The House Whisperer

A free internet archive of Jack Milne's famous House Whisperer Show radio broadcasts.

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Driveways: That Patch of Earth Where We Park Our Cars
From dead grass under the constant use of your car tires to cobblestones and pavers, today's segment covers simple maintenance suggestions concerning the use of parking on the lawn, gravel, asphalt, concrete, and finally pavers. Although we typically think of fall as the best time to prepare your driveway for winter, now that winter is over, I always think it's best to prepare your driveway finishes for the harshness of the UV rays of the sun. Listen in and let's treat that vehicle special.
Exterior Claddings: How Maintenance Will Keep Our Homes Safe and Warm
As the summer sun beats down on our homes, it's our exterior claddings that take the biggest punishment. Today I talk about various wood finishes and their maintenance. I also include stucco, aluminum, vinyl siding, and asbestos. Simple maintenance of these items will help protect the "skin" on the outside of your home.
Phil Getty From Boucher & James
(215-345-9400) I brought back Phil Getty, who is an environmental hydro geologist, to discuss home exterior plant issues. Phil has been a previous guest on this show, and I asked that he revisit The House Whisperer to talk about some of the effects that plants can have on your home. We discuss putting any type of flowers or grass on a septic field, how vegetation can improve energy efficiency on a house, concerns about planting bushes and trees too close to the home, shotgun spores from your mulch, ivy on your home, and even bamboo. Listen in, as you may start to look at the plants around your home a little differently.
Trees: We Love Them, But Oh, The Maintenance!
Trees: We love them, but at the same time, they do require a lot of maintenance, especially as they grow older. Clogged gutters and improper root growth (which can affect sewer laterals, water lines, on-site sewage systems, and our general well-being with exposed tree roots) have impact on our lifestyles. How many times have you walked down a city street and almost tripped where the tree roots have raised the concrete pads? If you live amongst a canopy of trees, I would ask that you listen in to this show, as I will help you make decisions as to how to maintain them, and at the same time, not affect the structural integrity of your home and the proper operation of your utilities.
Sheds vs. Garages
As we accumulate things over time, at some point it may become necessary to construct or have a shed delivered on your property. I ask that you listen to this show, especially if you live in a planned community that has a homeowner's association. Local codes will also dictate what size shed you can purchase and where it can be placed. If your property is large enough to support a detached garage, this show also talks about impervious surface ratios and zoning requirements. Before you spend the big bucks, take a few minutes for some great advice.
"Spring Fling": The Ides of March Are Upon Us, Are You Ready?
Finally! The majority of winter should now be behind us as we all look forward to spring. We may still encounter that freak snow storm, but the buds are forming on the trees, there are more bird droppings on our cars, and it's nice to hear the birds chirping first thing in the morning. With the winter doldrums now behind us, how is the best way to prepare for spring? Listen in to this show, as I talk about general maintenance that may have gone by the wayside during the cold winter months, including gutters, shrubbery, your roof, grading, your driveway, and lawn mower maintenance. Fortunately, with daylight savings time, it affords us all an opportunity to maintain our homes further into the evening.
Exterior Lighting: Should You Do It Yourself Or Hire Out?
Discussion with Glen Aust of GA Electric (215-357-5259 or 610-346-8129) I bring back Glen Aust from GA Electric to discuss multiple options for exterior lighting. Summer is definitely upon us, and as you look across your patios and decks, if you are wondering how to bring a dramatic effect to these areas, I would ask that you listen in. We cover solar, low voltage lighting, both up and down lighting, as well as bring back the old familiar lamp post. Before you make that purchase, I would heed Glen's advice.
Rain and mold: Have You Had Enough This Summer?
As you may well remember, the summer of 2013 was particularly wet and hot. How many times did you have your gutters overflow and water infiltration into your home through all the nooks and crannies that you never knew you had? Listen in, as I explain the reasons for this water intrusion and methods that may help protect you and your home in the future.
