Tips for Tile Floors & More #0327172
Hosts: Tom Kraeutler & Leslie Segrete
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 hey, if you love to pick up the tools and get to work on your own projects, today’s show is all about you because it’s National DIY Day. So all weekend long, we are celebrating you, the do-it-yourselfers. We’re here to help you get that project done. If you don’t know where to start, pick up the phone and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. If you’re stuck in the middle of a project, we’ll help dig you out and save your pride at the same time. But help yourself first: call us, right now, at 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Plus, this weekend, to help celebrate, we’ve joined forces with the folks at the DIYZ app. Which, by the way, is very cool because it connects you, via a video chat, with a professional advisor who you can ask any questions that you’ve got, to help you get your project done.
Now, if you connect with a pro advisor on Sunday, between 1:00 and 5:00, that advisor might actually be us. Because Tom and I are taking a shift Sunday, between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Eastern to help one on one with all of your projects. So, guys, you’ve got to call us up.
TOM: And also ahead this hour, we’re going to help celebrate National DIY Day with tips on some of the most popular DIY projects we get asked about, including how to install ceramic-tile floors.
LESLIE: And if you call us with your home improvement question at 888-MONEY-PIT, we’re going to help brighten your day. Because we’ve got a supply of GE’s new high-definition LED bulbs worth over 50 bucks. And they’re going out to one lucky caller. And I replaced most of the bulbs in my house with these GE bulbs and I’ve got to tell you, the light quality is fantastic.
TOM: And it’s pretty much the easiest DIY project ever, right? It’s just changing a light bulb and it makes your house look a lot better.
LESLIE: And it – instant savings. Your house looks better. Saving money.
TOM: Give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Shirley in Nebraska on the line who has a foundation question. What’s going on at your money pit?
SHIRLEY: I have a townhome and the dirt around my foundation, due to the drought, pulled away. I had somebody come in and grade it, fill it with dirt and some river rock on top of that. However, my basement is a poured-concrete basement, where they have the metal rods in different – in the sections? And I have some fine lines of cracks going down and maybe going out about 6 inches from those rods. Do I have to be concerned about that? Do I have to fill those in with something or do something? Paint over it or …?
TOM: Generally, those are shrinkage cracks. Whenever you pour that much concrete, you get a fair amount of shrinkage cracking. And so if they’re fine lines like you’re describing, I wouldn’t worry too much about them, Shirley.
TOM: That’s considered fairly normal with a poured-concrete foundation which, by the way, is one of the most – is one of the stronger foundations that you could have.
SHIRLEY: Mm-hmm. I just didn’t have all those before the dirt problem, so that’s why I was wondering about it.
TOM: Yeah. And I would make sure that you maintain proper drainage around the house so that you’re restoring the dirt that shrunk away and that it’s always sloping away from the wall. Because that’s going to keep – that’s going to make sure you don’t make excessive moisture, because the other thing could happen: when it’s not dry out and you get very wet weather, the excessive moisture, that can have an adverse effect on a foundation. So just make sure you always maintain the proper slope on the outside and fill in those gaps as they occur.
SHIRLEY: OK. Thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”4″]LESLIE: Tony in Iowa is having a hot-and-cold water situation. What’s going on?
TONY: Well, I’ve got an electric water heater. And the main feed that comes in from the city, that goes into my electric water heater, it’s a cold line. But yeah, I get cold water to come out of my faucets and everything but that cold-water line, up around through the water heater there, it’s hot, the line, when I touch it. And I’m just curious what’s going on with that.
TOM: So, you have an electric water heater and that’s going to be fed by a cold-water line and it’s going to go through the water heater and come out as a hot-water line.
TONY: That’s correct.
TOM: OK. And so what’s the problem? So far, it’s normal.
TONY: The water line that goes into the water heater – the cold water?
TOM: Yes. Yep.
TONY: That line is hot.
TOM: Well, some of the heat from the water heater can be working its way back up the pipe. So you may be feeling some conductive heat that comes from – the hot water in the water heater itself could be making that pipe warm. But if you go farther down the line, you’re going to feel that it’s cold again.
It goes in cold and comes out hot but the fitting right around the top might feel like it’s a bit warm. But that’s only because of the conductive heat of the water in the water heater coming back up the metal pipe.
TONY: OK. That alleviates my concerns then.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Margie in Maryland needs some help with a kitchen incident gone awry. What happened?
