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Robert Lamoureux: Adding a T to a gas line reduces flow

Your Home Improvements

Posted: May 1, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: May 2, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I want to replace an electric range with gas but have to have a gas line installed. I have estimates from two plumbers. One would run the line from the garage where the main line enters from the meter, the other would T-off the one inch line from the furnace, which is in the house. I have been told T-ing off from furnace would cut down gas flow. Also, I have called the gas company, who told me coming from furnace "may" cut flow. I'm confused. There is approximately a $550 difference in estimates. What do you suggest?
Janet P.

Hi Janet,
T-ing off from the furnace will absolutely reduce gas flow. I would come directly off of the main. If you starve the heater it will start sooting, which will continue to build up and could cause a malfunction of the burners and run the risk of fire. Especially next winter when both would be operating, you would be starving both the range and the furnace.
Coming from the meter is more expensive than a T, but it will save your other appliances from a potentially disastrous situation. Everything is rated on a BTU basis, and you want to be sure that you are supplying the required amount of gas as recommended from the manufacturer.
I would suggest paying the $550, having it done right by running the gas line from the main meter, and save yourself problems down the line.

Yesterday I applied a Techniseal product - WL4 Protector - to a section of my concrete pavers. It brought out the color but left me with too wet (shiny) of a finish. The Techniseal people said I could dull the finish a bit by using Xylene. Have you ever had experience with a situation like this or know someone who might? If so, how do I use the Xylene? Roll on, wipe off? Or do I leave it on? Thanks.
JW P. Virginia

Hi JW,
First of all, be very careful when using xylene. Inhalation can be fatal. Before you begin, you'll want to wear a respirator and gloves and make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Take all of the precautions you can.
In a situation like this, I always trust the recommendations of the manufacturer. Companies spend millions of dollars for safety and research and know more about what works with their products than anyone.
Pour a small amount of xylene onto a rag and start to apply in a small, inconspicuous area to one of the pavers, but keep it away from the grout. Let dry. Keep in mind how you are applying the cleaner because you will have to replicate the same procedure to the rest of the pavers to have an even, finished surface.
We use this chemical as a cleaning agent, primarily with steel. I have no doubt that it will remove the glossy finish, but it may also remove the sealant down to the concrete. Again, follow the manufacturer's recommendations, but it may be difficult to work the xylene equally to have a uniform finish.
If you don't like the glossy finish, you may want to consider striping all of the WL4 and reapply an alternative product that will give you the sheen you want.

Dear Robert,
What sets off my car alarm at odd times, including the middle of the night? This only happens while it is in the locked garage and we live on a very quiet cul-de-sac. There is never any traffic or pedestrians on the street at the times when it goes off. There are no damaged vents that a critter could enter. The car is a 2004 Camry and maintenance is kept rigidly up to date.
Veronica P.

Hi Veronica,
This is outside the scope of our column, but if it's okay with the publishers it's all right with me - besides, your car is in the garage, right?
From what you're saying, I would first check the sensitivity of your alarm. If it's set too high, any number of things could cause the alarm to go off - rodents, pets, traffic, etc.
Although you live on a quiet cul-de-sac, there may be traffic on a street behind your property. Large trucks can cause enough of a ground vibration to sound the alarm, especially if it's adjusted to a super sensitive setting.
It could also be a key fob problem. It's possible that one of your neighbors has the same frequency as your alarm. In this case, depending on the type of alarm you have, it may be possible to have your system re-frequed.
If it's a factory alarm, take the car back to Toyota, or the installers if after-market. Have them re-set the sensitivity. This component is very similar to an ERD, an electronic reversing device in automatic gates. If the sensitivity is already low, then have them run a diagnostic and check the wiring and the switch.

Hello Robert,
As of very recently, I represent a retirement community that has two swimming pools. I discovered some paperwork concerning our pools and our need to replace the drains. Do you know what is involved with this? Thank you.
Errol V.

Hi Errol,
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a very detailed list of safety measures that now applies to all pools and spas. The deadline for these changes was December 2008. These requirements fall under the jurisdiction of The County of Los Angeles - Department of Public Health.
The primary concern is to have split drains - add a second drain, so a child can't be injured by drain suction.
To proceed, you are going to have to submit scale drawings of your swimming pools and the proposed work that is required. Once approved through plan check, call your local authority to see how they want you to proceed in draining the pool and spa. They will probably ask you to neutralize the chlorine to less than five parts per million, then discharge into the storm drain.
Then you would need to saw cut around the drain, install a tee with a second drain at a minimum of three feet away. You also are required to use pre-approved unblockable drain covers, depending on the amount of gallons per minute your pumps are pushing; and the installation of safety vacuum release systems or automatic pump shut-off system.
The paperwork you are referring to is probably the report from the Health Inspector. His name and phone number should be listed, as well as the final deadline to have your repairs made. I would call him and explain your situation to see if he might provide you with an extension.
Submit your questions to:

Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a commercial General, Electrical and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in "Your Home Improvements" are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.


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