Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer system. 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.
I would like to get some information on a process I heard about for repairing a sewer line in a house. It’s supposedly done by re-lining the pipe. What is that process called and how does it work?
ANSWER: It’s called e-pipe and is used by many plumbers. It’s a procedure that can work on both metal and plastic plumbing to repair or prevent leaks by injecting an epoxy coating into the pipes. In our experience, it has proven to be very valuable in many cases, particularly for preventing pinhole leaks and corrosion in water pipes and drains. It’s certainly better than digging up the yard to replace the pipe or running pipes through the attic. But it’s not always feasible if older pipes have deteriorated beyond the point of repair. In those cases, there may be no options other than replacement. A qualified plumber who has the equipment to install the e-pipe system will be able to determine if e-piping is possible in your home.
Our home is 25 years old, and our toilets have started acting up. Sometimes the toilet bowl will not clear until after several flushes have taken place. Is that a problem with the sewer line or the toilet itself? How can a toilet wear out?
A: If you are experiencing slow drains throughout the house, it’s likely that your plumbing system is the problem, not the toilets. You may have a clog or obstruction in the main line or in an individual branch line. If it’s just one of your toilets, then I would suspect the toilet is the issue. Get a qualified plumber to come to your home — one who has a pipeline video camera. A plumber can run the camera through the waste lines and do a visual inspection on the condition of the pipe and at the same time will see what, if any, obstructions are present.
There is a smell coming from my kitchen sink on the side where the garbage disposal is. I’ve tried two commercial brands of cleaners, vinegar, baking soda, lemons, orange peel and anything else that I thought might solve the problem. Nothing works.
I’m wondering if it is a rusty smell from the pipes or the garbage disposal itself. The house is more than 30 years old; I’ve lived in it for 10 years and have not had to replace any of the under-the-sink plumbing. What’s going on?
A: You probably don’t need to replace the plumbing. There are a couple of other ideas you should try to fight the odor. Try wetting down a washcloth with vinegar and then wiping the underside of the rubber splash guard. This is one of the dirtiest places in your home, and most people don’t even realize that it needs cleaning.
Here’s a tip for cleaning your garbage disposal: Make a tray full of vinegar/water mixed ice cubes and once a month throw a few cubes down the disposal while it’s running. That will sharpen your blades and also keep the odors to a minimum.
I was thinking of planting a pomegranate tree, but someone told me that could be a problem because the pomegranate fruits attract bugs that will jump from tree to tree in my yard and do a lot of damage. Is that true?
A: Let’s face it, when you grow almost anything in your yard, you’re going to attract things that creep and fly around the plants. For the most part, those bugs won’t do enough damage to be worried about them. However, you could buy a bunch of brown paper lunch bags at the grocery store and cover each individual fruit with a bag, fastened shut at the bottom. Once the fruits ripen, you remove the bags and pick the fruit. That will probably deter the bugs. Of course, if your pomegranate gets to be a prolific source of fruit, it will be far too much trouble to do all that.