Category Archives: Three Questions

3 QUESTIONS: SEWER LINES WITH ANACORTES PLUMBING

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about sewer line issues with Bohannan T. McKenzie, owner at Anacortes Plumbing in Anacortes.

Q1: In older homes with original sewer lines, do you recommend video scoping to determine useful remaining life and replacement cost?

Let’s talk about the waste system of your home: in homes older than the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, the internal waste systems were most often assembled using either cast iron and galvanized piping or copper piping. During this era, both types were the best options available. In fact, in this current day, many commercial applications still use the cast iron piping. Since that time, however, we have discovered better ways to vent the plumbing systems. We’ve also uncovered issues with the types of fittings used in that era. Both systems have some characteristics that you should consider. With cast iron systems, the galvanized branches corrode from the inside, causing a “caking” effect on the walls of the pipe. This “caking” reduces the inside diameter, causing the pipe to be too small for waste to pass through as designed. The cast iron fittings are also prone to failure, causing leaks and root intrusion (if near or in the soil). Copper systems do not handle the caustic environment of waste, especially with the use of modern cleaning agents. This type of system is often degraded to the point that the lower-third of the horizontal piping is either paper-thin or completely rotted out. In both cases, I recommend camera-scoping the interior as well as an external visual inspection of the piping. 

Modern homes, built from the mid-1980s onward, were usually plumbed in ABS or PVC. With these systems, there have been a few cases of bad materials, but they are uncommon. Most issues with plumbing systems of this era are due to faulty install, or improper usage.

Q2: With older sewer lines, is annual maintenance necessary? 

Plumbing inspections may not need to be annual, but the frequency of inspection should increase as the piping degrades. As a professional, I would recommend you schedule an appointment with your plumber, who should inspect the piping and tell you of its condition. The piping may need replacement, but pipes throughout the home will be in varying points of the aging process. Your plumber should be able to tell you how often you need an inspection, as well as how you might plan for a future re-pipe of your home.

Q3: Im noticing low-functional flow with some plumbing fixtures. Is there an easy way to figure out if this is the fixture itself or something more ominous with the main sewer line?

If you’re already noticing slow drainage, the best solution would be to call your plumber today. You may only need a drain cleaning, but a trusted professional will be able to show you precisely what is required.

BONUS QIf the sewer line needs to be replaced, what are we looking at in terms of approximate cost?

I’m sure you are wondering how much a re-pipe would cost. Understand that this is mainly dependent on the design of your home, as well as how extensive the re-pipe will need to be—but it is certainly not cheap. Expect the replacement to be in the mid- to high-thousands, per bathroom. Also, expect that if the piping requiring replacement is under slab or upstairs, you will need other trades involved. Some plumbers, such as Anacortes Plumbing, can arrange this for you if you would prefer. 

About Anacortes Plumbing

Anacortes is a family-owned business and has been through the years—although it has changed families a few times. The McKenzie family has been involved with Anacortes Plumbing since 2007. The business has a sincere desire to take care of its neighbors and community. More information at https://www.anacortes.plumbing/A big “thanks” to Bohannan for his responses!

3 QUESTIONS: SIDING WITH FRONTIER BUILDING SUPPLY

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

Kelly Fox

This month, we talk about siding issues with Kelly Fox, president at Frontier Building Supply in Anacortes.

Q1: What kind of exterior wood trim do you recommend that has the best longevity and requires the least maintenance? 

For longevity and low maintenance, I recommend PVC trim from brands like Royal and AZEK. These types of trim options have some limitations when it comes to the color, typically requiring light colors or dark colors without dark pigments. For an excellent all-around product, fiber-cement trim takes any color of paint and matches the longevity of the fiber-cement siding. 

Q2: What’s your favorite type of exterior siding, and why?

At my core, I am a wood guy, and on my own home, I would have cedar siding in lap and shake for the natural beauty that only wood brings. As I age, that may change to fiber cement for the low maintenance and warranties that add value to the home. With advances in manufacturing, fiber cement companies are making great-looking shingle products that finish up like wood. 

Q3: What’s your best advice to homeowners about maintaining the exteriors of their homes?

When I think about maintaining the exterior of a home, I am naturally drawn to what is protecting the investment. In most homes, that is the paint and sealants. The difference between good paint and great paint is the quality of the ingredients. More expensive paints are using higher solid contents and better binders that help the paint cover and hide. While I know that not every budget can afford the best-quality paints, I recommend that you buy the best quality paints and sealants within your means.

