S-Trap vs P-trap and why it mattes
- May, 06 2022
Spring Maintenance Saves You Money
- Apr, 10 2022
Why spring maintenance is important to your home and can save you money over time.
All the components of your home are slowly failing. From the day they were installed they began the slow breakdown that leads to failure at some point in the future. Your roof, siding, windows, floors, HVAC, electrical systems, appliances, you name it in your home and it is working toward failure. Obviously, some things fail sooner than others but make no mistake everything is slowly failing.
So what do you do about it? Well, one of the most important things you can do is perform maintenance to your home and its systems to help extend their useful life. With proper upkeep, most items in and around the home will last much longer than those that are neglected. I have put together a brief summary of some important items and systems to make sure maintenance is performed on this spring. Some of these are easy homeowner jobs and others should have a professional do the work. If you’re not sure hire a pro the first year, if it looks easy enough then next year you can try it.
- Clean out your gutters.
- This one is a huge one that is largely overlooked far too often. Clogged gutters can lead to gutters pulling away from the fascia, rotted fascia and soffits, and over time improper drainage that can lead to foundation issues. There are lots of tools out there to help with this task to make it safe. Hire a handyman or roofer if you can’t clean them from the ground.
- Inspect your roof.
- This one can be dangerous so if you are not confident on a ladder and at heights don’t attempt this one hire a pro. You should be looking for loose or missing shingles, deteriorated sealant, hail damage, exposed nails, or other signs of damage that could lead to a leak. If you find something out of place contact a roofing professional to get it repaired right. You should also remove any vegetation, or build-up on your roof. These can lead to premature failure of the roofing system and cost you big money sooner than it should.
- Seal the exterior walls/siding.
- One of the most common defects I write up on the exterior is holes in the siding that are not properly sealed. Depending on the siding this can lead to all sorts of issues from insect intrusion, to rot, to mold. Take a little time, walk around the exterior and seal up and penetrations or holes in the siding. Don’t forget to seal around doors and windows if necessary (not all siding types require this).
- Clean out dryer vents.
- Check your dryer vent for lint build-up and clean it out. This will help with your dryer efficiencies as well as reduce any fire risk from a clogged line.
- Clean your windows and screens.
- This will help you catch small issues like screen tears before they become bigger. It’s also nice to be able to see out a clean window.
- Have your Air Conditioner serviced
- This is one that you should have a professional do. They will have the right tools and knowledge to get your system serviced correctly. If you schedule this now, you won’t get caught in August when temps are in the triple digits and not having AC will make you miserable. Not having your AC system serviced annually will shorten its lifespan and end up costing you big in the long run.
- Wash and stain your fence.
- Keeping your wood fence clean and stained will greatly extend its life. No one wants to build a new fence or pay to have a new one installed. So take a weekend and get your fence cleaned and stained/sealed and it will last you a long long time. Neglect your fence and you will get to fork out a heck of a lot more money to have it replaced. This is a great job for a handyman or maybe the kid next door too.
- Perform yard maintenance.
- Get out there and get your grass ready for summer. Aerate, rake, mow, fertilize, and just get ahead of the game. There are tons of great blogs and youtube videos out there on what you can do to improve your yard but starting early will help a bunch.
- Trim back vegetation from the house exterior. You should have any vegetation touching or within one foot of the home. When vegetation touches the siding it can cause damage, decay, and invite pests into the home. Get all of your shrubs, bushes, and trees trimmed back away from your house in the spring to help prevent issues the rest of the year.
- Check your sprinkler system while you’re out there. It might a bit early to start watering as the spring showers will hopefully provide enough moisture for the next couple of months but you can get the system ready. Don’t wait until it is hot and dry to turn your sprinklers on to find out something is wrong and watch your grass die as you try to get it fixed.
- Check your sump pump if you have one.
- Sump pumps keep your crawlspace or basement from flooding. In some instances, they help remove water from around the foundation to prevent settlement issues. These are all very important and yet I rarely see sump pumps that have been serviced. I recommend having a plumber come to test and clean your sump pump in the spring to make sure it going to work properly. If you have a significant issue with water I also recommend having a backup unit on hand. I have seen far too many times during a wet spring when all the local stores run out of pumps and people are left with a big mess and big bills because their pump failed.
- Change your smoke detector batteries.
- If you don’t know the last time you changed your batteries go ahead and get them changed now and note it on the detector with a sticker. Then make sure to change them annually and test your detectors monthly. Some of the newer detectors have a sealed 10-year battery and don’t need to be changed every year. Make sure to check which kind you have.
