Friday, November 30, 2012

Roof Verification Inspections

Citizens Insurance now requires Roof Certification inspections or proof of roof replacement upon renewal of homes of certain ages.

All roofs must be in good condition with no damage or visible signs of leaks and a remaining life of 8+ years to be eligible for coverage with Citizens. In addition, specific “age of roof” requirements have been implemented. Roof eligibility does NOT apply to HW-4 and HW-6 policies. Shown below is better clarification of carrier details.

Age Requirements for Roof System
Both residential and manufactured homes over 25 years of age with fiberglass shingles and home over 50 years of age with other roof covering types must have the roof replaced to be eligible for coverage. To assist policyholders, Citizens Insurance has created a Roof Condition Certification Form (CIT RCF-1 1108) which may be used to certify the eligibility of the roof system. Permits from a municipality are also acceptable, so long as the replacement was completed by a licensed roofing contractor. SitePro is authorized by the State of Florida to provide roof certification forms to residents for discounts allowed by Florida Citizens Insurance.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

About Garage Doors

Garage doors are large, spring-supported doors. Garage door openers control the opening and closing of garage doors, either through a wall-mounted switch or a radio transmitter. Due to the strain that garage door components and openers regularly endure, they may become defective over time and need to be fixed or replaced. Defective components may create safety hazards as well as functional deficiencies to the garage door assembly. The following facts demonstrate the dangers posed by garage doors:

Garage doors are typically among the heaviest moving objects in the home and are held under high tension.

Injuries caused by garage doors account for approximately 20,000 emergency room visits annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product

Safety Commission.
The majority of the injuries caused by garage doors are the result of pinched fingers, although severe injuries and deaths due to entrapment occur as well. Sixty children have been killed since 1982 as a result of garage doors that did not automatically reverse upon contact.

Inspectors cannot fix or adjust any garage door defects they may encounter. They should call out defects in their reports and recommend that the door be examined by a trained garage door technician. The following components should be present during inspections and devoid of defects:

Manual (emergency) release handle. All garage doors should be equipped with this device, which will detach the door from the door opener when activated. It is vital during emergency situations, such as when a person becomes trapped beneath the door or when a power outage cuts electricity to the door opener. Inspectors should activate the handle to make sure that it works, although they will have to reset the handle if it does not reset automatically. In order for the handle to be accessible and obvious, it must be…colored red; easily distinguishable from rest of the garage opener system; and
no more than 6 feet above the standing surface.

Door panels.
Both sides of the door should be examined for the following:
fatigue; cracking and dents. Aluminum doors are especially vulnerable to denting; and separation of materials.

Warning labels.
The following four warning labels should be present on or around garage door assemblies:
a spring warning label, attached to the spring assembly;
a general warning label, attached to the back of the door panel;
a warning label attached to the wall in the vicinity of the wall control button, and; a tension warning label, attached to garage door’s bottom bracket.

Brackets and roller shafts.
Brackets. The garage door opener is connected to the garage door by a bracket that is essential to the function of the door opener system. Placement of the bracket where it attaches to the door is crucial to the operation of its safety features. It should attach 3 to 6 inches from the top of the door. This bracket, as well as all other brackets, should be securely attached to their surfaces.

Roller shafts.
Roller shafts should be longer on the top and bottom rollers. The top rollers are the most important. Without longer shafts, if one side of the door hangs up, the door may fall out of the opening.

Door operation.
The door’s operation can be tested by raising the door manually, grasping the door’s handles if it has them. Inspectors can make sure that the door:
moves freely; does not open or close too quickly; and opens and closes without difficulty.

Note – Inspectors should not operate the door until they have inspected the track mounts and bracing. Doors have been known to fall on people and cars when they were operated with tracks that were not securely attached and supported.

Extension spring containment cables. Older garage doors may use extension springs to counter-balance the weight of the door. These require a containment cable inside the spring to prevent broken parts from being propelled around the garage if the spring snaps. Most new garages use shaft-mounted torsion springs that do not require containment cables.

