Using white vinegar for common household tasks can save you around $100 per year.
Well, white vinegar can replace many of the common cleaning products you have in your home… the ones you are always repurchasing throughout the year.
A gallon of vinegar will cost about $2.50.
This gallon will come in handy for the ten household tasks below and should last you at least six months, if not longer. No more paying for expensive weed killers, window cleaners, dryer sheets, and more.
White Vinegar is ideal for cleaning as it contains an acid content of about 5%, which helps to:Kill microorganisms Work as a disinfectant Deodorizer Odorless Once Dried Affordable Natural Bug Repellent
Here’s 10 excellent ways you can use white vinegar for everyday household tasks.#1 All Purpose Cleaner
Use vinegar to create an all-purpose cleaner that you can use on most surfaces. You can clean the windows, your shower, wash floors, wipe down countertops, or clean your kids toys. All you need to do is combine equal parts of white vinegar and water into a spray bottle, shake it up, and you’re ready to go. If you want to add a fragrance consider adding tea tree essential oil as it smells crisp and clean, and it’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antiviral!#2 In the Washing Machine
It’s true. Add a half cup of vinegar to your laundry load, as you would normally do, and it will help make your laundry extra fresh. You will still use your soap (and softener if you’d like), but vinegar will assist with softening, eliminating stubborn stains and deodorizing.#3 DIY Dryer Sheets
If you’re looking for unique ways to save money and incorporate more natural products into your cleaning regimens, consider making your own dryer sheets by utilizing white vinegar.
Simply fill a glass jar halfway with vinegar, add 15-20 drops of an essential oil (optional for scent) and put some rags into the jar. When you need a dryer sheet, ring out one of the rags and throw it in with your clothes. These DIY dryer sheets will eliminate static and help soften your laundry.#4 Clean the Microwave
Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water into a coffee mug, and place your mug in the microwave. Run the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the mug ensuring not to burn your hand and simply wipe your microwave clean. The moisture will loosen up any food or spills that may have occurred, and the steamed vinegar will help deodorize your microwave for a fresh and clean result.#5 Scissors
If the blades of your scissors have any sticky residue on them, dampen a rag with vinegar and carefully wipe the blades of your scissors. The vinegar will do an excellent job of removing any adhesive or build up, and your scissors will be shining like they’re new!#6 Jetted Bathtub Cleanse
Whether you want to deep clean your jetted bathtub or your hot tub, vinegar is an excellent way to do so. The acidic nature of the vinegar will reduce the calcium build up in the tub and get rid of any bacteria hiding in those jets. Simply fill your tub with warm water until the jets are fully submerged, and then add 2 cups of vinegar. Run your jets for 10 minutes and you will have a freshly descaled tub.#7 All Natural Weed Killer
Kill the weeds in your yard, without harsh chemicals. For this, you will need:table salt dish soap vinegar (duh!)
Begin by combining 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 cup of vinegar together in a spray bottle. Let that sit for at least 10 minutes, or until the salt is dissolved and then add 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Shake this is and begin spraying those pesky weeds. Use this weed killer on a sunny day for accelerated results.#8 Remove Wallpaper
Don’t spend money on an expensive wallpaper remover, when vinegar works just as well. Combine equal parts of vinegar and warm water together in a spray bottle. Spray this combination onto the wallpaper and let it penetrate through to the adhesive for about 10 minutes before scraping it off.
For even easier removal, use a wallpaper perforator before spraying on your homemade solution. The microscopic holes will allow the solution to get behind the paper.#9 Clean Your Shower Head
Combine a half cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar in a large freezer-size ziploc bag. Raise the bag up to your shower head and submerge it into the mixture. Secure the bag with a rubber band and let this sit. This will help remove any calcium build up or bacteria that has accumulated over time. Remove the bag after 30 minutes and run the shower to thoroughly rinse.#10 Dishwasher
Even though a dishwasher is constantly washing and having soap run through it, it is still important to deep clean your dishwasher. White vinegar will help to eliminate any hard water stains and soap scum buildup that might be lingering around. Simply prepare to run your dishwasher as you normally would, but fill a coffee mug up half way with vinegar and place it upright on the top shelf. The steam will help cleanse and disinfect your dishwasher… plus, you will be shocked to see how clean your dishes come out. No streaks at all.
The post Household Cleaning with White Vinegar: 10 Money Saving Uses appeared first on The Money Pit.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
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: And we are here to help you with your home improvement projects. So help yourself first: pick up the phone and give us a call, right now, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. Look around your house. Peak outside around your yard. What’s a project that you either have to get done, that could be a fix or an update or a remodel? Or maybe you want to talk about your plan for some portion of your house in the future. We’d love to help you set those projects in motion. But help yourself first by calling us, right now, at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974 because that’s what we do. We are your coaches. We are your supporters, your consultants. And most importantly, we’re free, 888-666-3974.
Hey, coming up this hour, we’re going to talk about winter storms and the damage that they leave behind. Because while most of that damage can be obvious, like when the tree falls over on your house, there’s also a lot of hidden damage that can occur. And that starts to show its ugly head many months or sometimes even years later. So we’re going to have some tips on how you can give your house a good checkup after winter, to make sure there’s no damage that’s both visible or invisible.
LESLIE: And have you hesitated to tackle a painting project because you’ve had trouble landing on a perfect color? Well, we’re going to share the secrets to picking that perfect color combination.
TOM: And if you have a finished or unfinished basement or even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry, so we’ll have some solutions just ahead.
LESLIE: But most importantly, we’re here to talk to you. So give us a call, let us know whatever it is you are working on. We’re here to lend a hand. Whether you’re painting, redoing a kitchen or rebuilding an entire house, we’re here for you.
TOM: 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: Heading up north to Windsor, Ontario where Richard, funny enough, has home improvement problems, too. It seems like all things aren’t better in Canada. They still have home improvement problems. What’s going on?
RICHARD: We live in a ranch house with a crawlspace. And the crawlspace is probably about 4 feet deep and – 3, 3 ½, 4 feet deep. And on the inside of the crawlspace, on the inner foundation walls, it has been weeping tile on the inside of the foundation walls. So at least there is some weeping tile getting around water. The question I have is more on the outside of the house, where there is no weeping tile installed. And the lay of the land is not exactly optimal toward the road.
TOM: Optimal for drainage? Right.
RICHARD: So, it is soiled to an extent but not ideal. So the question I have is with that water coming down, say, when the troughs overflow or heavy rains, to protect the foundation of the wall and the general perimeter, would it be advisable to lay down something like pond liner or some other sort of thicker material to allow for the – to allow the water to not accumulate around the perimeter as much?
TOM: Yeah, I understand your question. You’re basically looking for a way to keep water away from the foundation, which is smart. I will tell you, though, even though you may not have optimal drainage in terms of the site, most of the water that affects foundations is water that’s coming off of the roof, into the gutters and out of the spouts. So that, therefore, becomes the easiest way to manage it.
Generally, if you want to assess how well your house is doing with that, you want to kind of do a mental picture in terms of how much roof is going to each downspout. And we are looking for somewhere around 400 to 600 square feet, or maybe even 800 square feet, of roof surface per spout. If it’s more than that, then the spouts are probably undersized and can easily become overflowing. The other thing, of course, is to make sure they’re clean. And the most important thing is to look at where they terminate.
Now, contractors in the U.S. and in Canada have a really bad habit of taking those downspouts and turning them out just a few inches at the bottom and letting them drain into a splash block that may be a couple of feet long, at most. If you’re trying to keep your foundation dry, though, that water needs to get 4, 5, 6 feet away from the foundation, because then it’s going to drain into the soil out there and not totally saturate the soil right around your house. And managing that discharge is the surest and fastest and easiest and least expensive way to take care of that moisture.
Sure, we could talk about curtain drains and all of that sort of thing but I don’t think it’s necessary. Because I found that most water problems that I’ve seen, in all the years I’ve been doing this show and in the 20 years that I was a professional home inspector, almost all of them can be solved by managing – better managing – the gutters and the downspouts. It really comes to be that easy.
I often have trouble convincing people it’s that simple but it really is, you know? If you keep the water away from that foundation perimeter that’s sourcing off the roof, you will see a big difference in those conditions that you’re observing.
RICHARD: Well, thank you. Yeah, I bet the biggest problem area is one large, long valley. And during those heavy rains, that particular area will just overflow. And regardless of the size of the troughs, it’s just such a torrent of water.
RICHARD: I’m thinking I should maybe install a copper box to – with its own downspout right there or else maybe a couple of splash guards or something. I’m not sure.
TOM: So, here, I know what you’re talking about. So, there are certain roof configurations where there’s not enough room for a gutter or a gutter that’s big enough. So, what you could do is do something like that or you could just put in a deeper gutter. The standard gutters are 4-inch, K-style gutters. I, in my house, when I redid my roof I had the roofer operate on the 6-inch K-style. And I knew it was going to handle more water but I was also impressed by the fact that the darn things almost never clog, because the spouts are so much bigger.
And the other thing that you could do up on that roof is you could put diverters in higher up that valley. And a diverter is simply like a piece of a – think of it like a piece of angle iron but it’s made out of aluminum. It’s usually like drip flashing that you use over doors. And you lay that down on the roof and you basically sort of seal it down with asphalt roof cement and some screws that have rubber washers in them, so – and you pierce that roof shingle, lay it right in there. And then if you think about it, as the water – that torrent of water – you described comes down the roof, it hits that diverter, it starts to spread out further on the roof. So it gets into different parts of the gutter system than just that one corner where it always overflows.
RICHARD: Oh, very informative. I really appreciate that. Thank you very much.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. We appreciate you checking in with us from Windsor, Ontario.
LESLIE: Gloria in Massachusetts is on the line with The Money Pit, looking for some help with a basement bathroom. What can we do for you?
GLORIA: I have one of those soapstone, old-fashioned [sub tubs] (ph). It works good. There’s no leakage. But what we do – my brother, Roger, recycles cans and sometimes he gets the cemented ground wet. And so, I remember on one of your programs, somebody was saying about they want to put a small, just regular rug. And you said that’s not good because it could get moldy.
TOM: So you just want something small for – to stand on in front of the sink kind of a thing?
GLORIA: Yeah, something like that, yeah.
TOM: Yeah. I would use a foam mat or – there’s a lot of different types of mats that are out, like the kind you put in front of your kitchen sink, that are thick and soft and made of foam. And that’ll be fine. That’ll give you some relief on your feet. You just don’t want to put a carpet down because when you put carpet down, it holds a lot of water. And it can get moldy and you can get allergens that get in there. It will support dust-mite growth and that sort of thing. But any type of a vinyl mat would work well.
They also have floor tiles that are made for garages, that are kind of rubberized and they have holes in them. And they lock together like big puzzle pieces. You can get some of them. But just anything but carpet is fine.
GLORIA: OK. So you said a foam or a vinyl mat?
TOM: Yep. Yeah, a vinyl mat. In my house, in my kitchen, we’ve got a 2 foot by 3 foot-thick mat that gives your feet some relief when you’re basically standing in front of the kitchen. And I’m thinking of it because it’s made of a rubbery foam. And there’s no stress when you’re on it and you can just pick it up and wash it off and it’s good to go.
GLORIA: OK. But the bottom would still be rubber, like the vinyl (inaudible)?
TOM: No, it’s like – it’s rubber, it’s vinyl, it’s foam. It’s just – look, anything but carpet is going to work, Gloria, OK?
GLORIA: OK. OK.
TOM: Anything but a rug, alright?
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-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. We’d love to hear what you are working on. Whether it’s a big project or a small project, we’re here to lend a hand.
Up next, big storms can leave a lot of obvious structural damage in their wake. But there can also be hidden damage that turns into big expenses later on. We’ll have tips on how to check your house for damage big and small, seen and unseen, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com, next.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: We’d love to hear what you’re working on or planning to work on for the days ahead, including spring projects, right? I mean it’s almost going to be time to get outside and work on those outdoor-living jobs, like the patios and the decks. Give us a call, right now, at 1-888-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.
LESLIE: Tom in Arizona, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
TOM IN ARIZONA: Talk to me about this thing called “stainless steel” that stains: stainless steel appliances and how you clean them.
TOM: Yeah. Stainless steel and the stains that follow it, right?
TOM IN ARIZONA: Oh, yi-yi.
TOM: Yeah. You know, everybody thinks it’s indestructible and always stays beautiful and silvery looking and all of that. But it is indestructible but it doesn’t stay pretty. It’s used a lot in commercial kitchens for a very good reason: because it’s very, very durable. But if you want it to look shiny like chrome all the time, that’s just not going to happen. So, you’ve got to kind of accept that.
It’s like if you have copper – we had somebody that called once and said, “I can’t keep my copper gutters without turning green.” I’m like, “People pay extra for that. That’s called ‘patina.’ It’s the natural way copper turns.” And with stainless, it’s going to get stained and it’s going to get discolored and you are going to have to polish it probably more than you’d like to. But that’s just kind of the way it rolls.
LESLIE: It definitely is. And it’s interesting because some of the appliances have made that turn towards the non-fingerprinting stainless, because it’s amazing how quickly stainless steel does get fingerprint-y. And one thing I didn’t realize, which I should have before I got my stainless fridge, is that you can’t put a magnet on it. So then it’s like all the fun things you’d put up of your kids, it’s kind of useless. You can’t put any of those things up. And in fact, some now manufacturers are putting a magnetic backing on their stainless so that you can do that.
TOM: That’d be a big problem in my house. I don’t think I’ve seen the refrigerator door since it was delivered.
LESLIE: Right? It’s true but there are special products that are meant for cleaning stainless steel. It’s important that when you do clean the stainless that you wipe it in the grain of the stainless itself, because you can then scratch it and cause a weird swirling pattern. In my opinion, it’s gorgeous and I think it’s worth the work. So, it’s just something that you’ve got to deal with, unfortunately.
TOM IN ARIZONA: What products would you suggest or process to clean?
LESLIE: The one that I actually like actually comes in a wipe format and it’s called Weiman. It’s W-e-i-m-a-n. I know you can get it at Walmart or Bed Bath & Beyond. You can get it in a spray, you can get it in the wipe. I think the wipe kind of just makes it the easiest to deal with. Plus, then you end up with extra liquid at the bottom and you can use regular rags when you’re done. But I think the important thing is use a product that’s meant for stainless and you’ll find that you have good success with it
TOM IN ARIZONA: OK. Is there any type of polish to put over that then to help preclude getting stained again right away?
TOM: I don’t think so because you’re not going to be able to buff this to keep it clean in that sense. So, I think it’s just a matter of wiping it down on a regular basis. It’s more of a maintenance issue, Tom.
TOM IN ARIZONA: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, major weather events, like snowstorms, leave a lot of obvious structural damage in their wake. But there can also be hidden damage that turns into big expenses later on. We have some tips now on how to check your house after a storm, in today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com.
TOM: OK, first, let’s talk about foundations. If you have heavy accumulations of water after that snow melts, that can cause a home’s foundation to weaken and ultimately even fail. So, check your foundation carefully along both the outdoor and the indoor walls, looking for any areas that are cracked or bulged.
LESLIE: Next, you’ve got to identify flooded electrical fixtures. Now, anything that’s been underwater should definitely be replaced. And this includes outlets, appliances and major system machinery, like your furnace. Now, contaminants in water can damage those sensitive components, leading to malfunctions and then electrical fires. So you have to be careful.
TOM: Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen folks have those circuits get wet and think they can just keep using them. But no, if they’ve been underwater, they’ve got to be replaced.
And also, we’ve got to talk about high winds, right? Because they can take a big toll on the outer sort of skin of your home. And that can cause damage in a lot of areas, so check out every side of your house from the ground. You can check it for loose siding, metal trim and soffits that may have loosened up. Give special attention to that roof because driving rain can push up under roof shingles and cause leaks. So if you’ve got loose flashing around chimneys and plumbing vents, that kind of thing can lead to some pretty significant leak issues.
LESLIE: Now, there are some post-storm repairs that you can handle on your own. But for bigger and more pervasive problems, it really is best to call in a pro. And that’s today’s Pro Project presented by HomeAdvisor.com. With HomeAdvisor, you can get matched with top-rated home service pros in your area, 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: Kim in Missouri is on the line and has a question about a countertop. What can we do for you today?
KIM: Earlier this year, I remodeled my bathroom and I had a new vanity put in and I had a black – it came with a black granite countertop. The kind that’s shiny.
KIM: And for some reason, one of the handles – it’s a faucet – it almost looks like a hard-water stain or a hard-water deposit. I can’t get it off. It almost has a rough feeling. Nowhere else on the countertop looks like that. I’ve tried everything and I’m afraid I ruined it. But do you have any suggestions for me?
