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 systems.
QUESTION: I recently moved and now I’m trying to hook up an electric clothes dryer and a gas clothes dryer in the utility area of my house, but I can’t find the gas line in the wall. I do have a stove and water heater here powered by natural gas. So what should I do?
ANSWER: If a gas line is not available where you want it, you can sometimes install one. But you need to hire a plumber to see if there is additional capacity in your gas line. If there is, the plumber can run a secondary line to the gas dryer. You might also want to run a line out back to power your barbecue. You definitely do not want to handle the gas line work yourself. In addition, gas line work like this requires a permit from the city or county.
Q: I live in Green Valley in an area of homes managed by a homeowners association. Now several homeowners are getting together to have the same contractor paint their homes at once. We’ve had lots of warm weather already this fall, but if the temperature falls and gets very cold, can we still paint successfully? Our homes have stucco walls.
A: You can paint successfully, provided that the temperatures do not fall below freezing. A good quality licensed painting contractor will know what to do about the weather.
Q: How do I keep a persistent woodpecker from pecking away at the tops of the stucco walls on the outside of my house?
A: It’s a mystery why woodpeckers find it necessary to peck holes in houses and chimneys. They might be looking for insects to eat or possibly they are establishing their territory for mating rituals. Regardless, woodpeckers are a migratory nongame bird protected by state and federal law and therefore should not be harmed.
But it’s important to start doing something as soon as you can to deter these birds. Once a woodpecker makes your home part of its routine, it’s difficult to change its behavior.
Some wildlife experts suggest hanging strips of aluminum foil or Mylar tape from the eaves so that they can hang freely over the siding. That may stop them. You might also hang shiny metal cans under the roof.
To discourage their activity, you may also try sprinkling cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce around the area. These substances will not hurt the birds but will send them elsewhere. Nurseries and hardware stores sell non-harmful repellents to spray on places that birds visit. These repellents cause a mild irritation to bird (and animal) nasal passages and they will leave the area.
Q: Last week someone knocked on my door to try to get me to install solar electric panels on my roof. They were not from my electric company, and I’m wondering what you think of a proposal like that.
A: Don’t let a stranger knocking on your door sell you a solar system or anything else. We are not fans of hiring contractors based on solicitation phone calls or door-to-door marketing for any product or service. You should contact the contractor for a project or service and have them visit your house to assess your property before signing up for solar panels or whatever you may want done.
Q: I have a home I bought three years ago. At first a smell came out of the sink in the master bath. Now the same smell is coming out of the sink in the guest bathroom. What’s going on and how can I stop this?
A: Many times this happens because of the orientation of the house. Wind can hit the roofline and create pressure on the plumbing vent pipe that is closest to the bathroom. You may need to extend the height of the vent line by a few feet. This is a repair that can be done for under $50. If the odor is only present when hot water is running, the source of the odor could be a decayed anode rod in the water heater. That is also a low-cost repair.