Apr 02

Why Even Electric Water Heaters Require a TPR Extension Pipe

I recently read a story of a water heating unit that did not have a TPR valve properly installed on it, effectively turning it into a ballistic missile when it malfunctioned:

A Water Heater Can Become an Explosive Missile:

“The steam-powered tank hurtled across the busy intersection at First Avenue South and South 152nd Street — over at least six lanes of traffic — before landing more than 439 feet away in the parking lot of a Pizza Hut. …[the] water heater landed 70 feet from a Kannapolis, North Carolina, home and did an estimated $20,000 worth of damage when it exploded. According to the report, the heater lacked a TPR valve altogether.”

What is a TPR Valve?

Most home owners do not know what a TPR valve is or looks like, let alone the importance of having one. In any event, these little valves should never be capped, sealed shut, or left without having an extension pipe added. In case you aren’t familiar, a TPR valve stands for Temperature Pressure Release Valve. This valve is designed to release water from a water heater if either the temperature is too high or if the pressure is too high. The point is, if pressure builds up in a water heater, the valve releases the pressure by letting water out, as opposed to creating an unpredictable and dangerous exploding missile.

What is a TPR Valve Extension Pipe?

Codes require that an extension tailpipe be added to a TPR valve so that if any pressure builds up and is forced out, then it will not spray accidentally into someone’s face, but will spray towards the floor. The TPR valves are installed either on the top of a unit or on the side of water heaters. The extension tailpipe, also called a discharge pipe, should terminate no more than six inches off of the floor, per building safety codes.

Photo of a TPR valve at top of an electric water heater (in the center):

Photo of a combustion water heater with side TPR valve:

A missing TPR valve extension pipe is one of the more common mistakes found in a home inspection. Recently, when I found a water heater in a home that was recently installed, that did not have a TPR extension pipe, the owner outlined that the plumber had stated that TPR valve extension pipes are not required on electric water heaters. This did not seem correct for a number of reasons. First, if there is no need for any TPR tail pipe on an electric water heater, then this implies that there is no need for a TPR valve at all on such units. However, the Rheem electric water heater in question did have a TPR valve installed on its top (see the first photo, above). Only tank-less, on-demand water heaters come with no TPR valve, because there is no storage tank that can possibly build up pressure.

In order to get some more feedback on the electric Rheem unit, I called the manufacturer. The Rheem technical service assistant told me on the phone that I needed to call the local building code office to find out if it is required by code. However, when I asked for the official advice of Rheem, he said that  TPR valve extension pipes are recommended on all of their water heaters, whether combustion or electric. When you consider that TPR valves release not just based on pressure, but also based on extreme temperature, then this makes all the more sense. When in doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially with regard to such an inexpensive add on.

Tags: Do electric water heaters need a TPR pipe, what is a TPR valve? code for electric water heater TPR pipe, house safety, TPR discharge pipe,

 

Dec 05

Lieb’s Top 5 Home Inspection Issues for L.I. Real Estate

connections-990699__340Long Island attorney Andrew Lieb, who specializes in real estate law, offers advice on buying a home with a home inspector on Long Island. Here are topics that he advises as the top five issues to consider:

1.TIMING THE INSPECTION
2. HIRING THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL
3. KNOWING WHAT YOU GET
4. UNDERSTANDING WHAT IS EXCLUDED FROM AN INSPECTION
5. WHO SHOULD ATTEND THE INSPECTION

Lieb’s complete article on this subject was first published in Hamptons Behind the Hedges, linked here. Then another version was posted at Huffington Post, linked here.

As a licensed NY State home inspector serving Long Island, I find Lieb’s article to be spot on. Timing is incredibly important, especially if there is serious interest in a home. And I also recommend that the home purchaser can learn a lot about the home by being present at the home inspection.

I have elaborated on the point of “hiring the right professional” at my blog, titled, ABC’s of Home Inspection Training and Experience, linked here. I would recommend, A) Architectural or engineering degree; B) Thorough home inspection training; C) Construction experience. All of these add to the capability and value of your home inspector, in addition to being a part of a certification organization that holds inspectors to high standards.

A further piece of advice on due diligence would be to hire a home  inspector based on the inspector’s credentials, not just because a real estate agent has recommended one.

