Drone Inspections

Tri-State Home Inspections LLC provides Drone Inspections

A drone gives Tri-State Home Inspections LLC the ability to get to hard-to-reach locations, like steep roofs and chimney tops, gives a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening. Drones have precision control, so I can get the camera in as tight and narrow as I need.

Drones give me a view that I might not otherwise get, with aerial photographs of the property.

Tri-state Home Inspections LLC is fully licensed and insured for commercial drone inspections as required by the FAA.

You are required to have a current FAA Part 107 drone pilot license to fly commercially. If you’re flying a drone for any monetary profit, compensation, or giving deliverables to another person or group, you’re flying commercially, which means you need to have a current FAA Part 107 certificate and drone registration to show if requested.

 If you’re found to be flying your drone commercially without a license, you can face steep fines to the tune of $32,666 and up. Sometimes the penalties can be quite substantial:

“Operating an aircraft without registration or any necessary airman certification can result in a penalty with a maximum of 3 years in prison and/or $250,000 fine. (49 U.S.C. § 46306(b) and (d))”

“Non-recreational purposes include things like taking photos to help sell a property or service, roof inspections, or taking pictures of a high school football game for the school’s website. Goodwill or other non-monetary value can also be considered indirect compensation. This would include things like volunteering to use your drone to survey coastlines on behalf of a non-profit organization. Recreational flight is simply flying for fun or personal enjoyment.”

 Recreational droning is taking to the skies for your enjoyment only, and you’re keeping any media you capture for yourself.

Be sure to only hire licensed and insured drone operators with Remote Pilot Certificate.

Smoke and CO Detectors

Winter weather has arrived and we are spending more time inside and baking all that good holiday food. But there is damagers staying inside suck CO poisioning or risk of a fire. I highly recommend inspecting your smoke and CO detectors. I have included a couple informative articles from InterNACHI.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that forms from incomplete combustion of fuels, such as natural or liquefied petroleum gas, oil, wood or coal.
Facts and Figures

  • 480 U.S. residents died between 2001 and 2003 from non-fire-related carbon-monoxide poisoning.
  • Most CO exposures occur during the winter months, especially in December (including 56 deaths, and 2,157 non-fatal exposures), and in January (including 69 deaths and 2,511 non-fatal exposures). The peak time of day for CO exposure is between 6 and 10 p.m.
  • Many experts believe that CO poisoning statistics understate the problem. Because the symptoms of CO poisoning mimic a range of common health ailments, it is likely that a large number of mild to mid-level exposures are never identified, diagnosed, or accounted for in any way in carbon monoxide statistics.
  • Out of all reported non-fire carbon-monoxide incidents, 89% or almost nine out of 10 of them take place in a home.

Physiology of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
When CO is inhaled, it displaces the oxygen that would ordinarily bind with hemoglobin, a process the effectively suffocates the body. CO can poison slowly over a period of several hours, even in low concentrations. Sensitive organs, such as the brain, heart and lungs, suffer the most from a lack of oxygen.High concentrations of carbon monoxide can kill in less than five minutes. At low concentrations, it will require a longer period of time to affect the body. Exceeding the EPA concentration of 9 parts per million (ppm) for more than eight hours may have adverse health affects. The limit of CO exposure for healthy workers, as prescribed by the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is 50 ppm.

Potential Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Any fuel-burning appliances which are malfunctioning or improperly installed can be a source of CO, such as:

  • furnaces;
  • stoves and ovens;
  • water heaters; 
  • dryer
  • room and space heaters; 
  • fireplaces and wood stoves;
  • charcoal grills;
  • automobiles;
  • clogged chimneys or flues;
  • space heaters;
  • power tools that run on fuel;
  • gas and charcoal grills;
  • certain types of swimming pool heaters; and 
  • boat engines. 

