Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. Call us right now with your do-it-yourself dilemma. Pick up the phone before you pick up the paint brush. We can help you make that job easier to tackle at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour and speaking of painting projects, we’re going to give you some tricks of the trade to make that project go a bit smoother; like for example, how do you deal with those nasty nail pops? You know, when I was first in construction, Leslie, I worked as sort of a service manager for New Home Builder and I swear I used to get all these calls from people who had nail pops that are absolutely convinced that their home was going to collapse.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That the house was falling down.
TOM: Absolutely. It was coming down.
LESLIE: Yet these interesting pops that are pushing up the paper of my drywall are all in a straight line.
TOM: Yeah. I suggest that they take their cordless phone and step outside just in case. (Leslie chuckles) Just to be safe. Seriously, they’re not that hard to fix and if you know how to do it you can fix them once and they’ll never come back again. We’ll tell you exactly what to do in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, gutters. Yeah, you’re probably thinking right now, ‘I’m pretty sure my house has them. I don’t really think about them very much. I certainly never clean them out.’ (Tom chuckles) Well, if you aren’t paying attention to them, they can lead to a whole host of problems. We’ll tell you what to do about that, coming up.
TOM: And we’re going to hear from our friends at the Energy Star program about the challenge they’re issuing you this year. You can change the world with small, simple steps towards greening your life. We’re going to tell you all about that when we interview the Energy Star program coordinator, Denise Durett, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus this hour we’re giving away a random orbital sander from our friends at Ryobi. It’s worth 40 bucks. It’s a cool tool to add to your stash and you will be refinishing projects left and right around your money pit.
TOM: So call us right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Judy in Texas is looking to get adventurous in the kitchen. How can we help you do that?
JUDY: Hi, I have enjoyed eating at restaurants that have the wood-burning ovens. I have a three-foot by sixty-five inch, I think, window and I was thinking of knocking it out and having somebody put in one of those ovens for me and I didn’t know what kind of contractor I would need to – you know, try to find that might be able to do that.
TOM: Yeah, kind of like the wood pizza ovens; that sort of thing?
JUDY: Yes, sir. Yeah.
LESLIE: Yum and when you get it installed give me your address because I certainly enjoy eating wood-oven pizza. (Tom and Judy chuckle)
TOM: You know, Judy, there’s a really good website that sells modular ovens designed for the home; modular wood-burning …
LESLIE: They’re really cute, too.
TOM: Wood-burning ovens.
TOM: Yeah, it’s called EarthStoneOvens.com …
TOM: … and they have an oven there that could fit in your space.
JUDY: Alright. Well thank you very much. I certainly appreciate your help.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Jim in North Carolina has an air conditioning question. What can we do for you today?
JIM: Well, hi folks. I love your show.
TOM: Thank you.
JIM: I have a problem with a musty odor that comes out of my air returns – well, several of my air returns – when the AC first kicks on and I noticed this last summer and put a vapor barrier down in my crawlspace and put a dehumidifier down there and it may have slightly improved the problem but I still get that musty smell when it kicks on.
TOM: First of all, you say it’s coming out of your returns. Do you mean your supplies?
JIM: Well …
TOM: Because you shouldn’t have anything coming out of the return.
LESLIE: Things should be going in.
JIM: Well, OK, I’m sorry. Yes, the vents; the floor vents. Yes, yes, yes.
TOM: OK. When the system first kicks on you’re going to have a lot of moisture and humidity and perhaps even some condensation inside the duct system. So that doesn’t surprise me. Does it dissipate within the first 15 minutes?
JIM: I would say within the first minute or so.
TOM: Yeah, that’s pretty normal. I think you’ve got a lot of moisture and humidity inside the ducts and you’re probably just taking that into the air and sort of throwing it back into the house. I don’t think that’s anything to be concerned about. If you want some general suggestions on how to reduce the amount of humidity in the house, putting the vapor barrier down was a good first step but there are other things that you can do outside the house. Take a look at the grading, the angle of the soil around the foundation, because if you collect a lot of water around the concrete foundation it’s going to soak through and evaporate into the interior air space one way or the other. So improve the grading. Take a look at the gutter system. Make sure the downspouts are extended out away from the foundation.
LESLIE: Make sure the gutters are clean.
