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    Close but no Cigar- Wiring breakers

     

    Wenatchee Home and Real Estate Inspection Services.

     

    Close is good in many things in life, from horseshoes to hand grenades. Getting 99 out of a 100 questions right on a test will probably get you accolades.

     

    But when it comes to electrical wiring close may not be good enough.

     

    Okay what I am going to discuss is not a huge deal and is an easy fix. But the issue is if you have not properly install the wiring you run the risk of having a bad connection. This in turn can lead to resistance on the wires which lead to heat. Heat is the number one enemy of the wiring system.

     

    So here are several examples of someone getting it almost right… but not quite right. Now it must also be noted that these Square-D breakers are designed to have two wires installed on a lug. Square-D and Cutler Hammer have breakers that allow this.  See article-Double lugging Breakers

     

    Example one- We have the Square D breaker that allows two wires but they are both on the same side of the wire clamp, this is not correct.

     

    Improper Wiring of Square D Breaker

                                                                           (second from the right)

    Example two- We have wires on both sides but they did not get the clamp down squarely so the connection is not proper.

     

     

    Misaligned wire clamp

     

                                                                                (Bottom Lug)

     

    Now in both of these examples it is a very easy correction. The issue is if these two circuits come under a heavy load these connections may start to heat up potentially cause damage to the wires and breakers and in a worst case scenario cause a fire. So making these corrections needs to be performed.

     

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Creativity will not go unnoticed- Chimney repairs East Wenatchee Home Inspection Services

     

    It is one of the items that is so common… it is a Chimney without a rain cap.

     

    Chimneys should have a proper rain cap to protect the flue from moisture and animal entry. Chimneys are exposed to the element 24/7, and like many items need maintenance and protection from the ravages of Mother Nature.

     

    Chimney Rain Cap East Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    So it was not wasted on this home inspector that sometimes creativity will not go unnoticed. Here we have a homeowner who obviously saw the need for proper protection of their chimney.

     

    So what does anyone do when you have a need and posses some “out of the box thinking skills”? You find a creative solution to the problem at hand.

     

    So imagine this homeowner, he/she looks up see what is happening to their chimney and says to him/herself…  I need to fix this. Hey I have this old appliance that has a door, and I have some metal brackets, yep I have a solution!

     

     

    Chimney Rain Cap- Douglas County Home Inspection

     

     

    Creative Chimney Rain Cap

     

    So we have it, a creative solution. It did not quite come quick enough but this creativity will not go unnoticed.

     

    “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

    Edward de Bono

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                               509-670-9572

     


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    We are so alike yet we are Dissimilar, Copper and Aluminum wires. Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    Ah the things we will see during a home inspection.

     

    Here we have another one of those things that you must be aware, terminating copper and aluminum conductors under a common lug or commonly called double lugged or even more commonly called double tapped.

     

    Copper and aluminum are considered dissimilar metals and as such special precautions must be adhered to. They should not touch.

     

    A bunch of lugs

     

    Conductors of dissimilar metals must not be intermixed in a terminal or splicing connector where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors.

     

    This must be performed in a device (lug/splice) that is identified for this purpose and conditions of use.

     

    So here we have a double lug with copper and aluminum conductors in full contact.

     

     

                                         

     

    NEC section 110-14(a) states- In general conductors must terminate in a proper manner. The terminals must be rated for the conductor material, copper and aluminum cannot be mixed, inhibitors and compounds must be identified for the conductors, and termination's must be torque according to the manufacturer's instruction [110-3(b)]. Naturally the termination's must be tight, and only one conductor is permitted under a terminal unless the terminal is identified otherwise.

     

    From the Washington State Labor and Industries which oversees the Electrical Code in Washington State.

     

    -Don’t mix copper and aluminum conductors in the same terminal or splicing connector unless it is listed for the purpose.

    -Use lugs rated for copper if using copper conductors and aluminum rated lugs for aluminum conductors.

    -When multiple terminations are made under one lug the terminal must be rated for the combination of multiple conductors used.

