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:
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: We are broadcasting a very special edition of The Money Pit today from Anaheim, California. We are at AARP’s Life@50+ event. There are all kinds of things going on here to help Americans stay safer, more secure and more secure at any age; particularly as they get older.
LESLIE: You know, we’re broadcasting here from the Home Depot house and right behind us there’s a kitchen where they’re making all sorts of meals. (chuckling) So even though it’s early, we’re starting to get really hungry. And here at the event, there are over more than 430 exhibitors who are highlighting cutting-edge technologies; travel; leisure; entertainment; food, like we mentioned. You name it. And we’re here to focus on what you can do to make your life at home work for you and changes you can make so that you can stay in your house for as long as you possibly can and want to. And you’ve heard us talking about some of these ideas recently and today you’re going to hear even more right from the experts of the AARP.
TOM: That’s right. You know, it turns out that most Americans aren’t planning on packing up and moving to celebrate their retirement. According to a new AARP study, nine out of ten Americans want to stay in their home as long as they can. So in a few minutes, we’re going to tell you how to make that even more possible. AARP experts are with us this hour with tips on how to be comfortable and safe in your house for as long as you can.
LESLIE: Yeah, and you know, safe is the key word here. For example, it only takes a few seconds to get a really nasty burn from too-hot tap water, which can occur quite quickly. And in a few minutes, we’re going to tell you how to keep kids and adults – anybody in your house – safe from getting scalded.
TOM: And we want to talk to you, so call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you do, we’re going to be giving away a Ryobi 7.2 volt drill worth 30 bucks. This drill is the result of extensive research by Ryobi’s design engineers, making it more compact and comfortable to operate. And that’s the key. You want to use tools that are comfortable in your hand.
LESLIE: Yeah and it packs a lot of power into a smaller item so people with any ability in their hands can use this. It’s a great prize.
TOM: So call us right now at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright, we’re going to take a call on line two from Curtis in Nevada who listens on KBZZ. And you’ve got a shower question. What’s going on at your house?
CURTIS: Well, I have a bathtub in the guest bathroom.
CURTIS: And I want to make it a shower and I don’t want to have to tear the whole bathtub out and put a whole shower unit in. Should I …
LESLIE: So as of now, there’s no showerhead in there at all. There’s no upper plumbing.
CURTIS: Right. I got somebody to do the plumbing for me but I wanted to know what should I use – tile? Do a tile layout on the top there or …?
TOM: What are the walls right now, Curtis?
CURTIS: The walls are just standard sheetrock.
TOM: OK. And do you want to do any work to that drywall? Do you want to remove and replace it?
CURTIS: I was hoping not to have to.
TOM: OK, because if you put tile on those walls, you’re really going to have to put a better product in there. There’s a product by Georgia-Pacific called Dens Armor, which is completely moisture-proof as a tile backer. The other thing that gives you the opportunity to do is to add a grab bar …
TOM: … so that you can have safety in getting in and out of that house. In fact, that’s one of the tips that we’re learning about here at the AARP Life@50+ convention.
LESLIE: Well, and especially since you’re changing an existing bath tub. You’re probably stepping over quite a high tub height, so you want to make sure that you can get in and out safely. And working with some new drywall, you’ll be able to put in some grab bars. You can tile beforehand; put those grab bars in. And the tile is great because, you know, it really gives you a waterproof surface. But you do need to make sure that the backer – it can’t just be regular drywall because that water’s still going to permeate through that grout. And if you don’t have moisture-resistant background, you’re going to see mold growth behind there. Actually, you’re not going to see it until it’s, you know, damaged.
TOM: And the other thing, Curtis, to be aware of is the grout, of course, is where you have to, you know, spend the most time on maintenance. So when you shop for a grout for this tile project for the bathroom, make sure you use one that has an antimicrobial additive. LATICRETE makes one with I think it’s called Microban in it so that it won’t grow mold and won’t get dark and dirty and disgusting and you won’t have to clean it moving on. So, I really think for resale value, doing this correctly is going to be very important and tile is certainly the best material to use.