TOM: Yeah, good point. And take a look at the ventilation inside the house. Make sure that your attic is well-ventilated because you get a certain amount of vapor pressure inside the house where the humidity sort of pushes up through. It’ll end up in the attic and if it can’t easily vent out that will also cause an additional humid sort of musty smell inside the main living space.
JIM: OK, great. Sounds like a good suggestion. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. 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 with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, do you have small, round bumps appearing in your walls? Well, your house is not falling apart. They’re called nail pops and they can be pretty annoying. We’re going to tell you how to make them disappear, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. Who are we? Well, I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because one caller to the program is going to win the five-inch random orbit sander from Ryobi. It’s one of the quickest ways to remove an old finish. It’s got a powerful motor for the tough home improvement refinishing jobs around your house. It’s worth 40 bucks but it could be yours for free. We’re going to give a prize to one caller to today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and it could be you.
LESLIE: Alright, well maybe the burning question on your mind this moment is ‘What the heck do I do with all of these random things popping out of the drywall in whatever room in my house and yet they’re all really linear?’ Maybe they’re holding up that drywall. Well, they are called nail pops and this happens when the lumber dries out and pushes the nails right out of the wall. But don’t worry; it’s totally harmless. It’s just not attractive and they are really, really easy to fix.
There are a couple of ways to do it. The first one, simply drive a new nail right next to the other loose one so that new head overlaps the old one and it sort of pushes it right back down into the drywall. Another way, which is actually the better way, is to use a drywall screw. This way there’s no way those puppies are backing out of that wall ever. Go ahead and cover up that hole with spackle, repaint and you have got a brand, spanking new room.
TOM: 888-666-3974. Before you pick up a paintbrush, pick up the phone and call us.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Sue in Utah needs some help in the kitchen. What can we do for you?
SUE: I purchased a home with a travertine floor. The home is 10 years old. The travertine floor is original.
SUE: The grouting is coming out. They’re 12×12 squares. It’s got a very dull look and there’s chipping along the edges because the grouting is coming out and I’d like to know what to do.
LESLIE: Well this is a situation where you’re going to want to remove the rest of the grout as best you can just to sort of give you a nice, even surface in the grouted areas so that you can go ahead and regrout the flooring. Because if you try to add – Tom, if she tries to add some new grout on top of the old will it adhere as well as you would like it too?
TOM: It probably won’t stick and you definitely would have a color issue.
SUE: OK, what do I remove all the grout with?
TOM: A grout saw. It’s a device that can either be attached to a drill that will grind it out or there’s a hand version as well. And once you get it regrouted, you mentioned that the travertine is rather dull. There’s a good website that has a lot of products dedicated specifically to taking care of those natural surfaces. It’s called Stone Care — StoneCare.com.
TOM: And they have a number of products that can help freshen that surface up and make it look better again.
LESLIE: John in New York needs some help winterizing. It seems like a vacation home, right John? What’s going on?
JOHN: Well, don’t I wish it was, Leslie – and hi Tom as well. What’s going on is my wife and I, we have an old farm house and we have hot water, baseboard, oil-fired heat. But I’m concerned not only about the price of fuel this coming winter but I’m also concerned about the supply.
LESLIE: You’re going to start a stockpiling frenzy right now with those words, you know that?
JOHN: (chuckling) Well, I apologize to your listeners. (Leslie chuckles) In any case, we do buy, you know, on the contracts with the fuel but what we want to do is we believe that pellets are going to be more affordable.
JOHN: And we do have three pellet stoves. What I’d like to do is heat the house with the pellets. And we’re going to move downstairs, by the way, too; we aren’t going to live upstairs, you know, with our bedrooms and so forth. And in any case, what I want to do is keep the hot water baseboard heat available, which is – I’d like to put antifreeze in there – and is it usable if we need the hot water baseboard with the antifreeze in there? Or is that just to winterize it and walk away?
TOM: You know, I’ve never heard of putting antifreeze into an active domestic system like that. Typically you do that when you’re going to winterize a house and you’re not going to live there and, in that case, you blow out – you physically drain all of those pipes so there’s no water in there; nothing to worry about. The place that you typically use antifreeze is sometimes in the traps of the sinks and the traps of the toilets to stop them from freezing and breaking those fixtures. But in terms of putting it into an active hot water system, no; not such a good idea, probably.
