troy michigan home inspections: Michigan Residents: Make Your Contractor Get That Permit - 02/13/11 02:06 PM
Michigan Residents: Make Your Contractor Get That Permit
There are two types of permits... one for work performed by the home owner, and one for the licensed contractor.
If you are thinking of working on the house and ignorning the permit office -- don't.
And NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER obtain a homeowner's construction permit for a contractor! In Michigan, it is the property owner's responsibility to make sure the permit is obtained, but not to obtain it for the contractor.
What Work Requires A Permit?
According to Section R105 of the 2006 Michigan Residential Code, you basically need a permit to … (6 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Colds, Sniffles, And Indoor Air Quality - 02/13/11 01:49 PM
Colds, Sniffles, And Indoor Air Quality
Just about everyone I know is either dealing with a cold, just got over a cold, or has someone in their house dealing with a cold.
So, in honor of those of us on AR fighting off colds, the flu, and other nasty airborne problems, consider these facts from the National Institute of Health and from the International Indoor Air Quality Commission:
 
In winter, children with persistent cold-like symptoms (PCLS) have up to 3 times higher symptom scores directly related to the mold count in their homes. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of … (2 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Bacteria In The House - 02/13/11 01:35 PM
Bacteria In The House
We all use refrigerators and freezers to prevent food spoilage. But what happens if the refrigerator isn't clean?
Refrigeration slows, but doesn't stop, microbial growth (that's why food can go bad in refrigerators). Since micro-organisms are everywhere (in the soil, air, water... and even our foods), the fridge isn't necessarily a safe haven. After all, the things needed for bacterial growth are present: a food source (in this case, actual food), moisture, and appropriate temperature.
Micro-organisms that can grow at cold temperatures are called psychrophiles, and these microbes can survive and even thrive at temperatures below 32 degrees … (4 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Michigan's New Building Codes - 02/13/11 01:02 PM
Michigan's New Building Codes
Come March 9, 2011, Michigan will have a number of new codes for contractors to work under. Specifically, these new codes go into effect:
The 2009 Michigan Building Code (covers commercial buildings -- apartments are considered commercial buildings, no matter the size) The 2009 Michigan Residential Code (covers residential buildings three stories and smaller) The 2009 Michigan Rehabilitation Code (covers renovations on less than 50% of the square footage of a house) The 2009 Michigan Uniform Energy Code Rules (major changes to any new construction) … (3 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Trusses, Rafters... What the Heck is the Difference? - 02/13/11 12:58 PM
Trusses, Rafters... What the Heck is the Difference?
One of the frequent questions I am asked is: what is the difference between trusses and rafters?
 
Rafters
Rafters are sloped framing members running downard from the peak of the roof all the way to the plates of the outside walls. They are the support for the roof load. Ceiling joists tie the outside walls together, support the ceiling materials for the room below, and secure the bottom ends of the rafters.
Carpenters build conventional rafter roof frames on-site. The rafters are installed one piece at a time.

 
 
Trusses
(11 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Cleaning the Dishwasher - 02/13/11 12:13 PM
Cleaning the Dishwasher
When I was a youth, I spent a lot of time at my house washing dishes by hand. So I became a big fan of the dishwasher when I rented my first apartment in college. The love affair with the dishwasher has continued all these years later.

But as much as I do love the convenience, there is a problem: when any of us wash dishes, lots of debris gets stuck in and around the dishwasher. Over a period of time, these tiny pieces of old food, cooking grease, and... stuff that is sometimes hard to identify … (6 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Arsenic in Michigan Well Water - 02/10/11 12:55 PM
Michigan Well Water and Arsenic
Impurities in well water like pesticides, lead and even radon get a lot of press.
But something else may be lurking in your Michigan well water... arsenic.
 

What is Arsenic?
Arsenic is a naturally occuring metal, found in rocks and soil, water, air and plants. It is also odorless and tasteless.
It is also used in industry, most popularly as a wood preservative, but also in paints and dyes, certain fertilizers, as well as mining and coal burning operations.
A compound of arsenic and hydrogen or carbon is called a organic arsenic, and often … (12 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: EEEK -- IT'S COMING! - 02/01/11 12:52 AM
EEEKK -- IT'S COMING!
Two strange things happened in the wintertime when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. It snowed, occasionally really heavy, and it was often really cold.
And this wasn't major news, it was just an inconvenience.

Of course, since Sunday, the upcoming snow storm has received more press here in Michigan than the crisis in Egypt or the upcoming Super Bowl.
And while I am not a fan of the expected fifteen-inch snow, it doesn't seem like it is the end-of-the-world big deal the news programs are making it... especially since it is the first … (17 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Speechless Sunday: Spring Is Near! - 01/30/11 03:56 PM
Speechless Sunday: Spring Is Near!
I used to be a big fan of the winter. I played hockey, loved snow sports, and spent as much time as I could enjoying the great outdoors during the winter.
Then I got older.
Not a big fan of the cold anymore. I don't really hate it, I just prefer more comfortable temperatures.
So as I was wandering around and came across these bunnies, I felt inspired. Spring is coming to the rescue! It won't be long.
These rabbits, made out of different grasses, ranged in height from about a foot to about 8 feet … (8 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Melting The Ice - 01/30/11 03:46 PM
 
