Question: We are thinking of installing Rain Birds on the roof of our house, both to help cool the house and as possible fire protection. Do you think this is a good concept?
Answer: You are probably wiser to install an attic fan and insulation material such as fiberglass. Water from sprinklers or Rain Birds on the roof will deteriorate the roofing material, and during hot weather will vaporize quickly, giving minimal cooling effect compared with adequate insulation and/or ventilation.
Q: We are remodeling our bathroom and I like some very exoticfixtures made by a foreign manufacturer. Do you advise using these products?
A: When purchasing plumbing fixtures, I have found that you are better off using name brands that are readily available on the West Coast. Items manufactured abroad or even in the East may be difficult to replace.
While all bathroom fixtures are basically the same in concept, the parts available differ greatly. For example, when I purchased bathroom fixtures from an Eastern company a short while ago, I found that it does not have a sales organization in the West, and I had to wait 2 1/2 weeks for the shipment of parts.
Q: We are remodeling our home, and our contractor has suggested that we carefully consider our needs for lighting. We are working on a budget, and he feels that we are not spending enough for electrical outlets. What do you think?
A: Your contractor could be right. One of the major considerations if you are doing a total house remodeling is to have a functional plan for your lighting, including decorative lighting. The wiring can be installed as the house is being remodeled. The American Home Lighting Institute advises the following:
--Provide plenty of outlets and switches: one at each home entrance, for permanent lighting fixtures, portable lights, appliances, and don't forget the hallways and foyer.
--Consider not only room spaces but also closets, kitchen cabinets, shower stalls, basements and attics.
--Don't forget your outdoor lighting, such as porches, garage, decks, as well as your yard areas. The most overlooked area of lighting is probably in the yard, and this is important both for security and attractive landscaping. Outdoor lighting can be installed with floodlights, which can be put on a timer to give you maximum security.
If you plan these before remodeling, it can be relatively inexpensive. You might consider consulting a lighting designer or expert at the AHLI who can help you meet your particular needs. The AHLI offers "Guidelines to Good Lighting," available for $2 a copy by writing Dept. M, American Home Lighting Institute, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.