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 1 TEXT:
Hi, this is Tom Kraeutler and thanks for listening to the show. Hey, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about a cool contest we’re running right now with our friends at Therma-Tru. It’s called the Ugliest Door in America contest and two of our listeners could win a brand new, completely installed entry door worth up to $5,000. Entering is super easy, too, at MyUglyDoor.com. So if your front door, back door or patio door is looking a little worse for wear, log onto MyUglyDoor.com and you can enter to win a beautiful new entry door from Therma-Tru. That’s MyUglyDoor.com.
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 now with your home improvement question. Call us now with your do-it-yourself dilemma because this is a home improvement adventure. We think home improvements are an adventure because, think about it …
LESLIE: Because you never know where they’re going to end up?
TOM: Exactly. (Leslie chuckles) You know, they’re fun; they’re exhilarating; they have an uncertain outcome.
LESLIE: Sense of danger?
TOM: That’s right. We can help you. We can be your tour guides through this entire home improvement adventure process if you pick up the phone and call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Speaking of adventures, are you getting ready for a summer getaway this year? Well, you should know that summer vacation season for you means open season on your home for burglars. But not to fear; we’ve got some great tips on how you can make your home burglar-proof, coming up.
LESLIE: And also ahead this hour, do you have the right circuit breakers for your home? Well, you might be wondering, ‘How the heck am I even supposed to know that?’ and you may be even more shocked to learn that regular breakers only protect you from fires or overheating but not from potentially deadly electrical shocks to you. Coming up we’re going to tell you which kind of breakers can actually put the brakes on a potential shock.
TOM: Plus, taking care of your central air conditioner is certainly important if you want it to last and enjoy the air conditioning all season long. So to help you make sure that your AC runs well we’ve got a maintenance tip coming up about how you can spend a dollar a month on that air conditioner and it could save you a $1,500 home repair.
LESLIE: Alright, and if you give us a call right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT this hour we are giving away a huge supply of Scott shop towels, grip gloves, dust masks. It’s all from our friends over at Kimberly-Clark. It’s going to one lucky listener and these are basically the tools that you forget to buy but you definitely need through every home improvement journey.
TOM: Especially important for those sloppy do-it-yourselfers out there.
LESLIE: Exactly. It’s a prize package worth over 200 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller who reaches us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You must have a home improvement question and be willing to ask us. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Barbara in New York is looking to get some remodeling done. How can we help you?
BARBARA: Yes, I’d like to know how to hire a contractor to do a complete renovation of my kitchen. I live in a New York City apartment that I own.
LESLIE: OK. Well actually – I mean it’s good that you’re calling us in advance because some people tend to not ask the right questions and not do enough research when it comes time to hire a pro and they end up with, you know, a bad experience and that’s not the case we want you to have. So generally what we would recommend is ask your friends, ask your neighbors, ask people that you are familiar with who’ve had home improvements who they might recommend. But there’s actually an online networking website called Angie’s List and it’s A-n-g-i-e-s List; Angie’s List. And what they do on this website is anybody who’s ever used any type of service professional can go onto the website and write a review about this pro. So now you can look up different recommendations in your neighborhood for a contractor, for a painter, for anybody who does any sort of service contracting. And they’re not allowed to go on and pad their review. It’s sort of – it’s very regimented to make sure that it truly is user-friendly and it gives you the best sort of advice as to who folks in your area would recommend as well.
BARBARA: Well that sounds wonderful. I’ve never heard of that before.
TOM: It’s a great service. Barbara, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
BARBARA: Now we’re going to talk to Ed in Alabama and I’m laughing because I get a preview of the questions and I see that Ed’s done a home repair that kind of got messy. (chuckles) What happened, Ed?
ED: (chuckles) Well, I built a house in Alabama; Tuscumbia, Alabama. I put prefinished oak flooring on a concrete slab and the sheetrock in it – it’s sheetrock – had to redo the all joints because they used defective drywall. And when he did that he had to sand them and when he sanded them the filament – the dust – went onto the floor and I have two cleaning people coming in there trying to clean the floor but when they’re all done you still have the dust on the floor.
ED: And that’s the question I’ve got is do you have any ideas of how I could get rid of that dust and bring back the finish on the floor.
TOM: It sounds to me like it’s the sanding dust from the spackle and, you know, if you mix that with some cleaning solutions who knows what kind of a concoction they came up with. You’ve got to get that out and probably the best thing to use would be like a Murphy’s oil soap, I would think, and really scrub that floor.
LESLIE: You are tuned to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.
Hey, home improvement lovers, do you find yourself under a pile of projects just to get your home summer ready? Well let us help you do that. 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, did you know that spending a dollar a month can save you a $1,500 home repair? Find out how to do that math, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer of fiberglass entry and patio door systems. Choose the brand more building professionals prefer and add up to $24,000 to the perceived value of your home. For more information visit ThermaTru.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: If you’re a do-it-yourselfer call us. If you’re a do-it-to-yourselfer you’re in luck because this hour we’re giving away a great prize from the folks at Kimberly-Clark. It’s a prize pack worth more than 200 bucks. You’ll get a case of Scotts Rags and Scotts shop towels …
LESLIE: So when you spill that gallon of paint all over yourself … (chuckles)
TOM: Exactly. Like I said, if you’re a do-it-to-yourselfer this is the prize for you; 200 bucks worth of stuff for you to clean up from your home improvement sloppy projects. (Leslie chuckles) Which I know you know all about, right Leslie?
LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. I have to tell you. Filming a home improvement show, you know, you’ve got two or three camera guys; cameras on their shoulders; they’re looking through a lens; they’re not really paying attention …
TOM: Watching? (chuckles)
LESLIE: … to what’s around their feet and how many times do they step in paint trays and then track paint all over the carpeting and the room next door. We’re all like, ‘Oh!’; cleaning everything up.
TOM: Well, if that’s ever happened to you you’re in luck. Pick up the phone right now and call us because we’ll give you the answer to your home improvement question and an opportunity to win this case of Scotts rags extreme and Scotts shop towels and disposable gloves and basically everything you need to clean up the big, stinking mess that you could make doing a home improvement project; which we can make easier if you call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: And you know what’ll happen? The winner will be so prepared for a potential home improvement mess that they will never spill a drop of paint ever and be like, ‘I’ve got all these paper towels but I’ll have to try to make a mess.’
Alright, well pick up the phone and give us a call. Maybe you’re wondering about testing your air conditioning for those summer dog days that are coming to just heat up everything all around you or maybe even where you live in the country you’ve actually already chilled out in your AC. Well we’ve got a hot tip for you that’s going to help you save cold, hard cash this summer season. Here it is.
On your central air conditioner, they need an evaporator coil to work efficiently and a $1.00 filter protects that coil from clogs that can ruin the compressor. Now the compressor costs $1,500 to replace.
TOM: Or more.
LESLIE: Or more. So what’s better: $1.00 filter; $1,500 compressor?
TOM: Hmm, let me think about that.
LESLIE: It’s like do the math, folks. Spend the dollar; don’t spend the huge chunk of change. It could have been your tax return that you’d put towards it.
TOM: And change those filters every month.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Mitch in New Jersey’s dealing with a driveway that’s cracking up. Tell us about the problem.
MITCH: It’s actually one crack that is running across the driveway. It seems like there’s a fault underneath the driveway and it’s always appearing in the same spot and I’ve filled it pretty much every year. So my question to you is, is there anything that you could think of that I can fill that crack with; even cement?
TOM: No, that’s not going to do because cement is not very elastic. The best product for this is an acrylic patching compound for – that’s specifically made for driveways; however, I will say that if the original driveway was put on fairly thin – in other words it’s not thick enough and the base was not built up enough; if it didn’t have enough of a gravel base under it – that could be why it’s cracking repeatedly and all the patching you do is not going to stop it because it’s basically expansion and contraction and shifting of that soil that’s causing it to move.
The other thing to take a look at is the water flow. Typically, if you get a lot of water in that area or under that area, that will accentuate the movement, but I suspect that the original driveway was a fairly thin application and that’s why this crack has been so difficult to control.
TOM: Mitch, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to tackle a mold situation in Texas with Ed. What can we do for you today?
