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Concrete Cracks

Today’s blog is about cracks in the driveway, sidewalk and the garage. While you may see them in the concrete and very light and small to a gap that is noticeable. I wanted to share today why its important to repair them other then appearance. So lets begin.

While doing inspections we come across typical concrete cracks to the concrete has a sunk or is cracked due to many reasons.  Some cracks fall into one or more of several categories: 1) plastic shrinkage 2) settlement 3) drying shrinkage 4)chemical 5) corrosion and 6) overload.  Concrete will fail just like anything else. Some cracks appear shortly after the pour and some take many years.  A lot of sidewalks for homes are poured at 3500 psi. Yes you will see 4000 and 5000 psi. Some driveways and commercial applications vary. But lets not get too technical. We are not trying to develop the science on concrete.

The biggest part is when you see cracks remember moisture will get in. No matter if its the driveway, garage or back patio. This you want to avoid. Main reason is that once moisture enters the cracks the concrete will absorb it and start to deteriorate. A lot folks in the North East have had snow and rain. This is not good with cracks. The repair process can be a small job up to replacing the area. Small jobs may just require you on a Saturday cutting out the crack and filling it with a repair compound. Some maybe a bit more extensive. Additionally, you may see concrete caulk. I am not a fan of this product. One appearance wise it looks tacky. Two lets think about it. You gonna caulk your driveway? Do the task correctly so your home is prestige.

In closing when we see the concrete cracks and they look jagged or shark tooth style. They are the ones to worry about. This is true for concrete block as we see the cracks there too. Normally something has made that area to heave or sink.  Thank you for following us today. If you have more questions about concrete cracks, feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700 or visit us at; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

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Home Energy Score Assessor

Good Day Everyone! Yes we have a Monday Blog.. This past weekend we were attending The Home Energy Score Assessor class. By the end of the week we will have our certification from Department of Energy Home Score program, as Assessor. What is that, do you need it and why do you want it. So lets begin.

The Home Energy Score program is like a vehicles miles per gallon ratio. It allows you to compare your energy use that you use to other homes in the area and nationwide. The process starts with a Home Energy Inspector to do a brief walk-thru to gather data from different elements of your home during the inspection. The inspection process normally takes about a half an hour. The inspection is not to open wall cavities or take apart certain elements. Its gathering data for the program to compare your energy use and how to save you money!  Now keep in mind some homes have been upgraded and are older and score well. Some are newer and score low. Even with today’s specifications.  Not every home is alike and every home will not score the same.

So to take part of this new program to see how your home scores call us. We are doing promotional rates on this new program. The report is normally delivered that day and we will go over the report with you so you know how your home scored. We will gladly perform this type of inspection in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Polk, Sumter, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Florida counties. Lastly we are the only one in this area that are certified by the DOE to do this type of inspection. 352-322-2700 or info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

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Happy Easter

I want to take this time and wish everyone of our followers a Very Happy Easter Holiday. Also wanted to share few tid bits about the Easter Holiday. Some stuff that is not known much about Easter. So lets begin.

The Easter date goes back to circa 30 AD. The holiday is celebrated as Holy Week and really starts with Maundy Thursday when the last supper took place. Then Good Friday the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Then Easter Sunday. The resurrection of Jesus.  The holiday is a world wide holiday and in many countries people are off and celebrate Good Friday and/or Easter Monday too.  The holiday is tied to many religious events too.

Now for a few unknown tidbits. For example the Astronomical and Gregorian Easter is the same date. The Julian calendar date is actually 08 April this year. All 3 wont be the same date until 2025.  The Easter Bunny made its way to the US in the 18th century. Its believed to originated in Europe, where it was actually the Easter Hare. Pysanka is the name of painting eggs.    The idea of the Easter Bunny giving candy and eggs originated in Germany. There is plenty more out there but wanted to share of few.

So in closing. Happy Easter from Emerald Inspection Service. We will be open on Monday! 352-322-2700

 

 

Wind Mitigation Update

Good Sunday Morning Everyone.  Been a few weeks with our blog and we have an exciting one for you. This week we want to talk about Wind Mitigation. But not like we talked about before. And also before you start making some purchases such as hurricane wind resistant devices, its a good idea to check to see if they will give you the credit on home owners insurance. And last, we want to talk about town home wind mitigation reporting. Yes, believe it or not you can get one as well. So lets begin.

