Energy efficiency is now a major consideration for new home construction, but even older homes without state-of-the-art appliances can benefit from being retrofitted, either entirely or via certain components. Inspectors should be aware of these options, as well as the many configurations and multiple uses of heating appliances, by reading Inspecting Gas-Fired Boilers.
The majority of new home construction is deadline-driven, which means that, sometimes, minor but essential work may be performed haphazardly or not at all. This is especially true of sealing around exhaust fans and ductwork. If the opening cut for the installation of the fan box or duct leaves large gaps around the unit, air can escape into unconditioned spaces and create airflow and moisture problems that don’t reveal themselves until they become critical. Proper installation at the outset can help prevent such issues. Inspectors can read more about them in Inspecting for Air Sealing at Kitchen and Bathroom Exhaust Fans.
Before the weather heats up, it’s important to have a home’s cooling system serviced so that it runs optimally. And it’s just as important to have the right size system installed in the first place – not just based on the size of the home, but also the home’s climate zone. Evaporative cooling systems are affordable alternatives to conventional central air-conditioning systems, but they don’t work everywhere. Find out more about them by reading Inspecting Evaporative Cooling Systems.
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.
When homes lose too much air pressure due to exhaust fans and other appliances it becomes possible for backdrafting to occur. This is a common way for dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide to enter the living space unnoticed and harm or kill the occupants. Luckily, it is sometimes possible to test for backdrafting. To find out more about how it happens and how inspectors can test for it, check out our new article on backdrafting for inspectors.
Sump pumps are probably the most important appliances in the homes that have them. They keep water from seeping into the basement and causing damage to the home’s interior. It’s too bad that many homeowners spend thousands of dollars on TVs and furniture yet get the cheapest sump pump they can buy. The pump is what protects their possessions from being destroyed by water! Sump pumps are self-activating but must be maintained regularly. Read our new article on sump pump operation and inspection to find out more.