Electrical capacity

Temporary Wiring Diagram Amp Service

The unit of electrical power is called a watt. Watts are equivalent to volts times amps (W V x A). The electrical service that I have found in houses and the corresponding equivalent power capacity is shown in TABLE 12-1. In older houses, unless the electrical service has been upgraded, you are likely to find 30 and 60 amps at 110 or 110 220 volts. Any service less than 60 amps at 110 220 volts is considered inadequate. Homeowners with such electrical service might indicate that they have lived...

Electromechanical systems

The systems and associated equipment included in this category are electrical, plumbing, domestic water heater, heating, air-conditioning, and swimming pool. The condition, operation, and adequacy of each system in your house must be checked as described in its respective chapter and recorded on the worksheet. This final check concludes your home inspection. You have now looked at every item in the house of any consequence and should have recorded on the worksheets all problems and...

Bathrooms

Because of the nature of the room, the bathroom must be well ventilated. Ventilation can be provided naturally through an openable window or mechanically by an exhaust fan. If there is an exhaust fan, try to determine where it discharges. The air drawn through the fan should discharge into the atmosphere. This can be accomplished through the use of a duct that terminates on the side of the building or one that extends up through the attic and terminates on the roof. When the bathroom is located...

Checkpoint summary

O Is hot water supplied by a separate-tank type of water heater or by a tankless coil O If you have a tank-type heater, record the capacity (gallons), the recovery rate (gallons per hour), and the age (from serial number). O Are exhaust gases spilling out of the draft diverter O Is tank-type heater adequate for house (See table.) Fig. 16-10. Indirect-fired storage water heater. According to manufacturers, 15-20 gallons of domestic hot water is removed before the zone aquastat calls for hot...

Pipes

Water-distribution pipes can be made of copper, brass, or galvanized iron. Once you become familiar with the types of pipe, you will be able to differentiate between them very easily. Here are some pointers. Brass and galvanized pipe have threaded joints copper joints are soldered. So if the pipe joints are Fig. 13-6. Wall hatch in hallway provides access to pipes for bathtub. Fig. 13-6. Wall hatch in hallway provides access to pipes for bathtub. threaded, you will know that they are not copper...

Disadvantages

The major disadvantage of a warm-air system is that in the event of a faulty heat exchanger, the exhaust gases will mix with the circulating air and be distributed around the house. In a multizoned warm-air heating system, the zones are not totally independent of one another. The zones are controlled by motorized dampers located in the ducts. When the dampers are closed, they block the airflow in their respective ducts, preventing that portion of the house from being heated. However, some air...

Vent stacks

Utah Code For Gas Flue Above Snow Level

The vent stack is part of the plumbing system. Its purpose is to permit adequate circulation of air in all parts of the sanitary drainage system and to allow a means for sewer gas to vent harmlessly to the atmosphere. All homes Fig. 3-4. Spring-loaded chimney-top damper covers flue opening at top of chimney. Fig. 3-4. Spring-loaded chimney-top damper covers flue opening at top of chimney. Fig. 3-5. Cricket (saddle) prevents debris, snow, and ice from accumulating behind the chimney, causing...

Storm windows screens and storm doors

Windows are a major source of heat loss. On a per-square-foot basis, more heat is lost through windows than any other area. In fact, the heat lost through a single-pane window is approximately fourteen times greater than that lost through a well-insulated wall of comparable size. However, with storm windows, the heat loss can be reduced by about 50 percent. There are three basic types of storm windows storm sashes, storm panels, and combination units. A storm sash is a removable sash, usually...

Fuses and circuit breakers

The panel box contains either circuit breakers or fuses to protect individual branch circuits from an overload. Overloaded circuits are one of the chief causes of home electrical fires, and proper protection of branch circuits is essential. Figure 12-4 shows a circuit-breaker panel box, and FIG. 12-5 shows a fuse panel box. Circuit breakers are more convenient than fuses. Once they have been tripped, they can be reset like a switch, whereas once a fuse has blown, it must be replaced. On the...

Electrical system

Inlet electrical service 146 Electrical capacity 147 Fuses and circuit breakers 150 Inlet service panel box 151 Panel-box interior 151 Aluminum wiring 152 Grounding 152 Improper ground connections 152 Interior electrical inspection 153 Electrical outlets 153 Knob-and-tube wiring 155 Low-voltage switching systems 155 Violations 156 Checkpoint summary 156 The electrical system of a house can be compared to the nervous system of the human body. Just as every part of the body is supplied by nerves...

