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: And what are you working on on this beautiful spring day? If it’s outside, if it’s inside or maybe you’re just dreaming about the project you’re going to start in just a little while, give us a call, right now, because we would love to help you. That’s why we are here. If you’ve got something going on in your money pit that you need some advice on how to make go away or make better, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Coming up on today’s show, bright, floral colors might be a great look for a summer evening but it turns out that those are the very same colors mosquitoes are most attracted to. We’re going to have tips on how to dress to avoid those bites.
LESLIE: And are your kitchen cabinets a clutter of pots and pans that just fall out everywhere when you open the doors? Well, adding a few simple space-savers can help. And we’ll share some tips.
TOM: And when you hear the name Speed Queen, does it remind you of the big, strong, industrial washers and dryers that you’d see in Laundromats or college dorms? That’s what it means to me. I remember my mom taking me to those Laundromats and seeing those big Speed Queen machines. And now it turns out that those same industrial-tested machines are available for your home.
Mike Schoeb is the guy that makes that happen and he’s going to be joining us from Ripon, Wisconsin to talk about some of the rigorous testing they do to make sure every machine can deliver 25 years of service.
LESLIE: And we’d also love to take your question about the project you’re working on today or maybe you’re planning on tackling very soon. And if you do call, we’ve got some great products to give away to a couple of callers picked at random, including a beautiful mix-and-match dining set from The Home Depot. In that set, you’re going to see a dining table, some chairs, a patio umbrella and pillows all worth over 200 bucks.
TOM: Plus, to help you enjoy great-tasting water all summer long, we’re also featuring a Brita 10-Cup Filtered Water Pitcher and pitcher replacement filters worth over 50 bucks, also from The Home Depot. So give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Bob in Texas is on the line with an air-conditioning question. What is going on at your money pit?
BOB: What I’ve got is some rust and calcium in my primary condensate reservoir. And the HVAC service guys tell me that I probably need to replace the evaporator coil, because he can’t seem to get it to unclog and – where the primary condensate drain drains properly. And he says there’s no pan that they make for it.
TOM: And how old is the condenser?
BOB: He said it looked like it was put in when the house was built, which would be about 40 years ago.
TOM: Ugh. Yeah. The fact that it’s 40 years old, it probably would make sense to replace it. Just keep in mind that if you want to improve the efficiency, which I’m sure you will, you have to replace the air handler, the evaporator coil and the condenser at the same time because they’re kind of a matched system. If you don’t care about that, you could just replace the condenser. But I think at 40 years old, yeah, it’s basically run the course of a normal useful life and it probably would make sense for you to replace it.
BOB: OK. Well, then I feel like I’ve gotten good advice. So, thank you all very much.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Ellen in Arkansas is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you?
ELLEN: I’ve got a roof job coming on this in a couple of weeks and they’re doing my roof and they’re doing up my siding.
ELLEN: Now, I had a big oak tree in my backyard. I had it cut down. But in the meantime, since it was there so many years, it left mold – the green stuff – growing on my shingles, right?
TOM: Yep. Mm-hmm.
ELLEN: The guy that’s going to do my roof said that – “Oh, that’s OK. Well, you can get up to three layers of shingles before you have to take the old shingles off.” And I said, “Well, mold strikes a negative vibe in me because my husband and I have allergies. Would that affect us?” They said they’re going to put the new roof over the old roof and the mold. I told them, “No, that’s not going to happen.” He said, “Well, what we’ll do, we’ll pour – spray it with bleach – the mold – and we’ll rake it and then we’ll just cover it with the new roofing.” And my question is: since it is so much money, is that wise?
TOM: Well, here’s the thing. Yeah, you can put three layers of shingles on but it’s a really bad idea to do that, aside from the fact that you’ve got some sort of growth on this roof. Whenever you put a second layer of shingles on, the first two layers, in your case, tend to retain a lot of heat and especially in an environment like Arkansas where you have really hot summers.
ELLEN: Oh, yeah.
TOM: As that heat is retained, it accelerates the deterioration of the top layer. So in my experience, if you had a roof that typically would last 20 years, you put a shingle – a layer or two of shingles underneath, you’re going to have it last more like 13 to 15 years. I’ve seen it cut a quarter to a third of the life off by doing that.
