Archive for the ‘Miami home inspector’ Category

Buying A Renovated Home Or Commercial Property? Check Building Permits!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

It’s a scenario that happens all too often for professional residential and building inspectors: buyers discover building permits were not issued on their home when the sellers did remodeling. For the new owner, this can be a serious financial and safety issue if they did not confirm that a permit was granted for any remodeling or home improvements on the property.

Before escrow closes, buyers must ensure building permits were pulled and finalized, especially if an inspector discovers any work that is not to code. While a seller must disclose this information, often times, work was done before they owned the building in question. As a prudent buyer, it is necessary to wait and close the deal until this issue is resolved.

When a building permit is required and when it isn’t can be confusing to most anyone attempting to make home improvements or repairs. For example, permits are mandatory for most construction work, yet for various home repairs it may not be necessary. Permits in Florida are needed for the following:

  • Additions, including patio covers, swimming pools, room additions
  • Alterations, including garage conversions, exterior stucco, re-roofs
  • Repairs – including replacement of water heaters, other plumbing fixtures, irrigations systems, air conditioning units, electrical service, rewiring.
  • Heating equipment, including installing wood stoves, central heat, wall heaters and wood or gas burning fireplaces.

Keep in mind, this is not an all-inclusive list for South Florida residents, but rather its intent is to make you ask questions when touring prospective homes and/or commercial properties if you suspect work was done after the original construction. To anyone considering a property that may have had improvements, you need to ask the seller:

1. Was there any construction done to the property after originally constructed?

2. Was a permit required?

3. Was a permit received?

New buyers should be aware, that issues regarding a lack of a permit would not go away when the property is sold. In fact, that problem is transferred to the new owner who will be held liable and required to pay any penalties and liens on the property, if necessary. And it doesn’t end there. As the new property owner, you will be required to correct the problem in order to comply with the rules and regulations for your local building department should the issue be discovered.

If you suspect that construction was done yet unsure if a permit was issued after the property is sold, contact your local building department to determine if the work in question actually required a permit. Again, not every improvement or remodeling project requires approval. However, if you find a permit was needed, and the permit was not included in your paperwork from the seller, you may very well search online or contact them directly. Also, keep in mind Florida does have uniform building codes, yet every municipality can exempt particular projects from permits. Rules vary from city to city.

Construction not built to code is something Florida building inspectors encounter every day on the job. The three top reasons owners don’t get a permit:

  • Many property owners, particularly homeowners, use friends or non-licensed contractors to perform work.
  • Property owners are unaware that permits are needed for what seems like a simple job, or they can’t afford to make additional repairs or upgrades that the planning department will require.
  • Property owners do not want to pay additional property taxes based on the increased value of their property.

What happens in Florida if you try and obtain a permit after the work is completed? Permits could double in price from the original cost. If you ignore, and are caught, you could be fined among other penalties.

Overall, it is the buyer who has the responsibility to check to see if permits have been issued. A home inspection by a qualified professional can also reveal that certain work was not performed in compliance with local building codes. Your agent should ask the seller about any permits, however, if they were not the owners when the work was done, then they may be unaware of any problems. Therefore it is up to the buyer to do the legwork and delay escrow until the matter is resolved.

This is just another reason why buyers should never turn down a professional home inspection when considering residential or commercial property. The undiscovered issues that can arise, such as lack of building permits, may not only be a financial disaster, but a safety liability as well.

Fall Is Here! Now Is The Time For Maintenance and Insurance Review

Monday, October 13th, 2014

The current warm temperatures in south Florida are typical this time of year. While much of the nation is experiencing fall-like weather, our days continue to be hot and include some stormy afternoons. Of course, this won’t last forever, as typically cooler temperatures arrive some time later next month or the first of December. However, autumn always reminds us that certain maintenance is a must for an efficient running home and business during our colder, and we use that word lightly, months ahead.

By following these simple steps, not only will your property be ready for fall, but also it’s a good head start if you plan on selling in the near future. Buyers today want to see a home that is as repair free as possible and clearly shows the owner has maintained it regularly.

