Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair was on The Redefined Realty Show on AM1130 WISN on Saturday December 20, 2014.
(Begin Transcript) Paul: Good morning, Bob Tarantino.
Bob: Hey Paul, got to make sure the mic is on. Last week or whatever though… two weeks ago, I kept forgetting to turn the microphone every time, I don’t know why. Eight years in doing this, you think I had learned…
Paul: That’s why. It gets complacent after eight years. Good morning Bob, we’ve got a busy show, we are going to launch right into it. It’s a two-hour program. Hour number one you’ve got two guests who are live in studio, we do plan on opening up lines because when these two guests are on we get plenty of calls.
Bob: Yeah we do… We’ve got inspector gadget Scott LeMarr, from an Honest Home Inspections. Good morning Scott.
Scott: Good morning, I’m always happy to be here.
Paul: Great to have you, and on the other side of the studio over here, Chris Mancuso from Accurate Basement Repair.
Chris Mancuso: Hello everybody.
Paul: Welcome back Chris.
Chris Mancuso: Merry Christmas.
Paul: Merry Christmas to you as well.
Chris Mancuso: Absolutely.
Scott: Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?
Chris Mancuso: No.
Scott: A couple more days…
Paul: Its all just, to be.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah.
Scott: Because it sneaks up…
Chris Mancuso: So far, the winter hasn’t been too bad…
Scott: Maybe that’s why. Because we got it before Thanksgiving.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah.
Scott: It’s been cold for a while, but not much snow.
Paul: I remember deer hunting which is Thanksgiving week. I’m walking through woods of with… at least four, three, four inches of snow. You get nothing…
Chris Mancuso: Yeah, nothing no.
Paul: But I’m not complaining.
Scott: No, I’m negative.
Chris Mancuso: I’m in a shirts guy… in fact Christmas Eve we might get an inch or two, so…
Scott: That would be good Merry Christmas then.
Paul: That’s what they’re saying possibly let’s talk about this hour pop, first of Accurate Basement Repair, Chris Mancuso can talk about your… we say lower level in the remodeling business but in your business, it’s a basement crisis.
Chris Mancuso: Lower level of the fixing of the basement and we can do that for you. We don’t do any remodeling but we’re full service basement repair company. We do the drain tile repair, wall rebuilding, wall straightening, even house lifting, sometimes houses sink. So those of you who are out there and looking at houses to buy if you see a basement that has some of the posts that we call vertical steel columns, don’t be afraid of those because that means it has been repaired. Just look for warranty stuff and that kind of thing but yeah absolutely, if you have questions today definitely call in.
Paul: So anything with foundation basement, be it a block or poured?
Chris Mancuso: Block or poured we can do either one…
Paul: We’ve been talking about… I mean we had questions on egress windows and we can talk about basement water proofing, total rebuilds or foundation restoration. I’m also joining on us in this plays into the same kind of topic with your home as well. Scott LeMarr, and Bob jokingly referred to you as inspector gadget. You are inspector gadget. All the fun things that you have… you’re a home inspector and your company is called Honest Home Inspections, Scott. It’s good to have you back in the show. Give us a little background.
Scott: Okay, Honest Home Inspection is a not your typical home inspection company. We are a premier service. A little more expensive but you get what you pay for, and after all if you’re spending $100 to $200 thousand on a house, you don’t want to go with cheapest guy that’s just…
Chris Mancuso: What about seven, 800 thousand on a house, right?
Scott: We do those too, yeah. But those people tend to look for the better services. And that’s why I like to call us as more a less a better service. We offer a lot of things. We do radon testing, all the inspectors are certified and mold. So they’re on the lookout for you in anyway. So that’s part of… that’s all part of included in the package. We do Radon testing. We do offer what’s called a recall check, which is pretty cool. A lot of people don’t realize that. We’ll take the make numbers and serial numbers of all of your appliances, send them in and make sure there are no recalls on them. And then that stays with you for the life that you’re at that address. So you can add appliances, you can take them off. And if there is a recall so you got a brand new refrigerator, five or six years down the road, if it’s got a recall on it they’re going to let you know.
Paul: Well that’s feature bob that’s very cool because most of us like me I’m too lazy to do that.
Chris Mancuso: Well you just… you have no idea. How would you know that your refrigerator was recalled? Refrigerator might not be that big of a deal but what about a furnace? I think…
Scott: The big one that we looked at we just had one come back it was a range, it was an electric range and the recall on it was that the burners come on spontaneously.
Scott: So if you got a loaf of bread or some paper lying on top of that…
Paul: What if you’re not home?
Scott: Range and you’re not home, oh yeah that’s wild…
Paul: I got a gas cook top range and we never had it before this house and from the day we moved in my wife is freaked out about that. I said, “Well, treat it like the fireplace. It’s a gas fire place make sure it’s turned off all the time.” And otherwise it’s I mean if its electric or gas you still have to be safe regardless…
Chris Mancuso: Pieces of paper around it the loaf of bread…
Scott: And the newer ones if you got newer ones probably electronic ignition anyway, so there’s no pilot.
Paul: And there’s some dryers that run, clothes dryers that run off gas too right?
Scott: There’s a lot of clothes dryers that ran off of gas and that’s a really good point too because one of the things I’m seeing is these people put a gas close dry and they’ll us this plastic venting. That gas dryer, that’s combusted gas that’s coming out of there so that’s carbon monoxide, and so I always recommend rigid pipe and a gas dryer…
Paul: You point that out clearly.
Scott: I do right, that’s kind of an important thing.