Drywood termites

Homes in the South and Southwest are vulnerable to attack by dry-wood termites as well as subterranean termites. Dry-wood termites cannot live outdoors in northern climates and have not established themselves in those areas. Isolated cases of dry-wood termite infestation have been found in homes located as far north as New York and Ohio, but those are rare. Dry-wood termites are so called because they build their nest in perfectly good wood that is not decayed and not in contact with the...

Walls windows and doors

Exterior walls 37 Exterior siding 38 Wood siding 38 Aluminum siding 40 Vinyl siding 41 Asbestos-cement shingles 41 Asphalt siding 42 Stucco 42 Synthetic stucco (EIFS) 43 Veneer wall 44 Masonry wall 45 Trim 45 Windows 46 Storm windows, screens, and storm doors 51 Storm windows 51 Screens 51 Storm doors 52 Inspection 52 Caulking 52 Checkpoint summary 53 As you walk around the house inspecting the paved areas, you should also inspect the exterior walls, windows, trim, and doors. Before actually...

Watersupply pipes

Look for the entry of the water-supply pipe. It will be located near the foundation wall and will usually have a meter near the inlet. If you cannot find the water-service entry, ask the homeowner. Sometimes it is concealed behind boxes or storage shelves. The inlet service pipe will generally be made of copper, brass, or galvanized iron. However, in some older homes, you might find that the pipe is made of lead. A lead pipe can be detected by the type of joint between the sections. Lead pipes...

Heat pump

A heat pump is a year-round air-conditioning system that provides warm air during the winter and cool air during the summer. It is basically a compressor-cycle air-conditioning system (similar to the one described previously) that can operate in reverse. During the reverse operation, the condenser functions as an evaporator, and the evaporator functions as the condenser. The overall refrigerant cycle, however, remains the same. (See page 230 and FIG. 17-1 for the operational flow details.) When...

Attached garage

Since the principal use of the garage is car storage, the possibility of dripping oil and gasoline presents a potential fire hazard. Because the attached garage is connected to the main structure, certain precautionary measures should be taken during construction to minimize the hazards. Look around the garage to see if there are any potential problems. Is there an interior door between the garage and the house If there is, is there at least one step leading up to the door There should be. (See...

Powderpost beetles

There are many types of wood-boring beetles. The ones whose larvae or grubs feed on seasoned wood and break it down to a powdery residue are commonly called powder-post beetles. These beetles exist all over the United States, although the greatest concentration will be found in those states with a warm, humid climate. The two principal varieties of powder-post beetles are the lyctid and the anobiid beetles. The lyctid beetle attacks only hardwoods the anobiid beetle attacks both soft and...

Walls and ceilings

The materials most often used for covering walls and ceilings are plaster and plasterboard. Plaster usually made from a mixture of gypsum (a common mineral), sand, and water has qualities that are very desirable for a wall finish structural rigidity, durability, resistance to sound transmissions, and high fire resistance. In addition, it can readily be applied to curved or irregularly shaped surfaces. A plaster wall is usually applied in two or three coats to a backing called lath. Depending on...

Forced hot water

Quite often my clients comment on the small size of the boiler for the forced-hot-water system. They apparently are used to seeing a boiler originally designed for use in a gravity system or one that was converted from coal-fired to oil-or gas-fired, both of which are considerably larger two to six times as large, depending on the manufacturer. Regardless of the size, you can easily recognize a forced-hot-water system by the presence of a circulating pump in the distribution return pipe just...

Hydrostatic pressurewalls

Water seeping or leaking through the foundation walls into the basement is due to a hydrostatic pressure being exerted on the walls by saturated soil. This condition is the result of water accumulation around the foundation. The best way to control this type of problem is to minimize the amount of water that accumulates around the foundation. The following are some of the more common causes of water accumulation around the foundation, which can easily be detected and corrected by the homeowner....

Lowvoltage switching systems

Light fixtures are normally controlled by switches that interrupt the electrical flow in a 110-volt circuit. However, in some houses, the light switches operate at about 24 volts. This type of wiring is generally installed so that the lights can be controlled from three or more locations. With this system, it is possible to control all the lights in the house from a master panel located anywhere in the house. The circuit for a low-voltage system includes a transformer and an electrically...

Exterior walls

Calliandra Vine Stucco Wall

The exterior walls in most residential structures will be either wood frame or masonry, sometimes a combination of the two. The latter is commonly called a veneer wall. The exterior walls rest directly on the foundation and are bearing (load-supporting) walls. They support the roof, floors, and vertical loads imposed by other building components. The outer covering of the exterior walls provides protection from the weather and, if properly installed, minimizes the flow of air, moisture, and...