MARGIE: What happened is – it’s sort of like a barbecue gone bad inside my house.
MARGIE: I had some deer meat in a big pot on the stove. It was – it had a cover on it. And it – I stepped out for a while and I came back and there was smoke everywhere in my house. And we opened everything; we opened all the windows and doors and all of that. And what I need is to find out how to get rid of the smoke smell. It is just disgusting; it’s terrible.
And I – we’ve done what we can. I’m washing – my poor washing machine is going nuts. I just wash, wash, wash everything. And we Febrezed on the furniture and – but my wood furniture I don’t know what to do about and my walls and my painted woodwork. Because the day that it happened, I washed up the floor with vinegar and water. But it seems like the longer it goes, that it’s getting harder on the surfaces that it’s touched. And I just need some help to figure out how to clean it up, especially on the wood furniture, the walls and the painted woodwork.
TOM: Well, on the furniture, on the woodwork, I think something like Murphy’s Oil Soap would be a good choice. That’s a mild solution that smells pleasant and it’s designed specifically to clean wood surfaces.
However, I suspect that the source of most of the smell is going to be in – because of materials that are harder to clean, like fabrics, rugs, couches, upholstery, the pillows, that sort of thing. And for those, you really need to have a professional company come in and clean them. There are companies like – I think ServiceMaster is one of them that specializes in fire-and-smoke cleaning and water cleanup. And they have the right equipment, with the right types of chemicals, to take the odors out of those sorts of things. What you can do is clean those hard surfaces on your own.
As far as the walls are concerned, I would mix up a fairly weak TSP solution – trisodium phosphate. You can pick that up in the painting section of any hardware store or home center and wash the walls down with that. OK?
MARGIE: Yes. Thank you so very, very much. I really appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, Margie. 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 repair, home improvement, design, décor. Whatever it is you are working on at your money pit, whether you’ve started it, whether you messed it up, we’re not going to judge. We’re just here to help. That’s all we do. We really love all the projects and we love helping and hearing from you guys. So give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, if you’re thinking about taking on a DIY tile project this spring, choosing the right look for your home is only a part of the project. We’re going to have tips on how to choose the best type of tile for your home, after this.
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: Hey, give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT on today, National DIY Day, because we are here to give you the answers. And we’re giving away the GE High-Definition LED Light Bulbs.
These are available in three distinct light options. You get the RELAX option if you kind of want to chill out, REFRESH if you want to step up the room and REVEAL to help you create the perfect mood in every room. These bulbs are engineered for bolder colors and enhanced contrast. Plus, they offer the long life and energy saving you’d expect from an LED.
With these GE bulbs, you pretty much can makeover your house simply by changing the light bulb. So, it doesn’t get any easier than that.
The prize pack is worth 54 bucks. You’re going to get two of each of the RELAX, REFRESH and REVEAL Bulbs from GE. So make that you. If you want to win, pick up the phone, give us a call, right now, with your home improvement question, your décor dilemma at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”5″]LESLIE: Bob in Oregon is on the line with a roofing question. What’s going on?
BOB: Well, I had some people saw – and add a roof over a deck on a house, making the deck into a porch. And they – when they nailed the new ledger onto the old soffit, I had told them to get up underneath the existing shingles with flashing, to go over top of the new roofing and so forth for the water continuation – the drainage. And they didn’t do that. I’ve found out since then that there’s probably a reason why they didn’t and that is because the old roofing on the house is very, very well nailed down – about on 2-inch centers – and plying out all those nails would be a problem.
And so they just put the new roofing up against – as close as they could over top of the new ledger. But it doesn’t – of course, it doesn’t seal. So the water comes down the old roofing and then runs down between the two and down onto the deck – down onto the porch. And I heard you talking about a product that you were giving away, whether you were going to have a joined floor or whatever. Then I said, “Hey, that sounds like exactly what I might need: a liquid rubber.”
TOM: Yeah, you’re talking about the Ames’ Blue Max, which is a great product. But it’s not designed to patch a roof installation that was just done horribly wrong to begin with.
And so, my advice on this would be to fix it once, fix it right and not have to deal with it again, by making the proper roof repair which, in your case, is going to involve pulling some of the roof material off of the house so that you can take the roof from the overhang – the new overhang now – and work it up under those shingles properly.
BOB: That’s what I’m trying to avoid, if I can, because, of course, the edge of the existing roof is tarred down pretty well. In fact, real well, because I did that myself a few years ago.
