Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
(NOTE: Timestamps below correspond to the running time of the downloadable audio file of this show. Text represents a professional transcriptionist’s understanding of what was said. No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. ‘Ph’ in parentheses indicates the phonetic or best guess of the actual spoken word.)
BEGIN HOUR 2 TEXT:
TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question; with your do-it-yourself dilemma. We’re here to help you get the job done. 888-MONEY-PIT.
You know, believe it or not, we still have several weeks of hurricane season left. We’ve been pretty blessed with some lucky weather this year, compared to past.
LESLIE: Knock on wood.
TOM: Knock on wood. The season runs right into November and the U.S. coast has dodged a pretty major bullet this year so far. But you don’t have to live along the coast to worry about bad storms and protecting your house. We’re going to tell you how to keep your house storm ready all year long, no matter where you live, coming up.
LESLIE: And also this hour, you know, according to a recent EPA study – that’s the Environmental Protection Agency – they’re saying that the air inside your house can be worse to breathe than the air outside. I mean it’s crazy. Your house is a polluter and it could be making you sick. We’re going to tell you how to clear the air in your home in just a little bit.
TOM: And how safe are the windows in your house? Well, do you have pets or kids? It’s important to look at the windows from a safety standpoint. Coming up, an expert joins the program with advice on how to spot the danger zones and what to do about them.
LESLIE: And also this hour, we’re giving away a very cool prize to help you stay safe in your kitchen. You know, it’s the place where most residential fires start so we want to make sure that you’re prepared in the event of this emergency so we’re giving away the HomeHero fire extinguisher. It’s worth 30 bucks. It’s available only at The Home Depot. It’s simple to use and it’s really a stylish fire extinguisher.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT with your home improvement question. 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Marsha in California with a water damage question. What happened?
MARSHA: Well, we had flashing around our heating and air conditioner that was on the roof and we didn’t realize that that flashing was damaged and so by the time we got water damage in the bedroom, it’s not very good and the ceiling is all stained. And so, I was hoping to find out the steps for preparing that ceiling to paint it.
LESLIE: Step one, fix leak. (Tom laughs)
MARSHA: OK. OK, we have a new roof.
TOM: Alright, good.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Oh, good.
MARSHA: New flashing, new roof, new heating/air conditioner.
TOM: Alright, those are all good things. Now, how big is the stain?
MARSHA: It covers a good portion of the ceiling.
TOM: Alright. That’s all I need to know. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to get an oil-based primer. This could be KILZ or it could be Bin …
TOM: The Bin – what’s it called? Bin 1-2-3 or something like that?
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, Bulls Eye 1-2-3.
TOM: Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Any one of these good-quality oil-based primers. And I want you to prime not just the spot but the entire ceiling and the reason that you’re doing that, Marsha, is because if you don’t prime the entire ceiling the ceiling paint that you’re going to put on after this is going to absorb differently in the primed versus the non-primed spots.
TOM: But if you prime the entire surface it will neutralize that stain; it will give you good adhesion from the old to the new and it’ll give you a nice, flat smooth surface for the topcoat to be on.
MARSHA: After putting the oil base on, is it OK to use latex after that?
TOM and LESLIE: Absolutely.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Yep. Absolutely.
MARSHA: OK. And I was wondering – some friends of mine said that they thought that I ought to wash the ceiling down with bleach because that would kill anything that was in there that was growing.
TOM: No. If it’s dry, because I presume the leak’s been fixed for quite a while now …
MARSHA: Yes. Yes it has.
TOM: … there’s no reason to use a mildicide on it. Primers like that have mildicides in them and I wouldn’t worry about that. You just want to get a good primer on there so you can seal that stain in because if you don’t what happens is some of the qualities of that stain, you get a chemical reaction and some of those colors will leach through the paint unless you prime it first.
MARSHA: Oh, I see. And so then the bleach would be a bad idea?
TOM: Well, it’s just not necessary. It’s just not a necessary state.
LESLIE: To add more water.
TOM: No, I just wouldn’t do it. I would just prime it and that’s all you need to do and you can paint right on top of that and you’ll be done with it.
MARSHA: Oh, good. So then I don’t have to use the bleach. The KILZ is sufficient.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) No.
TOM: (overlapping voices) No, you don’t have to. No. Nope, you’ll be find.
MARSHA: I’ve heard of the KILZ before and I’ve used that in my bathroom and I know it works really well. We had a …
TOM: It works great.
MARSHA: … severe mold problem in there and I had to take the wall out. And so, I just didn’t know whether or not that stain, you know, would give up. (laughing) (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: No, if you prime, you will seal that stain right in and you’ll never see it again.
MARSHA: We’re getting it really cool in the morning and if you could give me a temperature range of when is the best temperature to start painting and the best temperature to stop painting.
TOM: As long as it’s not an extreme cold or an extreme hot you’ll be fine.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And if you wait for a really non-humid day it’s going to dry lickety-split.
MARSHA: OK. OK. So humidity is more important than the temperature.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Yeah, when you’re painting inside your house for sure.
MARSHA: Well, I can tell you here in California we really appreciate you, Tom and Leslie; the program that you put on here. It’s really helpful.
TOM: Thank you so much, Marsha. Good luck with that project.
MARSHA: Thanks a lot.
LESLIE: We’ve got Frank from New York on the line who’s got water in his basement. Frank, is it there right now?
FRANK: No, it’s not and it doesn’t happen with every rainfall. It’s just when the rain falls, I guess, a certain way and hits the back wall of the house, that’s when I get a little puddle. Now, I’ve been told that there are two ways to solve this problem. One is to dig a ditch about two-and-a-half feet away from the house; dig down past the foundation; repair any cracks that are seen …
TOM: Stop right there. That’s the wrong way. What’s the next way you were told? (chuckling)
FRANK: Oh, OK. The next way I was told was they fixed it from the inside. They do – they dig down about a foot and a foot away …
TOM: Stop right there. Repairing wet basements does not require the use of a shovel. How about that?
LESLIE: Especially with what you said; when you see it after a very, very heavy rainfall. That’s indicative of things going on outside.
TOM: Yeah, this has got a very simple solution, Frank. Basements flood. A lot of these waterproofing contractors like to recommend to dig out around the outside or the inside of your house; install drains and pumps and all that sort of thing. Almost never, ever needed and absolutely never needed when you can trace the flooding problem to heavy rains. Because what’s happening is you’re just getting too much water that’s collecting around the outside. This is a drainage issue.
So I want you to look at two things very, very carefully. Number one is the angle of the soil around the outside of the house; especially on that back wall. In a perfect world we want to see that soil slope around six inches over four feet so you have a nice, even slope right from the get-go when it comes away from the wall. We want that to be compact; not topsoil but clean fill dirt because topsoil tends to be very organic. I don’t want to see any stone there or anything that’s going to hold water back.
TOM: The second thing is the gutter system. You’ve got to have gutters; they have to be appropriately sized – you need one downspout for every 400 to 600 square feet of roofing surface; and most importantly – and this is the number one thing that you can do that solves so many wet basements; it’s very simple but it’s very effective – get the downspouts out away from the foundation. We want to see them four to six feet away from the foundation.
If you control the water on the outside, you will eliminate the water on the inside. You don’t need to dig this house up, Frank.
FRANK: Wow. That’s great news.
TOM: Yep, very simple; very effective.
FRANK: (overlapping voices) Now, does it change anything because I didn’t tell you there’s a patio; there’s a cement slab in the back.
TOM: Well, that makes it a little bit harder to do the drainage improvements …
TOM: … because the water might be sitting on that patio and finding it’s way in. If you have a patio up against the wall you can look for cracks and try to seal the space between the patio and the wall. But I would tell you to look at the gutter system first because that’s probably going to be the biggest source of the water. Do you have a gutter over that patio area?
FRANK: Yes, I do.
TOM: Alright, and where are the downspouts for that?
FRANK: The downspouts are toward the ends – each corner of the house.
TOM: Now, is there any chance that the gutters were overflowing in heavy rain?
FRANK: You know, it’s possible. I haven’t looked.
TOM: OK, that very well may be possible, Frank. I can’t tell you how many times I have solved wet basements that people thought were going to cost $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 to fix just by unclogging a gutter. You’ve got to look at those outside drainage conditions. If you have a lot of water collecting around the outside of the perimeter, that’s what causes it.
Frank, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
FRANK: OK, thanks.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show and believe it or not the holidays – yes, the holidays are right around the corner. So if you need some help getting your house in tiptop shape for that big holiday meal, 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, you don’t have to live in a hurricane-prone state to worry about storm damage. Find out what you can do to prevent damage in any storm, next.
