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

Avoid Frozen Water Pipes This Winter!

As a home inspector, we often say that “water” is your home’s worst enemy.  Generally we are speaking about the weather shield that includes your roof, walls and windows.  But, water let loose in your home from plumbing can be just as devastating.  Unprotected pipes are susceptible to cold temperatures because water expands when it goes from liquid to solid.  If you have not taken time already, take a few minutes this weekend, before the next cold blast comes through, to go around your home and make sure that you are taking the necessary precautions to avoid a water damage bill. Here are some tips to get your plumbing through the winter in one piece.

  • Make sure any exposed water pipes are properly insulated.  Insulation alone does not prevent freezing but only slows it down.  Outdoor back flow preventer valves for sprinkler systems should be drained of water and have a plugged in heat tape installed.
  • Water hoses should be disconnected from hose bibs (and stored indoors if possible).  If the hose bibs are not freeze resistant, install an inexpensive foam cap from a hardware store.  I’ve even seen socks wrapped around the bib, tied with a rubber band and covered with a coffee can (don’t laugh; it works!).
  • Locate the main water shut-off valve, usually by the street.  Obtain the proper tool to open the valve vault and turn off the water if you need to in case of an emergency. There is often an interior water shut off valve that may be easier to access.  This information should be in your home inspection report if you have one from Home Run Inspections.
  • Garage doors should be kept closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.  This is often where your hot water tank is located.  You may want to safely place a space heater in the garage on really cold nights.  Remember that your garage ceiling is generally not insulated.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.  Dripping a faucet in the spare bathroom bathtub and the kitchen faucet should do the trick.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature day and night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

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

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

 

The Bathroom Ventilation System

dsc08310

 

The Bathroom Ventilation System
Bathroom ventilation systems are designed to exhaust odors and damp air to the home’s exterior. A typical system consists of a ceiling fan unit connected to a duct that terminates at the roof. Ventilation systems should be installed in all bathrooms, including those with windows, since windows will not be opened during the winter in cold climates.

Fan Function

The fan may be controlled in one of several ways:

  • Most are controlled by a conventional wall switch.
  • A timer switch may be mounted on the wall.
  • A wall-mounted humidistat can be pre-set to turn the fan on and off based on different levels of relative humidity.

It’s not always easy to tell whether the bathroom vent fan is operating as it should. Newer fans may be very quiet but work just fine. Older fans may be very noisy or very quiet. If an older fan is quiet, it may not be working well.

Bathroom ventilation fans should be periodically checked for dust buildup, which can impede air flow. Particles of moisture-laden animal dander and lint are also attracted to the fan because of its static charge. Homeowners should regularly clean dirty fan covers to prevent this kind of buildup.

Defects

The following conditions indicate insufficient ventilation in the bathroom:

  • Stains on the bathroom walls and/or ceiling
  • Corrosion of metal parts of the vent system
  • Visible mold on the walls and/or ceiling
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Frost on the interior of the bathroom window
  • High indoor humidity
  • Improper duct termination

Duct Termination

The most common defect related to the bathroom’s ventilation system is improper termination of the duct. Vents must terminate at the home’s exterior.

The most common improper terminations locations are:

  • Mid-level in the attic; these are easy to spot.
  • Beneath the insulation in the attic. The duct may terminate beneath the insulation or there may be no duct installed; and under attic vents. The duct must terminate at the home’s exterior.

Improperly terminated ventilation systems may appear to work fine from inside the bathroom, so the homeowner or inspector may have to look in the attic or on the roof. Sometimes, poorly installed ducts will loosen or become disconnected at joints or connections.

Ducts that leak or terminate in the attic can cause problems from condensation. Warm, moisture-laden air will condense on cold attic framing, insulation and other materials. This condition has the potential to cause health and/or decay problems from mold, or damage to building materials, such as drywall. Moisture buildup also reduces the effectiveness of thermal insulation.

Mold growth is another undesirable consequence of improperly vented damp air. Even though mold growth may take place primarily in the attic and basement/crawlspace, mold spores can be sucked into the living area of a home by low air pressure, which is usually created by the expulsion of household air from exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, and from clothes dryers and heating equipment.

Improper Ventilation

Ventilation ducts must be made from appropriate materials and oriented effectively in order to ensure that damp air is properly exhausted.

Ventilation ducts must:

  • Terminate outdoors. Ducts should never terminate within the building envelope
  • Contain a screen or louvered (angled) slats at its termination to prevent bird, rodent and insect entry
  • Be as short and straight as possible and avoid turns. Longer ducts allow more time for vapor to condense and also force the exhaust fan to work harder
  • Be insulated, especially in cooler climates. Cold ducts encourage condensation
  • Protrude at least several inches from the roof
  • Be equipped with a roof termination cap that protects the duct from the elements
  • Be installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations

The following tips are also helpful. Ventilation ducts should:

  • Be made from inflexible metal, PVC, or other rigid material. Unlike dryer exhaust vents, they should not droop.
  • Have smooth interiors. Ridges will encourage vapor to condense, allowing water to back-flow into the exhaust fan or leak through joints onto vulnerable surfaces.
  • Above all else, a bathroom ventilation fan should be connected to a duct capable of venting water vapor and odors to the outdoors. Mold growth within the bathroom or attic is a clear indication of improper ventilation that must be corrected in order to avoid structural decay and respiratory health issues for family members.

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

bathroom_exhaust_fan5

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
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/homeruninspections
Follow us on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/HomeRunInspect2

crawl-space-drawing