     

    So we can see that unless this has been done with a proper it is not proper and is a safety issue and a code issue. But home inspectors are not code inspectors… or are we?

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572

     


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    Can I run with you? Wires in service entrance conduit/mast.

     

    Chelan Home and Real Estate Inspections

     

    Rules, rules, did I say rules?

     

      Know the Rules Chelan Home Inspection

    Sometimes you have to wonder about things. As home inspectors we are paid professional observers. We observe and then we write. I am also a professional wonderer.

     

    The most important observations we make concerns safety and it makes me wonder. This is really what most of the rules are all about.

     

    So often when performing a home inspection I see items that are potentially safety issues. The problem is like many things safety issues may never really materialize.

     

    It is like driving without your seatbelt on. Unless other things go very wrong not wearing your seat belt will never have a negative effect and it is easier.

     

    So here is a case from a home inspection.  We have the overhead service entrance conductors coming into the home through the conduit, or raceway as defined by the codes.

     

    In addition we have some branch conductors in the same conduit running out to an outlet (I mean outlet in the technical term of such- A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment).

     

    Branch circuit in service entrance conduit Wenatchee Real Estate

         (I know there are other issues here this is for the example)

    Rules, rules and more rules... per NEC 230.7 Other Conductors in Raceway or Cable.  Conductors other than service conductors shall not be installed in the same service raceway or service cable.

     

    Well here is the main issue with this situation. The service conductors coming into the home do not have any overcurrent protection i.e. circuit breaker or fuse. If something goes wrong then the potential amount of current that could be imposed on these branch circuit conductors will be much higher than what that wiring is capable of handling. This can be a very bad situation.

     

    In reality this situation most likely will not happen, but rules are rules and you do not get to run branch conductors with the service entrance conductors, nor should you run with scissors. Where are all of those one eyed children anyway?

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    If the shoe fits- PVC plumbing for your water supply Chelan Home Inspection Services

     

    Homeowners can be a creative bunch at times.

     

    Here we have another example of creativity that may just not be quite right.

     

    During this home inspection I find a water supply piping that is just not quite right. Any piping that is used for your water supply needs to be rated and listed for that use.

     

    Listed water distribution pipe materials Chelan Home Inspection

                                                    ( I do not see electrical conduit listed here ;)

    This homeowner needed to get some water supply piping to a bathroom.  In that mind set of “waste not want not” why not just use some of this perfectly fine conduit and connect it to the supply lines. Hey they fit together rather nicely, the shoe fits. Get some good PVC glue and you are all set.

     

    Electrical Conduit as supply lines Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    Now electrical conduit is not rated or listed for potable water and who knows what chemical could be leaching out into the water supply.

     

    So though it is getting water from point A to point B it is just not right.  Time for a real plumber to come in and make it all right!

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Go with the flow-  Drainage pipes

     

    Now when it come to reduction, if it is my waistline I am all for it.  But some things are not meant to be reduced.

     

     

    Plumbing reducer Chelan Home Inspections

     

    Here we have a drain coming out and then attaching to the trap. If you look closely you will see there actually is a reducer installed.  

     

    Oh oh… this is not my waistline and since it is a drain you cannot reduce the drain line in the direction of flow. There is a good reason for this. If the flow amount exceeds the drain size then you can get a back up and then it can overflow.

     

    Improper use of reducer Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    Even if this was not a problem then there is this little thing called code. I know we are not code inspectors but knowing this is not right you have to say something.

     

    From the 2008 IRC (International Residential Code)

     

    P3005.4 Drain pipe sizing. (IPC 704.2)

    Drain pipes shall be sized according to drainage fixture unit (d.f.u.) loads. The size of the drainage piping shall not be reduced in size in the direction of flow.

     

    So there we have it. It is not right and should be corrected. I think it is time to call in your local plumbing contractor and have it done right.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572

     


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    Are you a flip flopper? Zinsco Breaker and Bus Design Wenatchee and Chelan Building Inspection

     

    Well if you have been following me you know that I am not a big fan of the Zinsco panels and breakers.

