Show Notes: Got An Hour?
If you’ve got an hour, we’ve got some things you can do!
This week, we discuss
- inspecting your crawl spaces
- some easy DIY bathroom projects
- some chores you can do in an hour
- great paint colors
Missed our live show? Don’t worry! Because we have a podcast of the show. It’s the same thing we aired on the radio, but ready for you whenever and wherever you are! Check it out here.
Got A Crawl Space?
Crawl spaces are great to have when you need to access electrical wiring, ductwork, and plumbing and drain pipes. Aside from these times, how much thought do you give to the crawlspace under your home? If you are like most homeowners, probably not a lot because it is out of sight, so it is out of mind.
Ignoring your crawl space is similar to neglecting a basement. All sorts of problems can spring up and lead to more costly repairs. Even though we truly dislike having to get down on all fours to fit through the access door and crawl to get inside, it is a necessary part of owning a home. Inspecting your crawl space should become a regular habit, just like you would inspect your basement, attic, roof, or gutters.
- Look for signs of moisture. Look on the exterior walls and exposed wood for discolorations. This often indicates water was present at some point. You should touch the walls and exposed wood to check to see if it feels damp or wet.
- Look for signs of pooling/standing water. If you notice any pooled or standing water under the home, there is a drainage issue. Not only will you want to discover the source of the water but also resolve drainage problems.
- FIX: Moisture and Water Drainage Problems: If you have standing or pooling water under the home, this problem may require having a sump pump installed to pump the water out from under the home and away from it. Sometimes the issue can also be resolved by elevating the landscaping around the home, so water does not pool around the home. You may also want to consider getting gutters and downspouts installed.
- Verify all insulation under the subflooring is in place and not damaged. If you notice insulation hanging down or lying on the ground, it will need to be replaced.
- FIX: Damaged or Missing Insulation: Simply replace any damaged or missing insulation. You can also add more insulation if you only have a single layer of protection. Additionally, insulate any exposed water pipes to help protect against freezing in the winter.
- Look for signs of insect and rodent activity. Look around for rodent droppings and pin-like holes in exposed wood supports. These indicate you could have problems with rodents and/or termites.
- FIX: Rodent and Pest Problems: You will want to call an exterminator to eliminate the rodents or pests before making any repairs. After making repairs, verify all wood has been treated to prevent future problems.
- Inspect any exposed plumbing pipes, gas pipes, ductwork, and electrical wiring. You want to make sure there are no water leaks and pipes are properly insulated. With ductwork, verify each section is securely connected and the ducts are not loose and/or do not move excessively. With electrical wiring, look for cracked plastic insulation and exposed wiring.
- FIX: Leaky Plumbing Pipes: Have a plumber fix any leaks, which can require having part of the home’s existing plumbing replaced. Once replaced, make sure it is well insulated.
- Look for openings and gaps around the exterior walls. This is easy to do by turning off your flashlight and looking all the way around the sides of the crawl space. If you see light coming in, other than through an air vent, there is a hole that will need to be sealed.
- FIX: Newly Discovered Gaps and Openings: For this issue, waterproofing can remedy any gaps or openings you discovered around the exterior walls of the crawl space.
Easy DIY Bathroom Projects
Don’t worry; we’re not suggesting you take on a strenuous renovation, like retiling the floor or installing a new toilet. These improvements are quick to do and will cost you almost nothing except your time—which, we’re guessing, you have plenty of at the current moment.
Assess the Linens
- Go through your towels and other bath linens and pitch things that are threadbare Not into throwing them in the trash? You can cut up old towels and use them as cleaning rags, or put them in a bag to donate to animal shelters and rescue organizations.
- Next, take a cue from the spa you’d love to visit right now, and roll your towels into tight spirals. Store them neatly on a shelf or in a large basket. Finally, consider getting a new bathmat.
Empty and Wipe Down Garbage Cans
- While it should be a weekly chore, emptying the bathroom trash can slip your mind. No judgment here. But these days, you should be getting those used tissues out of the house as soon as possible. Make it a point to empty each and every bathroom trash can. And while you’re at it, spray the inside and outside of the cans with a disinfecting spray. This easy task helps to germ-proof your bathroom.
Organize Your Linen Closets
- This one’s easy. Repurpose clear bins or baskets from other areas of the house and make designated spots in your linen closet, assuming you have one, for items you need to store. For example, stash paper goods and cleaning supplies in one section. Use another bin for lotion, sunscreen, and drugstore supplies. The result? You’ll free up shelves in your linen closet for extra blankets, beach towels, and washcloths.
Shine the Glass
- Get out the Windex, and take a few minutes to get rid of streaks and water stains in the glass surround in your shower.
