The House Whisperer

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

Laminates, Engineered and Solid Wood Flooring: What Are The Pros And Cons?
With John Dolon from Tight Threads Flooring 267-987-4666 I think there comes a time in everyone's home when you look at those old, scarred floors and turn to your significant other and say, "Why don't we update our flooring?" With so many varieties now being available to the consumer, be it true hardwoods, engineered hardwoods, and laminates, I ask that you listen to John Dolon as I interview him about the differences between the laminates and hardwoods, what makes engineered hardwoods different than standard hardwoods, as well as the life expectancy of each. We also talk about refinishing your existing hardwood floors and if it's possible, depending on the floor that is in your home.
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.
Stupid Stuff That We Take For Granted, But Should Do Anyway
On this show, I discuss many of the things within our homes that we appear to take for granted. Some of the stupid stuff like cleaning the dryer vent, replacing your ice cubes, cleaning the oven, checking your fire extinguisher, and a few other important things that you should not take for granted. Listen in, and I ask that you tell your friends about this segment and pass it along. Paying attention to these little things could save your life.
Decorating Rooms: It's More Than Just Picture Hanging
Although I'm joking about hanging pictures, I actually do take some time during this show to tell you how to do it properly. We also talk about trim work, be it chair rails, wainscoting, and/or crown molding. Lighting, flooring, and other effects will turn a drab room into something exciting. When your friends and neighbors walk in, they'll say, "Wow! How did you do this?" So listen in before you spend time with painters, carpenters, and flooring specialists.
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.
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 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.
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.
Email Box Revisited: Series 2
Every once in a while, I dive into the email box to pull letters from my listeners so as to cover topics that are relevant to us all. This segment includes the use of pre-fabricated fireplaces, purchasing generators, roof replacement during cold weather, and finally, aging water heaters. If any of these topics are relevant to you, I ask that you listen in, and as always, feel free to email me at Your letter may make it on the air.
Spring Cleaning: Let's Get Rid of the Clutter
It may be the end of January, however, when I was putting away my holiday trinkets in my attic, it gave me an opportunity to look through those items that I have stored through the years. In the old days, we used to call it "Spring Cleaning". Today, its "Let's get rid of the clutter". This show talks about revisiting those items that may not have been used for a period of time, and where to donate them. It also discusses the sensitive topic of talking with your elderly parents about the accumulation of clutter in their homes, since this depression-era generation tends to collect items rather than letting them go. I ask that you listen in for some great advice.
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.
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.
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.
Ready, Set, Go: Let's Paint, Let it Roll!
Today's episode talks about how to prep a wall for painting. It starts with your purchase of paint, and runs through all of the accessories that will be required to change a drab room into something exciting. Listen in before you buy that first gallon of paint.
Duct Cleaning: Is It Worth It?
One thing I truly enjoy about this show is answering email from my listeners and/or my realtors. During the course of a home inspection, I was asked by one of our realtors in Bucks County about the benefits of duct cleaning. This show discusses not only proper filtration and the maintenance of humidifiers, but also how to find a qualified duct cleaning service, and if you really need it. Before you invest anywhere from $400 - $800, depending on the size and complexity of your home, I would ask that you listen in to help you make that decision.
Child Saftey: Kids From 2-5 years old
I chose this age group because, by the age of 2, kids are walking, talking and are slightly out of balance. This tends to be the time when most parents want to turn their home into a fortress to protect the children against themselves. This show discusses some of the things we don't commonly think about. I look at doors, windows, cabinets, etc. If you have children between these ages, please listen in before you spend big dollars on child safety.
Wood Destroying Insects, Chemicals & Applications
Interview with Rob Bruno of Boro Exterminating (610-237-1143) Rob Bruno has been an advertiser of mine since I started in radio over 3 years ago. I've known Rob professionally for well over 20 years, and with all of my clients through Tri-County Inspection Company I align these folks with the best people in the business. Boro Exterminating, based out of Glenolden, PA, is a multi-generation wood destroying insect company, which also provides radon services. Today's discussion covers wood destroying insects, toxicity of the chemicals, applications and regulations, as well as inspections. We also discuss what to do around particular areas, such as wells and streams. We discuss how to know if you have termites, if your house has been treated, and what causes re-infestation by termites. I ask that you listen in to Rob and I, and if you are looking for a very good wood destroying insect company, please reach out to Boro.