Paul: Your company Scott, I’ll give out the website for both of them and we’ll get started, I want to take calls here. We want to fill the lines we got wide open lines right now WISN. And Scott will take questions on your house in any part of the house. Maybe it’s a furnace, maybe it’s the roof. When you do inspections I mean you cover every square inch of that home.
Scott: We do, I always like to say everybody that we go through it with a fine-tooth comb.
Scott: We’re in the room. We’re checking doors, windows, outlets, we go up in the attic, down the basement…
Chris Mancuso: Electrical.
Scott: Plumbing and…
Chris Mancuso: Pointing out to you going to have to call Chris on this one.
Paul: That means that it’s pretty bad probably. So honesthomeinspections.com, and then we can take it… we can talk about the environment as well, the radon questions that we get almost every time, mold questions. And Chris Mancuso joining us from Accurate Basement Repair, and that is your website, it’s the name of your business.
Chris Mancuso: Absolutely. accuratebasementrepair.com.
Paul: You are located down near the airport?
Chris Mancuso: Right in the airport but we served most of southeast Wisconsin. And I mean we’ve done jobs all the way up past Port Washington, all the way down the state lines so we get just about everywhere. And a little interesting thing for today we’re going to do a little give away today because it’s Christmas, Paul. We have a couple of $25 gifts cards for the fuel. So those of you who are out there driving right now going to pick up those Christmas presents if you’re nearly out of gas, it would be a good time to call in and come swing by the station and pick up your gas card.
Paul: Spencer you can’t get them. Our producer wants some of these gas cards.
Chris Mancuso: We’ll get you going, but you got to answer a question though. One of the questions will be, and there are only two answers.
Scott: We sort of got two prizes here right?
Chris Mancuso: Yeah, two prizes, two 25-dollar fuel gifts cards and they come with a signed Accurate mug…
Paul: I’m looking at, I see the coffee mugs are beautiful.
Chris Mancuso: The gift card is always more, I don’t…
Paul: I think the mug has got more value.
Chris Mancuso: Or web assigned, absolutely yeah.
Paul: So what’s the question?
Chris Mancuso: Well the questions… one of the questions will be your foundation, what would cause, or what generally causes more cracking. Frost or the clay soil, so there’s only one of those two answers…
Paul: A or B?
Chris Mancuso: A or B, so if somebody calls with the wrong answer the second caller…
Paul: It’s a 50-50 chance of winning, right?
Scott: That’s right.
Chris Mancuso: You got to make it easier.
Paul: And the other question that you have, or should we hold off?
Chris Mancuso: We’ll hold off because I’m going to have you guys think of one.
Paul: Well let’s do that now, because Spencer will take the call as long someone comes in. I think we’re going to get these relatively quick.
Chris Mancuso: Now either frost or clay, so and you get a $25 fuel it up card.
Paul: I have got my own doubts about it but I’m not going to answer right now but we’ll wait till we get a caller, and then we’ll talk about the answer.
Chris Mancuso: Excellent.
Paul: Okay so lines are open at 799-1130, the Kessler’s Diamond Center toll free line 800-838-WISN. The first person to answer that question, its first come first serve. First person will get that $25 gas gift card… look at the lines light up like a Christmas tree. And then we’ll move on. After that Bob what we want to do is take calls. So it can be foundation basement questions and of course with inspector gadget Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections. Any questions on the mechanical…
Scott: And one of the things I want to talk about too, we’re talking about frost or clay, we’ll get the answer to that in a minute, but a lot of times when I go on an inspection and Scott doing it for the buyer that we’re working with, we’ll come into a basement that already got the beaming and one of the walls or maybe more of the walls. And I get a lot of questions from buyers it’s just… is this good, is this bad, they’re scared of it sometimes. And so I think we can talk about it from an inspection standpoint and then we can talk to Chris and say, “All right Chris, what makes this beam the right beam. Is this wall fixed?” and we can talk about because I know there’s just so many buyers out there that are still scared when they see the beams…
Chris Mancuso: You’re right. They’re frightened and they shouldn’t be, because…
Chris Mancuso: No because if it was fixed right I mean it’s…
Paul: It’s actually better than it was in the first place.
Chris Mancuso: Correct, it’s better.
Scott: It’s stronger than it was in the first place.
Paul: We will address your trivia question right now is that sound good?
Chris Mancuso: Absolutely.
Paul: And we’ll give away the first price for the morning. Our first caller is Mathew in Mount Pleasant. Chris, repeat the question again.
Chris Mancuso: All right. The question is “Most of the structural repair that gets done is caused by? A frost, or B clay expansion.”
Paul: Mathew good morning.
Matthew: Good morning.
Paul: Give it your best shot.
Matthew: I’m going to go with clay.
Chris Mancuso: Bingo, ding ding ding ding.
Scott: The winner, nice job.
Paul: First guy, now we had Shawn on line two and he’s like, “Oh crap, I had this nailed.” Hey Matthew I’m going to put you on hold. Merry Christmas, courtesy of Accurate Basement Repair and the Redefined Realty show. We are going to have you pick this up at the station because that’s the prize policy.
Paul: Okay so I’m going to put you on hold and Spencer is going to tell you how we do that all right?
Scott: Hey thanks buddy.
Matthew: Thank you.
Paul: Thank you Mathew, and Spencer just do the regular winners form like we always do…
Scott: I was also going to say frost on that one.
