Posts Tagged ‘Austin Home Inspections’

Possible Issues With CSST Gas Line

1400LittleElmTr#1111CedarPark 019NOTE: Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST) is a yellow, flexible, metal gas tubing used to supply natural gas or propane to gas appliances and HVAC systems for both residential and commercial structures. Since 1990, CSST has been installed in millions of homes in the U.S. It has been shown that an indirect lightning strike near a structure in which CSST has been installed can cause an electrical surge to travel into the structure, perforating in the sidewall of the CSST as the energy arcs from one metallic system to another seeking ground. This arcing can ignite the pressurized gas leaking from the perforation and cause potentially significant fire. Properly bonding and grounded a CSST system can reduce the likelihood of electrical arcing due to an indirect lightning strike. While current manufacturing guidelines and gas fuel codes require direct bonding of newly installed CSST, many installations, particularly older installations, may not meet the current installation requirements.
The Texas State Fire Marshall, in conjunction with the National Association of State Fire Marshalls (NASFM), has launched a safety campaign in Texas to bring awareness as to the importance of properly bonding CSST. The campaign encourages property owners that are aware CSST has been installed on their property to contact a licensed electrical contractor to determine if the gas system is properly bonded. For further information regarding this safety campaign, please visit http://www.btfgaslinesafety.org/ I recommend consulting with the licensed electrician for proper bonding of gas lines and separation from other metallic systems. https://youtu.be/_kv0G4L3TVs

Keep Water Shut Off Valve Boxes Clean

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When you are awakened early that cold morning and you hear water running in the house and you realize that you have to shut the water off to the house and fast or the house is about to flood. You run out to the water meter or valve box and realize the valve is covered with 3 to 4 inches of cold mud. Then you franticlly find a tool to help clean out the mud knowing the longer you take to turn off the water the more water you will have to clean up.

My friends please don’t let this scenario come true. Keep the valve box clear of mud and debris. Mud can get washed into the valve shut off box during heavy rains. It’s easier to do it during some warm afternoon than some night during a cold storm.

Charles Schiller
Professional Inspector TREC #2717
512-639-9905

Under Sized Attic Appliance Work Platform

Having a sizeable work platform for service tech’s to easily access equipment in the attic is important. It will allow a technician to be able to efficiently work in front of the applicance without him being concerned he may fall through the attic. It should also result in a lower service bill. Make sure you have enough room, about 2′ wide, for your service professional to easily and safely service appliances in the attic.

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Christmas Electrical System

Learn how to stay safe during the winter holidays
The winter holiday season is traditionally a festive and eventful time of year. Celebrations, family gatherings and visits from house guests traditionally increase in number during the season.

Unfortunately, statistics show that incidents of home fires and electrical accidents typically increase during winter months. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 30 percent of home fire and 38 percent of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February.

There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risks of death and injury from a home fire this holiday season. It is critical that families keep fire safety in mind while enjoying this festive, exciting and extremely busy time of year.

Take steps to protect your family and home from holiday season fires.

Seasonal Fire Safety – There’s no place like home for the holidays and no better place to implement good fire safety practices.
Smoke Alarm Safety Tips – Smoke alarms save lives. Follow this simple guidance to ensure that your home is adequately protected by working, properly installed smoke alarms.
Space Heater Safety – As the temperature drops during the winter holiday season, many families turn to space heater to help warm their homes. Many are unaware, however, that the risk of fire from space heaters is much greater than from central heating equipment.
Holiday Cooking Safety – The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where families gather to cook favorite recipes, share warm meals, and reconnect with each other, especially during the holidays. Unfortunately, it’s also where two of every five reported home fires start.
Holiday Decorating Safety – While decorative lights and other electrical decorations add to the splendor of the season, they can increase the risks of fire and electrical injuries if not used safely.
Extension Cord Safety – While extension cords are a convenient way to supply power right where you need it for your holiday decorations, they can also create hazards if not used safely.
Counterfeit Electrical Products – Unlike fake handbags, watches, or designer apparel, counterfeit electrical products pose significant safety hazards. Follow these guidelines to help identify these counterfeits.
Holiday Safety

How To Prep Your Home For The Fall Market

Hello from Charles Schiller with Gateway Inspections Inc.  .

As the seasons change the way homes should be presented or staged may need to change to get the best desired results, sales.

Fall Selling Tips

  • Keep your lawn in shape. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should abandon your lawn. Patch up any brown spots in the grass, and keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking.
  • Get a fall garden. As your summer plants start to fade, replace them with vibrant mums or other colorful plants. Tasteful fall decorations, like pumpkins or tri-colored corn, can also add to your home’s curb appeal.
  • Get indoor fall decorations, too. Without breaking the bank, get a few fall-colored decorations, like inexpensive window treatments or seasonal dinnerware. Fresh decor will make your space seem current and well-maintained.
  • Repair outside lights. As the days get shorter, you may end up showing your home in the dark. Make sure your outdoor lights are clean and working — if they’re dirty or broken, buyers will get a bad feeling before they even come inside.
  • Keep exterior photos of your home up-to-date. If you listed your home in the summer, update your online photos with brand new fall shots. Pictures from the previous season make your listing seem dated.  HGTV.com

We here at Gateway Inspections Inc. appreciate all home inspection referrals. We serve all of the Georgetown, Round Rock, Austin and all central Texas areas.

