Alban Home Inspection Service

Manufactured Homes
Manufactured homes are becoming more durable! In the early 1970s, they had a lifespan of only 19 years. The Urban Land Institute reports that today's manufactured homes last about 55 years, about as long as a site-built home.

A Golfer's Paradise

Golf Digest reports that the top ten counties for retirement-bound golfers, based on climate, crime rates, cost of living and healthcare costs are: Albemarle, Va., Transylvania, N.C., Orange, N.C., Avery, N.C., Santa Barbara, Calif., Monroe, Ind., Martin, Fla., Flathead, Mont., Payne, Okla., Palm Beach, Fla.

What A Bark!

New Yorkers spent $720 million on their pets in 1995, while the Dallas market, which is tenth on the list of top spenders, only spent $264 million. Now that's something to bark about!

Source: Market Statistics Inc.

Note: This newsletter is for informational purposes only. When getting involved with a project, please work within your ability. If you need help with a contractor or with any other home-related issue, please contact Alban Home Inspection Service with any questions. Thank You.
Need A Chimney Check-up?
Not many people realize that a fireplace can be assessed for proper working order without lighting a fire. Three factors need to be determined; if they are in order, there's a 98% chance that the fireplace will function properly.

1.  The chimney flue is at least two feet above the roof or any structure (another roof or building) within ten feet of the chimney.
2.  The flue is one-twelfth the size of the firebox or larger. Example: a fire should start if the firebox is 30" x 36" (1,080 square inches) and the flue is 8" x 12" (96 square inches). This is a ratio of approximately oneeleventh. The flue-to-firebox proportions could be improved by reducing the firebox size. The easiest way to do this is by using glass doors. Leaving one door closed would effectively reduce the firebox opening by 50%.
3.  Combustion air is readily accessible. If the house is too tight, it may be trying to pull air down the chimney. Open a window three or four inches to nullify any negative pressures and allow air positive access to the fireplace.

If these items are in order, the fireplace should draw properly.

Home Efficiency

Evaluating Heating Systems
There are a few things to consider when sizing up a heating system. Here are some guidelines:

As a general rule, the proper heater size is approximately 40-50 BTUs for every square foot of living space, depending on the type of construction and the amount of insulation in the walls and ceilings. This assumes an average house and a standard heater. For example, a house with 2,000 square feet of living space should have a heater input of 80,000-100,000 BTUs.

If the house has effective energy improvements and/or a more efficient heater is purchased, a smaller heater will suffice. For example, if a standard heater that is about 60%-70% efficient is replaced with a heater that is 90%-95% efficient with an outside air supply for combustion, and if the house is modem and well insulated, a heater sized at approximately 25 BTUs for every square foot of living space may be adequate. If these conditions are met, a house with 2,000 square feet of living space could have a heater input of approximately 50,000 BTUs.

Heater efficiency is based on burner efficiency, transmission losses at the heat exchanger, or boiler and flue losses.

The very efficient heaters (90%-95%) can cost from $1,000 to $1,400 more than a standard unit, but that initial outlay will be recouped in two to six years depending on the size of the house and the cost of fuel.

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