Handyman support columns and bases were discovered under a masonry fireplace in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Upside down CMU masonry blocks (holes should face upwards!) and aggressive shimming, together with the lack of a positive connection between the post base and above floor structure, warranted further evaluation and repair by a qualified contractor.
I discovered completely disconnected ducting in the crawl space at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. In this particular instance, this ducting was for mechanically ventilating the crawl space area, and had no bearing on the heating system for the home. That said, because it was disconnected, clearly the ventilation system wasn’t functioning as intended or designed and required repair. I frequently discover completely disconnected ducting in crawl space areas for furnaces which significantly compromises the heating efficiency within homes and nicely heats the crawl space areas. Most often, homeowners have no idea because they rarely traverse their crawl space areas.
Wow, look at this handyman dryer vent ducting! I can see two sizes of vinyl, solid metal, flexible metal and- for good measure- let’s couple it with ABS drain pipe. I’m not making this stuff up, I promise! This was discovered at recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. I always recommend installing solid metal ducting for safety reasons, and annually cleaning/maintaining as lint is flammable and can accumulate in dryer ducting.
Inspecting the furnace at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, I noted corrosion, deterioration and holes in the flue pipe which is a clear safety issue. This particular furnace was 15 years old and approaching the end of its expected life. It’s important to service your furnace on an annual basis for optimal performance, longevity and safety reasons.
If you can see dirt and any wood/cellulose debris in your crawl space, you should take action to help prevent elevated moisture conditions that can lead to WDO (wood destroying organism) activity and damage in your crawl space area. Any and all exposed dirt in the crawl space should be covered with a plastic vapor barrier. And debris and wood scrap, food for insects, should be removed or properly stored at least eighteen (18) inches above the ground. These pictures were taken at a recent home inspection in Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island.
At a recent home inspection on Orcas Island, I discovered water stains around a toilet that the Seller informed us were “historic.” Probing with a moisture meter, it was clear that the subfloor was clearly saturated with the possibility of underlying damage not visible without pulling the toilet and invasively inspecting. Moisture meters and infrared thermography help home inspectors determine elevated moisture conditions not visible to the naked eye.
‘Tis the season for pressure washing! Below is an article from our Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands Home Inspection eNewsletter addressing some great techniques and principles for pressure washing. (With the below in mind, PLEASE don’t pressure wash your roofs!)
How to Use a Pressure Washer
eHow.com says, “Pressure washing can be a quick, easy way to clean your car, driveway, deck or siding. However, the powerful stream of water can also inflict damage if not handled properly. By learning a few techniques and principles, you’ll get the job done more quickly and won’t risk harming your home or family in the process.” However, pressure washers are not magic wands to be waved over a problem, they are power equipment, and, like all power equipment, it’s not as simple as it seems. For power washing basics see “How to Use a Pressure Washer.”
Pending home sales inched up in November, moving above year-over-year levels for the third consecutive month, according to the National Association of Realtors® latest Pending Home Sales Index report. The index is a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings. All regions saw a slight gain in sales activity in November, except for the Midwest, NAR reports. Nationwide, the index ticked up 0.8 percent to 104.8 in November, and is now 4.1 percent above November 2013 numbers. It marks the highest year-over-year gain since August 2013, when the index jumped 5.6 percent year-over-year. “With rents now rising to a seven-year high, historically low rates and moderating price growth are likely to entice more buyers to enter the market in upcoming months,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
From Realtor Magazine, January 2015. Read the full article here.
Most of us have had an annoying dripping faucet that we just haven’t had a chance to repair or replace. You can temporarily quiet things down with a piece of string. Just tie it around the end of the faucet spout and let the free end rest on the bottom of the sink. The drops of water will travel down the string silently, and tranquility can be restored until you are able to get to it. When it’s time for the repair, doityourself.com has a pretty good guide to help you do the job right.
- Make sure all gates in the isolation fence for your pool are self-closing and self-latching.
- Remove all chairs, tables, large toys or other objects that would allow a child to climb up to reach the gate latch or enable the child to climb over the pool isolation fence.
- Reaching and throwing aids like poles should be kept on both sides of the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced through play activities.
- All pool and hot tub drains (suction outlets) must have a cover or gate that meets industry standards for suction fittings marked to indicate compliance with ANSI/ASME A112.19.8 2007. Check to see that these covers are not broken or in disrepair, and that they are anchored firmly over the drain openings.
- Install a pool alarm to detect accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. While the alarm provides an immediate warning, it does not substitute for the fences, door alarms and safety covers required by the code.
- Install either an automatic or manually operated, approved safety cover to completely block access to water in the pool, spa or hot tub. Never allow anyone to stand or play on a pool cover.
- Check for warning signs for an unsafe deck, including loose or wobbly railings or support beams, missing or loose screws that connect a deck to the house, corrosion, rot and cracks.