Are Tankless Water Heaters Worth the Cost? Ask Lou on NBC’s Today Show

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How can I replace a worn-out socket on a lamp without being electrocuted?

“This is one of the easiest things to do,” Lou said. “You can rewire a lamp for less than $15.”

You can pick up spare sockets and a lamp cord at the hardware store. To install it, unplug the lamp. Take the cover off of the spare socket and notice the gold and silver screws. Your lamp cord will have a ribbed side. Take that side and attach it to the gold screw. Take the non-ribbed side of the cord and attach it to the silver screw. Put the cover back on and attach to the lamp.

During the winter, my dryer and microwave are freezing. You can feel a cold breeze coming from both when you open the doors. How can I fix this?

When you have an exhaust fan in an appliance, the metal on the fan actually draws the cold air in. To fix this, Lou recommends picking up the Backdraft Damper from Tamarack Technologies. The product has a sock that will trap the cold air, but the sock won’t hinder your appliance’s performance.

I want to replace my 8-year-old water thank as it started producing rusty water. Is there an economic advantage to installing an on-demand water heater instead?

The average life of a tank water heater is about 7 years and has a rod that can decay and rust the water. That rod can be replaced if you don’t want to buy a new water heater, but Lou loves on-demand or tankless water heaters. They can often provide hot water for continuous use (including showers). They cost more upfront, but will last up to 20 years. Featured Metropolitan Industries Navien Tankless Water Heater.

Special Upcoming Appearance!

On Friday, March 13th, Lou will be competing in the “Dancing with Chicago Celebrities,” an amazing fundraising event for breast cancer research taking place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. ANY donation you could make would be appreciated to support this important cause and, of course, Lou’s “happy feet.”

Just click the link below!

http://www.amdwcc.org/Lou_Manfredini_-_WGN_Ra.html

Some Things to Keep in Mind When Remodeling Your Home

No matter what you want to improve – a bathroom, a kitchen, an addition, or even a deck – your contractor is the most important piece in the remodeling puzzle. (Architects will be part of a later blog, so don’t worry). Their talent, communication skills, attitude, and professionalism are the keys in getting what you want. [Read more…]

Table Talk

Getting your family speaking to each other at the dinner table can be tough.  We are all so busy that if we are lucky enough to all sit down together, many times all you’re hearing is the sound of utensils clanging against the plates.  In our home, we try to have family dinners every night, and with four children that can be tough. Those of you with teens and pre-teens, you know getting them to speak for more than 3 seconds at a time can be quite a challenge.  Our answer to this is to discuss the best things and worst things about our day. Once we are all seated, we say a little prayer, then each of us says at least three positives, and no more than three negatives about the day. Positive things like; “I got a good grade on my paper at school,” “we’re having a delicious dinner,” or “our basketball team won the game.” Now, at our house you do not have to have a negative, but you cannot pass on your turn.  It’s our attempt to not only keep us all connected, but a way to focus on the positive aspects of our lives, something I think we should all do more often than not.

Today Show Ask Lou: Rusty Tools, Protect Glass While Painting and Bringing the Luster Back to Marble Countertops.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What is the best method to remove rust from old tools?

One way to keep those older tools looking new is to attach a wire brush to the end of a drill. Safely turn the drill on and begin rubbing the rusted tool sections with the wire brush. The rust should disappear as you do so. Another option is to use naval jelly to wipe rust away.

Is there anything I can use to protect window glass instead of tape when I am painting the wall around it?

Consider purchasing Masking Liquid H20 and applying the liquid to the glass. Don’t panic, it will dry clear! Then paint the wall around the window. If any paint gets on the glass, you will be able to peel the paint off once it dries because of the liquid.

I used a cleaner that ruined my marble counter tops and now they no longer shine. How can I get the shine back?

Losing the shine on marble counter tops is a common issue. I suggest getting that glossy finish back by applying car wax onto the surface. This should make the surface regain its lost shine.

Make Sure Your Holidays are Merry and Safe

We have four children, two at home and two away at college.  My wife and I so excited to have everyone home for Christmas. Our house is decorated and ready for the festivities to begin. I have also made sure that the home is safe, and you should too.  Below is a checklist of items to check off your holiday safety list.  Happy Holidays! [Read more…]

Make Your Home Easier to Maintain!

Here are ten products you can install and use to update your home, and make it easier to maintain. Most of these items can be found at your local participating Ace Hardware store.

1.     Honeywell WIFI Programmable Thermostat. This device installs like a standard thermostat, and allows the user to control the temperature in your home from any WIFI enabled device, $249.

2.      Whole house gas generator.  These units can power your entire home in the event of a power outage.  They run off of natural gas or propane, and will kick on in as little as 30 seconds when the power goes out, and can run indefinitely.  This unit does need to be installed by a seasoned DIY’er or professional. They cost around $4,000-$6,000, depending on the size. [Read more…]

Today Show Ask Lou: Clean Your Deck, Cracked Grout, Countertops and Stink Bugs!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Lou talked to Kathie Lee and Hoda this morning about easy ways to clean your deck, fix cracked grout in your shower, stink bugs and how to select the best material to use for your countertops (oh, and linguini!).

Deck
Rust-Oleum Restore 10x
Penofin

Countertop Material
Corian Counters
Cambria Quartz
Granite featured from New York Granite Corp.

Stink Bugs
Terro Stink Bug Killer
Ortho Bug B Gon

Keeping the House Guests Out!

I am not talking about your family and friends, although I know some of you may want to limit who comes over.  I am talking about rodents!  As the weather starts to change and things cool off, rodents are going to look for warmer places to live.  Here is a checklist to make your home a not-so-desirable place for them to spend the winter: [Read more…]

Today Show: Ask Lou – Winterizing Your Lawn Mower, Gutters and Creepy Crawlers!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Lou shows Kathie Lee and Hoda a few quick tips to prepare your home’s exterior for the winter months ahead. Here are some of the products featured!

Winterize Your Lawn Mower:
Toro Lawn Mower
Sta-Bil Fuel Treatment by Gold Eagle

Gutters:
Gutterstuff
Gutterbrush

Spiders and Crickets:
Bonide Cricket Powder and Spray
Miss Muffett’s Revenge