Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda – Ask Lou (Repeat Please!)

This morning on The Today Show with my girls Kathie Lee and Hoda we answered viewer questions in another segment of Ask Lou. There is only so much time on TV when it comes to giving advice so here is more information on what we talked about.

Replacing a Light Fixture

Whenever you are working with electricity you need to have a healthy respect for the potential harm that may occur. Always turn off the breaker to the fixture you are going to be working on. Use an electrical tester to confirm that the power is off. Then remove the screws that are holding the fixture in place. We showed wall scones that are usually held in place by one center nut or two screws. Once those are off you gently pull the fixture out from the wall. You will see two wires, again typically a white wire and a colored wire. The white is the neutral and the colored wire is the hot. Unscrew the wire nuts that are twisted to keep the wires together and then the fixture will be free. Your new fixture will also have two wires and those will get attached with the wire nuts to the wires coming out of the electrical box. The white to the white and the colored wire to the colored wire. Then carefully place the new fixture back on the wall and attach it. Turn the breaker back on and then test the light. This is general information and in no way a definitive step by step – only a general look at what it takes. Again, if this sounds like too much then please hire a licensed qualified electrician to do the work.

Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

This is something that needs to be done at least twice a year. The build up of lint in a dryer can cause a fire. Unplug the dryer and then remove the hose from the back of the unit. Use a flexible brush and vacuum to remove all the lint from behind the machine and in the hose itself. You also need to clear the lint from the vent that is on the outside of the house. Try and reach as far into the vent pipe as possible. Before you reattach everything consider a safety device called Lint Alert. This plugs into the receptacle and then you plug the dryer into it. There is a sensor you place in the vent pipe and if the airflow gets reduced an alarm will sound to remind you to clean it all out.

Getting More Power Out of Your Shower

90% of the time the reason your shower is not strong enough is because the shower head has so much calcium build up that the water just won’t flow through it. You can either take yours down and soak it in a good cleaner like CLR or Lime-A-Way or replace the shower head all together. The trick is to use some painter’s tape around the head and shower arm before you grab it with a pair of slip joint pliers. Also when you put the shower head back on make sure you use some thread tape so it won’t leak after it’s screwed it back on.

Fixing a Burn Mark in Your Carpeting

This is a fix that really works and it starts with a product called Tear Mender. This is like a sewing machine in a bottle and it works on any porous material like denim, cotton and even carpet threads. Cut some threads from an area you will not see. Apply some Tear Mender to the damaged area and then carefully place the loose threads. In a few minutes it will bond. Run your hand over the area to even it out and you will not see the damage again!


  1. On the Today Show, I think I heard you say to touch one end to wire and other to the box. Shouldn’t you touch the ends of the tester to the wires? If the box isn’t grounded, or the white neutral wire and the box is touched, it won’t light up the tester even if live.

    • Lindsey Smithwick says:

      I was showing a metal box that would be grounded and yes if it was a plastic box you would need to touch the ground wire. This was not a detailed how-to video only an overview on how to change a light. As I stated when in doubt hire a licensed electrician.

  2. Rebecca Cline says:

    I live in mobile home. It gets so dusty. There is no filter like most homes have. What to do. Could I just make one fit or would that cause a fire?

  3. You information presented about checking for “HOT” (live) wires is incorrect. You recommended commnenting your device to the wire and the box.If you have a plastic box, you will never get an indication that the wire is hot (live)! You should always use a ground wire to use as a reference to test for “HOT” wires. I would also refrain from calling them HOT wires. They are “energized”,powered or not. Folks dont know what “HOT” means when talking about electricity. You have to be careful when presenting electrical information on TV.

    • Lindsey Smithwick says:

      I was showing a metal box and unfortunately they moved me along too quickly to cover every point. This was a general answer to how a fixture gets changed and the vast majority of the audience would not attempt this and I did mention that when in doubt hire a licensed electrician. As far as the hot reference I am old school and that is how I was brought up in the trades.

  4. Natalie Inscho says:

    My idiot husbund has hooked up the vent from our electric dryer to heat his garage workshop using sched.60 pvc pipe with my old pantyhose over the end of the pipe to catch the lint . He says it is a safe and good way to heat the garage as venting this outside is just throwing away perfectly good heat . I say it’s not safe & the exhaust is full of germs & otherwise bad to breath.. Please tell Me who is right ? thanks Natalie

    • Lindsey Smithwick says:

      Well I am not going to get in the middle of any name calling but it would not be my first choice to vent an electric dryer into any space. True, there is no carbon monoxide but there is moisture and that can collect in the space and cause issues with mildew and potentially mold.

  5. Lindsey Smithwick says:

    Unfortunately we are not doing any makeover shows at this time. But we will keep you in mind!

  6. Carlotta Hampton says:


    I want to know how to light the pilot light on the furnace without blowing up the house. It is gas heat and the furnace is pretty old (circa 1978). When I turn on the heat, it is blowing out cold air instead of warm air.

    Since it’s freezing outside, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • Lindsey Smithwick says:

      Make sure you turn off the gas at the controller first. Then turn it to pilot and hold the switch down as you light the pilot with a long handled lighter. Hold the button down for about 60 seconds then release. If the pilot stays on then turn it on all the way. If that does not work you may need a new Thermo-couple, Which should be professionally installed.

  7. Joan Bergen says:

    I have a walk-in shower with a glass door trimmed in metal. “Lip” (also metal) fell off. It was held on with 3 screws. I bought new screws and it still will not stay more than a day or two. It’s like the screws are not catching. Bought longer screws. Same problem. Can Lou Manfredini help me? Thank you.


    • Lindsey Smithwick says:

      Try installing plastic anchors in the holes first they should fit snuggly and need to be tapped in then install the screws, but also put a bead of silicone caulking under the trim piece before you screw it into place.