Social Media for Referrals
How many times have you seen TV commercials, or been blitzkrieged by social media telling you to find a contractor online? Unfortunately, as a home inspector, I feel that this is the worst way to find someone who is qualified to do the work, based on some anonymous person's written opinion. As you all know, no news is good news, and most of the social media contractors that are posted may actually have a good reputation, but because of an opinion of one particular client who may not care for the work offered, this poor review now gets blasted over social media. I am more from the old school, where referrals are based on personal opinion through friends, neighbors, relatives, and work associates. I ask that you listen in to this show so that I can show you various methods, without using the internet, of finding a good qualified contractor, who is looking out for your best interest and not that of the lists that are being posted on the internet.
Low Sloped Roof Maintenance for Fall & Winter
If you live in the city, where the vast majority of the homes have low sloped or flat roofs, you may want to listen to this episode as it covers how to prepare your roof for the winter. We discuss the types of roofs, from as simple as a rolled roof all the way up to rubber, and what you have to do to maintain it so that the roof stays watertight without becoming a swimming pool. We discuss coatings and applications as well. As winter is rapidly approaching, and temperatures are dropping, please listen in and prepare for the winter season.
How to Protect Your Home from the Invasion of Mice
With Mike Cantor As you begin to rake the leaves away from your house this season, it is imperative that you take a good look around to make sure that any and all penetrations (even as small as the size of a dime) are properly sealed. This segment welcomes Mike Cantor, the owner of Pest Blaster, and we discuss how to best protect your home against mice infestation, and simple methods of repair that all homeowners can do to prevent this occurrence.
Jack Answers Listener Emails
This segment is dedicated to the faithful listeners of The House Whisperer Show. Over the past weeks, I have received numerous questions from my listeners that I wanted to address. From the beginning, The House Whisperer Show has been dedicated to my listeners. This show will cover questions regarding common elements in everyone's home, including the use of central humidifiers, heat pumps, filter maintenance, properly operating your air conditioning system, termites in cold weather periods, and opinions about buying a home during the questionable government shutdown. I ask that you listen in and respond back to thehousewhisperershow@gmail.com if there are any questions that you would like to put before me.
Myths vs. Reality: Radon and Wood Destroying Insects in Cold Weather
How Can it Vary? With Rob Bruno Rob Bruno, who owns Boro Exterminating Company, has been one of my sponsors over the last three years, between two different radio stations. Rob visits us again to discuss wood destroying insects, and how they can thrive, or not thrive, during cold weather periods. We discuss the common wood destroying insects; termites, carpenter bees, and carpenter ants. Then we go in a different direction, and discuss radon testing, as Boro Exterminating also conducts radon testing in their service market. I ask that you listen in to set the record straight, especially being a homeowner, and not let those pesky insects take control of your home.
Brainflushgear: You've Heard the Name, Here's the Story
With Kevin Zolna Kevin Zolna, the artistic director at Brainflushgear, spends time with The House Whisperer. Although The House Whisperer Show focuses on the workings and maintenance of the home, every once in a while Jack likes to take a ride on the wild side. As an avid motorcyclist for well over 40 years, a motorcycle trip amongst a few friends has turned into an annual event. Looking for shirts to commemorate their annual trips, these riders came across Kevin Zolna, and exceptional airbrush graphic artist, "the man" for art that expresses the wild side. Through www.brainflushgear.com as well as contact@brainflushgear.com , Kevin has taken concepts from people's imagination, and has made them real. For any group, not only motorcyclists, but snowboarders, skateboarders, surfers, skiers, or any group where you live life on the edge and the adrenaline flows, I as that you listen to this show.
How to Safely Prepare for the Holidays
With the holidays approaching, we have to give thought not only to our loved ones, but also to our physical well-being. This is the time of year when we tend to stretch our limits, using ladders and electricity in order to make our houses brighter and more cheerful. I ask that you listen in to this show to learn more about ladder safety, electrical safety, as well as other topics including general maintenance of the home with regard to hose bibs, laundry centers, and also your vehicle.