All of these tasks can seem overwhelming but if you start now and tackle them one by one you will be ready to have a great summer enjoying your home. And don’t worry there will be a list of maintenance items for summer as well.
- Mar, 31 2022
A common defect found in home electrical systems is grounds and neutrals terminated on the same bus bar in a sub panel.
Here is an explanation of why this can be dangerous. In short Laymen’s terms, if a fault occurs the breaker may not trip and metal components on that circuit (i.e. stove or fridge) could be come energized and electrocute someone who touches them. See below for a more through explanation.
Reference: NEC article 250.42.
We need to start by noting two things: (1) Current is always seeking a path back to its source, and (2) Current will take every available path it can find.
The function of the equipment grounding conductors (EGC), that ones that connect to the ground bar in the panel, is to carry fault current. If a fault occurs with a piece of equipment, such that a hot conductor comes into contact with the case or other external metal part, any person who touches that equipment is going to get a shock. The shock can be enough to kill, but the current will not be high enough to cause the breaker to trip.
However, with the EGC creating a path from the case back to the ground bar, then via the ground screw or bonding jumper to the neutral bar, the current in this path will be high enough to trip the breaker. This will terminate the event before the person can receive a fatal shock. That is why the ground and neutral buses are connected at the main service disconnecting means ? to complete the current path from the fault point back to the source. In this context, I am treating the main panel as the “source.” Once the current gets to that point, it has nowhere else go.
If you also connect the ground and neutral at a subpanel, then there will be two paths for current to flow back to the source during normal operation. Current will be flowing in the neutral most of the time (unless the loads running at the moment are perfectly balanced among the phases). But with the ground and neutral tied together both at the main panel and at the subpanel, the EGC will be in parallel with the neutral wire. Therefore, the EGC will carry current. This will cause the external metal parts of each and every component that has an EGC its to become energized. You could not safely touch anything in the facility.
Sewer Scopes for homes built between 1940-1975
- Mar, 25 2022
Was your home built between 1940 and 1975? If it was there is a very high likelihood that you have an Orangeburg sewer line. Why is this important you might ask? Orangeburg was a wood fibrous and tar material that was brought to prominence after World War 2 when metal was in short supply. This paper-like material had a life expectancy of 30-50 years which puts basically all of it well past its life expectancy.
When Orangeburg pipes begin to fail they can exhibit a crushing or squishing as the pipe becomes soft. This will lead to constriction of the pipe and eventual collapse. It can also exhibit what we call “eggs” where large bumps typically from rocks push into the side of the pipe as it weakens. These will all eventually lead to a complete failure of the line in the form of a collapse of blockage of the line. Repairs to these pipes can range from a few thousand to ten thousand dollars or more depending on the exact conditions. This is not something you want to be surprised by when buying a home. I strongly encourage anyone who is buying a home in this age range to add a sewer scope to your home inspection to make sure you aren’t surprised with a sewer line failure in the near future.
If you live in a home in this age range I can come out and provide you with a stand-alone sewer scope. This will let you know if you have this type of sewer line and what condition your line is in. This can prepare you for a repair before a complete failure and sewer backup that can add thousands of dollars to the repair and cleanup costs.
Add a sewer scope to your home inspection.
- Jan, 11 2022
A sewer scope is an add on to a standard home inspection where a camera is run down your home’s sewer line to look for issues. This can expose some of the most costly repairs in home ownership. A repair or replacement of a damaged sewer line can cost anywhere $1,500 for a repair upto $30,000 for replacement.
Tree roots, collapsed pipes, or old deteriorated materials are just some of the common defects found with a sewer scope. These can go unnoticed underground until the day they finally completely fail, back up your drain line, and cause flooding and massive damage to your home. Now you get to tack on not only the sewer line repair costs but the clean up, remediation, and repairs to your home caused by the flooding.
Those issues can be avoided by adding a sewer scope to your standard home inspection. This will let you know the condition of the sewer line and if any repairs are needed. Often times if caught early enough a professional cleaning can help prolong the life of the sewer line so that you can budget and prepare for the eventual repair or replacement.
The last thing you want is to move into your home and have a sewer line break or back up.
You don’t have to have a home inspection to have a sewer scope done though. Every home should have a sewer scope done periodically as part of good home maintenance. This is especially important if you live in an older home that might have cast iron pipes that may be at or past their life expectancy. That last surprise you need is that you need to dish out tens of thousands of dollars for a repair you didn’t see coming.
