Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions ranging 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.
QUESTION: I’m having a new home built, and it is being pre-plumbed for a water softener. But now I’m wondering if I should get a water treatment system for drinking water instead. What do you think?
ANSWER: Pre-plumbing for a water softener is good to do now during construction. If you wait until the house is finished, it could cost much more. You definitely need to get a conventional water softener to prevent scale from building up on your tiles, shower glass, water fixtures and appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. Then if you also want to install a treatment system improve the taste of drinking water, have a filter installed under the kitchen sink.
Q: I’m having an issue with water pressure in one bathroom in my 9-year-old house. When I first turn on the faucet for the shower, the water comes out fine and then it gradually reduces to next to nothing. In addition, the pressure really drops throughout the house when that shower is in use. So what’s going on?
A: It’s possible something is wrong with the manifold in the area where the water enters your house. You could also have a leak somewhere. Get a pressure gauge to put on your hose bib to see what actual water pressure is like when it enters your house. You should also have a plumber visit the house to check out your system.
Q: Is this a good time to plant apple trees in Arizona?
A: Yes, you can plant them now in Tucson and Phoenix. Dorsett Golden and Anna are delicious varieties of apple trees that will do well in these areas. They are a solid choice for any backyard. You can plant them throughout the winter as well. Bareroot trees will be coming into local nurseries soon. As with any deciduous fruit trees in the desert, your success with an apple tree will depend on the number of chill hours a particular variety needs. The number of required chill hours refers to the amount of time when the outdoor temperature is 45 degrees or less. If you don’t have that level of chilling, the tree might not be a success.
Q: When did the first LED light bulbs come on the market?
A: The technology arrived on the scene in the 1960s, but it took about 40 years to get it to the market. The first bulbs sold for about $100 each. But in the past four or five years, their performance has greatly improved. Prices have been coming down significantly for the last three years or so. You can pay as little as $5 now for a well-made LED.
Q: I have a concrete block wall running east and west on my lot. I’d like to cover it with some kind of vine, but I don’t want too much litter because there’s a swimming pool nearby. The area where I would plant the vine is somewhat shaded by a tree.
A: A creeping fig might be a good choice; that variety of vine loves shade and would do well there. Another possibility to consider is planting the vine on a trellis standing a few inches away from the wall. That kind of arrangement might make it easier to do maintenance on the wall later on without chopping down the vine.