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: Making good homes better. It’s home repair because we care about you. What are you working on? What are you doing? Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Call us with that one project that’s really bugging you.
LESLIE: I guess what Tom’s just saying is ‘Just call us.’
TOM: Just call us. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
We’ve got a great show in store for you. Let’s start by talking about your laundry appliances. Is your clothes dryer more than a few years old? If so, you might have a plastic exhaust pipe, which actually could be very dangerous. We’re going to tell you what you should do about that in this hour of the program.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, your stove’s vent hood. It’s been with you as long as you’ve had it. How many times have you addressed cleaning it and really thought about it? We’re going to tell you exactly how often and why you need to keep it clean.
TOM: Also, how about this? Have you ever heard of an ice dam? They actually do exist. This is the prime season for ice dams. It’s a potentially serious problem that could cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to your roof. It could let the water pour right in. We’re going to tell you how to recognize an ice dam and what to do about it in just a bit.
LESLIE: And we’ve got a great prize to give away this hour. We’re going to be giving away the Ryobi 7.2 volt drill. It’s worth about 30 bucks. It could help you tackle just about any home improvement project around the house. So make sure you call in and get your name into that hardhat. You just might win.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Marilyn in Illinois, you’re up on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
MARILYN: We built our home about 30 years ago. And for the first 24 years, we had 180-acre farm in our backyard. We didn’t own it but as soon as farmer died, they started construction, putting utilities in. And now we have a bunch of very beautiful, expensive homes behind us. And for that 24 years, we didn’t have a crack, a settling; our home was perfect. Well, after the construction went it, we noticed some, oh, (inaudible) cracks in the seams. And now we’ve noticed, for the last couple of years, every once in a while a little bit of seepage comes from the wall that’s – from the basement wall that is to the backyard. And it’s not every time it rains but sometimes when it’s a heavy downpour, there’s a little trickle that goes to the sewer. And I don’t know if it’s something we could repair ourselves or do we have to have professionals do it. And we’re thinking of possibly moving next year, so we want to know what to do about this.
TOM: You want to find a house with another couple hundred acres behind it, right? To live in.
MARILYN: Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful? (chuckling) We are just shocked. It’s – we’re having a hard time.
TOM: We hear it. We feel your pain. But I will tell you that the brand new development is probably not responsible for the leak that you’re now seeing. It’s probably a drainage that’s just snuck up on you. The areas that you want to look at, Leslie, I would say the gutters and the grading.
LESLIE: Yeah, it could even be just that over time as the earth settles around the house, it’s just changed the way the grading is and now maybe something’s sloping toward that wall. It’s really not a big issue.
What you want to do is you want to check your gutters. Make sure that you have gutters. Make sure they’re clean. Make sure that the downspouts are clean. You know, every so often, snake out those downspouts because debris …
MARILYN: My husband does that all the time.
LESLIE: Good, because debris gets stuck in them. Then you want to look at where those downspouts are depositing that water. Sometimes those downspouts are right up against your foundation, which could put that water directly against that wall. You want to make sure that the grading outside – you want to make sure all of the ground slopes away from the house. You want to go down about six inches over four to six feet. So it’s not drastic but it does get that water moving away.
TOM: And the type of soil that you use is also important. If you have a lot of topsoil or a lot of mulch, that’s going to hold water against your house. The key here, Marilyn, is that you tell us it happens after heavy, heavy rain and that’s always a drainage issue.
LESLIE: Which would be a drainage issue.
TOM: You’ve just got to get to the bottom of it. I mean that’s proof positive that something is not quite right with your drainage. You’ve just got to get to the bottom of where it’s going wrong.
MARILYN: Oh, that sounds so much easier. Simpler.
TOM: Yes. It’s very simple. OK, Marilyn?
MARILYN: Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hi, William. Tell us about what’s going on at your house? How can we help?
WILLIAM: The moss is growing on my shingles. And I would like to know how could I treat it to stop that.