Give Double H Inspections a call or click here to see how adding a sewer scope to your home inspection can help give you peace of mind when buying your home.
Tips for Home Buyers
- Jul, 26 2021
Are you buying a house and want to make sure that you aren’t missing any steps in the process? Well I am happy to provide you with a list of Tips for Home Buyers from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
Our markets are still moving very quickly in Wyoming and you need to be as prepared as possible to make an offer and purchase the home you want to get one before it’s gone. Use these tips in addition to a great local real estate agent to maximize your opportunities.
What Every Homebuyer in Wyoming must know!
Want to see what dates are available for an inspection?
The InterNACHI Buy-Back Guarantee
- Jun, 22 2021
I want to provide my customers and agents with the assurance that I have their well being at the forefront of every one of my inspections. One way I do that is by participating in InterNACHI’s Buy-Back Guarantee program.
As a Certified Professional Inspector trained by InterNACHI—the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors—I’m able to offer my clients not just a thorough inspection and reliable report, but something that no one else in the industry does: InterNACHI’s Buy-Back Guarantee.
The terms are simple:
If I miss anything on the inspection, InterNACHI will buy the home back.
Check out this video on why this program is so great. VIDEO LINK
Here’s the “fine print”:
– The Buy-Back Guarantee will be honored for 90 days after closing.
– InterNACHI will pay your client whatever price they paid for the home.
– The home must be listed with a licensed real estate agent (you).
– The Buy-Back Guarantee excludes homes with material defects not present at the time of the inspection, or not required to be inspected per InterNACHI’s Residential Standards of Practice, which can be read online at www.nachi.org/sop.htm
InterNACHI is the leader in home inspection organizations in the world for a reason and this is just one more reason. This is an unprecedented level of protection that is not offered anywhere else in the industry! Give Double H Inspections a call today to find out more about this program and why it’s important to have this on your next inspection.
Home Maintenance Inspections
- Jun, 16 2021
Home Maintenance Inspections – What are they?
A Home Maintenance Inspection is just like a home inspection a buyer would get on a home in a real estate transaction only for homeowners who aren’t selling. We do these for customers all the time to help find small maintenance items that can easily be corrected before they turn into huge costly repairs.
Here is an example of why these are so important from my own home I recently purchased. We found that support posts that hold up the porch roof are rotting on the bottom. In fact a couple of them are completely rotted and I can just push them over. This could have been avoided with a home maintenance inspection that told the homeowner to make sure to caulk the bottom edge where the post met the bricks they sat on to keep moisture out. Because this tiny maintenance item that would cost the $10 for caulking and 15 minutes every couple of years was missed I now have to spend hundreds of dollars replacing the posts, luckily I can do them myself or it might be thousands of dollars. Worse, had I not purchased the home and caught this the post could have gotten so bad that a heavy snow load could have brought the whole porch roof crashing down causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage! This is exactly the type of thing that annual or bi-annual home maintenance inspections can help prevent.
So who needs a home maintenance inspection? Really everyone but we love helping out our retired customers who are no longer able to safely get up on their roof to inspect it or crawl through their crawl space any more. There is nothing worse than seeing a couple on a fixed retirement income get a huge repair sprung on them they can’t afford that could have been prevented with small maintenance that our inspection would have caught. There are also people that just really value a outside perspective. It is easy to get complacent in your home and not notice little things or keep putting them off year after year thinking you will get to it. Double H Inspections will look where homeowners never look and use tools more homeowners just don’t have, to find potential issues or defects. In short, we can help almost anyone you know with a home maintenance inspection.
Here is a link to an article on home mainitiance inspections from Realtor.com for some more information. CLICK HERE
If you would like to know more about our home maintenance inspections please give us a call! 307-763-1152
Do I need a home inspection in a hot market?
- Jun, 07 2021
It is no secret that in 2021 the real estate market in many areas of the country is super hot and houses are flying off the MLS the same day they are listed. When this happens there are people and even real estate agents out there that will advised against a home inspection to “make your offer stronger”. While we assume that advice is typically coming from a good place (they just want you to get the house you want), it can lead to disastrous results. Here is a brief summary of a few top reasons that you still should be getting your home inspected.
