Saturday, September 30, 2017

How Can I Find Out The Age Of A Roof?


There are three ways to determine the age of a roof of a home you are considering buying or already own:

1) Find out the date of the building permit. This the most accurate way to age a roof, but not all jurisdictions require building permits for roof replacement and sometimes the homeowner has the roof replaced without a permit. Many of the larger municipal and county governments in Florida have a database that the public can access online to find all the permits issued for a property. The address of the property or property appraisers’ parcel number can be used to start your search. Smaller building departments will often provide permit record information over the phone or from a fax request.

2) Ask the seller or previous homeowner. While this is the easiest solution, it is often less accurate. The memory of years gone by gets slippery, especially for senior citizens. Also, don’t be surprised if the response you get is something like “Well when we bought the house in 2008 the previous owner said she thought the roof was about 7 years old.”

3) Have a home inspector or roofer estimate the age of the roof. What you will get is an educated guess and, because a number of conditions can make a roof age faster or slower than average, it will be a rough estimate at best. But the inspector or roofing contractor can often make a more accurate estimate of the years of life left in the roof based on its current condition—which is even more important to know.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Causes Condensation On The Inside Of Windows In The Winter?


The science behind the problem is fairly simple. Warm air expands and can hold more humidity (moisture) than cool air, but when it comes in contact with window glass that is significantly colder than the air, the surface chills and shrinks the air volume. This squeezes out some of the humidity as condensation water on the glass surface.

So, the two things that are necessary for condensation on window glass are 1), a significant temperature difference between the interior surface of the glass and the air and 2), high humidity in the air. You can eliminate, or greatly reduce, sweating window glass by reducing both of the factors that cause it.

We see the solution as something like a “Combination Plate Special” on a Chinese restaurant menu. Pick one from column A and one from column B, and your fortune cookie will read “Happy windows make a happy home!”

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Do Stains On The Ceiling Mean The Roof Is Leaking?


Maybe...or maybe not. The first thing we try to determine with a ceiling stain is whether it was caused by a roof leak or some other problem, such as a leaking air conditioning condensate-water drain line in the attic. If we conclude that a roof leak is the culprit then the next question is: active leak or previous leak?

If the home has a newer roof, then we might be looking at the problem that caused the homeowner to recently replace the roof. Perhaps they just haven’t repaired the ceiling damage/staining yet. Further investigation in the attic and on the rooftop itself will give us a clearer picture of what’s happening.

One of the first tools we pull out for this puzzle is our infrared camera. A visual tool that sees heat instead of light, the infrared easily recognizes wet areas because the evaporation of the moisture cools the surface in the area of the wetness. And a wet area at the staining is an indication of an active problem. If the infrared camera sees signs of moisture, then we use another tool called a moisture meter to verify and measure how much water is in the material.

But a dry area is not necessarily an indication of an issue that has already been repaired: if the cause is a roof leak, and it has not rained recently, then it is possible to have an active roof leak but no moisture at the time of testing.

Looking up at the area directly above the stain in the attic tells us more about what’s happening; then, checking the area of roofing above that for defects that would cause leaking is next. Because the water in a roof leak doesn’t always fall directly down from where it penetrates the roof covering, sometimes even more probing is necessary. A roof leak can migrate downward between the roof covering and roof sheathing before it enters the attic, then run down the surface of roof framing lumber before it finally falls onto the ceiling.

But eventually, we track down the problem--and recommended solution--for you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What Can I Do Right Now To Prepare My House For A Hurricane?


There are a number of structural improvements you can make to your home, especially if it’s an older one, to dramatically improve its resistance to hurricane damage. The work takes time and money--typically thousands of dollars and the hiring of a contractor--and we will address that in another blog soon. But, the following plan covers three do-it-yourself projects you can get done at the beginning of hurricane season or as a storm approaches, to make your home better prepared to withstand the blast of wind and water.

The 3-project plan was compiled by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, an insurance industry-sponsored safety organization:

1 - SEAL HOLES, CRACKS, AND LEAKS
Water can invade homes in a number of ways, especially when it’s being blown horizontally.  To emphasize how important it is to seal areas to prevent water intrusion, consider this: hurricane force winds can blow water uphill.  In fact, a 74 mile per hour wind (the lowest hurricane wind) can blow water up a wall about 4 inches.  A 110 m.p.h. wind can blow water up a wall nearly 6 inches.  With that kind of force, gallons of water can be pumped through even very small cracks in walls and end up in the wall cavity or living space.

Consequently, penetrations in walls can allow enough water into a house to cause lots of damage.  If there is a loss of power for air conditioners (AC) or dehumidifiers to dry things out, that water damage could lead to mold.

Look for holes where wires, cables, and pipes enter and exit the house.  In addition to openings for cable TV and telephone lines, seal all the way around electrical boxes and circuit breaker panels.  Pipe penetrations include AC refrigerant lines, AC condensate lines, water heater pressure relief lines and water pipes.  Also seal cracks around wall outlets, dryer vents, bathroom and kitchen vents and electrical devices such as wall lights.

Gooseneck vents, turbine vents and a variety of roof vents that work in ordinary wind probably will not keep out water in a hurricane.  Most are not designed to operate in strong winds and few are designed to handle the wind loads induced.  The vents should be removed or anchored more securely and well sealed.  If you remove them, securely seal the opening with a cover that will not be blown or sucked off.

Windows and Doors: Check for leaks around your windows and doors, especially near the corners. Check for peeling paint, it can be a sign of water getting into the wood. Inspect for discolorations in paint or caulking, swelling of the window or doorframe or surrounding materials.

Foundation and Exterior Walls: Seal any cracks and holes in external walls, joints, and foundations, in particular, examine locations where piping or wiring extends through the outside walls. Fill all cracks in these locations with sealant.

Flashing: Flashing, which is typically a thin metal strip found around doors, windows, thresholds, chimneys, and roofs, is designed to prevent water intrusion in spaces where two different building surfaces meet. Look for any loose or rusted-out flashings.

Vents: All vents, including clothes dryer, gable vents, attic vents, and exhaust vents, should have hoods, exhaust to the exterior, be in good working order, and have boots.

Attics: Check for holes, air leaks, or bypasses from the house and make sure there is enough insulation to keep house heat from escaping. Among other things, air leaks and inadequate insulation results in ice damming. If ice dams collect around the lower edge of a roof, rain or melted snow can back up under the shingles and into the attic or the house. Check the bottom side of the roof sheathing and roof rafters or truss for water stains.

