What is wind mitigation and how does it affect me and my home? Did you know a wind mitigation inspection could save you money? Wind mitigation is a strategy of implementing design, construction techniques, and products to mitigate or reduce the effects of wind and wind related damage to a structure. After Hurricane Andrew, Florida passed a law requiring insurance companies to offer discounts or credits on insurance rates depending on existing building features and improvements or upgrades that reduce damage from wind. The Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection Form OIR-B1-1802 is a standard form used by inspectors and provided to insurance companies to document the wind mitigation features of a structure and the form is valid for 5 years provided no material changes have been made to the structure. The form has specific features that are to be inspected for and photo documented to prove the existence of these features. The first section of the form regards to when the structure was built and whether the structure was built according to improvements adopted in the 2001 Florida Building Code. The second section is about the type of roof covering and date in which it was originally installed or replaced. The third section is roof deck attachment which looks at the type of fasteners and fastener spacing used to secure the roof deck sheathing to the roof trusses. Many options for roof to wall connections exist and have been used throughout history and have been grouped into several categories based on the strength of the attachment method. Section four regards to how the roof trusses are attached to the walls of the home. Sections three and four combined determine the approximate amount of uplift force a roof structure can handle. Section five reviews the roof shape and how wind interacts with that roof shape. A hip or pyramid shaped roof will allow wind to flow over the structure better than a big gable end that wind can push against. Section six relates to the presence of a secondary water resistance barrier such as peel and stick underlayment’s which offer increased protection from water intrusion and damage. The final section of the form regards to the presence of opening protection in the form of impact windows and doors or shutter systems. In general, all openings require protection to receive credit. Any features noted in the wind mitigation inspection report should be verified with photographic evidence. A typical wind mitigation inspection takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete and can save you a considerable amount of money on your homeowner’s insurance premium. If it has been more than 5 years, if you have recently replaced your roof covering, or if you have added opening protection to your home you should consider getting an updated wind mitigation inspection report to ensure that you are receiving all possible discounts or credits. Contact us today to schedule a wind mitigation!
Are you selling your home “For Sale By Owner”? We offer sign post installations with an included “For Sale by Owner” sign panel. Although we always recommend using a licensed real estate professional, we believe you should still be able to market your home like a professional while selling it on your own. We can also provide you with a pre-listing inspection so that you can address any issues prior to the sale and utilize the inspection report in your marketing. Visit www.CornerstoneHomeInspectionGroup.com or call 941-993-0216.
Does your new home need an inspection? New doesn’t always mean done right or done at all. Mistakes and oversights commonly occur during construction which is why it is so important to have your new construction home inspected. Here is an example that drives that point home. We were contacted to perform a home inspection after a buyer had moved into their new construction home and the roof started leaking. During the inspection, several defects were observed with the roof and throughout the home, including, a missing A/C duct. A hole was cut, and a duct collar was installed in an air conditioning distribution box and a register was installed in the kitchen pantry, but no duct connecting the two was ever installed. This condition resulted in wasted electricity and conditioned air being released into the attic and hot attic air entering the home through the air register, further reducing the efficiency of the air conditioning system. Luckily the home was still within its warranty period for repairs by the builder and this issue was caught before too much time had elapsed and more money in unnecessary cooling/heating costs was lost. We always recommend having a home inspection whether it’s a new home, older home or a home you currently live in because in most cases, including this one, the value of the inspection findings far exceed the cost of the inspection itself. Contact us today at 941-993-0216 to schedule your home inspection.
Your next load of laundry could burn your house down! Have you had your dryer vent cleaned recently? Your clothes dryer heats and evaporates the remaining water (more than a gallon for heavy loads) from your clothes using either an electric heating element or a gas burner. For a dryer vent to function properly it has several requirements: it must be properly connected and vented to the exterior of the home. It should not be restricted, kinked, or crushed in any way to allow air to flow freely, and it must be cleaned or serviced regularly to remove the lint that builds up on the walls of the vent. Lint is made up of clothing particles such as cotton and polyester which is extremely flammable and when it builds up it can cause reduced drying efficiency and ultimately cause the dryer to overheat and catch the lint on fire. Fires typically start within the dryer first and then spread through the ventilation duct and to other areas of a home. Statistics from the National Fire Protection Agency indicate that in 2005, dryers were responsible for 13,775 house fires, 418 injuries, 15 deaths and $196 million in property damage. Most of these fires were caused by a failure to clean and maintain lint from dryer vent ducts. Currently, dryer vent ducts are required to be made of rigid metal ducts with smooth walls to help prevent accumulation of lint. Flexible “transition” ducts are only allowed to make the connection between the dryer and rigid ducting. We inspect dryer vents for a number of other requirements as well, to ensure the proper installation and operation of your dryer vent and the safety of you and your home. We also recommend annual cleanings of your homes dryer ducts. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection.
Are you a first time home buyer? We want to help you get started off on the right foot with maintaining your investment. We will show you where main water and electrical shut-offs are so that in an emergency you know where they are located and how they operate. We will also show you current and future maintenance items that may require immediate attention or annual maintenance.
