Ask This Old House

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Season 4 Show Descriptions

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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

Original Air Date: Week of February 18, 2006

Landscaping contractor Roger Cook and a specialist help a homeowner install a granite driveway marker so that visitors can more easily find his house. Then Roger, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, general contractor Tom Silva, and host Kevin O'Connor ask, "What is it?" Afterward, Richard heads to Pennsylvania to fix a hot water radiator that is not providing any heat.

Installing a granite driveway marker
Roger helps a homeowner install a granite marker at the front of his property so that visitors can find his home easily. The granite post was a length of old curbing that Roger salvaged from a previous project. They start by digging a narrow hole three feet deep. Roger then lifts the marker and sets it into the hole using a front loader. After making sure the post is plumb in the hole, they backfill around it. Then, stone engraver Kevin Shea arrives to sandblast the homeowner's address onto the marker. He begins by cleaning the entire marker with his sandblaster. He then applies a rubber template to the stone and etches the number onto the stone using a finer abrasive in the sandblaster. Finally, he paints the numbers black so that they will stand out.

Where to Find It
Roger used a compact track loader to install the post. For more information, visit

The stone engraving was performed by Kevin Shea of KTS Granite Lettering:
KTS Granite Lettering

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

Where to Find It
Tom showed drywall taper (sometimes called a "banjo") that is used to apply joint compound to drywall tape and dispense it. It is available from most home centers and tool stores, including:

All-Wall Equipment Company, Inc.

Repairing a hot water radiator system
Richard helps a pair of Pennsylvania homeowners who have an upstairs radiator that won't heat. Richard determines that the cause of the problem is that air inside the radiator is preventing hot water from flowing through it. The homeowners explain that they have tried to bleed the air from the radiator, but it has not solved the problem. Richard then determines that the root cause of the problem is at the boiler. He replaces the old steel expansion tank with a new diaphragm expansion tank and relocates the circulator pump from the "return" side of the boiler to the "supply" side. By pumping away from the expansion tank connection, the system will maintain a higher static pressure, allowing the air to remain in solution. They finish by bleeding the remaining air from the radiator.

Where to Find It
Tom showed a new type of fastening system called Invis® that uses a spinning magnet to tighten hidden fasteners. It is manufactured by:
Bob Pietrangelo
Comfort Solution

The diaphragm expansion tank was manufactured by:
Amtrol, Inc.
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
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