Maintenance and Safety Tips

Condo Inspection-Louisville

Breaker PanelI get asked all of the time by clients if it is really necessary to inspect a condo before purchase.  While it is true that many patio home/condo communities have master agreements that take care of the exterior of the community (roofs, lots, facade, ect) there are still issues that can be discovered.  You will be responsible for the interior of the unit and if it is discovered that the exterior has issues- you may be able to resolve them before closing using the current owner to help navigate the community board.

On my recent condo inspection there were a few issues discovered on the inside including a roof leak-but the exterior offered a find that could be real serious in an emergency.  When the condo unit (8 units in this one building) was built the electrician did not label the main distribution panel which houses the main disconnect breakers.  While this is not normally a big issue- if you had an emergency and had to shut off the power it would be a guess.  Not of course you would shut them all off in an emergency- it would be some much easier if they were labeled.

There were some other issues discovered-but issues regarding safety should never be ignored.  Should you get your patio home/ condo inspected? It is an inexpensive process to make sure you are covered.

Louisville Ky Home Inspection Tip of the Week: Space Heaters

It is that time of year again that we get those electric heaters out of the basement, dust them off and plug them in.  However; please remember that there are news stories every year where a space heater was left unattended and led to tragedy. Please follow some basic rules when using a space heater:

  1. Look for one that is listed with a nationally-recognized testing laboratory, and make sure the brand you’re buying has passed all infrared heater reviews in a positive maner.
  2. Purchase a heater with a guard around the heating element.
  3. As much as we like to remove something from the box and plug it is, please read and follow the instructions for its operation and maintenance.
  4. You should not use an extension cord with an electric heater.
  5. Never run the heater’s cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting as says. The cord could overheat causing fires.
  6. Do not leave the heater operating unattended or operating while sleeping. These heaters are for use when attended and only intended for use as a backup, not a main heat source. 
  7. Do not have the electric heaters near water.
  8. Keep small children away from the heater. They may tip it over or touch the elements. 
  9. As always do not use the heater as a dryer for clothes.
  10. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE OPERATING SMOKE DETECTORS!

Louisville Ky Home Inspection Tips: Outside Faucets

Burst Pipe

This can happen to YOU!

I was on an inspection Friday and noticed that the front water spicket had not been turned off for the winter.  We have been fairly fortunate so far this year in Louisville, Ky that it has not been bitter cold.  It is expected to be just that this upcoming week, so if you have not yet turned off your exterior faucets, now is the time to do that. 

 Most of the handles should be accessible.  If you have a basement they should be visible. If you cannot locate them, start at the water heater and follow the cold water lines out from there and you will find them.  The shut off could be very close to the water heater, or closer to the spicket.

If your house is built on a slab, the shut offs can be below sinks or again close the water heater.  Homes on crawl spaces could have them inside the crawl space as well.  If you cannot locate the valve give me a call and I will help you find it. 

One you have turned off the interior shut off valve; you should open the exterior spicket and let any remaining water drip out.  Leave the valve open.  This simple tip could keep you from a potential burst pipe and some unwanted winter flood.

Louisville, Ky Home Inspector Finds Deck Lacking Proper Supports

I was on an inspection Tuesday in Crestwood looking over a very nice home.  The home had a nice wrap around porch/deck that went across the front and side of the home.  On first glance all appeared well, however; the deck was not properly attached to the home.  It has been an all to a familiar tale of a deck collapsing due to an increased load and improper supports.  This deck has several issues, but the one causing the most concern is lag bolt spacing. A deck attached to a home is generally attached using a ledger board.  It is this board that all of the joists are anchored to, and this is the board that holds the deck to the home. 

The ledger board should have lag bolts installed every 16″ to 24″, or as determined by the length of the joists.  Some of these were 36″ or more aprart.   The longer the floor joist the closer the together the lag bolts should be placed.  You can look up lag bolt spacing and see if your lag bolts supporting your deck are sufficient.

Another issue with this deck was the post holding the deck up were only supported by two nails in each at the top.  Due to the height of this deck, the posts had already begun to bow significantly.  The load factor and the attachment of the posts could lead to failure over time.  Fortunately both of these are relatively easy fixes and once completed the home owner will have years of enjoyment out of this large inviting deck. 

Smoke Detectors: Change That Battery

I know that you are supposed to change smoke detector batteries when the time change, but if you have not change them today.  Please do not become a statistic.  If your home is older than around 10 years, you probably only have battery operated detectors. They now sell detectors that use 10-year lithium battery’s that are much more user friendly than in the past. If your home is newer than around 10 years, then you probably have both hardwired and battery back-up detectors.  These batteries will need to be changed twice per year and tested every 30 days.  Please at Know Before You Buy Home Inspection we do not want to read or hear the news of tragedy.  CHANGE THE BATTERY

Extension Cord Safety

I do many inspections in Louisville, Elizabeth town, Mt. Washington, Shelbyville, Shepherdsville, even Rineyville Ky and I come across issues that are safety related.  Many of the finds we discover as inspectors are important, but some times we see things that we want to pass on as safety issues for you to avoid.  On my last inspection I found a very common issue that I wanted to address, extension cord and outlet multipliers. In this case it is outlet multipliers .  Those are the plug in’s for outlets that let you plug in as many as 5 things on one outlet.  These are not necessarily the the power strips we use for computers and TV’s, but the item depicted in the picture. Please do not use these as tey can become overloaded and result in fire.  If you need more outlets, use a power strip.