ED: I can’t find the mold anywhere. I’ve gone through – even pulled cabinets back from the wall; looked underneath the, you know, washing machine, dryer; making sure there’s nothing leaking in the washer. I just don’t know where else to look and I was wondering if there was a device that we could go get somewhere or something that would help be able to point in that direction.
TOM: Ed, why is it that you think that you have a mold problem?
LESLIE: Yeah, are you smelling something?
ED: Yeah, plus the only thing I’m really allergic to is mold …
ED: … and I’m having some major allergy problems in the house. When I go outside the house I get better after a couple of hours but the minute I walk into the house I get just miserable.
LESLIE: What are you doing for moisture control in the house?
ED: Nothing really.
TOM: Ed, this may be a good situation where you be wise to hire a mold investigator because there are very subtle signs of mold in different places that may not be obvious to you. I’ll give you a quick example.
I did a mold investigation several years ago as part of a television show that I was involved with as an expert and going into the house we had absolutely no indication that there was a mold problem except that the kids in the house got sick a lot. And after taking a whole bunch of samples in the house we ended up finding mold in the most unusual place which was embedded in the fiberglass insulation.
LESLIE: Which normally wouldn’t grow mold.
TOM: Because it’s nonorganic. In this case what happened was there was dust that got up in the insulation and the mold actually fed on the dust and wrapped around the fiberglass like – kind of looked like ivy on a tree trunk. And so that is something that only a specialist would be able to find. So if you’re having medical issues, I’d recommend that this might be a good time to find a mold investigator. If you can’t find one locally you might want to get on the phone and call some home inspectors because in your part of the country those guys really know who’s doing the best work when it comes to mold investigation and they could probably get you in the right direction.
If you want to find some good home inspectors go to the website for the American Society of Home Inspectors at ASHI.org. You put in the zip code; they’ll shoot you a list and I bet you if start calling around you may find the same name coming up from two or three different guys and that would be the guy that I would call.
ED: Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Ed. Good luck with that problem and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from my favorite place in the United States; Hawaii. Welcome, Jim. Aloha.
JIM: We have a frame house that’s about four years old now and we live in an area on Maui that gets a fair amount of rain so we’re getting some gray mildew up underneath the eaves of the house.
JIM: We’ve done some cleaning on it already but the plywood surface under the eaves is rough and just spraying with water mixed with a mildicide that we bought just really does not do the job.
TOM: There’s a problem called Jomax that I like; J-o-m-a-x. Have you tried it?
JIM: Yes we have.
TOM: That seems to work pretty well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and I like bleach and water with a good, stiff brush.
LESLIE: Jim, you can always have me out to your house and I’ll do it for you. (Tom chuckles)
JIM: (chuckling) OK, great. It’s a deal.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Diane, you have a bathroom issue? What’s going on?
DIANE: Yeah, I’d like your advice, please. My bathtub is getting to look old on the bottom. It has a soft, gray, cloudy look in parts.
DIANE: I’ve seen this in, for example, my – in the bathtubs of older people. My condo is about 40 years old and I imagine this might be the original tub. Would it better to glaze it or to get one of those – they have a company that puts a tub over it (inaudible at 0:14:08.9) sheet.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Like a refinishing.
TOM: Yeah, it’s an insert. Is this a metal tub or a fiberglass tub?
DIANE: It looks like porcelain.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Porcelain. OK, it’s metal.
DIANE: It’s a regular, white bathtub. That’s the best I could describe it. I guess it’s porcelain; I’m pretty sure.
TOM: Yeah, it’s probably a cast iron tub. Now Diane, you can reglaze it but I will tell you that it won’t be nearly as durable as it was 40 years ago and so, that is one option; and the second one is an insert. The thing about the inserts is they’re pretty costly and they also reduce the actual volume of the tub because they’re about a half-inch thick plus they never quite fit exactly perfectly right so they end up taking more room than when you started with. So those are two options to repair or resurface in place.
LESLIE: Now Diane, since I’m not seeing the stain in person but it sounds almost like it could be a mineral deposit.
DIANE: No, I’ve seen this in bathtubs before. It’s just old.
TOM: She’s suffering from old stain here.
DIANE: It really …
LESLIE: It sounds like you want a new tub. Because I was going to say if you gave it a try with some white vinegar just to see if that …
DIANE: I’ll try that but I don’t think I’ll be lucky on that score. I think it needs to be – would you suggest the refinishing?