JOHN: I was concerned about it being and cooled repeatedly.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean it sounds like it would work. I mean look; it works in the car. But I’ve never really heard of that as a standard practice.
JOHN: Right. Well, thanks for your help, Tom. Thank you, Leslie.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Going out to California to chat with Ed about water hammer. What’s going on?
ED: We have a problem with copper pipes and we installed copper pipes to replace the galvanized about 40 years ago. No problems until about five years ago. Now when we flush the toilet or turn off the tap there’s a sound like water hammer.
TOM: It’s probably happening because the brackets have loosened up. You know, water is very heavy as it flies through the pipes on its way to your fixture and then you turn the faucet off and that centrifugal force keeps moving forward and shakes the pipes and the more they shake the looser they get and that’s what can cause this water hammer and the rattling sound. So couple of things.
First of all, I would examine all of the accessible areas where you can check the brackets that attach the pipes to the framing area. And the second thing you can do is have what’s called a water hammer arrestor – which is kind of like a shock absorber for your plumbing system – installed by a plumber near the fixture and that will solve this problem and quiet it down. The good news is that water hammer rarely causes any type of a leak. It’s more of an annoyance. But that’s the way to solve it.
ED: Great, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ed. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, our number one question here at The Money Pit is flooring and adding to that number one-ness of the topic we’ve got Donna in Tennessee. What can we do for you?
DONNA: What I’m interested in, we had a house built and currently I live in a 30-year-old home and I want to get the most bang for my buck. So I’m wondering whether I should refloor in carpet or laminate; if that would – with the housing slump the way it is, I want to make sure that I’m going to get interested buyers.
LESLIE: And what rooms would this be for? The entire first floor?
DONNA: Yes. I’m a ranch on a basement and the basement is finished and I have new carpet down there and I didn’t know whether I should go with the laminate flooring or recarpet the top floor.
LESLIE: OK, well Tom’s going to yell at you about the carpet in the basement, but before he does I think for the first floor of the home – I don’t know, I feel like carpeting is such a commitment when you go wall-to-wall carpeting. It’s a very stylistic choice. It’s an overwhelming color even if you go in a neutral tone; whereas if you do a laminate – which could be in the similar price range as a wall-to-wall carpeting, depending on, you know, the type and the quality that choose and with laminates it depends on a variety of things; the brands, the different levels of finishes on it. But a laminate can look like anything and you can really get some that duplicate the natural look of wood so well and that gives the buyer the opportunity to have a truly neutral, easy, cleanable surface that they can jazz up with throw rugs, area rugs and really make it their own.
TOM: And the reason that carpet is not a good idea in a basement is because the basement is so damp, carpet essentially becomes mold food. Not only will you get potential mold that will grow there but it also becomes a place that can harbor all sorts of allergens and dust mites and different types of fungus.
DONNA: Even if I have its own return for the basement area?
TOM: Absolutely. Yep. Carpet is just not a good thing for a basement.
LESLIE: A while ago when I got my house my husband and I moved in; there was carpeting in the basement and it was awesome and cozy and I loved it and we did everything to keep it dry and gutters got overwhelmed; downspouts not functioning; bad storm; basement flooded.
LESLIE: That carpet was a disaster. And hopefully that never happens to you but it did happen to us and we put in a laminate floor and I love it.
TOM: And also there are a lot of folks that have carpet in their basements and then they have kids that are crawling on the carpet and the kids develop respiratory issues. So it’s just not a good idea for a whole bunch of reasons.
TOM: Stay with a hard surface flooring.
DONNA: OK. Now laminate, as far as for basements, if it gets wet – like for instance you said yours flooded. That damages the laminate?
LESLIE: Not at all.
LESLIE: It’s made for a moist environment.
TOM: And it’s easy to clean and it wears like the dickens, too.
LESLIE: Yee-ha! Going over to Texas to talk with Brian about a fireplace. What’s going on?
BRIAN: Hey, I moved into a 25-year-old home and on this fireplace it looks like it’s straight out of the Brady Bunch.
LESLIE: (chuckling) OK.
BRIAN: (chuckling) It’s got stone from the floor to the ceiling and the stone is very nice but it’s got this black mortar that makes it just look kind of dated. And so what I’m wondering is how can I change the color of this mortar to make it something a little bit more friendly?
TOM: Hmm. Sounds to me like a job for some very strategic painting. (Leslie growls) Because, you know, getting light mortar to be darker is something that can be stained.
LESLIE: That’s something that can be done.
TOM: That can be stained. There are mortar stains that will do that. But to try to take a dark mortar and make it light …
LESLIE: Would you have to use some sort of heat-resistant paint?
TOM: Probably not because there’s not that much – the outside surface of the fireplace doesn’t get quite that hot.
BRIAN: OK, so I wouldn’t have to use a heat-resistant paint, necessarily?
TOM: I don’t think so.
BRIAN: I could just paint over this mortar?
TOM: I think you could paint over the mortar, yeah.
BRIAN: Oh well, that’d be great.
LESLIE: I mean is it worth it to saw out the mortar …
LESLIE: … or does that make a fine (ph) disaster?
TOM: No, no, no. That would be a disastrous job. That would be so much work it wouldn’t be worth it. I would try to paint it.
BRIAN: OK, so I’d just go with like a flat interior paint?
TOM: Yep, exactly.
BRIAN: Alright, great.
LESLIE: Going to South Dakota to chat with Alicia whose bathtub is cracking up. What happened?
ALICIA: I don’t know. We just moved into a house and we got – and the shower in our master bedroom has a crack underneath where you shower.
TOM: Now what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a fiberglass or like a plastic pan?
ALICIA: A plastic.
TOM: OK. Well, there are two ways to fix this. I mean the right way to do this is to replace the pan but another way to do it, which will be a lot less expensive but not quite as pretty, is to patch it. And the way you could patch this is actually with a fiberglass repair kit. You can go to an auto parts store, or if you happen to have a boating supply store, you can buy fiberglass and resin at the store and you apply the resin then you press the fiberglass into the resin. Then you put another layer of resin …
LESLIE: And the fiberglass is like in sheets almost, correct?
TOM: Yeah, you cut it. It’s like material. It’s like a netting kind of a material. And you press it in there in a couple of different layers and then the topcoat you can use a glaze coat and maybe paint the entire fiberglass pan the same color. Now you’ll still see the patch but it won’t crack anymore and it won’t leak. So those are two ways to fix it, Alicia.
LESLIE: Is there any sanding that you have to do to the edge of this fiberglass resin compound thing you’re doing?
TOM: You know, if you’re pretty good brushing on the fiberglass you don’t have to do much sanding.
TOM: You’ll need a couple of layers, though. You can’t – you don’t just do it in one layer. You do it multiple layers and that’s what makes it stick.
LESLIE: Alright, how many layers should I do?
TOM: Probably two layers of fiberglass. I would put one angle and then do the other sort of 90-degree opposed and then you’ll probably need probably three or four coats of the fiberglass resin.
LESLIE: Alright, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, a challenge question for you. What changes can you make in your life that will lead to a healthier planet? Well, the folks at Energy Star have the answer. We’ll here from their spokesperson, next.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Citrus Magic; the all-natural, super-strong air freshener available in spray and solid form. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and if you’re thinking about making your home better by going green and making more energy efficient decisions, well you’ll be doing what you can at your own home to be more green and less wasteful but you want to do more and you want to know how to do more and we applaud you for that.
TOM: And what makes sense? What will really make a difference? What fits in your life? Those are questions the folks at Energy Star have a few answers to and they’re issuing Americans a challenge this summer.
LESLIE: And here to tell us about that challenge we’ve got Denise Durett from the Energy Star program. Welcome, Denise.
DENISE: Thank you very much.
TOM: So talk to us about the new program. It’s called Change the World: Start with Energy Star. How are we going to change the world, Denise?
DENISE: Absolutely. Well, we’re encouraging Americans, as you said, to take more responsibility for their energy use and their energy efficiency in their own homes that take small steps that make a big difference in the fight against global warming. And what Energy Star, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is offering; an extended pledge. We have, for the past few years, issued the Change a Light, Change the World with Energy Star pledge and we’ve expanded that pledge because we heard that Americans want to do more. They changed those light bulbs to the energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and now they’re ready to do more things in their home to save energy, to save money and help protect the environment.
TOM: I love the idea that it’s a pledge because normally when we pledge it costs us money but now we’re putting that money back in our own pockets.
