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Frost Proof Hose Bibs

February 14th, 2010

I live in Colorado Springs and perform Home and Commercial inspections along the Front Range.  In one of my home inspections I walked into a basement bedroom and was struck by a particular odor. It was that musty moldy odor one dreads,  after further investigation I discovered a “frost proof” hose bib located in the ceiling along a back wall had not been so “frost proof”.  In the photo below the split that is visible is due to a failed valve.

Note the length of this valve which is 18” long, the actual shut off is at the back of the valve which leaves 18” of pipe without water in it which is sufficient for winter conditions.  This valve however had failed leaving water in the pipe and subject to freezing.

The owner had to remove the carpet, a section of drywall and insulation, mitigate the mold in the wall cavity and have these items replaced.

The question remains, is your “frost proof” hose bibs operating correctly?
One good check is to operate your hose bib, when shut off a small amount of water should drain out. This would be the water in the 18” of pipe, because remember the valve is in the back of the unit.

Even in the middle of winter we can have 60 degree weather which is a good time to water trees or wash your vehicle, don’t forget to disconnect the hose from your hose bib or you will be inviting disaster.

I hope this helps to prevent a catastrophe around your home or business.

failed frost proof hose bib close up of split from freezing

This blog entry was posted by Tom Camp.

Setting expectations of home buyers

February 12th, 2010

This introduction of the home maintenance book helps set the expectations of the home-buying client. – Ben Gromicko

——-

Introduction

Nice house!

Now it is time to keep it that way.

Just like the engine of an automobile, your house works as a system of independent parts. Every part has an impact to the operation of many other parts. A typical home has over 10,000 parts. What happens when all the parts work together in the most desirable, optimal way? You are rewarded with a house that is durable, comfortable, healthy and energy-efficient.

You can make it happen in just a few steps.

Step #1: Monitor the house
Step #2: Recognize potential problems
Step #3: Correct problems properly

This book will help you do all three steps.

If you hired a certified home inspector – that was a good decision and money well spent. As you know, the home inspector is not an expert but a generalist. Your home inspector inspected the home and reported the home’s condition as it was at the time of the inspection. That is the main responsibility of the home inspector. A home inspection does not include predictions of future events. Future events (such as roof leaks, water intrusion, plumbing drips and heating failures) are not within the scope of a home inspection and are not the responsibility of the home inspector.

Who’s responsible? You are. The new homeowner. Welcome to home ownership. The most important thing to understand as a new homeowner is that things break. As time moves on, parts of your house will wear out, break down, deteriorate, leak or simply stop working.

But relax
. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’re not alone. This book is for you and every homeowner experiencing the responsibility of home ownership. Every homeowner has similar concerns and questions. And they are all related to home maintenance.

The following questions are those that all homeowners ask themselves:

#1 “What should I look for?”
#2 “What does a real problem look like?”
#3 “How should it be corrected?”

The answers to these questions are written in this book.

This book will guide you through the systems of a typical house, how they work and how to maintain them. The systems include the following: the exterior, interior, roof, structure, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, attic, insulation, bathroom and kitchen.

You will learn what to monitor (what to look for) as the house ages. Most of the conditions and events that you will see and experience will likely be cosmetic and minor. Most homes do not have major material defects.

Throughout the book, there will be references to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (www.InterNACHI.org). InterNACHI is the world’s largest trade association of residential and commercial building inspectors. The InterNACHI Residential Standards of Practice (SOP) defines what a home inspection is and lists the responsibilities of a home inspector. The SOP is located at http://www.nachi.org/sop.htm.

This book comments upon the responsibilities of a home inspector, because we are assuming that a home inspector has given you this book to read. Sometimes when a new homeowner is performing maintenance, apparent problems are discovered or revealed. Or as time goes by, things in the house leak or fail. A new homeowner experiencing a problem should refer to the Standards of Practice, which outlines the responsibilities and limitations of the home inspector.

The first nine chapters of this book describe the systems and components of a typical house.

Chapter 10 is about saving energy. This chapter describes how to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient by sealing air leaks and adding insulation —and you can do it yourself.

Chapter 11 has four maintenance checklists – one for each season.

Chapter 12 has a list of average life expectancies of systems, components and appliances in a typical home.

Home ownership is a great experience, and home maintenance is a great responsibility. This book will help you enjoy both.

