Sunday, November 30, 2014

How to Make Holiday Tree Yard Decor - The Home Depot



Get started on this project with the step-by-step instructions: http://thd.co/1Cc1sVr
Shop all Christmas decorations from The Home Depot: http://thd.co/1FoeCgo

Making a holiday tree yard decoration is a fun project for the whole family. Anyone with basic DIY knowledge can tackle this project in a couple hours or less, and having the little ones help decorate will certainly brighten your holidays.

A holiday lighted marquee is a great way to add excitement to the festivities in your home during the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Propane Tank Safety - How to Transport Propane Tanks



Visit http://www.askthehardwareguy.com for more tips. Subscribe for new videos.
When you transport propane tanks in your car, you should never carry them in the trunk. Propane tanks have a pressure relief valve that will vent propane if it overheats. When propane is released, it expands and can fill your trunk with highly flammable gas. Any spark or ignition source can ignite the gas with an explosion. Even some brake lights can ignite the gas.

To transport propane, put the bottle in the back seat, wedged between the seats. Always keep the tank upright. Open a window and keep the car cool. Never leave the tank in a car for long periods of time.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Safety: Flood Preparation



Farm Bureau Insurance wants you to know how to prepare for a flood in your area. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the average dollar loss due to floods is more than $2.4 billion each year. In fact, your home has a 26% chance of being damaged by a flood during the course of a 30-year mortgage, and the most telling statistic: 30% of all flood insurance claims come from areas designated as minimal flood risks.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Home Inspection Reports: What to Expect

Prior to the mid-1970s, inspection reports followed no standard guidelines and, for the most part, there was little or no oversight or licensure. As might be imagined, without minimum standards to follow, the quality of inspection reports varied widely, and the home inspection industry was viewed with some suspicion.

With the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976, home inspection guidelines governing inspection report content became available in the form of a Standards of Practice. Over time, a second, larger trade association, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), came into existence, and developed its own standards.

InterNACHI has grown to dominate the inspection industry and, in addition to its Residential Standards of Practice, it has developed a comprehensive Standards of Practice for the Inspection of Commercial Properties.  Today, most types of inspections from mold to fire door inspections are performed in accordance with one of InterNACHI's Standards of Practice.

As a consumer, you should take the time to examine the Standards of Practice followed by your inspector. If he is unaffiliated with any professional inspection organization, and his reports follow no particular standards, find another inspector.

Generally speaking, reports should describe the major home systems, their crucial components, and their operability, especially the ones in which failure can result in dangerous or expensive-to-correct conditions. Defects should be adequately described, and the report should include recommendations.
Reports should also disclaim portions of the home not inspected. Since home inspections are visual inspections, the parts of the home hidden behind floor, wall and ceiling coverings should be disclaimed.

Home inspectors are not experts in every system of the home, but are trained to recognize conditions that require a specialist inspection.
Home inspections are not technically exhaustive, so the inspector will not disassemble a furnace to examine the heat exchanger closely, for example.

Standards of Practice are designed to identify both the requirements of a home inspection and the limitations of an inspection.

Checklist and Narrative Reports
In the early years of the home inspection industry, home inspection reports consisted of a simple checklist, or a one- or two-page narrative report.

Checklist reports are just that; very little is actually written. The report is a series of boxes with short descriptions after them. Descriptions are often abbreviated, and might consist of only two or three words, such as “peeling paint.” The entire checklist might only be four or five pages long. Today, some inspection legal agreements are almost that long!

Because of the lack of detailed information, checklist reports leave a lot open to interpretation, so that buyers, sellers, agents, contractors, attorneys and judges may each interpret the information differently, depending on their motives.

In the inspection business, phrases that describe conditions found during an inspection are called "narratives."  Narrative reports use reporting language that more completely describes each condition. Descriptions are not abbreviated.

Both checklist and narrative reports are still in use today, although many jurisdictions are now beginning to ban checklist reports because the limited information they offer has resulted in legal problems.

From the standpoint of liability, narrative reports are widely considered safer, since they provide more information and state it more clearly.

Many liability issues and problems with the inspection process are due to misunderstandings about what was to be included in the report, or about what the report says.

