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. You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Standing by to help you tackle your home improvement projects, to help you solve your do-it-yourself dilemmas. Look around your house right now. What do you want to do? What do you want to fix? What do you want to improve? What do you want to maintain? Call us with those questions. We will help you with the answers. 888-666-3974. Our website is MoneyPit.com, another great reference for you with thousands of articles about home improvement; most of which we have written ourselves.
Leslie, what are you tackling this week?
LESLIE: Well, I’ve got, actually, lots of things on my mind involved in the house. We’re thinking about getting a new boiler.
TOM: Ah, a new boiler. Now that is a perfect summertime project.
LESLIE: Well, it’s a good time to think about it, I think.
TOM: Well, you know why. Because the manufacturers and the installers are going to be competing for your business. They’re not sitting around waiting for those no-heat calls so they’ve got plenty of time to like search for the best price and give you the best price for that job.
LESLIE: Well, you know, when we had our last service done, at the end of the season in the spring, the guy was looking at our boiler and he said, ‘Wow, this is in great condition considering it’s 35 years old.’ And I thought, ‘Hmm. Gee, isn’t the general lifetime about 30 years on a pretty good boiler?’
TOM: It is. It is. And if I remember, your boiler – because I’ve been to your … I’ve seen your boiler.
TOM: In fact, whenever I go to Leslie’s house, she insists that I …
LESLIE: I make him look around at things.
TOM: … I go look around her boiler and make sure it’s OK.
LESLIE: Hey, when you have a home inspector as a buddy, you put him to work.
TOM: (laughing) But I think your boiler is cast iron and cast iron boilers can last 35 or 45 years. So it’s not that old. But the thing that you could pick up is efficiency. So if y’all are thinking about changing your heating system, you will pick up efficiency. And also, you could qualify for an energy tax credit …
TOM: … if you get an Energy Star rated boiler. So good reasons to tackle a heating system improvement this summer.
LESLIE: And the only thing is, they were saying that because the new models are so much more efficient and emit less heat, you have to get a chimney liner so that it doesn’t backup back down into the house. Because, otherwise, the chimney is too cold and it doesn’t control the air flow and the exhaust going from the unit itself.
TOM: Yeah, you know why that is? It’s because … it’s because of condensation. See the …
LESLIE: That’s what they were telling me.
TOM: The gases that will come up will condense. And that condensation is very acidic; it can eat away at the chimney. So that’s true. If you’re putting in a high efficiency heating system, you may need to line your chimney. But that doesn’t have to add a whole bunch of expense to it. We did one here at my house. We lined it with a stainless steel liner and it added only a few hundred dollars to the total cost.
LESLIE: So we’re going to be doing some research. Because I’d rather do it before it breaks.
TOM: That’s a good project for this summer.
Well, speaking of home improvement projects, what do you do if you’re in the middle of one and you notice that your dog or cat is just not acting right. Could your pet have possibly gotten into some home improvement materials? Perhaps taken a drink of paint or stain or even stepped on something or swallowed a nail or a screw?
LESLIE: Well, it’s possible. Especially if you’ve got a little dog like mine; like Daisy, who wants to be in everything. And most animals are really curious. So, later this hour, we’re going to talk to the head of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center about what you can do to keep your pet safe during your home improvement projects.
TOM: Also this hour, we’re giving away an auto kit from Tomboy Tools. The kit is worth 83 bucks and has everything you’ll ever need in case of a breakdown or accident. We’ll choose one caller from today’s program to win. So call us now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Sandy in Rhode Island’s up next and you’re having some roof situations. What’s going on?
SANDY: Well, my roof is pretty much in good shape but I have some trouble spots. And I have two stacks where the water is leaking in on the inside. And I also have flashing, apparently, where there’s a connection to a porch and a study that it’s coming in. And my question is how do I go about … the companies that I’ve called tend to do just whole roofs and not repairs. So what do I look for when, you know, I’m calling and what … I just want to be sure that I’m getting quality; that they’re using the right nails and that they’re doing the repair correctly. And I wonder if you have some guidance.
TOM: Sure. It sounds to me like you’re experiencing what is the very most typical type of roof leak and that’s a flashing leak. You mentioned protrusions like the plumbing vent stacks that come through the roof. You mentioned chimneys. You mentioned intersections. And how old is your roof shingles right now?
SANDY: I do not know.
TOM: Well, how long have you been in the house, Sandy?
SANDY: I’ve been in the house eight years and I was told that a couple of years before I moved in, the roof was put on.
SANDY: And no one can really tell me. I know that it’s only a single layer. And it’s a Cape. It’s a 1935 Cape.
