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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Why Is An Older Water Heater An Insurance Problem?


Here are some statistics from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, an insurance industry research organization:

➡Most water heater failures occur when the water heater has reached its life expectancy and the tank begins to rust and corrode.

➡The average age at failure was 10.7 years.

➡More than two-thirds of all water heater failures are due to a slow leak or sudden burst of the tank.

➡Water heater failures cost the insurance company an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible is paid.

Because water heaters corrode from the inside of the tank outward, there is often no external sign of its deterioration. The water heater in the picture above is 28 years old. Other than a little dust and some discoloration of the Energy-Guide sticker, it doesn’t look its age--and that’s the problem. It is a proverbial “accident waiting to happen.”

When insurance companies request a 4-point inspection for older homes, as they are doing more often lately, if the water heater is over about 25 to 30 years old they will request that it be replaced as a requirement for coverage.
 
There are several things you can do to extend the life of an older water heater, such as draining the sediment from the bottom of the tank every couple of years and replacing the sacrificial anode as necessary, but the best way to avoid a water heater failure and subsequent water damage is to just replace it.


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)                        

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Does The Seller Have To Fix All Defects Found By A Home Inspector To Sell The House?


Not exactly. The real estate contract between you and the seller defines what, if any, defects that we uncover will need to be repaired. We use the word “defect” to describe anything we find that is not acceptable in the home, and that includes a wide range of house problems--from something minor such as drooping ceiling fan blades to larger issues, like a leaking roof or foundation damage.

Every defect or “area of concern” that we call out will not necessarily to be a defect as defined in the real estate contract. For example, a roof that is not leaking but is near the end of its serviceable life, with only a year or two before it has to be replaced, is not deemed to be a reason for a new roof courtesy of the seller. An active roof leak would kick it over to the repair list, but then it would further require a licensed roofer (or two) to state that repairing the leak would be a waste of time, based on the overall condition of the roof, before a simple roof repair at the leak area would be eliminated as an option for the seller.

Sometimes a homeowner’s insurance company will require that the roof has to be inspector-certified to have 5-years of life remaining before they will issue insurance for the home. Because insurance is necessary for financing, and acquiring reasonable financing is a contract contingency, a new roof may be necessary in order for you--or anyone financing their purchase of the home--to buy the home. This scenario can help you get a new roof, for example, but will likely require some negotiating give-and-take between both sides of the deal.

There is one simple parameter that applies to most real estate contracts regarding seller’s obligation for repairs: if it’s functional, it is acceptable. A “cosmetic” defect (usually defined as any problem that is unsightly by does not affect the functionality of the home) is normally excluded from the seller’s repair list. A rusty cabinet of the a/c condenser unit or some dings in the baseboard are typical examples. Occasionally, a defect can ride the line between cosmetic and functional. An insulated window that has become slightly fogged over due to loss of the seal between the double panes can be argued as merely cosmetic. Or, since the loss of the inert gas reduces the insulating quality of the window, it can be considered a functional defect.

There are also often dollar-limits in the contract for the repairs in different specified categories. If the cost of the repairs exceeds the dollar-amount of the seller’s obligation, the rest will come out of your pocket or remain undone until after you close and take possession of the home.
   
And, of course, if you have signed an “as-is” contract, then the seller is not obligated to fix anything. The purpose of the inspection is for you to determine whether the cost of any necessary repairs is affordable when factored into the buy price of the house.
  
The point of all this is that it’s a complicated issue and, it’s a negotiation. The process of determining what repairs the seller will make, or price concessions the seller will give you for the repairs, is what an experienced, professional realtor is good at. We provide you with a list of defects, then you and your realtor sort through it, determine what your priorities are, and your Realtor negotiates the best deal possible from your prioritized list.


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 10, 2017

How Do I Get Insurance If My Home Can't Pass A 4-Point Inspections?


