Category Archives: home

Home Show in Wenatchee: Feb. 11-13th

Home Show Wenatchee Town Toyota CenterEvery year the NCHBA or North Central Home Builders Association produces a spectacular home show in Wenatchee, Washington.  There’s a little something for everyone whether you are interested in remodeling, decorating, building, buying or selling a home…they’ve got all the experts there for your questions!  Here’s some info from their website.  Download this COUPON for $1 off admission:

This year, we have a lot of new things going on and are very excited to “get the Show on the road”! The Kid’s Zone by Lowe’s is going to be fantastic this year. Not only will the kids be able to build their own project with a professional from Lowe’s, they can go on a scavenger hunt with their parents or enjoy FREE ice skating on Friday and Saturday. So, if you have kids that are 12 and under, make sure to take them to the Kids Zone by Lowe’s, located in the Crunch-Pak Hospitality Room on the the main floor of the Town Toyota Center!  Workshops and How-to’s that you WON’T want to miss! Come and see what the Master Gardeners have to demonstrate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the show!   Be one of the first 250 attendees on Saturday and Sunday and receive a special Home Show Entrance Bag! These bags will be filled with small gifts, specials and discount coupons from participating sponsors and vendors! These bags will also come in very handy when you need a place to stow away other information and items you gather!  There will be additional event parking available for attendees across the street at Walla Walla Point Park, both parking lots, as well as at Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Many thanks to Lowe’s for generously allowing our Home Show attendees to use half of their parking lot for our event!

Hot Water Heaters Expansion Tanks, what do they really do?

Thermal expansion of water in a closed plumbing system can create a number of annoying and potentially dangerous problems. These include: unusually high pressure in a system, pressure surges, and the chronic or continuous dripping of a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve. In addition, dripping faucets and leaking toilet tank ball cock fill valves are also symptomatic of thermal expansion.   More serious problems can also occur due to thermal expansion. When dangerous pressures are built up in a water heater, internal parts may fail such as the internal flues, fittings or water connections. If a flue way collapses it can lead to the potential release of toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide into living spaces.

Virtually, every modern plumbing code requires the installation of an expansion tank on hot water heater installations. The reason is simple. Water expands when heated. This extra volume of water needs to go somewhere. Before the widespread usage of backflow preventers, check valves and pressure reducing valves, this expanded water simply pushed the cold water back into the city water main. Now with these devices required in new construction and most permitted remodels we have successfully closed this system.

Where does the pressure to go?

Expansion tanks are really simple devices. They contain compressed air and a special rubber bladder. When your hot water heater turns on, the water within your piping system begins to expand. This expanding water slowly enters the expansion tank as the water is brought to temperature. Eventually, hot water is drawn from the system thru a faucet and the expansion tank releases the extra water into the piping system.

The installation of an expansion tank is a simple upgrade for any hot water systems.  There are some things you need to know before running out and purchasing your unit such as existing water pressures, capacity of the hot water tank, and ensuring the unit you purchase is for potable water systems.   I always recommend working with a licensed plumbing contractor.

Heating & Cooling: Is it time for an upgrade?

There are plenty of ways to heat and cool a home: natural gas, pellet, oil, electric, propane, wood, coal, solar, hydronic, evaporative, absorption, radiant, and many others. Older systems may not be as efficient as newer ones. Either they have been poorly maintained or have run their course. Faulty heating and cooling systems could be the cause of serious safety or health issues. Upgrading to a new system can be quite an investment, but you’ll realize gains in your energy savings. In Seattle you may not need a central cooling system but in Wenatchee you’ll definitely be glad you had air conditioning during July. When you decide to upgrade check out the US Department of Energy’s website. They have some really helpful information about sizing your system, average BTU, fuel types, costs, etc.  If you’re concerned about your current heating and/or cooling system, give AMS a call for a maintenance home inspection.  We’ll give you a professional opinion.

Inspect Your Plumbing

What’s wrong with this picture?  To the untrained eye it looks like clean drain lines from a kitchen sink connected to a garbage disposal and the absence of obvious leaks. Hmm…not so fast! We see unacceptable plumbing design in homes from Seattle to Wenatchee. Evaluating the proper function and flow of a plumbing system is the key to pinpointing areas of concern. Improper drainage material is just one thing wrong in this photo. The flexible waste line material used to connect the garbage disposal and P-trap to the waste line is not approved by the Unified Plumbing Code (UPC). In addition, the flexible waste line creates an uneven surface for the water flow and eventually promotes clogging. Thinking like water, can you find other problems with this photo? Email us at info@amsinspection.com and we will be happy to answer your questions and comments. At AMS Inspection Services we provide our clients with an inspection report documenting the maintenance and operation of your home. Our detailed home inspection reports are the most valuable tool for a new home owner.   

Wenatchee Market Trends

Spring is here. This time of year is associated with growth and rejuvenation. I thought it was time to look at the recent real estate market trends. Last month was interesting. April 1st marked the expiration of the $8,000 new home owner tax credit. A few people were making the sprint to the finish line just under the wire. Recently I was reading data from zillow.com, trulia.com and movoto.com. These websites provide free information about market trends. It appears that the Wenatchee real estate market is staying constant and relatively strong. The total inventory is 60 homes versus 59 just 1 month ago. The median days on the market has had considerable positive performance reducing by 48% from March 2010 for 39 days on the market in April 2010. We saw a huge move for homes reducing their list price. That strategy must have worked because there was a visible increase in the number of homes sold in April 2010! For more information about Wenatchee market trends or any other U.S. realty market trend visit these websites below. They have valuable information. For more complete and accurate details contact your local real estate agent. They will happy to help you!

Referenced Websites:
http://www.motovo.com/
http://www.zillow.com/
http://www.trulia.com/

Home Warranties: Piece of Mind or Worth Every Dollar?

I inspected a house last week for the purpose of a home warranty. It was a new construction with a 1-year warranty that would soon expire. The owner wanted us to make sure everything was still in good shape and operating in favorable condition. The owner’s home was in great condition and having AMS out to inspect the property gave him piece of mind that he had chosen a great contractor and property for his investment. Read my info below to see if you should consider home warranties during your next purchase.

Many new construction homes come with a 1-year builder warranty. Before signing the closing documents read the warranty in its entirety. Make sure you understand what is covered, for how long and by whom…the builder or a third-party? Read the exclusions, liability and limitations carefully and ask questions. Just before your 1-year expiration, give us a call to inspect your home for any imperfections that would be covered under your warranty. It’s very important to watch your deadline and schedule a home warranty inspection. The best outcome would be one in which we don’t find anything wrong, but if we do you can talk with the builder and have them fix the problem without rolling out your own dollars.

For those purchasing any other home, existing home warranties are also available to the buyer. For about $350-600 the buyer can purchase coverage for 1 year. For example, you purchase a home and hire home inspector before closing. The report shows a few maintenance issues, but no red flags. After 4 months your dishwasher and clothes dryer both quit working. In your initial inspection report the appliances worked fine, but your inspector noted the increasing age of them. Here is a situation where a home warranty could definitely save you some money and the hassles of new home ownership. You call up the warranty provider and deal with the problem immediately. And remember, choose your warranty carefully and make certain that everything you want covered is in the contract. For more info about choosing a warranty, start here.