Bonus Q: Any excellent, new exterior product(s) you love and can share with our audience?

Synthetic stone products have been around for as long as I have been in the industry and probably longer. Some manufacturers have found ways to “panelize” these products that stack and install like traditional siding without the need for traditional stonemason skills (or expenses). While these might not be for an entire house, they are great for accent wall, entries or can be used to create a rich look of stacked sidings. (I have even seen some of these used to create great fireplace surrounds inside and out!)

About Frontier Building Supply

 In 1975 in an old house on the waterfront of Anacortes, Washington, Frontier Industries was born. Family owned and operated, Frontier was founded on the idea that a combination of exemplary service, first-rate quality, and a competitive price couldn’t miss. Today, with six locations in three counties and more than 70 employees, that same idea forms the very core of the company’s values. Now, doing business as Frontier Building Supply, the organization is proud to be the company the professionals use. Clientele consists of high-quality custom home builders, first-rate commercial contractors, and remodelers. More information at http://www.fbs.us.

A big “thanks” to Kelly for his responses! If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: INSULATION WITH PACIFIC RIM INSULATION

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we learn about insulation issues with Brea Mason at Pacific Rim Insulation Inc. in Friday Harbor. 

Q1: Attic insulation is priority No. 1 for homes (hot air rises after all!).  There are lots of options for insulating attics (e.g., spray foam, blown-in fiberglass/cellulose, batten insulation, etc.).  Can you please let us know some pros and cons in material choices and overall advice for insulating attics?

There are many different choices for insulating your attic spaces. If you have an existing house, with a nice clean attic and are looking to increase your insulation,  I really like to use blown-in fiberglass insulation. It fills in all the gaps and cracks you may have and sets down a nice blanket to cover it all up.  I think getting an attic to an R50/R60  provides great resistance from the outside elements in our area. On new homes you have many options, but we have been installing closed cell foam with batt insulation combo in quite a few homes. It makes your roof a non-vented system, so no worries that you don’t have enough air-flow behind your insulation. 

Q2: What’s your favorite type of insulation and why?

My favorite type of insulation would be rockwool, or closed cell foam. Rockwool is so versatile, good for sound, gives you an R23 on exterior walls, is fire protectant, and is an overall very dense product—which means better resistance (or R-value). Closed cell foam is my other favorite because of the sealing power it has as well as its high R-value per inch (R6.9 per inch). On  older houses with 2×4 exterior walls you get an R21 and 11 percent sheer power, so that is a win-win.

Q3: An amazing statistic is that up to 30% of heated air can be lost through a ceiling attic access hatch that isn’t insulated and weather-stripped.  Do you have any high-impact recommendations homeowners can employ to improve thermal efficiency and save money?

I think a lot of people don’t know if their access hatch has any insulation on it at all. We always build a dam of insulation around the hatch and then install insulation to the back side of the access cover. You can hold the insulation with twine or you can cut a piece of rigid insulation and glue it to the back of the hatch. Weather stripping is so important! Around light can covers, electrical outlets and attic access hatches. We are always trying to stop the air from infiltrating.

3 QUESTIONS: ELECTRICAL ISSUES WITH NORTH SOUND COMMUNICATIONS

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

Andy Nichols, Owner

This month, we learn about electrical issues with Andy Nichols, owner at North Sound Communications on Lopez Island.

Q1: There are so many light bulb options available….CFL, LED, Xenon, incandescent, dimmable/not- dimmable, plus there’s even mention of a Kelvin temperature scale!?! Where’s a homeowner to start, and do you have any personal rules-of-thumb or pet peeves for light bulb selection?  

First off, let me say that in the electrical industry we call light bulbs “lamps.” Of all of these options, I would recommend LED the most and CFL the least. CFL is great if you have an existing fixture that only takes a certain CFL lamp, but CFLs are difficult to dim, slow to turn on, and do not provide a high quality of light. LED technology is still developing but has come a long way. For residential applications, I look for LED lamps with a high CRI value. CRI (or color rendering index) gives a value to how the LED light is going to portray the color of the objects it illuminates. I look for an LED with a 90 or higher CRI value. Kelvin temperature relates to what color of light the LED is emitting; the range is typically 2700K-5000K. 2700K looks like traditional incandescent light (more orange) and 5000K looking more like daylight. For residential applications, I like using lamps that are no higher than 3000K, and I have found that 2700K looks better to highlight wood finishes. For garages or workshops, 5000K is great because it makes everything clear (just like if you were out on a nice, sunny day). I could go on and on about this subject, but, to summarize, I usually choose 2700K or 3000K lamps with a CRI rating of 90 or higher.  

