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 it’s fall fix-up season, so there’s got to be a fix-up on your to-do list. Let’s put it on the “done” list now.
TOM: Come on, all together, pick up the phone and call us, 888-MONEY-PIT. We’ll help you if you call us right now with your home improvement project, your do-it-yourself dilemma, your direct-at-yourself dilemma. Those are the folks that don’t want to do it themselves, probably because they know they’ll go from do-it-yourselfer to do-it-to-yourselfer. That’s not good, so be safe. Pick up the phone and call us. We will help you practice safe home improvement at 888-666-3974.
Coming up this hour, it’s been water, water everywhere. Much of the country battled rain and wet weather in the entire late summer. And wet basements are a big side effect of that. Fortunately, though, most wet basements can be cured from the roof down with no need to waterproof below grade. We’re going to tell you why you need to start at the top to fix that problem, coming up.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And also ahead this hour, we are slowing the flow here at The Money Pit, in more ways than one. All month long, we are looking at ways to save water, cut costs and conserve one of our most important natural resources: water. We’re going to show you an easy way to save water in the bathroom, in just a few minutes.
TOM: And speaking of saving water, if you think you’re saving water by washing your car yourself in your own driveway, you are way off-base because you are actually wasting water and potentially sending detergents and chemicals into storm sewers, where they can end up in our water supply. We’re going to teach you a better way to keep your car clean, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And if you are looking for a better way to save money on flooring, this could be your lucky day. One caller who gets on the air with us here at The Money Pit this hour and asks your home improvement question and then we draw your name out of The Money Pit hard hat is going to win a $250 gift certificate from our friends at Lumber Liquidators, because they do a great job with keeping the prices low. So for 250 bucks, if you’ve got a small room, you might as well get all that flooring for free if you are our lucky winner.
So, you’re going to save some money. They cut out the middle man. They’ve got a lot of great products out there but you need to call us for your chance to win.
TOM: 888-666-3974 is the phone number you need to know. 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Ann in Seneca Falls, New York on the line who has some unwanted visitors to her home in the form of insects eating away. Tell us what’s going on.
ANN: Well, I have a two-car garage. It’s about 25 years old and it’s covered with vinyl siding and the wood molding on the outside is covered with the aluminum frame/covering.
TOM: Siding. OK, trim, yep. Mm-hmm.
ANN: Yeah. And last spring, I noticed that one of the pieces of metal was rather loose. So I kind of tugged at it a little bit and it came out and I noticed that the carpenter ants have really had quite a snack.
ANN: Most of the front of my garage is pretty well eaten away on the outside.
TOM: Oh, boy. OK.
ANN: Now, on the inside, it seems to be still intact.
ANN: And I pretty much know what you’re going to tell me; I need to replace the wood. But I’m just wondering, for the time being, if I could put some spray insulation in there to kind of fill in the voids? And then possibly reattach the metal molding for just over the wintertime, until I can get to it next summer?
TOM: Well, I mean the good thing is that the carpenter ants are also leaving for the winter, so you don’t have to worry about them for a while.
ANN: Well, I’ve been spraying. They seem – I haven’t seen any activity out there. I’ve really been spraying at least once a week with …
TOM: OK. So here’s what I would do. First of all, I would try to make sure that we just keep it weather-tight for the winter, so whatever it takes to make it weather-tight is what we need to do.
Secondly, next spring, I would consider having a professional apply a type of product called Phantom – P-h-a-n-t-o-m. It’s an undetectable ant-and-termite treatment product. And when you put the Phantom down, the carpenter ants won’t know it’s there and they go through it, they get it on their bodies, take it back to the nest and it wipes out the whole colony.
ANN: Oh, good.
TOM: Definitely the most effective way to keep them under control. It’s really a population-control issue with ants, because they just reproduce and reproduce and reproduce and it can do a lot of damage.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. They love to breed.
ANN: Yes, they certainly have.
TOM: So, you’re going to have to have it done by a professional, though, with a product called Phantom. There’s actually a product – another product called Termidor – which I like even more but …
LESLIE: But we can’t get it in New York.
TOM: You can’t get it in New York. You can get it everywhere else in the country but New York. But in New York, the same company, which is BASF, makes a product called Phantom, which is available and approved for use in New York State.