BOB: And it’s nailed down very, very well.
TOM: I understand that. But anything else is not going to be a permanent repair. And I really feel like removing that roof is the right way to go here so that you have a properly flashed seam. And it’s going to be important to keep that dry. It’s going to prevent rot if the water leaks through there and it’s going to add to your home value, because it’ll be properly done.
Bob, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you’re planning a new tile project, you’ll probably start your selection by narrowing down the tile colors and designs. But before you get that far, it’s a good idea to understand the types of tile that are available. And we’ve got tips on just that, presented by Lumber Liquidators.
LESLIE: Yeah. You know, for most projects, you’re going to be deciding between two types of tile: ceramic tile and porcelain tile.
Now, let’s talk about the difference. Ceramic tile is made from a mixture of special clays and natural materials that are mined from the earth, then they’re formed into shapes and then they’re heated in kilns. Now, ceramic tiles can be naturally colored or left unglazed, like those terracotta tiles you see very commonly. I think they’re called Saltillo tiles or even Mexican tiles and they’re so beautiful. And they can feature colored or highly-designed surfaces which can then be glazed.
Now, most ceramic tile has either a white- or a red-body coloration underneath that glaze or that colored top layer.
TOM: Now, porcelain tile is actually a formed ceramic tile. And it’s extremely popular right now among homeowners and here’s why: the porcelain tiles are made of higher-quality clays that are fired at a much higher temperature than the ceramic tiles. Now, this causes that porcelain tile to be much harder. It makes it less porous, making it more water-resistant and more resistant to stains than ceramic tiles. In fact, it’s got an absorption rate of less than 0.5 percent. All reasons that porcelain tiles are very popular and they’re suitable for both indoor and outdoor projects.
LESLIE: And that’s today’s Flooring Tip, presented by Lumber Liquidators, where you can get Avella Wood-Look Porcelain Tile plus all the accessories to complete the job, like grout, mortar and fiber fusion. Avella Wood-Look Porcelain Tile is gorgeous, natural-looking and combines all the beauty of wood with the durability of waterproof tile. Great for high-moisture areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens but also works very well in living rooms, patio areas and even walls.
TOM: Available at Lumber Liquidators stores nationwide and online at LumberLiquidators.com.
LESLIE: Karen in Pennsylvania is dealing with some mold in the basement. Tell us what’s going on.
KAREN: My mom has a house that the basement is – we put it up for sale and nobody noticed this. And one person came in and tore wallpaper off the wall and we noticed that it had mold from the floor to the ceiling and even in the inner walls. So I had a gentleman come and look at it and he said it would take $30,000-plus. And he would come in, remove all the interior walls – all the wood, the paneling, everything off the wall – down to the bare. He would have a chemical put on, clean it and then it would never come back.
And then the second guy came in and he said he would rip everything out, as he said. He would coat it, clean it and guarantee it that if it did come back, he’d fix it for $10,000.
TOM: Yeah, I don’t think you need either of these guys. You don’t have enough information yet and I don’t think you’re talking to the right people. I doubt either of them are professional mold mitigators. It sounds to me like they’re just trying to size you up for as much money as they can get from you.
The first thing you want to do is test the mold to figure out what kind of mold it is. And that’s done – there’s a couple of easy ways to do that. Basically, you take a sample and you send it out to a lab and they tell you what you’ve got. And then you can kind of design a mitigation plan around that. I need to get a sense as to how much mold is there. But if it’s just a little bit of mold behind the wallpaper, you may not need to pull all this out; you might be able to treat it right in place. But it doesn’t sound right.
KAREN: Where the bathroom is has an inner wall. And that is halfway down with mold.
TOM: OK. I mean how much mold are we talking about here, square footage-wise? Is it like a 4×4-foot by 4-foot space or …?
KAREN: We’re going to say all the outer walls. Because we’ve since went around and pulled off some wallpaper here and moved some paneling. And we also – the first guy that came in for $30,000 brought in a light and to me, it looked like a black light. But he brought the light in that was a special light and it can tell what type of mold it was and where the mold was.
TOM: That is completely wrong. Do not call that guy back. It is completely wrong, OK? That guy was not giving you accurate information if he comes in with his magic light that supposedly tells mold.
LESLIE: Yeah, they can’t actually tell you what kind of mold unless they do a chemical test on a physical sample.
