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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/05/2019 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    I was a mechanic for a long time. Many of you have heard me say, "I'm still a better mechanic than I am anything else." Even though I fixed every single thing that came into my shop, I couldn't have fixed any of it without tools. Many inspectors simply do not have the proper tools in their box to enable them to produce quality reports. If you can't write, you can't write a great report.
  2. 4 points
    Is this your first time looking at milled lumber? Everything in your pictures is perfectly normal. These are characteristics of lumber, which is a natural product that comes from large plants called "trees." The characteristics in your pictures are all taken into account when lumber is graded. The ugly things in the 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 14th pictures are old injuries to the tree that have scabbed over, probably from wind damage where limbs broke off. Don't worry about them. The lumber grader looked at them and said that they were fine for that grade of lumber. The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 15th, 16th, and 17th pictures are something called "wane." This is when the lumber includes a bit of the outer surface of the tree, where the "bark" is. (Bark is a rough outer covering on the trunk of a tree.) In fact, you can see some bark still attached in several places. It's a common characteristic of framing lumber. The 11th, 12th, and 13th pictures show some blue staining and some iron staining - utterly unimportant. The blue staining is caused by a very, very, very unimportant fungus and the iron staining is probably from where the lumber was in contact with - wait for it - iron. Many of the pictures also show "knots." These are where branches grew out laterally from the tree trunk. In the sizes and positions in the pictures, they're fine. You need to understand that framing lumber is graded for utility, not for looks. A completely separate grading process would be used for wood destined to become trim or furniture. It would be foolish to use defect-free wood for framing lumber. This is second nature to anyone who's ever worked with lumber in any way. If an inspector were to mention any of these things in an inspection report, he'd be a moron. Every piece of wood in every picture is fine. Forget about it and use your powers of obsession for something else.
  3. 4 points
    I heard of one inspector who saw the note on the front door not to let the cat out. When he was finishing up and went outside and then came back, the cat was on the front porch. He put the cat back in the house and left. Wasn't their cat; cat destroyed the drapes, furniture, etc.
  4. 3 points
    This scary face rose out of the garlic patch.
  5. 3 points
    Trent's is WAY too big for me! I"m more of a small raised bed guy. Last year I donated over 1000 tomatoes and untold cucumbers to the homeless shelter from my little plot. Drip irrigation on a timer valve. Black plastic on the ground so I don't have to weed. Just plant, water and harvest. Did way to much weeding in my daddy's garden, which was even bigger than Trent's way back when I was a little one. God forbid he found weeds growing in your section of the garden.
  6. 3 points
    I doubt you could pay enough to override my scepticism.
  7. 3 points
    Yep, A growing problem with teenage squirrels - sewer gas huffing and huffing parties. A side effect is the urge to gnaw on the nearest object. The squirrel authorities are concerned and want to get the message out to all squirrel parents that sewer gases contain methane, hydrogen-sulfide and other toxic fumes and that huffing sewer gas can lead to death. The teens aren't listening. In fact, a week ago, three of them under the influence of sewer gas knocked over a walnut cache and overpowered and killed the elderly security squirrel guarding the nuts. ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  8. 3 points
    Lack of brevity. Some people just go on and on. They keep talking about the same issue in multiple ways. They can't just state things simply and concisely. They feel the need to hammer the issue in from many angles. They just ramble forever about that which could be easily stated in one sentence. They just go on and on and on. . .
  9. 3 points
    Of those inspectors who use this coverage as part of their marketing to real estate agents, I'll bet that most, if not all of them do not advertise the fact to their actual customers. In fact, I'll also bet that they intentionally keep quiet about it. Look at it this way: if you were a home buyer and you knew that the inspector that your agent recommended was paying to indemnify that agent, would that elevate the inspector in your eyes? Would it make you think twice about the agent's motivations and the inspector's loyalties? In my experience all but the most credulous home buyers would view this as a "scheme" or perhaps as an "arrangement" that benefits the home inspector and the agent, but not the consumer.
  10. 2 points
    This was an interesting find.
  11. 2 points
    <strike>Those lugs are not listed for two conductors. The installation is wrong.</strike> Edit: I should probably say that the likelihood of those lugs being listed for two conductors is remote in the extreme. Check the panel schematic to be sure. The wiring mess on the neutral terminal bar makes me suspect that the installer was not entirely competent.
  12. 2 points
    The Hotel Henry just moved us to their largest ballroom. We outgrew the room we reserved. The Grand Ballroom is huge with 40 ft high ceilings and massive windows overlooking the grounds. We now have as much room as we need! If you were on the fence, consider included breakfasts, lunches and a Saturday night cash bar where we buy all the drinks for the first hour! Great food, smart people and Jim Katen and Bill Kibbel each presenting. This is your chance to get the best CEU's available anywhere.
  13. 2 points
    Secure a hepa filter over the register nearest to your furnace. After a week or two, take the filter to your lab and have them test that.
