Friday, April 26, 2013

Polybutylene Plumbing - Is it a problem?

Acetal fitting shows signs
 of flaking
As a home inspector, I often run across polybutylene plumbing.  Home buyers and home owners always ask, “Is it a problem?”   The facts are polybutylene pipes have an unusually high rate of failure under normal operating loads.

Deterioration linked to water additives like chlorine and fluorides react with the polybutylene piping and acetal (a strong stiff plastic) fittings causing them to scale and flake and become brittle.  Micro-fractures result and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced.  The system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure.

Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Due to the low cost of the material and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were viewed as "the pipe of the future" and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping.
 
  • Polybutylene pipe is grey, black or blue.  Interior polybutylene plumbing is almost always grey and exterior polybutylene plumbing is mostly blue.
  • Polybutylene pipe was installed and manufactured from the late 1970's till the mid-1990's, however, stockpiles of polybutylene pipe at supply vendors, such as supply risers were still known to be available up to 1999.
  • The most common sizes for polybutylene pipe are 3/8", ½", ¾" and 1".
  • Polybutylene piping was easy to install and often used as a replacement for copper.
  • Polybutylene was often routed through the attic, a disaster in waiting.
  • Polybutylene piping was used for both residential and commercial water distribution piping.
  • Polybutylene pipe connectors can be copper, brass, or plastic. The connector types are barbed with a crimp ring or compression with a plastic or metal ferrule.
 
 
Polybutylene pipe with plastic fittings or metal fittings will ultimately suffer damage; polybutylene piping is not reliable under any circumstances. If a pipe has been leaking for some time without the knowledge of a homeowner, severe structural damage to the home can result, making repairs extremely difficult.
Damage from polybutylene pipe leaks can be costly, in some cases more than the original cost of the house.  Insurance companies require a home inspector to note any polybutylene plumbing on a four point inspection report.  Policies may be cancelled or refused for homes with known polybutylene problems, and it is difficult to market a home that has such an unreliable plumbing system.

You can get a good deal when purchasing homes with polybutylene plumbing but have a plumber estimate the cost to replace the plumbing.  Factor in the cost of replacement of the plumbing system into the offer for the property.  Make sure you replace the plumbing system sooner than later.  Polybutylene may be stable for years or it my burst at any time.

In the opinion of this home inspector, the only good polybutylene is no polybutylene.  Polybutylene is unstable and could burst at any time.


Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.

First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893
Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com


 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chinese Drywall Additional Information

I have had many calls from homeowners with questions about Chinese Drywall.  I perform home inspections and can identify the signs of Chinese Drywall.  I have performed research into Chinese Drywall and I hope some of the links below can be of use to homeowners and their search for answers.  If you are searching for answers to health questions verify with your home inspector that you do in fact have Chinese Drywall and consult your physician.  

Question:  What year homes were the most effected by Chinese Drywall?

Answer:  Chinese Drywall began arriving in the United States in 2001.  Home built from 2001 on may contain Chinese Drywall.  Homes repaired and remodeled after 2001 may contain Chinese Drywall. The problem with identifying a year that a home may contain Chinese drywall is that some builder suppliers may have had quantities siting in a warehouse or a builder or contractor may have purchased it and not used it until needed.  Homes built, repaired or remodeled up until 2010 or even later may contain Chinese Drywall. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/drywall/guide_healthcare_providers.htm

Chinese Drywall Litigation

IRS Chinese Drywall Deduction

If you suspect you have Chinese Drywall call your local home inspector for a home inspection and ask if they check for Chinese Drywall.  For health and breathing problems consult your physician.  I hope these links will provide you with the information you are seeking about Chinese Drywall.


Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.


First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893

Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

Chinese Drywall (Part 2)

Since southern homes are exposed to higher temperatures and humidity signs of drywall will show up sooner on your copper pipes and air-conditioning coils.   Anything containing copper will be affected; plumbing, electrical wiring, electrical components, TVs, computers, electrical motors in mixers, blenders, drills, and on and on.

I would recommend anyone purchasing a home or suspecting they have Chinese drywall have their home inspected. A ridiculous range of 2003 to 2007 is often tossed around.  New construction or home repairs and remodels from 2001 until 2010 can be effected.  It can be one sheet or your entire house covered with Chinese drywall.  Pyrite oxidation may be the source of the sulfur compounds released by Chinese drywall.

I have done many inspections in Central Florida and always look for the signs of pyrite oxidation on copper plumbing and system components.  Google Chinese drywall and you will get thousands of articles about class action lawsuits, health issues, effects, problems, signs, property damage, and decreased home values.  This issue is far from over in fact it is only just being discover what the effects of Chinese drywall are.  Chinese drywall has been link to developmental problems with children, radiation studies, and other disorders.


