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: Pick up the phone and give us a call, because we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. Are you a do-it-yourselfer or are you a do-it-to-yourselfer? (Leslie chuckles) In either event, we can help the first person and save the second person, (Leslie chuckles) if you call us right now.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) And administer first aid.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s right. If you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Maybe you started a project, got stuck in the middle; we say that anything worth starting is worth starting over with our help, so we’re here to help you get the job done. Pick up the phone; the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Now, sometimes you start home improvement projects – and even the pros do this – and it doesn’t turn out exactly as they planned. Such is the case with a whole bunch of homes in Florida. They’re dealing with a situation right now called dangerous drywall. It has to do with some drywall that was imported from a foreign country that’s not quite up to par with the drywall that we have, typically.
What’s happening with this stuff? Well, it smells like rotten eggs and it’s off-gassing a very corrosive odor that’s causing their heating and cooling systems to fail. Isn’t that great?
LESLIE: How crazy!
TOM: So, it doesn’t always work out the way you expect. We’re talking about the Chinese drywall problem. We’re going to have tips on all – everything that’s going on with that and what to do about it if you have it in your house, in just a bit.
LESLIE: That is just bananas to me.
Alright, folks and also ahead this hour, we’re going to tell you how to avoid the dangers of reusing – you know, those greasy, oily rags that you’ve got kicking around your garage for random projects that you’re going to be working on. Well, these dirty rags – they are one thing that you cannot reduce, reuse or recycle.
TOM: And also ahead, you’ve seen the ads for the fancy, new washing machines that remove allergens from clothes or have the anti-vibration technology. Are they really worth the extra money? Is it a good investment to put the big bucks into those types of machines? We’re going to find out when we talk to the experts at Consumer Reports about that very topic, at the bottom of the hour.
LESLIE: And we’ve got a great prize that we’re giving away this hour to one lucky caller. We have got the ClosetMaid organizing system. It’s worth 100 bucks but only one of you get it.
TOM: And if you’re disorganized, I’d pick up the phone right now and call (Leslie chuckles) because the number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT and that closet organizer may be going out to you. Let’s get right to those phones. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Janice in Tennessee needs some help with a painting project. What can we do for you?
JANICE: The walls in my bathroom have pink tiles and I was wondering if you could paint over those and what do you have to do to be able to paint them and my bathtub is also pink. And how hard would it be to re-glaze the bathtub?
LESLIE: Are you thinking about doing the bathtub project on your own or having that done professionally?
JANICE: No, on my own.
LESLIE: On your own. Now, with the tile, you can paint the tile. You want to make sure that you clean the tile very, very well with like a household ammonia so you get off whatever kind of dirt and grunge and yuck is on there. And then you want to use – Tom, is it the oil-based primer? Is it the BIN?
TOM: Oil-base. Yeah, you could use BIN or you could use KILZ or you could use Behr but make sure it’s oil-based, because otherwise you’re not going to get the adhesion.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. If you use a water-based primer, it’s just going to be able to scratch off but the oil-based primer will stick very well to the tile. And then as far as paint goes, I mean you’re dealing with a very wet area so I would use something – you know, I might even use a high-gloss, oil-based paint as the top coat as well.
JANICE: OK. And on the bathtub, I’ve heard of re-glazing the bathtub. Is that a project that would – is this really, really hard to do or …
TOM: It’s not terribly difficult to do as long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations, Janice, because what will happen is the glazing will not last nearly as long as the original glazing. It’s more of a sort of reasonably durable paint surface. You’ll probably get a good five years out of it before having to do it again.
JANICE: OK. And what would you do to glaze a bathtub? Do you know the …
TOM: Yeah, there are glazing kits that are available that have everything that you need, from the surface prep material to the actual paint finishes. But it’s essentially a sort of a fancy way to say you’re painting your bathtub but again, it’ll last you a good five years or so if it’s done well.
JANICE: Oh, OK. The other thing is in such a perfect condition; you know, I really hate to tear it out and it would be …
TOM: You’re better off decorating around it than totally tearing it out.
JANICE: Right. OK.
TOM: So I think you’re on the right track.
