July '06

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From The Desk of
Arthur Lazerow

Realtors need to know as much as possible about the things they sell, those pesky homes that give us so much trouble. One aspect of understanding homes is to know the proper nomenclature. If a Realtor does not know the difference between a rake board and a stringer board, or a lug nut versus a “numb nut,” confusion reins.
There are hundreds of different components in a house. Go to Alban’s website, albaninspect.com, click on RESOURCES, and at the bottom is a tab for the diagram of a home with each component identified. The diagram is printable, so print it our and keep it handy at your desk.
Here is a difficult differentiation. What is the difference between a chimney, a flue and a vent? Last month’s ASHI Reporter contained a long article on this subject. By the time I finished the article, I was crosseyed. In general, all three taken together are vertical structures that provide a path for gases to be directed safely out of the home. Does a clothes washer have a vent or a flue? It probably does not have a chimney!
The grandfather term is FLUE. Any structure through which combustion products travel is a flue. A chimney is a site or factory built structure that handles very hot gas from combustion. It has a flue running up through it. A vent is a flue that carries gas or oil combustion gases.
Now hear this. A clothes drier is not vented. A gas dryer, just like a gas oven, has no vent for the combustion products, since they burn cleanly. However, warm air and lint not trapped by the filter are exhausted, so the correct terminology for the pipe from clothes dryer leading to the outside is called the “dryer exhaust duct.” Got it? Have a great summer! Go on vacation and make me a promise: leave your cell phone at home.

Summer Household Maintenance

Summer is finally here. April showers and May flowers have long past, leaving summer blooms and another opportunity to be proactive around your home. Realtors should remind their clients that summertime is not only vacation time, but also the opportunity to fine tune things around the home. Here is a checklist of “to-dos” this time of the year:
1. Burglarproof Your House. Inspect the operation of automatic lights, timers and motion- etector systems, especially since summer is vacation time. Break-ins can be thwarted with security measures that prolong the burglar's time and effort. Prune shrubbery to eliminate hiding areas. Check all site lighting for nighttime visibility. Install security pins or window locks on all windows. Replace Charlie bars with deadbolt type locks on sliding glass doors. If there is no alarm system in your home, consider installing one.
2. Clean and seal wood decks. Ideally, three consecutive warm, sunny days will be needed to complete the job. On day one, pressure wash and let it dr. Apply deck cleaner and scrub the deck on the second day and let it dry 24 hours. On the third day, apply deck preservative, such as made by Cuprinol. Let the chemical dry another 24 hours.
3. Hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean chimneys and fireplaces. Doing this task now instead of the fall allows plenty of time for repairs before the next heating season. It's also easier to schedule a sweep and rates are lowest during the summer.
4. Wash the exterior of the house, using ordinary garden hose pressure and a mild detergent. Beware of the pressure washers. They can be powerful enough to force water under the siding where it may encourage mildew and rot. Power washing is a job for a professional.






5. Caulk exterior joints around windows and doors. Caulking helps keep your house weather-tight and lowers cooling bills. It can also help keep insects and other “critters” out of your house. When you caulk before painting, it eliminates edges where the paint may start to peel.
6. Clean lint from the entire clothes dryer exhaust system, from the dryer to the exterior exhaust cap. Because lint is incredibly flammable, it poses a fire risk. If a gas clothes dryer is not properly vented, a blocked vent can force carbon monoxide back into the home and that can be deadly.
7. Check the operation of attic fans and roof-mounted turbine vents. Use a thermometer in the attic. Temperatures above 100 degrees suggest the need for additional ventilation. Attic fans run on little energy and can greatly reduce summer cooling costs. Stay out of the attic spaces of your home as much as possible.


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