Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Understanding the Air Conditioning System

What year and size is the Air Conditioning system?

Let me show you how you can determine that on your own.  Remember that these dates are NOT installation dates, but they are the manufacture date and typically these dates are close to each other.

First let us understand “Tonnage” is:

Tonnage  The unit of measure used in air conditioning to describe the cooling capacity of a system. One ton of cooling is based on the amount of heat needed to melt one ton (2000 lbs.) of ice in a 24 hour period. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 Btu/hr.

This size of an Air Conditioning Unit is based up many factors, such as composition of the building, which way it faces, the number of windows, the amount of insulation.....

Basic Principals of Air Conditioning:

The basic principles of the Air Conditioning System used for Florida.  An AC system is used as a dual purpose.  One is to allow warm air to be pulled into the system, filter this air and then flow across the cold coils and blow cold air into the building.  The other purpose is to pull the humidity out of the air.  This is VERY important.  So with this information – BIGGER IS NOT BETTER!  A house with to0 large an AC system will always be damp and contain that “bone chilling” cold.  If in doubt call a Professional and licensed Heating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor.

  How to determine the age and size of the AC unit:

The age or manufacture date of an AC compressor is usually coded under the serial number portion of the data plate that is present on the side of the compressor (Outside AC portion of the AC system)

Inspection of AC Compressor:

The red boxed area is the Serial Number for this type of unit.  The “L” indicates the month of the manufacture.  “L” being the 12th  letter of the alphabet and the ‘01” being the last 2 numbers of the year, thus meaning this is a December 2001 manufacture date.

Where to locate data plate on ac unit:

This is the area where the data or information from above was obtained.  The exterior portion of the AC system called the compressor.

Congratulations on learning how to determine the age of an Air Conditioning Compressor.  The air handler’s age is determined much the same way.  The air handler is located within the interior of the residence most of the time it is in a closet, garage or attic area.  This applies to the MAJORITY of AC units in SW Florida.  Other types are present, but this will allow you to determine the age of many of the AC systems.

How to determine the size (called tonnage) of an Air Conditioning system:

First of all the size of an AC unit is called a ton or tonnage.  A recap of tonnage is Tonnage  The unit of measure used in air conditioning to describe the cooling capacity of a system. One ton of cooling is based on the amount of heat needed to melt one ton (2000 lbs.) of ice in a 24 hour period. One ton of cooling is equal to 12,000 Btu/hr.

The number to remember is 12,000 BTU’s or more simply 12.  If 12,000 BTU’s is equal to 1 (one) ton of AC then 18,000 is equal to 1.5 tons and 24,000 is equal to 2 tons and so on.

Look at the model number (Located on the data plate stamped on the actual side of the compressor) on the compressor and there should be a number divisible by 12.  It should start at 18 and not be more than 60 for residential AC units.  18 to equal 1.5 tons and 60 to equal 5 tons of cooling

Look at the model number below and you determine the AC compressor size.

The 36 in the model number in the first picture above it means that the AC compressor is equal to 3 tons of cooling.

Once again, size is very important and detrimental to the proper operational status of an Air Conditioning System.
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

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"Looking Beyond The Obvious"

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Six Tricks for Exterior Painting

Performing your own acts of home-maintenance and home-improvement can save you a lot of money. And one of the best ways to get a big bang for your buck is to do your own painting and staining. Whether you’re a first-time finisher or a practiced painter, heeding basic advice can make the years and the problems disappear — like magic.

 1. Choosing color
Color selection is important, so don’t trust a 2-in. paint chip. Instead, view the biggest paint sample you can find — like an entire house. Designer and HGTV host Lisa LaPorta recommends visiting the best neighborhoods, where colors were likely chosen by architects or designers. Look for house styles similar to yours and note colors that will enhance the architecture of your house.

Trick: To envision a color transformation on your house, try out an online painting tool (see SOURCES in PDF below). Once you’ve chosen a main color, Lisa says, buy a single gallon and apply it to your house to see if you really like it before you paint the whole thing.

A mustard trim color is perfect for this Mediterranean style house, but it would be garish on a Cape Cod.

2. Assessing conditions
Inspect for paint failures that reveal deeper problems; then make them vanish for good. Blisters and rust or mold stains can indicate moisture problems; cracking layers of paint may be caused by poor surface prep or bad application practices such as painting in direct sunlight (see No. 5: “Proper Timing,” below). For a lasting finish, eliminate the cause of the paint failure, not just the symptoms.

Trick: Paint that’s lifting from a previous layer indicates a problem with adhesion, but if paint has peeled down to the substrate, the cause may be moisture migrating from beneath the surface. Visit the Paint Quality Institute Web site to see photos that can help you analyze your paint problems.

3. Prepping and priming
To produce a durable coating, your opening acts must include banishing dust, loose paint, mold, rust and grease and then scuff-sanding glossy surfaces. However, do not use detergent to clean surfaces that will be painted, as it leaves a film that can keep paint from bonding. Once the surface is clean and dry, you’ll want to apply a primer/sealer such as Kilz (see SOURCES in PDF below) to seal bare wood, mask dark colors and block bleeding stains.

