Jump to content

Jim Katen

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Jim Katen

  1. Jim Katen

    Roof Part Name?

  2. Jim Katen

    Copper and aluminum SEC

    pranus, can you cite a source for your opinion?
  3. Jim Katen

    Chicago inspection question

    I can appreciate Chicago's unique take on this. But it's just that, a unique take. As well as it might work, it's at odds with the UPC. In aggregate, I find the arguments in favor of the ejectors weak and not particularly compelling. Like many other things in Chicago (Romex, anyone?), I suspect that the prevalence of ejectors is more about job security for plumbers than it is about how well the system works to stop backflows. Just for the record, the UPC requires the backwater valve to only serve those fixtures in a house that are below the elevation of the nearest sewer manhole cover. Fixtures higher than the manhole cover are prohibited from having backwater protection and don't need it anyway. Both backwater valves and ejectors systems can fail, although I concede that the ejector system has an advantage because of the high loop. On the other hand, there have to be lots of failing pumps out there at any given time.
  4. Jim Katen

    Chicago inspection question

    If the idea is to protect against sewer back up, a backwater valve makes more sense than a sewage ejector. The only reason that a sewage ejector prevents backups is because of the backwater valve that's part of the discharge pipe.
  5. Jim Katen

    Chicago inspection question

    If the new drain piping can drain by gravity, it should. The only time you'd use a sewage ejector is when you have to pump the product uphill. "Who is right" will depend on the elevation of your sewer pipe. It's not a matter of "playing it safe." Either your new plumbing is above your existing sewer pipe or it's not. You *must* use gravity if it's above. You *must* use a sewage ejector if it's not. Opinions don't matter here. Only reality.
  6. Jim Katen

    3 inspection photos you should take to manage your risk

    This is why I take inspection advice from lawyers and insurers judiciously. The advice usually begins with a germ of a useful idea, but is then extrapolated to the absurd.
  7. Jim Katen

    Stand By Generators not to Code!

    Well then, let's revisit it. (And welcome back, by the way. I occasionally visit your place, but not as regularly as I should.) A house has a 200-amp service with a 200-amp service panel and a smaller subpanel that covers critical loads. An automatic transfer switch connects the subpanel to a generator that is sized to cover the entire load of the sub panel. Is this prohibited? Why or why not?
  8. Jim Katen

    Foundation settlement gauge

    That's a standard Humbolt crack gauge. I used to get them in bulk when I first started. They also had a different kind that wrapped around a corner. Haven't used them in years. I used a crayon to mark the date next to them. That way you could chart movement over time. If that one was installed correctly, it's showing 2mm of rotation. Without a date, that information isn't particularly helpful, though. Try to find out when it was installed, and how often it's been checked since then. Sometimes they show cyclical movement with changes in the seasons.
  9. With stuff like this, context is everything. They're certainly goofy looking and if they're actually holding up anything important I'd probably want to replace them with something that inspires more confidence. Can't tell without a wider picture though.
  10. Are the shims actually holding up anything, or are they just providing supplemental support? Do you have a wider picture of the floor framing?
  11. I think it's Les' alternative to using the toilet. . .
  12. Jim Katen

    Rest of Co-Hosting

    But did you warn them about boob lights?
  13. I've long believed that it's best to aim for the edge of the water. It seems like that causes the least splashing and collateral damage, but I haven't conducted any controlled studies.
  14. Ours were field mice. Tiny little things that must have a pair of springs for hind legs. They can jump straight up like superman. It's actually quite alarming. Don't get me started. I got one stuck to the back of my head in a crawlspace this summer. . . and it already had a dead mouse on it. . .
  15. Jim Katen

    AFCI Protection (Refrigerators)

    *They* are wrong with regard to GFCIs. Plain & simple. The UL standard for refrigerators requires them to have current leakage at or below .05mA. Modern GFCIs will not trip below 4mA. If a fridge is tripping a GFCI, it’s leaking *at least* 8 times as much current as it should. Your appliance people simply have no room for argument here. I’m a little less sanguine about AFCIs. They’re often squirrely devices and I don’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to weed out “normal” arcing. My suggestion is a bit irregular, but might be helpful. Try swapping out the Siemens AFCI/GFCI for a Square D (Homeline) or an Eaton one and see what happens. Each of these three brands is a little bit different from the others and you might find a sweet spot with one of them. If so, you might have to live with a non-brand-matching breaker in your panel, which is technically incorrect, but probably better than living without the GFCI/AFCI protection, which seems like your only other choice, short of a new fridge.
  16. Oregon mice might be different. The ones in my garage can jump right out of a 5-gallon bucket unless I put a bit of oil in the bottom.
  17. Of course it's wrong. 1001.9 Hearth and hearth extension. Masonry fireplace hearths and hearth extension shall be constructed of concrete or masonry, supported by noncombustible materials, and reinforced to carry their own weight and all imposed loads. No combustible material shall remain against the underside of hearths and hearth extensions after construction.
  18. Jim Katen

    Raised stair nosing

    Ahem. Barry posted perfect examples of the offending fixtures rendered in oiled bronze. These things seem to have appeared in the '80s (like most horrible house products) and have just about taken over the I-can't-decide-what-kind-of-fixture-I-want-but-I-have-to-install-something-so-I'll-just-install-the-cheapest-piece-of-crap-that-I-can-find niche. I'm ashamed to say that I have one installed in my very own, personal house. Every time I walk under it, I can feel my soul being sucked up into it.
  19. In general, if mold is going to grow in a building cavity, it'll grow on the drywall first because the paper backing is really tasty mold food. I don't see any significant sign of mold in there. That's not really important anyway. Fix the leak. That's what you should be worried about, not invisible mold.
  20. Jim Katen

    Pit Sawn Timbers

    Any pictures? I love Oregon, but the oldest structures here are only from the 1850s.
  21. Jim Katen

    Pump run on reversed hot and neutral

    Reversed polarity should not have caused any damage to the circulator. If it's damaged, something else did it. Grundfos pumps are very durable, but they tend to fail when their motor shafts are not installed horizontally. Was this one installed properly?
  22. Jim Katen

    Cat IV Roof termination with plumbing stack flashing

    I like the way they just sit on top of the shingles in the happy-go-lucky, carefree way.
  23. Jim Katen

    Cat IV Roof termination with plumbing stack flashing

    That's not the kind I'm seeing. They have a steel base and the pebbled rubber is shinier.
  24. Jim Katen

    Cat IV Roof termination with plumbing stack flashing

    I've seen them made from EPDM, neoprene, & silicone. In my area, the most common ones by far are made by Oatey. Those from the early '90s and earlier seemed to last forever, while those from the late '90s till about 2010 or so would deteriorate and crack at the drop of a hat. In the late 2010s or so, it looks like Oatey changed the formula - the "rubber" portion looks and feels different - it has a pebbled surface and is harder and less resilient. I've never seen one of these crack. Anyone else noticed this?
  25. Jim Katen

    Post Frame Construction Home

    Why not install 2x4 girts 24" oc. staggering the inside and outside ones? That will eliminate thermal bridging at the girts, and make it much easier to install the insulation in two layers with no gaps. It'll also make it much easier to run wiring perpendicular to the girts - no drilling necessary.