For example, in 2002, an investor bought a 14-unit hotel in California.  The six-page narrative report mentioned that flashing where the second-story concrete walkway met the building was improperly installed, and the condition could result in wood decay. Four years later, the investor paid out almost $100,000 to demolish and replace the entire upper walkway. In some places, it was possible to push a pencil through support beams.

Although the inspector's report had mentioned the problem, it hadn't made clear the seriousness of the condition, or the possible consequences of ignoring it. Today, a six-page report would be considered short for a small house.

Development of Reporting Software
Years ago, when computers were expensive to buy and difficult to operate, inspection reports were written by hand. As computers became simpler to operate and more affordable, inspection software began to appear on the market.

Today, using this software, an inspector can chose from a large number of organized boilerplate narratives that s/he can edit or add to in order to accommodate local conditions, since inspectors in a hot, humid city like Tampa Bay, Florida, are likely to find types of problems different from those found by inspectors in a cold, dry climate, like Salt Lake City, Utah.

Using narrative software and checking boxes in categories that represent the home systems, an inspector can produce a very detailed report in a relatively short time.

For example, using a checklist report, an inspector finding a number of inoperable lights in a home would check a box in the "INTERIOR" section labeled something like “some lights inoperable,” and that would be the limit of the information passed on to the client.

Using inspection software, in the "INTERIOR" section of the program, an inspector might check a box labeled “some lights inoperable.”  This would cause the following narrative to appear in the "INTERIOR" section of the inspection report:

        “Some light fixtures in the home appeared to be inoperable. The bulbs may be burned out, or a problem may exist with the fixtures, wiring or switches.
         If after the bulbs are replaced, these lights still fail to respond to the switch, this condition may represent a potential fire hazard, and the Inspector recommends that an evaluation and any necessary repairs be performed by a qualified electrical contractor.”

Standard disclaimers and other information can be pre-checked to automatically appear in each report.

Narrative Content
Narratives typically consists of three parts:
  •     a description of a condition of concern;
  •     a sentence or paragraph describing how serious the condition is, and the potential ramifications, answering questions such as, “Is it now stable, or will the problem continue?” or “Will it burn down the house?" and “When?”; and
  •     a recommendation. Recommendations may be for specific actions to be taken, or for further evaluation, but they should address problems in such a way that the reader of the report will understand how to proceed.
“Typically” is a key word here. Some narratives may simply give the ampacity of the main electrical disconnect. There is no need for more than one sentence. Different inspectors would include what they think is necessary.

Report Content
Inspection reports often begin with an informational section which gives general information about the home, such as the client’s name, the square footage, and the year the home was built.
Other information often listed outside the main body of the report, either near the beginning or near the end, are disclaimers, and sometimes a copy of the inspection agreement, and sometimes a copy of the Standards of Practice.  A page showing the inspector’s professional credentials, designations, affiliations and memberships is also often included.  And it is a good idea to include InterNACHI's Now That You've Had a Home Inspection book.

Inspection reports often include a summary report listing major problems to ensure that important issues are not missed by the reader. It's important that the reader be aware of safety issues or conditions which will be expensive to correct. With this in mind, some inspectors color-code report narratives, although many feel that color-coding exposes them to increased liability and don't do this.
Software often gives inspectors the choice of including photographs in the main body of the report, near the narrative that describes them, or photographs may be grouped together toward the beginning or end of the report.

A table of contents is usually provided.
The main body of the report may be broken down into sections according to home systems, such as "ELECTRICAL," "PLUMBING," "HEATING," etc., or it may be broken down by area of the home:  "EXTERIOR," "INTERIOR," "KITCHEN," "BEDROOMS," etc.
It often depends on how the inspector likes to work.