Basements: Make sure that basement windows and doors have built-up barriers or flood shields. Inspect sump pumps to ensure they work properly. A battery backup system is recommended. The sump pump should discharge as far away from the house as possible.

Expansion Joints: Expansion joints are materials between bricks, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movement. If expansion joints are not in good condition, water intrusion can occur. If there are cracks in the joint sealant, remove the old sealant, install a backer rod and fill with a new sealant.

Exterior Wood Sheathing and Siding: Replace any wood siding and sheathing that appears to have water damage. Inspect any wood sided walls to ensure there is at least 8" between any wood and the earth.

Drywall: Since drywall is an extremely porous material and is difficult to dry out completely, damaged areas should be replaced if any signs of moisture are present. One way to protect drywall from moisture intrusion in the event of a flood is to install it slightly above the floor and cover the gap with molding.

Exterior Walls: Exterior walls should be kept well painted and sealed. Don't place compost or leaf piles against the outside walls. Landscape features should not include soil or other bedding material mounded up against walls.

Soffits: Keeping soffits in place can help keep water out of your house.  Aluminum and vinyl soffits were often blown off homes during the 2004 hurricane season. An inexpensive recommendation for soffit strengthening is to apply a bead of polyurethane sealant along the joint between the edge of the channel and the wall, installing sharp pointed stainless steel screws through the fascia and channels so that they connect the soffit material to the edge supports and applying sealant in the grooves where the fascia material butts up against the fascia and wall channel.

2 - REPAIR THE SHINGLES ON YOUR ROOF
Keeping shingles on your house is extremely important.  Check to make sure they are well secured to the roof, particularly along the roof edges.

A common problem is that edge shingles are not well fastened or extend beyond the drip edge more than the 1/4” typically recommended for high wind areas.  Once the perimeter shingles lift off, a peeling process starts and creates a domino effect.

The attachment of perimeter shingles can easily be checked by gently trying to lift the lower edge of the shingle.  If it comes up without much effort (older shingles become brittle and may crack when bent too much), then you should secure them, which is easy.

If you find that a lot of shingles, including ones away from the edge, are poorly adhered, budget for a new roof in the near future.  There have been significant improvements in shingles and the adhesive strips that anchor them to the ones below.  New high wind rated shingles installed according to manufacturer’s recommendations for high wind areas and with extra edge sealing performed very well in the hurricanes of 2004.

Repair or replace shingles around any area that allows water to penetrate the roof sheathing. If you feel like replacing shingles is a bigger job than you want to tackle, call a roofer.

Leaks are particularly common around chimneys, plumbing vents, and attic vents. To trace the source of a ceiling leak, measure its location from the nearest outside wall and then locate this point in the attic using a measuring tape. Keep in mind that the water may run along the attic floor, rafters, or truss for quite a distance before coming through the ceiling.

Use roofing cement in 10 oz. caulk tubes that fit ordinary caulk guns to secure roof shingles.  It's inexpensive and one tube is enough for about 25 feet of shingles.  Perimeter shingles include those along the eaves and gable edges, plus the ones on the ridge and hips.  Place three 1" diameter dabs under each shingle tab (near the edges and in the middle).  On gable ends, secure the three shingle tabs closest to the gable edge.   If the roof is not too steep, an able-bodied person with practical skills should accomplish this in just a few hours.

3 - SECURE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Limiting possible sources of wind-borne debris before a storm will help protect your home and those around you.

Replace gravel/rock landscaping materials with shredded bark.  In a particularly strong hurricane, gravel has been found in mailboxes and has shredded vinyl siding.

Limit yard objects like garden spheres or gnomes, and remove chairs or other furniture when not in use, so there’s less work to do to prepare for a hurricane.

Landscaping: Keep trees trimmed so that branches are at least 7 feet away from any exterior house surface. This will help prolong the life of your siding and roof and prevent insects from entering your home from the tree. Vines should be kept off all exterior walls because they can help open cracks in the siding, which allows moisture or insects to enter the house.

Be prepared to move anything outside that can become flying debris into your house or garage.

Friday, September 15, 2017

What To Do After Disaster Strikes

Many homeowners face natural disasters that force them to leave their belongings behind and evacuate their homes. Before returning home, homeowners should ensure that local officials have determined that it is safe to re-enter their neighborhood. Then contact SitePro Home Inspections, as well as a FEMA inspector, to assist homeowners in documenting any damage that occurred to the home and property, as well as make necessary recommendations.

The following information can help when dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster:


  • Inspect the property carefully to identify post-disaster hazards (e.g., mold, chemical spills, live wires, structural damage).
  • Take photos of damage to the building and its contents to any document losses.
  • Clean up debris and damage.
  • Keep records and receipts for each cost incurred in cleaning up or repairing your home.


Look up your address at DisasterAssistance.gov to find out whether your area is in a presidentially declared disaster area eligible for FEMA's Individual Assistance (IA) Program.

If you're a renter or homeowner whose primary home is in a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration Area, you may qualify for assistance and should apply for FEMA assistance, even if you're not yet sure what kind of assistance you'll need. You can apply for FEMA assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov or by visiting FEMA.gov.

If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, do so as soon as possible. Failure to file a claim with your insurance company may affect your eligibility for some assistance. For a flood disaster, you'll need to file a Proof of Loss with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.

If your primary home was damaged, you will receive a call within 10 days of submitting your FEMA application from a FEMA home inspector to schedule an appointment to visit you. In the event of a catastrophic disaster, all timeframes may be slightly longer.

The FEMA inspector will assess disaster-caused damage to your real and personal property. There is no fee for the Inspection. SitePro Inspectors are contractors, not FEMA employees, but your inspector will have picture identification. You or someone at least 18 years of age, living in the damaged home at the time of the disaster, must be present for your scheduled appointment.

Homeowners can contact local officials to request Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds for qualified projects. Contact your state or local emergency management or building department to find an HMGP point of contact to gain more information about eligibility.
Local officials may share information about HMGP through:


  • Social media online;
  • State and local government websites;
  • Traditional media outlets (newspapers, radio, television, billboards, etc.); and/or
  • Town hall meetings.



