Ask The Inspector
Doors and Windows
Windows and doors in a commercial or residential property can be important for aesthetics, safety and energy efficiency. The location, type, size and number of windows affects air movement and access to light in the home. Besides impacts on overall safety, the location, style and number of doors determines the flow of traffic through the house.
Understanding the type, function and condition of the windows and doors before you move in can help determine what maintenance might be necessary in the future. A National Property Inspections professional will assess the safety of doors and how well they seal. A representative number of the windows on both the exterior and the interior of the home will also be checked. On the exterior, the inspector checks the overall condition of the windows and doors, including the presence or absence of a sealant-like weather stripping or caulking.
Inside, the inspector will check window and door operation and insulation. The inspector will also look for the presence of screens or storm windows and breaks or cracks in the window panes. If conditions allow, the inspector will assess thermal pane windows for evidence of problems with the seal.
For more information on window and door inspections, contact National Property Inspections.
Is the Roof on Your New Home Installed Properly?
Buyers and Realtors often don’t see the need to have a newly constructed home inspected, or they prefer to wait to get a builder’s warranty inspection. A builder’s warranty inspection is a full home inspection to find any builder defects in a house prior to the expiration of the builder’s one-year warranty.
Some of the problems we find with newly built homes are issues with the roof. Many reputable builders assume that they’ve hired quality professionals to perform the installation of a roof. There are cases where the employees of these contractors are inexperienced or cut corners to get a job done on time.
It’s good practice to hire a qualified home inspection expert to check all facets of a newly built home, and that includes the roof. When you go to make a major financial decision, like buying a new house, make sure to get all of the facts on the quality of your new home.
Snapshots From The Field
Can You Guess what is wrong with this picture?
- There is no access to the electrical panel
- The cabinets are installed wrong
- There are too many cabinets
Correct Answer 1.The cabinet installation blocks access to the electrical panel, which must be kept clear to avoid fire hazards.
Prevent Hot Water Burns
Protecting young children and others in your home from burns caused by hot water can be a concern. Water temperatures over 120° F (48° C) can potentially cause scalds. That’s why a water temperature assessment is part of a general home inspection.
This assessment has two parts: First, the inspector uses a thermometer, usually held under the water in the shower while operating at least one other water fixture to determine any significant changes in water temperature.
The temperature in the shower is adjusted to about 105° F (40° C). Next, the inspector will flush the toilet and turn on the sink. If the water temperature in the shower shifts more than five degrees, the inspector will note it in the inspection report. This same test is also used to help assess and report on water volume and flow in the home. The inspector will note visible changes in the water volume or flow when all three fixtures are operating.
To test the general temperature of a home’s hot water, your inspector will turn on the hot water in the kitchen and test it with the thermometer. Inspectors frequently find that a home’s water is too hot, but the temperature setting usually can be changed on the water heater to protect people in your home.
Window Cleaning Tips
April is a good month to uncover the windows and let in the sunshine. Dirty windows can seriously dull the moment, so consider a good washing first.
Take off the screens. Lay them on a flat surface. Wet the screens thoroughly. Scrub lightly, being careful not to bend the material in the screen. Repair holes. Open any weep holes blocked by sealant, dirt or paint. Open weep holes help pull moist air out of the home and prevent mold and mildew. Reapply weather stripping or sealant. Vacuum any debris from inside the sill and replace the screens. You can use a fine steel wool to clean the tracks to prevent sticking.
If you can, clean and repair windows on cool, cloudy days. Warm, sunny days tend to cause windows to dry too fast, leaving behind streaks and spots. Reassemble windows and enjoy some terrific natural light indoors.
If you are using a ladder to reach the outside of windows, it might be a good time to check the gutters and downspouts for build-up, debris or damage. Clean out any leaves, twigs or other items that may be clogging gutters. Check the manufacturer instructions and follow and safety precautions every time you use a ladder.
Did You Know?
Bringing Electricity Home
Do you know where your home’s electricity comes from? The electrical connections powering today’s homes start at a transformer on a pole or somewhere on the ground near the house. Transformers on the ground signify buried electrical lines. Transformers on a utility pole mean the electrical lines come into the house via overhead wires.
If your electrical lines are buried, they won’t be visible outside your home. However, if you have overhead electrical wires, you should regularly take a look at them for safety reasons. Damage to the wire or insulation around the wire can cause electrocution, so look for those things. You can likely check the overhead wires from the ground, and you should never touch the electrical lines.
Height regulations for electrical lines vary from one city to another. For general purposes, all electrical lines should be out of reach of people, vehicles, ladders and other equipment. This includes areas above pools, decks, porches and balconies. Electrical wires should also be clear of trees or other obstructions, including the corner of the house or the edge of a gutter, which could cause abrasion and expose bare wires. Finally, electrical lines should not touch other utility lines entering the home, such as the telephone or cable line.
Monthly Trivia Question
Before Spring, Spring time and Springing time, what was the season known as based on an old English word?
Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbuck’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.