How to Stop Drafts Cold!

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 on this beautiful first weekend of fall? If it’s your house, you’re in exactly the right place because we’re here to help you get those projects done. We say house; it could be home, it could be condo, it could be apartment, it could be a yurt. Wherever you call “home,” we’re here to help you with projects to make it very comfortable, energy-efficient and just fun to live in. But help yourself first: call us at 888-MONEY-PIT or post your question to The Money Pit’s Community page at

Well, now that the heating season has arrived or is about to arrive, it’s a good time to think about how to stop the one thing that makes us reach for that thermostat more than we should. And that’s those chilly drafts. We’re going to have some tips on how to track down and seal off virtually every draft in your house, just ahead.

LESLIE: And there’s been a huge surge in the availability of floors that are both beautiful and durable, giving us options to have hardwood-styled floors in places we never thought possible, like bathrooms where they just get soaking wet. We’re going to sort through the new options for your home, in just a bit.

TOM: And now for today’s public service announcement. We want to remind you to measure twice, cut once and always keep the right kind of fire extinguisher handy. You know, we’ve said it’s heating season and that means there’s going to be more fires. But if you don’t have the right kind of extinguisher standing by, you could get yourself in some pretty serious trouble. So we’re going to tell you how to pick the right one for your home, just ahead.

LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you. What are you working on this very first weekend of fall? Post your question to The Money Pit Community page at or give us a call, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT.

TOM: And 888-MONEY-PIT is 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. And whether you’re working on a project, little or big, we’d love to chat with you, right now, 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?

LESLIE: Tracy in New York is on the line with a gutter question. How can we help you with this project?

TRACY: I’m thinking about getting gutters put on my house but I’m not sure what I need to know and what I should ask when I have the contractors come over to do the quote.

TOM: Alright. So you have no gutters right now?

TRACY: That’s correct.

TOM: OK. So, here’s a couple things to think about. First of all, what you want are seamless gutters. So the way they’re made is the contractors come out and the gutter material is actually in a sheet stock and it’s on a roll of metal. And they run it through a forming machine that actually creates the shape of the gutter. And this way, they can make the gutters the exact length that you need for the different sections of your house.

Now, the number of spouts that you put into the gutter is important, because you don’t have – you want to have less than 600-800 square feet of roof surface per spout or the gutters will back up and get overwhelmed. So pay attention to that.

Also, think about where the downspouts come down. You don’t want them dumping water right at the corner of the foundation, because that will collect there and it can soak in. It can weaken the foundation; it can flood a basement or a crawlspace. Just generally a bad idea. So you want the downspout to extend at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. If you had a water problem, I’d tell you to take it out further but if you don’t have a problem, at least 3 to 4 feet out.

So, if you have one downspout and you have a – if you have one section of gutter and you have a choice as to whether the downspout is on the left than the right, use our head about thinking about that. Yeah, don’t bring it out near a walkway or something like that; bring it out in the opposite side of the house.

Now, the other thing to think about is gutter guards: whether or not you want to put them in or not. Because when you get gutters, you’re going to get the need to clean those gutters. And there are such a wide variety of gutter guards that are available today.

The kind that seem, in my experience, to work the best are those that work on surface tension. So these have sort of a complete cover to them and the leaves will wash over them and the water hangs this cover or maybe goes through some louvered slots and falls into the gutter. So, think about that. Check out with the company whether or not they offer a gutter-guard option at the time of the installation. And this way, you can get it sort of all done at the same time.

And then one other trick of the trade is that before you attach these to the house, do you know if the fascia is wood, right now, or is it aluminum? What are you going to be attaching it to?

TRACY: Wood, I believe.

TOM: So this is the perfect time for you to paint it. This is your one and only golden opportunity to put a couple of good coats of exterior paint on that. Because once that gutter is attached, you are never ever going to take them off or at least not for a heck of a long time. So, get a couple of good coats of paint on that fascia now, before you put the gutter on, so that it’s protected.

