Show Notes: 4 Expensive Words – On the House

Show Notes: 4 Expensive Words

By on July 30, 2016

Can you believe this is the last week of July, where has summer gone? If you are planning a remodel you need to be aware of some very expensive words and more this week at On The House.


Deck Fire Blamed On Reflected Sunlight

Firefighters say that a deck fire at a Vancouver, Washington home  started when reflected sunlight from a nearby window kindled a fire in a planter located on the deck. The fire didn’t appear to be particularly destructive to the deck, but climbed up the siding and into the attic of the single-story home, causing about $160,000 in damage. Clark County Assistant Fire Marshal Richard Martin noted that this type of fire is not unheard of.

Insulated glass panels used in windows, sliders, and patio doors sometimes have a slight concavity, which is caused by a pressure difference between the outside air and the gases trapped between the inner and outer glass layers of the IG panel. Research has shown that – under certain conditions – when sunlight reflects off the glass, the concavity can focus the light and create hot spots with temperatures exceeding 200-degrees F, which can melt vinyl siding, cook decking, and – apparently – start fires in planters.        


The 4 Most Expensive Words In Remodeling

While you’re at it’ often results in change orders that quickly add up.

 Picture this: You’re having a meeting with your contractor. The two of you are sitting at a table, discussing your master bathroom project, which is almost finished (and looking great). You say to him, “While you’re at it, can we go ahead and move the can light above my vanity 6 inches to the right?”

In your mind, “while you’re at it” is simple. Six inches doesn’t seem very far at all. An electrician is already working at your house, and you already have a can light installed. Bada bing, bada boom. No harm in moving it a few inches. But it’s not so simple.

In your contractor’s mind, these four words translate to “change order.” And while change orders aren’t evil — they’re necessary and inevitable in many cases — they are notorious for adding cost to a project. If you’ve worked hard to come to an agreement with your banker, your contractor or your spouse to stay within a fixed price, a change order or two (or three, or 10) can really throw your budget a curveball.

The moral of the story is to be aware of what you ask your contractor to do. Moving a can light involves more than an electrician. The drywall contractor and painter will need to patch the hole where the light was previously, for example. Altogether, it could end up costing about $350 to move that light half a foot. That might be pocket change to some people. But throw in seven to 10 more “pocket change”-sized change orders, and suddenly your bill has increased by a couple thousand dollars.

To prevent change orders, try to think carefully about everything involved (paint colors, position of can lights, etc.) in your project before the start date to make sure they’re included in your scope of work and your contract. It will more than likely save you a few bucks — and a few headaches.


Unusual But Handy Uses For Wd-40

WD-40 is perhaps best known for its ability to lubricate, loosen and drive water out of various parts and tools. But these lesser-known uses are just as helpful.


  • Remove stickers, decals, price tags and tape. It also works on adhesive residue they might leave behind.
  • Remove scuff marks. This includes shoe scuff marks on floors and the interior of car doors, as well as chair-back scuff marks on running boards on walls.
  • Remove dried toothpaste stains.
  • Dissolve glues. Examples from WD-40’s website include removing glue from carpet, leather and other surfaces; removing hair-extension glue from hair; and removing glue stains from jeans.
  • Remove coffee stains. Examples from the website include cups, tables, counters and floor tiles. Just be sure to wipe up all fluid from floors so no one slips.
  • Remove chewing gum. The website mentions gum on hair, shoes, carpet, concrete and lunch trays.
  • Remove permanent marker from dry-erase boards.
  • Remove crayon, colored pencil and modeling clay. Crayola specifically recommends WD-40, among other products, for various surfaces.
  • Separate stuck Lego building bricks.
  • Clean grass stains, paint and dog poop off shoes.
  • Dislodge salt-impregnated ice from boot soles.


  • Deter wasps from nesting. For evicting the buggers from a nest or preventing them from building one, users of Reddit’s “LifeProTips” message board agree on WD-40’s effectiveness. Just don’t spray a nest while wasps are around. As one commenter who made this mistake puts it: “They do not like it, and will attack.”
  • Prevent grass from collecting on lawnmower blades.
  • Deter squirrels from raiding backyard bird feeders. WD-40 Co. CEO Ridge told the Los Angeles Times that his favorite story about an unusual use for WD-40 was about a woman who sprayed it on her bird feeder pole because squirrels were filching bird food: “Can you imagine those little squirrels trying to climb up that lubricated pole?”
  • Prevent snow from sticking to shovels and snowplow blades.
  • Open frozen mailbox doors.


  • Remove dead bugs from various parts. WD-40’s website mentions radiators, grills, bumpers and paint.
  • Remove bird droppings from hoods and roofs.
  • Prevent car parts from freezing in winter. The website mentions locks and windshield-wiper spray nozzles.
  • Remove barnacles from the bottom of boats.


How To Choose An Efficient And Safe Gas Fireplace

 Gas fireplace inserts are manufactured to be placed into the cavity of an existing fireplace. They convert the fireplace from wood burning to gas. If you choose to go with an insert, the chimney must be completely relined and an approved vent must be installed.

