Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie’s radio show with questions about topics 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: We recently remodeled our home, originally built in 1999. In the process we took out and replaced about 1,000 square feet of tile and created a lot of dirt and dust that still seems to be hanging around. Should we hire someone to clean out the air ducts in our HVAC system?
ANSWER: Cleaning your air ducts can be a great idea, but you need to have the work done by a licensed air conditioning contractor who can also partly dismantle your air conditioner to clean the coil as well. It’s a somewhat costly job that will cost about $400 to $500 to do it right. After that, you need to replace your air intake filters on a regular basis. But you usually don’t have to clean the ducts again for from five to seven years.
Q: I have an olive tree in my backyard. Usually, it bears very few olives, but this year it’s loaded with them, and I’d like to know if they are edible or not. The birds certainly love them.
A: This year seems to be a very good year for olives, but if you just pick one off the tree and try to eat it, you’ll find it has a nasty, bitter taste. Olives need to be cured before you can eat them. You’ll find lots of different recipes online for how to cure them. Curing can be done using brine, salt, water or lye; you could try a couple different methods to see which you prefer. Many homeowners, as you probably know, have their trees sprayed to prevent them from bearing olives.
Q: I live in a house built in 1928 and need to replace my windows. I’m wondering whether I should install vinyl clad windows or some other type of windows. Also do I need to talk to a plaster expert about the plaster around the windows because some of the plaster on the walls is crumbling?
A: I’m not a big fan of vinyl clad windows, but there are some companies out there that market good vinyl choices. Windows with fiberglass cladding would be a more durable choice.
But the best selection for preserving the charm of an older home like yours would be aluminum clad wooden windows, which is also the most costly option. This type of window has wood on the inside and weather-proof, maintenance-free aluminum cladding outside.
Whatever you choose, you want dual-pane, insulated windows that will do a good job of keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
You usually don’t need to talk to a plasterer in addition to a window company; an expert window installer can handle any problems with the plaster on the walls near your windows.
Q: I live in an apartment building where the water comes out of the faucets looking very cloudy, which makes me wonder about its quality. So I buy bottled water from a machine for drinking. But someone told me that water from machines can be very acidic. Is that true?
A: Yes, that water from the reverse osmosis machines can be slightly acidic, but it’s not very different from tap water in acidity. Regarding the water from your faucets, it may not have any serious problems; the cloudiness might be due to air infiltration in the system. If you set a glass of the water on a table, the cloudiness may go away in a few minutes as the air bubbles dissipate. But if you don’t want to drink water directly from the tap, you might think about installing your own reverse osmosis system under your kitchen sink. It’s a possible do-it-yourself project.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson and from 9-11 a.m. on KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 888-767-4348.