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December 2006 Newsletter         
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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!






Alban is proud to offer FREE Continuing Education Courses in Real Estate Offices!
Call Tina to schedule one of our educational seminars, for additional information, or to schedule our services at 800-822-7200 or 301-662-6565.

From the Desk of
Arthur Lazerow
Happy Holidays to All!!!

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 work available.

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 Early

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 poisoning.

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.

The 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!

Integrity in Home Inspecting, Confidence in Home Owning The ASHI Experience