TRACY: OK. That’s great. Thank you so much for your help.

TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Mike in North Carolina who’s got a driveway question.

Drive it on over. What can we do for you, bud?

MIKE: I had put in a new plant – or got ready to put a new plant in front of the house. And when I took the old one out, there was a crack in the foundation and also a pretty good-sized void underneath the driveway. And I’ve had three different companies out to take a look at it and after all that, I don’t quite know what to do.

TOM: OK. So this crack is in your foundation? It’s on your basement wall? Where are you seeing it – or on the outside wall? Describe it.

MIKE: It’s on the outside wall, in the corner of the garage.

TOM: Alright. And you’ve got a driveway near there where the driveway is sunken in a bit? It sounds to me like you’ve got a water problem where water is collecting in that area. May have undermined some of the soil. Small cracks – is it vertical cracks – small vertical cracks are what it is?

MIKE: Vertical crack, yes.

TOM: Yeah. It’s a very minor, very almost commonplace kind of a crack, so I wouldn’t get too terribly worked up about it. You’d be surprised how many cracks foundations have. We see them all the time. So, I wouldn’t panic about it. But if you’ve got an area that’s sunken in where the driveway is, what you are going to have to do is cut that driveway out, fill that area in, tamp it down, pack it properly and have the driveway restored in that particular area.

MIKE: The driveway hasn’t sunk yet. It’s just where it always has been.

TOM: Well, when you just said before – when you said before that there was an area that was sunken in, you did not mean the driveway? What’s sunken in?

MIKE: No, no. Actually, there’s a void underneath the driveway. You can see where the driveway pad comes up to the garage – when I took this plant out, you can see a void underneath the driveway.

TOM: OK. So the void’s under the apron, is what you’re saying.

MIKE: Correct, yes.

TOM: It’s under – OK. Alright. Same advice. You’ve got to fill the void in or the driveway will drop into that spot, OK? And water will continue to collect there and it’ll wash out what’s left of the footing around there – the soil under the footing – then you get more shifting. So, you’ve got to restore that soil.

Not unusual, because a lot of times you get organic matter that gets in there. It could be, I don’t know, wood. It could be paper. It could be anything that was accumulating there from when the foundation was dug. And then it rots away and the voids form and the water gets in there and it’s kind of a vicious cycle. So you need to get that repacked with soil properly and then regraded to slope away and then restore the driveway.

So I don’t think you have a big problem there. I think you have sort of a medium-sized maintenance problem but you should do it, because it can get worse if you ignore it.

MIKE: Yeah, OK.

TOM: 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 Give us a call, let us know what you are working on on this autumn weekend. Maybe you are decorating for the season or starting a home improvement project. Whatever it is, we’re here to lend a hand at 888-MONEY-PIT.

TOM: 888-666-3974.

Just ahead, now that heating season has arrived, it’s a good time to think about how to stop the one thing that makes us reach for the thermostat more than we really should. And that’s those chilly drafts. We’re going to have some tips on how to track down and seal off every draft in the house, in today’s Pro Project presented by, 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.

Call in your home repair or home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-MONEY-PIT is presented by HomeAdvisor. Find top-rated home service pros, compare prices and book appointments online, all for free.

TOM: So I was tackling a project this weekend, Leslie, and I thought it was a good example of how home improvements can quickly go viral.

Now, it’s a relatively simple project. I need to change a light bulb. I had a fluorescent fixture in my bathroom, which was behind sort of a bigger screen. So it had a nice light effect. It hadn’t been changed in a long time. It opened up and remembered – “Oh, yeah, it’s a 36-inch fluorescent fixture.” So you think, “No problem. I’ll go get a bulb.”

