Ask The Expert


Hey Robert,

Are permits needed to replace an asphalt shingle roof? I’ll be doing the work myself as an owner-builder and replacing like for like. And let’s say permits are required but I don’t get any, what kind of penalty if any would be involved? Thanks,

Jake G.

Hi Jake,

Yes, you will need a permit. You’re doing a tear-off and the inspector wants to make sure that the plywood sub-roof is in good shape.

The penalty would be you having to pay double the original permit fee costs. The inspector could also require you to remove all of the new shingles you just installed so that the sub-roof could be inspected.

Hi Robert,

I’m writing about the knock-knock burglars in theSan Fernando Valleythat apparently can pick locks. Are there any locks available that can’t be picked? I would feel better about spending a little money and be able to sleep better at night. Many thanks,

Connie W.

Hi Connie,

My recommendation is a Medeco lock. They have several different types of lock available. I use them on my commercial building and home. Basically, the only way you’re getting in without a key is by using a drill motor or chopping the door down with a fire axe.

No lock is completely pick-proof, but Medeco is the toughest lock to break into. My locksmith is the man that installed the locks at Ronald Reagan’s’ home and FBI offices. His choice is Medeco.

The keys are highly restricted. They will give you a signature card and only the person on that card will be able to get keys. If a locksmith were to cut keys for someone not on the card, he would lose his Medeco license.

Hi Robert,

We can’t afford to run our air conditioner in our home anymore. I’m not sure what I need to ask but is it possible to make the air conditioner more efficient so we can still have it, but it costs us less to use? Thank you,

Ellen M.

Hi Ellen,

There’s not an efficient way to alter the mechanics of the air conditioner. They run on 220 V because of the compressor and air handler, but do you have ceiling fans?

What I do is cool my house down at night and then turn on the fans. Turning the air conditioner off and not having it run all night long will save you tons of money.

Keep your house at 75 or 76 degrees during the day to keep yourselves comfortable. Then run the fans as much as you can and you should see a drop in your electric bill by 25% to 30%.

You can also reduce your bills by replacing your incandescent bulbs with fluorescents. There are a lot of styles and options available these days. Another option is to go with LED’s. They are more costly up front, but the savings are substantial when looking long term. I replaced my bulbs with LED’s and after about two years they had paid for themselves.

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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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