Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sagging or Uneven or 'Wavy' Floors??

Crawl space foundations are a very popular type of construction throughout the Midwest.  Homeowners of crawlspaces know that they have one common problem – sagging floors. Floors that are sagging or unlevel create many issues for homeowners including cracked tiles, squeaky floors,  and bouncy or wavy floors. These issues require that homeowners seek a solution for supporting these floors to its original position or height. The problem homeowner’s face is that there are many flawed repairs.

Crawlspace Floor Construction

The first thing to consider when looking for floor supports is to understand the cause of the problem. In the construction of a crawlspace foundation, piers are placed below the support beams to give support for the beam and the rest of the floor components.  Floor Joists are placed on top of the sill plate and the beam to support the sub-floor and the home.  The problem is that all of these floor systems can fail causing the uneven floors.  A solution must address the exact problem you are experiencing.  All too often, companies have a one size fits all approach with sagging floor repair, and it very rarely will completely fix the problem.

What causes my sagging, uneven floors?

Problem: Support Piers or Columns Fail

Support piers can be made from concrete blocks, metal post jacks, or wooden posts. These piers rest upon either shallow concrete pads or lightly compacted soils. Over time these piers move with the soil due to fluctuation in soils moisture or soil compaction from the lack of a properdrainage system in the crawlspace. As the pier sinks into the soil, the beam will start to sag causing the uneven and wavy floors.  Also, the beam can be over spanned between the piers causing the beam and floors to be wavy.

Solution: Additional piers with proper footings, and if necessary, a drainage system to prevent the saturation of the soil around the footings.  Sometimes with minor settlement, the problem lies with the shims between the beam and the support column.  A quick repair is to replace these wooden shims with steel. Warning, additional piers is the most common “one size fits all” solution by contractors, but it is NOT the most common cause of sagging floors.  This problem mainly deals with the middle of the home.

Problem: Floor Joist Failure

Floor Joist vary in size and type of material.  The most common floor joist we see in the field are 2×8′s and 2×10′s.  Over time in a vented crawlspace, the joist will weaken due to the high humidity levels in the crawlspace.  Once the joist is softened from moisture, it will sag between the sill plate and the beam.  Another common problem is the over spanning of the floor joist. Load bearing walls may be mistakenly built offset of a joist causing the wall to sag between the joist.  Wood rot and termite damage may cause the joist to deteriorate and sink into the sill plate or beam below it.  As you can see there are many problems that occur with floor joist systems.

Solution:  Each floor joist problem will require different solutions.  Floor joist repair can be very difficult and only experienced professionals should work on your home. Damaged joists must have a new full or sister joist installed next to the old joist.  The over spanned joist cannot be remedied by a new joist.  The joists will require helper beams with support piers placed in the middle of the span to reduce the load the joist is enduring.  The load bearing walls that are offset will need a new floor joist installed directly under the load of the wall.  The joist that is sagging from moisture may require different solutions but ultimately will require adry, encapsulated crawlspace.

Problem: Beam Failure

Center and support beams are constructed of varying materials including wood joists sandwiched together, block lintels, or steel I Beams.  Most of the failure in center beams revolve around the wood beams.  As with joists, moisture problems in the crawlspace can cause them to sag or rot.  When the beams rot or experience termite damage, they will begin to sink down over the piers.  When the beam compresses over the piers, the wall and floor above will sink causing drywall cracks and uneven floors.  The beam will also sag just like the joists if they are spanned too far a distance between piers.

Solution:  A damaged center beam or girder from rot or termite damage will have to be completely replace with a new beam. Center Beam Repair is a very tedious and difficult process, and should not be installed by anyone other than experienced professionals.  As for over spanning and minor sagging problems, the beams will require a new pier in between the load to lift the sag out of the beam.

Problem: Sill Plate Failure

A crawlspace sill plate is usually composed of 2×4, 2×6, or 2×8 lumber and is anchored to the foundation wall, often with J-bolts.  The sill plate SHOULD be at least 6 inches above the finished grade and be composed of treated lumber.  In older homes, the sill plates were not treated and were too close to the finished grade.  The main problems of sill plate failure are from wood rot and termite damage. Once the sill plate is weakened, the floor joist will begin to compress into the plate.  As a result, you will see baseboards separating from the floor, windows and doors that stick or will not open, and dry wall cracks.

Solution: Sill Plate Repair is difficult because the home has to be lifted sometimes up to two inches to install a new plate.  Many contractors will put in a new plate and just notch the joist leaving the home where it has dropped.  This method is common and unethical.  The only repair for sill plate damage should be to bring the home to its original position and install the exact same size sill plate.

Friday, September 11, 2015

5 Big Homebuyer Mistakes of their Home Inspection

A home inspection is one of the most important steps you can take to make sure your new home is a sound investment and a safe place to live.

But, many people don't fully understand what happens in a home inspection or what they need to do to get the most out of it. Find out what inspectors say are the five biggest mistakes buyers make during the home inspection, and how you can avoid these potentially pricey pitfalls.

Mistake No. 1: Not having new construction inspected

Even experienced homebuyers sometimes make this rookie mistake. They assume that because a home has passed all local codes and ordinances, it must be in good shape. Don't be so sure, says Jim Troth, owner of Habitation Investigation LLC, a Mechanicsburg, Ohio, home inspection company. Troth once inspected a brand new home that had just passed the final municipal and county building inspections. But when he explored the crawl space beneath the house, he discovered someone had removed about 3 feet of the home's main support beam to accommodate duct work.

"The house was already beginning to sink in that area," he says.

The moral of the story: Don't assume your builder -- or the contractors -- did everything right just because the home passed code. An inspector is your last line of defense against major defects that could quite literally sink your financial future.

Mistake No. 2: Choosing an inspector for the wrong reasons

When you choose an inspector, you're selecting the professional who will give one of your biggest investments a full physical checkup. You want to choose someone you know who is competent, thorough and trustworthy. Unfortunately, too many buyers just go with the cheapest inspection company.

"The least expensive person is often the person with the least experience, ability and technical savvy," says Aaron Flook, owner of Pittsburgh-based A.M. Inspection Services LLC.

Always ask about licensing, professional affiliations and credentials, and whether the inspector carries errors and omissions insurance.

Mistake No. 3: Not going along on the inspection

The report you get from the inspector doesn't give you nearly as clear a picture of the condition of the house as you might think.  Flook says buyers who don't go along on the inspection can overemphasize minor problems, or worse, not realize how serious a defect is.

"I did one inspection where the buyer didn't come along, and he ended up getting worked up about first-floor plugs that weren't grounded and completely ignored that the hot water tank was drafting carbon monoxide," Flook says. "You really need to go along with the inspector, ask questions and listen when he gives you his professional opinion on the house."

