- Safer Cleaning Solutions: Avoid spring cleaning chemical hazards by using healthier and safer cleaning products.
- Selling Your Home: Web appeal has become the new curb appeal when listing your home online, so use photos that home buyers want to see.
- Planting Flowers: Don’t have the patience for seeds to sprout? Add instant color to your garden with the right live flowering plants.
Plus, answers to your home improvement questions about:
- HVAC Cleaning: Mike got some questionable suggestions for cleaning his HVAC vents. All he needs are good, efficient filters and a DIY coil cleaner.
- Fuse Box: Heidi wanted her electrical system upgraded but it wasn’t done right. Another electrician should finish the job and move the electrical panel indoors.
- Water Leak Detector: Is installing a water leak detector in a vacation home worth it? It can definitely prevent damage and Jay should look for a model that works with a well water system.
- Cleaning Wood Floors: Should you steam clean hardwood flooring? We advise Judy to use caution and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Roof Repair: The home seller made fraudulent claims about the condition of Patrick’s roof and should be held liable for replacing it.
- Carpenter Bees: An exterminator did nothing to prevent carpenter bees from returning to Louise’s back deck. We suggest looking for a new professional that offers better treatment and a reasonable guarantee.
- LED Lighting: Darrell can’t figure out why his new LED lights are causing static on his radio speakers. We’re puzzled, too, but we’ll try to find a solution.
- Chimney Leak: How in the world could cardboard and duct tape stop an unused chimney from leaking? They can’t! Kristine must either remove the chimney and patch the roof or install proper flashing.
- Concrete Floor: Craig is enclosing an exterior porch and wants to add flooring, but should first use a patching compound to repair the cracked areas of the concrete.
- Well Water: Does Susan need a water softener or a carbon filter for her well water? She must get the water tested to find out what kind of treatment to use.
|TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles. This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
|TOM: What are you working on this beautiful spring weekend? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because that’s what we do. And in particular, we are here to help you take on projects that you want to get done around your house. So you need help solving a DIY dilemma. Do you have a decor challenge? Do you have a project you’d like to get done but you just don’t know where to start? We’ll start right here. A couple of ways to get in touch with us. First up, you can go to Moneypit.com/ask. Click the blue microphone button and send us your question. You can also call us, though, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT and we’ll call you back the next time we’re in the studio. We’ve got a great show lined up for today, starting with the topic of Clean Homes. Everybody wants one. But did you know that some spring cleaning products can actually be hazardous to your health? So we’ve got tips on what to look for to make sure your clean house doesn’t come at a cost to your health.
|LESLIE: And with a whopping 92% of today’s homebuyers using the Internet in their search process, adding attractive photos to your online listing is one of the most important things that you can do to help sell your home. So we’re going to share some tips for a picture perfect listing.
|TOM: And can’t wait for all those spring flowers to bloom. Well, we can help with tips on how to get a color filled garden going immediately, no matter where you live.
|LESLIE: But first, are you dreaming about a project that you’d like to tackle this spring? Well, if you can dream it, you can do it and we can help. So give us a call. Let us know what you are planning on working on this weekend and then the weekends coming up this wonderful spring and summer season so we can help you tackle all of those projects with confidence.
|TOM: That number again is 1-888-MONEY-PIT or post your questions at Moneypit.com/ask, just click the blue Microphone button. Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first.
|LESLIE: Headed down to Florida where we’ve got Mike on the line, who’s got an AC issue. What’s going on? You definitely need the AC down there. How can we help?
|CALLER: Hey. Yeah, thank you. I appreciate that. We just moved down here. My wife and I retired, moved to Florida six months ago, and we had an air conditioning. Folks come out and do an inspection, and they said because of the age of the system, they weren’t able to use any kind of a brush or machine to get it cleaned.
|TOM: Out, to clean out dust.
|CALLER: Out of the AC vents. Okay. And he said it would just create so many holes in it that it would be impossible. Plus, it’s a cathedral ceiling. Okay, we’re going to get up in there. And his suggestion, he cut open the plant box and he showed me some pictures, some look like mold issues. And his suggestion was to put in a UV light. Have you heard of much success with the UV lights?