TOM: Well, it’s a mold test. They send it out to a lab and they read it, so that guy’s a snake-oil salesman.
LESLIE: Right. Right. But it’s actually holding a piece of that mold and testing it with certain things. And that’s done by a lab.
TOM: It sounds like you could use a basement renovation but I wouldn’t get too crazy over it. If it’s done by the right kind of company that can take that apart very carefully and dispose of all of that material – and maybe you don’t even want to put the walls back. Maybe you just want to leave it unfinished.
KAREN: Oh, good.[radio_anchor listorder=”6″]LESLIE: Joe in Pennsylvania is on the line with a plumbing question.
JOE: When the kids are taking a shower, what happens is you pull the tub up – you know, the drain thing? You pull it up and then what happens is when you pull that up, then they – you can take a bath and it shuts it off. Well, then when you get – they get done or whatever, to let the water out, you’ve got to push it down. Well, it doesn’t stay down and then it pops back up.
And so with – sometimes, we wet a washcloth and we’ll put it on the end of the little knob to push the thing down. And sometimes, that’ll hold it but sometimes it just pops up and then you’re stuck waiting on it for it to drain unless you sit there and hold it down with your hand.
TOM: Joe, in that type of situation, what you need to do is to disassemble the assembly of the stopper. And that usually starts by loosening the screws which hold the overflow assembly in place. Is there a metal plate on the back of the tub?
TOM: So that metal plate, usually you take that apart and you pull the assembly out and then clean it. And sometimes, you’ve got to scrub it with a toothbrush to get everything working properly again. Because it’s getting hung up and that’s why it won’t open again and drain the tub out without you holding that thing down.
You’ll often get like a calcium deposit on there from the water stains or sediment or soap scum. There’s a lot of gunk that gets in there. But if you take that apart – remember how you took it apart because you’re going to put it back together the same way – and clean it, that should solve it.
JOE: Alright. Thank you.
LESLIE: Up next, we’re going to share with you details on how you can video-chat with Tom and I, directly, this weekend. We’re going to give you a hand with all your projects in person, so stick around.
ROGER: Hi. I’m Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. If you want to grow more confident in taking care of your money pit, tune into Tom and Leslie every week for great ideas on saving money and maintaining your home.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
If you are a DIYer, Happy DIY Day. Yep, today is your day. And to help celebrate, we’ve teamed up with the folks at DIYZ mobile app, who are all about getting you the help you need for your DIY projects.
TOM: Yep. DIYZ is a very handy app that lets you video-chat with a pro advisor that’s got years of experience in their field. So you can ask questions about home repair, remodeling or craft projects or even get tips to help you plan your next big home improvement. And the best part is that, right now, the service is free for a limited time.
LESLIE: Plus, this weekend only, Tom and I are taking a shift as pro advisors for DIYZ. This Sunday, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, you’re going to be able to connect with us personally, one on one, for answers to all your home improvement, décor and remodeling questions. It really is a very special opportunity for you guys, all of our Money Pit listeners. We get to see you, you get to see us, we get to see your spaces. You can show us what you’re talking about so we can really help you. We really hope you’re going to join us.
TOM: And all you need to do is to download the free DIYZ app. You’re going to find it in the Apple App Store for iPhone and also on Google Play for Android. So get your project questions ready and then connect with us, on the app, on Sunday between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. We’re going to be able to see you and talk to you and we will work through your home improvement questions and get the job done.
You can even upload pictures of your projects for us to look at together. It’s going to be great, it’s going to be fun. So please join us Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00 on the D-I-Y-Z app. That’s DIYZ.[radio_anchor listorder=”1″]LESLIE: Amber in New Hampshire is on the line with some heating questions. How can we help you?
AMBER: Hi. I was wondering if it was worth the expense of converting an oil-heat system with baseboard heat to an electric baseboard-heating system for a three-unit apartment building.
TOM: Wow. Are you independently wealthy, Amber?
AMBER: No. No.
TOM: It’s going to be really, really expensive to heat with electric if you’re right now heating with an oil-fired hot-water boiler. Hot-water heat is clearly the best heat and it would be a tragedy for you to eliminate that.
Now, I’m guessing that – are you asking this question because you want the tenants of those apartments to pay their own electric bills and cover the heat?
