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Carbon monoxide

By : John Martino | In : Home Inspections

To avoid poisoning by carbon monoxide make sure that all the fuel burning equipment in the home has sufficient venting. All of these appliances should be vented to the exterior of the home. Have your boiler or furnace cleaned and serviced every year to keep them in good working order. Do not operate a gas or charcoal grill in an enclosed area. Emergency generators should not be operated inside any building.

Install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your home. At a minimum install them in the main bedroom hallway of the home. You want to hear them if you are sleeping.

Carbon monoxide poisoning often mimics the common flu. Headaches are a very common complaint as well as difficulty breathing. In higher exposures to the poison gas nausea and dizziness occur. When carbon monoxide levels increase impaired judgment and confusion are common. High levels of the poison gas can cause death.

Chimney maintenance

By : John Martino | In : Home Inspections

Sometimes chimney repairs and corrections are needed in order to keep the chimney, liner and fireplace in satisfactory condition.
The vast majority of these repairs can be completed by a qualified chimney professional. All damaged, cracked and loose bricks and mortar inside the fire box should be repaired, replaced if required and re-pointed. A damaged or cracked chimney cap should also be replaced in order to prevent water from further damaging the chimney and liner. The damper should open and close easily so that heated air does not escape when the fireplace is not in use. The chimney liner should be kept free from obstruction and all areas of damage should be repaired.

The purpose of the chimney is to vent the  gases that occur when wood is burned. One of these gases is carbon monoxide. It is very important  the chimney be propelry maintained in order to help keep this toxic gas out of the dwelling. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on each living level of the home. Carbon monoxide detectors will alert you to issues with your boiler, furnace, water heater and fire place.

Flat roofing systems and the importance of proper drainage

By : John Martino | In : Home Inspections

One important defect  that I find while inspecting houses with flat type roofs  is the lack of adequate roof drains.  When  a flat roof system exists it is very important that the roof scupper drains remain obstruction free and free flowing because water will pool on the flat roof surface and infiltrate into the dwelling. Under the right climate conditions  flat roofing systems have been known to collapse under snow and ice loads because of the lack of roof drainage. snow, ice and water collect until the roof structure buckles under the weight. It is imperative that a home inspector view the roof drains  and determine if they are sufficient to properly drain the roof surface. A single drain is usually inadequate to propelry drain the roof surface.  Additional drains and downspouts should be installed to pipe water off the surface and away from the home. Having a multiple drain system is a very good idea because if one drain were to be obstructed the other drain will pipe water away from the surface of the roof.

Exterior oil tank support systems

By : John Martino | In : Home Inspections

Exterior above ground oil tanks have to be well supported in order to avoid the oil tank tipping over and causing an environmental hazard. The exterior oil tank should be installed on a firm pad. A cement pad with footings is best but a thick cement pad is much safer then having the tank rest on individual blocks which create a point load. When an oil tank is installed on blocks the individual blocks can sink and move under the weight of the tank and due to settling and compacting soils. The oil tank supply lines should also be protected from damage. There have been cases where these lines have been broken and damaged by falling ice an snow. Also oil tanks that are installed in the interior of a basement or crawl space should be on a firm foundation and the legs should be in good condition as not to allow the oil tank to tip over. The last thing that any home owner wants is to have the tank tip over and leak. It can cause injuy and a great deal of expensive environmental damage.  

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Buying a house is one of life’s biggest decisions. Before you close, you’ll want a professional inspection of the house to ascertain its true condition. John Martino is a formally trained New Jersey home inspector and member of the American Society of Home Inspectors...ReadMore