Archive for the ‘Information’ Category
Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)
- electrical cords damaged by vacuum cleaners or trapped beneath furniture or doors.
- damage to wire insulation from nails or screws driven through walls.
- appliance cords damaged by heat, natural aging, kinking, impact or over-extension.
- spillage of liquid.
- loose connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures.
E3802.12 Arc-Fault Protection of Bedroom Outlets. All branch circuits that supply120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-amp outlets installed in bedrooms shall be protected by a combination-type or branch/feeder-type arc-fault circuit interrupter installed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit.
Exception: The location of the arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be permitted to be at other than the origination of the branch circuit, provided that:
- The arc-fault circuit interrupter is installed within 6 feet of the branch circuit overcurrent device as measured along the branch circuit conductors, and
- The circuit conductors between the branch circuit overcurrent device and the arc-fault circuit interrupter are installed in a metal raceway or a cable with metallic sheath.
Dwelling Units. All 120-volt, single phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit in family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.
- Check that the load power wire, panel neutral wire and load neutral wire are properly connected.
- Check wiring to ensure that there are no shared neutral connections.
- Check the junction box and fixture connections to ensure that the neutral conductor does not contact a grounded conductor.
- Propane grills present an enormous fire hazard, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of more than 500 fires that result annually from their misuse or malfunction. The following precautions are recommended specifically when using propane grills:
- Store propane tanks outdoors and never near the grill or any other heat source. In addition, never store or transport them in your car’s trunk.
- Make sure to completely turn off the gas after you have finished, or when you are changing the tank. Even a small gas leak can cause a deadly explosion.
- Check for damage to a tank before refilling it, and only buy propane from reputable suppliers.
- Never use a propane barbecue grill on a terrace, balcony or roof, as this is dangerous and illegal.
- No more than two 20-pound propane tanks are allowed on the property of a one- or two-family home.
- To inspect for a leak, spray a soapy solution over the connections and watch for bubbles. If you see evidence of a leak, reconnect the components and try again. If bubbles persist, replace the leaking parts before using the grill.
- Make sure connections are secure before turning on the gas, especially if the grill hasn’t been used in months. The most dangerous time to use a propane grill is at the beginning of the barbeque season.
- Ignite a propane grill with the lid open, not closed. Propane can accumulate beneath a closed lid and explode.
- When finished, turn off the gas first, and then the controls. This way, residual gas in the pipe will be used up.
- Charcoal grills pose a serious poisoning threat due to the venting of carbon monoxide (CO). The CPSC estimates that 20 people die annually from accidentally ingesting CO from charcoal grills. These grills can also be a potential fire hazard. Follow these precautions when using charcoal grills:
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors, even if the area is ventilated. CO is colorless and odorless, and you will not know you are in danger until it is too late.
- Use only barbeque starter fluid to start the grill, and don’t add the fluid to an open flame. It is possible for the flame to follow the fluid’s path back to the container as you’re holding it.
- Let the fluid soak into the coals for a minute before igniting them to allow explosive vapors to dissipate.
- Charcoal grills are permitted on terraces and balconies only if there is at least 10 feet of clearance from the building, and a water source immediately nearby, such as a hose (or 4 gallons of water).
- Be careful not to spill any fluid on yourself, and stand back when igniting the grill. Keep the charcoal lighter fluid container at a safe distance from the grill.
- When cleaning the grill, dispose of the ashes in a metal container with a tight lid, and add water. Do not remove the ashes until they have fully cooled.
- Fill the base of the grill with charcoal to a depth of no more than 2 inches.
- Electric grills are probably safer than propane and charcoal grills, but safety precautions need to be used with them as well. Follow these tips when using electric grills:
- Do not use lighter fluid or any other combustible materials.
- When using an extension cord, make sure it is rated for the amperage required by the grill. The cord should be unplugged when not in use, and out of a busy foot path to prevent tripping.
- As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Always make sure that the grill is used in a safe place, where kids and pets won’t touch or bump into it. Keep in mind that the grill will still be hot after you finish cooking, and anyone coming into contact with it could be burned.
- If you use a grill lighter, make sure you don’t leave it lying around where children can reach it. They will quickly learn how to use it.
- Never leave the grill unattended, as this is generally when accidents happen.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose nearby.
- Ensure that the grill is completely cooled before moving it or placing it back in storage.
- Ensure that the grill is only used on a flat surface that cannot burn, and well away from any shed, trees or shrubs.
- Clean out the grease and other debris in the grill periodically. Be sure to look for rust or other signs of deterioration.
- Don’t wear loose clothing that might catch fire while you’re cooking.
- Use long-handled barbecue tools and flame-resistant oven mitts.
- Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill; they are flammable!
Preparing for a Home Inspection
If you are selling your house, here are some ways to make your home inspection go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.
- Make sure the inspector has access, not only to the house, but also to the furnace, water heater and air- conditioning units (especially in closets, attics and crawlspaces).
- Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electric service, panels, water heaters, etc.
- Check to see that the garage is open and that any water heater, utility panel and shutoffs and resets for ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) within are accessible.
- Unlock areas the inspector must access, such as attic doors or hatches, electric service panels, closets, fence gates and crawlspaces.
- Ensure that all utility services are on, with gas pilot lights burning.
- Be sure pets won’t hinder the inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside. Tell your agent about any pets at home.
- Replace burned-out bulbs to avoid a “light did not operate” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
- Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as conditions conducive to wood-destroying insects.
- Trim tree limbs to 10 feet from the roof and shrubs to 1 foot from the house to allow access.
- Attend to broken or missing items such as doorknobs, locks and latches, windowpanes, screens and locks, and gutters, downspouts and chimney caps.
Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property, and will expedite your closing.
Charles Schiller Professional Home Inspector TREC #2717 512-639-9905
Prep Your Home Before Your Next Trip
Are you looking forward to a summer vacation? Before packing your bags and hitting the road, here’s a checklist to make sure your home will stay safe and secure until you get back.
Hold, Please: A pile of mail or newspapers on the front porch is like a sign that says, “We’re not home!” Make sure to put your newspapers and mail on hold, or ask a trusted neighbor to gather both for you.
Keep the Lawn Trimmed: Likewise, an overgrown lawn could signal to burglars that the home is temporarily empty. Consider scheduling lawn care while you’re away.
Keep the Lights On: Another way to deter would-be burglars is to install safety lights that have a motion sensor outdoors. Adding a programmable timer for indoor lights is another good idea.
Eyes on the Ground: Consider webcam options to monitor your home, or ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your place while you’re away. Make sure they have your contact information in case something goes wrong and they need to reach you.
Lock Up: Prior to your trip, check that all locking mechanisms function properly and repair any broken locks. Lock all doors, windows and openings like pet doors before you leave.
Unplug: Unplug energy vampires. Doing this will save energy and also help you relax, knowing you didn’t leave something on.
Temperature Control: Close curtains and blinds and adjust your thermostat to the desired temperature for your home while you’re away.
Enjoy your trip knowing that you’ve taken steps to keep your home secure and efficient until you’re back in town!
Thanks for your inspection referrals. To schedule an inspection call or text to 512-639-9905 or email email@example.com.
Have a great summer.
Professional TREC Inspector #2717
During the winter months with the use of fireplaces, candles and extension cords used for Christmas lights remember to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. With the added use of these heating and lighting devices these can put added stress on electrical and heating equipment which could cause fires and/or deplete the oxygen from living and sleeping areas. Be safe this Holiday Season by taking action now to test these safety devices. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year.
Great article to share about asbestos in homes. Highlight the link below to go to the article about Asbestos in the Home.
Schedule you home inpections today email your name, phone #, and address of the home you are buying to schedule your inspection today.
Gateway Inspections Inc
“Protecting Home Buyers For Over Twenty Years”
Charles Schiller President of Gateway Inspections Inc, a professional home inspection company licensed in Texas, is invited to talk about home inspections on the Hurdie Burke radio program.
We discuss things like issues found during home inspections, take a listen to the link below.
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Professional Inspector TREC #2717
Home Safety and GFCI Protected Outlets
As a licensed professional home inspector, I test electrical outlets every day during home inspections. Ground fault circuit interrupters or GFCI is an inexpensive electrical device that can either be installed in your electrical system or built into a power cord.
These devices are used to protect you from severe electrical shocks, burns and injuries by detecting ground faults.
A ground fault is an unintentional electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface. Ground faults most often occur when equipment is damaged or defective, such that live electrical parts are no longer adequately protected from unintended contact. If your body provides a path to the ground for this current, you could be burned, severely shocked or electrocuted.
Areas that GFCI protection should be in or around all wet areas such as:
Pools, hot tubs, and receptacles that are located:
- Kitchens and island cabinets
- Wet bars
- Laundry rooms/utility sinks
- Crawl spaces/basement
- Near pools or spas
Consider using a GFCI protected cord if you are using power equipment outdoors.
GFCI’s can be damaged by voltage surges from lightning, utility switching or simply for normal usage and there may be no outward evidence or damage. If they are not working properly, they are not protecting you from shock or electrocution.
GFCI receptacles should be tested once a month it takes no special equipment or devices to test the plugs. To test a GFCI:
- Push the RESET button
- Plug in a night –light or similar device
- The night –light should be ON
- Press the TEST button
- The night-light should turn OFF
- Push the RESET button again
- The night- light should turn back ON
- If the night-light did not turn off, the GFCI is not working properly.
Malfunctioning GFCI’s do not provide shock protection. I recommend having a licensed electrician check the GFCI and correct the problem if your GFCI is not working.
Many home injuries can be avoided each year by using and testing these devices.
Charles Schiller is a licensed professional home inspector in Texas TREC #2717 For over twenty four years and president of Gateway Inspections Inc. 512-639-9905 email: firstname.lastname@example.org For additional inspection articles and videos go to: http://www.roundrockhomeinspector.com Follow on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GatewayInspectionsInc
Summer Time Energy Saving Tip
Extremely hot summer months make living conditions uncomfortable and can really warm our houses even with the air conditioners working full time. Adding ceiling fans to your rooms can help your skin feel cooler than the thermostat setting and allow you to raise the thermostat setting perhaps a couple of degrees, saving you energy and money.
Just remember to turn those fans off in unoccupied rooms. Fans cool people not rooms; you are using energy by leaving the fans on if there isn’t anyone in the room.
Keep cool this summer and keep the fans operating.
Charles Schiller is Professional Home Inspector TREC #2717 servicing Texans for over twenty four years. 512-639-9905 for additional inspection articles and videos go to: www.roundrockhomeinspector.com Follow on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/GatewayInspectionsInc
Round Rock Home Inspector shares this video to show how important it is to make sure the temperature and pressure relief valve is functioning properly. If not it can be like a bomb going off in your house.
Round Rock Home Inspector can keep you from getting stuck with those unexpected post closing expenses! So don’t delay, schedule your home inspection today at 512-639-9905 or email email@example.com for a quote.
Professional Home Inspector TREC #2717