Robert Lamoureux has 40 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]

Robert Lamoureux: Keeping pool filled, potential liabilities

Question No. 1

Robert, 

I am a widow who lives in Canyon Country in an older home that has a pool. During the summer, my pool requires that I go out to the fill valve and turn the water on for seven to eight minutes in order to keep my pool filled. 

I have a water feature, and it causes the pool to drain a lot, so I’m looking for a solution that will automate this instead of me having to be home and remember to refill the pool. Do you know of anything that is available to help with this? 

— Monica R.

Metro Creative If your pool has a water feature, a battery-operated anti-siphon valve would be handy if you don’t want to refill the pool manually.

Answer No. 1

Monica, 

Yes. What you have is an anti-siphon valve, and they are offered in a battery-operated form. 

If you’re handy, this is an easy project to change out. If not, then a local plumber will be able to change this for you. 

You can make the purchase online easily, and it’s simply changing out like for like as far as the plumbing parts. But, with the new one, you’ll follow the programming instructions, and then your job will be done. 

You may have to reset for the cooler months when not as much water is evaporating, but not a difficult task. Good luck.

— Robert

Question No. 2

Hi Robert, 

I’m the president of the board at an HOA here in Santa Clarita where there is an underground parking garage. We had water leaks that went on for several years, which caused the garage ceiling to collapse, with some of the areas being significant. Some areas are so deep that it has exposed the metal bars inside the ceiling. 

We’ve since had the courtyard directly above this garage sealed, and now we are looking to make the garage ceiling repairs. 

We’ve inquired with the property’s handyman, and he has confirmed that he can make these repairs. Our concern is that if the repairs aren’t proper, it could lead to liability with additional falling pieces, especially in the larger area of issue. 

Are we on track with this concern? Is this a possibility? 

— Jeff E.

Answer No. 2

Jeff, 

This is one area that I am going to really stress that you stay away from relying on a handyman. He could be well-versed, but I would absolutely go with a skilled professional with a lot of experience in these repairs because there are special products to be used, and if the prep work is not done properly, the adhesion won’t take, and you’ll end up in a huge liability issue with newly installed pieces falling. 

I am not sure if you have had a structural engineer look at this, but due to the significance of the larger area especially, I’d recommend that you do just to ensure that you are making sound repairs. 

The untrained eye can see a less-significant issue, but a structural engineer can confirm your thoughts or inform you of necessary steps that are needed, to make this area sound again for the long term. He/she will give you a report and a repair scope, and this documentation can be valuable for insurance companies and your HOA’s records. 

This isn’t a scope that you want to take any chances on because this is suspended work and the steps are many, to provide the proper repairs to these large areas. 

Best of luck to you and your HOA.

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has 40 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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