Well, it turns out that it’s pretty hard to find 36-inch bulbs. Plus, I was pretty sure that the ballast was going, so I was really looking for a 36-inch fixture. Again, very hard to find. So, got us thinking about, “Well, gee, what if we took that fixture out? Maybe we could do something different.” And now we’re talking about different wallpaper, we’re talking about maybe – shall we replace some fixtures? Maybe some new tiles? So, changing a light bulb is going to quickly, if I don’t stop this very soon, escalate into a new bathroom renovation in my house. Because that’s how these things happen.

LESLIE: I mean this is a true case of the “while you’re at it.”

TOM: No kidding.

LESLIE: That’s a very expensive (inaudible), Tom.

TOM: Four most expensive words in home improvement: while you’re at it. Be careful, folks. You’ve been warned.

LESLIE: Chad in Michigan, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

CHAD: I attended an energy show where they were showing an energy shield or a wrap made out of aluminum. What it was designed to do was to basically block the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer. Thus, you’re using less energy, I guess, to stay cooler.

And then, in the wintertime, what it does – it prevents your heat from escaping, very much like the astronauts use from the extreme temperature in space. Since I’m building a new house, could you put this wrap between your ceiling drywall and the bottom of your trusses? Or is there a better way of keeping the radiant heat from penetrating your house in the summer?

TOM: What you’re talking about here is a product called “reflective barrier.” And I have to say that I’m not convinced that it works really well and would not necessarily recommend it. And usually, it’s put in a home that’s already constructed. It’s a little bit easier to put in a home that, obviously, is being built.

But there are far better alternatives if you really want to make your home energy-efficient. I would tell you to look into spray-foam insulation, specifically Icynene. Because when you use a spray-foam insulation in new construction, it does two things: not only does it insulate but it seals every possible little gap that is going to be throughout that building. And when the walls are open like that, you can have it sprayed and it’s going to do that. It’s also quieter in terms of preventing sound transmission. It just has so many wonderful benefits. I would tell you to focus on something like that to give yourself a real benefit and stay away from the radiant-barrier products.

CHAD: Oh, OK. Thank you very much.

TOM: Well, now that the heating season has arrived, you can expect those big heating bills to start showing up very shortly. But there’s one thing you can do to keep them in check and that is to hire a pro to track down the source and seal off drafts before you need to start reaching for that thermostat. We’ll have some tips on how to do just that, in today’s Pro Project presented by

LESLIE: Well, maintaining energy efficiency is an ongoing job for any homeowner. And there are so many parts of your home that can be changed to increase your house’s energy efficiency. But one area that’s frequently difficult to track down and improve is the area around your house where you might be getting drafts.

TOM: And they don’t just make you feel chilly if you happen to be in the path of one. Now, if your heater, for example, is blasting warm air but the room never seems to get any warmer, that’s most likely the result of air leaks. And with all that cold air leaking in, the real indoor temperature can never be accurately gauged. And that’s going to overtax your heating system in the winter and your cooling system, as well, in the summer. So it’s just not good. It’s extremely inefficient.

LESLIE: Now, one of the best ways to track down the source of all those drafts and air leaks is by hiring a professional home energy auditor. Now, the home energy auditors have the tools and knowledge to see exactly where the biggest offenders exist in your home. They’re going to use tools such as blower doors – and those can pinpoint the source of drafts – and even infrared cameras that can find those spaces where insulation might be missing.

TOM: And with the results of that home energy audit, you’ll know exactly where your home is leaking. Because I think that folks waste a lot of time trying to fix areas they think are leaking. But with an audit, you’ll know exactly where they’re leaking. And that’s going to make your home more comfortable and a lot less expensive to both heat and cool all year long.

LESLIE: And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area and compare prices, read verified reviews and book appointments online, all for free.

TOM: No matter the type of job, HomeAdvisor makes it fast and easy to hire the best local pros.

LESLIE: Nancy in Pennsylvania is on the line and having a hot-water issue. Tell us what’s going on.