Mistake No. 4: Not following up on the inspector's recommendations

Sometimes, buyers don't follow up on items discovered in the inspection before they close. Like the man who didn't grasp that the carbon monoxide coming from his water heater was a big problem, you may not realize how much it will cost to fix a given defect. Often inspectors will recommend buyers get an issue evaluated further, but the buyers wait to do it until after closing, says Kathleen Kuhn, president of the inspection company HouseMaster of Bound Brook, N.J.

"If buyers wait to have a system evaluated until after closing, it can turn out to be more expensive or a bigger deal than what they anticipated," Kuhn says.  Kuhn says you should always get several estimates on repairs before closing.

Mistake No. 5: Expecting your home inspector to be a psychic

No matter how experienced or skilled your home inspector is, he can't see the future. "Home inspectors don't have crystal balls, so they can't specifically predict when an aging system will fail," Kuhn says. "Sometimes, optimistic homebuyers think a system still has a few good years just because there aren't visible signs of malfunction at the time of inspection."

A home inspector can tell you that an air conditioning system like the one in the home you're buying usually only lasts 10 years, and yours is 11 years old. But he can't tell you when it will fail. That's when you need to follow up with people who know more about each specific system about which you have questions.

And remember, the home inspector is hired by you. He's there to give you an honest, straight opinion about the house.

"The inspector is one of the few people in the buying process whose income doesn't depend on the home closing," Troth says. "They're paid to inspect, not to sell. So they're in a better position to be neutral.

Article credit - bankrate.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Inground Pool Cost of Ownership: Fiberglass vs Concrete vs Vinyl

If you are considering purchasing an inground pool, you’re probably wondering what maintenance costs you can expect to encounter as the years pass on.  As you’ll see, the answer to that question largely depends on the type of pool you choose:  concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass.

Cost of Owning a Concrete Pool

Concrete Pools have the highest cost of ownership.  This is due to several factors.  First, because the surface of a concrete pool is extremely porous, it harbors algae and this means two things to concrete pool owners:  more chemical usage and running the pump and filter for longer periods of time.  Of course, consuming both more chemicals and electricity equals more money spent.  Also, because concrete pools require more maintenance, many concrete pool owners chose to have a pool company service their pool on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Secondly, concrete pools require acid washing every three to six years at a cost of around $500 a pop depending on the location.  This is another consequence of algae embedding into the pool surface.  Acid washing is a treatment that requires draining the pool and cleaning the surface with a mild acid solution to kill spores and therefore prevent what’s known as an algae bloom.

Finally, most concrete pools require resurfacing and re-tiling about every 10-15 years at a cost of $10,000 or more. 

Cost of Owning a Vinyl Liner Pool

Vinyl Liner Pools are unlike concrete pools in that they do not require the time or money investment to battle algae.  However, despite their low initial cost, vinyl pool owners should be prepared to fork out $4,000 or more every five to twelve years when it’s time to replace the liner.

What about the 20 year liner warranty you ask?  Read the fine print my friend.  It only covers where the liner is seamed together and then on an extremely pro-rated schedule…and then the warranty does not cover labor to replace the liner or the cost of water to re-fill the pool. 

Cost of Owning a Fiberglass Pool    

Fiberglass Pools have the lowest cost of ownership of any inground pool for several reasons.  First, fiberglass pools require less chemicals and filter run time because the surface of the pool is non-porous therefore inhibiting the growth of algae.  This equates to about 70% less chemical usage than concrete pools.  Furthermore, because fiberglass pools are so easy to maintain, fiberglass pool owners typically opt to maintain their own pool instead of hiring a pool service company. 

Second, the majority of fiberglass pools that are properly built and maintained require no significant maintenance to the pool shell for at least the first 20 or 30 years.  With no liner to replace or need to acid wash, this leaves the pool owner with only the year to year costs of electricity and chemicals. 

Without question, each type of inground pool has its advantages.  But when it comes to lifetime cost of ownership, fiberglass pools take the cake….hands down!

Monday, September 7, 2015

5 Great Made-in-America Home Improvement Ideas

5 Great Made-in-America Home Improvement Ideas

Chrystal Caruthers

1:00 pm ET
September 4, 2015

Simpson Door Co.

The made-in-America movement is going strong these days: We’re producing more of our own energy, more of our own cars, and more of our own manufacturing jobs. In fact, even foreign automotive brands have adopted the “Made in America” credo. So as we head into Labor Day weekend, let’s take a moment to appreciate great pieces for your home that were proudly made in the U.S. of A! And let’s do it state by glorious state!

Made in Florida: When wire hangers and a single hanging rod won’t do, ClosetMaid offers SuiteSymphony, a step up from the standard closet but not quite the stuff of this two-story Chanel-inspired closet. ClosetMaid, the inventor of wire closet shelving, offers a new weathered wood-look product that is manufactured in Florida. “Sixty-one percent of all recent home buyers will upgrade their closet systems within 18 months,” says Lisa Engel, vice president of consumer business at ClosetMaid. With a $2,000 investment, she says, homeowners can create their own version of a glam room.

SuiteSymphony line



Made in Pennsylvania: Want the look of stone without having to endure cold feet? That’s the promise of Alterna Luxury Vinyl by Armstrong. Bonus: This composite flooring uses stone mined in Illinois then assembled in Pennsylvania—making it doubly American! The Allegheny Slateflooring shown below costs about $600 to $700 for about 100 square feet.

Alterna Luxury Vinyl flooring in Allegheny Slate



Made in Ohio: OK, let’s just put it out there: There’s nothing sexy about shopping for a new toilet. Yet, when it’s time to replace your water-guzzling throne, why not seek an eco-friendly one made in none other than the Buckeye State? Mansfield Plumbing is based inPerrysville and produces an extensive line of well-priced water-saving toilets.

Brentwood bathroom collection

Mansfield Plumbing


Made in Washington: Fun fact: Nothing can up your curb appeal and recoup your reno budget as quickly as replacing your front door. Simpson Door Co. has been crafting solid-wood doors from Douglas fir, Nootka cypress, and other woods native to the Pacific Northwest since 1912. Most of its most popular exterior doors are made inMcCleary and now include water protection as a standard feature rather than an upgrade. Even if you don’t decide to buy—a door like this one can set you back about $1,800—play around with their design-a-door tools to get some inspiration.

Solano® III Exterior Door in Douglas fir

Simpson Door Co.


Made in Kentucky: Wait, so this new GE fridge will brew my morning coffee? Sign me up! This latest in creature comforts just might be the most satisfying, especially ifPhilz Coffee develops a K-Cup. This new french door Cafe Series refrigerator has an in-door hot water dispenser fitted with a Keurig brewing system. Genius! You’ll need to wait until fall for this upgrade, and it will set you back about $3,300—but it’s coffee dispensed like water from your fridge. Now that’s American.