Image with permission by NZ Chrissy

Tags: Buying a home on Long Island, how to buy home on LI, how to choose inspector on Long Island, key inspection issues, how to choose inspector in Hamptons NY. buyer due diligence

Oct 29

House Sellers get “MoveInCertified” Home Inspections

moveincertified

If you are a home seller or real estate agent, would you like to see a home sell faster and with less headaches? You can get your home pre-inspected and certified ahead of time, before unexpected problems arise. With one phone call you can have your home inspected and listed as a Move-In Certified™ home. As an InterNACHI Certified Professional Inspector®, I’m qualified to do this for you. This certification means that, at a minimum, you can confirm that there are no major systems in need of immediate repair or replacement, and no known safety hazards. There are at least 10 benefits of suggesting a Move-In Certified™ Seller Inspection:

1. Instead of addressing repairs later, jump starting the inspection process will most likely speed up the sales process in the long run.
2. Many clients today won’t even look at a home that is not in good condition with immediate move-in quality.
3. You only have one chance to make a good first impression on selective buyers.
4. It’s easier for agents to sell when they are confident about the product they are selling.
5. This step by the home seller demonstrates a good-faith willingness to be more straightforward and pro-active in the sales process.
6. There will be added peace of mind knowing that no unpleasant surprises could be waiting around the corner that might ruin a prospective sale.
7. The seller inspection will likely more than pay for itself when the final contract price comes within close range of the full asking price.
8. The report will be posted at www.FetchReport.com and will be easy to download for both the seller and agent.
9. Requesting this service will set your property apart from all the others and make it more appealing.
10. Being pro-active in helping to determine the condition of the property up front helps to mitigate against any possible legal non-disclosure claims that might arise from the seller down the road.

Most safety problems are extremely easy to fix. For example, changing electrical outlets near sinks to GFCI safety outlets costs only a few dollars. But the value of having your home checked out and certified can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Don’t miss out on this real estate trend that can give you a competitive edge in the market as a seller. If you are interested in this service, contact Richard Warden of Southampton Home Inspections (SHI) at 631 377 2046.

Tags: SHI Hamptons seller home inspection, SHI certified seller home inspection, move-in certified home inspections, benefits of seller’s Move-In Certified™ home inspection, how to sell a home faster and better, how to stand out in real estate, trends

Aug 04

Free Book with Every Home Inspection

InterNACHI’s ultimate home maintenance manual is free to all home buyers who use the services of Southampton Home Inspections. InterNACHI is the foremost home inspection certification organization and, as a member, SHI is grateful for the opportunity to offer this helpful free book with every home inspection. The book, Now That You’ve Had A Home Inspection, is available in English and Spanish (libro gratis con inspección de la vivienda en español). This link offers a short video description of the book. Call SHI today for your inspection: 631 377 2046.

Tags: free book with every home inspection, free home inspection book, free home maintenance book, home inspector free book, best home maintenance book, Hamptons inspector free book, libro gratis con inspección de la casa, español habla inspector de viviendas

May 28

Should Brokers and Agents Recommend Home Inspectors?

There are a number of questions regarding the recommendation of home inspectors by agents and brokers. Is it a good idea? Are there any preferred methods? Are there any concerns? Certified by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors

First, it can be considered a valuable time-saving service to provide the name of a home inspector or a list of local licensed home inspectors. Real estate professionals basically earn their fee by helping their clients, so this can be seen as a helpful plus. A key to business growth is to never stop improving. Supplying some references of local home inspectors is a positive feature.

Second, there are a few methods for recommending home inspectors. One Southampton real estate agency offers an online list of local home inspectors to choose from. Another agency chooses to recommend one home inspector. And yet another chooses to print out and hand a list to clients.

Third, there can be some underlying concerns when it comes to recommending just one home inspector. The home buyer may be wondering, “Should I use a home inspector that has been recommended to me by a broker or agent?” The underlying issue relates to the objectivity of the inspector and the report. There are plenty of brokers and agents who regularly recommend one home inspector and there is nothing unethical about this if the report is objective. However, some clients may feel more confident if they are presented with a list of recommended licensed and insured home inspectors to choose from.  This option may be presented to a client. Some clients prefer to find their own home inspector on the Internet.

As a home inspector, I have both training in home inspection work and an architectural degree. I also have a lot of various construction work experience. These experiences add to my abilities as a home inspector. I’m licensed and insured and can offer a number of references. If you are interested in an objective and thorough report, you may recommend Southampton Home Inspections to your clients with confidence.