AMBER: Yes. Because right now, it’s all – yeah, it’s all metered separately. Now, I have some electric, so I figured right now they’ve got the windows open and the oil heat is cranking. And they’re conscientious but I think that – it’s an older building and it’s – the oil tank is starting to show its age and will need to be replaced and then the boiler will be replaced.
TOM: Yeah, right.
AMBER: I’m thinking long-term maintenance is probably less.
TOM: Yeah. Well, I hear you but it’s going to be a lot more expensive. I wouldn’t be – in New Hampshire, I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up paying $500, $600 a month in electric bills per unit. Because it’s just very, very expensive to use electric heat.
So, I would encourage you to keep the hot-water heat. I would encourage you to make sure it’s zoned separately for each unit. If you have really old equipment, it would be worth replacing that equipment with new ENERGY STAR-rated equipment. If you’re going to have to replace the tank anyway, you do that at the same time. The efficiency today of new units compared to those that are even sometimes 10 years old, let alone those that are 20 or 30 years old, is astronomically more efficient, the new stuff that’s out there today.
So, I would never tell you to ditch the hot-water baseboard. There’s got to be a better way to solve this, in terms of people wasting your heat that you’re paying for with your hard-earned dollars. Maybe you have to control the temperature in the units and make it so they can’t change that temperature. And this way, they’ll never be opening those windows again.
There’s some imbalance there. You’ve got deal with the actual imbalance issue. But I don’t think tearing out all of that good, hot-water baseboard system and replacing with electric is the answer for you.
AMBER: Would gas – I mean would it make sense to change to gas? I don’t know.
TOM: Yeah, I would get an option with gas. Gas is more desirable than oil, so you definitely can get an option for that and compare prices. But I would never get rid of the hot water, ever.
AMBER: OK. Because someone else is talking about split-heat systems. I said, “Well, they need to have built-in air conditioning, as well, so they’re going to pop in air conditioners in their windows.”
TOM: Well, then they can pay the electric bill for the air conditioning. You can split the electric and let them pay for the air. I don’t see any reason that can’t be done.
AMBER: OK. Well, that’s true, too, and have the in-wall – I guess they call like a “split system” or something. I don’t know what that is but …
TOM: If it’s electric-powered and you have the electricity split among those apartments, then they’re paying for the air conditioning.
AMBER: Right. So right now, they put the window air conditioners in, if you know what I’m saying.
TOM: They’ve got to plug that in and they’re paying the electric bill. So, one way or the other, whether it’s a built-in unit or not, if it’s electric, they should be paying for it.
AMBER: OK, perfect. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Still ahead, is there a winter’s worth of dirt and grime on your window screens? We’re going to share DIY step-by-step advice on cleaning them, after this.
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 at 888-MONEY-PIT. You will get the answer to your home improvement question. Plus, this hour, we’re giving away some GE High-Definition LED Light Bulbs.
What’s really awesome about these bulbs is you kind of can choose your lighting options based on the feel or the mood you want in the room. So you can pick RELAX, REFRESH, REVEAL. And the GE High-Definition LED Light Bulbs are engineered for bolder colors and they really enhance the contrast of the space. Plus, they offer the long life and the energy savings that we really have come to expect from LEDs.
And Tom, I have to tell you – you know I was hoarding the incandescent bulbs for many years.
TOM: That’s right. We had to pry them out of your hands.
LESLIE: You really did. But you know what? With these GE High-Definition LED bulbs, this is truly the first time that I have replaced the bulbs in my home. I have to tell you, I actually did it and I’m really enjoying it. I love that they’re dimmable and there’s a three-way option. And the light quality is so fantastic.
So give us call, because the winner is going to get two 2-packs, 60 watts of each, for either the RELAX, REFRESH and the REVEAL. It’s a $54 value and you will be so thankful if you are the winner.
TOM: You can learn more at GELighting.com/HDLight. Going out to one caller drawn at random. Make that you. That number, again, is 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”3″]LESLIE: Now we’ve got Pam in Illinois on the line dealing with a flat roof. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.
PAM: We are having a problem finding a leak on – our roof is – we have a roof that’s flat but it has a slope to it. We have our air-conditioning units that sit up there, along with the roofing vents. We’ve used that white vinyl to seal it; it’s a rolled roofing, you know. We’ve sealed it with a white vinyl.
Around the air-conditioning units and the vents, we’ve used the black mastic tape but we can’t seem to get – to seal them. So do you have any suggestions? Something that would work?
TOM: So, do you know where the leak is?