Chris Mancuso: You were… yeah. Its clay, expandable clay soil definitely cause more structural issues. And Scott can even tell you areas of the Milwaukee County and Waukesha County that have more expendable soils than other parts of the city or cities. So that’s usually the cause of more extensive problems…
Paul: Yeah I guess now that you have said that it does make more sense to me. I would live out in Merton, and we’re basically sitting on a big gravel pit out there, and there’s virtually no basement problems. We still get frost like everybody else, and there’s radon…
Chris Mancuso: You remember the frost won’t… the frost doesn’t get as embedded unless it’s clay soil and it get that moisture stays in the clay soil and want to expands so…
Scott: That makes sense, because it’s almost the trick question.
Paul: Oh no.
Chris Mancuso: There’s no tricks here on this…
Paul: So a lot of clay in this… part of the state, is that where we’re saying Scott when we’re talking about clay soil southeast Wisconsin?
Scott: Well and a lot of it is because we’re so close to like Michigan.
Paul: Like Michigan it’s…
Scott: It’s got so many inland lakes here that the… I mean without the clay the lake would dry up. It would empty the clay basically contains that basin. But because of that we got a tremendous amount of clay around our area.
Paul: And the landscape…
Scott: I know landscapers who are constantly complaining about that.
Chris Mancuso: You can see people driving and scratching heckling oh yeah that makes sense, the lakes got to be held in by something but these are…
Paul: It’s not a plastic liner, it’s clay.
Chris Mancuso: It’s clay.
Paul: So we congratulate Matthew from Mount Pleasant we’re going to have one more trivia question and a giveaway. That’s a nice present by the way, $25 in gas.
Chris Mancuso: Well I told you it’s a better part of this signed mug, Paul, remember. Autographed like that…
Paul: What is gas right now about a buck and a half gallon?
Scott: $2.33 I saw that. You can down there and get a full tank with $25.
Chris Mancuso: That’s 25 yeah.
Paul: Well Matt, he’s driving a real Honda or something, he’s filling up.
Bob: And those of us who drive a Hummer turned and watched the gas prices.
Paul: And you’re right Bob, you look at the price normally when you fill up the tank and it was always for me $55, 56 somewhere there. And now its 38, $39, that adds up over a year.
Scott: Paul I can tell you, as real estate agents Colleen and I will drive each 30,000 plus miles a year. And when you cut gas down from four and quarter to two and quarter, that makes a big difference.
Chris Mancuso: And for us too, for us small business owners… all those trucks on the road and I’d take that.
Paul: Now we’re getting some gas dryer questions because of what you said. So we’ll address these questions we’ve got both Scott LeMarr in studio along with Chris Mancuso, Chris is with Accurate Basement Repair and Scott is a home inspector. He’s board certified master inspector and lab certified mold. He can talk about radon as well. Let’s get started. Ilene is calling from Waterford, you’re on the Redefined Realty Show. Good morning.
[13:10] Ilene: Hi, you were talking about gas dryers and what kind of hook up and you said something about being rigid. Yet mine is a metal and it’s flexible. I think it’s like heavy-duty aluminum, is that all right? I’m kind of worried now.
Scott: That’s okay. I like smooth rigid for two reasons, one it does seal very well, two you have less lint that gets trapped. When you have the rigid hose it tends to get caught on things. And so it’s okay the plastic the ones that we usually with the white plastic cost like $3 at the big box stores that’s really the ones that we’re more concerned with.
Irene: Okay so the metal flexi is okay?
Chris Mancuso: Yes, but don’t be afraid to take them off and clean right Scott?
Ilene: I always do.
Scott: At least once a year really, everyone should be doing dryer cleaning once a year.
Chris Mancuso: And you wash all that bedding for Christmas.
Irene: I do it twice a year because mine is on the second floor of my house and it has a really long way to go get outside, so I do it several times a year.
Scott: Oh good for you.
Chris Mancuso: But I’m guessing a lot of people don’t Scott.
Paul: No. Similar to that furnace filter, most people never do it.
Scott: There are several times we’re in the house and the drier is been pulled away in empty house or something and I can look at that hose and half of the time it’s full. And we do have… we got a very good company that cleans dryer ducts if anybody is interested in something like that you can email us, call the office. [email protected]. We’ll give you a referral on that.
Paul: It’s a good idea, another thing that just came to my mind is fireplaces too and how we neglect them.
Scott: I just looked at one the other day that I pulled the weather cap off and looked down the fireplace and turned to my other inspector and I said this is the fire waiting to happen.
Paul: No kidding…
Chris Mancuso: Oh yeah, it was full of creosote and it’s shiny and just…
Paul: And there might be cracks in that box I fear guys say that, yeah.
Scott: What happens is if it does become a fire in there that will destroy your tiles too because that’s too hot. The tiles can’t handle it. Especially on a cold day your tiles are going to change temperature very quickly, they’re going to crack.
Paul: What’s your recommendation for having at least examined?
Scott: Yeah definitely if you going to use your wood fireplace especially on a regular basis it should be at least be examined.
Paul: Once a year?
Scott: The hard part… well it really depends on how much you use it. We fire ours up at Christmas and that’s about it. All right it’s going to last longer.
Paul: But that’s a natural what about a gas fireplace?
Scott: Now a gas fireplace really doesn’t need to be cleaned, because there’s no… it’s a solid fuel appliance just, like, not solid it’s a natural gas fueled appliance. It’s no different than your furnace. You don’t really need to clean your furnace…
Chris Mancuso: I got a question for you Scott. You see at the stores those are creosote logs they’re supposed to burn in your fireplace and clean all that creosote sold out. Does that even come close to working?
Scott: I asked four chimney guys and never got a good answer on that one. Really what it is it’s a salt. And what it does is as it burns it attaches itself to the creosote and it dries the creosote. So the idea behind it is that that’s supposed to dry up and fall off.
