QUESTION: I’m thinking of installing a surge protector for the gas pack heating unit/air conditioner that’s located up on my roof. Would it be better to have a surge protector installed at my main electric panel to protect the whole house?
ANSWER: You would be best served to have one installed at your main service panel to protect your entire electrical system. The appropriate sizing is best determined by the electrician that you choose to do the install. That electrician should do a load calculation that will help in sizing the surge protector correctly.
Q: I have a stack of circular saw blades that I can’t use now because they’re too dull. Is there any place where I can get them sharpened? Should I keep them in hopes of finding someone who will fix them, or are there any crafts people that do that anymore?
A: It is very difficult to find someone who will do this type of job. Even if you locate the right place, whether you want to do it or not depends on what you spent on the blades originally. If they’re carbide blades for which you paid $30 to $60 each, I’d think it would be worth doing it. Businesses that sell saws and lawn mowers and/or tractors can probably help you find someone.
Q: I’ve gotten an offer from my solar company to install solar panels on my roof for 20 years in return for a small monthly rental payment. The panels would belong to the utility, and the electricity would go back to the grid. It’s some kind of test program, but I’m worried about the tiles on my roof that were installed in 1995. Would this harm the tiles in any way?
A: Programs like this are apparently underway in both Phoenix and the Tucson area. I don’t want to discourage people, but I’m not sure that I would want to put my roof in the hands of a utility company for just a small monthly amount. You won’t get any benefit from the solar power that’s created; it will go back to the grid.
Q: Can you overlay a concrete patio with real wood to create a wood deck look in your backyard instead of putting down pavers on top of the patio?
A: It’s really not a good idea to try using wood on your patio when you live south of the Mogollon Rim in Arizona. That wood will create a great munching spot for termites. There is a process, however, to give a real “wood” look on your patio. You can pour concrete— pre-dyed in a wood color— to create a patio. Once it’s poured, you can use big rubber stamps on the concrete to lay down a wood-grain design. After that, you may have to do some sealing and coloring on top of the surface. It’s going to look just like wood and the finish will last forever.
Q: I have a fairly new lemon tree that is looking pretty poor right now. We planted it a short time ago from a five-gallon can. A number of the leaves are looking brown on the ends and are curling up. What could be the problem?
A: It’s probably not from overwatering— with overwatering you get yellowing of leaves. So, perhaps your tree is getting sunburned. Try increasing the water and cover the plant with some shade cloth. As your tree grows older, you also want to use a special paint on the trunk to protect the bark from damage—particularly if you cut away a lot of the foliage protecting the bottom of the plant.