TOM: I wonder if it’s a manufacturing defect, Leslie.
LESLIE: I mean it very well could be. So tell us, where is this exactly?
KIM: It’s basically around the right faucet – the base of the right faucet – and the right handle and the base of the faucet. And I’ve tried all the things they recommend. I bought it at a big-box store.
KIM: And I’ve tried all the things they recommend there. And I’ve tried – I haven’t tried anything abrasive at all. And the rest of the counter looks fine but those two areas just won’t come off.
TOM: So you’re thinking that this is something that’s staining this particular surface, as opposed to just a defect in the original material. Is that correct?
KIM: Yes, I’m thinking is it because I don’t remember seeing it when they first installed it. But within a week or two after I saw that. But it almost looks like a hard-water stain around them.
LESLIE: Have you tried white vinegar?
LESLIE: You did, OK. Because that’s usually – if it’s a hard-water stain or some sort of mineral in the water, that’s going to be the trick.
KIM: And I’m really afraid to try a lot of things because they said you can damage the granite if you use the wrong cleaner.
TOM: Now, you mentioned this was installed. Have you thought about contacting the original installers or the company that you worked with for it? Because they may have access to some products that you don’t. And it sounds like you tried all the basic, over-the-counter-type approaches here that you might need a professional to come in and fix this up for you.
KIM: OK. I could try that. I went to the original big-box store and I went to the departments that – where I purchased this at.
The people who did my bathroom said, “What did you clean this with?” And they showed me that but that didn’t seem to work. And they’d even – I even read an article that you should use something like Ivory on it with a non-abrasive cloth. I’ve tried that but like I said, it looks good when it’s wet but when it dries, it still comes back.
TOM: Yeah. What it might be that – you may have worn off some of the finish. And once you do that, then stains get into the stone itself. So, I suspect that this is going to be something you’re going to need some professional help with.
So I wouldn’t – even if it’s not the store you bought it from, there are going to be companies out there that specialize in granite cleaning and polishing, because everyone that has these types of surfaces in their home – I think when you originally buy it, you think, “Well, it’s natural material. I’m never going to have to do anything with it.” But the truth is they often need to be repolished and resealed from time to time to keep looking good.
And so that’s, I think, what I would do at this point since you’ve tried all the basics that you can try. I would just get a professional in to refinish this for you.
KIM: Oh, thank you so much. Because I said I was just afraid I had ruined the whole countertop for this one little area.
TOM: Yeah. Well, you could if you keep going. That’s why I think you’ve tried everything that is reasonable for you to try. And I would get online to a site, like HomeAdvisor.com, and find a professional in your particular area. Read the reviews, find somebody that sounds good and give them a shot.
KIM: I had no idea where to go. Thank you. I will try that so much.
TOM: Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Hey, have you hesitated to tackle a paint project because you had trouble landing on that perfect color? We’re going to share some tips to pick the right color for you, right out of the gate, 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: What are you working on? Home improvement? Remodeling? A repair project? Décor dilemma? Thinking about planning a project for the spring ahead? Give us a call right now. We’d love to help you get started or figure out what’s going wrong and how to fix it. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT 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: Well, painting is the easiest and least expensive way to completely change the look of your room. But unfortunately, it’s still something many do-it-yourselfers are shying away from.
Now, the main reason is: too much of a good thing. The colors available in the paint aisle of your local home centers can really make your head spin.
TOM: Very true. But if you can prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed at the rainbow of paint chips, you will find that a new coat of paint can do wonders to perk up a tired room. With us to talk about that is Kevin O’Connor, the host of TV’s This Old House.
KEVIN: Hi, guys. Great to be here.
TOM: So why do people always get that sort of deer-in-the-headlights feeling when they think about choosing a paint color?
KEVIN: Have you ever seen the paint wheel?
TOM: Yeah, it’s kind of overwhelming.
LESLIE: Which one? I have like a dozen.
KEVIN: And aren’t they all 300 colors? Four or five?
KEVIN: Oh, no, way too much. Leslie, you are so right: it is overwhelming. And if you’re a guy, you’re at a bigger disadvantage because you probably are color-blind like me. It can be overwhelming.
And I think one of the reasons is lots of choices, as you say. But whatever decision you make, you’re going to be living with it for a long time. You’re not going to want to repaint your walls every year, so you’ve got to pick that color that works just right.
That being said, even though it may feel overwhelming, it is an inexpensive and effective way to make a big change. So people should not steer away from it.
TOM: What are some tips for picking that perfect color?
KEVIN: Well, I think you have to understand that color is basically style. And styles have trends. They come and go, right? And so, always be thinking about what are the trends that you’re seeing right now. And as it turns out, gray is sort of, for some reason, the big trend. People are using gray all over the place, different shades of gray. So, that is good to know.
LESLIE: Fifty. Fifty shades of gray.
KEVIN: That, too.
KEVIN: I’ve seen that for something else, I suspect.
So it’s good to know that there are trends out there. You probably want to find them so that you feel like the job that you’re doing is going to be contemporary and well-received. The one caution there is that, obviously, because it’s a trend, trends change. So you may have to actually change with the trends over the coming years.
LESLIE: Or utilize that trendy color in a smarter or smaller application so that if it does change or you tire of it, it’s easier and more manageable to do so.
KEVIN: Well, you definitely can be thinking about accent colors and little places where you can dress up a room with just one color. And so think about some of the beautiful details that a lot of rooms have or that you can add.
A ceiling medallion would be a great way to introduce a pop of color. Wainscoting is a beautiful architectural detail. We often think about it as painting it white or just off-white but why not give it its own color? It’s not the entire room but you can bring some of those trendy colors in through those things. Same thing with molding details and such.
LESLIE: And I think one of the bigger trends this year – and we’ve been seeing it sort of recurring throughout this year and for the next year – is that the trend is to paint trim sort of in the similar color family to your wall color, maybe a shade darker with a different sheen, just to sort of bring in that color in a little bit more pungent or powerful way.
KEVIN: We have worked with a number of designers who have done just that. And quite honestly, a lot of times we just leave those decisions to the designers because they really know what they’re doing. But just like you said, Leslie, a wall color is – call it a “bluish color” and then the trim is sort of a lighter, slighter different color of the blue. And the ceiling, yet again, maybe drop it down another tone or two. Play with it like that.
And to my surprise, I would have thought, “Oh, this is going to make a very busy room. This is not going to work.” Done right, it’s a very good effect.
TOM: Now, what about complementary colors beyond that? Is it true that opposites attract?
KEVIN: Well, one of the things that the designers always talked to us about is this idea of complementary colors. And what that means is if you look at the colors on a color wheel, you pick one color from one side and then you look at the other side of the color wheel and that would be a complementary color.
For example, red and green are on opposite sides of that color wheel. Now, that may sound a little bit Christmas-y if you think, “Oh, I’m going to paint the room with red and greens.” But it doesn’t have to be just a bold red or a bold green; you could be thinking about sage green for your walls and then the cabinets could be a dark cherry, which have the reddish hues. In that situation, you’re using that idea of complementary colors.
TOM: So what if you are inspired by something else in the environment, something that you have in your home? Maybe it’s a drape, a cushion; maybe it’s a leaf, some color that you really find really resonates well with you and you want to match that. You try to match it up against the paper samples or is there a better way?
KEVIN: Well, it’s a good place to start. You know, take some sort of a feature in the house that you love. And again, we work with designers who do this all of the time and say, “That is going to be the focal point right there.” And you might not have to replicate it perfectly but want to play off of it.
And the good news is is that if you go to the home centers, the paint-mixing technology right now is so sophisticated that you can pretty much bring in a swatch of anything – that curtain, that pillow, another paint color – and give it to them. And they can do a really good job of matching that color or giving you a hue or two off of exactly that color so that you can now play off of that feature that you want to play up.
LESLIE: And I think another interesting technology point is that so many of the paint manufacturers have on their websites – or have apps where you can sort of upload a picture of your room and then apply their paint colors to it, so to speak, in the applications so you can see it.
KEVIN: Imagine the old process of looking at a room and putting up some test paint on the wall, in a little corner or something like that, and then trying to have to imagine what that entire room would look like and make all these big decisions. Well, flash forward to today and do just what you said, Leslie: take a picture and paint the room virtually. Boy, that really gives you a leg up on making those sorts of decisions without having to do all the messy work of getting out the paint can and putting it up on the wall.
