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 Southern Arizona area.
My dishwasher leaks on a random basis every once in a while. When it does, I usually find a cup or two of water on the floor in front of the dishwasher. What can I do about this problem and who do I call?
A: This is probably a problem with the dishwasher. You may be able to fix some possible problems yourself, but in the end you might have to call an appliance repair service. Among the possible issues: Your door latch may be bent or loose or not closing properly. Or you might need to replace the gasket on the door; the gasket is the rubber sealing that prevents water from flowing out of the dishwasher. You may have a loose supply line that is connected to the dishwasher behind the access panel.
Every time I take a shower, there seems to be a bad odor coming up from the drain. I live in a home built in the 1960s that has copper piping. What is causing this and is there something I can use on the drain to get rid of the smell?
A: Because of the age of your home, it’s possible that the connection between the shower pan and the drain line is loose, and water may be draining into the slab. That constant moisture can become a source for foul odors. But before you have a plumber rip out the shower floor to replace the pan, you need to make sure that you don’t have a smell coming out of the other sinks and drains throughout the house, particularly when you run the hot water. In that case, your problem could be a corroded anode rod in your water heater that needs to be replaced.
I live in a 10-year-old home that has some walls with sweeping curves. On one of these walls, the pieces of Sheetrock started to come apart at a seam. So I had a drywall repair company come in to repair it. That seems to have worked out well. But now the same thing is happening on a different wall. Does this new problem mean my walls are cracking because of a foundation issue?
A: If the repair on the original crack is not separating again, it’s unlikely you have a major settling problem. These seams are probably separating because your house is getting a little bit older. As long as the repairs work, everything will probably be fine. Just remember that there are built-in stresses in the drywall as it is bent around those curves. Sometimes those stress levels overcome the holding strength of the screws used to hold the drywall in place and that will create the cracks that you see.
I have a home that has a 19-year-old furnace made by one manufacturer and a 10-year-old air conditioning compressor outside that was made by another manufacturer. This happened because of a repair made a number of years ago as part of a home warranty. Now the whole system has shut down again. Should I go back to the home warranty company or should I just replace the whole system myself?
A: There is really no question about it: You need to replace the entire system. The main reason why is that the newest air conditioners and furnaces are much more energy efficient now than those installed 10 to 20 years ago. So you want to have a new air handler/furnace that has the same capacity and efficiency as your new AC compressor. Mixing the old technology with the new can decrease system performance and comfort. Replacing both at once may also cost slightly less than replacing one part of your system one year and another part the next.