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Can you install a flexible gas appliance connector in an exterior location?

Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Can you install a flexible gas appliance connector in an exterior location?

Many, but not all, flexible gas appliance connectors are rated for exterior installation. You should check the manufacturer’s tag on the connector to verify. The yellow and gray appliance connectors manufactured by Dormont are exterior-rated, for example, but not the blue ones. 

    The appliance connector shown above, connected to a tankless...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Dishwashers

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Dishwashers

Here’s links to ourarticles with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dishwashers:
• When was GFCI-protection for kitchen dishwasher receptacle outlet first required? 
• Can a dishwasher be wired to a kitchen counter small appliance receptacle circuit?
 • Can a dishwasher drain hose be connected after the sink...

What is the code minimum size of a dishwasher water supply line?

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
What is the code minimum size of a dishwasher water supply line?

The Florida Plumbing Code (Table 604.5), along with the International Plumbing Code (IPC), specify a minimum 1/2” supply line to a dishwasher. So the 1/4” poly supply line shown above is not acceptable.
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Here’s links to some of our other articles about dishwashers:
• When was GFCI-protection...

Where can I get replacement screws for the cover of my electrical panel (dead front)?

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Replacement screws that match the original ones for the deadfront of a panel manufactured by Square D, Eaton, GE, or Siemens are available at the big box home improvment stores and most hardware stores for for around $6 for a half dozen. Screws that match older, defunct brands can be harder to find. But you can also get a 25-count bag of generic 10-32...

What is a good SEER rating?

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Defining a good SEER rating is a moving target. As HVAC technology and the minimum SEER requirement of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) push the number steadily higher, what was once a good SEER becomes just average or even low. If you define it as a number that is a little above the current minimum, then a good SEER today is in the 16 to 18 range....

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about SEER ratings

Friday, September 9, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about SEER ratings

If you know that the SEER number is an energy efficiency rating that must be posted on all new heat pump and air conditioning systems, that’s good. And if you understand that a higher SEER number means a lower electricity bill, that’s even better. Here’s more details:
• What does the “SEER” rating of an air conditioner mean? 
• How can I...

What is the difference between SEER and SEER2?

Friday, September 9, 2022
What is the difference between SEER and SEER2?

SEER2 is an updated version the original SEER energy efficiency rating system for air conditioners and heat pumps. It has raised the external static pressure requirement for testing, which the Department of Energy has determined will more closely resemble real-world conditions. External static pressure is the sum of all the external pressures, both...

How often should I exercise the circuit breakers in my electrical panel?

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

“Exercising” circuit breakers in a residential panel means manually switching them off and then back on, one at a time. Circuit breaker manufacturers and the NFPA recommend exercising circuit breakers once a year. It helps keep the contacts clean and also spreads the internal lubrication around, to ensure that the mechnism will move freely to shut...

Why does it say INSTALLATION PROHIBITED IN THE SOUTHWEST on my air conditioner label?

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The minimum SEER standards for energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps are set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and one standard was applied nationwide until 2015. That’s when they switched to regional standards, dividing the country into north, south, and southwest. A higher minmum SEER rating was then required for air conditioners...

How close to the property line can I put an air conditioner?

Wednesday, August 31, 2022
How close to the property line can I put an air conditioner?

There are no building code specs for minimum distance of an air conditioning condenser (outside unit) from a property line. But, because the noise generated by a condenser can be annoying to someone in an adjacent property, some communities have local ordinances that address the problem. For example, the City of Los Altos, California, requires that...

Is a park model built to HUD standards?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Is a park model built to HUD standards?

Some are built to HUD standards, and some are not. Most park models are built to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards and allowed to be up to 400 square feet. But there is a special category of park model that can only be licensed as an RV in Florida, and is built to HUD standards. It can be a little larger, up to 500 square feet,...

Which Square D electric panels were recalled in 2022?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Square D issued a recall on June 16, 2022, for approximately 1.4 million electrical panels manufactured between February, 2020, and January, 2022. Panels recalled are the “QO Plug-On Neutral” type load centers, both the indoor and outdoor versions. 
    The two things to check to verify you have a recalled panel are that it is marked as a “QO...

How do I find the age of a Lennox ductless mini-split heat pump or air conditioner from the serial number.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

The year of manufacture of a Lennox ductless mini-split is at the 12th digit in their long serial number on the data plate. So, be ready to count carefully to locate it. The one shown below was manufactured in 2017. 

   These units are imported from China and distributed by Lennox in the U.S. They were not available in the 2000s, so the...

Why do manufactured/mobile home skylights leak?

Friday, August 5, 2022
Why do manufactured/mobile home skylights leak?

Two factors cause mobile home skylights to have a higher-than-average incidence of leakage than site-built homes: 1) many of them do not have a raised frame or curb, and 2) mobile home roofs usually have a lower roof slope than site-built homes.

    Once they start leaking, like in the photo at the top of the page which is below the skylight...

Why is the air conditioning temperature split (delta T) fluctuating up and down while the system is running?

Monday, August 1, 2022

The most likely cause is a malfunctioning thermal expansion valve at the evaporator coil unit. If it is opening and closing erratically, that would cause the up-and-down fluctuations in temperature readings when using a temperature probe at the main supply duct. But further evaluation by an HVAC professional is necessary to confirm this diagnosis....