Sample Reports
Many inspectors have websites which include sample inspection reports for prospective clients to view. Take the time to look at them. Also often included is a page explaining the scope of the inspection. The inspection contract is usually included on the website, and it should give you a good idea of what will be included in the report.
In conclusion, for consumers to have realistic expectations about what information will be included in the home inspection report, follow these tips:
  •     read the Standards of Practice;
  •     read the Contract;
  •     view a sample Inspection Report; and
  •     talk with the inspector.

by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard

 From Home Inspection Reports: What to Expect - InterNACHI http://www.nachi.org/home-inspection-reports.htm#ixzz2hh9Sxu71

Thursday, November 20, 2014

“Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” Overview



NFPA President Jim Pauley provides an overview of this year’s “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires” campaign with the U.S. Fire Administration, noting the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On-Q: Learn how to install the Digital Audio System



See how easy it is to introduce exceptional at-home listening with the On-Q Digital Audio System, delivering digital source variety, aesthetic app control, and high-quality sound, through an easy-to-install structured wiring design. Learn more: http://www.legrand.us/onq/install-dig...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Signs Your Roof Is Damaged - Even If You Can't See the Damage




There are several signs that signal your roof is damaged, the damage can be so small that even you, the homeowner cannot see the damage until it is too late. There are seven major danger signs that your roof system is not doing its job and protecting your home and your family from the elements:

· If you are lucky enough to spot any dark, dirty-looking patches on the roof, then it is time to replace the roof, or at least replace the dirty shingled area. The cause of this can be environmental pollution, vegetation on the roof itself, algae or/and fungus growth and possible loss of granules because of the age of your shingles.

· When you see missing, cracked, or even curling of the shingles, this is a danger sign. The obvious causes of this will be the shingles have just reached their full lifetime on the roof.

· Many homeowners complain of leaking water in there attic space after a hard rain. This is because of inadequate shingle underlayment, and flashing that has too much wear and tear.

· Your roof shingles, your sheathing on the roof and siding decay are another sign of damage to the roof that most homeowners do not notice. Homeowners can resolve this problem by making sure that the attic is properly ventilated.

· When blistering and or peeling of the paint that is on the outside of your home happens, it is most likely the cause of any excessive moisture or high humidity also due to poor attic ventilation.

· Every homeowner at one point or another have probably experienced stains on their interior ceilings, walls, or even mold and also mildew growth. The causes of this problem can be yet again faulty or problematic shingle underlayment that is allowing leakage or not enough air flow.

· Finally, homeowners are often times plagued by very high excessive energy bills. This can become very expensive and the cause of this is not enough attic air flow which causes the heating and cooling system to run more than needed.

The typical homeowner is subject to not knowing what to look for on their roof simply because they do not have the needed knowledge and most homeowners do not want to walk on their roof. Sometimes the homeowner, through no fault of their own just assume that the roof that is on their home will last for the set number of years they are told, say 20 years. But in reality, the roof is just like anything else, it needs regular maintenance and yearly inspection to ensure that the home is being protected by a sturdy and secure roof.

Homeowners that make the extra effort to learn about their roof system, how it works to protect their home and what danger signs to look for can catch a potential problem before it becomes too serious.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5869174

Friday, November 14, 2014

Connecticut fire official underscores severity of home fires



Keith Flood, chair of the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition and fire marshal of the West Haven Fire Department, narrates a live burn demonstration at the University of New Haven. Flood highlights the brief amount of time residents have to escape a home fire.

For more information on the Connecticut Fire Sprinkler Coalition, visit http://www.firesprinklerinitiative.or....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Removing an old door knob and installing a new one



Video shows how to take the old door knob off; how the new one fits together, and how to install the new one in the door.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Home Inspections - A Question and Answer Guide

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, structure, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (buyer, seller, or homeowner) a better understanding of the home's general condition. Most often it is a buyer who requests an inspection of the home he or she is serious about purchasing.

A home inspection delivers data so that decisions about the purchase can be confirmed or questioned, and can uncover serious and/or expensive to repair defects that the seller/owner may not be aware of. It is not an appraisal of the property's value; nor does it address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect a client in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.]

A home inspection should not be considered a "technically exhaustive" evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear for the home's age and location.

A home inspection can also include, for extra fees, Radon gas testing, water testing, energy audits, pest inspections, pool inspections, and several other specific items that may be indigenous to the region of the country where the inspection takes place. Home inspections are also used (less often) by a seller before listing the property to see if there are any hidden problems that they are unaware of, and also by homeowners simply wishing to care for their homes, prevent surprises, and keep the home investment value as high as possible.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3618814


The important results to pay attention to in a home inspection are:

1. Major defects, such as large differential cracks in the foundation; structure out of level or plumb; decks not installed or supported properly, etc. These are items that are expensive to fix, which we classify as items requiring more than 2% of the purchase price to repair.