#homeinspection #homeimprovement

#prochek #ctinspection #nyinspection

#homebuyer #engineeringinspection

#realestate #prochekhomeinspectionsservicesisakeyparttoahomebuyersteam

How to tell if you may need a new roof

How to tell if you may need a new roof

One of the questions that any home owner should be asking themselves if they have a roof that is getting up there in age is “how do I know if I need a new roof”? Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home, for obvious reasons. Without it you would be left with four walls and a foundation – not enough to provide much comfort or protection from the elements. Like everything though, a roof will wear out over time.

As a homeowner you need to be aware of the state of yours and whether it needs repairs or replacement, especially if you have any plans on selling the home.  Knowing whether you need a new roof prior to selling becomes important so you have a sound strategy in place.

Working as a Massachusetts Realtor for the past twenty seven years, one of the things that becomes a bone of contention more than any other when negotiating home inspection issues is a worn roof. Of course from a home owners perspective if there is any amount of years left on the roof they want to do nothing. The buyer of course when told there is very little roof life wants to negotiate for a new one.

While the quickest way to find out the state of your roof would be to call a roofing contractor for an inspection prior to putting your home on the market, you do not necessarily need to pay someone else to do periodic checkups.

You can look for signs of damage yourself. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, homeowners should examine their roofs in both the spring and the fall. Mark a time on your calendar for spring and fall and perform the following checks as necessary. Read on and you will discover the best ways of how to tell if you need a new roof or not.

Interior Roof Check

One of the first ways how to tell if you need a new roof is to get into the attic. The interior check is fairly easy to do as long as you have access to the attic and a good flashlight. Invest in a good light because you want to be able to see fine details. Even the best flashlight is far cheaper than replacing your roof, so get something that will give you all the light you need to search the attic.

Once you get up there, look around for four particular signs of roof troubles:

Light shining in from outside – This is the easiest problem to discover, even without a flashlight. Any light shining in through your roof from outside is a problem that should be addressed immediately. If light is getting through, so is moisture.Sagging Areas – If there is a sag in your roof this will be one of the easier ways to tell if you need a new roof. Sagging is a definite indication of structural issues. Something has given way, either due to external pressure from outside or from moisture damage to the wood that makes up your roof.Dark Spots or Trails – Dark areas and trails are an indication that moisture is penetrating your roof somewhere and probably creating mold in the process. Moisture will eventually cause real problems, both with your roof and with the interior of your home.Leaks or Water Damage – If you actually see a leak or obvious water damage it is time to call in a roofing repair company. Water causes damage and it is important to patch any leaks as soon as possible.

The are all sure fire ways to tell if you need a new roof or not.

Exterior Roof Check

Another way of checking to see if you need a new roof is to actually take a trip up onto your roof. Getting onto the roof should be able can give you a good idea of the state of the exterior. Keep in mind that even an eight-foot drop can cause serious injuries, so make sure your ladder is secure and that you are very, very careful while looking around. Also, avoid walking on your roof if it is made out of easily damaged materials such as tile.

Look for Damage – Major damage to roofing materials should be fairly obvious. Shingles will split, crack and warp if they get too old, while tile will break if it has been damaged by hail. If your roof is older and there is visible damage it is far easier to tell if you need a new roof.Look for Moisture Problems – Mold and other moisture related problems could wreak just as much damage outside as in. A bad shingle can allow moisture to sit instead of shedding it down the roof. Keep in mind that water will flow down, so you may have to track the problem higher up.Shingle Granules – As your shingles age they will shed more and more granules. If they are getting too old you will likely find excessive amounts of granules in your gutters. This is a sure fire way to tell if you need a new roof sooner rather than later.Look for Wear – Roofing materials around chimneys and vents can wear over time, so keep an eye out for any issues here.Check Your Drainage – Your gutters and downspouts are an important component of your home and should be cleaned a few times a year. Check to make sure they are securely attached and that water is flowing where it should be.

Each of these problems are signs that it may be time to think about getting a roof replacement.

What If You Find Roof Problems?

407Just because you find signs of wear does not mean your roof necessarily needs to be replaced. It may just need some repairs done to extend its life. A quality shingle roof should last at least 20 to 30 years, especially with regular maintenance by knowledgeable professionals. If your roof is tile it should be good for quite a bit longer, even up to 100 years before replacement.

Typically an asphalt shingle roof that is architectural grade with last at least 30 years. An architectural shingle looks different than a standard asphalt shingle which looks completely flat when looking from the ground. An architectural shingle has “depth” and most would agree looks much better. These shingles are more expensive and rightly so given how much better they look and the extended roof life they deliver.

Once you notice an issue, contact a roofing contractor to get an estimate on getting the repair work done. It is usually best to get a few estimates to get an idea of what the cost will be and to feel out several contractors before you commit to one. Get references from them and contact those references before you give the go ahead on the roofing repairs.

If it has been some time since you have examined your roof, or your roof is old enough where replacement is the only option, it is best to bite the bullet and get the work done. There is no denying that having a whole new roof put on is expensive, but it is an investment in your home.

It makes the home livable, prevents any further damage from the elements to other parts of the home and makes the property more appealing should you choose to sell it. A new roof is considered by home appraisers in the appraisal process and will appeal to any potential buyer who views your home.

If you are going to sell your home however, you may not necessarily want to go out and purchase a new roof. You may be thinking why and the answer is simple. A roof does not have a very good rate of return when selling a home. A buyer is going to expect to purchase a home that has a decent roof but it has been shown over and over again they will not pay extra just because your roof is new. All things being equal a buyer will pay for more tangible things such as an updated kitchen or bath they can use and enjoy daily.

So for example if a new roof on your home is going to cost $10,000 you are more than likely going to be out of luck if you think that adjusting your sale price upwards by $10,000 is going to be acceptable. More than likely you will not get anywhere near a 100 percent return on a roof and in fact far from it.

This is where your Realtor comes in to give you guidance. More than likely unless your roof is in dire need of replacement the advice will be a wait and see approach. The buyer will more than likely do a home inspection in which the roof will be flagged. This will be the point at which you can negotiate a home inspection settlement with the buyer that in many cases will end up being less than a full replacement. Hopefully you were smart enough to hire a Realtor who has some negotiation skills as this is one of the points in a real estate transaction where they are needed most.

More Roofing Resources

What are the most popular types of roofing shingles – see some of the more popular types of roofing shingles. Including comparisons between 3 tab and architectural shingles.How to calculate a roofing bid – see how much a roof should cost to replace.What can you expect to pay for a new roof by Angies List. See the average cost to replace a roof.

If you discover you need a new roof use these roofing resources to help guide your decision making process on what type of shingles you should choose along with expected costs for your roof replacement.