Underground Fuel Storage Tanks
with Phil Getty of Boucher & James If any listeners have an underground fuel storage tank, regardless of age, I would ask you to listen to this show. Phil Getty, who graduated from Penn State in Geology, has worked for 20 years with Boucher and James and has been involved in many fuel tank investigations, as well as cleanup projects. He also currently services as President of the Board of the Bucks County Audubon Society. Phil and I discuss multiple topics regarding the life expectancy of fuel tanks, what types of problems can develop if a tank leaks, as well as ways to test an underground tank. Funding may be available to defray costs for extraction. Any concerns that you may have, I would ask you to reach out to Phil at 215-345-9400.
Skylights: Are They Worth Putting a Hole in My Roof?
On this show, I cover the history of skylights, which became popular during the late 1970's and continue to be popular in today's new construction. I'll take you through the pros and cons of owning a skylight, as well as general maintenance that will be required. As there are multiple varieties of skylights, as well as varying quality of skylights, I would ask that you listen in before you make that decision to put a hole in your roof.
Email Box Revisited – Vol 3
For the third time in the series I revisit the email box. It gives my listeners an opportunity to ask questions with me about revelent topics that I feel affect everybody. The show's topics touch on aging water heaters during a real estate transaction, issues with icicles; why they are formed and how to correct it, home inspections conducted during winter weather where snow may cover the roof, walk-throughs where the initial inspections have been conducted, where the house was both vacant as well as winterized, tankless water heaters vs. standard water heaters, and why vermiculite should not be disturbed.
DIY: Do It Yourself, Honestly Can You?
This show discusses very simple items that most homeowners can do themselves after they are done paying professionals tons of money for some of the routine items around the home. Painting, minor electrical work, as well as minor plumbing work, are covered on this show. Granted, I may not be able to make you a professional within a half hour segment, however, I am trying to get you to dip your toe in the water and give it a try.
Mold or Biological Organisms: What Should We Know and How Do We Test?
With Mike Cantor From Pest Blaster: 215-295-5555 Mike has been a regular on The House Whisperer Show through the years. I brought Mike back because now that winter is FINALLY over, it's time for us to take a look around our homes, especially in the basement where due to this past winter's snowfalls, lack of power, and overall inconvenience, there could be mold and/or biological organisms that have appeared in the dark recesses of our basements without our knowledge. Listen in, as Mike and I discuss what can bring on mold and how we should test for it.
What's In Your Toolbox?
At some point in your life, you're going to have to make a major purchase on tools to help you maintain your home. This segment talks about the very basics that I feel every homeowner should have in their toolbox. I discuss hand tools, power tools, extension cords, everything that you may need to start becoming handy in your home.
Fences and Privacy: Same Effect, Different Directions
The old saying goes, "A good fence maintains good neighbors," does have a ring to it. Fences do offer not only privacy, but also seclusion. There are many different types of fences available, from chain link, to post and rail, to privacy. There is also another type of fence available for pets, called Invisible Fence. But I always think like the arborist, where I like trees to act as my protective and private barrier between myself, the street, and the neighbors. Before you spend big bucks, why don't you listen in to this show, and I'll tell you how to get a fence established, what type of trees to grow, and how well the invisible fence may work for your pets.
Living Near Waterways: What Concerns Should I Have?
If you ever thought about living near a source of water, be it a retention basin, brook, creek, river, or lake, each have their own peculiarities and can affect your quality of life due to such things as the moon and unpredictable weather patterns. I ask that you listen in if you are planning on either living or retiring near a water source.
