Category Archives: new construction

Blower Door Tests for Seattle, Wenatchee & Chelan County

A new Washington State building code requires all new construction homes to pass a blower door test ensuring that the home does not exceed the maximum allowable air leakage rate.  The blower door test verifies that the new home is sealed tightly and will perform efficiently.  If a new home is not properly sealed during construction it will be costly down the road to fix the home’s air leakage problems.  Watch this video from WSU Extension Energy Experts to learn more.

Air Sealing, Chapter 4: Measuring Building Tightness from Energy Experts on Vimeo.

AMS Inspection Services is a home inspection company based out of Leavenworth, WA, with inspectors in Seattle, Wenatchee and throughout Chelan and Douglas counties.  AMS Inspection performs blower door tests for contractors in new construction projects.

Wenatchee Fire Chief Applies For Smoke Detector Grants

This week I attended a North Central Home Builders Association dinner in Wenatchee, Washington.  One of the speakers was Mark Yaple, the Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Wenatchee.  He talked about the number one problem that causes a total loss in a house fire– a faulty or absent smoke detector.  Since 1995 building code has required homes to have hardwired smoke detector alarms with battery backup.  Yaple is concerned about the homes built before 1995.  He has taken it upon himself to provide smoke detectors to any home in the city of Wenatchee that needs one.

State Farm Insurance gave him a $5,000 grant to purchase battery operated smoke detectors.  With the help of a Red Cross volunteer and driving his fire truck he went door to door inspecting smoke detectors and installing  new ones where needed.  He advertised his free service to the public and received many calls from elderly people that were not able to deal with the problem themselves.  His goal is to receive more money and continue his good work.  He has applied for more grants from State Farm and the Federal Government and hopes to receive up to $27,000  to purchase detectors.  Obviously, new construction homes are not entitled to his program because they would not meet the code adopted in 1995.  If you would like to volunteer with Yaple to install smoke detectors contact him at the City of Wenatchee.  He could use our help!

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!

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

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!

Seattle Home Show Oct. 8-10. Are you going?

seattle home showThe 12th annual “Seattle Home Show 2” is coming up Oct. 8-10th.  Are you going?  It seems like a great deal for interested parties.  It’s just $10 with exposure to hundreds of home and garden product displays.  They’ll also have cooking demos, wine tasting and speakers like nationally-known Joey Green, guru of weird uses for brand-name products and Brian Santos “The Wall Wizard” sharing his painting expertise.  With an online ticket purchase you receive free parking.  All tickets come with a 1 year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine and a second day pass in case you can’t fit it all in the first day.  I thought about advertising at this event, but wasn’t sure how it sized up to Annual Seattle Home Show in the winter– running now for 67 years.  Your thoughts?

Unique Central Washington Resorts

Wenatchee Home Inspection

Resort at the Gorge

Can you think of anything better than 300 days of sunshine just a couple of hours drive from Seattle?  How about sitting waterfront with the beautiful night sky clear of any city lights, traffic or smog?  Here are a few places popping up in Central Washington that could become your major escape destination.  Bear Mountain Ranch in Lake Chelan boasts a premier golf course ranked by PGA Touring Professionals in the top 6 new resorts of America.  Bear Mountain has bare lots for your future dream home or custom “Bandera” homes constructed from 10 different floor plans up 3,800 square feet.  The Ranch plans call for an orchard, vineyard, equine center and inn with a spa.  The gated community overlooks the beautiful Lake Chelan and is just a few minutes drive from downtown.  Traveling east from Wenatchee The Resort At The Gorge is just getting underway and they’ve got big plans including: a RV park, a water park, bungalows and a 120-unit hotel.  Just minutes from the popular Gorge Amphitheater and eyeing the 300,000 patrons that it brings seasonally, the Resort At The Gorge should have no problem stirring up interest.  Suitably appointed cliff-side bungalows start at $189,000 for 1,000 square feet.  RV Park lots start at $75,000.  Other attractions include wineries, climbing, the Columbia River and 850 acres of beautiful canyon land. 

Yakima Home Inspection

Zillah Lakes

Finally, Zillah Lakes is located just south of Yakima in the heart of Washington wine country.  Developers started construction this month on the golf course at the center of this new residential community.  The Zillah Lakes plan includes homes and townhomes constructed along the man-made lakes, a tournament golf course, commercial spaces for a bistro, wine-tasting room, convenience store, coffee shop, bed & breakfast, boutique retailers and live-work office spaces.  The Town Center may also include a preschool, motel and brewery.  It appears that Central Washington has a lot to offer the weekend traveler.  Sunshine, wine and waterfront seem to be the common attractions.  Maybe I’ll get lucky soon…I’d love to add golf clubs or a wakeboard to my home inspection tool bag. Give me a call to inspect these properties so I can make a memorable weekend out of it!

Chelan Home Inspection

Bear Mountain Ranch