home inspectors in connecticut ct: Let's Play, Can You See What I See? - 01/18/14 09:26 PM
My two girls enjoyed reading the I Spy and Can You See What I See series of books by Walter Wick when they were younger. I admit I kind of enjoyed them too. The cool thing about Walter Wick, at least for us, is that he is a Connecticut native.
In the books there are cleverly staged photos. Next to the pictures are text clues. The text begins with the question Can you see what I see?
 So let's play.
Can you see the chimney flue opening?

 
Haven't found it?
Here's
a
little
help.
 

Sometimes you have … (13 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Fireproof Wood? - 12/01/13 08:16 PM
When one thinks of fireproof materials, metal, stone and brick readily come to mind. Wood definitely would not. So one has to wonder, why would anyone build part of a fireplace using wood. There is no doubt wood belongs in the fireplace. But as a part of the structure?

While inspecting a not very old colonial style house, about 45 years, I arrived at the second fireplace in the house located in the family room above the garage. The smoke stained mantel grabbed my attention first. Often a sign of venting issues. I snapped a picture and moved in closer.
(32 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: One Thing Leads Us To Another - 11/02/13 09:58 PM
Hansel and Gretel out in the woods left a trail of breadcrumbs to follow back home. Unfortunately, being children they did not realize, all though I would suspect a few adults would not have seen the error, bread was a bad choice for a trail marker. Without their doughy clues to follow, the children become lost in the dark and sinister woods. Eventually, as so often happens in fairy tales, things worked out for the best for the two wayward children.
Now if Hansel and Gretel had attended a survival training course, they would not have wasted their food leaving an … (36 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Slow Blow - 08/12/13 09:46 PM
Some fuses are quick, some are slow. When I say fuses, I am referring to the electrical type, not the wick on dynamite, all though the same can apply. Whether slow or quick, either type of fuse would be considered comparatively fast to our human point of time reference. From a geological time perspective, a human lifetime is an imperceptible blip, a nano of a nanosecond. Or even much less.
As with nearly all things subjective, slow or fast all depends on ones perspective.
I came to ponder the perception of time after discovering this brick chimney in what looks to … (9 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Not Paying Attention in Science Class Can Lead to This - 04/12/13 10:47 PM
I know, I know, not everyone loves science class. Or math class. Or social studies. Or school. I for one did look forward to science class. Ironically my least favorite class was English. Hated all that writing and sentence structure stuff.
I always found electricity fascinating and have found I have a knack for understanding wiring concepts. Don't get me wrong, I am not by any stretch an electrical engineer or even close to being an electrician. I just have an easy time with many of the concepts.
For example, the rudimentary lesson in science class on how a circuit works. … (11 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: A Return Trip - 03/14/13 09:30 PM
A return trip to a previous destination can either be a want to go or a have to go. With home inspections it is usually a want. The customer has asked the inspector to return to the house to check on repairs made by the seller based on the inspector's report. Once in a while a special situation comes the inspector's way.
Several months back I was contacted by a condominium management company that was interested in my inspecting work done on one of the complexes they maintain. The reason for their contacting my company was that I had inspected a … (8 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: The Mother of All Inventors? - 02/23/13 09:33 PM
There is no question in my mind, the average homeowner is at a minimum, resourceful and inventive. Humans have had to be so inclined in order to survive for millennia. After all Home Depot or the mom and pop hardware store wasn't around back in the age when the pharaohs reigned. It can, I believe, then be concluded that the skill sets some homeowners possess are inherited through a type of Darwinian natural selection.
Another feat we humans may be accomplishing from our technologies through the ages is to pollute the same genetic natural selection process. You might say there is … (27 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: New Conductivity Concept - 02/09/13 08:48 PM
As elementary school children we learn in science class the basic electrical principals of conductors and insulators. The strands of wire used in class show this concept in practice. The copper wire conductor is wrapped in a plastic insulator. The same is found in our homes, conductive wires wrapped in an insulating material of either cloth or plastic. 
As adults we understand this fundamental electrical law. We know that sticking a fork into an outlet will give us a electrified wallop we won't soon forget.
If that fork is metal. A plastic fork will yield not the tiniest slap.
Another fundamental, … (20 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Long and Frosty - 01/24/13 09:33 PM
The artic has sent a cold blast down across a good portion of the country this week. It's gotten so cold I have seen polar bears heading south.
Well, not really, but it's pretty darn cold.
The cold weather has spurred an up tick in calls to my office for thermal imaging scans and energy audits. When the mercury plummet's, the coldest parts of a house become more noticeable. An uncomfortable house is not pleasant.  
One of the more crucial parts of a houses thermal envelope is the plane between the house and the attic. Most people call this the … (6 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Do You Have Ghosts? - 01/22/13 09:06 PM
Several years ago I was contacted by a group of ghost hunters from Massachusetts who were interested in my infrared services. According to the youthful phantom finder on the other end of the line, infrared cameras are capable of detecting other worldly entities. I was both intrigued and amused by his spirited enthusiasm. He made a lively pitch hoping I would aid him and his companions out of pure curiosity for he could not pay. Seems ghost hunting is more a hobby than a vocation. Needless to say I declined his offer.
While hunting ghosts in certainly not a diversion I … (15 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Historic Television - 12/08/12 09:19 PM
Growing up television was vastly different than today, something I remind my two girls of it seems constantly. Today there are hundreds of channels on 24 hours a day. You can record TV, stop and rewind it and watch it "On Demand". All this programming shown in stunning clarity and color on massive thin screens. This is all a far cry from the three channels on the old black and white 19" TV with the rabbit ear antennae my family and I would gather round.
I also remember my dad telling us how much TV had changed from when he was … (32 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Collateral Testing - 12/03/12 08:42 PM
In military speak collateral damage is a euphemism for unintended damage and causalities. In the world of home inspection collateral damage does on occasion occur to the property during a home inspection. A conscientious home inspector is always careful while performing their duties, yet accidents do happen.
Testing components and systems is part of the routine of the home inspector. Most inspectors have several tools such as moisture meters, electrical testers and infrared thermometers for checking various conditions while inspecting a house. Some tools are specialized for checking specific equipment. One specialized, yet not terribly sophisticated tool that I use is … (38 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Screen Doors and Submarines - 11/30/12 09:25 PM
Utilitarian, a fancy and I might add a little hard to pronounce word that means useful, practical, handy. The opposite of which is useless, worthless and unhandy. Is unhandy a word? Any how, in my eventful explorations of houses, I find all manner of attempts at reinventing the wheel. Some people put forth great effort merely to accomplish failure. Leaving behind monuments to their creativity and misguided endeavor.
So it was recently while traversing a roof top. A high roof with a low pitch. If I'm going to be that high, I'd rather be on a gentle slope. Not to pick … (23 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Not The Tunnel of Love - 11/15/12 09:17 PM
Ah, the quintessential amusement park ride for starry eyed lovers. A slow ride in a tiny boat through a dark tunnel. What could be better for stealing a kiss or three.
In the course of inspecting houses, it would not be out of the ordinary to happen upon a tunnel. Not a train or car tunnel and surely not the tunnel of love. Perhaps you could call the tunnels I find frequently those of the unloved, made by rodents and insects. Man made tunnels however are not to be expected.
Finished basements are another frequently found feature in many houses. And … (7 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Sign, Sign - 11/10/12 09:29 PM
We humans are visual creatures. We tend to understand and learn best when we can see and touch not just read or imagine. Case in point, everyone over the age of two is familiar with the universal "no" symbol. We see it constantly, probably almost daily. Sometimes these signs are so incredibly obvious, they become amusing.

