Above All - Be Safe
If there is one thing to think about
when looking forward to next year, it’s a desire for personal safety.
Stan Garnet, a friend and former member of the ASHI’s Public Relations
Committee living in Georgia, sent me an excellent list of safety
suggestions. He had obtained this list from a buddy at State Farm
Insurance. I have added several of my ideas to this list. Let’s make
2007 the safest year ever!
PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS. Do not leave your keys in the car, ever,
including when filling up with gas. Lock your house and install
deadbolts on every exterior door. Do not forget a deadbolt on slider
doors. Charlie Bars are worthless for security. Close your garage door
after taking out the trash. Install a house alarm and keep it energized
when inside and at night.
CHECK AROUND YOUR HOUSE. Rubber washing machine hoses should be
replaced every 3-5 years and consider using flexible metalwrapped hoses.
Look for dishwasher and water heater leaks. Make timely replacement as
equipment ages. Leaking toilets account for 10% of all water losses.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY. Replace frayed wires. Test Ground Fault
Interrupting Circuit breakers or install GFCI’s in all bath, kitchen,
garage, exterior and basement circuits if not already in place. For any
house with aluminum wiring in walls to outlets and switches, have an
electrician make the connections safe with aluminumcopper pigtails. Buy
a $10 circuit tester at HomeDepot or Lowes and check every outlet for
reversed polarity, open ground and all the other wiring deficiencies the
tester covers. Remove pennies from fuse bases.
SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) ALARMS. Check operation of all smoke
and CO alarms. Install additional smoke detectors so that there is at
least one on every floor and in every bedroom. If your home has natural
gas or oil heating or appliances, install CO detectors, one near the
furnace and water heater (battery powered) and one in the master bedroom
(plug-in). Do not steal batteries for the kids’ toys.
NEW ROOF. When re-roofing your home, purchase a Class 4, Wind
and Impact Resistant Roof. These super shingles withstand winds up to
130 mph and stand up well to hail.
INSPECT YOUR HOME. Look at gutters and downspouts and satisfy
yourself that the grades, especially near downspouts, have positive
grades, forcing water away from the foundation. Replace appliances and
household equipment that have reached or exceeded their useful life
span. Have your fireplace and chimney cleaned by a professional chimney
sweep each time you finish burning a cord of wood.
CHECK YOUR CLOTHES DRYER. Clothes dryers are hidden fire hazards.
Remove all lint with a vacuum cleaner. Replace plastic dryer vents, as
the accordion folds create fire hazards. Dryer fires are very common and
are preventable. Replace these plastic vent pipes with 4 inch galvanized
metal or flexible aluminum vent pipes. Find the shortest and most direct
distance to vent the dryer outside.
WINTER WATER PIPE PROTECTION. All water supply pipes should be in
heated spaces. If not, redirect them, or add pipe insulation or electric
heat tape around them in unconditioned spaces. Be safe. Let’s not read
about your home in the morning papers!
proud to offer FREE Continuing Education Courses in Real Estate Offices!
Call Tina to schedule one of our educational seminars, for additional
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From the Desk of
The holiday season is always much
anticipated, with parties, family gatherings and gift giving on
everyone’s mind. But this is also a time for reflection. 2006 has again
been a difficult year for Realtors, with an abundance of product to
sell, concern about prices and rising interest rates slowing sales. For
home inspectors, this caused a significant contraction in the volume of
In many ways, 2006 was a satisfying year for
Alban. We celebrated our twelfth anniversary. Due to our excellent
marketing efforts, we remained as busy as possible given the
circumstances. Lee Eyler joined Rudy Rudacil, Marty Blackwood, Rodney
Shull and me as a nationally accredited ASHI inspector. Alban is now a
corporate sponsor of Strathmore Music Center and our alliance with
Brinks permits our clients to benefit from a 90- day warranty covering
the transition period from inspection on.
And finally, our website continued to be
improved, with its beautiful look and ease of use enhanced by the Alban
Ambassador section. This area is accessible only to clients as a thank
you for client referrals. Alban Ambassador members are eligible for
quarterly drawings and an annual bonanza of prizes, along with
continuing support from our inspection staff. On balance, this has been
a difficult but productive year for all of us.
Our inspection staff, Quintin Satterfield,
Roberto Montiel, Rudy Rudacil, Marty Blackwood, Rodney Shull and Lee
Eyler, and our administrative staff, Sandy Watkins (general manager),
Terry Toms (accounting), Melissa Brois (marketing consultant), Darlene
Oriolo (accounting assistant) and Tina Yarborough (home inspection
scheduling secretary) join me in wishing you and yours the happiest of
holiday seasons and a joyous New Year.
Carbon Monoxide - A Killer
Every winter, we read about a carbon monoxide (CO) accident poisoning or
killing some unlucky inhabitant of a home with defective gas or oil
burning heating equipment. Already this year, an entire family was
sickened when their motel’s heating equipment malfunctioned. A woman in
Newport News VA hooked up a generator in her garage this past September
after losing electrical power during a hurricane and died from CO
Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil
fuels. It is contained in automobile and truck exhaust gases. In homes,
defective space or fullhouse heating equipment, fireplaces, improperly
vented generators, water heaters, gas clothes dryers and gas stoves are
sources of carbon monoxide. Heating systems are the leading cause of CO
poisoning in the United States, followed by vehicles that are left
running in garages.
two circumstances that must exist to make CO a hazard are first that it
is produced in elevated concentrations and second that there is an open
path existing for CO to reach the occupants of a home. Normally, when
vents and chimneys are operating properly, any CO emitted from household
appliances, etc., escape without causing harm.
Carbon monoxide interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood
to the rest of the body. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they
pick up oxygen. Red blood cells are over 400 times more sensitive to CO
than oxygen. If there is much CO in the air, the body will replace
oxygen in blood with CO. This blocks oxygen from getting into the body,
which can damage tissues and result in death.
Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination,
worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache,
weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness. Very high
levels can cause death.
Recommendation: Every house with fossil fuel burners need CO DETECTORS!