Kitchen Sink Trap

Kitchen Trap

The Kitchen sink Trap Inspection

I am writing this article so as to answer several comments and questions I have recently heard and been asked about. To be brief I am answering the people who have told me they had a hack inspector miss a trap installed backwards and asked how it should properly look. The above picture shows a proper trap with the cleanout on the bottom but I must point out that many homes do not have this feature and that is NOT a defect. Above all the water must go down to a low spot trapping anything that you may not want entering your septic system. The trap adapter usually has a screw cap that tightens onto the sink drain tail piece, this piece I have often found loose and allowing a small leak. This is a defect and needs to either be tightened or have the plastic gasket  replaced.  If it does not have a trap cleanout, you will need to remove the entire trap which is why both ends usually have screw connectors if they do not have the cleanout. You must also check that the trap arm does NOT run uphill from the trap, this should be level. When a home inspector checks this trap, we grip the inlet and the outlet while water is draining to make sure it is secure and that there are no leaks.

What First Time Home Buyers Need to Know.

A regular real estate home inspection and a first time home buyer inspection differs slightly in the fact that I highly recommend a first time home buyer needs to be there during the inspection. Someone who has owned homes before already understands where to look for the main water shut off, The main septic clean-out and where re-set buttons are on the garbage disposal, and The furnace or how to set the temperature on the hot water heater or how to prime the furnace after running out of oil. These are just a few things I like to point out to new home buyers. How do you expect someone to know how to change their furnace filter which only takes a minute, if they didn’t even know they had one! Or how to put a mirror in the chimney clean out to see if it needs cleaning or not. All people know to take lint out of their dryer but new home owners might not know you should clean out the lint vent leading outside at least once a year. New home owners may not understand the importance of making sure outside faucets lead away from the basement or the importance of having proper ventilation in the attic. All good home inspectors have no problem helping out new home buyers at no extra charge for this service and I highly recommend all first time home buyers ask if the Inspector is first time home buyer certified. I also like to let all clients of my inspections to feel free to call anytime about any questions they may have about their home even if it is a year or so later. I enjoy being there for you and being allowed the opportunity to be of assistance. If I didn’t like this profession I would be doing something else

Your AnnRuel Home Inspections yearly log home Inspection

Here is what We offer in our Annual Log Home Inspections….
It is very important to have yearly inspections professionally performed and to keep an inspection log for your home. It is vitally important to keep a good maintenance log of your home listing all materials purchased for maintenance, any updates or improvements made to the home and all dates as well as who performed each service. These should all be kept in a loose bound binder often provided by the Builder.
1) Are there any logs contacting foliage, organic mulch, or the ground within 18 inches from the home? We look for any landscaping that may have grown up against the house or soil grade that has become too close to the sill (bottom) log.
2) We perform an adhesion test where we Press a piece of masking tape onto the log ensuring good adhesion and after pressing it on hard wait 3 minutes. Next we rip it off. If a lot of stain came off with the tape we recommend you should remove the finish before applying anything new. We try this in a few different spots as some areas wear faster than others. This takes an experienced eye to know how much is too much.
3) We look to see if there are any discolored areas. Does it seem to be underneath or above of the finish. If it’s under the finish we recommend for you to remove the finish to get at it. If it is on top you can clean it off and seal over the old sealant which is the most common. Some issues are created from an improper PH balance
4) Now we take a water spray bottle and spray down areas of the wall to see if the sealant is properly repelling the water. If it beads up and rolls of or quickly drips off it is fine. If it soaks in then there is a problem with the sealant
5) With a rubber mallet, we tap of the wood listening to listen to hear any hollow spots and use a moisture pin meter to check that the wood is within acceptable levels.
6) Inspect all Chinking for cracks or peeling away from the log
7) We inspect the interior with thermal imaging (IR Camera) to detect air and moisture issues.
8) Looking for signs of any insect holes, sawdust or insect debris. All log homes will have a few insect holes, but most, not all, insects are only interested in wood that has high moisture content. Many times you may find a hole where a insect who was in the tree and just wants to leave the wood for greener pastures.
9) We check for any soft, decayed areas and upward facing checks, under windows, and the lower few courses of logs Also, we try to figure out where all the excess moisture is coming from
10) We look for any gaps that have developed due to settling and shrinkage drying. This is a greater concern on homes that are less than five years old, but regular soil settling and erosion can occur around a home of any age.
Now it is report time. Here we write up a report showing our findings and comparing the report to the previous year’s report. This should be added to you Home Maintenance log.
© 2014 AnnRuel Home

