Ask The Expert


Dear Robert,
I live in a two-story house and there is a downspout right outside of my bedroom window. When it rains, it is so noisy that I cannot sleep. Moving my bed won’t help because you hear it all over my bedroom. Short of ripping the downspout off the wall, which I am considering, can you think of a quieter solution? This is like a water torture.

Thank you,
Sleepless in Simi

Hi Sleepless,
There is a 90 degree fitting at the bottom of the downspout and the sound you are hearing is the water hitting the belly of that 90. All you need to do is go to your home improvement store and buy a small sheet of rubber to line that elbow or shoe.
You may have to take the elbow apart or use a pair of snips and cut it open, but secure a piece of rubber on the bottom, attached with some silicone caulk.
Keep in mind that you want the rubber to lay flat as possible. You don’t want a lip on the leading edge that will catch any leaves or cause any obstructions.

Mr. Lamoureux,
We have two families with electric cars in our HOA of 50 units. It has come to our attention that they plug into the community power in the evening – so basically we are paying for this electricity they are using. Is it possible to run an outlet to their home electrical meter so they are each charged for the electricity they use? Would this be the most economical solution, especially if others decide to go electric?

Thank you,
Gordon S.

Hi Gordon,
To regulate their individual power consumption, you’ll first need to determine how much amperage the cars are using, the draw, to know what type of meter to install.
You would put in an additional circuit, run power from the house panel, run the voltage over and mount an in-line E-mon D-mon meter for each electrical source you would like to regulate. In this case you would run it over to their parking spots and install the receptacles.
These meters are digital and will give you a display of how many watts have been used. There is a specific mathematical formula that you must use – the power company will not do this for you, to calculate the energy costs on a monthly basis. The individual homeowners would then be responsible for paying that amount of the HOA electric bill.

Hi Robert,
We have remodeled our home and relocated our kitchen to where the master bedroom used to be. The bedroom had only a single door, but we want to open up the entrance with the equivalent of a double door leading in to the new kitchen. What should I do about the header?

Gary S.
Hi Gary,

The old header will have to come out and a new one installed. A rule of thumb for headers, using 4 x lumber, is to go one inch + for every one foot of opening. For example, if your double doors total five feet wide, then you would want to go with a minimum header size of 4 x 5, with a recommended size of a 4 x 6.

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 “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

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