How do you analyze a wall crack from cause to effect?

Thursday, July 2, 2020
How do you analyze a wall crack from cause to effect?

Understanding what the different wall crack patterns mean can often point you directly to the underlying cause. Each type—inverted “V,” stairstep, vertical, etc—indicates a likely scenario. This way of evaluating a structural problem in a wall is essentially...

How long does a countertop last?

Thursday, July 2, 2020
How long does a countertop last?

You can expect a countertop to last between 10 to 60 years with reasonable care, depending on the material and level of use. Here’s our list, with links to articles with more info about each one, and a bar graph comparing lifespans.
Concrete -...

What is the average life expectancy of a cultured marble countertop?

Thursday, July 2, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a cultured marble countertop?

You can expect a cultured marble countertop to last about 25 years with reasonable care. The material is a combination of ground stone, pigment, and resins. Cultured marble is a tough, durable material, but porous and easily stained. 
    Here’s...

What is the average life expectancy of a resin countertop?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a resin countertop?

You can expect a resin countertop to last 10 to 20 years with reasonable care, and an average of 15 years. Creative colors and designs are possible with many choices of what is embedded in the resin, such as recycled glass or pennies.
    Here’s...

What is the average life expectancy of a marble countertop?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a marble countertop?

You can expect a marble countertop to last 50 years or more with reasonable care. Although marble can theoretically endure much longer, and has been rated by some for 100+ years, the accumulation of stains, damage, and the changing requirements for...

What is the average life expectancy of a quartz (engineered stone) countertop?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a quartz (engineered stone) countertop?

You can expect a quartz (engineered stone) countertop to last 20 to 60 years, depending of level and usage and care, with an average of 40 years. The material is a combination of ground quartz, resins, and pigments. Because it is a manufactured product,...

What is the average life expectancy of a concrete countertop?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a concrete countertop?

You can expect a concrete countertop to last 50 years or more with reasonable care. Concrete can be rustic-industrial, or more decorative with addition of stone or glass aggregates at surface. However, it is prone to staining and a sealer must be reapplied...

What is the average life expectancy of a granite countertop?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a granite countertop?

You can expect a granite countertop to last 60 years or more reasonable care. Although granite can theoretically endure much longer, and has been rated by some for 100+ years, the accumulation of stains, damage, and the changing requirements for a kitchen...

What is the average life expectancy of a tile countertop?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a tile countertop?

You can expect a tile coutertop to last 50 years or more with reasonable care. Porcelain tiles are more resitant to damage than ceramic. LIght color grout will show stains and dirt more than dark, and all grout must be sealed and may require repairs...

What is the average life expectancy of a wood (butcher block) countertop?

Monday, June 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a wood (butcher block) countertop?

You can expect a wood (butcher block) countertop to last 60 years or more with normal care. Use of the countertop as a cutting surface will lower life expectancy to about 20 years or less. Regular application of food-safe oil is necessary to maintain...

What is the average life expectancy of a laminate countertop?

Monday, June 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a laminate countertop?

You can expect a laminate countertop to last 15 to 40 years, with an average of 25 years. The variable levels of use and care are the reason for the wide lifespan range. Using the surface as a cutting board or putting hot pans directly on the it causes...

What is the average life expectancy of closet and pantry shelves?

Saturday, June 27, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of closet and pantry shelves?

You can expect closet shelving to last 40 to 100 years or more, with an average of 70 years. Older type wood shelves on wall ledgers tend to hold up longer that the coated wire shelves with brace brackets or MDF closet system shelving.
    Here’s...

What is the average life expectancy of a bathroom medicine cabinet?

Saturday, June 27, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a bathroom medicine cabinet?

You can expect a bathroom medicine cabinet to last 30 years, and sometimes much longer. Like other cabinets in the bathroom, it is likely to be replaced while still functional, but dated and a little battered, as as part of a bathroom remodeling. 

What is the average life expectancy of bathroom cabinets?

Saturday, June 27, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of bathroom cabinets?

You can expect bathroom cabinets to last 30 to 60 years, with and average of 50 years. The high humidity and splashed water in a bathroom can shorten the life of budget cabinets, and a plumbing leak under the sink or in the wall behind it will also...

What are the signs it's time to replace windows?

Friday, June 26, 2020
What are the signs it's time to replace windows?

Some signs that it’s time to consider replacing your windows are obvious, while others require taking a closer look. Here’s our list:
•• Windows difficult to open/close - Although this can also be a sign of structural settlement, it is usually...

What is the average life expectancy of a wood window?

Friday, June 26, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a wood window?

You can expect a wood window to last 20 to 45 years, with an average of 30 years. Wood windows are both classic and durable, but susceptible to rot if a paint finish or other sealer coating is not maintained. 
    Here’s a bar graph comparing the...

What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass window?

Friday, June 26, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass window?

You can expect a fiberglass window to last 20 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. Fiberglass is more expensive than vinyl but typically a longer lasting window.
    Here’s a bar graph that compares the life expectancy of fiberglass windows...

What is the average life expectancy of a vinyl window?

Thursday, June 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a vinyl window?

You can expect a vinyl window to last 20 to 40 years, with an average of 30 years. Vinyl is the most common window type for new construction, but can be prone to warping over time. Some manufacturers offer windows that are a combination of vinyl and...

What is the average life expectancy of double-pane (insulated) window glass?

Thursday, June 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of double-pane (insulated) window glass?

You can expect double or triple-pane (insulated) window glass to last 10 to 20 years, and an average of about 15 years, until the seal around the glass panes leaks and the inert gas escapes. When this happens, the insulating ability of the window is...

What is the average life expectancy of an aluminum window?

Thursday, June 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an aluminum window?

You can expect an aluminum window to last 15 to 30 years, with an average of 20 years. Although they are less expensive, aluminum windows are also less energy efficient than other windows because it is a poor insulator that readily transfers heat and...

How long does a door last?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
How long does a door last?

You can expect a door to last from 25 to 100+ years, depending on the type of door, material, quality of manufacture, level of usage, and weather exposure. Click on any of the door types listed below to link to a page with more information.
ExteriorFiberglass,...

What is the average life expectancy of an interior solid core wood door?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an interior solid core wood door?

You can expect an interior solid core wood door to last 50 to 100+ years, with an average of 70 years. Here’s a bar graph comparing life expectancy of an interior solid core wood door to other doors in a house.   Go to our blog post What is the average...

What is the average life expectancy of an interior hollow core wood door?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an interior hollow core wood door?

You can expect an interior hollow core wood door, both flush and panel, to last 25 to 50+ years, with an average of 40 years. Here’s a bar graph comparing the life expectancy of an interior solid core wood door to other door types.    Go to our blog...

What is the average life expectancy of an interior wood French door?

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an interior wood French door?

You can expect an interior wood french door to last 40 to 70 years, with an average of 50 years. Here’s a bar graph comparing life expectancy of an interior wood french door to other doors in a house.   Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan...

What is the average life expectancy of a closet door?

Monday, June 22, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a closet door?

You can expect a closet door to last 30 to 100+ years, with an average of 50 years. Heavy usage is the primary factor that shortens lifespan, especially for track-type folding closet doors.
    Here’s a bar graph that compares the life expectancy...

What is the average life expectancy of a screen door?

Monday, June 22, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a screen door?

Screen doors are typically made of wood, aluminum or vinyl, and you can expect one to last 20 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years. The factors that shorten lifespan are heavy/rough usage and direct sun and rain exposure. Screen doors damage more...

What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass exterior door?

Monday, June 22, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass exterior door?

You can expect a fiberglass exterior door to last 50 to 100+ years, with an average of 70 years. Fiberglass does not rust or rot and is more dimensionally stable than other door materials. However, the gaskets and/or weather stripping may need to be...

What is the life expectancy of a wood exterior door?

Sunday, June 21, 2020
What is the life expectancy of a wood exterior door?

You can expect a wood exterior door to last 30 to 70+ years, with an average of 50 years. The are three factors that affect door longevity:
1) Weather exposure - A door under only a small roof overhang above it that is exposed to direct sun and...

What is the average life expectancy of a steel exterior door?

Sunday, June 21, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a steel exterior door?

You can expect a steel exterior door to last 30 to 80+ years, with an average of 50 years. The primary factor that affects lifespan is weather exposure. A door that is under little or no roof overhang will corrode sooner, especially at the bottom third...

What is the average life expectancy of a garage door opener?

Saturday, June 20, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a garage door opener?

You can expect a garage door opener to last 10 to 15+ years, with an average of 12 years. Factors that affect lifespan are level of usage, along with maintenace and lubrication of track and springs. The garage door itself can last 20 to 35 years, with...

What is the average life expectancy of a garage door?

Saturday, June 20, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a garage door?

You can expect a garage door to last 20 to 35 years, with an average of 30 years. Factors that affect lifespan are level of usage, maintenance and lubrication, and weather exposure. The opener has a shorter life: 10 to 15+ years, with a 12 year average. 

How long does house siding last?

Friday, June 19, 2020
How long does house siding last?

Here’s a list of average life expectancies for residential siding. Click on any of the sidings to get further info. As a rule, inorganic siding like brick or stucco is going to outlast organic sidings like wood or plywood. Vinyl and aluminum, although...

How many children drown each year in a pool or spa?

Friday, June 19, 2020
How many children drown each year in a pool or spa?

An average of 379 children younger than 15 years old drown in a pool or spa each year in America, according to recent Consumer Products Safety Council (CPSC) data. Children under 5 accounted for 75% of those deaths, and most drownings occurred in backyard...

What are the pool safety barrier requirements for Florida?

Friday, June 19, 2020
What are the pool safety barrier requirements for Florida?

The Residential Pool Safety Act, Chapter 515 of Florida Statutes, requires a safety barrier around any new residential pool more than 24 inches deep. There are four different ways to achieve an approved barrier:
1)  An approved safety pool cover.

How long do plumbing fixtures last?

Thursday, June 18, 2020
How long do plumbing fixtures last?

The life expectancy of a plumbing fixture varies according to the material used, quality of manufacture, level of usage, and hardness of water. Here’s our best estimates, and click on any fixture for more info. 
Bathtub - 10 to 50 years, average...

What is the average life expectancy of a bathtub?

Monday, June 15, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a bathtub?

You can expect a bathtub to last from 10 to over 50 years, depending the material used, with an average of 25 years. Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) is estimated at 10± years, enameled steel at 15± years, acrylic 30± years, and cast iron 50± years.

What is the average life expectancy of a sink?

Friday, June 12, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a sink?

You can expect a sink to last from 15 to 100 years, depending on the material used, with an average of 30 years. Enameled steel sink will last 15± years, stainless steel 25±, porcelain 30±, acrylic 50±, and soapstone 100+ years.
    Here’s a bar...

What is the average life expectancy of toilet tank components?

Friday, June 12, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of toilet tank components?

You can expect the flush components in a toilet tank to last 5 to 10 years, with an average of 7 years. Frequent usage, hard water, and toilet bowl cleaner tablets added to the tank (as shown above) will all shorten the lifespan. 
    Also, see...

What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass tub/shower?

Thursday, June 11, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass tub/shower?

You can expect a fiberglass tub/shower to last 10 to 20 years, with an average of 15 years. Frequent usage will shorten lifespan, and abrasive cleaners cause the surface to deteriorate prematurely. The gel coating can be repaired, but do-it-yourself...

SINKS

Thursday, June 11, 2020
SINKS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SINKS:
• Why is it a problem when a trap under a sink is installed backwards? 
• What causes a gurgling sound when a bathtub or sink drains? 
• Why is garbage disposal not allowed at...

What is the average life expectancy of a faucet?

Thursday, June 11, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a faucet?

You can expect a faucet to last 15 to 25 years, with an average of 20 years. Factors that affect lifespan include quality of manufacture, level of usage, and water hardness. Although a faucet typically gets replaced when repair cost exceeds half the...

What is the average life expectancy of a toilet?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a toilet?

You can expect a toilet to last at least 50 years and, unless cracked or leaking, it’s a sturdy fixture that can continue to be serviceable for much longer. Most older toilets are replaced while still functional to update a bathroom.
    Here’s...

What is the average life expectancy of rain gutters?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of rain gutters?

The life expectancy of gutters depends on what they are made from:
•• Aluminum - 20 to 30 years, average 25 years•• Copper - 50+ years•• Vinyl - 10 to 25 years, average 15 years 
    Also see our blog posts Is it alright for a gutter downspout...

What is the average life expectancy of skylights?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of skylights?

You can expect a skylight or solar tube to last 8 to 20 years, with an average of 14 years. Like any roof penetration, a skylight that is poorly installed will soon leak, and any roofer will tell you “it’s not if a skylight will leak, it’s when.” Skylights...

What is the average life expectancy of pipe boot flashings?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of pipe boot flashings?

You can expect pipe boot flashings to last 15 to 30 years, with an average of 20 years. Pipe boots tend to have a shorter life than other types of roof flashings for two reasons: 1) the old-fashioned lead pipe boots can get gnawed away by squirrels...

What is the average life expectancy of roof flashings?

Tuesday, June 9, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of roof flashings?

You can expect roof flashings to last 20 to 35 years, with an average of 25 years. A flashing is any material that is used as a transition between roofing and another surface or at a roof penetration, or at a change in plane of the roofing itself. If...

What is the average life expectancy of an elastomeric roof coating?

Monday, June 8, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an elastomeric roof coating?

You can expect an elastomeric roof coating to last 5 to 20 years, with an average of 10 years. Although elastomeric coatings are often used to extend the life of mobile home and low-slope/flat residential roofs, they are more commonly applied to large...

What is the average life expectancy of concrete or steel exterior stairs or steps?

Monday, June 8, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of concrete or steel exterior stairs or steps?

You can expect concrete or steel exterior stairs or steps to last 50 to 80 years, with an average of 65 years. Weather deteriorates the concrete surface, and spalling due to reinforcing bar corrosion cracks the concrete over time. See our blog post...

What is the average life expectancy of interior stairs or steps?

Monday, June 8, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of interior stairs or steps?

You can expect interior stairs or steps to last the life of a home, 100 years or more. This includes manufactured and spiral metal stairs. Most stairs are wood and moisture intrusion or termites will shorten the stair lifespan. Regular maintenance,...

What is the average life expectancy of exterior wood stairs or steps?

Monday, June 8, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of exterior wood stairs or steps?

You can expect exterior wood stairs and steps to last 15 to 35 years, with an average of 25 years. Wood rot is the enemy, so longer life is achieved by keeping a preservative coating on the wood and avoiding "water traps." A water trap is any surface...

What is the average life expectancy of a pull-down attic ladder?

Sunday, June 7, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a pull-down attic ladder?

You can expect a pull-down attic ladder to last 30 to 60 years, with an average of 40 years. Factors that will shorten the lifespan include heavy usage, excessive weight on steps, and homeowner modifications. Regular inspections and tightening of loose...

What is the average life expectancy of a gravel driveway or walkway?

Sunday, June 7, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a gravel driveway or walkway?

You can expect a gravel driveway to last 4 to 10 years, and an average of 5 years, before requiring repair and refreshing of gravel. A gravel walkway will survive a little longer, 5 to 12 years and an average of 7. Theoretically a gravel surface can...

What is the average life expectancy of a home security system?

Saturday, June 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a home security system?

You can expect a home security system to last 12 to 20 years, with an average of 15 years. Although systems may remain functional at 20 years out, repair parts are often no longer available and upgrading to a new system with latest features becomes...

What is the average life expectancy of a doorbell?

Saturday, June 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a doorbell?

A basic low-tech doorbell that consists of a bell button, a transformer, wiring, and a bell mechanism can be expect to last about 40 years. The bell button can be damaged or deteriorate over time from weather exposure, transformer eventually fails,...

What is the average life expectancy of a combination smoke and CO carbon monoxide detector?

Saturday, June 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a combination smoke and CO carbon monoxide detector?

The life expectancy of a combo smoke/CO alarm varies from 5 to 10 years, as rated by manufacturer, with newer models having a longer life. Fortunately, smoke/CO alarms manufactured after August 1, 2009, are required to have an “end of life feature”...

What is the average life expectancy of a CO carbon monoxide detector?

Saturday, June 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a CO carbon monoxide detector?

The life expectancy of a CO alarm varies from 5 to 10 year, as rated by manufacturer, with newer models having a longer life. Fortunately, alarms manufactured after August 1, 2009, are required to have an “end of life feature” that notifies you by persistent...

What is the average life expectancy of house shutters?

Friday, June 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of house shutters?

The average life expectancy of residential shutters varies according to the type of shutter, quality of manufacture, location, and whether it is decorative or functional. Here’s our estimates:
•• Aluminum, exterior - 20 to 35 years, average 25••...

What is the average life expectancy of interior caulking?

Friday, June 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of interior caulking?

You can expect interior caulk to last 7 to 15 years, based on using acrylic latex or latex/silicone caulk with a coat of paint over it.  
    Like any average, the life of caulk if affecting by variables like:
•• Rate of movement - Caulk spans...

What is the average life expectancy of a built-up roof?

Friday, June 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a built-up roof?

You can expect a 4-ply built-up roof to last from 17 to 25 years, with an average of 20 years. Built-up roofs have between 3 and 5 layers of roofing paper, called “plies,” mopped with hot asphalt between each ply. More plies means a longer life, and...

What is the average life expectancy of a water softener?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a water softener?

You can expect a water softener to last 10 to 16 years, with an average of 12 years. Factors that affect lifespan are level of usage, maintenance, and the hardness of the water being processed. Also, see our blog posts Do I need a permit to install...

What is the average life expectancy of a sewage grinder pump?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a sewage grinder pump?

You can expect a sewage grinder pump to last 6 to 16 years, with an average of 9 years. A grinder pump is installed along the drain line to a municipal sewer system or private septic tank when the pipe slope is not enough to flow by gravity. See our...

What is the average life expectancy of a well pressure tank?

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a well pressure tank?

You can expect a well pressure tank to last 10 to 25 years, with an average of 15 years. The factors that will affect a tank’s longevity include: 
•• The tank material, with unlined steel tank having a shorter life than more expensive bladder type...

What is the average life expectancy of a paver patio?

Sunday, May 31, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a paver patio?

You can expect a concrete or brick paver patio to last 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. Proper installation is critical and begins with a well-compacted base. Maintenance is also important, such as regular re-application of a surface sealer...

What is the average life expectancy of a paver driveway?

Sunday, May 31, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a paver driveway?

You can expect a concrete or brick paver driveway to last 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. Proper installation is critical and begins with a well-compacted base. Maintenance is also important, such as regular re-application of a surface...

How long should my HVAC system last?

Sunday, May 31, 2020
How long should my HVAC system last?

Heating and air conditioning systems last between 14 and 21 years on average. Smaller appliances, like window air conditioners and exhaust fans, have a shorter lifespan. Factors that shorten life expectancy include poor initial quality, inadequate maintenance,...

How long should my home appliances last?

Sunday, May 31, 2020
How long should my home appliances last?

The main factor that affects how long a home appliance lasts is how often it is used. A washing machine for a family of seven, for example, will not survive as long as one in the home of a senior couple. The quality of the appliance and maintenance...

What is the average life expectancy of a concrete patio?

Sunday, May 31, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a concrete patio?

You can expect a concrete patio to last about 30 to 50 years, with an average of 40 years, except that the freeze/thaw cycles and salt de-icers in colder climates are not kind to concrete and will shorten the life expectancy below that range. The large...

What is the average life expectancy of an electric furnace?

Friday, May 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an electric furnace?

You can expect an electric resistance furnace to last about 18 to 24 years, with an average of 21 years. We only see this type of furnace in our region in older mobile homes. Like any furnace, a long heating season will mean a shorter lifespan, and...

What is the average life expectancy of a compact refrigerator?

Friday, May 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a compact refrigerator?

You can expect a compact refrigerator to last 6 to 12 years, with an average of 8 years. Although more expensive models tend to last longer, most compact refrigerators are budget-priced and not intended to survive as long as a full-size fridge. And,...

What is the average life expectancy of an asphalt driveway?

Friday, May 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an asphalt driveway?

You can expect an asphalt driveway to last 12 to 20 years, with an average of 17 years. The flexibility of asphalt makes it preferable to concrete in northern climates to better withstand the winter freeze/thaw cycles.
    Eventually, all asphalt...

What is the average life expectancy of a freezer?

Friday, May 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a freezer?

You can expect a chest  or upright freezer to last 12 to 20 years, with an average of 16 years. Upright freezers tend to lean towards the lower end of the range, and chest freezers at the upper end. Either one will have a reduced lifespan if installed...

What is the average life expectancy of a sliding glass door?

Thursday, May 28, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a sliding glass door?

You can expect a sliding glass door to last 20 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years. The door frames are manufactured from vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum, or composite—which is a combination of PVC and another material. Multiple variables affect the...

What are concrete shrinkage cracks?

Thursday, May 28, 2020
What are concrete shrinkage cracks?

The addition of water to a dry concrete mix activates a process called hydration, the chemical reaction in which water is absorbed to create a rock-like crystalline structure. It continues slowly for months after the inital set, and the concrete shrinks...

What is the average life expectancy of a concete walkway?

Thursday, May 28, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a concete walkway?

You can expect a concrete walkway to last 25 to 50 years, with an average of 35 years, except that the freeze/thaw cycles and salt de-icers in colder climates are not kind to concrete and will shorten the life expectancy below that range. The large...

What is the average life expectancy of a concrete driveway?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a concrete driveway?

You can expect a concrete driveway to last 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years, except that the freeze/thaw cycles and salt de-icers in colder climates are not kind to concrete and will shorten the life expectancy below that range. The large...

What size in tons is my Fujitsu heat pump or air conditioner?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
What size in tons is my Fujitsu heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What is the average life expectancy of a vinyl fence?

Monday, May 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a vinyl fence?

You can expect a vinyl/PVC fence to last 20 to 35 years, with an average of 25 years. Vinyl is more expensive than wood, but also longer lasting and lower maintenance. It does not require repainting, only occasional cleaning. But the chemical composition...

What is the average life expectancy of mulch?

Monday, May 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of mulch?

You can expect mulch to last 1 to 4 years, with an average of 2 years. Because the combination of moisture and heat accelerate decomposition, 2 years is about the max in Florida, but it may last up to 4 years in cooler, dryer areas.
    The primary...

What is the average life expectancy of a chain link fence?

Monday, May 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a chain link fence?

You can expect a galvanized steel chain link fence to last 25 to 35 years, with an average of 30 years. Repair of any damage, such as at top rail, and gate hinges and latches, is necessary to extend the life of the fence. Also, a vinyl coating provides...

What is the average life expectancy of a wood fence?

Monday, May 25, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a wood fence?

You can expect wood fencing to last 15 to 25 years, with an average life of 20 years. Because wood is the only fence material that is organic and subject to rot, using a pressure-treated or naturally rot-resistant wood will improve its life, along with...

LIGHTING

Monday, May 25, 2020
LIGHTING

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about LIGHTING: 
• Which rooms in a house require switched lights per code?
• Why does the bedroom have a light switch but there is no light in the ceiling? 
• Why can't I put a chandelier...

What is the average life expectancy of an interior light fixture?

Sunday, May 24, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an interior light fixture?

You can expect an interior light fixture to last 40 to 50 years, with an average of 45 years. A light fixture is referred to in the building codes as a “luminaire,” and can go bad due to corrosion, obsolescence, a short circuit that fries the wiring,...

What is the average life expectancy of an exterior light fixture?

Sunday, May 24, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an exterior light fixture?

You can expect an exterior light fixture to last 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. This applies only to fixtures that are rated by the by the manufacturer for exterior installation. A light fixture that is intended for interior use may look...

What is the difference between an on-frame and off-frame modular home?

Sunday, May 24, 2020
What is the difference between an on-frame and off-frame modular home?

Most modular homes are trucked to the homesite and hoisted by a crane in sections onto a standard stem-wall or pier foundation that was built before arrival of the home. They do not have a steel I-beam frame underneath, and are called “off-frame” modulars.

What size in tons if my Comfort Pack air conditioner or heat pump?

Sunday, May 24, 2020
What size in tons if my Comfort Pack air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a Comfort Pack air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Sunday, May 24, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Comfort Pack air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Comort Pack is manufactured by National Comfort Products. The second and third digits of the serial number are encoded to indicate the year of manufacture, based on the listing below:
32 = late 1998, 33 = 1999, 34 = 200035 = 2001, 36 = 2002, 43...

Can you plug a generator into a wall receptacle outlet?

Saturday, May 23, 2020
Can you plug a generator into a wall receptacle outlet?

You could call it “good ole Yankee ingenuity” or “white trash engineering,” depending on whether you approve or not. But, either way, it’s both dangerous and illegal. Here’s four reasons why:
1) It’s against code. The National Electrical Code [NEC...

How do you keep double-pane insulated windows from from getting cloudy?

Friday, May 22, 2020
How do you keep double-pane insulated windows from from getting cloudy?

The haze that obscures the glass in double-pane windows is caused by loss of the insulating gas sealed between the panes. This allows air to seep in, and then the humidity in the air to condense on the interior surface of the panes. Dust particles in...

What is the code minimum clearance in front of a toilet?

Friday, May 22, 2020
What is the code minimum clearance in front of a toilet?

The minimum clearance in front of a toilet is 21” according to the International Residential Code (IRC), although 24” or more is recommended. For other bathroom minimums, see our blog post What are the minimum clearances around a toilet? 
• • •...

How can I tell age of Bosch water heater from serial number?

Friday, May 22, 2020
How can I tell age of Bosch water heater from serial number?

The first two numbers in the serial number are encoded to give you the year of manufacture for water heaters manufactured before 2010. They may be at the beginning of the serial number or after a couple of letters. The first number is the year of manufacture,...

How can I tell age of Westinghouse water heater from serial number?

Friday, May 22, 2020
How can I tell age of Westinghouse water heater from serial number?

The 5th and 6th digits of the serial number are the year of manufacture of a Westinghouse water heater. So 040220H0051721 indicates the water heater was manufactured in 2020.
    To determine the age of another manufacturer/brand of water heater,...

What size in tons is my Westinghouse heat pump or air conditioner?

Thursday, May 21, 2020
What size in tons is my Westinghouse heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

Is a termite shield required for new houses?

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Is a termite shield required for new houses?

One old-time requirement that is no longer in the building code is a termite shield. Before the modern slab-on-grade construction, when most homes had a raised wood floor on a stem wall or piers, a strip of sheet metal placed between the foundation...

Can I backfeed generator to house through dryer outlet plug?

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Can I backfeed generator to house through dryer outlet plug?

Backfeeding a house electrical panel from a portable generator through a dryer receptacle is both dangerous and illegal. Here’s three reasons why:
•• Potential fireworks. If the main breaker in the service panel is not turned off, or inadvertently...

What size in tons is my Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
What size in tons is my Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Magic-Pak heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Magic-Pak package units are designed specifically for multiple-unit buildings. The third and fourth digits in the serial number are the year of manufacture. So 841248427 was produced in 2012. 
    To find out the age of another brand of air conditioner...

What size in tons is my Day & Night heat pump or air conditioner?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
What size in tons is my Day & Night heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a Day & Night heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Day & Night heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The second two digits of the serial number are the year of manufacture of a Day & Night heat pump or air conditioner. This unit was manufactured in 2002. 
    For units from the late 1960s thru the late 1980s, there is a different serial number...

What size in tons is my Sanyo heat pump?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my Sanyo heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Samsung heat pump?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my Samsung heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a MrCool heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
How can I tell the age of a MrCool heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The MrCool serial number is 21-digits, and the number at the 12th digit is the year of manufacture. Here’s and example: 3407657520193280120410. Because MrCool is a newer brand, a 9 would only mean 2019 for now; but it may need further investigation...

What size in tons is my National Comfort Products heat pump or air conditioner?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my National Comfort Products heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my LG heat pump air conditioner?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my LG heat pump air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my MrCool heat pump air conditioner?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my MrCool heat pump air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Kelvinator heat pump or air conditioner?

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
What size in tons is my Kelvinator heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my GE (General Electric) heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my GE (General Electric) heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Frigidaire heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my Frigidaire heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Concord heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my Concord heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Coleman or Coleman-Evcon heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my Coleman or Coleman-Evcon heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What size in tons is my Climatemaster heat pump?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my Climatemaster heat pump?

Climatemaster does not conform to the standard that many other manufacturers use of rounding off the reference number for size of unit to a BTU number that equals a ton, or half ton, of cooling capacity, where a ton equals 12,000 BTU. So the number...

How can I tell the age of my Allied Air heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Monday, May 18, 2020
How can I tell the age of my Allied Air heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

We know of two versions of the serial number age coding system for Allied Air. The first one uses the third and fourth number for the year of manufacture, so that 1408C12153 would be 2008. The second system puts the year in the 7th and 8th number (3rd...

What size in tons is my Allied Air heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, May 18, 2020
What size in tons is my Allied Air heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

Is a range hood exhaust fan required to vent outside?

Monday, May 18, 2020
Is a range hood exhaust fan required to vent outside?

A range hood fan is not required to vent to the exterior as long as the kitchen has other mechanical or natural ventilation (such as a window), and it is rated to be ductless. Here is how it is stated in both the International Residential Code (IRC)...

What size in tons is my Armstrong Air heat pump or air conditioner?

Sunday, May 17, 2020
What size in tons is my Armstrong Air heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

Does a wall or window room air conditioner need a dedicated circuit?

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Does a wall or window room air conditioner need a dedicated circuit?

All 120-volt wall or window air conditioners that are around 8,000 BTU or more will have a sticker on the side, like the one shown above, that require a “single outlet” (dedicated) circuit. The reason is that the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires...

Do asphalt shingles need time to settle and adhere?

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Do asphalt shingles need time to settle and adhere?

Asphalts shingles require anywhere from several days to a month of warm weather for the adhesive strips under the lower edge of each shingle to soften and stick firmly to the shingle below it. Also, if there is any minor waviness in the surface right...

Is mold a wood destroying organism?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Is mold a wood destroying organism?

Although mold is a type of fungus that can grow on the surface of wood, it does not acturally consume the wood, so it is not categorized as a wood destroying organism. That’s why mold is not listed on a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) report, often called...

Does a home inspector check remote controls?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Does a home inspector check remote controls?

A home inspector is not required to inspect remote controls, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home Inspectors...

What attracts termites to a house?

Monday, May 11, 2020
What attracts termites to a house?

Wood attracts termites to a house. It’s what they eat and it’s that simple. There are two main types of termites that infest homes, subterranean and drywood, and each has a different search tactic when trying to find the wood to consume that is necessary...

Do I need a termite inspection if the seller has a termite bond?

Monday, May 11, 2020
Do I need a termite inspection if the seller has a termite bond?

A termite inspection is actually called a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspection, and it covers four types of organisms that eat the wood in a home: subterranean termites, drywood termites, several species of beetles, and wood decay fungi (wood rot)....

Does a home inspector check the garage door opener?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Does a home inspector check the garage door opener?

Home inspectors are required to examine and test the garage door and opener, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society...

Does a home inspector check insulation?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Does a home inspector check insulation?

Home inspectors are required to do a visual examination of a home’s insulation where it is accessible to view, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors...

Do home inspectors check the clothes dryer exhaust vent system?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Do home inspectors check the clothes dryer exhaust vent system?

Home inspectors are required to inspect the clothes dryer exhaust system, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society...

Does a home inspector check bathroom exhaust fans?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Does a home inspector check bathroom exhaust fans?

Home inspectors are required to inspect bathroom exhaust fans, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home...

Do home inspectors check chimneys?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Do home inspectors check chimneys?

Home inspectors are required to do a visual examination of chimneys and fireplace vent systems, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)...

Do home inspectors check fireplaces?

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Do home inspectors check fireplaces?

Home inspectors are required to do a visual examination of a fireplace, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society...

What is included in a plumbing inspection by a home inspector?

Saturday, May 9, 2020
What is included in a plumbing inspection by a home inspector?

Because a home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a property, most of the plumbing part of a home inspection involves looking at the components, noting the details of their type, size, and location, along with limited testing of a representative...

What is included in a furnace inspection by a home inspector?

Saturday, May 9, 2020
What is included in a furnace inspection by a home inspector?

Because a home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a property, most of the furnace/heating part of a home inspection involves looking at the components, noting the details of their type, location, distribution—and, of course, noting any...

What is included in an air conditioner inspection by a home inspector?

Friday, May 8, 2020
What is included in an air conditioner inspection by a home inspector?

Because a home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a property, most of the air conditioning part of a home inspection involves looking at the components, noting the details of their type, location, distribution—and, of course, noting any...

What is included in an electrical inspection by a home inspector?

Friday, May 8, 2020
What is included in an electrical inspection by a home inspector?

Because a home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a property, most of the electrical part of a home inspection involves looking at the components, noting the details of their type, size, and location, along with limited testing of a representative...

Does a home inspector check for roaches and ants?

Thursday, May 7, 2020
Does a home inspector check for roaches and ants?

A home inspector is not required to inspect for roaches and ants, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home...

Does a home inspector check for rodents?

Thursday, May 7, 2020
Does a home inspector check for rodents?

A home inspector is not required to inspect for rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and...

Does a termite inspector also check for carpenter bees?

Thursday, May 7, 2020
Does a termite inspector also check for carpenter bees?

Evidence of carpenter bees, and their damage, is not included in a WDO inspection report in Florida because they do not ingest the wood, and only bore into it for nesting. The inspector may tell you about any signs of carpenter bees found during the...

Does a termite inspector also check for carpenter ants?

Thursday, May 7, 2020
Does a termite inspector also check for carpenter ants?

Evidence of carpenter ants and their damage is not included in a WDO inspection report in Florida and many other states because they do not ingest the wood, and only bore into it for nesting. The inspector may tell you about any signs of carpenter ants...

Does a home inspector check for electromagnetic radiation fields?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Does a home inspector check for electromagnetic radiation fields?

A home inspector is not required to inspect for electromagnetic radiation fields, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American...

Does a home inspector check seawalls and docks?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Does a home inspector check seawalls and docks?

A home inspector is not required to inspect docks and seawalls, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home...

Can you fail a four point inspection?

Monday, May 4, 2020
Can you fail a four point inspection?

Yes, you can fail a 4-point inspection, because its purpose is to prove to an insurance company that there are no problems with your home that might lead to a claim in the near future. Examples of problems would be an old, leaking roof, water heater...

What is maximum power cord length to a window or wall room air conditioner?

Monday, May 4, 2020
What is maximum power cord length to a window or wall room air conditioner?

The maximum length for a power cord to a room air conditioner is 10-feet for 120V units, and 6-feet for 240V, per 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC440.64). Here’s the complete citation:
440.64 Supply Cords.  Where a flexible cord is used to supply...

What is a septic loading dye test?

Monday, May 4, 2020
What is a septic loading dye test?

Some home inspectors offer a test of the septic system using a fluorescent dye that is flushed down a toilet, followed by a couple of hundred gallons of water flow into the tank, checking for traces of the dye in the ground above the drainfield as evidence...

Does a home inspector check awnings?

Monday, May 4, 2020
Does a home inspector check awnings?

A home inspector is not required to inspect or operate awnings, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home...

Does a home inspector check shutters?

Monday, May 4, 2020
Does a home inspector check shutters?

A home inspector is not required to inspect or operate shutters, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society of Home...

Does a home inspector light pilot lights?

Monday, May 4, 2020
Does a home inspector light pilot lights?

A home inspector is not required to ignite a pilot light, if it is off, to test a gas appliance such as a water heater, older furnace, or gas fireplace, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International...

Does a home inspector inspect trees?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Does a home inspector inspect trees?

Home inspectors are required to examine and report only on trees and other vegetation that may adversely affect the house, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified...

Does a home inspector check site grading and drainage?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Does a home inspector check site grading and drainage?

Home inspectors are required to examine and report only on site grading and drainage that may adversely affect the structure of the house, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association...

Do home inspectors check retaining walls?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Do home inspectors check retaining walls?

Home inspectors are required to examine and report only on retaining walls that may adversely affect the structure of the house, according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified...

Does a home inspector check window and door screens?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Does a home inspector check window and door screens?

Home inspectors are not required to inspect window and door screens by the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International Association of Certified Home Inspectors...

Does a home inspector test CO carbon monoxide alarms?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Does a home inspector test CO carbon monoxide alarms?

Home inspectors must note the carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, but are not required to test them, according to the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International Association...

Does a home inspector test smoke alarms?

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Does a home inspector test smoke alarms?

Home inspectors must note the smoke alarms, but are not required to test them, according to the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International Association of Certified...

Do home inspectors check solar panels?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Do home inspectors check solar panels?

There are three basic types of solar panels: phototvoltaic (PV), pool heaters, and water heaters. Home inspectors are not required to examine or test any of them, according to the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations,...

Does a home inspector check the security alarm system?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Does a home inspector check the security alarm system?

Home inspectors are not required to examine or test home security systems, according to the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American Society...

Does a home inspector check wiring?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Does a home inspector check wiring?

Inspection of the electrical wiring is a standard part of any home inspection. It is required by the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International Association of...

Does a home inspector check low voltage wiring?

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Does a home inspector check low voltage wiring?

Inspection of “low voltage wiring systems and components" is excluded from a home inspection according to the Standards of Practice of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors...

Does a home inspector check water treatment and filter systems?

Friday, May 1, 2020
Does a home inspector check water treatment and filter systems?

Home inspectors are not required to check water treatment, conditioning, or filter systems. They are exluded from the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)...

Does a home inspector reinspect to verify repairs after the inspection?

Friday, May 1, 2020
Does a home inspector reinspect to verify repairs after the inspection?

Most home inspectors will reinspect to verify repairs if requested by a homebuyer. It is not a required service by the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, ASHI and InterNACHI, or any state standards. There is an additional...

Does a home inspector specify repairs?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Does a home inspector specify repairs?

Home inspectors are expected to make recommendations as necessary for defects that are found, but are not required to specify exactly what how it should be done. Here’s the way it is stated in the Standards of Practice for inspectors in the State of...

Does a home inspector check the water softener?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Does a home inspector check the water softener?

Water softeners, along with other water treatment systems, are specifically excluded from the inspection requirements of the Standards of Practice of both national home inspection associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International...

Do I need a permit to install a water softener?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Do I need a permit to install a water softener?

The requirement for a permit varies according to the building department jurisdiction where you are located. Some do not require a permit, others require a permit and licensed plumber, or a permit and inspection but you can do it yourself. 
...

What does a home inspector check at a water heater?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
What does a home inspector check at a water heater?

The basic requirements for a home inspector examining a water heater are outlined in the Standards of Practice of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI): “The inspector shall inspect the water heating equipment, including...

Does a home inspector check the water heater?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
Does a home inspector check the water heater?

Inspecting the water heater is a routine part of any home inspection. The Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations and the State of Florida require it. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) states that “the inspector...

What size in tons is a Coleman or Coleman Evcon heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 30, 2020
What size in tons is a Coleman or Coleman Evcon heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

Does a home inspector check an emergency generator?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Does a home inspector check an emergency generator?

Emergency power generator systems are not a required part of a home inspection according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) and American...

Do home inspectors check for mold?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Do home inspectors check for mold?

Home inspectors are not required to search for, or identify, mold during an inspection. Both of the national home inspector associations exclude mold in their Standards of Practice. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) states that the home...

Does a home inspector check the well?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Does a home inspector check the well?

A home inspector is not required to inspect “wells, well pumps, and water storage related equipment” according to the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and International...

Does a home inspector check the microwave oven?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Does a home inspector check the microwave oven?

The two major national home inspector associations each have a different view of microwaves: one requires testing and the other doesn't. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states that “the home inspector is not required...

Does a home inspector check the garbage disposal?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Does a home inspector check the garbage disposal?

The two major national home inspector associations each have a different view of garbage disposals: one requires testing and the other doesn't. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) states that “the home inspector is...

What size in tons is a Friedrich heat pump or air conditioner from the model number?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
What size in tons is a Friedrich heat pump or air conditioner from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

Does a home inspector check the central vacuum system?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Does a home inspector check the central vacuum system?

Central vacuum systems are specifically excluded from the list of home components required to be inspected under their Standards of Practice by both national home inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)...

Does a home inspector check the AFCI receptacles and breakers?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Does a home inspector check the AFCI receptacles and breakers?

Home inspectors are required to inspect AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle outlets and circuit breakers by the Standards of Practice of both national inspector associations, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)...

Does a home inspector troubleshoot things that don't work during a home inspection?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Does a home inspector troubleshoot things that don't work during a home inspection?

A home inspection is essentially a visual examination of a home, and is not “technically exhaustive,” Which means that systems or components are not disassembled as part of the inspection. 
    The inspector must “make recommendations for correction...

Does a home inspector check interior finishes like paint, wallpaper, and carpet?

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Does a home inspector check interior finishes like paint, wallpaper, and carpet?

Inspectors are required to report on interior floors, walls, and ceilings; but finishes like paint, wallpaper, floor coverings and carpet are specifically excluded from the inspection requirements of the Standards of Practice of both national home inspector...

Does a home inspector check for appliance recalls?

Monday, April 27, 2020
Does a home inspector check for appliance recalls?

Most home inspectors do not check for appliance recalls, and it is not required by the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified Home...

How do I find the size in tons of my heat pump?

Monday, April 27, 2020
How do I find the size in tons of my heat pump?

It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Look for a number that is divisible by 6 or 12 somewhere in the center of the model number on the data plate at the side of the heat pump condenser (outdoor unit), like 12,18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, or 60. 

Are asphalt shingles slippery when wet?

Monday, April 27, 2020
Are asphalt shingles slippery when wet?

Asphalt shingles are not slippery when wet because the rock granules embedded in the surface provide good traction. But the granules gradually come loose as the roof ages, and loose granules can make even a dry roof difficult to walk on without sliding....

What size in tons is a Sears Kenmore air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

Monday, April 27, 2020
What size in tons is a Sears Kenmore air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

SMOKE AND CO ALARMS

Sunday, April 26, 2020
SMOKE AND CO ALARMS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “SMOKE AND CO ALARMS":
• What is the best place to install carbon monoxide alarms (CO detectors) in a house? 
• Can the smoke sensors in a home security/fire alarm system replace the smoke...

What size in tons is a FHP (Florida Heat Pump) geothermal heat pump from the model number?

Sunday, April 26, 2020
What size in tons is a FHP (Florida Heat Pump) geothermal heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the front side of the unit. Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may be a little more...

What size in tons is a Janitrol air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

Sunday, April 26, 2020
What size in tons is a Janitrol air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What size in tons is a Miller air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

Sunday, April 26, 2020
What size in tons is a Miller air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What size in tons is a Guardian air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

Sunday, April 26, 2020
What size in tons is a Guardian air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What size in tons is a Luxaire air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

Sunday, April 26, 2020
What size in tons is a Luxaire air conditioner or heat pump from the model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

Can an electrical panel have more than one main breaker?

Saturday, April 25, 2020
Can an electrical panel have more than one main breaker?

A main service panel can have up to six main breakers, per National Electrical Code [230.72(A)]. Almost all modern panels have a single main breaker, which is called a “service disconnect” in the electrical code, but more are allowed. So the panel shown...

Does code allow an electrical panel in a storage room?

Saturday, April 25, 2020
Does code allow an electrical panel in a storage room?

An electrical panel can be installed in a storage room, but there are multiple restrictions in the National Electrical Code:
1) There must be a clear working space in front of the panel that is 30” wide by 36” deep, per NEC 110.26(A). Panel does...

Do electrical panels have to be labeled?

Friday, April 24, 2020
Do electrical panels have to be labeled?

Electrical panel circuits are required to be clearly labeled by the National Electrical Code (NEC 408.4) as follows:
Every circuit must be legibly identified to its specific purpose or use.
The identification must be sufficient to distinguish...

How can I tell the age of an EcoSmart water heater from the serial number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
How can I tell the age of an EcoSmart water heater from the serial number?

EcoSmart does not encode the date of manufacture in the serial number of their water heaters, but you can call their customer service line at 877-474-6473 with the number, or email them at support@ecosmartUS.com, and they will provide you with the manufacture...

What size in tons is a Mitsubishi air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
What size in tons is a Mitsubishi air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What size in tons is a Xenon air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
What size in tons is a Xenon air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

Xenon is a premium line manufactured by Goodman.You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning...

What size in tons is a Panasonic air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
What size in tons is a Panasonic air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What size in tons is a Maytag air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
What size in tons is a Maytag air conditioner or heat pump from model number?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

How can I tell the age of a Maytag heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Friday, April 24, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Maytag heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The 4th and 5th digits of the serial number of a Maytag HVAC product are the year of manufacture. So the data plate shown below indicates it was built in 2006.

    For the age of another brand or manufacturer, go to our blog post How do I...

How can I tell the age of an LG heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 23, 2020
How can I tell the age of an LG heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The first digit in the serial number on an LG data plate is the year of manufacture, but it does not give you the decade. So, for example, 705KWPZ64912 could be 2007 or 2017. Look at the condition of the unit for an indication of the decade. The serial...

How can I tell the age of a Concord heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 23, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Concord heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

If there is a single letter in the middle of the serial number, then the 3rd and 4th digits are the year of manufacture. So, for example, 5604F013574 was produced in 2004. When there is not a letter in the serial number, then the last two digits at...

How can I tell the age of a ClimateMaster heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 23, 2020
How can I tell the age of a ClimateMaster heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

If the first digit of the serial number is a letter, then use the letter code system below to determine the year of manufacture.
H = 1998    A = 1999    B = 2000    C = 2001D = 2002    E = 2003    F = 2004    G = 2005J =  2006    K = 2007    L...

How can I tell the age of a Sanyo heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 23, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Sanyo heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The 6th digit of Sanyo’s 7-digit serial number on the data plate is the year of manufacture, but not the decade. So, for example, 0247381 could be 1998, 2008, or 2018. Fortunately, the year of manufacture may also be listed directly on the data plate,...

How can I tell the age of a Panasonic heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Thursday, April 23, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Panasonic heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The age is not encoded in the serial number for Panasonic products. It is usually listed on the data plate as “DATE NO." So the data plate shown below indicates the unit was built in 2005.
    But it may also be shown on the data plate as “PRODUCTION...

How can I tell the age of a MagicAire HVAC unit from the serial number?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
How can I tell the age of a MagicAire HVAC unit from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number on the data plate, after a single letter, are the year of manufacture for MagicAire products. So, for example, W040625437 was manufactured in 2004.
    For the age of another brand or manufacturer, go...