  • Chances are, your air conditioner has been running non-stop in the past several months. Now is the time to replace dirty air filters because it not only uses more energy but also can create an unhealthy air environment such as dust particles and mites.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke detectors. Usually, most people find it easier to do when we move the clocks back at daylight savings time. They will need to be changed again in the spring when clocks are moved forward.
  • Have your heating system thoroughly checked and inspected. True, in south Florida we don’t often need to turn on the heat regularly, however, it’s important to have it working when those colder days appear. Last thing any homeowner wants to find is a non-working heater when the temperatures dip.
  • Fall is a good time to open windows, not only for some fresh air, but to make sure they open and close properly. Inspect the screens for tears or holes and are sealed properly. Don’t forget to check the doors as well and re-caulk if needed.
  • For wood burning fireplaces, have your chimney inspected, as this is a major fire hazard if not maintained regularly.
  • Refresh your landscape mulch, as this will protect plants when the weather turns cooler. A word of warning: make sure mulch is placed at least five inches away from your foundation. Why? Termites!
  • Speaking of landscaping cut back any overgrown shrubs and trees and remove any brush. This will protect your property from not only rodents and water damage, but also paint damage.

Finally, at least once a year, as a property owner, you should set aside some time and review your homeowner’s insurance policy. A recent study said over 32 million U.S. households had policies that were ill fitted. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Has my insurance company made any changes in my coverage in the past year?

2. Does my insurance policy require a separate deductible in case of hurricane? Hail?

3. If I raise my deductible, will I save much money?

4. Am I aware, or have I been informed of all the discounts that are available to me?

5. Am I under covered? Over covered?

Other points to ponder include if you have made any major improvements to your property in the past year, such as adding a new bathroom, updating kitchen or work areas. And don’t forget about the outside, especially if you have a new swimming pool, gazebo or added a garage.

If you have made your home or commercial property safer, by installing a fire and burglar system or upgraded your plumbing, heating or electrical systems, let your insurance company know as you may very well qualify for a discount. If you have made certain lifestyle changes, like starting a business out of your home, your policy may need to be changed to include any equipment or product, especially if this is your primary source of income.

Friday, February 7th, 2014

How To Hire A Building Contractor For Your South Florida Commercial Or Residential Property

If you are considering building or remodeling your South Florida commercial or residential property, you will start your project on the right foot by taking your time to find the best contractor suited for the job.  With countless of contractors in our area, this could be an overwhelming task for those property owners new to the industry.

When hiring a contractor, it is important to diligently research while relying on strong recommendations from family, friends and business associates.  Interview the top three professionals and don’t be shy in asking lots of questions.  Remember, no question is too obvious or impractical when seeking out a contractor who is trustworthy, ethical and has ample experience.

Here are some of the more important questions to ask when interviewing possible candidates:

 

1.  How long have you been a contractor?  What is your background?

If possible, hire a local contractor, as it is much easier to gather information on their credentials and reputation if they work within your community.  Not only that, you want someone who will visit your project frequently and be able to address any problem quickly and efficiently.  Always select a builder that has a close relationship with other local subcontractors and don’t hesitate to request references and follow through with contacting previous clients for their thoughts and opinions.  Don’t neglect to check their background and contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed. You can also verify their license by visiting: www.myfloridalicense.com

 

2.  Who are your suppliers?

Are you considering a contractor that changes suppliers frequently or one that has used the same businesses over and over?  There could be a reason why a contractor moves from one company to another, so be sure and contact suppliers and ask for their opinion regarding your contractor.

  •  Does he or she pay their bills on time?
  •  Have any clients filed complaints?
  •  Is work on time or constant delays?

If at any time a contractor is reluctant to give you any information on their subcontractors, then it’s time to continue your search.

 

3.  Who will be in charge of the job?  How often will you visit?

It’s necessary to find out if a job foreman will be handling the day-to-day operations or if the contractor will be the daily contact.  If it is the former, then this calls for a little research as well.  Visit the current job where the foreman is working and look over the project and see how well it is moving along.  Ask the current client if workers arrive on time each day and if there are many delays.  Also inquire if the project is staying on budget and if they are tidy and clean up at the end of each day.  Finally, ask the client if they are satisfied with the communication and if they are being kept apprised when a problem arises.

 

4.  What is the scope of the work being performed?

Do not use a contractor based on a verbal agreement. Make sure you have your agreement and scope of work in writing and read it carefully. The written contract should be as detailed as possible, including exactly what the contractor is going to be doing and how it’s going to be done. If there is something in the contract you don’t agree with, ask for it to be removed or find a new contractor.

 

5.  How will invoices and bills be handled?

Whether your project is big or small, getting a detailed bill in a timely manner that is not full of surprises should always be the rule and not the exception. With an itemized bill, it is easier to determine where you can cut costs in other areas should an unexpected repair come up and threaten your budget.  No professional contractor will ever balk at this and it should be a standard procedure.

