Tag Archives: All Islands Home Inspections

WHEN IN ROME(X): HANDYMAN WIRING PRACTICES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED

During a recent inspection in Friday Harbor, I came across handyman electrical wiring practices serving garage ceiling light fixtures. In this case, homeowners had unconventionally routed Romex electrical wiring and open wire splicing.

I recommended that my clients consult with a qualified electrician to address the issue.

Do you have questions or comments about home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Flooring 101: How to care for wood flooring

Wood flooring in homes is certainly a beautiful feature, but it’s important to keep it dry. Pay particular attention to wood flooring in bathrooms, kitchens and adjacent exterior doors. Signs of water intrusion include staining and cupping (warping) of wood floors. Even if you notice subtle cupping or staining of your wood floors, take action as soon as possible; water damage only gets worse with time. I use a high-quality moisture meter at inspections which reveals underlying moisture not visible to the naked eye. 

This tool has saved countless homeowners from costly water damage, catching it before the problem becomes quite expensive and extensive. Well-maintained, wood floors will provide years of lasting beauty and value to your home. My personal favorite type of wood flooring is distressed or historic/reclaimed clear vertical grain (CVG) fir. It’s a Pacific Northwest classic!

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

COME ON NOW, GIVE ME A CHALLENGE, THAT’S TOO EASY A DEFECT TO SPOT! OR, MAYBE THEY WERE TRYING TO HIGHLIGHT IT?

Sometimes, home inspection problems can be hard to spot. And other times…

A recent inspection in Bow provided one of these “other times,” when I discovered an active plumbing leak in the bathroom. It was kind of impossible to miss the bright, yellow bucket that had been installed to catch the dripping water. 

It certainly made my job easier. 

If you have questions or comments about plumbing issues in general, tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

ANOTHER ADVENTURE WITH LP INNERSEAL COMPOSITE SIDING

I’ve written about LP InnerSeal composite siding a bit here on the blog because I encounter it relatively often. As you might know, LP InnerSeal siding is a product that was subject to a class-action lawsuitfor premature failure and elevated maintenance requirements. 

Despite these issues, the siding will potentially deliver years of serviceable life if well and proactively maintained (e.g., painted and caulked). However, it does require high maintenance. 

I recently came across a home in Freeland that had deteriorated and swelled LP composite siding, together with fungal growth. In my report, I recommended that my clients have the siding further evaluated by a qualified contractor, one familiar with LP InnerSeal siding and its unique painting requirements.

Do you have questions or comments about siding issues? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

GHOSTING: NOT JUST SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AFTER A BAD DATE

If you own a wood stove and live in an under-insulated house, there is a good chance you’ve seen mysterious-looking stains on your walls and ceilings. This “sooting”— a phenomenon known as “ghosting”— typically suggests incomplete combustion byproducts condensing upon cooler framing members. 

In other words, hot meets cold, and then invites dust and/or soot particles to the party. While it may resemble mold, it’s usually not.

I recently noted this during a visit to a home in Friday Harbor where visible soot outlined underlying framing elements. As you can see in the picture, ghosting can sometimes create unique patterns. 

If your home is experiencing “ghosting,” learn about addressing the possible causes

If you have questions or comments about “ghosting”-related issues, tweet me (@AIHomeInspect).

REPLACING ROOF COVERINGS ON A MANUFACTURED HOME? THEN PLEASE KNOW THIS

Manufactured homes play by different rules when it comes to roof coverings.

With manufactured homes, homeowners must obtain a permit through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries when roof coverings are replaced. It is also imperative not to install more than one (1) layer of roof coverings on a manufactured home without the expressed consent of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries and an engineer.

I recently came upon a manufactured home on Fidalgo Island with significant roofing issues. In particular, the home’s 3-Tab roof coverings were deteriorated and well beyond their serviceable life. I noted in my report the possibility of underlying damage not visible without an invasive inspection and recommended budgeting for select repair and replacement of deteriorated sheathing once the roof coverings were stripped. 

Do you have questions or comments about roofing? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

3 Questions: Melnick Electric

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 electrical issues with Gunnar Melnick, owner of Melnick Electric.

Q1: I’ve noticed that my light dimmer switch is hot to the touch.  Is this an issue that I should be concerned about and have repaired right away?

When you encounter a warm dimmer, make sure it’s not burning to the touch. Dimmers can be warm from the current passing through them, but they should never be hot to the touch. If you encounter a hot dimmer switch, call your local licensed electrician to service it.  
 
Q2: I have a newer home with those fancy AFCI, GFCI, and dual-function circuit breakers (e.g., the breakers in the electrical panel that have “test” buttons).  Periodically, I lose power in a circuit and have to reset some of these breakers.  Is this normal or should I be concerned?

AFCI and GFCI breakers are a new standard for safety. They both have two jobs that will save your home (and even your life) from an electrical fire or shock. Whether the device has been installed in a new home or older, if you ever have a tripping breaker, you should call a licensed electrician to come and inspect the circuit. 

Q3: These new tamper-resistant outlets in my home are driving me crazy!  Sometimes, it can be impossible to insert an appliance plug.  Do you have any advice to help with this common complaint?

Tamper-resistant outlets are a wonderful safety feature for any home. They’re designed to keep anything that’s not an appliance plug out, such as paper clips, forks, or small objects. When trying to plug in appliances, try to angle the prongs so the left prong enters first, following with the right and the lower. When all else fails, a little wiggling helps with these outlets.

About Melnick Electric
Gunnar Melnick is the owner of Melnick Electric in Oak Harbor, Wash. The business is licensed, bonded, and insured. Contact Gunnar at 360-720-4764.
 
A big “thanks” to Gunnar for his responses!

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

PRETTY IN PINK? NOT SO MUCH

Occasionally, I come across pink foam insulation in crawl spaces. This scenario most recently occurred during a home inspection in Friday Harbor. 

Whenever I see it, I recommend that my clients cover it with a non-combustible material for safety reasons.

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