Melting The Ice
According to the Weather Channel, we have another 8-12 inches due in about 36 hours. So I went to the store today to pick up some more salt.
Now, I typically buy rock salt (sodium chloride) because it is the least expensive stuff. This is the same stuff the road crews spread over Michigan pavement each winter. The problem is that it is only effective down to about 20 degrees F.
So, with colder weather on the way, I thought I'd ask about some of the other options.
Hint: If you ever need to know something, skip … (3 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Indoor Air Quality: Don't Forget The Dust! - 01/30/11 03:31 PM
Indoor Air Quality: Don't Forget The Dust! Mold gets a lot of press. VOCs sound intriguing. Radon sounds scary.
But what about the dust? After all, a 1,500-square-foot home generally produces about 40 pounds of dust a year! Naturally, a bigger home generates more.
Other yucky stats:
The average person sheds about one-fifth of an ounce of dead skin a week... and a favorite food of dust mites are human and pet skin flakes. There may be many as 2 million dust mites are living in the average mattress. Ten percent of the weight of the average 2-year-old pillow is dead … (8 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Toys And Lead Poisoning - 01/30/11 03:11 PM
Toys And Lead Poisoning
Lead dust and paint chips get a lot of the press when it comes to children and lead poisoning.
But there is a growing threat that has nothing to do with pre-1978 homes or old paint on the wall or government lead-based paint warnings.
The latest (and growing) threat are toys manufactured in other countries and then imported into the U.S.
Lead is often used (out of the country) in two aspects of toy manufacturing:
Paint Plastic Yep, lead may be found in the paint on toys. Even though the government banned it in 1978 from in … (0 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Getting The Lead Out... Of The House - 01/30/11 02:59 PM
Getting The Lead Out... Of The House
If your house was built before 1978, and you are having a contractor come in and renovate, they must be lead-safe certified. But all this certification is intended to do is protect both the contractor and the occupants from lead dust exposure.
So if you are going beyond remodeling and trying to actually remove the lead in the house, you'll need to go to a company specializing (and licensed) in lead abatement.
 
What Is Lead Abatement?
Abatement is basically any set of measures designed to permanently eliminate lead-based paint hazards.
Abatement includes the … (1 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Many Contractors Still Aren't Lead-Safe Certified - 01/30/11 02:43 PM
Many Contractors Still Aren't Lead-Safe Certified
In homes containing lead-based paint, certain renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition will create hazardous lead dust, which can be harmful to both adults and children. But lead is particularly damaging to children.
To protect against the risk of lead poisoning, in April of 2008, the EPA issued a rule requiring contractors to be trained in and use certain lead-safe practices. Under this rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 had to be certified and … (4 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Speechless Sunday: Inside The Bellagio - 01/30/11 02:14 PM
Speechless Sunday: Inside The Bellagio
I found some exquisite gardens with an Asian theme inside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
As a history buff, I really enjoy the Terracotta Army, discovered in 1974. I thought the Bellagio's stab at their own Terracotta Army was pretty good representation.
This was my first trip ever to Vegas, and I'd only known The Bellagio as the hotel from Ocean's Eleven, so it was a lot of fun to see it in person.
 

 

 

 
 
(6 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Speechless Sunday: The Fountain - 01/30/11 09:40 AM
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for a convention. I'd never been there before, but one of my favorite movies, Oceans Eleven, had a great scene near the end of the group standing in front of The Bellagio while the fountains shot water hundreds of feet into the sky.
So that was one landmark I needed to hit.
Here is the view from The Bellagio facing the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and Bally's.


 
And, of course, the view facing the Bellagio... although it didn't take the picture from a higher elevation. … (2 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Important? - 01/23/11 04:00 PM
Why Is Indoor Air Quality So Important?
It gets a lot of press, especially with the mold stories picked up in the news... but why are agencies and organizations concerned about the quality of indoor air?
According to the EPA, most people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, with 65% of that spent at home. Because most of us spend so much time inside, indoor pollution concentrations, even if they are uniformly lower than outdoor levels, make a significant contribution to our average exposure over a day, week, month, or year. Modern indoor environments contain a complex array of … (9 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: "Toxic" Mold - 01/23/11 03:55 PM
"Toxic" Mold
The term "toxic mold" is not accurate.
While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins, the molds themselves are not poisonous.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), six varieties of household mold are common and three can produce toxins. The common toxic molds are Stachybotrys, Aspergillus and Penicillium.
Stachybotrys is a black colored mold, which is considered the most potentially dangerous of the common toxic mold types. Aspergillus can be yellow to green or black. Penicillium is white or blue-green to green in color.
As a mold colony begins to grow, the possibility that mold … (4 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Unexpected Sources Of Humidity - 01/23/11 03:51 PM
Unexpected Sources Of Humidity
Other than comfort issues, high humidity can cause tremendous air quality problems –- and in extreme cases can even cause damage to the home or things inside the home.
Some of the unexpected sources include:
 
Showers (a family of 4 can produce 1 quart of water vapor per day) Plants Aquariums Unsealed crawlspaces or basements Cooking (produces about _ gallon of moisture per day) Breathing (1 person typically produces 6 cups of moisture per day) Infiltration Leaky ductwork Humidifier According to the International Indoor Air Quality Commission, in a 1,000 sq. foot home at 70 degrees … (0 comments)

troy michigan home inspections: Identifying Asbestos - 01/23/11 03:47 PM
Identifying Asbestos
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant.
Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumber Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have banned several asbestos products, while manufacturers have voluntarily limited uses of asbestos.
And even though asbestos is not "banned" per se, it is most commonly found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials, and floor tiles.
One of the problems with materials containing these fibers are elevated concentrations can occur after asbestos-containing … (0 comments)

 
Jason Channell, The House Sleuth (Diadem Property Inspections - Serving Southeast Michigan)

Jason Channell

The House Sleuth

Troy, MI

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