How To Build a Better Basement (Part 1): How To Prep
I have never had Part 1 and Part 2 of a radio show, however, because of the complexity of this subject, I have broken it up into two shows. It appears that finished basements are becoming a priority in a lot of our homes. Part 1 discusses how to get prepared. I talk about consulting with an architect, obtaining permits, current codes regarding egress, including either foundation windows and/or Bilco doors, and the general layout of the space. Planning an endeavor like this comes down to the minute details, because once the work starts, it's hard to go backwards. I ask that you also listen to Part 2, which will air on 9/23/14.
How To Build a Better Basement (Part 2): Let The Construction Begin
On last week's show, we talked about how to prepare for a huge endeavor like finishing a basement. This show takes you to the next step; from the arrival of the dumpster and the mechanics, to the sound of demolition and the dust accumulation around the home. I discuss installing steel studs in lieu of wood because of potential mold issues, insulation, egress, etc. Once again, if you plan to finish your basement, I would ask that you listen to both segments so that you can be fully prepared. Good luck with your project!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Furniture Placement: How To Make It Work
You and your significant other have finally figured that it's time to "change up" that living room, family room, or dining room. This segment takes you from planning the space to the exciting trips to the furniture store. There are a lot of good ideas here to help you make sure that your first purchase is the right purchase.
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.
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.
How To Make a House a Home and Vice-Versa
As you all know, when we go "house shopping" the properties we are looking at tend to be impersonal. As we walk through someone's home, colors tend to be neutral, family pictures and personal possessions are off the shelves, so that as you look through this house, you can imagine how to make this house your home. At the same time, after living in the property for 10 – 20 years, you now have to convert your home back into a house when you present it for sale. If you are looking for real estate or planning to sell your home, please listen in, as there are many good tips to help you through the process.
Public vs. Private Zones Within Your Home
For those of us who live in 2-story colonials, separating the public from the private portions of your home is easy; you go upstairs and this is where you have your bedrooms and your bathrooms. On the other hand, if you live in a bi-level, a ranch, or sometimes even a split-level, separating the areas where you entertain from where you bathe can prove to be more difficult. I ask that you listen in to this segment, as there are various suggestions and tips to help you maintain your privacy where you need it most.
Fire Safety: What Can We Do To Prepare?
Fires within your home are called accidents because fires can occur in the home for multiple reasons, be it in the kitchen, the dryer, by heating and hot water equipment, fireplaces, etc. On this show, I talk about some of the simple things you can do to prepare your house in case of a fire, including proper planning, smoke alarms, egress windows, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. I ask that you listen in so that your house and your family is fully prepared in the event of a catastrophe that can affect your entire family.
It's Spring: Time for Termites, Carpenter Ants, and Bees
With Mike Cantor of Pest Blaster: 215-295-5555 and 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.
    Security Systems: Am I Still Safe?
    Today's show touches on older security systems. Many people, when they move into a home, are not familiar with the operation nor the fees associated with operating and maintaining a security system. Most of the older systems are tied to a "land line" which many homeowners today no longer have, especially the younger generation of buyers. It also touches on some lazy wiring techniques, where the security system is plugged into a GFCI rated receptacle down at the panel box. If you own one of these older security systems, I ask that you listen in, as I can provide some great insight as to how to keep your family safe.
    Is My Basement Wet?
    The title of this show may a bit redundant, as you do currently live in your home, and every time you open the basement door, you may smell a foul odor. This show will take you through all of the steps to keep your basement as dry as possible, and if need be, install a waterproofing system. Sometimes, it's the simplest things that can be done to keep your basement "bone dry".
    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.
    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.
    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.
    How To Keep Little Critters Out of Your Home
    With Mike Cantor of Pest Blaster (215-295-5555 or 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.
    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.
    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