Keeping French Drains Operational

frenchdraingrate

As a home inspector in Oklahoma I see these these french drain grates a lot.  I usually find them around homes that are built on a relatively flat lot, or at a point at which water needs to be taken away to avoid intrusion into a home or a feature such as a patio.  You may be surprised to hear this from a Home Inspector, but I am genuinely happy when I get to do an inspection during a heavy rain or just afterwards.  It gives me a better chance of ensuring that I catch any drainage problems the homes property may have that my client should be aware of.

Usually when I see these grates, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are filled with debris.  This is their purpose, to catch debris before it enters into the drain pipe system and leads to a clog.  Best case scenario, the drain pipe takes the water to the street and to a main neighborhood drain, but this is not always the case.  Unfortunately, I often can find no evidence of where the drains lead to.

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The bottom line is; french drain systems are like any other drain. In order for them to function properly they need to be kept clear of debris.  If you have drains like these or others, pay attention next time you get some good rainfall and see if they are doing their job.  If they are not, clear away any obstructions that you can gain access to.  Should the problem persist, I recommend you gave the drains cleaned professionally by a plumber using a power-feed drain cleaner.  If you fancy yourself or someone in the family as handy with tools like this, they can be rented at your local big box store for a reasonable fee.

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Like any other home maintenance project, the longer you prolong the repair of these drains, the more costly the fix is likely to be.  I’ve seen homes requiring literally thousands of dollars in foundation repair as a result of roof drainage that could have been easily upgraded for less that $50 bucks when the problem first started.

Happy Home Maintenance!

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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Fall Yard Work Planned? Don’t forget to call 811 before you dig.

 

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Believe you me, as a technician working for the cable and phone companies, we went through roll after roll of underground cable during the spring and the fall. On more than one occasion, in addition to cutting the customer’s own cable line, they had also damaged electrical and gas lines.

It only takes a few seconds to damage a buried pipeline, but the consequences could last
a lifetime. Digging before having underground utilities marked puts you in serious danger
of injury or even death. There’s an easy way to prevent that – just dial 811! It’s a free
call that can keep you and your neighbors safe.

There is a vast network of pipelines, telecommunication cables and electrical wires buried underground that need to be identified before beginning any digging project, to prevent injury, damage and service outages.
One phone call to 8II from wherever you are will route your call to Okie811 which will
alert owners of pipelines, telecommunication cables and power lines to mark their buried
assets within two full business days of the request.

There’s no charge to you for this service.

You may also submit a locate request ticket online by visiting www.okie 811.org
or by downloading the Okie811 mobile app.

Whether you’re planting a tree or installing a sprinkler system, always remember to call 811 at least two full business days before you plan to dig to allow all utility line locations to be marked.

Whatever the time of year, be safe –
call 811 before you dig!

 

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
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SUMMER Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

backyard_playground

  • Check kids’ playground equipment.
  • Check your wood deck or concrete patio for deterioration.
  • Check the nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairways.
  • Check the exterior siding.
  • Check all window and door locks.
  • Check your home for water leaks.
  • Check the water hoses on the clothes washer, refrigerator, icemaker and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles.
  • Check lawn watering equipment and make sure it is not spraying against masonry walls.
  • Check all exterior lighting.
  • Check guttering and downspouts.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

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Water Leak Alarms

Have you been stung financially from a water disaster in your home.  I have, and it’s no fun.

Would you like to know how to avoid repeating that scenario in the future?

As a home inspector I have encountered evidence of water-damage repairs, and the buyer usually asks how can they prevent a similar event in the future.   One inexpensive way I have found is a battery operated flood alarm.  These are inexpensive devices you can place in areas that you have concerns about such as an upstairs water heater.

Just google “water leak alarm” and you will see a wide range of inexpensive options.  They are readily available at your local big box store or online.  These simple devices can be placed next to washing machines, sinks, water heaters, radiators, bathrooms, basements, boats or sump pumps inside garages or sink cabinets.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

 

Laundry and Utility Rooms

 

As a home inspector, I come across dryer vent termination issues multiple times per week.   Laundry rooms can quickly create problems and damage in your home.