NANCY: Well, my hot water takes so long to – or my water takes so long to get hot when I turn on the spigot. And washing the dishes by hand makes that – I waste a lot of water that way.

LESLIE: Nancy, is this a new problem or has this always been the situation?

NANCY: No, it’s an old problem.

TOM: Yeah. And it has to do with the physical distance between the faucet and the water heater. The farther they are apart, the longer you have to wait for the water to heat up.

Now, newer water heaters today, and especially the tankless water heaters, are very small. And so the way a lot of builders are addressing this is they’re putting in multiple water heaters closer to the bathing or the washing areas of the house. So, typically, you’d have one for the kitchen and maybe the laundry area and you’d have another one for bathrooms. Because these water heaters are so small and so efficient, they can literally squeeze into anything that’s smaller than a closet.

In your case, though, it’s just a matter of the distance that the water has to travel. Unfortunately, in a house like this, though, I would say that it’s unlikely you will save enough money in water costs to make the installation of an additional water heater worthwhile, Nancy.

NANCY: But is there anything else I can do? Like I have been told, different times, that insulating the pipes wouldn’t help or some people say it would.

TOM: Well, the only thing that insulating the pipes will do is it’ll keep the water that’s in the pipes, once it gets there, warmer longer. But again, it’s a distance thing. You turn the faucet on, the water starts to move from the water heater, where it’s hot, to the faucet. And it has to purge all of that cold water along the way. Once it purges, it’ll stay hot but it just takes a certain amount of time for that amount of water – that amount of volume of water – to move through the pipes.

Does that make sense, Nancy?

NANCY: Yeah, it does. And so there’s basically nothing I can do except different water …

TOM: Well, except moving a water heater closer to the – to you. I mean there are recirculators that sort of take water and recirculate it back all the time. But again, that costs energy, too, and that costs plumbing expense, too. And I just don’t think you’re going to save enough to make it worthwhile.

Nancy, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Pat in Illinois needs some help with a leak. Tell us what’s going on.

PAT: I got new, enlarged gutters and downspouts on. And they cut a trough out to the – my field, which is OK. We’ve had some torrential downpours and this hasn’t, obviously, been lately but I got flooding in my basement. And I was told that there’s a trough that is next to my block basement that is either inside or outside. I could see, visually, it coming in underneath my stairs as I cut away the drywall and I’m not sure – because, unfortunately, the company that did it is out of business – if my trough is inside or outside.

TOM: Does the rainfall precipitate the flood? In other words, does it always flood after a heavy rain?

PAT: It never flooded. I built the basement on in an addition 12 years after I built the house for, really, a storm shelter. And it never did until I put the new, improved, larger gutters/larger downspouts on.

TOM: Right. So, obviously, it’s – the issue is with the drainage of these spouts. And when you have an area that’s susceptible to flooding, you need to discharge the water at least 4 to 6 feet from the foundation, if not further. I mean I – if it’s possible, I like to run the pipes out underground and take them to a dry well or take them to daylight somewhere if the property is set up such where you can get away with that. But you’ve got to manage the drainage.

And it’s great that you got the bigger gutters because they’re not going to clog as easily. But wherever these downspouts are hitting, that water has got to get far away from the house.

PAT: I think that was the case. I think what has happened is the abundance of rain that came over the gutters, based on the mass that it came down – and again, it probably has happened before but it never flooded down there.

TOM: Pat, whenever you get a flood that’s consistent with rainfall, it’s always, always, always drainage, OK? It’s not rising water tables or any of that other kind of stuff. It’s always drainage, always. So, it’s a clogged gutter, it’s a downspout that’s dropping water too close to the house, it’s soil that’s sloped back into the wall. Fix the drainage, you’ll fix the flood, guaranteed.

Pat, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Just ahead, want to step up the style in your home but don’t have the budget? Well, you can step onto stylish flooring choices that let you add luxury at low cost, when The Money Pit returns.

