Show Notes: DIY Away the Cold-Weather Blues – On the House

Show Notes: DIY Away the Cold-Weather Blues

By on November 9, 2019
cold weather diy

Cold weather got you down? Are you sitting inside wishing it were still sunny and warm out?

Never fear! The Carey Brothers have some DIY projects that will chase those cold-weather blues away!

But don’t forget to winterize your home. And don’t forget about those light bulbs. Yes, light bulbs!

But before the holiday fun can begin, you need to make sure your home is ready for house guests of all ages, from your cousin’s newborn to your sister’s rambunctious three-year-old and your elderly grandparents. And then there’s always that one relative that insists on bringing their dog everywhere they go. 



Cold Weather DIY Home Improvement Projects  

Many of these projects can be done by the average homeowner. No need for outside hire, and no need to wait for a contractor to do the work for you. In case you’re not sure where to start, here are a few  DIY projects for your home that can be started right now. 

  • Tile your kitchen backsplash
  • Paint an accent wall
  • Remodel your fireplace with either glass tile or a fresh coat of paint
  • Change your interior door hardware
  • Change a light fixture
  •  Add wainscoting
  •  Add crown molding
  •  Simple Floating Shelves
  •  Wallpaper Removal


 Going on the Road to Louisville, KY for the Remodeling Show/Deck Expo Sponsored by EnerBank



Baby-Proofing Your Home 

 Chances are if you don’t have young kids, you have probably not put much thought into things like child safety. However, if your guest list includes any toddlers or babies – really anyone under the age of 5 – you may want to do some quick child proofing. 

  • Outlet Covers: This is baby proofing 101. Children like to explore and stick their fingers, well, everywhere. A few outlet covers can really help make your home a safer place – and they are relatively inexpensive. 
  • Baby Gates: Baby gates are your first line of defense, especially if your home has several staircases. If you don’t have any baby gates, don’t hesitate to ask relatives to bring a few. Chances are they will be more than happy to bring a baby gate or two if it means a safer environment for their toddler. 
  • Window Cords: Window cords are one of the top hidden hazards in most homes, injuring 1,590 children between the ages of 14 months and eight-years-old from 2006 to 2012, according to estimates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Next Day Blinds offers multiple cordless products that are Certified Best for Kids. Read more about window covering safety here. 
  • Breakables: It’s important to move breakables or heavy objects out of reach. And remember that low-hanging table cloths or decorative doilies are just begging to be grabbed and pulled by little hands. 


Thinking About Grandparents and Elderly Relatives 


  • Remove Obstacles: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one-third of all people aged 65 or older will fall each year, and many of these seniors are seriously injured. If your elderly relatives have mobility restrictions and are at risk of falling, it is important to remove any obstacles, such as floor decorations, loose rugs, excess clutter, etc. 
  • Increase Lighting: Low light can be another unexpected obstacle for elderly relatives. So, consider adding a bit of additional lighting in key areas, such as the hallway. And be sure to leave the bathroom light on as well. While candles and holiday lights may be festive, they do not provide adequate lighting. 
  • Walkway Woes: If you live in a particularly cold area, consider clearing snow and ice from your walkway and outside steps. This is another area where adequate lighting is also a must. 
  • Accessibility: Consider accessibility needs, especially when thinking about entryways and stairs. 


New Home Improvement Products   

Insulating Concrete Floors 

One way to add value to your home is to add a new addition. An unused basement is an existing addition. Of course, the finished look is important, carpet, tile, laminate or wood: but it’s equally important to insulate the floor! Why spend the money to finish a room if it does not improve comfort and quality? 

Insulating the basement floor adds comfort and additional challenges that need to be address. Basement floors are not always on the level. Building codes requires that stairs steps be the same height preventing a tripping hazard. You may have to adjust the stair treads heights or add a landing to meet building code requirements and check all existing door swings; doors may require to be rehung and/or trimmed to accommodate the new floor to ceiling height. 

Water always seeks the lowest point in your home…. your basement.

Make sure you have a working sump pump or back flow prevention system to keep water and sewage from getting into unwanted places. The old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, really means something in a basement. 

Address uneven floors prior to installing any floor system, the low spots should be fixed with concrete patch or floor leveler. 

Once the basement is prepped, choose an insulation to reduce heat loss and moisture transfer from the slab. InSoFast EPS foam panels provides a one-step solution to finishing a floor with embedded studs built-in to the panel. The average residential load bearing code requirement for floor system is 40psf. InSoFast easily exceeds the compressive strength requirements. 

InSoFast’s insulation panels provide an easy way to insulate a cold concrete floor. The panels can be applied to every surface from floors to walls to ceilings. InSoFast is a DIYers’ dream, a simple way to install insulation, needing only a hand saw, utility knife and caulking gun. 


Questions to Ask Before Purchasing a Generator   

 Buying a generator is a worthy investment. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your vendor about buying the right one for you. 

 Those who experience frequent power outages and blackouts might think that a generator is the perfect solution. However, this may not be the case. While generators might sound like your saving grace, there are many factors of which will leave you second guessing. This is why we have compiled a 5-point list of questions and answers to help you get started on making sure that buying a generator is the right decision for you. 

Question #1: How much should I budget for a generator? 

If you are planning to store away the generator until needed, then a portable one will be just fine. If you need or want consistent backup, invest in a stationary model. The equipment cost of stationary generators depends on the amount of power you need. In addition to the cost of the actual unit, there will also be an installation fee. On average, a generator plus transfer switch and installation costs runs anywhere from $5,000 up to $10,000. 

 Question #2: What size generator do I need? 

This answer depends on how much power you want and need during an outage. Are you looking to back up critical power needs such as a sump pump, refrigerator, garage door, and basic lighting? Or would you like enough power so that your home functions like normal? There are different sizing calculators available for you to tally up your usage so that you can buy a generator that offers the amount of power you need. 

