2011 September 24 by Mark Ingraffia
Today, we would like to talk about the importance of maintaining the exterior features of your home. More times often than not, our home inspectors in Tustin run across issues that many homeowners fail to keep up. This applies to both people living in Single family residences and for those living in Townhomes. There is a common misconception for townhome owners that if repairs are needed in the “common” areas of the property, then the Association is responsible for these repairs. This is not necessarily true. The folks here at Ingraffia Home Inspections have compiled a simple, yet very important list of “common area” features that may be the responsibility of the homeowner.
Tree branches should never touch roofs; they cause problems ranging from roof damage to allowing pests and vermin to gain easy access to crawlspaces, walls and vents. This is like leaving your door wide open for anyone to walk in.
Decks & Patios
Home inspectors find more problems with decks than with any other component of a home. With townhouses, decks are often the sole responsibility of the homeowner; if you see a bunch of different decks in various states of repair, it’s usually a dead giveaway that the deck is the owner’s responsibility, not the association.
When all the decks look identical, it’s pretty safe to say that the decks are the responsibility of the association, but it’s still important to know that your deck was properly constructed and safe for use. An extremely common defect that I find on decks is improper nails used at the joist hangers; it doesn’t matter if it’s a townhouse or not. An improperly attached deck is the number one cause of deck collapses.
During your inspection, we will look for any missing nails, joist hangers, and anything that may look out of place. Don’t be the victim of an injury due to a poorly maintained deck.
On townhouses, exterior maintenance is obviously the responsibility of the townhouse association, but again, is the association aware of the big projects that are going to cost a lot of money? If not, this means an assessment for the owners.
From inspecting rot and mold on wood retaining walls and fences to rusted and damaged metal railways and gates, allow Ingraffia Home Inspections to help assess and determine who should be responsible for these types of repairs.
In conclusion, the best thing you can do when living in a Townhome association is to be informed of your rights and know where your responsibilities lie for exterior repairs and maintenance. Also remember that an Association may not know about these needed repairs unless someone tells them. Avoid the costly repairs that you may be on the hook for and inform the proper personnel to bring immediate attention to the issues before someone can get hurt.
2011 August 24 by Mark Ingraffia
Every once in a while, Ingraffia Home Inspections likes to browse around the Internet and find interesting articles on subjects that a Home Inspector in a different area may have to deal with. Just recently, we ran across a well-written article regarding the importance of smoke detectors, so we thought we would share it with you. When you are ready for your home pre-purchase or pre-sale home inspection, do not hesitate to call us at (714) 371-8422.
This article was written by an author named Josh on the InspectingPhoenix.com website. You may see the original article by clicking here, or you may read the article below.
“Smoke detectors are a vital safety feature that should be installed in every home; they save lives and protect property. Not only is it important to have enough properly located smoke detectors but they should also be properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. A poorly maintained smoke detector can lead to nuisance alarms or an inoperable unit.
During the course of our home inspections we inspect the smoke detectors for proper operation. It is all too common to find missing or inoperative smoke detectors in people’s homes.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards recommend:
- A smoke detector on every level of the home
- A smoke detector outside each sleeping area
- A smoke detector inside each bedroom
- Locate smoke detectors on ceiling at least 4 inches from the wall
- Locate smoke detectors high on a wall between 4 and 12 inches from the ceiling
- Interconnected smoke detectors that all sound when one alarms
- Use combination Ionization and Photoelectric smoke detectors
There are some areas that are not ideal to locate smoke detectors, avoiding these locations can reduce nuisance alarms and ensure your smoke detectors stay in proper working order longer. Below are some basic guidelines to use for proper placement of the smoke detectors:
- Try to locate smoke detectors at least 20 feet from appliances such as furnaces and ovens
- Locate alarms at least 10 feet from high humidity areas such as a shower
- Locate smoke detectors at least 3 feet from heating and air conditioning vents
Maintenance of your smoke detectors is very important to insure proper operation. Below are some general maintenance guidelines. Manufacturer’s instructions should always be followed.
- Replace batteries annually or when the smoke detectors start chirping
- Vacuum the smoke detector regularly using the soft brush attachment to prevent dirt buildup in the detection chamber. This will prevent nuisance alarms due to false indications.
Troubleshooting smoke detectors can require a little bit of trial and error, especially in interconnected systems. Following these steps should help in diagnosing and fixing the problem.
Chirping – Smoke detector emits a high pitch chirp about once a minute:
- Low battery – Smoke detectors typically chirp to indicate a low battery. In an interconnected system only the smoke detector with the low battery should chirp.
- Battery drawer open – If the battery drawer is not fully closed the batter will not make contact with the terminals. Ensure the battery drawer is fully closed.