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: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
And you should give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because we’ve got a chance for you to win a pretty amazing prize today. It’s going to keep you a lot safer in your kitchen and around your home. It’s the HomeHero kitchen fire extinguisher. It’s fast and easy to access, especially in an emergency, because the thing looks darn good; you’re going to want to keep it out on the counter rather than hiding it away where you can’t find it in the event of a catastrophe. It’s got a grip-and-trigger system for simple, one-handed use and the instructions are printed right on it so you can read them in the emergency as you’re getting frantic and operate the fire extinguisher properly. It’s worth 30 bucks but it could be yours for free but you’ve got to ask your question on air. So give us a call now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Speaking of emergencies, you know thousands of miles of U.S. coastline are at risk for hurricanes every year and we’re not out of the woods yet. Hurricane season does run through November but even if you live inland you can still benefit from a little stormproofing at your house. If your home is not properly protected, even a mild storm can wind up costing you a boatload of money in repairs. So here’s a couple of things you might want to think about doing.
First of all, inspect your home’s roof and gutters. Now, you don’t have to climb a ladder to do this. You can use binoculars if you’re not comfortable on the roof. Repair any loose or torn shingles you see to prevent any further damage. And all gutters, they need to be firmly attached to your house to be clog free. So if they’re starting to pull away, remove the spikes and use the long gutter lag bolts. They’re about seven or eight inches long and they fit in the same hole that the spike came out of but once you put them in they do not pull out. Keep the gutters nice and tight so the water doesn’t back up under them and get into your house.
LESLIE: Yeah, and while you’re also walking around your house, sort of sussing everything up, you want to take a look at your shutters and repair any areas that might be loose; whether it’s your siding, your shutters, anything else that could become airborne in a storm. You know, think about it. If it can easily come off, tighten it up; fix it up; make it stay there. You also want to consider installing storm shutters to protect windows from flying debris if you find that this is a necessity where you live.
And if you realize that you do need to make some roof repairs or if you decide to install storm-resistant windows or doors, that’s the time to really think about extra waterproof protection for your home. You really do have to take some extra steps and there are some specialized materials that can help you keep that water away. For instance, think about premium building materials. They’re going to help you maximize your home’s resistance to wind-driven rains; other hazards like ice dams, depending on where you live in the country.
If you’re looking for some great options, especially based on where you are and what necessities you might need individually, you can visit a great website. It’s GraceAtHome.com and they’ve got all the information there to make sure you keep the water outside where it belongs.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: Sandra in Rhode Island’s got a fence that needs some help. What can we do for you?
SANDRA: In my money pit I am surrounded by stockade fencing.
SANDRA: And I want to put up a new back fence and I really hate that gray, New England look. I’d like to know what I can do to that; not only to make it look nicer but to actually preserve the wood so I don’t have to replace it again.
LESLIE: So you’re hoping to start off with something fresh or spruce up what’s already there?
SANDRA: Something new. I only have one back area that I have to fill. My neighbors fill both sides. (chuckling) So it’s just a back of the yard; the whole back of the yard; maybe about 40 feet.
TOM: Do you like the look of the vinyl fencing, Sandra?
SANDRA: That really is beautiful but where it’s going to go it’s not going to be appreciated as seen.
TOM: Well, you know I’ll tell you what. There’s nothing wrong with using some spruce fencing and you could spruce up the spruce (Leslie chuckles) by using a solid color stain on it.
SANDRA: Spruce rather than the regular stockade fencing, you mean?
TOM: Regular stockade fence is spruce.
SANDRA: It is spruce.
TOM: But it’s also available in cedar; although, if you put it in properly and you’re going to finish it correctly –
TOM: – and by putting it in properly I mean make sure the fence sections are above the grade so they’re not in contact with the grade because that can shorten their life and secondly make sure it’s finished properly. And Leslie, I’d finish this just the same way you finish a deck.
LESLIE: Oh, absolutely. And actually, if you find that the wood on your existing stockade fence is in good condition, you might be able to just get away with, you know, a wood cleanser and a pressure washer. You know, I would start off first – if the wood’s in good shape and doesn’t need repair or replacing, I would start off with a product something like Flood’s DEKSWOOD, which is made to restore and refresh the look of aged wood. It gets the gray out. So you would be surprised, just using a cleanser like that with a pressure washer is going to get you almost to brand, spanking new looking wood.
At that point, I’d say let it dry out and then, depending on how it looks, go for either a clear or a semi-transparent or a solid stain, which could then put you in a variety of looks from something natural to something, you know, outrageous in color but still seeing the grain to even something that’s as saturated in color as paint but it goes on the way a stain would. It penetrates into the wood. And all of those, you know, will help it be resistant to moisture; sun damage; blistering; checking.
So that’s what I would do if you find that your wood on your – on your fence, rather, is still in good shape and just needs some freshening up. If you’re beyond that, you know, look for styles that will enhance that back portion of your yard. I’m not really sure how much of it you’re going to be seeing. You know, of course, depending on what the aesthetic is and how much you’re going to see will vary to the costs and, you know, how much you want to invest in this.
LESLIE: But make sure, like Tom said, that the wood pickets themselves are not touching the ground because that could invite rot and bugs and all sorts of infestations you don’t want.
SANDRA: Right, we’ve learned that one the hard way.
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: Bet you have.
TOM: Sandra, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
SANDRA: Thanks, guys. I enjoy the show.
LESLIE: Rich in New Jersey’s got a brick house that’s got some issues. What’s going on?
RICH: Hey, hi Leslie. I have an old home, built somewhere in the 1880s, and I’ve got an interior brick chimney and foundation. Now the brick chimney is literally falling apart.
RICH: I can put my whole arm right through it.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Ooh.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. This is not good.
RICH: It’s turned to dust and I don’t know why and the same thing’s happened to the foundation. It’s turning to dust where the mortar is bonding the stones for the foundation.
TOM: The brick chimney; is that for your heating or do you have a fireplace? What is it serving?
RICH: Heating system.
RICH: The only thing on there right now is the water heater.
TOM: What’s happening with your furnace?
RICH: Furnace is a modern furnace. It’s vented out the side wall.
TOM: OK, that’s good.
Well, what’s happening here is you are dumping your water heater into the chimney. The chimney is never going to get very, very warm so you’re going to have more condensation …
TOM: … more acidic condensation; it’s going to break down those mortar joints. What you really need to do here, Rich, is you need to line the chimney. Now it doesn’t have to be expensive. We’re not talking about a masonry liner. When you’re just venting the water heater you can drop a stainless steel liner that’s sort of like a – kind of looks like a dryer hose where it expands.
TOM: That goes from the top of the chimney all the way down; comes out the side and then the water heater will attach to that and that will solve the problem of getting the gasses from the water heater out of that chimney safely and then your repair just becomes structural. The mortar’s going to have to be repointed from time to time, from place to place, just to keep the chimney structure intact but you won’t have to worry about combustion gasses leaking out.
RICH: OK, and is that the cause of the bricks themselves disintegrating?
LESLIE: It’s the condensate and the moisture, right?
TOM: That and a 125 years of house age. (chuckling) OK?
RICH: (chuckling) OK. Alright.
LESLIE: And Rich, you’ll find that even with older homes, as you update the heating or the hot water system, most of the manufacturers are recommending if your chimney is lined to line it because there’s far more condensate or far less condensate, depending on which unit you’re using, and the chimney does tend to react to it. So it’s just a preventative measure.
RICH: OK. One last, quick question for you. What can I do – because this is an interior chimney and, again, it’s an old house; lath and plaster. What can I do to the pieces of chimney that I can see to repair it? I mean there’s literally holes (INAUDIBLE).
TOM: You’re going to have to rebuild those sections …
TOM: … with fresh mortar and, you know, putting the brick back. So that’s all there is to it.
RICH: That’s great.
LESLIE: And if you’re concerned about replacing some brick and things not looking up to age for, you know, pieces that are side by side, try an architectural salvage yard for actual old brick that might have that wear and tear that replicates what you’ve already got.
TOM: And you know, Rich, there’s one other thing that you could do altogether and that is to switch out your – change out your water heater to a direct-vent model …
TOM: … or install a tankless water heater and direct vent it. It’ll take up less room and be more efficient. If that’s the case, then you can disassemble that chimney. Take it down from the top. Just keep gravity in mind.
TOM: Start from the top and work on down.
TOM: Rich, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Yes, when you take a chimney apart you need to keep gravity in mind. (Leslie chuckles) Always a good safety practice.