Q2: Advances in circuit breaker technology have made new construction homes safer, e.g., GFCI, AFCI, and dual-function GFCI/AFCI breakers are now available. My house isn’t that “old,” but it doesn’t have any of these “special” breakers now required by code for new construction. Do you recommend upgrading older breakers as a logical safety improvement?

GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupters have been around for a long time in the form of GFCI receptacles commonly found at bathroom counters or sinks. The electrical code has expanded their use to protect dishwasher circuits, washing machine circuits, and any receptacle within 6’ of a sink. This type of protection prevents people from receiving a lethal electric shock, and YES, this is very important. These should be used on any 120-volt receptacle near water or any appliance with a water connection or exterior receptacles. AFCI (or arc fault circuit interrupters) were developed to detect arcing which can cause fire. Obviously, fire prevention is essential, and I would not discourage anybody from adding AFCI protection to an existing electrical system. However, they can be complicated to add later as existing electrical systems can cause nuisance tripping for reasons I will not get into here. The best thing people can do to protect themselves from causing a fire is to avoid using extension cords inside, particularly if they are being used to plug in a portable heater. Also, look around the house and make sure outlets are not overloaded or loose. Loose connections are a common cause of electrical fires. GFCI/AFCI combine both forms of protection on a single circuit breaker and, in new construction, are frequently used for kitchen appliance circuits and the like. 

Q3: During the winter season, generators are frequently contemplated by homeowners. Can any home be upgraded to accommodate a generator in the event of a power failure?

Yes, any home can be upgraded to accommodate a generator. The degree of difficulty can vary greatly depending on what type of generator or transfer switch is used. The easiest way to integrate a generator is to set up a power inlet on the exterior of the house for a portable generator to plug into. We wire this to a back-fed circuit breaker in the main panel and use a generator interlock bracket to disconnect the utility power while the generator is feeding the house. This is critical as it protects your generator from back-feeding power onto the utility (grid) and possibly injuring a utility lineman. 

BONUS: Any electrical alterations, additions, or repairs require a permit through the Department of Labor & Industries, regardless of who does the work. Is this a “scary” process or pretty straightforward?

The Department of Labor & Industries is not-at-all scary, and they do a great job of making sure an electrical installation is safe. It is very important to get all electrical work inspected. Legally, everyone is required to purchase a permit when performing electrical work. Simply go to the electrical tab on the website to purchase a permit. It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll feel like a professional. When the L & I inspector comes out to inspect your work, they will make sure that the work is done safely and will not injure anyone or cause a fire. It is up to the person performing the work to make sure the installation is safe as an inspector may not be able to catch every issue. Sometimes it’s best to hire a certified and licensed electrical contractor.

About North Sound Communications 

North Sound Communications provides professional, residential, and commercial electricians that handle electrical and communication services across all of the San Juan Islands—including Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island. North Sound Communications provides a full range of commercial and residential electrical repair, maintenance, and installation services—including electrical, TV and antennas, phone, internet, and data communications. The company guarantees every aspect of its workmanship with a commitment to service and price. 

A big “thanks” to Andy for his responses!If you have questions or comments about electrical issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: FLOORING WITH WOODCRAFT WOOD FLOORS

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about flooring issues with WoodCraft Wood Floors, Inc. in Mount Vernon.

Q1: Oftentimes, home inspectors observe and report water-damaged or cupped wood flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, or adjacent exterior doors.  Can this be repaired and restored?

Floors that are water damaged can be replaced and refinished, or if the floor is not too far damaged by water, they can be dried and re-sanded. This must be determined by a hardwood flooring professional.

Q2:  In older homes, with original wood flooring, can the floors typically be refinished and restored?  Any advice or pointers for DIY weekend warriors thinking about restoring old wood floors?

Yes, old homes that have wood floors can be refinished. We typically don’t recommend DIY sanding floors because—if you do not know what you are doing—you can damage the floor and sand down too much of the surface, which can sand all the life left on the wear surface.

Q3: What’s your favorite type(s) of wood flooring, and why?

Red and white oak flooring is still a classic that does not go out of style.  It is a stable wood that is not susceptible to a lot of movement.