Wall-mounted switch. This device must be present and positioned as high as is practical above the standing surface (at least five feet as measured from the bottom of the switch) so that children do not gain access. In addition, the button must…be mounted in clear view of the garage door; and
be mounted away from moving parts.

Important Note – SitePro inspectors always make sure to disable the manual lock on the garage door before activating the switch.

Automatic reverse system. As of 1991, garage doors are required to be equipped with a mechanism that automatically reverses the door if it comes in contact with an object. It is important that the door reverses direction and opens completely, rather than merely halting. If a garage door fails this test, inspectors should note it in their reports. A dial on the garage door opener controls the amount of pressure required to trigger the door to reverse. This dial can be adjusted by a qualified garage door technician if necessary.

Methods for testing the automatic reverse system:
This safety feature can be tested by grasping the base of the garage door as it closes and applying upward resistance. Inspectors should use caution while performing this test because they may accidentally damage its components if the door does not reverse course.

Some sources recommend placing a 2×4 piece of wood on the ground beneath the door, although there have been instances where this testing method has damaged the door or door opener components.

Supplemental automatic reverse system. Garage doors manufactured in the U.S. after 1992 must be equipped with photoelectric sensors or a door edge sensor.

Photoelectric eyes. These eyes (also known as photoelectric sensors) are located at the base of each side of the garage door and emit and detect beams of light. If this beam is broken, it will cause the door to immediately reverse direction and open. For safety reasons, photo sensors must be installed a maximum of 6 inches above the standing surface.

Door edge sensors. This device is a pressure-sensitive strip installed at the base of the garage door. If it senses pressure from an object while the door is closing, it will cause the door to reverse. Door edge sensors are not as common in garage door systems as photoelectric eyes.

Safety Advice for Clients:
Homeowners should not attempt to adjust or repair springs themselves. The springs are held under extremely high tension and can snap suddenly and forcefully, causing serious or fatal injury.

No one should stand or walk beneath a garage door while it is in motion. Adults should set an example for children and teach them about garage door safety.

Children should not be permitted to operate the garage door opener push button and should be warned against touching any of the door’s moving parts.
Fingers and hands should be kept away from pulleys, hinges, springs, and the intersection points between door panels. Closing doors can very easily crush body parts that get between them.

The automatic reversal system may need to be adjusted for cold temperatures, since the flexibility of the springs are affected by temperature. This adjustment can be made from a dial on the garage door opener, which should only be changed only by a trained garage door technician.

In summary, garage doors and their openers can be hazardous if certain components are missing or defective. Take all recommendations for repairs very seriously, particularly if you have children.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What We Inspect

What We Inspect...
Exterior
grading & drainage, walls, coverings, patios/decks, patio covers, sidewalks & driveways, soffits / fascias, doors / windows / trim, rain gutters / downspouts, retaining walls, etc.
Structure
foundation, crawlspace, footings/columns, floors/wall/roof framing, chimneys.
Roofing
structure, coverings, flashings, skylights, vent/stacks.
Electrical
service entrance, grounding, panel/sub panels, branch circuits, outlets, gfci's, circuit integrity.
Heating and Air Conditioning
description, combustion system, a/c components, supply/discharge lines, venting, ductwork/registers, controls/thermostats.
Plumbing
main supply line, distribution lines, fixtures, vents/traps/drains, functional flow.
Insulation and Ventilation
attic, walls, crawlspace, floors, lines, ductwork, air/vapor barriers.
Interior
walls, ceilings, windows, floors, doors, stairs, fireplaces, smoke detectors.

www.sitepro.us

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tips for Taking the Squeeze Out of Bank-Owned Home Purchases‏

With many novice buyers jumping into the market to take advantage of great deals on bank-owned foreclosure properties, many are unprepared for the time-squeeze imposed by the bank’s custom real estate contract, which lacks a number of buyer-favored terms found in a standard real estate contract.

