Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(Note: The timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio files of this show.)
BEGIN HOUR 1 TEXT:
(theme song, commercial)
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: Do you think you will pay too much for energy this winter?
LESLIE: Yes. Ding ding ding.
TOM: Ding ding ding. Pick me, pick me, pick me.
LESLIE: Oh, I know I will. I know it.
TOM: Absolutely will. Well, we’ve got the solutions on this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Tell you what, call us with your story of your coldest room in the house and let Leslie and I try to warm it up. It’ll be nice and toasty (laughing) when we get done with it, right?
LESLIE: I’m telling you. I think Money Pit sweaters are the way to go.
TOM: Hey, there you go.
LESLIE: I think that needs to be our thing.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Hey, maybe you’re on to something because – right, we could help our listeners save a lot of money (laughing) because just tell them to turn down the heat and put on our sweater. (laughing)
LESLIE: Here, put on this Money Pit fleece and stay warm and you could also use it to block the draft coming under your front door.
TOM: That’s right. When you go to bed at night, you can just take it and roll it up in a ball (laughing) and shove it under the door. (laughing)
LESLIE: You know, back to the saga of the front door …
TOM: Oh, this is the door that took you like months to get installed …
LESLIE: Oh, yeah, months and months and months.
TOM: … and it went in, got taken out because it was the wrong size and finally it’s in.
LESLIE: Ugh. Yes. Well, we’re still waiting for the beautiful hardware that we ordered; so we have like this temporary hardware in there. And we have this mail slot and they decided to put our old mail slot hardware on it because they didn’t want to drill new holes just in case the new hardware didn’t match up. But wait! They didn’t put the back plate back on so we have this like draft coming back – coming in. So I have our doormat like rolled up and covered in front of the – in front of the back side of the mail slot. And I’m like, ‘I’m so glad I paid x thousands of dollars (laughing) for my beautiful front door yet I have this huge breeze coming through.’
TOM: (overlapping voices) Hole in the wall. (laughing)
LESLIE: I can’t wait to see how much I save this winter.
TOM: Well, I bet that our listeners may have a few holes in their homes that are letting out some of that very expensive heated air. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s tackle those home improvement projects. Let’s solve those do-it-yourself dilemmas. And let us give you some tools to get the job done, why don’t you?
LESLIE: As always, we’re giving away, this hour, a great prize: the Corner Cat Sander from Ryobi. It’s worth $29; so make sure you call in. You’ve got to ask a question on air. That’s how it works. You know it by now. So ask a question.
TOM: And we’ll be getting this hour from our friend, Ron Hazelton. Now you see him on ‘Good Morning, America.’ He is the GMA how-to guru. He’ll be stopping by ‘The Money Pit’ with his energy saving tips as well. So let’s get right to those phones, Leslie.
LESLIE: Alright. Now from our new affiliate in California – the Quake Radio, KQKE – we’re going to welcome Charles who wants to talk about water pressure. How can we help?
CHARLES: Well, I live in a house that was built in Austria in 1879 and shipped around the horn and carried up the hill by horseback and …
CHARLES: Beautiful, beautiful old house. Hand-carved ceilings and coffered things and it’s very beautiful. But I do have a problem. I have zero – almost zero – water pressure in my upstairs bathtub.
CHARLES: And so, I’m wondering – I don’t know; I’m sure it’s old galvanized pipes and things. But is there any way I can increase the water pressure in there without re-plumbing the whole house?
TOM: Probably not, if it is old galvanized pipes. Because what happens is galvanized pipe starts at, say, a one inch diameter and then, as it rusts, rust expands the metal to eight times it’s pre-rusted thickness. So if you can envision that one inch galvanized pipe as the rust expands inward …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) The thickness on the inside, the interior diameter.
TOM: … right. It’s like a clogged artery. And if you’ve ever seen one of those pipes cut in half …
TOM: … you’ll see a little tiny hole in the middle where the water has to try to squeeze through. So there’s no fast way to make that repair. Do other plumbing fixtures in the bathroom work? Does the sink work? Does your shower …?
CHARLES: Yes, the sink works. The cold water in the sink works great. The shower works great. But the bathtub, I mean, I haven’t used in the four years that I’ve lived there.
LESLIE: What about the hot water in the sink?
CHARLES: The hot water in the sink is not very good.
CHARLES: The cold water is fabulous.
TOM: Yeah. Now, do you know what kind of plumbing you have in the house? You say it’s probably galvanized. Have you confirmed that?