Labor Day Is Here: The Transition To Fall Starts Now
Although fall doesn't become official until some time in October, typically the Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer. With that in mind, this show covers various topics that you should jump on now, rather than wait until it's too late. Some of the topics I discuss are the appropriate type of gutter guards to install, whether your gutters themselves are in poor shape and need updating, driveway sealing, evaluating your roof, leaves and branches, the potential of installing a generator, and getting ready for winter projects. This list goes on and on, but I can't give away all of my secrets. Listen in, and let's get ready for the fall season.
Hot Tubs: Are They Worth It, and What About The Maintenance?
Now that summer is over and winter is around the corner, those of us with swimming pools are starting to close them up for the season. This includes blowing out the lines, clearing the pumps, and keeping our fingers crossed that by next spring, everything will be fine. Hot tubs, on the other hand, are considered small pools. They still require a good deal of maintenance, and especially with hot water, bacteria counts can tend to be higher. As an owner of a hot tub, I would ask that you listen in to this show, as I can give you first hand information about how it should be maintained, benefits of electric heat over gas or propane, location of the hot tub, and costs involved.
Typical Roofs On Old Buildings
Interview With William Kibbel of Tri-County Inspection Company (215-295-2030) For this segment, I brought in my senior inspector, Bill Kibbel of Tri-County Inspection Company, whose forte is historical structures. For any of my listeners who reside in or maintain an old building, I would ask that you listen in. This segment will cover slate, metal, tile, as well as wood shingles and shakes. Bill is a nationally ranked speaker on historical structures, and I ask that you listen in for excellent advice.
Demolition vs. Construction: How To Be Ready When Things Come Down
The idea for this segment comes from Donna from the Great Northeast, just outside of Philadelphia, who is planning on installing a sunroom on the back of her home. She asked for the advice of The House Whisperer as to how to prepare for an addition of this type. Listen in, as quite a few helpful hints are enclosed for those of you who may be ready to do an addition.
Egress: What Does It Mean And How Does It Apply To Me? It May Save Your Family's Lives
The definition of egress is the action of going out or leaving a place. I dedicate the first segment of this show to appropriate window sizes and why this is relevant if you are planning to update your windows. You may want to consider egress windows over your typical sliding or awning style windows. The second segment of the show covers basic egress: bilco doors, foundation entries, walkouts, or alongside entry points. Listen in, because as winter approaches, we tend to close up our homes even more, and we want to make sure that we are all safe at this time of year.
Fall Is In Full Swing: How Do We Prepare?
This episode touches on multiple topics, including but not limited to: the closing down of your lawn equipment, the potential of lower heating bills (both propane and oil), why it makes sense to fine tune your heater now, why it is imperative at this point that you insulate your home to prepare for winter, checking your roof, sealing your driveway, and other timely projects that can be done before winter really sets in.
The Garage: A Man's Favorite Place, And A Woman's Place To Put Stuff
When a couple buys a home, the man is typically interested in two things; the garage and the basement. Optimism usually abounds, saying "I'm going to put this in the garage, I'm going to put that in the garage." However, with time, this area tends to get overwhelmed. This show is a whimsical look at how to control the amount of "stuff" that enters your sanctum. With the holidays ahead of us, it may be time to clean out the cavern and donate what you can to those in need.
DIY Disasters: We've All Had Them!
Most common disasters for the do-it-yourselfer typically occur when we don't think the job through. When we tend to rush, mistakes tend to be made. Today's show takes a humorous look at some of the things that I've run across as a home inspector in talking with my clients throughout the years.
Let's Not Forget
With winter now upon us, and with the hectic pace of the holidays, there are a lot of things that we can't forget. This show touches on a few of them, including being courteous to your fellow man, shutting off hose bibs, preparing your small machines for winterization, cleaning the dryer vent, and many other things that we tend to take for granted as the weather turns cold. Listen in so that you don't forget to maintain your house properly during the winter.
The Weather And Your Home: It's A Constant Battle
It seems that from the dawn of time, man has tried to keep himself out of the weather, be it in caves, brush, or adobe. The common element is protection from the elements. On this show, we talk about roofing, siding, windows and other penetrations, as well as grading and power loss. Over the past few years, it appears that Mother Nature has been winning this battle, but I ask you to listen in so that, as a homeowner, you can do your best to battle the elements.
