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: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You got a question about your home improvement project? Need some help solving the do-it-yourself dilemma? Call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Now, of all the jobs that people could be tackling this time, Leslie, windows might not be one of them. Do you agree? People don’t think about that when the weather turns warm.
LESLIE: Yeah, but they should. Windows leak all year long, folks. If you’ve got a drafty window in the winter, it’s drafty in the summer also. And that means all of your expensive air conditioned air, it’s flying right out those drafty windows. So just because the weather’s nice, doesn’t mean that that isn’t a valuable home improvement. And in fact, it’s even more valuable than it ever was because the government is offering federal tax credits if you change your windows – or anything in your house, for that matter – for something that’s more energy-efficient.
TOM: So coming up later this hour, we’re going to talk about some new high-tech windows; these Energy Star windows that can actually … they actually … the government will actually help you pay for them. Do you believe that? The government will kick in a couple hundred bucks to help you make this home improvement project.
Also, this hour, if you call us with your home improvement question, you’ll be eligible to win this hour’s prize, which is the Ryobi multiTASKit. It’s a great product. It’s like having an extra hand to hold your tools right there while you’re working. It’s worth about 35 bucks and if we answer your call, you will be entered into the drawing to win that prize. So call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Laurie in New York is up next. You’re possibly my neighbor and you want to talk windows. What can I do for you?
LAURIE: Hi. My husband and I want to put a window in a living room wall. There’s no window there now. And we don’t know what we should go about … which, you know, kind of window to buy and if there’s any concerns about wiring we should be worrying about.
TOM: Yeah, there’s actually a whole host of issues you need to think about, Laurie. First of all …
LESLIE: Is it load-bearing?
TOM: Yeah, are we talking about a narrow window? Like a big wide bay window? What are you thinking about?
LAURIE: Just a narrow … like a 36 by … you know …
LAURIE … (inaudible)-four inch window.
TOM: Alright. Well, first of all, the exterior wall … is it the front or the rear wall of your house?
LAURIE: It’s the rear wall?
TOM: The rear wall. It’s probably a bearing wall. Which means you need to build a header. Now, if it’s only a 36 inch wide opening, it’s probably not going to be terribly complicated. But here’s what has to happen. First of all, you need to expose the studs and you need to probably remove one to two studs that are holding up part of the wall. Before you do that, though, you need to put some temporary bracing in to support the roof and the ceiling above it. And that’s why that’s something that, at least, you might need to have a little bit of professional help with because you’re dealing with a bearing … a load-bearing wall here and you don’t want to do things in the wrong order.
After you open up the stud bay, you’re basically going to reframe the opening now and you have to put in what’s called a header, which takes the load of the roof and spreads it across that opening for the window and then back down to the foundation. That’s the big job. Getting it framed in right. Once it’s framed in, the actual window installation is pretty straight-forward, pretty simple. But getting the wall framed – the hole cut in the wall and properly framed out – is the part that’s a little more complicated.
So I wouldn’t suggest this as a first-time do-it-yourself project. It really needs some structural experience to make sure you do it right and don’t cause any adverse problems to the rest of your house. Because those are the things that are involved.
LAURIE: Yes, that makes sense. (laughing)
TOM: Alright, well good luck with the project …
TOM: … and call us if you have any more questions.
LAURIE: OK, great.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Our website is MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Sue in Florida’s up next and you want to talk tankless water heaters, which Tom and I love. So what’s your question?
SUE: Well, hi and thank you for taking my call. I’m a condo dweller and …
SUE: … the tank that is in my house has been there ever since the condo was built, like 25 years ago. So I know it’s time to start thinking about replacing it.
LESLIE: It’s overdue.
SUE: Yes. And then I’m happy about that. And everybody’s talking about this but I don’t know anyone personally that has a tankless hot water heater. And so I went to my local home repair place and found out that you can buy it, but no one is interested in installing it there. And I’m thinking, geez, maybe this is, you know, something that isn’t really a practical thing. I don’t know what the upsides of the … you know, everyone says, ‘Oh, it’s going to say you a lot of energy and …’ you know. Do you have an opinion about that?