How can I tell the age of a Samsung heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Samsung heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Samsung uses a letter code in the serial number for the year of manufacture on the data plate for the unit. If the serial number is 10 or 11 digits, the letter is at the fourth digit. For 15-digit serial numbers, it’s located at the 8th digit.
R...

How can I tell the age of a John Wood water heater from the serial number?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
How can I tell the age of a John Wood water heater from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number, after a single letter, are the year of manufacture for a John Wood water heater. So, for example, S1112F601242 would mean it was produced in 2011.
To determine the age of another manufacturer/brand of...

What is the best location for a heat pump?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
What is the best location for a heat pump?

The standard criteria for the location of a heat pump condenser are: 1) out of view from the front of the house, and 2) where condenser noise will not be a problem. That usually means putting it at the side wall of the garage. But there are a couple...

What is the best location for an air conditioner?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
What is the best location for an air conditioner?

The standard criteria for the location of an air conditioning condenser are: 1) out of view from the front of the house, and 2) where condenser noise will not be a problem. That usually means putting it at the side wall of the garage. But there are...

How much clearance is necessary around a heat pump?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
How much clearance is necessary around a heat pump?

The standard recommendation for clearances around a heat pump condenser (outdoor unit) are: minimum one foot at sides, except two feet away from any solid wall, and five feet open above. But these are the minimums, and more is always better. A condenser...

How much clearance is needed around an air conditioner?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
How much clearance is needed around an air conditioner?

The standard recommendation for clearances around an air conditioning condenser (outdoor unit) are: minimum one foot at sides, except two feet away from any solid wall, and five feet open above. These are the minimums, and more is always better. A condenser...

Where is the attic?

Monday, April 20, 2020
Where is the attic?

The building code requires an attic access opening to be in a “hallway or other readily accessible location”. So the first place to look is the hall ceiling. Other likely locations are the garage, carport or master bedroom closet. We have also seen...

Where should attic access be placed by code?

Monday, April 20, 2020
Where should attic access be placed by code?

The attic access opening must be located in a “hallway or other readily accessible location” according to the International Residential Code (IRC R807). Also, the “minimum unobstructed headroom in the attic space shall be 30” at some point above the...

What are the HUD-code requirements for mobile home ventilation?

Sunday, April 19, 2020
What are the HUD-code requirements for mobile home ventilation?

There are separate requirements for whole-house, kitchen, and bathroom ventilation:
•• Whole-house - HUD requires that a manufactured home have a whole-house ventilation system with a minimum capacity of 0.035 cubic feet per minute per square foot...

When was aluminum wiring banned in mobile homes?

Saturday, April 18, 2020
When was aluminum wiring banned in mobile homes?

Aluminum wiring has not been used in mobile homes since the early 1970s, and has been banned by HUD since the beginning of HUD jurisdiction over mobile home construction in 1976. “Aluminum conductors, aluminum alloy conductors, and aluminum core conductors...

How can I tell if I have a buried fuel oil tank?

Saturday, April 18, 2020
How can I tell if I have a buried fuel oil tank?

If you see two pipes sticking out of the ground in the yard that look like the picture above, then an abandoned fuel oil tank lurks in the ground below. There may still be a few functional fuel oil fired furnaces still in use in Florida, but we haven’t...

What does concrete spalling look like?

Saturday, April 18, 2020
What does concrete spalling look like?

Spalling is the deterioration of a concrete surface over time, with crack lines forming first, then chunks of concrete falling out as the problem advances. It is caused by moisture penetrating the layer of concrete covering the reinforcing steel in...

Can termites get through a concrete slab?

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Can termites get through a concrete slab?

Termites cannot chew their way through concrete. But they are so tiny that two termites will fit on the head of a match. So any crack of 1/8” or more that penetrates through the slab will give them enough space to get through. The photo above is an...

Why is an S-trap illegal?

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Why is an S-trap illegal?

An S-trap, like in the photo above, has been banned by the building codes for decades, because it is considered an “unvented” drain. Venting is necessary for a sink to drain properly. In essence, sufficient air has to get into the pipe in order to displace...

How can I tell age of National Comfort Products heat pump or air conditioner from serial number?

Thursday, April 16, 2020
How can I tell age of National Comfort Products heat pump or air conditioner from serial number?

National Comfort Products is a manufacturer of thru-the-wall HVAC systems for multi-family construction. The second and third digits of the serial number are encoded to indicate the year of manufacture, based on the listing below:
32 = late 1998,...

Does a home inspector locate the main water shut-off valve?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Does a home inspector locate the main water shut-off valve?

Inspectors are required to describe the location of the main water shut-off valve, which is important to know for emergency use. The Standards of Practice of both the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified...

What is life expectancy of whole house surge protector?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
What is life expectancy of whole house surge protector?

You can expect a whole house surge protector to last between 2 and 5 years. Because a surge protector’s functional lifespan is measured by the cumulative total of the number and size of the surges it absorbs, not years, any lifespan estimate is going...

What is a bell trap at a plumbing drain?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
What is a bell trap at a plumbing drain?

A bell trap is essentially a water reservoir cup with a bell shape over it that dips into the cup to form a seal. Although once acceptable and common for a floor drain, it is now prohibited by the Internation Residential Code (IRC P3201.5). Bell traps...

What plumbing traps are illegal by code?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
What plumbing traps are illegal by code?

Here are six types of plumbing traps that are not approved by the International Residential Code. Here’s the citation: 

1) Building Trap - This is a kind of “whole house trap” that is on the final line out to the sewer. It dates back to the...

Do handrails have to return to the wall?

Monday, April 13, 2020
Do handrails have to return to the wall?

The ends of a handrail have to return to the wall for safety, to avoid getting a handbag or piece of clothing snagged on an open end and causing a fall. Here’s how it is stated in the International Residential Code (IRC):  
     A safety terminal...

Does garage door to house have to be fire rated?

Monday, April 13, 2020
Does garage door to house have to be fire rated?

Because so many house fires start in the garage, due to the numerous flammables stored there—not the least of which is a car gas tank—the building code requires a fire-resistant barrier between an attached garage and the house. The building code uses...

Does a home inspector go in the attic?

Monday, April 13, 2020
Does a home inspector go in the attic?

Entering an attic is a standard part of any home inspection, except when doing so may be potentially hazardous to the inspector. The Standards of Practice for Florida-licensed inspectors, along with both national home inspector associations, agree on...

Does a home inspector walk on the roof?

Monday, April 13, 2020
Does a home inspector walk on the roof?

“Are you going to go on the roof?” That’s a question we get often, and the answer is yes...well, most of the time. The Standards of Practice of InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) do not require that the inspector actually...

Does a home inspector check gutters?

Monday, April 13, 2020
Does a home inspector check gutters?

Home inspectors are required to examine and report on gutters, according to the Standards of Practice for State of Florida licensed inspectors and the two national home inspector associations (ASHI and InterNACHI). InterNACHI specifies that gutters...

How close can electrical be to plumbing in a house?

Monday, April 13, 2020
How close can electrical be to plumbing in a house?

Plumbing pipes and electrical conduit or NM-cable can run side-by-side. There is no minimum separation requirement. For example, electrical conduit and water pipes are only a few inches apart at the top of a water heater. 
    The only location...

What is minimum distance from sink to receptacle outlet?

Monday, April 13, 2020
What is minimum distance from sink to receptacle outlet?

There is no code-required minimum distance required between a sink and a receptacle outlet. But a receptacle put directly behind a sink, like in the photo above of a bathroom sink, is not recommended because the cord can fall into water in the sink...

Does a home inspector check sewer lines underground?

Sunday, April 12, 2020
Does a home inspector check sewer lines underground?

A home inspection is primarily a visual examination of a home and underground sewer lines are not accessible to view. Also, the Standards of Practice for home inspectors in the State of Florida, along with the two national home inspector associations...

How often should I check my attic?

Sunday, April 12, 2020
How often should I check my attic?

We recommend poking your head up in the attic to look around every six months or so. But definitely once a year at a minimum and after any major storm passes over. If you keep holiday decorations in the attic, that would be a good time to sweep the...

What is Florida code for mobile home repair or remodeling?

Sunday, April 12, 2020
What is Florida code for mobile home repair or remodeling?

Mobile home repair and remodeling is covered under the Florida Administrative Code Rule 15C-2.0081 For Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Division of Motor Vehicles, Rules of Procedure for Bureau of Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle...

Is efflorescence a serious problem?

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Is efflorescence a serious problem?

Efflorescence itstelf is primarily just a cosmetic problem, but it is a symptom of ongoing moisture intrusion behind the porous surface of a masonry wall, which can eventually cause structural damage if allowed to continue. The powder that forms is...

Does a home inspection include a detached carport?

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Does a home inspection include a detached carport?

Whether or not a detached carport is required to be included in a standard home inspection depends of which Standards of Practice the home inspector uses. The State of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR 61-30.810(3)(d))...

Does a home inspection include a detached garage?

Saturday, April 11, 2020
Does a home inspection include a detached garage?

Whether or not a detached garage is required to be included in a standard home inspection depends of which Standards of Practice the home inspector uses. The State of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR 61-30.810(3)(d))...

PLUMBING DRAINS AND TRAPS

Friday, April 10, 2020
PLUMBING DRAINS AND TRAPS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about PLUMBING DRAINS AND TRAPS:
• Why can't a sanitary tee be used for a horizontal-to-horizontal drain pipe connection? 
• Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?

ELECTRICAL WIRING

Friday, April 10, 2020
ELECTRICAL WIRING

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about ELECTRICAL WIRING:
• Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit?
• Can a short circuit cause a high electric bill?
• When did the requirement for two 20-amp kitchen...

Does increasing water pipe size increase water pressure?

Friday, April 10, 2020
Does increasing water pipe size increase water pressure?

The water pressure serving a house is the same at all sizes of pipe because it is a static measurement, meaning that it is determined with no water flowing. But, as soon as a faucet is opened, the pressure will drop and smaller pipes have a larger pressure...

Does code require receptacle on wall behind door swing?

Thursday, April 9, 2020
Does code require receptacle on wall behind door swing?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not exempt an area of wall behind a door swing when calculating receptacle outlet spacing requirements in a house. No point along any wall more than two feet wide cannot be more than six feet from a receptacle...

When did HUD start regulating mobile homes?

Thursday, April 9, 2020
When did HUD start regulating mobile homes?

HUD enforcement of construction standards for manufactured homes took effect on June 15, 1976. It was part of he “National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act” that was passed by Congress and enacted into law by president Gerald Ford on...

How do I stop water from getting under my mobile home?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
How do I stop water from getting under my mobile home?

Puddles of water or muddy ground under a mobile home are caused by either a plumbing leak or a poorly graded site that allows rainwater to run under the home. Long-term lumbing leaks can be avoided by pulling up a few panels of skirting to check under...

What do ground wires look like?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
What do ground wires look like?

Ground wires (also called grounding conductors) are either bare metal or have green insulation. Neutral (grounded conductor) wires are white, and hot wires are black, red, or sometimes blue.
    Also see our blog posts Can old electrical wiring...

What is the difference between a collar tie and rafter tie?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020
What is the difference between a collar tie and rafter tie?

Both a collar tie and a rafter tie are horizontal connectors between a pair of rafters that meet at a center ridge board across a span. The difference between them is that a collar tie is placed up near the ridge beam, but a rafter tie gets installed...

Is a home inspection required for a VA loan?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Is a home inspection required for a VA loan?

No, a home inspection is not necessary for Veterans Administration (VA) home loans, but all lending institutions highly recommend that you get a house inspected before you buy it. In fact, HUD requires that applicants for an FHA or VA loan sign a form...

Is a home inspection required for an FHA loan?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Is a home inspection required for an FHA loan?

No, a home inspection is not necessary for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home loans, but all lending institutions highly recommend that you get a house inspected before you buy it. In fact, HUD requires that applicants for an FHA or VA loan sign...

How do I find out the wind zone of my mobile home?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
How do I find out the wind zone of my mobile home?

Your mobile home’s wind zone rating is listed on the HUD data plate. The data plate is a large paper sticker that can be found on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door, inside the door to the electrical panel, or on the wall of a closet.
    If...

How long does it take for a wind mitigation inspection?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
How long does it take for a wind mitigation inspection?

A wind mitigation inspection usually takes about 30 minutes on site, but may require up to an hour if documentation of windows and shutters has to be reviewed. There are seven different hurricane-resistant construction details of a home that the inspector...

How long does it take for a four point inspection?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
How long does it take for a four point inspection?

A four point inspection usually takes 30 to 40 minutes on site, and covers the four main components of a house: roof, electrical, plumbing, and heating/air-conditioning. Its purpose is to give an insurance company a clear picture of the condition of...

What is a four point inspection?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
What is a four point inspection?

A four point is an insurance inspection that evaluates the condition of four major components of a home: roof, electrical, plumbing, and heating/air-conditioning. Its purpose is to give an insuror a clear picture of the condition of a home, particularly...

Does a home inspector test all the doors in a house?

Monday, April 6, 2020
Does a home inspector test all the doors in a house?

The State of Florida’s standard for inspecting doors for a home inspection (61-30.807 Standards of Practice, Interior Components) states that “when inspecting doors and windows, the inspector may inspect a representative number of doors and windows.”...

Is it legal to install a three-prong outlet without a ground?

Monday, April 6, 2020
Is it legal to install a three-prong outlet without a ground?

Three-prong outlet receptacles without a ground connection are legal, per National Electrical Code [NEC 406.4(D)(2)(b,c)], as long as they are GFCI-protected. You can provide GFCI-protection by replacing the old receptacle with a GFCI one, replacing...

Do receptacle outlets have to be grounded?

Monday, April 6, 2020
Do receptacle outlets have to be grounded?

Grounded three-slot receptacles have been required for new construction since the 1962 edition of the National Electrical Code [NEC 406.4(A)]. But two-slot (ungrounded) receptacles installed before the code changed are allowed to remain in place, and...

Are two-prong outlets up to code and legal?

Monday, April 6, 2020
Are two-prong outlets up to code and legal?

Existing ungrounded two-prong receptacle outlets are allowed to remain in place by the National Electrical Code [NEC 406.4(D)(2)], and they can also be replaced with another two-prong receptacle at locations where a ground connection does not exist,...

How long is a four point inspection valid?

Sunday, April 5, 2020
How long is a four point inspection valid?

A four point inspection report remains valid for one year after the date of the inspection for submission to an insurance company. This is what it says at the Citizens Insurance website Q&A: "The four-point inspection report must be dated within the...

What is the average life expectancy of a rubber roof?

Sunday, April 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a rubber roof?

A rubber roof can be expected to last 20 to 30 years. Possibly longer with diligent maintenance. The technical name for a rubber roof is EPDM, which stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a synthetic rubber membrane and, like any membrane...

Do home inspectors check carpet condition?

Sunday, April 5, 2020
Do home inspectors check carpet condition?

Carpeting is considered a cosmetic item for a home inspection, and in the same category as paint, wallpaper, and window treatments. So deteriorated or stained carpet is not ordinarily included in an inspection report.
    But there are exceptions....

Does a inspector enter the crawl space under the house?

Saturday, April 4, 2020
Does a inspector enter the crawl space under the house?

“Are you gonna go under the house?” That’s often the first question we get asked when arriving at an old house inspection. And our answer is always the the same: “Sure, we will try.” 

    Several obstacles can make the process of getting...

What is code for dryer vents?

Saturday, April 4, 2020
What is code for dryer vents?

Dryer venting systems are covered in the International Residential Code (IRC) at M1502 - Clothes Dryer Exhaust. Here’s a summary of the requirements:
• Dryers must be exhausted in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions (IRC M1502.1).
•...

Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm?

Friday, April 3, 2020
Is it illegal to disconnect a smoke alarm?

We know of no ordinance that prohibits a homeowner from removing or disconnecting their own smoke alarm; but a few jurisdictions make it illegal, under penalty of a fine, for a tenant to “remove the batteries or tamper with a smoke alarm in any way.”...

Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed?

Friday, April 3, 2020
Where should smoke alarms NOT be installed?

The logic behind where smoke alarms should NOT be installed is simply to avoid locations where they will not function properly or the environment may damage the unit. Here’s our list, with an explanation for each one:
• In a kitchen, or near a...

What are the signs that a mobile home is not level?

Thursday, April 2, 2020
What are the signs that a mobile home is not level?

The signs that a mobile home is out-of-level are similar to the symptoms of a site-built house that has foundation problems. If one of the defects listed below catches your eye, we suggest going around your home and carefully checking for the others:

How often should you relevel a mobile home?

Thursday, April 2, 2020
How often should you relevel a mobile home?

A mobile home in Florida on a standard stacked-block foundation should be releveled every 3 to 5 years. If you live in an area with frost heave, you may need to do it as often as every year or two. 
    Homes with a slab or deep foundation only...

What causes a garage floor to crack?

Thursday, April 2, 2020
What causes a garage floor to crack?

Cracks in a garage floor get more attention than other areas of a home for the simple reason that they are exposed to view in a big, open area, with no floor covering over them. There are two main reasons for garage floor cracks and a cluster of other...

What is an FBC roof covering?

Thursday, April 2, 2020
What is an FBC roof covering?

FBC stands for Florida Building Code, and an FBC roof covering is one that meets the standards of the 2001 Florida Building Code or a later edition, and the date of the roofing permit application was March 1, 2002, which is when the 2001 FBC went into...

Can two sinks share a trap?

Monday, March 30, 2020
Can two sinks share a trap?

Two sinks can share a trap as long as the centerline of the outlet (tailpiece) of both sinks is not more than 30-inches horizontally from the trap centerline, per International Plumbing Code (IRC P3201.6), as shown in the diagram above.
   Also,...

What is a double trap in plumbing?

Monday, March 30, 2020
What is a double trap in plumbing?

A double trap is two plumbing traps in tandem, one after the other in line, and this often causes the first trap to get sucked out by the last trap. An example of one sink trap connected to another sink’s trap is shown above. Only one trap is allowed...

How long should a stair handrail be?

Saturday, March 28, 2020
How long should a stair handrail be?

A handrail must be continuous for the entire length of a stair, from directly above the top riser to directly above the bottom riser, and terminate (die into) the adjacent wall or a newel post, per International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.8.2). It...

What is a grippable handrail?

Saturday, March 28, 2020
What is a grippable handrail?

A grippable handrail is one that you can easily and securely get your hand around to steady yourself while you are on a stair. It must be continuous for the entire length of a stair, from directly above the top riser to directly above the bottom riser,...

What is code for dryer vent termination clearance?

Friday, March 27, 2020
What is code for dryer vent termination clearance?

Many manufacturer's installation manuals specify a minimum 12-inch clearance around the termination of a dryer vent to the ground and any adjacent wall or other obstruction to the air flow. We know of no requirement in the International Residential...

What is code for garage receptacle outlets?

Friday, March 27, 2020
What is code for garage receptacle outlets?

“At least one 120-volt, 20-ampere branch circuit shall be installed to supply receptacle outlets in attached garages and in detached garages with electrical power,” according to the National Electrical Code [NEC 210.11(C)(4)]. There is no stipulation...

Are temite shields required by code?

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Are temite shields required by code?

Termite shields are an old-time code requirement that has been replaced by chemical treatments and other construction standards. They have not been code for over 50 years and we only see them in 1960s and earlier houses, with the exception of some newer...

Can you have a deck without a railing?

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Can you have a deck without a railing?

A deck is not required to have a railing if it is not more than 30-inches above any ground level within 24-inches of the edge of the deck. So any deck that is more than 30-inches high requires a guardrail that is minimum 30-inches high, per International...

When is a handrail required on both sides of stairs?

Thursday, March 26, 2020
When is a handrail required on both sides of stairs?

A handrail is only required on one side of a stair with four or more risers (three or more treads), per the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.8). There is no requirement for a handrail at both sides of a residential stair, although it is an...

What is a safe level of radon?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
What is a safe level of radon?

Less than 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) is considered a reasonably safe level for indoor air by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The World Health Organization (WHO) sets a lower maximum of  2.7 pCi/L.
    But neither...

Does a home inspector check water pressure?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Does a home inspector check water pressure?

When a home buyer is concerned about water pressure, the problem is usually actually water flow. Water pressure in a municpal system is sufficiently high and private well systems also have a pressure adjustment that is set at an adequate level for normal...

Is 45 degrees too steep for a stair?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Is 45 degrees too steep for a stair?

A stair at a 45-degree angle is not allowed by code due to the maximum riser and minimum tread standards. The maximum riser allowed by the International Residential Code (IRC) is 7-3/4”, but a 7-3/4” tread is smaller than the minimum tread depth of...

What is a tankless water heater average life expectancy?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
What is a tankless water heater average life expectancy?

You can expect a tankless (on-demand) water heater to last 18 to 24 years, with an average of 20 years. Maintenance is important for a long life, and the critical task is flushing it out regularly. An isolator valve kit needs to be installed in order...

Do I need a radon test for a house with a radon mitigation system?

Monday, March 23, 2020
Do I need a radon test for a house with a radon mitigation system?

Unfortunately, the fact that a house already has a radon mitigation system does not guarantee that the radon level in the home is below the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum for indoor air of 4.0 pCi/L (pico curies per liter of air). So...

How far should stair nosing stick out?

Sunday, March 22, 2020
How far should stair nosing stick out?

A nosing should not extend past the face of the riser below it less than 1/4 inch or more than 1-1/4 inch, according to the International Residential Code (IRC R311.7.5.3). A nosing is not required for treads 11 inches or more. Since the minimum size...

Do you have to disclose polybutylene pipes to a homebuyer?

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Do you have to disclose polybutylene pipes to a homebuyer?

Any defect of a home that materially affects the value or livability of a house must be included in the seller’s disclosure form, if known. Because of premature failure leakge problems of PB (polybutylene) pipe that caused class action lawsuits and...

Does a home inspector look for code violations?

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Does a home inspector look for code violations?

This is a touchy subject for most home inspectors. Some inspectors refuse to quote code and others do it in a very limited way to reinforce their observation of an unsafe situation in a home. 
    The reason is simple: building codes are a moving...

Can a home inspector condemn a house?

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Can a home inspector condemn a house?

A home inspector has no legal authority to declare a house unfit for habitation. That would be a process which typically starts with an evaluation by a building inspector or code enforcement inspector employed by a city or county that has jurisdiction...

Are kickout flashings required by code?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Are kickout flashings required by code?

A kickoff flashing, also called a diverter flashing, is required by the International Residential Code (IRC R093.2.1). It is installed at the termination of a roof-to-wall flashing where it meets the eave and shifts the direction of the water flowing...

Do stair tread edges have to be rounded?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Do stair tread edges have to be rounded?

There is no requirement for the leading edge of a stair tread to be rounded, but a number of good reason why it should be. Most stair residential stair treads are wood and rounding reducing the incidence of splintering of the edge. Also, a square edge...

What is a low slope roof?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
What is a low slope roof?

Good question. And the answer depends on who you ask. The American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) defines a low slope roof as less than a 2/12 pitch (2 units vertical for every 12 units horizontal). Carson & Dunlop, a well-known engineering firm,...

How many receptacle outlets should be in a room?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
How many receptacle outlets should be in a room?

The number of receptacles required by code for most rooms in the living areas of a house is not specified by number, but by distance along the wall to a receptacle. The maximum spacing between receptacles is 12 feet, with no point along a wall being...

Do floor receptacle outlets need to be GFCI?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Do floor receptacle outlets need to be GFCI?

There is no code requirement for all floor receptacles to be GFCI-protected. But when they are in a location requiring GFCI, such as a bathroom, then it is necessary. For a full list of all places code-required for GFCI, see our blog post Where are...

What is code for distance from receptacle outlet to a door?

Monday, March 16, 2020
What is code for distance from receptacle outlet to a door?

A wall receptacle outlet must be no more than 6 feet from a door at an interior wall, but there is no minimum distance. If the wall on either side of the door is 2 feet or less long, a receptacle is not required on the wall, but the length of the wall...

Do floor receptacle outlets count for code spacing requirements?

Monday, March 16, 2020
Do floor receptacle outlets count for code spacing requirements?

A floor receptacle outlet cannot be counted towards the minimum requirements, either for spacing between receptacles or minimum number of receptacles per area, unless the floor receptacle is within 18 inches of the wall, per National Electrical Code...

What is code for receptacle outlet spacing?

Monday, March 16, 2020
What is code for receptacle outlet spacing?

The maximum spacing between receptacles is 12 feet, with no point along a wall being more than 6-feet from a receptacle. The logic behind that number is that an appliance with a standard length cord could then be plugged-in anywhere along the wall....

Does a home inspector check ceiling fans?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Does a home inspector check ceiling fans?

We inspect ceiling fans and all the inspectors we know do it also. But the State of Florida and the two major, national home inspector associations do not mention them—either as requiring inspection or exempt—in their Standards of Practice. If a ceiling...

What are the minimum dimensions of a stair landing?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
What are the minimum dimensions of a stair landing?

A width of a stair landing cannot be less than the width of the stair itself, and the length (in direction of travel) cannot be less than 36 inches, according to the Internation Residential Code (IRC 311.7.6). A landing is required at the top and bottom...

Is a stair nosing required by code?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Is a stair nosing required by code?

A stair nosing (extension of the tread past the front face of the riser below) is only required when a tread is less than 11 inches, according to the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.5.3). Since the minimum tread allowed is 10 inches, a nosing...

Do all stair treads have to be the same size?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Do all stair treads have to be the same size?

"The greatest tread depth within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm),” according to the International Residential Code (IRC R311.7.5.2). Go to our blog post The stairs feel too steep. What's the building...

Do all stair risers have to be the same height?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
Do all stair risers have to be the same height?

"The greatest riser height within any flight of stairs shall not exceed the smallest by more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm),” according to the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.5.1). Go to our blog post The stairs feel too steep. What's the building...

What is the minimum width of a hallway?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
What is the minimum width of a hallway?

The width of a hallway shall not be less than 3 feet, according to the International Residential Code (IRC R311.6). Also, see our blog post How many electrical receptacle outlets are required in a hallway?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •...

What is code for stair risers?

Sunday, March 15, 2020
What is code for stair risers?

The maximum riser (vertical part) of a stair is 7-3/4” according to the International Residential Code (IRC R311.7.5.1). Combine that 7-3/4” riser with a 10” minimum tread (horizontal part) and you have the steepest stair allowed by code. However, when...

Do all mobile homes have formaldehyde?

Saturday, March 14, 2020
Do all mobile homes have formaldehyde?

Both mobile homes and site-built homes have construction materials that contain formaldehyde, and both off-gas the formaldehyde during the first few months after placement. But, because a site-built home can take six months to a year from start to move-in...

When did they stop using formaldehyde in mobile homes?

Saturday, March 14, 2020
When did they stop using formaldehyde in mobile homes?

Formaldehyde has never been banned from the manufacture of mobile homes. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has jurisdiction over mobile home construction, began setting standards for the levels of formaldehyde used in...

What is a three-way switch used for?

Saturday, March 14, 2020
What is a three-way switch used for?

A three-way switch enables you to control a ceiling light, or any other electrical fixture, from two separate locations. The most common uses are at the top and bottom of stairs or at two doors to the same room. Unlike regular wall switches, up is not...

What is the difference between neutral and ground wires?

Saturday, March 14, 2020
What is the difference between neutral and ground wires?

The main difference between neutral and ground wires is that a neutral is intended to carry current in a circuit when the circuit is functioning correctly, connecting back to the transformer for 120-volt circuits; while a ground wire only becomes energized...

Are double tapped breakers illegal?

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Are double tapped breakers illegal?

Double tapped breakers are not allowed for most circuit breakers. The exception is some lower-amperage rated breakers made by Square D and Cutler-Hammer (now Eaton). A double tap is two wires secured to a breaker that is only rated to receive one wire...

Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile Home Installation

Thursday, March 12, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile Home Installation

Both HUD and the State of Florida have installation standards that must be complied with to have a secure, safe mobile home. Here's a collection of our most-often-asked questions about MOBILE HOME INSTALLATION:
• What are the most common defects...

What is the difference between an electrical fault and a short circuit?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
What is the difference between an electrical fault and a short circuit?

Fault and short circuit are different words for the same thing: when electricity escapes from its correct circuit route, which often has dangerous consequences. Fault is used more often in the technical language of codes, as in Ground Fault Circuit...

Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile Home Wind Zones

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile Home Wind Zones

Here’s links to answers to our most-often-asked questions about MOBILE HOME WIND ZONES:
• What is a Wind Zone for mobile homes?

• What is a Wind Zone 1 mobile home?
• What is a Wind Zone 2 mobile home?
* What is a Wind Zone...

What is a Wind Zone 3 mobile home?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
What is a Wind Zone 3 mobile home?

A mobile home manufactured for installation in Wind Zone 3 is rated to withstand sustained winds up to 110 mph, which is equivalent to gusts of up to 130 mph. The Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD) has divided the country into four wind zones:...

What is a Wind Zone 2 mobile home?

Wednesday, March 11, 2020
What is a Wind Zone 2 mobile home?

A mobile home manufactured for installation in Wind Zone 2 is rated to withstand sustained winds up to 100 mph, which is equivalent to gusts of up to 120 mph. The Department of Housing and Urban Renewal (HUD) has divided the country into four wind zones:...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Mobile Home Tie Downs?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Mobile Home Tie Downs?

HUD has gradually ratcheted up the tie down requirements for mobile home since taking over supervison of their construciton and installation in 1976. The State of Florida further enhanced the standards for mobile homes within the state in 1999, and...

What is an Exposure D mobile home?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
What is an Exposure D mobile home?

A “Exposure D” manufactured home, also called an “D Sticker,” is a Wind Zone III home on steroids. It has been further strengthened to to meet the wind resistance requirement of ASCE 7-88,  Exposure D—which is a standard referenced in the HUD Code....

Can you plug a surge protector into a two prong outlet?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Can you plug a surge protector into a two prong outlet?

While it possible to plug a surge protector power strip into a two prong outlet if you remove the ground prong on the cord or use an adapter (also called a “cheater plug”) at the receptacle outlet, it won’t function properly. The ground prong on the...

What floor level change is a trip hazard?

Sunday, March 8, 2020
What floor level change is a trip hazard?

A trip hazard is defined by the 2010 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design as any abrupt vertical change in the level of a floor surface of more than 1/4-inch. Broken or lifted sidewalks, or floor slabs that have shifted...

Can you build a deck or patio over a septic tank in Florida?

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Can you build a deck or patio over a septic tank in Florida?

You are allowed to build a deck or patio over a septic tank, but not the drainfield, according to Florida Administrative Code 64E-6.005(2)(a).
    Also, see our blog posts How can I locate my septic tank? and Do I have to get a larger septic tank...

Can you build a home addition over a septic tank in Florida?

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Can you build a home addition over a septic tank in Florida?

No, you cannot build a home addition over a septic tank or drainfield according to Florida Administrative Code 64E-6.005(2): "Systems shall not be located under buildings or within 5 feet of building foundations, including pilings for elevated structures.” 

Do receptacle outlets have to be grounded?

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Do receptacle outlets have to be grounded?

Receptacle outlets have been required to be the grounded, three-slot type since the 1962 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). So any new or replacement receptacle must be three-slot and a have a connection to ground from the round slot at...

What are the signs of a full septic tank?

Sunday, March 8, 2020
What are the signs of a full septic tank?

If you don’t have your septic tank pumped every five years or so as recommended, there are five ways the system itself will tell you when it’s time:
•• Backup - This is the most obvious, classic sign that you have waited too long, and it always...

How close can you build a home addition to a septic tank system in Florida?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
How close can you build a home addition to a septic tank system in Florida?

A septic system cannot be located closer than 5 feet from a house foundation or mobile home. Sidewalks, decks, and patios are not subject to the 5 foot rule, but you cannot put a drainfield under them. Any tank below a driveway must have a lid designed...

Do FHA loans require a home inspection?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
Do FHA loans require a home inspection?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) does not require a home buyer that is applying for an FHA-insured loan to have a home inspection, however they do expect a buyer to sign a document certifying that they were advised that a home inspection is...

What mobile home wind zone is Florida?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
What mobile home wind zone is Florida?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has divided the country in zones according to the level of windstorm speeds a mobile home is likely to have to endure in each area. Florida has three different wind zones:
Wind Zone 2 -...

What is a Wind Zone 1 mobile home?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
What is a Wind Zone 1 mobile home?

A Wind Zone 1 mobile home is designed to resist winds up to 70 mph, and can be installed pretty much anywhere in America except hurricane-prone areas. So, of course, none of Florida is in Wind Zone 1. The state is divided into Zone 2 in the upper two-thirds,...

What is checked during a wind mitigation inspection?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
What is checked during a wind mitigation inspection?

There are seven different hurricane-resistant construction details of a home that the inspector looks for in a wind mitigation inspection (Form OIR-B1-1802). Few homes have all of them, but most have at least a few. Here’s our analysis of each of the...

Who can perform a wind mitigation inspection in Florida?

Saturday, March 7, 2020
Who can perform a wind mitigation inspection in Florida?

The following Florida-licensed construction professionals are allowed to perform a wind mitigation inspection, and must sign the form and list their type of license and license number:
•• Home Inspector - But only inspectors that have completed...

What is a home inspector not allowed to do?

Friday, March 6, 2020
What is a home inspector not allowed to do?

The basis of the list of things that a home inspector is not allowed to do is that an inspector cannot damage a house in the process of inspecting it. This means he or she shouldn't drill holes in a wall, open sealed compartments, pull up stretched...

What is the average life expectancy of a gas range?

Friday, March 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a gas range?

You can expect a gas range to last about 15 to 22 years, with an average of 18 years. Like any appliance, heavy usage will shorten the life of a range and only occasional use lengthen it. Here’s a graph comparing gas range life expectancy to other major...

What is the average life expectancy of an electric range?

Friday, March 6, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an electric range?

You can expect an electric range to last about 13 to 18 years, with an average of 15 years. Like any appliance, heavy usage will shorten the life of a range and only occasional use lengthen it. Here’s a graph comparing electric range average lifespan...

Should I tip the home inspector?

Friday, March 6, 2020
Should I tip the home inspector?

You can tip a home inspector if want; but, unlike movers or appliance delivery men, it is not standard or expected. We occasionally get offered a tip by an appreciative customer and try to gracefully decline it and, if the client insists, we accept....

What is the average life expectancy of a garbage disposal?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a garbage disposal?

You can expect a disposal to last about 10 to 14 years, with an average of 12 years. But the lifespan will be shortened if you put things down the disposal that it is not equipped to handle, such as grease, egg shells, celery, or bones. 
    Here’s...

What is the average life expectancy of a dishwasher?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a dishwasher?

You can expect a dishwasher to last about 8 to 15 years, with an average of 11 years. Like any appliance, heavy usage will shorten it life and only occasional usage will lengthen it—except a dishwasher that is unused for a long period will cause the...

What is the average life expectancy of a refrigerator?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a refrigerator?

You can expect a refrigerator to last about 10 to 18 years, with an average of 14 years. Here’s a graph comparing refrigerator life expectancy to other major home appliances. Here’s a graph comparing refrigerator life expectancy to other major home...

KITCHENS

Thursday, March 5, 2020
KITCHENS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about KITCHENS:
• How does a home inspector inspect a refrigerator ice maker?  
• Does a refrigerator water supply line require a shutoff valve behind it? 
• Why is it important to use cabinet...

Does a home inspector check the clothes dryer?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Does a home inspector check the clothes dryer?

Whether or not an inspector is required to test the dryer depends of which Standards of Practice they are following. Florida licensed home inspectors must comply with state statute 61-30.807, which requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s what...

Does a home inspector check the washing machine?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Does a home inspector check the washing machine?

Whether or not an inspector is required to test the washer depends of which Standards of Practice they are following. Florida licensed home inspectors must comply with state statute 61-30.807, which requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s what...

Does a home inspector check the refrigerator?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Does a home inspector check the refrigerator?

Whether or not an inspector is required to check the refrigerator depends of which Standards of Practice they are following. Florida licensed home inspectors must comply with state statute 61-30.807, which requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s...

Does a home inspector check the kitchen range or cooktop?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Does a home inspector check the kitchen range or cooktop?

Whether or not an inspector is required to test the range depends of which Standards of Practice they are following. Florida licensed home inspectors must comply with state statute 61-30.807, which requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s what...

Does a home inspector check the dishwasher?

Thursday, March 5, 2020
Does a home inspector check the dishwasher?

Whether or not an inspector is required to test the dishwasher depends of which Standards of Practice they are following. Florida licensed home inspectors must comply with state statute 61-30.807, which requires that inspectors test appliances. Here’s...

Does a home inspector check the landscape sprinkler system?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Does a home inspector check the landscape sprinkler system?

Home inspectors in Florida are not required to examine or test the sprinkler system according to the Florida Administrative Code’s Standards of Practice for Home Inspectors at 61-30.806(3)(f). The standards of the International Association of Certified...

What is a HUD Park Model?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
What is a HUD Park Model?

A HUD Park Model is built under the HUD standards for mobile homes, can be up to 500 square feet, and may be licensed as a recreational vehicle (RV) in Florida only. It must meet the hurricane wind load standard (either Zone 2 or Zone 3) for where it...

What is the average life expectancy of a shower pan liner?

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a shower pan liner?

You can expect a shower pan liner to last 40 to 50 years, with an average of 45 years. It’s important the the liner to be installed correctly on a sloped mortar bed or use a pre-slope base for a long life. A common misconception is that the tile and...

Can you splice wires in an electrical panel?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Can you splice wires in an electrical panel?

Wire splices can be done inside a panel, and often are necessary to repair a double-tap at a breaker (two wires under one breaker connection) using a short wire called a “pigtail,” extend wires that are a little too short when a panel is replaced, or...

When did they stop using aluminum wiring in houses?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
When did they stop using aluminum wiring in houses?

Aluminum wiring was used in homes and mobile homes from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. Although solid (single strand) aluminum wiring was approved for household 15- and 20-amp circuits since the 1940s, it was not used much until the price of copper...

WASHERS AND DRYERS

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
WASHERS AND DRYERS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about WASHERS AND DRYERS:  
• What are the most common problems with washing machine installation and maintenance?
• Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe? 

What is the average life expectancy of a washing machine?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a washing machine?

You can expect a washing machine to last about 9 to 16 years, with an average of 12 years. Like any appliance, heavy usage will shorten its life. Here’s a graph that compares washing machine life expectancy to other major home appliances.      Go to...

Is mobile home skirting really necessary?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Is mobile home skirting really necessary?

Mobile home skirting is definitely necessary for multiple reasons:
1) Most insurance companies will not insure a home without skirting.
2) Most building departments require skirting as part of a permitted installation.
3) It gives the...

What is a cool roof made of?

Monday, March 2, 2020
What is a cool roof made of?

A cool roof is not made of a particular material. It is a designation given to roof materials that reflect more sunlight (solar reflectance) and absorb less heat (thermal emittance) than an ordinary roof. Cool roofs can be metal, TPO or EPDM plastic,...

Why are there no ceiling lights in some rooms?

Monday, March 2, 2020
Why are there no ceiling lights in some rooms?

Although a switched light is required in most rooms of a house, a switch connected to a wall receptacle for plugging in a lamp is allowed as an alternative in all habitable rooms of a house, except kitchens and bathrooms, which need to have the switch...

How do I tell the age of a GSW water heater from the serial number?

Monday, March 2, 2020
How do I tell the age of a GSW water heater from the serial number?

The first two numbers in the serial number are the year of manufacture, and the third and fourth numbers are the month for GSW water heaters. There may, or may not be, an initial letter before the numbers. For example, a serial number U1310372185 means...

What is the average life expectancy of a landscape sprinkler system?

Monday, March 2, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a landscape sprinkler system?

You can expect a landscape sprinkler system to last about 20 years. Although the underground pipes can remain functional for 40 years or more, most of the other components of the system, including the control panel, wiring, valves, and heads all need...

What is the average life expectancy of a termite ground treatment?

Monday, March 2, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a termite ground treatment?

Most termite ground treatments remain effective for 10 years or more, depending on the chemical used, although a few are only good for about 5 years. Soil treatments can be applied in the entire area under a home before construction or as a perimeter...

Why are Challenger electrical panels not insurable?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Why are Challenger electrical panels not insurable?

Challenger brand electrical panels were installed in homes during the 1980s and 1990s, but have since been found to have a defect that causes the bus bars to overheat under normal operating conditions. The overheating causes cyclical expansion and contraction...

What is the average life expectancy of a kitchen range hood fan?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a kitchen range hood fan?

You can expect a range hood to last between 12 and 18 years, with an average of 15 years. Like any appliance the variables that will affect longevity are quality of the appliance and maintenance. More expensive hoods tend to hang in there longer, and...

What is the average life expectancy of a bathroom exhaust fan?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a bathroom exhaust fan?

You can expect a bathroom exhaust fan to last 9 to 12 years, with an average of 10 years. They do require cleaning annually, using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment, to remove the dust accumulation of the grille face, fan, and motor where accessible....

What is the average life expectancy of a micowave oven?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a micowave oven?

You can expect a microwave oven to last about 7 to 9 years, with an average of 8 years. Heavy use, such as by college students or a large family to heat up meals and snacks, will shorten the life expectancy. Here’s a graph comparing microwave life expectancy...

What is the code minimum ceiling height in a laundry room?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the code minimum ceiling height in a laundry room?

Laundry rooms must have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches. Where the ceiling is sloped, such as under a stairs, there are exemptions and two other parameters you have to work within, based on the Residential Edition of the Florida Building...

What is the code minimum ceiling height in a bathroom?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the code minimum ceiling height in a bathroom?

Bathrooms and toilet rooms (half-baths) must have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 8 inches. Where the ceiling is sloped, such as under a stairs, because the toilet fits in at the low side of the sloped ceiling under the stairs, the vertical clearance...

Can I replace my own roof in Florida?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
Can I replace my own roof in Florida?

Homeowners may act as their own contractor to replace a roof under an exemption in Florida Statute 489.103(7)(a). But there are multiple stipulations to this exemption, such as:
1) Homeowner must provide direct onsite supervision of all work not...

What is the code for bathroom ventilation?

Sunday, March 1, 2020
What is the code for bathroom ventilation?

You can opt for natural ventilation, with a window having a minimum area of three square feet and half of it openable, or provide artificial light and ventilation via a switched exhaust fan rated at a minimum of 50 cfm (cubic feet per minute) or a continuous...

Do you need a permit to repair a roof in Florida?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Do you need a permit to repair a roof in Florida?

Minor roof repairs do not require a permit in Florida. Unfotunately, the definition of a "minor roof repair" is left up to the local building official, and it varies from one jurisdiction to another. Most building officials consider a minor roof repair...

What is the average life expectancy of a wood deck structure?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a wood deck structure?

You can expect the wood joists and beams under wood decking to last 20 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years. which can be 50% to as much as double the life of the decking. The life of the deck structure will be cut in half if it is built close to,...

What is the average life expectancy of composite wood decking?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of composite wood decking?

You can expect composite wood decking to last 20 to 30 years, with an average of 25 years.  Here’s a graph that compares composite decking life expectancy to other deck/patio materials.    Composite deck boards need minimal maintenance and does not...

At what height is a railing required for a porch?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
At what height is a railing required for a porch?

Any open-sided walking surface on a porch that is more than 30-inches above any point within 36-inches away from the edge of it requires a guardrail that has a minimum height of 36-inches. The openings in the railing pickets should not allow a 4-inch...

At what height is a railing required for a deck?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
At what height is a railing required for a deck?

Any open-sided walking surface on a deck that is more than 30-inches above any point within 24-inches away from the edge of it requires a guardrail that has a minimum height of 36-inches, per International Residential Code (R312.1.1). The openings in...

How much space is necessary for a toilet between a vanity and shower?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
How much space is necessary for a toilet between a vanity and shower?

The minimum requirement is 30 inches between shower and vanity, with the toilet centered in the space, and 21 inches between the front of the bowl and opposite wall, per International Residential Code [IRC P2705.1(5) and R305.1(2)]. There must also...

How many lumens are required at stairs in a home?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
How many lumens are required at stairs in a home?

The International Residential Code (IRC R303.7) specifies one footcandle of light as measured at the center of treads and landings as a minimum for interior stairs. One footcandle (fc) equals one lumen per square foot (lm/sq²). The code requires exterior...

Who can certify a roof in Florida?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Who can certify a roof in Florida?

The following building construction professionals, if licensed in Florida, can do a roof inspection and complete a “Roof Condition Certification Form.” This form is often requested by insurance companies as a prerequisite to issuing a policy for a home...

Do modular homes depreciate in value?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Do modular homes depreciate in value?

A modular home is manufactured and installed to the same building code standards as a site-built home in the same location and is installed on a permanent foundation. It is essentially the same as a site-built home except that it is constructed in a...

Is a hip roof stronger than a gable roof?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
Is a hip roof stronger than a gable roof?

A hip roof slopes inward on all sides. It is stronger than a gable roof in hurricane resistance because it doesn’t have a triangular gable end wall that often fails under the pressure of high winds. Also, hip roofs are self-bracing. Shown below is the...

When did they stop using cast iron pipe in houses?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
When did they stop using cast iron pipe in houses?

Cast iron was used extensively for DWV (drain-waste-vent) piping until the mid-1970s, when PVC pipe became widely available and accepted by plumbers. Corrosion was the main problem. It is still an available and approved pipe in the building codes, and...

When did they stop using copper pipe in houses?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
When did they stop using copper pipe in houses?

Copper pipe rose in popularity in the 1970s, surpassing galvanized steel for water pipe, and become the “gold standard” for quality pipe in that era. But problems with pinhole leaks and the arrival of the newer plastic pipes in the market caused a gradual...

What color metal roof is best?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
What color metal roof is best?

The best color is the one your spouse wants, unless energy efficiency is a major concern, then a white metal roof is an ideal choice because it reflects the heat back into the atmosphere to keep your attic cooler in the summer and reduce the air conditioning...

When is a nosing required on a stair tread?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
When is a nosing required on a stair tread?

A nosing (extension of the tread leading edge past face of riser below it) is required for stair treads less than 11 inches in depth to create a minimum tread surface of at least 11 inches (IRC 311.7.5.3). Since the minimum tread depth by code is 10...