So it’s always smart to remove old layers. They’re probably trying to avoid it because it’s expensive to remove old layers. They’ve got to pull it off and they’ve got to get rid of it but it absolutely is the best way to do a roof replacement. And if you’re planning on being in that house for most of the life of the roof, it’s well worth it.
TOM: Now, in terms of the moss or the mold or the mildew or whatever is on there, there are many, many things that can grow on a roof, depending on the environmental conditions.
TOM: And it’s not always mold, although people tend to call it that. There’s a product called Spray & Forget that we have a lot of experience with.
ELLEN: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
TOM: And you spray it on the roofing surface. And it tends to smother all of those biological growths and stops them from coming back. It will kill what’s there, it will naturally just die off and go away and then there’s a bit of a residual effect to it that stays on there. And if you apply that about every two years, you’re not going to ever see any mold or moss or mildew or algae or lichen or anything else grow on that roof shingle.
It’s SprayAndForget.com. OK?
ELLEN: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: Yep. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Give us a call with your home improvement question. We’re right here for you at 888-MONEY-PIT. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. From small repairs to a major remodel, HomeAdvisor is the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project.
TOM: And just ahead, The Home Depot has hooked us up with a beautiful mix-and-match dining set, including a dining table, chairs, patio umbrella and pillows worth over 200 bucks for us to give away to one caller drawn at random. Could you use a beautiful dining set? Well, pick up the phone and give us a call right now. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974. Give us a call. We’d love to answer your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, which is presented by HomeAdvisor. Ready to get that deck you’ve been dreaming of? HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
And if you do pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT, you also may just win a beautiful dining set from The Home Depot. It’s called the Mix-and-Match Dining Set and it comes with a 60-inch glass dining table, stackable sling dining chairs, a Hampton Bay 7½-foot Patio Umbrella and a Hampton Bay Magic Throw Pillow. A couple of those are thrown in. Makes it all worth 223 bucks.
It’s going to go out to one caller drawn at random. Part of the suite of fantastic spring projects available right now at The Home Depot. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ron in California is on the line with some questions about a cathedral ceiling. What can we do for you?
RON: I’ve got a house that has a very high cathedral ceiling. It’s about 35 feet tall. And I’m getting a new roof put on my house. And the ventilation in my attic is pretty bad and the fellow that gave me a quote, he told me that they recommend a ridge-vent shingle system?
RON: My question is: how efficient is this ridge vent in high winds and rain?
TOM: So, first of all, generally speaking, aside from the fact that you have a cathedral ceiling, a ridge vent is a very effective part of an attic-ventilation system. It’s not effective by itself. You have to have soffit vents at the overhang of the roof so you have an intake point where air can get under and into the same cavity, run up underneath the roof sheathing and exit at the ridge. It’s kind of a system, so you can’t just do one without the other.
The problem with a cathedral ceiling is that, generally, you have almost no room to ventilate. If your roof rafter, for example, is a 2×10 and you have 8 inches of insulation in there, you only have, if it’s done perfectly, a 2-inch space between the top of the insulation and the bottom of the roof sheathing.
RON: I don’t think there’s any insulation at all in the living room. There’s only about maybe 8 inches of room.
TOM: Yeah. Well, they may have put something in there but I don’t know that a ridge vent is going to make much of a difference. The best way to insulate a cathedral ceiling is with spray-foam insulation. But in an existing house, you’d have to take off the – either the sheathing from the outside or you’d have to take off the drywall from the inside.
Now, you mentioned that you had a ventilation problem. Is the sheathing on the outside of the roof decayed? Is it sagging? Do you think you’re going to have some structural damage there when you take the shingles off?
RON: No. I just – it gets awfully hot in my attic. In the rest of my house, I’ve got full-blown attics – I mean regular-sized attics – but in my living room, I have this cathedral ceiling.
TOM: How big of a space is that? How big is that particular section of the house?
RON: Well, the living room, it’s about 30×30.
TOM: So, let me make a suggestion to you. This would solve it. And since you’re doing the roof, it’s not terribly more to do it this way, for the roof part of it. It’s going to cost you some money from the insulation. But if it’s 30×30 – you obviously don’t want to touch the ceiling underneath, because that’s a real mess. But what you could do is you could take off the roof sheathing from that 30×30 second – section – pull out the fiberglass insulation and then have a spray-foam company spray-insulate the whole thing.
