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Season 7 Show Descriptions

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Episode #726, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner repair a leaking PVC drain trap underneath his kitchen sink...… more
Episode #725, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor and an electrician help a homeowner install a new ventilation fan in her bathroom...… more
Episode #724, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner install a new garage door...… more
Episode #723, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare his concrete basement walls for finished wallboard...… more
Episode #722, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps install a new type of "zoning" control for her forced-air heating and cooling system… more
Episode #721, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner install a new "dual flush" water-saving toilet… more
Episode #720, Season 7 of ATOH
episode seven-hundred twenty, season seven of ask this old house

Original Air Date: Week of 02/12/2009

Our annual "kids" episode features family-friendly projects that parents and kids can build together! First, landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a 12-year-old budding master gardener build a raised bed for growing vegetables. Then, up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, with the help of several kids, build a miniature indoor golf course. Next, Kevin and a middle school teacher show some eager students how to build a model rocket launcher using commonly available household and hardware store items.

Building a Raised Garden Bed for Vegetables

Roger helped a family build a raised garden bed, suitable for growing vegetables. He chose a sunny part of the yard so that the plants would have adequate sunlight to grow. The bed is made up of 2x cedar boards joined together with exterior deck screws. With the cedar "box" temporarily screwed together at the corners, Roger squared up the corners and affixed temporary diagonal braces to keep the box square. Next, Roger moved the box, dug out the top layer of grass underneath, and loosed up the soil to help with drainage. With the box back in place, Roger checked it for level and used wooden cedar stakes to fasten the box to the ground and to prevent the boards from bowing. Next, he filled the box with a mixture of soil and compost and raked it flat. With the soil in place, Roger cut the tops of the stakes flush with the top of the box. Next, Roger put in tomato and zucchini plants and added starter fertilizer to help them get established. Roger then put in metal "tomato cages" to help the plants grow vertically. Next, Roger planted beans and used bamboo stakes for them to climb onto. Finally, Roger put a little fertilizer on the topmost layer of soil, thoroughly watered all the plants, and covered the soil with mulch to prevent weeds and retain moisture.

Where to Find It?

Free step-by-step plans for this project are available here:
How to Build a Water Rocket

Cedar lumber is available at professional lumberyards and some home centers. If it is not in-stock, it usually can be special ordered.

Vegetables plants and seeds are available at many home and garden centers.

Building an Indoor Golf Course

Up in the loft, Tom and Richard (along with several "assistants") build an indoor golf course that can be customized to create many different holes. They begin with a 2-foot x 4-foot panel of half-inch MDF. They cut 2x2 fir balusters to fit around the perimeter of the panel and glue them in place using both wood glue and fast-setting CA (cyanoacrylate) glue. They drill a hole for the cup using a 4-inch hole saw. Tom then clamps piece of green felt to a work table and sprays the top of the MDF and the bottom of the felt with spray adhesive. Together, they flip the MDF panel onto the table and cut the corners of the felt. Using more spray adhesive, they wrap the felt underneath the balusters. They then cut the felt in the hole (like a pizza) and glue the pieces to the underside of the MDF. Richard placed a PVC pipe fitting inside the hole to complete the panel.

The mini-golf hole consists of four similar panels—one with a cup for the ball to go into and three without a cup. Tom used 2x2 composite balusters to act as rails on the surface of the panels. The composite material works much better than wood; because the composite material is heavier and more dense, the ball will bounce off it.

Where to Find It?

Free step-by-step plans for this project are available here:
How to Build a Miniature Golf Course

The materials for this project are available at home centers and fabric stores, including:

The Home Depot

Joann Fabric and Craft Stores

Building a Soda Bottle Rocket Launcher

Kevin and a middle school teacher showed a family how to build a model rocket using half-inch PVC pipes and two-liter soda bottles. First, they cut and glued the PVC together and inserted a tire valve stem into a hole in a PVC end-cap. At the other end, they heated the pipe with a candle to create a small bulge; this bulge formed a seal between the pipe and bottle. They also built an ingenious trigger system, using plastic cables ties and a short length of inch-and-half PVC pipe. To launch the rocket, they filled the bottle about one-third full with water and placed it on the end of the launcher. They used a bicycle pump to pump about 70 PSI into the launcher. In a clear opening, they pointed the launcher straight-up and pulled the trigger to send the rocket hundreds of feet into the air.

Where to Find It?

Free step-by-step plans for this project are available here:
How to Build a Water Rocket

Expert technical assistance for this project was provided by middle school teacher Slater Harrison. Slater has a website that contains detailed plans for how to build the water rocket and many other science projects. For more information, please visit:

Sciencetoymaker.org
Episode #719, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner quiet his banging pipes by installing a water hammer shock suppressor...… more
Episode #718, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscape contractor Roger Cook shows a homeowner how to prune her neglected crabapple tree properly.… more
Episode #717, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner clean, stain and seal his mahogany backyard deck… more
Episode #716, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helps a homeowner convert a claw foot bathtub into a shower… more
Episode #715, Season 7 of ATOH
This special episode is dedicated to making the most out of your existing kitchen cabinets.… more
Episode #714, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner in Charleston, South Carolina fix a sagging wooden gate...… more
Episode #713, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey and host Kevin O'Connor replace an old tank-type water heater with a new, energy-efficient "tankless" unit...… more
Episode #712, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners break apart and remove a large boulder...… more
Episode #711, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner repair a very dangerous deck...… more
Episode #710, Season 7 of ATOH
Plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey heads to Indianapolis...… more
Episode #709, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a pair of homeowners build a retaining wall using pressure-treated timbers...… more
Episode #708, Season 7 of ATOH
General contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner prepare a shower enclosure for tile using a new type of waterproofing system...… more
Episode #707, Season 7 of ATOH
This episode has many tips for making your home more energy efficient...… more
Episode #706, Season 7 of ATOH
Up in the loft, general contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O’Connor how to repair damaged laminate countertops...… more
Episode #705, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps a homeowner transplant a giant Rhododendron bush...… more
Episode #704, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook helps two homeowners repair the damage done to their lawn...… more
Episode #703, Season 7 of ATOH
Host Kevin O'Connor travels to Nashville, where he helps a pair of homeowners brighten up their kitchen. Then...… more
Episode #702, Season 7 of ATOH
Landscaping contractor Roger Cook shows a pair of homeowners how to transplant a large, mature tree to their front yard. Then Roger, along with...… more
Episode #701, Season 7 of ATOH
ATOH kicks off with Tom Silva preventing a garage roof from collapsing by replacing a rotting support post, Then Tom, along with...… more