TOM: Curtis, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Next we’re going to take line three; Neal in Virginia who listens on WJFK. And you’ve got low water pressure. Tell us about the problem.
NEAL: The problem is I live in a three-level townhouse. I have – the bathroom – the half bath on the first floor has zippo water pressure.
LESLIE: On the first floor.
NEAL: Both at the sink and at the toilet. It’s a half-inch line. Coming out of the – out of the water fine; goes to the half bath in the basement and then goes behind dry wall.
TOM: How old is the townhouse? Is this a very old, like a Capitol Hill kind of townhouse?
NEAL: That house was probably built in the early 80s.
TOM: Oh, OK. So you have a – you have copper plumbing then.
NEAL: Yes, sir.
TOM: Alright. So then we’re not talking about a problem with your pipes here. We’re talking about a mechanical problem. Somewhere there’s an obstruction. One of the common things that happens is that the valves, even though they seem to be open, sometimes they’re stuck sort of half closed. So the first thing I would be looking at is tracing from the main water supply pipe all the way into that bathroom to make sure that all of the valves are wide open. If you have the possibility of checking pressure before the bathroom and it looks fine; you get to the bathroom and it’s not fine, then you’re looking somewhere right in that valve. And that’s probably where it’s obstructed.
LESLIE: And you should actually exercise those valves. I know that sounds strange but you should operate them quite frequently. Turn them off; turn them on. This way, they don’t get jammed or rusted shut.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. So does that make sense to you, Neal?
NEAL: Oh, yeah. But it’s on the toilet and the sink, so you know, (inaudible).
TOM: Well, then there may be a supply valve for that bathroom. It’s not just the fixture valve. So we’re not talking, necessarily, about the valves in the cabinet. We’re talking about the valve in the plumbing system that supplies that bathroom. And there’s probably a valve somewhere between there and the main that’s (inaudible).
LESLIE: How would you locate that? Do you actually have to track all the piping from the main?
TOM: Trace it. You trace it. Yeah. And in a newer house – you know, in a 1980s house, it shouldn’t be a problem to do that.
LESLIE: Because there should be access panels and what not …
LESLIE: … so you can look into the walls.
TOM: Yeah. The other thing to check – and this may be a silly thing, but it’s – I’ve seen this do it. You said that the sink also doesn’t have much water pressure. Have you tried removing the aerator?
TOM: At the …
LESLIE: At the tip of the faucet?
TOM: … the tip of the faucet? You should try that because sometimes you get debris inside the plumbing system. It sounds gross but you do get like …
TOM: … mineral deposits and little pieces of solder that break off. And it’s amazing how a very tiny piece can obstruct the flow of an entire fixture like that.
LESLIE: And it’s very important. When you do remove that tip of the faucet – the aerator – make sure that as you take that piece off, disassemble it and line everything up in the exact order that you took it out. So once you clean it and replace any of the fixtures or things that you need to do, you can put them right back in the same order. Because it gets confusing.
TOM: Neal, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. We’re broadcasting from Anaheim, California today; from the AARP Life@50+ event. And we’re going to talk about universal design pretty soon; the idea that you can actually, you know, live in a home for as long as possible …
TOM: … and the home can sort of age with you.
LESLIE: Well in universal design, it just is – it’s important because it’s designed for everyone. And it’s – regardless of if it’s in your home or if it’s where you shop, it’s just smart planning so that folks of all ages and abilities can best use the facilities as they can.
TOM: You have a question about that, call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: That’s right. Regardless of whether we’re in studio or on location like we are at Life at 50, you can call us now at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Alright, we’ve got another call. We’ve got Crystal in D.C. who’s listening on JFK. And you’ve got a hard water ring in the toilet. What can we do for you?
TOM: Lots of water questions today.
CRYSTAL: (chuckling) Yeah. It’s actually my fianc