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Norm

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About Norm

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    USA
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    home inspector

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  1. Thought I was done? Wrong. Dr. Joe's comments regarding ventilated attics can be found at http:www.buildingscience.com Search for #10 of Joes top 10 list of dumb things to do in the south. NORM SAGE
  2. Looks like Icynene to me. Traditional thinking has always been "the more attic ventilation the better". This concept is consistent with "let's design and build all houses the same without regard to the climate in which they have to function". Recent thinking among building scientists, Dr. Joe included, seems to be shifting to designing homes with sealed, or closed, attics in hot humid climates. Makes sense to me. Why would you want to ventilate an attic in a home here in S. Florida with moisture laden air? The outdoor RH down here in the summer is often well into the 90% range. These high levels are even more consistent where high end homes are built on waterfront lots. OK let's look at what we are doing when we ventilate an attic in such a climate. Moisture migrates from areas of high moisture to areas of lower moisture. Outside to inside. We fill the attic with wet air, the A/C cools the conditioned and sometimes the attic side of the ceiling drywall to below the dewpoint. Vapor in the attic air becomes a solid (water) and condenses on the sheetrock, recessed light fixtures, smoke alarms, A/C supply and return diffusers and any other ceiling perforation. Eventually mold forms on the building components. It's a constant self propagating cycle. Recently I inspected a multi-million dollar home on the intracoastal waterway. The owners complained of a strong mildew odor in the home. The thermostats for all four central A/Cs were set for 70 degrees in the cooling cycle. One of the attic accesses was located in the master bedroom walk-in closet. Mirrored bifold doors were installed at the closet entry and there was a dresser with a mirror in the closet. As soon as I opened the attic hatch the glass surfaces fogged over as the wet air in the attic moved to a location of lower humidity, the conditioned area of the home below. I suggested the owners retain a mechanical engineer in order to explore retrofitting the house with a closed attic and possibly supplemental dehumidification of the attic space. The A/C systems may have to be redesigned since the attic now becomes semi-conditioned space. Testing has proven that a sealed attic doesn't raise the temperature of the roofing materials to a point which shortens their servicable life nor does it affect the manufacturers warranty. Hopefully, within the next couple of months I'll complete one of my many unfinished projects which is an article titled "Menopause Money and Mold" which deals with, among other concepts, how lowering the temperature below 74 degrees can cause the relative humidity within a space to rise exponentially. Well, that's my thoughts in thirty words or less. NORM SAGE
  3. Norm

    Low voltage lights by pools

    NEC Article 680.22(B)(1),(3),(4), & (5) spells it out. The NEC doesn't differentiate between low and high voltage Luminaires(lighting fixtures), these sections state no electrical fixtures may be placed within 5' of the pool unless they are at least 5' above the maximum water level, are rigidly attached to the existing structure and protected by a GFCI circuit. NORM SAGE
  4. Great information. Thanks for your input and for taking the time to respond. NORM SAGE
  5. Seems to me there was a thread regarding collecting inspection fees by way of credit cards some time ago and I can't find it. The number of out of town buyers who don't attend the inspection is increasing and so are the receivables. I'm considering participating in a credit card payment program. Anyone have experience with this, both good and bad, please let me know. NORM SAGE
  6. In Florida the Statute of Limitations is three years for work performed without a contract and four years if there is an executed contract governing the work. Also in Florida state law requires a business to have an occupational license in the county and city where the physical office is located. Satellite offices are not required to have separate or additional licences. NORM SAGE
  7. Norm

    Need to let off some steam

    Our phone service package includes caller ID. The phones will store and save the numbers of the last 100 calls received. It's easy to compare the stored numbers with the ones you couldn't understand since all you need is a couple of the digits from the message to do this. This also happens when someone is calling from a cell phone and even though they don't speak rapidly there are voids in the transmission. NORM SAGE
  8. Norm

    Installment 4

    Paul, What you're referring to as "plastic piping" is Dek-0-Drain. It's a hollow plastic channel about 1 1/2" wide and 4" deep placed in a concrete pool deck so as to provide surface water drainage to a remote area. In this case the bond wire which was attached to the wire mesh just happened to come up through the concrete next to the Dek-O-Drain after which it was run along the surface to the metal support column. Most of the time the conductor is bugged onto the column below the concrete surface and you have to run a continuity test to verify its presence. NORM SAGE
  9. Norm

    Installment 4

    I must admit I've been lurking. I'm flattered to have been missed. NORM SAGE
  10. Norm

    Installment 4

    Martin, The conductor in photo #4 which attaches to a vertical metal support column is a solid #8. I verified it myself at the time I took the photo. NORM SAGE
  11. Norm

    Crack in shell

    At the outset it's important to understand there is no such thing as a minor crack. Mark is correct when he says it's a major problem. Cracks may be limited to the plaster coat or they may extend through the gunnite shell. It's impossible to tell the difference by a visual inspection. Assume the worst and you won't go wrong. If you're lucky enough to elicit a reliable history regarding the pool, specifically as to how often water needs to be added, this may help. I caution you not to rely entirely on this since the pool may be leaking from an entirely different source. As comfortable as I am with pools I never attempt to diagnose the cause or severity of cracks. I always defer to a licensed pool repair contractor. You observed the cracks, informed your client of their presence, and told them this is a serious condition which requires further evaluation by a specialist. Stop there and you will have served your client well. Try to go further and you're on a slippery downhill course. Having said the above I must admit curiosity does get the best of me and I usually ask my client to provide me with a copy of the repair contractor's report for my own edification. NORM SAGE
  12. Ever notice the punched holes in the prongs of electrical plugs? Do these holes have a proper name? Why are they there and what are they supposed to do if anything? NORM SAGE
  13. Norm

    Swimming Pool Light

    I'm at a loss. Never have seen that before and don't have a clue. I will discuss this with my contemporaries down here in the hopes that someone will have a viable explaination. Where there's smoke there's fire or so they say. Is this a 120 Volt light or is there a step down transformer present? NORM SAGE
  14. Norm

    Why bond a gas pool heater?

    Before addressing the question it's important to clearly understand the difference between grounding and bonding. Grounding provides a path for errant current to earth. Bonding, at least when it comes to swimming pools, effectively ties together all potentially conductive components of the system utilizing a #8 solid copper conductor. This creates an "equipotential grid" which prevents electrical potential gradients within the same system. Kind of like the little birds which walk along the hot rail of a transit system without being injured. Should a portion of the birds body simultaniously touch another conductive part of the system with a different voltage potential you have roasted bird. NEC Article 680.26 (B)(4) states "Metal parts of electrical equipment associated with the pool water circulating wystem.....shall be bonded. If the gas heater has a high voltage, low voltage, or photovoltage ighition system it is by definition "electrical equipment" and is required to be bonded. Now to muddy the waters a bit go to NEC Article 680(E) which states "For pool water heaters rated at more than 50 amperes and having specific instructions regarding bonding and grounding, only those parts designated to be bonded shall be bonded......". I think this section is intended for electric heat pump pool and spa heaters since I don't know of a gas heater ignition system of 50 amperes or greater. Further, it seems as though the manufacturers recommendations will determine exactly which components of the heater must be bonded. Now that I've read and re-read my comments I'm convinced the true definitive answer will come from the chief electrical code officer of the authority having jurisdiction. Ask five code compliance officials the same question and you'll likely get five different answers so why shouldn't I be vague and ambiguous? NORM SAGE
  15. According to Mike all one has to do is run a "google search" and they can find out what chat rooms you participate in. After that it's easy. Go to forums, click on members, click on the member you are interested in and the threads he/she has posted on are displayed. NORM SAGE
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