TOM: Well, we do. We like tankless water heaters. And it’s unfortunate you haven’t found a referral to somebody that can install them.
TOM: But rest assured …
SUE: Oh, yeah, I’m sure that I can find somebody.
SUE: But you know what I mean, they don’t install them where they sell them.
TOM: No. No, I do think that they’re … they’re a very good piece of equipment. You know, the way it works is it basically heats the amount of water that you need on demand. And that gives you a lot of advantages. A usual … a typical water heater is pretty dumb because it basically heats the water to where the thermostat’s set and keeps it heated, even if you’re not using it.
LESLIE: Well, all day long …
LESLIE: … when you’re not even wanting it.
TOM: Yeah. Tankless water heaters are much smarter in that they only heat the amount of water that you need and when you need it. And that’s what makes them so much more efficient. Now, they are more expensive, but they do last longer and they also take up a lot less space.
So, I think that tankless water heaters are a grand idea and I think it’s definitely something you should consider.
SUE: Well, do you think that the initial cost of installing it is, you know, worthwhile in the long run? How long do you think that one would last?
TOM: I think that one is going to last a good 15 or 20 years.
TOM: Now, the cost benefit question really gets into how long you’re going to live in that condominium. You have to measure against the … the savings against how long you actually have it. But generally speaking, it’s a very smart thing to do. They’re also, by the way, Energy Star rated and you might be able to even qualify for an energy tax credit by buying one now.
SUE: Well, that sounds good. I’ll do a little more investigating.
TOM: Alright, Sue.
SUE: Thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Now, that’s a good example of somebody that heard about something that seemed like it makes sense and needs to check it with us. And we’re happy to share what we know.
LESLIE: Yeah, and they’re fantastic, those tankless water heaters. And having a 25-year plus water heater, Sue. It’s time for a new one.
TOM: Yeah, you better change that before it schedules a change on its own and decides to break open on you.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) Which could be a big mess.
TOM: And you know, in a condo, that’s an even bigger mess because it … especially if it leaks to the neighbor.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Dealing with neighbors.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
Sue, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: In Nevada you can listen to The Money Pit on KBZZ like Brian does. And Brian’s got a ceiling question. What can we do for you?
BRIAN: Well, you know, I have popcorn ceilings and my house was built in 1979. So it’s actually kind of a two-part question. Should I be worried about asbestos in that ceiling? And is there a simple way to remove that … to remove the popcorn ceilings? I’m not really sure how to go about that.
TOM: How come nobody ever calls and asks us how to add popcorn ceilings, Leslie?
LESLIE: (laughing) I really want to put a popcorn ceiling in. (laughing) What should I do?
TOM: Brian, we get tons of calls like this and it’s … you know, it’s a fairly laborious process …
LESLIE: And it’s messy.
TOM: … and it’s messy, but you can do it. First of all, I don’t think you should have any asbestos concern with something that was put in on … in the early 80s like that or 1979. Secondly, to get rid of it, basically, what you do is you have to spray it, get it nice and wet, and then you have to scrape …
LESLIE: Get like one of those paint sprayers; like the Hudson sprayers. It’s like a water. It’s a pump. You put the water in and it pumps it and sprays it out.
BRIAN: Just regular water.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Just regular water.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. Yep, regular water. And …
LESLIE: Cover everything in that room.
TOM: It’s going to be a big, stinking mess. And then you scrape it off. Use a … get a spackle blade and scrape it off. And when you get all done, you get as much off as you can, then what you want to do is prime the entire ceiling with a good quality primer; like a Behr Premium Plus primer or something like that. Because what that’s going to do is seal in that surface and give you something that’s flat and consistent and has the same porosity of everything else to start from …
LESLIE: And generally, Brian, when somebody installs a popcorn ceiling, it’s because maybe there’s something on the surface that’s not quite right. Maybe it’s wavy, maybe it’s just rough. So when you paint it, make sure you don’t use anything glossy. Because a glossy paint is going to really draw attention to anything that’s imperfect in the wall. So go with something flat.
BRIAN: OK. Is there maybe like a … is there something, maybe, I could just paint like a real thick latex over it? To give it a little bit more of a smoother look or …?
