In the story of the Three Little Pigs, the wolf blows down a house of straw with ease. Modern straw bale houses, by contrast, can withstand high winds a whole lot better. They’re sturdier than most people realize, but they’re also more vulnerable to moisture than conventional homes. To find out more, check out our new article on straw bale house inspection.
The oldest wells were dug by hand, and this low-tech approach still survives today. Their construction is labor-intensive, but it requires few specialized tools. Inspection should be focused on features that keep children or animals from falling into the well, as they’re usually quite wide. A simple lid or stone wall usually does the trick. To find out more, check out our new article on hand-dug well inspection.
Anti-scald valves are designed to lessen the water temperature fluctuations in a building, which are an inconvenience and can potentially cause a person to suffer a burn or slip in the shower. They contain a special diaphragm or piston mechanism that balances the pressure of the hot- and cold-water inputs, limiting one or the other to keep the temperature within a range of several degrees. To find out more about how they work and why they’re needed, check out our new article on anti-scald valves.
Insulation sold in the U.S. is required to have an R-value assigned to it, but how are these ratings calculated? Find out how R-values affect the energy efficiency of insulation — as well as why it won’t matter if the insulation is installed correctly but other building components are leaky — in Insulation R-Value.
Home inspectors know that a wide variety of windows is manufactured for increasingly specific installations. Low-E windows are effective for blocking solar heat and the sun’s rays by reflecting them to keep heat in or out of the home or building, depending on the climate and application. But consumers should be aware of some controversies surrounding these windows precisely because of their high-reflectivity properties that make them so efficient. Read all about the benefits and potential problems in Low-E Windows.
As consumers search for the biggest bang for their energy-savings buck, windows take on special significance as an installation that must be as energy-efficient as possible. Inspectors who perform energy audits can educate themselves and their clients on the importance of solar heat-gain coefficient (SHGC) ratings, especially because these ratings affect a window’s efficiency depending on the climate. Read all about it in Solar Heat-Gain Coefficient Ratings for Windows.
InterNACHI has a new article on scaffold inspection, full of all sorts of information that will help construction workers stay safe. Learn about safety components such as fall arrest systems and guardrails, as well as strength and size requirements for scaffolds.
The WebMD article deals with home winterization. Read the entire article here: http://women.webmd.com/home-health-and-safety-9/winterize-your-home-10-tips
As the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history tore through Boulder County last month, it should become more clear to homeowners, fire crews and inspectors that more emphasis should be placed on wildfire mitigation strategies. You might be surprised at just how many strategies are available, from custom window covers to vents that swell up and close when they’re heated, preventing stray embers from passing through them into the house. Inform yourself, check out our new article on wildfire mitigation strategies and inspection.
Understanding how to make a home more energy-efficient is a big priority for inspectors who perform energy audits, as well as for homeowners wanting to save on heating and cooling costs. Ratings systems aid in making smart upgrades. They’re also key in helping homeowners cash in on rebate programs. Learn what U-factors are and how they are used to rate the energy efficiency of windows in U-Factor Ratings for Windows.