CHARLES: I haven’t confirmed that. Uh-uh.
TOM: Well, here is some …
CHARLES: I was just wondering whether it’s possible like to remove the handles and see if it’s just gunk that’s collected in there that’s slowing things down from coming up the spout.
TOM: Not likely. I mean you could; but it’s probably really – for the age of this house and what you’re telling us, it’s most likely the plumbing system. If you ever have to replace galvanized pipes, there’s a sort of an order of events that you might want to consider doing. That each step of this will give you a little bit more of increased pressure.
The easiest plumbing to replace, of course, would be plumbing that was accessible. So if you had a basement or a lower level where you could see the pipes – typically, horizontal runs are the ones that rust the most – you’d do that first. Secondly, the main water line that goes from the house to the street. At the main water valve you can see what kind of pipe it is and you can determine whether or not it’s galvanized.
CHARLES: It’s galvanized.
TOM: If that’s galvanized, then that you really want to replace because that’s going to break and it’s going to – at the least opportune time it’s going to be a big stinking mess. So, that’s one you wanted to do at your convenience and not at your inconvenience, if you know what I mean.
TOM: And thirdly, would be all of the plumbing pipes and the vertical pipes that go up into the bathrooms. Now, those being the hardest to access, that’s why you want to do those last. But fortunately, they typically rust the least. It’s the horizontal main and the horizontal lines that are in the house that seem to rust the most. So if you could try to tackle it in bits and pieces like that – sounds like you’ve got a gorgeous, gorgeous house there Charles.
LESLIE: Well, and unique.
TOM: And a unique house.
CHARLES: Yeah, it is.
TOM: And it’s definitely going to be worth spending some money on that plumbing system and really get it where you want it to be.
CHARLES: Okay, in the meantime, I’ll have to go find a bathtub somewhere.
TOM: There you go. (laughing) Alright, Charles, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Alright, this next call is about a recommendation for a tankless water heater. We’re going to talk to Joe in Virginia. Joe, what’s going on?
JOE: What I want to do… my gas bill’s been so high lately – $400 a month – and I was thinking about going to all electric and …
LESLIE: Oh God, it would be way more.
TOM: Yeah, don’t do that.
JOE: Oh, you think it would be more, huh?
TOM: Oh my gosh, yeah.
TOM: Be horrible.
JOE: And that … on the show I was listening to – your show – they had brought up about this Rene water heater (laughing) or Rinnai or something like that.
TOM: Yeah, Rinnai.
JOE: How do you spell that?
TOM: That’s a tankless water heater. It’s R-i-n-n-a-i; Rinnai. That’s a tankless water heater; and the way it works is, it basically is an on-demand system. So it only heats the water when you need it. And because it only heats it when you need it, it’s super-high efficiency. Their website is www.foreverhotwater.com and there’s an interesting little comparison, on that website, of what it costs to heat water. And electric – if you had an electric water heater, it would cost your $451 a year to heat your electric hot water. If you had gas it’d be $284.
JOE: (overlapping voices) Oh, my goodness; that much, huh?
TOM: Yeah, if you had gas it’d be $284. So that’d be less than electric. But if you had an on-demand Rinnai water heater, it would only cost you 156 bucks. Because they’re just super-efficient; they work really well. I saw them a few months ago at a trade show and was talking to one of the engineers and was real impressed by some of the other benefits, such as the fact that you can control the temperature with a keypad. So let’s say you have kids, like I do, and you want to send up maybe the six-year-old to take a shower on his own, which my son could do because I have the water heat – the temperature of the water turned down. But, maybe, you don’t have that kind of confidence; so you could just dial up – in, say, the kitchen – the temperature from say, 130 degrees down to like 108 and know that the kids weren’t going to get scalded. And then maybe, if you like it up to 120, you just dial it back up before you go in the shower.
So it’s a lot of control and the fact that you really never run into hot water when you put one of these things in. So, I think it’s a real good idea.
LESLIE: And plus the fact that it’s not constantly creating hot water. So it’s not always heating the water even if you don’t need it. It’s only doing it when you turn on that faucet; so it really is efficient.
JOE: Okay. I would like to ask you this, now. Where can you place this water heater? Can that be anywhere in your house? Right now, I’ve got the hot water tank in the basement.
TOM: Right. You could put it in the basement and that’s probably the best place to put it because that’s where all your plumbing is ending. But you have flexibility. I mean I’ve even seen this mounted on the outside of the house.