PAM: Well, we’re thinking around the vent or the air-conditioning unit.
TOM: Have you tried to take a garden hose up there and strategically sort of flood that suspected area to see if you can cause the leak to happen?
PAM: No, we haven’t.
TOM: So that might be a good next step. Start low on the roof, because it’s sloped, and flood that area with the garden hose for 15 or 20 minutes. And then if nothing happens, move it up a few feet and a few feet and a few feet to see if you can narrow down the exact area where the leak is happening.
You’ve got a difficult situation, Pam, because first of all, rolled roofing is the weakest roofing material out there when it comes to low-sloped roofs. Secondly, you’ve got an air-conditioning compressor on the roof, probably sitting on 4x4s or something of that nature. So when the – where the air conditioner sits, as it goes on it vibrates. And so that vibration breaks down that roofing material, makes it really difficult for you to get something that’s leak-free.
If the roof was built in a different way – and by that, I mean if the rolled roofing was stripped off right down to the sheathing and the roof was built with maybe a rubberized roof or something of that nature; and there are special types of support mechanisms for air conditioners that have flashing built into them – then you wouldn’t be having this issue.
So there’s no sort – there’s no easy way to kind of make this go away. All I can really suggest is that you strategically try to find out where this leak is and then focus your tarring-application efforts right around those spaces. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy to find it but once you do, hopefully you can identify the weak link. And then, as a matter of preventative maintenance, you can get up there and then reseal it every once in a while.
TOM: Well, spring cleaning is a sure sign that warmer weather is on its way. And it’s a good time to throw open those windows. But before you do, you need to clean the screens. So here’s some step-by-step advice on how to get that job done.
LESLIE: Yeah. First, you want to remove the window screen from your window frame. Now, go ahead and lay the screen on a flat surface, like your driveway, and then you use a mild soap, some water and a soft-bristle brush. And that’s going to remove the dirt and the grime.
Now, you want to clean both sides of that window screen and around the inside and the outside of the frame. Rinse everything off with lukewarm water, if you can, and allow the screen to dry completely. Really, really let it dry before you put it back into the window.
TOM: Now, you never want to use a pressure washer to clean window screens or the windows, because the force of that water can definitely damage the screens themselves. And you want to be very, very careful when you’re cleaning aluminum mesh, because it can be dented and it can be creased if you put too much pressure on …
LESLIE: Most people are going to leave the screens inside your windows year-round. It makes sense if you’re one of those homeowners who prefer to store your screens during the winter months. That really will lessen the need for the spring-cleaning chore, so think about it next winter.
TOM: Now, when you remove your window screens in the fall, you want to make sure to store them either upright or in a flat position. And cover them with a plastic or a sheet so you keep them clean while they’re in storage. But don’t put anything on top. Don’t lean anything against them, so they stay nice and clean and in great shape and they are ready for you when the warmer weather comes around once again.
888-666-3974. We’re going to come around and answer your home improvement questions if you come around and call us at 888-MONEY-PIT.[radio_anchor listorder=”2″]LESLIE: Robert in Texas is on the line with an air-conditioning question. How can we help you?
ROBERT: I had something in my local home show this past weekend. And I went and it’s called an “arctic blast.” I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. It’s installed in your air-conditioning system and it supposedly will reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner, drop it by about 5 degrees?
ROBERT: And then the efficiency about 21 percent. There’s local companies offering to do it. You just inject it into the – like the Freon. It’s installed that way. I’m just wondering if it’s worth it. I have an oil system and I’d like to increase the life of it and if I can get 5 degrees more, that’d be a pretty good deal with the 21-percent increase – decrease – in the demand.
TOM: How old is your system now?
ROBERT: It’s about 15 years old.
TOM: Yeah. It’s at the end of a normal life cycle. And this is a refrigerant that they’re claiming is going to improve its efficiency?
ROBERT: Yeah. It’s called an “arctic blast”? And it offers environmentally friendly process that greatly improves the efficiency of R22, R134 and R410.
TOM: How much is this process going to cost you?
ROBERT: About 575.
TOM: Yeah, that’s a lot of money. It’s going to take you a long time to make that back. I really – I would be very hesitant to do that. I think that if that system is working, if it’s properly tuned up, it has the right level of refrigerant in it, it’s going to work well until it doesn’t, OK? It’s what I’m trying to say here.
