This weeks blog is about the dreaded heat switch. Our blogs this year some will have a twist with guest bloggers from the industry and few topics that haven’t been talked about before. The biggest thing is making sure our information is correct and up to date. This weeks blog is about heat loss. So, lets begin.
When it comes to heat loss we really do not think about it until the outside temperatures are cold. Cold enough for us to put the dreaded heat switch on. A lot of us will try to put extra layers on before that happens. And some just accept the fact. (me I dread the heat)
Lately you may have noticed the heat comes on and goes off. And if it is doing it more than coming on for about 15 minutes per 50 minutes you could be experiencing heat loss. Now homes will loose heat. Unless you are in a new condo or apartment you will. Doors, windows, fans will allow cold air in and heat out. This is normal and we aren’t trying to sell you a remodel. But this will tell you how much and what to do.
What we tell customers before we do an inspection or service for this we ask them to go to the windows or door with heat off and ask them to place a match or lighter next to the area. If the flame is moving slightly you will be experiencing heat loss. We will use infrared technology to determine this. Also, if you feel the ceiling is cold some insulation maybe needed to upgrade.
Now you maybe asking ok, what do I do. Well the minimum is put plastic on the windows. Bubble wrap is a good inexpensive way. Another is check to make sure the caulking is good. Not cracked or missing. Check the insulation in the attic. If its blown and dense, you may need to upgrade. Also you can call us to perform an energy audit, infrared test or blower door test. And one last thing. Your thermostat. If its old, or in a spot near the door or windows, consult with an HVAC contractor.
We hope this helps with the dreaded heat button. If you have any questions, feel free to call us anytime or look us up at www.emeraldinspectionservice.com
As we are preparing for a major storm in Florida, and as we did last year this time. This is a blog for some preparedness ideas. Additionally, if you want to know more about roughing it out go to, https://www.pascoremodel.com/blog.html for more information about utilities and safety. If you have any questions, feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700.
As the storms are going to be arriving in the Gulf Area and the Coast on the Atlantic. We wanted to share with our followers some easy tips and helpful reminders. This blog is not to alarm anybody and the weather can change to where some places in Florida may receive a sprinkle of rain and others 5 inches. So, lets begin as you ride the storm out.
Take a walk around the perimeter of the home. Bring in the lawn chairs or stow them securely. If there are items for the pool or the grill is on wheels. You may want to secure them as well. Then take a peek at your gutters and tree branches. If you see debris in them it maybe a good time to remove it. Some flooding can be caused by drainage systems backing up. If you notice any tree limbs that are brushing against the home. Take time to trim them back at-least 18 inches. And finally as a small tip, on items around the home. Make sure that all outdoor receptacles are covered. Lastly, do not park your car under trees, if you can help it.
Now for what we like to call for the preparedness storm box. First remember when you loose power you have no wifi and tv unless you have a back up generator. So, you may wanna consider a few items to get you thru the storm if you loose power for a couple of hours. For example. Batteries, 2 sets, for 2 flash lights. Candles to be placed in dark rooms like bathrooms. Have a few cases of bottle water. If you are on a well pump. The commode will not flush properly after you loose power. May need to consider a couple of coolers with ice. Depending on how long you loose power. (Normally the food in the refrig is good for few hours.) Then you want to consider charging up any batteries such as for drills or other tools. Now lets go into comfort zone. This may seem funny. But if you have gas or charcoal grills this is your cooking device. Make sure you have plenty on hand. Nothing wrong with a steak as you are watching the storm. Then grab some chips and games. The simple pleasures of keeping your mind occupied will help.
The forecast for the Gulf Coast of Florida is undetermined at this time. So I hope all is well to everyone. Make sure you have on hand all important telephone numbers. And not just speed dial on your phone. Educate yourself with government services such as shelters, hospitals, fire and police stations and their contact information. Make sure your family knows where to go if you get separated and don’t forget about our four legged family either. Have cats and dogs near you and their crates ready to go if you need to evacuate. If you need us or have questions, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700. If you receive hail and wind damage and your insurance company needs inspections completed, please remember we are certified in Hail & Wind Damage Assessments. We service the Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Hernando County areas immediately.
Wanna share the story of how Emerald Inspection Service, LLC came to life. About this time 3 years ago, Emerald Inspection Service, LLC was born. Emerald Inspection Service was born in Columbia Maryland originally. In Maryland I was in class for education hours for home inspection. During this process it was an exhilarated course. 7 days a week 10 hours per day. During this time we had mock inspections, learning different mechanical systems, new technology in the homes and administrative and legal as well. Once I completed the course and passed I was certified with American Home Inspectors Training Institute. However that was not licensing. The next step was to take what I learned and prepare for my test. I found out that Maryland accepts the National Certification Of Home Inspectors test. This also allows me to work in other states as well without taking another state test. Different states may require additional education hours, such as Florida. Once I passed the test, I was legally in business.
