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Dear Robert,

I read your column regularly and often pick up information I can use in the future. I was sad when your column stopped and glad when it started again.

Now my problem.

My husband is an old “do it yourselfer, ” but not a professional fixer though he has kept most things needing minor fixes running fine for many moons.

He has fiddled with our master bath toilet and can’t seem to fix this problem. I have the same model in another bath that doesn’t have this issue. It runs very often (several times a day) for five to ten seconds and turns off.

He has replaced various parts and fiddled with the innards, as I said, to no avail. Granted the toilet is old, but generally works fine. It is a high-end American Standard Roma model #2009.026.

It seems like such a small issue to call a plumber. What do you suggest? And if I must call a plumber, do you have a referral.

As always thanks for your expertise.

– Sincerely, Ruthann L.


The problem seems to be that the flapper is not seating correctly 100 percent of the time. When it isn’t seated, it causes the level of the water in the tank to drop and the fill valve to turn on.

Be sure that the seat where the flapper lands is smooth and has no corrosion on it, and that the flapper is the correct one for the toilet.

Many times the universal aftermarket flappers don’t seat correctly, so be sure to purchase the one provided by the manufacturer.

I have also found times that the flapper is defective and will cause the tank to leak causing this exact situation, so even if you’ve recently replaced this, you’ll want to shop again, being certain to get the manufacturer option, and another new one.

This should do the trick. Feel free to write back in, and thank you for being a loyal reader.

Dear Robert,

I have been reading your column since moving to SCV three years ago.

My problem is this. We live in a manufactured home and I check my furnace filter monthly. There has never been one bit of dust on the filters. I had the HVAC system checked and the technician said that everything was working as designed.

I have noticed that a manufactured home has vents over the doors to each room (except the bathrooms). We have a vast amount of dust on just about everything and this cannot be good for our health.

Do you have any suggestions?

-Thank you, Gordon K. – Canyon Country


The dust is obviously getting in from the exterior somehow. Be sure to check all the doors, windows and any obvious rush of cold air you might feel during windy cold days.

If anything is leaking, meaning a breeze coming through the coach then these areas will have to be addressed by sealing them with either a caulking or a urethane sealant.

Thank you for being a reader, feel free to surrender an address and the office will send you one of our Signal/ IMS mugs.

Reply from Gordon:


This was going to be my second e-mail to you in the future. I have noticed that with both our bathroom exhaust fans (especially the master bath) when there is a good wind, allow cold air along with dust into the home.

I cannot seal the fans, so what do you suggest?

Answer from Robert:


The exhaust fan should have a flap in it so that when the fan shuts off the flap closes and does not allow the air in. If this feature is absent, you’ll want to replace the fan for one that has a flap in it. Best of luck.

Reply from Gordon:

I do hear the flap every once in a while.

Answer from Robert:


Remove the decorative cover on the exhaust fan and see if there is one there or not. Sometimes the flap will get stuck and may need lubrication. Robert

Reply from Gordon:

Hey Robert,

I took care of it (I hope) today. I took the cover off fan, looked up and it was dark. I noticed the fan was very dusty so I removed it and what did I find? One-half of the flap was missing (it was laying on top of the other half).

I removed part that holds flaps and re-installed. Cleaned fan and re-installed. So far, so good. Thank you.


Answer from Robert:


Keep looking around and you’ll find more penetrations causing the dust.

Hi Robert,

I live in a seven year old home in Fair Oaks Ranch.

Over the past few years blue spots have started to appear in the bathroom linoleum (picture attached).

The same linoleum is also in another bathroom and laundry room, but there are no blue spots in those rooms.

After researching it on line, it appears this could be an issue with the glue or moisture. Any insight?

-Thank you, Eileen


Without seeing myself it’s hard to tell.

The online research may be correct, but I’m leaning towards water rather than the glue.

Is any of your plumbing below the concrete in your home? If so, it might be more likely to be a water issue. If you have access to a moisture meter you could start there. Take a moisture reading. I’m sorry I can’t be of better assistance. Robert

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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