Melted vinyl siding caused by reflected sunlight

- . Double-pane windows can slightly deform during cold weather, pulling the middle of the glass inward. When this happens just right (or wrong), and a neighboring house with vinyl siding is in exactly the right pathway of that reflected light, the reflected light can create enough heat to melt and deform vinyl siding. If the windows have a low-e coating, this equates to a lot of reflected light in one place, as shown quite nicely in the image above. It’s not enough to be noticeable, at least when looking at the window, but sunlight reflected from these deformed windows can be concentrated enough to cause a magnifying glass effect ..More

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Sediment traps: what and why

- If you hear someone make a big deal about this, tell them to worry about something more important, like dinner. If it doesn’t get corrected, it’s probably not a big deal. . If you look at your appliance and you don’t have a sediment trap, don’t sweat it. Or not. Just plan to have it corrected the next time the appliance is replaced. It’s not a big deal ..More

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Updated home inspector training advice

- Just be aware that a home inspection school is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amount of knowledge that one should obtain before getting into this profession. Anyone doing home inspections on their own should do a lot of studying on their own and get as much hands-on training as possible. ..More

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New information about asbestos and vermiculite attic insulation

- Vermiculite insulation is way worse than I previously thought.  The EPA defines asbestos-containing material or “ACM” as having >1% asbestos. When vermiculite is tested for asbestos and is found to contain less than 1% asbestos, it is considered to NOT be asbestos containing. I’ve known that vermiculite insulation can contain asbestos, and my advice to homeowners has always been to assume it contains asbestos and leave it alone, which is also the advice of the EPA. The problem is that this can be a misleading diagnosis because it seems to imply that the product is safe. If the insulation needs to be removed or disturbed, my advice has previously been to recommend first having it tested for asbestos.  The photos below show an attic that still had several unopened bags of vermiculite insulation. ..More

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Q&A: What happens when a permit isn’t pulled for electrical work?

- My job as a home inspector is to inspect the home. If no permits were pulled and a lot of work was performed at a home, I might look at the work with a slightly more critical eye, but the presence or absence of permits shouldn’t make much of a difference in how a home inspector writes his or her reports. If I see a long list of building inspection permits, I know there’s a better chance that the work performed was done properly. Not research its history. Having said that, I do frequently look up the permit history for homes that I’m going to inspect, mostly to get a better idea of what my day is going to look like. ..More

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