Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call our 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.
QUESTION: I’m a long-distance truck driver, and I need to park my rig next to my house in a dust-free environment. Do I go with concrete paving or pavers? Could pavers stand the weight of my vehicle?
ANSWER: You can certainly choose pavers for your parking area. They are even using pavers now on the runways of airports. They can support 18-wheelers or a motor home, provided that the ground under the pavers is properly prepared by a certified concrete paving installer. The truth is that we hardly pour concrete any more for driveways, walkways or patios. Putting in pavers doesn’t just mean plopping them on a bed of sand. There is a protocol that must be followed for installing them correctly.
Q: I have a problem with water leakage at my home. Just my wife and I live in the home where we have resided for 15 years. We have a large corner lot with desert landscaping plus a swimming pool. For a long time, we were only using 10,000 gallons of water a month, but for the past two months, that amount has been spiking up to 45,000 gallons. I had the pool service man check the hose connections and water levels; I also had a landscaper check my irrigation system; they found no leaks. So what steps should I take now?
A: I’d suggest turning off the automatic filler on your pool and doing an additional test for leaks there. Put a clean five-gallon bucket on the second step of the pool and fill it with water to match the level on the outside of the bucket. Then wait for a couple of days and check the levels. The water inside and outside the bucket should evaporate at the same rate because the filler is off. If those levels match, you can probably eliminate the pool as a problem. Leaks often seem invisible, but eventually you will find them. Sometimes they can be under the foundation of your house, for example. A good plumber can refer you to a leak detection service that will do a more thorough check for under-slab leaks at your house.
Q: I planted a pine tree in my yard about 30 years ago. It is now 30 to 40 feet tall. A couple of months ago, it started to turn brown on the bottom limbs. I cut some of them off and did more watering. But now the bottom limbs are brown again. What should I do?
A: These problems you mention with pines have been growing recently. A lot of them are environmental problems because the pines may come from a part of the world where they experience a lot of winter moisture, rather than the kind of moisture that we get in the monsoon season. In addition, the winter moisture that we have been getting has not been great for the last nine or 10 years. There are some steps you can take. Pines like good drainage. So, get some gypsum or sulfur to work into the soil to try to keep it more open. When you do water, soak the pines for 10-12 hours very slowly. Don’t do more pruning for a while either.