  14. 2 points
    Kurt is alive under quarantine in China. He posted an interesting read about the situtation. https://medium.com/@kurtmitenbuler/love-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-c161e79ff8ac
  15. 2 points
    Don't put a footing drain where there's no footing. "Waterproofing" contractors have caused major failures to many stone and brick foundations. I get called in as the expert witness. The clay pipe is for the original gravity drain. It no longer functions as originally intended, but illustrates that the builder expected water in the basement and gave it a path out. https://historicbldgs.com/stonefoundations.html
  16. 2 points
    I write the report and give it to the client. I'll help a little, but I'm not their champion. I do my best to reference code, manufacturer's instructions major organizations and ASTM standards. Usually, the only time I see the builder is in court. I can't think of anything good coming from the situation you described.
  17. 2 points
    Having a blast. Brought the spouse yesterday for the welcoming event. Meeting friends.
  18. 2 points
    I guess this was a handyman's fixit for a roof leak. Looks like a shower curtain modified into a drip catcher.
  19. 2 points
    Yes, it was a Mackrel and I put it into the trash.
  20. 2 points
  21. 2 points
    I like it, but have a hard time hanging it straight. 😃
  22. 2 points
    There certainly is an intellectual side to this profession and it was not recognized for decades. At one point there were just a handful of individuals that were home inspectors and they got inundated with people joining the profession that had changed a light bulb or built a deck. It was not that long ago and many remain in the business. As I understand and recall your path, you choose complete immersion and are blessed with great ambition. You also brought an intellect and mindset that was not common at that time. Now you are an educator and mentor - but it has been a journey! We both (all) know inspectors that are off the scale with intelligence, knowledge and skill. They keep me humble and every beginning inspector should be so lucky to know one as a friend.
  23. 2 points
  24. 2 points
  25. 2 points
    I don't remember anything from the 80s. Don't want to. I saw a photo recently showing my hair and how I dressed. Did you mean 1880s?
  26. 2 points
    Any chance that roof becomes a hockey rink in the winter? 😬
  27. 2 points
    There is no such thing as toxic "Black Mold". This is a term designed to sell newspaper, TV, and internet advertising; along with mold testing. Yes, there is mold, black mold, green mold, yellow mold, etc. everywhere on the planet. If you are going to worry about cleaning the deck, what about the fence, and the soil, the plants, etc. If you have a moisture problem inside your home, you might have a problem with mold. Fix the moisture problem, clean up the mold and move on with life. DO NOT WORRY about outdoor mold. You can't do anything worthwhile about it even if you tried.
  28. 2 points
    I've never heard one. Come to think of it, I haven't heard much of anything in the last 50 years.
  29. 2 points
    Once again, the article starts off great and then goes off into the weeds. Instead of advising people to never exceed the standards of practice, here's an idea: Take the time to find the problems and tell your customers about them.
  30. 2 points
    The best piece of report writing advice I've come across in a long time comes from this article from The Atlantic magazine from April of this year. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/what-makes-candidate-authentic/587857/ The article is mostly about politicians trying to sound authentic, but the ideas translate well to many different professions. Basically the idea is that the more authentic you sound the more you're believed. Quote: In a paper published last month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the academics Rachel Gershon and Rosanna K. Smith described the results of a variety of tests showing that listeners perceived speakers to be less authentic when they were told that the speakers were repeating themselves. Self-repetition, they argue, “confronts observers with the performative nature of the interaction” and challenges our assumption that “social interactions, even those that are typically performed and repeated, are assumed to be unique.” In other words, we’re wired to assume that all speech is extemporaneous. When that assumption is revealed to be false, we penalize the speaker. This is true, the authors found, even in contexts where it makes no sense to expect speakers not to repeat themselves, such as listening to a tour guide or a stand-up comic. End Quote I don't really even know how oral speech and written reports might contrast in this respect. But to me, this helps make the case that referring someone to a "qualified roofing professional" is a bad idea. Referring them to a "good roofer" is a good idea.
  31. 2 points
    You don't want one of my reports. I write full-narrative and it's guaranteed to put you to sleep - especially if you're brain has been conditioned to social media where you are limited to posts less than 148 characters and you've developed too short of an attention span. What Jim calls "mushy mush mush" report writing I call inspectorspeak because it pervades this profession. There should be a dark room somewhere staffed with hundreds of retired fifth grade English teachers sitting in front of computer screens. Every home inspection report created anywhere on the planet should have to be emailed to them for proof-reading and correction before being sent out to clients. This profession's reputation and respectability quotient would see a huge uptick if that were the case. The geezer English teachers would probably appreciate it too. Like Jim, I like to write like I speak - even if the bluntness of it shocks the crap out of all agents present and sets their teeth on edge. More than one report I've sent out said something like, "The deck stairs look like they were constructed by a fourth grader who watched one episode of This Old House," or something similar. Tell it like it is and don't mince words. One of the advantages of never sucking up to agents for referrals is that you can get away with that kind of s**t and the phone will still continue to ring, 'cuz it will be past clients and their friends, relatives and co-workers calling you most of the time instead of agents. Oh yeah, and your hair, or at least what's left of it, will gray more slowly - hah! ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike
  32. 2 points
    Well, it's not sexy, but spelling is important. An occasional typo is no big deal, but nothing in your boilerplate should be misspelled and you should never misspell construction terms that might not be part of the customers' vocabulary; when they go to look them up, they'll be baffled. There's just no excuse for a report that talks about "rusting lentils" and "lathe & plaster." It makes you look like a dumb hick. (And if there's more than one furnace, don't call one of them the "principle furnace" unless it has high moral standards.) I'd also focus on getting rid of what I call "mushy mush mush" report writing, "It was observed that the roof is older than it's average condition and might or might not perform satisfactorily over the course of its remaining service life, which it might or might not have exceeded. Hire an expert licensed roofing specialist to advise." (Taken verbatim from an actual report.) Strive to tell the customer exactly what the problem is and exactly what to do about it. Avoid word salad. Use clear words. Don't say, "Debris between the deck treads can facilitate rot." Deck treads? Facilitate rot? Who the heck speaks like that? Here's another, "Confined spaces were inaccessible." What this mean? Why might it be important? What should the customer do about it? One of my favorites: Have any rot in the deck removed and replaced. (Where can I find some "replacement rot"? )
  33. 2 points
    Some folks never need to "manage" anyone's expectations. They're the ones that consistently and assiduously exceed all expectations. There seems to be some of those types of folks here at the Inspector's Journal. It's evident in replies to this topic and many others.
