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 summer day? If it’s your house, you are in exactly the right place because we are, as well. In fact, our work is helping you with your work. So, if there’s a design project on your to-do list, a repair, a remodel, you’re planning for the future, maybe you’re already starting to scope out projects that you can do this fall, we would love to talk with you about that and help you figure out the best way to get it done once, get it done right and not have to get it done ever again.
LESLIE: That’s the best plan.
TOM: Exactly. By calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Coming up on today’s show, if you’ve been roasting this summer and you’re ready to buy a bigger and better air conditioner to keep cool, you may be surprised to learn that bigger is not always better for your comfort. We’ll have tips on how to pick the best A/C for your home, in just a bit.
LESLIE: Plus, do summertime allergies have you hacking and sneezing even on the sunniest of days? We’re going to share five things that you can do inside your home to breathe easy all summer long.
TOM: And if you’ve got four-legged family members, like us, we’ve got tips on how you can make your yard more pet-friendly and safe for your pooch.
LESLIE: And don’t let bugs get the best of your garden this summer. We’re giving away a supply of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew from Bonide. This ready-to-spray product is all-natural. It’s an insecticide that you can use on veggies, ornamentals and many other plants.
TOM: That package is worth 50 bucks. Going out to one caller drawn at random. So, make that you. Call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Margaret in Wisconsin, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
MARGARET: Well, I have a problem with my concrete slab in the back of my house, where I’d like to put a patio set.
MARGARET: And it’s turned dark.
MARGARET: The sun does not get at it that much. It’s not a mold but it just turned dark.
TOM: Yeah. Well, it might be an algae or a mildew, maybe mold. You don’t know. But what I would suggest you do is to pick up a product called Spray & Forget. That’s their website, too: SprayAndForget.com. It’s sold at major retailers, like Home Depot and others. And you simply apply the product and within a couple of days, you’ll see that the patio will start to lighten. And it takes those stains away. It goes to work with the moisture in the air and the sunlight. It activates and then kills mold, moss, mildew and algae.
MARGARET: Oh, great, great. Because it looks terrible.
TOM: Yeah. I think it’ll look a lot better, Margaret, OK?
MARGARET: Well, thank you.
TOM: Good luck with that project.
LESLIE: Doug in Rhode Island is on the line and has a question about a water heater. What can we do for you?
DOUG: I’m considering changing the anode rod in my natural-gas water heater because I’m told that it’s necessary to change. Now, it’s a 12-year heater – a water heater. So, is this something I definitely need to do?
TOM: Are you having any issues with odor in the hot water? Does it smell like sulfur or rotten eggs?
TOM: Then I say no. Don’t do it.
It’s really hard to do this project because sometimes, the anode rods get really locked in. The bolt on top that you have to take out to get to them and pull it out is – gets really corrosive. So it’s a hard project to do. You may damage the water heater in the process. It’s already made it to 12 years. So, I mean you’re not going to expect to have a lot more years out of it anyway. And I don’t – I wouldn’t recommend putting any money into a 12-year-old water heater.
DOUG: Yeah. I was reading something where it is a little difficult to get it out.
TOM: Yeah, it is. That’s why I say when your water heater’s just getting up in age, it’s probably not worth it.
DOUG: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome, sir. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Susan in California is on the line and needs some help with a driveway makeover. What’s going on at your money pit?
SUSAN: I’m so glad you said the money pit, because that’s exactly what it is. And now it’s the driveway, about 1,200 square feet. And it’s been – it’s about 38 years old and it needs something else done. And I really don’t want to resurface it with blacktop. What are my options?
TOM: So it’s an asphalt driveway now? That’s what you’re starting with?
SUSAN: Yes, yes.
TOM: Yeah. Listen, I’ve got news for you, Susan: a 38-year-old roadway needs to be replaced. And that’s exactly what you have. Whether it’s a road that goes down the street or a road that’s a highway, nothing lasts 38 years. And if you’ve gotten 38 years out of that driveway, it’s time for a new one. And sure, you can keep slapping sealer on it and patching the cracks and all of that but at that age, it’s got to go.
