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Mundo Inspector

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  1. Biological growth is seldom considered functional damage by insurance companies, according to Farmers Ins. with whom I trained. Moss is easily removed with water and a scrub brush that won't remove granules unless it's an old roof that has lost a lot of volatile compounds. Lichen may very slowly feed on the filler used in asphalt, but will that not result in functional damage. Some dark areas are also visible in parts of the roof (notice the areas below the vent where zinc from the vent in runoff has reduced algae growth) and algae will not cause functional damage either. Unless it's very extreme, biological growth is a cosmetic issue as far as insurance companies go. If moss were to grow extremely thick it might shorten the lifespan of a roof, but I'm talking solid moss. Biological growth is an indication that the shingles have been remaining wet for extended periods of time. Typically only a problem in very wet environments with the roof in constant shade.
  2. It's a common problem with some brands of composite slate. What Bill said. The common fix is double-sided tape.
  3. The following information on maintaining telescoping ladders is from Climb and Xtend but according to them, it applies to all telescoping ladders. Xtend the Life of the Ladder.pdf (638.6 KB)
  4. Many of us have an idea what causes it, but here's the whole story: Due to inadequate combustion exhaust venting, combustion gases cool before they reach the exterior. This is usually caused by an excessively long- or too many bends in the- combustion vent. Cooling combustion gases condense on the inside of the galvanized steel vent where the condensation reacts with the galvanized steel, and the result is corrosion. The first, kinda liquidy, gooey product of this corrosion is zinc hydroxide, which slides down the inside of the vent onto the heating appliance (furnace, boiler, or water heater) where the rest of the moisture evaporates, leaving a white, powdery residue that is zinc oxide. Sometimes it doesn’t make it as far as the heating appliance and you can see it leaking from joints in the vent above the heating appliance. Now, sometimes this condensation takes place where the vent protrudes above the roof. This makes sense because the vent will be colder above the roof, especially in cold climates, and a colder vent will cause more condensation to develop. Because this takes place way up high, the zinc hydroxide that forms up there will have a long way to travel before it falls out the bottom of the vent connector, and before it reaches the bottom, it may become trapped at bends in the vent. At any rate, some of the gooey zinc hydroxide will dry to powdery zinc oxide while it’s still inside the vent, and some of this powder will be caught up in the slipstream of the draft from the heating appliance and will be carried up, discharged out the vent, and deposited on the roof, and this is why you see white residue on the roof below combustion vents. On older combustion appliances with vents made of steel that is not galvanized, this residue may be brown because the corrosion product of steel is iron oxide, not zinc oxide.
  5. I used to review mock reports from new inspectors for InterNACHI. If you're talking to new inspectors: Tell them to be judicious with photos. They don't need two photos of the same doorknob hole, each from a different perspective, each with 2 arrows and a label "Doorknob Hole". Tell them not to specify causes when they don't have to, and if they do specify causes, to get it right. Tell them to proof their reports and use spellcheck! Here are a few things I've written about report writing: Report Compilation Time and Length The 3 Functions of a Narrative Report writing Guide
  6. Yikes! That's a barrier to having a client read the entire report. I'd guess the letters and numbers are cross reference for photos placed in a group in apart from the narratives they support. Reports are about communication and the information needs to be accurate and accessible, and when information is jammed together like this it's not very accessible. Narratives should have clear meanings that leave little room for interpretation. They need to be include what's necessary, but not include fluff that will just lengthen the report unnecessarily. Here are links a couple of short articles I've written on report writing: The 3 Functions of a Narrative Report Compilation Time and Length
  7. Turn on the water and be responsible for the damage caused by broken pipes? That's why the water was off. Turn on the breaker and burn down the house? That's why the breaker was off. Turn on the gas and then discover that the pilot won't ignite and the gas valve won't shut off? The house is filling with gas but the electricity is on. Will a switch spark and ignite the houseful of gas or will you just not turn off the lights and hope for the best (I was there for that one). All these things are not uncommon. The SOPs don't require it, but if you want to accept that liability... you will not impress the agent because you've been suckered into doing something unprofessional and foolish. You will not impress the client if it turns out you made a big mistake. The list of people you won't impress by turning on utilities that are off at the time of the inspection gets longer.
  8. I agree 100%, except every time I've seen the phrase in someone's report it's "appears to be functioning as intended." Combined with other statements in those reports, it seems the purpose of the phrase is to not commit to anything. It seems to me they're trying to avoid upsetting "the deal" while also attempting to deflect any responsibility. If I don't use those terms while I'm talking to someone, why would I write that way? Because an inspection report is not an everyday conversation. Your report language may have to protect you in court. You can write in a reasonable language and still protect yourself. Mostly, it's about being accurate.
  9. That's right and wrong. Shingles are the most important part of a shingle roof (as far as the roof covering material goes), but not everyone thinks all shingles have a 20-year warranty or last 20 years. Good ones last longer, cheap ones may not last that long.
  10. Unless the roof was trashed by hail and replaced at some point, which makes the date of original construction moot as far as shingle age. Dont' try to give shingle age.
  11. The list of things that affect shingle lifespan: Shingle Quality Low-quality shingles will fail before high-quality shingles. Quality can vary widely among manufacturers, and even within a single manufacturer?s product line. Structure Orientation South-facing roof slopes have shorter lifespans due to increased thermal cycling and UV exposure. Some portions of the roof are affected by prevailing winds more than others. Degree of Roof Slope Flatter roofs have shorter lifespans because they shed moisture more slowly and are more directly exposed to UV radiation than roofs with steeper pitches. Climate Harsh climates shorten roof lifespans. Wind, moisture and thermal cycling all contribute to deterioration of roofing materials. Thermal Cycling Climates with large daily temperature swings shorten roof lifespans because they cause greater amounts of expansion and contraction. This increases the roof's rate of deterioration. Roof Color Darker roofs absorb more heat, which shortens shingle lifespan by accelerating the loss of volatiles and increasing thermal cycling. Elevation Homes at higher elevations are exposed to more UV radiation, which deteriorates most roof-covering materials, including asphalt shingles. Roof Structure Ventilation Poor ventilation of the roof structure shortens shingle lifespan by failing to keep shingles cool, resulting in accelerated loss of volatiles and greater amounts of thermal cycling. Quality of Maintenance Failure to repair damage and keep roofs clean can result in damage and deterioration from moisture intrusion and wind. Identical shingles models will have different lifespans in different climate zones and different shingles models will have different lifespans in the same climate zones. If you've been a roofing contractor for many years in one area, then maybe you can accurately identify and estimate the age of a particular shingle model, but for most inspectors, it's not necessary, and it's a liability. Just state the condition and identify deficiencies.
  12. You can argue about the meaning of almost any word or term. Sooner or later, you just have to pick a term. I started out with "serviceable condition". Now: "The Inspector observed no deficiencies in the condition of..." or "The Inspector observed few deficiencies in the condition of... notable exceptions will be listed in this report".
  13. It's really about deficiencies. An expensive exterior door can be badly damaged by a dog constantly scratching to get out, but still "function as intended". The term "deficiencies" includes defects, but "defects" doesn't necessarily include deficiencies (such as the door). "No deficiencies were observed by the Inspector" works pretty well.
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