Tag Archive | Clearwater

Roof Inspections

We have had a few phone calls from seniors about inspecting their roofs. Now we do a roof certification for insurance purposes, but this was more for their own personal knowledge.  A lot of companies feel that during any type of inspection they just don’t need to walk the roofs. Can’t explain it but to me on any inspection the inspector should get up there. Lets think about it. Inspect roof, inspector not inspecting roof for roof inspection. So lets begin about what we did to handle our client.

While talking to the client and the concern he stated to me that their is companies that are using other companies with drones. {Great, little machine, doing human work} But the operator is not a trained inspector.  The machine will not be able to tell soft spots on the roof and then they will say call a roofer. This is purely bs.. So our office stated we will do a small report and match the drone company report. This was kinda curious for us as downsizing the reports we do. Upon completion the owner of his home got a report and was noted that some warranty repairs needed to be corrected. This then turned into other neighbors near by with the same concern.

Once we were done, our reporting was then sent over to other roofing contractors. So for a short blog this week. Lets think about the next time you need service. Call a company that stands by their reputation and will share to clients why its better to have inspectors with contractor experience then a machine with none.

Thank you again everyone for following our blog and if you need this type of service or others in the Tampa, Clearwater, Hudson and Lakeland Florida areas feel free to call us anytime. . 352-322-2700

Pool Maintenance

Well we are all in the middle of summer. A lot of us enjoying the pool with family and friends. The night time cook outs with the kids and just soaking up the sun. Some of us enjoy the pool all year long. While some of us have the use of the pool til September. While we are on inspections we perform the pool inspection for clients. But that unknown fact of maintenance is more important for life long time of the systems. So I wanted to share with you some basic tips to keep the pool dude away and save you some money. So lets begin.

First its important to maintain the pool water area at all times with the right chlorine or salt balance. Too much or too little will affect the water and your skin. If we get a heavy rain for few days it is best to shock the water. This kills off the algae. And yes you have the leaves that we all hate, but they have to be skimmed daily too. But there is a bit more too it then just that. For example, the coping and tile. These areas will receive the abuse from the sun, the water and just usage. It is a good idea to check to make sure the grout is in tact, the coping sealant is not shrinking or ruffled and no loose tiles. This is also easy maintenance items that a home owner can do or the pool dude.

Now lets get into the pump area. It may seem like its a maze but really it isn’t. The time clock if it is analog you want to make sure that the stops are on tightly. That the weather cover is in tact and that the clock is set properly. Nothing like having the pump come on at 3 am.  And here is the mystery math about how long to run the pump. You should run it 1 hour per 10 degrees of outside temperature. So for example if its 90 degrees you should run the pump 9 hours.

Of course we will be gladly to assist you with this or contact your local pool maintenance company. We inspect pools as a primary service in the Clearwater, Ocala, Tampa and Lakeland Florida areas. We will go to other communities as well. http://www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

Thank You.

Mobile Home Inspections

Well I know its been a while since our last blog. Some family travel and work. So today I wanted to blog about Mobile Home Inspections. And the key point that should be known if you plan on buying one. So lets begin.

A mobile home inspection is similar to a regular home inspection. There are some differences though. For example, they do not have a foundation, they sit on blocks. They normally have a heat pump or an air conditioner with auxiliary heat. And a lot of times the piping for the plumbing maybe PEX instead of CPVC.  Now I am going to get into abit of technical below of what is good and bad and should be upgraded.

Mobile homes have straps to hold the home down incase of bad storms, especially in Florida. The concrete block should be in a shoe or resting on a plate. Older homes will not. The biggest key to the blocks is making shore they do not crack. If cracking is involved in the block then there is some kind of movement. The HVAC system hardly ever has an air handler unit. Its normally one unit outside. Its very important to keep these maintained. The heater part is 3 coils like a toaster with a small fan. The air conditioner part has coils and need to be cleaned to improve air flow.  And now the piping. Years ago manufactures where using polyethylene style pipe. The fittings were faulty and would blow apart. Now not all gray pipe is this style. A newer system has come out and is PEX. The key component to this is making sure the fittings are proper.

Additionally, for a mobile home you may want to consider adding a salt treatment for the water and probably some kind of purification system.  Your roof if it is metal you will want to keep clean and remove debris. You want your inspector to inspect the crawl space fully! And lastly the major difference between a mobile home and a slab style home is the data tag. This is the vin number of the home or side. If it is a double, you have 2. Key reference point to any mobile home inspection.

For more information about mobile home inspections or any other type, feel free to call our office anytime at 352-322-2700. Look us up on the web at www.emeraldinspectionservice.com

We will glad to perform this type of inspection and several others in Mulberry, Hernando, Clearwater and Land O Lakes Florida anytime. Thank You.

crawlspce

 

AFCI Breakers

Good Day Everyone. This weeks blog is about AFCI Breakers. We are going to explain exactly what this type of breaker is and at the end the difference between a regular circuit breaker and a GFCI breaker. So lets begin.

