The House Whisperer

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

It is time to read the newspapers and review the staff writers positions and opinions
Although I may be old school, I like to sit down every night and read the newspaper. I typically find that the internet news or broadcast news on TV tends to be slandered and weak. First, I talk about various topics in regards to humidifiers. The second article touches on insulation and the return on investment for those homes that are well insulated vs. those that are not; especially when your house is being prepared for sale. The third article discusses natural gas prices which have risen for the winter of 2013 and gives my listeners an idea of future costs.
Powerless: Fact vs. Fiction
This segment comes at a crucial time where climate change has begun to affect our local environment. With Hurricane Sandy and the recent snow storms, where we lost our power for multiple days on end, this segment covers not only being powerless within our homes, but also powerless because of our government institutions. I typically don't stand on the stump and discuss politics, however, due to the breakdown of communications between our politicians, our legislators, and their parties, the word "powerless" has new meaning. Because of this inactivity, global warming has continued and it's apparent that we are losing power, particularly in our homes, on a more frequent basis. I ask that you listen in to gain some resolve and some insight as to how we can all live better.
How Come? Things That Don't Make Sense in Our Homes
GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters, have become an integral part of our lifestyle. These circuited receptacles are designed to prevent potential shock and/or electrocution, and are generally placed near water sources. GFCIs, however, due to the electrical code, have been placed in some areas that typically don't make sense. Fortunately, as home inspectors we are not code officials. Thus, this episode discusses where GFCIs should be placed and where alternatives can be offered to maintain the mechanical integrity of your home. Listen in, especially if you have a home that was built within the last few years, where GFCIs are found everywhere.
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.
Heating Bills Are Expected to Rise: What Can We Do?
With it now being November and with winter rapidly approaching, I discuss how the prices of fuel (be it gas, oil, or electric) are going up for the winter of 2013. Each of these "fuels" are evaluated, and at the same time, I offer great tips on how to keep down the operating costs of your home. If you are worried about paying for this winter's bills, this is the show you want to listen to.
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.
Generators, Their Maintenance, and Those New-Fangled Lightbulbs
Discussion with Electrician Glen Aust (Phone # 215-357-5259) Over the past several years, more and more generators have been installed due to our ongoing changing climate. Glen Aust, who has been an electrician for more than 25 years, is my go-to guy for generator installation and maintenance. Through the years, he has also provided upgrades as well as general services to my home and business. With the eventual removal of incandescent bulbs, and the popularity of either fluorescent or LED bulbs, today's episode will touch on both aspects. If you have a generator, please listen in, because like any other machine, they do require annual maintenance. And if you are considering what kind of bulb to buy next, Glen can provide you with the appropriate insight.
PECO Smart Meters: What's Next?
As you may be aware, PECO has been replacing your electric meters over the past year or so. Currently, more than 620,000 of you have had your meters replaced, but what does this truly mean? PECO has been granted another $282,000,000 to complete this program, 5 years earlier than planned. There are still 1.6 million PECO users that will have their meters replaced by the end of 2014. There are going to be two types of pricing in the future; one, known as "dynamic" pricing and the other, known as "time of use" pricing. Keep in mind, rates will absolutely be going up, and I ask that you listen in to this show so that you know how to plan your future.
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.
Holiday Safety: Food for Thought
"Tis the season for the holidays! With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas, no matter the religion or the faith, it's about family, friends, and the sharing of love. On this show, I talk about kitchen safety. Although we may take this for granted, I ask that you listen in because not only do I talk about how to properly cook a turkey with two pans, but it's also a light episode about having fun, how to keep the kids (and the guys) out of the kitchen, and keeping the mayhem to a minimum. I talk about energy efficiency when using the refrigerator, and other alternatives than being locked in the kitchen. Have a great Holiday.
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.
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.
Oil Heat And The Philadelphia Air Quality: It's A Toxic Situation
Within the past few weeks, the City Council in Philadelphia introduced a bill, which has since passed, to bring down the amount of sulphur dioxide that is spewed into our atmosphere from clients being sold oil with a high sulphur count. Sulphur dioxide on a hazy day can lead to asthma related issues for both our youngsters as well as our elderly citizens. I ask that you listen in to understand what is going on around you, even though 6% of Philadelphians still use oil as their primary source of heat.
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.
We Visit The Mailbox (Volume 4)
It's been a few months since I dedicated a show to my listeners. I spend this segment answering questions that can pertain to everybody. Ryan from Manayunk had a question about his older home with radiators and service contracts, Susan from Warrington had fall questions about planting shrubs, Shaun from Willow Grove had questions regarding screen panels in his newer insulated windows, Carol from Philadelphia has an older 100amp service and had questions about its replacement, Paul from New Hope lives in the country and wanted my opinion on generators. I ask that you listen in, as some of the issues that my listeners have may pertain to you as well.
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.
What Is The Best Bulb To Use And Why?
Discussion With Glen Aust of GA Electric (215-357-5259) Glen has been on The House Whisperer Show quite a few times before. I wanted to take this opportunity now, because it's Daylight Savings Time, to talk light bulbs. With incandescents, CFC's, and LED's, it sounds like alphabet soup. I spend this segment with Glen discussing the pros and cons of each type, and what you should consider purchasing for this time of the year, as well as for the future.
Thermostats: How They Work And How To Use Them
That little dial that sits in your living or dining room directly affects your wallet. The thermostat, which controls the heating and cooling and the overall comfort of the home, has to be used properly whether it is a one-zone or multi-zone unit. Air conditioning, as well as heat pumps, have their own set of rules. I ask that you listen in, as this show is for all of us who are going to raise our thermostats, getting ready for the winter season.
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.
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.
July is Safety Month: What To Check Around Your House
On this show, I talk about items around the house that we may take for granted, but can save our lives. I touch on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, ground fault circuit interrupters, bath fans in showers, double locking deadbolts, and cleaning that dryer vent. I don't want to give away the whole show, but I ask that you listen in and learn a few more things about your home that you may take for granted.
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.
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.
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