Here's the 30 most recent of over 2,200 home inspection blog entries. You can also use the Blog Index link above, or Google Custom Search box below, to find the article with the info you need. Also, our Blog Archive lists all the articles, including a reposting and updating of earlier blogs from www.mcgarryandmadsen.com dating back to 2011.

5

How To Look at a House

recent blogs

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 and repair/replacement of damaged pavers.
    Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan...

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 sealer and repair/replacement of damaged pavers.
    Go to our blog post What is the average lifespan...

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, an undersized system, and heavy usage. Here’s our chart with average lifespans, and a listing...

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 is also important. And, of course, sometimes appliances are replaced early, to upgrade and get more...

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 range is due to the many factors that can reduce lifespan, such as:
•• Inadequate prep of ground...

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 vice versa. While furnaces that provide heat via electric resistance heat coils are less expensive to...

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, like any appliance, heavy usage opening and closing will shorten the lifespan, and limited usage will...

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 driveways crack and become unsightly. Pockets of missing asphalt can also become trip hazards.  Minor...

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 in a garage, from fighting against excessive heat in the summer. And, like any appliance, heavy usage...

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 24 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 life of the door:
•• Weather exposure - A door that is exposed to direct sun and weather will...

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 in size slightly over this time. Enough water must be used to cause the hydration, but too much...

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 range is due to the many factors that can reduce lifespan, such as:
•• Inadequate prep of ground...

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 range is due to the many factors that can reduce lifespan, such as:
•• Inadequate prep of ground...

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 capacity may be a little more or less than the nominal rating, but it’s close.
     For Fujitsu,...

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 of the vinyl and the warranties offered vary between manufacturers. 
    Go to our blog post...

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 factor that affects how long the mulch lasts is size of the chunks. Large chips last longer than...

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 additional protection from corrosion and a longer life, although it is more expensive. 
...

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 a paint or other sealant coating applied every 5 to 7 years. 
    Also, avoid creating any...

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 over the spa tub in my master bath? It would look wonderful! 
• Are wall light switches required...

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, or accidental damage. Many get replaced before the end of their functional life, as part of updating...

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 handsome outside, but the components are not designed to stand up to rain, or even just the damp...

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.
    Some manufacturers also produce “on-frame" modular homes that are built on a steel...

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 capacity may be a little more or less than the nominal rating, but it’s close.   
    For Comfort...

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 = 200344 = 2005, 46 = 2006, 47 = 200748 = 2008, 49 = 2009, 50 = 201051 = 2011, 52 = 2012, 53 = 201354...

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 406.6(B)], states that “no receptacle shall be installed so as to require the insertion of an energized...

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 the incoming air adhere to the wet glass and build up in layers over several years  time. All double-pane...

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? 
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Here’s links to some of our other blog posts...

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, and the second number is the decade encoded, with 6 = 1990s and 8 = 2000s. So 585012459 is...

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, go to How do I determine the age of my water heater? Also, see our blog posts How can I determine...

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 capacity may be a little more or less than the nominal rating, but it’s close.   
    For Westinghouse,...

Search

This

Site

(placeholder)

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.