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Paul MacLean

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    Home Inspector

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  1. If you have E&O insurance, you might contact your carrier and ask if they can recommend a local attorney. I found the attorney handling an E&O case I was involved in to be an excellent resource...for a fee of course. Paul in Austin
  2. This is not from UL and is dated, but it supports the idea that the Purple wire-nut is not the ulimate solution. Also years ago I had an email from a CPSC engineer saying that Ideal's Purple wire nut should be used for temporary repairs only. Unfortunately I can't find that email now. Download Attachment: Ideal Purple Wire Nuts.doc 24.55 KB Paul in Austin
  3. In Central Texas condensing units are never secured to the pad. And I have never seen a resulting problem. Paul in Austin
  4. It looks like the entrance cable is aluminum and the corrosion looks like the battery cables in my truck. I'm don't know the cause, but would sure recommend a sparky clean it up and (if aluminum) use some anti-oxidant paste. Note: I had to put a new battery in the truck...maybe I should look under the hood once in a while.
  5. George, I had good results using http://www.deadlock.com/ for my web site hosting, design work and promotion. The main guy is in Great Britain, but email communication was not a problem. Now that I have retired and my web site is off the web, I'm willing to share this.[:-angel] I thought the fees were reasonable and about 50% of my business came through my web site. Paul in Austin
  6. I picked up a two wire tester at the big box store that indicates 120v or 240v when inserted in a receptacle. I don't recall the proper name, but it tells me if the 240v clothes dryer outlet is actually 240v or if the strange looking wall receptacle is 120v or 240v -- usually installed for a window AC unit. I find it very useful.
  7. I have seen lots of large live oaks (1 to 3 feet diameter) next to slab foundations, and many were there when the house was built. Apparent foundation damage from these trees is rare; roof and fascia damage is another story. Anyway, I have heard it said that the tree is looking for moisture and nourishment and there is very little of either under the slab. Therefore the tree roots don't grow under the slab foundation and no damage results. I'm not an arborist, but it makes sense to me. Another consideration is that the tree sucks a tremendous amount of moisture from the soil daily. If the tree is removed soil moisture conditions are dramically altered, and in Central Texas expansive clay soils, that can result in heaving clay soils that will damage a slab foundation. In my reports, I always commented on the tree and the possibility of damage to the house (roof and fascia), but I never recommended removing the tree. If the buyer was concerned, I'd pass the buck to a structural engineer and an arborist and let them fight it out. The arborist always said save the tree; the engineer would worry about future damage, but was usually hesitant to recommend changes because nobody knew what the result might be. Around here a large oak on the lot, even next to the house, is worth thousands in appraised valve.
  8. When I retired, one year tail coverage for my claims made E&O with Business Risk Partners cost about $3300 or one years premium. Considering the $5000 deductible, that means I won't break even unless a claim exceeds $8300. Still, I bought it. Mostly because the wife sleeps better and I share a bed with her. [:-timebm]
  9. T1-11 was first developed as a siding pattern by the Douglas Fir Plywood Association, now APA (http://www.apawood.org/index.cfm). It was very popular when I was an APA field rep back in the late '60s, and may date from the late '50s. It is still being produced today. I have it on my house and replacement panels are available. The real T1-11 is not Masonite, but Masonite probably has a similar siding panel design. If you really need to know, you can ask APA at their web site.
  10. I'm with Kurt. I can't remember seeing strange breakers in a panel in Central Texas.
  11. The average home around here is about $265,000. Austin has been the highest priced market in Texas, but is still cheap compared to California, Florida and others. I do inspections regularly for California investors buying our "cheap" real estate. While other areas of the country are cooling off, things are still going strong here. We didn't get hot as fast as other places.
  12. I agree. My BBA degree helped me get a job, but the only useful course was Business Letter Writing. I did learn something useful there. The one intangible thing college does for you, if your lucky, is teach you to think. I matured a lot in college and learned about life. All the things Katen mentioned are useful too.[:-wiltel]
  13. I received a BBA in Industrial Management in 1964. I'm not recommending the degree, but I have long maintained the most useful course in that degree program was Business Letter Writing. I'll second the nod toward writing courses. Texas A&M has a Building Construction department that produces some useful courses. That Department has been the source of some good continuing education courses approved for inspectors in Texas.
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