Montgomery County Bill 31-15 will take effect on October 1st of this year requiring radon testing for certain residential Real Estate transactions.
In an article published last fall the ‘Bethesda Beat’ discusses some of the ramifications of this bill.
The article erroneously suggests, however, that radon test kits can be had for as little as $15-25 at hardware and lumber stores. Had the authors taken the time to actually read the instructions with these kits, they would have known that an additional $50-75 fee is necessary to submit these kits to a lab by mail.
For a Real Estate transaction the time required to test and mail the kits may not accommodate the settlement schedule. Radon Testing for a Real Estate transaction will require a minimum two day (48 hour) short term test. A professional Radon Testing company, like myself, can provide results the same day that testing concludes.
Independent Home Inspection
My Grandfather and then my father seemed like they wore sweaters pretty much all year as they got older. You could say they were ‘winterized,’ but that’s not what I’m asking.
As a youngster growing up in a non-air conditioned house, winterized meant the screens were taken off the windows and the storm windows were installed. The furnace was serviced and the boiler lit. If you’re a home owner already the term “winterized’ may mean something similar to you.
My concern as a home inspector though deals with those homes that have had their electricity and water turned off to save money during an extended vacancy. Usually bank owned properties.
On more than one occasion I have scheduled an inspection for a client only to find out that the home has been ‘winterized.’ Hopefully I can find this out before the scheduled time has arrived and the inspection can be postponed until such time as the utilities have been restored.
A Home Inspector simply cannot perform a thorough inspection without running water or electricity. Toilets can’t be flushed, faucets cannot be operated to check for proper water flow, and with nothing to drain… well you can’t very well check for proper drainage or leaks.
No electricity, no heat, hence the reason the water was turned off to start with; to prevent the pipes from freezing. So now the Home Inspector can’t check outlets, switches, light fixtures, appliances, garage door openers…the list goes on. Wouldn’t you like to know if your heat or air conditioning actually operates? We forget how much we depend on the daily convenience of all these things.
Despite all the precautions taken to prevent pipe freezing when the electricity is turned off (typically an anti-freeze is added to the water remaining in the pipes), a house I was contracted to inspect recently suffered broken pipes when the water was restored. The necessary repairs created over a month of delay before a home inspection could be performed.
Now you know the reason a Home Inspector will not turn on the utilities in a ‘winterized’ home. It is the seller’s responsibility to insure utilities are turned on at the time of inspection and make any repairs should damage occur.
Inspecting a house without these items, well. . .it’s not really inspecting a house!
Posted in Bank owned, Home Inspection, Property Inspection, Short Sale, Winterized
Tagged AirConditioning, Electrical, Frozen pipes, Heating, Home Inspection, Plumbing, Voltage, Water, Water Drainage, Water flow, Winterized
Many of us are familiar with the poisonous fumes of automobile exhaust as carbon monoxide. One carbon atom joined to one oxygen atom its molecular abbreviation is easily recognized as the letters CO.
Now before we go too far it’s important to recognize that CO is a colorless, odorless gas. Completely invisible it is not to be confused with the visible water vapor or oil smoke associated with car exhaust. Just as important is the fact that CO is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. Any combustion, so this includes any fuel burning device or appliance in your home.
Fuels that are most often burned inside the home are heating oil, natural gas, propane, wood, and some years ago coal.
The most obvious appliance to burn any fuel is the home furnace or boiler and if you heat your home with wood then a wood stove or fireplace. Gas cooking ranges and ovens can be fueled either by natural gas or propane as can be your water heater which might alternately be fueled by oil.
Did you know that your gas dryer’s combustion exhaust is vented through the same four inch duct as the moist air? It is essential here to use a metal foil duct.
For the most part all of these devices are vented through a chimney in some way to the outdoors. A negative pressure in the home or an equipment malfunction (flue damage) can occur which does not allow the combustion gasses from these appliances to vent properly. Should this happen a working CO detector can save your families’ life.
The place to put your CO detector is in the hallway outside the bedrooms or one in each bedroom. Yes, I know the furnace is not in your bedroom, but the time when you are most susceptible to CO poisoning will be when you are asleep. While you are asleep your air handler will distribute the CO, should any occur, to the various bedrooms. This might happen in either a heating or cooling situation, you will want the earliest possible alarm so you can move your family to fresh air (outside) and call someone to correct the problem.
Take a moment this evening to consider your homes fuel burning appliances. Install a CO detector, readily available at all the lumber outlets, outside of the sleeping areas for your families’ protection.
Visit me at: http://www.IndependentHomeInspectionMD.com for more information on this and other safety items in the home.
Posted in Home Inspection, Home Safety
Tagged carbon monoxide, CO, co alarm, co detector, combination alarm, detector, Home Inspection, home safety, IAQ, indoor air quality, smoke alarm
My father passed away last year and is daily remembered for having taught me the most valuable lesson in life. A difficult lesson and not one that I recognized till years later, my father taught me the meaning of ‘tough love.’
Now many of you reading this will jump to the conclusion that my father compelled me to suffer some great hardship to learn this lesson. That was certainly a popular idea when I was growing up. Force the kids to endure the harsh realities of life.
Exactly the opposite was true. The love he taught me was tough on him, not on me. Countless times he went to bat for me and supported me despite having to sacrifice some of his own pride, personal conviction, or leisure.
After some time when I had been defiant, argumentative or downright combative and he had responded similarly, he came and apologized. Not for my behavior, I came to realize, but for his own, where he thought he had not achieved some standard he held himself to.
The lesson is simple enough. One I’ve needed with my own children and not easy to live up to. Love is sacrifice. I need to give up my own foolish pride, my selfish ambition, my wants, my time, and my self-serving indignation.
The proving ground for this may be your own family as it has been for dad and myself, but the real test is carrying this sacrifice into the world. Something dad excelled at as well, “Love your neighbor as thyself.”
Posted in Fathers Day, Home Inspection
Tagged countless times, Dad, Fathers Day, foolish pride, harsh realities, Love, personal conviction, Sacrifice, selfish ambition, tough love
Several clients have inquired about services for their new home.
They may need pool maintenance, fuel delivery or septic services on a regular, annual or semi-annual basis.
You may have found this to be the case with your home purchase.
The best and most convenient solution is simply to inquire from the seller who they might have used in the past. Be sure to ask how satisfied they were with these services.
Your new neighbors may also require many of these services and can be a wealth of information about local service providers and their reputation.
The benefit of these approaches is to find a service/maintenance provider who is already familiar with the property, its location, equipment, and scheduling needs.
This ‘foot in the door’ approach relieves you of the burden of researching and contacting local service providers with whom you have no experience. If, at a future time you need to make a change in these arrangements, you will have more time and flexibility to do so.
That little faucet drip that you’ve been meaning to get around to fixing could be wasting gallons.
It’s hard to estimate the true size off a drip of water, but over time it could be as much as 5 gallons in a single day. That adds up to over 1500 gallons a year.
How long did you say you’ve been putting that off?
While your home inspection might find major defects before you buy, all homes have cumulative minor deficiencies that, when taken together, can keep you busy for a while.
None of these problems can be construed as major, but a thorough home inspection can help you anticipate needs and future priorities before you buy. Saving you time and money.