ANN: OK. Fine. And then, I probably will have to have the vinyl siding taken off in the front and then whatever wood has been eaten replaced?
TOM: Yeah. If it’s just – is it the sheathing that you’re concerned about?
ANN: It’s the outside sheathing.
ANN: It doesn’t seem to be on the inside of the garage.
TOM: Yeah, so you’re going to have to try to replace as much of that as you can reasonably get to. It’s a matter of degree. You know, you may not necessarily have to tear it all out; you might just be able to do this in small sections.
ANN: Oh, good.
TOM: But yeah, I think that you just want to get as much as you reasonably can. There are other ways to support the wall from the inside if that becomes easier and you don’t have to take off as much siding. But get it treated in the spring so that we know the ants are under control, OK?
ANN: OK. Would it help, also, if I filled in the openings in the cement blocks that are in the part of the basement?
TOM: No. Listen, you can’t stuff stuff in the way of these ants.
LESLIE: They’re going to find their way through.
TOM: They’re going to find their way in, OK? It’s not – it doesn’t work that way. So I want you to concentrate – first of all, because you’re going away for the winter, I want you to concentrate on getting this thing watertight. When you come back, contact a reliable pest-control operator. Have them do a Phantom treatment. The website for the product is PhantomHome.com. They’ve got a zip-code search tool there. You can find all of the guys in your area that use the product. You can choose one, have it applied.
And then lastly, after it’s applied, you can work on the repairs.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can call in your home repair, home improvement, holiday decorating. Whatever you are working on and maybe you need a hand with, we are here to give you all of the advice, guidance and tips that you need to get the job done. So give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, it’s pretty simple: saving water is good for your wallet and the environment. But how do you do that? We’re going to give you some simple changes that you can make in your bathroom that will save you a lot of water, a lot of money and be good for Mother Nature, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at Icynene.com. I-c-y-n-e-n-e.com.
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.
TOM: Call us right now with your home improvement question. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT. If you get on the air with us this hour, we will toss your name in The Money Pit hard hat. You may just win a $250 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators. That can be a great start to a new floor. Lumber Liquidators sells brand-name flooring for less because they buy direct from the mill and cut out the middle man.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Alright. Well, speaking of cutting out the middle man, we are looking for ways for you to cut out the middle man in spending Mother Nature’s resources. So we’ve got some great ideas in a new addition to our show called Slow the Flow, which is another way to save water on your bathroom, in your kitchen: all sorts of great ways to save water and save dollars.
And today’s Slow the Flow tip is presented by the HydroRight Dual-Flush Converter, a product that can save you up to 15,000 gallons of water a year.
TOM: That’s right.
Now, did you know that showering can use about 30 gallons of water per household per day? That’s a lot of water.
LESLIE: That’s a lot.
TOM: But the key, though, if you want to save that water is the selection of the shower head. You could save more than 2,300 gallons a year just by installing a WaterSense-labeled shower head.
Now, that WaterSense label, well, it’s just like the EPA’s Energy Star program. It’s another EPA program called WaterSense. And WaterSense allows manufacturers that make high-efficiency shower heads and other plumbing fixtures use the WaterSense identifier, so that you know that you’re going to have a plumbing fixture that uses less water but doesn’t really force you to sacrifice on performance.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. And you can also take that savings to the sink, because WaterSense-labeled faucets and faucet accessories, they can actually reduce the sink’s water flow by 30 percent, which is going to save an average household more than 500 gallons of water a year.
TOM: And while you are working on the water-saving to-do list, don’t ignore the toilet. HydroRight makes an easy-to-install, dual-flush converter that can actually reduce water usage by your toilet by about 30 percent, as well. You can go to their website, which is SaveMyToilet.com, to learn more about it. And be sure to check out our water-saving products guide on MoneyPit.com for additional suggestions on how to save.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Pastor Chris on the line who’s doing to a – looking to do some repairs at the church. Tell us what’s going on.
PASTOR CHRIS: Yeah, hi there. Well, I’m a pastor of a church, like you said, and we have raised about $4,600 and we want to put a new floor down.
PASTOR CHRIS: And we were thinking about doing carpeting and we were concerned that the high traffic would make that difficult to keep nice. And so we thought we would – might use laminate flooring.
