As home inspector climbed onto the Lafayette roof – he saw that the spark-arrestor/raincap assembly was absent from the top of the chimney flue peeking over the roof ridge.

At the top of roof ridge, it was then that the inspector spotted the spark-arrestor/raincap assembly sitting on top of the electrical service mast.

The response from PG&E on the other end of the phone was: “What?”

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Dirty Secret

Did you know that man-made fire logs aren’t known for the one thing that is often sought after when building a fire – They don’t produce heat?

Fire log production started in the 1960s when companies were seeking a way to dispose of sawdust waste.

They started combining sawdust and petroleum wax and extruded the mix into log like shapes. Fire logs are easy to light – leave little ash to clean up – have an attractive flame, which has made their use in fireplaces very popular.

When a savvy home inspector sees a Duraflame™ log – they’re going to take a cursory look inside the chimney flue and recommend review by a licensed chimney specialist – Why?

While pre-fabricated logs burn long and relative clean, they produce a wax-like build up that sticks to everything inside your chimney. This substance coats your flue tiles, lining, damper gears, chimney cap, everything… just like creosote from regular wood burning.

Burning too many Duraflame logs can create conditions for a chimney fire.

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Duct Tape Use #637

Home inspectorsencounter grey duct tape used all the time for many household repairs.

It’s true, that duct tape has 1001 uses. There’s a book about duct tape that you can buy on Amazon called… you guessed it… the Duct Tape book.

In the photo, duct tape has been used as a band-aid to stem leakage on a corroded pipe above a crawlspace water heater supply pipe.

Although the water heater is only 2 years old, the steel pipe fitting was connected to a flexible copper pipe without enough Teflon tape, pipe thread compound or better yet, a pipe union fitting to isolate the dissimilar metals – which leads to corrosion.

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Failed Duct Tape

Under a San Ramon house, the home inspector discovered a partially disconnected heating duct in a very wet crawlspace.

The amateur installation was evidenced by the excessive use of grey duct tape and the absence of duct support straps.

Grey duct tape is not for heating ducts click here (interesting article)

What are the concerns open duct laying on the ground?

– Disconnected ducts waste a lot of energy

– Rodents love open ducts… If they invade, it’s a health safety concern

– Open ducts lying on a wet ground with air moving through a duct can be a breeding ground for bacteria and spore growth (mold)

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