TOM: Well, I think that that’s probably going to be a good first step because it’s not very expensive; it doesn’t require a big commitment of time and money and it’s something that you can do yourself.
DIANE: I can do it myself?
TOM: Yeah, sure. Just like painting.
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk to John in Utah about a swamp cooler. And you know, Tom, in Utah it’s the only place I’ve ever seen swamp coolers …
TOM: Is that right?
LESLIE: … and they are pretty darn cool.
TOM: Yeah, you don’t see them too often anymore.
LESLIE: John, what’s going on at your house? How can we help?
JOHN: Well, I got an old swamp cooler that’s rusting out in the pan and so it looks like I have to replace it …
JOHN: … and there’s a couple different kinds of swamp coolers and I’m trying to decide which one is the best for the top of my house.
TOM: Alright, what are your options?
JOHN: Well, I’ve got right now one that’s just got the four sides; the kind you usually see on houses around here and – but there’s another kind called a single-inlet swamp cooler which I see them now at The Home Depot and so on but I really – I don’t know which one is better, you know? I’ve heard that the one is better. I know it’s a little more expensive.
TOM: Well John, first up let’s kind of define what a swamp cooler is for people that are not familiar with it. A typical refrigeration system uses a refrigerant – Freon or another refrigerant – to basically change the temperature in the plumbing system, in the piping system and they blow air across coils and that’s the way it cools. A swamp cooler is your basic evaporative cooler where water pours over an evaporative pad, air blows over it and that’s how the cooling process happens. Now the difference between a standard swamp cooler and a single-inlet one is a single-inlet cooler is basically a very, very high-tech version of the old-fashioned swamp cooler. It’s more efficient. The evaporative pads are much, much thicker. It usually has a microprocessor-based thermostat and a timer that controls things like speed, water, runtime and the dump functions of the water. And so basically, by buying a single-inlet unit you’re going to have a much more efficient cooling system in your house.
JOHN: I got you. So it probably is worth the expense then.
TOM: So I think it probably is worth the expense and that really is going to be the upgrade that’s going to be the appropriate thing for replacement of the old swamp cooler.
JOHN: Yeah, short of an air conditioner but we like the humidity. I know my wife sure likes it.
LESLIE: And they really are so efficient and they do cool quite nicely. You know we filmed a bunch of episodes of While You Were Out out in Utah in the middle of August and it was hot and those houses were surprisingly cool.
JOHN: Yeah, it really does work most of the time. I mean our old swamp cooler that gets up in the mid-90s is a little bit – you know, it kind of stops working at that point but I’m hoping this one’ll handle those 90-degree temperature days. You know?
TOM: Yeah, and it’s going to handle it a lot more efficiently. John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show standing by for your call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, did you know that the circuit breakers in your home may not protect you against a deadly electrical shock? We’re going to tell you what will, in just a few minutes.
LESLIE: And also ahead, do you find yourself in a situation where you could use a brand, spanking new front door or a back door or even a patio door to spiff up your house for the summer season? Well, and every season after that as well because these things are durable and gorgeous. We’re going to have details coming up on how you can win a $5,000 door makeover from Therma-Tru by entering the Ugliest Door in America contest. It’s not a time to feel shy about calling your house that. (Tom chuckles) Coming up.
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: Well, if you’re up on your roof and picking up your cell phone and giving us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because the wind just blew the ladder over, we probably can’t help you.
LESLIE: (chuckling) You should call your neighbor.
TOM: But for those less drastic home improvement questions, call us right now at 888-666-3974 because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, do you cringe every time you pull up to your house because perhaps your door is the ugliest one in your neighborhood? Well, you know replacing that front door can actually add value that’s about five times the cost of the project. It’s a real good investment for your house. It’s one that’s not drastic or major in scale but it definitely gives you a big result.
LESLIE: Yeah, and is your back door ugly? Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Well, not my front door but the back door’ or even a patio door is just the pits. Well, that can work in your favor too because Therma-Tru doors is launching their fourth annual search for the ugliest door in America and there are going to be two grand prize winners so you’ve got two chances to win here, folks. And you’re going to receive a Therma-Tru door makeover with a retail value of up to $5,000. If you want the details we’ve got them all at MyUglyDoor.com.