SANDY: But the roof is relatively … you know, they said it’s in … it’s in good condition. So it’s not a question of repairing or replacing the whole roof.
TOM: Yeah. It’s just a question of finding out where the leaks are. I think what you’re going to have to do is you’re going to have to do some phone work to find a roofing company that’s willing to do a repair; not simply sell you a new roof. If the shingles intact – the shingles not cracked, it’s not deteriorated, it’s not broken, it’s not damaged – then there’s no reason to replace the shingles. This is simply a repair project; not a replacement project.
Now, having said that, I want to warn you that there were some fiberglass shingles that are now about 10 to 15 years old that were defective and they have fissures that go through them and crack. So now if it turns out you have any defective shingles, then you might need to replace it. But that will be obvious to you. You may have to be on a … on a ladder to see it but you’ll see fissuring and alligatoring through the shingle. And if that’s what you see and that seems to be causing the leak, then you do need to replace the roof. But in most cases, it’s just the flashing that has to be fixed. And you’re just going to have to find a roofer or a repair person that’s willing to make those repairs. They’re out there. But they take a few extra calls than just saying, ‘Hey, I want a new roof. You know what I mean?’
SANDY: What about a stack? How do I know if I need a new stack? Is that (INAUDIBLE)?
TOM: When you say stack, are you …?
SANDY: Well, I don’t know if I’m using the right term. Whatever sticks out of the roof.
TOM: Well, there’s a lot of things that stick out of the roof.
LESLIE: (chuckling) So a new chimney or …?
TOM: There’s chimneys. There’s vent pipes. I thought you meant the plumbing vent stack.
SANDY: Well, that … that’s the one that’s over the bathroom and leaking is coming in through that.
TOM: Well, that’s a very simple repair. There’s a piece of plumbing vent flashing that’s available with a rubber boot that’s the same size as the pipe. If it’s a two-and-a-half inch pipe or a three-inch pipe, it simply gets slipped over the top and shingled around and that’s all you need to do.
Now, it’s also possible to tar around the areas that are deteriorating because it’s a rubber gasket that typically breaks down there. But frankly, if you’re going to have a roofer there, I would … I would rather have him replace it because it’s not that big of a deal to do. And it’s not … it’s going to last a lot longer.
LESLIE: Robert in Oklahoma’s up next and you’re thinking about laying some sod. Brand new yard, huh?
ROBERT: Yeah, I’m trying. (laughing) It’s … we’ve got a slight slope. It’s not a big hill but it’s a sloped (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERT: And it’s Bermuda grass. And in spots it’s real beautiful; dark green and thick. And in some spots it’s just bare rock, dirt, dried soil. (chuckling)
TOM: Hmm. OK.
ROBERT: And I’m trying … for the last two-and-a-half years, I keep picking up rocks and there’s … keep more coming. (chuckling) And I … that’s a never-ending process so I decided to lay down some sod. And I’m trying to figure out … I have no idea what would be the best way to do it and how much top soil … if I should use a lot of top soil or …
TOM: Well, the first thing you need to do is repair the soil. And generally, what you do is rototil that to a depth of about, say, four to six inches. So you might need to rent a rototiller because you have the rocky soil; one that’s not going to, you know …
TOM: … freak out when it hits a couple of those rocks. And once you get it all loosened up and you can rake out the top rocks …
LESLIE: Yeah, take out as many of those larger rocks and anything that might sort of damage into the meshing and the webbing as the sod comes in. You really want to get rid of some of those big things. And also think about sloping for drainage conditions. Make sure, if you have any situations where things might be sloping towards the house, try to fix that grading now. Now is a great time to work on it.
TOM: Yeah, if you’ve got any holes or any depressed areas, now is the time to fill them in. And once you get that all filled in and nice and level, what you want to do is pre-water the soil. So you want to water the soil itself first and then lay the sod on top of that so it’s nice and damp underneath the sod. And you know, putting the sod in is pretty easy. It’s pretty much like putting a puzzle together.
But the key here is that after it’s done, you’ve got to water it a lot. I mean it’s really critical that you water that within 30 minutes of installing it. And you want to give it about an inch of water and keep watering it about two to four times a day. Great to water it at night or early in the morning; not kind of in the middle of the day where all the water’s going to bake off real quick. But you’ve got to keep it real damp and moist while that sod is taking root. The best time to do any kind of a new lawn is towards the fall. And the reason is because the summer sun has pretty much passed. It makes it easier for a lawn to really take hold and grow some pretty deep roots before the sun really beats down on it and burns it out that much quicker.