When we talk about wind mitigation reporting the report is to identify to the insurance company about what kind of  devices you have on your home to receive proper credit from the insurance company. Now all insurance companies will be different as far as credits. For example your home may have single wraps or toe nail credit. The home may had a new roof installed and you never received the proper F.B.C. credit. Or you upgraded the garage door, windows or entry doors. Again, another credit that its not looked at.  Even when you add this type of upgrade after the previous wind mitigation report, its good to always update this with the insurance company. Also, always ask about the Secondary Water Resistor when getting a new roof. This is one credit that may cost a bit then but will save you time and time again.

Now the garage door needs to have a wind speed verification for the credit. The windows have to be impact resistant and have an approved code on the windows or noted on the paperwork. The engineering devices and nail spacing is determined as well and is an additional credit.  Now you say, I have shutters, or wind resistant screens, or wood panels or we had a storm coming in and made up the cover and do I get credit. Well that answer is maybe. Here is why.  The shutters will be stamped with an approval code on them. The wood panels have to meet the FBC 2007 Edition of Table 1609.1.2. And yes we verify that.  The screen system is a sticky subject. Some systems will state its approved by the Florida Building Code. Got it. But it is not approved for the proper credit for wind mitigation.  Also, you may want to check to see if they are ASTM approved.  I mean come on. Why spend all this money that you think will protect your home and then you find out, well nice system but sorry no credit. (True story) Additionally, you have one type of check off that it maybe approved or not and that is determined by the underwriters of the insurance. It can’t be verified, maybe due age and can’t read the coding. Or a make shift item and looks like an approved system but not sure. Check with the insurance agent about this. Again, why waist time and money.

Now lets talk about wind mitigation for flat roofs, mobile homes and town-homes.  Yes you deserve the proper credit for these as well. Some people may say, I do not have attic access. That’s ok, we aren’t going to demo the ceiling to try to get in the attic. You too get some type of credit.  For flat roofs other then two types of credits your home still applies to most of the inspection report. And for town-homes your home even though connected still gets the credit it should deserve. For example garage and entry doors, windows, shutters, etc.  Then we have the mobile home or manufactured home. I want to clarify that mobile homes do not “Normally” get a wind mitigation report.  They always get a 4 point or roof certification report.  Now keep in mind I said normally. If you upgrade your windows and door to hurricane resistant, have installed shutters, call us. Even if we do not service the area such as Tallahassee or Miami .  However, we do service the Greater Tampa Bay area from Crystal River to Sarasota, and from Tarpon Springs to Sumter. We can refer you to an inspector that can assist you.  For more information about wind mitigation go to: https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/wind-mitigation.html  or call us anytime at 352-322-2700. Thank You and blog at you next Sunday!

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Time

 

Time sometimes can be a friend or a foe. Let me explain. When we are prioritizing our daily activities we do the most important first and then go from there. Like getting groceries and wine but washing the car not as much. Well the same goes into an inspection. So let’s begin.

When we do general inspection we prioritize as well. If we know a storm is coming we will be on the roof first instead of last. If someone is going to use the bathroom to get ready for work we normally inspect that element first instead of going in to inspect the shower when you are bathing. (not a good idea). But seriously, there are other ways time is affected. Well water testing. Time is critical and there is a cost due to the time the samples arrive at the lab. If they arrive late the test is not valid. Same goes with radon testing. An extremely amount of time has to be prepared for the home prior to the test. If not then the test will be invalid. Just as we take time to make sure the testing lab is doing there proper standards of practice for the results.

Lastly, the time in preparation of the reports. No matter how many fancy apps an inspection company has. Preparation of the report and delivery is the the utmost importance. Would you want to wait for a wind mitigation report for 5 days. No. The time to do the report is minimal. Just like the time to research properties takes time but we know how to utilize it properly.

So remember when reports are generated there is time to prepare and time to deliver. Just as much as the time for the home owner or to take the time to prepare maybe the home for a certain inspection. When both work together. The time is priceless.

Until next weeks blog, thank you again. 352-322-2700. http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Irrigation Systems

Ok, here is the anticipated blog about irrigation systems. Now some folks that have snow are probably shaking there heads. But in the warm south its getting warmer and people are already cutting their grass, me. So lets begin.