CO Detector Placement
CO detectors can monitor exposure levels, but do not place them:

  • directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up;
  • within 15 feet of heating and cooking appliances, or in or near very humid areas, such as bathrooms;
  • within 5 feet of kitchen stoves and ovens, or near areas locations where household chemicals and bleach are stored (store such chemicals away from bathrooms and kitchens, whenever possible);
  • in garages, kitchens, furnace rooms, or in any extremely dusty, dirty, humid, or greasy areas;
  • in direct sunlight, or in areas subjected to temperature extremes. These include unconditioned crawlspaces, unfinished attics, un-insulated or poorly insulated ceilings, and porches;
  • in turbulent air near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh-air returns, or open windows. Blowing air may prevent carbon monoxide from reaching the CO sensors.

Do place CO detectors:

  • within 10 feet of each bedroom door and near all sleeping areas, where it can wake sleepers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recommend that every home have at least one carbon monoxide detector for each floor of the home, and within hearing range of each sleeping area;
  • on every floor of your home, including the basement (source:  International Association of Fire Chiefs/IAFC);
  • near or over any attached garage. Carbon monoxide detectors are affected by excessive humidity and by close proximity to gas stoves (source:  City of New York);
  • near, but not directly above, combustion appliances, such as furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces, and in the garage (source:  UL); and
  • on the ceiling in the same room as permanently installed fuel-burning appliances, and centrally located on every habitable level, and in every HVAC zone of the building (source:  National Fire Protection Association 720). This rule applies to commercial buildings.

In North America, some national, state and local municipalities require installation of CO detectors in new and existing homes, as well as commercial businesses, among them:  Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont and New York City, and the Canadian province of Ontario. Installers are encouraged to check with their local municipality to determine what specific requirements have been enacted in their jurisdiction.

How can I prevent CO poisoning?

  • Purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors with labels showing that they meet the requirements of the new UL standard 2034 or Comprehensive Safety Analysis 6.19 safety standards.
  • Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Have the heating system professionally inspected by an InterNACHI inspector and serviced annually to ensure proper operation. The inspector should also check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections.
  • Never service fuel-burning appliances without the proper knowledge, skill and tools. Always refer to the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments and when servicing fuel-burning equipment.
  • Never operate a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool either in or near an enclosed space, such as a garage, house or other building. Even with open doors and windows, these spaces can trap CO and allow it to quickly build to lethal levels.
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in an enclosed area.
  • Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent.
  • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Never use gas appliances, such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Never operate un-vented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.
  • During home renovations, ensure that appliance vents and chimneys are not blocked by tarps or debris. Make sure appliances are in proper working order when renovations are complete.
  • Do not place generators in the garage or close to the home. People lose power in their homes and get so excited about using their gas-powered generator that they don’t pay attention to where it is placed. The owner’s manual should explain how far the generator should be from the home.
  • Clean the chimney. Open the hatch at the bottom of the chimney to remove the ashes.  Hire a chimney sweep annually.
  • Check vents. Regularly inspect your home’s external vents to ensure they are not obscured by debris, dirt or snow. 

In summary, carbon monoxide is a dangerous poison that can be created by various household appliances. CO detectors must be placed strategically throughout the home or business in order to alert occupants of high levels of the gas.
 

Smoke Alarm Inspection A smoke alarm, also known as a smoke detector, is a device that detects smoke and issues an audible sound and/or a visual signal to alert residents to a potential fire. 

Facts and Figures
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Almost two-thirds of reported deaths caused by home fires from 2003 to 2006 resulted from fires in homes that lacked working smoke alarms.
  • Older homes are more likely to lack an adequate number of smoke alarms because they were built before requirements increased.
  • In 23% of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound. Sixty percent of these failures were caused by the power supplies having been deliberately removed due to false alarms.
  • Every year in the United States, about 3,000 people lose their lives in residential fires. Most of these deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, rather than as a result of burns.
     

Smoke Alarm Types
Ionization and photoelectric are the two main designs of smoke detectors. Both types must pass the same tests to be certified to the voluntary standard for smoke alarms, but they perform differently in different types of fires. Detectors may be equipped with one or both types of sensors — known as dual-sensor smoke alarms — and possibly a heat detector, as well. These sensors are described as follows:

  • Ionization smoke sensors are the most common and economical design, and are available at most hardware stores. They house a chamber sided by small metal plates that irradiate the air so that it conducts electricity. When smoke enters the chamber, the current flow becomes interrupted, which triggers an alarm to sound. These sensors will quickly detect flaming-type fires but may be slower to react to smoldering fires.
  • Photoelectric smoke sensors use a light-sensitive photocell to detect smoke inside the detector. They shine a beam of light that will be reflected by smoke toward the photocell, triggering the alarm. These sensor types work best on smoldering fires but react more slowly to flaming fires. They often must be hard-wired into the house’s electrical system, so some models can be installed only in particular locations.