TOM: Well, certainly, if you use a flat paint and a good quality flat paint, that’s going to be the best you can do. I don’t think what … I don’t think you’d want to put textured paint over it. That would be kind of defeating the purpose. (laughing)
TOM: Alright, Brian?
BRIAN: OK. OK, thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: So, midsummer. Does that sun just dry out your lawn and are you already freaking out about it just a little bit?
TOM: It does it every year and it really looks bad. It looks dead at my house. So it always does that.
LESLIE: Yeah, it can actually make it look more like a hayfield than a park.
TOM: That is exactly what it looks like. Well, if that happens to your house, don’t worry. A live lawn might be in your future. We’ll tell you why, next.
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: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Alright, folks. Talking lawns. So if you think your lawn is going to turn brown or if it’s starting to turn brown or look dead right now, don’t throw in that towel just yet. Lawns that are affected by droughts are smarter than you think, actually. And a lawn might look like a lost cause right now, but it’s really just dormant and will come back in full swing when the rain does return. So to prevent damage to dormant lawns, try to avoid walking on those dried out areas.
TOM: Yeah, that’s the toughest thing; is to stay off them when we do have a drought and if the …
LESLIE: But it makes that nice, crunchy sound under your feet.
TOM: Yeah, you like that? (laughing) They do come back.
Well, we got a great prize to give away to you this week. You know, everyone can use a helping hand when it comes to home improvement and repair. And Ryobi has that extra hand in the form of a brand new tool. It’s called the multiTASKit and we’re giving one away to one lucky caller. The multi …
LESLIE: It’s a really great prize.
TOM: It is. The multiTASKit features the patented AIRgrip technology, which allows it to adhere to walls and other surfaces without marking. So you can use this thing to kind of be an extra hand. You can use it to be a laser level. You can use it as a little tray to hold your bits and your bobs (laughing), as Leslie calls them. And it’s worth 35 bucks. But if you call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT, you might just win it. Call us right now. 1-888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Paul in Florida’s got a dirty problem in the garage. What’s going on?
PAUL: Well, I was looking to put one of those painted surfaces on the garage floor.
PAUL: And, you know, it’s got oil stains on the floor and I was just wondering what would be the best way to get rid of the oil stains so that the painted … you know, the painted surface will be able to stick or adhere better.
LESLIE: Well, Tom, there’s a lot of epoxy coatings out there right now. They seem to be the hot item for garages. But do you need to clean that oil stain before you apply the epoxy?
TOM: Well, you do. And some of the epoxy systems … I know QUIKRETE has one that comes with a cleaner. They’re actually matching the paints and the cleaners together for this very problem, Paul. Basically, you use the cleaner first, which etches the surface and gives you a good, neutral surface that the paint can attach to. And then you use the epoxy coating on top of that.
LESLIE: Yeah, and what’s really cool is it’s all coming in a kit for you, Paul, and it even comes with an instructional DVD so if you have any questions or any concerns, it’ll address all of that for you so you do a great job that lasts and lasts.
PAUL: Oh, alright. Thank you. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome, Paul. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Dorothy in Nebraska finds The Money Pit on KFOR. And you’ve got a noisy toilet. What’s happening?
DOROTHY: We have more than one bathroom in the house but only one toilet makes a noise when it refills.
TOM: OK. That’s probably the fill valve, Dorothy. And inside the toilet there are two valves; there’s a fill valve and a flush valve. The flush valve is like the flapper that’s usually in the bottom of the tank. And the fill valve is the other part that’s connected to the float. Now, the good news is that you could replace both of those valves for a grand total of about 15 bucks. There are different replacement parts that are out there. Probably the most common one is made by Fluidmaster; it fits the widest variety of toilets. You know, available at any home center or hardware store in America. And Fluidmaster also has a video on their website that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to do it. But it’s very simple to do and it actually is a do-it-yourself plumbing project. And if you’re hearing that kind of noise on the fill, it’s probably the fill valve that’s wearing out and making that loud, screechy noise.
DOROTHY: Right. So it is … they do have … on the internet … go to Fluidmaster on the internet?