     

    I have many reasons for this, one is it may just burn your house down. I know that seems a little strong but hey I did not design these things. And when you have a garbage design, I get to say so!

     

    When I see a Zinsco panel during a home inspection I let my clients know that in my professional opinion that they should have it replaced.

     

    So I thought I would talk about one of the brilliant design features of the Zinsco panel.

     

    Cutler Hammer Load center Wenatchee Building Inspection

     

    If you look at the bus design of the more popular Square D and Cutler Hammer panels the buses zig-zag so that when you put breakers in the breakers that are side by side are on different legs of the service.

     

    Square D Service Panel Chelan Building Inspection

     

    This achieves two things. The breaker can be designed in a uniform manner and the inherent design of the bus will ensure that the breakers cannot be loaded on the same bus.

     

    But with the Zinsco breaker you have to go in and flip flop the bus clip to ensure that the breaker is on one leg versus the other. If you do not do this then you could have a bunch of breakers on one leg next to each other. Then they could start to heat up and overload that bus/leg.  In addition you have clip that better be tighten or you can have another point of failure.

                                        Zinsco Breaker Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    Here is an example of two Zinsco breakers showing how the clips need to be to ensure that they are landing on opposite buses when next to each other.

     

    Zinsco Panel Chelan Home Inspection

     

     

    So if you are not a good flip flopper you could be in for trouble.

     

    The best thing to do is just replace the panel and then you do not have to worry about it.

     

     

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572

     


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    Free Free Free… Ductwork Inspection and repair for manufactured homes in Chelan County.

     

    Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

     

    As a home inspector in Chelan County I often find ductwork that is in need of repair in manufactured homes.  Here you can get a free inspection of your ductwork if you have an electric forced-air furnaces or heat pumps.

     

    Ductwork damage

     

    It is estimated that 30 percent of the conditioned air is lost into the crawlspace of a manufactured home.

     

    Chelan County PUD has arranged a contractor, e-Star Northwest, to perform duct inspections. If you are interested in this service call and schedule an appointment at (509) 860-5045.

     

    The services include:

     

    • Testing your ductwork using the latest pressure diagnostic equipment and technology.

    • Sealing air leaks in your ductwork.

    • Inspecting and sealing crossover duct and connections, and replacing if necessary.

     

    There is no fee to replace leaky or damaged crossovers.

     

    http://lightly.chelanpud.org/index.php/2013/04/01/free-duct-sealing-for-manufactured-homes/

     

    If you have any issues with this service contact Chelan PUD and E-Star.

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Even a home inspector is not immune- Dryer Ducts Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    Well I purchased a new home just about a year ago. So trying to be a good homeowner (like I tell all my clients) you need to clean your dryer ducts.  I had a local company Clean Connection come to my home to clean my dryer duct. These guys are great and I highly recommend them in the Wenatchee Valley.

     

    Clean Connection Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    Now my laundry room is located smack in the middle of my home so this will be fun.

     

    So we turn on the dryer and see that we are not getting much airflow. They get their gear going and send their jet into the dryer duct and we see not much is coming out. Then the technician goes I think your duct is apart.  He can tell by the sound and feel that the jet is making.

     

    Okay… crap. My dryer duct goes through an all finished space. So now it is time to try to locate where the dryer duct is disconnected. We can hear the jet in the duct chase so I get out my handy dandy drywall saw and cut a hole, perfect it was not the right chase.  So now I go to the next chase and cut a hole and sure enough the duct elbow falls out when I pull the insulation back.

     

    A new hole to patch Wenatchee Home InspectionDuct and Insulation Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    So here you can see the insulation that has been filtering dryer lint for who knows how long.

     

    You can also see that the duct was never taped, really you install a duct in a chase and do not tape the joints… idiots!!!! I will not even go into the code here. Luckily there was no other damage such as rot.