What is the minimum step depth (tread) allowed on a stair?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
What is the minimum step depth (tread) allowed on a stair?

The depth of a stair tread should not be less than 10 inches, measured vertically between the leading edges of adjacent treads, according to the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.5.2). The maximum allowable varitation in tread depth is 3/8 inch.

What is the maximum height of a step (riser) on a stair?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
What is the maximum height of a step (riser) on a stair?

The maximum height of a riser is 7-3/4 inches according to the International Residential Code (IRC 311.7.5.1), as measured between the leading edges of adjacent treads. Also, the maximum allowable variation between riser heights is 3/8 inch. Also, see...

How many stairs before you need a landing?

Saturday, February 29, 2020
How many stairs before you need a landing?

The maximum distance between stair landings allowed by the International Residential Code (IRC) is not based on the number of steps/risers. It is a maximum of 147” (12’-3”) vertical rise  between floor levels or intermediate landings.

 •...

Is it okay to put plywood flooring in an attic?

Friday, February 28, 2020
Is it okay to put plywood flooring in an attic?

Installing plywood flooring in the attic is an easy homeowner upgrade that allows for more attic storage without the possibility of heavier items damaging the ceiling below. We recommend using 1/2” CDX plywood. There are, however, three potential problems...

Can I replace an old two-slot (not grounded) recptacle outlet with another two-slot receptacle by code?

Friday, February 28, 2020
Can I replace an old two-slot (not grounded) recptacle outlet with another two-slot receptacle by code?

You can replace a two-slot (ungrounded) receptacle with another two-slot receptacle if you want. It is allowed by the National Electrical Code [406.4(D)(2)]. There are actually three options you have for receptacle replacement when the circuit does...

What locations are exempt from the tamper resistant receptacle requirement by code?

Friday, February 28, 2020
What locations are exempt from the tamper resistant receptacle requirement by code?

Tamper resistant receptacles have been mandated by the National Electrical Code (NEC) since 2008, with several locations exempted from the requirement. Here is the exceptions list from the 2017 edition of the NEC at 406.12:
1) Receptacles located...

When did tamper resistant receptacle outlets become required by code?

Friday, February 28, 2020
When did tamper resistant receptacle outlets become required by code?

Tamper resistant receptacles were first required by the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). They are recognizable by the “TR” embossed on the face at the plug insertion area, and the closure shutter that obstructs the opening in the...

How do you test for GFCI protection at an ungrounded receptacle outlet?

Friday, February 28, 2020
How do you test for GFCI protection at an ungrounded receptacle outlet?

If you are testing a GFCI receptacle outlet on an ungrounded (two wire) circuit, you can simply push the test button to verify that the GFCI is functional, and it will trip if working properly. But, to verify that other ungrounded (two slot) receptacles...

Does GFCI still work on an ungrounded receptacle outlet?

Thursday, February 27, 2020
Does GFCI still work on an ungrounded receptacle outlet?

Yes, a GFCI at an ungrounded receptacle will still trip under a ground fault, and it will protect any other receptacles downstream in the circuit. The test button will also work to verify that the GFCI is functioning properly, but the receptacle should...

Why won’t my plug go into the outlet in my new home?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Why won’t my plug go into the outlet in my new home?

New homes are required to have tamper proof receptacles, which are designed to keep children from sticking small objects in the slots; but end up also being adult-proof if you don’t know how they function. There is a shutter behind the hot and neutral...

Is a home inspector allowed to open an electrical panel?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Is a home inspector allowed to open an electrical panel?

Not only are inspectors allowed to open the electrical panel as part of a home inspection, they are required to do so in Florida. The State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Standards of Practice for Home Inspection, that...

How often is the Florida Building Code updated?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
How often is the Florida Building Code updated?

The Florida Building Code (FBC) is revised every three years. The first edition was in 2002, and the most recent one is 2020.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
Here’s links to a collection of some of our other blog posts...

What is the difference between a material defect and a cosmetic defect in a home inspection?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
What is the difference between a material defect and a cosmetic defect in a home inspection?

One of the dictionary definitions of the word “material,” when used as an adjective, is “having real importance or great consequences.” And that's the meaning describing a defect in a home when part of an inspection report.
    The International...

Is an air admittance valve (AAV) illegal by code?

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Is an air admittance valve (AAV) illegal by code?

Air admittance valves are approved by the International Residential Code (IRC), which is used in most areas of the country with only minor modifications, but not code approved in a few jurisdictions. One is shown above, and they are designed to open...

Can I put a GFCI receptacle at the middle or end of a circuit?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Can I put a GFCI receptacle at the middle or end of a circuit?

You can place a GFCI receptacle anywhere along the middle of the circuit, but it will only protect other receptacles downstream—not any non-GFCI receptacles between it and the panel. And a GFCI receptacle outlet at the last outlet in a circuit will...

Does a shower light need to be GFCI protected by code?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Does a shower light need to be GFCI protected by code?

Although the National Electrical Code (NEC) does not have a requirement for a light over a shower or bathtub to be GFCI protected, it is often specified by the manufacturer in the installation instructions. This is probably because it is required by...

Does a bathroom exhaust fan need to be GFCI protected by code?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Does a bathroom exhaust fan need to be GFCI protected by code?

Although the National Electrical Code (NEC) does not have a requirement for a bathroom exhaust fan to be GFCI protected, it is often specified by the manufacturer in the installation instructions when the fan is over a tub or shower. This is probably...

Can GFCI and AFCI be on the same circuit?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Can GFCI and AFCI be on the same circuit?

Yes, GFCI and AFCI can be on the same circuit. In fact, some circuits are now required to have both. Kitchens and laundry rooms were added to the list of circuits required to have AFCI protection in the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC),...

Can a modular home be moved?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Can a modular home be moved?

Just about any home can be moved by a professional house mover, even a slab-on-grade home. A modular is definitely easier than a site-built home, but not as simple as moving a manufactured/mobile home—which is built on a steel undercarriage, and attachment...

Are home inspections a public record?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Are home inspections a public record?

Most home inspection contracts have a clause in them similar to the one we use in ours: "The inspection and report are performed and prepared for the sole, confidential, and exclusive use and possession of the Client.” The inspector does not provide...

What radon level is dangerous?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
What radon level is dangerous?

The level of 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) or more of home indoor air is considered dangerous by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and needs lowering, but it is only a recommendation and not a federally enforced requirement....

What is a wind mitigation discount?

Friday, February 21, 2020
What is a wind mitigation discount?

The State of Florida requires insurance companies to give discounts on the windstorm portion of your homeowner’s insurance for hurricane-resistant construction features of your home. The discounts are called Wind Mitigation Credits and are deducted...

How long does a wind mitigation inspection remain valid?

Friday, February 21, 2020
How long does a wind mitigation inspection remain valid?

A wind mitigation inspection report is good for five years from the date of inspection for any hurricane-resistant discounts that were documented, as long as there have been no material changes to the home’s structure.
• • • • • • • • • • • • •...

What is the modular home building code?

Friday, February 21, 2020
What is the modular home building code?

There is no national building code for modular homes that is comparable to the HUD-code that is the standard for manufactured/mobile homes. A modular home must meet the same code standards as a site-built home for the area where it will be located,...

What are the exhaust fan requirements for a mobile home kitchen?

Thursday, February 20, 2020
What are the exhaust fan requirements for a mobile home kitchen?

Each time the kitchen is used for cooking, it generates humidity and odors that need to be exhausted outside to maintain a healthy indoor environment. HUD did not require mechanical ventilation of kitchens until the 1994 update of the HUD-code, but...

What are the exhaust fan requirements for a mobile home bathroom?

Thursday, February 20, 2020
What are the exhaust fan requirements for a mobile home bathroom?

Every time a bathroom is used, it generates humidity and odors that need to be exhausted outside to maintain a healthy indoor environment. HUD did not require mechanical ventilation of baths until the 1994 update of the HUD-code, but most manufacturers...

Do exterior receptacle outlets need to be on a separate circuit?

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Do exterior receptacle outlets need to be on a separate circuit?

Exterior receptacles do not have to be on a separate circuit but, because they must be GFCI-protected and one GFCI-receptacle at the first outlet in the circuit will protect all the others downstream, builders often tie the exterior receptacles to a...

Do outdoor receptacle outlets need to be covered?

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Do outdoor receptacle outlets need to be covered?

All exterior receptacle outlets need to be covered for protection from rain and moisture. The National Electrical Code (NEC 406.9) separates the requirement into two categories:
1) Damp locations - Where the receptacle is in a location that is...

Can ground attached to neutral fool a receptacle tester?

Thursday, February 20, 2020
Can ground attached to neutral fool a receptacle tester?

A receptacle ground slot connected to the neutral wire is termed a false ground, although electricians routinely call it a “bootleg ground” or “cheated ground.” Unfortunately, it will trick a three-light tester into confirming that a receptacle is grounded...

Do all mobile homes have HUD tags?

Friday, February 14, 2020
Do all mobile  homes have HUD tags?

All manufactured homes leave the factory with at least one HUD tag. It’s also called a “red tag,” and the official HUD moniker is “HUD label.” There is one on each section of a double- or triple-wide, each with different but consecutive numbers. 

How do I find out what was on a previous home inspection report?

Friday, February 14, 2020
How do I find out what was on a previous home inspection report?

You can ask the seller or the seller’s realtor for a copy of the previous inspection report, but they may not have it. Some homebuyers do not release the report, and others share only a few items verbally, or nothing, with the other side of the deal...

Can you run exposed NM-cable (Romex) in a garage?

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Can you run exposed NM-cable (Romex) in a garage?

Exposed NM, NMC and NMS cable are allowed to be run in “one- and two-family dwellings, their attached or detached garages, and their storage buildings” by the National Electrical Code (NEC 334.10 and 334.15). It must “closely follow the surface of the...

What is the best location for a water heater in a house?

Thursday, February 13, 2020
What is the best location for a water heater in a house?

The warning label shown above from the side of a water heater tells you the most important thing you need to know about where to install a water heater: “this water heater, as all water heaters, will eventually leak.” So the best place to locate your...

What causes brick to crumble?

Thursday, February 13, 2020
What causes brick to crumble?

Both brick and mortar joints deteriorate over time, and repointing mortar for an older brick wall is to be expected. But each other type of damage has a specific cause:
•• Freeze damage happens when water saturates the pores of the brick near the...

Is radon testing required for houses in Florida?

Thursday, February 13, 2020
Is radon testing required for houses in Florida?

Radon testing is recommended, but not required, for private homes in Florida. However, when a residence is used as a facility for 24-hour care, such as a group home, testing is required. Radon testing requirements for family foster homes vary by county,...

How many receptacle outlets can go on a kitchen small appliance circuit?

Thursday, February 13, 2020
How many receptacle outlets can go on a kitchen small appliance circuit?

The requirement for two 20-amp circuits serving "the small appliance load in kitchen, laundry, pantry, family room, dining room and breakfast room of dwelling occupancies”  has been around since the 1959 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC),...

How long must a wall space be to require a receptacle outlet?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
How long must a wall space be to require a receptacle outlet?

Any wall space 2-feet long or more must have a receptacle, and the length measurement continues along any change in direction of a continuous wall. The maximum spacing between receptacles, according to the National Electric Code [NEC 210.52(a)(1)],...

Which rooms in a house require switched lights per code?

Sunday, February 9, 2020
Which rooms in a house require switched lights per code?

The basic requirement is at least one wall switched light should be installed in every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom, according to the National Electrical Code [NEC 210.70(A)(1)]. In rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms, one or more receptacles...

Can you put a receptacle outlet in a closet?

Sunday, February 9, 2020
Can you put a receptacle outlet in a closet?

Yes, you can put a receptacle outlet in a closet, but it is not required by code. Also, if you do put a receptacle in closet, it must be AFCI-protected. For full details, see our blog posts What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet? and...

Are lights required in closets?

Sunday, February 9, 2020
Are lights required in closets?

Switched lighting is required by the National Electrical Code [NEC 210.70(A)(1)] in “every habitable room, kitchen, and bathroom.” Since a closet is not defined as habitable in the codes, a light is not code-required—but certainly a good idea for larger...

What is the definition of a habitable space in the building code?

Sunday, February 9, 2020
What is the definition of a habitable space in the building code?

The International Residential Code (IRC) defines a habitable space as “a space in a building for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces and similar areas are not considered habitable spaces.” 

Is tinned copper wire safe?

Saturday, February 8, 2020
Is tinned copper wire safe?

A tin coating has been applied to copper for many years for corrosion prevention, especially in humid environments. It is still manufactured today for marine applications, but we only see tinned copper during home inspections of some mid-20th century...

When did they stop using aluminum wiring?

Friday, February 7, 2020
When did they stop using aluminum wiring?

Aluminum wiring has never stopped being used. Only a particular type of smaller-gauge single-strand aluminum is no longer available for residential wiring. It was substituted for copper from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s because the price of copper...

Should the ground slot of a receptacle outlet be on the top or bottom?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Should the ground slot of a receptacle outlet be on the top or bottom?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not specify which way the ground slot should be oriented, and there is a somewhat logical explanation for putting it on top. If a piece of metal drops down onto a slightly-loose cord plugged into a ground-slot-up...

How many receptacle outlets are required in a bedroom?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
How many receptacle outlets are required in a bedroom?

There is no minimum number of receptacle outlets specified for bedrooms in the code. The requirement is based on spacing along the wall and the maximum space between receptacles, according to the National Electric Code [NEC 210.52(a)(1)], has been set...

What is code for receptacle outlet spacing?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
What is code for receptacle outlet spacing?

The maximum spacing between receptacles, according to the National Electric Code [NEC 210.52(a)(1)], has been set at 12-feet since 1956—with no point along a wall being more than 6-feet from a receptacle, and any wall 2-feet long or more must have a...

When should I replace my galvanized steel pipes?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
When should I replace my galvanized steel pipes?

The average lifespan of galvanized steel water supply pipe is 40 to 60 years. Galvanized pipe was gradually phased out of new construction during the 1960s and not used at all for new homes by the mid-1970s. So any galvanized pipe still in place is...

Can termites eat through siding?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Can termites eat through siding?

Termites can munch their way through wood siding, of course, but other siding materials are not a problem for them either. Two termites will fit easily on the tip of a match and they can fit through an opening as small as 1/32” wide, so termites just...

When was two 20-amp circuits for kitchen small appliances first required?

Monday, February 3, 2020
When was two 20-amp circuits for kitchen small appliances first required?

The requirement for two 20-amp circuits serving "the small appliance load in kitchen, laundry, pantry, family room, dining room and breakfast room of dwelling occupancies”  first entered the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the 1959 edition.
...

When was the current spacing for kitchen counter receptacles first required?

Monday, February 3, 2020
When was the current spacing for kitchen counter receptacles first required?

Here’s the progression of the current requirement in Article 210 of the National Electrical Code (NEC):
•• 1959 NEC - The requirement for minimum of two 20-amp branch circuits serving "the small appliance load in kitchen, laundry, pantry, family...

What is the six breaker throw rule?

Monday, February 3, 2020
What is the six breaker throw rule?

The “six breaker throw rule” is a requirement in the National Electrical Code [NEC 230.71(A)]) that a service must have have a main disconnect that shuts off all power and it cannot take more than six switch throws to do it. The main disconnect or disconnects...

Does a subpanel require a main breaker by code?

Sunday, February 2, 2020
Does a subpanel require a main breaker by code?

The means of disconnection for a subpanel is provided by a breaker serving it in the service (main) panel, so an additional breaker at the subpanel is not necessary. But you can put a main breaker at a subpanel is you want. The National Electrical Code...

Is a roof inspection mandatory in Florida for insurance?

Saturday, February 1, 2020
Is a roof inspection mandatory in Florida for insurance?

Not all homes, but ones with an older roof will need a roof inspection by a licensed home inspector or roofer to renew or get new homeowner’s insurance. Citizen’s Insurance of Florida requires a roof inspection report that verifies at least three years...

Is a four-point inspection mandatory in Florida for insurance?

Saturday, February 1, 2020
Is a four-point inspection mandatory in Florida for insurance?

Not all homes, but most older homes will need a four point inspection by a licensed home inspector to get insurance in Florida. For example, one of the largest insurance companies in Florida, Citizens Insurance, requires a four-point inspection report...

Is it legal to make part of a garage into a bedroom?

Saturday, February 1, 2020
Is it legal to make part of a garage into a bedroom?

While it is possible to make part of a garage into a bedroom, there are a couple of life-safety requirements in the building code that make it more complicated than enclosing a porch, for example. It is probably easier to convert the whole garage into...

Does every receptacle outlet in a kitchen have to be GFCI?

Saturday, February 1, 2020
Does every receptacle outlet in a kitchen have to be GFCI?

Only receptacle outlets that are "installed to serve the countertop surfaces” in a kitchen must be GFCI-protected in a residence, per National Electrical Code [NEC 210.8(A)(6)]. For buildings other than dwellings, all receptacles in a kitchen must be...

Why is cloth wiring considered dangerous by insurance companies?

Friday, January 31, 2020
Why is cloth wiring considered dangerous by insurance companies?

Cloth wiring can catch fire if the wires overheat. Newer wiring has thermoplastic insulation rated for heat up to 90º C (194º F). But there are two types of cloth wiring and only one is unacceptable to insurance companies. To learn more, see our blog...

Is all cloth wiring dangerous?

Friday, January 31, 2020
Is all cloth wiring dangerous?

Electrical wiring insulation has gone through multiple upgrades over the years, primarily for fire resistance. Wiring up until the mid-20th century was insulated with rubber embedded with cloth, which some electricians call “rag wiring.” The material...

Why is some PVC pipe black?

Thursday, January 30, 2020
Why is some PVC pipe black?

The “black PVC” actually a different plastic pipe called ABS, which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. ABS is only rated for drain piping within the home, and not for water supply. It can be interconnected with the white PVC with a slip fitting,...

What is a combination arc fault circuit interrupter (CAFCI)?

Thursday, January 30, 2020
What is a combination arc fault circuit interrupter (CAFCI)?

A combination AFCI is an improved version of the original AFCI, and replaced it as a requirement in the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The original AFCI only provided protection against parallel arcing (between hot and neutral,...

What is the average life expectancy of roof sheathing?

Thursday, January 30, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of roof sheathing?

You can expect the wood roof sheathing of a home to last 100+ years. Although it should last for the life of the home, roof sheathing lifespan can be shortened by moisture penetrating it from both above and below. Roof leaks will cause wood rot, while...

How far does a water heater have to be from an electrical panel?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
How far does a water heater have to be from an electrical panel?

An electrical panel is required to have a clear area in front of it that is 30-inches wide by 36-inches deep and 78-inches high for service, per National Electrical Code [NEC 110.26 (A)(1)]. The 30-inch width in front of the panel does not have to be...

How far away does a dryer have to be from an electrical panel?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
How far away does a dryer have to be from an electrical panel?

Nothing is allowed to be installed in a working space 2’-6” wide by 3’-0” deep by 6’-6” high in front of an electric panel, per National Electrical Code [NEC 110.26 (A)(1)]. That includes a washer, clothes dryer, water heater, pool equipment, water...

How far away does a washing machine have to be from an electrical panel?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
How far away does a washing machine have to be from an electrical panel?

Nothing is allowed to be installed in a working space 2’-6” wide by 3’-0” deep by 6’-6” high in front of an electric panel, per National Electrical Code [NEC 110.26 (A)(1)]. That includes a washer, clothes dryer, water heater, pool equipment, water...

What is the gray water pipe called?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
What is the gray water pipe called?

Polybutylene is a gray plastic pipe that was used in residential construction from the 1978 through 1995, when manufacture was discontinued due to numerous leakage problems and lawsuits. It is also called “PB.” Although gray is the most common color,...

What types of pipes are used in mobile homes?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
What types of pipes are used in mobile homes?

Plastic pipes have been the common in mobile homes since the mid-1980s, including CPVC, PVC, PB, ABS and, more recently, PEX. These are all acronyms for the much longer names, which are the chemical compositions of the pipes, and you can read about...

When was polybutylene pipe banned?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
When was polybutylene pipe banned?

Because of numerous leakage problems and lawsuits against the manufacturers, polybutylene pipe (PB) manufacture was stopped after 1995. It is no longer an approved pipe for water supply or distribution by the building codes, although approval was not...

What is the small pipe on the side of the house that is dripping water?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
What is the small pipe on the side of the house that is dripping water?

That pipe coming out of lower part of the wall of your home, or coming up from the ground near the wall, could be any one of these three things:
1) Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) discharge pipe for water heater - The TPR valve at the side...

Does the building code apply to mobile homes?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Does the building code apply to mobile homes?

Although the Florida Building Code (FBC) has specific requirements for manufactured buildings, it excludes mobile homes from that category, and the manufacture of mobile homes is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development...

What is the minimum size for attic access opening?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
What is the minimum size for attic access opening?

The rough opening cannot be less than 22 inches by 30 inches and must be located in a hallway or other readily accessible location. If the opening is located in a wall, the 30 inch dimension must be vertical. If the access is located in the ceiling,...

How long after the home inspection does the buyer have to back out?

Monday, January 27, 2020
How long after the home inspection does the buyer have to back out?

It all depends on the number of days in the inspection period that was agreed to in your real estate sales contract and, secondarily, how many days are left in it after you have received your inspection report. Typical inspection periods are 7 or 14...

What is the difference between single-phase and three-phase electric service?

Monday, January 27, 2020
What is the difference between single-phase and three-phase electric service?

Single phase electric service is what comes into virtually all homes. The service has two hot wires that are cycling through the same phase but in opposition, as shown in the diagram below. One leg produces 120-volt current and the two legs together...

What is the minimum clearance under an electrical service drip loop of a house?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

There are two minimum clearance dimensions: 1) from the drip loop to the ground when it is not over the roof, and 2) drip loop to roof surface when over the roof. When the drip loop is over the ground, it must be a minimum of 10’-0” above the grade,...

Where is AFCI required for outlets in a house?

Sunday, January 26, 2020
Where is AFCI required for outlets in a house?

Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter protection is required at outlets in all "kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms,” per the...

How many deaths each year are caused by radon?

Sunday, January 26, 2020
How many deaths each year are caused by radon?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, and about 2,900 of those deaths occur among people who have never smoked. Other sources estimate the death rate as a range...

What are the code requirements for light fixtures in a closet?

Sunday, January 26, 2020
What are the code requirements for light fixtures in a closet?

Closets are often packed to the ceiling with flammable clothes and boxes, so the International Residential Code (IRC) and National Electrical Code (NEC) set a number of fire safety standards for “luminaires”—the term used to indicate light fixtures...

Do high winds affect radon levels?

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Do high winds affect radon levels?

High winds can either raise or lower the flow of underground radon gas into a home, depending on the direction of the wind and the shape of the home, although they are more likely to raise the radon level. To understand why, it helps to know about the...

Does barometric pressure change radon levels?

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Does barometric pressure change radon levels?

Barometric pressure is simply the weight of the air in the atmosphere pressing down on the earth. A decrease in barometric pressure, from an oncoming thunderstorm for example, will immediately increase the flow of radon gas from the ground. It is one...

Does heavy rain change radon levels?

Friday, January 24, 2020
Does heavy rain change radon levels?

Yes, a rainstorm can elevate the radon levels in a home temporarily, which is why radon testing for a real estate transaction is not recommended during a storm or if one is expected during the test period. There are two ways that heavy rain can raise...

Can a drain pipe have too much slope?

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Can a drain pipe have too much slope?

The ideal drain pipe slope is 1/4” per foot, which is also the minimum per code for pipes 2-1/2” diameter or less. This incline allows the water to move slowly enough to float the solids along with it, and fast enough to scour the pipe walls. But when...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Brick

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Brick

Brick is popular throughout Florida as both a building block and a siding material. Nearby Ocala, Florida, is nicknamed “Brick City” because it was rebuilt with brick after a Thanksgiving Day fire in 1883 that destroyed all the wooden structures in...

How can I tell if a water heater is 240-volt or 120-volt?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
How can I tell if a water heater is 240-volt or 120-volt?

Most tank-type water heaters change from 120-volts to 240-volts at around the 20-gallon size. But there are some exceptions both sides of that line, so you should check the data plate on the side of the tank, like the example above. There is also the...

What causes mortar cracks?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
What causes mortar cracks?

Mortar is designed to be slightly weaker structurally than the masonry it is bonding. This goes for all types of masonry, including brick, concrete block, or stone, and the logic behind it is that any cracks caused by movement in the wall are easier...

Are two layers of shingles better than one?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Are two layers of shingles better than one?

It would seem that a double layer of shingles should be twice as good as one but, unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Applying your new roof over the old one does have a couple of short-term advantages though. You save the cost of removal and...

Can I sell a house with a high radon level?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Can I sell a house with a high radon level?

We know of no ordinance or law against selling a house with high radon. But many states, including Florida, have a requirement for disclosing to a homebuyer that the house has a high radon level—that is, if you know that it does. This is because high...

How do I know if a radon mitigation system is working?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
How do I know if a radon mitigation system is working?

There are two ways of asking the question of whether a radon system is working: 1) is the fan functioning?, and 2), is the system still lowering the radon to an acceptable level?
•• Is the fan functioning? - A radon mitigation contractor is required...

What is the minimum and maximum distance a P-trap can be below a sink?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
What is the minimum and maximum distance a P-trap can be below a sink?

There is no minimum distance specified by the building code, but the maximum is 24” per International Residential Code (IRC) and Residential Edition of Florida Building Code (FBC 1002.1), measured from fixture outlet to trap weir.
• • • • • • •...

How do you abandon a septic tank?

Sunday, January 19, 2020
How do you abandon a septic tank?

A septic tank that is no longer connected to a house plumbing system and drainfield, and is no longer being maintained, is a biological hazard if not properly abandoned. Florida requires an abandonment permit from the Department of Health, which costs...

What are common problems with stucco?

Saturday, January 18, 2020
What are common problems with stucco?

There are three kinds of wall finishes that are commonly called “stucco,” and each has its own particular issues. To know how to tell the difference, go to our blog post Do stucco walls mean a house is concrete block? 
1) Stucco over wood frame...

Do nearby high-voltage power lines lower a home’s value?

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Do nearby high-voltage power lines lower a home’s value?

Multiple studies of property values of homes within sight of big power lines show a decreased value of the real estate of up to 10%, but averaging around half of that. To learn about other issues related to a home near power lines, go to our blog post...

What is the minimum slope for a garage floor slab?

Saturday, January 18, 2020
What is the minimum slope for a garage floor slab?

The building code requires that a garage floor be sloped towards the door, but does not specify a minimum slope. It is usually 1/8” to 1/4” per foot. Here is the citation from the International Residential Code (IRC):
 • • • • • • • • • • • • •...

How often does lightning strike a house in Florida?

Friday, January 17, 2020
How often does lightning strike a house in Florida?

Florida has the most lightning strikes, based on insurance claims, of any state. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 7,108 lightning strike claims in 2018 at an average cost of $10,436 each. That’s 28% more than Georgia at #2.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Plumbing Pipes

Friday, January 17, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Plumbing Pipes

Plumbing is not a hot topic of conversation at cocktail parties but, when the toilet backs up or a water pipe springs a leak, how the plumbing in your home has been installed and maintained becomes much more interesting. Here’s links with answers to...

What are the standard treads and risers for a regular stairs in a house?

Friday, January 17, 2020
What are the standard treads and risers for a regular stairs in a house?

A common combination is 11-inch treads and 7-inch risers, but there is no single standard and the two numbers are often adjusted based on the space available. The International Residential Code sets the maximum riser (vertical part) of a stair at 7-3/4”...

How far away does a well need to be from a septic system in Florida?

Friday, January 17, 2020
How far away does a well need to be from a septic system in Florida?

The State of Florida Department of Health requires a minimum of 75 feet between a private well for potable (drinking) water and the septic system. A larger distance is necessary for a public well, which varies according to the gallons-per-day of volume,...

What causes a ceiling to separate from the wall?

Friday, January 17, 2020
What causes a ceiling to separate from the wall?

If the cracks are only along the ceiling/wall line, and your roof structure is wood trusses, it is likely due to truss uplift. These cracks usually occur during the winter, and close back up during the summer, because they are thermally induced. What...

What is the minimum size of a shower?

Friday, January 17, 2020
What is the minimum size of a shower?

Not less than 30 inch by 30 inch interior dimensions measured from finished interior surfaces, with a minimum of 900 square inches floor area, except that a shower can be a minimum of 25 inches in one dimension if the total area is increased to 1300...

Are old fuse boxes illegal?

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Are old fuse boxes illegal?

There are a number of good reasons to consider replacing an old screw-in type fuse panel, but they are not illegal and replacement is not required by the building or electrical codes. Here’s what you should know:
1) Insurance may be difficult....

Should I buy a house with a well?

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Should I buy a house with a well?

The 1950s TV sitcom “Green Acres,” about the hilarious situations and misunderstandings when a city couple, played by Eddie Albert and ZsaZsa Gabor, move to the country was big fun us boomers to watch as kids. But the problems that someone new to country...

What is the average life expectancy of a well pump?

Thursday, January 16, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a well pump?

You can expect a residential well pump with moderate usage to last about 10 to 16 years, with an average of 12 years. The well itself has a 20 to 50 year life expectancy, with an average of 35 years. Here are several factors that will affect the lifespan...

What is the average life expectancy of a well?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a well?

You can expect a well to last about 20 to 50 years, with an average of 35 years. The well pump should have an 10 to 16 year life, with an average of 12 years. So many factors affect the life of a well that it’s difficult pin it down to within a shorter...

What is a Wind Zone for mobile homes?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
What is a Wind Zone for mobile homes?

Wind zone designations were created for mobile homes by HUD in 1976 to specify two design categories of wind resistance: one for homes that are inland and not likely to get hurricane-force winds (Zone 1), and another for Florida and coastal areas of...

Frequently Asked Questions About Wells

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Wells

Municipal water systems are incredibly dependable. You turn on the faucet and the water is always there. But a well can be fickle. It requires some attention and maintenance. Also, a well can be out of service for days while a pump is replaced or during...

Frequently Asked Questions About Septic Tank Systems

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Septic Tank Systems

A home septic system is both low-tech and high-efficiency when properly maintained. The bacteria do the work and you just have to keep them happy. Here’s a collection of answers to our most often asked questions about septic tank systems:
• What...

Frequently Asked Questions About House Foundations

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About House Foundations

The importance of a sturdy, stable foundation for a home can’t be overstated. Like a good roof, it’s a key factor in the longevity of a house or mobile home—and usually very expensive to repair when things go wrong. Here’s a collection of answers to...

Can you install a gas water heater in a closet?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Can you install a gas water heater in a closet?

Yes, a gas water heater can be installed in a closet as long as the closet is not used for storage. The International Residential Code (IRC) specifically bans a storage closet as a location for a gas water heater. Here’s the code citation:

Can you install a gas water heater in a bathroom?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Can you install a gas water heater in a bathroom?

No, you cannot put a gas water heater in a bathroom. A malfunction of the water heater or flue can allow carbon monoxide to flow into a bathroom and accumulate at a fatal level in what is typically a small room. It’s odorless, so you would be slowly...

Can you install a gas water heater in a bedroom?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Can you install a gas water heater in a bedroom?

No, you cannot put a gas water heater in a bedroom. A malfunction of the water heater or flue can allow carbon monoxide to flow into a bedroom and accumulate at a fatal level. It’s odorless, so you would be slowly asphyxiated while sleeping without...

Is it safe to sleep in a room with a gas water heater?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Is it safe to sleep in a room with a gas water heater?

No. A malfunction of the water heater or flue can allow carbon monoxide to flow into the room and accumulate at a fatal level. It’s odorless, so you would be slowly asphyxiated without knowing what was happening. The building code specifically bans...

How much clearance is required around a gas water heater?

Monday, January 13, 2020
How much clearance is required around a gas water heater?

The clearance at the sides, back, and above a gas water heater are specified by the manufactured in the installation manual, and they typically vary from zero to just a few inches. But a 30 inch by 30” level floor area is required by code at the front...

How can I determine the age of a Bryant furnace from the serial number?

Monday, January 13, 2020
How can I determine the age of a Bryant furnace from the serial number?

The third and fourth numbers of the serial number of a Bryant furnace are the year of manufacture. The date of manufacture may also be stated nearby on the data plate. So the serial number below indicates the unit was built in 2014.

    To...

Frequently Asked Questions About Common House Problems

Monday, January 13, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Common House Problems

There are two unavoidable consequences of the passage of time for any home: 1) the structure moves and settles, and 2) materials deteriorate. It’s the architectural version of death and taxes, and the process begins even while a home is under construction....

Frequently Asked Questions About Garages and Carports

Monday, January 13, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Garages and Carports

It might seem that a garage is just an empty room where a car is parked, but it’s not that simple. Flammable chemicals and insecticides are often stored in the garage, plus there’s a big tank of gasoline sitting in the middle of the room in a car that...

Frequently Asked Questions About Attics

Monday, January 13, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Attics

Here’s a collection of our most commonly asked attic questions. While they are not quite as dark and ominous as the crawl space under some homes, attics  still present a number of safety hazards and it's important to know how to enter and move around...

What is the maximum gap allowed around a receptacle outlet box in a wall?

Monday, January 13, 2020
What is the maximum gap allowed around a receptacle outlet box in a wall?

Not more than 1/8” gap allowed around a receptacle in a non-combustible wall surface, per National Electrical Code (NEC 314.21). Receptacle outlet box mounting has several other requirements you can review at our blog post Why is an opening in the wall...

How far away does a receptacle outlet have to be from a sink?

Sunday, January 12, 2020
How far away does a receptacle outlet have to be from a sink?

The building codes have no restriction on how far away a receptacle outlet must be from a sink. It is not recommended that a receptacle be directly behind a sink because of the possibility of the a cord that is damaged falling into water in the sink...

How can I determine the age of a Carrier furnace from the serial number?

Sunday, January 12, 2020
How can I determine the age of a Carrier furnace from the serial number?

The third and fourth numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture of a Carrier furnace, but the date of manufacture is often also stated nearby on the data plate.

    To determine other key specs of your HVAC system, see one of...

How can I determine the age of an American Standard furnace from the serial number?

Sunday, January 12, 2020
How can I determine the age of an American Standard furnace from the serial number?

There are two serial number formats:
1) 2002  to present - If the serial number is a 9-digit combination of letters and numbers that starts with a number, then the first number is the year. Beginning in 2010, the first two digits are the year....

How can I determine the age of an Amana furnace from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How can I determine the age of an Amana furnace from the serial number?

The first two numbers in the serial number of an Amana furnace are the year of manufacture. So the serial number below indicates the unit is from 2010.

    To determine other key specs of your HVAC system, see one of these other blog posts: 

How can I determine the age of an International Comfort Products (ICP) heat pump from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How can I determine the age of an International Comfort Products (ICP) heat pump from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number, after a single letter, are the year of manufacture of the unit for an International Comfort heat pump. So data plate of the condenser shown below indicates it was produced in 2013. To find the age of another...

How can I tell the age of a Tempstar furnace from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How can I tell the age of a Tempstar furnace from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number, after a single letter, are the year of manufacture of a Tempstar furnace. So the data plate for the Tempstar furnace shown below indicates it was manufactured in 2015. Sometimes the date is also listed nearby.

How do I tell the age of a Lennox furnace from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How do I tell the age of a Lennox furnace from the serial number?

The second two numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture, so the data plate for the Lennox furnace shown below indicates it was produced in 2013.

    To determine other key specs of your HVAC system, see one of these other...

How do I tell the age of a Goodman furnace from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How do I tell the age of a Goodman furnace from the serial number?

The first two numbers in the serial number of a Goodman furnace are the year of manufacture. So the serial number above indicates the unit is from 2010.

    To determine other key specs of your HVAC system, see one of these other blog posts: 

How can I determine the age of a York heat pump from the serial number?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
How can I determine the age of a York heat pump from the serial number?

For York heat pumps manufactured from October 2004 to the present, the first and third digits in the serial number will be letters, and the second and fourth digits will be numbers that indicate the year of manufacture. So, for example, the serial number...

When is a ceiling fan too low?

Friday, January 10, 2020
When is a ceiling fan too low?

Manufacturers specify seven feet as the minimum safe height for ceiling fan blades, but no minimum is specified in the building code. Thirty inches is also recommended as a minimum dimension from blade tip to side for adequate air circulation. 
...

How dangerous is rust and corrosion inside an electrical panel?

Friday, January 10, 2020
How dangerous is rust and corrosion inside an electrical panel?

Corrosion at interior components of an electrical panel creates several safety problems:
1) Circuit breakers are mechanical devices and, like any mechanical device, corrosion can cause it to freeze up and not trip when too much current is flowing...

What is a dead front?

Friday, January 10, 2020
What is a dead front?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines dead front  as “without live parts exposed to a person on the operating side of the equipment.” So it means the component is not electrically live and does not have the potential to become live. This metal...

What is a dead front plug?

Friday, January 10, 2020
What is a dead front plug?

The face of a dead front plug is either factory sealed, secured with screws, or openable only from the back, so that there is no possiblity of exposing live wires behind the plug prongs. The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines dead front as “without...

What is an open front plug?

Friday, January 10, 2020
What is an open front plug?

Open front plugs have an insulating cover over the face of the plug that is easily removable.  This is an old-style plug and they have not been legal for sale in the US for many years. The panel covering the wiring was sometimes even just heavy cardboard,...

How do I provide GFCI protection for a receptacle outlet?

Friday, January 10, 2020
How do I provide GFCI protection for a receptacle outlet?

There are four different ways to provide GFCI protection to a receptacle outlet:
1) Replace it with a GFCI receptacle outlet. Probably the simplest solution.
2) Replace a receptacle upstream between the one you want to protect and the electrical...

Frequently Asked Questions About Stairs

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Stairs

The building code has lots of specifications for stairs and home inspectors look at them very carefully. That’s because stairs are dangerous. About 1,400 people die in the U.S. each year as a result of a fall from a stair, and just under a million people...

How many exterior steps require a handrail?

Thursday, January 9, 2020
How many exterior steps require a handrail?

The building code is the same for both interior and exterior steps: a handrail is required for 4 or more risers (3 treads). Here’s the citation in the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC), and the International Residential Code (IRC)...

Why does my CO alarm (carbon monoxide) keep chirping after replacing the battery?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Why does my CO alarm (carbon monoxide) keep chirping after replacing the battery?

If that annoying chirping just won’t stop, even after you replaced the battery, it is probably  the “end-of-life warning” for the CO alarm. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) began requiring in 2009, as a condition for gaining a UL rating, that manufacturers...

What is the minimum height for placement of a CO alarm (carbon monoxide detector)?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
What is the minimum height for placement of a CO alarm (carbon monoxide detector)?

A CO alarm can be installed anywhere on the wall between 6-inches above the floor to 6-inches below the ceiling, or on the ceiling except within 6-inches of the wall. There are two reasons for this:
1) Although carbon monoxide is slightly lighter...

Where does the code require CO alarms (carbon monoxide detectors)?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Where does the code require CO alarms (carbon monoxide detectors)?

Florida Statute 553.885 has required for about the past 10 years that any new home or home addition that has a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance (such as a gas water heater), a fireplace, or attached garage must have a carbon monoxide alarm within...

Does a mobile home have an attic?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Does a mobile home have an attic?

Well, yes and no. The roof trusses create an enclosed space between the ceiling and the roof that can be defined as an attic. But most mobile homes do not have enough height in that space for someone to actually climb in and move around or store something—which...

How often does the National Electrical Code (NEC) change?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
How often does the National Electrical Code (NEC) change?

The first NEC was published in 1897 and a new edition, updated with changes, is published every three years. As of this writing, the current one is 2020, but the changes at each revision are not immediately adopted all around the country. It is not...

Is a receptacle outlet in a cabinet under a sink required to be GFCI protected?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Is a receptacle outlet in a cabinet under a sink required to be GFCI protected?

Yes, if the receptacle is within 6 feet of the edge of the sink [NEC 210.8(A)(7)]. But the National Electrical Code  requires the distance to be measured in a specific way: “when determining the distance from receptacles the distance shall be measured...

Frequently Asked Questions About Roof Trusses

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Roof Trusses

Roof trusses are more cost-efficient than stick-framing with rafters, and also speed up the construction of a home. Here’s links to answers for the questions we get asked most often about them:
• Are roof trusses better than roof rafters (stick...

Can I remove the interior walls under a roof truss?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Can I remove the interior walls under a roof truss?

Yes, you can. Residentiall roof trusses are designed to bear only on the exterior walls at each end of the span. But there are five possible exceptions to look out for:
1) When the home has an L or T shape, there may be an interior bearing wall...

What would cause a roof to sag?

Monday, January 6, 2020
What would cause a roof to sag?

There are several ways a roof can sag, and each one has its own possible causes:
1) Ridge Line Sag - A sloped roof exerts lateral pressure on the end walls that is bears on. In other words, it will push the walls outward unless the pressure is...

Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos

Monday, January 6, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos

Although asbestos was banned by the EPA as a component in construction materials in the last 1970s, plenty of asbestos-containing materials still linger in older homes. Here’s links to answers for the questions we get asked most often about asbestos:

What are those powdery white areas on my concrete block wall?

Monday, January 6, 2020
What are those powdery white areas on my concrete block wall?

The discoloration is likely “efflorescence,” which is an accumulation of minerals and salts on the surface of the block due to repeated bouts of excess water in the material. When concrete block is saturated with water, the minerals that naturally occur...

When was a receptacle outlet for a washing machine first required by code?

Monday, January 6, 2020
When was a receptacle outlet for a washing machine first required by code?

This requirement first entered the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the 1971 edition.The NEC requires at 210.52(F) a minimum of one receptacle outlet at an area designated for laundry equipment. It states that “Laundry Areas - In dwelling units, at...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Concrete Block Walls

Sunday, January 5, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Concrete Block Walls

Concrete block is a popular building material throughout the Southeast U.S., especially in hurricane-prone areas, Here’s links to answers for the questions we get asked most often about it:
• What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Asphalt Shingles

Sunday, January 5, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles have been around since the early 20th century, and are by far the most popular roof covering in America. Here’s links to answers for the questions we get asked most often about them: 
• Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Receptacle Outlets

Sunday, January 5, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Receptacle Outlets

People call them wall plugs, electric outlets, receptacles, power sockets, or some other combination of those words. But the National Electrical Code (NEC), along with other building codes, uses the term "receptacle outlet.” Two words are used because...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Fuse Panels

Saturday, January 4, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Fuse Panels

Builders stopped installing screw-in type fuse panels in new homes by the 1960s, switching to circuit breakers that did not require replacement after each overcurrent trip. But lots of fuse boxes are still in use around the country more than 50 years...

When was metal water pipe banned as the sole ground electrode for a house electrical system?

Friday, January 3, 2020
When was metal water pipe banned as the sole ground electrode for a house electrical system?

Although metal piping is still required to be bonded to the ground electrode—such as driven rod(s), ufer, or other approved system—it was banned as the sole ground electrode by the 1978 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC).
• • • • • •...

When were Edison Base (non-tamper-proof) fuse holders banned by code?

Friday, January 3, 2020
When were Edison Base (non-tamper-proof) fuse holders banned by code?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) banned the Edison fuse base for new homes in the 1940 edition of the code. It looks like a miniature light bulb socket and is also called a “Type T." But, because the socket will accept a fuse with any amperage rating,...

Should I buy a house with a fuse panel/box?

Friday, January 3, 2020
Should I buy a house with a fuse panel/box?

While it presents some problems, by itself, a fuse panel is not a reason to walk away from buying a house. But here are several issues to consider:
•• If the panel was manufactured in the 1940s or earlier, it may still have the type of fuse base...

Is ponding (standing puddles of water) normal on flat roof?

Friday, January 3, 2020
Is ponding (standing puddles of water) normal on flat roof?

No. A very thin layer of standing water is normal immediately after a heavy rain on a low-slope roof but, if the water is still there a couple of days later, that’s ponding and it will shorten the life of the roof surface. It is even possible to observe...

What temperature is too cold for a heat pump to work?

Friday, January 3, 2020
What temperature is too cold for a heat pump to work?

When the outdoor temperature heads below 32º F (freezing) a heat pump won’t work well and becomes more inefficient the colder it gets. You have to understand how a heat pump functions to know why this happens. It does not generate heat. Instead, a heat...

How far away should a heat pump condenser (outdoor unit) be from the house?

Friday, January 3, 2020
How far away should a heat pump condenser (outdoor unit) be from the house?

Manufacturer’s installation manuals specify a minimum of 12 inches clearance around a condenser, but 24 inches from a solid wall or fence is necessary. The unit needs space around it for the circulation of air that is being drawn through the condenser...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Four Point Inspections

Thursday, January 2, 2020

It used to be that insurance companies only requested a four point inspection for homes that were older, usually 40 years or more. But some companies are now requiring the report for much newer houses and, recently, even mobile homes. Here’s links to...

What is the electrical service point of a house?

Thursday, January 2, 2020
What is the electrical service point of a house?

What a service point is and where it’s located only becomes an issue after a storm has damaged the electrical service to your house. Everything before the service point is the responsiblity of the local utility to repair, and what's after it is yours....

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Stucco

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Stucco

Here’s links to a collection of our most often asked questions about STUCCO:
• Why is my stucco cracking?
• What is the average life expectancy of stucco?

• How can I tell if a crack in a stucco wall is a structural problem and...

What is the average life expectancy of an attic fan?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of an attic fan?

You can expect an attic fan to last about 5 to 15 years, with an average of 10 years. But many seem to fail closer to the short end of that range, possibly due to the outdoor weather exposure, plus extreme heat in Florida attics in the summer. The two...

What is the average life expectancy of a whole house attic fan?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
What is the average life expectancy of a whole house attic fan?

You can expect a whole house attic fan to last about 10 to 20 years, with an average of 16 years. Although they were a standard appliance in the hallway ceiling of Florida homes before air conditioning, we don’t see too many whole house fans anymore....

When did the requirement for clearance in front of an electrical panel become code?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
When did the requirement for clearance in front of an electrical panel become code?

The current standard for clearance in front of an electrical panel for working space began with the 1978 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). NEC 110.26 (A)(1) requires a clear area for access and working in front of an electric panel that...

When were electrical panels banned from installation in bathrooms?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
When were electrical panels banned from installation in bathrooms?