TOM: That’s right, Dorothy. Go to Fluidmaster.com. You can get information there and you’ll find these valves in almost every hardware store in America. They come in a green box. Put a bunch of them in myself over the years.
Dorothy, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You know, Tom, what’s so interesting is that you’re supposed to do these maintenance steps almost annually to your toilets. And people just ignore the toilet and hope to God that it’s going to work every time until it does fail. So there’s some upkeep that’s involved.
TOM: Yeah, total … a toilet makeover is not that difficult. (laughing) You know, it involves about 15 bucks of parts and, again, it’s easy to do. The only place that you can get a little tricky is the water valve. If you can turn the water valve and it all goes off to your toilet, cool. If you can’t turn the water valve off because it’s a bad valve or it sticks in the open position, don’t do it and call a plumber. But if you can shut that water valve off, it’s easy to replace all the guts inside the toilet.
LESLIE: Bill in Georgia has a cold basement. What’s going on?
BILL: Hey, guys, how are you?
TOM: We are excellent, Bill.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Great, how are you?
BILL: Doing wonderful. Doing wonderful. I appreciate you having me on the show. I need your help desperately. I’m in the process of building a new home and I’ll have poured concrete basement walls.
BILL: What I’d like to know is what is the best process or product that I can use to waterproof the exterior of the walls to keep down seepage in the years to come.
TOM: OK. Exterior or interior?
BILL: I’d like to put it on the exterior.
TOM: OK. Well, there are various waterproofing applications that could be put on the exterior, Bill. But the number one way for you to keep those walls from leaking, is to keep the water away from the walls. And the way you do that is by making sure that the grading is always well-tamped and sloping away from the walls. And that slope, by the way, should really exceed what’s required by code. Typically, code requires about a one to two inch drop over 12 feet. What I want to see you have is a drop of about six inches over four feet and then it can fade out a little more gradually after that.
And then the second thing is, of course, to have a properly installed gutter system. And by properly installed, we mean the spout just can’t go out six inches like most builders leave it. It needs to go out a couple of feet to a splash block and then another couple of feet.
LESLIE: Well, and since, Bill, you’re just building your house, you have an opportunity to then bury your downspouts to go far, far away from the house and deposit the water completely elsewhere.
TOM: So Bill, the grading and the gutter control is far more effective than anything you could put on those walls.
Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Gwen in California’s up next and she finds The Money Pit on KSRO. And you’ve got a painting question. How can we help?
GWEN: Hello. Yes, I bought a house and it has sea foam green ceramic tile around the fireplace, which just doesn’t work for me. And I was wondering if ceramic tile can be painted, maybe, black or white or some other, more appropriate color. Have you had any experience with that?
LESLIE: It’s … absolutely you can paint it. It’s all a matter of making sure that you get proper adhesion. And the first thing you need to do is make sure that those tiles are all really, really clean. And around the fireplace, you’re probably getting a buildup of smoke and it might just have some dirt and dust on it. So try to clean that really well and a good way to clean it is with water and ammonia – a mixture of the two. And that’ll get rid of any sort of dirt that might be on there. And once that’s on there, once everything’s really clean, make sure you rinse it well with plain water and let it dry.
And then, you have to make sure you prime it with something that’s really going to stick really well. And a Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer from Zinsser – it’s an oil-base primer – it’s going to stick really well to the ceramic tile, which is important because you want to make sure that that other paint sticks to it. But it’s important to remember that even though you’re painting with something that’s going to stick well, if you sort of rub on the tile abrasively, you might scratch if off anyway. So you have to be really cautious, once it’s painted, that you treat it carefully. You know, don’t scrub it; don’t scratch at it. Because, you know, it could be prone to showing damage.
And then, once you put the primer on, make sure you use … I think an oil-based paint would be good because it’ll give you a nice sheen and it’ll stick really well. And that should do the trick.
GWEN: Just any oil-base or just a … is there a tile oil-based paint or just any oil-based ceramic … I mean – whatever – high gloss would work?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah. I think any sort of oil-based paint that you would find. Behr makes a fantastic paint that offers excellent coverage. And just make sure you get an oil base that will really stick well. Because it gives you good adhesion, it gives you nice sheen.