Offering the buyer a maximum of 17 days to complete inspections and remove contingencies means the buyer, who is already quite overwhelmed with the intricacies of the home-buying process, must act quickly or risk ending up with a home fraught with unseen problems that could have been avoided.

While it may seem impossible to comply with such a short contingency window, which often doesn’t allow enough time for home inspections, there are a number of important tips home buyers, whether new or seasoned, should follow:

1. Work with a real estate agent experienced in purchasing bank-owned properties.
2. Request the full 17-day period for removal of contingencies determined upon receipt of signed contracts.
3. Have the seller pay for a termite inspection and ask that it be scheduled as soon as possible.
4. For vacant properties, personally make sure all utilities are on before scheduling a home inspection. It is the seller’s responsibility to have gas, water, and electrical services on and all pilot lights lit (verify by flipping light switches and turning on a faucet until the water runs hot.) A home inspector cannot perform a complete inspection without utilities, nor can an inspector light pilots.
5. After confirming utilities are on, hire and schedule the services of a qualified home inspector.
6. Following the home inspector’s report, immediately seek work estimates from the relevant experts for any problem areas turned up in the home inspection, such as cracks in the foundation, water or gas leaks, faulty wiring, termite damage, mold, wood rot, etc.
7. Go back to the seller with quotes in hand to renegotiate the final contract terms.
8. For a condo/townhome purchase, request all your HOA documents, including meeting minutes, financials, and CC&Rs, prior to removal of contingencies.

“The bank’s tight window means home buyers can’t afford to lose a single day. Neglecting something as simple as making sure the utilities are turned on can result in a false start for the home inspector, who cannot complete a proper inspection without them, causing the stressed-out buyer to lose precious days,” explains Will Johnson of Inspection Perfection.

About Inspection Perfection
Founded in 2002, SitePro offers complete residential inspection services, serving the entire Florida Panhandle. Services are available for all types of residential properties, pools and spas, as well as FHA and 203K construction inspections. The reports, provided digitally, include images, a summary, and detail sections. For more information, please call 850-934-6800 or visit www.sitepro.us

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fire Power (Original)



NFPA® created the award winning video - Fire Power - which takes a firsthand look at the deadly dynamics of fire from ignition to full room involvement. At every twist and turn of the video, viewers get a bird's-eye view of fire's path of destruction and are astonished at how rapidly smoke and flames from a small fire envelop a home, making escape virtually impossible. This is a clip from the DVD...

Order your copy of this award-winning presentation today!:
online: http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product.asp?pid=FL76VH&order_src=C117
or call:  800-344-3555  Toll Free

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Is HVAC?

What is HVAC?

HVAC (pronounced as an acronym or as “aitch-vac,” depending on individual preference) stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.   The main purpose of an HVAC system is to regulate the climate within a residential or commercial environment so as to keep its occupants comfortable.  While technically many appliances have HVAC properties, the term usually refers to a large system of vents, ducts and equipment used to cool and/or heat a home, workplace, school or church.

The Origins & History of HVAC

The Romans were the first civilization to use any type of warm-air heating system. This was generally reserved for upper-class villas and public bathhouses; the air would be heated in a special furnace and then piped through each room of the house or structure to warm the surrounding air via heat diffusion.

In some cases hot air would be piped through underground channels and allowed to rise through cracks in stone floors after being heated by a furnace in a separate room. These systems, referred to as hypocausts, were remarkably effective for the time.

By the 1700s, hydronic or steam-based heating systems had become popular with Russian and European engineers.

Angier March Perkins installed some of the very first in-home systems in England during the 1830s; his first client was the Governor of the Bank of England, John Horley Palmer, who wished to grow grapes during the cold English winter!

Modern Systems Component Basics
Today, a variety of technologies and methods exist to power home and commercial HVAC systems. The spirit of innovation exhibited by early engineers is still present in the industry today, and the advent of digital technology has sparked exciting new possibilities.  The bare-bones modern HVAC system typically consists of a furnace, an air conditioning unit, a ventilation system, and pipes or PVC ducts to transport air throughout a building.

