Goodman Recalls Gas-fired Furnaces

goodman unitGoodman recalls furnaces due to electrical shock hazard.
This recall involves 80% efficiency gas-fired furnaces sold under the Goodman, Amana and Daikin brand names used with home heating and cooling systems. Contact Goodman for a free repair.

See if your furnace is included in this recall: https://cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Goodman-Recalls-Furnaces

Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home and appliances.

Canada: gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector
United States: npiweb.com/FindAnInspector

Garbage Disposal Recall

Barracuda 681-4001Anaheim and Moen recall their garbage disposals due to impact hazard.
If you own a 3/4 or 1 horsepower disposal in any of the brand names in the link below you should immediately stop using the recalled garbage disposals and contact Anaheim Manufacturing to arrange for a free replacement disposal to be installed at no cost to you.

See if your disposal is included in this recall: https://cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/Anaheim-and-Moen-Recall-Garbage-Disposals


Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home and appliances.

Canada: gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector
United States: npiweb.com/FindAnInspector

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Assessing Your Property Taxes

Property Taxes

By Jon McCreath, NPI Property Inspector, Emerson, Georgia

In the last few years, most property taxes have risen in step with the increase in home values. But it never hurts to find out if your taxes are higher than they should be. Getting them reduced is a chore that’s worth the effort.

* First, look for errors that may be inflating the value of your house. Check the list of factors used to come up with your assessment on the property record card, which is kept at your assessor’s office. Look for obvious errors, such as the incorrect square footage or the wrong number of bathrooms.

* Because many appraisals are done on a drive-by basis, the assessor may have overlooked defects that could lower your tax bill, such as a wet basement or cracked walls. If you can show that the assessment was based on erroneous information, you may be able to get your tax bill reduced without going through the appeals process.

* Check out similar properties. Talk to your neighbors or property owners to see whether their tax bills went up as much as yours did. The homes you check should be of similar size and age as your own. If your assessment is considerably larger than theirs, you have a good shot at winning an appeal.

* Some localities base assessments on the cost of a home replacement plus the value of the land. An amount for depreciation is subtracted. Others use recent sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood. You might be able to challenge the assessment by doing your own research. A real estate agent could provide recent sales prices for comparable properties.

* Check to see if the assessor credited you with all the property tax relief available to you, including credits for senior citizens and veterans, or any local benefits.

 

McCreath PhotoJon McCreath is a professional National Property Inspections home inspector in northwest Georgia.
If you live in the area, call 404.426.3661 to schedule your home inspection with Jon.
NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home.
Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

Canada: gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector
United States: npiweb.com/FindAnInspector

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Understanding your home inspection report

 Submitted by Randy Yates, Technical Supervisor and Technical Training Administrator, NPI/GPI Corporate

Couple in house + inspection reportYou’ve had your home inspection and now you have the report in your hands. What to do with it? You’ll definitely want to check out the summary, but that shouldn’t be the only part you read. The importance of including the comment “The summary is not the entire report” is that in a real estate transaction, typically the Realtor only wants the summary page because it contains all items the inspector rated defective or requiring repair. But that shouldn’t be the only part you’re interested in.

The defects section is crucial in the sale of a house, as it will be used to either negotiate or renegotiate the sale of the property. Nevertheless, the entire report needs to be read. There could be items of interest that may not, in the inspector’s opinion, require repair or replacement but rather maintenance — such as cleaning gutters or touching up paint. For this reason, to get a clear view of the entire house, home buyers should read the entire inspection report, not just the summary section.

In addition, you should make sure to hold on to your home’s inspection report and keep it in a handy, accessible spot. It will serve as a reminder of do-it-yourself projects that you need to work on, as well as home maintenance projects you’ll want to do.

 

Yates PhotoWith more than 10 years of experience in his current position and over 30 years of experience in remodeling and contracting, Randy Yates provides technical training to new NPI/GPI inspectors and provides field support to all NPI/GPI inspectors.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home from roof to foundation. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for your next home inspection.

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The Scariest Thing About a Home Inspection

By Tim Shuford, NPI Franchise Owner, Jamestown, North Carolina

Inspecting homesFrom this home inspector’s perspective, one of the scariest things about many home inspections is what I can’t see.  As you probably know, a home inspection is a “non-invasive” inspection of readily-accessible components and systems.  That means that the things hidden inside walls or other inaccessible areas are not inspected.  If a home inspector had X-ray vision or some other super-power, I feel sure that inspection reports would list a lot more areas of concern.  Here are a three “real life” examples of what I’m talking about.