|TOM: I tell you what it sounds like. It sounds to me like you got an air conditioning guy trying to sell you some upgrades here. First of all, I don’t believe in duct cleaning, especially with flex stocks. I don’t think it’s necessary. I think any dust that’s floating around in there can easily be trapped with the right kind of filter. So if you have an efficient filter, you’re going to trap all that dust in terms of the UV light. Yes. The idea is that as the air blows across the air, it’s lighted. The light will kill any spores that are in there. But in my experience, those lights has to be pretty intense to do the job that a lot of folks think that they’re doing. So I’m not so sure that that’s a great idea. And in terms of that coil, there’s a very simple product called Coil cleaner. And if you take the platinum part and you blast that coil with the coil cleaner, all of that stuff will loosen up and can be sucked right off with a vacuum or brushed away. So to me, it sounds a lot like he’s trying to upsell you on some improvements to the system where I don’t necessarily think, based on what I’m hearing here, that’s necessary.
|CALLER: All right. That makes sense. And yeah, it definitely is trying to do an upsell. So, yeah, appreciate that.
|TOM: And by the way, what that does have to do with your DUCs being dusty or not that’s not what has nothing to do with the other. These guys come out of, well, you an old system so we can do this, that or the other thing to it. It’s like just because it’s old doesn’t mean to do anything to it. It’s working right. Just keep it clean, use a good filter and enjoy life. Okay.
|CALLER: We’ll do that. Thanks.
|TOM: All right, Mike, good luck with that project or good luck. Now that we told you don’t have a project.
|CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much.
|LESLIE: Heidi in North Carolina is on the line with an electrical problem. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Well, I have a kind of a two part question. I have an older home. It’s about 68 years old. We paid an electrician to come in when we converted over to a heat pump from an old furnace to up our service. And we have an old few. These box that are the screw in type FUZES and when he put the system in the new electrical box, he was supposed to convert everything over into the new electrical box. And he left the little electrical box, the little fuse box in my kitchen. And unfortunately, he put the new electrical box on the outside of my house. That would be okay, except I’m a single woman. And I don’t safety reasons. I don’t think it’s really smart considering I have a full sized basement. It could have easily been flooded. So do I need to? I mean, I would never call this guy again for lots of reasons, but do I need to pay somebody else to come in and convert that last part of my home into this other fuse box? Or these little features are hard to find. And when they blow.
|TOM: So it’s definitely an act of panel, right? The fuse panel.
|CALLER: Oh, it’s active. Yes. Okay.
|TOM: So that’s called a sub panel. And that’s going to be a sub panel from the main panel. You said the main panel is now in the basement of the main panels. Outside.
|CALLER: It’s outside. We have a full basement. And why did he put it outside? I have no clue. But he put the main panel.
|TOM: Yeah, that makes no sense because the only time you usually see full panels outside is maybe a condominium situation and then they’re in utility closets. So I can’t imagine why that was done that way. It doesn’t make sense. It sounds to me like you do need a better electrician to come in and take care of this if it makes you feel any better. The fact that you have a fuse box does not mean that it’s unsafe fuses are actually quite safe if it’s the right size fuse matched against the wire that’s hooked up to that circuit. And so to know if that’s the case, somebody has to open the panel and say, okay, this is number 14 wire. So it’s a 15 hour fuse and this is number 12 wire, so it’s a 20 hour fuse and so on. And physically, right, that like right above the fuse on the panel. So you know what size to put in there because it’s too easy with the fuse box to put in a 20 hour fuse on a wire that’s only rated for 15 amps, then of course that’s potentially unsafe. So it does sound like you need another electricians. Obviously not a do it yourself project. And unless there’s some compelling code reason in your part of the country to put that outside, I don’t understand why they would have done that. And you could you could consider rerunning it back to the inside. And fortunately, that’s kind of where we’re at. It’s not an easy fix. It’s one that’s going to require the investment of a good an electrician.
|CALLER: All right. Well, thank you very much.
|TOM: You’re welcome, Heidi. Thank you for calling us at 88 Money Pit.
|LESLIE: All right. Now we’ve got Jay, who’s looking for a way to protect the plumbing system at his vacation home. What’s going on?
|CALLER: My wife and I just bought a house in the Catskills. Since we’re not there full time and I’m a bit of a worrier, I’ve been researching different types of monitoring tools. For example, we don’t have a generator, so I was quite concerned with the possibility of frozen pipes during power outages to protect against potential water damage from leaks. I have been looking into water monitors, some with automatic or remote Wi-Fi-enabled shut offs. I should mention that I have a well.
|TOM: Pump and no water.
|CALLER: Meter because I know some of these products.