Here are some things to be aware of:

Watch for leaks and kinks developing at plumbing connections to the washing machine. 

Water can overflow from the top or bottom if the machine is overloaded with a load that’s too big or if it is resting on an uneven surface.  

Protect the electrical or natural gas connections to the dryer, and ensure that they are not disturbed or accidentally dislodged from their connections.

A gas dryer vent that passes through walls or combustible materials must be made of metal. 

The length of a dryer exhaust ensures that its blower will be able to push sufficient air volume to take away the laundry’s damp air and lint.  The maximum length of the exhaust hose should not be greater than 25 feet from the dryer to the termination at the wall or roof.  The length can be increased only when the make and model of the dryer are known. 

Inspect the dryer venting to make sure it is not clogged or restricted, which will help the unit operate efficiently and normally as well as prevent the unit’s motor from overheating and failing.  A clogged or restricted vent hose may also lead to an accidental fire caused by the ignition of built-up debris.  

The clothes dryer exhaust poses a different problem than other exhaust systems because the air is damp and carries lint.  Ensure that the vent exhausts to the outside and not to the attic, crawlspace, or attached garage, because the wooden structural members of the house could be affected over time.  The exhaust vent’s termination should have a backdraft damper installed to prevent cold air, rain, snow, rodents, and birds from entering the vent.  The vent termination should not have a screen on it, as this can trap lint and other debris and pose a fire hazard.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Blanchard, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

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Stairs Safety and Maintenance

Structural Integrity:  All stairs must be kept structurally sound. Remember to examine the basement stairs.  Check the area where they meet the floor and where they are attached to the floor joists above.  

Stair Width and Clearance:  Stairways should have a minimum headroom of 6 feet and 8 inches and a width of 3 feet.

Treads and Risers:  The riser of a stair is the height of the step.  The tread is the step’s depth. Riser heights and tread depths should be as uniform as possible. All treads should be level and secure.  As a guide, stairs in new homes must have a maximum riser height of 7-3/4 inches and a minimum tread depth of 10 inches.  The maximum difference in height for risers and depth for treads should not exceed 3/8-inch.

Handrails and Guardrails:  You can check a railing’s stability and its fastenings by shaking it vigorously.  Handrails are normally required to be 34 to 38 inches above the stair nosing on at least one side of all stairways having three or more risers.  Guardrails are required on open sides of stairways and should have intermediate rails that do not allow the passage of a sphere 4 inches in diameter.

Lighting:  All interior and exterior stairways should have a means to illuminate the stairs, including landings and treads. Interior stairways should have a light located at each landing, except where a light is installed directly over each stairway section.  Public stair and hallway lights in multi-family buildings should be operable from centralized controls. 

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Blanchard, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Flood Zones

It will pay off to check with local authorities to determine if your home is in a flood-risk zone. If it is, check with local building officials.  Higher standards than those set by national agencies have been adopted by many communities. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program have established and defined five major flood-risk zones and created special flood-resistance requirements for each. For a flood map, visit http://www.nachi.org/go/femamaps.  

Improperly designed grading and drainage may aggravate flood hazards to buildings and cause runoff, soil erosion and sedimentation in the zones of lower flood risk, according to the Interflood Zone and the Non-Regulated Flood Plain.  In these locations, local agencies may regulate building elevations above street or sewer levels.  In the next higher risk zones, the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the Non-Velocity Coastal Flood Areas (both Zone A), the elevation of the lowest floor and its structural members above the base flood elevation is required.  In the zone of highest flood risk, the Coastal High Hazard Areas (Velocity Zone, Zone V), additional structural requirements apply.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Blanchard, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Repairing Your Mailbox Door

Hey there home owners!