GWEN: Alright. Alright. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Gwen. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, OK, Money Pit listeners. Coming up next, we’re going to tell you about a new type of window that is twice as strong as aluminum and nine times stronger than vinyl replacement windows. And they’ll save your money. And the government will help you pay for them.
All that’s coming up, 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: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Hey Leslie, we’ve been talking a lot this year about energy savings because it’s an important topic. Energy has never cost more. Why does the energy cost always go up in the winter? I don’t know. But it always does.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (laughing) It’s just the law of the land.
TOM: However, this is the best time to think about making an energy saving improvement. Because the government is actually going to pay you to do just that.
LESLIE: I love it. They’re going to pay me to save money. It’s a novel concept and I hope it sticks around.
TOM: That’s right. And with us, to talk about that, is Kathy Harkema. Kathy is from Pella Windows and Doors.
Kathy, talk to us about the energy tax credit and how does it apply to consumers that are making those improvements?
KATHY: Well, consumers who replace outdated windows and doors with more energy efficient models, now through the end of 2007, can qualify for a $200 tax credit from the U.S. government. And many utility companies will offer rebates, as well, for replacing old inefficient windows with more energy efficient models like Pella Impervia.
TOM: So you can basically do … get those rebates from two sources; from the government and also from your utility company?
KATHY: Absolutely. It’s wise to check with your utility company. I know I took advantage of that here in my area. And the big thing is a lot of people think about replacing windows and doors in the winter, to save on heating costs. But replacing now helps you save on those cooling costs, too, and keep your home more comfortable. And new replacement windows are much more quiet (chuckling) than our old single-pane models.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Yeah, if you’ve got a draft, you’re definitely going to have a draft in the summer.
How can folks who are looking at new windows think about knowing which models are more energy efficient and which ones would qualify for the tax credits?
KATHY: The easiest thing to look for is the Energy Star and that’s the symbol that you find on computers, refrigerators and energy-efficient windows. And windows that are Energy Star qualified, will qualify for those U.S. tax credits, along with doors that are Energy Star qualified.
TOM: And Kathy, I wanted to ask you about the Pella Impervia windows. You mentioned that those are good windows to install. And I know that they’re made of fiberglass, as opposed to vinyl or vinyl-clad wood. That’s a bit of departure from traditional window construction, isn’t it? What are the advantages of a fiberglass window?
KATHY: Well, Pella Impervia is actually the strongest, most durable material available in windows and doors and it’s made from Duracast. Duracast is an engineered fiberglass composite material. And the beauty of Pella Duracast is it’s designed to withstand those extremes. Like extreme traffic of busy families or extreme heat or extreme cold. And because it’s fiberglass, the material expands and contracts at the same rate as the glass itself in the window …
TOM: Oh, interesting.
KATHY: … so you’ve got a very energy-efficient window in Pella window … Impervia windows or Pella Impervia patio doors.
TOM: That’s got to make the glass seals a lot more efficient because you’re not having constant difference in movement between a wood frame or a vinyl frame and the glass pane itself.
LESLIE: Yeah, nothing is fighting each other. That’s great.
KATHY: Absolutely. Pella Impervia and the Duracast material is actually nine times stronger than vinyl and twice as strong as aluminum. And it’s very efficient when it comes to keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
TOM: Now, we’ve seen fiberglass doors that are … that are much more energy efficient and now we’re seeing fiberglass windows. Do you feel this fiberglass is a trend that’s here to stay, now?
KATHY: Absolutely. It’s virtually invincible. It’s very durable. And the beauty of Pella Impervia is it’s very affordable.
LESLIE: Yeah, but what are you guys going to do? You’re making something so fantastic, no one’s ever going to need to replace that. (chuckling)
KATHY: Well, there’s always new homes under construction. (laughing) And there’s plenty that need replacement. And we found that our customers really love the beauty and durability of Pella Impervia. And it’s available in white, tan and brown to fit various decors, as well.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s great.
TOM: Now, Kathy, besides, the window replacements, what are some other areas of the home that could be … benefit from this energy tax credit?
