With spring officially here, Tom Kraeutler of The Money Pit joined me for an interview recently to dish on how we can get our homes and lawns in great shape this season. If you’re on the hunt for a new trimmer and edger, a great product just in time for spring cleaning or if you’re looking to save energy or install that perfect deck just in time for summer, you’re in luck! Tom dished some of his favorite products that will ensure your home is in tiptop shape this spring.
Candace Rose: Heavy snowfall has wreaked havoc on patios and decks across a record portion of the country. How do we get these spaces back in shape after the winter damage?
Tom Kraeutler: “Well, now that spring is here it’s time to really get going on those projects, so I’m going to give you a couple of things that you can do right away.
First of all, most of the folks that are taking care of their lawn and garden on their own are getting the gasoline powered mowers and string trimmers all powered up and refreshed and ready to go, and hopefully they’re going to start on that first pull, but almost always they don’t. I’m going to suggest a different hassle-free approach by using tools like the Black & Decker 40V MAX Lithium High Performance brushless trimmer and edger. This is brand new, it’s actually coming out in just a couple of days. What’s cool about this product is it runs on a 40V lithium battery. This gives you a lot of power that can do just as much work as a gasoline powered alternative. It’s got a very long battery life, but it’s lightweight. The entire tool weighs only 7.5 pounds, and that’s really helpful because it’s not going to stress you out as you tackle these projects. Now another thing that’s nice is it has a very cool motor. It has brushless motor technology that gives you 30% longer run time and more power than the previous model. The cutting head is a 13″ swath. It actually flips in between the edger position and the trimmer position just like that. Instead of having to take this head and bump it to feed out more string, it’s got the Black & Decker AFS built in. This automatic feed spool basically automatically feeds that string out to the perfect length every single time. It’s available for $179 at Sears and Amazon.”
Candace Rose: Garages and basements are the key to an effective spring cleaning. What can we do to brighten up these spaces?
Tom Kraeutler: “For garages and basements have a lot of mold issues and mildew issues in common, so one of the things that you can do is to pick up a product called CLR Mold & Mildew Stain Remover. This works on a wide variety of surfaces. It’s going to cover patio furniture, or it’s going to cover your tile shower or it’s going to cover any mold that’s formed in outside spaces like the garage or in the basement. It basically does that quickly and easily. It’s got a very eco-friendly formula with no bleach, and the foam sprayer is cool because it’s a very accurate application so you don’t get the splashed back. It meets the EPA’s design for the environment program which makes it really safe to use. It’s part of a CLR family and they make cleaning cleaner. It’s available for $5.47 at Walmart.
If you want to tackle a lighting improvement to spruce those spaces up, check out the Maestro Occupancy Sensor switch from Lutron. This works really well because you replace your toggle switches with these sensing switches and when you go into the room the lights come on, and when you leave the room the lights go off, so it’s great for a laundry room when your hands are full. It’s great for a garage when you’re holding boxes and tools and stuff. It’s also terrific for kids rooms because the kids go in the room, turn the lights on and that’s it…that’s as far as they get. They leave the room and leave the lights on, so this way it automatically turns those lights off when they leave the room. That’s going to save you as much as 50% in energy and money. It works with all types of bulbs including LEDs. The installation takes about 15 minutes, Lutron has a tech center that can help you through that. It’s also smart – it senses daylight, so it only comes on when the lights are really needed, and there’s a dimmer version available. It can be had for $20 and up at The Home Depot.
Speaking of The Home Depot, that’s the place you can exclusively pick up Veranda Composite Decking. If you’re planning a decking project right now you really want to think about using this product because it’s a beautiful high quality low maintenance surface that’s going to stick around for years. It’s very durable, it’s got a 20 year warranty that protects against cracking, splitting, fading and staining. If you think about it, those are four things that happen to wood decks. It does cost a little bit more up front, but in as little as five years that’s going to be wiped out by the lack of maintenance that this product really needs. It’s got a fade and stain resistance surface cap that surrounds the board that protects the color and makes cleanup as easy as soap and water. The fasteners are hidden, so they slide in between the boards. They basically get screwed down to floor joists below and then you don’t see screws coming through the surface, so it’s a really smooth beautiful surface when you’re all done. I also like the fact that this is made up of 80% recycled wood and polyethylene, so it’s a very environmentally friendly product as well.