If you spray it, you will not have to do any ventilation, because spray foam is a non-ventilated type of a product. So you’d have to worry about moisture or heat and 8 inches of foam is – it equates to about twice as much of fiberglass insulation. So you’ll have a well-insulated surface there – a well-insulated ceiling – and you won’t have to worry about the ventilation issue. And since it’s only a 30×30 section, you know, that’s not a lot of extra work when it comes to the roofing side. And whatever the insulation costs I think would be well worth it.
I did it to my house in much that same way. I actually – I had a two-story house with a regular attic, so in the upstairs, where I can get in the attic, we sprayed up under the sheathing. But we had another area that had a very, very shallow attic – only a foot-and-a-half in some places – so we pulled the sheathing out from the outside and sprayed down on top of the sheetrock. It worked great. The room is so much more comfortable after we did that. So I think that’s something you might want to consider, because I don’t think you’re going to accomplish it. Ventilation or not, it’s always going to be an uncomfortable room for those reasons.
RON: Sort of a measured cost per square foot on foam, as far as the spray-in foam?
TOM: Yeah, I can’t give you an estimate but I would say – I would suggest that you look up Icynene – I-c-y-n-e-n-e. They’re the leading spray-foam manufacturer in the country. And that’s the product I used and it worked really, really well. This one particular room I’m talking about, in all the years we’ve lived in this house, it was always a little hotter in the summer and a lot colder in the winter. And right after we did this, literally, the next day, it was for the first time ever the same temperature as the rest of the house. So, I’m pretty impressed with the product.
RON: OK. Well, I really appreciate the information, because I was – now, I can get just a standard roof vent on the rest of the house that has the big attic, so – right?
TOM: Yeah. Ridge vents – like I said, ridge and soffit vents are a great combination for everywhere else. But for that cathedral, I would take the sheathing off and spray-foam it. And I think you’re going to like what happens.
RON: OK. Thank you very much. That’s very helpful. And that was I-c-y-n-e-n-e?
TOM: That’s it. Icynene. Icynene Spray-Foam Insulation. Look it up.
Thanks, Ron. Good luck with that project.
RON: Thank you.
TOM: Well, now that it’s warming up, you may have more opportunities to enjoy the summer evenings outside. But before you head out, you might want to consider whether your outfit will help you avoid mosquitoes or invite them to take a bite. We’ve got tips to prevent that from happening, in today’s Mosquito Prevention Tip, presented by DynaTrap.
LESLIE: That’s right. First, the best way to avoid getting bitten by a mosquito is to avoid the mosquitoes themselves. Now, mosquitoes are going to be most active in the later afternoon, even those early-evening hours. So that’s the time you’ve got to be extra careful. Clothing, that really is a key part of the protection, so wear long sleeves, long pants. And light or khaki colors are best but sporting an outfit in red, black or bright floral is really the best way to sort of invite those mosquitoes toward you. They just love those colors.
TOM: So, boring is best and that fits my style just perfectly.
TOM: How about that? It kind of worked out.
Well, another way to protect yourself is to treat your clothes and gear using permethrin. Now, permethrin is toxic to mosquitoes and treating the clothes is a smart way to keep the bugs at bay.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Mosquito Prevention Tip and that’s been presented by DynaTrap Mosquito and Insect Trap. DynaTrap is another great way to keep your yard mosquito-free all summer long.
Tom and I both have a DynaTrap and it really is fantastic. We were getting so bitten up in our little patio and now, no more.
TOM: And I tell you, where I live in New Jersey, mosquitoes should be the state bird. They’re huge and everywhere and this thing works really, really well. We were able to enjoy many summer evenings outside last year without fear of getting bit.
It’s pretty cool technology, too. It produces CO2 and it uses UV light, which attracts mosquitoes. And it draws them into a screened-in basket, so you can actually see it working every day. It’s completely non-toxic. It can be used both indoors and out. The ½-acre trap sells for 129 and the 1-acre trap retails for 199. It’s available at most hardware stores and major retailers but right now, if you head to DynaTrap.com and use the promo code MONEYPIT, you can also get 15 percent off your purchase. So check it out at DynaTrap.com and use the promo code MONEYPIT.
LESLIE: Sandy in Pennsylvania, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
SANDY: Yes, I was calling to ask about building a garage. My husband and I just bought a home. It’s a two-story Colonial but there’s no garage and we’re trying to decide detached, attached, with or without a breezeway. We know we want it to be oversized but we’re trying to decide which would be the most efficient and convenient choice to go with.
