that actually help energy auditors find those drafts and find those gaps that could seal them up. Just one example. But I think I would recommend against excavating the house and putting the foam on the outside. I think it’s too much work for not enough benefit.
Dean, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned in to The Money Pit Home.
Hey, coming up, we have – and I’m very excited about this – our good friend, Bob Vila, who’s going to join us with some great advice for homebuyers because homes are becoming more affordable thanks to a plethora of them on the market right now. And with a little bit of sweat equity on your part, a so-so home could become a major showpiece. Find out what you need to know from our friend, Bob Vila, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem tankless water heaters, which qualify for a $300 energy efficient tax credit if purchased before the end of this year. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey, it’s been a difficult real estate market. In fact, it’s a buyers market right now. Lots of inventory is making it possible for first-time homebuyers to bargain hunt. But there are still a few obstacles out there.
LESLIE: That’s right. To give first-time homebuyers some great insight and advice, we are thrilled, just thrilled, to have our friend, Bob Vila, back on the program.
BOB: Thank you. It’s good to be with you.
TOM: So Bob, you have all of those 25 or 30-year-olds out there that are hoping to buy a home. Good market right now. Where do we begin?
BOB: Well, it’s – you know, you have to look at both sides of the coin. It is a good market in that a lot of prices have started coming down. But it’s a bad market in that we’re looking at the middle of one of the worse messes in the financial markets that I’ve seen since the early 80s in terms of, you know, foreclosures and in terms of a lot of these irresponsible loans and these kind of difficult situations that have come across just in the last couple of years. So yeah, if you want to focus on the silver lining (Tom and Leslie chuckle), there are price reductions; there are, in many markets, you know, really – almost a glut of inventory of housing units; many of them brand new and in interesting places.
LESLIE: Well, I mean you right with the financial end of it. It just seems so difficult. And I even know when we were buying our house five years ago it seemed difficult to make that step. Now, for younger people or even first-time homebuyers of any age, to secure that financial loan is extremely difficult. So what are folks to look for as far as a good bargain for a good price with the money that they can get?
BOB: Well, you know, it’s – a buyers market is always a market for the guy that’s relatively well-heeled; who’s been saving some money and waiting for this kind of opportunity. So, for those people who have the money to put down and who have the ability to take on mortgages that are not going to be as good as they were a year ago or five years ago, then you know, there are some good opportunities.
For other folks, it might be a good time to just stay put and save some money and invest in other areas other than real estate because a lot of people have been fooled into thinking that real estate is just a nonstop escalator to complete wealth. And we have had many, many areas of the country where people have done very, very well with their homes and, indeed, have become wealthy because of real estate that they own. But every once in a while, you go through a gap and you go through a stop and a plateau and sometimes it goes downhill.
I think one of the sad things that I was hearing on the news recently is where one of the major homebuilding companies in the country is basically trying to dump 100 units of inventory by reducing the price drastically, which might be a boon for buyers but it certainly is a sad story for the guys that bought six months ago who all of a sudden find themselves looking at the value reduction of their own real estate.
TOM: We’re talking to Bob Vila. He has a great website, BobVila.com, with an amazing collection; your life’s work of video and new stuff happening all the time.
Bob, you mention that there are some neighborhoods around the country that you consider to have been somewhat resurrected. Can you give us some ideas of some of those places and where folks might want to start bargain hunting in those spots?
BOB: One of the things that I found interesting in the last five or ten years is that more and more urban centers – and I’m thinking of Chicago – but more and more urban centers started converting old, light-industrial construction – you know, old buildings that were never meant to be residential – into loft space. And the whole concept of living in a loft became extremely popular in places other than Soho in New York City.
If you look at New York City, there’s a great example there. I mean what was once affordable real estate south of Houston Street is now multimillionaire stuff. What was once affordable real estate in Chelsea is now all expensive art galleries. And if you follow the artists, which I always think is a good thing to watch, they’ve all moved to Brooklyn. And you know, the hottest part of Brooklyn right now is Williamsburg and that’s where the artists first started going, you know, in the last three, four, five years. So that applies almost to any city. When you pay attention and see where the artistic element of your local society is dwelling, that usually is an up and coming place.
TOM: That’s a great tip; to follow the artists.
Now let’s say you find a house – and Bob, I don’t know if you know this but I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector and one of the most common mistakes I used to find that certain buyers would make is they would get their hearts set on a house a bit too early in the transaction; before they really understood what they were getting involved in. Have you observed similar things in your years?
BOB: Oh, sure. There are always people that get overly enthusiastic about something and jump in over their heads. And obviously, we’ve seen so much of that in the last few years with the mortgage industry luring and seducing a lot of people into situations where they shouldn’t have gotten into. I mean you’re seeing a lot of foreclosures right now. I just am keeping my fingers crossed that the federal government doesn’t go in and bail out all these bankers and all these hedge fund guys who have made some mistakes, while ignoring the little guy who are the – you know, the guys that are really going to suffer. You’ve got a lot of people that are in danger of being foreclosed on right now and it’s – it’s probably – in my 35 years in this area, this is probably one of the uglier moments I can recall.