Also, determine when a contractor is paid and that this information is well documented in the contract.  Never hire a contractor that demands full payment up front.

Finally, stay clear of any contractor uses intimidation or bully tactics in order to secure your business.  Other big warning signs:

  • Insists their verbal word is good enough
  • Prefers under the table deals
  • No identification or proof of current license or insurance

Without the proper documentation, you have no guarantee, paper trail or receipt of the work you have had done and little to no recourse.

 

6.  Are permits required?

Permits are very important and are often overlooked or ignored. Some contractors may even tell people they don’t need permits for work that requires one. You should call your local municipality building/permitting department and as if the work they are doing requires a permit. A building official will inspect the work to ensure it is completed safely and properly.

 

 

Why You Need A Comprehensive Mold Inspection

Monday, January 13th, 2014

If you live in Florida, then chances are, you know that mold is a common concern among homeowners and buyers.  Even new construction that has been vacant for some time is not immune to this unwelcome guest.  And as much we enjoy the enviable Florida lifestyle, the combination of moisture and warm temperatures provide excellent conditions for mold growth.  So it’s understandable why our state has persistent problems with mold.

 

Unfortunately, mold is a significant threat to property and buildings. If not caught early, it can spread quickly, providing damage and significant health issues.  Simply touching mold or breathing air that has mold spores can cause a variety of reactions.  For some, it may include coughing, runny nose or skin and eye issues.  For others, the effects can be more dangerous.

 

A brief rundown:  Mold occurs when you have moisture, nutrients and warmer temperatures.  Once mold spores find their way into a home or property, mold can settle and grow quickly.  The question is not how to get rid of mold spores from entering a home as they are not visible to the naked eye and exist virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.  Rather, the issue is how to discover and remove mold once it has been discovered.

 

1.  Maintain moisture control in air: 

 

Moisture can come into our homes or commercial property in a variety of ways.  Whether it be through damp air or water, it can arrive through windows, doors, cracks, as well as through dishwashing, showering, laundry or cooking.  Leaks and plumbing problems are also popular ways for water to get inside.  In fact, likely culprits are washing machine hoses and water heaters as being the top two sources of expensive water damage, which can then result in mold issues.

 

2.  Eliminating Nutrients:

 

Mold will quickly settle and spread when it has a food source.  Natural fibers, found in furnishings, clothing, paper products, books and other materials are popular feeding grounds.  Mold also grows on walls, closets, clothing and showers.  In fact, soap scum found in shower stalls provides nutrients for mold growth.  The best way to eliminate this pest is to keep a clean home, which will discourage mold from spreading.

 

3.  Temperature Control:

 

Again, with warm summer months just ahead, its good to remember that hot weather encourage mold growth.  Mold makes itself right at home in temperatures between 75 – 87 degrees.  While air conditioning certainly helps, if the air is more humid, then it is unable to prevent mold from growing.  Pay particular attention to areas where the air doesn’t flow, such as inside cabinets, closets and under kitchen or bathroom sinks, as these areas are usually the warmest in a home.

 

So again, the best way to eliminate mold growth is to do the following:

 

  • Regularly clean and sanitize your home.

 

  • Clean shower stalls to remove soap scum as well as moisture.

 

  • Keep fans on, as it will circulate the air.

 

  • Keep an eye out for any wet areas, standing water or condensation.

 

  • Don’t ignore any leaky faucets or plumbing problems.

 

  • Don’t allow foundations to stay wet.  Make sure there is drainage and the area is properly sloped away from foundation.

 

  • Make sure air conditioning is properly maintained and HVAC drip pans are thoroughly cleaned, flowing correctly and unobstructed.

 

Despite all best preventions, it is not surprising when owners are unaware they have a mold problem with their home or commercial property.  In fact, most are genuinely shocked to hear that their home is infested with mold.  Often, mold is hidden, may be covered or the leak is behind walls, or other locations that are not clearly visible. That is why it is necessary to inspect any property for mold, especially if:

 

  • Owners or tenants have allergic reactions, such as itch eyes, sneezing, runny nose with being in a certain area or room of house or building.

 

  • To determine that source of moisture has been stopped with no mold growth.

 

  • To verify there is not a mold issue or moisture that is often associated with new construction, building or property that will be rented or purchased.

 

 

Finally, there are some important things everyone should know in regards to mold inspections.  The most important facts are:

 

  • It is necessary to hire a professional, qualified and experienced mold inspector.

 

  • A mold inspection should include looking for current and past mold problems.