TOM: That’s right. There are actually two ways to enter. You can write a short essay about why you’ve got an ugly door and send it in along with a couple of digital pictures or you can produce a one-minute video. Details are at MyUglyDoor.com. Enter today.
888-666-3974. Let’s get back to those phones.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to talk air conditioning with Gordon in North Dakota and apparently his wife is joining us on the line as well. Welcome, Gordon and wife.
GORDON: OK, we have a wall unit that was installed quite a few years ago by Amana and my question is I would like to replace the unit in there but I understand Amana is no longer and they tell me, at the appliance store, that not every unit will fit in the holding box that’s in the wall now. Maybe you could help me to find an air conditioning unit that would fit in this wall unit box now without removing it.
TOM: Gordon, I’m actually not aware that Amana is out of business and in fact they still have a website that would indicate to the contrary and in fact I do see that through-the-wall air conditioners from Amana are still available. Now, we don’t know if the one that they have available – seems only to be one 26-inch model – is going to be the same size as what you have right now, but perhaps it would be. Maybe you’ll get lucky. If not, what I would do is I would look for one that’s as close as possible to the existing sleeve size without being bigger because it’s easier to put a smaller unit into that opening. You may need to get a new sleeve but you could trim it out and flash it so it doesn’t leak.
The website for Amana is Amana-PTAC.com and they could probably direct you further.
GORDON: Hey, I appreciate the information and thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Mark in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you?
MARK: Hey, I’ve got a severely cracked driveway in an older home and it’s very old and weathered and cracked and it’s about 60 feet long and I’ve been quoted between $6,000 and $8,000 to replace all the concrete. Is there anything that I can do; some type of surface treatment to cover that up without having to replace that entire driveway or is there anything on the market like that?
TOM: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a company called AboCast that makes a number of concrete sealing products that can be used to restore deteriorated concrete.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, they’re for sealing and for leveling as well, right?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. Like if you have a really busted up stoop or something like that you can kind of rebuild it with AboCast and if you have a driveway or a garage floor that’s deteriorated you can recoat it with this material. So it certainly is possible to do that but is it just the surface that’s deteriorated or is the concrete physically cracked like into chunks?
MARK: It’s not broken into chunks. It’s just cracked and very weathered on the top.
MARK: Like every summer you can take a broom and sweep the dust and the rocks and stuff off the top of it.
TOM: Well you know, see if it’s really that deteriorated you may have an adhesion problem even with a second layer on it. So you might be able to buy maybe another two or three years by using a topcoat like AboCast but I have a feeling that a new driveway is in your not-too-distant future. (Leslie chuckles)
GORDON: Well, you’ve been a big help. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Hey, here’s a quick tip that could save you a shocking situation. Do you know that regular circuit breakers stop wires from overheating and prevent fires but they actually don’t keep you from getting a deadly electrical shock. For this you must have a ground fault circuit interrupter installed. Those ground fault breakers, those are the outlets with the test and the reset buttons on them or it could actually be a full-size breaker that takes the place of the regular breaker that’s in your electrical breaker panel. These ground fault circuits, they actually shut down before anyone gets a shock. They actually measure the amount of current going to the ground, which could be you if you’re a part of that circuit and if 2/1000 of an amp is diverted to ground it shuts off and that’s not enough to hurt you. So if you want to protect yourself from shocks, make sure your home is equipped with ground fault outlets or ground fault circuit breakers, especially in all the wet location circuits; this would be bathroom, kitchen, outside, garage, perhaps even in the basement.