These ducts will usually have small circular diffusers to release the hot or cool air, while pipes may lead to vents in the walls of individual rooms. Often the air conditioning section of the system is located outside, as this is a more efficient location for heat dispersal. The individual systems rarely interact with each other; only the pipes or ducts connect them to one another.

Heating

The heating component of these systems may be one of several different technologies. The most common heating arrangement involves the combustion of a fossil fuel such as oil or propane gas within a furnace, boiler, or other containment device. The heat produced via combustion is then distributed to the other parts of the building via pipes or ducts. Forced air is the most commonly used method of heat distribution in the United States, but engineers in Europe and the UK often design systems that use hot water to produce a similar effect.

Alternative Heat Sources.  In the UK, water is often used to transport heat instead of forced air; water pipes are arranged within a building in such a way that the hot water disperses heat throughout each room on its way to faucets and other outlets. Geothermal heat has also become popular in recent years. These systems can reduce energy bills by 30-40% simply by accessing the steady temperature of the earth. Heat pump technology works similarly, but pulls heat from the outside air instead of from underground. Heat is present in all climates as long as the temperature remains higher than -200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ventilation

Ventilation is commonly defined as the creation of airflow both in and out of a building. Proper ventilation is one of the main things that ensures air quality within large buildings such as skyscrapers and hotels; without the ability to manage airflow, mildew, mold spores, unpleasant odors, and airborne diseases would be very difficult to control.

A unit called an AHU, which usually connects to the ductwork within a building, controls mechanical ventilation in most circumstances. However, natural ventilation such as windows and simple open vents may be useful for certain specific situations.

Air Conditioning

Most air conditioning components in HVAC systems work via a mechanical refrigeration cycle. Water, ice, and air can all be used as refrigerants, but most modern air conditioners use a chemical refrigerant.

This refrigerant begins the 4-step cooling process in a light, gaseous state. A compressor causes this gas to build up to a high pressure and temperature, whereupon it is released into a condensing coil, allowing heat to dissipate into the outside air and causing the gas to become a liquid.

This liquid is fed into an evaporator, returning to its original gaseous state, and the process of evaporation draws heat from the surrounding air.

Affordability

In the past, HVAC systems have mainly been reserved for buildings servicing large numbers of people and the homes of the wealthy due to the high cost of installation and, in some cases, maintenance. This is becoming less true as technologies evolve, and many middle-class homes are now designed with central air systems. Units utilizing geothermal heat exchange, for example, may save homeowners a significant amount of money due to their essentially passive technological design.

Environmental Concerns

Certain aspects of HVAC systems are environmentally toxic or detrimental, and this has become increasingly problematic over time. The chemical refrigerant used in air conditioning units contains CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. In addition, the fossil fuels burned to power all aspects of a unit, from the natural gas in the furnace component to the electricity sourced from a coal power plant, are detrimental to a variety of ecological systems.

America’s HVAC Industry

The general American standards for HVAC systems are outlined in the Uniform Mechanical Code, which is published by an organization known as IAPMO (International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials). This code is updated every four years, but does not cover the specifics of system design. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers thus unites American HVAC engineers. ASHRAE puts out a handbook of standards for HVAC design, also updated every four years, which is generally consulted by engineers in addition to the UMC.

Industry Standards.  Most HVAC contractors and companies are members of NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. Formed in 1989 as a non-profit, NADCA has established industry standards for cleanliness when it comes to forced air systems. Contractors and companies are most affected by the standards set for by NADCA and IAPMO, as they install and repair systems rather than designing them; that said, ASHRAE standards are often referenced in local building codes, and any contractor worth his or her salt should be familiar with them.

The Future of HVAC Systems

As the global community becomes more and more aware of the finite nature of our energy resources, new technologies have by necessity begun to look toward renewable power. HVAC systems of the future will have a daunting task, as they must regulate temperatures increasingly affected by global warming while relying less on non-renewable fossil fuels such as propane and natural gas. Forward-thinking engineers have risen to meet this challenge, designing new systems that incorporate solar energy and other green technologies.

Going Green.  A variety of strategies will likely be implemented as the HVAC industry goes green. Some designs may choose to integrate electricity requirements with solar panel technology to come up with a self-powering system or to offset traditionally sourced energy needs. Others may eliminate CFC-containing refrigerants or seek ways to access geothermal heat for the furnace portion of modern systems. One company has already invented a self-contained system referred to as the Geosource, which combines air source heat pump and ground heat-exchange technologies.

Alternative Energy.  The components of an HVAC system are as capable of utilizing renewable energy as any other source. One of the major issues with solar generated electricity has been the lack of consistent, powerful generation capacity. However, as the technology improves, it may be a more viable option for HVAC systems. Wind-generated electricity is another renewable option already being used to supplement traditional power plants in many areas. Ultimately, the energy these systems use is likely to be directly connected to the method of generation used by major electricity companies.

A Closing Word

The industry has grown significantly over time as technologies and the needs of consumers have changed. It would be reasonable to expect that this flexibility and fluctuation will continue to extend into the future. In many ways, this makes the present moment an exciting time for those working in the HVAC field. From steam power to geothermal technology, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems have come a long way! Possibilities for the future depend primarily on the insight and creativity of the engineers and technicians who make up the current HVAC workforce.

Ultimately, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems have a single goal: to create comfortable indoor environments for people. As an industry based on meeting human needs, HVAC technology must evolve along with the human beings it serves in order to provide us all with a clean, well-ventilated future.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank You For Your Service - Celebrating Service



We commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and pay homage to those who served during that challenging time.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Northwest Florida Realtors and Their Clients Trust Our Services


 

You often suggest to your buyers and sellers that they obtain a professional home inspection. But it can be difficult to know who to call.

As professional home inspectors, our goal continues to be making the home inspection experience reliable and useful.

We conduct comprehensive visual evaluations and provide objective, easy-to-understand reports that your clients can use to make sound decisions. For your buyers, we help you provide peace of mind. For your sellers, we provide another valuable marketing advantage. Flexible schedules. Professional services.

Our inspection services include:

  • Commercial Inspections
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Home Maintenance Inspections
  • Listing Inspections
  • Mold Testing
  • New Construction Inspections
  • Moisture Analysis
  • Infarred Survey
  • Wind Mitigation Assessment
  • 4-Point Insurance Letter
  • WDO Report

850-934-6800
www.SitePro.US

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Is A 203k Morgage? How Can It Benefit Me?



Mike Young shares some of the virtues of the 203k type of mortgage. Call Van Hibberts today with any questions that you may have and how it can benefit you at 850-934-6800.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Faces of Fire - Sam Davis of Cape Coral, FL




Sam Davis, president/CEO of Island Harbor Construction in Cape Coral, FL, offers a free fire sprinkler system in all new homes he builds. "Fire sprinklers do save property, but their main function is to save lives," he says. When someone asks him about fire sprinklers he tells them, "You can spend a fortune on appliances, cabinets and granite countertops but those things will do nothing to protect your family against a fire." Mr. Davis says that the benefit to his company is that they are actively promoting a system that will save lives. "I'm waiting for the day, although I hope it never ever happens, that we get a call that one of our systems activates, and if it does, that it saved someone's life. A home fire sprinkler system is well worth the investment."

NFPA's Faces of Fire campaign is a tool to help people and groups across the country promote the use of automatic fire sprinklers in one- and two-family homes. By containing fires before they spread, home fire sprinklers protect lives and property. The personal stories told through the Faces of Fire campaign will show the experiences of those who escaped or lost loved ones in home fires and those whose lives and property were protected by home fire sprinklers.

http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org/resources/faces-of-fire/sam-davis.aspx

http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.org

http://www.nfpa.org