2. Things that could lead to major defects - a roof flashing leak that could get bigger, damaged downspouts that could cause backup and water intrusion, or a support beam that was not tied in to the structure properly.

3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed electrical wiring, lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) in kitchens and bathrooms, lack of safety railing on decks more than 30 inches off the ground, etc.

Your inspector will advise you about what to do about these problems. He/she may recommend evaluation - and on serious issues most certainly will - by licensed or certified professionals who are specialists in the defect areas. For example, your inspector will recommend you call a licensed building engineer if they find sections of the home that are out of alignment, as this could indicate a serious structural deficiency.

Home Inspections are only done by a buyer after they sign a contract, right?

This is not true! As you will see when you read on, a home inspection can be used for interim inspections in new construction, as a maintenance tool by a current homeowner, a proactive technique by sellers to make their home more sellable, and by buyers wanting to determine the condition of the potential home.

Sellers, in particular, can benefit from getting a home inspection before listing the home. Here are just a few of the advantages for the seller:

· The seller knows the home! The home inspector will be able to get answers to his/her questions on the history of any problems they find.

· A home inspection will help the seller be more objective when it comes to setting a fair price on the home.

· The seller can take the report and make it into a marketing piece for the home.

· The seller will be alerted to any safety issues found in the home before they open it up for open house tours.

· The seller can make repairs leisurely instead being in a rush after the contract is signed.

Why should I get a home inspection?

Your new home has dozens of systems and over 10,000 parts - from heating and cooling to ventilation and appliances. When these systems and appliances work together, you experience comfort, energy savings, and durability. Weak links in the system, however, can produce assorted problems leading to a loss in value and shortened component life. Would you buy a used car without a qualified mechanic looking at it? Your home is far more complicated, and to have a thorough inspection that is documented in a report arms you with substantial information on which to make decisions.

Why can't I do the inspection myself?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill, and objectivity needed to inspect a home themselves. By using the services of a professional home inspector, they gain a better understanding of the condition of the property; especially whether any items do not "function as intended" or "adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling" or "warrant further investigation" by a specialist. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist and is broadly trained in every home system.

Why can't I ask a family member who is handy or who is a contractor to inspect my new home?

Although your nephew or aunt may be very skilled, he or she is not trained or experienced in professional home inspections and usually lacks the specialized test equipment and knowledge required for an inspection. Home inspection training and expertise represent a distinct, licensed profession that employs rigorous standards of practice. Most contractors and other trade professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they themselves purchase a home!

What does a home inspection cost?

This is often the first question asked but the answer tells the least about the quality of the inspection. Fees are based according to size, age and various other aspects of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally start under $300. An average price for a 2,000 square foot home nationally is about $350-$375. What you should pay attention to is not the fee, but the qualifications of your inspector. Are they nationally certified (passed the NHIE exam)? Are they state certified if required?

How long does the inspection take?

This depends upon the size and condition of the home. You can usually figure 1.2 hours for every 1,000 square feet. For example, a 2,500 square foot house would take about 3 hours. If the company also produces the report at your home, that will take an additional 30-50 minutes.

Do all homes require a home inspection?

Yes and No. Although not required by law in most states, we feel that any buyer not getting a home inspection is doing themselves a great disservice. They may find themselves with costly and unpleasant surprises after moving into the home and suffer financial headaches that could easily have been avoided.

Should I be at the inspection?

It's a great idea for you be present during the inspection - whether you are buyer, seller, or homeowner. With you there, the inspector can show you any defects and explain their importance as well as point out maintenance features that will be helpful in the future. If you can't be there, it is not a problem since the report you receive will be very detailed. If you are not present, then you should be sure to ask your inspector to explain anything that is not clear in the report. Also read the inspection agreement carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not covered in the inspection. If there is a problem with the inspection or the report, you should raise the issues quickly by calling the inspector, usually within 24 hours. If you want the inspector to return after the inspection to show you things, this can be arranged and is a good idea, however, you will be paying for the inspector's time on a walkthrough since this was not included in the original service.