Figure 1. Disaster assessment flowchart (image courtesy of FEMA)


Figure 2. Disaster assessment flowchart descriptions (image courtesy of FEMA)


Decide on your recovery options:  Will you repair, repair and mitigate, or sell the property? Consider the following information when making that decision:


  • Level of damage and structural condition;
  • Technical feasibility of repairing the structure;
  • Health hazards that must be remediated;
  • Building code requirements;
  • Costs of the various approaches;
  • Insurance and your other financial resources, including:
    • savings;
    • flood insurance payment (or other insurance payments); 
    • FEMA Assistance to Individuals and Households;
    • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans;
    • Support from non-governmental or nonprofit or voluntary organizations; and/or
    • Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) funding through the National Flood Insurance Program       (NFIP).
  • Repair the structure, which means to return a structure to the pre-disaster condition.
  • Repair the damage and mitigate against future damage, which means to repair and to modify the structure to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of damage in the future.
    • If you decide to repair and mitigate the structure or to sell it, find out if there is a possibility of qualifying for FEMA mitigation funding.
    • Contact local government officials to learn if the local government will be applying for Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) funds. There are three HMA programs:
      • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
      • Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program
      • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program
      • ICC funding (which may be available through your NFIP insurance policy)
  • Sell the property:
    • Local jurisdictions may offer to acquire your property and permanently restrict it as open space to eliminate future disaster damage.
    • The structure may be relocated to a safer location.
    • The structure may be demolished and you may rebuild at a safer location.
    • Local jurisdictions may also receive funds from the state and FEMA to help pay for property acquisitions.  The following conditions may apply:
      • only occurs if the property owner is willing;
      • is a fee-simple purchase of property, which transfers full ownership of the property, including the underlying title, to another party;
      • requires an appraisal to determine fair market value of the property and structure;
      • results in the homeowner receiving fair market value of the structure and land after deducting any duplication of benefits received from other programs; and
      • results in open space that must be permanently maintained as open space.


Important Reminder
Homeowners may start their HMGP-funded projects only after notification of approval by their state, tribal, or local government official. Any work started before FEMA review and approval is ineligible for funding, which means that FEMA will not reimburse the cost of any mitigation work already started or completed prior to FEMA approval. However, this does not include basic repair work necessary to make the residence habitable.

Summary
If a natural disaster has forced a homeowner to evacuate their home, dealing with the impact can be devastating and difficult. When returning home, homeowners should make sure to properly inspect their home by contacting SitePro a Certified Professional Inspector or FEMA Inspector to properly assess the damage and to make necessary recommendations. If your primary home is in a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration area, you may qualify for assistance and should apply for FEMA assistance. Homeowners can contact local officials to request Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds for qualified projects.

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified National Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Certified IBHS Fortified Inspector  #FEV32561020109 
Certified ARA Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Certified Florida-State Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Certified Florida Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
InterNACHI Member #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                          
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)         

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What Is The Life Expectancy Of Wiring In A House?


Copper wire should last 100 years or more, but the insulation around it will deteriorate sooner and is the determining factor in lifespan. Each era of electrical wiring has a different expected life, and he earliest type still around in a few older houses is knob-and-tube. It was standard up until the early 1940s and, as the name implies, depends on knobs at changes in direction of the wiring and tubes at penetrations of flammable material like wood, along with air space around the wiring for insulation.

Part of the problem with knob and tubing wiring that is still functional in a home is simply its age. The insulation is at least 70-years old, brittle, and flaking off. Another problem is the low current-carrying capacity compared to modern wiring, and difficulty in safely splicing K&T with modern NM-cable. Also, all knob and tube wiring systems are “two-wire,” meaning that they do not contain a third wire for grounding, which has been required for residential electrical systems since about 1960. While K&T is now obsolete and requires replacement when found during a home inspection, it’s worth noting that it was once state-of-the-art technology.

The next type of wiring was insulated with a rubber-like material and embedded fabric, shown in the photo above. It was used up through the 1950s. The insulation has not held up well in hot attics of North Florida, especially in areas near the attic hatch opening where it has been walked on repeatedly or pushed around by stored Christmas decorations. The wiring is at the end of its serviceable life now in most cases, with cracked insulation flaking off the at bends and splayed fabric; however, sometimes it is still in marginally satisfactory condition, with the expectation of replacement very soon.

Plastic wire insulation with good resistance to thermal deterioration followed next in the mid-1950s, and the formulation of the plastic was upgraded in the 1980s for better heat resistance. The newer wiring is expected to have a lifespan of 80 years or more...but only time will tell.

Many of our customers buying older houses are concerned about the possibility of a fire due to arcing of damaged or deteriorated wiring in the walls or attic. Two options to consider are wiring replacement or installation of AFCI-breakers in the panel for the general household circuits. AFCI stands for Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, and an AFCI breaker does double duty: it protects against too much current flowing through the wires, just like a regular breaker, but also recognizes any sparking in wiring, and trips when either problem occurs. We recommend discussing your options with a professional electrician, who can evaluate the current condition of your house wiring and discuss the pros and cons of the two alternatives.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Why Do New Homes Have More Moisture And Mold Problems Than Older Houses?


Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: this is not a home inspector’s rant about how the old ways of building a house were better and “they don’t build ‘em like they used to.” It’s about how building technology advances that have made homes more energy efficient, along with the addition of features that make a house more comfortable to live in and are now considered standard, but would have been luxuries in a pre-1950 home, have provided more routes for moisture to get into a house and be trapped.

Older homes, especially in Florida, were designed for ventilation—to “breathe.” Big openable windows, corner windows for cross-ventilation, a whole-house fan that sucked outdoor air into the house, then up and out through the attic vents, and louvered transoms over bedroom doors to provide air flow even when the door was closed. You could close everything up in the winter, but air leakage through jalousie windows was unavoidable. It didn’t matter because the heating was relatively cheap, and it was more important to be comfortable during the summer in the era before air conditioning.

New homes are designed to be air conditioned and heated all year and must be well-sealed and insulated to maintain the temperature and humidity differential between the inside and outside while keeping energy costs reasonable. Many of the problems today relate to having one continuous temperature and humidity level on the inside of a wall, and widely variable temperatures and humidity on the other side of the wall, with minimal air exchange between the two sides.

