Home Improvement

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Not long ago air conditioners were running full blast, but alas, winter is coming. On this edition of Talk of Iowa, home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins host Charity Nebbe to talk heating and cooling alternatives such as the mini split heat pump, and he gives some advice about putting on storm windows to keep the cold outside. 

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If you're thinking of selling your home, or buying a fixer upper, it's hard to know which remodeling projects will bring a good return on that investment. Home Improvement expert Bill McAnally suggests contacting a home inspector before deciding where to start. He says knowing what a home inspector is likely to point out to a potential buyer may change your focus completely. "If you're going to sell it, you have to fix [problems] that you know about, or that has to be in a disclosure statement." And, obviously, issues with the safety of the home trump any cosmetic concerns.

There was a time when you could tell where you were in the country just by looking at the architecture of the homes. Recently, however, there’s been a trend toward building subdivisions that look pretty much the same no matter where you are.

Kevin Nordmeyer, Principal at BNIM Architects in Des Moines, says that shift is partially due to modern technology that allows climate control inside new buildings and homes. 

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Home improvement expert Bill McAnally often urges people to fix problems in their homes immediately. With roofs, though, sometimes it pays to wait.

"Let's say it isn't leaking, but it's looking pretty bad. Some people say 'I really need a new roof.' Looks-wise, yea. But if it's not leaking, then stretch it out as much as you can."

He says most people in Iowa never get full usage out of their 75-year shingle warranties because of the storms common to the region. 

Working with Windows

May 6, 2015

Windy, wet days are ahead. Have your windows been leaking? Home improvement expert Bill McAnally says if you want to replace them, be mindful of how much new windows will cost.  

"Every window leaks, some of them leak very little and are very good windows. But weather stripping can only do so much," he expains. McAnally says sometimes it's more cost effective to put good storm windows on an existing window, rather than totally replacing old windows. 

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If you’re looking for ways to use less energy in your home, getting your house deep energy retrofitted may an option.

Home improvement expert Bill McAnally describes the process as a remodel from the outside. It involves an energy audit and remediation that can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent in some cases, as well as improve the value of a home. He cautions that it can be a costly process.

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There are many different ways to approach putting up a new shed, from buying one prefab to building your own.

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A radical home makeover makes for great tv, but the projects on home improvement shows aren’t always what they seem.  

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Home improvement expert Bill McAnally has some suggestions to help you be a better homeowner in 2015.

Photo Courtesy of Greg Johnson

According to the 2012 Census, the average size of an American home is 2,598 square feet. 

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The first snow fell last night and Iowa homes are starting to show where drafts and cold sneak in. 

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The winter months are a great time to work on some of those indoor projects you’ve been putting off and right now is a great time to make your plans.

In this Talk of Iowa interview, home improvement expert Bill McAnally talks about planning your winter basement remodeling project.

Patsy Lynch / FEMA

When your home becomes damaged, it's hard to know who to trust and what to do.

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Water, water everywhere. There’s lots to fix and lots to improve in our homes during this wet Iowa summer.

Alan Lan

Even though our Iowa spring has not yet "sprung," it's definitely a good time to build or make improvement to a deck, porch or patio.  Our home improvement expert, Bill McAnally of Ft. Dodge, can both motivate you and steer you away from some of the big mistakes novices make.  With Bill's advice, you can have the deck of your dreams.

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A dilapidated outbuilding or a house in need of serious updating may look like an eyesore, but it is also an opportunity to recycle and reuse old materials.  Join host Charity Nebbe, Home Improvement Expert Bill McAnnally, and Siobhan Spain of the Center on Sustainable Communities for a talk about deconstruction.  

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It has been a long cold winter in Iowa.  The extended time with temperatures below freezing and below zero has caused many Iowans grief as they find inoperable, broken, frozen, or even burst and leaking water pipes.  Our home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins the program to give advice and answer listener questions.

Aaron Ray

Residential and commercial buildings can use a lot of energy.  New building codes are being used in Iowa that can make for more efficient use of utilities. Home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins the program to talk about the guidelines and answer listener questions about home projects.

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There’s nothing quite as cozy as a warm fire in the winter time, but that cozy fire is a lot less fun when there’s something wrong with the fireplace.  Home improvement expert Bill McAnally is here to talk about fireplaces: wood fire places, chimney upkeep, gas fireplaces, and stoves.  McAnally will also answer your questions.     

A couple of weeks ago air conditioners were running full blast, but a couple of weeks from now our furnaces will be doing all the work. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with home improvement expert, Bill McAnally. They talk about changing filters and making sure your furnace is ready for the winter months.  Bill also answers your questions.

Humorist Dave Barry once identified the four building blocks of the universe as fire, water, gravel and vinyl. Home Improvement expert Bill McAnally knows what to do with all of those elements, and a few others.  Today on Talk of Iowa, it’s Home Improvement Day. Bill McAnally answers listener's questions.

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Houses in Iowa are taking on water from yesterday's heavy storm, but even if basements aren't flooded homes can still be damaged by moisture.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about the problems moisture can cause, as well as danger signs and what to do if a home has been effected by moisture or storm damage. Also, McAnally talks about preventing moisture problems when building or renovating a home.

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Iowa is having its wettest spring in history.  With the torrential rains, many people are experiencing wet basements and even home flooding for the first time.  Today, home-improvement expert Bill McAnally of Ft. Dodge discusses preventive measures, or if it’s too late for that, how to deal with damage you have sustained.  We’ll also have a sump-pump primer.

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People in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area who just experienced a hail storm may be checking their roofs for damage.  Home improvement expert Bill McAnally talks about how to know when you need a new roof, how to decide what kind to get, and why color is important.

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An extended winter offers the opportunity for more planning and preparation for home remodeling work before the projects get started. On Talk of Iowa, home improvement expert Bill McAnally joins the program to explain why now is the time to start project planning. He’ll also take all your home improvement questions.

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When you look at your house covered in a blanket of new fallen snow, if you look closely you can learn some important things. "Talk of Iowa's" home improvement expert Bill McAnally visits to explain what Mother Nature can help you learn about your house.

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Lose weight, save money, get organized...how about jazzing up your list of New Year's resolutions with some resolutions for your house?  On today's  home improvement day, expert Bill McAnally has made a list of home improvement resolutions he thinks you should consider this new year!

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The windows are shut and the furnace has been running. It’s time to make sure your home is ready for winter. Our home improvement expert Bill McAnally talks about winterizing your home and how to get the best value if you need to make a big investment in a new furnace or insulation.

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To remodel or not to remodel? That is the question. Talk of Iowa chats with home improvement expert Bill McAnally about how to assess your home and the features you don’t like and if remodeling is in question.

And, Iowa Public Radio has done its own remodeling. CEO Mary Grace Herrington will discuss our recent program changes, as well.

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The heat has placed a lot of stress on gardens and other vegetation, but what about your home? Host Charity Nebbe talks with home improvement expert, Bill McAnally, about problems that can arise with your roof, deck, foundation, or other areas because of the dry weather and how to fix them.