The above Real Estate information on how to tell if you need a new roof was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. 


Thursday, September 3, 2015

How to Maintain your Septic System

How to Maintain Your Septic System


If properly designed, constructed and maintained, your septic system can provide long-term, effective treatment of household wastewater. If your septic system isn’t maintained, you might need to replace it, costing you thousands of dollars.  A malfunctioning system can contaminate groundwater that might be a source of drinking water. And if you sell your home, your septic system must be in good working order.

This guide will help you care for your septic system. It will help you understand how your system works and what steps you can take as a homeowner to ensure your system will work properly. To help you learn more, consult the resources listed at the back of this booklet.

Top Four Things You Can Do to Protect Your Septic System

Regularly inspect your system and pump your tank as necessary.Use water efficiently.Don’t dispose of household hazardous wastes in sinks or toilets.Care for your drainfield.How does a septic system work?


A typical septic system has four main components: a pipe from the home, a septic tank, a drainfield and the soil. Microbes in the soil digest or remove most contaminants from wastewater before it eventually reaches groundwater.

Pipe from the home

All of your household wastewater exits your home through a pipe to the septic tank.

Septic tank

The septic tank is a buried, watertight container typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or polyethylene. It holds the wastewater long enough to allow solids to settle out (forming sludge) and oil and grease to float to the surface (as scum). It also allows partial decomposition of the solid materials. Compartments and a T-shaped outlet in the septic tank prevent the sludge and scum from leaving the tank and traveling into the drainfield area. Screens are also recommended to keep solids from entering the drainfield.

Newer tanks generally have risers with lids at the ground surface to allow easy location, inspection, and pumping of the tank.

Septic system aliases:

On-lot systemOnsite systemIndividual sewage disposal systemOnsite sewage disposal systemOnsite wastewater treatment systemTip

To prevent buildup, sludge and floating scum need to be removed through periodic pumping of the septic tank. Regular inspections and pumping are the best and cheapest way to keep your septic system in good working order.

Finding Your System

Your septic tank, drainfield, and reserve drainfield should be clearly designated on the “as-built” drawing for your home. (An “as-built” drawing is a line drawing that accurately portrays the buildings on your property and is usually filed in your local land records.) You might also see lids or manhole covers for your septic tank. Older tanks are often hard to find because there are no visible parts. An inspector/pumper can help you locate your septic system if your septic tank has no risers.


The wastewater exits the septic tank and is discharged into the drainfield for further treatment by the soil. The partially treated wastewater is pushed along into the drainfield for further treatment every time new wastewater enters the tank.

If the drainfield is overloaded with too much liquid, it will flood, causing sewage to flow to the ground surface or create backups in plumbing fixtures and prevent treatment of all wastewater.

A reserve drainfield, required by many states, is an area on your property suitable for a new drainfield system if your current drainfield fails. Treat this area with the same care as your septic system.


Septic tank wastewater flows to the drainfield, where it percolates into the soil, which provides final treatment by removing harmful bacteria, viruses, and nutrients. Suitable soil is necessary for successful wastewater treatment.

Alternative systems

Because many areas don’t have soils suitable for typical septic systems, you might have or need an alternative system. You might also have or need an alternative system if there are too many typical septic systems in one area or the systems are too close to groundwater or surface waters. Alternative septic systems use new technology to improve treatment processes and might need special care and maintenance. Some alternative systems use sand, peat, or plastic media instead of soil to promote wastewater treatment. Other systems might use wetlands, lagoons, aerators, or disinfection devices. Float switches, pumps, and other electrical or mechanical components are often used in alternative systems. Alternative systems should be inspected annually. Check with your local health department or installer for more information on operation and maintenance needs if you have or need an alternative system.

Why should I maintain my septic system?

When septic systems are properly designed, constructed, and maintained, they effectively reduce or eliminate most human health or environmental threats posed by pollutants in household wastewater. However, they require regular maintenance or they can fail. Septic systems need to be monitored to ensure that they work properly throughout their service lives.

Saving money

A key reason to maintain your septic system is to save money! Failing septic systems are expensive to repair or replace, and poor maintenance is often the culprit. Having your septic system inspected regularly is a bargain when you consider the cost of replacing the entire system. Your system will need pumping depending on how many people live in the house and the size of the system. An unusable septic system or one in disrepair will lower your property value and could pose a legal liability.

Protecting health and the environment

Other good reasons for safe treatment of sewage include preventing the spread of infection and disease and protecting water resources. Typical pollutants in household wastewater are nitrogen, phosphorus, and disease-causing bacteria and viruses. If a septic system is working properly, it will effectively remove most of these pollutants.

With one-fourth of U.S. homes using septic systems, more than 4 billion gallons of wastewater per day is dispersed below the ground’s surface. Inadequately treated sewage from septic systems can be a cause of groundwater contamination. It poses a significant threat to drinking water and human health because it can contaminate drinking water wells and cause diseases and infections in people and animals. Improperly treated sewage that contaminates nearby surface waters also increases the chance of swimmers contracting a variety of infectious diseases. These range from eye and ear infections to acute gastrointestinal illness and diseases like hepatitis.

How do I maintain my septic system?

Inspect and pump frequently

You should have a typical septic system inspected at least every 3 years by a professional and your tank pumped as recommended by the inspector (generally every 3 to 5 years). Alternative systems with electrical float switches, pumps, or mechanical components need to be inspected more often, generally once a year. Your service provider should inspect for leaks and look at the scum and sludge layers in your septic tank. If the bottom of the scum layer is within 6 inches of the bottom of the outlet tee or the top of the sludge layer is within 12 inches of the outlet tee, your tank needs to be pumped. Remember to note the sludge and scum levels determined by your service provider in your operation and maintenance records. This information will help you decide how often pumping is necessary.

Four major factors influence the frequency of pumping: the number of people in your household, the amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used), the volume of solids in the wastewater (for example, using a garbage disposal increases the amount of solids), and septic tank size.

Some makers of septic tank additives claim that their products break down the sludge in septic tanks so the tanks never need to be pumped. Not everyone agrees on the effectiveness of additives. In fact, septic tanks already contain the microbes they need for effective treatment. Periodic pumping is a much better way to ensure that septic systems work properly and provide many years of service. Regardless, every septic tank requires periodic pumping.

In the service report, the pumper should note any repairs completed and whether the tank is in good condition. If the pumper recommends additional repairs he or she can’t perform, hire someone to make the repairs as soon as possible.

Use water efficiently

Average indoor water use in the typical single-family home is almost 70 gallons per person per day. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day. The more water a household conserves, the less water enters the septic system. Efficient water use can improve the operation of the septic system and reduce the risk of failure.