In February of 2014, I received my Florida Home Inspectors License. Now moving to Florida, I learned that Florida required about 40 more educational hours. Being the aggressor that I am. I enrolled in about 120 more hours. This giving full course credit from #AHIT. Since then, I have completed other courses as well to stay up on industry standards and license requirement.
Moving forward into our new year, Emerald Inspection Service has serviced over 200 clients in MD and FL. We provide certified floor consulting, 203k consulting, construction inspections for contractor or the home owner, and radon testing just to name a few. We offer warranty service with our inspections and this has expanded to termite warranty. Our normal service coverage area ranges from #Hernando to #Sarasota. And from #Clearwater to #Clermont Florida.
So in closing I would like to thank the clients and referral partners that have helped us get where we are today. Alot of people have asked why then name Emerald Inspection Service? Well in short, the Emerald is the stone of prophecy. The stone can keep the worrier calm and bring to reason. So at Emerald Inspection Service, there is no reason to worry about your next property inspection service. Which is why our slogan, Quality Inspections With Clarity! Again, Thank You!
This weeks blog is a bit late but is more organic and about an actual occurrence that happened the past weekend. A good friend of mine is buying their first home in the Riverview Florida area. In the north we call them town homes down in the south they are refereed to as villas. The name description of your new home is what they use wording according to the area.
I was asked to inspect their home. When I saw that it will be a built up stucco home for the second level, I took note to the outside sheathing. Additionally while inspecting the interior we noticed framing deficiencies in rooms over 6 inches. This is huge. The potential home owner can not be at site during construction in all phases. But when a small villa is to be built, it needs to be built by the specifications of the blue prints.
When building a home you have stages and yes you have rain delays in any type of construction. However, your General Contractor should have a representative to coordinate daily construction activity and know typical deficiencies about the sub contractors. When I went to inspect the home, I found that the sheathing on the top floor has brown wood, turned edges and additionally the window wells are not covered for moisture. Brown wood refers to a pieces of sheathing that is over weathered and should not be used, as it is has gathered extreme moisture in that pieces. The turn edges reflect that the corners that the ends have moisture entered the ends of the sheathing and needs to be replaced. These are items that should be addressed to the builder or general contractor to replace these deficiencies. Also, a home inspector should inspect the final product. A true home inspector will use their tools in the tool box to make sure moisture is not irreverent in the home.
We can do these type of inspections and we are working to gather our building inspection certificate with State of Florida. We will gladly perform this inspection from Clearwater and Sarasota to Orlando and Hudson. To find out more contact us at 352-322-2700 or get us on the web; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com Thank You.
This weeks blog is about water testing. Water testing is crucial whether you are living in a community that has public water or you have a private well. We will discuss a few different aspects of why it is important to test the water.
In real-estate transactions a lot of lenders will require the future home owner to obtain a water test when the property has a private well. This maybe for FHA/VA funding. When performing the test there are 3 parts. We test for bacteria, lead and nitrates. The test capsules are rushed to a lab for next day early am delivery. Our lab that we use we have the results within 48-72 hours. We review the report with our clients then send it immediately to the client. Sometimes the lab report will come back with a fail for one of the tests. Does this mean the well is not suitable for drinking water. No. Alot of times it could be minor maintenance and updates needed for the drinking water to be safe. A well is just like any other part of the home. It has components that need to be maintained. This is one area that is a lot of times forgotten about in a home. So you may ask, I have been in my home for a while, should I get mine tested. The answer to that question is yes. If you can not remember the last test results it would be recommended just for simple knowledge that the drinking water is safe.
Now lets talk about, if you have public water. Alot of home owners have invested in a small purification system for water at the kitchen sink. But lets think about that. We may drink the water from bathroom sinks, shower or the refrigerator that has the ice maker. Some may have built in filters that needs to be changed periodically. But is the water coming into that filter safe. It may sound odd but the water traveling thru the pipes may or may not be safe even though it is from a public source. Like the city or a big water tower for the community. As mentioned in the previous paragraph the test is 3 parts. Lead is part of that. Plumbers can not use lead solder on water pipes anymore. As said, lead is part of that test. So it would make sense for piece of mind to have the water tested as well. As the water maybe safe from the source. The travel that it has to go thru may not. The after market filters also have to be changed periodically and the aerators as well. It should be a semi to quarterly idea on home maintenance to change your aerators. Next time remove the aerator from the bathroom sink and you will see debris in the screens of the aerators.
Lastly, in a commercial setting the water should be tested too. To protect the staff of the office. I just found out this week, especially in Hillsborough County, that for day care providers they need the water tested quarterly under health regulations by State of Florida. So in closing, if the State of Florida wants water tested on a routine basis, it maybe a great idea to have the water tested for your home as well.