First is the same as any market conditions, to find hidden issues you wouldn’t have otherwise known about. This one is pretty obvious but in a sellers market it is still valuable. I know you just love the house you put an offer in on and you have already put offers in on 4 other houses and got outbid on all of them and just really want this one. However, do you really want it at the top price you are paying if you find out there are serous foundation issues that could cost $10,000+ to correct, faulty wiring that is another $10,000 to fix, and the roof on the 2nd story home that you can’t see is shot and leaking and will be $15,000+ to get replaced? In a hot market when we see homes going over asking price and prices skyrocketing in the first place there is often times not a ton of wiggle room in people budgets once there are finally able to contract a home to buy. This means that finding out after you purchase the home that you have to sink another $20-$50K in repairs just to keep the house safe or inhabitable can put you in a really bad place that no one wants to end up in.
The second reason home inspections are especially important in a hot markets is because of the amount of “Flippers” out there to make a quick buck. When prices are climbing rapidly there is tons of money to be made in the real estate flipping market. While this can be great as we typically will see areas that have maybe been neglected start to see more and more rehabs bringing nice houses into older neighborhoods it can have some consequences too. It is well known in construction and home inspection circles that as soon as a market heats up and the “flippers” start pumping out houses as fast as they can that quality of work goes down hill quick. This is a HUGE concern especially for non-local buyers who might not know who the reputable rehabers and construction companies are. That can lead to major headaches and unforeseen costs for unsuspecting home buyers. There are so many ways that flippers try to hide major issues to make a quick buck. It is super common around the country for flippers to use a “bootleg ground” on receptacles by having their ground wires tied to their neutral wires to try and trick electrical testers. This is done because old wiring is sometimes only wired for a 2 prong system without a ground. Instead of getting the wiring upto current safety standards they install new receptacles and tie the neutral and ground together which tricks some testers. This saves them thousands in the repair costs and make it look like quality work was done to bring the home up to current standards when in fact it has not. Often times they can install bath fans just for looks. It is super easy to just cut a hole in the ceiling and mount the fan without getting the attic and hooking up the electrical and exhaust pipe. Fresh paint on a deck is done by sellers all the time to make it look nicer, but it is also done by flippers to hide rot and deterioration. This has the potential to lead to major safety concerns or expensive repairs.
Finally all the reasons we can come up with come down to this, $$$$$. We inspect homes so that you know what you are buying. You want to make sure that you get a home that fits all your needs, or as close to that as you can get. If you go all in on your budget for a new home just to find out there are major issues you didn’t see coming it can throw a wrench into your financial wellbeing that can take years and years to recover from. It is so important to still get your inspection even in a hot market. You can get an inspection and not request any changes to the contract if that works for your situation so that you don’t feel like you are hurting your offer. That way you would have a list of the major issues you need to budget for to get fixed or get fixed as soon as the home is yours. Often times we find things like negative drainage that is causing foundation issues but they are just minor at the time of inspection. You can make sure to get that corrected as soon as possible so that the foundation doesn’t become a huge issue costing thousands of dollars. Finally if your inspection reveals too many issues and you can’t afford to buy the home and make the corrections needed, you can walk away from the deal in most cases (check with your realtor). This is the ultimate fail safe of an inspection and can save your bacon before you buy something you shouldn’t.
As always our motivation is to serve our customers and give them as much information as possible to help them make their buying decision. You should always consult with your realtor and weigh all your options. If you really love an area or a house and your budget puts you in a place that you will need to buy a house with defects and fix it up as you can that is fine, we just want you to be aware of what those defects are so you can make a well informed decision for you and your family.
Why you should hire an InterNACHI inspector!
- May, 09 2021
When it comes to home inspector certifications one stands head and shoulders above the rest. That is InterNACHI or International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. InterNACHI has the world’s ONLY college accredited home inspection courses. That means the courses that you take to become a certified inspector are significantly better and more well regulated than any other certification out there today. InterNACHI members must completed continuing education every year to stay certified, meaning you wont have to worry about your inspector falling behind the times or coming complacent. We also have to follow the InterNACHI Standards of Practice. This means you will have a clear and concise understanding of what to expect from your inspection.
Because Wyoming doesn’t require any certification to be a home inspector you really need to make sure you are choosing someone who knows what they are doing. Having the InterNACHI certification gives you that piece of mind that hiring Double H Inspections will be the right choice to get your inspection done properly.
Your home is often your largest investment you will make in your life. Don’t leave it to chance by hiring someone that is not willing to earn the credentials by the best certification association in the industry. Find out more about InterNACHI and why choosing one of their inspectors is the only choice for your home inspection!