SUSAN: What’s the best way? Do they just remove the whole thing and then start from scratch? Or what’s the best way to go?
TOM: I think that’s the best way. In most cases, that’s the best way. You can resurface it. But if you want to make sure that the base is really solid, you would take off the old. They would put a new base down, they would compact it with machines so it’s really, really solid and then they would apply new asphalt on top of that.
I would make sure I got a specification as to exactly how many inches of this material they’re going to put down so that you can compare apples to apples when you’re looking at different contractors. But I think that’s going to be your best solution.
SUSAN: OK. Well, thank you so much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Susan. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: As we’re quickly approaching the July 4th holiday, what are you working on at your money pit to get your house ready for maybe some festivities and celebrating? We’re here to give a hand. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the right pro for any kind of home project, whether it’s a small repair or a major remodel.
TOM: Up next, do the hot days ahead have you planning to buy a new room air conditioner? Well, we’re going to share a (inaudible) mistake that can leave your home feeling damp and musty instead of cool and comfortable, after this.
Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Hey, what are you working on? If it’s a new kitchen, a new bathroom, perhaps some new flooring, give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor can help you get those projects done by instantly matching you with the right pro for the job, for free.
So, Leslie, I guess July 4th is right around the corner here. It’s coming up pretty soon.
LESLIE: It sure is.
TOM: And I was up in the attic the other day taking a look at my Christmas lights. Now, you might think, “Why would I be doing that?” It occurred to me that I had gotten these fancy, new, LED AppLights for Christmas, right, because I was ready to upgrade all my lights? And I looked at the app and aside from all the Christmas sort of stuff around it, I thought, “Wait a minute. I can set these to red, white and blue.” So, I’m going to put them out on my fence.
LESLIE: Oh, that’s super fun.
TOM: And you can program them for any color scheme you want. So if you want to make them orange and black for Halloween, you could do that. Or if you want to make them red, white and blue for the 4th of July, perfect. We had a graduation party for my daughter, who graduated from JMU – James Madison University – in Virginia. Their color is sort of a purple, so we had purple lights for the party.
But it was kind of fun, AppLights. And I really enjoyed them this past holiday season. And we’ve been finding lots of uses for them now since. So, 4th of July, red, white and blue it is.
LESLIE: And you know what? It’s kind of the best for the people who never ever want to take their holiday décor down. Now you kind of don’t have to.
TOM: That’s right. There’s a real excuse.
LESLIE: Because you can just make it year-round.
TOM: Exactly. There’s a reason that you left it up year-round. Oh, my goodness.
LESLIE: I love it.
TOM: And hey, if you’re a gardener, there’s another great reason to call us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT. Because we’re going to help you beat back those summer bugs that might be invading your green space.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. We’ve got a supply of Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. I mean you’ve got to love it. It sounds really pirate-y, so you know it’s got to be effective. But really, guys, it’s an all-natural insecticide for use on veggies, ornamentals and a ton of other plants. It’s ready to spray, so you don’t have to mix it. You just hook it to your garden hose and turn it on and it automatically mixes at the correct rate.
And it’s easily going to control those chewing insects, such as bagworms, tomato hornworm, tent caterpillars, gypsy moths and so many others that are giving me the heebie-jeebies right now, which I know are crawling around in our yard and garden. But they don’t have to be.
The ready-to-spray product retails for 29.99 but we’re throwing in a pint of the concentrate, too. So this package is worth almost 50 bucks. You can learn more about both at Bonide.com – B-o-n-i-d-e.com.
TOM: And that Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew is going out to one listener drawn at random. Make that you. Pick up the phone and call us, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Michael in Tennessee is on the line with a shower question. What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: You just had a previous broadcast and there’s a gentleman that called in and had a fiberglass shower stall that was giving away under his feet. And I think the determination was that it hadn’t been installed properly.