TOM: So, it’s as much an architectural question as it is a structural question, because you’re trying to figure out what’s going to fit best with the property. So that amount – that involves looking at the house itself in terms of its design and also looking at the neighborhood to determine what’s going to fit in well. Because it’s OK to have the nicest house on the block but it’s not OK if it’s that much nicer that the rest of the neighborhood pulls it down in value. Does that make sense?
SANDY: Yes. And I think the rest of the homes are very, very similar except they have garages.
TOM: OK. Well, then that’s a good model for you to follow.
TOM: Now, if you have the breezeway, then obviously you’re going to have more functional space. So I’m not quite sure what we can do to help you with this question, because it’s really a design that you have to kind of agree on with your husband and then set apart building it. When it does get built, it obviously has to be built by a pro, in accordance with all of the local regulations, which are going to probably require that you have a set of architectural plans.
TOM: So, you might just want to start with that because an architect – architects can help you look at the options very easily with the computer programming they use today and give you a chance to look at it from several different angles, both outside and inside, in terms of available storage space and in different configurations.
SANDY: OK. Also, we need to replace the roof on the home, so I was thinking making it an attached or with a breezeway. Kind of makes it a little bit more efficient. As we replace the roof on the home, we’d be putting the roof on the garage, as well.
TOM: OK. Well, it would make sense for you to do the entire roof and have that folded into the same project. And then you could, in fact, fold it into the same financing, too, if you’re financing the project. So, yeah, I’m all for planning those projects to be done together. Because when the roofing team is on site, that’ll be the most cost-effective way to get it all done.
TOM: And have it match.
TOM: You know, we did our roof in the last year and we did everything but the garage. And the garage really didn’t need it but seeing that brand-new, beautiful roof on the house, I just decided that I would ignore the fact that I had a few years of life left on my garage roof. And we did that, as well, which is why we always say that the three most expensive words in home improvement are “might as well.”
SANDY: Right. Right.
TOM: Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, are your kitchen cabinets just a clutter of pots and pans and Tupperware and pretty much every sippy cup and sports bottle that your kids bring home? I mean come on, you know your cabinets are just overflowing so much. You open the doors and things come flying out. Now, a few simple space-savers really can do the trick. We’re going to tell you more about that, after this.
ADAM: Hey, this is Adam Carolla. And when I’m not swinging a hammer, I’m catching up on The Money Pit with Tom and Leslie.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call now on The Money Pit’s listener line at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor.
TOM: And just ahead, Tom Silva of This Old House is going to stop by with some tips on space-savers that can improve your kitchen-cabinet storage. And This Old House on The Money Pit is presented by Proudly Propane. Clean American energy.
But first, let’s get back to your calls at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Carol in Oregon is on the line with some rusty water at her house. What’s going on?
CAROL: My house is about 25 years old. I’ve lived in it for about six. My problem is well water corroding both of my toilets.
And I don’t know – I’ve tried using Clorox. That doesn’t seem to work. I’m wondering if there’s something – some kind of a chemical or something – that I can put inside the tank to keep it from turning black.
TOM: So, have your tried CLR?
CAROL: No. What is that?
TOM: OK. So I would look – take a look at CLR. It’s a product that’s been around for many, many years. A great company and it stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust. It’s specifically designed to clean rust stains from bathroom fixtures.
CAROL: OK. Could you spell that for me?
TOM: Yeah. C-L-R.
CAROL: OK. Got it.
TOM: Stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust. See? I was never a good speller but I got that one, huh?
CAROL: Yeah. You did.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, are your kitchen cabinets a clutter of pots and pans that practically jump out at you when you open the doors? Why not start by organizing your cabinets by installing a few simple space-savers?
TOM: Joining us now with some tips to do just that is Tom Silva, the general contractor on TV’s This Old House and a very organized guy.
TOM SILVA: How are you guys?
TOM: We are great. And we all covet more cabinet space but having a lot of space doesn’t solve your storage problems if you can’t find what you want when you need it. So, where do we begin on straightening out these cabinets?
TOM SILVA: Well, you’re so right about that. I think the first piece of advice I would say is pare down your kitchen possessions. And if you haven’t used something in a couple of years, maybe you don’t need it, you know what I mean?