Install high-efficiency showerheadsFill the bathtub with only as much water as you needTurn off faucets while shaving or brushing your teethRun the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they’re fullUse toilets to flush sanitary waste only (not kitty litter, diapers, or other trash)Make sure all faucets are completely turned off when not in useMaintain your plumbing to eliminate leaksInstall aerators in the faucets in your kitchen and bathroomReplace old dishwashers, toilets, and clothes washers with new, high-efficiency modelsFor more information on water conservation, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/index.html

High-efficiency toilets

Toilet use accounts for 25 to 30 percent of household water use. Do you know how many gallons of water your toilet uses to empty the bowl? Most older homes have toilets with 3.5- to 5-gallon reservoirs, while newer high-efficiency toilets use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush. If you have problems with your septic system being flooded with household water, consider reducing the volume of water in the toilet tank if you don’t have a high-efficiency model or replacing your existing toilets with high-efficiency models.

Faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads

Faucet aerators help reduce water use and the volume of water entering your septic system. High-efficiency showerheads or shower flow restrictors also reduce water use.

Water fixtures

Check to make sure your toilet’s reservoir isn’t leaking into the bowl. Add five drops of liquid food coloring to t

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Limitations of a Home Inspection

The Limitations of a Home Inspection

by Nick Gromicko and Kenton Shepard



The Home Inspection Defined


A general home inspection is a visual inspection for system and major accessible component defects and safety issues. The inspection is not technically exhaustive. A "general home inspection" and a "home inspection" are the same thing.


A home inspection is designed to reflect, as accurately as possible, the visible condition of the home at the time of the inspection. Conditions at a home for sale can change radically in only a day or two, so a home inspection is not meant to guarantee what condition a home will be in when the transaction closes. It’s not uncommon for conditions to change between the time of the inspection and the closing date.



Above:  an overloaded outlet with no cover

It’s a Visual Inspection

A “visual” inspection means that a home inspection report is limited to describing conditions in those parts of a home that an inspector can see during the inspection. Obviously, parts of the home that are permanently hidden by wall, ceiling and floor coverings are excluded, but so are parts of the home that were inaccessible during the inspection for some other reason. Some reasons might include lack of an access point, such as a door or hatch, or a locked access point, or because an occupant’s belongings blocked access, or because of dangerous or unsanitary conditions.

There can be many more reasons. The point is that if an inspector can’t see a portion of the home, the inspector can’t assume responsibility for ensuring that a safe and proper condition exists or that systems are operating properly in that hidden space.


Safety can be a matter of perception. Some conditions, such as exposed electrical wiring, are obviously unsafe. Other conditions, such as the presence of mold, aren’t as clear-cut.

In the example of the possible existence of mold, it's difficult to accurately call it out during a general home inspection because mold sometimes grows in places where it can’t be readily seen, such as inside walls, making its discovery beyond the scope of the inspection.  Also, the dangers to human health are from the inhalation of spores from indoor air.

Most people with healthy immune systems have little or no problem with inhaling spores. A few people whose immune systems are compromised by lung disease, asthma or allergies can develop serious or even fatal fungal infections from mold spore levels that wouldn’t affect most people. Every home has mold and mold colonies can grow very quickly, given the right conditions. Mold can be a safety concern, but it often isn’t. The dangers represented by mold are a controversial subject. Other potential safety issues also fall into this category.



Above:  the cutting torch and gutter system of roof drainage management


System Defects


Although the majority of the inspection is visual, the InterNACHI Standards of Practice do require inspectors to operate space and water heating equipment, and air-conditioning equipment, if it can be done without damaging the equipment.


Inspectors will also examine the major accessible components of certain systems as required by the Standards of Practice. Furnace air filters are one example.

A home inspection is not technically exhaustive, meaning that systems or components will not be disassembled as part of the inspection. For example, an inspector will not partially disassemble a furnace to more accurately check the condition of the heat exchanger. Inspectors typically disclaim heat exchangers.

Hazardous Materials

Asbestos, mold, lead, water purity, and other environmental issues or potential hazards typically require a specialist inspection, and may additionally require laboratory analysis.

Home Inspectors are Generalists

Home inspectors are not experts in every home system but are generalists trained to recognize evidence of potential problems in the different home systems and their major components. Inspectors need to know when a problem is serious enough to recommend a specialist inspection. Recommendations are often made for a qualified contractor, such as a plumber or electrician, and sometimes for a structural engineer.



Above:  the result of subfloor movement

Inspector Qualifications

Very few home inspectors have been in the inspection industry for their entire working lives. According to an InterNACHI poll, about half the home inspectors have a background in the building trades. Those with a construction background started with a general idea of the systems and components that they might find installed, as well as how those systems age and fail.

This doesn’t mean that inspectors with a background in something other than the building trades are not qualified -- only that they started in the inspection industry at a relative disadvantage. Building the skills and developing the judgment to consistently recognize and interpret evidence correctly and make appropriate recommendations are things that can be improved with practice and continuing education.


Above:  improper electrical splice


Managing Expectations

Part of a home inspector’s job is to manage the expectations of their client. This is especially true when a client has never dealt with a home inspector before. Explaining the limitations of a home inspection to a client will help them develop realistic expectations concerning what to expect from a home inspection report, and what lies beyond the scope of the inspection.

When a home buyer is interviewing inspectors, the buyer should ask about how the inspector handles special safety concerns.

Disclaimers are portions of an inspection agreement or report in which an inspector notifies the client that the inspector will not accept the responsibility for confirming the condition of a portion of the home or of a particular system or component.

Creating realistic expectations in a client’s mind will help prevent misunderstandings and promote smooth real estate transactions.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Septic System Terminology

Saying that your home’s septic system consists of four major components is a bit like saying a car works because it has doors and tires. Beyond the sewage pipe, septic tank, drain field and your soil, a properly functioning septic system has many moving parts with associated terms that may be confusing to you as a homeowner. With that said, having a basic understanding of these terms can be helpful when discussing your home’s septic system with regulators, real estate agents and contractors. 

Your Septic System’s Four Major Parts

As noted before, your septic system consists of four major parts. 

The sewage pipe carries blackwater, greywater and wastewater from your home and empties it into a septic tank. The septic tank is large enough—usually 1,000 gallons—to handle roughly 40 percent of sewage treatment for your home. When everything is working properly, the septic tank separates sewage into three distinct layers, with liquids running out into your home’sdrain field, which handles the remaining 60 percent of sewage treatment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within the drain field the soil, and its marvelous brew of bacteria and microbes, breaks down the liquid safely so your groundwater is not polluted. 

Waste Line to Tank

The sewage pipe or waste line, which runs from your home to your septic tank, may on occasion become blocked. Such blockage is relatively easy to clear either from the home or through the cleanout, an access pipe into the system with an aboveground removable cap. 