Several hundred homes in a nearby housing development were constructed 20-30 years ago.  Almost all the homes were clad with composite hardboard (Masonite type) siding, and no re-siding has been done on approximately half the homes.  A small percentage of the homes now have cement-fiber siding, and the remainder are now clad with vinyl siding.  It’s pretty common knowledge that most 20-30 year old composite hardboard siding has some amount of deterioration, and a lot of it is badly deteriorated……maybe to the extent of allowing water to reach the structural components and cause decay and other moisture-related issues….and this development is no exception.  (Of course, there’s also plenty of decay typically found in the window sills and trim, door jambs, etc. on these homes.)   When inspecting one of these homes with deteriorated hardboard, it’s easy to report the defects and indicate that there could be structural damage due to water intrusion.  The scary homes in the development are the ones that have vinyl siding and aluminum trim installed.  You just have to suspect that the newer surface treatment was installed right over whatever deterioration and decay existed, without much thought of whether any underlying damage was present.  Unfortunately, there’s not much to report here, as long as the siding and trim is intact and installed properly, and there’s no other evidence of structural problems.

Occasionally, we’ll inspect a home with an area (such as a basement) that was obviously finished by the homeowner.  (Well, maybe they did invite some friends to join in and provide some pizza and beer.)  It seems that most of the time, we’ll find some kind of electrical deficiency (such as a spliced electrical cable not enclosed in a junction box) in an accessible area of the same home.  You just have to wonder if similar conditions exist behind the finished walls or ceilings.  Again, there’s not much to report unless you can see it.

Many homes (especially older homes) have portions of the crawl space that are inaccessible, due to low clearances, ductwork, etc.  It’s not uncommon to find structural problems, electrical problems, etc. in the accessible areas of these crawl spaces.  So, why would I think that everything is “just fine” in the areas of the crawl space that I can’t inspect?

The “gut feeling” that goes along with inspecting a property like this is not the best.  You want to make sure that the condition of the property is as accurately represented as possible, and your gut tells you that there are probably some hidden items that need repair.  I guess that the best we can do is just try and make sure the client knows that there are areas in the home that we can’t see or inspect.

 

Shuford PhotoTim Shuford is a professional National Property Inspections home inspector in Jamestown, North Carolina. If you live in the area, call 336.823.6605 to schedule your home inspection with Tim.
NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

Clothes Dryer Safety

By Jon McCreath, NPI Property Inspector, Emerson, Georgia

Clogged Dry VentAccording to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers.  Lint and other debris can build up in your dryer vent, reducing air flow to the dryer, backing up dryer exhaust gases, creating a fire hazard.

Here are some of the signs that it’s time to clean your vent:

  • Clothing does not dry completely after a normal drying cycle.
  • Drying time for clothing takes longer than 35 to 40 minutes in duration.
  • A musty odor is noticed in the clothing following the drying cycle.
  • Clothing seems unusually hot to the touch after a complete drying cycle.
  • The dryer vent hood flap does not properly open as it is designed to do during the operation of the dryer.
  • Debris is noticed within the outside dryer vent opening.
  • Excessive heat is noticed within the room in which the dryer is being operated.
  • Large amounts of lint accumulate in the lint trap for the dryer during operation.
  • A visible sign of lint and debris is noticed around the lint filter for the dryer.
  • Excessive odor is noticed from dryer sheets that are used during the drying cycle.

Tips to decrease debris

  • Limit the use of dryer sheets used when drying clothing.  Instead of dryer sheets, use liquid fabric softener.
  • Only operate clothing dryers for intervals of 30 to 40 minutes per batch of laundry.  This allows more air circulation within the dryer and less lint build up from occurring.
  • When possible hang clothing such as heavy bedding, pillows and other large articles outside to line dry.McCreath PhotoJon McCreath is a professional National Property Inspections home inspector in northwest Georgia.
    If you live in the area, call 404.426.3661 to schedule your home inspection with Jon.
    NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home.
    Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for an assessment of your home.

    Canada: gpiweb.ca/FindAnInspector
    United States: npiweb.com/FindAnInspector

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Fire Safety Tips from the Inspector

By Stephen Gremillion, NPI Property Inspector, Montgomery, Texas

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) http://www.nfpa.org, there were about 365,500 household fires in 2015. As an inspector, I’ve learned that many house fires are preventable. In fact, the NFPA also states that three out of five fire deaths were in homes without working smoke alarms. This, to me, says that simply installing and maintaining smoke alarms could save your life.

