Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions from the Southern Arizona area.
There is a problem with drainage in my house every time I run the clothes washer. My utility room is next to the kitchen, and when the washer drains out, the sink in the kitchen starts to bubble up with liquid. I have tried plugging the kitchen drain, but then liquid starts to bubble up in the washing machine. Our house was built in 1993. What should I do?
A: It sounds as if you need to have your drains cleaned out. You can try using enzyme cleaners, but in the end you will probably have to have a plumber come in to clean the drain lines. The plumber may have the equipment to run a camera into the drain lines to see what the problem is all about, if a simple drain cleaning doesn’t solve the problem.
Q: I have a very old house that has galvanized iron pipes. How will I know when I have to replace them?
A: Galvanized iron pipes are steel pipes that were covered with a layer of zinc. These pipes were installed in many homes built before the 1960s. Generally, they only last about 50 to 60 years. Then corrosion sets in, and you can have multiple leak problems. The quality of your drinking water can also deteriorate. If your house is 40 or 50 years old, there is most likely considerable corrosion on the inside of the pipes that will also dramatically decrease the volume of water available. Have a qualified plumber come out and look at the piping to give you an opinion.
Q: I’m planning to buy new dual-pane windows. I know your favorite window is aluminum clad with wood, but I’m interested in something that costs less. I’m looking at composite framed windows or fiberglass. What’s your advice on that?
A: The most important thing about buying windows is that you choose windows from a company that has a top reputation for the quality of its windows and that offers great guarantees. If you’re looking for a moderate-priced option, you might also consider a vinyl frame with steel or aluminum reinforcement which probably would be a lot better than having the entire frame made out of vinyl. Fiberglass is a great choice as well. It holds up well in our harsh desert environment and is a great thermal barrier. Make sure you get a good low-E glass with at least a half-inch of air space between the panes of glass.
Q: I have some beads of moisture that are developing inside my dual-pane windows. Isn’t there a company that can repair the seals?
A: Moisture between the panes of glass means that the seals have broken. Moisture will keep entering the window and eventually could cause mildew to develop. It is true that replacing the window is your best option, but some companies claim that they can repair these windows. They drill holes at the top and bottom of the window and then suck out the moisture and air inside. Then they blow inert glass into the window and reseal the holes. This system is less costly, and will probably buy you a year or two before a new window must be installed.