Rosie on the House: Sunscreens can help prevent damage to home’s windows


Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer systems. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.


QUESTION: I’m replacing four windows in my house that had suffered serious sun damage, and I’m curious about whether putting sunscreens on them each summer would provide protection so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.


ANSWER: Yes, that’s possible. Just be sure to install a shade that will reflect 80 percent of the sun’s heat.

If you don’t have sunscreens, the summer heat and UV-rays can damage the vinyl frames on windows and bleach furniture, flooring and rugs.


The heat on glass can also break the seals in dual-pane windows. In that case, you might end up with moisture penetrating the seal and fogging up windows.

One thing to remember: Sometimes installing sunscreens can void the warranty on your windows. So check the fine print on the warranty first.


Q: What about blocking the sun with the old “aluminum foil inside the window” trick? Will that help keep sun and heat out of your house? Is there any harm in doing that?


A: It might keep the heat out of your house, but then all the sun and heat would still hit the outside of the windows and could damage the glass.

Q: I had two air conditioning units installed in my house in 1999 as part of a remodel. I was told they were horizontal units installed vertically due to tight spacing. But as a result I have had a big problem over the years with condensate leaking into my walls. I’ve even used tubs under them to catch the excess water. I was told I couldn’t install new units without removing part of the remodeled area. I was also told that replacing them might cost $45,000. What can I do about this continuing problem?


A: I think you have to install new properly positioned units to solve the problem. You can buy vertical air handling units that would probably fit the space without ripping up the house. I also don’t think this would cost you $45,000. Have a reputable air conditioning contractor come to your house and give you an estimate for free. It’s also probable that those old units are now reaching the end of their natural lifespan by now.

Q: I have a very tall palo verde tree that helped shade a window on the second story of my house. Then a microburst from a monsoon storm came along and tore off some of the branches. About one-third of the tree was damaged. Can I keep the tree or does it have to be removed?


A: Desert trees are very resilient. If you trim off some of the jagged edges on the broken branches, the tree will probably sprout new growth and continue to shade your home.


Q: I have a red bud tree that was planted as a sapling that I got from Georgia about 19 years ago. Now, some of the branches are starting to die off. What can I do to save it? I’ve mulched around it and I was wondering if I should fertilize it some more.


A: It’s very impressive that a red bud has lasted for 19 years. Arizona is definitely out of a red bud’s normal growing zone. But many unusual things can happen here if you build a little microclimate to keep a tree like that sheltered from desert winds.

These imported trees can get established and do pretty well. Unfortunately, however, it sounds as if your tree will have to be replaced at this point.

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to Romero, an Arizona home-building and remodeling-industry expert for 29 years, is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning “Rosie on the House” radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST (790-AM) in Tucson and from 9-11 a.m. on KGVY (1080-AM and 100.7-FM) in Green Valley. Call 888-767-4348.


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