When we have an irrigation system installed at our homes there is a lot to consider from planning to maintenance of the systems. What we want to talk about is the heads, the pump, and also some facts about the maintenance.  When we are having our systems come on, you will see one zone come on for about 3-5 minutes. Depending on the type of pump, will determine how many heads will be per zone. Older systems are 1-2 heads and newer can be up to 5. But you never want to have more than one zone come on at a time.

The heads are your main maintenance items. Dirt, lawn mowers and animals can be a contributor to why these items some times do goofy things. For example, its best to maybe have a donut around the head so the lawn guy does not run over them. Its best to have them clean every so often. Especially the directional head types. If they can not spray then its defeating the purpose of the head.  Now on a different note, many irrigation contractors place the heads near equipment, (the hvac unit) and even though it may be a directional head some are not. This will cause the unit to prematurely fail.  I always recommend the heads to be about 3-5 feet away from the units.

Next we have the pump. The pump can be in the ground or above depending upon the system. However, you do not want the box that houses the pump above ground. The pump connects to the manifold which controls the system. You will see the system is light gauge wiring and wire nuts. The wire nuts are not the typical ones you buy a bag for $3.00 at the local store. They are water proof. They have silicone in them to protect the wires. Make sure that you have these. Most systems fail because of improper materials.

And lastly, the brain of the system. The timer or some call the clock. The clock will control the zones from the mainifold. The clock will also allow you to turn on a zone buy it self. For example, if you just planted a new bush or flowers and want to water them after planting. You can also program the time you want to come on. For many, the times are usually 5 am and 8 pm. Just before and after the sun.

So, I hope this may explain a bit of the irrigation system and few maintenance items. If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime.  352-322-2700 or                      www. emeraldinspectionservice.com

 

Appliance Inspections

via Appliance Inspections

Appliance Inspections

#Appliance, #Inspection, #Bartow, #Land O Lakes, # Sumterville, #Clearwater, #Range, #Outdoor, #Kitchen

Good morning everyone..  This is a blog that I put out once or twice a year.

When we are starting to prepare for cooking our meals we really don’t give much thought about the oven (s) but when we are preparing a special meal like cooking for Valentines day or St. Patricks Day and Easter then we need to give some extra attention to this. And I want to share some points that also should be thought of.

On a general inspection we inspect all the appliances for operation and the systems as well. However, we do not inspect the oven for temperature. And that is where I like to start. The oven is quite simple. You have conventional and convection.  If you have the traditional style convention oven and its electric first thing is to make sure the elements are in tact. Test the oven to make sure the broiler works and oven element. Make sure the bottom of the oven is clean.  And additionally, get a small thermometer and check the temperatures. Set the oven for 425 and check with the thermometer. Every range from your temperature setting should be +/- 5 degrees. More then that then you may wanna think about an appliance technician. Now, if you have a convection oven. Make sure the fan is working with the other parts I just mentioned.

And now you may say what about the oven if its natural gas or propane. Good question, the biggest thing with them is the burner and pilots. Now days ovens have electric ignition. You still need to clean the pilot holes and burner for the ovens. Plus check the temperatures as well.

If you have an outdoor kitchen with propane tank, make sure you have a spare bottle. Never want to be cooking your favorite steak on a grill and poof. No more fire. Additionally, some bottles will leak. Its always best to make sure all the fittings are tight, the hoses are not kinked and again the burners are cleaned.

Now when we get called for an appliance inspection we will do this plus more. We inspect the washer hoses and dryer vent. We additionally, make sure the units are working normally. Then we inspect the garage door for proper operation. If there are trash compactors and garbage disposals we inspect them too. And lastly the HVAC units.

So we hope this helps and gotcha thinking before your next big meal prep. If you have any questions anytime feel free to call us at 352-322-2700 or look us up at: http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com   We can perform this type of inspection in the Tampa, Lakeland, Tarpon Springs and Brooksville Florida areas. Thank You.

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Concrete Cracks

We were on an inspection last week and part of the inspection is about concrete cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and other concrete areas on the exterior of the home.  A lot of times the cracks go unnoticed and are forgotten about. And we do our due diligence by reporting them. But this time it struck me odd. And the realtor almost broke her ankle due to the cracking in the driveway. So I wanted to take this time about the cracks and why they are a so a must to repair. So lets begin.