LESLIE: And Robert, another thing to keep in mind is that when you’re ordering the sod, make sure you ask when it’s going to be delivered. Because it needs to be laid as soon as possible after it arrives.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Exactly. Time is critical.
LESLIE: So if you find out it’s going to show up on a Wednesday and you can’t do anything with it until Saturday, you know, change that. Make sure you get it and you’re able to put it right down because you don’t want it to wait more than about 12 hours after arrival, OK?
ROBERT: Good deal.
So when building your new home, there are four things to consider. Are you ready?
TOM: I thought there were three things to consider.
LESLIE: No, no. There’s four.
LESLIE: Here’s my list. You ready?
TOM: Got it.
TOM: Got it.
TOM: Those are the three things I had in mind.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And number four – drainage.
TOM: Ah, of course.
LESLIE: That’s right. We’re going to tell you how to assess that fourth one, right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi power tools. Pro features, affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. You want to start a do-it-yourself project? Well, start it over with us by calling 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Because we’ll help you get it done faster, get it done quicker and get it done right the first time. 888-666-3974.
So, maybe you’re not choosing a do-it-yourself project. Maybe you’re building a dream home and so you’ve got the whole plan. It’s all there. You see it in your head. And now you’ve got to take the first step in choosing a lot. Well, if you’re going to build your dream home, you better make sure that you have enough room for drainage on that lot. The home has to be high enough to allow the soil to slope away from the building on all sides. Diverting the water away from your house in a storm is critical because if you don’t, you’re going to be suffering from soggy backyards and worse yet, flooded basements and crawl spaces. So consider drainage before you design that house.
LESLIE: Alright. So we’re taking calls right now at 888-MONEY-PIT. Maybe you’ve got a call about drainage. But maybe you’ve got a call just about anything else that might be going on in your house. Don’t be shy. We’re here to answer them. And guess what?
If you call and we answer your question on air, you might be the lucky winner of a great prize this hour. It’s a super cool one. It’s from Tomboy Tools. And we’re going to give away an auto kit that includes a wrench, a screwdriver, a tarp, a flashlight and a reflective bag to keep everything in.
TOM: Yeah, it’s worth like 83 bucks. And the story behind Tomboy Tools is really pretty interesting because it’s a company that was created by a woman for women. I know that you’ve done some work with these folks. Tell me about them.
LESLIE: Number one, they’re great. And the reason why I really like what Tomboy Tools does is that they make a tool – it’s a great tool, it’s well-made, they put some good changes in it so they’re better for a woman’s hand – but they don’t just hand you a power driver and say, ‘Have a good time.’ They hand you a power driver and an education to use it. To use it properly, projects you can do with it. So they’re empowering you, in a sense, to make you feel confident to do those tasks. And it doesn’t just stop at home improvement. There’s plumbing, there’s auto kits, they’ve got a lot of great stuff. So don’t be afraid, folks.
TOM: Plus, it’s like a big fat Tupperware party for tools, isn’t it?
LESLIE: (chuckling) Exactly. But it’s interesting. You know, instead of going somewhere and coming home with Tupperware or getting your nails done, you’re going home with the knowledge to do the work yourself in your home. And that’s really just a fantastic idea.
TOM: Then ladies can go home and give their husbands the weekend off as they fix up the house, right?
LESLIE: Hey, that’s what happens in my house.
TOM: (laughing) Well, call us now if you want to get a chance at winning that Tomboy Tools auto kit worth 83 bucks. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Hue from Montana’s up next and he finds The Money Pit on KBLL. And you’ve got something going on with your deck. Tell us about it.
HUE: Well, I do. It’s … it peels. It’s been stained and I’m probably unique in that I’ll admit that I don’t understand anything (laughing) about this kind of stuff. But I know it’s not supposed to peel.
LESLIE: OK, so …
HUE: So, I think what’s happened was years ago I think it was painted. And then, it’s been stained over it. And oh, I paid somebody a thousand bucks – oh, just a little bit over a year ago – to restain it and it’s getting to the stage where it needs it again.
LESLIE: Now, Hue …
TOM: Hue, that’s not a deck. That’s a science experiment. (laughing)
LESLIE: Hue, when you hired this guy and gave him a small vacation’s worth of money, did he remove whatever finish was on there before?
HUE: No. What he did, he power sprayed it.