High groundwater level

Water entering the basement through the floor slab is an indication that water pressure is being exerted on the underside of the floor. When the level of the water below the house is sufficiently high (due to a seasonal high water table or improper drainage) so that it pushes on the underside of the floor slab, it seeps into the basement through cracks, open joints, or porous sections of the slab. If the pressure is great enough, it can cause the floor to crack and heave. If the seepage is...

Insulation

Does Vapour Barrior Prevent Rot Walls

Insulation is available in a variety of forms and materials. The three most common forms are flexible insulation, loose-fill insulation, and rigid insulation. Flexible insulation is manufactured in two types, batts and blankets. Both are made of fibrous materials such as glass fibers, rock wool, wood fibers, or cotton. Organic fibers are treated chemically to make them resistant to fire and decay. Batts are precut in 4-or 8-foot lengths and are available in thicknesses between 2 and 6 inches....

Water heater capacity and recovery

The amount of hot water that your family requires depends on the number of people, their bathing and washing habits, and the number of tubs and showers available for simultaneous use. Do not judge whether a water heater is adequate by the capacity of the tank alone. Equally as important is its recovery rate the volume of water that will have its temperature raised by 100 F in one hour. The capacity of residential water heaters typically varies between 30 and 82 gallons. The following example,...

Introduction

When I started my home inspection company in 1971, there were very few inspectors in the United States. Most of them were individual consultants working in and around large metropolitan areas. There were no specific qualifications to be an inspector and no specific requirements covering the items to be inspected. In those days, probably no more than 1 to 2 percent of the homes sold in the United States had an inspection. On a very cold night in January 1976 I met with eight other home...

Inspection

Solid Bridging

Most houses built in the last forty years have foundation walls of poured concrete, concrete blocks, or cinder blocks, whereas older homes generally have stone or brick foundation walls. When inspecting stone or brick foundations, especially in homes built before or around the turn of the century, pay particular attention to the mortar joints. I have found that in homes of this vintage, many of the mortar joints in the foundation walls have deteriorated to a point where they are no longer...

Patio

There are probably as many types and styles of patios as there are houses. The more common types are concrete slab, stone set in mortar, and brick set in the ground. In all cases, a particular concern is whether any tripping hazards can result from cracked, broken, or uneven sections. Some patios have a grid pattern consisting of wood embedded in the ground around sections of brick or concrete. This wood should be pressure-treated to protect it from rot. However, the wood is normally not...

Driveway

Driveways are normally constructed of asphalt, concrete, or gravel, or might just be a Fig. 4-3. The turnaround area of the top step is too narrow to operate the door safely. Fig. 4-3. The turnaround area of the top step is too narrow to operate the door safely. clearing with no covering. The latter is not particularly desirable from a cosmetic point of view and because of the ease with which ruts can develop. Gravel driveways on occasion also develop ruts and require periodic replacement of...

Improper ground connections

It is surprising how many houses have loose clamps on the water pipes, resulting in an improperly grounded electrical system. Many homeowners do not realize that the wire clamped to the water pipe is a grounding wire for the electrical system, and they loosen the clamp when making a repair or finishing the basement, often forgetting to Fig. 12-7. Ground wire clamped to inlet water pipe. Fig. 12-7. Ground wire clamped to inlet water pipe. reclamp the wire because nothing apparent happened when...

Well pumps

Well Pump Single Pipe

The purpose of the pump is to draw water from the well and push it through the distribution piping with sufficient force that the water overcomes the frictional resistance of the pipes and provides an adequate flow at fixtures. There are three basic types of well pumps used for residential structures submersible, jet, and piston. All three can be used for shallow or deep wells. The submersible pump, how ever, is most frequently used for deep wells. In shallow wells, the jet or piston pumping...

Termites

Home buyers generally overreact after discovering a termite condition and on occasion lose interest in the house. Actually, the discovery of termite infestation should not be cause for alarm concern, maybe, but certainly not alarm. Termites work very slowly. It takes many years for termites to do serious damage to a house. A mature colony of 60,000 termites eats the equivalent of 2 to 4 feet of 2-by-4-inch board in one year. Some well-established termite colonies have been estimated to contain...

Water pressure and flow

The water pressure in a house is an item of concern to most home buyers, and rightly so. However, water pressure per se is not usually the problem. If you see water trickling out of a faucet, it does not necessarily mean that the pressure is low. It means that the water flow is low. Low water flow can be caused by low pressure. However, more often than not, low flow is caused by a constriction in the supply pipes. The constriction can be the result of mineral or corrosive deposits on the inside...

