Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's The Small Details Of Home Inspection That Can Find Larger Problems

Electrical Double Tap?
electric panel
In order to perform a proper electrical evaluation, home inspectors must remove the electrical panel covers on every accessible electrical panel box. Besides other concerns, inspectors look for breakers that have two (or more) wires attached.
 Electrical Double Tap
The problem with multiple wiring is that additional wiring could put a substantial electrical demand on the breaker. Breakers will "nusiance trip" if excessive amperage passes thru them - this prevents overheating and reduces the chance of fire. Also, most breakers are NOT designed to have two wires screwed under a single wire clamp. This could result in loose connections, overheating at the connections and electrical arcing at the screw connection.
The solutions - Add another overload protection device so each wire has it's own breaker or, add a
Pig Tail
Example only - not proper gauge wire
special tandem breaker with two screw clamps. Usually the easiest and best repair is the "Pig Tail".  Theoffending wires simply get disconnected from the circuit breaker, connected to a single wire with a wire nut, and that single wire gets connected to the circuit breaker.  Now, I know what you're thinking: "What's so tough about that?"  The answer is nothing. 
**Double tapped wiring is ok if the circuit breaker is designed for two wires. If a circuit breaker is designed for two wires, it will say so right on the circuit breaker, and the terminal of the circuit breaker will be designed to hold two wires in place.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

NFPA -- We develop the code. We know the code. We teach the code.

NFPA instructors are the best-of-the-best. The National Fire Protection Association represents over 70,000 active members involved in fire, building and life safety. Members of the NFPA technical committees share their expertise and contribute to the codes and standards process. And the best of those are tapped to teach. Bob Caputo is one of those instructors whose dedication and enthusiasm is clearly apparent in each of the over 1,000 training programs offered each year. For more information, go to

Saturday, December 22, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Article Source:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Type Of Roof Should I Install On My House? Shingles, Rubber, Metal, Slate, Cedar?

So you need a new roof installed on your home. You have set some appointments with roofers and you were wondering what type of roof should I have installed? Please allow me to share some quick tips to help you choose the right roofing material for your home. No matter what type of roof you are leaning toward, make sure you are choosing a quality product installed by a professional. Many good products can have their warranties voided, or leak if they are not professionally installed to factory specs.

The first and most commonly used type of roofing are asphalt shingles. Over the last several years, Asphalt shingles have come a long way from their 3 tab predecessor. Architectural shingles also known as dimensional shingles. They have up to a 30 plus year warranty, and come in quite a few appealing colors. This coupled with their affordability make them a popular choice for many home owners.

Another roofing material is Metal Roofing. Like shingles, metal roofing products are far more superior than they once were. With developments in paint and steel, metal roofs can last decades without maintenance.

There are two most commonly known types of metal roofing. Standing seam roofing and corrugated metal. Standing seam roofing can carry up to a 50 year warranty, and has quite a nice curb appeal. It is the most common metal choice for residential uses. It is quite a bit more expensive than corrugated metal, and is available in many different colors.

Corrugated Metal is the least expensive metal roofing option. It also comes in many different colors. It is most often used for barns, sheds, or outbuildings, but is starting to become popular in some residential areas. It is very important that both Corrugated and Standing Seam roofing be properly installed and ventilated to assure they last as long as they should.

For flat or low slope Roofs, Rubber Roofing is the most common choice. Although there are a few other options like rolled asphalt, and pitch, these both do not hold a very long warranty and do not stand much ground against a good rubber roof.

Slate Composite and Cedar Shake Roofing are two types of roofing that fit into a smaller niche than the ones I described earlier, but have a very nice curb appeal and can be a very nice addition to the right home. They are the most expensive roofing options, but can carry a 40+ year warranty, and might just be the right fit for your home.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter what product you choose, make sure that it is being installed by a professional.

Article Source:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

4 Ways That Gutters Help in Protecting Your Home

Gutters are essential elements of any home. You might think of them as pipes that are placed on the edges of the roof to collect rain water as it runs off and diverts it to a specific location on the ground and this is accurate. This water control helps in protecting the home in a number of different ways.

1. Wall Protection

Installing gutters on all homes is a great idea, but those homes without an actual eave are the ones that find the most protection. The reason behind this is that water will take the path of least resistance, and that means it will not only run down the exterior walls during rain storms, but it will also trickle down behind the siding where it can do enormous damage.