So, in the process – we’re building a house now and have a couple of those fiberglass shower stalls. And I know that they haven’t been put on any kind of mortar bed or anything. So I was curious if it’s – if you can use an expanding foam spray to sort of help support that bottom or is that sort of not a good thing? Or is there another product that can be used if it wasn’t installed on a bed already?
TOM: Yeah. I’ve heard of that being done that way. People use products like GREAT STUFF to go in from the bottom and drill holes in the floor and fill that space up. The thing is you’ve got to really do it really carefully, because you want it to be able to expand back into the area you don’t care about. Because if it expands upward, it’s going to crack the shower pan. So it’s got to be done really carefully.
Let’s say you’re working on a second floor and you can get underneath it or if, let’s say, there’s a crawlspace and you get underneath it and you apply it from there and just kind of watch the expansion and let it drip down towards that unfinished side. I think you could get some decent support in there by doing it that way.
MICHAEL: OK. Great. Appreciate the help.
TOM: Make sure you let it dry, though, before you use that tub, alright? Because we don’t want to squish it out.
MICHAEL: Yeah. Very good. I enjoy listening to you guys. Thanks a bunch.
TOM: Well, thank you very much.
LESLIE: Sharon in Ohio is on the line with a sump-pump question. How can we help you?
SHARON: We have an issue with our furnace. It seems to be pulling sewer gas from our sump pump, because that’s where it drains into. And we can’t figure out how to solve the issue. Temporary solution is to pour water in the sump pump. But then about three or four days later, we turn the furnace on and it draws the sewage-gas/air again.
TOM: Well, let’s talk about this. So, first of all, what water from the furnace is being drained into the sump pump? Are you talking about the condensate line from the air-conditioning system?
SHARON: Yes, sir.
TOM: Is there a return duct in the basement area where this is or in the room where this is? Or do you think it’s coming in through the drainpipe?
SHARON: We think it’s coming in from the sump pump. And it’s a wintertime issue, because it happens when we turn the furnace on.
TOM: Well, if you think it’s because it’s reversing – it’s pulling whatever soil gas is causing this unpleasant odor – if you think it’s coming in because of the drain line, there’s a really simple solution: put a trap in it. So, if the drain line has a P-trap, kind of the same kind of that sort of U-shape pipe that’s underneath a bathroom sink, then that pipe will stay filled with water and will not allow any gases, any air to back up through it and get into the furnace.
SHARON: That’s not built into the furnace already?
TOM: Not always. It depends on the workmanship of the installer. But no, you would see it on the outside. If you don’t see a P-trap, it doesn’t have one.
The other thing that could be causing this – and sometimes this happens – is occasionally – and I don’t want to freak you out but occasionally, you’ll get a rodent that will die inside of a return duct. And if that happens, yeah, the stink can go on for quite a while. But I would take a look at that drain line and if it doesn’t have a trap in it, do that. And make sure it’s filled with water when you start, if it’s the winter, because it won’t be. And I think you won’t find any more air gets through that pipe.
Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re planning to buy a room air conditioner this summer, one of the most important considerations is the size of the unit. But contrary to what you might think, bigger is not better.
TOM: Yeah, that’s right. And here’s why: a unit with too much cooling capacity can actually waste energy and one that’s small is not going to do a very good job of keeping you comfortable. Plus, there is something else that very few people understand and that’s that an oversize unit will quickly cool the air, which is good, right? But it doesn’t run long enough to dehumidify your home, which is bad. So what happens is it ends up being a very damp and musty feeling instead of cool and comfortable. So, going too big is not a good idea.
LESLIE: Yeah. Now, determining the best size air conditioner for your room actually depends on a number of factors, including the type of air-conditioner unit that you plan to install, the size of the room that you need to install it in and the size of the window. All of these things are going to help you figure out which A/C to get.