An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is a type of circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects a dangerous electrical arc in order to prevent electrical fires. An AFCI distinguishes between a harmless arc that occurs incidental to normal operation of switches, plugs, and brushed motors, and an undesirable arc that can occur, for example, in a lamp cord which has a broken conductor. (technical definition)

With today’s electrical code many homes have been upgraded with this device or they are installed for new construction. You will normally see AFCI’s in the living rooms, bedrooms, home office and maybe dinning room. Basically, where there is living occupied space. Where people have basements, there will be AFCI circuits as well. Now do not confuse these with GFCI’s for the kitchen, garage and bathrooms. When detected the AFCI will trip quicker then a normal circuit breaker for that branch circuit. Also when installed you entire branch circuit will be protected from that circuit breaker. The devices are great and an added safety feature for the home. However, the one little downside of this device is the CFL bulbs will occasionally trip the breaker and sometimes the bulbs will not last the life of the manufacture. Alot of electricians will be against the CFL bulbs because of that and additionally, these bulbs in my opinion really don’t save money. They get us away from carbon but I still prefer the traditional incandescent type light bulb.

So, whats the difference between an AFCI and GFCI. Well for one, a GFCI will be used for the wet areas of the home. Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and in Florida you will see them in garages.  GFCIs prevent shocks, and AFCIs prevent fires. Both should be installed by a qualified electrician to make your home safer.

So in closing, we do not suggest that the home owner or the reader replace the breakers with AFCI or GFCI type breakers. Save that for the professional electrician. However, at Emerald Inspection Service, when performing the electrical inspection, we test both types. Yes, I am sure you have seen the little tester at the box stores for GFCI’s. However for the AFCI’s they are a bit pricier and you will normally not see for retail. Additionally, we also check for heat on the breakers. This is the common sign of the breaker maybe failing.  To find out more about this and all of our other services, that we perform in Tampa, Land O Lakes, Hernando and Clearwater Florida,  go to www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or www.tampahomeinspectors.net  You can call as well at 352-322-2700

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.

poolspa-inspector2

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

New Home Construction Inspections

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.

Concrete Scanning

We are proud to announce that we offer concrete scanning as one of our new services. So you may think ok why do I need the concrete scanned. Well down here a lot of pipes are underground and same with wires.  By hiring us we can pin point exactly where a wire, pipe or other objects are. You do not want to take a chance of redoing some ones home and hit a wire or pipe.  But that’s not the only reason. Say for example you are working on a home and some of the concrete, whether it be a slab or driveway, needs to be repaired. So you use a demo hammer and not knowing touch a wire and you become the ground.

So to find out more about this service we will be doing a live demonstration at the summer expo in Largo FL. Or call our office 352-322-2700 anytime. We perform this and other services throughout Florida. For example; Clearwater, Tampa, Clermont, and Hudson.

Working With The Realtor

Good Morning Everyone. Its been a bit since our last blog. But with vacation and family issues back north, I had to put off the blog for a bit. So this weeks blog is about working with the Realtor. Its important that the buyer, seller, home inspector, finance company, title company, pest contractor, and all other parties have a working relationship that helps the sale go smoothly. So lets begin.

Normally, the buyer agent will be a key person in the real estate transaction. That person will be managing appointments with several individuals. The process literally starts from the time the offer is accepted to the buyers being qualified. I know for a fact alot of Realtors will not even talk to you unless its a cash sale or you are already qualified by a lender. The term pre-qualified is really not qualified. They just look over your tax records and make sure you can afford a certain bracket.  Anyway, the home inspection, pest inspection and certain testing should be done all coordinated at one time. Certain home inspection companies can coordinate this. For example on our inspections we work closely with a pest company. We perform the pool inspection. We also can perform the well testing, radon monitoring and insurance inspections.

The seller agent also will take notice of how the transaction can go smoothly. For example, if they are alot of issues with the transaction, the seller may pull out of the deal. Mainly because the agent will know the house can be sold just not to that person. Also, agents are now looking for a one stop shop. If a home inspection company can take care of alot of the process instead of multiple people, this eases the stress on all parties.

So the next time somebody is about to purchase a home. Look at the steps that it takes from qualifying to closing. If you can combine the process in some of them, this will make it easier for everybody. We perform this style of inspections in Wesley Chapel, Tampa, Clearwater, and Hernando Florida all the time. For more information, visit our website: www.emeraldinspectionservice.com or call us anytime, 352-322-2700. Thank You.

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.

4PointInspector

%d bloggers like this: