Home Inspection
Information From
Alban Home
Inspection Service
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Vol. 2, No. 6

From the desk of ...
Arthur S. Lazerow

Home Inspection Service
To: All Listing Agents
(Part I of 3)

After 1200 home inspections, I have seen many homes in deplorable condition. I wonder why sellers do not heed their listing Realtor's admonition to perform maintenance or routine replacements to maximize selling price, minimize sale time, and facilitate a successful home inspection.

It is no surprise that buyers find comfort from their home inspector's positive observations, such as "newly installed", "signs of maintenance", or "timely replacement." Conversely, signs of deferred or improper maintenance have caused several contracts for which we inspected to be terminated. One was a magnificent country home with very few serious deficiencies but with so many obvious maintenance defects that the purchaser not only canceled the sale but questioned the seller's sanity.

Listing agents should redouble their efforts to bring every listing into the best possible condition. Next month's newsletter will discuss exterior improvements to enhance a property and the following month will focus on interior conditions.

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573 Lancaster Place
Frederick, Maryland 21702
Metro 1-800-822-7200

Full Fee Refund

How To Choose The
Right Air Conditioner

A larger air conditioner is not necessarily better, because a unit that is too large will not uniformly cool an area, Moreover, it may not provide adequate dehumidification, which is very important in providing comfort, since lower humidity reduces skin temperature and makes warmer temperatures feel cooler.

A unit that's too large is less efficient at dehumidification because it will cycle on and off too frequently and its settings will have to be three or four degrees cooler to make up for the higher humidity. It is also more expensive to operate, so it's better to slightly undersize a unit than oversize it. This is more critical with central systems than with window units.

To size an air conditioner, consider the dimensions of the area to be cooled and how the area is used. Based on size alone, an air conditioner generally needs 20 British thermal units (BTUs) for each square foot of living space. For example, an air conditioner with a 6,000-BTU capacity is required to cool a room that is 15 feet wide and 20 feet long: 15 (width) x 20 (length) x 20 (BTUs) = 6,000. This is a very simplified calculation method since it does not take into account other important factors such as the room's height, local climate, and insulation.

Calculating BTU requirements becomes more complicated when considering the area's use. For instance, passive cooling techniques such as shading, ventilation, and vegetation lower the BTU estimate. BTU requirements are also affected by factors such as the size of the household, usage patterns of beat producing appliances, and summertime humidity levels. Appliance dealers will adjust the estimated BTU requirement based on these factors. For the most efficient cooling, purchase a unit with a capacity within 5% of this estimate.

Know The Location of System Shut-offs ...

Here is a list of systems in the home that should be located and marked with a tag in case of an emergency. Taking time to locate and tag these components now could save headaches and a lot of money later.

1)  Main water shut off for the water system.
2)  Water shut offs for each plumbing fixture.
3)  Clean outs in the sanitary waste lines.
4)  Electrical distribution panel ledger should list the location of        all circuits.
5)  Shut off valve for the gas main.
6)  Shut offs and pilot lights on each gas appliance.
7)  Valves from the oil tank
8)  Septic tank lid, distribution box, and leaching field.
9)  Main electrical disconnect, if separate.

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