Tags: Should brokers recommend home inspectors? Real estate and home inspections, should a home buyer use a recommended home inspector, how to find a home inspector

Jul 16

Recent EMF Radiation Inspection in East Hampton

I recently performed an EMF radiation inspection for a land purchase in East Hampton where there are some high voltage power lines. Not the huge metal towers, just thick, typical-looking power lines running down the street. Some of the EMF readings in the area came in over 100mG, which is pretty high considering that Sweden settled on 2.5mG as a safe limit after a 25-year study on the subject. In this post I’d like to give a little background on the issue and offer some reasons why you should probably know what the EMF readings are both in your home and in your yard. I know, I know, another thing to watch out for.

100 mG EMF reading in East Hampton NY

Background

EMF (or ElectroMagnetic Field) is a broad term which includes electric fields generated by charged particles, magnetic fields generated by charged particles in motion, and radiated fields such as TV, radio, and microwaves. Electric fields are measured in units of volts per meter or V/m. Magnetic fields are measured in milli-Gauss or mG. The field is always strongest near the source and diminishes as you move away from the source.

High levels of EMF air pollution can dramatically influence property values. Southampton Home Inspections (SHI) always offers EMF testing in conjunction with home inspections and will also perform independent EMF test services. In my recent inspection I took readings at 16 locations around the property and vicinity as a basis for an objective report on the conditions.

The manufacturer of the meter I use states that it, “Measures AC electric fields rapidly, such as from overhead power lines or improperly grounded equipment. Measures major RF/microwave sources such as leakage from microwave ovens, or the field near cell towers.” The meter manufacturer describes an error factor of 20%. EMF radiation from power lines is often referred to as an ELF, an extremely low frequency condition.

Reported “Possible” Health Issues

As far as reported health effects of EMF are concerned, A 2009 EU update confirmed the opinion of a previous 2007 EU report: “The previous conclusion that ELF magnetic fields are a possible carcinogen, chiefly based on childhood leukaemia results, is still valid.” Other potential health problems have not been considered as significant. In 1995, a major law suit was filed against a Texas Utility company regarding 8 cases of children diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia who lived near high voltage power lines. The suit was filed by Joseph Jamail, one of the most successful—and richest—trial lawyers in America.

When I first began testing the microwave oven in our home and ones in other homes, we quickly decided not to allow anyone in the kitchen when the microwave oven is on. No matter how new the model, the radiation is usually high within 5 feet. Bedside alarm clocks, electric blankets (still selling at the Bridgehampton K-Mart) and, yes, cell phones also emit radiation that has not been emphatically proven to cause cancer. Yet, as recently as this past May, there is news that India will ban all cell phone sales of units that are not properly labeled. I’m not referring to the fine print in the box, but the cell phone itself. As noted, “The SAR value, which is the radiation emitted by a cellphone, will have to be displayed on mobile handsets.”

The US government presently does not regulate EMF levels in such things as power lines. However, the Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States recommends a general policy of “prudent avoidance” with respect to EMF. Prudent avoidance would mean measuring the levels, determining the sources, and acting to reduce exposure. Using an EMF meter, it is possible to know where the sources of EMF are in your everyday world and how strong these sources are.

If you are considering purchasing a home, land, a microwave, or a cell phone, I highly suggest that you do some research and learn what the EMF values are, if available. If you would like SHI to perform EMF tests for you, that would be a pleasure.

Tags: Hamptons NY EMF radiation testing, EMF survey, update of EMF health effects

Jul 07

Free Termite Inspections are Usually not Guaranteed!



Often, home inspectors will offer “a free termite inspection” included with their home inspection price. Almost always, home buyers aren’t aware that such termite inspections come with no guarantee whatsoever! When a licensed pest inspector prepares an inspection report, the inspection is also usually not guaranteed, so that if termites are discovered after the home is purchased, the purchaser is not protected against paying for related repairs. They usually will, however, guaranty most houses if they are treating them with pesticides. Unless, for example, there is no moisture termite barrier on the foundation top under the sill plate.  Newsday published an article on this subject and outlined how real estate lawyers in many states will recommend an independent termite inspector:

“The engineer found no termites, but when he wouldn’t give a guarantee, I suggested [the buyers] bring in a licensed pest controller,” Minella said. With a written guarantee, buyers would be protected against paying for repairs in case termites were found after they moved in.”