This fact is often repeated as the main problem with modern homes, but it is also why they are more comfortable to live in than their predecessors, and it is not accurate to blame everything on houses being “built too tight.” Here’s our list of other factors that have changed over the years and contribute to a higher likelihood of moisture and mold problems occurring in a newer home:

Every plumbing fixture in a home is a potential location for leakage, either of incoming water or outgoing waste. Most older homes had plumbing at only two places inside the home: the kitchen and a single bathroom. The water heater and laundry were often in a utility room behind the carport or an attached laundry shed. Today’s homes have at least two bathrooms, a dishwasher, water and ice service at the refrigerator door, an indoor laundry and water heater. That’s the basics. Then there’s the optional spa tub in the master bath, wet bar, and laundry sink.

Manufactured roof trusses, beginning in the 1960s, made it easier for a builder to make complex and appealing roof lines that would have been prohibitively labor-intensive to construct on-site previously. But that means more flashings at the intersections of all those gables and hips that are usually the first place to fail on an older roof. Add in a few skylights and you’ve got more potential locations for water intrusion.  Any roofer will tell you “it’s not if a skylight will leak, it’s when.”

Construction materials are constantly being improved, but not all new building technology holds up over the years. Wonder materials of a few decades ago, such as polybutylene piping and composition wood siding, proved to be water-intrusion headaches still lingering around in some homes. Complaining homeowners and lawsuits eventually removed them from the market.

Synthetic stucco, also called “EIFS,” is a newer exterior siding material that got off to a rocky start and, after widespread incidents of wood rot and mold behind it from water entrapment, the installation specs were changed to allow drainage behind the material.

People today are more conscious of the potential danger of living in a house with mold. Growing up in South Florida in the 1960s, we were both used to hearing “Oh, honey, that’s just a little mildew. Nothing to worry about.” Not anymore.

A big advance in efficient home construction was the concrete floor slab, which became the norm by the end of the 1950s. It’s faster and much less expensive than framing an elevated wood floor over a crawl space, but that air gap provided a barrier to water intrusion from the ground and an easy way to verify if there is a moisture problem under the floor.

Landscape sprinkler systems are standard-issue for new homes in Florida, except for the low-end of the market. Without regular maintenance adjustment, they start spraying on the walls of a home. When we see wood rot at window trim, we turn on the sprinklers to see which one is soaking down the wall.

Pressure washers are really better labeled as a “hand-held hurricane.” They are great for driveways but terrible for houses. When a homeowner uses this popular power tool on the exterior walls of a home, they force water at high-pressure into the siding and loosen window caulking. Plus, the pressure often pops the seal on double-pane insulated windows, making them lose their insulation ability and eventually turn cloudy between the panes.

Pressure washing an asphalt shingle roof loosens the tab adhesion at the leading edge of the shingles and blasts away surface granules that protect the shingle from sunlight UV-deterioration. Granddad didn’t have one.

A lot of good research has been done to improve air exchange rate and indoor air quality while keeping homes weather tight. We think that’s great and don’t want to go back to the old days. Just want to point out that there are more reasons for moisture and mold problems in newer homes than simply that they need to “breathe.”



While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here. Courtesy of McGarry and Madsen Inspection

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Can I Remodel An Old Mobile Home Without A Building Permit?


It depends on two things: 1) how extensive the remodeling is, and 2) what building department jurisdiction you are in. Although the original construction of a manufactured/mobile home is solely under the rules and supervision of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), except for local building and zoning regulations about placement on the site, once the home is installed any modifications or additions must comply with the building codes where it is located.

Most jurisdictions do not require that work such as painting, siding or skirting repair, or interior flooring installation have a building permit. Beyond that, each building department has a slightly different threshold past which a permit is necessary, but anything that alters the structure, such a re-roofing, window replacement, electrical, plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and the addition of a deck or site-built attached room requires a permit and inspection.

While you may have neighbors that “mind their own business” and are not inclined to call the local code enforcement officer about any construction work you do without a building permit, the short-term savings of the cost and aggravation of a permit and inspection is offset nowadays by the problem you may encounter on selling the home to a buyer that expects to see building permits (with a final inspection sign-off) on all of the home’s improvements.

The problem we see most often with mobile homes that are remodeled by a homeowner without a building permit relates to a very specific HUD requirement that is also enforced by local jurisdictions: no additions can bear on the mobile home structure. A mobile home is designed to support itself and nothing more. Any additions, including porches and porch roofs, can connect to the mobile home but must be supported separately and not put any additional load on the mobile home structure.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here. Courtesy of McGarry and Madsen Inspection

Monday, September 4, 2017

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Mobile Or Manufactured Home?


Today’s manufactured homes have a life expectancy of 30 to 55 years, depending on the level of maintenance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). We agree with HUD’s lifespan estimate, but there are a number of variables other than owner care that will affect how long a mobile home lasts:

1) The HUD projection was based on today’s standards for mobile home construction. They established a nationwide building code for manufactured homes in 1976, and have ratcheted up the construction standards every few years since then. Newer homes are built to be more windstorm and fire resistant, along with other requirements that make the homes sturdier overall.
 
We have found that Florida mobile homes built to the lower standards of the 1970s, and now 40 to 50 years old, are reaching the end of their serviceable life—even in well-maintained senior citizen manufactured home developments. Florida’s humid environment is one factor, but the lesser quality materials such as wood fiber-board flooring also come into play. As the water supply piping fails and it's time for the second re-roofing, along with soft spots appearing in the floor, many homeowners make the decision to have their old home towed away and pull in a new one.

2) While an aging mobile home may still be habitable, there are several downsides to continuing to maintain it. Lack of adequate insulation is one problem. Older mobiles are notorious for high utility bills during the winter heating or sweltering summer seasons. Many have 60 or 100-amp electric panels, which are marginally adequate for today’s higher electric usage. Also, the floor plans often feel cramped by modern standards, with narrow hallways and tiny bathrooms.

3) The budget models that offered lots of square footage at an amazingly low price when they were originally purchased will not last as long the more expensive, better quality homes. Lower-priced mobile homes can start to show signs of age within 10 years if poorly maintained.

4) The conditions at the home site also affect the longevity of a manufactured home. If the home is installed over ground that is wet for part of the year or the site is not graded so that rainwater will flow away from the home on all sides and it’s prone to puddling water under the home, then moisture will begin to deteriorate the underside of the home prematurely, especially if the belly board has been torn open in places. Homes built during the 1980s with fiberboard siding are especially vulnerable to high moisture.