TOM: Alright, well we can help you with that. There’s a couple of things that you’re going to want to do. First of all, the reason the moss is growing on your roof shingles is because probably it’s a shady area. And so anything you can do to add additional light to that area by trimming back …
LESLIE: If you can trim back any trees. Just open it up so you get some more light on there because sunlight will help dry it up and kill it.
TOM: The second thing that you’re going to want to do is wash the roof. There are different roof cleaners out there. One that works very well is called Jomax – J-o-m-a-x – available at home centers across the country. You mix it with bleach. You apply it to the roof and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then scrub it off. You have to use it very, very carefully because if you’re going to be working on that roof, it’s going to be very slippery. If you’re uncomfortable, don’t do it yourself.
And then once it’s clean, then you could use a little trick of the trade that Leslie and I like to talk about to stop that moss from coming back.
LESLIE: Yeah, you can install a nickel or a copper ridge vent, which would go on the ridge of your roof. And then as it rains, as the rain hits the metal, the metal releases something which you’ll notice. You’ll see clean streaks washing down your roof which is going to get rid of any moss or mold or mildew growing up there. And you’ll see it’ll just help to continually keep it clean. So it’s something that once you get it done, you don’t ever have to look at it again because it will be doing it on its own.
TOM: William, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Something’s bubbling in Tennessee and it’s at Linda’s house. What can we do for you?
LINDA: Hi, I have a bathtub and a toilet that sit sort of close to each other. And when I drain the bathtub, the toilet bubbles up and then the water drains out of the toilet almost all the way.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s funny. The reason that’s happening, Linda, is because there’s a venting issue. The toilet is probably not vented properly or the bathtub is not vented properly, so what you’re seeing is an imbalance of pressure in the drain lines. And it’s kind of sucking or drawing down the toilet as it tries to find air to replace all of the air that’s being pulled out by the action of the drain. So you need to have a plumber evaluate where the drain pipes are – where the vent pipes are running. And you may need to add an additional one somewhere to let more air into that system so that doesn’t happen. That’s a fairly common condition in a house that doesn’t – is not vented correctly.
LINDA: Alright. Well, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Linda. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Out in Oregon you can find The Money Pit on KBNP, like Carla does. How can we help you?
CARLA: Well, I just had a house built and the builder never asked how I wanted my laundry drain done. And he believes that when they go into the wall you can have lots of problems. So he has the laundry drain into a laundry sink. I want it the other way and I was wondering if he’s responsible for that.
TOM: He’s got the drain for the washing machine going into the laundry sink?
TOM: That’s poor form. Now, you don’t – you do that – I mean see people do that as an afterthought but that’s not the right way to do that. It should have its own drain and it should have its own vent.
CARLA: I agree. (chuckling) But is he – you know, is there – is that not up to code and can I like sue him for it or …?
TOM: Not worth the expense or the trouble and if it’s two years that have passed it’s out of warranty, too.
CARLA: Well no, it just was built the 29th.
TOM: Oh, it was just built? Oh, and do you have a homeowner’s warranty on it?
CARLA: I do.
TOM: Well, I would do a couple of things. First of all, have you complained to the builder yet?
CARLA: Yes, we have.
TOM: Secondly, I would write to the warranty company and complain to them. And thirdly, I would drop in to visit my local friendly neighborhood code enforcement official.
TOM: And say, ‘I don’t know from nothing, but take a look at this. I don’t think it’s done correctly.’ And is it a violation of the code in the Oregon district that you’re in.
TOM: And just take a – take a picture and bring it in and have him take a look. And you want to probably talk to the code inspector or the plumbing inspector. But it’s very poor form if nothing else. It’s very poor workmanship.
Carla, go get ’em. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
What kind of builder is it that doesn’t like to put pipes in a wall? I mean what’s up with that?
LESLIE: A lazy one?