LESLIE: This is The Money Pit and up next we’re going to teach you how to inspect your windows for safety flaws. We’re going to tell you where to look, so stick around.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is being brought to you by – well, by us. Save hundreds a month on groceries, not to mention significant savings on home improvement products and services with your new Money Pit American Homeowners Association membership. And get $50 in Zircon tools if you join in the next 30 minutes. Call now. 866-REAL-HOME. That’s 866-REAL-HOME. Now here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Alright, Money Pit fans. Whether you are building a new home or maybe you’re renovating a cherished older home, you know, there’s a lot to think about; especially when it comes to the windows. Now, there are some questions you want to think about. What are the best types of windows to have in a home, especially a home with small children? Which type of windows are going to help prevent noise penetration and discourage intruders. There’s lot of things to think about.
TOM: Absolutely, and here to help us sort it all out is Christopher Burke. He is a product manager for Simonton Windows.
And Chris, so you’re not David Letterman but we’re going to let you give us your top 10 list (Leslie chuckles) for window safety. So let’s go through that list. (Leslie drum rolls)
Starting with number 10.
CHRIS: Number 10 – to protect your home from harmful UV rays, make sure that your windows have low-e glass in them. It reduces fading your carpets, furniture and treatments (ph).
TOM: Alright, so sort of a window safety tip for your furnishings.
TOM: Number nine.
CHRIS: Before ordering windows make sure to examine the unit’s locking system and operations.
LESLIE: And should you practice using them and make sure you know how to open them up and really make sure they work efficiently and quickly?
CHRIS: Exactly. Yes.
TOM: Number eight – you say if you need to use window guards on the inside of your windows you want to make sure they’re very operable. Now, what is a common mistake that parents make when it comes to choosing window guards?
CHRIS: You need to have a window guard that you can take off easily …
CHRIS: … in case of a fire or something and that window has to be used as an exit. You want to keep the people in to keep them safe but every now and then your best way out of the house is through that window.
TOM: Alright, good point. Number seven – windows as ventilation. Isn’t that the idea, Chris?
CHRIS: That is, unless you have young children around. Kids are very curious and love to look out of the windows; watch the neighborhood dog run around the yard (Leslie chuckles); the kids playing; everything. So you want to make sure that they can’t fall out.
LESLIE: Is there something that we can have and a window option that would prevent maybe the window from fully opening but still allow air in?
CHRIS: There are ventilation locks that will keep the sash. It opens about four or five inches.
LESLIE: Alright, good to know. Number six – what about pets and kids?
CHRIS: If you have windows, especially on the second story of your home, make sure they’ve got the window ventilation stops on them or some kind of guard so the kids aren’t going to fall out of the windows.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And even ones that open from the top down and in a double-hung instead of opening the bottom ones.
CHRIS: Right. I mean it’s wonderful if you’ve got a full screen in that double-hung. Just pull the top sash down a little bit. The kids can’t reach it and you’re still getting air through it.
TOM: We’re talking to Christopher Burke. He’s a product manager for Simonton Windows.
Chris, your next tip has to do with windows that may find themselves in a crime-ridden area. Are there windows that can actually prevent crime?
CHRIS: There are windows that certainly can deter people from coming through them. They have what is called tempered safety glass.
CHRIS: And not only is the glass tempered; it has a laminate in between two pieces of glass, similar to a car windshield. So they can pound on it with a rock, a brick, a crowbar and they’re going to crack the glass but it’s going to stay adhered to that inner layer so they’re not coming through that window.
TOM: Now isn’t that the same type of glass that’s used for storm windows; where you have flying debris to worry about?
CHRIS: Very similar. Depending on how thick you make that inner layer between the two pieces of glass, it can be strong enough to withstand windborne debris during a hurricane.
LESLIE: Alright, number four is a tip about window treatments, really. How do you keep kids safe around window treatments?
CHRIS: One of the most popular window treatments I can think of are the little mini-blinds that have the cord that dangles down that you can open them and close them with.
CHRIS: If you have small kids around, they will get – they can get entangled in them. So the best thing to do is coil them up and put them at the very top where only you can reach them. If you don’t plan on ever really pulling them all the way up then you can actually trim those cords to make them much shorter.