Should the seller attend the home inspection that has been ordered by the buyer?

The seller will be welcome at the inspection (it is still their home) although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. The conversation that the inspector has with the buyer may be upsetting to the seller if the seller was unaware of the items being pointed out, or the seller may be overly emotional about any flaws. This is a reason why the seller might want to consider getting their own inspection before listing the home.

Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, cannot not pass or fail a house. The inspector will objectively describe the home's physical condition and indicate which items are in need of repair or replacement.

What is included in the inspection?

The following list is not exhaustive. Not all of these may be in the inspection you get, but the inspector will be following a standardized checklist for the home:
· Site drainage and grading
· Driveway
· Entry Steps, handrails
· Decks
· Masonry
· Landscape (as it relates to the home)
· Retaining walls
· Roofing, flashings, chimneys, and attic
· Eaves, soffits, and fascias
· Walls, doors, windows, patios, walkways
· Foundation, basement, and crawlspaces
· Garage, garage walls, floor, and door operation
· Kitchen appliances (dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop/hoods, microwave, disposal, trash compactor)
· Laundry appliances (washer and dryer)
· Ceilings, walls, floors
· Kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets
· Windows and window gaskets
· Interior doors and hardware
· Plumbing systems and fixtures
· Electrical system, panels, entrance conductors
· Electrical grounding, GFCI, outlets
· Smoke (fire) detectors
· Ventilation systems and Insulation
· Heating equipment and controls
· Ducts and distribution systems
· Fireplaces
· Air Conditioning and controls
· Heat Pumps and controls
· Safety items such as means of egress, TPRV valves, railings, etc.

Other items that are not a part of the standard inspection can be added for an additional fee:
· Radon Gas Test
· Water Quality Test
· Termite Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)
· Gas Line Leak Test (usually performed by the gas company)
· Sprinkler System Test
· Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection
· Mold Screening (sometimes performed by a separate company)
· Septic System Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)
· Alarm System (usually performed by a separate company)

We recommend getting a Radon Test if your prospective home falls into an area of the country with known Radon seepage, since Radon gas produces cancer second only to cigarette smoking and can be easily mitigated by installing a vent system. We also recommend a water test to make sure you do not have bacteria in the water supply. Water can also be tested for Radon.

What is not included in the inspection?

Most people assume that everything is inspected in depth on inspection day. This misunderstanding has caused many a homebuyer to be upset with their inspector. The inspections we do are not exhaustive and there is a good reason for this. If you hired someone with licenses for heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, engineering, etc. to inspect your house, it would take about 14 hours and cost you about $2000! It is much more practical to hire a professional inspector who has generalist knowledge of home systems, knows what to look for, and can recommend further inspection by a specialist if needed. Your inspector is also following very specific guidelines as he/she inspects your home. These are either national guidelines (ASHI - American Society of Home Inspectors, InterNACHI - International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or state guidelines. These guidelines are carefully written to protect both your home and the inspector. Here are some examples: We are directed to not turn systems on if they were off at the time of the inspection (safety reasons); we are not allowed to move furniture (might harm something); not allowed to turn on water if it is off (possible flooding), and not allowed to break through a sealed attic hatch (possible damage). The downside of this practice is that by not operating a control, by not seeing under the furniture, and not getting into the attic or crawlspace, we will might miss identifying a problem. However, put into perspective, the chances of missing something serious because of this is quite low, and the guideline as it relates to safety and not harming anything in the home is a good one. There are other items that 95% of inspectors consider outside a normal inspection, and these include inspecting most things that are not bolted down (installed in the home) such as electronics, low voltage lighting, space heaters, portable air conditioners, or specialized systems such as water purifiers, alarm systems, etc.

What if there are things you can't inspect (like snow on the roof)?

It just so happens that some days the weather elements interfere with a full home inspection! There isn't much we can do about this either. If there is snow on the roof we will tell you we were unable to inspect it. Of course we will be looking at the eves and the attic, and any other areas where we can get an idea of condition, but we will write in the report that we could not inspect the roof. It is impractical for us to return another day once the snow melts, because we have full schedules. However, you can usually pay an inspector a small fee to return and inspect the one or two items they were unable to inspect when they were there the first time. This is just the way things go. If you ask the inspector for a re-inspection, they will usually inspect the items then at no extra charge (beyond the re-inspection fee).