Bonus Q: Having floors refinished professionally vs. the DIY weekend warrior: what’s the typical cost difference one can expect?

Professional refinishing can run approximately $4.50 per square feet and up. DIY will cost rental, sanding materials (paper, wood filler, sealer, finish, applicators), time and labor.

About WoodCraft Wood Floors, Inc.
Woodcraft Wood Floors, Inc has been serving Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan and part of Snohomish Counties since 1980. In the 1980s, the company operated under the name of Woodcraft Construction, and focused on design and building construction with a wood flooring division. Over the years, its wood floors became so popular that the business decided to close the design-build portion of its business and concentrate on only wood flooring. In 1991, it became Woodcraft Wood Floors, Inc. Woodcraft Wood Floors is also a member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), which sets the standards for the wood flooring industry. For more information, visit https://www.woodcraftwoodfloors.com.
A big “thanks” to Woodcraft Wood Floors for their responses.

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: STRUCTURAL ISSUES WITH ??

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we learn about structural issues with Gary Sturdy, PE, owner at Sturdy Engineering Corporation in Anacortes. Additionally, more information about related structural engineering topics is available via our Real Estate Unveiled! podcast page.

Q1: My old house appears to have settled over time and is “leaning” somewhat.  What are some things I should be on the lookout for to see if I need a contractor to further evaluate?

A gradual settling observed over years is an indication of poor soil conditions below the foundation.  The problem must first be identified; applying a fix to the symptoms may worsen it. 

The first objective is to determine soil conditions under the foundation, including depth of poor soils.  Once that is determined, a proper solution can be engineered to solve the problem.  As an example, adding width to the existing foundation will add weight and might create even greater settlement. 

Q2: The masonry chimney on my old house appears to have settled and isn’t perfectly plumb; I can see a gap between the chimney and the home.  How can I tell if this is historic or a major structural concern and safety issue?

A snapshot in time will not give you answers to historic events.  That gap might have been there for years without change, which would indicate that the settlement has stopped and the underlying soils are stable.  Continual monitoring with measurement over time or soil testing will determine if the underlying soils are unstable.

An engineer can help you determine how far out of plumb is safe for your particular chimney style and construction.  At that time, the engineer can determine if remedial action is imminent.

Q3: Wood destroying organisms (WDOs), like Carpenter ants, Anobiid beetles, and Pacific Dampwood termites are commonplace in the Pacific NW.  Eliminating elevated moisture is absolutely the key to keeping a home free of WDOs.  Recognizing that these insects literally eat wood structure, is there a general rule-of-thumb for when replacement may, or may not, be necessary? In older homes, for instance, minor WDO damage is commonplace, and replacing all structural elements with minor insect damage would involve substantially replacing most of the home’s structure. Is this really necessary, or is there a more practical, “real-world” approach?

Each piece of lumber has an allowable load, or maximum weight that it can withstand.  For example, a piece of lumber might only be loaded to 50-percent of its allowable value.  In this case, the bugs can eat away a significant amount of wood before safety is an issue.  On the other hand, a piece of lumber that is fully loaded cannot withstand any bug damage. An experienced engineer can determine what repairs are required for your safety, while integrating practical and economical solutions.

About Sturdy Engineering Corporation 

Sturdy Engineering Corporation in Anacortes provides structural analysis & design for residential, commercial, light industrial, recreational, and agricultural structures. These structures may utilize a variety of building materials, including wood/logs, timber frames, concrete, steel, and structural insulated panels. More information at https://www.sturdyengineering.com/#

A big “thanks” to Gary for his responses!

If you have questions or comments about structural issues or home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: SEWER LINES WITH ANACORTES PLUMBING

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about sewer line issues with Bohannan T. McKenzie, owner at Anacortes Plumbing in Anacortes.

Q1: In older homes with original sewer lines, do you recommend video scoping to determine useful remaining life and replacement cost?

Let’s talk about the waste system of your home: in homes older than the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, the internal waste systems were most often assembled using either cast iron and galvanized piping or copper piping. During this era, both types were the best options available. In fact, in this current day, many commercial applications still use the cast iron piping. Since that time, however, we have discovered better ways to vent the plumbing systems. We’ve also uncovered issues with the types of fittings used in that era. Both systems have some characteristics that you should consider. With cast iron systems, the galvanized branches corrode from the inside, causing a “caking” effect on the walls of the pipe. This “caking” reduces the inside diameter, causing the pipe to be too small for waste to pass through as designed. The cast iron fittings are also prone to failure, causing leaks and root intrusion (if near or in the soil). Copper systems do not handle the caustic environment of waste, especially with the use of modern cleaning agents. This type of system is often degraded to the point that the lower-third of the horizontal piping is either paper-thin or completely rotted out. In both cases, I recommend camera-scoping the interior as well as an external visual inspection of the piping. 

