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Hurricane Preparedness

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.

Infrared Thermography

If you have been following our feeds on social media, lately we have been posting about infrared thermography. This is not some word we made up for new social media phase. This is actually a technology that some home inspectors will agree on that it is a must needed tool and some will say its a waste of money. We have spent time on research and have found that this gives the client a much clearer reference point and better reporting then using other tools. So this blog will explain a bit more of infrared thermography and why client’s should ask about it. So lets begin.

Infrared technology has been around for several years. The military and medical field has used it for many years. From night vision glasses to examining a limb on the body. The different type of equipment can range from $150.00 to thousands of dollars. But for home inspectors doing a one type reporting few times a week it has to be economical and clearly able to explain to the client of what they are reporting and difference between moisture being present and insulation in the wall. The different type of cameras will go from showing a small moisture area in side the wall cavity, for example to being able to determine heat loss from lack of insulation. The inspector has to be trained and certified in infrared. Without the certification, the inspector has a very expansive gadget and a lot of times may report a finding incorrectly. For example; “Emmittance” which means a measure of how much heat a material will radiate as a material cools down. Or my favorite Thermal Imagery. This term only means that property of an object that describes its ability to absorb and radiate heat. So while doing a spot target picture. The wall may show inside the wall cavity at 115 degrees Fahrenheit. OK, that’s the temperature but where does that figure come from. That is up to the trained inspector to determine.

Its not rocket science to determine these images. The biggest thing is knowing your tools. Some cameras are great for showing if electrical components are going to fail. Some will give more precise detail and there are the ones that will just tell temperature. And here is a thought. Chef’s even use these now instead of the old fashioned temperature probe. So as you can see this technology has been modernized for various types of trades. Keep in mind a chef is not going be able to determine what the factor of a leak is or issues in a wall cavity. Nor is a home inspector using infrared technology determine the diagnosis of a broken arm with the camera as well.

So in closing, why are we adding this service. Several reasons. One we want to be ahead of the competition. Secondly, we want to be able to have a various of avenues of clients that can call on us. A small apartment complex just last week in #Brandon Florida reached out to us because of moisture intrusion. We were able to provide a synopsis and detailed report with clarity to explain the scope of work that should take place to repair this issue.

We provide this type of service as many others throughout the Tampa, Brooksville, Lakeland and Clearwater Florida areas. And many more. This type of service can be added as an ancillary service or as the general purpose of the service. For more information, please visit us on the web at: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com Or call us anytime at; 352-322-2700.

As a footnote, I would like to add to this blog. That 9/11 is upon us. Please take a moment of silence to remember those in New York City, The Pentagon in Virginia and Shankesville Pennsylvania for those who were killed in the horrible terrorist acts. May we never forget that day and may one day we end the fight against terror by defeating our enemies foreign and domestic.

custom9-11photo

Moisture Intrusion & Inspection

Moisture Intrustion, Inspection, My house leaks
This weeks blog is about Moisture Intrusion and inspecting.  Since we are about to enter the rain season here in Tampa Florida this I felt would be a great source of information
Moisture intrusion can be the cause of building defects, as well as health ailments for the building’s occupants. Emerald Inspection Service, inspectors have an understanding of how moisture may enter a building, and where problem areas commonly occur. This is mainly true about older homes such as the ones along the beach area of Largo Florida.
Some common moisture-related problems include:
  • structural wood decay;
  • high indoor humidity and resulting condensation;
  • expansive soil, which may crack the foundation through changes in volume, or softened soil, which may lose its ability to support an overlying structure;
  • undermined foundations;
  • metal corrosion;
  • ice dams; and
  • mold growth.  Mold can only grow in the presence of high levels of moisture. People who suffer from the following conditions can be seriously (even fatally) harmed if exposed to elevated levels of airborne mold spores:
    • asthma;
    • allergies;
    • lung disease; and/or
    • compromised immune systems.

Note:  People who do not suffer from these ailments may still be harmed by elevated levels of airborne mold spores.

How does moisture get into the house?