DENISE: Oh, absolutely, and we’re just trying to get people to pledge to do something with the things that they already have; you know, not so much encouraging people to go out and buy something new but really use what you have more efficiently and if you are in the market to buy something new and major like an appliance, you know, you want to make sure you get the most energy efficient and Energy Star is the best way to make that choice.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, make better choices.
TOM: And by the way, we should mention that if you want a few more ideas for your own house you can go to the Energy Star website and click on the Energy Star video podcast that I was honored to host for our friends at Energy Star. And Denise, you and I were there together. We walked through that house and we came up with lots and lots of useful ways for folks to save money. It’s very, very simple and it’s very effective and it’s very rewarding.
LESLIE: Absolutely and just easy steps to follow. Anyone can do it and I am not the handy homeowner but even I can do some of those projects, so … (chuckles)
TOM: So you start it easy. You tried to get us just to change a light bulb and that’s pretty easy. I mean that’s …
LESLIE: Even if it’s just one light bulb in your house; not all of them.
TOM: That’s your basic home improvement project right there; change your light bulbs because that was realistic. But now you’ve got confidence in Americans; you think we can do a little bit more. So what other things would you like to see us tackle as the next step?
DENISE: Definitely. We have several things that we’re challenging people to do through this new pledge. One is looking at your home heating and cooling system and making that work better …
DENISE: … by doing simple things such as setting your programmable thermostat to save energy while you’re asleep or away from home or even if you have a manual thermostat, using setbacks or setups in the winter or summer to maximize your energy savings there. And just using your programmable thermostat, for example, in a proper way you can save about $180 a year on those energy bills.
TOM: Yeah, and that’s a really cost-effective thing to do. Now let’s say we take the challenge. You actually want people to log on and report the challenge?
DENISE: Absolutely. Our website, EnergyStar.gov/ChangetheWorld is where you can come and take your pledge to do several things in your home or even just do one. You can change a light. You can, you know, enhance your heating and cooling system. You know, seal and insulate your home; if that’s something that you need to do. And even small, simple things such as enabling your computer and your monitor to power down when you’re not using them or just looking for the Energy Star label on products and appliances that you buy for your home. All of these things can add up and you can come to our site and take the pledge to do so and if every American household took part in this pledge we would save more than 110 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, and that’s more than $18 billion in annual energy cost, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 18 million cars.
TOM: Well, it’s a fantastic program and we certainly, here at team Money Pit, want to take the pledge with you.
Denise Durett from Energy Star, thanks so much for stopping by the program.
DENISE: Thank you for having me.
TOM: And go to the Energy Star website at EnergyStar.gov and take that pledge today. It’s easy. You can do it.
LESLIE: Alright, well now that Denise is challenging you to save some money, I am challenging you to tackle a very ignored area of your home. We’re talking about your gutters and they are a relatively inexpensive part of your home’s exterior when you’re thinking about the entire envelope, but if you don’t take care of them they can lead to massive expensive damages to your home. We’re going to give you a quick checklist to properly take care of your gutters, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters, you can trust Rheem. Learn more at SmarterHotWater.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and the number here is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Pick up the phone; give us a call. Not only are you going to get an answer to your home improvement question, which is really why you’re calling in the first place, but bonus to that you’re going to get a chance to win a great prize and the prize this hour that we’re giving away is a random orbital sander from our friends at Ryobi. It’s worth 40 bucks. It’s got a very powerful motor. It really will tackle some super-tough jobs and it’s got a built-in spin control mechanism to prevent that swirling that you might see with some of those other sanders. The number to be in it to win it and get your answer is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Time to talk about your gutters; something that you don’t think a lot about except when they probably get clogged. You know, if you don’t take care of those there’s a lot more that can happen that that water that sort of falls on your head in a heavy rainstorm. First of all, if the gutters are not maintained properly you can get a flooded basement or a flooded crawlspace or you can have some other problems form with your foundation. Because when you dump a lot of water around the perimeter like that you really are asking for trouble. So make sure your gutters stay clean and the downspouts are extended out four to six feet from the foundation.