     

     

      Joist bay under dryer Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    So the moral of the story is that even a home inspector cannot see everything, even on his own home and sometimes it is not till you go to do maintenance will you find out that you have an issue. This is part of being a homeowner.

     

    And if you are in the Wenatchee Valley call Clean Connection for your duct and carpet cleaning.  509.663.9562, http://www.yourcleanconnection.com/.



    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    My foundation gently weeps- Waterproofing versus dampproofing

     

    Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

     

    Water intrusion in foundation walls can be minor or major. There are a lot of factors involved.  As a home inspector and structural pest inspector I take any water intrusion seriously. This is one of the main culprits that leads to fungal and insect issues.

     

    Most foundation walls in the North Central Washington only need dampproofing.

     

    Dampproofing Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    The IRC R406.1 states Concrete and masonry foundation dampproofing.

    Except where required by Section R406.2 to be waterproofed, foundation walls that retain earth and enclose interior spaces and floors below grade shall be dampproofed from the top of the footing to the finished grade. Masonry walls shall have not less than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) portland cement parging applied to the exterior of the wall.

     

    Dampproofing is usually asphalt-based coating that is either sprayed on or hand applied to the outside of the wall. Often when doing evaluating the home you will see a black line just above the grade line indicating that the foundation has a coating.

     

    This is not a perfect indicator though. There are dampproofing coatings that are grey or clear that may have been applied so you have to be careful jumping to a conclusion.

     

    Here is just one example-http://www.decoproducts.com/Deco20PenetratingConcreteSealer.html

     

    A very common issue with most of the damp proof coatings is their inability to seal larger cracks and holes created by foundation ties.

     

    Weeping Foundation Wenatchee home Inspection

     

    When water intrusion is evident in crawlspaces or basements most often it will come down to water management on the exterior of the home. This includes grading, roof storm drainage control and irrigation control.

     

    So if your foundation is gently weeping you will need to evaluate and manage surface water conditions.

     

    As George says “With every mistake we must surely be learning, still my (guitar) foundation gently weeps.”

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                               509-670-9572


    0 0

    The Gates of “ ”… Valves Wenatchee Real Estate Inspections

     

    I can almost guarantee that if the home is 30 years older or more that most of the shut off valves in the home are gate valves. These are the most common shut off valves I find in homes.

     

    You will find them at your water heater, main home shut off and various other places. The problem with these valves is over time they quit working properly. The metals may corrode or build up with sediment and they just will not function as intended. Not a good thing if you are trying to shut off the water. Another issue is that these valves also known to lose their seal and will start to leak at the stem.

     

    So the two main types of water valves you are most likely to see in your home are the gate valve and the ball valve. The gate valve is recognized by its round handle that must be turned a number of times to open or close the valve. The ball valve is recognized by its single handle that needs to be turned ¼ turn or 90 degrees, to turn the water on or off.

    Gate Valve Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    It is said that in the 1860's, a man named Chapman, while chopping wood one day, looked at the shape of the axe head and invented the solid wedge type gate valve as we know it today.

     

    Ball Valve Wenatchee Real Estate

     

    Now for the ball valve, the first spherical ball-type valve was patented in 1871 but was never in any wide use. Ball valves as we know it were invented in mid to late 1940’s. This was made possible by the availability of some of the newly created polymers of the 20th century. Although PTFE was invented in 1928, its widespread use in an industrial setting did not come till the middle of the century.

     

    Another issue is that gate valves really should be opened and closed periodically to ensure they are working but we all know that is not going to happen.

     

    Leaking gate valve Wenatchee home inspections

     

     

    For us as homeowners (and home inspectors) we most likely will need to replace these older gate valves as part of a good preventative maintenance program.

     

    My little foray with the gate valve happened a few years back when I went to replace a toilet. I turn off the valve to the toilet only to have it start leaking. Then I go to the main shut off valve and turn its handle only to have it shoot across the room and water was spewing water into my basement. Luckily we had a meter key to shut off the water at the main.

