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 from the Tucson area.
QUESTION: I recently started getting bids on replacing nine windows and one glass door in my house. What are the basics that I should keep in mind? I heard you say that the two pieces of glass in a dual-pane window should be a certain distance apart. But what else is important?
A: Yes, with dual pane windows, you need the thickness of an eighth of an inch of glass on the inside pane and another eighth of an inch outside with a five-eighths of an inch air gap in the middle.
Also before buying, check the U-factor of your windows. The U-factor measures how well the window insulates. The lower the U-factor, the more efficient the window is.
For more protection from the sun, add a low-emissivity (low-E) coating to windows as well. This is a thin see-through layer of silver or tin oxide that prevents heat from penetrating glass and further improves energy efficiency. Today’s coatings differ from the tints of the past that could color your view of the golf course or desert from inside the house. You can actually choose the level of coating. And always make sure the window or door is Energy Star certified.
Q: I have dry rot in a low-peak roof. What I want is a contractor who can squirt a spray on the hard-to-reach eaves to deal with the rotten wood.
A: I don’t know of any product that can restore the structural integrity of the wood in your eaves if they are rotten. It’s also hard to know whether you really have dry rot or some kind of wood fungus or maybe even termite damage.
What you need is to have a roofing contractor take a look at your situation and tell you what is actually going on. Some wood may need to be removed and replaced.
Q: Our house, built in 1967 from “used brick,” has started sloughing off thin layers of brick in an area that is not exposed to sun or weather. Any ideas why or what we can do to prevent more of this from happening?
A: Typically with degradation of brick, there has to be a source of moisture for brick to show the signs of decay you describe. That moisture can come from an irrigation sprinkler spraying water on the brick, from flood irrigation nearby or even from a plumbing leak inside the wall. Water is not friendly to used brick. With sufficient exposure to moisture, brick will indeed show signs of decay. So look for a way that moisture might be contacting the brick and see if you can remedy that source.