TOM: I think it’s a good choice and there are a wide variety of qualities out there. But since it’s a commercial use, I would use a commercial-grade laminate flooring.
Now, laminate flooring, Chris, can look just like hardwood, it can look like stone, it could look like tile, so you have a lot of options in terms of the appearance of the floor. Installation is easy; most of it locks together. There’s a very thin underlayment that goes under. You don’t attach it or glue it to the floor in any way; it just locks together.
LESLIE: It just sort of snaps together.
TOM: You leave a little gap around the outside and then you trim with molding to cover that gap and then the floor just kind of rides there; it floats. And it’s good stuff. You might want to take a look at the website for LumberLiquidators.com. They are a major supplier of laminate flooring. They’ve been a sponsor of our show for a long time and they’ve some good stuff and they’ve got some great prices.
PASTOR CHRIS: Oh, OK, great. We were a little concerned with the laminate flooring, whether or not – if people spill coffee on the floor, if we mop it up fairly quickly, we were wondering whether it would start buckling or peeling or would we have trouble with that?
LESLIE: No, no, no.
TOM: I raised three kids on a laminate floor and it’s really pretty indestructible stuff.
LESLIE: The only time I’ve ever heard anyone having any sort of issue with a laminate is in a flood situation where water got underneath the laminate, between the subfloor and the laminate itself and that caused an issue. If you’re spilling something on the surface, you’re not going to have a problem.
PASTOR CHRIS: Oh, OK. OK. Well, that answers my question.
How would I know the difference – when I look at the website, will it tell me that it’s a commercially-based product or …?
TOM: There’s a test called a Taber Abrasion Test where they spin an abrasive disk into the surface and that dictates how durable it is.
PASTOR CHRIS: OK.
TOM: And so, they should have information on that. If you call them up, they’ll give you information on what the most appropriate products are for your particular use.
PASTOR CHRIS: Alright. Well, very good. I appreciate your time.
TOM: You’re welcome, Chris. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Lois in New Jersey is dealing with a leaky shower. Tell us about the problem.
LOIS: Well, we recently had our bathrooms updated, not fully gutted. We had a new floor, a toilet and a sink put in. The shower stall was fine, so we did nothing to it. But since they did the renovations, we now have a leak in the shower where the door frame of the shower meets the pan of the shower. It leaks out both sides and into a garage area below.
TOM: OK, is this – what kind of shower pan is it? Is it a tile shower pan?
LOIS: No, no. It’s, I guess, a fiberglass.
TOM: Fiberglass. Alright. Let me tell you how to test your shower pan, because sometimes you can get a crack in them and you can’t see them.
TOM: I want you take a towel or maybe like one of those rubber jar-opener things and put it across the drain. Block that drain so no water can get through the drain in the bottom of the shower pan.
TOM: Then fill the pan all the way up with water but don’t let it go over the top. Don’t get it to the door, OK? But fill it all the way up and let it sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and see if you can create a leak. If you can create a leak, you’ve got a cracked shower pan, which is not good because you’re going to have to tear the pan out.
LOIS: Can you do that without pulling the tile off the walls?
TOM: But if you have a cracked fiberglass pan, you can repair it with material that you could buy at an auto-parts shop, like a Pep Boys or something like that.
If that doesn’t show any leaks, then we’ve got to start working it up the wall here and what I’d like you to do is to see if you can figure out a way of getting a hose or some sort of a spray arm into that shower space. I mean even if you have to run the hose like through an outside window and into the bathroom with some water on it, where you can start to kind of wet down, strategically, different parts of the door.
Now, don’t overdo it when you try to estimate how much water comes out of the normal shower. But remember, when you’re taking a shower, water hits your body and bounces off in all directions.
TOM: And sometimes that can cause a leak, where you just run the shower straight you never get a leak; you step in there and because water is going off all different places, you get a leak. So you want to kind of strategically work that spray around the shower until you see if you can get it to leak. And you’ve got to really narrow it down and once you do that, you’ll have a better idea as to where the problem is.
And one more thing to check – and it’s kind of silly but make sure that this didn’t happen – if somebody reversed the shower doors, they’re going to leak like crazy.
LOIS: No, they never took it off.