     

    So the moral of the story is that maintenance is part of home ownership and these common little devices can create big problems if not properly maintained.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Too hot to handle- Hot water circulation pumps                 Chelan Real Estate Inspections

     

    Well as always when it comes to home inspection that I see things in streaks. This month’s home inspection streak is about circulation pumps for the hot water systems. These domestic hot water circulation pumps are great in big homes with log runs to get hot water to a fixture in a timely manner versus running water for a minute or two to water. That is just way too much time in our fast paced world and it does waste a good deal of water.

     

    EPA guide on hot water system design-Watersense

     

    Circulation Pump layout example Wenatchee Real Estate

     

    So onto the story, I was just talking to a contractor recently and he had an incident with a circulation pump that made me think more about these.

     

    The incident was that he got a call due to a smoke alarm from one of his clients. When he arrived at the home he found it filled with smoke. The culprit was a circulation pump that burned up, literally.

     

    I have used these before on my hydronic radiant heat system. And I have noticed that these pumps run pretty warm… hot, as you would expect when you are running hot water through them, but what is too warm? Well as I did some research I found that most of the manufacturers state that the pumps are good up to 230 degrees which is very hot.

     

    Circulation pump with timer  Chelan Real Estate

     

    It turns out a major issue with these circulation pumps whether it is for a domestic hot water circulation or hydronics is that they need to be properly sized for the application. This seems to be the number one killer of these pumps.

     

    Most of these hot water recirculation systems are most commonly activated by either a thermostat or a timer. Systems that use a thermostat or timer automatically turn the pump on whenever the water temperature drops below a setpoint, or when the timer reaches a certain setting.

     

    So now to my story… I just performed an inspection on a vacant home that has been winterized. So we get the water restored and I start my plumbing inspection. I get to the water heater and we do not turn it on because of obvious flame roll out on the water heater. But I check the circulation pump and it is hot, very hot, and it is circulating cool water. This I know cannot be right.  

     

    Over Heated Circulation Pump Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

     

     

    It has been running ever since the water has been turned off. This is not very good for these pumps. Recirculation pumps should be powered off anytime the home’s main water supply is shut off.  Obviously the company that did the winterizing had missed this.

     

    So now I will have these guys on my radar during inspection to see what temperatures they are running at. If they exceed the temperature rating it is time for further evaluation and/or replacement.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


    0 0

    Wired for destruction- Multi-wire branch circuits and tandem breakers Wenatchee Home Inspection Services

     

    I have written about Multi-wire branch circuits before and I am not a big fan of this in residential settings. Link from Mike Holt-  Understanding the Dangers of Multiwire Branch Circuits

     

    But I wanted to use an example of one issue with these circuits that came up on a recent home inspection. This was an installation in a garage/shop.

     

    Here we have Multi-wire branch circuit; this is a circuit with two or more hot conductors sharing a common neutral (grounded conductor).

     

    Circuit Breakers Chelan Home Inspection

     

    But here is the danger… in this example the multi- wire circuit is on a tandem breaker. The majority of the time, not always, these tandem breakers sit on the same leg of the electrical service. This means when you put a load on both hot conductors the load that is on the neutral is cumulative versus canceling.  This can lead to overloading the neutral and a serious potential for a fire.

     

    Multiwire branch circuit on tandem breaker Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    In a normal two pole multi-wire branch circuit the hot conductors will be on opposing legs that are out of phase of each other and the potential load on the neutral will be the difference between the two loads.  Example- Load “A” has 7 amps and load “B” has 5 amps the load on the neutral in this scenario would be 2 amps (7-5=2), simple enough.

     

    Now it is time to do a little math for this example in a fictional shop environment.

     

    So let’s say you have a somewhat typical 30 gallon air compressor, for this example it has a 5 HP start load and 2 hp continuous load. 1-HP equals about 746 watts, so if we have 2 hp x 746 watts on a 120 v circuit you have a little over 12 amps of load.

