Home Inspection
Information From
Alban Home
Inspection Service

November  '04

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Current (Electrical) Events

The electrical systems in many older homes are dated and cannot properly accommodate present day living standards. Home builders and electricians in the 1940ís had no idea of the present array of electrical appliances and equipment used on a daily basis. So whatís the difference? Most importantly:

1. Newer systems have more power. Most new homes have 150 or 200 amperes of power available, while old homes may have as little as one-eighth this amount.
Circuitry is distributed better in newer homes. Most homes built in the 60ís or later have a separate circuit for the disposal, the dishwasher, the boiler and other major  appliances.
The spacing of receptacles is more convenient. Many older systems have only one dangling overhead light and one convenience receptacle. 
Convenience outlets really live up to their name when they are no more than 12 feet apart so there isnít a need for extension cords. 4. Newer homes have safer and more protective receptacle devices. If a system was installed after 1962, utilized polarized plugs with a ground hole to accommodate grounded appliance plugs were used. Systems installed after 1978 are better still, incorporating especially sensitive breakers (known as ground fault interrupt devices) to provide extra protection against shock or electrocution. 

Okay, so new systems are better. What should a homeowner do if he has an older system in his house? Hereís some suggestions to cope with an out-of-date but still functioning system:

ē Very old "knob and tube" systems Ė unfortunately, these should be replaced in their entirety. The existing system has no provision for grounding and may have many poor connections where additional branch circuitry has been spliced into the original wiring. Best advice: find an electrician who is capable of "fishing" wires. This could save money in labor costs.
Inadequate power Ė This is a common
problem, in which the electrical needs or demands of a household have outgrown the capacity of the entrance cable or the distribution panel. A heavy up to bring in more power and allow for increased circuitry distribution is a good solution here. A homeowner may also need to run additional circuits to high volume areas, such as the kitchen, air conditioners and bathrooms.

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From The Desk of Arthur S. Lazerow
Pinhole Leaks

During a home inspection last month in New Market, Maryland, something really strange caught my eye. Along a length of about seven feet of one water pipe, there were nine pinhole leaks, all of which had self-sealed. The calcium salts in the water had dried and, over several months for each leak, had become sufficiently large to stop the leak. 
The irony is that a week later I attended a lecture
by ACE DURAFLOW, a Waldorf Maryland based company specializing in pressure spraying epoxy lining material on the interior of water pipes that prevents the development of corrosion, pitting and pinhole leaks. 
Letís go back to the New Market home. The only
exposed pipe in the entire home was that one pipe and a small portion of the main water service entrance pipe. Otherwise, all pipes were hidden inside walls. To re-plumb that home would do significant damage to walls and painted surfaces and would spread drywall dust everywhere.  The plumber would charge $4-5,000 and leave a mess for the drywall and paint contractors, probably doubling the cost. 
Now comes the epoxy system. ACE stands for
Air Drying, Cleaning and Epoxy Coating. Water service is disconnected for about a day and a half. The service origination of each pipe and the termination at the fixtures, tubs and showers are connected with ACE hoses. The pipes are dried with heated air. They are then sandblasted to clear interior surfaces of corrosion, so this process works well for both copper and galvanized materials. Once completed, a two-part epoxy fluid is applied under pressure onto all of the interior surfaces of all water pipes. This seals and protects the pipes. The cost is normally in the same range of the plumberís fee, but there is no mess. Iím convinced.




ALBAN ANNOUNCES RADIO SHOW! Check out Arthur Lazerow, President of Alban Home Inspection Service, the co-host on WMET 1160 AM Intelligent Radio Real Estate Today! Saturdays 10 to 11 AM!

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