Ask This Old House

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Season 6 Show Descriptions

Showing results for "Season 6"
Scan the episodes below and select "more" to get information on products or services you saw on that episode.

Episode #626
Rebuilding a toilet tank, Lawn Watering, Building a simple bookcase… more
Episode #625
Installing a water pressure reducing valve, Choosing the best types of grass seed, What is it?, Installing crown molding on kitchen cabinets… more
Episode #624
Replacing broken tile, Cutting ceramic and stone tile, Installing glass tile on a kitchen backsplash… more
Episode #623
Overseeding a lawn using a slice seeder, Viewer tip, Preparing a home for sale, Finding and fixing a mysterious plumbing leak … more
Episode #622
Installing granite steps, Choosing "Keyless" Deadbolts, Replacing polybutylene water piping… more
Episode #621
Installing an old full-mortise lockset into a new door, Installing a pellet stove, Non-Gasoline Lawn Mowers… more
Episode #620
Building a soccer goal with PVC pipe, Building stilts, Building a sandbox… more
Episode #619
Increasing attic insulation, Installing landscape lighting, Replacing an old kitchen faucet… more
Episode #618
Installing a Water Softener, Installing fiber-cement siding … more
Episode #617
Improving a lawn, What is it?, Water Supply Piping… more
Episode #616
Replacing a leaky skylight, What is it?, Repairing a 3-way light switch… more
Episode #615
The ATOH crew repairs a smelly dishwasher, transplants a rosebush, changes a circular saw blade, and plays another exciting round of What Is It?… more
Episode #614
Installing thermostatic radiator valves on hydronic radiators, What is it?, Making a refrigerator fit into an opening that is too small, Viewer tip… more
Episode #613
Installing a vinyl fence, Installing an epoxy coating on a garage floor… more
Episode #612

Original Air Date: Week of December 20, 2007

Landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows host Kevin O'Connor several different ways to determine the grade, or pitch, of a landscape. Then, back in the loft, Roger and Kevin, along with general contractor Tom Silva and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey ask, "What is it?" Then, Tom and Richard show Kevin different ways to "see" what's inside a wall. Finally, Richard helps a homeowner repair a bathtub that won’t hold water.

Determining Landscape Grades

Outside the barn, Roger shows Kevin a few different ways to check for level when doing landscaping projects. Level lines help establish the grade of the landscape, which is useful for projects like patios and fences. Roger shows different means of checking for level, including a "line level," which is a short sprit-level that attaches to a piece of string. Roger also shows a "water level," which is simply a piece of clear, plastic tubing filled with water. Finally, Roger shows a self-leveling "laser level" which projects a laser beam in a level plane onto a portable receiver; the receiver beeps when it is held level with the transmitter. Afterward, up in the loft, Tom shows Roger and Kevin how water levels are also useful for carpentry projects.

Where to find it?

Levels of all types can be purchased at your local home center or lumberyard. For more information, contact Empire Level ( or Johnson Level & Tool Company ( What is it?

The guys try to guess the intended purpose of an unusual-looking product.

Where to find it?

Roger showed a coiled-device that works as a "gate" for electric fences. It is manufactured by Fi-Shock, Inc. (

Electric fence gates are available at many farm and ranch supply stores, including Tractor Supply Co. (877-872-7721,

Seeing inside walls

Up in the loft, Richard and Tom show Kevin several ways to find out what might be inside a wall, including wires, pipes, insulation and framing. First, they look at electronic "stud finders," some of which will also show where pipes and wires are located. Next, Tom shows a small, fiber-optic scope that can be snaked inside a wall through a small hole. Finally, Richard shows a "thermal-imaging" or "infrared" camera that shows warm and cold spots on the surface of a wall, which is useful when trying to determine whether a wall is insulated or whether cold air is getting in the wall from outside.

Where to find it?

Stud sensors:

Manufacturer: Zircon Corporation 1580 Dell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008
(800) 245-9265

Flexible fiber-optic scope (RIDGID SeeSnake "Micro" model #25643):
Manufacturer: Ridge Tool Company
400 Clark Street
Elyria, OH 44035-6108

Thermal-imaging/infrared camera:

Manufacturer: FLIR Systems, Inc.
25 Esquire Rd.
North Billerica, MA 01862
(800) 464-6372

Repairing a bathtub drain that won't hold water

Richard helped a homeowner with a bathtub that wouldn't hold water. He first removed the cover plate on the overflow "trip lever" and pulled out the linkage and "plunger" inside. With those parts removed, Richard found that water was seeping by the bottom of the plunger because it wasn't adjusted properly. To fix it, he adjusted the threaded linkage so that the plunger would drop down farther when engaged, preventing water from seeping by. Richard then reinstalled the linkage and plunger, attached the cover plate, and the repair was complete.

Where to find it?

The bath, waste and overflow unit that Richard repaired was manufactured by:

Gerber Plumbing Fixtures, LLC
4600 West Touhy Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712
(888) 328-2383

Episode #611
Improving front steps with bluestone, What is it?, Installing a propane kitchen stove… more
Episode #610
Diverting storm runoff to a "rain garden," What is it?, Refinishing a wood floor … more
Episode #609
Picking a Christmas tree, What is it?, Safety equipment, Caulking a leaky window… more
Episode #608
Improving a muddy backyard, Choosing space heaters, Preventing condensation in a bathroom fan… more
Episode #607
Installing replacement windows, Heating water more efficiency, Home energy audit… more
Episode #606
Removing a dangerous tree, What is it?, Installing interior door trim… more
Episode #605
Repairing a jammed garbage disposer, What is it?, Stripping exterior paint, Drilling and notching in joists … more
Episode #604
Preventing floods, Removing and replacing foundation plants, What is it?, Fixing rotted wood with epoxy… more
Episode #603
Replacing a toilet flange, What is it?, Repairing cracked plaster, Viewer Tip… more
Episode #602
Carpentry squares, What is it?, Installing a patio using concrete bricks… more
Episode #601
Replacing a bathtub drain trap, What is it?, Repairing a cracked drywall ceiling… more