Tank to Drain Field

The septic tank is the first step in household wastewater treatment and, despite seeming to be nothing more than a giant box, has many components. Watertight septic tanks can be concrete, polypropylene or fiberglass, but are always buried. At one end, the waste line from your home attaches to an inlet tee, allowing different types of waste liquid to enter the tank for treatment:

Blackwater - Also known as septage, this is household waste from toilets, urinals and, in some instances, kitchen drains.Greywater - Non-sewage water leaving your home, such as from bathtubs, bathroom sinks and washing machines.Wastewater - A catch-all term for all of the water leaving your home, sewage and otherwise, that enters the septic tank. Effluent - The liquid layer that leaves the septic tank.

A septic tank is septic, or related to bacteria, because it depends on microorganisms to safely break down biologically hazardous human waste.  

To safeguard your family, the septic tank has baffles and other safeguards that keep the wastewater flowing outward, rather than backing up, thus minimizing accidental discharge of solids into the drain field:

Baffle - A deflecting device inside the septic tank that prevents floating solids from leaving via the outlet tee; the baffle also controls the flow rate.Gas Baffle - A device inside the septic tank that deflects gas bubbles away from the outlet tee.Outlet Tee - The tee-shaped pipe that allows only effluent to leave the septic tank.

Inside the tank, gravity and bacteria separate the solids (dropping to the tank’s bottom to form sludge), the effluent (the middle and bulkiest layer) and the scum (the materials and gas in effluent that float on its surface). 

After allowing natural processes to separate household sewage into scum, effluent and sludge, the effluent empties out into the drain field. The drain field allows the slow seepage of effluent into your property’s soil. 

Drain Field into Soil

Many older septic systems drain near ground level into a system of pipes that distribute treated effluent over a large area to soak into the soil. Modern systems may have a mound, in which the drainage pipes carry effluent into distribution lines that empty into built-up layers of aggregate and fill:

Distribution Line - A series of perforated pipes laid in a network to allow effluent to seep into the surrounding soil and aggregate.Drain Field - Also called a leach field, seepage bed or drainage bed, this is the whole area past the septic tank that carries effluent to distribution lines.Mound - Also called a turkey mound or raised system, this artificially created drain field locates distribution lines above the normal grade, with fill added to improve drainage.

The Soil

Your average backyard soil, teeming with helpful bacteria and microorganisms, breaks down effluent flowing from your drain field. Your septic system’s efficiency can be marred by long stretches of heavy rain (which saturates the soil) or by heavy shade that inhibits evaporation. 

Testing Your Septic System

Some specialized vocabulary comes into play when a septic inspector checks a septic system: 

Breakout - Septic effluent rises to the surface of your property, rather than percolating down.Hydraulic Load Test - Depending on certain conditions or local ordinances, a Hydraulic Load Test (HLT) may be necessary. This involves adding a specified volume of water to the absorption area (usually via the distribution box) to safely test the system to see if it can properly accept and process the daily flow of water calculated by the septic regulations. For example, if a home has been vacant for more than 7 days a HLT may be necessary to verify proper operation. 

By maintaining the major components of your home’s septic system—waste pipe, septic tank, drain field and soil—you preserve your home's value. And, as the EPA says, keeping your septic system healthy not only protects your investment, it safeguards your family's health and the environment.

Septic Dye Test Explaination - Why you should have a complete septic inspection rather than a dye test

Septic system dye tests explained
A septic system dye test is a common test performed by home inspectors and some septic companies as part of their septic system inspections. But don’t let it fool you! Although a dye test sounds good, it is very limited on what it will tell you about the septic system.

What is a septic dye test?

A dye test is what we would equate to a visual inspection: water is introduced to the system to check for seepage over the yard.
As the name suggests, the inspector dyes the water so that it is easily visible if it comes to the surface.

Should you use a septic dye test?

The chances of finding a problem with a septic system by performing dye test (or visual inspection) is unlikely unless you already see water seeping out of the ground; it’s for this reason we generally do not recommend dye tests or visual inspections.
However, adding dye to a system to verify an already-suspected problem can be helpful.
Let’s use an example of a septic system that’s located in a low area where rainwater runoff accumulates. If the area over or around the drainfield has standing water, adding dye could verify if that water is from the rain or the septic system.
Or, if it is uncertain if some facilities in the home are connected to the system (if bathrooms were added to the house, etc.), we occasionally insert different colors of dye down each facility to see if they enter the tank.

Rely on full inspections instead of dye tests

If you really want to know the workability of your septic system, a full inspection should be performed. This is the only type of inspection in which the lids are opened and the tank pumped, making it more likely to catch potential problems than a visual inspection.
- See more at: http://www.vdwws.com/2014/05/septic-system-dye-tests-explained/#sthash.Gpj7jBIt.dpuf

Friday, April 24, 2015



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What Causes A WAVY ROOF?

Have a wavy roof and trying to figure out why or looking for a fix?  A roof with a wavy look to it can be caused by a number of reasons, but the problem may be short lived.  Let’s take a look at some of the typical causes of a wavy shingles, especially after a new roof is installed.

Causes of a wavy roof:

The felt paper used on the decking was potentially wet or bubbly when laid down.  Thankfully this is something that can be fixed with just a little time and heat.  Typically after a few warm summer weeks, the shingles will lay flat and you will no longer notice the wavy look.First layer of shingles were wavy and the roofer laid directly over the existing layer.  This is a bad move, a roofing company should not lay new roofing shingles over shingles that are wavy.  A new roof will be required, after stripping both layers of shingles, to achieve a quality flat look.Damaged decking could also cause a wavy look to shingles.  Inspect the plywood from the attic and look for cracks, sagging, or rotting.  If any of this is found, be sure to have a roofer replace any plywood, with the required thickness of board that is code for where you live.Quality of the roofing work in general can also cause a roof to look wavy.  Potentially it could be caused if the shingles were not properly aligned or not nailed fully.  Ultimately there is no single answer for why a roof may look wavy, but could be a combination of factors.