Oil burners

When the heating system is oil-fired, the first thing you should note is whether the top portion of the chimney (as seen during your exterior inspection) is covered with soot. This is an indication that the oil burner has not been operating efficiently. When you are inspecting the heating unit, look for a card or tag near or on the unit that contains the maintenance service record. Whenever a serviceperson performs any type of maintenance, even a tune-up, he or she records the date on this...

Reversed connection

Many water heaters have at the top of the tank hot-water outlet and cold-water inlet fittings that are clearly marked HOT and COLD, respectively. Yet it is surprising how many times I have found heaters with a reversed water-line installation. You can tell whether the installation is reversed by touching a pipe about 4 feet away from the unit and comparing it with the HOT outlet fitting on top of the tank. A reversed connection results in an inefficient operation of the heater. Even though...

Gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are installed on a structure to control and direct rain runoff from the roof. The absence of gutters might result in water seepage into the basement, rotting sections of wood trim, damage to foundation plantings, and the erosion of topsoil. Whether they are masonry-constructed or have long overhanging eaves, most residential structures that are not in the snowbelt would benefit from gutters. In the snowbelt, gutters are considered more an inconvenience than a help because...

Drainage system

Water Supply Layout Building

The drainage system is more complex than the water distribution system, since it consists of three parts traps, drainpipes, and vents. The drainage system begins just below the fixture with a water-filled trap. The trap is generally U-shaped and should have water at the bottom portion. The water in the trap forms a seal to prevent sewer gases usually in the drain line from entering the room. The wastes flow from the fixture trap down the drain line and out to the sewer or private...

Windows

Although the condition of most of the windows is checked during the exterior inspection (see chapter 5), the condition of the windows on the upper levels and the opera Fig. 10-3. Settled concrete floor slab. Note open joint between floor and partition walls. Fig. 10-3. Settled concrete floor slab. Note open joint between floor and partition walls. Fig. 10-4. Rotting and delaminating section of raised wood floor in finished basement. Condition is caused by constant wetting from water seepage...

Exterior doors

The two basic types of exterior wood doors are flush doors and stile-and-rail doors. Flush doors are made by bonding face panels to solid or hollow cores. Stile-and-rail doors (also referred to as panel doors) are solid doors that consist of vertical and horizontal members (called stiles and rails, respectively) that enclose wood or glass inserts. (See FIG. 5-7.) Most flush doors have hardwood veneer face panels, although hardboard and softwood panels are also available. Some doors are made...

Inlet electrical service

The electrical service is provided through overhead wires or underground cables. If there are overhead wires, they can be seen around the outside of the house. These wires usually run from a utility pole to the house and are fastened to the structure at a point at least 10 feet above ground level. Count the number of wires coming into the house. If there are two wires (FIG. 12-1), the electrical service for the house is inadequate. Two-wire service provides only 110 volts, not 110 220 volts....

Pitched roofs

The technique used for inspecting the roof differs depending on whether the roof is pitched or flat. Pitched roofs are checked during your initial pass around the house. Because of the hazards involved, I do not recommend that you climb onto a pitched roof. Begin your inspection by stepping far enough away from the house so that you are able to see all exposed sections of the roof as you circle the structure. The use of binoculars is recommended for this inspection to get a close-up view of the...

Detached garage

If your house has a detached garage, you need not be as concerned with the fire and health hazards mentioned with the attached garage. True, the area is still considered a potential fire hazard however, since the structure is physically apart from the main building, a fire would not usually result in the loss of life. The main concern with this type of garage is its structural integrity. The exterior of the detached garage is checked the same way you inspect the main house. Walk around the...

Groundwater water table

Concrete Drain Catch Basin

Water that soaks into the ground eventually percolates downward under the influence of gravity until it reaches an impervious layer Fig. 6-3. Concrete block catch basin with several perforated inlet pipes and a solid outlet pipe that drains to a suitable location. Basins of this type are used to drain low-level lawns that are collection ponds for rainwater. Fig. 6-3. Concrete block catch basin with several perforated inlet pipes and a solid outlet pipe that drains to a suitable location. Basins...

Roof hatch

Access to a flat roof from the interior is provided through a roof hatch. Don't be surprised if you find a roof hatch on a house with a pitched roof. In some older and larger structures, they were installed as a means of easy access. Roof-hatch covers should be checked to determine whether they are operational Fig. 3-7. Plumbing vent stack terminating near window. If the window is open, the discharging sewer gases can be blown into the house. Fig. 3-7. Plumbing vent stack terminating near...