TOM: They never took it off? Because …
TOM: Right. If you think about it, the inside door has to overlap. The door closest to the shower water itself has to overlap the outside door. If it’s the other way around – and you can do it – the water is going to shoot right through the seam of the door.
LOIS: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: We’re going to talk to Bill in Maryland now who’s in the market for a new home. How can we help you?
BILL: I’m thinking about buying a modular home and I was just trying to weigh the differences between a modular and a stick-built home.
BILL: And that would be in three different categories: one would be cost, the next would be structural integrity and then the third being resale. And I was just wondering if you guys could help me out on that.
TOM: Well, I think, first of all, that modular homes can be as well-built if not better built than conventional stick-built homes. The reason for that, Bill, is because they’re constructed in a factory where …
LESLIE: In a controlled environment.
TOM: Yeah, the quality is totally controlled. You know, they’re going to manufacture the wall exactly to what it needs to be without having to worry about weather and material fluctuations and things of this nature. Those modular companies also have very good buying-power because they’re just buying a lot of lumber all at the same time: not just one house at a time but tens and hundreds of homes at a time. So, I think the quality is really quite good.
LESLIE: And as far as resale value, I think modern homebuyers are really open to a good-quality home, good construction, energy efficiency. And if the home offers all of that, I don’t think it matters to them if it’s modular or stick-built. As long as it meets the criteria for energy efficiency, carbon output, are we being environmentally conscious, I think it really does make a good effort if the home is just well put-together regardless of how it’s built.
TOM: And Bill, I can tell you, after being a home inspector for 20 years, that very many times I would inspect homes and I’d be the first one to tell the prospective homebuyer that it was a modular home. They’d have no idea because it’s just not that obvious.
BILL: OK. Well, great. That helps a lot. I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: I just like the idea of knowing that my subfloor wasn’t like sitting out in a rainstorm for months.
TOM: Yeah, absolutely.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, as a handy do-it-yourselfer, you probably wash your car at home, right? Well, did you know that you not only may be wasting water but you could also be sending money and dangerous chemicals down the drain? We’re going to show you a better way to keep your vehicles sparkly clean when The Money Pit Radio Show returns.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you in part by Arrow Fastener Company, the leader in professional fastening products since 1929. The makers of the iconic T50 Staple Gun, the world’s bestselling staple gun, Arrow Fastener has the right tool for every application. Explore Arrow’s latest product innovations at ArrowFastener.com.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil’s complete line of routers, with Soft Start technology. You experience less kickback and better control. Pro features at a DIY price. That’s what the Skil routers are about.
TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: If one of your weekend to-dos is washing your car in the driveway, you’re not much different from many homeowners who feel like they’re doing the right thing by saving water. But that could not be further from the truth.
Washing your car at home can waste hundreds of gallons of water and sends detergents into storm sewers, where it can eventually contaminate local water sources. The International Carwash Association is suggesting a better option and that’s called WaterSavers. Here to tell us more is their CEO, Eric Wulf.
Hi, Eric. Welcome to the program.
ERIC: Thank you very much for having me.
TOM: Now, WaterSavers is a recognition program that you guys put together to recognize car washes that actually adhere to some pretty environmentally-friendly standards. Tell us about it.
ERIC: You bet. There’s really two categories of those standards. The first is – and you’ve referenced both of these. The first is on the use of water. The car washes that we have in our program will use, on average, 40 gallons or less of fresh water to wash a car. Now, that can compare to 41 gallons or more with your standard home laundry machine or it can compare to what you would typically put through a garden hose in about 5 minutes.
TOM: Wow. So you’re saving quite a bit of water because nobody washes their car in five minutes. I mean it’s an afternoon event.
ERIC: You have to be really good, I think, to beat that number.
ERIC: But the second category, then, that you referenced, too, is on the pollution side. So we talk a lot about water quality. The simple fact is professional car washes, for a long time, have been a better solution because the runoff – the chemicals and then all of the dirt your vehicle picks up on the roadways from driving – when you wash on pavement, your driveway or a parking lot, that’s going to go to a storm sewer, which means it goes to our rivers and lakes and streams without being treated.
Well, if you go to a professional car wash, what’s going to happen to that water is it’ll be both treated on site by the car wash and then it goes to the sanitary system, which means it’s professionally treated by the municipality.