Homeowners should be aware of and attempt to avoid the following scams which builders have reported to the Attorney General’s Office:

  • Sale of bogus test kits. These can be expensive, often costing thousands of dollars, and are generally ineffective. The presence of defective imported drywall can only be determined through visual inspection. 
  • Solicited home inspections costing thousands of dollars by “experts” with no apparent qualification. Homeowners should beware of cold calls and door-to-door solicitors. 
  • Sale of sprays and applications which allegedly claim to miraculously cure the corrosion problem. Not only are these products ineffective, the addition of moisture may accelerate the corrosion problem. 
  • Sale of ozone generators. Ozone will actually increase the chemical reaction between the drywall and copper and the corrosion will be accelerated.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint about these scams may do so by calling the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or by filing a complaint online at http://myfloridalegal.com .

Chinese Drywall (Part 1)
Chinese Drywall Additional Information





Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.

First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893

Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chinese Drywall (Part 1)


This topic has been going round and round again. Everyone has an opinion about Chinese drywall but the plain fact is 90% of the people giving the advice are not qualified inspectors and have something to gain by giving one-sided advice.  Stories featured in the New York Times, Orlando Weekly and other newspapers have followed the woes and the law suits related to Chinese drywall.

Chinese drywall began arriving in the United States in 2001 and was imported in larger quantities after the 2004 - 2005 hurricane repairs and continued in quantity until 2007.  Chinese drywall continued to be imported and used in home construction throughout the US.  Feb 2009, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida requested a ban on the defective drywall, and a bill urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall Chinese-made drywall and temporarily ban its import.  It was only in Nov of 2009 that the CPSC issued its report about Chinese drywall. Chinese drywall was installed in an unknown number of new construction projects throughout the US.  I have seen numbers like 100,000 homes built with and half a billion pounds of drywall imported after 2006.

US Congressman Bill Posey, “The problems experienced in homes with the bad drywall include sulfuric odors and corrosion of certain materials. The corrosion seems to affect copper air conditioning compressor coils, electrical wires, fire and carbon monoxide alarms, and brass fittings used in natural gas furnaces and other electrical appliances.”

Southern States are more affected because high temperature and humidity cause copper surfaces to turn black and powdery, a chemical process indicative of reaction with hydrogen sulfide. Copper pipes, wiring, and air conditioner coils are affected, as well as silver jewelry. Homeowners have reported a variety of symptoms, including respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, chronic coughing and difficulty breathing, as well as chronic headaches and sinus issues.


Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.


First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893

Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

Finding a Qualified Home Inspector in Daytona Beach




Some inspection services out there are offering very cheap inspections. The first thing to consider if the price is too low; are they licensed and insured. Ask to see their license and proof of insurance. Are they currently a member of a national trade organization for home inspector like NAHI, ASHI or InterNachi? Florida Home inspectors are required to give proof of their licensure before the inspection begins. I recently completed an inspection for a couple that previously hired and paid a home inspector to perform a Home Inspection. The finance company rejected the first inspectors report because it was poorly written and lacked professional characteristics of a home inspection report. 

The State of Florida regulates home inspectors under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).  All home inspections conducted in the State of Florida must be conducted by a Florida Licensed and Insured Home Inspector as of July 1, 2011 as amended by House Bill 713 (2010 legislative session).

You can verify if an Inspector is current and active at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID. The DBPR requires home inspectors to meet the following requirements before obtaining their Florida Home Inspection License. 

FLORIDA HOME INSPECTOR LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

  1.  Application for Licensure” effective July 2012
  2. Be of good moral character. Good moral character means a "personal history of honesty, fairness, and respect for the rights of others and the laws of this state and nation."
  3. They are required to complete a Livescan (electronic fingerprinting) background report with the state and FBI.
  4. High School diploma (or equivalent)
  5. Complete an approved course of study of 120 hours covering structure, exterior, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, interiors, exteriors, and site grounds & grading. a)  Inspection Methods     24-hours   b)  Building Systems  42 hours   c)  Reporting  24 hours   d)  Professional Practice  10-hours   e)  20 hours of field-based practical demonstrations of the inspection process by the student under the direct supervision of a licensed Florida home inspector.
  6. Maintain commercial general liability insurance (not less than $300,000).
  7. Apply to the Florida Home Inspector Department to take a licensure examination.
  8. Complete and passed the National Home Inspectors Examination given by the Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors (EBPHI).
  9. Continuing Education - Florida Home Inspector Licensees are required to get 14 hours of continuing education every two years in Florida.

In the opinion of this Home Inspector if the price is too low you must ask yourself; why?  The fee for a basic home inspection nationwide is $300 to $500 by HUD estimates in "Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector" 2011.  The size of the home, additional structures, pools or spas and irrigation systems will all add to the price of the inspection.  Fees vary by region of the country significantly.  When purchasing your home, you want the best inspection at a reasonable price.  A thorough inspection will take from 2 to 5 hours to complete.  When it is your money and your family’s safety on the line you want the most meticulous inspector you can find.   

When contracting a home inspector check them out; license, insurance, professional association, and do they have complaints on file with the state regulatory agency.  Agents will often recommend an inspector they know, but is the inspector best for you or the agent?  Do not take their word for it, that they are the best inspector, check them out.



Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.

First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893

Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

What should a Home Inspection in Daytona Beach cost?


