Window Maintenance

Window Maintenance

Condition:  Window frames, sills and sashes should be monitored because the interior condition and hardware of windows change over time. Frame materials can include plastic, aluminum, steel, wood, plastic-clad wood, and metal-clad (steel or aluminum) wood. Window types include double-hung, single-hung, casement, horizontal sliding, projected out or awning, projected in, and fixed. In addition to these, there are jalousies, which are glass louvers on an aluminum or steel frame. 

At older sashes, the glazing compound or putty around the glass panels should be monitored carefully, since this is a vulnerable part of the window and its repair is time-consuming. Check the panels in steel or aluminum sashes for signs of deterioration, such as hardened sealant. Check metal sashes for weep holes that have been blocked by paint, sealant or dirt. Weep holes are usually easy to clean. Storm windows and doors should be monitored for operation, weathertightness, overall condition, and fit. 

Weatherstripping:  Window and door weatherstripping is generally one of three types: metal; foam plastic; or plastic stripping. Each type should have a good fit. Check the metal for dents, bends and straightness. Check foam plastic for resiliency, and plastic stripping for brittleness and cracks. Make sure the weatherstripping is securely held in place. 

Shutters & Awnings:  Periodically check the shutters’ operation and observe their condition and fit. Shutters close to the ground can be examined from the ground. Shutters out of reach from the ground should be examined from inside the house. 

Monitor the condition of your awnings. The attachment to the exterior wall can become loose. Oftentimes, an attachment device in the mortar joint of a brick wall can be easily pulled or slid outward. Some windows and glazed exterior doors have awnings over them for decoration, sun control, and protection from the weather. 

#windowmaintenance

The Attic

The Attic

An attic is an unconditioned space between the roof and the ceiling or walls of the building’s inhabited rooms. In a small house with a pitched roof, the attic is usually partially or fully accessible. In a house with a low-slope roof, it may be inaccessible or virtually nonexistent.

Roof Leaks:  Look for signs of and monitor water leakage from the roof above and try to locate the source. This may be difficult to do beneath built-up roofs or loosely laid and mechanically fastened single-ply roofs, since water may travel horizontally between layers of roofing materials. 

Attic Ventilation:  Signs of inadequate ventilation are rusting nails (in roof sheathing, soffits, and drywall ceilings), wet or rotted roof sheathing, and excessive heat buildup. Adequate attic ventilation can be measured by calculating the ratio of the free area of all vents to the floor area. The free area of vents is defined as their clear, open area. If a vent has an insect screen, its free area is reduced by half. The free vent area-to-floor area ratio should be 1 to 150. If the calculated ratio is less, consider adding ventilation, especially if you’re in a hot and humid climate.

If the attic also contains an occupied space, check that the ventilation from the unconditioned, unoccupied areas at the eaves is continuous to the gable or ridge vents. Also check that the free area of eave vents is approximately equal to the free area of ridge or gable vents. If ventilation appears to be inadequate and additional vents cannot be added economically, consider adding mechanical ventilation. 

Vents and Birds:  Make sure ventilation openings are clear of dirt and debris. At larger ventilation openings on a building’s exterior and where louvered grilles are used, such as at gables, check for the presence of 1-½-inch-square 14- or 16-gauge aluminum mesh bird screen. If there is none or it is in poor condition, consider having new bird screen installed. 

Plumbing Stacks and Exhaust Ducts:  All plumbing stacks should continue through the roof and should not terminate in the attic. The stack pipes should not be loose, broken or damaged. Exhaust ducts should not be kinked, broken or damaged.  They should not terminate in the attic but should continue through the roof, gable or wall.

#attic #atticventilation #roofleaks #atticplumbingstacks #atticexhaustducts #atticbirdprevention

 

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
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Essential Home Maintenance for Your Windows

Winter is a great time to give some attention to your windows. In the long run it will save you time and money.  Lubricating the track and the frame where the sash slides ensures that the window functions properly.  Along with your garage vehicle door hinges, this should be part of your yearly maintenance.  Lubricating your windows, whether they are sliders, casements, or tilt-in single or double hung, is a straightforward task that most homeowners can accomplish.  The following are steps you can take to get the job done in no time:

  • Mix a simple solution of 1.5 cups of vinegar, 1 tsp of baby shampoo into about a gallon of hot water in a portable plastic container.
  • Lift the window sash as you usually do to open the window.  If your windows have this feature, tilt single- and double-hung windows inward, or slide casement windows open to allow you better access to the tracks and the inner liner or frame where the sash slides open and closed.
  • Wipe the tracks and window frame with a dry cloth to remove loose dust, dirt and debris or use a vacuum if there is a lot of debris.
  • Use a damp cloth dipped in the solution to clean away any mildew, mold, or heavy dirt buildup.
  • Rinse with clean water and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Use a spray silicone lubricant to spray onto a dry rag or cloth.  Wipe the lubricant onto the window’s track and along the jamb liner where the sash slides open and closed.  Try and keep from spraying lubricant directly onto the vinyl window. It can leave a permanent mark that you cannot remove.  Spraying directly onto the vinyl can also leave a greasy mess that is difficult to clean and ironically attracts more dirt.
  • Return the window sash to its original position.  If you used the tilt out feature you will have to tilt it back in before closing the window.  Open and close the window several times to distribute the lubricant evenly.

