Q&A: When do smoke alarms need to be hardwired?

- The idea is that if a smoke alarm in a remote area of the home starts sounding off, it will still alert the occupants. New dwellings must have smoke alarms installed in each sleeping room, outside of each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity, and on each story of the home, but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics. . These smoke alarms must be hardwired and interconnected, so that if one smoke alarm goes off, they all go off ..More

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How to correct improper joist hanger nails

- . For an average deck, the repair will probably take a $20 box of screws and about an hour of someone’s time. Is this defect a big deal? No, probably not… but as you can see, the repair isn’t a big deal either ..More

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New information about asbestos and vermiculite attic insulation

- . The ZAI trust will test the vermiculite for you at no cost to determine eligibility for Trust reimbursement.  If you’re an ASHI home inspector, watch the presentation. The Trust tests for barium since its presence is unique to Zonolite versus other brands of vermiculite but does not do a more expensive test for asbestos. If you’re a home inspector, tell your clients to leave this material alone, don’t bother testing for asbestos, and tell your clients about the ZAI trust ..More

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A breakdown of energy ratings for Minnesota homes

- . If you’re in the market for a new home, ask your real estate agent to add this field to your search results. Here’s a press release with more information on that topic: MN/WI Buyers Can Now Find Energy Information when Home Shopping. After all, your monthly utility bills are the largest cost of homeownership after your mortgage. HERS ratings and some of the other certifications we discussed are listed on the Northstar Multiple Listing Service ..More

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Testing for radon? Close ALL of the windows, not just the basement windows

- . In reality, if enough windows are opened, very small amounts of wind will be far larger factors than stack effect, and radon levels will probably decrease. This is because the increased amount of dilution air that is brought into the house will typically be enough to offset any additional radon gas brought into the house. My scenario above is mostly in theory ..More

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