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  1. 4 points
    TIJ is very pleased to announce the first in a series of articles by our own Jim Morrison. He's a reporter for the Banker and Tradesman in Boston and a former home inspector. Buckle up, put your ego in check and learn from the very best. On Improving Your Reports Consider this advice from a close friend, though we've likely never met. For about 25 years, I was a home inspector. Five years or so ago, I left the field to write for newspapers and magazines in a time when most outlets are laying people off. I know a bit about both inspecting and about writing. Most of what follows are my own thoughts, but some of it I've learned from others. Where memory serves, I've attributed those thoughts that aren't mine. I've known hundreds of home inspectors and -like many of you- have read HI reports numbering in the hundreds. There are no more than two inspectors I'm aware of that the following does not apply to (and one of them is dead): Your report is much, much worse than you think and it may be your biggest liability. Your report isn't worth much if your client doesn't read and understand it. Newspaper writers are arguably under more pressure than anyone to attract, inform and keep readers' eyes on the page/screen until the very last word (and that's what you ought to be doing, too). Writing Reports Is The Single Most Important Part of Your Job If the greatest inspector ever born finds a serious defect in a property and explains it eloquently on-site, but fails to get her message across in writing, she has failed her duty and put herself at great risk. If something goes wrong and she gets a call from her client's attorney, the report will be the bulk of her defense. It had better be good. A clear, complete, concise report is the best product you can offer. It's also your best defense in a lawsuit. Best of all, it might even discourage lawyers from filing suit against you in the same way that bad reports encourage them. It's not what you meant, but what you wrote that will protect (or sink) you. Words have meanings and those meanings matter. Hell, even commas have meaning, but don't take my word for it. Read this. It's far from the only case of its kind. Look, you want your report to be an easy, informative read and as they say: easy reading is damned hard writing. You don't have to be a gifted novelist to write a decent HI report; it's a skill that can be taught and honed. Your Report Is Awful I wasn't a very good report writer. To get good, you need practice (which most of you have) and good coaching (which most of you don't). A good editor/coach will bring anyone's game up. Way up. Now that I've had a lot of brutal, ego-smashing coaching, I can see just how bad some of my work was. Luckily, I've forgiven myself and managed to avoid the inside of a courtroom. You may not be as lucky, but there's still time to save yourself. It's really important for HIs to understand that -like it or not- you are professional writers. You may be a brilliant inspector who has never missed a defect. You may even charm the socks off every client you've ever had. But if you aren't writing reports that clearly and concisely put what you saw on-site into your clients' heads through your reports, then you are a liability to your firm. Writing Is Like Playing Catch One of the reasons my reports weren't that good is because I thought like a home inspector and not like a professional writer. The first big concept you have to accept is that writing is like playing catch. It's not enough to be a good thrower (writer). For a game of catch to be successful, you need a decent catcher (reader) as well. But you don't control who's catching (reading). You'll have different readers every day, so home inspectors need to be the best writers they can possibly be. The information you're trying to get across has to land gently and squarely in the reader's heads, in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. If you make a reader work for it, many of them won't get your meaning and you will have failed at your job and put yourself at risk. Some Good Role Models Ernest Hemingway is widely considered one of the greatest American writers. He got his training as a journalist. He avoided big words and always used the right words. His prose was stark, short, punchy, easy to understand and packed with meaning. He didn't dumb his writing down; he made it crystal clear. He's a great example to follow. Mark Twain, too. Closer to home, search the TIJ forum for reports that Jim Katen has posted. He is the best report writer in the business. His reports are remarkably clear and free of major flaws. If you find yourself thinking, this is very different from most of the HI reports I've read; Good! Don't write like most home inspectors. Want to dramatically improve your writing and reduce your liability in 15 minutes? Google up Orwell's six rules for writing, print them out and tape them to your computer monitor. Read them often and follow them always. That'll do for now. More later. Email Jimmy questions, comments or send him some of the worst HI writing you've seen at: JamesAndrewMorrison@gmail.com
  2. 3 points