JANICE: OK. Yes. That helps a whole lot. Yeah, I think I’ll tackle this project pretty soon then.
TOM: Alright. Go for it, Janice. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Pick up the phone and give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to help you with your home improvement project. We want to help you create such a beautiful project that your honey at home that gives you the list of things to do will start tacking more items on those lists. We want to help you become a pro, so give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Up next, we’re going to have some news about a dangerous construction material and how it made its way into Florida homes. We’re talking about the problems with Chinese drywall. Have you heard about this? You’re going to get all the details, next.
TOM: Making good homes better. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here at Team Money Pit is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We’ve got a great prize this hour for all of you who’ve already got spring on the mind and are thinking about your spring cleaning and spring organizing projects. One of our lucky callers that we talk to today is going to win the ClosetMaid closet organizer. It’s worth 100 bucks and it comes with the T4 Selectives Custom Closet Organizer where you can nearly double the usable space in your reach-in closet. I’m already thinking about excuses on why I should buy more shoes. (Tom and Leslie chuckle)
This kit includes a shelving tower and three expandable closet rods. This prize right here could be a lady’s best friend out there or a guy who likes a lot of clothing. The number here – so you’ve got a chance to win that prize and get a great answer to your home improvement problem – is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: It’ll only be my best friend if it did the organization for me. (Leslie laughs)
LESLIE: (chuckling) And not just double your space.
TOM: Well, let’s talk now about a problem that’s been rearing its ugly head in Florida and we hope it will not spread across the country but I guess it’s possible. We’re talking about this problem that’s been originating out of Florida with Chinese drywall. It was discovered in homes that were built in that area between 2004 and 2005.
And the situation is is that the drywall is behind heating and air conditioning system failures as well as air-quality issues in homes. It was imported and used in new construction during the Gulf Coast building boom of 2004 and 2005. It was manufactured by Knauf Plasterboard and I have probably have said that wrong but it’s K-N-A-U-F Plasterboard.
Now, usually domestic-produced gypsum drywall is the first choice but supply shortages in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and lower prices created entry for this potentially dangerous product into many new homes. I’ve got an article about it on WalletPop.com but essentially, if you have it, your heating system or your cooling system can prematurely fail because it off-gasses a very corrosive material that sort of eats away at the coils. And it can also produce a rotten-egg smell …
TOM: … which is lovely to add to that Florida humidity. So if you have this stuff, some of the builders are actually working with the homeowners to remove it but I’ve got to tell you, it’s a major deal. Because just imagine this: you have to take all the drywall out of your home and replace it. Very, very big project; very expensive project but it just goes to show you that you can’t …
LESLIE: And so far it was only found in the southern states?
TOM: It’s so far only found in the southern states but let’s keep an eye on this one because it could get worse.
LESLIE: That’s so crazy. Do you know – was it the HVAC failure that sort of led the investigation that found the drywall or was …
TOM: I think it was a combination of events, because the HVAC companies were starting to notice that there were a lot of systems that were failing …
LESLIE: In this one area.
TOM: And within this – within warranty. They think, ‘Why are we having so many warranty claims in this area?’ And it was all traced back to this bad drywall …
TOM: … that was basically forcing the equipment to – for a lack of a better description – rot away.
LESLIE: Wow, that’s amazing. That’s good detective work right there.
TOM: 888-666-3974. You know, I spent 20 years as a home inspector and that’s one thing we got pretty good at; doing home improvement detective work. So if you’ve got a tough challenge – something going on in your house – pick up the phone and give us a call right now.
LESLIE: Heading over to Wisconsin to chat with Tyler about a foundation problem. Tell us what’s going on.
TYLER: I have an old farmhouse and the foundation walls are actually made of lime and stone and the interior part of the foundation is kind of peeling back and I was wondering what to do to fix that.
TOM: Say it again. It’s the foundation is peeling back?
TYLER: Well, you know how the mortar on the outside – it’s all skin-coated like it was plastered?
TOM: OK. So the parge – that’s called the parging – so the parging …
TYLER: Parging. Correct.
TOM: … is coming off.
