Author Archives: Home Inspector

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Anti-Tip Brackets for Freestanding Ranges

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Anti-tip brackets are metal devices designed to prevent freestanding ranges from tipping. They are normally attached to a rear leg of the range or screwed into the wall behind the range, and are included in all installation kits. A unit that is not equipped with these devices may tip over if enough weight is applied to its open door, such as that from a large Thanksgiving turkey, or even a small child. A falling range can crush, scald, or burn anyone caught beneath.

Bracket Inspection

You can confirm the presence of anti-tip brackets through the following methods:

  • It may be possible to see a wall-mounted bracket by looking over the rear of the range. Floor-mounted brackets are often hidden, although in some models with removable drawers, such as 30-inch electric ranges made by General Electric, the drawers can be removed and a flashlight can be used to search for the bracket. You should beware that a visual confirmation does not guarantee that the bracket has been properly installed.
  • You can firmly grip the upper-rear section of the range and tip the unit. If equipped
    Anti tip 2

    Anti-tip bracket example

    with an anti-tip bracket, the unit will not tip more than several inches before coming to a halt. The range should be turned off, and all items should be removed from the stovetop before this action can be performed. It is usually easier to detect a bracket by tipping the range than through a visual search. This test can be performed on all models and it can confirm the functionality of a bracket.

If you wish to install a bracket yourself, the part can be purchased at most hardware stores or ordered from a manufacturer. General Electric will send their customers an anti-tip bracket for free.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 143 incidents caused by range tip-overs from 1980 to 2006. Of the 33 incidents that resulted in death, most of those victims were children. A small child may stand on an open range door in order to see what is cooking on the stovetop and accidentally cause the entire unit to fall on top of him, along with whatever hot items may have been cooking on the stovetop. The elderly, too, may be injured while using the range for support while cleaning.

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Warning label on oven doors

In response to this danger, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) created standards in 1991 that require all ranges manufactured after that year to be capable of remaining stable while supporting 250 pounds of weight on their open doors. Manufacturers’ instructions, too, require that anti-tip brackets provided be installed. Despite these warnings, retailer Sears estimated in 1999 that a mere 5% of the gas and electric units they sold were ever equipped with anti-tip brackets. As a result of Sears’ failure to comply with safety regulations, they were sued and subsequently required to secure ranges in nearly 4 million homes, a measure that has been speculated to have cost Sears as much as $500 million.

In summary, ranges are susceptible to tipping if they are not equipped with anti-tip brackets and should be installed for enhanced safety, especially if young children occupy or visit the property.

Article by Nick Gromicko, Joshua Frederick, and Kenton Shepard

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Cast Iron Drain Piping

New Home Base Logo edited for webCast iron drain pipes typically indicate an older system that needs to be monitored regularly to help detect problems (typical life expectancy can be anywhere from 50-100+ years). If your property has older/aging cast iron pipes, budgeting for replacement would be prudent. Simply looking at the exterior of the pipes might not indicate that there are problems with the drainage system since cast iron typically deteriorates from the inside out although some types of soil apparently are corrosive to cast iron. Pipes installed underground horizontally are especially vulnerable. Both interior and exterior deterioration of the cast iron pipes can lead to pitting and pinhole leaks, followed by catastrophic leaks and failure. Tree roots are notorious for finding pinhole leaks in cast iron drain pipes and either crushing the drain pipes as they wrap around it, or entering the drain pipes through the pinholes, eventually clogging the drain and bursting the pipe.

If the cast iron drain pipes are under the foundation slab, failure can result in settling and cracking of the foundation. If the cracking and settling occurs towards the center of the slab foundation, the process of leveling and stabilizing the slab becomes more difficult and expensive. Some cast iron drain pipes are able to have the interior cleaned and sealed, thus prolonging the life of the system, and the process many times is less expensive than replacing the cast iron drain pipes. Consult a qualified plumber if drainage ever appears slow at sinks, toilets, bathtubs, showers, or laundry.

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Picture of leaking cast iron piping

I am aware that some homeowners are advised to run some Liquid Plummer or Draino down all the sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets prior to a property inspection. Such a tactic usually works quite well in preventing me from finding drainage defects during the course of my inspection. In many cases, using commercial drain cleaners is a band-aid rather than a cure, so if there were problems which might have been detected during the course of a property inspection, those problems typically will reoccur shortly after the inspection. Again, consult with your Realtor about how you can protect your financial investment if functional drainage is not satisfactory after you close escrow, especially if there are cast iron drain pipes present.

You’re rubbing me the wrong way!

Electrical – respect it, and it respects you. Rub it the wrong way, though, don’t expect respect back or good things to happen (just like with anything else in life.)  DIY’s, Harry Homeowners, and other wannabe “electricians” who think they know about electrical or don’t want to fork over money for professional personnel to do their electrical work, rub me the wrong way.