Will the inspector walk on the roof?

The inspector will walk on the roof if it is safe, accessible, and strong enough so that there is no damage done to it by walking on it. Some roofs - such as slate and tile, should not be walked on. Sometimes because of poor weather conditions, extremely steep roofs, or very high roofs, the inspector will not be able to walk the roof. The inspector will try to get up to the edge though, and will also use binoculars where accessibility is a problem. They will also examine the roof from the upper windows if that is possible. There is a lot the inspector can determine from a visual examination from a ladder and from the ground, and they will be able to tell a lot more from inside the attic about the condition of the roof as well.

Should I have my house tested for Radon? What exactly is Radon?

In many areas of the country, the answer is a definite yes. You can ask your real estate agent about this or go on to the internet for a radon map of the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that's formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.

Health officials have determined that radon gas is a serious carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform a radon measurement test, which your home inspector can do. Make sure the person conducting your test has been trained to The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) standards.

What about a newly constructed home? Does it need a home inspection?

Yes! In fact, we find far more problems, some quite serious, in newly constructed homes than in homes that have been lived in for years. This is not due to your builder's negligence - he/she has done the best job they could with subcontractors and planning - it's just that there are so many systems in a home, that it is close to impossible to inspect everything, and correct it before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Then, for some reason, the subcontractors no longer want to work on the home, and final jobs and details are missed. We recommend getting several professional home inspections near the completion stages of the home to discover everything that should be corrected. If the house is still new but sitting for a while before sale, it's even more important to get a home inspection. We have seen water lines not hooked up, plumbing lines not hooked up, sewer lines not hooked up, vents not hooked up, and a variety of other serious but easily correctable problems!

I am having a home built. The builder assures me he will inspect everything. Should I have an independent inspector make periodic inspections?

Absolutely yes! No matter how good your builder is, he/she WILL miss things. They are so concerned with the house, they get so close to their work, as do the subcontractors, that important items can, and will be, overlooked. Have a professional inspector make at least 4-6 interim inspections. They will be worth their weight in gold.

What is the Pre-Inspection Agreement?

Most service professionals have a service agreement, and home inspection is no different. In fact, there is enough confusion about what a home inspection should deliver that the agreement is even more important. Some homeowners who get a home inspection expect everything in the home to be perfect after the repairs. This is not the case! Imagine getting a call from a homeowner a year later who says the toilet is not flushing - remember that the inspection is a moment in time snapshot. In the inspection agreement the inspector is clear about what the inspection delivers and the things that are not covered, as well as what you should do if you are not pleased with the services. We really think that by reviewing this before-hand you will understand much more about the inspection and be happier with the results. A home inspection does not guard against future problems, nor does it guarantee that all problems will be found.

What kind of report will I get following the inspection?

There are as many versions of a "report" as there are inspection companies. Guidelines dictate that the inspector deliver a written report to the client. This can range from a handwritten checklist that has multiple press copies without pictures and 4 pages long to a computer generated professionally produced report with digital pictures that is 35 pages long and can be converted to Adobe PDF for storage and emailing. Be sure to check with your inspector about the report he or she uses. We recommend the computer generated report, since the checklist is more detailed and easier for the homeowner/buyer/seller to detail out the issues with photographs. In this modern age, we feel the reports must be web accessible and e-mailable to match the technologies most of us are using.

There are some great things you can use the report for in addition to the wealth of information it simply gives you on your new home:

· Use the report as a checklist and guide for the contractor to make repairs and improvements or get estimates and quotes from more than one contractor.

· Use the report as a budgeting tool using the inspector's recommendations and the remaining expected life of components to keep the property in top shape.

· If you are a seller, use the report to make repairs and improvements, raising the value of the home and impressing the buyers. Then have a re-inspection and use this second report as a marketing tool for prospective buyers.

· Use the report as a "punch list" on a re-inspection and as a baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Will the report be emailable or available as an Adobe PDF file?

Yes. As discussed in the last question, you will probably want your inspector to be using the latest reporting technology.

What if I think the inspector missed something?