5) Remodeling an older mobile home can be a sensible strategy for extending its life, especially if a large part of the budget goes to roofing, siding, insulation, windows, and interior upgrades that will improve both the weather-tightness and livability of the home. For more on remodeling, see our blog “Does it make sense to remodel an older mobile home?”
 
In summary, selecting a better quality manufactured home and careful maintenance of both the home and its site are the keys to reaching the 50+ years of longevity for your mobile home that HUD predicts.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Home Inspections The Site-Pro Way


SitePro produces easy to read, nationally recognized reports.

Our typical home inspection includes these components and systems:
  • Exterior/Site: Grading, driveways, sidewalks, front porch, patio, gates, fences/walls, decks and stairs.
  • Structure: Exterior walls, trim, foundation, basement, crawl space, exterior doors and chimneys.
  • Roof: Roof covering, flashings, attic and insulation.
  • Electrical: Entrance wires, main electrical panels and branch wiring.
  • Plumbing: Piping, valves, water heater and sprinkler/irrigation system.
  • Heating/Cooling/Air Distribution System: Heating system, cooling system, air handler and evaporative cooler.
  • Interior: Walls, floors, ceiling, doors, windows and screens.
  • Bathrooms: Counter tops, cabinets, sinks and built-in appliances.
  • Kitchen: Counter tops, cabinets, sinks and built-in appliances.
  • Miscellaneous: Vehicle parking area, overhead garage door, garage-to-house door, laundry room, interior stairs and fireplaces.

Our inspection reports are informative and easy-to-use. Each section is categorized along with a detailed summary that makes it convenient and easy to reference repairs quickly. All reports are posted on our website, produced at time of inspection, or faxed to you within 24 hours of the inspection followed by a mailed detailed report and useful maintenance tips and information.

Our detailed, computerized inspection reports include:
  • A Summary Section listing defective and marginal items as well as helpful recommendations for repair or replacement
  • A Helpful Home Maintenance Guide
  • Pre-Closing Inspection checklist for checking on repairs before Closing
  • Useful Tip Guide for Maintaining Your Home
  • Free digital copies of photographs taken during the inspection

Choosing the right home inspector can difficult. Unlike most professionals, you probably will not get to meet me until after you hire me. Furthermore, different inspectors have varying qualifications, equipment, experience, reporting methods, and yes, different pricing. One thing for sure is that a home inspection requires work, a lot of work. Ultimately a through inspection depends heavily on the individual inspector’s own effort. If you honor me by permitting me to inspect your home, I guarantee that I will give you my very best effort.

This is my promise to you.

Permit Searches: Have there been any renovations, additions, or improvements made on the home you are buying? Was the home “flipped”? Are you concerned about the quality and professionalism of the repairs? In many instances we can perform a permit search for you to uncover if required permits were obtained, code inspections performed, was the work passed, and who did the work.

Roof Condition Certification: Inspection of roof covering, flashing and structure to clarify remaining life and condition in regards to leaks or damage.

Condominium Inspections: The structure is owned by the homeowners association, therefore a through review of your condominium documents is recommended for recent roof replacement/ repairs/maintenance.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What Can We Do To Have The Fewest Issues In A Home Inspection?


Home inspectors don’t make a home fail the inspection, but a homebuyer struggling through a long list of defects in the inspection report will do it. Although no home is perfect with zero issues to write up, the fewer things your inspector lists on the report, the better. So we recommend preparing for the inspection by taking a few hours to find and take care of all the easy-to-fix minor problems.

You can also speed up the inspection by making sure everything is accessible for the inspector. The strategy is to shorten both the report and the inspector’s time at the house, which will make everybody happier. Here’s our “Top 10” list of suggestions:

1) Make sure the electric, water, and gas are turned on if the house is not occupied. Scheduling the local utility to turn them on at the day of the inspection is asking for trouble. Do it before.

2) Unlock any locked areas that the inspector needs to get into, and the space under the attic access hatch or ladder should be clear.

3) Clear the area in front of the electric panel, water heater, and HVAC system. The inspector will need to remove the covers of the electric panel and furnace/air handler, so provide sufficient space.

4) Take your pets out of the home during the inspection, or secure them out of the way. They will be a distraction under foot for the buyer and home inspector.

5) Replace any burned-out light bulbs and make sure that hand-held remotes for ceiling fans or wall air conditioner are easy to find. Inspectors don’t do trouble shooting on fixtures that don’t work. They just write them up and move on.

6) Test the smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors, and replace any dead batteries or non-functional units.

7) Check the air filters on your HVAC system, and replace or clean them if necessary. When there are air filters are at multiple return air registers, be sure to locate all of them.

8) Trim tree branches and bushes away from the walls and roof of the house.

9) Remove any stored items, and especially wood, from around the base of the home. These items can act as a “termite highway” to aid and conceal running their mud tubes into the home.

10) Repair or replace any broken or damaged minor components in the home, like doorknobs, latches, window panes, screens, gutters, and downspouts, switch and receptacle cover plates.

Homebuyers can be fickle and sometimes cancel their sales contract for reasons that are beyond your control. But each item you fix is one less on the inspection summary and one less reason for them to be anxious about their purchase. Just don’t worry about dust or whether the beds are made. Inspectors do not evaluate housekeeping.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New Home and Builder's Warranty Inspections


The Panhandle area continues to grow. As a result, home builders continue to scramble for more and more land and seem to be building homes at a record pace. Owning a home is the American Ideal, but building a home is the Dream of a Lifetime. Unfortunately, for some new homeowners, it can come with problems they may not know how to deal with.

As a result of extraordinary growth in the Panhandle over the last few decades, builders have grown to rely upon subcontractors who are continually looking for qualified labor. Most of these subcontractors are exceptional and well trained. However, with the record pace of building, it is possible to have workers who are tired, overworked or not as qualified as they should be.

As a result, some new homeowners have found that these subcontractors have maybe forgotten to insulate portions of attics, have not installed electrical or plumbing components correctly, or have failed to finish their work such as not installing all the roof tiles needed for a roof.

If they do not document these items or catch them before the end of their warranty, the homeowner, not the builder, is responsible for repairing these items down the road when they sell their home and the buyers have an inspection performed.. As a result, these homeowners are faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in costs that could have been avoided with a comprehensive inspection.