Chris Mancuso: I see.
Scott: It probably would be easier if you use that and then clean your chimney if its dry then it’s going to easier to use brushes and clean it out.
Paul: Sure that makes sense.
Scott: If it’s dry but the one I looked at the other day it was just wet.
Bob: And so the bottom line is that’s there probably not the answer to clean your fireplace but it might be at least to stop in the direction.
Scott: It could be a maintenance thing like I said I talked to fourteen guys I never got a good answer like that. I don’t think they were… I think they thought I was snake oil.
Paul: Scott LeMarr will be right back along with Chris Mancuso. Accurate Basement Repair is Chris’ company, water proofing foundation basement questions, comments. Do you have any concerns about your own basement or if you’re looking at real state. Questions about the homes you’re looking at. Give us a call and obviously Scott can talk about all the other mechanicals in the other parts of our house. This a great opportunity for you to call in and get some free advice from experts here in the Redefined Realty show. Bob Tarantino can certainly address any real state question if you’re a buyer or a seller. We’ve got two hours by the way. Next hour Bob, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on as well but Senator Glenn Grothman will turn us at the beginning of the hour to talk property tax.
Scott: Yeah, that’s going to be pretty exciting. So many people have been concerned about property tax is rising and just every year they go up. We’ve had some good news the last two years now and the we’re going to talk to Glenn and see how things are looking going forward and whether it’s this show or next week’s show we’re going to actually get some calls through them and see so comparing cities. We do that every year. What happened in Merton, what happened in Milwaukee, what happened in Greenfield and…
Paul: Well you’re… was it last week show that you weren’t here?
Scott: That’s last week right.
Paul: So Craig brought his home property tax bill, and I had my numbers so we compared and we took quite a few calls. It was fascinating, which communities went up, which went down. And why or why not? So we’ll have Glenn Grothman who is going to be congressman by the way.
Paul: What his thoughts are, and where Wisconsin is going with regard to that.
Scott: Yeah I think after we talk to Glenn, now we can certainly open the phone lines up for an hour or two and just get some comparisons from different communities see what everybody seeing on their new tax bills.
Paul: So that would be in the 10 o’clock hour, this hour is your chance to call in, we’ve got one more giveaway and a little trivia question coming again from Chris Mancuso, who promises he’s going to autograph that coffee mug for you along with a $25 gift card giveaway, that’s all coming up in the next half hour. But lines are open. You can call WISN, a new sponsor for our toll free line it’s the Kessler’s Diamond Center line toll free 800-838-9476, or call WISN at 799-1130. It’s the Redefined Realty show. We’ll be right back.
[18:59] Paul: We’re back with the Redefined Realty show our news talk 1130 WISN. In fact we’ve got another trivia question coming up and a giveaway here with Accurate Basement Repair’s Chris Mancuso, and Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections. Before we do the next giveaway though, it’s actually a good question that you just brought up, Chris, off the air.
Chris Mancuso: I did and… Talking about and here we go, the next trivia question will be, “Is basement repair generally covered by insurance? Yes or no?” So that’s an easy one it’s a yes or no question. And that’s again another 50-50 shot.
Paul: First two callers again, one of them is going to…
Chris Mancuso: Will be calling back again and again.
Paul: Okay so, is basement repair covered by homeowners insurance?
Chris Mancuso: By homeowners insurance, yes or no?
Paul: And you would know?
Chris Mancuso: I do know.
Scott: I don’t know that one.
Paul: And in… what’s the prize here?
Chris Mancuso: The prize is another $25 fuel card from Quiktrip so…
Paul: And the coffee mug?
Chris Mancuso: Yeah and the coffee mug.
Chris Mancuso: Autograph coffee mug yeah it’s not as good as Belling’s signed hat give away.
Scott: I don’t know man this is up there…
Chris Mancuso: These mugs are going…those hats for like two weeks now…
Paul: So the first caller and see if you could trade him hat for a coffee mug.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah I’ll take my calls when…
Paul: So I’m going first come first serve and we’re starting with Ann. You heard the question Ann right?
[20:31] Ann: I did yes. I would say no.
Chris Mancuso: Absolutely. You are correct.
Scott: I thought she would be wrong.
Anna: No it helps that I work for an insurance company before.
Paul: Is that cheating?
Chris Mancuso: She’s a ringer answer ringer.
Paul: Oh so you got some inside knowledge Ann right?
Paul: Now what are your thoughts Ann, we’ll ask you Ann, should it be covered?
Ann: I mean water damage, definitely that kind of thing or a broken pipe, but no generally not.
Scott: What if you get flooded? I mean you get a massive flood around your house and it causes basement wall damage?
Paul: What about Shorewood, what it’s a two, three summers ago?
Chris Mancuso: There are some exceptions and Ann or someone else that is an insurance expert can answer this. But some of those they are different riders you can purchase like a sewer back up rider or a sump pump rider and those are things that if damage is caused in your basement by some of those items and be covered…
Scott: And that’s not your fault, that’s out of your control.
Chris Mancuso: No but the general basement repair type stuff wall, movement and…
Paul: Not covered at all.
Chris Mancuso: And water seepage, that is not covered. But there are programs out there that people who can take advantage of this change intermittently fault but… there’s, for example my manager just emailed me some stuffs. There’s a program in Greenfield that offers actually some not just a loan program but an actual, the deferment program.