While heat detectors are not technically classified as smoke detectors, they are useful in certain situations where smoke alarms are likely to sound false alarms. Dirty, dusty industrial environments, as well as the area surrounding cooking appliances, are a few places where false alarms are more likely and where heat detectors may be more useful.

Location
Individual authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) may have their own requirements for smoke-alarm placement, so inspectors and homeowners can check with their local building codes if they need specific instructions. The following guidelines, however, can be helpful.
Smoke alarms should be installed in the following locations:

  • on the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the vicinity of bedrooms;
  • in each bedroom, as most fires occur during sleeping hours;
  • in the basement, preferably on the ceiling near the basement stairs;
  • in the garage, due to all the combustible materials commonly stored there; 
  • on the ceiling or on the wall with the top of the detector between 6 to 12 inches from the ceiling; and/or
  • in each story within a building, including basements and cellars, but not crawlspaces or uninhabited attics.

Smoke alarms should not be installed in the following locations:

  • near heating or air-conditioning supply and return vents;
  • near a kitchen appliance;
  • near windows, ceiling fans or bathrooms equipped with a shower or tub;
  • where ambient conditions, including humidity and temperature, are outside the limits specified by the manufacturer’s instructions;
  • within unfinished attics or garages, or in other spaces where temperatures can rise or fall beyond the limits set by the manufacturer;
  • where the mounting surface could become considerably warmer or cooler than the rest of the room, such as an inadequately insulated ceiling below an unfinished attic; or
  • air spots, such as the top of a peaked roof or a ceiling-to-wall corner.in dead-

Power and InterconnectionPower for the smoke alarms may be hard-wired directly into the building’s electrical system, or it may come from just a battery. Hard-wired smoke detectors are more reliable because the power source cannot be removed or drained, although they will not function in a power outage. Battery-operated units often fail because the battery can be easily removed, dislodged or drained, although these units can be installed almost anywhere. Older buildings might be restricted to battery-powered designs, while newer homes generally offer more options for power sources. If possible, homeowners should install smoke alarms that are hard-wired with a battery backup, especially during a renovation or remodeling project.
Smoke alarms may also be interconnected so that if one becomes triggered, they all sound in unison. Interconnected smoke alarms are typically connected with a wire, but new technology allows them to be interconnected wirelessly. The National Fire Protection Agency requires that smoke alarms be AFCI-protected.
Inspectors can pass the following additional tips on to their clients:

  • Parents should stage periodic night-time fire drills to assess whether their children will awaken from the alarm and respond appropriately.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm. Use the alarm’s silencing feature to stop nuisance or false alarms triggered by cooking smoke or fireplaces.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly, and replace their batteries at least twice per year. Change the batteries when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.  Most models emit a chirping noise when the batteries are low to alert the homeowner that they need replacement.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced when they fail to respond to testing, or every 10 years, whichever is sooner. The radioactive element in ionization smoke alarms will decay beyond usability within 10 years.
  • If you have any questions or concerns related to smoke alarms or fire dangers in the home, consult with an InterNACHI inspector during your next scheduled inspection.
  • Smoke detectors should be replaced if they become damaged or wet, are accidentally painted over, are exposed to fire or grease, or are triggered without apparent cause.
  • Note the sound of the alarm. It should be distinct from other sounds in the house, such as the telephone, doorbell and pool alarm.

In summary, smoke alarms are invaluable, life-saving appliances when they are installed properly and adequately maintained. 

What Are Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are becoming more and more common, especially as the Government is offering more and more incentives to install them in your home.

Heat pumps are becoming more efficient but depending on where you live they may not be what you need yet.

A heat pump works best when the temperature is above 40. Once outdoor temperatures drop to 40 degrees, heat pumps start losing efficiency, and they consume more energy to do their jobs. When temperatures fall to 25 to 30 degrees heat pumps begin to lose their effectiveness and their ability to provide heat efficiently over a gas furnace.

