Robert Lamoureux: Home theaters and proper pool drains

Installing a pool overflow drain is the first line of defense to ensure water doesn’t escape when heavy rains take place. Another good idea is to add area drains or have a professional clean yours. Metro Creative
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Robert,
I’m in the process of planning out the install of a home theater in my home here in Santa Clarita. I’ve asked the company if this type of work requires permits due to the extensive amount of wiring to be done. I don’t want fires or problems later, so I just need your guidance on if they are trying to skip steps or if they’re accurate.

Please help,
— Mike R.

Mike,
As long as they are not bringing in new circuits, meaning that they are using the existing power sources already available and not bringing in additional power from the main house panel, they are OK to install equipment without permits.

The permits would, however, be required if they need to bring in additional power to the area. At this point, they’d be under restraints to follow city requirements for permitting additional electrical. All of the equipment otherwise is low voltage and there is no need for permitting on this.

Much of the newer equipment is run on Bluetooth, so this limits the amount of wiring even more. You should be good to go if they are using existing power in the same area.

Good luck — you’ll love having this in your home,
— Robert

Robert,
I live in Santa Clarita, and in the last rains, we had nothing but a deluge of water from our swimming pool overflowing and the water making its way into our home. It’s a mess, there is not enough slope from the back of the house to the street and the backyard became a second swimming pool.

Of course we weren’t home, so we came home to a flood to nearly the entire downstairs of our home. The back patio door is almost level with our pool deck, so you can imagine the mess that has happened here.

What do we do? We’re in some deep trouble. Our insurance came out, as well as some other folks, and we are getting a wide variety of opinions on what to do here. What can you tell us?
— Nick P.

Nick,
It sounds like you need to first put in a pool overflow drain. This isn’t incredibly difficult, they’ll remove the coping, saw cut into the bond beam and the specifically designed pool overflow drain will be installed. This will drain the excess water to an area drain.

That is the next step, to either install area drains or have the existing drains cleared by a pro. Many people will put their garden hose to the drains and if the water comes out the other end, they think they are clear. While this can be true, often times the garden hose volume is not near what the volume would be in the incredible rain storms like we’ve had, and the drains prove themselves to be at least partially blocked.

Have a pro go in a jet the drains and possibly run a camera, to ensure that they are fully clear and operating properly. You may also need to add additional drains, keep this as an option. Be sure that if you do not already have a core out to the street that a permit is pulled and a core is made so that the water can be directed from the drainage to the street versus onto the front yard or sidewalk.

This would create a situation of potential mold growth and eventually a possible slip and fall situation, which is why the city does not permit the drainage onto the sidewalks. Aside from the drainage issues in the yard, you’ve hopefully had all wet materials removed from inside the home by now.

Be sure that, before any drywall or other materials are put back, you or your contractor uses moisture meters to determine that the affected areas are now at 0% moisture.

This step is key, and it’s important that all affected areas be checked thoroughly or you could be dealing with future mold issues. Once you know you are clear and dry, then go ahead and move forward with the rebuild of the interior of your home.

You are likely looking at a hefty cost here, so be sure you are doing your due diligence and verifying all contractors’ licenses and insurances prior to working with them.

Only pay the required deposit and do not pay on your final until you have confirmed work is satisfactory and if any permits needed, that you have all documents in hand.

Good luck to you,
— Robert

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