Ask The Expert

Dear Robert,

I live in Valencia in a house that is so long that, since we only have one doorbell, we can’t hear it from the opposite side of the house. My question is: Can I run a second doorbell off the same transformer and place it in the other part of the house? Thank you for your help.

Richard F.

Hi Richard,

You can’t use the same transformer because it is only 14—16 volts which is not enough voltage to carry two doorbells.

The most economical way to do this without running wire and another transformer is to purchase a wireless doorbell from your local home improvement center. Included in the kit will be a transmitter that you wire into your existing ringer and complete wiring diagrams. It’s very easy and is all low voltage so you can’t get shocked.

There is also a plug-in module which is the receiver and the chime all built into one. Anytime the doorbell rings, it will power up the transmitter that in turn powers the receiver and chimes the bell. You plug this in wherever you want and can move it at will.

The cost is in the neighborhood of $30—$40 and you’ve got an instant doorbell. I’ve had one in the back of my home for 15 years and it still works fine.

Mr. Lamoureux,

I hope that you can get back to me with this question ASAP. We have a bad roof. It leaks and we don’t have the money to have it repaired at the moment. One solution so far is to use plastic for waterproofing. We could hold it down with sandbags and attach the plastic to side walls that are 2 feet tall. This would basically make a waterproof liner and keep the water out of the units under that section. Does this sound like a good idea?

Martin V.

Hi Martin,

No, this is a terrible idea. If that plastic obstructs the scuppers, you’re going to end up with a swimming pool on your roof. The weight of this much water would cause a total roof collapse.

Roofs are designed to channel water off of them as quickly as possible. They are not built to support water. Never turn a flat roof into a pool liner.

You see roofs collapse from time to time because of a lack of maintenance to the scuppers. When the scuppers or roof drains are blocked, water collects and once you get enough of a load, the roof will come down.

Hi Robert,

I’m changing all the doors in my house with pre-hungs. How do you figure out if a door is a left swing or a right swing? Thank you,

Dion A.

Hi Dion,

The easiest way is to open the door and put your back against the hinges on the jamb. If the door opens to the left, it’s a left swing; to the right, it’s a right swing.

You’ll also need to know the hinge placements. They’ll want measurements from the top of the door to the top of the top of each hinge.

For the latch or deadbolt, measure from the top of the door to the center of the latch. That will tell them where to put the bore.

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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