TOM: Yeah. And most manufacturers offer calculators that can step you through the most important considerations and kind of deliver the right recommendation. But also, if you’ve got the choice, remember you always want to install a room air conditioner on the shady side of the room. So if you’ve got one side of the room that is in more shade than the other, that’s where the A/C should go. Because if you keep it out of direct sun, it’s going to make it run much more efficiently.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Because you’re right: it doesn’t need to be in the sun.
TOM: If you’re having trouble keeping your cool because a project’s not going well, give us a call right now. We are here to help at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Ken in Texas, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you?
KEN: We had a contractor rebuild a little cottage. The upstairs is 790 foot and then the bottom is a garage. And we might make up with it in another bedroom. But we were debating on whether to put in the ductless mini-split system or they mentioned this high-velocity, little 3-inch vent system. But I think I’m pretty much going to go with the ductless mini-split.
TOM: Yeah. The high-velocity systems are good for – especially for older houses where it’s hard to run ductwork. But I found that they’re pretty expensive, especially in a small project like that. I think a ductless mini-split will work fine and you can get one that both heats and cools.
Now, how many rooms are in this 700-square-foot cottage?
KEN: Well, it’s like 795 upstairs. But what I was figuring on is going with the 48,000 BTU and then go – or 4,800, excuse me. And then do two 18 where we’re going to live at, 18 upstairs and one 12,000 downstairs. Does that sound right?
TOM: Well, there’s a heat-loss calculation that you can do and your HVAC contractor should do for you. But my – the reason I asked you about how many rooms is you just want to make sure that the A/C can get to all the rooms, because split-ductless means it’s one point.
KEN: It’s one great, big room upstairs: you know, one open room upstairs. And I was going to put one on each end.
LESLIE: I think you’re best to consult with an HVAC pro. You have to also keep in mind that each of the split systems – the one piece that’s on the inside goes to its own individual condensing unit on the exterior. Now, there are commercial-grade split systems that I’ve used on episodes of Hotel Impossible that contain multiple interior units that go to one condensing unit. So, speaking with a pro, they might be able to give you a better idea of which options would work well to minimize the amount of units on the exterior and maximize the amount of cooling.
TOM: Ken, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Gail on the line who has a question about her oven. What’s going on?
GAIL: Yes. I have a stove that – it’s an electric stove. And it’s about five to six years old. But it’s a self-cleaning oven. And right after I received it, it seems as though there’s – in between the glass on the door, it doesn’t clean that when I use the automatic cleaner. And I just wondered how I clean in between the glass on the oven door.
TOM: That’s a tough space to clean. And I agree. I don’t think you can. I think what you have to do is take it apart. And that can be done. The door has to be disassembled. And so, it depends on how comfortable you feel about taking that project on. It’s not sealed glass, in the sense of a double-pane window. It’s really two pieces of glass. And sometimes, because of heat and humidity and steam, it gets in there and it discolors. But you have to disassemble that door if you really want to get it clean. So it’s obviously not the kind of thing you want to do every time you clean your oven.
GAIL: No. And I noticed that it looks like they’re Phillips-head screws at the bottom part of the door. But the top part, it doesn’t look like – it’s not a regular screw. It’s just – it’s something that – it doesn’t fit a screwdriver. So I don’t know if that bottom part – and I’m afraid that once I get that undone, I’m not going to be able to get it back.
TOM: Yeah. Get it back together again. No, I hear you, I hear you. I know that there are some great videos online of people doing this. I’ve seen then. And so you could take a look at YouTube. But the process is going to be to disassemble that door.
Now, it’s going to come apart one way or the other. The types of fasteners you’re describing may be the type of fastener that needs a specialized – not a screwdriver but like a nut-driver or something of that nature or like an Allen wrench or something like that. But it will eventually come apart. You’re just going to have to figure out how to do that. But if you’re not comfortable with that process, if you’re not really mechanical and are afraid to get into that because you might not be able to fix it, then I think you should just kind of learn to live with it, unfortunately.
GAIL: Now, is this true of all brands? Does it matter which brand it is? Do they all have to be – does it happen to them all? Or have you heard …?