    Actually Phrases From Actual Reports The following bolded comments were taken from reports submitted to me by intrepid TIJ inspectors. I was disappointed because overall, the reports were pretty good. I was really hoping to complete this series with some outstanding examples of horrific writing, but I suppose I should have known better. There were sharp handrail ends at the stairways, which should be serviced to help prevent injury. We know what the writer intended, but a buyer or a contractor might not. How, exactly, does one ‘service’ a sharp railing end? I think this is better, more clearly stated thusly: The end of the handrails on the stairs are sharp, which is a hazard. They should be rounded (or ‘returns should be installed’ or whatever the situation calls for) for safety. An extension cord was being used to power the condensate pump, but it should be plugged directly into its own outlet for safety. Have an outlet installed. The condensate pump is powered by an extension cord, which is hazardous. An electrician should be hired to hard-wire an electrical receptacle next to the sump pump so it can be safely plugged in directly. The stairs leading to the apartment are not level. They drop from east to west at a rate that well exceeds the allowed ratio of 1:48. The condition can be construed as a trip hazard. OK, we’ve all seen something like this hundreds of times. This was in an apartment attached to a 137-year-old commercial bakery. These places often have dozens of non-compliant features, some meaningful, some not. If it is important enough to put in the report, I think you owe it to your readers to use complete sentences and follow the OAR rule. This inspector nailed the observation, but the final sentence (analysis) is squishy and there is no recommendation. The phrase ‘can be construed as a trip hazard’ forces the reader to interpret it. I presume what the inspector was thinking was something along the lines of ‘I need to tell my client about this potential risk, but the only way to fix it is to rip the stairs out and rebuild them and I know he’s not going to do that and I don’t blame him. I have to write something, so I’ll just throw the criticism out there with a light warning.” I think replacing the final sentence with something like the following would be much better. “This is a tripping hazard. The stairs should be properly rebuilt for safety, which will be expensive.” That communicates the risk to the buyer, lets them know fixing it is a big deal, and that they should fix it. This is a very nicely built example of 1960’s construction. The floor joists and roof sheathing are slight by today’s standards but very typical for the era. This strikes me as unnecessarily confusing. It’s nicely built, but slight? Personally, I would ditch the first sentence altogether. If there was ever a major problem in this house, I can imagine the plaintiff’s attorney’s pupils turning into little dollar signs after reading that sentence. I almost never wrote anything complimentary in a report. Your client knows the house is nice; that’s why they’re buying it. I recommend restraining your focus on what you’re required to report and what’s wrong with the house. The toilet in the main bath is loose. It moves a lot. Repair will require removing the toilet and replacing the wax ring. This is a $6-8 project that should take about 20 minutes, maybe an hour if you have never done it before. Do not put it off. The wax ring could leak destroying the flooring and damaging the structure, the toilet could break, or both – costing hundreds or even thousands to repair. Can we save the author a bit of time and trouble? The toilet in the main bathroom is loose and moves when sat upon. Loose toilets leak, which will cause damage. This toilet should be properly reinstalled now. (This next line is optional:) It’s a fairly simple project that some handy people can take on themselves or you can have a plumber do it. That's it, friends. Thanks for reading. I hope some of it was helpful. Jim Morrison used to inspect homes in Greater Boston. Today he covers residential real estate for a trade publication in Boston. You can reach him at JamesAndrewMorrison@gmail.com
  3. 3 points
    Years ago, Helped Mike and Rose improve their report format. Then took one of my reports, where I liked the format, and I just saved it in MS Word. Then I overwrote it again, and again, and again, changing the descriptions where necessary, names and dates and places, and word-searching and then grabbing an old comment about whatever issue from an old report and editing it as needed to make it fit the current report. I guess I've been doing that for the past 12 or 13 years. I write all full narrative. Some of you will note that I've never posted reports here. Reason is simple, I know they'll generate a lot of blather that I just don't care to hear, cuz they are long and boring; and, someone above was right - it is a 144 character world now, 'cuz most Americans - particularly millennials - tell me they want me to boil it down to a couple of sentences per issue. I tell them if they want to boil it down to a couple of sentences, wait until they get the report and then have at it, 'cuz I write the way I write and I don't see a need to apologize for it. I hear what everyone is saying about the 144 characters, etc., but most of my clients are Chinese, Indian or Russian university graduates; who've got more initials after their names than it takes to spell my name. I must be doing something right, 'cuz, oddly enough, they seem to love my reports just the way they are. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of customers from years ago. They are buying again and moving into more expensive neighborhoods. Lots of them tell me they still use the old report(s) all the time as guidance for how to care for their homes and the detail in the report was why they came back. A couple told me that in intervening years they'd tried a different inspector on their next house, had not liked the inspection or the reports, and when they'd got around to buying again had called me because they wanted to get that same kind of report again. I'm not averse to trying something new, I just say that if it ain't broke I'm not going to try and fix it. From '96 to '01 I used a different format. Some liked it, some didn't but I eventually achieved a following and things got solid. Then I sold my franchise, dumped the franchise's report format and went to a full-narrative format like I'd used when I'd written investigative reports in the military. Business died off for quite a while until my new way of writing reports caught on with certain demographics. After that, Native American clients went from being the majority of my clients to the minority; and the number of Chinese, Indian and Russian clients, who incidentally in this area tend to buy bigger and more expensive homes (= higher fees), went through the roof. A couple of weeks ago, one of them needed the report done within hours. Told him, "You know me. I've got two speeds - slow and careful - ain't no way I can get it to you by then. I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll throw together something super brief with the issues as simple bullets along with the photos, and email it to you in a couple of hours. You know what the issues are, so you'll understand what the comments are about. You and your agent can use that to respond to the seller. Meanwhile, the report will be in the queue and I'll get to it when it's turn comes up and you'll get it in a couple of days. OK?" I got him the bulleted version with the photos. It was easy to throw together; but sending that over felt like I was somehow shortchanging the client. The bulleted version worked and he was able to negotiate what he wanted to negotiate, but he wasn't really happy with it. He still ended up pestering me for the full monte before it was completed, explaining to me that my report was the icing on the inspection cake as far as he was concerned. I guess, to him, in his native country, that's the kind of report he expects and appreciates. I think what this proves is that, though most new customers come to us without the faintest idea of what kind of an inspection or report they're going to get, or what they should get, they all have their own ideas of what they want in terms of an inspection and the resulting report. There are lots of different types of clients. Some want short and simple, some want check boxes and icons, some want big photos with captions, some want anal retentive and long. There is no one-size-fits all answer for the entire profession across this continent. Play to your own strengths and you'll eventually find your niche - then just keep on repeating what works for you. In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  4. 3 points
    When Someone Asks What Time It Is, Don’t Tell Them How to Build a Watch Even useful information gets lost in a sea of words. Your task is to tell the reader everything they need to know -and no more- clearly and concisely. If you want to include your personal treatise on how to maintain perfectly even heat in a Queen Anne Victorian with no storm windows using an oil-fired steam boiler, then include that as a separate handout; people who are interested can read it. Don’t make the other 99 percent of your clients suffer through it unnecessarily. It makes sense to think of a home inspection as the rough equivalent of a prospective homebuyer asking you the questions, “What do I need to know about this house before I buy it? And, “What significant risks should I anticipate?” New to a rural community, I was talking to a great old neighbor and a WWII vet. I asked him what the best route to the interstate was. He told me, “Go down to the main road and turn left, when you get to the end of the stone wall there’s a road on your left that’ll take you past Wilson’s farm, there’ll be a Gulf (used to be a Shell) gas station on the right, then some condos and in 2 miles you’ll see the general store. Don’t take that left. Instead, keep going down the main road and you’ll see another left just before the drug store. That’ll bring you past the library, the middle school and after you pass South Meadow Pond you can take the right that’ll bring you to Town Hall. You don’t want that left either. “ He went on this way for a while like so many HI reports do, too. If your report isn’t straightforward and easy to understand, there’s a good chance people won’t read it and miss something important. Let’s remember the goal: Your goal isn’t to win lawsuits, that’s what attorneys do. You’re in business to help clients and avoid lawsuits. Do yourself a favor and make it easy for your clients to recognize and retain the important information in your report. Learn To Recognize Inspector-Speak. Resolve to stop using It. Marc Cramer used to teach a report writing class. If he still does, I recommend you take it. He wrote the best example of truly heinous HI report-writing I’ve seen to date. He asked attendees what an inspector should report, if anything, if they encountered a tiger in the master bedroom. The multiple choices included something along the lines of (I’m sure I’m not doing it justice): “A large, carnivorous feline -possibly resembling Panthera tigris- in the southwest corner