TOM: Yeah, there you go. (chuckling)
LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright. Well, you’ve got some New Year’s resolutions. We’re going to help you keep them. Maybe it’s to redo that kitchen. Maybe it’s to fix that squeaky door. But whatever it is, we’ve got an answer for you. So call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, do you have a dryer that’s more than a few years old? Well, chances are it has a plastic exhaust pipe. While plastic is great for most things around the house, it’s not a good thing to have when it comes to venting your dryer. It could be very dangerous. It causes lots of dryer fires. Find out what to do about it, next.
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: It’s where work and fun meet. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we think that homework is fun; the kind of homework that we do, that is. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
As long as it’s not math or science. As long as it’s home improvement and fun, I love homework.
Alright, here’s something you should do. Go to your laundry room, take the radio with you so you can know exactly what to look for (chuckling), and if you’ve got an older dryer – you know, maybe people have boom boxes still. They should bring it with them or just crank it up so you hear what we’re talking about. Alright, older dryers – typically, they’re going to use a plastic exhaust hose. This is the hose that’s going to go from the dryer to the wall to the vent itself. And we know now that this is a really dangerous practice because that plastic pipe can actually cause some serious fire hazards. Check yours now. If it’s white and plastic, replace it immediately with a flexible metal vent. You and your home will be so happy.
TOM: And while you’re at it, check around the house for other danger zones. We’re going to tell you about the top three hidden fire hazards that could be lurking in your home in the next edition of the Money Pit e-newsletter. It’s free. It comes to your e-mail inbox every single Friday morning. There’s over 50,000 subscribers. So why don’t you join in and find out what everybody else already knows. There’s lots of great, free information in the Money Pit e-newsletter every single week. And guess what? There’s not even any advertisements. So it’s all just great information that we …
LESLIE: All good info.
TOM: … provide just for you. So sign up today at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And another thing that we like to do that’s free is to give away prizes to our callers who ask their questions on air. One of those lucky callers not only gets a fantastic answer and their home improvement dilemma solved, but they could win a great prize. It’s the Ryobi 7.2-volt cordless drill. It’s got a new design. It’s comfortable. It’s powerful. And it’s compact. It’s even got a center handle with a super powerful grip overmold. It’s going to give you good balance and it’s going to feel great while you’re using it.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. It’s worth 30 bucks but it could be yours free if we pick your name out of the Money Pit hardhat.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Roofing – one of the top 10 calls we get here at The Money Pit and Jesse from Connecticut is no different. How can we help?
JESSE: Well, we have a question about trying to put covers over our gutters.
JESSE: Or some type of a covering so that we don’t get – we’re senior citizens getting up there and we try to maintain our home and don’t like him getting on the ladder. We have an older home. It was built in 1907. And it’s what you call a gambrel roof with a slant and then it comes straight down.
JESSE: And I’m kind of afraid that if we put those new kind of gutters that the water will just come streaming down that straightaway …
TOM: And bounce off?
JESSE: Right. Absolutely.
TOM: Yeah. OK.
JESSE: And we tried to put little screens on there. Well, the birds got in underneath it and thought it was wonderful. (chuckling) And then the squirrels lifted over the screen and thought that was a wonderful spot to build a nest in. So he was up on the ladder more that year than anything.
LESLIE: Well, and with the screens it sort of, you know, macerates the leaves and, you now, causes even more of a buildup in the gutter. So they’re not always the best choice for those covers.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Well, let’s look at the overview of options.
First of all, you talked about screens and as Leslie said, not always a great idea because the stuff gets in there. You talked about the different types of gutter covers. Well, most of those gutter covers work on the principle of surface tension, where the water sort of hugs the top of the cover and then sort of falls in slots, of course falls around an edge, goes into the gutter. And they work great with your average roof. The time that they don’t work great is when you have a lot of force behind the water. So, with the type of roof that you have, which has a little bit of shape on top and then a very vertical surface – almost a 45-degree surface for that second bend in the roof – I know exactly what you’re talking about – I don’t think that those types of gutter covers are going to work for you. Because I think the water is going to hit them and it is going to bounce off and I don’t think you’re going to be happy.
