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 recessed can lights in the kitchen ceiling of my 18-year-old house. They have a thermal disconnect inside them, and they’ve started blinking on and off. I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs, but that doesn’t seem to help. Can I pull off the cans and replace them without damaging the drywall? Would that fix the problem?
ANSWER: What you probably need to replace are the thermal disconnects that shut the lights down when they get too hot. But you might want to call a licensed electrician to check them out and do any necessary work. It seems probable that you need to replace the cans, but you will probably have to cut a hole in the drywall to get them out.
Q: I have a reflective pond in my yard that was installed in 1997. Now a hairline crack has developed on the top edge of the pond and it now extends below the water level; some of the wall surface is developing a few pits.
A: Start by visiting a building and masonry supply store because they should have a sealant patch product you can put on that crack. However, if your pond is designed so that the bottom is visible, you might want to call on a pond company to do the job because you need to be careful about matching the color of the patch to the rest of the pond’s surface.
Q: A contractor started remodeling my kitchen and the day after everything was torn out, he went out of business. I have arranged for someone to come in to do the floors and electric work; the cabinets are still going to be delivered soon. Can I find a good cabinet installer who will take on the installation? My original contractor was licensed with the state and insured, so I may be able to recover some of my deposit. I’m just worried about whether someone will install the cabinets.
A: Yes, there are specialist carpenters available to install the cabinets. The sooner you find someone the better so that they can coordinate the work on the flooring and electricity.
Q: I bought a concrete block home a few years ago that was built using the Integra system that includes post-tensioning the walls with steel reinforcing rods. Now I want to add a deck in back of the master bedroom that would have a spiral staircase in it. The previous homeowners told me that the house was built so I could build the deck without adding pillars below to hold it up. Now, the owner can’t find the blueprints. So, how do I get them so I can get a permit from the city for the work?
A: You will most likely have to hire a structural engineer to investigate the current construction details and draw up the plans for your new deck.
Q: Why do some trees produce so much leaf litter while others produce very little?
A: Many conditions affect how often and how long trees drop leaves. Some trees start very early in fall and continue for a long time; sometimes it seems like forever. But some trees drop their leaves early or all at once. It’s usually due to soil conditions and the amount of stored nutrients in the tree. If a tree is under stress, it will drop its leaves sooner. Even four or five of the same type of trees planted in the same general area can drop leaves at different times.