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: Well, one measure of the durability of flooring has always been moisture-resistance. And it runs from floors that can barely handle damp conditions, to those that can be fully immersed with no impact whatsoever. But the designs of floors that handle wet locations were never quite as stylish and attractive as those designed for drier spaces. Now, however, that has all changed with manufacturers like Lumber Liquidators offering near limitless choices in floors that are both waterproof and water-resistant.

LESLIE: With us to talk about that is Susan Starnes, Senior VP, Strategy and Business Development of Lumber Liquidators.

Welcome, Susan.

SUSAN: Thank you, Tom and Leslie. Glad to be here.

TOM: You know, in the last decade, it seems that there’s been a huge surge in the availability of floors that are both beautiful and durable. And that’s allowed consumers to use flooring in places that they never dreamed of.

SUSAN: That is correct. With waterproof and water-resistant flooring, we’re seeing a lot more of the wood designs come into the bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms and even up the walls.

TOM: That’s great. And you don’t have to worry about rot and mold and any of that stuff that’s associated with the organic product which, of course, is still beautiful. But now you’ve got more spaces that you can use it.

So let’s talk first about waterproof flooring. This is flooring that can be completely immersed in water, right, with no effect?

SUSAN: Yes. So, when you think about waterproof, Lumber Liquidators has lots of different assortments and styles to choose from in both our CoreLuxe EVP and our Avella Porcelain Tiles. And we have everything from weathered, rustic, stone looks that are new this season, as well as some of the classic hardwood looks in Homeland Hickory and Tobacco Road Acacia.

LESLIE: Susan, let’s just talk about that for a second. EVP. That’s engineered vinyl plank which, essentially, is like a solid-vinyl flooring, correct?

SUSAN: That is correct. So this is not the vinyl of yesteryear. Vinyl has really come back in the market. And these are much more durable, harder-core products that can sustain even putting something as hard as a treadmill on top of it.

TOM: Yeah. No, I’ve worked with this product and I am absolutely amazed with how tough it is. You can run a chair – say, an office chair – over it and it has no effect. And I think that’s always a good test: when you use it in the dining room and people are moving the chairs in and out or the kitchen.

And it’s absolutely beautiful. In fact, when it’s down, it’s kind of tough to tell that it is vinyl. Because when you say vinyl, we all think of the old vinyl tiles. But this looks nothing like that. This looks like traditional hardwood flooring or aged hardwood flooring. You can get so many different styles and colors. It’s pretty impressive.

SUSAN: Yes. And they’re scratch-resistant, as well. So, our products are easy to put down, as well. They’re very easy to click together and that’s one of the big appeals for this product, as well.

TOM: What about porcelain? Is that still popular?

SUSAN: It is. It’s very popular. And Lumber Liquidators has both the wood-look, as well as new stone looks. And we have a new Avella Quick-Click Porcelain Tile, which is even easier to install. It comes in interlocking trays that easily snap together. And you can install it in one day verses the typical tile could take three days.

TOM: We’re talking to Susan Starnes. She’s the senior vice president of strategy and business development for Lumber Liquidators.

Now, if you want to move away from waterproof flooring, you also have a category of flooring called “water-resistant.” How do you sort of draw the line between flooring that’s waterproof and flooring that’s water-resistant? And how much you use – either one in a different area?

SUSAN: Sure. So, water-resistant, like our Dream Home Ultra X2O Laminate, has an innovative core technology, which is two times more water-resistant than that standard laminate flooring. And it doesn’t require a special installation method for its water-resistance, because it’s actually – the whole product, all the way through, is water-resistant.

And these are great in places where you have exposure to water, as well. And we have lots of new styles in this where we have wide planks and long boards. And these are also very abrasive-resistant and are good for areas where you may have pets and kids and heavy traffic.