TOM: If it’s already starting to come apart …
TOM: … it’s not going to get any better. I would try to get off as much of it as we can …
TOM: … and then you’re going to re-stucco it. And you’re probably going to use an epoxy mix, which is very, very adhesive and is going – it’s going to stick a lot better than what you’ve had before.
TYLER: Just not a regular type of s-border (ph)?
TOM: No, not a regular type of cement. There are definitely stucco mixes that have additives that make them more adhesive and what’s happening to you is you’re probably – whoever did this probably used regular cement and it’s just not working.
TYLER: Well, the house is 100-years-old.
TOM: Well, you can forgive them then. (Leslie and Tyler chuckle)
LESLIE: It did a good job up until this point.
TYLER: OK. Alright. Well, thank you for your time.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Torry in New Mexico needs some help with some bricks. What’s going on?
TORRY: Hello. I’ve got a lot of brick patio work and walkways and this winter, after all the snows have started to thaw and then refreeze on top of them, I’ve got – not a lot but probably 20 out of a couple thousand of them are starting to flake and …
TORRY: … break apart.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it’s called spalling and when the water gets in there and freezes, it will expand and break those bricks apart. Now, this is just on a walkway?
TORRY: Yeah, it’s on a patio out back and
TORRY: … a couple bricks on the walkway out front but – main difference is I’ve been keeping the out front pretty clear of snow and out back, I let it build up and do its thing. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: Yeah, well – and it has done its thing, hasn’t it? Unfortunately …
TORRY: Yeah, yeah, yeah it has.
TOM: … there’s no way to stop this from happening. You know, if it was vertical brick – if it was on a wall or a chimney, we could talk about adding a breathable sealer to that, which will slow the amount of moisture that gets in there.
But if you’re going to have simply a flat patio, you’re going to get a lot of water there no matter what you do. The key is that the water can drain out. It might be – for whatever reason – the way this patio was built, the water doesn’t drain past it. I wonder what the base is. If you have a base that’s not like crushed gravel or something of that nature, the water will just sit in the brick when it does melt and it’ll stay there.
So, in this case, what I would simply do is just pull out those bricks as they deteriorate and replace them.
TOM: Torry, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Maria in New Jersey, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
MARIA: Well, thank you for taking my call, Tom and Leslie. During the last holiday, I had a lot of candle wax drop onto a white, painted, wooden surface and I have not attacked this problem yet. It’s really a lot. I didn’t realize it was happening so a lot is sitting there. How will I eliminate that?
TOM: Hmm. White candle wax on a wood table?
MARIA: No. Candle wax on a white, wood table. (Leslie chuckles) Painted.
LESLIE: And it’s probably red and green. (chuckles) The candle wax.
MARIA: (overlapping voices) Yeah and the candle wax was – yes.
LESLIE: Maria, I’ve dealt with – and this is sort of a good solution when you get candle wax on fabric or carpeting and on a wood surface, as well. What you want to do is you want to take a paper towel. I’ve also used paper bags – like a brown paper bag – and sort of open it up and lay it flat over the wax. And then you want to take your iron and make sure …
LESLIE: … it’s not on a steam setting. You want to make sure it’s on a low setting – like warm – and then you want to put the iron on top of the wax. You don’t want to hold it there but just kind of put it over there and a grocery bag works great if your supermarket is still giving out those paper bags. And you want to just sort of …
MARIA: Sort of iron it?
LESLIE: And just iron it and then it should – if it works – stick right to the back side of the paper bag and then you can like – when you pull the bag up, it’ll stick to that side.
LESLIE: It’s going to take some work because you’ve got a lot but it does do the trick.
MARIA: [I have a better one.] (ph) Well, that’s wonderful. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re so welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Tracy in Alaska has some unwanted visitors in the name of mice. Tell us about the problem.
TRACY: Hey, Tom and Leslie. Love the show. We’re getting dumped on with snow today so it’s quite a picturesque scene but …
TRACY: … part of that – part of that winter, I think, has been pushing some mice inside the house. I don’t know if they’re mice …
TOM: Well, they need a place to live too.