LESLIE: OK. Well then, that man is not a professional. Let me tell you about this. You can’t – number one – you’ve got to remove whatever is there. And you have to also make sure you have a clean surface. And power washing with just water is not cleaning it at all because the water is just moving around the surface debris and it’s not getting rid of that dirt. It’s like imagine leaving your car outside all year long and you get pollen and dirt and dust and weather effects and bird droppings and then you just hose it down. It’s not clean. Same thing with power washing your deck. You have to strip whatever finish is there. And if you get a good one, put it on during the cooler part of the day; let it sit there for about 20, 30 minutes; get a stiff brush; then you can use the power washer – not too aggressively because that can actually damage the wood. So use the pressure washer to wash away all of that and then you can refinish. And it will last as long as they guarantee you on that can.
HUE: OK. Now, it has … you know, this is about the third time around where it’s peeled.
LESLIE: That’s because you’ve been applying stain over stain over paint. You haven’t been getting down to a place where it can adhere because you’re just putting it down on top of something that’s not sticking well. That’s why you’re seeing things break down.
HUE: OK. Is there any kind of special stain that would provide more adhesive power? I guess by definition, stain goes into wood.
HUE: And is there anything that (chuckles) also goes through what’s there?
TOM: You mean is going to pierce the old finish? No.
LESLIE: You want to stop … you can’t … you can’t skip the preparation step.
TOM: Hue, you’re not listening. (laughing) You’ve got to get rid of the old stuff first. Leslie’s 100 percent right. You’re not going to put anything on top of this that’s going to be able to reach down and make all that stuff go away. Once you have those multiple layers of poorly applied product and poorly prepped product, no matter what you put on top of it, it’s going to peel off.
LESLIE: You’re putting good on top of bad.
TOM: Yeah, not going to work. You’ve got to get down to the raw wood and then you put on a good quality stain and it’ll last.
HUE: And I should be staining … so I should be sanding this now or …?
LESLIE: No, stripper. A chemical stripper. It’s … look for a good product. Go to the home improvement store; there’s a great one from Flood. It’s a chemical stripper. Put it on the deck and it does the work for you. If you put it on there, you’ll see the paint start to change and come up and come off. And then, give it a good scrub with a stiff brush and then hose that away.
HUE: Thank you very much. I will do … I’ll look for a chemical stripper. That doesn’t sound good, does it? No. And …
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, but you know what, Hue? It’s legal. Alright, buddy? (laughing)
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Prep is where it’s at, though.
LESLIE: Alright. Chris in Tennessee’s up next. And you’ve got a sliding door you want to put a window treatment on. Tell us about it.
CHRIS: Well, it’s actually the door to my home office. So I use it from the inside and the outside. It’s got a lock on it. And I’m looking for some options for a window treatment that if I were to come in from the outside and hadn’t gone out through that door in the first place, that I could still operate the window treatment and get, you know, in the room.
LESLIE: That’s interesting. So it’s … it’s an interior wall and you want something that’s … window treatment for both sides; both your office and the room on the other side of the door.
CHRIS: The other side is the outside.
LESLIE: Oh, the other side is the outside.
CHRIS: Right. So if I were to come in … if I were to, say, go out the front door and then decided I wanted to come into my office from the outside through the sliding glass door …
TOM: You don’t want to have to push the …
TOM: … you don’t want to have to push the window treatment aside. I have a solution. What about that … what’s the Pella Designer Series?
LESLIE: Yeah, do you already have this door or are you open to getting a new one?
CHRIS: The door I already have.
CHRIS: The treatment I do not have. That’s where my problem is. I don’t know what to do with it.
TOM: One of your options is to consider replacing the door. And the reason you might want to do that is because I can’t think of a treatment that you’re going to be able to operate from the opposite side. However, some of the new doors today – like this one from Pella that Leslie and I were thinking of – has the treatment between the glass panes.
TOM: So there … so there is no curtain or window treatment or vertical blind for you to have to push aside or no hardware for you to have to rig up.
LESLIE: And the interesting thing about the Pella window – it’s their Designer Series doors; they have sliding doors, they have patio doors, everything within this line – is that, traditionally, if you were to get a window that has the treatment in the inside, you could never change it. You’re just sort of stuck with whatever it is that you’ve purchased.
LESLIE: But their new window – the Designer Series – has so many options and you’re able to open up a third pane of glass and switch that out very easily.
CHRIS: Oh, OK. Now, can you open and close this treatment, though? Like you would a normal …?
LESLIE: Absolutely. There’s a secret lever on the side of the glass, on the interior side, that slides up and down. So there’s no more pull cords so you don’t have to worry about a choking hazard for your kids or your pets.
LESLIE: And you just slide this lever up and down and the blind either opens and closes or the roller shade rolls up; depending on whatever it is that you pick.
LESLIE: You can operate it from the inside without any sort of messy cords. And now is a great time to make an energy efficient change to a door or a window at home because you get a great tax credit.