     

    Now we have a 3hp table saw the 120v amperage is probably pulling 15-18 amps or better. We will use 18amps for this equation. Add few lights, 4 100w bulbs equals a little over 3 amps.

     

    So the math looks like this, 12 + 18 + 3= 33 amps on the neutral of this 20 amp circuit and you will start to heat the neutral wire up. Now given this maybe not for extended periods of time but you could have several things going at once and you could really cause the neutral to get overloaded for extended periods of time.  Plus it is just not right and if you happened to lose the neutral all together pop goes the weasel!

     

    “Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”

    George S. Patton

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Bootleggers and Boondoggles- Stealing electricity Kittitas Home Inspection Services

     

    Desperate times will make some take desperate actions.

     

    I was on an inspection a little while back. The homeowner was being evicted for unpaid mortgage. This was a bit of a special case because the note was being held by the previous owners on a private contract.

     

    I was brought in to make an assessment of the current condition of the property since the note holder was from out of town.

     

    The current resident had resorted to camping in the home, literally. But that is another story.

     

    Electrical meter that has been tampered with. Kittitas Home Inspection

     

    The big issue here was that the meter had been compromised and bypassed.  Electricity theft is an ongoing problem for all electricity providers. If caught this is punishable by jail time, a fine or both in the United States.  With many of the meters being recorded remotely there may be more opportunity in some areas for utility theft.

     

    The other more important issue is that tampering with live electricity inside a meter is not only very dangerous it could result in a fire, shock or even death. This is a concern for the utility staff because they can be injured when later repairing the meter.

     

    This incident was reported by the Agent with me and will be taken care of but is a reminder of when inspecting homes that care must be taken for one’s own safety.

     

    “Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”

    George S. Patton

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Shaving to keep cool- Cedar insulation. Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    It is not too uncommon in the Wenatchee Valley when looking at homes from the 1920's that I found some insulation that we will not see today. It is a cellulose insulation just not the modern version of it.

     

    Wenatchee Home Inspector- Cedar Insulation

     

    Here is some insulation from that era, Cedar wood shavings. Older homes have been known to use a variety of different materials such as newspaper, corn cobs, horse hair, rock wool and even seaweed, I have never seen it but if you live in a coastal region it may be there. And of course sometimes there is nothing at all.

     

    Wenatchee Home Inspector-Wood Shavings

     

    Wood shavings and sawdust have a long standing use in the early days for ice houses.

     

    Ice House With Saw Duct Insulation Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    There have been some more recent studies on the use of wood byproducts as insulation materials. What is old is new again.

     

    When thinking about buying an older home you must be ready to make some choices. Many of these older homes will need updating in basic components such as insulation, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. But you will get a home that has character and charm. These homes may not be for everyone.

     

    Wenatchee home inspections and home inspecting in general can be a fun journey into the building practices of the bygone days.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Baseboard Heating and Receptacle placement.                                     Chelan Home Inspection

     

    In the land of hydropower it is common to find many variations of electric heat, from radiant ceilings to wall heater to those lovely baseboard heaters.

     

    The most common heating and cooling is electric forced air with either a heat pump or AC unit.

     

    Another pretty common heating component is the electric baseboard heater. There are some nice advantages to them. They are quite, easy to install and relatively cheap to purchase.

     

    Another advantage is that you can easily adjust each zone to fit your needs. If you have a room you don’t use often you can just leave that heater off. You only have to turn on the heaters in the rooms you are in and you can adjust the heat accordingly.

     

     

                     Receptacles over baseboard Wenatchee Home Inspection

                                            

     

    But they have an issue that is very common to them… receptacles!  All too often I find receptacle over baseboard heaters or the room will not have proper receptacle spacing.

     

                          Receptacle placement Chelan Home Inspection

     

    This is a problem.  There are ways to correct this issue, one way is that some baseboard heaters come have an option to add a receptacle to the heating unit.