That’s it!  I assure you that this is time and energy well-spent.  Not only will this allow you to easily open windows to allow fresh air in and save money on air conditioning costs, it will help to ensure that when the time comes to sell your home, they won’t show up as a defect in your buyer’s Home Inspection Report.

#windows #windowcleaning #homemaintenance #windowmaintenance #windowlubricating

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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Are you running your home AC during the winter months?

So the cold weather is here… kinda.  Even though we have officially entered winter, there are plenty of winter days here in Oklahoma that will tempt us to turn on the air conditioner.  If it is sunny and 60 outside, chances are it’s heating up well over 75 in your home and that can lead to us feeling a little stuffy.   Add to that some holiday cooking, and we can see that thermostat moving quickly to the 80s.  What to do?

Well, back in the day, I know it might be hard to believe, but we would actually open the windows.  That’s right kids!  We opened the windows.  I know that sounds snarky but I really think people have forgotten about this option, much to the enjoyment of your neighborhood HVAC professional.  Also, today’s homes are not really designed for this.  In the early 20th century, homes were built with lots of windows and often had a “whole-house fan” that people would run, with the windows open, to keep everyone reasonably cool.  I’m always happy to tell buyers about this feature when we come across a functional unit.

So, even though we don’t have as many windows, I’m recommending using them next time your home gets stuffy this winter; for the following reasons:

  1. Compressors are designed to run in hot weather.  They are lubricated with summer grade oil.  When you start your AC in the winter you are putting a terrible strain on the compressor and likely shortening its life.  I know you don’t want to buy another AC unit this spring.
  2. Windows left shut and not operated year after year, lose their lubrication, and when I open them at inspections, the springs often do not operate.  The next time you sell a home, you are probably going to be asked to fix that.  Using them frequently will keep them functional or at least remind you to lubricate them occasionally.
  3. Using your windows instead of your AC saves you money — immediately.  Open a couple of windows, and turn your fan to “on” at the thermostat.  It will circulate the stale air, introduce new fresh air, and cool down your home.  It will take a little longer, but you avoid risk of damage to the compressor.  Also, it is a lot cheaper to run a fan than a compressor.

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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Free Home Energy Report

home-energy-inspection-report-internachi-2

I include this Free with each home inspection I do!

What the report provides:

  • estimation of your home’s energy use, cost, and carbon footprint.
  • performs operational or asset ratings;
  • estimates the relative importance of specific end uses (heating, cooling, water heating, major appliances, small appliances, and lighting);
  • generates a list of energy-saving upgrade recommendations;
  • create a payback-ranked list of energy-efficiency improvements;
  • generates a wide range of summary and drill-down reports; and more!

Get more out of your Home Inspection!

Contact me today!

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/

#homeenergy  #energyreport #more #carbonfootprint

 

Crawlspace Safety

crawlspace

 

Crawlspace Safety

Crawlspaces are notorious for the nasty discoveries made there by homeowners, inspectors, and home remodelers, and it isn’t hard to figure out why; for one thing, their cool, dark environment attracts undesirable pests and can promote dangerous conditions. And since the crawlspace is mostly unmonitored, hazards can breed there unchecked for a long time. Never enter a crawlspace without wearing protective clothing and having two flashlights (in case the first one stops working).

The following are some of the more common dangers discovered in crawlspaces:

Metal and Wooden Protrusions: Depending on the age of your home, the crawlspace may house some unwelcoming structural protrusions that you may bump your head on or cut your hand on, so proceed with caution. Even if your crawlspace is clean and free of pests, it’s no guarantee that it will also be free of a nail head, bent metal attachment, or joist or beam in an unexpected area. Protect your head by wearing a ball cap or hard hat, and wear gloves to protect your hands.

Pests: Dirt crawlspaces provide the environment that is favored by ants, termites and other insects, and various other pests, including snakes and scorpions, as well as warm-blooded animals looking for a place to nest, such as raccoons, mice and rats. Some of these pests are poisonous; others may attack when startled. Always wear protective clothing and use a strong flashlight to illuminate the space before entering it.
Mold: Just like pests, mold and other types of fungus can grow rapidly in crawlspaces. Mold is a health concern, as well as a cause of wood decay, which may require costly repairs. Airborne mold spores can potentially enter the living space from the crawlspace. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. In some cases, they can produce potentially toxic substances called mycotoxins. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis).
Asbestos Insulation: Do not disturb asbestos! The microscopic fibers that cause illness become airborne when the insulation is handled or disturbed. If it appears to be in good shape, it might not be a problem at all. Prolonged exposure to asbestos insulation can cause mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity, as well as asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Standing Water or Sewage: Dirt crawlspaces are susceptible to water seepage, which can create a host of problems, such microbial growth, odors, damage to stored belongings, and risk of electrical shock.
Improper Wiring: Look for loose wiring, open junction boxes, or wiring that has become loose and fallen to the floor.

