New windows, mailbox repairs, hot water tank leak


By Robert Lamoureux, Signal Contributing Writer

What kind of new windows


I’ve lived in my home for about 10 years here in Saugus. 

Every winter and summer I decide that we need new windows, due to feeling the extreme weather coming through them, as we sit near. I really mean it this time, and intend to get some installed, however, I am not sure what the best kind to purchase is. 

I am weary of listening to the salespeople for fear that they will sell me something more expensive than I need. I’m looking for your advice before I go shopping so that I am well armed with information. 

Can you guide me on what to get? My house has stucco around some windows, and siding around others. Please help! 

— Heather M. 


I would not install retrofit windows, as after an average of five years it’s been my experience that they leak around the frame. The sealant does not hold out the weather. 

I would go to a nail-on window, which means demo of the stucco. 

We only use Milgard Presidential windows with a life time warrantee – you’ll pay a little more for them but you’re getting the best in quality as well as the warrantee for life as long as you live there. 

The customer service from Milgard is phenomenal. Good luck.

Mailbox repair

Hi Robert, 

I enjoy your article very much. I’ve written in before and gotten help from you, and also got one of your mugs … thank you. 

This time I’m looking for your advice regarding our mailbox. We have a mailbox that sits on a post along with our next door neighbor’s mailbox. This post is rotted and will likely fall over any day, so it’s time that we do something about it. 

We live in a community where there is no association, so I know I don’t have to worry about breaking association rules. But do I have to rebuild this how it is, or can I separate mine and my neighbor’s mailboxes? 

What is the best type of mailbox stand? This is in a grassy/planter area and I’d like to replace this wooden post with something more resistant to the wet conditions that are always present. 

Please help me, I’ve submitted a photo for your reference and will be happy to receive your guidance.

— Thank you
Sebastian C. 


The best thing you can do is go to a mail box supplier on line and get their vinyl post and cross bar assembly. 

Along with that you can purchase a metal aluminum wrap that goes at the bottom for the weed whacker protection, so that when the gardener does the lawn it doesn’t beat the bottom of the post. 

You will never have to paint the post again and will last a life time. Good luck. 

Hot water tank leak


I need your help! My hot water tank is leaking slightly so I need to do something quickly before this becomes a huge issue. 

Should I replace my gas water heater with the same or can I go with a tankless? What is your opinion on the tankless water heaters, and do they last like the regular ones? Help! 

Also, should I have a licensed plumber install this or, because I am pretty handy, can I do it? Would my insurance coverage not cover anything if I install it – does it have to be a licensed plumber because of insurance? 

Thanks for your help on all that you answer, it really makes a difference for those of us who read your article and can heed your advice.

— Jamie T. 


You can do the install after you pull permits from the city. 

If there is anything lacking, the inspector will write you a correction, and you’ll have to comply and call for a second inspection should that occur. 

As far as tankless, the units are great. The problem usually occurs when the new gas line has to be brought in and the venting of the stack – they can be difficult to make happen. If you decide to go that route then I would definitely hire a licensed plumber to do that. 

Good luck.

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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