LESLIE: Well maybe you don’t want everybody to be free of possible electrical shocks; like a burglar, perhaps (Tom laughs) who might be breaking into your house. I always think of those Home Alone movies where the young boy puts like the heating element on the doorknob; you know, he comes up with all these crafty things. Well, we’re going to give you some tips that aren’t quite as crazy as our young friend in Home Alone but are going to help you scare away burglars from your home. Stick around to investigate that with us, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Ryobi, manufacturer of professional-feature power tools and accessories with an affordable price for the do-it-yourselfer. Ryobi Power Tools. Pro features. Affordable price. Available exclusively at The Home Depot. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Well, if you hear some knocking at your front door and no one is actually there, it could be your plumbing pipes. So pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win our prize this hour. We’re giving away a giant supply of products from Kimberly-Clark that will help keep your DIY projects clean and safe. You’ll get a case of Scott rags extreme, a case of Scott shop towels along with all the disposable gloves and dust masks that you’ll need to make a real mess (Leslie chuckles) of your next home improvement project. It’s worth 200 bucks. It’s going to go to one caller to today’s program at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, turning off all those lights to hide that mess and keeping your house at all times invites burglars. But if you find that, you know, to scare away the burglars you want to keep the lights on all the time, especially if you’re on a long vacation, that can really get expensive and we all know that energy bills are sky-high right now. So what are the answers? Motion detectors? Well, that’s a great option. You know, these are special lights; they surprise unwanted visitors; they come on when anybody gets within 50 feet of your house, of this sensor. It’s a great idea. You could put them on the back of the house at a side entrance; at the front of the house by the garage. This way any time somebody wanders through – even if it’s just a possum – the lights will come on; somebody’s going to think you’re there ready to spring into action. It’s totally worth the small investment.
TOM: It really ticks me off when those possums come in and start taking money out of my wallet, too. (Leslie chuckles) Kind of ruins my whole day.
Hey, coming up in our very next Money Pit e-newsletter we’re going to have five more easy ways to keep burglars away. We’ve got the tips and the tricks to keep you and your home safe. Just visit MoneyPit.com to sign up for our free weekly newsletter. No strings. It’s just great info. We won’t even give out your e-mail address to anyone. It’s totally secure at MoneyPit.com.
888-666-3974 is the number you need to know for the answer to your next home improvement question. Let’s get to it.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Now we’re going to jump in the hot tub with Valerie in Utah. What can we do for you today?
VALERIE: Hi, I have – well, it’s about four years old, our home is and …
VALERIE: … when we moved into it we – well when we built it we installed a jetted tub and I’ve never had one before and I’ve always wondered, whenever I use it – I don’t use it that frequently – if there’s bacteria that sits in there because of the infrequent use and if so, what should I clean that out with? I’m just wondering if I’m bathing in bacteria.
LESLIE: Is it an air-jetted tub or a water-jet?
VALERIE: I think it’s an air-jetted tub.
TOM: If it’s circulating water even if it has water with air mixed into it then it’s a water-circulating. The air jets are a little more sanitary because then you don’t have to worry about bacteria that builds up inside.
TOM: But if it’s a hot water-circulated then you have to use a sanitizer and that’s a product that you could certainly pick up at any plumbing supply store.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, one of them is called, I think, Jet Line Cleaner and there are several different kinds and it’s basically right as you’re about to drain out all the water you add this chemical sanitizer …
LESLIE: … to the water and then it sort of cleans out all of the lines. But you do need to be very careful.
VALERIE: OK. Alright. Perfect. Well thank you.
LESLIE: Especially with that little one. (Tom chuckles)
VALERIE: Yes. (chuckles) Yeah, that’s exactly what I was concerned about. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright, Valerie. You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: From Honolulu, Hawaii we’ve got Steve. Aloha. How can we help?
STEVE: We have an exhaust fan right above our kitchen top …
STEVE: … and it vents directly into the attic.
LESLIE: Ooh, bad.
TOM: That’s a bad thing, Steve. It’s a bad thing for a couple of reasons. First of all, you’re dumping all the steam, the moisture, up into the attic where it can condense and cause mold issues. Secondly, over a cooktop you have a lot of grease. It can collect in the attic and become a fire hazard. So that needs to be ducted through a solid metal duct through the attic to the outside. Now you could bring it through the soffit, you could bring it through the gable and you could bring it up through a roof vent but you can’t dump that into the attic because that’s a potentially dangerous situation.
STEVE: Yeah, I’ve noticed at times – even depends on what we’re cooking – the smell goes around the house and comes out through the – well, we have that entrance through the attic.
TOM: Right. It’s a very unsafe thing, Steve, for a lot of reasons; so you really need to duct that out.
LESLIE: Now, Tom?
LESLIE: Once this is ducted out of doors, you know whatever minimal insulation there is in Hawaii, does all of that need to be changed out? Do any of the …?
