When You Shop for Windows, What Should You Look For?

2013-11-10T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T11:44:16Z When You Shop for Windows, What Should You Look For?By Rosie Romero Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

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.

It would be very, very expensive to remove the damaged bricks and replace them although it is possible to do.

Q: We have a pomegranate shrub in our yard that bears fruits in the spring that turn red in the fall. But these pomegranates are very small, maybe two inches in diameter, and they tend to start cracking in the summertime. What is going wrong?

A: Usually, the answer to this question is all about inconsistent watering. Pomegranates can do very well in the desert; after all, they thrive in places like Egypt and Israel and were brought to Arizona in the 16th century by the Spanish. They need full sun and can tolerate alkaline soils and super-hot summer temperatures. They can also survive winter lows of 10 degrees F. But splitting can occur when trees are watered inconsistently or their water cycle suddenly changes. In cool times of the year, water them once a month. Once temperatures exceed 85 degrees consistently, they need deep watering every 10 to 14 days that wets the soil to a depth of two to three feet. Use a soil probe or a piece of rebar from a home supply store to see how far down water is going. The rebar should go down easily through moist soil and stop when it hits dry earth.

For more tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com online. Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) and -FM (97.1) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 1-888-767-4348.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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