LESLIE: I think it’s so amazing. When you would first get wood-look flooring years ago, it kind of had the look of a wood texture but didn’t feel like wood and that kind of give it away. And then, it just didn’t feel very realistic. But there’s so many advances in technologies where now you get this sort of embossed feel to it, where you really feel what solid, rustic wood would be like. Is that because of this embossed-in-register, this new technology for laminates?

SUSAN: It is. That’s how we’re able to give it the genuine wood look so that if you look at it, you wouldn’t even be able to tell it’s laminate. You would think it’s real wood.

TOM: And you also have the Fall Flooring Season Catalog out right now. We were able to contribute some tips to that, which was kind of fun. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to do that and hope we’re helping lots of people. And that’s got some really beautiful products in it and great photography, which is so helpful when you’re trying to shop for a flooring product.

SUSAN: Yes. We have our Fall Flooring Catalog coming out. We’ll have over 400 varieties of hardwood, bamboo, laminate and waterproof floors. And they will have all of these different products that we’re talking about with the new styles and designs, wide widths and unique wood looks.

TOM: No end to the design possibilities with all of those products to choose from.

Susan Starnes, the senior vice president of strategy and business development for Lumber Liquidators, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

And if you are in the market for new flooring this fall, now is the time to do it. Check out Lumber Liquidators stores across the country. There’s over 400 stores. You can also visit them online at Lumber and ask for the Fall Flooring Season Catalog. You will be amazed at the appearance of these products. I tell you what, you put them side by side with real wood, these waterproof and water-resistant products, you cannot tell the difference.

Susan, thanks again for stopping by The Money Pit.

SUSAN: Thanks, Tom and Leslie.

LESLIE: Still ahead, buying a fire extinguisher for your home is a great idea. But if you don’t buy the right type, it might not do you much good. We’re going to tell you what you need, room by room, after this.

TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on this, the very first weekend of fall. Give us a call, right now, with your fall fix-up or home improvement question at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.

LESLIE: That’s right. Doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find top-rated pros.

TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use.

LESLIE: John in Delaware is dealing with a spider problem. I can’t even talk about it for fear they will jump into my house. What’s going on?

JOHN: I moved to the beach about 10 years ago. I’m not – I’m 12 miles from the water but I don’t know whether that’s part of the problem or not. But we have spiders inside the house all the time. They’re always in the corners of the room. It’s rare to come into any room and not have one. And it seems like as quickly as you get rid of them, a week later you have more in the same areas. And it is very annoying.

TOM: What do you do to get rid of them, John?

JOHN: The only thing I do is I try to kill them and knock down their little web.

TOM: Good luck with that. That’s not working out too well for you, I bet, huh?

JOHN: No, it’s not.

TOM: You’re not going to win the war if that’s your treatment approach. The thing about insects today is the best way to control them is through science. And if you look at a company like Orkin – you know, a company that’s been around forever – these guys know exactly what insecticide to put down, they know how to put it down in the right amounts and the products that they use today are very insect-specific.

It used to be that there was sort of a broad-spectrum pesticide that was put down. Today, the pesticides are very, very specific for the problem. And if I was dealing with this in my house, I wouldn’t be running around with my boot trying to kill them all. I would have the pesticide applied in the right amounts, right place and be done with it.

So, I would recommend that you call Orkin and have that taken care of the right way. It’s safer to do that than to buy over-the-counter pesticides, which you end up over-applying – which are far more dangerous, in my view – and certainly a lot less frustrating than having to stomp them to death, OK?

So, I would use a pesticide to control these spiders and that’s the best solution.

JOHN: OK. And you would not advise trying to do it on your own. You’d advise getting a company that’s – would they regularly – to have them come back?

TOM: Yeah, you can’t buy the products that a professional can buy. They’re not available to the general public because they have to be applied just right. That’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a pro, like Orkin.

John, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

LESLIE: Well, now that heating season is upon us, it’s a good time to think about making sure your home is protected from fire. And part of that is making sure you have fire extinguishers in the right spots.

