Your Home Improvements


Question #1

Robert, in reference to Question no. 1 in The Signal on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016: Can you please give me the contractor’s contact information concerning driveway repair for “Mike C.”?

Our driveway is in terrible shape.

It is severely cracked and uneven and raised in some places as much as two inches. It is so unsafe that my wife and I have both tripped and fallen.

We are on Social Security as our only source of income and we cannot afford a completely new driveway (I can email pictures of our driveway if you like.)

I really enjoy your column.
-Thank you, Brian P.


Answer #1

Brian, the pictures help immensely.

Unfortunately, it’s too far gone for an aesthetically pleasing fix.

Is there a tree that’s doing this? If so, the root should be cut off when you break the concrete, if that’s the cause.

You can have someone grind the trip-and-fall area with a diamond wheel and grinder to minimize the trip and fall, but aesthetically, there’s not a lot you can do with the rest.

I wish I had better news for you.

Best of luck, Brian.

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question #2

Hi Robert, we have solar electric on our home and were wondering about switching our water heater to electric.

Are there in-line electric water heaters or only water heaters like our present gas heater?

We also have solar water heater panels and if the electric would be more efficient then we would eliminate the solar panels adding a couple of electric panels to cover heating our water.

What are the advantages or drawbacks to going all electric?

Sincerely, Randy E.

Answer #2

Randy, you’re asking that million-dollar question.

A lot of this is based on your daily usage of power and what the economics would be of switching from a natural gas to electric standpoint.

Typically, the gas is more efficient from a cost stand point, when running electric over gas.

If you’re on the verge of changing your heater you may want to look into a tank less water heater, as this will save you by not keeping the tank hot 24/7.

If you would like a referral write me back and I’ll give you the name of a good reputable company here in town who can come bid and give you a cost.

Best of luck.

Question #3

I live in the older section of Canyon Country and due to the age of our galvanized piping in our home, we have experienced a lot of corrosion and pipe leaks.

We are entertaining bids for repiping.

We’ve had several contractors in, a couple of whom have mentioned PEX (polyethylene).

They’re telling us that it’s a plastic pipe that will never get leaks unless of course, someone drives a nail or something of the sort through it.

Also, they’re saying that it will never corrode.

Robert, is there any truth to this information, and should we go with this product or should we stay with the copper that is most commonly used these days?

We’d like your input, please. – Marty W.

Answer #3

Marty, the fact that you were told that PEX will never leak is categorically untrue.

My first bit of advice to you would be to not deal with any contractor who has told you this, and here is why: We deal with PEX leaks mostly occurring at the connections which are metal, and most often on the hot side.

Those metal connections do corrode and this causes leaks.

The fact that these contractors are not giving you this information is the first red flag.

I’d not deal with anyone who is not giving you all of the information you need in order to make an educated decision.

Not all plumbers work on PEX, though you won’t have trouble finding someone as they aren’t uncommon.

It is a specialty item though, and you have to have the correct equipment to work on this system.

Tried and true is copper.

I am old-school and believe strongly in a good copper type L that is installed by a licensed and insured plumber.

Make this choice and you are sure to have no issues for years to come.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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