Basically, those are the two options that you have to consider in terms of gutter covers. Another option though, which would create a gutter that would not clog nearly as much, would be simply to increase the size of the gutters. Most homes have four-inch K-style gutters on them, which is the standard. What you might want to do is convert that to a six-inch gutter or, if you don’t want to convert the gutter to a deeper gutter, what you could do is you could pull out the four-inch pipes and replace them with six-inch pipes. Basically, that’s going to be a much wider hole for the water and the debris to fall down. And those – the gutters that have those very wide downspouts, they tend to clog a lot less than the ones that just have the standard downspouts. Because by the time you poke the hole through the top of the gutter, Leslie, you end up with just a tiny little – maybe a two-inch by two-inch hole. And that’s why they clog so frequently. But if you have a much wider hole at the bottom of that gutter into a …
LESLIE: You’re going to get things moving through much more efficiently.
TOM: Exactly. Exactly. So, in this particular situation, that’s something that you might want to consider doing. But I do agree with you that if you go through the expense of the gutter cover type …
TOM: … then it could potentially be an issue because the water is going to have so much force because of the vertical roof that’s sort of dropping into it.
JESSE: That’s what I wondered about. And rather than go into it and they sometimes like to tell you that it’ll work great and then get it up there and not do so well, I …
TOM: Well, we appreciate you calling us, Jesse, because …
JESSE: I thank you so much.
TOM: … that’s the kind of advice that we can give you. We’re not here to sell you gutter covers but if, like I say, for many people they work great. I’ve used them on my house. I’ve put them, actually, on my dad’s house for the same reason. But that was like a 3/12 or a 4/12 roof. What you have is a 12/12 or more roof, which means it’s a very steep pitch.
Jesse, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jeri (sp) in California’s got a tiling project. And how can we help?
JERI (sp): Yes, I would like to know if I can possibly tile over Formica vanity tops in two bathrooms.
LESLIE: Well, what’s the condition of the Formica? Is it all in good shape? Do you have a lot of …?
JERI (sp): It’s all in very good shape.
LESLIE: Well, I think as long as it – the only problem is because the Formica’s such a smooth surface, you might find that the adhesive or the mastic – whatever you’re using to adhere the tile – might slip a little bit. So what you want to do is take sanding – you know, a gritty sandpaper and sand and scratch up that surface, just so you’re giving it a little bit more texture for your adhesive to stick to. And then you can go right ahead and tile right over it.
JERI (sp): Good.
TOM: Yeah. No, it’s a great solid base. Now once you tile over it, you want to be careful about the grout that you put in there. You might want to think about using an epoxy grout. Or if you use a sand grout, then what you’re going to have to do is seal it. You can use a silicone sealer on that, OK?
JERI (sp): Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jeri (sp). Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mick in Illinois, you’re on The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
MICK: It regards painting a wooden porch and steps. Last time I did it, when winter came it turned out to be terribly slippery, you know, whenever the weather would turn bad. I’d like to avoid that. If there’s anything you know that would be like a better kind of a paint or something that you would add to it.
TOM: Leslie, isn’t there a sand – like a texture that you could add to paint?
LESLIE: Yeah, you can actually add a textural sand. It’s usually right in the painting aisle with it. Mix that into your paint, put that on and you’ve got an instant sort of grip and grit to it. You still see the beautiful painted surface. It does have a little bit of texture, but it’s going to keep you from slipping and sliding.
How long ago did you paint?
MICK: Last time I did it was two winters ago – two summers ago.
LESLIE: Are you seeing things sort of blistering and peeling off or is it in pretty good condition?
