Keeping French Drains Operational

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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
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
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Anti-Tip Brackets for Ranges

Anti-Tip Brackets for Ranges

Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to one of the rear legs of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop. The elderly, too, may be injured while using the range for support while cleaning. 

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers’ instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. 

Check Your Range

It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket.  

A more certain test is trying to carefully tip the range.  The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop first.  Then, firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If it’s equipped with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt.  It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.

 

 

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Barbecue Safety

Barbecue Safety

With barbeque season already here, homeowners should heed the following safety precautions in order to keep their families and property safe.  Regardless of the type of grill you have, there are risks for improper use.

  • Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction.
  • Charcoal grills pose a serious poisoning threat due to the venting of carbon monoxide (CO). The CPSC estimates that 20 people die annually from accidentally ingesting CO from charcoal grills.  These grills can also pose a serious fire hazard, especially by using excessive lighter fluid, failing to monitor the grill while in use, or improperly disposing of ash.
  • Electric grills are probably safer than propane and charcoal grills, but safety precautions need to be used with them, as well.

Safety Recommendations for General Grill Use

  • Always make sure that the grill is used in a safe place, where kids and pets won’t touch or bump into it. Keep in mind that the grill will still be hot after you finish cooking, and anyone coming into contact with it could be burned.
  • If you use a grill lighter, make sure you don’t leave it lying around where children can reach it. They will quickly learn how to use it.
  • Never leave the grill unattended, as this is generally when accidents happen.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
  • Ensure that the grill is completely cooled before moving it or placing it back in storage.
  • Ensure that the grill is only used on a flat surface that cannot burn, and well away from any shed, trees and shrubs.
  • Clean out the grease and other debris in the grill periodically, and scrape the grill rack to remove baked-on food.
  • Be sure to check the unit for rust and other signs of deterioration.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing that might catch fire while you’re cooking.
  • Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame-resistant oven mitts.
  • Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable!

In summary, homeowners should exercise caution when using any kind of grill, as they can harm life and property in numerous ways.

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SUMMER Seasonal Maintenance Checklist

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  • 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

http://www.home-runinspections.com/

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The Safe Room

The Safe Room

A safe room, also known as a panic room, is a fortified room that is installed in a private residence (or business) to provide a safe hiding place for inhabitants in the event of an emergency.

Why are safe rooms used?  

Some reasons include:

  • to hide from intruders. The protection of a safe room will afford residents extra time to contact police;
  • to hide from would-be kidnappers. Many professional athletes, actors and politicians have installed safe rooms in their homes;
  • for protection against natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Underground tornado bunkers are common in certain tornado-prone regions of the United States;
  • for protection against a nuclear attack. While safe rooms near the blast may be incinerated, those far away may be shielded from radioactive fallout; and
  • to provide social distancing in the event of a serious disease outbreak.

Location

The safe room’s location must be chosen carefully. You should plan multiple routes to avoid detection by an intruder who may be blocking the main route.  

Design

Designs vary with budget and intended use. Even a closet can be converted into a rudimentary safe room, although it should have a solid-core door with a deadbolt lock. High-end custom models costing hundreds of thousands of dollars can have a tamper-proof and bulletproof door, concrete floor, thick steel, soundproof walls, video monitors, computers, an air-cleaning system and protection against bacterial and chemical infiltration, and a self-contained power-generating system. 

Items to keep in a safe room:

  • bottled water and non-perishable foods;
  • communication devices independent of the safe room’s video-monitoring system, including a cell phone and charger, a landline, and a two-way radio; 
  • blankets and pillows;
  • extra clothing, outerwear and footwear;
  • a first-aid kit with extra prescription medications;
  • flashlights and batteries;
  • sanitation supplies;
  • weapons; and
  • gas masks. Where an odorless gas might be a threat, an electronic device may be installed to detect any noxious fumes or poisons.

If you have or decide to build a safe room, an important thing to remember in order to further ensure your family’s safety is not to advertise it.  If the fact is discovered by the wrong person, your safe room or your ability to use it to its full advantage when necessary could be compromised.

Lead in Water

Lead in Water

Lead has been determined to be a significant health hazard if ingested, especially by children. Lead damages the brain and nervous system, adversely affects behavior and learning, slows growth, and causes problems related to hearing, pregnancy, high blood pressure, the nervous system, memory and concentration.

Lead in drinking water is a direct result of lead that is part of the plumbing system itself. Lead solder was used in pipe fittings in houses constructed prior to 1988. Lead has been used in plumbing fixtures, such as faucets.  And in some older homes, the service water pipe from the main in the street to the house is made of lead.

The transfer of lead into water is determined primarily by exposure, which is the length of time that water is in contact with lead. Two other factors that affect the transfer are water temperature (hot water dissolves lead quicker than cold water) and water acidity (“soft” water is slightly corrosive and reacts with lead).

The current federal standard for lead in water is a limit of 15 parts per billion.

The only way to find out whether there is lead in the house’s water is to have the water tested by an approved laboratory. If there is evidence of lead in the system, consider having your home’s water tested for lead. If the house has a water filter, check to see if it is certified to remove lead. 

For more information on lead in drinking water, call the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-462-4791, or visit the website of the EPA Office of Water at www.nachi.org/go/epasafewater 

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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

 

Preventing Moisture Intrusion

Spring is almost upon us again.  Along with the warmer temperatures usually comes a lot of rain, which we really need.  This is a great time to look around your home and make sure you do not have any places where water can get into your home.  It’s really one of your home’s biggest enemies, so take time to check out the following locations, and make sure your home is sealed from water intrusion.

Planters: Check any planting beds adjacent to the foundation of your house because planters are built in a way that traps water, which may infiltrate hidden areas of your home. The structure around the planting beds acts like a dam and traps water. Flower planters should never be installed up against a house’s exterior wall.

Puddles: Puddles and areas of standing water are not good. The ground surface beneath decks, porches and other parts of a house that are supported by posts or cantilevered structures should be checked, especially if you have a sprinkler system. The ground should not have any low-lying areas but should be sloped so that water will not collect and puddle there. Settled backfill allows water to collect next to the foundation wall and penetrate the house’s foundation.

Gutters & Downspouts: Downspouts may need adjustment. Water from the roof reaches the ground through gutters and downspouts or by flowing directly off roof edges. Because downspouts create concentrated sources of water in the landscape, where they discharge is important. Downspouts should not discharge where water will flow directly onto or over a walkway, driveway or stairs. The downspouts on a hillside home should discharge on the downhill-side of the building. The force of water leaving a downspout is sometimes great enough to damage the adjacent ground, so some protection at grade, such as a splash block or a paved drainage chute, is needed. In urban areas, it is better to drain downspouts to an underground storm water drainage system, if there is one, or underground to discharge at a lower grade away from buildings. Water that flows directly off a roof lacking gutters and downspouts can cause damage below. Accordingly, some provision in the landscaping may be needed, such as a gravel bed or paved drainage way.

Flood Zones

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 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

http://www.home-runinspections.com/