They work best in moderate climates, so if you don’t experience extreme heat and cold in your neck of the woods, then using a heat pump could help you save a little money each month.

A heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another. Not too difficult, right? Heat pumps are typically used to pull heat out of the air or ground to heat your house, but they can be reversed to cool the house. In a way, if you know how an air conditioner works, then you already know a lot about how a heat pump works. This is because heat pumps and air conditioners operate in very similar ways.

What a heat pump does is use a small amount of energy to switch that process into reverse, thereby pulling heat out of a relatively low temperature area and pumping it into a higher temperature area. So, heat is transferred from a “heat source,” like the ground or air, into a “heat sink,” like your home.

One of the most common types of heat pumps is the air-source heat pump. These take heat from the air outside your home and pump it inside through refrigerant-filled coils, not too different from what’s on the back of your fridge. The air source variety is basic, and you’ll find two fans, the refrigerator coils, a reversing valve and a compressor inside to make it work.

There are many kinds of heat pumps, but they all operate on the same basic principle: heat transfer. This means that rather than burning fuel to create heat, the device moves heat from one place to another. The key to allowing the air-source heat pump to also cool is the reversing valve. This versatile part changes the flow of the refrigerant so the system can operate in the opposite direction. So instead of pumping heat inside your home, the heat pump releases it, just like your air conditioner does. When the refrigerant is reversed, it absorbs heat on the indoor side of the unit and flows to the outside. It’s here that the heat is released, allowing the refrigerant to cool down again and flow back inside to pick up more heat. This process repeats itself until you’re nice and cool.

Heat pumps are energy efficient for many homes but all depend on the temperatures on the area. Do your research be spending the money and realize what you have was not what you needed.

Dangers of Using Unvented Gas Heaters

Ventless gas heaters sound like a good deal at first:

  • They’re inexpensive.
  • Can be located almost anywhere in a house.
  • Don’t require an expensive vent pipe or much in the way of installation cost.
  • They’re efficient.

These attributes can make them attractive solutions for many homeowners, but make no mistake, they are dangerous. Even with careful maintenance and followed recommendations for safe usage, Unvented gas heaters pose several threats. Here are the three real dangers of using unvented gas heaters.

Fire Risk

  • Improper installation, positioning, and maintenance are the most common reasons why these heaters create housefires. These heaters can still be a fire danger in smaller spaces if placed near combustibles such as furniture, fabrics, and paper.
  • Allowing them to run for too long or running them unsupervised, especially with pets or children, are also dangerous causes for house fires.

Unvented Gas Heaters May Cause Health Issues:

Natural gas and propane heaters significantly impact indoor air quality and, as a result, can become a severe health concern.

  • Ventilation is needed to remove pollutants such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Unvented gas heaters do not have this option, though, which makes them not only dangerous but also falsely boosts their heating efficiency.
  • According to the National Fuel Gas Code, one air change per hour (ACH) would mean that a room that measures 10

Weather Proofing Old Doors

Many of the homes I inspect have beatiful original doors that have character, and many times makes the home with the historical charm, but many of them are also drafty. Unless the door is damaged, insulation and new weatherstripping should reduce drafts and heat transfer through the doorway.

  • Before adding weatherstripping, check the door for loose hinges and other hardware. A loose door lets in drafts in the winter, and it accounts for some heat losses in the winter. Tighten loose screws, including at the doorknob, or replace the hardware, doorknob and lock set if they are damaged.
  • If the door hangs crooked, the jamb has likely skewed as the house settled. Consult a qualified carpenter to straighten the jamb with shims, scribe the door to fit, or replace the door.

Install spray foam Insulation around the door jamb

  • Pry off the left, top and right interior door trim molding with the flat edge of a pry bar.
  • Twist the accompanying straw onto the nozzle of a can of spray foam insulation for doors and windows and shake the can.
  • Place the straw into the space in the wall where you pried off the molding and press the spray nozzle. Apply a line of foam from one end of the opening to the other and repeat across the top and down the other side. Spray foam insulation expands and dries firm. Wait for the first application to expand before deciding whether you need more to fill the cavity. Trim off excess foam in back after it hardens with a drywall saw or a utility knife.
  • Nail the molding back to the door frame.

