QUESTION: I am redoing the drip irrigation line around the perimeter of our yard. Do you suggest using PVC pipe or polyethylene? I have many mature shrubs plus landscaping rock along the perimeter with grass in the center – probably a total length of 400 feet. A portion of the drip line is under pavers installed by previous owners on the covered patio.
ANSWER: As long as all the main feeder piping is controlled by a pressure reducing valve – no more than 30 pounds per square inch – the poly pipe will be much easier to install and requires fewer fittings. Just make sure that all the city required piping is done in PVC because it can handle the higher pressure needed.
Q: We have a five-year-old air conditioner and furnace system that had a checkup last week. The technician said the dirt and dust is building up in our system and the air conditioner is working too hard. He suggested installing a new electronic device that uses special pads sold by the AC company and then changing the old air filters only every four months. This system costs about $1,500 to $2,000 and is installed on the existing unit. Should we do this?
A: Typically, electronic filtration systems do not filter out much dirt. Rather, they put an electric charge on dust particles so when they enter the home, they are attracted to a surface with the opposite charge. That could be tables, curtain, floors, countertops and more. You will also have to pay a service charge to the contractor plus pay for pads that can be tricky to replace. Why don’t you have your system thoroughly cleaned? Then start using one-inch pleated paper air filters and change them monthly. Let your electric utility bill serve as a monthly reminder to change filters. You can buy a lot of one-inch paper filters for what the cost of the electronic filter will be.
Q: I just moved into a modular style home in a development built in 1997. With the rising summer temperatures, I notice clicking noises overhead consistently during the day and night. I assume they are expansion and contraction noises in the attic or roof. Could this be related to a structural issue in the house? If it continues, can the integrity and stability of the house be compromised? I am worried that I made a mistake in buying this house. At times the cracking is very loud. Should I move?
A: You are right. Those clicking noises are expansion and contraction of the wood members in your roof structure. As temperatures and humidity change in the attic, the wood is absorbing and then evaporating the moisture that is available; as a result it expands and contracts. There isn’t much you can do to stop it from taking place, but there are also no adverse structural issues to be concerned about.
Q: My 1973 house has a stucco exterior. I doubt that it has much insulation, although there is some in an add-on den area in the attic. I’d like to get better insulation but what would work and what would it cost for a 1,300-square-foot home?
A: It is true that homes built in the 1970s did not have much insulation installed, partly because it was much less expensive then to heat or air condition your home. It could be beneficial for you to contact a qualified insulation contractor who could inspect your home and make recommendations on the best action to take.