It's Spring: Time for Termites, Carpenter Ants, and Bees
With Mike Cantor of Pest Blaster: 215-295-5555 and www.pestblaster.com Mike has been a regular on The House Whisperer Show through the years. With spring rapidly approaching, you can count on these little pests coming out of the earth and potentially wreaking havoc on your home. I ask that you listen to this show, as all homes can be vulnerable to these insects.
Clean Up Time
Now that it is officially spring, it's time to finally put winter and hibernation behind us. It's time to get outdoors, take a look around, and see what kind of toll winter has taken on your home. If you still have those Christmas lights up, it's time to take them down! I also talk about getting your lawn ready, getting the equipment ready to cut that lawn, and cleaning out those gutters before the spring rains come. Listen in for a lot of little ideas and tips to help you get ready for spring.
Trials and Tribulations of Being a Home Inspector: Part 1
Today's segment is broken into various chapters because, as you know, every house has a story. As time goes on, I will add to the book I'm about to write.
  • Chapter 1: Jack, you will walk the roof, right?
  • Chapter 2: Jack, you are going into that crawlspace?
  • Chapter 3: The investor
  • Chapter 4: Jack, you will be testing the jetted tub in the master bathroom?
  • Chapter 5: The meat salesman

    Listen in, as these are true accounts of situations that I have run across in my career as a home inspector.

    Trials and Tribulations of Being a Home Inspector: Part 2
    I had so much fun last week, that I wanted to continue with the next few chapters.
  • Chapter 6: The water valve
  • Chapter 7: Clients in the attic
  • Chapter 8: Jack, you will check the operation of the fireplace damper and flue, right?
  • Chapter 9: The panel box
  • Chapter 10: The vacant house
  • Chapter 11: The Kugelman approach

    I ask that you listen in, as the stories are light and fun, but at the same time you'll begin to understand what I do for a living.

    Let's Get Ready For Summer
    As this show airs over the Memorial Day weekend, I thought it was best to talk about items within your home that should be running at their maximum efficiency. These items include; how to check your air conditioning, changing your air filter to be prepared for running the air conditioning, setting humidifiers, how to properly operate the thermostat. Other fun topics include grills, shrubs and gutters, your water heater, cleaning screens, refrigeration, your dryer, and finally an overview. Listen in, because there are ways you can reduce your energy costs on some of the most expensive appliances in your home.
    The Hidden Costs of Home Ownership
    After you go through all the trials and tribulations of buying a home and you have moved in, all of a sudden, small items that are required like blinds, homeowner's association fees, lawn care, as well as electrical updates, start to add up. Today's show covers many items that may cost some initial dollars up front, but in the long term, will save you money throughout the time in your home.
    Email Box Revisited: Vol. 8
    Delving into the email box is one of my favorite activities. I choose topics that I feel everyone can take full advantage of. Today's topics include: how to run your air conditioning more efficiently, especially during the hottest part of the summer, maintaining your lawn, installing air conditioning in older properties, concerns with older twin homes that require slate roof replacement, and building a garage (with the wife's permission). Listen in, as some of these topics may apply to you.
    Bux-Mont Inspections with Rob Bowie
    (215-669-4213 and www.buxmontinspections.com) Rob has been one of my sponsors since Day 1. Today I have the opportunity of chatting with Rob about on-site sewage maintenance. Over 30% of homes in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware Counties, as well as a large part of New Jersey, have on-site sewage systems. For their best efficiency, these systems must be maintained, because the price for replacement is well beyond what you might think. I ask that you listen to Rob's show today, and pay close attention as to the maintenance of one of the most expensive portions of your home that you can't see.