The other morning while inspecting a moderately sized house, I opened one of the four electric panels on this property. As the cover came away from the box, I noticed a large sticker in the bottom of panel. Nothing greatly unusual about finding stickers … (12 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Fido Doesn't Know He's Small - 10/12/12 10:29 PM
Have you every watched dogs establish who's the alpha. The contest has less to do with size and strength, than attitude. The tiny ankle biter has little clue the Rottweiler can gulp him down like a milk bone. The big dog is the one who makes the other blink first.
While attitude may work well for establishing who's the boss, it doesn't work well for construction. Knowledge and skill are two important qualities that get the job done right and safely.
And more than a bit of good sense.
When building a structure like say a deck, one should know the … (8 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: No Heat, It's Not Habitable Space - 10/02/12 10:03 PM
Lately my inspection plate seems to contain a never ending helping of renovated properties or flips. The mere mention of the word "flip" has begun to produce a puckering reaction in parts of my body that shall go unnamed. I believe this is an ancient defense mechanism. So it was with usual trepidation I took on another inspection on an "updated" property.
The house was a Cape Cod style where the second floor had been made into a large master suite. Anyone familiar with this type of house knows that besides having numerous variations on the theme, the second floor is … (43 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Where Are My Keys? - 09/21/12 10:28 PM
When given our first key as a young person, spontaneously we lose it. Is it any wonder so many kids have a key dangling from their necks. You search the house, frantically lifting and turning every object within arms reach. You swore you left them hanging from a hook on the wall in your room. Now your mind desperately tries to retrace your steps in a near futile attempt to remember where you left your key.
Personally I believe diabolical gnomes have targeted our keys along with sunglasses, phones and socks, in an evil plot to drive all of us slowly … (14 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Flip, Flap, Flop - 09/17/12 10:11 PM
When speaking with prospective clients, if there is one word that makes me groan, not necessarily out loud, it's the word flip. As in the house is a flip. This four letter word can be cleverly disguised in other forms, such as rehabbed or remodeled, but it ain't fooling me. What a flip means to me is the house was in a state of serious disrepair, was purchased for well under market value, renovated and made to look pretty in all the right places, and finally put back on the market with a substantially larger asking price.
What it also means … (16 comments)

home inspectors in connecticut ct: Temper, Temper - 09/13/12 10:30 PM
People can lose their temper for a plethora of reasons. From the mundane to the strange, what burns someone's wick down to ignition can run from mysterious to obvious. One can not always know what might "set someone off".
Something that gets under my skin as a home inspector is inspector myth. Myths are weaved into the fabric of human culture. Folklore, wives tales and urban legends, take your pick, we hear them every day. One of the more common threads in these tales is a lesson or "fact". I'm quite certain that there is more than a grain of truth … (47 comments)

 
James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) Rainmaker large

James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector

Wallingford, CT

More about me…

JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Address: Wallingford, CT, 06492

Office: (203) 887-4782

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