Electric inspection Common Problems 2

DSC05649 Here is the second most common error I find. Outlets without a ground. The problem here I find the most is when there is a grounded (3 prong outlet) in the same room with a non grounded (2 prong) outlet it means often the previous owner just changed the outlets and added a 3 prong outlet but it has no ground. A good home inspector will always find this and point it out to you

Electric inspection Common Problems

The most common issue I find is double tapping. Here you see 2 wires going into a circuit breaker made to only tighten down on one wire. This causes a poor connection on both wires and a major hazard. Make sure you have no double tapped circuit breakers in your panel and if you do call a qualified Electrical contractor.

Do you see what is wrong here?

annruelhomeinspections 47733 sm
This is a common mistake mistake made by home owners which is not allowed here in Maine. Do you see what this home owner did wrong and why The local power company will not hook him up?  When I saw this I knew right away as I have seen it too many times.

Why a Home Physical is a good idea

Many home owners live in their home day by day giving no thought to the condition of the various systems until something needs service and by that time the problem usually cost thousands more than the cost involved to prevent the problem.  A perfect example comes from a recent home physical. A home owner called me in to check out his house since he was thinking of leaving it for a few months while he was going overseas and wife and children would be there alone.  The first thing I noticed while doing an exterior survey of the property was how the deck was starting to pull away from the house which he had never noticed.  I pointed out that this ledger board was only nailed in and should have special Ledger bolts attaching it to the house and this was an accident ready to happen.  He said he would take care of this right away. I then continued to the basement where I found his chimney clean out was over full and moisture had compacted it to become quite solid which is a fire hazard. I also noticed he had installed a new hot water heater and he did not have a drip pan and the overflow elbow was missing so it was already starting to rust on top and the bottom weaken the structure of the heater and shortening the life.  Next checking the waterlines I found a small leak that was up against a wall that was about to blow and become a large issue. If that wasn’t enough he had a handyman friend help wire in a few exterior outlets that were doubled tapped and Not GFCI compliant. In a total I found 23 issues that could all be corrected for a few hundred dollars but could have easily turned into thousands of dollars of repairs not to mention personal property damage or health risk. Anyways about 2 weeks later he called me. He said I was very right about the deck and he wished he had acted sooner. He had a graduation party for his daughter on the deck which collapsed and 5 of her friends were hurt as well as the deck being destroyed and a window smashed out. Luckily it was only a 5 foot drop but he was warned and could have avoided this thanks to a home physical. He told me he is now acting on the other issues, now that he understands how serious it is and booked me to come back next year.

How to Disinfect your Well

WELL DISINFECTION PROCEDURE: – Plan on it taking 24 to 48 hours for this procedure.
1)Thoroughly mix about 2 quarts of unscented chlorine
bleach with about 4.5 gallons of clean water. Use1 gallon of
bleach for wells over 100 feet deep.
2) Remove the well cap or sanitary seal and pour
the bleach solution directly into the well.
3) Connect a water hose to the closest  facet and run water through it until there is a strong odor of bleach.
4) Using the hose , flush the inside of the well casing or the interior walls of a dug well. Wash the well cap clean. Close the well cap, wait about  1 to 2 hours prior to continuing  to Step 5.
5)Run water through each faucet inside and outside the home until there is an odor of bleach. As soon as you smell
the  bleach from a tap, turn it off and go to the next one. If you cannot smell bleach, repeat steps 1 through 4.
6)Let the water stand in the pipes for 8 to 10 hours hours or
more best would be  overnight.
7)Flush the bleach from the well. Remember chlorine is toxic to plants and grass, so try to drain it away from your lawn or septic system.  Flush the system until you can no longer smell the bleach. This usually takes up to 4 hours. If your well might be pumped dry by doing this, then you should pump in stages. For example, pump for 30 to 60 minutes, wait for the well to recharge, and repeat.
8)Open all other indoor and outdoor faucets and run until they are clear of bleach (until odor is gone).
Note: adding
bleach to your water creates hypochlorous acid, which may dissolve rust and other sediments in the pipes. Do not be
alarmed if the water is discolored and has sediment. This will usually disappear in a few days.
9) When there is no longer any bleach odor in your water Contact to come out to take another sample to present to the Lab

