Leaning walls, T-brackets and hot water issues

Leaning walls, T-brackets and hot water issues

Leaning wall

Hi Robert,

My name is Gerald M. and I’m a board member at an HOA.

We have a homeowner whose block wall is leaning away from his home, and he’s asking that the association pay for the repair of it. We’re not sure of the cause of the lean. 

The board believes that the cause is from the trees within his yard, as they are close to the wall, and it only makes sense that they are the reason, due to growth and roots.

Is it possible to identify the cause by looking at a few photos? Your help is very much appreciated, and your opinion will be stated at the meeting when we gather to discuss this issue.

Thank you in advance, for your help.



Having looked at the pictures, it’s very clear that the trees within the yard are the issue.

They are just within inches of the wall, and given that the wall is leaning away from the trees and the planter that they are in, clearly identifies these as the source.

Further, based on the photos, there’s no other identifiable source nearby to consider; this is the only thing that could be a possibility in this area. You can also rule out the opposing side of the wall, as there is nothing there but a sidewalk which, at this point in time, is still unaffected.

Given time though, this will also become affected and if your association’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (more commonly known as CC&Rs) are like most, this homeowner would be responsible not only for the block wall repair, but the sidewalk repair, also.

I highly recommend that this homeowner have the trees removed as soon as possible, and get this block wall repaired before there is more damage done and the costs escalate.

Good luck,


Patio cover


We have a patio cover that was built about a year ago.

The beam is lifting from the post and putting stress on the “T” bracket. Also, the rafter is pulling away from the fascia board. My first question is, does this pose any safety risk? Also, how can it be repaired? 

The contractor who built it is licensed, but he has not been contacted yet. I would greatly appreciate your input.

Best regards,



I finally got to a computer and reviewed the pics again.

Based on what I’m looking at, I believe it’s a condition called torsion. To save it, I would have your contractor put another T-bracket on the side that’s lifting, and do a bolt through.

Torsion is like taking a piece of licorice and twisting it. It’s not super common, but it does happen. In order to stop any further damage, install the T brackets and do a bolt through. By doing this, it will stop the beam from twisting any further. 

Have a great weekend,


Hot water


My grandmother has a bathroom that has no hot water, and we have no idea why. The water does come out, but it’s always cold.

My Grandma is on a budget, and we’re not in the position to hire a plumber, so I was hoping you could help by guiding me through on what to look for. The rest of the house has hot water, just not her bathroom.

I’ve attached a photo of the bathroom in hopes that you could help with this,

Alex H.


You’ve got a Mixit valve, and no doubt the internal cartridge has deteriorated or spun (inner workings of the faucet), causing this issue.

This could also affect another fixture within the home — actually, your hot water could be going to the nearby toilet!

This is cross-contamination, caused possibly by the cartridge within the Mixit valve. You could have just an isolated issue, which would be good. You’ll want to take the top plate off, this is called the escutcheon. There is a set screw that you can remove, and the handle will come off.

On the photo you sent, the escutcheon plate is mounted to the fiberglass shower wall, and has two screws.

You’ll remove this, and be sure the water to the house is off, unless there are set screws on either side of the diverter assembly — you can give those a one-quarter turn, and this will shut the water off just to the shower.

If these don’t exist, you’ll need to shut the water off to the whole house to accomplish this. Typically, at the top of this there is a small clip. With needle-nose pliers, you can pull up on this clip, and it will allow you to remove the cartridge.

If it’s old then, you may need a pair of channel locks to give a little more force to remove the cartridge. Go to a plumbing supply or big box store, and be sure that they match the identical cartridge. They’re readily available, so you won’t run into any issues here, just be sure that it is a perfect match.

When you return, reverse the process for installing the new cartridge, using a bit of lube for the O ring install. Be sure that the area of install is clean before setting new items in.

Follow the setting instructions that come with the cartridge, or you’ll do a backwards installation. Don’t lose the original retention clip, the new cartridges generally don’t come with these. When you’re turning the water back on, do this slowly, and let the water exit the faucets. It will make noise, this is the air leaving the lines and is ok.

If you rush this, you could blow lines, such as ice maker lines, so be sure to take your time. This is relatively easy, with the exception of if the old cartridge is frozen in place. This will take a bit more time but it can be done.

This should solve the lack of hot water issue your Grandma is experiencing.

Good luck to you,


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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