KATHY: Well, all types of things. From heating materials, cooling materials, roofing materials. Now’s the time to really take a look at your home and if you want to do something to take a bite out of your utility bill, take advantage of these U.S. energy tax credits and start replacing water heaters, windows, doors. Even storm doors qualify for the energy tax credit.
TOM: Now, does this tax credit only happen once? Like, for example, you mentioned $200 on the window. Is that per window or how is it calculated?
KATHY: That is per home. Many utilities will offer a tax credit or a rebate per window. For example, in my home, I got a rebate per window that I replaced. So, check with your local utility companies. Check on their websites. And check for the U.S. tax credit and take advantage of these to help put some money back into your pocket and also add some value to your home because replacing your windows and doors are some of the best investments that you can make today when you’re adding value to your home and keeping your home cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and just more enjoyable with new windows and doors.
TOM: I love when utility companies pay me to use less of their product. (laughing)
LESLIE: (laughing) That’s fantastic.
KATHY: It’s a great concept. And you know, Pella Impervia windows are very easy to install, if you’re installing them yourself or having someone install them for you. And they’re designed for new construction, remodeling, as well as replacement application. So they’re very versatile.
TOM: Kathy Harkema with Pella. Thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Leslie, I love the tip about the fiberglass expanding and contracting at the same rate with glass.
LESLIE: It’s really great. It makes sure that you get a really nice seal all the time.
TOM: Yeah, I did not know that. So see, I can learn something. I am trainable. It works.
Well, up next on The Money Pit, is your dishwasher a dud lately? We’re going to wash out the possible problems, get you back on the right track, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Pella Windows and Doors. The Pella Windows Your Way Sale is going on now. Visit us at www.pella.com. Or call 1-800-TBD-PELLA today for a free consultation. Pella. Viewed to be the best.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. You can also log on to our website at MoneyPit.com, where you can sync and go the weekly podcast version of this show.
LESLIE: We’re so high-tech.
TOM: We are high-tech. Do you know that we had 30,000 podcast downloads last month?
TOM: That’s like insane. It’s amazing how good this technology is.
LESLIE: Heck, you know, iPods make everything so portable. So it’s just fantastic. You can really listen to anything whenever you want; including The Money Pit.
TOM: That’s right. And with our 24/7 call center, you can even listen to the iPod version of the show and you can pick up the phone and call us and get a live call screener to ask your question to.
Well, we were speaking about dishwashers before our slight adjournment. And now that we’re back, let’s talk about what to do if your dishwasher is not getting the job done. The tip is, it might not be getting enough water. There is such a thing known as the water inlet valve, which brings water from your outside source, and that might be responsible.
LESLIE: Well, the good news is that it’s easy to replace. This is what you do. You’ll find it at the bottom of your machine. It’s under the access panel. You can look there. If it’s defective, you can replace it pretty inexpensively.
TOM: Now, if you call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, not only will you continue to get great home improvement advice, but we’re going to give away the Ryobi multiTASKit to one caller. It features the patented AIRgrip vacuum technology which allows it adhere to walls and other surfaces without marring or marking. It’s also got this cool, rotating laser head attachment that you could use to like freak out your cat (laughing) if he wants to like chase it around the room and stuff. And I don’t think that’s in the owner’s manual, though.
LESLIE: That’s in the fine print in the directions, actually.
TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s right.
It also includes a magnetic tray that will hold your screws, nails and even small tools. But call us right now if you want to win. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Leslie, who’s next on The Money Pit?
LESLIE: John in Massachusetts finds The Money Pit on WPRO. And you’ve got a chimney situation. What’s happening?
JOHN: Yes. Thanks for taking my call.
LESLIE: You’re so welcome. How can we help?
JOHN: I have a wood stove in my cellar. And it goes out to an outside chimney. I’m having water coming through. When it rains real hard, I have water coming through my trap door in my cellar. I’m really … right now, I even have a gutter … a piece of gutter that goes to my sump pump from that trap door (laughing) to catch the water.
TOM: You have a whole little setup down there, don’t you?
