Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing chimney fires to getting rid of tree roots in their sewer systems. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions about home maintenance and improvement from the Tucson area.
QUESTION: My house was built in 1977. Recently, the shower head in the master bath broke off at the wall, which is covered with 4-inch-square tiles. So the threaded pipe for the shower head is stuck in a water pipe inside the wall. I believe I have galvanized pipe inside the wall that has corroded. On the other side of the wall is the sidewall for a shower in another bathroom. So how do I get the threaded part of the shower head out so that I can replace it? I think I’m handy enough to do it myself.
ANSWER: You have a pretty complicated problem going on. You can try using a tool called an Easy Out that is inserted inside the broken pipe and then unscrewed. Failing that, you will have to remove some tile and drywall in the area to access the elbow at the top of the shower-head riser pipe. Then you can try to remove the broken-off pipe or remove the elbow completely and replace it with a new one. Then reverse your steps to put the whole area back together again. Maybe all that sounds like more than you want to try yourself. It’s probably time to call a licensed and insured plumber in your area.
Q: I have a large bed of geraniums in my yard. They have been there for 10 or 12 years, and are really overgrown. Now I’d like to cut them back. Can I do that in the fall or the winter, or do I have to wait until spring?
A: Fall or winter is a good time to do it. If you wait until spring, they will be recovering from pruning rather than blossoming and blooming once warm weather returns.
Q: I bought my home about 18 months ago. I knew at the time that it had some problems with ponding of rainwater on a low-pitch and partly flat roof that is over the garage. Recently, a handyman and I went up there and tried to build up the roof. We repaired the joists and rotten plywood under the roof, and put an elastomeric coating over the roof. But it still keeps ponding — the pond has just moved to another area. Can I just pour some kind of cement over the area to level it off?
A: Your problem isn’t unusual with low-pitch and flat roofs. It’s very difficult to move a puddle off roofing of this type. Unfortunately, there is no good product to pour over your elastomeric coating to stop the ponding. You will need to hire a foam-roofing contractor who can improve your drainage to eliminate the low area and then refoam your roof with a good coat of elastomeric coating.
Q: Recently, we hired someone to repaint our house. He was getting ready to power wash and paint, but then we had heavy rains this week. He is going to wait two days before starting the job, but is that safe to do, or do we need to wait even longer?
A: Generally, you can trust your painter to judge whether that is OK to do. But it may be safer to give your home a day or two more to dry out. You want to err on the side of caution so that you have a great and long-lasting paint job done on your home.