Take for instance these different wiring practices I’ve found on a few past home inspections.  Although there are other defects depicted, this is about the wires improperly penetrating or installed against building materials. Materials that expand and contract – in other words, they move.  The first two exterior wiring pictures show them installed against metal trim and roofing components.  Those wires are obviously going to move on windy days.  Those building components (roof drip edge, fascia coverings, etc.) are going to expand and contract with temperature changes.  The one close up picture shows clearly what happens to the wiring over time.  The last picture shows interior wiring penetrating through metal ductwork.  That metal ductwork expands and contracts every time the furnace turns on (not to mention the moving air against the wire.)

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I don’t think I have to elaborate on the wonderful things that can happen when the continued rubbing eventually gets to the live wires.

In a nutshell, everyone and everything gets rubbed the wrong way when less-than- professional practices are found during the course of a home inspection, especially ones that involve safety.  Spend the money and hire professional electricians.

 

ASPEC Residential Services, LLC  – Northwest Ohio Home Inspections  

Since 2007 – A family-owned company saving families from buying money pits throughout Northwest Ohio. We’re on your side, the home buyer, and treat you like family.  Because we adhere to this policy at all times, the majority of our clients are past clients, their family members, close friends, or associates of theirs. We put ourselves into your shoes and look out for your best interests always.

Buying a home in Defiance, Napoleon, Bryan, or anywhere else in Northwest Ohio? Get an ASPEC Home Inspection! Our mission is to help and serve people by delivering an exceptionally thorough and educational home inspection experience each and every time! 

 

Sellers – Top Ten Ways to Speed Up your Home Inspection

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Hurry up, would ya! I do have my life to get back to!

If your selling your home here are 10 suggestions to help speed up the home inspection. The inspection will go smoother for everyone involved, with fewer concerns or issues that may delay closing.

10. Confirm that water and gas service are on, with gas pilot lights all lit. Home Inspectors will test everything just as a homeowner would – turn the thermostat up to get heat, flip the switch to the gas fireplace and it fires up, operate the hot side of a faucet and hot water comes out, etc. Under certain/limited circumstances, we can perform this service with written permission and knowledge of why utility was off from the seller/owner/listing agent.  We also can perform dewinterizations for a fee.

9. Ensure all breakers are on, even if it’s something you don’t use anymore. (or put a note on the panel ledger stating why breakers are off/not in use.) Again, under certain/limited circumstances, we can perform this service with written permission and knowledge of why the breaker(s) are off from the seller/owner/listing agent.

8. Trim exterior vegetation, remove leaves, snow, etc. accordingly, to allow for visibility/accessibility.

7.Attend to easy/simple fixes like, leaky drains under the sinks, downspouts extensions missing/not long enough, gutter leaks/standing water, door knobs that aren’t latching/locking properly, windows and doors opening/closing properly, changing/replacing dirty/missing furnace filters, installing junction box covers, etc.

6. Remove/rearrange items blocking access to attics and crawl spaces, heating and cooling equipment, electrical panels, water heaters, etc. Also, make sure any locks are removed and/or made accessible. In addition, ensure that caulked/painted/finished attic accesses, electrical panel covers, etc. are easily accessible.

5. Leave rare, expensive baseball cards in the attic for me to find 😉 I’ll cancel the inspection right away and retire 🙂

4. Ensure pets won’t hinder the inspection, or better yet, me, the inspector! Ideally, they should be removed from premises or secured outside.

3. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries. Ensure they exist at all the required areas.

2. Replace light bulbs! Otherwise, it will be documented in the report that the light was inoperable/not working when tested with the switch.

1. Ensure there are fresh, warm brownies (or equivalent) on the kitchen counter with a note in plain view stating “For the inspector only.” I get groggy when my belly’s full and I might not be able to find any issues at your house while I’m in a food coma 😉

And for the other #1 😉 – disclose, disclose, disclose! Homebuyers (and inspectors especially) appreciate honesty, frankness, and forthrightness! In other words, if there’s something you know about, please don’t try and hide it or pretend you don’t know. I’m pretty good at finding things, in fact, it’s how I feed my family ;).

Attending to these items will help ensure a smoother process with less hiccups. The inspection will go faster. Your real estate agent will thank you!  The buyer(s) will thank you! I will definitely thank you! After all, we all want to keep the ball rolling and get everyone moving on with their real estate goals and dreams as soon as possible!

 

Visit us online @ http://aspecresidentiaspec_logoal.com/,  email us @ aspecresidential@aol.com, call us at 419-782-8924, or text us at 419-615-5076 with any questions or concerns.  We’re always here to help!

Your friends at ASPEC,

Josh & Celena Frederick

What Really Matters in a Home Inspection

Buying a home in Defiance or Northwest Ohio?

The process can be stressful. A Home Inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind but, depending on the findings, it may have the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information over a short period of time.  Your ASPEC inspection will entail a comprehensive and detailed written report, including checklists, narratives, numerous photos, internet links, videos, in addition to what I tell you during the inspection and/or afterwards during the inspection review. All of this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself can make the experience overwhelming. What should you do?

Relax.

I am a professional, and being a member of InterNACHI®, then you can relaxtrust that I am among the most highly trained in the industry. Most of your inspection and report will be related to common issues/maintenance/repair recommendation. These are good to know about.

