Show Notes: Vinyl Siding, Toothbrushes and Plumbing – On the House

Show Notes: Vinyl Siding, Toothbrushes and Plumbing

By on September 17, 2016

With the weather cooling, it’s the perfect time to start fall fix-ups. Cleaning the vinyl siding and protecting pipes from freezing are great places to start. Don’t throw out those old toothbrushes, we have good uses for them you may like.  On  September 22, 016 it will officially be autumn and  time to get DIYing.

 Thank you to our guests:

Richard Muench with Residential Elevators          

Peter Daich – President of Daich Coatings


Stop Complaining: Homes Are Way Bigger Than They Were 100 Years Ago

It may feel like you’re short on space at home. After all, you had to rent a storage unit to keep all the items that don’t fit in your place. But a new study indicates we have very little to complain about in terms of how much space our homes actually have.

“U.S. homes have shown a steady and quite remarkable rate of growth in size over the past 100 years,” according to the study, conducted by real estate information site PropertyShark. “The average new home in America, be it condo or house, now spreads over 2,430 square feet.”

The study, which set out to analyze the evolution of new home sizes for each decade since 1910 in 32 of the largest U.S. cities, found that homes built in the last six years are 74% larger than those built in the 1910s. People have a lot more personal space now, too, as the average household has decreased from 4.5 to 2.5 people. That gives each person 211% more living space in those new homes.


Maintaining Your Vinyl Siding 

I can hear it now: “Hey! What is this? I bought this vinyl siding because it’s not supposed to need any maintenance!” The following suggestions are more or less optional, but if you’d like to keep your siding looking good for as long as possible, it’s well worth adhering to a few simple dos and don’ts.

Do Wash It.

Once a year, invest an hour or two in rinsing every bit of the siding with a garden hose to get rid of dust and dirt. If allowed to accumulate year after year, the siding will eventually begin to look distinctly grimy and won’t come clean unless scrubbed.

Don’t Bash It.

Be careful where you park your lawn mower, bicycle, or snow blower. Vinyl doesn’t dent (unlike aluminum, which sustains big, permanent damage when smacked with a line drive or poked with a rake handle), but it can crack or break, especially when rendered brittle by cold weather. Replace any damaged sections as soon as you can.

Do Inspect It.

Although vinyl siding doesn’t cause wood rot, it may conceal moisture-related problems from another source. If a leak is hidden behind the vinyl siding—which is itself impervious to decay—it may go unnoticed for a long time. Investigate any suspicious streaking or staining that appears on the vinyl itself or on the exposed foundation wall beneath, either of which may warn of hidden trouble. Because the nails or screws that secure the siding to the wall lose their holding power in rotted wood, loose areas of siding are another warning sign.

Don’t Melt It.

Vinyl has a low melting point and is slow to burn. “You’d be amazed at the number of people who park their gas grills a foot away from the siding and fire them up. Then later they notice a big melted patch on the wall. Keep that barbecue a safe distance away from the wall, and be careful with those patio torches and any other sources of intense heat.

Paint It?

Well, Maybe. Although the whole purpose of vinyl or aluminum siding is to avoid painting, it can be painted with any good-quality exterior latex paint. That can be a useful option if you want to squeeze another few years out of a badly faded batch of vinyl, or if you’ve moved into a house whose color you just can’t stand and you want to buy time while you consider other options. But—and this is an important but—vinyl siding should never be painted a dark, heat-absorbing color, or it will tend to warp and sag when exposed to strong sunlight. Stick to white, gray, pale yellow, or some other reflective hue.


Uses For An Old Toothbrush 

Before throwing the old toothbrush out, take a look at what it can do to improve the small things inside your home.

If you have concerns about using the toothbrush for culinary or cosmetic purposes, boil it with water in a pot for 3 to 4 minutes.

List Of Items To Clean With A Toothbrush:

  • Use with an abrasive cleaner to scrub around drains and faucets, grates, vents, grills, and between bathroom tiles.
  • Cleaning jewelry and silverware
  • Cleaning between the teeth of a chainsaw
  • Applying pipe sealant in hard to reach places
  • “Brushing the corn’s teeth.” Brushing away bits of silk that cling to the ears of fresh corn after husking.
  • Cleaning fish
  • Cleaning off mud and other debris from the soles of shoes
  • De-greasing bicycle parts
  • Sweeping crumbs away from a keyboard
  • Scrubbing small stains off of carpets or upholstery
  • Applying glue to grooves and joints
  • Personal grooming such as, brushing brows and lashes, teasing and curling small sections of hair, fixing mustaches, sideburns, and beards.