Trick: A pressure washer is an excellent tool for removing dirt and cobwebs from the exterior of your home, but these machines can be too harsh when used for stripping old coatings. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended settings — spraying too hard will damage wood fibers. If you are cleaning lap siding, spray at a downward angle. To learn how to revive old wood siding, see “More on Wood Prep,” in PDF below.

4.. Using super tools
Look beyond the basic brush for tools that can simplify the task. An adjustable extension pole will expand your range and reduce ladder time. A bucket grid is more efficient than a roller tray when applying lots of paint. A Handy Paint Pail helps to prevent hand fatigue during trim work, and its magnet holds the brush right where you need it. Voila!

Trick: Keep a Hyde 6-in-1 painter’s tool up your sleeve (or in your pocket); it’s handy from start to finish. Once you use its curved edge to clean a paint roller, you’ll never want to work without it.

5.Proper timing
Work in the shadows. A cloudy day is ideal (as long as rain isn’t in the forecast for 24 hours). Painting in direct sunlight is unhealthy for you and for the finish coat. The heat causes paint to dry too quickly, leading to lap marks and future blistering.

Trick: To escape direct sunlight, use the clock to your advantage: Paint the west side in the very early morning, the north side anytime, the east side during the afternoon, and the south side in the late afternoon/early evening. And don’t cheat on the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the appropriate temperature range (during application as well as the curing phase).

6. Staying safe
Don’t do an unintentional disappearing act; levitate wisely by correctly using a sturdy ladder. You may need to consider renting scaffolding or a mechanical lift. For added security, use fall-arresting gear.

Trick: To sustain your own sturdiness, be sure to take plenty of rest breaks and stay hydrated (with water, of course). Wear eye protection during all phases of the project to block UV rays, debris (from scraping and pressure washing), spatters and drips.

Remember that painting does not need to be an all-or-nothing project. You can still save money while hiring a professional to paint the areas that are too high or precarious for your reach. (Of course, for many diehard DIYers, acquiescing to accept help may be the greatest magic trick of all.)

SitePro, LLC
Van Hibberts

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Kitchen for Trouble"

"Kitchen for Trouble" stars cartoon character Dan Doofus. Dan has to learn the hard way how to prevent cooking fires.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Often Should I Mow My Lawn? - The Home Depot

Find lawn mower options from The Home Depot here:

Unsure of how often you should mow your lawn? Watch this video to find out!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pass & Seymour: How to Install a Decorator Switch

Learn how easy it is to add a stylish look to your home. Watch how to install a decorator switch with screwless wall plate from Legrand/Pass & Seymour.

For more information, visit:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How To Build a Paver Path - The Home Depot

This easy DIY project from our Garden Club is one you can create in an afternoon. You can build a path as long or as wide as you like to create a beautiful walkway in your yard.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Firewise Virtual Workshop: Understanding How Embers Ignite Roofs in a Wildland Fire and How to Make Your Roof More Survivable

This one-hour video includes a presentation from Dr. Stephen Quarles along with a live "Ask an Expert" segment where pre-selected homeowners have an opportunity to ask a question related to the session's topic. This unique learning format provides wildland/urban interface homeowners with information on how to implement important mitigation modifications at their homes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tools of Home Inspectors

Here are some of the tools I commonly use during a home inspection. I will be providing a show on my environmental tools coming up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

How To Tile a Bathroom Floor - The Home Depot

Learn how to tile a bathroom floor. Mosaic tiles can be installed individually or pre-mounted on mesh-backed sheets. In this video you will learn how to install 12 x 12 inch sheets mosaics on a bathroom floor.

For more information, visit

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Helpful Information About Air Conditioning Cost

There are many air conditioning cost factors to consider before deciding on what type of system that you want to purchase for your new home or having one replaced in your existing home.

First of all you have to decide how much of your air conditioning cost is in your budget. This cost category will be much less if you were to install the air conditioning system while you are building your house. In this way, you can avoid the expenses that will be incurred by having ducts installed or sized to accommodate a new system.

You may find that the size unit you have in your home is not adequate for cooling the square footage of living space. There are several reasons this could happen. A builder/contractor may have installed a smaller unit when the home was built; or the home could be larger now than when it was first built. At any rate, if you have to up the tonnage size of your system, remember the average tonnage is 500 square feet for every ton of air conditioning. This will help you to determine if you have the proper tonnage for your home and assist you in purchasing a larger unit.

Next you will want to do research on the internet and look up manufacturers of air conditioning systems. Check out their warranties and determine if you want electric heat, a heat pump, a gas heat system or an oil heat system. Also you want to consider if you want a high energy efficient system. These systems could really be expensive due to all the electronics involved. You may just want a basic system that will heat and cool your home.

The final step of your air conditioning cost includes who will be installing the system that you have decided to purchase. One thing to consider is that due to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations a typical home owner or person cannot just go to your local supply house and purchase systems or parts for your air conditioner. The contractor will have to be EPA certified. These are just some of the costs you will have to consider when purchasing a new air conditioner system for your home.

Steven Gail is a skilled technician from the field who educates homeowners on saving money by performing their HVAC Preventative Maintenance at home.