of the master bedroom. Adult tigers lead largely solitary lives. They establish and maintain territories but have much wider home ranges within which they roam. Resident adults of either sex generally confine their movements to their home ranges, within which they satisfy their needs and those of their growing cubs. Individuals sharing the same area are aware of each other's movements and activities. The size of the home range mainly depends on prey abundance, and, in the case of males, on access to females. It was not determined how the animal entered the bedroom, but it poses a likely hazard for persons wishing to enter. For this reason, the master bedroom was excluded from the scope of the inspection. Further investigation by a licensed professional is suggested.” (The italicized sentences above were excerpted from Wikipedia.) Using the fewest and best possible words, you need to put the relevant information neatly and gently in your client’s hands in a way that is impossible for them to misunderstand. Don’t try to sound smart. It inevitably has the opposite effect. Clear, concise writing makes the writer sound smart. If you inspect a home with a worn-out asphalt roof, write: The asphalt shingle roof on this house is worn past the standard for replacement. It should be stripped and replaced now by a qualified professional. The process will be expensive. You can quibble about a particular word or phrase, but that pretty much nails it. You don’t have to explain how important a roof is, how shingles are made, what the cost range could be, or anything else. Somewhere on this site or one of its predecessors, Jim Katen (the best HI report writer I know of) recommended people buy and read Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. Most HI’s probably won’t, but I guarantee if you do, it’ll point out at least one bad habit you can correct. Probably more than one. Observation, Analysis, Recommendation Every comment in your report should include your observation (what you found), your analysis (what it means) and your recommendation (what your client should do about it). I learned this from recently-retired Mass. home inspector Bob Mulloy and it stands the test of time. I am a slow typist. After organizing my thoughts and writing around this principal, I only rarely spent more than 45 minutes writing a report. Example: At least 12' of the structural sill along the east wall has been damaged by termites. This significant structural damage must be replaced by a licensed builder now which will be expensive. A few of you have sent me sample reports, but unfortunately for me, there was no truly cringe-worthy writing in any of them. My next installment in this series will address some specifics.
  5. 3 points
    The siding radiates only the heat that has already escaped the conditioned space of the structure.
  6. 2 points
    I too, John, am very guilty of getting entirely too busy to return to TIJ as much as I'd like to . I hope to return here more myself. So, you're not alone at all. Best wishes for a safe, productive and profitable 2018.
  7. 2 points
    TIJ has lost lots of expertise this past year and I've joined the Inspector Brotherhood, found some other TIJ members there too, but TIJ will forever be my favorite. It still has more expertise, has more answers, than any other site I've ever been to. When the questions get tough, head for TIJ.
  8. 2 points
    In relation to Plummin's regurgitated post: It's 3 1/2 years now since I successfully testified at a legislative committee in support of a bill to require HIs to report any suspected mold growth that they see inside the conditioned spaces of the house. It set a precedent throughout the USA. The many scary claims made by a Board member, the Board attorney and several 'highly regarded' HIs in opposition to the bill never panned out. Not a single one. No business sprouts myths like the HI business. Good place to be if you like killing myths, but to kill them you need to understand more than just the subject matter. You need to understand people and perhaps the politics of the legislature.
  9. 2 points
    The installer wears Crocs. The holes let all dignity drain out.
  10. 2 points
  11. 2 points
    "Functioning as ANYthing (intended, designed, advertised)" is nothing more than just "functioning". I suppose a furnace could be installed improperly, yet still warm the building without CO sharing airspace with the residents. It's "functioning", doing its bit as a furnace, but that can have little or nothing to do with a proper installation. I'm new to this, but that strikes me as a BS phrase designed to make someone sound high brow. And, apparently, in some places it is functioned and intended..
  12. 2 points
    it's a good thing when the Heads are aligned proper water table trim when produced from wood requires the bottom kerf or expect premature failure
  13. 2 points
    Hmm. Someone is trying to send a message.
  14. 2 points
    It's low impact. I'm sure you can find some yoga classes around you somewhere. Or just get a yoga vide or Wii Fit console with the yoga program on it and do it yourself (less embarrassing and can be done when you want to without a bunch of others watching you struggle).
  15. 2 points
    Ahem, waiting for someone to proofread the heading of this latest installment . . .
  16. 2 points
    Was that a jab, or a left hook?😎
  17. 2 points
    Better than "Lead Testing not Necessary"
  18. 2 points
    Did you turn him on during the inspection?