By working with SitePro, you can provide your builder with a thorough, detailed written summary of defects that need to be corrected while your home is still under warranty. It’s a good idea to have an independent authority conduct your home inspection. That way you have the peace of mind knowing you have a complete and accurate account of your home’s condition.

There are many local inspection companies who perform these types of inspections, but only a few are as thorough, experienced, or professional as a SitePro inspector. Understanding that buying a new home can be overwhelming and sometimes fearful, our inspectors take extra time to ask you what issues you are concerned about.

We encourage you to be present during the inspection and in some cases follow us so you can see what we see. Whether you follow us or not, we take time at the end of the inspection to walk through the home identifying issues.

Additionally, inspectors from SitePro take extra time to point out maintenance issues. Our inspections not only cover the basic items in a normal inspection, we spend extra time looking at systems and structural components to ensure potential issues caused by substandard workmanship are identified and corrected before they become an issue. SitePro inspectors are highly qualified in construction trades, building and zoning and real estate. We have an acute understanding of the process as well as typical mistakes that are made over and over by some subcontractors.

Why not REQUEST AN INSPECTION today and have the PEACE OF MIND you always wanted for a fraction of replacing or repairing or installing items in the future?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Inspecting Fiber Cement Siding



When people hear this term they immediately associate it with Asbestos cement shingles. Many homes were sided with them years ago. Concrete or cement fiber shingles are still available; however, Asbestos is no longer used. New cement fiber siding consists of Portland cement, sand, and cellulose (wood) fibers. There has been a wave of new cement fiber siding products over the last several years. Whether you liked older Asbestos cement shingles or not, there is no denying that they are very hardy (although brittle). I inform my clients that older cement fiber shingles are durable, and can easily be painted. They wear very well and will last a long time with very little maintenance. Because the Asbestos fibers are contained in the shingle, they do not pose a significant risk, unless they are drilled, cut or sanded.

We are now seeing issues and even lawsuits regarding new fiber cement siding. You can see in these pictures some issues associated with cement siding:




The pictures at the top of this article will give you an understanding of how cement siding should be installed. So what are some of the things a home inspector should be looking for and how should you properly advise your client when inspecting cement fiber siding.

· Cement fiber siding should not be installed wet or if it has been saturated. Doing so will cause it to shrink after being nailed in place causing gaps
· A properly installed weather resistive barrier must be installed under siding
· Cement fiber siding should be kept a minimum of 6 inches above grade
· Cement fiber should not be used for fascia or trim pieces
· Joint flashing should be used behind the siding at joints and seams
· It should be nailed between ¾” and 1” below top edge of siding
· The maximum distance lap siding should be installed over studs is 24” OC or directly to a minimum 7/16” thick wood substrate
· Trim should not be installed over the siding. Instead, there should be an appropriate gap and caulk should be used
· There should be a 1 ¼” starter strip installed
· Appropriate corrosion resistant, galvanized, or stainless steel nails and fasteners should be used
· Aluminum fasteners, staples, or clipped head nails should not be used
· Fasteners should be perpendicular and snug to the siding, no air gaps and not countersunk
· Cement fiber siding will warp due to improper nailing
· Flaking of the surface can be due to water exposure or manufacturer issues
· Cement fiber siding will also crack if struck
· Flashing should be installed as necessary, similar to any siding material especially top cap flashing

Monday, August 21, 2017

Why A Maintenance Home Inspection?


Why a Maintenance Home Inspection? Can you really afford to have a home that is unsafe for you and your family? For a fraction of the cost of what you purchased your home, you can have your home checked out and repaired before damaged or unsafe conditions worsen. Why risk it?

Our experienced, fully trained and licensed inspectors not only know what issues to look for but can advise you on important maintenance and care items that will help you maintain your home for years to come. Moreover, this will give you a complete “honey-do” list without all the guessing and uncertainty that goes into most home improvement projects. For more information, please view our What We Inspect page.

Reasons to have a Maintenance Home Inspection:

  • Find those small problems before they become big problems.
  • Have a detailed and comprehensive report detailing the current condition of your home.
  • Save money! By doing minor repairs now it will save you from the big repair in the future.
  • No surprises when you sell. When you do sell your home in the future there won’t be any unexpected surprises.
  • You may be unable or unwilling to examine areas of your home on your own.

Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Homebuyers of Newly Constructed Homes May Not be Aware They May Have an Inspection Clause Included with Their New Home Contract


The truth is, a new homebuyer can greatly benefit from using a professional home inspector during the construction and completion of their new home.New Home Inspection Services in Florida

The majority of construction tasks (foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc.) are usually subcontracted out to the lowest bidder, with speed, not quality being an important consideration for the builder. With many separate activities going on at the same time, it’s nearly impossible for the contractor/builder to personally monitor all phases of the home construction.

Don’t assume your builder — or the contractors — did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against major defects that could quite literally sink your financial future.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Closing Inspection Services


Prior to closing on a property the home buyer or a representative for the home buyer should conduct a pre-closing inspection.

This is when to take the prior home inspection list and make sure all of the items have either been addressed or fixed. SitePro will do this for a nominal fee at the Buyer’s Request.

Here is a general checklist:

Closing Inspection Services in Florida

GENERAL ELECTRICAL

Are the items agreed to be left by the seller present?
Do the lights come on at each switch?
Is there visible damage with the owner’s furniture now gone that you couldn’t see before?
Are all of the light fixtures and ceiling fans present and working?
Are the smoke detectors functional?
Do the breakers work correctly?

EXTERIOR AND STRUCTURE

Check cracks, or separations?
Have the repairs and painting been finished?
Are wooden decks and hand rails secure?
Have you walked around the property?

KITCHEN

Are the appliance accessories present?
Do the appliances still operate satisfactorily?
Are the instructions/warranties left for the appliances?
Do the cabinets, countertops, or floors appear damaged?

CRAWL SPACE, AIR DUCTS

Are the lowest portions dry?
Are crawl space vents open for good ventilation?
Do you see any wet spots?

HEATING AND COOLING*

Do the systems function when you operate the thermostat?
Are the air filters clean?
Any extra filters left?
Is there debris clogging the exterior air units?

LOT AND GROUNDS

Any changes to the driveway, patio, or sidewalks?
Are the fences tight, and do the gates operate?
Reset the automatic sprinkler to minimum setting.