We always encourage the client to be present during inspections or at least to meet with us at the end of the inspection.

Schedule a home inspection now by text, email or call.

Happy Fall Home Selling

Charles Schiller

Professional Inspector TREC #2717

TPREIA State Board Member

512-639-9905

schillercharles@gmail.com

How AFCI Breakers Function and Purpose

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard
Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are special types of electrical receptacles or outlets and circuit breakers designed to detect and respond to potentially dangerous electrical arcs in home branch wiring.
How do they work?
 
AFCIs function by monitoring the electrical waveform and promptly opening (interrupting) the circuit they serve if they detect changes in the wave pattern that are characteristic of a dangerous arc. They also must be capable of distinguishing safe, normal arcs, such as those created when a switch is turned on or a plug is pulled from a receptacle, from arcs that can cause fires. An AFCI can detect, recognize, and respond to very small changes in wave pattern.
What is an arc?
 
When an electric current crosses an air gap from an energized component to a grounded component, it produces a glowing plasma discharge known as an arc. For example, a bolt of lightening is a very large, powerful arc that crosses an atmospheric gap from an electrically charged cloud to the ground or another cloud. Just as lightning can cause fires, arcs produced by domestic wiring are capable of producing high levels of heat that can ignite their surroundings and lead to structure fires.
According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency for the year 2005, electrical fires damaged approximately 20,900 homes, killed 500 people, and cost $862 million in property damage. Although short-circuits and overloads account for many of these fires, arcs are responsible for the majority and are undetectable by traditional (non-AFCI) circuit breakers.
Where are arcs likely to form?
 
Arcs can form where wires are improperly installed or when insulation becomes damaged. In older homes, wire insulation tends to crystallize as it ages, becoming brittle and prone to cracking and chipping. Damaged insulation exposes the current-carrying wire to its surroundings, increasing the chances that an arc may occur.
Situations in which arcs may be created:

  • 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.
Where are AFCIs required?
 
Locations in which AFCIs are required depend on the building codes adopted by their jurisdiction.
The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) requires that AFCIs be installed within bedrooms in the following manner:

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:
  1. The arc-fault circuit interrupter is installed within 6 feet of the branch circuit overcurrent device as measured along the branch circuit conductors, and
  2. 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.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) offers the following guidelines concerning AFCI placement within bedrooms:
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.
Home inspectors should refrain from quoting exact code in their reports. A plaintiff’s attorney might suggest that code quotation means that the inspector was performing a code inspection and is therefore responsible for identifying all code violations in the home.  Some jurisdictions do not yet require their implementation in locations where they can be helpful.
What types of AFCIs are available?
AFCIs are available as circuit breakers for installation in the electrical distribution panel.

Nuisance Tripping

An AFCI might activate in situations that are not dangerous and create needless power shortages. This can be particularly annoying when an AFCI stalls power to a freezer or refrigerator, allowing its contents to spoil. There are a few procedures an electrical contractor can perform in order to reduce potential “nuisance tripping,” such as:
  • 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.
Arc Faults vs. Ground Faults
 
It is important to distinguish AFCI devices from Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) devices. GFCIs detect ground faults, which occur when current leaks from a hot (ungrounded) conductor to a grounded object as a result of a short-circuit. This situation can be hazardous when a person unintentionally becomes the current’s path to the ground. GFCIs function by constantly monitoring the current flow between hot and neutral (grounding) conductors, and activate when they sense a difference of 5 milliamps or more. Thus, GFCIs are intended to prevent personal injury due to electric shock, while AFCIs prevent personal injury and property damage due to structure fires.
In summary, AFCIs are designed to detect small arcs of electricity before they have a chance to lead to a structure fire.
NOTE: Changes to the 2014 NEC have added new locations for AFCI’s.
Charles Schiller Professional Inspector TREC #2717

Preparing for a Home Inspection

 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.

  1. 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).
  2. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electric service, panels, water heaters, etc.
  3. 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.
  4. Unlock areas the inspector must access, such as attic doors or hatches, electric service panels, closets, fence gates and crawlspaces.
  5. Ensure that all utility services are on, with gas pilot lights burning.
  6. 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.
  7. Replace burned-out bulbs to avoid a “light did not operate” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
  8. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as conditions conducive to wood-destroying insects.
  9. Trim tree limbs to 10 feet from the roof and shrubs to 1 foot from the house to allow access.
  10. 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

 

 

Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors During Winter Season

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.

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Test smoke detectors

How Much Should You Worry About Asbestos in the Home?

Great article to share about asbestos in homes. Highlight the link below to go to the article about Asbestos in the Home.

http://www.energyvanguard.com/blog-building-science-HERS-BPI/bid/77014/how-much-should-you-worry-about-asbestos-in-the-home?source=Blog_Email_[How%20Much%20Should%20You%20]

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”

Home Inspector Does Radio Show

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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Charles Schiller

Professional Inspector TREC #2717