There’s also one called the strong home loan program and then there’s neighborhood improvement program too and there’s also one in Waukesha. You have to meet certain income criteria but in some instances, some municipalities are actually covering the entire basement repairs. We’re talking upwards of $20,000 to $30,000 repairs. Are covered under some municipal programs you have to meet a certain income requirement and household type of things. But if you want more information on that you would call my office and I will be able to walk you through it.
Paul: That’s Accurate Basement Repair, Ann we thank you for calling in. I’m going to put you on hold so we can get your information for your lovely prize package.
Ann: All right. Thank you.
Scott: So in fact some basement beams now, let’s I really want to hit the subject for at least a couple of minutes because buyers are just, they kind of freak out over these beams, when we walk down into a basement and see them. And I generally tell them you guys tell me if I’m wrong here, but I generally tell them the wall oftentimes is stronger after the beams that were put on that it was when it was built.
Chris Mancuso: That is true, most of the time they were installed correctly and that’s why, if you’re looking at a home and you like the home, don’t be afraid of the basement, because we can fix anything. We can fix anything. And if you’re looking at homes you’re going well I want to buy that one because that one didn’t have any of those beams and things we call vertical steel column. Remember we’re going to get to it. I’m going to get to every basement, it’s just a matter of time. It means just like a roof or furnace over time I’ll get to them.
Paul: Don’t you think buyers are freaked about the foundation because they hear horror stories and then the dollar signs frighten them so they just move on to the next house, we’ll skip that one. Your point is they should be fixed…
Chris Mancuso: It can be fixed and if you have a good realtor, and a very good home inspector like we have here today, these are people that seek out as professionals and will help you get through that process. And as a buyer you should have that comfort zone because the realtor are going to be your first line I don’t want to say defense but they’re looking out for your best interest.
Paul: I like that advice and Scott will ask you the same question because it is after all just the basement foundation if you really like the house and you want to move into the house you shouldn’t pass on it, unless of course the cost are going to…
Scott: Because this is… everything is repairable and we’ve run into several houses where we’ve had some significant issues, which is going to get into some significant money and it boils down to a good realtor at that point and time doing negotiations. If we got $15,000 on a basement wall, the seller is not going to be able to sell that house with that wall bed like that. They’re going to have to do something with it so…
Chris Mancuso: And the seller has got to understand that. If their basement is in disrepair…
Scott: Most of them do.
Chris Mancuso: They might not like the negotiations but Bob that’s one of the first places you go. You said you’d go to the basement.
Bob: Well yeah a lot of people when they live in houses, it’s fun looking at houses’ always tell people that’s the fun part of my job is just going door to door and looking at homes. The buyers walk in and they want to go to the kitchen they want to go the master bedroom. A lot of times the guys will want to go down and see the lower level…
Paul: The man cave if it finished…
Bob: But for me that’s where it all starts. A good real estate agent that… especially if you’re working with him as a buyer agent which is what we do 99 percent of the time. You’re going to go down and start looking for signs of things that are wrong. We would be the first ones to tell you, we’re not home inspectors we’re not basement foundation specialists.
But I can still go down and look at the wall and say, “Boy there’s some cracks here.” You can kind of just eyeball it up and say, “It doesn’t exactly look straight to the eye.” And that’s where the advice comes in from your agent is like don’t get scared away on this house but let’s make sure that we have this foundation inspected or at least have the home inspector take a look and maybe they’ll say, “This doesn’t look like anything at all it’s not that big of a deal.” Or Scott may very well say, “This could be a problem. Let’s get Chris in.” And then Chris can actually come in and start doing measurements and all the things that the foundation people are going to do to determine if there really is a problem or not.
Paul: Well with all the price packages and trivia questions done for the day, now we’re going to get down to business and start answering a bunch of questions. We’re going to go to Dorothy from Milwaukee I believe has a radon question that’s….
Scott: That’s based on the basement too?
Paul: And that’s what you do Scott, Dorothy how you doing today?
[26:35] Dorothy: Oh just fine, yes I actually have two I have one on the dryer, but the radon question was, “If you have a one story house with a full basement, it’s a small house, do you just test for radon in the basement or do you test on the first floor also?”
Scott: Protocol is to test on the lowest livable area. So typically…
Dorothy: About how long would the test take then?
Scott: The test take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours.
Dorothy: And do you have someone come in or do you sell a kit for this?
Scott: Well our equipment is digital equipment so what we do is we would drop that of at a specified time. It’s all automated so we just set it for whatever time we want to set it for and then come pick it up when we’re done.
Paul: They changed that though Scott, because I remember they used to have little boxes almost right, that you would carry.
Scott: They still a lot of guys who use canisters, we just decided to go with the digital equipment.
Paul: Well you’re inspector gadget?
Scott: Yes like I can tell you the problem with the canisters, you would set it down at the basement then the seller would come home and set it outside. They put it out in the garage and they bring it back when…
Chris Mancuso: And even if you’re not selling, cheating it would be…
Scott: That would be cheating I believe.
Paul: And nobody knows you did.
Chris Mancuso: And even if you’re not selling, ma’am, it’s a good idea to have your radon checked.
Scott: It is. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Dorothy: With that, the inspector saying, another question that I have is on the dryer vent. And you were talking about the flexible or the stiff. In our other house we had the I’m going to call it the stiff one I don’t know what you call it, but it had a vent on it. You flip this vent and there was like a little sock that would get your lint. But in the wintertime the warm air would blow into your basement, warm your basement and give you the moisture that you need in the house in the winter time when the weather is real cold. And then we moved to this house and it’s not a gas dryer now its electric but we have the vent going outside. We have that flexible plastic…
Chris Mancuso: Which is typically what we see Scott right?
