Ask This Old House

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Season 5 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 5"
Scan the episodes below and select "more" to get information on products or services you saw on that episode.

Episode #526
Building a Workbench and What Is It?… more
Episode #525
Lawn Mowing and Edging Basics, What is it?, Repairing and maintaining electric water heaters, Repairing a broken stair tread … more
Episode #524
Replacing a damaged mailbox post,Repointing Brickwork … more
Episode #523
Installing a new radiator/towel bar warmer, What is it?, Controlling crabgrass … more
Episode #522
Replacing a corroded shut-off valve with a "compression" fitting, What is it?, Selecting and planting "climbing" roses … more
Episode #521
Installing composite decking with hidden fasteners, Quieting a noisy steam radiator… more
Episode #520
Replacing a Shub, What is it?, Installing a roof-mounted attic fan… more
Episode #519
Refinishing cast-iron radiators, Installing a standby electric generator… more
Episode #518
Patching a damaged vinyl floor, What is it?, Repairing a leaking in-ground sprinkler system… more
Episode #517
Shopping for and installing wall-to-wall carpet, What is it?, Table saw safety… more
Episode #516
Removing an overgrown Juniper bush, Coiling an extension cord, Replacing a pop-up assembly in a pedestal sink … more
Episode #515
Clearing clogged drains, What is it?, Install Kitchen Cabinets… more
Episode #514
Prune a willow tree, fix a hot-water heater… more
Episode #513
Mulching, Sash Balancers … more
Episode #512
Shower Valve, Recycling Batteries … more
Episode #511
Cedar Clapboards, Chainsaw Etiquette … more
Episode #510
Kitchen Backsplash, Installing Sod … more
Episode #509
Child safety, What is It?, Installing a sump pump… more
Episode #508
Maintaining stone countertops, what is it?, Installing a chain link fence… more
Episode #507


Original Air Date: Week of November 16, 2006

Host Kevin O'Connor and energy efficiency expert Bruce Torrey conduct an energy audit of a house. Using an infra-red camera, they locate areas where weather-stripping and insulation can be improved. Then Kevin, along with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscaping contractor Roger Cook, and general contractor Tom Silva ask, "What is it?" Afterward, Richard demonstrates how to remove an old toilet seat that has corroded bolts.

Home Energy Audit
Kevin and home energy efficiency expert Bruce Torrey tour a 10-year old house to find places where energy efficiency can be improved. They start by looking at the home's interior walls and ceilings through an infrared thermal camera that shows where cold air can get inside and where warm air can escape. Downstairs looks fine, but upstairs Bruce finds some problems. The camera reveals cold air coming into the house near the eaves of the roof. He also finds some spots where insulation has been improperly installed in the attic. For the rest of the audit, Bruce uses a "blower door," which creates negative pressure inside the house to better show where air leaks are occurring. Using a smoke pencil, Bruce detects air leaks around an exterior door. Back upstairs, the infrared camera shows cold air inside a bathroom wall, which suggests that the top of the wall is unsealed, letting expensive heated air escape up into the attic. The camera also shows inadequate air sealing around pull-down steps leading up to the attic. Up in the attic, Bruce shows a type of "dome" that seals around the attic steps to prevent heat loss. Bruce then notices "sooting" on several fiberglass insulation batts, indicating that warm air has escaped into the attic. He pulls up one of the batts, revealing the bathroom wall below where a major air leak is occurring. To seal it, Bruce sprays a two-part polyurethane foam over the opening. He also shows how to seal around ceiling penetrations like bathroom fans and light fixtures. Near the eaves, Bruce finds that cold air is actually blowing underneath the insulation batts, making the rooms below chilly. To remedy this, Bruce recommends a cardboard baffle for each rafter bay that will direct cold air up and over the batts, preventing cold air from infiltrating the rooms below.

Where to Find It
Bruce Torrey is a certified level 1 Infrared Thermographer and the proprietor of Building Diagnostics in Sandwich, MA. He also writes articles for trade publications and consults with insulation contractors, builders and architects on proper insulation and air-sealing techniques.

Bruce Torrey
Building Diagnostics
888-503-2233

You may be able to locate other energy efficiency experts through your local utility company or insulation contractor.

Therma-Dome Attic Stair Cover
Supplier: Black Energy
404-836-7777

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

Where to Find It
Roger shows a "fence tensioner," a tool used for stretching a chain link fence during installation.

Fence tensioners are available where chain link fencing supplies are sold.

Removing a toilet seat with corroded bolts
Up in the loft, Richard shows Kevin a few ways to remove toilet seats with corroded or hard-to-reach bolts. He shows a basin wrench, ratcheting wrench, and socket wrench for getting at the nuts in tight spaces. He also shows a penetrating liquid lubricant for nuts that have become corroded and frozen. Richard then shows how to carefully remove a toilet seat by cutting through the bolts with a mini-hacksaw and uses a wide-blade knife to protect the toilet bowl while cutting.

Where to Find It
Basin wrenches, ratcheting wrenches, socket wrench, mini-hacksaws and penetrating spray lubricants can all be found at your local home center or plumbing supply house.
Episode #506
Rebuilding a small exterior deck and stairs.… more
Episode #505
Planting flower bulbs in fall, making straight rip cuts with a circular saw, what is it?… more
Episode #504
Installing garage storage cabinets, What is it?, Installing a ceiling fan… more
Episode #503
Installing a new shower base, Installing a rain barrel… more
Episode #502
Replacing a clogged faucet aerator, Selecting houseplants, Quieting a squeaky subfloor under carpet… more
Episode #501
Repairing a bathroom door, planting a bamboo privacy screen, what is it?… more