Water Heater

Do I need to remove that old oil tank in my crawlspace?

On occasion during our home inspections on Long Island, we see old, abandoned oil tanks in crawl spaces. We always recommend removal of an abandoned tank in the crawlspace because sooner or later it will rust out and start to leak residual oil and sludge. In fact, it may be oozing out of the tank already. If the crawlspace happens to have a dirt floor, long term leakage could lead to an environmental concern. In addition, it could cause a fuel oil odor.

Typically, crawlspace oil tanks need to be cut up before they can be removed, and properly discarded. This work should be done by an oil tank specialist.

Make sure that the old fill pipe and vent are removed from the side of the house to avoid an oil flood caused by an inadvertent mistake on the part of oil tank delivery technician with a wrong address. It happens, every once in a while, oil is pumped into the basement or crawlspace because they never removed the pipes after they removed the tank. Now you’ve got a real problem!

So, yes, it makes sense to remove an old tank in the crawlspace to avoid potential problems in the future. We hope this was helpful.

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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Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large black insects that look like a bumblebee only they are larger.  They can sting if provoked.  As you probably know, Carpenter bees can do some serious damage over time.  Especially with the help of woodpeckers.  Carpenter bees drill holes that look like an actual power tool did it because it’s perfectly round.  About 3/8 of an inch in diameter.  They continue drilling and then make a 90° turn and a tunnel about 4 to 8 inches long.  Then they lay their eggs.

Of course, woodpeckers are smart, and they know there is a nice meal waiting for them in the wood.  So, they peck away and open up the tunnel to access the eggs.  Over a few years, the damage can get quite excessive, and the wood can get to the point where it needs replacement/repairs.

If there is exposed wood anywhere on the exterior of the structure, the chances are rather good that there is some Carpenter bee damage. Fortunately, exterminators can control infestations using various methods.  If you hire an exterminator, make sure you are getting a knowledgeable technician that knows how to deal with them properly.

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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Radiant Heat

Radiant floor heat is awesome!

If you’ve ever experienced radiant floor heating, you know that it is very comfortable and a very pleasant way to distribute heat. Not only is it pleasant, but it has other advantages too:

  • Radiant floor heat systems don’t create air movement, therefore there are fewer dust and allergen particles in the air as opposed to hot air systems.
  • Traditional baseboard, and hot water radiators heat the perimeter of the room. And of course, heat rises and warms the layer of air near the ceiling. So, there is a tendency to crank up the thermostat to make it more comfortable. With radiant floor heat, the entire room warms up evenly, including the furniture. So, when you are sitting in a chair, you, and everything around you, is warm. As a result of these factors, radiant heat may be more efficient and cost-effective because you can be comfortable at a lower temperature.
  • You can walk on warm radiant floors with bare feet in the middle of the winter and be very comfortable. With radiant heat, your feet don’t get cold!
  • Radiant heat doesn’t turn on and off like classical hot water radiators or hot air systems. So, radiant heat is more consistent.

So, how does it work? Warm water radiant heating systems consist of a series of water pipes installed as part of the flooring system. When the thermostat calls for heat, it turns on a pump which sends warm water (between 100 and 120°F) through the pipes and warms the floor. The entire floor becomes a radiator. This installation works very nicely for large rooms or an entire house.

There are also electric radiant floors. These are typically used in small areas like bathrooms. They cost more to operate than hot water systems but work well for small areas.

Radiant floor heat can be installed as a retrofit in existing homes or as part of new construction. Of course, the initial installation of radiant heat is more expensive than other forms of heat, however, over time, radiant heating systems may save money because of their higher efficiency and the ability to be comfortable at a lower thermostat setting.

If you ever have a choice between heating systems, I recommend you seriously consider installing radiant heat.

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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Do you have the responsibility for the sidewalks along your street?

During our inspections we often see tripping hazards on the sidewalk along the street. Usually, these tripping hazards are caused by tree roots lifting up sections of the sidewalk. We mention it during our inspections and often get asked “whose responsibility is it”?  The answer is it depends on the particular municipality. Many municipalities make it the responsibility of the property owner, and some municipalities take on the responsibility themselves. If you happen to be in a jurisdiction where the property owner is responsible for the sidewalk, and then someone trips and falls, the property owner may have liability and not even be aware of it.

So, if the sidewalk in front of your home or commercial property has tripping hazards, we recommend checking with your local jurisdiction to find out who is responsible. Obviously, regardless of who is responsible, it should be repaired anyway, for safety’s sake.

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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Are LED lightbulbs worth it?

If you’re like most people, you’ve asked yourself if it’s worth converting all of your regular lights to LEDs? In a word, YES. They are a little more expensive, but they pay off as an investment.

  • A 20 Watt LED puts out about as much light as a 100-Watt conventional lightbulb.
  • LEDs don’t put out much heat, so they make it cheaper to operate your air conditioner in the summer.
  • LEDs last much longer. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent.
  • These days, LED bulbs can screw directly into most table lamps. And there are hi-hat conversion kits which make the installation easier.
  • LEDs are dimmable (you may have to change the dimmer switch).
  • They come in different colors, including warm and cool white.
  • LEDs come in different forms, including “tape” which works great underneath kitchen cabinets.
  • They also come in a style looking like florescent tube fixtures but they’re actually LED’s (great for garages/basements/workshops).