The prohibition took effect with the 1993 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). NEC 240.24 (D) says: “Not Located in Bathrooms - In dwelling units, dormitories, and guest rooms or guest suites, overcurrent devices, other than supplementary...

When were electrical panels banned from installation in closets?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
When were electrical panels banned from installation in closets?

The 1981 National Electrical Code (NEC) was the first edition of the code to ban panels in closets. We still see electric panels in the corner of the closet in homes from the 1970s and earlier. But the panel will have to be moved when the homeowner...

When was a vacuum breaker first required by code for hose bibbs?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019
When was a vacuum breaker first required by code for hose bibbs?

We know that hose faucet vacuum breakers are an annoying safety gadget for many homeowners, but they have been required for quite a while now. Because we were not sure precisely when it was first added to the code, we asked the code specialist Jerry...

Is a vacuum breaker required by code at hose bibbs (outside faucets)?

Monday, December 30, 2019
Is a vacuum breaker required by code at hose bibbs (outside faucets)?

Yes, it is required at all hose connections, including at an inside laundry sink faucet if it has threading for a hose connection. But there are exceptions for water heater drains and washing machine faucets. Here’s the excerpt from the Residential...

What is the average life expectancy of a hose bibb vacuum breaker (backflow preventer)?

Monday, December 30, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a hose bibb vacuum breaker (backflow preventer)?

You can expect a hose bibb vacuum breaker to last about 5 to 12 years, with an average of 7 years. But it can fail much sooner if left open (vacuum breaker pressurized) and a hand-held nozzle at the end of the hose is used to turn the water on and off....

What is the average life expectancy of a hose bibb?

Monday, December 30, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a hose bibb?

You can expect a hose bibb to last about 15 to 25 years, with an average of 20 years. People also call it an outside spigot, hose faucet, or sill cock. Lifespan will be shortened by heavy usage or not draining faucet before a hard winter freeze (unless...

What is the average life expectancy of a ceiling fan?

Monday, December 30, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a ceiling fan?

You can expect a ceiling fan to last 6 to 10 years, with an average of 8 years. Most ceiling fans today are sealed units, but some require an annual addition of oil at a port on the top of the the motor housing near the downrod. Also, an interior-rated...

What is the average life expectancy of a gas furnace?

Sunday, December 29, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a gas furnace?

You can expect a gas furnace to last about 15 to 22 years, with an average of 19 years. Regular maintenance is the most important factor for long life. 
   Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating of...

What is the average life expectancy of a septic tank system?

Sunday, December 29, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a septic tank system?

You can expect your septic system to last about 25 to 40 years, with an average of 30 years. But if it is poorly installed, in a location with poor soil percolation, not pumped regularly, or has trees too close, your septic system can fail sooner. There...

What is the average life expectancy of a pool heater?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a pool heater?

You can expect a gas or heat pump pool heater to last 8 to 11 years, with an average of 10 years. Regular usage and maintenance is key to a longer lifespan.
   Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan of the parts of a house? for rating...

What is the average life expectancy of a pool pump and filter?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a pool pump and filter?

You can expect a pool pump and filter to last 8 to 11 years, with an average of 10 years. To learn about the energy-efficient pump that are now code-mandated, see our blog post Why are pool pumps now required to be variable speed?
   Go to our...

What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass swimming pool?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a fiberglass swimming pool?

You can expect a fiberglass swimming pool to last about 25 to 35 years, average of 30 years. The quality of construction and maintenance are the two variables that affect pool life span the most. For a comparison with concrete and liner pools, see our...

What is the average life expectancy of a concrete swimming pool?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a concrete swimming pool?

You can expect a concrete swimming pool to last about 25 to 40 years, average 30 years. The quality of construction and maintenance, specifically maintaining balanced pool chemistry, are the variables that affect pool lifespan the most. For a comparison...

How long does a swimming pool last?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
How long does a swimming pool last?

You can expect a concrete swimming pool to last about 25 to 40 years, fiberglass 25 to 35 years, and a vinyl liner 7 to 10 years. The quality of construction and maintenance, specifically maintaining balanced pool water chemistry, are the variables...

Do all chimneys require a cricket?

Saturday, December 28, 2019
Do all chimneys require a cricket?

The building code only requires a cricket (also called a saddle) on the high side of any chimney that is more than 30-inches wide as measured perpendicular to the slope of the roof. But it is good building practice to install one for even smaller chimneys,...

What is the average life expectancy of the electrical components of a house?

Friday, December 27, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of the electrical components of a house?

The electrical components of a house last from 3 to 100 years. Here’s our best estimate of the functional lifespan of each one. Click on the underlined component name to link to more detailed info about its life expectancy and characteristics.
ELECTRICAL Panel...

What is the average life expectancy of a poured concrete (monlithic) house wall?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a poured concrete (monlithic) house wall?

You can expect a poured concrete (monolithic) house wall to last for the life of the home, 100 years or more. It is difficult to tell a monolithic concrete house from a concrete block house once it is completed without careful examination at top of...

What is the average life expectancy of a natural stone house wall or siding?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a natural stone house wall or siding?

You can expect natural stone house walls or siding to last for the life of the home, 100 years or more, which is longer than manufactured stone at 50+ years. Natural stone is also more expensive than any other wall or siding for both the material and...

What is the average life expectancy of a wood stud frame wall?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a wood stud frame wall?

You can expect a wood stud frame wall to last for the life of the home, 100+ years. See our blog post What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction? to learn more. 
    Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan...

What is the average life expectancy of a concrete block wall (CMU - Concrete Masonry Unit)?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a concrete block wall (CMU - Concrete Masonry Unit)?

You can expect a concrete block (CMU) wall to last for the life of the home, 100+ years. See our blog post What are the pros and cons of concrete block versus wood frame construction? to learn more. 
    Go to our blog post What is the average...

What is the average life expectancy of house wall structural framing systems?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of house wall structural framing systems?

All of the standard exterior wall structural materials can be expected to last for the life of the house, 100+ years. The life of wood wall framing, however, can be shortened by wood rot due to moisture instrusion in the wall, or termites and wood boring...

What is the average life expectancy of PB (polybutylene) pipe?

Thursday, December 26, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of PB (polybutylene) pipe?

You can expect PB (polybutylene) pipe to last less than 30 years. It has not been manufactured since the mid-1990s, is no longer approved by the building codes, and failure as early 10 years led to class-action lawsuits against the manufacturers. If...

What is the average life expectancy of water and drain plumbing pipes?

Wednesday, December 25, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of water and drain plumbing pipes?

The average life of plumbing pipes ranges from around 40 to 70 years, depending on the pipe material and its use. Water supply pipes are under pressure and prone to earlier failure than drain piping—or, at least, it gets noticed sooner. Here’s our best...

What is the average life expectancy of asbestos cement siding?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of asbestos cement siding?

You can expect asbestos-cement siding to last 80 years or more. It was used extensively from the 1940s through the ‘60s, but not produced after the ban by the EPA on construction products that contain asbestos in 1973. To learn more about this siding...

How long does exterior siding last?

Monday, December 23, 2019
How long does exterior siding last?

Inorganic siding materials such as brick and stucco have the longest expected life, with wood and plywood at the other end of the scale, plus many choices in-between. Click on any one of the sidings listed below to go to an article with more info on...

What is the average life expectancy of aluminum siding?

Monday, December 23, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of aluminum siding?

You can expect aluminum siding to last about 25 to 45 years, with an average of 35 years. However the paint finish has a shorter life. Because it is a baked-on enamel, similar to a car, oxidation will cause the surface to fade and begin to powder at...

What is the average life expectancy of plumbing fixture water shut-off valves?

Sunday, December 22, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of plumbing fixture water shut-off valves?

You can expect a shut-off valve to last about 10 to 25 years, with an average of 20 years. But, if they are not “exercised” every year or two, there is good chance a valve will be freeze prematurely in the open position just when you really need it...

What is the average life expectancy of a clothes dryer?

Sunday, December 22, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a clothes dryer?

You can expect a clothes dryer to last about 10 to 16 years, with an average of 14 years. It’s important to install and maintain the dryer's vent system correctly to avoid having one of the 2,900 home clothes dryer fires that are reported each year,...

What is the average life expectancy of engineered wood siding?

Sunday, December 22, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of engineered wood siding?

You can expect engineered wood siding to last 60 years or more, based on maintaining an adequate paint finish and caulking. This material should not be confused with composite wood siding, which is no longer manufactured and was the target of class-action...

What is the average life expectancy of fiber-cement siding?

Sunday, December 22, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of fiber-cement siding?

You can expect fiber-cement siding to last 60 years or more, based on maintaining an adequate paint finish and caulking. It is also important to install the joints per manufacturer’s specs to ensure long life. See our blog post What are the vertical...

What is the average life expectancy of a wall switch?

Saturday, December 21, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a wall switch?

You can expect a wall switch to last about 30 to 40 years, with an average of 35 years. But a switch that is frequently used or in an unconditioned room, such as a garage, will have a shorter life. Here’s a graph comparing the life expectancy of a wall...

What is the average life expectancy of an electrical receptacle outlet?

Saturday, December 21, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of an electrical receptacle outlet?

You can expect a receptacle outlet to last about 50 years or more, but here are five factors that can shorten its life:
1) Frequent usage - Metal strips in the receptacle hold the prongs of an appliance cord under tension and securely in place....

How do I determine the age of a KeepRite air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

Saturday, December 21, 2019
How do I determine the age of a KeepRite air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

The first two numbers in the serial number, after a single letter, are the year of manufacture of the unit. So the serial number below indicates the condenser was manufactured in 2013. The date of manufacture may also be stated in the upper corner of...

What is the average life expectancy of brick?

Friday, December 20, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of brick?

Brick can be expected to last for the life of the house,100 years or more. And with repointing of the mortar as needed, plus other regular maintenance, it is possible for a brick structure to survive for hundreds of years. 
    But there are multiple...

What are the pros and cons of vinyl siding?

Thursday, December 19, 2019
What are the pros and cons of vinyl siding?

Although vinyl siding has been around since the 1960s, it did not gain much marketshare until the late 1980s. Today it is the most popular siding material, and about one-third of new homes are vinyl sided.
PROS
•• Least expensive installed...

What is the average life expectancy of vinyl siding?

Thursday, December 19, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding can be expected to last 25 to 45 years with minimal maintenance. The better quality and more expensive grades of vinyl siding will have a longer life. It is a low-cost and low-maintenance option for house siding. There are, however, several...

What is minimum code requirement for switched lighting in a house?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
What is minimum code requirement for switched lighting in a house?

Minimum requirements per National Electrical Code (NEC):
•• At least one wall switch-controlled lighting outlet shall be installed in every habitable room, including kitchens and bathrooms. [NEC 210.70(A)(1)]
•• In other than kitchens and...

What is the difference between a luminaire, lighting outlet, lampholder, and lamp in the National Electrical Code (NEC)?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
What is the difference between a luminaire, lighting outlet, lampholder, and lamp in the National Electrical Code (NEC)?

A luminaire is what most people would call a light fixture, it’s the complete assembly that includes the lampholder and lamp. A portable luminaire is one equipped with a cord and plug so that it can be moved around.
A lighting outlet is an outlet...

What is the difference between GFCI and GFI for receptacles and circuit breakers?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
What is the difference between GFCI and GFI for receptacles and circuit breakers?

There is none. They are called Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters in the National Electrical Code (NEC) and not referred to by any acronym initials. We suppose that GFCI is the more correct acronym, but GFI is fine too. It’s all the same thing.
...

Does one GFCI receptacle outlet protect the whole circuit?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Does one GFCI receptacle outlet protect the whole circuit?

Yes, a single GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle outlet will protect everything on the circuit, but ONLY if it is placed at the first outlet location. If it is installed anywhere else, then it will protect everything downstream, but...

Does every circuit in an electrical panel have to be labeled?

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Does every circuit in an electrical panel have to be labeled?

Yes, the National Electrical Code (NEC 408.7) requires that each circuit in a one or two-family panel be clearly identified. The standards are as follows:
Every circuit must be legibly identified to its specific purpose or use.
The identification...

What causes an arc fault?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
What causes an arc fault?

An arc fault is any unintentional arcing/sparking in the house wiring, usually by a gap in the wires or their insulation. It can be parallel (hot to neutral or hot to ground) or series (a gap in the hot or neutral wire). Either way, the arcing can can...

Where is both AFCI and GFCI protection for receptacle outlets now required in a house?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Where is both AFCI and GFCI protection for receptacle outlets now required in a house?

The 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) added kitchens and laundry rooms to the list of areas of the home that require AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection. Since those rooms were already code mandated to have GFCI (Ground...

How do I find where the first receptacle outlet in a circuit is located?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
How do I find where the first receptacle outlet in a circuit is located?

Unless you are familiar with your home’s wiring and electrical safety, we recommend not tacking this yourself and calling an electrician. But, if you are comfortable with replacing receptacles, first turn off the breaker and use a hand-held voltage...

Do I need a GFCI receptacle outlet if I have a GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Do I need a GFCI receptacle outlet if I have a GFCI circuit breaker in the electrical panel?

No. A GFCI breaker in the panel protects all the outlets on a circuit. But, if you choose to use a single GFCI-receptacle to protect the circuit instead, it has to be at the first outlet in the circuit to protect everything downstream. Not sure which...

Are wood roof trusses with plywood gusset plates alright for house construction?

Monday, December 16, 2019
Are wood roof trusses with plywood gusset plates alright for house construction?

No, they are usually not acceptable, and the reason is that roof trusses for a home must be designed and certified to handle their anticpated live and dead loads by a professional engineer. Engineering drawings have to be submitted to the local building...

How do I determine the age of a GE (General Electric) air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Monday, December 16, 2019
How do I determine the age of a GE (General Electric) air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

General Electric heat pumps and air conditioners use a letter code for date of manufacture that is the first digit of the serial number. Because the condenser data plates are stamped instead of printed, they are difficult to read and photograph, but...

How do I tell the size in tons of my WeatherKing air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, December 16, 2019
How do I tell the size in tons of my WeatherKing air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

How do I determine the age of a WeatherKing air conditoner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

Monday, December 16, 2019
How do I determine the age of a WeatherKing air conditoner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

We know of two serial number formats for WeatherKing. For the first: look for the second cluster of digits in the serial number, and the 3rd and 4th number after the single letter is the year of manufacture. The month and year of production also stated...

When did AFCI protection first become required for kitchens and laundry rooms?

Monday, December 16, 2019
When did AFCI protection first become required for kitchens and laundry rooms?

Kitchens and laundry rooms were added in the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) to the list of rooms requiring AFCI protection. 
    Earlier the 2008 NEC expanded the rooms required to have AFCI-protection to also include “family...

When did AFCI protection first become required for most rooms in a house?

Monday, December 16, 2019
When did AFCI protection first become required for most rooms in a house?

The 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) expanded the rooms required to have AFCI-protection to also include “family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles and circuit breakers

Monday, December 16, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacles and circuit breakers

The National Electrical Code (NEC) began in 1971 by requiring GFCI-protection for only outdoor and pool area receptacles, then added new locations gradually over the years until all wet areas of a home are now required to be GFCI-protected. This has...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuit breakers and receptacles

Monday, December 16, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuit breakers and receptacles

AFCI breakers were first required, but only in bedrooms, by the 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). An upgraded version, called a CAFCI for Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, became code in 2008, and the locations mandated have...

What is the average life expectancy of wood floor trusses?

Monday, December 16, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of wood floor trusses?

Wood floor trusses can be expected to last as long as the home itself (100+ years), if maintained in a stable, reasonabley dry environment. Moisture from excessive humidity, condensation, or plumbing leaks, along with termites are the problems that...

What is the average life expectancy of wood roof trusses?

Monday, December 16, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of wood roof trusses?

Wood roof trusses can be expected to last as long as the home itself (100+ years), if they are maintained in a stable, resonably dry environment. Moisture from excessive humidity, condensation, or roof leaks, and termites are the things that can shorten...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Crawl Spaces

Sunday, December 15, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Crawl Spaces

Customers often say “be careful!” before one of us shimmies through the access opening into the crawl space under a home or mobile home. But the biggest dangers under a house are not snakes or spiders. They are loose “live" wires, sharp metal edges,...

What is the average life expectancy of an electrical panel in a house?

Sunday, December 15, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of an electrical panel in a house?

You can expect an electrical panel to last 50 years or more, depending on where it is installed. An exterior panel exposed to both sun and rain can corrode through as early as 20 years if there is water leakage into the panel that allows standing water...

What is the average life expectancy of exterior caulking?

Sunday, December 15, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of exterior caulking?

You can expect exterior caulk to last 7 to 10 years, based on using acrylic latex or latex/silicone caulk with a coat of paint over it. This is also the average life of exterior paint, so an important part of repainting a home is redoing the caulk at...

How do I determine the age of my heat pump?

Friday, December 13, 2019
How do I determine the age of my heat pump?

The date of manufacture is encoded in serial number on the data plate of almost all heat pumps. Go to the outside unit (condenser) and look for the metal plate or sticker on the side with the manufacturer’s data. Each manufacturer has their own system....

How do I determine the age of my air conditioner?

Friday, December 13, 2019
How do I determine the age of my air conditioner?

The date of manufacture is encoded in serial number on the data plate of almost all air conditioners. Go to the outside unit (condenser) and look for the metal plate or sticker on the side with the manufacturer’s data. Each manufacturer has their own...

How do I tell the age of a Richmond water heater from the serial number?

Thursday, December 12, 2019
How do I tell the age of a Richmond water heater from the serial number?

Richmond water heaters are manufactured by Rheem, and the 3rd and 4th numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture. So the data plate shown below indicates the water heater was manufactured in 2001.

    To determine the age of...

How do I determine the age of my water heater?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
How do I determine the age of my water heater?

The year of manufacture of your water heater is encoded in the serial number on the data plate sticker. It is usually the first two numbers or second two numbers in the series, but varies by company and some use a single letter to indicate the year....

What is the average life expectancy of a GFCI circuit breaker?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a GFCI circuit breaker?

A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuit breaker can be expected to last 30 to 40 years, with an average of 35 years, which is longer that the 15 to 25 years average life of GFCI receptacles. Here’s a graph comparing the life expectancy of...

What is the average life expectancy of an AFCI or CAFCI circuit breaker?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of an AFCI or CAFCI circuit breaker?

An AFCI or CAFCI circuit breaker should last 30 to 40 years, with an average of 35 years. The only exception to this average lifespan is AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) breakers that were manufactured previous to 2008, when they were superseded...

Does stucco need expansion joints?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Does stucco need expansion joints?

Stucco does not require expansion/contraction joints when directly applied to concrete, concrete block, or other masonry, except where there is a change from one material to another.
    Stucco on wood frame construction is another story, because...

What is the average life expectancy an EPDM roof?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
What is the average life expectancy an EPDM roof?

An EPDM roof can be expected to last 20 to 30 years, with an average of 23 years. Possibly longer with diligent maintenance. EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a synthetic rubber membrane and, like any membrane roof, punctures from...

What is the average life expectancy of manufactured stone?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of manufactured stone?

Manufactured stone can be expected to last 50 years or more if free from manufacturing defects and properly installed and maintained. Improper installation or maintenance, which we have found to be common, reduces the lifespan to 30 years or less. It...

What is the average life expectancy of kitchen cabinets?

Monday, December 9, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of kitchen cabinets?

You can expect kitchen cabinets to last from 30 to 60 years, with an average of 45 years. Cabinets begin to show signs of age after about 20 years, such as doors that don’t fully close, drawer fronts coming loose, and surface dings—especially at heavily...

What is the average life expectancy of paint on a house?

Friday, December 6, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of paint on a house?

Exterior paint can be expected to last 7 to 10 years, and interior paint 10 to 15+ years. But it is possible for a paint finish to fall short of even the low end of these ranges due to any of the following factors:
• Inadequate surface prep and...

When is a house not required to have an attic access hatch?

Friday, December 6, 2019
When is a house not required to have an attic access hatch?

Essentially, a house is not required to have an attic access opening when the attic is too small for a person to enter and move around inside. Here’s the two minimum requirements:
1) Attic area exceeds 30 square feet, and
2) Minimum vertical...

When were the water control valves for bathtubs first required to be temperature limiting (single handle)?

Thursday, December 5, 2019
When were the water control valves for bathtubs first required to be temperature limiting (single handle)?

The requirement for a temperature limiting valve for bathtubs (single handle, anti-scald) was begun in the 2006 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Universal Plumbing Code (UPC), and also applies to whirlpool bathtubs. The Residential...

When were shower control valves first required by code to be pressure balanced and temperature limiting (single handle)?

Thursday, December 5, 2019
When were shower control valves first required by code to be pressure balanced and temperature limiting (single handle)?

The requirement for a pressure balanced and temperature limiting shower control valve (single handle, anti-scald) was instituted in the first edition (2000) of the International Residential Code, and earlier in the 1997 edition of the Universal Plumbing...

When are solid risers required on stairs?

Sunday, December 1, 2019
When are solid risers required on stairs?

Solid risers are required on all residential stairs by the International Residential Code (IRC 1011.5.5.3) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC), with two exceptions: 
1) Solid risers are not required between treads if...

What does termite damage look like?

Saturday, November 30, 2019
What does termite damage look like?

Termite damage is rarely as easy to spot as in the photo above, which has the clearly visible tunnels that termites bore through the wood, called “galleries.” Because they require a moist environment and will die from dehydration if exposed to air outside...

How can I determine the age of an American Standard air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Friday, November 29, 2019
How can I determine the age of an American Standard air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Most American Standard units state the date of manufacture clearly on the data plate, usually at the upper right, but it is also encoded in the serial number. Either the first number or the first two numbers are the year of manufacture and here’s two...

Is a fire-rated door required between an attached garage and the house?

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Is a fire-rated door required between an attached garage and the house?

There are three door choices in the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC), and all of them have enhanced fire resistance compared to a regular interior door, but only one has the fire resistance...

What is the most important sentence to know in the entire National Electrical Code (NEC)?

Thursday, November 28, 2019
What is the most important sentence to know in the entire National Electrical Code (NEC)?

It’s near the beginning of the code, at 110.3(B) Installation and Use, and says:
"Listed or labeled equipment shall be installed and used in accordance with any instructions included in the listing or labeling."
    Anything electrical installed...

Can termites eat their way through concrete blocks and mortar?

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Can termites eat their way through concrete blocks and mortar?

Termites only eat cellulose-containing materials like wood and paper; but they have been known to tunnel through softer materials, like thin plastic, to get at the cellulose. Lime mortar that was once used to lay brick for older homes is another material...

Wishing everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 28, 2019
Wishing everyone a happy and safe Holiday Season!

Christmas tree lights twinkling, candles glowing, fireplace crackling, alcohol flowing—it’s the happiest time of the year. But, between 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 860 home structure fires that began with holiday...

When was an electrical receptacle outlet for laundry equipment (washing machine) on a separate, dedicated electrical circuit first required by code?

Thursday, November 28, 2019
When was an electrical receptacle outlet for laundry equipment (washing machine) on a separate, dedicated electrical circuit first required by code?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires at 210.52(F) a minimum of one receptacle outlet at an area designated for laundry equipment, and it was first included in the 1971 edition of the code. To learn more about the details of this requirement,...

Why is there diagonal bracing at the roof rafters in the attic?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Why is there diagonal bracing at the roof rafters in the attic?

We often see this detail in older homes built before manufactured roof trusses became the standard for residential construction. It was a way to provide additional rafter support, and also some resistance to lateral movement, for longer-span roof rafter...

What is the minimum number of receptacle outlets required in a house?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
What is the minimum number of receptacle outlets required in a house?

The total number varies, of course, based on the size of the house. But here are the minimums for each area, per National Electrical Code (NEC 210.50):
• One receptacle at front and back of house exterior, not more than 6.5-feet above grade [210.52(E)]

Does a garage door opener require GFCI protection by code?

Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Does a garage door opener require GFCI protection by code?

Yes, a garage door opener must have GFCI protection. But a GFCI-protected circuit for the ceiling receptacle was not necessary until the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), so you may find older articles on the web that indicate otherwise....

How can I tell the age of a Square D electric panel from the serial number?

Sunday, November 24, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Square D electric panel from the serial number?

The alpha-numeric sequence is usually a stamp over the wiring diagram, as shown in the photo above. It would be more accurately described as a date-code system, since each panel box does not have a unique number. The diagram below is for panel manufactured...

FLORIDA INSPECTOR LICENSING & STANDARDS

Sunday, November 24, 2019
FLORIDA INSPECTOR LICENSING & STANDARDS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about INSPECTOR LICENSING & STANDARDS:
• Are there any minimum inspection standards that a Florida licensed home inspector must meet?
• Can a Florida licensed contractor do home inspections without...

BUILDING CODES

Sunday, November 24, 2019
BUILDING CODES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about BUILDING CODES:
• When did the first Florida Building Code (FBC) begin and become effective?
• The home inspector says I have construction defects. How did my home pass inspection by the...

Should roofing nails be visible sticking into the attic?

Monday, November 18, 2019
Should roofing nails be visible sticking into the attic?

Yes, and there are two types of nails that are normal to see in an attic:
1) The ring-shank nails used to secure asphalt shingles to the plywood or OSB roof sheathing typically penetrate into the attic 1/4” or more. The extra length that protrudes...

What is the minimum size allowed for a bedroom?

Sunday, November 17, 2019
What is the minimum size allowed for a bedroom?

A bedroom must be a minimum of 70 square feet and not less than 7 feet wide at smallest dimension, according to the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC). This is a basic standard that applies...

Does a home inspector check wall air conditioners?

Friday, November 15, 2019
Does a home inspector check wall air conditioners?

Most wall air conditioners are permanently installed and therefore required to be inspected by the Standards of Practice of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the State of Florida. The definition of installed by the American Society...

Does a home inspector check window air conditioners?

Friday, November 15, 2019
Does a home inspector check window air conditioners?

Any appliances that are not permanently installed are not required to be inspected by the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida, and window air conditioners are specifically excluded in the standards...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Wood Rot

Monday, November 11, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Wood Rot

Although commonly called wood rot, the formal name on a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) report for a real estate transaction is “wood decay fungi,” the structural deterioration of moist wood caused by a fungal infestation. Here’s links with answers to...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Termites

Monday, November 11, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Termites

Termites munch away at the wood in a home quietly and out of sight, but the total dollar value of damage each year in the U.S. exceeds even house fires. Here’s links with answers to the questions we get asked most frequently about termites.
• I...

Why is a roofer's estimate of the square feet of roof area so much higher than the square feet of a house?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Why is a roofer's estimate of the square feet of roof area so much higher than the square feet of a house?

If you were stunned when your roofer quoted you for a 3200 square foot roof for your 1800 square foot house, here’s why: 
 1) Homes usually have two different square footages listed on a realtor’s listing sheet or the tax appraiser’s property records....

What is the difference between EIFS and stucco?

Friday, October 25, 2019
What is the difference between EIFS and stucco?

EIFS is an acronym for Exterior Insulation and Finish System. It has been a popular exterior finish material in the Gainesville area for about the last 20 years, and is also called synthetic stucco: essentially a foamboard and fiberglass mesh attached...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Buying a House with Problems

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Buying a House with Problems

No home is perfect, not even a brand-new one. But some homes are way more imperfect than others, with one or several big problems. Money pit or soon-to-be-called your legendary good deal? Should you buy it? Here’s what we think...
• Should I buy...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Sinkholes in Florida

Monday, October 21, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Sinkholes in Florida

Sinkholes that swallow up homes and cars into a huge pit make amazing news stories, but most sinkholes in Florida are not as dramatic. They do, however, cause houses to become uninhabitable or require expensive foundation repairs. Here’s links with...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Hurricanes for Florida Homeowners

Sunday, October 20, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Hurricanes for Florida Homeowners

Hurricanes are not happening more frequently, but they have definitely become stronger over the past decade, with CAT 5 storms threatening Florida almost yearly. Here’s links to our answers to questions about Florida homes and hurricanes.
Evaluating...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Park Model Homes

Friday, October 18, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Park Model Homes

Park Models are a unique category that straddles the line between recreational vehicle and mobile home. Click on any of the questions below to link to the answer.
• What is a Park Model mobile home?
• What is the difference between a park...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Four Point Inspections

Friday, October 18, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Four Point Inspections

A “four point” is an abbreviated inspection on a standard form, usually only a few pages with attached photos. Many insurance companies require one before offering a homeowner’s policy for older homes and mobile homes. The focus of the inspection is...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about House Wall Cracks

Thursday, October 17, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about House Wall Cracks

Cracks are scary omens. They might be caused by harmless flexing due to seasonal temperature and moisture changes or could be the first signal of big structural problems building in a wall. It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that the house shown...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Home Inspection

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Home Inspection

A home inspection happens between the time you sign the sales contract and when you sit at the closing table, hand over the money, sign the mortgage, and get your keys. Because a house is the biggest investment most people will ever make, it's a time...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Mobile Homes

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Mobile Homes

One out of twelve homes in America is a mobile/manufactured home. But there's not a lot of information out there about buying, maintaining, and remodeling one. We have made mobile homes our specialty over the past seventeen years and these blog posts...

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS”:
• Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) circuit breakers and receptacles
• Frequently Asked Questions About Attics 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Radon

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Radon

You have probably heard a lot of things about radon, ranging from “it’s a death sentence if your house has radon” to “that’s just a bunch fake science mumbo-jumbo.” The truth is that it’s a real health issue, but at neither of those extremes.
...

Can you use PVC pipe for the water heater temperature pressure relief (TPR) discharge pipe?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Can you use PVC pipe for the water heater temperature pressure relief (TPR) discharge pipe?

No. PVC pipe is not rated by the building code for use with hot water, so the installation shown above is wrong and unsafe. If the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve opens because the water heater is overheating, the water will be over 200º...

What is a dead front GFCI or blank face GFCI?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019
What is a dead front GFCI or blank face GFCI?

It looks like a push-button wall switch to some people, but is actually a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) device that provides shock protection for a remote appliance or receptacles, and is called “dead front GFCI” or sometimes “blank face GFCI.”...

What factors can change radon test levels up or down?

Monday, October 14, 2019
What factors can change radon test levels up or down?

Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas that is a byproduct of the atomic decay of radium in the ground. It has about a 4-day half-life, so the radioactivity of radon emitted a month ago is pretty close to zero today. But, while it is fresh, the...

Does the receptacle outlet in a garage for a sprinkler control panel have to be GFCI-protected?

Sunday, October 13, 2019
Does the receptacle outlet in a garage for a sprinkler control panel have to be GFCI-protected?

Because a sprinkler control panel mounted on the wall of a garage is considered by the National Electrical Code (NEC) to be a dedicated appliance that is not easily movable, it was allowed an exemption for many years from the requirement for GFCI-protection...

SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

Sunday, October 13, 2019
SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “SPRINKLER SYSTEMS":
• Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?
• What is the difference between regular tap water and recycled/reclaimed water for landscape irrigation? 

What is the NEC disconnect requirement for permanently connected appliances rated at not over 300 volt-amperes (watts) or 1/8 horsepower?

Saturday, October 12, 2019
What is the NEC disconnect requirement for permanently connected appliances rated at not over 300 volt-amperes (watts) or 1/8 horsepower?

Small motorized appliances such as a ceiling fan or a gas tankless water heater formerly required a disconnect device, but it was not required to be within sight of the appliance. The disconnect could be a switch or the branch-circuit overcorrect device...

Is a ceiling receptacle outlet for a garage door opener required to be GFCI protected?

Thursday, October 10, 2019
Is a ceiling receptacle outlet for a garage door opener required to be GFCI protected?

It is now, but was not previously required. The issue is not that it is for a garage door opener, but that the receptacle is on the garage ceiling. And there is also a little twist in how it must be GFCI-protected. Here is a National Electrical Code...

What are the problems with underground return air ducts?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
What are the problems with underground return air ducts?

Under-floor-slab return air ducts were briefly popular in our North Florida area during the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were usually in upscale, midcentury modern homes. We guess it was considered cutting edge technology at the time, but now these...

What is the minimum slope of a flat roof?

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
What is the minimum slope of a flat roof?

Minimum slope is 1/4” vertically per foot (12”) horizontally, according to both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC). This is equivalent to a 2% slope. Roofs that are often called “flat”...

FLAT ROOFS (LOW SLOPE)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
FLAT ROOFS (LOW SLOPE)

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “FLAT ROOFS (LOW SLOPE)":
• What causes bubble-like blisters in a built-up and gravel roof?  
• Why does it cost so much more to replace a steep roof than a low slope roof? 
• Why are...

When did circuit breakers replace fuses in homes?

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
When did circuit breakers replace fuses in homes?

Although circuit breakers for residential panels were available in the 1930s, the earliest examples we have seen date from the 1940s. The one shown above is a Westinghouse from a house built in 1947. Based on the thousands of older homes we have inspected...

How did people stay cool in Key West before air conditioning?

Monday, October 7, 2019
How did people stay cool in Key West before air conditioning?

The “Conch House" is a unique, traditional way of constructing a home for the year-round hot weather of Key West that dates back over 100 years. It’s wood-frame, tin-roofed and has multiple passive cooling features. Until recently, most architects considered...

Can circuit breakers be installed upside-down, with the breaker "ON" in the down position?

Monday, October 7, 2019
Can circuit breakers be installed upside-down, with the breaker ON in the down position?

No, to avoid confusion, breakers mounted vertically cannot be “ON" in the down position according to the National Electrical Code (NEC 240.81). But there are two reason why you may see it anyway:
The NEC requirement did not enter the code until...

What does maximum sum of breaker ratings per stab mean in an electrical panel?

Monday, October 7, 2019
What does maximum sum of breaker ratings per stab mean in an electrical panel?

It is the maximum allowable total amperage of the two breakers, or possibly three or four if tandem, breakers that are connected to a single “bus stab,” which is a metal finger bent outward from the bus bar in a panel. The bus stab is a connection point...

What is a high drain loop or air gap in a dishwasher drain hose?

Sunday, October 6, 2019
What is a high drain loop or air gap in a dishwasher drain hose?

They are the two ways to prevent backflow and get good drainage between a dishwasher and the drain connection at the sink tailpiece or disposal. It’s your choice of which one to use, but the code requires one or the other. 
   The Residential edition...

How far away from the sink can I install a dishwasher?

Sunday, October 6, 2019
How far away from the sink can I install a dishwasher?

Most manufacturers specify a 12-foot maximum. Some state it as “distance to drain,” while others specify it as the length of the drain hose, which is more restrictive because the hose must rise up to the bottom of the counter top for a “high drain loop”...

Can a dishwasher drain hose be connected after the sink trap (to the trap arm)?

Saturday, October 5, 2019
Can a dishwasher drain hose be connected after the sink trap (to the trap arm)?

No, the dishwasher discharge must be connected before the trap. According to the Florida Plumbing Code it must "discharge into a wye branch fitting on the tailpiece of the kitchen sink or the dishwasher connection of a food waste disposer.” The International...

When is safety tempered glass required by code for glass near a door?

Saturday, October 5, 2019
When is safety tempered glass required by code for glass near a door?

Any glass within 24-inches of a door along the same wall as the door or perpendicular to it that is less than 60-inches above the floor must be safety tempered glass. There are also four exception allowed, as noted below in the citation from the Residential...

What are the code requirements for safety tempered glass for doors?

Saturday, October 5, 2019
What are the code requirements for safety tempered glass for doors?

Doors are considered a "hazardous location” for the purpose of where safety/tempered glass is required in a home, and all door glazing is required to be safety/tempered with only two exceptions: a glass panel so small that a 3” ball cannot go through...

HUD-CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES

Sunday, September 29, 2019
HUD-CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “HUD-CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES":
• What are the HUD requirements for site drainage when installing a mobile/manufactured home?
• Is a ground cover vapor barrier (plastic sheet) required under...

Why would an old, pre-1970s house have a fire place but no chimney on the roof?

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Why would an old, pre-1970s house have a fire place but no chimney on the roof?

Old brick chimneys that are in poor condition sometimes get abandoned and the brick removed down to below the roof sheathing in the attic when the house is reroofed, like in the photo above. The mantel and firebox may still be in place down below, but...

Can an unused (spare) circuit breaker remain in an electrical panel or does it have to be removed?

Monday, September 23, 2019
Can an unused (spare) circuit breaker remain in an electrical panel or does it have to be removed?

Spares do not have to be removed from the panel. The National Electrical Code (NEC) simply requires that they be identified in the circuit directory. At 408.4(A) it states that “spare positions that contain unused overcurrent devices or switches shall...

How safe is a modular home in a hurricane?

Friday, September 20, 2019
How safe is a modular home in a hurricane?

Although a modular home is built in a factory, it is manufactured and installed to the same building code standards as a site-built home. So in Florida that means it will conform to the extensive hurricane-resistance requirements of the Florida Building...

Can I use the model number to determine the age of an air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, September 16, 2019
Can I use the model number to determine the age of an air conditioner or heat pump?

The model number is not where you figure out the age of a unit. It’s encoded in the serial number, and each company has their own system. If you enter the name of the manufacturer in the seach box above, it will lead you to a blog with the answer you...

What is the code required minimum pitch/slope for a metal roof?

Monday, September 16, 2019
What is the code required minimum pitch/slope for a metal roof?

The traditional metal roof types, such as 5V-crimp (shown above) and corrugated, are rated by the manufacturers for use down to a 3/12 pitch—three inches of vertical “rise” for every foot of horizontal “run.” Because of the shallow height of the undulating...

What is the code required minimum height above a toilet?

Monday, September 16, 2019
What is the code required minimum height above a toilet?

Minimum 6-feet 8-inches of height to ceiling at the center of required area in front of toilet where there is a sloped ceiling over toilet, according to the International Residential Code [IRC P2705.1(5) and R305.1(2)]. Similar citation in Residential...

Should I buy a house with bouncy, spongy, or squeaky floors?

Friday, September 13, 2019
Should I buy a house with bouncy, spongy, or squeaky floors?

Although these are three different problems, they are often interrelated and two or all three may be experienced together as you walk around a house during a showing with your realtor, especially in an older home. The flexing of bouncy floor joists,...

When is a cricket or saddle required on a roof?

Thursday, September 12, 2019
When is a cricket or saddle required on a roof?

According to the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (R903.2.2) and the International Building Code (IBC), the high side of any chimney or other roof penetration that is more than 30 inches wide requires a cricket or saddle. Skylights installed...

Can I install a new metal roof over an asphalt shingle roof?

Thursday, September 12, 2019
Can I install a new metal roof over an asphalt shingle roof?

Yes, you can. It is specifically allowed in the 2017 Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) at R908.3, Exception 1, with a similar citation in the International Residential Code (IRC):
    A separator sheet between the shingles...

Should I buy a house with double-pane insulated glass windows that are clouded?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Should I buy a house with double-pane insulated glass windows that are clouded?

If you are buying a house with windows that are more than 10 years old, the home inspector may call out several—or many—of the windows as clouded and missing their insulating gas. Sometimes even newer homes will have a few clouded windows. By the time...

GENERATORS

Monday, September 9, 2019
GENERATORS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “GENERATORS":
• What is the average life expectancy of a whole-house standby emergency generator?
• What is the best emergency back-up generator for the power outage after a storm? 

How can I tell how hurricane resistant a Florida house is before I buy it?

Sunday, September 8, 2019
How can I tell how hurricane resistant a Florida house is before I buy it?

There is no such thing as a “hurricane proof” house. As more Category 5 hurricanes with gusts up to 200 mph make landfall each storm season, the challenge to keep the walls and roof of a house intact under the enormous wind pressures gets more difficult....

How can I tell how hurricane resistant a Florida mobile home is before I buy it?

Sunday, September 8, 2019
How can I tell how hurricane resistant a Florida mobile home is before I buy it?

Mobile homes are notorious for disintegrating during a bad hurricane, and the photo above of older waterfront mobile homes after Hurricane Irma in 2017 is an example. Newer homes are constructed and installed to be more hurricane resistant, but a location...

Does a home inspector check fences?

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Does a home inspector check fences?

The Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida limit what is inspected at the homesite to “visible and readily accessible site conditions that affect the structure,” and fences are specifically excluded....

Does a home inspector check every electrical receptacle outlet in a house?

Saturday, September 7, 2019
Does a home inspector check every electrical receptacle outlet in a house?

No. Many receptacles in a house that is occupied and furnished are not readily accessible to examine and test anyway. Also, the Standards of Practice of both of the national home inspector associations and the State of Florida only require that a “representative...

Does a home inspector check pools?

Friday, September 6, 2019
Does a home inspector check pools?

The Standards of Practice of both the national home inspector associations and the State of Florida specifically exclude inspection of swimming pools and spas as a required part of a home inspection. Many inspectors do inspect pools, however, for an...

Does a home inspector check toilets?

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Does a home inspector check toilets?

The Standards of Practice of both the national home inspector associations and the State of Florida require inspection of toilets. The InterNACHI standards specifically state that the inspector should inspect “all toilets for proper operation by flushing,”...

What are the building code requirements for installing a heat pump air handler (indoor unit) in the attic?

Thursday, September 5, 2019
What are the building code requirements for installing a heat pump air handler (indoor unit) in the attic?

When any appliance, including an air handling unit is placed in an attic, there is a potential safety risk for the living space below the appliance due to water leakage. Also, a person entering the attic to service any appliance must be able to get...

Why is there no main shut-off breaker in my electric panel?

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Why is there no main shut-off breaker in my electric panel?

Almost all of the thousands of house electrical systems we have inspected over the years comply with the requirement for a main electrical disconnect. It may not appear that your panel is compliant, even though it actually is, because of a couple of...

Why is the National Electrical Code (NEC) so hard to understand and complicated?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Why is the National Electrical Code (NEC) so hard to understand and complicated?

National Electrical Code (NEC) was first published in 1897 as a response by insurance underwriters to the numerous fires caused by early electrical systems. It is now updated and revised every three years with a new edition. If you can imagine how simple...

Should I buy a house with no attic access hatch?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Should I buy a house with no attic access hatch?

Making sure everything in the attic is okay is a important. This is where a home inspector might find roof leaks, wood rot, termites, missing insulation, damaged roof trusses, bad wiring, leaking air conditioning ducts, mold, or rodent infestation,...

TOILETS

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
TOILETS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “TOILETS”: 
• Honey, who shrunk the toilet? 
• Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?  
• Are drop-in toilet bowl cleaner tablets safe?
• Why is there mold inside my...

Does a home inspector move things during an inspection?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Does a home inspector move things during an inspection?

The Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida give an inspector plenty of leeway as to what they are willing to move or leave alone during an inspection. The key phrase is “readily accessible.” Anything...

FLOORS

Tuesday, September 3, 2019
FLOORS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “FLOORS":
• Does a home inspector lift up the carpet to look for cracks in the floor?

• Why is the grout cracking and coming loose at my floor tile?
• Why is a garage floor sloped? 

Should I buy a house with sloping floors?

Monday, September 2, 2019
Should I buy a house with sloping floors?

The realtors call it “character,” but how much character are you willing to endure? And, if you find it annoying, is it fixable and how much will that cost? First, we suggest you read our two blog posts Why do the floors slope in this old house? and...

How can I tell if cracks in the wall or floor are getting worse or staying the same?

Sunday, September 1, 2019
How can I tell if cracks in the wall or floor are getting worse or staying the same?

Cracks in a home, even small ones, are easy to obsess about. Where did that come from? Is it just minor settlement, seasonal expansion/contraction due to temperature or humidity, or something much worse? Probably just a garden-variety little crack and...

How can I avoid buying a house with clay soil heaving foundation problems?

Sunday, September 1, 2019
How can I avoid buying a house with clay soil heaving foundation problems?

It’s necessary to understand the mechanics of how expansive clay soil damages the foundation of a house, and in turn creates cracks in the walls and floors, in order to know what to look for when house hunting. Clay soils are highly water absorbent....

What causes a hot circuit breaker in an electrical panel?

Saturday, August 31, 2019
What causes a hot circuit breaker in an electrical panel?

There are several things that can cause a warm-to-hot breaker, and not all of them are defects:
1) The electronic circuit in Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) breakers generates enough heat, even when there is no load on the circuit,...

How can I troubleshoot a dead receptacle outlet?

Saturday, August 31, 2019
How can I troubleshoot a dead receptacle outlet?

It’s often something simple that is easily fixed, and here’s three things to check before calling an electrician. First plug a nightlight or small lamp (that you have already confirmed works at another outlet) into the receptacle, so you know when it’s...

CLAY SOIL

Friday, August 30, 2019
CLAY SOIL

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “CLAY SOIL":
• How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?
• How can I avoid buying a house with clay soil heaving foundation problems? 

How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?

Friday, August 30, 2019
How can I tell whether my house foundation problems are caused by a sinkhole or expansive clay soil?

Because the crack patterns can be similar, it often requires an engineering evaluation of the soil under the home to find out what is causing the structural distress in your walls. Soil boring samples and ground-penetrating radar are two tools used...

Does a home inspector check for termites?

Friday, August 30, 2019
Does a home inspector check for termites?

Inspecting for termites is specifically excluded from the Standards of Practice of both the national home inspector associations. One refers to them as “wood-destroying organisms” and the other as a general category of “insects.” Also, while a home...

Does a home inspector check for radon?

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Does a home inspector check for radon?

Radon testing is not a required part of the Standards of Practice of the two national home inspector associations and the State of Florida. Many Florida home inspectors offer radon testing as an additional service, but they must be licensed by Florida...

Can a termite inspector guarantee that there are no termites in a house?

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Can a termite inspector guarantee that there are no termites in a house?

It is impossible for a termite inspector doing a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) report for a real estate transaction to guarantee that a house is free of termites because termites mostly live in concealed areas of the home, such as inside the walls....

Does a home inspector check the windows?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Does a home inspector check the windows?

The Standards of Practice of both national home inspector associations and the State of Florida require that "windows and their operating locks and latches or other opening mechanisms” be inspected. However, the inspector is not required to “open or...

Does a home inspector check for lead paint?

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Does a home inspector check for lead paint?

The Standards of Practice of both of the national home inspector associations and the State of Florida do not require testing for lead paint as part of a home inspection of older homes. Some inspectors offer testing with a kit such as “3M Lead Check...