TOM: Interesting. So it basically is dual-treated: it’s treated right on site by the car wash itself and then it goes to the municipality where it’s treated again and then, of course, becomes clean discharge that can safely go back into the environment and work its way, once again, through that entire process to your faucet.
ERIC: That’s exactly right. And there have been some really interesting research done over the past several years by municipalities, because they’re very focused on the environment, just like our consumers are. And the municipalities have found that the aggregate amount of things like phosphorus and motor oils – you can talk about millions of pounds of that runoff that get into storm sewers by washing on pavement. So, again, we feel like and know that professional car washing is the better choice.
TOM: We’re talking to Eric Wulf. He’s the CEO of the International Carwash Association. He’s here to tell us about a new program called WaterSavers that’s rolling out across the country and offers consumers the options of selecting a car wash that is adopting some very environmentally-friendly policies, that are both going to save water and save the environment from the runoff that is caused by car-washing soaps, as our guest just mentioned.
So, Eric, how do we find a WaterSavers Carwash Association member? Are they located throughout the country? Is there a way a consumer could do a quick search and identify one in their neighborhood?
ERIC: Absolutely right and thanks for asking. In fact, we have a website where you can do just that. The website address is WashWithWaterSavers.com. And on that website, not only can you learn more about professional car washing – that we use less but we also make sure only clean water returns to the environment – but you can then find the nearly 1,000 locations we have in the U.S. and Canada who are already participating in the program.
TOM: Eric Wulf, CEO of the International Carwash Association, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
And again, that website, if you’d like to find a WaterSavers car wash in your area, is simply WashWithWaterSavers.com.
ERIC: Thank you.
LESLIE: Coming up, a fast fix to end wet basements? We’re going to tell you the simple tools you’ll need to stop sloshing around after a rainstorm, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.
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.
TOM: And one caller we talk to on the air this hour is going to walk away with a terrific start to a new wood floor. We’re giving away a $250 gift certificate to Lumber Liquidators.
Lumber Liquidators sells brand-name flooring for less and there are over 200 stores nationwide. Plus, you can visit their website at LumberLiquidators.com. But call us right now at 888-MONEY-PIT for your chance to win.
LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone; we’d love to give you a hand with whatever it is you are working on this weekend.
Well, having water in your basement, it’s a common problem for homeowners. Believe me, we know. Tom and I get calls and e-mails all the time on that very subject but …
TOM: We get stopped in the supermarket, you know. I mean …
LESLIE: It’s true. Neighbors, strangers.
LESLIE: People see us and they’re like, “My basement has water.”
Well, here’s what you need to do, because keeping moisture away from your substructure, it’s easy to do with a little prevention. And guess what? Your gutters, they are key to this entire equation.
So what you want to do is check your downspouts to see where the water is going when it actually exits the gutters. If it’s pouring out right next to your foundation, you will end up with water in your basement at some point. Maybe not this rainstorm, maybe not the next one but sometime soon, you will find water in that basement.
Now, your downspouts, they should deposit rainwater about 3 to 6 feet away from your home. You also want to make sure that the soil around your foundation slopes away from your house, with a grade of about 6 inches over 4 feet. Not a drastic drop but just enough to get that water moving away from your house, which is what you want.
TOM: And that’s right.
Now, to start, you need to clean out your gutters, though. You want to wear heavy gloves, position your ladder and work right to left. Then reposition the ladder and continue through the entire length of the gutters. Don’t reach. Don’t reach. You will be a very unhappy camper if you reach too far on that ladder.
LESLIE: You will find that a gutter will most not likely hold your weight.
TOM: That’s true. But it’ll hold plenty of leaves; it just won’t hold you.
TOM: So, if you get them clean, that’s great. The next thing you want to do is take a look at those spouts. If they are loose, if they are disconnected, we would recommend reattaching them using the Arrow RHT300 Twister Rivet Tool. It’s a great tool; it’s going to give you a real solid connection. All you need to do is to drill a hole through both sections of the spout and the elbow. Then you place the Arrow rivet in place, secure the connection point using that rivet tool and you are done.
You can also use that same Arrow Twister Rivet Tool to patch any holes you find in the gutters. You want to clean that area out first with steel wool. Then you put the patch in place and you secure the patch with the rivet tool. A good tip, though, is to start at the opposing corners. This keeps the patch in kind of the right spot.