TOM: It’s going to work until it stops working. And changing the refrigerant, I don’t think, is going to make that big of a deal. So I wouldn’t mess with it. I would keep using it as it is until it breathes its last breath of cold air and then you replace it. That’s just the best way to do that.
ROBERT: Yeah, that’s what I was wondering. Because I thought, “Well, if I can get a few more years out of it rather than having to buy a whole new unit.” I’d never heard of this (inaudible at 0:32:38).
TOM: And maybe you can. Maybe you can. But putting that additive in there, I don’t think it’s going to make a hill of beans of difference.
ROBERT: OK. Well, that’s the reason I listen to you every week on Saturdays. And I value your opinion, so I wanted to see what you had to say about it. And I really appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, do you ever wish that you had more closet space? I mean who doesn’t? Or are you even just wishing you had a closet? Well, we’re going to tell you how to create a closet where none existed before, after this.
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: Now, you can call us at 888-MONEY-PIT. But this Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00, in celebration of National DIY Day, we have teamed up with the folks at the DIYZ app.
Here’s how it works. Download the DIYZ app at the Apple Store or on Google Play, depending on what kind of device you’ve got. Then you can video-chat with a pro advisor. And on Sunday, from 1:00 to 5:00, guess what? Those pro advisors will be us.
TOM: That’s right: Leslie and I, taking a shift as DIYZ pro advisors. We’ll be able to talk one on one. We’ll be able to look at your house, see what’s going on, get you the solution you need. But you’ve got to help yourself, first, by downloading the app and then logging in from 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday. There is no cost. It’s all totally free for a limited time. We are so excited to be able to see you and see what’s going on in your house and solve that project, get you going once again.
LESLIE: Alright. Well, Lindsay posted a question online and here is her question. She writes: “We do not have a closet in our bedroom. I want to build one but I’m wondering how large it should be. Any rule of thumb for figuring it out?”
Well, you still need to fit your bed and your dresser in the room, so …
TOM: Yeah. But other than that, it can’t be too big, right? You’re always going to fill that up.
And in older homes, Leslie, as you know, it’s not unusual to come across bedrooms without closets. That’s why armoires exist, right?
LESLIE: Or the smallest closets you’ve ever seen in your life.
TOM: Yeah. Well, that’s if you live in New York City.
But I tell you what, even in homes with added wardrobes and armoires, closets are really never a bad idea, especially from a resale standpoint. So in terms of size, again, I’ve never heard anyone complain about a closet that’s really too big. But you want to balance your storage needs with the amount of square footage in your room that you’re going to lose. They do add value but not if they reduce your bedroom to the size of a postage stamp, right?
LESLIE: That is true. You really want to make sure that you have practical storage but still practical living space. Start by taping out the area that you’re considering the closet and see if you can still move around.
TOM: Well, technology is made for lots of new smart-home innovations. And studies are showing that women are leading the charge. Leslie has got the details, in this week’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: Yeah. Every trend, you know, starts with early adopters of that trend. And those are the people who are willing to roll the dice, give it a go before a lot of people have tried it and tested it and told us where the mistakes are and how to not make those mistakes.
Well, it turns out that women under 35 are the group most interested in bringing innovative technology through the front door and into their homes. Now, these female homeowners admit that smart-home technology is expensive. But they see that these upfront costs are really worthwhile, because the money smart-home technology will ultimately save them in the long run.
Now, that doesn’t mean millennial women are living in smart homes just yet. Most of this cutting-edge technology, like security cameras and programmable windows, are still largely out of reach for this group. But their interest really could spark new innovations developed clearly with these forward-thinking female homeowners in mind and then really designing those products for them.
So, it’s these ladies who are thinking and really want these cool products that are going to make those innovations happen.
TOM: I knew that.
LESLIE: You know. Us girls. We get it done.
This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. Hey, coming up next week on the program, we will be on the road broadcasting from Providence, Rhode Island. That is the center of JLC LIVE. It’s actually one of the biggest trade shows for pros. It’s a real cool show to go to. We’re going to check out all the newest products for remodeling your home. And we’ll be broadcasting from the booth of one of those cool, new products on the market. It’s called Tando. They make beautiful composite siding. We will be there next week.
But remember, this weekend, on Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00, you can connect with us for one-on-one video-chat advice about your home improvement, your remodeling or your décor project through the DIYZ app. So download it now, for free, at the Apple Store or Google Play stores. And then connect with us on the DIYZ app from 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday.
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.)