LESLIE: Well, so now what is your advice or just general overall advice for people who’ve already made the plunge; they’ve got a house, whether it’s a fixer-upper or a new house? But what can they do to best protect their investment over the long haul?
BOB: Well, in all situations, the best thing that you can do is to take good care of your investment, obviously. And if you are in a situation where you’re struggling because of an adjustable mortgage rate, then what you need, probably, is the advice of a professional either in the law or in the brokerage community or both or, you know, just make your first stop your bank. But renegotiating is always more appealing to the banker and the guy that holds the note than just finding themselves having to foreclose and owning an empty house.
TOM: And your website at BobVila.com, great resource; great videos there; great how-to information. And how’s the tool line going? There’s a good place to start if you own a house? You can pick up a set of Bob Vila tools.
BOB: It’s been an exciting time for us, from the point of view of the Bob Vila brand. We started manufacturing tools and we brought them out exclusively on home shopping network and on the internet at their site and at BobVila.com and I’m hoping that in the beginning of the year you’ll start seeing them in a lot of the actual big stores. But we’ve come out not just with hand tools and cordless tools but one of the things that I’ve always thought were a valuable contribution to the homeowner was to put out kits; toolkits, if you will. Not just a toolbox with an assortment of things – although that’s a great gift – but specific toolkits; for example, for a plumbing project. So we’ve got Bob Vila-branded tools that are available in a kit just with collection of wrenches and a DVD with instruction on doing different types of simple plumbing repairs; a leaky faucet and things like that.
TOM: So you get the tools and the information to get the job done.
LESLIE: That’s great.
TOM: Bob Vila, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
The website is BobVila.com.
BOB: Great to be with you.
LESLIE: Well, it is always super fun talking to – I’m sorry to say, Bob – my second favorite Cuban in the world because my husband’s numero uno on that list. (Tom chuckles) But Bob, you have a very special place in my heart since I was a little girl.
Alright, Money Pit listeners, up next we have got an easy way for police or firefighters – you know, your emergency identifiers – to help find your house in the quickest way in the event of an emergency. So stick around.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show; your source for how-to and, more importantly, how-not-to home improvement tips. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You know what happens if you call that number? You get a great resource to all the answers you need to that home improvement dilemma that’s happening in your neck of the woods, but you also get a great chance to win a super prize just by asking your question on the air. And this hour we are giving away a Swann Digital Private Eye Security System. It’s worth 199 bucks and it’s like a basic alarm system except it’s got a motion-triggered digital camera that’s going to take up to 20,000 photos that will catch anyone setting it off right in the act. All you’ve got to do is ask your question on the air for your chance to be in that Money Pit hardhat and your chance to win.
TOM: 888-666-3974. That’s a great way to keep unwanted people away from your house. But what if you needed help and wanted to have the right people find your house? Put yourself on the map. Here’s a little trick to do just that.
Replace those house numbers. And you want to use super large ones. Why? Well, so police and other emergency vehicles can locate your home really, really quickly. And if you have a long driveway or if you have an entrance-way that’s somewhat obscure, make sure your address is in plain view and well lit. It could keep you super safe when you need it.
LESLIE: Talking to Ernest in Pennsylvania about air conditioning. How can we help you?
ERNEST: I’ve got an old house. It was built in the 1800s. It’s a row. And the heater was – the hot air heater was put in around 1962 …
ERNEST: … using existing ducting from the gravity-fed heater.
ERNEST: I’m considering putting in whole-house air conditioning.
ERNEST: How much of a problem is that going to be?
TOM: Can’t do it. That duct system is going to be way under sized for air conditioning. The air conditioning ducts have to be a lot bigger.
ERNEST: Well, these are like 24×8 inches.
ERNEST: They boxed in the joists.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Typically – well, that’s probably for the return. That usually wouldn’t be for the supply. You probably have another type of duct for the supply.
TOM: But typically, these old houses that only had heating systems and not air conditioning, it is very unusual that you’ll be able to install a central air conditioning system into that and use the same size ducts because they’re typically too small and inefficient and they don’t do the job. And I don’t think you’re going to be happy.
Now, that being said, there may be some not too terribly complicated changes that could be made to improve that duct size. But you need to have an HVAC guy take a look at that – a heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractor –
TOM: – because that’s all part of a sizing calculation …
TOM: … that plays into the size of the compressor that you’ll need and the size of the ducts. Generally, though …
LESLIE: Now what about – I’m sorry, Tom. But what about, you know, a separate system? Maybe something like that SpacePak company that uses those smaller, you know, flexible …
TOM: Well, you could put a completely – yeah, you could put a completely separate system in but, you know, I tend to think that that will probably be more expensive than improving the duct system you have right now.