TOM: Well, pets are a great companion when you’re involved in a home improvement project. They keep you company when everybody else likes to disappear and not help you out. (laughing) But what if you’re working and the dog might get into something? This could be a problem.
LESLIE: Yeah, it could be a big problem. Because you can’t keep your eye on your animals the entire time; especially if you want to make sure you finish your project with all 10 of your fingers. So, not a good idea to be watching the dog or cat all the time. But it is a good idea to make sure that they’re kept safe during any home improvement project.
And that’s why we’re going to have an expert from the Animal Poison Control Center to tell us how to keep your pet safe from your DIY supplies.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Dens Armor Plus, the revolutionary paperless drywall from Georgia-Pacific.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
You know, we talk a lot, on this program, about home improvement safety and how to get those jobs done safely around the house. We certainly don’t want you to hurt yourself while you’re tackling those home improvement projects. But today we want to talk about how not only to keep yourself safe, but also your pets safe. Because if you’re in the middle of your latest DIY project and you notice that your dog is just not himself, it might just be that spot or Fido could have gotten himself into some home improvement materials. Maybe some paint, maybe some stain, maybe he’s chewing on some wire. And it just might not be good for the dog.
LESLIE: Yeah. Actually, last year alone, the Animal Poison Control Center handled 100,000 cases of pet poisoning; many of them from common household items.
Joining us to talk about how to keep your pet safe from potentially toxic stuff around your house is Dr. Steve Hanson, the Executive Director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
Welcome Dr. Steve. How are you?
STEVE: I’m doing great. Thank you, Leslie. Thank you, Tom.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Dr. Steve, you guys serve a wonderful purpose in helping us keep our pets safe around the house and it occurred to us that, you know, during home improvement projects, things in the house can really get into somewhat of a disarray. I mean animals are creatures of habit and when you tear open rooms and you’ve got all kinds of workers in the house and all kinds of materials around and the carpets up and you know, the wood is piled in the living room, I mean do you think that the animals can get confused and easily into things that they shouldn’t be in a situation like that?
STEVE: Tom, you’re definitely right. And we talk about this frequently, about changing the environment that the pet’s in. When something new is brought in …
LESLIE: Well, they want to check it out.
STEVE: They will check it out and maybe it’s destruction, in this case, if they’re doing a remodeling project. Dogs will eat insulation. They will get intestinal obstruction from insulation. It’s not really a poisoning issue but it certainly is a related issue that we do get calls on. There’s concern whether or not fiberglass is toxic. Well, it’s not necessarily, but it’s really a problem when it plugs up the intestinal tract.
TOM: Yeah, it does for me, too. I’ll tell you what. (laughing)
STEVE: It’s not cotton candy.
TOM: No, it’s not. It looks like it but it certainly isn’t.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) It looks like it though. (laughing)
TOM: Well, it’s interesting to see the top five most common household hazards for pets. Starts, of course, with food being there at number five. Certain types of foods you don’t want your pets to get into. Of course, insulation being one of those (laughing), which is not really a food. But also, I’m surprised to learn how many plants around your house … how many of us have house plants that could be really toxic. What are the more toxic types of houseplants that pets get into?
STEVE: Well, Tom, one of the most toxic houseplants – and this is a great time of year to talk about it – is the Easter Lily to cats. We spend a lot of time about talking about inquisitive dogs. But cats will chew on Easter Lily plants that are brought in new this time of the year, as we head into spring and head towards Easter. And the Easter Lily is deadly to cats. Not to dogs …
LESLIE: Well, what it is about the Easter Lily?
STEVE: And Leslie, that’s a question that we do not know the answer to. It’s been well documented that it occurs. There has not been extensive research into exactly why it occurs. We have had tissues from cats that have died, which is very sad and examined them. There was a very consistent look to what happens to their kidneys. But we don’t know why. It is a mystery, but we do know that cats are very unusual in the way that they handle things that they consume.
LESLIE: Is it just from ingesting a leaf or do you think they have to ingest a lot of it or just licking it?
STEVE: They actually don’t have to ingest much. A leaf or two is more than adequate to cause kidney failure in a cat.
TOM: Wow. So it doesn’t take very much.
STEVE: It does not take much. No, it’s rather frightening. So it’s one of the things that we really stand up and say, ‘Do not bring an Easter Lily or a Tiger Lily into a house with a cat.’
TOM: And some of the other things that are household hazards for pets include household cleaners, pesticides and medications. And you even have some stats here on the home improvement hazards specifically. Very surprised to see this. Five hundred cases last year of pets being poisoned by paints or finishes.