TOM: Now, a fire extinguisher is a must in your kitchen but you should also have them throughout your entire house. The key is to make sure you match the fire extinguisher with the area it’s designed to protect.

LESLIE: Now, fire extinguishers, you’re going to see, they’re marked with the letters A, B, C. Now, that indicates the type of fire that they can put out. An A marking is ordinary fuels like wood or cloth. If you see a B, that’s for flammable liquids, like in your garage or your kitchen. And C is for electrical fires.

If you really want to protect yourself, you want to purchase a multipurpose extinguisher that’s rated A-B-C so that it covers all types of fires.

TOM: Now, here’s another tip: make sure it’s installed – it’s physically installed – in a place that makes it easy to grab in an emergency. Don’t just keep it on a shelf or on a counter or something like that, because it’s just too easy for them to be moved, knocked over or just plain forgotten about. And you just won’t know where to find it if you’re in a full-blown panic.

LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Tom, it’s interesting. At our offices – because you know I’ve been working some time over at ABC Network. And in the corporate office, they had someone come in and train us to properly use a fire extinguisher. And it was interesting because there were points where I’m not sure if, in an emergency, I would have thought about this.

First of all, the biggest problem is people forget to remove the pin. So always remember to remove the pin. And then remember, pump the squeeze. Don’t hold it down because, otherwise, you’re going to exhaust the whole extinguisher right away. So, good tips to remember when you’re in an emergency situation. Think about those things first.

TOM: And always point it at the base of the fire, right?

LESLIE: Very true.

TOM: Alright. There you have it. We hope you never need to use that knowledge but now you have it just in case you ever do.

888-666-3974. Let’s talk about your next home improvement project. Give us a call right now.

LESLIE: Liz in New Jersey is on the line and she has a kind of thrifty idea. She wants to reuse wall-to-wall carpeting? What’s going on?

LIZ: Yes. I have carpeting that is 20 years old but it’s in my living room, which hardly anybody – you don’t have to step on it to go through other parts of the house. And it looks fine. And I was wondering if I could have that taken up, because underneath is hardwood and I wanted to refinish it. But my carpeting in my bedroom, which is smaller, is worn. And I was wondering if I could put that carpet in the bedroom.

TOM: I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t do that. You know, pulling the carpet up is pretty easy to do as long as it was put down correctly to begin with.

Now, I will caution you, if that space in the living room turns out to be not one piece of carpet but carpet with a seam in the middle of it, that seam could be your weak link. That seam might not be obvious to you, if it was done well to begin with, but when you take the carpet up, you may find that it’s basically two pieces of wall-to-wall carpet seamed together with seam tape. And then if you try to move that piece upstairs, the tape could break apart because now you’re kind of disturbing it. And you may have a bit of a mess on your hands.

But I see no reason why you couldn’t reuse the carpet. It’s certainly possible. That said, I think the most expensive part of this project is going to be the labor, because you’re going to have to have a professional carpet installer do this work. And considering the fact that the upstairs bedroom is fairly small, the added cost of brand-new carpet might not really add that much to the overall project.

LIZ: Oh.

TOM: So think about the economics of this, OK? If you’re going to spend money on an installer, then it’s going to cost you X dollars to have them come in, take the old carpet out, cut a new piece to fit upstairs and move it upstairs. How much more can the carpet possibly cost you, especially if you bought a remnant or something of that nature?

LIZ: Oh, I see. Yeah. I think it’s one whole, long piece. I really do.

LESLIE: It depends. Because, usually, the bolts of carpeting are 13 feet. So if you’ve got a run of the room that’s bigger than 13 feet, then you’re probably going to have a seam somewhere in there.

The other thing to consider is that 20-year-old padding might not be reusable, so you might have to get new padding. Whereas if you got new carpeting, they’re going to throw in padding, for the most part. So, think of all those things.

TOM: Alright, Liz. Well, good luck with that project. We gave you some stuff to think about.