Dorothy: And that was kind of dangerous so we got the flexible, what is that, it looks like aluminum…
Scott: It’s probably aluminum yeah.
Paul: Let’s address Dorothy’s first comment about bringing that back in the house of… was that done at one time Scott?
Scott: I still see those and…
Paul: Is that okay?
Scott: That’s all kinds of wrong.
Paul: I was going to say.
Scott: That’s wrong on so many levels and I have been in several mold inspections to see right above where that dryer is we’ve got mold on the rafters. On the floor joists for the first floor I don’t know how many times I have seen that. It’s just not a real good idea. That should all go outside…
Chris Mancuso: That’s because it brings in what is it bring in a lot more moisture.
Scott: Well but there’s a tremendous there’s moisture that comes out of your dryer.
Chris Mancuso: What about any doing that?
Scott: If it’s a gas dryer, your venting carbon monoxide to the basement.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah that would really be bad.
Paul: Yeah so don’t do that Dorothy.
Dorothy: Well we have… we don’t have a gas dryer but I can understand what you’re saying about a lot of moisture and I can understand that people with children families get do four or five loads a week would have a lot of moisture. Just my husband and me. Okay so we have it going… my husband just pulled it off the outside vent and now it’s now going into basement. And now it’s nice and warm, okay.
Scott: Thanks for the call Dorothy.
Dorothy: Good idea.
Paul: Dorothy we appreciate the call. I’m going to be honest I never heard that Scott but when she did mention bringing that back in I mean all kinds of red flags went up for me.
Scott: Yeah and they still sell that. All the big box stores have that.
Bob: Yeah absolutely. This kind of comes around a whole another topic the idea that Dorothy’s got this issue and she’s not quite sure about it. There’s really nothing stopping an average homeowner from having an home inspection just to have one. Even if you’re not selling right. Now it’s a good idea to have one pre-sale, you getting ready to sell and you can have Scott come out and find the problems that are going to come up when those buyers come in and bring their own home inspector and you can address them ahead of time. The nice part about addressing them ahead of time is you get to control who the contractor is which allows you to also control the cost. But if you’re just an average homeowner and you know your house has some issues, and this isn’t quite right the chimney and I mean what the heck, Scott, $400 or $500 maybe and you can…
Chris Mancuso: Come out and give them an analysis.
Scott: Get a maintenance inspection that we’re actually look at as if you were buying the house. And we’ve done a few of these, not any one there’s many I would like to see…
Paul: And also I would think it gives the homeowner peace of mind.
Scott: Well absolutely and some people think there’s no maintenance to the roof. There is maintenance to the roof.
Paul: Oh yeah.
Scott: You only need to walk the roof.
Paul: And I want to talk about the pre inspection thing you talked about Bob. We’ll pick up from that and here’s the deal. The rest of the our 10 minutes left in the hour give a take a few minutes. Next hour Glenn Grothman joining us. We’re going to switch gears a little bit. Your chance to talk to Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspections and joining us from Accurate Basement Repair Chris Mancuso we’ve got some lines opened for the questions call quickly though and we’ll be right back on WISN the number is 799-1130 or the Kessler’s Diamond Center toll free line 800-838-WISN.
[31:53] Welcome back to the Redefined Realty show. We are 15 experienced full time agents waiting to meet you, just click the green list now button on redefinedrealty.com or call our office for an appointment at 262-732-5800. Its’ a hot market like this and a three point 99 percent closing commission makes a tone of sense. Stay tune the guys are coming back on right now.
Yeah that is your theme song, Scott LeMarr is inspector gadget he is with Honest Home Inspections. Also joining us in the program today its the Redefined Realty show, Chris Mancuso our guest from Accurate Basement Repair. We’ll give us some websites too now would be a good time to do that. Christmas, New year is coming up.
Paul: Has it been busy, I mean we’ve been seeing not much to know but some rain.
Chris Mancuso: It is been one of the busier Decembers that we’ve had. And I think it has a lot to do with the increased volume in real estate market and Bob can definitely verify that but there’s been more interest I think. People were a little nervous about interest rates but yeah we’re definitely still moving and grooving. And we can fix your basement in the winter. We absolutely can.
Paul: Interest rates, they’re still at four.
Bob: I was just on Landmark Credit Union’s website, let’s see Thursday must have been, 3.75.
Paul: 30 year fixed?
Chris Mancuso: 30 year fixed, no points.
Paul: That’s crazy.
Chris Mancuso: There were 3.99 just two or three weeks ago.
Scott: Yeah and it wasn’t… we’re back up to close to four and a half right around there so, and nobody knows…
Chris Mancuso: Let’s face it…
Scott: Yeah we heard by the middle 2015.
Bob: How did they know?
Scott: I was supposed to be up by 5 percent by the end of this year.
Bob: By the end of this year?
Scott: Remember when we had that talk…
Chris Mancuso: We got a couple of days left.
Scott: Yeah anything can happen.
Paul: Scott LeMarr from Honest Home Inspection is here and Scott your website is honesthomeinspections.com, but you also have links on there to milwaukeemoldinspector.com and milwaukeeradontesting.com. The radon caller we got from Dorothy, there’s commercials running out there, I think they’re public service announcements actually talking about what she said and you said the second cause of lung cancer.
Paul: After smoking, it’s radon.
Scott: If you’re smoker then you’re three times as likely. If you’re near your basement smoking you’re in trouble.
Chris Mancuso: You hear one of those, one of those E Radon cigarettes right?
Scott: Yeah that you use…
Paul: So radon is a real thing?