Enjoy your house!

Read the first 32 pages and table of contents of the book at http://www.nachi.org/now.htm

This blog entry was posted by Ben Gromicko.

Garage Door Inspections

February 12th, 2010

When inspecting a garage door, I find it important really look at the hardware and shaking it before operating the door opener. I go all the way down the track moving it.  I then move across the door (Making sure the latch is not latched) and on to the other track.  Look for anything that may damage the door when you open it.  Garage doors are very large objects and the last thing we want is for one to be damaged during operation.  So Remember to give them a good shake before you push the button.

This blog entry was posted by Chris Mainka.

Roof and Ceiling Leak Detection

February 11th, 2010

An infrared inspection of your roof can detect eveidence of latent moisture within your roof cavities and it can determine the potential for ice dams, plugged drains, and water retention that may cause roof damage and/or leakage which could lead to serious damage to your living area if not detected on-time. Roofing materials are very expensive to replace and the repairs can cost you roughly $20.00 or more a square foot. My infrared roof evaluation you can save you a bundle (in the long run) by knowing if certain roof sections need minor repair now to avoid major repair or replacement later, or to simply determine if the whole entire roof needs to be replaced in the not-so-distant future. Thermal imaging can give you the existing roof information in a nice neat visual package.

This EPDM roof looks great visually, but a major moisture build-up (under the rubber membrane) was easily detected utilizing my infrared camera.

During a home inspection, roof leaks are typically discovered by my direct observations and then confirmed by utilizing moisture meters on the sheathing below. But if I detect a moist area and the roof sheathing is not visible from below (such as a finished cathedral ceiling or a ceiling below a living area) the exact area of the leak can not be determined. Most homeowners have the misconception that moisture stains are caused from leaks that are directly above a wet area. It’s just not true in most situations. On gable roofs, some leaks occur at the ridge line area and cling to the rafters for quite a distance until it finally drips onto the ceiling below. In order for anyone to locate the exact area of the leak, the damaged ceiling must first be removed. This removal is necessary in order to “visualize” the exact intrusion point at the underside of the roof sheathing. Now before any of the ceilings can be removed, all the furniture must be removed from below the affected area. Then the floor must be protected from the falling debris and possibly requiring a scaffold system. All of this can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars! Infrared Thermography is an invaluable non-destructive and non-contact tool that can detect and pinpoint hidden roof leaks without even damaging the interior or exterior surfaces. Then once I pinpoint the problem area, minimum surface areas can be removed in order to make the necessary repairs.

I prefer to perform all exterior flat roof inspections in the early evening hours. In order to perform the infrared inspection correctly, I require solar heating of a hot sunny day to heat up the roof surface. Then in the early evening (after the sun goes down), the roof starts to cool allowing my infrared camera to be able to detect obvious thermal differences (anomalies) if there are any moisture intrusions within the roof surface. Thermal properties of water are very unique (high thermal capacity), allowing water to be thermally observed on the surface and on the underside of roofing materials. If water is actively seeping into the cavity of a roof surface, the dry roof insulation will cool much faster than the soggy wet roof insulation, making it possible for me to observe the thermal differences.

My infrared roof inspections have proven to be a beneficial option for testing sub-surface roof areas that can not be seen visually. Regularly scheduled infrared roof inspections will allow you to find moisture damage and water leaks that have not yet become apparent. This is the most cost-effective approach to any roof maintenance. I have the knowledge and experience to correctly acquire and interpret roof infrared inspection data to you and then provide you with a professional easy-to-understand infrared roof report within hours of your inspection.

Visually, this roof structure looks good, but infrared imaging detects anomalies immediately.

The source of this roof leak was unable to be located visually, but my infrared camera detected the exact source of the leak immediately.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Infrared imaging will detect concealed issues.

See more information regarding INFRARED and THERMAL IMAGING on my website at http://www.massinfrared.com

This blog entry was posted by David Valley.

InterNACHI’s Mark Nahrgang trains Missouri REALTORs

December 14th, 2009

InterNACHI member, Mark Nahrgang, spoke this past August to a full house of Missouri REALTORs. Members of the Missouri Association of REALTORs in attendance received training on Radon and a variety of other subjects. Check out a short write-up on the event to find out more.

This blog entry was posted by Rob London.

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