So yes, in my opinion, it does make sense to convert.

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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GFCI’s can cause problems.

GFCI’s (the outlets with trip and reset buttons) are great safety devices, but they can cause a lot of havoc!

  • If you have a GFCI powering up your garage freezer, it could trip and shut off the power to the freezer without you knowing it. Everything in your freezer could go bad. That could be a costly mistake.
  • Likewise, if you have a GFCI powering up your basement bathroom sewage ejection pump, it could trip and cause an overflow wastewater in your bathroom.
  • If you have basement sump pump connected to a GFCI it could trip and stop pumping the water out of your basement and cause a flood.

So, we recommend checking your important appliances to see if they are vulnerable to nuisance tripping. If they are, contact an electrician to deal with it correctly.

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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Old School Fuses

During our inspections, sometimes we see old glass fuses. Fuses still do their job, which is to shut down the power if too much electricity is going through them. This protects the wires from overheating and possibly starting a fire. Fuses typically function well.

However, fused electrical systems do have some inherent issues.

  1. Typically, fused systems are old and not capable of providing enough power. Often, fused electrical services only provide 60 Amps as opposed to 150 or 200 Amps, (typical for today’s standards). In addition, usually there are not enough circuits for today’s electrical needs.
  2. When there are not enough circuits, often multiple wires get connected to a single fuse (called double tapping) which is an electrical safety concern.
  3. If a fuse “blows” it must be replaced. As opposed to circuit breakers which can easily be reset (similar to a light switch).
  4. Circuit breaker systems can incorporate today’s safety technology, such as GFCI’s (ground fault circuit interrupters) and AFCI’s (arc fault circuit interrupters). These newer technologies provide a substantial safety improvement.

Fused electrical systems are usually recommended to be replaced with an updated circuit breaker system. Updating the system, including bringing in more power typically costs between 1,500 and $2,000.

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.

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What makes Safe Harbor Inspections Inc. different?

The most important goal of our inspections is to help our client understand the subject property. One of the most effective ways we do that is to review our findings with photographs on site at the end of the inspection.  This process enables us to clearly convey our findings to our client.

If the seller is there, and/or the listing agent, and, if everything is friendly and copacetic, and, very importantly, if our client agrees, often we invite the seller and listing agent to see our photographs and hear our summary. This enables everyone to be on the same page and expedites the inspection part of the real estate transaction. It can also greatly assist in negotiations (if there are any). Our summary is done with a cool, calm, collected, non-alarmist approach. When we are done, everybody leaves the inspection pleased that they know and understand our inspection findings.

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.

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Dishwasher Drain

Does your dishwasher develop “crud” on the bottom?

If your dishwasher doesn’t drain completely, dirty water can collect on the bottom of the dishwasher. Very often it’s a very simple fix. Just raise the plastic discharge drainpipe as high as possible under the kitchen sink. If the dishwasher drain is too low, gray water from the kitchen sink can make its way back into the dishwasher. All it requires is a simple clamp to hold the plastic tube as high as possible. That way, the chances of the kitchen sink backwashing into the dishwasher becomes highly unlikely.

If you ever have this problem, hopefully this little bit of information will be helpful to you.

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.

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SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL

Safe Harbor Inspections Inc. is dedicated solely to being the best building inspectors and providing the best Long Island and New York home inspections the area has to offer. We are a full-service Long Island and New York home inspections company focusing on high quality residential home inspection services and commercial property inspections with state-of-the-art photographic reports.

This report is available shortly after the inspection on a secure website for your viewing 24 hours a day seven days a week from anywhere in the world and will remain there indefinitely.

We encourage our clients to accompany their home inspector during the home inspection service because our goal is to enable you to truly understand the inspection findings. We want you to know more about that real estate than anyone else. We accomplish this in 3 ways:

  1. Firsthand during the inspection: You join the inspector during the actual inspection and see things firsthand (along with explanations from the inspector). We take photos of all issues.
  2. Verbal Summary with photo review: At the end of the inspection, we will load all the photos we have taken during the inspection into the laptop computer (right there at the inspection) and review them with you. This serves as a great summary for all present and is unique to Safe Harbor Inspections Inc. According to NY State home inspection law, the findings of the inspection are your confidential property. However, our clients often want us to share this information with the agents and the Seller for negotiating purposes.
  3. The Inspection Report: all the photos will be in the report along with concise explanations. This gives you a third look at the findings of the inspection. Our report is designed to be easy to understand and fast to read (the photos really help!)

Our Mission:

Create such positive relationships and make our clients so happy with our services that they will want to refer Safe Harbor Inspections Inc. to their friends and family.

Provide the best property inspections and inspection reports on Long Island and New York.

Use the highest level of technology available to provide timely, easily accessible, and accurate information to our clients.

Put our inspection findings in the proper context through thoughtful and concise explanations and reports.

Continue our reputation for responsiveness, reliability, and honesty in all our dealings with clients, associates, and other professionals and the general public.

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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