TRACY: Yeah. That’s right. Well, I live kind of in a wooded area. We haven’t really had a problem …
TRACY: … for about the last five or six years but then all of a sudden, bang, here they are and I went looking for traps and everybody in town was sold out so I don’t think it’s just me that’s having the problem. But my question was – I was able to trap five or six in a couple of days and we haven’t had anymore sightings but I wondered if you guys had any experience with the sonic things that you can plug in the wall and they’re supposed to chase them out with sound fields and things like that – just maybe to put in the living area instead of putting down more traps or poison and leaving that around – just something to kind of keep them at bay once they’re out.
TOM: All the professionals that I’ve talked to about this do not use those and say they don’t work. I’ve never personally had any experience with them. However, I have had a lot of experience keeping mice out of the house …
TOM: … and generally it comes down to a couple of things. First of all, trying to identify all of those small places on the outside of your house where mice can find their way in. They only need the space about the size of your finger to squeeze through so if you’ve got …
LESLIE: Even less. Like a quarter of inch.
TRACY: That’s pretty amazing.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, if you’ve got gaps or cracks you can stuff steel wool in those places to try to block them from coming in.
The second thing is to make sure that you are not leaving any food out for them …
TOM: … and you may be leaving food out for them in a somewhat obvious way.
LESLIE: Like a food dish or a container of cereal not being closed properly. You want to make sure everything is in an airtight, sealed container.
TOM: And it may be food that you don’t really think about. For example, pet food is great mouse food because, well, we don’t keep mice as pets but (Tracy chuckles) they certainly love the same food and typically, that’s in a big paper sack on the floor …
TOM: … the way it’s sold at the stores.
TRACY: And we definitely had that …
TOM: This kind of food needs to be kept inside of a sealed container so that it’s metal and it can’t get through it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you leave your pet’s dish out overnight, don’t. Pick it up, get rid of it or even put it back in the bag if you don’t want to waste or go ahead and put some Saran Wrap over the dish of food and leave it on the floor. But don’t just leave it there exposed because they’ll have a field day while you’re sleeping.
TRACY: That’s great.
TOM: And lastly, you could add – pick up some rodenticide, because it’s very effective. If they eat it they’re going to die and that will help rid your home of mice as well. Now, if you use rodenticide you want to make sure that if you have pets you put it in what’s called a bait station which basically is a trap that keeps the rodenticide inside of a container that the pet can’t get access to but the mice can.
LESLIE: One more thing, Tracy. If you’ve got piles of firewood outside – sort of up against the home, against your foundation – get them away. You don’t want anything directly next to the house, because they like to burrow inside that stack of firewood and then while they’re in there they’re chewing through the wall on the backside or finding ways in.
TRACY: Very good. Alright, those are great suggestions. I appreciate it, guys. Thanks for taking my call.
TOM: You’re welcome, Tracy. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. You know, these days, if you’re shopping for a washing machine, you’ve got a lot of choices. You’ve got these new ones that have the steam clean technology, they’ve got the allergen-removing abilities, we’ve got the anti …
LESLIE: Yeah, not to mention the cherry-red ones.
TOM: The cherry-red ones are sharp.
TOM: See, I would pay extra for that. I’m not so sure about the other features but (Leslie chuckles) maybe they are features that you would like to have in your washing machine. The question is: is it worth the extra cash? We’re going to find out when we interview the editors of Consumer Reports, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Therma-Tru doors are Energy Star-qualified and provide up to five times the insulation of a wood door. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.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. And many of you are thinking about making some home improvements to your money pit around this time of year. Everybody is looking for the new and snazzy and all sorts of things and a lot of folks are looking to rearrange their laundry rooms. Well, with a lot of new things available on the market – you know, you’ve seen the ads for the fancy, new washing machines that remove allergens from your clothes or maybe they’ve got anti-vibration technology. Well, are they really worth the big bucks or are these claims a little too hyped-up?
TOM: Well, Consumer Reports took a look and has this year’s rating and the headline is you can get a really good, very efficient, energy-efficient washing machine for as little as 400 bucks. Here to tell us more is Celia Lehrman, Deputy Editor for Consumer Reports magazine.
CELIA: Hi there.
TOM: So you looked at 50 washing machines and …
TOM: … you found some great deals. Tell us all about it.