TOM: So I really don’t need four colanders.
TOM SILVA: Yeah. Get organized. That’s what it’s about, right?
It’s always a helpful exercise to pull everything out of your cabinets, see what you have and then you can organize it and get rid of what you don’t want.
LESLIE: So, Tommy, what are some clever items that you can actually just pick up and insert into those cabinets themselves, to make them more functional?
TOM SILVA: Well, think of the storage inside your cabinet. Don’t think of it as shelf space; think of it more of cubic space, the space that’s wasted. So, they have these small Lazy Susans that you can put in the shelves and you can spin them around so it’s easier to get to the jars and the cans. And then they also have these hooks for – that you can put on the underside of the shelf, so now you can hang some cups on that. So that’s space that would be otherwise wasted.
You can install all kinds of racks that will hold pots and lids and spices and cans, goods. And a lot of these racks go inside the cabinet doors.
TOM: And then don’t we have a lot of pull-down and pull-out options? Some of those cabinet-shelving devices are pretty sophisticated.
TOM SILVA: They are really sophisticated. You can get all kinds of stuff for pull-out. You can take your shelf that’s on the cabinet – the lower cabinet – that are hard to get to, put a drawer in there that will pull out and you get – really see what you have.
TOM: We’ve even seen pull-out shelves that essentially empty the entire wall cabinet, like right down – bring it right down almost countertop height.
TOM SILVA: Oh, right. I actually installed one in my kitchen, over my stove. My wife had a hard time reaching up to that high. You open the door, there’s a little lever right there, you pull it, it swings out and the – all of the shelving comes right down to her height.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. You know, Rev-A-Shelf is the leading manufacturer of that type of insert, which really brings the contents down. And if you head over to their website, they have a ton of different inserts that are available. And even if you’re in the process of redesigning your kitchen, getting new cabinets, talk to your kitchen designer and say, “These are my concerns,” and you’d be surprised what options are available to you.
TOM SILVA: Oh, yeah. There’s practically an organizer for just about anything that you want.
TOM: Now, Tom, some cabinet designs have hidden areas that can be tapped for storage like, for example, the big, dead corner in a base cabinet. Are there any tips for tapping into that space?
TOM SILVA: Yeah, like to the right of the sink, for example, or right beside the refrigerator?
TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
TOM SILVA: Well, there’s all kinds of Lazy Susans. There’s a Lazy Susan that’s just a circle; like it has a piece of pie cut out of it, where the door swings around. There’s types of Lazy Susans where you open the door and that whole circle spins around. They even have them now, that they’re 90 degrees; it pulls out, there’s a basket that comes out, around and over so you can really get to every inch of that cabinet.
TOM: So there’s really no reason not to be able to use every cubic inch of space that you have inside of that cabinet.
TOM SILVA: No reason at all.
TOM: Great advice. Tom Silva from TV’s This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
TOM SILVA: It is my pleasure.
TOM: For more tips, you can visit ThisOldHouse.com.
LESLIE: And you can watch Tommy and the entire This Old House team on This Old House and Ask This Old House on your local PBS station.
TOM: And This Old House on The Money Pit is brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.
Hey, we’d love to talk with you about your home improvement project, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. But we’d also like to improve the quality of water you’ll be drinking all summer long. And thanks to The Home Depot, we’ve got a Brita 10-Cup Filtered Water Pitcher and pitcher replacement filters going out to one lucky listener drawn at random. But as the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. So give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
We’ll be back with more of your calls, after this.
TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away a Brita 10-Cup Filtered Water Pitcher and pitcher replacement filter.
Now, I’ve got one of these. It really makes life super easy. I just fill it up and we have beautiful, filtered water coming right out of the pitcher, cold from the fridge, every single time we want it. And our pitcher has a little indicator on top that lets you know when the filter is in need of being replaced, so that really takes the guesswork out of everything.
It’s BPA-free, easy-fill locking lid, comfort-grip handle. It’s available at The Home Depot or at HomeDepot.com. And it’s a prize worth $50.94.
TOM: Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, you know those washers and dryers that you’ve seen or used in commercial establishments, like Laundromats or hotels or universities? Chances are they were Speed Queen. And if so, chances are they’re still in operation today.
LESLIE: Now, Speed Queen washers and dryers are available for home use. And we’re so pleased to welcome the man who leads the team in Ripon, Wisconsin who makes that happen every day. He’s Mike Schoeb, the CEO of Speed Queen.