 Question #3: What does installing a generator entail? 

Once you contact your local dealer, they will come out and conduct a site survey to discuss items such as where to place the generator on the property so they comply with local codes and ordinances. You will then choose a spot that is close to your home’s gas and electric supply. That surface is then leveled, crushed gravel or a concrete pad is placed, and then your dealer will install the automatic transfer switch and connect it to your newly purchased generator. 

 Question #4: What kind of maintenance does a generator need? 

All generators require routine maintenance. You will need to check and add oil, visually inspect the generator for any damage, troubleshoot other issues that may arise, and you will need to schedule maintenance checks with a professional. During your installation, make sure that you ask your dealer about routine maintenance tips, as well as how often a professional should come out for a maintenance checkup. 

 Question #5: What kind of warranties come with which generators? 

Most reputable generator companies will offer a warranty on their equipment. Ask about coverage, limitations, and extended warranty packages as sometimes a cheaper unit can lead to higher maintenance costs. You want to make sure that you have all the facts before your final purchase. 


Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels   

 Solar Shingles: what the heck are they? 

Solar Shingles(also called solar roof tiles) are simply small rectangular solar panels made to look like asphalt roof tiles. They’re typically small, flexible units that are strung together (like normal roof tiles), and the term ‘solar shingles’ encompasses newer thin-film solar technology. 

While the idea of solar shingles is attractive for the aesthetic, low-profile appearance, the real-world implementation has been slow. Solar shingles have (so far) been less efficient and more expensive than traditional solar panels. 

Where Do the Shingle Wires Go? 

According to roofing experts, solar shingles are quite difficult to install. Each individual shingle must beconnected to the other units in series. Since the units are too small to conceal wiring, each shingle must have holes pre-drilled for wiring that all ends up in the attic space. You can imagine how many holes the roof pictured above would put into your roof! If your solar installer does a good job it’s possible to overlap each shingle to avoid water penetration (and leaks). 

Solar Shingles vs Solar Panels 

At the time of this writing, it doesn’t really make sense to go with solar shingles vs solar panels from a pure cost perspective. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you might consider upgrading from the standard solar panel to all-black panels that have a sleeker, sexier look. In the end (see high efficiency solar panels), solar panels are really about saving money and reducing the use of polluting sources of electricity, so get what suits you because any solar is better than none. 

Learn more here, and also, check out this Version 3 Solar Shingle Release from Tesla


things to do around the bay

2019 Veterans Day Parade | SF 

Sunday, November 10, 2019– All Day | Cost: FREE  

Honor the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces downtown with the 99th Annual Veterans’ Day Parade on Sunday, November 10, 2019. 

The parade will start on the Embarcadero at North Point Street, traveling north-west on The Embarcadero to Jefferson Street, then west on Jefferson Street past the review stand on Jefferson Street near Leavenworth Street. 


Mouse in the House – Winter Visitors  

 When it comes to banishing rodents, the best defense is a good offense. 

 Okay, so how do you get rid of mice? 

Here’s what you need to do to eliminate these pesky little critters — as fast and as painless as possible. 

1.Find their entry point. 

Before you put down any traps or bait, do a little detective work. “Figure out where they’re coming from because putting traps randomly all over your basement floor isn’t going to do you any good,” Mannes says. Determine where they’re living and building nests. Once you’ve found those places, set your traps around those general areas. Of course, professional exterminators will be able to determine exactly where to put them and how many you’ll need. 

2. Set store-bought traps. 

“Thetried-and-true mousetrapis still very effective,” says Mannes, who adds that a little dab of peanut butter on each spring-loaded trap is all you need. Want something a little, um, less out in the open? Try thed-Con Discreet No View, No Touch mousetrap, which conceals the little guy so you can just toss the whole thing ($10 for 2, 

You can also go the more humane route with a reusable trap ($13, that doesn’t use any glue or poison, so you can release the critter. 

3. Use caulk and steel wool to seal up the house. 

Once you handle the infestation inside, you’ll want to make sure no additional mice can find their way in. Mice are able to fit through openings the size of a dime. And rats? Well, they can fit through something the size of a quarter — incredible! Even if a hole doesn’t start out that large, the rodents can gnaw their way to make the opening larger. 

The good news: “They can’t eat through caulk and steel wool,” says Mannes. “Pay really close attention to where pipes enter the house and along basement foundations. Be sure to replace weather stripping, and make sure you’ve screened the vents and the openings of your chimneys.” 

4. Check the garage. 

“If they get into the garage, they might just decide to live under your car hood, where the engine is nice and warm,” warns Mannes. Once they’re under there, they can start eating wires and cause serious damage to your car. 

5. Prune shrubbery away your house. 

Shrubbery and branchesshould be cut back from the exterior of your house. “Otherwise, they’re like highways for mice and insects to get into your home,” Mannes says. Keep stacks of firewood at least 20 feet from the house, as mice like to nest in the piles. 

6. Seal food in airtight containers. 

Put cereal and other pantry items intoairtight canistersand you’re less likely to attract mice, according to Mannes. “Another thing people don’t think about:pet food. If you leave it out in a dog bowl all day, that just gives rodents another source of food.” 

7. Know when to call a professional — and what to ask.

 Everyone has a different threshold of what they’re willing to put up with or take on themselves. But, if you get to the point of needing a professional, ask your friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations. Then, call to get an estimate to see what — if anything — they’d charge for a consultation.  


Mentioned Links 

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 to DIY your cold-weather blues away! And check in next week for more cool tips! 

“DIY Away the Cold-Weather Blues” Show Notes for On The House with the Carey Brothers aired November 09, 2019. 

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. 

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