TOM: Some may be better than others. But if it’s happened to you, then it doesn’t really matter if it’s happened to anybody else, because you don’t want to have to replace that oven. You really just want to make sure you can get it clean. So, that’s what you need to do.
GAIL: Yes. OK. Alright. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Just ahead, do summertime allergies have you hacking and sneezing even on the sunniest of days? I know my family and I suffer all year long and this year has been terrible. We’re going to share some tips to help you breathe easy all this summer, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Well, when it was cold just a few months back, all most of us could think about was the warmer weather ahead. But for allergy sufferers, all you can think about now is make it stop.
LESLIE: It’s true. Well, there are some things that you can do to reduce the effects of the allergies and improve the air quality inside your home. With us to talk about that is Dan DiClerico, the expert with HomeAdvisor.
DAN: Hey, it’s great to be here.
LESLIE: So, Dan, I have been sneezing and coughing and my face is hurting. It’s like the worst time of year already for allergies.
DAN: 2018, like last year, is shaping up to be a doozy for allergy sufferers, unfortunately. I’m in the Northeast. We’re having a little bit of a delayed reaction here due to the harsh winter but yeah, across the country, people are really getting hit hard.
TOM: And you can see it coming, because you go out in the morning and your car is literally covered with pollen. Like you just know. And that’s what’s landing on the car; you can only imagine what’s landing in your lungs.
DAN: The focus tends to be on the outdoors, the tree pollen, the ragweed. And certainly, those are major concerns for allergy sufferers. But the indoor pollution, it can be two to five times more polluted inside. Combine that with the fact that we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors and you can see why it’s so important to take measures inside your home to minimize the effects of all those airborne allergens.
TOM: Alright. So let’s start there. The first tip you have is vacuum regularly. Obviously, that’s a good idea but the kind of vacuum you have makes a difference, doesn’t it? Because sometimes, if you don’t have the right vacuum it just shoots it out the back end.
DAN: Absolutely. It starts with a quality vacuum. Look for that HEPA filter. I mean it’s really going to make a difference in terms of capturing and keeping those allergens inside the vacuum bag, as you say. So many vacuums have really terrible emissions and yeah, you really – you may be picking up large particulates in the home but you’re not getting those airborne allergens.
So, vacuuming regularly is really the first and in many ways, the most important line of defense, especially if you have a lot of carpet or if there are pets at home. You need to be pulling that vacuum out at least once a week. And I say at least a few times a week may be necessary this time of year.
LESLIE: Is that ideal, the once a week? Because I’m telling you, between my kids and my pets and the allergies, if I could vacuum maybe five times a day I would.
DAN: No, certainly. And yeah, it is a little bit of a case-by-case scenario. But at least once a week. In those high-traffic areas, it’s not overkill to be vacuuming two and three times a week, certainly. It’s not just one and done, you know? You’ve got to go over that same spot, manufacturers recommend, five or six times.
TOM: And you mentioned, so important, if you have a lot of carpet. But if you are an allergy sufferer, having not so much carpet is a good thing. You’re probably better off with hardwood floors and laminate floors and tile floors, because they’re not going to have that filter effect of being able to hold all of those pollutants in.
DAN: No, absolutely. I think that’s a factor. We’ve seen a real move away from carpet over the last decade. The kind of wall-to-wall carpet that used to be popular has really given way to hardwood. And I do think that’s part of it. As allergy suffering has increased, I think more and more people are taking that into consideration and going to hardwood or some other hard surface.
LESLIE: Now, what about the HVAC system? I feel like that’s the obvious place to start because it circulates all the air in your house which, obviously, if it’s dusty or allergen-filled, is going to be terrible for you. But I think a lot of people don’t know where to start and some people don’t realize that there’s filters in the system at all and that you have to change them. So, if we don’t know anything about the HVAC system, where do we start with that?