STEVE: We do get a fair number of calls with paint. And paints are particularly a concern if they’re … for example, the stain. You mentioned a stain earlier. It’s a very low viscosity liquid. And what happens when a dog drinks something like a stain or a kerosene turpentine, highly fluid liquids, highly fluid hydrocarbons, it can choke on it, they can get it into their lungs and that’s when we get into serious trouble.
LESLIE: And they’re so inquisitive. They’re just going to want to go for it right away. Now, when we’re talking about these home improvement objects, if you’ve already got the paint on the wall and they go over and take a lick, is that not so bad as them drinking some paint from the gallon container?
STEVE: Well, Leslie, if a dog walks on paint or rubs against paint and them licks themselves or a cat grooms, that’s not going to be a serious problem. And most of the time, ingestions of paint – of standard paint, regular latex house paint – believe it or not, commonly is not a problem. It will … it will get on the coat, it will get on their muzzle and their mouth. But as long as they don’t choke on it and especially if it’s not an oil base, they tolerate it extremely well as long as we keep it out of the lungs.
TOM: But here’s something that’s very interesting. You reported 40 cases of lead poisoning last year and that was just, again, from paint alone. Paint from prior to 1978 of course, as we know, contained lead. And while we try to keep our kids away from lead, it’s also important to keep the pets away from that lead paint.
STEVE: That’s exactly right. Tom, we do run into lead problems with home improvement. And dogs have also been used as sentinels for children. If we ran into a lead case with a dog …
TOM: (chuckling) That’s true. They’re like the canary in the cage.
STEVE: They are. The next question is do you have children in the house and do we need to recommend that you see your physician and consider having testing done for the humans in the house.
TOM: Well, Dr. Steve, we’re just about out of time. But what would you say is the best way to protect your animals during renovations when the house is in a bit of disarray?
STEVE: Probably the most important thing is awareness – which, from our perspective, is education and why we so appreciate your show – is raising that awareness that things have changed in the house. Dogs are inquisitive and they will go after materials. You’re probably spending less time with them so they’re also acting up a little bit. So it is important to realize that. Keep the dog in a crate if you have a crate. Or on a leash. Make sure that they cannot get into materials. Make sure that a cat can’t fall into the paint can. Cats are … that’s more of a problem in my house for the cat, when we’re painting, than it is with the dog.
So be aware of that potential concern. Make sure you clean up after yourself. Dispose of things in ways that the dog cannot get to them. If you’re using glue products, expanding glues are really very serious. It will actually expand in the stomach and have to be surgically removed and we get several of those every year.
TOM: Wow. That’s something you don’t think about. You know what? It’s funny since we don’t (chuckling) … we don’t really eat our home improvement products, we don’t … we don’t realize how good they must taste.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (laughing) You might want to, but you don’t.
TOM: But we don’t realize how good they must taste to our pets.
STEVE: I know. We could just shoot ourselves with nail guns, I think. (laughing)
TOM: That’s right. (laughing)
LESLIE: Well, what are some of the things … can we use our regular first aid kit that we have around the house? Or do we need to add anything special to make it safe for our pets?
STEVE: Well, Leslie, we do like to add a few things to the … to the emergency kit for pets. And one of them is something most people probably have, which is simply a hand dishwashing detergent; a Dawn, an Ivory or Palmolive. That is the best way to remove oils that have gotten onto a coat, pesticides on the coat. We don’t advocate using that type of a soap to wash your pet regularly; it’s very hard on the coat. But that’s why it works. It strips the oils off. So we do need a good hand dish detergent.
Three percent hydrogen peroxide is what we typically recommend if we want the dog to bring back up what they ate. Now if they drink a hydrocarbon, such as kerosene or a varnish or something highly liquid, we don’t want them to vomit it up because that increases the chance that they’ll get it in their lungs. So we have to be very careful on when we induce vomiting. We like to have a veterinarian recommend when that should be done. But we do like to have three percent hydrogen peroxide in that emergency kit.
TOM: Well, that’s great advice. Dr. Steve Hanson is the Executive Director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. Dr. Steve, thanks so much for sharing your tips with The Money Pit.
STEVE: (audio gap) Tom, and we do have a tremendous amount of information on our website – ASPCA.org.
TOM: Or you can call them at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP. 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.
Well, Dr. Steve, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit and filling us in on how to keep our pets safe through any home improvement project.
Well, if you have pets, you probably also have pet stains because they go together. (chuckling) Well, at least they do in my house. Find out how to deal with them in just a minute.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit was 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 standing by at 1-888-MONEY-PIT to answer your home improvement questions.
