Tag Archive | Air Quality Testing

Air Quality

his blog goes in accordance with last weeks blog about dirty air vents. The main reason I decided to do a 2 part blog is because of the time of the season.

Source: Air Quality

Allergens & Autumn

Allergy, allergen, dust,

This weeks blog is about the change of the season coming up and allergies. Here in Florida we do get a bit lucky, with the change of the season. Floridians, get to open the windows and get away from air conditioning mode.  However, we can still suffer from allergies.

With the change of the season to Autumn, we are doing outside work in the yard, and that fall cleaning. Now is a good time, to replace the furnace filter but go one step further and have your ducts cleaned by a professional duct cleaner. Also, do that complete dusting around the house which could lead to allergens.

If you feel like for some reason you are sneezing and wheezing more, then you should have air samples taken to see what pollutants are in the air and duct work. We can provide that type of service. For more information on air quality and our tests, please contact us anytime. 352-322-2700 or www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Tools Of The Trade

Camera, Infrared, Endoscope

This weeks blog, I wanted to share is about the tools inspectors use and how they can make a report better and additionally assist the buyers and sellers in an inspection.  Now while each state has its own standards of practice for inspections, normally most inspectors will be up to date on technology and tools.

Years ago, the typical inspector would have a camera, (Polaroid Instant), clip board, electrical tester, and flashlight.  They may have forms that were printed or they just take notes and complete the report when they return to the office. Believe it or not some inspectors are still this way but upgraded to a digital camera.

So lets begin with the inspector of today. When I started Emerald Inspection Service, my initial investment was approximately $700.00. You may say ok, what did you buy. Well first of all, we use a tablet that has a camera and is internet ready. We don’t use our phone. Then over the course of the year we upgrade on tools and equipment.

We use a laptop for wind mitigation, 4 point inspections and Chinese drywall inspections with a camera because of the standard forms. Our digital camera is waterproof and is very high in pixels. We have CO2 detector, for any type of gas lines. We don’t use soap or the bubbles as they will corrode the pipe eventually. We have a million candlelight power hand held spot light. This is great if somebody, painted over an old stain.  We use pin-less and pin moisture meters to determine if any wood or drywall or flooring is holding moisture. If we suspect something in the wall or can’t get to an area, we use a 16’o inspection camera scope or use our endoscope camera. Additionally, some inspectors can not perform energy audits because they are not certified nor have an infrared camera. We have that too.

So, as you can see this is just a sample of the tools in our toolbox. When you are looking to hire an inspector, ask him what type of tools they have. Also, ask them if there is extra charges for using some of these. Some we don’t charge because it makes the report a lot better. However for an Infrared Inspection, we charge in the range of $250-550, depending on the type of inspection.

If you like to know more about this or have questions, feel free to call us or email us anytime. Our office numbers are 352-322-2700 or toll free at 844-RADON-40. Email anytime at; info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

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

HVAC Inspections & Maintenance

HVAC Inspection

This weeks blog is about HVAC inspections and also yearly maintenance on the units. Most people in the Central Florida area usually have a heat pump or an air conditioner unit with auxiliary heating. The heat pumps are nicer do to they have a reversing valve and can go from heat to a/c when needed and are more energy efficient. The second type is you have a condensing unit outside and a furnace inside with an Evaporation coil and elements for your heat.

Which ever unit you have, there are simple factors when performing an inspection for the HVAC element. First on any outside unit, it has to be level. Secondly the coils should be cleaned probably every 2 years. This will make the unit run cooler and allow the freon to move at a cooler pace. When the coils are clogged, this creates high head pressure. Which from there the freon is restricted in moving between the coils.  Secondly, the outside unit should be free of any debris near and around.

For the unit inside the home. This unit is mostly in the garage, attic, or maybe a closet, depending when the home was built and what part of Florida. Alot of newer homes along Port Richey for example are now in the garage mounted on the ceiling to save space. Either way, the unit should have an audible alarm in case the drip pan drain is clogged. The pan should always be directed to the exterior.

And lastly, you should want to change your filter no more then every 3 months. The filter is a source of allergen collections. Also a clean filter keeps the dust down from collecting in on the motor or swirl cage. Also, it is good to have the ducts vacuumed every so often. Dust can collect on the duct walls too. This process doesn’t matter if you live in Pasco, Hernando, or Pinellas Counties.

For more information about HVAC Inspections, feel free to check out my website: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or feel free to call us anytime at 352-322-2700

Air Conditioning

As we start to enter the air condition season, there is a few things you should maintenance prior to turning the a/c to 72.

One, change the filter. This is the most important part. It will keep the motor from collecting the dust particles. Also, stop blowing dust mites into the air which may lead to allergy attacks.

The second thing, is to vacuum any vents, especially floor vents. You maybe surprised what falls into them vents. But also the dust collects into the vents and your ceiling fans.

The last thing, is sometimes it maybe a good idea especially in a mobile home to have the crawl space inspected by a home inspector. This way it can be determined that no animals are living underneath and the duct work is connected properly.

Any questions, feel free to call us at 352-322-2700 or 888-295-9879. Or email, info@emeraldinspectionservice.com

www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Thank You,

G.K. Swatzbaugh III

Owner

Blog Greetings!

We started our blog for the simple reason that they are so many sites that can have information be added to. So, once a week (give or take) we will blog an important idea or money saving tip for your home or office. We are going to put our blog on our Facebook page, Google + page and others.

So for this weeks first blog here goes. Did you know that during this time of cooler temperatures opening the windows reduces a lot of allergy symptoms. Having the windows open during the day will reduce a lot of the allergy type symptoms that is cultivated through out the year. Additionally, if you are having these type of symptoms, an Air Quality Inspection maybe required. An air quality inspection is where we collect air samples in different various areas of the home or office. To learn more go to: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime at 352-322-2700. We service the greater Tampa, Orlando, and Ocalla areas.

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