Regardless of the building materials used, water can penetrate if it is not diverted away from vulnerable openings. Those tiny openings allow water to seep in and during colder weather freeze and expand, which is another danger when gutters are not properly installed.

2. Floods

The National Flood Insurance Program states that the primary cause of flooding in homes is rainfall. When a roof is absent of guttering, that rain can drip and run onto the ground right against the foundation. Sufficient enough accumulation of water that has not been directed away from the foundation typically finds its way into the home. Gutters solve this problem by providing a means for water to be relocated.

3. Erosion Prevention

Water is a principal component in soil erosion which is a natural process. Valuable topsoil is lost from lawns every year because of inadequate or missing gutters. When the soil is lost, landscaping becomes much more difficult and the exterior of homes is not as attractive.

Along with making lawns less appealing, soil is often washed into ponds and wetlands which increases the chances that flooding will occur. By diverting rain water, through the use of gutters, to less vulnerable places such as paved surfaces or French drains home owners are doing their part to redirect water to controlled locations.

4. Money Savings

It is estimated that when a home is flooded by as little as one inch of water it causes about $7,800 in damage. The most often quoted reason home owners install guttering is to save money over time. This simple measure reduces the risk of area floods by keeping sediment out of creeks, ponds and other water retaining areas. It also keeps walls and basements dry, and reduces the expense of home upkeep. It is worth installing gutters because this one action will deliver financial returns for years to come.

Article Source:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Burglar Resistant Home

There are a number of measures that homeowners can take to ensure that their homes are not attractive to burglars. If clients are concerned about break-ins, inspectors can pass on to them basic strategies for burglar-proofing their homes.

Some interesting statistics concerning break-ins in the United States:
  • InterNACHI estimates that theft makes up more than three-quarters of all reported crime. 
  • In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported more than 2 million burglary offenses.
According to a survey, burglars enter homes through the following locations: 
  • 81 percent enter through the first floor;
  • 34 percent of burglars enter through the front door;
  • 23 percent enter through a first-floor window;
  • 22 percent enter through the back door
  • 9 percent enter through the garage;
  • 4 percent enter through the basement;
  • 4 percent enter through an unlocked entrance;
  • 2 percent enter through a storage area; and 
  • 2 percent enter anywhere on the second floor.
Exterior Doors:
  • Doors should be made of steel or solid-core wood construction. Hollow-core wood doors are more easily broken than heavy, solid-core doors.
  • Doors should be free of signs of rot, cracks and warping.
  • Doors should be protected by quality deadbolt locks. Chain locks are not adequate substitutes for deadbolt locks, although chain locks may be used as additional protection.
  • If a mail slot is present, it should be equipped with a cage or box. Mailslots that are not equipped with cages or boxes have been used by burglars to enter homes.  Burglars can insert a contraption made of wire and cord into the mail slot and use it to open the lock from the inside, if no box or cage is present.
  • If a door is equipped with glass panes, they should be installed far from the lock. Otherwise, burglars can smash the glass and reach through the door to unlock the door.
  • Spare keys should not be hidden in obvious locations. Burglars are very good at finding keys that homeowners believe are cleverly hidden. The best place for a spare key is in the house of a trusted neighbor. If keys must be hidden near the door, they should not be placed in obvious locations, such as under a doormat, rock or planter.  
  • A peephole can be installed in doors so homeowners can see who is on their doorstep before they open the door.
  • Clients should consider installing bump-resistant locks on their doors. “Bumping” is a technique developed recently that can open almost any standard lock with less effort than is required by lock-picking. This technique uses “bump keys,” which are normal keys with slight modifications. Lock companies such as Schlage Primus and Medeco manufacture a number of locks that offer some bump-resistance.
Pet Doors:
  • Pet doors can be used by burglars to enter homes. Some burglars have reached through pet doors in order to unlock the door. It is advisable to not have a pet door, but if one is necessary, it should be as small as possible and installed far from the lock.
  • A crafty burglar may convince or coerce a small child to crawl through a pet door and unlock the door. Also, some burglars are children.
  • Electronic pet doors are available that open only when the pet, equipped with a signaling device in their collar, approaches the door. These doors are designed to keep stray animals out of the home, and may provide protection against burglars, as well.
Sliding Glass Doors:
  • They should be equipped with locks on their tops and bottoms.
  • They should not be able to be lifted from their frames.
  • A cut-off broom handle, or a similar device, can be laid into the door track to prevent it from being opened.
  • Lights should be installed on the exterior of all four sides of the house. Burglars prefer darkness so they cannot be seen by neighbors or passersby.
  • When building occupants are not home, a few lights should be left on.
  • It is helpful to install exterior lights that are activated by motion sensors. Burglars that are suddenly illuminated may flee.
  • All windows should be composed of strong glass, such as laminated glass, and be in good operating order.
  • They can be installed with bars, grilles, grates or heavy-duty wire screening. Barred windows must be equipped with a quick-release mechanism so occupants can quickly escape during a fire.
  • Windows should not be hidden by landscaping or structures. If landscaping or structures cannot be moved, lighting can be installed around the windows.
Landscape and Yard:
  • Shrubs and trees should not obscure the view of entrances. Shielded entrances can provide cover for burglars while they attempt to enter the residence.
  • Fences are helpful burglar deterrents, although they should not be difficult to see through.
While the house is vacant:
  • A loud radio can be used to make burglars think someone is home. Timers can be used to activate radios and lights to make the home seem occupied.
  • A car should always be parked in the driveway. A neighbor’s car can be parked there so that it appears as if someone is home.
  • The lawn should be cut regularly. Uncut grass is a clue that no one is home.
Other tips:
  • Dogs are excellent burglar deterrents. For clients who cannot own dogs, they can place “beware of dog” signs around the yard for nearly the same effect.
  • If no security system is installed, the client can post security alarm stickers around the yard.
In summary, there are a number of tactics that inspectors can pass on to their clients that will help safeguard their homes from break-ins. There is no substitute for a good alarm system. A quality, monitored alarm system can also contact help in the event of a fire, break-in, flood, or carbon monoxide leak even if you are not at home. For a free no obligation quote for an alarm system and monitoring, please contact SitePro Inspections at (850) 934-6800