TOM: Interesting. And number three – you talk about practicing safety drills. You know, I actually did a fire safety segment for CNN once at my house and we had an instructor here who tried to trick me. He filled the house with smoke. It was a test, sort of, for me and he assigned different places around the house and the yard for people to be in. He had put my young son outside and me in my office and my wife and my daughter upstairs. And of course, three of us got out and went to the meeting place and he said, ‘Where is your son’ and we said, ‘Well, he’s already outside.’ Well he had actually gone back in to look for us.
TOM: So you can’t be too careful when it comes to practicing safety drills and a lot of those are going to involve making sure your windows can open and kids can get out.
CHRIS: Exactly. Always have at least two ways out of every single room whether it’s through the door; if that way’s blocked you can go out a window. You hit on a very key point there, too, talking about have a designated place to meet. That way you know, once everybody’s there, you’re there and if you get there first you stay there. You do not go back in the house.
LESLIE: Alright, number two, again, is about keeping kids away from climbing into windows. Keep furniture or anything that children can climb away from your windows, including cribs.
CHRIS: Yes. If you look at a crib, you think, OK, the kid can’t get out of the crib. If the wall’s there, that’s correct because there’s nothing for the child to pull himself up with. But if there’s a window, they might be able to grab a hold of the edge of the window and pull themselves up, out of the crib and, unfortunately, could go out the window, too.
TOM: And finally, the number one tip for keeping windows safe. You say remember that window screens are designed only to keep insects out. Good point. You know, the way screens are made today is a heck of a lot different than the way they were made, say, when we were kids.
CHRIS: They are made a lot different. We really don’t want to see the screen in the window.
CHRIS: They’re to keep the bugs out but the frames are much thinner. The screens are – the mesh themselves are invisible. And the Screen Manufacturers Association offers a program called Kids Can’t Fly. (Tom laughs) Educate people about the fact that – I mean screens really are there just to keep the bugs out and I’ve seen some windows actually have what are called locking screens.
CHRIS: Those are fine and the fact that you can’t take the screen out of the window. But remember, we’re just talking about thin, nylon mesh that’s held into that frame by a gasket. Yeah, it’s not going to hold anybody’s weight.
TOM: Yeah, but you know, when we grew up we had that heavy, aluminum screening. I mean you could bang on that stuff and you wouldn’t go through. But today the screen just pops right out.
CHRIS: Exactly, because it’s made of nylon. The aluminum, if you remember, you could take your pencil and write your name on it.
TOM: (chuckling) That’s right.
CHRIS: It would actually bend the aluminum and you’d see it there forever.
TOM: Christopher Burke, product manager with Simonton Windows. Thanks for providing those safety tips for us.
If you want more information on Chris’s company you can go to Simonton.com.
CHRIS: Thanks, that’s great.
LESLIE: Alright. Lots of great information about windows; particularly safety. You’ve got to keep everybody safe at home.
Now, speaking of safety at home, you might not be aware of it but your home could be a polluter. We’re going to tell you how to reduce your home’s pollution and improve the air quality in your house, after this.
ANNOUNCER: This portion of The Money Pit is brought to you by Aprilaire, makers of professionally-installed, high-efficiency air cleaners. For more information, go to Aprilaire.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we make good homes better. One way we’re going to do that right now is give you a couple of tips on safety. Did you know that October is National Fire Prevention Month?
LESLIE: Oh, well happy Fire Prevention Month.
TOM: Send me a card.
LESLIE: (chuckling) I’ll make one up special for you.
TOM: And let’s try to prevent some fires. Did you know that cooking is the number one cause of fires at home?
LESLIE: Well, makes sense.
TOM: If you call us right now though at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, we’ll give you a chance to win a great prize that will keep you safer in the kitchen. It’s a brand new fire extinguisher called the HomeHero that’s available at The Home Depot and what’s cool about it is it looks cool. It’s also very effective and we like it but we’re going to give it away. It’s worth 30 bucks. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Just for asking your question on the air we will toss your name in the Money Pit hardhat and if we pull your name at the end of the show you will be getting the HomeHero fire extinguisher.
