Hurricane season is upon us. Are you and your insurance company on the same page?

Evaluate whether your home insurance policy should include Guaranteed Replacement Value

It’s not too late to have a Wind Mitigation on your home. This can save you lots of money with discounts from most major insurance carriers

Just a friendly reminder, if you wish not to get a visit from the Fire Department you should make sure to always keep your dryer duct clean and free of debris.

Check out this link for some basic cleaning guidelines

http://www.cpsc.gov/pagefiles/118931/5022.pdf

Did you know…

Some heavy garment loads can contain more than a gallon of water which, during the drying process, will become airborne water vapor and leave the dryer and home through an exhaust duct (more commonly known as a dryer vent).

 

Building code (IRC) International Residential Code offers several guidelines if you want to read on at:

http://codes.iccsafe.org/app/book/content/2015-I-Codes/2015%20IRC%20HTML/Chapter%2015.html

After a rainstorm look for water puddling near your foundation.  If there are puddles you need to re-grade, install a moisture barrier, french drain, cut a swale, gutters, etc.

Ideally water will drain 3″+ away from the foundation of your home

This is how myself and some other fire department personnel from Alabama and Florida spent our morning. I do not know if anyone was texting, but I am saying always think safety. A text, phone call or other distraction from driving can cause major wrecks and more.

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This wreck kept traffic backed up for hours trying to cross the Lillian bridge.

Please be safe and use your head

Today’s home inspection had a problem with the wiring for a 3 way switch. Wiring a 3 way light switch so that you can an operate a light or fan from two different locations can be tricky. It is my understanding that  most of the time it’s a wiring concern when found not working. Today, I’m not so sure. They will need to hire an electrician and confirm what is going on. I can say that the light switch installed was the wrong type. A 3 way light switch will not have any writing on the switch. A switch not designed for a 3 way will say “ON”

Below is a diagram of things I will never see during a home inspection, as it is concealed inside the walls and ceilings.

3-way light switch

Sample way to quickly identify a proper 3 way switch

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In the recent past months I have found a very  high percentage of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are outdated. Our state standards require us to

“Check the presence or absence of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms”

So, we are not required to test these devices, though it’s very rare that we do not. I came across this article recently and felt it worth sharing. In short, the article is stating several states now require combination units to be installed in new homes, which I think is a huge step in the right direction.

The full article is in the Columbus Dispatch

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2016/03/27/01-state-code-embraces-photoelectric-smoke-alarms.html

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Highlights of this article are:

“Ohio has become the fifth state to require photoelectric smoke alarms in new homes.

In the state’s first official acknowledgement that traditional ionization alarms are insufficient, new building codes require both ionization and photoelectric alarms on all floors of homes.

Studies have shown that photoelectric devices are better at detecting smoldering fires, the most common home fire.

Ionization detectors are considered better at detecting flames”

 

It’s a small price to pay to have a safer home!

 

I just finished an inspection that the client didn’t want, at first. Her lending institution told her she needed one to get a loan. (That’s another story) During the course of the inspection things went very well. The house was 30 plus years old and had recently been rehabbed by someone local.

When I got to the heating and cooling I found an item which costs only a few dollars and it was incorrectly installed which could cost someone their life. I found that someone used a clothes dryer vent pipe for a gas flu vent type “b” vent. Needless to say, this won’t work, the back side of the vent was cooked with a large hole in it. Carbon monoxide had been pouring into the house while doing this home inspection until I found this safety issue.

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I immediately turned the heater off and asked the clients and their young kids to go outside and get some fresh air. Fortunately they had not been there but a very short time and fresh air is all they needed and they refused medical treatment. I do carry a small medical bag with me and checked my SPO2 levels which were fine.

Lots of lessons to be learned here. Above all else, GET A HOME INSPECTION!

I recently had a Realtor inquire about our services. Among this inquiry was one easy answer, but one some people seem to struggle with. She wanted my opinion as to the “Home Inspectors Role” in a Real estate sale.

Our responsibility is to provide the client with a complete and thorough inspection and report. The report should be an unbias report and assessment of the property at the time of the inspection. The inspection & report should be informative, easy to read and understand. We do our best to put items that are defective, unsafe or no longer working as intended on the summary page. We do not offer a pass or fail grade to a home inspection report

Fellow home inspector Richard and myself are looking for signs of water leaks with our thermal camera.

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The image you see in the mirror with the colored background is actually our heat reflecting off the glass! Pretty cool isn’t it!? What I hope to find when searching for water leaks is that the water will be a different temperature than the walls. When it is and it’s active, the water looks dark blue (if it’s cooler) and shows up as a contrast in colors much as the mirror is doing. In some cases the water may move the insulation so I can see a temperature difference without the water leak being active.

Again, the camera is only a sample tool in trying to find moisture, it also takes experience, building knowledge, visual, tactile senses, maybe a moisture meter and some common sense to complete the job

In the recent past I have started using a full face respirator. Currently model 3m 6898 which gives me lots of protection form respiratory stresses. It feels somewhat claustrophobic at first, but after some time it gets easier to use. Just being in  a crawlspace can be touch enough, it’s dusty, wet, stinky and usually very close quarters. This face mask allows easier breathing, literally. During an inspection last week, the mold was so bad under the home some of the floor, joists and beams were not visible. There is no way I want to breath that stuff! As you may know, all of this “stuff” getting into your eyes can’t be good for you either.

3m respirator

I wear a disposable Tyvek suit, full face mask, gloves and special shoes at almost every crawlspace.

 

 

 

 

 

Mold infested crawlspace

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