- Battery pull tab not removed – New smoke detectors are shipped with a plastic pull tab between the battery and battery terminals to prevent operation. If this is left in place the smoke detector does not sense the battery and assumes it is dead. Remove the tab.
Nuisance Alarms – These are just a few of the things that can cause nuisance alarms. Unplugging a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms is dangerous and provides no protection in case of a fire.\
- Dust or dirt – If there is dust or dirt in the sensor chamber the smoke detector can sense this as smoke. You should vacuum the smoke detector with the soft brush attachment.
- Grease or cooking vapors – If the smoke detector is located in an area with cooking vapors, grease, combustion gasses or other contaminants the sensor chamber can develop a greasy film. This greasy film can cause the alarm to sound. Due to the difficulty of cleaning this film and the risk of damage to the smoke detector, I recommend you replace the smoke detector.
- Power interruption – In a hardwired smoke detector the alarm will sound briefly if the power is interrupted and then restored. Power interruptions can be caused by loose wire connections. Ensure that the wires are properly and securely connected. Use caution when working with hard wired smoke detectors as they are connected to the homes electrical system. Always ensure that the circuit breaker for the smoke detectors is off when working on this system. Call a qualified electrician if you do not feel comfortable working with electricity.
- Interconnected Alarm – In an interconnected alarm system if one smoke detector goes off all others will alarm making it difficult to diagnose. Every manufacturer is different but most have a way of indicating which smoke detector is initiating the alarm. Look at the lights on the detectors, usually the one initiating the alarm will have a flashing light during the alarm to let you know it is the one that sounded the alarm.
- Location – Ensure the smoke detector is not located near furnaces, ovens, showers or supply air vents. You may need to relocate a smoke detector if it is not in an ideal location.
- Replacement – Smoke detectors are fairly cheap. If you try everything else and cannot get the detector to stop going off try replacing the unit.
This is just a general guideline to help you with smoke detector location and troubleshooting, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and the NFPA guidelines when working with smoke detectors.”
2011 August 8 by Mark Ingraffia
The home inspector you hire in Lake Forest says a lot about who you are. When you call on Ingraffia Home Inspections at (714) 371-8422, you will choose a company that is dedicated to providing you with the utmost home inspection service. For the better part of a decade, our technicians have been providing Orange County and the rest of Southern California with unsurpassed real estate inspections.
While most people choose to go with an inspection company that offers the lowest price, they may not always be getting the best deal. You’ve heard the slogan “You get what you pay for”, and the same goes for home inspection companies that offer a bid substantially lower than other companies. Unfortunately, many crucial items may be missed, including foundation cracks, mold and mildew, or even stress cracks in the home’s frame.
When IHI arrives at your home, we will look over the condition of your home’s foundation, structure and overall property, such as any pools, spas, and other mechanical equipment you may have. You can get a better idea of all of the services we offer and our pricing by visiting our Items Inspected page of our website, as well as our pricing page.
Ingraffia Home Inspections is very competitively priced in today’s market, and will ensure that we will find all of the areas of your home that need attention. So whether you are looking to purchase a home and want a pre-purchase inspection, or you are looking for a new home purchase inspection, we can help. Our staff is ready for your call to (714) 371-8422 and we want your home inspection in Lake Forest to be successful.
2011 June 13 by Mark Ingraffia
Find the right company for you home inspection in San Clemente, CA. Contact Ingraffia Home Inspections at (714) 371-8422 when you want a seasoned pro on your side. As your Southern California home inspector it would be our honor to serve you when you want to know everything about the home before you buy it.
Don’t risk buying a house that isn’t fit to even live in. You never know what could be wrong with the house until you get a detail inspection and report. There may be a lot of costly damage you need to repair before you even move into the house and if you don’t have the funds to cover the costs you may just be purchasing a money pit. That’s why it’s important you always have a home inspection done; so you can cover your investment by doing your due diligence.
Make the right move by letting our team help walk you through your potential buy and explain in details everything that is good and bad about the property. We even have special tools that can assist with thermal imaging too. We stay up to date on all building codes and violations, so you can be sure you are getting what you pay for. Trust in us to be honest and reliable. You won’t find a better value for your money and we do our best to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Now you know where to get a home inspection in San Clemente, CA. All you have to do is give Ingraffia Home Inspections at (714) 371-8422 a ring for all the help you will need. Our home inspector is NACHI’s Certified and on your side ready to work for you. Call now to schedule your next home inspection with us.
2011 April 20 by Mark Ingraffia
What goes through your mind when you are purchasing a home and you find that the seller has not been completely truthful with you about its condition? Most times, a seller is anxious to back out of the deal immediately; however, when you call Ingraffia Home Inspections in Laguna Beach, CA at (714) 371-8422, you can receive piece of mind knowing that Mark and his staff are looking out for your best interest.