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Patrick Mahoney Discusses Importance of Creating a Firewise Advisory Com...

Patrick Mahoney, Firewise South Regional Advisor, explains how creating a ( Firewise Advisory Committee for local communities in Florida helped them work towards reducing their wildfire risk.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Well and Septic Inspection Q and A

A first time homeowner Q&A with an expert. Well, septic and water inspection with Heidi Bryant of B.E.S.T., Inc and Jeremy Drobeck of AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. From testing the water for nitrites & nitrates, to uncovering you septic tank for an inspection, Heidi breaks down the process for the homeowner.

First time home buyers should inspect the well and septic of the house they want. This expert runs down some of the tips on what to look for, including how often you should test your water for bacteria, nitrates and nitrites.

AmeriFirst Home Mortgage firmly believes in educating home buyers and homeowners. Thanks to B.E.S.T., Inc for helping with this video. See more at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Understanding Firewalls in Buildings

Firewalls are one of the most important, yet least understood safety items that a home inspector checks. It is one of the many passive safety features built into a house that is often over-looked during a home inspection. Just like the air bag in your car we hope that it is never needed.
The intent of the firewall between the attached garage and the living space is intended to slow the spread of fire from the garage to the living space. In order to accomplish this several components of a house must be made of fire resistive materials, and all must be working together for the system to work. Drywall used on the garage side of walls shared with living space must have a one hour fire resistive surface. If the garage ceiling is not covered with drywall,
Fire wall to roof
Fire wall to roof
 then the common walls between the garage and living space must be covered all the way up to the underside of the roof sheating. You may see open rafters in the garage which is OK as long as there is no living space above the garage. In this example, if a fire starts in the garage, it cannot easily spread to the living space, or the attic above the living space. It will be contained to the garage.
In the picture below, there are numerous breaches in the firewall which must be addressed to restore the integrity of the firewall. Even though the fire-rated drywall extends up to the roof, a section of drywall was removed by the water heater due to some water damage. This must be patched. Fire could otherwise race up the wall if the water heater caught on fire. Other breaches include a missing switchplate cover at the garage light switch, and large holes in the drywall above the furance where the refrigerant lines pass into the attic. Finally, the fire rated door does not have a functional auto-closing device which is required in Florida to keep this door closed.
Several breaches observed in this firewall
Several breaches observed in this firewall