  34. 2 points
    Will you still be glad that you shopped around when you someday have a claim that they refuse to cover?
  35. 1 point
    The cheapies are only good for radiant heat and the client thinks I'm cool to have thermal imaging. A plus is when scanning old upright cast iron radiators I can see if they are mostly filled with air and need to be bled.
  36. 1 point
    The most quiet exhaust fan is one that in inline with just the intake vent in the room. A really noisy fan won't get used at all. Don't try to mount a ceiling fan on its side in a wall. The fan bearings need to be designed for a sideways mount. The actual position of the fan in the ceiling is not that critical. It should change all the air in the room in a reasonable length of time. I'd put the fan away from the door, where the makeup air comes in. I wouldn't mount it inside the shower enclosure, not necessary, increases possibility of a shock hazard, like after a tenant breaks or loses the vent cover. I like the timer switch with the choice of 5 time periods. In a basement suite, typical low ceiling, Mr. Handy had fixed the noisy bath fan that always came on with the light. He installed a metal-handled toggle switch right on the cover, inside the shower enclosure, yikes.
  37. 1 point
    A good finish carpenter or woodworker can make a door for you in any size or shape. (Some cabinet shops are equipped for this as well.) Right now, there might be some very lean finish carpenters out there who'd be happy to get the work.
  38. 1 point
    Well at least somebody else noticed the false info at our government funded news outlet (Unless you're already infected, masks won't help you.) and they corrected it! Although now factually correct... some of the N95 mask most are recommending only filters inbound air and has a one way valve and a deflector that sends unfiltered exhausted breath downwards in front of user. These types of N95 probably won't help much when it comes to someone that's infected NOT infecting others. Other masks types are probably better at preventing someone infected from infecting others?
  39. 1 point
    If it's like here, it only applies to roofers when there is an emergency with a roof that needs fixing - it doesn't allow you to accept a new job if/when there is nothing about the old roof that's considered to be an emergency/life threatening. There is a Facebook site called Washington Home Inspectors where inspectors who are ignoring the governor's order are trying very hard to parse the governor's declaration in such a way as to allow them to ethically violate the law and perform inspections. Myself and others have told them repeatedly in no unvarnished terms to STAY THE F**K HOME and they still don't seem to get it.
  40. 1 point
    We will be arriving a bit early on Thurs and would like to know if anyone else will be around for a get together in the evening - maybe for a meal? Of course any stories, anecdotes or short videos would be tolerated!
  41. 1 point
  42. 1 point
    The stump, the second one that I pulled out, was a test of my resolve. I felt I had to show myself I could do it. Took me months. Shovel and ax. Once it was out, it left a circular hole 9 feet in diameter and 28 inches deep. A fire pit still sits where the tree once was. Took me years to burn all the firewood that came from that tree....alright now...I'm done bragging.
  43. 1 point
    This is tile craftsmanship. The grain is matched across the drain. 64 man hours, it's ready for grout.
  44. 1 point
    Neutral and EGC should be joined at only one location. They're joined in that box in the 2nd photo and most likely they're joined up again in the main disconnect too so things are looking foul. The problem with joining up the neutral and EGC at multiple locations is that between those locations, a portion of the neutral current is going to take to the EGC and the EGC is not ever supposed to carry neutral current. I don't recall an electric car charger as one of several permitted excuses for a tap on a feeder so that's fouled up too. I'd write it. Get a sparky to examine the entire service entrance. Write it before you get started on the egg nog.
  45. 1 point
    I could see the same thing and not recognize it as art, until you take a picture of it. Neat stuff you do.
  46. 1 point
    My spouse keeps me wound up.
  47. 1 point
    got a couple out in the barn.
  48. 1 point
  49. 1 point
    Little Calumet River, Blue Island, IL
  50. 1 point
    Just realized the FLIR E6 is now only 1999.00 new so I will accept 1000.00, thanks, Charlie
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