pexels-max-vakhtbovych-6903250

Basement Flooring

During our home inspections on Long Island, New York City, Brooklyn, and Queens, we are often asked about basement flooring options.  Because basements are inherently high moisture areas, and because they are subject to random flooding events, the type of flooring used in a basement is important.

Even if the basement is relatively dry and not prone to water intrusion, sometimes water comes into play due to a leaky water heater or pressure relief valve on the boiler or some other type of plumbing leak.  By the way, we recommend having a dehumidifier in every basement.

So, whatever material you choose, it should be resistant to mold and needs to be able to stand up to water intrusion and leakage events.  It’s a no-brainer to stay away from carpets in basements.

Ceramic tile is a great choice.  These days ceramic tile can look like wood planks and are extremely attractive.  Ceramic tile holds up extremely well in basements. There are also rubber and vinyl flooring materials that work well in basements.  Engineered hardwood is also an option for very dry basements.  Typical standard wood planks are not recommended because they will likely not stand up to water intrusion events or high moisture.  If the area is going to be used for a gym or workshop, paint or epoxy applied directly to the basement floor is also something to consider.

There are also various types of materials to choose from as a subfloor.  A subfloor can reduce moisture levels and may stay a little warmer in the winter.

These days, there are a lot of options for basement floors.  We recommend discussing the options with a professional flooring contractor to get pricing and more information on various types of basement flooring systems.

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 Button

washing-machine-2668472_1920

Does your clothes dryer take too long?

The single most important thing you can do to improve your clothes dryer’s efficiency is to make sure the dryer vent is working correctly.

  1. Every time the dryer is operated, you should clean the lint filter.
  2. Keep the vent pipe clean. If the dryer’s discharge pipe is restricted, its ability to remove moisture is restricted.  It is a bit of a chore, but you can purchase brushes specifically designed to clean dryer vent pipes.
  3. The length of a vent is important. Here’s the formula: start out with a maximum of 35 feet from the dryer to the end of the vent. Then deduct 5 feet for each 90° angle in the vent pipe. So, if you have two 90° angles you deduct 10 feet leaving you with 25 feet maximum for the vent pipe. Then deduct 2 ½ feet for each 45° angle. The bottom line is, the shorter the better!
  4. Plastic dryer vents should be avoided because they are a fire hazard.  Sheet metal vent pipes are the best and less prone to clogging. Try to avoid metal flex ducts because they clog up easily.
  5. Dryer vents are one of the most common sources of house fires. Lint is extremely flammable. Boy Scouts use lint to start camping fires!

Believe it or not, there are professional dryer vent service companies. It is not a bad idea to have a dryer vent company check it for proper installation, operation, and safety.

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 Button

air-conditioner-2361907_1920

Getting a new air conditioning unit? Pay attention to the SEER rating.

When it comes time for you to buy a new central air conditioner unit, make sure your contractor addresses its SEER rating (energy efficiency). Why? Because a SEER rating of 10 cost twice as much to operate as a SEER rating of 20. Also, the higher the seer rating, the more comfortable your home will be during the air-conditioning season (less humid and more even temperatures). Old AC units can have a SEER rating of under 10 and newer units can go up as high as 25. By the way, SEER stands for “SEASONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATING”.

So, why doesn’t everybody buy the highest SEER rating possible? Because it costs much more, of course! Homes farther south (like Florida) use their air-conditioners much more than people in New York. So higher energy efficiency pays off faster in Florida than it does in New York. There is a SEER “sweet spot” for both economics and comfort.

Most AC contractors recommend a SEER of 16 or so. But you might want to get a more efficient unit to improve your general comfort during the air-conditioning season and reduce your operating expenses.

So, make sure you discuss the SEER rating options with your HVAC contractor before you make your purchase.

Here’s a link to a nice tool for figuring out Seer ratings and savings:

https://www.pickhvac.com/central-air-conditioner/seer-calculator/

 

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 Button

pexels-lina-kivaka-3639505

Is it okay if my house looks like the Ivy League?