At Emerald Inspection Service, we do water testing as part of our regular services and schedule this type of service rather quickly. We perform this type of service in a 48 hour time frame in Pasco, Hillsborough, Hernando, and Pinellas Counties. We can perform this in other areas as well. To learn more contact our office at 352-322-2700 or visit our website www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or the EPA page,
This weeks blog is about floor inspections and what a flooring consultant does. There is a difference between a floor inspector and a floor consultant. They both perform similar activities and this blog will educate on the difference.
So lets begin with a floor inspection. We all have or had carpet, tile, laminate and hardwood floor products installed in our home. Carpet there is many types of manufactures but are made with similarities’. Laminate flooring has gotten popular over the years and is easy to maintain. Just as such as pre-finished wood products. Of course we are all used to the hardwood floors from grandma back in the day. However, you may not know that products being mass produced may have flaws in the product and may not be caught by quality control from the manufacture. So what happens if there are flaws in the product. What happens to the consumer that if there is an installation issue. And believe it or not there is tolerances and variances allowed by ANSI. With all that you may think, is it worth the hassles.
Well first there are tolerances and variances that is acceptable from ANSI. However, these are so small or unknown that the product to the naked eye will not show. Just like a carpenter installing crown molding. There maybe slight uneven-ness but a true tradesman will not let it show. The same goes with floor products. However, a lot of times there are issues with a product and installation. On the installation of a product any consumer knows if its a good install or bad. They may have questions and not know everything about the product and rely on the installer to further educate them. But remember as a consumer if you are not happy with the job, tell the crew to stop. Whether its the performance of the install or the product itself. You may see flaws of a product and not happy with it. If this is the case a floor inspector or consultant will help with this problem.
An inspector or consultant is trained to perform inspections of this nature. This type of inspection is not the same as a home inspector. This type of person is probably certified from an agency. I, George K. Swatzbaugh III, am Nationally Certified thru IFCI. The inspector will come out to the job site and search for deficiencies in the product. However, there is a great deal of research in this inspection. The inspector has to know the tolerances of the product. Also, has an understanding of how the product is installed. Additionally, their report writing tells a story to anyone from start to finish on the where the product is installed and what the deficiencies are. Lastly, the floor product maybe within standards but the installer did not perform the install correctly. Or there maybe a issue of the product and has to report it back to the manufacture.
The difference between the floor inspector and a floor consultant is similar. They both perform the same work. However, the inspector will have a commissioning agent who they report back too. A floor consultant will work directly for the end user or known as the home owner. Both titles mean just about the same. A certified inspector or consultant will be able to be an expert witness if need be.
For more information about this topic, go to www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700. We will perform inspections of this type nationally. However, we typically stay in the Tampa, Lakeland, Ocala and Clearwater Florida areas.
This weeks blog is about the price of a General Home Inspection and how the price is constructed for the client. We get calls about how much a home inspection cost, but also we get calls for other types of inspection services and their costs. So lets begin of what the average national price may be, and why you should think when somebody drastically cuts everyone’s price.
Depending upon the area, the average price of a home inspection ranges from $320-350.00 for a home inspection that is approximately 2100 square feet or less. In a home of this size you normally have 2-3 bedrooms and usually 2 bathrooms. So a few of the rooms may not take as long during the inspection. However, you still have the major components of an inspection. For example; The Roof, The Exterior, The Grounds, The Porch and Deck, The Plumbing, The Electrical, The HVAC System, The Kitchen, one Bathroom, and possibly The Garage and Laundry Room. From that point you then have your interior rooms, extra bathrooms, pool, spa, possibly of an exterior building and other areas of the property. To complete an inspection for this size usually takes about 2-3 hours. However, once the walk thru is completed with the client, there is normally a bit of paperwork to complete before the client receives the report. All quality inspectors usually review the report, create a summary and overview of the property. For each report that is generally about another 30-45 minutes of time that is not seen. So as you can see now a home inspection report can take up to 4 hours of time.
When the property is larger then the 2100 square feet, a lot of inspection companies will usually add $50-75.00 extra per 800-1000 square feet to the base price. This is to allow for the extra time needed to complete the inspection. Additionally a lot of companies will add a small fee for properties over 15 years of age and older. Again, the property inspection may take longer and the company may need to allocate for that time.
Now, with Emerald Inspection Service we try to provide additional services while we are on site doing the inspection. For example maybe a wind mitigation during the inspection process or radon testing, or possibly roof certification if the roof is over 15 years of age. This process saves the client, the realtors, the home owners and the inspector time as well. Remember, the scheduling of an inspection is critical to all parties and the worst thing anybody wants is to have to return for an additional service and coordinate with the realtor, home owners, etc.