Now, if the gutter systems gets loose and tends to pull off of your roof structure, which does happen because those gutter spikes just like to work their way out, you can replace those with long lag bolts that are really designed to fit the same space that that spike fits. They’re about a quarter-inch wide in diameter and they’re about seven inches long and when you put one of those gutter lag bolts in the thing will never fall out.
Next, check the inside corners of the gutters. If they are not sealed properly usually you have to take some asphalt roof cement and paint it on there to keep it nice and tight.
If you do all that – you keep them clean, well-maintained and free-flowing – your house will be protected for the long haul.
888-666-3974. Soup to nuts, floorboard to shingles, from roofs to rugs; call us right now with your home improvement question.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Frank in New York needs some help with a flooring problem. What’s going on at your money pit?
FRANK: Hi. Yes, I purchased a home recently and the home is over 40 years old; having 5,100 square feet of carpeting. And I removed and had help removing the carpeting up to about 1,000 square feet, which is glued. It’s like a black glue onto the flooring which is plywood. And one of the problems is that I’m scraping and trying to remove the glue – it’s like a black, tarrish glue …
FRANK: … onto a foam and it just sticks to my feet and everybody walks on it. They’re like walking on flypaper.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, it’s disgusting.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, it’s like terrible stuff.
LESLIE: What are you trying to put on top of that?
FRANK: Well, eventually I may go for a tile; ceramic tile. I’m not sure as yet but certainly I’m very disenchanted with carpeting after watching this and a lot of it was disintegration from just age and it’s a lot of dust.
TOM: Is the glue lumpy or is it smooth?
FRANK: It’s flat.
TOM: OK. Well, what I’m going to suggest then is why don’t you go over it; just get off as much as you can.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, leave it.
TOM: Leave the rest and go on top of it. A laminate floor would be a really good solution here because you could lay down a very thin laminate underlayment, which is usually like a very thin foam, and then you put the flooring right on top of that and the foam will absorb any unevenness because of the glue that was there before and you’ll have a nice, clean floor on top of it.
FRANK: Thank you so much. Do you have a book? Are you going to publish a book? (Leslie chuckles) Because all your ideas on your show are just fantastic.
TOM: Funny you should ask.
LESLIE: Not only are we going to tell you that we have a book coming out called ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure’ but I think we can send you one.
FRANK: (overlapping voices) Can I get that at Barnes & Noble? Oh, you will? Thank you.
TOM: Yeah, we’d be happy to and yes, it will be available at Barnes & Noble and lots of other great bookstores.
FRANK: No, because everything you say, you know, like I’m conquering one thing and then maybe a week later I’ll forget what I heard on your show about a particular problem. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Keep a pen and paper right by the radio.
TOM: You know, Frank, houses don’t come with owners’ manuals and that’s the book we tried to put together. So it’s called …
FRANK: Thank you so much.
TOM: … ‘My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure’ and if you hold on we’ll send you a copy just for asking us about it. Thanks so much.
FRANK: Thank you.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to Bill in Ohio who’s dealing with a hard water situation. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
BILL: Hi, guys. I’ve been cleaning the aerators, the little filter thing, on my faucets in the bathroom and in the showerhead like every three months or so; like a limey buildup. And I figured I’d kind of pull like a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn kind of deal and teach the wife how to do it.
TOM: Teach the wife how to do it? (laughs)
LESLIE: Hey, the girls can have a honey-do list, too.
BILL: Yeah and needless to say she lost interest in that.
TOM: Go figure. (chuckles)
BILL: Yeah. I figured I would fix the source of the problem, which they’re telling me is hard water.
TOM: Hmm. Well, look; hard water is a very common problem in many parts of the country. It has a lot to do with where you get your water; where your water company gets your water. I presume you have city water.
TOM: Yeah and even if you have city water it can be just as much of an issue. Now the typical way to treat hard water is with salt-based systems, but the issue there is that it requires a fair amount of plumbing; it’s fairly expensive and there’s an ongoing maintenance issue that has to be taken care of. Another way to do it is with a system called EasyWater and you can learn about that at their website, EasyWater.com. What I like about EasyWater – and we used it here at our shore house – is it doesn’t require any plumbing connection. Essentially, it uses electricity to – realign is the best way to explain it – the mineral particles as they go through the water and it creates such a situation that they cannot stick to the faucet; so they’re not going to stick to the …
LESLIE: Well, it sort of forces like a reverse polarity, if you will. Instead of things sort of becoming magnetized and wanting to stick together it forces them apart, right?