While we are doing our home inspections, we often see tree branches or shrubs attached to or leaning on the house. It’s okay but be aware of the potential issues.

Tree branches or shrubs in contact with or laying on the roof or siding often move with the wind and can damage the siding or roofing because of rubbing.

Also, trees, shrubs, and Ivy serve as a ladder for spiders and other creepy crawlers, including termites and carpenter ants, enabling them to crawl under the siding and make their way into your house.

In addition, Ivy growing on wood siding can cause it to rot. Pulling Ivy off wood can cause a lot of deterioration to the point of needing repairs. Ivy has little tendrils that grow into wood and bricks. If you pull the Ivy down, it leaves an unsightly residual appearance.

So, what’s best approach? First, do not let foliage/vegetation come in contact with the house. We always suggest cutting the foliage back to enable someone to walk between the foliage and the house, (all the way around the house). If the foliage is already in contact with your house, cut it back and check for damaged surfaces. If Ivy is growing on the house, cut all the roots/stems where they come out of the ground and let the Ivy disintegrate. But be aware that the Ivy tendrils will not come off wood or masonry surfaces when you pull the Ivy away. Repairs may be necessary.

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 Button

ASBESTOS TILE 2

What should I do about my asbestos siding?

What should I do if I have asbestos siding? Usually the answer is “Nothing”. In fact, often the best approach is to leave it in place. Removal is not usually recommended. Cement Asbestos siding can be covered with many other types of siding if you want an updated look.

There are no laws that require removal of Cement Asbestos siding unless there is a total demolition of the structure.  This is because it is not considered “friable”. What does friable mean? According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), friable means that the material can be crumbled with hand pressure and is therefore likely to emit fibers. Cement Asbestos siding cannot easily be crumbled or pulverized so it is not considered friable. And the chances are extremely low that minimally damaged Cement Asbestos siding is releasing dangerous fibers.

The moral of the story is, if you have cement asbestos siding, there really shouldn’t be much of a concern.

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 Button

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/

Download Button

houses-2861100_1920-1024x683

MULTIFAMILY HOME INSPECTION

Multi-family home inspections are typically done for property investors.

Depending on the size of the structure(s), representative sampling plays a big role in determining the degree of detail in terms of items to be inspected. For example, representative sampling of the electrical outlets, windows, doors, and plumbing systems will be inspected.

This type of inspection is typically performed on behalf of the client to get a “big picture” perspective on the investment property. The degree of representative sampling will be discussed and agreed upon between the investor and Safe Harbor Inspections during the scheduling process.

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 Button

Luxury Home with a gate

LUXURY HOME INSPECTIONS

Luxury home inspections include the systems and components of a typical home inspection plus other items as follows: 

  • swimming pool
  • cabana
  • landscape irrigation
  • Guesthouse
  • Wood destroying insect inspection (termites).
  • indoor air quality, including asbestos, and mold.
  • Because of the size and complexity of luxury homes, we usually assign an inspection team: 2, 3,or 4 inspectors normally make up the team.

 

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 Button

Check-in at Hotel

HOTEL AND MOTEL INSPECTIONS

Hotel and Motel Inspections are done for property investors.

Depending on the size of the structure(s), representative sampling plays a big role in determining the degree of detail in terms of items to be inspected. For example, representative sampling of the electrical outlets, windows, doors, and plumbing systems will be inspected.

This type of inspection is typically performed on behalf of the client to get a “big picture” perspective on the investment property. The degree of representative sampling will be discussed and agreed upon between the investor and Safe Harbor Inspections during the scheduling process.

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 Button

Apartment Building

CO-OP INSPECTIONS

Co-Op Inspections are more economical and take less time because they typically do not include:

  • Components and systems that are maintained by the Co-Op Association and property management company, such as common area and common area components including central plant heating and cooling, roofing, siding, walkways, driveways, other central amenities.
  • Often central/common area defects are noticed during our inspections, and we will bring these to your attention as a courtesy.

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 Button