So, lets talk about companies that charge differently then we and many of our friends do. Some inspectors are new to the industry, so they think by drastically cutting the price will make you as a consumer want to hire them. However, if their report takes 2 hours to complete totally, and is done. Is the report going to show every part of the element being inspected. Is the report showing colored pictures as the inspector takes them. Is that report going to be readable and understandable if problems exist in the future. So for a company to charge approximately $35-40.00 less to entice you for their business is something to consider. Additionally, will that company and inspector be there if you have questions in the future about an entity of the inspection report.
In conclusion of this weeks blog, remember that sometimes the cheaper price is not always the best price. Buying a home is a major investment in anybody’s portfolio. This maybe a first time home owner, an investor, or the family that is downsizing into a smaller home. Consumers should trust their judgement, listen to what the inspection company offers for the cost of the inspection and see what the norm is for that area. If 2 people are charging about the same price or within $25.00 and one is charging $40.00 less, then the question should be why is one far less and what does everyone bring to the table with their inspection package.
These summaries of prices can be in any area, however for reporting purpose we have used the Tampa, Hernando, Orlando and Sarasota Florida as reference for our research on this blog.
For more information, please visit our website: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime @ 352-322-2700 or email us directly to; email@example.com
This weeks blog is about “Construction Inspections”. The past week, Emerald Inspection Service, LLC performed 2 construction inspections and resulted into a mold testing. This weeks blog will focus more on construction inspection. So to start, what is a construction inspection and is the home inspector licensed in Florida and experienced and certified to perform this inspection.
A “Construction Inspection” is an inspection that is catered to the client. The construction inspection can be very detailed and code oriented, a 203-K Consultant, or a quality assurance/quality control inspection. Most home inspectors will not perform this due to the paperwork involved depending on how the inspection is performed. Below in detail will be a description of each type of inspection and credentials required to perform each type.
Lets talk about the 203-K Consultant and Inspection process. The inspector that performs this type of reporting first has to be a licensed home inspector in the state they practice. The inspector has to have liability insurance at the state’s requirements and should have and Error & Emission Policy. The inspector then becomes a “Consultant” for the new property owner to inspect the property under FHA Standards. This is not an inspection for a buyer or seller. The inspection process is known as “The Minimal Property Standards” by FHA. This process also requires the consultant to inspect the work being done by licensed contractors and performed to an acceptable building standard and during the construction work for draw inspection. (A future blog will be on 203-K Inspections Only and a very detailed explanation of the process.)
For the next type of construction inspection, this can be detailed toward code and specifications of the building plans which sometimes mirrors a quality control/quality assurance inspection. A third party inspection that is generated to inspect that the contractors are performing the work as required to specs and code is usually simple. Yes, you will have a building inspection. Yes different trades will be inspected by the local municipality, however if the specifications in the blueprints state a specific item to be built over and above the local codes this may not be addressed by the local building official. This is where sometimes a third party inspection is required. The building official will inspect for their requirements and be done. A third party inspector may address deficiencies of code or specifications and need to be addressed to the contractors. This is the part that a QA/QC sometimes mirror each other. This is also where the client that wants this type of inspection wants to know that the inspector has a background in construction, remodeling and or a previous contractor. Not a handyman. If the inspector can safely state contractor experience and provide licensing, even if prior, then that maybe the inspector deemed toward this type of inspection.
Now for the third type of inspection. Quality Assurance and Quality Control. A QA/QC inspection starts when the homeowner has concerns about the quality of the current contractors and their performance. Usually, a homeowner seeing work performed by the contractor will know if they are happy in the performance of the specified plans and specifications. When they are not, a third party inspection is usually the best alternative to rectify any concerns. Specifications on blueprints will override any general documentation on the prints and supersedes what the plans are. For example, the client may had want “aging in place” support framing. The contractor did not perform that so the deficiencies are reported to state what the contractors’ need to correct. With this, many deficiencies are usually noted to the client in a detailed report. The client of ours, then takes our report to let their contractors know of their concerns. Sometimes a repair verification report maybe required to make sure the deficiencies were performed correctly.
Lastly, is a great tool for any home owner. We all have our careers and family as well and a simple construction inspection will give you, our client piece of mind not to worry during remodeling times. Or as our logo states; Providing Inspections With Clarity.
Thank You for taking the time to read this lengthy blog. We are certified with the IRC for construction inspections. This process is performed a lot with us in Plant City, Mulberry, Tampa and Port Richey Florida. However, we will go anywhere in Florida to perform this type of inspection. But having construction inspections can be your best way to know the work was performed correctly, according to specifications and safely. For more information, feel free to contact us anytime at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-322-2700. www.emeraldinspectionservice.com