Choosing a Fireplace

When shopping for a gas fireplace, select a unit that is energy-efficient and safe. Today, fireplaces come with a government rating that tells you a lot about the unit you are considering, including its energy use.

The fireplace you choose should also enhance the décor of your home, as well as act as a source of heat. However, there are a few features to look for when choosing the perfect fireplace. For example, with an energy-efficient fireplace, you will want a direct-vent unit with an automatic starter instead of a pilot light. A ceramic glass front is also good for transmitting infrared heat from the flame into the room.

Another useful feature is a variable setting control, which allows you to regulate gas consumption by adjusting the temperature. Check the turn-down range before you buy it. Some fireplaces can be turned as low as 20 percent while others can only be adjusted to 70 percent

With these options in mind, you can select the gas fireplace that best fits your space and your individual wants and needs.

Whichever type of fireplace you choose, it should be installed by a professional heating contractor. Be sure to check how the vent is installed to ensure energy efficiency and safety.


Moving? Pack Your Garage In 5 Steps

Use these moving tips when packing your garage

When it comes to packing before a move, the garage is often the last room most people pack. We put it off due to the sheer number of things piled up and because the items in the garage are the most awkward to pack.

But there are many advantages to packing the garage first. With a little planning, packing up your garage will ease your mind and possibly fill your wallet! So how do you tackle packing a garage?

  1. Sort and have a garage sale before moving

The garage finally gets clean when you move. Hurray! It doesn’t make sense to move belongings you won’t use. Now is the time to get rid of anything you don’t need — the stroller for your now 10-year-old, the growing collection of sport team T-shirts, tools you’ve never used, etc.

Sell them or donate these items. If you have the time, a garage sale is a great way to de-clutter and make extra cash.

First, sort items by creating two sections in your garage: one section for the things you are taking and one for the stuff you don’t want anymore. Then price and tag the unwanted items for your garage sale.

Donate items that don’t sell. Give clothing and household items to your favorite local charity, such as Goodwill. You can even donate unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Getting rid of items will cut down on your moving expenses and keep your new garage clutter-free and a great place to get the rest of your house organized!

  1. Get the right moving boxes and supplies

Pairing the right boxes and supplies with the right packing methods is crucial to the success of your move. In the garage, most items are heavy and oddly shaped. Be sure to have the following on hand:

  • Boxes: Gather sturdy, recyclable cardboard moving boxes of various sizes.
  • Eco-bubble wrap: Use biodegradable eco-bubble wrap to protect items.
  • Packing Tape: You need to tape every box, top and bottom, with 2- to 2-1/2-inch gummed or masking tape to give it additional strength and prevent opening. You’ll need approximately one roll of tape for every 15 to 20 boxes. Run multiple strips of tape along the bottom of the box in both directions to make sure the box stays secure.
  • Packing Paper: While ordinary newspaper works fine for some purposes, be aware the paper’s print will run, giving you an extra cleaning task at your new home.
  • Blankets: Your mover can provide you with moving blankets for large items.

Tip: Before you start placing your garage belongings into the moving boxes, make sure you have secured the boxes’ bottoms with several layers of packing tape for added protection. Correctly packed boxes paired with the correct moving supplies keep your items safe during storage and transport.

  1. What not to pack for the move

Most garages have hazardous materials you can’t move due to safety reasons. Common sense and the law forbid moving companies from moving flammable items, such as aerosol cans, paints, gasoline, paint and paint thinners, charcoal, propane tanks, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc. Be sure to properly dispose of these items before moving.

  1. How to pack garage items
  • Leave smaller hand tools, such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers or hammers, in your toolbox and close it securely.
  • Wrap any items with sharp blades with a few layers of eco-bubble.

Wrap up rakes and shovels with tape or rope and a moving blanket.

  • Bundle large garden tools, such shovels and rakes, together with tape or rope and wrap them with a large moving blanket.
  • Preferably pack power tools in their original container. Remove any detachable parts a tool may have, including the batteries, and pack them in the same box.
  • You must empty fuel from gas-operated machinery, such as lawn mowers and chain saws, before moving them.
  • You cannot move a grill’s propane tank, even if it is empty, and you cannot move charcoal either. It’s best to give them to neighbors. Remove the propane tank or charcoal entirely before you move the grill.
  • Stack outdoor chairs and disassemble other outdoor furniture when possible. Remove cushions and pack them in boxes.
  • Wrap fragile flowerpots in eco-bubble. However, keep in mind moving companies cannot move plants across state lines, and your plants won’t survive in storage.
  • Clean, defrost and dry refrigerators and freezers. Wrap them with moving blankets for protection.
  • Disassemble bikes as much as possible before movers arrive. Remove the handlebars and wheels. If you can, go to a local bike store and look for an original bike box to pack in.
  1. Label everything before moving

Remember that memory card game? It’s hard to find those two matching elephants in rows and rows of cards. After boxes get shuffled during a move, it’s equally difficult to find what you need.

Label each box with what contents are on the inside and write the location where this box is going “GARAGE,”   


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