How to Install Tie-downs for Manufactured Homes & Sheds

Why tie-downs?
Manufactured homes and sheds must have anchors and tie-downs to keep them in place during high winds. Compared to site-
built homes, manufactured homes and sheds are relatively lightweight. They have flat sides and ends, and they are built on
frames rather than foundations. Almost all manufactured homes and
sheds are elevated, situated on t
op of some sort of pier or
foundation system. Wind can get under the homes and lift them up. In addition, the wind passing over the top of your
manufactured home can create an uplift force.
To resist wind forces, you need two different types of tie-downs.
In older homes, a vertical or over-the-top tie-down is needed
to compensate for the uplift force. A diagonal or frame tie-down is needed to compensate for both lateral and uplift forces.
Singlewide manufactured homes need both types of tie-downs. Doublewide homes only need the diagonal ties
Tie Down Requirements for manufactured homes

• Singlewide manufactured homes require both diagonal and vertical ties.
• Doublewide manufactured homes require only diagonal ties.
• To determine the length, do not include the draw bar.
• Numbers based on minimum working load per anchor of
3,150 pounds, with a 50% overload of 4,725 pounds.
• Diagonal ties must deviate at least
40 degrees from a vertical direction.
• If your home has special site considerations, a registered professional engineer or architect can devise an alternate anchoring
Anchoring system components
Types of tie-downs.
The type of tie-down you select usually depends
on when your manufactured home was built. Older homes
often have exposed over-the-top tie-downs. This is an effective syste
m, but it does detract from the appearance of your house.
The straps are placed over the siding and roof. Until recent
years, most manufactured homes
came equipped with concealed
over-the-top tie-downs. These straps are located just under the
exterior siding and metal roof. The end of the strap hangs out
under the manufactured home. Newer model
homes might not have any type of over-t
he-top tie-down. Because of increased
structural strength of manufactured homes, these models are secured with anchoring straps attached to the home’s steel frame
rails, called frame anchors. Doublewides
are also secured with frame anchors.
Types of anchors.
You’ll find anchors available for different types of soil
conditions, including concrete slab. Auger anchors have been designed for both hardsoil and soft soil. Rock anchors or drive anchors allow attachment to a rock or coral base. This type of anchor is also pinned to
the ground with crossing steel stakes. If you will be pouring a concrete base, you can install a concrete anchor first.
You need to know your soil type to select the right
Soil classifications
usually include: rock/hard pan, heavy, sandy gravel,
heavy sand, silty gravel,
clayey gravel, clay, silty clay, clayey
silt, uncommitted
fill or peat/organic
Whatever type of anchors you select, care fully follow the installation instructions.
Auger anchors (screw-in anchors) can be installed
manually by inserting a metal bar through the top of the anchor for added leverage or with a machine designed for this purpose. It’s important to screw this type of anchor in. Do not dig a hole to instal Hook-up and tension device:
The tie-down must be connected to the anchor with a system that allows for adjusting the tension. It must also be weather resistant and strong enough to support as much weight as the anchor and tie-down. If the tie-down is fastened to a ground anchor with a drop-forged turnbuckle, the turnbuckle should be ½ inch or larger galvanized steel. The turnbuckle should have forged or welded eyes, not hook ends.The roof protector. If you have exposed over-the-top tie-downs, you must have some sort
of roof protectors placed under the strap or cable at the edge of the roof. Roof protectors are also called roof brackets, buffers or thimbles. These prevent the tie-down strap or cable from damaging the roof and will prevent the edge of the roof from cutting through the tie-down. Wood blocks
will work, and are better than nothing, but commercial protectors
will do a better job of distributing the pressure of the cable.
Commercial protectors will last longer, too.
Make sure all your anchoring equipment (anchors, turnbuckles, straps, hookups) is capable of resisting an allowable working load of at least 3,150 pounds. The equipment must also be capable of withstanding a 50 percent overload,
4,725 pounds. This also applies to the attachment point on t
he manufactured home. Only use anchoring equipment that is
weather and corrosion resistant. YOU MUST ALIGN EXPOSED OVER-THE-TOP
Tie-downs can be either cable or strap. If cable is used, it
should be galvanized steel or stainless steel. Minimum diameter size is
3/8 inches for 7 x 7, or ¼ inch for “aircraft” cable, 7 x 19.
If flat steel strapping is used, it must be a minimum of 1-¼ inches wide x
.035 inches thick.
Tie-down and anchor installation
Installing a tie-down and anchoring system is not too complicated for most do-it-yourselfers. It’s wise, however, to seek
experienced help to make sure you are using the proper anchor
for your soil conditions, enough anchors for your wind conditions,
the correct tension on your tie-down, and proper angle for your
frame tie-downs. At the very least you should have a building
inspector or a trained installer check over your finished work.
STEP 1: Level house
Make sure your home is level before anchoring it to the ground.
STEP 2: Check chartsCheck
the wind zone chart
for your location and determine the required number of anchors recommended for your zone. You
should regard this number as the minimum needed for your home.
STEP 3: Determine soil type
Merely looking at the ground under your home isn’t enough. Some
types of anchors need to be installed five feet deep. Talk to a
building inspector to determine your soil type. If you will be attaching your tie-downs to a concrete foundation, make sure it is at least 4 inches thick.
STEP 4: Select anchors
Talk to a supplier or installer for advice.Your soil type will determine the type of anchor.
STEP 5: Select hook-up
Depending on your tie-down system, over-the-top or frame, select the appropriate hook-up and tensioning device. Make sure the
entire system is certified to a 4,725 pound capacity.
STEP 6: Locate wires/cables Mark the location of your electric, cable, gas, water, sewer and phone lines on the ground before you install anchors. Make sure you have located everything prior to digging.
STEP 7: Position over-the-top tie-downs
If you are installing an exposed over-the-top
tie-down, the strap or cable should be positioned over a roof rafter. Protect the edges of your roof with a roof protector of some type. Make
sure the strap or cable does not cover a window or door.
STEP 8: Install anchor
You’ll find specific installation instructions with your
anchor. Follow them carefully.
For a vertical tie-down, the anchor is installed vertically.
For a frame/diagonal tie-down, the anchor can be installed to the same angle as the tie-down. This angle should be at least 40 degrees.
The anchor can be installed vertically
if you also install a stabilization device to keep the anchor from moving sideways. A metal stabilization device can be attached to the t
op of the anchor and buried in the ground.
Another option is to pour a concrete collar around the top
of the anchor. The collar should be at least 10 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep.
STEP 9: Adjust tension
Alternating from side to side,
adjust your tie-downs to the appropriate tension. Don’t do one side of your house and then the other.
Anchoring and tie-down systems vary greatly. It’s important for you to contact the local building inspector for regulations regarding
anchoring and blocking installation in your community. Regulations
vary considerably from one community to the next. In some
states, tie-downs aren’t required.
In other states, tie-downs are stringently regulated and inspected.
To be tied down safely, find out from your local manufactured
home association or building inspector how many tie-downs and
anchors you need for your wind and soil conditions. The cost of installing additional tie-downs and anchors is small compared to
the potential cost of wind damage to a manufactured home that was not properly tied down.