  19. 2 points
    I see that with one coat stucco all the time. There's a reason why traditional stucco was applied in three coats. . .
  20. 2 points
    Chad, Probably should stick with the standard abbreviation D.F.U., well, cuz FU.
  21. 2 points
    The ladder in the link is different than the ladder that was in the link 3 years ago when I reviewed it. They used to be almost identical to LGs. That said, does anyone have a grandmother who lives near Jerry who may be able to help carry his ladders?
  22. 2 points
    Better Writing Is Worth Some Effort When I was in the inspection business and the topic of report-writing would come up, I noticed a certain percentage of inspectors would react as if they were above improving their writing skills. They didn't consider it important. They'd been writing they way they'd been writing for their entire adult life and they thought they wrote just fine. Maybe they were right, maybe not. What those inspectors don't know is how many people are turned off by the way they write. How many people stop reading when they run head-first into some of their bad habits? How many of your clients never get your meaning because your writing obscures it? What are your bad writing habits costing you? Which busy real estate attorneys don't refer clients to you because your reports are difficult to read? The newspaper business is in a lot of trouble. It's fighting for survival and no outlet can afford to lose a single reader. Newspapers study what draws people in and what turns people off the way I study a restaurant's beer list on a menu before I agree to eat there. There are lots of ways a reporter or an inspector can shoot themself in the foot when writing something they want people to read. Whoever is teaching these methods in home inspector schools is doing a great job because as near as I can tell they've got near-total market penetration. Newspapers have discovered what you might have guessed: Humans are lazy readers. We scan newspapers and websites for headlines that might interest us. In doing so, we probably pass by important stories that might well inform or entertain us, but we don?t care. We're busy people. When we start reading a story, we often stop after just a few lines. If the story isn't what we're looking for, or the writing is hard to understand, we move on. The people reading your reports are no different, so every comment in your report should be interesting or at the very least, relevant. We also have limits to how long we want a story to be. Get to the point in a reasonable period of time or we're gone. We're also sensitive. If you offend or bore us, we're gone. A well-written report complements a great inspection and a poorly-written one muddles it. In addition to your clients, their attorneys are going to read your work. It's worth putting a little effort into writing the most impressive reports you can. (Editor's note: complement and compliment are different words) You bust your ass to find the defects, you should put some effort into presenting them clearly and professionally. It will bring you more and better referrals than dropping doughnuts off at a real estate agent's office. Here are a few easy, general tips you can use to improve your writing: Spelling counts The last thing an inspector should do before printing or sending a report off to a client is spellcheck it. It's a fast, easy, free way to improve your work. Everyone should be doing this every time. Misspellings make you look bad and avoiding them is easy. Your and you're (and yore), its and it's These words mean very different things. Learn to use them correctly. Your friends may not care if you mix them up in emails, but people are paying you good money and you owe them a good report. Misusing common words gives readers the impression you are too lazy/sloppy/dumb to know the difference. You can do better. It's not difficult. I vs. We This hardly deserves discussion, but it's a pet peeve of mine. One inspector, one author, singular pronoun (I): no debate. I've yet to hear a reasonable argument against this. Using "we" doesn't make you sound smarter or more professional. Active vs. Passive This one has been talked about for as long as I can remember, but it's always worth revisiting briefly for those who forgot or are new to the profession. Always avoid the passive voice (e.g. Corrosion was observed on the bottom of the water heater). It makes you sound unsure and vague and is considered a weak construction. Active, declarative sentences are always better in an HI report (e.g. The bottom of the water heater is corroding). Photos I only used them a few times and I realize that puts me in the minority. By and large, I think photos are way overdone in reports. My opinion is that they should be used somewhat sparingly. Focus on quality over quantity. When they are essential or helpful to get your point across, use them. If you include 60 photos in a report, the important ones are likely to get lost among the less important ones. Use complete sentences If it's worth telling your client about, it's worth a whole sentence. That's how professionals communicate. Don't Write Like You Speak There are loads of phrases I might use in conversation with a client that I wouldn't use in a report. Things like: The deck looks like it was built by Uncle Meanswell and Cousin Thirtypack (credit: Gary Blum). Write better (more clearly and precisely) than you speak. That'll do for now. More to come. Email Jimmy questions, comments or send him some of the worst HI writing you've seen at: JamesAndrewMorrison@gmail.com
  23. 1 point
  24. 1 point
    We stay North across the bridge in Sausalito, Tiburon or Mill Valley. Hog Island oysters and cocktails at The Farmhouse in Point Reyes.
  25. 1 point
    Consider going just North of SFO and visiting Muir Woods. They are just beautiful. That side of the bay/city is totally different than SFO as well. https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
  26. 1 point
    Hey Steven, we were there abt a month ago and passed on the Alcatraz tour. Maybe it is the criminal in my past life that made us not go. I really enjoyed the wharf(s) and the guided bus tour, open top one. I had only been on one other tour in my life and went into that one with a bad attitude, came away feeling pretty good. The entire city was lots of fun!
  27. 1 point
    What style Type Ball do you use in your IBM Selectric?
  28. 1 point
    I still use a candle and a bit of tin foil.
  29. 1 point
    I am not jumping onto Marc's bandwagon either but lets attack the comments not the commenters. This just drifted off topic. No I'm NOT trying out for moderator... it's an awful job!
  30. 1 point
    Les, the language has changed since my last post on this topic to suggest that the vast majority of agents and HIs are not aware that some of their actions might be creating a conflict of interest highly damaging to the buyer. Here I use the word 'savvy' to mean 'unaware'. For the most part, there are no guilty parties, or even malice, just a lack of awareness. With each post by others, I improve.
  31. 1 point
    It's impossible to say without seeing some pictures and knowing what the construction methods are. Wood shingles, shakes, 3-tab comp, laminated comp, or what? What kind of roof framing, trusses or rafters? Spacing? What kind of roof deck, plywood, shiplap, or skip sheathing with plywood on top. If plywood, what thickness? Crawlspace or basement? Water problems? Even with all of the necessary data, we can't really say without seeing it.
  32. 1 point
    Buckling can be sourced in either the shingles or the roof deck. Shingles butted together too tightly during installation on a cold day will sometimes buckle up later when temperatures are warmer. The house of a friend of mine had a foundation failure from 14 inches of flood waters that poured into the house and buckled the plywood roof deck in several places, quite badly too.
  33. 1 point
    There is a whole list of things the inspector should be looking at. 1969 means there could be Aluminum wiring, which is bad, and also will make your annual insurance premiums higher. Best to rewire the house with copper. The breaker panel is at the end of its service life. The drainage around the basement will be all clogged up with composted leaves and debris. Poor drainage means moisture in your basement and sometimes bulging walls below ground. There is minimal insulation in the walls. There may be vermiculite insulation in the attic, known to often be contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is in the floor coverings such as sheet vinyl or tiles and also in the black glue. Asbestos in the plaster and drywall. Asbestos around heat ducts. The windows are leaky and may be single pane metal frame sliders, which are the worst ever made. Then there is the chimney, possibly has no flue liner. Mortar falling out of it. Small rooms, old leaky faucets, stained old cast iron fixtures, rot around the leaky toilets. Rusty water supply pipes. Maybe they're copper pipes, but check for corrosion on them too. Those are the highlights. Might get lucky and find a nice home, recently reno'd. But sometimes it is just a facade, new kitchen and bathroom, major issues concealed from the buyer. Anyway good luck with it. Might be a nice property. Seriously, if you have a choice and are not handy, or not inclined to spend years fixing the place, look for something built in the 1990's or newer. JMO.
  34. 1 point
    I've an easier way. Take a long paragraph from your most recent report and read it, revise it a dozen times over a period of a couple weeks, taking breaks to read posts by Jim K, Les, and the Jim Morrison archives. It takes time. Took me years to get where I am now and after reading Jim's recent post, I still ain't there yet.
  35. 1 point
    My phone has been screwed up for over a week now. And the internet has been messed up by the fires. But, not that big a deal when you're not running a business off it. This was last Saturday on the South Fork of the American River just east of Sacramento. My 29yr old son's boat. We did 21 miles in 5.5hrs. I got chucked out once and he got chucked out once. We had a blast.
  36. 1 point
    The air gap isn't big enough. I shouldn't have said "OK". Honestly, I thought you were asking if it was OK because it was an indirect connection. I just spent 7 or 8 horrible minutes reading the plumbing code. It's all in chapter 8 of the IPC. I'll email it to you if you want.