JOE: Oh, really?
TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.
JOE: And about how big are they and how much do they cost?
TOM: They’re about a quarter of the size of a regular water heater.
LESLIE: Because they’re not storing water.
TOM: Right. They don’t need the tank. So it’s just the working mechanism. They’re fairly small. Geez, I’m just trying to envision the size. I don’t have it committed to memory but I’d say …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Is it bigger than a breadbox?
TOM: Yeah, it’s probably like a big suitcase; about that size. Maybe about 18 inches wide, maybe 24 inches tall; something like that. Maybe 12 inches deep. Not that big. Kind of like – it looks like about the size of a suitcase mounted on your wall. (laughing)
JOE: Wow. And how about the price? Do you have any idea on that? How much …?
TOM: I’m recalling somewhere between $500 and $1,000.
JOE: I paid a couple or $300 for the one I’ve got.
TOM: Yeah, but then you paid an extra $300 for the hot water.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) But now you’re paying out the nose.
JOE: Yeah. You’re quite right.
TOM: So this is one of those situations where you’re going to have a pretty quick return on investment.
JOE: I appreciate talking to you and thank you very much. I listen to your show; I hear it from work so, you know …
TOM: Well, don’t let your boss find out.
JOE: (laughing) Yeah, I hope not. I appreciate it. Thank you.
TOM: Thanks for calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Listen from home, listen from work, listen in your car. Just don’t use those power tools while you’re driving, would ya? (laughing) We don’t want any accidents.
LESLIE: Hey, do you want to learn a shortcut on winter yard work? How about a fun fact about keeping your pet safe in the snow and ice? We’ll be back …
TOM: (laughing) My pets don’t want to stay safe in the snow and ice. My dog goes outside.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) What do you think, they just want to run around?
TOM: Yeah, he goes outside and picks up chunks of snow and throws it up in the air and then catches it.
LESLIE: Well, you know what they say. Don’t eat the yellow snow.
TOM: That’s true. (laughing)
LESLIE: Well, we’ve got that tip and other great tips, advice and information every Friday in your inbox when you subscribe to ‘The Money Pit’ e-newsletter. So that’s very exciting. So make sure you visit newmoneypit.wpengine.com to see past newsletters and sign up to get yours today. And it’s free.
TOM: And, speaking of cold things, here’s a hot tip for you for this January. Do you know that January’s the peak month for residential fires? If you …
LESLIE: Well, then you know what, Tom? We are right on target because we just did an episode of ‘While You Were Out’ and we did a pool house in Austin, Texas. And we were storing all the trash, garbage, empty paint cans, extra lumber – all that stuff –
LESLIE: And we didn’t do anything inappropriate. And we got a call from the homeowner and, apparently, a mysterious fire started in …
LESLIE: … the trash area and almost burned down the room that we just did.
TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s not good. Oh, man.
LESLIE: He was like, ‘I was trying desperately to save the room but the shed is gone.’
TOM: (overlapping voices) That would be a really bad epilogue to a ‘While You Were Out’ episode.
LESLIE: Can you imagine? So January is house fire month.
TOM: It is. And if your house was on fire, do you know if emergency services could find it quickly and efficiently?
LESLIE: You would hope so.
TOM: You would hope; but they may not be able to. We’ll tell you why right after this.
(theme song, commercials)
ANNOUNCER: This portion of ‘The Money Pit’ is being brought to you by Kenmore, makers of the Kenmore Elite Induction Cooktop which cooks food faster and more efficiently than gas or electric ranges. To learn more, visit your local Sears store or call 1-888-KENMORE. Now, here’s Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website, newmoneypit.wpengine.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So you might be surprised to learn that this month is the peak time for residential fires. Now, if you want to make sure – absolutely sure – that emergency crews can find your home quickly, place large easy to read numbers on your home mailbox so rescuers can find it very, very fast. Now, don’t do what Leslie did (laughing), which is to bury your house numbers behind a big tree.
LESLIE: I thought if I put the beautiful planter with the three little trees all the way to the front of the stoop, you’d still be able to see it. And maybe I can see it because I know it’s there. But, darn it, that pizza delivery guy has been to my house a dozen times (laughing) since we’ve owned it; and every time he’s like, ‘When are you going to put numbers on the house.’ And I’m like, ‘Right there.’
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, the heck with firefighters finding it; let’s talk about something really important, like the pizza guy.
