Understanding Roof Ridge Sagging

January 26, 2024 | Chester County

Many homes have sagging roof ridges, such as this bar room of a local winery we had the privilege to inspect. This article explain some of the causes of sag in rafter roof structures.The Basics of a Rafter RoofThe basic structure is the triangle formed by the rafters which attach to the ridge board at the top and to the ceiling joists at the bottom. Triangles are the building blocks of all roof structures. To limit the rafters bending from the load on them, collar ties are added. They form a smaller triangle within the larger one. Collar ties are in the upper third of the rafter span, and are 1″x4″ lumber.Not shown in these diagrams, but there can also be rafter ties which are the same concept. Those go in the lower third of the rafter span and are 2″x4″ lumber. There is also a practical limit to the span … Continued

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Radon Basics

October 5, 2023 | Environmental Services

This is a publication by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection regarding radon in homes. It explains the essence of radon gas, how radon gets into your home, and radon mitigation methods. We send you this publication when we performed a radon gas test on your home or prospective home.Pennsylvania_Citizens_Guide_To_Radon.pdf 

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Home Framing Basics

June 5, 2023 | Pre-Drywall Inspection

Schematic of the basic framing components of a residential structure. This diagram is referenced in our pre-drywall construction inspection reports.

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Don’t panic if your house has Multiwire Branch Circuits

January 17, 2023 | Buyer Inspections

This article is about the multiwire branch circuit wiring technique in home electrics. It is not common. This panel might appear like that you would find at any home, but there is a key difference that a knowledgeable inspector should recognize and explain.But first, let’s cover some basics to set the stage.Conductor -> Wire -> CableA conductor is the metal that carries electricity. That metal is copper or aluminum. A wire is a bare conductor or a conductor covered with a plastic insulator. So, whether we say conductor or wire, it is the same for practical purposes. Two or more wires covered in a sheathing or jacket is a cable as shown.Home electrical systems are mostly single strand insulated copper wires in 2-, 3-, or 4-wire cables. For this topic, we focus on 3-wire cable.Typical use of 3-wire cable3-wire cables are most often used in one of these ways:In 240 Volt … Continued

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Code is a dirty four-letter word. What’s your AHJ?

October 31, 2022 | Buyer Inspections

Why do inspectors reference the Authority Having Jurisdiction? Why don’t we just say something “is not to code” when we observe something that is, well, not to some code? Here’s why, with the necessary background.Code modelsThe International Building Code (IBC) is the core model that defines the base regulations and minimum standards for all buildings. If that was all there was to it, all buildings would be good, and life for a home inspector or commercial inspector would be simple. However, the IBC is intended to be adopted to accommodate laws and practices for any region. For example, a Florida beach home has to withstand storm surges whereas a California home has to withstand seismic activity. Both have the IBC at the core, specialized to accommodate regional needs. The International Residential Code (IRC) is adopted from the IBC for residential buildings (homes). All States follow the IRC. There are also code … Continued

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Air Quality Dangers Most Landlords Don’t Know

August 18, 2022 | Environmental Services

Keeping your rental property in good condition is one of the most important tasks of being a landlord. For most property owners, this task might mean staying on top of electrical and plumbing repairs or scheduling inspections for their appliances. However, a crucial component most landlords overlook is the air their tenants breathe. Poor air can be detrimental to our health. Several studies link it to the development of allergies and other respiratory complications like asthma. Thus, every property owner that prioritizes their tenants’ health and well-being needs to pay attention to their surroundings. Do you wonder what the potential pollutants are? Or what impact bad air has? This article delves into air quality dangers most landlords don’t know. Sources of Dangerous Air Quality 1. Dust Dust is one of the most common air pollutants in any home. Sometimes they also include tiny microscopic pests, which we call dust mites. They’re common in places … Continued

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Two Ways To Fix 2-Prong Outlets

April 13, 2020 | Electric Inspections

Homes built through the 1950s had ungrounded (2-prong) receptacles. That was the norm then but is an inconvenience today.Chester County Home Inspections often find outlets with Open Ground faults. That occurs when homeowners install 3-prong receptacles in the place of the 2-pronged ones, leaving the grounding conductor open. That is an Open Ground defect as the tester found in this home.You can replace the 2-prong receptacle with a 3-prong one provided that the branch circuit is protected by GFCI. There are two ways to protect the branch circuit: with a GFCI circuit breaker in the panel to protect the entire branch, or with a GFCI receptacle device to protect a part of the branch. In the latter case, all receptacles in the daisy-chain after the GFCI are protected also (but the ones before are obviously not protected). There is an additional requirement that must be met, though.All ungrounded outlets protected … Continued

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