BUILDING PERMITS

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
BUILDING PERMITS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “BUILDING PERMITS":
• Does a home inspector check for permits? 
• Should I buy a house that has been remodeled/renovated without building permits or has open permits? 
• How can I be...

CRAWL SPACES

Monday, August 26, 2019
CRAWL SPACES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “CRAWL SPACES":
• Is white mold on wood in a crawl space dangerous?
• Should I buy a house with a crawl space?  
• Is the crawl space under a house required to be ventilated if the...

Is white mold on wood in a crawl space dangerous?

Monday, August 26, 2019
Is white mold on wood in a crawl space dangerous?

White mold in a crawl space indicates elevated humidity, from wet ground, lack of enough ventilation, or both. The good news is that it does not cause structural damage to wood. But white mold will be followed by wood-decay fungi (wood rot) if the moisture...

What areas of the country are most likely to have drywood termite infestations occur?

Monday, August 26, 2019
What areas of the country are most likely to have drywood termite infestations occur?

Drywood termites require a warm and humid environment to live, because they receive all their moisture from the wood they consume. So they occur predominantly along the southern margin of the U.S., especially near the coast along the Gulf of Mexico...

Is wood-decay fungi found during a termite (WDO) inspection the same as mold?

Monday, August 26, 2019
Is wood-decay fungi found during a termite (WDO) inspection the same as mold?

The phrase “Wood-decay fungi” often appears in termite inspection (WDO) reports and it is the formal name for common wood rot, which is one of three types of fungi that can infest the wood in a home, but it is not the same as mold. Wood-decay fungi...

Do I need a termite inspection for a USDA loan?

Monday, August 26, 2019
Do I need a termite inspection for a USDA loan?

"Termite/pest inspections are not required unless the lender, appraiser, inspector or State law requires the inspection to confirm the property is free of active infestation,” according to the appraisal/inspection guidelines of the USDA.
    Lenders...

Do I need a termite inspection for a VA loan?

Monday, August 26, 2019
Do I need a termite inspection for a VA loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requires a termite inspection for existing properties if they are located in an area where the probability of termite infestation is "very heavy" or "moderate to heavy," based on the Termite Infestation Probability...

Do I need a termite inspection for an FHA loan?

Monday, August 26, 2019
Do I need a termite inspection for an FHA loan?

The requirements for a termite inspection for an FHA loan are outlined in the HUD Handbook 4150.2, Chapter 3, which states that “FHA requires maximum assurances that a home is free of any infestation,” and a termite inspection is necessary for:
Any...

What are the pros and cons of steel versus PVC for well construction?

Sunday, August 25, 2019
What are the pros and cons of steel versus PVC for well construction?

Steel has long been the standard material for well construction, but we are seeing more PVC in the last decade. Here’s the advantages and disadvntages of both:
STEEL
Pro• Stronger, resistant to collapse.• Standard, time-tested material.

How can I tell the age of a Friedrich heat pump from the serial number?

Sunday, August 25, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Friedrich heat pump from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture for older Friedrich systems, as shown above for a unit built in 1984. To determine the size of your Friedrich unit, go to our blog post What size in tons is a Friedrich heat pump...

Do I need to get a four point inspection for insurance for an older condominium?

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Do I need to get a four point inspection for insurance for an older condominium?

As of the date of this blog, four point inspections are not required to get homeowner’s insurance in Florida for older condominiums. An underwriter for one of Florida’s largest insurers stated at a recent seminar for home inspectors that “we don’t require...

Why is the insurance company requiring a four point inspection to insure my older mobile home?

Sunday, August 25, 2019
Why is the insurance company requiring a four point inspection to insure my older mobile home?

Although insurance companies in our area just recently started requiring a four point inspection report as a prerequisite for issuing homeowner’s insurance for an older mobile home, they have been requiring one for older site-built homes for many years....

Does code require water pipes in a crawl space to be insulated?

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Does code require water pipes in a crawl space to be insulated?

The code requires water distribution pipes in “any area subjected to freezing temperatures” to be protected by insulation or heat, and specifically lists crawl spaces and attics as examples. It’s in the Florida Plumbing Code at 305.4 and the Residential...

Does code require water pipes in the attic to be insulated?

Saturday, August 24, 2019
Does code require water pipes in the attic to be insulated?

The code requires water distribution pipes in “any area subjected to freezing temperatures” to be protected by insulation or heat, and specifically lists attics and crawl spaces as examples. It’s in the Florida Plumbing Code at 305.4 and the Residential...

CONDOMINIUMS

Friday, August 23, 2019
CONDOMINIUMS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about CONDOMINIUMS:
• Where do I find the the main electrical breaker/disconnect to shutoff power for a condominium?

• What do I need to know about a condo inspection?
• Where do I...

Where do I find the main water shut-off valve for my condominium?

Friday, August 23, 2019
Where do I find the main water shut-off valve for my condominium?

There are two places to look for the water shut-off for a condominium, and your condo may have both or only one:
1) At the water meter - The water meters are usually lined up in a cluster somewhere near the base of the builing, like in the photo...

Where do I find the the main electrical breaker/disconnect to shutoff power for a condominium?

Friday, August 23, 2019
Where do I find the the main electrical breaker/disconnect to shutoff power for a condominium?

Most condos have the main disconnect breaker that shuts off all power to the unit at a meter cluster at ground level on an exterior side wall of the building, like in the photo above. The is a hinged plastic flap over the breaker for weather protection....

Why are older houses, specifically ones built before 1940, more difficult to evaluate for a home inspector?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Why are older houses, specifically ones built before 1940, more difficult to evaluate for a home inspector?

There was a dramatic change in house construction between the era before World War 2 and after it. Previous to the war, materials and details of construction varied, sometimes dramatically, between regions of the country. A home was built of mostly...

Does a home inspector fight for a home buyer to get repairs or a price adjustment after an inspection?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Does a home inspector fight for a home buyer to get repairs or a price adjustment after an inspection?

Although a home inspection report can be used as a basis to request repairs or a price adjustment, getting the inspector involved in any negotiations over what should be fixed, how much it will cost, and who should pay for it, is beyond the scope of...

Does a home inspector check the septic tank system?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Does a home inspector check the septic tank system?

The Standards of Practice of the both of the national home inspector associations (ASHI and InterNACHI) and the State of Florida specifically exclude inspection of private septic systems. This is because all of the septic system components are concealed,...

Is the stucco on a wood frame house allowed to extend down into the ground?

Saturday, August 17, 2019
Is the stucco on a wood frame house allowed to extend down into the ground?

No, the stucco is not allowed to extend into the ground on a wood frame house. "On wood-frame construction with an on-grade floor slab system, exterior plaster shall be applied to cover, but not extend below, lath, paper and screed,” according to both...

What is the red switch for in my mobile home?

Saturday, August 17, 2019
What is the red switch for in my mobile home?

It’s an on/off switch for the water heater and often located in the bathroom or near the water heater compartment in the home. Also, the switch typically lights up when on. The one shown above has been labeled, but many are not. 
    If you are...

Is a laundry area for a washing machine required by code for a single family residence?

Friday, August 16, 2019
Is  a laundry area for a washing machine required by code for a single family residence?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires at 210.52(F) a minimum of one receptacle outlet at an area designated for laundry equipment. It states that “Laundry Areas - In dwelling units, at least one receptacle outlet shall be installed in areas designated...

Does a home inspector check for Chinese drywall?

Thursday, August 15, 2019
Does a home inspector check for Chinese drywall?

Testing for Chinese drywall is not part of the Home Inspection Standards of Practice for either of the national home inspector associations or the State of Florida. But many customers ask about it, and most inspectors are familiar with the warning signs...

What is a Private Provider building inspector?

Thursday, August 15, 2019
What is a Private Provider building inspector?

The State of Florida allows property owners to hire a private inspector and avoid relying on the local building department for plan approval and inspections on a residential or commercial building project. Florida Statute 553.791, entitled “Alternative...

When were smoke detectors/alarms first required in Florida?

Monday, August 12, 2019
When were smoke detectors/alarms first required in Florida?

The Florida Building Code, which has been the statewide standard since March 1, 2002, requires a smoke alarm in the hallway or area outside each sleeping room (bedroom), in each sleeping room, and a minimum of one on each level of the home (including...

Does the mounting pad have to be replaced to install at new heat pump or air conditioner condenser (outside unit)?

Sunday, August 11, 2019
Does the mounting pad have to be replaced to install at new heat pump or air conditioner condenser (outside unit)?

While it might be possible for your HVAC contractor to reuse the existing pad for a new condenser, there are several factors that will likely make it necessary to replace it:
The old pad is fractured, damaged.
The old pad is too small. New...

Does a home inspector check window blinds?

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Does a home inspector check window blinds?

The Standards of Practice of both the national home inspector associations (ASHI and InterNACHI) and the State of Florida specifically do not require inspection of “paint, wallpaper, window treatments, and other specialty finish treatments.” A home...

RAIN GUTTERS

Saturday, August 10, 2019
RAIN GUTTERS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about RAIN GUTTERS:
• Is it alright for a gutter downspout from an upper roof to empty onto a lower roof? 
• Should I put gutters on the house? 
• Does a home inspector check gutters?

4-POINT INSPECTIONS

Saturday, August 10, 2019
4-POINT INSPECTIONS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about 4-POINT INSPECTIONS:
• What is a four point inspection? 
• Is the 4-point insurance inspection strictly pass or fail?
• Should I give a copy of the home inspection report to the bank...

Can a patched roof pass a 4-point inspection?

Saturday, August 10, 2019
Can a patched roof pass a 4-point inspection?

As long as both the patched and the older areas of the roof appear to be in satisfactory condition and have the necessary estimated remaining life, it should be fine. But extensive patching tends to be a “red flag” for the underwriter to look more closely...

Why do home inspectors sometimes recommend further evaluation by a structural engineer?

Friday, August 9, 2019
Why do home inspectors sometimes recommend further evaluation by a structural engineer?

The Standards of Practice for both national home inspector associations and the State of Florida state that “the inspector shall make recommendations for correction and/or monitoring, or further evaluation of the deficiencies that the inspector observed.”...

Why do the manufacturers of many 120-volt wall/window air conditioners specify USE ON SINGLE OUTLET CIRCUIT ONLY.

Friday, August 9, 2019
Why do the manufacturers of many 120-volt wall/window air conditioners specify USE ON SINGLE OUTLET CIRCUIT ONLY.

Most general purpose wall receptacle outlets that you would plug a window air conditioner into are rated at 15 amps. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that any cord-and-plug connected appliance that is fastened in place be limited to 50% of...

Is it acceptable for a door to open or close by itself?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Is it acceptable for a door to open or close by itself?

The Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), states that both interior and exterior doors “shall not swing open or closed by the force of gravity alone.” This applies to new construction...

What is truss uplift?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019
What is truss uplift?

Truss uplift is when the bottom chord of a wood roof truss bows upward during cold weather, pulling the ceiling up and away from the walls, and opening up a crack line where they meet. For a full explanation, see our blog post What causes cracks to...

What causes cracks between the wall and ceiling?

Monday, August 5, 2019
What causes cracks between the wall and ceiling?

Cracks along the line where the ceiling and interior walls meet can be caused by settlement of the floor slab, but usually there is a separation between the baseboard and floor first, along with stress cracks emanating diagonally from the corners of...

"WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN..."

Sunday, August 4, 2019
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN...

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN…":
 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• What is the difference between a UL rating for...

What is the difference between a water heater with side inlet/outlet pipe connections and one with top connections?

Sunday, August 4, 2019
What is the difference between a water heater with side inlet/outlet pipe connections and one with top connections?

Many smaller water heaters have side inlet/outlet pipe connections to reduce the height necessary for installation in spaces with limited vertical dimensions, such as under a sink counter in an office bathroom, as shown above.
Larger water heaters...

How can I find out what type of water pipe runs underground from the water meter to the house (water service pipe)?

Saturday, August 3, 2019
How can I find out what type of water pipe runs underground from the water meter to the house (water service pipe)?

The best place to look is in the water meter box at the house-side of the water meter in the yard. You might have to dig down through a layer of dirt in the box to find it.
    "At an older house, if you find galvanized on the house side of the...

When did metal water pipe become no longer allowed as the only ground for a house electrical system?

Thursday, August 1, 2019
When did metal water pipe become no longer allowed as the only ground for a house electrical system?

The 1978 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) eliminated the option to ground a home’s electrical system to the water pipes. We still occasionally see the ground wire running to a clamp around a hose faucet for the ground of a very old electrical...

Is it safe to buy a house with sinkhole foundation repair?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Is it safe to buy a house with sinkhole foundation repair?

While it is possible for further sinkhole development to cause problems with a house that has had foundation repair, it is extremely unlikely for two reasons:
When the foundation is “pinned,” it means steel rods are driven into the ground next...

How can I tell the difference between a smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) detector?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
How can I tell the difference between a smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) detector?

Here’s a few pointers to help you determine whether you have a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide ((CO) alarm, and maybe without having to unmount it: 
1) Hard-wired smoke alarms are usually found in hallways and/or bedrooms, on or near the ceiling,...

Can a home inspector determine if there are any sinkholes on a property?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Can a home inspector determine if there are any sinkholes on a property?

Home inspectors are not trained, and do not have the specialized testing equipment, to determine if any structural problems or an area of sinking soil is the beginning of a sinkhole. Also, the Standards of Practice for both national inspector associations...

Should I be concerned about my house if a sinkhole opens in my neighbor's yard?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Should I be concerned about my house if a sinkhole opens in my neighbor's yard?

Sometimes sinkholes continue to expand until they reach an adjacent home but, if the sinkhole is not growing, it is unlikely to affect you or spawn a second one. Here’s what the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) says: 
    "Although...

What are the Florida laws regarding sinkhole insurance?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
What are the Florida laws regarding sinkhole insurance?

Florida Statute 627.706 requires insurers authorized to sell property insurance in the State of Florida to provide coverage for “catastrophic ground cover collapse,” but the law’s interpretation of it means that the damage by many sinkholes will not...

Should I be concerned about an old sinkhole on a property?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Should I be concerned about an old sinkhole on a property?

We often inspect rural homes with a deep, but rounded depression that  appears to be an older sinkhole on the property—so old that tall trees are growing out of it. Here’s what the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recommends:

What is the code for minimum height of an air conditioner or heat pump condenser mounting pad/slab above ground?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
What is the code for minimum height of an air conditioner or heat pump condenser mounting pad/slab above ground?

The Residential Editon of The Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) both state that it must extend at least 3 inches above the ground,  be level, and firmly supported.
    Also, see our blog post Why does an air...

How can I identify a home as ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) construction?

Monday, July 29, 2019
How can I identify a home as ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) construction?

Most of the time, the seller or their realtor is going to tell you. It’s considered premium, green construction, and a selling feature. But once in while a seller is not aware of it, or the information is not provided—or provided incorrectly.
...

Does a home inspector check the paint finishes on a house?

Monday, July 29, 2019
Does a home inspector check the paint finishes on a house?

The published inspection standards of the two major home inspector associations and the State of Florida specifically exclude inspecting paint finishes at the “Interior” section of their Standards of Practice. The International Association of Certified...

Can a grille covering a hole in the drywall ceiling be used for the required make up (combustion supply) air for a gas water heater or furnace in a garage?

Saturday, July 27, 2019
Can a grille covering a hole in the drywall ceiling be used for the required make up (combustion supply) air for a gas water heater or furnace in a garage?

The walls and ceiling between an attached garage and the house living area are required to be minimum 1/2” drywall or equivalent. Most garages have a ceiling secured to the bottom chord of the roof trusses or rafters. If there is no ceiling and the...

What gas appliances are not required to be vented?

Thursday, July 25, 2019
What gas appliances are not required to be vented?

Here’s the list from the 2018 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) of appliances that do not require venting:
    Three appliances on the list, #5, #9, and #11, would not be used in a residence. And it’s important to note that the word “listed” is...

CONCRETE AND CONCRETE BLOCK

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
CONCRETE AND CONCRETE BLOCK

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about CONCRETE AND CONCRETE BLOCK:
• What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? 
• Do stucco walls mean a house is concrete block?
• What causes...

FOUNDATIONS

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
FOUNDATIONS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about FOUNDATIONS:
• What is the average lifespan of a house foundation?
• How do I recognize structural problems in a retaining wall? 
• Should I buy a house that has had foundation repair? 

BRICK

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
BRICK

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about BRICK:
• What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?
• What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 
• What causes the surface of old bricks to erode away into...

Why is my brick wall cracking?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Why is my brick wall cracking?

For an analysis of the potential causes of different shapes of cracks, go to these blog posts:  

• What causes stair-step cracks in a block or brick wall?
• What causes a horizontal crack in a block or brick wall? 
• What causes...

Can too many receptacle outlets on a circuit trip the breaker?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Can too many receptacle outlets on a circuit trip the breaker?

An excessive number of receptacle outlets on the same circuit, by itself, will not trip a breaker; but it makes it easier to inadvertently overload the circuit with too many things plugged-in and operating, which will cause “nuisance tripping” of the...

Does the seller have to pay for a new roof?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Does the seller have to pay for a new roof?

There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the terms of the real estate sales contract, how “hot” the market is at the time, and how far the buyer is willing to push the negotiation. For a full explanation of all options, see our blog...

What does the U-value of insulation mean?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
What does the U-value of insulation mean?

U-value is a measure of thermal conductivity, and is the inverse of the more-often-used R-value, which is a measure of thermal resistance. A higher U-value of an insulation material or assembly means more thermal conductivity—in other words, less insulation...

How many foundation vents are required in the skirting of a mobile/manufactured home?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
How many foundation vents are required in the skirting of a mobile/manufactured home?

The standard ventilation requirement is based on the total area of the vents instead of the number of them. One square inch of ventilation opening for every square foot of floor space of the home is standard. More is even better. Skirting with built-in...

How can I tell if my air conditioner uses freon?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019
How can I tell if my air conditioner uses freon?

Freon is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company. But it has become a common name for the fluorocarbon refrigerant R-22, like the way brand names “Kleenex” and “Xerox” were appropriated by the public to mean any similar products.
    You...

Is it alright for a gutter downspout from an upper roof to empty onto a lower roof?

Monday, July 22, 2019
Is it alright for a gutter downspout from an upper roof to empty onto a lower roof?

It depends on who you ask this question. There is no building code citation that forbids a gutter from draining onto a lower roof. So it’s a matter of what the home inspector or contractor considers acceptable. Generally, a contractor that drains a...

How do I understand the air conditioner or heat pump condenser label (data plate)?

Monday, July 22, 2019
How do I understand the air conditioner or heat pump condenser label (data plate)?

There is a lot of information on a condenser data plate that is only important for an air conditioning technician, so we will just highlight what might be relevant for a homeowner. 
1 - Serial Number. Although the number is only for a particular...

Why is there a WARNING! POST-TENSION SLAB sticker in my house?

Sunday, July 21, 2019
Why is there a WARNING! POST-TENSION SLAB sticker in my house?

Post-tensioning is a construction technique for reinforcing concrete. It has been used for many years in commercial construction, but we are now seeing it in some new residences. Steel cables inside plastic sleeves are run across the floor slab along...

Why does running a power cord behind the wall for a wall-mounted TV violate the electrical code?

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Why does running a power cord behind the wall for a wall-mounted TV violate the electrical code?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not allow a power supply cord to be concealed in the wall, per NEC 400.12(5), which states that power cords shall not be used “where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located above suspended or dropped...

Does the code require a barrier/well around the attic access hatch for blown insulation?

Saturday, July 20, 2019
Does the code require a barrier/well around the attic access hatch for blown insulation?

We don’t know of any building code requirement for a well around the attic access hatch, likely because it is not a life-safety issue. There are code requirements, however, for keeping insulation away from soffit vents, flues, and any ceiling lighting...

What are the building code requirements for a handrail at stairs?

Thursday, July 18, 2019
What are the building code requirements for a handrail at stairs?

A handrail is defined by the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) as “a horizontal or sloping rail intended for grasping by the hand for guidance or support." It must be easy to grab and...

Are dining room, breakfast room, and pantry receptacles required to be GFCI protected?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Are dining room, breakfast room, and pantry receptacles required to be GFCI protected?

They usually are, but also are not required to be. The reason why involves a National Electrical Code citation at 210.52(B)(1), that says: “In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, or similar area of a dwelling, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance...

How do I find out the manufacturer of an electrical panel?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
How do I find out the manufacturer of an electrical panel?

The older the panel, the harder it will be to figure out the manufacturer. Major manufacturers like Square D are easy to recognize, but obscure and defunct brands of a bygone era can be problematic. 
    A few manufacturers emboss their name and...

When are the GFCI PROTECTED and NO EQUIPMENT GROUND stickers required on receptacle outlets?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
When are the GFCI PROTECTED and NO EQUIPMENT GROUND stickers required on receptacle outlets?

A three-slot receptacle outlet can be installed as a replacement for a two-slot ungrounded receptacle outlet in an older home when there is no ground connection available, according the National Electrical Code [NEC 405.4(D)(2)(b,c)], but only if the...

What is the building code for fire resistance for exterior exit doors of a house?

Sunday, July 14, 2019
What is the building code for fire resistance for exterior exit doors of a house?

A residence is only required to have one emergency exit door, called an “egress” door. You can read about the requirements for it at our blog post How many exit doors are required for a house?, which are primarily about the size of the opening and having...

Why type of circuit breaker has a red test button?

Saturday, July 13, 2019
Why type of circuit breaker has a red test button?

If it looks like the one shown above, it is an older GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) breaker from the 1980s, manufactured by Square D. The breaker takes up two slots in the panel even though it is a 120 volts. 
    Also, see our blog posts...

Will a sprinkler system work without a vacuum breaker (backflow preventer)?

Saturday, July 13, 2019
Will a sprinkler system work without a vacuum breaker (backflow preventer)?

A vacuum breaker is required when the sprinkler system is connected to the same potable water system that serves the house, which could be either municipal water or a private well. Its purpose is to prevent dirt, bits of debris, and bacteria from being...

Do I need a pan under a water heater in the garage?

Saturday, July 13, 2019
Do I need a pan under a water heater in the garage?

The Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC-P2801.6) states that “where a storage tank-type water heater or a hot water storage tank is installed in a location where water leakage from the tank will cause damage, the tank shall be installed...

Is the wood anchor pad for a garage door rail and torsion spring supposed to be nailed or bolted to the wall?

Friday, July 12, 2019
Is the wood anchor pad for a garage door rail and torsion spring supposed to be nailed or bolted to the wall?

Nailing was acceptable years ago, as long as there was a sufficient number of nails, but manufacturers today require lag screws or bolts, with the number specified by the manufacturer. The Clopay installation manual, for example, states that “the wood...

Does a home inspector check the GFCI receptacles and breakers?

Thursday, July 11, 2019
Does a home inspector check the GFCI receptacles and breakers?

The standards of practice for both major national home inspector associations and State of Florida’s own standards all specify that the GFCIs should be checked. “Ground fault circuit interrupters” are listed as necessary to be checked on both the American...

Do microwaves require any minimum clearances around them?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Do microwaves require any minimum clearances around them?

Although microwaves only heat the food in them, that food heats the air surrounding it and anything nearby, and needs to be adequately dissipated. Here’s the standards that GE has for the different types of microwave ovens they offer. Other manufacturers...

A receptacle outlet is dead and I think I tripped a GFCI, but can't locate it. Where do I find the GFCI reset?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
A receptacle outlet is dead and I think I tripped a GFCI, but can't locate it. Where do I find the GFCI reset?

Let’s start with the era in which the house was built. Late 1970s to mid-80s homes usually have a GFCI-breaker in the electric panel, like the one shown below, and it protects all the bathroom and exterior receptacles.
    For homes built in the...

Can vinyl lap siding be installed diagonally?

Monday, July 8, 2019
Can vinyl lap siding be installed diagonally?

It does not seem like such a good idea to us, but at least one manufacturer we found has a detail for installing the transition between vertical (or, in this case, semi-vertical) vinyl lap siding and horizontal. Here’s the installation detail recommeded...

What is a backfeed main breaker at an electric panel?

Monday, July 8, 2019
What is a backfeed main breaker at an electric panel?

An electric panel is backfed when the main breaker is mounted in the cluster of breakers on the branch bus, instead of being separate, vertical, and above or below the branch-circuit breakers. It is essentially providing power “backwards” into the distribution...

What is a bus stab in an electric panel?

Sunday, July 7, 2019
What is a bus stab in an electric panel?

Most electric panels have two vertical bus bars. Each bus bar has bus stabs, also called “bus fingers” or “connector fingers,” that are bent out to receive breakers. Each one can serve two full-size breakers, connected from left and right. In the example...

What is the main bonding jumper and where do it find it in an electric panel?

Sunday, July 7, 2019
What is the main bonding jumper and where do it find it in an electric panel?

The main bonding jumper connects the service neutral wiring to the grounding electrode conductor(s) (GEC), and also to the service enclosure (panel box). By connecting these three components together, it eliminates any voltage potential (current) between...

Does a home inspector check and test shut-off valves?

Saturday, July 6, 2019
Does a home inspector check and test shut-off valves?

A home inspection is primarily a visual review of a home and the inspector is required to examine the visible, or readily accessible, shut-off valves. What the inspector is not required to do is test the valves, and with good reason. Old or defective...

Does a home inspector have to be bonded?

Friday, July 5, 2019
Does a home inspector have to be bonded?

Many states have no minimum insurance requirements for home inspectors. For the ones that do, it is usually general liability or errors and omissions insurance, or both, in amounts from $100,000 to $500,000. The only state that we know of that specifies...

Does a home inspector check for permits?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Checking the public records for building permits for a home inspection is not required by the Standards of Practice for home inspectors of the administrative law of the State of Florida DBPR, or of the two national associations, American Society of...

What does a termite mud tube look like?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
What does a termite mud tube look like?

Subterranean termites can be hard to detect, even when a house has a significant infestation. They become dehydrated quickly by exposure to air, so they crawl up into a house protected inside tiny tubes the workers construct from dirt, feces, and their...

What is a drum trap at a plumbing drain?

Tuesday, July 2, 2019
What is a drum trap at a plumbing drain?

A drum trap is one of several types of plumbing traps that were once acceptable, but now prohibited. The primary problem with a drum trap is that it is not “self-scouring,” per the requirement of Florida Plumbing Code (FPC-1002.2) and a similar citation...

Why is the mini-split ductless air conditioner installed in a sunroom enclosed with acrylic plastic windows called a “dehumidifier” on the building permit?

Monday, July 1, 2019
Why is the mini-split ductless air conditioner installed in a sunroom enclosed with acrylic plastic windows called a “dehumidifier” on the building permit?

It is likely that the sunroom was originally a screen porch that has been enclosed. Unfortunately, simply enclosing the room with clear acrylic plastic windows does not make it acceptable by the building code for air conditioning and to be considered...

How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

Sunday, June 30, 2019
How thorough is a home inspector required to be when inspecting a house?

How thoroughly a home inspector checks everyting in a house depends on two variables: the state where the home is located and the inspector's own personal standards. As of today, 28 states have licensing requirements for home inspectors, which include...

Does a home inspector need insurance?

Sunday, June 30, 2019
Does a home inspector need insurance?

It depends completely on which state the inspector is located. For example, Florida requires $300,000 of general liability, Louisiana requires $300,000 of both general liability and errors and omissions, and Georgia has no requirements. Most inspectors...

DOES A HOME INSPECTOR...?

Sunday, June 30, 2019
DOES A HOME INSPECTOR...?

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?":
• What is a home inspector not allowed to do?
• Does a home inspector inspect barns and other agricultural buildings on a farm? 
• Does a home inspector inspect...

Does a home inspector check the roof?

Sunday, June 30, 2019
Does a home inspector check the roof?

What a home inspector checks on a roof depends on two variables: the state where the home is located and the inspector's own personal standards. As of today, 28 states have licensing requirements for home inspectors, which include education and experience...

What would cause a new asphalt shingle roof to have loose tab adhesion (sealant strips)?

Saturday, June 29, 2019
What would cause a new asphalt shingle roof to have loose tab adhesion (sealant strips)?

When the sealant strip under the leading edge of a shingle fails to adhere properly, the shingles become vulnerable to wind damage from flapping up and down or blowing off. Several warm days with direct sun on the roof are necessary for the initial...

When were smoke alarms first required to be interconnected?

Friday, June 28, 2019
When were smoke alarms first required to be interconnected?

The 1988 edition of the Uniform Building Code (UBC) was the first to require that hard-wired smoke alarms be interconnected, and the Southern Standard Building Code requirement began at the about the same time. The International Residential Code (IRC)...

What can I do during a hurricane to reduce the possiblity of roof damage?

Thursday, June 27, 2019
What can I do during a hurricane to reduce the possiblity of roof damage?

The shutters are locked in place, the patio furniture has been taken in, you’ve “battened down the hatches” and the storm is here. But there is actually one more thing you can do to protect your home’s structure, and specifically the roof, while the...

What is the spacing requirement for receptacle outlets at a kitchen island counter?

Thursday, June 27, 2019
What is the spacing requirement for receptacle outlets at a kitchen island counter?

There is no spacing requirement, just a minimum of one is required. “At least one receptacle shall be installed at each island countertop space with a long dimension of 600 mm (24 inches) or greater and a short dimension of 300 mm (12 inches) or greater,”...

Where can I find the manufacturer's model name for my mobile/manufactured home?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Where can I find the manufacturer's model name for my mobile/manufactured home?

The model name/number is on the data plate inside the home. A HUD data plate has been required to be placed inside every mobile home manufactured since July, 1976, and it is usually located on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door, behind the door over...

How can I tell the age of an Eemax tankless water heater from the serial number?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019
How can I tell the age of an Eemax tankless water heater from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number of an Eemax tankless water heater are the year of manufacture. So the serial number below indicates it was produced in 2015. To determine the age of another manufacturer/brand of water heater, go to How do...

Why are most pull-down attic ladders not approved by building code for installation in a garage?

Monday, June 24, 2019
Why are most pull-down attic ladders not approved by building code for installation in a garage?

The wall and ceiling between an attached garage and the house living area is required to be minimum 1/2” drywall. Most garages have a ceiling secured to the bottom chord of the roof trusses or rafters, and that has to be 1/2” drywall also when the attic...

When is an access panel considered not accessible for a Florida termite (WDO) inspector?

Saturday, June 22, 2019
When is an access panel considered not accessible for a Florida termite (WDO) inspector?

Let’s start with a definition of “access panel,” according to the “Baseline Practices for Performing 13645 WDO Inspections,” a document prepared by members of the Florida pest control industry, University of Florida, and FDACS (Florida Department of...

What areas of the exterior of a home is a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida required to inspect?

Saturday, June 22, 2019
What areas of the exterior of a home is a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida required to inspect?

According to the “Baseline Practices for Performing 13645 WDO Inspections,” a document prepared by members of the Florida pest control industry, University of Florida, and FDACS (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the division...

Can gas piping be installed in a supply or return duct or plenum?

Friday, June 21, 2019
Can gas piping be installed in a supply or return duct or plenum?

No. The International Residential Code (IRC) does not allow fuel gas piping to be "installed in or through a ducted supply, return or exhaust,” per G2415.3, and there is a similar citation in the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC).

What are the minimum access openings for a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida for a crawl space and attic, and within these spaces?

Friday, June 21, 2019
What are the minimum access openings for a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida for a crawl space and attic, and within these spaces?

There is no specific information in the Florida Adminstrative Code regarding minimum size openings that an inspector can be expected to enter if deemed safe otherwise. But the pest control industry uses a document entitled “Baseline Practices for Performing...

Why are there sometimes damaged shingles around an area of roof shingle repair or the tie-in of a new roof?

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Why are there sometimes damaged shingles around an area of roof shingle repair or the tie-in of a new roof?

Asphalt shingles are not waterproof. If it was possible for water to stand still on a shingle roof, it would quickly seep under the laps of the shingles. But shingles are "water resistant" because they overlap and are only used on sloped roofs; so water...

Why does the main breaker in some electric panels look like four breakers with a common toggle instead of the usual two?

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Why does the main breaker in some electric panels look like four breakers with a common toggle instead of the usual two?

The GE line of main breakers is one we know of that does this, and only for their 150-amp and 200-amp 240-volt main breakers. Square D, Cutler Hammer, and Siemens also have similar breakers. It is essentially two breakers in parallel for each of the...

What would cause a home inspector and roofing contractor to disagree on the remaining life left in a roof?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
What would cause a home inspector and roofing contractor to disagree on the remaining life left in a roof?

We can think of three reasons why an inspector and roofer might disagree on the condition and remaining life of a roof:
1) It’s a subjective call, based on professional experience - We have been home inspectors since 2002, and building contractors...

When was a kitchen refrigerator receptacle outlet first required to be GFCI-protected?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
When was a kitchen refrigerator receptacle outlet first required to be GFCI-protected?

The change came with the 2014 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), and it does not actually state that a refrigerator in the kitchen must be GFCI-protected. What it says is that any receptacle within 6 feet of the top edge of a sink bowl must...

Is a refrigerator receptacle outlet required to be GFCI-protected?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Is a refrigerator receptacle outlet required to be GFCI-protected?

Although the National Electrical Code (NEC) does not require that a receptacle outlet serving a refrigerator must be GFCI-protected, it specifies certain areas where any receptacle—including for a refrigerator—must be GFCI:
1) Within 6 feet of...

What causes a shingle roof to deteriorate faster and fail prematurely?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019
What causes a shingle roof to deteriorate faster and fail prematurely?

Premature deterioration of a shingle roof can be caused by the site, manufacturing defects, weather, improper installation, or inadequate maintenance. But often it results from a combination of them: 
• Manufacturing defects - Shingles that crack...

What causes small areas of pitting or pockmarks in an asphalt shingle roof?

Monday, June 17, 2019
What causes small areas of pitting or pockmarks in an asphalt shingle roof?

Roofers call them “blisters.” They usually occur during the first couple of years after roof installation, and are caused by excessive heat under the shingles due to poor ventilation of the attic, which is a common problem in Florida. The heat expands...

How can I tell if an asphalt shingle roof manufacturer's warranty rating is 20 years, 30 years, or more?

Sunday, June 16, 2019
How can I tell if an asphalt shingle roof manufacturer's warranty rating is 20 years, 30 years, or more?

Asphalt shingle manufacturers offer “lifetime” warranties that are usually rated from 20 to 50 years. This type of warranty only provides protection for manufacturing defects in the roof materials if they deteriorate or fail before they should, and...

Why is an asphalt shingle roof difficult to inspect when wet right after it has rained?

Saturday, June 15, 2019
Why is an asphalt shingle roof difficult to inspect when wet right after it has rained?

An asphalt shingle roof looks newer and in better condition when wet because the variations in shading and texture of the surface caused by deterioration from the sun’s UV-light pretty much disappear. Also, a second way we age a roof is the condition...

What are the building code requirements for making a house termite resistant?

Friday, June 14, 2019
What are the building code requirements for making a house termite resistant?

The Residential Edition of The Florida Building Code devotes a complete section, “R-318 - Protection Against Termites,” to construction details to keep termites from infesting a house. The code attacks the problem in two ways: 1) create a barrier to...

How does a three-way switch work?

Thursday, June 13, 2019
How does a three-way switch work?

Three-Way Switch Wiring DiagramThe pair of three-way switches that many homes have for lighting at the top and bottom of stairs, or opposite ends of a long hallway, use an ingenious configuration of a two wires between them in a loop that electricians...

Is a range hood exhaust fan required in the kitchen?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Is a range hood exhaust fan required in the kitchen?

A range hood is not required in the kitchen of a site-built house unless an open-top broiler is installed, according to both the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC)  and International Residential Code (IRC). However, if you do install...

Is cellulose insulation flammable?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Is cellulose insulation flammable?

The dictionary defines flammable as “capable of being easily ignited and burning quickly,” and cellulose insulation does not fit that definition. But it is “combusible,” which means capable of being ignited. Cellulose smolders slowly when it starts...

What devices are code approved for backflow prevention at a sprinkler (lawn irrigation) system?

Tuesday, June 11, 2019
What devices are code approved for backflow prevention at a sprinkler (lawn irrigation) system?

Whenever a sprinkler system is connected to the same water supply as the house there is the potential for “cross contamination,” which can happen after a loss of water pressure. This presssure drop causes a vacuum in the pipes that literally sucks the...

How can a house be inspected by two different home inspectors that come up with different things to be fixed?

Sunday, June 9, 2019
How can a house be inspected by two different home inspectors that come up with different things to be fixed?

When homeowners decide to get their own inspector to check out the house before they list it for sale—looking to find and fix any defects that may cause a problem after they find a buyer—it often happens that the buyer’s inspector later lists some defects...

What is the minimum number of tie-down straps for a park model trailer in Florida?

Saturday, June 8, 2019
What is the minimum number of tie-down straps for a park model trailer in Florida?

Florida Administrative Code 15C-1.0102(1) - Installation Standards for Mobile/Manufactured Homes and Park Trailers states that the set-up of park model trailer should be in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions, but have a minimum of three vertical...

How can I tell if my pool is leaking?

Saturday, June 8, 2019
How can I tell if my pool is leaking?

A pool leak can be hard to determine because water is continuously evaporating off the surface and lowering the level, especially in the summer months. But the fact that surface evaporation is the same no matter how deep the water is below it, as long...

How can I tell the size in tons of my Stylecrest Revolv heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Saturday, June 8, 2019
How can I tell the size in tons of my Stylecrest Revolv heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The Revolv series of HVAC systems by Stylecrest are designed specifically for mobile/manufactured homes, and the company is a division of Nortek (formerly Nordyne). You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the...

How can I tell the age of a Stylecrest Revolv heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Saturday, June 8, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Stylecrest Revolv heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

The Revolv series of HVAC systems by Stylecrest are designed specifically for mobile/manufactured homes, and the company is a division of Nortek (formerly Nordyne). The fourth and fifth characters in the serial number are the year of manufacture for...

When did the code first set a limit of one neutral wire (grounded conductor) connection per lug/set-screw in an electric panel?

Friday, June 7, 2019
When did the code first set a limit of one neutral wire (grounded conductor) connection per lug/set-screw in an electric panel?

The one-neutral-per-lug rule entered the National Electrical Code at the 2002 edition. Here’s how it is stated in the current edition:
408.41 Grounded Conductor Terminations. Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual...

When were home inspectors first required to be licensed in Florida?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
When were home inspectors first required to be licensed in Florida?

Although Florida passed the home inspector bill SB-2234 in 2007, it did not take effect until July 1st, 2010. The national home inspection associations howled in disapproval, citing dubious reasons why it would not benefit the citizens of the state....

WHEN IT FIRST BECAME CODE

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about when current construction standards FIRST BECAME CODE:
• What is plumbing venting? When was venting first required for plumbing drain systems? 
• When did the first Florida Building Code...

What is plumbing venting? When was venting first required for plumbing drain systems?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
What is plumbing venting? When was venting first required for plumbing drain systems?

Just about every time we call out an unvented “S-trap” in a home inspection, like the one shown above, someone says “Is that some new code thing? It probably wasn’t required when this house was built.” But actually it's been around for quite awhile.

Which are better: lead or rubber roof vent pipe flashing boots?

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Which are better: lead or rubber roof vent pipe flashing boots?

They both have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s how it breaks down:
LEAD
Pro - Lead, shown above, is the time-tested standard roof boot. It is easily malleable to wrap over the top of a vent pipe.
Con - Lead is considered an environmental...

What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used in older houses?

Monday, June 3, 2019
What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used in older houses?

It depends on how old the “older house” is, since the types of pipe material used have gradually shifted over the decades. And, if the house has been repiped, the material will be one of the choices that was popular at the time of repiping. We have...

What causes air leakage energy loss in a house?

Sunday, June 2, 2019
What causes air leakage energy loss in a house?

The small holes and cracks in the floors, walls, and ceilings of a house are where all the air leakage occurs. Well, duh, of course. All houses have them—some more than others—and they provide a continual air exchange route that reduces indoor air pollution. 

What is the average life expectancy of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump?

Saturday, June 1, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump?

The average lifespan of a window unit air conditioner or heat pump is 5 to 8 years, with an average of 7 years. Air conditioning contractors like to call them “window shakers.” They are noisy and inefficient compared to permanently installed systems,...

What is the average life expectancy of a ductless (mini-split) heat pump or air conditioner?

Saturday, June 1, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a ductless (mini-split) heat pump or air conditioner?

The average lifespan of a ductless (mini-split) heat  pump or air conditioner is 10 to 16 years, with an average of 14 years. They are easier to retrofit in an existing home than a regular split system with ducts, especially if there is no attic available. 

What is the average life expectancy of a package unit heat pump or air conditioner?

Saturday, June 1, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a package unit heat pump or air conditioner?

Package units are most often used for mobile homes and site-built homes with elevated wood floors and a crawl space. The average lifespan of a package unit heat pump or air conditioner is 10 to 16 years, with an average of 14 years. 
    According...

What is the average life expectancy of a heat pump?

Saturday, June 1, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of a heat pump?

While not an exact predictor, average lifespan is still a valuable piece of information. Here’s the average lifespan for different types of air conditioners:
 Split System Heat Pump Condenser (outside unit) - 10 to 16 years
 Split System Heat...

What is the canister thing about size of a small soda can on a refrigerant line near the heat pump or air conditioner condenser (outdoor unit)?

Saturday, June 1, 2019
What is the canister thing about size of a small soda can on a refrigerant line near the heat pump or air conditioner condenser (outdoor unit)?

It is called a "filter drier” and does exactly what the name says: it filters out small particles and removes moisture with a desiccant from the pressure line (the smaller tubing with no insulation, also called the liquid line). A filter drier is not...

What is the minimum depth below ground of the foundation of a house, for either monolithic thickened edge slab or stemwall footing?

Friday, May 31, 2019
What is the minimum depth below ground of the foundation of a house, for either monolithic thickened edge slab or stemwall footing?

The minimum depth is 12-inches below undisturbed ground per the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC R403.1.4) and the International Residential Code.
    This applies to perimeter footings and, in climates colder than Florida,...

What is the code requirement for ceiling (paddle) fans near or above a swimming pool?

Thursday, May 30, 2019
What is the code requirement for ceiling (paddle) fans near or above a swimming pool?

The 2107 edition of the National Electrical Code [NEC 680.22(b)] states that outdoor ceiling fans installed above a pool or within 5-feet of the inside wall of the pool measured horizontally, must be at least 12-feet above the maximum water level of...

Can a laundry sink drain be installed without a trap under it?

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Can a laundry sink drain be installed without a trap under it?

A laundry sink (also called a laundry tray or tub) can be connected to a washing machine standpipe without a P-trap if the sink drain is within 30-inches of the standpipe. Also, the top of the standpipe must be above the flood rim of the sink and rise...

How can I tell the age of an old Singer air conditioner or furnace from the serial number?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
How can I tell the age of an old Singer air conditioner or furnace from the serial number?

Every time we come across an ancient Singer HVAC system we say “this has got to be the last one we will ever see." And then another Singer turns up a few months later. Eventually they will all be gone but, in the meantime, here’s the serial number code:...

Why is there a stain in the ceiling around the exhaust pipe (flue) above the gas furnace?

Monday, May 27, 2019
Why is there a stain in the ceiling around the exhaust pipe (flue) above the gas furnace?

A circular stain around the flue above a furnace where it penetrates the ceiling can be caused by a roof leak or condensation of the hot combustion gases inside the flue. Roof leakage around the flashing is a fairly common problem. Examining the underside...

When were receptacle outlets in the crawlspace under a home first required to be GFCI?

Sunday, May 26, 2019
When were receptacle outlets in the crawlspace under a home first required to be GFCI?

Receptacles in crawlspaces at or below grade were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1990 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). 
    The mandate for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection for receptacles in wet areas around...

When were receptacle outlets near a pool first required to be GFCI?

Sunday, May 26, 2019
When  were receptacle outlets near a pool first required to be GFCI?

The requirement for GFCI-protection for receptacles around a pool has been modified multiple times since the initial standard in 1971:
1971 - All receptacles within 15 feet of edge of pool in any direction must be GFCI-protected, but no receptacles...

When were exterior (outdoor) receptacle outlets first required to be GFCI?

Friday, May 24, 2019
When were exterior (outdoor) receptacle outlets first required to be GFCI?

All outdoor receptacles were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1971 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Then it was limited to receptacles “with direct grade access to dwelling" in 1978, and direct grade access was further defined...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required near a wet bar?

Friday, May 24, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required near a wet bar?

Countertop receptacles within 6 feet of a wet bar were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1993 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The code mandate was later expanded to include any receptacles within 6 feet of any sink in the 2014...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in a laundry room?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in a laundry room?

Receptacles within 6 feet of a laundry sink were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 2005 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The code mandate was later expanded to include any receptacles in a laundry room in the 2014 NEC.
...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required near bathtubs and showers?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required near bathtubs and showers?

Although receptacles in bathrooms have been required to be GFCI-protected since th 1975 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), the requirement was extended in the 2017 NEC to include receptacles within 6 feet of the outside edge of bathtubs...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in balconies, decks, and porches?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in balconies, decks, and porches?

The history of the GFCI-requirement for balconies, decks, and porches has been an on-again-off-again thing. All outdoor receptacles were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1971 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Then it was limited...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the kitchen?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the kitchen?

Receptacles in the kitchen were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1987 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), and initially only for counter receptacles within 6 feet of a sink. That was expanded to include all kitchen countertop receptacles...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in bathrooms?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in bathrooms?

Receptacles in the bathroom were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1975 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). It was extended in the 2017 NEC to include receptacles within 6 feet of the outside edge of bathtubs and showers even if...

When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the garage?

Thursday, May 23, 2019
When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required in the garage?

Receptacles in the garage were first required to be GFCI-protected by the 1978 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Initially, an exception was made for receptacle outlets that are not readily accessible (6 feet 8 inches or above) and receptacle...

What is the correct height for the washing machine drain standpipe or outlet box?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
What is the correct height for the washing machine drain standpipe or outlet box?

Manufacturers specify a height in their installation manual. Whirlpool recommends a minimum of 39” above the floor, and GE has a 30” minimum, except  that GE allows the top of the drain pipe opening to be lower if you secure the hose to the back of...

Can anything else be attached to a service mast for overhead electric service besides the service cables?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Can anything else be attached to a service mast for overhead electric service besides the service cables?