But I will say that’s a pretty good method, too – is to actually get it up on the wall. Get away from those small, little paint chips if you can. Use a much bigger paint chip or take a section of the wall – 3×5, 4×8 – and paint it there so that you can see it in the room, see how it adjusts to the light between morning, evening, during the day.
TOM: Good advice. Kevin O’Connor from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: My pleasure, guys.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot.
Just ahead, if you’ve got a finished or unfinished basement or even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry. We’ll have a solution, after this.
Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. Give us a call at 1-888-MONEY-PIT presented by HomeAdvisor. They really have the best local pros for any home service.
LESLIE: Yeah, that’s right. It doesn’t matter what the project is, they make it fast and easy to find those top-rated pros.
TOM: And there are no membership fees. It’s 100-percent free to use. HomeAdvisor.com.
LESLIE: Ruth in Michigan has got a window question. What can we do for you?
RUTH: My windows fogged up and they had condensation on them, on the centers of them, as well as when it was really cold two years ago. I actually had frost on the inside of the window. And I didn’t know what’s wrong with the windows. What do we need to do with them? They were put in new about 25 years ago.
LESLIE: OK. So that could be the problem: the age factor. So now, when you say you see frost and condensation, is that on the interior side? Or are you sort of seeing it in between the two panes of glass?
RUTH: On the interior.
LESLIE: OK. So, generally, what’s happening is that the thermal seal – the gas that’s in between those two panes of glass that regulates that temperature difference – when you’re starting to see condensation or when you see freezing on the interior, that means that the gas that was in between those two panes isn’t there anymore. So you’re not getting that thermal space in there to block that heat or the coolness transfer. And that can happen because there is a seal within the windows that eventually will fail. It’s not guaranteed to fail but a window that’s 25 years old, it’s a good chance that that’s no longer functioning for you.
And I think at this point, that’s not something that’s really worth repairing or you should look into a replacement window for that, which could be super affordable. You can find some great prices out there. And then you’ll be able to get one that’s truly thermal-pane and help you with all of your cool-transferring situations.
RUTH: OK. So I may have to replace my windows is what you’re saying, rather than try to repair them.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Once the window seal fails, it’s not repairable. Now, generally, it doesn’t result in a huge energy loss. It’s mostly inconvenient because, as you’ve learned, they’ll condense and fog. But if you want it to go away, you have to replace the windows. It’s not repairable.
RUTH: OK. But you’re saying it doesn’t necessarily reduce the insulation factor, huh?
TOM: It does, to a certain extent. It’s certainly not as efficient as a new window. But are you going to get a return on investment by replacing that window that’s going to equal the amount of energy you saved? Probably not or certainly not for a long time.
RUTH: OK. That’s what – I was wondering about that, too. OK. That’s been very helpful. I wasn’t sure what was wrong and I was wondering whether replacements would be the best option or not.
TOM: Well, now you know. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
Well, if you have a finished or even an unfinished basement or maybe even a crawlspace, it’s always a challenge to keep that space dry. And with all that moisture, those spaces can be breeding grounds for mold and a variety of allergens. So, taking steps to stem that moisture is important. And one product that can help you do just that is called E•Z Breathe.
LESLIE: Now, E•Z Breathe is a ventilation system that takes moisture out of the air and then improves indoor-air quality by helping remove odors, allergens, chemicals, mold spores, dander, soil gases, all manners of indoor-air pollutants.
Now, it works by exhausting the stale air from below-grade spaces, as well as the contaminants and moisture that come with it. And then it replaces it with fresh air, thereby creating a healthier atmosphere.
TOM: Yeah. And as a result, E•Z Breathe customers report they have less coughing, less sneezing and a decrease in allergy and asthma triggers. Plus, the product helps balance temperatures by keeping the air moving and not allowing for stagnant spaces.
You can learn more about E•Z Breathe – the healthy, happy home people – at EZBreathe.com or call 866-822-7328. Again, that’s EZBreathe – B-r-e-a-t-h-e –.com or 866-822-7328.
LESLIE: Ian in North Carolina is on the line and wants to build a recording studio. We might be able to help with that.
IAN: Well, I am – it’s kind of a bucket-list project. I was given my grandmother’s old house and they built on an extension to the house and I’m trying to convert it into just that: a semi-professional recording studio. And I’ve done a little research on this acoustic-foam stuff but it’s ridiculously expensive. And I’m trying to figure out a different method to basically achieve the same effect.
TOM: First of all, if you want to soundproof a room in a residential home, you have to use materials that are specifically designed to do that. Probably the least expensive way to do it is with a material called “soundproof drywall” or “sound-resistant drywall.” There’s a couple of different brands that sell this product. But essentially, what you would do is you would put a second layer of drywall over the existing layer. And this new drywall has sound-resistant capabilities to it or qualities to it so it absorbs the sound and keeps it nice and quiet.
Where the rubber meets the road with this is at the penetrations to the wall. So if there’s a light, an outlet or a switch, there are some very specific steps you have to take in those areas to soundproof them. And there’s a putty that has to be installed around it. It’s quite involved. But that’s the least expensive way to probably – to do this.
You know, generally, when you have sound-resistant construction, you have kind of a wall inside of a wall so that the two walls are not touching each other.
IAN: Like floating?
TOM: Yeah, kind of like floating. Like a non-bearing wall.
IAN: Right, right. OK.
TOM: But you could do that to the walls and the ceilings but then, what do you do about the floor?
IAN: Right. OK.
TOM: So, take a look at soundproof drywall and see if that kind of gets you closer to where you want to go on this, OK?
IAN: That sounds great. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Alright. Thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, is replacing your windows a do-it-yourself project? We’ll have the answer, 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: Here to help you with your home improvement projects. Give us a call, right now, at 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 and book appointments online, all for free.
LESLIE: But you’ve got two pros here, right now, so post your questions to the Community section, just like Rick from Crystal Springs, Mississippi did.
Now, Rick writes: “I want to know if putting in replacement windows is a do-it-yourself job. I’ve got a brick house with the original aluminum frame, single-pane windows and they’re super cold and drafty.”
TOM: Ah, yes. We know exactly what you’re talking about with that kind of window, Rick. It is a miserable window. I wish it was never invented. They’re very, very cold and drafty and there’s nothing you can do with them.
Now, to your question about whether replacing those windows is DIY or not, I say this: you know, if you have a traditional, double-hung window – wood window inside of a – with maybe some storm windows on it – I mean that’s kind of the average sort of replacement-window setup – that you possibly could do it yourself if you’re a very handy person.
However, with these metal windows in a brick house, I say not because there’s actually a bit of reconstruction that has to be done. Because if this is the type of window I’m thinking about, you really don’t have a traditional window jamb. And as a result, that will have to be built as part of the window-replacement project.
So, I’d say that this kind of job probably is not do-it-yourself, even for somebody that’s handy, because you don’t want to get it wrong. You’re going to have leaks that will get behind those windows, into that brick wall, and that could rot the exterior structure of your home. So I would recommend you call a pro to get that project done, Rick.
LESLIE: Alright. Next up, Karen in Maine writes: “I just removed horribly ugly wallpaper from the kitchen and living room.”
I don’t know. It wasn’t …
TOM: Oh, wait. But how does she really feel about it?
LESLIE: It wasn’t so bad. I do love wallpaper.
Alright. But she writes: “To my pleasant surprise, underneath is beautiful, natural, real finished, real wood paneling underneath. Most of the glue dried, which makes it easy to remove, but some is stuck pretty well. I’ve been using vinegar and water to soak and scrape the rest. Is there anything I should do to the paneling before I apply Liquid Gold or Murphy’s Oil Soap to it?”
TOM: Hmm. That’s a good question. If she’s got that on there, because that was – she also said that was what was there before it was papered over, that’s probably why it’s coming off so easily. Because it sounds to me like she’s getting away pretty easy on this because, typically, getting rid of that paste is a real mess.
Now, because you have real wood paneling, I would wonder why you’re not just going to lightly sand off the rest of that glue, right? I mean why scrape it? If you scratch through some of the stain, you could simply restain it and then refinish it or put the finish on top of that.
When you talk about Liquid Gold or Murphy’s Oil Soap, that’s kind of a material used to wash wood but it’s not really a wood finish. So, you may have to refinish that. I would think that a light sanding is probably a good way to go. And if you happen to cut through a dark stain, you can always restain. And then you put a coat of, say, polyurethane on that. And with the walls, you could probably – you can use water-based polyurethane, a satin finish. It’ll dry fast, it’ll seal it in nice. It’ll be super easy to clean going forward, right?