Modern homes, built from the mid-1980s onward, were usually plumbed in ABS or PVC. With these systems, there have been a few cases of bad materials, but they are uncommon. Most issues with plumbing systems of this era are due to faulty install, or improper usage.

Q2: With older sewer lines, is annual maintenance necessary? 

Plumbing inspections may not need to be annual, but the frequency of inspection should increase as the piping degrades. As a professional, I would recommend you schedule an appointment with your plumber, who should inspect the piping and tell you of its condition. The piping may need replacement, but pipes throughout the home will be in varying points of the aging process. Your plumber should be able to tell you how often you need an inspection, as well as how you might plan for a future re-pipe of your home.

Q3: Im noticing low-functional flow with some plumbing fixtures. Is there an easy way to figure out if this is the fixture itself or something more ominous with the main sewer line?

If you’re already noticing slow drainage, the best solution would be to call your plumber today. You may only need a drain cleaning, but a trusted professional will be able to show you precisely what is required.

BONUS QIf the sewer line needs to be replaced, what are we looking at in terms of approximate cost?

I’m sure you are wondering how much a re-pipe would cost. Understand that this is mainly dependent on the design of your home, as well as how extensive the re-pipe will need to be—but it is certainly not cheap. Expect the replacement to be in the mid- to high-thousands, per bathroom. Also, expect that if the piping requiring replacement is under slab or upstairs, you will need other trades involved. Some plumbers, such as Anacortes Plumbing, can arrange this for you if you would prefer. 

About Anacortes Plumbing

Anacortes is a family-owned business and has been through the years—although it has changed families a few times. The McKenzie family has been involved with Anacortes Plumbing since 2007. The business has a sincere desire to take care of its neighbors and community. More information at https://www.anacortes.plumbing/

A big “thanks” to Bohannan for his responses!

3 QUESTIONS: SIDING WITH FRONTIER BUILDING SUPPLY

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

Kelly Fox

This month, we talk about siding issues with Kelly Fox, president at Frontier Building Supply in Anacortes.

Q1: What kind of exterior wood trim do you recommend that has the best longevity and requires the least maintenance? 

For longevity and low maintenance, I recommend PVC trim from brands like Royal and AZEK. These types of trim options have some limitations when it comes to the color, typically requiring light colors or dark colors without dark pigments. For an excellent all-around product, fiber-cement trim takes any color of paint and matches the longevity of the fiber-cement siding. 

Q2: What’s your favorite type of exterior siding, and why?

At my core, I am a wood guy, and on my own home, I would have cedar siding in lap and shake for the natural beauty that only wood brings. As I age, that may change to fiber cement for the low maintenance and warranties that add value to the home. With advances in manufacturing, fiber cement companies are making great-looking shingle products that finish up like wood. 

Q3: What’s your best advice to homeowners about maintaining the exteriors of their homes?

When I think about maintaining the exterior of a home, I am naturally drawn to what is protecting the investment. In most homes, that is the paint and sealants. The difference between good paint and great paint is the quality of the ingredients. More expensive paints are using higher solid contents and better binders that help the paint cover and hide. While I know that not every budget can afford the best-quality paints, I recommend that you buy the best quality paints and sealants within your means.

Bonus Q: Any excellent, new exterior product(s) you love and can share with our audience?

Synthetic stone products have been around for as long as I have been in the industry and probably longer. Some manufacturers have found ways to “panelize” these products that stack and install like traditional siding without the need for traditional stonemason skills (or expenses). While these might not be for an entire house, they are great for accent wall, entries or can be used to create a rich look of stacked sidings. (I have even seen some of these used to create great fireplace surrounds inside and out!)

About Frontier Building Supply

 In 1975 in an old house on the waterfront of Anacortes, Washington, Frontier Industries was born. Family owned and operated, Frontier was founded on the idea that a combination of exemplary service, first-rate quality, and a competitive price couldn’t miss. Today, with six locations in three counties and more than 70 employees, that same idea forms the very core of the company’s values. Now, doing business as Frontier Building Supply, the organization is proud to be the company the professionals use. Clientele consists of high-quality custom home builders, first-rate commercial contractors, and remodelers. More information at http://www.fbs.us.