- If you thoroughly clean this spot, you’ll make it magazine-worthy. While you’re at it, tackle the mirror and faucets—and the whole room will gleam.
Do A Quick Clean
- You’ve probably stocked up on Clorox wipes and paper towels, so put them to quick use on your vanity.
- Edit your countertops first, to eliminate clutter and make the surface easier to clean.
- Once the vanity is smudge-free, put back just those few things you use regularly and corral them on a mirrored tray. Or keep your daily supplies in the drawer and create a tableau that’s visually appealing (try perfume bottles, a pretty vase, and a nice bottle of hand lotion).
Change Your Shower Curtain
- You can order a new one online for a quick new look for your sparking clean bathroom.
Got An Hour, We Got A Fix?
Clean Weep Holes
Weep holes may be the tiniest feature of many sliding windows and vinyl replacement windows, but they serve a big function. The little holes, located on the exterior bottom of the frame, are an outlet for rainwater to drain away from the home, but they often can become clogged up with debris. To make sure they’re working properly, spray the outside of the window with a garden hose – a steady stream of clean water should exit from the holes. If it doesn’t, use a wire hanger or compressed air to force the blockage out. Re-test with fresh water to ensure they’re completely cleaned.
Clean Dryer Vents or Waste Energy and Risk a Fire
A plugged dryer vent will cause your dryer to run inefficiently, and that’s bad. A plugged dryer vent could also cause a house fire, and that could be deadly! Dryers that are centrally located in houses are most prone to plugging because of the longer ducts. Excess lint is only one reason ducts get clogged; nesting pests and stuck exhaust hood flappers can also cause backups. Stronger odors and longer dry times are two signs your vent is plugged. You’ll have to remove the vent from the back of the dryer to clean it. Suck debris from the ducts with a wet/dry vac, or ream them out with a cleaning kit that includes a brush on a long flexible rod that attaches to a power drill. The kits are available at home centers. If your ducts need replacing, get smooth metal ducts, which will stay cleaner longer than the rough corrugated surface of flexible ducts. Avoid plastic ducting altogether; it can be a fire hazard.
Check Garage Door Balance or Wreck Your Opener
A properly balanced door is less likely to injure someone or something and keeps the door opener from working too hard, which will shorten its life.
To check the balance on a door, close the door and then disengage the opener by pulling the opener release handle. Manually pull up the door about halfway and let go. A properly balanced door will stay in the halfway position by itself. If it falls, the tension needs to be increased. If the door rises, the door spring has too much tension, which means it’s working harder than it needs to.
Check the door a couple times a year. Adjusting the spring tension is tricky and dangerous. Call a garage door professional to perform the service,
Check for High Water Pressure or Wreck Fixtures and Appliances
Pressure-reducing valves are usually found near the main water shutoff valve, but not all homes have them. It depends on your municipality.
High water pressure can harm pipes, connections, and appliances. It also creates water hammer and waste massive amounts of water. Checking for high water pressure is an often-overlooked maintenance item, and one that’s easy enough to perform. A new pressure-reducing valve and a simple pressure gauge like this one that hooks up to a spigot or laundry tub faucet are both available at home centers.
Favorite Wall Colors Loved By Interior Designer And Paint Experts
Staring at a display case full of paint chips can leave even the most confident do-it-yourselfer’s head spinning. We asked top interior designers and paint professionals which wall color they would choose if they could only have one. Here are their can’t-miss paint colors.
Sea Salt SW6204 Sherwin Williams
- Gray-blue is one of those paint colors that’s both modern and classic.
Savoury Beige 3002-10C Valspar
- Timeless and versatile, Savoury Beige sets a soft backdrop for any decorating style.
Memorybook Blue 4007-5C Valspar
- A soft, peaceful shade that can work as a neutral in large doses.
Rocky Coast 1595 Benjamin Moore
- Use dark gray wall colors like Benjamin Moore’s Rocky Coast to instantly add drama and elegance
Tony Taupe SW 7038 Sherwin Williams
- Warmed-up, earthy shades of gray, like Tony Taupe, are the new go-to neutrals.
Classic Gray 1548 Benjamin Moore
- Gray is becoming the ultimate neutral because it looks good with almost any color.
Naval SE 6244 Sherwin Williams
- Sherwin-Williams’ pick for 2020 Color of the Year, Naval is a rich, saturated blue wall paint color that makes a bold statement
~ Thank you~
A very special thank you to all of our callers! We live to answer your questions, so keep them coming!
Thank you to our Technical Support:
- Danny Bringer – Chief Engineer
- Carol “Remodeling Babe” Carey – Executive Producer
- Sam Reed – Associate Producer
- Rico Figliolini – Digital Master
Thank you for tuning in for some things you can do in an hour! And check in next week for more cool tips!
“Got an Hour?” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired April 11, 2020.