However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:

  1. Major defects, such as a structural failure or wet basements/crawlspaces;
  2. Conditions that can lead to major defects, such as a roof leak or shoddy workmanship;
  3. Issues that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home if not rectified immediately; and
  4. Safety hazards, such as a backdrafting water heater or improperly wired electrical.

Anything in these categories should be addressed as soon as possible.

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It’s also important to realize that a seller is under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in Your Home Inspection Report.

Remember, no house is going to be defect/issue free (at least I haven’t found one yet) and always try & keep things in perspective.

And remember that homeownership is both a joyful experience (unless you didn’t use ASPEC for your home inspection) and an important responsibility, so be sure to contact us if you have any questions regarding your home.  I want to be sure that your home will keep your family safe and stay in top condition for years to come.

Brought to you by your local Defiance and Northwest Ohio Certified Professional Inspector®,

Joshua Frederick, CPI

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Source: International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Used with permission, [https://www.nachi.org/matters.html]

Ahhhhhhhh. Whirlpool tubs are so grand!

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to afford to build your own home.  Maybe you’re remodeling the masterIMG_0097 bath to something you’ve envisioned in your dreams.  Of course, to complete the look and feel, you have to have a whirlpool tub in it, right?  Seeing yourself sipping wine in a frothy mountain of bubbles while reading a great book, just seems too appealing. Maybe you’re imagining floating rose petals, with candles casting a romantic ambiance on the warm water, and your significant other soaking away right across from you with a twinkle in the eyes. Ain’t life grand?

Time for a reality check! Truth is, with whirlpools, the vast majority of people install them with the same vivid dreams, but never, or very rarely, use them. They soon find out how life comes along and realize that the time and effort just aren’t feasible or worthwhile (kind of like the treadmill in the basement now turned into storage unit.)  Kids?  Oh you have kids, LOL.  Well you will never use it again (they might though – see #10.)

Here’s my grand compilation of 10 whirlpool realities:

  1. They’re expensive!  You’ll be hard pressed to find a decent one under a grand.
  2. They’re deep and take a boat load of water to fill up!  Like 1,000 gallons! Some are as big as a Grand piano!
  3. You have to heat that 1,000 gallons of water, too!  You only have a 40 gallon electric water heater?  LOL. Well, I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard ice therapy works wonders for a body.  Have fun with that! “Oh they have in line heaters you can install,” says the salesperson.  “For an extra grand, they add.”
  4. Speaking of which, all the amenities and add-ons are endless! “There’s also multi-colored mood lighting that’s optional as well,” states the salesperson again. Aw, who cares honey, you only live once, right?  Besides, just think of how jealous our friends will be when they see our expensive whirlpool! (that we’re never going to use.) We most certainly need the built-in wine cooler and TV! Another grand. Make that two.
  5. They take time to fill and use! By the time it’s filled, your free/bath time is over!  They also take time to use. Some days, it’s hard to find time to take a quick shower, let alone a bath.  My wife, the mother and caretaker of 5 kids (including me!,) sometimes goes days without one – LOL! Who has time to take a bath anyway?
  6. They can be downright uncomfortable.  Like 4 pages into your great novel, and you have to get out cause your back hurts from the way you have to sit (or a jet jabbing you in the back.)  The romantic interlude you envisioned?  Don’t think so. You can barely fit yourself, let alone your significant other. You also find that you can’t stretch your legs out all of the way. What, you didn’t try it out at the store?  I see, you ordered it online.  LOL.  Of course, you can order the bigger, custom, comfortable model, but you know what that means – yup, another grand.
  7. Something else to keep clean.  And they’re usually a pain to do so.  All those nooks, crannies, curves, jets, lights, faucet handles, buttons, holes, etc. are a real treat.
  8. Speaking of cleaning.  Maybe you’re lucky to use yours 3x a year.  You’ll soon find out that the water from the previous time sits dormant in the pipes and tubes.  You then go to fire it up and
    Black stuff in the piping ends up in your bath!

    Black stuff in the piping ends up in your bath!

    voilá, you get a bunch of gunky, moldy, black junk spewed all over your nice clean white tub (trust me, as a Home Inspector, I see it all the time.)  Nothing screams ecstasy like taking a bath in Oreo water.  Doesn’t it look enticing!  Oh, well just drain it out, spray down the walls, and refill.  Easy peasy. Yeah, but you just wasted 2,000 more gallons of water!  What was that imploding noise you just heard?  Oh nothing, just the town’s water tower being sucked dry.  It also could have been your wallet anticipating the water bill you’re going to get next month.  Another grand.

  9. They’re noisy!  Relaxing?  Ha! With all that racket from the jet pump, good luck!
  10. Finally, remember those bubbles? Well, they just don’t mix very well with all those jets and turbulence. In fact, they can quickly cause a menacing bubble blob that quickly overtakes the entire bathroom.  Remember the Brady Bunch episode with the washing machine? My kids sure do enjoy the bubble blob, though, and always have a grand time when staying at Grandma’s house.  Who knew? Maybe if you have kids, that may be the one and only reason to buy a whirlpool.

    Beware of the bubble monster!

    Beware of the bubble monster!

My grand advice: At least consider these 10 reasons before you purchase that cool plastic abyss. If not, you may just be watching your money go down the drain, which is never grand.