 By Steven Gail

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Repair an Asphalt Walkway

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shares a fast fix for ruptured paving.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Attic Inspections

Attics are important, though often overlooked in a home inspection. It is not unusual for a homeowner to have never entered their own attic. Attics can hide a lot of problems-from mold and insulation problems to electrical and fire concerns.

Attics come in two main styles: Full and Crawl attics. Full attics are large enough for a person to stand and walk around in and may have a full floor. The walls and ceiling of this type of attic may or may not have exposed beams. A Crawl attic is usually smaller than a full attic and may not have a floor. In such crawl attics one must support themselves on the ceiling joist or you may step through the drywall ceiling into the room below.

The attic should be inspected to identify the type and amount of insulation present in the house. Insulation directly pertains to heating and cooling costs, so make sure there is an adequate amount of insulation present. Insulation should lie between the roof rafters, with the vapor barrier facing the heated portion of the structure, namely the ceiling of the room below. The vapor barrier is usually attached to the insulation bundle and may be made of a number of impermeable materials. All of these barriers reduce the amount of moisture moving from the heated portion of the house into the unfinished attic.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

How to Patch Concrete with Sakrete Top n' Bond Concrete Patcher - The Home Depot

Top n' Bond by Sakrete is a polymer modified repair mortar used for patching, repairing and resurfacing cracked or chipped concrete surfaces. Just add water and apply easily with a towel or a brush coat.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Home Inspection - Bathrooms

Bathrooms are the second most expensive rooms in your home, after your kitchen. One of the biggest considerations when selling or purchasing your home is the condition of its bathrooms.

You can save yourself literally thousands of dollars by discovering problems in the bathroom during your inspection. Most bathrooms consist of sinks, toilets, showers, tubs, their enclosures, and specialty flooring. The reason bathrooms are so costly is that these are expensive items and require a good deal labor to repair or replace.

With constant exposure to water, many problems can develop over time and cause major damage to not only the bathroom, but to the rest of your house as well.

Countertops and Sinks

Lets look at the countertops and their sinks. There are many types of countertops, from the more expensive granite and tile, to man-made types like corrian or cultured marble and plastic laminates such as Formica.

Countertop Inspection

Check the countertop to see that it is secure, mounted properly, caulked and grouted if required, and that it is not missing tiles or has any surface damage that would require replacement. If there is a two-piece back splash it should be sealed with caulk along its seam. This two-piece backsplash needs to be caulked in order to prevent water damage. If your sink is attached to the countertop, it too should be properly sealed at its seam so that water does not leak into the cabinet below. If problems are discovered with the countertop, sink, or backsplash, they need to be addressed and repaired early on in order to prevent further damage.

Sinks come in a variety of styles and materials. Good quality sinks, like this china sink, provide years of flawless service, whereas, a low quality model's service life diminishes as their surfaces ware rapidly and rust, leaking within a few short years. Look carefully at such porcelain baked enamel on steel, or resin plastic sinks which crack easily. If during your inspection you come across one, examine it closely for corrosion and leakage, given that they are prone to have problems. Most Contractors rarely come across porcelain-baked enamel on steel sinks that are not leaking. You will have fewer problems due to a longer service life with porcelain on cast iron or cultured marble sinks, both of which are durable and attractive. Some high quality options are high tech polymer sinks and counter combinations, along with exotic models made of copper or glass.

From The Homeowner Series

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bonuses of Pursuing Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project

When renovating your kitchen, there are a number of reasons why you should think about refacing kitchen cabinet rather than cutting them into pieces and installing a new ones. Amongst those advantages are such added and favorable reserves of time and money while expressing your creativity and skills in doing your home improvement project. This would allow you to have some more time doing other household chores once the kitchen cabinet refacing is complete.

Big amount of salted away money on kitchen remodeling is one of the pretty obvious advantages of refacing your kitchen cabinet. Okay, you would like to suppose that your old cabinets are in good condition, narrowing them into pieces and refinishing the frames and doors will be less expensive than purchasing new cabinets. Also, you could do the task on your own, so the need of hiring someone to do the job saves you even more money in the end.

In fact, it is common for refacing project to have costing price less than a quarter of what it would actually cost to acquire new kitchen cabinets and have them installed efficiently.

You'll find that choosing to reface your kitchen cabinets would help you restore the overall look of your kitchen, making them organize and in good working condition with no hassle and no time possible. As a matter of fact, your kitchen improvement project would only take you less than a weekend. Removing the doors and scrapping them can easily be done not more than a week or so. Once they are completed, the doors can be repainted or restained and leave behind to dry for the whole day.

Sure, your kitchen would be the center area of your home, where family and friends gather and well-designed kitchen can make otherwise an exceptional and unforgettable home. In effect, a renovated kitchen can increase the value of a home when the time comes that you want to sell it.

Forget about doing a complete renovation that would only cost you a lot of money and time. Do some kitchen cabinet refacing that requires you small amount of money and a lot of striving. Show your artistic mind off and formulate your own plans to give your home a new look.

 By Brent Anderson 

For more information on this subject you can visit Kitchen Cabinet Refacing.

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