  • To clean a vent that is removable, soak it in a strongly alkaline cleaner and solvent, then scrub using a stiff toothbrush to get into cracks and crevices. If it is not removable, dip the brush in a strong alkaline cleaner and scrub.
  • To clean gold jewelry, fill a small container with dishwashing liquid and 1 teaspoon of ammonia. Soak the jewelry in this strong solution for a few minutes, then clean with an old toothbrush. Rinse and pat dry.
  • To clean the filter on your washing machine, first use an old toothbrush to remove any lint. Soak the filter in vinegar overnight, then rinse it with water.

What do you clean with an old toothbrush? 


Get Your Plumbing Ready For Winter Now 

Your home plumbing could pay a big price if your house isn’t prepared for winter. Learn how to save cash and keep pipes from freezing.

Plumbing problems seem to occur at the most inconvenient times — because the most inconvenient times are generally during seasons or events that put stress on your pipes. Seasonal shifts, whether related to festivities, winter temperatures or travel, have the power to push your plumbing to the brink.

The following are our favorite tips from years of experience to help you prepare your plumbing for the cold-weather season, when anything can happen (and frequently does).

Protect your plumbing pipes from freezing

When winter temperatures plummet, water can easily freeze inside, causing them to burst. If you are out of the house or unaware of a burst pipe, the results can be disastrous, including massive home floods and damage to your beloved furniture, rugs and home structure.

To reduce the possibility of frozen pipes, wrap each of your un-insulated pipes in a blanket of foam. You can purchase foam tubes with a slit on the side at most hardware stores. Cut the tube to the length you need, pull it open and push it over and around your pipe. Use duct tape to secure if the foam does not have self-adhesive edges.

Fix home plumbing leaks now

The best time to get leaks repaired is the present. Check all of the faucets in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility room for drips and puddles. If you have a leaky faucet, contact your trusted plumber immediately to get your pipes back in tip-top shape.

Drain your water heater

If you live in a location with hard water, sediment can build up in your tank, causing rust to develop inside. This rust can then find its way into your drinking, cooking and bathing water. If your hot water heater already is rusted or is too old, consider purchasing a new one before cold weather sets in.

Fix exterior cracks

Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.

Clean your home’s sump pump pit

Before cold weather hits, you will need to inspect and clean your sump pump and the pit in which it rests. When exposed to extreme cold, your pump can freeze, causing it to stop working.

If your sump pump malfunctions, water can enter your basement and cause flooding, especially when winter rains are in full swing. Do yourself a favor and inspect your pump and pit now to avoid massive flood damage and cleanup bills later.

Your winter should be full of cheer and warm family get-togethers, not exploded pipes and leaks that take days to fix. Prepare and repair your plumbing in advance to avoid a costly disaster.


New Window Trends

Many people don’t think about windows unless there is a problem, but due to increased options and an eye toward aesthetics, that is changing. Consumers are putting more thought into how their windows function on both mechanical and aesthetic levels, and this is showing up in the trends for 2016.

A Retreat from Double-Hung:

While double-hung windows are still the industry standard, large, unadorned casement windows have seen a rise in popularity as homeowners are moving away from more traditional designs and are opting for more modern looks. Casements generally have a lever or handle to allow for opening and closing, which may be easier for some homeowners to use. Additionally, sliding windows have also been gaining in popularity for their ease of operation as well as the size choices, including those large enough to create sliding “walls” for an indoor/outdoor experience.

Integrated Blinds.

Although homeowners have been moving away from windows with grid panels, there has been an increase in demand for windows with integrated blinds or shades. Not only do they provide some energy savings through blocking out solar radiation, they also offer privacy without disrupting the interior space of the home


For homes with higher ceilings, adding windows higher up on the wall above the standard windows is becoming popular. This increases the amount of natural light coming into the home, even when the lower windows are covered for privacy.

Website Mentions:

Zero Clearance Fireplaces:

Heat n Glow;



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