Ask The Expert

Hi Robert,

The whole west side of my house has large windows. I have the tint and the drapes up, and I still feel a lot radiant heat coming in. What can I do?

Diane B.

Hi Diane,

Something that I have on my home are sun screens. They’re not that popular here and many people have never heard of them in Southern California. They’re a little more expensive than a standard screen, but they keep about 80% of the radiant heat out of the house. They’re phenomenal.

To install, you screen off the entire window. Usually a standard screen covers only the opening side of the window. In this case, you cover the entire window. They look like a regular screen, just a little thicker, and are available in different shades like black, tan, grey and white.

They darken the house a little bit and they obstruct a little view, but they knock 80% of the heat out of your home. During the summer, they cut my electric bill by $150 a month

For a standard window, costs run approximately $80—$90. Check on the current rebates offered by Southern California Edison. Previously, they have offered 50% for sun screens, so you are basically paying regular screen prices.

You can leave them on for the summer, then remove and store in your garage, or year round, depending on what you want to do. I leave mine on year round.

Robert Lamoureux,

I recently replaced my gas water heater. I got a permit and did the work myself. I hooked up the tank and the earthquake strap. I put the overflow pipe down to the floor exactly the way that it was. I got a correction notice from the inspector saying the heater has to be on a platform and that the temperature and pressure gauge needs to drain to the outside. The inspector won’t call me back. Do we really need to do this? Thank you,

David S.

Hi David,

Yes, you must comply with the building department. They are only informing you of a code in place that will protect you and your family. If you have ever seen the aftermath of an exploded water heater, you know what I’m talking about.

The reason water heaters have to be raised is because gas is heavy and travels along the floor line. The pilot will ignite the gas on the floor.

In theory, you raise the water heater 18” off of the floor on a fireproof platform. When you finish building the box, put at least a 5/8” sheet of plywood on top of the box and a piece of 5/8” drywall on top of that for fire purposes. Place a water heater pan on top of the drywall in case of leaks, and then the water heater on top of that.

The T & P drain line goes to the outside. In the past, people have gotten scalded when the T & P was released. It would get bumped and drain out on the floor and could seriously hurt people. Now, if it releases, it blows out to the exterior of your home, close to the ground, so the likelihood of someone getting burned is very remote. That code was changed many years ago.

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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