DAN: Sure, yeah. Forced air. So, whether for heating or cooling, as you note there, it’s really important to maintain those filters. We really strongly recommend having the system serviced professionally at least once a year. You’re in for a couple hundred dollars, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide but it is money really well spent.
First of all, they’re going to take care of the filter for you. And you’re right to say, though, a lot of people don’t realize there’s a filter in there and that it needs to be changed several times throughout the year. So, a good professional coming in and servicing the entire system, that is money really well spent, especially at the start of the season here.
And then it’s (inaudible) incumbent upon the homeowner to change those filters. We recommend at least once a month during the high season when that – the heating or cooling system, when it’s cranking all day every day. It is important to change those filters.
TOM: We’re talking to Dan DiClerico. He is the home expert with HomeAdvisor.com.
So, Dan, speaking of the HVAC system, we also know that we need to cut the humidity. So it’s important to keep our home’s humidity at that 30- to 50-percent level. And of course, you can do that with a dehumidifier, if you have a high moisture in your house and you want to avoid those damp basements. But you can also harbor a lot of allergens, especially if they’ve got carpet. That’s the worst possible combination, right: moist basement and carpet. Not only are you holding the allergens there but you’re feeding them with the moisture.
But I want to talk to you about your bed, because this is an area that people don’t think about: safeguarding your bed. The thought of being able to sleep with these dust mites and these allergens all around you is pretty gross. But there are some simple ways that you can protect yourself in that space, right?
DAN: (inaudible) Encase your mattress in an allergen-proof cover. That is step number one. The mattress, as well as the box spring and even the pillows, putting those covers on is really going to go far to preventing those allergens.
Now is a great time of year to give the mattress a really deep clean. Strip it bare, sprinkle it with baking soda. You can be pretty liberal here. Pour a half-a-box of baking soda on it. Ideally, leave it overnight and then come back the next day and vacuum up that baking soda. It’s going to kill all those allergens. It’s also going to leave the mattress smelling fresh. So, those are two important things you can do, especially this time of year as allergy season really gets underway.
Also take the time to wash your bedding on the hottest setting. Maybe you’re, hopefully, washing it regularly. But take a chance to make sure you really crank up the heat on the water there to kill all those allergens.
LESLIE: And speaking of water, I think people forget that when you have, say, leaky pipes or water dripping in places, that tends to grow mold and mildew. And that’s a big allergen for a lot of people.
DAN: It really is, yeah. We know that about 10 percent of homes have leaks that are wasting 90 gallons or more a day. So, these leaks are real: pipes, toilets, those sorts of things. And yes, absolutely they’re going to – if left unchecked, they’re going to lead to rotting wood and mold and mildew and other things that can not only cause a lot of allergies but can also kind of wreak havoc on the structure of your home. So, very important to treat those leaks.
TOM: Great advice on how to protect yourself from allergies this spring. Dan DiClerico, the home expert with HomeAdvisor.
Thank you so much, Dan, for stopping by The Money Pit.
DAN: Thanks, guys.
TOM: And for more information on HomeAdvisor, check out their website, HomeAdvisor.com, where you can find a contractor for pretty much any home improvement project, just like I’ve done many times this past year. So, great service, great site. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Dan DiClerico from HomeAdvisor, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
Just ahead, if you’ve got four-legged family members like us, is your yard play-ready for that furry friend? We’re going to have tips to help you create a safe and durable play space for your pets, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: And we are here for one reason and that’s to help you take on your home improvement projects. Whether it’s a do-it-yourself or a project you’re going to get a pro to help with, give us a call right now. We’ll talk you through the best way to get that done, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor, the fast and easy way to find the best home service pros in your area. You can read reviews, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.
LESLIE: Marge in New Jersey is on the line with a kitchen question. How can we help you today?
MARGE: I have a carousel in the kitchen for the kitchen cabinets. And the shelf – the top one is dropped a lot. And I can’t figure out how to go about to secure it or – how in the world do you repair something like that?
TOM: So is this sort of like what we would call a Lazy Susan? Like sits inside of a cabinet and spins around?