     

    Baseboard Heater Receptacle Chelan Home Inspection                                Baseboard Heater with Receptacles  Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

    Another is maybe using smaller units that will allow receptacles outside the ends. Electric baseboard heaters use around 250 watts of power for every foot in length. In older homes with less insulation will need about 10 watts to heat each square foot. Newer homes with better insulation values will only need about 6 watts per square foot.

     

    So in a 100-square (10x10) foot room that is part of an older home, the baseboard heater will be approximately 5 feet long. In a newer home, it will be about 3 feet long.

     

    Remember we want to always minimize the need to for extension cords, they are only for temporary power and we do not want cords over the baseboard heaters

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    The edge of despair- Rake Flashings Chelan and Quincy Home Inspections

     

    I come to notice an issue with metal roof installations.  Actually more exactly exposed fastener metal roof installations.

     

    There are two basic metal roof, exposed fastener and standing seam. The later being the higher grade and more expensive roof.

     

    Exposed Fastener Roof  Chelan Home Inspection

     

    With an exposed fastener roof it is what it states, all the fasteners are visible.

     

    With standing seam you should only see fasteners at edges and few other areas. There are various styles of standing seam metal roof systems but they all have a common mechanism.

     

    Standing Seam Roof Quincy Home Inspection

     

    The raised seam is typically fastened down to the roof deck with hidden clips or fasteners and the next panel seam will clip over the previous panel. So you will not see fasteners in the field.

     

    But with all metal roofs there are specific flashing details that need to be performed and this is where I see the issues.

     

    With exposed fastener roofs being usually cheaper to purchase it usually installed by people looking to save money on the roof yet want a long durable roof. In the pursuit to save they leave out very important detail... flashings. More importantly the edge flashing called a rake or barge flashing. The rake flashing protects the edge from water and wind.

     

    Missing Rack Flashing  Quincy Home Inspection

     

    Here is an example of no rake flashing causing the sheeting to deteriorate.

     

    roof deterioration from missing flashings Quincy Home Inspection

     

    By properly  installing all flashings the roof will last longer.

     

    Rake Flashing Detail Chelan Home Inspection

     

    Proper installation and best practices may cost a bit more in the beginning but it will save you money in the long run.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    I am not venting, really I am not. Venting fixtures.   Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspections

     

    The plumbing vent is so simple yet so misunderstood.

     

    The advent of the residential vent theory actually goes back to the late 1800’s in New York City. This is when indoor residential plumbing really took off for those who could afford it.

     

     

    Vintage plumbing system Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    One problem that arose in those early residential plumbing systems was that the traps were losing their seals due to being siphoned and from back pressure conditions. This left that wonderful odorous aroma in some very wealthy people’s homes (they were the ones who could afford this luxury). Not a good thing for those early plumbers who wanted to make their mark in the new field of indoor residential plumbing. Their job literally stunk.

     

    So it was in 1874 at a Master Plumbers conference in New York these plumbers discussed this issue and came up with the venting theory that the air pressure in the drain and at a the fixture had to be the same. They tested this theory and low and behold the modern principle of venting the plumbing system was born.

     

    Now these wealthy patrons of New York could do their business indoors and not make a stink of it.

     

    So during a recent home inspection of a home from the 1940’s I find that there had been some upgrades to the plumbing system. When they put in the new laundry area and there was no vent close. The nearest vent (the only vent) was over 15 feet way. For a 2” line it should not be more than 8 feet away.

     

    Missing vent for laundry Chelan Home Inspections

     

     

    Vent Distances  Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

     

    Also there was no vent for the kitchen sink, minor detail…right.

     

     

     

    No vent on kitchen sink Wenatchee Home InspectionNo vent Here Chelan Real Estate Inspections

     

    So if you do not want you friends and neighbors to think you stink (that would not be civilized) you will need to properly vent.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572

     


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    We need a Home Run, no it better be two… SABC

     

    Wenatchee and Chelan Real Estate Inspections

     

     

                                                            We need a home run  Wenatchee Home Inspection

    Ah the land of home inspections is so much fun… it really is. I love to learn and think about this profession I now enjoy.

