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Brandon Chew

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    Inspecting, Consulting

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  1. Properly installed wire mesh will add strength to a floor slab. But it is rare to find it properly installed on a residential job and the added strength can't overcome the stress created by the typical improperly prepared base. In practice, the wire mesh serves to hold the pieces together after the slab cracks.
  2. You'll usually find these prohibitions in the local sewer use law. The building code will usually just say something like "discharge to an approved location"; then the sewer use law will prohibit things like roof drains, a/c condensate, and sump pumps from being discharged into the sanitary sewer system.
  3. Gil has made only one post (back in Sep 2007) in a forum named "Insurance Q & A With Gil Stuart".
  4. Tread carefully here. It seems to me like he wants you to "bless" his work on the roof. A series of expectations are being set that could leave the inspector holding the bag: After the roofer made his repairs the inspector said it was "ok" The roofer thinks he's only liable for his work for one year The roofer thinks if any leaks develop after 1 year that the manufacturer will take care of it (they'll only cover a defect in the shingle and will punt installation problems) If those are "25-year shingles" the homeowner expects the roof to be leak-free for 25 years... Just giving a heads up, if not to you, then to other folks who may be reading this thread. I'm sure you'll do your best to re-shape those expectations before you're finished with this one. I don't understand why many inspectors sell themselves short, by calling themselves "generalists". We are experts at what we do: performing observations, evaluating, and reporting on the condition of the visible and readily accessible systems and components in the home.
  5. OK, but the ice in the pic is on the outside of the pipe....I don't see the connection between that and the mixture being "wrong". I'm not an expert on geothermal (more accurately, ground-source heat pump) HVAC systems but I know enough to take a stab at your question. The unit in your pic contains the compressor and water-refrigerant heat exchanger of a split system. The AHU is somewhere off your picture, probably in the attic with the gas furnace. The top two lines coming out of the unit are for a heat assist loop for the hot water system. The bottom two lines are for the ground loop. The lines in the center are the hi/lo pressure refrigerant lines heading to the AHU. Since this unit is located in the basement and not outdoors, ice on the outside of the lines means that the temperature of the fluid inside the lines has fallen below 32 degrees F. Some ground-source heat pump systems are designed for ground loop low temps above 32 and others for temps below. If the system is designed to operate with a low temp above 32, then ice on either of the ground loop lines is a symptom of a problem. If the system is designed to operate with a low temp below 32, the loop will have some antifreeze in it (as noted by energy star), and ice on the ground loop return line is to be expected. You can control it by putting insulation on the outside of the pipe where it is exposed to the humidity in the air. Both of the ground loop lines in your pic have ice on them. Ice on the ground loop supply line (regardless of the low temp design value for the loop) is a problem. The supply line should be a fairly constant temp around 50-55 degrees, year-round. It shouldn't have ice on it. Ice on both lines means the temp of the entire ground loop has dropped below 32 degrees. If you are getting ice on lines that should not ice up, it means that the ground loop cannot supply enough heat to keep up with the demand created by the equipment that is extracting the heat from it. The causes of that problem could be many: the ground loop could be too short, the ground loop could be too shallow below grade, there could be air or a blockage in the ground loop line, pump problems, incorrect refrigerant charge or valve problems in the compressor loop of the heat pump, etc. If the problem is not corrected the ground loop can freeze. Digging up the loop can be an expensive repair.... Brandon
  6. I just say the work was not completed in a professional and workmanlike manner. Most folks can understand that. Then they are free to put whatever label on it that works for them.
  7. "What say ye?" I would have answered false without putting a lot of thought into it. For the question statement to be true, the terms asphalt shingle and architectural shingle would need to be identical and interchangeable. They are not. The first refers to the material from which the shingle is made while the second refers to the style of the shingle. I agree it is a poorly worded question and the explanation also leaves a lot to be desired. Jim's comment about dog and rottweiler is spot on. I would also assume that when they wrote "asphalt shingle" within the context of that question, they were really referring to 3-tab shingles. Based on their explanation, that assumption would have turned out to be correct. Also, many folks around here still call 3-tab shingles "asphalt shingles".
  8. I think it is a good idea, but it creates some practical problems that you need to either agree to live with, or figure out a way to work around. The first one is that information on web sites is frequently moved around and the links often change, so you need to keep verifying that all of them are still active and pointing to the place that you want them to point. Even then, there's no guarantee that the site host doesn't move the info on you tomorrow. The second, is that you have no control over the content at the link, and the content can be changed at any time by the site host. While the information at the link might have been relevant and in the correct context when you first placed it in your report, later on, someone can wind up reading your report, clicking on the link, and then start wondering "what was this guy thinking?" Both circumstances are outside your ability to control, and if they go wrong (dead link or improper content) they wind up reflecting poorly upon you (in the mind of the person reading your report).
  9. I use 2006 IRC R1001.10: (note: the same requirement is in the current New York residential code and prior versions of the IRC, but with different section numbering -- R1003.10)
  10. I'll bet it is for bathing the family pet (maybe they had a show dog?). It's hard enough on the knees and back when Fifi is in a regular tub and you are kneeling on the floor outside of it. Put her in the bottom of a sunken tub and the only way you'll get the job done is if you crawl in there with her. Even then you are kneeling down in a tub and there is not a lot of room for the two of you in there. Climb in the tub, put Fifi on the shelf, pull the shower curtain closed, tilt the shower head toward the shelf and wall (or maybe they used one of those hand-held shower heads that you can quickly attach to the faucet), and you and Fifi will be squeaky clean and ready for a night on the town in no time flat. (I'm just guessing)
  11. Yeah, that's the type of inspection I think of for required pre-occupancy inspections, and that's my understanding of it as well. It would be a local, not a state requirement. These types of inspections are usually based upon something like the ICC's International Property Maintenance Code. Here's the scope section of that document: For a residential occupancy, the IPMC essentially defines the bare minimum legal requirements that make the building livable for people inside it and safe for those walking outside it. It's what the building official uses to condemn structures and evict tenants if conditions at an existing building are unsafe. At about 30 pages in length, the IPMC is much less detailed than the code that would apply to a new house or to work being done in an existing house; the International Residential Code runs about 650 pages. I think the original poster is looking for help in defining the scope of work and an inspection agreement for inspecting an apartment for a potential renter, before their client signs the lease agreement, but I'm not really sure. It would be helpful if the original poster clarified who the client is (renter, landlord, muni?), and what their interest is in the property being inspected.
  12. Aye, that it is. I was thinking about single wall vent when I wrote my post. On a B-vent, the acid would attack the aluminum liner first. ... until it ate through the inner liner.
  13. Zinc oxide. Yup. Rub some on your nose to prevent sunburn. [] The vertical vent is too large for the BTUs in the exhaust from the water heater. The exhaust gas cools too much inside the vent and the water vapor in it condenses. The condensate also pulls NOx and SOx out of the exhaust gas creating a liquid that is a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acid. The acid first dissolves the galvanized coating on the steel vent pipe. The white powder you see, zinc oxide, is what remains after the liquid has evaporated. After the condensate strips the zinc from the pipe, it attacks the steel, eating holes in the vent. The over-sized vent can also affect the draft on the water heater, and you may find back drafting or spillage of exhaust gases at the draft hood.
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