Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

I’m going to be digging in my front yard to install a gas line and I know for a fact there are no utilities in my front yard. I’ve seen in the past where you said to call dig alert, but it’s not necessary. Who could I call to get around this? Thank you,

Roger H.

Hi Roger,

Anytime you put a shovel to the ground, you need to call USA Dig Alert at 811. They are a great agency. We work with them all of the time. If it’s an emergency, they will respond immediately.

If you did happen to dig without their authorization and hit something, you would own it. It’s not worth it. Dig Alert is a free service, very responsive and professional.

The only thing they require you to do is call them and identify in white traffic paint where the dig is to take place. Spray paint USA a few times with arrows to indicate where and the direction of the dig. They will come out and notify the cable company, gas company, the phone, power, etc. — any entity that could be in that area. All the guys that respond are good guys. They appreciate that you are doing your part and don’t want to damage the utilities, because they are the guys that have to go out in the middle of the night to make the repairs.

Dear Mr. Lamoureux,

I live in a condominium and I always hear water running. Does this mean I am about to flood? It’s making me crazy. I don’t see any leaks and nothing is wet. Everything is turned off and we don’t have any dripping faucets. Do you know what this could be? Thank you very much,

Darlene T.

Hi Darlene,

This is a very common question that I hear all of the time. You no doubt live on the first floor. Go upstairs and talk to your neighbor. They have a sink that’s slowly running or a toilet with a bad flapper. So since the water from their sink or toilet is always running down through the plumbing, through the ABS pipes in the walls of your unit, you hear it very distinctly. The noise will stop after they repair their fixtures.

Hey Robert,

Our garage door is not working. It will only close halfway then it will stop and open up again. I have to manually pull the cord to get it to close. What’s causing this? Thank you,

Clyde H.

Hi Clyde,

There are a few things that will cause that to happen. The sensitivity of the ERD — the electronic reversing device — could be set too high, or the springs might be too tight. Maybe you’ve put on new springs, I don’t know, but if the springs are put in incorrectly and the door is too tight, even if the ERD is set at its lowest sensitivity, that will cause the door to reverse.

Also, check the condition of the garage door opener itself. If it is flexing, it will cause the ERD to reverse and not allow the door to close properly.

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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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