I don’t think she should keep wetting these walls down, Leslie. What do you think?
LESLIE: No, I don’t think there really is a need. And you can put a beautiful finish on it that looks really natural but will help preserve the look of that wood. And that’s probably the best way to go.
TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Thanks so much for spending this part of your February day with us. We hope we’ve given you some tips and ideas for inspiration, perhaps to avoid some perspiration when you’re thinking about getting those projects done around your house.
If something comes to mind and you weren’t able to get into the show today, you can always call us, 24/7, at 888-MONEY-PIT. And we will grab that message and return that call the next time we are in the studio. And of course, you can also post your questions to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheMoneyPit or to The Money Pit’s Community page at MoneyPit.com. Lots of ways to reach out to us for the solutions you need for your home projects.
I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …
LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.
END HOUR 1 TEXT
(Copyright 2019 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.)
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: We want to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. Yes, we’ve come to the end of 2018; 2019 now on the horizon, I’m sure chock-a-block full with projects on your end. Have you been thinking about your to-do list for the year ahead? Have you set up any home improvement resolutions? Are you planning to do your kitchen this year, maybe your outdoor spaces? Whatever is on that to-do list, we’d love to hear from you right now. We’ll talk about how to get it done, how to pay for it, how to make sure it comes out right. If you can’t do it yourself, we’ll have tips on how to hire a pro. All that awaits you at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. So pick up the phone and give us a call right now.
And coming up on today’s show, the days are getting darker for sure. So we’re going to share some tips on a new app that allows you to dim any type of light bulb – we’re talking about mixed lights here, like CFLs and LEDs and incandescents – all at the same time, right from your phone. That’s coming up, in just a bit.
LESLIE: And also ahead, are you ready to give your back a break this winter and finally buy that snow blower? Well, there are so many options out there, so how do you know which one is the best one for you? We’re going to share some expert tips.
TOM: Plus, speaking of snow, we’re going to have some tips on how to prevent snow and ice damage, including our own recipe to stop slippery sidewalks from forming, without destroying your concrete in the process.
LESLIE: But first, we want to hear from you, so let us know what you are planning on working on this 2019. What have you got on your calendar? We’re here to help.
TOM: The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
Let’s get to it. Leslie, who’s first?
LESLIE: We’ve got Carol on the line from Oregon. How can we help you today?
CAROL: Well, I’ve got a problem. I should know better but I have rented to people with – who brought in a puppy.
TOM: OK. Oh, that’s terrible.
CAROL: And now I’ve got to deal with lots of urine, fecal. It’s damage that’s probably been on there too long, too deep. Gone through the carpet to the pad, to the subfloor. So, my question is: can the stain ever be removed? I’m thinking I should just take everything up. My question would be what to put down new. Replace the subfloors? Solution? People have said something about KILZ and something like Zenix (ph) or something like that.
LESLIE: Well, I mean it really depends. If you even want to attempt salvaging the rug that’s there – generally, with a rental situation, you’re probably better off with a tile or a laminate floor, just because of cleanability. And then let the folks bring in their own area rugs. But if you want to attempt to sort of get the stain away, get the odor away, there’s a product that I used when I was training our dog, who was untrainable for the first year. And it’s on a website called JustRite and it’s R-i-t-e.com. And it’s called 1-2-3 Odor Free.
And it’s a series of different products. One’s a stain remover, one’s an odor remover and it sort of neutralizes through enzymes. And there’s an injector that you use to get through the carpet and into the padding and into the subfloor. And I kid you not, it works. Because there was a spot at the top of the steps that Daisy just loved and no problems to this day.
So, you might want to try that. However, if there is a lot of stuff to deal with, your best bet is probably to just pull everything off and you’re right about wanting to seal that subfloor. Because if you don’t put a primer – a good one – on top of it, whatever you put on top, get a humid day and you’re going to notice it.
TOM: Yeah, so that’s why, Carol, what you want to do is use an oil-based primer like a KILZ or a B-I-N. There are a number of different primers out there but I would use the oil-based ones for a problem like this, because they’re going to do a better job of sealing in odor.
CAROL: OK. And if I do decide to put down a rug – because this is a house I would like to sell future forward; it’s a nice house – is there a type of rug that can better be cleaned?
LESLIE: OK, yeah. It is from Mohawk and it’s a carpet that they call SmartStrand. And it’s got built-in stain-and-soil resistance that’s never, never, never going to wear off or wash off or clean off. And it feels soft. And it’s environmentally friendly because it’s made in part with a recycled plastic.
And I think it was last year at the Builders’ Show – Tom and I were at the event – and they were just launching this SmartStrand product. And they had taken carpeting and carpeted the pen of an elephant at the zoo and left it in there for a year and then took it off, cleaned it and brought a patch in and had half under the cover of glass and half out. And there was a little door that you could open up to the dirty side and you opened that up and of course, I didn’t smell just because I always do strange things like that. And it like reeked horribly. And the side that was cleaned was beautiful, clean, soft, smelled fantastic.
So, I’m not really sure about the price point but it is an amazing product and available in a lot of different looks, different piles. So I would start with Mohawk, their SmartStrand.
CAROL: OK. Thank you so much.
LESLIE: Kevin in Texas is dealing with a dangerous situation. You’ve got water leaking through a light in your kitchen?
KEVIN: I actually live in an apartment but nevertheless, my concerns are obviously valid for my health and so forth. All of a sudden, water started coming through the light fixture in the kitchen. And I threw down buckets and went up and knocked on the gentleman upstairs’ door and it turned out his washing machine had gone crazy and had put a bunch of water in my ceiling that – most of which came right through the light fixture, point of least resistance.
LESLIE: Oh, wow.
KEVIN: However, I can tell that it got into the rest of the ceiling. There’s a place where this living room is bowed in with the stain, so I know that it got wet up inside there. And furthermore, the guy, when he was made aware of it, apparently thought that it wouldn’t act up anymore and actually turned on his washing machine again and went and stepped into the shower. And so it just leaked profusely until we could finally get his attention, between me and Maintenance.
TOM: Oh, my God.
KEVIN: Yeah. I mean we’re sitting there with shop vac, buckets and mops and just shaking our heads.
KEVIN: So it was a one-time event, so it wasn’t an ongoing leak. And I was wondering what my risks are of black mold. Is there a test? Is there a preventative? What’s the story with that?
TOM: Yeah, it’s a good question. But here’s the good news: a single leak like that that happened and then dried out is not going to become an ongoing mold problem. If it stays wet for a long, long time and especially if it’s in an unheated place, it’s more likely to become a mold problem. But a single leak like that is not.
And also, one more point and that is you mentioned that your ceiling bowed. If – and I hope it doesn’t – but if that ever happens to you again, what you want to do is somewhat counterintuitive but that is to poke a hole in the ceiling wherever you see that water starting to form.
TOM: Because it’s easier to fix a hole than it is to replace the entire ceiling, which is probably what’ll end up having to be done. But when you see water coming through like that, what you should do is grab a screwdriver and just poke a couple of holes until you find the spot where the water just starts dripping out.
TOM: The quicker you can empty that ceiling of water, the better off you’re going to be.
And we had a problem like that not too long ago because of a piece of flashing that blew off our roof. And the first thing I did was took a Phillips screwdriver and poked three or four holes until I found the right spot. All that water drained right out and all I had to do was fix those holes. And it didn’t even have a stain on the ceiling when we were done.
KEVIN: Wow, yeah. That’s good advice there. I guess I should have thought of that but when you’re renting, you’re a little bit reluctant to do that.
TOM: Yeah, you don’t know. And that’s why I always take the opportunity to mention it, because it’s – first of all, you don’t have the experience because, thankfully, people don’t get these kinds of leaks. But secondly, it’s very counterintuitive because you don’t want to damage your ceiling. Well, it’s already damaged once that water is behind it and it’s going to get a lot worse really fast unless you poke a hole in it.
KEVIN: Good point, though. Good point. Alright. Thank you, guys.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. What are you working on in this new year? Whatever it is, we want to give you a hand so you can get that project off to a fantastic start, just like this brand-new year. So give us a call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
Up next, what are your plans for projects for 2019? We’d love to know. Give us a call at 888-MONEY-PIT. Are you setting up some New Year’s resolutions for your home? We’ll share some of ours, after this.
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 Happy New Year. It is that time of year where we get to kick off – we get to rejoice about everything we got done this past year. But we also get to kick off our projects or at least plan them for the year ahead.