Now, if you want some more tips on how to repair gutters, how to make sure we keep those basements clean, we have got a great guide online at MoneyPit.com. It is called “A Fix for Every Season: Fun, Fascinating Projects Throughout the Year.” We put it together with help from the experts at Arrow Fastener and gutter repairs are definitely one of the most popular topics that we cover.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Larry from Arkansas on the line with a heating-and-cooling question. Welcome, Larry.
LARRY: I want your opinion on the radiant barriers for insulating the attic or the roof. The two questions that I have is it comes in rolls that are either placed on the attic floor or stapled to the roof rafters. And the other is a flexible material that is held in place by spring action between the roof rafters. That comes in 2×4-foot sections that can just be bowed and placed – and set it place and a spring action holds them there.
TOM: So, it’s a good question, Larry. We hear a lot of folks ask about radiant barriers and I personally am just not convinced that there’s a cost-benefit analysis out there that favors installation of these things. They’re not inexpensive; they do cost some dollars. And I do have a couple of concerns.
One of which is that when you trap the heat just on the opposite side of the roof sheathing and then attempt to sort of radiate it back up through the roof sheathing again, obviously it’s passing through the shingles twice and that’s going to accelerate the deterioration of the roof shingles. Because the more heat that gets through those shingles, the shorter the roof life.
I think that if you’re trying to save money in your home, I would concentrate on two things. Number one, I would concentrate on the amount of insulation, because most folks don’t have enough. In an area like Arkansas, you’re probably looking at somewhere between 19 to 22 inches of fiberglass-batt insulation or 22 inches of even blown-in insulation.
The second thing I would concentrate on is attic ventilation, which I have rarely, rarely, rarely seen a house that really has enough of this, because the standards don’t require what I would consider enough. What I would have, if it was my home, is a continuous ridge vent going down the peak and then fully-opened soffit vents on the ends of the building. Because that’s going to allow air to get into the soffits, right up under that roof sheathing, take the heat out with it in the summertime, take the moisture out with it in the wintertime and exit at the ridge vent.
And I think those two things are the smartest energy-saving home improvements that you can make. And I would put those way in front of any consideration whatsoever for radiant barriers. I’m just not convinced there’s enough data on them to say that they make a cost-effective improvement to your home.
LARRY: Our air-conditioning bills in the summertime are still over $225 a month and …
TOM: Wow. Right now, you’re spending $220 a month on air conditioning in the hottest months of the year. So, if you cut that in half – let’s say you spend $110 a month – it would still take you 2½ to 3 years to pay that off. But I don’t think you can cut it in half. I think you may cut it a little bit but I think the payoff’s going to be so long it’s not going to make sense.
Alright? That’s my two cents on it. Hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Nancy in Colorado needs some help with carpeting. What can we do for you?
NANCY: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. We have an outdoor carpet on a patio. Our home is -was built in the 70s and I …
TOM: Mm-hmm. It was popular back there, wasn’t it, Nancy?
NANCY: I think maybe so.
TOM: Not such a good idea today, though.
NANCY: No. I haven’t even told my husband, until I made the phone calls, that I was even thinking about wanting to do it.
TOM: OK. Now that the idea is out, how can we help?
NANCY: Well, do you have suggestions on how to take it off the concrete patio pad?
TOM: Well, the carpet comes off easy; it’s the glue that doesn’t come off so easy.
LESLIE: And the remnants of the carpet.
TOM: Yeah, exactly. You know what you’re probably going to end up doing here is taking the carpet off, scraping as much glue as possible off of that old slab and then I would use an epoxy paint. And you can do a really good job painting a slab and have it look very, very attractive today and that will kind of hide all of these sins and in fact, there are some cool techniques where you can sort of paint the appearance of carpet on …
LESLIE: Or even tile.
TOM: Yeah. Or tile on slabs and have it look really attractive.
NANCY: OK, yeah. Well, I …
TOM: Aren’t there stencils for that, Leslie?
LESLIE: Well, there are oversized stencils – I think the website is ConcreteResources.com – and there’s large stencils that you can get for an entire concrete patio that will help you. But you can lay out a tile pattern with tape and you can use the grayness of the concrete or even you can paint a gray basecoat – let that dry – to create a grout line and then you can create a beautiful terracotta-look tile.
