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. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.
QUESTION: I have a 2-year-old, 4,900-square-foot home that has all PEX (all-plastic) plumbing. Every time you flush a toilet, the tubing slams against the drywall in some part of the house. How did this happen? Didn’t they install enough brackets to fasten down the pipes when the house was built?
ANSWER: You may ultimately have to cut out some areas of drywall in order to replace missing brackets. Another possibility might be spraying foam insulation in some areas between the studs. Before you do all that work though, you might put a pressure regulator on the water system and dial the water pressure down a little bit to see if that alleviates the problem.
Q: Do you prefer using cellulose insulation that is blown in or fiberglass insulation?
A: In a vertical situation like walls, I prefer blown-in cellulose. But right now, a lot of builders are using a combination of foam to seal some holes plus blown-in, wet-spray cellulose in walls. It depends on the situation in the house. For use in attics, I prefer blown-in cellulose or blown-in fiberglass.
Q: I have a garage in my backyard that was originally built without a permit. Now I’d like to add a workshop in it. I even had some drawings done. But what do I do about the permit?
A: There is a way to make good on the non-permitted work. If you go to the city voluntarily, officials will work with you to resolve the problem without penalizing you. Don’t try to hide this unpermitted situation. You will have to disclose all this work done in the garage anyway when you sell your house in the future.
Q: I have very hard water and want to put in a water softener to take care of it, but I’m worried about the salt that’s discharged and where it goes when it leaves the water softener. Does it hurt the environment?
A: It’s true that after the softening process ends, the brine solution discharges into the city’s water system. Cities have no objection to the process. Actually, the amount of salt in the discharge from water softeners has dropped considerably over the years and is now down about 60 to 70 percent from what it used to be due to improvements made in the water softeners.
Q: What kind of tree can I plant for shade that won’t uproot the pavers in my yard?
A: A flowering tree might do well and not disturb the pavers. That’s because you need to have a tree that has a slender trunk, only five or six inches in diameter, and many flowering trees are about that size. Whether the pavers will be disturbed also depends on the distance between where the tree is planted and where the pavers are located. The good thing about having pavers in this situation involving trees is that if necessary, you can take them out and remove any roots or soil that are causing the problem and then put the pavers back again. But a lot of people just live with the problem because they don’t want to disturb the tree.