Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 4"
Scan the episodes below and select "more" to get information on products or services you saw on that episode.

Episode #426
Installing a mini-split air conditioning system, what is it?, de-thatching a lawn… more
Episode #425
Cutting ceramic and stone tile, installing a sump pump … more
Episode #424
Replacing an old dishwasher, what is it?, sharpening a wood chisel, using lawn spreaders… more
Episode #423
Replacing an interior "hollow-core" door with a new "solid-core" door, repairing a leaky kitchen faucet… more
Episode #422
Repairing stripped threads on a cast-iron radiator, fixing a grading problem, what is it?, stabilizing a wobbly newel post, refinishing an old cast-iron bathtub… more
Episode #421
Installing an instantaneous water heater, planting trees to save energy, installing cellulose insulation … more
Episode #420
Installing a granite driveway marker, what is it, repairing a hot water radiator system … more
Episode #419
Building a custom radiator cover, installing a steam humidifier in a forced-air heating system … more
Episode #418
Transplanting a white spruce tree, what is it?, extending a staircase handrail … more
Episode #417
Repairing a residential well, repairing a hole in vinyl siding … more
Episode #416
Choosing and using hammers, repairing a pressure-assisted toilet, repairing a plastered wall … more
Episode #415
Installing a low cost in-ground sprinkler system, what is it?, pouring a concrete footing for a deck … more
Episode #414
Installing a radon mitigation system, pruning an apple tree for fruit production… more
Episode #413
Installing a new vinyl floor, what is it?, preventing frozen pipes… more
Episode #412
Washing windows like a pro, what is it?, flushing an electric water heater… more
Episode #411
Snowthrowers, what is it?, where to find it… more
Episode #410
Pruning an overgrown privet hedge, installing a new basement laundry sink … more
Episode #409
Viewer tips, re-shingling a garage roof using asphalt-fiberglass shingles… more
Episode #408

Original Air Date: Week of November 24, 2005

Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva gives host Kevin O'Connor a few lessons on the proper use of a circular saw. Then, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey installs a new outdoor faucet for a homeowner using flexible plastic tubing called PEX. Then Richard, along with Tom, Kevin and landscaping contractor Roger Cook ask, "What is it?" And arborist Matt Foti prevents a tree from splitting in half by installing steel cables and through-bolts to hold it together.

Circular saw 101
Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva gives host Kevin O'Connor some lessons on safely using a circular saw to make both crosscuts and rip-cuts. First, Tom mentions the importance of always wearing safety glasses and making sure the saw's blade guard operates freely. Next, Tom explains the difference between a "worm drive" and a "sidewinder" circular saw. Then, Tom shows different types of blades used for cutting materials like wood, stone, and metal. He first demonstrates how to make a crosscut using a speed-square as a guide. To guide a rip-cut, Tom uses the factory straightedge of a piece of MDF and clamps it to a piece of plywood. He the runs the base of his saw along the straightedge to make the cut.

Where to Find It
Worm drive circular saw manufactured by:

Sidewinder circular saws manufactured by:
Model# C7SB2 (blade right)

Porter Cable
Model#423MAG (blade left)

Speed squares, clamps, and circular saw blades of all types are available at your local home center or lumberyard.

What is it?
The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking object.

Where to Find It
Kevin showed a device for hanging baseball caps.
PerfectCurve Cap Rack

Installing a new outdoor faucet using PEX
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner install a new outdoor faucet. First, Richard locates a copper supply pipe in the basement to tap into. He finds an abandoned shut-off valve and decides to make his connection there. Instead of running copper pipe to the new faucet, Richard used a type of plastic tubing called PEX. This type of tubing is made of cross-linked polyethylene and is now approved for potable water supply lines in most areas. Next, the homeowner drills a hole in the exterior wall for the new faucet and Richard feeds the PEX tubing through the hole to the outside and connects it to the faucet using a special tool and connectors. The faucet is then secured to the wall with stainless steel screws. Next, Richard solders a special fitting onto the shut-off valve to accept the PEX connection. He then connects the PEX to the shut-off valve using the same connectors and tool he used for the outdoor faucet.

Where to Find It
Freeze-proof outdoor faucets are available at your local home center or plumbing supply house.

PEX tubing, fittings, and connection tools are available through your local plumber or plumbing supply house.

More information about PEX (and many other types of plastic piping) is available at: The Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA)

Cabling an oak tree to prevent splitting
Certified arborist Matt Foti prevents a tree from splitting in half by installing steel cables and through-bolts to hold it together. A long crack in the tree's trunk is getting worse because the weight of the two main leaders is pulling the tree apart. Also, water is freezing and expanding in the crack during winter. Matt drills holes in the "co-dominant" stems of each side of the tree. He then inserts "I-bolts" through each of the two holes and connects the bolts together with steel cable. Finally, he drills holes into the trunk of the tree and inserts long bolts to hold the tree's trunk together and help prevent further splitting. The nuts are counter-sunk so they won't be visible once the tree heals.

Where to Find It
Matt Foti, Certified Arborist
Matthew R. Foti Landscape and Tree Service
30 Fairbanks Rd
Lexington, MA 02421
Episode #407
Removing and preventing moss, algae and lichen from a roof, what is it?, repairing a leaky water valve, planting shade-tolerant ground cover under a European Beech tree … more
Episode #406
Building a raised garden bed with landscape timbers, clearing a bathtub drain. … more
Episode #405
Caring for a rose bush, how to steady a wobbly toilet, plugging a basement water leak using hydraulic cement.… more
Episode #404
Repairing a flat wheelbarrow tire, repairing an aluminum rain gutter, viewer tips, installing a thermal expansion tank … more
Episode #403
Installing an under-sink water filter, planting a drought-resistant tree.… more
Episode #402
Quieting creaky stairs, static cling solution, and installing an electric shut-off valve for a washing machine … more
Episode #401
Repairing a mortared stone walkway, patching an oak floor… more