GARAGE

Do the vehicle doors work smoothly and reverse?
Do you have the car door remote controls?
Do you see any damage with the personal items gone?

INTERIOR WALLS, CEILINGS, AND FLOORS

Are the carpets stained in closets near the shower areas?
Are there holes or damage from the move-out?
Are there broken or “fogged” windows or doors?

SURFACE WATER CONTROL

Has the re-grading (if any), been accomplished?
Are the gutters aligned and cleaned of debris?
Do the downspouts direct water positively away?

PLUMBING

Do the faucets and drains function satisfactorily?
Is there hot water at each appropriate location?
Do the toilets flush and cycle normally?
Check beneath each cabinet for leaks or moisture.

ROOF

Are there missing shingles since the last visit?
Have the roof repairs (if any), been performed?
Is the attic ventilation open and working if power?
Are the bushes and trees trimmed back and not touching?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Don't Wait to Find Out the Condition of Your Commercial Building - Get an Inspection from SitePro!


Commercial Inspections

Whether you own, lease, or are purchasing a building, don’t wait to find out the condition of the building and its systems. It is a pretty good hunch that this property was a major investment and the last thing you want are more costs. After all, no one likes surprises. That’s why an inspection is intended to tell you the condition of the building and property–and, reduce your risk.

A SitePro inspection is an objective review of your building and property. Knowing the condition of a building will allow you to budget more accurately and provide for expenditures in the future — whether it’s a new roof, HVAC or simply maintenance related items. Not knowing this information, or worse yet guessing, can have major consequences.

  • What condition are the building’s systems and components in?
  • What costly defects are there which require attention now?
  • What expenditures will be required to repair, maintain or replace items in the near future?

If you can’t answer these questions about the property you’re planning to buy or lease, you probably should consider an inspection before buying the property.

Buying a building and property is a very anxious time filled with doubts, deadlines and so on. Reducing or removing uncertainties can make your real estate transaction go smoother. The same holds true when you lease, by knowing the condition of the building and property from the outset. Estimating future repair costs and the replacement of building components and systems requires an inspection to determine their current condition. With this information, estimated life spans can be ascertained along with the related costs to repair, maintain or replace items.

What Type of Commercial Properties are Typically Inspected?

We inspect commercial buildings of all shapes and sizes. For example:

  • Shopping Centers & Strip Malls
  • Office Buildings, Apartments & Condominiums
  • Light Industrial Properties
  • Religious & Institutional Properties
  • Recreational Facilities & Sports Complexes

What Does SitePro Look For?

Our building inspections are tailored to meet our clients’ needs and include items such as:

  • Foundation — construction, walls, floors
  • Roof — covering, flashing, chimneys, drainage
  • Attic — ventilation, vapor barriers
  • Insulation — type, amount
  • Interior Spaces — Walls, Floors, Rooms, Offices, Kitchens, Washrooms
  • Exterior — Site, Walls, Windows & Doors
  • Electrical & Plumbing Systems
  • Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning

Other services we can provide include:

Safety concerns for fire & other hazards

We do not inspect commercial equipment such as refrigeration units, coolers, commercial grade ovens, stoves or pizza ovens.

Why a SitePro Report?

We provide a comprehensive narrative-style written report. Our reports….

  • Are Not A Checklist
  • Are Easy To Read
  • Are Not Overly Technical
  • Tell You The Condition Of Your Property In Every Day Language


Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Four-Point Inspection is Often a Requirement When Obtaining a New Homeowners Insurance Policy or Renewing an Existing Policy


After hurricane Andrew in Florida, insurance companies in Florida have been trying to encourage home owners to make their homes safer and reduce insurance claims. Many of the insurance companies and JUA (Joint Underwriting Association) now request a Four Point Inspection.

A “Four Point Inspection” focuses only on four main areas of interest in a home:Four Point Inspection Services in Florida

  • HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
  • Electrical wiring and panels
  • Plumbing connections and fixtures
  • Roof

Most homes older than 25 years are required by their insurance companies to get this inspection done. Insurance companies require four point inspections to evaluate the age and condition of the components of your home. Though homeowners insurance policies don’t typically cover these areas, if they are old or in disrepair, they could contribute to a covered event such as damage from a fire or severe weather.

Some insurance companies have their own forms they want complete but most of them accept forms filled out by our licensed professional inspectors. The report needed includes specific information about the HVAC, plumbing, electrical system and roof in a short one or two page signed document.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thorough Home Inspections With Your Interests In Mind


After saving and dreaming for months and years, you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It has just the right d├ęcor, space, bedrooms and amenities you and your family need right now. You’ve checked out the schools. You’ve checked out the neighborhood. You‘ve even timed the drive to and from work.

BUT, have you taken seriously the importance of having a BUYER’S HOME INSPECTION done on your home? One where YOUR interests are in mind? Probably not.

Perhaps your neighbor has mentioned a home inspector or your REALTOR has referred their favorite home inspector? Can you be assured that this home inspector will take the time not only to perform a thorough and detailed inspection, but walk through the entire home explaining defects mentioned in the report as well as maintenance items? Will this inspector explain how systems work in a fun and educational manner so you know and feel comfortable with your home? After all, this is YOUR home and you want to know as much as you can about it!

Finally, when you are nearing the end of the inspection, will the inspector be scrambling to get you a report onsite or will he review his notes and prepare one of the most easily understood and professional reports in the industry within 12-24 hours? After all, it is your home.

Do you want a rushed inspection and report with possible errors or one that has YOUR best interests in mind? SitePro always has your interests in mind! After all, the largest part of our business is from happy past clients who have gone through the home buying process just like you.

So buy that home and schedule your inspection today knowing you have a trusted inspection company with your interests in mind!

Call 850-934-6800 To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Are Drop-In Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tablets Safe?


Toilet bowl cleaner tablets that sit in the bottom of the tank have two advantages over the older type that hang on the side of the bowl: they are easy to install without having to touch the toilet bowl and not visible when in place. But, because they dispense a disinfectant chemical into the tank instead of the bowl, the flush mechanism is exposed to the chemicals, which often includes chlorine bleach.
 
Toilet manufacturers noticed an immediate surge in leakage complaints about their products after the drop-in tablets were introduced in the early  1990s. One of the problems the manufacturers discovered the new product was that if a homeowner left on vacation or, even worse, installed the tablets in a seasonal home, the concentration of the chemicals would intensify in the tank to corrosive levels as the tablet slowly dissolved without any toilet flushes to dilute it.
 
