Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), commonly known as synthetic
stucco, is an exterior cladding system composed of an adhesively or
mechanically fastened foam insulation board, reinforcing mesh, a base
coat, and an outer finish coat. Its exterior appearance looks
almost identical to conventional stucco, although conventional stucco
is comprised of multiple layers of cement over a wire mesh
A separate EIFS page is a
part of this web site to further discuss this building technique.
|"For thousands of home
owners, Polybutylene plumbing has become a recurring nightmare . . ."
Ed Bradley - CBS 60 Minutes.
Note: Polybutylene is NOT
PVC which stands for PolyVinyl Chloride and is currently used for pipes
along with copper.
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. It is most commonly found in the "Sun Belt"
where it is believed that oxidants in the public water supplies, such
as chlorine, react with the Polybutylene piping and acetal fittings
causing them to scale and flake and become brittle. Micro-fractures
result, and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced.
Thus, the system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing
further (in some cases extensive) damage. Courtesy Plumbing Express
Wiring was used for general wiring in homes in the early 60's
the mid 70's. A discussion of the topic including additional
links can be found on the web site's Home Inspector web page.
Aluminum wiring has been sited for causing home
may occur when their connections become loose. Although most
housing codes forbid the use of aluminum wire by 1980,
electricians were allowed to use their inventory on hand until it
used in homes prior to 1960 could have contained lead
concentrations of up to 50% by weight. Lead was
paint by federal law in 1978 (It had been removed in France and many
other countries before 1920). A separate lead paint page
explaining the hazards with additional links is available on this web
Tar Impregnated Wood Fiber Pipe ("Orangeburg" pipe), or Pitch fiber
pipes (the Orangeburg, New York, plant closed in the fall of
1972) were first laid in the 1960’s as a cheap
to clay pipes and over time have been the cause of many blockages.
Orangeburg pipe is actually a kind of tarpaper that's rolled up about
10 layers thick to create a tube. It is bound together with a
special water resistant adhesive and treated under pressure with hot
liquefied coal tar pitch to repel rodents and roots. It is
as the sewer pipe that runs from the house to the street sewage system
or to your septic tank. The pipework can become porous, allowing water
to leak. If the pipework leaks it may attract tree
shrub roots causing further damage. PVC pipes eventually
Pitch fiber pipes. The home owner may or may not know if this
pipe has been
changed as eventually they all will fail. I have gone through
this process with a house I owned which was built in '72 but I doubt if
the current owner of the house is aware the pipe to the municipal sewer
pipe had been
still in use
are 3 types of foundations and their variants which are used
to support a house; 1) Basement
and 3) Conventional.
Generally in this area due to water table, soil
and lack of freeze/frost line there are very few basements.
homes constructed are built on "slab on grade" meaning the
actually on top of the earth surface. Older homes sometimes have
conventional foundations since the use of concrete was not that common.
Conventional foundations provide an
access under the home and its plumbing etc. while a slab does
readily permit any access. Lastly slab foundations can crack.
A cracked slab cannot be "repaired" (it will always be
but a number of stabilization processes have been developed.
home inspector can identify some of the signs of a cracked slab the
expertise belongs to a structural engineer to provide an accurate
But, lead solder was
of the lead in household water comes from the plumbing in the house,
not from the local water supply. Corrosive water (soft, acidic, or low
pH) can dissolve lead from the supply pipes, faucets, or, solder and
flux, used to connect copper pipes. Some brass components such as pump
impellers and faucets also contain lead which can corrode and
Lead solder was still used until the 1980s because it was
that the amount of lead that could leach into water from the solder was
Homes with plastic drinking water lines should not have problems with
lead contamination from pipes, because fittings are glued together
rather than soldered. For more information on obtaining a
testing kit - Clean
Water Lead Testing Inc.
electrical outlets (two ply wiring provides only a hot and neutral wire
and NO grounding wire) were either not required by code or only
required in locations where water is present such as kitchens and
baths. If you're not sure if your outlets are grounded, check
them. If they're two-pronged, instead of three-pronged, they
not grounded outlets. Even if you have three-pronged outlets
further check as I have seen where some home owners have
the two prong outlets to three prong for ease of use but the outlet
provides NO ground.
|The following was
extracted from Yahoo Answers:
My wife and I bought a lemon of a house a year back. It seems it is
incredible hard, and costly, to keep the house cool in the summer and
warm in the winter. How can you tell if your home has been insulated?
If it has not, is foam insulation the best, or only, option?
"First take the covers off the switch/outlet boxes, a lot of
times you can see into the wall around these. It will be a small slit
around the box so the viewing isn't great but it's a place to start.
Some of the electrical boxes you might be able to see pretty good,
others very little. Second: You also could take a few pieces of trim
off around some windows and doors, you should be able see some or
possible create a slightly larger opening to see better but don't go
bigger than what the trim will cover back up. This may work on some of
the doors/windows, depends on the width of the trim and the
framing... Down the road if you plan on siding the home have
add sytrofoam sheets before putting on the siding."
The infrared camera as described in the Home Inspector web page
can be useful in determining the insulation inside a wall and
and Tube Wiring
you can expect a new home to have 200 amp service provided
through an electrical service box containing circuit breakers.
Power is provided by two 120 volt service lines which are combined
to provide 240 volt service to the home which is necessary for electric
clothes dryer, HVAC etc.
Older homes may have any of the following: 1) Single
service which prohibits the use of 240 volt appliances,
Fuses instead of circuit breakers, 3) Lack of a
wire as listed above, 4) No ground fault interrupt (GFI)
5) The service head may have a large thick wire providing
to the electric meter instead of a pipe or underground service,
6) And in the older homes two single insulated
(hot and neutral) ran separately within wall or ceiling
passing through joist and stud drill-holes via protective porcelain
insulating tubes, and supported along their length
on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators.
A circuit was provided by connecting to both wires. K
& T wiring was used from1880 to 1930's when
electrification was first provided to residential homes.
you live in the city your home is connected to the city sewage system
and you pay a utility bill to have your waste water treated.
you live outside a municipal sewage system, in the country, you have
your own sewage treatment system
which is generally referred to as a septic tank.
your septic tank? In the Montgomery application
process you are required to submit a plot plan which is kept
on record so a call to your county health
would be a good place to start to locate your septic tank and drainage
fields and see if the installation had a valid permit.
If the city sewage system was installed after a home was built you may
be living in a city WITH
a septic tank. I know of some locations in
Millbrook where this occurs. So, before you assume you are
serviced by the city sewage system, it is well worth asking the
question. A separate web page on the subject of septic tanks is available on
this web site.
|The above information
has been researched on the Internet with suggestions, corrections and
expertise provided by Dwight Leary owner and
inspector of Home
Check Consultants who is also featured on the Home Inspector
web page a part of this site.