 

  • Mold is not often known or visible, so good inspectors utilize specialized equipment such as moisture meters and infrared cameras.  This equipment can often detect moisture which is not visible to the naked eye.

 

  • Mold inspections should always be on the look out for moisture.

 

It is recommended that anyone who suspects a mold problem, to have a complete and comprehensive inspection.  Mold related illness, particularly in our area of Florida, is not uncommon and should be treated immediately.

 

Why South Florida Homes Need A Home Inspection

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Ask any professional real estate agent in south Florida and they will tell you: Never waive a home inspection when buying a home. Why is this? It could end up costing you a fortune.

Unfortunately, some buyers will ignore a proper home inspection for a variety of reasons:

• “It doesn’t matter what’s wrong with it, I’m going to buy it anyway.”

• “This house looks terrific! I can’t see anything wrong with it.”

• “I know the owner! They would never sell me a house that needs repairs!”

Many buyers believe that if an inspection isn’t mandatory, then why should they pay for a service that may not necessary? The answer to that is, a home inspection is not only necessary it helps ensure the home you are buying is a quality investment. Consider this: If you were going to invest a significant amount of your own money in the stock market, wouldn’t you do some research prior to writing a check?

The good news is that in South Florida, the real estate market is on the road to recovery. We are once again seeing homes receive multiple offers, with many going above the asking price. Anything in a highly desirable area that is priced correctly is moving quickly. As we see with multiple offers, buyers will concede many things, and often this may be a home inspection despite a real estate agent’s warning. This is because a home inspection may be the best money you ever spend.

In Florida, some of our biggest inspection issues revolve around our weather. While people move from all over the world to enjoy our sunshine, the truth is that our climate plays a large role in water damage to our homes. Properties need to be checked to determine if a seller has properly maintained their homes from water issues, particularly with windows and doors.

Electrical issues are also problems Florida homeowners encounter. Older and damaged wiring are not only dangerous but often installed improperly. An inspection can clearly give you peace of mind to ensure that your home’s electrical system is safe for you and your family.

How would you like to live in your new home with a sub par air conditioning system. With the hot temperatures we experience here in South Florida, it’s no surprise then that this is a feature that most of us use daily so it’s necessary that a buyer wants a home where the AC unit has been properly maintained. But maybe a unit is on its last legs or hasn’t been checked in some time. A good inspector can determine the condition of the air conditioner to determine if it is in good working order.

Another prevalent home issue common in south Florida is mold. Once inside a home, mold spreads quickly and is difficult to get rid of unless it is properly remediated. Professional home inspectors can detect mold where it’s most likely to occur, under sinks and ceilings or where moisture can be a problem.

Of course, inspecting those hard to reach places, such as attics and crawlspaces often find overlooked and potential problems. Here, you may find water damages, poor plumbing, bad insulation and structural damage among other things.

All of these problems, including others, are why it’s necessary to hire a home inspector. Imagine moving into a home that has been infested with mold that hasn’t been detected by you or the previous owner? Or maybe an air conditioner that doesn’t work properly and suddenly breaks down? These can be expensive repairs that may very well rest on the buyer to pay.

New construction should also have a professional home inspection since subcontractors handle the majority of construction. While a buyer may well be familiar with the homebuilder, chances are, they won’t know who is pouring their foundation, handling the plumbing and electrical issues as well as the framing and other required jobs. Mistakes are often made and not discovered until it’s too late.

A proper home inspection can be viewed as a check-up for your future home. Here, you will have the opportunity to know if the condition of the physical structure of your home is safe and where repairs could be necessary. It’s knowledge that you understand exactly what condition the home is that you are buying. But it also provides peace of mind that you are making a good and educated decision when buying your property.

Quality services lead to satisfied customer feedback

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Rick Jenkins and his BIS team have been the best home inspectors that we have ever used over our 25 + military moves around the country. Having over 13 years of real estate experience, and numerous experiences with many name brand inspection companies, this company was far and away the most thorough and helpful with our latest personal home purchase, than any other inspection company.

The reports provided helped us to obtain the best possible insurance coverage, because they were clearly written and extremely detailed. If there were findings, the report allowed us to understand what we needed to correct (or request the seller to fix) and why. Rick was frequently available by phone to answer several follow up questions we kept thinking of!! We had a contract on one house, BIS found hidden faults within the structure of the home and we were able to withdraw from that purchase. Thank Goodness!!