LESLIE: Ah, and maybe your question has to do with indoor air quality; how to keep your home healthier on the indoors because, believe it or not, American homes – get this – create more pollution than automobiles. That is crazy. Indoors these pollutants can actually cause health problems and some serious damage, perhaps, to your home. But if you install an air cleaner system, it can remove carbon monoxide; smoke; cooking scents; mold; mildew; other pollutants that you might have around there: allergens; viruses; bacteria; all sorts of thing that could really irritate your respiratory system. So, if you do a couple of these steps toward making your house a lot cleaner, like installing the air cleaner system; dusting – be on top of it – you can actually create some indoor air that will help you breathe more easily.
TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Call us right now with your question.
Leslie, who’s next?
LESLIE: We’ve got Robert in Massachusetts on the line and what can we help you with today?
ROBERT: Yes, thank you. I have two questions; the first of which is I had a main drain leak in my basement and I – the main drain pipe itself I patched up with epoxy which, you know, stopped the leak; well, from leaking any further. My question is – first question is should I replace that section of the main drain that was leaking or will the epoxy hold long enough to do the job?
TOM: The epoxy will probably hold a good, long time and if it’s doing the job now I would not be in any rush to replace it. I actually used epoxy to fix a hot water radiator that was leaking a bit and that I just didn’t have the time to take the whole thing out and do it right. And I hate to admit it but that was about five years ago.
ROBERT: Oh, wow.
TOM: (chuckling) It’s still standing up just fine. So, I think epoxy is a good repair product for a plumbing drain like that.
ROBERT: I mean I noticed the epoxy, when I read the fine print, it said this epoxy, I think, was produced in California and then California state standards said that sometimes it can contribute to cancer or something.
TOM: You know, California’s got some pretty rigid …
TOM: … labeling instructions. I wouldn’t be making my home improvement …
LESLIE: I bought a souvenir at an amusement park one time and on the receipt it said, ‘This product contains something known to the state of California …’ and I was like, ‘Good Lord, what do I do with this?’ (Tom chuckles)
LESLIE: So they’re very tough on regulations but overly so.
TOM: Yeah, I probably wouldn’t be basing my home improvement decisions based on some of those warnings; although I’m sure they’re there for a good reason. And certainly if people have certain chemical sensitivities, the labeling is very, very important. But you know, epoxy is just a good, old standard product that works really well for this kind of a plumbing problem and I think it’s going to fix you up just fine.
Robert, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Talking to Laura in Indiana. What’s going on at your money pit?
LAURA: Well, I have a small bathroom that when we – my son is the only one that takes a shower in there and I used the correct wall – the drywall, when we built it; the green wall – the wallboard.
LESLIE: The greenboard.
LAURA: But it still has slight mildew at the top; at the top of the ceiling and the top of the wall. I used some bleach water; I wiped it; I rinsed it and it still forms. And he does not always use his exhaust fan in there. Is that (INAUDIBLE)?
LESLIE: That’s the problem.
TOM: Yeah, I was going to say is he a teenager? (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, sure thing. Well, as Leslie said, that is the problem. Couple things you can do to control humidity. First of all, you really do need to use the exhaust fan. What you might want to think about doing here, Laura …
LESLIE: Is it too late to wire the light and the exhaust fan together? (chuckling)
TOM: (overlapping voices) That’s exactly what I was thinking. Yep. That’s exactly what I was thinking.
LESLIE: This way you’re forcing him to use it.
TOM: Yep. Wire – and a lot of fans and lights can be set up this way very easily so that whenever you turn the light on the fan comes on. The other thing that you can do is put in what’s called an ox sensor, which is basically an automatic switch so that whenever there’s movement inside the bathroom the fan comes on. You’ve got the right tools. You just need to get him to do it.
Now, in terms of what you can do to the existing surface, you are doing the right thing by cleaning it. I would recommend that you use a product called Simple Green, which is very effective at removing mildew and removing mold first and then you really want to prime that surface. Use a good quality primer like a KILZ oil-based primer and then on top of that use a kitchen and bath paint and Behr makes one with NanoGuard technology that’s very, very effective at reducing mold and mildew growth.
LAURA: OK, so instead of using bleach water use Simple Green?
TOM: Simple Green. Yep.
TOM: Works good and it’s much safer, too.
TOM: Uh-oh. Up next, toilet troubles, Leslie.
LESLIE: Uh-oh. What kind?
TOM: Toilet troubles for one family with a toddler who likes to toss things into the bowl!
LESLIE: (chuckling) I think that’s an every family problem, though.