CELIA: Yes, we did. We found great deals, whether or not you’re looking for a top-loader or a front-loader. And I think one of that – that’s one of the key first decisions that you have to make – well, is what kind of machine. And in order to figure that out, you really want to think of – think two things: you want to think of how much do you want to spend and you also want to consider where your laundry room is located.
TOM: Now, is it still the case that the top-load machines are less costly than the front-load?
CELIA: Yes. Top-loaders, initially, tend to be less expensive to buy but they’re not quite as energy-efficient or water-efficient.
CELIA: So, that – you know, depends on whether or not you have the money to spend up front, because most people keep washing machines anywhere from 10 to 13 years, so you can make up the additional cost for a more efficient unit over the long term.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Over it’s lifetime.
CELIA: But those extra couple of hundred dollars are something that people don’t necessarily have up front to, you know, to spend.
LESLIE: Now when you’re looking at these washers, I mean there are so many features that are available: steam cycles, anti-wrinkle cycles. I mean, there are just so many bells and whistles. Are there some that you should really look into having or is it based on preference?
CELIA: Well, a lot of it is based on preference and some of the things – like the anti – the steam functions – what we’re finding with a lot of these very heavily-promoted functions is that they – manufactures are, you know, pretty smart; they put them on their most expensive washing machine. And generally, in our tests, what we found is that these machines do a great job washing without the steam and they do, you know, a slightly better job washing with the steam. So you’re not really getting this huge boost of performance, because you’re still spending so much money for these features.
Another thing that – it’s getting promoted very heavily are allergen cycles and I think part of the thing that you need to think of is that there are so many things that you can do that are either low-cost or no-cost, to remove allergens from your living area, especially in your bedroom. I mean, there are things you can buy that are much less expensive than these machines, like things like dust mite covers …
CELIA: … for your beddings and your linens and certain types of linens. And that’s really a far less expensive way than going for these allergen cycles, which again are on machines that are costing anywhere again from $1500 a pop. And that’s a lot of money.
TOM: We’re talking to Celia Lehrman. She’s the deputy editor for Consumer Reports magazine – about their new report about great washing machines available for as little as $400.
So I see in your survey, Celia, you came up – it looks like GE did very well. They’ve got both a top-loader and a front-loader that were ranked among the best. What else did you find?
CELIA: We also found in the top-loaders we had a Maytag that did very well and then also an Estate, which may be a brand that you’ve not heard of but they’re made by Whirlpool, which has done well on our tests and Whirlpool is a reliable brand. GE – you know, we also found a Frigidaire that – for a front-loader that did very well and as you mentioned, the GE.
Now, with front-loaders, you want to step back a minute and really ask about where’s the laundry room located.
TOM: Yeah, I guess because you really do need the room to be able to open the door, if it’s in front. So you need a fairly wide room for that to happen, correct?
CELIA: That’s certainly true but another very important thing is that front-loaders spin very, very quickly and they have these high speeds because they’re pulling a lot of water out, which is a great thing.
Unfortunately, many of them vibrate a great deal and if your laundry room is on a regular floor, it’s not – if it’s not on – in a basement, on a concrete slab, the floor is not going to be absorbing the vibrations. You’re going to start feeling them and we found huge differences in vibrations between various top – you know, various front-loader models. So you really need to look at our ratings. If you’re going to putting them – if you have a laundry room that’s on a second floor, you want to make sure that it’s not going to start shaking all the space around the laundry room.
TOM: Well, if you’re ready to buy a new washing machine, you definitely need to pick up this issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
One final question before we let you go: extended warranties. Deal? No deal?
CELIA: Bad deal. (Tom laughs) It’s a bad deal.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Bad deal.
CELIA: And you know, another thing – and we’ll save you money right then and there and tell you don’t waste your money on extended warranty. And another thing that you can do and you save money – many people sort of look at washers and dryers as matched pairs and they figure if a washing machine is on its last leg, they should replace the dryer as well. Don’t bother. Dryer technology has not changed, so unless your dryer is literally dead, dryers can be as much money as the washing machine.
TOM: And you know what else is interesting too? There’s no such thing as an Energy Star dryer.