The second home we found and purchased in Coconut Grove, we asked BIS to do all of our inspections, the general for us and the 4 point one for our insurance company. If you are buying a house I would 100% recommend Rick and his BIS team to do all of your inspections. If you are selling, I would also recommend an inspection so you can correct anything and nullify any findings a prospective buyer may find, so you can defend your selling price (especially in this market). It is the best fee to pay to protect your investment. Well worth it!

Janet K.
September 22, 2011

The Truth about Chinese Drywall

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

When buying a house, one of the newest and most serious problems your new house may have is hazardous imported Chinese Drywall.  You may have heard about it on the news, on the internet, or even from your real estate agent.  However, most people don’t realize how bad the problem really is.  The truth is that hazardous Chinese drywall has been found in over 4,000 properties, most of them located right here in South Florida.
In 2004 and 2005, because of hurricanes and other factors, construction material was in short supply.  So builders began importing materials (including drywall) from other countries.  Surprisingly, the hazardous drywall wasn’t even from China.  The most notorious exporter of the hazardous drywall was a company called Knauf out of Germany.  Knauf obtained the raw materials from a gypsum mine located in China.  Although we haven’t been able to trace the exact cause of the contamination in the gypsum, it is believed that poor pollution controls in China allowed the raw gypsum to be contaminated within the mine.  Since then, millions of sheets of this hazardous drywall have been imported and installed into homes and business across America.

Although the hazardous Chinese drywall is mostly found in homes constructed around the years 2004 and 2005, it has been found in homes as early as 2001 and as late as 2009.  It is recommended that any house constructed or renovated between the years 2001 and 2009 be fully inspected by a qualified home inspection professional.  In addition to having your home professionally inspected, you can review a self assessment guide at Florida’s Department of Health’s website: (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/inspections.html).

Although the chances of your home having Chinese Drywall are minimal, the cost of remediation can be astronomical.  Building Inspection Services, a home inspection company specializing in Chinese Drywall, recommends Chinese drywall remediation to include the complete replacement of the following:  all drywall, all electrical wiring, the air conditioning system, all metal plumbing components, all appliances with major metallic components, all carpeting, all wall insulation, all wood flooring, all wood baseboards or crown molding and all metallic bathroom fixtures or components.  As you can imagine, the cost of this work can easily skyrocket to $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the home.

With that being said, most people will want to avoid buying a home with Chinese Drywall.  However, some people with an entrepreneurial spirit have made a great profit on these homes.  I spoke with an investor who purchased a townhouse in the Orchid Grove community in Pompano Beach a few months ago.  He purchased a townhouse for $35,000, remediated the entire place in 2 months, costing him $60,000, then sold it for over $130,000.

Written by: Mike Jenkins, Home Inspector
Building Inspection Services / www.BIS-Inspections.com
954-564-5227

Major Roof Leak?– Or Something Less Serious?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You’re a real estate professional and a new couple has contacted you regarding one of your listings. These prospective buyers are absolutely in love with this house. So you set up an appointment and take them in, showing them all the wonderful features of the house. It almost seems like this house was built for this couple. It’s absolutely perfect. As the couple looks around for a bit, the wife lmiami roof inspectionooks up and notices some paint peeling on the bedroom ceiling near the air conditioning vent. The husband reaches up and touches the peeling paint and it’s wet. There was a rainstorm last night so the husband immediately believes it’s a roof leak. The couple informs you that they don’t have money for a new roof, and they would rather just keep looking then to waste time and money on continuing with this house.
I’m sure many real estate agents have seen similar situations to this more than once. But a bit of knowledge could mean the difference between this couple walking away immediately, or at least waiting until Miami home inspectors can fully evaluate the situation.
Finding moisture around air conditioning vents is extremely common in South Florida, especially in older homes. While the cause of the moisture could be anything from a roof leak, plumbing leak, or some other deficiency; it is more commonly caused by condensation of the vent or the ceiling box (also known as the boot, or ductwork boot).
commercial building inspectionCondensation occurs on a surface that is below the dew point of the air. The temperature of the cold air in the ductwork could range from 50 to 65 degrees (depending on many different factors). During our summer months the temperatures can reach upwards of 100+ degrees which dramatically raises the dew point of the air. The temperature is even higher in your attic which raises the dew point of the air even more. When the cold metal on the ceiling box or the vent register gets below that dew point, condensation will occur.