TOM: We’ll flush out the solution, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Rheem water heaters. For dependable, energy-efficient tank and tankless water heaters you can trust Rheem. Learn more at Rheem.com. That’s R-h-e-e-m.com. Now, here are Tom and Leslie.
TOM: 888-666-3974. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete and deet-deetily-deet-dee-deet-dee. Me and Tom, we’ve got a hint for you that is hot off of the Money Pit presses and it is going to make window washing easier and less expensive. You know, newspaper; you’ve got it kicking around and it is an excellent replacement for paper towels. You’ve got it handy. It eliminates streaks. Just make sure you use the black and white pages because sometimes the colored pages end up on like your wood framing and you get lots of wear and sometimes that’s hard to clean. So stick with the black and white pages. You will end up with streak-free windows.
We’ve got different tips, all at MoneyPit.com, for every day of the year and you can even have our fantastic Money Pit tips pop up on your website for free. And while you’re snooping around over at MoneyPit.com, go ahead and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and ask us any question about your house any time of the day or night. And we’ve got one here. It’s from Chantal in San Francisco who writes: ‘My two-year-old son flushed a relatively large toy down the toilet.’
TOM: Bless his heart. (laughing)
LESLIE: I know. Totally. ‘We took the bowl off and didn’t find it in the trap which means it’s somewhere in the base of the toilet but we can’t feel it and we can’t reach it ourselves from either end of the bowl. Do we need to replace the toilet?’ Man, that sounds like a mess.
TOM: You know, I had this exact thing happen to me, Chantal. I had a toilet in my house clog the night before a big family gathering.
LESLIE: Of course.
TOM: So, in order to fix that I was absolutely sure the reason it clogged was the willow tree outside, which always clogs the roots – the roots get into the drain pipe about once a year. So early that morning I got up early; I got out. I got my shovel because I knew where the clogs always happen.
TOM: And I dug down and I found the pipe and I snaked it to the one side; snaked it to the other side; put it all back together; went upstairs; flushed; overflowed the toilet. I’m like, ‘Man, what happened? I thought I got it.’ And so now I figure, well, it’s got to be between the toilet and the pipe so I pulled the toilet off. Now I’m working from the bottom of the toilet down into the pipe; snake that; still didn’t work.
TOM: And then finally, out of the corner of my eye I happened to notice, on the underside of the toilet was something blue …
LESLIE: Oh, God.
TOM: … sticking out and it wasn’t the Tidy Bowl man. No, it was a cute little handset phone (Leslie chuckles) – toy phone – that my darling little child had flushed down there. So we feel your pain.
The solution for this is to break it apart step by step just like I did. Now, inside that toilet itself there is a trap and the trap is S-shaped and if that toy is stuck in that trap you’ve got to get the snake inside the toilet to pull it out. The good news is it’s only about two feet long so you should be able to find it.
LESLIE: Alright. Now Chantal and every other family in America knows what to do.
TOM: So Leslie, of the many home improvement skills that I have, keeping my houseplants alive is not one of them. (Leslie laughs) I mean I kill silk plants; usually from over-watering. But you are here to tell us that watering your silk and other plastic fauna inside the house is actually not such a bad idea.
LESLIE: Yeah, it’s not a bad idea. I’m not talking about going over there with your watering can and hitting the imaginary dirt area. I’m actually talking about taking those plants; those flowers; whatever you’ve got that’s artificial on the indoors out of their pots, whatever kind of container you’ve got them in. Take them out; bring them into the bathroom; put them in the shower. Don’t put them like directly under the blaring down water but let them get misted. Let them get some wetness on them and then wipe all the leaves clean because this is going to get rid of all of that dust that sort of weighs down those leaves and makes things, you know, not look as alive as they should be. If you give them a little bit of attention, those arrangements, which sometimes can be hundreds of dollars – which blows my mind but they look amazing – will last and last and you will want to display it for years to come. So even show those fake flowers a bit of attention.
TOM: And they’ll grow taller, right?
LESLIE: Yeah, exactly. (Tom laughs) If your artificial plant is growing I want to know what you’re doing because I have some real plants over here that could use some help.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Coming up next week, is your cooktop working for you or against you? Well, if you’re in the market for a new one, there are some design choices that you can make that will make using your stove a heck of a lot easier. We’re going to whip up some kitchen ideas on the next edition on The Money Pit.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 2 TEXT
(Copyright 2007 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.)