And I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to take on at my money pit. And I think that this is the year, Leslie, that we’re going to do the kitchen.
LESLIE: Are you, really?
TOM: It’s not an easy kitchen, though, I’ve got to tell you. Because you know I have a really old house and I’ve got a really weird shape to the kitchen, because the stair to the basement kind of goes through the middle of it, sort of in a way. It’s kind of like an L-shape kitchen. The floor is grossly out of level, as most homes that are 100-plus years are.
LESLIE: Of that age.
TOM: You know, out of this age, right, are. And it’s got a – not a very tall ceiling. So I’ve got to think about whether or not – what do I want to do first? Do I want to level the floor? Do I want to add onto it? Do I want to take away to kind of drop it down to level? Do I want to use a leveling compound? I’m thinking …
LESLIE: Now, are you going to do all the work yourself or are you going to hire out parts?
TOM: No, I think I’ll do most of this myself. I’m kind of thinking of the structural/mechanical side of it. And I haven’t even thought about the design yet but I think it’s going to be sort of whitish, sort of farmhouse-y kind of a look that sort of fits the house. But it’s such an old house. There’s all kinds of surprises I know that I’m going to have to deal with, as well as the problems I already know exist.
LESLIE: Oh, for sure.
TOM: So, it’s a bold project. It’s definitely my New Year’s resolution. I’m committing to it right now. We’ll see what happens.
LESLIE: I should have bought you a slow cooker for Christmas. Then you would have been able to make your food in any room in the house.
TOM: Yeah. Because I’ll be living off outlet cooking for a while, right?
LESLIE: I don’t know what to tell you, Tom. Every year, I hope that this is going to be the year that I move. And I just – I haven’t found the right house. It’s always a combination of – is it something I can afford with affordable taxes? But then, how much work needs to be done? How much is the work I can tackle myself? Can I live in it while I do the work?
LESLIE: So there’s so many different things that I have to sort of factor in in finding the right house for me and the boys. And nothing has fit the bill. And truly, when you are a single person trying to purchase a home in the area that I live in, it’s not an easy task.
TOM: Right. No.
LESLIE: I can’t tell you – I’ve been outbid twice and outbid by tons of money. I just can’t even complete.
LESLIE: So I hope that I can find something that will work for us this year, because I would really love a fresh start in a new house.
TOM: Well, I hope you do, too, because then we’re going to have a whole bunch of new projects to talk about.
LESLIE: So many projects.
TOM: 888-666-3974. We want to hear about your projects. Give us a call right now.
LESLIE: Kathy in South Carolina, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KATHY: I have a problem with the squirrels chewing into my roof.
KATHY: And I was wondering, how can I – what can I repair this with and what can I put in there to keep them out?
TOM: Now, where are they chewing? Are they chewing through the trim or the soffits trying to get into the attic space? What’s the story?
KATHY: Well, they have gotten into the attic space.
TOM: The holes. Are you repairing those holes or what are you doing?
KATHY: No. I was calling you to see how you could help me, because I listen to your show all the time and you give such good advice.
TOM: Well, if they get into your attic, you can trap them and release them. You can use something called a Havahart trap. And this is a trap that is a wire cage with a trap door. And the way to bait it is to take an apple and put it in the far end of the cage and wire the apple to the cage; don’t just put it in there. But usually, I’ll take a hanger or a piece of picture-frame wire or something like that and I’ll thread it through the apple and wire it off so that it can’t bounce around.
And if they’re in the attic, they’ll come looking for that food. They’ll get trapped in there. Then you can pick the whole cage up and take it far away from your house and then release them. And believe me, as soon as you lift the door up, they’re out like a light.
LESLIE: They’re gone.
TOM: They just fly right out there and they’ll take off. They want nothing to do with you, so it’s completely safe.
Now, in terms of those holes, you have to repair them. Now, you can put – if it’s a small hole, you can put steel wool in it or something like that. But if it’s a bigger hole, you really should simply rebuild it or repair it, whatever it takes. So if it’s wood or if it’s vinyl or if it’s metal soffit material, you really just need to completely rebuild that.
And then, the other thing I’ll mention that seems to have been pretty effective over the years – and that is if you were to put moth balls down in your attic, that does seem to have a deterring effect on the squirrels, as well. So if you spread them …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It will, though – that odor does seep into the house, so don’t go crazy with it.
TOM: Yeah, right. You sprinkle them in there, yeah. Especially along the eaves.
KATHY: But is there anything else I can put up there to keep more from coming in?
TOM: Well, we want to identify the holes and get those fixed. It’s really an entry issue. You’ve got to basically close the door on them here. And so, if we can identify those holes and those entry points and seal them up, then you shouldn’t have a problem with squirrels. They don’t naturally live in the attic but they’re obviously finding a way into your house.
If you’re not quite sure where they’re getting in, you obviously can’t get in there – up there – to kind of look that closely, then work from the street level, walking around the outside of the house and looking up. Try to get a pair of binoculars or borrow one and see if you can spot the holes where they’re getting in. But that’s what has to be closed up.
KATHY: OK. Thank you so much. I’m so grateful.
TOM: You’re very welcome.
LESLIE: Well, as the days are getting darker, you might be interested to know about a new smart-home product that allows you to dim any type of light bulb, right from your phone. It’s called Caseta by Lutron and that’s just one of the many things that it can do.
TOM: Yeah. And the difference is it puts that smart-lighting control right at the switch, not at the bulb.
Now, think about it: that means you can control all the lights on that same switch, not just one bulb at a time. Which a lot of these smart-lighting products are like that: they just do one bulb at a time. But this is much better because you can do all of that – the entire lighting set – from the free Lutron app. So I like that.
LESLIE: Now, what Caseta does is it makes those lights come on night after night, exactly at dusk, even as the seasons change. So you don’t constantly have to go back in and reset the timer. It has a built-in sunset tracker and that’s going to adjust the schedule so that when you’re not home, those lights will still come on at dusk. And it’s never going to keep you in the dark.
TOM: That is very cool. It also integrates seamlessly with all the leading smart-home devices. And that makes it simple to expand the system over time. The Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart-Lighting Dimmer-Switch Starter Kit starts at $99. You can learn more at CasetaWireless.com. That’s C-a-s-e-t-a-Wireless.com.
LESLIE: Pete in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
PETE: Well, I’ve got lime deposits in my toilets and I’ve got probably five toilets in my house that I’d like to get them out of it. They’re around the upper part of the rim, where the water comes out, and then down in the bowl.
PETE: And I’ve tried LIME-A-WAY and I tried a vinegar soak. Maybe I just didn’t do it long enough but I’d like to find a way to get those lime deposits out of there and get my toilets looking nice.
TOM: Have you tried CLR?
PETE: Yes, I have.
TOM: You have tried CLR and CLR didn’t do it either?
PETE: Didn’t do it, no.
TOM: Well, Pete, if the commercial cleaners like CLR and LIME-A-WAY are not working, there’s a couple other things that you can try but you have to be very careful. One of them is to use something that’s abrasive, like pumice or a rubbing compound. And you can try to abrade away the deposit.
Theoretically, these abrasives are softer than the porcelain but you have to do it very carefully. You don’t want to rough the surface of the porcelain because if you do, it’ll get dirtier that much quicker the next time around.
Some folks also use muriatic acid. I don’t like to recommend that because it’s pretty harsh stuff and you’ve got to be super, super careful when you use it.
TOM: But it is a possibility, as well.
And then, you know, the other thing that you can try is you did use vinegar but I don’t know if you mixed it with baking soda.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because that helps.
TOM: And that helps, as well. You kind of make it into a paste and let it stand for a while and then you rinse it.
TOM: So, there’s a couple of additional things that you can try.
I also found a great article online. Whenever you find an article from a university or an extension service, it’s usually pretty well-researched. And if you just Google “removing mineral deposits and North Carolina Cooperative,” you’ll find it. And it’s an extensive article that’s a little old but has a lot of great suggestions in it. And specifically, it has solutions for the different types of deposits that you get on these fixtures, whether it’s rust, iron, copper, what kinds of stain it is and so on.
PETE: That sounds great. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
LESLIE: Alright. Wishing you a very Happy New Year and thanks so much for calling The Money Pit.
Hey, are you ready to give your back a break and buy a snow blower? Well, with so many options, it can be kind of confusing. So, how do you know which one is the best one for you? We’re going to share some expert tips, next.
