Archive for January, 2008

GFCI’s

Here is a question I’m frequently asked. “Do I need Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter devices (GFCI) even though my home isn’t new.”

My Answer:
Absolutely! Today GFCI electrical outlets are required in all wet areas around the home, i.e., kitchens, and baths, garages, basements and on the exterior of the home. Whenever we perform a home inspection on an older home (pre-1990’s) and they are not installed, we do recommend an upgrade. They are an inexpensive way to protect your family from electrocution when using electrical devices around water.

There are several different types and styles available which is a topic for another day.

GFCI

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I think everyone knows that deadbolts can be a great safety item. However, can a deadbolt can also be a safety hazard!

Some people use double-keyed deadbolts in a house. That means that you have to have a key to open the door whether you’re outside the house or inside the house.

Lots of homes have glass in the door, not to hard to break the window and twist a key or knob to get in. (another blog)

The big problem as I see it is that these double-keyed deadbolts can block emergency and fire exits in a home. What if there’s a fire and your only exit is the door with the double-keyed deadbolt? You may have just blocked your fire exit!

So, take a few minutes and plan ahead. Make sure you and your family have an emergency exit plan in place.

Slower times

Since we have slowed down in the home inspection business, I am reminded of how the mind can drift. What seems like a lifetime ago I was in the automotive business. During some of those slow times my mind would wander and that’s when I would make mistakes. I know it is important for me to keep myself busy and concentrate on the work I’m doing. I am curious how some of the slower home inspectors handle it. Do they make more mistakes now?

Water, water, water

Water, water and more water 

I recently saw a TV commercial from a large drinking water company advertising how much we Americans fill the dumps with plastic bottles. Now they want to help save the planet by suppling us water in their filtered containers. They still offer the other non re-usable bottles. It seems like a double sales standard to me.

I have also recently read, that we have been brain washed into thinking we need to drink¬† gallons of water per day. I’m not sure how much of any of these stories are true.

Personally we have bottled water delivered to us by a local water company because our well water has a high bacteria count. As a family we do consume lots of water daily, we have old semi-water wasting toilets, live in the hot south, exercise every day, spend time in 140 degree attics during home inspections and so on.

No matter where your water source comes from, it might be a good time to have it checked and it is also a good time to evaluate your water usage. Water quality is probably the most common concern and the one most often tested for. Typically, a basic water quality test will check pH, water hardness, the presence of fluoride, sodium, iron and manganese, plus bacteria such as E-coli. Additionally, water may be tested for the presence of lead or arsenic.