LESLIE: Alright, folks. So if you happen to have a pet stain or an accident in the house – I know none of us like to admit it. I don’t admit it. You know, I don’t know what you’re talking about. That doesn’t happen to me. But we all know it does. It’s our little secret though, OK? But here’s some things to remember.
Always blot the stain. Rubbing the stain can actually drive the stain deeper. So don’t do it. And also, avoid using harsh chemicals. You could actually set the stain permanently and it could void your carpet’s warranty. Not like a giant pee stain wouldn’t, but seriously. Watch out for the chemicals.
TOM: Well, you know what happens. You can actually cause a chemical reaction between the part that the doggie left and what you put on it. And that actually can bleach the carpet out and make it … you know, make that stain actually white where you can’t get (INAUDIBLE).
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) That’s why, on the instructions, it says ‘Test in an inconspicuous area,’ which most people never do.
TOM: If you could only get Fido to test an inconspicuous area first.
LESLIE: (laughing) Alright, folks. But for stubborn stains, remember, consider hiring a professional who is experienced with cleaners and their chemical reactions. That’s always a good way to do it because they’ll know what they’re doing best. Or you can check out – this is, personally, my favorite product because it works really, really well and I know that it does because we had a very disobedient small puppy who is now a small dog who kind of still maybe makes accidents sometimes. But we’re not talking about that. Anyway, the great product is called 1-2-3 Odor Free and you can get it online at JustRite.com. And that’s Just R-i-t-e. JustRite.com. It’s super good. And tell Bill I said hello.
You know, based on the number of calls and letters we get from women, we can definitely tell you that women are far less intimidated by DIY projects; more so, lately, than ever before. And so today, we’re giving away a prize designed especially for women. It’s from Tomboy Tools. It’s an auto kit. It comes with a wrench, tire gauge, flashlight, jumper cables, screwdriver, tarp and a bag to hold it all in place. It’s worth 83 bucks. It’s going to one caller whose name we draw out of The Money Pit hardhat. So to qualify, call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. You must come on the air and ask a home improvement question.
LESLIE: Debbie in Ohio has a mysterious odor coming from her son’s bathroom. Are you sure he hasn’t hidden some gym socks in there? (laughing)
DEBBIE: Well, he is a teenager so you never know. (laughing)
TOM: Always possible.
DEBBIE: Yes, absolutely.
LESLIE: So tell us about it. Where do you smell it? What’s it like? What’s … where’s it coming from?
DEBBIE: Well, we built our home about six years ago. And it … we are on a septic tank system. And it is … only seems to be in their bathroom and it’s not all the time. And it only seems to be certain times. And it is distinctly like you would think would be a septic tank odor and I don’t know what’s causing it.
DEBBIE: But …
LESLIE: And it’s a bathroom that you use quite frequently. Obviously, the kids are using it.
DEBBIE: Absolutely, yes. And none of the … we have three other bathrooms in the home and we don’t have that problem with those bathrooms. So …
TOM: Well, generally, if there is an odor problem, it has to do with venting. Somewhere the vent is not properly installed. Or more importantly, there’s no trap. The first place I would be checking would be the sink. Because if there is a trap that’s missing in that area, you’re going to have an open connection to the waste line and that would explain the occasional waft of sewage gas.
LESLIE: And how would you just visually tell, by checking, that there’s no trap?
TOM: Well, when you look under … first of all, when you look under the sink, you want to look for a big u-shaped piece of pipe that goes down and then comes up again. Because that u-shaped pipe is called the p trap and that’s where the water is stored.
LESLIE: So there’s always some water just sitting in the bottom there.
TOM: Right. And hence, that’s why it’s called a trap. Because it basically traps the sewage gas.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Because it stops the odor.
DEBBIE: OK. So that could be coming from the sink and not necessarily the commode because we are a septic tank.
TOM: Correct. I mean it’s all part of the same drainage system. All that water goes to the same place. And so, if there’s a trap missing somewhere or if it’s dried out, then that would explain why you’re getting odor. The other place it could be is … you have a tub or a shower in there?
DEBBIE: We have a tub with shower.
TOM: So the other place it could be is in the tub. If you can narrow down which one seems to be the source of the odor, when you start to smell it – kind of maybe do a little nose inspection a little closer and see if you can figure out if it’s the sink or the tub – it’s most likely a problem with the waste system there, not being properly vented and not having a proper trap. And once …
DEBBIE: Not necessarily the commode but either one of the sinks or …
TOM: No, because see the commode is full of water all the time so …
TOM: … it’s probably not the commode.
DEBBIE: Could it be … you know, it’s a double sink. Could it be the sink that they don’t tend to use as often?
