Home Inspection
Information From
Alban Home
Inspection Service

September '03

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Smoke Alarms
Are Needed in Every Home

Smoke alarms need to be a part of every household, even prior to the time a home is put on the market. Smoke alarms are more than just a selling point for perspective buyers; they are also a safety feature necessary during the occupancy of a dwelling. The National Fire Prevention Association contends that less than one minute may elapse between the time a house is beginning to smoke until the time it is completely engulfed by flames. If the homeowner happens to be sleeping during that minute, the cost could be devastating in more than just dollars.
A set of properly positioned alarms can make the difference between sleeping through that minute and being awakened in time to seek safety. Smoke alarm laws have been part of the building code for more than two decades; however, they are not well enforced and are often violated. Many homes are unequipped with smoke alarms, while others have too few, improperly placed, or inoperative alarms in the house. Proper deployment of smoke alarms includes the following:  
• The right alarm for the house.
Smoke alarm requirements vary according to municipal standards and the age of the house itself. For homes built prior to 1979, battery-powered  




alarms are permissible. In newer dwellings, however, the alarm must be powered electrically. The problem with battery units is that people forget to change the battery on a regular basis. On the other hand, electrically wired alarms may fail if the fire is electrical and causes a power outage. The smartest arrangement is to install electrical alarms, but to back them up with battery-powered ones. In fact, this type of integrated system is required for any home built after 1993.  
•The right placement of alarms. Again,
requirements for alarm placement varies by age of the dwelling. In older homes, most municipalities require alarms within close proximity of all bedrooms. There should be at least one alarm on each floor of a multi-story...

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Alban is proud to offer FREE Continuing Education Courses in Real Estate Offices!Call Melissa For Information and to Schedule at 301-404-8104 or 301-607-8114.

From the desk of . . .
     Arthur S. Lazero

Protect Your Roof

While writing my October 2003 article for the Frederick County Association of Realtors newsletter about how and why asphalt shingles deteriorate, I stopped  and asked: what is the next step after understanding how a roof fails? The answer is to prevent early failure. "Early" is the key word, because all roofs fail eventually. 
Since the main culprits in the war against asphalt
shingle failure are heat and ultra-violet light, every homeowner should try to prevent failure by eliminating these factors. 
UV protection is difficult since, when the sun shines,
UV exposure results. South facing roof planes get the most exposure. Keeping the aggregate in place is the best that can be accomplished. The underlying shingle mat dries when overheated. So attic ventilation becomes critical. Alban recommends an attic fan be installed in every home we inspect that has an attic. Mechanically pulling fresh air into the attic with an attic fan and forcing over-heated air out during the summer months can reduce the attic temperatures forty degrees or more. Ninety degrees in an attic sounds hot, but 130 degrees is awful for the health of a home’s roof. 
I feel so strongly about the benefits of an attic fan
that my house-warming gift to my oldest son, Andrew, when he moved back to Washington with his wife in June, was an attic fan. Not fancy, but effective! 
Further steps to take include making an annual
visual inspection of the roof. Look for problems at edges and places where roofs change directions. Inspect gutters and downspouts, roof flashings and skylights. Make any minor repairs of deficiencies found. 
Keep in mind that Mother Nature turns little
problems left alone into major problems. With roofs, be proactive.


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