Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,
I look forward to your column every week. Our telephone entry system was accidentally hit by a moving truck and we have to replace it. Do you have any opinions or preferences on a replacement system?

Thank you, Jacque B.

Hi Jacque,
My preference would be DoorKing – and there are a multitude of reasons why I like them. They are located here in Southern California, based in Inglewood. Most of the major brands like Sentex and Mircom are now owned by Chamberlain, which is an out-of-state company. When it comes time to get replacement parts, I prefer dealing with local companies because delivery is faster.
Also, they are extremely customer friendly. They have state of the art equipment that is reasonably priced. When we work with DoorKing equipment, we make the installation and walk away. We’re done. Unless somebody tampers with them, they’ll run forever. They manufacture some great systems.
They offer several different models. Some properties have the paper directories. Whenever tenants change, you have to type out and print up a new sheet, physically go to the unit, open the door, deal with the change out order on the menu and replace the old listing. My recommendation would be to always go with a programmable computer system with LED display. This way, anyone from your property management company or a Board member or anyone you deem in charge can make the changes off-site. It’s well worth the extra money to go from a paper to a digital system. As long as you have the program and the master code, any changes can be made from a laptop or from the office in about one minute.
If you are installing a new system, I would prevent a southern exposure if possible, because the sun is hitting it all day and it is hard to read.

Hi Robert,
Lately our toilet has been filling up very slowly. Is it time for a new one? And there are vertical marks on the inside of the bowl that are very difficult to clean. Any advice you could give will be used.

Austin C.

Hi Austin,
This is more of a repair than a replacement. Both problems sound like they are coming from the same source, and for the same reasons. The vertical marks are the result of minerals and are common in hard water areas. It’s these minerals, the calcium and magnesium, that are causing the jets to get clogged up and slowing the fill time of your bowl.
Take a compact mirror and look up at the underside of the rim where the water comes out. If you see corrosion, spray on some Lime Away. This will also take those mineral marks off the bowl. Then take a coat hanger and bend it in the shape of a long check mark. Stick that coat hanger up inside each jet about an inch or two to clean them out.
Jab and clean each jet, all the way around the rim and you’ll see a noticeable improvement.

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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