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Fluorescent system reduces chlorine

Posted: July 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hi Robert,
I’m trying to save money on my pool, and have recently heard there is a fluorescent-light system used that reduces chlorine, but kills bacteria. Are you familiar with this? Thank you,
Audrey W.

Hi Audrey,
I have the fluorescent system in my pool. I was one of the test sites to see if it would work on a residential level, and I have nothing but great things to say about it.
My chlorine usage is down probably 60 percent. The costs are offset a little due to the electrical usage.
There is a UV light that is in-line, basically like a fluorescent light, but higher power.
I don’t know all of the statistics, but there is some energy being used by the light.
I use chlorine tabs, not the liquid.
I prefer the least amount of maintenance as possible, so I have a commercial in-line chlorinator.
It’s a little larger than residential models, so it saves me from constantly having to replace the 3-inch tabs.
I’m a big advocate of those. You don’t have to pour the liquid, which could spill or splash and stain the tiles.
With the in-line chlorinator, the UV light and a pool sweep, my maintenance is down to almost nothing.  
Hi Robert,
I live in an area with a homeowners association. The driveways and the swale in the middle of the driveways were in deplorable condition. Everything has now been ripped out, including the swale, and replaced with asphalt. It appears the middle of the asphalt — where the concrete used to be — is the low spot. Will that create problems? Thank you,
Larry C.

Hi Larry,
If they are using the asphalt as a swale, there is a problem. The reason concrete is used is because water runoff will not wear down the surface of the concrete. Eventually, the top of the asphalt is going to wear away.  
If they crowned the asphalt at the top, using the gutters on each side, then that’s fine. Get a garden hose, and spray it down.
Water will seek its own level and find its own space. If you see that the water goes down the center of the asphalt swale, then it will deteriorate over time.   
You could bring this to the attention of the board of directors. Depending on the amount of water usage and rains, you’ll be back at square one in a couple of years.  

Hey Robert,
In our development, we have spigots in the back of our garages to attach water hoses. On the end of them, they have a device that doesn’t let the full amount of water come out. What is that? Can we take that off? Thank you,
Luis K.

Hi Luis,
Those are vacuum breakers, and you can’t take those off. Their purpose is to keep contaminates, such as pesticides, from flowing back through the hose and into the water supply.  
Let’s say a landscaper or homeowner is using a hose end sprayer for weed abatement. If the hose was put down for whatever reason, heat would take the chemical in the container and would force the solution up and back to the hose bib, and would contaminate the domestic water. Residents can become sick because of the contaminated water. Now vacuum breakers are required. It’s a one way valve, which prevents that possibility.  
If ever one of those hose bibs is replaced, you have to make sure it is replaced with one that has a vacuum breaker.

Hi Robert,
I have written to you before and know you are the go-to guy for any and all home repair problems.
My sunroom is 6 years old, and the roof started leaking in two of the interior seams last year — but only during really heavy rains. My son tried caulking where the roof meets the house on the outside and along the leaking seams.
It only helped a little. I called the installer, and they said I can purchase a cover for the roof which seems equivalent to some kind of rubber dam-type thing. It is around $2,000. I’d like to try other remedies before doing something that expensive.
I’ve thought about that spray-foam product that expands and fills gaps in interior areas, and wondered if it would be OK for exterior use. I also saw a product that is a spray rubber and can be used for a variety of repairs.
I thought that sounded quite promising. Is there anything you would recommend I try before going with the whole roof covering? Thank you!
Carolyn H.    

Hi Carolyn,
Spray-foam products are not good for exterior use because they are not waterproof. 

The product you saw on television sounds like a bituthene product, and if so, is a good choice. Using that, I would start at the bottom and waterproof your way up. 

The problem may be with the structure itself, or it could be the flashing. Did they flash the sunroom to the house? Did they screw through it?

I don’t know how it’s mounted, but if they screwed through the stucco and violated the paper, then there’s your leak. If that’s the cause, then you’ll need to break out the stucco, install the counter flashing and replace the paper.

Then you’ll be water-tight. First I would ascertain the cause of the leak. If it’s the sunroom itself, then it has it’s own warranties. If damages were caused by the install, then call the installers and have them come back and make the repairs.  

Hi Robert:
I have a whole-house fan, which is great when the nights cool down in Valencia. My friend wants to install one but can only find one this has a 24-inch width. Since the studs in the floor joists are on 16-inch centers, is it within code to cut the floor joists and “box” the fan in using 2-by-4s? I am not able to locate a whole house fan that can be installed between floor joists that are on 16” centers. Look forward to your answer.
Eddie D

Hi Eddie,
With a whole-house fan installation, you’re dealing with two different elements — structural and electrical.

You can cut the ceiling joists and box it in but unless your friend really has a good idea of what they’re doing with this type of work, I would call in a contractor.

Let a professional make the determination of the best place for the install and have them frame it out.
They will also need to run power to the fan.

Again, because of the potential danger whenever working with electrical, I always suggest calling a qualified contractor.  
We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and 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. Send your questions to


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