TOM: I would take – yeah, I would take a look at whatever is around there. If you have a bit of insulation in there, which is going to actually help keep your house cooler on warm days, I would definitely replace it as well.
STEVE: Ah. OK, OK. I’ll do that.
TOM: Alright, Steve. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: You are listening to the Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Up next, we are going to dive into our listener e-mail bag to answer a tricky electrical question. See you in a bit.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by Guardian Home Standby Generators, America’s choice in power outage protection. Learn more at GuardianGenerators.com. 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: Also the resident home improvement expert for AOL, where this week I’ve got a new column up with some ideas on how to protect your home from wind damage. You know, before those summer thunder bumpers start to hit you might want to go to my home away from home at MoneyPit.AOL.com and check out the brand, spanking new article on wind-proofing there at our home on AOL and while you’re surfing around the web you can shoot us an e-mail question by clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie at MoneyPit.com. We’ve got one here from Donna in New Jersey.
LESLIE: Alright, Donna writes: ‘We live in a six-room ranch house with 150-amp electrical service. There were not enough circuit breakers in the electrical box for the appliances we added over the years; so many of the circuit breakers were piggybacked.’
TOM: And that means that they have two wires on the same breaker. Not good.
LESLIE: Right. Especially with appliances.
LESLIE: We are now considering redoing our kitchen and electricians recommend either adding a second electrical box, keeping 150-amp service, or doing a whole new 200-amp system. Which is better?
TOM: Well, if you have gas-fired appliances there’s really no need for a 200-amp electrical system; 150 amps is more than enough power. So your issue here, Donna, is of distribution; not of the total amount of amps you have. If you can install 150-amp box with enough breakers to carry all the circuits in your house, which you certainly should be able to – you know there’s a type of breaker where there’s actually two circuit breakers in the same space as like one slot on the board. There should be enough ways to get enough individual circuits in that panel without you having to sort of double up or piggyback anything because that is actually called a double tap which is potentially dangerous. So I think you can stick with the 150-amp service; just get the right kind of panel and the right kind of breakers and you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Alright, we’ve got one here from Jim in Clearwater, Florida who writes: ‘I just caught your show this past week and I was very impressed with the both of you.’ Jim’s words; not mine. (Tom chuckles) ‘I want to resurface our pool deck which is currently original Kool Deck surfacing. We are trying to find a surface other than acrylic and I was wondering if I could use a light-colored sand grout – you know the type you would use for floor tile – trowel it pretty smoothly over a well-prepared deck, then dry and splatter on with an accent color and maybe even then doing a knock-down trowel technique. What do you think?’
TOM: Sounds very creative …
LESLIE: Yeah, totally.
TOM: … but he’s going to have to do it a lot; probably every year.
LESLIE: I just feel like, you know, with Florida it’s a high-moisture situation.
LESLIE: You’ve got volatile weather and occasionally you do get a freeze-thaw cycle and if any of that sort of happens it’s all going to break apart and you’re totally going to have this crumbly grout disaster. Now there are a couple of options. I’m not sure why you’re not happy with the Kool Deck, which is an acrylic product. They’re made to stand up really well to these conditions. There’s another acrylic product called Sider-Deck and it’s the same type of thing. However, the way it’s applied you can do several different colors; you can make it so that there’s a texture to it; you can even do it in a way where you tape off a pattern and do two different colors to make it even look like a tile surface. So that’s an option.
If you’re looking for something in the Florida area there’s a company called Increte out of Odessa and they do nonacrylic and concrete in a textural appearance. Look at their Spray-Deck and Texture-Crete.
So those are some options for you. I’m not sure why you’re shying away from the acrylic. There are also concrete options. A good website is Concrete Solutions and you can look at acid staining or stamped concrete. You know, it really varies on your budget and what you want to see for this pool, but good creativity; not the right application.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’ve had a great hour to spend talking about your home improvement projects. The good news is that the show is now going to continue online at MoneyPit.com where you can click on our podcast. In fact, you can search the past podcasts; you can find the answer to a home improvement question that you’re just dying to know; perhaps you couldn’t get through. It’s all there online for free at MoneyPit.com.
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 1 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.)