Repairing this is often very easy. All that needs to be done is to prevent the hot air of the attic fromroof inspection touching the cold metal surfaces of the ceiling box or vent register. There is a wide variety of insulation or ductwork sealants that can be used for this. The problem is usually an inadequate seal between the ceiling box and the vent register due to improperly cut drywall. Hiring a contractor for this repair could cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per location. This is a huge difference from a roof repair that could cost $500 or worse, a roof replacement which could cost tens of thousands of dollars! If you need someone to check out your roof, use our Miami roof inspection services.

Recession Creates Opportunities

Monday, May 11th, 2009

The National Bureau of Economic Research has officially declared what most of knew a year ago — we’re in a recession. But what hasn’t been said and what many money-savvy individuals are finding is that there are a huge number of opportunities for individuals and investors alike.

With the large number of houses currently available on the market and more being listed every week, it has become a true buyer’s market. Many sellers and banks are highly motivated to off-load properties. They’ve been offering huge incentives and price reductions that have never been seen before! With the vast number of foreclosures on the market, it has become more important than ever to retain a qualified Miami home inspector. Many of these homes are rough diamonds, but can just as easily turn into nothing more than a lump of coal. Frequently, there is no contact with the previous homeowner in a foreclosure. You’re just dealing with the bank and are not even given the ability to review a seller’s disclosure statement. Many of these homes have been neglected for some time and Building Inspection Services can identify many of the key problems and offer cost solutions to help make your dream home a reality.

Common Questions on a Home Inspection

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Whether we are performing Miami home inspections, Broward home inspections, Palm Beach home inspection, or Florida home inspections in general, the same questions seem to always come up. So I would like to take some time and post these questions with some informative answers.
Roofing System Inspection– What is a leak?

During the course of our roofing inspection, we often find leaks in the roof which have not created a ceiling stain. A couple common scenarios could be if someone has nailed Christmas lights to the edge of the roof, or bolted a satellite dish to the roof. Just because it doesn’t rain inside your living room whenever there is a storm, doesn’t mean it’s not a leak. When metal nail penetrates every layer of your roof, you have a blocked hole in the waterproofing material. The metal nail expands and contracts at a different rate than your roofing system which causes the nail to, over time, work its way out. Thus leaving the hole, without the blockage, which allows moisture to eventually penetrate the roof.

Termite Inspection – No live insects are found, so I don’t need to treat the house, right?
Wrong. Some people think that even if we find termite damaged wood, but no insects, that damage must be old and the termites have since left. If we find evidence of termites (such as pellets, wings, or damaged wood) in a structure and it has not been treated, our inspectors will always recommend treatment. To explain this, I usually think back to my childhood when my mother would prepare a sandwich just the way I liked it. She would put just the right amount of peanut butter and jelly on my favorite type of bread, pull the crust off, and then cut it into little squares. To a termite, your house is this perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Someone has come in, brought in an all you can eat sampling of different types of wood from across the country (the imported stuff is always the best) and piled it up just for you! Termites just simply wouldn’t voluntarily leave a feast like that.

Electrical Inspection– Adding to your service

During a BIS electrical inspection I frequently get people telling me they want to do some remodeling to the house once they get in and they want to know if they need to update the electrical service. There is no simple answer to this question. To answer this questions, a qualified electrician needs to perform a load calculation on the existing service, and then compare that to the new load requirements.

Air Conditioning Inspection – Why do I need to change my filter every month?

Without getting too technical, I’ll try to explain the chain reaction a dirty filter can cause. A fan inside your unit draws the air in from inside your house, through the filter, and across extremely cold pipes filled with refrigerant (the coil). If your filter gets too dirty, it restricts the air flow across the coil. Think of the refrigerant inside the coils as water in a river. You can have a river flowing in below freezing temperatures because of the rapid movement of the water. It’s the same thing in the coil. However once you slow down that air flow (due to the debris on the filter), the refrigerant in the coil will begin to freeze just like the water would in the river if you created a dam to slow the flow of water. Once the refrigerant freezes and stops flowing, you now have created a blockage in the compressor (which acts like a pump for the refrigerant). The pump has to work many times harder to try and pump through the frozen refrigerant and will eventually fail. Once this happens, you have now caused the failure of almost every major component of the air conditioning system which could add up to several thousands of dollars when it could have been avoided by a $5 filter each month.

Structural Inspection – How can a little crack cause such big problems?

Houses today are built to move. They expand and contract with the heat and are built to withstand settlement and high winds. When structures move, it creates small hairline cracks at the exterior walls. Although they look harmless enough, even the smallest crack can allow moisture to penetrate the structure. This can cause unsightly water stains, mold development and even structural problems. (see our future blog on mold issues)