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  1. According to Reliance install instructions; "The transfer switch circuits with 20 Amp breakers must be connected only to branch circuits with 20 Amp breakers in the load center. Do not connect transfer switch circuits to any branch circuits greater than 20 Amps. NOTE: The transfer switch circuits with 15 Amp breakers can be connected to branch circuits with either 15 or 20 Amp breakers in the load center." Link; http://www.reliancecontrols.com/Documen ... ctions.pdf
  2. Spend time with your customers, whatever amount you deem necessary, balanced against the need to be profitable. Try to ignore things realtors say. I absolutely agree. I have been fortunate to work with some good realtors that appreciate the time I take to make sure the client understands what I have found. Saves all of us time and trouble down the road. For the other realtors that keep looking at their watch, and had no idea that an inspection can take 3 hours or more......just remember that you probably inspected more houses last week, than they sold all of last year. As a result they often will be confused about the process. Just have to educate them.
  3. So my question is regarding the air inlets we see on windows and sometimes with forced air heat systems we see an air inlet duct with damper door and timer here in Washington. Is it just me, or have alot of the builders simply quit installing air inlets? A few years ago every home had a way to inlet air from the exterior using the trickle ports or the ducts and dampers. But in the last couple years I routinely come across homes that have neither system. I have heard responses from numerous builders saying that the code was changed and they now allow "Fan only whole house ventilation". But here is how the exception reads in the code [V303.4.1.5]; Exception: Exhaust only ventilation systems do not require outdoor air inlets if the home has a ducted forced air heating system that communicates with all habitable rooms and the interior doors are undercut to a minimum of 1/2 inch above the surface of the finish floor covering. So if you stop here, you can draw a conclusion that no outside air is needed whatsoever....and I think this is what builders, and possibly code compliance officials have done. But common sense tells me that you are not going to get outside air from a ducted forced air system, unless it leaks like a seive. If it is installed right, then it shouldn't. So I am guessing that the drafters of this code meant that by using the forced air system, air can be inlet through a mechanical damper and duct as follows; [V303.4.2] Integrated Ventilation System: If a forced air heating system is installed, fresh air may be ducted into the system to meet ventilation requirements (see Figure 8-6). An integrated system consists of: • A fresh air duct, connected to the furnace return plenum, sized per VIAQ Table 3-5. • A damper allowing the proper amount of outside air to the system. • A clock timer set to appropriate ventilation periods. These code references were pulled from the WSU Builders' Field Guide. http://www.energy.wsu.edu/code/ Under the ventilation section; http://www.energy.wsu.edu/documents/cod ... -2006A.pdf
  4. I also pondered hiring an employee and all of its' pluses and minuses. My problem is that I really enjoy what I do, and my business runs very smooth, with no real headaches. I have managed employees for other companies in the past, which can be stressful, time consuming, rife with trials and tribulations. Having been an employee, like most of us have, it is easy to remember the mind set many of us once had. But after being self employed you develop an entirely different mind set. While I have no problem when business is great one month, and slow the next. Income being like a roller coaster for us business owners, and the end of the year it all washes out. But employees expect a consistent paycheck at the end of every week. The concern is paying an employee for very little work in the slow months. While I have no problem doing inspections at hours that are convienent for my clients schedule, and not necessarily for mine.... and I have no problem working 7 days a week. Many employees often want 9 to 5 hours, Monday-to- Friday. I also feel that the kind of employee I would want to hire would be someone with experience in the field, and a motivated self starter that could provide a positive asset to the business. The reality is that kind of an employee, likely would be better off just opening their own business from an income standpoint (longterm). So what are the chances of finding the "right" employee that would be an asset, instead of a liability?