When talking about fire safety, I like to break it down into three categories: Fire Prevention, Fire Preparation, and the Fire. Fire Prevention items are things that you can do to prevent a fire. Fire Preparation items are things you can do to be prepared in case of a fire, and the Fire is what to do if you find yourself in a house fire.

Fire Prevention:

  • Use caution when using electrical resistance heating items like toasters, heating blankets, etc.
  • Use caution when using open flames like candles, barbecues, fireplaces, tobacco, etc.
  • Keep your kitchen clutter free and clean of grease.
  • Fix sub-standard electrical work.
  • Add Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) protection. For more info: http://www.npihome.com/2016/2510/afci-and-gfci-outlets-improve-electrical-safety-in-your-home/
  • Keep your dryer vent and lint trap clean. For more info: http://www.npihome.com/2014/1248/have-you-cleaned-your-dryer-vent-lately/
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace and use it regularly, the flue must be kept clean. For more info: http://www.npihome.com/2014/1728/keeping-your-chimney-clean/
  • If you use portable heaters, they should be monitored and have a tip safety. A tip safety is a function that shuts off the heater if it tips over. Also, it should be kept clear of combustibles.
  • Get a home inspection. A home inspection can reveal problems like sub-standard electrical work, improper fireplace hearths, etc.
  • Get a thermal imaging inspection. A thermal imaging inspection can reveal electrical problems that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Fire Preparation:

  • Proper smoke alarm placement and maintenance. You should have a smoke alarm in each bedroom and each adjoining space. These should be tested once a month, have the battery changed once a year, and be completely replaced every ten years.
  • Fire extinguishers. We recommend that you have clear access to an extinguisher in the garage, kitchen, and bedroom. You should be familiar with their use and have the right type. For more info: http://www.npihome.com/2014/1863/1863/
  • You should have two escape options from each room. (Second-story windows do count).
  • Teach your kids some basic fire safety.

The Fire:

Hopefully, you never find yourself in this situation. However, if you do, here are some basic tips.

  • If the fire is small, try to put it out with your extinguisher.
  • If the fire cannot be contained, then you must leave immediately. Gather your family and an extinguisher and leave through one of your planned routes.
  • Door handles may be hot. It is best to grab them with a piece of cloth.
  • Close doors behind you! It may seem silly, but it’s for a good reason. A door can act as a barrier in two ways; 1) It can restrict airflow, 2) It acts as separation that the fire will take time to burn through.
  • If you find yourself trapped, there are two important things you must do:
  1. Signal for help. A piece of cloth hanging from the window is a largely recognized symbol, but a phone call is better.
  1. Minimize your exposure to smoke and flames. This can be done by opening a window, getting low, covering your mouth with cloth, and blocking underneath doors with wet cloths.

 

Make sure to be diligent about fire protection to keep your home and family safe. Practice these steps and have a happy and healthy 2017.

Stephen Gremillion Stephen Gremillion is a professionally trained NPI property inspector working for franchise owner/inspector Garner Gremillion in Montgomery, Texas. If you live in the area, call 936 230-3440 to schedule your home inspection with Garner or Stephen.

Before you move, make sure to have your house inspected by an NPI or GPI home inspector. Visit the links below to find an inspector near you.

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Christmas Tree Safety Tips From The Inspector

 

By Stephen Gremillion, NPI Property Inspector, Montgomery, Texas

Christmas tree fireEvery year fires are started or fueled by Christmas trees. Now in no way am I saying that you should substitute a real tree for a fake one but here are some tips to help keep your home more safe.

Water Your Tree!
It may seem a little too obvious but a dry, dead tree is the first step to a fire and it can be easy to forget.

Switch to LED lights.
Not only do LED’s use less power but they also produce less heat. It’s a win-win; save on power while keeping your home and family safe. Most new light strands are LED so this is something to be cautious of if your lights are older.

tree2Remove Nearby Heat Sources.
It can be easy to do it without even thinking about it. Maybe you put an electric heater next to your tree. Or maybe an end table with a candle. Just be mindful and pay attention to avoid a potentially devastating mistake.

Check On Your Tree Regularly.
Remember your tree is most flammable when it’s dry. If it becomes a too dry you may want to consider removing the lights.

Ttree3urn the Lights Off When You’re Not Around.
Even though LED’s give off very little heat it’s still a good idea to turn them off when unattended. Just unplug the lights when you leave or go to bed. It may also prevent unwanted attention from pets.

Take the Tree Out By the End of December.
Don’t be someone who still has their tree up in the middle of February. By then it will be as dry as a tinder box.

Keep these tips in mind to make it a great holiday for you and your family.

 

Stephen Gremillion Stephen Gremillion is a professionally trained NPI property inspector working for franchise owner/inspector Garner Gremillion in Montgomery, Texas. If you live in the area, call 936 230-3440 to schedule your home inspection with Garner or Stephen.

Before you move, make sure to have your house inspected by an NPI or GPI home inspector. Visit the links below to find an inspector near you.

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Using a sUAS on Home Inspections

By Randy Yates, Training Consultant Administrator, NPI/GPI Corporate Office

npi_dronephoto

After three years of anticipation the time has finally arrived where it is legal and feasible to use a sUAS, better known as a drone to do aerial video and photography for roof inspections for residential and commercial properties.  There are some things that you must do, the biggest being taking and passing the airman’s knowledge test. Without passing the test you cannot use a drone commercially.

How do you know what to study for to take the test?  I would highly recommend taking a training course from a couple of options.  I took a flight and ground school course from dartdrones.com which may be the way you would want to go.  There is also a course available on-line if you can learn from that type of training from REMOTEPILOT101.com for the low price of $99.00, lifetime ownership, which may be worth the investment considering you will have to renew your sUAS pilot’s license every 24 months.  They claim they will be updating their course as the FAA changes the rules.

Even if you choose to fly a drone for hobby or recreation you MUST register your drone if it weighs more than 0.5lbs. and less than 55lbs.  Failure to register your drone could cost you a fine of up to $30000.00 and possible imprisonment.

You must carry insurance in case you have an accident.  More details to follow in my next post on which drone should I use.

Yates PhotoWith more than 10 years of experience in his current position and over 30 years of experience in remodeling and contracting, Randy Yates provides technical training to new NPI/GPI inspectors and provides field support to all NPI/GPI inspectors.

NPI and GPI home inspectors have the tools and knowledge to assess your home from roof to foundation. Consult with your local NPI or GPI inspector for your next home inspection.

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How To Properly Prepare Your Walls For Painting: A Beginner’s Guide To Getting Professional-Quality Results

By Ion McBain

man-painting-wall_shutterstock_184931876_lowerAdding a fresh coat of paint is one of the fastest, most cost-effective ways to completely transform the look of a room. Whether you go soft and neutral or bright and bold, the key to getting great results is to properly prepare your walls before you start painting. Below is a complete how-to guide for beginners on getting a room ready for fresh paint.

  1. Create a clean surface. Dust and dirt naturally accumulate on walls over time. Before you apply a coat of paint, it is important to thoroughly clean the surface so that the paint goes on smoothly. Try using a floor duster to clean your walls. The long handle on the duster makes it easy to reach all of the corners of the room without having to bend or stretch. For any stuck-on dirt, grime, or food particles, reach for a damp rag instead.
  1. Repair cracks, dents, and holes. As you clean your walls, keep your eyes open for any areas that need to be repaired. Holes left behind by picture hangers should be filled with wood filler. Cracks and indentations can generally be filled with spackle. Use a putty knife to apply a layer of spackle over the damaged area. Once the surface has dried completely, sand it smooth using fine-grit sandpaper. A sanding block is ideal for holding the sandpaper flat against the wall so you get a smooth, even surface. Remember to use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove the sanding dust when you are done.
  1. Mask off the edges of the room. Using painter’s tape, create a clean line along all of the edges of the room. Don’t forget to go around doors and windows as well. Taping is easiest if you work in small sections. Begin by tearing off a piece of tape about the length of your arm. Apply it to the wall in a straight line, making sure to put it on the side where you don’t want the paint to go. Use a dull object such as your fingernail or the end of a pen to press firmly down on the edge of the tape, making sure that it is securely stuck to the surface so that no paint can seep underneath it.
  1. Apply primer. Begin by cutting in the edges of the room with primer. In essence, this means using a paintbrush to manually apply primer along all of the edges of the room and around the windows and doors. Next, use a paint roller to cover the rest of the walls with primer. Allow the primer to dry thoroughly before you begin painting.

Although preparing the walls before painting can be extremely time-consuming, it is absolutely essential. If you try to skip over the prep work and just go right to painting, your results will be subpar. Only by thoroughly cleaning the walls, repairing any damage, taping off the edges, and priming the surface can you get professional-quality results that you can be proud of.

 

Ion McBain  is a successful businessman and runs the website 1stPaintingContractors.com which provides top quality painting services specializing in residential interior and exterior walls.

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