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Robert Lamoureux: HOA can force removal of compressor

Your Home Improvements

Posted: September 24, 2010 9:17 p.m.
Updated: September 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Mr. Lamoureux,
My HOA will be repairing my deck and has instructed that my air conditioner compressor, which currently sits on the deck, will need to be removed. The HOA said water drainage will damage the new deck. 

I have lived here for eight years and I have never seen any water coming out of the compressor.  There was damage to the deck, but it was not due to the compressor. Since they are mistaken, I don’t feel I have to move anything. Please share your thoughts. Yours truly,

Kay B.

Hi Kay,

There is a good possibility you have a small split system, a one ton or under, that has a mini-heater in the bottom of the condensing pan. These small systems put out such a minimal amount of condensation, the heater evaporates the water. I would certainly bring this to the attention of the HOA.

Or, you could have a traditional system with a condensation line that could be prohibited due to possible water damage to the deck. If it were leaking, you would see puddling or water stains. 

In either case, if your CC & R’s — covenants, conditions and restrictions — can be interpreted as prohibiting a condenser on the patio, the HOA has a right to enforce this restriction. 

As is many times the case, these laws ultimately come down to interpretation. For example, it might actually say something like, “portable water features and fountains are prohibited,” in which case you could argue your position.  

If you are allowed to keep the condenser on the patio, you may want to consider installing rubber grommets, rubber feet on the bottom due to the slight vibration. This will help protect the surface of the new deck. 

Mr. Lamoureux,
My house needs a new roof. I plan to put on a light-weight composition shingle and then apply a coat of elastomeric latex. Is there a time factor I should wait before applying the elastomeric latex? I want to apply the elastomeric latex because of its reflective value. Also, will the roof need to be re-coated every few years? Thanks,
Tom A.

Hi Tom,

I know you’re going for a bright white roof, but that may not be legal in your community.

One of the problems with this project is the composition shingles have textures, highs and lows, and there are spaces between the shingles and the courses. The elastomeric will eventually crack and peel in those spaces. What you are left with will be an ugly roof. 

Also, different colored composition shingles, tobacco, for example, have a tendency to get hot and give off an asphalt liquid called “tobacco juice.”

This “juice” would roll down the roof, stain the new white elastomeric coating, stain the gutters and eventually stain the driveway. 

If you have any attic space your money would be better invested in insulation and ventilation. If you have R30 or higher insulation, you don’t need to coat the roof.

If you are set on a coating, the professionals use acrylic. This is what gives them a Title 24-compliant roof with 82-percent reflectivity. For this you have to go to a roofing supply house. The cost is about $25 a gallon. 

What’s the pitch of your roof? If you have a low pitch, 2/12 — 12” of horizontal measurement, the roof run, with 2” of vertical, the roof rise — you could install a rolled roofing material and then spray the acrylic on top. This system would give you a nice roof, if legal in your community. You can also buy the rolls with the acrylic already applied — or, you can buy composition shingles with acrylic.   
Hi Robert,
I bought an old house and I’ve been fixing it up. I was installing a peep hole in my front door and realized the door is hollow, which I understand is not to code. Is door installation a hard DIY? I also want to change out an interior door to a raised panel. Thank you,
Roque P.

Hi Roque,
You’re absolutely right. You do not want a hollow front door. There is no strength in a hollow door, no protection. Code requires a solid-core front entry door. Interior doors can be hollow, but this is not allowed for any perimeter door.

Door installation is not an easy job. It requires precision measurements and patience. I would not recommend your first install be a solid core front entry door. It is do-able for the first timer, but I would suggest starting with the hollow interior doors to give yourself some practice. They generally only have two hinges.

Doors are a lot of work  You’ll be using a router and chisel. You’ll also need a hole bore for the knob set. You can go out and buy all of the jigs, but if you think this will be the last time you work with doors, I wouldn’t go through the expense. If you plan to change all of your doors to the raised panels, then buy everything you need.

I’ve been in this industry for 30 years now and I have yet to see a straight jamb. They just don’t exist. You’re going to start with a perfectly square door and make the adjustments so it will fit.  It’s like putting a square peg in a round hole, with the help of a belt sander and a planer.  

You also have to measure out for the backset. This is from the edge of the door, in. Sometimes the backset is at the center of the door.

The problem with that is the latch is so long, and the longer you go, the weaker the mechanism.
For the hinges, typically you measure from the top of the door to the top of the hinge. Give an 1/8” grace for the reveal, which is where the door and the jamb meet. 

After installed, you need weather stripping, door shoe and a door sweep to keep the weather out, especially during the winter months.

We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to


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