Safely Burn Fuels

fireplace

I inspect a lot of homes with some sort of fireplace.  So many fireplaces today are merely decorative and can be started with a flip of a switch, but there are many homes purchased by “first time home owners” that have masonry fireplaces designed to burn “solid fuel”, meaning wood logs or fire logs.  Starting and managing a real wood fire seems to be a fading art, so I put together a quick list of tips for those home owners out there who are planning on starting up the fireplace this year.

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, damp wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, or other debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trashcan. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

As a home inspector, I always advise buyers to have there fireplace inspected by a professional before the first use of the season.  It only takes a minute for a romantic evening to turn into a three alarm disaster.

 

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:
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Watering Your Foundation-Here’s the Why and How

drysoil

Earthquakes are not the only source of cracks in your home but just the latest threat.  This winter has been pretty dry, so I’ve been out watering around my foundation on a regular basis to stay ahead of the coming spring and summer heat.  If foundation concerns are not addressed BEFORE they start, it can cost 10’s of thousands of dollars to repair them.  To protect your foundation, you must water your foundation.  Even though most sprinkler systems will help, most were designed to spray water away from the house.  To complicate it further, many cities are enforcing landscape watering restrictions.  Probably the most important factor associated with watering foundations is to do it 12 months a year.  It is very import to maintain a constant moisture content to retain soil  consistency.  Even if you only have minor issues (sticking doors, squeaky floors), managing the porosity of soil will even out the issues for a more stable foundation.

How to Water a Foundation:  There are several methods.

  1. Hand Watering:  I don’t recommend this method, but it can work. It can be difficult to consistently apply the same amount of water around the entire foundation with a systematic approach.
  2. Soaker Hoses:  By far the most popular,  “soaker hoses” are easily attached to a water outlet and draped around the foundation of the house.  These come in 25 and 50 foot length and can be connected in a series.  Try to place them within about 6 inches of the foundation.  (TIP:  Keep bare landscaped areas covered with mulch.  This too will assist in retaining the moisture content around the structure.  Covering the soaker hose with the mulch is acceptable.  You will need to inspect these regularly as I have found they deteriorate fairly quickly (less than 3-5 years).   Additionally, neighboring visitors (rats, mice, raccoons and such) have found a liking to chew on hoses, in turn puncturing them  and causing excessive water to come out in one place.  Once broken, I have not seen a good way to repair them, so you will have to replace the hose.
  3.  Drip Lines:  These hoses are designed with drip emitters in the hose every 12 inches.  You can deploy them in the same method as mentioned for the soaker hoses, but the hose material is a bit more stiff.  Staking them will help as they do not like to lay flat to the ground.  You can purchase the hose in bulk from the Orange Box store of Sprinkler Warehouse.  You will need to also purchase inter-hose connectors as well as a way to connect to your water source.
  4. Regardless of the method of disbursement, doing it consistently is just as important as the watering itself.Take a look at Watering Your Foundation to see a semi-permanent installation guide to foundation watering.

Source of above material:  HomeownerBOB.com

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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Should you cover your A/C unit for the Winter?

coveredACunit

People tend to have firm opinions about whether or not they should cover their air conditioner for winter, so here’s the skinny on both sides:

Benefits of Covering:

  • Protects your condenser from the elements
  • Provides cover from ice, debris, snow, etc.
  • Prevents your AC from getting “weather-beaten”

Benefits of Not Covering:

  • Deters animals from seeing your AC as a cozy, protected home for the winter
  • Prevents moisture from collecting inside your unit
  • Allows for ventilation

So how can you get the benefits of covering your air conditioner without dealing with the all of the potential consequences? One of the easiest ways you can do this is by just covering the top of your unit. Ideally, you want to prevent damage from above while also allowing for ventilation. You can either use a piece of plywood to protect the top of your unit from falling ice as well as snow accumulation, or you can duct tape a garbage bag around just the top of your system to allow ventilation from the sides as well as cover from the top.  From Arcticac.com

Remember, if you decide to cover your unit, you should make a reminder to yourself to remove the cover in the spring.  You will likely damage your condenser unit if you run the A/C with the cover still in place, obviously costing you far more than any savings reaped from the cover. You may remove power from the outdoor unit as a safety (at the home service panel, if marked, or at the unit disconnect).

Based on the information here and my personal experience, I recommend that you just leave it uncovered.

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, Yukon, Moore, Norman, Midwest 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