CELIA: The differences in energy are not that measurable, so that’s why they don’t have that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. The energy savings is as a result of how much water the washer takes out of your clothes.
TOM: If there’s less water, the dryer runs for less time; hence, that’s where the efficiency is, so good point. Don’t replace the dryer; just replace the washer.
Celia Lehrman, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit and again, if you’re in the market for a new washer machine, check out the latest edition of Consumer Reports or head on over to their website at ConsumerReports.org.
LESLIE: Alright, Celia. Thanks so much for that great information.
Now, while you’re thinking about using your brand-spanking new washing machine, one thing that you should never put in there and never even think about reusing or recycling – well, you want to know that that is? We’ll tell you when we get back.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Did you know that adding a Therma-Tru entryway can add as much as $24,000 to what others think your home is worth? To learn more, visit ThermaTru.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And this is your destination for home improvement solutions. We help you make good homes better. Give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and if you do, you could win the ClosetMaid Selectives. It’s a custom, closet organizer worth 100 bucks. Leslie promises that it could even organize me. (Leslie chuckles) I doubt it but I’m willing to give it a shot.
All you’ve got to do is pick up the phone and give us a call right now (Leslie chuckles) and be ready to ask your home improvement or home repair question. The number again: 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Yeah. And pick up the phone and give us a call if you’re thinking about ways to make your house more green, more energy-efficient, what you can reuse around the house – things like that. We’d love to help you maintain energy efficiency and live a more green lifestyle at your house.
And when we’re talking about being green, you know it encompasses so many different things but there’s one area that when you think about reusing and recycling products or materials around the house for other purposes, there’s one thing that you should never, ever reuse. And that’s old towels and t-shirts that you keep around the garage – you know, to wash the car or wipe the glue off a project.
But if you happen to use one of those and they become soiled with grease or oil or gasoline or anything else that you’re working with that’s flammable, you need to chuck them immediately when you’re done with them. And resist the temptation to wash these used rags because the petroleum that’s in a lot of these products can leech into your washing machine and putting a rag like that in a dryer is extremely dangerous. I mean, these things can burst into flames.
So don’t even think about doing it; just get rid of them. And you want to make sure that you talk to your town’s municipality about how to properly dispose of them. You want to make sure that they get into the hazardous waste removal program that your town has. So pick up the phone, make a call, find out how to get rid of them but please do not stick them in the washer because then they’ll be in the dryer and you’re going to have a whole host of problems. You’re right to reuse the products but don’t wash them.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Call us right now with your home improvement question. Let’s get back to the phones.
LESLIE: Mary in Utah is having a plumbing issue. What’s going on?
MARY: Well, we’ve got a floor drain in our basement that’s really giving us a bad time.
MARY: The washer and dryer are right there by it and straight up above on the first floor is the kitchen sink and the dishwasher. And the floor drain doesn’t seem to take the water through the pipe fast enough. When I do a load of clothes …
TOM: Well, why is the dishwasher and the washing machine draining into the floor drain?
MARY: Gosh, I don’t know. (Leslie chuckles) They told me …
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, there’s the question, don’t you think?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah.
TOM: Because you’re not supposed to be draining into a floor drain; you’re supposed to be draining into your plumbing system. The floor drains are designed just to take the water that accumulates in the event of a basement flood or something of that nature and run it out but it’s not designed to be an open drain for your appliances.
LESLIE: Wait. And also, aren’t your appliances, because of the nature of the soap and the product in the water, need to go into what is called – like, the gray water drainage so that your community can filter it out for proper disposal, correct?
TOM: If you have a septic system, you need to keep it separate but if you have a regular sewerage system, then it’s not as necessary.
MARY: It is a regular system.
TOM: Well, you need to have it plumbed outside; it should not be going into the floor drain and that’s why it’s backing up, because those drains are not designed for regular appliance use.
TOM: You follow me?
TOM: That’s the problem, Mary. It’s not unclogging the drains; it’s just that it was never plumbed right to begin with.
MARY: Oh. Great.