TOM: Making good homes better, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Show where we make good homes better. I’m Tom Kraeutler.
LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.
TOM: Pick up the phone, right now, and give us a call. We want to talk about your New Year resolution projects. It’s a project that you’ve thought about tackling this coming year. We’re here to help you get those jobs done, as well as any fix-ups that are going on, right now, in your home. The number, again, is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Well, when I was a kid, I was the snow thrower. But these days, shoveling snow is a chore that I’d rather avoid. My allowance doesn’t get any kind of boost for doing that job.
TOM: Well, I sympathize with you because my snow-shoveling staff is dwindling, because my kids are away at college. So I guess both of us could use a machine that can tackle the job quickly and without a ton of effort. But with so many mechanical snow-removal machines on the market, how do you begin to choose? To help us, we welcome Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.
ROGER: Thank you. First of all, have you tried to hire a kid nowadays to shovel it?
LESLIE: You can’t find them.
ROGER: No. And they’re pricy.
LESLIE: They want like 50 bucks.
ROGER: Oh, man. I remember I got paid in candy bars one time.
TOM: Remember that? So…
LESLIE: I think I might still do it for candy but I’m just saying.
TOM: So, first, tell me what’s the difference between a snow thrower and a snow blower.
ROGER: Basically, it’s stages. A snow thrower is a single-stage machine that has a blade that’s turning very quickly that scoops the snow and throws it out the front of the machine.
ROGER: A snow blower is a two-stage machine where a blade turns slowly and feeds the snow into an impeller, which is moving very quickly, which sends the snow out of the machine.
TOM: OK. So I guess a snow blower is good for heavier snowfalls.
TOM: Because you’re taking that snow and I guess probably more hard-packed snow and icy snow and grinding it up, essentially.
ROGER: Right. So that it’s being brought into the machine, grinded up and then pushed out very fast.
TOM: Now, there’s a third version of this called a “three-stage snow blower.”
TOM: That’s sort of like both on steroids or what?
ROGER: Pretty much. If you have a double-wide driveway with a big snowplow mound at the end of it, this three-stage machine will throw it and they say up to 50 feet, so make sure you’re careful of the neighbors.
TOM: Right. Good point.
LESLIE: OK. Is there one that’s better for a different type of surface or perhaps an amount of area, depth of snow?
ROGER: There is. Think about – we start from the least amount of snow up to the most.
ROGER: A snow thrower, the single-stage one, is good for maybe 8 to 10 inches of snow at the most, because the opening on those machines is not very big. And if snow gets higher than that, you can’t get the machine through. And it’s not great on heavy, wet snow and it’s not great on the end-of-the-driveway snowbank, that’s for sure.
LESLIE: Ugh. Those snow trucks that come in and – after you’ve done a beautiful job shoveling – fill it back in for you.
ROGER: They know just when you’re done and they come and …
TOM: Perfectly timed always, right?
LESLIE: With like icebergs that weigh 80,000 pounds.
ROGER: Right. But that’s where the two-stage one – the snow blower – comes into place. That actually feeds the auger with that heavy, wet snow and then throws it out. So it can chew up and eat much more denser, higher or even snowplow-packed snow.
LESLIE: But will that work on a low quantity of snow, as well, or do you have to have a combination of the two?
ROGER: It will. It’ll do a good job. But usually, when you have the least amount of snow, you want that thrower because it’s really quick and easy. The thing with the snow thrower is if you have a gravel driveway, it’ll dig down in and you’ll be sending stone everywhere and cleaning it up all spring long, so …
TOM: Now, besides the snow thrower and the two-stage machine – the snow blower – there’s also a three-stage snow blower. You’ve got to have a pretty serious storm for that.
ROGER: Yeah. You must live in Buffalo.
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
ROGER: And it’s just a big machine. I mean this thing is made to clean a double-wide driveway with a big plow blowup in the end and they say it’ll throw snow 50 feet. So, be careful of your neighbor’s house.
TOM: Be careful what you ask for, right?
TOM: Exactly. So I guess the question is: how do you choose between the options? It’s really down to the amount of snow you need to clear?
ROGER: Yes, it is. Just knowing what you’re going to have to do. We don’t want to be undersized but we don’t want to pay extra money and be oversized either. So let’s start with – we talked about the snow thrower. That’s good, maybe – like I said, 8 or 10 inches of white snow it’ll go through. But once it gets beyond that – and again, there’s going to be times where it’ll fit perfectly for the amount of snow you have but Mother Nature doesn’t always give you the same amount of snow and the same density.
LESLIE: No, she does not.
ROGER: So it’s better to oversize a little bit than it is to undersize.
TOM: Yeah. Bigger is always better.
ROGER: That’s what we say, don’t we?
LESLIE: Do you find that the way it’s fueled sort of impacts the power or the aggressiveness of the snow blower/thrower?
ROGER: They’re both gas-powered, for the most part. There are some electrical ones out there. For the most part, they’re gas-powered and the size of the gas engine – the snow thrower has a very small engine. The two-stage snow blower has a much bigger engine on.
LESLIE: Will you find electric options in both?
ROGER: You will, you will. I have a little – we call it a “power shovel.”
TOM: Power shovel? Right.
ROGER: Yeah. For the snow, you plug it in and you just go out on your deck and it takes care of 4 to 6 inches of snow like that.
TOM: Yeah. Really? Wow.
ROGER: It’s amazing. But once it gets over that, you’re lifting it up and then it gets really heavy and you can’t do anything with it. The same thing – again, even an electric snow blower will work fine in a small amount of snow.
LESLIE: So, Roger, if you want this snow blower or thrower to work when you really need it, what kind of maintenance do we have to do to keep it running?
ROGER: Well, you want to do the maintenance in the fall before the snow comes, not being out there during a snowstorm trying to get everything going again.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Right.
ROGER: Make sure you have a new spark plug or at least a clean spark plug in it. But the most important thing is the fuel. I like to bake and make up a batch of fuel, right before winter, that has stabilizer in it so that fuel will stay good all winter long. The worst thing you can do is put aged gas that’s not treated in the machine, because it won’t start.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And how long will the fuel last with stabilizer?
ROGER: Three to six months, depending on what you use.
ROGER: And then one other key thing to remember is that in the two-stage models – they have shear pins in the blades. So they turn and if they hit something, it’ll break the shear pin. So always have a few of those extra hanging around.
TOM: Let’s talk about safety. That’s going to be very, very important when you’re using a snow blower and probably a snow thrower, as well. But you’re got very powerful blades that are spinning with those machines.
ROGER: I still can’t believe every year how many people are injured by sticking their hands inside a snow thrower or a blower.
LESLIE: Oh, this blade is stuck. Let me free it with my hands.
ROGER: Yeah. Not a good idea. Never ever put your hand inside of the machine. All of the machines nowadays come with a small plastic shovel. Or you can take a piece of wood or something. If it does get clogged, shut it off, go in there with a tool or the wooden stick, get that loosened material, get it out and then start it up and make sure it’s cleared again. Do not ever put your hand inside a machine.
TOM: Good advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House with tips on how to pick the perfect snow blower or thrower for your house.
ROGER: Hey, have a lot of fun in the snow. I’m going to Florida.
TOM: We will.
LESLIE: Alright. You can catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by State Farm.
Just ahead, we’ve got some tips on how to prevent snow and ice damage, including our recipe to stop slippery sidewalks from forming without destroying the concrete in the process. That’s all coming up, 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: What are you working on? Well, today, probably not so much since it’s the New Year’s weekend, basically. But if you’re thinking about a project for the year ahead, this is your chance to get through, on the phones, at 1-888-MONEY-PIT because everybody’s busy this weekend. So there’s plenty of room for you to get through to those lines at 888-666-3974.
Give us a call, right now, with your how-to question, your DIY dilemma. Is it a project you can do yourself? Do you need to get a contractor? How do you find a good contractor? How do I build a deck? How do I improve my patio? I’ve got a tough spot I’m trying to paint. You know, anything that’s going on in your house that’s a project that you want to get done to make it beautiful, to make it comfortable, to make it energy-efficient, we’d love to hear from you. The number is 1-888-MONEY-PIT.
LESLIE: Keith in New York, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
KEITH: What I have is I have an oil-fired boiler system. Does hot-water baseboard heating and also heats my hot water. And I have a well. And my question is whether I can actually divert water off of the well system, from the boiler, and put in an electric hot-water heater system, because oil is so expensive now.
TOM: So you want to stop heating your domestic hot water in the boiler and instead heat it via an electric water heater?