|TOM: Work through a water meter. So those automatic water shut off valves have been around for a long time. And of course, as equipment got smarter, it became Wi-Fi enabled and had apps. It became even easier to use them. I’ll tell you, it’s the kind of thing that sits dormant you hope it never has to fire. But when it does, it can definitely prevent thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Now, you make a good point in that when you when you search for this, you need to make sure that it is capable of working with a wells system, because you’re correct that not all of them are one of the models that will work with the well, it’s called flow logic. They’ve been around a long time and it is a smart valve that will work with a wells system. And it’s an important thing to check because not all of them do. And once you install that, you should really have very little to worry about. Now, I also want to comment on your caller. I also want to add to your point about generators. You ought to take a look at having emergency backup generators. If you have natural gas or propane, a backup generator would solve a lot of your concerns about what happens to a house when the power goes out. And the prices on these have come down. They are much more efficient. They work great. I have had one for like 20 years, actually. I’ve had two at one and then I had another one that actually was bigger and did more. And I’m just absolutely hooked. I wouldn’t want to have a house without them. And I’m living here. But I’ll tell you what, if I had a vacation, house would be one of the first things I put in. So good luck with that property and hope these tips helped you out.
|LESLIE: Next up, we’ve got Judy on the line. Who needs some help with a wooden floor? What can we do for you?
|CALLER: We are purchasing a house which is under construction, and we chose hardwood floors. It is my understanding that these will be glued down type, not floated. I would like to know especially what’s the best way to care for them, especially in the kitchen. And I had heard of people using steam to clean them. And that’s something that is new to me. Can you enlighten me?
|TOM: The only type of glued down floor that I’m aware of is a parquet floor. Now, if that’s not the case, I would like to know what product exactly they’re putting down. I will say that most likely, most of these hardwood floors today are pre finished. They’re pre finished. My quick answer is you follow the manufacturers recommendations for maintenance, whether you steam or not, those steam mops. I have some concerns about them because they do get so hot that if they are held in one place for too long they could cause the wood to swell. But. But maybe if they’re used carefully and without on the highest level of steam, they probably are okay for hardwood floor maintenance and cleaning.
|CALLER: All right. Well, thank you very much.
|LESLIE: Well, when it comes to keeping your home clean, there are plenty of options out there. But not all cleaning products are created equal and some might be more harmful to you and the environment than others out there. So, for example, you might have seen more marketing for nontoxic or earth friendly or hypoallergenic cleaning products lately, but you’ve got to keep in mind that these terms aren’t officially defined. So it’s important to read labels carefully and be aware of the ingredients that are listed.
|TOM: Now for healthier and less hazardous options. You can DIY your cleaning solutions. For example, you could use simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar and lemon that could be a convenient and affordable and effective way to do lots of cleaning projects. Just be sure to check before mixing with any other ingredients that may cause a harmful reaction. Now, if you’re looking for some great natural recipes to try, we have a complete list of ten DIY kit safe cleaners.
|TOM: On Monday, Pittcon tells you everything you need to mix up your own.
|LESLIE: Yeah, And no matter what cleaning products you’re using. Safety is key. You can make sure you keep them away from your kids and the pets. You want to read those labels carefully. You need to wear protective gear and make sure you ventilate the area while you’re cleaning. And remember, simple soap and water can actually do the trick for a lot of your cleaning needs.
|TOM: Yep. And when you’re finished cleaning or you need to get rid of the old products, make sure you dispose of them properly. This will keep us all green for many years ahead.
|LESLIE: Patrick in Iowa is on the line with a roofing question. How can we help you today?
|CALLER: Okay. I bought a home. There was a for sale by owner. The roof was put on about four or five years ago and into the disclosure he mentioned there was nothing wrong with the roof. But since moving in now being in Iowa, we get severe weather. And I understand a couple of shingles might rip off during a windstorm or something like that. But it’s literally it’s daily shingles are coming off. So I patched some of the shingles, but it is it’s every time we get a wind, shingles are just blowing off. And so I asked him, can I have the name of the company that did the roof? Right? And so I got the name and phone number and I talked to the workers that did it, and they said, we’ve been out there every single year, year after year. We told him it’s no longer covered. He has to pay for it himself. And he’s been they ask, didn’t he mention that in the disclosure? And I looked through the disclosure. And of course, there’s nothing in the disclosures that mentions anything about it.
|TOM: Yeah. Wow. So you have a pretty strong case of fraud.