“Only power service drop or overhead service conductors shall be attached to the service mast,” according to the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (E3604.5) and the International Residential Code, and the National Electrical Code (230.28) 

What is the definition of a permanent foundation for a mobile/manufactured home?

Monday, May 20, 2019
What is the definition of a permanent foundation for a mobile/manufactured home?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) includes this definition of a permanent foundation in their publication Permanent Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing:
C. Definition of Permanent FoundationPermanent foundations...

What is a missing knockout or open knockout in an electric panel box? Why is it a problem?

Monday, May 20, 2019
What is a missing knockout or open knockout in an electric panel box? Why is it a problem?

Knockouts are perforated circles cut into the sides, top, bottom, and back of an electric panel box that can be “knocked out” for the entry of wiring in conduit or NM-cable. A knockout that is opened but not used for wiring installation—with an NM-connector...

Why are carbon monoxide (CO) alarms required by law for homes in Florida?

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Why are carbon monoxide (CO) alarms required by law for homes in Florida?

The words "accidental poisoning death” conjure up pretty horrible images: toddlers getting past the child-proof latch under the kitchen sink, an unmarked container of rat poison powder mistaken for something else in the pantry. Stuff like that, followed...

Why is insulation not allowed to touch around a gas flue in the attic even if the insulation is not flammable?

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Why is insulation not allowed to touch around a gas flue in the attic even if the insulation is not flammable?

When a flue passes up through attic insulation there must be a shield/baffle that keeps it away from the flue surface at a distance specified by the flue manufacturer, which is usually one or two inches. Here’s how it is stated in the Residential Edition...

When did carbon monoxide (CO) alarms become required by law in Florida homes?

Thursday, May 16, 2019
When did carbon monoxide (CO) alarms become required by law in Florida homes?

Florida Statute 553.885 requires that any new home, or addition to a home, permitted on or after July 1, 2008, that has a fossil-fuel burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or attached garage shall have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10...

Can the rail for the drive chain/belt of a garage door be mounted off-center?

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Can the rail for the drive chain/belt of a garage door be mounted off-center?

We came across the unusual positioning of a garage door drive rail shown above at an inspection yesterday in The Villages and asked our go-to guy for the these questions, Ed Hoeft, of Lester’s Garage Doors, if was okay. According to Ed, "When torsion-type...

Why is it a dangerous mistake to attach a carport, porch, or room addition directly to the roof of a mobile home?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Why is it a dangerous mistake to attach a carport, porch, or room addition directly to the roof of a mobile home?

When the roof structure of an addition is attached directly to the roof of a mobile home, failure of the addition under the uplift force of high winds will often strip off the roof of the mobile home and cause other major damage to the home. Here’s...

What is the box on the wall that says LOAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS?

Sunday, May 12, 2019
What is the box on the wall that says LOAD MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS?

The box contains a device that allows your local electric utility to remotely turn off either your water heater or heating/air-conditioning system, or both, during periods when the load on their sytem begins to reach its maximum capacity. This avoids...

What is the code required clearance in front of an electric panel?

Thursday, May 9, 2019
What is the code required clearance in front of an electric panel?

The National Electrical Code [NEC 110.26 (A)(1&2)] requires a clear area for access and working in front of an electric panel that is 2.5 feet (30”) wide, 3 feet (36”) deep, and 6.5 feet (78”) high for a regular residential 120/240-volt panel. The 2.5...

When was it first required for pool pumps to have GFCI protection?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
When was it first required for pool pumps to have GFCI protection?

The requirement for GFCI protection of a pool pump was added at the 2008 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Because the latest edition of the NEC is not immediately adopted in all jurisdictions, it may not have become a requirement in some...

How can I tell if my pool is no longer level?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
How can I tell if my pool is no longer level?

A new in-ground pool is level or very close to it. But, as the pool ages, a small amount of settlement is normal and a pool that is several years old and 1/2” to 3/4” out-of-level is not unusual. Once the difference is more than 1” you are in the range...

What is this 120-volt duplex receptacle with four slots at top and bottom?

Monday, May 6, 2019
What is this 120-volt duplex receptacle with four slots at top and bottom?

We found this one in a late 1950’s house that had virtually no remodeling since it was built. Although the receptacle looks like it was designed to take a 4-prong plug, it is actually an ungrounded (2-wire) quad receptacle with four sockets to plug...

How long does a pool finish last?

Monday, May 6, 2019
How long does a pool finish last?

Pool chemistry and maintenance has a big effect on the life of the interior surface finish of a pool, so the average lifespans shown below are stated as a range instead of a single number. And, or course, there will always be a few outliers that fail...

When was pool bonding first required by code?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
When was pool bonding first required by code?

Stray electrical currents, or differences in electrical potential between two points, can occur between a pool, the pool equipment, and the surrounding metal objects such as nearby windows of a home. So the National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that...

Does homeowners insurance in Florida include coverage for sinkhole damage?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
Does homeowners insurance in Florida include coverage for sinkhole damage?

Most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for “catastrophic” damage, which basically means that if a sinkhole swallows your house, it's uninhabitable, and is condemned by the local government…then you are covered. Anything less and you will...

At what age of the house does an insurance company require a four point inspection to issue or renew homeowners insurance?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
At what age of the house does an insurance company require a four point inspection to issue or renew homeowners insurance?

The second largest insurance company in Florida, Citizens Insurance, requires a four-point inspection report for homes more than 30 years old. Here’s how it is stated at their website.
    Other insurance companies have different standards and...

At what roof age does an insurance company require a roof inspection for a homeowners insurance polcy?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
At what roof age does an insurance company require a roof inspection for a homeowners insurance polcy?

The second largest insurance company in Florida, Citizens Insurance, requires a roof inspection for shingle roofs older than 25 years, and at 50 years for tile, slate, clay, concrete, and metal roofs. The inspector must verify at least three years of...

How much remaining roof life does an insurance company require to issue or renew homeowners insurance?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
How much remaining roof life does an insurance company require to issue or renew homeowners insurance?

The second largest insurance company in Florida, Citizens Insurance, requires that an inspector verify at least three years of remaining life in the roof. Here is how it is stated at their website.
   Some other insurance companies require five...

How many tons is my Nortek heat pump or air conditioner?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
How many tons is my Nortek heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

How can I tell the age of a Nortek heat pump, air conditioner, or furnace from the serial number?

Sunday, May 5, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Nortek heat pump, air conditioner, or furnace from the serial number?

Nortek is the new name of the company formerly known as Nordyne. The fourth and fifth characters in the serial number are the year of manufacture for a Nortek system. So the serial number shown below on the data plate of a Nortek package heat pump indicates...

Is the deteriorated finish of a concrete pool shell only a cosmetic problem?

Saturday, May 4, 2019
Is the deteriorated finish of a concrete pool shell only a cosmetic problem?

We occasionally hear a realtor tell a homebuyer that a pool with a deteriorated and pock-marked finish (like in the photo above) is “just a cosmetic defect”; but, unfortunately, that is not an accurate statement. Concrete is not a waterproof barrier...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Puerto Rico?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Puerto Rico?

There are 6,312 mobile homes in Puerto Rico, which represents 0.4% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by municipio.

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Wyoming?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Wyoming?

There are 38,674 mobile homes in Wyoming, which represents 14.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county:
...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Wisconsin?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Wisconsin?

There are 90,931 mobile homes in Wisconsin, which represents 3.4% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in West Virginia?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in West Virginia?

There are 134,178 mobile homes in West Virginia, which represents 15.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county,...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in the state of Washington?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in the state of Washington?

There are 186,670 mobile homes in the state of Washington, which represents 6.1% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Virginia?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Virginia?

There are 181,909 mobile homes in Virginia, which represents 5.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Vermont?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Vermont?

There are 22,664 mobile homes in Vermont, which represents 6.8% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county.
...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Utah?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Utah?

There are 36,944 mobile homes in Utah, which represents 3.4% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the highest...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Texas?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Texas?

There are 795,075 mobile homes in Texas, which represents 7.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Tennessee?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Tennessee?

There are 272,708 mobile homes in Tennessee, which represents 9.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in South Dakota?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in South Dakota?

There are 32,717 mobile homes in South Dakota, which represents 8.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in South Carolina?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in South Carolina?

There are 375,996 mobile homes in South Carolina, which represents 16.5% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county,...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Rhode Island?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Rhode Island?

There are 4,905 mobile homes in Rhode Island, which represents 1.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Pennsylvania?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Pennsylvania?

There are 228,843 mobile homes in Pennsylvania, which represents 4.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Oregon?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Oregon?

There are 135,265 mobile homes in Oregon, which represents 7.6% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Oklahoma?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Oklahoma?

There are 165,848 mobile homes in Oklahoma, which represents 9.6% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Ohio?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Ohio?

There are 200,183 mobile homes in Ohio, which represents 3.8% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in North Dakota?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in North Dakota?

There are 27,234 mobile homes in North Dakota, which represents 7.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in North Carolina?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in North Carolina?

There are 587,857 mobile homes in North Carolina, which represents 12.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county,...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New York?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New York?

There are 193,493 mobile homes in the state of New York, which represents 2.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Mexico?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Mexico?

There are 163,987 mobile homes in New Mexico, which represents 17.5% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Jersey?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Jersey?

There are 32,601 mobile homes in New Jersey, which represents 0.9% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Hampshire?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in New Hampshire?

There are 31,123 mobile homes in New Hampshire, which represents 4.9% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Nevada?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Nevada?

There are 63,237 mobile homes in Nevada, which represents 5.1% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Nebraska?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Nebraska?

There are 26,010 mobile homes in Nebraska, which represents 3.1% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Montana?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Montana?

There are 54,696 mobile homes in Montana, which represents 10.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Missouri?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Missouri?

There are 169,846 mobile homes in Missouri, which represents 6.1% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Mississippi?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Mississippi?

There are 209,273 mobile homes in Mississippi, which represents 15.8% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Minnesota?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Minnesota?

There are 79,269 mobile homes in Minnesota, which represents 3.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Michigan?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Michigan?

There are 238,789 mobile homes in Michigan, which represents 5.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Massachusetts?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Massachusetts?

There are 24,452 mobile homes in Massachusetts, which represents 0.8% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Maryland?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Maryland?

There are 36,318 mobile homes in Maryland, which represents 1.5% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Maine?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Maine?

There are  mobile homes in 61,456, which represents 8.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the highest...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Louisiana?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Louisiana?

There are 272,171 mobile homes in Louisiana, which represents 13.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Kentucky?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Kentucky?

There are 231,981 mobile homes in Kentucky, which represents 11.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Kansas?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Kansas?

There are 55,117 mobile homes in Kansas, which represents 4.3% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Iowa?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Iowa?

There are 50,464 mobile homes in Iowa, which represents 3.6% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the highest...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Indiana?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Indiana?

There are 136,756 mobile homes in Indiana, which represents 4.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Illinois?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Illinois?

There are 131,258 mobile homes in Illinois, which represents 2.4% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Idaho?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Idaho?

There are 53,556 mobile homes in Idaho, which represents 7.4% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Hawaii?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Hawaii?

There are 1,099 mobile homes in Hawaii, which represents 0.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Georgia?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Georgia?

There are 376,363 mobile homes in Georgia, which represents 8.8% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Florida?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Florida?

There are 841,439 mobile homes in Florida, which represents 8.9% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in the District of Columbia?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in the District of Columbia?

There are 485 mobile homes in District of Columbia, which represents 0.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau.
    The state with the most mobile homes is Florida at...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Delaware?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Delaware?

There are 31,086 mobile homes in Delaware, which represents 7.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau.    The state with the most mobile homes is Florida at 841,439, followed...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Connecticut?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Connecticut?

There are 11,234 mobile homes in Connecticut, which represents 0.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Colorado?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Colorado?

There are 94,905 mobile homes in Colorado, which represents 4.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in California?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in California?

There are 519,658 mobile homes in Calfornia, which represents 3.7% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Arkansas?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Arkansas?

There are 167,714 mobile homes in Arkansas, which represents 12.2% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Arizona?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Arizona?

There are 300,378 mobile homes in Arizona, which represents 10.0% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Alaska?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Alaska?

There are 14,685 mobile homes in Alaska, which represents 4.6% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with the...

How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Alabama?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
How many mobile/manufactured homes are there in Alabama?

There are 305,749 mobile homes in Alabama, which represents 13.5% of the total housing stock in the state, according to the 2017 American Community Survey, by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s a breakdown of the mobile home percentages by county, with...

STUCCO

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
STUCCO

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about STUCCO:
• Do stucco walls mean a house is concrete block?
• What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? 
• What is the difference between...

SHINGLE ROOFS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
SHINGLE ROOFS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SHINGLE ROOFS:
• Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt shingle roof? 
• What causes roof shingles to curl up at corners?  
• Why is premature curl of roof shingles a problem?

METAL ROOFS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
METAL ROOFS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about METAL ROOFS:
• What is the difference between galvanized and galvalume metal roofing?
• What is the average lifespan of a metal (galvalume) roof?

• Can metal roofing be used...

GARAGES AND CARPORTS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
GARAGES AND CARPORTS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about GARAGES AND CARPORTS:
• Why is a garage floor sloped?  
• What is the difference between a carport and a garage? 
• Why is my garage ceiling sagging? 

• Why are there score...

CRACKS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
CRACKS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about CRACKS:
• What causes vertical cracks in fiber cement siding planks?
• What causes raised white lines of residue on a block wall that are crusty and crumbling? 
• What causes stair-step...

BATHROOMS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
BATHROOMS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about BATHROOMS:
• Honey, who shrunk the toilet? 
• Why is it a problem when a trap under a bathroom sink is installed backwards? 
• What are the code requirements for layout of drain piping...

ATTICS

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
ATTICS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about ATTICS:
• What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?
• Is an attic required to have a light by the building code? 
• How do I safely remove a dead rodent (rat, mouse...

AGING IN PLACE

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
AGING IN PLACE

Here’s links to our blog posts about AGING IN PLACE:
• What is aging in place? 
• What are the "Aging In Place" features to look for when buying a retirement home?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
And...

Is a sink required to have a drain stopper?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Is a sink required to have a drain stopper?

In the jargon of the building codes a sink is a “lavatory,” and the drain is a “waste outlet.” With that out of the way, we can investigate what the codes say about drain stoppers:
    The Residential Edition of The Florida Building Code (FBC P2711.3)...

How can I tell the age of an Intertherm water heater from the serial number?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
How can I tell the age of an Intertherm water heater from the serial number?

The third and fourth numbers in the serial number are the year of manufacture for an Intertherm water heater. So the data plate shown above indicates it was manufactured in 1985.
    Also, see our blog posts How can I determine the age of a water...

What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes are commonly used today?

Sunday, April 28, 2019
What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes are commonly used today?

CPVC is the most popular water supply piping, with PEX gaining market share, and PVC is the dominant drain (DWV) pipe.
Water Supply
Copper is still used, but very rarely. 
CPVC (cream-color plastic) is the most popular water supply pipe.

What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used in the 2000s?

Sunday, April 28, 2019
What type of water supply and drain (DWV) pipes were commonly used in the 2000s?

CPVC was the became the most popular water supply piping, with PEX gaining a foothold in the market.
Water Supply
Copper was still used, but rarely. 
CPVC (cream-color plastic) was the most popular water supply pipe.
PEX (red, blue,...

What is the average life expectancy of Orangeburg (bituminous fiber) pipe?

Saturday, April 27, 2019
What is the average life expectancy of Orangeburg (bituminous fiber) pipe?

Orangeburg pipe has a life expectancy of about 50 years, but can have problems as early as 10 to 20 years out. Since it has not been installed since the early 1970s, all Orangeburg pipe still underground is near, or past, its 50-year lifespan. As the...

Why is Orangeburg pipe a problem and how do I know if I have it?

Saturday, April 27, 2019
Why is Orangeburg pipe a problem and how do I know if I have it?

Orangeburg was the dominant brand of “bituminous fiber pipe,” a low-cost sewer pipe for underground installation in the U.S. between 1945 and 1973. It was made from wood fiber and coal-tar pitch pressed together—and derided by its critics as a "coal-tar...

What are the most common problems with washing machine installation and maintenance?

Friday, April 26, 2019
What are the most common problems with washing machine installation and maintenance?

We test a washing machine briefly in a short cycle during a home inspection to verify its basic functions are alright, but most of our inspection is visual, and here’s some of the things we typically find wrong:
Lid switch not functional - Newer...

Do I have to bring my whole house up to current building code when I do any remodeling, alterations or additions?

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Do I have to bring my whole house up to current building code when I do any remodeling, alterations or additions?

No, usually you do not. The amount of code compliance necessary depends on how much you are changing or adding to the home. Florida has a specific code, called Florida Building Code - Existing Building, that defines how much updating you will have to...

Where is a 6-mil polyethylene (Visqueen) vapor retarder not required under a concrete floor slab on grade?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Where is a 6-mil polyethylene (Visqueen) vapor retarder not required under a concrete floor slab on grade?

The required 6-mil polyethylene (or other approved) vapor retarder sheet under a concrete floor slab is necessary for the living spaces in a home because it keeps moisture from rising through the slab in wet weather and saturated soil. But the International...

How many tons is my Thermal Zone heat pump or air conditioner?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
How many tons is my Thermal Zone heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What are the code requirements for a circuit directory and circuit identification for an electric panel?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
What are the code requirements for a circuit directory and circuit identification for an electric panel?

Up until the latest edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the 2017, the requirements at 408.4 were as follows:
Every circuit must be legibly identified to its specific purpose or use.
The identification must be sufficient to distinguish...

How many tons is my Tempstar air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, April 22, 2019
How many tons is my Tempstar air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of my Tempstar air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Monday, April 22, 2019
How can I tell the age of my Tempstar air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Tempstar is manufactured by International Comfort Products, LLC, and the first two numbers in the serial number (after a single letter) are the year of manufacture. So the serial number on the data plate below indicates the unit was manufactured in...

How many tons is my Inter-City Products air conditioner or heat pump?

Sunday, April 21, 2019
How many tons is my Inter-City Products air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Unitary Products air conditioner or heat pump?

Saturday, April 20, 2019
How many tons is my Unitary Products air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a Unitary Products air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Saturday, April 20, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Unitary Products air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

There are two different serial number formats for Unitary Products. Up until 2004, the third letter of the serial number was used to denote year of manufacture by the letter code below:
A = 1971, 1992.   B = 1972, 1993C = 1973, 1994.   D = 1974,...

What causes drywall cracks in the ceilings and walls of a house?

Friday, April 19, 2019
What causes drywall cracks in the ceilings and walls of a house?

Most drywall is installed over wood studs, but wood moves when the humidity and temperature in a house changes and drywall doesn’t. So something’s gotta give, and it’s always the drywall. This is the reason for many of the annoying small cracks in a...

How many tons is my Payne air conditioner or heat pump?

Friday, April 19, 2019
How many tons is my Payne air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of a Payne air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Friday, April 19, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Payne air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

The third and fourth numbers in the serial number on the data plate are the year of manufacture for Payne, so the one shown below is from 2008. This format has been used from the mid-1980s to the present.
    The more recent Payne units we have...

Are soffit/eave vents required by code for attic ventilation?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Are soffit/eave vents required by code for attic ventilation?

Although soffit vents are not specifically mentioned as required, both the International Residential Code (IRC) and Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC-R806.2), require an attic ventilation area of at least 1/150 of the area being...

How many tons is my Heil heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, April 15, 2019
How many tons is my Heil heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

Can I install a commercial (wall-mounted flushometer) toilet in my home?

Saturday, April 13, 2019
Can I install a commercial (wall-mounted flushometer) toilet in my home?

Although we have done nearly 8,000 home inspections over the years, yesterday was the first time we came across a flushometer toilet in a residence. The one shown above is in a home designed by a mid-century modern architect who thought it was suitable...

Do replacement bedroom windows have to meet the current emergency egress standards of the Florida Building Code?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Do replacement bedroom windows have to meet the current emergency egress standards of the Florida Building Code?

No. Any repairs, alterations, or additons to a home must comply with the Florida Building Code - Existing Building, which has separate standards than the Florida Building Code that is used for new construction. It is specifically for work done on existing...

How many tons is my Grandaire air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
How many tons is my Grandaire air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my EcoTemp air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
How many tons is my EcoTemp air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

Can a local building department choose to not enforce selected parts of the Florida Building Code?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Can a local building department choose to not enforce selected parts of the Florida Building Code?

No. The Florida Building Code is a statewide code and all parts of the code must be enforced by each local building department. However, the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) can create an additional requirement, known as a local amendment....

How many tons is my Affinity air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
How many tons is my Affinity air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Bard air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
How many tons is my Bard air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Cumberland air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, April 8, 2019
How many tons is my Cumberland air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Daikin air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, April 8, 2019
How many tons is my Daikin air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

When did bathroom vent fans first become a code requirement for a bathroom without a window?

Friday, April 5, 2019
When did bathroom vent fans first become a code requirement for a bathroom without a window?

Mechanical ventilation of a bathroom with a vent fan has never been a code requirement, but it became an alternative to an openable window shortly after manufacturers started making exhaust fans. Building codes dating all the way back to the 1927 Uniform...

What is the required clearance for access and working space in front a heat pump or air conditioning condenser (outside unit)?

Friday, April 5, 2019
What is the required clearance for access and working space in front a heat pump or air conditioning condenser (outside unit)?

Although a condenser (outside unit) is part of a home's HVAC system, it is an electric appliance. So the National Electrical Code requirement (NEC 110.26[A]) for equipment “likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing or maintenance while energized”...

When did the building code begin requiring bathroom vent fans to discharge to the exterior (not the attic or crawl space)?

Thursday, April 4, 2019
When did the building code begin requiring bathroom vent fans to discharge to the exterior (not the attic or crawl space)?

Although bathroom vent fans have been an acceptable alternative to a window for the required ventilation of a bathroom for many years, the requirement that it be ducted to the exterior did not come along until 2003 or 2006, depending on how you interpret...

How many tons is my Airquest air conditioner or heat pump?

Thursday, April 4, 2019
How many tons is my Airquest air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell the age of an Airquest air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

Thursday, April 4, 2019
How can I tell the age of an Airquest air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace from the serial number?

The first two numbers, after a single letter, in the serial number are the year of manufacture of the unit. So the data plate below indicates that the condenser was manufactured in 1993.
Airquest is aHVAC line of HVAC products that was manufactured...

Which Florida trees are most likely to fall in a hurricane?

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Which Florida trees are most likely to fall in a hurricane?

The most important—but often overlooked—consideration when selecting a tree to plant near your home in Florida is how resistant a particular species is to toppling over in a severe thunderstorm or hurricane. Certain popular landscape trees are more...

Why is buying an old house sometimes the best choice?

Saturday, March 30, 2019
Why is buying an old house sometimes the best choice?

Although we have written extensively about the problems to look for when buying an older home, there are also a number of advantages:
Better location -  Older homes are often close to shopping and entertainment districts, and give you a shorter...

What are common problems of 1940s houses?

Friday, March 29, 2019
What are common problems of 1940s houses?

The 1940s was a decade split down the middle by the end of World War 2 in 1945. Construction of new homes was slowed by the war, and then dramatically sped up when it ended by a housing shortage and surging post-war economy. The way homes were built...

How many tons is Ameristar air conditioner or heat pump?

Thursday, March 28, 2019
How many tons is Ameristar air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Nordyne air conditioner or heat pump?

Thursday, March 28, 2019
How many tons is my Nordyne air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What are the basic facts about sinkholes?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
What are the basic facts about sinkholes?

Sinkholes occur naturally throughout central and north Florida, where a limestone layer underlies the soil and can be easily dissolved by water. They can be the kind that swallow up houses and cars, or smaller “chimney” sinkholes like the one shown...

How many tons is my York air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
How many tons is my York air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my International Comfort air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
How many tons is my International Comfort air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How quickly do I need to reduce a high radon level in my house?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
How quickly do I need to reduce a high radon level in my house?

Living in a house with an elevated radon level (above 4.0 pCi/L) does not automatically mean you will get lung cancer. But it increases the likelihood of getting lung cancer and, the longer you live with elevated radon, the more likely you are to have...

Why is some PVC pipe black?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Why is some PVC pipe black?

The “black PVC” is actually a different chemical composition of plastic pipe called ABS, which stands for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. To learn more about it, see our blog post What is the difference between PVC and ABS plumbing pipe?

•...

What causes a vertical crack in an exterior concrete block or brick wall?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
What causes a vertical crack in an exterior concrete block or brick wall?

Vertical cracks are rare in a concrete block or brick wall, because the mortar is usually weaker structurally and the crack will zig-zag along the mortar joints, only occasionally fracturing directly through the brick or block as it continues along....

How can I tell if a crack in a stucco wall is a structural problem and what is causing it?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
How can I tell if a crack in a stucco wall is a structural problem and what is causing it?

All stucco walls have cracks. They may be hairline and only noticeable on close examination, but they are there. The only time we inspect stucco that doesn’t have any cracks is shortly after the homeowner has had the walls caulked and painted. 
Let’s...

What causes a vertical crack in drywall?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
What causes a vertical crack in drywall?

Thin hairline cracks sometimes occur at interior drywall anywhere from a few months up to a year after completion of construction. The wood wall framing moves slightly as it dries and adjusts to the loads applied to it, allowing cracks that are barely...

How many tons is my Comfortmaker air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 25, 2019
How many tons is my Comfortmaker air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my CAC/BDP air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 25, 2019
How many tons is my CAC/BDP air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my American Standard air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 25, 2019
How many tons is my American Standard air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How can I tell if there was water under a mobile home?

Saturday, March 23, 2019
How can I tell if there was water under a mobile home?

Any standing water under a mobile home will leave floodmark debris line on the piers, like in the photo above. There can also be a ragged edge caused by water wicking up the block when the ground has been saturated under the home for a long period,...

What is a Level 3 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Friday, March 22, 2019
What is a Level 3 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Level 3 Alterations are the highest level and “apply where the work area exceeds 50 percent of the building area,” and must comply with Chapters 7, 8, and 9 of the Florida Building Code - Existing Building.
    Level 1 Alterations are basic and...

What is a Level 2 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Friday, March 22, 2019
What is a Level 2 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Level 2 Alterations “include the reconfiguration of space, the addition or elimination of any door or window, the reconfiguration or extension of any system, or the installation of any additional equipment." Adding doors or windows at new locations,...

What is a Level 1 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Friday, March 22, 2019
What is a Level 1 Alteration in Florida Building Code (FBC)?

Level 1 Alterations “include the removal and replacement or the covering of exisitng materials, elements, equipment, or fixtures using new materials, elements, equipment, or fixtures that serve the same purpose.” Replacing door or windows, without changing...

Is there a Florida law that all older homes must have smoke alarms, regardless of when they were built?

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Is there a Florida law that all older homes must have smoke alarms, regardless of when they were built?

No, everyone is not required by Florida law to have smoke alarms in their homes—even though that's an excellent idea. There has been some confusion, because a Florida statute that went into effect a few years ago requires that, when replacing any existing...

How can I tell the age of an Amana air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
How can I tell the age of an Amana air conditioner or heat pump from the serial number?

Amana is a nameplate of the Goodman Company. The first two numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture, and older data plates look like the one shown below, which indicates 2002. Newer Amana data plates are identical to a Goodman data plate...

How many tons is my Amana air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
How many tons is my Amana air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Ducane air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
How many tons is my Ducane air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How may tons is my Ruud air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
How may tons is my Ruud air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Rheem air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
How many tons is my Rheem air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Aire-Flo air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
How many tons is my Aire-Flo air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Bryant air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
How many tons is my Bryant air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Arcoaire air conditioner or heat pump?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
How many tons is my Arcoaire air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Goodman air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 18, 2019
How many tons is my Goodman air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Trane air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 18, 2019
How many tons is my Trane air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

How many tons is my Lennox air conditioner or heat pump?

Monday, March 18, 2019
How many tons is my Lennox air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” condenser tonnage of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling...

What repairs are required to be made after a home inspection?

Sunday, March 17, 2019
What repairs are required to be made after a home inspection?

A home inspector does not require anybody to fix anything after a home inspection, no matter how bad the condition of a home. The inspector lists components that are deteriorated, defective, not functional, leaking, and so forth, follwed by recommendations...

Is a ground treatment for termites required before installation of a new mobile/manufactured home?

Friday, March 15, 2019
Is a ground treatment for termites required before installation of a new mobile/manufactured home?

The HUD-Code (24 CFR 3280 and 3285) and the Florida Administrative Code (Chapters 15C-1 and 15C-2), both of which cover the the manufacturing and installation standards for mobile/manufactured homes, do not require ground treatment for termites under...

Is a shower pan leak test a required part of a home inspection?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Is a shower pan leak test a required part of a home inspection?

A shower pan test is not required by the Standards of Practice for home inspectors under Florida Statute 61-30.806, which states that “the inspector is not required to test shower pans, tub and shower surrounds for leakage.” Other jurisdictions may...

How many tons is my Carrier air conditioner or heat pump?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
How many tons is my Carrier air conditioner or heat pump?

You can determine the “nominal” size of your HVAC system by examining the model number on the data plate at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Just like the nominal size of lumber or an air conditioning filter, the exact cooling capacity may...

What is a slab on grade house?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
What is a slab on grade house?

A slab on grade home has the foundation and floor slab poured as one piece, with the areas where the walls supporting the roof bear on the slab being thickened from 4” to 10” or 12” deep. Steel reinforcing bars are also added. The thickened areas are...

Is knob and tube wiring illegal?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Is knob and tube wiring illegal?

Existing knob and tube wiring is not illegal and not required to be removed by the building codes. But because of the safety issues with a wiring type that is obsolete, ungrounded, and all original installations are at least 70 years old, insurance...

When did knob and tube wiring stop being used in homes?

Monday, March 11, 2019
When did knob and tube wiring stop being used in homes?

"Knob and tube" was the most cost-effective way to wire a home from about 1880 to the 1930s. It began gradually being phased out through the 1940s, displaced by electrical cables that bundled hot and neutral, and eventually ground, wires in a single...

Is a house required to have an attic?

Saturday, March 9, 2019
Is a house required to have an attic?

An attic is defined in the building code as “the unfinished space between the ceiling assembly and the roof assembly.” So just about any house that has a space between the ceiling and the roof has an attic, according to that definition. But most people...

What are the code requirements for the discharge piping from a Temperature-Pressure Relief (TPR) valve at a water heater?

Thursday, March 7, 2019
What are the code requirements for the discharge piping from a Temperature-Pressure Relief (TPR) valve at a water heater?

Temperature-Pressure Relief (TPR) valves rarely go off; but, if one does, it’s a big deal. Super-hot and high-pressure water gets released to keep the tank from exploding like a bomb. So, both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential...

What is the minimum height above ground for wood floor joists and girders/beams?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
What is the minimum height above ground for wood floor joists and girders/beams?

The minimum clearance between the ground and the wood structural floor joists and girders is primarily for prevention of wood rot that is caused by wood being too close to the moisture in the soil. So the minimum is 18” for floor joists and 12” for...

Can a door swing out over the top of interior stairs without a landing?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Can a door swing out over the top of interior stairs without a landing?

Both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC R311.7.6) require a landing at the top and bottom of stairs. The landing should be equal to the width of the stairs and also extend in the direction...

A neighbor told me that the house I want to buy once had a bad mold problem. It was not in the seller's disclosure. What should I do?

Sunday, March 3, 2019
A neighbor told me that the house I want to buy once had a bad mold problem. It was not in the seller's disclosure. What should I do?

First of all, it’s important to consider that the “helpful” neighbor may also want to buy the house, or may have a relative that wants to buy it, and is trying to fend off other potential buyers. Tenants, who are likely to be kicked out of a house after...

What does the Aqua-Rex Water Conditioner do?

Thursday, February 28, 2019
What does the Aqua-Rex Water Conditioner do?

According to the manufacturer, the Aqua-Rex (shown above) emits radio waves thru antenna wires that loop around an incoming water supply pipe (shown below), and the radio waves modify the iron (Fe) molecules in the water in such a way that they attract...

What are the HUD minimum requirements for foundation footings and piers under a mobile/manufactured home?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
What are the HUD minimum requirements for foundation footings and piers under a mobile/manufactured home?

There are two specs, one for piers up to 36” high using single-stacked blocks, and another for piers from 36” to 67” with double-stacked blocks, per HUD CFR 3285.306, and as shown below. Piers over 67” high must be designed by a licensed engineer or...

Can the attic access opening be outside the house according to the building code?

Monday, February 25, 2019
Can the attic access opening be outside the house according to the building code?

The International Building Code (IRC) and the 2017 Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC R807.1) both state that the attic access must be “readily accessible” and also provide specs for the size of a ceiling or wall access opening. But...

What is the maximum span allowed for ridge boards?

Monday, February 25, 2019
What is the maximum span allowed for ridge boards?

A ridge board provides a bearing surface where pairs of rafters meet at the peak of a roof, and also helps with alignment of the rafters as they are installed. But a ridge board does not carry any load, so there is no maximum span.
    A ridge...

How many days is a pest/termite (WDO) inspection valid?

Sunday, February 24, 2019
How many days is a pest/termite (WDO) inspection valid?

It is usually only good for 30 days, but depends on the lending institution’s standards. Some will accept a WDO report done 60, or even 90, days before the closing. Go to our blog post How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection...

When did the building code first require safety/tempered glass for sliding glass doors, glass shower doors, and low windows in walking areas?

Sunday, February 24, 2019
When did the building code first require safety/tempered glass for sliding glass doors, glass shower doors, and low windows in walking areas?

The history of safety/tempered glass dates back quite a ways: International Residential Code (IRC), since inception in 2000; Florida Building Code (FBC), since inception a couple of years later; Uniform Building Code (UBC) since 1967, and Southern Standard...

How can I tell the age of a Westinghouse heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Saturday, February 23, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Westinghouse heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number?

Westinghouse was manufactured by Nortek (formerly Nordyne) and uses their serial number system. The fourth and fifth characters in the serial number are the year of manufacture on most units we have found. So the serial numbers shown below on the data...

What is the minimum HUD-code standard for leveling a mobile/manufactured home?

Friday, February 22, 2019
What is the minimum HUD-code standard for leveling a mobile/manufactured home?

There are two requirements for the accuracy of leveling at the installation of a mobile home, per HUD-Code 24 CFR 3285.6: 
No more than 1/4” difference in level between adjacent pier supports, both frame and perimeter.
Exterior doors and windows...

How can I tell if a window or sliding glass door is double or triple pane (insulated) glass?

Thursday, February 21, 2019
How can I tell if a window or sliding glass door is double or triple pane (insulated) glass?

Hold a flashlight up to the glass and count the reflections. It’s that simple. Tilting the light at an angle to the glass can make it easier to see the one, two, or three reflection images.
    Unfortunately, multiple-pane insulated glass can also...

What is the maximum height you can mount an electric panel above the floor?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
What is the maximum height you can mount an electric panel above the floor?

There is no maximum height specified for the panel box, but the center of the highest breaker handle in its highest position cannot be more than 6-foot 7-inches above the floor. See our blog post What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker...

What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker (OCPD) above the floor?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
What is the maximum allowed height of a circuit breaker (OCPD) above the floor?

The center of the breaker handle in its highest position cannot be more than 6-foot 7-inches above the floor, per the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code [FBC E3705.7(6)], International Residential Code (IRC), and the National Electrical...

Does the Nest Protect system meet current building code standards for a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm system?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Does the Nest Protect system meet current building code standards for a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm system?

The second generation of Nest Protect® appears to meet the standards of the Residential Edition of The Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC), based on their compliance with required NFPA 72, UL 217, and UL 2034. The...

What is the minimum SEER that HUD requires for an air conditioner or heat pump for a mobile/manufactured home?

Monday, February 18, 2019
What is the minimum SEER that HUD requires for an air conditioner or heat pump for a mobile/manufactured home?

HUD defers to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Conservation Code for the minimum SEER rating at 24 CFR3280.714(a)(1)(i). The current minimum Energy Code SEER, from now until January 1, 2023, is 14 for package unit heat pumps and air conditioners,...

What is minimum requirement for the insulation of a mobile/manufactured home according to the HUD-code?

Sunday, February 17, 2019
What is minimum requirement for the insulation of a mobile/manufactured home according to the HUD-code?

The HUD-code for mobile homes is primarily a “performance" code, rather than a “prescriptive" code, meaning pretty much what it sounds like: instead of specifying what to install and how to install it, the code sets performance standards that give the...

What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a foyer?

Saturday, February 16, 2019
What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a foyer?

Foyers that are not part of a hallway and are greater than 60 square feet should have a receptacle outlet on each wall space that is 3 feet or more in width, according to the National Electrical Code [NEC 201.52(I)]. Doorways, door-side windows that...

Can a receptacle outlet be mounted face-up (horizontally) on a countertop?

Friday, February 15, 2019
Can a receptacle outlet be mounted face-up (horizontally) on a countertop?

No, you can’t mount a regular receptacle outlet flat on a countertop like the one shown above, per National Electrical Code [NEC 406.5 (G)], which states "Receptacle Orientation - Receptacles shall not be installed in a face-up position in or on countertop...

What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?

Friday, February 15, 2019
What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?

Closets are not included in the list of rooms that are required to have receptacle outlets in the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC E3901.2).

    An identical list of rooms...

What is the unusual garage door opener mounted on the wall above the door and marked Wayne Dalton?

Monday, February 11, 2019
What is the unusual garage door opener mounted on the wall above the door and marked Wayne Dalton?

We saw one of these for the first time the other day, and decided to ask our garage door guru Eddie Hoeft, of Lester’s Garage Doors, about it. “It's called an “I-Drive” opener and I thought it was a great idea when it first came out about fifteen years...

Can I run an electric power cord or extension cord through the wall?

Sunday, February 10, 2019
Can I run an electric power cord or extension cord through the wall?

Yes, we know that there are lots of nifty articles on the web about how to make an unobtrusive wall opening and fish an electric cord through the wall. But you probably already suspect that it is unsafe, and you’re right.
Here’s what it says in...

How many outdoor receptacle outlets are required for a mobile/manufactured home?

Saturday, February 9, 2019
How many outdoor receptacle outlets are required for a mobile/manufactured home?

Only a minimum of one exterior receptacle outlet is required for a mobile/manufactured home, per HUD-Code 24 CFR 3280.806 (d)(8). Site-built and modular homes, on the other hand, need at least two outdoor receptacle outlets—one in front, and one in...

Is aluminum wiring allowed in a mobile/manufactured home?

Saturday, February 9, 2019
Is aluminum wiring allowed in a mobile/manufactured home?

Aluminum wiring is not allowed for the branch circuits, although we often see it used for the service cables to the distribution panel in the home. “Aluminum conductors, aluminum alloy conductors, and aluminum core conductors such as copper clad aluminum...

Are arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers required in mobile/manufactured homes?

Saturday, February 9, 2019
Are arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers required in mobile/manufactured homes?

They are not required but, if installed, must meet the standards for AFCI breakers of National Electrical Code, 2005 edition, per HUD 3280.801(b). Also, see our blog post What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI)...

What are the electrical code standards for a mobile/manufactured home?

Saturday, February 9, 2019
What are the electrical code standards for a mobile/manufactured home?

Manufactured homes must comply with Subpart I of 24 CFR Part 3280 (HUD-code) and Part II of Article 550 of the National Electrical Code (NEC), which has specific standards for manufactured homes, with following qualifiers: 
HUD follows the 2005...

What is the minimum size of an exterior door to a mobile/manufactured home per HUD-Code?

Friday, February 8, 2019
What is the minimum size of an exterior door to a mobile/manufactured home per HUD-Code?

The minimum swinging exterior door size is 28” wide by 74” high (2’-4” x 6’-2”), per HUD 24 CFR 3280.105, and an interpretive bulletin issued by HUD in 1976 explains that verifying the required dimension can be done by measuring the door itself. However,...

What is the minimum size electric service to a mobile/manufactured home?

Friday, February 8, 2019
What is the minimum size electric service to a mobile/manufactured home?

Minimum electric service rating is 100-amps, per National Electric Code [NEC 550.32(C)], although we only see a service that small in older homes. Most newer models are 150 or 200-amps. Also, see our blog post How can I find out the size of the electric...

How do you flash skylight, chimney, and pipe vent roof penetrations on a metal roof?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
How do you flash skylight, chimney, and pipe vent roof penetrations on a metal roof?

The principle behind flashing on any sloped roof, and especially a metal one, is downlapping. The bottom edge of one piece of roofing overlays the upper edge of the piece below it, which overlays the upper edge of the piece below that, and so forth.

Does an attached garage that is only used for storage or as a workshop, and not for parking a car, still have to comply with building code requirements for a garage?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Does an attached garage that is only used for storage or as a workshop, and not for parking a car, still have to comply with building code requirements for a garage?

The building code requirements for a garage, and an attached garage in particular, have evolved over the years based on the risk of fire from the flammable fuel in a car’s gas tank, and the possibility of a fire in an attached garage quickly spreading...

How can formaldehyde gas in a house be a problem?

Friday, February 1, 2019
How can formaldehyde gas in a house be a problem?

A big part of that distinctive “new house” smell that hits you when you walk into a newly constructed home, or recently remodeled one with fresh carpet and paint, is formaldehyde gas. It is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that is in a category of chemicals...

What is the HUD-code requirement for the manufacturer's serial number of a mobile home?

Thursday, January 31, 2019
What is the HUD-code requirement for the manufacturer's serial number of a mobile home?

The serial number, also called the Vehicle Identification Number or VIN Number, must be stamped into the front cross-beam of the undercarriage of the mobile home, in letters a minimum of 3/8-inches high. Here’s the full text of the requirement, per...

What are the HUD-code requirements for a mobile home data plate?

Thursday, January 31, 2019
What are the HUD-code requirements for a mobile home data plate?

HUD requires that each manufactured home have a data plate permanently affixed inside the home, near the main electric panel or other accessible location, and able to be cleaned without damaging the information. It lists key data about the manufacture...

What is the HUD-code requirement for whole-house ventilation in a mobile home?

Thursday, January 31, 2019
What is the HUD-code requirement for whole-house ventilation in a mobile home?

HUD requires that a manufactured home have a whole-house ventilation system with a minimum capacity of 0.035 cubic feet per minute per square foot of floor area. So 1200 square foot home would require 0.035 x 1200 = 42 cfm fan capacity. But the code...

What is the HUD-code requirement for lighting in a mobile home?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
What is the HUD-code requirement for lighting in a mobile home?

The HUD minimum is that each habitable room of a manufactured home must have a window or door with a glazed area equal to 8% of floor area. Kitchens, bathrooms, toilet compartments, laundry areas, and utility rooms may have light fixtures instead of...

What is a HUD Certification Label for a mobile home?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
What is a HUD Certification Label for a mobile home?

It is the official name that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses for what most people call the “HUD tag” or “red tag,” a 2-inch by 4-inch metal plate stamped with an identifying number that is riveted to the long side of each...

Can the condensate from an air conditioning evaporator coil at an air handler in an attic drain into a vent pipe?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Can the condensate from an air conditioning evaporator coil at an air handler in an attic drain into a vent pipe?

There are two reasons why the condensate drain from an air handler in the attic should not termate into a vent pipe nearby:
It’s not allowed by the building code (Residential Edition of Florida Building code P3101.3 and similar in International...

What is a host beam for a mobile/manufactured home?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
What is a host beam for a mobile/manufactured home?

Mobile homes are not ordinarily designed to be able to support an addition bearing on their walls. Most manufacturers do not allow it—except when the manufacturer builds a “host beam” into an area of exterior wall for support of a future site-built...

Why is there an air conditioning vent (register) outside on the ceiling of the porch?

Monday, January 28, 2019
Why is there an air conditioning vent (register) outside on the ceiling of the porch?

It is most likely a fresh air intake for your heating and air conditioning system. Modern homes are so well sealed that some HVAC designers specify a return air duct at an exterior soffit or porch ceiling that allows a small amount of outside air to...

How do I set a humidistat in Florida?

Sunday, January 27, 2019
How do I set a humidistat in Florida?

The humidistat is essentially a gatekeeper installed ahead of the thermostat, which will only allow the thermostat to work when the humidity exceeds the desired percentage—and the usual setting is around 55%. If the humidity exceeds the humidistat setting,...

What is the maximum gap allowed by NEC around a flush-mounted receptacle outlet box and adjacent drywall?

Saturday, January 26, 2019
What is the maximum gap allowed by NEC around a flush-mounted receptacle outlet box and adjacent drywall?

The maximum allowable gap, per National Electrical Code (NEC), is 1/8-inch. See our blog post Why is an opening in the wall around the side of an electrical receptacle outlet a safety defect? for complete details.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •...

What's the box that's marked Power Save or Power-Saver next to the electric panel do?

Friday, January 25, 2019
What's the box that's marked Power Save or Power-Saver next to the electric panel do?

There are multiple products with similar souding names that claim to produce power savings, and the subsequent reduction in your electric bill, by using capacitors to alter the power factor of the electricity being consumed in your home. Another brand...

What is a Durozone dial-type switch used for?

Thursday, January 24, 2019
What is a Durozone dial-type switch used for?

It is an electric remote control switch to manually adjust a damper (as opposed to automatic control by a sensor) in the duct of the HVAC system that controls the amount of air flow in a duct. The switch is usually mounted near the thermostat, and may...

How can I tell the age of First Co. Aquatherm or U.S. A/C Products Combo Heater Air Handler from the serial number?

Thursday, January 24, 2019
How can I tell the age of First Co. Aquatherm or U.S. A/C Products Combo Heater Air Handler from the serial number?

The first letter of the serial number denotes the year of manufacture, based on the listing below. The serial number may be noted on two lines, as below, or one line.
A = 1994    B = 1995     C = 1996     D = 1997     E = 1997
F = 1998...

Can the disconnect box be mounted directly on a heat pump or air conditioning condenser?

Thursday, January 24, 2019
Can the disconnect box be mounted directly on a heat pump or air conditioning condenser?

The disconnect is required to be within sight and readily accessible, according to the National Electrical Code (NEC 440.14). It can be mounted directly on the equipment, but cannot obscure the nameplate or be located on a panel designed for service...

How does the number of people living in a house affect its durability and life expectancy?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
How does the number of people living in a house affect its durability and life expectancy?

