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S20 E18: Porch Column, Smart Thermostats

In this episode, Richard shares what he loves about the plumbing trade; Ross talks about smart thermostats and their features; Heath explains how to understand switch legs; Tom replaces a rotted porch column base.

Previous episode: S20 E17 | Next episode: S20 E19

In this episode:

Plumbing and Heating Expert Richard Trethewey tells all about how his career as a plumber started. As a 4th generation owner of a successful plumbing and heating company, Richard knew what he would do for a career very early on. He would draw pictures of himself fixing sinks and making plumbing repairs in school.

While working for his father’s business, Richard explains the company received a call from a public television channel asking if they’d be interested in appearing on the show. Despite not having money to offer, Richard’s father saw it as an opportunity to pay their success forward. While his father might not have been the most comfortable TV personality, Richard’s calm demeanor on screen made him a natural fit for This Old House. Years later, no one better fit for the role on Ask This Old House than Richard.

Next, we meet tech expert Ross Tretheway and host Kevin O’Connor back at the shop to talk about Smart Thermostats. As Kevin asks the hottest questions on the topic, Ross explains the features, cost, savings, and convenience that a smart thermostat can offer to almost any home. Ross describes how far thermostats have come to Kevin, and even some of the most up-to-date, cutting-edge features that today’s thermostats have to offer.

After the smart thermostat conversation, Kevin meets master electrician Heath Eastman for a lesson on switch legs. Heath explains that many homeowners have a switch in their home that doesn’t appear to control anything. Heath tells us that, in many cases, these phantom switches are intended to control an outlet, but that renovation and repairs along the way could be the cause of the missing functionality. After explaining why that is, Heath shows Kevin how to restore the switch function to the affected outlet.

Finally, general contractor Tom Silva supports a homeowner suffering under a rotted porch post. Tom and the homeowner dig into the rotten post base to find the issue and then get to work removing the affected wood. Next, Tom shows the homeowner how to mill new components from a recycled, water-resistant material before putting everything back together for caulk and paint.


How Richard Trethewey Became a Plumber

Master plumber Richard Trethewey tells all about how his career as a plumber started.


How to Use Smart Thermostats

Home technology expert Ross Trethewey explains everything there is to know about modern smart thermostats.

Where to find it?

Ross explained the benefits of installing smart thermostats that provide convenience and energy efficiency. You can control the temperature of your house from anywhere, and by sensing and regulating air temperature, motion, and humidity, they can also save you money.

Ross displayed and discussed four different smart thermostat models:


Understanding Switch Legs

Master electrician Heath Eastman explains a common issue he finds in many folks’ homes and how he fixes it.


How to Replace a Porch Column

General contractor Tom Silva shows a homeowner how to remove and repair the rot eating away at his porch’s support post.

Original Air Date: Feb 10, 2022, Season 20; Ep. 18 23:42