You know, there’s a lot of tricks of the trade to this. You can have very, very few bends. For example, if you take one 90-degree bend in a metal duct, that’s equivalent to like 20 lineal feet of resistance. So that’s like adding another 20-foot section in terms of how much oomph it needs to get around the corners. You know what I mean? So I think you’re going to have to do some modification to those ducts.
ERNEST: (chuckling) I’m stuck with window units, then?
TOM: No, you’re not stuck with window units. Listen, you can do it. It’s just going to take some work.
ERNEST: Lot of take walls out and …
TOM: Maybe not. No. If it’s done carefully it’s – listen, I have a really old house that has a hot water system. So we had no ducts and we were able to get a central air conditioning system installed with very little disturbance of the framing of this house; just because we were very careful and selective about where we ran the ducts. There’s a lot of places to get ducts in a row, Ernest. (Leslie chuckles)
ERNEST: Yeah. (laughing) That’s cute.
ERNEST: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit and we always give you good and useful home improvement advice including, up next, how to fix a crack in a vinyl shower pan. I bet a lot of you are dealing with that. It’s not as hard as you think.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And if you like the tips we give you on the air, you will love the information we have at MoneyPit.com. There’s new tips there every time you visit our site. You can even arrange to have one of our tips pop up on your website every, single day. Just go to MoneyPit.com and all the info on how to do just that is right there.
LESLIE: Hey, and while you’re at MoneyPit.com, you’ve probably seen this ginormous button that’s rectangular-shaped that says Ask Tom and Leslie with big question marks all over it. Well, here’s a hint. If you click that you can e-mail us your question because maybe you’re too shy to pick up the phone and dial 888-MONEY-PIT. And then what happens is we take all your e-mails; we get to them every time we do The Money Pit this hour of the show and we jump right in. So if you’re too shy, e-mail us. We’re going to answer them right now.
We’ve got one here from Lorraine in St. James, New York which is right near that AARP house we did that makeover, Tom. So …
TOM: Yeah, that was a great job.
LESLIE: Yeah. Really came out lovely. So now we know almost practically where Lorraine lives and she writes: ‘We’ve got a crack in our vinyl shower basin. We put a fiberglass patch filler on it and it seems to have stopped the leak; although I don’t know if this is a permanent solution. Is there any way of fixing it without replacing the entire basin and taking out all of the marble tiles around it? Would it help if we put tile down on top of it?
TOM: Well, you could but I find that the fiberglass basins are a bit flexible and my concern is that you really wouldn’t be able to get good adhesion for the marble tiles. If you did it at all I would probably use mosaics because they have …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Something smaller so they give more.
TOM: Yeah, they have a lot more give. The other thing that you could do, though, is continue to add additional layers of fiberglass over that. If you use a fiberglass gloss coat you actually might dress up that whole space. My only concern is this. Make sure, because it is a shower basin, that you add some sand to the mix of the fiberglass so you always have some traction; it doesn’t become a very, very slippery, dangerous place.
LESLIE: Yeah, because that’s all you need is slip-and-falls in the bath. You’ve got to be careful there, Lorraine.
Alright, we’ve got one here from Barbara in LaPorte, Indiana who writes: ‘I have a fan in the over-the-stove microwave and it doesn’t vent to the outside. Should it be vented to the outside?’ Well, it should be but …
TOM: It should be if you can and if, in fact, the stove is on the outside wall – if the microwave’s on the outside wall – then it would definitely be worth the carpentry job that it would take to vent that outside. Because if not, what it’s going to do is recirculate and that’s no where near as effective at getting rid of the heat and the steam that comes off [of the cooker.] (ph)
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Yeah. But if it’s not, I mean it’s not the end of the world; especially if you’ve got to go bends and bends and bends and it’s never really going to make it outside.
LESLIE: You know, just deal with it and just be cautious to clean all of those filters.
Alright, we’ve got another here from Julia in Austin, Texas who writes: ‘I plan to build a house and I want to increase the life of the roof by applying a waterproof paint to it before installing the roof. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t paint the roof deck?’
TOM: Yeah. That’s just not the way it works. You don’t want to waste your money or your time. If you have plywood or oriented strand board that’s rated for roof decks, it’s not going to be improved by paint.
TOM: If you have sufficient moisture or vapor water barrier above the roof deck, that is probably the best thing that you can possibly do. I would look to one of the synthetic underlayments. There’s good quality synthetic underlayments like Grace Tri-Flex Xtreme. That could go under the roofing shingles and that will give you excellent protection. It’s much more effective than tarpaper because it doesn’t tear and it doesn’t rip and it really is a very, very durable surface.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It really is worth the minimal extra expense because it will enhance the lifetime of your roof itself.
Alright, Julia. Hope that helps.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show available 24/7/365 at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and also available online where the show continues at MoneyPit.com.
Coming up next week on the program, what a difference a door makes. If you’re trying to sell your house and you wanted to do one thing that could make a huge impact and, for not costing you a whole lot of money, could actually bring you a tremendous increase in the home value, that would be to install a front entryway. We’re going to have all of the info on how to do just that 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.
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(Copyright 2007 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.)