My Experience on Insurance Reports

I have done over 1000 basic Insurance  Inspections and Reconstruction Value reports for companies like Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Tower, USAA and many others.  By having this experience I have an edge on knowing what your insurance company is looking for when adjusting your rates. I have also done countless reports for companies to report on progress of repairs and construction for lenders.  New home buyers should use this as a guideline when looking to purchase a property to know what they will be looking at from their insurance company. When The Insurance company comes out to see your property this is usually what is included in an Exterior Report.

1. Photo’s of all sides of the home

2. Photo’s of all angles of the roof

3.  Identify the type of siding and roof material

4. Does the home have dead blots on all exterior doors

5. Is there any siding , roofing, window , door, chimney or chimney crown, steps, decks or porch damage.

6. Any damaged soffits, eaves, fascia or siding dry rot or paint peeling or gutters missing or pointing in the wrong direction.

7. Are there any decks higher than 36 inches without a railing

8. Any trees over hanging the home with over hanging branches larger than 6 inches

9. Identify and photograph any and all attached and detached structures on the property.

10. Is there a in-ground pool and is it properly fenced and a lock on the gate

11. Is there any aggressive dogs on the property or farm animals

12. How far is the nearest fire hydrant or body of water that can be used for a fire

13. Is there a trampoline or skateboard ramps

14. Is the foundation in need of repair

15. Is there second story exits

16. Is the home vacant or occupied

17. Is the sidewalk/driveway in need of repair

18. Is there a business on premises that creates additional hazards/exposures

19. Is the property in need of maintenance

20. Does the property contain an attractive nuisance

21. Is the property under construction

22. Discover the year built

If the Policy Holder is home ask if they have smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher