VIDEO: Tripping HAZARD at Concrete Driveway

Concrete driveways definitely crack, which is a common occurrence with concrete driveways that lack control joints. When the cracks are pronounced or displaced (e.g., settlement occurs), they can become a tripping hazard for unwary passersby. Grinding unevenness produced by settling concrete slabs and/or mud-jacking are two ways to deal with this issue. If the cracks and settlement are pronounced, driveways are typically formed and re-poured.

Winter holiday safety tips

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Holiday decoration fires are most likely to happen in the living room, family room or den. Almost half of all home decoration fires are started by candles. Half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed. See more of the National Fire Protections Association’s suggestions for winter holiday decorating and entertaining safety.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that forms from incomplete combustion of fuels, such as natural or liquefied petroleum gas, oil, wood or coal.

Facts and Figures

  • 480 U.S. residents died between 2001 and 2003 from non-fire-related carbon-monoxide poisoning.
  • Most CO exposures occur during the winter months, especially in December (including 56 deaths, and 2,157 non-fatal exposures), and in January (including 69 deaths and 2,511 non-fatal exposures). The peak time of day for CO exposure is between 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Many experts believe that CO poisoning statistics understate the problem. Because the symptoms of CO poisoning mimic a range of common health ailments, it is likely that a large number of mild to mid-level exposures are never identified, diagnosed, or accounted for in any way in carbon monoxide statistics.
  • Out of all reported non-fire carbon-monoxide incidents, 89% or almost nine out of 10 of them take place in a home.

(read full article here)

Knob-and-tube electrical

Old, active knob-and-tube electrical wiring was discovered in this attic that had been unprofessionally spliced with modern electrical wiring and was in direct contact with framing elements in the attic, clear safety issues.  My client was under the impression that all wiring in this home had been updated; truth be told, it simply was not.  I recommended further evaluation and repair by a qualified electrician.  If you have knob-and-tube wiring, consider upgrading to modern wiring.  At a minimum, don’t splice into it and keep it clear and free from contacting anything as it can overheat.  Do not insulate attics or crawl spaces that have knob-and-tube wiring.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.

VIDEO: Concrete driveways cracking

Concrete driveways definitely crack, which is a common occurrence with concrete driveways that lack control joints. When the cracks are pronounced or displaced (e.g., settlement occurs), they can become a tripping hazard for unwary passersby. Grinding unevenness produced by settling concrete slabs and/or mud-jacking are two ways to deal with this issue. If the cracks and settlement are pronounced, driveways are typically formed and re-poured.

Roof leak and water damage

When you see water stains on the ceiling, together with plastic Tupperware, you know there’s likely an active roof leak!  Of course, I use very expensive equipment to confirm (e.g., moisture meter and infrared thermography camera), but this one was obvious.  With water intrusion, there’s always the possibility of underlying damage not visible without invasive inspection; it wouldn’t hurt to open the ceiling and look for possible mold growth.  This was discovered at a recent home inspection on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.

Fun Fact Friday!

Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.

The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.

The Neanderthal’s brain was bigger than yours is.

Mario, of Super Mario Bros. fame, appeared in the 1981 arcade game, Donkey Kong. His original name was Jumpman, but was changed to Mario to honor the Nintendo of America’s landlord, Mario Segali.

Electrical cover plates on junction boxes

Why do we home inspectors call out missing cover plates at electrical junction boxes?  Well, it’s really quite simple.  A cover plate protects people from inadvertently touching live electrical wires and components in the junction box.  Additionally, cover plates help encapsulate an electrical event if it ever happens.  Yes, it’s a simple fix, but highly recommended.  This was discovered at a home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island, but is called out on almost every home inspection.

VIDEO: Insulate Exposed Garage Water Pipes!

It’s important to insulate any and all exposed water supply piping- whether it be in the crawl space, attic, or garage- as freezing weather conditions can lead to breakage in unconditioned (unheated) spaces of the home. Water pipe insulation is readily available at hardware stores and is easily installed. This video was taken at a recent home inspection in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island.