Add exterior caulk to the exterior

  • Cut the nozzle on a tube of exterior-grade window and door caulk at a slight angle with a utility knife. If there is a seal inside the base of the nozzle, pierce it with a long, thin nail or another slim object.
  • Fit the tube into a caulk gun and depress the trigger several times until caulk fills the nozzle.
  • Place the slanted edge of the nozzle against the top edge of the left or right-side exterior door trim. Depress the trigger to make the caulk flow and pull the caulk gun down the edge of the trim slowly then smooth the caulk with your finger or caulking tool to make it look professional. Repeat the caulk application down the trim on the opposite side of the door, and again across the top. Seal both long edges of each piece of trim molding this way.

Install new weatherstripping

  • Pull the old weatherstripping off the door frame. If there are staples or nails, pry them out with a flat-head screwdriver or nail puller. Weatherstripping fits around the door frame with a rubbery portion touching the door.
  • Measure across the top of the door frame where you removed the weatherstripping.
  • Open a package of weatherstripping with a metal or wood flange and a cushioned, rubbery gasket on a worktable. Measure and mark it to the width of the top of the door frame with a pencil or marker. This type of weatherstripping has a long strip of wood or metal along one long edge, and it has cushioned rubber along the opposite long edge.
  • Slice through the rubbery portion of the weatherstripping at the mark with scissors or a utility knife and continue the cut through the wood or metal with a hacksaw.
  • Close the door and set the weatherstripping in place across the top of the door frame. The rubbery edge should butt against the door. Drive 1 1/2-inch finishing nails through the metal or wood strip with a hammer, spacing nails approximately 8 inches apart. If the strip has pre-drilled nail holes, you might need nails with a small head instead of finishing nails.
  • Measure and cut weatherstripping for the left and right sides of the door frame and fasten them the same way.

Door Sweep

  • Remove the screws in the old door sweep across the lower edge of the interior side of the door, if yours has one, with a Phillips-head or flat-head screwdriver. Door sweeps have a wood or metal strip along one long edge and a rubber fin along the opposite long edge.
  • Measure across the lower edge of the door. If your door had a sweep, measure where it was fastened. If there was no sweep, measure across the lowest part of the interior side of the door, not the bottom edge that faces the threshold.
  • Measure and mark a door sweep to this length and cut it with scissors or a utility knife and a hacksaw as you did with the weatherstripping.
  • Hold the door sweep against the lower portion of the door with the bottom of the rubber fin touching the threshold. Mark the door through the pre-drilled screw or nail holes in the door sweep with a pencil or marker.
  • Drill a shallow hole into the door at each mark with a drill and bit that is the same diameter as the accompanying door sweep screws. Don

Post-Sale Home Inspection

A question that I have been getting lately is should I have a post-sale home inspection if I waived the home inspection or bought the home as-is.

  • THE ANSWER IS YES

It has become increasingly common in recent years for buyers to move into a home, discover some issue regarding the condition of the home finding conditions the seller either failed to disclose or that they actively concealed.

Offers that waive a home inspection contingency can be more attractive to home sellers since there

As Is Home for Sale and a Home Inspection

I hear from many people that they cannot do a home inspection because the home is being sold AS IS. This does not mean you are not entitled to a home inspection so in the event we find additional DEFECTS not noted in the disclosure that the owner is required to fill out truthfully.

You can walk through the home and get an idea of its general condition.  You may even spot some defects or items in obvious need of repair.  But you will not obtain the same detailed information you will receive if you hire Tri-State Home Inspections LLC.  Tri-State Home Inspections LLC is trained to look for things you are not likely to notice.  Tri-State Home Inspections LLC must follow the state Wisconsin and InterNACHI

CSST Bonding

The CSST type gas line shown has not been bonded properly, that is only ELECTRICAL TAPE to cover the exposed piping.

The gas company and master electrician state that this is correct and does not need to be bonded. I downloaded the directions to do my own research into it again.

Here is what I located in the directions for this brand of piping used.

The TracPipe