Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

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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

Original Air Date: Week of February 11, 2006

General contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O'Connor how to build a custom cover for a radiator. Then plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows Kevin several different types of humidifiers and then makes a housecall to help a homeowner install a steam humidifier on her forced-air heating system.

Building a custom radiator cover
Tom and Kevin visit a local home center to purchase supplies for building a custom radiator cover. They purchase medium density fiberboard (MDF), cove moulding, and a metal grille. Back in the loft, they begin building the cover by cutting the MDF using a circular saw and straight-edge. Tom cuts the legs of the radiator cover using a jig saw and then assembles the MDF pieces using wood glue and drywall screws. They then cut the mouldings to length and miter the ends using a power miter saw. Tom then attaches the mouldings using a pneumatic pin nailer and attaches the metal grille using a stapler.

Where to Find It
Tom and Kevin visited a local Home Depot store to purchase the medium density fiberboard (MDF), mouldings and metal grille. Tom then used regular wood glue and drywall screws to assemble the unit. He used a headless pin nailer and compressor to secure the moulding:

Bostitch 23-Guage Headless Pinner (model TU-216-2330)

Bostitch Trim Air 1.5 Peak HP Oil-Free Contractor Compressor (model CAP1516)

Both are tools manufactured by: Stanley Fastening Systems, L.P.

The pre-manufactured metal radiator cover shown by Tom is manufactured by: Arsco Mfg. Radiator Covers

Installing a steam humidifier in a forced-air heating system
Richard visits a homeowner who complains that the air in her house is too dry during the winter months. He recommends a humidification system that creates steam and distributes it to different parts of the house via the furnace's heating ducts. First, the humidifier unit is mounted on the wall in the basement; it uses electricity to create steam. The steam travels through a hose to a steam distributor wand that is installed in a hole cut into the main heating plenum. Finally, a humidistat is installed upstairs to turn the system on and off automatically based on the level of humidity in the living areas of the house.

Where to Find It
Richard installed a "Resdelux" electrode steam humidifier manufactured by:
Nortec Industries Inc.

Installation assistance was provided by:
Central Cooling & Heating, Inc.

Other assistance was provided by:
Norman Associates, Inc.
940 Main St
Waltham, Ma 02451

In the loft, Richard discussed several other types of humidifiers, including:
Holmes Small Room Warm Mist Humidifier, Model# HM5250-UC

Kenmore 8-gallon evaporative humidifier, Sears item #03215408000, Mfr. model #15408
Sears, Roebuck & Co.
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
Circular saw 101, what is it?, installing a new outdoor faucet using PEX, cabling an oak tree to prevent splitting… more
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