Scott: Radon is a real thing yeah.
Paul: People were skeptical at first, I remember people saying, “Oh come on, radon I never heard of that.”
Scott: The biggest thing is that it’s a colorless odorless gas so you don’t know what’s there. And a lot of people say why I don’t believe that, well I don’t believe in a million dollars because I have never seen it but I know it still exists.
Paul: It’s there.
Scott: Yes it’s there absolutely. The only way to know is to test. There’s no any other way to know other than that and the stuff that you get, the canisters that you think those are simulation canisters I think Home Depot sells I’m not sure Menard’s has it or not. But those are okay. They can be used in a real estate transaction…
Paul: They can or cannot?
Scott: They can if a third party is doing it.
Scott: So but if you wondering to sell your house in the spring you can throw these canisters down there and I will give you a general idea of what’s going on.
Paul: Well again you don’t have to Bob, you brought this point of view you don’t have to sell or be buying a house, you can do this radon test anytime you like…
Scott: Yeah and basically what I was going to say, if you’re getting to that point where you’re going to build a lower level rec room, you might as well do that radon test right away.
Chris Mancuso: Absolutely.
Scott: And you can put the system in ahead of time because it makes all the difference where you place that system as compared to how you’re going to set up your rec room.
Bob: So that’s absolutely, the other thing I want to touch on too is that, condo, somebody said that well there’s no basement so I don’t have that problem. It’s actually coming out through that slab. Our house across the street from us they just called us and said we just had a home inspection on it. The radon is high what are we going to do hear and they don’t have a basement, they are right on a slab.
Paul: No basement at all, so it comes up through and let’s just talk about that, let’s talk about a basement for a second. Chris you can chime in here too. Underneath the slab of concrete is compacted traffic bond or gravel?
Chris Mancuso: In newer construction it’s gravel as if you were putting in driveway, but older construction is dirt, they just poured concrete on top of dirt. And before that there was just dirt and somewhere between it was dirt and then they put brick on top of it, it’s…
Paul: What about this vapor barrier I hear about…
Chris Mancuso: And that’s a cold compliance now for new construction it will be, it will just have a mud pit and then they fill it up with some stone and they put a vapor barrier.
Paul: Which is a plastic…
Chris Mancuso: Membrane.
Paul: Plastic membrane okay.
Chris Mancuso: And then they pour the concrete over it.
Paul: And the radon actually seeps up from underground through all of that?
Chris Mancuso: It can, if you have a good vapor barrier on some newer construction seem less better you’ll have less chance of radon coming in. But if older construction tends to have a higher degree of radon, I mean Scott will know more about that than I would. But Bob had mentioned it’s a good idea to have that radon checked and if you’re levels borderline because I put a radon system in my own home and I didn’t have a radon problem but I did it to control moisture below the slab because we had a rec room so my basement is drier. Because the moisture is being pulled off underneath the slab being vented outside I don’t have to run the dehumidifier.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah a radon fan cost you less to run a dehumidifier because it’s a very low CFM fan and doesn’t pull in pennies a day whereas a dehumidifier is almost like a little refrigerator.
Scott: And you’ll probably even get rid of your dehumidifier in a lot of cases.
Chris Mancuso: I don’t want to run it at all anymore.
Scott: Now there you go.
Paul: Really as a basement guy you don’t run a dehumidifier at your basement?
Scott: I have the radon system.
Paul: Yes so you don’t need it?
Scott: I don’t need it, it pulls that moisture right out, my humidity levels are really low in my basement because I put a larger CFM fan in. And so it definitely helps.
Paul: As long we are on the topic Scott I don’t have the radon thing and I’m still running my dehumidifier in my basement. It seems, I have told you this before. It seems it helps with the smell?
Scott: Yes absolutely.
Paul: Not musty, it’s on my mechanical side off the finished part is that okay?
Scott: If you got a musty smell you get mold.
Paul: Well it’s not that musty … it smells like a basement kind of smell that kind of smell.
Scott: It should be in your basement so you shouldn’t…
Paul: It shouldn’t smell at all?
Scott: Really it shouldn’t…
Paul: So what you’re saying is you should come to my house and look for mold?
Scott: Yeah I can do that. Do you run your like do you have a vent from your furnace opened so it’s blowing furnace air into your basement?
Paul: I closed that vent in that room.
Scott: You might want to consider opening.
Bob: Open it a little bit. You want some air moving in there.
Scott: The air is going rise up to the first floor anyway so you’re not really loosing heat.
Paul: Me being the cheap guy that I am, I close off almost every vent…
Chris Mancuso: Bob brings up a good point you should keep those basement vents opened and none of us want to heat that area because…
Chris Mancuso: The heat rises so it’s going up into the house anyway.
Paul: Okay so you’re saying, now this is in my furnace room, you’re saying open that vent and what about the rest of the basement? I have got about four other vents unless I’m down there with buddies, and we’re doing stuff, band party, I close those vents.
Chris Mancuso: We’re just looking for some air movements…
Paul: So open them up you’re saying?
Scott: You can crack them a little bit just as long as you got some air movement in that basement. Mold needs two things to grow. It needs moisture and it needs food. And the food would be the wood dry wall etcetera that we have in the house as long as you take away the moisture. Then even if it’s there then it’s actually going to lay dormant waiting for that to come back again. It will be in the summertime when of our basements gets to 60% humidity. And in this state we really gets some humid summers.
Paul: let’s go to Greg in Milwaukee you’re on WISN and welcome to the Redefined Realty Show.
