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Pool Inspections

This weeks blog is a topic that people in colder environments are not thinking about at this moment. However in Florida we still use our pools. Most home inspection companies will have an ancillary service for pool and spa inspections. At Emerald Inspection Service, we do as well. But provide this service as a main entity as well. So I wanted to make this weeks blog about Pool & Spa inspections and some tips how to maintain the pool areas. So, lets begin.

Pool and spa inspections are some what simple to an experienced inspector. But for a beginner if the inspector is not properly trained and certified the inspection process can be horrific. Some inspectors today are stating to customers, yeah I can look at it for free, but if you want me to thoroughly inspect the pool they recommend a pool service company. This will increase the inspection process and delay the venture more. We don’t believe in that. Its kinda like taking your car for an oil change to one mechanic then going to the tire dealership to rotate the tires and then maybe the electric shop for replacing the headlamp. YUK. Too much confusion and too much cost.  And for a lot of our followers they know and clients we provide the one stop shop. So, pool inspections has a few major components that we inspect and we have listed them below.

You have the main component, the pump. The pump is the back bone of the system. It needs to be free of leaks, running properly, and bonded. If not there will be a deficienicy on the report. The pump will also allow backwashing for the system, This is something that only trained inspectors should test. Main reason is for the fact you could harm the pump or hoses if too much pressure is on the system.

A few other features on the system is the automatic fill for the water level and anti-siphon valves. The auto fill is a mechanism that detects the water level and will fill up the water as needed. The anti-siphon valve allows no pool water back into the main water supply. These are small items that need to be checked for operation as if either element is failed the water could re-enter the plumbing system or overfill the pool.

From there you have the time clock and pool filter. The time clocks have gotten a bit more complex. The original kind was an analog type with an on and off time. The biggest thing was to make sure the time is set, the stops are engaged and moisture barrier is in place to protect the wiring. Some pool timers are digital and may control the heater, pump, and other elements of the pool. Again, the digital type a more experienced inspector will be able to inform their clients. (as we are). Then the pool filter. There are several types, the main one is a cartridge style. On the inspection we do inspect the cartridge. Mainly to make sure its clean, not torn and no debris in the container. The container is usually under a vacuum seal from the water, so if its not open properly the people near by will get a bit wet. Additionally, the pressure guage should be operating and the glass should be clear and present. If not this is a major deficiency. The pressure should be near 22 psi.

Then the pool area should be inspected. The water should be clear, not cloudy or opaque. The pool lamp should illuminate. The tile and grout should be clean and intact. The skimmers should be free of debris. The pool coping should have no cracks as with the decking. If water gets into these areas it could cause major damage. The railing and diving board should be secure, no rust and free of chips or cuts into the surface.

The heaters when present are normally utilized in cooler months. They may service the spa and pool. This is an awesome feature especially here in Florida for the pool or built in spa. Think about it. Thanksgiving is approaching and we are in the pool that day as friends of ours in the north are a bit chilly.  Anyway, the heaters should only be tested when temperatures allow. Some heaters are gas, electric or solar. The gas heaters should have the lines inspected for leaks. The electric heaters should make sure the service cables are proper and grounded. The solar type heaters are self maintain. The panels need to be free of debris and their can not be any leaks on the system. Solar heaters usually are leased and have a warranty with them.

Lastly we get asked alot about stand alone hot tubs. These are great added feature to any home. Yes we inspect them as an ancillary service only. Alot of the same elements as mentioned above are in these units. The biggest componet to inspect is the 20 amp receptacle and make sure its a GFCI outdoor wet area use. Or check to see if its hardwire for 220v because of the heater mainly. The inspection and write up are the same and it again takes an experienced inspector to inspect these.

So in closing, when we have a pool or spa we need to maintain these elements of the pool. A lot of pool companies do offer a service to maintain the chlorine or salt levels and monitor the equipment. The main thing about the pool is keeping it clean, free of leaks on the equipment and water levels adequate for the pumps.  If you have questions about your pool and spa, feel free to call us anytime. 352-322-2700 or look us up on the web, www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/services.html

We gladly will provide pool and spa inspections in Clearwater, Lakeland, Land O Lakes and Hernando Florida as a primary service. We will service other areas as well. Feel free to inquire anytime.

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Appliances

This weeks blog is about appliances. A lot of us are thinking wow, Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays are near. Some of us will travel to friends and family and some will cook for those who visit. (I am cooking). So this weeks blog is about checking the appliances, making sure they are working properly, performing the routine maintenance and if needed scheduling the technician to service. So lets begin.