Tankless coil water heaters

Tankless water heaters, sometimes called instantaneous water heaters, are used in conjunction with steam and hot-water boilers. Most tankless heaters consist of a small-diameter pipe shaped in the form of a coil that is located inside of the boiler (internal generator). (See FIG. 16-7.) The coil might also be located in a casing outside, but connected to, the boiler (external generator). The coil is surrounded by hot boiler water that gives up its heat to the water flowing in the coil. Cold...

Relief valve

All water heaters must have a relief valve that is both temperature- and pressure-sensitive. A relief valve that responds to pressure only will not offer adequate protection for the homeowner. An excessively high pressure alone can cause the tank to rupture. Though this will cause water damage, it is not necessarily dangerous. However, if the tank should rupture as a result of a high-temperature failure, the superheated water contained therein will flash into steam, instantaneously releasing...

Crawl space

The foundation walls, piers, posts, and woodsupport framing in a crawl space should be inspected (as described in the section on the unfinished basement) for deterioration, structural deficiencies, and evidence of water seepage. Pay particular attention to the wood-framing members that are very vulnerable to decay and termite infestation. (See FIG. 11-13.) Many homes, however, have crawl spaces that are inaccessible and cannot be inspected. These homes were built in accordance with the Federal...

Central heating systems

Most of the homes in the United States have central heating systems. The basic components of these systems are A burner for converting gas or oil to heat or a resistance coil for converting electrical energy to heat. A heat exchanger for transferring this heat to the air or water. When the heat exchanger is used to produce warm air, it is a furnace. When it produces hot water or steam, it is a boiler. Because many people have unknowingly been calling a boiler a furnace, the term furnace is...

Operational inspection

The water heater should be inspected while the burner is operational. This can be achieved by opening the hot-water faucet at a nearby sink. Within a few minutes, depending on the size of the tank and the water flow at the sink, the burner should fire. (This assumes that the pilot is lit for a gas burner or that the electronic ignition is operational for an oil burner, and that there is oil in the storage tank .) If the burner fails to fire, there is a problem condition that should be checked....

TV antennas

Although roof-mounted TV antennas were quite common when the first edition of this book was written, for the most part they have been replaced by cable television or dish antennas. Nevertheless, they can still be found on many houses. Some TV antennas are strapped to the chimney for support. This means of bracing the antenna is undesirable because repeated twisting action on the antenna from strong winds can cause stresses on the chimney that can in turn result in cracked mortar joints. When...

H

Inspection checklist, 124 heat pump, 190, 240-241 heating systems, 112, 181-217 central, 182-183 combustion air, 210 direct venting, 209-210 electrical, 207-208 energy considerations, 258-259 forced hot-water, 192-193 forced warm-air, 187 gas burners, 214-215 gravity hot-water, 191-192 gravity warm-air, 185-186 heat pump, 190, 240-241 hot-water, 190-199 hybrid, 202-203 inspection checklist, 123, 208-215 oil burners, 214 registers and radiators, 183 space heaters, 207-208 steam, 199-202...

Subterranean termites

Subterranean termites require a dark, damp environment. In their search for food, worker termites build shelter tubes tunnels that help conserve moisture and shield the termites from the light. See FIG. 8-3. The tubes are about 1 4 to M inch wide and provide a passageway between the ground and the food supply wood member . They can be built at the rate Fig. 8-2. The difference between swarming ant right and swarming termite actual size H inch . Fig. 8-2. The difference between swarming ant...

Preformed fiberglass pools

20x40 Performed Fiberglass Pool

There are a number of advantages to a preformed fiberglass pool. The major advantage is its durability the pool can flex and not get damaged. Also time is not lost in constructing the pool shell. After the site is excavated and prepared, the pool shell, which is brought to the site by truck, is lifted by a crane and placed into the excavation. See FIG. 18-4. Another advantage is the low maintenance. It is difficult for algae to cling to the sides of the pool because of its very smooth surface....

Model number

Schematic Diagram Split

BTB390A 567CO36RCU 38CC042-1 CM48-42C contain the refrigerant that cycles between the two units. See FIG. 17-2. The diameters of the two pipes are different one pipe is the size of a pencil, the other the size of a broom handle. The small pipe pencil size is the liquid line it carries the high-pressure liquid refrigerant from the condenser to the expansion valve. The larger pipe broom-handle size is the suction line it carries low-pressure refrigerant gas from the evaporator coil to the...