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What’s that green stuff on my pipes?

Ever see green-gray stuff on your pipes and wonder what it is? Well, it’s due to a bi-metallic reaction, also called electrolysis. If 2 different types of metal are in contact with each other in a plumbing system, chances are corrosion and damage are occurring. It’s also common for us to see it in an inspection where metal pipe hangers are supporting plumbing. Galvanized piping is especially susceptible to damage and often needs replacement. Eventually leaks can develop and plumbing repairs will become necessary.

Our recommendation is to grab a flashlight and look at the pipes, or better yet call a plumber to check it out. If repairs are needed, it will be cheaper now then later after they start leaking!

For more related information click on this link:

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

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Your Heating System Reminder

This is a reminder, as we head towards winter, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced. If you don’t have a service contract, we recommend getting one. Heating systems have many components that should be checked for proper operation and safety. Also, if your heating system is not serviced regularly, you may be paying extra for fuel because of poor performance. If your heating system is not serviced, it may be more prone to break down.

In addition, you may be very glad you have a service contract with a good HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) company if your heating system fails in the dead of winter. Usually, if you have a service contract, you’ll get fast service because you have an account. Without a service contract, you may get put at the bottom of the service list. Especially when it’s very cold, because the heating company takes care of their existing customers first, especially if they’re busy.

For more related information click on the following link: https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

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Possible Health Risks From Dirty Air Ducts

Like it or not, we are coming into the heating season! Be aware that Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can be substantially worsened from dirty air ducts and other air distribution components. Think about dust buildup on floors, furniture, and other surfaces in your home. It seems like within a few weeks clumps of dust buildup and need to be vacuumed. Now think about your air ducts. They probably haven’t been cleaned since they were installed. Dust buildup is inevitable! And where there is dust, there is a potential for degradation of indoor air quality. Dust can Harbor all kinds of things that we don’t even like to think about, such as dust mites, mold, bacteria, and even viruses. According to the EPA “there are examples of ducts that have become badly contaminated with a variety of materials that may pose risks to your health. The duct system can serve as a means to distribute these contaminants throughout a home.”

However, before you hire somebody to clean your system, we recommend that you have an HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) contractor evaluate your air distribution system in order to determine if it makes sense to have your system cleaned. Here’s an excellent in-depth article from the EPA which provides a lot of information that you should consider. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/should-you-have-air-ducts-your-home-cleaned

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

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Service Your Heating System

As we head into the fall, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced. If you don’t have a service contract, we recommend getting one. Heating systems have many components that should be checked for proper operation and safety. Also, if your heating system is not serviced regularly, you may be paying extra for fuel because of poor performance. If your heating system is not serviced, it may be more prone to break down.

In addition, you may be very glad you have a service contract with a good HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) company if your heating system fails in the dead of winter. Usually, if you have a service contract, you’ll get fast service because you have an account. Without a service contract, you may get put at the bottom of the service list. Especially when it’s very cold, because the heating company takes care of their existing customers first, especially if they’re busy.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

Download PDF

Heat Pump

Are heat pumps any good?

Yes, heat pumps are good. These days, heat pumps offer a high efficiency alternative approach to oil or gas heat. Due to refinement in heat pump technology, they can now operate when the exterior temperature is as Low as -15°F. That’s right, 15 below zero. Just a few years ago, heat pumps did not work when exterior temperatures were below 50°. But, as exterior temperatures drop, so does the efficiency of the heat pump. However, overall costs for the operation of heat pump may be more economical than other types of systems due to their overall efficiency.

A heat pump looks just like a conventional air conditioning compressor on the exterior of the structure. In the summer, they operate just like an air conditioning unit. However, in the winter, heat pumps have the ability to “reverse flow” and deliver heat to the interior of the structure. Heat pumps are also very efficient.

If you already have a good quality duct work system for your air conditioning, retrofitting to a heat pump system is relatively easy project. So you will have cool air coming out of your air conditioning ducts in the summer and warm air coming out of the same ducts in the winter.

The answer is yes. The new generation of heat pumps offer a good approach to heating and cooling your home. If you’re interested in learning more about heat pumps, consider having a heating/cooling contractor evaluate your current system and provide you with various alternative approaches along with costs. High-efficiency gas boilers are also great alternatives.