|CALLER: Well, and, of course, I don’t want to go down a road that it’s going to take months and months and months or years. But it is it’s just one of those cases that if it’s not in the disclosure, but then I can prove that it is. I mean, is there any recourse whatsoever?
|TOM: Well, yeah. I mean, the recourse is to hold them legally responsible for the cost of replacing the roof. And this is really more of a question for an attorney than for homeowners. But experts like ourselves. But I was a professional home inspector for many years. I’ve seen these situations before. And if you have a seller that outright misrepresents the condition of part of the property on the disclosure, then they should be held liable for that in some cases. Can be held liable for for multiples of what the actual damage is, which in this case is essentially going to be the cost of a new roof.
|CALLER: And it’s not just that. I mean, if I was told that I could have just budgeted for.
|TOM: Right. You could have headed it off. Exactly. But it’s some people just want to make sure and they just want to misrepresent their home and try to hide all the problems. And that’s why you have professional home inspectors out there, which, by the way, did you get a home inspection done, Patrick?
|CALLER: Yes, there is a mortgage on it. And of course, the mortgage company did their inspections.
|TOM: Well, no, no. Besides the mortgage company, did you have your own independent professional home inspection done?
|CALLER: I did not.
|TOM: Yeah. So that probably was a mistake because home inspectors work for you, not for the mortgage company. And a good quality home inspector, for example, one that’s a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors, would have spent 2 to 3 hours going over that house and probably would have seen all of the repaired shingles, because that’s something that’s actually fairly obvious to see. So unfortunately, you can’t focus on the past, but you should try to hold this seller responsible and maybe you could take them to small claims court. I don’t know. Again, question for a lawyer, but it sounds like you’re going to need a new roof. Well, I know that it’s a metal roof that’s going to be going on, so.
|TOM: Okay. All right. Well, good luck. Sorry that happened to you, Patrick. Good luck with the project, though. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
|LESLIE: Louise in Delaware is on the line with some carpenter bees visiting her home. Tell us what’s going on.
|CALLER: I have a deck in my back door and I have a roof. It doesn’t extend all the way out to the end of the deck, just about halfway. And I’ve been having for several years a major problem with carpenter bees. they actually make perfectly round holes in the roof of the deck. And I had an exterminator a couple of years ago, and he said he would spray.
|LESLIE: It, but no guarantees.
|CALLER: And he sprayed it and maybe for about five days I didn’t see them, but they came right back. But someone told me, get steel wool and put steel wool in the holes because they can’t get out.
|TOM: There’s a do it yourself methods and there’s the professional methods. I’m troubled by the fact that you hired an exterminator. Sounds like was some time ago and it wouldn’t guarantee a result. That’s not acceptable. Most professional exterminators have the tools, the knowledge and the pesticides to effectively eliminate carpenter bees with a reasonable guarantee of success. So if you have such a serious problem as this, I would definitely suggest that you go find yourself a new exterminator, maybe from a national brand company like Orkin. You’d have better success with that. Now, if you want to do this yourself the reason that the bees form those holes is because they’re nesting and so the way they’re treated is you spray pesticide inside those holes. You can also spray something that’s petroleum based inside the holes because they don’t like that. There’s lots of ways you could try this yourself, but given the severity of the problem, I would suggest you find a good exterminator that can treat it with the right type of pesticide and not have to worry about it. So, Leslie, I was doing some seeding this past weekend because we had some areas that were a little bit right handed patched. So when I see they usually put straw over top fire because it keeps that area like damp. So the seeds will come up and I needed to get some new straw because I didn’t have any. So I went on the website for Tractor Supply, which is right near me. And it amazes me that there are reviews on everything, including bales of straw. And as I’m reading the bales of straw, people are commenting on how they use it. Well, a person says, I used it for my rabbit cage. I used it as a bed for my goats. Somebody else said, I use this for my brother in law thinking, did he think it was a comfortable.
|LESLIE: What did they use it for?
|TOM: I also got it for my brother. What did he like? It Is this his meal? I don’t know. Many people will write reviews on everything, including like a $10 bale of straw.
|LESLIE: That is funny. Darryl in New Jersey is calling with a lighting slash electrical issue or perhaps a poltergeist. What’s going on in your house?