     

    I also love history, so some of these items that we evaluate when performing home inspection are curious to me.

     

    First a little terminology in the electrical world;

     

    Home Run- Home Run refers to the main line that runs from the electrical service panel to the first device in an electrical circuit. (A wire that runs from the panel that is not shared by another circuit)

    SABC- This is an acronym for Small Appliance Branch Circuit. (Circuits dedicated for appliances in the kitchen i.e. toasters, food processers, coffee pots etc…)

     

    Outlet- A point on the wiring system at which current is taken to supply utilization equipment. (An outlet can be a receptacle, a light, a fan, smoke detector etc…)

     

    So during a recent home inspection of a lovely log home I ran into a puzzling issue. The kitchen counter top was served by only one 15 amp circuit. Now I was given a clue because the owner said they were tripping the circuit breaker when running the coffee pot and toaster at the same time. They even marked the circuit breaker in the panel because it tripped often (Sure made my job easier ;).

     

    15 amp breaker on SABC Chelan Home Inspection

                                                                              (breaker marked with green tape)

    This is the very reason why the rules for kitchens SABC are there. With our modern kitchen appliances you need two or more circuits to service kitchen counters top receptacles.

     

     

    Receptacles needed for a kitchen  Wenatchee Home Inspection

     

     

    So I got to thinking (ouch), when did this rule come into play? I just always assumed that it was for a long while, at least the 60’s.

     

    So I did a little research and this is what I came up with (if anyone has an earlier reference please let me know).

     

    From the NEC (National Electrical Code)

    From the 1959 NEC code cycle

    Article 220-3 b Receptacle Circuits, Dwelling Occupancies

    For the small appliance load in kitchen, laundry, pantry, dining room and breakfast room of dwelling occupancies, two or more 20 ampere branch circuits in addition to the branch circuits specified in Paragraph 220-3 (a or b) shall be provided for all receptacle outlets (other than outlets for clocks) in these rooms, and such circuits shall have no other outlets.

     

    From the 1965 NEC code cycle

    Article 220-3 (b) Receptacle circuits, Dwelling Occupancies

    For the small appliance load in kitchen, laundry, pantry, family room, dining room and breakfast room of dwelling occupancies, two or more 20 ampere branch circuits in addition to the branch circuits specified in Section 220-3(a) shall be provided for all receptacle outlets in these rooms, and such circuits shall have no other outlets.

     

    So this goes back to the 1959 code cycle which I found interesting.

     

    A very important detail in this is- “such circuits shall have no other outlets.” This means no lights, or other type of outlets can be used on these dedicated circuits (there is an exception for a refrigerator).

     

    So now we have it there needs to be two small appliance circuits installed in the kitchen and they need to be 20 amp circuits.

     

    I know I would blow a fuse if my coffee pot pops a breaker, this is just not acceptable in my world of being a java junkie. Time for Sparky to come to the rescue!

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    A Wonderful World… on the road of a home inspector.

     

    I thought I would take this time to reflect on some of the beautiful landscapes I get to enjoy when traveling the back roads of Eastern Washington.

     

    Here are several photos-

     

    From a home inspection by Lake Chelan. Not bad to wake up to this every morning.

                                            Lake Chelan Home Inspection

    This was on my way to a home inspection in Coulee City, Banks Lake.

     

    Banks Lake, Coulee City Home Inspection

     

    Here is from a few home inspections in Okanogan County around the Winthrop area.

     

    Home Inspection by Sun Mountain Lodge

     

    North Cascades- Winthrop Home Inspection

     

    From a home inspections by Winthrop and Mazama.

     

    Outside of Mazama Home Inspection

     

    Methow Valley, Winthrop Home Inspection

     

     

    This is from a home inspection on the Waterville Plateau

     

                       Waterville Plateau by Mansfield Home Inspections

     

    Sometimes the journey is really worth it. This is often my working environment. Gotta love Eastern Washington.

     

    “We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we've established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”

    Earl Nightingale

     

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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