JOHN: Yes, I do. It … (laughing)
TOM: Alright. Well, a couple of things that you want to do, John. First of all, the most common place that water gets in around a chimney is at the chimney cap; that’s at the top. And there’s this little concrete shelf, so to speak, that goes between the edge of the brick and the middle of the chimney liner. So you need to check that first.
The second thing that you should be checking is the flashing around the base of the chimney, to make sure that the flashing is properly installed. In a perfect world, you’re going to have flashing and counter flashing so that the flashing comes up from the roof, lays up against the side of the chimney, then counter flashing that goes in the chimney mortar joint and then back down over that. So you have two pieces that sort of work together and can take the expansion and the contraction.
And then, the third thing is to examine all of the mortar joints around the chimney itself to see if you have any deteriorated places where water is basically seeping in there. And if you see those, then you need to repoint.
Lastly, you could consider putting a chimney cap on if you don’t have one already. Because that … some of those tend to be big enough that they sort of act like an umbrella on top of your chimney and sort of slow down the volume of water that gets to attack it directly. Does that make sense to you, John?
JOHN: Yes, it does. I have a cap and it seems that it only comes when it rains really, really hard. And I’ve diverted my downspouts away from the house because when I first bought my home, I had a problem with that and I was getting a lot of water in my … in that area.
LESLIE: And that did the trick?
JOHN: And that did … you know, it helped some. But when we have a lot of rain … like we just had some rain here in the northeast, you know, yesterday and today and I had some water coming down through that trap. And I’ve heard you before and it would probably have nothing to do with the water level. I mean, I’m to the point where I wanted to dig around the house, around the foundation …
TOM: Yeah, generally not needed.
JOHN: I’m sorry.
TOM: Generally not needed.
JOHN: Not needed. Right.
JOHN: I’ll check the flashings, though. I didn’t really check the flashings on the crown.
TOM: Yeah. Start up and work down. Remember gravity.
JOHN: OK. (laughing)
LESLIE: And it could just be that the wind is moving the roofing material and causing something to unsettle with the flashing. So it could just be in circumstances like that. So look at all of the surrounding areas where the chimney comes out of the roof.
JOHN: Very good.
JOHN: I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Matt in Alabama has an electrical question. How can we help?
MATT: I purchased a new home and I had a reputable nationwide home inspection company do an inspection on the new home. I thought that was a very good idea for me to find some things. He pointed out a few things and then he left the premises with his report. And I went up in the attic, not knowing what to look for, and I noticed an electrical junction box that was blue that wasn’t fastened to anything but a lot of wires were going into it with black electrical tape. But yet, no cover was on it and it was exposed. What am I to do with that problem?
TOM: Well, if it’s … if the junction box is open like that, there ought to be a cover on it and it ought to be secured. We don’t want to have it where it’s going to be disturbed by anything. An open junction box could be a fairly minor electrical repair. Have you closed on the house yet?
MATT: Yes, I did. I moved in and I’ve been in the home for six months.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well, it should be a standard electrical box. You could simply go pick up a cover for it. It’s not a major issue but it’s something you ought to tend to.
MATT: Great. Thank you so much for your help. I love your show.
TOM: Ah, you’re very welcome.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Enjoy your new house.
TOM: Yeah. Matt, call us again. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
Well, if you had a rough winter around your part of the country, you may have been using a lot of salt and chemical deicers on your concrete around the house; the concrete walks, the patios. And it can really do a number on it.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s interesting. And even when I went to the home centers to buy, which is the one that you want?
TOM: You don’t … you want calcium chloride, not sodium chloride.
LESLIE: Right. Do you know how hard it is to find calcium chloride at all of those big box stores? It’s really hard to find it. Well …
TOM: It’s sold under different trade names. You know, like Safety Ice and stuff like that.
LESLIE: But it’s interesting. They make it almost difficult. They want you to have to do all this repair work. (laughing) So if your …
TOM: Because then they can sell you the concrete in the spring. (laughing)
LESLIE: Exactly. You know, because then you’ll have other surfaces that need working on …
LESLIE: … and then you’ll have reasons to call us. So maybe we’re all involved in this. But, you know, if your outdoor surfaces are pitted and chipped, you’re not alone. And one of our emails, this week, addresses this problem and we’re going to have a solution, right after this.