How can thermal imaging protect your investment? Can inspectors see through walls? Not exactly but almost. Infrared (IR) cameras are a very versatile and cutting-edge technology that can help to enhance the understanding of residential or commercial buildings systems and components. Infrared or thermal cameras create an image by detecting differences in surface temperatures and converting those temperatures into colors on a gradient scale, with higher temperatures being lighter and lower temperatures appearing as darker colors. Thermal imaging can be used to help identify several conditions including; air conditioning leaks, missing insulation, over heating electrical components and roof or plumbing leaks. When there is a problem such as a roof or plumbing leak, the moisture will evaporate causing the wet area to be cooler than the surrounding area, and the camera will translate those differences in temperature into a visual image that shows where those differences in temperature are. Some cameras will also overlay the thermal image with a digital image to aid in differentiating where items or surface changes are. With suspected moisture problems, it is always important to confirm or backup thermal imaging findings with a quality moisture meter as there are other factors that must also be considered when performing an infrared inspection. It is a misconception that thermal imaging cameras have x-ray vison and can see through walls, this is only partially true. A thermal camera is limited to surface temperatures, however, things within walls such as hot water pipes can change the surface temperature of a wall enough to be able to “see” the pipe in the wall. Thermal imaging has become a very important part of the inspection process but requires extensive training to understand and use the technology properly. We are trained, Infrared Certified and experienced with using thermal imaging cameras. Contact us today for more information.
Did you know that we are licensed by the FAA as a commercial drone operator? We utilize the latest in drone technology to access roofs and other exterior components of residential and commercial buildings that may be inaccessible to other inspection companies. If the property you are considering for purchase has two or more stories that are inaccessible in a safe manner or too steep to walk safely we can inspect it by drone. We are here to protect your investment by providing the best inspections and information possible. Quality Inspections, Quality Reports and Quality Customer Service so you have a solid foundation for making a solid decision. Contact us Today!
What is galvanic corrosion and why does it matter to a home owner? Let’s start with what corrosion is. Corrosion is the gradual destruction of metals through a natural process which converts refined metals into more stable forms including oxides, hydroxides and sulfides. For example, when a piece of iron rusts, it is the transformation of iron into iron oxide. Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical reaction that occurs when dissimilar metals are in contact with each other and immersed in a common electrolyte solution capable of carrying an electric current such as salt water, rain water and even city water that has additives added. A great example of this is in steel boats and sea water. Steel boats will rust in the presence of sea water and so it was discovered that by adding a sacrificial anode such as zinc metal to the hull of a vessel, the corrosion could be directed towards that material instead of the hull of the boat and the sacrificial anode can be easily replaced as necessary. How does this relate to my home? Your water heater, for example, has a sacrificial anode rod typically made of aluminum, magnesium and/or zinc to protect the inner steel water heater tank. Periodically, these anodes need to be replaced as they are consumed, and sometimes there may be a small amount of debris in your hot water supply from a deteriorating anode. Galvanic corrosion can occur at the water heater’s cold and hot water supply connections if dielectric unions are not used. Dielectric unions prevent the contact of dissimilar metals at plumbing connections. In the sample image, a galvanized steel fitting is installed between two copper pipe fittings, and you can see that the galvanized pipe fitting is significantly corroded and may leak or fail in the future. Galvanic corrosion is not just limited to plumbing connections but can occur anywhere that dissimilar metals are in contact with each other and in the presence of moisture such as, metal roofing and its fasteners and at electrical connections. Contact us today to schedule your home inspection.
In residential electrical systems, single strand aluminum wiring was often substituted for copper wiring between approximately 1965 and 1973, due to the rising costs of copper as supplies were directed towards the Vietnam war effort and production of munitions. After approximately a decade of use it was discovered that there were several weaknesses in this material and application resulting in poor connections, which leads to overheating and the risk of fire. Aluminum has a higher electrical resistance than copper which means to provide the same “flow” at a given amperage, aluminum conductors must be larger in diameter. It is less ductile than copper and more prone to fatigue failures from repeated bending which can cause damage to the conductor internally, resulting in increased resistance and overheating. Aluminum is susceptible to galvanic corrosion when in contact with dissimilar metals and it produces an oxide coating on the surface which can deteriorate connection and present a fire hazard. Aluminum also expands and contracts significantly due to thermal variations which can cause connections to loosen over time. New aluminum wiring types have since been introduced that are not subject to the same disadvantages. However, if your home does have older single strand aluminum wiring, several options exist for correction, including rewiring the home with copper wiring, or by using copalum crimp connectors to pigtail copper wires at all wiring terminations. While very effective, they can be costly (roughly $50 per switch, light fixture, outlet and every connection in the service panel). Several other methods exist but are not recommended as permanent repairs by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In Florida, the presence of single strand aluminum wiring may limit the available options for homeowner’s insurance until it has been replaced or repaired by a licensed electrical contractor. If you are uncertain or concerned about the condition of your home’s electrical system, contact us today to schedule your home inspection.
Florida Licensed Home Inspector #HI9508
Florida Licensed Mold Remediator #MRSR3271
- Home Inspections
- New Construction
- Wind Mitigation
- 4 Point Insurance
- Thermal Imaging
- Roof Certification
- Water Testing