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 system. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.
Q: Can I put solar panels on a pergola that is free-standing next to my house instead of on the house itself? I would like to do this because the pitch on the roof of my house is in an east-west direction, and I don’t think that installing panels that way will provide enough sunshine for producing enough solar electricity.
A: Probably you can’t install your panels on that free-standing structure. For one thing, solar panels may be too heavy for the roof on the pergola. Having them on top of this free-standing structure might also create uplift problems; in other words, the panels could be lifted up and blown off the roof of the pergola during a windy storm.
However, many times efficient solar systems can indeed be installed on east-west roofs successfully; so you should continue to investigate that possibility with a qualified solar company.
Q: I have a small palo brea tree in my yard. It was planted out of a 15-gallon can about 2½ years ago. It is fully exposed to the sun and surrounded by decomposed granite. Half of the tree looks good, but half of the tree has yellow leaves that are drying up. Some of the bark has turned yellow and is peeling off the trunk. It also appears that there are holes from borers in the trunk. Can I save this tree?
A: It appears that those borers have gotten into the trunk and are damaging your tree.
At this point it seems that they have done so much damage that you’re better off replacing the tree than trying to save it. But you can take photos of the damage on your tree to a good neighborhood nursery and have the staff verify that conclusion.
Sometimes, it may not be worth it to spend time, money and water on a failing tree.
Q: I’ve heard that there are solar batteries on the market for storing excess power that might be produced by a solar electric system in your home. It sounds like a great idea. Are they for sale right now?
A: Tesla has recently announced a new product that it calls a Powerwall and that comes in two sizes – 10kwh and 7kwh.
The cost for an installed unit is about $7,000; these units can be connected to a solar system. That price might be a little high for most homeowners, but it could drop in a few years.
Q: I had some recent storm damage on my tile roof. The concrete at the ends of the tiles fell off and two tiles came down. They were still in good shape, so I screwed them down into the wood and caulked them back in place. Will this repair work?
A: It’s hard to say without seeing the job you did, but it should last for a while. Some caulks or adhesives don’t work all that well on the roof of a house because they can’t take the heat in summer.
But it sounds as if you did a good job. If you have problems later on, all you’ll risk is having to try again. One adhesive that might work is Liquid Nail.