MIKE: Hey. Thank you for having me.
TOM: Speed Queen is a name that I’ve pretty much known my whole life. I mean when I was young, my mom used to do her laundry at the Laundromat. And I remember that it was always full of Speed Queen machines. And of course, back then, as a kid, you wonder, “What the heck does that mean?” But over the years, you’ve come to respect the fact that what it means is durability and longevity and a machine that really delivers time and time again.
So now these machines are available for home. Do they differ from the commercial machines?
MIKE: Actually, that’s a great question. It’s a question I get often. And the reality is I think we’re about the only company out there that really makes no differentiation between what we put out under these really rugged, demanding, commercial applications. The only difference, really, is that most of the commercial product, depending on application, has a coin box or other type of method to accept payment systems. But otherwise, look, they’re identical. So it’s the exact same rugged durability that you would get and that our commercial customers absolutely demand.
LESLIE: And it’s so amazing, especially as a parent. You’re doing so much laundry that a huge washer/dryer that functions really well and is super durable and is going to last a long time will stand up to the amount of time and the amount of laundry I’m doing weekly.
Now, I guess you guys really figured this out, Mike, by doing some rigorous testing. Is that true?
MIKE: It’s an interesting story. My predecessor, who was the CEO of the company, he actually worked for a company called Raytheon. And he used to manage part of their Patriot missile-defense systems. And he used to always talk about, hey, when you really need something to go boom and you need to go boom consistently, the testing around that, because lives are at stake, is really, really rigorous. We have adopted and have had that for many, many years. So we do the same type of testing and actually have the world’s largest laboratory.
And I think that’s the one thing, very consistently – when customers come on the commercial side to visit our factory, what they always comment on is – “Oh, my God, we didn’t realize you did all this reliability testing.” And again, we will put up hundreds of thousands of hours and we know exactly what’s going to fail, when it’ll fail. And if in any way we have a weakness, it comes really out in those test laboratories.
TOM: You have an interesting statistic and that is that you run these machines through 10,400 cycles of laundry, which is the equivalent of 25 years of use in a normal house with doing about eight loads a week. That’s a pretty fair test. I’m sure we’re running 8 loads a week at my house with my family.
Leslie, I’m sure you’re doing the same.
TOM: And 25 years means you’re only going to need one machine, pretty much, for all the years you have those kids at home contributing to that laundry load.
MIKE: Yeah, that’s right. Actually, I think the government standards came down, I think, to six loads a week if I remember correctly. That puts us up almost at 38 years, so – for a consumer application.
LESLIE: I mean all that testing must really give you the confidence to put forward a warranty that’s five times longer than the industry average. And it includes all parts and in-home labor. That’s unheard of.
MIKE: It is unheard of, actually. And again, we’re very confident. We’re very comfortable, particularly the fact that it includes labor. It’s really not the parts. Parts are easy. Parts are relatively inexpensive. But the labor component, if you are not comfortable in that design of your product, it just – it doesn’t make sense. So you can only do it when you have, again, that extreme confidence that we get from that extreme testing that we put our products and designs through.
TOM: We’re talking to Mike Schoeb. He’s the CEO of Speed Queen, made right here in America in Ripon, Wisconsin.
Mike, the part of the appliance – and really, many appliances; I don’t care if it’s a small mixer or if it’s a vehicle – but the part of the machine that seems to fail is always the electronics, right? We think of washers and dryers with the belts and the pulleys and the bearings. But the electronics are really key to making sure it continues to perform and continues to function. How do you guys sort of get the 25 years of life that you expect out of the electronics?
MIKE: The easy answer to that is that most of our [competitors said] (ph) – again, they optimize their designs and they’re really good designs. But they’re optimized more for cost. Ours, again, are designed for life because that is what the commercial customer absolutely demands. And they will not put up with anything that doesn’t have that.
But essentially, around the electronic controls, as an example, most consumer units are tested at about 100,000 cycles. Our units are tested to a million cycles. So that means a million times you’re pushing that button and it’s got to work through that very steadily and very consistently. So, again, for us, it’s part of who we are, it’s part of our DNA, so we’re comfortable with it.
LESLIE: You know, Mike, I think it’s so amazing that you’ve got such dedication to the area of Wisconsin, particularly Ripon. Now, you’re planning on expanding Speed Queen?