LESLIE: (laughing) Dinner. (laughing)
TOM: You know. Or the Chinese food guy. (laughing)
LESLIE: Yeah, they don’t deliver Chinese food in my neighborhood; only pizzas.
TOM: So stand at the front of your house – stand in the street – and look at your house as if you were driving by it. Can you see the numbers?
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) So order a pizza and see how long it takes. (laughing)
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Can you see those numbers? Are they really, really easy to find? Do they reflect light? Are they illuminated? Make sure rescuers can see those numbers. Because if they can’t, you could lose precious moments if your house was on fire or if you had a different type of emergency. So, good you think about it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright, I’ll change the numbers. I will change them.
LESLIE: And here we have a great prize. It can’t help you change the numbers on your house but it can help you do a lot of other things.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Well, if you wanted to sand your house. If you wanted to sand your house.
LESLIE: If you wanted to sand the numbers …
LESLIE: … into your front door, this is the prize to do it with. (laughing) It’s the Corner Cat Sander from Ryobi. It’s worth $29. It’s a small prize but it packs a lot of punch. It’s really fantastic. It’s money saving and a labor saving tool; and it can help you accomplish the same things that far more expensive tools can do. And, best of all, is we’re going to give it to you for free, if you win. So, best of all, this thing is a cordless finish sander; it has corded performance, so you’re really going to get a good job done with that. And, basically, they call it the Corner Cat Sander because it’s designed for fine sanding in corners and other hard-to-reach places.
TOM: Like in between those house numbers, if you wanted to get in really tight. (laughing) You could do that with this. (laughing)
LESLIE: You can make a really tight curve if you have an eight. (laughing) Alright, alright. It’s a great prize. Call in now.
TOM: Alright, so call. So call. 1-888- MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Carl in Minnesota has a stinky problem. Carl, you’re sensing sewer gas is coming through the walls into a room? Tell us about it.
CARL: Well, what it is, is the master bedroom has got a bathroom off of that. And then, on the backside of that bathroom, there’s a bedroom. Okay? And then on the other side of bedroom, there’s another bathroom, see? And it seems like it’s only in the one bedroom where you can smell it when you put on the ceiling fan.
LESLIE: Is there a bathtub in that bathroom?
CARL: I think they’re both showers.
TOM: Do you use both showers?
CARL: They use them all the time; yep.
TOM: Hmm. Okay. Because – yeah, I know where you’re going with that, Leslie. You’re thinking that the trap dried out.
TOM: Yeah. This is – typically, if you have a problem with sewer gas, it’s a problem with venting. And it may be that, perhaps, the vent is separated in the wall or something of that nature. Because that’s really the only way you’re going to get this gas smell; if your trap is dried out or if the vent is separated in the wall, you could be getting a smell from there.
CARL: Well, what I did is I checked up in the attic – you know, where the … the one vent goes straight through and then, the other one, there’s a pipe going across to tie it together …
TOM: Right, mm-hmm. Yes.
CARL: … and I thought probably that pipe there that was – see, that’s laying kind of down flat and I thought probably that might have had some holes in there. But I’ve looked at that and it seems like that’s great.
TOM: Do you ever get any gurgling in any of the bathrooms?
CARL: I tell you, I really can’t – I tell you, this is my daughter’s house I’m …
TOM: Ah, okay.
CARL: … and I’m not …
TOM: So you’re trying to be a good dad and help her out.
CARL: Right, right. I’m trying to find the problem but …
TOM: And you don’t really think it’s her cooking that smells, right?
CARL: … but it’s in the little guy’s room; it isn’t the master bedroom.
CARL: It’s in the other one. And, like I say, I don’t know how you could find out if it’s the walls.
TOM: Well, is there any chance that it’s not sewage gas? That there could be – say, for example – a mouse that died behind the closet wall or something of that nature? Because sometimes there are things like that that happen in homes that cause strong odors that may not necessarily be related to what you think it is.
CARL: But the thing is, that wouldn’t be there forever. You know, this has been going on …
LESLIE: No, that eventually fades away.
CARL: This has been going on for quite some time.
TOM: Well, I’d go back to my original theory that it’s a venting issue. And the other thing that could happen is that maybe one of those vents got clogged.
CARL: Well, could you pour water down from the top?