TOM: Yeah, it’s like trying to press the two positive sides of a magnet together and they just bounce off and that’s kind of what it does to the water. So installing it is really pretty easy – you can do it inside of an hour – and I think it’s a great system; very, very inventive. We have spoken to the inventor, a guy named Bill Freije, that came up with this idea and was very, very impressed. We hope to have him on the show at some time in the future. But check it out. It’s at EasyWater.com. I think that’ll solve your problem very simply and keep you married. (Leslie chuckles)
BILL: Thanks. I think I’ll have the wife install one. (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: Bill is a trouble maker.
TOM: He is, he is.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question.
888-666-3974 is our telephone number but if you’re too shy to call you could always head on over to MoneyPit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie. That’s what one of our audience members did and he is asking whether flickering lights are a sign of a ghostly presence. Well, probably not, Kevin but it’s more likely the sign of an electrical problem that could be real important to get fixed. We’re talking about fire hazards with your electrical system. We’ll cover that, next.
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint and primer in one with advanced NanoGuard technology to help you save time and money while preserving your home’s exterior finish. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com. Behr products are available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And have high energy costs got you thinking about alternative ways to heat, cool or light up your home? Well, you can learn all about solar and geothermal energy in the next edition of The Money Pit’s free e-newsletter. It comes directly to your inbox every Friday morning and we absolutely, positively will not sell, rent or otherwise give away your name. It’s totally free, it’s totally safe and it’s all at MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: And while you’re visiting our very useful website, there is a little icon with some question marks. It says Ask Tom and Leslie. If you click on that and ask us anything that’s going on in your home improvement life you can e-mail us your question and we’re going to jump into our e-mail bag like we do every hour of the show. And I’ve got one here from Kevin in Coram, New York who writes: ‘My upstairs lights sometimes flicker when they’re first turned on. My home was built in 1969. The downstairs lights don’t flicker and the flickering stops after a few seconds.’
TOM: Not good. Now if your home was built, Kevin, in 1969 there’s a very good chance that you have aluminum branch circuit wiring. That was installed between 1965 and 1972 and what happens is the wiring is very expansive. So it expands and contracts a lot; it builds up sort of an oxidation. That causes a heat buildup and that could lead to a fire. So my first question to you is do you have aluminum wiring. If you do, it’s got to be replaced. If it’s not aluminum wiring then you have a bad light switch. I would replace both light switches at the top and the bottom of the stairs and you should be good to go.
LESLIE: Alright, Kevin, get on it and keep your family safe.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and if you know a young couple that are soon to be married and wondering what to get them, well the gift registries of yesteryear are really becoming a thing of the past for newlyweds. Leslie has some better suggestions for the home improvement couple in your life in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah and this has been a news story that all media outlets have been covering all summer long. The trend, when it comes to registries, is far from the norm these days and, in fact, my sister – who’s getting married in September – was trying to get us all to come up with a polite way to ask for cash instead of gifts (chuckles) …
LESLIE: … and we kept saying, ‘Yeah, you really can’t do that.’ But brides and grooms getting married today, they want more practical gifts that they can really use on a daily basis; anything from appliances to office supplies to cash for their mortgage payments or downpayments to even money for the honeymoon. Plus with couples getting married later in life, they already have all of the essentials – China, small countertop appliances – in their homes and they don’t really need more of the same. So they’d rather, instead of getting the extras, they want things that they need for entertaining, relaxing, being organized and the newlyweds and the engaged are among the nation’s largest consumers of major appliances, furniture and consumer electronics as well as tableware, linens, small appliances and cookware and often they’re getting these items through the registry and sometimes they’re purchasing them on their own.
So if you want to get creative, look at their registries for a tip of what it is that they want but also think about what they’re going to need. Many people are buying fixer-upper homes; especially in this real estate market. Look at home improvement products from tools to even pieces of drywall. Whatever you know the project is that they’re working on, a gift card can cover all of that as well to their favorite home center. So think outside of the box and give your friends what they really need.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the number that you need to reach us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Coming up on the next edition of The Money Pit, we’re going to give you some step-by-step tips that will make it easy to incorporate green living in your lifestyle; on the next edition of The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2008 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)