QUESTION: We recently closed on a house that is not brand-new. Since moving in, we have found several scorpions and their babies all over the house and in the attic as well. The seller did disclose that they had found two scorpions in the backyard about six months ago. We have had an exterminator pay a visit. Outside the house, he put some granules that are supposed to keep the scorpions away. We wonder if the previous owners should have told us more about all this. My wife doesn’t want to live in the house anymore.
ANSWER: If the scorpions were there all along, it’s possible that your neighbors could tell you something about it. You should visit with the neighbors and try to establish that the owners talked about a bigger problem. Talk to your real estate agent as well to see what you can do next. But above all, you should have regular visits by the exterminator to try to deal with the problem. A good exterminator can make a real dent in the problem.
Q: We have a garage door opener that was installed in 2002. It was working fine until all the remotes stopped working. We can’t seem to reprogram them. We can still get the door to open and close manually.
A: You should call a garage door firm to investigate what’s going wrong with the transmitters and receivers in your system. It’s possible you need a new automatic opening unit.
Q: With all the new applications available involving apps for opening and closing your garage door when you’re away from home, is it more likely someone can hack into the remote system, open your door and break into your home?
A: It depends on how big a conspiracy theorist you are. It might be possible, but it’s also possible that mechanical malfunctions can occur that will open the door unexpectedly. For example, if you press the remote to close the door when you leave and you don’t wait to see if it’s really shut, an animal might dart into the garage and reverse the closing process. That seems very unlikely, but it is possible.
Q: We’d like to add a row of extra blocks to the top of our concrete block wall in the backyard. It’s about 5 feet high now and we’d like to make it taller. But I’m concerned about whether the mortar will weaken because of the heat we get in summer. I’m not going to do it myself, but wondered if it’s the wrong time of year.
A: If you’re hiring a mason, he will have all kinds of tricks for keeping the mortar moist enough during the summer. He will keep the mud board wetter and the wheelbarrow wetter. He’ll keep the mud itself wetter.
The truth is that you can do this kind of work at almost any time of year.
Q: Can I attach a roof to help provide shade on the gable end of the house that has no overhang?
A: There are quite a few steps involved. Here’s a simplified summary: First, cut into the siding of the house that has no overhang.
Then you attach metal flashing; that’s a very important step. Then you install a ledger board and lag bolt it to the structure. Then you use metal straphangers and put your rafters up.
If you just put up a 2-by-12 and hang the joist off that, you’re going to create a do-it-yourself mess. You probably might want to hire a professional to do the job and make sure you get a permit for the work.