In some of my home inspection cases, separate licensed termite inspectors found infestation problems and these reports were used as negotiation tools because the buyers wanted the houses regardless. The slightly higher cost for a separate termite inspection may be worth it for a number of reasons. Pest applicators that offer WDO (wood destroying organism) termite reports are usually competitively priced because the inspectors anticipate that some of these inspections will lead to work down the road. As a matter of fact, this gives them an incentive to make an extremely thorough inspection in order to find infestation. In one case, a termite inspector found a clean house but found infestation under a log right next to the house. In this situation, treatment was recommended in the report.

I became certified through InterNACHI to inspect for termites and other WDO (wood destroying organisms) that I offer for free along with a home inspection, using a separate WDO inspection form.

(Revised 12-07-16)

Termite photo by Scott Bauer

Tags: Long Island termite inspections, Home inspectors offer termite inspections, Hamptons NY termite inspectors, pests

Apr 30

Hamptons Designer House Market Update

200px-Cuckoo_clock_by_Pascal_Tarabay1Last week, 27East reported how Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazine hosted a panel discussion that featured discussions by a variety of professionals related to the real estate industry in the Hamptons and, with regard to creativity and real estate, the situation is a bit paradoxical. In one sense, it’s a designer’s market:

“Mr. Collé, who said that today’s buyers are “less interested in cookie-cutter houses” and more passionate about custom-designed homes, said that he has been seeing more and more demand for “bigger and better” residences. That means more and more teardowns of existing older homes on ideally located properties, he reported.”

And yet, in another sense, the population of creative artists and designers that helped to give the Hamptons a sense of mystique seems to be on the wain:

“The artists and writers are being squeezed out by the hedge fund managers, she paused. “And the people clipping the hedges.”

Like SOHO in NYC and Red Hook in Brooklyn, the Hamptons seems to be following a similar pattern for artists and writers.

In March, Deal Book reported how hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen paid $60 million for an oceanfront home on Further Lane in East Hampton. But this is chump change. The day before the home purchase news has it that he purchased Picasso’s “Le Rêve” for $155 million from the casino owner Stephen A. Wynn. This was apparently one of the priciest private art deals ever transacted. The art of the deal.

The HC & G Hamptons real estate update and forum included Builder Jeffrey Collé, NYC&G features editor Carmela Ciuraru, HC&G contributing editor Heather Buchanan and author Steven Gaines joined HC&G publisher Pamela Eldridge.

Image of designer cuckoo clock by Pascal Tarabay is courtesy of Creative Commons.

Tags: art and real estate, Hamptons designers, Hampton real estate update, buy designer home Hamptons NY

Mar 15

List of Hamptons NY Real Estate Brokers

The following is a list of real estate brokers in the Hamptons NY area. The process of home buying can be inundating and it may be that this list will be of use. All real estate agents are required to work under licensed real estate brokers, so all professionals in the field are hopefully covered somewhere in this list. If you are a real estate broker in the area and are not on the list, I can add you if you let me know. If you are in need of a local Hamptons home inspector, check out Southampton Home Inspections.

Beau Hulse Realty Group

http://www.hulserealty.com/html/

Corcoran Hamptons, NY
http://www.corcoran.com/hamptons

Douglass Elliman Hamptons
http://www.elliman.com/long-island/hamptons

Halstead Hamptons
http://www.halstead.com/agents/hamptons-office/

The Morely Agency
http://morley.hreo.com/

Nest Seekers Hamptons, NY
http://www.nestseekers.com/Sales/hamptons/

Saunders
http://www.hamptonsrealestate.com/

Sea Shell Real Estate
http://www.seashell-realestate.com/

Sotheby’s Hamptons, NY
http://www.sothebyshomes.com/hamptons

Southampton Village Real Estate
http://www.southamptonvillagerealestate.com/

South Fork Realty
http://www.southforkrealty.com/

Town and Country
http://www.1townandcountry.com/

Tags: Real estate Hamptons NY, list of real estate brokers and agents in Hamptons NY, Hamptons NY real estate listings, buy house hamptons, home buying in Hamptons, names of brokers in Hamptons NY, real estate companies in Hamptons