Most insurance companies require a satisfactory 4-point inspection report be submitted to them before they will insure an older home—typically more than 30 years old or so, depending on the company. The purpose of the inspection is to determine if there are any deteriorated or unsafe conditions in the home that have developed due to its age, which have the potential to cause an insurance claim in the future. The four points are the roof, plumbing, electrical, and heating/air conditioning. To learn more about 4-point inspections and what are the most common 4-point defects, we suggest that you read one of our other blogs at:

http://siteprohomeinspections.blogspot.com/2016/07/a-four-point-inspection-is-often.html

But if the inspector turns up so many defects during the 4-point inspection that the insurance company declines to insure the property until they are fixed, there is another option. It’s called a “builder’s risk” or, sometimes, a “vacant property” or “surplus lines” policy, and is often purchased by remodelers that buy uninhabitable houses in order to have insurance while they are repairing them for resale.

One company that writes this type of policy is Tapco Insurance Underwriters. You cannot buy the policy directly from the company and need to find a local independent insurance agent that represents them.

There are virtually no requirements, other than providing an address, in order to secure this type of insurance. The downside is that it’s expensive; so you only want to use it for as long as it takes to get the house improved sufficiently to pass a 4-point inspection. The minimum policy term offered is usually 6-months.

As far as we know, no company offers this type of policy for a manufactured/mobile home. Also, many policies include a clause that does not allow you to get a refund for the unused portion if you complete your repairs quickly, and want to cancel and switch to standard homeowner’s insurance before the end of the policy term.

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 8, 2017

Should A Home Buyer Be There Fore The Inspection?


If you can, it’s well worth the time, because we can talk with you about both the problems and the good points of the home you’re buying. In the final report, we only review the defects. And, while we also include plenty of photos in your report, there’s nothing that makes things quite as clear as actually examining problem areas with a professional inspector.

Unfortunately, a real-life home inspection is not as exciting as the shows on HGTV, where the host immediately sees, understands, and explains amazing things about the house as he saunters from room-to-room, then reaches for a Saw-All to slice away a chunk of wall and show you what’s inside.
 
We can’t cut any holes, pull up flooring, or disassemble anything without incurring the wrath of the seller. Also, tagging along with us at the beginning of the inspection is usually counter-productive. We need to spend some time alone examining the whole house before we can talk to you intelligently about it. That stain in the bedroom ceiling, for example, will typically require a look in the attic and up on the roof before we can understand what’s going on.
 
Plus, house defects are often interconnected. One defect can cause a second defect, which will then create a third problem. A concealed water intrusion area inside a wall, for example, can cause corrosion in an electric receptacle, which makes the receptacle short out, which causes a circuit breaker in the panel to trip repeatedly. Investigating the tripped breaker leads us back to the concealed water intrusion, one step at a time.

So please don’t be offended if we ask you to let us have a little time alone with the house (typically about half an hour) before we can begin to talk with you, answering your questions, and walking around and showing you our findings. Some realtors suggest that their customers arrive about a half hour to an hour after the beginning of the inspection so that the inspectors will be well-oriented to the home and ready to talk with you--and we think that’s a great idea. Of course, if you are planning on doing some measurements for your furniture placement while at the inspection, the first half-hour is a good time to do that, too.
 
If your work or travel schedule makes it impossible to be at the inspection, be sure to let us know, because then we want to talk with you beforehand about any special concerns you have, things you saw that we should investigate further, photos you want us to send you, your remodeling ideas, and anything else you want us to know about the house.

To learn more valuable strategies for getting the best possible home inspection, here are a few of our other blog posts:

http://siteprohomeinspections.blogspot.com/2017/

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)                          

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What Are The Minimum Requirements For A Shower?


The 2014 Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) have the following minimum standards for residential showers:

1)    Not less than 30-inch interior dimensions measured from finished interior surfaces, with a minimum of 900 square inches floor area, except that a shower can be a minimum of 25 inches in one dimension if the total area is increased to 1300 square inches. Fold-down seats are permitted as long as the minimum 900 square inches is maintained when the seat is up. Shower heads, grab bars, soap dishes, and valves allowed to protrude into minimum required area.

2)    Shower walls must be nonabsorbent up to 72 inches above the drain.

3)    The shower access opening or door must have a minimum of 22-inch clear opening width.

4)    A listed anti-scald, pressure balance (single handle) faucet required, set to maximum 120º F.

5)    Finished floor should slope 1/4” to 1/2” per foot towards the drain.

6)    The finished curb must be between 2 inches and 9 inches above the drain level.


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 1, 2017

Buyer's Home Inspections by SitePro - 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 décor, 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 on site 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 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!!


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)