When the garage is “finished” and no framing members are exposed, the ceiling of the garage should be covered with 5/8 inch thick fire-rated drywall. In one story houses, this is necessary when the attic space over the house and garage are open, and there is no firewall between the space over the garage, and over the house.
Unfortunately many homeowners install pull-down ladders to access the attic space above the garage for storage.
Firewall required at ceiling of garage
Firewall required at ceiling of garage
 The problem is that most pull down ladders are not fire-rated. They are typically covered with a thin sheet of plywood that would quickly burn in the event of a fire. Homeowners who understand the concept of a firewall often try to remedy this by attaching a piece of drywall to the underside of the pull down ladder. The intent is that when it is in the closed position it should restore the integrity of the firewall ceiling. Most of the time the added weight of the drywall prevents the ladder from closing all the way leaving a gap. This gap will allow fire to get into the attic and is a breach 
of the firewall.
Note: wood pull-down ladders are acceptacle when a firewall exists in the attic between the areas above the garage and house. Fire-rated pull-down ladders are available.
Another common homeowner mistake is to installed recessed lights in the garage. When doing so, a box must be constructed around the light fixture to maintain the fire-retardancy of the ceiling. This can be done by using fire-rated drywall.
We often see holes cut into the firewall in attics between the garage and living space. These are often done to run
Hole in attic firewall
Hole in attic firewall
wires, or access a portion of the attic more easily. Your home inspector should be catching these items for repair as they are safety hazards. All breaches in the firewall must be patched. All drywall seams must be properly sealed with drywall compound, and small holes and penetrations must be filled with a firewall caulking.
Finally, the door between the garage and living space must be a fire-rated door. In most municipalities in Florida this door must be fire-rated to resist burn through for 20 minutes. This door can be a solid wood door or a metal door. The doors should have a fire rating tag on the top edge of the door, or at the hinge edge of the door. but these are often removed or painted over. In addition to being fire-rated, this door must close and latch without assistance. This is accomplished with a spring loaded hinge or a gas shock mounted at the top of the door.  
While this post is neither an exhaustive explanation of the building fire code, nor a substitute for a professional evaluation, it should give you a good idea of what home inspectors look for in the garage. If you have specific questions about the requirements for your house, please check with your local building department or a local home inspector.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The History Of 203K Mortgage -

Mike gives us a brief history of the 203K mortgage. Call Van at 850-934-6800 for more information.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taping Windows To Prep For Hurricane Is Dangerous, Weather Experts Warn

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) Enter some text here to introduce the newsletter to your customers.It's dangerous to apply masking tape, duct tape and/or window film on windows or glass doors in preparation for a hurricane because it can create larger and deadlier shards of glass when broken.
This warning from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)® comes amid some otherwise well-meaning advice to the contrary as millions of people living in the path of Hurricane Sandy look for last-minute safety measures as the monster storm approaches.

"It is simply a myth to think windows and glass doors should be taped in preparation for a hurricane," said FLASH President and CEO Leslie Chapman-Henderson. "Masking tape, duct tape and specially marketed 'hurricane tape' are insufficient and potentially dangerous substitutions for tested and approved hurricane shutters, impact-resistant windows or properly installed temporary, emergency plywood shutters."

Chapman-Henderson said experts, including FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Director of the National Hurricane Center Dr. Rick Knabb and FLASH have worked tirelessly in the months leading up to hurricane season to educate Americans on the truth behind this long-standing myth about the use of tape as a preparatory measure.

"And yet, we're still seeing and hearing people advise folks to do otherwise," she said. "The truth is, tape does not keep dangerous debris from coming into the home or prevent all glass from shattering. Doing so gives families a false sense of security. Even worse, tape can create larger shards of glass that can heighten danger. Applying tape wastes precious preparedness time and money that is better spent on tested and approved emergency or permanent hurricane protection."

Earlier this year, a FLASH survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that nearly seven out of 10 homeowners still think that windows and glass doors should be taped in preparation for a hurricane.

"This is why we are determined to continue to bust the dangerous window taping myth and are encouraging Americans to Go Tapeless® as part of its hurricane preparedness initiative," Chapman-Henderson said.

