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New article on backflow preventers

July 13th, 2009

We are all used to seeing backflow preventers, even if we didn’t know what they were used for. These complicated assemblies of pipes are designed to prevent water from reversing its course and re-entering the public water supply. Water that has been polluted or contaminated and re-enters the potable water system is a serious public health threat. There are a number of different types, although only one is common in residences. To find out more, take a look at our new article on backflow preventers for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on garage doors and openers

July 10th, 2009

You don’t often think about how dangerous garage doors can be, but tens of thousands of injuries happen every year as a result of defective components and misuse. Garage doors weigh hundreds of pounds and are held in place by springs under extremely high tension. As inspectors, you should know what to look for in garage doors to make sure that they are not creating a serious safety hazard, and also what to tell clients about ways they can stay safe. To find out more about this inspection area, take a look at our new article on garage doors and garage door openers.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on lead for inspectors

July 9th, 2009

Lead has been mined for thousands of years because it is common and possesses many properties that make it useful. Yet even in ancient times, it was known to cause terrible illnesses and contact with the metal was avoided. It’s surprising then that up until the 1950′s, paint was made of up to 50% lead and cars were allowed to burn leaded gasoline. Despite regulations that limit the amount of lead in homes, many older homes still have large amounts of the substance. To find out more about lead poisoning and where lead is found in homes, check out our new article on lead for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on collar ties and rafter ties

July 8th, 2009

Do you know the difference between a collar tie and a rafter tie? They may look similar, but they are used for very different things. Contrary to popular belief, collar ties are not capable of holding the walls together. They are simply too high up in the attic. Collar ties prevent uplift due to wind. Rafter ties are placed lower in the attic and to keep the walls from spreading due to the weight of the roof. They each have their own requirements and purposes, and inspectors should be ready to differentiate he two. To find out more, take a look at our new article on collar ties and rafter ties for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on Carpeted Bathrooms

July 7th, 2009

Few bathrooms are installed with carpet, and for good reason – bathroom floors are exposed to urine and large amounts of moisture. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold, which can cause structural damage as well as health problems. Urine, well, we don’t need to go into that, but you know you don’t want to touch it. Carpet traps these things and makes them less obvious, so they don’t get cleaned as often. To find out more about the dangers associated with carpet installed in bathrooms, check out our new article on carpeted bathrooms for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on permanent wood foundations

July 6th, 2009

Ever inspect a foundation made of wood? Estimates of their number in the US range into the hundreds of thousands, meaning they are fairly uncommon yet still prevalent enough that inspectors should be prepared to encounter them. Some say they have their advantages, but they also have a whole host of defects that are not shared by traditional foundations mde from masonry. Check out our new article on permanent wood foundation for inspectors to find out more about this subject.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on kick-out flashing

July 6th, 2009

The way houses are built nowadays, they are not as breathable as they once were. In less-breathable houses, water has an easier time entering the building envelope and vapor has a tougher time leaving. As a result, newer homes are more likely to suffer water damage than older homes. Kick-out flashing is more important than ever to divert rainwater away from cladding. Inspectors should know where they should be located and what common defects to look for while inspecting home exteriors. Check out our new article on kick-out flashing to find out more about these critical components.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on pellet stoves

July 2nd, 2009

At first glance, pellet stoves may look like wood-burning stoves, but the similarities end there. Pellets are made from biomass that might be wood or a variety of other products such as cherry pits and corn. They have on-board computers that control the flow of pellets into the burning chamber so that a constant, moderate flame is produced. They can be closer to walls and other combustibles than wood stoves because they don’t get as hot, and their flues don’t need to be as wide. To find out more about these unusual appliances and how to inspect them, check out our new article on pellet stoves for inspectors.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on mortar types

July 1st, 2009

Ever wonder why the mortar joints between bricks come in so many different patterns? It isn’t just to make them look pretty, some actually enhance the water-resistance of the mortar and the lifetime of the wall. Some joints are easy to make and some require great care, but all are used for a particular purpose. The grapevine joint, for instance, was used extensively during America’s colonial period and is often replicated in newer buildings to match old styles in the area. The raked joint looks impressive but it has the tendency to trap water and should not be used in exterior walls. To find out more, take a look at our new article on mortar types.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on hearths and hearth extensions

July 1st, 2009

Inspectors who wish to inspect fireplaces should know how large the hearth and hearth extensions need to be. Feel free to read our new article on hearths and hearth extensions to find some specifics about inspecting these fireplace components. Important IRC code can be found there too.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

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