Moisture or water vapor moves into a house in the following ways:

  • air infiltration. Air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower ones by the easiest path possible, such as a hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents is very fast (in the range of several hundred cubic feet of air per minute). Replacement air will infiltrate through the building envelope unless unintended air paths are carefully and permanently sealed;
  • by diffusion through building material. Most building materials slow moisture diffusion, to a large degree, although they never stop it completely;
  • leaks from roof;
  • plumbing leaks;
  • flooding, which can be caused by seepage from runoff or rising groundwater; it may be seasonal or catastrophic; and
  • human activities, including bathing, cooking, dish-washing and washing clothes. Indoor plants, too, may be a significant source of high levels of humidity.
Climate Zones
 
In the northern U.S., moisture vapor problems are driven primarily by high indoor relative humidity levels, combined with low outdoor temperatures during the winter. In the southern U.S. (especially the southeast), the problem is largely driven by high outdoor humidity and low indoor temperatures during summer months. Mixed climates are exposed to both conditions and can experience both types of problems. Humid climates, in general, will be more of a problem than dry climates. Wind-driven rain is the main cause of leaks through the building envelope.

Inspectors can check for moisture intrusion in the following areas:

Roofs

A roof leak may lead to the growth of visible mold colonies in the attic that can grow unnoticed. Roof penetrations increase the likelihood of water leaks due to failed gaskets, sealants and flashing. The number of roof penetrations may be reduced by a variety of technologies and strategies, including:

  • consolidation of vent stacks below the roof;
  • exhaust fan caps routed through walls instead of the roof;
  • high-efficiency combustion appliances, which can be sidewall-vented;
  • electrically powered H.V.A.C. equipment and hot water heaters that do not require flue; and
  • adequate flashing. Oftentimes, inspectors discover missing, incorrectly installed or corroded flashing pipes.

Plumbing

  • Distribution pipes and plumbing fixtures can be the source of large amounts of moisture intrusion. If the wall is moist and/or discolored, then moisture damage is already in progress. Most plumbing is hidden in the walls, so serious problems can begin unnoticed.
  • One of the most important means of moisture management in the bathroom is the exhaust fan. A non-functioning exhaust fan overloads the bathroom with damp air. If the exhaust fan doesn’t turn on automatically when the bathroom is in use, consider recommending switching the wiring or switch. The lack of an exhaust fan should be called out in the inspection report. The fan should vent into the exterior, not into the attic.
  • The bathroom sink, in particular, is a common source of moisture intrusion and damage. Although overflow drains can prevent the spillage of water onto the floor, they can become corroded and allow water to enter the cabinet.
  • Use a moisture meter to check for elevated moisture levels in the sub-floor around the toilet and tub.
  • Bathroom windows need to perform properly in a wide range of humidity and temperature conditions. Check to see if there are any obvious breaks in the weatherstripping and seals. Are there are stains or flaking on the painted surfaces?
  • Check showers and bathtubs. Is the caulking is cracked, stiff or loose in spots? Are there cracked tiles or missing grout that may channel water to vulnerable areas? If some water remains in the bathtub after draining, it may be a warning sign of possible structural weakening and settlement in the floor beneath the tub.

Utility Room

  • The water heater tank should be clean and rust-free.
  • The area around the water softener tank should be clean and dry.
  • Check that all through-the-wall penetrations for fuel lines, ducts, and electrical systems of heating system are well-sealed. All ducts should be clean and dust-free. Inspect the air supply registers in the house for dust accumulation.
  • Filters, supply lines, exterior wall penetrations, vents, ductwork and drainage of the cooling system must all be in good working order to avoid moisture problems.

Attic

  • Look for stains or discolorations at all roof penetrations. Chimneys, plumbing vents and skylight wells are common places where moisture may pass through the roof. Any such locations must be inspected for wetness, a musty smell and/or visible signs of mold.
  • Are there areas of the insulation that appear unusually thin?
  • Rust or corrosion around recessed lights are signs of a potential electrical hazard.
Foundations

Model building codes typically require damp-proofing of foundation walls. The damp-proofing shall be applied from the top of the footing to the finished grade. Parging of foundation walls should be damp-proofed in one of the following ways:
  • bituminous coating;
  • 3 pounds per square yard of acrylic modified cement;
  • 1/8-inch coat of surface-bonding cement; or
  • any material permitted for water-proofing.
In summary, moisture can enter a building in a number of different ways. High levels of moisture can cause building defects and health ailments.
If you like to know more about this subject feel free to contact us anytime at 352-322-2700 or email; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com
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