So a big part of successful home ownership is fixing things that break, as soon as they break.  Really, it’s never been easier to do that.  Just a mere two decades ago, you pretty much had to rely on a handy relative or professionals.  Today we have the internet, which will provide you with a huge variety of products as well as videos by those professionals, showing you how to get your project completed.

I recently noticed my mailbox door was broken, which like at many homes these days, is encased in masonry and mortar.  It’s not easily removed.

But have no fear, there are some smart people out there that will, for a small price, provide you with an easy fix. I did a quick search on the internet and in a few days, the fix showed up!

Sweet! So out to the mail box I went and after about a minute of bending the remaining old connected hinge, the old door was removed.  Within seconds my replacement door is securely in place and ready for action.

                                          

Just remember, you have two choices, you can either fix the problems with your home as you live there, or you can basically pay your buyers to do it when they come along by getting less money for your home.

Happy Home Ownership, and Drive Safely Out There!

#homeownership #homemaintenance #quickfix

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Blanchard, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
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I’m buying a new home with a warranty. Should I have a home inspection?

So you found the perfect home in the perfect location for yourself or you and your family.  The builder is awesome, and you’ve known your realtor forever.  And, to top it off, you are getting a one year warranty.  What could go wrong?  Well, even if all parties involved are well intentioned, things happen.

On your final walk-through you will mark any defects you find and hopefully the builder will take care of them.  The problem is, you will likely only explore places you are familiar with and usually go in a home.  You probably will not go in the attic, certainly not the crawlspace (if any), and maybe not look at all of the exterior walls.  If you do look at the water heater or furnace, do you really know what you are looking for?

I always assume that all parties do have your best interests in mind, but a lot of different people were involved in building your home, and things go unnoticed.  You might miss it on the walk through, your busy life goes on, and the 1 year warranty period is two years in the rear view mirror when your shingles start to curl because they forgot to put in the attic louver vents, or your home floods because someone forgot to install the safety pan plumbing at the water heater.

Most inspectors out there inspect 1-3 homes per day, all year long.  They look for things most people don’t know exist. And they do this every work day.  Why not pay the fee (usually in the $300 range) before you sign on the dotted line with the bank for tens of thousands of dollars?  Your deductible on your homeowner’s insurance is a lot more than the cost of the inspection should you have to address the two repairs I mentioned above.

My recommendation:  Always Get a Good Home Inspection, Even if the Home is Brand New, and Even if the Home Comes with a Warranty.

Happy Homeownership!

#wellinformed  #homesafety

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Clearance Around Your Breaker Box

Having the appropriate clearance around your home’s breaker box is essential for several reasons:

  1. Your home likely has several safety features you may not know about like GFCI and AFCI protected breakers.  When these trip, an electrical circuit providing power to lights and receptacles will no longer do so.  You will need access to this panel to restore service.
  2. As a home owner you may have an emergency that would prompt you to disconnect electric power to a specific point in your home or the entire home.  This is not the time to discover you have covered up the panel in the garage with tubs full of Christmas decorations.
  3. Someone other than you may be at your home while you are away and have an emergency requiring them to stop electrical service to a certain point in your home.  If the panel is covered, they will not even know where to go.
  4. Home electrical fires often start at the breaker box.  Having combustible material nearby only makes things worse.
  5. At some point, you or a family member will want to sell your home to the next resident.  It is important that the home inspector have access to this panel to provide information about the home’s electrical service and identify any potential electrical hazards.

Put a reminder in your phone to take a few minutes next weekend to make sure you have access to your Breaker Box.  You will be glad you did.

Scott Price, CPI, #1532
Certified Home Inspector
Home Run Inspections
405-905-9175
homeruninspections@icloud.com
We cover all of the bases!

Serving the Oklahoma City metro and surrounding areas including Edmond, Guthrie, Cashion, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Chickasha, Midwest City/Del City, Bethany, El Reno, Shawnee, Harrah, and more.

Schedule Inspections Online at:
www.Home-RunInspections.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2