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Robert Lamoureux: Security system offers peace of mind

Posted: September 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 1, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hello Robert,

I got a question for you.  I don’t know if you have touched on this in the past, but I’m a single female and live alone.  

I’m concerned about my safety especially after somebody broke into my neighbor’s garage.

I know they say dogs are the best alarm but I have a very small yard and don’t have the time or patience to take care of an animal, so that would not work.  

I’ve decided that an alarm system would be best for me. Do you buy these at a hardware store and then have it installed?  

Do you have any information on this? Thank you very much,

Alice T.

Hi Alice,

I’m not a security expert by any means, but I am well-versed with different systems.  I have one on my home and place of business and really believe in their effectiveness. They also provide peace of mind.  

There are smart systems available now that can determine if you’re home and come equipped to sensor entry points and glass breakers. They are pretty much all wireless now. You can attach all of your sensors on your windows and doors.  

There are also modules that sit above each window and door, depending on your budget.

If we were talking about a new home, I would recommend to hard wire a system in place. But with an existing home, go with a wireless system.  

You’ll input a code to disarm when you come in. When you leave, you generally just push the “ON” button.  

As you leave through your primary exit door, the system will send a signal to the panel to activate all the sensors in the house.      

With a smart system, if you’re going to stay home, you arm it, but it senses that you never exited through the main door, so it knows that you’re home.  It disarms all the motions in the house. There are nice systems available.  

It will however, identify if you have a glass break and sound the alarm.  They are really amazing.  

They are very simple and easy-to-use systems.  They are also available with keyless fobs so that it can be activated from your car.  And, if you leave and forget to set the alarm, the newer systems allow you to set it with your smartphone.

If there is a break-in, it will tell you what zones have been compromised. You’ll want to be sure and get a good monitoring company.  

Feel free to write me privately and I will send you information on the company that I’ve used for 20 years.  


I acid washed our pool but I still have about 5 square feet on the bottom that is stained almost like a teal color.  I have no idea how these stains got there but they are noticeable from the surface.  Acid is having little if any effect. Is there another cleaner or option you would recommend? Thank you,

Reggie Y.

Hi Reggie,

We had a similar question last week. The important difference here being the color of your stain.

Put some sandpaper on a wooden paddle and lightly abrade the stains by hand, or you could use a power sander but be careful not to go too deep.  

Greenish blue stains are generally caused by copper and improper chemical balances.  If the acid content is too high, it will strip the copper out of the heat exchanger and cause these types of stains.  

Depending on how much of the stain is sitting on the surface, there’s a good chance that a light sanding will remove some of the staining, but if it’s too deep it won’t come out.  

The next option would be to have your pool re-plastered.  If this is the case, check the heater and repair the copper damage beforehand.     

Hi Robert,

First of all, I want to say I really enjoy your columns.

We’re ready to replace out old tilt up style garage door with one that rolls up.  I’ve been looking at different models and the prices range from $400 to $1,800.  The cheaper ones don’t have any insulation and look like a piece of aluminum foil stretched over a frame.  

Is it worth paying extra for an insulated garage door?  Why would I want to insulate my garage?  Other than the insulation are there any big differences between the cheap and expensive styles? Thank you very much,

Natalie C.

Hi Natalie,

Well, it’s like anything else.  The difference would be the amount of quality available at the price you’re willing to pay.    

If you go with a cheaper door, especially on a south rotation facing door, the sun will bake your garage.  

My door sits southwest and I’ve never once regretted going with a higher end, better quality, insulated garage door.  

The type door you are interested in is called a sectional door.  

Roll up doors are available on a residential level, but the costs are astronomical. These are called curtain gates and are almost always for commercial applications.  

Personally, for something you’ll be using for 15 or 20 years or more, I would spend a little extra and get a better quality insulated door with better quality moving parts, especially if it faces a southern direction.  

If not, the heat from your garage will only transfer into your home.  I will forward you a good, reputable door installer if you like.

While you’re at it, if you have the means, I would replace your garage door operator if it’s more than 10 years old. Many older operators have no safeties in place.  

There have been many fatal garage door accidents over the years which led to the development of an ERD — electronic reversing device.  If someone or a pet crosses the beam, the door opens instead of closing, trapping and possibly suffocating them.   

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 contacting. 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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