If you are interested, all our previous newsletters are available on our website blog. Click on the following link and it will take you right to it.

https://safeharborinspections.com/blog/

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Worker inspecting pipes

Thinking about converting from Oil to Gas?

During our Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens home inspections, we often hear from our clients that they prefer gas over oil and anticipate that they will be making a conversion in the future.  Here are some factors to consider.

  • Oil is not explosive, gas is. Gas explosions are extremely rare, but it does happen once in a great while
  • Gas can be used to power whole house generators during a storm without having to worry about running out of fuel
  • In addition to your heating system, you can also connect kitchen stoves and oven’s, generators, fireplaces, barbecues, clothing dryers, and water heaters
  • Gas heating systems are typically more energy efficient than oil heat
  • Oil tanks can leak with environmental hazards
  • Gas boilers are quieter
  • Most people prefer cooking with gas rather than electricity
  • Gas is pretty much an uninterruptable fuel supply, you don’t have to worry about an oil delivery

So, if you decide that you would like to convert, or at least find out how much a conversion would cost, here are the steps.

  1. The first thing to do find out if there is gas on the street. Call national grid to find out.  If there is no gas on the street, it may be prohibitively expensive to run a main gas pipe along the street without having a lot of people in the immediate neighborhood agree to a conversion.
  2.  If there is gas on the street, national grid will run 100 feet of gas pipe from the street to your house for free.
  3. Contact a licensed plumber, qualified to discuss the pros and cons of different types of heating equipment and costs. When you’re ready, your plumber will remove the existing equipment and install new equipment.  National grid will then install a meter and connect the gas line.
  4. National grid will provide some incentives if you go with high-efficiency equipment.
  5. If your existing oil tank is in the home, it will need to be removed. If the oil tank is in the ground, it can be abandoned by an oil tank specialty company (keep the paperwork).  Abandonment is easier and cheaper than removal.

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/

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Air conditioning units

Air Conditioner Replace Costs

During our inspections, we often get asked about the cost to replace an old central air conditioning system. So, I contacted 2 HVAC contractors (T.F. O’Brien – Heating & Air Conditioning and Perillo Brothers) about the average cost in a typical house such as a four-bedroom 2 bath colonial.  Because there are so many variables, the range of potential costs is large, i.e., how sophisticated and efficient do you want the system to be, does it need new ductwork or smart thermostats, does it require complicated work in a difficult to access attic, are the electrical connections adequate, 1 zone or 2 zones?

All in all, a safe ballpark range is  $7,000 to $16,000

Our policy is not to quote prices in our inspections, rather, our advice is to get a licensed and qualified contractor to evaluate and price the job. As a disclaimer, we have no financial interests with any contractors at all, period.

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/

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Hot WaterHeater

Water Heaters

These days, there are several types of water heaters, all have their pros and cons.  It pays to do your homework (there’s plenty of information on the web) and take the advice of a few knowledgeable, licensed and qualified plumbers.  There are too many variables to get into details in a short email like this, so here’s a quick summary.

Efficiency ratings can go as low as 40% all the way up to 98%.  Of course, you get what you pay for.

1) Tankless on demand water heaters are the most expensive and highly efficient and can produce hot water all day long and will never run out.

2)  Indirect fired water heaters are a great choice and can be very efficient while producing high quantities of hot water.

3) Plate heat exchangers can be very efficient and can produce hot water continuously and are minimal in cost.

4) Conventional tank style water heaters are mid-efficiency and can run out of hot water and have a relatively short lifespan.

5) Tankless coils (contained in a conventional boiler, these are not on demand heaters) can have fluctuating temperatures and can be inefficient, especially in the summer and especially when they’re older.

One of the most important things to know about water heaters is when to replace them.  If you have a conventional tank style water heater older than 12 years, seriously consider replacing it right away on a preventive maintenance basis.  The downside is a flood if the tank bursts.  Plan ahead, do your research, and discuss it with at least one licensed and qualified plumber. In fact, consider meeting a few plumbers to get differing ideas and opinions.  Making the right choice can make a big difference in your wallet and comfort for years to come.

For more related information click on this link: https://safeharborinspections.com/

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