KEITH: Yes, whether it’s just a regular hot-water heater or an instant-hot. And that doesn’t concern me but I want to try using a little less oil.
TOM: You absolutely can do that. And when it comes to choosing the right electric water heater, you want to make sure that you’re choosing one that’s as energy-efficient as possible. And they do have some electric water heaters that are heat-pump water heaters today. And they use a fraction of the electricity that the traditional tank water heaters use but they’re more expensive.
If you get a good-quality, heat-pump water heater, you’ll be very happy because that water will be far less expensive than what you’re – what it’s costing you now to run the boiler with the oil. I understand what you’re saying: it’s a very inefficient way to heat your house.
Now, the other thing that you can do is – do you have a storage tank on that boiler?
KEITH: I have a pressurized storage tank that serves the domestic water. I don’t know if that’s …
TOM: Right. Is it – look big? Is it like 30, 40 gallons?
KEITH: It’s 40 gallons, yes.
TOM: It’s oil-fired?
KEITH: It’s oil-fired, yes. Comes directly off the boiler.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yeah. When you say directly off the boiler, it’s separate from the boiler or it’s – the hot water is heated through the boiler?
KEITH: No, it’s separate from the boiler.
TOM: Oh, OK. Yeah, alright. So, yeah, then my original answer applies. You can replace that with an electric water heater: either a standard one or a heat-pump unit. If you can’t afford the heat-pump unit and you’re going to use the standard electric water heater, make sure you put it on a timer because you don’t need to run it 24-7. You could set it to go off in the middle of the night.
KEITH: Oh, OK. Yeah, that’s – yeah, that’d be very good.
KEITH: Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, you know, if you get a bad storm, you’ve got to stay on top of the snow removal. The longer you wait, the heavier it gets. And your sidewalks are not going to be safe and you’re going to get ice. So the key is to shovel those walkways and driveways right after it happens. Because the longer you wait, the heavier it does get.
LESLIE: That’s right. So after shoveling, you should also apply salt to melt any ice on the walkways and the steps. But you’ve got to choose the right salt. That’s really important, guys, because the wrong salt can cause a whole bunch of damage.
Now, traditional rock salt is going to work but as I said, it’s corrosive because of what it’s made out of. And that’s going to leave your concrete pitted and worn. And truly, while that salt is going to work great, it’s just going to make that concrete look terrible.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s funny because we will get the calls from all of you folks that did use rock salt, in about two months.
LESLIE: In two months.
TOM: It happens every year. Every year we get calls about how to fix this. It’s better to avoid it.
So, the product you do want to use is calcium chloride. Now, it’s far less corrosive. It’s not going to harm your sidewalks or your indoor floors when it’s tracked into the house. It’s really the best approach.
Now, here’s a recipe that we use at our house. You want to mix a bag of that calcium chloride with sand – playground sand – the kind you buy at the home center. And then keep it in a container near your front door. I do that at both the front and the back door. I have some of those 5-gallon buckets and I mix it up sort of 5 gallons at a time. Just keep turning it and it works great. So convenient to have it there. And this way, the sand gives you a little traction on the ice while the calcium chloride melts it. And it does not destroy your sidewalks in the process, so …
LESLIE: Yeah. And it expands the amount of salt that you have for the entire season, by mixing it with the sand.
TOM: It does. Yeah.
LESLIE: So it’s so smart.
TOM: Now, you’ve got to read the bags, right? Because it comes from a lot of manufacturers. But you’re looking for calcium chloride. That’s the best way to go.
LESLIE: Linda in Rhode Island, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LINDA: Yes. This is an old house and in the basement – on the wall, which was fieldstone – in the past, they had painted it with “whitewash” or – that’s what it was called back then. And no matter what kind of paint I’ve applied, it flakes off.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah, because it’s damp and wet, that’s why. Yeah. You can’t just – if you put any kind of regular paint on that, it’s going to do that. You have to use a basement wall paint. It’s a lot stickier and it can handle the dampness of that wall.
Now, you could also take steps to reduce the dampness by improving your drainage outside. But if you put typical wall paint on the stone, it is going to flake off because water and paint don’t go well together. And those stones are like little sponges and the paint’s just going to peel right off of it.
So, what you want to use is a basement wall paint. And it’s really smelly but it’s really sticky.
TOM: And it’s …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s going to stick to where you need it.
TOM: It will last a lot longer. Does that make sense, Linda?
LINDA: Oh, it certainly does.
LESLIE: Just ahead, we’re going to solve a mystery for one of our followers. Andrew is seeing mysterious black stripes on his ceiling and wants to know what the heck is going on. We’re going to have that answer and more, 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: So, we’ve got some questions here from our listeners. And was it Tyler?
LESLIE: Yeah, Tyler in Oregon. He’s up. Now, Tyler writes: “I have a very, very large tree between my house and my detached garage. So large that cutting it down does not seem like an option without damaging one of the structures. What is the best way to safely remove this tree?”
Piece by piece?
TOM: Well, yeah – no, you’re absolutely right. It is, in fact, piece by piece, Leslie, because you can’t do this kind of job yourself. Because you literally have to disassemble the tree from the top down. That can only be done by a tree service with the appropriate equipment, which includes a bucket truck and a crane.
I’ve seen this done. I’ve had large trees near buildings and it’s amazing to watch these guys work, because they pretty much will hold onto one of the branches with the crane. Then the tradesman gets up there with a chainsaw, cuts it off. It gently disconnects. They swing it out of the way. They can swing it up and over buildings, they can swing it over power lines. They drop it down to the street and then they grind it up and put it on a truck and take it away. So, this is not, Tyler, a job that you should do yourself.
And while they’re there, I would opt for them to grind out the stump. Now, you can get rid of a stump on your own – that’s usually sort of an additional charge – but it takes a long, long time. There’s several methods to do it. We’ve got a great article about how to do it, on MoneyPit.com. But essentially, you have to drill it out, you have to treat it with one of a number of different over-the-counter products or you can use salt, because it promotes degradation. But it takes over a year for the thing to completely rot out, maybe even …
LESLIE: If not more.
TOM: If not longer, right. So, I would definitely – you’re going to have the guys out there with the equipment. I’d definitely have them grind it out at the same time and then you’ll be good to go. And believe me, it will happen in a very short period of time. We’re talking hours if it’s a big tree.
LESLIE: It’s amazing. And Tyler, this is the kind of case where you really need to find the right pro for the job, so definitely do your research, interview a couple of different vendors. Make sure you check their references, because you want to make sure you’ve got somebody that’s going to do a fantastic job and do it correctly. So, don’t go for the cheapest bid; find the right person for you.
Alright. Next up, we’ve got a post here from Andrew in Buffalo. Now, Andrew writes: “In the last few years, my 12-year-old house has developed dark areas where the sheetrock was screwed to the trusses. This is only at the outer edges where the ceiling meets the wall. I assume this has to do with the cold winters. Should I be worried and should I seal the spots and then paint?”
TOM: You’re correct that it has to do with the cold winters. You should not be worried and yes, you should seal the spots with paint. But essentially, what’s happening is you have identified correctly that this is the cold area of the house. And because heat rises, as the heat in your house rises it carries up with it any dust or dirt that’s in the air. And over time, that dirty air, so to speak, is going to sort of wash against that cold spot, which is where the framing sits on the outside wall. It’s a very hard place to insulate, right? And because of that continual convection, that continual washing of the dirty air up to that spot, you get the dark deposits.
You often see this behind radiators, too, because of the same reason. That convective loop pulls that hot air up and moves that air against the wall. And wherever it’s cold, it tends to kind of stick and it gets a little bit dirty.
So, nothing to worry about. You can clean it, prime it, paint it and you will be good to go.
LESLIE: Now, Andrew, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean that you keep a messy house. It’s just, truly, what goes on in every single house. It just happens to be the way the airflow is in your house. But that said, if you put a better filter into the HVAC system in your home, you’ll probably see far less of this occurring in the future.
Easy fix. Go for the best-quality filter you can.
TOM: You are listening to The Money Pit Home Improvement Show. Hey, thank you so much for spending part of your day with us. We hope that we’ve given you some ideas, some inspiration for projects that you’re going to want to tackle in the year ahead. We’re here to guide you, coach you, encourage you and hopefully keep you out of DIY trouble.
Remember, you can reach out to us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 24/7, or post your questions to The Money Pit’s website at MoneyPit.com.
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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From Source Article: moneypit.com