TOM: Well, you could snake it down and see if it’s clear. But if it smells, it’s got to be a venting issue. We’ve just got to figure out where the vent …
CARL: Well, it’s a sewer smell because I’ve been there when it’s… you know? But like I say, I don’t – it all must be hanging up toward the top of the ceiling because …
TOM: What’s underneath this? Is there a crawl space or a basement?
CARL: This is a split-level house.
TOM: Okay, so what’s underneath this – the room where the smell is?
CARL: That’s a family room on one side and laundry on the other.
TOM: And is there a bathroom below that, as well?
CARL: Nope. Not there; no. That’s way on the other end of the house.
TOM: Okay. Because I’m thinking it could be sourcing from below, as well.
LESLIE: Well, it could be from the laundry room below.
TOM: That’s true. Could be that pipe, as well. There’s got to be a break in the vent somewhere.
CARL: Yes, there’s a utility – a laundry sink in there.
LESLIE: Do they use that sink often?
CARL: Yeah, she uses that – she’s got day care; she washes a lot.
TOM: Ah. She’s got day care. Nobody left a diaper around, did they?
CARL: I don’t think so; no. Well, I wouldn’t think that would get upstairs but … you know, if only …
TOM: You know what, Carl? There’s one other thing that comes to mind, here, and that is we’re all assuming that your plumbing is put together correctly. But if one of these sinks, for example, did not have a proper p trap in it, then that sink could be the source of sewage gas. So I would try to investigate whether or not any of the drains seem to be emitting the gas when you smell this. Because if one of them is, it might be that one of the traps are not put together correctly and, again, that stems to it’s not being vented. If the traps aren’t assembled right – if there’s any cross connections or you’re not getting good water seal – you’re going to get sewage gas. It’s got to be in the venting system, Carl. You’re just going to have to look and dig deeper until you find it.
CARL: But there’s no way of finding it unless you open up the walls.
TOM: Well, that might be the next step.
CARL: Well, you know what it is, is all these vents in that house are all copper. You know, that was built in the time when everything was – copper was fairly reasonable.
TOM: Yeah and, typically, copper’s a good – it’s a good product but some – if you’re getting sewage gas, it’s stemming from a vent. We’ve just got to figure out what that is. Okay, Carl? Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: The high cost of home heating probably has you wondering what you can do around the house, right now, that will save you money this winter. Coming up, we’re going to have tips from Ron Hazelton, the host of ‘House Calls’ and he’ll tell you how to do just that.
(theme song, commercials)
ANNOUNCER: This portion of ‘The Money Pit’ is being brought to you by Reiker Room Conditioners, available at all Menard’s, selected Lowe’s and Home Depots, and as a special order in all Lowe’s and Home Depot stores. Or contact Reiker at www.heatingfans.com. Or call 1-866-forreiker – that’s R-e-i-k-e-r – for additional information.
TOM: Welcome back to this hour of The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Well, from coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, no matter where you live, the high cost of home heating probably has you wondering what you can do around the house, right now, that could help save you money. Joining us, now, is Ron Hazelton; he is host of the nationally syndicated television program, ‘House Calls,’ and also the resident how-to guru for ‘Good Morning, America.’ Hey, Ron. Welcome to ‘The Money Pit.’
RON: Hey, thank you, Tom. You know, guru – that’s a tough title to wear, isn’t it?
TOM: There’s a lot of pressure on us, this year, to help our viewers and our listeners save some money on the heating bills. The news forecast is very, very dreary …
LESLIE: It’s grim.
TOM: It’s very grim. Looks like we’re talking anywhere from 50 percent and up, raising the cost of gas and oil and propane and, I’m sure electricity will follow. And so I think it’s a good time for us all to put our guru heads together and come up with some good ideas on how people can sort of save some money. What are the sorts of things that you’re teaching folks, this year, on ‘House Calls’?
RON: Well, you know, I kind of like to look at this from two points of view. The first one is I want to spend as little money as I possibly can to produce the heat in my house. And then, once I’ve made it, I want to keep as much of it inside as possible. That kind of helps me organize what I do.
LESLIE: So how do you keep how you produce the heat low? How do you keep those costs down?
RON: Well, I think some of the – and I know this is all things we’ve heard before but, this year, the impact is going to be even greater than ever. I think, first of all, is certainly if you haven’t brought the insulation level up in your attic to what it should be for your area – and in a lot of – and in many parts of the country, that can be up to 12 inches – this is definitely the time to do it.
TOM: Yeah, if you’ve never done it before, now is the time. And I find that people that even have fairly new houses – homes that are less than 10 years old – often don’t have enough insulation.