Normally when we see cracks there is either 3 different causes. Your typical settling and aging cracks of the concrete. These are those tiny hair line cracks that you will notice in the garage, the driveway, sidewalk or porch. Sometimes they appear around the decking of the pool. They are not major but they should not be overlooked. Over time these cracks will seperate more. This is the time to have them repaired and be done.

Then we have the type of concrete cracks that over time have been ignored. The concrete has gotten moisture intrusion and with hot and cold temperatures the cracks have separated more then a 1/4″ gap.  This usually happens after a freeze or winter. Still a moderate easy fix. But anyone who wears any type of heal will catch the heal in the gap and is definitely a safety hazard. When we see this, it is noted as well but more of a safety hazard instead of monitor. Now this separating of the crack should not had happen overnight. Its over time. Remember it starts out as a tiny hairline then grows to a 1/4-1/2″ gap.

And lastly we have the omg style cracking. This is usually occured when some type of structural or mechanical elements fail. For example water lines under the slab. Or you may have an area that ground erosion has started to occur. This is a bit more serious. The concrete may have lifted or settled and sometimes be intact. (tree roots sometimes do this) There is a cure to fix this but it will be more costly then the simple hair line crack.

So in closing remember every few months while doing exterior maintenance on the home, walk and check the concrete around your home. Unless you specifically look for something you may not see it.  To learn more about this feel free to look us up at; http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or better yet give us a call. 352-322-2700. We perform concrete scanning and all concrete is noted on our inspections such as annual home maintenance, general inspection, and 11 month warranty inspection. The areas are the Gulf Coast, Central Florida, Brooksville, Tampa, Polk City, and Webster areas are just some of the areas. Thank You.

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Pool Maintenance

You probably saw the title and thought he does not have enough coffee. Yes in some parts the pools are closed and people are under their covers. However, here in sunny Florida we are still using ours. ( I know 10 days of winter) The main reason behind this blog is not to keep the pool guy employed. But its to make you aware of some things to take care of before we are back in the water. So lets begin.

There is three major components when it comes to any pool.  If you have an above ground pool or in ground pool with a small spa.  The first is the pump. The pump is the brain. And if the pump fails then the pool will get cloudy and eventually black. The pump area has your controls to back wash, clean etc. You have a filter either cartridge, sand or  diatomaceous earth.  And you may have a heater  that is powered by solar or gas. And your control panel. (Little trick, if the panel is not illuminated, check the fuse or may have a battery, this will save you a ton of money.) This entire area is mostly where you want to keep up on your preventive maintenance. For example, the pump constantly runs. If it is noisy it could be the bearings. Some are sealed and some not. But question is when is the last time the ball bearings where lubricated.. Check the ground and bonding wires. Very crucial.  And check the piping and other valves. Is the area free of dirt and debris. No leaks even the slightest will cause failure. And never place plastic covers over the equipment.

Now that was one element of the pool system.  The other two not so intense. You have the pool flooring and walls. Some have tile some don’t. This area needs to be maintained too. Walls need to be cleaned. Tile need to be re-grouted. Skimmers cleaned out and the pool floor is where the algae sticks too. Cleaning the areas will make you use less chemicals so you are not pouring money into it. The lights I save leave alone. If the bulb fails its probably 5 yrs old. If it fails shortly after you replace it. Then you may have an electrical issue.

The last part is the decking. In ground pools will have brick along the edge with concrete. Above ground may have a deck wrapped around. This area is always forgotten. The water splashes into the bricks and sand dissipates. The wood gets wet and never power washed and resealed with a stain and sealer.  Some may have an expansion joint and this needs to be checked too. Very minor maintenance to take care of.

So as we here in Florida  may still use our pools now is the time to get that maintenance done.  Because in 8 weeks we will be in our pools more then we think. As for our friends and family in the extreme chilly winter, keep this as a reference. Because in March pool companies will start up with the cleaning and maintenance.

If you have any questions about pool maintenance or want us to inspect the pool equipment, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700. Or email, info@emeraldinspectionservice.com.  We proudly do our inspections from Palm Harbor, to Hernando and from Polk City, to Leesburg Florida.

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