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Wood Siding

Sunday, July 24, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Wood Siding

Wood siding is not used that much anymore in our area. Vinyl and fiber-cement siding are cheaper install, and require less maintenance than wood. But many homebuyers admire the look of wood siding, and the new engineered wood with a 50-year warranty (shown above) is taking back some of the market from fiber-cement. Here’s links to a collection of...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Washing Machines

Thursday, July 21, 2022
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Washing Machines

There’s more to know about washing machines than how to select the right wash cycle. Here’s a list of links to some of our articles about washing machines. 
• Is a washing machine drain hose required to be secured at the standpipe?
• Is a hot water faucet required at a washing machine?
• What is the maximum length for a washing machine...

Do I need a vacuum breaker valve for washing machine hose faucets?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Do I need a vacuum breaker valve for washing machine hose faucets?

No, washing machine hose faucets are specifically exempted by code from the requirement for a vacuum breaker attachment. Here’s the excerpt from the International Residential Code.
    Another reason not to install a vacuum breaker at a washing machine hose faucet is that the spring mechanism in the vacuum breaker fails over time, especially...

What is a dead valley at a roof?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
What is a dead valley at a roof?

A dead valley is one that has little or no slope, which can occur between two parallel roof slopes. This causes water to drain slowly and may cause puddles of standing water. A dead valley is prone to leakage and it should be fixed with a saddle at the shared valley that slopes towards the end, or ends, of the valley—as in the diagram above.
...

Do I need GFCI for barn receptacle outlets?

Sunday, July 17, 2022

All 125-volt receptacle outlets in “dirt confinement areas for livestock” (such as barns) must have GFCI-protection, according to the National Electrical Code [NEC 547.5(G)]. But there is one exception allowed: "GFCI protection shall not be required for an accessible receptacle supplying a dedicated load where a GFCI protected receptacle is located...

Why are there wires sticking out above the condenser fan motor?

Wednesday, July 13, 2022
Why are there wires sticking out above the  condenser fan motor?

The wires are unsafe and should not be there. They are the rotation leads, and carry 240-volts of electricity. The wires are “live” most of the time, even when the fan is not running. They are a shock hazard and required to be protected from weather deterioration and mechanical damage, and the wire connections should be made in the integral junction...

How far is minimum gutter downspout discharge distance from house?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The code minimum distance that a gutter downspout can discharge is 12-inches away from the walls of a home. That requirement is listed under the “Protection from Decay and Termites” section of both the International Residential Code (IRC) and the Residential Editon of the Florida Building Code (FBC R318.5). It’s intended to avoid puddling and splash-back...

How do I determine the size in tons of a Daizuki heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, July 11, 2022
How do I determine the size in tons of a Daizuki heat pump or air conditioner?

You can determine the size in tons of your Daizuki HVAC system by examining the model number near the top of the data sticker at the side of the condenser (outdoor unit). Look for the first two numbers after several letters of the model number They are divisible by 6 or 12, and represent the nominal BTU of the system in thousands. A ton of air conditioning...

How do I tell the age of a Daizuki heat pump or air conditioner?

Monday, July 11, 2022
How do I tell the age of a Daizuki heat pump or air conditioner?

The date of manufacture of a Daizuki heat pump or air conditioner is not encoded in the serial number like many other manufacturers do. It is simply stated in a “year.month” format near the bottom of the data sticker at the side of the unit, like in the example below. 

    Also, see our blog post How can I tell the size in tons of a Daizuki...

Does a home inspector check for dedicated circuits?

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Verifying that appliances that require a dedicated circuit (called “single outlet circuit” by codes) are actually on their own separate circuit is not required by the Standards of Practice of the two major national home inspector associations or the State of Florida. However some inspectors, including us, do come across circuits that should be dedicated...

What is the difference between damp-rated and wet-rated ceiling fans?

Sunday, July 10, 2022

All fans must be UL-listed (certified by Underwriters Laboratories to be safe) for the location where they will be installed. Most ceiling fans  are UL-listed for dry, interior locations only; but there are two additional ratings, based on the likely level of moisture exposure:
•• “UL Listed for Damp Locations” is the rating you need for a fan...

What is safe to plant over a septic drainfield to avoid problems?

Friday, July 8, 2022

Planting grass or ground cover plants over the septic tank drainfield is critical for keeping the soil intact, and also helps absorb and evaporate the effluent water flowing from the drainfield. But it’s equally important that whatever you plant has a shallow, non-aggressive root system to avoid roots clogging drainfield laterals or, even worse, getting...

What is the maximum soil cover over septic drainfield lateral lines in Florida?

Thursday, July 7, 2022
What is the maximum soil cover over septic drainfield lateral lines in Florida?

The maximum soil cover over septic tank drainfield lateral lines is 30-inches, according to the Florida Administrative Code 64E-6.014(5)(f), Standards for Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems. The minimum soil cover is 6-inches.
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  To learn more about SEPTIC TANK SYSTEMS, see...

What is the minimum soil cover over septic drainfield lateral lines in Florida?

Thursday, July 7, 2022
What is the minimum soil cover over septic drainfield lateral lines in Florida?

The minimum soil cover over septic tank drainfield lateral lines is 6-inches, according to the Florida Administrative Code 64E-6.014(5)(f), Standards for Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems. The maximum soil cover is 30-inches. Shown below is an example of a drainfield lateral line in a septic mound that has become exposed due to soil creep...

What are common problems of asphalt shingle roofs?

Tuesday, July 5, 2022
What are common problems of asphalt shingle roofs?

Asphalt composition shingles are the most popular roofing material in America. More than 75% of homes are topped with them. Shingles are relatively inexpensive, simple to install, durable, and the premium architectural shingles have good curb appeal. But, like any roof material, problems can develop due to age, poor installation, manufacturing defects,...

Here's the 30 most recent of over 2900 home inspection blog entries. You can also use the Blog Index link above, or 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 mcgarryandmadsen.com dating back to 2011.

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