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I am new to the profession and seem to have many more questions than answers. Maybe someone can help the new guy. Here are some of my questions:

1. I have been using a mini protimeter to analyze whether a waterstain is active or not, when comparing the difference between the drywood and the waterstained wood I am seeing a very small incremental difference (11 on the stain and 10 on the non-stained area)does this mean the stain is active or is this inconclusive?

2. Does a scuttle hatch door have to be fire rated.

3. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell if a toilet, or sink is vented correctly, is it possible to tell by using a TIF 8800 to measure the sewer gases, and if so where should I adjust the sensitivity to.

4. I recently inspected a house built in the 1800's and was a bit overwhelmed when I went into the basement. It was a granite block foundation with square cut granite on top of round granite boulders, there were air spaces between the joints, spalling boulders, and deteriorating mortar joints. Any ideas on what to suggest to the client? should this be something a contractor of structural engineer should look at. Also the was exposed rigid foam isul. on the ceiling, I believe this to be a fire hazard?

so may questions and so little time

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Posted - Jun 27 2005 : 05:23:42 AM

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I am new to the profession and seem to have many more questions than answers.

Get used to it. There are far more questions than answers.

Maybe someone can help the new guy. Here are some of my questions:

1. I have been using a mini protimeter to analyze whether a waterstain is active or not, when comparing the difference between the drywood and the waterstained wood I am seeing a very small incremental difference (11 on the stain and 10 on the non-stained area)does this mean the stain is active or is this inconclusive?

Barring other site information to the contrary, I'd call it inconclusive.

2. Does a scuttle hatch door have to be fire rated.

What kinds of spaces does this hatch separate?

3. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell if a toilet, or sink is vented correctly, is it possible to tell by using a TIF 8800 to measure the sewer gases, and if so where should I adjust the sensitivity to.

The Tif is a great tool, but it won't tell you if a waste plumbing trap is properly vented. I'm sure lots of funky combustible gases in a trap could set one of those off.

4. I recently inspected a house built in the 1800's and was a bit overwhelmed when I went into the basement. It was a granite block foundation with square cut granite on top of round granite boulders, there were air spaces between the joints, spalling boulders, and deteriorating mortar joints. Any ideas on what to suggest to the client? should this be something a contractor of structural engineer should look at. Also the was exposed rigid foam isul. on the ceiling, I believe this to be a fire hazard?

The foundation is a judgement call, and I can't answer the question without seeing a photo. I will offer that I see houses that age commonly in Eastern MA and rarely is it in such bad condition that I've felt the need to recommend that a structural engineer evaluate it and design a repair.

The rigid foam insulation between the ceiling joists probably isn't a fire hazard, but you didn't mention what kind of foam it was.

so may questions and so little time

Good Luck,

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I am new to the profession and seem to have many more questions than answers. Maybe someone can help the new guy. Here are some of my questions:

1. I have been using a mini protimeter to analyze whether a waterstain is active or not, when comparing the difference between the drywood and the waterstained wood I am seeing a very small incremental difference (11 on the stain and 10 on the non-stained area)does this mean the stain is active or is this inconclusive?

If it is wet, it should peg the meter. If the 10&11 are percents then this is about normal. Did you find the source of the leak?id="blue">

2. Does a scuttle hatch door have to be fire rated.

Yes in a perfect world, but I never see itid="blue">

3. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell if a toilet, or sink is vented correctly, is it possible to tell by using a TIF 8800 to measure the sewer gases, and if so where should I adjust the sensitivity to.

The TIF will pick up bad breath! I don't know of any reliable way other than listing to the flow of the water.id="blue">

4. I recently inspected a house built in the 1800's and was a bit overwhelmed when I went into the basement. It was a granite block foundation with square cut granite on top of round granite boulders, there were air spaces between the joints, spalling boulders, and deteriorating mortar joints. Any ideas on what to suggest to the client? should this be something a contractor of structural engineer should look at. Also the was exposed rigid foam isul. on the ceiling, I believe this to be a fire hazard?

Well this out of my area! But if it has been around for a couple hundred years chance are that it will be around for a couple more. You need more advice from one of our East Coast Yankee inspectors!

As for the foam being a fire hazard. It could be but it depends on the foam. Icynene foam is less flammable than wood!id="blue">

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Thanks for helping the new guy. Its great to actually see a little consistency to the questions. I will do a little more research. As for the Tiff idea, it was mentioned to me by a Tiff salesperson that technicians use it to test methane gas emmisions coming from manhole covers. I have tested poor venting using the Tiff and although very unscientific, the results seem to show that drains with very poor venting or none at all will trigger the tiff at a very low sensitivity (1 1/2 lights). Maybe its all voodoo.

Eric from New Hampshire

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Hi Eric,

I can't offer any more than the other guys just did but I can suggest attending the AHSI Northern New England Chapter meetings that are held several times a year in southern Maine and Northern New Hampshire. I just attended the latest gathering this past Saturday in Eliot, Maine. It was a group home inspection and 25 of us looked at three different homes and compared notes. The new guys (of which I consider myself) teamed up with veterans and I learned bucket loads thus thus avoiding becoming a bucket head. Even though I have to drive at least 4 1/2 hours to these all day events it is well worth the time. Good Luck!

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I'd add one thing. Never, EVER, be afraid to tell you Client that "I don't know". Some people will see you as the expert with all the answers. You'll have to tell them different. If you don't know about the foundation, tell them so and recommend them find a specialist on granite foundations who can tell them.

Baffling 'em with B.S. may only work for so long before someone catches on.

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  • 1 month later...

Chris,

Are weighted scuttle lids a requirement or a common sense recommendation? If a requirement, is there a recommended amount of weight that should be added? Some of the weighted lids that I see can be lifted up with one hand while other ones are so heavy I almost cannot lift them. However, logic would indicate that the heavier the better.

Thanks,

Jeff Euriech

Peoria Arizona

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