Category Archives: inspection

WA State Energy Code’s New HVAC Requirement

This week one of our staff went to a WSU Extension Energy Program training in Wenatchee with a focus on duct sealing and testing requirements for the 2009 Washington State Energy Code for HVAC: 503.10.3 Sealing. We have two Energy Star Performance Technicians on staff so this class was more of a refresher course on duct testing but we did benefit from understanding more about the changes to the new HVAC requirements. Basically, the code is in a trial period. Contractors must test the HVAC now but do not have to meet the target rate of allowable leakage during this 120-day testing period. In April 2011 a judicial committee will listen to arguments from all sides and make a decision about the 503.10.3 Sealing WA State Energy Code.

We performed a HVAC leakage test on a home in South Wenatchee. The new construction home performed well. It would have passed the new requirements. It was interesting to note the small leakages that could be easily fixed by mastic. The equipment used for testing the HVAC includes a duct blaster, manometer and blower door which could add up to $5,000. This is a new expense to contractors. There is also discussion about requiring third party testing due to conflict of interest. Should HVAC contractors be able to test their own work?

 Here are a few interesting facts we learned in class this week. Did you know that 40% of a home’s fresh air comes from the crawl space or garage? Thinking about cleaning those spaces right now…aren’t you!? This is also a good time to remind you to open your garage door any time the car is on. A family of four can emit up to 3 gallons of water into a home daily from sweating, showering, cooking, etc. Where do the 12 gallons of water go? Be sure to use your oven and bathroom exhaust fans regularly!

Advertisements

Seattle Home Show: Feb. 19-27th

Seattle Home Show

credit: Seattle Home Show

Spring is just around the corner and it’s beginning to look a lot like Home Show Season!  Wenatchee’s Home Show was a huge success last weekend, now we look forward to the Seattle Home Show starting on Saturday and open for 9 days.  Your online ticket purchase includes a full year subscription to “Better Homes & Gardens” and free parking.  Check out this info from their website:

The Seattle Home Show opens its doors for its 67th annual home products extravaganza on February 19, 2011 for a nine-day run through February 27.   This much-anticipated show of nearly 500 exhibits includes everything for the home and landscape, highlighted by Idea Street™ – a community of furnished and landscaped model homes. Idea Street is a showcase for home design, interior style and the latest appliances and fixtures.  Show attendees enjoy the variety and scope of the exhibition which includes green living displays, kitchens and baths, home decorating, arts and crafts, garden displays, and Meet the Expert Seminars featuring home improvement topics presented by industry professionals. America’s Biggest Open House™ – the Seattle Home Show – takes place in downtown Seattle at the Qwest Field Event Center. Details at www.SeattleHomeShow.com.

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!

Christmas Lighting Safety Tips

Christmas Lighting Festival in Leavenworth WA

Image courtesy of Bing: Sparkling Holiday Lights Leavenworth, WA

Christmas decorations and lights really get us in the holiday spirit.  Before you get too far along, check out these safety tips for hanging Christmas lights:

•Only use lights that conform with safety standards and have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory.

•Check each strand of lights for damaged sockets or wires and loose connections.  I best to toss damaged strands and buy new.

•Don’t overload extension cords and outlets!  Only link 3 standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

•If you must have a metallic tree, don’t decorate it with electric lights.  Electrocution may result.

•Outdoors lights must have exterior use labels.

•Fasten outdoor lights securely.  Use insulated staples or rain gutter hooks. 

•Plug all outdoor lights into ground fault interrupters circuits to avoid potential shocks and blown fuses.

•Unplug lights when going to sleep or leaving your home.

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.