|CALLER: Hi. I’ve purchased some LED lights from my home to be energy conscious, and I put I put them in my kitchen in the high hat. There’s about 12 of them in the kitchen and show and they work great and on a dimmer and great that it’s great that they could shelter energy and you don’t have to replace them for like 20 something years. But I also have a Bose radio in the kitchen. And right after I put them in, I noticed that the majority of the radio stations are complete static. And when I turn the lights off, the radio works fine. So. So I called up the light bulb company and they said, well, it’s probably your dimmer. And they recommended certain dimmers that work with the lights, went out and purchased that dimmer and same problem. So I called the bulb manufacturer again and while I am on the phone, I let them hear the radio with the lights off and then turned the lights out and they heard the static. They said they would get back to me and I never heard from again. I did some research on the internet and found out that I’m not the only one that has this problem. But I haven’t found a solution. So I went out and bought another set of light bulbs, different brand, and put those in in other rooms in the house where I don’t have radios and a new brand that I got the same problem. So I’m sort of wrestling with what to do here. And I thought I’d give you a call if you had some ideas.
|TOM: Have you considered using CDs? Gee, I’d never heard of that. And apparently the bulb manufacturer didn’t either. Well, who was the manufacturer? FDIC Not familiar with them.
|CALLER: Yeah, they’re pretty popular. I bought the bulbs in Costco, but so I could return the bulbs. But I’m pleased with them and they save energy. And like I said, I tried others and same problem. And when I when I did the research, I the and I said I’m not the only one, but haven’t found anyone that has a solution.
|TOM: In fact, I just did this very same project. I replaced all of the light bulbs in my high hats with a product that was called TCP, and they were like these one piece inserts that basically you screw them into the socket, into the high hat and it’s an LED and it’s a very flat and flush look and very clean and dimmable.
|TOM: So it’s a nice project to do. I’m afraid that I don’t have a solution for you on this, but I would love if you would post this question in our community section. Darryl, including all the details on the manufacturers that you’ve had this problem with, because we’ve got some relationships that we can tap into and see if we can identify what’s going on, both with the bulb manufacturers and with the dimmer manufacturers to find out if this has been an issue before and why it could possibly be happening. I think it’s a really interesting question and interesting problem, and I’d love to dig deeper into it on your behalf.
|CALLER: Great. Well, that’s good to know.
|TOM: All right. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 88 Money Pit. Well 92% of today’s homebuyers are using the Internet to find a new home. So that means Web appeal is really the new curvy. It’s not what the house looks like when you drive by. It’s what it looks like online. So adding attractive photos to your listing is one of the most important things you can do to help sell your home.
|LESLIE: Now, here are some things that you should keep in mind. So first of all, your front door is the main focal point for curb appeal. So you’ve got to make sure that it sparkles with welcome. Now you can repaint or refinish the surface. You can polish the hardware and then touch up any surrounding trim. You can also update your front door by installing a new handle and locks at a stylish address plate or new house numbers. That’s really lovely to add. And you can even bring in a brand new mailbox. Then you can frame the new look with containers featuring bright seasonal blooms. That’s really going to make that whole front entry just stand out.
|TOM: Now, you can also give your home’s exterior a good scrub with a power washer to remove any cobwebs and dirt. Make sure you clean the windows inside and out. And here’s a trick. Remove the screens. Why would you do that? Because it shows off the windows end with a lot more light flow into the home, which makes the whole place look really fantastic.
|LESLIE: Now, speaking of lighting, you could illuminate the approach to your home with easy to install path lighting, and if your porch lighting looks tired, replace those fixtures with modern classics bright enough to enhance safety, but also highlight the facades features.
|TOM: Landscaping is actually one of the easiest ways for homeowners to quickly increase a home’s value with very little cost. So make sure the lawn is freshly mowed for those pictures and make sure you trim trees and shrubs that might overhanging the house, hiding it from view. And if you take care of these few simple projects, your home will be ready for its close up.
|TOM: Your pictures will look fantastic and hopefully you’ll nail a quick sale.
|LESLIE: Christine in Washington is on the line with a leaky chimney. Tell us what’s going on at your Money Pit.
|CALLER: I have a chimney. That’s for a good boy. Oh, let’s joke and the former owners put duct taped cardboard in the opening and it leaks when I have heavy rain and wind.
|TOM: I bet it does.
|CALLER: Yeah. How do I close off the opening so it doesn’t leak?
|TOM: So first of all, we’re talking about a woodstove chimney that’s been sealed up with cardboard and duct tape. Does anyone think there’s something wrong with this picture? I mean, just maybe, right?
|TOM: So, are we still using the wood stove, Christine?
|CALLER: No, it’s empty. And I put a table and lamp under it.
|TOM: So you’re not using the wood stove at all? You don’t want to use it. Want to just take it out.
|CALLER: There’s no wood stove there. It’s just an empty space. That’s why I put it.
|TOM: Okay, So. So the chimney is left over from the wood stove?
|TOM: Then take the chimney out.
|CALLER: Oh, really?
|TOM: The chimney is a hole in your roof. If you’re not using it for the wood stove, then you don’t need it. Right? There’s nothing else that uses the same chimneys and a metal pipe.
|CALLER: Yeah, but inside the house, it’s part of the design of the living room. It looks like a space for a fireplace. So that’s why it’s all bricked in. And that’s why I put a table and share in it and made it sort of decorative.
|TOM: Right. But if you’re never going to use it, I don’t really care what it looks like inside your house. I care about the penetration where it goes through the roof because that’s where the leak is. And your options are either the properly flash, the chimney, whatever that takes, which is not going to include duct tape and cardboard, by the way. But to have it professionally flashed so that it seals the intersection between the roofing shingle and the chimney or vent pipe. But if you’re not using it, just remove it. You’re taking that headache away. You can patch the roof and you’ll never have to worry about leaks in that area again.
|CALLER: Thank you very much.
|LESLIE: Craig in Pennsylvania is on the line with a flooring question. How can I help you today?
|CALLER: I had an exterior concrete porch and I enclosed it and I’m trying to make it part of the house now. But for itself, it it’s concrete. It’s all cracked and it’s breaking up. Is there some easy way, some way I can move it out or do something with it to make it look like an interior room now? Can you just part of the house?
|TOM: Absolutely. First of all, if the service is deteriorated, you’re going to have to use a patching compound on it. And I would recommend the premix quick create concrete patch compound. It comes in a tub and you simply apply it to the surface. You can fill in all of those areas that are deteriorated. You can feel it fill over the cracks. And the reason using a patch on compound, because it’s designed specifically to stick to the concrete. If you use regular concrete, you’re going to have a problem with that because it won’t stick. It’ll just split off again. All right. But if you use a concrete patch and compound, it will adhere.
|CALLER: Thank you very much. Appreciate your help.
|TOM: All right. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Well, it’s spring and time to plant the seeds that will become the beautiful blooms of summer. But if you’re eager to get things going instantly, there is a solution.
|LESLIE: Yeah. You know, nothing says Spring like colorful flowering plants in your yard. Now, if you can’t wait for those seeds to sprout, you can plant live blooms for an instant pop of color. Now the key is selecting the right type of flowers for your region. And this is actually a pretty specific science. Now, the country is divided into 11 different plant hardiness zones, and you can find out what your zone is and then choose plants that are compatible with it. You find your zone on the U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone map, Amazon five, whatever that means. And that’s what I pick for when I go to the market.
|TOM: Now prepping your soil for the flowers is also pretty important. You want to have healthy soil and the correct level for the types of flowers that you’re planting. The way you figure that out is by testing your soil with a kit, and then you add organic matter as necessary. You can add peat moss, sawdust, sand manure, ground bark or homemade compost. We’ve been collecting our compost for the first time. It took me a little bit to get used to it, but now we have a bean on the counter and I remember to put my eggshells in there and my veggie peels and stuff like that. So we just got the garden ready a couple of weeks ago and it was fun to be able to dump all that stuff back into the garden and recycle it.
|LESLIE: Now it’s all about creating a routine time. Now that you’re into it, you’re going to be doing it all the time. You also want to make sure that you’re watering everything that you’ve planted as directed. You want to keep your soil moist and those flowers healthy. This way you have a nice, beautiful garden all spring and summer season.
|LESLIE: Susan in Texas is on the line with a water question. What’s going.
|CALLER: On? My daughter has a country home she just purchased and there’s a 900 foot deep water well on it. And she wanted to know, did she need to use a water softener or a filter for the drinking water? And also, how much electricity would that use that water? Well.
|TOM: Well, the first thing she needs to do is to have a comprehensive water test done. Was that.
|CALLER: Done? I believe so, because they had inspectors come out. But I don’t remember what she said.