LESLIE: It could be. It could be that the trap is dried up.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. If that trap is dried up, there’s no water in there, it could be as simple as putting some more water in there. OK, Debbie?
LESLIE: So wait, they’re not fighting and they’re sharing one sink?
DEBBIE: Well, one’s off to college now, actually.
TOM: Ah. (laughing)
LESLIE: Oh. I was going to …
DEBBIE: But no, they really did very well. I have to give them credit for that.
LESLIE: Up next, when you’re lucky enough to have beautiful tall ceilings, maybe even a cathedral type ceiling, what do you do about insulation? We’re going to tell you what to do in that situation, next.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Behr Premium Plus Interior Sateen Kitchen and Bath Enamel with advanced NanoGuard technology to help consumers protect these areas, keeping them looking new longer. For more information, visit Behr.com. That’s B-e-h-r.com.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. 888-MONEY-PIT is the number that’s available to you 24 hours a day. Our live call screeners always standing by to take your question and we will call you back, if we’re not in the studio when you call, the next time that we are. Another way to reach out to us is to log onto our website at MoneyPit.com where you can find everything we’ve ever written about home improvement. And when you get through those two pages (laughing), maybe you’ll send us an email. (laughing) No, only kidding. There’s thousands of articles there.
So let’s jump into that email bag.
LESLIE: OK. Ralph in Montana writes: ‘I just put an addition on our home. I have a 3×8 open rafters and because of the small slope, the pitch is only 1.5×12. How can I insulate my ceiling?’
TOM: Good question, Ralph. If you want to insulate an open ceiling like that, there’s a couple of ways to do it. First of all, it could be done on top of the roof surface through what’s called a sandwich insulation system. And basically, that means you put in thick slabs of foam and then more plywood and then roof on top of that. That’s very often done like when you have like a log house. Or you could insulate that cathedral ceiling. But you have to leave at least a two-inch air gap all the way between the insulation and the underside of the sheathing and some ventilation at the top and the bottom so that air can flow through and it can breathe properly.
LESLIE: Alright. You should be nice and toasty out there in big sky country, Ralph. Thanks for writing in.
TOM: Well, it is once again time to get out and do lots of summer barbecues. And I have a question for you, Leslie. I have a gas grill.
TOM: But some barbecuers absolutely swear by charcoal. So this hour, I understand you’re going to weigh in with your Leslie’s Last Word segment on the benefits of charcoal versus gas.
LESLIE: That’s right. A charcoal grill can actually give your grilling a different flavor; especially if you use fragrant wood chips in your coals. And you don’t want to pour them directly on top of your coals. There’s a special little metal tray that you can place on top of the coals so that will help smoke whatever it is that you’re cooking with those flavored chips. And here are a few pointers about lighting your charcoal grill which, you know, can sometimes be tricky. Here we go.
Make sure you put your grill in a well-ventilated area. I know it sounds basic but some people drag that grill into the garage in the event of rain. Don’t do it. Make sure you stack the briquettes in a mound and soak them with the liquid starter. Then immediately light that mound and step way back. Now you want to wait until the flames go out and the coals are covered with a gray ash before you start cooking; that way they’re uniformly heated and have a good temperature. And don’t spray starter on any lighted coals. The flame could travel up that stream of flammable liquid and cause a giant explosion. So that is a bad idea. And plus that … remember? That’s in your hand. So that’s a really bad idea.
And remember, never start a grill fire using gasoline; although these days you probably wouldn’t waste a precious drop of your gasoline outside of your car. So good things to keep in mind and enjoy that grilling.
TOM: And one more tip. If you have a vinyl sided house, make especially sure that grill is well, well, well away from the wall. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen grill damage on vinyl sided houses that … you wouldn’t really see it if it was wood-sided or bricks …
TOM: … or even like hardy plank.
LESLIE: Mmm, but the vinyl tends to melt.
TOM: Vinyl melts in this like halo pattern. It’s very distinctive and you know when it happened. And there’s absolutely no way around it. So, that radiant heat really does travel. Always pull that grill well away from your house. And never use it on an enclosed balcony. Really bad idea. Or even inside of a garage with the door open because charcoal also emits tons of carbon monoxide that can make you really, really sick.
Well, coming up next week on The Money Pit, we’re going to tell you how to safely enjoy your 4th of July fireworks. We’ll tell you how to find out which fireworks are legal in your state and how to make sure that no one gets hurt while you’re having fun. That’s coming up next week on The Money Pit.
Thank you so much for spending this hour with us. Remember our website – available 24/7 as is our telephone number – MoneyPit.com and 1-888-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 2006 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.)