There is still time for families at risk to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. FLASH has step-by-step instructions for last minute preparedness activities that, in as little as one hour, can make homes and families safer and better prepared for potential severe weather.
Read entire article at for more tips:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Northwest Florida's Leading Home Inspection Company

As N.W. Florida's leading home inspection company we are always looking for innovative ways to provide better service and create the best possible experience for our customers. Over the years we have performed thousands of home inspections and we have a very good idea of what our clients are the most concerned with.

Being an independent home inspection company allows us to adapt to the ever-changing real estate and insurance markets. We invest in the latest technology available to home inspectors so that you get the best property inspection possible. We inspect hundreds of items in the house. Your report is computer generated providing you a professional report within 24 hours.

We are one of the few inspection companies in the country to include Infrared Thermal Imaging technology with a home inspection to help find moisture in a home - at no additional cost! Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras allow us to find anomalies that may otherwise go undetected by other home inspection companies. Every home inspector in our company brings this technology to each home inspection, and we know how to maximize the results.

Our friendly office staff are available to book your appointment Monday through Saturday, or book online anytime. No more waiting for the home inspector to call you back. All of our home inspectors are well-trained, prompt, and Certified Residential Building Code Inspectors.

Van Hibberts, CMI, ACA

Friday, November 30, 2012

Roof Verification Inspections

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

About Garage Doors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What We Inspect

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fire Power (Original)

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

Order your copy of this award-winning presentation today!:
or call:  800-344-3555  Toll Free

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Is HVAC?

What is HVAC?

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

The Origins & History of HVAC

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Air Conditioning

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

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

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


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

Environmental Concerns

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

America’s HVAC Industry

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

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

The Future of HVAC Systems

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

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

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

A Closing Word

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

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

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank You For Your Service - Celebrating Service

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Northwest Florida Realtors and Their Clients Trust Our Services


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

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

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

Our inspection services include:

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


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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

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

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Faces of Fire - Sam Davis of Cape Coral, FL

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

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Basic Home Improvements : About Old House Wiring

Old house wiring might only be set up to have a 60-amp service, as they were built before the increased electricity demands of modern electronics and appliances. Find out how to figure out the wiring of an old house with tips from a licensed remodeling contractor in this free video on home improvements.

Expert: Tim Gipson
Bio: Tim Gipson is a home repair specialist and remodeling contractor in Franklin, Tenn.
Filmmaker: Tim Brown

Series Description: Doing basic home improvements is a great way to learn new skills and save money. Consider putting in a pond or fountain to a yard with tips from a licensed remodeling contractor in this free video series on home improvements.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Urban Fire Safety Task Force Provides Recommendations on Outreach

Derrick Sawyer, Deputy Chief of Philadelphia Fire Departments Fire Prevention Division and member of NFPA's Urban Fire Safety Task Force (, discusses Task Force recommendations on public education and outreach to fire departments in cities with population of 250,000 or more. Chief Sawyer give examples of how two of these recommendations were implemented in the city of Philadelphia.

Learn more about Urban Fire Safety at

You can find more information about NFPA's Urban Fire Safety Task Force online at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fabric-Shield® Storm Panels Large Missile Product Comparison

What happens after the glass breaks? Steel panels have been used for years as hurricane protection. They protect against rapid internal pressurization and against glass breakage from small wind driven debris. But will they prevent window breakage from large debris? Testing has proven that they do not.

The purpose of this test is to compare window damage when Fabric Shield and corrugated steel panels are impacted by a large missile traveling at 50fps per SSTD 12-99, ASTM E1996, ASTM E1886 for large missile impact. All test data from these demonstrations are available upon request.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Swimming Pool Information

This information can clarify and help answer some questions.