NANCY: Oh, that sounds great.
LESLIE: And there are ways to do it. As long as you get proper concrete paint and prep the surface properly, you can really make something very, very attractive.
NANCY: OK. Well, thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate that.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Coming up, new energy-efficient light bulbs are the smartest way to light your home but what do you do when one breaks? We’ll tell you that answer when The Money Pit continues, after this.
ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Stanley Tools, your trusted name in quality hand tools. To learn more about their complete line of quality tools and everything for your tool box, visit StanleyTools.com.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And hey, would you like another way to get in on the prizes we give away every week on the show? If so, simply go to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit and “like” us. If so, you will be first to know when we have great, new giveaways and that happens pretty much every week on the show.
LESLIE: That’s right. And while you’re online, you can head on over to our Community section and you can post a question, just like M.J. from Texas did who wrote: “My dog knocked over a lamp, breaking a compact fluorescent light bulb in the process. My husband just swept it up and threw it away without telling me for weeks. Is that safe? Is there something I should do now?”
Oh, my gosh. Trash remorse. “Whoa, I didn’t recycle. The law.”
TOM: Listen, M.J., I wouldn’t worry too much about it at this point.
Now, I will say that there’s a lot of controversy about the cleanup issues associated with that. The concern is that CFLs can contain a very small amount of mercury. But it’s an inert gas and so that means that it’s chemically stable and it’s not likely to cause a problem.
That said, I will tell you that the Energy Star folks, in their infinite wisdom, issued guidelines way back in 2008, so these are not new, about all the precautions that you should take if you break a fluorescent bulb. And they tell you to leave the room and shut off your heating system and they give you steps for cleaning up hard surfaces and carpets and rugs and bedding and this and that and everything. It’s really complicated.
There are a lot of other experts that say, “No, just ventilate the room for about 15 minutes and then clean it up using common sense.” And I don’t know that anyone’s ever reported ill effects as a result of this but at this point, weeks later, in your situation there’s really nothing for you to do. Because I’m sure that whatever was there is now gone.
But just keep in mind that there’s a wide range of cleanup advice and it really depends on who you want to listen to.
LESLIE: You know, M.J., I mean at this point, like Tom said, you’ve already disposed of it. I think with every new technology, there’s a lot of learning curve: how do we handle it, what do we dispose of? I still use compact fluoros. I also like LED bulbs. The technology is advancing so much, the light quality is fantastic. It’s getting easier to recycle them and to dispose of them.
If I happen to break one, I’m not going to lose my mind over it. I’m just going to make sure I ventilate the area, get my kids out of the room, clean it up very, very carefully, put it in a bag and dispose of it the same way I would have the bulb itself. Bottom line, don’t freak out over it. Definitely continue to use the technology because it’s just advancing and getting better and better.
TOM: Well, have you got a half hour? If so, you’ve got time to complete 30 different home maintenance projects. We’ve listed them all in our book, My Home, My Money Pit. But for our listeners, we’ve got one tip right now and it won’t even take 30 minutes. Here it is, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right. Well, this tip might take you 30 minutes if you’ve got more than one ceiling fan in your house. Because this really is a quick, little fix that really can change a lot. Because now is the time to change your ceiling fan’s direction so that it actually functions to help you during the winter season.
Now, there’s a small reversing switch on the side of the motor of your fan. It’s really teeny-tiny; you probably have to be on a ladder to see it. And in the summer, the fan should pull the cooler air up from the floor and in the winter, they should push the warm air from the ceiling downward.
Check your fan. You want to reverse the spin if necessary and of course, clean the blades every six months. And you do want to give those blades a good cleaning; a lot of times, they build up dust up there. So just give them a good wiping-down, change the direction and then of course, change out light bulbs if you’ve got any issues up there at this time. Clean any of the bulb covers.
Just give the fan some nice maintenance, make the room look nicer, save some heating dollars. And again, you’ve got 30 minutes so why not tackle three fans?
TOM: That’s right. Well, coming up next week on the program, if you live in a cottage with a grass roof, green is pretty normal. But if you don’t, you might just have a moss problem. We’re going to tell you how to deal with that issue, on the next edition of 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 2011 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.)