MICK: Well no, it’s starting to blister and so that’s what I was looking for. I was going to let it go this winter and then when the spring time came I was going to take care of that so for next year, you know, I wouldn’t have that problem. It’s not bad now because, you know, over the last couple of years it’s been worn down some. But even when it was fresh, for that first year, it was really – you know, you’d take a step out the door and you went flying.
TOM: Well, you know it’s still – weather is still – you know, as long as it’s not freezing you can still paint, so if you do want to do it now. But I would just add the sand to that.
MICK: It’s called texture sand.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And you can find it right in the painting aisle. The only thing is when you paint in the spring time, make sure you choose a really dry period because you’re dealing with a lot of moisture in the ground from the winter; you’re dealing with a lot of moisture in the air from the rains that are going to come with the spring time. And you want to make sure that that wood is dried out very well. You want to strip down that old paint, get it to a good surface, let it dry and then put your paint on top of it.
TOM: Yeah, and I would recommend oil-based paint for steps.
TOM: Because – oil-based. And the reason I say it is because as good as latex is, it doesn’t have the abrasion resistance. And especially when you add the sand to it. That …
LESLIE: Just going to be scratching at it.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So I would use an oil-based paint and I’d add the sand to it.
MICK: I feel safer already.
TOM: (chuckling) Alright. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: So you love your stove and you love cooking and you love using it and feeding your family nice, healthy food. But your stove’s vent hood probably doesn’t get that much attention. Well, we’re going to teach you how to show your appreciation by keeping it in tiptop shape. We’re going to tell you how, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: If your place has green shag and pink walls, it’s time for this program. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete, who doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with pink and green. It’s …
TOM: Really? Even green shag and pink walls?
LESLIE: Well, that’s kind of crazy.
TOM: I grew up with yellow shag carpets and orange walls.
LESLIE: Mmm, mustard.
TOM: Is that OK, too? (chuckling)
LESLIE: You know, what’s old is new again and pink and green …
TOM: The only thing that was missing was hot sauce. (laughing)
LESLIE: Exactly. I’m like, ‘It kind of makes me want a hotdog.’
TOM: Yeah. (laughing)
LESLIE: I don’t know (ph), am I crazy? (chuckling)
TOM: Well, let’s talk about your stove. Specifically …
LESLIE: Speaking of hotdogs. (laughing)
TOM: Speaking of hotdogs (chuckling), let’s talk about the filter in your stove vent hood. It needs regular attention. You know, cleaning a standard filter with a degreasing solution, followed by warm, soapy water is a good idea. You can also take it out and put it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Now if your unit uses an activated charcoal filter, you need to replace those on a regular basis. Those you can’t put in the dishwasher because they’ll disintegrate and you’ll have no more charcoal left. But if you have the steel filters, the sort of perforated metal filters, throw it in your dishwasher. Run it through every once in a while. It’ll work a lot better because that grease obstructs the air and what ends up happening is the air will actually go around that grease trap filter and it just …
LESLIE: And that could even be a fire hazard.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. And it won’t even work that well. So make sure you keep it in tiptop shape. Doing a lot of cooking this time of year? Or you did a lot of cooking? You had a lot of family over. Let’s clean that stove down and make it work.
And by the way, speaking of cleaning stoves, it’s OK now, when the family is not showing up, to run that self-cleaning cycle. But we never recommend that you run the self-cleaning cycle on your oven when you’re preparing for a big meal because it puts the oven through lots and lots of stress. And if it’s going to break, it’ll happen then. So that’s why you don’t want to do it the afternoon you have to cook the big meal.
LESLIE: Yeah. So the big meal stresses you out. It stresses the oven out.
LESLIE: Chill out with it.
TOM: Cook it in a dirty oven. (chuckling) All that smoke will give it some additional flavor, you know? People will recognize it as your cooking.
LESLIE: It’s seasoned.
TOM: (chuckling) 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the number. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Listening on Free FM, WJFK, we’ve got Grant from Maryland. How can we help you?
GRANT: I have an old house that has