|TOM: Yeah, well, I wouldn’t believe anything unless I had a result back from a from a water testing laboratory that’s going to tell you what kind of treatment you need to do locally. So the first thing she needs to do is to get a water test done, a thorough water test done that’s going to check for all sorts of contaminants and pesticides and that sort of thing. And then based on that, you can determine what you want to do to treat the water, but you just don’t start treating it first. He starts with the test. And the test is what determines what needs to be treated. Makes sense.
|CALLER: Yes, Laufer said yes.
|TOM: All right. Good luck, Susan. Thanks so much for calling us. At 888-Money-Pit.
|LESLIE: Gregg wrote into the Money Pit and has a question about putting down wood decking boards. Now, Greg says bark side up or bark side down. I’ve heard both different ways. What’s your take on that? Now, this is interesting, Tom. So when you’re cutting wood boards from the tree lumber itself, I guess, I mean, I would have only considered like the first slice or two to have a bark side, But I guess as you cut it, each one has a bark side.
|TOM: Well, yeah. So when we talk about bark side up or bark side down, we’re talking about looking at the rings of the tree, right? So if you imagine you have a deck board, let’s say it’s aa2 by six, right? And you’re looking at the end of it and you see the rings of the tree. You want the rings to be basically marked up.
|TOM: So the arc is up, the arc is not upside down. So the arc is not like a you, right? You want like an upside down. You want to basically see that arc up. That means that’s the outside the tree.
|LESLIE: Like a rainbow.
|TOM: Yes, like a rainbow. Good analogy. And the reason is because all the boards are eventually going to cup right as they dry out and you want them to cup inward, not cut outward. Because if you put it upside down, that board is going to come and lift up and then you can catch your foot and triple it. And that gets ugly and messy. So you always want to put bark side up. We’re not meaning literal, literally bark. I guess you could if you were really cutting down the tree. We’re talking about the outside of the tree goes up and the inside goes down.
|LESLIE: It’s interesting because I would always think that as you know, when you take the round tree itself and you’re sort of creating the boards from it, I just imagined in my mind as you got closer to the center, right? I guess I just thought the rings kind of got flattened out more, but.
|TOM: Well, they got tighter together, getting together in the middle and then they spread out as you get to the outside. But and look, you can always tell there’s also when you’re talking about flooring, sometimes we talk about ring cut flooring where those lines are almost vertical. And we’re talking about that that thick line and thin line. Well, the thick lines of summer rows, the thin lines are winter rows, right? So if you see those thin lines going perpendicular to the board, that’s like ring cut. And that’s really darned. That’s really pretty darn stable. You know, we did some floor patching in the winter with a hardwood floor, and we made sure that we used a ring cut wood for that because it actually made a big difference in terms of the durability of the surface. But with a deck you’ll find, especially with the thinner deck boards that are like five quarter by six or like an inch and it’s roughly thick if you don’t put bauxite up, therefore it’s going to come up and it’s going to sort of lift up off of the Joyce around the edges and it looks bad. And again, you can trip on it.
|TOM: So it’s a really good thing to check.
|LESLIE: So I guess now with Greg’s question of bark set up dark side down, he’s probably using some fresh raw lumber here. So, Greg, depending on what you’ve picked, you’ve got to allow this lumber time to cure before you put any application on this or finish the stack in any way, shape or form.
|TOM: Yeah. If it’s fresh or treated, especially, I say don’t stay at the first year because there’s a lot of moisture in that wood and it’s just going to affect the ability, the stain to soak in. So I would wait the first year, let it go for a full summer, let that moisture break out of it, and then the second year before the summer hits, maybe early spring mid-spring, that’s a good idea to stay in that and use a solid color stain has more pigment in it. It last a lot longer, but it still shows the wood grain or the bark in this case.
|LESLIE: All right, good call.
|TOM: This is the Money Pit Home Improvement show and a beautiful spring day. We hope that you are outside enjoying this great weather tackle and maybe some projects around your house and fixing it up. So that it is home sweet home for you. Remember, as you get into those projects inside and out, if you’ve got questions, we are actually available 24/7. The way you reach us is by calling 888-MONEY-PIT, leaving your question there, or the best way is to go to Money Pit icon slash ask and click the blue microphone button. We’ll be very happy to get back to you next time we produce the show. But for now, that’s all the time we have. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
|LESLIE: And I’m Lesley Segrete.
|TOM: You remember you can do it yourself.
|LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
|(Note: The above referenced transcript is AI-Generated, Unedited and Unproofed and as such may not accurately reflect the recorded audio. Copyright 2023 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.)