Inspectors are human, and yes, they do miss items. However, they routinely use advanced tools and techniques to reduce the possibility that they will miss something. This includes very detailed checklists, reference manuals, computer based lists, and a methodical always-done-the-same-way of physically moving around your home. That is one of the reasons that an inspector can miss an item when they get interrupted. The inspector will have a set way of resuming the inspection if this happens. If, in the end, something IS missed, call the inspector and discuss it. It may warrant the inspector returning to view something that you found. Remember, the inspector is doing the very best job they know how to do, and probably did not miss the item because they were lax in their technique or did not care.

What if the inspector tells me I should have a professional engineer or a licensed plumber or other professional contractor in to look at something they found? Isn't this "passing the buck"?

You may be disappointed that further investigation is required, but, believe us, your inspector is doing exactly what they should be doing. The purpose of the inspection is to discover defects that affect your safety and the functioning of the home; the inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Our code of ethics as well as national and state guidelines dictate that only contractors that are licensed in their specialty field should work on these systems and areas. When they tell you that a specialist is needed, there may be a bigger, more critical issue that you need to know about. If you move into the home without getting these areas checked by a qualified specialist, you could be in for some nasty and expensive surprises. The inspector does not want to cause you any more expense or worry either, so when they do recommend further evaluation they are being serious about protecting you and your investment.

Will the inspector provide a warranty on the inspected items?

Most inspectors do not give the homeowner a warranty on inspected items. Remember, a home inspection is a visual examination on a certain day, and the inspector cannot predict what issues could arise over time after the inspection. However, some inspectors are now including a warranty from the largest home warranty company in America - American Home Warranty Corporation, as well as others, on the inspected items for 60 or 90 days. This is a very good deal, and the agreement can be extended after the initial period for a relatively small amount of money.

Do most inspection companies offer money back guarantees?

Most inspection companies do not offer a satisfaction guarantee nor do they mention it in their advertising. It's always a good thing if you can get extra services for no additional cost from your inspection company, and of course a satisfaction guarantee is an indication of superior customer service. You usually have to call your inspection company right after the inspection and viewing of the report to tell them you are not satisfied. If you are not happy with the services, you should talk to your inspector first and let him/her correct the issue(s) you are unhappy with first, as the inspector is trying to make an honest living just like the rest of us, and is not failing you on purpose.

What if my report comes back with nothing really defective in the home? Should I ask for my money back?

No, don't ask for your money back - you just received great news! Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will have valuable information about your new home from the inspector's report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Most importantly, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.

What if the inspection reveals serious defects?

If the inspection reveals serious defects in the home (we define a serious defect as something that will cost more than 2% of the purchase price to fix) then pat yourself on the back for getting an inspection. You just saved yourself a ton of money. Of course it is disappointing, even heart wrenching, to find out that your well researched house is now a problem house, but you now know the facts and can either negotiate with the seller, or move on. You may want the home so much that it will be worth it to negotiate the price and then perform the repairs. Imagine, though, if you had not gotten the inspection - you would have had some very unpleasant surprises.

Can I ask my home inspector to perform the repairs?

You can, but if your inspector is ethical, he/she will refuse, and correctly so; it is a conflict of interest for the person who inspected your home to also repair it! Inspectors are specifically barred from this practice by licensing authorities, and it's a good practice - an inspector must remain completely impartial when he or she inspects your home. This is one reason you should have a professional home inspector inspect your home and not a contractor - the contractor will want the repair work and you are likely to not have an objective inspection from this person even though they mean well and are technically competent.

Does the Seller have to make the repairs?

The inspection report results do not place an obligation on the seller to repair everything mentioned in the report. Once the home condition is known, the buyer and the seller should sit down and discuss what is in the report. The report will be clear about what is a repair and what is a discretionary improvement. This area should be clearly negotiated between the parties. It's important to know that the inspector must stay out of this discussion because it is outside of their scope of work.

After the home inspection and consulting with the seller on the repairs, can I re-employ the inspector to come re-inspect the home to make sure everything got fixed?

You certainly can, and it's a really good idea. For a small fee the inspector will return to determine if the repairs were completed, and if they were completed correctly.