When we have appliances we take for grant it that we just turn them on and they operate the way they should. We may clean the oven or change the exhaust filter occasionally. But there is a bit more. Below is some items to think about and maybe some preventive maintenance items.

In the kitchen area, for the range/stove top. If you have gas you want to make sure the burners are working properly and all ignited. A lot of times food products and liquids will spill on to them and cause them not to be fully ignited. This could slow cooking time down. Additionally, before cooking that turkey or ham, clean the oven and use a thermometer to check to make sure the cooking temperature is the same as the thermostat. (Keep in mind an allowance of +/- 10 degrees is acceptable) Range hood fans absorb a lot of grease. Clean the range hood including the fan and housing area. Change the filter with a good charcoal filter and not one that is at the dollar store. The dishwasher is also a biggy. Its a good practice to run the dishwasher on a full load cycle with heat dry. Don’t place any dishes in there. And see how the operation is. This also will flush a lot of small items out in the drain. The garbage disposal, is one that once a week, I place old fruit like lemons or oranges in to clean the disposal out. It also makes the sink smell cleaner too.

Now you may think ok, the kitchen I need to attend too. And above is just a few ideas to make sure the appliances are working properly. But now lets think about the other appliances. In home inspection an appliance can be the hot water tank, the washer and dryer or garage door openers. These items need attention too. Depending on the type of item listed above there are some simple maintenance items to help prolong the life of that appliances.

So lets take the hot water heater. The hot water heater if its electric or gas should be cleaned out once a year. In the tank you get calcium deposits from the water source. And they attached to the anode rod or dip tube. (see picture below) Some tanks you may not be able to clean. But you can always drain the tank and flush out the tank with the water supply for a few minutes. (Now if you not comfortable with this, please call a plumber) When doing this, think about the aerators on the faucet. Change them. They are few dollars and it will remove any of those calcium deposits. If you have any type of purification systems check the manufacture for maintenance and changing filters. For example I change the filter on the ice maker on the refrigerator every November.

And lastly the washer and dryer is one that nobody likes to worry about. But did you know that simple monthly maintenance can make the operation life extended into many years. A lot of washer tubs should be wiped out as this is to remove the residue on the tub. Also, occasionally use bleach on a large load selection and just run. This cleans out the filters and pumps. Your dryer will always hold lint. Lint will hold moisture from your clothes. Cleaning the lint filter is one thing. However, cleaning the dryer is another. I recommend at least 2 times a year cleaning the vent out with a vacuum. As this will help with the operation.

So in closing, as you can see this could be an appliance inspection. It is. There are more appliances in your home as well that should be inspected and maintained. We go could go on forever about this but we wanted to give you an idea of a few.  A lot of maintenance items are easy for the home owner. However, we perform these all the time especially for warranty companies and rental properties. We perform these type of inspections in Lutz, Winter Haven, Ocala and Zephyrhills for example. Of course always around the Greater Tampa Florida area. For more information about appliance inspections, call us at 352-322-2700 or look us up at; www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Lastly, check out our other websites too. http://www.tampahomeinspectors.net and http://www.brandonhomeinspectors.com

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Anti-Siphon Valves

Happy Autumn. Its been few weeks since our last blog. We have had a charity event in Land O Lakes, Florida which we raised $1500.00 for various charities at a rib cook off. So this took a bit of time. So back to the routine. I wanted to blog this week about an inspection that should share some light on things. Anti-siphon valves. What are they and what is the purpose. So lets begin.

An Anti-Siphon valve is a valve that connects to the end of your hose bibs. (Exterior water faucet for garden hose.) Anti-siphon valves can be as simple as a spring-loaded one-way valve which opens when water pressure is applied to it in one direction, but closes and seals when water pressure is applied from the other direction. Now there are many types and manufactures for different purposes of this device. For example automobiles have them now to prevent gasoline theft.

Now the main purpose to installing the anti-siphon valve prevents the water currently resting in the sprinkler systems pipes from being siphoned back into the home where it could be emitted from a faucet and consumed.  Alot of home owners will have one maybe on the hose bib they use to wash the car. But that far side of the house that the hose bib isn’t used may not. This is probably near the pool equipment or rear deck. So here is a thought. What if you are watering flowers and place the hose in soapy water bucket you are using to wipe down the furniture. The water in the bucket is now entering the home’s water supply. Lastly, we usually see near the well pump that the hose bib near there does not have one. We always report that as a deficiency.

This part of our home inspection is for the plumbing section. We always list this as a deficiency and a safety issue. So for more information, please contact us anytime at 352-322-2700 or visit us on the web: http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com.