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. Now, you could pick up the phone and call us 24 hours a day or you could email us by going to MoneyPit.com and clicking on Ask Tom and Leslie. Shoot us an email question. And we get tons of those every week; especially from the subscribers to our free Money Pit e-newsletter, also available. And again, did I mention, Leslie, it was free.
LESLIE: (laughing) We love to give things away. Information, prizes, newsletters. It’s all free. It’s all for you.
Alright, well, Rose visited our website and she wrote to us: ‘After the winter, the cement outside my sliding doors chipped. I didn’t use salt; I used more of a sodium deposit …’ Well, which is actually salt.
TOM: Yeah, actually, Rose, you did use salt.
LESLIE: Yeah, you did. ‘ … for the snow. Can you please tell me what to do? It looks terrible and it’s still chipping.’
TOM: Hmm. Yeah, at this point, Rose, it sounds to me like you used sodium chloride or … otherwise known as rock salt …
TOM: … which is a bad thing to use on that concrete sidewalk. And it did cause a lot of deterioration. So here’s what you need to do. You have to do a patching compound on that and the best kind of patch is an epoxy one.
Now, there’s really two products. First of all, there’s a patch that fills all of the divets and then there’s sort of a surface coat that’s more like a paint. The problem here is – and it’s not a problem; it’s just maybe a little bit more work than what you expected – is that you need to not only do the area that’s cracked, but if you want it all to match, you’re going to have to do the whole thing. It’d be like having one section of the sidewalk that’s painted.
But the key is to use the epoxy-based products. They are the most sticky; which means they stay on there the longest. You can’t patch concrete with more concrete because it’ll fall right off very, very quickly. So epoxy patching compounds will have your sidewalks restored in no time.
LESLIE: Alright. We’ve got time for one more and it comes from Sally in Iowa, who writes: ‘Our house was built around 1997 using drywall. Some of the corners are starting to show a vertical crack about an inch in from the corner along that piece of metal they use to edge the corner. It almost appears to be popping out. How can we repair this before we paint?’
TOM: You know, it’s amazing how common loose corner bead is. You see it in almost every single home. That’s, of course, the metal corner that’s used to form that sharp, you know, crisp corner line.
LESLIE: But that’s usually just on a … an open edge. It’s not at a corner where two pieces meet, correct?
TOM: Well, it’s at an outside corner as opposed to an inside corner.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM: Right. Now, typically, it doesn’t get nailed enough and then because there’s a lot of movement in the corner, it will pop. So really, what you have to do here, Sally, is you need to put additional nails in it. And to do that, what you should do is scrape away a little bit of the spackle to get right down to that metal bead. And it’s a little bit of a … of a situation where you have to sort of work it in. Because if you put too much of the nail into one spot, it’ll pop out somewhere else. So make sure you put nails about every eight to 12 inches and do it evenly all the way down so it comes in together, leaves that edge hanging out. And then, you can spackle on top of it and you’ll be good to go.
LESLIE: Alright. Good advice for Sally in Iowa. I hope that helps you with your drywall problem.
TOM: If you have a question, you can email us to [email protected].
Well, that’s about all the time we have this hour. But before we go, it’s time, once again, for Leslie’s Last Word. And today, you’ve got some great tips on how to keep your satellite dish tuned in.
LESLIE: That’s right. Satellite dishes are great because they can provide access to a wide range of programming. But they can be temperamental. They don’t always work all the time, the way you want them to. So if you have a satellite dish or you’re thinking about getting one, make sure you maintain it. Remember that strong winds can move a dish out of alignment and, over time, lines can become damaged or water logged. So stay tuned to all these details and your satellite dish reception will be crystal clear.
TOM: Well, coming up next week on The Money Pit, it doesn’t fly through the air like a satellite wave, but almost … it’s almost as bad. (laughing)
TOM: And it’s the mosquito. They really know how to take the bite out of backyard fun. Well, coming up next week, we’re going to give you some tips to keep mosquitoes from spoiling your summer.
That’s all the time we have, though. 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.
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(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.)