I own First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL and I get 50 calls a week for home inspections. The first question and many times the only question the buyer asks me is "How much do you charge for a home inspection?” I do not over charge for home inspections. I am a thorough inspector and most inspections take 2 to 5 hours plus an additional 2 or 3 hours finalizing the report and marking the pictures. After the inspection I follow up with the client when they have read over the 40 to 96 page report. I sometime spend an additional hour answering any questions they may have and always let them know if they have any further questions they can always call me. 


As a reputable home inspector, I have expenses like continuing education, insurance (liability and E&O), advertising, tools, membership dues, state licensing fees and regular business expenses just to keep the doors open. My rates are reasonable and I do a complete inspections.  I know the inspectors that charge less for the inspections and I know their reputations for the work they do.  I also know the Realtor that recommend them and only them.  I know what the minimum rate I can charge for an inspection and still keep the doors open.

Every time I quote an inspection and the client says I’ll get back to you or I’m just going to check a few more places I know money is the issue and they will not schedule the appointment. I know the inspectors that are cheaper and I know they do an inspection in 45 min to an hour and half. A fast inspection is not a good inspection. A cheap inspection is not a good inspection. If it is cheap what is the client getting for their $199.00. Do they even bother to check if the inspector is active and licensed?

I have relatives in other states that always call me when it comes to buying their home and the advice I always give them is check the inspector out. Check the state their state licensing, insurance, training and experience, and check with people you know for their recommendations. If the most qualified and reputable inspector charges $600, then he is the best inspector to hire. Remember $600 maybe a lot of money but it is only a small portion of a $20,000 roofing mistake not caught by the cheap inspector that did not crawl up in the attic.

Electrical junction nightmare – This junction was
 the result of handyman wiring and could
 have burned down this house.
When looking for a home inspector the last thing you should consider is the cost of the inspection.  The first thing on my mind is the safety of my family.  I do not want to be awake all night wondering if the inspector missed an electrical junction in the attic that should have been in a closed box.  All too often I run across things like the junction in the picture to the right, an exhaust fan wired into the closest wiring run.  In the picture you can note the black burn marks on the copper and the scorch marks on the sheathing and the wood.  The question you should ask yourself is would the $199.00 home inspector find this? 

In the opinion of this Home Inspector if the price is too low you must ask yourself; why?  The fee for a basic home inspection nationwide is $300 to $500 by HUD estimates in "Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector" 2011.  The size of the home, additional components and structures, pools or spas and irrigation systems will all add to the price of the inspection.  Fees vary by region of the country significantly.  When purchasing your home, you want the best inspection at a reasonable price.  A thorough inspection will take from 2 to 5 hours to complete.  When it is your money and your family’s safety on the line you want the most meticulous inspector you can find.   

When contracting a home inspector check them out; license, insurance, professional association, and do they have complaints on file with the state regulatory agency.   Ask the important questions and if you are satisfied with the results ask the inspector for a quote. 







Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.


First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893
Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

Daytona Beach; Do you need a Home Inspection?


You've decided to sell your home but do you really need a Home Inspection?  Depending on your Realtor they may or may not, suggest a Home Inspection.  Be assured your home will be inspected.  The buyer, will as a rule, opt for the Home Inspection. 

Without hesitation you put your home on the market, paint and fix it up a bit, and stage it per your Realtor's specifications.   Your home looks perfect and the price is right.  Now you have an offer, and the buyer asks to have the Home Inspection.  Is your home ready?

Many items frequently go unnoticed when preparing the home for sale.  Most items are easily rectified if you only knew what the Home Inspector would find.  The dilemma is, if you and your agent cannot find what is wrong, you cannot fix it. 

Once your home is inspected by the buyer’s inspector it is often too late to undo the damage done.  The buyer and their agent, report in hand, now has their demands of items to be repaired.  They will surely ask for a reduction in the price of your home.  To fix or not to fix, do you reduce the selling price even further?  You decide to make all the repairs noted on the inspection report.  You hold firm to your original price but the deal falls through.  No problem another offer will come, you think.

Has your home shown recently?  It is in fine condition everything is repaired per the buyer’s inspection report.  The problem is, at this point, too many people have heard about the inspection and what was wrong with the property.   The buyer’s agent had first-hand knowledge of the report.  How many other agents was the buyer’s agent connected to?  How many other agents were in their office, in their realtors association, and in their immediate realty network?

In this Inspector’s opinion, the Sellers Home Inspection is an invaluable tool.  It puts your house in perspective and lets you choose which items you will repair and which you will not.  Many of the realtors that I deal with on a regular basis recommend their client initially have the inspection.  Being prepared gives you the upper hand in the real-estate transaction.  The buyer’s agents have a network of colleagues which they will regularly communicate with.  Once the report has been made available to the agent, that is what they remember.   Many homes have been on the market for months, even years, before they sell.  It is a buyers’ market and you need every advantage that is available to you.  You can choose to have an inspection and be in control of the transaction or let the buyer be in the driver’s seat.
Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.


First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893
Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com