A large part of my job is learning. Learning about materials, techniques and styles allows me to be a resource when questions arise. it is important for home inspectors to be “know it alls” about most things relating to homes. Just as important as knowing about stuff is realizing that there is always new stuff to learn about. I am never surprised when I discover something completely new and that is one of the best parts of my job.
The video below was taken on a re-inspection. I had griped about the lack of power to the second outlet in the bathroom on the initial inspection. The sellers enlightened me on the more secretive purpose for this particular outlet!
The cabinet under the kitchen sink is a highly neglected area.
This is the area that we shove highly noxious cleaners and surfactants. Many people even have garbage cans under their sinks. For me, the soap and cleaners are no exception however I do not keep any garbage under my sink. In fact I keep a tub to collect some of the best stuff that my household produces.
The tub holds all kinds of material that is just full of macro and micro nutrients. It is organic, all natural and when I take it to it’s place of magic, outside, it is just teeming with molds, fungus and all sorts of wiggling organisms doing their part to better my life.
The tub is a significant part of the process however the real magic does not happen till it goes outside. Once the tub’s payload is delivered the previously mentioned critters go to work. Through (hopefully) aerobic bacterial action the complex materials are consumed and wastes are excreted. Sounds gross but it is actually exactly what I want!
Once most of the available complex materials are consumed most of the micro organisms die. Sad, but it is an integral part of the process, and their death releases tons of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium as well as all sorts of other trace elements that are ready and waiting for the lucky plants that get to grow their roots in to the piles of decomposed micro organisms.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about the lowly compost pile. It begins as a pile of food debris under my kitchen sink but ends up feeding my plants what they need to grow strong and healthy.
Thank you Salem, Oregon for helping to keep me safe.
With the new rules, since 1/1/2010, we are no longer allowed to talk on cell phones while driving without a hands free device.
Now instead of the distraction of holding a phone up to our heads we are all forced to be distracted with blue tooth thingys that don’t work right, speakers that are unintelligible and the whole process of setting up and getting used to a new piece of technology while driving.
The fine folks @ Ticor had a nifty educational get together last fall in preparation for the new law. I was doing home inspections and was not able to attend the event however I did see some of the “hands free” devices that they were showing off.
One in particular caught my eye. I liked the simplicity and the durability and I knew that I just had to have it:
It is sooo trendy and new you probably won’t see anyone but me wearing them. Maybe the movie stars will get theirs for the summer!
“Always on the cutting edge”
As part of my business model I try to constantly stay on top of and educate myself on the very latest in information that is out there in regards to home inspections, building science, home maintenance, appliances and so on. A large part of this education recently has been a “green” movement that hopes to do more with less and improve efficiencies in general.
One of these brand new technologies has to do with clothes drying. This technology, unlike most “green” innovations actually is cost effective. It is relatively inexpensive and it can even pay for itself in a few short months. (unlike most other “green” products)
I am happy to share this wonderful advancement I spotted in Salem, Oregon with you and I hope that you will keep me up-to-date if you see a wonderful industry disruptive technology.
Jim Allhiser President/Inspector
“Always on the cutting edge”
I do love disposable coveralls. The crawlspaces that I frequent in Salem, Oregon seem to be places where critters relieve themselves and where they decide to die. All of that feces, urine and dead carcasses add up to some pretty disgusting crawling and it can be challenging to bring my coveralls in the house after crawling through a litter box.
Overall the disposables are totally sufficient, especially after I belly crawl through one of those litter boxes that people call their crawlspace. All of the disposables however, have one fatal flaw:
I don’t know if they mean to build them with a “break away crotch” but being a home Inspector, that is not one of my requirements.
Home owners can be very creative people. This is especially true of people from previous generations and people here in South Salem, Oregon.
If I had a nickel for every automotive part used in plumbing repairs that I have seen….I would have enough for a happy meal….maybe.
Recently while diligently checking a home’s heating system this dryer control knob was noted on a wall heater. I am not sure how hot ‘permanent press’ is or even ‘Delicate sheer’ but I am sure the knob fits tight and with a little training, might help dry the home’s air.
Crawl space maintenance is like going to the dentist. With a few simple and relatively easy maintenance steps you can keep the underside of your home from needing a root canal.
One very poplar issue I find is wood debris. When a home is built some of the wood framing or sheathing members will need some adjustment. Holes are bored, notches are cut and ends are scrapped to allow wires, pipes and pieces to fit. All of this adjustment adds up to a lot of wood scraps. If a contractor, make that human, can pass the clean-up buck they will. Eventually the wood that should-have-been cleaned up will get covered up, never to be seen again…..
Enter wood destroying organisms. (Termites, beetles, carpenter ants and fungal rot) These critters are opportunists. Most of the time wood destroying organisms will need relatively moist wood. If they can’t find an easy meal they go elsewhere.
All of those wood scraps that are in contact or close to the moist ground are a perfect snack. Once all of that wood is consumed the hungry critters will start to look for their next meal. Mm mm wood.
I know the termites will be disappointed that I suggested the removal of their boxed lunch. The contractor was very kind to think of the wood eating critter’s busy schedule. The box of cellulose is the perfect thing for the modern WDO’s hectic lifestyle.
Here is a photo that just reminded me of Charles. I just thought he would get a kick out of how this particular can had taken on a life of its own. This can of extruded foam was in the crawlspace of a home that, “had been totally remodeled (re-muddled).” Spray foam seams to fill that gap between lack of knowledge and big holes in things. Merry Christmas Charles.