Ask Anthony: Additional Thermostats and Noisy Toilets

anthony gilardi

Our favorite handyman Anthony Gilardi, of HGTV's Myles of Style, is back with answers to your home repair questions today.

Have a home repair question? Ask Anthony your questions in the comments below.

This week, Anthony answers a question about installing a second floor thermostat and dealing with a gurgling toilet.


Note from Anthony:

Hey, Moms. Hope your holidays were happy.

Just to clear the air, because some people were asking, I am not embarrassed about my age. I was just teasing my mom last month like I love to do. Truth is: I will be turning the big 4-0 this Friday, January 9th. No gifts please. LOL.

They say 40 is the new 30. Something tells me a 40-year old started that saying. Well, we will see.

Thanks for writing in, I'm having a blast! Until next time.

Don’t forget: You are strong, you are invincible, you are women! I can hear you roar!


Q: Hi Anthony, I have an upstairs bedroom and would like to be able to turn on the heating system without going downstairs. Is it possible to install a thermostat in parallel with the one downstairs? And could I control a zone damper for that room from upstairs also? I'm looking to have my husband do it himself.



A: Hey, Pam. Horrible when you have to walk downstairs over a cold floor in the middle of the night, isn’t it?

Good news—it is very possible to piggyback an existing system with a second thermostat. I assume your husband is handy. However, handy or not, this may get messy.

What we need to do is feed new wires from the current thermostat to the area where we want to second thermostat. We want to hide all wiring inside the walls so there will be some snaking and patching.

Note: By code, it should be located in a hallway or common landing.

Tip #1: Fish tape works best for feeding wiring.
Tip #2: Carefully read and follow manufacturer’s directions in installing the thermostat, and BEFORE you purchase anything, do some research on the proper products you need for the heating system you have.

As far as dampers go, a couple of things. To do what it sounds like you want to do, I would suggest hiring a professional preferably one that is familiar with your existing system. However, if I’m wrong and all you want to do is be able to open and close each vent to in the rooms you desire, you can easily purchase new vents with a built-in damper system. These vents are simply installed in place of the old vents.

Tip #3: Check the correct size before you purchase anything.

If you or your husband need me to walk you through this further. You can go to, and we’ll do it together.

Good luck.


Q: Hi! I live in a house built in 1920, and sometime before I moved in (in 1991), a breakfast/laundry room with a small bathroom off to the side was added on. The bathroom has a small old-fashioned jailhouse sink, an old toilet, and a stand-up small shower in it. I've had the toilet repaired a few times—new insides, new flange, and seal. And now when I flush the toilet, there is a gurgling and sometimes bad smells in the sink.

Could those be sewer gases and could the toilet water come up through the sink? My upstairs toilet also makes noises, like a buzzing or ringing sound and at times has a lot of suction sounds as the water reverts. Could this be lack of air in the lines or too much? Could this be dangerous or costly to fix? Thank you in advance.


A: Hello, Cheri. Okay, very common problem. You are correct in thinking there is an air issue...very good.

Quick plumbing lesson:
Two things are needed to properly move water through pipes. One is gravity. The other is ventilation. Simple terms—air in the pipes needs a place to escape. Water wants to go down, air wants to go up. So every system needs a clear shot out of the top of the structure in which it exists.

Sometimes there is a blockage that could cause the problem you’re having—noises, smells, water back-up, stagnant water. The fumes you are smelling may be gasses and could be toxic. Don’t panic; just make sure your home is ventilated properly and call a plumber to service your system ASAP.

Now you told me that you had the toilet repaired and then you have experienced this problem, which leads me to believe something happened in the process. What I would do is have the plumber that fixed the toilet come back and check out possible problems. It may be something simple.

Important: The reason I’m giving you this info is so you can be educated and prepared when dealing with a plumber or contractor. Get a free estimate and consultation or two or three, if necessary. If you need further advice, contact me anytime at

Keep me in the loop.


Thanks, Anthony. We hope you have a Happy Birthday too!

+++ Ask Anthony your home repair questions in the comments below. He'll be back in two weeks with an answer for at least one lucky Mom!

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