Water heater replacement: pros and cons of natural draft water heaters

- On an especially windy day, the wind can also overpower a gravity vent. . After all, the vent is simply a hole to the outdoors. We trust that gravity will keep the air going out, but fans will win that battle every time. When this happens, we call it backdrafting. When the fans are pulling a bunch of air out, a bunch of air needs to come back in. If the house isn’t leaky enough or there isn’t sufficient combustion air brought into the home, a building will be happy to suck air in through the water heater vent. So what happens when you have a tight house and a bunch of other indoor fans running, such as a bath fan, a clothes dryer, and a kitchen hood fan? Every cubic foot of air that leaves the house needs to be replaced ..More

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Infrared cameras, home inspections

- When viewed with an infrared camera, collapsed glass appears as dark blue circles or ovals in the center of the glass. . We’ll have a blog post about this in the near future. This is not the same thing as a failed seal. Collapsed glass is actually a new one for us. In extreme cases, the glass panes can actually touch each other. It’s a condition caused by the gas between two panes of glass escaping, which pulls the two panes of glass toward each other ..More

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Q&A: Are Minnesota home inspectors allowed to open electrical panels?

-   Sounded like he was a friend of a home seller who’s house I recently inspected with some electrical issues. .   I just listened and thanked him for the call. Today I received a call from a local electrical contractor in <omitted>, MN.   He named some statute that states that you have to be licensed to inspect any electrical.   He decided he needed to call me and tell me that “I’m not a licensed electrician and I have no business removing electrical service panel covers” or testing outlets, etc as part of my inspection ..More

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The most common garage door opener issues

- . While this is never a big deal, I’m a father of two young kids and I appreciate this requirement. This is typically about a 30-second fix. When I find garage door opener buttons mounted too low, I usually recommend moving them ..More

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Photos from new construction inspections, part VI

- . Would it surprise you to learn that Minnesota has no requirement for garage floors to be sloped so water (aka “snow melt”) goes to a drain or the door opening?  Crazy, right? The garage floor in the photo below actually doesn’t violate anything in the building code, but it sure is a nuisance, and it’s something that we reported as a problem ..More

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