We can only answer this question based on anecdotal evidence from our years of inspecting nearly 8,000 houses and mobile homes, because we found no professional research with specific numbers. Here’s what we know:
  Increased occupancy reduces...

What are the code requirements for installing manufactured stone on the exterior of the wood stud wall of a house?

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
What are the code requirements for installing manufactured stone on the exterior of the wood stud wall of a house?

It is called “adhered masonry veneer” at Section 1405.10 of the Florida Building Code (FBC), and the International Building Code (IBC) is similar. The water-resistive barrier and lath are the same as for stucco. But here are the specific differences...

What is concrete spalling?

Saturday, January 19, 2019
What is concrete spalling?

Spalling is the deterioration of a concrete surface over time, with crack lines forming first, then chunks of concrete falling out as the problem advances. It is caused by moisture penetrating the layer of concrete covering the reinforcing steel in...

How can I tell the age of a Seisco water heater from the serial number?

Friday, January 18, 2019
How can I tell the age of a Seisco water heater from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture, and the 3rd and 4th numbers are the week. So this water heater was produced in January of 2015.
    To determine the age of another manufacturer/brand of water heater, go to...

About Us

Friday, January 18, 2019

Richard McGarry has been a Florida-certified general contractor (#CGC-001310) since 1972, building both commercial and residential structures, and is a Florida-certified home inspector (#HI-15). He also takes annual continuing education courses offered...

Are mobile homes well built?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Are mobile homes well built?

All the explanations about HUD standards, storm-resistant construction, and modern manufacturing techniques are just so much “blah-blah-blah-blah-blah” until you visit a factory, watch them being built, and decide for yourself. Not all manufacturers...

When was it first required that 240-volt receptacles for a clothes dryer and range be four slot (equipment ground connection)?

Sunday, January 13, 2019
When was it first required that 240-volt receptacles for a clothes dryer and range be four slot (equipment ground connection)?

The requirement for 4-slot receptacle outlets and 4-prong cord plugs began with the 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC), primarily affecting residential electric ranges and dryers. An older 3-slot receptacle can continue to be used when...

What is a Florida override of HUD mobile/manufactured home installation standards?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
What is a Florida override of HUD mobile/manufactured home installation standards?

It is an installation standard set by the State of Florida that exceeds the HUD standards for manufactured home installation, and is enforced only in Florida. To read more about it, see our blog post Why does Florida have mobile/manufactured home installation...

Are sinkholes happening more often?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Are sinkholes happening more often?

The number of sinkholes reported in Florida has steadily increased over the last 20 years, primarily due to these side effects of a growing population and land development:
Increased withdrawal of ground water
Surface water diversion due to...

How do I find the main water shut off valve for my house?

Sunday, January 6, 2019
How do I find the main water shut off valve for my house?

"Stuff happens,” as the saying goes, and it usually happens at the worst possible time. Trying to hunt for the main shut-off valve for the first time, while water is gushing across the floor from a broken pipe at one a.m. in the morning, can be a humiliating...

Does a modular home have a HUD tag?

Thursday, January 3, 2019
Does a modular home have a HUD tag?

No, a modular home will not have that familiar red HUD tag on the exterior wall, like the one shown above. Modular homes are not built under HUD supervision like a manufactured/mobile home. They are constructed to meet the local building code for their...

Do mobile homes last?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Do mobile homes last?

Mobile homes are built in a factory, with climate control and a slow-motion assembly line system. This enables a manufacturer to maintain more consistent quality than most site-built homes, that are subject to the inclement weather and can’t take advantage...

How many people live in mobile/manufactured homes in America?

Monday, December 31, 2018
How many people live in mobile/manufactured homes in America?

Approximately 22 million people live in mobile/manufactured homes in the U.S. and new mobile homes are 10% of the housing starts nowadays, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute. 
   The most recent data shows a total of 8,500,432 million...

Is it normal for a new shingle roof to lose granules?

Monday, December 31, 2018
Is it normal for a new shingle roof to lose granules?

You can expect some granules to appear around the discharge of gutter downspouts, or along the along the drip edge line on the ground where there are no gutters, after the first couple of rains when your roof is new. But it should be just a sprinkling,...

What is the age limit for moving a mobile home?

Monday, December 31, 2018
What is the age limit for moving a mobile home?

Some counties have a specfic age limit, ranging upward from as low as 5 years, but most don't have a maximum age. Instead, they require that the home pass an inspection for structural integrity and safety. The application for the inspection has a fee,...

Why do termite inspectors tap the wood siding and baseboard wood in a home?

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Why do termite inspectors tap the wood siding and baseboard wood in a home?

Subterranean termites can be hard to detect, even when a house has a significant infestation. They become dehydrated quickly by exposure to air, so they crawl up into a house protected inside tiny tubes the workers construct from dirt, feces, and their...

Can old electrical wiring increase my electric bill?

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Can old electrical wiring increase my electric bill?

Copper wire, with the insulation intact, can last 100 years and longer if left undisturbed and in a dry location. The age of the wiring itself does not usually cause problems, but the things that have happened to it since the home was built can make...

Is tempered/safety glass required by the building code for windows and doors?

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Is tempered/safety glass required by the building code for windows and doors?

Only glass panes that are defined by the code to be in a “hazardous location” require safety glazing, of which tempered glass is one type. See our blog post Where is safety/tempered glass required for the windows and doors of a house? to learn about...

Is a refrigerator required to have its own dedicated circuit?

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Is a refrigerator required to have its own dedicated circuit?

Yes, but there is an exception allowed. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires a dedicated circuit  for any major electrical appliances in a home, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, and dishwashers. The NEC calls it an “individual branch circuit,”...

Why is an undersized wire between a circuit breaker and a whole-house surge protector device acceptable?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Why is an undersized wire between a circuit breaker and a whole-house surge protector device acceptable?

The wires connected to each breaker in an electric panel should be the right size, and specifically not too small, for the rating of the breaker. Undersize wiring may overheat when too much current is flowing through it and start a fire before the mismatched...

How do I find the right whole house surge protector?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018
How do I find the right whole house surge protector?

They are called either a “Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS)” or "Surge Protective Device (SPD)” in technical bulletins, and here’s the important features to look for when shopping for a whole house surge protector:
UL 1449 Listed and UL...

What is the minimum size of a mobile/manufactured home per HUD standards?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018
What is the minimum size of a mobile/manufactured home per HUD standards?

A manufactured home must be a minimum of 400 square feet to meet the standards set by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), which has had jurisdiction over the construction of mobile homes since July 15, 1976. Other minimum HUD standards...

Can I replace a single element water heater with a double element one?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Can I replace a single element water heater with a double element one?

We rarely see single-element residential water heaters anymore, except in older mobile homes and Park Model RVs. Their only advantage is that they are usually less expensive to buy. Dual-element water heaters are rated as more energy efficient and have...

What is the minimum overhead electric service drop height/clearance to a house?

Saturday, December 22, 2018
What is the minimum overhead electric service drop height/clearance to a house?

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has multiple different minimum standards, all of which depend on what is under the wires as they run from the utility pole to the service mast on your house. Thanks to Code Check, we have an excellent graphic to make...

What is a heat loop at a water heater?

Thursday, December 20, 2018
What is a heat loop at a water heater?

It is an old-fashioned, but effective, technique of adding a loop in the pipe above the hot and cold water connections to a water heater to avoid the flow of hot water out of the tank by convection. Hot water rises and cold water falls, as everybody...

How do I tell the age of a Jacuzzi water heater from the serial number?

Wednesday, December 19, 2018
How do I tell the age of a Jacuzzi water heater from the serial number?

Jacuzzi tankless on-demand water heaters are manufactured by Rinnai and use their serial number system, with first letter of the serial number being the year and the second letter the month of manufacture.
A = 2009 or January,  B = 2010 or February,...

Can a water heater TPR valve be mounted to discharge upward?

Sunday, December 16, 2018
Can a water heater TPR valve be mounted to discharge upward?

The discharge piping for a water heater TPR valve is required to drain completely by gravity and not be trapped—which means not leaving any pockets of water in the pipe after it drains. An upward-pointing TPR valve, like in the photo above, automatically...

What are the special code requirements for installation of a gas water heater in a garage?

Sunday, December 16, 2018
What are the special code requirements for installation of a gas water heater in a garage?

There are two additional installation requirements beyond the standard ones when a gas water heater is installed in a garage, and both are intended for minimize the possibility of starting a fire in the garage by either igniting fumes from a gasoline...

PARK MODEL HOMES

Saturday, December 15, 2018
PARK MODEL HOMES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about PARK MODEL HOMES:
• Are park trailers and park model recreational vehicles required to have a data plate? 
• What is the difference between a park trailer and a park model recreational vehicle? 

MODULAR HOMES

Saturday, December 15, 2018
MODULAR HOMES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MODULAR HOMES:
• What are the tie down requirements for a modular home? 
• How safe is a modular home in a hurricane?
• How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and...

WIND MITIGATION FORM

Saturday, December 15, 2018
WIND MITIGATION FORM

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about the WIND MITIGATION FORM:
• Who can perform a wind mitigation inspection in Florida?
• How long does it take for a wind mitigation inspection? 
• What is checked during a wind mitigation...

What is the difference between a handrail and a guardrail?

Saturday, December 15, 2018
What is the difference between a handrail and a guardrail?

Although the two words are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually different things in the building code. A guardrail is the top part of a total assembly referred to as a “guard,” which is located near the open sides of elevated walking surfaces...

What are the common problems to look for when buying one side (half) of a duplex?

Friday, December 14, 2018
What are the common problems to look for when buying one side (half) of a duplex?

Half of a duplex is essentially a single family residence attached to another single family residence, with a common wall between them. Duh…that’s obvious, but let’s go with it. So the separating wall is the component that makes a duplex different from...

Can the a garage door header bracket and torsion springs be mounted through drywall?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Can the a garage door header bracket and torsion springs be mounted through drywall?

Because of the tremendous torque and tension on them, manufacturer’s specify that connections must be made directly to a 40 mm wood plate (2x lumber, approx 1.5” thick), or using concrete anchors to a masonry wall. Mounting through drywall is not approved....

What is the code requirement for the height and width of an access opening to the crawl space under a house?

Monday, December 10, 2018
What is the code requirement for the height and width of an access opening to the crawl space under a house?

The crawl space must have an entry opening that is a minimum of 16-inches high by 24-inches wide if it is at an exterior wall, according to the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC R408.4)....

Are light switches required to be grounded?

Sunday, December 9, 2018
Are light switches required to be grounded?

Light switches have been required to be grounded since the 1999 edition of the National Electrical Code. So any light switch installed since your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction or, in other words, the building department) adopted the 1999...

Is pipe insulation flammable?

Friday, December 7, 2018
Is pipe insulation flammable?

The round foam pipe insulation with a slit on one side that is used most often in residential applications is polyethylene or neoprene, both of which are classified as combustible. Some formulations of the material may self-extinguish after a flame...

What year did HUD first begin enforcing the HUD-code standards for mobile/manufactured homes?

Thursday, December 6, 2018
What year did HUD first begin enforcing the HUD-code standards for mobile/manufactured homes?

The “National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act” was passed by Congress and enacted into law by president Gerald Ford on August 22nd, 1974. But it did not take effect and begin enforcement until June 15th, 1976. All manufactured homes...

What problems are caused by connecting copper pipe/tubing directly to galvanized steel pipe?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
What problems are caused by connecting copper pipe/tubing directly to galvanized steel pipe?

When two different metals that are distant from each other on the Galvanic Scale are connected directly to each other, an electrolytic reaction called galvanic corrosion consumes the metal that is lower on the scale. Since steel is below copper on the...

Should I use a dielectric union or brass nipple to connect copper tubing and galvanized steel pipe?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Should I use a dielectric union or brass nipple to connect copper tubing and galvanized steel pipe?

The building code allows you to use either one. Here’s what it says in the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC).
     Brass is a copper/zinc alloy, so a brass nipple qualifies as a...

What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018
What are the code requirements for fire separation between an attached garage and the house?

There are requirements for the walls and ceiling, door to the house, HVAC ducts, and any other garage/house penetrations. Let’s take them one at a time:
WALLS AND CEILING - The wall between an attached garage and the house living area is required...

Are there sinkholes in The Villages, Florida?

Saturday, December 1, 2018
Are there sinkholes in The Villages, Florida?

Like most of Florida, sinkholes open up in The Villages due to the permeable karst underlayment that runs throughout the state. Unusually heavy rains can trigger them and four appeared after a particularly rainy week in May of this year. Two homes had...

Can I vent a water heater horizontally?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Can I vent a water heater horizontally?

Most tank-type gas water heaters are “atmospheric vent” type, and they are required to vent vertically and above the roof of a home. Two specialized types of water heaters, direct vent and mechanical vent (also called power vent), are exempted from...

What is the code requirement for fire separation in an attic between sides of a duplex?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
What is the code requirement for fire separation in an attic between sides of a duplex?

A 1-hour fire rating for the wall separating the units, which is usually 5/8” Type-X drywall, is required. It must extend from foundation to underside of roof sheathing. Here’s how it is specified in the Residential Edition of the Florida Building Code...

When was a fire separation in the attic first required between sides of a duplex?

Monday, November 26, 2018
When was a fire separation in the attic first required between sides of a duplex?

We know that the requirement was in the original 2002 edition of the Florida Building Code (FBC), and the three allowed exceptions have been added in the years since then. The earliest code we still have kicking around in the office is a 2006 International...

Can you connect CPVC pipe directly to a gas water heater?

Monday, November 19, 2018
Can you connect CPVC pipe directly to a gas water heater?

CPVC water pipe is considered a combustible material—even though it will not burn unless subjected to an external flame source and, once the flame source is removed, it will not continue to burn. So, because it is rated as combustible, any CPVC pipe...

My bathroom is stinky and humid even though it has an exhaust fan. What can I do to fix it?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
My bathroom is stinky and humid even though it has an exhaust fan. What can I do to fix it?

Each time the bathroom is used, it generates humidity and odors that need to be exhausted outside to maintain a healthy indoor environment. There are a couple of possible reasons your fan is not doing its job well enough:
   The fan is not on long...

How can I check to see if my bathroom exhaust fan is actually working and moving air?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
How can I check to see if my bathroom exhaust fan is actually working and moving air?

If you can hear the fan when you turn it on, but it seems like it’s always stinky and humid in there, here’s a simple test you can do to check and make sure it’s working. Close the bathroom door, tear off a strip of toilet paper about a foot long and...

When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
When is safety glass required for windows at stairs and stair landings?

When window glazing (glass) at stairs is located in what the building code defines as a “hazardous location,” safety glass is required. It becomes hazardous according to the code when the bottom of the glass is less than 36-inches above the walking...

How can I determine the age of a Tiny Titan water heater from the serial number?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
How can I determine the age of a Tiny Titan water heater from the serial number?

The first two numbers of the serial number are the year of manufacture, so the serial number shown below indicates the water heater was manufactured in 2015. Tiny Titan is manufactured in China, and distributed in the U.S. by American Water Heater.

How can I determine the age of an Ariston water heater from the serial number?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
How can I determine the age of an Ariston water heater from the serial number?

Ariston has a rather long and complicated serial number system. Here’s how it works:
The first seven digits are the product number.
The next two digits are the product manufacture code.
The next two digits are the year of manufacture.

What is the First Hour Rating (FHR) of a water heater?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
What is the First Hour Rating (FHR) of a water heater?

The U.S. Department of Energy requires that the FHR of storage water heaters be printed on the yellow EnergyGuide on the side of the water heater. The First Hour Rating is defined as “the number of gallons of hot water the heater can supply per hour,...

What is the probability of having high radon in a Florida house?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
What is the probability of having high radon in a Florida house?

The Florida Department of Health keeps statistics on the test results of all licensed radon professionals in the Florida, and you can find out the percentage of tested homes in your zip code that exceeded the 4.0 p/ci maxium set by the EPA at: http://dchpexternalapps.doh.state.fl.us/radon/default.aspx

Should I buy a house with galvanized steel water pipes?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
Should I buy a house with galvanized steel water pipes?

Because galvanized steel water pipe has not been used in new residential construction since around the late 1960s, all the pipe that is still in place is past the end of its expected lifespan. Invisible internal corrosion of the pipe means leakage is...

Who pays for radon mitigation: buyer or seller?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
Who pays for radon mitigation: buyer or seller?

Like everything else in a real estate transaction, it’s a negotiation. Usually the seller pays for a mitigation system when a radon test comes back over 4.0 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/l), but sometimes the cost is split between buyer and seller,...

Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
Is it alright to disconnect the washing machine drain from the septic tank and divert it to the ground in the yard?

The washing machine drain water is classified as “gray water” because it likely to be contaminated with fecal matter from underwear or diapers that contains ecoli bacteria, so it must be drained to a septic or sewer system. Gray water is allowed, however,...

Is wood rot found on a home inspection considered serious?

Sunday, November 18, 2018
Is wood rot found on a home inspection considered serious?

Most houses than a few years old and have wood siding and/or trim will have a few spots of wood rot, most likely at the bottom of corner and door drim, and possibly on wood window sills. Small areas of wood rot can be repaired with a wood filler or...

What is the difference between gray water and black water in the plumbing code?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
What is the difference between gray water and black water in the plumbing code?

Here’s how the difference is defined by the Florida Building Code (FBC):
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •  
  To learn more about SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS, see these other blog posts:
• What are the building code requirements...

A light is required over a stair after how many steps/risers?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
A light is required over a stair after how many steps/risers?

All stairs are required to have lighting, but interior stairs with six or more risers require a switch for lighting at the top and bottom of the stairs. The riser is the vertical part of the steps and the horizontal part is called a tread. The type...

Do Park Model trailers have a HUD plate?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
Do Park Model trailers have a HUD plate?

Most park models are built under the American National Standards Institute’s ANSI Code for Park Models, except that the 400 square foot maximum is allowed to be raised to 500 square feet, in Florida only, when the unit is built to HUD standards for...

When did the code first require electric receptacle outlets to be polarized?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
When did the code first require electric receptacle outlets to be polarized?

Although polarized outlets and plugs were introduced in the 1880s, they were not popular at first and did not become standard until the mid-20th century. The earliest National Electric Code (NEC) that we can find that references polarized receptacles...

Can electric receptacle outlets be spaced closer than the 6-foot code requirement?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
Can electric receptacle outlets be spaced closer than the 6-foot code requirement?

The maximum spacing between receptacles, according to the National Electric Code, has been set at 12-feet since 1956—with no point along a wall being more than 6-feet from a receptacle. This is where the often-quoted “6-foot code requirement” comes...

Why is there a water hose connected to the back of the clothes dryer?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
Why is there a water hose connected to the back of the clothes dryer?

One of the features that some of the high-end clothes dryers offer is a “steam cycle” for wrinkle removal. A cold water supply hose connection at the back of the machine serves this cycle.  It’s a little hard to see in the photo below, but the hose...

Can a house have more than one septic tank?

Saturday, November 17, 2018
Can a house have more than one septic tank?

Yes, and the reason a second tank and drainfield is necessary usually has nothing to do with providing additional gallons of tank capacity. Plumbing drains work by gravity, and the drain pipes need a minimum of 1/8” to 1/4” per foot of downward slope...

Where are sinkholes most likely to occur in Florida?

Friday, October 26, 2018
Where are sinkholes most likely to occur in Florida?

The “Top 10” Florida counties with the highest incidence of sinkhole activity are Pasco, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pinellas, Citrus, Polk, Orange, Seminole, and Lake counties. Hernado, Pasco, and Hillborough alone account for two-thirds of all...

How does a repaired sinkhole under a house affect its market value?

Friday, October 26, 2018
How does a repaired sinkhole under a house affect its market value?

Houses that have had sinkhole repairs sell for around 10% less than a comparable house that has not had previous sinkhole problems. A 2016 joint study by risk management professors at Florida State University and University of South Florida pegged it...

What is the required water testing for an FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage application?

Friday, October 26, 2018
What is the required water testing for an FHA, VA, or USDA mortgage application?

The test is required only for well water and must be evaluated by a certified testing lab, and the sample taken according to a procedure specified by the lab. It is often referred to as a “VA package” and includes checking levels of lead and nitrates,...

How do I get insurance if my home failed a 4-point inspection?

Friday, October 26, 2018
How do I get insurance if my home failed a 4-point inspection?

Most insurance companies require a satisfactory 4-point inspection report be submitted to them before they will insure an older home—typically more than 40 to 50 years old or so, depending on the company. The purpose of the inspection is to determine...

Is it illegal to remove the HUD tag (verification label) from a mobile/manufactured home?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Is it illegal to remove the HUD tag (verification label) from a mobile/manufactured home?

HUD has extensive specifications for the design and installation of the required “red tag” on each unit of a mobile home, which you can read about at our blog post What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home?.  But there...

Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Do I need to have two exterior exit doors in my house?

An exterior exit door is called an “egress” door in the building codes. Just one is the minimum requirement, and it must provide direct access from the living areas of the home to the exterior without traveling through a garage. See our blog post How...

Can PVC pipe be used for indoor plumbing?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Can PVC pipe be used for indoor plumbing?

It depends on what you want to use it for. PVC pipe is approved by the building codes for drain, waste, and vent (DWV) pipes, but not for water distribution inside the walls of a house. To learn why, see our blog post Why can't PVC be used for water...

What are the most common problems with older houses?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What are the most common problems with older houses?

We love old houses and have owned homes from the 1930s, 1950s, and 1970s, along with remodeling homes of every vintage for clients, including 100-plus year old wood Victorians. Gainesville has homes dating back to the beginning of the twentieth-century...

What inspections do insurance companies require?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What inspections do insurance companies require?

It has definitely become more common over the past decade for insurance companies to require an inspection report before insuring an older house.
A 4-point inspection is the most often requested. The four points are: roof, electrical, plumbing,...

Why did I get no discounts or only a small discount from my wind mitigation inspection?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Why did I get no discounts or only a small discount from my wind mitigation inspection?

It’s frustrating for a homeowner to pay good money for a wind mitigation inspection and then be told by their insurance agent that their report will not get them any discounts—or just a few dollars a year. In some cases, you have already received discounts...

Does a home inspector check the plumbing under the floor slab?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Does a home inspector check the plumbing under the floor slab?

There are two types of plumbing pipes under the floor slab in a modern “concrete slab on grade” home: pressurized water supply pipe and unpressurized drain pipe. Any leakage of the water supply piping, even a small fracture, causes visible problems...

What is the wind mitigation inspection for homeowner's insurance?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What is the wind mitigation inspection for homeowner's insurance?

What your insurance agent calls a “wind letter” or “wind mitigation form” is officially known as the “Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form.” The purpose of the form is to verify hurricane-resistant structural features of your home so that...

What different types of specialized home inspections can I get?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What different types of specialized home inspections can I get?

Home inspectors are generalists. We are familiar all of the components of a home and recognize the symptoms of their defects, but sometimes further evaluation by a specialist is necessary—or just a sensible part of due diligence in evaluating your potential...

What happens at a home inspection?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What happens at a home inspection?

The first thing to know is that a home does not “pass” or “fail” an inspection. The inspector simply observes the condition of the structure and its components, along with any safety issues, then makes repair recommendations—in a report based on a non-invasive,...

What should I wear to a home inspection?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What should I wear to a home inspection?

There is no dress code for a home inspection, but the clothing you wear should definitely be comfortable and allow for the possibility of a few smudges and stains if you want to tag along with the inspector. Practical shoes are always a good idea. 

What is a roof certification letter/report?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What is a roof certification letter/report?

It’s a written assessment of the age and condition of a roof prepared by a licensed construction professional, typically a roofing contractor; but it can be done by a licensed building contractor or home inspector. The report is also sometimes called...

What are the best tips for buying a used mobile home?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What are the best tips for buying a used mobile home?

Here’s our “Top 5” tips for evaluating the condition of a manufactured home you are considering buying:
1) Determine the level of construction quality. The better quality homes will have a longer life with fewer maintenance problems over the years....

Does a modular home have a serial number?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
Does a modular home have a serial number?

A modular home in Florida will have a DCA (Department of Community Affairs) sticker somewhat similar to the data plate of a manufactured home, usually located in the master bedroom closet, along with a second, smaller sticker that has the Florida DCA...

What home improvements require a permit?

Thursday, October 25, 2018
What home improvements require a permit?

Years ago, when each Florida county or city adopted their own building codes, there was often a minimum of around $500, below which a permit was not required for non-structural home improvements. Those days are long gone. Here’s what the 2014 Florida...

What is the average lifespan of a water heater?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What is the average lifespan of a water heater?

You can expect a tank-type water heater to last 10 to 20 years, with the average of 12 years. But there are four variables that affect the lifespan:
1) Quality of manufacture - As your would expect, the premium-priced water heaters with the longer...

What are the common problems of different types of house foundations?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What are the common problems of different types of house foundations?

There is no single, perfect foundation type. Each is chosen by the architect or builder based on a particular site’s topography and soil, along with kind of structure the foundation will support. Also, every region has a customary local foundation type....

Can I determine the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Can I determine the year of a manufactured/mobile home from the HUD tag (red tag)?

You cannot find out the age of a mobile home directly the HUD tag. It is not encoded in the tag number, but can be found on the data plate inside the home. If the data plate has been painted over or is missing, there’s still hope. You can submit the...

How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How can I reduce the risk of an expensive surprise when buying a house sight unseen?

When time or distance constraints make it necessary to buy a house before actually setting foot inside, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of unexpected problems when you move in. Here’s our “Top 5” list and, since we are home inspectors,...

How do I get a good home inspection?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How do I get a good home inspection?

Here’s our countdown of the “TOP 10” tips that will get you a better home inspection for your money, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer:
1) Go to the websites, check their credentials, and talk to a several home inspectors before hiring...

How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How can I tell if the exterior walls of a house are concrete block (CBS) or wood or brick?

This question seems like a no-brainer. Concrete block houses have a stucco finish, wood frame houses are faced with siding, and brick houses are (duh!) brick. But you could be wrong if you use this common-sense approach, because concrete block houses...

What is the longest stair run allowed?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What is the longest stair run allowed?

The maximum length of a run of stairs is not measured in the number of risers, treads, or length of the stringer. It is defined by the International Residential Code (IRC) and Florida Building Code (FBC) as a maximum of 147 inches (12’-3”) of vertical...

What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic?

There’s plenty of ways to injure yourself in an attic, as we have learned first-hand from thousands of attic inspections that left a few scars as reminders. But it breaks down into three basic categories of dangers: 1) getting into and out of the attic,...

What is the building code for manufactured/mobile homes in Florida?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What is the building code for manufactured/mobile homes in Florida?

The first step, construction of the home in a factory, is required to comply with standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is why mobile homes are often referred to as HUD-code homes. Although the HUD...

Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Which water pipes are an insurance problem and possibly uninsurable?

Galvanized steel water pipe was used extensively in residential construction from the 1950s through the late 1970s. The other problematic pipe material is polybutylene, often referred to by the acronym “PB,” and it was installed from the mid-1970s to...

Should I buy a house with a radon mitigation system?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Should I buy a house with a radon mitigation system?

There are several sensible questions our customers ask when considering the purchase a home with a radon mitigation system. Here’s the top four:
•• Is a mitigation system actually effective at keeping the radon level low? - Yes, it is. Radon mitigation...

Should I buy a house with a high radon level?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Should I buy a house with a high radon level?

If the test result comes back at 4.0 pCi/l (pico-curies per liter of air) or above, which is the where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends mitigation to lower it to a safer level, the home is sill buyable and you have several ways to...

How can I tell the age of a Coleman or Coleman-Evcon air conditioner or furnace from the serial number?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How can I tell the age of a Coleman or Coleman-Evcon air conditioner or furnace from the serial number?

There are four variations of the Coleman and Coleman-Evcon serial numbers. The first one, which was used through 1991, has the year encoded as the second two digits of the serial number. The example shown below was manufactured in 1979.

...

What does a home inspection include?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What does a home inspection include?

There are two categories of things that are included in a basic home inspection: 1) the minimum list of items that must be inspected according to the requirements of the local governmental jurisdiction and/or the standards of the professional association...

How can I determine if a house is structurally sound?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How can I determine if a house is structurally sound?

The only way to determine that a house is in good condition structurally, without opening up walls or other invasive testing, is to look for signs of structural distress. No visual evidence of structural problems means the house is likely stable and...

What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What is the tempered label on glass at windows and sliding glass doors called?

It is officially called a “glass monogram,” but usually referred to in the construction trades as the “bug.” You can learn more about how to recognize tempered glass, decoding the bug, and where tempered glass is required at our blog posts How can I...

What is a WDO inspection?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
What is a WDO inspection?

WDO is a acronym that stands for Wood Destroying Organism. Although a WDO inspection is commonly called a “termite inspection,” it also covers several types of wood-destroying beetles and wood-decay fungi (wood rot)—all of which can damage the wood...

Who can do a home inspection in the State of Florida?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Who can do a home inspection in the State of Florida?

Anyone offering home inspection services after July, 2011, must be licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) before they can obtain a local business license. To read more about it, go to our blog post How can...

How old is my water heater?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
How old is my water heater?

The year a water heater was manufactured is encoded in the serial number at the data plate on the side or top of the water heater. It is typically the first two, or second two, numbers in the sequence, or may be a letter—all of which requires referring...

Does a home inspector expect a house to meet current electrical code?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Does a home inspector expect a house to meet current electrical code?

The standard code used for residential electrical systems is the National Electrical Code (NEC). It is recognized in all 50 states, and updated every three years, Everything from minor tweaks to big changes occur each cycle. For a house built in 1974,...

What are common problems of 1970s houses?

Monday, October 22, 2018
What are common problems of 1970s houses?

While the burnt-orange shag carpeting and avocado refrigerator will be gone by the time you come upon a 1970s house for sale, several defining characteristics of the era will likely still be in place: diagonal siding, dramatic rooflines, an oversize...

Do similar problems occur in houses in the same neighborhood?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Do similar problems occur in houses in the same neighborhood?

Yes, we often find the same defects recurring in a neighborhood. It doesn’t mean they are areas to avoid, just that specific conditions exist in each part of town that naturally lead to certain defects. Here’s a few examples:
•• A neighborhood...

Can I do my own home inspection?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Can I do my own home inspection?

Yes, you can be your own home inspector—but we don’t think its such a good idea. There are numerous books on how to save money and do your own home inspection. They typically recommend that you get a few basic tools that are available at a hardware...

Will the home inspector help a homebuyer get the seller to reduce the price of the house?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Will the home inspector help a homebuyer get the seller to reduce the price of the house?

The short answer is: no. Our job is providing an accurate, unbiased report on the condition of a home you are about to buy; and we  explain our observations, along with our opinions on conditions and defects, to you in a written report format with photos.

Why do I need another insurance roof inspection?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Why do I need another insurance roof inspection?

The number one defense against damage to a home’s interior is a water-tight roof. As a roof approaches 20-years of age or older, an insurer wants to know that a home it is issuing a policy on is protected by a roof that’s in good condition and has no...

What are common problems of 1960s houses?

Monday, October 22, 2018
What are common problems of 1960s houses?

The 1960s was a decade of political and cultural upheaval: the civil rights movement, flower-power hippies, Vietnam War, and the Beatles are all symbols of the era. It is also often called the “Swinging Sixties” because of the dramatic shift in norms...

What are warning signs I need a new roof?

Monday, October 22, 2018
What are warning signs I need a new roof?

“Do I need a new roof?” is the a questionwe get asked often after coming down the ladder from a roof inspection. The evidence usually is not as dramatic as in the photo above, and even a gaping hole in the ceiling with a patch of sky showing may still...

What are common problems of 1980s houses?

Monday, October 22, 2018
What are common problems of 1980s houses?

A 1980s home looks neither new or old—but in-between. Also, unlike mid-century and ‘70s houses, there is no clearly defined retro-style for the eighties popularized in movies and design magazines yet. Although it was a prosperous time overall, a million...

Where are the places to look to find structural cracks in a house?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Where are the places to look to find structural cracks in a house?

It may seem silly that it requires training to look for cracks in a house. A crack, especially one big enough to indicate structural problems, should jump out at you without any special education. But it doesn’t usually work that way.
    We regularly...

Does a ridge board need to be supported?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Does a ridge board need to be supported?

The only purpose of a ridge board is to provide a stable bearing surface for the tops of paired rafters to meet. It does not carry any load. The ridge board is usually just a nominal one inch or two inches wide (1x or 2x lumber) and must be tall enough...

How can I replace a missing HUD tag (HUD Certification Label) for a mobile/manufactured home?

Monday, October 22, 2018
How can I replace a missing HUD tag (HUD Certification Label) for a mobile/manufactured home?

If the red metal tag is missing, that can be a big problem. The HUD tag is often required for an appraisal, mortgage application, and sometimes even a building permit. Replacement metal HUD tags are not available, but you can get a “HUD Label Verification...

What is average life expectancy of house components?

Monday, October 22, 2018
What is average life expectancy of house components?

Here’s our best estimate of the functional lifespan of the components of a home. If the component name is underlined, click on it to link to more detailed info about the life expectancy of that item.  
••APPLIANCES•• Clothes Dryer, Gas or Electric...

Why do I need a four point inspection?

Monday, October 22, 2018
Why do I need a four point inspection?

Insurance company statistics show that homes more than 30-years old have more claims than newer homes. Plus the claims are often due to a deteriorated condition of older building components. So, as a loss-prevention measure, many insurance companies...

What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
What causes cracks in the walls and floors of a house?

There are two unavoidable consequences of the passage of time for any type of construction: 1) buildings move, and 2) materials deteriorate. It’s the architectural version of death and taxes, and the process begins even while a home is under construction. 

How do I find a good contractor?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
How do I find a good contractor?

When you are ready to do repairs or improvements to your home, the best way to find a good contractor is to ask your friends and neighbors who they have used that they were satisfied with. We can also make recommendations for you, and so can your realtor....

What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
What does polybutylene pipe look like? Why is it a problem?

Polybutylene piping (also called “PB” in the trades) was used in residential water supply piping in Florida from 1978 to 1995. It was billed as “the pipe of the future” at first, and its low cost and easy installation made it an alternative to traditional...

What does a home inspector check in a mobile home inspection?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
What does a home inspector check in a mobile home inspection?

More than 21 million people (nearly 8 percent of the population) live in manufactured/mobile homes in the United States. In fact, one out every six new housing starts in the country are manufactured homes. Every week we inspect several mobile homes,...

I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

Yes, definitely. The photo above is from an actual termite inspection for a homebuyer in Gainesville, Florida. By the time that a termite colony’s galleries (the tunnels they eat through the wood) become visible as linear cratering of the surface of...

Why is old galvanized steel water pipe a problem for homebuyers?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Why is old galvanized steel water pipe a problem for homebuyers?

Galvanized steel pipe was often used for water supply piping in homes until the early 1970s. It is rarely used today because corrosion problems limit it’s useful lifespan to between 40 and 60 years. Rust-corrosion accumulates inside the pipe and causes...

Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?

Maybe...or maybe not. The first thing we try to determine with a ceiling stain is whether it was caused by a roof leak or some other problem, such as a leaking air conditioning condensate-water drain line in the attic. If we conclude that a roof leak...

How can I prep my house to get a better home inspection?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
How can I prep my house to get a better home inspection?

Everyone who has ever sold their home has one focus after they have a signed sales contract: get to the closing table quickly and pack up and move. The home inspection is usually just a speed bump on the road to closing with, at most, a couple of repairs...

Do home inspectors have to be licensed and insured?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Do home inspectors have to be licensed and insured?

In Florida and almost all other states, yes they do. But, until a few years ago, being a “licensed” home inspector was not an indication of professional competence. Anyone could get a license to do home inspection by simply applying at the local county...

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection?

Termites cause an estimated $11-billion in damage to wood structures every year in the United States, which exceeds even the annual damage caused by house fires. They are prevalent here in the southeastern U.S., where warm temperatures and high humidity...

Should a homebuyer be there for the inspection?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Should a homebuyer be there for the inspection?

If you can, it’s well worth the time, because we can talk with you about both the problems and the good points of the home you’re buying. In the final report, we only review the defects. And, while we also include plenty of photos in your report, there’s...

What should I do if home inspector finds mold?

Sunday, October 21, 2018
What should I do if home inspector finds mold?

If we discover what appears to be a mold-like substance during the course of the home inspection, we will refer you to a mold inspector for further evaluation. Mold inspection is now a separate, licensed occupation in the State of Florida. We will note...

PLUMBING PIPES

Sunday, October 21, 2018
PLUMBING PIPES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about PLUMBING PIPES:
• Is black iron gas pipe code approved for exterior (outdoor) installation?
• How can I protect my pipes to keep them from bursting during a hard winter freeze in North Florida?

AIR CONDITIONER OR FURNACE AGE AND SIZE

Saturday, October 20, 2018
AIR CONDITIONER OR FURNACE AGE AND SIZE

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about determining AIR CONDITIONER OR FURNACE AGE:
• How do I determine the age of my air conditioner? 
• How can I find out the size of my air conditioner?
• How can I tell the age of an...

SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS

Saturday, October 20, 2018
SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS:
• What is the average life expectancy of a septic tank system?
• What are the building code requirements for gray water reuse in Florida?
• What can I add to my...

WATER HEATER AGE

Saturday, October 20, 2018
WATER HEATER AGE

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about determine "WATER HEATER AGE":
• How do I determine the age of my water heater?
• How can I tell the age of an A.O. Smith water heater from the serial number? 
• How do I tell the age...

ELECTRIC RECEPTACLE OUTLETS

Saturday, October 20, 2018
ELECTRIC RECEPTACLE OUTLETS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about "ELECTRIC RECEPTACLE OUTLETS":
 • What is the difference between what trips a GFCI (ground fault) receptacle and a circuit breaker?
• What causes an arc fault? 
• What is the code...

ELECTRIC PANELS

Saturday, October 20, 2018
ELECTRIC PANELS

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about "ELECTRIC PANELS":
• Why is there a 3-phase breaker in a single phase electric panel with only two bus bars?
• What causes copper wires to turn green or black in an electric panel?  

AFCI, CAFCI, DFCI and GFCI

Saturday, October 20, 2018
AFCI, CAFCI, DFCI and GFCI

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about "AFCI, CAFCI, DFCI, and GFCI RECEPTACLES AND CIRCUIT BREAKERS":
• What causes an arc fault?
• Does a septic pump or sump pump require a GFCI-receptacle?
 • What is the difference between...

Is a brick house sturdier than a wood frame house?

Friday, October 19, 2018
Is a brick house sturdier than a wood frame house?

Not really. Most brick homes in the Gainesville area are actually wood-frame homes with a brick veneer applied over the sheathed wood walls, as an alternative and upscale wall surfacing. Here’s an example below of a new home with brick facing in the...

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

Friday, October 19, 2018
I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

Termites look like tiny, but plump, white ants. “Teeny tiny white gummi-bears” is another description, and they are about 3/8” long. Considering how much damage they do, termites are much smaller than you would expect. Two termites will fit side-by-side...

Does the seller have to fix everything on a home inspection?

Friday, October 19, 2018
Does the seller have to fix everything on a home inspection?

Not exactly. The real estate contract between you and the seller defines what, if any, defects that we uncover will need to be repaired. We use the word “defect” to describe anything we find that is not acceptable in the home, and that includes a wide...

How do home inspectors check a roof?

Friday, October 19, 2018
How do home inspectors check a roof?

The two main things we look for are: 1) evidence of roof leaks, and 2) age and condition of the roof material. Age and condition are tied together as one item because there’s always a correlation between the two. In the absence of any other information,...

What is the difference between composite and regular wood siding?

Friday, October 19, 2018
What is the difference between composite and regular wood siding?

Wood siding is made of solid wood, which is milled to the specifications of the  particular siding type. Composite wood siding (also sometimes referred to as fiber-board siding) is made of wood fiber pieces that are bonded with a resin-like material...

How can I improve the energy efficiency of my older home?

Friday, October 19, 2018
How can I improve the energy efficiency of my older home?

The number-one, do-it-yourself energy reduction device is cheap and easy to install, but definitely not glamorous. It’s caulking. Plugging those little cracks and crevices around doors, windows, and other wall penetrations to seal air leaks provides...

SINKHOLES

Friday, October 19, 2018
SINKHOLES

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about “SINKHOLES":
• Why do so many more sinkholes open up after a hurricane?
• What is a chimney sinkhole?   • What are the warning signs of a sinkhole? 
• What causes sinkholes? • How can...

What is my chance of buying a Florida home over a sinkhole?

Friday, October 19, 2018
What is my chance of buying a Florida home over a sinkhole?

While sinkholes are not the big problem in Alachua County that they are in Florida counties farther south—such as in Pinellas, Hernando, and Hillsborough—they do  happen occasionally throughout most of Florida. The limestone underlayment of much of...

Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it?

Friday, October 19, 2018
Where is the septic tank? Are you going to inspect it?

“The Grass Is Always Greener Over The Septic Tank” was the title of a book of humorous stories about suburban life in the 1970s by Erma Bombeck, a popular newspaper columnist of that era. What Erma didn’t realize is that, if there’s a bright green patch...

How does a home inspector find roof leaks? What about wet spots in the walls?

Friday, October 19, 2018
How does a home inspector find roof leaks? What about wet spots in the walls?

Back when we were building contractors in Key West, the #1 roofing contractor in town was a guy named Michael Chodzin. He had been doing roofing since the 1970s, and the slogan on the side of his trucks said “Chodzin Roofing - We Are Smarter Than Water.”...

What is a P-trap?

Friday, October 19, 2018
What is a P-trap?

A P-trap is that U-shaped loop under each of the sinks in your home, between the vertical pipe from the bottom of the sink and the horizontal pipe that runs to the wall. It is only appears P-shaped when you turn your head sideways and is an often misunderstood...

The electric panel is marked Trilliant and it's all grey plastic. Is it alright?

Friday, October 19, 2018
The electric panel is marked Trilliant and it's all grey plastic. Is it alright?

Yes, the panel is fine. Trilliant was a trendy-looking new electric panel design that Square D, one of the largest producers of panels and breakers, introduced in the early 1990s. The equipment looks like what Apple Computer might create if they went...

What is the right size electric panel for a house?

Friday, October 19, 2018
What is the right size electric panel for a house?

Although most people ask about the size of their electric panel, what electricians evaluate is the size of the “service.” The service is defined in amps (short for amperes), which is a measure of electrical current-carrying capacity; in other words,...

What are the most common problems/defects found with electric receptacle outlets during a home inspection?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
What are the most common problems/defects found with electric receptacle outlets during a home inspection?

We call them electrical receptacles. Some people call them wall plugs or outlets; and, yes, home inspectors do check them. Not every single one because receptacles are often behind furniture or stored items that are not readily movable; but we try to...

Does a home inspector find code violations?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Does a home inspector find code violations?

No, not exactly. Building code compliance is a “moving target.” It changes every few years and, until the Florida Building Code was mandated to be the standard throughout the state in 2002, each county or city decided which national or regional building...

What is knob and tube wiring?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
What is knob and tube wiring?

One answer to this question is: knob and tube wiring is an insurance no-no. Most insurance companies will not write a new homeowner’s policy for a house with knob and tube wiring. 
   It’s also sometimes called K&T, and part of the challenge we...

Why do cracks sometimes suddenly appear in walls and floors?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Why do cracks sometimes suddenly appear in walls and floors?

While the crack you just noticed may have been opening slowly over a period of months or years, and it became big enough to catch your eye only recently, it is also possible that it appeared in a single day.
    The key word for understanding how...

Why is an older water heater an insurance problem?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Why is an older water heater an insurance problem?

Here’s some statistics from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, an insurance industry research organization:
Most water heater failures occur when the water heater has reached its life expectancy and the tank begins to rust and...

What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
What are those powdery white areas on my brick walls?

The discoloration is likely “efflorescence,” which is an accumulation of minerals and salts on the surface of the brick due to repeated bouts of excess water in the material. When the brick is saturated with water, the minerals that naturally occur...

What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
What does a home inspector check on an electric garage door?

The garage door is the largest and heaviest moving object in most homes, plus some of its components are under high tension. Improper installation, damage, or poor maintenance creates a dangerous condition that can cause serious injury or even death....

There's an old fuel oil tank underground in the yard. Is it a problem?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
There's an old fuel oil tank underground in the yard. Is it a problem?

If you see two pipes sticking out of the ground in the yard that look like the picture above, then an abandoned fuel oil tank lurks in the ground below. There may still be a functional fuel oil fired furnace in the Gainesville area, but we haven’t seen...

Why did my generator hookup get tagged as defective by the home inspector?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Why did my generator hookup get tagged as defective by the home inspector?

There are several different ways to properly connect a generator to a house electrical panel for use during a power outage. All of them have one thing in common: they are configured in way that makes it impossible to have both the generator connection...

Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a TEST button on them?

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Why do some breakers in my electric panel have a TEST button on them?

Every breaker in an electric panel provides “over-current protection,” meaning that if too much electricity is flowing through the circuit it protects--which may cause the wiring to overheat and start a fire--the breaker trips, shutting off the electricity....

Do I need a home inspection for new construction?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Do I need a home inspection for new construction?

We think so. New homes have different defects than older homes. We evaluate a home that was built years ago primarily for any deterioration of its components, like the roof or air conditioning system. The focus of the inspection is to make sure that...

The inspector says that a missing kickout flashing caused water damage inside the wall. What's "kickout flashing"?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The inspector says that a missing kickout flashing caused water damage inside the wall. What's kickout flashing?

It’s a type of flashing that diverts rainwater away from wall surfaces that abut a roof. See the photo above for an example. Sometimes called “diverter flashing,” it provides excellent protection against the penetration of water into the building envelope...

Should I use bleach to clean up mold?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Should I use bleach to clean up mold?

The use of a chemical biocide (chlorine bleach, for example) that kills organisms such as mold is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. Also, bleach does not fully penetrate porous surfaces.There may be instances, however, when...

How can I find out if all the home improvements had a building permit?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Requests to provide building permits for improvements to a home that is for sale were not standard just a few years ago. But in some areas of South Florida they are required for a real estate closing, and it’s likely that trend will eventually move...

What does the R-Value of home insulation mean?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
What does the R-Value of home insulation mean?

R-value is a measure of “thermal resistance.” Another way to define it would be that R-value is a measure of the ability of the insulation to resist the movement of heat across it from one side to the other. Since heating and cooling account for 50%...