MARGE: Yes. And holds the pots and pans.
TOM: They take a lot of wear and tear don’t they, Marge, I mean over all those years?
MARGE: Sure. And does it have to be replaced or can it be repaired?
TOM: Well, it depends. The first thing you need to do is clean that cabinet out and take the existing carousel apart.
Now, if the mechanism itself – like the ball bearings have fallen apart – there’s a bracket between the carousel and the bottom of the cabinet that has two plates on them and they spin on ball bearings. If that access has broken down – which it could over many years – that has to be replaced. And the thing is that those parts are all available, especially for those old cabinets. You can usually find them online if you research them. And essentially, what has to happen here is you’ve got to take that whole thing apart and then rebuild it.
Now, this might be a job for a carpenter or a cabinet maker or somebody that’s just handy enough to be able to tackle this. But I find – and I look at something like this, that cabinetry will speak to me. It will tell me how it went in and what has to be done to take it apart. If you look at it very carefully, you can usually figure it out, because somebody put it in to begin with and there’s got to be a way to disassemble it. Does that make sense?
MARGE: Yes, that does. Now, since there are two levels – one on the bottom and one on the top – the ball bearings would be in the bottom level? So that if I start unscrewing everything, where would I find them? Does it make a difference if it’s a two-shelver? There’s one shelf way on the bottom, then there’s a space and then you have another shelf.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right. I don’t think it makes a difference because I think it’s all part of the same assembly. And the ball bearings are going to be on the bottom, not the top. The top, it may have an access point, like an axle. But the spin is going to be under where all the weight is, OK? So that’s a side of it.
Does this carousel still move or is it too stiff?
MARGE: No, it still moves.
TOM: It still moves. What part of it is broken, Marge?
MARGE: The actual shelf itself. The top shelf appears to have dropped about 8 inches.
TOM: Alright. So here’s what I would do. If it was just the top shelf that dropped, I would look for a way to repair that top shelf. And I can’t tell you exactly how to do it but probably figure out a creative way. If that’s dropped down – if it’s sitting like on a center column, then you have to get something up underneath that to support it.
MARGE: OK. Alright. So that’s what I’ll do.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re a pet owner, you might be surprised to learn how often yards can be unsafe for your pets to play in. But creating a safe, dog-friendly space for your pet is easier than you think. The first step is you’ve got to map out your yard with your dog in mind.
TOM: Yeah. Features like soft foliage, sturdy turf grass, smooth stones and dog toys can definitely help your pet feel at home. You might also think about adding a water station so your pet can hydrate after some time playing or even maybe a fun water feature that can help the pooch cool off when it’s hot. All great ideas and we’ve got a complete list on how to make your yard pet-friendly, on MoneyPit.com.
LESLIE: Anna in Illinois is on the line with a question about a porch. How can we help you today?
ANNA: Well, I have this problem. This porch is closed in even on the north side. But the north side of it is not finished. And recently, I have had this moldy, musty smell in it.
Now, yesterday it was nice. I opened the windows and you couldn’t smell it or when I had the dehumidifier on. But if I have neither, I can smell that musty smell. And my question is this. I’ve taken off the old insulation that was in there. And do I need to do anything to the porch, to the wood, before I put the new insulation in it? And would that help?
TOM: OK. So first of all, this is a porch, so it’s not a heated space. Is that correct?
TOM: Why are you insulating it if it’s not a heated space?
ANNA: I just thought maybe that would help the moisture or this damp-y smell.
TOM: No, not at all. In fact, it will make it worse. You want to – you basically want to let this dry out as easily as possible. Look, anything that’s outside, Anna, is always going to be damp, just because of the nature of it. But I don’t think you want to close this in, add insulation or anything like that. That’s just going to hold moisture and it has absolutely zero benefit as insulation, because you’re not trying to keep the heat on one side and the cold on the other.
