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.
Q: I have a front-loading washing machine that gives off a foul smell every time we run a hot water cycle. It doesn’t smell when we wash with cold water. What could be causing this?
A: Your water heater could be causing the odor problem. As a water heater gets older, the hot water produced can develop an odor if the anode rod is deteriorating. You may need to replace the anode rod, which can corrode over a certain number of years. But another problem may be the gasket on the front door of your machine. Gaskets on front loaders can develop an odor if they don’t thoroughly dry out between loads of wash. When you finish using your machine, try leaving the front door cracked open so that the gasket can dry out.
Q: There is a lot of open land around my house, and it’s constantly filling up with Mexican bird of paradise bushes. In a summer, they can grow up to be 10 feet tall. Every year, I cut them down; then I go around and tear out the roots on each plant. I have to pull them out using a pickup truck and a chain. The roots can actually be as much as 6 feet deep. If I let these plants grow up, however, their seed pods explode all over the place. Then I have even more plants to cut down.
A: When you cut these bushes down to a stump, you can spread some stump killer on the freshly cut stumps with the use of a paint brush. That should stop them from growing. Then you won’t have to pull them out all the time. You might also try spreading pre-emergent on the ground in the winter to see if that will control the sprouting seeds that can waft into your yard from somewhere else.
Q: I have a roof over my patio that is covered with peel-and-stick roofing and now the roofing is peeling off. Why did that happen and what is peel-and-stick roofing?
A: Peel-and-stick roofing comes in rolls with a mineral surface coating on top and sticky coating on the other side of the sheets of roofing. Roofers generally unroll peel-and-stick and take off a backing to reveal the sticky side. Sometimes this material has to be applied with heat to help make the roofing stick. Sometimes it has to be sealed with tape. The roof has to be clean and dry, and most often this type of roofing is applied over a fiberglass base sheet. If the roofing process was improper or the material was not installed per manufacturer’s directions, the roof could fail quickly here in our harsh UV exposures. If the roof is within the warranty period, we recommend contacting the roofer who applied it; have them return to make necessary repairs.
Q: How do I know when I need a new roof? I have a 20-year-old house with asphalt shingles on the roof. In the fall rains, the roof started leaking. I went up there to fill in some nail holes where the nails had loosened up and that seemed to help. Should I keep on patching or should I recover the roof? If I do, can I cover it in metal? I like that industrial look.
A: Patching is only a Band-Aid approach when your roof is that old. You need to have the asphalt shingles removed and then have a new underlayment put down. After that, you can have new shingles installed. Make sure that the roofing contractor you select replaces all the perimeter drip edge material and all plumbing-vent pipe flashings. The roofer should also lift the AC unit on your roof to lay shingles underneath the unit. Other rooftop accessories may need to be replaced.
Of course, replacing the shingles with metal instead is a great idea. Then you’d have a 50-year roof.