  5. Well said. Moisture meters are more for show, than go. And in the wrong hands they likely won't provide reliable results.I got into this business more than 13 years ago. Back then, I was told that a moisture meter was a must-have tool and that it was being used by most inspectors in my region and that the standard of care was to use it. For 13 years I've done just that and I know very few inspectors that don't have one. If I'm ever called into a courtroom to testify about the use of a moisture meter as part of an inspector's arsenal, I'm going to say exactly that and I think that the majority of inspectors in this country, regardless of where they are, would testify the same way. My better half, Yung, has some very basic training in how to use my 9-year old Protimeter SM and over the years she has made some amazing finds with it. Out of many hundreds of finds, I know of less than five times where she was wrong and none of those false issues caused any deals to go sour or resulted in serious negative consequences for our clients, sellers or the house. Many of her findings have had outward indicators of moisture - staining, dampness, mold spots, odor, etc., but just as many did not and I seriously doubt that if we hadn't had the tool that we would have found those issues. One could argue that if we wouldn't have found an issue without the of the moisture meter that it falls outside the scope of the standards but I think one would be wrong to assume that. I believe that it doesn't matter what your profession is; there's always a "standard of care" for different tasks that are done within every profession. Fail to meet the local standard of care, and I think one risks running smack into a judge that won't be sympathetic to any entreaties for mercy based on some weasel clauses in an SOP or a pre-inspection agreement. Heck, even the contractors and builders that frequent my building science forum on JLC have been purchasing moisture meters and have been using them as a means to track down issues in homes they've built or are working on. When contractors and builders start emulating something that a home inspector does, you have to admit that whatever that "something" is it must be pretty commonly done and accepted. Then there's this; how do you convince a client that you didn't screw up if a latent moisture issue, that you could have easily discovered with a moisture meter, shows up later on? What if, after you arrive onsite, tell that client that it's not your problem because it was a latent issue and then drive away, the client hires another inspector to come in behind you to look at the issue? What if that inspector pulls out a moisture meter, finds the issue easily within moments and then says to the client, "It's no big deal; any competent home inspector using even the cheapest moisture detector would have been able to find this easily." Think about what that does to one's reputation. I think the amount of good will that you could lose over something like this is immeasurable. Why would anyone want to risk that when a small investment in a moisture meter can help you avoid it? ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!! Mike Mike I agree with many things you are saying. I guess the point I wanted to make is that there are some inspectors who get every gadget known to man kind and proceed out to a home inspection with no training or idea what the results mean. Unfortunately I can not count how many times where someone inexperienced with a moisture meter has come into a home, declared there was moisture around a toilet, or in a shower wall, and told the buyers/ sellers that the floor or wall has to come out to address the issue. Upon removal of the materials it was found that there was no problem. I am just saying to the newbie inspector posting the original question to be careful. There are many instances where the moisture meter is not practical. For instance the bank owned home where no one has taken a shower, used toilets, etc. for several months or more. How about the shower stall that was just used an hour before the inspection, that is totally saturated on the surface? Or what about the bathroom the homeowners never use anymore because the kids grew up and moved out. Substrates also can confuse the readings. But I do have to ask why moisture meters are not made part of the Standards of Practice? ....Given that they are a "must have". Also why wouldn't an IR Camera be a "must have" in the inspectors arsenal? Like the moisture meter they have alot of practical applications for the home inspector, .....besides being a show peice to impress clients and realtors.
  6. It has also been my understanding that gable louvers should never be used with ridge ventilation. Having "balanced" attic ventilation is the goal. Check out the following link. http://www.inspect-ny.com/interiors/atticcond9.htm Although I have to say that I have seen many homes with both ridge and gable vents that had no moisture build up, yet others configured that way with serious ventilation problems/damage.
  7. Well said. Moisture meters are more for show, than go. And in the wrong hands they likely won't provide reliable results.
  8. Check out my deck construction detail page. It has the prescriptive deck construction link to gove you and your husband ideas. Hope that helps. http://millerhomeinspect.com/decks.aspx
  9. I agree with most posts, that finding that crack would have been outside the scope of the home inspection. I emphasize both verbally and in the written report how important it is to have an HVAC contractor perform an additional inspection and service to maintain prior to closing. I explain/document the potential for a cracked heat exhanger. That has always served me well. I do find it frustrating to make a call ( bad heat exchanger, bad roof, etc) to only have a technician, contractor, etc fully bless it, as the one did in your example of the 50 cent piece hole in the exchanger. Then to turn around and have another technician condemn something not "readily visible" and not any where near the magnitude of the previous example. Some of these contractors are eager to throw the home inspector under the bus, while they are "making a sale".
  10. Ya, looks sloppy............... "Uncle Bob" strikes again...... Example of the large home improvement center slogan; "You can do it, and we can help"
  11. This may sound silly, .....but who the heck is Sharon Kramer? ...and what makes her the mold lady?
  12. This is just one of those threads that reminds you not to believe everything you read on the internet..... First it was "illegal" 14 guage wiring....and then came "prohibited" back stabbed outlets.....what next?
  13. Nice elbows.....I guess the proper sweep might have made it look funny......
  14. Really....That is bizarre. There is absolutely nothing wrong with #14 copper as long as it protected with a 15 amp breaker. I would love to know why your local AHJ has a problem with that. I understand why they have a problem with electrical work that was performed without a permit. But rewiring the house for something that is accepted by NEC, IRC, and general practice throughout the entire US?
  15. Here is an informative guide on Hobo Spider indentification, or mis-identification by an entomologist who has provided training at the SPI seminars. http://pep.wsu.edu/pdf/PLS116_1.pdf Hope that helps.
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