    Cost vs. Benefits: What Should I Do First? (Part 1)
    Whenever we put our hard earned dollars into our home, we always have to weigh the cost vs. the benefit, as to how will my investment work best for me. Today's show covers what I feel are some of the most important things you should consider that give the most rapid rate of return, but at the same time, give you a good amount of return on your investment when you sell your home down the road. Today's subjects include: insulation, windows, updating your heating and air conditioning equipment, and installing gas appliances over those current electric appliances that you may have in your home now. Listen in, as this show is invaluable.
    Cost vs. Benefits: What Should I Do First? (Part 2)
    When putting last week's show together, there were so many other options that I wanted to share with the listener, that I created Part 2. This segment again covers some of the things you really wouldn't expect that give you a good return on your investment. Today's topics include: generators, bilco doors vs. foundation windows, kitchens and bathrooms (you would be surprised at your rate of return!) and roofing. These are all things that we can live with on a daily basis, but again, I urge you to listen in, because your hard earned dollars can go a long way if you plan accordingly.
    Sheds: Love Them or Hate Them, You May Need One
    Sheds, those little outbuildings that sit in the corner of our properties, can either develop into an asset or can deteriorate over time and become a liability. When you run out of room in your home and/or garage, sheds tend to be the only option. Listen in to today's segment as I take you through both types of sheds that are available, either the drop-off or construct yourself types. Before you build a shed, listen in and I will give you the appropriate advice.
    How To Keep Little Critters Out of Your Home
    With Mike Cantor of Pest Blaster (215-295-5555 or www.pestblaster.com) Mike has been a regular on The House Whisperer Show throughout the years. With fall around the corner, I thought it would be prudent to have Mike come back on the air and talk about those pesky little varmints that can work their way into our homes, as they don't want to be left out in the cold. Listen in, because before you know it, you're going to be keeping those windows closed and raising your thermostat.
    Scott Milne of National Energy Technology
    (1-800-984-0332) Scott (who by the way is my brother) has been an energy auditor for the past 10 years. His clients include the Hard Rock Café in Cancun and the Sheraton Hotel in Philadelphia. He has been involved with photovoltaic solar arrays, LED light bulbs, insulating paint, and in the future, charging stations for your electric vehicles. I asked Scott to come on the air today, because with winter around the corner, I thought it was time for him to share his thoughts with the listeners to help you prepare for lower energy costs throughout the upcoming season. Listen in, take full advantage of his knowledge, and let's all save money this winter.
    Email Box Revisited: Volume 9
    Once again, I delve deep down into the email box and pull out letters from my listeners about topics that I feel are relevant to everybody. Today's topics include the importance of getting an appraisal, as well as a pre-listing home inspection, before you put your house on the market, the clearing of trees and branches over your roof line (should it be done now or after the leaves fall?), installing a drybed for water treatment equipment, replacing your roof during the winter months, and finally, orphaned water heaters (what that means and how it can be relevant to not only your health, but the health of your home as well). Listen in, as the topics are great, and everyone can take an opportunity to learn a few more things about their house.
    Emailbox Revisited: Volume 10
    It seems that whenever I revisit the emailbox, more emails come in and as always, I appreciate that. Volume 10 discusses the dilemma of rent vs. buy, the difference between inspecting a shore property and a home where you spend 90 percent of your time, home inspector pricing, how to properly operate heat pumps, and finally, a rumor that The House Whisperer may be hanging up the microphone. Listen in, as the information is always useful, and may apply to you as well.
    Glen Aust From GA Electric
    (215-357-5259 or 610-346-8129) Glen has been a popular guest on The House Whisperer Show over the years. Today I have the opportunity to ask Glen about the various acronyms; GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) and AFCI (arc fault circuit interrupter). We discuss why they are important in your household and how they can save your life. Today's codes call for these specialized breakers and/or outlets in some areas that you wouldn't expect. Listen in, and if your house is not equipped with these specialized devices, you should consider them.



  • © Jack Milne