MIKE: We’re actually on our third expansion in the last five years. Every time we think we’ve made the investment that’ll last us for 10, 12 years or so, we continue to be surprised by the demand. So, again, it is actually our third and largest expansion that we’ve had in the company history.
TOM: Mike Schoeb, the CEO of Speed Queen. Folks, this may be the last washer and dryer you ever have to buy. It’s just made so incredibly well.
Mike, congratulations to you and the entire team there in Ripon, Wisconsin. Keep up the good work.
MIKE: Yeah. Thank you very much and appreciate it.
TOM: Up next, water quality is top of mind right now and Home Depot is a great place to pick up whatever water-quality solution you might need. So this hour, we are giving away one of those solutions. Give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question and we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat and perhaps send out that product to you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Thanks, Mike.
Up next, would you spend $500 to add as much as 5,000 to your home’s value? Of course you would. We’re going to tell you how, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. We’d love to talk with you about your next home improvement project. And 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Are you ready to get that deck you’ve been dreaming of? HomeAdvisor will instantly match you with the right pro for the job, for free.
LESLIE: And if you’re planning on selling your home anytime soon, curb appeal has always been one of the most important things to consider. And even though we call this “curb appeal,” keep in mind that since most buyers do their initial shopping online, making sure your home looks good in a street-side picture is really super important.
TOM: Absolutely. And here’s an interesting fact about just that. Research shows that spending just $500 on your lawn and plants and flowers can add as much as $5,000 to the sale price. I like that return on investment.
LESLIE: Alright, guys. While you’re online, you can post a question in the Community section. We always love to help out those who post. And Danielle in New Jersey wrote: “I finished my wood kitchen table years ago and had no problems with it. Then I scratched it. So I sanded it and put on about four coats of an oil-based polyurethane, allowing a day of drying in between each coat. Now, it sticks if anything warm sits on it: coffee cups, plates, everything. How can I fix it?”
TOM: Unfortunately, when this happens, you’ve got to go back to the beginning and sand that finish off right down to the original wood. Now, for whatever reason, your new and old finishes are not getting along. You probably didn’t wait long enough between coats.
And even though the instructions can sometimes say that polyurethane dries in as little as a few hours, my experience has been that it takes weeks sometimes to get really, really hard. So there’s a good chance that the coats underneath that top layer are not fully cured just yet. So, best thing to do at this point is to strip it all down and start again. And drop us a line and let us know how it goes.
LESLIE: Yeah. And leave a lot of drying time on this one.
Alright. Next up, Sean in Texas writes: “We’re building a new house. The first floor has a concrete slab, which we stained and sealed. Can we put wooden baseboards, which are primed and painted, directly on the finished concrete?”
TOM: I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t do that. I mean it’s done every day for homes that are slab homes that don’t have basements or crawlspaces. You know, as long as your home is properly graded so you avoid moisture collecting around its foundation, the most common way that baseboards become water-damaged is in a situation like that when water kind of gets drawn up and sort of sucked into that concrete slab. But if you just take some basic precautions, you should be fine.
LESLIE: Alright. Now, we’ve got a question here from Sarah, who posted in our Community section. She writes: “I use a weatherproof satin paint on my porch every year. The product says you only need to redo every three to five years but yet it comes off every year. Why is this?”
TOM: So they sell more paint, of course.
When you get into a situation where the paint is coming off that frequently, it’s just not sticking. Generally, what happens is you’ve got, obviously, many layers of paint. And somewhere deep in those layers, you are basically losing adhesion. That paint might be peeling off from the layer you just put down or it could be pulling some of the older layers with it.
When you get to a situation where you have it happening so often as every year, it’s really time to stop kind of throwing, as the saying goes, good money after bad and just strip it down to the original wood. Because you’ve got to get rid of all that old paint now. And then, once it’s all the way down there, then you can add a primer: a proper primer, a good oil-based primer. Since it’s a porch, I would do that. And then you could put a couple of coats of porch paint on top of that. But I would stop just putting satin paint on top of what you’ve got because, obviously, it’s not working and that’s why.
You’ve been listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Thank you so much for stopping by this hour. Hey, if you’ve got questions, you can reach us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Or please post your question to The Money Pit Community section, online, at MoneyPit.com.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
(Copyright 2017 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.)