The Clorox Company responded to a class action suit claiming damage to toilet mechanisms, even though the manufacturer claimed that their Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner “does not damage toilets,” with an $8-million settlement. Clorox denied any wrongdoing but has since added the statement “tablets should be used in toilets that are flushed daily” to the product packaging. Unfortunately, it is not practical for a consumer to fish the tablet out of the bottom of the tank before leaving home for an extended period.

Toilet manufacturers responded to the problem by adding warning stickers, like the one shown below by Kohler, to the inside of their toilet tanks as a consumer warning.


Plumbers also recommend not using the tablets based on their experience replacing deteriorated plastic, metal and rubber flush mechanism parts—especially the flapper. The tablets have also been documented to cause tank leakage or an inadequate flush.


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                        
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)          

Monday, July 31, 2017

Can The Smoke Sensors In A Home Security/Fire Alarm System Replace The Smoke Alarms Required By The Building Code?


A residential security/fire alarm system can replace the smoke alarms required by the building code under these conditions:

1)    Provides the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by the building code for smoke alarms.

2)    Permanently installed and owned by the homeowner (not rented).

3)  Monitored by an approved supervising station and maintained in accordance with NFPA 72.
 
 “NFPA 72” is a national standard for fire alarm systems issued by the National Fire Protection Association and updated every three years. Here’s the full text of the applicable section of the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC):


The International Residential Code (IRC) is similar, and the exception noted at the end of the citation above essentially indicates that a security/fire alarm system does not have to meet these standards if the code-required smoke alarm system remains in place.
 
There are no test buttons on most security/fire alarm smoke sensors and generally speaking, most home inspectors do not test or evaluate these systems, we cannot determine whether the sensors are still functional, whether the system is owned or rented, or if central system monitoring is active.

SitePro is one of the ONLY companies that do test and evaluate these systems during their home inspections


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                        
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Does An Above-Ground Pool Have To Comply With Code Requirements For A Swimming Pool Barrier?


The Florida Building Code (FBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) both define a swimming pool as “any structure intended for recreational swimming, bathing or wading that contains water over 24 inches (610 mm) deep. This includes in-ground, above-ground and on-ground pools; hot tubs; spas and fixed-in-place wading pools.”
 
So an above-ground pool more than 24 inches deep is required to meet the swimming pool barrier requirements for child safety. But the good news is the pool wall itself can be the necessary barrier as long as it is at least 48 inches high and not climbable. When the means of access is a ladder or steps, it must be able to be secured, locked, or removed to prevent access.
 
Although above-ground pools are often not permanent structures, they still represent a safety hazard while in place. About 250 children drown every year in swimming pool accidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Council (CPSC), and having an effective pool barrier is one way to reduce the possibility of a drowning tragedy in your own backyard.


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                        
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)        

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What Is The Purpose Of The Vent Grille Over The Bedroom Door?


It’s called a transfer grille and provides an opening from the bedroom to the hallway for air to return back to the air conditioning air handler or furnace when the supply register (vent) in the ceiling of the bedroom is blowing conditioned air into the room. If it wasn’t there and the bedroom door was closed, the only way for air to return to the air handler would be through the narrow undercut slot below the door. The door undercut does not provide a sufficient opening, so the room would become somewhat pressurized and would not receive as much conditioned air as rooms that had an open return air flow.
 
Another way to achieve good air flow in rooms with a closed door is called a jump duct.


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                        
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)                        

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Could Faulty Work Or Lack Of A Building Permit For Home Improvements Cause An Insurance Company To Deny A Claim?


While there are plenty of good reasons to have any improvements to your home done with a building permit by a licensed professional, the possibility of a denied insurance claim because of incompetent or non-permitted work is not one of them. Insurance companies pay for perils listed in the policy, such damage from an electrical fire or plumbing leak, even if shoddy work resulted in the damage.
   
We occasionally hear stories to the contrary, but they appear to be the stuff of urban legends and there is no confirmed incident we know of. The insurance company will likely subrogate (go after) the person who did the improperly performed or non-permitted work and possibly cancel the homeowner’s policy, but it will not affect payment of the claim. That is one of the many ways that insurance companies make money, going after the person or company who provided the unpermitted or poor workmanship.
   

Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                        
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)                        

"Looking Beyond The Obvious"
2017 BOB Winner
The Best Home Inspection Company
SitePro Home Inspections

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Can I Add To My Septic Tank To Help It Work Better?


Products that get dishes cleaner, teeth whiter, and indoor air fresher are in every home, and for a good reason: because they work. So it makes sense that an additive to improve the performance of your septic tank would be a good idea too.

The problem is septic tanks don’t need any help. They only require naturally occurring anaerobic soil bacteria to function just fine. Chemical additives have repeatedly been proven to be harmful, and the states of Washington and Massachusetts have passed legislation banning them. They allow only biological additives that have been reviewed and approved by the state health department. Both states provide a list of approved products, with names like “Earthworm Family-Safe Drain Cleaner,” “Liquid Alive” and, our favorite, “Push.”

The additives are not evaluated for how well they function, only to verify that they will not harm your septic system. Multiple university studies have shown minimal or no benefit from biological additives.
   
A study by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was particularly interesting because it documented the amazing resilience of the naturally occurring bacteria following being totally wiped out by a big dose of household plumbing disinfectants. After dumping enough liquid bleach, Drano®, or Lysol® into the tank to kill everything, the bacteria population fully recovered within 30 to 60 hours.
   
The recommendation that university researchers, along with most septic tank contractors, offer for keeping your septic tank in good health is to skip the additives and focus on what not to put down the drain. Undigested food scraps, grease, and excessive use of disinfectants and chemical drain cleaners top their list.

However, SitePro recommends a few packages of ‘Yeast’ from your local grocery store.


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
IBHS Fortified  Certified Inspector  #FEV32561020109 
ARA Certified Inspector #20302 (Applied Research Associates)
Florida-State Certified Master Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Inspector
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
InterNACHI #10071802

362 Gulf Breeze Parkway, #214
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561

850.934.6800  (Office)                                          
850.485.3209  (Cell / Text Msg)                          

"Looking Beyond The Obvious"
The Best Home Inspection Company
SitePro Home Inspections