4 Point Inspections

This weeks blog is about 4 point inspections. The purpose of 4 point inspections and some tricky sales gimmicks of other companies that inflate the inspection process. So lets begin.

A “Four-Point Inspection” is an inspection catered to the insurance companies. With this type of inspection an insurance carrier does not want to go thru 50 plus pages of a home inspection report. There is a lot of software out there and all is different reporting styles when it comes to the actual 4 points.

The 4 Points inspected are: Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC. So for example, the roof is inspected to make sure no leaks, no turn shingles and also no condensation in the attic. The electrical has to be in good working order. This means the panel box has no double taps, no over heated breakers and that if aluminum multi-strand wire, the wire has an oxidizing agent applied to the wire. When the plumbing is inspected there can not be any leaks under sinks, hot water heater is in good working order, no corrosion on pipes and if a well is on premise the well pump and filtration system is in good working order.

Lastly, is the HVAC system. Here in Florida, a lot of times we will see heat pumps. This is your a/c and heat. The air handler unit is usually in the garage or the attic. We check to make sure the system is performing properly. No burnt wires inside the housing, the coils are cleaned on the units, drip pans are not clogged, the disconnects to the units work properly and the thermostat is working properly. I usually check the ambient temperature to compare to the outside. Keep in mind that the a/c can not be checked if the outside temperature is below 60 degrees. This may cause damage to the compressor and other components of the system.

So above is the inspection points of the Four Point Inspection. The inspector also, has to check with the local government building department for permits on the home, for the 4 Points.

Now lets briefly discuss why insurance companies require them. First of all, any home over 25 years old the systems may start to enter the bonus life of the system. For example, if a hot water heater is over 15years of age. Its time to replace or really start to budget for that item. So the insurance carrier wants to see if there are any updates been done to the home. The 4 Point Inspection is not to be considered a full general inspection, nor is it never to be. The reporting for the 4 Point is on insurance dedicated forms. For example, “Citizens Insurance”, ” Tower Hill” or “State Farm” insurance.

In closing a lot of home inspection companies will offer this service as an ancillary service with the home inspection, only. We offer this service as a full service for our clients. And you may here from time to time catch phrases during the inspection process of 7 points, 21 points, etc. Pay no attention to them. At Emerald Inspection Service, you have your 4 Point Inspection, our self generated 5 Point Inspection which is for mobile homes and investors only, and the General Inspection. We perform these type of inspections from Sebring to Hernando. From Saint Petersburg to Sumterville Florida within a 24-36 hour time frame. For more information about #4PointInspections  go to our website: https://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com/4-point-inspections.html

Or call us anytime, 352-322-2700 or 844 RADON 40.

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Commercial Property Inspections

Commercial Property Inspection, Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, Phase I

This weeks blog is about commercial property inspections. This term is used very broadly. The term commercial property can be categorized as a store front in a strip mall. Additionally, office space maybe in an office building or a house that is converted over to a commercial property for a small business. Alot of business owners do not get a property inspection because they are leasing the property or will do some light remodeling and assume, the contractor will see aspects of the property that may need addressing. The commercial inspection can be done anywhere such as the high rises in Tampa and Clearwater. The strip malls in New Port Richey and the older homes converted to a restaurant like in Reddington Shores, Florida.

So, why should a business owner get a property inspection on their commercial space?  The reasons could be endless but we will touch base on the major ones. The first reason is so that the business owner can have full knowledge of the property. For example, on a commercial property the electrical may have had additional circuits added to the panel box such as battery back ups for a server or computers. The circuit breakers maybe weak due to the constant additional energy being used for the space of the office previously. The panel box may need to be upgraded and a skilled home inspector will determine that upon an initial assessment with the client. The plumbing and water should be tested. The old filter system maybe outdated which will cause sickness to the workers. The piping maybe corroded or leaking in a bathroom that may not be used for the tenant space. Inspecting the rooms to make sure there is proper egress if an emergency happens. Inspection of the roof is a major factor because a lot of times the property owners and management company rarely check the roof until it is an issue. Inspecting the HVAC system is keen too. The system may not have been maintained in a long time. This can cause dust mites and possible other allergens to the workers in the space.  The building could have been a storage area for auto parts or an old garage. A Phase I assessment with the commercial property inspection will determine previous tenants.

So as you can see, the reasons for the property inspection is just a small scale of why any business owner needs to have property inspection on their prospective space.  The major thing to remember is that an inspector will give its due diligence of reporting for this client.  The inspection is not to say anybody is wrong but just to assess the property and report any deficiencies that should be repaired, monitored and or that element replaced.

For more information about commercial property inspections, Phase I Assessments, and due diligence, please visit our website http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700.

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