If you discover any of these issues, contact a licensed electrical contractor for repairs and possible updates to your system.
Source of Energy Waste: Traditionally, crawlspaces have been vented to prevent problems with moisture, and most building codes require vents to aid in removing moisture from the crawlspace. However, many building professionals now recognize that ventilated crawlspaces allow a great deal of heat loss in the winter and moisture intrusion in the summer from damp air.  Have your InterNACHI inspector evaluate your crawlspace and recommend options for preventing energy loss in this area.
Structural Collapse: If you have reason to suspect that the home or foundation is unstable, especially following an earthquake or flood, it might be dangerous to enter its crawlspace. It’s easy to become pinned, trapped or even crushed inside unstable crawlspaces. Make sure someone knows that you’re going into the crawlspace before you enter it.

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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crawl-space-drawing

 

 

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
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

Dryer Vent Safety

dryerventsafety

House fires caused by dryers are far more common than are generally believed. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, fires caused by dryers in 2005 were responsible for approximately 13,775 house fires, 418 injuries, 15 deaths, and $196 million in property damage. Most of these incidents occur in residences and are the result of improper lint cleanup and maintenance. Fortunately, these fires are very easy to prevent.

Clothes dryers evaporate the water from wet clothing by blowing hot air past them while they tumble inside a spinning drum. Heat is provided by an electrical heating element or gas burner. Some heavy garment loads can contain more than a gallon of water that will become airborne water vapor and leave the dryer and home through an exhaust duct, more commonly known as the dryer vent.

A vent that exhausts damp air to the home’s exterior has a number of requirements:
• It should be connected. The connection is usually behind the dryer but may it be under it. Look carefully to make sure it’s actually connected.
• It should not be restricted. Dryer vents are often made from flexible plastic or metal duct, which may be easily kinked or crushed where they exit the dryer and enter the wall or floor. This is often a problem since dryers tend to be tucked away into small areas with little room to work. Vent hardware is available that is designed to turn 90 degrees in a limited space without restricting the flow of exhaust air. Air flow restrictions are a potential fire hazard.
• One of the reasons that restrictions pose a fire hazard is that, along with water vapor evaporated out of wet clothes, the exhaust stream carries lint – highly flammable particles of clothing made of cotton, wool and polyester. Lint can accumulate in an exhaust duct, reducing the dryer’s ability to expel heated water vapor, which then accumulates as heat energy within the machine. As the dryer overheats, a subsequent mechanical failure can trigger a spark, which can cause the lint trapped in the dryer vent to burst into flames. This condition can cause the whole house to catch fire. Fires generally originate within the dryer but spread by escaping through the ventilation duct, incinerating trapped lint, and following its path into the home’s walls.

Problems & Tips
If your dryer vent terminates in the crawlspace or attic, it can deposit moisture there, which can encourage the growth of mold, wood decay, and other structural problems. The vent may also terminate just under the attic ventilators. This is also a defective installation. Make sure your dryer vent terminates at the exterior and away from any doors and windows so that damp, exhausted air won’t re-enter the home. Also, the end of the dryer vent should have a free-moving damper installed to keep out birds and other pests that like to build nests in this warm environment. If you find a screen, this is a defective installation because a screen can block lint and other debris, causing it to accumulate and leading to a house fire. If it’s safety accessible, make sure your dryer vent is unobstructed and that the damper works properly.

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

#dryerventsafety  #dryerventcleaning  #homesafety  #homemaintenance

Attic Ventilation

atticventilation

At first it may seem odd to add insulation for warmth and then purposely allow cold air to enter the attic through vents, but this combination is the key to a durable and energy-efficient home. Here’s why: in the winter, allowing a natural flow of outdoor air to ventilate the attic helps keep it cold, which reduces the potential for ice damming (snow that melts off a roof from an attic that is too warm and then re-freezes at the gutters, causing an ice dam that can damage the roof). Proper insulation and air sealing also keeps attics cold in winter by blocking the entry of heat and moist air from below.

In the summer, natural air flow in a well-vented attic moves super-heated air out of the attic, protecting roof shingles and removing moisture. The insulation will resist heat transfer into the house.

The most common mistake homeowners make when installing insulation is to block the flow of air at the eaves. NEVER COVER ATTIC SOFFIT VENTS WITH INSULATION — use rafter vents and soffit vents to maintain airflow.

bafflesoffit

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