Need a chimney inspection? Hire carefully.

- A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep showed up just as we were beginning our inspection of the interior. We recommend a level II inspection on all masonry wood-burning fireplaces when a home is being purchased. . The chimney professional was someone I had never met before, so I took some time to chat with him about this chimney, other chimneys, and other chimney companies in the Twin Cities. The buyer had hired this chimney professional to perform a level II inspection of the chimney because there was a wood burning fireplace present. He didn’t have much nice to say about a lot of other chimney companies, complaining that many chimney companies call out minor and inconsequential defects with chimney liners, only to recommend  re-lining the chimneys so they can charge a boatload of money to do the work. Smart ..More

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Air conditioner maintenance for homeowners

- All of these things will hamper airflow. . For the condensing coil to work properly, it needs plenty of airflow. The condensing coil should not be obstructed by other nearby units, house walls, plants, weeds, flowers, decorative shrouds, decks, etc ..More

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Q&A: Can electrical boxes be buried in insulation?

- Also, I happened across a great photo of a junction box buried by vermiculite insulation while looking through old photos for last week’s blog post on vermiculite insulation. . This question came up during a conversation that I was having with another home inspector during the last ASHI chapter meeting. We know that the covers for electrical boxes need to be accessible, but what if the box is located in an attic? Is it acceptable to bury the box in insulation? I said I’d research this info and get back to him, but I thought this might make for a good, short blog post topic ..More

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How to correct improper joist hanger nails

- The image below shows the difference between these two nails. . Back in 2010 I wrote a blog post detailing one of the most common deck defects that I find, which is improper joist hanger nails. The issue detailed in that blog post was the use of 1-½” nails in places where full-size 10d nails are supposed to be used ..More

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Sediment traps: what and why

- The code defines an automatically controlled appliance as “Appliances equipped with an automatic burner ignition and safety shutoff device and other automatic devices which accomplish complete turn-on and shutoff of the gas to the main burner or burners, and graduate the gas supply to the burner or burners, but do not affect complete shutoff of the gas. ”. . While the old code language only required sediment traps where the gas piping dropped down to appliances, there is no longer such language in the code. Sediment traps are required at all automatically controlled gas appliances ..More

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