What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won't develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call the inspector. He or she will be fine with this, and does want you to call if you think there is a problem. If the issue is not resolved with a phone call, they will come to your home to look at it. They will want you to be satisfied and will do everything they can to do this. One way to protect yourself between the inspection and the move-in is to conduct a final walkthrough on closing day and use both the inspection report AND a Walkthrough Checklist to make sure everything is as it should be.

Copyright 2010 by Lisa P. Turner

Lisa Turner is a certified home inspector and licensed general contractor. Her company, Your Inspection Expert, Inc., conducts professional home inspections for home buyers, sellers, owners, builders, mortgage companies, and construction companies. Visit http://www.YourInspectionExpert.com for information and more tips to maximize the value of your home.

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

How to Replace and Install Your Kitchen Faucet



You use it everyday and whether its dripping, outdated or your families needs have changed, you will want to change to a sleek, new updated faucet. Luckily installing a kitchen faucet is extremely simple.

Before you begin, check to see how many holes your sink currently has by looking underneath your sink. For this project you will need a faucet, basin wrench, wrenches, supply lines, plumbers putty, putty knife, plumbers, tape and a small bucket. To begin remove the old faucet by turning off the hot and cold water. Disconnect the supply lines and remove the bolts that connect the current faucet to the sink. Simply life the old faucet off.

To install the new faucet, place the putty plate onto the deck plate. Place putty around the edges of the plate and install. The putty will keep water from dripping water down into the cabinet. Now guide the pipes through the holes and install the washers and hardware underneath the sink. Connect the supply lines and turn the water back on. Check for leaks, and tighten your connections.

There, you are done and ready to tackle and stack of dishes!

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Better Homes and Gardens - How to renovate a bathroom



It's the smallest room in the house and yet it can be the most expensive to renovate: the bathroom. This week Tara's going to show you how to get the modern look for much less.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wood Burning Fireplaces - Safety and Cleaning Concerns


Winters can be really severe in many countries like Canada and in the northernmost parts of Europe. There may be snowstorms, and electrical wires can become covered with snow. It can be hard to generate electrical power with water freezing in falls and dams. This is just one reason traditional methods of burning wood for heat continues to be prevalent.

Many houses therefore have wood burning fireplaces. Traditionally, wood burning fireplaces are made of bricks and mortar, or stones and mortar. The bricks used to make the wood burning fireplaces are special bricks; they can withstand a large amount of heat. Metal chimneys are also available. Wood burning fireplaces can be built for indoor requirements as well as outdoor. Any such fireplace should be large enough to hold enough firewood for the entire evening and if need be, throughout the night. There should be an opening for air to permeate in such fireplaces because oxygen is essential for burning anything, including wood.

Indoor wood burning fireplaces should be designed such that any ambers flying from them should not reach far into room where there might be some inflammable materials. Even so, the fireplace needs to also be large enough to generate enough heat to fill the room.

There are a few potential cleaning and maintenance problems associated with wood burning fireplaces. Over a period of time, the cement in between the bricks in the chimney or fireplace wall can come out, the bricks become loose, and this might lead to the collapse of the chimney. In the case of metal chimneys, similar problems may arise due to screws used at various joints. If these go missing, then there is a chance of accident. Rust can be another problem with metal chimneys.

Apart from fire, heat, and ambers, wood burning also results in generation of soot and fumes. There should be an outlet for these as well. Chimneys serve this function, effectively keeping the room free from soot as well as resulting pollutants. Chimneys need to be cleaned periodically. Creosote, a hard dark brown to black inflammable substance is often formed while burning wood. This is formed due to a presence of excessive moisture in the wood. Using dry wood helps in resolving this problem to a great extent. Apart from this, ensuring that adequate air supply reaches inside the fireplace also ensures that not much creosote is formed.

Since the area around the fireplace can get really hot, it is not possible to place any sofa or other seating arrangements close to it. Likewise, any electrical and electronic gadgets too are kept away from the place. But a fireplace offers good scope to decorate it with colorful stones, bricks, and other masonry designs, imparting a traditional look to the fireplace, and making the room look elegant.

In summary, wood burning fireplaces are a functional and elegant addition to any room, but remember they require periodic care and maintenance to continue being an asset to your decor.

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