Archive for the ‘responsibilities’ Category

As you are getting ready to decorate for the holidays:

Remember to check the amperage, use compatibility (indoor or outdoor) and the physical condition of extension cords. Is it frayed, worn and the proper size.

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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

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

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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Some months ago we starting looking into drones. We have gone ahead and purchased a Phantom III for testing and hopefully we will be able to use it as part of our services soon.
Yesterday I pulled up to my inspection and found out it was a 3 story commercial building with no roof access. It didn’t take long for the lights to come on in my brain….so, I called my wife who is becoming the operator of the drone and she showed up on site an hour later. The video is a shortened edition of what we could see. From the ground I could see nothing, so any viewing was a huge improvement. This approach certainly was a lot safer than climbing a 40″ ladder! With this Phantom III we got a birds eye view of the roof and found several leaks and a few other minor concerns.
Stay tuned for more to come

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You don’t have to be a Home Inspector to think something might be wrong with this sink drain. Just in case, there is a huge bottle of “Drain O” of some sort under the sink.

These corrugated pipes are becoming popular here. It seems to me it is a great way to create bacteria and other health problems as it can’t drain completely.

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Below is an example what a proper sink drain should look like.

 

plumbing traps

 

 

Yes, more fire safety talk. It seems everywhere I turn lately there is more convincing evidence that most of our current smoke & carbon monoxide detectors are not as safe as we would like to think. I’m talking about Ionization type. A few quick Google searches and a newer type called “Photoelectric” will keep popping up.

Both types can and do alert us, but there are some big differences. Below are some samples of what I have come to learn recently along with some interesting quotes.

Will combination units be the next best thing?!

“A smoke detector that sounds approximately nineteen minutes after smoke reached its sensing chamber is like an airbag that does not deploy until nineteen minutes after
a car accident.”

- Judge David E. Schoenthaler, Mercer v. Pitway/BRK Brands (First Alert)

Among the objectives of a smoke characterization study conducted by UL in 2007 were to develop recommendations to UL 217 and allow for the development of new smoke-sensing technologies. As a result of UL’s project, the following was identified for future consideration: “Requiring the use of combination ionization and photoelectric alarms for residential use in order to maximize responsiveness to a broad range of fires.”

The reason for this recommendation was that “Some of the evaluated flaming and non-flaming test scenarios triggered one but not both photo and ion alarms within the alarm response time criteria specified in UL 217.”

Ionization alarms are notorious for nuisance tripping. They frequently go off when you cook, burn toast, shower, etc. When alarms nuisance trip, people become frustrated and intentionally disable them. Most of us, including myself have removed a battery or pulled a unit off the wall intending to “fix it tomorrow”

In summary…I am heading to my local Big Box store to look at some combination units, I think you should do the same

These foundation piers found installed under a home are another good example of why you need a home inspection!
This home had been maintained by the good meaning home owners. Cinder blocks should not be installed on their sides when used used for support. I found a few of these blocks have cracks and are ready to split and fail holding the home up.

Foundation Piers

Most of the remaining blocks have settled due to improper footings and are leaning, allowing the home to do the same.

These repairs will run thousands of dollars$$$

Very often I am asked how much longer will these appliance last. There are so many variables that I can’t accurately answer the question. Though NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) offers some guidelines and since I see so many different aged units I can often give some guidance.
“Appliances

The life expectancy of a typical appliance depends to a great extent on the use it receives. Moreover, appliances are often replaced long before they are worn out because changes in styling, technology and consumer preferences make newer products more desirable. Of the major appliances in a home, gas ranges have the longest life expectancy: 15 years. Dryers and refrigerators last about 13 years. Some of the appliances with the shortest lifespan are: compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years)” and water heaters 5-15 years