Garage Disposal Power Cord

The garbage disposal is a device electrically powered and designed to shred food waste into tiny pieces small enough to pass through drain/waste plumbing.

The home inspector noted that the electrical black power cord passing through the bottom of a garbage disposal isn’t centered in the pass-through hole.

The power cord is missing a clamp or rubber grommet to keep the cord centered and away from the sharp edge of the housing.

Think about what you put under the kitchen sink: dish detergent, cleaning supplies, plastic containers, etc. Sometimes those items push against the power cord.

Over time it’s possible for the power cord insulation to chaff or wear through – the bottom line: an electrical power cord shorted to a metal housing and water don’t mix.

Did you know it takes about .015 amps (electrical current) across the heart to kill a person? There are approximately 1.5 amperes to the garbage disposal.

Take a minute to look under your garbage disposal.

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Water Wins Again

Did you know that the older galvanized steel pipes in homes cause 90% of water flow problems.

After 35-50 years, steel pipes rust from the inside out.

As water passes through the steel pipes, corrosion deposits build up inside and partially block water flow. Some older pipes are so corroded that even a pencil would not fit through the center of the pipe.

In the home inspectors photo – the pipe has corroded through and is dripping water – a waste of natural resources.

Running water through a corroded pipe is turning off a water faucet and the water is becomes discolored due to iron oxide.

If you live in house plumbed with steel pipes and there’s low water flow – there’s a good chance that it may be time to re-plumb.

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Sagging Floor Mystery 

A bedroom had been added onto a 55-year old San Leandro house. As the home inspector walked across the floor – there was a discernible sag/slope in the center of the room.

A large steel ball bearing was placed at the baseboard and it rolled slowly towards the center of the room in a spiral pattern – very odd.

The inspector entered the crawlspace under the bedroom sweeping the flashlight in front of him. What greeted his eyes was a wood support post, a concrete pier and footing floating above a large hole.

It turns out the bedroom had unknowingly been built over an abandoned Redwood septic tank where the lid had collapsed.

Before concrete, plastics, metal… early septic tanks were made from Redwood boards.

Now you know the rest of the story.

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Garage Ceiling Hole

During a Pleasant Hill home inspection, a section of the garage ceiling had been removed to work on plumbing pipes.

This was a two story house with a bedroom above the garage.

At first glance, it’s just a cosmetic condition – there’s a hole in the gypsum, sheetrock, drywall panel.

However, the home inspector would note in the inspection report, that this condition was a breach of the fire separation wall/ceiling between the garage and the interior of the house.

One of the requirements for a fire separation wall… is that no hole, void or gap larger than 1/8 inch is allowed.

The purpose of a fire wall/ceiling is to contain a fire to the garage and to give the home occupants time to escape by slowing down the progression of fire.

This won’t happen with a hole in the garage ceiling.

Do your home buying clients know the condition of the firewall?

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Scary Fireplace

This deteriorated Orinda fireplace was flagged by the home inspector.

There are still people who live in older homes with fireplaces where gaps have developed between the bricks and/or the fire bricks are cracked and deteriorated.

Why would these conditions be a cause for concern?

Cracks, gaps and damaged brick in the walls of a firebox or interior chimney lining are considered a fire hazard by the National Fire Protection Association.

Smoke carries waste particles from a fire and eventually causes deposits to form on the walls, and inside and behind any cracks.

This oily substance, called creosote, can re-ignite these deposits and possibly lead to a chimney fire… Now, that’s scary. It’s important to repair any cracks, gaps, voids, and/or damaged bricks, if a wood burning fireplace will be used.

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Extension Cord Mania

This Walnut Creek homeowner had plugged in multiple power cords into a garage power strip.

Every year, thousands of fires result from surge protectors, power strips and electrical cords being over-loaded.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that about 3,300 residential fires originate in extension cords/power strips each year, killing 50 people and injuring about 270 others. What’s the big deal?

The most frequent causes of such fires are short circuits, overloading, damage, and/or misuse of extension cords. Surge protectors, power strips, or extension cords are not a substitute for permanent wiring per electrical installation requirements.

If there isn’t enough electrical wall outlets for what will be plugged in – Call a licensed electrician.

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Wannabe Electrician

Have you ever had the urge to grab a roll of electrical wire, a couple of junction boxes and a few wall outlets and switches and connect them together?

This wiring mess was spotted in the back of a garage in Concord.

In the home inspection report, the home inspector recommended – Calling a licensed electrician.

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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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