To avoid having a wavy roof, use a licensed roofer and not just a general contractor.  Expert roof installation is required to keep things like this from happening.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Radon takes 21,000 lives each year

Each year, radon kills more people than home fires, drowning, falls or drunk driving. It takes some 21,000 lives annually, and is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

Radon is present in every home and levels can vary from home to home. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Carpenter Ants

Mistaken Identity
Carpenter Ants should not be confused with termites. Termites are white in color and are smaller than a grain of rice. Carpenter ants look like regular black ants, except a little bigger. Adult carpenter ants grow to be as much as one-half inch long. Queens are often twice that size.
If you get really intimate with a carpenter ant you will notice that they have bent or “elbowed”
antennae. They only have one Node or bump on the joint between their thorax and abdomen (the thorax is the middle section and the abdomen is the rear section), and the thorax on some carpenter ants is burnt orange or chestnut red in color. They also have hairy abdomens.
You will never see a termite unless you break open a piece of infested wood or a shelter tube (tunnels that termites use to get from the soil, where they live, to the wood they are eating). Carpenter ants, on the other hand, roam around looking for food the same way ordinary ants do.
Termites eat wood. Carpenter ants do not. Instead, they burrow into wood to make a nest and they push the wood and other debris (called frass) out of their colonies. The inside of the infested wood is spotlessly clean and consists of smooth galleries through the wood.
Finding A Home
Most carpenter ant nests are outdoors in tree stumps, fence posts, and unfortunately, sometimes in porches. But these ants will also nest indoors in rotten or damp wood or sound wood adjacent to a source of moisture such as a sweaty pipe, washing machines, dishwashers or baseboards in damp areas. Although they normally excavate their colonies, they sometimes live in hollow doors, window frames, etc.
Carpenter ants are omnivorous meaning they eat all different types of food. Outdoors they eat plants, insects, (their favorite are aphids), fruit, etc. Indoors they eat household foodstuff, especially syrup, honey, sugar, fat and grease.
On their way back to the colony, they rarely take the same route twice, which can make it difficult to locate the nest. Even though the colony may be indoors, most of the ants will go outdoors to feed. This also reduces the likelihood of detection. To make matters worse, the ants are more active at night than in the daytime and some colonies go dormant during the winter. (The colony is most active during the spring and summer.)
Coming Out of the Closet
In the summer months, swarms of winged carpenter ants (both male and female) leave the
colony. They mate on the fly, return to earth and shed their wings. The female (queen) then finds a suitable place to lay her eggs which hatch into larvae. The larvae develop into adults in 2 to 10 months depending on the temperature. These adults are workers and at this stage the colony is only a queen plus 10 to 20 workers. The colony takes 3 to 6 years to develop, during which time the queen lays eggs and the workers care for the young. A queen has a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years while workers can live 4 or 5 years. When the colony has developed, winged males and females form. They remain in the colony over the winter and take flight the next summer to begin the process again. A developed colony may contain thousands of ants. Needless to say, the damage to wooden components can be significant to make a home for this many ants.
Kissing Your Ants Goodbye
We have to find the colony to get rid of the ants. This can be tricky. Sawdust at entrances to the colony is one method. Listening for the ants is another. At quiet times, a dry rustling sound can be heard from the colony (some specialists use stethoscopes to listen for them). If you bang on the wood, it disturbs them and the noise level from the colony will increase. Finding and eliminating the colony is best left to a pest control specialist.

Your best defense against carpenter ants is elimination of damp environments and rotted wood within the home. Storing firewood adjacent to the house or in the basement is not wise. While chemical treatment can kill the colony, they’ll be back next year if suitable conditions exist.
Courtesy of CarsonDunlop/com

Monday, February 9, 2015

EPA’s renovation, repair and painting rule (RRP)

EPA’s renovation, repair and painting rule (RRP)
The EPA’s Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule took effect in April 2010. It is a federal regulatory program covering anyone who disturbs painted surfaces where lead may be present.
Specifically, any contractor, including renovators, electricians, HVAC specialists, plumbers, painters and maintenance staff, who disrupts more than six-square-feet of lead paint in pre-1978 homes, schools, day care centers and other places where children spend time, must be certified.
Companies are certified and individuals must be trained in lead-safe work practices. Training providers must be accredited by the EPA.
Alert Consumers
EPA has launched an education program to alert consumers that unqualified workers could spread lead paint dust in housing built before 1978 even in doing a small job. Three simple steps help parents protect their children:
  • Get Your Home Tested. Ask for a lead inspection before you buy a home built before 1978.
  • Get Your Child Tested. Ask your doctor to test your young child for lead even if they seem healthy.
  • Get the Facts. More information about preventing childhood lead poisoning is available at www.leadfreekids.org
To protect tenants and family members when renovations take place, landlords, homeowners and home-buyers are directed to locate a contractor who is Lead-Safe Certified by visiting www.epa.gov/getleadsafe or calling 800-424-LEAD.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

common ice dam locations

Understanding Attics

Understanding the Attic
If you’re like most homeowners, you know the importance of insulating and tightening up your house to conserve energy. But what you may not know is that certain areas of a house need to breathe. One of these areas is the attic, which requires proper ventilation not only to maintain comfort below, but also to keep the very roof over your head solid and secure!
There are two particular villains that proper ventilation will fend off. These are heat and humidity.

Attic - Typical types of roof ventilation

Sources of Heat
Heat comes from the sun and, in summer, a poorly ventilated attic can reach temperatures as high as 150˚F which means that even with insulation in the attic floor, the rooms below will be hotter than necessary, less comfortable, and more expensive to air condition. Excess heat also can shorten the life of some roofing materials.
Sources of Humidity
Humidity comes primarily from within the home, drifting upward from showers, unvented clothes dryers, humidifiers and kitchen ranges. It also comes from other, not-so-obvious sources.
During cold weather, water vapor may condense in various areas of an insufficiently ventilated attic, seeping into wooden rafters or roof sheathing and rotting them. Moisture in the attic area can cause roof shingles to buckle and insulation to lose its effectiveness. It also creates an environment that is conducive to mildew.
In recap, four reasons you need proper attic ventilation, to help:
  • Prevent structural damages caused by moisture
  • Increase the life of the roofing materials
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Enhance the comfort level of the rooms below the attic

Ice Dams
Ice DamsIf adequate ventilation is not installed, serious problems such as attic condensation, wood rot, mold, mildew and rusting metal will occur. These problems can affect the integrity of the roof as well as the integrity of the house, and can even cause health problems for family members in the home. One of the biggest roof problems associated with improper attic ventilation is an ice dam.
Ice dams occur when snow melts near the ridgelines of warm roofs (roofs without adequate ventilation). As the water runs down the roof to the overhand, it cools and freezes. If the snow continues this melt and freeze process, an ice dam can form that can seep under the shingles, through the sheathing and into the home.
Points to Ponder
To maintain the most efficient attic ventilation, make sure that vents from your bath, kitchen and laundry are not routed to the attic, but instead go directly to the outside.

Never block off your attic ventilation in winter, since moisture generated inside the home that rises to the attic can cause more problems in winter than in summer. With proper insulation between the attic floor and ceiling below, the ventilation will not lower the temperature in the house.


A career as a Home Inspector does not look very glamorous or rewarding to most people and, to be honest, some people actually give off the impression that the Home Inspector is beneath them in some areas of the world.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and view of others and, regardless of what anyone may think, a Home Inspector is a very important person and a MAJOR part of their Clients Real Estate Transaction, which, for most, will be the largest investment of their lives.

Going to work every day, meeting new people from all walks of life, and seeing a different home every day, makes the life of a Home Inspector very interesting and fun.  The best part of my job is meeting new people every day, whether they are our Clients (the home buyers and sometimes sellers), Real Estate Agents, and also the current homeowners, is something I enjoy and something that has even led to lifelong friendships. Overall, the GREATEST part of my job as a Home Inspector is being able to HELP our Clients from making a bad investment or giving them that little bit of reassurance or confidence they have been waiting for in order to move forward with their investment.
Sometimes emotions get in the way and play a major part of a real estate transaction, which can sometimes lead to a poor decision or bad investment, which is the reason Home Inspectors are so important.

Helping our Clients have greater peace of mind during the real estate transaction and providing our expert input and recommendations on repairs and maintenance, is the greatest part of our job and it truly is rewarding.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Understanding Plumbing

Plumbing has come a long way since the days of outhouses and hand pumps. We rely on the convenience of today’s plumbing systems so much that we take their reliability for granted.

Unfortunately, many home owners don’t know the basics of their plumbing systems. When a major problem occurs, they are left at the mercy of a contractor, trusting their estimate of the damage and the repairs needed. So knowing what you can about plumbing may help in selecting the best possible contractor.

Water Supplies
Your potable water is supplied by either a municipality, utility company or a well. If you have a well, water is pumped for the well by a motorized pump into a pressure tank and then into the supply system. When demand in the house causes pressure in the tank to drop, the pump turns on and water is drawn out of the well to refill the tank. The pump shuts off automatically when the pressure is reestablished.

Most interior residential water supply systems use one or more of the following material for piping:
•galvanized iron

If your piping is lead, you want to have your water laboratory-tested to determine if the lead is contaminating your water supply. **Contact Pro Chek Home Inspection Services at #800-338-5050 to schedule your Water Lead Test or Private Well Water Test at your home to ensure the Water in your home is potable and not making you and your Family ill.

Water Heaters
Most homes have their water heated by electric, gas, or oil-fired heaters. Tanks normally range in size from 30 to 82 gallons. Some larger homes have two waters heaters, or even point of use water heaters. Most modern tanks are guarded against corrosion by a thin coating of enamel inside the tank. Also insulation is placed between the tank and outer jacket to minimize heat loss.

To guard against excessive temperature or pressure, every water heater must have a temperature/pressure relief valve that automatically releases water when the temperature or pressure in the tank reaches its limit.

Follow the manufactures recommendations for temperature settings to prolong the life of the tank. Some tanks have replaceable magnesium rods which are suspended in the water to attract corrosive electrolytes that would otherwise consume the tanks walls. Check the manufactures instructions for replacement schedules for these rods.


To most people, the workings of the toilet seem complicate, however they’re really quite simple. When the tank handle is pushed or lifted, a connecting rod or chain raises a rubber stopper from a value seat at the bottom of the tank. Water from the tank ruses into the bowl and the tanks float ball drops with the water level. As water fills the bowl, gravity and a siphoning action draw the contents of the bowl through the trap and into the drainage system.

After the tank water is released into the bowl, the rubber stopper drops down to seal the valve seat at the bottom of the tank. Water from the supply line flows through a ball cock valve to refill the bowl and then the tank. The float ball rises with the water and when the water reaches the proper level the ball cock valve shuts off the water to the tank until the next flush.

General Plumbing Tips1.When in doubt about any plumbing problem call a licensed plumber.
2.Clean pop-up sink drains and strainers every month.
3.Try to keep fat, greases and coffee grounds out of drains and dishwashers.
4.Never pour paint or chemicals down drains.
5.Flush the garbage disposal with one pot of hot water and a half cup of baking soda each month.
6.Take note of any pipe repairs that have used caulk or tape or other temporary repair methods or materials. Have these repaired by a licensed plumber.
7.Make sure caulk is in good condition. Fixtures should be firmly attached to the wall or floor.
8.Periodically inspect your water heater for signs of rust or leakage. If the tank or relief valve is leaking call a licensed plumber immediately.
9.Make sure any sump pump in use is connected to a surface grade drain or to a storm drain and not a septic tank or sewage system. Always check with your local township or city to see what type of drainage system is allowable. Some areas of the US are switching footing drains to drain into storm sewer systems instead of sewage systems. Any sump pump installed should have its own dedicated electrical outlet.
10.Check with your local authorities to find out what plumbing projects need permits, and when completed have it inspected and approved by the local authorities.

Friday, January 30, 2015

What do you look for when hiring a Home Inspector... or Contractor.. or any Service Company?

The Best Companies to work with are the ones that actually CARE about their Clients/Customers, outside of Selling the a Product or Service

Pro Chek Home Inspection Services has been servicing the needs of Home Buyer & Sellers throughout Connecticut and New York for more than 30 years. Pro Chek takes great Pride in the Services that we provide to our Clients and we truly ENJOY being a part f one of the biggest decisions and largest investment of our Client’s Lives. Pro Chek has structured itself to be unlike any other Home Inspection Company around and from the first phone call or email, out Clients realize that Pro Chek is not the average Home Inspection Company. All of us at Pro Chek are well aware that our Competitors also care about the Client also, but again, we try to take the extra step and go above an beyond to make sure our job is not over when the inspection ends.  Our Staff is always available to assist our Clients before, during and after their inspection, and also up to the day of the closing and even after our Clients have moved into their new home.

Below are some of the examples that show Pro Chek Home Inspection Services truly does care about our Clients, from the initial phone call to years after their original inspection with us.

Complimentary Final Walk Through Inspection (Pre – Closing Final Walk Through)

Complimentary 11th Month Warranty Inspection for Newly Built Homes (prior to the Builders 12 Month Warranty expiration)

Courtesy Service Calls back to the home at a later date to:
1.       Inspect the roof (if the roof was snow covered during the time of the original inspection)
2.       Test the Central Air Conditioning – if the temperature was below 60 degrees at the time of the original inspection
3.       Re-Inspect the Attic or Basement due to Clutter or stored items
*Please Note that there are times when some of the Courtesy Service Calls listed above can be performed at the Final Walk Through Inspection, which may be necessary due to scheduling conflicts, etc.

Preventative Maintenance Tips and Recommendations & Referrals of Service Companies that are Honest and Reliable and share our commitment to Superior Customer Service

Available for follow discussion regarding all reports once they have been reviewed by our Clients

Available 7 days a week, 365 days per year and able to schedule on demand inspections for the situations that require an immediate reaction.

Chris Sudano
Pro Chek Home Inspection Services
Office:  203-830-4500

*Inspect with the Best - Pro Chek Home Inspection Services*