So I would definitely pull that insulation out, Anna. And I would air out those spaces. And what I would also do is I would spray those walls with a good-quality cleaner, like Spray & Forget. That will take care of mold, mildew, algae, even dirt that forms on those walls and take that out of the equation, as well. So, pull the insulation out, spray them down and then let them air out and I think that will solve it.
Anna, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Just ahead, are you new to the fantastic world of home ownership? Well, then very shortly, you’ll probably also be new to the fantastic world of home improvement. We’re going to have some tips to help you get started on your very first project – believe me, there’ll be more down the road – after this.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Give us a call with your home improvement or décor project at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. You can find out what it costs to do home projects before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.
LESLIE: Alright. And you’ve got two pros right here, now, willing to give you a hand with whatever it is you are working on. So post your question in the Community section, just like James in Texas did who writes: “I’m considering buying a home with textured walls. It looks like plaster was blown on. How hard is it going to be to smooth that out?”
TOM: You know, really, really, really hard, James. Because that – those textured walls are …
LESLIE: Not easy.
TOM: Yeah, they were popular at one period of time but most people want to get rid of it. And the problem is that drywall itself is made of plaster with a paper surface. And it’s not possible to get that spray-plastered finish off the paper without damaging it. So, the best thing for you to do is to think about ways that you might cover it.
You could use a paneling. There’s a lot of beautiful wood panels today that are really nice and very trendy, frankly. And secondly, you might consider putting another layer of drywall on top of it. You can use thinner drywall, like 3/8-inch-thick drywall, and then put it over those walls to kind of hide in that textured surface. You’re going to have to adjust the depth of the light switches and the trim around doors and things like that. So it is a bit of work but it’s a lot easier than trying to take that plaster off. Or of course, you could always tear the walls out if you really, really hate it and then just start from scratch with the drywall.
LESLIE: I think what Tom is really saying is it’s not easy.
LESLIE: So, if you don’t love it, there are ways to get rid of it. A lot of people don’t like it. Sadly, it was popular for so long. So, really, James, what you’re figuring out is how much you hate it and how you want to get rid of it.
TOM: Well, summer is the season when lots of home buying happens for millions of Americans. And that means being a first-time homeowner. But if that’s you, what do you need to know that us seasoned money-pitters already do? Leslie has got the lowdown, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.
LESLIE: That’s right, guys. Congratulations. You are now a proud owner of your very first home. Well, now what? It’s kind of like a baby. A home, you’ve got to care for it, you’ve got to love it. And quite frankly, nobody gives you directions on what to do with it once you’re in there. So, that’s what we’re here for.
You know, as a first-time homeowner, it’s your job to maintain your home year-round. So the first thing you want to do is invest in the tools you’re going to need to do that. A basic toolbox should include a hammer, some screwdrivers, a pry bar, level and an adjustable wrench. Now, you can also add power tools later, including a drill and a circ saw.
Now, understanding the basics of your home’s mechanical systems is a must. So you have to make sure that you know where the water main is and how to shut it off should there be an emergency. And you want to get acquainted with the fuse or the breaker box. Know where it is, know what controls what. Keep a flashlight nearby in case the power goes out so you know how to get to it.
Now, remember, also, that home ownership puts you in charge of covering all of the utilities. If the initial months in your new home have given you sticker shock over the cost of power and water, take some steps to manage your energy dollars from usage to actually how you use that.
Now, finally, even if you’re in a brand-new home that’s under a warranty, it’s wise to have a contingency fund to cushion those curveballs that life can throw at a homeowner. Because, believe me, they do happen.
If you want some more great tips, just Google “Money Pit first-time homeowner tips.” We’re going to give you lots of hands and lots of advice there.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Coming up next time on the program, kitchen counters. They serve as the work surface for family life. I mean if you think about it, it’s where you fix your food, you eat meals and maybe even end up paying bills from them. But updating that top is a great project and one of the easiest ways to step up your entire kitchen design without spending a fortune. We’ll tell you how to choose the best materials to do just that, on the very 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.
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