TOM: Now, if it turns out that you don’t – you don’t have a waste pipe that’s in the right position, because it’s too high …
TOM: You can put in what’s called a lift pump, which is actually not that expensive. Kind of looks like a five-gallon bucket with a pump in it. It can sit under a sink and it’ll collect that water and lift it up and then drop it into the main drainway’s vent pipe and take it outside.
MARY: Oh! OK.
TOM: Alright. So there’s an option for you, OK?
MARY: (overlapping voices) Appreciate that.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, good luck with your project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Now, many projects that we suggest you tackle, you can do yourself but is replacing your windows one of them? Well, it may be. We’re going to give you the tips to help you get the job done, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru Doors, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. You can count on Therma-Tru for beautiful, reliable and easy-to-install entry doors. To learn more, visit ThermaTru.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: Do you have a home improvement question? Do you have a problem? You can e-mail us if you’re too shy to pick up the phone and call, by simply heading over to MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. Of course, you could also spend a few minutes searching out the archives there, because there is plenty of home improvement articles there about every conceivable how-to project or do-it-yourself dilemma that you may face in your own home.
And if you do e-mail us, we will get to those e-mails via our newsletter, via our blog or right here on the show and that’s what we’re going to do next.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got one here from Rick in Crystal Springs, Mississippi who writes: ‘I want to know if putting in replacement windows is a do-it-yourself job. I have a brick house with the original aluminum-frame, single-pane windows. Now, I’ve done some renovation myself – replacing toilets, dishwasher, stove, water heater, painting, installing ceramic tile, et cetera – but I have not done much carpentry other than cutting and installing moldings. What do you think?’
He sounds pretty experienced to me.
TOM: I think – yeah, I agree. I think, Rick, you sound pretty handy. Installing windows is not that difficult. In your case, it’s not going to be like installing replacement windows because you do have aluminum windows. You’re going to probably end up ripping them all out and you’re going to have to install new windows from scratch. The key here is the flashing.
Now, with brick as the outside surfacing material, you’re probably going to end up insetting this window. Just be careful that you’re very, very careful with the flashing; that’s where you can really cause some problems and make the whole project sort of fall apart. But if you get the flashing right, I think you’re going to be OK and you sound like a pretty handy guy, so I’d give it a shot.
LESLIE: Alright. Karen in Maine writes: ‘I just removed horribly ugly wallpaper from the kitchen and living room and to my pleasant surprise, there was beautiful, naturally-finished real wood paneling underneath. Most of the glue dried up, making it easy to remove but some is stuck pretty well so I’m using vinegar and water to soak and scrape the rest. Is there anything I should do to the paneling before I apply a Liquid Gold or Murphy’s Oil Soap to it? This is what was used before it was papered over.’
TOM: And probably the reason that the paper come off so easily. No, I wouldn’t mess with that; I’d leave well enough alone. If you get the glue off, I would simply use a good product like Murphy’s Oil Soap to get it down and cleaned.
After that, you might want to give it a good coating with some paste wax; that’ll give it a nice protection and a little bit of a shine as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And that should look really nice. Enjoy it, Karen.
TOM: Well, there are few home improvement disasters that can be nastier than a major water leak but all of that aggravation can be avoided in one simple step that could take you less than 30 minutes to do. Leslie has got that tip in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Alright. Let me set up this home improvement disaster for you. Imagine that a pipe breaks in your ceiling and now water is leaking through every electrical light fixture, all onto your brand new carpeting, not to mention water and electricity. What do you do? Are you all freaked out?
Well, let me tell you how we can make this a disaster that is simply and quickly fixed. First of all, you want to locate and label every important water valve in your house, including the main water valve, hose valves, icemaker valve and your water heater valve. This way, if that unthinkable level of leak should ever really happen, you now know in all of 30 seconds which valve to run to and quickly turn off when that leak happens.
It may take you 20 minutes to go around your house and label all of these things with a big tag saying exactly what it is and which way to turn it off but it will save you thousands of dollars in damage by not knowing where to go. So be prepared, think ahead and in 30 minutes, you could save your house.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number to reach us 24/7, 365. Coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, we’re going to have some recession-proof home improvements. We’ll tell you what things you can do to your home that will add value and bring a big return on your investment. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Helping you build big dreams.
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(Copyright 2009 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.)