[39:57] Greg: Hey guys thanks for taking my call. I’m a bricklayer by trade and I walk into a basement one time. And he had talked about water problems and how he had all these cardboard boxes in the basements that were soaking wet. So I expected to go down there smelling this mildewy, damp basement smell.
Scott: Like we just talked about.
Greg: Like you just talked about and it was none of that and I questioned him and he had a little machine that put out ozone. It was an ozone output machine.
Greg: And he said if that’s mold then the moistures and the damn smell and it was amazing that… it was not a smell of mildew in his house it’s… I mean outside of the effectiveness, how safe is it? I know I went online did some research and square footage per units and stuff like that. Tell me a little bit about it.
Chris Mancuso: Well I don’t that be… if I owned one once it’s an ozonator and I wouldn’t want one once and if you go to a hotel and you wonder what that odd smell is when you exchange hotel rooms a lot of times. It’s almost like this fresh kind of weird smell…
Scott: Or something else.
Chris Mancuso: They’ll run these ozonator to help cleanse the air but mine actually broke at one point but then I used to use that in… I used to do a lot of car stuff and I used to put it in the car that people had smoked in…
Paul: Oh like an air cleaner, is that something called an IQ air. It’s a portable unit at my home. What do you know about these?
Chris Mancuso: The parameters the…
Paul: what is it, what do you think about these Scott?
Scott: There are ozone machines out there that and they seem to be getting a little more popular. This is on my list to do some research on them I do know that one of our mold remediators does own an ozone machine and that was just something that I came across very recently and talked to him about. I was supposed to have dinner with him and talk a little bit more about this…
Paul: And what’s the whole goal, just to smell better?
Scott: As far as I know it doesn’t do anything for moisture but it will cure smells or odors…
Chris Mancuso: That’s it, it does positive negative ions in the air. It actually charges the elements in the air.
Scott: I got it. Greg go ahead.
Greg: So you had said earlier, if well if you smell mildew then you must have mold. Well if you don’t smell the mildew, is it killing the mold?
Scott: I can’t answer that. I don’t know it will…
Greg: I mean that will just be something that I would think if…
Chris Mancuso: Knowing Scott he will have that answer for you next week. I mean we have ten minutes and after we pull on our break here…
Paul: I’m glad you called Greg because we’ll look into that and Scott will talk about it next time he’s on okay?
Greg: Oh that be great. I’d appreciate it.
Paul: I never heard of an ozone machine.
Bob: Yeah Merry Christmas Greg thank you for…
Scott: If it works that well I’m going to buy one.
Paul: Yeah exactly.
Chris Mancuso: I think it does get rid of smells though.
Paul: we talked a lot about foundation repair, we talked a lot about the radon and mold as we wrap up this hour and we leave our guest today I do want to give out information for Chris Mancuso. How do I reach you at Accurate Basement Repair?
[43:11] Chris Mancuso: accuratebasementrepair.com is the best way to reach us. Otherwise absolutely the phone 414-744-6900. Merry Christmas.
Paul: Merry Christmas. Thank you for all those great giveaways.
Chris Mancuso: You’re welcome.
Paul: Don’t forget to sign the mugs.
Chris Mancuso: Yeah.
Paul: And for those winners that won those giveaways this hour you do have to pick those up at the iHeartMedia complex here in Greenfield and our producer should have told you about that. As we leave Scott LeMarr, Honest Home Inspections, I know that’s your one website, it’s honesthomeinspections.com.
Paul: You’ve got others that we go to that one and they kind of link us all?
Scott: That’s the main website and we also have milwaukeemoldinspector.com. There’s a lot of really good information on there, there’s a lot more that I want to put on just didn’t have time to do so. milwaukeeradontesting.com. That will take you to the radon page. You can learn a little bit more about what radon is…
Paul: I think we are more aware of radon now more than never.
Scott: We are, and it seems to be more common for doing real estate transaction. We do a lot of radon testing. And that seems to be almost the only time that it gets tasted. I would encourage anybody that’s even considering it. And it’s basically a matter of time that you spend in your basement but I’ll tell some people if your radon is, let’s say 30 in the basement, you’re living in 15 on the first floor. So that’s a big number for as our basically EPA threshold we say it was time to do something…
Bob: You think about all the testing that we get done during these real estate transaction every time that we have somebody put in a new system meaning that those current homeowners has been with living with all that radon for all these years.
Paul: Could be decades.
Bob: Yeah so that’s why I said if you’re going to build a lower level, get the radon tested now. But even if you’re not, it’s not a bad thing to do to have Scott come out or buy a canister. Do it one way or the other. Because if you’re kids are spending time down in that basement or the laundry is down there and people are working in the basement on the wood shop or whatever it is, you’re probably breathing in that radon.
Paul: I’m only giving you up for long, let’s give out the phone number for Honest Home Inspections as well Scott.
Bob: He’s inspector gadget.
Scott: Merry Christmas.
Paul: Thank you so much for your time, Scott LeMarr. We thank Chris Mancuso and Bob, next hour we’re going to starting out, Craig Schmitz will be joining us we’ll be joined by senator Glenn Grothman soon to be Congressman Glenn Grothman. We’re going to talk a little property taxes.
Scott: Yeah we’re going to get in to the property tax debate, and be prepared to call in, let us know how your tax bill goes. After we’re done talking with Glenn we’ll start going municipality to municipality and see who is up and down.
Paul: But you’re going to share your personal information with us?
Scott: I will.
Paul: I’m not asking but if you went up or down but you going to tell us?
Scott: I will.
Paul: Okay we’ll take a quick break, we’ll be right back after the news, on news talk 1130. [46:00]