  37. 1 point
    A quote from an ASHI ad that just arrived in my inbox: When an inspector finds something during the course of an inspection and immediately turns salesman to try to use it to sell another service, he's no longer the inspector the buyer paid for. He's a salesman now. His obligation to objectively report what he's found is displaced in favor of the additional dollars he stands to earn if his pitch succeeds. His report on the discovered issue is displaced by a pitch that will facilitate the sale. The inspector gets a chance to increase his sale amount and the unsuspecting buyer faces the risk of becoming royally screwed.
  38. 1 point
    The manufacturers' instructions usually contain very specific details about if, where, and how the intake and exhaust piping can increase or decrease dimension. Same with direct exhaust water heaters. After looking at just a few different manuals, you'll see there's no rule of thumb. More often than not though, a diameter increase for the exhaust is not permitted outside of the furnace cabinet.
  39. 1 point
    'The door has a little damage on it but works just fine. Just so you know I didn't miss it.'
  40. 1 point
    There is an awesome car museum in Auburn, Indiana. About the only thing to keep you awake on that stretch of 90. Get off the interstate any chance you get.
  41. 1 point
    Proper installation is probably more important than band. I do prefer the major brands because the installers typically have better training. When I replaced my system about 8 years ago I went with Rheem. At the time they has a modulating furnace that had been out for a number of years and had a good track record. The furnace and two-stage AC have been trouble free. At the same time a friend went with the same system based on my research. We really have not discussed his system, but he is still a friend, so I guess his system has also been fine. Contractors on an HVAC forum also had good things to say about Rheem. I got an estimate from the same contractor for Trane equipment. It was significantly more expensive.
  42. 1 point
    Interesting question. The air conditioner installation instructions that I looked at did not specify dedicated circuits or individual circuits. The NEC doesn't specifically say that the AC needs to be on an individual circuit and, in fact, specifically allows the AC and the heating equipment to share a circuit. 422.12 (This assumes that they won't both be operating at the same time.) 440.34 allows air conditioners to share conductors with "other loads," but it doesn't say how you handle the overcurrent protection. That's the sticking point. If you provide the "maximum" breaker, then there's really no room left for any significant additional load.
  43. 1 point
    Wow. I'm honored, and quite frankly a little horrified, that one of my reports was selected for this piece. Thank you. I learned something. No, I won't identify my work.😉
  44. 1 point
  45. 1 point
    I added it to the calendar- use the "create" button at the top. Select "event".
  46. 1 point
    504.6 Requirements for discharge piping. The discharge piping serving a pressure relief valve, temperature relief valve or combination thereof shall: 1.Not be directly connected to the drainage system. 2.Discharge through an air gap located in the same room as the water heater. 3.Not be smaller than the diameter of the outlet of the valve served and shall discharge full size to the air gap. 4 Serve a single relief device and shall not connect to piping serving any other relief device or equipment. 5.Discharge to the floor, to the pan serving the water heater or storage tank, to a waste receptor or to the outdoors. 6.Discharge in a manner that does not cause personal injury or structural damage. 7.Discharge to a termination point that is readily observable by the building occupants. 8.Not be trapped. 9.Be installed so as to flow by gravity. 10.Terminate not more than 6 inches (152 mm) above and not less than two times the discharge pipe diameter above the floor or flood level rim of the waste receptor. 11.Not have a threaded connection at the end of such piping. 12.Not have valves or tee fittings. 13.Be constructed of those materials listed in Section 605.4 or materials tested, rated and approved for such use in accordance with ASME A112.4.1. 504.7 Required pan. Where a storage tank-type water heater or a hot water storage tank is installed in a location where water leakage from the tank will cause damage, the tank shall be installed in a galvanized steel pan having a material thickness of not less than 0.0236 inch (0.6010 mm) (No. 24 gage), or other pans approved for such use. 504.7.1 Pan size and drain. The pan shall be not less than 11/2 inches (38 mm) in depth and shall be of sufficient size and shape to receive all dripping or condensate from the tank or water heater. The pan shall be drained by an indirect waste pipe having a diameter of not less than 3/4 inch (19 mm). Piping for safety pan drains shall be of those materials listed in Table 605.4. 504.7.2 Pan drain termination. The pan drain shall extend full size and terminate over a suitably located indirect waste receptor or floor drain or extend to the exterior of the building and terminate not less than 6 inches (152 mm) and not more than 24 inches (610 mm) above the adjacent ground surface. Where a pan drain was not previously installed, a pan drain shall not be required for a replacement water heater installation.
  47. 1 point
    New Pennsylvania Home Inspection Law is poised to come out of committee. By the Pennsylvania Home Inspectors Coalition HOUSE BILL 1001 - New Pennsylvania Home Inspection Law is currently in the hands of the Licensure Committee and is poised to come to the full House of Representatives for a vote. What is it?: An Act regulating home inspectors; establishing the Home Inspection Licensing Board; providing for licensure and practice, for disciplinary action, for remedies and for penalties; making an appropriation; and repealing provisions relating to home inspections. Due to efforts by the Pennsylvania Home Inspector Coalition (PHIC) the two-year limit of liability in the original version of the bill has been reduced to one year. (Same as the existing home inspection law). Your input to your representative can help to prevent other negative aspects of the bill from moving forward! View latest copy: HB #100 THE ISSUE: Home Inspector stakeholders agree that HB 1001 will harm the home inspection industry, home buyers, real estate licensees and brokers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. HB 1001 will increase home inspectors liability and require home inspectors to raise their fees. HB 1001 will require home inspectors to report on "mold, fungi and related biologicals", HB 1001 will, in effect, require home inspectors to give the SELLER a copy of the inspection report at the end of the inspection, HB 1001 will require special certification to inspect modular homes and manufactured homes. **** PLEASE email or call your State Representative. WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY WHEN YOU CALL OR WRITE: Please tell your representative you are opposed to HB 1001 for the following reasons: HB 1001 is flawed and will negatively affect Consumers (Home buyers), Home Inspectors, Real Estate Licensees and Brokers, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I cannot support this bill as written. HB 1001 will require home inspectors to report on "mold, fungi and related biologicals". Mold, fungi and other undefined biologicals are outside the scope of a home inspection and are specifically excluded by home inspector professional liability insurance companies and home inspector Standards of Practice. HB 1001 will require home inspectors to raise their fees (to cover license fees and additional insurance) causing many first time home buyer to opt out of getting a home inspection, leaving homebuyers unprotected from safety defects and other deficiencies that could cause them to lose their home. HB 1001 will, in effect, require home inspectors to give the SELLER a copy of the inspection report at the end of the inspection. Home inspectors work for the buyer/client and have no contract with the seller. This provision will increase home inspector and agent and broker liability and result in increased fees. HB 1001 will require a special certification to inspect modular homes and manufactured homes. This provision, added by the manufactured home lobby, has the appearance to prevent independent inspections of manufactured and modular homes. Elsewhere in in HB 1001 the home inspector board is tasked with approving and regulating that home inspectors receive initial training and receive 16 hours per year of continuing education as approved by the board. The home inspector board is best suited to determine what education requirements are needed, not special interest groups. The above noted provisions are a bureaucratic overreach and do not belong in a home inspector licensing bill. However, I will strongly support any Home Inspector Licensing or Home Inspector Registration legislation based on the existing Pennsylvania Home Inspection Law and existing Home Inspection Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. Your voice counts and can make a difference! Many of the sponsors of this bill don't know how it will negatively affect your business and home buying consumers in Pennsylvania. Contact your house and senate representatives and real estate agents and brokers in your area and express your concerns.
  48. 1 point
    Flexible gas lines are safe but they might not be as durable as the traditional black iron. We have a Montgomery ward water heater at home. It still works pretty well. When it comes to any appliance, it's all about maintaining it in such a way that it lasts long. Good maintenance is the key for any appliance to last long.
  49. 1 point
    This is my exact problem- Water is falling the pipes that run under the footing and water in springing up in the crawlspace. I read something about a sleeve, then you can add cement from the exterior, but I do not understand what kind of sleeve (DIYer). Can you help me please? You can't just seal out the water. It's not a boat. You need to intercept the water and give it somewhere else to go.
  50. 1 point
    Yep.. when threatened they curl up into an almost perfect little ball. Not true. Yesterday I saw one and told it, "out or I'll kick yer ass". It didn't even break stride.
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