LESLIE: When we come back, we are hopping into the fall season, which you know is my favorite, and getting your house in tip-top shape with some seasonal décor. So stick around.

TOM: Where home solutions live, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show where we try to make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

TOM: Give us a call, right now, so we can try and help make your home better. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT and that’s presented by HomeAdvisor. Find out what it costs to do your home project before you hire a pro and instantly book one of HomeAdvisor’s top-rated pros, for free.

LESLIE: Alright. But you’ve got two pros standing by, right now, to answer all the questions that you guys post in the Community section of The Money Pit. Of course, not all of them. I’m going to start here, though, with John in Bedford, New York.

Now, John writes: “My house recently lost power and when the power came back on, I found one of the circuit breakers had tripped. I reset it and it tripped again. The breaker controls the living room, which has eight outlets. I unplugged everything and tried again to reset but it still pops. What do I do next?”

TOM: Well, first of all, you need to recognize, John, that your circuit breaker is telling you something. It’s telling you that there’s a problem in that circuit. And while it seems that you’ve tried to identify the issue using sort of the basic approach, clearly there’s a wiring issue that’s deep in this.

And you need to get an electrician at this point, because if the breaker is tripping, there’s a short that’s occurring which could be very dangerous. So if you simply reset it and it keeps going out, there’s an issue with the wiring. I mean it could be an outlet that’s overheating. I’ve seen them burn out. I’ve seen wires start to arc and spark. I even found a connection in my house that was very inconsistently on and off and on and off, because there was a broken wire in the middle of a junction box.

So, you need to have a pro track it down because it could potentially be dangerous.

LESLIE: Good advice. I’m glad it happened. Sorry it happened for you but at least now you know how to keep everybody safe.

TOM: Well, now that it is officially the fall season, you may be starting to see those beautiful fall colors surround you on all the trees where you live. But if you’d like to see some of those fall colors show up in your décor, Leslie has got tips on how to do just that, in today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

It’s a very colorful season, right?

LESLIE: It sure is. And for me, it’s the best color palette out there.

You guys know fall is my favorite season. So, it’s time to put away all of those breezy, light fabrics and those summery colors and break out those warm, golden and orange tones. Now, plaids are big this year again and I’m so thankful for it. Now, for the autumn season, we’re seeing orange and brown tones mixing to really create the most delicious-looking color combinations that just sing the season.

Now, you can bring these into your home as throw pillows or cozy blankets. I even like to swap out the matting on some of my framed photos with seasonal papers. You know, you can easily purchase them at your local craft store. There’s plaids, there’s ginghams, chevrons, tons of different patterns but even solid-color paper in these colors of the season. And all you have to do is cut out a mat to match the existing one and simply place it over the exiting one right in the frame. And that’s a really great way to bring that season in in unexpected places.

You can also bring the outdoors inside. This is a great time of year. Just get outside, take some nice walks, find some beautiful branches that maybe have fallen down. Or clip some from the trees or the shrubs in your yard, with beautiful leaves on them that have already turned the colors of the season. And then you can put them in large vases, maybe at your entry table or on your dining table. It’s a beautiful way to bring those sunset colors inside.

Now, don’t forget, guys, you can carry these simple additions throughout the entire house. I like to change all of our bedding out, kind of by the season. I’ve got a winter set, I’ve got a summery set. But I also have an autumn set, which is fun because even for the kids I have Halloween bedding. But you can bring in sheets, throw pillows, blankets, all the works in the bedroom, even the bath linens. This way, it’s easy to spread the season throughout your entire home.

TOM: Great advice. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show on air and online at Coming up next time on the program, we’re going to talk a bit about laminate countertops. They can give you the look of natural stone without the cost but they’re not quite as durable. Now, the good news is they’re actually very easy to fix. We’re going to share some tricks of the trade to keep yours in tip-top shape, 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.


(Copyright 2018 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.)

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