RON: That’s true. And I think that even as little as 10 years ago, the estimates on what was adequate were lower than they are now. So a couple of things I just remind people. If you’re going to do this job yourself and you’re up in the attic, look at the level – the insulation level – relative to the top of the joist. If the insulation is below the top level of the joist, then you want to add more insulation on top of what’s already there, going in the same direction, until you bring it up flush with the top of the joist. Now, important point here: the insulation that’s already there probably has a paper backing on it.
RON: Paper barrier. And so anything new that goes in should not have that paper barrier on it; it should just be the fiberglass.
LESLIE: So you should put the open fiberglass end on top of the paper side.
RON: The paper side should always go toward the heated area in winter. So, in most attics, that means the paper is going to be down and the fiberglass – the raw fiberglass – is going to be on top. The additional insulation you put on will just be more fiberglass laid right on top of that; don’t use the paper. A second vapor barrier can actually trap moisture between layers of insulation.
TOM: You’d be making a moisture sandwich, if you did that.
RON: Once you get up to the top of the joist, then you want to add additional insulation and run it perpendicular – or cross ways – to the joist. But you have to bring the level between the joist up flush first.
LESLIE: And how much do you want to add on top?
RON: You know, this depends on where you live in the country and how cold it gets. And there are tables – the Department of Energy has tables; the insulation manufacturers, on their websites, have tables. So what you do is go in – it’ll ask you, ‘Where do you live and what kind of heat do you have?’ and it’ll make a recommendation for you.
TOM: So, Ron, before we let you go we have to ask, ‘What’s your favorite home improvement project?’ I have to tell you that Leslie has been embroiled in the ongoing odyssey to get a door installed on the front of her house.
LESLIE: A saga.
TOM: A saga. It came this week and it was six inches too big for the hole.
RON: Ah, well, that’s better than six inches too small.
LESLIE: Well, true, but it still had to go away and not be installed. And it goes into the abyss of the contractor’s shop.
TOM: So in the spirit of do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do, what have you been working on around your house?
RON: Well, my favorite project – and I did it this year – was a fish pond and waterfall that I put …
TOM: Oh, those are getting very popular now.
LESLIE: And you know, water features are not as difficult as people make them out to be.
RON: They’re really not. You know what I found out? It was very simple …
LESLIE: As long as you have the right pump, it’s very simple.
RON: And even that. Equipment has been so well designed, now, that you basically just set it into a hole in the ground. What I did find out, though, was it’s heavy work. You know, we – I live in Connecticut and there are lots of stones in the soil; so the digging was kind of tough and then I brought in big rocks. It was heavy work but not complicated. But I’ve got to tell you, when I sit out there in the evening or the afternoon and just listen to that waterfall and see the fish in there and the lily pads – I mean I think I’ve gotten more joy out of that project than just about anything I’ve done.
TOM: Well, it sounds like it’s beautiful. We’ll have to come up and see it sometime. Ron Hazelton, host of ‘House Calls,’ a nationally syndicated home improvement TV show and the resident home improvement expert for ‘Good Morning, America.’
Ron, thanks so much for taking some time out of your day to be on ‘The Money Pit.’
RON: Hey, you’re welcome, guys.
LESLIE: Did you know that scald injuries from tap water are the second leading cause of burns to kids under the age of five. So don’t get your family into hot water when it comes to protecting them. We’ll tell you how to prevent this common injury, next.
(theme song, commercials)
ANNOUNCER: This portion of ‘The Money Pit’ is being brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. Study after study shows that as homes become tighter and more energy efficient, more contaminants become trapped inside. Aprilaire’s technologically advanced, electronic and media air cleaners are the best choice for maintaining healthy indoor air. For more information, go to www.aprilaire.com.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: So, what’s the hot tip on how to avoid getting scalded?
LESLIE: Okay. Well, bath or shower water that’s too hot can easily scald a child or elderly relative. So consider installing universal designed faucets which will cut off when the water temperature is too high or turn your hot water heater’s thermostat down to 120 degrees. Not only is this safer, it will also save you some money in the long run.
TOM: Excellent advice. 1-888-MONEY-PIT is the telephone number. Call us right now and you’ll get the answer to your home improvement question and a chance at winning this great prize: the Corner Cat Sander from Ryobi. Worth 29 bucks. It’s a great money-saving tool. It’s a labor-saving tool. It’s cordless. It’s got an 18-volt battery and it works really well. I used it on my steps and …
LESLIE: Oh, it’s good to get into all those really tight places.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, like in between the spindles. Right.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Spindles on staircases, if you want to refinish a chair or you have a piece of furniture around the house that you’re working on that maybe has some carved details in it – this is the tool for you.