Pool types: Pools are available in two types: above ground and in-ground. The type can determine the amount and kind of cleaning methods. Pool materials: Pools come in a variety of different materials, some requiring more maintenance than others. Fiberglass is used for a one-piece tub fitted into a pre-dug hole. The slick surface repels algae, but it will need occasional re-coating. Concrete is covered with a plaster water seal that can take more wear and tear than other pool materials. It'll probably need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years. Aggregate finish is a concrete pool with a specialized finish that has better traction. It's covered with a layer of embedded rounded gravel. Tile is a concrete pool with a tile finish instead of a plaster finish. The tile surface requires less surface maintenance than other surfaces. The slick surface of a vinyl liner, like fiberglass, repels algae. Pool problems: How much your pool is used will help determine the amount of cleaning needed. For instance, murky or colored water may mean you have chemical imbalances, pollutants such as microorganisms, or a clogged filter. Clogged filters can mean money down the drain. Algae can be another spoiler. It needs to be attacked two ways -- through chemical treatment, and a lot of filtering, backwashing, scrubbing, and skimming. Whether it is green, brown, or little black spots of algae, it will take over your pool if it is not dealt with immediately. Features: Pools can have several features that can affect your cleaning job. Many larger pools have heaters, especially those installed in cooler climates. Many homeowners turn off the heater in the warmer months to save on the utility bill. Your filtration system keeps the water clean.Improper chemical balances open the door to contamination, therefore it?s also advisable to use a water testing kit. It gives a good indication when you need temporary treatment, and when a pool service professional is needed.  Some manual pool covers are designed for safety to keep kids out of the water in case they slipped on the edge. Winter covers can also lower your heating and chemical use. It's a nice feature to keep leaves and bugs at a minimum. An automatic pool cover is just like a manual pool cover, except a machine rolls it back and forth along tracks. There is more to cleaning a pool, however, than keeping a proper pH balance. Not only is there skimming for floaties, but also vacuuming; scrubbing the tiles, sides, and floor; and cleaning, maintaining, emptying, and backwashing the filter and pump. A professional pool cleaning service will give you many clean, clear hours free of scale, rust, pollutants, bacteria and cloudy water. (But it?s up to you to watch for that occasional leaf.) If you own an outdoor pool in a climate that gets cold during the winter, many experts strongly suggest you winterize your pool. Winterization usually entails draining most of the water, blowing out the pipes, applying algaecide and antifreeze in key areas, and covering the pool. Winterization will protect your pool from any freeze damage that can harm your pool surface and equipment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Learn NFPA fire safety messages at LEGOLAND Florida

NFPA and LEGOLAND Florida asked people to submit videos of their families and friends giving their best rendition of the theme song, "Put the Wet Stuff on the Hot Stuff" from The Big Test show at LEGOLAND. Members of the public were able to vote once per day to help select a winner among our 10 finalists -- and they received over 10,000 votes! Congratulations to the contest winner, Kathleen Marler and her family. Their video "Call 9-1-1" earned them the grand prize which includes LEGOLAND Florida two-day multi-park tickets for four people, two nights of hotel accommodations for four people, and $2,000 towards travel expenses.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

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.
Request an Inspection
Or Call 850-934-6800
To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

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!

    Request an Inspection
    Or Call 850-934-6800
    To Schedule Your Inspection Today!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

How Termites Damage a Bedroom Floor Pest Inspections

Termite damage can ruin your day. Follow pest control expert Steve Filkins as he takes mortgage pro Jeremy Drobeck through a house to see damaged wood flooring and hear about termite and wood-destroying insect prevention.

Pests can destroy window sills, stairs, the sill plate, floorboards, flooring, bookshelves and more. Make sure you know what to look for so you can call a professional. Protect your first home and your budget: get a pest inspection. Courtesy of

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hidden Electrical Hazards P.3

A segement from State Farm Insurance's "Fire: The Unforgiving Nature." In this clip, Mark and Jane Walsma discuss the electrical wiring problem they discovered in their attac - behind a kitchen light.

Copyrighted, State Farm Fire and Causualty Company, 2008, used by permission.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Snapshot for Realtors

There are countless inspection companies in the Panhandle area who promise “excellent service” or state that they are the “Number 1 Inspection Company.” Many of them are exemplary. However, with the Panhandle continuing to grow day after day, it is important that agents have at least 2-3 inspection company choices to meet the needs of their clients.

We understand how important it is to be able to reach an inspector after hours or on the weekends. After all, most agents believe in doing “Whatever it Takes” to make a client happy and close a deal. Why shouldn’t your TEAM members like your Mortgage Company, Appraiser, Title Company or Home Inspector do the same?

At SitePro, we will provide services that not only compliment the needs of our agent’s clients, but provide detailed and professional reports that limit liability. See more at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hidden Electrical Hazards Part 1

A segement from State Farm Insurance's "Fire: The Unforgiving Nature." The video discusses the dangers of arc faults in old or damaged wiring.

Copyrighted, State Farm Fire and Causualty Company, 2008, used by permission.