A big “thanks” to Kelly for his responses! If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: HEATING SYSTEMS WITH FOSS HEATING & COOLING

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.
 
This month, we talk about heating systems with Alex Gravley, manager at Foss Heating & Cooling in Mount Vernon.


Q1: Home inspectors are always calling for annual service of furnaces, fireplaces and heat pumps. Is this really necessary?

It sure is! Yearly maintenance not only ensures that the comfort system is performing at its rated output and efficiency, but can identify potential problems like component failure/wear and fix issues before they become emergency repairs.


Q2: When you inspect furnaces, are you able to fully see and inspect the heat exchanger? This critical component isn’t fully visible to home inspectors.

We cannot fully inspect a heat exchanger on a furnace without completely removing it. This service is not intended by manufacturers and thus is difficult and time-consuming. We employ a few procedures to ensure the heat exchanger is intact. A combination of pressure testing, Carbon Monoxide testing, visual inspection, and flue gas analysis is the best way to be sure a heat exchanger is not in failure and dangerous. 


Q3: Do customers get an economy-of-scale discount by contracting with you to service multiple appliances in one trip?

Yes, we have lower pricing built in for our customers that have multiple units to service all at once.

Bonus Q: Is it really important to make sure the arrows on furnace filters are pointed in the correct direction, or is this kind of silly?

There is an anti-microbial coating on many disposable media filters that is only on one side of the filter. This is the main reason for the arrows, but in reality, someone would likely not notice a difference if the filter was installed backward.

About Foss Heating & Cooling

Foss Heating & Cooling has been serving Skagit Valley since 1974. The company specializes in residential and light commercial service, retrofit, air quality, and water heaters. The business is a Trane Comfort Specialist and Mitsubishi Diamond Dealer, which means that Foss Heating & Cooling must attend training and offer support for those brands while servicing all other brands as well. The company’s focus is on 100 percent customer satisfaction and taking extra care to educate clients on the importance of proper equipment sizing, efficiency, safety, air quality, yearly service, and properly sized, sealed, and insulated ductwork.

For more information, visit www.fossheating.com.
 
A big “thanks” to Alex for his responses!

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

3 QUESTIONS: FLOORING WITH WOODCRAFT WOOD FLOORS

Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk about flooring issues with WoodCraft Wood Floors, Inc. in Mount Vernon.

Q1: Oftentimes, home inspectors observe and report water-damaged or cupped wood flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, or adjacent exterior doors.  Can this be repaired and restored?

Floors that are water damaged can be replaced and refinished, or if the floor is not too far damaged by water, they can be dried and re-sanded. This must be determined by a hardwood flooring professional.

Q2:  In older homes, with original wood flooring, can the floors typically be refinished and restored?  Any advice or pointers for DIY weekend warriors thinking about restoring old wood floors?

Yes, old homes that have wood floors can be refinished. We typically don’t recommend DIY sanding floors because—if you do not know what you are doing—you can damage the floor and sand down too much of the surface, which can sand all the life left on the wear surface.

Q3: What’s your favorite type(s) of wood flooring, and why?

Red and white oak flooring is still a classic that does not go out of style.  It is a stable wood that is not susceptible to a lot of movement.

Bonus Q: Having floors refinished professionally vs. the DIY weekend warrior: what’s the typical cost difference one can expect?

Professional refinishing can run approximately $4.50 per square feet and up. DIY will cost rental, sanding materials (paper, wood filler, sealer, finish, applicators), time and labor.

About WoodCraft Wood Floors, Inc.
Woodcraft Wood Floors, Inc has been serving Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan and part of Snohomish Counties since 1980. In the 1980s, the company operated under the name of Woodcraft Construction, and focused on design and building construction with a wood flooring division. Over the years, its wood floors became so popular that the business decided to close the design-build portion of its business and concentrate on only wood flooring. In 1991, it became Woodcraft Wood Floors, Inc. Woodcraft Wood Floors is also a member of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), which sets the standards for the wood flooring industry. For more information, visit https://www.woodcraftwoodfloors.com.


A big “thanks” to Woodcraft Wood Floors for their responses.

If you have questions or comments about home inspections in general, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).