TOM: Yep, call us right now and we’ll throw your name in the Money Pit hardhat. We will pull one name out of the hardhat at the end of today’s show and send that person a Ryobi Corner Cat Sander worth 29 bucks. Let’s go back to the phones.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Jane in New Jersey who listens to ‘The Money Pit’ on WCTC who’s got some squeaks in your floors. What’s going on, Jane?
JANE: I have a lot of squeaks in my floors. We’ve had it carpeted, now, for years but the new look today is the old floors polished ‘shine nice.’ But when we lift up the flooring, what I want to know, specifically, is there any way – I mean I read a few books but it seems to me you have to go under the floor, which I can’t do – is there any way – a practical, easy way? Should I hire someone and what do they call themselves?
LESLIE: So you want to take up the carpeting and you want to put down a hardwood floor? Or under your carpet is a beautiful hardwood?
JANE: It’s already oak; it’s already oak floors (inaudible). It’s just that it squeaks.
TOM: Well, you’re in luck because …
LESLIE: There are some creative solutions to that.
TOM: (chuckles) Yeah, exactly. I mean, basically, it’s loose floorboards that are causing the squeaks. And …
LESLIE: And that happens because the glue and the nails have just dried out or the wood has expanded around the nails over the years and it’s just not holding as tight as it should.
TOM: So what you want to do is you want to identify, by using a stud finder, where the floor joists are under the floors.
JANE: Okay, wait a minute now; I’m writing this because I’m not talented. (laughing) Stud finder.
TOM: Yeah, use a stud finder. That will help you identify the floor joist. And now, the tricky part, here, is because you have a finished floor you have to be careful about what kind of hardware you use to tighten these areas up. You can’t just bang a big old, ugly common nail in there like you could if it was plywood. So here’s a little trick of the trade.
Take a finish nail, like a #10 or a #12 finish nail so it’s got a really small head, and use the finish nail as the drill bit in a drill. Because what it does, it tends to spin the fibers of the wood apart and allows you to drive that nail through without actually cutting away any of that wood. And that makes a really tight fit. And so you sort of spin the finish nail, with a drill, partly into the board. Then you unchuck the drill and hammer it in the rest of the way and then set the nail head right below the surface of the board. And if you do that accurately and strategically in two or three places along where that floor joist is, then the squeak will eventually go away.
So that’s an easy way to do that without having to take up the floor or do anything from the underneath. You simply use the finish nail as the drill bit, spin it right through and that will tighten it down. There actually is a tool, Leslie, that’s sold by Vermont American. Have you ever seen it? It’s called a nail spinner?
LESLIE: No. And does it look like a regular power driver?
TOM: It looks like a mini chuck, like for – but you don’t have to unscrew it; it just holds the end of the nail and it spins it right in. And I used to use it for many years, when I was working in hardwood floors and hardwood railings, to be able to nail straight into oak. Because, you know, oak’s so hard you can’t just nail into it; it’ll just bend over. But a nail spinner – if you don’t have one you can just like chuck up a finish nail into a drill and spin it right through and it does a really good job.
And Jane, that ought to make your squeaky floor go away for good. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, well coming up after the break: you know, you guys, I travel a lot. And sometimes you get a mixed bag when you check into these hotels. You never know what your shower or your sink’s water pressure is going to be like at these hotels. Am I going to go to work with shampoo in my hair? (laughing) Am I not going to be able to wake up because the water … I just can’t get it straight. And you never know what you’re going to get. Well, we got an email from Ted in Maryland who is having the same exact problem with his water pressure. We’ll find out if Tom can answer that, right after this. No pressure, Tom.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of ‘The Money Pit’ is being brought to you by Black&Decker, makers of powerful 18-volt rechargeable outdoor products. These cordless tools pack a real wallop so you get all the power you need to tame your yard. For more information, go to www.blackanddecker.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where the pressure is on.
LESLIE: (laughing) Alright. Ted from …
TOM: Leslie, you threw down the gauntlet going into the break.
LESLIE: I did.
TOM: I hope I can help this guy.
