Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for Week of Oct. 28, 2017

Hour 1

Hour 2

Simple Solutions

Improved Soap Dispenser

Kitchen sink soap dispensers typically have small reservoir bottles that only hold about one pint of liquid dish soap. Here’s how to avoid refilling the bottle so frequently: Unscrew the reservoir bottle from the underside of the dispenser. Then, remove existing tube and replace it with long flexible ¼-inch-diameter tubing. Put the lower end of tubing into large, economy-size jug of soap.

Vacuum Small Parts Catcher
Here’s how to use a vacuum to find small, dropped parts, such as hex nuts, washers, and jewelry. Use a rubber band to secure a piece of cheesecloth or nylon stocking to the end of the vacuum wand. Then, use the vacuum to clean up around where you dropped the part. The item will get trapped in the cloth or nylon for easy retrieval.

Hour 1

Sheila in AL
What do I need to do to be able to get my washer and dryer as close to the wall as possible. With the regular connections in the back it makes my washer protrude a little into the door opening.

Matt in RI
My wife and I purchased an older home (192 years old!) about two months ago. In the basement, the home has fieldstone and brick foundation in some spots and poured concrete in others. It seems there used to be windows in some spots, but they were removed and then boarded up with what looks like plywood. The wood is starting to rot, it’s wet and totally gross. The thing is, they’ve drilled through the wood to run the gas lines, central AC, and some ducting/venting through them. Any ideas on how to replace these boards with something more insulated and that is waterproof without having to go crazy unhooking gas lines, etc?

Jack in NY
We’re building a new home that will have a full basement. The builder has proposed pouring the 8-foot-tall concrete foundation walls. But a friend just told me about a foundation system that uses pre-cast concrete panels. Do you have any experience with this system, and what are its benefits versus a traditional poured concrete foundation?
Hear the answer Straight from the Pros: Adam Campbell, Operations Manager at Superior Walls

Mary in NM
I have all oak wood cabinets and they kind of have an odor of old wood. I’m wondering what I can do to freshen them up and make them smell new, at least.

Sue in NE
A carpenter recently installed a newel post at the bottom of our staircase, but the post isn’t perfectly plumb. When I check one side of the post with my level, the bubble is centered between the two black lines. But on the other side of the post, the bubble is not quite centered within the black lines. Do you think that’s good enough or should the post be perfectly plumb in both directions?

R. in LA
I have a brick-exterior home that has weep holes along the bottom of the walls. Is it okay to plug up the weep holes with pieces of copper pot scrubbers to keep out insects and mice? I know the weep holes are important for drainage and I don’t want to cause a moisture problem.

David in PA
Our washer and dryer are concealed behind a pair of bi-fold doors. The problem is that when the doors are opened, they partially block the doorway, making it difficult to access the washer and dryer. Is there a way to re-hang the doors or install a door the pivots away from the doorframe? Do you have any other ideas?

Susan in TN
What is best way to clean a composite deck?

Hour 2

Paul in AL
When installing a hose reel on brick siding do you use the grout lines or drill into the brick. Also, what kind of anchors do you use?

Doreen in AL
I have the exterior of my house being painted. It’s a Tudor-style house. The trim boards are being replaced but they are not priming the back side of the boards. Should I have them paint them? The contractor says it’s overkill and that good caulking will keep the boards from warping or rotting.

Lila in PA
Whenever I cook, smoke fills the kitchen and stinks up the house. I run the exhaust over my stove, but it doesn’t do any good. I checked the cabinets above the exhaust and there’s no ducting. I don’t think the fan is doing anything at all.

Tina in GA
I see on your fall list the suggestion to drain and flush your water heater. Please explain the reasoning behind this? I am a single female and a very first-time home owner and I do not understand this task!

Jennifer in NC
My home was done with a flat paint. When I washed the walls some of the paint came off. I want to paint the walls before the holidays. Can I use a semigloss paint? I have grandchildren that love to put their hands on my walls. Which is the best paint to use for a lot of wall washing?

Melissa in MI
We bought a new front-loading washing machine a few months ago. It works great, but I recently noticed black mold spots around the opening where the door closes. What’s causing this and how can I stop it?

What’s the best way to remove staples that were installed with a staple gun without damaging the surface?


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