Should I buy a house with structural problems?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Should I buy a house with structural problems?

You can determine whether a house with structural problems is a good buy by getting answers to the following three questions: 
What is the cause of the problem?

Your home inspector can talk to you about the extent of the problem and...

What causes a banging sound in the wall when I shut off the bathroom faucet?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
What causes a banging sound in the wall when I shut off the bathroom faucet?

What you experienced is called “water hammer.” When water flow is halted quickly, the water pressure has lots of energy that must be dissipated. If the water can bounce against an air cushion, pipes won’t pound. Most homes have anti-hammer devices installed...

What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
What do those numbers on the manufacturer's stickers in new windows mean?

They are energy performance ratings. Here’s a typical sticker you would see on a new window, with the  five performance rating numbers. Letters in blue have been added so that you can reference each rating in sequence in the explanation that follows....

What questions should you always ask before hiring a home inspector?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
What questions should you always ask before hiring a home inspector?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has prepared a list on their website, entitled “Ten Important Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector.” We have reproduced it below, along with our answers (in italics) to each of the suggested...

Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Should I hire an engineer to inspect the house?

It may be a good idea to hire an engineer to look at a house you are considering buying if the home inspector turns up any issues that require an engineer’s expertise to evaluate; however, we don’t recommend that you begin your home evaluation with...

Should I buy a house that is a former marijuana grow house?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Should I buy a house that is a former marijuana grow house?

Several times a year we inspect a home in the Gainesville area that was used to cultivate marijuana. The home is usually in a rural location, but not always; and is a foreclosure, because after the growers are arrested and stopped making the mortgage...

What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
What do home inspectors check when inspecting stairs?

We primarily do a safety inspection, looking for defects that may cause a person going up or down the stairs to trip and fall, because the statistics on stair-related injuries are so grim. About 1,400 people die in the U.S. each year as a result of...

I'm buying a house with gravel roof. Is the roof going to be a problem?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
I'm buying a house with gravel roof. Is the roof going to be a problem?

Not necessarily. Tar-and-gravel roofs, also called built-up roofs, are well suited for waterproofing the flat and low-slope roof styles that were popular during the 1950s and ‘60s. They are not as common today for two reasons: 1) low-slope roofs are...

Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range?

Monday, October 15, 2018
Why is an anti-tip device now required behind the range?

It’s  also called a “range safety clip” and is primarily for child safety. The device  secures a free-standing range to the back wall or floor to avoid the possibility that a youngster sitting or standing on an open oven door will cause it to tip over...

What's the valve with the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
What's the valve with the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

It’s called at TPR valve, which is an acronym for Temperature and Pressure Release, and also sometimes referred to as a T&P valve. TPRs are designed to automatically release water in the event that pressure or temperature in the water tank exceeds safe...

Why is the inspector calling out rotten wood on my termite inspection?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Why is the inspector calling out rotten wood on my termite inspection?

The termite inspection is officially known as a “WDO” in the real estate industry, an acronym for Wood Destroying Organism. The WDO inspection process is strictly regulated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the inspection...

How can I prevent mold in my Florida winter home when I'm gone for the summer?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
How can I prevent mold in my Florida winter home when I'm gone for the summer?

Florida’s muggy summers can cause problems in a closed-up house. Plus, oceanfront or lakefront homes, or homes in low-lying areas with heavy tree cover, can be especially humid. When the indoor relative humidity (RH) exceeds about 65 percent, mold can...

What is an S-Trap? Why is it a problem?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
What is an S-Trap? Why is it a problem?

An S-trap looks like the photo above: kind of a sideways S-loop configuration before it heads directly downward. This type of drain has been banned by the building codes for decades, because it is considered an “unvented” drain. Venting is necessary...

What is the white plastic tank inside my toilet tank?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
What is the white plastic tank inside my toilet tank?

We came across one of these the other day and are still not entirely sure what it is. It had “Fluidmaster” stamped into the top of the plastic tank at the red arrow, so we contacted their customer service department with this photo via online chat to...

Should I buy a fixer-upper?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Should I buy a fixer-upper?

What adventurous young--or not so young--couple hasn’t dreamed of buying a battered fixer-upper, then using their hard work and imagination to turn it into a showplace? It really is possible to buy a downtrodden house at a great price, invest your time...

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure?

Sunday, October 14, 2018
What do I need to know about buying a foreclosure?

Most foreclosure properties are sold strictly “as-is.” No repairs will be made by the lending institution holding the title. While some foreclosures are in tip-top shape, others have been unoccupied for several years and look like the photo above. Vandals...

How can I tell if there is asbestos in a house?

Saturday, October 13, 2018
How can I tell if there is asbestos in a house?

When Fred Astaire sang the line “heaven rest us, I’m not asbestos” in the 1935 hit song I Won’t Dance, asbestos was a well-known wonder material on the rise in American industry. The fibrous mineral is heat and fire resistant, unaffected by most chemicals,...

There's old insulation in the attic labeled rock wool. Is it really dangerous asbestos?

Saturday, October 13, 2018
There's old insulation in the attic labeled rock wool. Is it really dangerous asbestos?

No, rock wool is not another name for asbestos. It is a type of thermal insulation made from rocks and minerals, unrelated to asbestos. The material is also called mineral wool or slag wool, and some versions of it are actually a recycling of industrial...

How does a home inspector check the ceiling fans?

Saturday, October 13, 2018
How does a home inspector check the ceiling fans?

Yes, ceiling fans get a look-over and brief test as we work our way through the house. Here’s a few of the defects that we look for: 
•• A non-functional fan--when none of the wall switches or the pull-chains on the fan will activate it. Sometimes,...

The coils on my heat pump are coated with ice on cold mornings. What's wrong with it?

Saturday, October 13, 2018
The coils on my heat pump are coated with ice on cold mornings. What's wrong with it?

Probably nothing, as long as the ice is just a thin layer. In order to understand why the ice is forming, let’s start with the basic principle of how a heat pump works. It does not create heat; instead, it collects and moves it. In the summer, a heat...

How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

Saturday, October 13, 2018
How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

A manufactured home is better known by names like mobile home, double-wide, or trailer. It is built in a factory and trucked to a homesite, just like a modular home, but that’s where the similarity between the two ends. 
CONSTRUCTION/DELIVERY

THIS HOME HAS BEEN WINTERIZED notice posted in a foreclosure home means what?

Friday, October 12, 2018
THIS HOME HAS BEEN WINTERIZED notice posted in a foreclosure home means what?

Originally a winterization notice meant that an empty, unheated home’s plumbing was prepared to endure a hard winter freeze without having any burst pipes or water damage. The winterization always involves draining the water from the pressurized supply...

How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?

Friday, October 12, 2018
How can I tell if the concrete block walls of my house have vertical steel and concrete reinforcement?

If the recent devastation of older concrete block homes by Hurricane Michael has you worried about whether your block home has the vertical concrete and steel reinforcement necesary to resist a major hurricane, there are two ways to find out:
1)...

Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael?

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Why did so many concrete block homes collapse in Mexico Beach during Hurricane Michael?

Concrete block houses are supposed to be hurricane-proof. And yet a large swath of them were totally destroyed by Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida a few days ago. “These were all block and stucco houses—gone,” the former mayor of the town,...

Why does the water have a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Why does the water have a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

The smell happens when you turn on a hot water faucet after the hot water heater has been sitting unused for a while. It doesn’t matter whether it has been on or off. Anaerobic bacteria, which  exist in many water systems, cause the stinky smell when...

What’s the difference between a gable and hip roof for my insurance?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
What’s the difference between a gable and hip roof for my insurance?

A gable roof slopes inward on two sides, and the other two sides have a wall with a triangle shape at the top; whereas, a hip roof slopes in on all four sides. The photo above shows intersecting gable and hip roofs: the hip roof is in the back on the...

How can I tell if a wall is load-bearing? Which walls can I take out?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
How can I tell if a wall is load-bearing? Which walls can I take out?

It’s always possible to remove a wall, or part of a wall, in a home. It’s just that some walls are more expensive—sometimes way more expensive—to remove than others. And the expensive walls to remove are the load-bearing ones, because some sort of structural...

Should I put some more insulation in the attic?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Should I put some more insulation in the attic?

This is one of our most often-asked questions during a home inspection. Several considerations go into making that decision:
•• What insulation does the house have in the walls and, if it’s an older house with elevated floors, under the floor?...

What is an EPDM roof?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
What is an EPDM roof?

EPDM is an acronym for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is an elastic synthetic rubber, manufactured in large sheets, for installation on flat and low-slope roofs. EPDM is typically sold in rolls 10-feet wide and up to 100-feet long, that are laid...

How far apart should the electrical receptacles be spaced?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
How far apart should the electrical receptacles be spaced?

The maximum spacing between receptacles, according to the National Electric Code (NEC), has been set at 12-feet since 1956--with no point along a wall being more than 6-feet from a receptacle. The logic behind that number is that an appliance with a...

What is radon? Should I be concerned about it?

Monday, October 8, 2018
What is radon? Should I be concerned about it?

Yes. Concerned, but not alarmed. Although the state of Florida has a lower than average incidence of elevated radon, an area of Alachua County, called the “Hawthorn Formation” by geologists, has a higher likelihood of elevated radon in the home. The...

Will the radon test come back sky-high in a house that has been empty and closed-up for months?

Monday, October 8, 2018
Will the radon test come back sky-high in a house that has been empty and closed-up for months?

Extemely high test results, like the one shown above, do happen occasionally; but they are not the result of a closed-up house.The test results will not vary significantly from what they would be in an occupied home. There are several reasons for this:

What's the difference between an architectural and a regular shingle roof?

Monday, October 8, 2018
What's the difference between an architectural and a regular shingle roof?

Architectural shingles are a premium grade of asphalt shingle roofing. The shingles are thicker and have a distinctive, textured appearance. They are sometimes called dimensional or laminate shingles, and were introduced in the 1970s in an effort by...

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

Monday, October 8, 2018
Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

Contrary to what you may have heard, the answer is an emphatic “NO!” Termites are regularly found under wood mulch around Gainesville area homes, especially in yards with dense landscaping and a sprinkler system that keeps the soil moist. But there...

What does the AFUE rating of a furnace mean?

Monday, October 8, 2018
What does the AFUE rating of a furnace mean?

It’s a techno-acronym for a measurement of furnace efficiency that is monitored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and stands for Annual Furnace Utilization Efficiency. The rating is a percentage and, for example, a furnace with an 82% AFUE converts...

The fireplace doesn't have a chimney. Is that alright?

Monday, October 8, 2018
The fireplace doesn't have a chimney. Is that alright?

We are seeing more ventless fireplaces, also known as “duct-free” fireplaces, in Gainesville homes over the last few years. They have several advantages over a regular fireplace:
Nearly 100% energy efficiency. A traditional, ducted fireplace, sends...

How do I prepare my house for hurricane season?

Monday, October 8, 2018
How do I prepare my house for hurricane season?

There are a number of structural improvements you can make to your home, especially if it’s an older one, to dramatically improve it’s resistance to hurricane damage. The work takes time and money--typically thousands of dollars and the hiring of a...

What does a MERV rating mean on an air filter?

Monday, October 8, 2018
What does a MERV rating mean on an air filter?

It’s an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and the standard was created by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) in 1987. MERV rates the size of particles that the filter will trap, with higher...

How is a factory-built fireplace different from a regular fireplace?

Sunday, October 7, 2018
How is a factory-built fireplace different from a regular fireplace?

Gathering around the fireplace on a cold evening is one of the most satisfying rituals of winter in Gainesville. Our customers are evenly divided between the more primal wood-burners--who meticulously follow the steps of the “right” way to build a fire...

Why is there a lead paint disclaimer in my real estate sales contract?

Sunday, October 7, 2018
Why is there a lead paint disclaimer in my real estate sales contract?

It’s a formal notification that’s required to be part of the sales contract for homes built before 1978, advising you that there may be lead paint present, which is a known health hazard. 
   According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission,...

What is a plumbing cross connection?

Sunday, October 7, 2018
What is a plumbing cross connection?

It’s a very bad thing. In fact, the evolution of modern plumbing is largely the history of developing safeguards to avoid it. A cross connection is a point in a faulty plumbing system where polluted water (such as sewage) can flow into the drinking...

How do you reduce radon permanently?

Sunday, October 7, 2018
How do you reduce radon permanently?

Radon mitigation is defined in Wikipedia as: “Any process that is used to reduce radon concentrations in the breathing zones of occupied buildings.” To understand how a radon mitigation contractor reduces radon, let’s start by reviewing what causes...

What are the common problems when a homeowner converts a garage to conditioned living space, such as a family room?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
What are the common problems when a homeowner converts a garage to conditioned living space, such as a family room?

A well-executed garage conversion is the classic home improvement that can add more value to a home than it’s cost. The best ones integrate seamlessly with the original floor plan, with the loss of protected parking and storage more than compensated...

What can I do to prevent mold problems in my home?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
What can I do to prevent mold problems in my home?

Two Best Strategies for Mold ControlMoisture control and ventilation are the two prime mold-prevention strategies. First, stop moisture from getting in and, second, exhaust any moist air that is created in the home to the exterior right away. Most people...

Why are shower water valves all single-handle nowadays?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
Why are shower water valves all single-handle nowadays?

Showers with separate hot and cold valves were nixed by the building codes about twenty years ago, in favor of a single-handle anti-scald valve that prevents the water temperature from rising above 120º F. The statistics on scalding injuries in the...

How does a home inspector check a toilet?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
How does a home inspector check a toilet?

Both the tank and bowl of the toilet must be filled with water before a toilet can be tested. When the lever on the tank is pressed, it flips up a rubber stopper called a flapper, which releases the water in the tank to flow into the bowl. The water...

My water bill went way up last month. How do I look for a leak?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
My water bill went way up last month. How do I look for a leak?

Your sky-high water bill could be due to either a temporary jump in water usage or a leak. To find out if it’s a leak, first shut off all your water-using fixtures in the house, including the automatic ice maker.  Take the cover off your water meter...

Should I repair or replace my old air conditioner?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
Should I repair or replace my old air conditioner?

Generally, from an accountant’s total-cost standpoint and allowing for the time-value of the delayed expenditure for a new system, it’s less expensive to nurse your existing a/c unit until it dies. But one other factor may tip the scales toward earlier...

What does the SEER rating of an air conditioner mean?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
What does the SEER rating of an air conditioner mean?

It’s an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and expressed as a number that typically ranges between 10 and 20; which is a ratio of the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the electric energy input during the same period....

What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

Saturday, October 6, 2018
What are the most common problems with older mobile homes?

Here’s our “Top Ten” list of recurring defects we find in older mobile homes. It may seem more like a rant than a list, but most of these problems are avoidable—and we see them again and again. 
1) Damaged “belly wrap.” The underside of a mobile...

How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

The quality--and longevity--of a mobile has a lot to do with it’s price when originally constructed. A budget model will only meet minimum HUD standards and, generally, a more expensive model will have better quality materials and construction details....

I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?

Multi-strand aluminum wiring  is approved by building codes and regularly used for service cables (the main electric wires coming into the home’s panel) and for wiring to major appliances, such as air conditioning condensers, in the Gainesville area....

What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home?

Moisture problems aren’t just from water seeping down from roof leaks. Moist air rises up from the ground and comes in through any openings in the floor, walls, and ceiling of a mobile home. When the wet air hits a cool surface, it condenses into water...

What walls can I remove in a mobile home?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
What walls can I remove in a mobile home?

The outside walls and the walls below the marriage-line of the two sections of a double-wide home are load bearing. Other interior walls can be removed  without creating a structural problem. A single-wide has no load bearing interior walls. However,...

What is the plastic sheet called that covers the underside of a mobile home?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
What is the plastic sheet called that covers the underside of a mobile home?

It’s called a belly wrap, belly board, or bottom board, depending on who you ask. We most often hear it called belly wrap, but HUD and manufactured home industry associations refer to it as a bottom board. It’s a moisture barrier and also helps to prevent...

The stairs feel too steep. What's the building code?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
The stairs feel too steep. What's the building code?

The International Building Code places restrictions on the risers (vertical piece) and treads (horizontal piece) of stairs: risers can not be more than 7-3/4” high and treads not less than 10” wide. But if a tread is less than 11” wide, then a nosing...

What is a roof cricket?

Thursday, October 4, 2018
What is a roof cricket?

In building construction, a cricket is a peaked roof shape constructed behind a chimney on a sloped roof, and perpendicular to the main roof, to avoid water and debris accumulation at the back of the chimney. It is also sometimes called a saddle. In...

Why can't I put a chandelier over the spa tub in my master bath? It would look wonderful!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Why can't I put a chandelier over the spa tub in my master bath? It would look wonderful!

A light fixture (luminaire) within the actual outside dimensions of a bathtub or shower and up to 8-feet above the tub rim or shower threshold is required to be rated by the manufacturer (and certified by a recognized testing lab like UL) for use in...

How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
How much does it cost to move a mobile home?

The word “mobile” is probably not accurate when describing a home manufactured to HUD standards. “Expensive to move” would be better. Unlike a travel trailer, that can be hitched up to a tow vehicle and on the road in less than an hour, moving a mobile...

How much does a mobile home inspection cost?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
How much does a mobile home inspection cost?

Most home inspectors charge the same fee for inspecting a mobile home as a site-built home. Pricing varies from $250 to $400 or more, with urban and resort areas often at the upper end of the range. 
   While price is a primary consideration, it’s...

How can I tell if the receptacle outlets are grounded?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
How can I tell if the receptacle outlets are grounded?

Just because a receptacle has a ground slot (the round hole under narrow hot and neutral slots) does not mean it is grounded. Prior to the NEC code requirement in 1960 that all residential receptacles be grounded, receptacle outlets were 2-slot and...

Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with the HUD Code?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with the HUD Code?

The HUD construction standards apply to the manufacture of a mobile home up until it has been inspected and approved by an In-Plant Primary Inspection Agency (IPIA), receives a HUD sticker, and heads down the highway for delivery. After that, there...

How can I check to be sure a home inspector is licensed?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
How can I check to be sure a home inspector is licensed?

All home inspectors in Florida have been required to be licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) since 2011. To confirm that an inspector you are considering hiring is licensed, go to the Florida DPBR website at www.myfloridalicense.com...

Why is there such a big gap under the doors inside a mobile home?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Why is there such a big gap under the doors inside a mobile home?

The gap, which is usually about one inch, is there for air circulation in older mobile homes. The open slot under the door is especially important when the air conditioning system is operating. The HVAC system in a manufactured home cannot effectively...

What's the difference between a manufactured home and a mobile home?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
What's the difference between a manufactured home and a mobile home?

There is none. Manufactured home is just a new name for the same product: a transportable home made in a factory on a steel frame with wheels, to a national building code standard established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),...

What is the stuff you paint an old mobile home metal roof with to extend its life?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
What is the stuff you paint an old mobile home metal roof with to extend its life?

Elastomeric roof coating is produced by numerous paint and roofing products manufacturers, but the best-known brand is KOOL SEAL. It’s the consistency of Elmer’s Glue in the pail and is applied with a thick-nap roller and throw-away brush. When dry,...

Does mobile home skirting have to be ventilated?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Does mobile home skirting have to be ventilated?

Yes, it does. Ventilation of the crawl space is just as important for a manufactured home as a site-built home, and lack of ventilation causes similar problems to both: wood rot of the floor framing, warped floor boards, and mold growth.
   The...

Does my home inspection report give me everything I need to evaluate the price of a house?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Does my home inspection report give me everything I need to evaluate the price of a house?

Your home inspector provides key information about the condition of a home’s components and necessary repairs. But it’s only part of what you need to consider. To get a handle on the actual, total cost of the house, you have to do some additional research...

What is a Park Model mobile home?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
What is a Park Model mobile home?

A park model is a smaller, single-wide mobile home that is classified as a recreational vehicle. Park models are designed for placement in RV parks, campgrounds, or locations where smaller trailers are allowed; but, like an RV, cannot be a living unit...

How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
How do I recognize serious structural problems in a house?

The signs of structural distress in a house are often subtle and easy to miss unless you know what to look for. But once they are shown to you by your home inspector, you’ll wonder how in the world you overlooked them. Here’s ten suggestions for giving...

Can I install a mobile home myself?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Can I install a mobile home myself?

Section 320.8249, Florida Statutes (F.S.), requires that anyone who will install a mobile/manufactured home must be licensed by the Manufactured Housing Section, Division of Motorist Services, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Two main...

Why is there no bathroom electrical receptacle outlet in this old house?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Why is there no bathroom electrical receptacle outlet in this old house?

Many pre-1960 homes had a bathroom light fixture over the sink mirror that also had an ungrounded (2-slot) electric receptacle on the base—like the one shown above. These combination fixtures are no longer manufactured. Sixty years ago, when the old...

Should I buy a house with strong cigarette odor?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Should I buy a house with strong cigarette odor?

A home with residual tobacco smoke odor is harder to sell and fetches a lower price compared to an odor-free home. If you are considering buying a home formerly occupied by a heavy smoker, be sure that the discount from market value you are getting...

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
What's causing those holes in the fascia?

The carpenter bee (xylocopa) bores into wood each spring to create a brooding nest, creating a perfectly round hole about about 5/8” in diameter. While some carpenter bees select the underside of tree branches to nest, others bore into the exterior...

What should I bring to the home inspection?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
What should I bring to the home inspection?

We suggest bringing along some, or all, of the following items to help you get the most out of your next home inspection:
Tape Measure - For checking dimensions for furniture layouts, window treatments, and appliance locations. 
Camera - Although...

Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Where do I find the VIN/serial number on a very old (pre-1976) mobile home?

If your mobile home was built after June 15, 1976, see our other blog  post Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home? That’s the date the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took over responsibility...

Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home?

There’s two ways to find the VIN number, the easy way and the hard way. Let’s start with the easy one: 
1) There is a paper sticker on the interior of all mobile homes manufactured since June of 1976, called the “data plate,” which lists the VIN...

Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Why are there two VIN numbers on some mobile home titles?

Each side of a double-wide manufactured home has its own Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), also called the Manufacturer’s Serial Number. The same alpha-numeric sequence is used for both sides, except that the sequence will end in the letter “A” for...

My circuit breaker won't reset. What's wrong?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
My circuit breaker won't reset. What's wrong?

There are several different situations that would keep a circuit from being reactivated after a breaker has been tripped. Here’s the four most common ones:
1) When a breaker has been tripped—whether it’s because of pushing the test button on a...

Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Should I wrap the water heater with an insulation blanket?

To determine if adding an insulation blanket would improve the energy efficiency of your water heater, touch it. Water heaters manufactured within the last decade or so have more insulation than older models, so the shell will not feel noticeably warmer...

How do the new tamper-resistant electric outlets work?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
How do the new tamper-resistant electric outlets work?

Both of the slots in a tamper-resistant receptacle have spring-loaded shutters over them that are interconnected. Unless pressure is applied to both slots at the same time they will not open; so a child trying to stick a small object a slot will not...

Can I paint the vinyl covered wallboard in a mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Can I paint the vinyl covered wallboard in a mobile home?

Yes, you can. But, to be sure that you successfully hide the printed pattern on the wallboard and that the paint adheres securely to the wall, it’s important to take the time to clean and prime the surface first before applying your paint color.

How fireproof is a mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
How fireproof is a mobile home?

The fire-resistance of a mobile home depends primarily on when it was built. Homes manufactured in Florida before the national HUD standards went into effect in July of 1976 met the MHMA (Mobile Home Manufacturers Association) and State of Florida standards....

What is a D-sticker mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
What is a D-sticker mobile home?

A “D-sticker” manufactured home, also called an “Exposure D,” is a Wind Zone 2 or 3 home on steroids. It has been further strengthened to to meet the wind resistance requirement of ASCE 7-88,  Exposure D—which is a standard referenced in the HUD Code....

Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Where are Wind Zone 2 and Wind Zone 3 for mobile homes located?

The three wind zones for mobile homes are noted with Roman Numerals: I, II, and III. Most of the U.S. is in Zone I, with coastal and southern, hurricane-prone areas upgraded to Zones II (rated to withstand 100-mph winds) and III (up to 110-mph winds)....

What are the tie-down requirements for a mobile home?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
What are the tie-down requirements for a mobile home?

Because manufactured/mobile homes are lighter than site-built homes and most are also elevated above the ground on piers, they need special protection when tropical storm or hurricane winds are blowing. Florida also experiences occasional violent summer...

Why is my roof leaking?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Why is my roof leaking?

There are multiple possible causes of a roof leak, and a roof is more likely to leak as it gets older. But roofs don’t leak simply because they are old. There has to be an event, threshold of deterioration after which the material begins to fail, or...

What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
What questions should I ask the home inspector during the inspection?

To get the best home inspection possible, you have to ask questions. Lots of questions—both to let the inspector know what your specific concerns are and to clarify anything you don’t understand the first time around. Here’s our top five recommended...

When should I replace my smoke alarms?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
When should I replace my smoke alarms?

Smoke alarms that are ten years old or more should be replaced. Although the alarm may sound when tested with the test button, that only indicates that the alarm sounding mechanism is operating properly, but the internal smoke-sensor device arrives...

Why does my well pump turn on and off every time I use water?

Monday, October 1, 2018
Why does my well pump turn on and off every time I use water?

When a well pump turns on every time a water-using fixture’s valve is opened, or if it turns on and off rapidly while the fixture is in use, that’s short cycling. It is typically caused by a water pressure tank that has lost it built-in cushion of pressurized...

Is this old home a Sears Catalog house?

Monday, October 1, 2018
Is this old home a Sears Catalog house?

About 75,000 Sears and Roebuck kit homes were built around the U.S. between 1908 and the closing of Sears home construction division in 1940. Most were constructed before the onslaught of the Great Depression in 1930. Because they were delivered by...

Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe?

Monday, October 1, 2018
Is there an adapter that can be placed on a two-slot receptacle to make it safe?

Two-slot receptacles, which do not have the additional round slot for a ground connection, were standard until grounding for electric receptacles was mandated by the National Electric Code in the early 1960s. They are still considered acceptable for...

What tools do you use for a home inspection?

Monday, October 1, 2018
What tools do you use for a home inspection?

Okay, we admit it: we are tool geeks, and bring more equipment to a home inspection than is usually necessary. Having just the right inspection gadget helps unravel those tough-to-figure-out defect mysteries that vex us at least once a week.
...

Why do the floors slope in my house?

Monday, October 1, 2018
Why do the floors slope in my house?

Three Reasons For Sloping FloorsOf the three reasons for sloping (out-of-level) floors in a house, one of them was may have been built-in when the house was constructed and the other two have occurred over the years.
Let’s start with the built-in...

How can I check if a floor is sloping out of level?

Monday, October 1, 2018
How can I check if a floor is sloping out of level?

Three Ways To Check If A Floor Is LevelSometimes a floor feels like it’s sloping as you walk across it, but you’re just not sure. There are several ways to verify that a floor has settled out-of-level over time in either, or both, directions in a room:

What is the difference between ON and AUTO on a thermostat?

Monday, October 1, 2018
What is the difference between ON and AUTO on a thermostat?

ON vs AUTO Pro and Con These two settings control the blower in your heating/air conditioning system. When “ON” is selected the blower runs continuously, even when the system is not heating or cooling. With “AUTO” selected the blower runs only when...

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong?

Monday, October 1, 2018
My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong?

When you a/c system won’t come on you could have a serious problem requiring service by an air conditioning technician, or it could be something simple that you can fix yourself. Here’s a list of things to check first before calling a service contractor: 

How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD code?

Monday, October 1, 2018
How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD code?

Manufactured after June 15th, 1976, is importantThe “National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974” became federal law on June 15, 1976, and provided the framework of what we now know as the HUD Code, a national building...

Does my mobile home meet wind zone 2 standards?

Monday, October 1, 2018
Does my mobile home meet wind zone 2 standards?

Data Plate Will Tell You The Wind Zone RatingLook at manufacturer’s data plate to determine which wind zone standard your home was constructed to meet. It’s a paper sticker that is typically located on the wall of the master bedroom closet, inside a...

What is AUX HEAT and EM HEAT on my thermostat?

Monday, October 1, 2018
What is AUX HEAT and EM HEAT on my thermostat?

AUX HEAT means auxiliary heat and EM HEAT is emergency heat; sometimes also abbreviated as EMERG HEAT, as in the older thermostat shown above. Both settings turn on an electric resistance heat strip in a heat pump air handler, which is similar to the...

My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?

Monday, October 1, 2018
My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won't reset. What's wrong?

The most likely reason is that the receptacle is incorrectly wired. During the 1980s thru the mid-1990s GFCI-receptacles were more expensive than they are today, and home builders relied on the principle that a GFCI-receptacle placed as the first one...

What does it mean when a gas appliance (water heater, furnace, or range) has been "red tagged"?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What does it mean when a gas appliance (water heater, furnace, or range) has been red tagged?

When the gas service to a home has been turned off by the local utility at a departing homeowner’s request or because of an unpaid bill, reactivating is not as easy as getting the electricity back on. An appointment must be made and someone has to be...

Why do I need an electrical inspection to turn the power back on?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Why do I need an electrical inspection to turn the power back on?

Levy County is one of several counties around the Florida that requires that, if the electric service has been shut off for more than a year, an inspector from the local building department must visit the home to verify that the electrical system is...

What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home?

The evolution of all these words began with the surge in popularity of automobile travel in America in the 1920s, which provided the impetus for the first towed camping vehicles. They were called trailers because they “trailed” behind vacationers’ motorcars....

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection?

There are two reasons to get a termite-WDO inspection when you are buying a house. Either you are concerned about the possibility of termites munching away inside the walls of your new home, or it’s a required part of your real estate transaction. 

What causes wood rot on a home?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What causes wood rot on a home?

Wet wood is the first requirement for wood rot to begin. The moisture content of the wood has to exceed its Fiber Saturation Point (FSP), which is typically around 30% or more water content. Next, wood decay spores, which are constantly being blown...

How do I fix wood rot that's listed in my termite-WDO report?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
How do I fix wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report?

Wood rot is called out on your termite inspection report as “wood-decay fungi.” This fungi actually eats and digests wood. The wood has to be wet or at least moist to be attacked, and spores from the fungi are constantly floating around in outdoor air,...

How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic?

None. Roof trusses are an engineered assembly of pieces of lumber and metal connector plates, the sum of which is much stronger than the individual parts alone. The top sloped lumber piece on which the roof sheathing plywood gets nailed is called the...

What are the most common homeowner electrical wiring mistakes?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What are the most common homeowner electrical wiring mistakes?

Do-it-yourself electrical work is always obvious to a home inspector, and not just because of code violations. An electrician does things in a neat, workmanlike manner that is immediately recognizable as professional. Unfortunately, sloppy amateur electrical...

What is causing a foggy, cloudy haze on windows and sliding glass doors?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What is causing a foggy, cloudy haze on windows and sliding glass doors?

If you have window panes that are clouded over, it’s likely that they are double-pane (insulated) and have lost the inert gas sealed between the two panes of glass. Check to make sure that the hazy film is not on the outside by cleaning the glass first....

What are the pipes sticking out of my roof?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
What are the pipes sticking out of my roof?

All the plumbing fixtures in your home need air supplied to the drain pipes for the liquid to flow properly, and the pipes poking through the roof are there to provide it. Every home is required to have at least one plumbing vent above the roof, and...

How much does a home inspection cost?

Sunday, September 30, 2018
How much does a home inspection cost?

The opening words on the home page of a typical home inspection website are usually “A house is the most expensive purchase most people make in their lifetime.” Then, after a few sentences about the importance of a good inspection, the sales pitch transitions...

How can I remove water under my mobile home?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
How can I remove water under my mobile home?

If you have puddles or muddy ground under your mobile home, the only way to remove the water is to eliminate the reason water is flowing under the home and then give the moisture time to dissipate. You can rent a sump pump to drain most of it to speed...

What is the life expectancy of a circuit breaker?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
What is the life expectancy of a circuit breaker?

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates a circuit breaker’s life expectancy at 30 to 40 years, with an average of 35 years. It is the same for GFCI, AFCI, and standard breakers. Because a breaker is a mechanical device, a humid outdoor...

What is the right electric wire size for a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
What is the right electric wire size for a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

The correct size for residential wiring depends on what the wires are serving and, in the case of major appliances such as an air conditioning condenser, what size circuit breaker the manufacturer specifies for it on the data plate on the side of the...

What do termites eat?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
What do termites eat?

Most people know that termites can invade inside the walls of a home and munch away at the wood, causing major structural damage. But what they are really after is the cellulose component of the wood. Cellulose is a major part of the cell wall of plants...

Does a home inspector check for trip hazards?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Does a home inspector check for trip hazards?

Trip hazards are not addressed directly in the Standards of Practice for home inspectors in the State of Florida and of the two national home inspector associations, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and the International Association of Certified...

Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

Bare bulb light fixtures are called “lampholders” and two dangers lurk around these light fixtures in a clothes closet. The first is a fire risk from any flammable item that contacts the hot bulb. In the photo above, taken during a recent inspection,...

How can I upgrade a wind zone 1 mobile home to wind zone 2?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
How can I upgrade a wind zone 1 mobile home to wind zone 2?

You can’t. Although it might be theoretically possible to retrofit additional reinforcement in a manufactured home structure to meet the standard for resistance to windstorm damage of wind zone 2, or even wind zone 3, the means to get it certified to...

What are common window inspection problems?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
What are common window inspection problems?

Here’s how we look at windows: we start while examining the exterior of the house, looking for missing or damaged trim, deteriorated caulking, clouding due to lost insulating gas in double-pane windows, and bent, damaged or missing screens. We also...

What is a clean WDO?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
What is a clean WDO?

“WDO” stands for Wood Destroying Organism and is an acronym for the what most people know as the “termite inspection” done before purchasing a house. But the inspector must look for multiple organisms that can destroy the wood in a home—which includes...

Can you put a zone 1 mobile home in Florida?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Can you put a zone 1 mobile home in Florida?

Unfortunately, no. All of Florida up to the Georgia line is designated for Wind Zone 2, except the southern quarter of the state, which is Wind Zone 3 as shown in the map below.
   You can, however, relocate a Florida mobile home rated for wind...

The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong?

Saturday, September 29, 2018
The coolant line to the outside unit of my air conditioner is frozen. What's wrong?

There are a number of different defects that can cause the larger of the two refrigerant lines, called the “liquid line” or “suction line," to ice over like in the photo above. Here’s three of the most common causes:
Low refrigerant gas level due...

Can I remodel an old mobile home without a building permit?

Friday, September 28, 2018
Can I remodel an old mobile home without a building permit?

It depends on two things: 1) how extensive the remodeling is, and 2) what building department jurisdiction you are in. Although the original construction of a manufactured/mobile home is solely under the rules and supervision of HUD (U.S. Department...

How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

Friday, September 28, 2018
How can I use safety checks to limit my tenant liability for a rental house?

We have developed the following 12-item safety checklist based on our experience as both home inspectors and rental property owners, trying to keep our investment house buyers, tenants—and us—out of harm’s way. If you own an investment house, your tenants...

How much can I cut out of a floor joist?

Friday, September 28, 2018
How much can I cut out of a floor joist?

The rules are the same for both floor joists and roof rafters as far how much can be removed and still maintain the structural integrity of the wood member, They are divided into the categories of notching (cutting away an area of wood at the top or...

What is the average life expectancy of a whole-house standby emergency generator?

Thursday, September 27, 2018
What is the average life expectancy of a whole-house standby emergency generator?

We are going to divide our lifespan estimate into two categories: “rated hours of running time based on regular maintenance” and “years of sitting outside in the weather.” The generator engines of residential emergency generators that use propane or...

What is the meaning of serviceable in a home inspection report?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
What is the meaning of serviceable in a home inspection report?

Dictionary definitions of serviceable include “fulfilling its function adequately” and “functional and durable rather than attractive.” “Serviceable condition” is often used as a generalization in inspection reports to mean that the item appears to...

Are there water lines in my attic or under the floor slab?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Are there water lines in my attic or under the floor slab?

We call the pipes that deliver water under pressure to the plumbing fixtures in a home “water supply piping.” In the Gainesville area, homes built after approximately 1950 have both the water supply pipes and the drain pipes installed in the ground...

What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
What is an air conditioner for a mobile home called?

Most mobile home air conditioners are different than the “split system” air conditioners installed in site-built homes. A split system is divided into two parts: an outdoor unit (the condenser) and an indoor unit (the air handler), with refrigerant...

Do termites eat concrete?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Do termites eat concrete?

There are plenty of amazing urban legends out there about termites. Let’s cover six of them:
1) When termites run out of wood, they start eating the concrete in your house. 
Nope. Termites have a unique digestive system that allows them to...

Do I really need a home inspection?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Do I really need a home inspection?

Yes, it’s a sensible investment even if everything appeared satisfactory on your walk-through. Here’s the percentages on the outcome of a home inspection, compared to what the buyers believed  about the condition of the property before the inspection:

What is a ground wire?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
What is a ground wire?

The electric cable that runs to the 120-volt outlets and other fixtures in your home has three wires inside the plastic sheathing: a hot wire (the “live” wire that brings the electricity in), a neutral wire (the one that routes the electricity back...

What is a double tap at a circuit breaker?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
What is a double tap at a circuit breaker?

A double tap occurs when two wires are connected to a circuit breaker that is only designed to accept one wire. It’s considered a defect for most breakers because the two wires compressed under a one-wire connector may not be securely fastened. Some,...

How do I so a safety inspection of a dryer vent?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
How do I so a safety inspection of a dryer vent?

Dryer vents clogged with lint are the cause of an estimated 15,000 house fires each year. They are a significant fire safety issue that is sometimes overlooked by homeowners, so both the construction and cleaning of them are checked.
   There are...

What are smart negotiating tips after home inspection?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
What are smart negotiating tips after home inspection?

There’s a simple answer to this question: ask your Realtor. You may be represented  by your own “buyer’s agent” and not working directly with the seller’s realtor; but also many realtors act as a “transaction agent,” meaning that they do not represent...

What is a collar tie?

Monday, September 24, 2018
What is a collar tie?

A collar tie is a horizontal piece of lumber connecting two rafters near the ridge of a roof. It is typically a 2x4 or larger, but can be a 1x4, and may be on one or both sides of the rafters. Collar ties are installed to resist the separation of the...

Should a home inspection scare you?

Monday, September 24, 2018
Should a home inspection scare you?

Sometimes, yes. There are definitely homes that you should be scared of: ones with major structural problems, mold infestation, or that require multiple big-ticket repairs. But most of the time a home inspection gives you a laundry list of things that...

What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

Monday, September 24, 2018
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?

An appraiser evaluates the market value of a home, comparing it to similar recent sales nearby, and arriving at an opinion of the reasonable price of the home in the current market, while a home inspector analyzes the condition of the home, noting defects...

How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

Monday, September 24, 2018
How do I get rid of the sewer gas smell in my house?

You know the smell: a combination of rotten egg, a little ammonia, and just plain nasty. Low levels of sewer gas are annoying, but higher concentrations can be dangerous. There are three ways that sewer gas gets into a home. A loss of a plumbing fixture’s...

Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

Sunday, September 23, 2018
Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

It depends on whether the addition includes a bedroom. The Florida Department of Health, which regulates septic systems, specifies the minimum septic tank and drainfield size for construction of a new home based on a combination of the number of bedrooms...

What is the 50 percent rule for existing buildings in flood provisions of the Florida Building Code?

Sunday, September 23, 2018
What is the 50 percent rule for existing buildings in flood provisions of the Florida Building Code?

The threshold after which an existing building must be brought up to current flood code standards when any additions or improvements are made, which is especially important to understand in hurricane-prone coastal areas, is “significant improvement.”...

What is the purpose of the Existing Building edition of the Florida Building Code?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The code was created to “provide flexibility to permit the use of alternative approaches to achieve compliance with minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, welfare, and safety” for work done on existing buildings. It recognizes that modifications...

Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor for septic tank backup?

Sunday, September 23, 2018
Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor for septic tank backup?

If the backup is actually caused by an overflowing septic tank, call a septic system contractor. But the problem may be a clog in the drain pipe running to the septic tank, in which case you need a plumber. To determine which it is, locate the cleanout...

How do I determine if a water heater is gas or electric?

Sunday, September 23, 2018
How do I determine if a water heater is gas or electric?

Look at the top of a tank-type water heater. If there is a flue (round metal tubing) rising out of the center of the top of the water heater, then it is a gas water heater. Also, an older (pre-2002) gas water heater has an access panel to the burner...

How often should I pump out the septic tank?

Saturday, September 22, 2018
How often should I pump out the septic tank?

The standard recommendation for cleaning a septic tank is every four to five years. But it varies depending on the size of the tank and the number people in the home. Because septic tanks and drainfields are sized according to the number of bedrooms...

What does an ultraviolet air treatment system do?

Saturday, September 22, 2018
What does an ultraviolet air treatment system do?

It bathes the area around it with UV-light, killing any bacteria and virus, along with some mold reduction, on the surfaces it shines on and also in the air it shines through. The technical term for it is “ultraviolet germicidal irradiation,” and it...

Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding?

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Why is housewrap installed on exterior walls under the siding?

Siding applied over a wood stud frame house structure is water-resistant but not waterproof. It doesn’t matter whether its wood, vinyl, or fiber-cement siding, brick, or stone: water will occasionally get behind it. Also, exterior siding materials do...

Why are window security bars dangerous?

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Why are window security bars dangerous?

“Burglar bars” are effective at keeping an intruder from climbing in through a window, but they also prevent anyone from getting out in a fire. A bedroom window is the alternate route out of a home that’s on fire when the hallway and living area exits...

Why is spray foam used for attic insulation?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Why is spray foam used for attic insulation?

We are seeing spray polyurethane foam (also referred to as “SPF”) used more often for attic insulation in the last few years, especially in homes built for high energy efficiency. Because the insulation is sprayed onto the underside of the roof sheathing,...

How dangerous is old electrical wiring?

Friday, September 21, 2018
How dangerous is old electrical wiring?

“Is the old wiring going to burn down this house?” rates as the most often asked question when we inspect a home that’s 50-years old or more. Decrepit wiring with frayed insulation is visualized as the bugaboo hiding behind the walls, ready to start...

Should I disconnect the washing machine from the septic tank to reduce the load on the system?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Should I disconnect the washing machine from the septic tank to reduce the load on the system?

It’s estimated that a washing machine contributes about 22% of the liquid input to your septic tank. But, while it would seem like a good idea to get rid of nearly a quarter of the flow into the tank to help the system last longer, sending your washing...

Are brick houses hotter in Florida?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Are brick houses hotter in Florida?

There is not a simple answer to this question because there are several different construction details that can affect the level of insulation in a brick house. The first variable is the type of construction. Although most people assume that the brick...

Are house numbers required by law on the front of a house?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Are house numbers required by law on the front of a house?

The requirement to have house address numbers is almost universally required by municipal ordinances. Each city or county has a slightly different standard, but their intentions are the same: that your house numbers be clearly visible from the street...

Why are there cracks in the wallboard in a mobile home after its moved?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Why are there cracks in the wallboard in a mobile home after its moved?

To understand how the walls of a mobile home interact with the frame while its traveling down the highway, you need to start with the way the steel I-beam frame is built. The beams are constructed with a carefully calculated amount of camber. They bow...

Do architectural shingles cost more than regular shingles?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Do architectural shingles cost more than regular shingles?

Architectural shingles, also called dimensional or laminated shingles, cost about 20% to 30% more than standard 3-tab shingles. “Designer” architectural shingles—like in the photo above—can cost 35% to 50% extra or more.
   We think that architectural...

Why is there mold around the air conditioning vents (registers)?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Why is there mold around the air conditioning vents (registers)?

The louvered metal grille that directs conditioned air from a duct into the room is called a register, and mold around an air conditioning register can have several causes:
1) If the cold air coming out of the register is too cold compared to the...

Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Do I need stairs at all exit doors from a mobile home?

Yes, you must provide a safe structure to walk down to the ground from every exterior door, the details of which are specified by the local building code where the home is installed. The example below is not acceptable, and especially if the door has...

How can I tell if a house has insulation?

Friday, September 21, 2018
How can I tell if a house has insulation?

All homes built in Florida in the last 20 years have insulation, and the amount of required insulation has increased regularly as the Florida Energy Code has become more stringent. But as you go backward in time from the 1990s, there is no guarantee...

Is a home inspection required?

Friday, September 21, 2018
Is a home inspection required?

No, it is not necessary for most conventional or government-guaranteed home loans, but all lending institutions highly recommend that you get a house inspected before you buy it. In fact, HUD requires that applicants for an FHA or VA loan sign a form...

How do termites get into a concrete block house?

Friday, September 21, 2018
How do termites get into a concrete block house?

Termites can infest a block house from the top or bottom, depending on the species. The ones that get in from the bottom, subterranean termites, live in the soil and enter the house to consume wood, then return to their nest in the ground. Older concrete...

Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Are old vinyl tile floors dangerous?

Loose asbestos fibers that can float in the air and be inhaled are called “friable.” Most vinyl flooring manufactured before 1980 contains asbestos but it is embedded in the material and not friable. So the tiles are not considered dangerous as long...

What year were mobile homes required to become more storm resistant?

Thursday, September 20, 2018
What year were mobile homes required to become more storm resistant?

All manufactured/mobile homes built after the beginning of the nationwide HUD-code in June 1976 were required to meet a single standard, no matter where the home was to be located. The HUD-code was a big improvement over the previous hodge-podge of...

What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?

Thursday, September 20, 2018
What is the difference between water service pipe and water supply pipe?

Water service pipe connects at the house side of the water meter and runs across the yard to a point near where the water enters the home. There is sometimes a shut-off valve at this point, and the piping that runs inside the home distributing water...

Is air conditioning necessary to pass a 4 point inspection?

Thursday, September 20, 2018
Is air conditioning necessary to pass a 4 point inspection?

Standards differ between insurance companies somewhat, but the ones we are familiar with do not require air conditioning. They do, however, require installed heating. Portable electric heaters and window air conditioners with a heating mode are not...

How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Thursday, September 20, 2018
How do you determine if a door is left-handed or right-handed?

Here’s two different ways to figure out the “handedness” of a door. Whichever one is easier for you to remember is the one to use, but double-check yourself to be sure you get it right when you are ordering a pre-hung door.
First method: Stand...