LESLIE: I’m sure you can; you know everything. Alright, Ted from Maryland writes, ‘My kitchen sink has an odd problem: the hot water seems to trickle out now instead of the full amount like the cold does. I thought maybe something was clogged. I turned off both the hot and cold water shutoff valves below the sink; then, when I took off the faucet assembly on top, the hot water keeps bubbling. I can’t shut it off. Nothing seems to be clogged. Can I fix it or do I need a plumber?’
TOM: Oh, boy. Well, let’s review. The hot water seems to trickle out, now, instead of the full amount.
LESLIE: Right, and when he turned off both of the shutoff valves, it’s still bubbling out.
TOM: Well, it sounds to me likes it’s a problem with the valves. You know, sometimes these valves don’t shut off all the way or get stuck in a certain position. And if you tried to shut it off …
LESLIE: Because it’s just stuck or it’s just rusted shut or …?
TOM: It could be stuck partly open, is what it sounds like. And if it’s – and the interesting thing, here, is it’s just on the hot water. Now, if it were the hot and the cold water together …
LESLIE: Then it would be something different.
TOM: Right. The first place I would look is in the faucet aerator, that little screen on the end of your faucet tip.
LESLIE: You mean the pebble protector?
TOM: Yes, (chuckles) the pebble protector. So none of those nasty pebbles or pieces of rust or debris find their way through that screen and damage your sink. (laughing)
LESLIE: Or you’re not washing your face and end up with like a handful of rocks in the eyes – aargh!!!
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So if you have a problem with water pressure in your house and it’s just in one bathroom and if it’s just like one sink, it’s probably the aerator. In this case, it sounds like the valve is a problem and, in that case, he’s probably going to need to replace that valve. Now …
LESLIE: Is that easy or can …?
TOM: Yeah, it’s not that hard to do. But, you know what, Ted? If you’re not – if you haven’t done it before, I wouldn’t recommend this as a starting do-it-yourself project because it may involve a propane torch and that could cause a fire so ….
LESLIE: Ooh. ‘Not funny.’
TOM: … because you may have to sweat a new valve on there and that may not be something you’re prepared to tackle.
LESLIE: But if you like to sodder, this is right up your alley.
LESLIE: Alright, we got another one from Deborah in Wisconsin. I think this one’s for me.
TOM: It is.
LESLIE: ‘You gave the name of a good carpet cleaner for dogs; something to do with 1-2-3.’ Alright, well it is; it’s exactly that. It’s called Odor-Free 1-2-3 and it’s a great cleaner. It gets out any sort of yellow stains, it gets out a lot of stains that you just even have a hard time fighting; anything with a tannin, like a red wine. And the company is called www.justrite.com. And it’s j-u-s-t-r-i-t-e – no g-h-t; r-i-t-e.com And the guy who owns it is really nice and you’ll be really happy, I promise you, with the products.
TOM: Hey, you know, speaking of carpet removers. The little trick of the trade. You know that white wine will take out a red wine stain.
TOM: Yeah, did you know that?
LESLIE: Two wrongs make a right?
TOM: Yeah, except that if you flip it around, though, however – red wine will not take out a white wine stain.
LESLIE: No, don’t. (laughing) Red wine is like a scary thing. For the holidays, we had this beautiful rug; we’d just bought it a couple of months back before the holidays. And there, someone spilled red wine. I was like, ‘Ed, just discreetly clean that up without anybody knowing.’
TOM: (chuckles) Alright. Well we are just about out of time on today’s program. But you know, Leslie, it occurs to me that your life as a professional on ‘While You Were Out’ and, of course, on ‘The Money Pit,’ is all about options and showing people what options they may have when they’ve got to redecorate a room. And that is the subject of today’s ‘Leslie’s Last Word.’
LESLIE: Okay, well, thanks to modern technologies and plenty of patterns and styles, there are many molding products to choose from. And one will fit your budget, I promise. Hardwood moldings, which are stained or naturally finished, usually come with a pretty hefty price tag. But paint grade pine or fir moldings are much less expensive because they’re made from shorter pieces of wood that have been joined together. For the best of both worlds, consider new ready-to-paint moldings made from high-density polymers. These are attractive and they are a fraction of the cost of the real thing. And there are a lot of good choices out there, so keep your eyes open.
TOM: Well, we know that it is an option for you to listen to this program and we are so pleased and proud that you have. We hope that we’ve helped you out and taught you something that maybe you didn’t know about home improvement, maybe made your house a little more comfortable this winter. That’s all the time we have. 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.