Your Home Improvements



We really enjoy your column.

I wanted to ask you your opinion on a “Whole House Attic Fan.”

I heard they are very expensive, do you think they are worth the cost? Will it help to save money on our energy expenses?

We are on Social Security and definitely cannot afford a solar system and wondered if this might be a good alternative to saving money on our summer cooling costs. (Incidentally we have two electric attic fans in the attic installed at the gables but they froze up” some time ago and haven’t been working in over twenty years).

Is a whole house attic fan installed in the attic? If we should go that route, do you think there are any rebates on those units?

– Thank you, Brian.



Absolutely, they are sure worth it!

In the evening when it cools down you turn it on and open windows to the rooms you need to cool, and it will bring in the outside cooler air in, while drawing the warmer air that is stuck in the house, up and into the attic, where it will vent itself to the outside.

Unfortunately I don’t have any attic space in my home, otherwise, I would own one.

Some of my family have them and would never be without them, I’m told.

Your question about rebates, this is a question you would have to pose to Edison and see if they offer anything. Also, take a look at the manufacturer’s box and see if there are any incentives.

I’ve also seen people place a fan in an upstairs window in order to pull in the air in from outside, and safely having a downstairs window open with the locks to prevent any type of burglary, and have the air exhausted that way.

Brian, you might want to try something like that first and see if you like it, then you could make the investment for the whole house fan.

Hope this helps a little bit.

– Robert


Hi Robert,

It’s pool time and I’m very frustrated.

I cannot figure out, for the life of me, how my pool heater keeps getting backed up with leaves and debris. I have a pretty good understanding of the system, but, each time I try to heat the Jacuzzi the heater won’t kick on due to the amount of debris there is in the system.

I’ve attached photos for your review. Can you give some insight as to what’s going on?

The skimmer basket is sealed, it’s kept clean and is weighted and I can’t figure out where this debris is getting in at. Can you help?

– Mike G.



In looking at the photos, the issue is crystal clear. Your pool sweep should have a basket in line, and it’s not there.

Go to your local pool supply or order a basket online that is to go with your system. Get the connections necessary to add this in. This will be a first “filter,” if you will, that will collect the debris before it is sucked into the system, ultimately clogging the system up.

You’ll empty this basket just like the skimmer basket, as often as necessary, based on debris in your yard.

The more important advice I can give you is for you to get those many trees in your yard trimmed annually, this will cut down tremendously on the amount of debris that even enters your pool, and will also help with the water condition.

When you have so much natural debris that enters your water, you can quickly end up with algae issues and it’s a nightmare to get under control if you are not well versed in it.

Keeping the trees trimmed prior to them dropping all of their leaves will ultimately make your whole pool more enjoyable, as the work load will decrease dramatically. Good luck, this is an easy fix.



If you would, look at the photos to see the condition of the driveway that was poured two years ago at my home, noting the spots of rusty-looking stains, and tell me what you think this could be caused from?

This problem exists, as you can see, on the pool deck, the coping around the pool and it is falling into the pool and now staining the plaster.

The deck was also a cast and pour concrete, and, being only two years old I am beyond frustrated especially since I am getting the run-around from the pool company and the concrete guy. They are all pointing the finger at one another and I am at a loss as to what to do.

– Andrew O.


There looks to be a significant quantity of affected area and I am leaning toward advising you to seek legal counsel on this one.

It appears to be iron in the coarse aggregate, which, when the moisture reaches it causes the rusting and spotting that you are seeing.

With that said, the only way to be 100 percent sure is to get a core sample and have it tested, thus proving or disproving this theory.

I’m pretty sure that this is the issue. And, once you have the results of the test – if it is the case – then you can re-approach your contractor and offer them the opportunity to make it right.

In the event that they choose to not, you’ll need to seek legal advice on this one, as this is a significant issue that will be costly (as you know, you already paid for it once two years ago) to repair.

If my suspicions are correct, this will be a complete demo and redo.

I urge you to document every communication and be diligent in your efforts to allow them to make it right. Often once a reputable contractor is shown that they are liable, they will step up and make it right.

Ultimately it will be the coarse aggregate supplier, however, your business is with the contractor so will need to go directly through him and then the responsibility will be directed.

You’re likely looking at going legal on this one though, as there are several parties involved and it can get tricky.

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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