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InterNACHI » "The Inspectors Journal®"

New article on Poison ivy, oak and sumac

September 7th, 2010

Most people are allergic to the oil found in poison ivy – urushiol – but few people realize just how toxic it can be. 500 people can develop a rash from the amount of urushiol oil required to cover the head of a pin, and inhaled vapors of the oil can cause serious injury or death. And it’s virtually everywhere in the United States in Canada, mostly in the leaves, vines and roots of poison ivy, oak and sumac. To learn how to identify these plants, where they’re found and what you can do to protect yourself and your clients, take a look at our new article on poison ivy, oak and sumac.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on fireplace fuel

September 7th, 2010

Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to burn dried, cut firewood, but many homeowners throw in various other items, some of which may release toxic fumes or damage the fireplace’s components. Pressure-treated wood, for instance, may release toxic amounts of arsenic, and driftwood contains enough salt to damage catalytic converters in wood stoves. Pallets, however, may be safe to burn as long as they were not treated with insecticides. To find out more, check out our new article on fireplace fuel.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on hydroponics

September 3rd, 2010

Hydroponic systems are an efficient way for homeowners to grow their own plants when they don’t have space outside. But they are also a serious electrical and fire hazard when implemented poorly. Find out how homeowners can protect themselves in our new article on hydroponics.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on house-raising

September 2nd, 2010

House-raising is the practice of jacking a home into the air, usually so a basement can be built beneath. The homeowner might also want to raise the house above the water table or merely twist the house 180 degrees so it doesn’t face a new highway. House raising is an intensive process that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it has to be performed by trained professionals. To find out more about the subject, take a look at our new article on house-raising.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on wood-burning stoves

September 2nd, 2010

Wood-burning stoves can be energy-efficient ways to supplement your heating system during the winter, but they are also prone to releasing large amounts of particle-laden smoke that can cause ailments ranging from asthma to cancer. The EPA has responded to this problem by creating minimum requirements for wood-burning stoves, but homeowners must maintain them and use them appropriately if they hope to improve air quality. To read more about the issue, check out our new article on wood-burning stoves.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on inspecting greenhouses

September 2nd, 2010

Greenhouses are fantastic tools for gardeners. They serve to extend the growing season, and make it possible to grow plants that would otherwise fail to thrive in many climates. They can also attract mold and insects, however. Find out how homeowners can implement their greenhouse structures in the most effective ways in our new article on greenhouses.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on biowall inspection

August 31st, 2010

Biowalls represent an emerging green design technology that merges form and function. They are pleasant on the eye, save energy and money, and provide natural fresh air. On the other hand, they might attract unwanted pests or invasive roots. Find out how homeowners can supplement their traditional HVAC system with biowalls.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on house moving

August 31st, 2010

We’ve all seen whole houses moving down the highway on huge trucks, and it isn’t hard to wonder how such a move is economical or even logistically possible. Utility lines and bridges are in the way while pot holes threaten to weaken the structure, and the whole moving service can cost tens of thousands of dollars, yet many homeowners gladly pay up. Their reasons vary – perhaps they want to save their historic home from an encroaching highway or flood, or maybe they want to move it onto a more valuable piece of land. Or, maybe, they just don’t like the new neighbors. Regardless, it’s quite an involved process, and you can find out more in our new article on house moving.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on playground equipment hazards and inspection

August 30th, 2010

Playgrounds present a unique set of safety challenges, some of which are obvious while others are not. For instance, soil might be an unsafe ground material, as it can become hard-packed over time. And did you know that girls are more likely to be injured on playground equipment than boys, or that Americans spend more than a billion dollars annually on playground injuries? To find out more, take a look at our new article on playground equipment hazards and inspection.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on green roof inspection

August 30th, 2010

Around the world, home and business owners are taking advantage of their roof space to grow plants. It may sound bizarre, but consider just how much space is afforded by roofs to grow edible plants, reduce ambient temperature and bring park settings closer to home. Of course, such installations have their hazards; fires and water intrusion into the building, just to name a few. It’s worth checking into, so feel free to read our new article on green roof inspection.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on passive solar building design

August 26th, 2010

Much has been written about solar panels and other active solar techniques, but comparatively little is said about passive methods. Trombe walls and sunspaces are a few examples of passive solar building design, which requires no pumps, fans or moving parts and is relatively inexpensive and maintenance free. They are designed based on five principles, which are explained in more detail in our new article on passive solar building design.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on trombe walls

August 25th, 2010

Trombe walls are used to passively store the heat from the sun so it can be used to warm a building after the sun has set. They’re inexpensive, remarkably simple, and they allow for a reduction of energy bills. To find out more, check out our new article on Trombe walls.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on composting toilet inspection

August 25th, 2010

Composting toilets are environmentally friendly toilets that convert human waste into a nutrient-dense fertilizer called humus. To learn more about the different system options, advantages, risks and inspection, check out our new article in composting toilet inspection.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on short sales

August 24th, 2010

Foreclosures are bad for everyone, from the lender to the borrower, the real estate market and the entire economy, which is why short sales are becoming increasingly common. A home short sales when the lender permits the borrower to sell their home for less than the lender is owed, thereby accepting a moderate loss. The issue is complex, however, as the borrower might still be held responsible for the remainder of the loan and there are tax consequences as well. Read our new article on short sales to find out more about this interesting way to avoid foreclosure.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

New article on bat houses

August 23rd, 2010

Why on earth would you erect a bat house on your property? Bats are helpful mammals, as they eat huge numbers of insects that would otherwise be a nuisance, yet their search for safe roosting grounds is threatened by the clearing of forests for development and lumber. Bat houses can also be used to draw bats away from the attic, where they have been known to take residence and cause problems for building occupants. To find out more about proper placement and construction of bat houses, check out our new article on bat house inspection.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

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